Top 10 Bollywood Movies of 2012

It’s been long due. But, thankfully done before the rounding off takes us to 2014.

I saw a total of 26 movies out of the 102 that I have the list of. There were 14 that I kinda missed out on. Which means that I might have seen them when they released, but haven’t for one reason or the other. Sometimes, too much negative sentiment in the first week itself. There are 17 that I had not even heard the name of. And 45 that I couldn’t be bothered about.

Of the 26 that I saw, two get combined into one. Yes. Gangs of Wasseypur. Though, if you ever ask me to compare, I like GoW I more than GoW II. And I am still not sure if there is a way to compare Nawazuddin’s performance with Manoj Bajpayee’s. Both were insanely brilliant.

I wanted to do a top 10, but I will do 11. *Drumrolls*

#11: Arjun – The Warrior Prince
The reason I extended the list to 11. This movie deserves a mention for, finally, doing some good animation work in Hindi. There are parts of movie which are breathtaking and with excellent animation qualities. But it seemed like a case where the budgets ran short at some point, and the quality of animation and editing too. But, I was still very happy to see this movie. The creative interpretation of some of the scenes is wonderful in this one.

#10– Talaash
Aamir Khan’s supernatural suspense thriller had pace issues, but compensated with excellent performances from the entire cast. A wasted Nawazuddin shines in that tiny role (probably the last we see him being so insignificant). A grumpy Aamir does not hog the limelight more than he needed to. Reema Kagti had a winner with this one. (Review)

#9 – English Vinglish
Sridevi had an excellent comeback with this movie. The movie is soppy at its worst, and very light at its best, but managed to keep me entertained for most of the movie. The soundtrack was good. And the support cast was able.

#8 – Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana
With the most known actor being its biggest weakness (Kunal Kapoor), the movie is an endearing watch. Basesar brings back memories of a long gone era, Huma Qureshi is exceptional, and Mamaji owns the movie.

#7 – Shanghai
Dibakar Bannerjee’s latest moved from Delhi and NCR region to Mumbai and Bharat Nagar. Emraan Hashmi was playing way outside his comfort zone, and the movie has the usual DB quirks that we have all come to love.

#6 – Barfi!
For all the DVDs that were contributed for inspiration, Barfi! Is an excellent piece of entertainment. Ranbeer, PC and Ileana keep you rooting. My most difficult moment – should I root for Ileana or should I let Barfi go with PC? (Review)

#5 – Kahaani
An excellent thriller. I am not sure if too many people saw the suspense coming, I did not. And I enjoyed it till the end. Vidya Balan deserves the best actress awards for this one. And Nawazuddin – what an year he’s had. Or, probably, it was long time coming.

#4 – Vicky Donor
Who’d have thought that Baldev Chaddha’s infertility clinic will give us so many laughters. Ayushman Khurana, one hopes, will do justice to his debut. I don’t have much hope from Yami Gautam, though. Pani Da continues to be one of the best songs of the year. And lastly – Tathastu!

#3 – Malegaon Ke Superman
The plight of our multiplexes. Thank you PVR Rare. What A Movie. I would probably have missed this one completely. But was I happy after seeing this movie. It was one of the most honest pieces of brilliance in the cinemas this year. (Review)

#2 – Gangs of Wasseypur
Insanity. Anurag Kashyap gave us something totally unexpected. This was earthy to the core, had minute long characters with week long impact on your mind, a mindboggling soundtrack by Sneha Khanwalkar, phenomenally brilliant performances from Tigmanshu Dhulia (who shall forever be known as Ramadhir Singh – rehne do beta, tumse na ho payega), Manoj Bajpayee (and that moment with Rimi Sen at the pump), Nawazuddin Shaikh (and the rooftop scene), Huma Qureshi (Permission nahi lena padta hai kya) and Richa Chaddha (Ae faijal, khoon nahi khaulta hai re tera). Oh, and Wasseypur. (Great Bong’s Review)

#1 – Paan Singh Tomar
The modha modhis may not remember this movie for the struggle it went through (its release was delayed by a few years), but it is difficult to think of another deserving best actor performance after watching Irrfan Khan here. One of the best screenplays in the recent years that I have seen, superlative cinematography, and top class performances. Paan Singh Tomar was my favorite movie of the year, not by a mile but clearly so.

02 0310 04 05 0601 07 08 09  11

And since I am picking the top 10, a special mention must go out for “Heroine” – for helping me appreciate almost every other movie that I saw this year.

CAT- GD/ PI/ Essays

I have over the years answered hundreds of questions about CAT, GDs, PIs, MBA, Job Interviews, etc. It’s less about cluelessness, and more about people thinking there’s something that could give them an ‘edge’. So, for future reference, since there are no edges to be offered really, here is a blogpost celebrating the greatness of ND Kunjika (Nandlal Dayaram).

There are four types of broad questions.  –

  • Preparing for CAT (I have no clue, I think I should do an MBA stage)
  • GD PI stages (I’ve got a call, yayy, stage)
  • The post-MBA job scenarios (I want day 0 and so, I want Investment Banking stage)
  • The MBA job interviews (I want to do consulting because I am a good problem solver stage)

The flavor of the season is GD/PI / Essays. And hence, the how-t0 for that.  Add your own points, and make it better.

  • Assess yourself. Don’t be ashamed of saying that your vocal output sucks. Or, that you are prone to making grammatical mistakes while speaking. Or that you have a squeaky voice. Unless you are ready to jot down your weakness on a piece of paper, chances are that you won’t spend time fixing them.
    • Summary assessment even as an alumni interviewer for PGP admissions – most of the aspirants have no clue how bad they are.
    • I realized very late in my preparations that whenever I was unsure, my voice became a barely audible mumble (while inside my head, I was still being pretty loud).
  • Write a detailed resume. A detailed resume is difficult to write. It means going back to all your activities and achievements. Don’t discount one thing.
    • A nice bullet point on a resume that I saw – worked in stage plays as a child artist. Deeper probing several months later revealed that it was only in a homogenous township based group. Not falsification, but projection. And if you don’t value what you might have learnt from it, don’t expect others to.
    • Write your autobiography. This is expanding your resume. Not as a bestseller. But as a way of remembering what you’ve done and what it has meant for you over the years. Resume is a set of bullet points you draw from during your interviews. Autobiography is the conversation you want to have. Chances are that it may not mean much to be an IITian. But if you are the only IITian from that tiny town of yours where there are three schools and no IIT Coaching Centers, then it’s a mighty achievement.
    • A mistake of mine – during my IIM-A interview, we talked for 45 minutes about poetry, which was my primary hobby at that time. I was happy talking about Ghalib, Meer and Qateel Shifai, but I stuttered badly when they asked me to recite a few of my own. Reason – I wasn’t prepared to do so. I spent a minute too many to pick one and the next. And I was always thinking about whether I had picked the right one. Even though, I had written writing as a hobby of mine. IIM-A was the only college I didn’t get an admit from. Because of that? I would never know, but I know I didn’t do well enough.
  • Form a group. The group should allow two things in a mutually beneficial way –
    • One on one sessions. Have someone hear your answers out. Have someone conduct mock interviews for you.
    • Group sessions. Have a watcher, and the rest as participants into discussions. Let the watcher critique. Let the participants debate.
  • Find a mentor/ teacher. Be clear on a few things –
    • How much time would you need to work on your weaknesses?
    • Those who are good, will typically be more expensive. Or, like family. Others don’t have time.
    • Do you want the mentor to be a be-all-end-all person, or a mentor for a very specific thing on your agenda. For instance, you can work with a theater artist to work on your voice modulation, but they can’t help you with content practicing.
  • Practice talking. Doesn’t matter if you have been shy all your life. Doesn’t matter if your English is not that great. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have much to say.
    • Stand in front of a mirror and talk. Get comfortable with your own face. Do not fall in love with your face. If you’re not comfortable with your own face, chances are that the interviewer isn’t either.
    • Record and playback. Most smartphones allow this. You can even video-record. If you are not comfortable with hearing your blabber, chances are that the interviewer isn’t either. At the same time, this is not bathroom singing. Everyone sounds great as a bathroom singer. But make them listen to that recording and they are devastated.
    • Practice voice modulation. Amitabh Bachchan is a great example. Its years of practice alright, but you have to start your own sometime. Loud is different from modulation. You need to be audibly loud as well. Don’t lose sight of that as you add a bit of melodrama to your voice.
  • Read, and jot down notes. Always helps. In articulating. In noticing the flaws of arguments.
    • Read a lot. In a wide variety. One of my questions during my XAT was a 10 question RC passage. It was a lift from Catch-22. And I had to fill in the blanks. Easy? Impossible? If you’ve read the book, it’s a breeze.
    • Know the context, know the names.
    • Read the backstories.
    • A friend of mine had this Wikipedia habit, which I tried to imbibe over the years. He clicked on embedded links a lot when reading articles. Gave him knowledge much deeper than a cursory reading of the topic. If you keep notes, maybe you will have to sell ten filled notebooks at the end of this month, but it will still be worth it.
    • Reconstruct stories from notes.
  • Respect other people/things.
    • The people you will talk to in a GD will have names and personalities. On an average, in a GD, its extremely unlikely that there will be more than 2 or 3 well prepared students. But that does not make the rest of the crew any less respectable.
    • During the interview, the person in front of you is looking to have an interesting conversation. Don’t bore them.
    • Always make eye contact. If while referring to someone’s earlier arguments you make eye contact with them, they are less prone to interrupting, and more likely to rallying back to you later on.
  • 15 rounds of firing
    • Malcom Gladwell wrote about the 10000 hour rule. To be really great at something, you must have done it for 10000 hours. So, Michael Jordan must have played 10000 hours of basketball before he became so good. The same rule applies to essays. Not 10000 hours. But I call it 15 rounds of firing. You need to have your own ~15 attempts at writing the answers to the typical essay questions. The list of questions for every college is most likely available online already. But even if you’ve done 5-10 awesome colleges, chances are that you are practiced sufficiently. After about 15 rounds, you are a lot clearer on your thinking about what your personality is, what your strengths and weaknesses are.
    • Critical review. Have your mentor critique it. Have your mentor suggest improvements. Clean. Rinse. Repeat. Keep doing it. 3 more times after you’ve had enough. It will hold you good for the rest of your corporate life as well.
    • Get a group of friends and independent reviewers to look at it. But don’t take everyone’s suggestion. Ask them not just about the negatives. Ask them about the positives too. Negatives generally tend to be inconsistent. But the positives “need” to be consistent.

I realize that there isn’t usually enough time. But then, if you don’t get it right, you will have to wait for another 12 months, right? And this regime does not require more than 3 hours a day for 30 days to get into a momentum.

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