Tag Archives: Worst Bollywood Movies

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

As with my Best Bollywood Movies post, I’m only including five titles in my Worst Bollywood Movies list for 2018. There simply weren’t enough Hindi films terrible enough to warrant such a dubious distinction. But believe me, those that did make the list earned their spots.

In fifth place is Fanney Khan, a dull but mostly harmless family film, except for one very troublesome subplot. The parents of aspiring teenage singer Lata (Pihu Sand) fret that their daughter will be pressured to trade sex for stardom. Yet her father Fanney (Anil Kapoor) has no problem trading another woman’s body in exchange for Lata’s success, kidnapping Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s pop star character to do so. That sound you hear is me smacking myself in the forehead.

Aiyaary makes the list due to its muddled writing. Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey belabors obvious points while glossing over complicated conspiracies in this bland, slow spy thriller, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee.

Race 3 is another bloated narrative mess. I’m a fan of director Remo D’Souza’s movies ABCD and A Flying Jatt, but this franchise outing proves how hard it can be to include a superstar actor in an ensemble picture, while still allotting said superstar a disproportionately large portion of screentime. It also proves that Salman Khan’s star power doesn’t guarantee a movie’s box office success (more on that to come).

The two worst Hindi films of 2018 are bad for many of the same reasons. Both bungle their handling of traumatic injury and disability. Both feature loathsome male protagonists who depend on the suffering of women in order to grow emotionally — only the protagonists don’t actually undergo any emotional growth.

That’s how October wound up in second place for the year. Varun Dhawan plays the awful male lead in question. His character is obsessed with a comatose co-worker because he thinks she may have harbored feelings for him before the accident that injured her. The premise is plain gross, made all the worse by Varun’s character inserting himself into the finer details of her medical care (he LOVES checking her catheter bag). Even after the co-worker regains consciousness, her brain and body are so damaged that she can’t tell him to leave her alone if she wishes him to do so, let alone physically push him away. He takes advantage of her vulnerability, and he ends the movie no more morally improved than he was at the beginning.

As demoralizing as October is, first place goes to a movie that failed on a grander scale. Zero is my Worst Bollywood Movie of 2018. Granted, Shah Rukh Khan’s film wasn’t the biggest box office flop by one of the Three Khans for the year (in North America, that honor belongs to Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan). But Zero was easily the most offensive of the year’s disappointing films. Khan plays Bauua, a man with dwarfism —  his diminutive stature achieved using CGI and camera techniques — who falls in love with Aafia (Anushka Sharma), a woman with cerebral palsy. Writer Wendy Lu posted a piece on Huffington Post just yesterday explaining the problems with able-bodied actors playing disabled characters in Hollywood, and the same problems apply to the two lead actors in Zero. This is a movie that should never have gotten off the drawing board.

Yet Zero went ahead, and the resultant movie is even worse than feared. Not only is the movie out-of-step in the way it treats disability, it’s also sexist. Bauua thinks Aafia is his equal since they’re the same height when she’s in her wheelchair — never mind that she’s a rocket scientist and he’s an almost-40 high school dropout who’s never held a job. The rest of the story is utterly ridiculous. The only person who emerges from Zero with an unblemished reputation is Katrina Kaif, whose excellent performance stands to be overlooked, as everyone else tries to pretend that Zero never happened.

Kathy’s Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018

  1. Zero
  2. October — Buy at Amazon/watch on Prime
  3. Race 3 — watch on Prime
  4. Aiyaary — Buy at Amazon
  5. Fanney Khan — watch on Prime

Previous Worst Movies Lists

Recap: First Ten Reviews of 2017

Having published ten reviews of Bollywood movies that released in Chicago area theaters so far this year, I wondered: how many of the movies released early in a calendar year tend to wind up on my Best Bollywood Movies list at the end of that year? How many wind up on my Worst Bollywood Movies list for the year?

I looked back at my “Best of” and “Worst of” lists for the last five years to see just how many of the finalists in my top ten and bottom ten were among the first ten theatrical releases of each year. Here are the names of those films, as well as the position they finished in each list:

Best of 2012: Kahaani (1st)
Worst of 2012: Ekk Deewana Tha (1st)

Best of 2013: Kai Po Che! (3rd), Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (4th), ABCD (7th)
Worst of 2013: Zila Ghaziabad (8th)

Best of 2014: Queen (2nd), Highway (5th), Dedh Ishqiya (6th)
Worst of 2014: Karle Pyaar Karle (2nd)

Best of 2015: NH10 (6th), Badlapur (7th)
Worst of 2015: Shamitabh (4th), Roy (10th)

Best of 2016: Neerja (8th)
Worst of 2016: Mastizaade (1st), Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3 (2nd), Ghayal Once Again (5th)

The first few months of the year certainly offer up a mixed bag in terms of the quality of the films released. Three of my worst movies of last year were among the first ten films release in 2016, but I gave a four-star rating to all three of the above titles that made the Best of 2014 list.

I’m skeptical that any of the releases from this year will ultimately land on my Best of 2017 list. I gave ratings of at least 3.5 stars to all of the “Best of” titles listed above, and the film presently sitting atop my 2017 list — Commando 2 — only earned 3 stars. If it makes the cut, it will only be because there weren’t ten titles that I rated more highly than it, which is kind of a depressing prospect.

On the flip side, zero-star Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai and 0.5-star Kaabil have already locked up a spots on this year’s “Worst of” list. 1-star Badrinath Ki Dulhania will almost certainly make the list, too, barring a glut of really offensive films that manage to make it look comparatively progressive. That’s a depressing prospect as well.

While none of the 2017 films released thus far have blown me away, there are a number of movies yet to release that I’m really looking forward to — comedies like Phillauri and Noor and the action-thriller Naam Shabana. 2017 could be a strong year yet.

Here are links to my first ten Bollywood reviews of 2017 (in chronological publishing order):

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

Worst Bollywood Movies of 2011

In 2011, Bollywood produced a number of movies that advanced the role of women in film and pushed the boundaries of traditional storytelling style. This post is not about those movies. This post is about the worst films of the year. (Click on the title of each movie to read my original review.)

Video services like YouTube and Netflix have allowed smaller studios to bypass the theater distribution system and reach an international audience via the Internet. While the development is a welcome one, it doesn’t mean that every film available online merits viewing. Inept, low-budget stinkers like Cycle Kick, Love Express and Impatient Vivek aren’t worth it, even for free.

Neither is a showing on the big screen a guarantee of quality. Indie film I Am Singh made it into Chicago area theaters but left after just one week. Aarakshan, Thank You, Dum Maaro Dum and Mausam all had large budgets and star casts but failed to impress.

While a number of this year’s movies featured empowered female characters, Turning 30 did its best to undermine feminism. The movie — written and directed by a woman — features a lead character who spends most of the movie wallowing in self-pity after she’s dumped. Turning 30 ends with the appalling suggestion that self-respect and a happy marriage shouldn’t be as important to women as having babies.

This year’s worst Bollywood movie manages to combine all of the above offenses into one unwatchable mess. It’s sloppily made, despite having a budget large enough to pay an A-list cast. It’s sexist. As a bonus, it’s also full of racist stereotypes.

The Worst Bollywood Movie of 2011 is Rascals.

Director David Dhawan is a repeat offender, being the man responsible for my worst movie of 2009, Do Knot Disturb. Rascals — a farce about two crooks fighting for one woman’s affections — seems tailor-made for comic action set pieces. Dhawan even cast action stars Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn as the leads, but gave them little to do besides talk.

The movie’s female lead, played by Kangana Ranaut, spends the bulk of her screentime strutting around in a bikini while whining in a shrill voice: not exactly the postergirl for women’s lib.

Dhawan set Rascals in Thailand, then cast scores of blonde women to serve as gyrating backup dancers and dark-skinned African actors to play armed criminals. Were there no local Thai actors to fill those roles? Why make those casting decisions except to appeal to racist stereotypes?

All those problems aside, Dhawan’s biggest sin in Rascals is laziness. There are numerous continuity errors and bloopers that would’ve been easy to rectify, but Dhawan didn’t bother. Perhaps he thinks his target audience members — misogynists who find two men slapping each other hilarious — don’t care about stuff like a plot that makes sense. Maybe he thinks they’ll pay their money to see heroes like Dutt and Devgn on screen no matter how stupid the story.

I’d like to believe that we moviegoers are smarter than that.

Previous Worst Movies Lists