Sometimes, a good film fails. Most of the times, bad films work. Such is the film scene in India. But good and bad apart, some films are plain over-rated. These are not necessarily bad films per se, but somehow they have come to be acknowledged as masterpieces by critics and/or audiences alike. Here’s a list of the 7 most over-rated Hindi films ever.
7. Devdas (2002) | Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
With gaudy costumes, intimidating set pieces, dull songs, and a hammy lead performance by Shahrukh Khan at the very core of it, it is a surprise that Devdas made it to BAFTA and later, Oscars that year. Worse, Bhansali played around with the original classic distastefully. Anurag Kashyap did the same with his 2009 version later (another slightly over-rated critics’ favorite), but to his credit he never claimed to make a classic and admitted his film was just based on the original’s plot. Bhansali’s Devdas was a sham, led by an over-the-top performance by Shahrukh Khan, thankfully saved to some extent by two graceful ladies adoring its frames.
6. Jodhaa Akbar (2008) | Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Long, dull, dragged, and insipid – Jodhaa Akbar was a thorough disappointment coming from a person who had directed Lagaan and Swades before. Gowariker’s film seemed promising in the promos. The music, if not Lagaan-good, was Swades-good, but post an awesome initial 30 minutes; the film simply refuses to lift itself. Sequence after sequence, song after song, fight after fight, confrontation after confrontation … all seem to follow a downplayed tone that doesn’t fit well. The film garnered decent praise from critics (it still figures in some all-time favorites list) and even minted money at the box-office, but the fact remains … Jodha Akbar was highly over-rated.
5. Kaho Naa … Pyaar Hai (2000) | Director: Rakesh Roshan
Let’s face it, pretty much every Rakesh Roshan film has fared better than it deserved … right from Khudgarz to Krrish. The man makes mediocre films (yes, which includes a rip off of E.T. which was in turn a rip off of a Satyajit Ray script/idea), and gets away with it time and again. KNPH was the biggest blunder he pulled off with much aplomb. Hrithik Roshan turned into a superstar overnight (much of it was a well-manipulated strategy by the makers and some random PR agency) and KNPH was everywhere. If you go back and watch the film again, you’ll realize it is so old-school and cringeworthy that it makes poking your eye with a fork seem less painful. Also, if someone meets Tanaaz Curim, please push her off a building for that screaming performance.
4. Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994) | Director: Sooraj Barjatya
People dressed up for a wedding, houses decorated for a wedding, cars carrying wedding folks, wedding ceremonies, wedding food, wedding traditions, wedding songs … it starts and then never ends. HAHK was literally a wedding video-cassette. This film officially has more cringe-worthy moments (mostly triggered by the entire cast’s fairytale performances) than a Tanzania vs Venezuela cricket match. Noted by critics as mediocre, HAHK was too sugar syrupy but somehow clicked with the audiences. As 7 year old kid, I could tell this film was a nothing more than a two-line story extended needlessly … somehow a billion odd people disagreed.
3. Sharaabi (1984) | Director: Prakash Mehra
I have watched Sharaabi numerous times and have somehow failed to see the good in it. Its a pretty nondescript story to begin with – cliched at best. Prakash Mehra just hurtles through unlinked scene after scene of father-son quarrel, munshi-son bonding, and a lousy love-story. At his peak and just about to enter politics, Bachchan’s performance was a gem, so was Om Prakash’s as the adorable Munshiji, but both couldn’t hide the fact that Sharaabi was old wine in old bottle. A dhinchak soundtrack by Bappi Da was clearly the film’s biggest asset.
2. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (1995) | Director: Aditya Chopra
DDLJ is the one phenomenon that baffles me. It is the longest running film ever, it has collected a truckload of money over the years, some 18 years later, it is still been forced run by Yashraj for the sake of a record, and there exist die-hard fans of this so-called classic. Until some years ago, I used to think something was wrong with me for not liking the mustard-field romance; but over the last 5 or 6 years I have come across numerous people who think DDLJ was nothing worth what it often gets touted as. DDLJ is not a bad film; it is no path-breaking cinema either. The boy-falls-in-love-with-a-girl-but-parental-opposition cliché, perched atop a grand canvas, deserved no more than one watch. Just one. Not 18 years of paid matinee shows and manipulated record figures.
1. Black (2005) | Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Another Bhansali film. Only this time, Bhansali settled for low-key atmosphere, and compensated the absence of gaudiness with ham. Clearly, the most over-rated film of our times, Black was a critics’ darling when it released. The film bombed, but there are still a few people I know who swear by the fact that Black was one of the finest works Indian cinema has ever witnessed. The fact remains – Black was soulless. It lacked the coherency that such films demand. It lack the subtlety that such films demand. More importantly, instead of keeping it real, Bhansali ventured into the surrealistic with his narrative, and that was Black’s biggest drawback. To worsen the woes, Bachchan went way over the top and Rani stayed understated throughout.
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