I saw Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag yesterday.
For once, the hype was 100% justified. Every single reviewer, awards committee, friend and passer-by had called it the Worst Movie Ever and I naively thought it to be the hyperbole that typifies today's media.
They were bang-on, dead-on correct. It is indeed the Worst Movie Ever Made - at least in my book.
I define a bad movie as one which gets etched on to your memory and comes back to haunt you after decades.
A bad movie is, by no means, a boring movie. It may even be riveting at points but only in the context that somebody stubbing a cigarette on your forearm is also rather riveting. It engages you to scar you for life. It staples your eyelids apart to make you watch their horrors
So, I pulled out of my hat a series of a dozen films, which has the dubious distinction of being the Worst Movies I Have Had the Misfortune of Viewing!
In alphabetical order, they are:
Aakarshan - It was supposed to be a 'hot' film starring Sonu Walia as an upcoming actress, who falls in love with a top star (played by Akbar Khan). The first hurdle is, of course, accepting Akbar Khan as a star, let alone top star. And on top of that, him gluing on to Sonu Walia in valleys, haystacks, convertibles, bedrooms with all the passion of a leather jacket was disconcerting, to say the least.
Was there a storyline? Unfortunately, yes. It was about Sonu Walia marrying the hero despite opposition from her sister (played with arched-eyebrow perfection by Rohini Hattangadi) and then nursing him to health when he gets afflicted with paralysis.
You will never know the meaning of the word 'wooden' till you see this lead pair in action!
Andaaz - Long before Nishabd, came this tale where a (supposedly) teenaged Karishma Kapoor falls in love with her teacher - Anil Kapoor wearing oversized glasses to signify maturity. Of course, he is married and in love with Juhi Chawla.
To add to the mayhem, there are dozens of 30-year-old junior artistes playing school children and they were led by Shakti Kapoor, whose age was justified by millions of flunked years. There was a nincompoop of a villain, who held this despicable school to ransom, and had to eliminated (in the film, though the audience wanted to do it themselves)! And just in case that was not enough, there were enough tasteless jokes on male virility, female anatomy and even menstruation.
Ek Chhotisi Love Story - Manish Koirala waters her plants. Manisha Koirala walks to her workplace. Manisha Koirala argues with her milkman. Manisha Koirala hangs her clothes out to dry. Manisha Koirala gets blank calls. Manisha Koirala's body double has sex.
All to the accompaniment of some avant-garde background music, which consists of a single string going 'ploink-ploink-ploink'... Amazing! Oh - did I mention that all of the above happens from the point of view of a hormonal adolescent who is spying on her with a telescope? And the kid's grandmother continues a toothless monologue while he goes about spying his buxom neighbour.
Stupendously bad - even by Shashilal Nair's 'high' standards. There was an avalanche of protest over the obscenity in the film and the use of a body double without consent. The film should have been banned not for being obscene (which it was) but for being mind-alteringly bad.
Insaaniyat - Chunky Pandey and Sunny Deol are rival gang leaders, who are being brought together by Amitabh Bachchan (in the longest guest appearance in history). How? By singing a song. "Tere dil mein yeh / Iske dil mein tu / Dono yun milte rahenge / Tu hain iska bhaiiii / Yeh hain tera bhaiiii..."
Amitabh aged by some ten years in the making of the film and some of the scenes shot a decade apart were consecutive in the film. Of course, that was nothing compared to the kick-ass bad acting by Sunny and Chunky. Produced by Tito and directed by Tony, this film sounds like a mohalla play but in reality, it is much worse.
Joggers' Park - Again, an interesting theme of an older-man-younger-woman adulterous liaison steam-rolled into shit, despite valiant attempts from Victor Banerjee and Perizad Zorabian in the lead roles.
The movie starts with a retired judge addressing a law college and instead of Intellectual Property Rights, he ends up exhorting them 'not to fall in love, but to rise in love'. Aficionados would recognise this line from producer Subhash Ghai's Taal and everybody would be aghast at the rock star reception that a judge gets. Victor Banerjee has aged quite well but even Shahrukh Khan would not get mobbed as badly as he was in the first scene.
And guess what? The film goes downhill from there.
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna - Karan Johar's 'mature' take on adultery tuned out to be one of the worst messes of all times. K Jo went blue in the face trying to defend Rani Mukherjee's decision to fall in love with a ill-tempered wimp (while she was married to Adonis Bachchan). Nobody in the media asked how one blindfold-and-whip session initiated by her was ample evidence that she tried to 'repair her breaking marriage'. BDSM as marriage therapy is something only Karan Johar can come up with... and we will not dwell upon how SRK's (usually lovable) hamming can look devastatingly bad when it is used on a hapless kid.
Add to that Sexy Sam's leopard-printed handcuffs and you get rather curious about the director's kinks. Hmmm...
Madam X - There is a Good Rekha. There is a Bad Rekha. Bad Rekha is caught by the police. Good Rekha is inserted in her place. Bad Rekha escapes. Now, Bad Rekha kidnaps Good Rekha's brother...
Wait! That is the story of Don. Did you not say that Don has one of the most interesting stories of all time.
Umm... Err... Yes. But but...
No buts - why are you putting a movie with the same storyline on this list? Just because Mohsin Khan is the hero? And the ex-opener from Pakistan can't act to save his life? And because Rekha had a Bad Hair Year during the making of the film? And because the villain's chief henchman (Macmohan) was called Jhakaas? And because the film had so few takers that the theatres took off it on the Monday of the first week?
The prosecution rests.
Pati, Patni Aur Tawaiif - Mithun Chakraborty is a 'sensitive' film director. He is also happily married with a son. He discovers a talented prostitute. No, no - not THAT kind of talent, you pervert!
So, he launches this musically gifted tawaiif, makes her a big star, marries her in front of bhagwaan and has a daughter with her. His wife - obviously not a reader of this blog - suffers silently. And then the director flops badly while the tawaiif becomes a big star. The gold-digging tawaiif promptly abandons him for some other sugar-daddy. Director goes back to wife (with daughter in tow) and is welcomed with a reception at Wankhede.
Logic: He was obviously a pious man because he screwed a woman after he 'married' her. The bitch deserved to die because she did it for money. Where does that leave bigamy? Go figure!
Oh - the tawaiif was played by Salma Agha, the husky voice of Nikaah now beginning to sound like a whipped donkey.
Ramgopal Verma Ki Aag - For a large part of the film, I actually thought that RGV was pulling a fast one by making a movie that was so bad that it was good. But once Amitabh started digging his nose and making small pellets out of the stuff, I went from the frying pan to the Aag.
And that Aag had dialogues like - "... aur woh paisa iss liye hain ki iss shaher ka har police wala ka biwi apne pati ki lambi umar ke liye karwa chauth nahin, Babban ka vrat rakhte hain...". To paraphrase another dialogue from the original - "Ending kab hain? Kab hain ending?"
Any redeeming feature? The blurb on the back of the VCD cover. Actually, not even the full blurb but Babban's character sketch in it is very nicely written.
Tarzaan The Wonder Car - I may have erred in the number of A's that are supposed to be there in the name of the car but there is no error in the choice of this film as one of the worst ever made. And wonder of wonders, it was directed by Abbas-Mustan - known for their edge-of-the-seat thrillers.
But this story of Ajay Devgan (an auto-scientist) getting killed by the villains looking for the elusive Formulaa is a total disaster. (Note: Formulaa is an all-purpose Hindi movie term for a scientific discovery / device the wonders of which would put Thomas Alva Edison to shame!) Anyways, Ajay Devgan dies and his ghost haunts the eponymous car, which is driven by Ayesha Takia's boyfriend. The car winks, the car blinks, the car chases villains, the car does matchmaking, the car swims underwater, the car makes a vodka martini - no, not the last one!
And last but not the least, the car drives itself while Ayesha Takia's boyfriend scratches impossible parts of her body. I told you the movie is bad...
Tehalka - Aditya Pancholi, Javed Jaffrey and Naseeruddin Shah in drag. You want to hear more? Yes? Oh you masochist bastard!
I have talked about it before and would like to be excused from the trauma of reliving the pain of seeing Amrish Puri in a Fu Manchu avatar, singing a song and playing the sitar till his fingers bled.
Intrigued? Go and watch the movie if you dare!
Yalgaar - How much older do you think Feroze Khan is to Mukesh Khanna (Bhishma from the TV serial)? After all, FK was a star in the 1960s and carried on full blast till the 90's. At conservative estimates, he must have been 60 when he acted in this film. He played Mukesh Khanna's SON in this movie! (Nilendu has written about his accented Daaad here.)
Sanjay Dutt and Nagma sang a rain song, which is one of the worst choreographed and most tuneless ever. Kabir Bedi played an anglicised villain with no emotion, though there is some doubt whether that was intentional or not. Oh - and Manisha Koirala showed the first signs of her puppy fat becoming doggy fat in this movie. What a historical film, I say!
Of all these, I have walked out of only one - Ek Chhoti Si Love Story. Considering that I watched RGV Ki Aag fully, I would have to demote it to No. 2 spot and make ECSLS the Worst Movie I Ever Watched.
Food for Thought: If I make a list of a dozen of My Favourite Movies, Sarkar and/or Satya might feature in it. That makes RGV the only director who has films touching the zenith and nadir of cinematic achievement. His range, for once, cannot be faulted!
Note: I have been told that Buddha Mar Gaya (released last year) or Mr Prime Minister (Dev Anand's latest) are also deserving candidates for this honour list. But after hearing Om Puri has played a bisexual baba in the first film and Dev Anand a Latur shoemaker who becomes the PM in the second, I have not been able to muster the courage to watch the films.