Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Round Up

As always, I can´t believe that the year is almost over. Every time I am amazed by the way time flies and I have the feeling that it was just yesterday that we said goodbye to 2010 and welcomed 2011. There are a lot of questions to be asked. Did I change a lot? I don´t know. Have I had a lifechanging experience? Not really. Have I learnt a lot? I hope so. Was it fun? For sure.

Here´s a not organized list of people, films, books etc. that influenced me through the year. Not all of them are indian movies oriented but after all, my whole life doesn´t turn around about indian movies only, right?

Favourite Person Of The Year: Prabhas

    I thought of making Prabhas My Biggest Filmi Crush Of The Year but this award goes definitely to Cherry Darling, since Prabhas is so much more to me! He made me realise that I love and adore gory and violent full-on masala movies! To be true, the more blood the better! He made me discover my bloodthirsty side which I was sadly hiding for so long. And it doesn´t bother me at all that he is looking so hot in these kind of fight sequences that it makes me go all wobbly.

    Movies of Prabhas I have seen in total: 10
    Favourite: Chatrapathi

    Unexpected Secret Crush: Abhay Deol

    It took me a long time to discover Abhay Deol as that what he is: A total cutiepie! I have already seen Abhay in a couple of movies before but it wasn´t ´til I saw Dev D. a few months ago that I developed a crush. Weird choice to do that, right? But he was so perfect in it, so everything that Shah Rukh should have been in Devdas (but after all, Devdas and Dev D. are like universes away from each other), that only after seeing this movie I learned to appreciate him. I even loved him in Aisha which although being a pretty good movie (but Emma is my favourite Jane Austen novel, so I would have loved it anyway) is not his best performance. And he´s such a cutie, isn´t he?

    Abhay Deol Movies I have seen in total: 5
    Favourite: Dev D.

    Most Hated Person Of The Year: My Structural Design Professor 

    For being mean, unfair und just plainly cruel. For being prejudiced and arrogant and for making my life a living hell. For destroying my love for structural design which right until last year was my favourite class.

    Most Annoying Person Of The Year: Priyanka Chopra

    I don´t know what it is that annoys me the most about Priyanka Chopra. Is it her fake smile? Or her always backcombed hair? Or her piggy nose? Maybe I´m just plain jealous. But the fact that angers me the most is that throughout Bollywood she is considered as the best actress of her time. Where did that come from? I don´t consider Fashion a great movie and I wouldn´t call Priyanka´s performance in it noteworthy. The fact that she got a National Award for it just reminds me once again that the awards in India are more than anywhere else rather a proof for popularity than for talent. And yes, I have seen 7 Khoon Maaf and she was good in it but I think that there are still actresses who are a lot better than Miss Piggy Chops. What about Vidya? Or Rani? The only performance where she didn´t irritate the hell out of me was Kaminey and that only because of her limited screen time.

    Girl Crush Of The Year: Kajal Aggarwal 

    Movies with her that I have seen (in that order): 8 (sooo few!)
    Arya 2
    Mr. Perfect
    Business Man

    Naan Mahan Alla

    I love and adore you, Kajal! I hope you will continue to make movies for a long time.

    Biggest Crush Of The Year: Ram Charan Tej

    These eyes. That smile. The HAIR! I love him so  much that I even watched a two hours long show with him that was completely in Telugu. Twice. And gushed everytime he smiled or said something apparently cute/sweet. (I could just guess by the reaction of the host and the audience). But it was such a satisfying experience and totally worth it. Although I didn´t understand a word. And isn´t it a funny coincidence that cherries are my favourite fruits and Charan´s nickname is also Cherry? What a coincidence, huh? HUH!?

    Movies I have seen with Cherry: ALL OF THEM. Several times.

    Favourite Movie Of The Year: Magadheera
    I don´t think there needs to be any other reason than the fact that this movie is simply PERFECT.

    Most Hated Movie Of The Year: Eat/Pray/Love
    Throughout the two wasted hours or so that I sat in the theatre I wanted to throw things at Julia Roberts for taking part in this self indulgent, self pitying excuse for a movie. I hate it when movies try to be something different than they are and Eat/Pray/Love tried so desperately to sell itself as the journey of a lost woman to a higher meaning of life whereas it was just the journey of a bored woman from Italy to India to Who Cares!? Get a grip and stop pitying yourself for imaginery problems you don´t really have.
      Most Disappointing Movie: The 3 Musketeers

      I wish that the movie wuld have been like its title song "When we were young". I always liked movies about musketeers, be it the famous three or just one, but it always had the same feel of adventure, of freedom and fun of life that was desperately missing in The Three Musketeers of 2011. The people that made the movie tried very hard to make this adaptation a more modern one with its skyships and questionable wardrobe but they missed the point that the three musketeers are oldfashioned. That´s their appeal and what makes it so much fun to watch. I don´t have anything about modernizing things but here it just didn´t fit. The atmosphere was missing.

      Favourite City: Florence
      In the summer I visited Florence for the first time and from all the Italian cities I have seen (now counting four) it quickly became one of my favourites with its renaissance architecture, the narrow alleys and the nice people. I hope I can go back one day because there is still so much I want to see.

      Funniest Movie: Tangled

      I am a huge fan of Disney movies and I think that Tangled is one of their best combining today´s technical superiority with the values of the past. Besides singing along with Rapunzel and gushing about the love story I was rolling on the floor with laughter. The horse, the chameleon, the stepmother, the group of bandits in the forest pub and their secret dreams, the pan. Almost every scene was filled with some joke.

      Favourite Book: "Woman Of A Thousand Secrets" by Barbara Wood

      I am a sucker for love stories and to find good love stories where the "love" is packed into an exciting, gripping story with believable, well written characters, all that taking place in a setting ful of exotic, mystical atmosphere is a rare thing. Woman Of A Thousand Secrets is such a book and I would recommed it to anyone who likes to read really good stories.

      Favourite Book (Series): "A Song Of Ice And Fire" by George R. R. Martin
      As a long fan of fantasy I am surprised that I didn´t know about this series up until recently, having been made aware about it only by the actual TV series. But Thank God I gave in into it since what would I´d be missing! ASOIAF is the best book series since Harry Potter for me. I read all the four existing books in one month and I was so relieved that the week when I was done was also the week of the release of the fifth book (Who are we kidding, it was fate, for sure), otherwise I would have starved. This is by far the most exciting, complex and entertaining fantasy series that is out right there and I´d recommend, no I demand that you start reading it right away.

      Favourite TV Show: Game Of Thrones
      What a surprise that after what is my favourite book series of the year, the TV adaptation of it is my favourite TV series this year. Because it captures the book´s dark and gloomy undertone, the characters are perfect IMO (YAY, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion!) and the setting is beautiful
      Visuals: "A1, ji." If you haven´t watched it yet, go and do it immediately.

      Favourite word I learnt: Rey! 
      From all the words I have learnt this year which contain a lot of some essential catchphrases like "Nenu Premistunnanu", "Champesta!" and "Baava", "Rey!" is by far the most funny and most used in telugu movies and I try to include it in my everyday life as often as possible. (Since "Champesta!" IS a little off).

      Song: "Lukka Chuppi" from Rang De Basanti
      I know the song in which the movie was played is over five years old but I watched Rang De Basanti just this year and from all the movie songs I have heard in 2011 it was the one which gave me goosebumps and made me cry like a baby. (But I was crying through most of the second half of RDB so I don´t know if it counts. Me old crybaby, me).

      Most Disturbing Movie: 7 Khoon Maaf & Black Swan
      As I mentioned before Priyanka Chopra is not necessarily my favourite actress and watching her in a movie centred completely on her with only a few other important characters (and one really disturbing performance by my otherwise beloved Irrfan) was maybe not the wisest decision. But curiosity is the biggest flaw in humanity and so I went on watching 7 Khoon Maaf. I wish I wouldn´t have. Don´t understand me wrong. It was interesting and it´s certainly not a bad movie but it kind of left a bitter taste in my mouth. Maybe I just didn´t get it but I was asking myself: What was the point of it all? It was a while ago but I really can´t remember why was Susanna killing all her husbands? Why couldn´t she just get divorced? And Priyanka is just not a good actress, I´m sorry but uh-uh.

      Black Swan was a more entertaining movie while still, even more, disturbing as 7 Khoon Maaf. I will never forget the moment when she pulled the feather out of her back. Brrr. Two movies I will definitely never watch again. Although I am a BIG fan of Natalie Portman and I totally agree with the fact that she got an Oscar for Black Swan. Deservedly so.

      Most Important Experience: Discovering SI Movies!
      The MOST IMPORTANT experience filmi-wise. I was getting kind of bored with Bollywood-movies for a while by the time I watched my first (actually second but it was the first one I loved) SI movie that was Magadheera. It made me realise what was missing from the so called "New-Bollywood" movies that just didn´t ignite the same excitement and joy anymore like they used to: The totally unapologetic and unironic celebration of the Masala-Ishtyle. In SI movies the hero is not just the hero, meaning he is the lead actor and gets the girl at the end, he is a man who can not only fight like a superhero but can also dance like hell. And who can get the girl despite having sometimes some serious stalkerish problems. In SI cinema and especially in telugu movies which is the southie cinema I watch most frequently, everything is taken just a notch higher to create a superfantastic mix of action, romance, drama, comedy and Item Numbers that are just that more colourful, that more unbelievable when it comes to dance moves and therefore so much more fun. Maybe it´s because I haven´t seen any older Bollywood movies except for Sholay (I know, shame on me!) who were much more inclined in celebrating the Masala that I turned from Bollywood to Tollywood. I still watch them, gladly, but when it comes to which movies to take home with me when I´m going back for Christmas it makes five telugu movies and only one Hindi for variety.

      So I hope you enjoyed my little (haha) list of favourites and non-favourites this year. Happy New Year to everyone and I hope we´ll see us again next year.

      I hope this does say Happy New Year in telugu and I´m not insulting ayone by mistake or something. I checked it and if it´s still wrong, then go and complain to google translate.

        Friday, December 30, 2011

        I Want To Live In Brindavanam! I´ll Even Agree To Be Tarak´s Third Wife! - Brindavanam (Telugu, 2010)

        I think I just gave away the ending in my title but who cares because the REAL love story here anyway, is the Bromance between Praju and Srihari. Brindavanam was my first Tarak movie and although I had a kind-of-meh impression about him on the first time, I love him more and more with every re-watch. Because: OMG! How much fun is Brindavanam!? I adore this movie. The colours, the songs, Srihari and Praju as brothers, the action, could it get even better? Oh yes, Tarak is so cute that the fact that I ever liked men without moustaches is beyond my understanding.

        This is why I love telugu movies. Only there a seemingly simple story turns into a family-soap-opera with overwhelming melodrama, fantastic songs and superhero fight sequences. Also, Tarak is every inch (yes, EVERY. FEW. ONE.) the hero. He´s cool, he´s strong, he fights and growls and he means it. You don´t want to get Jr NTR angry because he´s gonna RIP OUT A TREE  OUT OF THE EARTH. COMPLETE WITH THE ROOTS. With his bare hands. Oh yeah. this is what I call fun. These boring Hollywood-movies with their realistic violence, who? I don´t know because I´m never going to see one again because if the lead actor is not introduced with an own theme song that goes somewhere like this I will be disappointed:

        Your name is not displayed under your first shot? Then you are not worthy of my attention, sweetie.
        Right in the first fight sequence Jr NTR makes it clear that he is "Mass And Only" and from that on we embark on a super-fun-fantastic journey of a telugu masala movie that knows exactly what it´s doing because just 7 min into it and I totally know I´m going to love every sec, because we already had a hero introduction, a beyond awesome action sequence and the climax to a love story. 
        Mass and ONLY. Any doubts?
        After the fight and having brought two starcrossed lovers to their happy ending, meeting his parents and learning that he is richer than Yashvardhan Raichand and Siddhu´s character in Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana taken together, NTR as Krish remembers that he has a hot girlfriend named Indu who he apparently stood up. Understandably, Indu is pissed but Krish has the ultimate make-up solution: Why not sing a song and do an awesome dance number on a set that has an ACTUAL AIR PLANE on it:

        I swear if I had a boyfriend who would do that for me I would never, NEVER EVER, let him leave.

        Who doesn´t love seeing Tarak dance? Well, Indu does and quickly forgives Krish his impolite behaviour only to tell him that she has a friend who needs his help. Who might that be? Well, it´s Kajal of course and her skinny legs! 
        Kajal and her skinny legs who were mostly left out of the picture thanks to the wiseness of the cinematographer.
        Since Kajal doesn´t do much in the movie except of looking dull and/or sad/scared, we move on. Kajal as Bhumi, wants to study in America and become, what a surprise, a doctor (Why this discrimination on other professions in indian movies? Everyone wants to be either a doctor or an engineer. This can´t be true) but her factionist father (Praju, of course) wants to marry her to her cousin who is no other than Ajay (AAaajayyYYY! I love you, Ajay! You´re my secret crush.). And because Krish is so good in solving problems (calming down your girlfriend by a peppy dance number: Exhibit A) Indu has probably the worst idea of her entire life: Why not let Krish pretend to be Bhumi´s boyfriend?  What could go wrong, right? RIGHT!?

        Wrong. There are so many, many problems! For once, Bhumi´s father is not the only one Krish has to convince of being Bhumi´s boyfriend but, as she helpfully explains, "Mine is a joint family", which means that there are 20 other people Krish has to bring on his side if he wants to convince Bhumi´s Nana. It took me 3 times of watching the movie and one self-made cheatsheet until I finally got all the relations between the different characters in Bhumi´s family and instead of what you might think, it was really worth it because everyone of them is given a backstory and a personality, so they contribute much to the movie´s depth which I will come back to later.

        The second problem is that the cousin Bhumi should get married to is a... slightly disturbed man. He rapes, he kills, he drinks and apperently smokes pot a lot because he has constantly reddened eyes (but maybe it´s just a condition). In short he is your average goonda only that he´s Ajay and so still adorable (but probably only to me).
        Oh Ajay! Don´t be sad that Kajal´s not that into you! I will be happily kidnapped/held hostage by you. But please do smile to me again!
        And the story doesn´t end here: Bhumi´s father, played by THE Prakash Raj, as always, has a younger brother, Srihari, whom he´s thrown out of the house and whom he hates because he is the son of the second wife of Praju´s father, played as usual by Kota Srinivasa Rao. Srihari has moved to the next village and has become its head, as did Praju in his old village and so the two has pushed the two villages into great hatred towards eachother which bursts out sometimes into heated arguments.
        A typical day in your typical village in Andhra. Bus travelling on your own risk. And you should probably bring a machete with you. Just for safety, of course.
        Still not complicated enough? Well, what happens if Krish and Bhumi fall in love? And what will Indu do when she finds out? Will Praju and Srihari ever bury their enmity and accept their amazing and steamy chemistry together? Will Brahmi pull off a Praju? Will there be an item number featuring Tarak, Kajal and Samantha about actually having a threesome? Oh yes, AND SO MUCH MORE. 

        And the dancing, the sets, the costumes, the backup dancers, OMG I JUST LOVE IT!

        This movie is just SO. AWESOME. Seriously, the only flaw that I see in this film is that it drags a little in the second half. But that´s it. Otherwise it is like this movie has been made only for me! It got almost all of my favourite telugu actors, it has amazing songs and super-awesome fight sequences and the most important thing: Tarak´s just GOT IT, MAN! He is just so convincing, in every, f***ing scene. And he´s so adorable. And charming. And adorable. Who would have thought that he could be such a cutie? And the dancing!? And the fighting!!? Oh, and let´s not forget this smile! Okay, I´ll just stop, otherwise it will get very 13-year-old-like here.

        Brindavanam is here to rock your mind and no less because every single frame just screams pretty! Awesome! Amazing! Okay, someone has to take away the exclamation point from me. In my opinion this movie is almost perfect. Let´s go through the state of evidence:

        Evidence A: The story. Instead of just having a typical Hero-Heroine-AngryDad/Villain-triangle of your average masala movie Vamsi Paidivally produces an epic melodrama of a disfunctional family that has to be brought together by the hero. The actual love story takes a backseat but that´s okay since 1) Tarak and Kajal don´t have much chemistry together and 2) Srihari and Praju make more than up for it. Besides there is so much happening! It starts simple but then develops into this comedy of mistaken identities complete with Brahmanandam posing as Tarak´s fake father and imitating Praju´s dad-character from Bommarillu. And then his real parents show up! Samantha reveals to be SriharĂ­´s daughter! And then there is still Ajay to be dealt with. It never gets boring.
        One of Bhumi´s aunts who, like me while watching the movie, is literally in heaven.
        The pet turtle who was the secret star of the movie.
        One of the funniest scenes. I fell on the floor, roaring with laughter.
        Evidence B: The performances. Everyone was AWESOME. From Tarak´s Megawatt Lightbulb Hero Persona that made me feel sorry that I didn´t watch the movie in an Indian theatre so that I could cheer, clap and whistle all the way I wanted, to Praju and Srihari to the various members of Bhumi´s family who were real characters than just some sketches on the fringe of the story.

        The only one who sucked was Kajal and it hurts me to say it because usually I love her. To be fair, she had a more than ungrateful role. Simply put, Bhumi had no personality at all. Even the plan of Tarak posing as her boyfriend was not hers but her grandfather´s. What was more irritating, her plan of going to America to become a doctor was never mentioned again once Krish entered her life. I mean what about that? Would Krish and Indu give up their life to go to America just because of Bhumi? It never gets resolved. Even the love didn´t feel real because it seemed that she only fell in love with him because he was the first man ever to be nice to her. I got the feeling that Bhumi was actually like a child, completely dependant of the men in her life and not able to make her own decisions. *Sigh*
        But when she smiled - which was rarely - I felt like smiling, too.
        Evidence C: The songs. Songs in an Indian movie are extremely important to me. They can push an otherwise boring or bad movie into rewatch-material. Well, the songs in Brindavanam are fantastic. From the lavish use of backup dancers, to the huge sets, the motto of the choreographer or director or cinematographer or whoever is responsible for arranging the songs, seemed to be: "The more, the better." And thankfully so! I never have seen more beautiful songs in a telugu movie.

        Evidence D: The cinematography. This movie must have had a huge production budget. Everything is just so pretty! The colours, the use of natural lighting and the overall scale of it makes watching a real feast for the eyes. I am never fed up of the shots of the rural setting in which the movie is playing or the family house which is the one the movie title actually comes from. Plus, there is so much dedication to detail, the use of foreground and background, I can´t even decide which screencaps to choose from because every one is so beautiful.

        I think this is enough evidence given. I love Brindavanam. I can watch it over and over again. It is one of my favourite telugu movies. There is so much effort made into this movie, you can see it in every shot and everyone seems to have had a good time. So if you like an entertaining story, amazing songs and fight sequences, beautiful cinematography and above all, Jr. NTR, then this is the movie for you. And let´s all celebrate Tarak for being the coolest telugu hero ever to grace the silver screen:

        Woo, Tarak!

        Saturday, December 24, 2011

        Songs For The Heart - The Merry Christmas Edition

        Christmas Time! I LOVE Christmas and am awaiting it the whole year. I think I am one of the first people to put lights on and and my advent wreath out and I can´t imagine Christmas without my beloved Christmas Tree!
        I tried really hard to remember a song from an indian movie where Christmas is, if not celebrated, at least a theme but I miserably failed. After all, as much as I would like, I do not remember every song picturization I have ever seen. But I wanted to stay true to the title so I went to youtube for help and typed Bollywood Christmas and found this hilarious video.


        Wednesday, December 14, 2011

        Because Without Them Cinema Would Not Exist - Telugu Film Actresses: My Favourites

        It´s not easy to be a telugu film heroine. For one thing, there is not much to do. Whether being romanced by the hero or threatened by some misguided goondas, the possibilities to display your acting abilities (if you have some) are really small. Most telugu movies are male oriented, the hero is the centre of attention and the heroine reduced to a pretty accessory, who has to be there for some short scenes before the songs and who disappears for most of the second half. There are only a few heroines who achieve to make the most of their small amount of screen time and to leave a memorable impression.

        But still, you shouldn´t underestimate the role of a telugu heroine. After all it´s her that the hero is fighting all these goondas, all these awesome villains for, growling with clenched teeth: "Indu/Shailaja/Shruti NADI!". Without her, much of the ongoing action would be pointless, if not non-existent. Heck, there wouldn´t be any more dancing! (*Little pause for staring in horror*) The heroine is the driving force behind the hero (and the movie) and therefore irreplacable.

        So, let´s celebrate and appreciate some of the most prominent heroines right now in the telugu film industry* who happen to be my favourites:

        (*Although you actually cannot bound them to one industry since all of them worked in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, etc. movies. Which is something that is very special and unique for Indian Cinema, I think, and confirms to actresses only (for the most part). I mean just imagine someone like, I don´t know, Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman working in a German movie! And not even as the star but as the second fiddle to some unknown german actor. It´s unthinkable. And what about the language barrier!?)

        1. Kajal Aggarwal

        Although Kajal is my favourite southie heroine I actually took several attempts of writing these lines because I really can´t quite specify why I like her so much. She didn´t have any movies yet where she could sweep me off my feet by her performance, she is not perfect-pretty in the standard way that heroines are nowadays with her crooked nose, her big front teeth and her skinny legs, she is also not that much of an awesome dancer. 
        But still I always feel happy when she appears on screen and cannot take my eyes away whenever she´s in the frame. I find her beautiful. I think she is an amzing performer. And giving the right things to do, she can make you sit through an otherwise boring movie just to see her scenes. Maybe it´s because she is not perfect, she appeals that much to me. Because as much as I admire Aish´s beauty I could not imagine being friends with her. I would feel just too intimidated. Whereas Kajal with her girl-next-door-looks, seems to be just the girl I could imagine sitting next to me in my urban design class. And who, like me, instead of paying attention would laugh about my professor´s weird dress sense and his bald spot he so desperately tries to cover with his remaining hair.

        2. Tamannah Bhatia

        If I would ever have to describe Tamannah in one word, the first thing to come to my mind would be actress. In my opinion she is the only one out there in the south who would be able to stem a film on her own small shoulders. I would love to see her in a heroine centric movie, where she would be the star. I also can´t believe that she is only 21 years old because she seems more mature and confident than some other actresses who are almost ten years older than her. I just hope that her last adventure with that Bunny movie was only an experiment and not a tendency towards her further choice of roles. (I haven´t seen "Oosaravelli" but it seems it was a meatier role than the one before).

        3. Genelia d´Souza

        I saw Genelia for the first time in JTYJN and I adored her. Her character was someone I could relate to, a normal girl and not a glamorized beauty queen. That was so refreshing. I had no idea that she was already an established actress in the south, for me she was just a new face I liked. Actually, when I think about it, I have to thank Genelia for introducing me to SI cinema because after seeing her in JTYJN I was desperate to see something else with her and the choice fell to Bommarillu. It was my first SI film and I must say that I was rather disappointed. Genelia´s act as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl was SO annoying, SO frustrating that I almost gave up on her. I thought that if every other film with her is like that, I wouldn´t be able to bear it. And then, after a loooong time, I saw Happy and was fully convinced again. Taken down from her crazy trip she delivered a very subtle, subdued and emotional performance that I haven´t been able to even imagine. After that I was very careful to which films to choose, but in the ones I saw her in she always managed to impress me.

        4. Shriya Saran

        I saw her in only one movie and in one item number but I loved her in both. Maybe I will reverse my opinion of her when I´ve seen more of her movies but right now I think that she is one of the prettiest and nicest heroines I´ve seen on the screen. Yes, you´ve read right, nicest. She is someone I would like to be friends with and hang out because she seems to be a fun person to be around. Do you know those people who seem to be perfect but they´re so unpretentious about it that you cannot help but like them nevertheless how pretty, smart or whatever they are? I think Shriya is one of them.
        Some heroines tend to get intimidated or overshadowed by their hero, but Shriya is one of those few who can and will stand her ground and I like her for that confidence.

        5. Charmee Kaur

        Oh Charmee, where have you been all my life? Seeing you as the best friend of the "heroine" in "Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap" I would never have imagined that you were an actual heroine! (Although you WERE (except for Sonu) the best part about the movie). But seeing you in Pournami, with your feisty attitude, your awesome dancing and shiny teeth and then in Chukkallo Chandrudu, which has now become my favourite Siddhu-movie, I fell in love with you. You are awesome, Charmee, I hope you will never loose your bubbly face, your curves and that smile of yours and continue to rock.

        Monday, December 12, 2011

        Songs For The Heart: The "Dear-God-Please-Let-Me-Pass"-Edition

        I have a very important exam on friday next week and I´m constantly learning because I really, really need to pass. I am so scared that I´m not gonna make it because it´s not a subject I´m very strong at, so I just want to pass. And although Tamannah´s ambition in 100 % Love goes a little higher than mine she too goes through the same anxiety that I am experiencing right now. Please, please, PLEASE! Let me pass!

        Thursday, December 8, 2011

        Songs For The Heart - The Cheer-Me-Up Edition

        I´m sure you all know these days where everything that can go wrong just goes wrong, when you feel overwhelmed by work/school/studies, when nothing goes like it should and you just want to hide in bed for the rest of your life because life seems pointless and the world is principally against you anyway.

        Well, I had such a day today and I really need something to cheer me up. And that´s the time when I am happy that I like Indian Cinema because what better place to go when you feel sad? Like Saif said in Tashan, in India and especially in Indian Cinema, "there is a song for everything", so no matter if you feel happy, cheerful, nostalgic, bored, be sure that there is a song that will convey every feeling you want and what better way to cheer myself up than with "Chale Chalo" from Lagaan, the most inspirational and motivational song ever:

        Because with Aamir on your side All Izz Well and giving up is not an option.

        Tuesday, December 6, 2011

        Mere Film Ka Surprise - Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (Hindi, 2011)

        Hello Blog, long time no see! If you ever want to study architecture be aware that with your signature at the immatriculation papers you also give up any amount of free time you used to have.
        Seriously, I´ve been really busy, sorry guys.

        MBKD is a lot of fun if you are able to look over a craptastic story, illogically behaving characters and crazy names. While I was watching it I actually made notes to vent my from time to time occuring outrage towards the major WTF-moments of this movie and I´m trying now to write a review out of this messy and grammatical very dubious side-thoughts, so if anything seems kind of "huh?" just look over it, please.

        So... I´m watching Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and right in the first 15 minutes comes a big plothole you have just to swallow up to enjoy the rest of the movie: Luv (who´s called LUV anyway?) breaks up with his girlfriend with whom he´s been together for FIVE YEARS and 15 min later he calls his brother Kush (the writer was probably on crack while deciding for the names) and asks him to find a bride for him because, basically, HE IS AFRAID TO BE LONELY. (What about not breaking up with your girlfriend just because she demands of you to keep your apartment clean?) WHAT THE HELL!?

         Ali Zafar as Luv was really the secret star of the movie. He had the funniest lines and he managed to make Luv a person and not just a caricatured plot-device.

        But don´t forget that this is a Mainstream-Bollywood movie and since when are Indian movies the place you go to for logic and realism? Especially in the Yashraj department. If you expect that, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is not the movie for you. Kush happily applies to his brothers plea and starts looking for a bride right away. While travelling to his hometown village from Mumbai, where he works in a vaguely described job that seems to have something to do with the movie industry (because, you know, with their crazy schedules and working hours it´s totally okay to just disappear for a while), Kush bursts out into the title song that reminds me once more why I have turned to SI movies by now. Such an upbeat, fast song and NO DANCING!? Major disappointment. And no, those spastic movements that Imran is doing are NOT dancing for me. As much as I love you, Imran, you Should. Not. Dance. Like ever. Well, let´s carry on.

         But hey, the song is fun with its references to Dabangg, Chaiyya Chaiyya and (I think, but I might be wrong here) Fanaa? 
        So it saves itself from boredom and gets actually really nice.

        I think it´s a law within the Yashraj universe that the Hero has to be from Punjab because where is  Kush´s and Luv´s home set? Well, what do you think? (The right answer gets you a free song with Luv) Kush arrives and tells his parents about Luv´s plan, something they are not really excited about. (I´m totally with Kush´s dad on this whole "The-Nowadays-Generation-Is-So-Confused" - thing). Anyway, they agree to this nonsense of an idea and we embark on a entertaining journey of Bride-Looking-Time!-sequences: I liked the one in Panipat the most, there was a whole Telugu-Masala-Movie-subplot hiding in there.

        After futile efforts that resulted in nothing, Kush and his friends are desperate but one of them has the redeeming idea of setting an announcement in a news paper. This leads to THIS:

         How cool is it that Katrina gets her own introduction sequence?

        The girl in question is no other than Dimple Dixit. She and Kush have already met before while travelling on the bus when Dimple was popularly known as D and used to throw rock concerts in front of the Taj Mahal just for fun. "D" and Kush get along well and now that THEY`VE SHAKEN HANDS IN FRONT OF THE TAJ MAHAL you know there can not be another ending.

        Dimple was awesome in the five minutes of the flashback but in the present she is just another heroine and what´s worse, she is pretending to be different although she´s not. Now that she is older D decided to become Dimple again and to marry. Because being a "free-spirited" doesn´t mean you are a slut, you know. And besides, Katrina may be born in London but she has a hindustani dil and so in a kind of back to the roots kind of way she decides to go for an arranged marriage, basically because she is afraid that people are going to call her A SPINSTER and because there is no other option like, suppose, go to work. "How deep you are, D!", says an admiring Kush. Yeah that´s so deep, I can´t even see the ground. And aren´t people like D supposed to NOT care what people think about them or did I miss something? Thank God, the crucial role of Dimple gets saved by Katrina´s performance. She presents Dimple with just enough child-like innocence and dreamy naivity to not become awfully obnoxious.

        "Yeah, I just met you and we are going to be married but I don´t have ANY questions? You?"
        That´s just the kind of girl the awesome and different Dimple is.

        I´m usually not a great fan of Katrina but she really saves most of the film. She is the driving force behind the events and has amazing comedic timing that really made me laugh. Through Dimple there is heart and soul and emotions and although an awfully written character Katrina manages to make her sympathetic, someone we care about and want to get her Happy End at the end of the film.

        The wedding preparations begin and while getting closer to each other, Dimple nad Kush fall in love. OH NO! Did you see that coming? In a fit of mental illness on the side of the script writer and instead of just, you know, talk to his brother and explain everything, who I´m sure would understand, (but where´s the fun in that, right?) Dimple and Kush resort to the most stupid plan you have ever heard.

        NO! You LOVE me? But why!?

        What follows is just another story of how these so obviously meant for eachother people finally get together without getting Luv hurt because, you know, Bro before Ho. With two great songs in between and occasional outbursts of Kush´s admiration for Dimple because she is so much fun to be around. I get that the filmmakers are trying to sell the character of Dimple as a totally spontaneous, living-the-day kind of person but I really didn´t see it. "A mad day"? Did I miss something or were they really only buying wedding cards and had an accident? While I admit that having an accident is something that´s not happening to you everyday, it´s still not something to go that crazy about. I mean, NOTHING HAPPENED, actually! Well, there is a Sikh guy who actually wipes his whiskers before getting into a confrontation so I´m completely satisfied.

        While MBKD is not a movie I would like to see again and definitely not want to own on DVD, it´s still highly enjoyable because of the performances of Katrina Kaif and Ali Zafar who really saves the day despite being a shallow goofball. (And I think the whole point of calling Luv "Luv" (hey: Luv Luv! ;))was that they could use the Lots of love, Luv-joke at the end of the movie). While I really like Imran Khan with his chocolate eyes and nice attitude I actually don´t think that he is a very good actor. For most of the film he seemed to be rather sleepwalking than acting and he had no chemistry with Katrina whatsoever. Something that is considered crucial for a romantic movie like this.

        I really enjoyed the music, too (yes there actually IS some dancing), something that I don´t experience a lot from Bollywood in the last past years anymore and I think I might start to actually like Katrina Kaif (oh my God, NO!). So if you have some two hours of free time and don´t know what to do but want to shake a leg with Katrina to the rhythms of Madhubala this is definitely the movie for you.

        Hello Kat, I think I might actually like you. Do you like me, too? Yes...? No...?

        Thursday, November 24, 2011

        Because Nobody Rocks Cinema Like Telugu Heroes! - My Favourites

        There are a lot of Telugu Film actors I really, really like and respect for their acting skills but there are only a few who make me scream with joy when they appear on screen and who turn me into a silly fangirl who starts to squeek at the mere sight of them. They are also the only ones who make me travel almost through the whole country to see their newest flick.

        Having started watching Telugu cinema only less than a year ago, I actually still haven´t seen movies older than ten years (What can you say, I am rather wary of older movies*) so I think it´s your usual suspects: 

        (*Feel free to come up with recommendations, I am more than willing to be convinced otherwise.)

        1. Ram Charan Tej
        "Cherry Darling"

        Why? Because I loooooved Magadheera and he ROCKED that thing. He totally blew me away with his presence, his charisma, his smile, his eyes, his amazing dancing skills... You see where this is going. Although now some 30 Telugu movies older and having much more to compare his (only!) three films with, Cherry Darling is still my number one.
        It is his movie that I am waiting for eagerly and am excited about like a child on christmas eve more than any other one. (Including checking the internet every other day for some news on that topic). When will it come out? What is it about? Who is the heroine?! I am so excited.
        Because I just love his way and his shy manners and that he comes across like a nice, quiet and well mannered person who despite being one of the most famous stars in the Telugu film industry and being CHIRANJEEVI´S SON (poor thing), he seems to be quite down to earth.
        Because it breaks my heart everytime I hear or see someone asking him if his next movie will be the second Magadheera and how it is to be Chiranjeevi´s son. Everyone has his own opinion on star children but I rather pity them, especially when they have chosen the same profession like their famous parents. Of course it is much easier in some ways but it is also SO much harder. I don´t think I would like to being constantly compared to my Mom or my Dad.
        And it´s not only his father´s legacy Cherry Darling has to be concerned about. Having his second movie become such a HUGE success that early in his career is a great thing, of course, but it has also put him in a rather uncomfortable position. How can he overcome that shadow? The answer is he can´t, unless his next movie will be an even bigger hit which is almost impossible. And if it´s not a hit? Then it´s even worse. We have seen that on "Orange", his movie after Magadheera. Objectively speaking Orange wasn´t that bad a flop but because everybody has been comparing it to the movie before, it seemed like a disaster.
        See, I have a soft heart for strugglers. Because even if Cherry comes from like the most prestigious family possible, he too has to fight for his right to be there.

        2. Prabhas Raju Uppalapati
        "Young Rebel Star" aka "Darling" aka "My Personal Hero"

        It almost hurts to make Prabhas my number two but since I´m a loyal person I stick to Cherry. Nevertheless is Prabhas currently my Sweetheart, my Cutiepie, my Mr. Uberschnuffel himself. I am ridiculously in love with him. Since seeing him in Chatrapathi and having praised his performance here, I think that Prabhas is the quintessential Telugu hero. Or even better, he is actually the quintessential HERO because it really doesn´t matter which industry it is, he would be awesome and rock this thing nevertheless. I already defined My Love For Prabhas (Oh yeah, it´s a thing!) here, so I will just leave it here by saying that he is in my eyes a rockstar and I love him to bits.

        3. Allu Arjun
        "Bunny" or "Stylish Star" or my own nickname for him: "Honey Bunny"

        What can I say about Allu Arjun that hasn´t already been said? I could discuss his AMAZING dancing skills, his sexy looks and his more than welcome willingness to show off his body or just his fun, energetic persona but I think I will go with that I like Allu Arjun for being the most experimental-friendly star of the Telugu-heroes. Only from him a movie like Arya 2 would have been possible. Or Vedam, which I still haven´t seen because it is just not available on DVD (Literally nowhere! It´s like my own personal hell! *moping angrily*) but I have heard only the best things about. I think that Bunny is the most thoughtful when it comes to the choice of his movies and by doing only one of them at the same time he is someone who gives everything into his work. (Having seen some of the dancing rehearsals of Arya 2 I can officially say that Allu Arjun is really hard-working!) I really enjoy him on screen, even if it´s only because of the dancing. But, man, this guy can DANCE!

        4. Siddharth

        Despite his films being rather repetitive, they are always enjoyable because Siddhu just oozes with charisma and charme. He is one of those guys you can never be angry with, at least not for long, because he will always find a way to make you smile. Interestingly, Siddhu isn´t one of the heroes I dream about having as a boyfriend. Which is weird, because as much as I am ashamed of that (but actually I am not! HA!), my liking of a particular actor is always at least in some part based on the fact that I find him attractive. Whereas my heart skips a beat when I see Cherry smile or hear Prabhas´ irresistible voice, Siddhu is someone I would love to have as a friend but whom I never dreamed of holding hands with. Of course, objectively spoken, I see that Siddhu has many qualities that make him quite the hottie but he is not someone I would go crazy about. Still I have seen almost all of his movies. Why is that? (I am asking myself). I think despite being rather not the typical southie-hero, with the fighting, the macho and the gore and blood, Siddhu has made quite the niche for himself. He stands out because he does not fight for the heroine with fists and feet, but because he is like you and me and tries to reach his goal through thought and determination, instead of just storming with his head though the wall.*

        *(Which is something I can so see some Telugu-Hero do literally that! Why hasn´t that been in some movie yet? It would be so much fun!)

        5. Prakash Raj
        "Praju" (for me, at least)

        Prakash-Dad or Prakash-Bad (Thank you, Dustdevil) he is always (ALWAAYYS!) awesome. He belongs to the Telugu movie like the Hero-Introduction-Scene. I am just disappointed if he´s not there.
        Because he can be anything: Dramatic, OTT, subdued, funny, romantic, evil, cruel, it doesn´t matter because he is always so much fun to watch. If you don´t like Praju, you don´t like Telugu movies at all.

        Friday, November 18, 2011

        What Straight Hair Does To Me - Munna (Telugu, 2007)

        I think it highlights the love I have for this movie by saying that I made no less than 291 screenshots while watching it. Not even so much because it is that pretty or because the camera work is so well done that every second shot is like a beautiful painting, no, it´s for the simple fact that I love Prabhas´ hair in this movie. I know, Prabhas´ hair style in Munna has already started endless dicussions and arguments on whether the person who came up with this hairstyle should be revered as the world´s most brilliant genius or should be banned from ever watching Telugu movies again. Well, I am definitely Team Straight-Hair. I really don´t know what it is but Prabhas´ hairstyle makes me want to do bad things with him...

        Oh My...
        Okay, enough of that. After all, besides the hair situation, what we have here is a really good movie. For once, it has one of the most coherent plots I have ever seen in a Telugu movie. The story is well-paced, well explained, the characters all behave in very logic ways and consistent to their personalities, there are no unnecessary subplots that do nothing else than distract, the comedy subplot is reduced to a minimum, it´s really highly entertaining in a way where you don´t have to turn your brain off to enjoy it.

        The story starts with a boy who is clearly running away from something and who is pretty much disturbed. His name is Munna and he grows up like 6 inches where he is once again introduced to us as Young Rebel Star, Prabhas. Prabhas plays Munna who is your average college student, just taller and better looking than everyone else and who has a friend, Tillu, who suffers from being not that tall and not that handsome. (If you ever had a friend in school who was prettier, cooler or just bettter in everything else than you, you know exactly how he feels). On his own, Tillu isn´t actually that bad a guy but since he and Munna are practically inseperable, Tillu has a hard time to score with the ladies. Munna, being the nice, selfless and considerate friend that he is, tries to help but every girl seems to prefer Munna over Tillu. Which I can totally understand, given the hair, the eyes, the hands(!) but I couldn´t help but feel sorry for Tillu. 

        Poor Guy...
        He doesn´t stand a chance.
        This is where Ileana enters the picture, being the next girl Tillu tries to impress but - alas - she too falls for Munna who after all, who are we kidding here, is the hero and therefore irresistible. Tillu should accept that finally and move on with his life. Munna plays coy first, giving space for some awesome scenes where Ileana gets to be all flirty and seductive in an innocent, playful kind of way. I really liked the picturization of their relationship, where for once it was not the guy who was all persuasive and decisive but the girl. She knew what she wanted and she didn´t shy away from getting it but without being either the seductive, vampy type or the rather shrieky I-Will-Get-You-No-Matter-What kind of heroine.

        Ileana is really cute and has some hilarious expressions in stock...
        But mostly she´s just pretty.
        Although she does have to wear a japanese school uniform once.
        Of course, every heroine has to have a bad guy following her and being all jealous and possessive without her having ever committed to any kind of relationship. This guy who wears clothes like he´s been straight out of a 90ies bad musical show happens to be the son of Kakha, played by Prakash Raj, the local Bad Guy who not only has a habit of casually murdering people but who also doesn´t care for the environment because he has a pharmaceutical factory that pollutes the water in the area causing people to have some serious disabilities. Kakha has two serious opponents in his quest of destroying the planet: Srinivasa Rao (Kota Srinivasa Rao), a for once honest politician who tries to get Kakha´s factory closed and Atma (played by Rahul Dev who is no other than Bheema from Asoka!), who wants to take over Kakha´s Don status.

        Kakha. Of whom I could make a very infantile poo-joke now but won´t. We want to keep it classy.
        Kakha´s son and his clothes. He also seems to be rather unhappy about them because most of the time he runs around with a face like this:
        Don´t worry, nameless-actor-of-whom-I´m-too-lazy-right-now-to-look-up-the-name! You´re not the first and last victim of a Costume Designer Gone Crazy! It happens to the best of us.
        Bheema Aka Atma. Imagine that spoken with a really deep baritone voice, like "AAtmAAaaa". It´s really cool.
        Srinivasa Rao
        Alas I must admit that although I saw the movie just a week ago, I don´t know know anymore why exactly Munna starts to work against Kakha. Well, but he does. He becomes something like Ajay Devgan in Yuva, sort of like a student leader and unites the helpless locals and his fellow students against Kakha in order to bring him down. But don´t worry, this is not a boring and dull politics movie! Munna has some personal interest in his desire to bring Kakha down and - I promise - it´s really particularly heartbreaking to see why and how Munna´s and Kakha´s lifes are connected.

        The great part about Munna is that the story is so well scripted. Except of the fights everything seems more or less realistic, like this could actually happen in The Real Life and not in some OTT-Fairy-Filmi-World of SI-Superheroes. I will not give the rest of the story away, in case someone hasn´t seen the movie yet but be prepared for some really shocking plot twists and revelations!

        A huge part of this overall goodness goes to the actors who deliver pretty well. Prabhas, for some strange reason, is always believable as the strong man who stands up for the poor and helpless masses, so he does his usual thing besides walking a lot and talking through the phone. (That was a general thing with all the characters! They were constantly on the phone talking! I started to ask myself if the film was produced by some phone company or something). Prabhas often gets scolded for his dialogue delivery but I think that he was really good as Munna and his dialogues were, at least for me, totally compelling. Fighting and action is something Prabhas was born for anyway, so he delivers perfectly in this department as well.

        Praju talking on the phone....
        Prabhas talking on the phone...
        Talking to eachother.... on the phone...
         Prabhas being so frustrated about talking on the phone the whole time that he strted to hurt himself.
        Prakash Raj has a little more to do here and can show off his acting talent. I liked that Kakha was not your typical SI-Villain who are mostly one dimensional and evil just for the sake of being evil, but that he was given a backstory that showed some of his motivations to... well, being evil. The backstory does nothing to redeem him but it shows him in a more human light which I really appreciated.

        Ileana is pretty and has good chemistry with Prabhas, I always like couples who look so completely different physically, Prabhas being this hunky, hairy, lanky type and she so tiny and cute like a doll. I liked it with Abhishek and Rani and I like it here, too. Otherwise she has not much to do but being in a few scenes shortly before the songs and playing bait once when Kakha kidnaps her.

        Shooo shweet.
        The supporting actors - who there are a plenty - are good, too, with Rahul Dev leading the way. Srinivasa Rao is not in a lot of scenes, so there´s not much to speak about and - Thank God! - there is  only one comedian, Venu Madhav, also because the comedy comes mostly from the lead actors themselves. One of the funniest scenes is when Venu (can I call him Venu? It seems so inappriorate for some strange reason) tells Kakha´s son what would happen if he´d marry Ileana for real. What follows is a little seduction scene played by Prabhas and Ileana in best OTT-Soap-Opera-Style imagined by him. 

        Exactly. HILARIOUS.
        The action department did their best in the fighting sequences, especially the fight in the basketball field. Complete with heavy rain! (Because we all know: Wet Prabhas=movie selling like 1000 times more. No, just kidding). That was AWESOME. Prabhas, being the amazing fighter that he is, makes even the most ridiculous and unrealistic stunt sequences believable. And he´s just SO COOL! Sorry.

        Ohhh...You better don´t mess around with me...
        Because when I get angry... might end as a basketball.
        And don´t tell me I didn´t warn you.
        That´s actually from another scene but it just shows how cool Prabhas is in the movie.
        Of the songs only three are notable exceptions: "Chammakkuro", which has Shriya starring as an Item Girl and Prabhas channeling his inner Clark Gable, "Koncham Koncha" with Prabhas and Ileana in a rajasthani inspired number and "Vastaava Vastaava" that is just delightfully silly and OTT.

         My favourite: "Chammakkuro". 
        Prabhas as Clark Gable is MIGHTY YUMMY. I can´t even think straight when I see him in the song.

        (The only bad thing about this song is that it always makes me wish that Shriya would be the heroine of Munna and that I start imagining a sideplot where Shriya falls in love with Munna and they become a couple and run away everytime I see this song. Because although having seen only one movie with them together I do think that Prabhas and Shriya have amazing chemistry and that it outdoes Prabhas´ chemistry with Ileana like a 1000 times. Oh how I wish they would make a movie again!)

        Something I´ve also noticed about the movie was the cinematography and the way it depicted Hyderabad. Instead of making the viewer feel like he´s watching a video made by the tourism department of Hyderabad, the cinematography shows the city as something in the background, something that is still there but that rather serves the ongoing action in the movie than pushing itself into the limelight.

        I really like Munna. I think it´s one of Prabhas´ best movies because it has a really well scripted, elaborated story and is compelling to watch even if you already know the twists. Moreover it has good acting and the action is great. My opinion about Prabhas might be blurred by my fangirly love of his hairstyle but I do think that even objectively speaking it´s one of his better performances. I also like the overall atmosphere of the film. It´s more gritty and dark with only a few light moments at the beginning and in the songs which sets it apart from most of the other telugu movies I have seen so far. So... would I recommend it? Anytime.

        P.S. Prabhas´-Hands-Appreciation-Time! Because you know that you just love them! They also had a lot to do in the movie:

        Ruffling his hair...
        Mixing drinks...
        Showing Praju that he can Talk To The Hand....
        Holding the heroine...
        Being so amazed by his own hands that he had to pause for a minute... or maybe he was just high...
        Making a fist...
        And because what better use than with the difficult task of counting!
        Awww... don´t you love them just like I do?