Major Duds Of Bollywood In 2023: An Overview Of Some Of Hindi Films That Underperformed At The Box Office

Besides blockbusters in the form of PathaanJawanGadar 2, and Animal, Bollywood has also witnessed its share of box-office duds in 2023.

While many Hindi films didn’t do well, Salman Khan’s two releases — Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan and Tiger 3 — proved to be disappointments. Neither was an outright disaster, but the box-office collections were nowhere close to what Shah Rukh Khan enjoyed this year.

Likewise, Vivek Agnihotri’s The Vaccine War was a nonstarter. Much like his last film The Kashmir Files (2022), this one was also a propaganda film with a different subject. However, the results were contrastingly different.

Akshay Kumar had another disappointing year in 2023. Out of the three releases, only OMG 2 did good business; the other two  —Mission Raniganj and Selfiee were dead on arrival.

For Prabhas (since Adipurush is primarily a Hindi film, I am including it here) too, 2023 has been disastrous. Many thought that Om Raut’s Adipurush would break the dry spell of Prabhas after Baahubali (2015, 2017) but nothing of that sort happened. On top of that, the film itself got massively trolled on many counts.

Here’s an overview of the Bollywood flops in 2023:

Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan

bollywood duds of 2023 Salman Khan Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan
Salman Khan’s ‘Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan’. (X)

Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is much like Chiranjeevi’s Bhola Shankar, a remake of Ajit’s Tamil film Veeram (2014).

However, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is not a complete washout unlike Bhola Shankar, thanks majorly to its Eid release.

The film can be best described as Salman Khan’s version of 2 States (2014) and Shah Rukh Khan’s Chennai Express (2013).

For those who haven’t seen Veeram, Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is about a man called Bhaijaan and his bond with his three younger brothers. All three have a girlfriend each but the big brother doesn’t know about them. Bhaijaan himself is unmarried.

He firmly believes that a girl’s entry into the family will ruin their bond. At this point, you have the arrival of Pooja Hedge’s Bhagya with whom he falls in love later. This is the story in brief.

The major problem with Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is the half-baked love stories of the three brothers. As a result, viewers don’t feel any empathy for their desperation to find a girl for their Bhai.

The second half of the movie is more engaging, thanks to the scenes of Venkatesh who plays Bhagya’s elder brother with a turbulent past. However, it didn’t turn out to be a wholesome feast for the fans.

Tiger 3

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Salman Khan in a still from ‘Tiger 3’. (Facebook)

A lot was expected from Salman and Katrina’s Tiger 3, more so after the blockbuster success of the previous spy films War (2019) and Pathaan. There was immense pressure on Maneesh Sharma to deliver. Unfortunately, Tiger 3 was a massive step back.

Tiger 3 had plenty of style but the amalgamation of geo-politics and action didn’t strike a complete chord. For Maneesh Sharma, this was the second consecutive big film where he let down producer Aditya Chopra.

Adipurush

bollywood duds 2023 Prabhas Adipurush
Prabhas-Kriti Sanon’s ‘Adipurush’. (X)

Om Raut tried to do a masala retelling of Ramayana much like his first film Tanhaji (2020) but here, that formula backfired disastrously.

He along with lyricist-writer Manoj Muntashir took many cinematic liberties with the Ramayana.

The dialogues were too modern (or should I say funky), particularly the ones of Hanuman. If late Bapu had seen this Ramayana interpretation, he would have squirmed in his seat.

Saif Ali Khan single-handedly carried the acting department. He visibly had a blast playing Lankesh.

Both Kriti Sanon and Prabhas failed to capture the divinity of Rama and Sita respectively.

The Vaccine War

Vivek Agnihotri The Vaccine War bollywood duds 2023
Vivek Agnihotri’s ‘The Vaccine War’. (X)

The Vaccine War directed by Vivek Agnihotri did have its heart in the right place. It depicted the many challenges that a group of scientists, particularly women faced in making a vaccine.

Vivek Agnihotri did stage some good emotional moments. A case in point is the scenes featuring Pallavi Joshi and Girija Oak. However, the extreme heavy-handedness in storytelling became a major roadblock.

The Vaccine War was also severely problematic in the way it portrayed the journalist community. Raima Sen playing Rohini Singh Dhulia has a constant smirk on her face.

We only see her writing long articles downplaying the sincerity of our scientists. There is no second layer and as a result, the viewers feel that she gets more importance than required.

Mission Raniganj: The Great Bharat Rescue

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Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in ‘Mission Raniganj’. (X)

The DNA of Mission Raniganj is similar to several Akshay Kumar films where he plays the saviour role.

The storyline of Mission Raniganj had all the potential to be a thrilling evacuation drama but unfortunately, nothing of that happens.

Instead of rooting for Akshay and Co, the viewers only feel a sense of dullness.

What also didn’t help Mission Raniganj were the shoddy production values coupled with bad VFX.

Parineeti Chopra as the dutiful wife had a miss-and-blink appearance much like her last film with Kumar Kesari.

It was a pity to see Parineeti Chopra wasting herself after showing solid potential in her initial films like Ishaqzaade (2012) and Shuddh Desi Romance (2013).

Selfiee

Akshay Kumar Emraan Hashmi Sellfiee
Akshay Kumar-Emraan Hashmi’s ‘Selfiee’. (X)

Selfiee is the remake of the critically acclaimed Malayalam film Driving Licence (2019). It was directed by Lal Jr and written by the late Sachy.

Driving Licence was both insightful and entertaining in how it depicted a fan taking on his favourite actor due to a misunderstanding.

The film was also a brilliant take on the psyche of human nature. Both Driving Licence and Selfiee have more than one similarity with Shah Rukh Khan’s film Fan (2016) but unlike that movie,  here you have an amicable solution.

Director Raj Mehta along with his writer Rishabh Sharma delivered an entertaining film. It was easily Akshay’s best outing as a leading man in recent times.

He took many potshots on himself like the scene where his character Vijay Kumar talks about the number of films and advertisements he has to do every year. The makers also did a good job of showcasing the vulnerability beneath all the swag.

Emraan Hashmi’s fan act was initially not so convincing but he settled into a groove soon. Despite being an entertainer, Selfiee joined the list of those South remakes that have bitten the dust.

Shehzada

Shehzada directed by Rohit Dhawan is a perfect example of how a masala film should not be made. The original, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is no classic and has problematic aspects at its core.

Kartik Aaryan Shehzada
Kartik Aaryan and Kriti Sanon in ‘Shehzada’. (X)

However, Trivikram’s directing skills combined with Allu Arjun’s swag majorly contributed to Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo being a smash hit. The music of Thaman S was an absolute chartbuster too.

A big problem with this toothless remake (Shehzada) is the absolute lack of conviction and energy. Rohit Dhawan badly faltered in delivering a proper entertainment package.

Though Shehzada is crisper with some unnecessary characters removed it did not help the film. Kriti Sanon as a hotshot lawyer is also less objectified when compared to Pooja Hedge.

Another hugely problematic aspect of Shehzada is the portrayal of the rich kid. In the original too, this was a problem but here, Rohit dumbed down Ankur Rathee’s Raj to a whole new level.

Kartik Aryan tried his best to fill the big shoes of Allu Arjun. Though he was reasonably good, he is no Allu Arjun!

Gumraah

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Aditya Roy Kapur’s ‘Gumraah’. (X)

Gumraah is another Hindi remake of the Tamil Film Thadam (2019). Director Vardhan Ketkar took a huge risk by casting Aditya Roy Kapur in a double role.

The only solo successful venture of Aditya Roy Kapur’s career so far has been Aashiqui 2 which became a big hit more due to the chartbuster album, particularly the song “Tum Hi Ho“.

Gumraah primarily suffered on two counts. The one is the fatigue factor of seeing many remakes. The other issue was its leading man.

Aditya Roy Kapur was given too much to handle. He was definitely earnest but that was not enough to lift the film. Mrunal Thakur and Ronit Roy were efficient in their respective parts but their roles could have been done with more meat.

Tejas

bollywood duds 2023 Kangana Ranaut in Tejas
Kangana Ranaut in ‘Tejas’. (X)

Sarvesh Mewara’s Tejas was a major misfire in many ways. If we compare it to other successful patriotic films the thrilling moments can be counted on our fingertips. The women empowerment angle too was done far better in Gunjan Saxena (2020).

A big problem with Tejas is how it became an extended version of Kangana’s angry rants on social media. The perfect example of this is the pre-climax scene where Tejas (Kangana Ranaut) goes on a long rant about the sacrifices made by the Indian soldiers and how they go unnoticed. There is nothing heartfelt about the entire scene.

Much like her other release Chandramukhi 2, Tejas too ended up as an epic disaster. This female version of Uri (2019) did not strike a chord even with the hardcore BJP fans.

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