Minneapolis Asian Arts Club?

I am contemplating creating a Asian Arts Club in the Minneapolis area – I wonder if there is anyone who would be interested in joining.  I would like to meet once or twice a month, to enjoy various movies/television shows and music or just about anything to do with South Asian culture (As discussed here on Daydreaming Lotus. ie: Korea, Japan, China, India) I’d be open to other cultures too.  I think it would be interesting.  I wonder if I can drum up some interest?

Hey Playa!

This weekend I watched Main Khiladi Tu Anari

(& Saif Ali Khan)

(& Saif Ali Khan)

I had started the film a couple weeks ago, but didn’t quite get into it after the un-subtitled rendition of My Adorable Darling with Saif looking obnoxiously adorable himself:



I was highly distracted by two (major) things during this song sequence.

#1) Guys in weird0 shirts:



#2) The same kind of weird light effect they used in the first Khiladi film:



I know that actors age and get older and this was one of Saifus’ first films, but I never did get over how different he looked.  I’ve decided that the main thing just might be the smile lines around his lips.  Because otherwise I can’t put my finger on it.  (Obviously his hair is different, but heck, it was the early 90’s and I’ll cut him some slack!)

Baby Saifu!

Baby Saifu!

This might have to be an purchased movie. . . not many get that award, so it was pretty good! (8.5/10)

This weeks movies:

(So far, the weekend looms ahead with it’s significantly larger amount of time to spend watching Bolly-flicks)

Yuva: Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor, Ajay Devgan, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi…OBOY!

The story is based around three couples and the way they all connect to their partner and to one another as well.  Ajay plays a young college student named Michael who is in love with a child hood friend Radhika (Esha Deol).  He takes on local politics in hopes to prove that decency and moral values will rule the day. Lallan (Abhishek )is a thug who is released from jail and slowly climbs the ladder of criminal success along with his (annoying) wife Sashi, played by Rani Mukherjee(whom I adore.)  Arjun (Vivek) finds Mira (Kareena) on the eve of moving to America and is smitten instantly only to have his path come across Lallan and Michael in a sudden and violent change in course.

I liked this film – except the relationship between Rani and Abhi’s characters.  I understand and know that it was a plot driver, but I still can’t stand behind a character that can’t stand up for themselves.  Yuva is another woven tale – you know the type – a movie that follows several different paths that all wind together in the end?  That’s what this Mani Ratman film does.  I am happy to note that in this film lovely (and slightly annoying) Bebo aka: Kareena Kapoor is still beautifully curvy in this film.  Sadly, she does not get to dance really – which is disapointing because what fun is watching a stick move around?  (for example: Deepika Padukone in Billu.)  Vivek Oberoi is always a favorite, if only for his boyish charms.  Ajay was well past his limits in the age of his character – come on yaar you are too old to be playing college age boys.  PLEASE stop.  Abhishek was great in a role that I hated.  Which is kind of the point, na? I mean, if you are playing a detestable character and people still love you, didn’t it kind of defeat the purpose?  I’m not sure what Rani was doing in this movie, she was too big of a star to be playing a character with such little to do.

Mughal-E-Azam  – the great classic Hindi film.  If you don’t know what this is – check here. Because I can’t be bothered to do it manage to write up a befitting description.  I have a lot to absorb in this movie.  First of all, I saw the colored version and I did enjoy it, but I wonder how it was in the original form.  I also don’t know anything about the actors as it’s now officially the oldest Hindi film I’ve seen.  I liked parts and didn’t like parts and it really will need some time to sink in.  It was a beautiful film though.

Traffic Signal – another “weaver”!  I liked this film starring Kunal Khemu.  (Thanks to Sita-ji for the recommendation and to tipping me off to the fact it’s the cute kid from Raja Hindustani!)  Lots of great ensemble cast members fill out this very real and slightly gritty tale of life in Mumbai.  I bet it’s safe to say folks who actually did enjoy Slumdog Millionare would like this one.  They have similarities, but this movie is much more “Indian.”  I loved the beginning statement of how they are respectful to all the people working at traffic signals.  (I was thinking “What people? There are people working at traffic signals?” and picturing someone changing lights or something.)  It’s a movie about a great rainbow of people who all make the community of a traffic signal work.  From the prostitutes to the beggars, each person has a job and they all work together to make things work.  Even in strife people shine.  I liked it quite a bit. Plus, Konkana is in it!

I’m taking a mini-break from Bollywood to enjoy the first 9 episodes of Dae Jang Geum.  The story of a cook in historic Korea.  It’s my best friends favorite and she watched it in China.  I finally found the english subtitled version from the library. Very exciting!

I need pictures in my post don’t I?  I need to work on that…

Last nights movies.

Well, in one case movie is a loose term.  I watched Kaal (blech) and The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan last night.

Kaal was the worst Bollywood film I’ve seen yet.  The cinematography was awkward and distracting.  They repeated shots of the tigers which annoyed me and reminded me heavily of cheap and crappy anime.  The movie had great potential; it was produced by Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan.  Starred John Abraham and Vivek Oberoi alongside Esha Deol and Lara Dutta.  Entering later in the film is Ajay Devgan.  It is supposed to be a thriller, but with the odd framing and laughingly week thrills I just was annoyed with it through the film.  I was sorry to have watched it.  Not to mention in the last 10 minutes it had a bunch of  parts ripped straight out of Final Destination.  Unless you are a die-hard fan of any of these people and absolutely have to see everything they’re in – stear clear! The only redeeming bits to this movie were the opening and closing item numbers, even if they were missing their subtitles.



The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan.  Where do I start?  With the sad fact that I was in or near two of the cities he was in during the time the Temptations tour was here in the States? (I lived three hours from Orlando and went through the hurricane he talked about…)  And I was in Atlanta for a family get together around Thanksgiving that year.  Alas…  No use crying over something I can’t change.  I am a bit concerned with a few things that King Khan said though…  He mentioned that he has to work so hard and become someone else during filming because that is the only way that he can forget the grief of losing his parents.  Does anyone else see a problem with this?  Is psycho-therapy non-existant in India?  I’m left wondering if everyone just thinks that if they have a problem then they have to learn to deal with it on their own and not seek help.  Wouldn’t it be better for him to treat it and try to gain control over it than to simply avoid the subject altogether?  I feel that he needs to become a complete person, not just a star.  It’s really sad that he can’t move past that grief and holds onto it so tightly.  I’d rather he be a healthy and happy human being than an unhappy and fantastic super star.  I love the fact though, that he helps his children to respect and believe in both Hindu and Muslim customs.  They are lucky enough to belong to a home that is accepting of both religions and that’s a rare thing – in any part of the world.  In all I was happy to have seen it, it gives me a little more insight into my favorite Bollywood Indian Film Star.  I’m also left wondering – did they ever release a DVD of Temptations 2004?  I bet a lot of people would have liked seeing that.

Movies, movies, movies!

I was recently inundated with some movies from both Netflix and the local library.  Hence, no reviews as I’ve been too busy watching them to get online to review!  Here’s a list of what I’ve seen in the last two weeks:

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (Sad movie starring Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla (yay!))

Bommarillu (My first South Indian film – very good, however I hated the fact that Genelia D’Souza had a voice over . . )

Life…In a Metro (An interesting movie.  It kind of follows a recent trend in movies from all over the world that focusing on many different people through a six degrees of of separation kind of lense.  Shilpa Shetty was ok, Kolkana was lovely and I loved Irfan Khan – he was just too funny. Again.)

Gadar (A film about the separation.  This one has a happy ending though!)

King Uncle (A silly movie starring Jackie Shrof as an angry man who ruins his family only to be opened back up emotional by a young orphan named Munna.  Shah Rukh has a smaller role in this quaint film, but it’s nothing to write home about. Although I wish I had screen capped the opening because it was very creepy and inappropriate for such a child friendly film.  I red and black lense zoomed in and out on Munna yelling “King Uncle!” in a creepy audio warble.  Eee!)

Koi. . . Mil Gaya (re-watched this one – it’s a favorite!)

1947 Earth (Not a big fan. Typically if it garners attention from major film critics/awards I don’t like them.  Who knows why…)

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (AnotherAamir Khan and Juhi Chawla film – this one much more fun and I saw many similarities to Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic in it.)

Bluffmaster (Abhishek is very charming as a con artist who finds out he’s dying.  Priyanka is, well, Priyanka…)

Raja Hindustani (LOVED this movie – just not the missing subtitles during the songs. I HATE when they do that to us not blessed with fluent Hindi skills)

Kabhi Alvida Naa Khena (Karan Johar + Shah Rukh + Rani + Abhishek + Preity + Me = Love.  Bas)

Black (Rani as a Indian version of Helen Keller and Amitab-ji has her “tee.”  It was very western in film style and setting, but I still think it was good.  It proves Rani can blow her younger competition out of the water and that she deserves to still get good roles.  I abhore the fact that she is stuck playing roles that make her seem “old” – she isn’t that old!  Give the young 30-something actresses in India a chance to shine and break through the stereotype PLEASE!)

Humraaz (Akshaye Khanna & Amisha Patel play in this movie that coined a new term for me – Pretzel Bag.  Matlab: This movie has more twists than a bag of pretzels! Goes along with my other rating: Yawnie – a movie that is deathly boring…)

Dor (A pleasantly surprising  film staring Ayesha Takia as a young widow who must face her own anger to help another woman save her husband.  Gul Pang is lovely as well and plays a beautifully strong and independing thinking woman not seen much in most films.  Dor earned Ayesha a lot of praise and I strongly suggest seeing this movie.  I’m a fan of hers, I think she has a great charm to her and I wish she hadn’t decided to stop acting when she got married…)

::dregs through her brain:: Did I forget anything???  I don’t know.  Hopefully not.  But probably so.  I have Yuva, Mughal-E-Azam, and The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan waiting at home, as well as Traffic Signal and Kaal to pick up at the library.  The fun never ends!  I think I need to see what’s floating around the world of Korean/Japanese/Chinese cinema again too.  I have too little time!

Chak De Phatte!

Last night was the most fun I’ve had all year long!  I went with my new friend Sita-Ji and her buddy to club Envy last night.  Nasha Entertainment was holding a Desi party.  I’ve not really been clubbing before.  Once, in place that was more of a bar I celebrated a friend/co-workers birthday, but there weren’t many dancers and my mom was there…   So, in many ways last night was full of firsts.  First time partying in downtown Minneapolis, first time going to a club, and first time dancing in a big crowd.  Oh, but was it fun!  Aside from the one guy who moved in with out any subtlety and stared at me intensely for awhile before I ran scared for the other room, I had a blast.  I’m grateful to Sita-ji and her friend for accompaning me.  I had entirely too much fun.  We met a man who was there for business from Mumbai whose name I think is spelled Babi…  I had the hardest time hearing anything over the pulsating punjab beats and fun Bollywood numbers.  I think I surprised him with how well I could sing along with the music.  There was great music, I knew about 50% of the songs, and the rest I would LOVE to find out what they were and listen to them when I can hear more than the dhol.  But, he invited me out on the dance floor and I danced with him, Sita-ji and his friends for awhile and we shifted around a lot.   There were a lot of people there enjoying themselves and it was nice to kind of let loose and just enjoy myself.  I woke up excited and sore this morning, well before I probably should have considering how late I stayed out…  I wasn’t planning to take pictures and didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t want the extra weight in my pocket, but I wish I could have taken a picture of the bartender – he looked like he could have been Abhishek Bachchans brother.   So cute!  I know I’ll be going to the next one!  When is it??!

(I’ll post a link to the photos that Nasha will put up because I’m pretty sure I’m in a bunch of them..  (*>__<*) ::blush::  Oh well…)

If you live in Minneapolis/the suburbs you should come join us!

Whee! (Love Aaj Kal anyone?)

Whee! (Love Aaj Kal anyone?)

This weeks movies:

This week I watched a few Bolly-films.  Billu, Aaja Nachle, Mann, Home Delivery & Heyy Babyy.  Shall I review all of them quickly?  Ok, here we go.

I had wanted to see Billu for a long time.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for awhile and I’ve loved the music.  Knowing the basic story line I knew where most of the songs would fit and what to expect. But I loved all of it anyway.  Irfan Khan plays Billu, a simple man in a small village running his own barber shop and sadly failing at it.  His biggest battle in day to day life is trying to affor the tuition to sends his children to school.  A new shop opening across the street offering a better atmosphere and a “trained” professional hairstylist drives Billu’s business into the ground.  One day a film crew arrives to the small village and excites the community by filmingin their village.  Billu is quiet about the arrival of Sahir Khan and his posse, trying to avoid the small truth that they were once friends in thier youth.
Having once told his children this fact, the news spreads like wildfire as the children and Billu’s wife brag about their high connections.  Life becomes complicated for poor Billu as he is asked for favor after favor from his friends and people who want to be his friend.  As things escalate out of control,Billu is forced to come to terms with his past and look towards the future.

I loved this film.  Of course, it has King Khan in it, so why wouldn’t I?  I loved Irfan Khan in this one too.  Because in a lot of the movies I’ve seen him in he’s kind of played a creep/jerk/big villain.  I usually see him playing very serious roles, but every once in awhile he makes me laugh really hard (Did any of you see Sunday?  He was hilarious in that.)  SRK didn’t have much actual screen time aside from the songs, but I enjoy watching him dance, so it’s ok.  If you’re looking for a touching movie with lots of fun Shah Rukh dancing – this is the one for you.

Aaja Nachle was a fun movie.  It’s boasted as Madhuri Dixit’s “comeback” film, but for me, since I’m so new to Bollywood, it doesn’t feel like she went anywhere. I bet she was EXHAUSTED after this film.  She danced SO much.  I’ve always loved watching her dance, and this was no exception, but there was almost TOO MUCH dancing here. I found myself mumbling “oh no, not more dancing…” Which for me, is odd and rare. I still liked it though. I love Kunal Kapoor, I saw him in Bachna Ae Haseeno and wondered “Who is this hottie?”  I even loved him in his turban.  So cute.  Konkona Sen Sharma was charming as usual, I think she has kicked up a lot in popularity lately.  She has 11
films in the works or coming out this year that’s a little crazy – don’t overwork your self dear!  Madhuri was gorgeous as usual, and danced like a dream, my least favorite sequence was the one in New York, it reminded me of Center Stage and a few other American dancing movies – which maybe was the point.

The main story line is that a young woman from India falls in love and follows her American fiance to America, only to divorce soon after forced to raise their child alone. When she learns that her dance teacher is dying she hurries back to India to see him again, but misses him by a few days.  To honor his memory and regain her respect she attempts to save the ancient/historic ampitheater that she grew up performing in.  Half of the town is against her and the other half is excited to have some culture back in the community, but they all have to agree in order for the local Raj (Akshaye Khann) to cancel it’s demolition and building of a shopping mall.  My favorite part was watching the play at the end, if I could see great re-tellings of classic Indian tales like this with sub-titles I’d happily watch them.  I picked up a coupletales today at the book store – hopefully I’ll enjoy them.

Mann was a decent film, I am really starting to love Aamir Khan.  Manish Koirala was ok – she is pretty to look at, but cries too much in this film for my own taste.  Dev Anand Singh (Aamir Khan) is a playboy.  Not just any playboy – a broke one.  So in order to regain his wealth he agrees to marry a rich heiress and help his father run their estate.  After a business trip he decides to take a cruise back to India in order to visit his grandmother on a small island.  While on the ship he runs into Priya Sharma (Manish Koirala) a girl who won her trip through a dance competition.  They bicker and fight through the first part of the cruise, but become friends until it slowly and predictably turns to love.  After fighting with their feelings they agree to meet eachother in six months, after Dev has built up his own wealth and Priya breaks her wedding to Raj (Anil Kapoor) the man she feel indebted to, but does not love. After the six months pass they have each come through trials, but with they make it to their meeting on time?

I liked parts of this film.  I think that the simpering princess thing gets really old after awhile and I was disenchanted with Priya after a short while.  Aaamir was lovely in this film and I had fun watching him – at least he wasn’t scruffy like in Rangeela! (I re-watched that film this week too..)

Heyy Babyy was fun.  That’s about it really.  It’s a pretty well used story line – three bachelors are left with a baby on their doorstep and no idea who the mother is. (Rob B Hood, Baby & Me, Three Men & a Baby…)
Akshay Kumar plays Anush, a stuck up guy who thinks women are just play things finds himself playing daddy and wondering who the father really is, himself or his two best friends Tanmay (Ritesh Deshmukh) or Al (Fardeen Khan.)  After silly antics and a scary life-threatening incident for the baby they realize they love her and decide to raise her as their own.  Just after this realization their mother shows up and takes her away.  It is the only woman that Anush ever really fell for.  Vidya Balan plays his love Isha who refuses to let the three men into her life or the life of her child.  The three have to fight in order to regain her trust and get back into baby Angels life.

A fun time-pass film.  Akshay is always enjoyable especially after he loses his jerkiness.  I liked Ritesh too, I don’t know if I’ve seen him in anything else memorable. Vidya’s character pissed me off and I got really exhausted with her.  If your a member of Akshay Kumar fan club you’ll enjoy this film for sure, if not check it out  for a cute film. (Not exaclty family oriented despite being focused around a baby.)

And finally Home Delivery.  This film starring Vivek Oberoi and Ayesha Takia is centered around the Diwali holiday and mixes beleifs of Hinduism and Christianity. It’s a bit of a mish-mosh and the plot skipped around like a kid playing jump-rope.  But, it was light-hearted and enjoyable at times.  I like Vivek and Ayasha a lot and I was hoping for a little bit more out of them.  Viveks’ hair is usually one of my favorite things, but I hated it here!  What was with the wierd stuck down spikes?  Ew.


Sunny is a sarcastic and cynical man who believes he is too good to actually go into work and not quite ready for marriage. His live-in girlfriend “Naani” is preasuring him about wedding details at the same time he’s trying to write a script for Karan Johar and his neighbors keep bothering him for his attention. Sunny goes for an interview and ends up being temporarily smitten with Maya – a popular actress he has “admired” for years.  When all of the stress and craziness finally gets to Sunny he snaps at Naani and sends her away, waiting to make a new start with Maya.  Enter Michael – a pizza delivery man who has more to delive than just pizza – he gives Sunny a few lessons in life that help him get back on track and realize what he has.

That’s it!  All I can cram into a week I am afraid.  I’m off to cook some chicken saawala and then enjoy Rang De Basanti.  Hooray for more Kunal Kapoor and Aamir Khan!

Indian Movie Review: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

How do I give you a quick summary of what this movie is about?  I’ll try my very best.

Simran Singh (Kajol) is a very homely* and tradition bound girl.  While still dreaming of falling in love, her father receives a letter from his friend in India requesting that their promise to marry their children be fulfilled now that they have come of age. Now that her wedding is imminent Simran asks to go on a month long tour of Europe with her friends; as a last hurrah before marriage.  Knowing that she will be with all girls, and after she promises that she will be a good girl, her father agrees.

At the same time we are introduced to Raj Malhotra, a college flunkee who’s main goal in life seems to be experiencing all he can and enjoying it along the way.  After his father; Dharamvir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) praises him for keeping up the family tradition of failure, he agrees to let Raj take  a train tour of Europe.

So, our hero and heroine meet while rushing to catch the train.  After a few weeks together traveling and experiencing a taste of true freedom, Raj and Simran part, only to realize they are in love with one another.

Immediately Simran tells her mother (Farida Jalal) that she is in love, while her father; Chaudrey Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri) overhears and in his rage hustles the entire family off to India to complete Simran’s marriage to Kuljeet.  Raj realizes his love for her and is encouraged by his father to chase her off and not return until she is his bride.  Raj is too late, and must travel to India in search for his love and win over a stubborn father.

One of many train-chasing moments in DDLJ

One of many train-chasing moments in DDLJ

I try not to go into movies with too many expectations; that way they can’t let me down, and there is always the chance to blow me away.  This one pretty much blew me away.  I knew to expect something good when a few of the reviews I had read said that this was a “classic” and that it “redefined romance for young Indians.” (Thanks to Neflix for that last one.)  While the average viewer on Netflix gave this one a “3.9”  I had to give it a full 5.  Follow along for my reasons.

1) Zara Sa Jhoom Loom Main

Swimming Time!

Swimming Time!

I LOVE this picturization.  It was fun to see the girl as the one who loses control and then manage to scare the guy a little with her drunken escapades.  Raj just looked dumb-founded when Simran started to shimmy and shake.


I think that the chemistry between Shahrukh Khan and Kajol is undeniable and astounding. The way that Kajol kicks her feet whenever she’s picked up and dances away only to be picked up again is pure entertainment.


And Again..

And Again..

This picturization has become one of my favorites, climbing up there with Chaiyya Chaiyya and Dhoom Taana.  They’ll all be ones I’m sure to watch over and over again.

2) Raj

I adore this character.  (Apparently so do a lot of other people because I constantly read about Shahrukh playing or not playing “the Raj character” in most of his movies and different reviews)  I love the fact that despite his playboy exterior he is a gentleman at heart and would never really do anything uncouth.  Case in point:



How amazing. 🙂

Add all that he goes through for Simran in the second half of the film and you pretty much have the perfect man.  (Hunting, cooing at pigeons with his future in-law, dancing at the engagement, getting in to fist-fights and more!)

Also, the fact that you can pin-point the moment he falls in love with her:



3) Anupam Kher

This uncle-ji is my favorite.  I thought he was amazing here.  He always touches my heart in every role I’ve seen him take on, I can perfectly imagine what he would be like as a father in real life.



4)This scene/line:



Son, at every turn in life, you’ll find two roads.  One right, one wrong.  The wrong route will be easy, it will draw you.  But the right path with be hard, with lots of hazards, a lot many troubles.  On the wrong road, initially, you might find success, happiness, but in the end, you will lose.  Upon the right path, initially you may trip at every step, you may face hazards, difficulties, but…in the end you will always win.

This line struck a major chord in my and applied very aptly to a decision I’m making in my personal life.  It was like karma or a sign from above when he said this and it just made sense.

Not to mention the squishy dil moment afterwards.



In all, this movie was very touching.  I could really feel what the film-makers were trying to convey throughout the movie and I empathized with the characters along the way.  If, for some reason you have not already seen this one, I would highly recommend it.  5 of 5!

*I’m strictly using the non-US version of this word here.  Homely in many countries comes to mind people (aka: women) who are down to earth, follow traditions, take care of the household and are generally quite complacent.  Not the definition of homely where it just means ugly.

Heroes & Heroines

Well, a bright idea turned into a longer project than expected for me tonight, and I just finished.  I am still a “newbie” when it comes to Bollywood and I was feeling ashamed about how I forgot some of the actors names.  So, I thought, I would find pictures of them and then add their names to a file or some such thing.  Then, the idea fell into my head that adding their names TO the pictures themselves would be even better.  Better yet, let’s crop them to the same size and make a wallpaper! Alas, no.  It became a tw0 hour project that FINALLY resulted in this:  BollywoodStars-by-KamalaChanI hope you enjoy!  I know it’s my new favorite thing.  It’s got all my favorites, and a few others that I admire and like to watch too.  (Plus some greats that are more famous than really one’s that I like, but are growing on me.)