Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

The 2020 disruption produced some choice gems to entertain you. While one always looks for classy and enriching content, there is fun in sitting through a cringe-worthy movie or show.

Rucha Sharma
Published: Jan 4, 2021 02:31:37 PM IST

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

The 2020 disruption produced some choice gems to entertain you. While one always looks for classy and enriching content, there is fun in sitting through a cringe-worthy movie or show.2020 disrupted entertainment sector just like it did with everything else in our lives. But thanks to streaming services, we were able to continue binging our favourite shows and discover new ones. While there were some absolute gems—season two of The Mandalorian, The Queen's Gambit, Serious Men, Ludo—we were also treated to some shows and movies that were cringe to the core yet had us glued in front of the screens. Some of them became a pop culture phenomenon. some ruled the meme world. But, overall, this content successfully managed to distract us from the disasters unfolding around us. Now, it is time to create your very own Cringe-Binge watchlist. 

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list


This Akshay Kumar starrer caught attention early on thanks to his portrayal as the titular kinnar. Expectations of representation were high from the movie since a leading man of Bollywood was attempting to bring the castaways into the mainstream. But when the movie released on Disney+Hotstar (marking another first in the pandemic), it served as nothing but disappointment. The movie never went beyond the painfully insulting stereotype of the kinnar community. And the final nail in the coffin was the idea of needing a heterosexual man as a saviour.

Indian Matchmaking

Sima aunty and her matchmaking escapades took the world by storm when the docu-series debuted on Netflix in July. Still catering to the discriminatory notions harboured by conservative/orthodox wealthy Indian ma and bauji, Sima aunty did not hesitate for a second before poking and prodding the girls on the show. All the instructions were for the girls—their caste, colour, and even height were contentious in finding a good match. The misogyny of the pompous was on full display and yes the 'hate-watchers' still finished all eight episodes.

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives

Of course we wanted to know more about what goes on in the lives of Bollywood WAGs (wives and girlfriends) when they are not on the red carpet or in paparazzi pictures. Karan Johar and Gauri Khan decided to tap into this unhealthy obsession and produced a meticulously crafted "reality" show. The gloss was as per Dharma Production standards but the show ended up being a clumsy mix of Keeping Up With the Kardashians and the Real Housewives franchise. There were no real insights into their lives as every camera movement was calculated, and when things were fizzling out, Johar came in to take stock and stoke fire. The only thing you learn from the show is how to pronounce 'Le Bal'.

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

Coolie No 1

Reboots are expected to bring back memories while adapting to modern times as well. But David Dhawan's remake spree refuses to mature with time. It happened with Judwaa 2 and was repeated with Coolie No. 1. The least you expect from Dhawan's movies is good comedy but the less-than-mediocre acting from the lead pair Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan managed to ruin that as well. There is only one laughable moment in the film— when Dhawan-Putra makes an impossible jump in front of a train to save someone. I came for nostalgia, stayed for meme content.

Tiger King

This was the most bizarre docu-series to come out of 2020, suited perfectly for the year we were experiencing. The feud between two private zoo owners in the US—Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin—takes us on a surreal journey of revenge, hate, and even political campaigns. As the world was hunkering down for a long stay in, Tiger King exploded on the pop culture horizon and nothing was the same again.

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

What the love! With Karan Johar

Karan Johar tried his best to become the love guru for the lost millennials with this Netflix special. The show reminded one of Koffee With Karan but this time a chosen commoner was allowed on set. The first episode, in which 40 participants had to vie for Johar's attention to get the makeover, was the only one with the pizzazz and wit that's normally associated with its host. For the next six episodes, you watch six participants undergo the makeover (because brands make the hearts beat?), including a practice date with a celeb, then a counselling session with Johar, then an actual date and at the end, the 'it moment' in which they find out if there was a spark enough to continue this exercise beyond cameras. Not even for a single second does the show go deep and explore the fickle idea of love because ‘kuchi kuchi will only happen if you wear Gucci’. There's only one USP, and that's the judgements passed by Johar. You stick around for witty remarks during this guilt-binge.

Baaghi 3

Tiger Shroff and high kicks. Shroff and the whispers of flying shirts. Shroff and gravity's futile attempt to keep this boy from flying. Shroff and the tale of flabbergasting stunt sequences. Shroff and the chronicles of pushing the limits of exaggeration. Shroff and adventures with the damsel in distress. Shroff and the curious case of corny dialogues. This is most of Tiger Shroff's filmography. The only thing different in Baaghi 3 is that he stands against an entire nation and wins.

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

Yummy Mummies

This Aussie reality show debuted on Netflix this year and quickly became a guilty pleasure for many. It follows four 'Yum Mums' from Melbourne and Adelaide through their final six weeks of pregnancy. Riding on their blind privilege, these mums say the most outrageous things and drop wads of cash on cue. It is infuriatingly engaging because in every episode you find yourself looking forward to the next senseless purchase that will shock your system. The cattiness amongst mothers is almost similar to the trolling that goes on in the parenting groups on Facebook. The drama hooks you in.

Love Aaj Kal 2

Love Aaj Kal 2 ruined Valentine's Day dates for many viewers in 2020 who were hoping for a repetition of the emotions they felt when they had watched the original. Director Imtiaz Ali failed to give depth to his characters. Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan failed to act. Randeep Hooda was criminally underutilised. Love Aaj Kal 2 is worse than Jab Harry Met Sejal and this is an understatement. This is the one item on this cringe list that can be skipped to keep some of your sanity.

From 'Laxmii' to 'Tiger King', here's your cringe-binge list

Love Is Blind

Call it an extreme version of Indian Matchmaking. Participants communicate with each other through pods and only get to see each other and live together for a month—before they have to get married—only if they decide that they are in love based on those conversations. The gripping qualities of the show include the natural suspense of the status of someone's relationship, insecurities of the contestants, and their good looks. Since Love Is Blind, the show has apparently made sure that people in pods don't get the shock of seeing an ‘uggo’ on the other side.