Monday, August 9, 2010

Hurray for Bollywood!


Okay, I admit it. I'm a Bollywood fan and I'm totally in to the cheesy, stereotypical Bollywood films.  No deep, intellectual story lines for me that would challenge my beliefs or ethics or whatever.  I like the movies that have the *lightweight* yet melodramatic story lines like rich girl meets poor boy from the other side of the tracks. They fall in love against the objections of their parents. 


Timeless story lines.  Like the one where the outcast field hockey coach works to train a ragtag team of girls, who are so poor that their uniforms don't even match, to eventually win the World Cup. The last storyline is actually one I saw in the movie "Chak De! India" when I was in Delhi in 2007. It was my friend and colleague, Sangeeta, who gave me a list of the top 5 Bollywood movies to see when I was in Delhi. Chak De! India was the most popular movie playing on the big screen and it starred one of Bollywood's most popular actors, Shahrukh Khan, so I had to go see it.

I cajoled my poor guide, Rajeev, into buying me the ticket by offering to pay for his :-) We had the driver take us, early in the morning, to the PVR Cinema in Connaught Place to see if they had tickets and they were all sold out. So, we made the trek all the way to a suburb of West Delhi called Naraina. The PVR Cinema there had tickets so we bought two for the 5:40pm show.

Rajeev was really surprised that I wanted to see a Bollywood movie especially since I don't speak Hindi.  I assured him it would not be hard to figure out the story unfolding on the big screen because Bollywood movies seem to follow the same timeless storyline that we've seen in countless movies.  So,  it's really not hard to watch a Bollywood film, with actors speaking in some Indian dialect, and know what's going on.  You might be a few scenes behind the rest of audience before you figure out what's going on but you do get it. The only thing I miss out on is if someone is saying something funny on the screen.  Everyone in the audience laughs except for me :-(

I think pretty much every Bollywood movie is G rated so even though there are *hot*, sexy actors and actresses on the screen, there's very little *intimate* contact between them....maybe just a sly look or two on the part of the girl. No kissing and if there is, it's implied....you know, like when directors use shadows to tell you that someone is been harmed.

Even the violent scenes are tame.  Blood, what blood?  And definitely, no separated body parts. 

And psychological dramas.....well, they're not in the least bit scary.  I went to see another Bollywood film when I was in Kathmandu, Nepal....a movie that unfolded into psychological drama called "Bhool Bhulaiyaa".  Normally, I don't like to watch psychological dramas because that is one genre of movies that truly scares me because I get sucked into the story and basically, I scare the crap out of myself as I imagine that I'm surrounded by whatever forces are depicted in the movie.  So, better to avoid the mind warping movies.  But, this being a Bollywood movie made it so tame it was actually a very entertaining movie. 

So,  you would think, based on what I've described above, that I would find Bollywood movies to be very ho hum but yet I find them so addictive.  Why? Well, it's because Bollywood films are splashy productions that cram is as much romance, drama, comedy and catchy music as can be crammed into one movie!  And I absolutely LOVE it!!

There's usually a LOT of singing and dancing, interspersed between the dramatic scenes in a stereotypical Bollywood movie.  Sometimes, it makes sense when the actors break into song and dance but other times it's just befuddling.  But no matter, cause the songs and dance routines are just intoxicating to watch.  The tunes usually have very fast, catchy beats and the dances are most often performed by groups of dancers.

Just watch this song and dance sequence from a movie titled, Shakti, which stars two of Bollywood's most famous and popular actors - the insanely beautiful Aishwarya Rai and the smolderingly, handsome Shahrukh Khan whom I swoon over in every film I've seen him in.....including Chak De! India :-)

The song is titled "Ishq Kamina" and no surprise, the actors are lip synching but no one cares.  It's still fun to watch!



I don't know if I will have time to go to the cinema while I'm in India but I do know I will see one or more on the flight to/from India. I'm taking Continental and the seats have individual viewing screens. Last time around, I caught at least four films.  Grab a handful of Indian munchies and a drink from the snack cart, wrap myself up in a blanket and I'm good to go for the 15 hour flight between Newark and Delhi.

And thanks to hulu.com, I can now catch a good, cheesy Bollywood movie whenever the mood strikes!  Hmmm.....maybe it's time to stream one to my 55" HDTV.....viewing in preparation for my upcoming trip :-)