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What To Watch, What To Skip: The Definitive 2015 Bollywood Guide

We are all watching Dil Dhadakne Do, right?

You can’t watch everything. Here is a handy guide on how to choose what to watch in 2015

What To Watch

Because life is too short to spend at the theaters (and a year is too long to go without seeing Ranveer Singh or Varun Dhawan), here is our handy primer to the films you need to watch this year, and the ones you definitely need to skip.

A word for the wise: at MBRB we don’t believe in laughing at pulp, and are all for a well-made B movie or Indie, especially if they know their audience. So you won’t see us making fun of KRK or Himesh or even Vishesh Films horror schlock in this column. Instead, our enemy is pretentiousness and bloated budgets. The movies we recommend you skip will likely not be the most terrible ones of the month- but the ones with the biggest gap in the kind of film they want to be, and the kind they ultimately are.

On another note, if we had started before January we would have told you to watch Dolly ki Doli and skip Baby (so, clearly we don’t always know what we are saying!)

February- Our Winter of Auteurs
Watch Badlapur and Skip Shamitabh

We love everything Sriram Raghavan - even Agent Vinod, and while we’d be happy to just see Varun Dhawan dance, we can’t help be excited at the idea of him getting a role where he can finally “perform”. As for Shamitabh, our issues are not with the game cast but with Balki’s overwrought direction. He converted the interesting premises of Cheeni Kum and Paa into endless tear-fests and we just aren’t ready to invest in new handkerchiefs this early in the year.

March- The Girlfriends Get A Chance to Shine
Watch NH10 and Skip Wazir

We hope that her self-produced NH 10 finally affords Anushka Sharma a chance to win her way back into the audience’s heart with that face that betrays every emotion a moment too soon, and that smile that lit up the room in Band Baaja Aur Baarat. We are also thrilled to see Aditi Rao Hydari back on our screens but Wazir’s over-stylised exterior is all about the love-fest between Farhan Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan, with little room for an actress to shine in. Guess which one we will be watching?

April- Tentative New Beginnings
Watch Detective Byomkesh Bakshi and Skip Broken Horses

Not going to lie, we were worried about our favourite director Dibakar Banerjee falling prey to YRF’s decision-making-by-group processes. But then we remembered that he made something as singular and odd as Love Sex Aur Dhoka when working for Ekta Kapoor, and are confident that even the Machine will not be able to tamper his unique voice and sensibility. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, on the other hand, seems to have lost nearly everything that was unique about his voice in this overly dramatic trailer for Broken Horses (it is a Parinda remake on the Mexican border, right?). Hollywood doesn’t care Mr. Chopra- make a good Hindi movie for us here first!

May- Inanity Reigns
Watch Main Gabbar and Skip Bombay Velvet

Yes children, we are recommending an Akshay Kumar remake of a South Indian blockbuster by a director you haven’t heard of over Anurag Kashyap‘s magnum opus with our star du jour Ranbir Kapoor. But we are feeling a bit kindly towards Akshay Kumaar since Baby, and are bonafide fans of Shruti Haasan’s rock star -cool, plus everything we hear from the bloated production of BV (what? no Raveena now?), convinces us that the film will be a bit of a Titanic (the ship, not the film).

June- Spoilt for Choices
Watch Dil Dhadakne Do

Hmm… Varun Dhawan in a dance film directed by Remo? Kangana Ranaut‘s fizz-in-a-bottle meeting Madhavan‘s still waters yet again? The return of Vidya Balan in a grown-up romance? We can’t, in good faith, ask you to skip anything this June. But we ourselves will be ensconced in theatres watching Ranveer Singh play an indolent Zoya Akhtar-written man-child on a cruise ship. Ahh! Who are we kidding? What we really want to see is how well Anil Kapoor does in this latest of his reinventions.

July- Those Pesky Brothers
Watch Brothers and Skip Bajrangi Bhaijan 

Warrior is the best Hindi film you never saw- it has got messy family emotions, relentlessly brutal close-hand combat, and the kind of last scene that makes grown men and women weep. And we thought Karan Malhotra did a wonderful job reinterpreting Agneepath. So we are excited to see his “official-remake” Brothers with Akshay Kumar and Siddharth Malhotra stepping into the shoes of Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy. As for Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Salman Khan, we are suffering from a bit of bhai-fatigue, so will pass this time.

August- Last Chance Salon
Watch Phantom and Skip Fan

Both Saif Ali Khan and Shah Rukh Khan are going through interesting transformations these day. For Shah Rukh Khan, while the films and endorsements  continue to rain in the moolah, there is a creative ennui in his performances which his new choices will hopefully dispel. As for Saif Ali Khan, it is almost as if the audience don’t like him any more. Whichever genre he tries, he fails at – all because of an apparent entitled insincerity. We think Phantom may change that (Kabir Khan, without Salman Khan interfering, can be a crackerjack director). We aren’t quite convinced Fan will achieve the transformation SRK wants though- dealing as it does in a mix of self worship and self parody yet again.

September- Love Is In The Air
Watch Shandar and Skip Katti Batti


It is a pity Bollywood doesn’t make enough interesting romances any more , especially with the multitude of beautiful (and interesting) young actors and actresses out there. We are especially intrigued by the Shandar pair Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhat working together. And while we love Kangana Ranaut, there is no way we will be able to sit through another movie with Imran Khan (nice guy, boring actor) ever again. It is katti to Katti Batti as far as we are concerned!

October- Creative Wasteland
Watch Singh Is Bling  and  Skip MS Dhoni: The Untold Story

We have now reached the part of the year no one knows anything about. Movies scheduled to be released in the month may be moved, new ones take their place, and it is quite likely that at least three Mahesh Bhat films that no one has even heard of get made by then. But based on what little information is available, we may tentatively end up watching Akshay Kumar’s Singh is Bling (mostly for the extreme laziness that led to its name); and we will definitely definitely skip Sushant Singh Rajput  in and as MS Dhoni : The Untold Story (unless of course it ends with him winning a second World Cup in Australia, in which case, take our money already!)

November – I’m Bringing Good Guys Back
Watch Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and Skip Jagga Jasoos

We have to admit, we are the teensiest bit curious about whether Salman Khan can actually act beyond the caricature he’s been post-Wanted. And a chance to play a “good guy” in Sooraj Barjatya’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo may end up being very interesting (although we find his pairing with Sonam Kapoor a bit icky). As for Jagga Jasoos, we are just dreading the relentless “Ranbir and Katrina sitting in a tree, K- I-S-S-I-N-G” stories that we will be inundated for months with as part of the film’s PR Campaign.

December- Deepika vs Padukone
Watch Tamasha and Skip Bajirao Mastani

While the heart loves Ranveer Singh, the head loathes Sanjay Leela Bhansali. His special brand of excess just doesn’t come in a flavour we enjoy. And therefore, in this battle of romances, we will have to skip the epic for the mundane, and the opera for the quieter, more poetic flavour of Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha with Ranbir Kapoor.

What about you? What films from 2015 are you most looking forward to? Tell us in the comments below. We promise not to judge :)

Photo Credit: Meanest Indian via Compfight cc

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