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Best of 2020- Hindi Cinema

These shows and movies made my year much easier and entertaining. Hope it does the same for you.


It was a starting point of a decade. There were serious talks regarding things changing for better, but to be honest, there wasn’t any notable change in the air, with almost all the big dates of the year (festive/national holidays) again booked by stars, as ever, the distributors/exhibitors weren’t interested in the small, medium-sized films, eventually, they had no way to go but to head directly to streaming platforms or clash with these big, commercial giants and incur losses both financially and artistically. After all, going with the popular perception- the big screens are exclusively for event/big-ticket films while small screens are best suited for “arty” films.

But the year had an alternate plan. Enter Covid 19. The lockdown was announced all of a sudden, everything came to a halt. With cinemas being shut, everyone headed towards streaming platforms. It was party time for them. And with no time, they jumped at the opportunity, and eventually, almost every platform had multiple releases this year, out of which of course, some fired, a major chunk of it fell short but what is noteworthy that this year would go down in the history to be remembered as a year of OTT platforms, a year where small films finally found its audience, a year where long-form storytelling just rose to another level, and a year where actors (not stars) made all the right noise. This year would also be remembered for its hardships and struggles, where most of the universe struggled to just keep going forward, locked up in our homes, with nothing to do, most of us turned to art and artists, half of the year went in re-watching our go to movies and shows, while the other half was about just exploring the newly released stuff.

As we talk about the best from the year, it is extremely important to recognize the privilege one has, just in terms of accessibility and affordability. The fact that even in our darkest and gloomiest days, we can turn to entertainment, when the majority of the universe struggles to even survive, is a matter of great privilege.

Disclaimer- The following list is a mixed bag, which comprises of web shows, feature films (released both in theatres and online), and short film. The list is incomplete in some sense, for instance - I didn’t have the good fortune to catch up on movies that had a limited theatrical release later this year like- Rohena Gera’s Is Love Enough? Sir, and many more. This list is just a recommendation, nothing more than that, as these shows and movies made my year much easier and entertaining, hope it does the same for you.

Here it is then, the Best of 2020, in no particular order-

Ø Paatal Lok-

Paatal Lok

Paatal Lok; a dark, disturbing, and riveting saga of crime, religious bigotry, and casteism. The 9 episode series is set in Delhi, perfectly capturing the depravity of the institutions and the people running them. It’s a tale of underDOGS- Hathi Ram (a flawless Jaideep Ahlawat), the protagonist-a police inspector, heads the investigation of an attempted assassination on once a popular journalist Sanjeev Mehra (a sincere Neeraj Kabi). As the narrative dives deeper, the show slowly transforms into a profound commentary on the times we live in, shedding light on how media propels propaganda- fake news, how criminals are made (not born) and skilfully employs mythology to bring its point across. Written by Sudip Sharma, the show has a solid cast, comprising of- Gul Paang, Vipin Sharma, Swastika Mukherjee, Iswhak Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, and others.