Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

December 29, 2012

Hits & Pits of 2012

Filed under: What's new — Rajeev @ 1:28 am


2012 was a refreshingly strong year for mainstream Hindi cinema. Unconventional, exciting themes were explored in popular, big-budget movies, and so many smaller films with not-so-big stars took impressive leaps. Of course there was no running away from the mindless and plain lazy films that were delivered by the dozen. In a year of many terrific films and just as many disappointing ones, here’s presenting my best and worst films of 2012, the Hits & the Pits of the year.

Remember, these are personal choices each, not determined by the box-office performance of these films.

HITS 2012

One of those rare years when it’s hard to pick just 5 of the best films, 2012 is also the year that mainstream Hindi cinema truly pushed the envelope in terms of both content and treatment. That many of these films also made respectable money at the box-office is heartening.

At #5 Paan Singh Tomar: If you needed a reminder of Irrfan Khan’s versatility, it was delivered on a platter in this amazing true story of a champion athlete who turned into a notorious outlaw. Moving and amusing in equal measure, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s film painted a realistic portrait of an India few of us can claim to know. Rich in little details, this was a film that stayed with you long after you left the cinema.

At #4 English Vinglish: First-time director Gauri Shinde delivered the year’s most pleasing film in the story of an under-appreciated wife and mother who finds her identity when she conquers the English language. This charming comedy may have tread a safe path, but it still had something important to say. What made it shine, however, was an extraordinary performance by Sridevi, making her acting comeback after 15 years.

At #3 Vicky Donor: Smartly written and bursting with inspired performances, this cheeky comedy about a sperm-donor hero drew you in from the very word go. Filled with quirky characters like the protagonist’s mother Dolly and her feisty mother-in-law beeji, the film, directed with a light hand by Shoojit Sircar, gave us some of the most memorable moments of the year.

At #2 Gangs of Wasseypur: Anurag Kashyap’s epic two-parter set in the badlands of India was a tableau of vengeance between generations of gangsters. A heady cocktail, tinged with humor and heightened by a pulsating score, this bullet-ridden saga boasted the strongest ensemble cast in years.

At #1 Kahaani: Deliciously taut, Sujoy Ghosh’s unpredictable thriller about a pregnant woman’s search for her missing husband kept us on our toes as it traversed its many twists and turns through the streets of Kolkata. Anchored by a powerhouse performance from Vidya Balan, the film sparkled on account of its solid storytelling.

So there you have it, my top five Hindi films of 2012. There are other honorable mentions too, good films that didn’t make the Top 5 cut. They do, however, find a place in the Hall of Fame. A big shout-out to Talaash, Barfi, Gattu, Delhi Safari, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana, and the dubbed film Makhi.

PITS 2012

Shortlising the worst films of the year is inevitably a more difficult list to compile, given that there are so many options to choose from. What I settled on eventually are 5 films that were disappointing for different reasons.

Here are the 5 films I hated most this year, the films that tested my patience, the films that were a punishment to endure.

At #5 Teri Meri Kahaani: Two star-crossed lovers, their romance thwarted across three different time periods, this exhausting film saw lead pair Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra compete in a championship of overacting. Director Kunal Kohli relied on elaborate period sets and costumes to differentiate each track, but alas, a bouffant here, a pathani suit there couldn’t take away the sense of sameness that plagued this soulless, superficial film.

At #4 Rowdy Rathore: Unbearably long, unforgivably loud, and unapologetically stupid, this film had to have been made by people with a cash register in place of their brain. A small-time crook redeems himself by taking the place of an honest lookalike cop in this old-fashioned action film packed with regressive humor. That the movie had such impressive pedigree – it was produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, directed by Prabhudeva, and starred Akshay Kumar – was both baffling and shameful.

At #3 Department: Some films leave you confused. This one went a step further – it left you nauseous with its dizzying camerawork. A singularly pointless tale of the relationships and the betrayals between cops, gangsters and politicians, Ramgopal Varma’s lazy film presented a gallery of repulsive rogues. My favorite of the lot was the female gangster who constantly licked her lips suggestively or sucked on kulfis. Clearly she was having more fun than us!

At #2 Jism 2: Sometimes a script is ridden with holes; occasionally there comes a film that is itself a big black hole. This laughable erotic-thriller saw an Intelligence office hire a porn star to seduce a terrorist. A body bag of bad dialogues and awful acting, Pooja Bhatt’s spectacularly silly film contained my favorite lines of 2012. In one scene, porn star Sunny Leone says: “Apni mulk ki madat main kar rahi hoon kapde utaar ke.” In reply, the officer tells her: “Lekin har jism ki expiry date hoti hai.” How do you not fall off the chair laughing?

At #1 Chaar Din Ki Chandni: This appalling comedy directed by Samir Karnik gets my vote for Worst Film of 2012. Tusshar Kapoor, playing a Rajput royal, returns home to his strict father, passing off his girlfriend as a journalist, only to have his sleazy brothers hit on her. Racist, sexist, homophobic and just plain offensive, this exhausting, unfunny film left you numb, and sapped you of the desire to visit the cinemas anytime soon. It was about as much fun as plucking your nostril hair one by one.

Arriving at a list of just 5 of the worst films of the year was’t easy. Here are some of the other titles that were considered, pondered over but didn’t make it to the final shortlist because they were bad but not as bad as the ones just mentioned. These do, however, go into the Hall of Shame. Let’s hear it for Jodi Breakers, Housefull 2, Dangerous Ishq, Kya Superkool Hai Hum, Heroine, Joker, KLPD, Son of Sardaar, and Khiladi 786.

(This feature first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Not a single Sallu film in either category? I was expecting at least one in Hall of Shame at the least!

    Comment by TheAv_ator — December 29, 2012 @ 2:29 am

  2. You have totally ignored Shanghai!!! Not even a special mention?

    Comment by Varun Varghese — December 29, 2012 @ 9:11 am

  3. A List . . . been awaiting by me , from a long time 🙂 , & it’s upto the mark .

    But Sir , where is the Top movie list of Hollywood ? . . . eagerly awaiting .

    However i tried a little , on top 12 of 2012 . . . if you wanna visit , then here is the link { http://wp.me/p2z7vI-oK }

    Meet you , in year 2013 🙂

    Comment by Nirav — December 29, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  4. For the first time since almost 6 to 7 years I do not agree with you on your Hits and Pits .Firstly Barfi should have been in top three on this I must say this is my personal choice but on Rowdy Rathore I must say I never expected it on your pits .The aura created by Akshay Kumar in the first half was a treat to watch and believe me for that on that action scene when he single handedly beat 20-25 villains,some individual in the theater started jumping on their seat .

    I am not a fan of Akshay Kumar neither I liked Rowdy Rathore much ,but I loved the way Akshay carried the first half.

    Comment by Harvinder Singh — December 29, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  5. Where is SHANGHAI ? it deserves a place in the top 5 Hits list.

    Comment by soumik — December 29, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  6. u gave makhi 4 stars and some of these hits 3…..then how makhi is nt in ur list

    Comment by krishna — December 29, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  7. shanghai,makhi,barfi should deserve place in top 5,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,why u hate rowdy rathore so much ,,,so many people like it

    Comment by balu — December 29, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  8. totally agree

    Comment by mayank — December 30, 2012 @ 10:47 am

  9. Hello Rajeev Sir – I seriously like your reviews and take it so many times for granted….but i believe BARFI should be in the list and also RR has to be removed from PITS…

    Comment by Piyush Kumar — December 31, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  10. son of sardar and heroine and jism2 are the worst movies ever made by bollywood so i totally agree with ur choices –.

    Comment by ana — December 31, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  11. Arjun, the warrior prince, Talaash

    Comment by shaina — December 31, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  12. Ishaqzaade was one of the best made movie of the year.

    Comment by NRB — December 31, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  13. Barfi must be at the top of Hits of 2012.I have seen all the movies you mentioned and think that no other movie was as good as barfi!!!

    Comment by kj — December 31, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  14. All small budget movies.
    Big budget movies=No script+big actors.

    Comment by ABHAY — December 31, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  15. I dont know abt rating and ranks…..but i really enjoyed ur aricle…..overacting para was complete fun.

    Comment by vicky — December 31, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  16. For once i totally agree with you. Rowdy Rathore,i slept through the movie.
    Another movie which shud have been there,(JTHJ)may be not worst but it tested my patience.
    A yash Raj movie,SRK ,A R Rehman,Gulzar & what a disappointment.Did not expect this at all,given that
    this was Yashji’s last movie.

    Comment by sabina — December 31, 2012 @ 11:46 am

  17. little strange to find rowdy rathore in pits. n not to find barfi in hits. rest is cool

    Comment by Nikhil — December 31, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  18. Surprised at Joker not topping the Hall of Shame 🙂

    Comment by alpi — December 31, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  19. this shows ur hate against Akshay kumar… U have mentioned Rowdy rathore and skipped ek tha tiger and jab tak hai jaan… Both movies are worst and incomparable to rowdy rathore…
    Also Oh my God should have a mention but ….

    Comment by Amit — December 31, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  20. shanghai should be in the list for sure…

    Comment by anshul — December 31, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  21. what about Oh My God & Barfi

    Comment by Shakeel — December 31, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  22. How can you miss Dabaang-2 in the worst filmm categoryyy 🙂

    Comment by Shakeel — December 31, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  23. Where is Shangai & Talaash ?????

    Comment by Movie Lover — December 31, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  24. Have seen all five hits and have not seen any of the pits. looks like some good decisions were made in 2012 🙂

    Comment by Vishal — December 31, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  25. I know you a old srk fan and perhaps that its the reason why unbelievably stupid illogical JTHJ did not get any mention. Other wise I’m mostly agree with you. Also one question, how come biggest block busters were the lamest movies of 2012, if star power its the reason do you feel trend going to continue in 2013 a well.

    Comment by Ashish — December 31, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  26. Totally agree wid u sir. U r a gem

    Comment by Aman — December 31, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  27. Akshay ki har movie ko mention kiya h. I think Masand jalta h Akki se….

    Comment by Ashish — December 31, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  28. we go to cenema only 4 entertainment and
    is d best entertainer of d year.
    sir were is D2 in u r list?

    Comment by Shakir khan — December 31, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  29. agree wid pits but no barfi in top 5 it deserved it just for the performances by ranbir and priyanka….was shockd to read abt department was t really made by rgv? whats wrong wid him

    Comment by shubha — December 31, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  30. Vikramarkudu – Rowdy Rathore Original telugu version and Makki/Eega was directed by S S Rajamouli:)

    Comment by Dilip R — December 31, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

  31. rowdy rathore was a nice movie

    Comment by ram — December 31, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  32. According to me, top 5 hits of 2012
    1. Gangs of Wasseypur
    2. Paan Singh Tomar
    3. Kahani
    4. Barfi
    5. OMG Ohh my god / Vicky Donor

    Top 5 pits of 2012:
    1. Teri Meri Kahaani
    2. Dangerous Ishq
    3. Char din ki chandani
    4. Department
    5. Joker

    Comment by Siddhant Rai — January 1, 2013 @ 2:40 am

  33. Looking back and ahead of 2012!


    Comment by Anuj — January 3, 2013 @ 9:42 am

  34. GoW cannot possibly be in the Hit list. The movie was good in bits and as a story was too long with unnecessary characters.. I want your opinion on “Small Budget Movies you should have watched in 2013”

    Comment by Kumar — January 5, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

  35. I’m surprised shanghai is nowhere to be seen in this post, totally ignored. Not even an honorable mention ?!. Highly disappointing !!

    Comment by Deepak K Sajnani — January 6, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

  36. Big Shock….???
    Barfi is not in d list……….

    Comment by swapnil — January 10, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  37. Its quite baffling to see ur choices here…
    well…everybody has his/her opinions…but some of ur choices were quite shockin…not xpected frm u…
    btw…how can u ignore ‘aiyyaa’ while preparing ‘pits of 2012’…

    Comment by Critic of Critics — January 12, 2013 @ 2:03 am

  38. Barfi has to be the best movie of 2012 apart from Kahaani. I think by not mentioning Salmaan and SRK films, he is playing safe 🙂

    Saying that – Masand is the best film critic I have ever come across.

    Comment by Sarang Brahme — January 12, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

  39. Hi Rajeev, I m a blogger and I just published this blog depicting my favorite movies of 2012 with their analysis. Surprisingly, when I checked your list of hits, it is exactly similar to mine !!! That’s made me proud about thinking like u:) Here is my post :http://ansalshah.blogspot.com/2013/01/movies-that-rocked-2012_12.html?m=1

    Please let me know what do you think about it. Thanks. Keep the amazing work going.

    Comment by Ansal — January 13, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  40. strange.. barfi is missing… cant imagine the years best without barfi… pls refresh your lists

    Comment by vikesh — January 22, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

  41. All those people who think JTHJ is a bad movie, doesn’t really know what cinema is. lemme tell you. cinema is a technique. cinema is acting. and cinema should be touchy. and i believe JTHJ have it all. it’s a good movie if not the best.
    we got to trash movies like Ek tha Tiger. which is utterly nonsense and Rajeev havn’t mentioned it.
    lately i’ve noticed Rajeev playing safe then bold. i agree Rowdy Rathode was an irritating but ETT was even worse. if Dabang 2 wouldn’t have been acceptional, we could’ve termed him as a bubdlebaaz. it’s not that we don’t like Salman, we simply hate his bad movies. it’s ok if he is a non-actor but at least do justice with your movie selections.

    Comment by jacktackle — January 26, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  42. my top 5 list of indian movies released in 2012-13


    1. gangs of wasseypur part 1 and 2 – 5 stars
    2. shanghai 4
    3. kahaani 4
    4. ozhimuri(malayalam) 4
    5. paan sing tomar 4


    1. annayum rasoolum (malayalam) 5
    2. viswaroopam (tamil) 4
    3. aamen (malayalam) 4
    4. bombay talkies 4
    5. english(malayalam) 4

    Comment by arun — June 4, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

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