September 30, 2006

Praan Jaye Par Shaan Naa Jaye - not for Bollywood newbies

Some weeks ago Michael of came up with a great idea for bollywoodbloggers. Why not simultaniously publish reviews of our very own Sanjay Jhas first feature film "Praan Jaye Par Shaan Naa Jaye". Well today´s the day. Here the links to my fellow participants:

maria giovanna

And now Bollywoodbloggers project "Director meets Bloggers" here I come.

Meet Laxmi, Mona, Suman, Dulari, Sheela, Babban, Sukhvindar, Ramnik, Sawant, Pandhari, Sayaji, Saundarya, Iqbal, Sukhwinder, Mahendra and Aman. And a big bunch of other people living in or having a versted interest in the happenings at Popatlal Chunnilal Garodia Chawl in Mumbai.

Woah. Too much info. Head hurts.

Well at least until you get to know the main characters and fall in step with the movies pace. Par rukh chao. Before you get the wrong picture. I liked PJPSNJ. And I had a great time watching it. But its a movie that needs your full attention. Especially in the beginning.

I feel as if Sanjay wants a little much with his first film. On one hand he intruduces us to the problems the chawl community has to cope with like water, hygiene, lack of privacy and greedy owners. On another level there is the hardship lower middle class people in mumbai have to deal with in their own private lives and then not to forget the most dominating layer of being a satire with all its uncountable filmi innuendoes. All this packaged into one big, loud, messy masala film. He´s got a lot of strings in his hands to play with that need to taken care of. And he almost succeeds, but they are also a lot of plots and subplots for one poor unprepeared viewer to digest.

For me the movie has two big distinctly different parts. The first one with the huge amounts of info introduces us to the individual characters and their lifes and then right after the intermisson when the going gets tough the chawlwallas and -wallis have to move together and we move away from the individual stories to one main storyline.

It is my belief that a satiric view on a topic is only justified if you keep a certain amount of respect and deference to the subject. And Sanjay did that. Thats why you feel for the blackmarket-ticketwala, the Sadar-Iqbal bickering, the wifes with the good-for-nothing husbands and even deceptive Aman. Even when the tennants act stupid, or small, he gives them dignity. And I liked that.

Yes, there are some weaker points in the story, like the Saundarya story. No. glasses and braids don´t make a girl ugly and a miniskirt, contacts and new hairdo won´t change her that much that her parents don´t recognize her. And its also highly unlikely that the boy who never had any interest in her, treated her like a freak and does a 180 degree turn after seeing the improved version will have any chances with her now. And why should he?. Though I love first the slow-motion running at each other. I also feel that the second half is a weaker, especially because of some lengths in the Sati story.

But I also loved quite a lot. Sushmita being rather insane. The song references. Like the Lagaan song. That Sanjay included so strong women. Not only the Mona bit. Actually all of them. Like Divya Dutta and Shweta Menon playing great characters that reminded me of Mitryudand, which I saw last week.

Ganpat, played by Vijay Raaz, who apart from some very cool lines and the direct to camera narrator parts, has a great emotional moment. And the ticketwala, he has some great filmi lines. And I love it that when he looks for investors to stock up tickets for a new film that is supposed to be a Super-Hit and then turns out a desaster it is called "Kabhi Chikki Kabhi Chewing Gum". The bits around the interval. In fact every time the story stops you get some crazy stuff.

The movie is like a huge, cram-full hippie patch-work bag. It wants to be a bit much, but if you take it as a loving satire with some social-criticism undertones. And you´re wide awake. You´ll have a fun evening watching it.

One question remains:

These two firangi. I think I saw them at least also in Page 3. They are absolutly not able to act much less to speak proper English. Is the cliche true? Do you cast unsuspecting white tourists right from the street?

PS: Small note to indian film directors at large: If you need a character to play an instrument, then make it look real. And no, SRK in Mohabbatein playing violin and Saif in Parineeta playing the piano do not look real at all...

PPS: Sorry, I wanted to go online way earlier, but our main recording console in our A studio broke during this nights recording session and kept me away from blogger up until now. Lekhin aab fikar mat karo, we succeded.

September 26, 2006

Me Too!

I just had to do the random Blog Header thingy in my blog too. I had to. All the other cool kids have it, and I want to be a cool kid. So here. There are 4 (EDIT: now 10 *gg*) pics to start with. Thanx Beth for the code (Not that I asked before I copied it)
I also played a bit with the rest of the template so if something is totally off, please tell me (I cant check how it looks on Win machines)

September 25, 2006

Sholay - both sides now

Wohooo. They really did. They screened the censored version of Sholay tonight at the indian film week. I so hoped they would.

But let me start at the beginning. When I started to spend most of my worldy assets for Bollywood DVDs about 2 years ago, one of the first ones I got was of course Sholay. Problem tha ki Subtitles bahut kharab the. In fact they just did not work after about the first 30 minutes. It took me until this summer that I finally had enough and bought it a second time to finally be able to enjoy it in full.
Then during the short summer vacation I read Anupama Chopra´s "Sholay- the making of the classic". And then it got interesting but confusing. In both my DVDs Gabbar gets killed by the Thakur. Which is, as I learned from the book, the original ending that is supposed to be very hard to find and if, only on bootleged DVDs.

As you might recall Sholay was originally released in 1975 during the State of Emergency in India. And according to the book, the Censorboard was not happy with the movies climax. It particulary had a problem with the Thakur taking the law into his own hands and the police being a no-show in the fight against Gabbar. Not the best or most educationally worthwhile painted picture of the law-enforcement community in political instable times like these. So they forced Ramesh Sippy to re-shoot the scene having it end with the police showing up, giving some lectures on the importance of abiding the law and stop the Thakur before "doing the wrong thing".
Sippy was quite unhappy but it was the only way the movie would pass. So, again according to the book, the indian and later the international audience had to make do with an emotionally way weaker climax. Funny thing was though. For me the climax always ended with Gabbars death aka the uncensored version. The book telling me I have DVDs with an end that is supposed to be very hard to get was kind of confusing. And it made me curious to get my hands on the clipped version. HAH. And tonight I finally got it. And its really so less satisfying. I pity all who have not had a chance to watch the breakdown of the Thakur after Gabbar is dead. Fan-tas-tic!

PS: The DVD with the original ending and the working subtitles is the Eros release from 2000. I got mine from nehaflix.
PPS: I still claim I know Sholay from years ago. Like the 80ies or so. I will have to bother my contacts (who have nothing to do with TV programming - but they are as close to the knowing people as I can get) at the ORF (Austrian Broadcast Cooperation) and make them find out it Sholay was ever played on TV in Austria (finding out for Germany will be harder) because this is the only place I could have seen it.

EDIT 28/9/06: Ok, so it was not the ORF and it was not the 80ies. The German/French Channel ARTE aired it (a censored version) once only on August 14th, 1997.

PPPS: What climax have you seen? And I´m especially curious if the original ending is being shown in India? And if, since when. The book is from 2000 as well. So back then it still must have been the censored climax...

September 22, 2006

Kuch Naa Kaho - Softdrink anyone?

I missed the first pre-opening-credits scene in Kuch Naa Kaho. In fact only after watching the film the third time or so I realised that the "How to send money via Western Union" commercial/tutorial video that I always fast-forwarded was part of the movie! Aare Yaar, Rohan. Couldn´t you have just asked your dad to re-issue Sholay for some weeks in India and you might have been able to work with a bigger budget?

The product placement in this one is terrible. There is no Western Union after the first scene but the countless non-subtle Cola ads that come up during the course are even worse. Its so sad to watch its actually funny again.
But that doesn´t diminish the fact that Kuch Naa Kaho is a real sweet movie. It has a lot of weaknesses but there is also a lot of stuff that makes up for it.

The story is simple. But with a twist.

Raj (AB 2.0) is quite happy with the way his life is running. Living in New York. Full service at Hotel Mom.

So he is not too happy when he is lured to India to attend his cousins wedding, full knowing that his uncle will leave no stone unturned to find him a proper bride while he is there. And even as he is able to avert the initial attempts, he still finds himself meeting prospective bridematerial being chaperoned by Namrata (Aish) a fashion designer working for his uncle, whom he had a rather unfortunate, but nonetheless funny, first encounter with.

Well this is, in parts, a rather formulaic Bollywood love story so it comes as no surprise that Raj falls head over heals in love with his beautiful chaperone. And it is also not astonishing that Namrata has a secret that prevents her from giving in to the feelings she has for him in return.

So now, skip the next part if you don´t want to know what follows as there are some major spoilers lurking just around the corner.

spoiler on

It turns out that Namrata is a) married, b) has a 7 year old son and c) her husband deserted her on the day her son was born. So not quite the perfect onset for ek naya rishta. But after the initial shock wears off Raj is all the more set on getting her and the son (whom he met earlier and hit it off with instantly) And after sliding down a very very trashy theme park-waterslide standing in for a rain initiated tumble down a hill, she finally relents.

So all´s well. Oh please. Concentrate. Guess who shows up after seven years the day Namrata is supposed to meet her to-be mother in law. Duh. Arbaaz Khan. Well, the husband. Telling her in typical old-school bollywood style, that he is back. He left with another woman to make lots of money. She ditched him and now he´s back for good and "wife, you forgive me, right? Ok. Now where can I put my stuff?"

Not that Namrata is happy about this turn of events (here the storyline starts to differ from older more conservative fare) but she eventually gives in. Until the bastard finds out that his wife intented to get married to Raj. And throws a public tantrum at the wedding reception of Rajs cousin. That is the one drop too much. Namrata gives the stupid bloke a nice speech about not caring about stupid society laws. And. Well, and confesses her love for Raj publicly. Much to the delight of her son, Raj and her new in-laws. And now really all´s well that ends well. As Arbaaz moves his butt out of the way.

Hah. Whenever I see the scene where Arbaaz confesses brags about his whereabouts in the last seven years I so want to trade places with Aish. And forget all about Gandhigiri and just kick his [self imposed censorship due to extreme measures]. And wouldn´t I just feel great about it.

spoiler off

So the story is alright. Its just the execution that needs some working on. Ash could shed about an inch of makeup and still the rain would roll of her face like water from a new car. Then its just not cool when you get irritated by huge cola banners in highly emotional scenes. And the background score sometimes reminds me of elevator music. But.

But. The songs are great. The song visualisation is great. I´m so in love with the choreography of "Baat Meri Suniye To Zara". The opening credits (as seen in the first Bluffmaster! cinema scene) There are some really funny scenes with AB 2.0.
The one about Michael "Michael ladka hai". The way he frightens off the prospective brides. And the making off. Cool stuff.

September 19, 2006

Yeh Hai India - Indian Film Week in Vienna

Starting this Thursday the Indian Film Week in Viennas Filmcasino hosts a week of "classic-ish" Indian movies. We´ll get Parineeta, Mohabbatein, Rang de Basanti, Bombay and Kannathil Muthamittal. Then with Mitryudand, 22nd June 1897 and Ram Teri Ganga Maili some not so well known movies. And last but not least big "classics" in the form of Guide, Mr. India and Sholay.

I want to catch as many films as possible on the big screen. And that makes for a busy week for me. I´m struggling to fit my work schedule around the showtimes which is not easy at the moment. But so far I think I can make it to at least the "classics" and the off-mainstream ones. Btw. I´m very curious about Mr India. I had it at home on DVD for quite some time but still left it unwatched as I got to know it would be played a while back and I decided to watch it on the big screen first.

September 18, 2006

Autograph - Past to present

Hmm. Very interesting. This one actually suprised me. Very slow and so quiet it almost made me stop watching at one point. Then I also feared that the ending would be obviously filmi (mostly because I read some comments on Marcos forum about people being actually angry about the end) and I expected the worst.
Funny how sometimes I can´t see any difference in behaviour or thoughts between me and my students or the <18 year olds on the forum and then some small thing like their and my view on that film completely colliding comes up and I am reminded that there is of course a difference in the general view on life whether you´re 16 or 35. I for my part thought the ending was exactly the way its supposed to be. Its a realistic satisfactory end to an grown-up movie.

Senthil is getting married. He heads out on a journey through the south of India and his memories to hand out invitations to people from his past. There are his school friends and his Highschool teacher in rural Tamil Nadu and Kamala, his first love and his first heartbreak. And then Lathika, whom he met and fell in love with
as a student when his father got transferred to Kerala.

We also get to meet Divya his friend in Chennai whose outlook on live and great inner strength showed him a way back into life and happiness after Senthils heart got scarred in Kerala.

Its a story about coming of age and the bonds we make and break on our way. And telling us that its ok to do so.

There is a term used in the English subtitles that I also read in earlier films and that makes me think. "to have had a failure in love" is used to describe a broken heart. Hmm. Interesting.

September 17, 2006

time flies when you´re having fun

I went without webaccess (AHHHHHHH) Friday to Sunday for two simple reasons.
1) I "had" to revisit my new nephew Sebastian in Salzburg.
2) We went off-roading again. This time in the mountain area of Salzburg county (Saalbach/Hinterglemm to be precise).

If you want to know what we did there, how I fared with archery and see some pics of the incredibly beautiful scenery, head over to the other blog.

September 14, 2006

Lage Raho Munnabhai - Yes please Lage Raho

I luuuurv Munnabhai. Naa not only because he´s closely related to my FPMEMA. Because you just have to. Bas.
Right after arriving home from Salzburg on Sunday I went to watch the Lage Raho Munnabhai screening. And I´m very grateful to my sister that she timed the birth of my nephew so I was able to get back on time. Btw. I´ll keep this post free of spoilers apart from the general storyline.

Munnabhai and his second in command work the serious business. Kidnapping, extortion, evicting houses (without the owners consent). Well, you get the idea. Its just that Munna seems to have shifted his priorities for the moment. He is in love. With Jhanvi the host of a local radio morning show. One day lady luck seems to shine on Munna´s so far fairly onesided love affair. Gandhijis birthsday is coming up and Jahnvi is having a quiz about him on her show with the first prize being a face to face meeting on her show.

So Munna calls in his gang to "help" him winning it. Leading to one of the funniest scenes in the movie. I wont tell how he manages to win. But winning he does. Not that there would be any question about it, if you have an ally like Circuit.
Problems arise when Munna almost screws the whole story by pretending to be history professor. Because now he has to stock up on Gandhi knowledge fast to get through a Gandhi speech in Jhanvis house he got himself invited to hold.
With no other options left, Munna heads to the library and starts to cram. 3 (?) days and nights without a break.

And then the most wonderful thing happens. The ghost of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi shows up and promises to help Munna. So all´s well? Not exactly. There are not to be missed differing views on how to conduct your life between Gandhi and Munnabhai. Somehow not surprising kidnapping and bone-breaking don´t go too well with truth and non-violence.

So while we watch Munnabhai juggling his business, his love life and "Gandhigiri" and we get to enjoy the usual hilarious Munna/Circuit banter, a new villain shows up. And the going gets tough.

Lucky Singh (Boman Irani) a local builder who up to now has been a very good consumer for the munna/circuit enterprises. But in his quest to marry off his daughter he needs the second innings house, a sort of old age home that Jhanvi has a vested interest in keeping it as it is. Good for us. Because that leads to trouble in the Munna/ Jhanvi/ Circuit/ Lucky universe. And we get to see Munna and Circuit in action the non-violent way (well at least they try)

The thing that makes LRM so special is the way Rajkumar Hirani managed to write and direct a great sequel to a cult film, include an effective lecture on a modern day approach to Satyagraha and still (almost) recreates the raw feeling and emotional side that made the first Munnabhai so endearing.

Go watch it. You will love it. Kasam Se.

PS: all the pics are from the movies official website
PPS: even though we all were spoilered we had our screeming teenage fangirl moment when the cameo showed up close to the end of the film.

September 13, 2006

Short Bluffmaster! update

Kasam se. I honestly didn´t plan to watch it again. Such. I just put it in the DVD drive for the songs, to listen while I was writing my "Lage Raho Munnabhai" post. But the VLC player started with the audio commentary track of Rohan, Riteish and Abhi and I got stuck. So its not my fault!
Anyway. I loved it. Of cause. Again. Is watching a movie more the 15 times obsessive?
The point I wanted to make was that I found out something new for my Buffmaster! Trivia List:

-The 4th DVD on the TV in Dittus room is "Catch Me If You Can". Thats the last one I´m able to decipher. The 5th one is impossible to read.
-And the cinema where Shaan is playing is the Maratha Mandir. Thats the theatre that has been playing DDLJ since1995.

Just wanted to let you know. And find a reason to post another movie still of AB2.0. Magar ab chalo na babasko. Back to your Munnabahi post.

September 10, 2006

Say hi to Sebastian

Oh my, what a busy weekend. Saturday 8.15 AM the phone rings and a rather nervous brother-in-law calls that my nephew is on his way and my sister insists on my coming to the hospital. So 20 min later we´re in the car and head to Salzburg (3 hours drive) and arrive just in time to welcome our cute nephew Sebastian. And since its my first nephew and I´m so much in love with him already, I need to show off a bit... So world say hi to Sebastian, born on September 9th 2006:

Btw. I need to share a quote from my, quite shaken, brother-in-law right after he came out of the delivery room: "I don´t think I will ever make her [my sister] go through this again." Good boy...

September 07, 2006

Pyaar Ki Ek Kahani Song DVD - Liveblogging

Totally Basmatic proclaimed this week to be the Bollywood Song DVD Week and just like Beth got inspired to post about one, I decided to give it a try in the form of liveblogging which Maja is so great in.

Here world, I give you: T-series "Pyaar ki Ek Kahani... Full Songs from Latest Films". It has - apart from many more - the videos from Krrish and came out more then a month before the Film was available DVD. And if you remember my (I still claim not totally voluntary) Krrish obsession, you won´t be suprised that I had to have it.

So into the DVD drive it goes and we´ll start.

No, stop. before you start reading: I did have no idea this was going to be such a long post. So be warned, the DVD has 50 songs...

18:12 Oh no, I forgot. Commercials. Hmm T-series is a fullservice company. They offer CD-R´s, DVD-R and stereo systems as well.
18:14 Hah. Only two spots. And here we go. Play All.
18:15 *Sigh* Pyaar Ki Ek Kahani.
18:16 Grrrr. Stop. Phone. *Squee* I won two tickets to a a hip Bollystyle Event Clubbing. Hey dont laugh. Thats something. One ticket is 16 € (20$!!)
18:24 Resume. Btw. I am very proud that I could understand a lot of the lyrics in PKEK without the help of any subtitles and dictionary even before I saw the film.
18:27 Hrithik is the dancing good. Not that I mentioned that fact once or twice before..

18:31 Somebody (TB? tum?) blogged that Hrithiks t-shirts in "Koi Tumsa Nahin" look terrible. That is so NOT true. At least not in comparison to the clothes Priyanka wears. Bas.
18:39 I do love the Krrish songs. Even after 3 months of powerplay. But I can´t have the Remix (as I can´t have most of the Remixes of Hindi Songs) So why don´t I just skip it.
18:40 Ahh Zayed. "Rocky". Eehh Himesh Reshammiya.
18:43 Ohh, blond girls and Himesh and now he´s even in the Video. This is going to be a loooong evening.
18:45 *Squeee* not all is lost. That song is from "Anthony Kaun Hai" and who graces the screen in a few select scenes? Yes, yes, its my FPMEMA and I just had a small glimpse of him. The world is good again.
18:47 "Allah Kare" from "Ahista Ahista". The new Deol is kind of sweet. Has anyone seen the film? Can he act?

18:48 The songs seem to be pretty short. Hai naa? And its the third in a row that has Himesh in the video. I just counted his 11th baseball-cap or so.
18:53 Maybe the "Full Songs from Latest Films" wasn´t a so wise shopping decision after all - "The Killer". Kisser King.
18:56 The songs really are short. And it keeps getting tougher. Himesh again. And Emran. Together. Bangs head on table.
18:58 "Love you unconditionally, soniyeeee". Repeat. Guess who? This is obviously a sneaky and successful try to foist a Himesh DVD on me.
19:00 Ohhhh, Sunil Shetty and Shahid and Kareena. And Himesh. And I don´t care because: Ohhhh, Sunil Shetty and Shahid and Kareena. "Chup Chup Ke".
Kareena and Shahid have been on holiday in Vienna 3 weeks ago. I read about it the day after they moved on to Salzburg. My hometown. Where I have been about a month ago. No comment.
19:05 "My love for you is not a one night stand. Oh jaan I love you, miss you" I think we have an early winner for the Dumb English Lyrics honorlist. "Rocky". And H. Yes, I refuse to type more then H. anymore.
19:08 Finally sparely dressed long leged white chicks. But no snakes so far. And Sanjay again. So its kind of ok.

19:11 Hmm maybe the terribly dressed thing of the RGV factory girls has nothing to do with RGV but with the girls. "The Killer". And Nisha Kothari is wearing the hand-me-downs of Antara Mali from "Naach".
19:14 Arghh I hate this song. "Diya DiLLLLLL Dil Diya".
19:16 Arshad Warsi in a love song. Somehow I just can´t see Circuit romancing a girl in an exotic location.
19:19 Oh come on. "Ahista" (Remix). That means H. on a stage. Sort of liveish.
19:20 Maaf kijie lekin. Skip.
19:21 "Would you be my babydoll? If you be my bad boy". Uhm. But. But its from "Pyaar ke side effects" and that means Rahul Bose. So, main naraaz nahin hoon.
19:26 Shahid is sweet. So sweet that I might be tempted to watch Chup Chup Ke.
19:27 Ohhh, I know this one. One from the movie with one of the worst screenplays in cinematic history: "Kyon Ki". But a very nice Salman. That song is shot in Romania. And thats really exotic.
19:32 I don´t want to jinx it. But we seem to have left the H. universe. "Mujhse Shaadi Karogi". And this very questionable pic.

19:36 Ok folks, now we have the official confirmation. This is a good Song DVD. "Tumse Milke Dil Ka". *sigh*
19:42 I´m so happy I can even tolerate H. and Emran. Rain. Pastels. College function. "Mere Jaawan Mit Jaawan".
19:45 Still no snakes. But more rain. "Laga Laga". Sush and Salman dancing on a very "realistic" backstreet. "Maine Pyaar Kyon Kiya".

19:52 Ok Bollywood, one suggestion. Dont. Ever. Write. Waltzes. And if, at least dont use the demo preset sounds form an old Casio keyboard. No. Just don´t.
I think I won´t watch "Chup Chup Ke" after all.
19:54 The white sparely dressed chicks are back. "Aryan". And a mini Salman (Sohail) and the mini Aish (Sneha Ullal). Hehe.
20:01 Another Remix. This time from "Aksar". "Soniye". And I repeat my sentiments about Remixes: Uaghh!
20:04 The Casio keyboard from "Chup Chup Ke" is back. And it is featured in the Video and its actually from Suzuki (?!) They really should stick to making bikes and cars.
20:06 Uihhh, nice. "Tune Sath Jo Mera Chhooda". "Tere Naam". One of my favorite Salman Films. No. I don´t mind the hairstyle.
20:10 Uihhh, nicer. "Chalein Jaise Hawain". Sorry have to get up and dance a little.
20:15 Now this is bad. Remember the Gypsie Kings? And their "My Way" cover song? Thats the Hindi version of it. "Tell me is this love?" Thank god its only a Promo for "Pyaar Ke Side Effects" Its over before it really hurts.
20:17 SRK. "Swades". "Yun Hi Chala Chal". Well, we know that. And we like it. One of the first songs I could sing along in its entirety.

20:38 Some more forgetable H. stuff. But now. "Dus". AB 2.0. FINALLY. And it doesn´t hurt that we have FPMEMA in it too. "Chham Se".
20:44 "Tere Naam" again. 10 more Songs to go.
20:49 Turn up volume. Short argument with husband. He relents. Back to veeeeeery hot FPMEMA. "Ishq Samandar". "Kaante". L.A. Strip Club. Bad-ass Sanjay. And the voice of Sunidhi Chauhan. Oh I love that song.

21:03 "Jaane Kyun". DCH. Aamir and Preity. I´ve really been missing them. And there are so many of the places in Sydney that I´ve been to in that Video. Been there before I saw the Film. Of cause. Grrr.
21:07 After another bit of H. now "Lucky Lips". From "Lucky - no time for love". A very questionable entry. "Teenage" girls in schooluniforms. One of them is the itemgirl from the first Munnabhai. All doing the sexy dance thing. And on top the Voice of Asha Bhosle. Nah just not working me. But I guess the male audience won´t mind.

21:12 H. again. And in the Video after a long time. Hmm I did not really miss him. But strange I sort of developed a lets call it tolerance for the lack of a more fitting description

21:17 Three to go. "Phir Baat Kati". The stringpuppet song from "Paheli". Is such a sweet idea. Arghh if they just had not messed up the climax of the movie.
21:20 OK. I might just give up before the last song is over. The sound has been terrible for the last 4 songs. Distorted. And even if the black and white theme of "Gustakh Dil" looks sweet and 60ish. And we get treated to Shahid one more time, I have to skip to the last song.
21:23 And what is the last song? Drumroll please...."Humko Deewana Kar Gaye". LOL. Sorry Beth. 50 songs and not even a glimpse of Akshaye.

September 05, 2006

Don - the original one

I had this movie lying around for almost one year and I have no idea as to why I never came around to watching it. It is exactly the kind of movie I love. 70ies fare. Cool Amitabh. Cool Zeenat. Cool clothes. Cool music. Cool Action. Perfect masala fair with a pinch of Blaxploitation elements.

Now if you plan to go into the new Don totally spoiler free (not that I know anything yet as to how much of the storyline will be changed by Faran Akhtar) stop reading here. Right here. No really, stop reading. Will you, please. Good.

Still here? Well don´t say I didn´t warn you.

Don (just Don, no other name) is a bad boy. He works for the local branch of an international Gold, currency and whatever smugglers association.

He´s the guy who carries the suitcases and is pretty ruthless with people who try to frame him. Bombs are one of his specialities. And police are so far unsuccessful in breaking up the cartel. Any informer or undercover agent up to now ended up rather deadish. Even the help of an Interpol agent has not led to anything but dead bodies. But steadly one very determined police detective keeps getting closer. One day so close that Don is shot and before any info on the bosses and the network can be found out he dies. Not good. We actally need him alive to really hurt the smuggler ring. So policewala has an idea. A while back he had an encounter with a street guy who looks exactly like Don.
And the plan is to plant the nice chap as Don right in the middle of the gang. And don´t tell anybody about it. It takes a bit on the policewalas side to convince Vijay to go undercover. But eventually he is planted in the gang and is able to get the info we´re looking for.

So far so good. But of course there are some obstacles in the way.

One in the form of Zeenat Aman. She´s the sister of one former gang member that was killed by Don. The first try to get back at Don by his fiance backfired and resulted in a) a very cool dance sequence of the divine Helen

and b) in getting her killed as well. So Zeenat gets rid of her Sari, takes some Karate and Judo lessons and heads after Don on her own. The Don who in the meantime is not the real Don anymore.

The other inconvenience is the bloody mole in the policeforce whose actions get the good policewala killed and Vijay stranded as Don without any proof of his being a mole as well.
And to top that off there is Pran who has an agenda on his own.
So Vijay has to run from the gang and the police. And what do we do if the going gets tough? How about a bit of Bhang, Paan and Gaan to refresh your spirits.

Thoroughly refreshed Vijay can now head out again to fix the mess he´s landed himself into. And we are treated to some very nice (and long) fight scenes.

So did I love it? Of course. Am I curious as to what Farhan Akhtar made of it? Very. Do I think that SRK will do the role justice? I have no idea. I have no doubts that we´ll finally be treated to a great bad-ass SRK again after a long time. I´m not sure though about the Vijay (or Rahul in the new Don) parts. But I´m optimistic. With the right director Shahrukh is able to underplay in comedic parts. And in my take Farhan is a very cool director. So no reason for me not to get hibbelig.

September 03, 2006

Get genuine DVDs - watch Making Ofs

Watching movies is a fullservice timepass for me. Months before their cinema release I hype myself into a frenzy (more on that here). Then I´ll try to watch any indian movie that is played in cinemas here and/or desperately wait for (international) DVD releases. Why? Well, apart from loving the features themselves I´m a sucker for Behind The Scenes featurettes. Just can´t get enough of them. After I watch a film I want background info about it. The more the better. That is one of the reasons why I don´t rent and very very very rarely buy non genuine DVDs (and feel bad about it).

Last week Krrish, Omkara and Golmaal arrived. Aur babasko bahut khuchi thi.

So what did we learn this time? t.hype. your FPMBF is totally crazy. Cute, but bilkul pagal. There is footage from his wushu training in Honkong to prepare him for the stunts in Krrish. The guy is nuts. His workout routine is inhuman.

Btw. this here seems to be moment right before the wire snapped and Hrithik took "the fall" as he is referring to it.

Oh and the director of the "making of the music" and/or the Roshans like Joe Satriani. "Surfing with the Alien" is playing as background music during the interviews. Bahut accha.

Omkara on the other hand does not offer too much new info. Some of the making ofs where already part of the Promos that came out before the movies release. But its nice to see them fullscreen.
And there is also the video to the remixed version of the Omkara title track. Don´t like the Remix but the video has some nice eye-candy, err, I mean visuals...

And this:

Read the lyrics before you watch it or it makes no sense at all.

Talking about not making sense. One thing that hinders a complete understanding is that on international DVDs the special features never come with subtitles. No problem as long as they stick to talking English. But I take the other times as Hindi lessons.

The coolest "Making ofs" I saw so far are from the two Rohan Sippy films "Kuch Naa Kaho" and "Bluffmaster!". Really funny commentary tracks and commented deleted scenes and the best part: AB 2.0 fooling around. Fantastic stuff. Highly recommended. Very.

PS: If you plan to get married this year. The only auspicious date left is December 13th during the night...that at least is what the little calender says courtesy of that came with my Krrish DVD

September 02, 2006

Chandramukhi - Snake On A Chandelier

Do not show this one to a Bollywood sceptic. Smug western filmfans tend to raise their eyebrows the SRK way if the credits do this:

and probably run if the not so young hero, steps out of his Skoda Octavia, pops a chewing gum and then does this:

The enlightened filmi fan on the other hand starts to whistle and yell in admiration when Superstar Rajnikanth makes his entry kicking the bad guys and defying gravity. Well I did at least. The first (and so far only) movie with Rajnikanth that I saw was Geraftar and that was a very cool. So it was high time for an update on the Superstar´s filmography. And to make this one count I choose Chandramukhi to give indian scary-movies another chance in the same try. (Kaal. Fail. Next please.)
Oh and this one really delivers. Simply because it does everything that a Rajnikanth movie usually needs. Fight scenes defying gravity. "Superstar" references. Underwhelming dance sequences by the hero. Some chilly moments like:

And Drama. Funny wigs. All characters bowing to Rajni´s wisdom. Jokes (in part funny, mostly lame). So from that side its perfect masala fair with wonderfully over-the-top stunts.

Oh you need a story too? No problem this one here works wonderfully:
Due to a work assignment newly wed couple moves to village. There husband buys house that is said to be haunted by ghost of murdered dancer. Her ashes (and so her spirit) are supposed to be locked up in a room on the top floor of the house.

But the modern enlightened couple does not believe the rumours and nosy wife enters forbidden room. Soon after strange things start happening in the house. Noises. Music. And the tricky part. It looks like somebody/something is trying to kill husband. So it is very convenient that very good friend and famous psychiatrist Rajnikanth is only a phone call away and now sets out to find what led dancer to end up in locked up room. And stop poor husband from being targeted. And unite family being at odds and make everybody happy and find enough time to getting his own girl.

and, and, and. Its. Just. So. Cool.

Sangdil Sanam - Oh Boy!

There is trash and then there is trash. There are films that are unwatchable like Meri Aan and movies like Suryavanshi which play in a league of their own. Now Sangdil Sanam is stumbling along the thin borderline that separates those two.

But judge for yourself:
Upright bank manager is framed terribly by his friend. Instead of a happy life with his wife, 14 jear old son and 14 year old daughter-in-law (!!!) the girls father robbs the bank, manipulates the brakes on daddies car and so daddy is believed dead by his wife and son, which are advised to flee the angry mob to the most remote village they can find by "friend" who in turn takes his daughter and vanishes to London. Daddy on the other hand miraculously survives, is charged with robbery and is sentenced for life in prison (he is released after 10 years).
And so far the credits don´t even have finished. Ten years later the treacherous friend and beti return to India and the boy (Salman) is sent out by his mom (Reema Lagoo) to fetch the daughter in law. Lekin ek problem hai. She (Manisha Koirala) is now a spoilt fury despising poor people and whipping away every guy who does not have lakhs on the bank.

A lot of songs and masti scenes (and I mean a LOT) boy has had it, kidnappes the shrew and brings her home where at first she humiliates everybody but then sees the err in her ways and becomes the perfect bahu and wife. Only to be kidnapped right back again by the groom that her dad (the evil friend as we remember) choose for her (not knowing that he is in fact a fraud with the intention to ruin the evil friend and sell his daughter into prostitution)

Oh there are a lot more twists and turns and sidestories but they have to be seen to be believed, so lets just say there is a huge fight in the end and all´s well that ends well.
If you want to watch a movie you can shout at, laugh at and cringe at really gory fight scenes then you should consider this one. I had a ball watching it.