Bollywood Buzz

2012 Wrap Up: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

As the year is coming to an end, our film critic Surveen looks back this year’s movies with her eyes to discern the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

2012 in general is (was) a good year for the small movies. Small, in terms of its production budget , star cast or promotions. The year started with light hearted Ek Mein Aur Ek Tu starring Kareena & Imran backed by Karan Johar’s Dharma productions. The movie was a fine amalgam of various US sitcoms of early 2000’s from Friends, Raymond, Dharma & Greg, etc. The movie was targeted for youth multiplex audience and it hit the bull’s eye making it a hit at urban centers. Same goes for KJo’s directorial venture of the year; Student Of The Year. Brining back the story of ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar‘ with candy floss canvas got good response from youths making the movie hit with three new eye candies; Alia, Varun and Siddharth.

Karan’s another magnum opus directed by Karan Malhotra starring Hrithik Roshan, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka and Sanjay Dutt Agneepath didn’t meet the expectations of the audience and most critics with its over stretched screenplay. The movie worked in bits and parts like Rauf Lala’s character played by Rishi Kapoor was one of his careers finest. Never had audience ever seen the romance hero of many decades in such shade. So did ‘Kancha Cheena’, his attire and get up. Hrithik reliving Vijay Dinnanath Chauhan in his own style was also awe inspiring. But the show stealer was ‘Chikni Chameli‘ Katrina’s item number. Despite such strong well defined characters and excellent narrative on their hands Karan Malhotra the director failed to weave a free flowing thriller drama. Despite such strong technical team and one of the esteemed production house with sound financial backing the movie failed to meet the expectations like 1980s Agneepath, which was produced by Karan Johar’s father with Amitabh Bachchan. Though BOI claims the movie is hit, but as a critic and audience Agneepath falls into our BAD category for failing to properly exploit its resources.

The first Ugly of the year will be the poor rehash of one of the finest heist thrillers: The Players adapted from The Italian Job. Even Hollywood remake of the classic was not received well, but Bollywood remake was terrible. The thriller director duo Abbas Mastan who were ridding high with Race success faltered big time firstly with poorly rehashed story and then the actors. Casting Sonam Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Aftab and likes in roles were not at all apt. Then came their poor acting coupled with poor script turned the movie into nightmare.

Saif Ali’s own take upon Desi Bond; Agent Vinod also didn’t work as expected. Anil’s Tezz copied from Hollywood’s thrillers was also washed out. One of biggest disappointment was Karishma Kapoor’s comeback in Dangerous Ishhq. Still came RGV’s Department; which proved he can still make movies worse than RGV Ki Aag with some of the biggest names in the industry. Madhur’s Heroine (2012) was also big led down after so much pre-release hype. The movie had nothing new which Madhur hadn’t shown us in his previous movies. To top them all was Sirish Kunder’s Joker (2012). I was out of words to review that movie.

Small movies like Paan Singh Tomar, based upon real lives of people were well received both in multiplexes and in the single screens. Due to its low production costs it didn’t took long for the movies to be declared hit. The word of mouth, public reviews in blogs and critics ratings were enough for a good movie to sustain for a week or two in theaters. Irffan’s acting of underdog village bumpkin turning into rebel was superb. So did another mystery thriller Kahani did. The movie which initially opened to small number of prints exponentially increased its prints after good Word of Mouth. Vidya Balan was even titled female KHAN of the industry for once again carrying whole movie under her shoulders and turning a mere a few Crore film into 100 Crore movie post Dirty Picture.

Kahaani as a audience was for me was ten times better than Aamir Khan’s Talaash which released later this year. Despite such strong starcast, the movie ended up into BAD list in our ratings. When a viewer is advertised the movie as suspense drama or thriller, viewer expects a suspense which will shock his/her intellect, but the movie just belittles viewer’s intelligence by bringing in paranormal and spiritual angle. We as an audience can accept the stroy of the movies like Raaz 3 with its ‘black magic spiritual’ mumbo jumbo, because it was well advertised before hand to us that ok this is our genre, take it or leave it. Talash on the other hand started as a mystery thriller but turned it into some kind of human emotional journey crossed with phantom.

Another small time movie making it big this year is Vicky Doner. With completely new star cast backed by John in production, the movie about sperm donor was very well accepted by audience of all ages. Its song ‘Paani Da Raang…‘ topped the charts for months. Once again music listeners got something soulful to hear and proved once again, music knows no language barrier. Its light hearted approach on the screenplay without making fun and not preaching much easily connected with the audience. So did yet another small budget Paresh Rawal’s production’s Oh My God. One man’s fight against God, revealing all the hypocrisies of these so called priests and their rituals telling once and for all Humanity is the only religion we should follow garnered instant audience; specially the youth, urban centers. It is for me a must watch movie of the year.

Unfortunately, ANURAG KASHYAP’s Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) didn’t get any takers in the theater probably due to its raw and realistic view of rural India. Plus had the movie been edited to shorten by another half an hour the movie would have been as enthralling as RGV’s Satya. Manoj Bajpai once again brought fire on the screen. His raw sexual hunger, angst or his shrewdness, it was all delight to see. Despite box office failure the movie is definitely worth a watch at least on Home DVD.

The story of differently-abled people or special people by Anurag Basu slowly garnered its audience and Barfi was finally declared a hit. Staring ‘D Generation’ stars like Ranbir and Illena who were till know seen in ‘D Generation’ kind of roles easily pulled off such difficult roles. Even over hamming Priyanka for once convinced us she can underplay and act if given right kind of roles. Sridevi’s comeback vehicle in her co-production with Balki – English Vinglish showed how can good films be made in meager budget if you have good story. It doesn’t need even larger than life three hours long Titanic kind of story with all kinds of twists and turns, action, romance, comedy, suspense, etc. Even a short and simple story can be adapted into a movie and it works if played convincingly. Once again we were made to realize why is Sridevi still remembered. It’s not just her glam or style but its her acting capabilities where she can play such a deglamed and repressed role with such conviction makes her one of the finest actress of all times. Never while watching the movie you feel its THE SRIDEVI whom you are watching. She perfectly overshadowed her stardom by her character.

Bhatt Franchise’s yet another Horror 1920 Evil Returns too had some takers apart from Raaz 3. Looks like post Ramsay Brother’s its Bhatt champ who have taken the responsibility to churn out two to three horror thrillers year. Luckily for them its working due to their nice finishing of the movie embellished with fine music, exotic locales and bit of aesthetic erotica.

Its not just that only different and small ‘hatke’ movies made mark this year. Boxofficewise masala films which had all action, romance, comedy and mind numbing screenplay also did humongous business this year. Movies like
Housefull 2, Rowdy Rathore, Ek Tha Tiger, Bol Bachchan, and Son Of Sardaar all made for sheethi and taali’s from the front benchers made their way to 100 Crore club in no time. It was disappointing to see even the esteemed production houses and makers like Yash Raj, Sanjay Leela Bhansali joining such leave your brains at home genre, but at the end of the day its us the audience to blame who enjoy such movies and make them hit, super hit and even blockbuster.

Also small time movies with simple and good scripts like Gali Gali Chor Hai, Bittoo Boss,
Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi and Chakravyuh was completely washed out and was limited to home video/satellite release due to poor marketing prior to its theatrical release, limited budget or low star power.

The year also witnessed sequel debacles like Jism 2, Bhoot Returns, Kya Super Kool Hain Hum, Jannat 2,
Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal and Gangs Of Wasseypur 2. Once again we say it loud and clear you cannot sell a product just on the basis of brand name or the star cast if you don’t have good story.

The year’s biggest disappointment for me personally would have to be Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Yash Chopra’s final direction couldn’t strike a chord with audience or critics alike. Yes, we all paid homage to romance king of Bollywood while watching the movie but its loopholed script, poor music (for me it was wrong choice of singers for SRK’s playback) and not at all convincing storyline left us speechless. On the one hand we could see Yash Chorpa’s stamp all over the screen with mind blowing visuals and feel heartened. But at the same time we realize how dumb was the story narration was going. I feel pity upon the movie and the maker.

Overall Bollywood did get to witness more of the fine movies this year compared to previous years. Lets hope next year will bring out more of such hidden talents, it now proven once and for all if you can make good movie then it will be appreciated both by audience and the critics alike regardless of its genre, star cast or even its budget.

So, Happy movie watching !

PS: We didn’t include Dabbang 2 as its not yet released.

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