Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BOLLYWOOD FOR BEGINNERS POST #28.2

For previous posts, please visit the index.

Continuing on from yesterday, over the next two posts, I'll give ten films that I think are fairly representative of the decade 2000-2010. I'm sure there will be some additional suggestions (and arguments!) in the comments, so without further ado...

KNOW YOUR DECADES: 2000-2010
Film choices 1-5



1. Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000)

Directed by Rakesh Roshan
Starring Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel

This is a film that is remembered today mainly for launching Hrithik Roshan, who remains one of the industries top heroes. KNPH (to use the appropriate acronym) is a delightfully glossy film about a dirt poor guy named Rohit (Hrithik Roshan) who falls in love with Sonia, the richest girl in town (Ameesha Patel.) I won’t give away the ending but, needless to say, there are exotic locations, bathing suits, songs galore, a double role, plenty of romantic melodrama, and not a whiff of real danger or meaning. The production values may appear a little dated for viewers used to contemporary films but 30 seconds of Hrithik’s sparkling smile should be enough to make you forget.

Keep an eye out for the club song “Ek Pal Ka Jeena” sung by Lucky Ali as a fine example of what item songs morphed into for most of the 2000s - hedonistic club songs and a chance to showcase scantily clad white extras. Plus, you’ll get a peek at that most mysterious articles of filmi clothing - the black mesh shirt.

KNPH is exactly the kind of nonsensical film that film snobs of all types are thinking of when they dismiss Bollywood as only being about romance and dancing.



2. Razz - The Mystery Continues (2009)

Directed by Mohit Suri
Starring Kangana Ranaut, Emraan Hashmi, Jackie Shroff, and Adhyayan Suman

Raaz - The Mystery Continues is a trashy, supernatural thriller and one of the finest examples of the B-movie genre. Fashion model Nandita (Kangana Ranaut) is suffering from demonic possession. Painter Prithvi (Emraan Hashmi) is painting her future in his canvases. What is the connection? Why is her boyfriend Yash (played by Kangana’s then real life boyfriend - and real life jerk - Adhyayan Suman) such a jerk? I won’t spoil the answers.

RTMC (and a lot of these B-movies) carry the torch of old time Bollywood masala; it has everything - great songs, romance, drama, action, adventure, gore, sex, and a moral message.


3. Hum Tum (2004)

Directed by Kunal Kohli
Starring Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji

Slick and stylish, but with a good deal of heart, Hum Tum epitomizes the upmarket NRI romantic-comedy. Karan (Saif Ali Khan) and Rhea (Rani Mukerji) meet-cute on a flight to New York. Although a few sparks do fly, the pair eschew the romance track for friendship. Only later, after life lessons are learned, do they genuinely fall in love.

And it’s interesting to note that while a film like this would be created and marketed as a “chick flick” if it was coming from Hollywood, the romantic-comedy is an equal-opportunity film in India and any men reading this should feel free to enjoy films like Hum Tum and their ilk without having their masculinity challenged.

Keep an eye out for Rishi Kapoor playing Karan’s no-good father. Rishi was a much beloved hero in the 70s and 80s and is now a much beloved father figure. The song accompanying him ("Main Shayar To Nahin", “Nor am I a poet”) is from Rishi’s much beloved debut film, Bobby.


4. Om Shanti Om (2007)

Directed by Farah Khan*
Starring Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal, and Kirron Kher

Shahrukh Khan stars as Om Prakash Makhija, named after famous yesteryears actor Om Prakash, an aspiring actor who can only find work as a junior artiste (i.e. an extra). He falls in love with beautiful starlet Shanti Priya (Deepika Padukone) - a love that leads to his untimely demise and eventual rebirth as the slick actor Om Kapoor (or “OK” as he likes to be called). Om Shanti Om is heavily influenced by the 1980 classic Karz, so Indian audiences would have had a good idea where the plot was going but I won’t spoil the surprise for the newbies.

Om Shanti Om exemplifies the strain of gently mocking 1970s nostalgia that took hold in the latter half of the decade, and a country’s fond embrace of a sometimes goofy past should feel very familiar to anybody that lived through the 1970s nostalgia that swept the US in the 1990s (The Brady Bunch Movie, anyone?)

*It’s also important to note that this movie put director Farah Khan on the map and proved - much like The Hurt Locker did for Hollywood - that women could play with the big boys.


5. Lagaan (2001)

Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar
Starring Aamir Khan, Paul Blackthorne, Rachel Shelly (The L Word), and Gracy Singh

Lagaan is a historical epic on the scale that they don’t make in Hollywood anymore. Think Spartacus and then add in a gorgeous soundtrack by A.R. Rahman, a nail-biting cricket match, a simmering love triangle, a dollop of comedy, and an uplifting moral message of community. That’s Lagaan. The film is takes place during the time of the British Rja. Bhuvan, a humble village man (Aamir Khan), accepts a challenge from the haughty Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne) - Bhuvan and a team of villagers must defeat the Englishmen in a game of cricket or risk paying three times the normal tax.

Although Hollywood types probably consider Lagaan notable for having been nominated for the Oscars, I consider it notable for being an awesome film... and for spawning a number of historically epic flops... and one or two successes.

So, go update your Netflix queues! The next five will be posted tomorrow!

1 comment:

S said...

Great post FG! Agree with all your filmy choices, looking forward to the next few installments. And I'm eagerly waiting for when you cover the 90's - that should be fun. :p

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl