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.

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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!

Rangeela

Early on in my Bollywood watching days I came across Rangeela. It was in my list of Aamir Khan movies to watch and I had the title song, “Rangeela Re”, on a mixed Bollywood music CD I had purchased. The ’80’s and early ’90’s fashion in this movie is cringe worthy, but I loved it at the same time. Urmila Matondkar is beautiful in this film and Aamir Khan was hilarious (loved the net tank he sports through most the film). Aamir supposedly hung out with street gangs in Mumbai to get his acting and accent perfect. Though I have never been to Mumbai, I felt very convinced by his performance :).

The basic story is about Munna, a sweet street smart orphan, who realizes he is in love with his best friend, Mili, and proceeds to try and impress/tell her while she is being swept away by the big famous actor Kamal (played by Jackie Shroff) and the movie biz. It is a great story with a cast where every character is very likable. Not to be missed!

The songs are not my favorites to listen to on their own, but while watching the film they are great. Check out my favorites: “Rangeela Re“, as the opening scenes and “Mangta Hai Kya“, when Munna realizes he’s in love with Mili. For not-to-miss dancing watch “Kya Kare Kya Na Kare” and “Tanha Tanha Yahan Pe Jeena“.

Lagaan

Lagaan was my first real Bollywood film and it surprised me in so many ways. Firstly, it was looooong. I had never watched a movie that long (almost four hours!), but what surprised me even more was I did not want it to end. Secondly, it had a lot about cricket in it. A sport that was never on my radar and I knew nothing about. And thirdly, it was a musical?!? I had not educated myself at all about Bollywood and had no clue what to expect.

Lagaan is, on the surface, about the oppression of an Indian village, during colonial times, by the taxes imposed by the local British cantonment. Rain has been scarce and crops scarcer. How does does one provide for their family and pay outrageous taxes (which is what Lagaan means, taxes)? Well, making a crazy bet with the British General might be their only hope. Under the surface, and what you take from the movie as you watch it, is hope and an unbreakable spirit. Every character holds that hope in their heart and puts it into learning and playing the game of their lives. There is also a lot of comedy, romance, signing, and dancing. The music is amazing and I could not get enough of it. I kept re-watching just the songs and trying to dance along. My favorites are “O Rey Chhori“, “Radha Kaise Na Jale“, and “Ghanan Ghanan” but they are all great songs.

My final surprise was Aamir Khan. He was such an amazing actor and quite handsome. He became my first Bollywood crush, but certainly not the last ;). I made a list of all the movies he had made (which is no small list), and started to look for them online. I found many for purchase on eBay and they even came 3 or 4 at a time. I also had discovered a CD with songs from Lagaan and other films. If I liked the song I looked for the film. Movies led to actors/actresses/music and then onto other movies. And that is how an obsession starts, my friends.