Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bommarillu--My Own Little DDLJ

This film is my Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

When I first saw DDLJ, I didn't get what all the fuss was about. But then I dug deeper and learned just why it's adored by so many. Although the movie has grown on me considerably, I think I still enjoy hearing about DDLJ and its success more than I do actually sitting down and watching it. Its just so awesome when you consider the film in its entire context, because it really was a turning point in Indian cinema. Bear with me--there's a reason why I bring all of this up!

You see, although I didn't have that initial experience with DDLJ, I grew to appreciate and understand it. So, when I saw this cute little Telugu film starring Siddarth and Genelia, and had my own touching moment with Bommarillu, I got soooo excited...Was this what others felt like when they first saw DDLJ?

Why compare the two? Well, in some ways they're glaringly similar; Both films share the same family values (yet Bommarillu mentions less of these being specific "Indian" values) and explore the oh-so-sweet taste of first love. Thankfully, though, it's nothing like the countless Hindi films that have attempted to mimic DDLJ in the past. Instead, Bommarillu has enough of its own points to make--and does so successfully--so that we never feel like we've been there, done that (or at least I didn't feel that way--there may be a Hindi or Telugu film out there similar to this one that I have yet to see).

Siddhu (Siddarth) is a young man who has lived mostly to please his father (Prakash Raj). As a result, his father ends up controlling every aspect of his life--his career, his clothes, even the way he eats his food.

However, when Siddhu discovers his father has arranged his marriage, he feels its time to put his foot down--yet never actually expresses his feelings to his pop. Instead, Siddhu vows to his friends that he will find his soulmate on his own; And, of course, he does, in a young girl named Hasini (Genelia D'Souza).

While the romance between Siddhu and Hasini blossoms, Siddhu's father continues to plan his son's wedding to the young woman he has chosen. I'm sure you can see where this is going, but there's an interesting catch to the good ol' filmi cliche--Once Siddhu's father discovers his son has been frolicking with some strange girl instead of eagerly counting the days to his wedding, he presents his son with an unexpected challenge; Hasini will be allowed to stay in the family's home for 7 days, and in those 7 days, Siddhu must convince his father that she is suitable for him. If he can accomplish this, he will receive the entire family's blessing. If not, he must marry the girl his father has chosen.

Do you see how this is all very DDLJ--yet with a twist?

I will admit that there were times during the first half that I noticed my mind wandering a little. That could be because I've never heard Telugu before, and relied solely on subtitle reading. I mean, I don't speak Hindi, either, but I've watched enough films that I can sometimes pick up on things that the subtitle guy forgets to translate, or concentrate on the visuals while simply glancing at the words. But with Telugu, I had to watch the bottom of the screen diligently...and it wasn't always easy to do with Siddarth's quirky yet charming smile competing for my attention!

However, once Hasini moved in with the family in the second half, the film got a whole lot more interesting. As Siddhu tries his hardest to get his family to accept his lady love, the relationship between Siddhu and Hasini changes as well. The events that occur and the reactions between the young lovers, their parents, and the entire family is so original and believable that I fell wholeheartedly for Bommarillu and never looked back.

The family values explored in Bommarillu moved me more than the actual love story did. That's not to take away anything from Siddarth and Genelia--they were adorable together, which I'll discuss in the next paragraph--but the scenes at the end between Siddhu and his parents really choked me up. It takes a lot for a familial storyline to resonate with me--My own family's never been close, sadly enough--but Bommarillu did just that. Why? Well, for starters, Prakash Raj and Jayasudha (Siddhu's parents) did an awesome job! You could almost hear the battle in Siddhu's mother's mind as she wrestled between supporting her husband and standing up for her son; And as Siddhu's father explained the reasons for his controlling ways, you just knew it was out of love!

Make no mistake, though--Siddarth and Genelia's love affair still owns much of Bommarillu's charm. Many of their antics reminded me of the joys of my own first love...Waiting by the phone for the "secret ring code"? Done that. Telling every detail to my girlfriends? Of course! Sneaking out for ice cream in the middle of the night? Well, not exactly--I never snuck out--but there's nothing sweeter than ice cream!! It's also worth mentioning that Siddhu tells Hasini at one point that he will not elope with her--but its not because of what his parents will think. He wants Hasini to have a good family, and therefore sticks out the 7 days for her sake. Aww--Now that's selfless love!

Siddarth, obviously, has quite a different role here than the last (and only) time I saw him in Rang De Basanti. While he probably did a better crafted job in that film, he was still the right choice for the role here. Yes, he could be over the top at times, but his comedic expressions (and quirky smile, as I mentioned above) seemed to come naturally for him.

As for Genelia, she completely annoyed me at first, but grew on me as the film progressed. I think I preferred her in Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na!, actually, but learned to love Hasini nonetheless.

Which brings me to, last but not least, the music. And wow, what music! I think I can safely say I loved the entire soundtrack to Bommarillu, both song-wise and picturization-wise. Maybe it had something to do with Siddarth's goofy-yet-suave dance moves, I don't know, but the music alone was enough to capture my heart. I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of "Appudo Ippudo"! Check it out below...

The best part of Bommarillu was the ending, but I don't want to include any spoilers so I won't say too much. But rest assured its completely satisfying... there's even good stuff as the credits roll, too(which, in my opinion, is always the icing on the cake)!

And there you have it--My own little DDLJ, and my very first Telugu film. Special thank you to Nicki for recommending it!


MiSzHoNeY January 28, 2009 at 3:24 AM  

do you know they also have in Tamil version? The title is 'Santosh Subramaniam"... It's also good..

Nicki January 28, 2009 at 4:28 AM  

Yah! I'm so glad you saw it and enjoyed it overall. It's always good to watch the originals first too. I can see what you mean about Genelia's character. However, those who have seen this movie first prefer it over JTYJN. I just like Genelia in everything I've seen of hers. Siddharth is too adorable!!

ajnabi January 28, 2009 at 12:53 PM  

I wasn't overly impressed by the movie when I first saw it, although I did think Siddhu and Genelia were cute. However, it's got good rewatch value so it's grown on me. I like that it shows the two getting to know each other.

Did you know Siddharth sings "Appudo Ippudo?" Cool, huh?

Nida January 28, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

Misz Honey--Welcome! Cool user name!:)No I had nooo idea there was a Tamil version! Thank you for the heads up--I just looked it up on Wikipedia and see Genelia is in it, too! Awesome--I've got to check this out...Glad to hear its also good...Thanks for stopping by!

Nicki--Did you see the Tamil version yet? I loved Genelia in both films, truthfully, but did see JTYJN first so felt an inclination to that one. However, I'm going to have to rewatch that one now before I write my review--my mom took my copy so its been a good month since I've seen it!

Ajnabi--I had NOOO idea that was Siddarth! Yay---Now I love it even more!!!Agree that this would be a good rewatch. The music, characters etc seem like they'd grow on you with subsequent DDLJ did for me.

theBollywoodFan January 28, 2009 at 8:51 PM  

I love this film! And I agree with you on it being 'an own little DDLJ' -- that's exactly what I think of it! Isn't Genelia just superb?! Must say, Siddharth's character is very easy to relate to. Oh, and I also really enjoyed the colors in it. Really glad you enjoyed it :)

Ipshi January 29, 2009 at 2:59 AM  

Have never seen any Southern language films... being a north indian and bengali, somehow the opportunity never existed. u might just change all of that

and whats this i hear about u having watched Jaane Tu... wheres the review??? How did i miss it?? i watch ur blog like a hawk!!

Nicki January 29, 2009 at 4:25 AM  

Nope, I haven't seen the Tamil version. I didn't even know there was one. Now, it's going to be strange since there is going to be three versions, since the Hindi one is in the remake stage....all with Genelia. A bit much, huh??

Yes, "Appudo Ippudo" is sung by no other than Siddharth. I found that from Sanni, who is a big Sid fan. Thought I wrote it in my blog?

Anonymous,  January 30, 2009 at 8:47 PM  

I have seen the tamil version - a very poor copy - the hero is bland - can't act for nuts - i would give it a miss esp having seen the original telugu version. I had seen the original telugu version first and then the tamil one.

Darshit January 30, 2009 at 10:59 PM  

ahh...Nicki had sent me links to youtube so earlier in Jan. Still I couldn't make it to watch it. net connection is creepy. And what? I couldn't even get DVD from my Chennai based friend too...:-(
I m dying to watch this.....

GMAXXX January 31, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

well not a fan of tollywood but i do love ur bollywood blog

good material

i have also taken an initiative hope so u like mty blog too on bollywood<\url>

bollywoodfoodclub February 2, 2009 at 11:58 AM  

Nida so glad yiou saw it and liked it. It's such a cute movie, with some very touching moments too. Bommarillu was more DDLJ for me than DDLJ, if that make sense, and with your post I'm sure it does.

@ Nicki:"However, those who have seen this movie first prefer it over JTYJN." I agree.

I think this movie captured Genelia's acting abilities much better than JTYJN, or maybe I just liked the character more. How could you not love her in Bommarillu?

All the best,

Nida February 2, 2009 at 8:26 PM  

Bollywood Fan--Yes, Genelia was fantastic!! I have to watch JTYJN again to really compare the two performances, but I'm positive I love her in both. And yes, I thought the film was quite colorful, too--always a plus!

Ipshi--Yes, I did see JTYJN and have to apologize that I haven't reviewed it yet! My mom's been borrowing alot of my Hindi films lately, and I usually wait until I review them before I give them to her, but she somehow managed to take this one and...since it was so good I had to let her! Don't worry, though. She promised to bring it back shortly, so I'd like to rewatch it and review in the next week or two. Its good to know you follow my blog so closely, though--that's a huuuge compliment :)!!

Nicki--I agree--three films does seem like a bit much. And...although I do want to check the Tamil version out, I think it'd be hard to see anybody other than Siddarth in this role. He was just sooo perfect for it! And his chemistry with Genelia...I'd be very surprised if the Hindi version tops that. Well, maybe they can get Siddarth and Genelia to do the lead roles. I'd love to check it out, then!

Anonymous--Hmm. Like I said above, Siddarth was a tough act for anyone to follow, I'm sure. But now my curiosity is really peaked since you didn't like it but Misz Honey did!

Darshit--You should try and watch this! Its really a great, great little film. Let us know what you think!

GMAXXX--Thank you so much--and welcome! I'll have to check your blog out--and if I can help in any way, let me know!

Sitaji--Agreed! How could you not warm to Hasini? I mean, when Siddhu's family was being so cold to her, I kept thinking, come on, guys, she's not hard to like at all! Personally, I'd love to have her as a guest in my home!:) Oh, and I totally do understand how this could be more DDLJ to you than DDLJ itself...I'm in the same boat, actually. Although DDLJ has grown on me, this film did for me what I had expected DDLJ to do after reading the reviews and hearing so much about what a hit it was.

Anonymous,  February 4, 2009 at 6:15 PM  

the hindi version has Genelia and Harman Baweja. Genelia has said so in a recent interview of hers. She is hoping that the hindi version will be as successful as the original telugu version that was a big hit

Anonymous,  February 28, 2009 at 12:07 PM  

I am so in love with this movie, I could have babies with it! Can anyone tell me where (online) I could buy a good quality DVD copy in the U.S?

Nida March 2, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

Anonymous #1--That's what I've heard...still wish they would have chosen Siddarth or even Imran for the Hindi version but oh, well!

Anonymous #2-I'm not sure--I got this one from my local Indian grocer-But have you checked Nehaflix ( You could also try or try to find a local Indian grocer to get it for you! Hope that helps...also, see my post after this one titled "Arth Dvd-Help!" there I received a lot of helpful tips on getting DVDs in the U.S. from other readers :)

Anonymous,  April 5, 2009 at 11:12 PM  

nice review.

i have heard that its remade into Bengali and Oriya,anyone heard it?

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Thandokuhle Maphanga July 10, 2013 at 2:29 AM  

best movie ever!!! bollywood does it beta dan hollywood handz down! much love 2 sid and hasini mwahzzz

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