Sunday, June 25, 2006

Bollywood Suggestions

Mike in MI asked me to recommend a Bollywood film he could check out on Netflix, and I thought others might like my suggestions as well:

hmmm... that's tricky. If you want a dramatic/semi-tragic love story with fantastic visuals & music, check out Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (trans. "I Have Given You My Heart"). If you want something more fun yet still really well made, check out Bunty Aur Babli ("Bunty and Babli") - it's a con-artist comedy.

Now that I consider it, get Bunty - it's just such a funny and sweet movie... less chicky-flicky. (Do NOT get Bride & Prejudice, which was actually shown in the US but sucks terribly - Netflix may recommend it.) If you want to get acclimatized first, do check out Monsoon Wedding, which is an Indian film but not Bollywood, in that it's not a musical. I am still very moved by it; I find some neat analogies to the Bride of Christ and the book of Hosea (although I'm sure it wasn't intended by the filmmaker!) It's much more realistic in its portrayal of Indian life than a Bollywood film, and yet you start to get a sense of how the culture works, and Bollywood seems a logical progression afterwards. This is the first Indian movie I ever saw, and the critics really loved it, with good reason.

I don't expect everyone to enjoy Bollywood, but I went into it hook, line & sinker after a decade of passionate devotion to anime, and there are parallels - it's so reflective of its culture, same as anime is to Japan. It wouldn't look the same anywhere else. And the interesting thing is that in 98% of the movies, there's no sex or kissing, which makes it safe for entire families. B & B is an exception to this rule, but even it is quite tame in comparison to US films. The culture disapproves of PDAs and promiscuity (although it does happen in the big cities), and when one Bollywood starlet was *gasp* reported to have been seen kissing her boyfriend in public! she filed a libel suit and released a statement that she would never do anything so immoral.


So, in order of recommended viewing (not in quality, necessarily):
1) Monsoon Wedding
2) Bunty Aur Babli
3) Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
4) Kabhi Khushi, Kabhie Gham

7 comments:

Mike Howell said...

"Bunty Aur Babli" is next in the Netflix queue!

t.HYPE said...

Hi! Just stumbled on your page.

Did you see Krrish when it was playing at the Belcourt? The movie could have been better but Hrithik was yummy!

Susania said...

welcome, t.hype! Yep, I was there at the Belcourt with some friends too! Also there for Fanaa 2 weeks prior, which was really wonderful. I enjoyed the movie a lot just because it's such a treat to see a Bollywood film on the big screen as opposed to a Netflix rental; but yeah, Krrrrrrrrrrrrrrish had lots of weak points. Priyanka was no match for Hrithik's dancing, which was disappointing - can't wait to see him dance w/ Ash in Dhoom, since it'll be the first time he'll be paired with someone of equal dancing talent!

Velu Nair said...

bollywood has long opened its doors to kissing and all supposedly 'taboo' topics for quite some time now. we hv had a new breed of film makers experimenting with every possible story line in the world, and several of the movies have ended up being hits as well.

and if u r referring to the Kareena Kapoor kissing episode, shes not a starlet (as much as i cant stand her), but one of the best actresses in showbiz these days. and what she objected to, was not the 'immorality' factor, but she was clearly upset at being video taped at such an inopportune moment.

happy viewing!:)

Susania said...

Velu, I have seen quite a bit of kissing in the newer films, obviously, but when a major new release like Fanaa decides to show the characters in bed together, but never actually kissing on the mouth, then it's still something that they're avoiding!

And I've gotta say, that Kareena may be considered a major star in Bollywood, but I have yet to see her turn in a really "stellar" performance compared to her contemporaries like Rani Mukherji. I'm afraid that her charicature of a performance in K3G has forever tainted her for me!

tanyapalta said...

Hi
I stumbled upon ur site and found your blog quie interesting. I personally disagree with your choices of movies esp K3G (but hey thats just my imo)

I also dont care much for Kareena but if you can get your hands on Dev (abt the gujarat riots) then do watch it. Not only is the movie great but kareena essayed the role of a muslim girl quite brilliantly! believe me I was surprised too :) Omkara an adaptaion of Othello looks interestin too!

tanya palta
www.ourbollywood.com

Susania said...

K3G doesn't seem to be as popular with desis as I might have thought... but it's the kind of thing we goras find enchanting. Bear in mind the audience; I think you'll find that non-Indians like the traditional, almost Victorian-style melodramas of Bollywood best.