Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Encounters of the Bollywood Kind!

It still amazes me when I bump into Bollywood lovers! And I have found that other Bollywood lovers are amazed that this pale white lady LOVES Bollywood!

Was finishing up some paper work last night at work, and one the students (who is fairly new in my GED classes) came by to clean the floors in the room. He had his iPod playing with only one earphone in, and since these kids play their music so loud--you can hear it all over!! Well his music sounded vaguely Bollywood--mind you I too had my iPod with one earphone playing Bollywood. We got talking, and since he is Nigerian, I should have realized that he would be into Bollywood. We got talking, and the both of us got all excited. He has only been in the states about a year and had yet to find many Bollywood sources--well, he had come to the right pale white lady!!

Well, this is my goal!! Bollywood--now to teach him to knit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flu is gonna get ya!!

I have been very lax with postings--October was a horribly busy month-I think I had only 3 days off which is probably the reason I have the flu! Got to see another film in the theatre-Dil Bole Hadippa with Rani Mukerjee and Shahid Kapoor. What a different role from his role in Kaminey! DBH was pretty typical Yash Raj fare-tell a story, make a point, do it for families. The group at the theater this time was lots of families-with everything from toddlers to grannies. I have found that I enjoy going to the later show to see how the regular Indian audience reacts.

Saw several films from Netflix--Dostana--even the horse seemed ashamed to be in this awful movie--Abhishek should not try to do heavy drama/sci fi--Bollywood does not seem to do well on any kind of SciFi films.

Also watched Delhi-6--a wonderful movie--will write more later.

It has gotten that I feel so terrible that I don't want to watch a bollywood because I would have to concentrate a bit and read! Well--I have a bollywoodish film, After the Rains, loaded up, may do it today!

Monday, August 31, 2009


Got Dostana from Netflix the other day---and finally had an evening to watch it and laugh in peace!! This movie was funnier than I had expected, I have seen some major duds that Abhishek has been in (Drona was like watching a very bad train wreck, you had to be certain that all the injured got out!! Everyone, even the horses, looked embarrassed to be in this movie!).
I had watched the publicity on this movie, since they filmed in Florida, and that the filming took place at the time Abhi and Aish were celebrating their first wedding anniversary--Yes, I am a Bollygeek, and followed the wedding preparation!!

The chemistry between the three lead characters, Abhi, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra is fabulous--you kind of want them to fall in love, but then you don't want them to lose this wonderful friendship they have.

The Florida beaches, art deco architecture and nightlife is as much a part of the movie as the story of the 3 young friends. Priyanka's aunt is a real hoot--she reminded me of someone, and I can't quite place her.
This was a fun movie to enjoy on a night with a bit of knitting!! I would recommend it highly!

And then, I had some Sunday enjoyment of a repeat viewing of Paheli--when ever I can get 2 SRKs at one time, I certainly will take it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Got to see Kaminey last Sunday afternoon. Went to the theatre in Worcester area that shows regular first run Bollywood flicks, and did not hit the first show--that show always seems to be just me, my friends and I!! I got to the theatre early, as usual, and sat in the front of the upper section, so as to have a foot rest on the railing!! Well the audience began to fill the back of the theater--couples in their best clothing (one young lady's salwar kameez was stunning), small family groups, teens, a few clusters of young men or women out with their buddies.
No one else sat in the front row-oh well, had it to myself.
There was lots of visiting going on amongst the groups---in Hindi, English and Hinglish!! I caught a few words here and there--two couples sat directly behind me, and I thank the young man translating the Hindi on the censor certificates for the previews! I had heads up for the stuff upcoming--the Aladin with Amitabh Bachchan looks pretty awesome, and with the second viewing of the new Shahid Kapoor, Rani Mukerjee film Dil Bole Hadippa!, plus having the music, makes me want to see it.

Kaminey is a pretty intense movie--a thriller-mystery. It is a story of 2 brothers (both played by Shahid Kapoor--and very well too-though this trend toward dual roles in Bollywood is getting a bit overwhelming). The audience hooted and hollered at the good guys, and jeered the bad guys--which made the film even more enjoyable. Guddu and Charlie both have speech impediments--one stutters, one lisps--but they both hate each other, they have opposite ideals in life. Charlie wants to make fast money, and does so by fixing horse races. Guddu wishes to do good--he works for a NGO educating about AIDS. When Guddu's girlfriend Sweety gets pregnant--things get touchy--you see Sweety's brother is the head of the local mob that wants to run Charlie out of business!
Charlie stumbles upon a guitar case filled with high quality cocaine--in his quest to get the highest price, he kills another mobster, cheats the crooked cops and gets in trouble with the drug dealing gang. Guddu is mistaken for Charlie and kidnapped--I don't want to give too much of the story away--but in the end both Charlie and Guddu are no longer at odds with each other and the crooked cops and sneaky mobsters have been eliminated!

This movie moves along at a breakneck speed--the action flies by, and you need some time to digest it! I took a leisurely ride home, listening to the music, which helps me to recall the action--and was able to truly enjoy the film. This movie is not for the faint at heart, there is a lot of violence and mayhem, and I do agree with many critics that this is the 'must see' movie for 2009. Try to see it with a full theater--the audience's energy also makes the movie more awesome!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On my soap box--or My Name is Khan for real!!

Ok, after flying to and fro to Louisville Kentucky--and having had to be re-checked by TSA in Cleveland--I need to vent about Shahrukh Khan being detained in Newark airport!!
Unless you live under a rock, you by now know that Shahrukh Khan-named one of the 50 most influential men in the world by Newsweek magazine in January of this year, was detained for 2 hours at the Newark New Jersey airport. SRK was on his way to an Indian Independence Day (August 15th) in Chicago, with a stop first at Donald Trump's Taj Mahal Casino for a fan dinner. His name--Khan--popped up on the TSA computers, since all Muslims named Khan are terrorists. I guess they did not buy his 'I am an actor' line, they obviously did not look at his passport (he had been here less than a month ago for nearly 2 months filming a movie on how Muslim Indians were in the aftermath of 911. After a long wait, they finally let him call the Indian embassy in New York and they straightened it all out.
Umm--people, wake up!! Not all folks named Khan are terrorists!! This thinking has gotten other Bollywood actors detained--Irrfan Khan, Aamir Khan and the former president of Indian manhandled in the airport!!!
Sure, we need to be on the lookout, but 'flying while brown' should not be part of it. We still have these ideas about people different from us, and how they are 'scary'--but it is the 21st Century, we have GLOBAL communications--it should not be that hard for foreign nationals, who are loved and respected all over the globe to travel!!

Well--sorry for the rant--but I needed to get it off my chest!
One way to placate my injured soul, I will be heading to see Kaminey today--all by myself--and will post a review later.

Oh, by the way--Happy Independence Day India

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Love Aaj Kal--an outing

I have always been a fan of Saif Ali Khan--he he was also in the first movie that got me totally hooked on Bollywood--Kal Ho Naa Ho. Then when I also saw him in Dil Chata Hai, Omkara, and Hum Tum!! I was totally hooked on him, and considered him one of the most underrated Bollywood actors. He has great scope and is very versatile. When I began seeing promos for Love Aaj Kal, and knew for sure that the distributor's strike was over--I totally began checking out the local theaters that play Bollywood.
My friend Kitty and I planned out Sunday outing to see this new flick, we weren't going to have dinner out, but planned on hitting an Indian market we had spotted before. What wonderful stuff we found at Desi Market in the Shrewsbury Commons shopping center!! We got spices, snacks, naan and lots of ideas for another visit.
This movie was wonderful! Some reviewers thought that the switching time periods did not work, well, I felt that it did. I kinda wish that the young lady that played Harleen(Giselle Monteiro) had more lines--but hey,she is Brazilian, this was a Hindi film, there might have been a bit of a language barrier!! Though I feel that we shall see more of Giselle in the future--for there is a pocket of Bollywood lovers in Brazil!!
Saif did a great job with the dual role--he was able to capture Rishi Kapoor's mannerisms and when they were together as Rishi told his story, you could almost mistake them for some sort of relatives!!

Take the time to find this movie in the theatre!! It was a great night out!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Been a slacker!

Sorry folks, I have been a bit of a slacker! I have seen a few movies, but have been busy with 2 jobs and lots of other projects. I suppose I could give you a bit of a review on one or 2 of the most recent movies I have seen. I will be heading to Worcester area today to see Love Aaj Kal with Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, I have already fallen in love with the music (you gotta love iTunes) and I find that Saif is one of Bollywood's most underrated stars--I do like his style and scope.

One of the most recent movies I watched was a Salaam Namaste with Saif and Preity Zinta. I had fallen in love with their chemistry in Kal Ho Naa Ho--and had heard much about this movie.
Well, take the time to find it and watch. This movie takes place in Australia-Preity is a DJ, Saif an architect turned chef(he really wanted to go to culinary school, but his folks insisted he do a 'real' career). Saif and Preity meet when he caters a beachside wedding of a friend of Preity's.

The couple, falls for each other, but Saif doesn't want to commit. They move in together and soon are into a very hot and heavy relationship. This movie has a very western style love entanglement. There are some modest but very hot 'sex' scenes--(my favorite was in the tent on the beach), yet they still meet with Indian expectations. I guess that is why I love Bollywood--they try to develop a relationship with a couple rather than just having them jump in bed--and even if the relationship gets physical, the physicality is not the focus, it is still the relationship and feelings of the couple.

When Preity gets pregnant--Saif doesn't want anything to do with the baby, and Preity decides to have the child anyway. Well, with typical Bolly/Hollywood style, Saif realizes how much he loves Preity and they get together--I don't want to give you too much--soo-go rent!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Knitting has taken center stage!

Well, I have been neglectful here! But since my purpose here is to spread KNITTING and Bollywood--the knitting side has been taking over.
I have been able to watch a number of great movies that I will soon be posting about--Ghajini(with Aamir Khan), Salaam Namaste, Shakti:the Power. But right now I wish to mention all the Yarny bollyencounters!!

I have told you all before that I play Bollywood, or related music when I am at work at the yarn store(I have that wonderful 3 CD set of Rahman's music that has been getting regular 'airplay') The music has gotten me talking to very many Hindi film lovers as well as NRI(for those not in the know, NRI is Non-Resident Indian)!!

One very slow Sunday morning--I was working to allow the young lady who normally works Sunday participate in graduation festivities(she graduated high school). This couple came into the store, it was obvious that they were Indian--they heard Rahman, and began to whisper amont themselves. The husband approached me to ask a question about the Polish pottery--and hesitantly asked if the music playing was Bollywood. I said oh yes, it was a new CD I had gotten from a friend in India that was Rahman's music. Well, this lead to a long, very enjoyable conversation about Hindi films, music, actors--I told them there were 2 theaters near the area that played first run Bollywood. We talked about the strike--they left and we felt as if we had been friends forever--they also joked I should start a side business and rent Hindi films from my collection at the yarn store. That might make our selection even more eclectic!!

This past Saturday I had a similar encounter with another Indian couple. I had just downloaded the soundtrack to Salaam Namaste from iTunes(don't you love iTunes!! once you figure out how they list bollywood soundtracks, you can usually find them!) We also had a very pleasant conversation about Hindi films--as well as knitting!!

I have found that most people, when they come into the yarn store and I am playing Bollywood--seem to smile more, often even very elderly men, will tap their foot, hum along and altogether seem happier when they leave!!

I will try to post some reviews of the movies I have recently seen and hopefully, there will be a first run movie that I want to see, running near me soon.

Soo---Namaste and here is to happy knitting with Bollywood!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blogging or Bollywood?

Its a rainy night, I should be sitting in the comfy chair, knitting in hand, watching Bollywood! But, alas, I am here on the computer. The 3 month distributor's strike in India has ended, new movies are being released. This 3 month lapse in movies has been not only hard on the movie junkies that Indians are-but it has been hard on us Hindi film lovers!! This has meant Bollywood lovers all over the world have been clamoring for new movies. One bonus from this strike--old Bollywood has become a hit again in India! Many theaters dug into their archives and brought out classic films.

I have been chatting with folks via Ravelry about the movie dry spell we have all been looking forward to new releases-which start in about 2 weeks.

For those of you that live in the greater San Francisco area--Karan Johar and his Dharma Productions company are in town for a 2 month shoot for Karan's awaited film My Name is Khan. This movie deals with how Indian Muslims were treated in the period following 911. Shahrukh Khan plays the lead-but he is doing it with a twist-he plays a man with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of Autism. Humm, it seems a bit of a coincidence that one very highly publicised release is another movie about 911. This film stars John Abraham and Irfan Khan-New York is a Yash Raj production and looks promising. I can't wait until the local theatres here have some new Bollywood flicks!
Sigh, I will just have to be satisfied with finishing reading many of the books I have on Bollywood. I am working my way through the essays in Bollywood Reader (edited by Rajinder Dudrah & Jigna Desi)--this is a great compiliation of essays that deal with theory, current trends and classics-a great class textbook.
Another book I am reading is City Flicks:Indian Cinema and the Urban Experience by Preben Kaarsholm-this book has been a bit slow going, but I have not spent too much time with it.
I probably should put a list together of books that help you understand Indian cinema better--but for now I will recommend an author-Rachel Dwyer. She has written extensively on Bollywood and has a wonderful way with words which makes even her most serious books a pleasure to read.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Love from a friend I have yet to meet!

Today I got a parcel in the mail--from India! From a sweet young lady who I have only met via email and the online knitting group Ravelry. We befriended each other over a discussion of crochet and Hindi films! She lives in Chennai, and wondered if I had viewed any Tamil films. Well we got talking--she asked if she could send me anything I have had difficulty finding--well a movie for which I have been dying to see since it's release. Taare Zameena Par--which was Aamir Khan's directorial debut-I had been listening to the music for ages, and hoping it would soon be released her in the US. Well, to make a long and annoying story short-Disney picked up the world wide distribution rights to this movie. I was anxious, knowing how Disney tends to 'homogenize' everything it touches, I was afraid that Disney would make a mess of the distribution. Disney announced it would be released in March of 2009-then they delayed it to September! I read on the Disney website that they were also going to release with the original subtitled film, a DUBBED verison! Sacraledge! As a fan of Hindi Cinema and Bollywood in general, most of us who love the films find no problems dealing with subtitles. I was apalled that Disney had planned to not only delay release but to also dub it. I asked my online friend if she could easily find a copy of TZP, with subtitles (and playable in US)--she said--oh yes! I was in heaven!
Well her parcel arrived today! Not only did she send the movie, and 2 lovely dupatta that I will treasure-as I treasure a necklace sent me by a penpal in India when I was in Junior High school--she also included several treasures I had not expected!!
First off were 2 issues of People magazine--you say People, hah, I can get that here! Bash I say, these are the Indian versions-great filmy gossip and one had a cover interview with Shahrukh Khan!! Then I found a mug with SRK's 'mug' on it!! Well, after just seeing this image and jumping up and down--I did not even remove it from the box while out at the post office. I rushed home, emailed her my great thanks--she asked if I liked the personal touch her fiancee had put together!? I ran, looked at the mug-and lo and behold-SRK is wearing a tshirt that says Bollyenabler! Now I am forever famous, and forever close to the star I love! Hey, now I am beginning to sound like some crazy teenage fan! If you all knew how hard it is to feel this passion for Bollywood here in the USA! You enjoy the news items that say Anupaum Kher has signed to do a Woody Allen film(one I may have to go see, even though I do not find Woody that entertaining!). Thank you once again ms crochetress--your gift will be treasured. Now, to find the perfect thing to send in return-there is no way I can top the kindness sent me from far away

Monday, May 11, 2009


I find that Bollywood helps me through alot of things! When people talk about going to expensive psychotherapy--spending thousands of dollars to talk through their problems with an overpaid listener--I just grin and hum a Bollytune! When my spirits lag, the world overwhelms, I feel totally stressed--a movie, a song, a book about my favorite Bollywood theme will cure me in no time! My son and I went to see the Star Trek film on Mother's Day, we are both dire hard Trekkers--me since the original series, and my son can recall the day that The Next Generation premiered! We enjoyed our outing and the film as well. I am of the ilk that we stay until the last credit-all those people worked hard and need to be recognized. As we were leaving the theatre-I asked gee where is the rest of the movie as well as the item number! I find that when I watch Hollywood movies do not take the time to build a story, they end the tale when you are just getting involved with the characters and rooting for the underdog. That is why I love Bollywood--the story keeps you intranced, you understand the motivation and the story gets finished. Talking with one of my Bollyconverts and I were discussing the same topic, we both feel that Hollywood could learn an awful lot from Bollywood actors, directors and films on the whole--India really knows how to tell stories. India has been telling stories for as long as man has listened--not only does Hinduism have the oldest written religious texts, but many of the myths are old if not older. Man has always loved stories--the longer the better. This is why Bollywood will probably out do and outlast Hollywood--this current strike by distributors and producers which has put a halt to new releases--let us pray for the end to the strike and a collection of new interesting Bollywood stories to make us laugh, cry, worry, forget, and all out enjoy! Namaste to all.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Paheli Pick Me Up

It has been a hectic, tired week! Most mornings I needed something peppier than NPR to keep me awake at work. I have listened to various soundtracks to get me there. I had begun to watch Luck by Chance, but the tiny, odd fonted subtitles made my eyes go crossed. The yarn store was kind of slow today, and I got to listen, at rather high volume, many of my favorite soundtracks! Ghanjini, Swades, and Paheli on the way home. This dreary Saturday needed a color boost! Son was off with friends after taking the MTEL exam, so I did not need to inflict this movie on him for yet another time. Paheli is a Rajasthani folktale--of a lonely bride that awakens the heart of a ghost. The ghost takes the form of her husband--who has left on a 5 year business trip for his father. The ghost admits to the young bride who he is, and she keeps his secret. Their love grows as her real husband--in a far off city--begins to miss his wife he had yet to know. The ghost and the bride's love takes root, the household is happy, prosperous--lost honor is returned, lost husbands return. When the bride is ready to deliver the child of the love she has for the ghost--the true husband returns!
This movie is colorful, joyous and reassuring! It makes you believe in love once again. This movie also helps you to realize that Hindi films can make a story based on Indian tales--Hindi film is not the step-child of Hollywood. Many films reflect the values, ideas, and ideals that are India--stories told to children of all ages.
This movie will cheer any dark, dreary day and make you wish to go find your true love--and hope that you can find your soulmate that you will be with for seven lifetimes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rainy days are for Bollywood! Stood up by knitting!

Just got home, I have lots to do--but I had wanted to just stay home today and watch the films that had come from Nehaflix!! I had gotten Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, Billu Barber & Luck by Chance. The first two I have seen--on the big screen no less! I am anxious to see Luck by Chance, which did not get international release out in the wilds of Massachusetts. I had seriously contemplated calling in sick to stay home and watch them. My knitting students had ditched me--well it was raining as if a monsoon, so I kind of did not blame them. My son was at work-he will tolerate a Bollywood-he zones out on his computer or does something else. As I had finished up watching SRK and Aish in Devdas Sunday afternoon after yard work, he asked which movie, then he saw the DVD box-'oh the one where he drinks himself to death'! I kind of suspect Alex is a closet Bollywood fan, for he knows all the plots, including some we rented from Netflix that were kinda bad! He even recognized the DDLJ references in the item number that SRK did with Anupam Kher did--he laughed just as hard as I did to the comment that SRK (Raj) had been left at the altar, and was looking for a bride!
Humm, maybe I will do the work I need to do, and pop in a movie! A rainy day is perfect for a Bollywood.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


After some conversation on various forums about this movie--I feel it is time to put my 2 cents out there. I am a major Shahrukh Khan fan, as if you have not been able to tell from the various movies I have talked about, and was introduced to this movie by one of my dear friends(Andrea) who had seen it for Hindi film class. Well I fell in love!! When I love something, I become a terrier worrying a rat! I looked for and found the Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel from the early 20th century. I read the book with relish, and found that I loved the book as much as the Bhansali version of the movie. I began to read reviews that said the movie was overblown, prententious and not well done, even though it had debuted at the Cannes film festival.
I recently read an article "Dancing to an Indian Beat" by Sangita Shresthova in Global Bollywood, Travels of Hindi Song and Dance that discussed the intricacies of Indian dance that Bhansali had used to portray emotional connection between Paro and the prostitute Chandramukhi made me want to view the film yet another time. Once I realised, back after I had seen the 2002 Devdas, that there were other versions--I hunted down the 1955 version with Dilip Kumer and Vyjayantimala--this black and white film is just as wonderful as the lush, colorful version. I have found that there are many, many layers to Hindi films--they not only reference other films, traditional Indian culture, current Indian culture and Hollywood!
Please, when you delve into Bollywood--watch it more than once--first time for the impact and story--then go back and look behind the curtains, you will find more than just a wizard!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bollywood Randomness

I know I tend to see Bollywood everywhere-but now one of my Bollyconverts has begun to spread the word. This particular convert had originally seen Bollywood films when in Nigeria(without the benefit of subtitles-but all in the theatre sang along). I have been feeding her movies, articles and other random Bollywood and she has begun to interest friends about Bollywood. I have found when I tell folks that I am into Bollywood, they instantly bring up the Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. I then try not to go off on a rant that it is not really Bollywood. Sure, there were 2 great stars of Bollywood in the movie, Anil Kapoor and Irfan Khan-as well as some other 2nd tier players that I recognized the face but not the movie. The book that the movie is based on is Q & A by Vikas Swarup (he did not like that the name was changed, so I am using the original title out of respect), who is an Indian diplomat, it is about a slumkid. But hey, Danny Boyle is a cutting edge English director! I sure hope, as do many of us that love Bollywood, that this wonderful movie will bring more attention to all the wonderful films that Hindi cinema has to offer. Let us just hope!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bollywood Books!

I was thinking the other day, my son would go 'uh oh'!. Maybe all you out there would appreciate a couple of books that help me decide what movies to watch, or not watch.!!

Well, one of the first books I got that gave me an idea of which movies to choose and why--if they were big hits, pathbreakers--was a slim little book "The Essential Guide to Bollywood" by Subhash K. Jha. This little book gives a timeline of movies, the big actors, directors, playback singers. It not only has historical information about the movie industry, it gives great little reviews that tell you why a movie he mentions is worth the watching, what to look for, and many other great bits of information. I am not sure if this was the very first Bollywood book I ever purchased, but I have found it very useful--I often thumb thru it and find new information at each successive reading.

One of the other important books I use to choose movies, not only because I respect as a scholar of films as well as history, is "100 Bollywood Films" by Rachel Dwyer. She lists movies alphabetically, gives historical information as well and gives her opinion. I love the fact that she lists "Dil Chata Hai" as her guilty pleasure movie and then proceeds to give all sorts of information as to why this movie is so very different. I do believe I got this book after I read her book on the social implications of Hindi films "All you want is money, all you need is love: Sex and romance in modern India". This book seems bit of stretch from film study, but it discusses how film has influenced many parts of modern Indian society--but more on this and other scholarly books on Hindi film on a later posting!!

My newest acquisition, a book I have lusted after for some time, but was able to purchase for Rs 150 from an Indian bookdealer!! (that is about $3 and with shipping from India with a bunch of other books, was not too bad!) This book, by Penguin India has the best cover--which is not why I bought it, the cover that is shown on Amazon is pretty mundane, is a lovely photo of a stall that has paintings of Bollywood movie posters for sale--this nifty street art is very popular in India and has been studied by scholars as a way to look at how art and religion and culture is desciminated to the masses(oops sorry, starting to sound like a class). Back to the book--it is simply called "Bollywood" by Ashok Banker who is a well respected movie critic. His chatty style does remind you of reviews, but his scholarship and insight is wonderful. He groups the movies in catagories--chapter headings give all away! "Silent Screamers, Singing in the Train,The Sound of Masti, The Poetry of Pain" . I could give them all away--but that would keep you from wanting to read about them!!

From these books, reviews on various Bollywood websites, Times of India reviews and lots of other places, I then decide what to rent-what to find in a theater near me--what to own. What to own usually involves Shahrukh Khan!!! But that is an entirely other blog entry!!

When I give reviews of movies here, these are some of the resources I rely on--as well as Wikipedia entries on their Bollywood film list--from these places I get information and translation of titles etc. When I want translations of lyrics to the songs--for I have become as obsessive about the music as the Indian movie going public, I rely on the website Bollywhat? for that information.
When I do a posting on websites, I will go into more detail, but let it be said--this site was one of the first I found and have grown to respect. I have finally stopped 'lurking' on the outskirts of this sites forum, and have begun to comment and ask questions as the "Bollyenabler"! In this format, I may request translation of lyrics from native speakers, information on cultural references and just dream about the next Shahrukh Khan movie!

Well, this post has gotten way too long--so, I will contemplate a post about websites for my next entry-until that time, Namaste and 'come fall in love' with Bollywood!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge-The Braveheart will take the bride

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge—{The Braveheart will take the Bride}(1994)—Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, directed by Aditya Chopra. I had to post this today--today marks the 700th week that DDLJ(as it is know to the Bollywood crowd) has played a matinee at the Maranthi theater in Mumbai. Not only is it the longest running film in Bollywood (and I suspect Hollywood), it won major awards at its release.
This is the movie that took Bollywood from the craptastic 80’s into the big production ‘90’s! This was Shahrukh Khan’s first big romantic lead flick (he had done really bad guys up till now) and he is paired with Kajol for the movie that tops it all. SRK did not really want to do a romantic lead (a so called 'chocolate box hero'), and it took his buddy Aditya Chopra a lot of convincing to make him do this movie. This movie was Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut—and sets standards for romantic movies from this point on. This is a typical star crossed lover story that was popular at the time. What made this movie different, was that both of these characters were NRI (non resident Indians-Chopra realised that this was a great market to aim for). Raj and Simran both grew up in London--Simran's father is a very strict traditional Indian father. Raj's single, very wealthy father, has a 'buddy' relationship with his son. When Raj flunks out of college, his father suggests a cross European trip for him to decide what he wants to do with his life. Simran, however, has been promised from a young age, to a young man in her father's home village-she begs her dad to let her take a cross European trip with her friends before she heads to a country she does not know to marry an unknown man.
Well, as you can see, the pair meet--at first they do not hit it off, and a series of crazy incidents, makes Simran come to loath the freewheeling Raj. Well, the stars are with(or some may say against) them and they fall in love. Raj finds out that Simran is engaged, but that is not an impediment-he follows her to India!
Unlike many other movies prior to this, Raj does not wish to run off with his lady love-even when Simran's mother hands them her wedding gold and tells them to, Raj wishes to take his bride away with permission and consent. Raj sets out to woo the family —he begins with the women of the family. He ingratiates himself to the grooms family as well--well after much singing, dancing and fighting-Raj--the brave heart--takes his bride! This is such a wonderful movie that many tried to copy it, but not have come close.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dus Kahaniyaan

Just finished this flick from Netflix. A very different Hindi film Dus Kahaniyaan (7 Stories). This is seven very different tales. They all are tales of betrayal and loss--yet in some loss there is finding. Most are directed by Sanjay Gupta, others by Megnah Gulzar-all use a similar realistic, documentary style.
The first tale--High on the Highway-deals with a couple that she refuses to committ--they party one night begin their walk home--both high. He begins to hallucinate that she is abducted and hurt-goes home and kills himself. Most of these stories have actors that are not 'big names', but the tale, Lovedale with Anupam Kher as the young woman's father who asks his daughter as she about to marry, if she really is in love. She says no, and he sends her to find her love-with a tale of a missed love he had. She shows him an earring that a woman on the train had given her-it is one of a pair he had given his love! She returns to the town, Lovedale, finds the man she loves. He sees both earrings, asks her about it, she tells him of the woman, his mother who has been dead 10 years.
All of these stories have this kind of surprize ending-the story of the rival hoods who bonded as boys over their first killing, who fight off killers and each other in the end.

This group of stories is a wonderful, different take on life-it would have been just as effective by an American director or an English director. They are powerful and moving

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Billu Barber

Another recent Bollywood flick that I had the opportunity tosee in the theater is Billu (it had been originally titled Billu Barber—but protests from the barber’s union caused SRK’s production company to cut out the Barber). This movie stars Irrfan Khan, Lara Dutta, Shahrukh Khan, Om Puri, Rajpal Yadav, Asrani—with guest shots by Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, and Priyanka Chopra. It was directed by Priyadarshah, with the music by Pritam. It was released February 13th, 2009. It is basically the story of a simple village barber, Bilas Rao Pardesi (known as Billu, played by Irrfan Khan) and his family. The village of Budbuda (a fictional village in Uddar Pradesh). Billu is very poor, hardly able to keep the electricity in his home or pay his kids’ school fees. SRK plays the superstar Saahir Khan (a slightly over the top version of SRK himself!)—and when his production company comes to Billu’s village to film, the village is turned upside down. Somehow, the news that Billu and Saahir were childhood friends gets around, and the village begins to feel that Billu can get all sorts of favors from his famous friend for the village. At first, Billu keeps denying that he knew Saahir, but soon the village is so overcome with the idea of one of their own being a friend of Saahir, that Billu goes along for the ride. Well the security around Saahir will not let anyone from the town get near him, and the local school invites Saahir to an anniversary of the school. Saahir is finally worn down by all the requests and goes—when he begins to give a speech to the school kids about his dear childhood friend whom gave him money to head to Mumbai to take up his dream of acting—Billu is finally recognized as the true friend he is. The climactic scene is when Saahir comes to Billu’s very modest house to meet his old friend, Saahir asks why he never got it touch with him when Billu was suffering—Billu, being modest, says that he did not want to seem a friend that desired benefits. This is a funny, snide, and chiding look at the politics behind the film industry in India!! There are many enjoyable moments—when the guesthouse owner flubs his one line in the film over and over—we were nearly rolling in the aisles!! Go; enjoy a good family film that will join my collection soon!! The music is wonderful, the songs are catchy and will stay with you; I especially love Marjaani!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

One film I have seen recently Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (A couple made by God) {2008}—starring Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in Aditya Chopra’s 3rd directorial work is fabulous!! Thse wonderful music is by the writing team of Salim-Sulaiman is at the same time heartwarming and heartfelt, and you will be humming these tunes for days!! This is wonderful, heartfelt story of a May-December romance will be the new ‘hero’ for Shahrukh Khan!! Khan, a mousy public employee of Punjab Power, is invited to the wedding of his favorite teacher’s only daughter. Khan sees Taani, and immediately falls in love with her—and since is to be wed, you can see his lonely heart break!! Well, tragedy befalls the groom’s family, and the shock causes his teacher to have a fatal heart attack, but not before getting Soori to promise to marry his daughter. Well, the shocked Taani marries Soori, and they return to Amritsar to begin a loveless routine. The joy and laughter that Soori fell for is gone from Taani—and this hurts him, but he has no idea how to make her happy. Well, a big city dance troop comes to town and offers lessons as well as a contest for the best dancing ‘jodi’ (couple). Taani asks permission of her husband, and he quietly agrees—seeing a way to maybe make her happy. Well, Soori enlists the help of his buddy Bobby and becomes an alternate persona “Raj”—who is funny, outspoken, quick witted (the total opposite of Soori!). Raj speaks in 'filmi' language! He uses tag lines from many of SRK's movies and is hysterical! Taani is happy, and Soori is besotted!! As the relationship between Raj and Taani progress, Soori is worried that she really loves the other ‘man’—and Raj then asks Taani to run away with him if she is not happy!! Well, true love finally prevails—and Taani and Soori realize how much they really love each other!! And I won’t give too much more of the story away!! I was lucky enough to see this on the big screen and it was WONDERFUL!!!! There are very few dance numbers, one of the best is the 'dream' sequence when Soori and Taani are at the movies. Taani dreams bits of old flicks, with Raj as the male lead (and all the women are SRK heroines!). The song lyrics are all film titles from the period being represented!! This is an awesome piece of film making. This will soon be the DDLJ of this generation--and SRK's new avatar--the ideal man, too bad more men can't be like Soori!
Here is an update--this film(as of April 16th, 2009) is out on DVD-it's extras include interviews that Shahrukh did of Anushka--as well as wonderful questions she asked him! I saw these interviews on YouTube, and my Hinglish is not that good--so I do hope that these have been subtitled, as I hope that the end credit commentary about the postcards has subtitles as well--this film is now on its way to me, and I will let you all know!

Slow start

Sorry there has been no real posts about movies and such, but it has been crazy! I have been reading a neat little book (from my favorite bookseller in India!)--Bollywood by Ashok Banker. Banker is columnist in India--I do think I have read his reviews on various sites-and he talks about 50 films that he feels are very influential in Hindi film. Geez, this book makes me realize that I have lots more films to see--especially films from the 40's and 50's!! That will be my quest--I guess I should compare his lists to Rachel Dwyer's top 100 films, I suspect many are on both lists! Chalo for now!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Food Fun

Had the best experience on Thursday evening!! Participated in a cooking program by a wonderful teacher/cook! The local library had a workshop put on by Mala Patel ( she demonstrated the making of Pakoras! This wonderful lady not only showed us how to make them, and let us eat wonderful things--she gave us wonderful tips on how to make Indian cooking much easier. I now look forward to her next workshop on making Samosas-to add to our Bollywood night menus. Oh that all lovers of Indian food would have access to a teacher such as Mala.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcome to my World!

Here I will hopefully help to spread news and information about my favorite obsessions! Bollywood and Knitting!
I have been enjoying and studying Hindi films for about 6 years--I had a minor introduction during a Turner Classic Movie "Summer of Bollywood" series where they aired 'modern classics'. My son introduced me to a young lady, who would soon become my goddaughter, who got me further into Bollywood. I have since acquired a large collection of movies, scholarly and popular books on Bollywood and a large list of reviews I have posted on Netflix. I, in my eternal geekdom, have also listed the movies I own and reviewed.
So, with the help of my talented child, I will hopefully be putting reviews, information, news about upcoming films, and other information and links on this site for all who wish to further their knowledge of Bollywood!
Come, enjoy knitting and Bollywood with me--I hope to make it fun for all!