Every year, we take up the sordid task of skimming through the bottom-of-the-barrel of the year’s entertainment. Although this year was slim pickings, that didn’t stop bad content from being, well, bad. Here’s to the bad, worse, and downright unwatchable, and hoping that you didn’t have to endure them.
What The Love! With Karan Johar (Netflix)
Unwatchability meter: Quite unwatchable, but could be a great watch when drunk or high.
Firstly, the title of the show is definitely not as intelligent as the team must have thought it to be. “This is a show about finding love so let’s take “what the fuck” and then change it to love hahaha, so funny.” Secondly, the show was terribly sanitised and scripted, really boring, and had no goal. Six couples will find love at a random bar, and go on fake dates with celebrities who only did the show because they are KJo’s friends. Wow. So this is woke Splitsvilla on a budget? Thirdly, when KJo doesn’t realise a young chap is gay (while he is “evidently” flamboyant so that the college kid sitting in Bilaspur does not need any hand-holding to spot the stereotypes while watching this “aspirational” show about rich kids and stylists finding love at a singles party, on his mobile subscription) and is pleasantly surprised — and employs his laziest acting skills — you know that this show is going to be forgettable AF.
Unwatchability meter: Very unwatchable, might make you think of cancelling your subscription.
The Red Chillies-Netflix marriage didn’t take off with Bard of Blood. So, when the South Korean zombie-themed series did so well, I am guessing it was time to try out an Indian iteration too? Because if it works in one market, why shouldn’t it work in another? I’d like to make both the teams write this a 100 times on a chalkboard — VFX does not maketh a show.
Mrs. Serial Killer (Netflix)
Unwatchability meter: Unwatchable max, can induce beheading tendencies, starting with the film’s team.
The height of bad decisions made in 2020 is for Mrs. Serial Killer to get a release. It is the Arjun Kapoor of films — so bad that it is really, really bad. Also, can we just keep Jackie F limited to dancing in Badshah’s music videos?
A Suitable Boy (Netflix)
Unwatchability meter: Watchable, if you are hyper-privileged, educationally challenged, uninformed about culture and history, write “clicking selfies” under Occupation in your Tinder bio, and think Rajasthan’s contribution to India is being the country’s Instagram capital. Basically, if you are a moron. Politically incorrect, insensitive, callous adaptation, and boring with a capital B (Mira Nair, peddling Indian rivers-and temples-and-ghazal-soiree nostalgia is so last decade. Most of your white audience have already done the Agra-Rajasthan-Bombay-Goa backpack trip and know that there’s more to India than that) are some of the accusations against this show. But what overtakes is an aged tawaif speaking in English, the colonial master’s language, right after Independence. Is it a joke? Is it an insult? Can’t decide.
Durgamati (Amazon Prime Video)
Unwatchability meter: If you have endured Sadak 2 and Laxmii, very watchable. Otherwise, unwatchable AF.
The trailer was enough for us to know that this was going to be a bad film. But how bad, we couldn’t predict. At one point in the film, a psychiatrist informs us that the protagonist suffers from Kakorrhaphiophobia, the fear of failure. Evidently, the film-maker doesn’t suffer from the same infliction.
Sadak 2 (Disney + Hotstar)
Unwatchability meter: Shamefully unwatchable, ensuring that Kalank is not the low point of Alia Bhatt’s filmography.
Whose idea was it to make a sequel to a film from two decades back, which isn’t top-of-mind pop culture recall right now? Was Mahesh Bhatt just becoming too much of a nuisance at home that family, and dear friend Sanju Baba, came together to just keep him occupied and out of the house? How else can anyone explain this colossal waste of money and acting talent? How does Makarand Deshpande sleep at night after delivering the worst acting performance of the decade? Film-makers are still using “death by trishul insertion” as a method of killing the villain in the climax, and no one objected to it? Questions, so many questions.
Virgin Bhanupriya (Zee5)
Unwatchability meter: Watch it only if you need a sure shot entry for your Worst Films and Shows of 2020 piece.
I love it when item girls and Instagram influencers start believing that they are actors. It is such a positive vibe. Look at Urvashi Rautela ditching her sexy avatar to play a bespectacled, fully clad, sexually inert toddler. Now, that’s what we call Art Cinema. Tomorrow, Nora Fatehi might star as the lead in an Indira Gandhi biopic. Mr Faizu will do an adaptation of Macbeth. I am stunned that Virgin Bhanupriya wasn’t India’s entry for the Oscars. What a sad snub.
Laxmii (Disney + Hotstar)
Unwatchability meter: It is, irrefutably, the worst thing you will ever see — unless Akshay Kumar takes it up as a challenge to beat that (which I hope he doesn’t, for the country’s mental health).
And, the worst film or show or extended cut of a TikTok video goes to *drum roll please* Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii. If you watched the film, you must have sobbed for days, or gone on a killing spree, or both. Laxmii is such an abomination of a film, hitting a low point in every department of film-making, that it is in competition with Gunda and assorted Ramsay Brothers’ films — and it might even beat them. I’d like to start crowdfunding to pay for the Laxmii team’s therapy, and also for a care package for Twinkle Khanna. And Kiara Advani, darling, even if you are getting the Burj Khalifa, can you please pick films that will add to your filmography, and not turn you into another Katrina Kaif? Unlike her, you actually can act.