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Old 08-14-09, 01:35 PM   #76
flixtime
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Looks like the Bollywood schedule on IFC will continue into September...the first two airings in September are WELCOME followed the next week by SARKAR (enjoyable as a B-movie/homage to THE GODFATHER).

I'll be getting back to watching some Indian cinema with NEW YORK and LOVE AAJ KAL both on tap for the next few days.

NEW YORK is from director Kabir Khan who was last seen with his 2006 effort KABUL EXPRESS (which rated well in my book). It stars Neil Nitin Mukesh (JOHNNY GADDAAR), John Abraham, Irfan Khan, and Katrina Kaif. Apparently this is in somewhat similar territory to the Pakistani film KHUDA KAY LIYE (toddly had a thread on it)...meaning a look at the experiences faced by Indians/Pakistanis living in the U.S. after 9/11.

LOVE AAJ KAL is a romance from writer/director IMTIAZ ALI, and follows his 2007 entry JAB WE MET (which I've mentioned as being one I enjoyed immensely). LOVE AAJ KAL stars Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone (OM SHANTI OM and CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA).
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Old 08-14-09, 09:48 PM   #77
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New York (Hindi - 2009)
I wasn't expecting much from this latest effort from Yash Raj Films, but it actually turned out quite okay...given what I had expected, you can even say I'm somewhat impressed by the final product. NEW YORK is basically a mainstream suspense film. The trio of Neil Nitin Mukesh, John Abraham, and Katrina Kaif are the focus of this story that shines a light on what some individuals in Indian/Pakistani/and other minority groups suffered through as a result of post-9/11 U.S. government investigations into the terrorist acts. Irfah Khan also has a major role as an FBI investigator who interacts with Neil Nitin Mukesh in order to run an undercover investigation involving Mukesh's old college pals John Abraham and Katrina Kaif. The film doesn't really go too deep in examining the issues nor does it get too preachy one way or the other. There a few dialogue exchanges primarily between Neil Nitin Mukesh and Irfan Khan where they discuss the issue of terrorism, and these are well done, aside from that though the movie is primarily a low-simmering suspense tale. The film has some problems, which are pretty much everpresent in Indian films set in the U.S. I understand this film is intended for Indian audiences, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing Indian companies hire a sort of technical consultant to help them better capture a more realistic view of American life. For instance, after the initial intro scenes, we spend about twenty minutes in flashback to the college days where our three main characters became friends. Yet the presentation of college life doesn't ring true, and really feels very Indian. Likewise throughout the film there are numerous things about American life that just aren't presented well...of course for the intended Indian audience these would go unnoticed, but as an American, for me it detracts from the experience. The other issue is that the non-Indian actors are generally not very good. Still despite these issues, the relationship between the main characters and the story in general don't really suffer too much. I recall liking Neil Nitin Mukesh in JOHNNY GADDAAR and I liked him here too. Irfan Khan gives you what you would expect, and his scenes with Mukesh are some of the high points in the film. John Abraham is okay...he's been better in other films, but he is okay enough here. I generally don't like Katrina Kaif, but compared to her other performances, she was successful enough with her role here. I thought the cast worked well together and I cared about the characters and believed in their relationships. The runtime is approximately 150 minutes and the film moved along at nice quick pace during that runtime. There is no dance in the film, and the couple of songs set to montage make for pleasant listening. I thought the film ended on a good note with a strong climax and epilogue. All in all, I'm glad I decided to watch NEW YORK...it was a good film, an acceptable piece of entertainment for a night's viewing. There's a decent chance that NEW YORK could squeeze its way into my year-end TOP 10 for Indian cinema.
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Old 08-14-09, 10:56 PM   #78
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

I just ordered New York because we (the wife and I) didn't manage to catch it in the local theater. Looking forward to it. Also, I don't know how often this happens, but I was reading Entertainment Weekly and Love Aaj Kal was #15 on the charts from the previous week. I thought that was pretty impressive. I don't know how often Hindi films make that chart. It was also the highest per screen average of anything in the top 20, pretty cool.
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Old 08-15-09, 09:02 PM   #79
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zombeaner, Indian films turning in respectable showings on both U.S. and U.K. box office charts is a fairly regular occurrence, and I expect that - within limits - that will continue to be the case going forward.

Love Aaj Kal (Hindi - 2009)
I have a headache! Two annoying twits and their ceaseless prattle about their romantic relationship...it takes up the vast majority of the two-hour runtime. I began to dislike this film from the absolute beginning and my feelings quickly moved towards hate over the course of the maybe eight minute long pre-credits sequence; I knew it was going to be a wasted evening in front of the TV. Generally speaking I like Saif Ali Khan and root for him to excel, but I found him close to unbearable in this one (not to mention he looked too old for the role). His co-star and female lead Deepika Padukone, after rating well with me in her debut film OM SHANTI OM, sees her stock plummeting to an "avoid" rating with me after this and CHANDI CHOWK TO CHINA. Let's see, what wasn't bad...well it was thankfully rather short in runtime as mentioned earlier. And of course, veteran actor Rishi Kapoor is fine and adds some grace as an older gentleman who relates his own past romance while listening to Saif Ali Khan's romantic uncertainties. The film spends some time in flashback mode when Rishi Kapoor is comparing/contrasting the great romance of his youth versus what Saif Ali Khan is experiencing in contemporary times. Saif Ali Khan plays a dual role as he also plays the younger version of Rishi Kapoor in the flashback scenes. Without a doubt the best part of the film was the actress who played the romantic interest in the flashback sequences...she has the bare minimum of dialogue but conveys so much visually and came across as a very soulful performer. I found her completely enchanting and was entirely perplexed as to why I had never seen her before, but then naturally realized she was likely a debut performer. Now I do some checking and...the actress isn't even Indian! She is a Brazilian model by the name of Giselle Monteiro. Now I'm disappointed in that the odds of her becoming a leading lady in Bollywood are rather long. There were maybe four songs (five if you count the end credits). The first three songs were fun enough and were a welcome respite from the awfulness of most of the rest of the movie...didn't care for the fourth song which was an overlong ballad set to montage. Technically I thought the storytelling/editing was very choppy and didn't have a natural flow or rhythm. It's a good thing director Imtiaz Ali had built up a lot of good will with me based on JAB WE MET but a lot of that has now been nullified based on my having to suffer through this latest entry. And what's with all the mugging (as in criminal mugging) scenes in Indian movies. NEW YORK had two (rather pathetic) street mugging scenes, and LOVE AAJ KAL also had one (this one taking place in San Francisco)...maybe Bollywood filmmakers are trying to scare their population into not leaving India for the U.S. or U.K. And given that much of LOVE AAJ KAL takes place outside of India...well that means we get the standard of more lousy non-Indian actors cluttering up scenes and the background of scenes. It's actually somewhat curious in that nowadays you see an ever increasing presence of Indian faces on U.S. television and movie screens. Yet Indian filmmakers seem to take great effort to not show Indian faces in U.S./U.K.-based films (besides the primary and supporting actors). Meaning, a film like NEW YORK will show a class of New York college students, and you'll get a token African-American and East Asian, and then everyone else will look like they were plucked out of a Minnesota casting agency. So you want to be a background dancer for a song shot in NYC, well you can be as long as you aren't Indian. And another thing, while it's commendable that all these Bollywood performers are paying closer attention to staying in good physical shape, someone has to stop all these A-list actors from their going overboard with the muscles. John Abraham just looked too muscle-bound in NEW YORK, likewise with Saif Ali Khan in this movie...and the same goes for Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt...even Shahid Kapoor looks like he's been spending way too much time lifting (at least based on some clips I saw for his new movie)...they all look like they have the same exact body-type and personal trainer.
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Old 08-15-09, 11:18 PM   #80
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

I guess I never really looked at the numbers beyond the top 5. I went through BoxOfficeMojo.com and found that a lot of the big titles give decent showings.
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Old 08-16-09, 03:53 AM   #81
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

I'm quite interested in Kaminey, the new Vishal Bhardawaj movie, as Omkara was excellent in my eyes.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:35 PM   #82
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Kaminey (Hindi - 2009)
It's been a while since I've had to invoke my negative rating scale to grade a movie. I'm so ticked off that I'm not even going to mention the names of those involved in KAMINEY. I've seen all four of this director's prior films - MAKDEE, MAQBOOL, THE BLUE UMBRELLA, and OMKARA - and found merit in all of them. However, I hated every frame of KAMINEY. The lead actor whom I anointed after his performance in JAB WE MET seemed entirely lacking with his performance here (less time lifting weights and more time learning your craft, or at least rediscovering your natural charisma...please). And he shared no chemistry with the beauty queen lead actress who was so good in the DON remake, and I thought she did nothing with her role. The movie is the worst crime film I can recall seeing in quite some time. The lead actor plays a dual role as twins - one good and the other not so much. The story is some nonsense how the lives of the estranged twins once again intersect as a result of the good twin's forbidden romance with our lead actress and our bad twin's getting in deep with criminal types/cops over a guitar case of drugs. The runtime was a bit over two hours and there were maybe four songs. The rental copy I viewed was of poor quality both in terms of picture and subtitles, but I don't believe that had any effect on how felt about the film. I have absolutely nothing to offer as far as praise for this movie, and I'd like to see a black hole come along and make it disappear. My negative rating for KAMINEY is out to the moon. While I don't keep an official tally, I'll estimate that I will watch maybe 330 movies this year, and KAMINEY will rank near the bottom of that list. But maybe I shouldn't be so ornery about it as I think my viewing options tonight were fated to be a choice between Scylla and Charybdis...wasted hours with KAMINEY or wasted hours watching the Red Sox get pummeled by the Yankees....perhaps I should take up knitting.
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Old 08-22-09, 02:27 AM   #83
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

wow, thats the first negative thing I have read about the movie. And thats not negative, thats ripping it to shreds

One of things about Omkara that I loved was the dialogue, it retained the essence of shakespeare but was distinctly indian. I have no idea how that was ever going to translate into english subtitles (my copy didnt have any anyway) so I am not sure how non-indian audiences found it. And the dialogue, I think, is Bhardawaj's main strength, hes a better writer than director in my eyes.

Curious to see Kaminey now.
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Old 08-22-09, 09:54 PM   #84
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I'm certainly not in any position to judge stuff like language/dialects/accents/slang etc., when it comes to Indian films. I do recall reading, as you mentioned, that one of the charms in OMKARA was the dialogue. Though not being in a position to appreciate that aspect of things, I still enjoyed OMKARA (most especially the first half).

As far as me not liking KAMINEY that seems quite the pattern for me this past year as I've not been enamored with many well-received films (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, THE GOOD THE BAD THE WEIRD, THE DARK KNIGHT, GOMORRAH, SPARROW, and a bunch more that I don't recall at the moment). Though I did catch INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS today and it rated very well in my book, so at least I'm in line with that one.

When you do get around to watching KAMINEY - and if you like it - please chime in with your thoughts...maybe it might bring to my attention something that failed to register on my viewing of the film.
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Old 08-23-09, 03:57 AM   #85
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

hehe, out of the ones you listed there, I quite like most of them (havent got around to Sparrow or The Good, The Bad & The Weird yet).

will definitely post my thoughts once I get around to it, might be years though at my hindi movie watching pace

But, I did just finish Gulaal and was mightily disappointed. I had been recommended this by friends of mine who said it was an excellent, gritty and realistic bollywood film. Its definitely the latter two and is also gorgeously shot and with some good acting and music. The script, however, is absolutely horrible. Its definitely thematically unique and interesting but the execution in the plotting and characterisation is very amateurish.

Read your thoughts above on this one flixtime, I think you found it a bit better than I did. I havent seen Dev D or Black Friday, how do they compare to this?
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Old 08-23-09, 01:56 PM   #86
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nitin, I hope you manage to slot LUCK BY CHANCE into your viewing schedule sooner rather than later. And if you ever stumble across the opportunity to watch the Bengali film SWAPNER DIN, I'd be curious to hear how it went down with you.

I still have to catch up with DEV D; I've been putting it off as I don't think I'm going to like it. I saw BLACK FRIDAY years ago; it played the festival circuit in the U.S. long before its general release in India. I really don't recall much about BLACK FRIDAY...a hazy recollection was that it was a good film, though - surprise, surprise - I didn't think as highly of it as did others. Broadly speaking BLACK FRIDAY was better than GULAAL since GULAAL virtually crashed to nothingness in the second half. BLACK FRIDAY also had that same gritty realism aspect to it. Unlike GULAAL, I don't recall BLACK FRIDAY being significantly flawed in any way. I actually should revisit BLACK FRIDAY sometime soon and see how it plays on a second viewing.

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Old 08-23-09, 03:40 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
I really don't recall much about BLACK FRIDAY...a hazy recollection was that it was a good film, though - surprise, surprise - I didn't think as highly of it as did others.
Hmm...actually I just searched back through these threads and in Part 2, Page 3, Post 69 I see I commented on BLACK FRIDAY as:

"The subject matter was compelling but, despite a promising start, ultimately I found the film mediocre, dull, lacking in focus, and poorly executed."

Maybe I really do need to try watching it again.
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Old 08-23-09, 05:54 PM   #88
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

I'm still waiting for UTV to pony up with a DVD of Dev D. I haven't seen anything but the Moser Baer, which looks pretty atrocious. I expect my wife will chose New York for us to watch as the next movie we watch together.
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Old 08-23-09, 06:00 PM   #89
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Luck By Chance is next on the list flixtime, along with Fashion.
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Old 08-27-09, 09:14 PM   #90
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Sikandar (Hindi - 2009)
If there is any more beautiful place to set a movie than the Kashmir region of India, I haven't seen it; the natural beauty of the landscape there is breathtaking to witness on screen. Unfortunately for the residents of that area, it is also a region filled with great turmoil. As was the case with Santosh Sivan's TAHAAN which I discussed earlier this year, SIKANDAR is another film that looks at how the conflict in the region engulfs its youngest residents - children. SIKANDAR gets its title from the name of our young protagonist - a Muslim boy, in his early teens. As is the case with many at that age, he is a bit awkard, likeable but still a bit alone in the world. One day he finds a gun. And thus begins our tale. Tamil actor Madhavan is in a small supporting role as the Indian military commander responsible for security of the small town where the film is set; I thought his performance subpar and he seemed miscast in the role. Actor Sanjay Suri has a larger supporting role - and fares better - as a Muslim leader, who has disavowed his violent ways of his past, and now seeks peace through politics not violence. And the final element in the story is a small Muslim extremist group. The film doesn't really get too much into the dispute between Hindus and Muslims, instead things play out primarily as a clash between different ideologies within the Muslim community...and our young protagonist finds himself at the center of attention. Also, there is another co-lead character, a girl in her early teens, who befriends Sikandar. The girl is actually played by actress Ayesha Kapur, and this is only her second film after earning rave reviews with her performance as the young version of Rani Mukherjee's character in BLACK (2005). While Ayesha Kapur stills needs some work on her acting skills, I thought she exhibited a certain depth and feminine grace beyond her years, something special that is lacking in most of the vacuous leading ladies of Bollywood. I hope she somehow beats the odds and continues to grow as a performer. Sikandar is played by a young fellow by the name of Parzan Dastur...from his filmography it looks like he has been a part of the Bollywood scene since early childhood, and has appeared in some of the biggest name Bollywood films of the past dozen years. Though he too needs some work in the acting department, he was still effective enough in capturing the essence off his role. In the early going, the movie sort of has an inconsistent tone, the scenes with the young actors feel very much like a family film, while the scenes with the military, and various Muslim groups come off a bit overblown. Especially the military scenes - brief though they may be - that seem more like something out of a Hindi action movie. The background music score - while a pleasant listen - is somewhat overutilized, or bombastic from time-to-time. However, as the movie progresses, the tone starts to even out as the storyline starts to converge. Also, the background score stands out less. Other than that, and again some inexperience in the acting department, and maybe too in the handling of a shot here or there, I don't have much to point out as bothersome. As mentioned, the Kashmir backdrop is simply gorgeous to behold. I don't want to go too much into the story as it does contain a curve or two in the telling. Not many Indian films offer much to surprise, but I felt SIKANDAR did offer a trick or two that I didn't see coming. The writer/director of the film is Piyush Jha (KING OF BOLLYWOOD (2004)). The runtime was short at 1 hour and 43 minutes. There is some nice music sprinkled at various points in the narrative, including a very nice song that plays over the opening credits. I watched it via a rental copy with nice picture quality, and okay enough subtitles. After suffering through my last two Hindi film viewings - KAMINEY and LOVE AAJ KAL - I was leaning towards taking a bit of a break. Glad I reconsidered and tried out SIKANDAR; I consider myself rewarded by the experience as it was a good little movie. Though I feel TAHAAN is the better film, SIKANDAR too has much to offer, and it rates well enough with me that I can comfortably see it landing in my year-end Top 10...maybe settling around spot 7 on the list...depending upon how the remainder of the year plays out. I think TAHAAN and SIKANDAR would make a satisfying double-feature for a night's viewing.

Last edited by flixtime; 08-27-09 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:34 AM   #91
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Luck By Chance - I'd put this in the not bad to decent category. Its likeable enough, with a nice leisured pace and charming actors but where is the characterisation. Its almost non-existent save for a few broad brush strokes to define the two leads and a handful of side characters. Maybe I'm being overly cynical, but a 156 min shouldnt be this devoid of substance IMHO.

Overall though, a pleasant enough distraction.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:58 AM   #92
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Fashion - not sure what it quite wants to be and ends up wanting to be both a 'realistic' look at the industry and a melodramatic portrayal of the rise and fall of fame. To its credit, it manages to be a reasonable entertainer for its first half and Priyanka Chopra makes the most of what is given to her, but it completely goes off the rails in its second half. Would have been better if it picked a side and focused on it rather than trying to have its cake and eat it too.
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Old 09-06-09, 01:08 PM   #93
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Billa (Telugu - 2009)
Not much to say really...this is the most recent in a long line of DON (Hindi, 1978) remakes, some others being: YUGANDHAR (Telugu, 1979), BILLA (Tamil, 1980), DON (Hindi, 2006), BILLA (Tamil, 2007). I actually wanted to rent the Tamil 2007 version but had to settle for this Telugu version. I fully expect that the Tamil version would have been the better choice, which is easy to proclaim because this Telugu version is lousy. It's a pared down (removal of the very interesting Jasjit character) version of the DON story. I very much enjoyed the 2006 Hindi remake starring Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra. However there's nothing to enjoy in this Telugu version. The lead actor Prabhas might make out well if he pursues a career as a fashion model but as an actor he is a total stiff. The rest of the performers also fail to add anything. Basically, everyone tries to act cool but none come anywhere close to succeeding. The runtime was two hours and thirty minutes, and included the usual amount of song and dance (which I found forgettable). The only good thing was former Lara Dutta boyfriend Kelly Dorji appearing in a brief two-scene, five-minute role...unlike the rest of the cast he can do on-screen cool. While I didn't expect this Telugu (or the Tamil) version to match the success of the Shah Rukh Khan version, I was at least hoping for something in the general ballpark...that didn't happen. With all the earlier versions right there to follow, I find it curious that Telugu filmmakers can do such a poor job with the same story...but that's what you get when you do a terrible job in assembling your cast.




Oh well, here's a youtube trailer for a new Tamil superhero flick starring the likeable Vikram (ANNIYAN)...the movie - KANDASAMY - just hit theaters (with mediocre reviews), so we've got a bit of a wait until the DVD arrives:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-eH5Qudb5Q

To follow-up on the Bollywood airings on IFC, as mentioned SARKAR is next weekend, which is then followed by PYAAR KE SIDE EFFECTS, and then after that the schedule reboots with JOHNNY GADAAR...so if you missed anything the first time 'round, you'll get another chance at it.
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Old 09-07-09, 11:08 PM   #94
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

I have some Hindi DVDs like:

Water
Swades
Black
1976
Dhoop
Saawariya
Majboor
Monsoon Wedding
Shiva
Iqbal
Salaam Bombay
Bombay

I think they are great!!
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Old 09-12-09, 12:58 PM   #95
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Just a quick follow-up post to something I first mentioned back in March. Back then I made note of an upcoming Bollywood flick called BLUE (coming to theaters this October). An interesting note regarding the film was that the item number was going to feature Kylie Minogue. Well, the video is available now (music by A.R. Rahman), and, well, in my book it rates a .

Here's the clip at youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2B_lsKVw8M
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Old 09-12-09, 04:17 PM   #96
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Watching BILLA recently and mentioning how it was a recent entry in a long line of remakes reminded me of something I had intended to post a long while back but never got around to doing. So I'll do it now.

MANICHITHRATHAZHU is the name of a hit Malayalam-language film from 1993. It didn't really impress me, but there is a song that is key to the climax, and I thought that song was absolutely terrific! As is generally the case, since MANICHITHRATHAZU was a box-office hit, it got remade into other Indian languages. I thought it might be interesting to post youtube clips to this climactic song to show how it was handled originally and when remade later into other languages. Here goes:

Malayalam-language original - MANICHITHRATHAZU 1993
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZA_90S7q5w

Kannada-language - AAPTHAMITRA 2004
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jZlAl7Bmmw

Tamil-language - CHANDRAMUKHI 2005
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_X1XXFxdRI

Bengali-language - RAJMOHOL 2005
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70ujyliDMzI

Hindi-language - BHOOL BHULAIYAA 2007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF1nuFG5GEI


Telugu-language is noticeably missing-in-action but I believe that is because they simply slapped a Telugu dub onto the Tamil version, instead of doing an entirely new remake.

I think the original Malayalam version from 1993 is the undisputed best of the bunch!
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Old 09-12-09, 04:32 PM   #97
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And lastly, seeing Lara Dutta in that video for the song from BLUE got me to thinking of how stunningly gorgeous she looked in JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM. So here's the youtube clip to a big part of the song featured in the climax of the film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipZNDq10BBE

And Preity Zinta was looking pretty darned hot as well!

For those who might be unfamiliar with the actresses, Lara Dutta is the one in purple with Preity Zinta thereby the one in orange.
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Old 09-12-09, 09:52 PM   #98
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

She does look extra hot in the little dress in Ticket to Hollywood.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:07 AM   #99
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Bachna Ae Haseeno - couldnt make it through this one without making judicious use of the fast forward button. It pretty much demonstrates why I dont like most bollywood cinema - gorgeous locations, nice music but horrible horrible characterisation and plotting. And the constant references to DDLJ just keep reminding you how much better that movie actually was.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:03 PM   #100
dvd_freak
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey
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Re: Indian Cinema [PART 4]

Quote:
Originally Posted by flixtime View Post
That BOLLYWOOD HERO three-part miniseries (starring Chris Kattan) is set to air the evenings of August 6th, 7th, and 8th at 10pm with a runtime of 65 minutes each night.
Watched 'Bollywood Hero' and I think it was ok. The first part was excellent, the second was ok but it all falls apart in the third part. Its not entirely unwatchable but there are definitely some Chris Kattan moments in the miniseries. The only well known Bollywood personality in the miniseries is Neha Dhupia. She definitely has some good acting skills. Does get into the character she is portraying.
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