Movies have always been two types, one type has always submerged themselves to the regular song-dance-drama stuff while the other type has focused on a nice story from which the characters and actors pierced the hearts and souls of the audience. 2018 was way ahead of what was left in 2017 in terms of content. For the last few years, content has really ruled the screens but the final siren was blown this year where the audience have worshipped only content. Thus, it has been a tough year to filter the best. Here are some of the hugely underrated but wonderful Bollywood movies of 2018 which you must watch sometime.
Gali Guleiyan (Director- Dipesh Jain)
You have names like Manoj Bajpayee, Neeraj Kabi, & Ranvir Shorey in this movie. The CV of this movie carries screening in 23 Film Festivals with the premiere at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival. Gali Guleiyan is a psychological drama where it portrays a maze – both physical and mental.
The character of Manoj Bajpayee Khuddoos lives in the narrow lanes of Old Delhi where buildings are just overlapped on each other and the bare spaces are filled up with cable wires. He is a voyeur and a lonely person who fears to step outside but keeps a check on his neighborhood through the CCTV monitor. He wants to help the local butcher’s son Idris and the movie focuses on this journey. Khuddoos is broken and infected irreparably. His mind is a maze of regrets, punishments, and memories and Manoj Bajpayee was outstanding here. But we neither see this movie nor Manoj Bajpayee in interviews or award shows. Another special mention would be Neeraj Kabi – whose piercing eyes would scare you. This man is always on fire – be it Detective Byomkesh Bakshi or Sacred Games!
Bioscopewala (Deb Medhekar)
This is a modern day twisted an adjusted “Kabuliwala”, written by Tagore and enacted by Balraj Sahni & Chhabi Biswas. So, in this adjusted script, Rehmat instead of selling dry fruits from Afghanistan shows films to children through bioscope. The story remains same in befriending Minnie in Kolkata whom he compares to his daughter. Minnie grows up to become a documentary film-maker who has a strange and harsh relationship with his dad. His father takes a flight to Afghanistan and before boarding the flight he writes a letter to Minnie. The flight crashes leaving Minnie to understand and unravel the reason behind going to Afghanistan. The raw, rustic, and senile Rehmat and the friendly and easy-going Rehmat was impeccably portrayed by Danny Denzongpa. He is truly a gem of an actor and Bollywood has wasted & underused him.
Khajoor Pe Atke (Director- Harsh Chhaya)
I included this movie among the best movies of 2018 article and want to voice for it here too. Simply because it is underrated. Bollywood has seen many first time directors (products of full or half nepotism) and either praised or forgot their inventions. But believe me, this one is a perfect family comedy-drama which you would love to watch again and again. It is more on the lines of Hrishikesh Mukherjee School of film-making.
The basic aim of watching a movie is to get entertained and you would get amused in every frame of KPA. Without any nudity, sleazy moves, and double-meaning dialogues, this director has truly shown how to direct a movie. It tells the tale of a family of three brothers, a sister, and their children and family members. One of the brothers fall ill and how they react with middle-class sentiments is all that you would enjoy here.
Once Again (Director- Kanwal Sethi)
Neeraj Kabi & Shefali Shah comes together for a heart-warming and heart-wrenching love story that would make you think twice about the characters you meet daily. Two lonely middle-aged independent persons belonging to two different worlds connect with each other. They are also careful of the so-called society that may taint their characters and thus hides their relationship. The children who are hip and happening also somehow rebukes them. More than the script and story, it was Neeraj Kabi and Shefali Shah who passionately embraced their roles breathing perfection.
3 Storeys (Director- Arjun Mukherjee)
Produced by Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment, I expected better publicity from this one! This is a story of a 3 storey Chawl in Mumbai named Mayanagar. Renuka Shahane plays a Catholic widow who wants to rent a part of her house but cannot find buyers due to strict rules. Varsha played by Masumeh Makhija (of Maqbool fame) is being abused and beaten by an unemployed and alcoholic husband. Leela played by Richa Chadda is a glamorous lady who throws seductive looks to men around the town. These characters living in 3 storeys of this chawl have some secrets too which is revealed in due course. Enjoy this wonderful ride. Special mention is Renuka Shahahe who is overshadowed in the industry!
Hope Aur Hum (Director- Sudip Bandyopadhyay)
From the trailer itself, I knew it is going to be a nostalgia ride. It is a sweet and simple story of an old widower, Nagesh, played beautifully by Naseeruddin Shah who cannot sell off the old Xerox machine that seldom works. It takes up unnecessary space at home and this leads to some friction in the family. Letting go off is a painful act and art. The latest photocopy machine comes and Nagesh has to come to terms with his memories. Various sub-plots of the movie also point at “new replacing the old”. Watch out Naseeruddin Shah & Kabir Sajid in this nostalgia-ridden movie.
Kaalakaandi (Director- Akshat Verma)
This movie didn’t work at the box office because it was way ahead of its time. Bollywood and the audience are perhaps still not ready to taste this slice of life yet an off-beat movie. If released digitally on streaming platforms, perhaps this movie would have fared better. The doctor says that Saif Ali Khan is in the last stage of Stomach Cancer and he now just want to do all those things that he has never done before. This is a story of a night of full of adventure, exploration, compassion, discovery, comedy, and tragedy. Apart from Saif, there are other stories also who are constantly going through a mad ride all over the night. This type of comedy is perhaps overlooked now but would be treated as a cult classic after a few years!
Some other mentions of underrated Bollywood movies from 2018 would be Hansal Mehta’s Omerta, Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds, Gauravv K. Chawla’s Baazaar, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk, and Sanjay Patel’s Union Leader.