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Showing posts from November, 2009

Babli at the bat: Dil Bole Hadippa

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That unstoppable, beautiful happiness! Raniiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

My favorite Bollywood lady is predictably cute and appealing in bumpkin-Babli mode - that is, a spirited small-town young woman with big dreams and sheer and/or pink outfits, not as complexly written but still thoroughly enjoyable and root-for-able. As Veera, Rani shines as only Rani seems to do - squeaky, sometimes bratty, fully egotistical, but also loving and helpful and sweet. And, importantly, absolutely right morally, which helps her bratty moments slide by more easily. Her alter ego Veer is kind of annoying. Veer doesn't exactly show-boat, but his near-constant patter and sideline silliness make me wonder if Veera has never had the chance to be part of a proper team and doesn't know how to behave when it's not just her against various egotistical bowlers. I rewatched Chak De India before seeing this, and Dil Bole Hadippa generally suffers from comparison, but its implied arc of learning how to be the best po…

Yalgaar

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Yalgaar is not so much bad as it is lacking in any enticements - unless you like early Sanjay Dutt, and I know somepeopledo, especially shirtless and/or bemulleted. I was bored and unmoved. It drags. There's too much time spent on uninteresting things.

And sometimes they just ramble on and on for no apparent reason. Feroz must be talking about some other film here - any "twists" Yalgaar may claim are predictable and not handled with any kind of sharpness or surprise.
Most of the acting is corny. I was wary of Yalgaar based on its 1992 vintage alone, but my experiences with Feroz Khan projects so far had been pretty fantastic, so I thought I'd give it a try. Bad idea. I could try to look for deep, special meaning in the parallel intra- (and later inter-) familial dramas of loose-cannon cop Rajesh Kumar (Feroz Khan)

and his by-the-book cop father Mahendra (Mukesh Khanna) on one patriotic side and crime boss Raj Singhal (Kabir Bedi) and his dumb but thuggish son Vishal …

Kurbaan

Without being spoilery, here are the good things I can say about Kurbaan.
The acting ranges from solid to quite strong, with Om Puri and Kiron Kher perhaps tailing the pack only because their characters are extreme and tempt the actors into scenery-nibbling. I was especially impressed by Vivek Oberoi.* Even the American extras and bit players are pretty good, relatively. (Note: it seems like a wasted opportunity for some fun cameos, though. How fun would it have been if they had roped in someone Harrison Ford-ish to be the lead FBI agent - he could've done his belabored everyman bit in a totally new context!)
Some of the characters are more nuanced than I expected.
Cutey-cute love among the bookshelves and Delhi landmarks.
Some blood and guts were at a level of gory that surprised me but felt in the right tone of danger and consequence of the subject matter.
The pace is quick without being rushed.
It successfully manipulated me emotionally throughout its climax as I wondered which of th…

the first in an occasional series: knitting in Bollywood

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There are several knitting, Bollywood-loving bloggers out there - Deewaani for Bollywood, Memsaab, Totally Filmi, who publishes Bollywood-inspired patterns; and Antarra, who has posted a few times on the most important and memorable theme of knitwear in Hindi cinema, the sweaters of Rishi Kapoor. There's even a Bollywood group on Ravelry, the knitting social networking (knitworking?) site. I generally find my two favorite hobbies to be almost mutually exclusive because relying on subtitles means I can't do any complicated knitting while watching Hindi films. So I take my filmi fiber joy where I can find it, most commonly in scattered scenes of people knitting (Maine Pyaar Kiya, for example) and in sweaters and scarves courtesy of the wardrobe department. In addition to Rishi's Cosby years, 60s love songs set in Kashmir are excellent sources, and Black remains my absolute favorite use of knitwear in a Hindi film.

In the spirit of chronicling this generally irrelevant deta…

Reshma aur Shera

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The opening frames of Reshma aur Shera, a tragic story of family honor and vengeance set in rural Rajasthan, made me think I was in for depressing slog through the trials and tribulations of The Indian Woman, deified in theory but treated like dirt in practice. As the film begins, a voice (I think director/producer/star Sunil Dutt) extols women as the keepers and transmitters of the Indian virtue of sacrifice, sure to save the whole world from its woes. (Note the transition from the glorification of sacrifice to the assertion that India is the heart of such attitudes and behaviors.)There’s not been a single era where the sarifices made by the women of our country, in order to glorify human beings and humanity, have not been written in golden letters. Be it a sacrifice of her husband, child, life, or her love sacrifice is another name for the women of this country. It’s the sacrifice by the women of our country that has kept the cultures of our country alive. It has spread enlightenmen…