Best of the Worst

 

Best of the Worst

Taking stock of the most nerve-racking films that released this year

By Khalid Mohamed

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Published: Fri 20 Dec 2013, 2:01 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:31 PM

It’s that time of the year when one is delighted as well as dumbfounded by Bollywood’s harvest. In terms of quantity, there was absolutely no let-up, with a regular rate of two new films hitting the multiplexes every week. In terms of quality, 2013 indicated a galloping deterioration though, what with screenplays becoming thoroughly ragbag. In an alarming number of films, logic, good taste and technical finesse were conspicuous by their absence.

With a few notable exceptions, the bulk of the Hindi language films were downright vulgar and crude. Niceties in dialogue and lyrics are fast becoming extinct.

Moreover, the monopolistic star system has intensified. Just a fistful of male actors guarantee decent funding from the corporate film production banners as well as the established film empires, currently being led by Yash Raj Films.

Fortuitously, film reviewers can still resort to that annual tradition of exorcising the unredeemingly awful experiences from their system. Many films are beneath discussion — they were that nightmarish — but there are some which left you shaken and stirred crazy. Here then is a compilation — purely subjective, of course — of the Top Ten Worst films of the year.

1. Himmatwala: Directed by the brash Sajid Khan, this retread of the 1983 
Jeetendra-Sridevi entertainer was anything but entertaining. Sure, dances atop earthen pots and the slapstick humour of the original were replicated but extremely tackily. Ajay Devgn and newcomer 
Tamannah were out of sorts completely. So, when this brain-curdler tanked, for once Sajid Khan the Remakewala didn’t pooh-pooh the critics. Mercifully, he didn’t go on record to say, who-cares-about-the-audiences either.

2. Zanjeer: Another remake, another disaster. Director Apoorva Lakhia, never associated with coherence, scored a duck with this insult to the Amitabh Bachchan 1973 original. Result: wannabe Bachchan, Ram Charan, had to return home red-faced to Hyderabad. Priyanka Chopra returned to the American recording studios to complete a music album which never seems to get over. Moral of the story: let Bachchan’s vintage hits be. Unless, of course, you’re a Shah Rukh Khan who can pull off two Don acts, and Hrithik Roshan who can give a fresh spin to Bachchan’s gruff-voiced act in Agneepath.

3. Bullet Raja: Saif Ali Khan affirmed that he can’t click as a solo action hero. After the tedious Agent Vinod, in which he strived to be good old James Bond, here his attempt to be a 40-plus unemployed ‘youth’ who takes to the guns, items girls and vendetta was a major downer. Besides the Khan’s market equity, the credentials of director Tigmanshu Dhulia — fêted widely for Paan Singh Tomaar — are also suspect now. Dhulia’s great when he opts for the realistic mode, but was ghastly on flying off into an implausible, star-dependent fantasy.

4. Besharam: Overconfidence kills. Abhinav Kashyap, after making grandiose statements on the heels of Dabbang, ended up cooking an unappetising potboiler about a thief who must retrieve the heroine’s brand-new car. Much brouhaha about nothing really. The sequences catching the banter between Rishi and Neetu Kapoor were fun, but son Ranbir Kapoor may well suffer from a permanent memory loss on this one, which should have either been reshot, or scrapped at its inception.

5. R…Rajkumar: Can you imagine Shahid Kapur bashing up a thousand hefty Hercules-like opponents? Even if one were to suspend disbelief, this senseless saga about a do-gooder who combats opium mafia lords was stacked with ear-blasting music, garish costumes flaunted by Sonakshi Sinha, and anything-goes direction by Prabhu Deva. Indeed, the dance-wonder-turned-director from Chennai will have to rethink his moves after this calamity, as well as a lacklustre love story titled Ramaiya Vastavaiya.

6. Issaq: Yet another riff on Romeo and Juliet, the Manish Tiwary-misdirected head-banger has virtually wiped out its Indian Romeo, Prateik Babbar, from the Bollywood map. A pity that, because Prateik is as good or as bad as any of the new heroes on the block nowadays.

7. Ghanchakkar: The title translates as Madcap. And despite the presence of the widely-adored Emraan Hashmi — exhorted by his aggressive wife (Vidya Balan, disappointing) to take to crime — the outcome was a baffler. Rajkumar Gupta, the director of the outstanding No One Killed Jessica, reduced the intended comedy to the kind of sub-mediocre stuff which compels the viewer to squirm in their seat.

8. Grand Masti: Vivek Oberoi, Riteish Deshmukh and Aftab Shivdasani cracked sexist jokes and indulged in toilet humour, thanks to director Indra Kumar leaving no stone unturned in apeing 
Hollywood’s adult comedies. It clicked at the cash counters, sure, but then bad movies which titillate the audience can luck out.

9. Chashme Buddoor: David Dhawan mangled the 1981 classic about three buddies besotted by the same girl, without so much as a by-your-leave from the original’s writer-director Sai Paranjpye. Upset, Paranjpye took the matter to court. A verdict is still pending.

10. Rajjo: Last but not the least nerve-jangling, this vanity show for Kangana Ranaut presented her as a modern-day Umrao Jaan who marries an immature schoolboy, immediately invoking the wrath of politicians and bar club proprietors. Amateurishly directed by an Indian administratative officer, Vishwas Patil, it induced viewers — of which there weren’t many — to sink into deep slumber.

Here’s hoping then, that filmmakers wake up in the coming year, and aspire for cinema which isn’t a waste of the ticket-buying public’s time, money and, above all, patience.



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