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June 23, 2006

"Bollywood Comedy"

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

David Chute reprints a good article by Lisa Tsering about non-Indians who have fallen under the spell of Bollywood films -- Chute himself is one of the smitten, and is quoted in the article ... And Tsering mentioned a Bollywood parody video that has been a hit on YouTube ... And I wound up laughing a lot watching it. Here's comedian Winston Spear:

Don't skip the Tsering article, which includes the titles of many promising-sounding Bollywood films. I've put them on my DVDs-to-watch list, and I'm eager to hear MD's evaluation of them.



posted by Michael at June 23, 2006


I watched it with my parents. "Look, American people like Bollywood movies too and this guy is making fun of one." They thought it was cute. He's got the moves and the facial expressions down pat.

I don't watch much Bollywood. As a kid, I thought they were awful (but secretly kind of liked them) and now I watch them as sort of a treat, once every six months or so, like reading a trashy book or something. The new actors are two young for me to find attractive (Bollywood actors and actresses come in crops) but I still have a thing for Sanjay Dutt. I hear Munnubhai MBBS is going to be made into an American film. It's the story of a Bombay gangster who pretends he is in med school when his parents visit from the village. It's a good movie, except for one horrifying scene with a Japanese tourist which I didn't find funny (very politically incorrect. Okay, not that exactly, but it wierd. Okay, wierd as in extreme so maybe not politically incorrect as just not Hollywood sensibility).

I went to a couple of these stage shows that Indian actors do in the west to rake in the dough. Three hours of utterly awful jokes and lip synching and dancing for the desi diaspora. Hrithik Roshan can move for a big guy. He was actually surprisingly talented live. The girls couldn't dance, but wore very relatively skimpy clothing, so I guess it evened out. The parking lot before hand was hilarious - loads of desi girls decked out, like it was a competition or something. Hilarious.

Posted by: MD on June 23, 2006 7:55 PM

I became a big Bollywood fan in the late 90's when I began to rent song collections from Netflix. I recommend Eros Dance Dhamaka. I have always been a big fan of depression era musicals and it is that escapist impulse that made Bollywood appealing. I was also fortunate to have an Indian grocery in the area which rented videos and a friend behind the counter whose passion for Bollywood gave me a guided tour. I do find the more recent Bollywood films less charming and prefer the 1990's films for dance numbers and 1950's films for cinematography. Dev Anand (kind of a singing Gregory Peck) is my favorite from the fifties (Kala Bazaar, Taxi Driver, Kala Pani). Also a Mughal e Azam is a beautiful old epic set during the Ottoman era. Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Rangeela, Satya, Dil Pe Maat le Yaar, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai are some excellent 90's movies. And though I don't particularly care for Shah Rukh Khan, I really love him in a movie called Dil Se which has the most spectacular dance scene atop a moving train. Sure the stories are melodramatic, the acting over the top, and the musical sequences contrived, but I like the explicitly artificial in entertainment and, besides, the music is catchy.

Posted by: OutOfContext on June 24, 2006 10:09 AM

I consider it an honor to be linked by a Blowhard. I tip my hat to you, as one blowhard to another.

The big Bollywood opening this weekend is "Krrish" (short for "Krishna"), the Indian industry's first attempt to make a big budget superhero film.

Story here.

The expedition to see it includes seven of my daughters Catholic school classmates, who play film song CDs in their cars. A true groundswell!

Posted by: David Chute on June 24, 2006 2:17 PM

Sadly, Krrish was truly atrocious:

Posted by: Manish on June 25, 2006 12:41 AM

A Flavor of Bollywood for the Weekend- Geela Geela

Posted by: paul on June 25, 2006 1:03 AM

Oddly I suspect Anglo Bollywood fans will enjoy Krrish more than self-cobscious assimilated NRIs who have internalized a Westernized sense of what a good movie has to be. Krrish is by design an old fashioned masala movie and thoroughly enjoyable as such. There are plenty of Indian movies now that copy Hollywood genres and shooting styles. That is not what I'm looking for when I head off to the Naz 8..

Posted by: David on June 26, 2006 4:59 PM

[Oddly I suspect Anglo Bollywood fans will enjoy Krrish more than self-cobscious assimilated NRIs who have internalized a Westernized sense of what a good movie has to be.]

There's a big difference between a good masala movie (first half of Fanaa) and utter shite.

Posted by: Manish on June 28, 2006 1:14 AM

Lisa Tsering is apparently an ethnic Tibetan raised in India. All the other Tserings I Googled were Tibetans, anyway.

Posted by: John Emerson on June 28, 2006 7:42 AM

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