Raja Hindustani

*** contains some spoilers

It all started with a kiss. Well, at least that's what lead me to this '96 film by Dharmesh Darshan starring Karishma Kapoor and Aamir Khan. Raja Hindustani, Darshan's only real feather al a cap, definitly has it's moments, least of all that infamous scene in the rain under the tree, both good and bad. Overall, I enjoyed the film, at least enough to keep clicking "next" on youtube.

The film starts out with Aarti and her father celebrating their birthdays in upper class style and, right off the hop you sense that Aarti's "maa" doesn't necessarily possess fuzzy warm matronly feelings for the girl, but that could be because she is, indeed, the evil stepmother whose intentions become clear very early into the film. Oh well, that's okay because she is the apple of her father's eye and when she asks to go to Palankhet, the place where her parents met, he abides without blinking an eye. It is here where she meets Raja, the under-educated, unsophisticated, short tempered cab driver who is smitten for Aarti the very instant he sets eyes on her. Raja does his best to woo the upper class ladki, but unfortunately she can't see past the confines of friendship, even when Raja attempts to class it up in an attempt to show her just how urban he can be by donning some very, shall we say, colorful clothing. It's quite heartbreaking really, Aarti's reaction, when you know that Raja just wants to desparately to show her that he can be the man she wants. Even Raja's concern for her safety and reputation garners him nothing but a scolding.

Then, finally, we are rewarded with that kiss. Usually we get the illusion of a kiss. Shadowy, heads tilted at such an angle, camera break away at just the right time, but Darshan lets us in on the couple's first romantic moment with abandon. And what a moment it is! Raja's hesitation, Aarti's complete surrender, it's all just culminates into the perfect few minutes of film. Finallly, Raja seemingly has won the girl, but his hopes are dashed by a serious case of bad timing, when Aarti's dad shows up to take her back home, and, ironically, they need someone to drive them back to the city. Thankfully, the trip to the airport is interrupted by some (un)fortunate traffic, and the group becomes guests at a musical interlude. It is here where Raja's pain and passion come forth so predominately that even Aarti can not keep from throwing herself at him, no consideration to her father's wishes.

What follows is a relationship that is riddled with misunderstandings, scheming, fighting and one helluva crazy finale that had me rolling my eyes back into my head and simultaneously laughing at the audacity of Hindi filmmakers. There are plenty of wtf moments, but through it all I was captivated by the continued deterioration of Raja's ability to use a straight blade. However, that wasn't enough to deter me from the reason I enjoyed this film, which can pretty much be summed up in two words. Aamir Khan.

Even though I would classify this film as a typical boy/girl romance, I think you see the roots of Aamir's dramatic tree in his Raja character. He is so expressive with his eyes, whether he is yearning for the girl or mad with rage. I wanted him to win the girl, even if I thought he could do better, and I felt his pain when he was hurting. A finer actor Aamir couldn't be, and I am constantly surprised by how accomplished he was even in his early films.

Karishma Kapoor, however, is an actor that, although I haven't seen many of her films, I can take or leave. I was extremely grateful that she'd had some eyebrow threading for this film though (because honestly, the girl's had some serious catepillars above her eyes and I'm sometimes shallow that way). As an actress, I think she played Aarti well. She was self-absorbed enough to make us believe she doesn't see Raja's intentions and self-delusional enough to make us think she loves him enough to make it work. What I really liked about her character though was that she wasn't afraid to stand up for herself against her father's wishes. I found that quite refreshing.

A small shout out to the supporting players. Aarti is accompanied to Palankhet with her two gender confused chaperones (played by Navneet Nishan and Veeru Krishnan)who were instrumental in providing some of the comic relief, along with an almost toned down and thus completely bareable Johnny Lever. We even see Johnny, who plays sikh Balvant Singh, in a small side-plot where he pursues a love interest of his very own. Archana Puran Singh was devilishly evil as the wicked step-mother and it was a wonderfully nice surprise to see Farida Jalal, who is perhaps my very favorite filmi character actress!

Though this film did okay business at the box office, I think it was the music that propelled its popularity. Pardesi Pardesi is a beautiful song sung by Sapna Awasthi, Alka Yagnik, and Udit Narayan, and serves as the backdrop of the couple's relationship throughout the film. Kitna Pyaara Tuhje is another delightful song that's featured in the film before it gets all heavy handed.

At any rate, I liked this film. It definitly had it's share of surprises. I am certainly enjoying delving into Aamir's older work.

Until next time...

Wednesdays are wonderful dontcha know!

Well I had hoped to have this up yesterday, but blogger wasn't letting me publish for some reason. I'm crossing my fingers that it will let me do it today so I can bring you the following....

Ah, Wednesday. The week is half over, so that's always a plus. Also I have my very first Stampin Up home party tonight, which I'm a little nervous about, but also excited, so that's cool. However, when I woke up this morning and did my ritual internet rounds, I was beyond thrilled to see that the one and only Shah Rukh had indeed returned to twitter (as he had proclaimed he would in an earlier interview, but to be quite frank I wasn't holding my breath). Huzzah!!! Also, if you are watching the Cricket World Cup, the first look of Ra.one will be aired exclusively during the Ind-Aus match today! How excited am I?

That being said, there is a sneak peak available now. It's just a teaser, and oh how it teases. I can not wait for this film. I think it's going to be exciting, groundbreaking and it has Shah in tight black leather. How can it be wrong?!

Enjoy this quick 15 min!

I will post the first look as soon as it becomes available online!
Have a super Wednesday!!!

...and here's the 30 second promo!

I love Fridays!

It has recently come to my attention that, for some, Bollywood has been a barren desolate filmi world without the presence of Shah Rukh. His absence from twitter has been felt as we all wait in the wings for Ra.One to finish and release. Pics of his awful hair extensions for Don 2 couldn't even fill the void!

Anyway, it made me wonder, what is Bollywood to me? Is it one man or is it a multitude of wonderful pieces that all add to a whole?! Shah is what brought me to Indian cinema, that's for sure, but I think there's a lot that has kept me! I've a list of actors that I really enjoy, thought, honestly there's only two men that will make me drive to the city to watch a film in the theatre. However, I have found that even in this "dry" spell, the music has kept a permanent daily place in my life. I can not stress enough that filmi music reawakened my love for song that had lied dormant for many years (which is odd since music used to BE my life). So I thank the music directors and playback singers for constantly providing us with great music even if we are always waiting for our heroes to come out with their new projects.

And, because it's Friday and I haven't posted a pic for a while, I came across this lovely little pic of our boy Shah showing us those wonderful abs that I'm hoping we'll get to see in Ra.One!

Enjoy and have a super Friday!!!!

Top 5 Thursday: Best Kisses!

Well, today is St. Patrick's Day, a holiday I've celebrated every single year since I was in college *cough* 16ish years ago. What does this annual celebration mean to me? Well, it used to (and still does) mean a day to let your hair down and indulge in some very green barley, but St. Patrick's day is also synonymous with kissing (I MUST find my "kiss me I'm Irish" button). So, in honor of St. Patrick, I present my top 5 favorite tv and movie kisses. There are multitudes of lip locks floating around there on film (check out AMC's awesome Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses of All Time in Cinematic History), but to me what makes the best kisses are ones that you are emotionally invested in. The kisses I chose to make my list all left a lasting impression on me. They made me either gasp with delight, cry buckets whether happy or sad tears, clap with enthusiasm or get all hot and bothered. So, without further ado, here are my top 5 kisses, television or movie, of all time!

#5 Belle & the Beast - Beauty and the Beast
This movie made my top 5 love stories of all time post so it's not surprising that it falls into this list as well. The classic tale of girl falling in love with a hairy man! When the beast is fallen by the abrasively arrogant Gaston, Belle rushes to his side and proclaims her love her him. Shooting lights splash down from the heavens and he is transformed into the handsome prince he once was. Once Belle realizes that this human is indeed the beast that she had come to love, they passionately embrace surrounded by whirling magical residue in what firmly lands in at #5 on my kiss list! Way to go beast! True love wins in this wonderful fairy tale!!!

Yowzers, Disney, that's some smoking animated action right there!

#4 Raja & Aarti - Raja Hindustani
I had never seen this film prior to thinking of doing this post, but I knew the kiss scene was somewhat infamous. And, after queuing it up on youtube and watching it (look for a review to come very soon), I have to agree that the fuss is totally worth it. That Raja falls in love with Aarti at first sight isn't up for debate, so when the perfect moment arrives (in the rain no less! Hello, this is Bollywood after all!) it is just about the sweetest, most innocent kiss I have ever seen and is so telling of their true feelings for each other. I can imagine, that when this film came out in 1996 that this scene caused quite a stir, and while kissing in Hindi film is becoming more prominent (read: Emran Hashmi), I certainly don't think it was back then. I can just hear the gasps coming from the men in the audience and the sighs from the women as they grasp their love ones arms from all the welling emotion. Okay, well, maybe that would have just been me!

#3 Jim & Pam - The Office
One of my favorite tv couples of all-time, I remember watching season 2's finale, Casino Night, and nearly falling off the couch when this kiss happened. First Jim tells Pam that he's in love with her, she pretends to herself that all the time they've spent hanging out in and out of the office has been nothing more than friendship (silly silly girl!) and rebuffs his statement of amore! However, Jim is no quitter and he decides to find out if Pam's actions speak louder than her words and when he surprises her alone in the dark deserted office, theirs is a kiss that speak volumes!!! I was SO HAPPY after I witnessed this moment of true affection that I spent the next, oh, probably 2 weeks or so, reliving it via youtube! While Jim and Pam have currently reverted into the kind of boring married role that I know oh so well, their relationship certainly started off with a big GIANT BANG!

#2 Krishna & Babban - Ishqiya
I think when I watched this scene from one of my favorite films of last year, the smoke alarm went off in my house! The raw sexual nature of this kiss between house favorites Arshad Warsi and Vidya Balan is off the charts! It's no secret that I find Arshad the complete package, but this kiss! This kiss made me want to take a hot shower followed by a cold shower followed by a cigarette! *fans self* Anyway, for Bollywood, I'm pretty sure it was pushing the boundaries (up there with Murder, so I've heard), so I applaud this film for continuing the trend. Thank you VERY much!

#1 Kurt & Blaine - Glee
I am a total Gleek, I admit it. What I really love about this show, aside from the music (I was a vocal major in college after all), is that it has produced characters that you just fall in love with. Even the ones that I don't really want to like, I end up still having a soft spot for them. This season, imparticular, has given us really fantastic story lines, and when they really started exploring Kurt's sexuality and the consequences of it, I was thrilled that someone was putting a face to the bullying that goes on in school these days. I adore Kurt (played by the equally adorable and fantastic Chris Colfer), and was saddened when he had to leave his school for Dalton. But there is always a silver lining, isn't there. In Dalton he found a place where no one was judging him, and best of all, he found a kindred spirit in Blaine (played by super cute Darren Criss). As all good tv shows do, Kurt and Blaine started playing out the typical will they or won't they scenario, only it's not often you see same sex couples on tv played so realistically. So, when Originals aired last week, they answered the question loud and clear! My heart soared, I clapped so loud that hubz told me to keep it down, I had to wipe the tears away from my eyes several times, and I loved that kiss so much I watched the show 3 more times the next day! I applaud the creators of Glee and Chris and Darren for putting this on primetime tv and hope that one day we will all be able to celebrate such moments without prejudice.

So, once again, Happy St. Patrick's Day. I wish for you all love, prosperity and a long happy life this fine day!

IIFA... and other important things like movies!

When they announced that 2011 IIFA's would be held in this little country Canada that I call home, I just about jumped through the ceiling. So what if they were all the way across the country, there was no way I was missing out on this! Even though most film awards generally come off, shall we say, biased, I have booked my plane ticket, booked the accommodations and actually secured said tickets (apparently quite rare to come by!) to the ceremony and can not wait to go with my sister and Filmigirl! I am also taking this opportunity to meet up with some other fantastic blog and twitter friends out there! It is sure to be a wonderful and crazy 4 days!!! Are you going to be there and where can we party! Oh June, you just can't get here fast enough!!!!

So, as I said in an earlier blog post, I have not abandoned watching my favorite industry's films, even if they aren't on as much as they used to be. Here's a quick rundown on what I've seen lately and a quick take on each.

I enjoy crime thrillers if they are done well. My experience with Vivek Oberoi has been limited to Saathiya, but how can I pass up a movie that involves amnesia, heists and lots and lots of black leather!? The film starts out with a daring robbery, but to be perfectly frank, even with all the hi jinx, plot twists (there are 3, count them 3 Maya's - who's the real one? It's hard to tell), and Vivek's earnest attempt at the handsome, confused action hero, Prince didn't really do it for me, and I'm pretty sure I dozed off halfway through the second half of the film. I'm not even sure I remember how it ended. However, the music isn't half bad and I give it extra points for the 3 to 1 femme fatale ratio!

A random selection on Valentines Day (which proved to be quite a coincidence since one of the film's major plot lines surrounds the day itself) starring the adorably young Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala (who I have to admit I didn't recognize right away and only thought she looked like the girl form Dil Se).

Based on the 1939 original film Love Story (which has since spawned 3 Hollywood remakes and one other Bollywood film, Bheegi Raat), we witness the developing love between Karan and Anita, both which do a very fine job within their characters. Actually, I was quite pleased with Manisha's performance. It was nice seeing her in a lighter role where she's not tortured by her past! As far as love stories go, and this one has been touted as the most romantic film of all time, you certainly do get your share of schmaltz, but it's all done in the very best Bollywood traditions! I thought it was a very sweet movie!

Ajay Devgan, Konkona Sen Sharma, and Paresh Rawal star in this light comic drama about the pains of sharing your accommodations with relatives. Having been a house guest myself (as my family co-habitated with my mother while our house was being built), I can empathise with the pangs that these people go through - it's no fun sharing space for very long! The movie was humorous throughout, with some scenes being more thoughtful than others, but I have to admit, even with a twist ending, my sister called it as soon as the movie started. I love Koko in everything she does (she's just a class act to me), and she was good in this, as was Ajay, but Paresh, as the overly flatulent house guest (which I could really do without... I just don't get the appeal of fart comedy), was the glue. Lots of genuinely funny moments and overall a nice time pass film.

So, I posted a short while ago a list of all the films that I had waiting for me on my dvd shelf and nearly everyone recommended I put on Omkara NOW! So, I did. I have two thoughts on this... #1 trying to watch a serious heavy film during the day when I'm trying to squeeze the most out of naptime maybe isn't the best idea and/or #2 I should stick with the light fare films because, although I would have to say the acting in this film was superb, it just didn't seem to be my cup of tea. SACRILEGE, I can hear many of you shouting at me as I type. It's not that I don't enjoy the odd very serious movie (I loved Roman Polanski's The Pianist and Scott Hicks' Shine, both very dramatic, moving pieces of film), but I have a hard time watching darkly shot films, and aside from Shakespeare in Love, I could really do without the Bard's prose turned screenplay. However, it does have this SMOKING hot item number from sensational Bips!

Aaaah, an inspirational movie about the educational system and how money is more precious than our children's academic pursuits. Barf. Okay, I originally purchased this film based on Shahid's enimagic sex appeal, and I was happy to see Ayesha Takia in it (hopefully we'll see her come back to films soon), but I have a hard time watching movies about children. Probably has something to do with the fact that I'm surrounded by real living breathing youngsters all day every day, so what am I thinking watching movies about kids? Good lord! *smh* At any rate, apparently Shahid was hired to play a cameo only in this movie, which makes no sense to me since he was practically in the whole thing, but he does lend it that star power that it most likely desperately needed at the box office. Nana Patekar does a really nice job as the school's principal, and I tell you, if I had to report to him, I'd sure make sure my shirt was tucked in and my shoes were polished. Nana Patekar is one actor that demands my respect, even though the only other movies I've seen him in are Bluffmaster and Taxi Number 9211 (which, incidentally houses one of the coolest filmi songs I've ever heard, Meter Down!). Anyway, that's a lot of ramble that doesn't say much of the film, but if you like movies about kids (maybe you have Taare Zameen Par or Dance Pe Chance at home), this movie is about as sweet as you get.

So that's a quick rundown. I hope I didn't miss any. I am desparately waiting to do a movie run into the city very soon (crossing my fingers for this weekend) and then I'll be in movie heaven again. So many new ones I can't wait to get my hands on!

Viva la Bollywood!!!

Happy 46th Aamir

Aamir has been a favorite actor of mine since I started watching Hindi film, and though he is widely known for his "serious" acting, he has done everything from the chocolate boy roles to comedy to drama, and there hasn't been an Aamir Khan film that I haven't liked yet. Sure, he's come under fire for refusing to act his age (READ: 3 Idiots), but there's no denying he delivers at home and at the box office. Here's a look at some of my favorite Aamir films...

The terror-romance genre might not be for everyone, but I actually really loved Fanaa, even with it's miracle eye surgery, and for the first time I saw Aamir as a romantic lead. Thank goodness post interval he cut his hair (ya, I'm superficial like that), but his and Kajol's connection in the film was both sweet and unfortunate. I think the two of them have nice chemistry.

I have to admit that I up until this point, I never really understood Indian humour (and probably a lot of it still flies over my head), but Andaz Apna Apna opened my eyes and made me laugh out loud too many times to remember. Aamir has spectacular comic timing and he is so silly in this film you can't help but like him (and Salman too for that matter!)

When I first started watching Aamir's films, I wouldn't have ever categorized him as the "sexy" actor, though that isn't to say he doesn't have an unconventional attractiveness about him. Anyway, I'm not sure who did the styling in Dil Chahta Hai, but I would imagine that dressing him up in those tight red pleather pants was their way of appealing to Aamir's sexual side? Check them out, if you can get past the effulgence of Saif's bright shiny silver duds!

*spoiler alert* If I had to pick one moment from this film that demonstrates how wonderful Aamir is at acting with his eyes, it would be this scene at the end of DCH between Akash and Shalini when Shalini's "fiance" goes to stop Akash in the middle of his proposal. I LOVE it!

I would say, without hesitation, that Lagaan falls firmly into my list of top 10 favorite Hindi films that I've seen. The story is brilliantly inspirational, the acting is amongst the best in film, the music is outstanding, and Aamir still stands out in a superb ensemble cast. And, in my humble opinion, he looks amazingly sexy in a dhoti! Purrrrrrr....

So, 3 Idiots fell into it's share of controversy and Aamir reluctantly admitted recently that he probably had no right to play a college student, I still really enjoyed this film! Could have something to do with the fact that it was a theatre experience (as they are so few and far between), but he was suitably charming, funny and serious when he needed to be.

Even though Zoobie Doobie, ear-wormyness aside, has been proclaimed as terribly awful, I enjoy it and the picturization is fun!

The very first Aamir movie I saw was the student drama Taare Zameen Par. While I would argue that Darsheel Safary is the real star of the film, I loved Aamir's compassion as a teacher and found myself wishing that all educators cared about their students as much. A wonderfully inspiring piece of celluloid (that was for all the KJo fans out there! lol)

There's many more wonderful Aamir filmi moments out there, and I wish I had time to categorize them all, moment by moment, but no one has time to read that!

Happy Birthday Aamir. I wish you many more years of continued success and happiness!