10. Race 2
Plot: A and B are rich, C is very rich. They have girls attached: secretary, sister, girlfriend: D, E, F (no, not one person). B must meet C, so he asks A who obliges, then B helps C so that he may make more money than C by duping him and making him poorer than A. Now D must have coitus with A, so a plethora of misogynistic double-entendres involving fruits are heaved upon us by writers who must’ve typed the words “fruit sex joke” in Google and appropriated the first page’s results. In comes J (in keeping with the film’s theme, there is no need to explain the logic of skipping G, H, I) who is even richer than C. How much richer can a rich man get by duping a lesser rich man who is attempting to become more rich by duping the richer man who borrows from the richest man to dupe the less rich man? In the end: A and E are into B and not C because C tried to kill E and used F to get to B and Abbas Mustan are sitting on a wad of cash.
9. Chennai Express
3500 local prints. 700 overseas prints. The widest Indian release ever. Production budget a shade under 100 crores. 6.75 crore paid preview collections on a Thursday. 100 crore over the weekend. 200+ crore lifetime. 2nd place for 3 Idiots. It’s troubling that, forget the producers, even the audience is interested in attending a math class rather than watch a movie for what it is. And SRK claiming to be the ‘aam aadmi’, getting upset when Deepika calls him a 50-year old, a halwai who takes on all of South India. Man, who are you kidding? SRK is as aam as a grape is a pumpkin. And his reaction to Deepika thinking he’s 50? He gets angry and calls it a pathetic, massy joke and cheap, single screen humor. Hmm, wonder whom he’s taking a potshot at.
8. Attacks of 26/11
Soul stirring, surprisingly sensitive, superbly summarized, subtly stated, staggeringly shot. These are all precisely the things that RGV’s 26/11 are NOT. In fact assume the opposite and you have the worst ‘tribute’ to the memory of the tragedy that you can imagine.
Movies like Policegiri are made to employ Prakash Raj. But he has his conditions: he must play a politician whose larger-than-life cutouts and posters adorn the Filmcity set the movie will be shot. There must be one sequence of him in his underwear. And he must double up as the comic relief in the climax. He must also have a catchphrase, here it is “Sur Mohammed Rafi ka hai, lekin power Muhammed Ali ka”. After three-quarters of the movie is done, the policeman will finally come up with a response. In this case, “tera sur hai Osama ka. Mera power hai Obama ka!” Third degree torture!
Akshay Kumar plays his bad boy image with some good comic timing. He’s so funny, he’s comic even when emotional, when sad, and when angry. Mithun Chakraborty is laborious in his attempted 3.5 kg-handed role, Govind Namdeo has a cool new haircut, in a meta indication Shiv Pandit’s character is called ‘Shiv’, and Aditi Rao Hydari is, well, she’s in a bikini. Ronit Roy is easily the standout performer. But this is only because presumably, Prakash Raj’s dates were not available.
5. Singh Saab the Great
“Badla nahi badlav” is Sunny Deol catchphrase as he tries to tackle all of India’s issues with his right hand that now weighs 3.5 kg. Oh yes, Anil Sharma is back. Sadly, there is no hand-pump this time and Pakistan has been replaced by Prakash Raj. Singh Saab the Great? Try Singh Saab the Mediocre.
4. Zila Ghaziabad
The only thing competing with the silly bits in Zila are other silly bits in Zila. Rare is a film of this scale, one made with such seriousness yet so utterly nonsensical that it has you cringing from the first frame in which goons dance to the tune of “Jila Ghajiabad” while beating each other up. Cut to next scene: Vivek Oberoi is a masterji teaching kids about the Gandhian principles of non-violence. Cut to the last scene: VO of the ahimsa line after Vivek Oberoi has murdered some fifteen thousand people and is still alluded as the nice guy. I think there is a lesson in there somewhere. And I believe it is ‘don’t listen to Gandhi’.
If Salim-Javed watch this film, one wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to give the money and ‘Core Story’ credit back and disassociate themselves from this embarrassment of a “remake” even after winning the legal battle. Their frail state might not be able to handle the way Priyanka Chopra hams her way through in utter denial (“remember all the cash they’re giving me!” must be her mantra) and Ram Charan puts all his intensity into his scowl, leaving no room for other expressions or acting. As for Prakash Raj (he’s everywhere!), well, he’s in bowler hats. And this, even before Aamir Khan got the idea.
The only question that can possibly cross your mind while watching Besharam is “What was Ranbir Kapoor smoking?” Why has this actor known for his eclectic, intelligent choice of scripts –picked the paint-by-numbers route? Imagine the scene: director Abhinav Kashyap narrating the story about a stolen car (a Mercedes nonchalantly bought by the middle class heroine) and simply applying the “hit formula” [Dabangg-Salman+Ranbir x flip introduction for climax+new (not really) girl+6 songs (subdivide one for each mood)-story+meta father son jokes]2. Then Kapoor reacts with a “Yes! This is the script I’ve been waiting for!” Besharam defies all sense. However, you do get a long unhindered view of his butt crack if that’s the sort of thing that interests you.
Sajid Khan doesn’t want to make movies (and no, despite his insistence he doesn’t make entertainers either), he wants to make money by drilling holes in your brain. Himmatwala has Paresh Rawal making Nazi jokes and “comedy” that involves putting his hand up Mahesh Manjrekar’s a**; it has Devgn punching tigers and laughing about it. Also thrown in: Sajid Khan’s favorite recurrent theme of a father spying/peeping on his daughter romancing with her lover; good ol’ attempted balatkaar and successful saving of izzat and other 80s clichés; and Tamannaah’s Bollywood career starting and ending with the line “I hate gareebs”. It begs the question why would you remake an already lousy film? In comparison Housefull is a masterpiece and Heyy Baby will jostle with Citizen Kane as an all-time great. When you make a film as a “tribute” to the 80s, dear Sajid Khan, you don’t have to be literal and make a film that looks like it has been made in the 80s.