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Showing posts from November, 2007

when Beth met Shashi....

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Last week at work we decided to bring in our favorite bad/ridiculous/silly movies so that we could have a little fun during one of the slowest weeks of the year. (If you have an auditorium with a good sound system at your disposal, you should use it, we figure.) Although we never got around to more than about half an hour of watching, I was ready, Commando in hand. (Not the Ahh-nold/Alyssa Milano one. The Mithun/Kim/Amrish Puri/Danny Denzongpa/Shakti Kapoor/Dalip Tahil/Satish Shah/Asrani/Iftekhar/Bob Christo/Tom Alter one. Everyone is in this movie.) Yesterday I was trying to tidy my desk and realized Commando was still sitting there, so before putting it in my bag I enjoyed one last look at Mithun's mullet on the front of the case and idly flipped it over to see who else made the cover. "Oh," I thought to myself, "there's the guy who played Mithun's brother-in-arms [Hemant Birje], and baddie Shakti Kapoor, and...huh, that other guy looks a lot like a KapooO…

on seeing Om Shanti Om a second time

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Om Shanti Om has come to my local art/independent/international theater, so of course I had to go see it again. It was notably not as good. It felt a bit flat, actually, much to my surprise. Even the movie jokes weren't as cute. The hometown crowd was less excitable than the one in the Chicago suburbs where I had seen it two weeks ago, and rowdier definitely would have been more fun. However, one only has so many chances to cheer publicly for Rani and Abhishek, so one takes what one can get.

And now, the Beth Loves Bollywood List of Stuff Beth Noticed or Wants to Solicit Opinions about (the first two of which comment on things you may not want to know if you haven't seen the movie yet)....
I'm still very happy that there isn't a mushy romantic hoopla at the end. Good for Farah for sticking to the main story of Om's self-discovery and Shanti's revenge.Potential plot problem, if you care about that kind of thing: if Mukesh wants to be the biggest producer in Bollyw…

the flavor is all in the small details: Jhoom Barabar Jhoom

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So says Alvira to Rikki, in response to his complaint that she "get[s] stuck in these small details" when telling her story, and as soon as it was out of Preity's mouth I realized how true that was of significant portions this movie. Without the little things, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom would have been a sweet story about risking safety for love. The movie developed slowly, and by the time we got midway through Alvira's story, I caught myself trying to decide whether either lead was likable - one a shiftless liar, one a shrewish snot - and thinking that if it weren't for the funny or interesting asides and small touches, I might have to start fast-forwarding.

Apart from the songs, of course, all of which are fantastic to watch (even when they're a little bit dumb, like "Ticket to Hollywood"). I got a little tired of the repeats of the title theme with Amitabh (Bulla Man, is that what Rikki calls him?) in the train station, but during the end credits, when…

if you have to ask the question, you won't understand the answer: Namak Halaal

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Listen, if you want to know what happens in Namak Halaal, you should just watch it, because it is truly the closest thing to batsh*t insane I have seen in a Hindi film (even more than Disco Dancer, released the same year). Thesefinefolks have given description and plot summary their best shot, and I had read all of these before I watched, but I didn't feel remotely prepared for the amount, variety, and arrangement of crazy this movie offers. Sure, I had a sense that it would be bizarre, but in retrospect I don't think any amount of description could have made me understand. "Okay, reunited brothers, long-lost mothers, henchmen in scuba suits, I've got it," I thought as I read. "I love zany masala! Bring it on!" But really I had no idea.

Watching Namak Halaal is better experienced than it is talked or read about: you either know it or you don't. You can't just have a sense of it - because there is no sense to be had for love or money or oversized …

anything your aging hero can do, ours can do better

I don't usually pay any attention to movie-related financial news, but it was fun to learn that Om Shanti Om and Saawariya both beat out Lions for Lambs at the worldwide box office in the week of their release, and while I mean no disrespect to Meryl Streep (awesome) and Robert Redford (classic), it is with great pleasure that I say to Tom Cruise: suck on that, you complete and utter freak of nature.

the good, the enh, and the distressing: Om Shanti Om

The good: the parts of it that are funny are very funny, and the parts of it that are fun are very fun.

I'm going to let that sentence stand alone, because usually laughing and enjoying myself are what I want in a movie, and having those needs met in an interesting way is no small thing.

More on those parts: some of them are simple bits of snappy dialogue, some are courtesy of apt delivery, and some are visual (costumes, dance moves, details of the sets). You'll need to be quick to get all of the movie references, and it will be a very happy day when I get my hands on the DVD and park myself in front of the tv for hours to seek them out. (Someone should start a list at some centralized location where viewers all over can add what they find.) A few of my favorite funny bits: Shahrukh wearing what Jerry Seinfeld would call a puffy shirt; Shahrukh doing a Rajnikanth-style action sequence dressed as a cowboy in red (p)leather; everything Abhishek did at the Filmfare awards; a fake-p…

cute, cute, cute: Guddi

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Before I watched it this weekend, Guddi was known to me only as a celebrity clown-car film - which was more than enough to make me want to watch it, especially in anticipation of this week's release of the celebrity clown-car film du jour. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the showers of stars was by no means the movie's finest moments. Those are all courtesy of Jaya Badhuri, only twenty-three and most decidedly the best thing since sliced bread. Her expressive face, glowing smile, twinkling eyes, and natural movements and stillnesses are completely impressive. She has a wonderful part to work with, and she makes the most of it in a performance that is somehow both wise and fresh. She comes off as genuine, as though she simply is Kusum and the movie happens to capture her unselfconsciously existing in her own life. She makes Kusum someone we all know.


To me, Jaya's Kusum was far more effective than the other big role, Dharmendra. I'm not sure of Dharmendra …

chak de Mr. Charisma, no matter what you're wearing

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So it's Shahrukh Khan's birthday. Yay! Etc. I don't have anything cheesy to say about him this year, so I'm just going to post my current favorite photo of him, even though I already wrote about it on Bollywood Fugly.

But will I drive six in one day to see his new film on opening weekend? Yes. Yes I will. Long live the king.

Aaaaah!

Please excuse my pathetic lack of posts. There is a freakish level of busy-ness and interstate traveling lurking around lately. It's not as though I have a ton to say and am too busy to write about it; in fact, nothing at all filmi has been going on, except that on my travels I stopped by Army of Monkeys's [I'm going to stand by that apostrophe placement because the phrase "Army of Monkeys" refers to a singular entity] house for lunch and he gave me a really nice 2-DVD set of Main Hoon Na, a mighty fine present indeed. He also let me peruse his movie collection and my god does he have some crap, some of which he already inflicted on me.

Oh, and yesterday my lame nod to a Halloween costume involved my only filmi piece of clothing: a red bandhani scarf just like the one Anjali wears in the "leaving on a sad, sad train because Rahul loves Tina" scene in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Unfortunately, standing in my office doorway and trying to make my eyes fill with tea…