Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome to Blogging, Karan Johar

Yay!!! India's favorite gossip queen (and most loved/hated director) Karan Johar launches his new blog, My Name is Karan. Whether you're a fan or not, one can't deny he seems to know what people want to talk about(and has a knack for getting it out of the celebs--see his Koffee with Karan episodes on Youtube)...As a matter of fact, he's a huge instigator. You know, like one of those kids who gets beat up on the playground because he talked too much...But, you know, I'm not even going to lie...I've watched almost every episode of his talk show!

His first post is basically a mini explanation of who he is and who he wants to be, as well as lightly touching on filmmaking decisions he has made. It's very brief and tries to cover a lot in a little space, but he's just getting warmed up...and at the end he makes his first official announcement that his next film stars Shahrukh and Kajol (insert cheer from fans across the globe--and me).

Karan also says he frequents blogs and other internet material to get a feel for what people do or don't like about his work and persona. Wonder if he'll ever stop here! Not likely, true, but you never know, right? ;)

Anyways, I expect lots of juicy Bollywood brain candy on his new blog!

By the way, Karan, if you're reading this, no disrespect in the above comment calling you a "gossip queen"...It's just that I have this image in my head of you on Koffee with Karan in that little armchair auctioning off your "coffee hamper" and trying to get Kareena Kapoor to slam Preity Zinta once again...and if the shoe fits...

Text © 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Something New and Fun to Do

The other day I received an email from one of the creaters of a Bollywood music site called Saavn. They're new online and still uploading content, but I went on the other day and thought I would share it with my readers! You can create your own playlists, watch videos, and even rate your favorite celebrities. Have fun!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shree 420

If you can't resist a face like this, Shree 420 is for you.

He sings. He laughs like a child. His shoes are so worn they can practically talk. He can't afford to pay for his date's chai. But he cleans up quite nicely. He is Ranbir Raj.

I stumbled across Shree 420 while browsing through some of the Hindi classics online. I'd been meaning to branch out and delve into some of the Bollywood oldies from the 50s, 60s and 70s, because I'd heard so many good things about them from the other bloggers, and the Raj Kapoor classics were on sale. So I decided to start there, and purchased Shree 420, Awara, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Sangam, and Bobby. The other night I figured what the hey, let's start with Shree 420.

As soon as the first song began I knew I was in for a treat. You gotta love these lyrics:

For those of you who know Raj Kapoor, you're probably well aware of his characterization as the "Tramp with a Heart of Gold". For those of you that are not, you must check this film out, as I'm guessing it's one of Raj's most popular roles (I'm only assuming this from what I've read online, as I haven't seen any of his other work yet). He was just as cute as a button! His childlike sweetness and vulnerabilty got me all mushy inside. With a Chaplin-esque outfit and the most pathetic looking pair of kicks I've seen in awhile, Raj lit up the screen as a young man entering Bombay with nothing but his degree, which he carried proudly in his pocket, no less.

Raj's character had such an innocence that most of the time I just wanted to hug him! The man even carried around a medal he had won for honesty. I'm not kidding. And, being the jolly little guy that he was, getting used to the hustle and bustle of the big city was an adjustment. Check out the look on his face when he first arrives in Bombay and discovers people aren't always so friendly:

He also had an interesting way with women. Look at how he laughs like a schoolboy when Nargis (making her entrance into the film) slips on a banana peel:

Smooth, Raj, smooth. You sure know how to woo your women.

The film (which I just discovered got it's name from section 420 of India's penal code--an understandable reference once you see the movie), is about Raj's journey into "the real world" and the consequences of what happens when one is forced to compromise their values and honesty in order to survive (an irony since Raj started the film carrying that medal of honesty award I mentioned above). The film also goes into Raj's clown persona as a mask he wore in order to see the crazy world from a clearer perspective. I'm not sure if this was a deeper message than I took it to be, and maybe I'm overthinking this, but there were times when this was mentioned that made me wonder how "naive" Raj really was. Was that the impression the director wanted me to have? I couldn't tell. And I'm also aware that some of the issues the film touches on probably resonates with those who are more familiar with India's economic standings, particularly at this point in time. Be that as it may, I was struck by how similar Raj's situation was to the middle class American of today.

Shree 420, despite it's sociological undertone, was also a very fun ride. The songs were catchy and sweethearts Raj and Vidya gave me a delightful intro to the famed Raj/Nargis pairing (and, more importantly, to the two as respected Bollywood legends in their own right). (***Spoilers ahead in the next couple of paragraphs**) I liked that the movie ended on an optimistic note--Raj returned to the simplicities of life he began with, proving it is possible not to lose yourself in the trials you may face. (Also, Raj Kapoor looks quite dashing in a suit--see below photo).

Shree 420 also gave me the opprotunity to meet Nargis, the Bollywood star I'd heard about but had never seen onscreen up until now. It's easy to see why she was so popular--her smile was very warm and friendly, almost having a calming effect on me. Yes, Raj was getting too cozy with the bad guys, but seeing Nargis' sweet face reassured me that everything was going to be just fine. Even when Raj dissed her at the party (Something I would have had a really hard time forgiving on a date), I still knew all would end well. How could anybody hurt Nargis?

The songs of the film were a delight to watch. In "Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua", Raj and Nargis reveal their feelings for one another under an umbrella, the rain pouring, an iron fence in the background. We even get a glimpse of the raindrops dancing! In "Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh", I got the impression that Raj Kapoor liked eye candy...and I do too! Here's a glimpse...

Sorry for the picture overload, but it was just so pretty...

As you can see, I really enjoyed this experience. I'll definitely be following up with the posts for the rest of the movies soon. In the meantime, I'll be singing "Mere Joota Hai Japani" as I bartend this weekend. I'm sure patrons at the club I work at will appreciate that. Either that or I'll get jumped in the parking lot.


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