Readers Choice Awards 2016

I gave you a few extra days, but I think everyone has now had more than enough time to respond to my voting post here, and it is time for me to tally and summarize the results! Which took me much longer than I expected, Math is hard!  Although, there is one thing that became abundantly clear as soon as I started reading them over.  Neerja really was the film of the year.

I’m going to start with my summary and analysis, and then if you scroll down to the bottom, you can read all the opinions and votes in your own words, just cut and pasted from your comments.

Biggest thing to know about 2016, is that it was the Year of the Woman on Film (or maybe it’s that my readers slant female and relate better to female characters?  But no, I don’t think that’s all it is).  Critics and box office pundits have spent some time hand-wringing over how terrible the past year was for the Hindi industry.  But that’s just because they weren’t considering half of the audience and half of the characters.  Female lead films proved over and over again that they could make a profit and be popular and be really really good.  If they had gotten half the funding and promotion and distribution that the big male lead flops got (Mohenjo Daro, for instance), this year might have looked very different for the industry.

Related image

(Maybe if this movie had focused on this character, and cast a better actress, it would have been a bigger hit?  A film about a Goddess/Princess who saves her people, as the prophecy said?)


And the other thing over all that I found really interesting is the diversity of responses.  Which, firstly, means that I have a diverse and independent group of readers!  You aren’t all blindly following what the critics say is the “best” film, or even what I (in my infinite wisdom) seemed to like best.

And secondly, the diversity is bigger in the “good” areas (best movie, best character, best actor, favorite film) than in the “bad” areas (least favorite, worst actor, etc.).  Partly that’s because Siddharth Malhotra and Ki & Ka were just jawdroppingly horrible in their own ways.  But I think it’s also a sign that 2016 overall had more good films than bad.

Of course, the section that had the most diversity of all was “Middle of the Road” movies.  Because the one thing that really defined 2016 in Hindi films, in terms of box office and critical acclaim and audience appreciation, was “Middle of the Road”.

Image result for sultan running salman

(Maybe that’s why Salman kept jogging down the middle of the street in Sultan?

Best Movie of 2016

Neerja is the winner with 3 votes!  One shared with other films (Sal just cannot limit herself to one response!), but I’m still counting it!

And then it’s a three way tie for second with Dangal and Parched and Fan (Sal!  You are messing with my numbers by voting for 6 films!)

And then Udta and Pink and MS Dhoni and Raman Raghav 2.0 each have one vote and get to share 3rd place.  Wow!  8 different films that people considered the best!



Your Favorite Movie of 2016

A lot of variation here!  And we end up with a tie for first place, 2 for Neerja, 2 for Kapoor & Sons.  And also 2 for Dear Zindagi, but that is because Sal split her votes AGAIN, so I am counting it as first-place-part-2, not the real first place.

And then one vote each for Sanam Teri Kasam, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Sultan, and Udta Punjab.


Best Movie Review/Summary on DCIB of 2016

You notice I didn’t do an “Editor’s Choice” post for this area.  First, because it felt braggy.  And second because I honestly couldn’t decide!  But I am thrilled that so many of you answered, and that you had such a diversity of answers (especially Airlift!  Thank you GR, that was the first movie that really made me think “wow, I can’t just do a regular review of this, I need to go over it scene by scene and look at how it is built”.  But it was so long ago, it didn’t get many views and I wasn’t sure anyone else appreciated it as much as I did.)

There were two winners here, good old Fitoor, my little workhorse of a post (I should write a thank you letter to UTV for making a film so bad it required Cliff Notes).  And Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the film that made me really consider and analyze the most in recent months.  Dear Zindagi did too, but that story is comparatively so straight-forward compared to the angst and agony of ADHM, it didn’t require as much explanation.

Speaking of Dear Zindagi, it and Airlift were the two runners up here!


Best Character of 2016

And again, such diversity in the answers!  The only one to be picked twice was Shrinivas Siras from Aligarh.  Which I haven’t seen, because my readers have more adventurous film tastes than I do 🙂

And the runners up at one vote each, are Anushka’s character in Sultan, Zoya in Happy Bhaag Jayegi, Fawad Khan’s character in Kapoor & Sons, Gaurav in Fan, Neerja, Kirti Kulhari’s character Falak in Pink, Alia Bhatt’s nameless character in Udta Punjab, Ramanna from Raman Raghav 2.0, Jackie and Fatty from Dear Zindagi.

Notice that out of 11 answers, 6 were women.  And 3 were gay men.  I think it is clear that the “best characters” coming out of India this year were not the typical “film hero”.  Heck, even the two straight men picked were villains (Gaurav and Ramanna), not the hero.


Best Actor of 2016 (no fair just picking your favorite star!  Really think about the acting)

4 votes for Neerja and Sonam!  Have you noticed this trend?  Although it may not win, Neerja is consistently coming up in every area.

And again, women dominate!  Besides Sonam, there are two votes for Alia from two different films (DZ and Udta Punjab).  And Anushka and Radhika Apte.  Even Sonakshi comes in for some love.

And also two votes for SRK, two for Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and one for Manoj Bajpal from Aligarh.


Worst Movie of 2016

Ki and Ka and Fitoor will have to share the “prize”.  With runner-up going to Sanam Re, Banjo, and Mohenjo Daro.  Notice the lack of diversity in this area? Just 5 movies that people considered that bad.


Least Favorite Movie of 2016 (might be a movie that is objectively “good”, you just don’t like it)

This is fascinating!  This area was so diverse, much more than the “worst movie” section.  Ki & Ka won, which was my own personal pick, so that warms the cockles of my heart.  But what is really interesting is that also on this list were 3 movies that were on the “best” lists!  Kapoor and Sons, Dangal, and ADHM.  I choose to take this as a sign of how varied and independent my readers are, that there is no one consensus.

Also mentioned, Azhar, Banjo, Wazir, and Mohenjo Daro for a total of 8 different least favorite films!


Worst Actor of 2016 (again, no fair just picking your least favorite star!)

Oh Siddharth!  3 separate people who just could not get over your failure in Kapoor and Sons.

And tied with Hrithik!  Poor Hrithik.  Although at least with Hrithik the complaint was more that it was a bad role for him, not that he was just a bad actor.

And then Ranbir and Neil Nitin Mukesh pulling up the rear.  Interesting that there were so few on the list here, a sign that 2016 was weaker in truly bad performances than in good ones.


And finally, Most Middle of the Road Movie of 2016!

I just put this category at the last minute thinking most people wouldn’t even answer, and then I got SO MANY ANSWERS!  You all knew exactly what I meant by this, and exactly which film you wanted to pick for it.

No one agreed on anyone here!  It is a race to the middle with M.S. Dhoni, Sultan, Dear Zindagi, Rustom, ADHM, Mohenjo Daro, Saala Khadoos, Baar Baar Dekho, Airlift, and Dishoom all sharing the prize!

Now, if you want to check my math, or read the brilliant explanations people gave for their choices, read below for the full comments!


Best Movie of 2016

Moimeme: Neerja is the run away winner for me, and I also vote Sonam as best actor.

GR: Best Movie of 2016 –> Dangal, I guess

Filmilibrarian: Udta Punjab – four great performances and an interesting screenplay meshed with real social issues…it’s still my pick for best film of the year

feride1: Best Movie of 2016 – Parched (well, I know it’ a 2015 film, but it released in India in 2016, so technically it can be in the list (and it deserves so)

T.J. Stevens: The best movie of 2016 has to be Neerja in my opinion. Though I already knew the story beforehand, it was told in such an inspiring way.

Spandana: I went back and forth between Kapoor and Sons, Pink, and Udta Punjab and settled for Pink because the movie just resonated with me. Kirti Kulhari was fantastic throughout as the levelheaded girl trying to stay out of trouble which made her two outbursts – one at the beginning on phone and the second one in court (in what I thought was the movie’s most powerful scene) a compelling watch. Tapsee Pannu was impressive. The creepy cousin was scary as hell.

Sal: I can’t pick just one! Neerja, Fan, MS Dhoni, Dangal, Parched & Raman Raghav 2.0 share top spot.

Joyomama: Fan. I saw it five times and then bought it. It is brilliant.


Your Favorite Movie of 2016

GR: Sultan…a general feel good movie

datablue: I cried a LOT while watching Neerja. Since I’m a Malayalee and we’re peculiar that way, that makes Neerja a shoo-in for my favorite movie of the year. Your review was very persuasive and convinced me to watch it as soon as possible.

filmilibrarian: Sanam Teri Kasam – regressive, overwrought, and pure romantic escapism…plus some quirky songs, great styling and two charming performances

Ryan C: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. This is my heart pick. I don’t know if it’s necessarily the best movie of the year but it’s the one I enjoyed the most. Ranbir, Anushka, Aishwarya and Fawad were all spectacular in their roles, no matter how flawed and childish some of them might have been. I can see how some people were annoyed by it but I ate the whole thing up with a spoon. I can’t wait for the blu-ray to arrive so I can watch it again and again.

Miss Braganza: Going to go with Kapoor and Sons here. I found the characters deeply flawed but still sympathetic, and I really enjoyed Rajat and Ratna’s performances. I do not like cute old people in movies, and did not like Rishi’s character (particularly the prosthetics), but was mollified to find that Rishi played him deliberately to be awful and I wasn’t supposed to like him. I seriously had trouble deciding between it and Fan, but just went with my gut here. SRK is wonderful in Fan, though, and I do love a good Hindi meta-movie.

feride1: Udta Punjab. Watched it twice. Liked everything about it.

T.J. Stevens: My favorite movie is also Neerja, but Sultan was a close second. I usually feel like Hindi masala movies like Ek Tha Tiger, Kick, or Dilwale don’t have that correct flavor that appeals to me but Sultan had just the right amount of flavor. It was really fun to watch and I loved the performances of both Anushka Sharma and Salman.

Spandana: Kapoor and Sons has to be my favourite movie just for its repeat value. I can watch it over and over again particularly for it detailing. The only two minuses are Rishi Kapoor in general and Siddharth in his big scene.

Sal: MS Dhoni, Dear Zindagi & Dangal share the award from me

joyomama: Dear Zindagi. I like that I can share it with newbies and they get it, while still learning something about non-American culture.


Best Movie Review/Summary on DCIB of 2016

GR: Airlift..thats how I started following your blog, by regularly checking in for new posts

filmilibrarian: Fitoor

Ryan C: All of your coverage of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. This was shortly after I had first found your blog. Your summaries were fantastic, so in depth and full of tons of information and tidbits. It really boosted my enjoyment of the film. I couldn’t get back to the theater but your write ups made it feel like I was seeing the movie again. So good!

Miss Braganza: Fitoor!

T.J Stevens: This has got to be your summary on Ae Dil Hai Mushkil which made me look at the movie in a new way. When I first saw the movie, I was kind of disappointed but when I saw the movie a second time, I enjoyed it a lot more. I was able to notice a lot more about the characters and appreciate what Karan Johar came up with.

Spandana: I haven’t watched many of the movies that you did a summary for. I enjoyed your Dear Zindagi summary and it helped me understand the movie better.

joyomama: ADHM. It almost made up for being in Nebraska for the short time it was on my local DC screens.


Best Character of 2016

GR: Anushka’s character in Sultan , or perhaps even Salmans in that move…

datablue: Zoya played by Momal Sheikh in Happy Bhag Jayegi.She gets my admiration for her dignified behavior in the face of Abhay’s negligence and the fact that she does not let him get away with it.

filmilibrarian: Fawad Khan’s character in Kapoor & Sons, nothing particularly showy but both progressive and relatable

Ryan C.: Gaurav from Fan. Such an interesting, insane, flawed, and also, sympathetic character. More than any other character this year, this one really got under my skin and made me feel uncomfortable. I liked how you said that the movie was not easy to ‘like’. After I watched it I said to my wife, “I loved it but I don’t think I ever want to see it again.’ It was that kind of a movie.

Miss Braganza: Shrinivas Siras/ Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh. I think issue movies are frequently flawed by having characters who are just mouthpieces for the issue. This is not the case here. Siras is so unconnected with LGBT issues that he can’t even use the word “gay” with reference to himself. The most he can do is “people like me.” However, the profound loneliness that comes from being like him is readily apparent here, as well as his courage which comes across sometimes as boneheaded stubbornness rather than something heroic. An absolutely unforgettable character. Manoj Bajpayee makes this film.

feride1: Shrinivas Siras (Aligarh), wonderfully portrayed by Manoj Bajpayee.

T.J Stevens: Neerja Bhanot was my favorite character as I found her daily routine, relationship with her parents, and her love for Rajesh Khanna very relatable. In my opinion, this was Sonam’s best performance in her career so far with Mili from Khoobsurat coming in second. And my least favorite character was the annoying George Kutty from Airlift.

Spandana: It’s a tie between Kirti Kulhari’s character in Pink (Falak) and Alia Bhat in Udta Punjab. Both characters, while not too outspoken, have infinite strength in reserve and ably bring that out in crucial moments.

Sal: the most memorable – Ramanna (Raman Raghav 2.0) because he was so horrific

joyomama: I am torn between the two girlfriends in Dear Zindagi, either of whom could be a central character in her own movie.


Best Actor of 2016 (no fair just picking your favorite star!  Really think about the acting)

Moimeme: Neerja is the run away winner for me, and I also vote Sonam as best actor. I think she fully deserves it, and even Raja Sen thinks so, which kind of gives me a heart attack, to be agreeing with him on anything! But I guess once in a lifetime, it might happen. 🙂

GR: perhaps Sonam in Neerja? I haven’t seent the movie, but really everything has to work, including the central character, to pull off such a movie & in many reviews, I found sonam’s acting was lauded to make character believable ( & I don’t particularly like her)

datablue: Sonam has some stiff competition from Sonakshi in the Best Actor category. Sonam gets my nomination for the by a very small margin.

filmilibrarian: Radhika Apte – she was the only good thing about Badlapur and I saw her great performance in 2015 Parched this year, too. But her lead performance in Phobia this year convinced me that she is the best, and most exciting, actress working in Hindi films right now…I don’t even like horror thrillers and this one was sold to me on the strength of her performance…really need to see her older films and this year’s shorts too

Ryan C: I have to go with Shah Rukh from Fan. Truly, two remarkable performances by the only actor that could pull it off. I was absolutely captivated.

Miss Braganza: Shrinivas Siras/ Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh. An absolutely unforgettable character. Manoj Bajpayee makes this film.

feride1: Nawazuddin Siddiqui. He was exceptional as Raghav and very impressive in TE3N.

T.J Stevens: Though I loved Sonam’s performance as Neerja, the best actor this year for me is Anushka Sharma. She was the heart and soul of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and she also made Sultan a much better movie than expected.

Spandana: Hands down Alia Bhat in Udta Punjab.

Sal: Best Actor (male) – Nawazuddin Siddiqui for his role in Raman Raghav 2.0
Best Actor (female) – Sonam Kapoor for her role in Neerja

joyomama: Best Actor (male) – SRK. Three very different roles in two very different films.
Best Actor (female) – Alia in DZ. Want to see her other films now.


Worst Movie of 2016

GR: Fitoor.—>..characters weren’t likeable or relatable Tied with it is ‘ki and ka’ …isn’t the director the same guy married to Gauri shinde who made gems like ‘english vinglish’. I hope this lopsided success doesn’t hurt their marriage…Some men can be so full of ego .

filmilibrarian: Fitoor – it’s an easy choice…I don’t like the source material to begin with and I even thought Tabu was terrible in it.

T.J Stevens: Sanam Re, way too weird and silly for me.

Spandana: I pick my movies carefully and stayed out of movies that I knew I would hate. But I hear Ki and Ka is horrible.

Sal: Banjo. I was more concerned with Riteish Desmukh’s hair and Nargis Fakri’s lips than anything else.

joyomama: I liked them all, but was the least interested in seeing Mohenjo Daro again.

Least Favorite Movie of 2016 (might be a movie that is objectively “good”, you just don’t like it)

GR: Ae dil hai mushkil…..I like it explored complex aspects of relationships, but the antics of the folks exhausted me.

datablue: has to be Kapoor & Sons.It was recommended by pretty much everyone I know but I hate the director Shakun Batra’s work( Alia Bhatt’s AIB video being the exemption).

filmilibrarian: Tie between Fan and Ki & Ka…I wanted to love both of them, but both had major flaws for me. Fan’s CGI creeped me out (kind of the Tom Hanks in Polar Express issue) and Ki & Ka was ruined by Kareena Kapoor’s terrible acting in one scene that through off the whole movie for me

Ryan C: Ki & Ka. Again, I’m not sure it was the worst movie but it was certainly the most disappointing for me. I’m a stay-at-home Dad. I have been ridiculed and mocked, looked down on, because of it. My wife is a brilliant woman with a great career that she has worked so hard for. When our oldest son was born, 3/4 of my paycheck was going to daycare and gas. It was a miserable few months. We decided to give this a try. It was the best choice for our family. I have been with my two boys for nearly every moment of their lives and it has been wonderful. It’s been a gift and, in reality, has made me a better person. When I read about this movie, I was so excited. It had the possibility to really comment on modern society and the shift in gender roles and responsibilities. The West really hasn’t even touched on this in a film. The concept seemed so progressive and forward and the fact that it was coming out of India thrilled me. Then I saw the trailer and that awful video of Arjun dancing in high heels. Good grief. The movie was a two and a half hour version of that stupid song. It was poorly executed, borderline offensive and just plain lazy. The sad thing was that I thought Kareena and Arjun had nice chemistry and they did the best with what they were given. If not for their performances, it may have been unwatchable. What garbage.

Miss Braganza: Fitoor. This may not be fair, because I watched it on a long haul flight and kept falling asleep and having to return it to the place I thought it was and got even more lost than most people. Didn’t like Katrina, didn’t like Aditya, waste of Tabu.

T. J Stevens: This is is a tough choice because I didn’t really watch any movies that I hated. This may be controversial but I think my least favorite movie of the year was Dangal. I honestly felt that it was too overhyped and not as great as everyone said it was. Dangal was a really good movie but I was just not able to connect with any of the characters in the movie enough for me to really love the movie.

Spandana: Wazir: Could have been way better than what it was. Pluses: Farhan Akhtar, music. Minuses: Everything else.

Sal: Banjo and Azhar

Joyomama: Mohenjo Daro


Worst Actor of 2016 (again, no fair just picking your least favorite star!)

GR: no particular one, but I agree with your pick of Siddharth malhotra in Kapoor & sons…in general he just appears to be a pretty face.

filmilibrarian: Tie between Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro and Ranbir Kapoor in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil…Hrithik needs to stop with the naive hero roles and Ranbir Kapoor’s performance while engaging was just one more version of his tired spoiled cry-baby roles…both need serious career jump starts

T. J Stevens: Honestly, Sidharth Malhotra gave his best performance in his career in Kapoor and Sons but it was the weakest link of the movie as a whole. The entire time I was watching the movie, I kept getting this feeling that the movie would be so much better if someone other than Sidharth played Arjun.

Spandana: Again, did not watch many bad movies this year. But what is up with Neil Nitin Mukesh in Wazir? He was truly terrible. If you are looking for more than cameo appearances, I couldn’t watch Siddharth in his big confrontation with Ratna and Fawad, He was the weakest link of the film.

Sal: maybe Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro. Less of the overgrown teenager, please.

joyomama: Hrithik Roshan in Mohenjo Daro. Reminds me of the song “I like them big and stupid” by Julie Brown.


And finally, Most Middle of the Road Movie of 2016!

GR: i feel it is “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story” …some parts seemed interesting, & i admire Dhoni’s focus and resolve..but it isn’t a completely true story either…like one of his siblings was omitted. we were shown what Dhoni wanted us to see.

datablue: has to be Mohenjo Daro.I was prepared to love it to pieces but it turned out to be pretty ordinary.Really I expected more from Ashutosh Gowariker.I wouldn’t have criticized it so much if someone else had made it.

filmilibrarian: I really wanted to like Happy Bhag Jayegi more than I did and Dishoom would be a good choice because it was entirely fun but forgettable…but I’m going to go with Saala Khadoos. R Madhavan’s performance was compelling (and a good direction for him as an actor) as was the debut actress’s performance and the screenplay was strong until the end when it went in a direction that it hadn’t laid the foundation for and lost me. All that being said, it deserves some credit for being about girl empowerment through sports, albeit lost in the shadow of the other two similar films, Sultan and Dangal. What a year for sports movies though overall when you add the two cricket films in, too.

Ryan C: Baar Baar Dekho. I actually liked what was there, I just thought it could have been so much more. I didn’t think that Sid or Katrina were all that bad but they weren’t great either. The songs were nice. It was easy to follow and had some interesting ideas. At the same time, there wasn’t really much there. I would like to watch it again, at home. I suspect that seeing this in a theater (and the way that Nachde Ne Saare affected me) probably upped my level of enjoyment.

Miss Braganza: Airlift. Akshay has never been my thing, but this was a nice movie with a good arc for both him and Nimrat and it leaves you feeling OK about the world and your life. (Unless maybe you are trapped in Kuwait while you watch it).

feride1: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. I can’t say it’ a bad movie, but, I guess, the only thing I really liked about is the title song.

T. J Stevens: This goes to Dishoom which was a fun movie to watch but not really memorable. I know that I wouldn’t have watched Dishoom at all if Varun wasn’t in it and I’ve seen it a couple times just because I wanted to watch a Varun movie.

Spandana: I would have probably agreed with you on Sultan had I watched it. To me the movie that left me with the most mixed opinions was Dear Zindagi. Excellent cast. Flip side, I never really connected with the characters. Your review helped, but not enough. And I don’t remember a single song from the soundtrack.

Sal: Rustom. It was OK, nothing more.

joyomama: Sultan. Nice entertaining crowd pleaser. Suffers in comparison with Dangal.

7 thoughts on “Readers Choice Awards 2016

    • I’ve decided it must be because you are used to a parliamentary voting system 🙂 But then, I split my vote for Favorite Film in my own post, so that doesn’t explain it either.

      On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 4:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  1. If you ever watch Sanam Teri Kasam I would love to hear your take on it. Even if you rip it apart…I know it’s a very problematic movie with every cliche in the book in it, but I just love it! This one and Neerja are the only two of the year I’ve already rewatched.


    • That’s such a funny pairing! I kind of want to try it as a double bill now. Except that I don’t think I will ever be able to re-watch Neerja.

      On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 9:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. It was nice seeing everyone’s consolidated responses to a category. It is interesting that Airlift was your first scene by scene review of a recent/current release & I happened to chance upon it – what a serendipitous discovery on my part :-). I love serendipities & happy coincidences like how Elizabeth & Mr Darcy come face to face at his estate again 🙂
    I really appreciated Airlift review & I won’t be surprised if Airlift stuck a chord with others as well. 🙂 Look forward to reading many such blog posts of yours, with my cup of chai ! 🙂 Cheers!


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

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