Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali
Khan, Deepika Padukone, Prateik Babbar, Manoj Bajpai
Khan is an angsty Dalit despite non-Dalit guru (and college principal) Bachchan’s years of sacrifice and tutelage. Padukone is Bachchan’s daughter. Babbar is their friend and the son of a college trustee. Bajpai is a devious upper caste professor who bends rules to run his expensive private coaching classes despite college’s strict policies. And then there’s the circus. So when the Mandal verdict meteor shakes the status quo, Bachchan and his family have to pay for his ideals. Then? Then he makes a comeback that beats every “Aao padhein” public service message. Ever.
-3 Because The Forced Romance In The Plot comes in the form of two songs picturised on Khan and Padukone, which (and minus three for that) just decide to show up randomly.
-3 Because Act I is filled with spinelessly good people who obviously were going to kick the man when he’s down.
+4 Because Some Of The Big B-Bajpai Initial Scenes are powerful s**t. Plus three for a tacky yet powerful-in-thought celebrations right after the Mandal verdict.
-4 To Chhote Nawab because sirji, if you’re a Dalit you should leave the nawab at home. Plus four because *sigh* Saifu… Don’t ever let go of that moustache!
-5 For The Old Spice Theme Type music for the intense sequences. And other random background tracks that include a Sarod version of Vaishnav Jan. Worst. Score. Ever.
-9 Because The Dialogue Writer Watched One Too Many Vox Pop Segments on TV news. How many soundbytes does it take to change a light bulb?
+10 To Hema Malini’s Framebombing (a la photobombing). Her omnipresent portrait’s penetrating eyes keep us distracted from the bad dialogue.
+3 Because The Story Actually Has Potential Plus three for a predictable but good we-build-up-our-heroes- to-tear-them-down sequence.
-2 Because This Is Every ‘Angry <Insert-adjective> Man’ Big B Movie ever made.
-10 Because Who Needs A Good Story when three hours into it, we can always use a Deus Ex to solve issues of national importance.
+5 To Hema Malini’s Greying, Graceful And Predictable Cameo as someone as rich as Kokilaben and as powerful as Soniaji.