Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quickfire thoughts to fuel procrastination.

1. Kareena, if only you'd gotten your hands on this hottie during the 90's...

2. It's been brought to my attention that Wanted has several things I like, such as Prabhudeva in the director's seat, Vinod Khanna as a guest appearance and Prakash Dad as Prakash Something-other-than-Dad. As a result? Kind of dying to see the film now. Can't wait!

3. I finished watching Tum Haseen Main Jawaan on my brand new TV tonight. So, that movie was a little too crazy. Am I getting old?

4. Just make a movie together, guys. You know we want you to, we know you want to, and it'll satisfy Aamir's Shahrukh-hugging quota. Poor fella.

5. Abhishek and Aishwarya on Oprah. Question: why does anybody watch Oprah? Most pointless talk show ever. Superficial questions, short interviews, barely anything to them. Still, Abhishek's sense of humor salvaged the wreckage for me.

6. That TV show Psych's Bollywood episode: cute! Sendhil from Heroes got to actually do something! Not perfect (an Indian character mispronounced "Raj", come on now) but definitely a good effort.

7. And in a lieau of Bollywood-related things, America's Best Dance Crew's Bollywood challenge? The less said, the better. I dig this show a lot but it didn't mix. It just didn't.

8. I don't even remember which movie this picture is from but as it's named "ILUPRAKASHRAJ.jpg" (ILU = I love you), I guess so much needs to be said.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is why, this is why I'm hot.

Here's what this post isn't: insightful commentary on the global popularity of hiphop and views on how non-American seem to adopt only certain ideas of the hiphop "life style" and music stylings from what is an incredibly complex cultural phenomenon born out of individual and group creativity and socio-economical conditions of 1970's New York City.

Here's what this post is: a shameless plug for my friend Smurphmurph's brilliant fanvideo effort where she mixed the otherwise embarrassing hiphop incarnation of Shahrukh Khan with the authenticity of USian hiphop.

The results are HOT.

Even though I specifically said this is NOT one of those posts, I have to say I do love the internet age for enabling these sort of things. And what's more hiphop than mixing and matching two materials in the way that people make these brilliant fanvids?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Billu (Barber), and the celebration of the ordinary.

Priyadarshan's an odd creature. His mindless cash-grab comedies, his shameless Southie remakes, his slightly more shameful Hollywood ripoffs, and the fact he once flat out admitted he doesn't make Hindi films for the art, but for the money, none of these things support my faith in him as a director. Sloppy is the first thing that comes to mind; passionless, perhaps.

Yet, when I watched Billu, I thought that maybe, just maybe, he was finally putting forth an effort towards a result that he cared about.

Of course, the story of a humble barber (Irffan Khan) and a superstar (Shahrukh Khan), has been told in other Indian languages before this version. I haven't seen any of the others, so I can't judge, but as with these stories that have trickled down (or up, I should say) from the Southie industries to the north, I always have this feeling in the back of my head the originals probably were better or simply more earnest.

Not that I didn't like it; as many others have said before me, Irffan wins you over as Billu and carries the movie with his warm exterior, ordinary problems and funny oneliners. Lara Dutta is fun, though pretty unfit for the unglamorous role of Bindiya, Billu's wife. The usual Priyadarshan comedy all-star team has their bits, some of them unnecessary and too long in scenes, and some of them genuinely funny.

To up the box office appeal, I suppose, Shahrukh has about twenty million item numbers (okay, there were three but still felt like one too many!) and not much else to do, and so he does what he does, projecting himself into the all-too-fitting role. The outcome works, and why wouldn't it?

I may sound completely unenthusiastic but the fact of the matter is, this movie is just fine. In fact, it's probably one of the best I've seen by this director. Still, if I was to ever use the label "timepass" (which I am still happily boycotting), this movie would one I'd use it with.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mini-reviews, part char.

For new readers, this is basically a very convinient way for me to cover a big bunch of movies on this blog that I've seen but don't necessarily feel like like talking about at length. The list was randomized by an online randomizer, these are entries 31-40.

31. Chukkallo Chandrudu (2006) - One of Siddharth's short but quality list of youthful Telugu romcom's. He's written the story for this himself, romances three heroines while trying to pick who to go with, dances a bit in Germany, the usual. It's a fun movie but I tend to pick NVNV, Bommarillu or Aata over it. Still, the story is lovely and there's some awesome dancing - and guest appearances by Amitabh and Prabhu Deva!

32. Sharafat (1970) - Gorgeous Hema-Dharam jodi in one of their early films together, Hema plays a courtesan and has some awesome dance numbers. It's no mind-blowing stuff in terms of plot but for me, personally, it's memorable enough for the dancing. Discussed earlier here.

33. Thillana Mohanambal (1968) - Still the only Tamil oldie I've seen so far. Ironically, I really loved it and always wanted to see more but could never quite bring myself to just buy more Sivaji Ganesan films to sample some more oldie goodness. This one celebrates the art of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dancing, along with a love story and some awesome musical numbers.

34. Maa (1976) - Elephant elephant elephant. This is the Dharmendra movie with the elephant. And that's basically all you need to know, because the first half of the movie is painfully boring and dumb set up for some fairly fun elephant hijinks. Elephant!

35. Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) - The classic "three brothers separated and brought together" story by Manmohan Desai is, surprise to no one, one of my favourites. Not least of all because Anthony is a fantastic character, Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor are adorable together and Vinod Khanna is smokin'. Sigh. Earlier discussed here.

36. Imtihan (1974) - Fine, call me a cheater, I've still not finished this one yet. It started off okay but didn't go anywhere and showed no signs of promise so I turned it off. Anyway, Vinod Khanna plays an awesome professor who is seriously the best person ever on this planet. And he wears glasses.

37. Asoka (2001) - I feel all kinds of pretentious saying that my dislike for this film is largely due to the fact they didn't get to the good part of the historical Ashoka's life; Buddhism, spreading Buddhist beliefs etc. Why? Because the biggest expert on Indian history and Buddhism that I know lists this film as one of her favourites. Go figure. It's an okay movie, but I just find it a tad overhyped. Nice visuals, can't be denied.

38. Bommarillu (2006) - Oh, Siddharth. This initially disappointed me but later I grew a fondness for it, the originality of the storyline worked its magic and even the cheesy song picturizations won me over. Genelia may be Manic Pixie Girl - google it - but she works for me as the balancing factor for Siddharth's character's life, and how he comes to terms with the pressures by his father.

39. Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002) - The one, the only, epic Saif/Hrithik bromance movie. Served with a side order of cheese, and mostly just cheese, and sprinkled with Esha Deol's first-grade non-acting (her first role, bless her soul). This is one of those "so bad I kind of love it" films, but don't expect to find me rewatching it over and over again.

40. Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993) - This film is simply too adorable! I love it so much. Aamir Khan plays an uncle to kids who is left to take care of them and Juhi Chawla plays a runaway girl who befriends the kids on a fair and ends up rooming with them without Aamir's character's knowledge. As you can imagine, comedy and romance ensue. I also like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak but I like my happy endings more, so this one wins in my books. Earlier discussed here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Some days I can't decide which Indian actor I'm most attracted to or find the handsomest and/or hottest.

Other days, pictures like these do the deciding for me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kotha Bangaru Lokam - sweet sweet sugar rush.

(The following is more a recommendation post and a picture spam than an actual review. Apologies for the lack of analysis or deeper thoughts or detailed thoughts overall.)

There are a lot of Indian films out there you can watch if you feel like seeing teenagers fall in love. Good ones, bad ones, ones with happy endings, tragic endings, melodramatic endings, fresh stars, old stars, way-too-old stars.. So why pick this one, Kotha Bangaru Lokam, a 2008 Telugu film by a debutante director Srikanth Addala?

It manages to capture some of the very teenage awkwardness while still being adorable and sugary to the core. It stars fresh, young talent who play off each other nicely, and it has a peppy enough script to maintain one's attention for nearly three hours.

The basic plot doesn't sound like the most original one, but it manages to charm you on-screen with little details I won't reveal right now. Balu (Varun Sandesh) and Swapna (Shweta Prasad, a mind-boggling 17 years of age!) meet in college, get crushes on each other and awkwardly take their first steps into love. Their carelessness lands them into a little trouble and of course, father of Swapna highly disapproves of the match. Balu's father (the delightful Prakash Dad .. I mean, Prakash Raj) on the other hand, doesn't know about his son's love, as Balu chooses to hide it.

Twists and turns and a smidgeon of melodrama perfect this otherwise sugary confection, as you can imagine.

This will be a shorter review, because while I really enjoyed the movie, I can't quite find the words to describe it. Good acting, beautiful cinematography, fun songs.. Simply a good watch, but I also don't want to overhype it, because as popular as it is, the best thing for it is to be discovered by each viewer on their own. If it had any flaws, they were minor enough for me not to fixate on them - for example, the hero's tendency to flick his shiny, shiny hair went from "gosh, that's a bit weird" to "whatever, it's pretty cute", instead of annoying me.

So check it out, and hopefully it will make your "perfect rainy day movie" list as it did mine.

Have some more pictures to entice you!

If you're not keen on this by now, then you probably never will be. My job here is done.

Monday, September 7, 2009

...so they dance! film index

(Hindi unless stated otherwise)

3 Idiots (2009) [very spoilerous review]

36 China Town (2006) - mini-review

99 (2009)

Aaja Naachle (2007)

Aarzoo (1999)

Aata (2007), Telugu: initial thoughts, screencaps and fangirling

Aasha (1957)

Achanak (1973) - mini-review

Ahista Ahista (2006)

Aisha (2010)

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)

Alibaba aur 40 Chor (1980)

Andaz Apna Apna (1994): in comparison to Om Shanti Om, general fangirling, mini review

Anniyan (2005), Tamil: rewatching, recommendation post

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977); mini review

Aradhana (1969) - mini-review

Arul (2004), Tamil

Asoka (2001) - mini review

Band Baaja Baarat (2010)

Bheema (2008), Tamil

Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

Black Friday (2007)

Bunty aur Babli (2005) - mini review, proper review/rewatching

Bommarillu (2006), Telugu - mini review

Boys (2003), Tamil - mini review

Chak De India (2007) - feminist musings, general review

Challi Dilli (2011) - mini-review

Chandi Chowk to China (2009)

Chukkallo Chandrudu (2006), Telugu - mini review

Darna Mana Hai (2003)

Dev.D (2009)

Dharam-Veer (1977)

Dhool (2002), Tamil

Dhoondte Reh Jaoge! (2009)

Dil Bole Hadippa (2009)

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1994)

Doli Saja Ke Rakhna (1998)

Don (1978)

Don (2006)

Dostana (2008); rant

Duplicate (1998) - mini-review

Dushman (1998) - mini review

Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007)

Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981)

Ek Hasina Thi (2004)

Eklavya (2007); mini review

Elippathayam (1981), Malayalam

Ethiree (2004), Tamil - mini-review

Fashion (2008) (more a rant than a review)

Gangster (2006) - mini review

Ghajini (2008) (audio)

Ghajini (2006), Tamil

Ghulam (1998) - mini review

Guru (2007)

Hamesha (1997) - mini review

Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Ke (1994); mini review

Hum Tum (2004)

Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd (2007)

Indian (1996), Tamil

Indra (2002), Telugu; about the heroines

Jaan-e-Mann (2006)

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007)

Jodhaa-Akbar (2008) - mini review, initial review

Johnny Gaddaar (2007) - mini review

Jugnu (1973)

Kaadhal (2004), Tamil

Kaakha Kaakha: The Police (2003), Tamil - mini-review

Kaminey (2009)

Kanthasamy (2009), Tamil: first reactions

Karan Arjun (1995) - mini-review

Keemat (1997)

Khiladi (1992)

Khoya Khoya Chand (2007)

Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam (2009), Telugu

Kya Kehna (2000) - mini review

Laal Patthar (1973)

Lekin... (1991) - mini review

Life in a Metro (2007) - mini review

Maa (1976); mini review

Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994)

Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Mara (2005) - mini review

Maine Pyar Kiya (1989):bilingual review; first impressions

Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)

Meera (1979)

Meera (1992), Tamil

Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1970); mini review

Muthu (1995), Tamil

Naan Kadavul (2009), Tamil

Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002) - mini review

Namastey London (2007)

Nandha (2004), Tamil

No One Killed Jessica (2010)

Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (2005), Telugu

Omkara (2006); mini review

Oy (2009), Telugu

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008)

Paheli (2005) - mini review

Parvarish (1977) - 70's week posts; Lost-and-found story trope, Fashion and decorations, Heroines & romance, Music & song picturizations, Villains & action, Fangirl pause.

Patthar aur Payal (1974) - mini review

Pournami (2006), Telugu

Pithamagan (2003); thoughts on Laila's character, mini review

Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006)

Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) - mini review

Race (2008)

Rajneeti (2010)

Rock On!! (2008)

Saamy (2003), Tamil - mini review, bilingual review

Saawariya (2007)

Sachaa Jhutha (1970)

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962) - mini-review

Salaam-e-Ishq (2007); mini review

Sangamam (1999), Tamil - mini review

Sethu (1999), Tamil

Shaque (1976) - mini review

Sharafat (1970)

Sholay (1975)

Singh is Kinng (2008)

Sivaji: The Boss (2007), Tamil

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Socha Na Tha (2004)

Striker (2010)

Tara Rum Pum (2007) (more a rant than a review)

Tashan, 2008: the proper review

Tere Bin Laden (2010) - mini-review

The Burning Train (1980) - mini review

Thillana Mohanambal (1968), Tamil - mini review

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (2008)

Tum Haseen Main Jawaan (1970)

Wake Up Sid (2009) - audio review

Wanted (2009)

We Are Family (2010) - mini-review

Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973) - mini-review

Yeh Dillagi (1994)

let's talk about..! series:

Kareena Kapoor

Preity Zinta


R. Madhavan


posts possibly more worthwhile than others:

How I "found" Bollywood

Geetas, Basantis and Hasinis: thoughts on women and feminism in Indian cinema

My Bollytastic room

Starting out with ____? Newbie indoctrination philosophies.

Kunal Kohli "facts"

Top five Hindi film heroines to me

Top five Hindi film heroes to me

Bollywood & gay representations

Introducing Sakshay series

Part I: Tu Chor Main Sipahi

Part II: Aarzoo

Part III: Yeh Dillagi

Part IV: Keemat

Part V: Main Khiladi Tu Anari


Bandana intervention (re: Saif Ali Khan)

Superficial charms; hottest men and women in Indian cinema (to me)

Awesome dance numbers via youtube

Finnish films that remind me of Indian films

Saif Ali Khan alphabets

I write a Bollywood script and go nuts with it

tags of people I really like:

Hema Malini
Vinod Khanna
Aamir Khan
Saif Ali Khan
Akshay Kumar

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A small guide to family counselling: Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam.

Because the title of this Telugu family entertainer I believe translates something along the lines of "Sometimes sweet, sometimes difficult", one can't help but think of Karan Johar's Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. It is indeed all about loving your parents, but instead of overwrought melodrama with a cold, almost cruel patriarch who values his pride over anything, Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam diffuses some realism into its otherwise fluffy family values. The fact is that family life is more than singing songs on happy occasions and even if the love is there, sometimes people do the wrong things, say the wrong things and despite the love being there, split up.

Not surprisingly, the latest Siddharth-starrer in Telugu, directed by Kishore Kumar (um, not that Kishore Kumar) is a romantic entertainer of great quality.

The newcomer Tamanna plays Geeta, a smalltown girl who comes to Hyderabad for college and runs into Siddhu (Siddharth). She is unimpressed with him to begin with, and it's really no wonder. He's a seemingly incurable flirt, going from girl to girl like a hyperactive bee of sorts. But hanging out with him and their mutual friends, she begins to see another side of him. As it happens, the poor boy is from a broken home, and is actually very sweet despite his flirty ways.

They become friends, and then much more, but just as they're to have their first date, Geeta's father arrives and takes her back home. Siddhu, having seen DDLJ enough times, goes to Geeta, but her father (surprise!) disapproves of the match and asks Siddhu, "If your family is broken, how am I to believe you can keep my daughter and your family with her together?".

Now, instead of arguing about the logic of the statement, Siddhu and Geeta are faced with the task of getting Siddhu's divorced parents back together.

Easier said than done, right?

KIKK is not a perfect movie; it takes a long while to warm up, as Siddhu really does not come off as very likable at first, and the romance develops slowly. Tamanna is a breath of fresh air, though, and for her first role she does an extremely good job of carrying the movie when Siddharth isn't winning the viewer's sympathies at first. Eventually the film finds its pace and becomes a solid entertainer.

Prakash Raj - or as we now call him, Prakash Dad - does a fine job in the film, as always. It's great to see the falling out of the parents, the difficulty of the situation, and how they can't quite bring themselves to just forgive and move on. It feels problematic in the same way situations in real life typically are; there aren't any simple solutions to fix these relationships.

But it's great to watch Siddhu and Geeta try anyway, and run into their own problems, and resolve those. The chemistry is lovely, and it feels like these really are people whose personalities match, instead of just being the cute couple you root for. The way they move from friendship to love feels natural, as well.

The soundtrack is perfect, peppy Shankar-Ehsan-Loy. Fun to watch, fun to listen to - no groundbreaking stuff but solid all the same. Tamanna can dance, as can Siddharth (and boy can he!), so absolutely no complaints there. I foresee myself rewatching these songs a ton.

But speaking of complaints, I (kind of) have one.

Because I was so underwhelmed during the first 40 minutes or so, I can't help but think maybe this "Siddharth + Telugu family entertainer with youthful romance at the center of it" combo is getting too old. Gasp, shock! I know, I didn't think I'd ever find myself thinking it, much less typing it. The thing is, I can't get my Siddharth fix off this movie as well as some of the others, and I don't know what to blame. Is it the script, his character literally being a pastiche of the Siddhu characters we've seen in virtually every film he's been in? Is it the fact he himself is uninspired? Is it the fact Tamanna miraculously outshines him? Is it just the damn silly haircut?

Look, I'm not saying he's bad in this. He's not. And the movie doesn't suffer because of my lack of fangirliness, either. Even if it's in the same vein as Bommarillu, it's actually pretty original.

Of course, there are some absolute duds in the movie - the comedy storylines featuring a father of Geeta's friend and another one featuring Siddhu's friend are just such a waste of celluloid. There are some Southie comedians I suppose I 'get', but I think I can count them with two fingers, and neither of these guys were one of that crowd. On the second watch I'll make sure to fast-forward.

I think what's sometimes more interesting than how I rate these Siddharth-starring family entertainers is how variedly people react to them at large. Some people worship Bommarillu, others feel its a waste of time, others despise Aata and some find it cracktastic. It'll be interesting to see where KIKK falls in people's Siddharth-o-Meter's. I have a feeling it'll make less waves than the others, but will be regarded as a good movie.

For me, I think it'll be decided via rewatches. It's cute enough to be rewatched for sure, but not addictive enough to demand it.

And even with the feelings of slight underwhelment as stated above, Siddharth, in case you're reading, don't stop making these, because I'd rather watch ten more of these than a dull Southie action-focused masala. Trust me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mini-reviews, recent films edition.

First, a note on the silence. As you know, I visited South Korea last May. After I came back, I had a bit of free time for myself, and then I began my summer job, which has been keeping me busy and sucking my energy ever since. I still watch movies, but since I also try to meet friends during my limited free time, it's been harder to take the time to screencap and review the movies that I watch. Apparently earning money and blogging about Indian cinema don't go hand-in-hand! I'm just not hardcore a blogger. Apologies all around.

So expect eventual longer reviews on all of these. For now, mini-reviews!

Aaja Naachle - A recent-ish rewatch, as my NIF friend, who shall be called Mog from now on, adores Rang De Basanti and specifically Kunal Kapoor. As can be expected, she was filled with glee by this movie, and I enjoyed it again, for the beautiful dancing, the fluffy story and Akshaye, Akshaye, oh and did I mention Akshaye? How tragic is it that he's painted as the villain here? This is probably the last Akshaye role I will ever like, considering I don't want to see anything of him post-Race but it's a role I cherish all the more because of it. It's a mildly good film but it wins me over with every watch; Madhuri makes the pieces magically come together.

Honeymoon Travels, Ltd - Another moderately good movie that ended up being delightful. I knew I had to see this thanks to Carla's fangirling of the film and it was so very worth it, despite the fact I feel like every couple's story had miles to go and when the film ended, I was vaguely unsatisfied. Still, so much goodness here. I adored Boman and Shabana (of course!), Abhay, Kay Kay Menon and Raima Sen, I even liked Amisha Patel quite a bit. This movie is one of those odd ones, so imperfect but still so memorable.

Tum Haseen Main Jawaan - One from the Hema & Dharmendra pile! I actually still haven't finished this, because I began watching and my brain figuratively melted inside my skull for how slapstick and goofy the comedy in this film is. Simply unbelievable. I suppose I'll get back to it, as Dharmendra and Hema just met in the scenes I stopped watching at, but oh my! The less baby-on-a-boat comedy I have to witness, the better.

Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam - Filed under "Siddharth makes a Telugu family entertainer, the world falls to his feet". Only this one took a while to get good for me, and I still think the main actress did a better job than Siddharth himself. But never the less, it has Prakash Raj being World's Greatest Dad and it's delightful and has great music. I'll rewatch, screencap and review it later, you can count on it.

Kotha Bangaru Lokam - Oh gosh. Oh my. This one took me by surprise, because even as I saw it being praised and as I added it to my shopping basket online when ordering the previously mentioned KIKK, I wasn't sure if I'd actually like it. But I absolutely loved it. This is one of those cutesy Telugu family entertainer youthful love stories where every piece fits; it's just enough silliness, goofiness, cheese but heartfelt philosophies and teachings and moments and awkwardness of teenage and easing into adulthood.

See, I loved it so much I screencapped it immediately. How often does that occur? How about barely ever?

Yeah, I really loved it. But expect more banter when I settle into the study year and have time to procrastinate and blog about all of these in length.

Hope you're all doing great and enjoying the beginning of fall. It's good to be back!