Happy Belated Birthday Wishes to Sonu, Bobby, Anupam, and Rani!

I realized last week that since we began this blog, we have managed to overlook the birthdays of Sonu Nigam (February 15), Bobby Deol (February 27), Anupam Kher (March 7), and Rani Mukherjee (March 21). And some other very famous Indian celebrities whom I don’t feel qualified to talk about since I haven’t seen any of their work. I’ll get to you next year, Shashi Kapoor and Jeetendra. You’ve survived my ignorance of you thus far.

I thought at first that I would try to find a video featuring Sonu, Anupam, Rani, and Bobby, but then I thought, while that probably exists (this IS Bollywood), it would be impossible to actually track that down. If you can think of one, let me know.

So, first! Bobby and Rani in Yaar Mere Yaara Mere (if you find Rani’s peach track suit thing to be too much, there’s a costume change at 1:50) from Badal. The playback singer here is Udit. And boy is this wacky. Wow. Gotta love the clothes, especially Rani’s ultra-hip Skechers and Bobby’s multiple orange jackets. And the little costume/location recap at the end! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did:

And here’s Anupam telling a story. Unfortunately the punchline is mostly in Hindi (anyone got any idea what he says?) but it’s still pretty charming:

Now,  Sonu… How could anyone pick a favorite Sonu song? Well, I certainly can’t. So, here are two favorites! And yeah, that’s him! He may usually be a playback singer, but he’s not so bad looking.

The ages of the Birthday People are 55, 36, 43, and 32. You can try to guess who is what age.

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Song Sunday – Tanhayee

I’ve been sort of pathetic lately when it comes to getting posts up on the days they’re supposed to go up. It’ll be better this week, I promise.

Today’s song is from Dil Chahta Hai. We finished watching it last night, and we truly enjoyed every moment. It’s a pretty happy movie– this song is quite intense compared to the other ones.

Without further ado, Tanhayee:

(Picturized on Aamir Khan, this song was composed by  Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. It was sung by the always amazing Sonu Nigam. The whole soundtrack was written in ten days and recorded in three weeks. I almost hate them for their talent, but I just love it so much.)

Mujhse Shaadi Karogi

Will you marry me?

I’m not asking you. That’s just the name of the movie. “Mujhse shaadi karogi?” seems like a useful thing to know in case someone should propose to you in Hindi. (Well, it could happen) (Either answer “haan” or “nahin” depending on your inclination)

Mujhse Shaadi Karogi stars Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Priyanka Chopra (or Sallu, Akki, and Piggy Chops, if you prefer).

It involves a guy, Sameer, with anger issues (why on earth did they cast Salman? Although he claims in the making of video to not be much like his character), who promises his grandmother (awww) that he won’t ever lose his temper again, and then goes off to Goa. He has a rough start, but he falls in love with Rani (Priyanka) and everyone looks like it will work out. Enter Sunny (Akshay). Although it is clear to Sameer (and the audience) that Sunny is a jerk, he always manages to look good in front of Rani, while making Sameer look bad. “Wicked Sunny. Lock up all of your honey.” No, seriously, that’s his theme. Anyway, Sameer has to work really, really hard not to lose his temper and it looks like he will never get the girl and then (Spoiler alert! Ha ha) at the end of the movie (in the middle of a cricket match, no less) he does. Read the rest of this entry »

Jab We Met

Do you know what today is? It’s a very important day.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

It’s Shahid Kapoor’s 29th birthday! And reportedly his birthday party got raided by the police because it went on beyond 1:30 AM. Gosh, Shahid, really living on the edge there.

I promised I would review Jab We Met (English: When We Met) this week, and this seems like a good day to do it. It’s one of Shahid’s most successful movies so far, if not his most successful (don’t ask me, I’m clueless). And it’s an excellent film for Bollywood newbies. We’ve shown this to several friends, and after finishing it, one announced she was going to buy it as soon as she got home (we love you, Amber)!

The reason it’s a good one for those new to Bollywood is simple: It has all the things a classic Bollywood movie should have (big stars, silly story, large families, lots of Indian scenery, depression which can be fixed by a pretty girl, mountains, confusion, revered family patriarchs, Sikhs, Punjab, etc, etc, etc) but it doesn’t go over the top with any of them. It’s a nice, gentle step between tame American films, and huge Hindi affairs. This would be my number one choice for introducing someone to Bollywood (if they can handle the subtitles).

At the time the movie was filmed, Shahid was dating his co-star, Kareena Kapoor. They really make a great onscreen couple, even if they couldn’t make it last offscreen. Geet (Kareena) jabbers, and Aditya (Shahid) gives her funny looks (“Come, you can give me this look while walking, too”), but it works. They carry the film on their own– the only other role that gets much screen time is Geet’s first boyfriend, Anshuman, played by Tarun Arora. I do hear that Saumya Tandon, who play’s Geet’s cousin Roop, is a soap opera actress, and Dara Singh, who plays Geet’s perceptive grandfather, is a well-known wrestler and actor (but don’t worry, there’s no wrestling in this movie. You see, we build to that).

The thing I love about Bollywood is that it’s hard to write spoilers. Coming into a movie, you almost always know how it’s going to end: the guy gets the girl, they make up with her family, they live happily ever after. But like everyone says, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey! This movie features a lot of traveling– first, from Mumbai to Punjab, and then from Punjab to Manali. The sights are gorgeous; if you don’t have an overwhelming desire to visit India, you will by the time you finish this film.

You can find a summary of the plot on Wikipedia or IMDB. But, in a nutshell, Geet (Kareena), an incredibly bubbly and crazy girl misses a train, blames it on depressed and unsuccessful businessman Aditya (Shahid), and through her strange logic, they end up traveling together to her home. They stay there for a bit, then Geet takes Aditya with him when she runs away to meet her boyfriend, with whom she intends to elope. He leaves her with her boyfriend, goes back to his company and, using what Geet taught him about life, makes the company successful, naming a product after her. Her family, hearing about this product and thinking Geet eloped with him, demands he bring her back to them. He goes to Manali, and finds Geet, who has been ditched by Anshuman. You can figure it out from there!

All of the songs were composed by Pritam (except Aaoge Jab Tum) and are excellent: Aao Milo Chalo (sung by Shaan and Ustad Sultan Khan) is a montage of traveling scenes, and although it confirms that Shahid can’t lip-synch, it’s a catchy tune and a treat for the eyes.

Nagada Nagada (sung by Sonu Nigam & Javed Ali) is the big dance scene– the joy really bubbles over on this one! The teasing between Shahid and Kareena’s characters in this song will give you a glimpse of their onscreen chemistry, and Shahid’s dancing is excellent, even though the poor guy has to lip-synch to two different singers.

Yeh Ishq Hai (Sung by Shreya Ghoshal, who won a National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer with it) is a bouncy song with some interesting costumes! If you’ll look closely, you’ll see that they visit an international photo studio, which explains some of these costumes.  it was a good chance for Kareena to show off her dance skills. I think she’s completely adorable in this song (and the whole movie), dancing around in the Himalayas. And I kind of wish I could do that, too.

Tum Se Hi (sung by Mohit Chauhan) is a slow and sort of sad song that’s actually quite beautiful– if I’ll listen to it over and over, it has to be. I like my Hindi songs fast and loud, but this is a pleasant exception.

Aaoge Jab Tum (composed by Sandesh Shandilya with playback singing by Ustad Rashid Khan) is quite lovely, too.. it doesn’t stick in my head the way Tum Se Hi does (probably due to my not being able to understand Hindi) but it’s gorgeous.

Mauja Hi Mauja (playback by Mika Singh) is probably the best song. It comes at the end, and Sarah and I agreed it’s a bit of a shocker as a dance scene (that’s just a link to the song). Jab We Met is really a family friendly movie, up until this point. The the clothing gets a little, um, unladylike. It’s a great song, though! We downloaded it from Amazon, and listen to it constantly. Our recommendation is to skip the song in the film (there’s one small scene afterward you don’t want to miss) and buy it so you can listen to it whenever you feel like it.

I can’t stress how much fun this movie is. And if you’ve ever traveled by train (as I got to this summer) you’ll enjoy it even more. If you’re timid about Bollywood, this is the place to start.
And the best part… It’s on Youtube, with English subs!

Oh, this is the other best part: Shahid’s smile.