Tag Archives: Delhi Safari

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2012

With only a few days remaining in 2012, it’s time to summarize the year in film. First up, my ten worst Hindi films of the year. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

There’s always room for unfunny comedies on my “Worst” lists, and 2012 produced some spectacularly bad ones in Housefull 2, Bumboo, and Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal.

Dramas like Department (which unintentionally veered into comedy territory) and Married 2 America also made the cut.

Some of the most disappointing films of 2012 were aimed at families with young children. Joker and Delhi Safari failed to appeal to both kids and adults alike.

A common thread among three of the worst films of the year is the cinematic treatment of violence against women, specifically sexual violence. The lead character in the revenge drama Hate Story is blamed for her own rape, pregnancy, and forced sterilization because she made the mistake of falling in love with an evil man who wanted to ruin her life.

In the inept horror movie Ghost, the torture and dismemberment of a woman named Mary Magdallen — a Biblical figure often portrayed as a prostitute — is depicted in vivid, lingering detail.

One film goes beyond just depicting women as victims deserving of mistreatment by men. It actually promotes a stalker and sex criminal to the status of hero. My Worst Bollywood Movie of 2012 is Ekk Deewana Tha.

Ekk Deewana Tha is so reprehensible because it thinks it’s a heartwarming romance about star-crossed lovers. In reality, the film’s hero, Sachin (Prateik) should be jailed for what he does to the object of his desire, Jessie (Amy Jackson). Jessie repeatedly tells Sachin not to pursue her romantically, which he does by tailing her to work and following her around their apartment complex. As in real life, Jessie’s reasons for telling him to back off are immaterial. “No” means no, or at least it should.

At one point when they are alone in a train compartment, Sachin kisses Jessie despite her objections. Why? Because she was just so pretty that he couldn’t help himself.

Ekk Deewana Tha has been the leading contender for my worst film of the year for a long time, but it’s even more appalling in light of the fact that an Indian gang-rape survivor is currently battling for her life in a Singapore hospital. (Update: the 23-year-old gang -rape victim has died.) The notion that men can take whatever they want from women without consequence — worse still, that a man’s ceaseless pursuit of an unwilling woman is somehow virtuous — needs to die. A meaningful first step is for Bollywood to stop making vile movies like Ekk Deewana Tha that turn rapists into heroes.

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2012

  1. Ekk Deewana Tha — Buy at Amazon
  2. Ghost — Buy at Amazon
  3. Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal — Buy at Amazon
  4. Delhi Safari — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  5. Joker — Buy at Amazon
  6. Hate Story — Buy at Amazon
  7. Married 2 America
  8. Department — Buy/rent at Amazon
  9. Bumboo — Buy at Amazon
  10. Housefull 2 — Buy/rent at Amazon

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Opening October 26: Ajab Gazabb Love

Two days after the opening of Chakravyuh, the Hindi romantic comedy Ajab Gazabb Love hits Chicago area theaters.

Ajab Gazabb Love opens on Friday, October 26, 2012, at the Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles and AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington. It has a listed runtime of 1 hr. 59 min.

Chakravyuh continues the run it began on Wednesday at both of the above theaters, as well as the AMC River East 21 in Chicago and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. Its runtime is listed as 2 hrs. 32 min.

After collecting $326,508 in its opening weekend in the U.S., Student of the Year gets a second week at all four of the theaters mentioned above. English Vinglish — with U.S. earnings of $1,670,773 so far — gets a fourth week at the Cantera 17 and South Barrington 30, which is also holding over OMG Oh My God for a fifth week.

Last weekend’s other new release, Delhi Safari, failed to earn a second week in theaters. After six weeks, Barfi! finally vacates area screens, with total U.S. earnings standing at $2,799,445.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Trivandrum Lodge (Malayalam) and the Telugu films Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu and Dhenikaina Ready.

Movie Review: Delhi Safari (2012)

0.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon

*Note: An English-language version of Delhi Safari will be released on December 7, 2012. This review covers the original Hindi-language version.

Bollywood isn’t known for making films specifically designed to appeal to children, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Delhi Safari, a wretched waste of time that insults moviegoers of all ages.

The most obvious criticism of the film is that it doesn’t look good. The animation quality is slightly above direct-to-video caliber. The character movements are so jerky you can practically see the physics engine that animated them.

Most of the backgrounds of the scenes are blurry and indistinct, presumably because the film released in India in 3D and the animators thought they could get away with it. My local theater only carried the movie in 2D, which emphasized every blurred face and fuzzy tree. Since many families will watch the movie at home on DVD or on cable television, it’s inexcusable to do the job halfway.

Of course, the obvious defense of the cheap-looking animation is that Indian studios operate on a fraction of the budget of a studio like Disney or Pixar, but many of the problems are stylistic choices. The animal lead characters have eerily human features like humanoid eyelids that render them grotesque (while the humans look like beings from The Sims). Combining creepy humanoid features with jerky movements lands the critters in the Uncanny Valley.

Sub-par animation could be forgiven if Delhi Safari‘s story was well told, but it’s not. There’s no sense of flow or pacing to the story. In order to keep costs down, the establishing elements of the story are rushed through. Within the first five minutes, we see a crying leopard cub, a flashback to the cub playing with his dad, and a song. By the end of those five minutes, the dad is dead.

The cub is Yuvi (Swini Khara), a young leopard whose jungle home is threatened by property developers. Yuvi, his mother, a bear, and a monkey make the journey from the greater Mumbai area to Delhi, kidnapping a talking parrot along the way to act as their spokesanimal in front of Parliament. Perhaps the film should’ve been named “The Road to Delhi,” as only the last ten minutes take place in the capital city.

Despite being a baby big cat, Yuvi is no Simba. Yuvi undergoes no character development, nor does he drive the story forward, apart from the occasions when his father’s ghost communicates with him from beyond the grave.

Often, the point of children’s cinema is to give kids a character they can relate to, a fellow young person who takes charge of his or her destiny in a way a real kid can’t. It’s inspirational escapism. In Delhi Safari, Yuvi just gets dragged along by the grown-ups around him. That’s the story of every day of a kid’s life, so why would any child want to sit through a movie where his on-screen avatar experiences more of the same?

The voice acting is okay, though I’m not sure what kind of accent Boman Irani’s rotund bear is meant to have. Govinda and Akshaye Khanna are entertaining as the monkey and parrot, respectively: antagonists who wind up being the main characters of the film. Govinda’s monkey also gets the lone funny moment in the film: when he goes to urinate in a field, there’s a “zip” sound effect, even though the monkey is naked.

Delhi Safari is a missed opportunity. The message of ecological responsibility is an important one that children readily understand and embrace. Much of the message is introduced through songs, but the version I watched didn’t subtitle any of the lyrics in English, even though songs make up about a third of the film’s ninety-minute runtime. A laudable message is no excuse for bad filmmaking.


Opening October 19: Student of the Year and Delhi Safari

Looks like my fears of a prolonged Bollywood drought were unfounded. Two new Hindi films open in Chicago area theaters on October 19, 2012. Getting the wider release of the two is director Karan Johar’s Student of the Year.

SOTY opens in five area theaters on Friday: AMC River East 21 in Chicago, Regal Gardens Stadium 1-6 in Skokie, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington, and Regal Cantera Stadium 17 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 30 min.

Also making its debut is the animated film Delhi Safari. Note that the version releasing this weekend is in Hindi, voiced by Indian actors like Akshaye Khanna and Boman Irani. Fandango‘s capsule description of the movie includes the information for the English-language version of the film releasing on December 7, featuring the voices of Jane Lynch and Cary Elwes.

Delhi Safari opens on Friday at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17. It has a runtime of 1 hr. 50 min. If you need added incentive to see the film, take a picture of your Delhi Safari ticket stub and you can win a $50 Toys R’ Us gift card.

The charming English Vinglish continues to perform well at the box office, having earned $1,405,758 in its first two weeks in U.S. theaters. It carries over for a third week at the Golf Glen 5, South Barrington 30, and Cantera 17.

The South Barrington 30 also holds over OMG Oh My God for a fourth week and Barfi! for a sixth, with is total U.S. earnings standing at $2,779,172.

Other Indian movies playing at the Golf Glen 5 this weekend include Cameraman Ganga Tho Rambabu (Telugu), Damarukam (Telugu), Maattrraan (Tamil), and Trivandrum Lodge (Malayalam).

The subtitled trailer for Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is out. The film — which stars Imran Khan and my girl crush, Anushka Sharma — releases theatrically on January 11.