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Spoon

Bollywood

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I'll be in Delhi starting friday and I plan on checking out a bollywood film while there.

Will look forward to hearing about your trip and your film-viewing experience! Have I mentioned that my grandparents (both sides) were missionaries in India? My father was born there.

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A collection of Bollywood LP covers... sadly, I didn't see one for Don but it might be there. The page is just so colorful it's hard to make out one from the other. I did see one for Gumnaam that is slightly odd, and I've got to see this movie based on the LP cover alone. Edited by opus

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I like this one. user posted image

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If you want an absolutely insane party movie, something so bizarre and illogical and jarring in its mix of styles and modes, try the musical called Gumnaam, "India's First Horror Thriller." It's the Bollywood version of 12 Little Indians (no pun intended)... you know, the murder mystery where they're all isolated in one place trying to figure out who's stalking them.  Don't watch it solo. It needs to be watched with a group of people with a taste for the bizarre, and keep a wide variety of beverages within reach.

More on Gumnaam.

AWESOME! This is the film with the dance number that starts out Ghost World. I've been wanting to see the whole thing. It seems like such a weird combination of dance routine and horror/murder mystery. I'm destined to love it.

Has anyone here seen Bunty aur Babli (spelling might be a letter off)?

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Has anyone here seen Bunty aur Babli (spelling might be a letter off)?

Not yet, but it's playing at the theater 30 miles from me that now shows Bollywood films every week. Getting great reviews.

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If you want an absolutely insane party movie, something so bizarre and illogical and jarring in its mix of styles and modes, try the musical called Gumnaam, "India's First Horror Thriller." It's the Bollywood version of 12 Little Indians (no pun intended)... you know, the murder mystery where they're all isolated in one place trying to figure out who's stalking them.

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I saw Veer-Zaara the other day. It was the first bollywood film I was able to catch on the big screen. Great movie. I do wonder though how much better these films would be without all the dramatics, and rain.

Its a great enough story on its own. The acting, directing and script are all top notch. It would be nice if once in a while they dont overdue the melodrama, especially when  the dramatic music comes in not so dramatic moments.

Veer-Zaara on DVD is very good. Would definitely be worth seeing on the big screen, especially the scenic montage for the song "Aisa Des Hai Mera" (That's What My Country Is Like" and the ironic wedding scene "Aaya Tere Dar Par" (I've come to your door). Crams everything in, as always, but that's part of the charm.

Thanks to this site for the song titles/translated lyrics.

Edited by BethR

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My latest foray into Bollywood was Dil Chahta Hai ("The Heart Wants") (2001), which, according to this spoiler filled review,

was a huge hit, especially among young upper-middle-class urban viewers, who greeted it with an almost messianic fervor. Shouted The Indian Express,

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As noted in the "What we're reading" thread, I've been reading a lightweight novel about the Indian film industry, Bollywood Confidential, by Sonia Singh. As an appendix, the author lists her top 10 Bollywood movies "in no particular order":

1. DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE (1995) "Those with heart shall take the bride"

2. SHOLAY (1975) "Flames" (based on Seven Samurai--obviously this one is just asking to be compared with The Magnificent Seven)

3. KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI (1998) "Something happens..."

4. BOMBAY (1995)

5. LAGAAN (2001) "Land tax"

6. KARZ (1980) "Karmic debt"

7. LAWAARIS (1981) "Orphan"

8. QURBANI (1980) "Sacrifice"

9. MR. INDIA (1987) (dir. Shekhar Kapur, who later directed Elizabeth and Four Feathers)

10. DARR (1993) "Fear"

Edited by BethR

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Hum Aapke Hain Koun ("Who am I to you?", 1994), described by Netflix as the highest-grossing B'wood film of all time, is almost 3.5 hours long and has so many musical numbers that it's almost an operetta. It's a romantic-comedy-melodrama, about family loyalty, sacrifice, and faith--Krishna does a miracle! And there's a comic dog!

It took us three days to watch this one, because it was Just Too Much of a muchness, especially on the cuteness scale.

One might compare it The Sound of Music, with much lower stakes--no Nazis, but much family adorableness overcoming family loss and misunderstandings, with divine aid.

Here's a review, which quotes a contemporary description: "a three-hour wedding video about a family with a house the size of a cricket stadium" Hee!

But I'd have to agree that the musical numbers are the best thing about it.

Edited by BethR

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Just saw Lagaan last night. Good grief, I know Bollywood is known for long movies, but yeesh. It did actually seem to go by faster than I expected

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The latest bollywood film I've seen, Kal Ho Naa Ho, is very good.

They do a version of Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman that is fabulous. Alot of the musical numbers in this film are awesome.

Its a movie about friendship and love and living life to the fullest. Kal Ho Naa Ho translates 'tomorrow may never be'. Nothing new in content but done very well. Very funny and emotional. The acting was excellent. I'm wondering when a bollywood star will cross over and do an American film. They have the talent.

We enjoyed it, but found it a bit OTT, even for Bollywood--especially at the end. I always enjoy the wedding numbers, though, and the "Pretty Woman" bit made us laugh out loud, because it was a surprise (I'd totally forgotten about Spoon's post). First B'wood film I've seen that was 1. set completely in USA, and 2. had such clearly stated elements of religious syncretism, with Guru Nanak of Sikhism and Jesus at first part of the household conflicts, and later described and shown as reconciled.

I guess "Aishwarya Rai" in Bride and Prejudice, is the answer to the "When will a Bollywood star cross over?"

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I guess "Aishwarya Rai" in Bride and Prejudice, is the answer to the "When will a Bollywood star cross over?"

I don't know if it's exactly a "crossover", but Tabu plays one of the leads in Mira Nair's The Namesake, which I think is getting something of a wide release in the States next year.

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I almost exclusively watch Bollywood films these days , here are some of my favorites:

Parineeta (about faith and committment and marriage) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parineeta_(2005_film) It had a beautiful website, which unfortunately no longer up :(

Kal Ho Naa Ho

Devdas

Hum Tum

Lage Raho Munna Bhai (hilarious, a romantic comedy where the male lead is guided by the spirit of Gandhi who sounds more like Christ )

http://www.lagerahomunnabhai.com/base.htm

Black : losely based on the miracle worker

Swades

Up and coming:

Guru

Salaam E Isque

Interestingly India gives tax breaks to films that they see as providing good role models/moral character...I would advocate it for the US except for that i would HATE to see what our bureucrats thought were good role models :)

Edited by albatross

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Hey, does anyone know of anything Bollywood getting any kind of U.S. theatrical release in the next few months? I'm looking to do a piece on Bollywood and looking for a timeliness hook to hang it on.

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My Name is Khan just crushed US box-office records (for a Bollywood import, that is) last month. It's not playing in Seattle anymore, unfortunately, and I think you may have just missed the window elsewhere as well. Kites, edited for the U.S. by Brett Ratner (does that even count?) comes out in May.

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My Name is Khan just crushed US box-office records (for a Bollywood import, that is) last month. It's not playing in Seattle anymore, unfortunately, and I think you may have just missed the window elsewhere as well. Kites, edited for the U.S. by Brett Ratner (does that even count?) comes out in May.

Thanks, Anna! Much appreciated.

Believe it or not, even May would exclude one publication I'm thinking about pitching the piece to ... Does anyone know of anything in the June - August range?

Otherwise I'll pitch it elsewhere...

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A former student just tipped me off to a source for Indian films old and new: Indiaclub.com

The interface seems modeled on early amazon.com, and the site also offers books, food, and more. Given the current state of my finances, I probably won't be spending much time there, but if you absolutely, positively have to own the shooting scripts for the Apu trilogy, this is the place.

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My Name is Khan just crushed US box-office records (for a Bollywood import, that is) last month. ...

I got about halfway through My Name Is Khan on DVD this morning before duty called, starting with most of the special features. So far, I'm liking it, and would recommend it to anyone who's avoiding "Bollywood" because they don't like the "musical" aspects. It's definitely a melodrama with a message, though.

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I guess "Aishwarya Rai" in <i>Bride and Prejudice</i>, is the answer to the "When will a Bollywood star cross over?"

Perhaps Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) is the answer to when a Bollywood film will cross over. No song and dance at all. It has some of the Bollywood theme of love across status lines, but doesn't buy into the love conquers all. In many ways it is more like a Western film (and I'm not referring to genre). It still, I think, carries some of the flavor of the culture.

Peepli (Live) also didn't have the song and dance, but had a bit more of the light-heartedness I associate with Bollywood.

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Article in current issue of Utne Reader on Bollywood's cultural impact on Islamic fundamentalism: "Bollywood's Soft Power: India's Hugely Popular Films Wage a Cultural War on Extremism"

Just as the Beatles and rock ’n’ roll helped bring down the Kremlin, Bollywood might yet prove to be the undoing of the most noxious brand of Islamic fundamentalism.

...

The Middle East is Bollywood’s third-largest overseas market and growing so rapidly that many Bollywood movies now hold premiers in Dubai on opening night. Dubai is even erecting a Universal Studios–like Bollywood theme park. But the Muslim country most in the grip of Bollywood mania is Pakistan, India’s cultural twin in every respect but religion. As with the Beatles under communism, the more aggressively Pakistani authorities have tried to purge Bollywood from their soil, the more its popularity has grown.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/Arts-Culture/Bollywoods-Soft-Power-Cultural-War-On-Extremism.aspx#ixzz1mmh1nQch

The writer goes on to discuss common Bollywood themes of religious reconciliation & confirming traditional family values, and notes that the big three male Bollywood stars are all moderate Muslims (e.g., Shahrukh Khan), as is one of the most successful music writers, A.R. Rahman, a Sufi.

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