Guilty pleasures!

While there are a number of classics that everyone digs, we all have our own guilty pleasures – movies that might not have cut ice with many, but ones you can watch with immense enjoyment even if for the hundred and fifteenth time! The movies below are not necessarily my all-time favorite movies. These are simply movies that were either heavily panned by critics or majorly rejected by audiences or both and yet ones I watched again…and again…and again! There are (much) better movies out there and definitely ones that I enjoy more, but these are my guilty pleasures. So, presenting, in no particular order….

1. Main Hoon Naa

Classic masala movie! Absolutely loved the references to and digs at old and new movies alike! Farah Khan cooked up a snazzy story of long-lost half-brothers, appropriately called Ram and Laxman, with a Raa(gha)van lurking around trying to stop an Indo-Pak friendship gesture for personal vendetta! A remarkably spoofy script, deliberate corny dialogues, foot-tapping tunes by Anu Malik and a lovable larger-than-life turn by SRK made it one of those few movies that I have seen multiple times on the big screen! The movie did pretty well at the box office but was somehow not loved as much as it deserved to be!

Forgot to mention how much I L-O-V-E Suneil “hamming” Shetty in this one! “May-jjja…..I thot u were the vary bast” 😀 Oooh, gotta go watch that scene again 😀 Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with one of the best qawwalis of recent times! 🙂

2. Judwaa

One of the most senseless comedies ever, made not just bearable but stupendously enjoyable, largely because of the charisma of the oh-so-charming Salman Khan! He looked sweet back then, in the non-beefed up look, doing the puerile stuff like only he can…also back then, it hadnt gotten that repetitive and irritating! :D. The comedy was situational and could have been pretty banal, but for the way Salman and Karishma delivered the most ludicrous lines, making them seem inherently funny! Also, who can forget the bickering inspector-constable duo played by Anupam Kher and Satish Shah! Sparkling stuff! Anu Malik came up with a truly wacky score that still gives me goosebumps every time I hear lines like “Tu meri hai Pepsi-Cola, main tera hoon Coca-Cola” and “Oonchi hai bulding, lift teri band hai” – truly “classic”! 😀


Hands down the best first 15 mins of any college movie ever made! Such style, such conflict, near-perfect portrayal of Engineering college campus rivalry and above all, uber-cool Maddy! Rest of the movie is pretty good too although the climax is tepid. Maddy’s love story is ultra-sweet. Music by Harris Jayraj is simply awesome. The pretty Diya Mirza, crack-up-till-you-pee dialogues, an ultra-cocky Hirjee and ultra-sweet Maddy – this ones truly a guilty pleasure. The movie flopped big time on release but has gained a cult following ever since.

4. Salaam-e-Ishq

Heavily panned by critics and rejected by most, and yet, I love this movie. Its lengthy yes, and tends to drag after the 2-hour mark, but all the stories are so beautiful, I was willing to sit through it, thrice! I especially enjoy the Govinda-Shannon story and Akshay-Ayesha one. John-Vidya story is probably the best and the most crucial, and it succeeds in making an impact except for the ridiculous Pakistan market scene broadcast live! That’s a major WTF moment, but considering its a 3.5 hr long film, its a minor abberation. Salman-Priyanka story had the most potential, being a spoof on the industry and media but somehow fizzles out due to a lukewarm follow-up after a rollicking start. Anil-Juhi-Anjana story is good although a tad too long, while the Sohail-Isha track is howlarious! SEL’s music is rocking and some stellar performances carry the movie through to the campy climax which ties all ends together remarkably well, while just managing to not go over-the-top! Nikhil Advani made a noteworthy follow-up to Kal Ho Naa Ho, altho he ripped off a lil bit of Love Actually! But he also managed to make a good film, actually! 😀

5. Welcome 

This one’s Nana Patekar all the way! Uday Shetty (6:35 onwards) sets straight everything else that’s wrong with this film – from Akshay Kumar’s pathetic role to some of the hideously tapori dialogues to cringe-worthy romantic scenes – with his spontaneous comedy, delivered in a manner only he can! Anil Kapoor plays a great supporting role and altho he did splendidly in No Entry, here he has to play second fiddle to Nana who is in his element after a long time! Mallika Sherawat delights in a sprightly cameo! Despite the crappy finale, the movie stands on its own due to stellar performances by Nana and Anil!

6. Jaan-e-Mann

This is probably the most innovative college campus story told in Bollywood (Sorry team Kuch Kuch Hota Hai!) Shirish Kunder makes a rocking debut as director and gives us this Broadway-esque saga of love and friendship. Great performances by (surprise, surprise!) Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar and wonderful melodies by Anu Malik along with the unique story telling style make this a memorable movie! I still cant get why the movie didnt make enough money! It was released during Diwali, most of the people who watched it liked it, critics praised it for the new story-telling techniques used and yet the movie ended up an average grosser! 😐 The competition from Don probably killed its prospects big time! Beautiful movie nevertheless! One of my favorite Salman movies 🙂

7. Kal Ho Naa Ho

A straight-faced guide to living your life to the fullest no matter what! Kal Ho Naa Ho is probably my favorite SRK movie – I loved him in those tending to larger-than-life and yet human roles. Kal Ho Naa Ho is a true gem, and I have had endless debates with friends about this. What draws me to it every single time I watch it, is the spontaneous and intelligent humor, which doesnt wait for the audience to laugh along but moves on at a brisk pace, and the subtle, underlying message of living your life to the fullest without complaining about what’s missing, indeed making the most of what you have. Saif and Preity turned in one of their top performances for this one. And although the ending is labored, the impact isnt diluted one bit, at least for me. I am so glad Karan Johar let Nikhil Advani direct this one!

8. Love Aaj Kal

A true ode to love, as seen by our generation and the one before ours. Love Aaj Kal was somehow disliked by many, inspite of making truckloads of money, mostly because people found it fake and pretentious…and boring. And somehow, I found it honest, relatable and very touching! A good example of  “to each his own” I guess 🙂 What worked most for me in Love Aaj Kal was the fact that it captures the thoughts of today’s youth very well – couples do break up because they dont believe in making long-distance work, couples do try to ensure smooth, hassle-free break-ups and couples do continue to be in love after break-ups if the reason for break-up in the first place was frivolous. Of course, there are tons of examples that point otherwise. The music by Pritam is super, Saif turns in a spirited performance in a smart double role, ably supported by the delightful Rishi Kapoor, and contrary to popular belief, Deepika does her job decently as well, seeming spontaneous and confused, just as the character demanded. The comparison between love of yore and love today is fabulous and the dialogue between the older Veer and younger Jai is superbly written and delivered. One film I can always turn to when I need to wake up the practical romantic in me 🙂

9. Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local

This one’s a riot all the way – superfast, superzany and choc-a-bloc with unconventional comic moments and enough twists to put Race to shame! Abhay Deol is dependable as always in the role of Nilya. Multiple bits and parts players do brilliant jobs – most notably the actors in the roles of Mac, Inspector, hawaldar Tawde and the newly inducted, Rajni-fan constable. Snehal Dabi and Deepak Shirke turn in hilarious extended cameos, while the cleavage-toting Neha Dhupia does surprisingly well too! The movie is a start-to-end caper and, aside from the blatant rip-off scene from Pulp Fiction, everything works perfectly. Sadly, the movie did not do well when released, prime reasons being it wasnt marketed enough and, well, sadly, not everyone makes a beeline at the theater to watch an Abhay Deol starrer.

10. Dus Kahaniyaan

One of the better anthology films made in Bollywood, Dus Kahaniyaan has a few very well made stories along with some mediocre ones and a couple boring/ridiculous ones. The best of the lot are undoubtedly Gubbare starring Nana Patekar – simple, touching and non self-indulgent – and Zahir starring Manoj Vajpayee and Dia Mirza – dark, visceral and ending with a poetic justice. Pooranmasi starring Amrita Singh and Minisha Lamba is really good too. Rice Plate, enacted by stalwarts Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, is interesting, but also a blatant rip-off of an American short film. Matrimony starring Mandira Bedi and Arbaaz Khan is very Jeffrey Archer-ish – short, meaty and with a shocking end. High on the Highway starring Jimmy Shergill and Masumi Makhija talks about the self-indulgence of youth but ends up being too self-indulgent in the way it is presented. Neha Dhupia and Mahesh Manjrekar’s Stranger in the Dark starts out as an interesting concept but ends up being a damp squib because of the manipulative end. Sanjay Dutt and Suneil Shetty’s grand finale Rise and Fall is a predictable story shot with style and although it doesnt work completely, its not too bad either. Aftab and Anupam Kher’s corny and boring Lovedale and Dino Morea’s trying-too-hard-to-be-cool-and-hot Sex on the Beach vie for the bottom honors and while Sex on the Beach at least has a hot chick in skimpy clothes throughout, which is scant respite btw, Lovedale fails to engage at all.

Like I said, not all of them work, but the ones that work, work really well. Ultimately, its like reading one of Archer’s short stories compilation – you like some, you ignore some. The movie works pretty well in terms of style and content and should have made more money than it did.

11. Socha Na Tha

Its fitting to end the list with Socha Na Tha, Imtiaz Ali’s delicious debut about innocent love and arranged marriages. Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia manage to take your breath away with lovable performances and everyone else chips in to make Socha Na Tha a believable, relatable tale of confused marriageable minds and how things unfurl with time and situation. Ably supported by some lilting music, which includes Socha Na Tha and O Yaara Rab, and some simple dialogues, this one’s an absolute delight for true romantics at heart and one of the best movies to come out of Bollywood in the rom-com genre.

There are lot of movies that I enjoy more and tend to watch multiple times but then so do many others and discussing those movies would have been pretty moot. To give an example, I really doubt readers would be interested in me raving about Andaz Apna Apna or Dil Chahta Hai or Rang De Basanti or even Jab We Met, coz they are justified classics and there’s no dearth of good stuff on these movies. Like I mentioned before, these are not mere pleasures, these are guilty pleasures – movies I know are flawed in some way or the other, and yet, movies I cant resist enjoying. You know, like that huge piece of delicious mithai, that you know will reduce your life by a couple of days right away, but one you cant resist letting melt away in the mouth. 🙂

Note : This post first appeared on my blog in 2011 and has been suitably modified for reproduction here. It also won a consolation prize in the Reel-life Bloggers contest by wogma and reviewgang.

  1. cr7 8 years ago

    very Good post @shan. I couldn’t finish Salam-e-ishq . Didn’t like jan-e-man .haven’t seen ecklc . Agree with rest of the choices . Seen all of them more than 2-3 times 😀 . Agree about rhtdm music .I still listen to them . About dus kahaniya ,I think somehow I missed Zahir. Can’t seem to remember it .Have to re-watch the film . I loved gubbare and pooranmasi most .

    Some others I would like to add one two three ,dewane huye pagal, bhagam bhag,chup chup ke,Darna mana hain . Seen them so many times .Specially chup chup ke and one two three . And last but not the least Badshah . I watch it whenever it comes in TV .

    • Author
      shan 8 years ago

      Thanks cr7. Agree about one two three and Chup chup ke, can watch them whenever they are being shown on tv! I find awara pagal deewana funnier than deewane hue paagal, especially Paresh Rawal’s bits. Used to like Badshah a lot, but it hasnt aged very well for me. Still find its first half funny though. Also, there something inherently hilarious about Amrish Puri calling Rakhi bacchi 😀

  2. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Great post.

    Will comment later on my choices

    Regarding Ek CHalis ki last local – I loved Ashok Samrat in it and the background music when he is on screen.

  3. sputnik 8 years ago

    Good post Shan.

    I watched MHN quite late – only a few years back. Had no expectations but I did not like much. The only things I liked was the spoof of Matrix and the SRK-Sushmita college scenes. I liked OSO more – first half was total spoof and potshots. Even the awards function in 2nd half was all potshots and from there on it was Karz + Madhumati.

    Liked Judwaa but I had watched the Telugu original Hello Brother starring Nagarjuna earlier. I like that one more.

    Love the songs of RHTDM specially Zara Zara but I don’t like the movie. Had watched the original Tamil movie earlier but did not like that one either.

    Liked Welcome even though parts of it dragged. For me the best part of Welcome was Anil Kapoor as Majnu Bhai. His painting scenes were hilarious for me. Nana was very good too.

    Remember liking parts of Jaan-E-Mann but don’t remember much else.

    The comic scenes of Saif and SRK were good in KHNH but its more or less Anand and I don’t like the whole climax and all with SRK’s overacting.

    Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local is a good movie. The plot and some scenes are inspired from Pulp Fiction though.

    Agree that some stories of Dus Kahaaniyan were good. Liked Gubbare, Zahir and Pooran Maasi too. Actually the best one was Rice Plate but found out later that it was complete rip-off. Agree that High on the Highway was self indulgent. Don’t remember Matrimony and Stranger in the Dark much. Rise and Fall was all style over substance.

    Had liked SNT when I saw few years back but don’t remember much now.

  4. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    I think this is one of most important role of late Vinay Apte as ponappa – in Hindi films.

    • Author
      shan 8 years ago

      Yeah, he was a fantastic actor. Loved him in Corporate too!

  5. FS 8 years ago

    Again Good post shan. Liked all your choices except Welcome. I liked Salame-Ishq very much along with ECKLL & Socha Na Tha. Others although had lot of clichéd or worn out ideas, still enjoyed the movies & they were very likeable.

    • Author
      shan 8 years ago

      Thanks FS. Agree Welcome is probably the weakest in this list and it has too many cringe worthy scenes. But Nana Patekar somehow makes it up for me (or at least used to until I last watched Welcome. Maybe I won’t like it as much next time). Glad someone else likes Salaam e ishq. Although interminably long, it had some very subtle and some deliberately over the top humor, the kind I can associate with Nikhil Advani. Akshaye Khanna and Govinda were really good in the movie.

      • FS 8 years ago

        All songs in Salaame-ishq were melodious and that is another reason you don’t get bored for its length. Most of the songs are beautifully choreographed with very subtle and beautiful chemistry between the pairs.

        Other recent movie i would like to add is Khatta Meeta of Akshay Kumar

  6. Ipman 8 years ago

    my choices

  7. Saurabh 8 years ago

    I don’t know about Main Hoon Naa, Kal Ho Na Ho as guilty pleasures coz I remember many people had loved them when they had released in 2003, 2004 while I can’t stand SRK. For me guilty pleasures are those movies which everyone from audiences to critics love to hate. But still they are fun for me and I’d rather watch them than D3, Krrish 3, or any superstar blockbusters releasing these days. Here’s my list:

    Dekhne me bewda, bhagne me ghoda aur maarne me hatoda. Watch out for some of the best supporting characters of 90s – Lukka Singh, Inspector Kale, Babu Batla, the late Rami Reddy as Takla Shetty

    The unforgettable masterpiece and a spiritual sequel to Loha

    • Ipman 8 years ago

      a question – what is the guilt in liking khiladi? it was a hit film which was not panned by anyone.

      • Author
        shan 8 years ago

        Saurabb, I feel you contradicted yourself by saying “For me guilty pleasures are those movies which everyone from audiences to critics love to hate” and then giving Khiladi in your list. Anyway, agree with some choices like Coolie No 1 and Khiladi and Gunda to some extent although I find it watchable only in parts.

  8. Saurabh 8 years ago

    Well these days whenever I watch it, I get a lot of flak from friends for loving it . Many of my friends don’t find anything special about it.

  9. Saurabh 8 years ago

    It’s the best Abbas Mustan thriller for me.

  10. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    “Anu Malik came up with a truly wacky score that still gives me goosebumps every time I hear lines like “Tu meri hai Pepsi-Cola, main tera hoon Coca-Cola” and “Oonchi hai bulding, lift teri band hai” – truly “classic”! ”

    Agree 🙂

    In fact no matter how one blames Anu Malik for copying – he is the only one who gave us a marvelous Judwa and then BOrder – such diversity is rarely seen.

    Judwa songs were nice, as u said – they give me goosebumps …

    esp this one:

  11. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    JUdwa by mistake gone to Salman. It is a Govinda movie out and out. Ofcourse salman did well too ..

    • Author
      shan 8 years ago

      Govinda would have given it a completely different touch. Salman made it more vahyat and tapori. Govinda would have made it a different kind of funny, like Dulbe Raja or Coolie No 1.

  12. Manish Kumar 8 years ago

    Most of the movies in this list i think have worked and are liked rather than panned and flopping …

    personally my guilt pleasure movies include

    Srk´s Chamatkaar ( i have watched it many times ) Raju ban gaya gentleman ( Again this is one of my fav Srk movie )

    Sallu´s Jaanemann , Veergati and god tussi great ho

    Aamir´s akele hum akele tum and mann

    Akki´s Jaanemann HDKG CC2C (i always watch this movies and feel so sad it was an awesome oppurtunity wasted badly badly :/ ) Zaalim ( i liked it as kid and enjoy though dosnt have mucha cting etc bt in 90s i liked akki for axn only so doesnt matter

    Abhay has many gems Socha na tha , Ek chaalis ki last local , ahista ahista

    Mithun i think will have th most – gunda , cheetah , jallad , jurmana , dallal …

    • Author
      shan 8 years ago

      Agree on Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Jaanemann and Akele Hum Akele Tum.

  13. Saurabh 8 years ago

    The dialogues in Loha and Gunda are simply awesome. Almost every dialogue of first 20 minutes of Gunda is a rhyme. And Ishrat Ali’s Inspector Kale from Loha and Lambu Aata from Gunda are just hilarious.

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