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!

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 🙂 .

Dil Bole Hadippa!

After a crazy work week I really needed to unwind with a fun movie. I have been meaning to watch Dil Bole Hadippa! (Heart Says Hurrah!) for a while, but never got around to it. As I started to watch it, it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood movies, Ladybugs. A coach dresses his step-son to be as a girl so his girls soccer team will stop losing. While this movie also puts a Twelfth Night spin to the story, switches the boy for a girl, and soccer becomes cricket, it was a lot of fun.

One thing I must say is, I have learned a lot about cricket now. After watching a few films, I began checking videos and read some  articles. I think I just about understand the basics. Wish I could see a match in person though (a 1 day match, not a 3 or 5 day one). As with most sport films, the movie culminates in a very exciting match where the result is down to one ball/run. I think I learned a lot more terminology from this movie and now know how one scores 4 runs and 6 runs with out actually running.

There was a lot of fun dance sequences and the music was fabulous. It was fun seeing “hey, micro mini!“, Rakhi Sawant, in another movie after Main Hoon Na. I read an article about her many year ago that she is a trained dancer, but have read more recently about some of her scandals as well. All that aside, she is pretty fun to watch. Shahid Kapoor is another actor who came onto my radar recently. I am really digging him. He is charming and has a serious smolder effect about him. I will be watching more of his movies for sure. And of course, Rani was top-notch as always. Fantastic as both Veera and Veer. Check out these songs for a sneak preview: “Discowale Khisko“, “Ishq Hi Hai Rab“, and “Bhangra Bistar“.

That’s it for now. Spreading the Bollywood love. XO

Hum Tum

It does not get much cuter than Hum Tum (Me – You). Karan and Rhea meet by chance on an airplane when they are both moving from India to New York. After their initial less-than-perfect (although memorable) meeting, they part ways both hoping forever. The film spans nine years of chance meetings, growing friendships, and good byes. Interspersed through the film are funny animated sequences of Hum and Tum, a young boy and girl, who are the main characters of a cartoon strip Karan pens.

I just loved these animated bits. When I looked online, I was happy to see that they actually made the comic into a strip. It seems to have run in the newspaper for awhile and was penned by Vijay Raibole and his wife. He posted them all on his blog, and though some are in Hindi, you will understand how funny they are from the ones in English. Now I just wish there was a whole book of them :).

The music is also top-notch in the film as is the chemistry between Saif Ali Khan (Karan) and Rani Mukherji (Rhea). From the wonderful love song “Hum Tum” to the fun and feisty “Gore Gore Say Chore“, I could listen to these songs over and over again. You can see from these songs that the relationship between these two characters has its ups and downs, and plenty of butting heads, but they will melt your heart in the end (as well as each others).

I really though both, Saif Ali and Rani, did an excellent job with their acting. Saif Ali begins cocky and obnoxious, then adds some charm, and finally becomes sincere though unsure of his newly acknowledged self. Rani starts out very sure of herself and continues that way until a huge life change. Then she becomes much more calm and collected until Karan brings her back to herself, granted a more mature version. Also worth acknowledging are Rishi Kapoor as Karan’s father and Kiron Kher as Rhea’s mother. My friend says that Kiron Kher “is the perfect mother” in Bollywood. I told him it is because his first film was Main Hoon Na ;).

Happy Watching!

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.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

It has to be close to 8 years since I last watched Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (KKHH, Something Happens). That is quite odd considering it is another film starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. I loved it the first time, but somehow it got lost in all the other films I own and I dusted it off today. I remember I was so excited when I ordered this one. I was bidding on ebay and barely got in my last bid before it closed. I had already grown to love the songs “Ladki Badi Anjaani Hai”, “Koi Mil Gaya”, and “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, which were on one of my mixed CDs.  It was the first Rani Mukherji film I watched as well. The basic story is about a man who loses his wife after childbirth and has to raise his daughter without a mother. Before she dies though, she writes 8 letters for her daughter’s first 8 birthdays. In the last one she gives her daughter the task of finding her fathers’ best friend so he can be happy again and she will have a mother. So many wonderful moments and tears during this movie. There are a couple things that stand out in this film and make it one of my favorites.

Half the movie takes place at a summer camp. I only went to summer camps a couple of times as a kid, but those memories hold a special place in my heart. The games we would play, the friends you would make, and the songs we would sing are so fun to reminisce about. We never did choreographed dances though ;). The kids were so sweet too, especially little Anjali and the Sikh boy who counts the stars (he did that in another film but I can’t remember right now).

I think it was in this film I began to notice Johnny Lever…is in EVERYTHING! He is a comedian who has been in hundreds of films so far (Wikipedia says more than 350). He was brilliant as the British loving Camp Manager. His timing is always spot on and he often lightens even the darkest films (even if only briefly). The first couple of films I saw him in, he kind of annoyed me, but after KKHH I really started to have more of an appreciation for him. Now I love seeing him pop up in films.

Also, on a side note, in 2011, KKHH will be remade in honor of its 12th anniversary as a ….cartoon! It is titled Koochie Koochie Hota Hai, and I am actually quite excited to see it after watching the trailer. All the same actors do the voices (minus Salman Khan) and all the characters are dogs! Anywho, Bolly-in-the-‘Bul signing out. Namaste!