Another year has gone by, and as always, the days just seem to whiz past. Personally for me, 2019 wasn’t much different in the overall sense except for events towards the second half of the year.
In fact, just like the last such post I’d written 3-4 years ago, there weren’t enough experiences as I’d have liked to make a really comprehensive list, but here are some of them anyway. Referring to them as “favourites” instead of “best” :p
Didn’t read too many books published this year, and frankly, was expecting Edward Snowden’s autobiography, “Permanent Record” to be the best of the year, but it was somewhat underwhelming. “From Bombay With Love” by Dishoom (the restaurant in the UK) was the surprise package of the year, and I enjoyed the book. It is peppered with some interesting anecdotes, recipes and photographs, mostly landmark areas around South Bombay (also my favourite part of the city).
Ford v Ferrari
In a year that saw the release of superb movies like Joker, Avengers: Endgame, The Irishman, Uncut Gems – all of which I watched, I’d have to say that my favourite movie of the year was Ford v Ferrari – and not just because I’m an F1 fan otherwise. The true-life story revolves around Ford’s plan to defeat Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France, the ultimate endurance test for both man and machine.
The main protagonists are American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale). I thought the movie was made beautifully with good attention to detail, and the actors seemed quite suited for their respective roles.
As expected, there were several creative liberties and embellishments, but overall, the movie sticks to true events. This is particularly so in the actual race, such as issues with the door of Miles’ car, as well as the bizarre race finish. In India of course, there was a stupid controversy with the Censor Board deciding to blur the images of glasses with alcohol, causing some scenes to look ridiculous.
Best Movie (Hindi)
Article 15 is a part of the Indian Constitution which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. The movie draws from some real-life incidents (which is quite common now) and is hard, gritty and dark as expected.
Ever since Vicky Donor was released, I’ve enjoyed watching movies of Ayushmann Khurrana. Unfortunately, his performances from those days till 2016/17 or so were full of promise but didn’t really fulfill the expected potential. However, in the past couple of years, he has delivered hit after hit and importantly, in roles and movies that have broken the conventional mold, from Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan to Andhadhun, Bala etc.
Best Music Album (English)
I’ve mentioned earlier that I’ve been a fan of Warren Mendonsa’s Blackstratblues since 2009, when I heard ‘The New Album‘, and live at the NH7 Weekenders from 2010-2012, and was eagerly waiting for the latest album to drop. It was released on 12-Sep, Warren’s 40th birthday. This is a lovely album with 8 tracks, and surprise, opens with a snippet from his 3 yr old daughter in the first track, “Tiny Bit of Sky”. I’ve enjoyed listening to the album the past few months, and this is an evolution from his early days. You can buy it from the link above or stream it on Apple Music and Spotify.
Best TV Show
Some superb shows as always and some disappointments too (none bigger than the final season of Game of Thrones, after the build-up all these years). Among the ones I watched this year, I liked “Chernobyl” – an account of the nuclear disaster that struck in 1986. Some fantastic attention to detail about the ’80s Soviet era, as well as the predictable creative liberties and bloopers – some of which didn’t go down well with the scientific community and even the Russian government. There was a bit of buzz online about the Chernobyl font too, with multiple threads on Reddit. A lot of folks said Succession was fantastic, but I haven’t watched Season 2 yet, so can’t comment.
Each of these deserves an individual post with a proper review which I shall attempt once I shake off this laziness and update the blog more regularly. Which were your favourites of 2019? Drop a line in the comments 🙂