Weekends are marvelous things

I am going to have my cards read this weekend (that is if I can get my stuff in order and arrange it). Should I ask about career, marriage, family? Hmmm, part of me is a little nervous at what the outcome could be. Is it better to know or not know what the future may hold?

I may also try to take in 'Lakshya'. We finally got our pvr purchased, hooked up and working, so I've been able to record movies! YAY!!!! So far I've only recorded 'Lakshya', 'Josh' and one more Hrithik movie that I watched half an hour of before deleting it - I don't even remember it's name.

And on to a little Bolly tidbit...

It seems that KJo's birthday party had more in store in it that just birthday cake. I'm so glad to see that some people are trying to patch things up. Good lord, do you think there's this much drama amongst Hollywood actors? At any rate, this reunion can only be beneficial!

What would a pre-weekend post be without at least one gratuitous picture of Shah!

Excuse me while I pretend I'm really Madhuri!

A great weekend to all!!!

Bachna Ae Haseeno

*may contain spoilers*

Apparently I am a fan of director Siddharth Anand, having seen both of his other films and thoroughly enjoying them, so it wouldn't be a stretch to add 'Bachna Ae Haseena' to that list. Strong female characters and a fairly mature portrayal of relationships are the two things that this film can surely boast about. It is less about the fairy-tale side of love and deals with the complexities and the process of how the characters are led-on and betrayed, how they hurt, how long the healing process takes, and ultimately how all relationships needs some sort of closure.

The film is clearly divided into two separate halves, the first with Ranbir Kapoor involved in three love stories. The first story with Minissha Lamba is a sweet typical teenage romance taken straight from the pages of 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge'. Once Aditya Chopra is done reminding us that he’s the man behind the 1995 classic, the story begins to emerge. The second romance, and the one with the most depth, with stunning Bipasha Basu, is about a live-in relationship. The final romance with Deepika Padukone, the most important of the three as it is the catalyst for the entire second half of the film, is underdeveloped and, for a real life couple, the passion doesn't quite translate through for me. The film even incorporates, in an attempt to be clever, other Yash Raj references into the script such as the four friends strutting to the 'Dhoom' soundtrack or dancing to 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' at a party.

Now let’s move on! Ranbir, as Raj Sharma, did a competent job portraying the rogue-turned-morally-recovered man seeking redemption, but it was the women who really shine. Minissha Lamba, as the young Mahi, is vivacious, earnest and sincere and fits the role to perfection. In the second half she is also very elegant and brilliant as the cold-hearted wife. A ravishing Bipasha Basu (Radhika/Shreya Rathore) plays her part so well you can literally see the growth her character makes in the film. Though Deepika (Gayatri) is undoubtedly stunning in her role, I am not entirely convinced by her performance, but in all fairness the blame must be shared with the film's writers for saddling her with a sophomoric role. Special mentions must go to Hiten Paintal who is spot-on as Raj's best friend, and Kunal Kapoor, who plays Mahi's patient husband brilliantly. One of my favorite moments in the entire film is post-interval, when we see Ranbir's first attempt at atonement with Mahi and her husband. Ranbir's apology looks convincing and the culmination to this chapter couldn't be better. The climax of the second half, however, feels rushed and wrapped up in an all too convienient package.

Bachna Ae Haseeno is one of the best visual spectacles you can see on Celluloid! Top notch cinematography goes hand in hand with amazing photography. It captures the heart and soul of exquisite locations like Switzerland, Australia, Italy, as if they are an important character of this movie leaving you spell bound! I would really love to ask all of our cinematic heroes one question though: are none of them afraid of heights or are those precarious poses on top of cliffs, trees, etc. just second nature to them? I know that there is no way you would ever catch me standing on a hugely tall rock formation jutting out of the water 15' high and 3' wide! My goodness!!

Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani are at it again with another celebrated soundtrack. With 'Om Shanti Om', 'Salaam Namaste' and 'Dostana' under their belts and on my ipod, it's no wonder I connect with the music from this film as well. Not only have the duo hit musical paydirt with the tracks 'Aahista Aahista', 'Bachna Ae Haseeno' and my fav's 'Jogi Mahi' and 'Khuda Jaane', all of which were blended perfectly in the movie, but the picturizations are flawless with long sweeping camera movements in 'Khuda Jaane' and the camera rotations in the colorful and catchy 'Jogi Mahi'. I'm practicing those dance moves as we speak!

Overall, 'Bachna Ae Hasseno' is a lovely mixed plate of light romantic fodder and a little serious relationship drama served with a side of self-redemption and this Bollygirl enjoyed it very much.

There ought to be a word...

Has it ever happened to you that you see something then it's everywhere you look or hear a song once and then all of a sudden it's on the radio all the time? There must be a word for this. I have noticed lately an overabundance of Indian reference in popular culture. On an episode of 'Bones', Booth's visiting brother is going on a trip to India; on an retro episode of 'Scooby Doo', Indian diamonds are stolen by a demon shark brought to life by Hindu spells; on Treehouse's 'Are We There Yet?', a visit to wonderful India. So my question is, am I just noticing these references more because of my interest, or has there been an abundance of Indian culture injected into our 'Western' world?

What I wouldn't give...

Even Barbie's getting in on the action

And let's not forget about Bollywood
I've yet to see either of the first two movies in the Dhoom franchise, but this could be interesting.

Koi....Mil Gaya

With opening credits that mimic 'Star Wars,' the mother ship and musical-tone communication from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' and the abandoned alien of 'E. T.' , 'Koi...Mil Gaya' could have been easily been a mish-mash of past Hollywood sci-fi classics, but, ultimately, this film stands on its own merits. Grab your popcorn kids, here starts the fantastic journey.

Though this film heavily relied on the extraterrestrial to real the movie goer in, as I believe it is one of the first feature films of it's kind to hit Indian cinemas, it is much more than a simple sci-fi flick. At heart it is the story of one man's passage from child to man and the exceptional circumstances that surround him.

I have to admit that, after seeing a few more of his movies, Hrithik Roshan is quickly claiming a small portion of my heart. On screen you see Rohit, the mentally challenged adult in a rough man's world, and not Hrithik Roshan, the star. He is the impetus that propels the film to the realm of the extraordinary. Hrithik blows away all doubts, theories, criticisms and disbelief with an extraordinarily touching performance. He surprises you with his reserves of pathos, his gamut of emotion and his transition from weak boy to strong man. He is simply incredible, even in his voice modulations, his sloppy walk and his lopsided smile, and because of it Rohit connects with you immediately. His endearing innocence and the clean-hearted fun he indulges in has you in splits. But within seconds, he also brings a lump to your throat when the bullies pick on him. He plays the character without any inhibitions and succeeds in involving you in his life. It is a role of a lifetime and Hrithik enacts it with tremendous courage.

Enough of the gushing...let's not forget this really isn't a one man show. Preity Zinta, as Nisha, looked gorgeous, was especially bubby, and still managed to play her part with a lot of maturity. Nisha is a character who constantly needs to respond to Rohit as if he were a child, without mocking him. Zinta struck that balance to perfection. Though is it really possible for an actress's hair to grow two or three inches in the course of a story that covers only a few days (weeks at the most). Bollywood siren Rekha plays the other woman in Rohit’s life, his mother. A strong chemistry between the legendary actress and Hrithik prove for some very moving moments between mother and son. The kids and Johnny Lever were supplemental and contributed to the 'funny factor', but not to much else for me.

Rajesh Roshan comes up with another winning score. The songs have a mesmerising effect and the choreography in almost all the songs is splendid. To single out, 'Idhar Chala' and 'It's Magic' are the pick of the lot. The cinematography is first-rate. The lush green locations are a visual treat and what a nice surprise for this Canuck to see Canadian soil being one of them. I was very impressed with the level of special effects with the space ship scenes, but found 'Jadoo' lacking the verisimilitude that we've seen in other alien characters.

Though the film has it's share of faults, the positives outweigh the negatives in the end. With Koi... Mil Gaya, director Rakesh Roshan has proved two things. One, he truly can give Hrithik Roshan a role to chew into and two, it takes guts and gumption to make a really different movie within the commercials parameters of filmmaking. “KMG” is engaging precisely because its story revolves around Rohit’s quest to be normal in the eyes of the world, rather than revolving around the much-hyped alien, and it was truly a treat for this self-proclaimed 'child at heart'.

Kudos, Cannes and Carnivores

It absolutely amazes me at the number of insightful and intellectual Bollywood bloggers that there are outside of India, and the recognition that is bestowed upon them. I discovered Filmi Girl through a copy of Filmfare and saw that So They Dance was also featured in the same magazine. Today, during my morning rounds I read a comment on Beth Loves Bollywood's blog from a magazine in India that would like to feature her. To each of these wonderful writers (and the many others out there that are equally wonderful) I just wanted to say thanks.

Thanks for your astute annotations, your witty observations, your perspicacious conclusions. I can only hope, one day, to be included in this extraordinary league with these exceptional writers.

That aside, I am thrilled at the level of recognition that India has achieved at Cannes this year.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan attends the Spring Fever Premiere held at the Palais Des Festival. Look at that dress!

Aishwarya and Abhishek attend the Opening Ceremony Dinner at the Palais des Festivals

Hrithik Roshan poses with Latin American actress Barbara Mori during a portrait session to promote the movie "Kites" at the Majestic Hotel

And a sneak peek at their new film

If the poster and trailer are any indication, this is going to be one sexy, thrilling and exciting movie. I can not wait!

And a little non-Bolly from Cannes for my dearest friend...

The poster for 'New Moon' is unveiled


I was going to wait to see it's predecessor 'Koi...Mil Gaya' before doing my review, but I've decided it's probably best to do a review focusing on what 'Krrish' really was - a stand alone superhero movie.

'Krrish' marks the entry of the superhero in the Hindi film industry. It starts off as a love story, switches gears to become a traditional superhero saga and concludes as a clash between the virtuous and the corrupt. Right from the opening reels to its conclusion ‘Krrish’ keeps you riveted to the screen. It ticks all the “superhero” boxes including missing parents; looked after by elderly family; struggling to come to terms with ones power/keep identity hidden; pursued by a megalomaniac villain on a conquest to take over the... I think you get the picture.

'Krrish' is out an out Hrithik Roshan's film. He possesses the right mix of brawn, youthful exuberance, grit and emotional vulnerability required for the role. When he flies, glides, walks through fire, you don’t doubt it - you simply believe it and you believe in him. That Hrithik can act is a given: he’s strong, intelligent, sincere, and has bucket loads of integrity – this shines through in 'Krrish' and works because of him. He has the body of an Adonis and simply looks phenomenal. In flashback sequences where he doubles as his father (Rohit from the prequel) he again proves his mettle portraying a gifted person with a child-like manner.

But that is not to undermine the performances by Priyanka Chopra, Rekha and Naseeruddin Shah. Priyanka enters into the big league with 'Krrish' and though she does not have much to do in the film, she proves her utility in romantic scenes in beautiful locations. Rekha shines as the overprotective daadee, and her and Hrithik's scenes were powerful and sincere.

Though the first half may seem a common love story, it's the second half that holds your attention as the drama unfolds. The biggest advantage of the film is that the plot begins to gather momentum post-interval during a flashback trip, and from thereon, it's a different film altogether! The fight between good and evil, noble and the immoral is depicted in the most convincing fashion.

This movie stretches reality, but it works. With state of the art special effects and authentic eastern wire-work reminscent of such movies like 'Crouching Tigger, Hidden Dragon' and 'House of Flying Daggers', the package is very attractive. It is the action and stunts that stand out throughout the movie. Krrish’s giant leaps, his upward somersaults in the air, his skidding through the trees in the forest and his speedy movements are beautifully choreographed.

Bollywood through and through, 'Krrish' is a noble and innovative attempt at a typically alien genre. It contains love and romance, melodrama, songs and dance, and the rest in ample abundance, and at it's heart is a thoroughly entertaining fun-filled flick. Credit for all of this has to go to Rakesh Roshan, the movie’s writer, producer and director. Roshan senior has made a quality product – a film that lays foundation for other films of similar genre. My only advice is that you may want to actually take in 'Koi...Mil Gaya' first, as I think it would make the science fiction element of the film more realistic or at the very least give you some explaination into that piece of the filmi puzzle.

Tuesday tidbits

Ah, there's nothing like spending your morning searching the Internet for all sorts of fascinating Bollywood tidbits while you should be working (or something that vaguely resembles work). Thank God I've no one to report to except myself!

I was devastated upon reading that 'My Name is Khan' would be postponed for release until next year. That was until I read this. I'm practicing my help scream as we speak!

Filmi Girl had a post a while back on which Hollywood starlets we'd like to see in a Bollywood production. I immediately thought of my favorite actress Kate Winslet, and was absolutely thrilled to find this story. What an amazing film this would be, and what an amazing pair of actors. I'm sure it will be absolutely brilliant!

Hindi sentence of the day: dhyaan se meri baat sunneke liye aap kaa shukriaa ada karta hoon
(Thank your for your attention)

One 2 Ka 4

*may contain spoilers*

It may be hard to digest a film like One 2 Ka 4. With one of Bollywood's most loved jodi's, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, it had such potential. The film could have been an enthralling suspense thriller but instead switches multiple tracks from comedy to romance to mystery, etc. The script never really settles on any one genre and, as a result, ends up being a mish-mash of different plot elements. As many movies look for "inspiration" from Hollywood, this film is no exception and takes it's cue from the buddy cop flick genre, borrowing some scenes directly from the Lethal Weapon series. It teeters dangerously between being a waste of time and being worth watching. Though the writing is second rate, the direction is often choppy, and the action sequences nearly seem like they have been taken directly from a spoof movie, the film redeems itself with gorgeous locales, great music, and good acting.

Shah Rukh delivers a spirited performance, lending dignity to some of the hard-to-digest scenes. He brings a certain vulnerability and sensitivity with masses of charm as Arun. The film is that much more watchable because Shah Rukh really raises it to a much higher level than the film achieves. One of my favorite scenes in the entire movie is a quiet moment between Arun and Geeta in which they are discussing what the future may hold for them. I wonder, however, if it takes a certain amount of courage to portray something as out and out silly as in the "I'm Sorry" picturization.

Juhi Chawla, a veritable goddess of the silver screen, is wonderful, playing Geeta with just the right amount of charisma in every scene. To do comedy is not easy but she is almost perfect in her role, very funny and frankly, I cannot imagine anyone better than her.

Jackie Shroff is competent in a brief but significant role. Nirmal Pandey was simply awful overacting outrageously in every single scene he was in. Perhaps making faces is what acting is all about.

One had high hopes with this film in respects to it's music, and, for the most part, AR Rahman delivers an inspired soundtrack. The composer has concentrated on melody, with the orchestration not dominating the songs. Utilizing the industry's best playback artists like Sonu Nigam, Lata Mangeshkar, and Udit Narayan, the vocals are spot on. However, 'Alley Alley' left me feeling a little weird.

So, in the end, the audience is left with a half-baked, inconsistent script with loopholes galore and nothing to show for itself, except for a fantastic turn by Juhi Chawla and Shah Rukh Khan and great music.

Hooray for long weekends!

I officially finished my 16th and last Hindi lesson yesterday. Though I feel like I've learned quite a bit, it's nowhere near the level of fluency that I am trying to achieve. I'm going to save up some bucks and get the complete program. After 100 lessons I should be able to turn those subtitles off na?

I'm going to try and take in Mr. Bachchan's 'Lawaaris' this afternoon provided my husband comes home with our new pvr. *crossing fingers*. I see a whole new life of B4U viewing opening up! Shashi Kapoor here I come.

The Good, the bad and the downright ugly:

I loved Om Shanti Om and this was a comedy highlight for sure. 'Yana Rascala' indeed!

Say it isn't so!!! With only 'My Name is Khan' on his movie roster this year, I nearly started to cry upon hearing this news.

There really is no end to the drama in Bollywood today. Can't we all just make movies and get along?

My weekend pic in which I pretend to be someone other than myself:

And on that note, mein kuch doopahare ka khanna khanna chaahiye. Have a great weekend!

For my Sis...

Just a couple of pics for my sister.

Fugly fashion at it's best

While visiting Filmi Girl's blog, I was reminded of an outfit that Shah Rukh wears in Baazigar. I couldn't find a pic anywhere, but I felt it was my duty to expose this very best of early 90's fashion, so enjoy 'Baazigar Oh Baazigar'!

Also, in my searches I came across this gem:

On the tube this weekend:
Pyar Mein Twist
Jodi Kya Banai Wah Wah Ramji

Any of these worth watching?

In an unrelated Bollywood note: 'The Office' finale is tonight and I am totally reved up! Only one more finale to watch and my summer will be free to be filled with all sorts of filmi goodness!

Random Hindi sentence of the day:
kaam samaapt hone ke baad main doston se milne jaaungee

Superhero's are people too...

Having just seen Krrish I was about to do a review when I discovered it was actually a sequal to Koi...Mil Gaya, and I think I would rather see the original before posting, as it may explain a few things in Krrish a little better for me.

Until then, here's a great Pepsi commercial to make me feel slightly less violated from watching the Schweppes commercial at Beth Loves Bollywood.

I'll drink to that!

I'm having a Farhan Aktar overload!

First of all, I am fighting a major cold/seasonal allergies which really sucks because not only can I not breath, but I can't taste anything either. My head seems to be in a constant fog so who knows how long it will take me to get this post up. Maybe I'll get inspired and the words will just roll.

This weekend I was going to try picking a movie alphabetically, but instead reached for 'Rock On' thinking my musician husband would enjoy watching it with me. Instead, he fell asleep (as usual) and I was left watching by myself (big surprise).

Abhishek Kapoor has helmed, with enormous sensitivity, this story of five artistic souls. The plot, though not without it's flaws, was simple enough and was delivered very powerfully. I believe it's the first to take on the rock industry as a subject (though correct me if I'm wrong). The two parallel plotlines that distinguish the past and the present are woven together beautifully, which lends the film its much-praised nostalgic quality.

The best thing about this movie were the performances. No ham acting, no glitzy deviations, just an honest and down to earth approach. Characters instantly clicked and became real people. This was Farhan Akhtar's first film in front of the camera, and a damn good debutante performance. He finely portrays Aditya as a multi-faceted character, uptight and withdrawn as the high-powered executive and charming and spirited as the younger lead singer of Magik. It was an especially nice treat to watch Farhan actually singing his own songs, making his portrayal much more real. That being said, I believe the success in this film is due to the rich combination of characters.

Arjun Rampal's Joe is a bravura piece of acting; he goes from reckless rocker to a man increasingly beaten down by life, with nothing left but his integrity. His performance was indeed heartfelt. Luke Kenny as Rob and Purab Kohli as KD are similarly first-rate. KD's karaoke scene where he croons Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive" gives the movie its biggest (and much needed) laugh. The women play supporting parts with grace and dignity. Shahana Goswami is impressive as Debbie, whose prickly exterior conceals her vulnerability and disappointment. She remains a fighter despite knowing failure, and is both fiercely protective of and infuriated by her impractical spouse. Prachi Desai does well also as Adi's wife Sakshi, who becomes the catalyst for the band's reunion.

*spoilers ahead*
All that being said, I did find the film slow in some spots, so much so that I found myself drifting off every once in a while (though that could be attributed to the absorbent amounts of medication that I'm taking). Also, the reasons for Magik breaking up seemed specious and irrelevant. The build up to the fight implied that something huge had happened. We were dropped hints of Farhan betraying friends, egos clashing, and some mystery that was so sinister that it changed everyone's lives immediately. Admittedly things were starting to turn sour, Farhan was starting to build an ego (although he did try to get Joe's song and Debbie in there as part of the deal), but it was just starting. One punch and Adi's out of there faster than the speed of sound. It seemed so out of character, so out of place. The situation had NOT developed into such a state as to not only demand a ten year hiatus, but a complete alienation of friendship altogether.

I know this movie has been hailed as groundbreaking, and while the music was completely original and non-traditional, it was also somewhat forgettable for me (as one of the biggest draws for me to Hindi film is music with a strong Indian flavor). I do, however, think that Farhan has done an admirable job vocally on his songs and I have Socha Hai on my Ipod.

Even with it's drawbacks, Rock On is a film made with a tremendous amount of conviction and love. It is a movie that has many memorable moments that move you – at times to smiles, and at times to tears - and not only leaves you to feel nostalgic about when you were young and carefree, but ends in a feel-good note, to follow your dreams. If you have ever had a dream and have watched it fall apart like a tower of sand, if you have ever bonded with friends over a song or a beat, if you have ever shed a tear over a bitter compromise, you will identify with this film.

Oye It's Friday

As the weekend beckons, I find myself pondering...

...What movies should I attempt? I thought I would take up Bollywooddeewana's suggestion and start tackling my films alphabetically, but that means I'm watching Anjaam, and I'm not sure I'm in the mood for villian SRK.

...Which of these tunics I should order. I need some casual wear in a bad way. How many places can you really wear a saree these days? Anyway, I can't decide and need help. Let me know which ones you like.

...What gives these men the right to be so damn gorgeaus?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Yash Raj Films, Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan. The stakes were definitely high when Rab ne Bana Di Jodi was announced, but I knew I would love it, even before I saw it. I think this is a movie that you either love or hate, without much room for middle ground. For me it will, without a doubt, always be special for the simple reason it was the first, and so far the only, Hindi film I've seen in a theatre (interesting side note: I was told by the ticket counter lady that the tickets were non-refundable as I purchased them. That was a first for me.) Even with all it's questionable theories and overacting, I love everything about this film.

For me, there's nothing better than to watch Shah Rukh work his cinematic magic. Surinder Sahni was a refreshing and sympathetic character. Even behind the glasses and moustache (which, let's be honest, what was the big deal really with the look? It's not like he hasn't changed his appearance for films before - Paheli, Hey Ram, Chak De!), there was a sincerity to Suri's character that appealed to even the most hard-hearted I'm sure. Raj, on the other hand, was a hilarious and spot on portrayal of someone who tries to be what he thinks is cool, resulting in a total over the top characterization. I loved Raj for his exaggerated facial expressions, his flashy and too tight clothes (which were also at times a little to small exposing a little bit of skin. Sigh!) and his melodramatic dialogues, because underneath it all was still our sweet Suri. I think Shah Rukh shows his seasoned talent by being able to portray two such very different characters, and when I watch Suri especially I don't see SRK at all. His mannerisms are distinctively and uniquely Surinder Sahni.

Anushka Sharma (Taaniji), gives an amazing debutante performance. I am blown away by the professionalism and artistry of recent first-time leading ladies. While she doesn't appear to possess someone like Deepika's megawatt glamor, she fills the girl-next-door requirements of this film admirably, while singing, dancing and emoting like a filmi veteran.

What to say about Vinay Pathak? His portrayal of the loud-mouthed and agreeable Bobby was believable. He had some great dialogues to boast of and was a good match for SRK's Suri - the two share great comic chemistry resulting in plenty of fantastic situational comedy.

Characterizations aside, what I truly loved about this film were the little moments. Be it the scene on the dining table with the rose, the Biryani meal and the consequent self-conversation afterwards, the changing room dialogue, the celebratory dance at the salon, each left a lasting impression on me. Ultimately, the core of this film is it's message: that there is nothing stronger in this world than unconditional love, and, for a die hard romantic like me, there's nothing better. No matter how many times I watch it, the ending gets me every single time!

Not to sound like a broken record, but I adored the music in Rab Ne. I remember hearing Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai on Saavn.com well before I even saw a promo and was instantly smitten. Salim and Sulaiman did a fantastic job with the songs, and they all played an important part in the progression of the story. Haule Haule is my favorite - the yellow tiffin box and the endearment with which Suri bestows upon it is sweety enchanting and the sequence where Suri experiments with several 'hero' looks is hilarious. Even Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte is enjoyable as it pays homage to Bollywood legendary actors Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Shammi Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor and actresses Nargis, Nutan, Helen, Sharmila Tagore and Neetu SinghSadly.

Despite it's most obvious flaw (how can Taani not recognize Suri?), I will do as Shah Rukh Khan suggests and take a leap of faith and enjoy it for what it is meant to be. My only real criticism is with post-production and the complete elimination of subtitles during the closing credits. Suri's narration of their honeymoon to Japan, which I've read was actually penned by SRK, is supposed to be hilarious (I know the theatre was full of chuckles). As my Hindi has yet to reach that level, I sure would like to find someone to translate for me.