Arjun Patiala by Rohit Jugraj
Diljit Dosanjh is one of the most likeable actors working today. There is an inherent honesty and a lack of artifice that connects whether he’s playing a superhero or a cop. It takes an actively bad movie to douse his exuberant presence. Arjun Patiala is that film. The culprit is an incoherent, lazy script that reduced even fine actors like Seema Pahwa and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub to buffoonery. I braved torrential Mumbai rains to see this film. And as I stood on the road, surrounded by swirling water, I thought – so this is how it ends, done in by nature and bad cinema. Diljit and I deserve so much better.
Saaho by Sujeeth
Saaho is the labyrinthine story of equally dimwitted cops and criminals. There are so many double identities and double-crosses that at least twice in the film, characters ask: what is going on? The film is essentially 50 shades of Prabhas. The Telugu superstar plays a charming lover but also the dangerous bad boy. There are also villains who make evil plans while taking pedicures and bubble baths. The budget of the film was a reported 350 crore but what we got was such a crashing bore that I amused myself by paying attention to the henchmen who were glaring and growling like their life depended on it. If anyone has figured out what actually happened in this film, do explain in the comments below.
Dabangg 3 by Prabhu Deva
Rogue cop Chulbul Pandey is arguably Salman Khan’s most memorable character. But what started out with such a bang with Dabangg in 2010 is now in imminent danger of going bust. Dabangg 3 is a mash-up of clichés from 80s movies including villains who kidnap women and then tie them up and hang them in mid-air. Salman, with his towering physicality and stylized mannerisms, tries to cater to his legions of fans but I think even they must have been disappointed by this recycled and utterly uninspired material.
Marjaavan by Milap Zaveri
Milap Zaveri prides himself on being a director for the masses. Marjaavan is designed as a masala entertainer with melodramatic heroes and villains and a virginal heroine who doesn’t speak – literally. There’s also a golden-hearted prostitute who echoes Zohrabai from Muqaddar Ka Sikandar. The film is old school in the worst sense of the word, so the men are in testosterone overdrive, the women are low IQ and the script is determinedly shoddy. Only Riteish Deshmukh, playing the vertically challenged baddie, seemed to be having fun.
Drive by Tarun Mansukhani
Why does a glossy heist film with A-list stars from the director of Dostana and the house of Dharma release directly on Netflix? Because it’s an absolute train-wreck. The film was perhaps conceived as Fast and Furious meets Ocean’s 11. The plot centres on hundreds of crores hidden in the Rashtrapati Bhavan by a corrupt government official. An infamous thief, only known as King wants to steal it. This could have been a fun popcorn entertainer but it’s a cat-and-mouse game played out like a cartoon. Drive sets a new standard for absurdity and amateur storytelling. It’s this year’s finest example of how not to make a film.