Archive for December, 2007

Jab We Met (2007)

Name: Jab We Met

Starring: Shahid Kapoor & Kareena Kapoor

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) is heart broken after the girl he loves is getting married. Depressed and dejected he can’t return home so he drifts aimlessly aboard a train in the middle of the night. On the train he meets Geet (Kareena Kapoor), a beautiful but annoyingly talkative girl who is leaving Mumbai to go to her hometown in Punjab where she later plans to elope to her boyfriend Anshuman.

Geet irritates Aditya to the point of getting him to leave the train but as she tries to get back on the train she ends up missing the train and the two find themselves stranded on a desolate station. Aditya must now put up with Geet as they travel to Bhatindra to drop her at her families. However things do not go according to plan when they return home together. The rest of Geet & Aditya’s journey forms the rest of the story.

Review:

For the last couple of years Bollywood has tried to get away from the same old ‘boy meets girl’ simple storylines. Every movie has to have a USP or some complex storyline in order to be a success as many people were sick of the same old storylines. Jab We Met however is a nice return to the simple boy meets girl storyline. It really is only a re-package of the same old storyline but its packed with such great dialogue, scenes, banter, chemistry and songs that it could almost trick you to believing its new.

Director Imtiaz Ali returns with his second directorial since Socha Na Tha (2005). Even in that movie he took actors who had good chemistry together and dumped them in a simple boy meets girl storyline with a twist and a good screenplay and somehow that as well succeeded (although not commercially). Jab We Met is very similar.

Shahid Kapoor is Aditya, a quiet and depressed boy who one day aimlessly gets onto a random train after seeing the love of his life marry someone else. There he meets Geet played by Kareena Kapoor. A punjabi girl who is bubbly and just doesn’t know when to shut up. Geet feels a need to help out Aditya with his problems. But she has problems of her own as she has not told her family yet that she is eloping to marry Anshuman.

Something I’ve loved about Ali’s films is that he gives nearly all his characters a distinct personality. Aditya is very serious about life, mature and quite depressed at the beginning. While Geet doesn’t take life serious enough, can be a bit immature but she is very infectiously happy. Geet is exactly what Aditya needs at the beginning as she balances out his own personality and although he is annoyed by her at first, he soon learns the virtues of how she treats life.

Shahid does a wonderful job at balancing out Kareena’s high pitch loud acting in the beginning. I think Geet could have really gotten on some peoples nerves if it wasn’t for Shahid’s sarcastic quips at Kareena. A transition of the characters takes place in the second half of the movie and Kareena is no longer the loud bubbly character. I think Kareena does such a good job of this transition from bubbly to the dejected upset Geet of the 2nd half. Plus in the 2nd half it is Aditya who is positive and upbeat about life and is able to help out Geet when she is low on life in the 2nd half. This of course shows that the characters are well matched as they balance each other out in life.

After about 20 minutes into the film you know the movie isn’t going to be totally predictable. I could probably name about 5 movies that aspects of the movie could have been taken from, but it didn’t feel like deja vu or heavily one film. Its not your average boy meets girl, its just that much more enjoyable and the story really lets the viewer get attached to and love the characters of Geet and Aditya. Plus there are some very funny scenes including the ‘Hotel Decent’ scene and ‘Elopement Debacle’ scene. Anshuman in the second half also has some very funny reaction shots and is quite funny – but i’m not entirely sure he was meant to be so hysterical.

Another strong aspect of this film is the songs. They are extremely catchy especially Mauja Hi Mauja, Ye Ishq Hai & Nagada Nagada. Luckily also the picturisation only adds to how much i liked the songs.

Biggest downside of this film is it is perhaps too slow and could have done with a good edit in the 2nd half. It personally would feel hard to cut any of the scenes cause i really enjoyed them, but it can feel a bit repetitive nearing the end of the 2nd half. So if anything Jab We Met could do with some improved editing. Also there were many illogical points that you could easily forgive, but it was a bit too far when Aditya starts guitar singing to his employees in the office. Why doesn’t my boss sing to me!

Its sad to know that this will be one of Shahid & Kareena’s last films together (after the release of Milenge Milenge). After their breakup in real life there is little chance of them starring together, which is a shame because they finally get credibility for their chemistry here. I thought they had chemistry in 36 China Town and luckily a lot more of the audience is seeing it now. I know some people find Kareena very irritating and annoying – i used to be one of them. But since Omkara, Jab We Met, 36 China Town and Yuva i’ve come to like her. Jab We Met just reaffirms my opinion of how much she has matured as an actress. Shahid has always been a favourite of mine so no big changes after this movie, just always love to see him in a good film that showcases his romantic talents.

Overall Score: 4/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – A extremely enjoyable timepass that has great re-watch potential. You fall in love with the characters, many funny scenes and it has everything to be a very nice repackage of the boy and girl dramas. Luckily also has just the right dosage of songs, comedy, drama and melodrama. Only downside is the length as second half could do with a trim and some illogical parts of the movie that are easily forgiven.

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December 30, 2007 at 9:38 pm 17 comments

Mistress of Spices (2005)

Name: Mistress of Spices

Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Dylan McDermott, Nitin Ganatra, Anupam Kher & Zohra Sehgal

Director: Paul Mayeda Berges

Language: English

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Tilo (Aishwarya Rai) is an immigrant from India who runs a spice store in San Fransisco and is also the “Mistress of Spices.” She has the ability to see into customers’ lives and desires. As a mistress of spices, there are certain rules that she has to obey in order for the spices to work their magic on her customers. She must never leave the store, never touch another human, and love only the spices. When handsome American Doug – an enigmatic man with a secret past – enters her store, Tilo’s own desires for love and affection are awoken. She begins to fall for Doug and as she becomes closer to him, the spices her other customers have purchased become defective. The more Tilo falls for Doug and defies the rules, the worse the lives of her customers become. Tilo has to decide whether she will choose Doug over devotion to her spices and Indian traditions.

Review:

Don’t kill me. But I didn’t hate it.

I know i’m supposed to, but i found it overall not a bad timepass. It has its huge weaknesses sure, but i didn’t hate it as much as i thought i would.

I’ve read many complaints about this film – Aishwarya’s wooden acting (wow thats a new one) and the lack of chemistry between Aishwarya & Dylan Mc Dermott (Tilo & Doug). In fact one BBC review called Aishwarya’s acting ‘Wishy Washy’ which i have to semi-disagree and semi-agree about. Aishwarya’s acting was very subtle and a bit lifeless which i attribute to her characters repressed and sheltered nature and i think she could still emote in enough places of the film to do a passable job so she wasn’t as horrendous as other reviewers made her out to be. Any Aishwarya fans will know if anything her problem is with overacting, so for her to have a retrained and subtle performance i believe was on purpose. Mind you this wasn’t her best performances. As for the chemistry between Tilo & Doug i would have to disagree. I must admit i got sucked into wanting them together, in some scenes when they couldn’t touch I could feel some sparks – but maybe it was just me?

For me there are two big downfalls of this film. One is the climax. This movie really builds up for the review how catastrophic the result would be if Tilo (Aishwarya) disobeys the rules as the Mistress of Spices. Even after she disobeys some of the rules it really doesn’t live up to its promise. Its quite a weak climax overall and a too neatly tied up ending. Second is any message they really wanted to send i didn’t receive. The movie didn’t really have a strong message to convey, there were a couple of small messages that just weren’t executed strongly enough like the taxi-driver, school child and grandfathers issues involving Indians in a foreign country, issues of assimilation but all was not conveyed strongly enough. The issues/messages were kind of everywhere.

Something a bit offputting was the voice over of Aishwarya talking to the spices. It was a bit wierd, but i guess its hard to put on film her talking to the spices. It can also offer some good giggles of her constantly talking to the chilies, even fighting with them. As one viewer said the voice over is very ‘Animal Planet’ and i have to agree.

One other issue is its like the Indian version of Chocolat involving Spices instead of Chocolate. It didn’t really have anything to offer in terms of story that Chocolat did better.

Overall Score: 2.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall an O.K film that I believe is not as bad as people make it out to be. Passable acting by Aishwarya and Dylan McDermott. Strengths lay with the chemistry of Dylan & Aishwarya as Tilo and Doug and of course Aishwarya looking gorgeous. But the greatest downfall is the screenplay and thin story.

December 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

Abhimaan (1973)

Name: Abhimaan (Pride)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, G. Asrani & Bindu

Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Subeer Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is well on his way to becoming India’s top pop singer. He has no intention of getting married, but when he goes to visit his aunty he falls in love with religious, simple Uma, by whose voice he’s enchanted. He marries her and returns to Bombay where he announces that he will never sing without Uma again. However, Subeer encourages Uma to sing alone and when her popularity is soon greater than his own, the seed of jealousy begins to grow… The major difference between Uma and Subeer is that she sings for herself, whereas he sings for the public. It is the difference between geet and sangeet. The transition of Subeer from pop star to star husband forms the rest of the story.

Review:

Abhimaan (Pride) tells the story of the popular singer Subeer Kumar who after marriage soon is no longer the superior star in his household after his wife Uma (Jaya Bachchan) becomes the bigger star. Although a simple story, Hrishikesh has told a story that is very relatable and universal. In fact many people saw this movie as a reflection on Amitabh & Jaya’s marriage in real life because at the time Jaya was more successful then Amitabh. Amitabh still had 2 years till Deewaar, Chupke Chupke & Sholay came out and 4 years till Amar Akbar Anthony came out. While Jaya was already famous with hits such as Guddi & Bawarchi while Amitabhs hit Zanjeer was released later in the year. In fact Jaya received the Filmfare Best Actress award for her portrayal of Uma while Amitabh walked away with nothing.

The movie tracks the career of Amitabh and his transition from star to star’s husband. At first Amitabh is easy going, joyful and very supportive of his wife. There is no trace of his ‘angry young man’ persona that Amitabh is known for. He even goes so far to encourage and support his wife by announcing he will only sing for her. Then of course the conflict occurs when Amitabh starts to get jealous of Uma’s new found success.

Hrishikesh inserts scenes to demonstrate the growing pride and jealous of Amitabh. The transitions are slow but evident. Of a morning Subeer wakes and gives his wife a kiss every morning (which is a very cute scene) but then Uma starts to become more successful and people start asking for her autograph over Subeers. Then producers are willing to pay Uma 5,000 rupees so Subeer demands 6,000 rupees in order to reaffirm his superiority over his wife. However when he cannot receieve that much money he plunges into a jealous, stubborn and proud man begins despite Uma’s pleads to end her career when she notices how her success is affecting her husband.

The changes can be seen in Uma as well. Special commendation should be paid to Jaya who goes from a smiling and full of life wife then to a dull, lifeless and utterly depressed shell of her former self. Watching the process of the characters transformations show just how good a director Mukherjee is and the caliber of his ability to bring out great performances by Jaya and Amitabh.

But i did have some issues with this movie. If someone asked me if i liked this film i would say yes – its a good film. But i just couldn’t love it. I blame that most on the story and characters then the movie itself. Its a very good story to tell – but i would much prefer re-watching Mili many times before seeing Abhimaan again. Most of the sweet moments just after they get marriage i would rewatch, but i just wanted to strangle Amitabh in Abhimaan so it kind of makes re-watching it hard.

I would say that Hrishikesh did a fairly good job at tackling this issue, of how a husband feels when the natural gender roles of society are turned upside down. I think nowadays this issue is especially important where women in India (and abroad) are given so much greater freedom to educate and gain jobs which might make them in a far better position then their husbands. So in this way its good that he can tackle such a universal issue. But i feel Uma took back Amitabh too easy. Plus she never confronts him about his own insecurity but instead flees the house and decides to quit singing. Very sacrificial subservient kind of character who i wish just once actually confronted Amitabh during one of his childish angry fits. But at least Subeer learnt he had to support not punish his wife in the end. So in this way i wish the issue was dealt with by a stronger female character. But its a good attempt and good to see Bollywood had such movies back in the 70s.

The other problem i had was the ending. The ending kind of leaves you in a depressed state – call me lame but i like certain things to be nicely wrapped up when i’ve cried so much over an issue of the story. Its part of the healing process! I wanted to know a bit more of what happens to them after the ending. Also was good to see Bindu in a non-vamp role. For once she actually got a character who wasn’t a total bitch.

Overall Score: 3.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Watch it for the cute after marriage scenes of Amitabh & Jaya but don’t feel alone if you think that one watch is enough for this movie.

December 30, 2007 at 3:24 pm 3 comments

Sushma Seth – Family, Fame & Facts

Name: Sushma Seth

Claim to Fame: Grandmother/Moter Roles – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham & Kal Ho Naa Ho her most notable roles

First Movie Success: Kalyug (1981)

Movies to Transform the Career: Junoon, Kalyug, Silsila, Prem Rog, Khamosh, Tawaif, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Alag Alag, Nagina, Waaris, Chandni, Ajooba, Deewana, Bol Radha Bol, 1942 Love Story, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Daag, Taal, Chal Mera Bhai, Dhadkan, Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham & Kal Ho Na Ho

Family Connections: None. Entry through theatre.

December 24, 2007 at 12:24 am 3 comments

Soha Ali Khan – Family, Fame & Facts

Name: Soha Ali Khan

Birthday: 4th October 1978

Height: 5′4″

Boyfriend: Siddharth Narayan (Hindi Star in Rang De Basanti and South-Indian Actor mega-star)

Parents: Father: Mansoor Ali Khan (Ex-Captain of Indian Cricket Team) Mother: Sharmila Tagore (Famous Bollywood Actress)

Siblings: Brother- Saif Ali Khan (Bollywood Actor) and Sister – Saba Ali Khan

Claim to Fame: Being Sharmila Tagore’s daughter and Saif Ali Khan’s sister. Also fame from Rang De Basanti (2006).

First Movie Success: Rang De Basanti (2006)

Movies to Transform the Career: Dil Maange More, Pyaar Mein Twist, Rang De Bastani, Antar Mahal, Ahista Ahista & Khoya Khoya Chand.

Family Connections: Born into the Nawabs of Pataudi Family and the Tagore family. Both Father (Mansoor Ali Khan) & Uncle (Iftikhar Ali Khan) were both Nawab of Pataudi and Indian Cricketing Captains. Grandmother was Sajida Sultan, Begum of Bhopal and Uncle was Pakistani General Nawabzada Sher Ali Khan. Great great grandfather is Rabindranath Tagore (famed Bengali poet and author). Sister-in-law with Bollywood Actress Amrita Singh (Saif Ali Khan’s ex-wife).

December 24, 2007 at 12:11 am 12 comments

Sandhya Mridul – Family, Fame & Facts

Name: Sandhya Mridul

Height:5′6″

Date of Birth: 1st January

Sibling(s): Elder Brother, Siddharth Mridul and Younger Brother Pankaj Mridul

Spouse: Divorced

Claim to Fame: Saathiya (2002) or TV’s Popular Schwabimaan

First Movie Success:Saathiya (2002)

Movies to Transform the Career: Saathiya, Waisa Bhi Hota Hai 2, Page 3, Socha Na Tha & Honeymoon Travels 

Family Connections: None.

December 23, 2007 at 11:56 pm 1 comment

Minissha Lamba – Family, Fame & Facts

Name: Minissha Lamba

Birthday: 1st January 1985

Height: 5′2″

Boyfriend: Ravi Behl

Claim to Fame: Yahaan (2005)

First Movie Success: Yahaan (2005) – More critical then commercial success first full blown Commercial success is Honeymoon Travels (2007)

Movies to Transform the Career: Yahaan, Company, Anthony Kaun Hai, Honeymoon Travels & Heyy Babyy

Family Connections: None. Success from Cadbury Promotions/Modelling.

December 21, 2007 at 5:18 pm 3 comments

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Welcome to the Bolly Blog! The Bollywood Blog for New and Old Fans of Bollywood! This site is quite new so i'm updating profiles and reviews as i can. Check out the Excel God's Movie Reviews for random reviews on films from the 40s-now. Or there are the movie or actors index to search by. There are also profiles to help you know the facts about your favourite stars. I hope to add a news section to this blog in the upcoming year.

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