Various News

Well, we just finished watching My Name is Khan. The phrases I said the most while watching it were “Oh. My. GOSH.” and “What the HECK?” because it was a bizarre experience. In fact, after watching it, I’ve decided to take back the happy birthday wishes for KJo, because I’m seriously freaked out now. No, I still love him. But I wonder how an educated, privileged, well-traveled man could get the US so entirely wrong in such a totally weird way. I really do.

Karan claims to have “outgrown mush” and this news story (about the new film I Hate Luv Stories) even claims that My Name is Khan is a serious political-human statement, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, my friends, and I’m just not convinced.

I like Imran’s take on the film, (I Hate Luv Stories, not My Name is Khan). “We are making films for the Indian industry so why not just make it the way everyone loves them? Read the rest of this entry »


Guess what?

Guess what!


Don’t everybody get excited all at once

But it’s somebody’s birthday! Read the rest of this entry »

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (English: Something Happens)… it’s hard to know where to start. It was one of the first Bollywood films I saw, and it was therefore full of significant “first” moments:

But when watching a movie for the first time, it’s hard to take in all of these things, and they were really insignificant to me, because all I could think about was how much I was enjoying it. I had no idea of who Shahrukh Khan is, but I paused the movie after the first ten minutes so that I could go tell Sarah how sweet I was finding his performance.
When Kajol appeared, I knew I had found my favorite Bollywood on-screen couple. Wow.  People have talked about SRK and Kajol’s chemistry, but they themselves have described it as just being very comfortable together, and I think that makes the most sense to me. Their characters of Rahul and Anjali seem extremely natural to me; even in their corniness. It’s impossible not to get a kick out of their scenes together, especially when they fight.

Rani’s character seemed a little bland to me, but I warmed up to her by the end. Little Anjali (Sana Saeed) alternates between being adorable and slightly obnoxious, but if she begins to wear on you, don’t worry; she gets less screen time in the second half of the movie.
Johnny Lever… is Johnny Lever. It’s just one of those things you have to get used to when you’re new to Hindi films (and keep an ear out for his line poking fun at Hindi films!). Salman is quite endearing in his “extended cameo”. Anupam is a bit unremarkable, but Farida was amusing.
The plot is pure Bollywood. Don’t expect it to be believable– and have patience for the (lack of) action– and you’ll have a good time.

There’s one very memorable song, “Yeh Ladka Hai Deewana“, with a cute story attached. To be honest, the words I would use to describe this song are ‘fun’ and ‘exciting’, which probably only goes to show how pathetic I am… but give it a shot. The other that sticks out is “Saajanji Ghar Aaye“. “Koi Mil Gaya” is alright, but it wasn’t my favorite… I’m not overly fond of the 90s.

Oh, and Parzun Dastur as Silent Sardarji, a little Sikh boy, was utterly too cute. Hmm. That sums up KKHH. Too cute. If cute isn’t your thing, this probably isn’t your movie. But if you like cute (and a little cheese) it’s a delightful way to spend an evening or a long afternoon.

And check out this Pepsi ad released after the movie:

Recognize the guy in the plaid shirt?

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.