Bollywood Breakdown

Merry Christmas readers! Err sorry, Ennis. Happy Holidays lovely readers! I hope you were able to enjoy this break with friends and family. As for myself, I’m still not done making lists. No, not Christmas presents. That headache is over and I have the paper cuts to prove it. I’m referring to the lists I made this past semester – lists of books, movies, and TV shows I intended to catch up on during December/January. One of those is a list of Bollywood movies I’ve been hoping to watch in the next few weeks. (See Boston mutineers, I promised you a Bollywood post. Here it is.) I came up with a rough compilation of movies I hope to see these next few weeks and I’m selfishly hoping you can help me hone it. Because if you’re going to spend three hours watching a movie, it had better be worth it!

  • 3 Idiots was released Christmas Day, and from what I can tell via reactions on Twitter, it’s already got fans. Based on the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat and directed by Raju Hiran, the movie stars Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi as three engineering students at one of Indian’s top colleges. Plot-wise, there are the usual college-boy hijinks and romances. (By the way, the film will be available three months from now on YouTube, ostensibly to discourage piracy.) There’s no particular reason I want to watch this film. I’m not a huge Bhagat fan, but I figure I can’t go wrong with any movie Aamir Khan chooses to act in…

– I first read about Rocket Singh: Salesmen of the Year when it was reviewed in The New York Times. The film, which is directed by Shimit Amin, stars Ranbir Kapoor (swoons) as computer salesman Harpreet Singh and was released December 11. In Rocket Singh, our hero faces down a villainous boss and emerges (we hope) triumphant with his integrity intact. Personally, I have no problem with filmie songs, but I know some of you moan and groan every time one of those comes on. If so, this movie is for you. (Confession, I’ve been rooting for Kapoor since Saawariya.)

Mr. Amin, who directed the delightful “Chak De! India,” about a girls’ field hockey team, dispenses with Bollywood’s normal tangle of subplots and mashup of genres. There’s music, but no big production numbers. Even romance is back-burnered. Instead, Mr. Amin sticks to the story at hand.


Paa came out December 4 and stars Amitabh Bachchan as Auro, a 12-year old boy living with a rare genetic defect that causes him to age prematurely. (Think Robin Williams in Jack, I suppose.) Directed by, R. Balakrishnan. Paa also includes the younger Bachchan, Abhishek, as Auro’s father. Hmm, so the actors, who in real life are father-son reverse their roles for the film? I know what you’re thinking, “Why, PG? Why? Spare yourself the melodrama.” I suppose it’s the rubberneck appeal that comes with watching Abhishek haul Amitabh around the place that compels me to rent this movie. I’m curious to see whether or not their acting chops can weather this hokey shtick. Dishoom.

I was hoping to also watch some Bollywood films that are more ABD-focused, but besides My Name is Khan, starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, which will be released February 10, 2010, I couldn’t find anything recent. As you’ll recall, the movie centers around Khan, who plays an American Muslim with autism whose life is thrown into turmoil after 9/11. (On a side note, if anyone knows when Right Hand Man, starring Shahid Kapoor as an Indian man who becomes disillusioned by the American dream and which was filmed in Philadelphia, is released, do tell!)

So mutineers, have you seen any of these? Hated them? Loved them? Anything else you suggest I watch?

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