Tag Archives: The Xpose

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2014

While I felt that there were more good Bollywood movies than bad released in 2014, the year did produce some truly awful Hindi films. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Some primarily suffered from poor story construction. In Jai Ho, Salman Khan inexplicably goes on a violent rampage when people fail to embrace his “pay it forward” scheme, resulting in Suniel Shetty plowing through traffic in a tank. Another Khan film — Kick — makes even less sense, as Khan transforms from a dopey slacker into Robin Hood overnight, and none of the supposedly intelligent characters in the film realize it’s him. Koyelaanchal‘s disorganized plot is a problem, but not as big a problem as its multiple flashbacks from the perspective of a baby.

I often write about gender issues in my reviews, so it’s no surprise that many of the worst movies of the year portrayed women negatively. The Xpose is essentially a morality lecture for women delivered by writer-actor-composer Himesh Reshammiya. According to Super Nani, a woman’s only real asset is her beauty, even if she’s old enough to be a grandmother.

A few lousy 2014 movies actually fancy themselves as socially progressive, even though they aren’t. Kaanchi inaccurately characterizes the heroine’s personal revenge as representative of a youth uprising against systemic corruption. The hero of Heropanti denounces arranged marriage while simultaneously affirming a father’s right to choose his daughter’s husband. Daawat-e-Ishq — the most disappointing Hindi film of 2014, given the quality of its cast and crew — depicts men as the real victims of dowry tradition.

The delightfully inept Karle Pyaar Karle could have been a perfect “so bad, it’s good” movie, were it not for a racist subplot. The movie’s heroine is threatened with forced marriage to a dark-skinned African man, a character introduced solely to represent the worst fate imaginable for an Indian woman. The hero and heroine use racial slurs, and the heroine’s mother proposes suicide for herself and her daughter as a way to avoid the marriage. It’s an offensive and frustrating end to an otherwise unintentionally hilarious movie.

The absolute worst Hindi movie of 2014 combines the shortcomings of the other films on the list and multiplies them exponentially. That film is the loud and tacky Humshakals. Offensive jokes are aimed at almost every group except straight Indian men, with director Sajid Khan’s preferred target being overweight women. As one can infer from the female characters Khan wrote for the movie, his ideal woman is a brainless sex object.

Unlike Karle Pyaar Karle, there’s nothing funny about Humshakals, intentional or unintentional. It’s a cynical film, pandering to the basest prejudices of the lowest common denominator. Sajid Khan writes the mean-spirited jokes he does because he thinks he can get away with them. It’s time for not only the audience but members of the industry to tell him that we deserve better.

Worst Hindi Movies of 2014

  1. Humshakals — Buy at Amazon
  2. Karle Pyaar Karle
  3. Kick — Buy at Amazon
  4. Koyelaanchal — Buy at Amazon
  5. Heropanti — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes
  6. Jai Ho — Buy at Amazon
  7. Daawat-e-Ishq — Buy at Amazon or iTunes
  8. Super Nani — Buy/rent at iTunes
  9. The Xpose — Buy at Amazon
  10. Kaanchi: The Unbreakable — Buy/rent at Amazon or iTunes

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Movie Review: The Xpose (2014)

TheXposePoster1 Star (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

When film composer Himesh Reshammiya wrote the screenplay for The Xpose (also written as The Xposé, but pronounced without the accent), did he realize the character he created for himself to play was such a jerk?

If not, it points to a serious difference in the way Reshammiya interprets characters versus the way the audience does. This is important, given the moral assumptions present in The Xpose. If Reshammiya didn’t realize he was writing a loathsome protagonist, he probably also didn’t realize how condescending and paternalistic The Xpose is.

The framework for Reshammiya’s lecture on morality is a Bollywood murder mystery set in 1968 (“Inspired by real incidents,” according to onscreen text at the start of the film). The movie opens with an actress named Zara (Sonali Raut) falling to her death at an award show after-party. Her final swan dive is replayed a number of times throughout the narrative, complete with “splat” sound effects.

For twenty minutes, Irrfan Khan — whose character is totally unnecessary — introduces the audience to the main suspects in Zara’s death: sleazy film composer KD (rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh); his wife, Shabnam; rival actress Chandni (Zoya Afroz); Chandni’s boyfriend, actor Virman; Chandni’s director, Bobby Chadda; Zara’s director, Subba Prasad (Anant Mahadevan, who also directed The Xpose); and ex-cop-turned-superstar-actor, Ravi (Reshammiya).

Ravi is smug and annoying. His diva behavior on a movie set includes refusing makeup — “God took care of that” — and making up his own lines: “Whatever I say becomes the script.” Instead of shaking hands with his co-star, Virman, Ravi pats him on the cheek like a child.

Ravi’s condescension extends into his romantic life as well. He falls in love with Chandni while rescuing her from a fire (the point of the rescue attempt actually being to prove his manly superiority to Virman). Ravi shows his interest by chastising Chandni for smoking cigarettes and kissing her on the forehead. If he wants to be her boyfriend, why does he act like he’s her dad?

He’s downright nasty to Zara, calling her a whore and sneering at her clothes. After she dies, Ravi tells Chandni that Zara had it coming.

Normally, it’s unfair to equate an actor’s offscreen self with the part he or she is playing. But Himesh Reshammiya wrote the part of Ravi for himself, and his father, Vipin, produced The Xpose. Since Ravi is supposed to be cool — and not the douchebag he actually is — one can’t help but wonder if the character is a window into Reshammiya’s own ego and views on gender.

Reshammiya’s blindness regarding his protagonist results in an unintentionally hilarious climax in which Ravi takes control of a courtroom, against every rule of law. The judge pardons one suspect and convicts another on the spot, almost entirely on Ravi’s word. It’s so stupid that it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

Put aside the fact that the courtroom sequence isn’t remotely realistic. No one wants to turn over complete moral and legal authority to a man who — in response to Bobby Chadda’s statement that he doesn’t fear bloodshed — issues this threat: “The blood in your body won’t match what I pee once in a day.”

The quality of the acting in The Xpose is on par with the quality of the writing. Reshammiya is bland. The two female leads are dull, only showing sparks when asked to catfight in strapless dresses that threaten to fall off at any moment (they don’t).

Yo Yo Honey Singh is such a terrible actor that it almost seems deliberate. Maybe he’s doing some kind of anti-acting performance art, providing commentary on the ridiculousness of the script. More likely, he’s just a lousy actor.

Despite having two professional musicians in the crew, the music in The Xpose is horrible. Another instance of unintentional comedy is a romantic number between a man and a woman — and yet the visuals consist almost exclusively of shots of Reshammiya by himself. That scene says it all.


New Trailers: April 9, 2014

Time to catch up on recently released trailers for films coming out in the next couple of months. None of these look like sure bets to open in the United States, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Saqib Saleem stars as an inline skating coach in the sports flick Hawaa Hawaai, releasing in theaters on May 9, 2014. Following a turn as a young gay man in Bombay Talkies, this is another interesting career choice by Saleem. His recent role selections seem made deliberately to keep from getting pigeonholed in romantic comedies. I hope the choice pays off for him.

The political drama Manjunath also hits theaters on May 9.

Tiger Shroff — son of Jackie Shroff — makes his big-screen debut in Heropanti, releasing on May 23. Despite Tiger’s good looks, I have some concerns about this one. First, action flicks featuring new heroes are hard sells at the U.S. box office. Second, if a film’s trailer uses the word “bratty” to describe a character, it had better be to describe a pre-teen girl and not an adult man. Finally, when I hear the title Heropanti, it makes me think of this.

The Xposé — also releasing on May 23 — looks cheesy, but a Bollywood retro murder mystery could be fun.

Without English subtitles in the trailer, I’m not entirely sure what Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi is about. It releases on May 30.

Same goes for the stupidly named Fugly, opening June 13.

There’s no release date yet for the Hindi remake of the horror movie Pizza, but it’s a horror movie called Pizza! I’m in!