Every year, we have those film that may not make any best of the year list but we may just love catching on TV or DVD. You’ve read my best of the year (film that I think make for good cinema) but here’s the more populist list to accommodate the films I wouldn’t mind watching again despite the issues I had with them. My guilty pleasures of 2011.
Hype killed this film for me. Kids helped me rediscover it. One that’s more fantasy than science fiction and set pieces inspired by every Hollywood movie made, Ra.One made up for its cheese with more cheese. Shah Rukh Khan made a seriously silly film that entertained despite the huge holes in the paperless plot. Ra.One ended up more as a remake of Om Shanti Om with SRK reincarnated as a Robot but boy, look at those visual effects – especially that train wreck scene… Perfect if you have to babysit a bunch of kids.
Packed with probably the best collection of punch lines (ok, let’s rephrase that… collection of smart punch lines in a mass based movie this year), Singham worked as long as it stayed faithful to the Tamil version but resorts to a cheat ending, by turning a personal confrontation into a larger police force versus criminals issue. Why even try to be Khakhee? A silly film but went easy with the popcorn.
3. Don 2:
Don 2 ki sabse badi galti yeh hai ki woh Don remake ka sequel hai. Instead of capitalizing on this opportunity to make a full-blown chase film with set piece action, for reasons known best to himself, Farhan Akhtar makes Don as a heist film! (Ok, fine, make a heist film if you insist but why call it The Chase Begins?) As fundamentally flawed as it was, playing out like a narcissistic star vehicle for Shah Rukh Khan, we must admit it brought us a few laughs, some unintentional but some that were indeed planted as a throwback to the 1970s.
Though the title made us think we are in for rape of Kaakha Kaakha after those horrible trailers showcasing beefy John AbraHAM’s acting prowess, the film turned out to be a pretty solid B-movie by staying faithful to the original script. Spoiler alert (but hey, it’s a guilty pleasure list anyway): And the fact that they killed Genelia made us root for the film a lot more.
5. Yeh Saali Zindagi
Sudhir Mishra has made some serious films, he is allowed to have his fun. Just count the number of times that dude makes out with Aditi Rao and you’ve already got your money’s worth back. Add cheesy visual effects and assorted characters you are likely to lose count of and what you get is this super fun black comedy that is a tad overwritten but all is forgiven for the man who gave us Hazaaron Khwaaishen Aisi.
6. Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge:
The screenplay might have unfolded as conveniently as the writers wanted but there’s no denying that the actors kept us hooked to this silly romantic comedy. The girls were hot and the laughs kept coming in regular intervals. One of those rare films from the YRF’s Y Films stable that is surprisingly watchable. Saba Azad FTW!
7. Yamla Pagla Deewana:
As one of the characters in this funny to the point of being stupid Deol-Dharam family showcase says: “Star gaya tel lene. Hawaijahaaz ko hi vote dena” (Don’t go by the star, vote for the helicopter), one can argue that the underlying subtext is that of criticism versus escape. The helicopter used as a metaphor for a light flight of make-believe and escape (read: lies) by the politician (read: filmmaker) to get your vote, much against the campaign by the star-waale (read: critics).
So fucking cool and stylish, this movie can be watched any time and from any point with its absolutely rocking soundtrack and visual flair. Never mind that all the quirkiness and bizarreness is all cut short halfway and the script plays it safe without letting its characters go all out nihilistic but that shouldn’t take away anything from Bejoy Nambiar’s brilliance as a technician. An entertaining urban visual-rock anthem. Almost.
9. Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap:
This is purely for Amitabh Bachchan fans. It plays out like a Tamil/Telugu film with its fight first-punch line later attitude and it’s not a pretty sight watching the old man we love flaunt his paunch but go deeper into what the film is trying to do and you can’t help but grin and watch the angry, not so young man do what he does best – Kick ass!
10. Dum Maro Dum:
One of the most underrated suspense films of the year, Dum Maro Dum may not have had the best casting (Read: Rana Dagubatti in a role that required a much more solid actor) and was rather inconsistent with its mood. Moments within you feel sorry for a man who has lost his wife, he turns into this rapstar dude singing to the camera, we never take the film seriously after that but it has some really cheeky pop culture references to make Sergio Leone smile.
Five that almost made it:
Speedy Singhs, Chillar Party, Chalo Dilli, Bodyguard, Not a Love Story
Five Films that were so bad that were good:
Chitkabrey: Laugh riot. Boobies plus bad acting guarantees it a cult status among lovers of grindhouse cinema.
Haunted: One word: Mimoh. Ok, Mahaakshay. Additional bonus, the epic ghost-raping-ghost scene.
Loot: Mimoh plus more bad acting from Suniel Shetty & some laughs from Govinda and Javed Jaffrey.
Thank You: Presence of Booby Deol in any film is an indication for a wickedly bad film and the fact that it’s directed by Bazmee absolutely guarantees it.
Rascals: To watch Devgan and Sanjay Dutt make excuses to grope fake Kangana boobies for real.
No sign of Delhi Belly? The Tamil flicks? The stylish, but slightly saggy Panjaa? How about Mankatha? Come on, Suderman, gimme more! :-))
i feel you missed delhi belly .. other wise .. perfect list
RaOne should have been named ch**kabrey..I was just expecting a movie for the kids and took all my young cousins to the movie and as unintentionally funny the movie was those nipple/gay/boobs/famil jewel jokes put them off..I would pick Don 2 as the movie for kids,Only the kids seemed to enjoy it
Also one minor correction Don 2 is not called “Chase begins”,It’s called Don 2-the chase continues
I haven’t read your original reviews but I completely agree with some of the things here. Being removed from Indian publicity, I was not affected by the excessive campaigns of Ra.one. When I saw my friends being disappointed, I wondered what would be the reason. When I watched the movie, even though I felt it was silly, I was kind of entertained. Also, immediately realized that this is a kids movie which does not take itself seriously. (Of course barring a few dialogues that shouldn’t have been in a kids movie). I also concluded that there are two reasons why my friends were angry and disappointed – one, hype ..more the expectations, more the hatred/anger when the expectations are not met. two- wrong positioning – as a sci-fi/serious movie rather than a silly movie for kids.
When I read your review of Don 2, but when my friends appreciated the movie, I was kind of confused. When I watched the movie, I knew why. It shouldn’t have been named Don 2 at all ! This is such a misuse of the brand. It would have been a good movie as a heist movie, as an mission-impossible action movie, or as even a Bond movie …but Don ?! By naming it Don, I was constantly forced to compare and contrast, and expectations were high too. I laughed at the dialogues but don’t understand if I appreciated or found it plain silly/ wannabe classic but ending up as crass.
Shaitaan : I was really surprised with the movie, because I hadn’t read anything about the movie. Somewhere I lost the movie, became predictable and wanted it to end, but otherwise, it was a good start and development. It kept my curiosity alive, captivated me and I think I found it little similar to Paanch.
Buddha hoga tera baap: Haha, exactly. Although mindless, as you said, purely for AB fans – which I can become just for the heck of it too. I just wanted a movie for a long time that would pay homage to old AB/AB movies and this tries doing that !
Pyar Ka Panchnama :
When two of my friends complained that this movie is degrading to girls/women..I wondered what could be so bad. Without knowing how it fared in India, I kept from watching it as other movies took priority. But, watched now and what a surprise ! This is a very good movie .. I guess lot of movies have been made telling us how woman feels in a relationship, but the vulnerable side of men were not depicted as thoroughly as this one. Your complete review is just spot on and says everything I wished to say. The movie actually takes a sensitive topic and splutters with comedy – that worked for me, but that could be the reason why some considered it to be derogatory for women. But many instances in the film are some of the things I have witnessed.