Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Year in Review

December 2011. The year is finally coming to a close and it's again the time, to sit and ponder on what the year was like for our beloved Hindi films. I think we can all agree that in comparison to 2010, the quality of cinema was not the greatest. I was just waiting for a film to be OBSESSED with. I wanted to see that one film, that I would just go crazy over after watching, not before watching (like we all do). Basically, this year was a colossal disappointment.

Earlier this year, I made a post on my most awaited movies of the year. Not even one of the movies fulfilled my high expectations; some of them were okay, some of them were good, but none were worth the wait. Rockstar left me thirsty for Imtiaz Ali's romantic direction. Mausam put me to sleep and Bodyguard made me re-examine whether I even like masala films or not. Last year, there were those hidden gems, like Band Baaja Baarat and Udaan, that shocked everyone and defied the rules of big stars and budgets. Again, there were no such "hidden gems" in 2011. With the exception of maybe Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge.

Back in 2010, even Daabang pleasantly surprised me. Despite being a huge Salman film, it was worth the cult-status it garnered. Raajneeti was brilliant; it was high tension and action, which I think everyone had missed in Hindi cinema. The icing on the cake was probably Band Baaja Baarat, which had me dancing to it's tune for most of 2011 as well.

In 2011, the directors who made those popular 2010 films, made some more films. Unfortunately, none of them could compete with their previous works. Like I was saying, Raajneeti was greatly loved. Though it was an adaptation of the Mahabharat and The Godfather, it had it's own certain spice, which was intertwined with Indian politics. Prakash Jha did good. This year, his Aarakshan not only burned and suffered at the box office, but was missing the thrill that the trailer depicted so articulately. The box office numbers suffered and the movie-goer did too. Band Baaja Baarat director, Maneesh Sharma, also returned to the big screen, with Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl. Again, just like Jha's Aarakshan, that movie has been written off by the public and critics alike. Daabang, which gave me hope in Salman's film choices, was also replaced with Salman starrer's Ready and Bodyguard. No hard feelings, but those movies were not as good as Dabangg in any way. Dabangg is what revived the Masala film genre in Hindi films! Bodyguard and Ready are, for the most part, parodies of Dabangg. They are basically three hours of Dabangg allusions. There is even a separate Wikipedia page devoted for the list of accolades received by Dabangg. I don't see such pages for Ready and Bodyguard, which both got poor to mixed reviews by critics. Overall, the expectations that film makers and actors had set for us all in 2010, were murdered this year. Why do they do such good work, just to fall back down again?

While looking at the films from earlier this year, I also found a rather shocking statistic ..."As of December 01, five releases of 2011 have made it into the list of highest-grossing Bollywood films" . In 2010, only four films made it into that list. That's great news monetarily for the industry, but I wanted that to happen with even better films. Enough of my ranting though...let's talk about who made the most money this year

Here is the list of this year's Top 10 Grossing Films (Don 2 will most probably be a part of the list by January):

1) Bodyguard

Probably the billionth remake of a South Indian film by Salman Khan, this movie made approximately 230 crore at the box office. Thus, beating Dabangg's record by a couple million. I thought the movie had a great premise; a bodyguard unknowingly falls in love with the girl who he protects, but unfortunately, marries her best friend. It had a lot of potential. The problem was mostly because the director did not have the ability to do justice to the project. The script was also very weak. The movie made such big money solely because of Salman Khan, who has evolved into a brand by himself.

2) Ready

This Masala pot-boiler is reminiscent of the movies that every Hindi film watcher was happy to leave behind in the '90s.Despite being a huge Salman fan, the two menacing uncles, run-away bride and evil villains of this film ruin any chances of it being anything more than time pass. The story is so cliche! How many times have we watched that storyline unfold? Salman, himself, has been in at least ten movies with the same storyline. The difference, like I said earlier, are the unrelenting Dabangg jokes. Forget the storyline, the one-liners aren't even original. It's after a movie like this, that makes me think that people would even pay to watch Salman sleep for three hours straight. Sad, but most likely true.

3) Ra. One

I would NOT want to comment on this movie...seeing as I've not seen it and I've already posted on why it doesn't excite me.

4) Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This film mostly sold itself as a coming-of-age journey, but I saw it as more of a tourist advertisement of Spain. Though Hrithik, Abhay and Farhan are on a life-changing journey through the country, there is not enough excitement in the movie to keep the viewer interested. It unassailable that Zoya Akhtar, the director of the film, is very talented. However, she needs practice on how to make a film engaging. I love a meaningful film, but there still needs to be that entertainment quotient. Adding some short, erratic funny scenes is not going to interest the viewer...the film just needs to get going! Surprisingly, despite using superfluous amounts of English and zero Masala, ZNMD managed to make more than 150 crore.

5) Singham

"Ajay Devgan? Solo-hero? Hit?...Blockbuster?! WHAT?" That was precisely my reaction when I found out that Singham was a hit. I would have never thought that Ajay Devgan could garner more than 150 crore at the box office by himself. I still can't believe it. I watched the film with pretty low expectations and I am glad I did because it, therefore, exceeded my expectations. It was so absurd that I actually enjoyed it. I, surprisingly, had no problem watching thirty men kicking some guy's ass. I laughed about it too. I like the crazy South Indian style films! However, let's not make it a habit. It looks good in moderation. We don't want more Salman pot-boiler situations! 


  1. Nice write up! I agree that many of the films this year seemed to be suffering a hangover from the films that took us by surprise last year. It's still a mystery why Bodyguard was SUCH a big hit. I mean I expected it to be big, but not the All Time biggest grosser. Sets a bad trend for the industry. I'll be interested to see Salman's strategy next because I think he's starting to catch on to the fact that he can't milk the Dabangg thing forever. We'll see!

  2. Great write-up! You definitely have a talent for writing (join the club!). I'd have to agree that it's been a weak year for Bollywood - they've become so cosy rolling out visually spectacular films, with weak stories.

    I myself have written a Bollywood screenplay, and can appreciate a good story - it all starts with the story (my film's called 'Raahi' - you may ask me more...). With it so difficult to break into the 'Bollywood circle', I'm afraid the glut of poor films will continue, with one or two hidden gems.

    For instance, I recently saw a film called 'Jhootha Hai Sahi'. Now this film tanked at the box-office, but what I saw was an intelligent film interspersed with humour and pathos in right doses. It just shows the majority of the Indian public don't like intelligent movies... (accounting for the lack of education amongst the poor in India?)

    Thanks for joining/follwing my blog! As a fellow blogger, I appreciate your words, but as someone who has been blogging for some time now, I have to say you must add to your visual style (ironic considering what I said about Bollywood!). But I guess that will come in time, like it did for my blog. As a helpful point, don't use a picture tile for your background - it's distracting. (just as a script is key so is a blog's writing - yours is one step there!)

    Check out my review of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and don't forget to comment! And you getfilmy!

    By the way as you probably can tell from my blog, I love photoshopping (well paintshop pro). If I can help you in that department with a title picture/anything else let me know.

    Creating a banner for Divas considering it's Bollywood isn't too hard... (the demands of Bollywood actresses!)

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words! And I, obviously, agree on the bad year. I missed good cinema…but some how people flocked to the theaters more than before. :p
    Nonetheless, I still have a lot of hope in Indian film tastes. For example, 3 Idiots is STILL the highest grossing Hindi film of all time, despite Bodyguard following it closely. People are always going to like a good movie…Indian people just LOVE masala though. Unfortunately, a little bit too much. I think some of the tries to make intelligent film have failed this year too. I didn’t get to see Jhootha Hi Sahi, but I did see 7 Khoon Maaf, which was totally selling itself as intelligent cinema. It was horrible, same thing goes for Guzaarish. I hated both of them, just like the masses in India. I think there still isn’t a medium. I’m hoping though!

    I’d love to hear more about your script! I am also trying to write one (its so hard, to make a good one ) but Im always thinking, if it was to get into that “bollywood circle”, would I even get a chance? ….Is it masala enough?
    Whats your script about? Id love to read more about it!
    And I am all for your offer! Thanks! I’m new on the blogger scene and just trying to get a hold of it properly. Yours is rocking. I’m already a step ahead of you and I read your ZNMD review. Its great. A lot of detail. I’m hoping to get to that level eventually, its obvious that you spend a lot of time photoshopping and editing. I need to spend a bit more time. Can you follow me on twitter so I can DM you? I’d love to get help on the setup.