It’s been a long time. In March we didn’t know if we were going to see another Hindi movie. In April it was clear that films would not stop and that streaming platforms had become the new standard. We started watching movies the same way we watch shows on the web, our perspective changed and we became more insightful.
There were three types of films in Hindi. Good, bad and all that. The category of cheated turkeys includes turkeys that are doing badly, despite all factors pointing to the contrary. Most years have a lot of this kind of movies. 2020 was no different. Let’s start with them:
REAL TOP 5
Meghna Gulzar. Deepika Padukone. Vikrant Massey. Survive an acid attack. With all these project-related factors, it is difficult to go wrong. But sometimes doing something wrong is worse than doing something bad. And the directors of Chhapaak have succeeded in transforming a hurried and forgetful film into a moving and inspiring starting point. Padukone himself was good in a courageous role, but again, it is difficult to remember the hero’s journey because the story is so frightening and hard to follow.
The star of GUILTY
, Kiara Advani, is the best example of young filmmakers imposing their vision of the world on the viewer through superficial and forced stories. Nothing in the Dharmatic film was organic, and it seemed like an incoherent #MeToo tweet to fit into the story. It was all a hashtag.
Anurag Kashyap’s latest film was perhaps his weakest – a mixture of sinister anti-establishment vision, reactionary narration and incoherent cinematography. It has something to do with demonism, money flying out the window and civil marriage. But somewhere in the chaos, the idea of a short film is lost in the sound of Aaram Nagar’s nodding head.
slum ballet story Sooni Taraporewala misses a golden opportunity to understand his story and emphasizes an unusual side of Mumbai in a race to make the underdog formula reality. Although it focuses on plausible conflicts, such as obtaining an American visa, the plot lacks structure and gives two moving portrayals of his youth.
SHAKUNTALA DAVIESS You really screwed up, didn’t you? Not only the directors, but also Vidya Balan and Sania Malhotra who with Chacha Chaudhury make it biopic about a complex genius with an entertaining tone.
MRS. SERIAL KILLER
I’ve never believed in the idea that Shirish Kunder is a terrible (just crazy) director, but he now has the special honour of being responsible for the two worst films of the year (Joker in 2012 and so on). Maybe the film with Jacqueline Fernandez (as the woman) is a cruel meta-rap in the cinema, or maybe Manoj Bajpayee (as the stagnant husband of the said woman) wanted to have the unique honor of giving the best (Bhonsle) and worst performance in the same year. I hope that paycheck was worth the monster.
SADAK 2Two of the three students of the year almost ruined their careers in 2020 after the start of the family business: Varun Dhawan with Papa David in the remake of Cooley No 1 and Alia Bhatt with Papa Mahesh Bhatt in the sequel to Sadak, perhaps one of the most useless films of the decade. The best performer of this fictional story is an owl, closely followed by a taxi with Alia and Aditya Roy Kapoor (as a couple, no less), and a stoned Sanjay Dutt standing on the road for no good reason.
Rocker arm NO. 1 (2020)
It makes no sense. The remake of a ’90s comedy that is completely dependent on Govinda and turns stinginess into a guilty pleasure – in 2020 – defies all logic. At least change the lines. I understand that fathers think the world of their children, but even Varun Dhawan and his love for madness could have saved an embarrassing attempt to take advantage of past glory.
Akshay Kumar has lost his mind when he thinks he can get away with glorifying transvestites by turning them into ghosts, giving them a Muslim identity and making them contrast with his terrible acting. It really needs to rethink its strategy after OTT platforms have shown how useless (and toxic) its social cinema brand is.
LOVE AJ KAL (2020)
Sarah Ali Khan is probably the worst child star of recent times – and this says a lot when we look at her family tree and the expectations she and her rivals have raised (Ananya Pandey in Hali Pili came close) – and her total lack of experience/feelings/talent has been exposed by Imtiaz Ali in his useless spiritual sequel to the previous Saif-Depika. With Karthik Aaryan, it’s not the worst thing in the movie.
Rohena Gera, a tender film about the blossoming love between a cleaning lady and her top employer in South Mumbai, is a beautiful cinema. It is a pity that the film was released in post-pandemic theatres rather than on streaming platforms. Many have not seen the performance of Tillotama Shome – the best performance of the year.
A metafilm starring Sanjay Mishra, in search of his 500th film. A role in Hindi cinema, radiates a love of the medium and a passion for Bollywood that draws dreamers to the city. It’s tragic, funny, sarcastic and insightful all at once – an achievement for the first time director and co-screenwriter Patal Lok/Trap Hardik Mehta.
AK vs. AKEOne, the latest Hindi film of the year, was also the most unholy entertainment, meta and cinematic of lately, directed by perhaps the most versatile director working in Indian cinema today. Vikramaditya Motwane’s wounds from Bhavesh Joshi’s failure may not have healed completely, but that didn’t stop him from turning the concept of gadget into a strange biting glance at contemporary India by setting up an old-fashioned superstar against a new generation Indian filmmaker. The reception was controversial, but that’s the beauty of Motwane’s experience.
Anvita Dutt’s love story, a horror story from the Gothic period, undermines the chemistry of the Laila Mainou couple in something unmistakably beautiful and haunting. For his audacity and his framing alone, but also for the background music of Amit Trivedi and the striking presence of Tripti Dimri, Bulbbul deserves his place at the top.
The chamber thriller by Rajat Kapoor, KADAHA about a house party and a corpse, starring Ranveer Shorey and a cast of hilarious theatre veterans, is biting, exciting, well constructed and beautifully performed. These are the best interior pictures I’ve taken in a long time.
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