Average Bollywod Films: 2013

There are two ways of looking at this list. Either these are films that lack that element necessary to have them counted amongst the best 10 or they have done enough to not merit inclusion in the worst 10. So depending on how you perceive it, the glass is either half empty or half full.

Arranged in alphabetical order.

Ankur Arora Murder Case

At the Jagran Film Festival where I was in attendance, director Sohail Tatari mentioned that he liked to take on issue-based subjects as against regular formulaic films. It is this choice then that almost works for the film. Medical malpractice is a subject rarely ever tackled by Bollywood. So even when the treatment is rather simplistic, it still interests you. The performances range from bad to OK to good with Kay Kay Menon being the best of the cast as the negligent, megalomaniac doctor.


Few have appreciated this sophomore feature by Abhinav Kashyap. No that does not make it an under-appreciated classic but it’s not a complete waste of time either. Any film with Ranbir Kapoor can’t be altogether boring. He plays an impish car thief who falls for one of his victims. And Ranbir does impish very well. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh also star and like Ranbir, Rishi Kapoor also always has his moments. Just watch him dance to “Budtameez dil”!


Bombay Talkies

The short film is a tricky format. Sometimes, even when the director has something more to say, he has to cut short his expression. That I believe is the problem plaguing Bombay Talkies where the directors are required to restrict their stories to half an hour each. As a result, we have some beautiful performances but unsatisfactory short films. The four directors, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap have all seen better days. My favourite film was Kashyap’s short where Vineet Kumar Singh is sent by his father with a jar of murabba to be offered to Amitabh Bachchan.

Commando One Man ArmyCommando – A One Man Army

Move over Akshay Kumar. India’s new (and improved) answer to Jackie Chan is here. Akshay may jump from buildings, jump over cars and do splits but Jamwal goes one up on all of these. It’s huge fun to see him bash up random goons in style. And when he goes through the window of a vehicle in a particular scene, I positively gasped. Not much in the acting department though. Jaideep Ahlawat as the white eyed villain is more entertaining. Good TP, nothing else.


It takes a while, in fact quite a bit before the characters grow on you. But once they have, Fukrey is an enjoyable ride. While Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma and Manjot Singh are nice as petty gamblers, Ali Fazal sleepwalks through his role. But the film squarely belongs to Richa Chaddha whose Bholi Punjaban passes Roger Ebert’s Character Name Test. Mrighdeep Singh Lamba has improved since Teen Thay Bhai but still has a long way to go before making a consistently funny comedy.

Madras-Cafe-PosterMadras Café

I’ll give the filmmakers an A for effort. We rarely ever make films based on actual political events. Perhaps because freedom of speech still comes at a premium in our country. Then, to make a film on the events leading up Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination even while the UPA government is in power must have required some guts, although no actual names have been used in the film. The treatment alas is incoherent. Sometimes moving too briskly for its own good, Shoojit Sircar can’t keep the various tracks the film has to meander into tied tightly together. A problem I also had with Sircar’s Yahaan. John Abraham should continue producing such innovative films but let others take care of acting in them. For how long should a director have to work around his limitations as an actor?

Mickey Virus

This may be a “film about hacking” but hacking is just incidental to this regular whodunit. Manish Paul, who is very popular as a host on television stars as a lazy hacker hired by the police to track down another hacker. He shows a little bit of the rawness of a debutant but should improve with experience. Ditto for Saurabh Varma who makes his directorial debut. Varun Badola is the scene-stealer as the pot-bellied inspector with a Haryanvi accent. Wonder why we don’t see him more often on the big screen.

Special 26

One basic necessity of a heist film is that the heist itself should be exciting. In S26, the climactic heist and it’s build up is like a foregone conclusion. Eminently guessable and DOA. More like Ordinary 26. Which is a shame because everything that precedes it makes for quality viewing. The re-creation of India of the 80s seemed very authentic and for once it was nice to see Akshay Kumar not monkeying around. Of late, Neeraj Pandey is one of the few directors who puts Anupam Kher’s talent to good use.


A thin, wiry man with far from perfect looks holds us spellbound with his acting skills…at least in the first half. It is difficult to imagine how Dhanush has managed commercial success with a project that looked like a failure on paper. He is superb as the relentless, besotted lover chasing Sonam Kapoor wherever she goes. Alas in the second half, the film ventures into Prakash Jha territory and if you have seen Rajneeti, Aarakshan or Satyagraha, you know this is not a complement. Sonam Kapoor has gradated from the ignore category to a tolerable presence. Much like Anand Rai’s previous effort, Tanu Weds Manu, Raanjhanaa shows promise but does not keep it.

Deepika-Ranveer-Ram-Leela-2 Ram-Leela

It has been a while since I have seen on-screen chemistry like this. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone set the screen on fire every time they appear together in this Sanjay Leela Bhansali “interpretation” of Romeo and Juliet. So much so that it does not even matter to you that the rest of the film sucks. Some very nice songs too, making SLB a better music director than director.


3 thoughts on “Average Bollywod Films: 2013

  1. Besharam was not a bad movie, i felt it was criticised unnecessarily, glad to know we are on smae page about Besharam. Fukrey was let down by incoherent writing,otherwise it could have such a great film. Again given the reviews which were against Special 26, I would say it was one of the better Bollywood film of this year. Going by your list, i am guessing Chennai Express, Krrish 3 will end up in list of bad films, which they deserve.

  2. Pingback: The Worst Of Bollywood: 2013 | mad about moviez

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