Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My second foray into the wonderful world of Bollywood (or, how I fell in love love love with Dharmendra - Part 2)

Okay, make I continue... so I left Nigeria for the UK in 2004 to go to grad school. In December of that year, I was in the US for my brother's wedding. One night, my sister-in-law called me and was like 'You have to see this movie'. The movie was 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' (DDLJ), starring probably the most successful Bollywood movie couple ever (Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol). I love DDLJ, it's a great movie. The music, the dialogues, the acting... fantastic. Incidentally, DDLJ is the longest-running movie in Indian cinema history and has been playing non-stop in the cinemas for well over 10 years.

So I returned to London eager to watch more Bollywood. I intended to buy a couple of DVDs on my new best friends (friends to my book and movie-loving heart but enemies to my bank balance), eBay and Amazon; but shall we say I was overtaken by faaaaaar more significant events... which are beyond the scope of this blog.
So Bollywood took a back seat for a while... until around April 2005, when I visited my cousin Samirah in Dundee, and she borrowed a Hindi movie from a friend. It was 'Kyun! Ho Gaya Na', starring Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi. The movie was not terrible, but it dragged on for too long and bored me silly. Amitabh Bachchan was in it too, in a bizarre role... he kept saying 'Come on, Charlie'. I was like, Nna Bros, you be Indian abi you be Ghanaian? Didn't quite put me off Bollywood, though.

Around the end of my Master's degree exams, I finally got round to buying a couple of DVDs, and also got to break out my new (and first-ever) laptop which had a DVD drive. I was so excited! The movies I got, based on internet recommendations (I always do my due diligence on Amazon, Bollywhat, ApunkaChoice, the IMDb and a few other sites, before I spend my hard-earned cash on a movie) were: Kal Ho Naa Ho (KHNH), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (KKHH), Hum Saath Saath Hain (HSSH), and Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (HAHK). Thanks to my excellent homework, these turned out to be the perfect choices to kick off my Bollywood craze!

KHNH (see picture above) was my least favourite of the above 4 movies. It was a nice story and made me laugh, but I wasn't moved by Preity Zinta's acting. This was one of her less-accomplished performances. I loved the chemistry between the two male leads, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) and Saif Ali Khan (they play friends in the movie), though. And the famous death scene, popularly known as 'the scene where SRK refuses to die' actually made me cry the first time I saw it. So all in all, KHNH is not a bad movie, it just wasn't the best of the lot.

The other 3 movies I am probably equally fond of... I love them all and have re-watched (and re-watched and re-watched) them all. KKHH (see picture above) is just adorable... classic Bollywood. SRK and Kajol, the perfect couple, are just awesome in this one. Rani Mukherjee, Johnny Lever (clown), and the rest of the supporting cast, are great too. There's a cute story at the heart of the movie (who can resist the old cliche about a little girl finding a new wife for her widowed daddy?), and the movie is also about second chances and friendship. Pure Bollywood FANTASY (as with many other Bollywood movies, there's not much about KKHH that is realistic. The music is to die for (and I mean, TO DIE FOR), the direction great, and I even managed to tolerate Salman Khan in this one. It's just a great movie.

HSSH (see picture above) is great too, and showcases an ensemble cast with Tabu (great as usual), Mohnish Behl (loved him in this movie), Karisma Kapoor (this was the movie that showed me that the girl can dance!), Saif Ali Khan (plays mischievious very well in this film), Salman Khan (again, could manage him here although he just HAD to take off his shirt) and Sonali Bendre (small role but she looked lovely). I like the message of this movie about love, loyalty and family values. Now this movie is realistic, even if very over-simplified and stereotypical. A lot of the messages resonated with Nigerian society. The music in this movie is absolutely wonderful, and the dance sequences are great too. Yes, it's cheesy, but it's Bollywood!

HAHK (see picture above) is another lovely movie. It is full of great song-and-dance sequences (in fact, most of it is one great song after another for most of this 3 hour - most Bollywood movies are about 3 hours long - movie). Although it seems pointless at first, the film really does have a story, and when they finally get to it, it's really moving (let's just say you'll need a hanky). I love Madhuri Dixit in this film, she just sparkles. Salman Khan is tolerable in this film too - it's one of his earlier movies - except when he says 'painting, bhaiyya painting' which is actually kinda funny. Mohnish Behl is cool in this movie, and so is the lovely Renuka Shahane, who plays his wife, Pooja.

So, I started off my re-introduction to Bollywood with 5 great movies - DDLJ, KKHH, KHNH, HSSH and HAHK. Kyun...Ho Gaya Na was barely watchable.

Check out their IMDb entries to find out more about the 6 movies I've mentioned in this post:

Hum Aapke Hain Koun...!: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110076/
Hum Saath Saath Hain: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0216817/
Kal Ho Naa Ho: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0347304/
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349703/
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0172684/
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112870/

Come back later, and I'll finally get to the Dharmendra part - promise!


Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Did you watch HSSH before HAHK? Because in some ways, it's sort of a sequel, isn't it? Or at least a follow-up? That's what I'm told, anyway; HAHK left me totally cold and I barely made it through HSSH even with Saif, whom I love.

Daddy's Girl said...

Seriously??!! Wow, I love those movies. No, I saw HAHK first. I guess HSSH really is kind of a follow up, now that you mention it. I particularly noticed that they used some of HAHK's music in HSSH. And a lot of the same actors. And I've noticed generally that people who don't like HAHK don't like HSSH either, and it's understandable because they're very much the same kind of film. Mostly songs (and songs and songs) and a bit of family drama.
Thanks Beth!
By the way, I love Saif too.