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Best of 2020: Hindi films and series

The year has proven to be a rather interesting year for the Hindi entertainment industry. At a time when Covid-19 forced the human population at large to spend the majority of its time indoors, the different OTT platforms came to the rescue. Here are some of the most outstanding Hindi films/series along with the best acting performances this year.

Murtaza Ali Khan





This atmospheric satire by Prateek Vats highlights the problem of monkey menace in Delhi. The film is superbly crafted, wonderfully shot, and cleverly edited, oozing with cinematic flair and powerful socio-political commentary.


Bhonsle, directed by Devashish Makhija, tells the story of a retired Marathi sub-inspector named Ganpath Bhonsle (essayed by Manoj Bajpayee) who becomes a witness to the atrocities that the Bihari migrants living in a locality are subjected to. Makhija’s gritty direction and Bajpayee’s tour de force performance make Bhonsle an unforgettable experience.


Set in the UK, Taish (film) revolves around a family of gangsters and a family of doctors. It’s essentially a tale of friendship, betrayal, love, and revenge. People look up to Hollywood when it comes to the depiction of raw and gritty action. But what Bejoy Nambiar achieves in Taish is no mean feat.


Directed by Gagan Puri, Door Ke Darshan is a laugh riot. But it is also a sensitive film about the complexity of relationships. It revolves around an elderly lady (played by Dolly Ahluwalia) who has been in a coma for the last 30 years. When she suddenly regains consciousness her family must do everything to avoid giving her any shock.

5. CLASS OF ‘83

Class of ’83, directed by Atul Sabharwal, follows the heroics and follies of encounter specialists who have been credited with bringing back the rule of law in Mumbai. Sabharwal’s direction along with his research work makes Class of ’83 a gritty cop thriller with immaculate period detail.

Honourable Mentions: Thappad, Serious Men, Chintu Ka Birthday, Nirvana Inn, and Yeh Ballet




Taapsee Pannu is known for her earnest performances but what she achieves in Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad is truly remarkable. Her facial expressions, body movements, and the inner pain and resolve emoted through her eyes make it a truly memorable performance.


Manisha Koirala’s portrayal of a Parsi mother is easily the best thing about Neeraj Udhwani’s Maska. But, it’s no surprise to see her essay the character of a Parsi so well. For, she has excelled at playing an array of diverse characters in the past as well.


Sanjeeda Sheikh delivers a mesmerising performance in Taish. The chemistry she shares with Harshvardhan Rane is electrifying. It’s difficult to take one’s eyes off her every time she appears on the screen.


While Choked may not be an exceptional film, Saiyami Kher is superb in the role of a singer who is forced to take a job at a bank after she fails to win a reality shown. While she deserves a lot of credit for making the character so believable, Anurag Kashyap also needs to be commended for his ability to get the best out of his actors.


While Ginny Weds Sunny is a forgettable film, Yami Gautam’s performance in it is like a breath of fresh air. It’s heartening to see her trying hard to break out of her girl next door image.

Honourable Mentions: Vidya Balan (Shakuntala Devi), Female cast members of Door Ke Darshan, and Janhavi Kapoor (Gunjan Saxena).



Over the years we have seen Manoj Bajpayee deliver several memorable performances but his aforementioned performance in Bhonsle which ends with him exploding like only he can is easily one of his finest. It’s deeply nuanced and power-packed at the same time.


Adil Hussain’s portrayal of a man caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare is so well measured that he doesn’t miss a note despite the challenges posed by the narrative’s constant tonal shifts. 


The raging gangster Pali Brar in Bejoy Nambiar’s Taish is a powerhouse role and Harshvardhan Rane immortalises it by delivering the best performance of his career thus far. Rane brilliantly channelises Brar’s self-destructive drives.


Om Raut’s Tanhaji  has a very dark character pitted against its hero Tanhaji. The character is essayed with menacing brilliance by Saif Ali Khan who is always at home playing these villainous characters.


In Atul Sabharwal’s Class of ’83, Bobby Deol packs a strong punch playing a no-nonsense cop who decides to take revenge against the corrupt bureaucracy and its criminal allies by training five encounter specialists. It’s easily the finest performance of Bobby Deol.

Honourable Mentions: Amitabh Bachchan (Gulabo Sitabo), Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Serious Men), and Vinay Pathak (Chintu Ka Birthday),



Helmed by Hansal Mehta, it tells the story of the rise and fall of Harshad Mehta. Hansal Mehta’s has been a rare voice in the country that seems to have taken interest in documenting real-life characters, and actual events through his films. With the series, Mehta has further boosted his reputation as a cinematic storyteller working in the vein of Oliver Stone.


Created by Neeraj Pandey, Special OPS is made in the vein of slow-burning espionage thrillers made famous by the works of John le Carré. The series has a vast panoply of characters, including bureaucrats, politicians, cops, soldiers, spies, terrorists, brokers, hackers, and terrorists, with many subplots spread across two decades.  The series Pataal Lok is marked by constant tonal changes. It revolves around a washed-out cop Hathiram Chaudhary (essayed by Jaideep Ahlawat).


Churails has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. Written and directed by Asim Abbas, a British-Pakistani filmmaker, the series features a Pakistani ensemble cast. Churails follows a group of women from Karachi who run a detective agency to expose the city’s unfaithful, elite husbands.


This Danish Aslam-directed series stars Swara Bhaskar in the role of a female police officer. While it is certainly not easy to watch for the faint-hearted, there is no denying that Flesh is an earnest attempt to portray the stark reality of human trafficking.

Panchayat offers an alluring sneak-peek into rural India. The simplicity of village folk and how it ends up creating unnecessary complications in the life of the protagonist is a recurring motif in the series. The light-hearted show benefits from some clever writing and brilliant performances.

5. Aashram (Chapter 1&2)

Helmed by Prakash Jha, this series follows a self-styled god-man named Nirmal Baba, essayed by Bobby Deol. It is a great return to form for the director. Jha, who has tried to tackle the issue of casteism throughout his career, uses Aashram to take us to the very heart of discrimination.

Honourable Mentions: Asur, Bandish Bandits, Mirzapur 2, JL 50, and Afsos.




Swara Bhaskar portrays the part of ACP Radha Nautiyal in Flesh with scalpel-like precision. Nautiyal is an insomniac and a hard-drinking police officer with a troubled past. As part of her job, she gets pitted against the basest criminals, day in and day out, as she tries to unravel a web of immorality, cruelty, and corruption.


Sushimta Sen has impressed everyone with her performance in Aarya and there is no denying that she is brilliant in the titular role. It’s heartening to see her essay such a gritty part in a web series.


Shweta Tripathi’s complex portrayal of Gajgamini “Golu” Gupta in Mirzapur 2 is a major highlight of the season. It’s amazing to see her transformation from the first season.


Aaditi Pohankar’s portrayal of Pammi, a girl belonging to a backward caste, who aspires to be a wrestler, is one of the highlights of the show. It’s a demanding part but Pohankar matches it with a courageous and meaty performance.


The legal drama series Illegal by Sahir Raza follows a young lawyer who is tricked by the big shot lawyer heading her firm into defending a rapist. Neha Sharma shows just the right amount of vulnerability that the part requires.

Honourable Mentions: Sheeba Chaddha (Bandish Bandits), Female cast members of Churails and Female cast of Four More Shot Please (Season 2).



In Special OPS, Kay Kay Menon essays Himmat Singh to a T. He may remind some of John le Carré’s iconic George Smiley. Like Smiley, Singh first comes across as innocuously polite, unassuming, and someone you don’t easily feel threatened by. Menon’s multilayered performance is a reminder of his remarkable range as an actor.


Jaideep Ahalawat who has been on a roll since Raazi delivers a definitive performance of his acting career in Pataal Lok. As the washed-out cop Hathiram Chaudhary, Ahalawat is an absolute treat to watch. It’s raw and gritty with him going through an entire gamut of emotions.


Scam 1992 stars Pratik Gandhi in the central role of Harshad Mehta. It’s a breakthrough role for Gandhi following a long struggle but the 40-year-old actor has finally announced himself with a knockout performance.


Jitendra Kumar’s brilliant portrayal of an engineering graduate who reluctantly takes up the job of a secretary at a village panchayat is the USP of Panchayat. The actor is certainly proving himself with each new performance.


Sumeet Vyas’ menacing performance of a young and power-hungry politician for whom losing is not an option in Dark 7 White is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year in the Indian webspace.

Honourable Mentions: Atul Kulkarni (Bandish Bandits), Arshad Warsi (Asur), and Akshay Oberoi (Flesh).

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Rana Daggubati salutes jawans this Republic Day with a heartfelt post




New Delhi [India], January 26 (ANI): Ace actor Rana Daggubati marked the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day by penning down a heartfelt note, saluting the braveheart soldiers of India.
The ‘Baahubali’ actor extended his warm wishes to the ‘jawans’ by sharing the heartwarming letter on Instagram.
This Republic Day, I am filled with a renewed sense of respect for our country’s armed forces,” Daggubati’s post read.
The 36-year-old actor then shared that the “feeling” of respect has “lingered on” with him after he spent some time with the BSF troops in Jaisalmer for a documentary with Discovery Plus.

“And this feeling has lingered on with me ever since I spent time with the troops of the country’s Border Security Force IBSF) at the Murar post in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. As civilians, we barely know the lengths our soldiers go through to serve the country,” he wrote.
“And I must say, I was extremely fortunate and honored to have been given an opportunity to spend some time with and train with the BSF, for an exciting documentary titled Mission Frontline on Discovery,” he added.
The ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ actor also expressed gratitude for the “warmth and support” with which the soldiers helped him in his training for the project.

“I am grateful for their warmth and support that made me feel like one of them, a part of their family, as they motivated me at every step of the training. I underwent physical training that had me running with weapons and backpacks to firing live rounds,” the 36-year-old actor wrote in the post.
“And it got me thinking of the kind of physical, mental, and emotional investment it takes to be part of the forces; with no option but to be excellent at it. The stakes are high. The pressure is high. And the work never ceases, even for a moment,” he added.
In the rest of the post, the ‘Ghazi’ actor continued heaping praises on the soldiers of the country.
“Our soldiers stand at the border, guarding us from whoever and whatever might want to cause us harm. They stay away from thei loved ones, so we can live blissfully with ours. They train am fight under the blazing hot sun and in the bitter cold of the night, so we can enjoy life,” Daggubati wrote.
“They stand true to their motto of ‘Duty unto Death’. On guard and at service all the time, our soldiers are the human border safeguarding the country’s people, constitution and sovereignty. It is these heroes who deserve every bit of our praise and gratitude,” he added.
He ended the letter by urging everyone to celebrate the “Republic India” by remembering the soldiers with a “little prayer” and by sending love to the “true heroes.”
“This January 26, while we celebrate the ‘Republic’ India that vests the power to the people, let’s also remember to say a little prayer and send some love to these true heroes, our Jawans at the border, who guard our borders and protect the nation,” he wrote.
“Join me as I salute these incredible men and women, this Republic Day. My dear Jawans of the Border Security Forces, I thank you for everything that you do to keep India safe! You fill my heart with pride. Jai Mind! In your debt forever! Your fan, Rana Daggubati,” he added.
Several Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, among others, also took to social media to extend Republic Day greetings to their fans and followers.
Republic Day is celebrated in India every year on 26 January to commemorate the day the Constitution of the nation came into effect. Though we gained independence on August 15, 1947, nascent India did not have its own laws which were drafted and finally adopted in the year 1950. (ANI)

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Here’s when 2021 Billboard Music Awards will air




Washington [US], January 26 (ANI): NBC has finally announced the date for the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, which are going to be held just seven months after the delayed 2020 Billboard Music Awards took place.
The award ceremony, which is usually a star-studded event, will air on May 23 on NBC at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, reported Variety. The company has kept the rest of the details about the ceremony under wraps.
The other details including the host, performers, nominees, and the ceremony venue will be announced at a later date. The honorees are determined by their performance on the Billboard charts, and the ceremony is expected to feature live performances, unexpected collaborations, pop culture moments and the granting of the annual ICON award.
The 2020 Billboard Music Awards were originally slated to take place on April 29 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, however, it was pushed indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
As per Variety, the award show ultimately took place on October 14, with American singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson serving as host from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Garth Brooks received the Icon Award at the event, while Killer Mike received the inaugural Change Maker Award.
American rapper Post Malone walked away as the big winner, taking home nine awards including Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, and Top Billboard 100 Artist. Meanwhile, singer Billie Eilish bagged three awards, including Top Female Artist, Top New Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Album for her debut ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go’.
Nominees and winners at the award show are based on fan interactions with music, including album and digital song sales, streaming, radio airplay, touring, and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners.
The Billboard Music Awards kick-started in 1990, though there was a period between 2007 and 2010 when the ceremony was not held. (ANI)

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Samuel L. Jackson sports ‘Avengers’ mask while receiving COVID-19 vaccine dose




Washington [US], January 26 (ANI): In true Nick Fury style, Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson brought his superhero friends along with him to get vaccinated for the novel coronavirus by wearing an ‘Avengers’ themed face mask.
According to People Magazine, the ‘Pulp Fiction’ star wore an Avengers face mask while he received his initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Samuel took to Instagram and posted a photo of himself wearing the mask along with a caption that read, “At The Forum getting that 1st jab!!”
The face-covering featured cartoon images of some of the heroes including the insanely popular fictional character — the Hulk and Captain America. The actor added the hashtags, “look out world bout to bust back out,” “vaccine spring,” and “go gitch yours I got mine,” to the photo caption.
The 72-year-old actor qualified for the shot as California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom moved the state into Phase 1B of vaccine rollout on January 13, allowing people who are 65 and older access to the vaccine, as per People Magazine.
It is unclear which brand of the injection the actor received, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed emergency use authorization for two COVID-19 vaccines, one made by Pfizer and another by Moderna. Both vaccines require a wait of either three or four weeks before the second dose, which brings the vaccine protection up to around 95 per cent.
Jackson is now a part of the growing list of public figures and celebrities that have gotten the immunization. As per People magazine, last week, former Governor of California and ‘The Terminator’ star, Arnold Schwarzenegger documented himself receiving his first dose. (ANI)

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Demi Lovato to star in NBC comedy ‘Hungry’




Washington [US], January 26 (ANI): American singer and actor Demi Lovato is returning to her TV roots! The star will feature in a comedy project titled ‘Hungry’, which is in the works at NBC.
The 28-year-old singer is all set to headline the upcoming project which follows friends in a food issues group “as they help each other look for love, success, and the perfect thing in the fridge that’s going to make it all better,” reported Variety.
The network has given the show a put pilot commitment, which means if it does not air as a series, it will premiere as a special at least. Lovato will executive produce and star in the series, with ‘Frasier’ and ‘Will and Grace’ fame producer Suzanne Martin helming the show.
‘Will and Grace’ star Sean Hayes will also executive produce under his production company. Lovato guest-starred alongside Hayes in the ‘Will and Grace’ revival last year.
Aside from her stint on the American sitcom ‘Will and Grace’, Lovato has starred on several TV shows in the years since ‘Sonny With a Chance’. She was in two episodes of ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ and guest-starred as Dani, Santana’s (Naya Rivera) love interest in four episodes of ‘Glee’ in 2013 and 2014. She also appeared as a patient in one episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in 2010.
According to E! News, the singer has been vocal about struggling with and recovering from bulimia. She also sought treatment for her eating disorder during a 2010 rehab and has been open about her subsequent relapses. In March 2020, she spoke to American comedian Ellen Degeneres about a period where she felt like her life and her food were controlled by her team.
“My life, I just felt, was so–and I hate to use this word–but I felt like it was controlled by so many people around me,” she had said earlier.
“If I was in my hotel room at night, they would take the phone out of the hotel room so I couldn’t call room service. Or, if there was fruit in my hotel room, they would take it out because that’s extra sugar. We’re not talking about, like, brownies, and cookies, and candies and stuff. It was fruit,” she added.
Lovato has since hired American media proprietor Scooter Braun as her manager. He will also serve as an executive producer on ‘Hungry’. (ANI)

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PM Modi sports special Jamnagar Paghdi on 72nd Republic Day




New Delhi [India], January 26 (ANI): On the occasion of the 72nd Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sported a special Jamnagar turban as a part of his traditional attire during the celebratory Parade.
Continuing his annual tradition of sporting special traditional turbans during Republic Day celebrations, PM Modi wore a red headgear with yellow dots, gifted to him by the royal family of Jamnagar, Gujarat. Along with the turban he was seen wearing his traditional kurta, pajama, and gray jacket along with a face mask.
The royal family of Jamnagar holds special respect globally. In one of the defining acts of humanity during World War 2, the king of Jamnagar, Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijay Singh, had saved 1000 children from Poland during World War 2. Poland still cherishes this gesture of Jamanagar’s erstwhile King.
The PM had also extended greetings to the nation on the special occasion. “Wishing all the people of India a Happy RepublicDay. Jai Hind!” PM had tweeted.
Modi’s sartorial choices have made headlines on many occasions – from his headgears for Republic Day celebrations to the suit printed with his name – he surely knows how to stand out. For his maiden Independence Day address as the PM in 2014, he had opted for a Jodhpuri bandhej turban in bright red colour with green at the tail.
Republic Day is celebrated in India every year on 26 January to commemorate the day the Constitution of the nation came into effect. Though we gained independence on August 15, 1947, nascent India did not have its own laws which were drafted and finally adopted in the year 1950. (ANI)

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MUMBAI: Actress Tisca Chopra is all set to start shooting her debut directorial feature film, a murder mystery, later this year. “I guess a feature film was just waiting to happen, since I write as well. This came about quite naturally. I am really excited. It is a nice, tight murder mystery told in a very unusual style,” she told IANS. “The script for my directorial feature has been ready for almost a year now and we were ready to shoot in January last year. I hope to shoot it this year in winter because the story is such that it needs to be shot in winter. So, fingers crossed we will shoot it this year,” she added. What encouraged her to direct a full-length feature film? “As an actor, you are always telling other people’s stories. You are part of helping other people fulfill their vision. When you move forward, you also want to sometimes tell your own stories,” she pointed out. What was the trigger that prompted her to give filmmaking a serious thought? “Necessity is the mother of invention. Nobody was making that kind of story and I wanted to make. So, I decided to make it and it did so well,” she said, adding: “People like stories and ultimately what we are, are stories. Stories about ourselves in our own head.” On the acting front, Tisca will start shooting for a new series titled Fear in February. While she is tightlipped about details, she says: “My role will require a lot of physical effort from my side in terms of hardcore physical training and changes in terms of diet, because it requires me to have a lean look

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