Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days Of Film Meme: Days 11 & 12

Day 11: A Movie that Changed Your Opinion About Something

Before I´ve seen Dil Se all the Bollywood I´ve seen were Karan Johar and Yash Chopra films. I thought that Bollywood movies are without exception candyflossed romances, with great songs, beautiful actresses and Shah Rukh Khan and always with a Happy Ending. Imagine my reaction when I first saw Dil Se. 

Excited as I was, when I saw a SHAH RUKH KHAN MOVIE on a shelf in my local library, I ran home and watched it immediately. After the movie had finished, I sat in front of my computer, a little bewildered, a little disappointed and, to be honest, a little shocked. Where was my Happy End? Where were the happy Songs and the glamourous heroine? Was that really Shah Rukh´s real voice!? 

It was an eye opener. And thankfully so! After I got over my initial disappointment I discovered a whole new world of movies that I didn´t even suspect of existence before! Not only did I learn that Shah Rukh can star in something else than K3G and KKHH but also that Bollywood has a lot more to offer than I originally thought. So, THANKS  A LOT to my local library for introducing me to Dil Se or else I would still be trapped in my ignorant and limited world of mustard fields and chiffon dupattas.

Day 12: A Movie That You Hate

There were several choices here, like Yeh Lamhe Judaai Ke (aka The Worst Movie Shah Rukh Ever Made), Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (aka Most Annoying Female Character Ever) or Yamadonga (Yes, Yamadonga) but no movie has ever evoked such a strong negative reaction in me as Ishaqzaade. I explained the reason in detail here, so let me just say that I was as disgusted and angry as I was, simply said, disappointed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

30 Days Of Film Meme: Days 8, 9 & 10

8. A Movie You´ve Seen Countless Times

K3G was the first Bollywood movie I saw. Well, not really the first FIRST, as I´ve seen some bits of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Main Hoon Na before but it was the first one I watched consciously, that means I found out the time when it would air on TV, sat down excitedly in front of the TV at said time and then... DEVOURED IT COMPLETELY. At the time I was still living at home and we didn´t have a DVD player yet - did these things exist already back then in 2004? - so I taped it on our old VCR and then proceeded to watch it over and over again in our living room. My mom hated it but I didn´t care, I was in love. With the songs, the lavish sets and the sky-high-melodrama, it was perfect to me. For a long time it was my favourite Bollywood movie and although I now see the many flaws of it, I will always have a soft spot for Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham because as with your first love, you never forget your first Bollywood movie.

9. Best Movie Soundtrack

To be honest I am not such an avid music lover as I maybe should be. I never buy albums, I have no favourite genre or band or singer, I don´t know what music is "cool" right now because my track list consists mainly of soundtracks. Indian soundtracks. Sometimes that makes things a little difficult for me, for example when I´m at a party and some cute guy asks me what music I listen to and then I have to say some Hindi title and then he just stares at me, confused and bewildered. But the truth is, no music ever has been able to speak to me as much and as intense as the songs from my beloved Indian movies. And the best one (for me, right now, as it actually changes every few months) is A. R. Rahman´s Rockstar.

Imtiaz Ali just gets me. He knows exactly what kind of things work for me and which doesn´t. He knows exactly what kind of stories I love and the characters I care for. And he knows exactly which strings he has to pull to get right to my heart. Music. Music is so, so important for me in a movie. Most Indian movies use the music as stand alone numbers, which is fine by me because most of the time (besides being awesomely choregraphed, staged and costumed) they also help to deepen the story, conveying emotions, expressing feelings in a way much more compelling than dialogue. But the movie would work without them. It would maybe not be as interesting but it would work.

In contrast to that, the music of Rockstar is not only an integral part of the movie, it IS the movie. The story gets narrated through the music. All the important things in the film happen not through dialogue but through the songs, they are so seamlessly intertwined in the story that you don´t even notice when dialogue changes into lyrics. I´ve read somewhere that Rockstar is a movie that should not be as much as watched but it should be felt. And the music of Rockstar does that perfectly. It makes the movie an experience, a feast not for the eyes but for the ears.

10. Favourite Classic Movie

I haven´t seen many "old" movies, to be exact only... (wait, I have to think now...) four. So I´m really not an expert on them and I have no real options to choose from. So from the Four Indian Oldies that I´ve seen so far I proudly present to you: Guddi, where Dharmendra makes you swoon and Jaya proves that she has had a personality before becoming Mrs. Sour Old Grapes Face! 

Guddi (the movie) is really sweet. With the backdrop of one of my favourite themes, an inside look into the movie industry (by the way, SO DISAPPOINTED in you, Heroine!) it is a Coming Of Age movie where a young girl learns that the real world is as beautiful as the reel one. With cameos of many known stars of the time and a fresh and vivacious heroine, Guddi has a lot to offer. 

It starts out simple enough with Guddi´s life as an innocent schoolgirl being head over heels over Dharmendra (and who blames her, this guy is HAWT! Who knew!?) living her small life with her brother and an overly protective but loving bhabhi. Worried about Guddi living life in a dream world, Bhabhi and Bhai decide to let Guddi get a look of the Real Face Of Cinema (Luck By Chance, anyone?) and with the help of some friend with filmi connections, they take her to Mumbai Bombay, where Guddi meets her life long Dream Guy, Dharmendra and is... disappointed. 

Okay, this is where the film lost me a little because I would rather liked to see Guddi maintaining her love for the movies, in a more mature, laid back kind of way, while appreciating the things that real life has to offer. Seeing her despise them in the end, turned into this overtly adult and grown up woman was a little disappointing, if not to say boring. But still, Guddi is a nice watch. Cute and sweet. And with a loving look towards the Hindi Film Industry. Which is, of course, the best kind.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days Of Film Meme: Day 7

7. Most Surprising Plot Twist Or Ending

Okay, so this one´s pretty easy. Nothing ever surprised me more than the ending of the "new" Don. I would never ever have guessed it, that Don´s been actually alive all along and just pretending to be Vijay pretending being Don pretending being Vijay...  In my opinion, it is a great ending to a movie that´s supposed to be a remake... but then isn´t! What a genious move. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how you keep your audience on your toes. Such an exquisite shocker at the end is what elevates Don from being a mere remake of a classic to a truly memorable and amazing movie that can stand perfectly on its own.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Film Meme - Days 3, 4, 5 & 6

Wow, time flies really fast!

3. A Movie That Makes You Really Happy

Whenever I feel down or had a bad day and am in dire need of some comfort food, instead of chocolate or ice cream, I take to Mujhse Dosti Karoge.* This movie is like a warm blanket. Or like a really good therapy session. Dont´get this wrong: MDK is actually a pretty tough and exhausting watch: you may laugh, you may cry your heart out but in the end everybody´s happy. And singing. In Switzerland. What could be better?

*Okay, that´s a lie. There are chocolate and ice cream but MDK is a must needed accessory.

4. A Movie That Makes You Sad

There were like seven different choices on that one because I´m someone who cries very easily while watching a movie but the one film that makes me a crying, babbling and broken mess at the end is, well, Devdas. I know, I know: It´s all their own fault! You shouldn´t pity Devdas or Paro or even Chandramukhi because their plight, their suffering and pain is nothing but self inflicted! You can really say that in the end, they truly asked for it! And still, or maybe just because of that I feel it´s so, so much more sad. Devdas and Paro ruin their lives because of a stupid mistake and it´s all just so in vain! I think it is that senselessness that really gets me. (Every. F***ing. Time. Damn those eyebrows! And dimples! And floppy hair. Never. Forget. The hair.)

5. Favourite Love Story In A Movie

Ooh, that´s a tough one. To be honest, I don´t really have a "Favourite Love Story". I think every love is special and even if it´s just started on a whim (like basically almost every filmi romance) I root for it because in the end, I´m an old cliched and cheesy romantic and want every couple to be happy. I am someone who looks for romance even in the most hardcore splatter horror movie. I love the new James Bond franchise for the very reason that Bond was in love (like, for real) and that all he does now has an ulterior motif which is avenging his lover´s death. So. Romantic. You see, red roses for me anytime.
*Update after seeing Skyfall: Okay, so it´s not his ulterior motif anymore but who was the real Bondgirl of Skyfall? Damn, that´s right: M kicked ass (well, not literally, but still) and Bond´s ultimate mission was trying to protect her from Crazy-Gay-Guy(c) Javier Bardem, so I still say that he´s an all new and changed Bond since even the sexy times were trimmed down to the minimum (And what lame sexy times that were!!) Another proof that it´s not (just) about hot women, expensive cars and gadgets anymore. It´s also about heart. (Wow, that´s sounds wrong, associating that with the Bond franchise). True story.


If I have to choose one I think I´ll go with Varsham because unlike most other couples that I´ve seen in Hindi or Telugu cinema, Venkat and Shailaja had a (more or less) real relationship. They did not start on a whim and decided to marry each other on the spot, no, they took time to know each other a little bit better, they fought, they made up and they stood together through various hardships like an evil Gopichand and Praju competing for Worst Dad Of The Year. And they met in the rain! What could be more romantic than this?

6. Your Favourite Film From Your Favourite Comedian

There´s a slight problem here since I don´t really have a favourite comedian. I don´t even know them, really. The only ones that I can remember are Brahmanadam, Ali and Johnny Lever from the 90ies. I don´t know if Anupam Kher counts, since he also acts sometimes?

Well, from the few I do know by name, Ali is a favourite. I like that his comedy subplots are so elaborate. He gets costumes and wigs and whole backstories for his characters which makes me think that he doesn´t take every role he gets, like, for example Brahmanandam. (This guy, seriously, must have a contract to be in every Telugu movie ever made!) But, while with Brahmi it´s mostly hit or miss, I did enjoy every performance of Ali so far. So that would make him a favourite? And the favourite, well, is in Ek Niranjan, a Prabhas vehicle, where you can not only drool over Prabhu Darling but also laugh about Brahmi and Ali together. Although their substory is pretty much hated by everyone who saw the film, I loved it. Brahmi as a love guru with a thing for younger women and Ali as Captain Sparrow who comes back from the dead to haunt Brahmi who took away his wife? Brilliant.

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days Of Film Meme - Day 2

First of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Bolly Darling Nr. 1: Shah Rukh Khan!

Aah... The favourite look. Scruffy and smiling.
If Blogger had a smoochey-smiley like Bollywhat has, I would insert it here.

My favourite darling of Tinseltown is getting 47 today. YAY! I suppose he doesn´t have much time to celebrate though since the promotions for Jab Tak Hai Jaan are in ful swing by now. (I hope he gets to celebrate with Anushka and not Katrina though, because otherwise it could get a liiittle awkward...)

Second of all: This is my 50th post! YAY to me!

Shah Rukh´s sign of approval.
Anyway... Back to the real topic:

Day 2: The Most Underrated Movie:

Telling a story about eight students and their joys and worries through four years of college life, Happy Days would be the typical coming of age film if it wasn´t for the young actors who give their characters personalities, making them real and therefore believable. Although there are eight of them (which is a lot) and although over the course of the movie you might pick one as your favourite, you do care about the others as well, as the movie went by I became more and more invested in their stories, feeling as much a part of the group as they would be my real friends. I think what makes Happy Days such an enjoyable watch (and what made it such an unexpected success back in 2007), are really the characters, the eight individual personalities and their combined journey.

I would never had thought that it could be so engaging. After all, it is just a movie about a bunch of guys and their life through college. But college... college is about making new experiences, about widening your horizons and, above all, about learning who you are and what you want to be. And really, what could be more exciting?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Appreciating Beauty: Aishwarya Rai

For everyone who is living on the wrong side of the moon and hasn´t noticed yet:


The Most Beautiful Woman Of The World(TM) is getting 39 today so let´s all celebrate by wishing her all the best! Last year on her birthday I did a post about why I love Aish so much, listing all the reasons why she is one of my favoutite Bollywod actresses and besides that, a wonderful woman, so because of that and also because there is a post on Filmi Girl which covers all the important aspects that you have to know about Aish, this year I´m going to concentrate on the thing which strikes me the most about her: Her natural beauty.


Ever since I saw her for the first time I fell in love with her looks. I think I am obsessed about it. I don´t know exactly why I am so fixated on it, like I said before, there is so much more about Aish than just her beauty, after all, all the actresses in Bollywood are gorgeous, so what makes her stick out? For me, it´s more about her personality, I think, that shines through those blue eyes, the poise, strength and grace that is a part of her as a person. She just seems so... relaxed with her prettiness, like it´s really not that much to speak about and as if she´s not really aware of it. It´s just not a big deal for her.

Say wha...? I´m... pretty? Really? Cool. *Moving on*
The movie industry, here and in India (and everywhere else in the world) is all about physical appearance. Everyone, men and women alike, are trying desperately to look their best. And, well, it shows. If you´re constantly worried about how you look, how you are not allowed to eat everything and as much as you like, it starts to show on you one day. It doesn´t matter that you´re a size zero, if you don´t look happy with it, you´re just skinny. But NOT pretty.

And that´s where Aish triumphs. She doesn´t try to be beautiful, she just IS. In a world where actresses are back to their 52 kilograms or whatever just four weeks after they have given birth to a child, Beautiful, Wonderful Aish just doesn´t give a damn and attends important events in her normal after-childbirth size and shape. Looking more glamorous, beautiful and just really, really content and happy with herself than every other woman attending the event.  Because, as silly and cliche as it sounds, beauty is not just about physical appearence. It´s also about how you feel about yourself and your life and what shines through that makes you really beautiful.

Making everybody stare in awe.

30 Days of Film Meme - Day 1

I´v been meaning to do this ever since I saw it on  ...So They Dance! because I think it is an awesome idea and (as you all know by now) I love doing lists but, somehow, I´ve never got around to do it. But finally, starting today and covering all days of november, here comes:

30 Days Of Film Meme 
*Hope you enjoy*

Day 1: The best movie you saw during the last year

Oh my God, THIS movie. 2011 marked my first toe-dipping into South Indian cinema but it didn´t fully take on until MAGADHEERA. (That´s right the title should be written like this. In CAPITAL form. Because it IS that great.) This movie had everything I have been wishing from movies ever - and more! Why did I watch it in the first place I can´t even remember. I knew none of the cast, the director or the impact that movie has had. Maybe I was just bored. But, man, what a ride I had ahead of me! I watched it four times in two days although I had a pending presentation which I still had to prepare (which, accordingly, didn´t go that well), but I couldn´t help myself - I was addicted. From the wonderful love story to the period drama, from exploding motorbikes to magic horses, from Charan´s fabulous hair to the villain´s delicious evilness, it was perfect. And even now, almost two years later, it still is. No surprise, that it´s not only my favourite movie of 2011, it´s my Favourite Movie Of All Time.