Friday, March 15, 2013

Eli's POV: Bollywood at a Glance

*Please note this post is largely based on personal opinions, interpretations, and views.*
I wanted to share my thoughts, be helpful, and recommend a few thing. Please don't chase me with a pitchfork or two.

I have these moments when I go on trends, I suppose you could say. I find a genre and mass consume it. Bollywood is one of those things. Although, it's difficult to find ones I thoroughly enjoy.
Chalk it up to culturally differences, age differences, or even language barriers. The movies style, life style, and everything about them is fairly different. Although things are changing, things are becoming more modern.

It's like picking something at random and diving in, not really sure what to expect, and sometimes not even sure what to think.

With this in mind, I picked my brain (and my Netflix history) for a list of titles and my feelings towards them. Mainly, searching for a list of things I approve of and those I don't. What I suggest watching and what I suggest staying away from.

Quick Discussion Time! Intermission, what is that and why is it there?

An "intermission" is when there's a break, splitting a film (play, etc) typically into two parts.
All Indian films have intermissions, expect to see them. (Fun Fact: This includes Western movies brought to India.) This is how their industry works.
I will try to explain this simply as I can. The first half of the movie is an introduction. It is light, care-free, lively, and dream-like. We meet everyone and they're story takes heart. *Intermission*
The second half is life. It comes barging in and crashing down without mercy. It's realization and basically reality. It's about how the characters deal with that and ultimately the conclusion. For a longer read..

With all that said, let's get this list rolling!

Recommend Bollywood movies:
If you are new or interested in Bollywood/Indian movies, I highly recommend any of these. You shouldn't have much of a problem enjoying or understanding them, culturally differences and all.
Do note most of these are fairly modern and a couple could, usually are, considered American movies (Bride & Prejudice and Outsourced). But it's the theme and introduction to the culture I was searching for here, with a bit of my personal preference thrown in.

Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, why?
This is by far my favourite Bollywood movie. Granted it's very modern, the story revolves around Facebook, and it's super cheesy. However, I always recommend this to people, I've yet to hear a negative reaction.
The movie is light hearted and fun.

Band Baaja Baaraat, why?
I will admit the first time I saw this, I was... shocked. This movie displays themes and actions thought to be otherwise taboo in the Indian film industry (from my understanding). After my shock, I realized how interesting a capturing the story was. The ending is one of my favourite dance scenes (although the 'dancing' is so cheesy!)
Here watching: Ainvayi Ainvayi Same song but not the ending, I wouldn't want to ruin it! :)

I Hate Luv Storys, why?
Super cute movie. There is no other way to say it. In all honesty it might be a generic rom-com but it knows that and doesn't deny it. Instead it gives in and leaves a great impact. Along with some warm fuzzy feelings.

Pyaar Impossible, why?
This is personal taste at play. I know some people that don't enjoy this movie. The reason it ends up in the "Recommend" section is because it's not bad. Along with that, my feelings are iffy about it. It's a decent story, although ends up on the fence between 'average' and 'more'. I can admit that.
Still, it's a fairly simple straight-forward story.

Bride and Prejudice, why?
Is another 'not quite' Bollywood, but it is often considered to be. It's is a great play on Pride and Prejudice with a slightly Indian twist.
Easy and fun to watch.

Outsourced, why?
In all honesty this film isn't really Bollywood, but it started something for me. This is one of the first India films I saw, while Americanized it opened a new world and showed me insight into India, something that I never even thought about.

From this movie, was created a TV series. Although short-lived, which is upsetting. I loved that show. :'(

Possible Recommendations:
Let me describe my feelings of these movies, as 'lukewarm'.
Many of these films display a traits ("sins") I've come to loath through Indian films. Let it be; the overly done slap-stick comedy, crazy heroines but it's okay, stay 'true' to your one love because no other option is acceptable, bad can never change, etc.

This is something that's hard for me to wrap my head around in someways. Again, differences, they happen.

I have to say my biggest pet peeve is having a super crazy female leads that can do no wrong, either because they're a wonderful person (despite being slightly "uncontrollable", my phrasing) or because they are a women. This is also goes hand-in-hand with them being overly cutesy. (I've also seen this in Asian movies. Mostly Korean and Japanese. My Sassy Girl.. *shudders*) I don't know what it is about this combination..
Enough about that!

Dil Bole Hadippa!, why?
This movie displays everything I discussed in the above section. It's a gender-bender about a girl that wishes to professionally play cricket on an all male team. This movie isn't bad, it's just.. iffy.
While it also has another one of my favourite dance numbers, Discowale Khisko

Jab We Met, why?
Oh this movie. So flip-flippy. The beginning half isn't bad. This movie slips after the intermission, then spends a good amount of time trying to even it's self out. Forcing me to label it as "Average".
In my eyes, no bad but not great.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, why?
Very cute movie. But at fault for all of the sins I've already discussed. This movie sets it's self apart from most of the Indian movies I've seen, people focused around older main characters, followed by younger.
Somewhat of a Mary Poppins theme.
(It's about a man suddenly becoming the guardian of four children. The twist, he coincidentally killed their parents in a car crash. They children are unhappy and pray to God, who sends down an Angel to help them.)
Sadly, while I enjoyed this movie, it's only slightly above average.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, why?
Dear lord. E-v-e-r-y crime in the book for me. I can't explain my love-hate relationship with the female lead. There are times I wanted someone like her in my life and others were I wanted to strangle her with my bare hands. Imran Khan () being in this helps it's standing. Firstly, I love him. Second, his character.. he just nails it and is the entire reason this movie holds together.
This one.. is a headache trying to find a place for,  forcing me to label my feelings "Luke Warm".

Saawariya, why?
This is a different kind of story. I wanted to love this movie, I did. But I could not bring myself to. What I think caught my attention was the side stories and details. There is much more than meets the eye, to the world created in this film.

Kal Ho Naa Ho, why?
This movie presents and interesting theme.. that I'll admit I don't enjoy. Mostly because of how it ends, but that's me.
Nonetheless, touching heart-felt story.


Not Recommend:  
These movies.. Basically ended up here because they send bad messages or waste time for no reason. Out of all the India movies I've seen, these stand out as the worst or at least the ones that left hugely negative impressions.
If you didn't noticed the two very large spoiler warnings, I am going to ruin these movies. Because, either they have no point (which spoils a plot right there) or they're negative and from my view point, you need to know, so you don't waste your time.