This is one of my final articles of the movies round up series for the year, which focuses on the most disappointing films of the year, and maybe it’s the ideal to recall them on a day when potentially the year’s biggest commercial blockbuster has released but does not excite the movie buff in me. The disappointing trend continues that mindless masala films like Tiger Zinda Hai, or Judwa 2 or Golmaal Again continue to remain the biggest money spinners at box-office, even in a year when a lot of small content driven films shined like stars.
We are not discussing the worst films of the year here. I actually might not have seen any of them. We will talk about films that had a lot of expectations around them either due to a positive pre-release buzz, credentials of the filmmaker or the actors, good reviews, or strong word of mouth, but ended up being real disappointments in what they offered. Here, I rank them based on how disappointed I felt overall watching them, and not necessarily on their absolute watch-ability.
8.) Simran – A classic example of a film with a great director and a good actor trapped in their own creativity of a poor script that loses its complete rhyme and reason in the 2nd half. One expects magic when national award winners Hansal Mehta and Kangana Ranaut come together, but this one did not have a spark at all and even loses out on logic at places! A series of uncalled for controversies just prior to the film’s release did not help it either, and created negative vibes all over.
7.) The Ghazi Attack – The overall word of mouth on this film was very strong and I was expecting a stylish high octane entertainer, but I felt completely underwhelmed watching this war thriller. Poor visuals, some over the top hamming and rather repetitive narrative frankly stripped all the thrill out of the thriller. Other than Rana Daggubati, frankly no one stood out as well from a strong ensemble of actors. Tapasee was wasted, and actors like Kay Kay Menon & Atul Kulkarni also left so much to be wanted.
6.) Tumhari Sulu – My issue with Tumhari Sulu is not that it is a bad film, it clearly is not. My problem is that one has such high expectations from a Vidya Balan film, and then when you get something as predictable and at times clichéd like Sulu, it is hard not to be so disappointed. Vidya cannot be choosing scripts that has only her and hardly anything else, so much so that a stale script actually overshadows her good work in the film. We don’t just want to remember her character in the film, we want to remember her entire film and Tumhari Sulu is a missed opportunity on that one.
5.) Jab Harry Met Sejal – So here was a project where the director who tells the best love stories in hindi cinema today was casting the king of romance as his lead, so the expectation was really sky high for all fans of Imtiaz Ali and Shahrukh Khan, or even for someone like me whose most favorite genre of cinema is romance. But other than a European tour in lovely locales, this film did not achieve anything much! Imtiaz writes a very interesting Harry, casts a super-sexy Shahrukh in the same, but develops the premise of his standard template of self-discovery through a very poorly written Sejal. Sadly, the entire journey hence loses its plot even before it takes off. Add to that a great musical score that gets lost in a bad film.
4.) Mom – I don’t think anyone was expecting Mom to be path breaking cinema. But there was lot of buzz surrounding the film because Sridevi was coming back to the screen after an absolutely fabulous English Vinglish from 5 years back, and she had the mighty Nawazuddin for company! Sad enough for me personally, I was left mighty cold and disappointed! The film went into such hero worship mode of the stellar actor from the word go, that the entire humane angle of her screen daughter’s trauma was completely ignored in the narrative! Sridevi was lovely in many scenes, outright bad in a few others. Even Nawaz faltered after a very long time and was more caricaturish than anything else. A sassy and dapper Akshaye Khanna and the lovely Sajal Ali were well noticed though, but could not save the film for me.
3.) Secret Superstar – A film backed by Aamir Khan and projected as the next big thing after 10 years of Taare Zameen Par, raised an amazing amount of expectations! Add to it the fact that Zaira Wasim was coming out from a real strong performance in Dangal, and Aamir himself was letting himself loose after years in a completely unapologetic over the top character. But Secret Superstar let me down at the very core that it wanted to project as the high point of the film – the mother-daughter drama and the music! This was designed as the emotionally manipulative tear-jerker where the characters are stuck in a poor overdramatic narrative, and fail to evoke raw emotions. The climax was outright cringy! Tirth Sharma and Raj Arjun shine in their relative parts, but the overall film was a big letdown.
2.) Badrinath Ki Dulhania – The backstory here is that I really loved Shashank Khaitan’s first movie of the franchise – Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania. It was a refreshing ode to DDLJ and was wonderfully executed by Varun, Alia and the rest of the cast. So I was naturally expecting this one to match up to that in entertainment. Unfortunately, BKD turned out to be the most regressive film of the year! The hero here stalks the girl like a pest for a good part of the film, and together they almost glorify the exact stereotypes around patriarchy, unequal gender paradigms and even dowry that the film pretends to break and address! A specific scene in the 2nd half where Varun literally gets molested by a bunch of goons is projected as a comical scene even through the eyes of his lady-love! I haven’t cringed on my theatre seat for a long time like I did on that one! A huge disappointment!
1.) Lipstick Under My Burkha – Clearly on a relative scale, Lipstick may be a better film than many other films that have featured in this list. But clearly, this is also a film that has disappointed me the most! I had sky rocket expectations from Alankrita Srivastava’s film given all the buzz that it created before its release and the subject that it was supposed to revolutionize! But alas, it resorts to a standard set of stereotypes throughout the film and in a very clunky end to depict liberation and modern urban women! It takes a pseudo feminist stand across many places of an uneven script that loses grip to become jarring at its subtlest moments. It seems like a film tailor made to impress the festival circuits, and other than an outstanding Ratna Pathak Shah, and a very good Konkona Sen Sharma, nothing stays with you! It’s a clear opportunity lost – it could have been a bold benchmark film to refer to for years, it just stays satisfied being a bold film posturing for greatness!
Next, I will look at the best films of the year. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, do share which films disappointed you the most this year.