Happy Birthday, Madhuri!

That’s right folks. Stupid Saturday has been postponed in favor of celebrating this gorgeous woman‘s 43rd birthdayUnfortunately, the only movie of hers I’ve seen so far is Dil and (heh heh) I was mostly absorbed in paying attention to Aamir Khan. OOOPS. :(

She has been in a lot of movies, though, and I’m sure I’ll get to watch a few more sometime, and I’m equally sure that I like her. A lot. Anyway there are a couple of her films that I’m definitely going to make an effort to see like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Aaja Nachle (although I want to see that one not because of Madhuri, but because I hear that Akshaye Khanna is the best villian of all time in that movie)

Anyway, since today is her birthday I thought I’d give a shout out and all that. Aaja Nachle is not her only film with Akshaye Khanna, they were also in Mohabbat together. I figured since Akshaye (along with Sunil Shetty) is more or less our unofficial mascot (don’t ask why; it’s just because we love him, okay?) a song from that movie would be appropriate. Don’t miss watching this, it’s hilarious (AND adorable!):

Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte

I’m back! I was gone for a week visiting friends in Illinois and Kentucky, and you may have noticed that poor Sarah had to post a lot during that time.

It’s so bad, I made Akshaye Khanna unhappy. Look at that face. Just look.

You’d think that having left her to add all those creative and interesting posts (and after getting that sad look from Akshaye), I would feel guilty and have something creative and interesting to post tonight. Well, you would be wrong, because I have the old fall-back of a video. Read the rest of this entry »

Stupid Saturday – Shortkut: The Con is On

Okay, I hate to complain about Bollywood stuff, because I pretty much love it all, so when Hannah started Stupid Saturday I was skeptical. Since then I’ve thought of lots of things that fit nicely with Stupid Saturday, so you’ll probably hear from me pretty often on this day. Nonetheless, none of this should be taken to mean that I hate the stuff, only that it crosses the line from a little weird to what on earth? a bit too often.

So Shortkut stars Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi, which ought (it really ought) to be a winning combination. It worked pretty well in Hulchul. But here? Nahin. The movie also was produced by Anil Kapoor, so it goes to show how people you trust can let you down.

Just look at that! What a nice movie poster! Akshaye, Amrita Rao, and Arshad all look very nice. Let’s just stop here.

Okay it’s not that bad. Read the rest of this entry »

Hulchul

Following Salaam-e-Ishq, I was watching Hindi movies in all my spare time. I usually picked out an actor I liked or wanted to know more about and read through the list of their movies on Wikipedia until I found one I wanted to watch. This explains the disturbing number of
Akshaye Khanna movies I’ve watched. But more on that another time.
Hulchul is up on YouTube apparently (?) legally. Hulchul translates roughly (I think, don’t quote me on this) to “uproar,” which is an appropriate title, this one’s pretty insane. It’s a Priyadarshan film, which, as I understand it, explains a lot. Frankly, I don’t care much if a film is a remake or not, and am not much surprised if someone got ripped off in the process. Although I’m sure I’d have to disapprove. Nonetheless, entertainment is entertainment.

The film features two rival families, one headed by Angarchand (Amrish Puri, who you may recognize from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, although I have yet to meet anyone who has actually watched it; I just noticed, he’s also in Ghandi, although I haven’t seen it yet) with sons played by Jackie Shroff, Paresh Rawal, Arbaaz Khan, and Akshaye Khanna. They probably couldn’t have gotten four men who looked less like brothers if they tried. But I digress. The other family is headed by Laxmi Devi (Laxmi) and her sons, and from Wikipedia and IMDB I couldn’t figure out which character was which, so suffice it say that the youngest and most attractive of them is Suniel Shetty. Oh, and Kareena Kapoor is her grandaughter.

Anyway, the two families hate each other, Angarchand has forbidden his sons to get married, and Jai (Akshaye) and Anjali (Kareena) decide to make each other fall in love in order to ruin the other’s life and (surprise, surprise!) fall in love. Predictable, yes, but Romeo and Juliet story-lines never go out of style.

There’s lots of very funny moments, many of them aided by the marvelous Arshad Warsi, who is the best side-kick actor ever. I love this guy. This is also certainly a better opportunity to see him and Akshaye together than Shortkut: The Con is On. I’ll get to that one eventually, but no hurry there.

Anyway, there’s lots of slapstick, lots of misunderstanding and melodrama and insanity.

The movie will never be on a list of the greatest movies of all time, or anything of the sort but if you like your dishoom-dishoom (sound-effect in old Bollywood movies when someone gets punched) masala (and if you enjoy saying “dishoom-dishoom” and “masala” as much as I do), then this movie is for you. Speaking of punching, there’s a lot of it. Suniel does a lot of it, though, so that’s okay with us. (Suniel is the best actor for the protective uncle/older brother roles ever; I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is)

The songs and dances aren’t great, but they do involve people dancing in front of mountains, and I think you get Bolly-points for that. I enjoyed Ishq Mein Pyar Mein, which was upbeat and catchy. Both Ishq Mein and Rafta Rafta have five costume changes. Yes we counted. Actually, Rafta Rafta is fun, too, in a gimmicky way. Go ahead and watched if you’re inclined to laugh at Akshaye and Kareena pretending to like each other, except when the other’s back is turned. Hum Dil Ke is pretty, but involves only one costume change so no Bolly-points for that. Dekho Zara Dekho is another upbeat one, and the music video is, I assume, slightly influenced by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Or something. The concept is an old one. (Someone should keep up with references and possible references to Jacko in Bollywood; I think the list would be a long one) With singers such as Shaan (on Ishq Mein and Hum Dil Ke), Udit Narayan (Rafta Rafta, Dekho Zara Dekho) and Alka Yagnik (Ishq Mein) it would be hard for it to be bad, but it’s not their best work either.

Lesson learned: If you believe what you see in the movies it would seem that orange cargo pants are quite popular in India. I saw them first when Shahrukh was sporting them in Kal Ho Naa Ho, but both Akshaye and Kareena wear a pair at different times in this movie.

Oh, and get used to Paresh Rawal. He pops up in movies almost as frequently as Johnny Lever.

Salaam-e-Ishq (A Tribute to Love)

Salaam-e-Ishq was sort of our first ‘real’ Bollywood experience. We initially became aware of Bollywood through Bride and Prejudice, which for a short time everyone was talking about. But, like most other people, we weren’t that inspired to check out the real thing: Hindi films.

What did get us was a song. A friend sent Hannah the title song from this movie. We listened to it non-stop for weeks, looked up the video on Youtube and had to watch this movie. And it was worth it.

The story is a bit complicated (I’m told the concept is based on Love Actually but I’ve never seen it so I couldn’t tell you), involving six stories (well, five stories and one awkward comic relief side-plot thing) about six couples that are very loosely connected.

The six couples are: Ashutosh (John Abraham) and Tehzeeb (Vidya Balan); Gia (Ayesha Takia) and Shiven (Akshaye Khanna); Seema (the ever lovely Juhi Chawla) and Vinay (Anil Kapoor); Rahul (Salman Khan) and Kamini (Priyanka Chopra); Raju (Govinda) and Stephenie (Shannon Esra); and Ramdayal (Sohail Khan) and Phoolwati (Isha Koppikkar).

Ashu and Tehzeeb’s story was the most touching of the six, hands down. Vidya is fantastic as the sweet Tehzeeb, and honestly I can’t complain about John’s performance. I know everyone says he’s more a model than an actor, but here he was very effective.

Salman is at his best in a character like Rahul, and Rahul and Kamini’s relationship was very amusing. Of the six, the two couples I think that could stand to have their own movies, would be John and Vidya, and Salman and Priyanka. In any case, I would watch those movies.

Shannon Esra played the know-nothing American with grace. I mean, she wasn’t obnoxious, but she was pretty believable. Govinda was positively adorable (and I understand what they mean in other movies when someone is told to “dance like Govinda”). And have I mentioned that I love this movie?

Things to skip: Any of the scenes with Sohail and Isha. They play a newly-wed couple and add only awkwardness to the movie.

The soundtrack is by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and is first-class. You get two good dance songs (Salaam e Ishq and Tenu Leke) as well as Dil Kya Kare; there are a couple of others but not so memorable. It’s sad that Mera Dil didn’t make it into the movie, but happy that someone put it up on Youtube.

The movie was written and directed by Nikhil Advani, who had previously directed Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Naa Ho, and was assistant director on Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which explains the frequent mentions of KJo in the film. (that, and the fact that tie-ins to the real world of Bollywood are almost irresistible to scriptwriters, apparently)

This was a great movie to begin our venture into the world of Bollywood with because, while it had some Indian peculiarities (just because you call someone “uncle” doesn’t mean they are your uncle, for instance) and was a little crazy, the story is very accessible and you don’t really need any prior knowledge of India to get through it just fine.

Oh, lessons learned: Anil Kapoor looks better with facial hair than without it.