Debutant Directors 2016….A Mixed Bag

  1. Mozez Singh:  His Zubaan featuring the Masaan actor Vicky Kaushal was  a deftly crafted neatly cut come-of-age film with some interesting music. The story of a boy from Punjab who grows up idolizing a tycoon(brilliantly played by Manish Choudhary) reminded me of Subhash Ghai’s Pardes. In a good way. Can’t wait to see  what Mozez does next.
  2. Ashwini Iyer Tiwari:  It was Harindranath Chattopadhyay who said, ‘It’s simple to be difficult but very difficult to be simple.”  In her debut film Nil Battey Sannatta Ashwinipulled off this difficult task with fluency and ease.Her film on female literacy had a heartwarming performance by Sawara Bhaskar as an illiterate mother determined to educate her daughter. At year-end Ashwini’s husband Nitesh Tiwari scored a blockbuster in Dangal.
  3. Tanuj Bhramar: If nothing else the young director of Dear Dad deserves a standing ovation for daring to tell the story of a middlelaged man with two children who comes out of the closet. Wow!
  4. Anu Menon: Waiting was about spouses of two critically ill patients interacting in the hospital lobby.  That was it. Naseeruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin took care of the rest. Anu Menon proved herself a storyteller with spunk and enterprise.
  5. Ribhu Dasgupta: Though Ribhu’s suspense drama Te3n about a grandfather unraveling the mystery of his kidnapped grand daughter didn’t work at the boxoffice the film noire atmosphere and the chilling tribute to Hitchcock and Sujoy Ghosh ,threw forward outstanding acting from Mr Bachchan, Nawazuddin and Vidya Balan. Ribhu, what next?
  6. Soumendra Padhi:  Hugely underestimated debut film about BudhiaSingh, the marathon runner who at the age  of 4 created a world record by running non-stop from Bhubaneshwar to Puri, a distance of 65 kilometers,  Budhia Singh Born To Run was bolstered by sincerity and a firm grip over those grey areas in the relationship between protégé and tutor that we often tend to sweep under the carpet.
  7. Ruchika Oberoi: Ruchika’s intriguing omnibus of three stories , Island City was a remarkable study of urban despair underscored by some terrific acting. Ruchika made us wonder what she’d be doing next.
  8. Nitya Mehra: So okay, Baar Baar Dekho failed big-time at the boxoffice. But the fascinating premise of a man going back in time to correct his life’s mistakes was logically and lucidly worked out. Take it or leave it.This would remain Katrina and Siddharth Malhotra’s coming-of-age film, in more than one.
  9. Sanjeev Sharma: Saat Uchchakey was a foul-mouthed mean-spirited twisted and tormented tale of deceit duplicity and double-crossing. Irreverent and cocky it was an original and exciting debut that left us craving for more.
  10. Shujaat Saudagar: Though Rock On 2 came on at time when demonetization had gripped the nation it held on to the already-known characters’  life-journey with affection and certainty. One of the most ill-treated films of the year, ad-maker Shujaatdeserved a better response to his feature-film debut.


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