Sunday, April 15, 2012

A little bit of India: Bollywood

Bollywood: Favorite movies This is the fifth post of the series "A Little bit of India" read the first part of the series: A little bit of India - Diwali, the second part: A little bit of India - Saree , the third part: Republic Day and fourth part A little bit of India - Holi.

Aishwarya Rai - Bollywood Actor and Miss world 1994

There's nothing that has captured Indian consciousness like Bollywood. Anything related to Bollywood is met with enthusiasm and widespread curiosity. Whether it is fashion styles that Bollywood is popularizing, the rumors about the link-ups and break ups, star studded endorsements...Bollywood has got the golden touch.
Bollywood has inspired weddings, fashion and lifestyle for generations. If you are in India you just can't escape the effect, but now that I live so far away its much easier to think objectively about it.

Here are some of my favorites movies from Bollywood. I thought of doing a top 10 but then realized that my favorites may not necessarily be 10 so I just stuck to what I loved and decided not to care about numbers. Most of these movies, I have seen more than 1 time and liked them even more second time around. Like everyone, my favorites are just favorites. They may not be the box office hits, or the most critically acclaimed movies. Most movies I like have at least one or more of the following
 a)  Great story and tight script b) Superb music c) Witty and sharp dialogues d) humor e) Charismatic persona

If we could smell a movie I bet this movie would have the light fragrance of a Mogra ( sorry, I don't know its name in English). Husband and wife separated because of a demanding career in politics accidentally run into each other and realize that the love never really died. They relive the moments of their initial romance only to find a deep connection between themselves, but the question of career is still there. What will get sacrificed this time? Love or Career? would it even matter now? Its not the story that makes the movie...but its the way characters are defined, soft and mellow from outside but very strong and stubborn on the inside. Very much connected at the heart, but their ambitions makes them run in different directions. Aided with superb music and seemingly simple dialogues which really stick with you, this it just is a beautiful movie whatever way you slice it.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Its your typical Bollywood movie - Boy meets girl, they fall in love, bad things happen but love triumphs in the end. They live happily ever after. Beyond that, there's nothing run-of-the-mill about this movie. Great cinematography of the best locations of Europe, extra-ordinary music,The hero ( Shahrukh Khan) is charm personified and the heroine ( Kajol) moves effortlessly between spunk and enigma. Together they set the screen on fire without a single kiss...and go on to create one of the most successful on-screen pairings of Bollywood.
It is just one of those movies that one can't help but be biased about.

Here's my favorite song from the movie:

Andaaz Apna Apna
Goofy comedy at its best. This movie starts when two street romeos set out to achieve the unattainable - The heiress who is looking for a suitor. They do get to their goal but not before meeting a bunch of thugs, goons and villains en route. Add a set of twins, a sassy secretary and some retro music to the mix and you have concocted a movie that will have you laughing right until the last scene. I haven't met a person who didn't like the movie but it still was a flop, which is a big mystery to me.

Hera Pheri
Another great comedy of all times. Three broke friends trying to make money by brokering a kidnapping. One is extremely cunning, one has loose lips and the other one is trying to come into money without sacrificing his principles. The drama that ensues is hilarious.

Chak De india

This movie touches a subject that is way out of focus for India - Women Sports ( and non-cricket at that). A battered women Hockey team (the team, not the women) with teammates worried more about showing each other their place instead of winning the game. A coach accused of match fixing during his own heydays and an unattainable goal of winning the women's world cup in hockey. Even if the end is predictable the ride is not. A very well made movie with a tight script. You will never know when the movie got over.

                                                  Source: via Valerie on Pinterest

An adaptation of Othello ( Shakespeare) - but what an adaptation! The movie is set in the most rural of the villages in the heart of India where the protagonist is one of the strongmen of a renowned politician. The adaptation and direction is so skillful that it will be hard to believe  that Omkara ( Othello) could be anything other than a rural Goon who is sort of good at heart. Very well made movie. The story is poignant which is not surprising coming from the master himself. What made this movie however is the superb direction and acting from lead actors. Shakespeare got the treatment he deserved.

Chupke Chupke
Source: via SK on Pinterest

This movie features some of the greatest stars of Indian Cinema, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, the elite of Indian Cinema. But thats not the USP of the movie - the best thing about this movie is that how down to earth and real it feels. Contrary to regular bollywood tales - which challenge, logic, reason and viability all at the same time, this story manages to remain convincing, something that could happen to anyone. The story line is very simple - A newlywed husband gets really pissed off at how his wife keeps praising her brother in law ( sister's husband) for his wisdom and wit. He bets that he will fool the brother -in-law - so begins The Prank, which fools not only The Brother-in-law, but a lot of other people in its wake. Great music, witty dialogues and tight script make sure your attention is right there on the screen for whole 2 and half hours.

A Wednesday
This is one of the few recent films that impress. Mumbai chief of police gets a call that there are bombs planted all over the city and they will get detonated unless four deadly terrorists are released from prison. He has only a few hours to negotiate with the conspirator and save the city from another explosion without giving in to the demands. How does he do it and who is the mastermind behind the plans? If you understand Hindi this movie is a must watch. Without any songs/dance, gorgeous women this movie goes about telling the story, as it unfolds. It is as different from mainstream Bollywood as it can get, yet everyone I knew loved it. Simply because it told a great story, enacted by two great actors of Indian Cinema Anupam Kher and Nasiruddin Shah. A masterpiece.

Source: via Nandita on Pinterest

I will leave you with this picture of Madhubala who is considered the most beautiful actress in Indian cinema by many ( I'm one of them). If you have any opinions about Bollywood, I would love to hear them in comments.