The Best Bollywood Movies of 2022: A Cinematic Journey

Bollywood, the vibrant and dynamic Indian film industry, has always been a source of entertainment, drama, and cultural significance. Each year, Bollywood releases a plethora of movies that captivate audiences with their storytelling, performances, and visual splendor. As we bid farewell to 2022, let’s take a deep dive into the best Bollywood movies that graced the silver screen during this eventful year.

1. Gehraiyaan: Exploring the Depths of Relationships

Tales of infidelity have long been a recurring theme in Bollywood, blurring the lines between real and reel lives. “Gehraiyaan” aimed to offer a contemporary look at marriage and infidelity, helmed by director Shakun Batra, known for his work in “Kapoor & Sons.” Starring Deepika Padukone, Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Dhairya Karwa, the film promised a moody exploration of modern love.

While “Gehraiyaan” excelled in its aesthetic appeal, catering to the upper-upper-middle class and nouveau riche, it fell short in delivering a profound narrative. Deepika’s character, Alisha, a yoga instructor, struggles with feeling stuck in her life. Ananya Panday as Tia adds depth to the movie, showcasing her comfort in a role similar to her real-life persona. Despite its potential, “Gehraiyaan” failed to capitalize on its themes of long-term relationships and short-term flings, leaving audiences disappointed.

2. Badhaai Do: Exploring Queer Love and Family Dynamics

Rajkummar Rao and Ayushmann Khurrana have established themselves as unconventional stars in Bollywood, known for their offbeat film choices. “Badhaai Do” explores the realm of queer love stories, presenting a unique narrative in Hindi cinema.

Shardul Thakur (Rajkummar Rao), a cop who embraces hyper-masculinity, and Suman Singh (Bhumi Pednekar), a physical education teacher, both have no interest in getting married. To appease their families, they decide to enter a marriage of convenience. However, as expectations of becoming grandparents arise, their arrangement faces unexpected challenges.

“Badhaai Do” stands out due to the commitment of its lead actors, who bring authenticity to their characters. The ensemble cast, including Sheeba Chaddha, adds depth to the story. The film successfully explores the complexities of relationships and family dynamics, making it a notable entry in Bollywood’s diverse filmography.

3. Gangubai Kathiawadi: A Tale of Resilience and Empowerment

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, known for his grand historical spectacles, returned with “Gangubai Kathiawadi.” Set in post-independence India, the film portrays the rise of Gangubai, a brothel owner who fought for the rights and respect of sex workers.

Alia Bhatt delivers a luminous performance as Gangubai, showcasing her journey from being sold into a brothel as a young girl to becoming a powerful figure advocating for women’s equity. Bhansali’s visual storytelling and Bhatt’s gravitas elevate the film beyond the typical Bollywood narrative. “Gangubai Kathiawadi” serves as a testament to the strength and resilience of women, making it a standout entry in 2022.

4. Darlings: A Dark Comedy with a Twist

Alia Bhatt ventures into production with “Darlings,” a dark comedy that explores the lives of four individuals entangled in a web of accidents, violence, and unexpected turns of events. Bhatt’s aim is to bring new stories and voices to the screen, particularly on streaming platforms.

Set in Mumbai, the film revolves around Badrunissa (Alia Bhatt), a lower-middle-class woman married to Hamza (Vijay Varma), a ticket collector. Their lives take an unpredictable turn after an accident, leading to a series of comedic and dramatic situations. “Darlings” showcases the talents of Varma and Shefali Shah, who bring their characters to life with their impeccable performances.

While “Darlings” delivers a dark comedy experience, it occasionally plays it safe and cute, limiting its potential for greater impact. Nonetheless, the film stands out as an entertaining watch with its witty dialogues and engaging performances.

5. Laal Singh Chaddha: A Hindi Remake of Epic Proportions

Aamir Khan takes on the iconic role of Laal Singh Chaddha in the Hindi remake of the beloved film “Forrest Gump.” Set in Chandigarh, the film follows the heartwarming journey of Laal Singh Chaddha, a simple-minded man who witnesses significant events in Indian history.

While the remake aims to capture the essence of the original film, it falls short in certain aspects. The excessive use of CGI to portray Aamir Khan’s youthful appearance detracts from the authenticity of the storytelling. However, for fans of the original “Forrest Gump,” “Laal Singh Chaddha” offers a nostalgic and emotional experience with its Indian twist.

6. Brahmastra: An Ambitious Cinematic Spectacle

“Brahmastra,” a decade in the making, emerges as an ambitious Bollywood film that combines elements of Indian mythology, X-Men, Harry Potter, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Ayan Mukerji, known for his work in “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” and “Wake Up, Sid,” the film features an ensemble cast, including Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna, and Shah Rukh Khan.

The story revolves around Shiva (Ranbir Kapoor), an orphaned DJ with inexplicable powers who embarks on a journey to find his purpose and protect the supreme weapon called the Brahmastra. The film’s visual effects and action sequences draw inspiration from Telugu blockbusters like “Bahubali” and “RRR.”

While “Brahmastra” delivers a dazzling visual spectacle, it struggles to weave a cohesive narrative. The film leaves audiences with unanswered questions, with two planned sequels to address these mysteries. Despite its shortcomings, “Brahmastra” remains an important entry in Bollywood’s pursuit of cinematic grandeur.

7. Vikram Vedha: A Tale of Shadows and Morality

“Bollywood has a long-standing tradition of remaking successful Tamil movies, and “Vikram Vedha” is no exception. The Tamil thriller/cop drama, starring R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi, takes inspiration from the folk tale of Vikram-Betaal, where a king carries a spirit on his back and engages in thought-provoking conversations during their journey.

The Hindi remake features Saif Ali Khan as Vikram and Hrithik Roshan as Vedha. While the Tamil original captivated audiences with its gritty narrative and stellar performances, the Hindi version fails to replicate its success. Khan’s portrayal lacks the depth and authenticity of the original, while Roshan’s depiction struggles to match the charisma of a street hustler turned gangster.

For those interested in exploring the essence of “Vikram Vedha,” it’s recommended to watch the Tamil version to fully appreciate the film’s nuanced storytelling and the chemistry between Madhavan and Sethupathi.

8. Monica, O My Darling: A Charming Thriller with Retro Vibes

Directed by Vasan Bala, “Monica, O My Darling” pays homage to retro Bollywood and kung-fu films. The movie revolves around Jayant Ardhekar (Rajkummar Rao), a roboticist who finds himself entangled in a tale of sex, betrayal, and murder. Huma Qureshi shines as Monica, adding a touch of glamour and intensity to the film. Radhika Apte as ACP Naidu, a quirky cop, further elevates the movie’s entertainment value.

While “Monica, O My Darling” delivers a captivating and charming thriller experience, it occasionally neglects some supporting characters. Nevertheless, the film showcases Bala’s passion for cinema and his ability to create engaging narratives that resonate with audiences.

9. Bhediya: A Unique Blend of Horror and Comedy

“Bhediya” ventures into the realm of horror-comedy, a genre that has gained popularity in Bollywood in recent years. Directed by Amar Kaushik, known for his work in “Stree” and “Roohi,” the film follows Bhaskar Sharma (Varun Dhawan), a road construction contractor who discovers that he transforms into a beast every night after being bitten by a wolf.

Set in the picturesque landscapes of Arunachal Pradesh, “Bhediya” not only offers supernatural thrills but also addresses socially relevant themes such as environmental conservation and the casual racism faced by northeastern Indians. While the film embraces juvenile and scatological humor, it manages to entertain with its unexpected twists and turns.

10. Qala: Exploring Mother-Daughter Dynamics Through Song

Anvita Dutt, the writer-director behind the critically acclaimed “Bulbbul,” returns with “Qala,” a visually stunning film set in pre-Independence India. The movie delves into the complexities of a mother-daughter relationship, interwoven with soulful songs.

Tripti Dimri delivers a compelling performance as Qala, a talented singer haunted by her mother’s critiques. The film explores Qala’s journey to find her own voice and gain her mother’s approval. While “Qala” boasts breathtaking cinematography and an ethereal atmosphere, its one-note performances and lack of substantial character development limit its impact.

11. An Action Hero: When Bollywood Meets Real-Life Action

Ayushmann Khurrana takes on the role of Maanav, a beloved Bollywood action hero who finds himself embroiled in a real-life action-packed adventure. After a photo-op gone wrong, Maanav becomes a fugitive pursued by an elected official, Bhoora (Jaideep Ahlawat). The film expertly blends comedy, action, and social commentary as Maanav seeks to clear his name while evading Bhoora’s relentless pursuit.

Khurrana and Ahlawat deliver spirited performances, engaging in believable hand-to-hand combat and parkour sequences. “An Action Hero” offers a satirical take on Indian celebrities and the media landscape while providing thrilling entertainment for audiences.

Conclusion: A Year of Diverse Bollywood Cinematic Experiences

As we reflect on the best Bollywood movies of 2022, it becomes evident that the industry continues to evolve and explore diverse narratives. From tales of infidelity to queer love stories, from historical spectacles to dark comedies, Bollywood offers a wide range of cinematic experiences that cater to various tastes and preferences.

While some movies excelled in their storytelling and performances, others fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, each film contributed to the rich tapestry of Bollywood’s cinematic journey. As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming releases in the years to come, let’s celebrate the magic of Bollywood and its ability to captivate audiences worldwide.

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