Best of

The Best of 2001

Upperstall decides to sneer at the recently concluded bunch of farcical award shows and do its own little evaluation to find the truly deserving winners.

Best Background Score:
A R Rahman for Zubeidaa
Vintage Rahman stuff. Enhances the visuals and sticks in your head forever.

FeatureBest Sound Recording:
Nakul Kamte for Dil Chahta Hai and Lagaan
Thank you Mr Kamte, for finally doing some serious sync-sound in Hindi cinema and breaking a mindset about dubbing. This is a huge step forward!

Best Art Direction / Production Design:
Nitin Chandrakant Desai for Lagaan
Flawless execution of a period setting. Rather than trying to hide the fact that here is a 21st century production depicting a 19th century story, a sincere effort has gone into recreating the genuineness of the time.

Best Editing:
Sreekar Prasad for Asoka
The visual rendition of Roshni Se is a tell-tale mark of the way the entire film has been edited. There is hard work involved in the split-second cutting and it shows.

Best Cinematography:
Anil Mehta for Lagaan
It took talent and thirteen Arris to cover that cricket match!

Best Music:
Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy for Dil Chahta Hai
Revolutionary to say the least. This is Hindi film music moving on. Its music you’ll hear blasting out of revved up cars that belong to spoilt 20-somethings and in the halls of homes for the aged, as they gather around a septuagenarian’s nifty walkman that comes with a speaker so that everyone can hear. Not to mention, DCH sold more albums than any other film in 2001.

Best Supporting Actress:
Rachel Shelly for Lagaan
Convincing and pretty.

Best Supporting Actor:
Saif Ali Khan for Dil Chahta Hai
An excellent sense of timing that was backed by great dialogue. Not many actors could’ve pulled this off.

Best Actor in a Negative Role:
Manoj Bajpai in Aks
Well done.

Best Actor in a Comic Role:
Vijay Raaz for Monsoon Wedding
This category had no other nominees. Which is not to say that Raaz wins by default, but rather that he was so exceptional, that he made the rest of the supposed ‘comics’ look like buffoons.

Best Actress:
Karisma Kapoor for Zubeidaa
Move over little sis, for all your shenanigans in your itsy-bitsy clothes are naught in comparison to didi’s stellar performance as the poor little rich princess in Zubeidaa.

Best Actor:
Aamir Khan in Dil Chahta Hai
Yeah you read that right. For DCH, and not Lagaan. Put anyone with an acting ability in Bhuvan’s shoes and he’d had have pulled it off. In DCH, the criticism of this man’s performance was that it was ‘too studied.’ Too studied? Excuse me? There is nothing like ‘too studied’. If its ‘too studied’, then it must be perfect.

Best Screenplay:
Ashutosh Gowariker for Lagaan
Lagaan is timeless; a story that could be told on film fifty years ago or fifty years later. And its scary to even begin thinking of the conviction of the man to convert almost four hours of rural cricket on paper into an Oscar nominated film.

Best Director:
Farhan Akhtar for Dil Chahta Hai
A most sincere first effort. Innovative inspiration in his stylistic choices (everything from jump-cuts to flawless integration of CG), in his handling of actors, in the fusion of music, picture, lyrics, and story, and in the discipline of sticking to the vision.

Best Film:
Dil Chahta Hai
All right, one is going out on a limb here, but we have our reasons! So do read them, before you go hollering to the BBS…
DCH is a far more important landmark in big-budget Hindi cinema than is Lagaan. As mentioned earlier, Lagaan could’ve happened any time in Indian cinema’s history and its impact would’ve been the same. DCH on the other hand, is an effort to propel Hindi cinema to greater heights, to encompass new genres, stylistic choices, to show Indian audiences something they’ve never seen before. Not that people haven’t tried it before, but his success is unrivalled by them. Then how come Lagaan went to the Oscar’s? Well, for the simple reason that for the Academy, a DCH is a regular film with nothing outstanding (because comparisons are primarily to films out of Hollywood), while Lagaan has every ingredient to impress a jury selecting Best Foreign Film primarily because of its novelty value. DCH has set new standards for cinema in India to live up to and above all, it has not presumed the generic audience to be low on IQ and caters to their evolving taste. Hell, they pulled off a western classical opera in the film!

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