Favorite Movie of 2016, Editor’s Choice: A Tie Between a Movie that is Exquisite, and One that is Revolutionary

Oh this is just too hard!  Out of all the movies from 2016, which one is my absolute favorite?  Hmmm.  Oh!  I just remembered a loophole!  Oh good, I’m all set then.  I get to talk about my favorite films that weren’t mainstream Hindi and didn’t necessarily get a big release, and why I loved them anyway.  And why you should love them (and see them) too.

This is the one category I don’t have to limit it to Hindi films!  Yaaaaay!  Because I’m not making value judgments, I’m just talking about my personal feelings.  I suppose I could have chosen non-Hindi for least favorite too, but Ki & Ka had that thing in such a lock, no other film stood a chance.

Image result for ki & Ka

(May you burn in the fires of hell, Ki & Ka!)


Favorite film of all the ones I watched in 2016, Ohm Shaanti Oshana maybe.  Or Manam.  But favorite of all the films that technically released this year, that’s easy. Although still a split vote.  First, Dhanak.

Yes, technically it is another Hindi release.  But it’s not a mainstream one, I didn’t see it in theaters, it didn’t even play in theaters in most places.  Instead it snuck out on streaming platforms and DVD to be discovered by people going “What the heck is Dhanak?”

It’s lovely, is what it is!  Or as my mother called it after I forced my parents to watch it, “exquisite”.  Just a beautiful film with beautiful thought and beautiful feelings.  And non-beautiful people.  On the outside that is.

These are two lovely children with bright eyes and big smiles and big dreams.  But they aren’t the polished and perfect kids you usually see in movies.  And the world around them isn’t polished and perfect either.  But it is filled with goodness and love and miracles, if you know where to look for them.

Image result for dhanak children



And then there’s the other film I loved this year.  Which also wasn’t part of the mainstream Hindi release list.  Because it was a mainstream release but it wasn’t for the Hindi audience.

Image result for kabali pictures

Kabali kind of blew my world apart watching it.  It showed me what a Tamil Rajnikanth blockbuster in theaters can do.  It made me cheer and cry and think and feel and most of all it made me ANGRY.

That’s what I want media to do, I want it to make people angry at injustice and abuse and everything bad in the world.  I want it to make people ready to go out and storm the temples of power.  And I want it to provide sustenance and support to those who are already struggling to survive.

I couldn’t believe that Rajnikanth, arguably the biggest movie star in the world, put his career on the line and laid it all out to make a story to help his fans who are suffering in silence.  This is why My Name is Khan was my favorite film of 2010, not just because Shahrukh (and Karan) risked everything to get it released, but because they did it all for the people who they only knew from a distance, the ones struggling to survive overseas in the face of prejudice and hate.  It was a great gesture of benevolence and love to their followers, telling them “yes, we hear you, we know what you are going through”.

And that’s what Rajnikanth did here, even more so.  He didn’t just reach out to his fans, he reached out to the most humble and oppressed of his fans.  He let their voices he heard on the soundtrack and their faces be seen in the crowds.  He told them “yes, I’m here, I care, I feel your anger and your pain and your frustrations”.



Really, these two films are the yin and yang of art.  Dhanak is the art that inspires, that tells you the world is full of good things and good people and hope and love and laughter and happiness and miracles.  And Kabali is art that shows you the problems to be solved and tells you that it is up to you to fix them, to make that world which is filled with hope and love.


9 thoughts on “Favorite Movie of 2016, Editor’s Choice: A Tie Between a Movie that is Exquisite, and One that is Revolutionary

  1. I will have to watch both of these in the near future. Kabali has been on my ‘to watch’ list but somehow Dhanak slipped under my radar a bit. I mean, I saw the title pop up on Netflix but it didn’t really catch my eye. Have you watched Sairat yet? That would be my favorite non-Hindi film released this year. It reached inside of me, touched my heart and absolutely destroyed me.


    • I haven’t seen Sairat, but I wiki’d the plot when I heard a rumor that the Hindi remake might be Sridevi or Saif’s daughter’s launch film. I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it, it might be a little too real for me. I can handle honor killing type stuff when it is sugarcoated and hidden a little, like in QSQT, but right out there and obvious might be too much for me.

      On Sat, Jan 7, 2017 at 11:04 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. For Kabali fans, including me and you and other readers as well. Here are some deleted scenes:

    Kabali’s joke can cost bullets sometimes:

    Poor Kabali’s mind has become so disturbed:

    Kabali’s dreams didn’t come true:

    Father and daughter have a discussion:

    And finally
    Kabali receives a gift which became a gamechanger later:

    None are subtitled though. Hope you like them. 🙂


  3. Is this currently in Netflix? I’m gonna have to get around to watching this somehow and I need to pay attention to your posts. Love the work


  4. Pingback: Two News Items Too Big To Ignore: National Film Awards and New Shahrukh Stills! – dontcallitbollywood

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