Yeah, we are in a whole New Year all over again...how time flies. Last year this time, I was busy preparing to go home for a much-deserved and much-awaited vacation - and of course, getting to know my would-be-wife better through phone calls, Yahoo Messenger and the then-introduced chat-thru-Gmail.
Biggest Change of 2006: Is that I'm now married, of course. Earlier, come the weekend I'd be out of boring Long Island in a flash. But now, traveling on the spur of the moment is no longer so easy (or cheap) as before.
Whirlwind Activity of 2006: Our travel to the US. Got married in Aug, came to Chennai in mid-Sept and played housie over there until mid-Oct. Then we had to pack up everything (including dispose off the stuff that we'd bought over there), and then head out to the US. There, we stayed in a hotel for a week (for which we had to do some mini-unpacking), after which we moved to an apartment (where large-scale unpacking began on an earnest note).
Best one-liner of 2006: After the marriage was all done, and everybody concerned had a big sigh of relief, there was a brief get-together function organized at my wife's place, with just close relatives attending. And of course, being a Mallu function, there was alcohol in abundance. I timidly - it being THE BIG OCCASION after all - expressed my desire for a small peg, to be met by the remark: Not Today, Alcohol Decreases Performance. My FIL's face was a sight to behold :).
Best Movies of 2006:
From what I've seen so far,
5. Pudhupettai (T) directed by Selvaraghavan. Showed us what imaginative direction was all about, especially considering that we have been badgered by gangster movies off late. Dhanush proved yet again that he's a decent performer, given the opportunity.
4. Thanmatra (M), directed by Blessy. The movie was certainly a bit on the slow side, with a definite similarity to Iris. However, some astounding acting by Mohanlal saw it through. Bachchan and Bhansali could take a cue from the movie as to what Alzheimers is !!
3. Lage Raho Munnabhai & Khosla Ka Ghosla. Simple down-to-earth movies, both of them. The former saw Munna & Circuit (trhey're fast becoming the Indian Asterix & Obelix, IMHO) reunite to give us a grand movie about Gandhigiri. The latter saw Anupam Kher giving a good performance after ages, plus Boman Irani in yet another wicked role (I'm a huge fan of this guy).
2. Omkara, directed by Vishal Bharadwaj. An adaptation of the Bard's Othello, the mainstay of the movie was certain Saif's turn as the despicable Langda Tyagi. Who'd have believed that this effeminate young man, labaled the official Anari of Bollywood, would end up chewing scenery?
1. Rang De Basanti, by Rakeysh Mehra. Aamir Khan, notwithstanding his age, mingles among a group of young college kids and proves yet again that he's easily one of the best actors amongst his generation. All the actors deliver, in fact, but this is a real triumph of screenplay. Even though the climax was weak, the movie made you do what nothing else had done in a long, long time: sit up.
Also notable were Being Cyrus, Woh Lamhe, Gangster and Pattiyal (T).
Best Actors of 2006:
Again, based on what I've seen so far:
5. Konkona Sen: Despite not having author-backed roles, she managed to shine in both Omkara and Yun Hota To Kya Hota. Easily the finest female actor of the current generation.
4. Kangana: For a debutante to deliver power-backed performances like Gangster and Woh Lamhe was nothing short of astounding. That the movies were tightly edited and directed well helpted add allure to her performances.
3. Arshad Warsi and Deepak Dobriyal: two of the best performances this year, in Lage Raho Munnabhai and Omkara respectively.
2. Saif: For an actor originally labeled effeminate to do a volte-face and deliver a knockout performance as a crude, uncouth villain is no mean feat. Saif managed to do that with panache this year. Lets hope he proceeds in the same vein.
1. Mohanlal: Thanmatra was a challenge for any actor, even for one of Lal's calibre. Mohanlal enacted the role of an ordinary man afflicted with Alzheimer's to perfection in a manner few others can even think of. Undoubtedly one of his career-best performances.
Others who delivered memorable performances this year were Dhanush (Pudhuppettai), Kamal Hassan (VV), Bharath (Pattiyal), Sanjay Dutt (Lage Raho..), Boman Irani (Lage Raho.., Khosla Ka..), Anupam Kher (Khosla Ka..), Shiney Ahuja (Woh Lamhe), Mallika Sherawat (Pyar Ke Side Effects), Kareena (Omkara), Ayesha Takia (Dor), Shreyas (Dor).
Worst Movies of 2006:
Too many to list; some of the more popular ones were:
5. KANK had Karan Johar trying to be different. Well dude, either don't try again, or try real harder.
4. Chandramukhi (T): to take a perfect screenplay like Manichitrathazhu and ruin it in such a spectacular manner deserves special accolades.
3. Malamaal Weekly would have made poor Ned turn over in his grave thrice over (the movie was a remake of the awesome Making Ned Divine). Can some association please ban Priyadarsan?
2. Krissh & Dhoom-2: Salvaged only by the biceps of Hrithik. They could have made Aish dumb (no, as in literally not speak) in Dhoom-2...would have helped considerably, you know!
1. Fanaa, despite a dream-cast, managed to actually bore you. This one was for imbeciles.
Comeback of 2006:
A certain Mr. Ganguly. He's made his way back into the Test team (and will into the ODI team too, if Sehwag's recent form is any indication) in style, and forced Mr. Chappell to eat humble pie. Let's see if he performs consistently now, though !!
Has been a long list, signing off for now. Wish all of you a happy & prosperous 2007.