Greatbong's Worst Movies of 2007

[Explanation: The lower down in the list, the worse the movie is. And I should add—this is the worst among those I have seen. For instance I have not seen “Tararumpum”.]

7. No Smoking: Going through the blogpost of director Anurag Kashyap and the comments thread below, I understood that if you declare “No Smoking” to be anything except sensational film-making, you are either of two things 1) a philistine who does not understand alternative narrative styles in films 2) a motivated industry-reviewer in the pay of the big studios.

In my defense, I do appreciate (not always though) the David Lynch style of movie-making. I have nothing against movies with non-linearities and more than a dash of the surreal. I admire Anurag Kashyap–I loved “Black Friday” (it was my movie of the year 2005). I did get the Howard Roark-inspired philosophy of arrogant contempt for the hostility of second hand souls that guides both the director of “No Smoking” and its principal protagonist K. I have also not been paid off by the big studio houses nor have I sent lovey dovey SMSs to the director and been rebuffed. And yet I found “No Smoking” to be nothing but a heavy-handed, bloated work of film-making where the relentless obscurantism leads not to a revelatory pay-off (the “aha” moment that Mulholand Drive brings you) but to utter disorientation and ultimately boredom.

6. Shootout at Lokhandwala: Apoorva Lakhia sure likes to give you a bang for your buck. Actually as many bangs as he can conceivably accommodate inside a movie. Which is why “Shootout in Lokhandwala” is a series of blasts and booms punctuated by lines so inane, cliche-ridden and simplistic that you fervently wish for things to start getting blown up again. No wonder the movie bombed so badly. Of course, it need not have—considering that it had a very interesting, multi-hued, topical premise with great cinematic potential. But then when you have someone like Apoorva Lakhia, who interprets the action part of “Lights. Sound. Action” a bit too literally, at the helm, anything and everything is reduced to “Come on come on let’s shake your body, shake your ass, shake your ass”, bullets, babes and the worst form of stylistically violent excess.

The only saving grace of the movie is Tusshar Kapoor cast in the role of a dangerous gangster, (perhaps because he is the producer’s brother), who radiating as much menace as A K Hangal gives us a few moments of uproarious laughter that at least temporarily blots out the sound of gas cylinders and light bulbs exploding.

5. Nishabd: Jiah Khan’s legs. From the side. From the bottom. From between. From everywhere. Watching Nishabh is a bit like wandering through the meat aisle at a grocery supermarket—stepping through an assortment of legs and hind quarters arranged in orderly fashion. Yes as boring and as disconnected as that. There’s a bluish filter —so we know there is some art involved. What that art was I struggled to find as I tried to look through Jiah Khan’s legs at the screen where Amitabh Bachchan tries, through several tortured semi-orgasmic faces, to convince us that he is in the throes of passion. And that there is some great existentialist tragedy going on.

He fails.

Though, to be honest, there is tragedy here. The tragedy that the greatest tribute to Nabokov in Bollywood still remains Shakti Kapoor’s lustily luscious “Lolitaaaaaa” cry in Chaalbaaz.

4. Aaja Nachle: Madhuri Dixit, a successful NRI dance guru comes back to her native town from where she left in disgrace many years ago to save her old dance school from being razed to the ground for a shopping mall. There she is challenged, Laganian style, by the politician (Akshay Khanna) to put up a dance drama, exclusively with local talent. Only and only if the show is a success, the dance school is hers.

Okay we know how this is going to end. We also know that believability is not one of commercial Hindi movies’ priorities. But when the principal plot premise is about a rag-tag bunch of no-hopers (numbering less than ten), with no prior dance skill, putting on a dance show, why oh why does the ultimate stage production (that goes on for more than 20 minutes) resemble a Broadway musical with flawless choreography, mega sets, awe-inspiring lighting and hundreds of backup dancers who move in glorious synchrony ? How would Lagaan have been if in the climax, Bhuvan’s team came out wearing corporate logos and colored clothing under floodlights with cheerleaders dancing and Tony Greig doing the pitch report?

The basic problem with Aaja Nachle is that it is less a movie and more a concept—a comeback vehicle for Madhuri Dixit. We know she loves to dance. We know she is great at it. But when an entire 3 hours is constructed on one tenuous premise i.e. to get Madhuri to go “Thathaiya Tha” at every possible opportunity (somewhat like how Shakti Kapoor’s roles used to be written with no other intention other than to take him from one scene of “Aoooo Summari main kummari ” to another scene of “Kholo kholo Show me your jalwaaaaaa“) , a celluloid disaster is assured.

3. Laga Chunari Main Daag : Harsh Chaya’s man-nipples. Rani Mukherjee’s manly “Hi I am Natasha”. Cliches, cliches and more cliches. For even more, read my detailed review.

2. Aap Ka Suroor: Never since “Jai Santoshi Ma” has a movie that establishes the godliness of a deity been made in Bollywood. That is till “Aap Ka Suroor” which in the course of its running time, through plot devices, both overt and covert, asks us to believe that if Lord Rama had a beard or Sri Krishna wore a cap or Hanumana sung remix quawwalis , they would be somewhat like Himesh Reshammiya. For a detailed “aarti utarna”, please read this.

1. Saawariya: When cows fart, they produce methane gas. And methane, we are told, is bluish-green. Which explains the ever-present bluish-green tinge in every frame of Saawariya, Sanjay Leela Bhansai’s tribute to his own supposed greatness. For more thoughts, please read this.

0. Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag: It’s not every year that someone can beat a movie like Saawariya to be at the top of this list. RGV ki Aag can. There is not much to say about this movie except to ask, in a true Alok Nathian tear-soaked voice, “Beta tumne aisa kaam kyon kia?”

Okay there is actually much more to say and I have said it here.

68 thoughts on “Greatbong's Worst Movies of 2007

  1. I have to disagree with you on Shootout@…. The ending was cliche-ridden with the cowboy cops aquitted and every crook getting to call home before being blown to bits, but the movie was pretty good in parts. Lakhia pretty much started with a good idea and ditched it halfway through. It’s a (<6)/10 movie surely, but not one of the worst movies of 2007, not when compared say Salaam-E-Ishq, Tara rum pum pum (WTF was that!!) or Marigold

  2. nice list:-) What is surprising is that most of them (if not all) – went on to recover the monies they had invested in….I recollect reading an interesting (quasi?) statistical explanation here ––-why-it-doesn’t-matter/

  3. Greatlisting btw (forgot to mention that). But wouldn’t A-Ka-S qualify as an awesome genius movie, Elaan style?

  4. Aweeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssommmmmmmmmmmmme list, as always 🙂

    The “0” bit had me in splits…you’re too good GB!

    And you actually watched “aaja nachle?” Self-inflicted torture? Repentance?

    Keep rockin’ and shake your ass, shake your ass…

  5. I feel vindicated, now that you have “No Smoking’ in your list. Drove a spanner into my central nervous system circuitry. And hohohohoho…..wait….some people tell me its ‘surrealistic cinema’. Spare me!

  6. Off the topic: Arnab (Great bong) I love your blog and I have a request for you. Would you care to remove picture of Sushma Swaraj which is inappropriately placed to picture of Prabhu ji ( with very lewd expressions)… with all due respect to Mithun da, the positioning of that pic is quite objectionable specially when you are talking about respectable Indian woman. Sushma ji ain’t no Rakhi sawant or Mallika Sherawat….

  7. I would disagree in the case of Aaja nachle…at first i was reluctant to watch it but when i did i liked wasn’t that great and full of cinematic liberty at the end (gloroius sets out of nowhere, fine tuned dancers and extras) but just a regular run-ofthe mills feel-good-comeback type of movie.but definitely not in the same league as Saawariya or no smoking or how can you forget “zhoom barabar zhoom”???

  8. I kinda liked tararumpum…its not your typical lover get all kinda movie…Is something wrong with me?? GBda ??

  9. @GB

    No suprises there. Are you going to do a review of ‘Taare Zameen Par’, a preview of India’s Aussie tour, and a post on Gujarat’s election result (if Modi loses) before the year ends? There ain’t too much time left..

  10. I’d love to see Kabhie Alvida… our -1 in the list….

  11. Eklavya should be on the list as well. LCMD and Nishabd were at least watchable, Eklavya was not.

  12. Awesome list.

    Abhinav, you are a work of art aren’t you?

  13. Agreed except for one movie. I was expecting Aap Ka Surroor to be in “so-bad-that-good” list.

  14. GB,
    for the first time i am thoroughly disappointed. GreatGujju, outlined some problem with your list.

    1) No Smoking: for the first time we (myself and my wife) could not predict this movie. first time, that a director said “fuck you” to the viewer and his/her expectations of a movie (and paid the ultimate price, you say, oh “fuck you too” 🙂 ).

    2) Aja Nachle was interesting. We could watch it twice in succession. compare this with Saawariya, which we could not even take beyond 10 minutes. Oh God, that gay-looking Ranbir dancing YUKK ! how could mix Aja Nachle with this bunch? It was not great, and it was meant for popular consumption, even so the characterizations were very decent, and there were subtle references to many things. it also bypassed melodrama in most cases, quite remarkable for a Hindi fillum. Or should just blame my love for Madhuri for the difference of opinion? unlikely, ’cause i would agree with you for a movie like Koyla any day…

    so, i disagree for 2 out of 7. hmm. this never happened in the previous lists. perhaps you did not watch Marigold or similar other movies around?


  15. And, forgot to add, GB.

    There are glaring copy-editing mistakes. for example, how am i supposed to read the following sentence?Give me commas, man, comma-on!

    “The only saving grace of the movie is Tusshar Kapoor cast in the role of a dangerous gangster, (perhaps because he is the producer’s brother), who radiating as much menace as A K Hangal gives us a few moments of uproarious laughter that at least temporarily blots out the sound of gas cylinders and light bulbs exploding.”

  16. Gud one, though I did feel Saawaria was a nice movie 🙂
    Waiting for a list of Best Movies of 2007 from you. Though you should watch “Taare Zameen Pe” before compiling such a list.

  17. Lists are sure to get you two things – aha and ouch.

    I give you ouch for putting No Smoking and Laga Chunari Mein Daag. Especially for No Smoking.

    For eveything else, I give you a big aha. Especially for Saawariya.

  18. I think this is first post from you, Arnabda, that fails to convince me..

    Well as much as A-Ka-S or Aag, or for that matter Saawariya were bad, Shootout A-L or Aaja Nachle were not that bad to make it to the top 8 worst movies of the year. Even we gottu give credit to Anurag Kashyap for trying something new, if not for anything else, which is so rare in Hindi cinema. It pains me when you put these movies below something like a Partner, a Salaame-e-Ishq or a Ekalavya.

    Also what about lesser known films like Kya Love Story Hai, Red, Aggar, Good Boy Bad Boy, Go, Shakalaka Boom Boom, etc. Why are they not in the 30-probables? They also included known industry faces and came from respectable prod houses. I know, the rational is to include those movies which came with lot of hoopla, but turned red, not the ones which were already doomed before release. But tell me, if you are going to include a Bheja Fry or a Parzaania in you Best Movies of 2007 list tomorrow, wont it be double standards?

    Anyway, I am wondering what happened to Sunny Paaji’s twin masterpieces, Big Brother and Kaafila. What does he need to do more to convince you to include them 😛

    And seriously, it good JBJ has not made this list, simply because of its mesmerizing music.

  19. I haven’t seen any one of them. 🙂
    But the list could have been longer, no?

  20. shootout didn’t quite bomb you know

  21. Mmmmh! I don’t care for this list, I am waiting for your best movies list. It should in my opinion include “Kunwara – Paying Guest”. Pls see it asap if you haven’t already!

  22. I liked No Smoking, as my dear friend ‘What’s in a Name’ will tell you. More details here. Shootout, Aaja Nachle and Saawariya were ghastly. Tusssssshhhhar Kapoor seem to be endorsing some kind of laxative whenever he tried to look menacing. Saawariya was just a slide show created in Adobe photoshop and Aaja Nachle is too much of a price the audience has to pay to grasp a concept like ‘Everyone can dance’. I thought Laga Chunari was OK, probably because I went with really low expectations, since

    a) I had read your review and
    b) it is a Yashraj film (no, I am not on Anurag’s payroll).

    Of course, the USP’s of the film were the two things you pointed out, though I am sure many would have wanted Harsh and Rani to switch roles. Haven’t had the great fortune of watching Aap Ka Shuyor, Nishabd and Aaaaaa, or even TRPP for that matter.

  23. I did enjoy No Smoking, I know almost everyone hated it but I thought it was not a bad ‘inspiration’ from Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (which happens to be one of my favorite movies). Also I loved the lyrics, I thought Gulzar was brilliant specially the last song (only the lyrics). again this is an irrational bias but yes I do tend to like movies that have my favorites in them (Gulzar and Vishal are in that list). That’s why I also liked LCMD because I like Rani a lot (maybe, I still don’t know why I liked LCMD).

    Is Nishabd a copy of American Beauty or Poison Ivy?

    I wonder if I should take your suggestion and stay away from Aaja Nachle, again I am a big fan of Madhuri.

    Since it is about movies you watched consider yourself fortunate that you escaped Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (it beats the awful Ta ra rum pum easily), Darling and Go.

    Finally reading between the lines….did you like Chak De India and OSO? well, they are absent from your bad movie list.

  24. ah thank you for putting nishabh here.. the tragedy is that AB doesnt even look anguished..just constipated. The movie completely leaves one cold.

    The rest of em have been on strictly avoid list so not seen them.. and good thing too!

  25. arnabDa .. loved the list !!!

    Aag is certainly a worthy successor to Classic-a Dance of Love. There is no time or space .. only zero !!!

    For RGV truly epitomises this in his film ….

    Awaiting eagerly for the best of the year …. and also the taare zameen par review (which would be a bonus)

    “Harsh Chaya’s man-nipples” Hilarious !!!

    “(somewhat like how Shakti Kapoor’s roles used to be written with no other intention other than to take him from one scene of “Aoooo Summari main kummari ..)”

    On a side note, I asked one of my marathi friends what exactly
    the phrase “summuni mein kummuni” means.
    His reply was “finding chicken stashed in a corner” .. basically a sudden windfall …

    No wonder shakti kapoor used to say the phrase before he went up to rape the ladies in hindi films !!!

    (EG: Tanuja in Rakhwaala) Aooooooooooooooooooouuuu


  26. Hi Boss,
    When the country you live in celebrated on 4th of July, you strove to write that hilarious masterpiece – Aap Ka Surror review (with all the eeees & iiis). I don’t recall how & why you missed it. Thanks for putting up the link on this list. Too hilarious. Pure genius I must say.
    Oh ok, I haven’t seen any of these movies. But I was forced to watch OSO, which I was very sure would qualify to be the worst movie of the year. But after looking at this list, i thanked my stars for all the movies I was NOT forced to watch (girlfriends can actually be merciful!)

  27. BTW is that “SlauTHERING of the senses” deliberate? Kinda bothers me each time I see it

  28. Firstly i thought your list was disappointing. Movies like No Smoking need to be encouraged as they’re constantly pushing the barrier that restricts Indian cinema. Its only when these movies are encouraged will we see movie makers in India make movie equivalents of say shawshank redemption, the departed etc.

    Secondly, how come you didn’t make a Best of list? Leaves you more open to criticism and makes it much easier for your readers to rubbish you, doesn’t it?

  29. I am truly blessed this year. Apart from a few minutes of Nishabd, I haven’t see ANY movie in Arnab’s list this year! No wonder I feel this Zen like calm at the end of the year even with a terrifically immense workload. I now will have these introspective statements that make me feel better-

    – “True my workload sucks right now, but it could be worse. I could have watched A-Ka-S this year!”

    – “Yes life seems blue to be, but not as blue as Saawariya’s color palette.”

    – “Yes, I might have felt embarrassed in front of my boss last week, but not as embarrassed as I would feel watching AB trying to show lust for a 16 year old on screen.”

    – “I might not have been able to give up smoking, but at least I am spared the torture of watching a pseudo-surrealist film made by a blowhard egotist on the subject.

    See life is better now…. 🙂

  30. GB,
    “Shakti Kapoor’s lustily luscious “Lolitaaaaaa” cry in Chaalbaaz” was not in Chaalbaaz, it was in Tohfa (1984)

  31. ok firstly.. the people who are nitpicking over punctuation,commas and the minor spelling mistake should seriously get a life.

    you aren’t paying a single rupee for this mind blowing writing. you jolly well take it as it comes.

    in my opinion its better that arnab da lays it on thick and fast than slaves over minor details. that way we get more posts than a few ornately, intrinsically carved ones. only Allah is perfect.

    arnab da, it has been said before but the zeroth movie was the master touch.

  32. was the mind numbing ekalavya this year or last ? did you manage to catch Jhoom barabar…. and then there is buddha mar gaya which really isn’t as bad as some of the rest on the

  33. kinthu, paranthu, brathashri, why 7 ? why not 10, or even 5? Did you mean to represent the seven deadly sins? or is it that the year seven is coming to end?

  34. GB, I had suggested ‘No smoking’ because I liked it a lot. I can see your reasons for not liking it. I loved it.Sorry that would be an understatement. I cannot remember when was the last time I was so touched seeing a Bollywood movie.

    A few random points about No Smoking-

    1> The film has a vast range of influences. Blue Velvet, Mulholand Drive, Being John Malkovich, Brazil, 1984, Schindler’s List, Last year at Marienbad, Un Chien Andolou amongst many others. However I do not believe that it has any similarity to Requiem For a Dream or Clockwork Orange or Memento as many people claim.

    2> The initial dream sequence was shot very well. The protagonist’s desire to smoke, a symbol of desperation and quest for freedom is well manifested. The shot when the solider responds with a bullet in response to K’s plea for matches with the shot cutting into the sunset is well executed and is clearly inspired by David Lean’s famous Lawrence of Arabia scene. Its all dark and downhill for K from now on.

    3> The sequences with John Abraham in front of the mirror, his ego and his frailties which make his character adorable and yet obnoxious is what makes the first half electrifying along with the brilliant, serpentine and labyrinthine descent to the ‘laboratory’.

    4> The character of Abbas, the nightclub scene, the strange scene in front of the restaurant where he almost forces his buddy to smoke as well as the Schildler’s list movie being shown on the telly are all precursors to what is to follow. The apparent absurdities like the paranoia of Abbas and the Doctor or the incongruent Taliban like dress of the call center operator helps create a noir like atmosphere. I also thought that John Abraham was an extremely good cast as K. I am not familiar with his body of work and hence cannot comment on his acting prowess, but he seemed to blend with the character rather well. Since the character depicted was extremely superfluous, I cannot tell weather this match was due to design or accident. His scenes in the initial portions of the movie evoked memories of Christain Bale (American Psycho).

    5> Smoking in fact is hardly the theme of the movie. It is a motif for obsession, vanity, ego, pride and is a symbol against conformism .The duality of this motif is quite stunning. On one hand, you cannot but admire K being his own man, but at the same time his excessive narcissism results in a disconnect with the real world. In a film which the director claims is a quest to show his arrogance and is part autobiographical, this self deprecatory depiction of K is what makes this movie a tantalizing black comedy. K looms large, and is largest in scenes where the director looms large. As a side note, I find it strange when Indian audiences complain about an egotistical director. That is they do not mind an egotistical protagonist as long he is played by someone like SRK, but the director should always be less than the movie. I guess that is exactly what critics like Taran Adrash wasnt from a movie.

    6> The devious and shady Bengali Baba’s extortion methods, the trials and tribulations of K and the cat and mouse games he proceeds to pay with the Baba are a visual feast. Wheather it be the torture room or the shady people wearing glasses, the feeling of claustrophobia that K experiences is both a combination his own irrational fears (Lynch inspiration) and a symbol of the director’s fight against society established norms. It is actually a backhanded critique of Bollywood and the film industry and the censor board in general. I can imagine the comic delight Kashyap had got when the population for whom the mockery was intended for, Taran Adrash being a representative of such a population, do not quite get it.

    7> Jean Paul Satre connection- The existential nature of the film is abundantly seen. We see quotes from Socrates when the opening credits roll. K’s quest for smoking is actually an embodiment of all that Jean Paul Satre stated in his views of existentialism- that existence of an individual precedes his essence. K’s lack of morality is simply a reflection of Satre’s view that there is no moral code by which anyone can guide their actions. K’s ego is actually what Satre advocated- that man should place himself at the center of the universe and that his freedom is more important than a Marxist’s class or the devout follower’s “God”. This sentiment was later echoed again, although rather somberly by Albert Camus.

    8> The brilliance of the zero hour- The concept of a Baba’s patient being allowed to smoke at zero hour when the old year ends and a new one begins is just sheer brilliance. There is no moment like that. It is fleeting, transient and ephemeral. But this is precisely the concept of an existentialist’s ‘ekstatic’ temporality (Camus- ‘The Plague’) and its corresponding hodological space (Kurt Lewin).

    The duality of the nature of K, the contrast between the slutty secretary and the trophy wife, between the life that K leads and the one to which he descends is all diabolical if viewed from a positivist point of view. Its as baffling as the wave particle duality of light in that sense.

    9> Humanism- The entire film is an exercise in the Existential concept of Humanism where the focus is on the individual’s pursuit of meaning and identity amidst social pressures to conform and superficiality. The journey of self introspection embarked on by the director is angst ridden (something which Satre put as “faith in bad faith” while Camus depicted as “anxiety”), but he manages to laugh at himself from time to time.
    The sepia tinted flashback and the newsreels are a testimony to this “Joke is on me” attitude. Yes this is an angry film, but the director was pre-reflectively aware of his actions, and implicitly so; thereby exonerating himself and the movie of ‘unexperienced pre reflective aweareness’. As Satre said so wonderfully, “Every positional consciousness of an object is at the same time a non-positional consciousness of itself.”

    The scene where the disconnect of the soul from the individual is complete is very touching. The glass separation between the 2 K’s (the Matrix influence) is both dark and chilling. K (read Kashyap) pays a heavy price for pursuing his dreams and freedom and the apparent lesson seems to be that he went for the big bucks and ignored the small change. But that’s just K. He would have rather be short of change than shortchange himself. The end result of the therapy is a person who has been stripped of his soul and the soul has subsequently been sold in a gas chamber. Being souless, he does not have any further qualms to manipulate and cajole others to follow his path. It is a vicious cycle, we see this in organized religion and in countries and societies which put a heavy emphasis on people to conform and then reform others.
    K gets back his wife, but at the cost of his soul.

    10> Finally this movie is an endeavor to examine the nature of freedom itself from an Existential viewpoint. We look back at ourselves and ruminate. In this way we exceed ourselves (Satre). But responsibility is the price that one pays for freedom. As is usually the case, the director is wise about the short change and the heavy price, though not necessarily with regret and only in hindsight. As Kierkegaard said, “It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.”

    The film has its own flaws. The thought bubbles, the repelling Bipasha dance sequence in the end (the director acknowledges it in the comments) and the rather loose editing, especially in the second half, makes the film appear at times as an exercise in self indulgence than introspection, but I would stick my neck out and say that it was a watershed film by Bollywood standards which was like a middle finger pointed to the industry and directors like Karan Johar and the kind of trash that people like him dish out with monotonous regularity. In a larger scheme, the message, motif , cinematography, neo-noirish charm, splendid narrative and way the director stamps his authority more than compensates its shortcomings. In my humble opinion of course.

  35. Shourideb Bhattacharyya December 25, 2007 — 6:18 am

    No Smoking Rocckkks dude; it is a one of a kind movie……it beats hands down any other bollywood trash for sheer originality….

    @ WTF – did i detect a not so subtle attempt to arouse communal passions……) LOL or was it a Freudian slip….

  36. @yourfan2 I liked No Smoking a lot as well but the story is taken from Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye. Cat’s eye has three short stories and it is the first one call Quitter’s Inc. where No Smoking thematically borrows from. I felt the plot then developed very well, and it was Gulzar’s lyrics that did for me mostly. It fitted the theme very well.

  37. No Ta ra rum pum tum pum chum tum whatever….no jhoom barabar jhoom… the list is surely incomplete without those all time great bad movies.

    I have not seen aaja nachle but it cannot possibly be worse than these…

    btw in response to all the chaps (yourfan, sourideb etc) who write in defence of Anurag kashyap… lynch, mamet, fellini, bergman etc etc influences and the symbolism is all fine but in the case of most of the movies by these directors – take mulholland drive, or la dolce vita, or the seventh seal – among the best movies with all the symbolic aspects you talk about. These are all (generally) very watchable with characters you are interested in even if you dont relate to them and have for want of a better description warmth.

    no smoking leaves you totally cold and uninterested and is frankly a narrative mess. while the concept is definitely very interesting the screenplay seems to aim for the “if its not linear it must be good’ response rather than any coherence or structure. whatever narrative technique you are using surrealism, nor-realism whatever it muct be to make the story interesting, to propel the story forward. here anurag to my mind was simply showing off..

    copy of cats eye/ quitters inc or not tipping a hat to a master does not make a good movie. i wont say it belongs to a “worst of” list (the effort of doing something different is so rare its worth points in itself) but a good movie nah…

  38. @Aditi- Unfortunately I never saw Cat’s eye but it does indeed seem that the story was borrowed for this movie. But No smoking is still much more than that. If I am not mistaken the protagonist of Smoking Inc. went to quit smoking on his own volition. But K wants to quit smoking quite reluctantly. Notice the fact that even though K is ostentatiously vain and arrogant, his main fear is alienation of things surrounding him. The bitter memories of his parent’s divorce haunt him. K would not trade any of his joys for any external factor, except when they conflict with one another. So he only agrees to go to prayogshala, it is because he doesn’t want to lose his trophy wife. On the other hand, his wife has no problem is leaving K and does so on the basis of a random choice. The key argument being here compromise is often relative.

    The fear (or faith in bad faith if you prefer) element in King’s script arises from claustrophobia created by constant surveillance. This is the key factor in 1984 as well as Antonioni’s ‘Blow Up’ or Coppola’s ‘The conversation’. However surveillance here also acts as a dramatic device- we the audience are surveying how K is slowly being robbed of his soul. The detachment is slow and is exemplified by hearing aids and finally the gas chamber.

    Think about it this way- a compromise always acts against your freedom. According to Sartre, (I quote him again and again instead of Rand as some people would because an objectivist would never question his selfish means and because I feel that Kashyap does seem to have a a healthy respect for reflective and pre-reflective consciousness)your present state is a function of
    1> Your facticity (what you are )
    2> Your transcendence (your response to your facticity; your ‘possibility’).

    This duality is precisely what makes ‘bad faith’ possible when we try to escape our ‘anguish’ which is a locus of our freedom by negating one of the two. If you try to merge transcendence into facticity, you are subscribing to the deterministic viewpoint as championed by Marx and Freud. This is the basis on which Sartre rejected the much hyped Freudian idea of unconscious. This is precisely what K finds himself at the end of the movie. He has absolutely no transcendence left to temper his facticity (no smoking). Remember that this condition of ‘bad faith’ is imposed upon him and this is what he means when he talks about when he says ‘Sharir’ and ‘Atman’. The other possibility is of course just the reverse scenario with championing transcendence alone at the cost of facticity. This is a fair approximation of K at the start of the movie. He is a merry gentle dreamer incapable of connecting with the real world. The atrocious fee charged is for moulding his transcendence wrt smoking. The cost of the missed 1 rupee is transcendence itself. Just like our personal experiences, this intensely personal movie is a lament for lost transcendence. Though this kind of perpetual loss is an extreme portrayal, Kashyap just had to use it in order to drive his point of view. Happy is he who has ‘knowledge’ and is at peace with the ambiguous mix of both components. One who Heidegger describes as ‘authentic’. Kashyap’s point is that his has been an effort to find just that, but the external impositions on his transcendence have rendered the job extremely tedious, bordering on the impossible.

  39. S@ hourideb Bhattacharyya:

    it was bait. and you took it 🙂 ..

  40. hey GB…
    Been reading your blog for a while…big fan (let’s get the pleasantaries out of the way! :D)….NEVER NEVER NEVER left a comment before, or questioned your genuis…but today I SIMPLY must….
    Before proceeding I must say I would check every movie in the list above and probably include many more if I had to make one of my own…but there is a feeling that seems to have crept over me…why oh why, do you seem to have a vendetta against Bollywood point being that there are Hollywood productions that deserve an equal measure of ridicule..and mind you, this doesn’t come from some notion of “patriotism” I have…but just thought I should ask as an objective unbiased movie-goer, who is doing PhD in a small Texan town where there are no “Indian” movie-theaters …and had to sit through 2 hours of “I think I love my wife”…
    Do let me know where this anguish against Bollywood comes from… 😀

  41. Bang on Greatbong, you have hit the nail on the head. All the listed movies are as poor as they could be, specially nishabd and no smoking….Oh god what a waste of money for those who would go to costlier theater to watch these stupid movies. They were more boring than I anticipated.

  42. If just raising the “a middle finger pointed to the industry and directors like Karan Johar” aka old Bollywood can be the arbiter of a good movie, then Kanti Shah deserves to be right up there with Anurag “Too Cool for the Masses” Kashyap.

    As far as all those expressionistic, nihilistic, solipsistic, Lynchian, Lean(ian), Kierkegaardian, existentialist, Sartrian, Freudian, dualistic influences, maybe he should have takan one influence at a time and made a film on each rather than cramming all of them into one film.

    In any case all those high faultin’ influences don’t add up to a hill of beans if the end result is bewildering and noxious instead of evocative/provocative.

    It is also expected that there will always be a few “intellectuals” who would go on blog comments sections, be it here or Passion for Cinema, who would go and defend a film like that for the sheer pleasure of being contrarian and feeling superior – the “see I saw something there you missed, you philistines” approach.

    I am just glad that Arnab chooses to do that for Kanti Shah rather than Anurag Kashyap.

  43. What greatbong writes on his blog is a reflection of his soul..when he says that he didn’t like No Smoking it is what he genuinely felt and thats ok coz he is being true to himself…however if tomorrow he has to appreciate the movie(eventhough not liking it) because somebody is forcing him to do so (like what Baba Bengali does!!!), he would lose his identity (the ‘I’) and in the whole process he would lose his soul coz it would stop him from giving his 2 cents to the world (1 rupee concept)….In brief this was what No Smoking was all about!

    so It is ok to hate or love No Smoking….but that decision should be yours and not influenced or decided by somebody else….IMO NO Smoking is one of the best movies to come from Bollywood…and thats my OPINION!!!!!!!

  44. I thought RGV … was a decent movie..

  45. Shourideb Bhattacharyya December 26, 2007 — 10:12 pm

    @ WTF

    it was no bait my friend just a blatant attempt to stoke communal passions ala ‘maut ke saudagar’ etc…..)
    It typifies the pseudo-secular school of thinking…anywayz this is not the blog to be starting on all that….
    seeya pseudo…)

  46. Why all this hate for Jhoom Barabar Jhoom? It cannot possibly be the worst film of 2007, though I find both AB Junior and Preity Zinta immensely annoying.

  47. Well destroyed as usual.

    “The basic problem with Aaja Nachle is that it is less a movie and more a concept—a comeback vehicle for Madhuri Dixit.”

    True, very true. That IS the basic problem with the movie. Even her dancing didn’t make it worth it (but Boy! can she dance!)

  48. @Shourideb:

    “…just a blatant attempt to stoke communal passions…”

    How come your passions are stoked so easily? Calm down fundie (as antithesis to “pseudo”)! 🙂


    My sympathies on the demise of your reason.

  49. Hi GB
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time but, this is the first time I’m leaving a comment and I want you to know that you’re doing a great job here.
    But, as far as the worst movies list is concerned I’m very shocked to see howcome a worthy potential contender for the number# 1 spot – Om Shanti Om has been left out. It was the most horrible, disgusting and pathetic movie of the year. Imagine a whole movie was made just to suck upto Shahrukh Khan. For that matter even Deepika was all fluff and no substance. It’s really sad to see you have excluded a movie just because it made money at the box office.

  50. Typical Shan. Firstly you did not even see the movie. Then you bring in Gunda- a cult movie, out of nowhere and create a flimsy argument which was not at all my point. Did you know what that jackass Karan Johar’s reaction was after watching No Smoking? He questioned the sanity of AK. If people can say that a movie like KANK is very deep (sic) and discuss it with passion, why cant people who liked ‘No smoking’ do the same?

    “It is also expected that there will always be a few “intellectuals” who would go on blog comments sections, be it here or Passion for Cinema, who would go and defend a film like that for the sheer pleasure of being contrarian and feeling superior – the “see I saw something there you missed, you philistines” approach.”

    Yes. Both blogs allow comments, disagreements and discussions. And neither of them are owned by you. And your amazing sense of entitlement which at times make you think of yourself as the proprietor of this blog wont stop comments which run contrary to your predilections. Just like your endeavors a few days ago to ban the comments of Rishi Khujur and other people, whose views and outlook don’t match your unique brand of “liberalism”, paid zero dividends. I don’t mind your sledge however, as I take pity on your current level of frustration caused by Modi’s victory, which I know is hurting a psychotic pollyanna like you rather badly.

  51. @Yourfan2:

    I have every right to disagree with you on what makes a good film. However, unlike you I stick to the topic, which was in this case, films. But since you have (as seems to be the trademark of all murderous communalists) brought in (again!) religion and Modi in a totally unrelated thread, besides calling me names in the process, I now feel free to call you a communal, divisive, vituperative, pseudo-intellectual little twerp.

    I am, however, enjoying the fact, that you were most bothered by my exposing your “intellectual” blather posing as deconstruction of a cinema (You will no doubt respond saying that you couldn’t care less. Ha!). Charlatans like you abound in academia, and most, like you are full of a potent mix of bullshit and hot air and need to be called out regularly.

    And for what it’s worth, I will not discuss Modi’s victory on this thread. You can continue enjoying masturbating while fantasizing about him.

  52. @Shan- Pressed a few buttons didnt I? Personal attack begets personal attack. You used the terms “feeling superior” etc. Now you again use your amazing sense of entitlement to use expletives. There is no doubt as to who started it. Now I will use my f-ing right to respond.

    Regarding your ‘exposure’, all I can say is YES I dont care. Shan I have a plethora of intelligent friends with whom I can talk to on a variety of subjects. Trust me, I treat your intellect and your acumen with as much disdain, nonchalance and impunity as the last few drops of urine that your beloved Muslim mistress squeezes out when she takes a leak. But I know that you hold it in extreme high esteem, just like you do your own sense of intellect and lick it gleefully, much like a lazy fat cat laps up a saucerful of milk.

    “Charlatans like you abound in academia, and most, like you are full of a potent mix of bullshit and hot air and need to be called out regularly.”

    Umm..yes I consider myself to a below average student. But our benchmarks of estimation are rather different. But I saw your academic credentials and allowed myself a chuckle or too. A low standard pompous ass from Pune University who considers himself as a maverick! So please tell me how should I whack off- like the normal male does or like you do- covering your prik with a black burkhah and shouting, “I am a liberal. I am a true liberal.”

  53. @Yourfan2:

    “Trust me, I treat your intellect and your acumen with as much disdain, nonchalance and impunity as the last few drops of urine that your beloved Muslim mistress squeezes out when she takes a leak. But I know that you hold it in extreme high esteem, just like you do your own sense of intellect and lick it gleefully, much like a lazy fat cat laps up a saucerful of milk.”

    Says a lot about your standards of discourse.

  54. WOW!! GB, your list of worst movies has started tye worst round of mud-slinging I have ever seen in this space!!!!!

    Funny that it all started with ” NO Smoking”- havent watched it and dont know if its good or bad. But it cant be worth all that, or is it???? 🙂

  55. Sriram Venkitachalam December 28, 2007 — 3:51 pm

    No Smoking was the such pretense I could hate Kashyap for the rest of my life. Fortunate to have not seen the rest.

  56. I would disagree with you on Shootout and Nishabd. Not that bad … certainly not the kinds to figure in the WORST MOVIE list. Glad to see Sanwariya and OMG RGV ki AAG… is there a rank like -1?

  57. How come Cash is not present?

    *conditions apply

  58. I have to disagree with you on Shootout at Lokhandwala… Ignoring the presence of Tusshar Kapoor, it was my favorite movie of the year… The rest are all right for sure

  59. i am expecting a few things from greatbong in the coming days:

    1. an article on bhajji symondss racial thingy
    2. a review on TZP
    3. a review of revival of dada..(i know u have done it once…but i love it doing it again :-))

    and NO Smoking i have to disagree to be one of the worst movies. like wise i do not agree mahatma to be one of the best movies too. the others are spot on. u shud have watched Dil Dosti etc which is in my opinion a fantastic indian pie!

  60. How can you not include OSO in the list of worst films of 2007 ??? It deserved a place in the top 3.

  61. No Smoking – the best movie i have seen for a long time. hindi movie can be creative

  62. @nosmokes- Couldn’t have agreed more. 🙂 An absolute masterpiece.

  63. No Smoking and Dharm were simply fantastic movies.

    ps: I really wish Anurag(or for that matter any big studio) pays me for this comment.

  64. I was just going through your older posts and saw this post. The thing in which I disagree with is No Smoking. I expected someone like you to love this movie. I loved this movie. Loved to the core. The reasons. The abstract kind of story telling. The direction. The interpretation of the story. The film tells that you start to neglect your life for the thing you love most. Here K loves smoking. If you put me in Gunpoint and then also I will stand by my opinion that “No Smoking” is the one of the noted finest things which happened with Indian Cinema.

  65. As for his exposure", all I can say is YES I do not care. Shan I have a lot of smart friends I can talk to a variety of topics. Believe me, I treat your intelligence and insight with contempt, indifference and impunity that the last drops of urine that his beloved mistress when she broke drain Muslim. But I know that you hold in high esteem in the end, like her own sense of intelligence and lick it with joy, like a lazy cat towers and a bowl of milk. "More as Charlatans abound in the academic world, and like that is filled with a potent mix of shit and hot air and need to be regularly called."

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