Celebrating the Duds


The worst of Bollywood in 2010

Pic: Tees Maar Khan

Every year Bollywood churns out hundreds of movies and hundreds of them flop; only a handful of them get acceptance and are lauded by the viewers, and even fewer by the critics. Sometimes even the bad ones work at the box-office and nobody has any explanation for that, except maybe Sajid Khan as he manages to do that every time with his films (Heyy Babyy, Housefull). While the good ones will get felicitated at the multiple award ceremonies (the eternal optimist in me still believes in them a little bit); the bad ones are forgotten except by the financier or the distributor. This article is dedicated to the worst of Bollywood in 2010. Nobody really wants to make bad films or do bad work but maybe the filmmakers and actors learn something from these disasters.

Declaration: This column is the author’s expression of the pains he suffered by watching poorly made films, badly enacted scenes and other forms of torture deployed by the Bollywood-wallahs this year. The author payed through his nose to watch these films at expensive multiplexes and thinks that it is his right to give back. Should you disagree, please read no further; if you agree, do share your views on the worst of Bollywood in 2010.

RGV Ki Aag Memorial Award for the Worst Film: and the nominees based on the author’s personal views and a quick and dirty survey, are:

  • Anees Bazmee’s No Problem – Because the audience cannot be ‘Welcomed’ in ‘No Entry’ again and again
  • Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan – Because Khan Khan hota hai aur Kumar Kumar
  • Mani Ratnam’s Raavan – Because we had great expectations, Sir
  • Anurag Basu’s Kites – Because the controversy around the lead pair was more interesting than the film itself
  • Leena Yadav’s Teen Patti – Because you shouldn’t try to make desi ‘21’
  • Ken Ghosh’s Chance Pe Dance – Because the dancing was so bad
  • Sajid Khan’s Housefull – Because in reality Mr. Khan it is NOT your Titanic and you can NEVER make Avatar (Sajid Khan had compared Housefull to Titanic and promised Avatar on Komal Nahta’s show on ETC Channel)
  • Priyadarshan’s Aakrosh – Because if you can’t get it right then should leave Prakash Jha to make such cinema

And the award goes to Farah Khan for Tees Maar Khan. Recognition for ‘borrowing’ the story-line of an old, Italian flick (After the Fox, 1966) and ruining it with jokes that are not funny and scenes that are just randomly put together. However, I must mention the only good thing in the film – Katrina’s item song, ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’.

Click here to read full post that originally appeared on nowrunning.com



Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey


Good intentions may not result in a good film

Pic: Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions

Lagaan’s Bhuvan, Swades’ Mohan Bhargava, Jodhaa and Akbar are some of the most memorable characters seen in the Indian cinema in the last decade. All these characters were created and brought alive by the same man, Ashutosh Gowarikar who became one of the most sought after filmmakers because of these characters and films. This is where the director fails with his latest offering, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (KHJJS). The film’s screenplay is adapted by Gowarikar himself from the book, ‘Do and Die’ by Manini Chatterjee, which is based on the Chittagong (in Bengal) Uprising of 1930. KHJJS presents the facts and happenings that led to the historical incident and what happened after that. In trying to cover these events with so many characters, the filmmaker does not focus on a few leading ones and as a result you do not connect with any as a viewer. It is not that he does not set the context but he tries to do that with all the characters and there are over twenty-five of them.

If Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan) is the central character, then very little time is spent on building his story; it is revealed in the beginning that he is the leader of a freedom fighters’ group but in the rest of the film he just appears in between the sequences passing orders or looking somber. Kalpana Dutta (Deepika Padukone) is another revolutionary but again it seems that the director forgets about her in the middle of the film. If only some time was spent on developing these two characters, probably one would have related to them more. What kind of people were they; were they angry or scared or hurt at different occasions; all that is left to the viewers to decide. The uprising began with a group of sixteen teenagers approaching Surjya Sen to help them get their play-ground back, which the British soldiers had taken over. They want the freedom to play and in the bargain willing to help free Chittagong and the country. The first half of the film is all about introducing all these characters and them getting ready for the attacks on British establishments; the second half focuses on the attack and then what happens to each of the characters. Despite the two-hour fifty-five minute running time, the film does not do justice to any of them and makes for a tedious watch.   The good thing about the film is that not many people were aware of the Chittagong uprising and it has helped create that awareness; however as an entertainer the film does not work.

Performance wise, Abhishek and Deepika are very average and from the rest of the grown up supporting cast, only Vishakha Singh who plays Pritilata shines; Sikander Kher as Nirmal Sen is also fine except he doesn’t have many impactful scenes. The teenagers are very good and are the only ones you feel connected to, more because of their innocent motive and age.

Music by Sohail Sen is not very memorable and the only song you remember is the title track as that got played in the promos all the time. In the technical department also you do not see anything spectacular, cinematography is fine (Kiran Deohans) while editing is abrupt at times (Dilip Deo). Neeta Lulla’s costumes seem sponsored by a washing powder brand as they are very clean and white for the most part. Imagine a group of teenagers playing football and their dhotis stay absolutely white! However, in one scene you can notice a deliberate ink stain on Abhishek’s kurta as he is shown writing on his desk. The only thing that comes to your mind is, “Daag acche hain”. The dialogues are in flawless Hindi with the actors using a few odd Bengali words here and there and pronouncing ‘a’ as ‘o’ while taking names. Of course the film could not have been in Bengali keeping in mind the commercial aspect but at least their manner of speaking Hindi could have been adopted well. Maybe they really spoke good Hindi back then but am not aware so would not comment any further.

KHJJS is not what I’d like to remember Gowarikar for and like his last year’s disastrous film, What’s Your Rashee? I’d like to forget this one also.  I hope the director of Oscar nominated Lagaan comes back with a film worthy of this tag.

My rating: * * ½ Two and a half stars on five

– Shrey Khetarpal


What’s Your Raashee?


Interesting Concept, Poor Execution

Pic source: planetbollywood.com; courtesy: UTV, AGPPL
Pic source: planetbollywood.com; courtesy: UTV, AGPPL 

The other day I was complaining about people getting too cynical and therefore not being able to enjoy any movies. Whether it is Vishal Bhardwaj’sKaminey or Yash Raj Films’Dil Bole Hadippa’; fault-finders can never be satisfied. I will talk about that in another post but the point here is that even my eternal optimism for Bollywood did not allow me to enjoy Ashutosh Gowarikar’sWhat’s Your Raashee?’

What’s Your Raashee? (WYR) is about a Gujarati, NRI boy Yogesh Patel (Harman Baweja) who must marry in the next ten days in order to inherit his grandfather’s property and help his debt-stricken brother. He decides to meet a girl from each of the twelve zodiac signs in order to find his perfect life-partner. Over the next few days he meets girls (all characters played by Priyanka Chopra) ranging from a conscientious doctor to a dominating business woman; a wannabe model to a sexy micro-biologist; so on and so forth.

The plot is quite interesting but suffers from the classic case of poor execution. The screenplay is extremely repetitive, slow-paced and just not funny enough. As if the stories of twelve girls were not enough, the director decides to throw in silly sub-plots and characters which were not required at all. WYR ends up being a three and a half hour long film, which is not entertaining enough and has an even more disappointing climax.

Harman Baweja is quite likeable in the film despite some weird scenes he is made to do. In one scene he actually screams, “I am Yogesh Patel, 100% mard (man), no protein supplements”. I feel a bit sorry for the guy as with this film he has had a hat-trick of duds starting from ‘Love Story 2050 (Oh lord! I shudder at the thought of that one) and ‘Victory’ (I didn’t watch that one). Priyanka Chopra tries hard and delivers a good performance for most of the characters but is not convincing enough with a few. I do not even remember which character belongs to which zodiac except a few, which is not her fault but the writer’s.  Most of the characters are under-written and do not even get the scope due to a forced song for each.

Technically also, the film has nothing much to offer; editing tops the department that should have been more efficient (Ballu Saluja) but guess it is the director who likes his films long (remember ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Jodhaa Akbar’). Music by Sohail Sen (who is he?) is one of the weakest points in the film, as in a Bollywood rom-com you expect at least the music to be good. Nitin Chandrakant Desai, the art director manages to give the film a very Gujarati feel but at the end, it looks more like a TV serial (that too an Ekta Kapoor production).

WYR is a major disappointment, especially since it comes from the director of ‘Lagaan’, ‘Swades’ and ‘Jodhaa Akbar’; but everyone is allowed to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. I will still go back and watch the next Gowarikar film as I believe in his talent. However, I sincerely hope he would be a little less arrogant at the next year’s award ceremonies 😉

My Rating: * * Two stars (on five)

Shrey Khetarpal