The year end post – 2013

13 has always been my lucky number. Had it not been for bingo, or “tambola” as we like to call it here in India, I would perhaps have not known differently. But when you are a kid at a new year’s party and win the grand prize despite having a 13 on your ticket, you throw reason out of the window! So, its no surprise that this past year has been pretty good for me – I traveled, I studied, I worked, I earned a bit, I spent a lot, I definitely grew up and cue the sad music folks, I turned 26. Yes, the reality that I have lived for a quarter of a century is yet to sink in and I threw a bit of a tantrum ala Mindy Lahiri on my birthday but thankfully, Sid was around and he is older than me. So relative comparison saved the day. I am exaggerating but isn’t it sad that till 25 you feel normal about your age but the moment you turn 26 it suddenly feels like you are maybe not that young anymore. Sucks, I tell you. Makes you reminisce about your life thus far and that trip down memory lane is both fun and not. But I like my birthday because it falls so close around the end of the year – time when everybody is in festive spirit, at least on paper. For me it makes good fodder for a post because writing a year end post is a ritual that I have been following for four years now and I like having a ritual like that no matter how good or bad the year.[Find the previous posts here: 2012 2011 2010 2009]

So, here we go
Disclaimer: None of the lists are in any particular order.

Best Movies of 2013

    Rush – Of all the sports I follow, I have been the most inconsistent with Formula 1. Yet, one of my most favorite sports stories on celluloid was the wonderful 2010 documentary ‘Senna’. Rush does a pretty good job of telling its own story though. In the able hands of Ron Howard, this movie becomes more than just about fast cars and competition, instead dwelling into the psyche of its protagonists without pretense.
    This Is The End – One look at the star cast and you will wonder if this movie was made in Judd Apatow’s garage! James Franco, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel and a host of other actors play themselves in this semi-spoof, self-deprecating Apocalyptic drama. I have a feeling guys will enjoy this movie infinitely more than girls but if you ask me, I was in splits even through some of the gross humor.
    Prisoners – I can watch anything with Hugh Jackman in it. That’s how much I love him. But Les Miserable tested my patience. Prisoners is a very different role for Jackman though, more serious and subdued, just like the tone of the movie which reminds you a bit of Mystic River. Having said that the taut screenplay coupled with fine performances from both Jackman and Jake Gyllenhal made this movie an early favorite for me. I am not sure how much potential it has at the awards given that there has been a surge of great movies in the latter half, regardless of that this movie should be on your to-watch list.
    Captain Philips – Based on the real life hijacking of an American ship and the subsequent kidnapping of it’s captain by Somali pirates, this movie is thrilling from start to end. The last 20 minutes in particular are fantastic and will make the audience go through an emotional roller-coaster. I have always loved Tom Hanks (who doesn’t) and he could bag an Oscar nod just for the last five minutes of the movie where he shows his talent to the fullest.
    Before Midnight – I saw the movie because I am a massive fan of the previous two installments – Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I really enjoyed this movie too, but I can guess that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It draws out more like a play than like a motion picture with long dialogue and philosophical interactions. So if you are into that kind of thing, you will love this movie. The lead actors are both terrific in their characters and if you are even slightly bohemian in your soul, give this movie a shot.

* I have not seen Gravity, Blue Jasmine, The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle, but I am 100% confident they would have all made the list. Especially American Hustle.

    The Lunchbox: Great script, great acting, overall great movie.
    Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Despite the historical inaccuracies, the movie was a glowing tribute to one of India’s greatest sportsman with a fabulous performance from its lead actor.
    Chennai Express: I went in with very low expectations and perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it more than I should have. Deepika was brilliant and SRK was well, SRK. I am a south Indian, not a Tamilian, and I was not offended by anything which in itself is to the movie’s credit.
    Kai Po Che: Easily one of the best movies of the year. One of those rare cases where the movie is far superior to the book from which it has been adapted. All three male leads tuned in fine performances and the maturity with which the story was told is a testament to the director’s capability.
    Special 26: Despite suffering from the second half curse which plagues most half decent Hindi movies, this movie’s success is a good sign because the story was the king here.
    Lootera: Perhaps my most favorite Hindi film of the year. I have never been a fan of Sonakshi Sinha but this movie changed that. Her expressive eyes emoted more than what any dialogue could have and she was complemented beautifully by Ranveer Singh whom I much preferred here than in Ram Leela. The music and background score were also amazing. Vikramaditya Motwane is the director to watch out for.
    Madras Cafe: The very fact that this movie got made and released is praiseworthy. I just wish the makers had the liberty to use real names instead of saying “inspired from real life events” when everything was so obvious. John Abraham should just produce movies for the rest of his life.
    Go Goa Gone: Fun film, great music and a blonde Saif Ali Khan. Oh, there are zombies too. Bollywood is coming of age in its own small way.

Worst Movies of 2013

    Grand Masti: Every year there is a movie which features on this list despite me having not seen it. It does not take a genius to figure out that this movie would have been regressive, vulgar, offensive and unfunny in more ways than one could imagine.
    Race 2: Now, I actually enjoyed the first Race. The plot twists and the music did not give one time to dig deep into logic and plot holes. This time around though, the story was outlandish to say the least. I can see why some of the actors chose to do the movie but bowing down to commercial pressures like this is sad. I beg Abbas-Mustan to not make a third installment.
    Shuddh Desi Romance: I had high hopes for this movie given I like both the lead actors and the director’s previous work. Alas, I had hoped too much. To paint a picture of relationships in Tier 2 cities and towns of India could have been a great premise but the characters are half baked, you never really understand what is driving their actions and after a point you just stop caring. That never works.
    Zanjeer: I do not understand the remakes business of Bollywood. Half the movies are remakes of old movies and the other half of south Indian films. To be honest, the remakes are not even well done. Zanjeer has Ram Charan stepping into Amitabh’s shoes which in itself had me laughing. Ram Charan may have a great lineage and dancing ability but he is not considered a good actor even in Telugu cinema, so why was he chosen to essay this iconic part baffles me. Priyanka Chopra hams it up and annoys you every time she comes on the screen while Sanjay Dutt feels like a misfit. I watched the movie on a flight only because there was nothing else to watch and it proved to be a long journey!

Best Music of 2013

    Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke ft. TI and Pharell ( I love the song and the pointless video because they are both such darn good fun)
    Stay – Rihanna ft.Micky Ekko ( I am a massive Rihanna fan and she knocks it out of the park on this one vocally. Also check out the song Kids by Micky Ekko which is pretty kickass in its own right)
    Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft. Pharell Williams (Its groovy, catchy and I haven’t got tired of it yet!)
    Mirrors – Justin Timberlake (Do not dismiss him just because he’s too mainstream. Listen to the song…better still watch the video. Also, the album 20/20 experience is great)
    Royals – Lorde (Its my favorite song of the year. Hoping that this young singer doesn’t go the Miley Cyrus way)
    Counting Stars – One Republic (This band has always played second fiddle to some of the more glamorous bands such as Maroon 5 but their work has been consistently good. This song plays to their strengths and the writing in particular is pretty great)
    All songs from Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars (Hes my favorite male vocalist right now and his music is so versatile that he reminds me of Prince and Michael Jackson. Special mention to Locked out of Heaven, Gorilla and When I was your man)
    Wake Me Up – Avicii (Enough said)
    Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (Although technically not a 2013 song, it charted well this year and deservedly so. Also check out their song Demons)
    5 AM in Toronto – Drake (A close second for my most favorite song of the year. The beats are amazing but if you pay attention to the rap you will realize why Drake is regarded so highly these days. I also prefer this song to the more successful Hold On We’re Going Home)
    Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey (Its a haunting haunting song. Beautifully sung. But I prefer Summertime Sadness, released in 2012, to this track)
    Thrift Shop – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (With even Eminem praising the new rap stars on block it is no wonder that they feature on the list. Please watch the video on youtube and be entertained!)
    Merry Go Round and Blowin Smoke – Kacey Musgraves (My only exposure to country music has been through songs of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson. But I think I have a new favorite now. Both these songs are songwriting triumphs and a welcome departure from the old school country music.)
    Say Something – Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera (I am not a huge fan of ballads or slow numbers but when I heard this song on The Voice, I knew it would be an instant hit)
    Soundtrack of Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (Every song is a gem)
    Dhat Teri Ki (Gori Tere Pyaar Mein)
    Party all Night, Lungi Dance – Yo Yo Honey Singh (Please do not judge me. I am quite embarrassed by this too but the songs are all great fun)
    Khoon Choos Le and Babaji ki Booti – Go Goa Gone soundtrack
    Main tere agal bagal hoo – Phata Poster Nikla Hero ( The lyrics are insane and its not path breaking music in any way but I love the song every time it comes up on the radio)

Yay! Moments
1. The results of the recently concluded state elections. A special mention to AAP for doing so well without having enormous resources at its disposal. I do not agree completely with their philosophy but they have the right intentions and that is a good enough reason for the yay!
2. Seeing my beloved football team Liverpool doing better in the league than the previous seasons. Makes it easier to support them.
3. The finale of one of my most favorite shows ever ‘The Office’ which served as a strong reminder of how awesome the show and its characters have been over the past 9 years, despite the lackluster last two seasons.
4. The progressive nature of the Pope who seems to have a pragmatic and more humane view over issues such as homosexuality.
5. The rise of Rohit Sharma. After years of disappointment, feels good to see him play to his often praised potential. Don’t get me started on the South Africa series though.
6. Getting my parents to use WhatsApp. They love it and so do I.
7. Getting to visit Disneyland with my sister. It’s been ages since we went on a holiday together, so being surrounded by all that cuteness was just the perfect thing.

WTF Events/News
1. Everything about Miley Cyrus – from the twerking to the inappropriate dressing. Its a pity because both her top 10 songs weren’t as bad as you would imagine them to be.
2. The obsession over the royal baby. Its 2013! The royals seem to have moved on. Time we all did too.
3. The sad end to Lance Armstrong’s lies and deceit. Never nice to see a sporting hero fall from grace.
4. The back and forth over everything Telangana. I am so tired of listening to news about this issue that despite hailing from the state I have become indifferent to it. The political class of Andhra Pradesh should be ashamed.
5. The popularity of the Harlem Shake. I just did not get it.
6. The sad state of women in our country despite the protests last year and the implementation of so called harsher laws and promise of swifter justice.
7. The Lunchbox getting snubbed for India’s official entry to the Oscars. We had a good shot with this fantastic movie but then these are the same people who chose Paheli and Eklavya previously.

That pretty much sums up the year folks. So, on New Year’s eve you might either end up going to a really cool pub where an international DJ whose name you just googled in the morning is playing (no judgement, it gives you bragging rights) or most likely end up watching TV specials. But, just for old time’s sake do try and call your parents, friends, family at the stroke of midnight and get pissed off that the lines are busy. Then, wake up in the morning (or afternoon, as per alcohol consumed) to that oddly familiar yet nice feeling of finding your phone and Facebook wall inundated with messages. That sounds like a decent start to a new year now, doesn’t it?


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4 Responses to The year end post – 2013

  1. djranga says:

    Can’t believe you watched Zanjeer! 😦

    Also what about Lootera songs. I thought they were good too 🙂

    • Namrata says:

      Like I said, I was on a flight and this was the only Hindi movie they had :(. I liked the background score of Lootera more than the songs :). ‘Sawaar Loon’ was great though.

  2. pankajsaini says:

    An exhaustive compilation, agree with most of your movie choices, but Chennai Express, C’mon 😀

  3. Pingback: The year end post – 2014 | My three cents

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