Monday, December 24, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top Ten Flops of 2012!

The real marker of a flop isn’t piddling box office returns, though box office can be a good marker for audience interest. A flop is a film that fails to accomplish its goal, whether that is making a blockbuster or kickstarting a debutant’s career. And, for some reason, I can’t get enough of them. Why do they get rejected? Why do they get made? What is revealed in their failings?

In that spirit, here are my top ten failures of 2012, with the BIGGEST failure coming last!

10. Ghost

Directed by Puja Jatinder Bedi

Starring Shiney Ahuja and Sayali Bhagat

The decline and ruin of Shiney Ahuja has been one of the most fascinating real life filmi tales to be spun out over the last couple of years. The arrogant and entitled asshole whose career is kneecapped by a rape accusation and conviction and yet remains an arrogant and entitled asshole even as his former friends abandon him... the man who turns down a small role in 100 Crore Club film Barfi because he doesn’t want to play secondary hero... what film does he use to stage a comeback? Ghost.

Not only was Ghost dogged by Shiney’s baggage but there were also fresh accusations of sexual harassment against Shiney from the sets as well as trouble with the Censor Board for all sorts of other things, like anti-Christian sentiments. And, yet, for all that publicity and controversy, nobody went out to see the film and Shiney’s big comeback fizzled out.

9. Department

Directed by Ram Gopal Varma

Starring Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt

Another career implosion that has been fascinating to watch is Ram Gopal Varma’s. How did the man who made Rangeela and Satya end up making Department?

It’s just frustrating to see him pick up these potentially interesting story ideas and gather incredible talent and then make terrible films. How does he keep doing it? Is it all an excuse to use the casting couch and hire “actresses” like Nathalia Kaur? And how does he keep getting actors like Amitabh Bachchan to star in his films? For the Big B, doing a Ram Gopal Varma film must be like playing a slot machine. If you stick enough quarters in, maybe... just maybe you’ll hit a Sarkar instead of a Department, Rann, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag etc. etc.

8. Dangerous Ishhq

Directed by Vikram Bhatt

Starring Karishma Kapoor

There was a fair amount of buzz around Lolo’s comeback film and it’s too bad it didn’t work out for her. If you ask me, which nobody did, the problem isn’t that women can’t open a film, the problem is that nobody is giving them good scripts. Case in point: look at Sridevi in English Vinglish.

I hope this wasn’t the end of Lolo’s attempted comeback because she deserves better than this footnote of a film. How about we put her opposite my boy Jimmy Shergill in a movie where she plays a woman who runs a small shop and Jimmy Shergill is a gangster and he ends up taking shelter at her shop but then she gets mixed up in his gangster business and... stuff happens! Also, let’s stick Pratima Kazmi in there as a cop. Just because.

7. Tezz

Directed by Priyadarshan

Starring Ajay Devgn, Kangana Ranaut, and Anil Kapoor

Much like last year’s Rascals, I highly suspect this film was came about because Ajay Devgn wanted to spend some time with his “friend” Kangana. By all accounts, the film wasn’t bad per se but being a film with no point beyond “Hey, my name is Ajay Devgn and I feel like visiting the UK” there was nothing much to get excited about. Add to that the reverse buzz that hiring names like “Priyadarshan” and “Zayed Khan” generates and you are on your way to flop town.

Ajay may be able to anchor a certain type of film but clearly his name is no guarantee.

6. Aiyyaa

Directed by Sachin Kundalkar

Starring Rani Mukerji and Prithviraj

I’m actually really curious about this film. It received a lot of negative buzz but, much like Dangerous Ishhq, it showed that there is still a lot of interest in Rani Mukerji. The trouble seem to be that the film was too... odd for people expecting a straight romantic-comedy. Still, I have hopes that this may turn out to be one of those gems that becomes a cult classic - like Jaan-e-Mann or Tashan.

And if nothing else, the song picturizitions show that Rani has still got it!

5. Teri Meri Kahaani

Directed by Kunal Kohli

Starring Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor


If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’re probably aware of my loathing of the works of Kunal Kohli. He’s a complete hack who - despite all evidence to the contrary - thinks that he has the magic formula to win audience approval. He assembles his films from bits and pieces of previous hits - the pieces he thinks are what made those hits work. You know Because he’s a genius.

You can almost see the index cards with story ideas written on them for Teri meri Kahaani.

“Kaminey got praise so let’s hire Shahid + Priyanka”

“Everybody loves those retro songs and references so let’s set part of the film in 60s Bollywood”

“Modern Facebook-style romance is king now so part of it needs to be in London.”

“The Mausam promos seem to be doing well, stick Shahid in a kurta.”

Filmmaking by numbers. It’s infuriating that guys like this, with no desire to entertain an audience but only to earn themselves praise, are making films.

4. Agent Vinod

Directed by Sriram Raghavan

Starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor

To use the Onion AV Club’s scale, Agent Vinod was a fiasco - a film that aimed high and failed spectacularly. This was going to be Saif Ali Khan’s return to the Top Echelon of Actors With The Last Name Khan. He was going to combine cool, suave SRK as Don action with the meta-retro-noir that went over so well in Johnny Gaddar (unfortunately making Neil Nitin Mukesh a household name in the process) and become a New Type of Bollywood Hero who was both Hollywood Cool and Bollywood Cool and Definitely Not Over The Hill and Looking Every One of His 40 Years.

Alas, the gap between the film that Agent Vinod could have been and the film that resulted was huge. Whether it had to do with the rumors of Saif’s constant interference with Sriram Raghavan’s direction or the money problems that dogged the team or if nobody really had a clear idea of what a Don/Johnny Gaddar/James Bond/Kurbaan style film was going to look like but the result was a jumble of plot points along with glamor shots of Saif Ali Khan and his eerily smooth brow.

And as for Saif, he remains firmly on the second tier of heroes, co-starring with John Abraham in Race 2 next.

3. Heroine

Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar

Starring Kareena Kapoor

This is one of the films on the list that deserved to fail. Despite my love of everything Kareena Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar needed to be stopped. He is a filmmaker who has essentially been remaking the same film since Chandni Bar and has appropriated for himself the tag of “feminist” despite the fact that his films are anything but AND that there are credible charges of using the casting couch against him.

So, yes, I’m happy that yet another of the Bandar-car’s tales of powerful women brought low has been consigned to the scrap heap where it belongs. He needs to join it.

2. Players

Directed by Abbas-Mustan

Starring Every Star Child Who Needed Work At The Time and also Bipasha Basu and Omi Vaidya

What is there to say about Players... the film that tried to remake The Italian Job remake but instead of gathering together a bunch of talented actors that it would be exciting to see pull of a heist (i.e. Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg...) the team behind Players said to itself, what if we sent Amitabh’s son, Anil Kapoor’s daughter, Anupam Kher’s stepson, Mukesh’s grandson, Dharmendra’s younger son on an expensive trip to New Zealand?! Oh and we’ll hire the Silencer from 3 Idiots and put Bips in a bikini! It will be great!

1. Joker

Directed by Shirish Kunder

Starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha

Alas, poor Joker we knew ye well. How I wanted to love this film... giving a crazy genius like Shirish Kunder a pile of money and free license seemed like a great idea to me but apparently not so much to the stakeholders, who got increasingly nervous as the months went on. Joker went from an ambitious sci-fi 3D epic to a chopped up 2D children’s film. And it flopped.

But Joker contained just enough of the original vision to hint at what a 3D tour of Shirish’s fantasy land would have looked like - too bad nobody had the confidence to put it on screen. We don’t know if Shirish’s original vision would have flopped but cutting up the film for fear of flopping turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Stuart Martin said...

I think your wish that Aiyyaa has a future as a cult favourite is pretty much certain of fulfilment. There was a lot I really liked about it, the bits that I thought worked best were the bits that you mentioned might be most off-putting to the conventional expectations. Rani as a trueMPDG? Priceless!

CoffeeQueen said...

I avoid reviews like the plague if I really want to see a film. I know I enjoy a lot of films others hate. Huge fan of cheesy, nonsensical and excessively violent films.

"she deserves better than this footnote of a film" I agree completely although I did enjoy this film alot, twice! I hope to see her again soon on screen in a Karishma worthy project. I dont get why anyone thought a VB film was ideal for her "comeback" film. I liked Haunted 3D, Jurm and 1920 but Karishma? Whose idea was that?!

I also liked Agent Vinod even though Im not much of a Saif fan. I'm waiting for another Omkara performance. It lacked the umph it needed to make a real impact. Someone dropped the ball.

Players was ok but not what I had hoped for. A waste of all that Bobbyness.

I understand why people didn't like Department ... but my family loved it in the theater AND on DVD. Reminded me of seeing reservoir dogs, loud, violent, wild and unexpected. A rewatch on the small screen might be in order. Just don't turn up the volume or the neighbors will call the cops!

Aiyyaa was out of the theaters before the second weekend so I missed it but I am waiting for the DVD to arrive and I suspect I will LOVE it. Love Rani!

The rest didn't interest me at all. Looks like I may have saved some time and money lol

eliza bennet said...

Players was indeed a bad film. But to me it ended up being so bad it is good.
It even had the villain lair and everything.

But the film had that 70s films mood that made me feel happy and I didn't mind the terrible acting, plot holes, the incompetent action scenes, the lame songs and predictable picturisations because I was laughing out loud at all of them.

Plushie said...

I loved Aiyyaa! It was actually one of the biggest surprises for me due to all the bad buzz. I'm a bit sad to see it not do too well, but I can see why it didn't.

Rani is adorable in the film! I think many girls can totally relate to Rani's character. The movie is light, funny and super sweet. Plus, any film that objectifies the man for once, rather than the woman is a-ok in my books. :P

veracious said...

Stuart - I'd say Meenakshi can't be true MPDG because the trope is a character to serve the male protagonist's journey of self-discovery or self-fulfillment or whatever. In Aiyyaa, the focus is on the female protagonist.

FG - Good list, fun to read especially when I skipped out most of these. Definitely agree with you on Agent Vinod .. I don't want to rag on it because it had some really good bits, but then, what it could've been means it's just sort of really disappointing. I hope it doesn't stall Sriram Raghavan's career, though, as I love the guy.

Heroine seemed like a mess from the get-go, I agree with you on Bhandarkar. His female protagonists are always after the ~seedy glamour~ of their industries, and they're always ridiculous naive, and the plot twists are always horribly predictable.

I think you're too harsh on Kunal Kohli but I'll admit TMK sucked much. :(

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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