Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bunty Aur Babli

And here I thought Rani Mukerjee didn't do kissing scenes.



Boy, was I wrong. In Bunty Aur Babli, Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerjee kiss. A lot. And you know what? I'm not complaining, because these two were hot together! But don't let me mislead you with that intro...their romantic jodi was really only a small part of their relationship in the film. The pair worked very well together in many other ways, and that is what made BAB appealing. Whether they were arguing, laughing, kissing, dancing, scamming innocent people...It seemed like Rani and Abhishek had a lot of fun shooting this movie. So I had fun because they were having fun.





Some argue that "Kajra Re" was the best thing to come out of Bunty Aur Babli, but I say it was the connection between the lead pair. It's a must-see for any Rani-Abhi fan out there.

**Aside: Lately, I've tried to be realistic about the whole onscreen "chemistry" thing (Something I thought a lot about in my first experiences with Bollywood but have since realized is more of a reflection of two professionals who did a good job at what they were supposed to do and a director who knew how to make that translate onscreen). Don't get me wrong--its still fun to get excited when I see a couple who has good chemistry, but its just not something I think is automatically carried by two people from film to film (By the way, this realization was not based on my own thoughts, but on something Carla said in a comment once). But call it what you want to--in this film, Rani and Abhi had great chemistry.

This comedy/adventure centers around Rakesh(Abhishek Bachchan) and Vimmi(Rani Mukerjee). Rakesh lives in a small village and dreams of making it big as an entrepreneur. Vimmi lives in another small village and hopes to become the next Miss India. One day they each decide to run away from their homes and pursue these dreams. Rakesh brings his business ideas to an investor, who turns him down but eventually steals the idea for himself. Vimmi is offered an indecent proposal as her only entry into the Miss India contest--which she adamantly refuses. Both are almost discouraged completely--until they meet each other. They discuss their situations and devise a plan to con the man who stole Rakesh's idea. Their plan works, and they quickly realize scamming people is the easiest way to acheive their goals.



As I said above, I'm not sure the movie would have worked for me if Rani and Abhishek hadn't clicked so well with their roles. Its just not my type of movie, I guess. But, luckily, the director cast two people who knew how to pull this one off.




I knew Rani was an amazing actress, but I never would have guessed she'd be that good in a comedic role. I should have known--I'm always in awe of Rani's transformation from her public persona to the character she is playing. I mean, if you watch her in interviews, she seems so refined, politically correct, quiet, reserved. But then you see her onscreen and she can be the exact opposite: sultry, sassy, playful, fun, loud, etc. Quite the versatile actress, she was hilarious in this film. Here's one of my favorite scenes:







You can't tell from the screenshots, but after this last frame (where the other girl is saying "what a bitch") Vimmi shouts back, "you bitch!" in English...but she does it in a really cute, almost innocent way...watch out for this if you see the film and you'll see what I mean.

Abhishek was less of a surprise--some of the best scenes in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom belonged to his comedic flair. He was great here, too, looking babyfaced and cute throughout most of the film (with the exception of Bunty and Babli's honeymoon, where he had that sexy five'o clock shadow that transforms him from adorable to hot).



The only thing negative I have to say about Abhishek is that I felt he slipped a little on the acting front at times. Now, I'm one of those people who happen to think Baby B can really act, and disagree when critics say otherwise. But, here, for the very first time, I saw a glimmer of what they are talking about when they call him "wooden". I don't mean this as a contradiction--He really did do a great job as a whole, particularly in the funny scenes. I just felt he slipped a little when things got serious. But I still love him, and still feel he was the best choice for this role.

As for Amitabh Bachchan as the cop hoping to capture Bunty Aur Babli, I could take him or leave him.

I'm typically not a big fan of the whole "cops and robbers" thing, as these films usually contain a lot of violence (not something I can't handle to watch, but something I don't particularly care to watch). However, Bunty Aur Babli contained very little violence, and the scams were cut and dry, easy to follow without much bloodshed. This helped to sway my opinion in a favorable direction, but may be a disappointment for those expecting an action flick (it's not).

As for the music, say what you will about Yashraj films, but they sure know how to whip up some cool song visuals. And, no, I'm not talking about "Nach Baliye", the song that looks like it was the inspiration for Love Story 2050--I have mixed feelings about that one...




I'm talking mostly about the pretty "Chup Chup Ke", the song used to portray Bunty and Babli's honeymoon. In classic Yashraj fashion, we're transported from one beautiful locale to another as each new verse plays...and it's this song that truly displays the smokin' hot connection between the leads I described at the beginning of this post...







And Rani got to wear this cool skirt...(By the way, this is the same expression I would have on my face if I were on my honeymoon with Abhishek Bachchan/Bunty).



Of course, Bunty Aur Babli is not known for this song. It's the dazzling item number "Kajra Re" featuring Aishwarya Rai that people remember most.



I'd heard so much about this song that my curiosity got the best of me last summer and I peeped it out on Youtube. I didn't really appreciate it back then, but this time around, I think I can see why it is such a hit.

For one, Aishwarya is her usual stunning self--the look her makeup artist did really suited her here(I'm a makeup artist, so this stood out to me even more than the fabulous outfit she wore--another flattering element that deserves to be mentioned).



Its also a very pretty song--Alisha Chinai's sweet voice is as smooth as butter. Aishwarya dances well, as I usually think she does.

Also, watching "Kajra Re" in the film meant I got the subtitles--a plus because some of the lyrics were very cool:




This song was made before any real life romance emerged between Ash and Abhishek--at least as far as I know--so it was somewhat amusing to watch her cast him aside in favor of Daddy B. I know they were all in character, but...you still gotta love the irony, right?



Speaking of Amitabh's Lt. Singh, check out this line Ash uses to seduce him:



Lt. Singh chooses the latter option, making him probably the only man on the planet who would pull out a knife instead:



And, last but not least, I got a whole new insight on the whole "Aei Handsome" thing from JBJ--I had no idea it originated here!



The worst thing about my Bunty Aur Babli experience was the growing ache in my heart caused by my lack of funds to purchase tickets to The Unforgettable Tour for its Chicago stop. It almost made my "Kajra Re" moment bittersweet. Another bummer in my life as a college student--and a single parent! Oh well, hopefully they'll come back someday...they will come back, right?...Right?? ;)

For me, this was a pretty good way to spend a Tuesday night. But don't go into Bunty Aur Babli expecting to be blown away by plot or storyline. Just go in wanting to have a good time, because that's what this film is all about.



Text © Nida Nazir 2008 Bitten By Bollywood

19 comments:

Nicki August 1, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

First - I'm glad you're going to consider Maine Pyar Kiya. Had to say that. :)

Now to Bunty Aur Babli, it's a cute movie. Oh yeah, Rani does kissing scenes. I put together a video of Rani's kiss scenes in her other movies, lol. It's because I did the sterotypes in Bollywood with my friend's help too. I just never finished it all but your statement made me wonder if I should continue it.

I like Rani as an actress. I used to dislike her but she has proven me wrong over the years. Abhishek, I always have a soft spot for him, hehehe.

Reema August 2, 2008 at 4:21 PM  

BnB is one of my favorite movies. I love Abhi/Rani together. And the kiss scene is one of the best kissing scenes in BW.

theBollywoodFan August 2, 2008 at 8:44 PM  

Hi Nida: You offer a very interesting (and I think true) point about Rani and Abhishek having fun on the sets. I think Bunty Aur Babli and Bluffmaster were two of Abhishek's best movies, although he seems to have stopped having much fun since.

Nach Baliye was my least favorite song, and Dhadak Dhadak the most. Kajra Re was great too. I know it was cheesy, but I really enjoyed the scene where he 'sells the Taj Mahal'. Hilarious, na?!

If you liked Abhishek and Rani in this, you might want to check out Yuva (2004), where they were quite good too. Although as a standalone product of film, I think Rang De Basanti was too far ahead in accomplishing a similar objective (in inspiring the youth to enter politics and make a positive difference).

Cheers!

Nirvana August 2, 2008 at 10:56 PM  

nice review with apt wording

kajra re was for me too, the song of the film. and for once, Aishwarya danced well with expressions to match. A tip here for u. The lyrics of the song were by Gulzar, a very admired and sensitive person in the industry. He also directed many films. They come highly recommended from me :-)

Keep bollyblogging

Nirvana
@ http://www.nirvana73.blogspot.com/

Nida August 3, 2008 at 12:25 PM  

Nicki,
I'd love to check out your sterotypes video--and wow, I had no idea our little Rani did kissing scenes. I don't know why I had that impression of her--and I don't think kissing onscreen is wrong, either--but for some reason I just thought she preferred not to. I think this is because I've seen a handful of her films and have never seen her kiss.Anyways, her and Abhishek pulled it off!

Reema--I've seen only a few kisses in Bollywood but as you know have only watched a small portion of films compared to the vast amount that is out there. And so far based on my mini-sized knowledge of the topic I would say the Rani/Abhi kiss was the best! Followed by Saif and Preity's kiss in Salaam Namaste.

The Bollywood Fan,

I agree completely that Abhishek seems to have stopped having so much fun, made evident to me in the recent Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Here he is once again paired with Rani, but he seems like he doesn't really want to be there.
I own both Bluffmaster and Yuva, just haven't watched them yet--but will soon! I've often heard of Yuva compared to Rang de Basanti, so it'd be cool to compare the two, now that I've seen the latter.

Nirvana,
Thank you for the compliment! :)
And thank you for the info--I'll have to look up Gulzar...I'm not usually the type of person to pay attention to lyrics in a song(even if that song is in English--perhaps thats why it doesn't bother me to listen to songs in foreign languages), but with "Kajra Re", the lyrics caused me to stand up and take notice. I'd love to learn more about the writer and will look up the films--thank you for the recommendation!

bollyviewer August 3, 2008 at 11:18 PM  

This was a really fun movie and I thought Kajrare kajrare was a major highlight. But for the life of me I cant recall the kiss you are talking about (I really need to see a doctor about this amnesia!) - where and how did it happen?

ajnabi August 4, 2008 at 9:53 AM  

Ooh, bollyviewer, you don't remember? It was so awkward and sweet! Just before "Chup Chup Ke" begins.

Anyway, Nida, gorgeous screencaps as usual, and great take on the movie (also per usual). I was actually going to review BaB this week but got excited about Dil Chahta Hai instead. LOL It's definitely one of my faves; I really enjoy how it shows "the other side" of life in India to a certain extent. And I thought the billionaire was hilarious.

Nida August 4, 2008 at 11:50 AM  

Bollyviewer,

Yep, and they kiss a few times in that song two! Still, the big kiss is the one Ajnabi is talking about!

Ajnabi,

Thank you! I'm excited to read your "Dil Chata Hai" review--another great film but in a very different way. You're right, the billionare was hilarious, and did you notice his fiance was the girl who played Preity's friend in "Salaam Namaste"? I don't think she speaks any Hindi, but this is the 2nd Bollywood film I've seen her in! So what I want to know is...how do I get her job? LOL

Bollywood Blogger August 4, 2008 at 1:44 PM  

Me thinks that Abhi and Rani are more of a hit jodi than Abhi and Ash.

Anonymous,  August 5, 2008 at 5:19 PM  

The girl who plays the billionaire's girlfriend in B&B and Priety's friend in Salaam Namastey is Tania Zaetta - a popular TV show personality of Australia who now resides in Bombay and is working in BW films.

She is the host of the popular TV show - Who dares Wins which apparently is shown worldwide and she does have a massive fan following

Nida August 5, 2008 at 7:09 PM  

Bollywood Blogger,

I agree with you--I did like Abhi and Ash in "Umrao Jaan", but I like Rani and Abhi more...although, to be fair, I have seen 4 films with them in it as opposed to one with the real life Bachchan couple. And "Umrao Jaan " wasn't a "fun and light" movie like "Bunty Aur Babli" was.

Anonymous,
Thank you for the info--I wondered why she kept popping up in Hindi films!

Zehra,  August 9, 2008 at 7:51 AM  

Hey Nida,

I missed two weeks of blogs, but I'll make up for them just now. BAB is the first one that I read now, I didn't know you havent seen the movie yet.

I remember watching it and found it extremely funny. Rani was AWESOME! Even though Abhishek was a part of the movie I kept going back to Rani's performance.

'Kajra Re' was a delight to watch. I saw Aishwarya in a very different element than she was in 'Devdas'. And it added to her versatility as an actress.

The end part when Rani asks her son to tie the sweater around the waist instead of wearing it, so that it he would look more hip, was the highlight of Rani's role =D

Looking forward to your blogs eagerly.

Regards,
Zehra

Nida August 12, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

Zehra,

Welcome back!:) I agree...I think this was the best comedic role I've seen Rani do(Although that is off a pretty small list). I love Rani in all that she does but she's never been someone I would have labeled as "funny"...until now!

Abhishek was great, but I think he was funnier in "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom".

I had forgotten that nice little touch at the end, thank you for reminding me...;)

Aspi August 19, 2008 at 12:13 PM  

Nida, sorry to hear you couldn't make it out to Chicago for the Unforgettables. So much bad dancing was never so much fun! Hopefully you'll be able to make it out one of these days for a Bollywood show.

Nida August 19, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

Aspi,

Thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed reading the reviews from yours and Beth's blog. I felt like I was there....well, almost. ;)

I've already made up my mind about Shahrukh's next tour, though. I'm not missing it for the world!

Aspi August 19, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

Cool. Drop Beth or me a line and we'll see if we can go together. Its always more fun to whistle and dance in packs :)

Nida August 20, 2008 at 1:08 PM  

Aspi,

That sounds great! I'll keep my eyes peeled, and please let me know if you guys hear anything!

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