Directors pick their hot favorite film of the year 2009


By Subhash K Jha

It was the year of the alien. When an American film ‘Avatar’ completely took over our Bollywood filmmakers’ psyche, making them feel small inadequate and incompetent. Luckily ‘Paa’ and ‘3 Idiots’ came along at year-end to give back the industry and our filmmakers their self esteem. Almost every director and producer in Hindi in one voice, singled out ‘Paa’ , ‘3 Idiots’ or ‘Avatar’ as the film of their choice.

Karan Johar: “I actually have four favorite films this year. ‘Kaminey’, ‘Paa’, ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Avatar’. All four raised the bars for filmmaking. But while the first three were for me an aspiration, ‘Avatar’ was unachievable.

Imtiaz Ali: “‘Avatar’ is my favorite film of 2009. It made an important point about our civilization in a subtle manner and with the most powerful audio-visual.”

David Dhawan: “‘3 Idiots’ is the best-written and best-directed film of the year. Great entertainment value!”

Rajkumar Santoshi: “My favorite film of 2009 is ‘3 Idiots’. Good entertainment with a strong message. Fantastic performances, excellent script and direction.”

Anees Bazmee: “‘Paa’…For Amitji’s ageless and flawless performance. For Vidya Balan, Abhishek Bachchan and for the director Balki’s craftsmanship.”

Sriram Raghavan: “‘3 Idiots’ . Maybe because I’m an idiot myself.”

Raj Kumar Gupta: “’Rocket Singh- Salesman Of The Year’. It proves what a brilliant writer, a gifted director and an extremely talented actor can create- a gem of a film!”

Nishikanth Kamat: “‘3 Idiots’. Never seen such a rollercoaster of laughs and sobs before. It’s simply an amazing work.”

Sanjay Gupta: “This question is redundant for anyone who has seen ‘Avatar’.”

Tony D’Souza: “‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’.”

Sujoy Ghosh: “‘Paa’, because of Bachchan Saab’s stupendous performance. Also Vidya Balan. It’s a brave film which says being different is absolutely normal.”

Kunal Kohli: “Without a doubt, ‘3 Idiots’. It is one of the best films I’ve seen in recent times. I love its simplicity, subtlety and impact.”

Santosh Sivan: “‘Paa’…Mr. Bachchan has set new standards in acting.”

Mani Shankar: “‘Avatar’, for its pantheism, its special-effects and soul. And ‘Love Aaj Kal’ for its screenplay and performances.”

Hansal Mehta: “‘Avatar’ is my favorite film of the year. With this film the awe of the big screen returned for me. I felt like a wonder-stuck kid all over again. It’s been a great year for Hindi cinema too. ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Dev D’, ‘Rocket Singh- Salesman Of The Year’ and ‘Wanted’ were my favorites.”

Sanjay Gadhvi: “‘Paa’….because I’m probably Amitabh Bachchan’s biggest fan. I admire him even more now because he had the courage and conviction to do ‘Paa’. Also superlative performances by Abhishek and Vidya. A brilliant film!”

Apoorva Lakhia: “‘Avatar’. It was just an out-of-the-world experience. ‘Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’. It was simple, unpretentious and Shimit Amin worked wonders with the characters.”

Sajid Khan: “‘Avatar’. It wasn’t a film. It was an experience. I’ve seen it five times already. Going back for it.”

Paresh Mokashi (director of Oscar entry ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’): “The best film I saw in 2009 was ‘Turtles Can Fly’, an Iraqi film by Bahman Ghobadi. Impressive performances by children and seamless screenplay.”

Govind Nihalani: “‘Gabhricha Paus’ in Marathi for its simple and effective style, originality of screenplay, humor steeped in pathos, deep compassion and humanism, it is an ode to the spirit of struggle to survive with dignity in the most hostile circumstances. ‘Paa’…for being a deeply moving experience, sensitively directed avoiding mushy sentimentality and an unforgettable performance by Amitabh Bachchan. ‘Avatar’ for its game-changing technology and good theme.”

Milan Luthria: “‘Paa’ for the mighty Amitji. And I love ‘Love Aaj Kal’ because it had the best music of the year.”

Mohit Suri: “‘3 Idiots’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘3 Idiots’!”

Rensil D’Silva: “‘Dev D’. Anurag Kashyap did a fresh take on a story I’ve always disliked. ‘Dev D’ made me fall in love with the story!”

Abhinay Deo: “Without a doubt, ‘3 Idiots’.”

Tigmanshu Dhulia: “‘Dev D’. It made Devdas who is otherwise such a boring character so interesting. It was young and unpredictable. Great acting by all. Great music. Superb production design, and all this at such a low budget.”

Rohit Shetty: “‘3 Idiots’ for sure. There’re very few films that make you feel good and happy. This is one of them.”

Tarun Mansukhani: “‘Wake Up Sid’. An actor was discovered, a writer-director was born and a great story was told. What more could be asked for?”

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra: “’Rocket Singh Salesman Of The Year’…Though it had a weak screenplay, it was deftly directed and attempted to comment on our moral values. And Ranbir gave a flawless performance. Wish they had worked a bit more on the script, though.”

Kunal Deshmukh: “It would have to be ‘3 Idiots’. I haven’t felt so positively about a film in a long time. It taught me how far ahead we filmmakers are when it comes to putting heart into our themes. I also thought ‘Avatar’ was awesome. Just like ‘Star Wars’ it ushered in a new era in special effects. No one would ever want or dare to watch ‘Avatar’ on a DVD, let alone a pirated DVD. Both ‘3 Idiots’ and ‘Avatar’ made me think about what I should make next. I can’t dare jump into anything half-baked.”

Prakash Jha: “I haven’t had the time to watch any of the films this year.”

Vashu Bhagnani: “‘Wake Up, Sid’. It’s a simple and beautiful effort by a young and fresh director. The young identified with the characters.”

Navdeep Singh: “‘Kaminey’…Great performances. Great energy. Witty and clever entertainment.”

Firoz Nadiadwala: “‘Paa’….for Amitji’s performance and conviction.”

Ram Gopal Varma: “‘Avatar’ is by far one of the best films I’ve seen in my life. James Cameron is God. In fact he has gone a step ahead of God by building a world that even God couldn’t imagine. After watching ‘Avatar’ I felt I belong to a primitive filmmaking world.”

Amole Gupte: “‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ was obviously the pick of the lot.”

-Sampurn Media

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