Monday, December 31, 2007

Laawaris (or Why I Watched My First Bollywood Movie)

Laawaris was my first Bollywood movie ever.


Before I get into the movie, I have to tell you a little story about myself, because it kind of explains how I got so interested in Hindi cinema in the first place.

My father is Pakistani, with roots tracing back to the Punjab of India, and my mother German and Mexican, born and raised in the U.S.(as I was). When I was four, we actually lived in Karachi for six months, and the music,language, clothing and food lingers in some of my earliest memories.My parents divorced shortly after my return to the United States and I had no contact with my birth father for 20 years.

As a child, I often found it hard to fit in because I wasn't full German, wasn't full Mexican, wasn't full anything...and I really didn't know any Pakistanis. I always felt like a piece of me was missing, like a part of myself was taboo in my family because my mother had been hurt by my father and didn't have very pleasant memories of Pakistan. One day, I was up early watching Saturday morning cartoons and came across a song from a Hindi movie. I don't know how I knew it was similar to my dad's language, but I did. There was an eerie sense of familiarity in the music which I found strangely comforting. I'm not sure why, but this song of a woman dancing around a lounge stuck in my head for years....


20 years later, when I met my father and his wife Uzma, it was like a whole new cultural experience for me...But I loved every minute of it! Finally, I could learn and piece together the part of my heritage that had been a mystery for so many years...We looked through pictures of my family in Pakistan, ate Uzma's yummy cooking, and sipped chai. Uzma even sent me home with some of the black powdery eyeliner my mother loved so much from Pakistan! Today I have a nice relationship with them, visiting them in New York every now and then.

Ok, so back to Bollywood. It all started when a clerk at a gas station had poor enough eyesight to tell me I looked like Zeenat Aman(Now that I've seen her, I'm very,VERY sad to say I look nothing like her. I'm not even going to lie to you!). Curious, I called Uzma(You have to remember that I never felt like I fit in any kind of cultural group, so I was pleased to see that somebody had actually treated me like I should know who Zeenat Aman was, rather than looking at me like, "Oh, I wonder what she's mixed with?"), and of course she laughed and said we may have similar hair. But she did find it cute, so she promised to search through her movies and send me one with Zeenat Aman in it...













I'm totally not going to paste a pic of myself here because you would just laugh too hard...

But it actually took me awhile to watch this movie. I was interested, but not enough to place it at the top of my priority list(at that time, I actually did have a life). Finally, one night I popped it in...and guess what....

The first song in Laawaris was the same one I had seen on tv so many years ago! Now what are the odds of that? Of all the hundreds of Hindi films there are, what are the chances of my ever coming across that random song again? And to add to the irony, the movie was sort of about a man meeting his birth father and coming to terms with his identity...Freaky....

I wish I could say more about the movie, but to be honest, I had a hard time paying attention. The scenes would jump from one random place to the next(Where did Zeenat Aman come from anyways? She just sort of appeared... and her and the lead actor were suddenly singing on mountaintops), and the subtitles were really hard to follow. And is it just me, but do some of the scenes seem like they go on forever?

I would really like to re-watch this and re-post, because now being a Bollywood lover and more used to the swing of things, I would probably be a lot more forgiving and enjoy the movie more!

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Om Shanti Om

Nothing was going to keep me from going to see Om Shanti Om. Nothing!



It was only playing once in my hometown. I actually had to skip class to go(Ironically, a class about Indian culture). My brother was supposed to accompany me, but he got sick the night before (wimp) and backed out. Mom offered to watch my daughter, but if she wouldn't have I would have dragged little Isa too.

What an experience!The movie was pure entertainment...And if I was uncertain at any point I know for sure now that Shahrukh Khan lives for the sake of making movies his fans will enjoy. If director Farah Khan was the breath in Om Shanti Om,then SRK was the air that gave it life, stretching his over hyped image to its length just so we would get a good laugh. I've never seen Main Hoon Naa, but if its anything like this, I'm in!



The critics said Om Shanti Om lacked a substantial plot(yet they ironically embraced Saawariya), but let's face it, the movie was only supposed to be sugary fluff anyways. And when you hold it up to those standards, the plot was actually pretty good. The whole good guy/bad guy aspect reminded me of any typical Hollywood commercial flick, particularly one you would go take your kid to see that's like based off of a comic character or something, but the reincarnation spin added a different twist from that idea(unless you've grown up on Bollywood, in which case you may be sick of reincarnation used in films). But who cares about the plot, right? I didn't, for once(that's how much fun I had)!

The movie theater was packed. Not a seat left in the house. Since I was alone, I did get some odd stares, but I sat next to a mother with a baby(who miraculously didn't make a peep for the entire film--I was so glad I didn't bring my daughter)and a seat that was out of order, which worked out kind of nice because I didn't feel smushed in by strangers(not that I'm uncomfortable with that in particular, but I always like a little elbow room).



As it turned out, the fullness of the movie theater made everything more exciting, because the audience was so reactive. This was helpful when attempting to understand all of the jokes, a bit of a challenge for a Bollywood rookie such as myself. If the audience laughed, I knew it was a joke(obviously). The cool thing was, most of the time I did get the jokes, and was laughing right along with them(how far I've come in my journey through Bollywood!)!

Speaking of audience reaction, Deepika Padukone got the most cheers from the guys that I've seen since Salma Hayek made her debut in Desperado. When she made her second entrance in the last half of the film, I even heard a guy shout, "Thank you, Director!"



I was completely starstruck for the awards ceremony piece and the 31 star cameo song, "Deewangi". I literally had butterflies in my stomach as I waited with baited breath for each star to appear, particularly Kajol...and the crowd's delight heightened my own. Kajol,Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty got the loudest applause from everyone, and Rekha got something between an applause and a gasp. The only thing I didn't get about this song was that while its supposed to be oh-so-cool, the English lyrics would be laughable if ever played in any of the nightclubs here in the U.S.("All cool boys, come on make some noise"? Come ON, people!).



I won't go on a tangent about SRK's now famous six pack. But I will say that I usually don't care whether guys are ripped or not, and I already love SRK for non-physical reasons. But when "Dard-E-Disco" came on, most of us were speechless(read into that what you will). Even the guys. I imagine plenty of them in the theater that night went home to dust off their Ab-rollers.

The romance of the film was weak, but that was okay too. At least I got "Main Agar Kahoon", which allowed me to do one of my favorite things--watch Shahrukh Khan fall in love.



The characters were adorable when playing the starstruck fan roles. I could have just hugged SRK's Om from the first half of the film, and I could see myself in Sandy, Deepika's second character, as she watched Om Kapoor's movies with hearts in her eyes(never mind that she's supposed to be a teenager and I'm 26).

One final thought on Deepika...As we all were leaving the theater, I overheard someone say, "She did a much better job than Sonam", while her friends nodded in agreement. Not an entirely fair statement, in my opinion, but worth mentioning.

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dor

I'm finding that in Bollywood its pretty rare to see a movie that doesn't rely on a male character to tell the story.

I'm happy to report that Dor is the exception.

Dor is a beautiful movie about a friendship between two women, with a powerful message of forgiveness. I warmed to both actresses instantly, and the final scene moved me to tears.I don't want to say too much and give any of the movie away, but its definately a gem. I recommend it to anyone!


I already knew a bit about how widows can be treated in India and Pakistan. My stepmother's sister was recently widowed and lives in Pakistan. She's very young and going through a very difficult time...I've never met her but she's always in my prayers. Knowing the reality she faces and watching the scenes with Ayesia Takia, I kept thinking how heartbreaking this must be for any woman already grieving her love.


On a lighter note,does Ayesia Takia slap someone in all of her films? Because this is the second one I've seen with her in it, and she's hit someone both times. Granted, they may have deserved it(Akshaye Khanna, I'm looking at you), but watch out, Bollywood!

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Salaam-E-Ishq

I'm glad I watched Salaam-E-Ishq.

No, really I am! Yes, it was about two and a half hours longer than it should have been. Yes, it was about six couples whose stories I didn't care about as much as I should have. But I saw it fairly early in my Bollywood watching days, and it gave me a huge bonus incentive-an introduction to 13 Bollywood actors I had previously never seen before.

I guess the movie was so-so. It had some cool moments(the title song) and some real yawners(most of Salman Khan's scenes). I watched it once by myself and then showed it to Ceci(Ok,and once with my mom and bro--so three times). It was way better when you had someone to laugh at the silly parts with you and join you in drooling over John Abraham.

But, sadly, the highlight for me of this film was just getting familiarized with the stars in it... So, here's a few of my first impressions...

John Abraham-Hey, isn't this the guy from "Where's the Party Tonight?" I know I've seen him before, and clearly it wasn't in real life(I wouldn't be that lucky).

Vidya Balan-She acted like her doting husband was an annoyance, even before her accident. The snottier she was to him, the more he chased after her. Hmm. Maybe I could learn a few things from Tehzeeb.

Priyanka Chopra-I don't mean to sound hung up on physical beauty here but how can you not mention beauty in the same sentence describing Priyanka Chopra? Her character was stuck up in the movie, but I hear a lot of positive things about her in real life. If she's as sweet as she seems on the inside, then some women really do have it all!

Salman Khan-I knew he was a big name in Bollywood, but I was unimpressed. He and Priyanka didn't really have a well written story, though. At least Priyanka got me to laugh a few times. Salman just reminded me of an obsessive fan/stalker.

Govinda-While I didn't see any real chemistry between him and his other half Stephanie in the beginning, by the end of the film this pair was hands-down my fave couple! Really funny and really sweet...the whole movie could have been about them(and a lot shorter) and I would have been happy.

Shannon Esrechowitz-I wonder how she got into this movie. I'm not being sarcastic, I really want to know! I mean, does she love Bollywood? Was she approached? Did her agent set it up? I liked her, but I just was curious. Anyways, they made sure to pick a girl that looked good in liquid eyeliner. They made sure.

Akshaye Khanna-He reminds me of a young Robert de Niro...And I thought his commitment phobia story was funny, a nice comic relief from some of the boring scenes. Hooray for happy endings, but he totally deserved that blow from Ayesia Takia! Speaking of...

Ayesia Takia-She seemed sweet here, but didn't have a big enough role to really show what she can do. A movie like Dor shows she is capable of much, much more if given the opportunity.

Anil Kapoor-I can't judge him from this film. He played a man going through a mid-life crisis pretty believably, so I guess that was the point. But given that I now know he's been around for awhile, I'd like to see one of his meatier roles before I judge him.

Juhi Chawla-Same as above. But why would anybody want to cheat on her? And did anybody else think the "other woman" kind of looked like Juhi anyways?

Sohail Khan/Isha Koppikar-I would sacrifice the few laughs this couple gave me to cut them from the film. Nothing personal...but in a movie that stretches almost four hours long, do you really need a "filler"?

Some extra points:

*Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the same guy who directed Kal Ho Naa Ho? I just don't see it...But I guess he didn't write the scripts, so whatever...

*Why isn't "Babuji Deere Chalna" on the soundtrack? I know its an older song remixed...Was it a copyright thing?

*When I first saw the scene where Kkamini lists the actresses, I didn't know who any of them were...Now I know almost all! I'm so happy!

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Kal Ho Naa Ho

I am soo glad I found Kal Ho Naa Ho. And Shahrukh Khan, if you ever read this, I love you. You almost lost me for a minute there...you did a couple things in the first half of this movie that made me second guess my feelings...but by the intermission you won me over (once again), and now I am forever yours!





As for the movie? I didn't think I was going to like it. It seemed like just another love story (I practically live for love stories, especially ones starring Shahrukh Khan, but I wasn't completely sold on him at the time I bought Kal Ho Naa Ho).

As soon as the first song came on, "Pretty Woman", I had a sinking feeling that I had made a mistake purchasing this film(I know Bollywood can be a bit nutty at times, but please, WHO thought it would be a good idea to have Shahrukh Khan pretend to rap?).


Who would have thought I would fall head over heels in love with this movie, showing it to all my Bollywood-watching friends(who all loved it just as much, I might add)?

Like I said, I had already seen a few Shahrukh Khan films and knew the over-the-top romantic he could be, but wasn't a fan of that yet...so for the story to be woven in such a way where his character wanted to love but couldn't really had me longing for him to go into the romantic persona I knew he was capable of, at least for Naina's sake. Take for instance the scene where Aman(SRK) reads from Rohit's diary to Naina, even though there are no words written on the pages. Brilliant!


Kal Ho Naa Ho is heartbreaking, hilarious, romantic and just plain fun...The chemistry between the three lead actors, most of the songs, and the storyline had me laughing and crying, sometimes all at once.


This was my first experience with Saif Ali Khan. I found myself falling for him when Naina did, thinking if I couldn't see her with Aman, I was happy she had found a guy like Saif's Rohit...So sweet and funny, just a lovable character...









The friendship between Aman and Rohit was just as beautiful as the love Aman felt for Naina from afar...and the Kantaben jokes were really funny! All in all, the three of them worked so well together...They even made a song called "It's a Time To Disco" look semi-cool(Who thinks of the English names? Just wondering...)


Speaking of songs, I love all of them except for "Pretty Woman"(which I've softened to over time)...And I could just kiss Karan Johar for giving Rani and Kajol cameos in "Maahi Ve"(But I won't, Shahrukh, I won't)...

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fanaa

The fact that Fanaa tries to be romantic, suspenseful, and unique (with a bit of action thrown in)all at once will probably make you either love it or hate it.


I, of course, absolutely loved it. I realized that completely when I saw Rishi Kapoor get up and join in on a song about an ant sucking sugar, and found it endearing instead of ridiculous(I get that it's a tongue twister and not supposed to make 100% sense, but to see Rishi's character hopping around in the snow with that hat on...it just made me laugh, but in a good way).

This was my second Kajol movie, the first being Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. I didn't remember liking her quite so much in that, but since viewing Fanaa I have seen three more Kajol movies and loved her in every single one. With Zooni she was more toned down than the high pitched character in KKKG, and that gave me a chance to see what she was really capable of, the natural fun loving energy she brings to all of her roles. She is now one of my favorite actresses, hands down, and I can see why she is so adored in India.


Since I loved Kajol's character from the first opening scene, I could tell there was a good chance I would really like Fanaa.

Aamir Khan's entrance, and my first experience with him, was thrilling because they coupled it with an awesome song like "Chand Sifarish". I felt like I did when I was a kid and would go see a new Disney movie, the first song introducing the main character. They kept teasing us with it by playing the opening beat again and again until we already had the tune in our heads...
Although Aamir's entrance was slick, and I could tell I was supposed to think he was "a real killer"(to quote the subtitles) in the looks department, I kept thinking that if Zooni wasn't blind he wouldn't stand a chance.(**Spoilers coming up**) But by the time we got to the second half and Aamir was the wounded soldier struggling with when to come clean with Zooni as he was falling in love with her all over again, I was melting over the guy. It must have been that bandage he had on his head for most of the second half of the film! For some strange reason, he looked good with that dumb thing on!


Since re-watching this movie with my mom, I came to appreciate Aamir even more. The man can seriously act! Can't wait to see more of his films!

Besides the performances, Fanaa has quite a unique little plot. Even if the whole action/spy story was a bit lame to you(it wasn't to me, but the scenes with the Anti-Terrorism Unit chats were boring), you can't deny that the idea of Zooni living with Rehan and not knowing his identity because she was blind when they were together is pretty darn cool. Now why couldn't I have thought of something like that?

And how about the chemistry in the movie? "Dekho Na" was one of the steamiest scenes I've ever seen, done without any kissing at all! When I saw this movie I thought Aamir and Kajol were wayy hotter than the famous Shahrukh-Kajol pairing. Since then I've perhaps changed my opinion after viewing Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but I do think the Aamir-Kajol chemistry is different. Their chemistry is more adult, more mature sexuality while I think Shahrukh and Kajol share more of a butterfly-in-your stomach, first love kind of chemistry. And after watching their "conversation" on Fanaa's special feature DVD, I think Aamir wishes Kajol was single.


One last mentionable- "Mere Haath Mein" has to be the most beautiful song in a Bollywood movie I've come across so far. And again, due to the teaser for it in the background, by the time the song came on I felt like I already knew the tune and loved it. And by the way, Kajol's hair still looks good with snowflakes falling on it. Mine would have turned into a frizzy afro before Aamir could say, "Tere ishq mein meri jaan fanaa ho jaaye."

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dhoom 2

Whoa, I must really love Bollywood. I just downloaded a song to my Ipod with a chorus that contains the words, "Excuse Me to Please"(It's catchy,ok? And I'm really really hoping the incorrect word usage is intentional).

What's even more hilarious is that I downloaded the entire soundtrack from Dhoom 2 immediately after watching it--Even though I don't speak Hindi and didn't really like the movie all that much.

Why did I decide to buy into the hype and watch Dhoom 2, even though I'm not really an action movie fan? Well, I can't really answer that. I guess I was just starting to dabble in Bollywood, and anything with the Yash Raj banner seemed to be a fairly safe bet(I've since branched out and changed my opinion, but that's a whole different conversation), at least where direction and smoothness is concerned. And Dhoom 2 was advertised in all the Indian grocery stores in my neighborhood, so I figured that had to mean something.




















I can't say I regret my decision. Dhoom 2 wasn't really all that bad, but it wasn't really all that good, either. It was like a mediocre Hollywood action flick you go on a first date to see and you forget about until you see the DVD on a clearance shelf at Wal-Mart and you go, "Oh, yeah. The movie I saw with so-and-so." Nothing memorable or special, except for a few bonuses:

#1, The beautiful cast(excluding Uday Chopra, sorry, but he really irritated me)...Aishwarya and Bips are probably two of the most gorgeous women on the planet, Hrithik's an obvious hunk, and for me, Abhishek Bachchan, who I was attracted to in this movie more than ever. I don't know, must be the whole undercover cop thing...and the fact that he cooks for his pregnant wife.


#2,The music was fun and strangely catchy, and you can't beat Hrithik's dance moves. I also really liked "Don't Touch Me" with Abhi and Bipasha Basu(by the way, first time I got to see her in a movie--is she beautiful or what?). Speaking of Bips, why didn't they do a song with her and Aishwarya?


#3, I learned that I have no desire whatsoever to watch Neal N Nikki...(or anything starring Uday Chopra, ever)I know I want to watch as many Bollywood movies as possible for the sake of this site, but I'm sorry, guys. I just can't do it.


#4, a nice pairing of Hrithik with Aishwarya, which for some reason, really worked for me. I always have a hard time identifying with Aishwarya onscreen, which I think is due to her being distractingly beautiful. With Hrithik, (who I also can't really warm up to but who I think is undeniably hot)this works because he seems to be a bit more in her league.


Having said that, I wasn't wild about their onscreen kiss. I wonder if this was something that was hyped up when this movie came out, and if it was, I would consider the actual kiss to be a letdown. I don't know why, again, maybe because I find Hrithik and Aishwarya to both be a bit cold in general. Or maybe it was the gross string of saliva I saw between them when Hrithik pulled away. Couldn't they have touched that up or edited it out?


A few tidbits I also enjoyed were the conversations between Hrithik and Abhishek's characters, and the scenes with Abhishek and Ash. Every time they were onscreen together, I kept thinking I was in on some big inside joke because I knew they were just married in real life and my mom and bro didn't(Never mind that the whole Indian subcontinent probably considers that common knowledge).



Its the little things that kept me happy in this movie...And literally, that's all it really offered. I won't be racing to see the first Dhoom unless somebody thinks I should....I'm waiting.....



Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Have you ever loved someone that hasn't loved you back? Remember how that felt? Now imagine how it would feel if that person showed up years later...and your long lost dream came true! Now place this situation in Bollywood...


I don't know what it is about Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It certainly has its share of flaws. But I can't stop thinking about this film! I've seen it three times now- And each time, I anxiously await my favorite scenes, loving every minute and quite possibly loving them even more than I did the last time.


There's just so many touching parts to this film! My favorites? Of course, the gazebo scene...
Sadly, watching this scene is the only romance my life has seen in awhile!...but its so amazing...When I first saw it, I thought, oh, if only it were a bit longer, but in hindsight I'm glad its as short and sweet as it is...Now I finally get the whole Shahrukh Khan-Kajol chemistry thing!


And of course this unforgettable scene:

Kajol's expression was priceless here, though my heart bled for her!


The list goes on and on....There's the scene when Anjali wears makeup to school to look more like Tina(for many reasons, this scene is memorable, though a bit cruel at first), the scene where Rahul and Anjali play basketball in summer camp and Rahul tenderly brushes her stomach, Anjali leaving on the train and Rahul's and Tina's separate reactions, Rahul and Anjali meeting after so many years, little Anjali setting her alarm clock for midnight on her birthday, Anjali discovering little Anjali's identity,the scene at the end where Tina appears at Anjali's wedding...

Speaking of Tina, only Rani Mukerjee could make a wedge keeping Rahul and Anjali apart lovable. From the part right before the intermission and beyond, I literally became choked up every time I saw Tina's picture. Ironically enough, its because of Rani's character that they end up together. Aww!


One more thing--before I saw this film I thought I was seriously falling for Shahrukh Khan. After watching this movie I knew I was in love. This is a Shahrukh Khan classic!

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai could quite possibly be one of my favorite films of all time.

Text(c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

Hey, Shahrukh! I like blue too!!!


But ok, seriously. Where do I begin with this movie?

How about I'll preface this by saying I don't by any means condone adultery. Now, I've never been married, but I've had enough friends and seen enough marriages fall apart to know this: People change as they grow, and you both need to be willing to give 100% to a marriage in order to stay connected. Its something you have to work at every day.

The last thing you need in the midst of a marriage problem is a relationship with the opposite sex distracting you, making the grass appear greener on the other side. I'm not saying you can't have a platonic friendship with a co-worker or whatever, but I am saying there comes a certain point that is too close for comfort...and once you get to that point, I believe anyone has the potential to fall if they land in the wrong situation.

Ok, enough preachy talk--I bring this all up because I think Karan Johar actually did a pretty accurate job in telling a story where this could really happen--in fact, I was really impressed by the way he handled this --up until the last twenty minutes of the movie.
But we'll get to that.

Ok, so here's what Johar got so right-Yes, Maya had a loving husband (I was shouting,"is she crazy?!" during the scene where Abhishek has a candlelit dinner waiting for her when she comes home), but let's face it--Some people(myself included,before I wised up) just don't appreciate the things we have until they are gone. And yes, Shahrukh was kind of a jerk in this film, but he had such a sweet spot when it came to Maya. I have to admit, I found this unhealthily attractive. So in some weird way I guess I could see how Maya did what she did. I'm not saying it was right, and she was dumber than a brick to do it, but it was something I could see happening to someone like her.

Shahrukh's Dev really didn't have as much of an excuse(if you can call it that--there was really no excuse for Maya either), but again, fit with his character. Remember, he's pretty selfish. Can't handle a woman like Rhea(his wife), so he looks for someone who doesn't hurt his ego quite so much. Sadly, this happens every day in the real world.

I loved Abhishek Bachchan's character and for those who say he can't act, I say, "????"--He left me breathless in some of his scenes when he was arguing with Maya!

I also have to mention how much I absolutely loved the song, "Tumhi dekho na"--I was lost in Dev and Maya's world too and quickly forgot they were both married(I'm ashamed to admit-lol-But see how easy it is to stray?)

And is anybody else rooting for a romantic comedy starring Amitabh Bachchan and Kirron Kher? I sure am!! (Or does one already exist and I don't know about it?).



The thing that disturbs me most about the ending is I find it gives the wrong message. No, it didn't ruin the movie for me, I still like it alot, but this would rarely happen in the real world. A movie about infidelity that ends with the two guilty parties riding off into the sunset together(if this describes your current relationship and you think I'm off base, remember I said rarely)? What happens when Dev gets tired of Maya and cheats on her too? Oh well, I guess this is Bollywood and it is Karan Johar. But in the words of my friend Ceci, "Something good usually doesn't come out of something bad." Enough said.

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Salaam Namaste

Saif Ali Khan is officially one of my favorite funny guys.

I found this movie browsing around on the Internet and decided to buy it since it paired Saif with Preity Zinta, a duo I thought worked well together in Kal Ho Naa Ho. And Salaam Namaste did not disappoint! Its so much fun--I recommend it for anyone who loves romantic comedies!
As I stated earlier, Saif and Preity bounce well off one another. Most of the great moments in this movie are when they are onscreen together,whether they are playing around or arguing, and there are plenty of them!
These two even have a steamy kissing scene(whooooooo),a rarity for Bollywood. But they pull it off effortlessly, and even look like they really enjoy it(its wayyy hotter than Aishwayra Rai and Hrithik Roshan's kiss in Dhoom 2! There are some weird cameos thrown in for comedy and some of them work and others don't(Ahem,cough,Abhishek Bachchan).

I can't tell you how much I love the song "My Dil Goes Mmmm"....sigh, makes me want to fall in love myself...


Can anybody tell me why Ambar's boss has a white dot on his forehead? Just wondering.

There is just one point I was a bit disturbed by:That Saif's character Nick had such a problem keeping his hands off Preity's Ambar, yet when she ended up pregnant we are lead to conclude that he spent about five months being a jerk to her and ignoring her with such ease!
It kind of bugged me that he wasn't punished just a bit more for that behavior during her entire pregnancy.

Kudos to the writers for brilliantly depicting a harsh reality of relationships --Its good in the beginning(it always is), but loses its sparkle rather quickly if there is no real commitment by both people.

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Saawariya


As I sat in the movie theater nearing intermission of Saawariya, I gasped in delight.



"Psst", I whispered to my mom,"I think I know where this is going."




Her face looked a bit puzzled, and she didn't ask me to elaborate, but there wasn't time. Our movie theater doesn't give actual intermissions during Bollywood films.


I didn't care- If Sanjay Leela Bhansali was going where I expected him to go, I sure didn't want to ruin it for her. After all, we were in for a real treat.

And then, as the movie "unfolded" I started to realize I was wrong in my prediction...and then, the horrifying reality sunk in...



My imagination had just created a better ending than one of the best directors in Bollywood had.

(Just so you know, I have to discuss the ending if I'm going to write about this movie...in case you haven't seen it and want to be "surprised".)

Don't get me wrong...it wasn't that I didn't like Saawariya...It really is a beautiful movie with charming music and enchanting sets. Its just that the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. I know its based on an Arabian folktale and all, but it just seemed like Salman Khan's appearance at the bridge at the end was supposed to be some breathless moment for the viewer...and I was like, "That's it?" Come on, this is Bollywood...I was expecting a major twist...and it never came...I know its the understated plots that get the real awards and recognition, but where was the element of suspense/surprise/or even romance?

Having said that, there were some things that I really loved about the movie. For one, Ranbir Kapoor.



He looks like a mime in most of his promo pics, but I can assure you, he is way cuter onscreen. He has this amazing magnetic presence that was obvious as soon as he sprinted into the first song. For a second I forgot that I was missing Shahrukh Khan's movie to see this(we only get one Bollywood movie at a time at my local theater). The towel scene didn't hurt, either.
Another unforgettable character in Saawariya was Rani Mukerjee's prostitute Gulab.
I always find Rani so classy and poised in her films, but she was a natural in this feisty "bad girl" role. And she really proved those critics who bashed her in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag wrong...She can play a prostitute! I loved her in this movie, and her charming smile lit up the screen-as always.



While I don't speak Hindi, I am addicted to the soundtrack of Saawariya. My favorites are "Thode Badmash","Jab Se Tere Naina",the title song, and of course Rani's "Chhabeela".

Salman Khan hasn't grown on me quite yet, and his role in this film certainly didn't help. I had a hard time stomaching him as Sakina's true love. I actually found it kind of creepy because I read an article where Sonam Kapoor said Salman was like an uncle type to her in real life and had been a friend of the family since she could remember. All I could think of in their "love" scenes was yuck.


And I know you're probably curious...what would my version of the second half have been? Well, I'm really not even close to being as brilliant as SLB is(never mind the smart remark I made in the beginning of this post), but I was thinking something along the lines of this...That letter that Sakina wanted Ranbir to deliver to her lover not being a love letter at all..her life was in danger or she was being held captive or something. And the letter contained some kind of vital information that she needed to get to its receiver in order to set her free and allow her to be with Ranbir. When Ranbir destroyed it, he unknowingly destroyed any chance of them being together. I don't know. Maybe its a bit melodramatic and cliched, but these are the things I love about Bollywood. To me that would have been a bit more interesting than the lover just appearing with the letter really having no real significance at all... other than to show Ranbir's unfavorable side.



Sonam Kapoor has one of the most symmetrically beautiful faces I have ever seen, but I can't remember being too swayed by her performance. For me, it was hard to root for her character, because she was breaking Ranbir's heart, the character I found so easy to love.

Although Saawariya was a bit disappointing, the music, Ranbir and Rani made up for it all. And, like a true Bollywood fan, I will still be purchasing this DVD when it comes out!

Text (c) 2007 Nida NazirBitten By Bollywood

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About Me


Hmm, why do I love Bollywood so much?

Bollywood is my passage to another world, and I love every minute I spend there! In this world, my name could be Anjali or Shalini, and my hair is no longer caked with my daughter's Play-dough but is blowing freely in the wind as I am being serenaded by Shahrukh Khan. Here, I'm no longer lonely ---I come home to a candlelit dinner prepared by Abhishek Bachchan and I have John Abraham to show up at my job and propose anytime I want him to. In my Bollywood fantasy, I don't have to take life too seriously because it all comes together in a song anyways. And in this world, I can chose to be fun like Preity, graceful like Rani or lovable like Kajol. Oh, and one more big plus--Guys are not only OK with talking about their feelings, but they want to sing them to me. Imagine that!

Bitten By Bollywood is my chance to talk about my second life--and to feed my Bollywood appetite. Because if I keep trying to casually slip it into my day to day conversations, people are going to really think I need help(and I don't--I can stop any time I want to....Really, I can....)--So if you're someone who is just as obsessed as I am, sit back, relax and know that you are not alone...and drop me a comment if you have something to say!

Other than Bollywood, I love chocolate, reading, trying new foods, traveling, writing, shopping, and, of course, spending time with my two year old daughter. I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, and hope to graduate in 2010(can't wait, seriously). Before becoming a nursing student, I was a makeup artist at MAC cosmetics, so I sort of have a natural tendency to notice makeup on television and movies a bit more than the average person. The beauty of that is, if you see a look in a movie or a photo that you want to recreate, you can email it to me and I'll be able to give you a pretty good idea of how to go about doing so(Just a little perk for those who decide to read my blog!).

Here is a list of people I have converted to Bollywood--I may refer to them in my posts from time to time:

My friend Ceci-This was easy. She's just as hooked as I am on this stuff. But then again, we both are suckers for a good romance.

My Mom-I think Mom is officially addicted. She seemed to enjoy Veer Zaara and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (first two I showed her), but she didn't start to really show some excitement until she saw Fanaa. I think she has a crush on Abhishek Bachchan.

My Brother-Its harder to tell with him--this guy has to be the trickiest person to read. I feel sorry for whoever he ends up in a relationship with. I don't know, he seems to lean more towards the Karan Johar comedic style, and appears to like some of the romantic comedies, but one never knows. He did like Saawariya, so go figure.

My daughter-She is only two but says "song" when she sees Shahrukh Khan's face. So I think she's getting there.

My stepmother Uzma-Actually, she converted me. She grew up on Bollywood.

To read about how and why I got into Bollywood movies in the first place, click here.

(Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir) Bitten By Bollywood

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