Posts filed under ‘5 Star Movies’

Bombay (1995)

Name: Bombay

Starring: Arvind Swamy & Manisha Koirala

Director: Mani Ratnam

Language: Hindi Dubbed Version

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) is the son of traditional Hindu parents in a seaside village in Tamil Nandu. A journalism student studying in Bombay, Shekhar visits back home to see his family. On one of his return trip, he falls in love at first sight with Shaila Bano (Mainisha Koirala). Initially shy, but eventually, they both fall in love.

A marriage proposal is vehemently opposed by the lovers’ fathers. Shekar’s father refuses to accept Shaila as his daughter-in-law, telling Shekhar to find another partner, whilst Shaila’s father announces the need for an immediate marriage between his daughter and a Muslim man. Eventually the two elope to Bombay (Mumbai). Their story as a family, religious extreemism and the city they live in forms the story for Bombay.

Review:

After watching Bombay and knowing I have to write about my thoughts and feelings on the movie, i felt almost overwhelmed. Its hard to express to people who have not seen this movie before just what is so memorable and beautiful about this film.

The film starts in a small village with Shekhar (a journalism student) seeing Shaila (a muslim girl from his village) and falling in love at first sight. As expected the movie had the muslim father’s conflict with the hindu father with neither wanting a marriage between the two religions and children. Luckily i was not fed the same 2.5 hour parents objecting storyline. Shekhar and Shaila were much stronger and instead of giving into their parents decided to live happily together away from their parents in Mumbai (Bombay). It is then so lovable to see them together, first as newlyweds and then as parents of twin boys.

But of course the real protagonists of this movie are not Shekher and Shaila’s memories and story, but in fact Bombay. Shekhar and Shaila are the backdrop to the Bombay Hindu/Muslim conflicts (and of course the issue of inter-religious conflict as a whole). Hindu and Muslims live together in Bombay and find it very hard to live together with constant conflict as seen by the 1992 riots and many more.

But living within Bombay is Shaila and Shekhar who have been able to be of a different religion but live together. They respect each others differences and are able to love each other despite being of different religions. As Shekhar asks both the muslim and hindu leaders if they will ever be able to live in peace they reply that they did not start the fight. Shekhar and Shaila are examples of hope for one day the two religions being able to live together. They have twins, where one is raised muslim and one is raised hindu to resolve the religious upbringing issue. Even the constant fighting fathers (who both believe their religion is the best one) eventually resolve their conflict and provide rare comedy scenes for the second half.

Inter-religious conflict storyline is not new to Bollywood. But Mani Ratnam inflares such emotion and passion into the characters and the story, that its hard to make me feel any of the other movie attempts i’ve seen are on the same level. On December 6, 1992, Hindus destroyed a mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodha. This led to a wave of Hindu/Muslim riots in Bombay that left thousands dead. I pretty much cried buckets in this movie and needed a towel to wipe my eyes. It’s so easy to fall in love with the characters and their plight to live in a world where the innocent people are mostly the ones who get hurt. Many scenes are simply heartbreaking.

My main issues with the film are first off that the two fall in love at first sight, i would have preferred them falling more deeply in love via their personality and interactions then just looks – but i guess it is one way to cut down the running time of the movie. Others complain that the violence and drama of the second half is melodramatic and manipulative, but i was too busy crying to care. For me the other minor annoyance was how perfect and idealistic their muslim and hindu convergent family life is. Never any fights, everything seems too idealistic and simple to be believable. But still its nice to watch, despite how unrealistic the portrayal of the family is.

I’ve never seen Arvind Swamy (who plays Shekhar) act in any movie before, but he was suprisingly good. Not a looker by any means but i’m kind of immune to the unconventional looks of South Indian actors. But his chemistry and interactions between Manisha are so believable and adorable its hard not to fall in love with these two. As for Manisha Koirala (who played Shaila) i’ve seen in mostly notably Khamoshi and Akele Hum Akele Tum, Bombay just assists to reaffirm my belief that she was one of the best dramatic actresses for the 90s. I wouldn’t label her commercial, but its hard to think of any actress who has her acting ability during that time. She could be strong, emotional, innocent, enchanting and

comedic – its hard to find actresses who can do that as well as her. The two fathers also get a notable mention for being my other favourite characters, it was always enjoyable to see their scenes even when they were mean.

Last notable mention goes to the music by A.R Rahman. Of course this was the hindi dubbed music i was listening to. All the songs are more easy listening and melodic, my favourite being the romantic ‘Tu Hi Re’. Others aren’t as special but are perfect for the tone of the movie where they are played.

Overall Score: 4.5/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors – Overall this is one of my favourite Mani Ratnam films i have watched and any inter-religious conflict/marriage storyline. Watch it for the adorable moments between Shekhar and Shaila and the emotionally wrenching storyline.

December 12, 2007 at 12:55 pm 2 comments

Om Shanti Om (2007)

Name: Om Shanti Om

Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Shreyas Talpade, Arjun Rampal & Kirron Kher

Special Appearances By: Malaika Arora, Rishi Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, Karan Johar, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Javed Sheik, Zayed Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Dino Morea, Ritesh Deshmukh, Aftab Shivdasani, Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Kajol, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Lara Dutta, Vidya Balan, Tabu, Dharmendra, Amrita Arora, Juhi Chawla, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Tusshar Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Karisma Kapoor, Urmila Matondkar, Sunil Shetty, Govinda, Bobby Deol, Shahwar Ali, Uvika Chaudry, Akshay Kumar, Bindu & Satish Shah

Director: Farah Khan

Language: Hindi

Did I watch this recently? Yes

Synopsis:

Taken straight from the OSO website in an attempt not to spoil anything too much.

He (Om) was a junior artist in the 70’s. She (Shanti) was a superstar of the 70’s. He was her biggest fan. She was his biggest inspiration.

He was madly in love. She was ready to give up everything she had for love. He felt betrayed in life. She felt betrayed in love.

… And then … started the saga of ‘Om Shanti Om‘.

For some love stories one lifetime is not enough…

Review:

Om Shanti Om is a bollywood film on bollywood. Layered with many delicious insider jokes for the avid bollywood watcher, Om Shanti Om makes hilarious fun at itself and the bollywood industry. It’s everything i personally love about Bollywood – multiple plot twists, emotional substance, great music, colour, scenes that make you totally involved in the film. Whether thats to whistle at the screen, laugh out loud, get up and dance or cry your heart out. Om Shanti Om is an involving tribute to the Masala genre. For any newbies ‘Masala’ is generally used to describe a mixture of all types of genres together in a movie – action, romance, drama, tragedy comedy etc. Masala genre was generally prevalent throughout the 1970s bollywood movies.

What do i think about Deepika Padukone – model turned bollywood actress? As a fan of Aishwarya Rai its hard for me to admit this – but Aishwarya eat your heart out! Deepika Padukone does such a brillant job at the dramatic, comedic and normal scenes that she not only makes it look easy, but you would never guess it was her first acting job! Unfortunately she didn’t have much of a role in the second half but for the scenes she was on she showed her ability to do different genres of acting. Can’t wait to see more with her in it! I hope she only goes from strength to strength like the other debutants this Diwali. They all deserve to become stars.

Shahrukh had his bobbly head movements, tearing eyed acting – but i can think of no better actor to play this part. He really gets the comedy and charisma of his character. Plus when i saw him dance in ‘Dard-E-Disco’ topless, i didn’t even care the lyrics were nonsensical and badly translated – ‘pain of disco’. Although the firefighter outfit all oiled up I found he more like an oiled up chicken then hotty. Watching Om Shanti Om I remember why I used to love Shahrukh when i see him in such fun movies like this – when he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has a comedic element to his character (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Chalte Chalte, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai etc). Another favourite of the film was Kirron Kher – playing the over the top mother role with the realistic normal mother moments i can’t think of any other Older Bollywood Actress who could pull off both. She has great comic timing!

There have been a lot of comparisons between Saawariya & Om Shanti Om but i think its unfair to compare the two. Om Shanti Om will definetly be the commercial favourite because it caters to the wants of the masses. It makes people feel good and they enjoy their movie experience. Saawariya is not generally a movie for the masses due to its slow pace, elite technicalities and due to the type of story it is. Its not all wam, bam action and comedy – its more thinking then feeling from my own experience with both. I could be wrong – i have a hard time putting into words the issues with Saawariya.

Three main cautions for anyone about to see this film – chances are you won’t get all the jokes (because most of them are ‘insider’ jokes about the industry). If your an outsider/newbie to Bollywood the thing to remember is they are making fun of Bollywood so when you see over the top acting and silly scenes just remember that its on purpose. So sit back and just laugh at it. You won’t get the joke on all levels but you can probably get the generally gyst. If you do happen to pick up on what they mean with certain jokes and lines then you will be laughing your head off like I was in bits.

Second flaw that potentially could ruin people’s experiences of the film is that the plot makes absolutely no sense and lacks logic. There will be scenes when your head will say ‘what the hell! how can that happen’ or ‘I so don’t get how that even works’. But if you can suspend your belief and brain for 2.5 hours and just accept that this is a very unrealistic movie than it won’t bother you so much i’m sure. Especially if you have seen alot of 1970s films from Bollywood a lot of the plot twists or storylines will not be new to you.

Third is that the second half drags and is not nearly as fun as first half. There are scenes that i enjoyed in second half but it does lose its momentum.

Ok so my favourite scenes (without being too spoilery) – when 70s Shahrukh is fighting and doing the actions scenes for his movie involving the fight with the tiger and bad fight Choreography. I was killing myself laughing. Second favourite scene was the Filmfare Award scene, in particular Abhishek in Dhoom 5 clip. Third favourite scene was watching ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ song with all my favourite actors coming on (old and new) with people from my cinema whistling and cheering at their favourite actors.

Overall Score: 4.5/5 – My brain is telling me to give it 4/5 because it was such a silly entertainment movie it doesn’t deserve to get near 5 stars, but my heart is telling me I had such a fun time going to see it that it deserves to get 4.5 for being the most enjoyable film all year. Without a doubt has severe flaws, but if you don’t let them bug you and if you can realise they are always making fun of themselves you should have a positive viewing experience. Also if you a relative newbie to bollywood, might have to wait a while before you can understand the large referential comedy of Om Shanti Om.

Don’t get all the references to Bollywood? See an attached post for some of the found insider jokes, their explanations and order of appearances of Bollywood stars for Deewangi Deewangi song.

http://thebollyblog.com/2007/11/17/om-shanti-om-filmi-references/

November 17, 2007 at 6:26 pm 4 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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