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Showing posts from December, 2005

a very Bolly new year to you and yours

Welcome, 2006: my first entire year as a Bollywood fan. Just think of the adventures - in addition to this, of course - it may hold - including two fairly realistic options for actually going to India!

I had meant spend tonight watching Andaz Apna Apna but more engaging things came up (I know, right?) - but it will be a very Bolly start to the year in the morning. Coffee. Sofa. Aamir Khan. What more could a girl want?

wacky misunderstandings + commentary on the illogical nature of English + Sharmila = goodness: Chupke Chupke

This movie is adorable. I want to shrink it down to pocket-size so I can keep it with me all the time to have it handy whenever I need a reminder that the world does have some levity and joy left in it. The last movie I felt like this about was Italian for Beginners. (Ah, Bollywood and Dogma 95 - who knew they had so much in common?)

Using an extended practical joke and identity mix-up as feature plot elements can be tricky. In my experience, most of these types of stories go one of two ways: either the viewer will think the whole thing is hilarious and go along for the ride, or the story will fall very, very flat, kerplunk, in exhaustion of trying to keep up with itself (yes, you, Hungama). Chupke Chupke did neither, I think because the wackiness was only part of the story, and it was paced so that by the point I was wondering if they could possibly do anything else with it, they ended it. I also liked that multiple people were in on it - it felt conspiratorial in an inclusive, giggli…

ewwww, but enjoyable: Lucky: No Time for Love

40-year-old Salman Khan is paired with 18-year-old Sneha Ullal. Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew. Even if we ignore that and just address the characters, we still have a schoolgirl with a man who has to be at least 23. Not exactly ew, but not exactly in good taste.

Okay, that's out of my system. I have to admit I enjoyed Lucky - it reminded me of The Saint in a good, although extended, sort of way, and finding yourself suddenly in a baroque-y gilded room full of theatrical props, with working electricity when the rest of the city seems to be under siege by terrorists, is a delight not to be underestimated.

Can someone who did not use the FF as much as I did help me out with the following:When Lucky hides out in Adi's car outside the church, they must be relatively close to her bike ride from home to school, becuase she has reached the church on foot. So if they were that close to where she lives, why is he still on his way to a checkpoint (even one that requires passports) into the area? An…

surfer zombie spies invade the Princess Club: "Jaan Pehechaan Ho"

Much beloved for its role as "best clip of a movie watched by a character in another movie," I loved this song even more in its original full context, even though that context was pointless to the movie (Gumnaam). But whatever fancy roping it takes to set up a scene like this is all worth it. I played it twice and danced along both times. And then I settled in to watch the rest of the movie. It was enh. It wasn't really my kind of story, no matter the language or setting, and I was sleepy enough that keeping track of who was who was overwheleming. I will say the ruined church with the incredibly creepy religious statues - like a plastic manger lawn scene left to sit in nuclear fallout - was effective, as was Helen's Helenness. Very bad fake-pretend dead people, though.

Now get out of your chair, put your arms out like a mummy, shake them all about, and do the twist! Sweet!

the girl in the video store did warn me this was bad: Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya

This is a movie I wish I had watched with someone so we could giggle together at its ridiculousness. But alas. So I decided to write this post as though you were watching the movie with me, and what follows is a list I made as the movie went on of whatever I thought (it was clear from the get-go that I was not going to be able to remember everything I wanted to point out, so I kept a list). Be warned - I did tend to make liberal and justified use of the FF, so if you've seen this, you will know I didn't watch everything.

[Ready? Go!]

"Eh Shahrukh!" Methinks this movie will be worse than Josh.

How to start a relationship off right: she lies to him in order to get a job he wants; after she gets the job, she continues the lie, telling him she can get him a job. When he finally gets a job (better than hers, please note) and finds out the truth, he calls her in the office and yells at her; after she apologizes and says she'll accept any punishment he gives her, he propos…

Shahrukh in a soup: Baadshah

"Being in a soup" is one of my favorite Bollywood subtitle expressions. Others include strange placement of the word "only," such as "Please wait here for five minutes only," which seems to mean "Please wait right here and don't leave. I'll be back in five minutes."

Which is neither here nor there. I felt like I should like Baadshah much more than I actually did. Clearly it's referring to, making fun of, and paying tribute to lots of different films and types of films, and I suspect that the more of them you know, the more you'll enjoy this movie.

Go read the review by Gorilla's Lament. He understands and likes this movie more than I do, so you might as well read about it from someone who can say funny-yet-thoughtful things about it that are actually relevant.

Before you go, though, think about this: even when Seema has short hair, Baadshah's trip to Switzerland still envisions her with long hair, and she has long hair ag…

this message brought to you by the Ministry of Really Stupid Ideas: Chori Chori Chupke Chupke

This movie features what is surely one of cinema's top ten plots driven by bad, bad ideas. Many questions are raised, such as:how on earth does a Hindi film present a character married to saintly Rani Mukherji sleeping with a prostitute? A prostitute played with great glee by Preity Zinta, but still. The surrogate is a fine idea, but 1) be honest about it to everyone and 2) get the doctor's help in order to prevent years of under-the-surface seething, guilt, etc. If anyone knows how this movie was received in India, please let me know. why does Preity's item number dress look like a 1991 prom reject, and why is it paired with glitter moon boots?
why does Salman wear a (p)leather shirt? Not jacket. Shirt. Around the collar of which is worn a tie.
why does no one notice that Madhu, not Priya, is at the ceremony? And isn't it interesting how the effect of having a stiff shawl over your head makes you look like a Star Wars character?
does chewing gum really make you look so …

using your powers for good

Right on, supastars!

(And how frightening is that picture? Yikes!)

Fire

After two movies, Bollywood/Hollywood and, before I started watching Indian movies but long after having started watching Canadian ones, The Republic of Love, I am neither here nor there about Deepa Mehta. What's most interesting about Fire to me is that many, many people were either very here or very there - sometimes violently so - about it. Especially, according to her commentary, middle-aged men in India, who went wild at the possibility that the idea this movie depicted - that women dare to claim space and choices for themselves - might upset the institution of marriage.

This was an uncomfortable story for me because with each passing heartbreak and disappointment I thought "I'm so glad that's not my life" - about all the characters, not just Rhada and Sita. Everyone in this movie is trapped at some point. Despite being a sensible girl, my life has been mostly free of required responsibilities - maybe a few I've chosen, like a job and a house - and it&#…

the defenestration of my decorum

I rewatched Kaho Na... Pyaar Hai - only up until the wiggle, becuase I am very tired - with Abby tonight and I ashamed at how often I said out loud "He's so yummy!" What is wrong with me? I am decidedly turned off by bulgy muscles, but now that I've seen seven Hrithik movies I can confidently say the first part of this is his yummiest, what with the chinos, masses of wavy hair, and happy absence of insane clothing. This is Hrithik at his Hugh Grantiest. But once we hit Club Indiana (which has a decidedly different meaning here in the midwestern United States - and it is not a "New Zealand's best disco!" type of meaning), my affection died out - for while that character is pleasant too, he's too International Male for me.

from death to dismissal in nothing flat

Because when you have a few minutes to wait for the furnace duct estimate dude, you might as well watch some Bunty aur Babli, especially when you've just barely crawled out from under the duvet and you need a little sugar and a few steps with Aish and the Bachchans to get you going. So you watch "Kajra Re" and find yourself pausing and laughing becuase you enver noticed exactly how lofty and biting Aish's little pre-song teasing speech is.Rare are those moments in life when desire calls. Come into my arms or come and slit my throat. Oh forget it. This give and take of hearts takes a lot of heart...and doing it so boldly for hte world to see...it's a woman's art, you see. In this winning and losing of hearts, what are men worth?Also, let's examine what Bunty has at the bar, shall we? One glass containing vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum. No wonder he falls off his barstool.

to every writer her book

Inspired by Accidental Fame Junkie's review of what is surely a genius film, I would like to add to the book series begun by an item featured in the film, Police Behaviour Manual for Hindi Film Climaxes. I'm not sure I'm up to a whole book on my own, but I'm bursting with ideas and would be happy to collaborate. Possibilities include:

Dos and Donts for Johny Lever
Love-Triangle Loser: How to Bow Out Gracefully
Handy Hints from Everybody's Favorite Mom: Reema Lagoo at Home
Salman Khan: The Unauthorized Biography
The Sari/Miniskirt Dilemma: A Guide for Independent, Familyphilic Ladki

Kajol, girl detective!: Baazigar

I like it when I rent multiple movies at one time and discover that they share some theme or other that I wasn't expecting. Baazigar and Nayak both feature brief but important usage of a typewriter, as well as way more schlocky bright-red Bollywood violence than I know what to do with. Maybe not "themes," according to an English teacher, but delightful commonalities in any event. Or at least the typewriter is. Bollywood violence I can do without.

Still, I am glad to have seen this because it seems to feature prominently in SRK's rise to stardom and I come across references to it all the time. But I can't say I liked it, actually, apart from some delighted squealing at back-up dancers' costumes (those silver and red things, and I don't know which I like more, the men's hammer pants or the women's ribbon-wrapped styrofoam halos). I think I might be jodi-chemistry-judgment deficient because I got nothing from SRK and Kajol here, although that could …

I was totally going to call you but an animated snake ate my phone: Nayak

I have to admit that I watched Nayak under less than ideal circumstances, and previous commitments and life events prevented me from seeing it in even two or three installments. I think I lost my momentum after the bus-top chase scene and never really rejoined the story. In the end, my disbelief suspenders could not hold up under the ridiculousness of the story, however idealistic and democratic it was - which is pretty much what happens to Shivajirao too. I think there were just too many things going on in too many different directions in too many different styles for me to hang on. So, yeah, this movie didn't do much for me, although I am extremely grateful to have seen several of its songs (more on that in a mo), and reducing this movie to just the A. R. Rahman moments - and the one where Anil and Johny reenact a bit of Hero No.1 - would be just fine by me.

This movie also kept reminding me of something Harrison Ford would have done about ten years ago. One part Air Force One + …