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.


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.


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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? ;)


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.


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.


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!

Monday, May 9, 2011

What ever happened to...Preity Zinta?

Preity Zinta is still a household name in the Bollywood world, but I think the fact that we haven't seen her in a leading role since 2007 makes her fair game for this series. As I was doing my research, I was a bit surprised to see that Preity has appeared in less than 35 Bollywood films (including guest appearances and cameos), which seems to be a relatively low number considering her celebrity status. Kareena Kapoor, by comparison, has appeared in over 40 titles, and is still going strong. This attests to the impact Preity has had, even through such few films. She has made a name for herself as one of the boldest, most versatile mainstream Bollywood actresses through her impressive and often daring performances.

PZ debuted in small role alongside SRK in Dil Se (1998). She had only about 20 minutes of screen time but still managed to make her mark with the somewhat shocking scene when she asks Shahrukh, "Are you a virgin?" The boldness of her characters didn't stop there. As I mentioned before, Preity is (was?) one of the few mainstream actresses to successfully break barriers in some groundbreaking roles.

She played an unwed mother in two movies: Kya Kehna (2000) and Salaam-Namaste (2005). She tackled the issue of surrogate childbirth by playing a prostitute in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001) and played a vampish schizophrenic in Armaan (2003). Preity managed to break the stereotype of the doe-eyed Bollywood heroine with her frequent portrayals of modern, independent women. She played an ambitious TV journalist in Lakshya (2004) and a prosperous fashion magazine editor in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006). Preity did have her share of gushy romantic leads though, and she excelled at those as well, in movies like Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) and Veer-Zaara (2004).

Clearly, PZ is a true chameleon in terms of her acting repertoire. Her last leading role was in the 2007 flick Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (which I thought was a complete dud), but she did have a role in the critically acclaimed Heroes (2008). The last time we really caught a glimpse of PZ in action was in her item song "Happenin" in Main Aur Mrs. Khanna (2009).

Where is Preity Zinta nowadays? Ironically, despite the number of times she's played a mother on screen, she is currently unmarried (she broke up with long time beau Ness Wadia in 2009) and doesn't have kids. Like some other Bollywood stars, she owns an IPL cricket team Kings XI Punjab. She recently also hosted the TV show "Guinness World Records- Ab India Todega" on Colors TV.

As for Bollywood, there's a bit of good news! PZ has reportedly signed on a forthcoming film Jai Ramji alongside Irrfan Khan and Arjun Rampal where she is supposed to play a con-woman. It is unclear how large her role will be or if this really does mark a comeback film, but I sure hope so! Preity is such a groundbreaking and talented artist, that I'm honestly dying to see her make a return to the silver screen.

Wanna know more about PZ's personal life? Follow her here on Twitter!

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Forthcoming: Ek Tha Tiger

Recently it was big news that Salman Khan would apparently be acting in a Yash Raj Film for the first time in his career. Well, it's officially true! Ek Tha Tiger, directed by Kabir Khan and starring Salman and Katrina Kaif, is slated to start shooting in July. The film is currently being marketed as a "romantic thriller" and is scheduled for release in mid-2012.

We all know my feelings about Kat. And I'm frankly getting a bit tired of Salman's one-dimensional acting. But I'm a sucker for YRF films, so I'm actually looking forward to this. In my opinion, the YRF banner just has a style of its own, and one that rarely seems to fail. So I'm optimistic that maybe they'll be able to work some magic with this rather mundane Sallu-Kat pairing. I was a fan of Kabir Khan's New York so I'm excited to see what he can do next. If all else fails, though, at least Pritam is doing the music meaning we should have some fantastic tunes to look forward to!

And, I swear, I'll try to keep an open mind to Katrina in this one. But only for you, YRF, only for you...

P.S. Ek Tha Tiger? Really? Couldn't think of a better name than that...?


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ranbir on the cover of GQ!

I never understood Ranbir Kapoor's physical appeal...until I saw this cover. I always thought he was just a normal cutie but not some complete hottie, but he is sizzling on this cover! I'm not sure if it's his smoldering expression or the impressive styling (...or maybe it's just airbrushing).  This cover just gives me a new, hotter perspective on RK.

To my knowledge, the last time RK was on the cover of GQ was about 2 years ago in March 2009:

 What a difference! He looks rather goofy on this cover, and the cheap looking style of the cover itself doesn't help. But I'm really impressed with the current cover, and Ranbir is slowly moving up my personal Bollywood hero ranks.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A glimpse of "Shalu Ke Thumkey"!

Mallika Sherawat recently made headlines for challenging Munni and Sheila in her new item song in the movie Bin Bulaye Baraati. Well, here's a glimpse of this "hot" number in a short 20 second clip.

I'll try really hard to keep an open mind once the full song comes out but, Mallika...giiiirl, stop trying so hard. "Razia" failed to create shock waves, what makes you think you'll succeed as Shalu by blatantly challenging the two biggest item girls of recent times? Also, way to completely Murder (yes, pun intended) the signature Sheila move at 17 seconds.

This song will probably be a success, but I really am getting a bit tired of all the Munni-Sheila references and competition. It's becoming overkill. Nonetheless, this song will probably bring some much needed publicity to Bin Bulaye Baraati which stars the struggling Aftab Shivdasani. The movie releases on July 8, 2011.

IIFA 2011 Technical Award Winners

Despite everything that goes on behind the scenes to make a film, that hard work rarely gets due recognition. With that in mind, I'd like to shed light on the technical award winners of IIFA 2011, which were announced last week.

Cinematographer- Guzaarish (Sudeep Chaterjee)
Editing- Band Baaja Baaraat (Namrata Rao)
Art Director- Robot (Sabu Cyril)
Choreography- Dabangg (Farah Khan for "Munni Badnaam")
Action- Dabangg (S. Vijayan)
Sound Recording- Love, Sex, Aur Dhoka (Pritam Das)
Song Recording- Band Baaja Baaraat (Vijay Dayal for "Ainvayi Ainvayi")
Sound Re-Recording- Dabangg (Leslie Fernandes)
Special Effects- Robot
Background Score- My Name is Khan (Shankar Ehsaan Loy)
Costume Designing- Band Baaja Baaraat (Niharika Khan)
Makeup- Robot (Banu for Rajnikant)

I'm SO elated that Farah won best choreography for Munni Badnaam (take that, Sheila!). It's completely and totally well deserved. I'm also really pleased that SEL won best background score for My Name is Khan. People can say what they want about the movie (I will say amazing things) but the background score was completely mesmerizing. 

Big LOL at Dabangg getting best action. That's all I'll say about that. Another LOL for Robot winning best special effects. I never bothered to watch the movie, but from what I've seen in (viral) YouTube clips..well...I'll just stick to LOL. 

As for the rest of the categories, I don't know enough about those technical aspects to actually judge. But overall, I'm glad that an underdog movie like Band Baaja Baaraat is gaining the recognition it deserves as it leads the pack with 3 wins.