Veteran actress Jaya Bachchan has slammed Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film ‘Happy New Year’ as “the most non-sensical in recent years”, despite the fact that her son Abhishek co-stars in the over-produced heist romp.
The film, directed by Farah Khan, has broken myriad box office records and has raked in more than three billion rupees since its Diwali release.
Critics however, have panned the movie, continuing a uniquely Shah Rukh Khan tradition.
Mrs Bachchan, it seems, is among those thoroughly unimpressed and she says she made her thoughts clear to the film’s lead actor as well.
Speaking at a literature festival in Mumbai, she said: “HNY is the most nonsensical film I’ve seen in recent years. I said that to the film’s lead actor as well. I watched it only because Abhishek was part of it.
“I told him he’s a great actor if he can act stupid in front of the camera like that.
Mrs Bachchan, whose fifty-year career includes such iconic films as Satyajit Ray’s unforgettable ‘Mahanagar’, ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Sholay’, ‘Silsila’ as well as not-so-iconic melodramas like ‘Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham’ and ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, was speaking during a debate appropriately titled “The Failure of Literature in Informing Current Cinema”.
The actress also criticized Bollywood’s obsession with box office business – manifested in such objectives as joining the “100-Crore Club” – for her refusal to take up film projects.
“I can’t be part of what is being done in films these days and hence I don’t do films anymore”, she said.
“Unfortunately cinema today is about business, not art. We call good films ‘art house cinema’.
“What does that even mean? All cinema is art.”
Her comments are in sharp contrast to what her husband Amitabh thinks of the film.
On Monday, the legendary actor took to his Twitter account to congratulate Farah Khan after Happy New Year cross the so-called “300-Crore” (Rs 3 Billion, £30 million) mark at the box office, saying “@HNY crosses 300 cr world wide…congratulations SRK and Farah…well deserved. SO Farah, when do we work together! ha ha.”
Aside from Shah Rukh Khan and Abhishekh Bachchan, Happy New Year’s ensemble cast includes Boman Irani, Deepika Padukone, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Jackie Shroff.
Star cast aside, it’s perhaps easy to see why Mrs Bachchan may have been slightly bamboozled by the film.
Khan plays Charlie, a graduate of the prestigious Boston University who is also a mud-wrestler – giving Khan plenty of opportunities to show off his rippling 8-pack abs – as well as being a jewel thief with a perpetual sore throat.
Charlie and his gang plan to rob some diamonds from the gargantuan Atlantis hotel in Dubai. Their method? Enter the World Dance Championships – whose reigning champions, bizarrely, are North Korea – and carry out the heist whilst everyone’s doing a jig.
One reviewer was generous when he said the film was “messy, lazy and dumb”.