Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Favorite Picturizations of 2010!

I'm not going to lie. I love songs and I especially love songs in movies. My favorite picturizations range from the unexpected to just a well done take on old chestnuts. While snobby realists may think that songs and song picturizations somehow "ruin" films, I would like to disagree.

Song picturizations may sometimes be filler but at their best, they can amp up the emotion of a scene or compress an emotional narrative into 3 minutes. It's not the ubiquity of song picturizations that make popular Indian film unique, it's that song picturizations are an integral part of the way popular Indian film tells a story. Matlab, one of the reasons that the current crop of limp Bollywood films are so limp is that they try to use the popular Indian film narrative WITHOUT the songs to heighten the emotions.

Instead of a mythic transcendence, we get unrealistic stories told in a Hollywood style. Bad form.

But enough about bad things, let's see the good ones! And unlike my dances, I'm including Tamil films in this list.

This is not an objective 'best of', it's just my favorites, so please comment with your favorites!

(See my
favorite dances 2010.)

#10 "Just Do It" from
Chance Pe Dance

Why? Surprisingly for a dance film starring Shahid Kapoor, there wasn't much dancing to be found in
Chance Pe Dance and a lot of the dancing misused his talents in a vain attempt to transform Shahid into something of a Hrithik Roshan-lite. (Note to future producers, it didn't work for Harman Baweja, either.) What really worked for me in Chance Pe Dance was watching Shahid just be charming - something the choreographer finally let him in do in "Just Do It."

#9 "Taali" from

Why? It's a hot mess and I love it. Okay, maybe I never actually
saw the film, but this song been in constant rotation on my iPod since the movie came out. Just watch and enjoy Sohail and Salman's terrible dance moves and their attempt to create an epic atmosphere using some of the most ridiculous costumes seen in Bollywood in recent years.

Sometimes songs just need to be fun to be satisfying!

#8 "Jaane Kiske Khuwaab" from

Why? Besides being a wonderful piece of dancing from Hrithik, this song is our first glimpse of his character as anything other than a cranky man in a wheelchair. Simply put, it's magical. While "Udi Udi" is a better song and dance, the placement of "Jaane Kiske Khuwaab" in the narrative just blew me away. It's magical.

#7 "Arima Arima" from

Why? Okay, this song is about Aishwarya seducing an army of evil robots. Do I really need to say more? IT'S FREAKING AWESOME, okay? Aishwarya Rai is having the time of her life and there is an evil army of robots that dance. Oh and did I mention Rajinikanth!

Look, there is a reason I started watching South Indian film and this song picturization explains why.

#6 "Wallah Re Wallah" from
Tees Maar Khan

Why? Even if this film is terrible - which I doubt - I will be grateful to Farah and Shirish for serving up this little slice of joy. Sallu! Akki! Kat! A qawwali! Can it get better than this?

(And if it hasn't become clear, I favor the bold and colorful over the 'tasteful.' In other words, I would totally pick Shaadi Mubarak to plan my wedding!)

#5 "Kodu Potta" from

Why? OVERWHELMING MASCULINITY WE HAVE IT! Chiyyan Vikram is magnetic; he's mesmerizing. His performance in
Raavanan is one of the best of the year - bleak and manic at the same time. The film is the same. Drenched in rain and covered in mud, Raavanan grows more and more intense. But then this song, coming right after the Interval, juices the film back up with a big dose of energy. And its not just us in the audience - Aishwarya, the kidnapped Raagini is drawn in by its power.

#4 "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain" from

Why? Who thought one of the sweetest songs of the year would come courtesy of Salman Khan? This manages to be sentimental and charming without being saccharine or overly precious. And what a debut for Sonakshi Sinha! She shows more personality here than other heroines have in their entire careers. My eyes turned to little hearts when I saw this.

#3 "O Mere Khuda" from

Why? This is the picturization and the song that both resurrected Vivek Oberoi's Bollywood stardom and paved the way for
Dabangg. While Prince might have been merely a mediocre film, the sense of EPIC COOLNESS projected in "O Mere Khuda" is not something to be taken lightly. While Prince was not a super hit by any measure, the fact that it broke through the media chatter at all was significant because it showed that people were craving some EPIC COOLNESS instead of soppy romantic-comedies. I dare you to not be overcome with excitement as Vivek Oberoi is lowered from the ceiling into a FUTURISTIC ROBOTIC WONDERLAND!

# 2 "I Don't Know What To Do" from

Why? I was completely shocked when this song came on and then completely delighted. At this point in the film, Jiah Khan's character is supposed to be a demure girl and when she busts out with a bustier and riding crop, well, let's just say I was smitten. The staging is wonderful and the song came at the perfect point in the film, throwing off all expectations of the twist coming for Jiah's character.

Plus, Akshay and Jiah look like they are having a great time!

#1 "Vaama Duraiyamma" from

Why? Coming from one of the best films of the year is this amazing little song picturization. Not only is the song gorgeous, the juxtaposition of English and Tamil is done flawlessly with touches of humor from the interpreter. Everything about it is beautiful and, like the rest of the film, every detail is done to perfection. "Vaama Duraiyamma" lets Arya show Amy his world and builds a foundation upon which the rest of the film stands. Vah!


dunkdaft said...

'tere mast mast' was so fun,yes. Sallu made it. Besides that, 'meherbaniyan' from Veer for me. Salman doing Shammi !

Besides 'udi' another 'beautiful' picturization is 'badi dheere jali'(ishqiya).

Most disappointing : all from IHLS

Saurabh Utneja said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
eliza bennet said...

Interesting combination and thank you so much for preparing it. Good referral points (and I'm slowly getting into Tamil & Telugu cinema)

Salman is not an actor I really like but he comes off as "sincere" on screen in whatever he does. I think that counts most no?

"both resurrected Vivek Oberoi's Bollywood stardom"

Hmmmm, imho, poor Vivek's only time in spotlight was in Company and never been resurected. I think he is -yet another- good example of being privileged not getting you anywhere in the eyes (and wallets) of film goers.

Michael Barnum said...

Thanks Filmigirl for the round-up of favorite 2010 song picturizations...having seen none of the above films (yet) I have a lot of catching up to do, and some of those sure look fun!

Like you, I love the song picturizations...they are a highlight for me...when I am in a theatre watching an Indian film and a picturization comes on I just get a total 'high'! Something about a musical number just makes my dil go pitti patti!

I have never understood why so many US film viewers dislike musical numbers, especially when they tell me that it takes them "out" of the film, or seems unrealistic...and yet they can watch a film where the hero beats up 20 guys single handed or the leading lady can stab, bash, and practically dismember the baddie and he still comes back for more...that is realistic???

Oddly enough, there was a time in US film history (the 30s and the 50s, particularly) when big musical numbers were the norm, and were loved...and I would see so many more US made films if that were the case now! LOL!

Filmi Girl said...

@dunkdaft I echo that sentiment regarding IHLS. The OST was so much fun, it's a shame the film didn't measure up.

@eliza I try to mix it up! :) And I agree with your sentiments on Salman Khan.

I do think Prince elevated Vivek back into the Bollywood conversation when before he had been languishing on the sidelines - sure, he's not in the league of the Three Khans or even Akshay or Ajay, but he's also no longer doing films with the Deols. Maybe he's on par with an Emraan Hashmi level of Hero now?

@Michael Yay! I'm glad you liked them! I wouldn't recommend all the films but I am inclined to rate a film higher if I am taken with the songs (see also: Action Replayy).

And I, too, think US film reviewers are completely shortsighted to bash songs as "unrealistic." Unless they are watching a Dogme 95 film, there is going to be unreality in EVERY film - movie making is artifice! Why we in the West pretend it is not has always completely baffled me.

Re: The 30s-50s, I read an interesting book on how the old Broadway musicals were adapted to movie musicals and - surprise surprise - the same biases existed back then. Studio execs thought audiences were too stupid to understand the idea of a musical. Maybe they were right...

Farhana said...

I'm surprised none of the Action Replayy picturizations made it onto your list!

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
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