Posts filed under ‘Beginners List’

Beginners List *5*

If you have been following the list so far you should have already been exposed to – modern bollywood, masala, family storylines, rich vs poor storylines, melodrama and of course the song & dance element.

This 5th and last beginner listed movie is to show you that Bollywood CAN have substance believe it or not. This last post is to introduce the Art House Bollywood Cinema Scene, well maybe not art house but as least not commercial mass market movies.

This one was a hard one to come up with cause there is quite a few good emotionally powerful art house movies – that show the grittier side of India. Or at least the less candyfloss side of bollywood.

Omkara 5. Omkara

Omkara is violent, gruesome, dark – but it still has a killer soundtrack! Omkara was made in 2006 and featured many commercial bollywood stars and had the biggest song hit of 2006 – Beedi.

But what makes Omkara art house then? Basically its an adaption of the Shakespeare Play Othello, but set in the poor Indian state of Bihar and using indian gangster ruling para government to set the adaption. Omkara (Othello) is a ruling gangster there and is low caste just like Othello. But i’ll address Omkara story related adaption later.

Omkara captures several elements of bollywood, being the star values and musical numbers. But it is not for the faint hearted. Powerful performances by all actors, very dark themes, an actual script and a couple of stomach churning scenes means that it doesn’t fall into the commercial movie area of Bollywood. But it didn’t do badly at the box office, so there is still hope for substance based movies at the Indian box office.
Although i’ve recommended Omkara, I would also suggest seeing Water the recent Deepa Mehta film, its not officially Bollywood, but it is in Hindi and would make alot of viewers i think more interested to see what substance films Bollywood offers.


October 15, 2007 at 7:10 am Leave a comment

Beginners List *4*

So far, the list has been pretty safe. Alot of people love the previously recommended movies, even if some just like it – most of them walk away from the movies with positive happy feelings.

The following movie can leave you either loving the emotional rollercosters of a bollywood movie, or hating the forced emotional manipulations of bollywood. All of the people i have shown the movie in person have loved it, but i know there are bollywood fans out there who really dislike this type of movie.

So after being introduced to Masala we will now introduce you to Bollywood Melodrama in its highest form, yet is still really enjoyable and emotionally moving to watch. Bollywood melodrama can either make you so emotionally moved that you are totally engaged by the movie, or it can be so annoying you can’t wait to turn off the dvd player.

Anyway onto the melodramatic beginners choice…

4. Kal Ho Naa Ho

Kal Ho Naa Ho literally translated as ‘Tomorrow May Not Come’, is a good test for the more full on bollywood experience that later addicts will be used to. Kal Ho Naa Ho stretches for 3 hours and in that time you will laugh, cry, sing and dance. Its got funny sequences, teary scenes, amazingly catchy songs (no matter how much you can hate the hinglish lyrics) and the song and dance sequences are beautifully and colourfully shot.

The 2003 made movie is still very modern. Set in New York it follows a cynical bitter girl called ‘Nina’ who suffers from the usual mix of family issues, until the optimistic and friendly Dev comes to live across the street. Of course its bollywood so there is a thousand plot story lines going on at once, but overall its an entertaining and engaging movie to watch. The character of Nina is played by Bollywood Actress superstar ‘Preity Zinta’ and the modern King of Bollywood ‘Shahrukh Khan’ plays the character of Dev. Saif Ali Khan is reduced to the supporting role of Nina’s best friend, but is a valued comedian and character in this movie nonetheless.

If you pass the Kal Ho Na Ho test then you will be more then up for any other modern bollywood films, even if they aren’t as funny. The big test here is the melodrama level and the length of the movie test – thank god for intermission in bollywood. See big Hollywood films nowadays don’t give you that – I had to sit through King Kong for 3.5 hours with no intermission. So really the length test shoudln’t be that bad if you have been to a hollywood big budget film in the last 2 years. Anyway give Kal Ho Naa Ho a go (ooo that rhymes).

October 15, 2007 at 7:07 am Leave a comment

Beginners List *3*

Lets introduce another bollywood essential term – MASALA!

If you have ever heard of a bollywood movie being ‘masala’ it basically means that its a whole big mix of genres thrown into one movie. Bollywood movies can be like 2-3.5 hours so in that time a whole myriad of genres is covered in the film. Romance, tragedy, adventure, comedy, drama, family all can be in one movie!

For me a modern day masala film that is well matched for a newbie is…

3. Bunty aur Babli (Bunty and Babli)

This movie is another good test on a bollywood newbie. It has many genres, it has indian comedy (which is always a big test for any bollywood fan) but it has great performances and even better music. Its truly a movie where you have to just sit back, relax and let the movie entertain you. The true stars of this film are Abhishek Bachchan’s comedy style as Bunty and Rani Mukerji’s outlandish performance as Babli. Watching those two on screen could keep my entertained for a while!

The basic premise of this movie is its a Bonnie and Clyde type movie. But throw in comedy, adventure, action, drama and romance – then you have the Bollywood’s Bonnie and Clyde. Basically Bunty and Babli travel from town to town where hilarious con’s ensue – of course their own personal issues and a little bit of romance is added to the stories mix. Additionally Abhishek Bachchan’s father – Amitabh Bachchan (acknowledged as the all time greatest bollywood star) stars for the first time along side his son as the cop who is out to capture Bunty and Babli. Its fun to watch the in-jokes between father and son.

Additionally i love love love not only Abhishek and Rani in this, but also the music! Not only the special appearance by Aishwarya Rai (now Aishwarya Bachchan) in the 2005 biggest hit ‘Kajra Re’, but also the catchy tunes ‘Bunty aur Babli’, the romantic duet and steamy scenes of ‘Chup Chup Ke’ and even the lycra spandex dance number of ‘Nach Baliye’. I think watching Nach Baliye is a true test to whether you can handle moving onto the fashion disasters of anything before 2000. Overall Bunty aur Babli is a movie to be enjoyed!

October 15, 2007 at 7:06 am Leave a comment

Beginners List *2*

2. Parineeta – Translated as ‘Married Woman’
So after watching the light hearted romantic comedy of Hum Tum, its time to be introduced to more emotionally heavy viewing but still making sure to sustain quality production values. Its still baby steps at this stage! Parineeta is a great introduction to the eternal bollywood conflicts of family disapproval of love interests and rich vs poor conflict. Parineeta is less commercial then Hum Tum, but still has the adorable Saif Ali Khan and a newcommer Vidya Balan with a side role of Sanjay Dutt. This film is much more serious and emotionally involving then Hum Tum and the performances of the melodrama are much more restrained then the average Bollywood film. Its also just over 2 hours, so still a reasonably paced film. The music is also a highlight of this film, its sophisticated and mature. Alot of bollywood music is there to stick in your head and get your feet tapping – this music is more used for emotive purposes. I’ll probably post a proper review and synopsis about this film later on.
Parineeta is a great movie to follow up Hum Tum, but we are approaching the essence of Bollywood movies! So stick around!

October 15, 2007 at 7:03 am Leave a comment

Beginners List *1*

So as this is a new blog, i thought i would start off with some beginner recommendations for bollywood. This list is very general, based on my own success with converting newbie bollywood fans.

Hum Tum1. Hum Tum – Literally translated as “You and I”, Hum Tum is a 2004 film starring Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan. Its perfect for beginners because it helps to prove wrong the sterotypes associated with Bollywood – that its all just meaningless singing, melodrama and 5 hour long movies. Hum Tum is modern, just over 2 hours long and an easy watch to enjoy. Biggest drawback of this film is the songs, not many catchy ones in the movie. This movie could get a newbie totally wanting to see more bollywood, or it might take another movie to get them begging for more. Either way i have never found anyone who didn’t enjoy Hum Tum.

October 15, 2007 at 6:53 am Leave a comment


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.