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!

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Vivah

One thing I love about Bollywood films is their length. Most films run around three hours long, and so there is a lot of story and character development. I think it is the reason that the films evoke so much emotion. You really start to care about the characters. It also means there are these great built in intermissions, so it is easy to watch a film over two days. This last week I watched Vivah (Marriage: A Journey from Engagement to Marriage). Perhaps it is because I will soon be getting married (in 5 weeks!) myself, but I really liked this movie. It was at moments a little too sweet, but I liked it nonetheless.

The story is about the most perfect daughter parents could want, Poonam, who is orphaned and raised by her aunt and uncle. She and her cousin are like sisters, but auntie is jealous that she is more beautiful than her daughter. Her uncle is a gem though. When it is her time to get married they find the perfect husband, Prem, from a wealthy and wonderful family. They have a six month engagement period and the movie is about how, even though the marriage is arranged, they grow to love each other.

The movie stars Amrita Rao who I have not seen since Main Hoon Na and Shahid Kapoor. She looked different, but maybe it was because she was not playing a tomboy. I liked her more in MHN though.  Shahid looked really baby faced in this film and I much prefer his more recent ones where he has grown up. They were cute together though and I would love to see them make a movie together again now (this one was from 2006). Shahid’s father in the film was one of my favorite “dad” actors, Anupam Kher. Just love that guy!

The music was quite beautiful in the movie, especially my favorite “Mujhe Haq Hai“. I also love movies that show the different ceremonies for engagements, weddings, holy days, and festivals. It is very interesting to me. In “Tere Dware Pe Aai Baraat” you see snippets from the wedding of Prem and Poonam. This movie is not always happy though, so have a few tissues on hand. Hope you enjoy!

Spreading the Bollywood love!

Monsoon Wedding

Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you sing you begin with Do-Re-Mi. In Bollywood I began with Mon-soon-Wed-ding. Okay, corny…but true. Now I do not really consider Monsoon Wedding to be Bollywood, but it ignited my interest to go out and find more Hindi films.

In Auburn, where I hail from, it is a small town. In high school my Spanish teacher suggested I watch foreign films in Spanish as language practice and so I began to. Spanish films led to German, French, Portuguese, and Japanese films as well. I blew through most the foreign section at our Blockbuster and was looking for more, and really wished to see them in a real theater some day. We had little opportunity to see foreign/independent films at the theater until in 2001 when they started the Independent Film Series. I read about it in the paper and dragged my mom to the first film, Monsoon Wedding.

I was completely blown away. I loved everything about the movie. The colorful cast or character, with their fantastic clothes, and interspersed with the scenery of New Delhi. The music was great as well. The song sung during the Mehndi ceremony was awesome and I really liked “Chunari Chunari” too (not to mention the finale song “Aaja Nachle“). I loved the wedding preparations and the silly sweet wedding planner, Dubey, and his love for Alice. There were so many contrasting emotions and  people, and the story was great and well developed. I began to dream of an Indian style wedding of my own some day.

After leaving the theater, I went to see if there were any Hindi language films at the rental store and came away with two: Lagaan and Asoka. But those are for other posts.