Friday, November 28, 2014

Devdas : Much Ado About No One

By the time I got around to Devdas (the 2002 Sanjay Leela Bansali film), I was already a Shah Rukh Khan fan (even if I didn't want to be one). Usually, I would read the wiki page of a Bollywood film first, think it over many times, before I decide to watch it. See, since they average 3 hours long, I'd rather commit my time to something that would really entertain and enrich me.

So, to cut this review short... I did not like Devdas. Why would a sweet and gentle Paro (played by Aiswarya Rai) and a graceful and wise Chandramukhi (played by Madhuri Dixit) fall in love and commit (emotinally) to someone like Devdas (played by Shah Rukh Khan)? He did not come across as kind, considerate, etc. His one saving grace was he kept a promise or two.  But really, I didn't think him worthy of the love of the two.

Maybe because I never had patience for drunkards and fools in the first place :)

And the two women ARE the heart of this film, really. I loved the juxtaposition between a pure, naive wife and an experienced, realistic courtesan. I loved Chandramukhi's lines where she confronted Kalibabu with the possibility that men like him could be using their own sisters/daughters when they visit brothels. See, that was a concept I never really thought of, given that it doesn't seem likely for men in my country to frequent the same brothels as do their fathers/relatives (plus everyone, even the sex workers, are transitory) whereas, it seems daughters of sex workers in India (being outcasts) are doomed to really follow their mother's trade.

I really loved Chandramukhi's character but feel it was wasted on Devdas (who physically hurt Paro! WTH?) and because of that, I don't think I will be watching this again. I doubt I can get past that.

Oh, love the set though. Kept trying to figure out where one house ends and the other begins.

Ishaqzaade : Crazy Intense

Ishaqzaade (aka "Born to Hate, Destined to Love") is a Romeo and Juliet tale set in modern day rural India, between warring clans. It's a perfect film for teens, I think, because the general feel and sound is defiant, aggressive and unrepentant.

This is the second movie that stars Arjun Kapoor (playing Parma) that I have seen (the first was "2 States") and I like how vastly different he is here... and I like how Parineeti Chopra (playing Zoya) managed to fall in love without ever appearing weak and flighty. To think she was duped by Parma and cast away by her family.

The movie was fast-paced with some really intense scenes. Actually, the movie is best described as INTENSE in one word. Or "pagal" :)

Of course, I couldn't help but raise a brow at the wedding's consummation (who makes love, or has sex, like that?) They looked more like they were freeing their feet from closed shoes after a long day's walk instead of getting sexual release. Their kissing scenes were a lot steamier!

The soundtrack was much too noisy and angry for my tastes. Still, I might just watch it again for the undeniable chemistry of the two... and the sheer helplessness I felt when their people were converging around them for the kill.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3 Idiots : Live to Love, Live to Learn

The fact is, 3 Idiots isn't really a flawless film but I consider it perfectly wonderful as it is. It has become my go-to film when I am feeling depressed and lost. It's also my go-to film when I just want to get entertained. Heaven knows it offers plenty of laughs.

At first, I admittedly got confused because Rancho (Aamir Khan) appeared too old to be a college kid and then sometimes appeared just right. Turns out, he was too old (which was why he said he kept refusing to do the film in the first place, until director Rajkumar Hirani was able to convince him) at 44. And this was my first Bollywood film so I had no idea who he was and what could have motivated them to choose him for the role.

Still, I think the movie was perfectly cast. Each celebrity OWNED their characters so much so that I cannot imagine anyone else playing them. I liked that Pia (Kareena Kapoor) wasn't overly pretty (which could have distracted from everything). I loved Raju  Rastogi (Sharman Joshi) and want to hug him, especially when he cries. And I thought Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan) just super endearing with his boyish smile.

Both Virus (Boman Irani) and Chatur (Omi Vaidya) also had strong characters that were well-played. I don't think you can watch 3 Idiots without also becoming a Boman Irani fan.

Absolutely no dull moment! Didn't realize it was close to 3 hours long. And yes, you may shed some tears.

But I guess what really makes this my all-time fave is the emphasis on people and relationships and the love for learning. I also like that Rancho and friends were typical young men, who were sometimes unkind, sometimes clueless, sometimes too enthusiastic for their own good. It made their characters relate-able. I also feel that most/all of the movie was genuine material, in the sense that I have seen enough Bollywood movies that borrowed heavily on other movies/shows.

My favorite scenes include:
~ Millimeter (Man Mohan) speaking the same speech Virus was delivering while ironing clothes
~ the fart poem by Chatur
~ Aal Izz Well item song
~ Rancho telling Virus he does not give up on his students (the Farhanitrate Prerajulisation scene)
~ machine and book definition
~ Mona's (Mona Singh) delivery
~ Farhan's confrontation with his father (oh, how I cry!)

I also liked Aamir's look as a weatherman in the item song Zoobi Doobi.

I think... I have seen the movie at least 15 times already. It's still the movie I recommend to friends as "the one movie they should not miss watching in this lifetime."


* English translation of Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh... song playing in their car ride to Shimla

Free as the wind was he
Like a soaring kite was he
Where did he go... let's find him
Free as the wind was he
Like a soaring kite was he
Where did he go... let's find him

We were led by the path we took
While he carved a path of his own
Stumbling, rising, carefree walked he
We fretted about the morrow
He simply reveled in today
Living each moment to the fullest
Where did he come from...
He who touched our hearts
and vanished...
Where did he go... let's find him

In scorching Sun,
he was like a patch of shade...
In an endless desert, like an oasis...
On a bruised heart,
like soothing balm was he
Afraid, we stayed confined in the well
Fearless, he frolicked in the river
Never hesitating to swim
against the tide
He wandered lonesome as a cloud
... Yet he was our dearest friend
Where did he go... let's find him


Because of this movie, you want to stay a dreamer. You feel empowered to ask questions, shake things up, seize the day and live life to the fullest.


This movie had a kissing scene (that looked cute rather than romantic/sexy)... I will go without such for very many movies, hehe.


'Twas only recently that I discovered IDIOT stands for "I'll Do It In my Own Terms"  :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hubby Got Me Hooked...

... and he may be regretting that every day.

Of course, it started very innocently enough.

Hubs discovered Ghajini and kept raving and raving about it. I'd listen to him, smile indulgently, and then go back to my TV series.

Because he was bowled over by Aamir Khan, he Googled him and found 3 Idiots. He raved and raved and raved again until finally, he sat me down one Saturday afternoon and made me watch.

Of course, I fell in love.

But more than the movie (which is still my all-time fave), I fell in love with the lyrics of the songs and the fact that the actors were really great! Before, I thought of Bollywood as severely noisy, gold-y and dance-y and therefore not for me.

Fast forward to two years. I have a Bollywood song play list, which my sons know. In fact, they even said we should have played them instead at their birthday party instead of the 80's hits we used as background music. My sons will do anything and everything just to watch Bollywood item songs. The only actors they can name are Bollywood ones (even i they have yet to watch a full-length film). My eldest has even undertaken the task of memorizing all the celebs that appeared in Deewangi.

My sons are like that because I play the songs every day.

And I have gotten to the point wherein I am not used to watching movies without subtitles... or seeing onscreen kiss. Haha.

I am Bollyhooked and still in love!

(and by the way, I used Amritsar as background for this blog because of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)