I do not give this rating lightly. For a piece of cinema to be so goddamn awful as to not elicit a single star, mark or general sign that it was worth its while there must be something that puts a smile, frown or any sort of emotion on your face from the time the movie starts to the closing credits. Corporate failed on all accounts. There are exceedingly bad films out there, like Govinda's Gambler, or Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, but even these have their moments or are just so plain laugh out loud bad that that is what you are doing. Corporate is like none of the above, it is just plain unbearable.
Here is what was wrong with it. A few of the things, anyhow.
A plot. A plot is a nice thing to have in a film. Not essential, as some pleasant timepass flicks have shown us, but it is one of those things you'd rather come into the theatre expecting. Here's the thing, when you have a film that is not dominated by a two person relationship, a plot becomes even more important, because you're no longer relying on character chemistry. Corporate's plot read like the machinations of some cheap Saas Bahu TV Serial, with double crossers and evil relatives and whodunnit at every turn.
Characterisation: If you don't have a plot, good characters can save the day and win you a point or two. The characters in Corporate are not only one dimensional, they frequently aren't exactly sure what they're upto, or why they're doing the things they are. Bipasha Basu, who's eyes we are seeing the story move through, for some reason moves from career oriented corporate hotshot to simpering bimbo in two scenes, with the arrival of Kay Kay. Kay Kay himself, who one till now respected as an actor, seemed to have only one emotion on his face at all times, complete and abject bitterness. It didn't help that he must have downed 5 crates of Black Label whisky during the course of the film. They kill him off in the end, and that almost wins half a point, but its way too late in the movie for me to care. The characterization of the Corporate World itself is so scarily black and white that one wonders what would happen if people accepted this as the truth. The entire Corporate World seemed so commited to Bottom Line, that they could not think beyond 1 month of profit or indeed the consequences of any of their actions. Everyone is so frikkin deceitful, backstabbing and just plain unethical that it's a wonder any business can happen in our country. Now, I'm not so naive as to believe that all things are bright and beautiful, but for god sakes! Had Hundi Hai!
Dialogue: It's always nice to have a few decent lines to a movie, something you come out remembering. This movie has none. There are abrupt scenes, where characters say things like "Okay", "Thanks" or other similiar one lines to end conversations. There is no flow to anything anyone is doing or saying. People say things like "Sabse Best", and while I am all for language integration, there are some things that sound innately stupid. Sabse Best is one of them.
Reality: This is usually a moot point in Bollywood cinema, with a general willing suspension of disbelief. But when a film is touted to be "researched" and an insight into the corporate world, you expect at least a minimal attention to detail. Sadly, this is not the case. Stock Prices fluctuate Wildly. A new drink entering the market somehow captures a 66% market share in a month. Top secret documents are stored in a laptop which for some odd reason hasn't been password protected. Neither have the files for that matter. These are thinkpads, by the way, who are one of the Product Placements in the film. I don't know why they agreed, because they're supposed to be your safe as a brass locker business laptop. Over here, all you needed was a hooker and a pen drive to find and steal critical files. Board Room meetings, that seem to involve everyone but the actual board of directors. Corporations being run like family companies. The Chairman of the group for instance, on a whim decides to hire his Brother in Law as CEO. Corporate Governance be damned...
Generally, the only expression that one could actually muster out of the whole experience was a constant cringe. One wonders why this film was made. My father thinks it's because the director wanted to take out Khundak on people who he didn't like, and thus made them into caricatures in the film. I don't think its too far from the truth.
Under no circumstances should you watch this film. Go see Krissh if you have to, at least it has some nice shots of Singapore.