Every year, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to bad films. So I always feel like I need to explain my list. For me the biggest disappointments are the films that have potential but squander it. Here's my list of the worst of 2018:
If you ask me which of these two was worse, I couldn't tell you. But I think Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se made me a little sadder because it featured all three Deols, who together have more than a 100 years of making movies. And here they are, clutching at straws, trying desperately to make us laugh. The charm is intact but the antics are so dated that you start to feel embarrassed for them. Bhaiaji Superhit also has Preity Zinta and Ameesha Patel adding to your pain with a whole new level of artificiality. I offer only one word of advice: reinvent.
The Race franchise is all about good-looking, greedy people killing each other in gorgeous locations. When we walk in, we know exactly what we are signing up for. But director Remo D'Souza and leading man Salman Khan un-raced Race. Instead they created, as Salman is rumoured to have said, a mash-up of Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! and Dhoom. So his character is talking about parivar and loyalty. And he only kills bad people, sometimes by flying to locations in a wingsuit. This film also featured the dialogue of the year, the one that launched a thousand memes – Our business is our business, none of your business. All I want in life is to be able to drop that line at a business meeting.
The fact that this film was a massive success is an indication of how deep misogyny runs in our country. Because Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is all about the bro-code and how women get in the way – even when they are perfectly sanskari like Sweety is. But Sonu hates her anyway and decides to break up the relationship. Which leads to a jaw-dropping climax at the wedding altar when Sonu asks Titu to choose and of course, he chooses his best mate and dumps his bride-to-be. Parts of this film were genuinely funny but most of it just made me cringe – especially the chartbusting song 'Bom Diggy Diggy' in which our leads are mock-playing drums on women's rear ends. I rest my case.
Satyameva Jayate is about a serial killer with a conscience – John Abraham plays Veer, an artist by day and avenging angel by night. Basically Veer is out to clean up the police force so he kills only corrupt cops in incredibly grotesque ways – he says, shapath li hai jinne khaki pehenne ka haq nahin unhe khaak mein milane ki. One sequence is set during Muharram so Veer gets to flagellate himself and beat a lecherous cop to pulp. There's blood everywhere. It's a twisted and dangerous brand of patriotism. Give me Milap's awful sex comedies any day.
If someone made a short film which had Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan casually chatting with each other, I would pay good money to see it. These are two of Hindi cinema's finest actors with a staggering body of work. So imagine the fireworks expected when the two finally came together onscreen. Except that this film seemed to not know what to do with them. So poor Mr. B was reduced to a mostly silent bodyguard. And Aamir overcompensated by incessantly talking and emoting. Thugs of Hindostan was designed as a fantastical, larger-than-life extravaganza. But what we got was a tiring parade of clichés. I'm still trying to figure out why the British were speaking with each other in Hindi. By the end, I felt as exhausted as Khudabaksh looked!