The Best Bollywood movies in 2019 tried real hard to get out of the conventional big-budget fiascos. They focused on small, intimate, family dramas that talked about real issues. There was also a rise in bold, fearless cinema that questioned the system and its fallacies. However, the best of Hindi cinema in 2019 still came out of the independent circuit. With the advent of copious amounts of streaming platforms, these little stories also managed to reach a wider audience. It’s always a tough task to make a top 10 list. Especially when you have to literally excavate it out of a pile of garbage that is sold as greatness to the naysayers. Films like Gully Boy – India’s Oscar entry to the Oscar, were so trivial in its portrayal of underdogs that it ended up feeling contrived. Anywho, there’s no list that can ever fit into someone else’s idea of what is good and bad, so here are the 10 Best Hindi Films of 2019:
Yours Truly | Director: Sanjoy Nag
Sanjoy Nag’s ‘Yours Truly‘ occasionally meanders along. With a beautiful, lived-in feeling of the city of joy, this understated tale of middle-age loneliness rests on the abled shoulders of its protagonist Mithi Kumar (played brilliantly by Soni Razdan). Based on Annie Zaidi’s short story ‘The One That Was Announced’, Nag’s film is about falling in love with one’s imagination. Confining secretes in a stranger is always better than keeping them isolated in one’s head. Nag understands this feeling and pits the feeling of loving someone with the idea of being with them. Yours Truly is all about internal conflict. This is why the rhythmic motion of this quiet story resonates more after you are done watching it.
Watch Yours Truly on Zee5
10. The Sky Is Pink | Director: Shonali Bose
Unlike the over-the-top, manipulative drivel that the film’s trailer portrays it, Shonali Bose’s ‘The Sky is Pink‘ is a nuanced and almost real representation of a family trying to keep it together. Tragedy and death can shake anyone but the Chaudhary’s live in their shadow trying to make every moment count. The film isn’t totally ridden of mawkish moments that are designed to exploit the sad story it tries to commute, but they are beautifully themed across a sincere and heartfelt journey of love and acceptance, making it a touch too peach to let go.
Watch The Sky is Pink on Netflix
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9. Sonchiriya | Director: Abhishek Chaubey
Abhishek Chaubey’s ‘Sonchiriya’ is cleverly framed as one big chase sequence. However, it doesn’t just stick to being that. It is also a dacoit drama with underlining themes of existentialism. Partially undone by its own right, Chaubey’s grand ensemble fits right into this narrative that is both frustrating and exhilarating. Exploring elements that rig the center of Indian mainlands, Sonchiriya deserves a place in the best Hindi films of 2019 list entirely for its audacity to pit Mexican-standoffs with moments about the deranged patriarchy and misplaced, unchecked masculinity.
Watch Sonchiriya on Zee5
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8. Section 375 | Director: Ajay Bahl
For what’s it worth, this occasionally heavy-handed courtroom drama presents a sharp, mature truth about contemporary issues and how their existence is both exploited and twisted. Ajay Behl’s ‘Section 375‘ cleverly draws a thin line between law and justice and it’s lurid possibilities. Not entirely ridden of typical masala troops used for sensationalism, the film manages to sail through with a riveting Akshay Khanna performance and a keen eye for understanding where the country’s present idea of social justice lies. Making it one of the best Bollywood Movies of 2019.
Watch Sonchiriya on Amazon Prime
7. Aise Hee | Director: Kislay
Kislay’s ‘Aise He‘ does what most of the Bollywood Movies of 2019 failed to do. Presented as an intimate, realistic stretch of life where people of a family co-exist, in spite of their differences and inhibitions, the film keenly observes the oppressive obligations that fall onto the average Indian female. Beautifully filmed around a dysfunctionality that lies at the core of Sharma household, Kislay’s film critics multiple prejudices with a light touch.
6. Article 15 | Director: Anubhav Sinha
It is a feat that a film like ‘Article 15′ exists. Within the current socio-political state of the country where a fascist regime seems to be on an uprise, a film that brings a bunch of police officers in a swamp discussing if they voted for the lotus or the hand is strangely satisfying. Preachy and often too forced in its deliverance of important issues, the Anubhav Sinha somehow manages to ask the right questions.
Watch Article 15 on Netflix
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5. Eeb Allay Ooo! | Director: Prateek Vats
Interesting little film from the hearts of Delhi’s labor class. Prateek Vats’s ‘Eeb Allay Ooo!‘ is about monkeys and their struggles to apply various tricks in order to live inside the environment that doesn’t let them be who they want. When I say monkeys in the previous line I mean the wild animal named human and their respective struggles to live a life that doesn’t hound them to own things that they aren’t interested in but have to do. The allegorical sound in this well-acted, funny satire on the difference between the privileged and the labor class is brought to life with a story of the pests dancing to the beats of survival.
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4. Bhonsle | Director: Devashish Makhija
Before Bhonsle – The tired, unwell protagonist of Devashish Makhija’s film becomes the unforeseeable hero of a small chawl in Mumbai, he is brilliantly and hauntingly crafted as a man without a purpose in life. As an ex-cop who is suddenly forced to retire, Manoj Bajpayee plays this character with such gusto that you are clued into his lack of understanding of the quotidian life within a couple of frames. In the realm of the cross-fire between the two ends of the building – the Marathi’s and the Bihari’s co-existing together, ‘Bhonsle‘ represents the problems plagued by the nation by quietly making the chawl a country of its own.
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3. Photograph | Director: Ritesh Batra
There’s only so much one can say when there’s no one to listen to. In Ritesh Batra’s ‘Photograph‘, Miloni (Sanya Malhotra) – has been so submerged in her academic life that she has forgotten what she needs to say to people. This is until Rafi – A street photographer clicks her in front of the Gateway of India calling that her smile will be transfixed in her picture, even when sadder times come in her life. Photograph is about two emotionally distant people trying to find common ground. Its real charm lies in moments of silences and melancholy that flow like poetry written by proletariat’s which is often left incomplete and untouched.
Watch Photograph on Amazon Prime
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2. Sir | Director: Rohena Gera
‘Sir‘ is a film that’s about the romance that blooms in the air in spite of the restriction that is imposed on it. Ashwin and Ratna don’t share more than a few seconds in the same frame. So much so that Ratna is often seen trying to rush out of the room to get to her work; but even a naysayer could see how Gera beautifully orchestrates a romance that is cooking underneath. It is a film that is charming even when it talks about how hopes are lost when one doesn’t really get what they want. But it’s optimistic tone and humanistic core that tells people to be themselves makes for a glorious watch. Even with two characters, the film often glides into your hearts and remains there.
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1. Soni | Director: Ivan Ayr
Ivan Ayr’s ‘Soni‘ is a tale about two working women who, in spite of what their respective job demands, are expected to behave a certain way. Tackling heady, contemporary issues that range from engraved patriarchy to sexual harassment this is a fantastic character drama that questions gender roles and moral dilemmas through the lens of working women in modern-day India. Understated, well-acted and so piercingly realistic that it stays with you long after.
Watch Soni on Netflix
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