Monday, May 19, 2008

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

Although it is my least favorite Karan Johar film, I can't hate Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham because it gave us the bangle scene and "Suraj Hua Madam."

I could really write this whole post on how much I love that song. Yes, it's a bit over the top (Shahrukh and Kajol overdo some of their caresses and fake necking simulations), but it's also very hot. There's just something about it...The scorching Egyptian sun, the pulsating beat of the music, Kajol's smoldering eyeliner...

But I digress. K3G is not at the top of my list because it is way too long and the story isn't all that captivating. However, there are some memorable moments in the film worth mentioning--I'll get to that later.

The movie is pretty dragged out, particularly in the second half. Not a surprise, as Karan Johar is known for this. But while it irritated me in some of his other films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kal Ho Naa Ho, I forgave him because I loved those movies so much. In Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, I was a lot less understanding.

What's strange about this film is that I can't figure out why it didn't grab me; I kept feeling like I should have loved it. Because while I think it ran an hour and half too long, there were some moments throughout that I would consider classic in my journey through Bollywood:

1)An all star cast, with Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan as Mommy and Daddy and Hrithik and Shahrukh as brothers. What could top that happy family? Try Kajol and Kareena as love interests for the boys, and even Rani in a cameo. What's next, Aishwayra as the visiting cousin? Anyways, everyone worked well together and seemed to have fun.

2)The music! "You Are My Soniya" was sweet and the title song was catchy. "Bole Chudiyan" left me starstruck when the three leading men were onscreen together. I wish I could have been an extra in this song! Also, I love "Suraj Hua Madam." Did I mention that?

3)Shahrukh and Kajol's courtship. As far I'm concerned, after they got together, the film could have ended. While Kajol annoyed me at times in this role (a first for me because I love me some Kajol), I really liked the way Shahrukh pursued her. It was also cool when her braid kept getting stuck on his wrist and clothing. My only complaint is the scene where Rahul(Shahrukh) touches Anjali(Kajol)'s forehead as a symbol of their forthcoming marriage. This coupled with flashes of the actual wedding was effective and unique, but it would have been kind of cool to see Shahrukh and Kajol get married onscreen since they're such a popular couple (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai doesn't count because it was so impromptu--Shahrukh wasn't even dressed properly for it!).

4)Shahrukh's look. I like him best in his "mid-career" days, where he doesn't have the mullet from his earlier films and isn't quite as thin as he is now. This is my favorite way to watch King Khan...charming, fresh faced, and lip syncing to Udit Narayan.

5)The scene when Shahrukh's Rahul and Hrithik's Rohan lay eyes on one another for the first time in ten years. Although Rahul doesn't know it's his brother, he senses something familiar, and Rohan is moved to tears. It gave me chills.

6)The Infamous Bangle Scene.

7)**Possible Spoiler**The end credits, where all is well and we see the family together at Rohan and Pooja's wedding. Wish I could have seen this on full screen instead of a small box. And wish it would have lasted a teensy bit longer.

I'm not going to go on a tangent about Kareena looking like Paris Hilton because I already apologized to her in my Jab We Met post.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham never really won my heart, but I guess it was worthwhile for these special moments. I'm glad I saw it, but it doesn't come close to Johar's classic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Had I been a Bollywood watcher when these two movies came out, I would have been greatly disappointed walking out of the theater after seeing K3G. However, I'll still watch this again...any excuse to spend time with Amitabh, Shahrukh, and friends!

Text © Nida Nazir 2008


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Despite all the good things I'd heard, I wasn't too excited to watch Black. It sounded too much like The Miracle Worker, and while I think the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan is a remarkable one, I didn't feel the need to sit down and watch a Bollywood movie so strikingly similar to something I'd read countless books and written endless papers on in high school.

But, luckily, I found the DVD online at a giveaway price, and gave Black a chance.

Believe it or not, this is now one of my favorite movies. It was so beautiful, touching, and uplifting that I forgot about the similarities to Helen and Annie. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I was so invested in the characters and story that I felt like I was in the movie (Sanjay Leela Bhansali's fancy sets and fake snow didn't hurt, either). I watched as if I had never heard of anything like this before, as if Michelle was as real as Helen Keller had been, and her teacher a true symbol of compassion, patience, and love.

And if I thought Rani Mukerjee was a talented actress before, I hadn't seen half of what she is capable of until I saw Black. She used such a wide range of expressions (something I don't usually see her do), exercised her trademark charm in a whole new way, and turned out a truly amazing performance as Michelle. As if I needed one more reason to love Ms. Mukerjee...

Amitabh also did a fine job as Michelle's teacher Debraj. Once again, I forgot that this was "Big B." I haven't seen many of his films, but have noticed in several a distinct authoritative tone to his voice. This seemed to be missing in Black, which was nice because it made Debraj more "ordinary." I'm not criticizing Amitabh's other work (I enjoy him very much), but it takes a true actor to get you to believe in him as his character rather than as the superstar he really is (for example, it's hard for me to watch Shahrukh Khan in a film and see him as his character rather than Shahrukh Khan). But Big B. achieved this...he was outstanding.

Last but not least, let's not forget Ayesha Kapur as little Michelle! How many actors, let alone child actors, can pull a role like this off? I was in awe of her in every scene.

The friendship between the two leads, Michelle's persistence through school (with Debraj never giving up on her), and the family's reactions to the events in the film made Black an extraordinary and inspiring film. I'd recommend it to anyone, including those who have never seen a Bollywood movie. I liked Devdas, sort of liked Saawariya, but never really had my moment where I connected with Sanjay Leela Bhansali...Until now.

Text © 2008 Nida Nazir
Bitten By Bollywood


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