The beauty of films is that each person sees a different one. To every film, we bring our own experiences and expectations. So of course year end lists are made for arguing. These are my top 5 Hindi films for 2018. Since it’s a conflict of interest, I’m staying away from Sanju. And I didn’t see Simmba in time to consider it.

First a special mention of Shoojit Sircar’s October, Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan, Anubhav Sinha’s Mulk, and Lust Stories – the four film omnibus –  which ended up on Netflix but was originally made for theatres. I enjoyed these films very much. And now, here’s my countdown.  

5. Raazi directed by Meghna Gulzar

Raazi is a spy film like no other. Firstly, it features a female spy which is rare. And then, it movingly portrays the price she pays for her success. With restraint and sensitivity, Meghna gives us the story of Sehmat who sacrifices everything for her country. Alia Bhatt is both determined and achingly vulnerable as a girl doing things she never dreamed of, including murder. And what’s even more admirable is that Pakistanis aren’t depicted as villains. They are simply doing their job like Sehmat is doing hers.

4. Tumbbad directed by Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad

Tumbbad is mysterious and magical and visually glorious. The narrative that spans decades is a horror film but also a morality tale that warns against greed, which destroys generations of a family. The film is powered by a unique vision and a strong performance by Sohum Shah. This is a very unusual Hindi film that didn’t get seen enough. I recommend that you seek it out. It’s a rewarding experience.

Read the full review here


3. Stree directed by Amar Kaushik

Stree is a genre movie turned on its head. We went in thinking it’s a straight-up horror movie about a chudail in Chanderi but we left pondering a larger message about women and our place in the world. Co-producers and script writers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K. created a smart and savvy story that was, in equal parts, funny and scary. And all the actors  – Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi, Aparshakti Khurana and Abhishek Banerjee – are terrific.

Read the full review here

2. Andhadhun directed by Sriram Raghavan

There is an over 10-minute sequence in Andhadhun in which a blind pianist is present but not witness to a murder. As he plays the piano, the murderers dispose the dead body. There is no dialogue because they don’t want him to hear anything so they are dragging the body and miming instructions. It is the best crafted sequence I’ve seen in Hindi cinema this year. Thankfully, the rest of the film is equally sparkling. Andhadhun is deliciously wicked and brilliantly enacted – besides who except Sriram could combine Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana, Anil Dhawan and a rabbit?

Read the full review here

1. Badhaai Ho directed by Amit Sharma

I’m a sucker for romance and Badhaai Ho featured the love story of the year – that of a middle-aged couple who find themselves in a crisis because she gets pregnant. Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao as Mr and Mrs Kaushik gave us a tender and touching love story. And Surekha Sikri as the fierce and frank mother-in-law was unforgettable. Badhaai Ho seamlessly combined humour with rich emotions. The film isn’t visually flashy but it spoke to the heart. Which makes it my favourite film of the year.   


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