Saturday, December 30, 2006


I’ve just been over to Maja’s blog, and she has some wonderful retrospective posts (with, as usual, awesome pictures) about what this year has been like for her, in terms of both Bollywood and blogging.

As it’s the end of the year and I’m feeling a bit warm and fuzzy today (must revel in it while it lasts), and also because I think Maja’s idea is absolutely brilliant (and the best tribute to a good idea is to emm… ‘borrow’ it), I’m going to do a little reminiscing and recapping of my own… although, needless to say, this post will be much more uninteresting and less cool than Maja’s.

2006 is my first year as a blogger, and I’m still fairly new on the block. I’ve been blogging for a few months now, and my last post was my thirtieth on this blog. I’ve really enjoyed blogging, it’s been a lot of fun (and a huge learning experience). I think my Bollywood blog has enhanced my love for and delight in Bollywood movies. I crack myself up, remember things I’ve really loved (or hated) about the movies I’ve seen, talk about my observations with others, and generally just have a lot of fun. Another really cool thing about becoming a ‘Bollyblogger’ has been the opportunity to discover and read brilliant blogs by other Bollywood-lovers.

I had just set up my other blog while, in the course of wandering aimlessly around blogworld, I stumbled upon Akshaye’s girlfriend’s blog. I’d been there before, in its infancy, when Beth had seen only a few Bollywood movies, and was thrilled to see how much it had grown and how much Beth really does love Bollywood. After reading some of her posts, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Bollywood blog dedicated to your current Bollywood favourite person, Dharmendra?’ So Beth, thanks for the inspiration. (Do I have NO original ideas of my own?)

Beth (via her sidebar) turned me on to other fantastic blogs which have now become frequent pitstops for me: Hrithik’s girlfriend’s blog, Abhishek’s girlfriend’s blog, Jhaji’s blog, Sheetal’s blog, Aparna’s blog and others. From that point, I discovered many other brilliant blogs – see my sidebar for my full (and ever-increasing) list of faves – most recently the-Shabana-Azmi-fan’s fantastic site. It’s been a lot of fun – but I think I’ve said that already. I love reading these bloggers’ news, reviews, views and impressions – both when they are similar to mine (sometimes uncannily so) and when they’re totally different (like: "What? You really don’t like….? I love it/him/her".)

It’s been a big Bollywood year for me – I’ve seen a LOT more Bollywood movies than I did last year, and I’ve learnt a lot more about Bollywood – although I’m still pretty much an ignoramus in many ways. I realise that there’s a lot about Indian film that’s inaccessible to me because of language and cultural differences (although I’ve found some parallels between my culture and Indian culture). While I’m a big fan of the whole ‘so much of our human experience is universal’ idea, I also recognize and enjoy the existence of that wonderful, complex thing called diversity.

Sometimes I wonder if I sound shallow and dumb (and quite possibly irritating) to any ‘authentic’ Bollywood fans (people who see the ‘big picture’ and appreciate all the contextual background stuff) who may stumble upon my blog. It’s something I wonder about now and again – have I become one of those annoying people who try to fit in ‘by force’ (Nigerian-ism for doing something ‘at all costs’, even when it’s not even working), and who then proceed to turn into insufferably arrogant creatures who think they know more about the lay of the land than its inhabitants? (A guy I met during my studies in England who’d spent a year working in Africa, and proceeded to spend over an hour trying to convince me that he knows more about Africa than I do, readily springs to mind…he was such a prat!)

Well, if I have fallen into the trap of becoming an ‘irritee’ on this blog, I guess my only defence is that it was unintentional. The aim of my blog is to express a very particular perspective on Bollywood – that of a Nigerian twenty-something (with certain personal preferences and probably a few unacknowledged prejudices) who just happens to adore Bollywood. I’ve tried to keep things as light-hearted and 'me' as possible, and to own up to my high level of ignorance (I’m just a Bollywood fangirl, enthusiast, aficionado and addict – I’d say I was a ‘buff’ too, except I hate that word. I’m definitely no connoisseur). Anyway, please do forgive (and feel free to correct in future) any slip-ups I may have made in this area.

In her post, Maja put up her 5 favourites ('hall of fame') and 5 least favourite ('hall of shame') Bollywood movies for 2006. I tried to do that, but it was too hard! I was coming up with like 10 movies in each category. So, being a lazy girl today, I’m going to do only one each.

‘DON – THE CHASE BEGINS AGAIN’: Seeing ‘Don’ (2006) was the high point of my Bollywood year, NOT because it was the best Bollywood movie I saw this year (it wasn’t – but don’t ask me which was), NOT because it stars one of my favourites (although I do love my SRK), and NOT even because I really, really enjoyed it (although I did – I absolutely loved it – but I enjoyed a few others more). It’s the high point because it marked a number of ‘firsts’ for me. It was the first Bollywood movie I’d ever seen on the big screen, which is a whole different experience from watching DVDs at home. It was the first movie (of any kind) I’d ever seen in a Nigerian cinema, which was long overdue. It was also the first time I met my fellow Nigerian-fan-of-all-things-Indian, which was very cool, because she’s a sweetheart. It was a very memorable afternoon, and I look forward to others like it in 2007.

‘INSANIYAT’: Watching the first 5 minutes of ‘Insaniyat’ (starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sunny Deol and just about everyone else in Bollywood) was pure torture – and hence the low point of my Bollywood year. I just couldn’t watch any more of it… which is very unusual for me, because I HATE to not finish a book or a movie. But after just 5 minutes of watching a tired-looking Amit-ji kicking bad guys’ behinds in ‘Insaniyat’, I completely gave up and NEVER plan to continue. It was that painful. So ‘Insaniyat’ joins ‘Pyaar Kya To Darna Kiya’ on the illustrious list of Bollywood movies I’ve been unable to finish. I usually ‘never say never’, but… NEVER!!!

So, it’s been an interesting, educative, and most of all a FUN, FUN, FUN (till my Daddy takes my T-Bird away) year in Bollywood for me… to sum up:

I’ve seen some really good movies
(And some awful ones)
I’ve ‘met’ lots of cool people
And read lots of cool blogs
I’ve had (more than) my fair share of crushes
And I know this is a very crappy poem so I’ll end it here –
All that’s really left to say is: ‘Bring on 2007!!’

(PS: My copy of ‘Chupke Chupke’ just arrived…yayy!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


This post is about some of my favourite Bollywood movers and shakers… and I don’t mean the moguls and power-brokers of the industry – I mean the actors and actresses who know how to move and shake their bodies…

I am a huge fan of dance, and dance in Bollywood movies certainly provides a lot of entertainment. It’s a mixed bag, from the subdued to the extra-extra-EXTRA-OTT, from the traditional to the contemporary, from the solo to the group dances, from the elegant to the wacky, from the talented dancers to the terrible (Rishi Kapoor or Sunny Deol, anyone?) and just about everything in between. There are of course, certain ‘staples’: the ‘item numbers’ (often involving ‘nautch girls’) that show up in a lot of movies, the romantic dances for two in the hills or by fountains, the huge ensemble numbers, the contemplative/introspective numbers that are often used to move the plot along… and so on.

Sometimes I enjoy a particular actor’s dancing because (s)he is simply a good dancer, but this isn’t always true. Sometimes it’s just because the actor is clearly enjoying the number, sometimes it’s the facial expressions, sometimes it’s the emotion, sometimes it’s even the fact that the actor can’t dance to save his/her life (which can be very very amusing).

Anyway, to get to my list… I figure fifteen is a good number – I can probably think of more than fifteen, but I’m just going to put up my very favourite dancers. Also, I think there are going to be, by necessity, waaay more women than men on my list. I’m going to see if I can have at least five males, but it just might be an uphill task.

I should probably also note that choreography is a big factor in a viewer’s perception of a dancer’s skills – in the sense that a really good dancer can’t do very much with really crap choreography, while really good choreography brings the best out of an average dancer.

So, with those caveats, here, in no particular order, are fifteen of my fave Bollywood dancers…

MADHURI DIXIT: Madhuri is a very gifted dancer. Her style is very interpretive and graceful, and she’s very good at using her facial expressions to complement the movements of her body. She can do the more traditional (‘Devdas’) as well as the more contemporary dances (‘Dil to Pagal Hai’) very well. I haven’t seen one of her most famous dances (‘Ek Do Teen’) yet, but I’ve really loved her dancing in just about every one of her movies I’ve seen.

SHAH RUKH KHAN: I think SRK is an excellent dancer. He has such flair for it and seems to look equally good doing just about any type of dance. He also always seems to be enjoying himself. I recently read a Farah Khan interview in which she said that SRK never executes choreography exactly as he’s taught it – he always adds his own style to it and ends up creating a different dance, which the rest of the dancers are then forced to adapt to so that they don’t look out of place dancing with him. I like that.

AISHWARYA RAI: I am not a huge fan of her acting, but Ash can really move. Her dancing is very expressive and elegant, and technically, it’s really hard to fault her. It’s hard to believe that, according to Saroj Khan, Ash was not always a great dancer. She is really good at both traditional (‘Nimbooda’ from ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’) and contemporary (‘Dayya Dayya Dayya Re’ from ‘Dil Ka Rishta’, 'Crazy Kiya Re' from 'Dhoom II') styles, but I personally think she has more of a flair for the more traditional pieces – but maybe that’s just because I always think she looks better in traditional clothing.

AMITABH BACHCHAN: Purists will probably be appalled to find his name on my list, but I LOVE watching Big B dance. It’s not so much the technical ‘correctness’ of his dancing (although I certainly don’t think he’s a bad dancer, he’s definitely not the most flexible or fluid or accurate) – for me, it’s the sheer joy, energy, exhilaration and ‘abandonment’ of his dancing. For him, dancing really is about expression, and he REALLY enjoys expressing himself with his body. It’s palpable when you watch him dance – his energy, his ‘flow’ with the music – I just adore watching it, even when it doesn’t look quite ‘right’. For a really good example of this, two dances from ‘Laawaris’ really stand out in my memory: ‘Jiska Koi Naheen’ in which he really expresses the defiance and anger of his character in his dancing, and another number (the last one in the film, don’t know what it’s called) in which he really lets it rip and does a fun, very enjoyable dance IN DRAG! For anyone who hasn’t seen that dance, it’s well worth a watch.

REKHA: Rekha is a pleasure to watch – I haven’t seen a lot of her work, but she’d make it onto my list purely on the strength of ‘Umrao Jaan’, in which her movements are exquisite and simply beautiful to watch.

HEMA MALINI: While I’m still on the ‘stars from yesteryears’ tip, I should mention Ms. Hema Malini, who is also always a great pleasure to watch. Her dance training is evident in the precision and elegance of her dancing, and I always adore watching her.

HRITHIK ROSHAN: Back to the present day, and here’s one name no-one will be surprised to find on my list. Mr. Roshan is a fantastic dancer – although at first I didn’t get it, I have to say. When, after his debut movie (‘Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai’), Farah Khan went on and on about how great he is and how he should be on Broadway, I was like ‘he dances ok but…’ But watching him dance in ‘Lakshya’ totally convinced me. Hrithik really can move, and his timing is excellent. He says he’s no great dance talent but is just very hard working – I think he’s far too modest, which is rather refreshing, actually.

KARISMA KAPOOR: Karisma is a really skilled dancer – she’s particularly good to watch in more energetic numbers. I really enjoyed her work in ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ (the number in which she and Madhuri do a dance-off is fantastic to watch) and ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, and have also liked her dancing in several other films.

AAMIR KHAN: I’m kind of ambivalent about this choice, actually, because I don’t really look forward to Aamir’s dancing in the same way as I look forward to other guys on this list – I’m more interested in his acting. Having said that, though, he is a good dancer, technically-speaking, and I guess I do like watching him dance (just not quite as much as I like watching others). What I really like to see him do is gentler, more 'story-telling' numbers, not 'busy' or frenetic ones - he's a very expressive actor so it's good to see him emote through dance. So for that reason, and also because I’m kinda short of menfolk to add to the list (I'm tempted to add Mr. Mithun Chakravarty but he's soooo 80s!), Mr. Khan stays.

HELEN: The actress who’s often regarded as the greatest movie ‘nautch-girl’ ever, Salman Khan’s stepmother (thanks, Carla!), really had the moves in her heyday. She’s great to watch. My favourite Helen numbers so far are ‘Yeh Mera Dil’ (‘Don’) and ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ from ‘Sholay’.

RANI MUKHERJEE: Rani is a little bundle of energy, and I think she really does best in energetic, fast-moving numbers. I always enjoy watching her dance.

TABU: Tabu is on my list because she does elegant and graceful very well, and also manages to do totally wacky (I’ve seen her do very very silly numbers in ‘Vijaypath’ and ‘Hera Pheri’) very well too. Very entertaining.

KAJOL: Okay, I guess at this point it looks like I’m just putting my favourite actors on the list – but I guess that’s because I love watching their dancing just as much as their acting. Kajol’s style is less about technical precision and more about interpretation and emotion. Young and funky, dramatic and poignant, she does it all well. I love watching her dance.

SAIF ALI KHAN: I always enjoy watching him dance, he has really nice energy although he isn't great technically-speaking – really enjoyed his dancing in films like ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and even (I wasn’t too keen on the choreography) ‘Salaam Namaste’.

So I managed to get my self-imposed minimum of five guys onto my list – which means I am free to have a person of either gender as the fifteenth person on my list.

I choose: Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu (yup, a tie). I chose Juhi Chawla earlier and then realised that I must've been on something when I made that choice, because much as I love Ms. Chawla and think she's the cutest woman ever, she cannot dance at all. So Priyanka and Bipasha win the day - Priyanka for her dancing in films like 'Salaam e Ishq', 'Don', 'Krrish', 'Dosti', 'Waqt' and 'Bluffmaster'; Bipasha for 'Beedi Jaila Le' from 'Omkara' (that performance alone is enough to get her on this list) and for other performances like those in 'Dhoom 2' and 'No Entry'.

So that’s my list… which of your favourite dancers have I missed out? I’m sure I haven’t seen enough Bollywood movies to be able to add some of the best dancers… I’ve heard Govinda is a great dancer, but I’ve never seen a Govinda movie. Same goes for Sridevi.. never seen her dance. I also like other actors’ dancing (examples are Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi, Sushmita Sen and Sonali Bendre), but haven’t yet seen quite enough of their dancing to add them to my list. And while I haven’t seen Vinod Khanna dance a whole lot, I quite like his showmanship (as in, “look at me, I’m so cool and groovy. I'm not a great dancer but I'm so cool anyway”) in the few numbers I have seen him do. I think I’ve seen quite a bit of Preity Zinta’s dancing, and, while I think she’s good, I don’t REALLY look forward to watching her dance. That might well change though, because I can recall that until I watched her performance in ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’, I didn’t particularly enjoy her acting, either. Of course, some may protest the absence of Urmila Matondkar from my list, but, while I liked her dancing in ‘Rangeela’ (not so hot on the choreography, though), I haven’t seen her in much else.

So, suggestions please! I’m particularly interested in suggestions of really good dancers among the male actors, as well as among older generations of actors (whose films I may have not yet seen).

You know, as I’m typing this, I’m also re-watching (more like listening to) ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!’, a film I really love. And (a much younger) Salman dances excellently (IMO) in this film. He also dances well in ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. But I’ve so hated his dancing in other films (‘Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam’, for example, and ‘Pyaar Kya To Darna Kiya' – in which he made he stop watching ten minutes into the film thanks to one dance number), that I can’t bring myself to add his name to my list…

Monday, December 18, 2006


Here are 10 things I decided from the last few films I (re-)watched… Bollywood and non-Bollywood.

1. Joaquin Phoenix was better in ‘Walk the Line’ than Jamie Foxx was in ‘Ray’. He deserved to win the Best Actor Oscar – pity he was up against such stiff competition.

2. I will simply never tire of re-watching Steve Carrell and the gang sing and dance at the end of ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’.

3. Asrani has aged well and is still funny – noticed this from ‘Ball & Chain’ – which is a kinda lame movie.

4. I really want an authentic 100% silk kimono.

5. Randhir Kapoor really reminds me of a big white cuddly teddy bear.

6. Ziyi Zhang (above in ‘House of Flying Daggers’) is a fantastic actress. And the rest of the cast of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ is terrific as well.

7. They gave Reese Witherspoon a very cute wardrobe in ‘Walk the Line’. I doubt even the real June Carter Cash worse such fab clothes. Her hair is fab too. And Reese is adorable.

8. Daniel Craig is a really good actor. He actually (to my surprise) makes a good Bond.

9. I am amazed that Amitabh Bachchan can have made so many movies and still be so enthusiastic about film-making.

10. I need to get some more RD Burman music.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

DILEMMA… (or “a very silly post”, as I’m in a silly mood today)

I really like Ajay Devgan, but I can’t allow myself to have a crush on him – not even a teensy-weensy hemi-demi-semi one.

I like Ajay because he can pull off action hero (“Vijaypath” - was supposed to blog about it today but in too silly a mood to do a review), lover boy (“Ishq”), freedom fighter (“The Legend of Bhagat Singh”), ruthless career criminal (“Company”), honest policeman (“GangaJaal”) and silent, sensitive, nice guy (“Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”); with equal aplomb. He makes each character believable. Although, in my opinion, he does strong and silent better than anything else, there definitely is some versatility to him. I like his style of acting, full of undertones and somehow kind of dark and just… interesting.

And now that I’ve established that I appreciate his depth as a serious actor, let’s move on to shall we say, ‘shallower’, grounds… ‘brown skin, you know I love your brown skin…’ India Arie sang that, and I must admit I do like Mr. Devgan’s honey-licious skin. I also like his wonky teeth (and the fact that he hasn’t had them straightened). I love that sideways smile he does, that transforms his face everytime he does it. I love it when he does that deadpan look that somehow also comes off as mean. I love that side-parted haircut of his… I think it suits him to a tee. I love his eyes, especially when he gets that intensity behind them. I love that lean mean rangy physique and that unstudied, groovy stride he has. And I like his bum… ooh, but now I feel bad for saying that.

Which brings me to my dilemma… while I like Ajay and think he’s one of the coolest cats in my Bolly-hood, I can’t bring myself to crush on him. Why? Because he’s married to Kajol, probably my fave contemporary Bollywood actress. And because, while I really know nothing about the ‘real’ Mrs. Devgan, from her movies and interviews she seems like just the kind of girl I would like. A fun-loving, creative, interesting, strong, opinionated, funny, feisty female with a slightly eccentric edge. The sort of girl I could picture myself having lunch, catching a movie, and going shopping with. The sort of girl who would be enthusiastic about life and passionate about the things she believes in. She seems like I would like her to have her as a friend. And although that’ll never happen in this lifetime, and she might very well NOT be the sort of person I’d get along with at all, I still like her, and I would still feel TOTALLY guilty for having a crush (even a silly, daft, playful one – as my crushes – and all good crushes - invariably are) on her husband.

Anyway, this is one celebrity marriage I’m definitely rooting for. I think this couple is so cute and talented, and I really hope they find a way to stay together and be happy despite the pressures of fame and career. The rumour mills have been churning out speculations about the state of your union, guys, but please try your best to keep the ‘Kajay’ show on the road. Someone’s rooting for you, Kajol and Ajay.

Kajol and Ajay Devgan on their wedding day.

Monday, December 11, 2006


English subtitles – I have to live with them, as I definitely can’t live without them. I may love Hindi movies, but I certainly don’t love them enough to watch them sans subtitles. It’s just too much work. After just a few minutes of dialogue, my brain starts to hurt and I just am not having fun – and as the main reason I watch Bollywood movies is to have fun, this is unacceptable. So I definitely need my subtitles.

You know, I imagine doing subtitles is not the easiest job in the world, so maybe it’s unfair to gripe about them, but really – certain things about them can be annoying.

1. Minimalism: Sometimes a character says like a million things but they only put one line of text up. Having seen a lot of Hindi films, I’ve picked up a bit of the vocabulary, and oftentimes I can hear a character say something (sometimes a significant ‘something’) which the ‘sub-titler’ just can’t be bothered to translate. Having said that, subtitles can never convey all (or even most of) the subtleties and context of the original language, so maybe I shouldn’t criticise.

2. English subtitles for English speech: Now this is a pet peeve of mine. English is English is English. I hate this practice, and it’s done everywhere, especially on news channels like CNN. Note to 'subtitlers' everywhere: stop making people lazy by subtitling just because someone is speaking English with an unfamiliar accent. People need to start listening… carefully. Different accents are a beautiful thing. We need to learn to live with them – it’s the 21st century, for goodness’ sake (and now I'll get off my soapbox). Usually when they do English subtitles for English speech, the text is totally different from what the speaker is saying anyway.

3. SPG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) errors: I just don’t like them, in any context.

4. Not subtitling the songs: They do subtitle them sometimes, but I wish they always would. The songs are a big part of my movie-viewing experience.

5. White subtitles on a white background (or black subtitles on a black background): I don’t know how many versions of the ‘Ek Rishtaa’ DVD there are, but anyone who’s watched the one I’ve got will be aware of the fact that right at the climax of the movie, the subtitles get lost in Amitabh’s white clothes. As in, it’s absolutely impossible to read them. I also don’t like teeny-weeny subtitles that you need a magnifying glass to read…

But for all their imperfections, and despite the fact that they will never be able to pass across the full meaning of what’s said in a movie (maybe I should just try to learn the language, huh?), I do love my subtitles. In fact, I’ve been spoilt by them – I simply won’t watch a Hindi movie that doesn’t have English subtitles – if it doesn’t, it’s going back to the shop. So they’re essential for me, and apart from that, they’re also often very entertaining, as in hilarious. Just about every Bollywood movie I’ve watched has had a couple of really funny subtitles to enhance my viewing pleasure… here are some from ‘Vijaypath’ (starring Ajay Devgan), which I watched recently and may review in my next post, maybe alongside ‘Indian’ (starring Sunny Deol).

Ha ha... you have to watch the film to 'get' this, but it's just hilarious. And it looks even more hilarious in black-and-white for some reason.

I love this because as a kid I was told not to 'dirty my clothes' so often. I just like the way the words put across that scold-y tone.

Why do these action heroes always make women do these gory things? The things women "have to" do for love in Bollywood movies...

Go on Ajay... show them your 'stupid face'. I like this because I can picture someone saying it.

I just love these lines... and I don't know why.

Really? Ha ha. 'Cos I'm so not.
He actually means 'try and get me out of here fast', well as we say, 'idea is need'. But the bit I love is 'I'm here near the lion' - it just sounds funny.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Kisses, kisses, kisses... I'm a bit bored with it now. Just saw the Hrithik/Ash kiss on YouTube and I thought it was very boring. Couldn't wait for the scene to be over. And Aishwarya seemed so wooden... poor Hrithik put in a valiant effort, but I don't think the whole thing worked. Pity - with all the flak they've gotten for it, it would've been nice if they could at least have been able to say 'well, it was a good scene and it was worth it' (although I'm sure they tell themselves that anyway). Just shows that two unbelievably beautiful people a beautiful kiss doth not make.

Still on kisses, now THIS was a nice kiss. It's gone a long way towards erasing the NASTY Vinod Khanna/Madhuri scene I had the misfortune of stumbling upon (I blogged about it on Friday) from my mind. So I must thank Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor for this. I feel so much better now:

Yep, I just saw 'Raja Hindustani'. I've been wanting to see it for a while, and I really enjoyed it. It's one of those staple rich girl/poor boy things, but it's very nicely done... except for the 'lord of the manor' bits Aamir had to do, which were annoying. It's a bit of a silly movie, I guess, but it's very entertaining (the music is really nice), and Aamir and Karisma are very good in it - except for Karisma's singing at the birthday party in the beginning - now I see why Beth described it as 'horrible'. Even Rani's rendition at Amit-ji's party in 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' was way better (and that one wasn't good at all - especially the toodooloo bit at the end - what was that?) Anyway, it was a good film and I think I've now liked Karisma in enough movies ('Dil To Pagal Hai', 'Hum Saath Saath Hain', 'Ek Rishtaa' (although I didn't really like her character), 'Jaanwar' (a.k.a. the film in which the 'funny' bits aren't and the parts that are meant to be serious are hilarious) and now 'Raja Hindustani') to add her to my sidebar. She has really good energy, and she puts her heart into her acting (or seems to)... and she can dance (really well).

Back to today's subject, I'm now just bored with kisses (and all the attendant furore) in Bollywood movies... what's in a kiss anyway? It's just... a kiss (except when it's a KISS, which is pretty special - and rare). I think Bollywood does pretty well without them (I know, I know, they DO kiss, but it's certainly far from frequent), but if they simply MUST have them, they're gonna have to do a bit better than Mr. Roshan and Ms. Rai's attempt. Hey, Karisma and Aamir could give lessons and make a mint... 'A & K's Kissing School'.

Friday, December 08, 2006


The basics

Dharmendra was born Dharam Singh Deol on 8 December 1935. He is an acclaimed Bollywood actor and more recently a politician (his wife Hema Malini is a politician as well). He is an MP representing the Bikaner constituency, and he’s a member of the BJP. He was given the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement in 1997, his only major acting award, which seems a bit unfair.

He has four children: Sunny and Bobby with his first wife (both successful actors, Sunny (Dharam's lookalike) moreso than Bobby), Esha and Ahana with Hema Malini. Esha is a moderately successful actress, and apparently her father isn’t thrilled about her choice of career – he once said Bollywood is an unsuitable place for girls. Whatever. Esha calls herself a ‘Daddy’s girl’ – so I guess we have something in common (I’m no fan of hers, so this doesn’t exactly thrill me - props to her on sticking with her career choice though). Dharmendra’s nephew Abhay Deol is also an actor.

Ten Things I’ve Recently Learnt about Dharmendra.

1. Apparently, he’s currently separated from Hema Malini (haven’t confirmed this yet).

2. His first movie was ‘Railway Platform’ (1955). He had a very very small blink-and-you'll-miss-it part.

3. He’s Punjabi – from Phagwara (some sources say Sahnewal - it seems he was born in one and grew up in the other).

4. His first wife was Prakash Kaur. He married her in 1954, and she is Sunny and Bobby’s mother (so I guess that’s who Bobby looks like, huh?)

5. He worked for an American drilling company as a young man.

6. He’s working on developing a hi-tech film city in Jaipur.

7. At the early stage of his career, he was advised by a director to become a hockey player, because he was ‘too muscular’ to be an actor (those were the Shammi Kapoor days). Understandably, he was hurt but not deterred.

8. He was born into a Jat Sikh family but is rumoured to have at some point converted to Islam, changing his name to Dilawar Khan. People have speculated (unconfirmed) that he did this only so he could marry Hema Malini. He’s actually been slapped with a lawsuit as a result of this (marrying a second wife is not permitted under the Hindu Marriage Act) – can’t confirm what the status is on the lawsuit.

9. He’s been criticized for not being a very good politician, and for being absent at house sittings. He admits to not enjoying politics – he enjoyed acting but sees politics as work.

10. Dharmendra’s second marriage to Hema Malini is still the subject of controversy, because there is a perception that it was immoral and unbecoming of a politician and public figure. Dharam hasn’t exactly helped his cause, as he has named Prakash Kaur as his wife on certain documents.

Dharmendra Interview Snippets/Quotes:

'People have learnt the art to hype their movies and their career. They have learnt to project themselves as bigger and bigger stars. And better actors are often left behind, as the others move ahead. It used to be same earlier, but not to this extent. Now there is media to create a lobby. Unfortunately, I am very unfit for all this. I have seen people who have not been in the industry for years, yet they manage to be in the headlines. I am still working here, but I am never mentioned. And neither do I think it necessary to force myself into the limelight.'

I love you just the way you are, Dharam.

'I have been working for nearly 42 years. But in last 5 years, I have worked in films where I did not even know the co-stars or the production unit. I cannot recognize them, even if they try to remind me. This was only because I wanted to face the camera. But we had to make way for the youngsters. We were unfit for the scripts and stories. So I started doing what came my way.'

Aaww… now that’s kinda sad.

'I can sum up my career in a few words. God, or what men call fate, gives few opportunities but man can make the most of it. It is a reward of hard work and dedication, that men call destiny. If you do not believe me you can try it out yourself. Wishes give birth to hope. Successful efforts take on the shape of prayers which have been answered by the heaven.'

Hmm… I wonder if this interview was actually in Hindi, then translated. Because it sounds clunky (‘the heaven?’). But I agree with what he said, very true.

‘I proudly say that I am a product of the media. I would not have become an actor if Filmfare was not there. I owe my success to the media’.

Sucking up or sincerity? Either way, nice.

Two Dharmendra Interviews may be listened to here:




Here I am looking for info for my special 'All About Dharmendra' post to celebrate his birthday (it'll be up later today), when I come across a video on YouTube that is... hmm... well it needs to be seen, I can't really describe it.

I love Madhuri Dixit and I love Vinod Khanna, they are lovely and all that, but the two of them making out... no no no no, it's not a pretty sight. NOT A PRETTY SIGHT! I am trying hard to wipe it from my memory but I think it's lodged there for a while... yuck. There's nothing sexy about this scene, it just looks nasty (well, in my opinion anyway).

Anyway, anyone else who wants to traumatise themselves by watching this scene (not sure what movie it's from), go over to, and search for 'Vinod Khanna Madhuri'. It'll come up. I'm certainly not posting it on my blog, that's for sure.

It's kinda interesting, though, in view of the noise over the Ash/Hrithik kiss... I wonder if anyone got their knickers in a twist over this Vinod/Madhuri scene...

Well... back to work on my Dharam post...


This video features my gorgeous Dharmendra with Tanuja Chandra. Very romantic and intense. Enjoy.

Go, go, go, go, go Dharam, it’s your birthday
I’m gonna party like it’s your birthday
Gonna watch your movies like it’s your birthday
And you know I’m ’a have a blast
’Cos that’s your birthday!!

Yes, I’m going to have a little Dharam-party tonight after work – with selected clips from my very miserable selection of Dharmendra movies, plus a nice cold drink and a nice fattening snack. Music of choice? ‘Pehli Nazar Mein Humne’ from ‘The Burning Train’ on repeat, with my other Bollywood favourites as well (I’m currently loving Shaan’s fantastic voice on ‘Main Hoon Don’, as well as some other people’s voices on ‘Koi Tumsa Nahin’ from ‘Krrish’. Of course, my perennial faves like ‘O Saathi Re’, ‘Bole Chudiyan’, ‘Koi Ladki Hai’, ‘Dhadak Dhadak’ and… I’d better stop now or I’ll go on endlessly… ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ will get a listen as well)...

I must admit that my celebration of Dharmendra may (oh, who am I kidding, it most definitely WILL) be interrupted by a certain other man… but Dharam, you know I wouldn’t let anyone but the extremely intense and compelling (especially when he gets mad) Jack Bauer (supported by the dark-eyed little-boy charm of Tony Almeida and the hunky deep-voiced chocolate-ness of President Palmer - when he was still alive) crash our little shindig. Come on, you can make an exception for Jack, can’t you? (Gosh, I am so silly) Anyway, it’ll certainly be fun celebrating my honey’s birthday tonight… even if I’ll be the only one at the party.

But until tonight, I’m celebrating my dear Dharmendra’s 71st birthday with a post that’s all about him... enjoy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


...not today, but tomorrow, December 8, is my honey (the term 'my honey' is rather loosely used here, as the man has no idea I even exist) Dharmendra's birthday! He's going to be 71 years tomorrow. So I'm thinking of something to celebrate this man and his accomplishments... will let you know what I decide tomorrow. Go, go, go, go, go hottie (younger Dharmendra) and man I still just admire to bits (older Dharmendra), it's your birthday! I know, I'm getting a bit too excited.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I like to look at my blog statistics from time to time, just to get a feel for who’s been around, and what they’ve been looking for. The Google search terms people have entered (and have found my blog as a result) are the most fascinating stats.

Most often, the search terms are Dharmendra-related (seeing as this is – technically – a blog in praise of all things Dharmendra-related). Typical ones (paraphrased): ‘Dharmendra and Hema’s Bollywood romance’, ‘Dharmendra: Bollywood star as father’, ‘Dharmendra fan’, ‘Dharmendra handsome superstar’, ‘Best Dharmendra films’, etc. The most interesting Dharmendra-related one I’ve come across so far is: ‘Why Hema Malini still looks sexy’. I love that one. Not exactly sure what the Googler was hoping to find (night cream, milk baths, lotion, love, hair oil, sunshine, religion, dance?), but… it’s interesting.

There are other Googlers in search of a bit of Bollywood goss: ‘Friendship between Kajol and SRK’ was a recent one; and there’ve been things like ‘Juhi and SRK relationship’, ‘Kareena Kapoor said … (can't remember what)’ and ‘Aamir Khan marriage’ in the past as well…

Some Googlers are just looking for info on (and pictures from) their fave movies – there’ve been loads of ‘Yeh Vaada Raha’ Googlers, as well as a few ‘Dil Ka Rishta’ fans. Most Googlers that hit upon this blog are just interested in their favourite movie stars (apart from Dharmendra). There’ve been (paraphrased) terms like ‘Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan acting couple’, ‘Amitabh Bachchan best movies’, ‘Abishek Bachchan in Bluffmaster’, ‘Ash pictures in Veer Zaara and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, ‘Jaya Bhaduri movies’, ‘Jaya Bachchan has said Kajol is a great actress’ (I agree), and so on.
And how can I forget the Monalisa Chinda and Mike Ezuruonye fans who always come by to nick my screencaps (from the Nollywood guest blog I did a while back). Can't hate though, I'm just glad that Nollywood actors have such a strong fanbase.

I know this is a slightly random post, but that’s one of the things I like about the internet…. Randomness is always encouraged.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


So last weekend I saw two Bollywood thrillers. One was, I guess, technically not a thriller - more like a superhero action thing - but with some definite thriller elements. The other was an international crime thriller. Interestingly, my fellow Nigerian-fan-of-all-things-Indian, Uzo, was involved in my viewing experience on both occasions. She lent me her ‘Krrish’ DVD, which I watched (I know, eons after everyone else) on my trusty laptop on Saturday (oh my laptop, how I love you!); and I saw ‘Don’ with her at the cinema on Sunday. I have been a bit short of words about ‘Don’ (it was just so good), but I think comparing it with ‘Krrish’ should be interesting anyway.


I am still trying to figure out whether or not Rakesh Roshan told his cast to act really badly in ‘Krrish’. Cos when I was watching it, all I could think was bad acting’! ‘bad acting’! ‘bad acting’! Priyanka Chopra’s acting was terrible, and even Rekha’s acting was like something out of a really really really bad melodrama. Only Naseeruddin Shah, in my opinion, and the guy who played ‘Kristian’, did a halfway-decent job.

As for my demi-semi-crush Hrithik, he didn’t do too badly, especially in the second half of the movie. In the first half, he got on my nerves a bit – don’t know why… maybe it was the constant smiling and the childish behaviour (the ‘you are so selfish Dadi, you don’t love me’ tantrum was so unappealing on a grown, muscular man – I understood it, because of the way he was brought up and all that, but I still didn’t like it). By the second half, I thought his performance was much more interesting, ‘meaty’ and enjoyable. Actually, to be fair, everyone got better by the second half of the movie.

As for ‘Don’, I loved Shahrukh’s performance, I thought it was delicious and played with such relish and can’t understand why anyone would pan it (haterzzz). Anyways, loved it – simply loved it. Priyanka Chopra was actually ok in this movie, I thought she did a ok job. There were moments in which she was actually good, and some in which she was not-so-good, but generally, she was credible. Arjun Rampal was good as well, and the rest of the cast all did their bit well. Even Kareena Kapoor was alright (if a bit boring). I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed in this department (except by SRK, who tends to overwhelm me even without trying - but that's not just down to his acting), but my ‘bad acting’ radar was largely undisturbed.

Music (and picturization of songs):

The music in ‘Krrish’ was alright, nothing to complain about, but nothing particularly memorable either. The circus number, I thought, was nicely choreographed and the song is pretty catchy. The 'romantic' numbers (especially the one with a butterfly flitting around Priyanka’s head and Hrithik putting a smudge of butterfly-powder on her cheek, like yuck) were less likeable (Ed. Okay, that is so very not true. I've been listening to the songs again, and I absolutely adore 'Koi Tumse..' - it's been on heavy rotation on my player. 'Chori Chori Chupke Chupke' is good too. Both definitely better than 'Dil Na Diya'. Just goes to show you can miss good stuff the first time around. Good work by Rajesh Roshan) – but still not bad (better than 'not bad').

I don’t know why the soundtrack for Don has been so maligned. I thought it was a decent score. Very Bond-inspired, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and nice tributes to the songs from the old ‘Don’. It could have been better, true, and it’s not half as good as the one from the original movie (which was brilliant), and it’s not going on my hotlist anytime soon, but I didn’t think it was bad at all. I really enjoyed the way the songs were choreographed – I thought it was very fresh and different from the first ‘Don’. Even ‘Khaike Paan Banaraswala’ was nicely done to my mind, contrary to everything I’ve read. Sure, Amitabh did an amazing job on that number in the original (so amazing it totally freaks me out when I watch it), but taken on its own merit, I think SRK did a good job. ‘Yeh Mera Dil’ was... hmm. Some of Kareena’s choreography was just dodgy, especially the beginning part. It was just… weird and… not good. I especially enjoyed ‘Main Hoon Don’. I absolutely loved it - both the song and the picturization - Shaan is awesome on this song. And when SRK poured champagne on himself at the end of that song… well, let’s just say I had impure thoughts.

Eye Candy:

Yes, I know – not the most technically (or politically) correct category to have in an analysis of a movie, but very important nonetheless. As a great (but shallow) philosopher once said, “eye candy is a beautiful thing to behold”.

In ‘Krrish’, Hrithik was gorgeous as ever, but I wasn’t sure about the hair. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes it just looked really naff and stringy. I didn’t like his costumes for the most part. But he still looked hot - as always. Sadly, he was the only male eye candy in that movie. Tragic.

I guess in the interests of gender equity, I should mention the other category of eye candy. Priyanka, the female candy, looked as pretty as she always does, but the make-up was a bit overdone (as Filmiholic has pointed out). Still, the girl is gorgeous.

‘Don’ – oh Don, Don, Don, Don… anyone who knows me knows I think SRK is the very hotness, and this movie was no exception. He was just so cute, and he had this strut, and this bad attitude, and I loved his hair, and he was sexy in a very, very bad way. And I could go on, but I won’t – suffice to say I have added another fictional character to my ‘bad boys I love because they’re just sooo hot!’ list – Don (1978) was already there, but I think Don (2006) has to rank higher (sorry Amit-Ji, you know I love you dearly).

Happily, there was more eye candy to come. Arjun Rampal with a longer haircut and some sexy stubble – oh yes please!!! Arjun, more movies with you looking so hot and I will soon forget your more-than-occasional woodenness as an actor and add you to my Bollywood crush list. Seriously, Arjun was bahut hot in ‘Don’. And the young police officer, Inspector whatever, was also pretty cute in that serious ‘Zanjeer-ish’ (I only say ‘Zanjeer-ish’ because no one – but no one – can do serious-but-hot-young-policeman like Amitabh Bachchan did it in that movie. He was so so off-the-chain hot).

Ok, Priyanka was once more the female eye candy in this film. And she was beautiful as always. As for Isha Koppikar (also beautiful, I hasten to add), all I can say is that she is a very brave woman for wearing a really really ugly dress and dancing (not very well, at that) next to Ms. Chopra. Ummm… not so smart.

I like how I have spent so much space on eye candy. It would be embarrassing and pathetic – if I didn’t enjoy it so much.

Product Placement:

Ahh… again, not your typical category, but ‘Krrish’ deserves an award for the worst, most pathetic product placement ever. I don’t care how much money the Bournvita people or the Tide people gave the film-makers, they just should not have done this. It was just so in-your-face. It was almost laughable watching Rekha sprinkle oodles of Tide into a pot while talking to Hrithik. Or Hrithik telling that kid to come and have some Bournvita at his house so he could also become super-strong. NOOOOO… and the only 2 products in their house on otherwise empty (and new) shelves and tables were Bournvita and Tide, cleverly displayed to their best advantage. I know every movie has built-in advertising, but this was waaay too much. Were we really supposed to believe that Priyanka got her killa figure from scoffing packet after packet of Lay’s crisps? The Honda advertising, though far more subtle, was also annoying. By that point, I think I was already really irritated by the Bournvita and Tide. I never liked Bournvita (I’m a Milo girl on the rare occasions when I do hot chocolate) but I like it even less now.

‘Don’ had its share of product placement spots too – with the Motorola phones and other gadgets etc, but it was discreetly done, as far as I can remember. Reminded me of the product placement in your average Bond movie (there was definitely some Bond-spiration going on in 'Don') – lots and lots and lots of advertising, but quietly, and not at the expense of the movie.

Film-making (Directing, Script, Effects, Cinematography, Design):

I usually like Rakesh Roshan’s directing – I think he’s usually very creative, visually-minded and precise. That’s why I liked ‘Koyla’ despite all the violence – it had an edge and a clear vision. Even ‘Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai’, with its slightly silly story, had some style to it. But I really can’t relate to his vision for ‘Krrish’. I just don’t get it. It’s an ok thriller with very good special effects, but apart from some bad acting, what else was there to it? It felt really hollow. The funny bits were not funny, the sad bits were not as sad as they could’ve been, and I was generally underwhelmed. It was certainly not bad, but it could've been so much better, in my opinion.

Now, Farhan Akhtar has got a new fan of his work in me – I love the way he did ‘Don’. I think the balance between doing a good tribute to the original movie and making a new (and intelligent and fresh) movie for a new audience was something Akhtar achieved extremely well. I really don’t think it could’ve been done better. I loved all the nods to the old movie, but I loved the fact that there were enough well-placed twists to throw me off. I also love the pace of this movie – it was so well-paced that it didn’t feel as long as it actually was. The funny bits were very funny (loved the scene with Vijay and the surgeon who was about to 'scar' him), and even the slightly silly bits were amusing, and it was just fun. Good scripting.

The costumes for ‘Krrish’ were ok (if a bit boring), as were the sets, but the only thing that really jumped out at me was the coat (post-reversal I mean - the black side, not the stodgy grey) Hrithik wore as Krrish. Very nice. I liked the mask too, although how they could have thought Kristian was Krrish is beyond me. But that’s always a problem with superhero movies – how anyone fails to see that Clark Kent is Superman is another example.

‘Don’ – loved the costuming except there was way too much glittering disco-ball lame – a gold dress for Kareena, a silver one for Priyanka. Overkill. I liked the wide belts on Priyanka, but one or two would have been enough. I also liked the tie-and-shirt combos on SRK, but again, one or two would have done the trick. But other than that, great costuming. The sets were excellent – loved Don’s sheets. Nice detail.

The cinematography and special effects for both movies were really good. I liked the use of aerial shots and the panoramic-y thing (I know nothing about the technicalities, so excuse my crappy clueless lingo) in ‘Don’. There were fewer close-ups than I’m accustomed to seeing in Bollywood films, it was more all-encompassing and thus more fun. Was awesome to watch on the big screen. As for the FX, I liked ‘Don’ a bit more in this respect too, because it was edgier – the scene where they fall out of the plane and fight over the parachute, though ridiculous, was very well executed, I thought; whereas I thought the running-across-the-forest thing in ‘Krrish’ was very cool - until they did it for like the millionth time. A bit too much, it just got annoying.

General ‘Wow!’ Factor:

No prizes for guessing: ‘Don’ wins!! To be fair, this might be because I saw it in an actual cinema on a big screen with great movie-viewing company beside me. Must have enhanced the experience. I love my dear laptop, but it’s… smaller. That said, though, I really got sucked into ‘Don’ and the movie just grabbed me and held my attention. It was just very exciting. As for ‘Krrish’, I watched it in like six instalments, had to keep breaking off to eat, or sleep, or because ‘NEPA took light’ or whatever. And I never minded stopping at all. It just didn’t wow me. The special effects were nice – but, no, it did not thrill me.

Overall Winner: (in an awed whisper) Don… Don… Don… Don…


I also saw my fave hottie SRK in ‘Swades’ a few days ago. I really enjoyed his performance – it was so nuanced and engaging. But I’m beginning to think Ashutosh Gowariker needs to chill out on making such worthy-and-blindingly-obviously-so movies. He should do something less ‘worthy’ next time, just to show that he can. I mean, I may agree with the overall message of the movie (although I thought it was a bit unbalanced), but I don’t really appreciate being bashed over the head with it. Simplicity is one thing (one thing which I love, see my Hrishikesh Mukherjee post), but I don't like being hit over the head with a mallet in the name of passing across a message.

Friday, November 17, 2006

‘GAMES MEN PLAY’ (or, the Nollywood Guest Blog)

Nollywood… ahhh Nollywood! It’s an interesting industry, that’s for sure. What I love about Nollywood is that it’s mine – it’s Nigerian. The people look like me, talk like me and sometimes even do the things I do. I like that.

Artists have been making movies in Nigeria for a long time. The late and great Hubert Ogunde made moderately successful movies as far back as the 50s and 60s. But the industry in its contemporary form really hit its stride in the late 80s and early 90s. The release of the Igbo film ‘Living in Bondage’ in the early 90s is often pinpointed as the birth of modern Nollywood. With its success, suddenly it was a whole new world for movie producers, directors, actors, scriptwriters and everyone else engaged in the movie-making industry. The astronomical growth of the industry was promoted largely by marketers of Eastern extraction, who invested heavily in the industry and found that it was profitable. These days, others are finally realizing that they need to invest in this industry if they really want the mediocrity they complain about to go away… but the Igbo traders still largely hold sway, and are even able to ‘ban’ top actors from the industry if they demand fees which they consider to be too high. Talk about power.

Nollywood movies tend to follow trends and themes. There are a lot of movies about wicked mothers-in-law, sons who have gone astray, girls who get into the wrong kind of company, envious family members who use juju to destroy their own relatives, and barren wives (I recently heard about a Nigerian movie that was a Nigerianized copy of ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’, which is ironic as CCCC copied heavily from Hollywood movies like ‘Pretty Woman’). There is also a string of epic-style movies about our pre-colonial days and the challenges they faced at that time (the enormously successful ‘Igodo’ started that trend). There is a string of successful comedy movies, thanks to the likes of Nkem Owoh (‘Osuofia’), Sam Loco, Patience Ozokwor and two little guys who are fondly called ‘Aki’ and ‘Paw paw’. Family is a big theme in Nollywood, because family is a very big deal to Nigerians. Another HUGE theme is spirituality – both the good and bad kind. There are a gazillion films in which demonic powers are destroyed by the powers of Christ. Good v. evil, with good always triumphing, is a major theme.

There are Nollywood films in English, as well as in our other major languages – Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa (the Hausa movies are modeled on Bollywood films, unsurprisingly, as Bollywood is MASSIVE in the North where Hausa is widely spoken – some Hausa people speak fluent Hindi just from watching the movies). The English films, naturally, are the most successful (as English is our official language and is spoken all over the country). Recently, there has been a shift from the normal supernatural movies, to more contemporary, creative, hip, ‘with it’ stories… and ‘Games Men Play’ is one of them. I’ll come right back to that.

The industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and it is the most successful film industry in Africa and one of the most successful, by any standard, in the world. The movies are churned out at an amazing speed, and usually not on the biggest budgets. In terms of quality, they aren’t that great, although some film-makers are trying hard to change that. Nollywood is often sneered at for its myriad faults, but I am proud of the achievements of my local film industry and can only wish it the best.

Okay… enough with the “Nollywood 101: Nollywood for the Unitiated” crash course… and on to ‘Games Men Play’ (GMP). This movie was recommended to me by a number of people, most recently by Uzo (hey girl, now I know where you got the ‘permanent fixture’ post from!) and I’m glad I saw it. It’s a very entertaining movie, with good performances, some very funny moments (and some appalling ones), and a lot of resonance (if exaggerated) with what contemporary Nigeria is like. This review is massively spoilered, I must add, so if anyone who plans to watch this movie wants to read this… you have been warned!

Ok, but before I go on, I need to get this off my chest. The hair stylist on this movie should have been sacked – can I just say I absolutely HATE what (s)he did to Monalisa Chinda Deso Richard’s (that is one long name by the way girlfriend, I know you just got hitched and all but...)hair?

Anyway, now that I’ve got that said, on to my review. GMP is a movie about relationships: male/female relationships. The challenges faced particularly by the women as a result of the… you guessed it, “games men play”. The narrator of the movie, in the name of conducting research for her friend and boss’s talk show (called ‘Abby’s Corner’), tracks down some pretty interesting couples and follows the, shall we say, intricacies of their lives. (She also adds her love life to the research.) The narrator, Tara (or was Tara her twin sister? anyway, whatever), is played excellently by Kate Henshaw Nuttall, a very consistent actress who can always be relied upon to do a good job – this was a nice turn by her (but the groaning on the loo bit was a tad…eeuw).

Here’s couple Number One:

Wifey is 'very' preggers, and they already have a cute little girl, but hubby is having a kind of 'I hope I'm still hot' phase and is still roaming around town with a young chick because she has (in his words) a hot body or sweet body (or something like that). Hot-body is telling herself that hubby will divorce wifey and marry her (yeah right), and wifey is trying to be a 'virtuous woman'. All I can say is, if packing condoms if my husband's toilet bag when I know he's headed for some weekend sex with his mistress makes me a virtuous woman, then... don't call me 'virtuous'. (really!) Apparently, being virtuous means being a footmat. It kinda works for her, I guess, cos hubby eventually (in the scene above) breaks down and apologises and begs her forgiveness. Aww... I liked this scene cos I think the actor in it (Jim Iyke) is a very good actor. I especially liked him in a movie called 'One Dollar' - he was in it for just a few minutes but totally stole the show. He really gets into each character he plays and does it with relish. I like him although there's something a bit 'funny' (funny in a Colin Farrell-ish, I'm-a-bad-boy-and-I-like-it way) about him.

This is Hot-Body (sorry, can't remember her character's name). Dakore Egbuson (I love her dreads, her make-up and her dressing - she's very stylish) played her to perfection. Perfect deluded chick who thinks a guy is going to leave his wife for her. Pathetic, really.

And then there’s couple Number Two:
Couple Number Two - well let's just say they're meant for each other. Tayo (the girl, played by Ini Edo - very good, OTT performance) is crazy - all she cares about is the money. She is the classic greedy student draining her boyfriend's pockets. Boyfy (Mike Ezuruonye - smarmy to a tee in this film), on the other hand, is a total dog - his name is Richmond (Richmond, VA?) and he's seeing Tayo at the same time as he's dating a celeb - TV talk show host, Abby. Richmond is a good-for-nothing skivver and does 419 deals (nasty!). Abby thinks Richmond will marry her someday (why do girls do that?) but Richmond is only interesting in making money from her. So, he freeloads on Abby and plays around with Tayo, while spending Abby's hard earned cash on Tayo... crazy, huh?
Please, Richmond, take my money, please, just take it... no, that's ACTUALLY what Abby's saying in this scene.

Couple Number Three:
Abby, after much suffering (and spending), finally sees the light and finds a guy who loves her to bits - you should hear the things he says to her - cringeworthy, really...

Couple Number Four:

All I can say is… eeuw (and trust me, you'll see why). This couple can’t have a baby because the guy has a medical condition (I must say I liked that, was a change from the usual ‘barren woman’ spiel). So, they decide to adopt. Just before the adoption, and at the woman’s most fertile time of her monthly cycle, she is brutally raped by a ‘robber’. She falls pregnant, and severely traumatized, wants to abort the baby. But hubby’s having none of it. He says the baby is a gift, regardless of the way he was conceived… eventually, we find out that hubby actually arranged for the rape (!!!!) by getting an old friend to do him the favour of pretending to be a robber and rapist. Anyway, 7 years later, old friend loses his pregnant wife and suddenly remembers – hey, my friend’s child is my kid! And he foolishly tries to get his son back. All kinds of mess ensue… Bottom line for me is, it’s absolutely appalling that the woman eventually goes back to a husband who arranged for her to be raped… APPALLING, APPALLING, APPALLING (can’t say it enough). Her friend tells her it’s just one of those challenges every marriage faces… uh… oh-kay….

Couple Number Five:

It’s Ms. Narrator herself, Tara (or whatever), who falls in love over the internet (the internet??!!!!) only to find out, at the fateful meeting, that her rich and handsome amour is actually a little person. An extraordinarily loquacious, mouthy, vain, rude, arrogant and hilarious little person. So not PC, but so funny. The funniest part of the movie, for me.

Couple Number Six:

This couple turns out to be pretty normal, healthy, honest and sane; which is remarkable cos the guy has this makossa-thing about him (he was cool though) and the girl, well, let’s just say this actress (Benita Nzeribe) always scares/amazes me with her sheer – whoa. She is just so… loud. Good lesson from these guys - they were open and up-front about their expectations... no games. Good stuff.

The craziest thing about this movie (apart from Monalisa’s hair) is the outfits… I mean !!!!! What were they thinking?! It was entertaining in any case - the costume designer was definitely ummm... creative. Here are a few of my faves.

First we have the love affair with brightly-coloured frilly tiers/layers:

Abby gets in on the frilly-tiered action in time for her showdown with Tayo:

yup...almost the same pink-and-blue frilly ensemble on two different people.

Richmond was rocking hats and loud shirts with strange prints:

Monalisa was cute in this outfit...

...until we saw the bottom half...

And this get up... Inspired by the disco?

Kate is wearing those nasty split down the front pants in this picture, and her sister is rocking a leopard print top (more of that later)...

You gotta love Kate Henshaw - she rocked this hoochie mama leopard-print outfit like a pro:

The bit where they all dance at the end, all dressed in white at Abby’s wedding, was, I must admit, quite cool. I enjoyed watching that bit. Very self-indulgent of all of them, but I can’t hate…

Even the rapist in his jail cell gets in on the dancy-licious action (yuck).

This was a fun movie to watch... enjoyed it.