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The Most Overrated Films Of 2017

Spoilers: Even I  overrated  some of these films when I reviewed  them initially.A second viewing cleared the  air and helped me expose the sham behind the claptrap.

1.     Rangoon:  Vishal Bhardwaj’s bombastic selfimportant ode to a screen queen of  the Silent Era , played  with squeamish fastidiousness  by Kangana Ranaut. While I found elements of tardy ingenuity  in the first viewing the second  viewing left me aghast. The  film’s  selfimportant  view of the film industry’s foibles and quirks and its painfully elaborate blueprint for its heroine’s temper tantrums   just seemed so pointless and  pompous in hindsight.

2.     Lion: Garth Davis’ grossly overrated film was an over-sentimental  journey into the life of its adoptive Indian hero. Dev Patel was  unbearably out of sorts in  the main role while Sunny Pawar who played the  younger version of  Patel completely overshadowed everyone and everything in this  mediocre film. Also, to make the incandescent Nicole  Kidman look so frumpy,takes some doing.Some achievement, that.

3.     Naam Shabana:It started  off as  a solid espionage  drama filled with  rage and passion but petered  off into whimper  off  a film where the female spy,Tapsee Pannu follows boss Manoj Bajpai’s orders  with bland robotic subservience.And what was Akshay Kumar doing , showing  up  off and on  , clutching Tapasee’s hand urgently and yanking her into dangerous situations. Though the film featured a female  hero it finally showed her being  commandeered  by men.

4.     Wonder Woman:   I like what Ratna Pathak Shah said about this exceedingly overhyped super-hero  film. Gal Gadot behaved like any male action hero with a  pair of  breasts. What  is the point of turning the hero into a she-ro when she can’t retain her basic feminine grace? That apart the film was  shot like  a series of picture postcards  from the la-la land of super-heroism. Virtuous  to the  point  of  seeming  evangelical and  completely devoid of irony the film just about made you smile  because…well, Gal Gadot is so pretty.

5.     Lipstick Under My Burqa:  Goodness, so much fuss over the film’s showy sexual frankness!! Baba re! The  women were all in desperate  pursuit of liberation. And watching them thumping,bumping and humping  a second time  I felt I needed  liberation from their frantic pursuits of liberation. This  outwardly-bold look at female sexuality served no purpose except to let us know that men take advantage  of women, sexual and otherwise. We  know.

6.     Rukh:  There were  lots of arthouse films in 2017….you know the brooding kind of noire-meets-the-grassroots tales which  tend to impress us easily just because they are …well, brooding  noireishand  intense. I saw debutant director’s Atanu Mukherjee’s Rukh again  and this time came away  underwhelmed. The  narrative is  sluggish , the plot too slight and  the  pacing needed severe  re-tuning. No wonder most of these Festival-travelled films flop.You can fool the critic . You can’t fool the man who pays Rs 300 to go to the movies.

7.     Lady Bird: This hugely-acclaimed  coming-of-age  film about a  troubled mother-daughter relationship situated in  the soporific environment  of Sacramento  (US) left me  impressed,  but not deeply so.  Though mother and daughter are  played with finely- modulated  clarity by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf  a  lot of the characters seem to come and go not to create a dramatic structure but simply to echo the ennui  of a smalltown . Such longing to escape is only interesting when the protagonist cac sweep us into the desire to escape. But most of the time first-time director Greta Gerwig has the audience sharing the protagonist’s boredom rather than her desire to escape. This  is  the kind of film where characters speak a lot so that we know their back-stories quickly without having to go deep into their lives. The focus is on the daughter,  and Saoirse Ronan soars on the wings of her  character’s dream in Lady Bird. But somewhere the flight is capsized  by  the director Greta Gerwig’s  desire to yoke her own smalltown experiences with the genre  that it occupies. The synthesis  is not quite smooth. I’d be  very surprised if Lady Bird wins major  Golden Globes or Oscars.

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