Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obsessed: Do Dhaari Talwaar

New feature alert! Obsessed will be a feature where I simply gush about something I'm currently obsessed with, whether it be a song, movie, actor, preview, etc. Sometimes a Bollyfan just needs a channel from which to vent her current love for something. And what better channel than a Bollywood blog? :)

I have one thought about this song from the September release, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan: why isn't it overwhelmingly popular??!! I have to admit, when I first listened to the MBKD soundtrack, I sort of brushed off this track. Then I saw the movie and wondered how exactly I missed such a gem of a song.

The song itself is obviously great, but I think it's the picturization/choreography that takes the cake. I actually love the snake charmer/belly dancer feel going on. I also really love the use of fire throughout the entire video. Who doesn't love the excitement of flames and fireballs alongside an already super hot song?

The video is also groundbreaking for me in one very interesting way: for the first time, I actually find Imran Khan to be attractive. Yep, the first time. And hopefully not the last.

Choreography, like I said, is pretty stellar. I have to admit that Katrina Kaif does a pretty good job with her steps. Tara D'Souza dancing, on the other hand, is pretty expressionless and looks rather dry next to Katrina (sigh). Oh well, she looks totally gorgeous in her outfit. Ali Zafar is a cutie, as per usual.

I only have two real gripes with this song/video:

1. WHAT is Katrina wearing? That is a horrendous outfit that completely clashes with the entire set and theme. Are we supposed to be at a fiesta? Sorry, but I don't see the mariachi band.

2. Too. Much. Dialogue. Less talking, more dancing!

Regardless, this song is an A+.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Movie Review: Ra.One

Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Armaan Verma
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Original Release Date: October 26, 2011

*No Spoilers*

I rushed to see Ra.One in theaters on opening weekend. So I've had quite some time to contemplate the film and finalize my feelings for it. In general, Ra.One will not appeal to the typical Bolly-goer, but is a wonderful film for those who choose to appreciate it.

Ra.One was heavily, heavily promoted and talked about, so expectations were bound to be sky-high. The project was ambitious, unique, and...expensive! It may not have lived up to many folks' expectations, but the film should not be written off. Shahrukh Khan single-handedly took Indian superhero cinema from lame (Krrish) to lavish.

Shahrukh Khan initally stars as Shekhar Subranmaniam, a goofy Tamil fellow who pines for his young son's approval. Though you may gag at the wig, Shahrukh plays this character flawlessly (do we expect anything less from the man?). His South Indian accent is spot on, and you can't help laugh at and feel sorry for Shekhar at the same time. Add in the wacky Shekhar grooving to Akon's "Criminal" track, and everything is golden.

Shekhar is married to the scholarly, yet beautiful Sonia (Kareena) and they have a young video game loving son Prateek (Armaan). To win his son's affection, Shekhar designs a video game to appeal especially to him. Kareena is likeable in the film, but doesn't seem to be an integral aspect of it. Armaan is wonderful as Prateek, despite the horrible hair (I was convinced he was a girl in real life to be honest).

Now, to fast forward the plot without spoiling anything: stuff happens, the villain in the video game (Ra.One) comes to life and goes after Prateek, and SRK becomes G.One. Arjun Rampal is perfect as Ra.One, but his lack of screen time was pretty disappointing.

Sounds weird, right? It is! But that's almost the fun of it. The plot is pretty much implausible...but isn't this a movie geared towards children and sci-fi fans? Since when is Superman plausible? Or even Koi Mil Gaya?

Needless to say, the plot lends itself to tons and tons of action. And let me say, the action sequences and special effects in this movie are AWESOME. I also saw it in 3D, making the whole experience even more amazing. The superior effects alone allow this movie to compete on an international scale.

The biggest challenge for a movie like Ra.One is to successfully blend the Bollywood with upscale action and science fiction--without cheapening the effect. Here is where Ra.One excels. We get our Bollywood flavor with goofy Indian humor and masala dance sequences like Chammak Challo but action and adventure is clearly the dominant theme in the movie. Sure, some of the action sequences may have gone a bit overboard (like the one where G.One and Sonia first arrive in India), but the humor of it almost made it worth it.

I'm not saying Ra.One was a perfect movie. It, of course, had its flaws. The plot could have used some tightening, some of the action scenes could have used some trimming, and for God's sake we wanted more Arjun Rampal!

Despite the flaws, Ra.One broke some major boundaries. It was the first sci-fi Bollywood film that wasn't completely cheesy and didn't completely lose its Bollywood roots--a difficult feat in and of itself. The movie also didn't give the audience exactly what it craved: a Shekhar-Sonia love story. While that would've been entertaining, including a love story would have simply distracted from the father-son story, and would've added that "typical" and predictable element into the film. The special effects, the action, the budget, and the sheer extravagance of the film was something never before seen in Bollywood. And perhaps audiences simply weren't ready for how different this film was and tried to be.

Simply put, Ra.One was entertaining. Who's gonna love it? Children, sci-fi fans, international audiences, and SRK die-hards. Who's gonna hate it? Probably everyone else. But in a world where a movie like Ready is a blockbuster, I guess I can't expect much more.

Final Verdict: 7.5/10

New Year's Resolution

I admit, I've committed an unforgivable sin. I've let life and laziness get in the way of my blogging! But I've decided that my New Year's resolution for 2012 will be to write more. And I'm beginning the resolution now.

So, apologies for being a lazy bum and choosing to vegetate in front of the TV (and Bollywood movies!) rather than actually do something somewhat productive.

More to come!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now let us swoon over Don 2.

This still says it all. I am so completely and totally excited for Don 2, it's not even funny. 5 long years later, and it's finally finally finally releasing. And I can already tell that it will be well worth the wait!

Don was one move that actually warranted another installment...unlike many Bollywood sequels slated for release (I'm looking at you, Kya Super Kool Hai Hum, Housefull 2, etc.). Don was brilliantly shot, brilliantly made, and brilliantly picturized--and I expect no less from its upcoming sequel.

And then there's Shahrukh...how amazing does he look in this still?! He embodies Don's persona to the very core--even in a simple picture.

Christmas can't come soon enough!

(And, I swear, less fangirly posts to come)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ra.One: The Second Poster

I know, I know I haven't been very timely lately. Ra.One posters, promos, and songs have been making a whirlwind around me and I have nothing to say? Not possible. It seems like the promo videos are getting most of the attention, so that the newest poster has slipped under many radars. Let us examine:

* O hayyy Shahrukh!!! Nice abs! Even if they are probably computer generated, he's looks great.

* Finally! We're getting more Kareena exposure. Is it just me or does she look wayyyy skinnier than she actually is? Probably more photoshopping magic, but she also looks pretty good. Only Kareena can manage to look ravishing in an injured state.

* Does that outfit look familiar? Looks like Chammak Challo is going to lead into some crazy action sequence. Either that, or this poster actually has nothing to do with the movie's story.

* The background looks like Hogwarts. Just sayin'.

* My other reaction to the background was that it looks like a video game. Then I read part of the synopsis and realized that it makes sense (I refuse to read the entire synopsis--what's the fun in that?!)

* "Haan farishtey hote hain..." Getting senti, are we?

* What's up with all this blue blood we keep seeing? I just hope it's not some terrible metaphor.

* WHERE IS ARJUN RAMPAL?!!!!!!!!! :(

This movie is looking more promising with each preview.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Movie Review: Ready

Starring: Salman Khan, Asin
Director: Anees Bazmee
Original Release Date: June 3, 2011

*No Spoilers*

The fact that it took me 3 attempts and a month and a half to finally finish Ready should probably tell you how this review is going to go. I began watching the movie knowing that it was probably going to be a one-man show by Salman Khan and knowing that Anees Bazmee films can be totally hilarious (No Entry, Singh is Kinng) or total duds (Thank You, Welcome) but I could still barely get through Ready.

Ready started off promising. It looked like a fun little light-hearted family comedy that was actually making me laugh. And "Character Dheela" is one of my favorite songs of the year (hey, Zarine Khan is kind of charming!). On top of that, Asin is always loveable. The fun ended there. And so did my ability to stay awake.

I really truly actually like mindless comedies. But there's a catch--they have to actually be funny. What started out as a cute family movie became unnecessarily complicated and tireless with pointless twists, turns, fights, and a needless amount of gunde (who actually looked more like jokers. Were those really dreads on that one guy?) The movie became tiresome way too quickly. Even the picturization of "Dhinka Chika" seemed to completely suck.

I really wouldn't be able to tell you what happened in the middle of Ready because I constantly found my attention wearing away as I daydreamed (probably about better movies) throughout a good portion of it. The film just dragged on and on and on and on...

Ready was strictly an ode to Salman Khan, and that also became old really really fast. Most movies with superstar actors tend to have some tributary elements, but this was so blatantly transparent that it was sickening. Just because you're a superstar doesn't mean you don't have to put in the effort of actually acting. Sorry, but Sallu's constant dialogue-baazi was thoroughly annoying. Those two-liner limericks made me want to shoot myself. I thought I was watching a movie--not reading couplets. Just sayin'.

On the whole, Ready just felt dated. This type of movie would probably fly in 1995, but there's a reason it went out of style. But maybe it's just me, considering that Ready was one of the highest grossing films ever. Yeah, I'm still scratching my head at that.

Ready was a waste of top-notch actors, a waste of good music, and a waste of life. The first half was watchable, and the beginning was actually good. Other than that, Ready was about two hours too long. The commercial success of the film was clearly just a result of Salman's superstar status. And the sad thing is, I don't think they were going for much more than that.

Final Verdict: 3/10

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chammak Challo--full on!

Clearly on yesterday's post, I spoke too soon because here is a full 90 second promo of "Chammak Challo" from Ra.One!

Ok so I can't be the only one who's first reaction to this preview was "WTF." That Bharatnatyam by Shahrukh at the beginning really threw me off...and actually kind of scared me. But I quickly got over it because the rest of the promo is AWESOME.

I stand by pretty much everything I said about the 15 second teaser in my previous post. SRK and Kareena both look divine. I'm still getting used to the choreography of the whole thing but, hey, at least it's interesting.

Now on to the big issue--the lip synching. I admit, it's a little weird. Akon's voice doesn't really match Shahrukh...EXCEPT for the Hindi portions, which really do work. And by the time you get to the (extremely well pronounced) Hindi, you forget that SRK really just said "shawty." I do think it would've been best if Akon made an actual appearance in the song though. Also, where did the female voice come from? That definitely was not in the leaked version! I like it though. The female voice meshes with Akon's really well.

My favorite part of the trailer was what it revealed about Ra.One as a whole--it's actually going to be funny! That's something I wasn't really expecting. But this trailer shows that the movie is definitely going to have its goofy moments. And goofy is something Shahrukh definitely does best.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ra.One: The Shortest Teaser Ever

Here's a teaser in true teaser fashion--a mere 15 second glimpse into arguably the most hyped up song (and movie) of the year. An early version of "Chammak Challo," sung by Akon, was leaked on the Internet a few months ago and ever since then, we've all been dying to know exactly how the song will be picturized. So it's only 15 seconds. At least it's something.

My first thought upon watching this (besides watching the time quickly run down) was how completely breathtaking Kareena looks. I was pretty surprised at the Indian-ness of her get-up. But her traditional look is so sexy! Then of course there's SRK, who looks as dashing as ever. We don't get a close up of him, but his hair is perfection. Seriously.

One of the things I was concerned about when "Chammak Challo" leaked was whether Shahrukh would actually be lip synching to the song--and how ridiculous that would be. From this trailer, it kind of seems like he is lip synching to it, but somehow it's not that bad! And on an unrelated note, the beat of this song is totally hot.

As time goes on, I'm feeling better and better about Ra.One. =D

Sunday, August 28, 2011

An interesting forthcoming documentary

As an avid Bollywood fan, I admit that I tend to focus most of my attention on mainstream films and artists. Let's take a quick break from gushing about Mausam or counting down to Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and appreciate this upcoming documentary, called The Bollywood Project.

The film is currently in post-production stages, so it might be a while before we're actually able to watch it. The movie will take us behind the scenes and into the the lives of four Bollywood industry workers: a minor actor, a union leader, a makeup artist, and a backup dancer.

I hope the movie gets the money it needs to be completed, because it really would be nice to get an unbiased look into the industry we all know and love. Click here for an article about the film, and a trailer. What do you think? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hi! Magazine needs to say BYE to its photographer

Okay, not that I know anything about photography, but how does one manage to make such beautiful people look so hideous? Well Hi! Magazine can surely tell you how. I'm not sure if it's bad photography or bad photoshopping or even just bad makeup/styling to blame for this, but these August covers are not okay. First up is Saif Ali Khan on the cover of Hi! Blitz:

The usually hunky and dashing Saif looks almost sickly in this picture. With a headline proclaiming that he's "back" he sure doesn't look happy to be so. The white background makes his skin look deathly pale (did the dementors get to him?) and that bad haircut isn't helping things. Add that not-so-sexy smouldering expression to the mix, and Saif pretty much looks like a creature of the night. Or an alcoholic that hasn't bothered to bathe in a while (Slouch some more, will you? It's really helping.).

Yeah, I'm definitely being way too harsh on one of my favorite actors in the industry but I'm not blaming him! I'm blaming the magazine for putting out this atrocious photo. That plain red shirt also looks like the magazine took their styling cues from the dying Aman of KHNH. 

Oh Saifu, don't worry, we know you're better than this! But, please, that haircut needs to go.

Then there's Sonali Bendre. Remember that bombshell beauty that never really made it that big even though she was absolutely gorgeous? She's 36 now (the last time we saw her was in KHNH about 7 years ago) but still shouldn't look this bad on the cover of Hi! Living:

First of all, that outfit is gorgeous and Sonali of all people should've been able to rock it. But it's not her fault that this is clearly a bad angle (Tyra would tell her to "find her light") and a botched photoshop job.

Seriously, why would you do that to her face? She looks kind of demonic and literally does not look like herself. I thought photoshop and airbrushing technology existed to "enhance" people's natural beauty (aka make them look better). This is a great example of when not to photoshop--Sonali is a natural beauty. Leave her alone! I realize that every photo probably needs a bit of alteration to reach today's impossible standards but this is ridiculous. Do these editors not have eyes?

Sonali, sign up for a new film and show the world how beautiful you really are.

As a side thought, are these even "original" Hi! Magazine pictures? We all know that magazines tend to recycle old pictures (especially magazines that aren't totally top tier) so maybe these pictures aren't actually Hi! Magazine's doing. In which case, the magazine fails even more. Why would you willingly choose these photos? 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Forthcoming: Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

I love love love YRF, but I hate hate hate Katrina Kaif. So. What do I do with this unfortunate combination? I grow up and accept the fact that Katrina's in the movie, try to ignore her as much as possible, and officially get excited for Meri Brother Ki Dulhan. After all, YRF rarely fails to disappoint me.

First of all, I love this title track. I don't really get the appeal for Imran Khan, but he's cute enough so maybe I'll come around after this movie. The song is fun and catchy, and I like the tributary "Khan" dance steps. He mimics Salman from Dabangg, Shahrukh's "Chaiyya Chaiyya," and apparently Aamir's "Pathshaala" (although I see more of a "Eh Kya Bolti Tu" inspiration?). As an ardent SRK fan I can say that Imran fulfilled the "Chaiyya Chaiyya" steps pretty well...he just doesn't quite have the hair for it ;)

The song promo for "Dhunki" was also released today and is causing quite a sensation:
Despite Katrina's played out New York look and vibe, I gotta say that I like this song. And she does look good. YRF sure knows how to make its promos. At first I was unsure of the picturization of this song vs the actual audio, but as the promo went on, I was sold. And considering I was watching Katrina on screen for almost a full 3 minutes, that's a big feat.

Other cool things about this movie? Ali Zafar! I haven't actually seen Tere Bin Laden yet, but I've known of Ali Zafar through his music--and he's such a cutie! I'm excited to see him on screen and in such a big name film.

Generally, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan looks like a played-out and formulaic story, with nothing new or particularly unique to bring to Bollywood. But, I think that's exactly what I'm looking forward to--a fun movie, with catchy songs, and an overall entertainer. And, I swear, I'll try really hard to look past...the Kaif.

Meri Brother Ki Dulhan releases September 9th.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Movie Review: Chalo Dilli

Starring: Lara Dutta, Vinay Pathak
Director: Shashant Shah
Original Release Date: April 29, 2011

*No Spoilers*

For me, Chalo Dilli was the surprise of the season. I wasn't expecting much from what seemed to be unexciting actors and a subpar storyline but what resulted was a light-hearted entertainer that kept the viewer fully engaged throughout.

Chalo Dilli revolves around hi-shi advertising executive Mihika Banerjee's (Lara) misfortunes as she tries to get to Delhi after a rerouted flight. She meets the annoying yet well-intentioned Manu Gupta (Vinay) who ends up becoming her "chipku" counterpart throughout the journey. What ensues is various mishaps putting Mihika in uncomfortable situations, unrealistic situations, and plain unfortunate events.

Lara's character, Mihika, didn't require much--it's nothing new to play an uptight, high class, modern woman. Somehow, Lara still manages to make the character likeable by delivering a favorable performance. Vinay truly shines in his performance. His comic timing was almost perfect causing multiple laugh out loud moments. The two were able to carry the entire film almost solely on their shoulders, which is a great feat. It was also fun to see Akshay Kumar in a small cameo.

The music was simply okay. The title track is actually quite catchy. Yana Gupta's item song "Laila O Laila" was a big disappointment. I really enjoyed the audio of the song (it grew on me after a while) and was excited to see the picturization of the song. Even for an item song, it was just trashy. Yana simply shook her goods and stripped (Seriously, Zeenat? You're offended by "Mit Jaaye Gham" but not this?). On top of that, a significant amount of the song was chopped off. Bad move for an item song.

For a comedy, Chalo Dilli was actually funny--which is refreshing. It did drag on for a bit (the portion with the bad guys and the jeep seemed unnecessary) but was overall able maintain it's comic pace. The movie also did a nice job of wrapping up literally every character's story.

Within the goofiness of the film was also a lesson in appreciating both rural and urban surroundings and stopping to enjoy the small joys in life. Chalo Dilli is a small gem hidden within a slew of mainstream blockbusters. Check it out if you're in the mood to be entertained by a simple, but sweet film.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Saturday, July 16, 2011

IIFA 2011- A Living Room Watcher's Perspective

I'm used to watching IIFA for free on StarPlus. It always aired a few weeks late, but aired nonetheless. This year, I didn't have any Indian channels, but heard that IIFA would be available on Pay-Per-View. I was super excited until I heard the price--almost $30. Yikes! I resolved not to watch and just catch the results/performances whenever they ended up online. Then it was confirmed that Shahrukh Khan would be attending and performing. That was my breaking point and I decided to shell out the cash. Was it worth it?

The event began with a live pre-show hosted by Lisa Ray. I have one word for the pre-show: unorganized. I expected green carpet glimpses and short interviews and sound bytes of celebrities in the pre-show. Instead, we mostly got reruns of past IIFA performances. You know, cause we can't just find those on YouTube. The whole time, Lisa looked confused about what to do, what to say, and would awkwardly stop in the middle of sentences to listen to her earpiece. When we finally got to the green carpet segment, they cut it off super early because they realized the show was actually starting.

Then the actual awards ceremony began, somewhat abruptly due to poor time management on the network's part I'm assuming. Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani were hosts...and fell pretty flat. They've hosted IIFA multiple times in the past, but the jokes just didn't seem as funny this time. I think part of the reason might've been that glimpses of the audience laughing or smiling weren't edited in (In fact, we didn't really see very many audience glimpses at all).

Everything just began to drag on. The first performance wasn't until a full hour into the show. It was Kangana Ranaut who looked beautiful, but pretty much just stood there while the background dancers danced around her. She's a good actress, but performing is clearly not her forte.

Honestly, after a while I just got bored. I have a way bigger appreciation for the edited version I'm used to watching, but this 6 hour long "real" version got old really fast. Organization, for one, was really lacking. They spent what seemed like 10 minutes looking for Priyanka Chopra to receive her green award, but she was clearly backstage getting ready for her performance. They really couldn't have planned that better? Then there was Dharmendra. Who spoke for, like, 45 minutes about God knows what (I really stopped listening after a while). I know he's respected and all, but learn to "play the music"! I felt really bad for the many non-Hindi speakers who were either in the live audience or watching from home.

Performances were also mostly lukewarm. It just seemed like there was a lack of energy within everyone. One performance which stood out to me was Ranveer Singh's. His energy, excitement, and dancing made me literally say "now that's a performance!" Priyanka's was also good, but the long awkward pauses in between her dancing segments took away a lot of the magic. The Deols were a hot mess. Just sayin

The winners were, for the most part, predictable. Shahrukh won for best actor for My Name is Khan, which I was definitely ecstatic about. Anushka Sharma's best actress win for Band Baaja Baraat was surprising, but well-deserved in my opinion--especially since Kajol wasn't even nominated! Dabangg, of course, won best film. I will never understand this.

If IIFA 2011 had a redeeming factor, it was one man--Shahrukh Khan (obviously). He hosted part of the show with Riteish and Boman, and that was honestly the only time I laughed. Shahrukh has amazing stage presence, which also showed in his "performance." SRK was all confirmed to do the finale performance for IIFA...and then he hurt his knee. But, for his fans, Shahrukh braved through it all and continued with a modified performance. He danced for a short segment, and then tried to engage the audience in the dancing. The effort he put into trying to put on a good show for his fans was heartwarming. At the end of his little gig, all the celebs came on stage to join him in some good ol' Bollywood matkas and jhatkas, making it one of the best award show endings in recent times.

So, what's the verdict? For me, IIFA 2011 was 5 hours too long. I ended up getting pretty restless, and probably only continued watching just because I paid so much for it. The organizers have a lot to learn about live telecasting and show organization in general. It was interesting to watch the show for the first time as it was actually happening, but next time I'll take an edited version!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Don 2 First Official Teaser!

I'm baaaaack! And with a bang, considering that the Don 2 promo finally came out today! After watching it multiple times, all I can say right now is that SRK ain't called the King for no reason!

This teaser has pretty much everything I wanted for Don 2. It looks polished and chic, Shahrukh is embodying his evil character with amazing style, it looks action-packed without being cheesy, and King Khan looks smokin'! Well, minus that long hair, which I'm seriously hoping won't last through the whole movie. Shahrukh's dialogue delivery is impeccable. It's amazing how much he's able to convey simply through his voice. I gotta say, I love evil SRK.

Don 2 has a lot to live up to. One of the reasons why Don was so good was that Farhan Akhtar was able to take a supposed "remake" and put in a completely unexpected plot twist at the end. Don 2 is going to be a completely different story. Will Farhan be able to make it as engaging, thrilling, and unexpected? Judging from this trailer, I honestly believe so.

I only have one complaint about Don 2 and its trailer/poster so far. WHAT is up with that font? The original Don font was simple and sleek. This graffiti art looking font for Don 2 looks like stuff that boys in my 7th grade class used to doodle. What is this, 1995? Whatever, the rest of the trailer is so good that I'm willing to ignore this little hitch.

Even though SRK completely overpowered this teaser, I'm still excited to see what Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta are gonna bring to the story. First of all, how does Roma (PC) even factor in to the story considering the ending of the last film? Who's side is Lara on? So many questions--which will be answered once Don 2 comes out this Christmas. Have I mentioned how excited I am?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Be back soon!!!

I thought I should take a quick second to explain my absence/lack of posting. I'm in the middle of apartment hunting/moving to a different area for a new job so I've been really busy and haven't been able to blog as much as I'd like to! I should be back to my normal routine in a couple of weeks, so bare with.

As busy as I've been, I have still been keeping up with B-town so I have a lot to blog about...like my 6 hour IIFA-viewing extravaganza, reviews of movies like Dum Maaro Dum, excitement over fun songs like "Chandigarh Di Star," and sheer terror over official confirmation of the SRK-Katrina pairing (grrrr...).

I hope to update as soon as possible :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kapoor Khazana! Ranbir's Item Number?

Item songs are not just for sexy women anymore and the latest hunk to join the item number party is Ranbir Kapoor for the upcoming flick Chillar Party. The video starts off with a group of school children asking "Ranbir Bhaiyya" to do an item number for their movie. Ranbir agrees and the tapori style "Tai Tai Phiss" begins.

This video is pretty bad as far as item numbers go. However, the song itself is actually kind of wonderful. "Tai Tai Phiss" is super catchy, funny, yet danceable--all winning ingredients in my book. The video itself just seems lazy. To me, item numbers are special because of their creativity, interesting sets ("Dard-e-Disco"), immaculate choreography ("Ishq Kamina"), and the sexy star ("Munni"). "Tai Tai Phiss" pretty much has none of these qualities (yes Ranbir is hot, but not as he's shown here!). What we pretty much get is Ranbir dancing in front of a screen. How creative.

The set looks like it's been reused from "Right Here Right Now," just cheapened. Add in those less than spectacular "special effects" and you've pretty much got yourself a joke. Call me superficial, but where's all the glitz and glamor of a true item number? By the end of the song, I had the same reaction as those school children.

Ok so if this video is so terrible, then why is it a Kapoor Khazana? Because the saving grace of this whole charade is Ranbir Kapoor. Despite the lame set and what seems like a lack of effort, Ranbir Kapoor was brilliant in this song. Don't watch this song for a sexy Ranbir, but watch it for his hilarious expressions and even more hilarious dancing. Ranbir is acting a fool, but you can tell he doesn't care making his performance all the more enjoyable to watch.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Review: Turning 30

Starring: Gul Panag, Purab Kohli, Siddharth Makkar
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Original Release Date: January 14, 2011

*Few Spoilers*

"Chick flicks" seem to be a newer emerging genre of Bollywood films. We fairly recently saw the release of Sonam Kapoor's Aisha and are now looking forward to Anushka Sharma's forthcoming film, Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl. Turning 30 is a film that also takes a stab at this genre, but whether it was successful or not is the question. In a Bollyworld where heroines are eternally 25, this movie actually tackles the issues that many middle-aged women face. So, how did it fare?

...not very well. The film starts off fairly promising. Naina (Gul) is left distraught when her boyfriend (Siddharth) suddenly dumps her and she realizes that she's almost 30 and single--a nightmare for most Indian women in society. She tries to come to terms with her situation with the help of her friends but encounters further complications at her job at a famous advertising agency. Naina tries various tactics to win back her boyfriend but is unsuccessful, until an old flame reenters her life creating even more confusion for a now 30 year old Naina.

A movie with a strong start trails off into an extremely predictable and overused plot, with really nothing new to offer. Naina's failure to let go of her ex-boyfriend becomes almost pathetic and unbearable to watch. Naina is supposed to represent an independent, modern woman yet can't seem to get by without a man in her life. There are far too many scenes of Naina simply crying to a background of cheesy music. The more interesting subplots of the film are given insufficient screen time. One of Naina's best friends reveals that she's a lesbian. Not only was her actual revelation somewhat rushed an unnatural, but the entire story seems to get glossed over. Naina's other friend deals with her husband's infidelity--another issue that is simply brushed off.

In a movie that is meant to break so many boundaries, there were a slew of cliches and stereotypes. I'm a modern woman so I must be a chain smoker who curses frequently. I'm an artist from abroad so I must be a hipster who wears colorful scarves. I just got dumped so I must get a (rather tacky) haircut. I'm a lesbian so I must dress in long Bohemian skirts. And the list just goes on.

But my biggest annoyance with Turning 30 was the language. The whole movie was pretty much in English, with a few Hindi phrases interjected here and there. This really shouldn't be a problem, but it made the movie seem so unnatural and unrealistic. The actors just couldn't seem to get the tone and flow of their English lines quite right, making everything they said seem forced as if they were just trying too hard to be young and "cool." I honestly believe that this would've been a much better movie if it was in Hindi.

One bright spot of Turning 30 was Gul Panag. Despite the pale storyline and rather pathetic character, you just can't help but love her. She has a certain charm and cuteness about her that draws in the viewer. There's also something about her voice that's very relatable. The rest of the cast was largely unmemorable.

Offbeat Bollywood films are often a nice change from the normal matka-jhatka-filled flicks--but only when done right. Turning 30 tried a little too hard to be urban, making the story and characters seem unnatural. I do commend Turning 30 for tackling untouched issues in Bollywood and think this film is a good start to a genre that will hopefully thrive in the future. Catch it for free on YouTube if you're bored and want a (somewhat stereotypical) glimpse into the life of the urban Indian woman. If anything, the move does manage to put a smile on your face at the end.

Final Verdict: 4/10

Monday, June 13, 2011

Aarakshan Theatrical Trailer

Finally, a movie I am truly excited for (besides this year's SRK releases, of course!). This theatrical trailer for Aarakshan really has me pumped for this movie. Directed by Prakash Jha and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpai, and Deepika Padukone, Aarakshan is a story about caste reservations and controversial policies based on caste--a topic rarely touched upon in mainstream cinema.

I'll admit that this trailer does remind me a lot of Rajneeti (also directed by Prakash Jha) but I have bigger expectations from this movie. Rajneeti becomes largely predictable once you realize it's a modern adaptation of the Mahabharat,  but Aarakshan looks like it will be its own story, with its own message. Interesting, thought-provoking cinema with popular actors can also be a nice change from masala entertainers. Masala films are great in their own way, but sometimes one just thirsts for something more.

Even from a 3 minute trailer, I can tell that Saif is gonna give us one award-worthy performance. Man, is his dialogue delivery intense! Amitabh and Manoj will clearly also be memorable, as usual. And Deepika! She looks ravishing in her "simple" look. But I'm afraid that that's all there will be to her character and she will be largely wasted. Aarakshan looks like it will be a passionate, moralistic movie that will appeal to the masses as well as the critics. The film is slated for release on August 12, 2011.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kapoor Khazana! Kareena the Fashion Icon

Kapoor Khazana month  continues!

Ever since her debut in 2000, Kareena Kapoor's filmi fashions have been some of the most memorable, if not influential, to her audiences. Her outfits have either started real world trends, or just shocked us (in both good ways and bad!) In 2008, Kareena also became the first Indian actress to launch her own clothing line  No matter what, Bebo's outfits are usually the ones to remember. Here are some of Kareena's outfits that were the personally the most memorable for me.

 It was really hard to pick just one Kareena look from her infamous character Poo in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) so I went ahead and picked the outfit she was first introduced in. This outfit is the definition of diva (as was her character): pink jacket, mini skirt, sparkly tube top, and a fur scarf to top it off. Let's not forget those colored sunglasses that were oh so in style back then. Kareena's outfits in this movie were undoubtedly meant to represent the "modern" girl, with her skimpy tops and even skimpier bottoms. It was modern enough back then, but looking back it's just the epitome of 90s fashion--which just makes the whole thing even better, dontcha think?

 This look was from the adorable song "Eli Re Eli" from Yaadein (2001). I'm pretty sure that after watching this song I went around for at least a week with my hair in pigtails, and wearing any purple shirt I could find. Lavender became (and still is) my favorite color around this time, and now I'm wondering if this song could've had any influence on that. This look was normal enough, but somehow managed to make an impression on me.

 Ah, Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon (2003). The movie with the talking cartoon bird. The movie was a little ridiculous but I always enjoyed the songs, including this one--"Bani Bani" and arguably the most beautiful red lehnga I have ever seen (I tend to hate red in Indian wear, for the record). Kareena looked magnificent in it and for a while afterward, I insisted on buying myself tikka forehead jewelry, just because Kareena looked so bomb in it. 

I also went through a lime green phase at one point. And this green kurti Kareena wears in the song "Let's Do Balle Balle" from Fida (2004) just screamed out to me. I loved everything from the color to the sleeves on this top and wanted something just like it (I never found it). I think this outfit was the perfect fusion between traditional filmi and modern filmi. It wasn't a sari but it wasn't skimpy halter top either. It had all the glitz and glamor of Bollywood but with a western twist.

Don (2006) was full of great fashion and Kareena's character was no exception. She played the small but pivotal role of Kamini and sizzled in this gold dress in the item song remake "Yeh Mera Dil." Kareena looks sexy, curvy, yet sophisticated in this glamorous gold number. If I had somewhere to wear this dress (and if I could pull it off) I totally would. But it seems like this dress would only be appropriate for seducing Don ;)

Only Bhatinda ki Geet from Jab We Met (2007) would wear such an outfit: a long t-shirt paired with a Patiala salwar. As ridiculous as it sounds, it clearly worked out amazingly as this fashion trend apparently became a craze among youth in India when the film came out. The outfit fit Geet's careless, free-spirited, and modern character perfectly. She also sports a similar look in parts of Golmaal 3 (2010). Generally, it's the perfect look for the modern Indian ladki. And it's just plain cute! Kareena's "Mauja Hi Mauja" outfit from this same film also made quite a splash, as I discussed in a previous Kapoor Khazana post.

Here we see little Bebo all grown up as she plays Avantika, a psychology professor in the film Kurbaan (2009). Her look was perfect for an Indian intellectual living and teaching in the United States.With her long Jaipuri-style skirts with churidar pants underneath and her beautiful paisley scarfs, Kareena embodies the character of a progressive Indian woman. Kareena's makeup was also done beautifully in the film. I took inspiration from her thick, winged eyeliner. Sounds simple enough, but hers was just divine.

From Desi diva in 2001 to geek chic in 2009's 3 Idiots. Kareena's look has surely matured as she plays med student Pia in this blockbuster film. The nerdy, yet sophisticated glasses paired with a tinge of Desi adaa (the nose ring) make for one sexy (future) doctor. Loves it!

As you can see, Kareena Kapoor is extremely versatile in her fashion and is able to pull off almost anything. Her looks have also progressed along with the times allowing her to fully adapt to each of the characters she plays. As of now, my favorite Kareena look is the one from Kurbaan (don't tell my 12 year old, pigtail wearing self). What's yours?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Movie Review: Dhamaal

Starring: Sanjay Dutt, Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaffrey, Aatish Chaudhary
Director: Indra Kumar
Original Release Date: September 7, 2007

* No Spoilers*

In anticipation of the upcoming release Double Dhamaal, I finally got around to watching its 2007 predecessor Dhamaal. Clearly inspired by a number of Hollywood films, Dhamaal isn't necessarily an "original" story. But because it's all about execution, I don't think that matters in this case.

You really have to be in the mood for a faltu slapstick comedy like Dhamaal. If you're looking for classy cinema with award worthy performances, then keep on looking because Dhamaal is mean to be a purely fun flick. And, for the most part, it succeeds in achieving that goal. The film essentially about a competitive quest for treasure--and all the crazy things that happen during that journey. The story seems simple and uninnovative. Yet, somehow, I found myself laughing the entire way through!

The first half of the movie is definitely better than the second, as the film seems to drag on a bit after a while. It was still pretty funny, but a lot of the plot twists seemed to exist only for the sake of making the movie longer, which can get a bit tiring to watch. At the same time, the fact that the "race for the gold" is dragging on because of the stupidest obstacles, becomes funny in and of itself. The second half of the film was also focused on the individual races of each of the characters. It seemed that unequal distribution of screen time to each of the characters made it a bit difficult to keep track of everyone, adding to the tediousness of this part of the movie.

Like I said, this movie isn't one full of amazing performances. No one particularly stood out to me as the "funniest" or most memorable, but everyone did a fair job. Jaaved Jaffrey's character, Maanav, was probably the most annoying, despite the fact that he did manage to get a few laughs out of me. At almost 50 years old, I think Jaaved is too old and mature to play these childish characters (Maanav is the dumb one that talks with a lisp and wears overalls that look like they're from Osh Kosh B'Gosh), and his tendency to overact doesn't help that. Sanjay Dutt's comedic skills are wasted in the film and he's easily forgettable.

The interesting thing about Dhamaal was the lack of a heroine as well as the lack of songs--two things that are usually typical of slapstick Indian comedies. It was kind of refreshing that a side love story wasn't at all present in the movie, or that we're not seeing the main actors constantly going gaga over some bombshell babe. The movie just stays focused on the absurdity at hand. The movie has a couple of songs at the beginning, but nothing interrupts the flow of the film afterwards. The songs are not memorable. Or so I thought until I realized "Dekho Dekho Dil Yeh Bole" has been stuck in my head for the past few days.

Overall, Dhamaal is a fun movie that is strictly time pass, but better than most Indian comedies of this type. Interestingly, the movie ended up even having a moral at the end, which was surprising. I went in with low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised at how funny it actually was. Would I watch it again? Probably not anytime soon. But I do recommend you watch it at least once when you're in the mood for a good laugh (catch it for free on YouTube!). All of the loose ends were tied up by the end of the movie, so there's no clear indication for what the sequel will be about. But I'm interested to see what Double Dhamaal will have in store.

Final Verdict: 7/10

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kapoor Khazana! Bebo in Wax?!

June is  Kapoor Khazana month in the Bolly blogosphere, which means a lot of us Bolly fans get together to write in celebration of the notorious Kapoor khandan. So be sure to check out all the Kapoor Khazana posts this month. My first post is about my favorite Kapoor: the wonderful Kareena! And how fitting that it be about an actual Kapoor khazana!

There were rumors. Then they were debunked. And now they've resurfaced. But the lovely Bebo is supposedly being honored with a prestigious wax statue at the world-famous Madame Tussaud's museum. There has been some uproar regarding the issue. Does Kareena, who's been in the film industry for a little over 10 years, actually deserve a statue? Especially considering some veteran actresses who've clearly been overlooked (Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Kajol, etc.)? My answer is yes!

There's no question that all the aforementioned actresses do deserve a spot in Madam Tussaud's hall of fame. But I still believe Kareena is a pretty good choice considering her appeal today. Bebo is one of the few Bollywood actresses that appeals to both older, traditional audiences and younger, modern audiences. She's not too new in the industry, nor is she too old (and Bollywood's definition of "old" for actresses is quite rigid), and she has admittedly made her mark in Bollywood as one of the most successful actresses of today. Why not honor her with a statue?

During her career, Kareena has played a variety of different roles within a variety of different genres. Within the first year or so in the film industry, she appeared in one of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters of all time: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Even as part of an ensemble cast, starring among the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, and more, Kareena managed to remain memorable in the film, not letting herself be overshadowed by these big names. Her iconic character "Poo," though over the top, is still quoted by Bolly lovers. Kareena also appeared in a number of critically acclaimed films such as Dev, Chameli, Yuva, and Omkara, further grounding her status as a talented and accomplished actress.
Aside from K3G, Kareena has starred in a slew of superhit Hindi films like Don, Jab We Met, and 3 Idiots to name a few. To date, Kareena has won 6 Filmfare awards for her various performances. Not bad for an 11 year career. 

For someone who's accomplished so much in such a short time frame, I think a wax statue of Bebo is completely fitting! Now. I wonder how they are gonna style her? If it were up to me, she'd be wearing this iconic costume from "Mauja Hi Mauja." Popularly referred to as "Kareena Kapoor pants" during the time, Bebo single-handedly brought harem pants back in style for a short period around 2007. Probably because she looked sizzling in them! Jab We Met was also arguably the turning point in Kareena's career, so I think dressing her in an homage to that movie would be perfect. If not this, then an elegant sari would be best I think (Or perhaps her "Bole Chudiyan" outfit?! Sighhh).

I think Bebo herself really is a Kapoor Khazana, so she really does deserve this great honor. The wax statue will reportedly be unveiled in mid-August. I mean, what are we waiting for...Christmas?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ra.One Theatrical Trailer!

I am so incredibly conflicted right now. After watching this much awaited theatrical trailer for Shahrukh Khan's Ra.One I don't know what to think. The SRK fangirl in me loves everything about it. But the critic in me is very afraid that this movie could end up a disaster. Yikes!

This trailer, like the previous two teasers, still reveals very little about the film--which I think might be the problem. This theatrical trailer has no dialogue. It's simply a mash-up of glossy action scenes set to some (very good) background music. We, as an audience, get few clues about the plot and characters. We got a slight glimpse of Kareena (finally!) but nothing about Ra.One (Arjun Rampal). Most sources are saying that the Ra.One character won't be revealed before the movie. Is that really the best tactic?

I really hated the last superhero film to come out from Bollywood (Krrish) because of the lukewarm plot and the childish execution of the entire movie itself. Will Ra.One be any different? These trailers aren't giving me enough information to make a judgment! Most films use the best parts of their movies for the previews in order to draw audiences in. So will Ra.One be all action and no content/substance?

My inner SRK fan is just gawking over Shahrukh and marveling at how good he looks. I'm also relatively impressed with the actions and special effects. A lot of people are concerned that the movie seems too Hollywood-ized. I don't think that's such a bad thing in this instance. I have to admit, Hollywood has refined its special effects and action sequences. So if superior action/special effects makes Ra.One "Hollywood-ized" then I'm all for it.

But still. I'm afraid for this movie. I really really want it to do well, but I don't know how audiences are going to receive this type of film. The trailers not revealing anything except action also heightens my concerns. The only saving grace is that they're just saving the best for the actual movie.

Please, someone convince me that this movie is gonna be great.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Juhi on the cover of Ishq magazine

Juhi Chawla, who's back in the spotlight after the critical success of her recent release I Am, has landed the cover of what seems to be a German-language Bollywood magazine. Doesn't she look totally gorgeous??? Juhi is seriously the epitome of elegance, especially in this shot. And her signature smile just makes me feel so nostalgic for the Juhi days of Bollywood!

The sari she's wearing is so perfect. The color is beautiful and the work on it is so sophisticated, yet elaborate. Then again, this woman would literally look good in a paper bag.  And the 43 year old mother of two looks awesome for her age.

I'm anxiously awaiting a DVD release to watch I Am. Have you watched it yet? Thoughts?

Song Review: Chammak Challo (Ra.One)

Film: Ra.One (Release Date: October 26, 2011)
Singer: Akon
Composers: Vishal and Shekhar

(I'm not gonna bother with a YouTube link to the song just yet. Since the song was leaked online, it'll just keep getting removed. So search for it and I'm sure you'll find it!)

When I first heard that R&B superstar Akon would be recording a couple songs for Ra.One, I was afraid. Very afraid. It could either go terribly wrong, or have the potential to be a super hit (but probably nothing in between). Thankfully, "Chammak Challo" falls in the latter category!

If you're not familiar with Akon and his voice/style, it may take a while for you to warm up to the song. But I assure you--you will!  The track starts off strong and is able to continue with the same strength until the very end, never losing it's high energy pace. It's surprisingly catchy and will probably get stuck in your head whether you like it or not.

Akon did an amazing job. First of all, he's a superstar in the American music scene, and is Senegalese-American. Despite his lack of complete familiarity with Bollywood and India, his Hindi pronunciation is really, truly impressive. There is no hint of an American accent in his Hindi lines (quite a feat!) and the words seem to flow naturally. Katrina Kaif could learn something from this guy! And even though Akon is singing for a different market and audience, he maintains his personal musical style in the song.

I usually hate when English is used in Bollywood songs. It tends to sound forced, unnatural, and the singers' Indian accents don't help much with that "cool" factor they're probably going for. "Chammak Challo" is the perfect example of how an English-Hindi fusion in a song can actually work. Akon's grasp of both languages defeats that usual awkwardness factor that comes out of these language fusion songs. The lyrics also help with this, with lingo English lingo that is popular in R&B songs and Hindi lyrics that are typical of Bollywood tracks.

The best part of this song? It's apparently going to be an item number picturized on Kareena Kapoor! This makes me happy for two reasons. One, I LOVE item songs with a passion. Two, I'm just glad they're not gonna have Shahrukh Khan lip synch to this (hopefully?!). I love love love SRK, but imagine the awkwardness that could come of out that. The chorus (my favorite part of the song) is also perfectly suited for a dance number, so I'm excited to see what could come of this.

"Chammak Challo" is a unique song, but one that is sure to be a hit. It's also a great marketing ploy for Ra.One, which will now get wider recognition within second generation NRI communities, as well as non-Indian Akon fans. It's a step forward in the current globalization of Hindi cinema--whether that's a good thing or not, is up to you.

Overall, I absolutely adore this song, despite my usual inhibitions about Western singers in Bollywood. Akon has reportedly also sung another song for Ra.One so, seeing as how this wasn't a disaster, I'm actually kind of excited to hear it. And yes, Akon, I'd love to be your Chammak Challo!

Final Verdict: 4.5/5

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear Shahrukh, Man Up!

I love Shahrukh Khan to death. Really. So if I'm criticizing him in any way, shape, or form, there has to be a good reason. A few days ago, a section of the crowd actually booed at Shahrukh at an IPL match when the KKR won over the Pune Warriors. Terrible and unwarranted, for sure. But haters will be haters so whatever.

Shahrukh's reaction wasn't so indifferent. Clearly hurt by the incident, King Khan decided to stay home and watch the next match from his TV in order to avoid the crowds. Apparently, he has also decided to "stay away from all the IPL matches in Mumbai stadiums." 

Um, Shahrukh, you've been in the industry how many years? Shouldn't you have learned by now how to deal with criticism? Being one of the most successful men in Bollywood, it's only natural for Shahrukh to have haters for whatever inane reason (*cough* jealous) so he should learn to handle it--not hide away in his gated home! Millions upon millions of people admire, if not worship, Shahrukh yet for some reason he lets a few Negative Nancies get him down. Real tough.

This isn't the first time Shahrukh has shown sensitivity regarding this issue. In one interview he said that one reason for his long absence from Twitter was because he didn't like seeing all of the negative things a few people would say to/about him.  Come on, Shahrukh! I see people on Twitter everyday writing you tweets of sheer worship and adulation. What about them? Shahrukh needs to see how much people love him, rather than focus on the few idiots who don't.

Sigh. I guess in a way it's kind of sweet that Shahrukh takes these things so seriously. But, in true Don character, MAN UP! I think Shahrukh just needs this one mantra in his life: haters gon' hate.

Source: http://www.apunkachoice.com/content/article/sid100005559-shahrukh_khan_heartbroken_after_being_booed_by_crowd

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is Bollywood fashion no longer influential?

I just read this really interesting article which reports that designers are saying Hindi films no longer have much of an influence on popular fashion. The masses are no longer shopping for a certain "Madhuri sari" or Madhubala's anarkali kameez because, well, an iconic fashion trend in Bollywood hasn't emerged in so long.

The article blames this lack of influence on the "fading aura" of Bollywood stars as well as audience's exposure to international fashion through other mediums (magazines, Internet, etc.). In my opinion, I think the main reason is a fairly simple one: Bollywood fashion no longer makes a statement. In other words, it's no longer over-the-top, or even gaudy if you will.

A lot of this might have to do with the recent globalization trend in recent films. With a lot of newer Bollywood films taking place in metropolitan areas like New York, London, San Francisco, etc. we are seeing more western fashion than ever. Even films that take place in India (especially youth-oriented ones) show most of their characters wearing western clothes. And who uses Bollywood to inspire their western fashion? I mean, when's the last time you went out looking for Katrina Kaif's denim shorts?

When today's Bollywood films do depict Indian fashion, they fail to make a mark. I think there's a trend towards elegance and simplicity so that when you do see a heroine in a gorgeous sari, it's sheer and simple--not heavily embroidered and flashy. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you're not showcasing anything different or iconic, what are people gonna try to copy? There have been iconic characters in recent Hindi films, but not for their fashion. How would one really dress like Munni?

The article also states that a possible reason for the decline in Bollywood fashion is the fact that Bollywood doesn't have a "superstar" anymore, mostly due to overexposure of celebrities. I think this is completely untrue. Bollywood most definitely still has superstars. As for heroes, veteran actors like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, etc. still have their massive fan followings and so-called "overexposure" through media and sites like Twitter have only added to their popularity.

On the other hand, I think it can be argued that Bollywood doesn't have a female "superstar" right now, but I think this is mainly because of the relatively short shelf-life of Bollywood actresses. Previous superstars like Aishwarya Rai or Rani Mukherji might be considered too old (for the record, I think that's BS) to still be reigning superstars. But promising newcomers like Deepika Padukone or Sonam Kapoor are still too young and fresh to have attained superstar status. So, in terms of a heroine, Bollywood is currently in flux. But hopefully not for long.

The article makes a very valid point about Bollywood's fading place in the fashion scene, but I think the reasons behind this are definitely debatable. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What ever happened to...Gayatri Joshi?

You'll probably only recognize this girl if you've seen her one (amazing) movie: Swades. Gayatri began her career as a model in 1996, eventually becoming one of the top 5 finalists in the Femina Miss India contest in 1999. As I mentioned before, she made her big Bollywood debut in 2004 with Swades--starring opposite Shahrukh Khan! But after this, Gayatri virtually disappeared from the limelight. So...what went wrong?

I wish I had the answer, but Gayatri seemed to have everything to make her a successful Bollywood heroine. She was breathtakingly beautiful, she made her debut as a leading lady to arguably to most successful man in Bollywood, and she gave a critically acclaimed performance in that movie! Her portrayal of Gita in Swades was impressive, especially for a newcomer. She never allowed Shahrukh to overpower her in the movie, allowing her to carve out her own character--a difficult feat! Gayatri also won numerous female debut awards in prestigious shows like Zee Cine, Star Screen, and more.

Even though Swades was one of Bollywood's finest contemporary products, the film was commercially a flop. I don't think audiences were quite ready for such a progressively de-glamorized film.  They wanted a true SRK film in all it's glitz and glory and Swades was anything but that. Therefore, I think Gayatri's acting career might've been the casualty of this commercial flop.

Especially considering some of the crap actresses in Bollywood today, it pains me that the industry has missed out on such rare talent and beauty. After Swades, Gayatri married businessman Vikas Oberoi in 2005. She now has 2 sons and is presumably living the family life, as there has been no news of any upcoming projects in years. Gayatri's career may have never taken off, but at least she gave us one Bollywood masterpiece to fawn over. The last time I remember seeing Gayatri was at least 2 years ago in this ad for Gits frozen meals. Sigh.


Click here for others in the "What ever happened to..." series!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Antenna feat. Shahrukh Khan

When I first started watching this song promo from Always Kabhi Kabhi I was pumped up. It sounded like a really good song, perhaps the next hit. Then...they started singing about an...antenna. Really? I guess it's some metaphor for youth culture or whatever but it sounds plain ridiculous. Then add in an English rap verse and the ladies crooning, "You don't know the frequency, why can't you just let me be?" and you've got yourself one of the most absurd songs in years.

It's not all bad though! While the song may be ridiculous, Shahrukh just looks ridiculously AMAZING. He seriously just exudes power in this song and manages to make this bizarre song completely worthwhile. Whoever styled him for this song deserves a big hug. He's back to his "Chaiyya Chaiyya" era hair (yay!) and the casual yet fitted clothes are beyond flattering. Shahrukh proves that it's possible to look mindblowingly hot while dancing to song about antennas.

I think it's kind of sweet that King Khan is using his home production banner and his own name to promote newcomers in the industry. Sure, he does benefit from it ($$$) but Red Chillies Entertainment could've just as easily made an SRK starrer which would've been a guaranteed money-maker. After the music release of Always Kabhi Kabhi Shahrukh tweeted, "released the music of always kabhi kabhi...saw so much hope in the faces of the newcomers....i pray all of them come true post the release." Cho chweet! :)

I'm still not convinced that Always Kabhi Kabhi will be any good, but I'll still check it out at some point. Even if it's just to hear Shahrukh's narration. The film releases June 17th. Will your "antenna" be "catching" this movie?

First look at "Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap"

The Big B is back, and in a movie with an awesome title (although I'm not a fan of the transliterated spellings)! Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap looks like it should be loads of fun. Directed by Tollywood producer/director Puri Jagannadh, the film seems to have a clear Southie feel to it. It should be a nice change from the more glitzy Westernized movies that Bolllywood has been churning out recently.

I do have certain qualms about Bbuddah at this point though. Is it just me or does the movie have a very Dabangg-type style to it? Are we just in for more over-the-top action scenes intertwined with "funny" dialogues? (Yes, I hated Dabangg.) Hopefully Bbuddah will be more than that, especially if Amitabh is involved. But Bollywood does have a tendency to make similar-themed films once one film is a success. We saw a slew of terrorist films, sports films, or films dealing with infidelity all around the same time. So is this just Bollywood's next genre convention? Only time will tell.

Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap also stars Raveena Tandon (!!!), Hema Malini, and Minissha Lamba in lead roles. I am beyond excited to see Raveena back in action, considering her last truly successful film was probably 2001's Daman. Amitabh also looks set to rock this film as an angry "bbuddah." Judging from this promo, the Bbuddah is clearly banking on Amitabh's legendary star status as a way to bring audiences in. But in this case, I feel it's more than understandable. Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap is scheduled for release in early July.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shahrukh and Asin to star in a forthcoming film?

The Bollywood gossip mill is brewing with rumors that Shahrukh Khan and Asin will be seen opposite each other in Vishal Bhardwaj's next directorial venture. The movie is to be based on Chetan Bhagat's novel 2 States: The Story of My Marriage. Bhagat also wrote the books that inspired the failed 2008 film Hello and the mega-hit 2009 film 3 Idiots.

This would be great news, in my opinion! A Shahrukh-Asin pair would be lovely, considering she's an actress that was able to prove her superior screen capabilities with just one movie (Ghajini). But, alas, nothing has been confirmed so we can't get too excited just yet. Asin would potentially play the role of a South Indian girl who falls in love with a Punjabi guy (Shahrukh). Shahrukh playing a Punjabi? AWESOME. I could definitely use me another Veer Pratap Singh type character!

As you can see, unlike that atrocious Katrina-SRK pairing rumor, I actually hope this one is true. Asin is really making her way through the Khans, isn't she? ;)

Source: http://www.apunkachoice.com/content/article/sid100005429-asin_to_romance_shah_rukh_khan_in_2_states/

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forthcoming: Heroine

Madhur Bhandarkar's forthcoming venture Heroine, starring Aishwarya Rai, was officially announced at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. A first look at the film (shown above) was also revealed. Heroine is the story of the rise and fall of a superstar in an attempt to show audiences what really goes on in the Bollywood showbiz world. We've definitely already seen this theme in some of Bhandarkar's previous films like Page 3 and Fashion, but hopefully he'll be able to bring something new to the idea. Regardless, showbiz movies personally always fascinate me so I'm definitely looking forward to this one, which is supposed to begin production in June.

Apparently, Kareena Kapoor was Bhandarkar's first choice for the film, and I'm so disappointed that she refused the role! While I'm a fan of Aish's beauty, I'm not so impressed with her acting skills (though she proved me wrong in Devdas), so I feel like Kareena would've been a much better fit for the role. Kareena has really matured throughout the years as an actress and probably would've been able to take on the role better. But hopefully Bhandarkar can work some magic on Aish.

Also, when I first saw this picture I thought that Aish's photo looked kind of dated. As I was reading more about the film, I've been seeing reports that this photo is actually an old one from a L'Oreal shoot years ago. Well...that's lovely. Not. If you haven't done an official photoshoot for a movie yet, why reveal the "first look"? I could've made this on my computer for god's sake! Nice try, guys.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Bhandarkar-announces-Heroine-at-Cannes/Article1-697184.aspx

Love You Raja

The Magic of Madhuri Week  continues! So I'd like to share literally one of the most adorable songs of all time from the 1995 movie Raja:
I listened to this song for the first time in a long time at the beginning of this week as I was reminiscing about Madz and it's been stuck in my head ever since! Madhuri looks cho chweet and, is it just me, or she a pro with that wind machine? She also manages to look gorgeous in a plain, loose nightie. And I don't think I even need to mention the brilliance of her expressions--that one's kinda obvious.

And then there's Sanjay Kapoor. I love Sanjay Kapoor and he is seriously adorable in this song! I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Sanjay so it's really unfortunate that his acting career didn't take off as much as it should have. But he looks sooo good in this song, dontcha think? Him and Madz also make an awfully cute couple.

Like most of Madhuri's songs, once you hear this I'm sure it'll be stuck in your head for a while. So beware ;)

Happy Birthday, Madhuri! Your iconic movies, songs, outfits, and expressions will remain a part of Indian cinematic history forever. <3

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

John and Bips call it quits.

It's official. After 9 long years, John Abraham and Bipasha Basu have ended their relationship. Aaaw. I'm really sad about this. It always pains me when relationships go sour--especially ones as long as 9 years! They were such an iconic couple in Bollywood with deep onscreen chemistry in movies like Jism, Aetbaar, Madhoshi, and more.

Not only were they iconic, but they were just plain sexy! I challenge you to find a hotter couple than John and Bips. I assure you you'll come up with few examples. After confirming the breakup, Bipasha took to her Twitter to reveal some of her emotions with tweets like, "Its [sic] better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all!" Good to see she's taking it well, being single for the first time in 17 years.

Sigh. Another powerful couple bites the dust. Hopefully they'll still do movies together though.

Source: http://bollyspice.com/view.php/7075-bipasha-basu-is-single-after-17-years.html

Can Madhuri's magic be captured?

My short answer: yes! But before you take out death threats against me, read on!
At this year's Filmfare awards, Madhuri Dixit received a special award honoring her 25 years of contribution to the Hindi film industry. For this reason, Priyanka Chopra took on the daunting task of performing to a medley of Madhuri's most famous songs as a tribute to her. How did she fare?

I think PC did a superb job! She looked great, the choreography was on point, the song choices were fitting, and the costumes were perfect. What I like about this performance is that Priyanka is clearly not trying to surpass Madhuri, nor is she even trying to be her. We all (including PC) know that that's impossible. While still remaining tributory to Madhuri's legacy, Priyanka manages to still put her own flair into the performance--she plays Madhuri without losing herself in the process.

A big example of this is the costuming of the medley. Most of the outfits are clearly inspired by their corresponding songs, but still have that Priyanka-flair to them. In other words, they're a bit sexier and bit more modern. The outfits are styled for Priyanka's body and Priyanka's filmy style, but still have that Madhuri element in them.

I also liked the remixed version of "Choli Ke Peeche" that was used. It kind of represents the idea that Bollywood is reaching a modern era, but still holds onto and appreciates its roots--and one of those roots is Madhuri Dixit, who helped create the identity of Hindi cinema. Remixes of classic songs are generally frowned upon, but I think it was fitting in this context.

If you watch the video until the end, you'll see that Priyanka brings Madhuri up on the stage to perform a few of the iconic "Dola re Dola" steps. Then Priyanka humbly says about her performance, "Choti si koshish thi" (It was a small try) and says some kind words about Madhuri and her work before she calls up Aishwarya on stage to present the award.

So did Priyanka capture Madhuri's magic? Yes--in her own way! No one can ever match up to Madhuri, but this performance was clearly not intended to do so. Priyanka was the perfect choice to perform this tribute. She's doubtlessly a great dancer and her facial expressions were a "10 on 10" in my book.

As for someone who couldn't capture the magic? Check this out (I'm warning you in advance--a barf bag may be needed):

Well, that was embarrassing to even watch...

P.S. This was another post in honor of the "Magic of Madhuri" week started by Gaja Gamini! Check out The Bollywood-ish Blog for more information!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Magic of Madhuri- Dhak Dhak Karne Laga!

In honor of Madhuri Dixit's birthday on Sunday, it's the Magic of Madhuri Week started by the lovely Gaja Gamini over at the Bollywood-ish Blog (be sure to check it out!). So many of us Bolly bloggers are getting together to honor her with some posts this week. My first contribution? My absolute, most favorite song of Madhuri's--"Dhak Dhak" from the film Beta (1992).

You'd think that my favorite Madz song would be one of her glorious dance numbers, but I feel like this sensuous number takes the cake. First of all, the song itself is just plain catchy--you can't help but hum it over and over again after hearing it. They lyrics are also really sweet, and song is overall well-sung (Anuradha Paudwal won the Filmfare Best Playback Singer award for this). Anil Kapoor is even a bit desirable in the song. But despite all of this, Madhuri completely steals the show mostly through her flawless facial expressions:
It doesn't hurt that Madhuri is able to rock that otherwise dreadful orange sari. Her body looks amazingly voluptuous- not stick skinny! She proves that you don't have to show a vulgar amount of skin to be sexy. She conveys almost all her sexiness through those perfect facial expressions.

I also really love this song because it's a prime example of how Bollywood tends to handle sex and sexuality--especially up until the late '90s. Bollywood recognizes the social taboo of depicting sex (a lot of this also has to do with censor boards) and has therefore found ways to convey the idea of sex and desire without having to be so explicit. This is why we see so many wet sari sequences, blurred screens on nuptial night scenes, or sensual dance sequences like this one. I mean, who needs onscreen kissing when we have this?!

Whether it be for the mesmerizing music, the fantasy-like setting, the sensuality, or simply Madhuri's charm, "Dhak Dhak" remains an iconic song in Indian cinema--and one that I will forever love!