Saturday, February 9, 2008

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag

I may be just a tad biased where Laaga Chunari Mein Daag is concerned, because it was the first Bollywood movie I got to see on the big screen back in October.

My mom and I made a whole day of it--First the movie and then dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Mmm, Bollywood and Godiva cheesecake...two of my favorite things! Since we had such a good time that day, and the movie was a part of that experience, I may have enjoyed Laaga Chunari Mein Daag a bit more than I would have otherwise. I was eager to get my hands on the DVD and find out, once and for all, whether this movie would be as much fun in the comfort of my living room.

And guess kind of was! But allow me to explain, because there is a catch. Let me put it like this...if we look at LCMD as "the journey of a woman" from village life into prostitution, and the feelings and experiences she encounters along the way, then it fails miserably. Here's why:

1)We aren't given any real juicy stories about Vibha's life and transformation as a prostitute. In fact, there's really very little shown of her day to day experiences in the profession. We just skip from a scared young woman to a confident call girl with little in between except for a song. I don't know about you, I would have appreciated a little more insight into her life.

2)There are a lot of holes in the story, such as why Vibha would have rather slept with Karan's boss instead of taking him up on his offer to give her money. In a story with such a heavy topic, there really should be a solid basis for her making the decision she did.

3)Abhishek Bachchan, who I normally love onscreen with Rani, had a very small role that he did little with. He kind of seemed like he didn't want to be there(Then again, to cut him a break, the man did just marry Aishwarya Rai. Maybe he really wanted to go home, and who could blame him?). I think the writers placed too much faith in Rani and Abhi's popularity as a couple that they felt they didn't have to flesh the story out, since the public would love them anyways. Well, I am a fan of these two, and I still did get excited when they were onscreen together in LCMD, but I was a tad dissapointed that there wasn't more to their romance.

Despite these issues, if you take Laaga Chunari Mein Daag as a "chick flick", something you can curl up and watch with a pint of chocolate ice cream and some friends, then it is actually quite good. There are some great performances and hidden touches to the film that make it extremely watchable and fun. Here's why:

1)Konkana Sen Sharma and Kunal Kapoor. Wow, I really enjoyed these two onscreen together! Their scenes after the intermission were some of the best parts of the movie. Konkana is a breath of fresh air and Kunal is simply dreamy (so much so, that I forgave him for that disgusting sandwhich with drippy mayo and his feet on Chutki's desk). I love them together, I love them seperately. I've definately got to see Aaja Nachle.

2)Rani Mukerjee is one of my favorite actresses, and this movie had a lot of Rani in it. I'd read multiple reviews that criticized her performance, saying it was dull and lifeless. But I think one of the great things about Rani's talent is that she never overacts, having the unique ability to say so much with her eyes alone.

3)Konkana's character, Chutki, had a thing for Shahrukh Khan. I love when I hear references to other actors or movies in Bollywood and I just get it. It makes me feel like I've come so far.

4)I always feel like Jaya Bachchan and Anupham Kher are overused in supportive parental roles...well, at least Anupham Kher is. But in this movie, I forgot all about that and found the little family to be pretty believable.

5)And back to Abhishek Bachchan. Although I stand by my opinion above, I was very pleased with Abhi's reaction to Rani's confession at the end. Call it cheesy or predictable, but in that last scene I started to feel like I actually did get a satisfying dose of Rani/Abhi after all(even though it was a small one).

I'm not quite sure where the songs fall in. I liked the visuals and the actors in the sequences more than the actual melodies. Kind of dissapointing since I usually dig Yash Raj songs. The only one I really liked was "Kachi Kaliyan".

And on a final note, I just found out what Laaga Chunari Mein Daag means in Hindi. Nice. Kind of makes me like it more, in a strange way.

So there you have it. My first Bollywood movie in the theater! Make no mistake, though...Laaga Chunari Mein Daag is definately still a "renter". Although it wasn't a dissapointment, either, if viewed as just an excuse to spend some time with Rani and Konkona. Here's to many more trips to the theater for Hindi films!

Text © Copyright 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood


Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat February 11, 2008 at 11:00 AM  

I am one of the "Laga..." naysayers, primarily because of the lack of character development, as you have pointed out.

Its also a personal thing I guess- I am from small town U.P. as well (barely 2 hrs from Benaras), and fled my town after high school to seek an alternate future. And I worked and went to school and did quite OK in New Delhi... so "Laga..." just strikes me as kinda regressive!

just my 2 cents :D

kakasab February 15, 2008 at 11:55 PM  

nice info...
do update regularly

bollywoodfoodclub February 17, 2008 at 11:51 PM  

I saw this on the big screen too. I admit I was in like a 12 year old girl mode when Abishek appeared again in the end of the film as prince charming. I even took a extra film poster that was up for grabs after the show. I can either use it as gift wrapping or sell it on eBay, LOL.


Daddy's Girl February 19, 2008 at 9:59 AM  

Ironically, the first Bollywood film I saw in a cinema was 'Don' (the 2006 version, which I see you aren't too keen on), and I adored it and still do. I think a lot of it was just the excitement of seeing SRK on the big screen (I am a big fan of the man, although, like you, I hated the picturisation of 'Yeh Mera Dil' - hate what they did to the song as well). For me, LCMD was not bad, although it could've been so much better. I think that the script failed the actors (although I do agree that Abhi didn't seem to be 100% in the moment). Konkona was the real treat of the film for me.

Nida February 21, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

Shweta--I can see how this movie must feel a bit frustrating to you! As a matter of fact, when I first saw the previews (unsubtitled), I incorrectly assumed Rani's character had moved to New York City to become a prostitute, and this kind of ticked me off...if they had chosen to send Vibs to the states, I would have been just as irritated as you are...

I definately see your point!

Nida February 21, 2008 at 4:45 PM  

Kakasab--Thanks for the compliment! Please continue to stop by--I've been a bit slow on the posting lately because I've had sooo much homework :((

I'll try to update it soon, though!

Nida February 21, 2008 at 4:47 PM  


I don't blame you for taking the poster....I think the ads for this movie are very cool...

...or maybe I just like Abhishek's sultry expression!

Nida February 21, 2008 at 4:52 PM  

Daddy's Girl--

Totally agree... I liked LCMD but it could have been sooo much better....

In fact, I think I feel the same way about Don as you feel about this one...such a shame when a potentially great film lets you down, isn't it?

Henrik,  August 5, 2009 at 11:15 PM  

I can't believe in my life that a character like Abi's would marry into a profession like Rani's. Apart from all other holes in the script.

I can imagine the film is great on the big screen. The director did commercials a lot and knows how to impress visually, for instance with the waterfront and some Rani shots.

All in all a very poor film.

Though I too adore Konkona Sen Sharma here. Much to my own surprise: i first saw her in "Aaja Najle" (have you seen that now?), where unfortunately she has to totally overact in her dumb-villager role. Really, i thought she was hired out of some village theater. Well, "Aaja Nachle" at least has another great lady.

I hope to see Konkona soon in "Luck by Chance". As for adoring Kunal Kapoor, i guess i just have the wrong chromosomes set to get enthusing here (though i like Saif and SRK).

Henrik sans blogue

pay per head August 28, 2012 at 12:47 PM  

Thanks a lot for the posted review, it's really interesting to read

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