Monday, March 19, 2012

Some good Bollywood movies

I have several friends at work who are from India.  Partly as a way to connect with them and partly because of the claim that Islam fears Bollywood more than the United States I have been watching a few Bollywood movies over the last eight months.  Many of these movies are available streaming from Netflix.  The movies I've watched have been a lot of fun and I encourage you to check out the following:

Bend It Like Beckham may not be a true Bollywood movie.  It is short and there was no dancing.  The movie focuses on an Indian young woman living in England who wants to play soccer.  She and and Keira Knightley both struggle with disapproving parents, but we have a great conclusion.  Janine and I saw it back in 2002 when it came out and recently watched it again with our children.  I give it four stars.

Taare Zameen Par is currently my favorite Bollywood movie.  Disney released this in the United States as Like Stars on Earth.  This is a powerful story about a young boy who suffers from undiagnosed dyslexia. His parents and teachers are highly critical and the boy is dying emotionally from the hostile environment.  As a parent the first hour is very rough to watch.  One of my daughters was crying at one point.  But things work out in the end as a teacher recognizes what is going on and is able to help the young boy.  I liked this movie so much that I requested the DVD for Christmas.  I give it five stars.

Bride & Prejudice is a fun version of Pride and Prejudice.  The producer is Gurinder Chadha who produced Bend It Like Beckham.  The "Bennet" sisters are Indian and Darcy is a rich American.  The plot is roughly the same, but with lots of dancing and singing.  Janine really enjoyed some of the dances.  We also bought this DVD.  I give it four stars.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is a powerful story of Surinder Sahni, played by Shah Rukh Khan, one of Bollywood's mega stars. The movie starts with Surinder having an arranged married to a young woman who has lost all those she loves.  Surinder is kind of a nerd and doesn't know how to reach out to his wife.  Through a sequence of events he takes on a cool-hipster like persona and proceeds to enter a dance competition with his wife, but she doesn't recognize the new man in her life is her husband.  The movie ends with them dancing in the competition as she realizes that her dance partner is her husband.  I have watched the final dance scene a couple times.  This is a fun story.  I give it four stars.

Chak de India stars Shah Rukh Khan as a disgraced field hockey star who has a disastrous game.  He returns seven years later to coach the India women's field hockey team and take them to the World Cup.  One of the interesting themes to me from the story was just how fractured India is.  The coach struggles with the team players seeing themselves as state champions. They value their state first and then India.  The coach helps them to learn to work together.  I give it four stars.

Kismat Konnection is about a young Indian architect who is having bad luck.  He finds his good luck charm in a young woman, but they don't get along for the first three fourths of the movie. It is a pleasant story.  I give it three stars.

If you have never watched a Bollywood movie before I encourage you to check out some of the movies above.  I think you'll enjoy them.


Sharon said...

You should check out Lagaan. Its rather long, but excellent. Its been a while since I watched it, but its about a small Indian village during British occupation, and their efforts build a cricket team and try to beat the British team to get an exemption from the annual tax.

NerdMom said...

Ok, I absolutely love Bride and Prejudice! While I love Bollywood I would love to see some done in English;). I love a good subtitle but I rarely have time to watch those anymore as they take so much attention. It is hard to get anything else done;).

Luke said...

I jumped over to suggest Lagaan, and noticed Sharon already did so [smile]. So... I'll just second that: Watch Lagaan!


Henry Cate said...

Sharon & Luke - thank you both for the suggestion on Lagaan. I had heard about it before and added it to my Netflix queue, but Netflix currently shows it as not being available. How did you watch it?

NerdMom - I think Kismat Konnection was in English. I do like the Bollywood movies I've seen, but they are long.

C T said...

Thanks for the recommendation of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. I'm a Bollywood fan and watch a lot of Bollywood movies on Netflix, but I had been uninterested in watching this one because of the misleading description of it on Netflix. I'm so glad you described it more accurately so that I ended up giving it a chance. It was a lovely movie and very funny. After seeing Bride and Prejudice and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, I really want to visit Amritsar someday.

Henry Cate said...

CT - I'm glad you enjoyed Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. It is kind of funny. I mentioned to my Indian friends at work that I had seen and enjoyed the movie and they commented that they felt Shahrukh Khan had overcted at times.

I still think it is a fun movie.