There’s always going to be that odd week when watching something new will make you wonder, ‘how did that get greenlit in the first place?’ The responsibility to churn out more content as the subscriber base and interest expands for major players like Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar and slightly smaller services like Zee5 and MX Player, also brings in the possibility that sometimes, some shows or films are just seat-fillers, whether that’s due to poor production quality, questionable directing or a subpar script. LetsOTT gathered a list of original content which don’t really have much of a point, but their sheer existence is forever etched in your brain because of their mediocrity. Here are some shows that you can totally skip, even if you have a lot of time on your hands during the coronavirus lockdown (seriously, pick up a book instead if you wish):
(Disclaimer: The reason we’re steering clear of mentioning Indian Matchmaking is that it is precisely the kind of entertaining hate-watch binge that we’ve lapped up over the last few weeks. Also, we highly recommend watching it if you want to steer completely clear of the regressive, stereotypical and bigoted demands of the suitors on the show).
1. What the Love with Karan Johar (Netflix)
It takes special skill to have a readymade hit formula in front of you (read: Queer Eye and… well, Splitsvilla) and then screw it up. This inauthentic urban ‘Indian Matchmaking’ show comes with star power and star cringe. Filmmaker Karan Johar plays Cupid to two people in each episode, complete with therapy sessions, celebrity ‘gyaan’ and token makeover. And although he is far from a bad choice to play ‘love guru’ to these contestants (?), the show comes across as mostly disrespectful to the people it so callously promotes and / or caters to. Unlike Indian Matchmaking, which doesn’t claim to shy away from problematic notions of love and marriage in brown culture, here are educated folks who are openly sharing their bigotry and lack of cultural context. No thanks.
2. Lal Bazaar - Zee5
Honestly, aren’t we done with the unnecessary sex, gore, and violence, just for the sake of something seem raw and gritty? Because not everything needs to have an Anurag Kashyap stamp on it? Backed by Ajay Devgn, Zee5’s Bengali show about a group of cops is mostly outlandish in the way it portrays the force and how crimes usually take place. The show starts off with an over-the-top sex scene between an anonymous man and a prostitute, and her dying under strange circumstances. Soon enough, the local police force is involved in investigating two cases - the prostitute’s murder and another series of unrelated murders. The eventual cover-ups and involvement of the brothel in the whole sham is completely unreal, including a very unsavory scene with questionable underwear.
3. The Casino - Zee5
I can’t say that there was any redeeming factor to this star-studded show when the trailer came out, but hey, anything to watch a sultry seductress in skimpy clothing in a Godfather-wannabe. This show is almost like a chapter from the Vishesh Films book with a femme fatale out to seek revenge from wrongdoing against her. Forget anything else, The Casino gives iconic film villains a run for their money with its tacky dialogues, over-the-top characters and performances and bizarre moments. What is promoted as a story of power, deceit and intrigue is actually mostly a way to sell shabby and sleazy action sequences. You can consider watching The Casino if you feel that it will successfully diminish your intelligence, and that’s what you want.
4. Rejctx Season 2 - Zee5
In a world full of Rejctx, be a Student of the Year. When it so happens that Karan Johar’s campy candy-floss fluff isn’t the worst thing you’ve seen in this age of teen dramas, you have to draw the line somewhere. Rejctx is actually a pretty high-budget show about a bunch of spoiled boarding school students who are tortured and blackmailed by an unknown entity. What starts off as a noble attempt to put forth the perils of the growing youth and making them more accessible to parents and friends, is soon turned into a truly random story of everyone wanting to get into every other’s pants. There’s also an unnecessary murder subplot, some cacophonous musical numbers, and some sleazy sex scenes.
5. Topless - Zee5
Don’t go by its name, there is no welcome bait here from the title. This Tamil show on Zee5 is centered around the portrait of a topless woman from the colonial era. But the twist is that the portrait is haunted in the way that anyone who dares own the painting, will have his/her fingers chopped off in the bargain as punishment. Sounds interesting enough, actually, but what the makers arrive at is some bizarre sequences written without continuity or meaning. Things happen for no rhyme or reason at irregular intervals, accents come and go randomly, and at the end of it, you really stop caring about the secret of the portrait.
6. It Happened in Calcutta - Zee5
Pretty sure that absolutely nothing happened that could convince me that this show was worth watching. A lot has gone into the making of this show, especially since it's a period drama. Hence, its production design and value must look impeccable. This Romeo and Juliet reborn story is incredibly boring and lifeless, with its leads failing to exude any chemistry. Hardly any research has been done in making the setting feel real. The Bengali-isms thrown into 60s Calcutta seem forced and under-researched, and the most annoying part is that the show uses a refurbished soundtrack from previous singles.
7. Virgin Bhanupriya - Zee5
Sensitivity is certainly not the forte of a film that makes fun of someone with a speech impediment and compares sanctuary napkins to pressure cookers. Urvashi Rautela plays a 20-something who is desperate to lose her virginity. Then follows a series of hot men willing to seduce her and the camera strategically pointing at certain parts of her body instead of her face, even while claiming to make some big statement about female sexuality and her right to choose her sexual partner. Noble thought even though the rest of the film spends a while dissing on those who choose chastity, because what is life without sex, if not meaningless. Characters get randomly slut-shamed and fat-shamed, while others smoke weed in college. Thank you for the lesson, Zee5.
8. Bhaukaal - MX Player
Why join the ranks of good shows which explore the dark side of small-town India where power and intrigue run daily life when you can be so easily forgettable. Based on true events, Bhaukaal is the story of a police officer who gets embroiled in a local mafia war in Muzaffarnagar UP after becoming the area’s SSP. Once again with the intention of being gritty and realistic, Bhaukaal ends up being downright illogical and senseless in the way characters are written. The writers introduce seemingly important women characters who conveniently get forgotten in a while. The music is extremely inappropriate, and the dialogues are premium content for meme material.
9. Run - Aha
A boy and a girl sing a song and fall in love, and then someone gets murdered and the boy is the key suspect. Sounds interesting, but here’s the twist. In this Telugu film, the writers daringly explore the repercussions of mental illness on the protagonists. Yes, it seems that the hero is all set to meet some helpful characters on his way to clear his name of the crime, but all these characters are just a figment of his imagination. If I leave aside the insensitive way mental illness is handled in Indian movies (because that’s exhausting already), this one has scenes calling out on all women as ‘bitches,’ amongst other things, as well as several logical fallacies. I give up.
10. Ghost Stories - Netflix
Anthology films have usually worked in Netflix’s favour but this collaboration between ace filmmakers Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, and Karan Johar was a miss, miss, miss, and Well… Dibakar Banerjee. It was a genre that hadn’t been fully explored by any of these names in the past, and after the success of Lust Stories, expectations were high. Not much made sense in the way a few of the filmmakers interpreted the title, with a rather old-fashioned perspective on what a ‘ghost story’ should constitute. In fact, they weren’t too different from watching a Vikram Bhatt horror film with a haunted mansion, eerie lighting and annoying jump-scares. So much for that opportunity to break the mould in the horror genre.
Here are some more titles for you to skip watching.,
a) Rasbhari - Amazon Prime Video.
b) Bhootiyagiri - Mx Player.
c) SIN - Aha.
d) Tandoori Idly - Mx Player.
e) Never Kiss Your Best Friend - Zee5.
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