Stars guarantee box-office returns. The bigger the stars, the better the box-office returns…right? Not necessarily so. The smaller (read: star-less) films are largely known to flounder for the want of flourishing footfalls. But surprises did come in small packets. Here's saluting the small starless wonders of 2013.
1. The Lunchbox: Well okay, Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are not quite the unknown entities. But they are not box-office champs either. And their leading lady Nimrat Kaur was unknown, until came this small Indie film with a big heart. 3 months after its release, director Ritesh Batra is still going around the world collecting rave reviews. What worked for the film was the transparency in telling the tale of two lonely middle aged people who connect over food and food for thought.
2. Kai Po Che: When Rock On director Abhishek Kapoor decided to do a celluloid take on Chetan Bhagat's bestseller, he was sure he wanted newcomers…well, he ended up with three of the oldest newcomers in the entertainment industry. Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Raj Kumar Yadav have been acting on television and in films for some years now. The film made a huge difference to their careers, especially Sushant. Moral: make stars, don't let them break you.
3. Shahid: Hansal Mehta's film has only one star. The true-life personality of activist-lawyer Shahid Azmi. The actors were subservient to the story. That's what made this little-big film so special.
4. Fukrey: Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, who earlier made the absolutely unfunny Teen Thay Bhai with veteran actor Om Puri, Deepak Dobriyal and Shreyas Talpade, cast newcomers in his second film. Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh sparkled in this sly saga of wicked wastrels who hope to make it big. Like many recent comedies, this one too was set in Delhi. We liked.
5. B.A. Pass: Big surprises sometimes creep up on us while we aren't watching. This one about male prostitution in Delhi was a dark somber stunning study of decadence. Hard to believe Ajay Bahl was a first-time director.
6. Aashiqui 2: Both Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor had three thundering flops behind them. A strong emotional story-line ensured stardom for both the Kapoors.
8. Maazi: Debutant director Jaideep Chopra's haunting thriller about the violent past catching up with a well-settled peaceful family man was the surprise of the year. Most of those meager members of the audience who saw the film opined it would have worked wonders at the box office if Salman Khan played the haunted man instead of the unknown Sumeet Nijhawan. Here we go again.
9. Mickey Virus: Manish Paul couldn't quite become the instant star that Ayushmann Khurrana did after Vicky Donor. Never mind. This vivacious flick on the virtual world as seen through the eyes of hacker was interesting. Saurabh Verma knows computers as well as his cinema.
10. Commando: Vidyut Jamwal scored a slammer with
his sinewy stunts in first-time director Dilip Ghosh's Commando. Deadly impact