Back from vacation

It's been a very busy month and I just wanted to say that hopefully next month will avail me with a little more time to keep up with my blog and every one else's.

I just got back from a 5 day "birthday with the girls" vacation in Las Vegas. Though I'd been before, it never fails to dazzle me. However, try as I might to do some shopping (and believe me is there ever shopping!), I just couldn't find a single thing to buy for myself (aside from souvenir stemware, which we collect). All I kept thinking was, "Boy, it would be nice if I could find an Indian store. Who needs Versace and Jimmy Choo?".

At any rate, I got to thinking, I wonder if Las Vegas shares any kind of relationship with Bollywood? In all of my movies I only remember seeing reference in one, Pardes, where they actually go to Las Vegas. Are there more and wouldn't that be so very cool if someone were to build an Indian themed resort/hotel there? I think I would probably go and not come home!

Anyway, I'm hoping to catch up with everyone very soon!
Alvida Las Vegas!!!!

Woh Lamhe

I first found this film on iTunes doing random searches for good songs, and when I did, I had to go and order it from zip right away. Because I never fully read what films are about, I didn't really know what to expect, but what I found was nothing short of cinematic genius. Supposedly based on the real life turbulent relationship of the late Parveen Babi and Mahesh Bhatt, director Mohit Suri defies almost all Bollywood stereotypes and gives us a mature film handling such serious topics as schizophrenia, rape and "real" love (as opposed to filmi love) with remarkable sensibility and sensitivity. The way he narrates the story on screen is amazing executing many of the complicated sequences with unbelievable ease. Though credit can not be given to Suri alone. Bhatt himself has not only produced the film but has also written the story, which could lead one to believe that the narrative is steeped in fact - though that's something that really only could be known for sure to Parveen and himself. Nonetheless, it is an intensely entertaining and engrossing dramatic film that lingers long after the credits have rolled.

Though the story stands up for itself, what really puts this film into a higher category than the standard Bolly romantic comedy or masala flicks is the acting. I've seen Kangana Ranaut in only one other film (Fashion), and she stood out in that film for me as well. In Woh Lamhe, Kangana not only stands out but steals the show playing the tormented actress brilliantly. It's hard to believe that this is only her sophomore effort, as she successfully makes the love, the fear, the dementia and the resignation of the protagonist look real. For me, she's one of Bollywood's most artistic leading ladies, and, as Sana, she was able to keep a tight control over overt articulations of expressions, so that when the outbursts happened they have a whiplash effect on the audience. Just as in Fashion we see an actress who isn't scared to strip her soul naked for the camera.

I find it ironic, given his current legal trouble, that Shiney Ahuja should be cast in a movie that shows a rape in it. That aside, I have to say, it's certainly a shame the black cloud that is sure to follow him now, because, as Aditya Garewal, he gives a very convincing turn as the struggling director. It isn't easy to portray a character who must stand by a woman he loves even if she's losing her mind. Shiny Ahuja plays the director like a a therapist who can see his heroine's tortured soul through the lens of his camera and he brings a clenched anguish to his character. This is the first I've seen of him, and it may be enough for me to check out some other roles (if there are any good ones out there let me know!)

A little shout out to the supporting cast. Shaad Randhawa is efficient in his brief negative role as the abusive dominating boyfriend/manager. Masumi Makhija (playing Kangana’s delusion) is definitely effective delivering an adequate dose of crazy.

Lastly, as I said earlier, I originally rented this movie because of the music. Melodiously beautiful, lyrically haunting, each and every song has it's place in the film. If I had to pick favorites (and it's difficult to pick out which ones are musically better than another), I'd have to say I immediately took to Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai and Bin Tere over the others. Pritam once again proves that he's a genius at creating musical masterpieces "inspired" by other's original works!

Final thoughts: If you haven't seen this, find it at watch it immediately. But be warned, it isn't a film for those who believe all love stories are about roses. Often a relationship is based on thorns rather than flowers.


Fast bikes, hot babes, cool guys and good music. That pretty much sums up Sanjay Gadhvi's Dhoom. Despite the Fast & Furious comparisons, I thought this movie was pretty good. I think I read somewhere that this was one of the first real attempts at making a true full throttle action flick in Bollywood and I think that they were successful. It is sleek and has thrills galore, however (as with his follow up) Gadhvi's film is full of style but little substance. This could be the reason why the chase scenes are far more interesting than the actual story. (spoiler) My biggest pet peeve of this film is the execution of the so-called "finale heist" - a robbery conducted at a posh hotel worth $180 million that is stolen by simply cutting a hole through the floor of their hotel room that was conveniently located directly above the hotel's bank vault and carried out in luggage that was picked up in the same room by the bellhop. (end spoiler)

So let's talk about the cast. I liked Jai, the no-nonsense brooding cop who's determined to catch notorious bike thieves at any cost. I thought, if anything, I liked seeing him in this actiony type role (even if the climactic fight with his "evil" foe is reminisce of The Matrix and therefore slightly unrealistic as our hero hasn't taken any pills!) However, in this film, as opposed to it's successor, Abhiskek's role is a little meatier. He gets to be a little sexy, a whole lot of serious with a small pinch of humour thrown in there towards the end, and that works for me.

I believe John Abraham won a filmfare award for this movie for best villain. I'm not sure why. I know the man has got some body on him (and believe me I can appreciate that plus I did really like him in Dostana), but his character in this film feels incomplete to me. There's no background story on him so we don't know why he's a thief, but I guess one can assume it's simply for the thrill factor? He was not menacing at all, but I suppose his was supposed to be a "smart" villain (though I didn't necessarily see any grand scheme in any of his heists either). So John left me feeling a little flat to say the least, plus I wanted desperately to cut his hair.

Oh Uday, where would Bollywood be without your under appreciated comedy, your over-muscley arms and cartoonish expressions? I got pretty good laughs from his inability to score in the lady department even if I didn't necessarily buy him as a rough bike racing kind of guy. Plus if one can credit Johnny Lever as being a great comedian, why not Uday? And, last but not least, thank you Esha Deol and Rimi Sen for heating up the film and providing some fantastic dance moves to emulate. It's hard being a girl in an adrenaline pumping boy's film!

Last but not least, I loved the music in this film. Whether it's original or not, Pritam has created one catchy soundtrack - I dare anyone to listen to Dhoom Machale and not be singing it for days or weeks to come. Plus if anyone can tell me if "shikdum" means what I think it means....

So, a fairly enjoyable film if you don't go digging too deep. I think, however, that I liked Dhoom 2 better if not simply for Hrithik's smarter sexier thief and the Aish/Hrithik jodi (of which there was simply nothing to compare to in this one).

My heart is dancing!

OMG, I squealed in delight when I saw the new poster for Chance Pe Dance!

Shahid and Genelia look amazing! I can not wait for this one!!!!!

Why I love Preity Zinta

Maybe it's because she was one of the first actresses who I became acquainted to when I started watching Bollywood films, but Preity has remained one of my favorite actresses. In celebration of her sizzling item number in Main aur Mrs. Khanna, I thought I would list a couple of reasons why she'll always remain one of my favorite leading ladies.

#1. She bold, she's brassy and she speaks her mind, especially regarding social injustice and woman's rights. I love this article on the effect of "eve teasing" in India and the influence of media and the entertainment industry on how woman are to be perceived.

#2. She's not afraid to take on non-traditional roles. Though she started her career with more conventional characters, we've seen her expand her repertoire to include an unwed mother, a surrogate serving prostitute, an ambitious working woman who puts her career before her family), and a more recent foray into parallel cinema.

#3. She has an undeniable girl-next-door quality about her that makes her seem approachable and down to earth. She definitely not afraid to put on a pair of jeans and get into the thick of things.

This has to rank as one of my favorite Preity movies. Her portrayal of the vibrant and intensely loyal young Pakistani woman was completely heartbreaking and tragic and wonderful at the same time!

#5. She's got a head for business...
One of the few woman who have entered the field of entrepreneurship with her IPL team, Kings XI Punjab, she says she's tried to be involved in every aspect of running a team from ticket sales to promotion. I say, you go girl!

#6. ...And a body for sin.
There's no doubt that Miss Zinta is absolutely stunning. Here's her song from Main aur Mrs. Khanna.

#7. Her humanitarian work.
Besides being an advocate for women's causes, her list of causes is quite long. AIDS awareness drives, blood donation and Red Cross Society, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the list goes on.

#8. She's brave and stands up for what right.
She made history as the first Bollywood film star to give evidence as a witness in the Bharat Shah case where she testified against the Indian mafia.

#9. That dimple!
Well, it is almost her trademark after all, and a huge contributing factor to that sweet image she tries so hard to shed. As a fellow "dimplelite", I say embrace it and go where it may lead you!

#10. Nache!
Even though it had it's pitfalls, I super love the dance off from Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, ranking it as my absolute favorite dance off of all time.

Drowning in movies....and I love it!

Last month I hardly had a chance to watch any movies (I think I only watched 6 all month!), but in the last week I've been able to take in a slough of films, despite the fact that all my time lately seems to be devoted to working in my studio desperately trying to get all my Christmas card classes finished. Where does the time go? So, as I don't quite see that light at the end of the tunnel just yet, here's some quick thoughts.

I wasn't sure at first where this one was going to take me. There was the dreamy Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgan paired opposite the delightful and awfully feisty Kajol and Juhi Chawla in a story about being in love with a person from the "wrong side of the tracks" - and in this case we get two for the price of one. The movie starts with narrations about two patriarchs who are completely self absorbed and exhaustively prejudice against the lower class. Maybe this was exaggerated to make a point, I don't know, but these two were especially difficult to watch even as the movie progressed. The first half is filled with wacky comedy even though there is a scene that seemed very oddly out of place and I wasn't sure I was watching a comedy or a horror! The second half turns into the hard core melodrama that Bollywood is loved for, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. There's a car driving monkey, Johnny Lever in a role that I would even say is good, and one of the very best kissing scenes I have ever seen in any film!

very scary indeed!

Love this song:

While I've never actually seen a Deepa Mehta film, I expect big things from her. Whether that's due to renowned controversies that tend to follow her or the fact that she's Canadian, I don't know. What I do know is that this movie is a departure from what I expected from her. It is a fairly lightweight rom-com with notes from Pretty Woman that tends to make fun of the stereotypes seen in our beloved Bollywood films (particularly the papa-ji's and mummy-ji's were done to death!). It was engaging enough to watch from start to finish, with a little cameo from Akshaye Kanna and good acting from Rahul Khanna (Akshaye's brother) and Lisa Ray (who may or may not have been Indian - I had to look her up on to make sure). I was, however, very excited when I knew the background music playing during one of the party scenes. Fun and light and a good timepass film.

Good lord, can you make a movie with a more adorable pair than a young roguish Aamir Khan and super sweet and naive Urmila Matondkar? After seeing ajnabi and doc bollywood's joint review and Filmigirl's fantastic pictoral all within the last month or so, I knew I had to watch it right away. Despite Jackie Shroff's speedo appearance (which I am so grateful to have been warned!) an overabundance of bad outfits and questionable choreography, I still thought it was a terrific movie with fantastic music. I don't know what else to say that hasn't already been said except I loved this film! Happy!

I will never forget the day my very first shipment of movies arrived from Eros Entertainment. Among the titles were Devdas, Chalte Chalte, Hey Boss, and Kahbi Haan Kahbi Naa. I have no idea why it took me over a year to watch this movie because I found it completely charming and delightful and probably my favorite early Shah Rukh Khan film. He plays the wayward but lovable loser with great aplomb, and even though you know he's up to no good you can't help but root for him. Though it certainly isn't without it's melodrama, this film resonates vulnerability in the love department offering a bit of a twist on the love triangle story and a nice little surprise at the ending. Tidbits to note: for a Hindi film I found it interesting that Christianity was so predominantly featured. I also had to mention how exceptionally old Aana's brother seems (should have been an uncle instead). Also, I've become accustomed to Udit singing for Shah Rukh, as he does in most of the songs in this film, but there's one that is picturized on both Shah Rukh and Deepak Tijori where Udit's singing for the Chris character and Amit Kumar for Sunil, and it just didn't fit.

Shah Rukh has never looked more ADORABLE than this!!!!!!

I had to post this. My ears were in love immediately!

There you have it. On deck tonight: Dhoom. Hopefully I'll be able to soon get back to regularly posting.