December 11, 2008

Oye Lucky, Lucky d´oh

I really wanted to write something witty and clever about OLLO. Problem is, the Hindi/Punjabi in that film was too much for me. I feel I understood way to little to give an even partly significant opinion.

So I will wait for the DVD release, re-watch it with Subs and get the opportunity to drool about Abhay once more. Don´t get me wrong. I got what the movie is about and I really liked what I saw, but from the reaction of the crowd around me, I just know that I missed out on much cool stuff.

So lets concentrate on what I can say. Loved the camera work and the lighting of the film. As I did the way the story unfolded. The music is cool. And the Set Design. Paresh Rawal is so so good. And then there was Abhay.

I´ve been exposed to quite a lot of Deol in the last weeks due to one of them popping up in every second film that plays on TV here. So I feel I can say with authority that Abay is the best out there. Yes, I can hear the screams of "but Dharam in the 70ies!". Yah yah, ok. That is a valid point but as of today the best Deol at this moment in time is by faaaar Abhay. Bas. Khe dia na. Bas.

PS: has tons of cool stuff on Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye. Here.

November 23, 2008

Dostana. High gloss. Little brain. Bahut mast.

So there are those two hot Indian ladke in Miami Beach and both are looking for a nice place to stay. The perfect location would be rooms in an apartment owned by this beautiful fashion magazine editor. Only, her auntyji rightfully does not think it to be wise to let two virile guys (one looking like AB2.0 after loosing just the right amount of weight and the other bearing an undeniable resemblance to John - we have a winner in the 6-pack contest - Abraham)

Idea! Since one is a photographer and the other one a nurse, what would be more natural as to pretend to be a gay couple. And by being that posing no danger to the landlady´s honour. So they move in and become the thickest of friends. Until both fall in love with her and the plot somewhat thickens.

Obviously the part with both guys getting more and more entangled in their pretend gayness is very very funny. Yes, of course there are the stereotypes. But hey, those are straight Indian guys pretending to be gay and the film manages to not make a farce of it. The only minus point is guy number 3. Well at least Bobby Deol got rid of his mane a while back but still, it doesn´t gel.

My favorite part? The Kirron Kher bits where a riot.

Oh and btw. Dostana set the bar for the most romantic date. I will only say KKHH. I challenge every guy to top that.

Yuvvraaj - at least it didn´t have a shower scene with Anil

I am utterly confused. It´s a fact. Yuvraaj is a bad movie. Think creepy 90ies bad. But somehow it works. And I don´t have the faintest idea why it does.

The one and only reason for me to make myself brace the rain and watch Yuvraaj yesterday was that I wanted to see how Subash Ghai framed those parts of the story that played in Austria and Czechia (For those interested, except for one tiny piece which might really have been Czechia they shot most scenes in the Tyrol and Salzburg). Cinetirol can be happy. They got a beautifully shot tourism adfilm.
As for the rest of it. Yuvraaj is old school. In a bad sense. Everything people (outside and inside India) make fun about in Bollywood Films is there. Hell, Ghai even used the freaking "thunder" to accent the gravity of what´s happening on screen.

So it took a while to get into it. Mithun helped a bit. As did Zayed who finally looked good again in a film. But a film starting with Katrina stangling her poor chello was not easy to digest. Salman loosing his shirt exactly 15 min into the film did´t help either. The Extras were really really really bad (Bollywood, seriously, you need to get yourself some better white Extras, or at least make them stop looking straight into the camera or at the AD because they have no idea what to do and what not) The costumes will feed Bollywoodfugly for months. Don´t forget Filmi physics like hurricane-like winds in rooms but not even one moving hair when driving an open convertible at 60mph.

As for the story. Been there. Done that. About 1.23.042 times. Three brothers. Not on speaking term. A reluctant father-in-law to be. An unjust will. Evil greedy uncles, aunties and cousins. And POISON. There has been poison! I think that was the moment when I made my peace with Yuvraaj.

So it is an old school film. With an old school story. And old school sloppy filmmaking.
And in the end I came out and had to confess to myself that I had actually had a good time. One part of the Bollywoodfan in me who acutally got hooked on Indian cinema because of films like that, had a fun retro-flashback. Even while the other part cringed and hated Ghai because he ruined my believe that Bollywood was finally over making films that way.

PS: As for the locations. The ones I can name are Hangar 7 in Salzburg, Kristallwelten in Wattens, Festung Kufstein and quite a few other locations in and around Innsbruck.

November 21, 2008

Dasvidaniya bitter-sweet goodbye

Sure Dasvidaniya (Goodbye in Russian) is nothing but another version of a "bucket list" film. But it is an endearing Indian version.

Amar (fantastic Vinay Pathak) finds out that he has 3 months to live. Problem is that you cannot call what he did with his live up to that moment as "living". So after a pep talk from his alter-ego he starts to write and work down a "10 points to do before I die" list. It contains not really spectacular things. No skydiving or dancing on the terasse of Eiffel tower. It is real stuff like buying a car or meeting old friends that give him a chance to finally live before dying.

Dasvidaniya is a small film with an excellent cast. It´s quiet and sweet and funny and it made me tear up add the oddest scenes. I loved it for being unspectacular. And for small but shining moments like Amar explaining to his guitar teacher why he started wearing all those threads and rings. Or the first scene on the brigde. Or the love declaration. Or... There are so many wonderful moments in it.

Yes, it is a niche film. But if you, as I do, have a weak spot for off the beaten track films and are as happy as I am to see Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dupia or Saraubh Shukhla on the big screen then you have to go and watch this.

November 14, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram - ahh, lets make that 500

Back in 2006 when I wrote about Peralagan I titled the post "Surya. Wow". That could be a very fitting title for this post as well.

I managed to watch a charity preview of Vaaranam Aayriam (Thousand Elephants) yesterday (with Gautham, Sameera and Surya attending *squee* )
I had high expectations for the combination of Gautham Menon, Harris Jayaraj and Surya. To make it short. Not all could be satisfied.
Inspired by the relationship with his own father, Gautham tries to tell the story of a father-son relationship told to us by the son (Krishnan and Suriya both are played by Surya) in flashbacks. We are led from the 60ies when the parents met to present times.

My tiny problem with the storytelling is that the focus too often shifts from the father-son relationship. Especially in the second half. There are some episodes in the sons life that are just too long and distracting. And sorry, but the climax military thingy is plainly bad. I really hope that the Indian Special Forces are nowhere near as amateurish.

But. Big but. The first half is great. I luuurved the song picturisation. Especially the 60ies and 80ies songs. In fact the first hours or so I felt I was watching an almost perfect movie. Great storytelling. Perfect tempo. Cinematography is beautiful. SFX are the best I´ve seen in an Indian film so far. And I felt the "historical" bits were so sweet and authentic in acting, design, flair, feel.

And the biggest treat is Surya. He really nails it. The 16 year old as well as the 60 year old. Sometimes I almost forgot that this was one and the same actor just in different getups.
Well what can I say? He has been my favorite southern Indian actor for quite a while now and I think he is fast climbing to the top of my "All-Indian Fave" list. Watch out Sanjay/Nana/Atul!
And [fangirlmode on] he looks smoking hot. I still go by my quote from 2006 "He has that very attractive Umphh-factor of being a cool actor with intense eyes and a killer smile." And since he joined the 6-pack club for this film you can add that too (even if I felt the "Salmanitis" he displayed was a bit much) [/fangirl mode off]

But not only Surya was great. Simran is fantastic as Krishnans wife and Suriyas mother. Sameera Reddy surprised me in a good way and Divya was did wonderful

So. Watch it or not? Even with a few points of criticism. No Question. Watch it. For Surya. The great cinematography. The songs. The first half and parts of the second.

Oops. Almost forgot. Of course we need a disclaimer for this review as well. As I still don´t understand more than two Tamil words and the film obviously was without Subs I could only get the English bits of the dialogue. It was not too hard to follow the story though.

PS: I heard rumors that Gautham edited the second half some more since the first previews. I´ll probably go and watch it once more tomorrow, so I will be able to tell.

PPS: It´s confirmed. 15 minutes of the 2nd half have been cut. Reports tell that this helps quite a bit.

November 06, 2008

"German Blogger Barbara Skoda"

Well, that would be me. The TOI Website has an article by Anuradha Varma on the Fans reaction to the Temptation Reloaded disaster in Germany.
Where btw. some of the fans already filed charges for fraud against the promoters and quite a few of the claimants only converse via their lawyers with Sensasian anymore. The SRK youtube apology made it to the evening news on TV. Anyone involved with Bollywood in Germany is fighting for damage control and German Bollywood magazine Ishq is trying to extract at least parts of the truth behind the whole drama.

*of course I am actually "Austrian Blogger Barbara Skoda" since my home base is in Vienna, Austria. And we only speak German there (A fact that might be disputed by anyone living north of Munich). But I stopped minding the mix up. In fact whenever I get asked of my origin here in Chennai I resort to answering "Germany" for quite a while now. It is somehow the better option than to always explain that Austria is not Australia and most of the time giving up because people don´t get it...

November 03, 2008

Fashion - reality? not really!

It is a bit of a pity that Madhur Bhandarkar did not dare to go the whole nine yards with Fashion.
Working in the fashion industry is a tough job. Duh! Yes, we know that. And of course there is almost not difference between the Indian industry and Fashion business anywhere else in the world.

Whatever. Here´s the not so surprising story.
Smalltown beauty queen aspires to become model. No, Supermodel. Mom is ok with it. Dad not. Beauty queen travels to Mumbai and meets with gay friend and assistant designer. He makes her meet people and since aspiring model looks like Priyanka Chopra and the big honchos are neither stupid nor blind, she heads to the top at lightning speed. But being a country bumpkin she of course does not read the 500 pages contract nor does she listen to the warning of her coke-abusing fallen successor. So beauty queen now Supermodel looses her friends, lets herself get knocked up by her married boss, has an abortion and starts the coke/alcohol routine. Thank god she has an epiphany and heads home.
Sad little traumatized now Ex-Supermodel need about a year to sort of recover only to go back and show it to the world (now with the blessing of Daddy). She apologises to her best model friend and alibi-wife who is now pregnant from her gay designer husband, best gay now-designer-not-assistant-anymore friend and ditched former model boyfriend who is now engaged to some other girl.
She not only tries a comeback but also tries to help the other totally rundown former supermodel to get back on her feet. One succeeds. One dies. Go figure.

What have I learned from this movie?

-Every male designer in India is gay.
-Breaking up with your boyfriend makes you addicted to cigarettes and vodka.
-Kangana should not speak. Ever. And even less shout. It is unintentional comedy at its best to watch her yell at her boyfriend and then tumble down the stairs. The cinema roared with laughter.

-Indian models do not have eating disorders.
Everyone who ever watched America´s Next Topmodel knows that walking the ramp is similar to nuclear science.

The only thing I liked about the fim was its cinematography. And
Ashwin Mushran. The rest was boring. As movies tend to be that oversimplify the worlds dark areas and are so predictible that you can narrate the story plus all the side twists after watching the first 5 minutes of the film

October 29, 2008

Aegan - Main nahin hoon na

This post will not be a proper review since I don´t understand any Tamil and it was screened without subtitles. But nonetheless I got most of the story, especially since Aegan is sort of a remake of Main Hoon Na.

As you can read, I did eventually manage to get a ticket. And so I had a blast watching this years big Diwali release with a Tamil crowd. I still have to confess that I would have preferred to watch the new Surya release but since Ayngaran, the producer of Aegan, seemed to have blocked most of the screens for the Diwali weekend, the Vaaranam Aayiram makers decided to move its release to November 14th.
From my point of view it seems like a good plan from Ayngaran to overkill with screens on this release, since judging from the reaction of the audience, the film left most of them pretty cold. So I don´t think word-of-mouth is going to be too good. The audience´s enthusiasm cooled down from a huge cheer Ajith got for his first scene to people starting to leave while the climax fight was still on. In the end everybody just wanted to get out as fast as they could. People seemed not to hate it, they just looked unaffected.

However, I still had lots of fun. Btw. Aegan is not a 1:1 clone of MHN. There are some more or less significant changes in the story. Not all are for the best I am afraid.

Aegan tells the story of a CBI Special Ops Super Agent called Shiva who gets called in by his boss (and father) to protect the daughter of a criminal-turned-key witness. Since said former-crook went AWOL after an attempt for his life through his former partner in crime, the CBI hopes to catch him when he contacts his daughter. So Shiva is forced to go undercover as a student in her boarding school in Ooty. It takes a while and some rope-action fights for Shiva to befriend Pooja (Piaa Bajpai) and her boyfriend Narain (Navdeep). Life gets even more complicated for our hero when he falls head over heals for his beautiful, very sparsely clad chemistry teacher Mallika (Nayantara) who not seems to be at the very least interested. Oh and there is the (very far on the) side-story of Shiva´s adoptive mother and brother who happen to be living in Ooty as well.

So you see. Pretty close but not a clone. And since even the filmmakers openly(!) acknowledged a close relation between those to two movies, why not compare MHN and Aegan

Action. Aegan has a lot of more blood and some very cool wire-action fights. But it sadly misses the cycle-riksha chase. Tie. 1:1

Comedy. The comedy track with the school principal and the weird teachers is equally nice in both film. Aegan has a comedy side kick for Shiva and he´s fun. One Point for Aegan 1:2

Romance. Sush and SRK sizzle. And the heartbreak of Sanjana due to Lucky´s insensitiveness. Her makeover. Lucky´s makeover. MHN has it all. In Aegan the romance between Pooja and Narain is already established and Shiva and his chemistry teacher don´t sizzle. They annoy each other and unfortunately us as well. MHN un point 2:2

Emotional highlights. SRK standing in front of his brother and stepmother with the urn of his father is heartbreaking filmi greatness. Aegan completely wastes that opportunity. We get a so-so flashback very late in the movie and no confrontation whatsoever in present time. We only see the happily reunited family right after the climax fight for 2 seconds. Bas. Another point for MHN 3:2

Songs. Farah Khan managed to fit all of the songs in MHN perfectly into the story (even the item-song-wali ones) Raju Sundaram doesn´t. Also I love "Chale Jaise Hawaien" and I don´t love "Yahoo Yahoo" Not even shooting on of the songs in Switzerland saves Aegan loosing that point to MHN. 4:2

Hero. SRK vs. Ajith. Tough one. But then. Not really tough. Sorry Ajith, as much as I like you and as much as I am not a hardcore SRK Fan. Major Ram Prasad Sharma is so taking that point from CID Special Agent Shiva. 5:2

Heroine. No-brainer. Sush and Amrita Rao. Every time. 6:2

MHN also gets one point each for technical execution, script execution and the overall "tribute to filmy history" theme.

Final Result. 9:2

A landslide victory for Main Hoon Na. Aegan is a wasted chance. It would probably not be so obvious if it was an original story but so it is but a MHN minus the heart. Following more closely to the MHN script might have made a terrific Kollywood film. Pity.

All pictures copyright Ayngaran.

October 23, 2008

Too slow. Bleh.

I really really really wanted to go and watch Ajith in Aegan this weekend, but since there was some Internet/electricity/server trouble at the office I just couldn't log into the or the inox website yesterday. So I tried this morning and ALL tickets (and we´re talking about 10.000 at Satyam cinemas alone) for this weekend are already gone and only very few tickets for the late shows which I can´t attend on Monday and Tuesday are left.


October 20, 2008

The Blame Game

I´m sitting at the airport in Brussels waiting for my flight back to Chennai after veeery busy 5 days in Berlin (hence no update) but now looks like a good time to do a quick follow up on my last blog post.

Ever since I wrote my piece there have been press releases (from both sides), SRK sort of apologised to his German audience through a special video message and the German fans are ripping each other apart on account of who the truer fans are. Those who are pissed at SRK/his management for their share of the messing up but still love him as an actor/posterboy or those who already forgave and forgot everything, deeming SRK and "his people" the victims of the whole drama.

I am still standing by any word I wrote. Just in case you´re wondering. And I of course will go on watching any Indian film I can in cinemas or buy the (original) DVD´s of the ones I can´t and that look promising to me.

October 14, 2008

oops, they did it again or how to ruin a pretty well-doing market

SRK´s Temptation 2008 concerts in Germany have been canceled today. Three days before their scheduled dates. Back in August the German stop of the Bachchans Unforgettable Tour met the same fate. They informed their audience 4 days in advance about the adjourment sine die.

The big honchos in Mumbai seem to have got something wrong. Ever since the Johars and YashRaj started to make their profitable deals with REM and RTL2 the German market seemed to look like fat firang tourist in Chor Bazar to the Filmi Industry-walas that could easily be skinned for money.
Except, if you trick somebody and want to keep on milking him, don´t become too greedy. You can only screw us so far. To steal a line from K3G: Tum sirf entertainer ho, parameshwar nahin. For us Non-Desi Europeans you just produce films we like (sometimes very very much) with stars we like (and sometimes honestly love) but you can´t do whatever you like and not pay a price for it.

Take the DVD market for example.
Primary rule: If you want to sell films in Germany you have to dub them. Cinema in Germany has been German-dialogues-only ever since the first talkie in the 1920ies. Same goes for the Video and DVD market. Thankfully there are companies like REM who cater to a niche audience with high quality releases. Due to their cooperation with the RTL2 TV station they were able to produce top standard Bollywood DVD´s that sold fantasticly.

Enter greedy Bollywoodproducers. And swamp the market with C-grade movies, flop-films and bad quality production. That in itself would not be such a problem had they not tried to go the tourist-gouging routine. Even the King Khan has made some really really bad movies over the years. Sell them to the unsuspecting K3G, DDLJ or KHNH fan and you get somebody who will think twice if he will ever again spend 18,- to 24,- Euro on a BW DVD.
Mistake born out of greed #2: Quite a few of those crappy DVD´s had SRK (the only BW actor that really sells in Germany) on their cover. Even without him being in it. Instead customers got such shiny moments of Indian movie history like or Husn Bewafa.
Is it any wonder that sales of Bollywood DVD dropped like the stock market during the last weeks? Two years ago you had entire sections in DVD stores dedicated to Indian films. Now you can be lucky if you get a tiny part on the "B" shelf.

Then the TV ratings started to drop as well. Films were edited beyond recognition. And the big selling K3G-style extravaganzas were a thing of the past too. You just can´t expect films like D:2 or Krrish to work for an audience that is used to watch Hollywood quality action or SciFi films. Sorry. But, no.

Thank god the Berlinale 08 happened. SRK and OSO came, saw and conquered. The hard-core fans, still loyal and actually pretty active in promoting the thing they love, stroke up a frenzy. SRK made the evening news. And the German fans were led to believe that the slump that hit the Bollywood Trend in Germany was finally over. Especially since some of the Multiplex chains started to screen current films and both the Unforgettable and the Temptation Tours were announcing shows in Germany.

Bollywood Concerts and Germany do have a rather shaky past.
The local promoters like SensAsian are, lets be frank, crooks. Plain and simple. They talk, they announce, they sell tickets and they mess up, go into hiding, take the money with them and piss of the fans. Just look at SA´s track record. Apart from the very first "Dinner with SRK" in Offenbach in 2005 everything else was either canceled or had to be cut short.

And now we have the latest of their disasters and this time it is not simply Shilpa Shetty´s Miss Bollywood or the Bachchans (which both probably got canceled due to bad pre-sales). This time it really hits hard. This time it is SRK. I know of more than a few cases of Fans who literally had to scrimp and save to be able to afford a once-in-a-lifetime journey to one of the concerts. So this time it is personal. And that is bad news.

First they demand outrageous sums for - lets be honest - a tacky playback show and the fans pay it. And now the fans already sitting on their packed suitcases have to hope and pray that they get their 50,- to 250,- Euros back. And I am not even talking about the hundreds of fans that will surely loose money because their plane tickets or hotel reservations can´t be canceled.

(You want numbers? Lets take this very dear friend of mine. She shelled out 150,- for the ticket, 100,- for the airfare, the hotel for two nights would have cost her another 100,- add to that food, public transport and maybe some merchandise and you have at least 400,- . A sum that she was willing to spend on "her" SRK. She earns about 900,- each month. After deducting her fixed costs she has about 300,- for food, petrol etc. Do the maths!)

So, Yo! Greedy Bollywoodproducers and greedy Bollywoodstars!
If you want to save what is left of your start rebuilding some credibility in Germany to maybe have some kind of a future here: Don´t do deals with promoters you know have let you down in the past or distributors that do more damage than good. That can´t be too hard, can it?

There is that (very crass but nonetheless true) saying "don´t crap where you eat". And eating you seemed to do just fine in Germany for the last few years. But by crapping on our heads once too often I feel that you finally crossed the limit of our hospitality.

EDIT 16/10/08: Thanx to the great feedback to my rambling. To answer a few questions I was asked a few times. Yes, please copy the text if you want to (just give me credits for it) and no, I don´t have a German version of it, sorry. And since I am at a business convention for the next 3 days I won´t have the time to translate it either.

October 06, 2008

Kidnap. Meh.

I find it so hard to write about movies I feel indifferent to. I really wanted to love this one. I am a Sanjay Fangirl. I really like Minissha Lamba and I was very curious about Imran Khan (No, I haven´t been be able to watch JTYJN yet. I won´t until the DVD comes out).

But what is there to say when a movie just leave you "meh"?
Let´s try it that way:

What I liked.
- Most of the Action (except for Sanjays running. They should not let him run in the bad shape he was in while they were shooting the film)
- The twists in the story. Well, most of them.
- Imran.
- Minissha when she was allowed to do more than just being eyecandy/mannequin for skimpy clothes.
- Sanjay when he didn´t run.

What I didn´t like.
- Vidya Malvade. Autch. Too young. Too single-faced. Too awful.
- Sanjay when he ran.
- Minissha when she tried to be supersexy.
- The songs. Bleh. The opening song? Just wrong. The wedding anniversary song? Bollywood Fugly. The Item song? How very uninteresting. The lets-seduce-my-kidnapper song? Well, that was kinda sexy. But. How stupid can you be?

All characters and their story left me emotionally cold. I just couldn´t have cared less about anyone on screen. But then again. Sanjay Gadhvi is responsible for Dhoom and D:2. So what was I expecting?

All pics copyright to Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd.

September 28, 2008

Rock On!! - Pleasant Surprise

I feel a little weary whenever I go to watch a movie that deals with music, musicians or sound engineering. The same way I guess Doctors feel about any movie that has medicine as a topic or Cops with policework on screen.

Way too often you get actors that bearly manage to hold a guitar the right way (KKHH anyone?) Watching a recording session usually makes me cringe the way any medical staff does when encountering the ominous lonesome blood-bottle indicating a serious medical condition on the screen (actually for that matter - again KKHH anyone?).

Hats off to the makers of Rock On. They - almost - got it right. Whats even more. I don´t think anyone who never had any dealings with garage bands and the decisions everyone connected in whatever way to a band faces when its on the verge of success can appreciate that movie the way I did.

I had so many deja vu moments there. I know, met and worked with a lot of Joes, Aditiyas and KDs. Hell, I am married to one for that matter. So please don´t expect me to write an unbiased review. Still I´d like to give you some of my thoughts on it.

Rock On!! tells the story of the band Magik. Ten years ago the band with its members Joseph (Arjun Rampal) the lead guitarist, Aditiya (Farhan Akhtar) the lead singer, Rob (Luke Kenny) the keyboarder and Killer KD Drummer (Purab Kohli) almost made it. They had great songs, a great chemistry, great girlfriends and a record deal. And then everything fell apart.
Now ten years later they lost any contact to each other. Aditya is as far away from music as a successful stockbroker can be. KD works in his dads jewelry business, Rob is a rather unhappy session musician for Anu Malik (poor guy!) and Joe has to live on the money his wife makes with her fish shop because his music makes him none. When one day a chance meeting offers an opportunity to meet again.

I read quite a few interviews with the cast before I watched Rock On!! I had to smirk when I saw that they made Arjun play the Steve Vai Evo Guitar. Thats a tough act to follow. But they were very clever. Arjun copes pretty well when he is playing slow songs on his Acoustic. On stage and during the solos the either shot him from the back or did a wideshot or the hands of the audience blocks the view. That´s what I call clever filmmaking. Same goes for the other bandmembers. And Farhan´s voice rocks. Literally.

What I really liked about the characters where that the screenplay avoided most of the obvious stereotypes and clichés. The decisions they have to take are very real. (At least to me) And pretty grown up.
I love the way they did the concert scenes. The dynamic is infectious.
It´s a pity that I had to watch the film without subtitles. I got most of what was going on but the finer points in the dialogues were lost to me. But hey, I wanted to buy the DVD anyway. It is the kind of movie to watch more than once. So Excel Entertainment, hurry up and don´t you dare going the Aamir Khan way to release it.

[fangirl mode] One more word about the guys. Boy, does Farhan look yummi under the shower. It makes up more than enough for the little insecurities that still can be found in his acting. And Arjuns long rocker mane is very much to my liking. He is one of the few actors who can carry of a moustache and look genuinely sexy with it. [/fangirl mode]

So what´s left to say is a big recommendation for Rock On!! from the filmifan and the sound engineer/drummers-wife in me.

All pictures copyright

EDIT: since I was asked by mail: The "almost" in "they - almost - got it right" refers to some goofs equipment-wise. The drums KD plays in the 10-years-earlier scenes are Basix drums that were not available back then. Same goes for the Line6 Amp in the rehearsal room. But apart from that I did not stumble upon any obvious errors. And in fact I don´t mind those that I did.

Oh and I can finally live in peace again. For days I wrecked my brain where SEL had earlier used the Guitar-Riff that opens the "Rock On" song. Half an hour it finally clicked. It´s from the Lakshya Background score. Phew!

And one final thing. Watch the crowd at the final concert closely. There might be Cameos.

Back. And for now in Chennai.

The Filmi world has me back again. It has been very still here the past few months. Mainly due to the lack in films I wanted to watch. There just was not much that made me want to spend about 20USD for a DVD.

But now I finally made it to Chennai and today I finally made it to the cinema. YAY!

I started watching again on the flight to India (Jet Airways has a great selection of films from all over India). That way I finally got to see Taare Zameen Par. Which left me underwelmed. It is a good film but growing up in Austria we has tons of "TV movies of the week" that dealt with the same subject or a similar one. They were not executed so nice, I must admit. I guess I am just not the target audience for it. And maybe I was only feeling less then enthusiastic for it due to the big expectations I had. Well still, count me to the very surprised people if TZP makes the Oscar shortlist.

Anyway. I´m back. For good. Watched Rock On!! today at Satyam Cinemas. Plan to catch Drona and Kidnap on next Thursday and Sunday. (I dont have much time to do anything outside work unless it´s sunday or an office holiday)

PS: for those able to read German. I started a Blog about my adventures in India. It´s mainly for friends and family to stay in touch. But you´re very welcome take a look too (got some cool Auto-Riksha vids there) You´ll find it at

August 08, 2008

Interlude: Requesting Fanart

Shamelessly copying from Beth´s blog (because A. is my friend too..):

My friend Aradhana, a production designer in Indian and American films, is doing a project on Shahrukh Khan fan art and is seeking submissions for her research. She welcomes anything that isn't an actual photograph - drawings, graphic art, paintings, etc. Please email her on here to submit your handiwork and include your name (not just your email address) and where you live.

August 07, 2008

Something is rotten in ...

the state of Bollywood at cinemas in Vienna. I don´t know how it happend but from being forced to decide between three different films on one day we just dropped to nothing. Zilch. Nada.

For more than a month now there has not been one single show of any Indian film here. Even in the past when we had fewer Bollywood here the summer was good. There are always a lot of summer cinema specials. Open-Air screenings. Whatever. And they always had a few films on. But this year it just stopped dead. Sarkar Raj was the last film that was on. Ever since that not-so-exciting-thingy there´s nothing. Zilch. Nada. But I repeat myself here.

And there is no explanation for it. Sigh. Well, I guess we just have to wait a little more. And make do with a single screening of Monsoon Wedding, MHN or whatever deadbeaten film they will show late August.

I want to see Sing is Kinng! Bleh! The Germans get it and we don´t. Not fair.

Anyway. As you might (or not) have noticed I am still in Vienna. I should be in Chennai for a month already, but my stay gets delayed and delayed and delayed. But I am still hopefull that the next few weeks will finally see me going. Hah. And then I wont have any trouble with cinemas not playing the kind of films I want to see.

In the meantime I make do with Mamma Mia! (Did I mention before that I was raised on ABBA? Plus, it has Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan singing. *Squee* And the devine Meryl Streep. Bless her.) And Dr.Horrible. And as you might have noticed from this posts title I am (re-)reading Hamlet. The commentary book I got yesterday is more then thrice the number of pages of the play.. Why am I reading it? Well. I love Shakespeare. I haven´t read it in ages. Its summer. I have a beautiful green shady terrace with very comfy chairs. And what´s more, I can´t go to Stratford-upon-Avon to watch Patrick Steward and David Tennant perform.

So there´s that.

May 18, 2008

How time flies

As I am writing this, I sit in the lobby of my hotel in Chennai, waiting for the transport that will take me to the airport to catch my flight home. It is a bit surreal. Outside there are almost 40 degree Celsius. In the lobby it is freezing cold and they play the Best of Kenny G CD. Just now the song is Winter Wonderland. Oh I love it here.

The trip was busy and stressy and fun. I did not manage to see much apart from the taxi rides and offices and hotelrooms. So my filme experiences mainly consisted of in-flight entertainment. That means I got to see Vel (with Surya and Asin) on the flight to India which I liked. And 4 (!) times parts of Welcome on my domestic flights with Kingfisher. Why of all the films in the world did it have to be Welcome? There is one single good scene in it and that is when Anil Kapoor makes his extortion call to Paresh Rawal who thinks it is a prank call. I love the way Nana Patekar cracks up laughing. Then I watched the Kolkata Knight Riders get destroyed by Mumbai on TV. Oh and I managed to buy the Dusavatharam Soundtrack and the Raijnikanth Biography. Had no chance to listen in on the soundtrack though. My Macbook Air does not have a CD drive..

Now for the really cool part. As of today it is confirmed. I get to come back to India. Very soon. In early July. And then I will stay for at least 3 months. So all you people I was not able to visit this time. I´ll be coming to hound you..

I managed to put some pics up on flickr. They are mainly shot from inside of our car. But in Delhi I even had 3 hours time for some sightseeing. Yay.

May 01, 2008

2 reasons

I have two reasons for being so quiet here ever since the PEIBBM. One is good, one is even better.
The good one is in fact not my fault. Blame Kaddele, Maria and Ezri. They hooked me on Doctor Who. ´Nuff said. *babyfangirlsqueee*

The better reason is so bilkul first class. I´ll be going to India. Soon. Very soon. I always wanted to. But there never were any concrete plans. And then four weeks ago a chance turned up that was too good to resist and now for starters I´ll be flying to India for 9 days in May and if that trip goes well, I might set up camp in India for a few months from late June. As you might imagine there is some hectic preparation work to be done.

But yes. I still watch movies. Just yesterday we went to the cinema and saw The Dream Team Krazzy4. I liked that it had (a mostly wasted, but I take what I can get) Rajat Kapoor, liked the 4 krazzy guys, Hrithik´s moves, and that so many of my favorite supporting actors made an appearance. But the rest was either a 1:1 copy or ranging from not very good to plainly bad. I don´t think it is a good sign that we thought the post-climax moral-of-story speeches were the funniest part of the movie. And imagine my suprise at hearing my dad´s fave song from the 60ies in Rajesh Roshan´s oh so "genuine" soundtrack. Here (song starts after about 20 sec).

And I watched U Me Aur Hum. And kinda liked it. You know first time director and all. But I liked it.

Two Naa three more things before I have to get back to work. We were written about in Tehelka. And Filmiholic did a terrific interview with Mani Ratnam. Read it. And there are of course tons of pics from the fantastic Bloggersmeeting in Munich on flickr. Here my collection and here the flickr group.

Oh my. In between all the Doctor Who and India job and WTF Krazzy4 moments. I totally forgot to mention our very clever project that was conceived at the Sunday brunch at Munich´s PEIBBM.

Its group blog listing all cinema screenings of Indian or Indian related film in the German speaking part of Europe. Setting it up, editing and updating would be reason number 3 for my unforgiveable silence here.

March 08, 2008

PEIBBM Liveblogging

I late, but we´re live.

michael+mike+mirie, maria, beth, kaddele, marco and enia4x a whole lot of others are as well liveblogging.

13:45 kaddele and beth asre singing dhadak and are waiving their wonderfull BaB cutouts..

13:50 I still have to get into the groove. but hell, its been ages since i saw BaB and AB2.0 looks soooo nice :D

13:54 uh-oh Bunty. i know you´re pissed, but you must not talk to your dad like that.. tsktsk

13:56 to 14:04 bleh. is acting up. it eats my post. so we missed Babli´s pink room. and Bunty´s first scam.

14:05 I haven´t seen BaB for ages. I didn´t remember how very pink it was..

14:06 *sigh* now they finally met. what a cool pick up line.

14:08 Ohh. I also forgot how very nerve-grating Bablis crying is. Breaks every man :D Note to self: Try on husband..

14:15 I´m lagging behind. But now we have "yeh world" for the 3rd time. Yay!

14:17 weehh. bahut accha. I keep repeating myself. but i forgot how very cool stuff there is in that movie. Like the music during the Q-Q-Qureishi scene.

btw. we here are some of the cutouts

and they will come in very handy soon...

14:26 ok Babli is a bit slow but now we have the titlesong!!!!

14:30 Yey my favorite is the hotel-bying scam during the song. Thats AB2 in AB1 mode from Agnepath, right? And now theres Sholay :D Love it!!!
And the crowd here is singing!

14:35 Mummyyyy!! Oh no she´s crying again.

14:36 Collcetive sigh. The first romatic sparks are flying. Shooo Shweeet..

14:46 Uh_oh blue pleather coming up..

14:48 wow. sycronized clapping in the house.. and quite some amusement over the fugly costumes.

14:56 *sigh* and kiss-kiss sounds from the crowd. all that for a peck on the cheek. i cant wait what will happen in the secound half.

and Papa B draws a huge applause

15:24 INTERVAL over. And we get the first glimpse of the Taj Mahal

and btw. we had to reprimand the "hat-fraction" from Frankfurt/Munich.. they were caught watching SRk stuff on their Laptops during the first half. Tsktsk..

15:26 poor Bunty. What a wasted wedding night..

15:28 war of noses. and cat-calls from the audience..

15:35 oh no. technical problems. but we came prepared. quick change of DVDs. and during the unscheduled break Beth and Kaddele enact what we are missing on screen with the paper cutouts. YAY!!

15:43 and the big Taj Mahal scam is starting. And while we watch it unfolding I need to add two more liveblogs.
willi for umananda

15:57 oh the Big B is just made for slow motion.

16:01 Ahhh question: Is it possible that the barman at the hotel is the same guy as the receptionist from Jab We Met??

16:02 Oh what a beautiful story. Inspector AB2.0 ka pehla pyaar.

16:07 Yay. Family reunion! Sorry gotta dance pretty soon

16:17 Now that got the crowd rocking. I think I saw even the guys dancing in their seats

16:24 We´re heading fast to the climax. Oh and Amitabh Bachchan runs!!! I love when Amitabh Bachchan runs!!

16:34 And another "Yeh world" and an ultimatium

16:38 Oh noooo. Caught. Oh noooooooo

16:44 I see tears in the crowd. And hear some sniffeling.

16:48 Big Applause. And now for some rapping AB1.0

So we´re off to Maharani Restaurant for an early dinner and then at 20.30 we´ll have the ACEBA presentation and the party afterwards.

Bahut Masti Hai.

Oh btw. I´ve already shot hundreds of pics. I´ll need to sort them still but keep coming back for them. ..

February 26, 2008

Bollywoodbloggers. The program.

While other people are busy packing. We were/are busy with preparation work.

And so now we can announce the full and (almost) final program of the 2nd Annual Pan-European/International Bollywood Bloggermeeting (Why oh why was I thinking that it was funny/cool to have an as long as possible title for it last year)

Friday March 7th:

During the course of the afternoon we meet at the
Bollywood-Flat, Eversbuschstreet in Munich/Allach. To chat and basically simply hang out the Bollywood way

At 7:30 PM Dinner at Restaurant "Bollywood", Donnersbergerstr. 44 (yes. there is an indian Restaurant in Munich with that name)

Saturday March 8th:

10.00 AM - Brunch, Leo's Lounge, Rosenheimer Str. 98, S-Bahn Rosenheimer Platz. Food is 10€, drinks cost extra.

1.00 PM - Liveblogging at SAE Institute Munich Bayerwaldstr. 43, S6 Perlach. This years film will be Bunty Aur Babli

5.30 PM- Dinner at Restaurant Maharani, Rottmannstr. 24

8.00 PM - ACEBA ceremony & Party, Flaschenbar, Schleißheimer Str. 43

Sunday March 9th:

Since OSO will have its theatrical release on March 6th throughout Germany, we are still negotiating a matinee show for Sunday morning. And it looks good that we will have one.

If we dont manage to lock that down the Plan B is to have Brunch again.

February 11, 2008

SRK. OSO. Berlinale. A State Of Nation Speech.

OSO had its German Premiere at the Berlinale Filmfestival in Berlin last Friday. And the Big Khan was attending in person. Plus he even gave a public lecture at the Berlinale Talent Campus on Sunday.

News like that made the German speaking fan-universe go crazy for the last few weeks. For various reasons.

One. That´s a quite simple one. Om Shanti Om will finally get a theatrical release in Germany. Eros and the big Khan himself promised a release with 50 copies nationwide. (That doesn´t sound much. But it is. Its actually the biggest Indian film release ever in Germany) Unlike us fortunate Austrian and Swiss fans who got OSO in cinemas at the same time as the rest of the world, Germany had to wait.

Two. SRK made his last public appearance in Germany back in 2005 at an ill-fated "fan-dinner" that is only remembered by mass-hysteria, tilting boats, shady organisers and fans loosing money. Since then he´s been pretty much a no-show in our part of the world.

Three. Germany is SRK territory as far as it concerns Bollywood cinema. That´s a plain fact. The so-called Bollywood Boom started in 2004 when K3G played on German TV for the first time. And back then it was SRK who captured the hearts of the viewers. Distributed by Rapid Eye Movies, a small German distributor specializing in Eastern cinema, a hype was born. K3G was followed by KKHH, KHNH and MHN. Ever since then the notion for viewers was (and for the main public it still is): If its there is a Bollywood film - it has Shah Rukh Khan in it. As if nobody else existed in Indian cinema.
Much to the chagrin of more broadminded or lets call them more committed Indian movie fans. That and the fact that the Mumbai film industry killed the German DVD market with the release of crap quality releases of almost all (even the stinkers) SRK movies to make a fast buck. Or even films that only show SRK on the cover. Or monkey business like that. Resulting in a steep drop in DVD sales, poor TV ratings and basically a dwindling interest by and a loss in credibility with the public. But I´m digressing here.]


So SRK came. He saw. And as far as the media coverage and the fan reactions go. He very much conquered. The tickets for the premiere were sold out in 7 (!) minutes. The ones for the lecture only took 15 minutes until the house full signs went up. Even tickets for the additional screenings (the ones without a personal appearance) where gone in under an hour. Blackmarket ticket prices went as high as 390$ for the 11$ premiere tickets (As seen on Ebay!)
On the night of the premiere itself all those waiting were treated to 40 minutes of an autograph signing, handshaking, hug and waves sending incredibly charming Shah Rukh on the red carpet and a good-humored SRK answering even the most rediculous questions with utmost patience and charm after the premiere. The media and fans loved it and him. From Friday night until this morning he was dominating the media coverage of the Berlinale. In the beginning the journalists were more stunned than impressed but during the course of the weekend SRK´s charm got them all. Here´s a link to the Berlinale website with a 30 min video of the (highly intimidating) photo-call and after that the official press conference on Friday. (The Talent Campus Lecture is also rumored to be put online in March)


So what do we, as non-desi Bollywood fans in Central Europe, take home from this weekend?
A) It looks like the "Restart" of Bollywood in Germany had a terrific initiation. In March we will see if the Boxoffice will react accordingly.
B) The German fans were right with their SRK infatuation. I have yet to read a feedback post in Marcos forum that has anything negative to say about his public appearances in Berlin. I don´t see any other (Bollywood) star of today pulling that off.
C) As for the really important stuff. He learned the German words: "Ja, Mann" and "wunderbar". He is said to have incredibly soft hands. And he seems to smell so-oho good. Well informed sources believe it to be Azzarro Silver Black *g*

Have Macbook Air. Will Post.

Hi, sorry for the lack of updates. But there has been just too much going on in my private (yes I do have one) and work-related live.

So just a short update to tell you all is well.
We already do have quite an impressive line-up for the Bloggermeeting in Munich. So far we´re running at 35 registrations (mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Beth is so far again the lone "international" party. And she is having nightmares about being forced to speak German. So. You out there. Show some compassion. Join her.)

Then another important thing. If you´re located in Europe and are able to read German. Go and vote for the 5th Annual Central European Bollywood Awards. Just click here. Results will be announced on March 8th at the PEIBBM in Munich.

Oh and concerning the title of this entry. Its only to make Michael go green with envy ;-)

MiniKhan and I had a blast unpacking it yesterday evening.

January 16, 2008

Tashan Teaser. Ok. Ek aur chance.

Sanni, high-priestess of the cult of Sakshay, over at they dance! already did a preview. But since the best thing on the Aaja Nachle DVD was the Teaser for Tashan I though that I don´t want to keep from you what might come to a cinema near you in April 2008

There´s this gal..

and that guy..

but the thing that puts my mind into overdrive is the highly explosive combo of this guy..

and that guy..

back together in one movie. Yeehaaaa!
Finally. The reunion I´ve been waiting for soooo long. Please. Please. Please. Please give them 90% of shared screen time. I know the chances are high that YRF blows even a surefire instant classic like that one. But its the debut of Vijay Krishna Acharya (the writer for such elaborate films as Dhoom and D:2) as a director. So there is a ray of hope. Sure, I don´t believe we will be getting anything along the immortal ranks of Keemat..

..but a girl can hope. Hain Naa?
So YRF. Aapke paas ek aur chance hai. Malum hai ki chance kam hai, lekin hai.

And just because they are there and I cant let two nice screenshots like that go to waste, here, two more:

January 15, 2008

Bollwoodbloggers. Humare paas Logo hai.

And we thought since with this years location we´re entering Paint it Pink´s realm, we better put in a little of that pink..

Khubsoorat, hai naa?

Aacha Nachle. A tall order.

If you love the kind of Hindi movies I do, you can´t help but to developing a sort of system/defence mechanism for the handling of logic-defying storylines, movie goofs and continuity errors. Bollywood bettered itself in that area during the last few years, fortunately, which now makes it is all the more annoying when a big honcho studio like YashRaj falls back onto its evil 90ish ways.

(You have no ideas how much I wanted to love Aaja Nachle. Not that I had too high hopes for it knowing the latest films coming out of YRFChak de excepted). But even despite all odds. Even with all the not so flattering reviews. Even though I still hoped for something. I mean c´mon. Madhuri. And Konkona, Kunal, Ranbir, Vinay, Akshaye and Irrfan.

And then the movie opens with Madhuri doing a really bad Michael-Jackson-meets-Flashdance-meets-MiamiSoundMachine tap-dance/aerobics routine (with tap-dance sounds) wearing sneakers (apart from very unflattering spandex). For heaven´s sake. [self-defense mechanism kicks in] Maybe YR wants us to feel as if Mads was never away and DTPH released only a few months back? [ok. that might work. sort of. pretty far fetched but possible] Next she gets the call that her former Guru is dying and that she should come to India as fast a s possible. And the next time we see her she´s on the plane and she´s done a complete hair-makeover. [wft is that??] "Oh my. Guruji is dying. Lets get a plane ticket and since I´m in such a hurry, why don´t I get a haircut first?" [Bas. Goodwill khatm. And dont´get me started on the whole Ajanta set decoration and background dancer thing]

These days YashRaj don´t make it easy for the Bollywoodfan to love their films. Most of their movies come without a proper story. And what really makes me mad is that for the umpteenth time I get the feeling that they think their audience is too stupid to breathe. [Anyone recall the "magnetic" cola-can in D:2?]

So I did not have high hopes for Aaja Nachle. But that they would piss me of within the first 2 seconds of the film was something even I did not expect. Thankfully it got better once the title track comes on (at about 30min into the film) but by that time I already had stopped watching on the first night. I only gave it another chance the next day because I wanted to see Madhuri dancing.

And then Akshaye saved the day. The little verbal dispute that follows right after Madhuri danced my favorite song of the film, Aaja Nachle, made my little heart go pitter-patter "Who are you?""I´m the bad guy" As sunny wrote over at Marco´s forum: "I´d love to have a Raja like that. Sigh. All those problems I could come up with every day, so he could solve them for me..."

So no, not all is bad in Aaja Nachle. Madhuri looks great [even if her hair-length changes from scene to scene... but lets just take that as a nostalgic flashback to the good ol´90ies] her smile still chases away the rainclouds and she is still my favorite dancer. Plus there are some sweet side-characters. My favorite is the adorable Mr. Chojar played by Vinay Pathak.

But he as well as the rest of the supporting cast was painfully underemployed. Especially the big calibers like Irrfan Khan and Ranvir Shorey. What a waste. Only Konkona had some space to work with. And Kunal Kapoor got away with the most romantic sentence in the movie [Which I wont tell because I can´t tell you all the good parts]

So. The story [Dancer elopes with American photographer only to divorce him soon thereafter. Whole town hates her for that - the eloping. not the divorce. they don´t know that yet - 11 sal ke baat she comes back to safe her hometown´s theater that is to be replaced by a shopping mall by putting up a stage-play with a cast of villagers against the more or less hostile reluctance of same villagers] is lame-ish. The execution sloppy in many parts. But I liked the cast. I liked the songs. I liked Laila-Manju.
If you love Madhuri as I do, you have to watch it. Just be sure to "leave logic behind" and bring an extra big helping of "instant-movie-goofs-forgiveness" and once you´re settled you´ll have yourself a nice timepass and you will finally have Madhuri back.

January 09, 2008

Bollywoodbloggers. Let´s met again. This time in Munich.

Hah. I´ve just re-read my posts about the 1st PEIBBM last March and it all came back. How super-duper fun it was. Even back then we were talking about a repeat-performance. And that's why today I´m bahut khuchi to announce the 2nd Pan-European/International Bollywood Blogger Meeting.

Get ready to join the fun from March 7th to March 9th 2008 and this time in Munich!

The preliminary rough schedule, conceived by Michael, Kaddele, Beth, Marco, Maini, Maria, me and a whole lot of other helping spirits shows that the program will be pretty similar to last year:

We meet on Friday March 7th, this time already during the afternoon, hang out, blog, chat, do silly stuff, eat, drink. One idea is to catch a Bollywood flick in a Munich cinema (which might be a problem since Munich isn´t as lucky as Vienna and we still have to convince one of the local distributors of playing an Indian film. But no fear, we still have some aces up our kurta sleeves..) in the evening.

The "Big Day" like last year will be Saturday March 8th. Matlab typical Bavarian "Weisswurst" breakfast, the Liveblogging during the afternoon and in the evening we will start with the award ceremony of the 5th Central European Bollywood Awards (voting will start early February) and lead right into an open end paaaaarty.

Sunday will see another joint breakfast and then its already time to leave for home.

We also have a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of surprises in store. So this year is going to be even bigger and better than the last. Just keep watching this space for updates.

We would love to have you all there. And if you make it to Munich we will, like last year, make sure to find you a cheap place to stay. And you will have a filmitastic time! Kasam se!

January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

What a night. What a party.

And since MK was feigning a hangover, I parked him in front of the TV to watch the Neujahrskonzert and did the cleanup decontamination restoration all by myself.

But nonetheless, let me wish all of you a wonderful, happy 2008!

PS: My New Year´s resolution for 2008 is to blog more and especially write more reviews than during the last 6 months. And I´ll see that through. MiniKhan ki kasam.