2017: The Year That Destroyed ’90s Bollywood

Pop Culture

2017: The Year That Destroyed ’90s Bollywood

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

T
his year has been as frightening for Bollywood as it was for Congress during the Gujarat elections. It wasn’t enough that we had to witness a frighteningly dull SRK-Imtiaz Ali union in Jab Harry Met Sejal while simultaneously tolerating three hours of Salman Khan going full Tubelight. Bollywood in 2017 took it several notches lower by churning out glorious abominations like Begum Jaan, Kaabil, Haseena Parkar, Raabta, Bhoomi, and Judwaa 2, at routine intervals.

But, the biggest letdown of all, one that left a bigger hole in our hearts than the combined disappointment of Rangoon, Phillauri, and Raees, was how 2017 was the year that mercilessly killed our rose-tinted memories of the ’90s.

This year saw most of our favourite actors from the ’90s attempting to stage a comeback into our shrunken attentions spans. This year also witnessed them humbled (maybe), considering not one could recreate the sway they once wielded over the box office.

Govinda kicked off the unceremonious proceedings back in March by starring in Aa Gaya Hero, a film he also wrote and produced. In the film, Govinda played a daredevil cop who completely neglects all laws of gravity and emerges victorious on all counts. The two-hour-long borefest was indication of Govinda’s ambitious desire to forcibly yoke the audience to a time-machine and take them back to the years when he was Bollywood’s Hero No 1. Unfortunately for him, the 1990s were nearly two decades ago.

Govinda

This year saw most of our favourite actors from the ’90s attempting to stage a comeback into our shrunken attentions spans.

Image credit: Twitter

Govinda, like Raveena Tandon, Sridevi, and Sanjay Dutt still seemed to be in a world where they could afford to snatch lead roles and expect to be lauded with appreciation and box-office success by virtue of their mere presence. A time when the coherence of a film’s plot could be relegated to the background.

In a coincidence, the only comeback vehicle for Raveena, Sridevi, and Sanjay Dutt was that of a parent avenging a raped daughter in Maatr, MOM, and Bhoomi respectively. These three films had another thing in common; their need to be socially relevant was overpowered by their greed to be the centre of the rape-revenge universe. If Maatr and MOM seemed half-baked and problematic for advocating self-styled vigilantism, Bhoomi was a masterclass in being tone-deaf, and reduced its vulnerable protagonist to a mere prop.

Then there were the Deol brothers, who starred in Shreyas Talpade’s painful Poster Boys. Even though there were instances of Bobby Deol showing traces of his comic timing, the film was so riddled with cliches and unfunny gags that it became a parody of itself.

This year saw most of our favourite actors from the ’90s attempting to stage a comeback into our shrunken attentions spans.

How did we get here, guys? We were a generation that spent evenings perfecting moves from “Kaate Nahi Kat-te Ye Din Ye Raat” and “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast”, and could spout lines from Deewana Mastana at the drop of a hat. We’re absolutely gutted.

But Bollywood couldn’t stop there, could you? In 2017, you volunteered to ensure that every time we think about the ’90s, we’d only experience one feeling: cringe. Leading the pack was David Dhawan’s re-engineered Judwaa 2, the film that set such abysmally low standards in arrogant sexism and misogyny which made the ’90s look politically correct. The film’s remixed versions of Anu Malik’s “Chalti Hai Kya 9 Se 12” and “Oonchi Hai Building”, songs that were the very definition of a Lit AF party, were so offensively jarring that UNESCO declared them as the worst decision David Dhawan has ever made.

Mom Sridevi

If Maatr and MOM seemed half-baked and problematic for advocating self-styled vigilantism, Bhoomi was a masterclass in being tone-deaf, and reduced its vulnerable protagonist to a mere prop.

Image credit: Twitter

Giving Judwaa 2 stiff competition was Golmaal Again that took up the noble intention of completely destroying the classic “Neend Churayi Meri” from Ishq. If there’s anything worse than watching Ajay Devgn make 300 crore with every Golmaal movie, it’s definitely watching him trying to dance to a song you once held dear. Not to be left behind in the race to the finish, were Abbas Mastan and Sonakshi Sinha who contributed the ear-bleeding remixes of “Gulabi Ankhein” and “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast.”

Nostalgia is a powerful weapon, one that should be wielded sparingly and with absolute care. Sadly, that’s a memo Bollywood missed. And this is a blasphemy that all ’90s kids will #NeverForget.

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