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!

Aladin

I have loved the story of Aladdin ever since Disney whisked us away to a whole new world filled with excitement, enchantment, and a genie in a lamp. I have been anxiously awaiting the Bollywood version since I saw the trailer months ago. I finally got to watch it on my birthday and was a little let down. I wanted it to be fantastic, I mean Amitabh Bachchan as a genie named Genius, it does not get better than that I thought. The Big B did not disappoint and Genius was the highlight of the film! My fiance also loved Riteish Deshmukh as Aladin and I thought he was pretty good as well.

Where I thought the film fell flat was in the story. It did not have a very smooth flow. I think the choppiness came from not really developing some key elements like having some more fun with the wishes (two wishes are gone in 5 minutes). They could have done some funny things with that. I did not really like the girl who played Jasmine (Jaqueline Fernandez) and with all the lovely actresses around I am sure they could have found a better one. Also they had an excellent group of villains with Sanjay Dutt playing Ringmaster, an evil ex-genie, and a very very very creepy clown (I have an intense clown-phobia). But Ringmaster could have been way more evil though, and I felt more scared of the clown than him. Darn you Pennywise! You ruined clowns for me! 😉

On the plus side, the music was extremely fun and the dancing was great. I really loved “Tak Dhina Dhin” and have been humming/singing it to myself  ever since.  And honestly…how can you not love the “Genie Rap“?!? It is just too cool, man. “O Re Saawariya” had me cracking up and “Bachke O Bachke” was great fun. So I guess the music would be 5 star but the movie just 3.5, with lots of lost potential.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic

Today I was in the mood for something light, cute, and funny. I definitely picked the right film to watch. Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (A Little Love, A Little Magic) was such a surprise. I knew nothing about it when I began but immediately noticed similarities between it and one of my all time favorite films, The Sound of Music. Especially when the angels are singing “Bulbula” about the kind-hearted angel, Geeta (Rani Mukherji), whose head is always in the clouds (literally). It was just like the nuns singing about “Maria“. It made my heart smile.

The story is about Ranbeer (Saif Ali Khan), who kills the parents of four children in a car accident. He is sentenced by the court to raise them on his own. Neither he nor the children are happy about this and Geeta is sent down to Earth from Heaven to help make them a family. There are also shades of Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee to be found as Geeta becomes the nanny with special powers. There are many funny and touching moments in this film.

While I loved it, it will not make it to my favorites list. Rani and Saif Ali usually have great chemistry (Hum Tum for example), but it fell a little flat in this film. I would have enjoyed watching the movie a little bit longer just to see them develop their chemistry a bit more. However, the kids were fantastic and there was a great chemistry between the whole cast together. The butler, Pappu, cracked me up and Rishi Kapoor was great as Bhagwan (God).

My favorite part of the movie was when Geeta takes the kids to the museum, and takes them on a journey through Indian history and shows them how much their country has done and is capable of in the song “Beete Kal Se“. I would definitely recommend this movie to people as it has a great message and a very sweet story.