Kambakkht Ishq

So ridiculous! Did I really just spend over two hours watching that? It has been quite some time since a film has disappointed me this much. I normally enjoy Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor playing exactly the roles they did in this film but what utter rubbish this was, and it started straight from the beginning.

Lingerie model Kamini (Amrita Arora) and stuntman Lucky (Aftab Shivdasani) are getting married in a church, with no witnesses, and the wedding is stopped so his friend Viraj (Akshay Kumar) can come in and tell him he is stupid for falling in love. Then Kamini’s friend Simrita (Kareena Kapoor) comes in and says that she is stupid for wanting to marry a dumb stuntman. They do get married but this starts the hate-hate relationship between Viraj and Sim.

Then there is a huge wedding reception in which men strip down to their boxers, women get back at them by flashing, and it ends in a brawl with women and men beating each other up and the bride getting a nice fart in the face! And I am thinking ‘what the hell am I watching’?!? Oh and it does not end there. Akshay is so annoying, and so is Kareena including her propensity for wearing plastic and sequined clothes (just wrong). Neither of them really become very likable in the end so I could not have cared less about how everything ended.

The screenwriters must have been on drugs to have written such a terrible story. What completely blows me away is how they got people like Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards to do quite big cameos in it. Stallone was actually funny in his bit but Richards main contribution was to say she wanted to have ‘golden babies’ with Viraj. WTF! And the music, totally forgettable and barely merits a mention.

The only things I did like in the film was recognizing the Earthquake, Flash Flood, and Waterworld sets from the Universal Studios theme park. The hospital they used was the same as Seattle Grace in Grey’s Anatomy and Viraj’s house is Noel’s house from the series Revenge. Other than that, I did like the bit about the watch being left inside after surgery and playing the ‘Om Mangalam’ wedding mantra all the time so Viraj thought he was crazy. I did giggle a little at that. I wish I could have left the rest.

If any of you do decide to watch this, don’t say I did not warn you. Namaste :).

Saawariya

I have wanted to write about Saawariya (My Love) for a very long time. I like to watch the trailers for new films on the iTunes Movie Trailers site. I was so excited (six years ago) when I saw the first Bollywood movie advertised on it. There were a couple things that drew me to the movie 1) it was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and 2) the colors and atmosphere of it (I will explain more later). The film also happens to be based on Dostoevsky’s short story “White Nights” but I found that out later.

I happen to be a big fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB for short) as a director. I had previously seen three of his films and count Devdas as one of my all time favorites. His films are usually quite dramatic and heavy, but with so much beauty you could almost drown in them.

Saawariya takes place always during the night in a fictional city, in the red light district, that is inhabited by Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists (that I saw evidence of). It felt like Moulin Rouge, Venice, Paris, and Arabian Nights all rolled into one. I loved the sets and how the whole movie was done in deep jewel tones but with a wash of sapphire blue and emerald green over the top. Every shot was stunning in some way and it is a movie that has stuck in my mind over the years. I first watched it five years ago and then again today so I could write about it while it was fresh in my mind.

Saawariya is the story of musician/dreamer/lover Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) who meets Sakina (Sonam Kapoor) on a bridge one night and falls in love. Raj is such a lovely, if not naive, character and I especially loved his relationships with Lilianpop (his landlady) and Gulabji (the prostitute with a heart of gold played by Rani Mukerji). But this is a romantic drama and a heavy one at that. Sakina waits on that bridge for the man she loves, who is to return on Eid and take her away with him. Ufff yaaa, I hate movies like this and especially when said man is played by Salman Khan! You never really get to see what Sakina sees in him, and it is frustrating when she has such a perfect guy right in front of her. While I might visually love the film, the story is annoying. One of the best and most honest parts is when Sakina’s housekeeper tells her she is worried that she has gone mad waiting for this man to return (she kind of has), and then Sakina starts laughing maniacally saying the houskeeper is not a good liar. Made me want to slap her silly.

Anyway,  one of the bigger surprises in the film was the music. It was exotic and beautiful, emotional and haunting. Check out “Chhabeela“, “Saawariya“, “Pari“, and my favorite, the beautiful “Masha Allah“. Those are only half the songs too. All are excellent.

Well until next time, namaste!

Band Baaja Baaraat

I had previously written a lovely blog post but thanks to all the changes in the last year and a half the wordpress has made, it was all erased *grrrrrrrr*. So here goes try number two :).

It has been quite some time since my last post, but Bollywood has still been a part of my life. This last year included a lot of life changes for me so writing and keeping my blog up to date was not high on my list. I am back now and hope to be posting on a more regular basis.

After rewatching a bunch of old favorites, I decided to finally watch Band Baaja Baaraat (Band Horns and Revelry). I was initially excited about this movie because it starred Anushka Sharma of RNBDJ fame. It also featured a newcomer, Ranveer Singh, who looked promising. The movie was a typical romantic comedy of Bollywood proportions. Two college classmates, Shruti (Anushka) and Bittoo (Ranveer), become friends and start a wedding planning business together. The want to take it from the small time neighborhood weddings to the big time rich and famous ones. The only thing that could get in the way is love so they make a rule not to let romance come anywhere near them on their way to success. One guess what happens next ;).

In my opinion it felt a little flat. Shruti and Bittoo were quite bland and two dimensional and they were outshined by the fantastic and fun weddings they created. Of course I was rooting for a happy ending but was more interested in the side characters (the flower guy, cook, band, etc), the colors of the weddings, and of course the music. Just check out Ainvayi Ainvayi, Dum Dum, and the lovely Aadha Ishq if you need examples. While it is not going to be a new favorite film, it was a pleasant way to spend the evening.

What are your favorite films from the last year? Any recommendations for me? I would love to hear them. Namaste!

Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities

Some folks may already know that I  belong to a knitting site called Ravelry. Along with being a place that you can find patterns, ask questions, and find cool yarn, you can also join groups of like-minded people to discuss whatever the theme/subject of the group is about. I belong to a book group, an expat group, a Christian knitters group, a few television show groups, a couple of photography groups, and of course a Bollywood group. The ladies in this group are awesome. They are a great group of virtual girl friends from all over the world. We share a love of crafts, life, and Bollywood together. We may not always agree, but we always have fun. We also recommend (or don’t recommend :)) films to each other. One member mentioned this film and I was immediately intrigued. I couldn’t find it to download, so I ordered it from Nehaflix (a great place to order Bollywood films from). I was not disappointed.

The story centers around Nawab (Raghubir Yadav), a famous author who has entered a five-year dry spell. He can not think of anything to write until the day Meenaxi (Tabu) suddenly enters his life. She offers herself as his muse, but is often actually criticizing and annoying him (not really the kind of muse a struggling author needs).  Nawab’s drunk mechanic also becomes his muse as the hero Kameshwar (Kunal Kapoor), who is entranced by Meenaxi in each of the three tales/cities. Will Nawab finish the book? Will it be a success like all his others? These are the questions, and it is up to your imagination to answer.

I now have another place added to my list of places to visit in India, Jaisalmer. It looks like I will mostly be traveling in NW India. Hyderabad, Jaisalmer, and Prague are the three cities mentioned in the title. The film really does its best to give you an idea of the feel in each city. The cinematography was very well done. Each city is very distinctly different and it showed. The colors were so bright and vivid that you could almost imagine you were there. It was also a very artistic film which had a large part to do with being written and directed by MF Hussain. I began reading about him, and what an interesting and somewhat controversial figure he is. I am really enjoying looking at his art, and now want to get my hands on Gaja Gamini, the movie he did with Madhuri Dixit (his muse).

The music was also great, and no wonder, it was A.R. Rahman. Just to give you a few to watch as a sample of what can be found in the film watch “Yeh Rishta”, “Do Kadam” sung by the wonderful Sonu Nigam, “Noor Un Ala” which was very controversial for using verses from the Koran, and the “Jaisamler Theme” which is full of color.  This film was such a delight for the senses.

Spreading the Bollywood love, yaara!

Paap

I had been wanting to re-watch Paap (Sin) for quite some time. The first time was over five years ago and I remember the beautiful place it took place in, that I really liked the actress, and that there was great chemistry between her and John Abraham. I had forgotten the whole crime that takes place and how it ends. I was definitely not let down and enjoyed it even more this time around.

Kaya (Udita Goswami) and her father live near a Buddhist monastery. He has hopes that she will one day join the monastery and live a holy life. Kaya is sent to Delhi to retrieve their reincarnated Lama and bring him back. On their way, the Lama becomes the sole witness to the murder of a police officer. Detective Shiven (John Abraham) is assigned the case and uncovers some serious implications. He is shot as he is helping Kaya and the Lama get back to the monastery, and when they reach there he needs to be nursed back to health. Eventually love blooms between Kaya and Shiven, but will she choose him or the life she has been raised to live?

The film was shot on location in the Spiti Valley (in Kashmir) and in the region of Himachal Pradesh. The HP region has been on my radar for a while because I would love to see Shimla and visit the Himalayas. Now I have another reason to go! It is just breathtaking. Both places are situated between Tibet and Pakistan. Perhaps its location is the reason behind the use of so many Pakistani playback singers, which (according to Wiki) was the beginning of a trend in Bollywood films. I thought the music was beautiful, and there were many different instrumental pieces as well. For a glimpse of the cinematography and a taste of the music, check out “Mann Ki Lagan” and my favorite, “Intezaar“.

I also absolutely love the different look of Udita Goswami. Her eyes have a little Asian influence and she is just beautiful. I also think the clothes she wears in the film are so amazing. I would love to have a whole wardrobe of them.

Now, no film is perfect, and after all that gushing about it, I should warn that a couple things really bugged me. The subtitles seemed a little off in their translation and had some enigmatic moments. Also, John Abraham was WAY over the top in a few scenes. He was way too dramatic when suffering from his bullet wound, and being ravished by him looked like it might hurt ones neck an awful lot. Oh, and the scene in the grain silo. Who drowns in grain that comes to shoulder level? Really? Come on!

All the silly parts aside, I love this movie. Now that I own it again I will definitely be watching it more frequently.

Spreading the Bollywood love, yaara!

Khalnayak

I have been wanting to watch this movie for a long time and finally ordered it from Nehaflix. It stars Madhuri Dixit who is one of the best dancers in all of Bollywood (in my opinion) and Sanjay Dutt, who I really enjoy watching. It also has one of my all time favorite songs in it, “Choli Ke Peeche“, which was sort of made into a song found on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, “Ringa Ringa“, and later became the Turkish song “Rengarenk“. The evolution of a song.

Khalnayak (The Villan) is the story of Ballu Balram(Dutt) who is the main henchman of the evil gangster/”guru” Roshida. He is sent in to do Roshida’s dirty work like killing police or politicians. Ballu is caught by Inspector Ram (Jackie Shroff, who I have realized I do not care for at all), but later escapes while Ram is visiting his girlfriend, Ganga (Dixit). Ganga sees what this does to Ram and decides to go undercover as a prostitute/dancing girl in order to get close to Ballu. It works and Ballu takes her with him on his trip across country to meet up with his boss again (there was some talk about going Singapore too, but it just seemed out-of-place).

There were some things I loved about this film and other things I thought were quite funny and cheesy. I thought the story was great. It had a lot of twists and turns and pretty much all your questions are answered in the end. It was a well-developed story with equally developed characters. You really hate the bad guy, grow to feel sympathy for Ballu, and love Ganga’s courage. Ballu’s mother was another character I really enjoyed (played by Raakhee Gulzar) as well as Ganga’s friend who sang the “Choli Ke Peeche” song with her. I absolutely loved Madhuri’s outfits in the film. I will take one of each, please :). Last but not least, the cinematography and locations were so beautiful. Just adding fuel to the fire under my feet , burning to go to India.

Now for the funny. “Nayak Nahi Khalnayak Hai Tu“. Period. With a creepy beginning like that I began to question the film, but as soon as the pelvic thrusting began I could not help but laugh. Then there was Ballu’s “bad boy” hair and his equally comical “good boy” hair. Maybe it was the style back then, but it is quite funny now. I loved Anupam Kher’s small part as the silly warden. There were lots of other little things here and there (the guys trying to cheer Madhuri up with their version of the Choli song was awesome), but the funniest scene was the fight in the tree. Sanjay and Jackie are fighting up in the branches of a tree, but the fighting keeps cutting to monkeys watching them or doing something similar to them. It was genius. Now that was a great film making move ;)! For those who need to see it now, click here and skip to minute 3:40.

Overall, I felt that Khalnayak was worth the wait and I would gladly watch it again and recommend it to others.

Spreading the Bollywood love, yaara.

Dhobi Ghat

So this is the first Bollywood I have watched after becoming a married woman. It was great getting to show my friends and family around Istanbul and celebrate with them. The wedding was over too soon, but now I am married to the love of my life. Such a wonderful time, but life is returning to normal now and back to work and all the other stress life has to offer.

Watching Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) today was like being let in to the lives of a few new friends in Bombay for a short while. It is a dream of mine to someday visit this great city and I think it may happen sooner rather than later, but that is not important right now. This film was amazing. Not a typical Bollywood (no singing and dancing and colorful saris) but an excellent example of Hindi cinema.

The film stars Aamir Khan as Arun, a painter who finds the video letters of Yasmin, the previous tenant in his new apartment and she becomes his muse. It is also the breakout performance of Monica Dogra as Shai the photographer who kinda falls in love with Arun while befriending her “dhobi” or laundry man, Munna (Prateik).I loved Munna the best, and will definitely keep an eye out for more films from Prateik in the future.

But the film’s biggest star is Mumbai. Kiran Rao (the director and wife of Aamir Khan) really knew what she was doing when she cast Mumbai in this film. I loved getting to see Munna working in Dhobi Ghat washing the laundry, driving down Marine Drive with Yasmin, and all the amazing views from the different apartments. Mumbai plays its part perfectly, as the magnet that seems to draw people from every walk of life together, if only for a moment.

My recommendation is to watch it and then sit and think about it for a while. I have a feeling this movie will stay with me for a long time to come.

Dil Chahta Hai

Wedding plans and work stress have seriously gotten in the way of my Bollywood watching schedule. I was going through serious withdrawal so I decided to re-watch Dil Chahta Hai (The Heart Desires). I can not believe how long it has been since I last watched it, maybe eight years or so. What a fabulous film!

It is a story about “deep friendship” (or is the photo 3D 😉 ) between three men finishing college and going out on their own (well kind of since they still live at home mostly, but you get what I mean right). They are very different from each other, but it is loves’ ups and downs that keep them together, drive them apart, and bring reconciliation in the end. Akash (Aamir Khan) loves the chase but rarely has relationships that last longer than two weeks, until he meets Shalini (Preity Zinta) and she teaches him about love. Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) is a hopeless romantic who thinks he’s in love with everyone, until he meets Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni) and has to convince her she should be with him and not the dope she is with already. And lastly, my favorite, Sid (Akshaye Khanna) the artist. Sid is a genuinely sweet-hearted guy, wise beyond his years. He slowly falls in love with his new neighbor Tara (Dimple Kapadia), fifteen years his senior and a divorced alcoholic, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. How they all fit together and work themselves out is something you will have to watch and see for yourselves.

The music in this film is pretty great as well. I love the song “Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe” and it is made even better because of the leather pants worn by all three guys, LOL! “Kaisi Hai Yeh Ruth” is a beautiful song and Akshaye looks so cute in it. I love his side smile, and I like him so much better as a sweet character than the nasty bad guy he played in Humraaz. And of course the song main song “Dil Chahta Hai” is a favorite of mine. I would love to take a road trip to Goa (and with the three of them it would be even better ;). Ah, to dream…

Well, spreading the Bollywood love. Hopefully it won’t be so long before I write again. Namaste!

Main Aisa Hi Hoon

I had begun watching this movie about five years ago but lost interest early on. Last night I gave it another try and thought it was a very sweet movie. Main Aisa Hi Hoon (I Am Like This) is very much a copy of the Hollywood film I Am Sam. So much so that the main character even works at a coffee shop, but there are some differences too.

Indraneel “Neel” (Ajay Devgan) is a simple man/autistic (they use the words over and over again) who with the purity of his love wins over the disturbed, drug addicted, Maya (Esha Deol) for a time. After she gives birth to a baby girl, Gungun, she leaves Neel and runs away. With the help of his upstairs neighbor Ritu and his equally “simple” friends he raises Gungun to the best of his ability. One day her grandfather Dayanath (Anupam Kher) comes and wants to take her away. They go to court for custody and Neel gets Niti (Sushmita Sen) to be his lawyer. The court case is often laughable but had some genuinely moving moments as well. There are lots of other things I liked as well; and for the ending, you will have to watch it and see.

The acting in the film was great. This is the first Ajay Devgan film I have reviewed, but not the first I have seen. He is very talented and he gave the role of Neel all his heart and soul. Esha Deol was great when she was in the film and I would like to see more of her films. Anupam was great as always but I will always like him more as the funny sweet father figure rather than cold and mean. Sushmita Sen was lovely as usual but did not really do anything special or memorable in this film.

Perhaps one reason I only think of this as an average film is that the music was so forgettable. I am still humming along to the song I love from Humraaz, but the songs in this movie are forgotten as soon as they are over. No fun if you ask me ;). Well, that’s it for now folks.

Spreading the Bollywood love.

Humraaz

Tragedy has befallen my external hard drive and I can not continue my Anushka Sharma series (at this time) as I had wanted. My fabulous IT guy at work is working very hard to recover my files though, and it is looking like a very successful endeavor ;). In the meantime, I decided to watch an old favorite, Humraaz (Our Secret). Humraaz was the first Bollywood thriller I watched back in the day, and I did not expect the violence. Up until that point, I had only seen romances and dramas of the happy and calm variety. It has been about nine year since my last viewing, and I had totally forgotten about all the impalings (no less than five) and breaking of bones (*cringe*).

The story revolves around a love triangle between Karan (Akshaye Khanna), Priya (Amisha Patel), and Raj (Bobby Deol). Karan is the head of a dance troupe and Priya is his partner and devoted girlfriend. Raj is a tycoon who employs their troupe on his cruise ship. He immediately falls in love with Priya and pursues her, unaware of her relationship with Raj. It is a romance, sure,  but also a top notch thriller. There are tons of twists and turn, and just when you think you have it figured out, wrong again! In a three hour film, so much can happen but I am not going to give anything away. I will however mention the top notch comedic performance of Johnny Lever. He was so hilarious that I was laughing out loud.

One of the things I always remembered about the movie were the musical numbers. So fantastic! The fire and ice look of “Bardaasht“, Priya’s beautiful blue sari in “Life Ban Jayegi“, and I just love the song “Dil Ne Kar Liya“. There are some other really good songs as well, but you should just watch it, love it, and share it.

Spreading the Bollywood love, yaara!

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