Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani

The shame here — or at least one of the many shames — is that, with films like Nagin and the original Jaani Dushman, Raj Kumar Kohli demonstrated a genuinely quirky sensibility, while at the same time proving that he could draw in a popular audience. Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, on the other hand, demonstrates the culmination of a gradual grinding down of that sensibility.

Geetaa Mera Naam

Sadhana would get her wish and be remembered as a heroine, even though the most indelible image to be taken away from the film might not be so much one of her heroic exploits as it would be her being whipped while wearing a white mini and go-go boots by a guy who looks like a Village People version of a medieval blacksmith.

Kaala Sona

There’s just something about the combination of the Western genre’s Spartan, rough-hewn aesthetic with Bollywood’s tendency toward the exuberant and phantasmagorical that I find hard to resist. If you want to join me in this new obsession, Kaala Sona is certainly a good place to start.

Qurbani

You’ve perhaps picked up a dvd because its cover bore a picture of, say, Amitabh Bachchan in shades and a bowtie carrying a scope rifle with something blowing up in the background, only to find that the movie contained therein had a couple of underwhelming action set pieces, but was mostly three hours of some guy crying about his mom.

Be-Sharam

As such, it can simply use it’s resemblance to those other films as a terse signifier of those themes (the fetters of family honor, the value of friendship and community, etc.), while it goes briskly about its real business of being a violent and somewhat trashy little potboiler.

Dharam-Veer

In addition to the thrill of watching its spectacular musical numbers and beautiful stars, there is the singular thrill that comes from seeing combinations of color and fabric that will likely never be repeated in human history.

Tahalka

The lines between good and evil in Bollywood movies tend to be pretty broadly drawn, but never so broadly, it seems, as when the great Amrish Puri was cast as the villain. Deep of the voice, wild of the eye, and massive of the brow, Puri, though a versatile actor who played many diverse roles…

Mr. India

For a movie as silly as Mr. India to sweep you up in its enthusiasms — getting you to root for an invisible Indian everyman against a jackbooted cartoon straw man called Mogambo — is pretty impressive in its own right.

Shaan

Shaan is an over-the-top Bollywood masala film that plays in very much the same vein as Don or The Great Gambler — which makes sense, since all three of them star Amitabh Bachchan. For me, they work as sort of a trilogy, even though none of the films is technically connected to the other in…

Asoka

Big battles, small conflicts. Terrifying wars, charming flirtation. It’s all told with a sweeping sense of romance and adventure. And at the center of events that changed the world, there is a simple tale of doomed love. Like all epics, Asoka has it’s flaws, but I would still place it without hesitation among the very best epics ever made, and among the very best Bollywood films I’ve ever seen.

Commando

Commando tells the story of young Chandu, who’s name changes in the subtitles to Chander about halfway through the movie. Either way, I’m simply calling him Commando, in honor of his arch nemesis being named Ninja. The movie begins when Commando is but a boy, and his father is the commando of the family, prone…

Boom

I alluded earlier to this being he Bollywood equivalent of an Andy Sidaris movie without actual nudity, but that’s not being fair to Andy Sidaris. Boom wishes it could be as bad as an Andy Sidaris film, but it’s so much worse.