Sunday, June 5, 2011

Most Overrated Bollywood Films

By Anant Mathur (June 05, 2011)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen the following films continue at your own risk:
Housefull, Krrish, Jab We Met, Dhoom 2, Chachi 420, Chak De India, Dostana, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mother India, Aisha, Memento, Kal Ho Naa Ho.

A good story is something that starts at one point and ends up in a completely different place. If a story starts at one point and comes back full circle, what was the point? In the film Aisha for example, it starts with a wedding, the moment the sequence started I said, I bet this will end with a wedding - that's how I knew it was going to be lame and I was right! If a film ends up where it starts, you just wasted 2.5 hours of the audiences time and there was no growth in the story. An example of a movie where you can see growth very easily is Memento. We are given a character who can't remember anything - this makes him seem weak at best, but as the story progresses and he learns more about what has happened he becomes stronger, to the point where he's able to take charge of his life and get his revenge.

In this post I wish to tell you about some Bollywood films I feel are overrated. Although some of these films fared well at the box office initially their content is not solid enough to consider them among the best since they lack repeat value. Watching them more than once actually hurts the brain.

Housefull (2010)
Director: Sajid Khan
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal, Ritesh Deshmukh, Lara Dutta

Many people, espcially Akshay Kumar, would have you believe that Housefull was a box office success but the truth of the matter is... a film that costs the distributors 60 crores (Budget+Prints+Publicity) and gives them returns of less than 45 crores can't be considered a success in any part of the world. Housefull is one of the least funny films I have ever seen, I think I laughed maybe once at most and I wouldn't even call that a laugh, it was more a chuckle. There's no originality in the film what so ever, every joke in the film has been done thousands of times in the past. Forget the lack of creativity, some films are enjoyable even if they're rip-offs of others because they entertain, but Housefull doesn't even do that, it just leaves you disgusted and wondering how Sajid Khan is allowed to make films.

Krrish (2006)
Director: Rakesh Roshan
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha, Naseeruddin Shah

Just because it's the first Superhero film to come out of India doesn't mean it has to be horrible. If comic books and Superhero films didn't exist, I could understand a film like Krrish. But we live in a world where thousand of Issues of comic books are released yearly and a variety of Superheroes come alive on the silver screen each year - not to mention the classics made in the 70s and 80s. If Bollywood writers aren't experienced in writing a Superhero films they shouldn't be scripting them. It takes a lot of knowledge and not merely super powers to make a superhero story come alive. You have to be passionate about comic books and this genre. Superheroes are probably the most complex and multi-dimensional characters. In Krrish we are only shown the story of Krrish there's nothing else, from what I saw there's no difference between Krrish and the numerous Cop films made in Bollywood, Krrish could just as well been a Police Officer - there's no real conflict. There needs to be an underlying motif or theme which effects the hero to put on a certain costume they don't just pick up a mask at a circus, save a kid from a fire and become super - firemen do this everyday! When I read or watch Superman, Spiderman, Batman or X-men I see the main character in conflict plus the stories of many other characters who may not be present but their essence and importance can be felt throughout the story. There's a back story which explains why the main character becomes a superhero and circumstances which cause them to get their powers and use them for good and not evil. Why doesn't Krrish just rob a bank and help his friend save his sister? Why is he good?

Jab We Met (2007)
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Shahid Kapur, Kareena Kapoor, Pawan Malhotra, Dara Singh, Kiran Juneja

As love stories go, this film will never appear on any of my list accept perhaps the worst love stories of all time. I hate it when a filmmaker fails to communicate with the audience - JWM suffers from this in abundance. What is the point of stretching a story for almost 2.5 hrs when it could've been told in 10 minutes, all you end up doing is copying other films to extend your story. How I wish Bollywood filmmakers would learn to write short films before they start with full length feature - writing short films teach you how to tell a story quickly and gives you the ability to see what prospect a story has (if it should be a short film or has the possibility to be feature length). I would rather that they tell 10 short stories in 2.5 hours than bore us with a 2.5 hrs story that could have been told in 10 minutes.

Dhoom 2 (2006)
Director: Sanjay Gadhvi
Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Uday Chopra

As exciting as this film was to watch I can tell you exactly where each and every frame of this film is copied from, it's one of the most unoriginal action films ever made. But again, it's a Yashraj film, so one expects no originality here. Will we ever get a Bollywood action film which doesn't have stunts copied frame by frame from an Hollywood film?

Chachi 420 (1997)
Director: Kamal Hassan
Starring: Kamal Hassan, Tabu, Om Puri, Amrish Puri

I know a lot of people who love this Mrs. Doubtfire remake, but I for one can't stand it. I think this film is watchable once but not more than that. For some reason though it's constantly on TV. Even the original (Mrs. Doubtfire) is no great film, it's worth watching once, but there's no repeat value.

Chak De India (2007)
Director: Shimit Amin
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Vidya Malvade, Sagarika Ghatge, Chitrashi Rawat

As sports films go this one certainly leaves a lot to be desired. I love good sport films, I have seen hundreds of them, this one makes a mockery of a great genre. I know Bollywood filmmakers have started to delve in different genres, but until you understand a genre and what is required, please stay away from it. You can't  make a sport film unless you know everything about the said sport or at least have done the required research - sadly, as with most Indian films, it's obvious that not an ounce of research went into making this film, it's a childish attempt at best as the film tries to capture the excitement we felt while watching the cricket match in Lagaan, but fails miserably.

Dostana (2008)
Director: Tarun Mansukhani
Starring: Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham, Bobby Deol, Kirron Kher

As sex comedies go this one is alright - but I still feel it got too much attention. It's a one time watch and doesn't deserve the attention it received.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
Director: Karan Johar
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Salman Khan, Neelam, Anupam Kher

It may be Karan Johar's first and most beloved film but it's not one of my favourites. I actually feel KJO's best is Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (his worst Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna). The only saving grace of this film is Kajol's performance.

Mother India (1957)
Director: Mehboob Khan
Starring: Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar

I personally think Mother India is one of the most terrible films to come out of Bollywood. It's certainly no classic. Mother India was filmmaker Mehboob Khan's remake of his own 1940 film Aurat. This rural story may have touched the hearts of millions in the 40s and 50s - it was a different era. Some films work in the period when they are released and can't stand the test of time, Mother India is one of them. If Mother India were to release today, and not in 1957, it would be a box office failure.

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
Director: Nikhil Advani
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Sonali Bendre

The only saving grace of this film is it's editing - without it's crisp editing techniques Kal Ho Naa Ho wouldn't have had the success it did. Barring that the story has very little to offer and gets predictable after a short time. The songs of this film have been so overplayed that even they get annoying now.

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said...

this is absolute nonsense... chak de india!!! Kuch kuch hota hai!!! and kabhi alvida na kehna KJo,s worst???? Oh pls... that's his most sensibl movie..

Anant Mathur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anant Mathur said...

You're entitled to your opinion as am I. If you want to see a good movie watch "Dodsworth (1936)" which is where KJo stole Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna from. Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna was a good idea but badly executed. Right at the start you're told that Shahrukh has signed a multi million dollar contract and then it's shown that he's relying on his wife to support him. Your KJo doesn't even know how sports contract work. If you've signed a contract you don't become a pauper because you get hurt. He wasn't in India. UK and North America have different rules for sports contracts. the film is full of idiotic things like this. There are lots of films that have been re-made in Hindi and quite a few of them are very good this isn't one of them. And if you liked Chak De India you obviously haven't seen many sports films or films in General.