Beard or no beard, that is the question

So back in November, the Shave India movement W.A.L.S. (Woman Against Lazy Stubble) was launched apparently by a group of ladies that were fighting for a small piece of equality among the sexes. While I can't say I agree with the campaign (after all, it seems really just like a publicity stunt to increase sales for Gillette with no consideration for male preference or even religion), it got me thinking about our favorite hunks. I think almost all of them have experimented with facial hair at one point or another, sometimes for a film, sometimes not. Here's a look at a couple of our leading men...

It's a toss up for me to Abhishek. I like the clean look, he looks very sweet and young, but the beard lends an air of sophistication for him I think.

I much MUCH prefer Aamir's clean shaven look than the full beard, even to the little goatee in DCH, and especially to the crazy giant mustache in Mangal Pandey. Facial hair ages Aamir I think, and even without the botox I think he has a youthful face that's a shame to cover up.

It's a toss up for me for our man Akki. I think he can pull off both looks with ease, though I did see one pic where the beard was looking a little salt and pepper, which made him look much older than he is I think.

This one's a no brainer for me. I hate to see Hrithik's face hidden behind so much hair, though I have to say that a 5 o'clock shadow suits him just fine, except for maybe in this picture...

I'm sorry - came across this and could not not post it, plus it wins my vote for favorite WTF picture! Hrithik, what were you thinking!?

Maybe he's trying to get rid of the image as the cute boy next door, after all Imran did just get engaged, but I hate this kind of half grown in beard look. There's nothing wrong with being just plain adorable!

Well, I know it was for Rocket Singh, and I think I read somewhere that Ranbir couldn't wait to shave off his beard, and I say thank goodness. Definitely a better look for our boy Kapoor.

The man whose look we all love to hate. Yes, I will jump on the wagon that exclaimed hooray when Saif showed up to a recent event with a nice clean face, though I also have to admit that, again, I don't mind a little shadow on him also. Just not the full meal deal, complete with sunglasses and bandanna. Please Kareena, let's not let that happen again!

This is a tough one for me. Shahid is so incredibly good looking that it's almost sacrilidge to cover any of his face up, but he still looks great with a little bit of beard. As long as he keeps it short and trimmed, I can definitely get behind the look.

Beard, no beard, upside down or sideways, I'll take Sharu any way I can have him. I actually don't even mind the moustache look, which he's had in way more movies than I thought. Though if I'm being completely honest, I really am glad that he prefers a clean face. Why cover up perfection!?

And, that's the end of my fangirl topic today!

Because there's still 18 days to go

Found this tonight via chotirani on twitter and thought it was too funny not to post:
NOTE: reposted this clip with English subs on Jan 28th

Hm, guess the moon crater thing is fair game.

And, a new interview...


I enjoy a good fantasy film every once in a while, so when my sis came over last night to try my new butter chicken recipe (which turned out not too bad) and a movie, we decided what better way to end the day than with some filmi fantasy goodness. I'd read a couple of reviews on this, some good, mostly bad, so I didn't really know what to expect. I guess I will have to go against the masses and say that I actually really enjoyed this one, silliness and all.

Of course it's a tale we've probably all heard before. Even I am reading the stories of Aladdin and his magic lamp to my own children, but I think it's always fun to try and re-tell things, and director Sujoy Ghosh (who has also written and produced this film) gives his own spin on the classic fairytale. Aladin, having been born to adventurous parents, is orphaned early in life. He grows up in the shadow of his namesake continually trying to evade the town bully, Kasim, until one day he is given a magical lamp complete with genie by Jasmine, the new girl in town (who, incidentally, is the object of Aladin's affections). Our subplot comes in the form of the the character Ringmaster, along with his merry band of sideshow freaks, who is on the look out for the lamp in order to carry out a sinister plan to become all powerful.

Performance wise, I enjoyed nearly everyone. Amitabh Bachchan, with his powerful screen presence was enigmatically wonderful as Genius the genie. I dig his look and his attitude in the film too. Just because you age doesn't mean you have to act old. Plus, I think that if you have as many movies under your belt as this man does, and you're still acting, you deserve to do something just completely fun every once in a while. Right on Amitabh! Subsequently, I thought Sanjay Dutt's Ringmaster was wonderfully sinister. You can make out he is having a ball playing the fantasy villain, and the showdown during the story's climax is a definite highlight. Also, on a slightly unrelated note, if you have an unnatural fear of clowns, as I do, be warned. One of Ringmaster's crew is a very effectively creepy sort of clown that made me cringe each time he was on screen. YUCK!

I've not seen Riteish Deshmukh in anything other than Mast Kalandar from the movie Heyy Babyy, so my expectations of him were low. That being said, I actually enjoyed watching him in a full movie. He brought the right amount of sympathy to his character to the point where I wanted good things to come him. As his and Genius' friendship evolve, you see him gradually come out of his shell until he gets to play the hero role in a completely believable fashion. Newcomer Jacqueline Fernandez has good presence, but doesn't have much to do aside from look pretty. A little side note: it took me probably 3/4 of the movie to realize the Jasmine reference. Duh!

Visually, Sujoy Ghosh has created a spectacular film. I don't think I've seen a Hindi film yet, CGI or otherwise, that was so breathtakingly grand as the fictitious town of Khwaish, and it immediately brought me back to Lord of the Rings. The special effects, from the wafting genie smoke to the cliff free fall are really well done. Top marks for art direction!

I had no expectations for the music in this one. I get most of my music from iTunes, but I think that I need to find a better site to listen to music when it's released (if anyone has suggestions, I'd gladly take them). iTunes only gives you something like 30 seconds of a piece of music to listen to, which is not enough to decided if a song is for you or not, which is why the only song that made my ipod was You May Be. Upon hearing the songs in context and then again on another website, I think that the music does indeed hold some appeal. Firstly the numbers are mostly upbeat peppy songs that will have at least one toe tapping, but secondly, you have to give Amitabh his due credit for pulling off his parts in Ore Saawariya and Genie Rap.

So, overall, a good fun film. And exactly what I was looking to watch last night.

Wake Up, Sid!

There have been so many movies over the course of the years that tackle slackers, their lack of motivation and the subsequent turn around they make in their lives resulting in them finding themselves, so the subject matter isn't new. What is nice though is Ayan Mukerji's treatment of an old theme and Ranbir's flawless execution of Sid's character.

Sid, an underachiever by any definition, is the standard "live off your parents and party like there's no consequences" type. He's probably like 90% of college students out there today where living in the moment surpasses any plans for tomorrow. But, like anything else, all good things must come to an end, and his moment of reckoning begins when he learns he has failed college. What follows is a completely realistic journey of self-discovery where Sid has to learn how to cultivate relationships, how to look after himself and how to grow from a boy into a man.

A quick note on the performances. Ranbir Kapoor is someone who left me feeling cold after seeing him in Saawariya, and then only marginally raised the bar in Bachna ae Haseeno. However, his role as Sid is so natural and believable that I couldn't help but fall a little bit for his charms. I've only seen Koko in one other movie (Luck By Chance), but I really like her. It's easy to imagine her as the woman she portrays: strong, independent, so sure of herself and what she wants. It's because of this that she also comes across as so femininely human when she begins to question everything she thought she knew about herself. After all, it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind, isn't it? Plus, there's something about her that defies the stereotypical idea of beauty and I find her more interesting to look at than say someone like Aishwarya. I am really looking forward to seeing much more of her work.

On a personal front, while I think back on the film and what it's message is, I can't help relate on a very personal level. At what point do you actually find yourself? I know more often then not I feel lost, especially lately. I’m never sure if the decisions I've made are the right ones, and if the life I’m leading is exactly what I want it to be. And it doesn't get any easier as you get older. In fact, I think it gets harder. Maybe I can take a page from Sid's book, find that one thing I'm passionate about and just go for it. Now I just need to find someone to share a flat with that has connections! In the mean time I think I'll have to settle for some decorating inspiration.

At any rate, Wake Up, Sid is a fantastic movie, chalk full of great moments and a fantastic soundtrack, which is not available on iTunes Canada. *insert image of me shaking my fist in frustrated anger here*. Excuse me now while I visit

New Picture Thursday

Check out these new pics I found for MNIK. Less than a month until release! Karan also posted the link for the new international trailer on twitter yesterday that has elevated my hope that we will see this movie hit local theatres!

30 days to go.

What a Weekend Part 2 - Dulha Mil Gaya

When travelling 2 hours to see a movie, I think it's best to make good of your time and pack as much in as you can. My sister and I started our day seeing 3 Idiots, which was amazing. After sitting through the credits to see if I could spot Greta from memsaabstory in the credits (she assisted with the subtitles for the film), we left the theatre, still trying to calm down from our movie high. From there we hit Calgary's Indian district to pick up some more movies (like I really need to buy more, but how can I resist?), have a look for some wedding jewelery for my sis, and eat some to die for Indian cuisine. That would have been enough to create a great day, but back to the theatres we headed to see Dulha Mil Gaya.

I didn't actually think that this movie was ever going to see the light of day after taking years to make it to the big screen. That's a lot of pressure for anyone, let alone a first time director like Mudassar Aziz, and even with the extended special appearance by Shah Rukh, I left the theatre thinking that it was a good thing that we'd seen 3 Idiots earlier to make the 3 hours on the highway worthwhile.

The movie has a story with great potential. Fardeen Khan plays Tej Dhanraj (aka Donsai), a playboy who lives extravagantly, loves loosely and plays hard while riding on the coattails of his deceased father's fortune. He soon discovers that his father's will demands him to marry Samarpreet (relative newcomer Ishita Sharma),the Punjabi daughter of his father's friend, in order to retain his vast wealth. Either that or he has to pay back all the money he's squandered away in the last year, a grand total of 10 million dollars. So, Donsai decides his only option is to abide by his father's wishes, but not without first finding a loophole. Marry the girl, leave her behind, and send big fat monthly cheques to ease your conscience.

Longing for him, the sweet and simple Samarpreet then decides, in a moment of sheer idiocy, to follow her precious Tej to Trinidad. How could she not? Those couple of hours spent talking about the latrine would even win me over. But in a world where mediocre looking bachelors can find themselves in the company of supermodels, she discovers that her prince charming is nothing but a wolf in bad clothing. This is where everyone's favorite diva, Shimmer (Sushmita) decides to take her in, and, doing her very best Henry Higgins impression, turns Samarpeet into hottie Samara in an attempt to help her woo Donsai back. In the same course, Shimmer has to deal with her own commitment phobias, substituting career and ambition for love. Long time multi-millionaire boyfriend, Pawan Raj Gandhi or "PRG" for short (Shah Rukh Khan) makes a welcome appearance half way through the film as he continues to pursue his lady love but is spurned at every turn.

I apologize to any of the Fardeen fans out there, but I have to say that, even though I haven't seen very many of his films, I don't think that Fardeen Khan has got the it factor. The "IT" that makes girls swoon at the sight of you, the "IT" that brings the masses to the cinema to drop their hard earned coin, the "IT" that let's people think that you are an actor on your own merit and not your name. During our own intermission between movies, while I was at the movie store, I was talking to the owner about going to see Dulha Mil Gaya. She said that this was Bollywood's way of moving Fardeen up on the star ladder. I don't think it worked. That's not to say I think he was horrible in it. I've seen much worse, but he was really just passable and has a long way to go if he's ever going to reach the top of the food chain.

I think I've decided that Sushmita Sen belongs to that league of woman who are too beautiful for their own good. If one doesn't care for her acting, all you need to do is tune her out and just watch her and it's still not a bad experience. The only other movie I've seen Sushmita in was Farah's Main Hoon Na, but I liked her in that and enjoyed her in this too. Playing an exaggerated version of herself, her Shimmer character is totally 100% diva which was probably the reason why she got the funniest lines in the movie. The lady is a class act all the way and I admire her immensely on and off screen. Ishita Sharma is also a treat to watch and she gives us a confident debut. I preferred the simple and sweet Samarpreet though to the polished Samara and think that she does lose a bit of her charm after the makeover. I would be interested to see where she goes from here. She very well could have a decent future in films if she makes the right choices from here on.

The reason I even wanted to see this film could be summed up in three words. Guesses anyone? Well, if you said anything other than SRK, you don't know me very well! ;) It must have been a real stroke of luck to land Shah Rukh for his first film, even if it’s in a short role. Unfortunately, Aziz doesn't give him much to work with as far as story goes and the performance comes off like we are just watching Shah as himself. However, the scene where he jumps into the sea to salvage Shimmer’s ‘fake’ dog would have fallen flat, if not for the way he pulls it off glistening wet and oozing with charisma and for the first time ever I considered a man the movie's eye candy. At any rate, I'm going to treat this role as an appetizer for the real thing when My Name Is Khan comes out next month.

I should probably add a little side note about the supporting players, though there's not really much good to say. Johnny Lever shows up in a wasted role (anyone could have been cast as Tej's butler, the role was so minimal and had no impact). Shimmer's character is joined by her personal assistant (Suchitra Pillai), and Howard Rosamayer playing the effeminate man Friday. Neither add anything meaningful or comical to the film. There are a few other characters that are easily forgettable.

As the person responsible for the music in this film, Lalit Pandit has an enormous track record to maintian. It wasn't until I did a bit of research that I discovered that, as the other half of the team Jatin-Lalit, he was responsible for nearly 70 soundtracks, the likes of which include Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and Fanaa, among several others that are favorites of mine. I liked all the music in this film before I saw the movie, but liked it even more after. My picks are probably Aaja Aaja Mera Ranjhna and the title track, but I really like all the songs. Probably the most energetic soundtrack that I've enjoyed in its entirety in a long time.

Final analysis: see it in theatres if you are a die hard Shah Rukh or Sushmita fan. Otherwise it's probably best to wait and rent it when it comes out on dvd.

What a weekend Part 1 or 3 Idiots

Contains spoilers.

When you plan something for so long there's always a certain amount of expectations. This weekend was my first visit in over a year into the city. Reason: 3 Idiots and Dulha Mil Gaya. My sister is the person who sat me down to watch my very first Bollywood film, so I was excited to share her very first theatre experience with her. Her enthusiasm was absolutely contagious and it was difficult to even sit in our seats calmly! Never mind when the lights went out and the preview for MNIK came on. I thought we'd need to call the medics for both of us. Local Hindustani's were probably wondering who these crazy gori ladki's were!

Anyway, first on our double feature day was 3 Idiots. There are really only a handful of films that I would say have left a lasting impression on me, whether it's for the star power, the acting or the story. Rajkumar Hirani's "loosely based" adaptation will stay in my heart for a long time and lands very firmly in my top 10 films. Loaded with moral messages, in your face sight gags and clever dialogue, we are given the story of three engineering students, who, amongst the pressures of college life, find long lasting friendships, their own true paths in life and a little bit about who they are in the process.

There's been a lot of talk over Bollywood heroes and how they refuse to grow up and play parts their own age. Honestly, I could really care less if Aamir Khan wants to play a 44 year old, a 20 year old or a 70 year old. It's his acting genius that comes through in his roles and keeps me coming back for more, not how old his face looks (or doesn't look for that matter). As Rancho, he seems like someone you kind of want to hate, but just can't. He challenges authority at every turn, yet always manages to get away with it. He refuses to put emphasis on the age old tradition of studying, yet walks away with perfect grades. Despite being told that his influence could be the demise of his friends, he continues to put them in questionable situations. In spite of all of this, there's just something about him that draws you in and keeps you there. I think Aamir did just about as good a job at playing this pseudo man-child as anyone could. In fact, I don't think there's anyone in Bollywood today who could pull off such a role. His mannerisms were spot on, his body language somewhat awkward, but it all just fit for me.

While marketed as an Aamir Khan starrer, this film is 100% a collaborative effort and would be nothing without the amazing presence of all the other actors. Having only seen R. Madhavan once before in Guru, and Sharman Joshi in RDB, I'm not very familiar with either of their work. What I do know is that both of them did an outstanding job as Farhan and Raju respectively. Of the two, however, I am eager to see more of Joshi's films purely based on his portrayal of Raju. His journey is the most impactful of the three, as we see him rely heavily on his faith to get him through, to his despair, right through to the astounding amount of courage and faith his has in himself in the end. That isn't to say Madhavan doesn't have some shining moments. The scene where he pleads to his father to let him follow his own heart is absolutely stellar.

Boman Irani, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite character actors, is just brilliant as ViruS. I think it's interesting how Boman gives us some of the funniest moments in the film despite the fact that he is so obscenely malicious to our protagonists. Boman's character, though, reminds me of a caricature of Amitabh's Narayan Shankar from Mohabbatein. He believes in order, likes to rule with discipline and fear and houses a cold shoulder towards the problems of his students, but it's sometimes hard to take all of that really seriously when it's punctuated by an over the top lisp. However, the final scene between ViruS and Rancho is one of my favorites in the film.

Kareena Kapoor is fianlly starting to win me over I think. I'm so used to the self-absorbed roles she's played (though to be fair I've really only seen a handful of her films), but it is so nice to see her play someone who doesn't care whether her shoes match her purse. As Pia, she is refreshingly down to earth and really a pleasure to watch. I actually wish that she'd been more present in the story. Rahul Kumar was fun to watch as Millimeter. My only criticism, which isn't with the casting so much as the characters, is that Omi Vaidya's character Silencer, seemed to be created simply to be the butt of everyone's jokes and the appearance of Javed Jaffrey served as nothing more than a character created to wrap up a plot twist way too conveniently.

Okay, enough about the actors. I left the theatre thinking there wasn't anything about this film that I didn't like, but after pondering it a little more, there were two things that really aggravated me. Rajkumar's lead up to the birth of Pia's sister's baby was appropriately suspenseful, but the addition of the still birth seemed an unnecessary ploy to overload our emotional senses. Furthermore, to think that something as silly as saying three words would miraculously revive any baby is asinine. (I thought it was also silly earlier in the film when the baby kicked for the first time - what was she 7 months pregnant by then? You'd think if the baby hadn't kicked until that moment that a stillbirth was eminent). The only other thing that I wasn't fully on board with was the pre-interval twist, or more accurately the post-interval resolution. I had really hoped that we were going to see some real interesting reason as to Rancho's real identity. I immediately thought of Fight Club, but then again, Abhijet Joshi didn't write that kind of movie to begin with.

I really enjoy the music from this film. Where others are cursing the whistling that's sure to be classified a legitimate ear worm, I like pretty much all the songs, including All Izz Well. Zoobi Doobi and Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe are really my favorites though. The former has an absolutely wonderful picturization (and yes, the tv show bits are really funny!), and the later is sung so beautifully that it's hard not to hum along and get swept away by Sonu's golden voice.

You can watch this movie and see in it the message of friendship, how to follow your dreams or the problems with the educational system, but any way you look at it, it's Hindi film at it's finest. I highly HIGHLY recommend it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll hopefully walk out of the theatre and thank Rajkumar for making such a wonderfully entertaining and thoughtful film.

Best Mail Day EVER!

What fun Beth's secret Santa was this Christmas. I got the opportunity to make stuff for mine (Shweta at Apni East India Company) which gave me the drive to learn how to make my own little movie which was so much fun!

A few days ago, I got an email from Beth saying that there was something 3-d in the mail coming my way, so I awaited with eager anticipation. Today a little package came that made me so incredibly happy I can hardly express it in words.

So thank you, thank you, thank you, with all my heart to my absolute wonderful filmi secret Santa, Ramsu at 24 Frames Per Second, for getting me Volumes 1 & 2 of Shah Rukh's very first serial, Fauji! My heart just leapt with joy when I opened it! Imagine some Shah Rukh that I haven't already seen! Ramsu you are a blogger after my own heart!

Oh, I can't wait till the kids go to bed tonight.
Thanks Ramsu. You are one kickass rockin secret Santa!