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 :).

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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!

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!

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

RNBDJ is one of my most favorite movies ever! The title translates to A Match Made By God. I watched this movie for the first time with my fiance and we both just loved it. Not only does it star our favorite, Shah Rukh Khan, but it is just an amazingly wonderful story. It also was the debut of Anushka Sharma, and the next two blogs will also feature her so get ready. I really liked her a lot and if you watch this movie you will see why.

Surinder “Suri” (SRK) is a quiet and sweet man who falls in love with Taani (Anushka Sharma) on her wedding day. Due to tragic circumstances she does not get married, and on her father’s death bed promises to marry his favorite student Suri. Once home in Amritsar, Suri gives Taani space and time to heal. She asks to join a dance class and he says yes. Suri then goes to his hilarious best friend, Bobby(Vinay Pathak), for help. Bobby helps him become Raj Kapoor (the name of and old famous actor/hero). So Suri, dressed up as his cool guy alter ego Raj, goes watch her dance. He ends up getting roped into joining the class and then gets assigned to be her dance partner. You will have to watch to know the rest of the story. I do not want to give too much away. I just have to say that the end of this movie is one of the best endings ever.

The movie also has one of the best soundtracks.  One of the lines that “Raj” uses all the time is “Hum hain rahi pyaar ke , phir milenge chalte chalte” which is an amalgam of film titles and means “We are traveling the love lane, down the road we will meet again.” Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke is one of my favorite Aamir Khan movie titles but that will be a different post :). From this line comes the wonderful song “Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte“. Only a true Bollywood fan can recognize the leading ladies in the song and the famous couples they portray ;-). I also adore “Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai” and have listened to it so many times on my iPod that I can sing it perfectly (even though I do not know what most of the words say). And who could leave out “Dance Pe Chance“!?! So much fun!!!

Just watch it, yaara! Spreading the Bollywood love.

Paheli

I love absolutely everything about this movie. I think that is the best way to start this post. I decided to watch Paheli (Riddle) tonight in honor of the puppets I bought today that are featured in the film (see mine below). I have been wanting to buy them forever but it was never the right time.  The puppets are the narrators of the film and are so great. Naseeruddein Shah and his real life wife are the voices for them. So sweet.

The music is so amazing! I love every single song in this film, but none more than “Dhire Jalna“. One of the most beautiful songs ever and one of my favorite songs in any language. “Kangana Re” makes me wish I had bangles, made from every color of the rainbow, that I could wear every day. “Minnat Kare” is just so cute, and love the last song with all the characters as puppets, “Phir Raat Kati“.

One of the things that gets me about this movie is the pure, raw emotions. The story is about the new bride, Lachchi (Rani Mukherji), who marries the business minded, Kishanlal (Shah Rukh Khan). On the way home with the new bride the party stops at a well (if you can call that amazing place a well), and Lachchi is seen by a spirit/ghost that lives there. He falls in love with her. When they arrive home, Kishanlal informs his new bride that he will be leaving in the morning for five years. Say what!?! She is devastated but friendly ghost steps up to take his place. How will this all end? Please watch it and see. Every time Lachchi accepts the new Kishanlal, and his breath catches, so does my own. This is the kind of emotion I am talking about. Wow!

There are also really funny parts as well. Poor Bhoja the messenger who does a “Who’s On First” type scene when he gets back from delivering a message from one Kishanlal to the other, and is labeled a drunkard. Also Uncle Kanwarlal is always getting made fun of for his pipe smoking habit. He is so funny and clueless. The camel race is pretty good, as well as Amitabh Bachchan’s guest appearance as the wise shepherd.

This movie always cheers me up and I love it to pieces! Spreading the Bollywood love 🙂 .

Pyaar Impossible

Before I give my comments on this film, I wanted to let you all know that I have signed up for the Post A Week Pledge with WordPress. I will post at least once a week (two or three times if you are lucky though ;). I just thought it might be fun to have this goal to work towards and hopefully it will keep me blogging.

Today I finished a few major work things and decided to treat myself to a Bollywood. I wanted a cute movie I had not watched before so I picked Pyaar Impossible (Impossible Love). I downloaded this when it first came out and it just sat on my hard drive collecting cyber-dust. I grabbed some subtitles, dusted it off and gave it a try.

I immediately liked the character of Abhay (Uday Chopra). He had this super nerdy inner monologue going on that immediately endears him to the audience. He is pretty much is a super nerd, who is in love with the most beautiful girl in his university, Alisha (Priyanka Chopra). He saves her life one night but she never knew it was him. Her dad took her out of school the next day and he did not see her again for seven years.

While I liked the character of Abhay, I really did not like this movie for the first 30 minutes. There is this slimy guy (Dino Morea) who steals his life’s work. And Alisha is a divorced mother too busy to notice what is going on around her and has a super bratty little girl, Tania. She is always telling her daughter how naughty she is but does nothing about it. Drove me crazy. Tania does change (kind of) and grows on you. Alisha comes down from way up there and slows down to notice the great guy in her life. And slimy guy, well he is very “amused” by Thai traditions :).

The movie was cute but only average in my books. The music was good though and I can recommend checking out “You and Me” and “Pyaar Impossible“. That’s it for tonight, but I hope this weekend has another film in store for me. Wonder what it will be….

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