This has been a great year for Bollywood. Anyone who disagrees simply hasn’t been paying attention - we were served gems like Naughty @ 40, Chitkabrey, United Six, FALTU and U R My Jaan. I’ve sifted through the cinematic garbage can to put together this list of the worst. I’m not talking low budget Harinam Singh and Kanti Shah fare – one normally expects those to be bad. I’m talking studio-championed, moderate-to-big-budget stinkers with big marketing and moolah behind them.
These aren’t the hand grenades - these are the atom bombs whose explosions of awfulness were too big to ignore. It is very difficult to rank these suckers in any meaningful order, because they are all terrible in their own unique and special way. So here they are, listed in order of craptasticness:
15 - Turning 30
Turning 30 is an insultingly uninspired chick-flick fodder - one of those throw-everything-at-the-screen-and-see-if-anything-sticks movies. Starring Gul Panag and Purab Kohli, the film showcases a roaring void of talent, as very little that any character says or does has the slightest connection to any known reality. I cannot overstate this – Turning 30 has no plot. Nothing interesting occurs in it at any point. By making a film whose only conceivable purpose is to infuriate, debutant director Alankrita Shrivastava effortlessly turns her producer-uncle Prakash Jha’s money into big-studio diarrhea.
14 - Ragini MMS
A couple attempts to spend a naughty night at a farmhouse, and a nauvari saree-clad Marathi ghost ruins the boyfriend’s plan of shooting a dirty picture. Sounds absolutely terrifying right? I’m shaking uncontrollably just thinking about it. Ragini MMS is a gigantic, rubbery wad of badness. The film boasts a treasure trove of bad acting, plotting likely to cause seizure, lame scenes of titillation and pathetic attempts at making a house scary. I say double-bill this bad boy with Phoonk 2 and call it a night.
13 - Aarakshan
With Aarakshan, director Prakash Jha demonstrates the most unscrupulous technique of filmmaking - it involves no ingenuity, creativity or logic. The more you wait for the plot to reduce the characters' problems to a hill of beans, the more this movie starts to make you feel cheap. Aarakshan consists of a chain of events that leads to most characters taking staggeringly stupid decisions for other worldly plans of action. The dubious plotting makes for an unintentional farce that hilariously carries a socially relevant message for modern India.
12 - Rascals
A good comedy has frilly things like an interesting plot, well-drawn characters, funny jokes, comic timing, talented direction, narrative coherence, good music. Wait, you actually were expecting all that stuff in Rascals? Wow, look at Mr. High Maintenance over here. I don’t know what to tell you, diva. Go watch a Krzysztof Kieślowski film or something.
11 - Loot
Anyone who has heard of this movie - or worse yet, seen the film – can testify for it being an unmitigated disaster. Joining the pantheon of legendarily dreadful movies, Loot is a film so awful that it killed both director Rajneesh Thakur and Govinda’s film careers. Of course we should thank co-stars Mimoh, Sunil Shetty, Javed Jaffery, Ravi Kissen and Mika, the repository of ham acting that they are, for making Loot a comprehensively unpleasant experience for all audiences.
10 - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
One expects entertaining stuff from the makers of Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Rock On and Luck by Chance. But despite being a 60-crore bonanza, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, is spectacularly inept on almost every possible level. The Akhtars once again work their signature brand of ultra-stylish, but the plot points here are lazy and painfully unfunny. Director Zoya Akhtar carefully sets up a powder keg of conflicting relationships, but instead of building the story, she opts for a series of music videos. The trio of Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol sleepwalk in a story so numbingly uninteresting it makes you want one of those Hollywood-spy instant-death pills. And thanks to the gorgeous Spanish locales, watching this movie feels like walking into a fancy restaurant and being served a dead mouse.
9 - Luv Ka The End
A byproduct of professional hacks Y-Films, Luv Ka The End was up against a doozy of an obstacle from the start: IT TRIED TO MAKE SHRADDHA KAPOOR FUNNY. The funniest thing here was Archana Puran Singh’s visible addiction to Botox. It doesn’t help that the script is crap, the actors are lackluster and that the music is thoroughly ghastly. If you go around insisting Luv Ka the End is a valuable and entertaining film, people are going to think you're insane.
8 - Kuchh Luv Jaisaa
Kuchh Luv Jaisaa is the tipping point that signals the moment where Indian women finally stopped paying to see themselves look stupid on the big screen. Shefali Shah and Rahul Bose ham to the hilt in a sloppy script that glows with dialogue like ‘Nail polish is like a friend, aur ek friend hi to chahiye sabko’. It’s hard to root for Shah’s character because she comes across as a relentless fool - you want her to be collared and humiliated for being an epic moron.
7 - Not A Love Story
Not A Love Story makes you beg Ram Gopal Varma to keep his dirty, money-grubbing, privileged hands off all kinds of film genres. His influence here can be felt in every dull, nauseatingly perverted frame as the camera hovers around Mahie Gill’s bare thighs and peeks up her skirt. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for RGV’s Department, but I’m sure he has managed to mess that one up too.
6 - Murder 2
Shamelessly plagiarized from the magnificent Korean film The Chaser, the odious Murder 2 features Jaqueline Fernandez as a vaguely human organism being stalked by a guy who wears women’s makeup and looks like he just stepped off a Rampat Harami parody episode of Silence of the Lambs. He’s obsessed with her even though she doesn’t seem to possess a modicum of either sex appeal or personality. And to satiate his frustrations he kills a bunch of women and dumps them in a well. If I were one of the cops on the scene I’d be less worried about the stalker than the fact that the victims appear to have freshly scrubbed bodies despite being killed months earlier. This isn’t a thriller, it’s a three hour-long lobotomy of those who dare to watch it.
5 - Game
When Bollywood makes a mess, it makes a HUGE mess. Game isn’t just a trainwreck - it pummels the train off the rails, sets it on fire and kills everyone onboard. This poor excuse of a murder mystery is spectacular only in the sense that its stars Abhishek Bachchan and Kangana Ranaut make spectacles of themselves. The film is rife with hilariously bad whodunit clichés, plotholes and characters like the International Police who’re as earth-shatteringly stupid as possible. The big kahani me twist is so ham-fisted you expect Porky the Pig to make an appearance. Fortunately director Abhinay Deo redeemed himself later this year with Delhi Belly.
4 – Ra.One
The most expensive Bollywood movie ever makes even atheists want to storm Buddhist monasteries to find an oasis of serenity. Ra.One contains such high quality humour as scantily clad Chinese babes named Iski Lee, Uski Lee & Sabki Lee; and a male security guard who licks his lips at the sight of SRK’s pierced nipples. Curly-haired Shahrukh Khan’s hysterically bad acting reaches its zenith in what is supposed to be his pivotal, emotional scene. He later whimpers and mewls like a little girl and proceeds to grab Arjun Rampal by the crotch, making what is already an embarrassing movie even more unwatchable. Not even Kareena Kapoor, who looks aggressively stupid and blissfully unaware of it while driving a Mumbai local train, could save this mess.
3 - Ready
Ready is a Salman Khan film that justifies traveling back in time to pre-emptively kill Salim Khan. Ready is not a movie – it is an object of pity and derision. As directed by Anees Bazmee with his characteristic disregard for common sense, this is bad even by the standards of Z-grade Hindi cinema. Every third joke here is self-referential, from naming Salman’s own films to punchlines of dozens of ads. The remainder of the comedy includes avante garde stuff like kids taking off their knickers and peeing on peoples’ faces. A zoo monkey could come up with a more intelligent script than this – that too by just by doodling on the walls of his cage with his own stool that he'd been eating off the floor.
2 - Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge
I kind of love Y-Films. They’re blowhard, publicity whores, unbelievably delusional, and utterly incompetent as a quality film studio, but they’re unapologetic about it. And there’s something endearing about that. I mean, anyone who has the balls to publicly call film critics as idiots is actually sort of heroic when you think about it. Yes, their films are truly horrendous, but at the same time they’re so bad there’s something almost transcendent about them. They are Bollywood’s Ed Wood. Ultimately Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, by virtue of its go-for-broke, awesomely inept atrociousness, will be remembered long after Y-films’ middle-of-the-road stinkers like Virus Diwan will have faded from our collective memory.
1 - Mausam
I’m at a loss for words about what else I could possibly say about Mausam to deter anyone from watching it. Everything about it is terrible. The longer it went on, the more I hated it. Mausam is the only film in the history of cinema that should be declared a health hazard. To watch it, you need Fevi Kwik glue since it is the only thing that will keep your eyes from rolling repeatedly at the hoary clichés. Shahid Kapoor in an IAF suit is surpassed in apparent foolishness only by the hideously fake CGI plane that shames the special effects used in 1967’s Wahaan ke log. I do not recall ever laughing at anything the film intended as funny. But I did laugh occasionally at its clumsiness. My favorite example of Mausam’s idiocy was the climax when Shahid Kapoor rescues a white horse and a kid atop a Ferris wheel with his paralysed hand. If it had all been on purpose, Mausam would have gone down as one of the greatest comedies of all time.
Dishonorable Mentions: Thank You, Bheja Fry 2, Chatur Singh 2 Star and Mere Brother ki Dulhan.