Worst Bollywood Movies of 2013

This is the sixth “worst movies of the year” post I’ve written, and every year the worst movies share the same problems: bad plot construction, unintentionally unlikable protagonists, and the reprehensible treatment of female characters. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Most of this year’s crop of bad movies have the standard problems, but I give credit to Zila Ghaziabad for making it onto the list for a whole new reason: failure to appreciate the strength of the Censor Board’s opposition to smoking.

While all Indian filmmakers know that scenes in which a character smokes are likely to be tagged with an onscreen warning that reads, “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health,” director Anand Kumar refused to capitulate in Zila Ghaziabad. As a result, the warning appears onscreen for nearly half of the movie. It’s so distracting that I’m almost convinced it was deliberate and that the whole movie is Kumar’s dig at the Censor Board.

Among movies that stunk in more conventional fashion, Bajatey Raho, Bullett Raja, and Fukrey were full of plot holes that never should’ve made it out of a first draft, let alone into a finished project. Fukrey wins bonus points for a racist scene in which a character refers to a group of black bodyguards as the “Chicago Bulls.”

I, Me aur Main and Ramaiya Vastavaiya were hampered by really, really unlikeable lead characters. Not to be outdone, Grand Masti featured not one, but three total jerks in leading roles. I’m awarding bonus points to Grand Masti for racism, sexism, and making a joke about gang rape.

Grand Masti wasn’t the only movie to try to make light of rape or treat it as a plot device. The threat of rape was used to provoke the male leads in R… Rajkumar and Himmatwala. Both movies try to make that case that a woman’s only defense against rape is a strong male family member or boyfriend.

As patronizing as that idea is, it’s still not as abhorrent as the violently sexist message of my worst film of 2013: 3G. This poorly written horror movie cites pornography as the primary reason romantic relationships fail, but never suggests that the problem lies with those who view porn. Instead, it explicitly blames the women who perform in porn (and implicitly blames any woman with a sex drive). Want to get rid of porn? Kill all the porn stars!

At the same time that the movie blames sexually active women for provoking the violence committed against them, directors Shantanu & Sheershak go out of their way to portray actress Sonal Chauhan as a sex object. The camera ogles her breasts and buttocks while she writhes around on the beach and on a kitchen island (something I’m guessing she doesn’t do for fun when she’s at home alone).

Shantanu & Sheershak fail to recognize their own hypocrisy. Who’s more responsible for Chauhan’s depiction as a sex object: Chauhan — a paid performer — or the men who told her what to do and how to pose, filmed her, paid her, and then counted on others to pay to watch what they filmed?

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2013

  1. 3G — Buy at Amazon
  2. Grand Masti — Buy at Amazon
  3. Himmatwala — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  4. Fukrey — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  5. Bullett Raja — Buy at Amazon
  6. R… Rajkumar — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  7. Ramaiya Vastavaiya — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Zila Ghaziabad — Buy at Amazon
  9. I, Me aur Main — Buy at Amazon
  10. Bajatey Raho — Buy at Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

15 thoughts on “Worst Bollywood Movies of 2013

  1. Shah Shahid

    A great sum up to Bollywood’s year in 2013. Insightful as always Kathy. With the exception of Bullett Raja & R… Rajkumar, none of these movies interested me enough to watch them. And as always, I’m grateful of you for confirming my reasons. Still watching the other two though. 😉

    1. Kathy

      Thanks, Shahid! Bullett Raja and R… Rajkumar are good ones to watch because you can tell how they would’ve been so much better with a few minor tweaks. Well, maybe major tweaks with Bullett Raja, but still… 😉

  2. Mansah

    I stumbled across your blog when Eros Now failed on some subtitles, and now I’m almost glad they did. It’s been really interesting reading your take on various Bollywood films, they’re generally thoughtful and thought-provoking and at times articulate some of my own thoughts, though I don’t agree with everything (which is all as it should be I guess 😀 ). I’m going to have to bookmark your site and hopefully come back here next time I’m in need of some useful reflections on a Bollywood flick!

    1. Kathy

      Thanks for the kind words, Mansah! Sorry to hear about the Eros Now subtitle failures, but I’m glad you found your way to Access Bollywood. 🙂 Look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

  3. ashokbhatia

    Great post. Luckily I was spared the agony of sitting through any of these. If you had to, my full sympathies. For me, the biggest disappointment of the year was Ram Leela.

    1. Kathy

      Thanks for the sympathy, Ashok. 😉 I really had high hopes for Bullett Raja, so that was my biggest disappointment.

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