I just had to start with that little sequence, mainly because the little Don Quixote figurine took me so completely off guard that I had to pause the film and chortle for a good five minutes before I could compose myself. It's always the absurdly stupid things that get me...
Rafoo Chakkar is the most fabulously preposterous movie I've ever seen in my life. It's so tempting not to stop writing this post and just start re-watching it, but I've kept ya'll waiting far to long already.
Have you ever wanted to hug a film? The entire film, not just the DVD? That's how I feel about this one. Oh, it's magical.
Ranjit (Anwar Hussian) and Prakash (Madan Puri)--who you will never keep straight because they are all but identical and dressed so similarly through the whole film that you just have to go with it--are criminals that are arrested after they burn a man alive in efforts to avoid a police raid.
Ah! Stop dressing alike!
Ranjit leaves behind his wife Shanti (Sulochana) and his young son, Dev (Rishi Kapoor). The mother and son move in with a friend who also has a young son, Salim (Paintal). Years pass (as evidenced by a sequence of days being torn off a calendar in rapid speed) and Salim and Dev have become band members who play for weddings and other functions.
We stumble upon our two darlings as they play for Prakash's arranged marriage to Ritu (Neetu Singh). Ritu runs away from the wedding because she was being sold for money (essentially) by her aunt who had raised her. She with her friend speeds away to join an all-girl band. After the wedding guests are shooed away from the failed matrimonial celebrations, Dev and Salim ask Prakash to pay them for playing at the wedding. Prakash denies their request and the two return home to their mothers who can no longer afford to feed them. The next day they are taking a shortcut through a graveyard when they come across a funeral akin to the ones you see in The Godfather II (i.e. tortured band playing, sobbing Italian relatives, the overall sense that the mob has something to do with this, the feeling that there is about to be a really bad trick pulled on someone...etc). Dev and Salim witness Prakash and Ranjit murdering a man. The two musicians, laden down with massive drums, flee and return home only to see that henchmen are waiting for them.
I'm amazed still that those very unique instrument cases never gave them away...
They try their luck at getting into the same all girl band, but are rejected because they are male. The two only get in when two girls are forced home by their fathers leaving behind their luggage full of wigs and women's apparel made just to fit like a glove on the men. "Devi" and "Salma" join the band on the train. On the train they befriend Ritu and both become quite attached to her, though Dev wins the upper hand by thwarting Salim in his advances of Ritu.
Ritu confides in Devi that she wants only to marry a rich man, (wasn't she about to 40 minutes ago?), but wait, he has to be young. (Oh honey, marriages of convenience don't work that way) Oh, and you want to be in love with him? (Darling girl, just take the rich old bogey and swim in diamonds. Who needs pyaar with a pool of diamonds and a bed made with silk sheets milled daily by your own farm of silk worms?)
Spin those pearls Rishi!
Of course Dev is crushed because he is a poor boy, and dressed as a woman he cannot expresses the love in his heart that he has for Ritu.
After they arrive at the hotel Dev devises a plan to woo Ritu by dressing as a very... colorfully plaid*... millionaire and masquerading under the name Esso, claiming to own the oil company under the same nomenclature. He makes himself at home on the houseboat of the real millionaire who, is determined to make Salma love him.
He got her attention by hitting a golf ball at her butt.
Our boy Rishi is all class.
During their romantic interludes Esso (a.k.a. Dev or Devi) tells Ritu that he wants a girl to show him how to love. Acting very forward Ritu canoodles up to him and asks him to hold her. Before he can say "Okay" she runs away singing and Esso is left looking very confused and thinking "Girls are the most bizarre things on the planet" because it's true, we are. They sing and dance with joyful abandon, peaking around trees and indulging in sweet merriment.
I probably rewound this seven times.
Meanwhile, Salma is getting engaged to the flashily dressed, REAL millionaire who also looks so much like the two Bad Guy Twins (BGT) that you think it's one of them... maybe?... until they are all three on screen and your foolishness is exposed.
Back at the beginning of the plot, the two henchmen standing outside of Dev and Salim's house are informed of their whereabouts via their mothers. Naturally, the Maas are kidnapped and held hostage while every villain in the entire world swoops in to the same hotel as the traveling all-girl band.
While running from the thugs, Dev and Salim get trapped under the table at a Dinner and a Show/Evil Meeting of Henchmen where they hear the dastardly plans of all the villains. Somewhere in this scene the head honcho (whom for ease's sake I will be calling Vito) makes a cat appear out of thin air. Ohhh, it gave me the creeps! Vito is very, very upset that the BGT have yet to catch and kill the two boys who witnessed the murder at the graveyard. Of course, it's ironic because Dev and Salim are sitting at their feet! Oy!
All the villains watch a show wherein there is a lot of glitter and mirrors and my brain stopped working because of the brilliance of it.
I'm remodeling my bathroom.
Right. This. Second.
I'm forgetting the details now, because this film might have been to fantabulous to pay attention to (or more likely, I've only watched it once not thrice) but be content in knowing that they all end up at the villain's... er... Technicolored Ski Lodge in the Jungle (TSLITJ) to rescue the Maas, Dev tells Ritu he is a man, and a poor man, she (of course) still loves him. There are also some floating cat heads and a cat-shaped bomb. (WHAT IS IT WITH THE CATS!?!?!)
It's more New Orleans than Ski Lodge, now that I look at it...
Ok, technically this is shot from the underside of a glass table,
but still... it has a syringe in its neck!
And its eyes are glowing!
Cat bomb! Cat bomb! I'm a cat bomb!
In the TSLITJ Ranjit recognizes Shanti and is introduced to his son. He begs Dev for forgiveness (even though up until 20 seconds previous he wanted to kill him) and asks for a hug in return for giving up his crooked way of life. Everyone in the scene apart from the happy, reuniting family, has the decency to look as if it is the most awkward moment in their lives, because it is. Nothing is going to top that.
Like a good boy, Dev hugs his daddy. That one little display of filial love sets off the most involved fight scene ever. All the villains, Vito, the Maas, Ritu, and all the henchmen get involved. There has to be 50 people flying about on chandeliers, doing back flips and hitting each other with large, ornate Styrofoam "statues". There is even fencing! Rishi looks Oh-So-Fine fencing.
He's the pinch-his-cheeks type.
Approximately 13.72 minutes later the director decided there needed to be an end to the fighting and a lot of loose end wrapping up to do, so he cut to a frame with Ritu and Dev hugging beautifully, and Salim being chased by his colorful, millionaire, wannabe boyfriend. And it ends. Just like that.
I don' think I can describe how incredible I think this movie is. It is already written down on the very top of my "Buy of Die" list...
Everyone in the film gives an amazing performance, especially Neetu, who was SEVENTEEN during this movie! You could have fooled me! (Also, there were a lot of moments where she was spitting image of Rani Mukherji! Love!!)
The music, the sets, costumes, everything is just magnificent. I've never called a movie a "romp" before but if I were to do so, this would be the film the deserves it.
Also, they break through the "4th Wall" a lot and stare right at the camera. I don't know why I'm so fond of that particular technique, but I just love it. It really brings the audience in on the jokes.
I've never seen Some Like it Hot, the film this mimics, but L has, and I plan to share this with her ASAP!
And, because I took 354 screen caps (yes, I counted) I leave you with some fun extras!
Oh nothing, my pal here is just trying to perfect her sad
"seductively bitting the finger" technique.
There is a new dimension and meaning to my life that I didn't know existed
before I saw Rishi in garters and feathers.
Everything I hate about engagement photos
totally makes my heart melt in Bollywood.
Love the hat-wear.
This is only made more amazing by the frame that came 2 seconds later...
* I've mentioned plaid a lot this week. I hated plaid, HAAATED plaid until I discovered 70s masala. Now I wear it every day!
I didn't finish Rafoo Chakkar, (I have the tiniest bit left!) I was just too tired last night. I was going to post a bunch of screen caps displaying the wonders of plaid in that film, but I'm stuck on campus and it's midterms this week...and have to run off to another exam in few minutes, BUT not wanting to shirk in my 70s Week responsibilities and because it greatly cheered me up I give you another lackluster YouTube post....
Ahhh....it is Shashi-centric, because I was feeling blue and test-addled.
(I justify my obsession with parenthetical reasoning).
(Nice elf outfit!)
(Because I had no idea this was a real song in DDLJ)
(Because it's just fab. Period)
(Because it might be my all time favorite. And yes, from the 60s)
(Because what is film worth without Shashitabh and manpris? Answer: Nothing)
My Netflix DVD is sitting in my mail box! I even stole the mail key so that my roommate couldn't get to the mail before me, or take the key and prevent me from getting my film ASAP!
I told said roommate to pick what I was going to get from my queue because I like surprises, and my email this morning informed me I was going to be wallowing in the delights of Rafoo Chakkar!
Not only does this film feature my all time favorite film jodi, Rishi and Neetu, but from what I've gleaned from other writers, this movie is kind of the proverbial bomb. And if not that, at least it's a lot of fun!
Oh, just seeing the first few seconds of this made me more than excited for tonight's coming attraction!
And this! Rishi! Neetu! Plaid! Tumbling about a golf course! Pyaar! Awkward side-by-side-attached-galavanting! Forehead touching!
Awww, cho chweet!
And just for warm fuzzies, one of my all time favorite Neetu/Rishi songs:
I'm receiving a lot of funny looks for YouTubing all of this from my campus library. They're all just jealous, I've decided. (of what, I'm not sure of, however)
Since my Netflix hasn't arrived yet, and there are NO 70s flicks on Watch Instantly (the horror!) I thought I would try to communicate my conversion to the greatness that is Masala!
However, I could only get so far in changing the lyrics to "I Will Survive" before I gave up, and rightfully so. Why mess with a Karaoke classic?
There have been few 70s films in my life up until recently. I lament all the time I spent avoiding them because I was scared of them. (No lie.) My fear was becoming like what every other Bolly watcher was: Obsessed with a youthful (not growling and fatherly!) Amitabh; amorous for some mop-haired, open buttoned, crooked smiling pretty boy (guess who); constantly praising Neetu whose awkward mutton chopped ...things... hanging down by her face made her look insane; happy with WTF-ery; and adamant that the 70s were "The Golden Age" of Bollywood, not the 90s; and all together fine with the fact that Shah Rukh was nowhere to be found on any frame!
I thought to myself: "They are crazy!"
Turns out, either I was the crazy one, or they're really persuasive, those Masala-loving types.
The first time I sured up my guts and asked Beth for a... what did I call it... "Vintage Amitabh"(?) she directed me towards Parvarish. It was sent to my house and for the next four hours (or so) I sat on my couch in that terrible half-awake-but-not-really mode. I succumbed to my desires and napped through most of it. I tried to re-watch it, I promise I tried, but it just didn't work for me. I sent it back knowing that I was right and that 90s KJo flicks were where it was at.
Then came Don: The Chase Begins. Ah, great memories, one day when I went to post "Khaike Paan Banaras Wala" on a friends Facebook, I got an Amitabh clip instead.
WHAT!? It was a remake?
Finally my interest was piqued, I got Old Don and watched it with zeal! "This could be it!" I thought, excited that I might finally be in the 70s-Lovers-Club!
Alas, I was not. It would take something more profound. More heart stopping. More...well, I think you know what is coming...
More...lovely and amazing and beautiful and darling and dil melting and smoldering and wonderful and perfect and all around Shashi-tastic.
The film, was Kabhi Kabhie.
I was warned by more informed folks than I to watch out for the "Wedding Night" scene. Thinking it would surely come at the end of the movie I was unprepared when within the first TEN minutes I was subjected (gladly) to Shashi Kapoor and all of his magnificent wonders.
You know that feeling where you are watching something so incredible, and all your muscles are incredibly tensed up and all you can do is focus on what your eyes are looking at? I was so there. I couldn't move. Hell, I couldn't breathe, and he wasn't even the one singing! He was just love-doving around looking ever so fine. I couldn't help it. In the Tweet that made me famous, my love for 70s films was secured. I was on board, and ready to go.
Thank goodness too! There is a great treasure trove to be found under the banner of Masala! And I'm going to confess it, here and now:
I, Erin B.G.W., do believe that the "Golden Age" of Bollywood happened during the 1970s, and not, as I previously thought, the 1990s.
It was my 6th Bollywood Anniversary on the 11th of February, but I was doing important things like driving 11 hours to Las Vegas in the quest to see My Name is Khan so, yes, I totally forgot it. However it all came back to me like a Celine Dion song when at work the other night I saw a copy of Bride and Prejudice on sale for 5$.
Of course I picked it up! I was feeling nostalgic, hopefull it wasn't as terrible as I remembered it to be, and giddy with happiness that something remotely close to Bollywollys was being sold in the great state of Idaho. Oh, and B&P was totally my first exposure to the great filmi world.
I've spent six years rolling my eyes at people when they ask me "Ohhh! You like Bollywood? Have you seen Bride and Prejudice!? Isn't it like the best movie...ever?!"
Yes, I love the Bollywobbles. Yes, *large sigh*, I've seen it. No, it's definitely not the best movie in the world. Fashion is, everyone knows that. Silly!
To be honest, when my family and I were stranded in a hotel room after a delayed flight and we were looking for something to watch on the Pay-Per-View I had no idea what Bollywood was, so my innocent suggestion to watch B&P was just that: innocent.
I think to this day they still think I had the whole thing planned out and made them suffer through it because I like to laugh at their pain*. I will say, however, that hearing and seeing my mother breaking into sudden outbursts of "No Life Without Wife" for months afterwards might have been totally worth it.
Oh, and of course my slow introduction to the BWoods after this experience made it REALLY worth it.
There was a three year gap between this movie and Salaam-e-Ishq (when I took the plunge and got all addicted) and the soundtrack, as terrible as it is (the singing is atrocious and the songs dull as powder), got me through those bleak, empty years and woke me up via my clock radio everyday during High School.
Everything, and I mean everything that my family and I scoffed at during this film are now the things I love: running through fountains, unplausible trips via helicopter from LA to the Grand Canyon for a simple date, scheming Maas, epic Punjabi Bhangra fests (a soft spot of mine, actually. Now I know where it comes from!), random celebrity musical numbers, choirs on risers that appear magically on beaches, Helen!, Aishwarya's face, coming painfully close to kissing...and then not, wind machines, amazingly terrible dialogue... the list goes on, and we laughed joyfully at it all.
Oh, I am so much wiser now!
As I was watching this yesterday I kept thinking to myself, "Jane Austen was just made for Bollywood". It just fits, and, as a person who sports a very Austen surname, I glee over hearing it pronounced over and over again. (I like hearing my name said, is all. I like to hear how everyone says it. I know, it's weird). And I was also glad I had re-watched it, there are hidden posters of Shah Rukh and Kajol and Rani all over the place! It's like an Easter Egg Hunt!
I think this might be the worst performance of Aishwarya I've ever seen. Eh, we all have bad days, I guess. Plus it was terribly painful to watch her on screen with her abusive husband from Provoked.
Ow ow ow.
Ah, I'm just glad I didn't spend more than the five bucks on it... oh, and Happy Anniversary to Me!
*To be fair they might be right about me subjecting them to terrible movies, the only other films my dad has seen are Saawariya and Kaminey (which I kind of liked, Kaminey, that is...) and Mom sat through the bit in K3G when Amitabh throws Shah Rukh out of the house before she looked at me and called me insane...
This was my first foray into two different genres of Indian Cinema: Southern, and Art House/Parallel. And oh, how I loved it!
This film was the "final project" of Domalpalli's Master of Fine Arts at Columbia University. For a debut, and a student debut at that, from a software engineer turned film maker I was more than impressed. Domalpalli has a great eye for color composition, subtlety and scene layout. This film was delicious eye candy.
The story was hard to swallow. Vanjana is a poor, lower caste girl who goes to work in the landlady's house. She secures the position becuase she is smart, blunt and honest. The landlady is a retired teacher of Kuchipudi and agrees to teach the art form to Vanaja after she loses to the girl in a bet. At night Vanaja undergoes house of grueling training in music, rhythm and intricate dance steps, and during the day slaves over the house and the goats.
When the landlady's son Shekhar returns home from the United States the young Vanaja finds him attractive.
Shekhar eventually comes to Vanaja's room and rapes her*. When Radhamma (the maid/confidant of the Landlady and nanny to Shekhar) finds her crying she instructs her to keep it a secret, but offers affection and pity in a motherly way.
A few months later Vajana discovers she is pregnant, and duty-bound, Radhamma tells the landlady just who put the girl in this state. The landlady drags Shekhar out of his room by his hair and forces him to look at Vanaja and the state he has put her in. Repeatedly she cries: "She's only a girl!". Vajana is only 15. The landlady, Radhamma, her father and firends all beg her to abort, but she refuses and instead moves out of town with her father and best friend during her prgnancy.
Vanaja's decision to keep the baby is based on her desire for justice. She believes that the physical evidence of the rape will distroy Shekhar's politcal amitions and save her from socail scorn. Vanaja stuggles with the love for her child and the disgust in her situation. She all but neglects the child until it is taken into the landlady's house to be reared there. Vanaja's love for her son brings her to the landlady's doorstep with a hearth wrenching plea to work in the house again, so that she may be near her son. She becomes the servant once again, and takes up her dancing instruction as well.
While it is not explained to the view how the landlady and her son excused away the addition of a child into their house, it is made mention often that the mother died in childbirth, thus causing Vanaja to become rightfully upset with the landlady and Shekhur.
Shekhur seems to want to redeem himself, and tries to make an effort at friendship and quasi-fatherly affection. Though he laments that his son is "too dark" and genuinely seems to seek forgiveness from Vanaja, he refuses to marry her because of her lower position.
In the end, Vanaja finally leaves her son in the care of the landlday becasue it was the best option for her son. By this time Vanaja seems numb to emotion and unable to come up with a way to have the best of both worlds: her son, and her lfie. The ending scene shows Vanaja riding on an elephant with her best friend, acting very much like the 15 year old she is.
The reviews and other synopses I read led me to believe that the affair between Vanaja and Shekhur was a romantic one, but seeing how it was depicted on film suggests rape, so that's how I interpreted it. At first I was very pleased with the landlady's response to her sons actions, trying to shame him but then when she kept acting like nothing that traumatic had really happened I got peeved.
In general I was very confused by the landlady's actions against Vanaja. One moment she was motherly and tender, the other the demanding dance teacher and in another was a cruel destroyer of childhood self-esteem and personal worth. It made me want to pull my hair out! Did she like the girl or not? Did she want to help her or not? Obviously the landlady herself made the relationship complicated by giving Vanaja opportunities but holding her back because of her lower caste, and felling somewhat resentful that she either couldn't share Vanaja with the public, or that she was even helping the girl at all.
This film cast actors that had never been in films before, and I was greatly impressed by all the their efforts. It was as if the director had just walked the streets of a little town and plucked up people he thought were right. I give my congrats to the girl who played Vanaja, she did a superb job and was able to juxtapose the innocence of a school girl, with the hardness of a woman who had been wronged. By 15 this character had experienced life in a cruel, seemingly hopeless dose. Living with her son and pretending not to be his mother had to be the most incredibly difficult thing to do, but I commend her with her decision to leave her baby in the care of the landlady so that he could have a good upbringing, rather than run away with him and fight for survival every day.
Vanaja was beautifully shot, the execution was beautiful. The score was interesting, using mostly folk songs, light instrumentation and most often, silence. The use of silence can be very powerful or very boring. Domallpali struck the right balance and the effect was wonderful. I actually felt as if I lived in this sleepy town.
It will also be mid-terms week for me, but as much as I am able I will be watching movies, and, at the very least sharing some of my favorite 70s moments!
It's going to be SUPER dramatic in the BollyBloger world for the next week! Prepare yourselves, gentle readers, for lost siblings, epic item numbers, a lot of Shashi and Amitabh drooling and to-die-for costumes and interior decorating.
I walked back into my apartment about 30 minutes ago and my roommate looked at me and said: "You were only in Vegas for one night?"
Was I really only gone for 48 hours? 26 of which were spent solely driving and/or catching snippets of sleep at gas stations? I feel like I have traveled much further, and much longer.
This adventure didn't seem like it would be so...tiring...when we started out, but I'm exhausted. Regardless, I had a good 12 hours to think about my feelings concerning My Name is Khan on the drive from Vegas to Idaho and I'm going to try to set them as eloquently as I can.
I am a "take it at face value" kind of a movie viewer. I don't (or can't, I think I'm starting to find) over analyze, I can suspend my belief incredibly well (Avatar, excepted) so I know I'm going to get some flack for this, but I loved the entire movie. Even the second half. Yep.
By intermission I had cried off all of my waterproof gel-eyeliner (I might add that it is impossibly difficult to get me to cry for any film). By the end of the film I looked at K and L and asked "10:30 showing?". We saw it twice within 20 minutes of our first viewing ending; but the conversation we had standing outside of the Palms casino (desperate for fresh, cool air) was one of the best conversations I've ever had with anyone concerning anything. I don’t know why I feel the need to express this here, other than my desire to get it out of my head, and the coming to terms with something that haunted my early teen years.
My Name is Khan isn't the love story Shah Rukh and Kajol and Karan have all be touting it to be. Yes, it is a story about a couple and the effects on their life in the pre and post-Septermber 11th world. Yes, it is about the distance a man goes to prove to his wife that he loves her; but to me, it was something deeper, something more meaningful. For me, it was a film that showcased the hope of humanity.
Rizvan's ideologies are in complete agreement with mine. Regardless of skin tone, religion, ethnicity...etc there are only good people and bad people. Good people are everywhere, bad people are everywhere. Such black and white views of the world may be shockingly...blunt, but it is my view. I don't write people off because their religion is different than mine, or they speak with an accent. What right do I have to be so forcibly judgmental? We learn about people by what the do, how they act, not because they are grouped into a mass with general characteristics.
My emotional reaction to My Name is Khan caught me by surprise. I don't know that I was entirely prepared to relive a very confusing time in my childhood. I grew up with the headquarters for the Islamic Society of North America literally in my back yard. It is all of three miles from my house. The daughters of various leaders were my friends through middle and high school. After September 11th I watched hatred from my community lash out at my friends. Hatred that I knew was inherently wrong. Despite knowing and associating with these people for years, how did everyone suddenly turn on them and assume their conjunction with such action?
I, as a twelve year old (was I really that young?) didn’t understand. I had no answers, and I was not in agreement with my adult superiors. Why should I stop talking to my friend just because of her religion?
The scene in the film, the one in the classroom, made my blood boil. I remember sitting in the same situation as my Muslim classmates, with bowed heads, had to listen as teachers indoctrinated my fellow classmates with lies. Teachers who should have known better than to breed hatred.
Just as the scene where Rizvan's mother draws the stick people with the lollipop and the stick indicates, we're all human. If we took the time to care, to change our perceptions and get to know others, if we let people "keep our $500 dollars for the non-Christians", the would would be utterly different.
I don't profess to be a Utopian, but there needs to be more tolerance, and more love.
I found My Name is Khan to be a timely film, if in that realm alone.
Perhaps I shall talk about the film now that I've gotten that off of my chest? I apologize for the rant, but I was never quite old enough to understand my feelings about September 11th, as I was so young when it happened, and it was as if this film brought it all back, and I was finally mature enough to understand what I was feeling.
Theek hai! Filmi stuff from here on out!
I must give my congratulations to Karan and Shah Rukh and Kajol! This film was stunning from every aspect. The cleanliness of the transitions, the beauty of the shots, characterization, costuming, and performances were on a level that left me in awe.
Karan Johar has produced a spectacular film. The quality of this film is like I've never seen before. Were I to watch it a million more times I could not put into words the cleanliness of the shots and the little tidbits that were touching. There was an obsessive, planned out nature to the cinematography that came across o-so subtly. It was stunningly beautiful on the eyes.
Shah Rukh completely disappeared under the guise of Rizvan. He has never performed as a character so endearing, and so complex. K's first emotional reaction to the film came as soon as he appeared on screen. She has an autistic sister and said that his actions, movements, and characteristics were so on point, so true to life, that it caught her off guard and touched her greatly. What research and study had to have gone into this role is mind boggling. It is the performance of his career, if not his lifetime.
Kajol, I believe, is the only one could have pulled off this role. She was real as Mandira. Some may call her grief over dramatic, but for me, it was tangible. While I did not (and could never) agree with her character's decision that hate was the answer, it was an honest path for her character to take. While it broke my heart to hear her declare her path, it also resounded within me that it was true-to-life.
I was glad for the attention paid to the choice Reese had to make. Fearful that such a fundamental part of his character would be forgotten I was pleased by it's inclusion. It is amazingly human to take something too far before we've realized what we have done, and the impact it makes on other's lives, and on our own individual life as well.
The building up and dissolving and rebuilding of relationships, be it between Rizvan and Mandira; Sameer and Reese; or the Khan and Garick families was sublime. It added a dimension to the film that I found fascinating. It was another element to the film that showcased the reality of life.
I do not condone the perpetuation of stereotypes concerning the African American residents in the Georgia scenes. In a film about acceptance and understanding it was a huge snag that left me more than a little put out.
Also, the songs were not subbed. And we all know how that might be my number one petpeeve of all time.
The flood, the stabbing, and the media-storm... you know what? I can take them. They didn't detract in anyway from the film for me. Yes, a little far-fetched and imaginative, but this IS Bollywood, is it not? I understand the desire for the film to be more universal than that, and as far as I'm concerned the goal was achieved.
My Name is Khan was worth the 30 hours shoved inside my Toyota Matrix and the seemingly unhelpful sleep in the parking lot of a Flying J. It was a film with a message that we need to respond to. We all need to try to be a little more like Rizvan. If we cared a little bit more, and took the effort to look outside of ourselves more often, we could be the bearers of the hope that this film inspires.
*Update: I'm hardly eloquent, thankfully L is! While not a BollyBlogger she did take some time and post her thoughts about My Name is Khan. They flesh out all of my holes and offer deeper insight into what I was attempting to say. Her post can be found here.
**Also, I understand that my title for my post is not at all in harmony with the timbre (woah, a lot of music terms right there) of my post. That lesson you learn in forth grade about not titling stuff until after it's written? Yeah, I wasn't paying attention that day... ;)
***The huge gap at the top of this is making me angry. I've tried to fix it. I can't.
Gratuitous self-promotional pic of K, L and I infront of the Bellagio Fountian...
Though you can't really tell, our heads are too big :)
I am stranded in Idaho, you all are aware, and a gazillion miles away from my home in Indiana with the local Desi theatre only 20 minutes away.
I knew before this semseter started that no matter what I WOULD be seeing My Name is Khan in theatres.
After tossing around locations such as Calgary, Canada; Portland, Seattle, Denver, and others 12+ hours away it has been decided.
I shall be seeing MNIK in Las Vegas!
I'm so amped. Not only is it the closest location (at 10 hours, one way), but it's VEGAS! The strip is basically an item number sans dancing and singing (but complete with a lot of lighting effects!) and I will be joined by my two Bolly students K and L!
I'm no stranger to seeing Bollywoods in theatres, but this is a very special occasion, for it shall be my FIRST EVER Shah Rukh Khan movie on the big screen!
Eklavya: The Royal Guard, 2007
Directed by: Vidhu Vindod Chopra
Oh! My poor neglected blog! I promise I haven't forgotten about you!
I've wanted to see this movie ever since my first-ever encounter with real Bollywood...I was young and impressionable and sitting in a crowded Desi theatre two blocks off of my college campus waiting for Salaam-e-Ishq when I saw the preview. Had I known that that encounter would be the beginning of the long road of Bollywoods to come I would have given the previews more thought, but I do remember Eklavya looking marginally interesting. If anything the lightness of "Chanda Re" playing under some man frantically screaming "EKLAAAAVYAA!" amidst a lush, beautiful set piqued my interest.
Three years later...I finally watched it!
I'm just going cut to the chase and say what everyone else says about this film: It's stinking gorgeous. Drop dead, drool-worthy sets, stunning cinematography, rich colors and to-die-for locations. The thought "Damn, VeeVee Chop can really make a pretty movie" kept cycling through my mind as I watched it.
And that...was my only substantial impression.
Don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy it but it just left me a little unsatisfied. The film is short (by Bollywood standards) and the ending left a funny taste in my mouth, since I disapprove of false evidence that allows for guilty people to go free and everything... Not that it really mattered, I guess, but it still was a little off...
I thought the story was very interesting. Full of twists and turns that, while a bit predictable, kept the plot moving. Because of the shortness of the film I don't think as many characters were as fleshed out as they could have been. I love a good back story, and Eklavya just gave you the bare minimum. It was enough for the film to make sense and progress, but not enough to satiate my hunger for details.
Having only seen Saif in Love Aaj Kal (ugh) I was impressed by his rawness, he was sort of like the Rhett Butler of Bollywood (well, not really...but ok, not at all...ish) in this film, and if anyone can get me all flustered, Rhett Butler can. Everything he did was so internal and contained that it was thrilling to watch. I kept waiting for him to explode in spontaneous emotional combustion but he never did. Exciting!
I adored the Vidya/Saif jodi. She finally matched someone! Please, please, please keep them together! She didn't out-pretty her man and she didn't look older than him either! And the scene where they are talking together and just holding hands and playing finger-footsie was just too much to handle. It was so real! Who hasn't done that? I adore when filmi couples act like real people and don't go running to the nearest Swiss mountain (though, admittedly, I do love that too).
Amitabh can act. Why haven't I noticed this before? I always thought he was kind of dead behind the eyes. Slap my wrists, yes, please, I'm not worthy...etc. I've always enjoyed watching him but I think it took Paa and this movie for me to actually see him as an actor. All hail Amitabh! His whole body emotes, and I'm such a fool for never noticing.
I was super confused by the time period in this film. At first I thought it was going to be one of those "timeless" films, like Paheli or the weird Saawariya, but it's apparently set in contemporary Rajasthan. Whatever, it would have worked either way.
The music is subtle, used as incidentally and in more of a soundtrack sense. It fit the film perfectly that way... I couldn't imagine any large song and dance numbers in this film that would flow logically, the music is beautiful and ethereal, the kind of stuff I live for.
To the costumer I give all of my heart. What a spectacular job! All of the fabrics and outfits were just too good to be true.
Oh! And I can't forget the Sharmila cameo! She's just so wonderful, na? I think so.