Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Serious acting? An elaborated story? Just forget about it and start admiring Charan´s hair! - CHIRUTHA (Telugu, 2007)

Chirutha is so much fun. It´s a movie of the So-Bad-It´s-Good-variety and has a healthy dose of masala thrown in it. Family vengeance? Ridiculous fighting? Wasted sacrifices made by children? Item songs? That´s Chirutha for you.

I admit that you have to be a huge Ram Charan Tej-fan (like me) to enjoy this, because it´s his show entirely, but come on! Who doesn´t love the way the songs are thrown in at completely unsuitable plotpoints, the bitchy ways of the heroine and Uber-Daddy Prakash Raj holding speeches about how poor people are to be avoided because they envy the Rich for their wealth and therefore want to do bad things to them?

You just have to see over the ridiculous story, the big-as-a-crater-plotholes, the totally unbelievable romance, the bad costume choices and the latent vibe of class arrogance and lean back to enjoy the amazing songs, the awesome - yet incredible - fight scenes (there´s even one set in a place which looks like stolen from a chinese Martial Arts movie complete with kung fu-fighting goondas), the wacky villain and his Psycho-Son, Charan´s hair and you have an awesome masala-movie that can never bore you because there is so much to look at!

The songs.
The Heroine.
The Hero. Shoo CUTE.
Charan in a Japanese school uniform.
The songs.
The story goes as following: 10-year old Charan ( Yes, Charan is called Charan. And why not, it is so much easier!) sees how evil gangster Mattu-bhai tries to kill his parents for apparently no reason. His dad dies and his mother has to be brought to the hospital where Charan cannot afford to pay for the medical treatment (because he is only ten and has no money). His uncle (I believe it´s his uncle although I´m not sure) tells him that he can provide the money needed but only if Charan goes to jail for a crime he didn´t do (because he is ten and so can be fooled). Charan, of course (Come on, it´s his MA!), agrees and spends the next 12 years in jail where he grows up to Ram Charan Tej, who has perfect hair and his own wind machine despite being in jail.

Young Charan.
Hot Charan. Marvel at the hair blow.
Aftr being released he goes straight to his old home and meets his uncle who tells him that he was in jail for nothing because his mother died of her injuries soon after Charan´s attempt to save her. What will Charan do now, you ask? Will he fall into despair, go to the next bridge and jump? Will he start planning revenge and avenge his parents? No! Charan is not the guy to dwell too long on past time events. Life goes on, he says and finds a job as a guide at a travel agency in Thailand after falling in love at first sight with a girl, Sanjana (and after breaking the window on the nearside of her car, but who cares about such trifles?). Sanjana, as we and Charan soon find out, is the daughter of Prakash Raj, a spoilt, rich, arrogant girl and really annoying. No, really. She´s so irritating.

Their first meeting.

Charan doing the usual Hero-in-love-stuff, i.e. stalking your ladylove.
Sanjana in one of her "I am so rich and you are nothing, you scum!"- outbursts.
What will happen next? Will Charan finally decide to avenge his parents? Will Sanjana change into a nice girl with nice Indian-girl-qualities or will Charan throw her out the window? Will Charan´s hair get an own subplot? Will this movie turn into Rambo complete with headband and mud fighting? Oh, yes and much more.

Even Charan is happy.
Alas, he can´t take the suspense.
But who cares, right?
Well, we don´t.
Chirutha is one of those movies where acting and story take a backseat to the beautiful people, the beautiful locations and the the beautiful songs in the front row. It has some similarities to Dhoom 2, only with lower production values. It´s really an either-you-like-it-or-not kind of movie.
Well, I liked it a lot. I´m just a sucker for all that mentioned above, add a plotturn where the two lovers strand on a deserted yet beautiful island and you´re sold, at least by me.

The actors and acting are similar. Charan is doing his best and although looking drop-dead gorgeous throughout the film, you see that it´s his first movie. But there are some who are much worse than him and anyways, as his Nr. 1 fan I can forgive Cherry-Darling a lot. 
Neha Sharma is really pretty and her dancing is acceptable although not to be compared with Charan´s. Maybe he has to learn a lot about acting but, man, this guy can move!
Neha´s acting ability is equal to zero but that´s okay since her main purpose for the movie is to look pretty and be in the songs. Prakash Raj is just Prakash Raj doing his own thing and being awesome.
There are also two comedy subplots including Brahmanandam (who ´till now has been in every Telugu movie I have seen so far) as a ship captain and Ali as a transsexual brothel-owner. Seriously, I am not making this up.
Sometimes I find them funny, sometimes not, depending on the mood I am watching this movie in.

The only thing I have to complain about ***SPOILER and really hate about the movie is that Charan gives Neha a slap on the face halfway through the movie and threatens to RAPE her in the second half. I´m sorry but I don´t get this attitude towards violence against women. (And not only here, it´s a general problem in Indian movies). As soon as the Hero hurts the Heroine physically, the whole movie is spoilt for me. There is no way I can go on to believe in their romance because which woman with a healthy amount of self-respect would fall for a guy who abuses her? And in Chirutha it´s really bad. Right after his fake attempt to rape her, she falls in love with him, implying that it´s okay to scare a girl like that because "I just did it to prove my love to you." Sure, dude, whatever.

After this...
...we go to this. Just NO.
It´s just NOT okay and I hope that one day I can watch an Indian movie without having to fear that the Hero will slap the Heroine at some point or attempt to rape her because she "annoyed" him. Ugh. SPOILER END***

Well, apart from this little complaining point, I think Chirutha is a really enjoyable movie despite its obvious flaws and if you like wacky plots, great songs with such poetic lyrics like "You are my choco bar...", exotic locations, beautiful actors and Ali as a drag queen, I would highly recommend it to you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look! There is Kajol! SRK! Amitji AND Jaya! There is songs and dancing and a lot of crying! What`s there to hate? Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

K3G (as the cool kids call it) is everything that makes people hate and/or despite Indian movies and everything that makes other people (like me) love it. It´s colorful, it´s opulent, it´s superficial and glamorous, it´s full of tears and seethrough shirts (and not on women as you might be inclined to think).

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (it took me a long time to learn the spelling by heart) made me a convert. I have seen a few Bollywood movies before, but it never made klick. I can´t really say, what it was about K3G for I admit that – looking at it objectively – it is not a very good film but somehow it went straight to my cold and correct German heart and turned it into a squishy, sentimental dil.

The story goes something like that: Rich, spoiled Rahul (SRK), the son of rich, strict and never smiling Yash Raichand, a multimillionaire (billionare? I never quite figured it out), falls in love with a not so suited girl, Anjali (Kajol), because OMG! She is the daughter of a sweet shop owner living in Chandni Chowk, apparently one of the not so acceptable districts of New Delhi. But since it´s Kajol, Rahul cannot help himself and by doing so, tears his whole family apart. The rest of the film follows the path of the reconciliation of the Raichand family. (There are also Hrithik and Bebo, Jaya Bacchan and a lot of dancing).

I will always have a soft spot for K3G because it contains everything I love about Indian movies. I just dot see what is there to hate about? There is SRK ( my one and only love), Kajol, the music is in my opinion perfect (especially Bole Chudiyan and Yeh Ladki Hai Allah) and the story is just heart wrenching. If you don’t cry, you just don’t have a heart.

The story in pictures! (Sorry for the subtitles, they can´t be turned off with my DVD)

We start in typical Kjo-style: "Who do I miss the most today?"

Amitabh and Jaya tell us something about how parents love their children.
"Rahul, my son, my life," tells us Jaya as the camera zooms into the face of Rahul and conveniently out of the face of Rohan (because who cares about the second kid?)
We also get some close ups of Hrithiks gorgeous eyes.
A pretty shot.
I love Dadi and Nani, they are hilarious!
The title song ( With the German title)
A typical Kjo film scene, just beautiful
Of course Rani is not far away. Yay, Rani!
I LOVE YOU, RANI! I so wish that you would be Anjali.
Raichand Mansion, England, India. Who cares?
Seriously, this is the best entrance scene I´ve ever seen.
Rahul and his Ma.
Aww.. they´re so cute together, why can´t they make another movie?
Oh right, that´s why.

Okay, I get it. Kajol IS awesome.
So thinks Rahul, as he literally falls for her.

And I understand. I mean, come on, she is so lovely, so vibrant and vivacious who wouldn´t fall in love with her?
 And I must also say, that this scene is what makes the movie for me. A lot of people are complaining that he falls in love with her without any real reason shown in the film, but I think that this scene makes it perfectly clear, why he is so smitten that he literally falls off a staircase. She is everything he is not, everything he didn´t even know he was missing. She is his total opposite, she is carefree and living for the day and so full of love for life itself whereas his whole life revolves only about not disappointing his father. She makes him forget that, makes him to live at least once just for himself and forget everything else. She makes him enjoy life.

Some of Kajol´s hilarious expressions.

Rahul calls for a date.

The infamous bangle scene.
  Suraj Hua Maddham, where we dwell on the famous SRK-Kajol chemistry.

It´s Really Hot In Herre...
Some daydreaming inside the daydreaming

It´s REALLY hot in herre... And this is a children friendly movie!?
Rahul tells his Ma about Anjali, i.g. that she is really... crazy.
Rohan leaves the family. Don´t worry Rohan, you´ll come back as a sexy stud who has managed to grow an extra thumb! (for luck, you know)
Amitabh finds out about rahul and Anjali. "How could you believe she could become a part of our family?" He asks indignantly. Seriously, man, she´s poor for God´s sake!
"I just fell in love" is the meekly answer and I go "Awww..."
A hopeful glance at Amitabh. Did this answer soften up hiss cold heart as it did mine?

No it didn´t.
I love the lighting in this and the following shot. It really emphasizes the whole Fallen From Grace-situation. Shah Rukh is all in grey and washed out colors whereas Amitji is all in yellow and orange.

And as soon as he submits to his father and is accepted back into the family he too becomes yellow and orange.
Rahul makes a life changing decision.
The guilty couple.
"You are not my son," says Amitabh coldly, as we hear the sound of some hearts breaking. Including mine.
Some crying.

A little more crying. (And yay, Rohan is back after not only changing the amount of his body fat but also his eye color).
We change locations to London.
In between finding his long-lost brother, Rohan also manages to roam around the city,
walking around with a bunch of pretty, non-Indian girls who just so happen to wear dresses in the colors of the Indian flag, and
stealing ice cream from nice old ladies.
And finally, after days of just roaming clulessly around London, Rohan has the brilliant idea to resort to the internet.
We also meet Rahul and Anjali again, who are living in London now.
And then there is the one and only...

I love you, Bebo, you rock!

Kareena doing her Spoiled Rich Bitch thing, which only Bebo can pull off really convincingly.

Falling in love wth Mr. Extra Thumb

He doesn´t waste time in reciprocate her feelings.

The reencounter.

We also get a little lovey-dovey from both of the couples. Because, honestly, who doesn´t enjoy SRK and Kajol and Hrithik and Kareena be romantic with eachother?

The most gut-wrenching scene of the movie. Even I find it too much.
Rahul finds out the truth.
The inevitable bench-scene.
Rahul sees his Ma again after ten years and...
the first thing he does is showing proudly at his son. SO CUTE!
Another bench-scene, with Jayaji finally telling her husband to f***k off.

The Guilty Couple Part 2. This time in ill-fitting clothes.
And more crying.

Amitabh and SRK make out. Up, sorry.

We end with a forgiving kiss, because now...
All Izz Well in Kjo-Land (thanks to Rani Mukerji)! Thank you for watching!