is almost worringly head-over-heels with East-Asian TV has not wholly abandoned
the subcontinent, so during the year we have managed to fit in few Bollywood
evenings. So here is some of my backlog:
Bunty aur Babli, a buddy-movie with Abhishek and Rani, where the former is
dreaming of get-rich-quick schemes at home and latter wants to be Miss India. Instead they end up as grifters dreaming up stings to fool undeserving rich. All goes well until a police inspector played by Amitabh starts closing in. B&B was fun. The music was catchy, the plot could have been tighter and the
ending less blah. Amitabh was campier than a row of tents with his shades and
leather jacket, and Kajira Re, the number father and son performed with Aish (doing an item number) is one of my favourites ever. Both Abhishek and Amitabh are hilariously goofy and adorable.
Fanaa of which I have been waiting mainly because Kajol, was a bit of a disapointment.
The story is that of a blind girl falling in love with a tourist guide in New
Delhi. The guide, Aamir, is really a terrorist preparing to do a job. Kajol
melts Aamir’s heart, they marry and he pays for an operation to restore her
sight. Before Kajol gets to see him, Aamir goes off to blow Rashtrapati Bhavan
and is assumed dead. Years later on another job he stumbles wounded to a log
cabin in Kashmir (Poland...) where Kajol and his son are now living. It takes awhile for
Kajol to realize this is her husband, the army is closing in, and the movie
ends with Kajol calling the cops and Aamir getting shot. Blood on snow. Kajol was
as beautiful as ever, here is the tongue-twister song to prove it, but
otherwise the film could have been better. Now it is not a “serious” take on
conflicting loyalties, but neiter is it a true masala entertaiment, it falls somewhere in between and does not
remake of Othello with Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor was better than I
expected. I liked Kareena, thought Shaif Ali Khan was excellent as Langda (Iago)
and even with his Bollywood moustache, Ajay was menacingly sexy Omkara (Othello).
The problem of the production for me is the transfer. In this version, Omkara
is enforcer for a political party in notoriously corrupt Uttar Pradesh,
basically a goonda. Thus, at least in these western eyes, he is a bad guy from
the beginning. The tension between a noble general and a madly jealous husband
is missing. Omkara is just a sad tale of a violent man acting violently towards
his love, not the grand drama of Shakespeare’s play. Also, only in Bollywood you would make a musical scene out of this.
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, the long a waited new film from Karan was very karan-like, as Tumhi Dekho Naa sort of proves. Expensive melodrama with lots of violins and the exotic New York. The plot is a story of two couples, Sharhrukh and Preity, and Abishek and Rani, and what happens when Rani and Shahrukh fall in love and have an affair. This is heavy stuff for a blockbuster film in India, and Rani and Sharukh have to suffer a lot to get to the inevitable happy ending. I was sort of meh about it all.
Next up: Don, Jaaneman and Krrish