Indian Movie Reveiw: My Name is Khan.

What the heck was THAT?  Is about all I could think while walking out of the theater.  I was expecting…something more.  Something very different to be sure.  Karan Johar and Shahrukh have disappointed me for the first time.  I felt insulted and kind of angry after this film ended.  Not to mention disappointed that the inclusion of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna & Kal Ho Naa Ho on the soundtrack were just fillers and not enticing secrets to be held in the film.  I think that Shahrukh and Kajol acted the heck out of this film, but aside from that I was left highly disappointed  I think that the assumptions of how things really happen here in the US and the reality were so far apart that it was unbelievable and miss Sita-ji and I laughed our way through this ridiculous movie.  There was so much that could have been done to save this film, but they neglected to think about who the real target audience of this film is.  Sure, there were hoots and whistles during some scenes that had great lines about equality and being non-racist, but for a film that is essentially AGAINST racism; I found it to be, well, rather racist itself.  Apparently there are only two nice white people in the US along with some hillbilly African-Americans from 1920’s Georgia to be had here.  I agreed with the main theme of the film, that it’s wrong to assume something about someone merely based on their culture/origin/last name, but to turn around and show no respect back to the same culture that they are asking to give respect is a bit hypocritical if you ask me.    Kajol was lovely and I loved their chemistry together in the first oh, 40 minutes, but from there the film took a steep dive downhill.  A friend I went to the movie summarized it very well: “It’s like the Indian Forrest Gump!”  Yes, Yes it is.

3.5 out of 10 Stars.

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.

Anyway…

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.

WatchOutRaj

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.

NoTouchy

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:

ddlj-imnotscum-im-hindustani

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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:

Wah!

Wah!

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.

Beanie!

Beanie!

4)This scene/line:

Pathways.

Pathways.

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.

D'aww!

D'aww!

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.)