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Showing posts from May, 2005

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Sooooooo beautiful. This is the most visually gorgeous Bollywood film I've seen yet. The building, the landscapes, the clothing, the lit-up floor, the dancing, the flowers.... Which might be why the post-intermission seems so jarring and dull, when they go to "Italy" (really Hungary, I am pleased to learn, because that location certainly didn't look like any of the Italian cities I've visited). Is it supposed to seem like that? Maybe it's to enforce the contrast between the breezy, brilliant, swirling love we assume Nandini and Sameer have, and the more solid, stable, serving love that Nandini and Vanraj have. I'm growing increasingly fond of the stock fesity female character. It appeals to the Jane Austen fan in me, I think. The author of Bollywood Boy talks about how Salman Khan loves to show off his upper body. I counted at least four shirtless scenes in this movie, one of which being unbelievably superfluous: when the women of the house challenge t

"sometimes seems the offspring of John Stamos and Jerry Lewis"

In the really interesting salon.com review of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge , author Charles Taylor describes Shah Rukh Khan as above and I cannot resist passing along the idea becuase it's so, so accurate to me. I am watching the movie in bits and pieces but so far I haven't warmed entirely to it, I think because we haven't yet seen much of the non-manic, non-arrogant side of the hero.

my Hinglish ain't up to snuff: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, again, with subtitles

Thanks to eBay I now own and am re-watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai , which I saw a few months ago on a tape without subtitles. It is so much better when you really know what's going on. I hadn't gotten before the whole conflict between the heroine and her fiancee whom she doesn't really love. Or that the hero early on expresses a theory of what love is that sets up the rest of the movie. It's also better now knowing more about these actors - and therefore why it's so funny that the unloved fiancee is played by a mega hunk, they kind of person whom the thought of not loving, not swooning over, is unheard of. It would be kind of like having Colin Farrel play someone that the woman doesn't really care for and having him express his insecurity because he senses this - especially when the the man she does love is not conventionally handsome, but has some kind of everyman goofiness crossed with a swagger that you respond to despite your better judgment - imagine Tom Han

Chale chalo! Lagaan

Finally got to watch Lagaan . Not quite as Oscar-worthy as I was expecting but still I liked it v much. A little bit of everything: romance and unrequited love, period piece, political and social commentary of both cultures, religion, underdog sports story, wacky villagers, etc. Who could ask for anything more? I think "Mitwa" is my favorite Bollywood song-and-dance combo yet. That thing Aamir Khan does with his hands behind his head is way sexier than the Hrithik move. One caveat and one complaint. First, if you don't understand cricket, which I don't, there will be a good chunk towards the end that you can just fast forward over. I felt a little guilty fast fowarding over something that was Oscar-nominated, but not enough not to do it. I stopped to watch whenever I noticed they had stopped playing. Second, that English bad guy was the most cartoonish person I have seen in a real actor in a long time. Nothing redeeming about him, nothing crafted about him, nothing

Does a clown car of actors have better luck in traffic?

After just a few minutes into my ninth Indian movie, if you don't count Bend It Like Beckham , Monsoon Wedding , and Bride and Prejudice , once again I had to stop and go online to find out where I had seen every single one of those people before. (See previous post on this same topic.) The internet is "super wow," as I have heard in movies lately, for straightening out the plot too, since about fifteen people have come on screen in five minutes. Maybe this phenomenon is true of US or British films too and I just don't notice it because the actors are so much a part of the background to me, because I've known them for so long. After all, everything seems interesting and exciting and has a lot of impact to me as I feed this new addiction, so maybe I'm just hyper aware. On the other hand, some of these actors have been in literally hundreds of movies, not just as background folks but as main characters. Hum Saath-Saath Hain is okay. No biggie. Werid to see S

When I do the mynah bird dance move, I look like an idiot, but when Aish does it, everyone's all, "Wow, she's so intriguing and flirtatious."

Kandukondain Kandukondain is a joyful, thoughtful, beautiful adaptation of Sense and Sensibility . Whole-heartedly loved everything about it. I might have to get the CD - especially for "Song to the Mynah Bird" and "Hide and Seek." And oh...my...gosh the colors were thrilling! Crazy dancing in the countryside with a slew of peasants wearing outrageous face paint and hats! Aishwarya makes a great Marianne, so spunky and sassy and ready to love. Bollywood Boy includes several stills from this movie, but they were un-captioned, so I was surprised and delighted to see scenes that were familiar. Maybe I'm going crazy, but I think there was a dance sequence that contained a winking reference to the Hrithik wiggle, as well, I'm sure, as a slew of other cheesey standard moves. What does it say about me that I like an English story the most of any of the Bollywood I've watched? Lagaan is on for tonight, though, so that might change.

What the...? Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!

I am about 35 minutes into this movie and had to pause for a mo to write. This movie is simply absurd and, at this point, not in that gooofy, gaudy, gleeful way I have been craving. It's just weird . I am in such shock that I had to pause the movie and look it up. If I hadn't just beeen reading informed opinions and a list of facts about this movie, I would never have believed the following: Salman Khan is a big-time hunka-hunka/bad boy - here he just bugs his eyes out and mugs ferociously, looking like my little seven-year-old friend when he's had too much ice cream. His outfit in the opening scene included a visor with the word "BOY" emblazoned across it. Enh? the movie won best film, best director, and best screenplay at the 1994 Filmfare Awards. that it is much praised for its depiction of traditional values, importance of family, etc. Although I have learned these things are important, I would not have figured they were excepetionally well-depicted here. it

Note to self: Sid is fictional. Dil Chahta Hai

So good! But in a different way. I don't think I've ever seen a movie in which three men get to be friends, to be affectionate with each other, especially when they're in their early twenties. Very sweet. The song at the beginning about being young and free and the world being theirs, in which everybody jumps around and throws their hands in the air like they just don't care, genuinely made me happy. Also, I recognized a song playing in the background of a restaurant scene, "Eena Meena Dika," even though it was a different version than the one I have in my iTunes. Hurarh, knowledge! And, most importantly: move over Hrithik and Shah Rukh - Akshaye Khanna and Aamir Khan... numma. And they can act!

Wiggle it just a little bit... oh, all right, a lot: Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai

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My Bollywood education continues. KNPH , Hrithik Roshan 's debut, is discussed throughout Bollywood Boy , and now I feel up to speed. There is a major plot point that, perhas due to bad subtitling, was not clear and remains unanswered, but everything wrapped up happily enough that I don't mind too much. Overall v enjoyable and quite in keeping with the general Bollywood formula, although with some action thrown in. Best action sequence: in a warehouse where his beloved is being held captive by gunmen who want to kill him too, Hrithik leaps off a balcony, lunges for a chain dangling from the ceiling, and swings on it, Tarzaan-style, across the room, and kicks the captors in the head, knocking them down and scattering their guns on the floor - then on the return swing he swoops her up to safety. I also really liked the little exchange between the two leads when - wacky misunderstanding alert! - her father tells her that her birthday present is waiting for her outside, and she

Bollywood Boy

by Justine Hardy Lots of the reviews online are negative, saying the author is largely uninformed and wrongly imposes her values and whiteness on this chunk of Indian culture, but I'm loving the book anyway. It's really funny. The author, who is an English journalist who works in India, spends a year or so trying to track down a new golden boy in Indian film. Her quest is peppered with conversations with ordinary people about the film industry, stars, movie morals, etc. What I like about it is that these are the types of questions I would discuss with my friends and other random people - if only I could find someone as under the spell of Bollywood as I am. (Note: obviously there are people in my town who are really into Indian film. I just don't know them. Yet.) Also, I was tickled pink to discover that the "boy" in question is Hrithik Roshan, who was the male lead in the first Bollywood movie I watched. All I can say is, watching that movie with uninitiated ey