Everyone in the world is doing “Best of 2015” lists right now. And I get that, it makes sense. But I am incapable of choosing “Bests”! I love all my little movies equally! But what I can do, is remember which movies I watched most in 2015, as it is a quantifiable rather than qualitative decision. So let me count down, 10 to 0.
Top repeat of 2015, at 5 times in theaters and 5 times on DVD/blu-ray, is Bahubaali. It’s just the best! That isn’t an informed judgement, by the way, it is an irrepressible exclamation. I love Bahubaali, but I love even more how it makes me feel. It’s one of those movies that you finish, and the high wears off, and then immediately you have to go back and watch again, and then again, and again, and again. And then you start to listen to the soundtrack all the time, and send long emails and have lengthy phone calls with people debating every detail of it. And then you make this your computer wallpaper.
And then you start to think “maybe I just call in sick to work, because I can’t focus on anything else until I see it just one more time, and that’s a kind of sickness.” And suddenly you realize that Bahubaali has taken over your life, and maybe you finally understand heroin addicts, and also you have to stop cold turkey no matter how much it hurts, because this is going down a dangerous path. And then you are mildly depressed for a few months, but eventually Dilwale comes out and you get over it.
Next to Baahubali, a distant second, I saw Bombay Velvet four times in theaters and 2 times on DVD. I think I am maybe the only person in the world who can say that. While Baahubali makes you feel ALIVE and like you can do anything and the world is perfect and maybe I should just put in my blu-ray right now, what could it hurt, I will still be able to turn it off after just a few minutes and get a good night’s sleep before my meeting tomorrow morning….NO! I just got that monkey off my back, I’m not giving in again!
Anyway, Bombay Velvet. It just makes you feel like you want to die. Like, now, before you have to watch another minute of it. And when it is over, the after effects start, the headaches, the random flashbacks, the horror that never leaves. I thought, if I just kept watching it, eventually I would understand it and be able to get past it. But, no. It’s worse with every viewing. I even wrote a review and gave a conference talk on it, trying to work through the after effects, but no luck! I think I may need to ceremonially burn my DVD.
Gabbar is Back, 4 times in theaters and once on Eros Now. But that wasn’t on purpose! I had just gotten a car, and was super excited about driving people over to the Indian theater, and that was all that was playing. It’s not the best, but also not the worst movie. So long as Shruti Haasan isn’t saying dialogue, it is basically painless. And when Akshay is in the middle of a fight scene, it is actually enjoyable! And then I saw it again on Eros Now, because it was there and I hadn’t gotten my money’s worth from my subscription.
Bajrangi Bhaijaan, twice in theaters and twice on DVD. Now, this is a nice, regular, solid, good movie. It’s not as dangerous as Bahubaali, but it is loveable. More like really good chocolate cake than heroin. You always enjoy it, sometimes you get a real hankering for it, but it will never take over your life. I’m actually really pleased with Bajrangi as the Movie of 2015, which is how twitter and various news outlets are heralding it. It has a sweet message, it is well put together, competently acted, and that little girl is so cute I just want to eat her up!
Dil Dhadakne Do, three times in theaters, never bought the DVD. I only wanted to see it once, and then I was basically done. But I was still new to my car, and I offered to drive friends to the Indian movie theater, and they forced me to see it again. Twice. I tried to put the forced re-watches to use and wrote another review. But I didn’t really want to. I hate Priyanka (just in generally, but also in this specifically I think she was miss-cast), and I have little sympathy for this new trend of “Oh the tragedy of the poor rich uppercaste Hindu man!” See also, my thoughts on Tamasha.
Maghadheera, twice on DVD. I was trying to use it as my nicotine patch for Bahubaali. Not as good, but probably healthier for me. Plus, it had my favorite Item Girl in it. And one truly amazing sequence combined with a nice social message, so it was all good.
Humari Adhuri Kahaani, once in theaters. When you say to the ticket person, “I don’t remember the title, just give me a ticket for the bad movie,” you sort of know what you are going in to. It is not a good film. On any level. Emraan doesn’t even have a kissing scene. But it’s not an “oh my God, when will death come to save me!” kind of film. And I still feel affectionate for Emraan and Vidya. After all, everyone needs a paycheck.
And Bajirao Mastani, 0 times. At least in 2015. Now that it is 2016, I’m probably going to finally get around to it sometime this weekend, possibly buying a ticket for Dilwale and then sneaking in. So I am starting the year with petty spite against non-Shahrukh films. Welcome to 2016!