Film critics are an envied as well as a reviled bunch. They’re envied both for the access they get to the movies before ordinary viewers and for the space they get to impose their views on others. They’re reviled precisely for the same reasons—and the added fact that they are usually deemed to be wildly off the mark on almost every new release. Yet film reviewing is mostly dreary business, especially when the pickings are slim.

2011 hasn’t been one of the best in recent years. We present the low points and the highlights of yet another year of reviewing Bollywood.

WTF moments at the movies

No spark: Actor Shahid Kapoor in Mausam

Zero chemistry degree

There’s a tie between R. Madhavan and Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu and Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor in Mausam.

The dark horse prize

Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Sahib Biwi aur Gangster: a wicked, sexy story about fading royalty and flaming passions that saw Jimmy Shergill and Randeep Hooda in top form.

The ‘I’m Not There’ citation

Ranbir Kapoor in Rockstar

Woman of the year

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s Zoya Akhtar, for recognizing that female movie-goers need eye candy as much as males.

And the bravery medal goes to…

Kalki Koechlin, for appearing as the princess of disturbia in Shaitan, a nagging fiancée in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, an exploited masseuse in search of her father in That Girl in Yellow Boots and a lost waif in My Friend Pinto. Phew!

Scene stealers

Kalki Koechlin in Shaitan

The Perry Mason award of the year

Anurag Kashyap for defending Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar across social media, calling it the Pyaasa of our times, berating the dimwits and philistines who didn’t like the film, and generally plugging the movie more vigorously than he promoted his own That Girl in Yellow Boots.

‘You’ve Gotta Hand It To Him’ gong

Also goes to Anurag Kashyap, for daring to make That Girl in Yellow Boots in a year when the word offbeat was as welcome as intelligent.

Nandini Ramnath is the film critic of Time Out Mumbai (www.timeoutmumbai.net).

Write to Nandini at stallorder@livemint.com

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