In terms of theatre experience, Bollywood hasn’t had the best year. There are many people citing many reasons, and we cannot pin one factor affecting the box office. However, there was a clear lack of effort in most of the films this year. Not taking away the good work that did come our way, but there were a lot more flaws, which are apparently being ignored. The worst part is, nobody is taking notes from the films that actually tried to make a difference. If anything, Bollywood has lost perspective and is reluctant to try new concepts, stories, ideas and even talent.
And these are some of the many things that went wrong this year:
No, we’re not against sequels. We’re just against bad sequels that ruin the standard set by their prequels. Of course, they can do numbers. But that’s not the only measure of a film’s success. And just because some of them work now, doesn’t mean that the same lousy approach will work in the future. Sequels must have a better story to tell, or what is the point?
2. Badly researched historical dramas
Here’s a thought, do not call it a ‘factual representation’ if you’ve hardly researched the subject. Samrat Prithviraj apparently took 18 years of research, but the plot holes say otherwise. The film literally had scenes filled with errors which shows the amount of effort (or the lack of it) that was put in.
3. Terribly portrayed villains
The idea of villains in Bollywood films has come down to a person who makes the loosely written hero look good. There’s no such thing as an ‘anti-hero’, an origin story, or even a good enough motive to pick up a fight. They’re just bad people, who are deeply annoying and of course, do not leave us thinking about the story at all. Sanjay Dutt from Shamshera is just one example.
4. Films still used actresses as props
For some weird reason, most Bollywood films from 2022 had an ‘item number’ of sorts which was, in no way related to the plot of the film. Then there were women characters who were quite literally used as props, or as they say, “for glamour”. Don’t even get me started on actors (read: Akshay Kumar) romancing women half their age, and getting away with the worst reasoning ever. Nobody is jealous, you’ve just lost perspective.
5. Flawed casting
Everyone’s bored watching the same actors play all the ‘heroic’ roles. We not only want films that experiment a little, but also actors who fit the part. And clearly, casting superstars in such roles is not even helping with numbers. If anything they take up more than half the budget and there’s hardly any money left for real work on the film.
6. Preachy family dramas
Yes, it’s good to pick topics that are relevant and need to be talked about. But, if you’re doing it, at least do it right or try to. Jugjugg Jeeyo is one of the many examples, where a good idea was ruined by its intent and treatment. If you’re showing us the need to remove the taboo around divorce, then what is the need to make it all mushy and go back to the Hum Saath-Saath Hain theme?
7. Akshay Kumar trying to act woke, again
It’s not like Akshay Kumar was the only problem this year. Clearly, though, he was the reason behind more than half of them. The actor was known for his comic timing, but he has turned his ways in recent years. He picks films that are apparently about social issues but they end up becoming the same old toxic stories filled with plot holes and red flags.
8. Selling bad writing in the name of ‘masala’
Just because a formula used to work some twenty years back doesn’t mean that it will magically work again. So going back to the tried and tested methods just for numbers and money isn’t a good enough reason. People need a reason to go to theatres and giving them something they’ve already watched definitely doesn’t sound like a solution.
We look forward to good releases and films that make an impact because cinema is more than just entertainment. And we can only hope that things change for good.