Part 4: The Pan-Genre Week — RomCom, Sci-fi and Lots of Aamir

Jenny K:  It’s my day off and I’m going to finally mail the DVD’s today. Sorry for the delay. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is definitely the lighter and fluffier of the two. Though I like both films, Lagaan stays with me longer,  I’d watch KKHH first, as it would suffer coming after, I think. The music in KKHH is cute but not, definitely not, Rahman. The first half, just think of as a Archie, Veronica and Betty style high school musical…though they say they are in college…eh, maybe India is a much more innocent place than good ol’ Amreeka, as they say. The best parts are the chemistry between SRK and Kajol, and to some extent Rani, too. Rani and Kajol are cousins in real life. A note of Pointless BollyTrivia.

Lagaan was one of the first three films that I saw and I quite love it, though it is very long. I found I had no problem looking at Aamir, uninterrupted, in all his rustic glory, but you might want to break it at the intermission because the full run-time is almost four hours (if you add in the deleted scenes from the Bonus Features, it’s over four). I learned all I know about cricket from watching the second half of the film. Probably all I will want to know about cricket, too, but I didn’t find it painful.

The songs, atypically from Indian films, are so well integrated into the plot that you can’t really pull them out well, out of context you feel something’s missing. I don’t recommend the British costumes…pretty awful, historically, and quality-wise….don’t get me started, that’s what I do for a living, costumes, can’t help myself. However, I loved the rest of the production design and cinematography. Lovely. I even bought Chale Chalo: the Making of Lagaan…took me several years to track it down and most of it is dubbed into Hindi, even when it’s in English to begin with (and no subtitles…frustrating!) but I enjoyed it.

Julie M:  LOVED Lagaan. B watched most of the 2nd half with me and liked it too (after he swore he wouldn’t watch any more). Great suggestion!! LOVE Aamir Khan. (and he spent most of the movie with his shirt off…score!!)

Jenny K:  Aamir was my first love…still like him quite a lot, but he’s getting a bit “angry young man” on me as he gets older. I own most of his films until Ghajini, which was a remake of a South Indian hit, which was supposed to be a blatant rip off of Memento…I loved the Chris Nolan film so much that I just couldn’t watch it, even with Aamir…Sigh. Lagaan, Taal and DCH were my first three Indian DVDs…got me hooked. I can’t believe I missed seeing Lagaan on a big screen, for free, when it came out. I can’t even remember the film I chose instead of it. No foresight. Glad you liked it. Did you succumb and watch the extra 20 minutes of “director’s cuts”?

Julie M:  I have not watched any extra features on that one; I plan to if I have time over the rest of this holiday weekend. The weather has turned nice today (if a bit humid) and I have to get plants in the ground. It’s been so wet lately that I couldn’t do anything.

I loved Taal too. In fact, if anyone asks me for a recommendation, I would have them start with that one. Dil Se, even though it was the first one I saw and still probably in the top 3 I have seen so far, I would save because although the music is unbelievably amazing the 2nd half is weird and the ending shocking.

Jenny K:  Yes, the second half is definitely not a conventional Indian film, actually, Dil Se didn’t do well at all at home…SRK’s fans don’t seem to like him being the villain anymore (a few early ones, playing crazy guy, obsessed stalker, etc) except for Don, which is a good twin evil twin type of film updated from one BigB did back in the seventies. Some good bits, but still, except for Dil Se, I think I agree with his fans. He does better being likeable and charming. He can’t top the acting in DS though, shows me he can do it, if required. That fight for his life in the construction site or whatever it was, was the most convincing fight I’ve ever seen in a Hindi film. They’re usually so chop-socky if you know what I mean. And I thought the end of the film was marvelous…as a portrait of obsession, if it had ended with him happily marrying Preity, I just wouldn’t have bought it.

[a few days later]

Julie M:  Watched KKHH this evening. Very sweet. I was not a fan of the slapstick elements, and the dance numbers in the college scenes were pretty stupid, but overall a good movie. Thank you so much for sending it!

I have Luck by Chance, 3 Idiots and Koi–Mil Gaya waiting for me at the library, so that is my viewing schedule (mostly) for tomorrow through Tuesday.

Jenny K:  KKHH has it’s flaws, of course, but if you’re a true Kajol fan, you have to have seen it, sometime. She’s lovely in it, isn’t she?

Your “schedule” looks good, with the possible exception of Koi… Mil Gaya, which you may find as cheesy as I did, but it is a milestone of a sort. Kinda the first Indian Sci-fi quasi super hero film. Shah Rukh has another coming out late this fall called Ra.One which may or may not be as scary as KMG, but we will just have to wait and see. KMG is sort of a mix of Flowers for Algernon (aka Charley) with ET. Hrithik is sweet in it, and gorgeous, of course, but I’ll be interested in seeing what you make of it. If you like it, the sequel is called Krrish…w/HR playing his own son.

Julie M:  You weren’t kidding about the cheesiness…guess they are SO not used to sci-fi in India! So much ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind that I had to howl with laughter. You also forgot to tell me that there was a whiff of Teen Wolf and The Six Million Dollar Man. They even did the Six Million Dollar Man sound at times. And I’ve noticed that none of these actors (even the extras) know how to play basketball in real life–their ball handling skills really blow. However, I did enjoy it (B didn’t so much). HR did a sufficient amount of dancing to satisfy me and he played a pretty convincing mentally retarded young man. Sweet moments with Preity Zinta, too. I will probably try to find Krrish, because I suspect that HR will be super-buff in it, and I love superhero movies anyway.

I LOVED 3 Idiots. B did too. No more to say–it was everything I like in a movie, and miracle of miracles, Kareena Kapoor did not annoy me.

[JK’s Note:  Per Julie’s request, new 3 Idiots video.  For those of us who also want to see the cute (though not particularly plot-relevant) item number, click here to watch Zoobi Doobi, as well !]

Will try to cram in Luck by Chance tomorrow night before everything goes back to the library Tuesday.

Jenny K:  Wow, that certainly is a marathon! I salute you. Worth the trouble, though…Luck By Chance was my favorite of the three you had. Fairly realistic treatment as far as Indian film goes, too. I also love both Farhan Akhtar, and Konkona Sen Sharma (who I’ve met at a couple of festivals, and she’s very nice as well as talented). The director is Farhan’s sister, Zoya Akhtar.

I think I liked Krrish a bit better than I liked KMG because the director (Hrithik’s dad, btw) didn’t feel the need to dress his heir like a dysfunctional idiot. Sorry, costumer reaction, can’t help it.

So, I’ll be interested to see what you think when you go see one in a cinema. That’s the next thing. First one I saw on a big screen was a Hrithik/Kareena one that almost killed me…almost walked out, several times. Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon…run, the opposite direction, as fast as you can. Thank goodness I persevered! Have you checked out your local Indian theater yet? I see they show both Bollywood and Tamil films at the theater near you. Tamil films rarely, if ever have subtitles. I guess South Indian movies are only to be for home viewing. They tend to be a bit broader, but some are quite lovely.

I haven’t seen Dum Maro Dum (with LittleB) that’s playing in your neighborhood now, because it only stayed in mine for one week, I think, and while I hesitated because I don’t always like crime capers, it left. It’s best to go opening weekend because the audiences are best then and are always so lively. Half the fun. The whole family goes, little kids running up and down the aisles and grandmas minding them…more noise in the audience as well, but somehow I don’t mind. When SRK showed up silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline in KHNH every woman in the theater screamed. Very fun.  Also, if you miss the first weekend, and it didn’t do well at the box office…it’s outta there.  Indian audiences want their variety, in any case.  Only Superhits stay.

Julie M:  Do they show it subtitled in theaters? I’ll have to go. That theater is nowhere near my neighborhood but it’s closer than, say, the good art film theater on the south side, which I have made pilgrimage to on occasion and which I think is now closed. Before you did the research I would have said that there aren’t any theaters here that show Bollywood films!

Jenny K:  Hindi films are usually subtitled; Tamil and Telugu films usually aren’t, except at film festivals. Darned shame, too. Some wonderful ones that you should check out if you can find them…or I should send you…are Kannathil Muthamittal, that I think I’ve mentioned and Kandukondain, Kandukondain (sometimes titled I Have Found It) which is a South Indian version of Sense and Sensibility starring Aishwarya Rai.

Julie M:  Does she speak Telegu? Or Tamil? Is it very common for people to speak multiple South Asian languages or does she learn them because she is an actress? I mean, Chinese people commonly know both Mandarin and Cantonese to some degree, more one or the other based on where they grew up, but can converse in both. Is it the same in India?

Luck By Chance was good. It didn’t feel like a typical Hindi film–actually it felt kind of like an art film. Cool cameos by stars (Kareena Kapoor annoyed me: I figured it out, it’s her eyes. She blinks in a very weird way), interesting behind-the-scenes look, and I bet everyone in the credits were real film-industry backstagers. But why did Farhan Akhtar play such a d-bag?

Jenny K:  I know she speaks Tulu which is from where she was raised in Karnatka, and she debuted in one of Mani Ratnam’s (Dil Se…) films Iruvar which was in Tamil as well as this one. She’s also done a few films in a Bengali dialect for Rituparno Ghosh and other directors. So, she’s linguistically very gifted. I’m not sure she knows much more than a learn-your-lines-phonetically level in the Tamil and Bengali, but the regional cinema is the way many people break into the Hindi/Bollywood mainstream films, so most of them speak some other dialects. Most everyone in the cities, at least, or those who have gone to university speak English. I’ve been told that a good many of the scripts come out in English first and then get translated into whatever dialects they end up in.

I thought that Farhan was rather brave and risk-taking, deciding to play his fame-obsessed character so realistically. Most young guys who get hit with fame would have acted the same way. It also let Konkona’s character choose the broader outlook, and let her continue to be strong even as a woman on her own. I liked that. He seems to gravitate to edgier projects. His first film as an actor, Rock On! has him playing the charismatic, if troubled leader of a band who has walked away from it to start a “sensible life”. He has a new one coming out with his buddy Hrithik (they grew up together) in July. He has a very bad haircut in that one though.  Must be a character detail, usually it’s so good.

There is a talk show called Koffee with Karan where Hrithik and Farhan are interviewed and they talk about their childhood together. It’s in a few parts, beginning here.

Julie M:  About Farhan–“edgy” projects in Bollywood seem to be typical projects forHollywood, right? I didn’t see much of a Bollywood style about Luck by Chance. It could have been a mainstream American movie starring Indian actors about the Indian film industry–it felt very familiar to me. Was that what they were going for?

Part 2: Rahman Recommendations and HrithikMania

Julie M:  OK, I got Taal out of the library a couple of days ago because I knew that yesterday I was going to be flat out on the couch recuperating from minor surgery. I know you said it was melodramatic, but you also said the music was great, so…I actually liked this one a lot. I couldn’t stand the Manav character (he was such a blah) but the music really was fabulous. Pretty much a standout soundtrack all the way around, and the choreography was fantastic starting right from the opening credits. I re-ran all the songs numerous times after I finished the film.  You are right: A.R. Rahman is The Man. Any more recommendations for his films?

Jenny K: Okay, recommendations. The first five are good films that have especially good AR Rahman sound tracks.

Lagaan, I mentioned before. A must-see. The only Bollywood film that the numbers are so integrated into the plot that you can’t show them without the movie, really.

Nayak, a serious social commentary in the most over the top, goofy slapstick style you’ll ever see. I love it, but you have to be in the right mood for it…maybe you need to be on hallucinogens to truly get everything out of it…hehehehe. Shakalaka Baby!

Meenaxi is sort of Bollywood meets Pirandello…sort of Six Characters in Search of An Author, though a bit wandery, plot-wise. Great visuals, and some of Rahman’s best music. You’ll find yourself buying the CD’s too. For buying things, I always suggest using  Their website has a good selection, fairly easy to use and is very good at reliability and returns, if anything goes wrong. [JK’s Note:  I’m in mourning…Nehaflix got sued and lost.  Trying to reform under the name The Khan Store at  Not a great selection yet, but they’re working on it.]

Swades is another film by the director of Lagaan, but this one isn’t period. It’s a modern day story of an Indian scientist from NASA who is pulled back home to find the nurse who raised him.  He finds her and make her life, and that of the whole village, better. Very sweet earnest film. A much quieter Rahman score.

I’d say again, Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek), merits a viewing. Harder to find, as it’s South Indian and not as much call for it in local markets.  Often they don’t have subtitles, check it out first.  It’s worth the hunt, though, it’s very moving.

Now a few in the Non-Rahman film category.

Lots of folks like Devdas, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s retelling of the Bengali classic story. The visual style is lavish, lush, and the music is good, not Rahman, but good. Great costumes, but the sets are so over the top and the lighting is overall so red in tone that it’s not my favorite, a bit too melodramatic, and I thought SRK’s hero was really self indulgent.  Even though it’s a classic, but it’s hard to feel that sorry for his problems when he caused them himself…but the numbers are so fun, pull up “SRK in Devdas songs” on Youtube and judge for yourself. “Chalak chalak” has the black dress that I’m going to make for myself once my diet kicks in. Also catch Dola Re Dola. Richard Corliss, the critic doesn’t agree with my criticisms. He’s a full-on convert. Check it out, here.  Funny, funny, albeit accurate article about his descent into BollyMania…closely resembling my fall. For the Devdas bit, scan down to “Deaf to Devdas“.

If you’re in the mood for a comedy, get Lage Raho Munna Bhai which tells of a local good-hearted mob boss who in trying to impress a lovely radio DJ, by saying he’s a Ghandi scholar and then has to study up to prove it…and Ghandi “arrives” to help him. Every one I’ve shown this to loves it. The earlier film Munnabhai MBBS is very popular, too.

That should keep you for a while 🙂

[after a couple of days]

Julie M:  Have to bring you up to date…I watched Kal Ho Naa Ho this weekend along with Bride and Prejudice. Yes, I know B&P is not really Bollywood, but it was still fun, in the Bollywood spirit and I didn’t have to read subtitles! I liked the entire first half of KHNH but after the intermission it took a very weird turn. Started like a rom-com farce but then got way too melodramatic. Still, some nice performances particularly the Rohit character’s actor (I forget the name now) [note:  Saif Ali Khan]. I was so proud of myself for recognizing something…there is a brief moment during the wedding dance scene where SRK’s character is dancing right next to a random girl, and it was Kajol from K3G–wearing the same costume as she did in that film–and they exchanged a brief grinning glance. I had to reverse the DVD to make sure I wasn’t seeing things…it was awesome and thanks to you I caught the reference!! [Rani Mukherji visits at 2:38 and Kajol does at 4:34]

I also saw an entirely horrible movie, The Mistress of Spices, which if you have not seen I recommend that you avoid unless you are a total Aishwarya Rai or Dylan McDermott fan. I read the book a while ago and it was good, but the movie version was AWFUL.

I have Lagaan on reserve from my library (it is on order so I’ll have to wait a while) and the system does not have Meenaxi, so will have to find that elsewhere. There’s also a film that is always on the library’s video shelves–can’t recall the title but it’s about a blind girl and a guy who loves her. ???familiar to you? is it good?

Anyway, thank you so much for introducing me to this wonderful (if time-consuming) hobby!

Jenny K:  Hey, I’m proud of you too…When you see Lagaan you’ll see another “inside joke” scene that you’ll recognize. When they were redoing the restaurant, they were playing a song “Chale Chalo” which is from Lagaan and is choreographed to remind you of it. Made me laugh. I agree that the second half of the movie changed tone after his disease was revealed, and the plot became more of a Lifetime Channel one, with him trying to find a happy life for Naina. Not very believeable, but I liked it anyway, in spite. Loved some of the big dance numbers and the scene where SRK barks at Rohit pretending to be Laila the Dog is oddly sexy. What does that say about me?!?!?

Hey, if you’re tired of reading subtitles, see if your library has one called Being Cyrus. It stars Saif Ali Khan (aka Rohit) in a non-comedy and he does a really good job of it, and the lion’s share of the dialogue is in English. It’s definitely not a feel-good musical (actually, not a song in it, as I recall), but more of a western style moody thriller. He’s also in the Iago role in Omkara (the Othello adaptation). His best role yet, I think.

The one about the blind girl is probably Black. I can’t really recommend that one, as it’s a direct rip off (in the first half) of The Miracle Worker, with the dad from K3G playing Annie Sullivan. Really odd transposition…when a 6′ 4″ Amitabh barks at the little blind kid and pushes her around to “tame her,” it’s just…different, and not in a good way. Then the second half gets all “I’m falling in love with you” when the girl grows up which adds an extra level of weird, even if he doesn’t give in to the temptation offered to him. I really like Amitabh, but this is NOT one of the ones I like him in, though I do admire the effort he was putting into it.  For an unadulterated dose of Bachchan at his recent best, try Bunty aur Babli, the first picture that he and his son Abhishek did together…sort of a benevolent Bonnie and Clyde caper picture with Amitabh (or BigB as we call him in Bollybiz) playing an amalgam of all the tough cops he’s ever done on screen with his tongue firmly in cheek. He’s especially hilarious in a fake music video over the end credits. He is so cool, even at 68.

Glad you’re enjoying it. Did you ever see Dhoom 2? Don’t worry about telling me if you didn’t like it. The only way that would bother me is if I recommended it, you BOUGHT it and you hated it. However, I’ve done a good bit of that, myself and am constantly glad that getting DVDs at under ten dollars is easy to do. You don’t mind the missteps as much.

Julie M:  I did see Dhoom 2–I thought it was a lot of fun, and Hrithik Roshan was so gorgeous in every single scene I felt like I was going to swoon. They really buffed him up for that one. And there was actual kissing in a Bollywood movie–the horror!! (kidding) Completely fluffy and escapist. Sometimes I’m just in that kind of mood.

Jenny K:  Ah, HrithikMania… don’t I know it. Met him once and spoke to him, he smiled right at me alone. Just as handsome in person, too, darn his perfection. Next time you are in that fluffy and escapist mood you could check out his first movie, Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, from 2000. Not a particularly good movie (part of a long tradition of “Identical Twin” movies in Indian cinema) but it has some great dance numbers, “Ek Pal Jeena” in particular, in the second half, and of course he’s absolutely gorgeous in it.

For other “gorgeous options” from him I’d say Kites and Guzaarish but the first is complete fluff set inLas Vegas and most of it in English. Only one dance number. Criminal shame. Guzaarish is an Indian remake of Whose Life Is It Anyway? that old Richard Dreyfus film on the euthanasia debate, blown up with flashbacks of Hrithik’s show-biz past to get him out of his wheelchair occasionally. Hrithik does nicely, but he still doesn’t dance much.

Part 1: Julie’s Introduction to Bollywood, or Surviving the Blockbuster, K3G

[Jenny K’s Note:  The first several parts of the diablog, are in fact, a recap of the cinema adventures I put Julie through over the past four months. About mid-July, I thought, “Some of these posts are really helpful as a sort of primer for anyone wanting to know what to watch next and where to find it.” It also was a good emerging forum for critiquing them, because as new as Julie is to it, she has a real, informed opinion on them, and isn’t afraid to voice them when she doesn’t agree. I, usually, stick to my guns, and will defend my melodramas to the last sniffle. So, I’m hoping you’ll get different points of view in many cases. Do feel free to jump in and voice your opinions in the comments as often as you like. Friendly disagreement is appreciated here. Unfriendly ones will be sent back to the sender for “re-editing,” if you know what I mean.]

Julie M’s Note:  Being completely inexperienced in the ways of Bollywood I picked my first video up at my local library, which surprisingly has a pretty decent collection. If you live in a large metro area with any kind of Indian population, check the holdings of your system because it’s a free way to start the addiction. Why this particular movie? I first became interested in Bollywood through the music. I adored A.R. Rahman’s work on Slumdog Millionaire and found some music videos randomly on YouTube. When I discovered Jenny’s addiction I first asked her to recommend some great numbers, and she responded with LOTS and LOTS of links. As it happened, the ones I liked best were from Dil Se so I requested it from the library. Unbeknownst to me, Jenny had meanwhile sent me a gift of three videos: Dil Se, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and a compilation DVD starring Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) in remixes and original numbers from his movies. So we were thinking along the same lines.

Julie M:  Hey–just wanted you to know that I watched Dil Se tonight. Pretty weird…not “Bollywood” as I would have expected it, and B [Julie’s husband and occasional viewing companion, at home] thought it was too long. Kind of started out “typical” but got way serious and then the ending! OK…so what’s next, o Bollywood guide?

Jenny K: Oh dear…if he thought Dil Se was too long…don’t let him watch Kabhi Khushie Kabhie Gham…it’s well over three hours. Some people, not used to the length, watch it to the intermission and do the next half on another day 🙂 After you get used to it, it’s hard to go back to the ninety minute format here in the US. I like spending more time with the characters getting to know them.

You did get the other two DVDs didn’t you? I haven’t actually seen the video compilation one, but it looked decent and it was actually in stock…I will say that the last quarter of the list seemed to be videos that SRK wasn’t even in, so I was confused about why they put them in the set. [Note: This is a common problem on compilations, whether DVD or Audio. The CDs, especially are shorter than an average US album, and so there is often filler at the end of the songs from the movie. If you’re lucky, it’s songs from other movies that the star has been in, but that’s not a given.]

Hope you liked Dil Se…It’s one of my favorites, weird or not. It isn’t typical, and didn’t do very well at home in India because the ending wasn’t happy, but for me, if his obsession had ended happily with her dumping her cause and marrying him, having a family and 3.5 kids…well, it just wouldn’t have been the right ending. K3G is much more the typical musical melodrama. The video you liked (I think) with Shah Rukh soaking wet in the shadow of the pyramids is from that one.

Julie M: Did like Dil Se. And you’re right–[Spoilers: highlight to view] it couldn’t have ended with him getting her. But I kind of was hoping he would end up with Preeti after Meghna had completed her mission, and gotten some kind of happiness out of life anyway.  [end of spoilers]

I did not get the other 2 DVDs. ??? forgot what they were…but I just requested K3G from my library. Our system has a lot of Bollywood DVDs–huge Indian community here. Is Om Shanti Om any good? Is that one considered “Bollywood 300-level” because it makes fun of Bollywood? and should I wait until I complete the 101 course before I attempt it??

Jenny K: Okay, K3G,  from what B said when I spoke with him today, I’m not sure that he’ll like it…it’s very melodramatic. I like the ups and downs, it’s like the old pot-boilers of the 50’s. My mom was a Shah Rukh fan and she liked his storyline, but didn’t like the younger son storyline…I make exceptions because Hrithik who plays the younger son, grown up, is so handsome and SUCH a good dancer that I can put up with the AWFUL clothes they often put him in. And it’s even longer than Dil Se… so you might want to make it a two-nighter, breaking it at the intermission.

Pretty funny that you picked the same film that I sent you! No wonder that we were both confused…As to Om Shanti Om…it could stand alone, but I might watch a few more before you tackle it, because the inside jokes will make more sense. Also, it’s almost too melodramatic, in my opinion.

For others that you should see first, Omkara (for B) is an adaptation of Othello set in the millieu of the gangs of the Indian countryside…great music. Also, Taal with Aishwarya Rai (“The Most Beautiful Woman in the World”, TMBWITW for short) is a tad clichéd, plot-wise, about a country girl who falls in love with a rich city boy, and how she loses him and gets him back, but if you haven’t seen too many, you won’t mind the clichés much. I drove all the way to Urbana to see it at Ebertfest one year…gorgeous music, people, scenery. Dil Chahta Hai is a three-guy buddy picture dealing with their growing up and romantic travails…set in Bombay, Goa and Sydney, Australia. Lagaan is another picture that I liked set in the upper western countryside in the late 1800’s about farmers that form a cricket team to beat out the local British soldier’s team to save the village from paying exorbitant taxes. It was up for a best foreign film Oscar back in 2001 or 2002, not sure which. Didn’t win, but it was how I was introduced to Indian film. Kal Ho Naa Ho is another wonderful weepie with Shah Rukh, that has some great visuals and lovely numbers. One I’ve introduced lots of friends to Bollywood with.

There are more, but that will do for a start. I will warn you that most libraries have Asoka in their Shah Rukh collections and I’d wait to see it unless you’re up for a laugh. He looks great in it with the hair extensions and the bare chest and all, but it’s sort of Conan the Barbarian, the Musical, masquerading as early Indian History. Goofy fun and all, but pretty hard to swallow, until you’re ready for it, in my opinion.

[after the long weekend]

Jenny K:  So how did you survive Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham? I’m betting B couldn’t handle it…it’s more of a girl’s guilty pleasure thing, I’ve found. If you didn’t like it, it’s okay to tell me. Some people find it too melodramatic, and Dil Se is more memorable as a full film, but K3G has lots of fun moments, I find, and lots of fun actors that you’ll be seeing a lot of if you keep going in this. Almost everyone in it is a film star in his/her own right, it was a sort of Superstar Glut for Indian film. I’ll be interested in your opinion. How you react will tell me what I recommend next…if you haven’t overdosed on all of it 🙂

Julie M:  Liked it with the following comments:  It’s pretty melodramatic. WAY too much drama in some moments, but it was an interesting insight into Indian culture and mindset particularly among the obscenely wealthy. (I found that on my DVD player I could speed up 2X, still see the subtitles and get the facial expressions, and zoom through the particularly sappy scenes) Some really cool songs. B liked the big dance numbers from an aesthetic perspective but blanked out on the storyline. Hrithik Roshan is too beautiful to be believed and a way better dancer than SRK. Amitabh Bhachan plays the stern dad very well but he’s a terrible dancer. The Anjali character was adorable. I hated the Pooja character–way too shallow–and she never really redeemed herself enough to have the Rohan character believably fall in love with her. And SRK seems to get wet in pretty much all of his films, right? (He showed way too much sappy face in this film–not a good look for him, he seems to do better as the rakish adventurer)

So here is the deal. Recommend me films that are not this melodramatic and don’t have so much of “the formula.” I like great costuming and scenery and great dance music. And the unusual–surprise me!

Jenny K:  I see you got all the good bits and didn’t fall for the drivel. An astute viewer. Still and all, every BollyViewer has to have seen this one. I stand by most of the ones that I recommended before (which have disappeared from my message list, for some unfathomable reason, so I can’t review them) but perhaps you should save Taal for some day when you are home with a cold and can handle another dose of the melodramatic….no, it’s not quite as melodramatic as K3G, but it’s really beautiful, and the music is so amazing that you should see it sometime. Kal Ho Naa Ho, I loved, especially the first time I saw it, but the end is way too weepy, I’m guessing. It’s set in NYC and stars SRK with Preeti from Dil Se again.

Best bets on my original list for you are:
–In a period historical mood: Lagaan
–In a modern romantic dramedy mood: Dil Chahta Hai
–In a crime thriller/tragedy mood: Omkara
–In an oddball political statement movie hiding in what starts like an Indian Shirley Temple movie mood (lots of little kids singing…doesn’t go on like that, trust me): Kannathil Muthamittal (A Peck on the Cheek) by Mani Ratnam, the director of Dil Se…
–In a mindless gazing at Hrithik Roshan dancing mood: I’d try Dhoom 2, he looks absolutely gorgeous, and dances like a dream, and actually develops screen chemistry with Aishwariya Rai (in my opinion, a first for both of these dancing stars).   But I qualify it, as not a traditional film, but pretty modern; it’s a “young people’s caper flick” lots of skin, quite a bit of slapstick sidekick stuff, and some of the silliest, tongue in cheek crime capers you’ll ever see. Especially the one on the train…I still can’t understand how/why they could use it with a straight face.

Best of luck, intrepid viewer 🙂 I’m proud of you and B, both for making it through K3G!

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