[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.
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.