I knew from the moment that I stumbled upon a song that had Shah Rukh Khan dressed in drag that I had to see this movie. I was not disappointed. I've seen very few Hindi comedies, but most of them left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth. I thought maybe I didn't get Indian humour, but I think all I needed was a good dose of old fashioned comic masala, which is precisely what Mahesh Bhatt's Duplicate has done for me. Slapstick comedy, evil villains, great music, mistaken identities: all of it translates into what has become #1 on my list of favorite comedies so far.

First, I have to mention that when I put this film on, for some reason I could not get the subtitles to turn on. However, I really wanted to see it, so on I forged. Something has to be said for a director who can convey the subject matter of his film beyond the barrier of language, which is exactly what happened for me. I knew what was going on from the first frame to the last despite my preschool Hindi (although I did understand some of the dialogues which made me very excited). Without seeing any of the great masala films from the 70's, I imagine that this film has some plot elements that would be right at home (death by television anyone!). However, there was one thing that had my sides splitting that was completely unintentional I'm sure. There is one scene where Babloo gets slammed into a large ceramic looking vase and instead of it falling and breaking, it simply dents a little when it falls. Classic.

Performance wise, this movie belonged to Shah Rukh Khan. Not only does he do a fantastic job of playing the naive, yet completely charming and perfectly innocent aspiring chef Babloo, and his nemesis, the leather wearing, evil gangster Manoo, but he maintains a distinction so clear between the characters that there was no mistaking who is on screen. When Babloo does impersonations of Manoo's tongue tweeks, I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. His nervous energy works in this film and I quite honestly couldn't picture anyone else even pulling it off. This is the Shah Rukh that is an acquired taste for sure with all of his over the top facial expressions and dialogue delivery, but is also a vital component in what makes Bollywood fun!

Duplicate features a full rounded cast too. Juhi Chawla plays Sonia Kapoor, the object of Babloo's affection and his boss. She is exactly as she should be in this film: sweet, comical and totally in her element. Farida Jalal, like Juhi, is always a pleasure to watch on screen particularly when she is given interesting roles like Babloo's strong, clingy, caring and loving Be-Be. Sonali Bendre is good as Lily, Manoo's girlfriend, though not a performance that lingers (though her sexy outfits do make her stand out while on screen). For me, she's the best in the song picturizations.

Have I said I love the music from this film? The picturizations are sometimes cute, sometimes funny, but all the time memorable and absolutely catchy and fun. Usually I post one or two songs I like, but it was so hard for me to narrow down my faves, so I've posted 4 of the 6 songs.

Babloo is probably the sweetest character Shah Rukh has played (though he does comes close in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. How could anyone resist that smile?

Well, what movie would be complete without the standard falling in love song?

Torn between two women is hard I suppose. I love how Babloo continues to snub Lily's advances for his imaginary Juhi. We know where his heart lies.

The tune for Ladna Jhagadna reminds me of a nursery rhyme song or something from The Sound of Music, but regardless it's still instantly catchy. Plus, kudos has to go to the costumers for coming up with Manoo's *ahem* interesting shiny metallic spandex top.

Sorry for the lack of pictures. My dvd drive in my laptop is not working. Argh Dell!!! And there seems to be a lack of any pictures on the web. Darn it anyway.

Final thoughts: I loved this movie so much I want to rewatch it right away. I'm sure there are other comedies out there that might be better, but this one was just perfect for me. I'm starting to get really torn over whether or not I prefer Shah Rukh now or his earlier stuff. Makes me wish I'd grown up watching him.

Hindi Lesson #1

Alright, all my Indian friends, in an effort to align my visual skills with my audio, I thought I would ask upon your help to correctly spell those words which my ear has learned through a program called Pimsleur. For those non-Hindi speaking peeps, maybe this will help expand your knowledge as well.

want - chahta
understand - samajhta/samajha
to eat - khanna
to drink - bheena peena
please listen - suniya
but - mugar/laiken
where - kahaan/kidtar
a little - tori tori thodi thodi
much - zyaada
very - bahut
well/good - achche/achchaa
and - aur
or - ya
speak - bolte/bolta
please tell me - batayea
here - idhar
it/they - voh
over there - udtar udhar
something/some - kuch
know - jhanta/jhante jaanta/jaanate
at my place - mere ghar par
too/also - bhi
how - kaise
later - badme
now - abhi
in the ..... - ..... mein
okay/alright - theek hai
yours - tumhara
ours - humara
when - gab kab
afternoon - doopahare dopahar
to do - karna

Well, that will do for now. That covers pretty much half of my lessons. Any and all corrections would be immensely appreciated.

It's Official...

Interesting envelope in the mail came today...

So does this mean that I'm officially Indian? lol!

December's going to ROCK!

Well, it seems I'm going to be making several trips in to the city this winter. The Sushmita Sen, Fardeen Khan and Shah Rukh Khan film Dulha Mil Gaya, which never seemed like it was going to see the light of day, is being released in December. So Shah Rukh and Aamir are going to battle it out again? Here's the trailer. Looks good, na?

*squeels with excitement*
Oh, it's going to be a good Christmas!

What I've been watching

I spent the whole weekend teaching and making Christmas cards and didn't get to watch anything new, which is probably a good thing since I'm so behind on my reviews. So, here's my quick catch up post with some quick thoughts on what I've seen lately.

Kuch Na Kaho
I love Abhishek. He's reminds me of the type of guy you want to bring home to meet your family, and he was adorably mature in this film of the bachelor who finds love where he least expects it. It also stars Aishwarya, who was decent in it, though her character somehow lost all common sense half way through the film. Arbaaz Khan, as Aishwarya's estranged husband, was effectively despicable. A very good timepass film, even though it is entirely predictable and the movie's climax just kind of comes and goes. Watch it for Abhishek. Shankar-Eshan-Loy does a good job at the music, and the opening credits are quite clever.

Cute & pretty! I love Abhi!

Krazzy 4
Even though I was warned this was stupid, I had to put it on because I spent the money renting it and I knew that Shah Rukh had a song in it, plus it starred my new favorite comedy team Arshad Warsi and Irfan Khan. It's about four mental patients who, on a day trip to watch a cricket match, lose their doctor (who actually ends up being kidnapped in an attempt to give the film a more serious slightly suspenseful political angle).

I actually didn't mind this one. I enjoyed the actors much more than the special appearance by SRK believe it or not. The song, the hair, the clothes, all of it seemed wrong, like it should have been someone else doing it other than Shah Rukh (I especially cringe at the hair - it reminds me of my hair that has been forever immortalized in a very bad grade 5 school picture!) Juhi Chawla makes an appearance as......you guessed it, the doctor (I think somewhere along the way she was unjustly typecast!) I'm not sure if Director Jaideep Sen was very confident in his movie making abilities because it wasn't enough to see Shah Rukh in a special appearance, but we also get Hrithik in an appearance shaking his money maker to the same song in the closing credits. Which one do you like better?

Love Aaj Kal
The movie that I was looking forward to the most, and the Bollywood film I am probably most disappointed with so far. Maybe it was the hype (it ranked as the #1 favorite movie of the summer along with Kaminey on my poll), maybe it was Saif (because I adore him), maybe it was the music, but I could not wait to throw this on. At the end of it all I came to a couple of conclusions. #1 - Deepika could have been replaced by a wet mop and it wouldn't have made any difference; #2 - I need more in-depth story that develops characters in order to emotionally connect with them.

While the abridged version of how Jai and Meera meet and fall in love is unconventional, it felt incomplete to me. I'm not sure if it was Imtiaz Ali's intention to show us that love knows no distinction between the past and present or to show us how much love has changed, but I found the love story between Veer Singh and Harleen infinitely more interesting than the one between Jai and Meera, probably because Veer and Harleen are more sympathetic than their shallow modern counterparts. There certainly is a handful of "don't know what you got" story lines out there, but if I wanted to watch someone preach about how this generation expresses love by taking each other for granted then I'd just take a look at my reality. It's called escapism for a reason. Also, while Giselle Monteiro is definitely beautiful and conveys emotions better than Deepika even without talking, I wish that her role had been buffed up a little with even a little bit of dialogue at least. I wondered why she was so tall until I found out she is a model. It was almost comical seeing her tower over her colleagues.

There were a couple of things I liked about this one though. It was nice to see Rishi Kapoor in a very likable, albeit too short, role. I thought Saif did a commendable job and looks especially convincing in the second half both in the role of a passionate Sikh lover and a desperate modern man tired of his ambitions. My favorite thing about the film was probably the music (Chor Bazaar is easily my favorite pick).

I hope that Kaminey lives up to it's hype.

Models and Stuntmen and vulgarity, oh my!

I had heard of the infamous fart in the face bit, so that, and the fact that hardly anyone liked this one didn't boost my expectations for this film one bit. I was expecting the lowest brow comedy out there and that's pretty much what I got. However, it could be that whenever I think of Kareena, the over the top annoying Pooja comes to mind, or that my Akshay repertoire consists of nothing more than an Bobby Deol/Akshay starrer that would land on my "could've missed that" list, but I will bravely go against popular opinion and state for the record, that I actually didn't mind this movie (okay FilmiGirl, you can start backing me up now!)

Before I lose all credibility, I'm just going to touch on why I liked it, and then I'll talk about what was abhorrent. First, I actually liked Simrita's character, for the most part. Sure she was a bitch on heels, but I've known many woman who've thought they were wronged by the opposite sex and I know how it turns you bitter and cynical. What I liked about Simrita was that, beyond the tongue lashing model exterior there was a rather normal person with a semi-sweet side. Plus, for someone who has a reputation for being a bit of a princess, I thought the role was tailor made for Kareena. It was a breath of fresh air (for someone whose maybe only seen a half dozen of her movies) to see her play something other than the completely self-absorbed IQ challenged pretty face I'm used to. She was fierce when she needed to be and fun when she didn't.

Akshay, oh Akshay, I fail to grasp the magnetism that you hold over the ladies. Sure you've got the kind of body I wouldn't turn away at the door, but beyond that I'm still waiting to be won over by that charismatic charm that I've heard you possess. That being said, while I despised the fact that Viraj belonged to that group of misogynistic males that I loathe, he did exhibit some redeeming qualities as the story progressed. Not actually date-raping the drugged model gives me some hope that even the most callous of men can resist temptation. At any rate, maybe it was the mantra, or the fact that finally his tight pants squeezed some sense upward into his brain, but I didn't hate him so much when the film ended.

What I really liked about this film was the music. Om Mangalam, Lakh Lakh, Bebo, and Kambakkht Ishq are all feet thumping get up and dance songs that I admittedly enjoy on their own much more than with picturization. Though this is one instance where I'm probably glad I don't know Hindi that well, as I'm not sure if I'd feel the same knowing the lyrics. However, all the songs make excellent additions to my aerobic workout playlist.

So, all that being said, there were things I hated about this film. The airport detainment scene was probably one of the most atrociously reprehensible scenes I've seen in any Bollywood film so far. That's what they do to you? Really? While the hot blond watches? Screenwriters, directors and producers, please give your viewing audience some credit and think of actual funny ways to deal with a scene like that. Please.

Also, I can't believe that with all the talent in Hollywood (A, B and C grade included), they couldn't have come up with anyone better than Denise Richards to play second fiddle to Kareena. At least she wasn't given any kind of story really or any decent dialogue, because every time she talked I cringed. Why on earth anyone would want to have babies with this chick, golden or otherwise, is beyond me. All of the other Hollywood cameos I thought were pretty ridiculous (except for yummy Brandon Routh) including the homage to Sylvester Stallone. Good thing he had all those Rambo and Rocky movies under his belt or he could have been in some serious trouble in the hood.

I guess that wraps it up in a nutshell. Not bad acting, good music, terrible jokes, all rolled up in a neat little actiony package complete with footage "borrowed" from some red carpet Hollywood event (the Oscars maybe?). Don't watch Kambakht Ishq expecting anything more.

A Point to Ponder

With the utmost respect towards all Hindustani's, and at the risk of looking foolish or "wannabeish", I feel the need to rant just a little today. I just finished going through my blogroll and read a comment that got my back up, one that focused on firang bloggers and the use of Hindi/Urdu in our predominantly English posts, something that I have been known to do once in a while.

While I realize this may open some healthy debate, here's my two cents:

I have heard several times throughout my lifetime from Canadians and Americans alike (not every Canadian and American, mind you) that if foreigners felt the need to come to our countries that they wished that they would at least learn our language. We are both indeed true melting pot societies which enable our countries to be spectacularly culturally diverse. While I wouldn't think that I'm one of those people who demands language assimilation, I can also say that I have never really been faced with a situation where there was a language barrier to the extent that I was ever frustrated.

When I first discovered Hindi film and started trying to learn lyrics, I remember thinking how beautiful the language was and immediately a desire to start learning Hindi emerged. I know through reading various other Bollywood blogs that this is something lots of people have at least attempted to do as well. It is my opinion that if I ever manage to make it over to India, which I fully intend to do, it is only proper if I understand the language of the country I will be visiting, so as not to come off as an ignorant stereotypical firang.

My question is, if someone is taking the time to learn a language OUT OF RESPECT AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES why should they be scorned or sneered at? I will admit if you don't know what you are saying then you shouldn't say it, a lesson I've recently learned after posting a Hindi/Urdu sentence I found on a translation website (which was very nicely pointed out to me by someone who spoke the language that it wasn't exactly accurate. I appreciated their feedback and will no longer post them). The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, but I think education should be celebrated and encouraged rather than stifled.

So, my final thought is so what if every once in a while you see the words haa.n, nahiin, dil, hai na?, pyaar/mohhabbat/ishq in a non-Indian blog? Good Lord, there are bigger problems in our world than whether or not we are trying to be something we're not. Maybe if we decided to help each other rather than put each other down we could start to eliminate cultural misunderstandings. To those bloggers who have been helpful and kind, this Canadian girl thanks you.

There's something about Shashi...

When I entered into Bolly blogland it seemed everywhere I went someone was talking about this person Shashi Kapoor. It was like he was in every classic bollywood movie being reviewed, I even stumbled into Shashi week (I think that was you Beth?). Anyway, the more I see of him, the more I am fascinated and filled with a desire to familiarize myself with his work.

My exposure to vintage cinema, even Hollywood, is at best minimal and before I experienced the great joy of Hindi film, I never really even had a favorite classic leading man. However, there is just something about Shashi that has got me wanting more. So my question to you, what is your favorite Shashi film and why? I'm desperate to get my hands of some of his work and will be compiling a "must see" Shashi list for the next time I get into the city.

More Birthday Stuff and whatnot

I'm posting this for all the die hard Shah Rukh fans out there.

And his new Airtel ad

Hmmmm. Wonder how much he got paid for that one. He sure didn't do much.

Have a great day everyone!


I can't believe I finally found this movie. I'd been dying to see it shortly after I started watching films and tried buying it several times online but it was always back ordered. So, my last trip into the city I finally found a copy. It was all I could do to not put it on the second I got home. I have to say that I liked it the first time, but it wasn't until I watched it the second (while I was crazily taking hundreds of screencaps) that I realized just how much I liked it. Obviously steeped in fantasy, on the surface it looks like the story of a ghost's love for a human and the path he takes to gain and keep her. Look deeper and it's a story of feminine solitude and redemption. Lachchi’s situation, having to choose between the husband who’s left her and the ghost who’s sought her out is the main vein of the film, and, though the film does star Shah Rukh and features a handful of male players, it is at the core, fascinatingly female centric.

The movie opens with female narration, Lachchi's family and friends bustling around her getting her ready for her upcoming nuptials. Break into the wonderfully colorful, beautifully danced and 100% female Aadhi Rat Jab. In fact most of the songs are predominantly female, with woman responsible for most of the dance steps (including one very crazy and difficult sequence during the celebration of the well). We also see a subplot featuring the amazing Juhi Chalwa as the wife who has to deal with a life of loneliness due to the absence of her betrothed. But it is Rani who demands the highest regard. She is nothing less than magnificent in this fairy-tale role that is tinged with the very real-life complications of an extramarital relationship. She wails when the ghost declares that this relationship will proceed only if she wants it to, and I thought her tears were due to her dilemma, being torn between moral transgression and marital bliss. But she reveals that she’s overwhelmed because no one’s ever asked for her opinion or permission before.

That isn't to say that I didn't absolutely adore Shah Rukh in what is my absolute favorite double role of his. What woman wouldn't want to have his ghost woo her? He's insanely romantic, sensitive and continues to consistently put her first - practically the perfect man. Though driven by money, his portrayal of the practical Kishanlal was also very genuine. One of the things I loved about the portrayal of this love triangle was that, even though he left her alone of his own accord, the writers don't make Kishanlal a typical Hindi-style villain. His only crime is his own desire to make his father happy, even if it means leaving. And even though I loved the relationship between Lachchi and the ghost, the romance of it all left me heartbroken, for in every love triangle there must be a loser. This was indeed a love triangle, and in SRK's portrayal of the distant husband, the love and need for his wife was very evident, especially in the scene where you see Kishanlal sitting on the floor clutching the cloth his wife walked on when they first arrived home. Could there have been anything more tragic than the thought that this poor man is alone with his dreams for 4 years, while his wife and her lover are happy and content, basking in family approval at the same time. One final word, when the two characters came together, Shah Rukh was spot on. There was a definite discernible distinction between the two characters, the overly confident ghost and the worried and confused husband, and his execution was flawless.

The film also boasts huge names in supporting cast roles. Anupam Kher, Suneil Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan all are featured in small roles. Well, don't blink or you'll miss Suneil, but Anupam Kher is good as Kishanlal's greedy father. Amitabh's role is, in itself, a paheli. I suppose there had to be some way to tell the ghost from the man, but his appearance as the strange herder was too convenient. I had hoped that he would have turned out to be part of the equation - maybe a ghost himself - but he was just a weird old man who had a neat little tidy solution to the riddle. I also have to mention the addition of Naseeruddin and Ratna Pathak Shah as the ghostly puppets. Their additional narration was indeed comical.

Of course, even with all these splendid performances, credit must go to director Amol Palekar, who does an excellent job of keeping his actors in check. He has done an excellent job incorporating what I can only assume is an authentic Rajasthani feel and, from the very first frames, we are bathed in color and song. Every theatrical aspect contributes to the overall feel of the movie - the cinematography is outstanding, the costumes are to die for and the music is beautiful.

Music Director M M Kreem and lyricist Gulzar have given us one of the most wonderfully classic sounding soundtracks I think I've heard to date. While the music has a more folksy flavor to it, what I really love is how the lyrics and the vocalists take centre stage. Of course we have Sonu Nigam featured prominently, but he's also joined by a myriad of absolutely stunning female vocalists. I simply can not get enough of Dhire Jalna sung by Sonu and the wonderful Shreya Ghosal and I'm not surprised that both won best playback awards for it. I wish I'd know about it when I had done my Sonu list - I think it would have ranked among my top 3. As for the rest of the songs, they are all amazing. This is one movie where the music not only adds to the beauty of the film but also confidently stands alone. My favorite soundtrack as a whole for sure!

Final thoughts: Paheli is a beautifully told tale rich with folklore and a very fine example of narrative from the word go. It really is no wonder that this film was India's choice to enter into the Oscars nomination ring. While it didn't end up receiving a nomination, it still remains one of the most engaging, authentically Indian films I've seen (with no traces of Hollywood skeletons I might add).

And just because I took a hundred screencaps and Shah Rukh and Rani's chemistry rivals even that of Kajol...

Happy Birthday Shah Rukh!

As Shah Rukh celebrates his 44th birthday at home, what better time to do a blog post tribute to the man who caught me hook, line and sinker on his birthday. Lots of people ask me why Bollywood? What was the one thing that caught my attention long enough to turn a one time movie viewing experience into an obsession, I'd say it was 100% Shah Rukh Khan. So, as I join the millions of people who proclaim their admiration, here's a few of the reasons why he has captured my heart.

The first Hindi films I saw were Shah Rukh's, and I have since seem almost all of his major movies. Almost all of my fav films so far belong to him including Om Shanti Om, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna... Well the list goes on and on. You get my point. Plus, even though every movie may not be a hit, he has played some pretty fantastic and memorable roles. I'm pretty sure that Raj Malhotra is one of the best known and most recognized characters in recent history.

That smile, those eyes, that hair. In all my days I don't think I've ever come across a man as insanely gorgeous as Shah Rukh. Of course, most of my friends don't get it, but to me he is the epitome of sexiness and masculinity. He is a combination of irresistible charm, intelligence and confidence, all which make up the perfect fantasy man. Also, even though I dare say he's no spring chicken anymore, there's something to be said for a man who continues to take care of himself. I challenge anyone to argue that his Dard-E Disco persona is not 100% HOT!

Whether getting honors in school as a kid or using his business talent to secure endorsements, there's no denying that he's one smart cookie. If he spends half of his time filming movies, the other half is spent managing his businesses. He owns Kolkata Knight Riders, has dabbled in real estate in Dubai, and owns the production house Red Chilies. Brand SRK is an entity all it's own and one that I'm sure will continue to thrive and grow.

He carries his age with grace. Unlike others who are trying their best to look and stay young, I think Shah Rukh is among the very few who are embracing their age, and with it a new sense of maturity. He's been spotted with a little bit of grey in his hair and he's not afraid to play the father figure instead of always being the loverboy. Plus I love the "laugh lines" that come with age.

Whether he's fresh out the shower, shaggy hair and a t-shirt and blue jeans, or dressed for success in suit and tie, the man always looks fantastic. Some would argue with me that he's looking a little too thin or tired these days (and sometimes they're right), but he does know his style and he wears it well.

He can dance. I think he's one of the few (except for Hrithik) that actually have the moves to back up those song and dances we all love so much. I'm pretty sure I've read that he thinks he a terrible dancer, but I beg to differ. Put him in a room with Abhishek, Sanjay, Ajay, Saif, I think he'd outdance all of them and many more.

While there's something to be said for a little nepotism, I think it's much more impressive to make it in an industry like Bollywood due to your own passion and hard work, which is exactly what Shah Rukh did. Though through the years he's made many connections, ultimately it was his own drive that propelled him to the top and credit has to be given to anyone who can successfully do that.

He always has time for his fans. Well, I wish I could speak this from experience, but alas, I've yet to have the opportunity to see Shah Rukh in person (though I nearly flew down to San Jose while he was down there filming MNIK). However, I've heard second hand from various sources that he is always gracious with his fans, no matter how tired or busy he is. That's the sign of a star who knows where his fame has come from for sure.

He is extremely loyal to his family and friends. It is a fickle world, the industry of entertainment, but through it all he remains true blue to his best friends, and he is one of Bollywood's few family men that doesn't have the reputation of being a playboy. Though I think I read some stuff recently about problems in their marriage, I'd say anyone who can celebrate an anniversary as large as 18 years deserves some kind of praise.

And there you have it. Also I need to say:
Hooray My Name Is Khan is slated to be released in theatres on February 12. I'm planning my visit to the city right now!

And lastly I'm also sending birthday wishes out to Aishwarya.

Cake all round!!!!