That Karan Johar is a smart businessman requires little testimony. The way he’s crafted Dharma Productions’ identity as a hub which many filmmakers and actors aspire to be a part of is a thumping attestment to the clout he holds in India’s entertainment industry. Despite unleashing a catalogue of mediocrity in 2019 alone (Kalank, Kesari and Student of the Year 2), Brand Dharma remains fairly insulated. At least so far.
That Dharma recently announced a long-term partnership with Netflix is another solid indication of how much the so-called alternative entertainment platforms rely on legacy companies to attract and retain eyeballs. Which brings us to Tarun Mansukhani’s Drive, a film about street racers/bank robbers and people who talk about looting Rashtrapati Bhavan as if they were planning a weekend getaway from Bombay to Lonavala.
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Drive has been lying in the dark abyss of Dharma’s basement for over a year and the reason is evident once you see the film. It skipped a theatrical release and went straight to streaming. There’s no gentle way of putting this: Drive is a terrible, terrible film, a drama so embarrassingly hideous, you’d want it to end really fast because of how furious it makes you. While Netflix hasn’t had a great year otherwise (Bard of Blood, Chopsticks), adding this snoozefest to their slate is a criminal disservice to its own legacy. There was a reason why Dharma wasn’t releasing the film in theatres and by platforming it, what message is Netflix sending? That it is volunteering to become a dumping ground for Bollywood trash?
In Drive, Jacqueline Fernandez plays a quasi gang leader who’s also an ace street racer. She is introduced, stilettos...