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The Best Films of 2008

It’s that time of the year again when we pick our favorite Hindi (that is to say, Bollywood) films of the last 12 months (and before farcical award shows begin dumping everything on Ghajini). A couple of us here at Upperstall have compiled this list. Feel free to agree or disagree and also pick your favorite film of the year…

Best Dialogue – Manu Rishi for Oye Lucky! Luky Oye!
Fresh, crisp, uncompromising, consistent, and original. Dialogue in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! went a long way in making the film one of the best of the year.

Best Song – Khwaja from Jodhaa Akbar
A brilliant song that embodying the Sufi spirit. Easy on the ears, deep, and with great repeat value.

Best Music – Rock On!!
The sensational, phenomenal music that puts the magic in Magik. Shankar, Ehsaan, and Loy have got the riffs to reverberate and the beats to boom for a long time to come. This is real rock. And it’s in a Hindi film.

Best Art Direction – Jodhaa Akbar
Nitin Desai’s production design is the great backbone of Jodhaa Akbar. He is responsible for bringing back to the movies a sense of scale and grandness that we haven’t been treated for a while. It makes you yearn for a 70 mm comeback! The detailing of the forts, interiors and exteriors, is marvelous and seems well researched. Every curtain, every cover unjarringly occupies a space in the frame and in your memory long after the film is over.

Best Cinematography – Rock On!
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Sad as it is, Jason West’s effort put Indian cinematographers in the shade. Spectacularly lit concerts, unconventional choice of shots and a perfect symbiosis with the art direction make Rock On!! a visual treat.

Best Supporting Actress – Shahana Goswami in Rock On!!
Watch her hands, she knows what to do with them. Smart and sassy, she had back to back releases with Rock On!! and Ru-Ba-Ru and unquestionably has a solid future ahead. Let’s hope she picks the right films.

Best Supporting Actor – Paresh Rawal in Mumbai Meri Jaan
Paresh Rawal might be the ultimate sell-out actor who did some incredibly wretched films like Mere Baap Pehle Aap andMaan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam in 2008, but with his performance in MMJ, he reminded everyone what he is capable of given a script with scope for character.

Best Actor (female) – Priyanka Chopra for Fashion
A difficult choice this one because there really wasn’t any single leading outstanding female act in 2008. Besides her serviceable performance in Fashion, she gets it for her sheer prolificacy this year with Dostana, Love Story 2050, Drona, God Tussi Great Ho and Chamku.

Best Actor (male) – Hrthik Roshan for Jodhaa Akbar
This was a straightforward choice for this is an absolutely brilliant performance. He has raised the bar a few notches for stars to aspire in his wake. Here is a Bollywood star who can act! Roshan’s rendition of the script is flawless. He seems to have perfectly understood every scene. He never seems clueless and commands the screen like few before him. Jodhaa Akbar is Jalal’s film. Make no mistake about it.

Best Director – Abbas Tyrewala for Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na
A first film with new actors and abounding clichés; how do you rise to the challenge? Tyrewala showed us what treatment is all about in mainstream cinema by going beyond what was in the script and handling actors deftly.

As for the highly debatable best screenplay and best film, well, we thought we’d do those two big ones in a more democratic way. So go ahead and pick your best in these two categories (leave it as a comment) and we’ll see if we have a winner.

Update:

After a lot of input, we have a winner and it’s Rock On!!

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