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…

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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.

Blurgh.

Blurgh.

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.

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!