Bollywood - in US theaters

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TikiSoo
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Re: Bollywood - in US theaters

Post by TikiSoo »

I am a big Bollywood fan and nothing compares with seeing them in a theater with an audience. You will hear laughing, crying, shouting and see dancing & singing in the aisles like attending a wedding.

At home, the 3 hour, sunny colorful DVDs help me get through our long cold winter.

Not all Indian films are alike, though. Bollywood is generally romantic comedy musicals, often with a big morality piece.
There are Tamil Indian films that are super gorey & violent and silly juvenile ones like superhero themed movies.

I once saw a Hindi movie in a theater about a family whose father loses his job & tells their kids they have been chosen to star in a reality show about making the most of poverty- a kid's movie about survival!

My library always has the latest Shah Rukh Khan movies. If you shop in Indian grocery stores you would often see piles of used DVDs $1. You hardly knew what you were buying, but I gave several a try anyway.

I will offer a bundle of Indian DVDs in the trading circle thread for postage-gotta clean out!
umop apisdn
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Re: Bollywood - in US theaters

Post by umop apisdn »

Forgive me. This post is really very long.

I am a second generation Indian born in Chicago and my parents came to the United States in the 1970s. My parents originate from Kolkata, West Bengal. So I grew up exposed to mostly Bengali movies and some Bollywood films, especially if a Bengali had anything to do with it (director, playback singer etc.)

My father is a huge film fan, so we'd watch Chaplin movies, Battleship Potemkin and Rashomon we had on VHS. We had bootleg copies of popular Bengali films that I would watch all the time. This really helped my pronunciation and also to understand colloquialisms. Many of my friends speak Bengali with an American accent, but I do not. This surprises people of my parents generation, until I tell them I grew up watching old Bengali melodramas.

I am fluent in Bengali and spoke it at home with my parents alongside English. My father is fluent in Hindi, but my mother only knows enough Hindi to get by. She speaks Assamese, but neither my father or I speak that at all. Because I did not grow up speaking Hindi, I need subtitles to watch Hindi films, otherwise I only understand some words that have a Sanskrit base and sound like Bengali words I know. If they use Urdu dialect, I am lost since that is more influenced by Arabic and Persian.

I grew up watching lots of arthouse Bengali films of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and some Mrinal Sen.

Fun story, Satyajit Ray came to my grandparents house for tea before he became famous as a director. My father was ushered out of the room because he was a small child so I don't have a really cool story about what happened. Satyajit Ray was famous as an illustrator and publisher and was the son a famous children's story writer Sukumar Roy, so a visit from Satyajit would have been a huge deal.

The Bollywood films I can recommend are the some films by Guru Dutt I wrote about in a post last year I quoted below: viewtopic.php?p=176794#p176794
Pyaasa (The Thirsty One) - This is the most well known film to western audiences. Guru Dutt plays an unsuccessful poet, Vijay, living in Kolkata who prefers to write about unromantic topics such as poverty. He's disillusioned by love, his family, and ultimately the acclaim he eventually attains. I always thought it was odd that this movie takes place in Kolkata. Bengalis love literature of all kinds and many social reform movements originated in Bengal. Guru Dutt grew up in Kolkata, and I suppose he meant for this to show "no one is a prophet in their own land."

Kagaaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers) - If a remake of A Star is Born could be even more depressing than the original, this one surely takes the cake. The movie failed to resonate with audiences of the time and effectively ended Guru Dutt's directorial career. I am glad that it is finally appreciated as one of his finest films.

Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (The Master, the Wife & the Slave) - This is based on a Bengali novel about the grand lifestyle and eventual decay of a feudal family in 19th century Kolkata. Guru Dutt plays the servant who inadvertently becomes the confidant of the lonely wife of a philandering brother of the joint household. In an effort to keep her husband at home, Meena Kumari, breaks a massive taboo for women of that time, and begins to drink with her husband. Naturally, this does not end well. I used to watch the Bengali version with Uttam Kumar a lot as a kid, but this one is a very good adaptation in its own right.
I do like some earlier SRK movies and here are my recommendations:
  • Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge - This film is still being shown at one theater 29 years after it was released
  • Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
  • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
  • Devdas (2002)

Bimal Roy Films - He was a Bengali film director who was really important in the 1950s.
  • Do Bigha Zamin
  • Devdas (1955)
  • Madhumati

Other assorted recommended films
  • Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! - mostly light and fluffy with, some dramatic sad parts.
  • Kati Patang - A remake of Barbara Stanwyck's No Man of Her Own made for Indian moral sensibilities. The baby already exists when the heroine meets the ill-fated mother on the train. This removes the illegitimacy of the child, but the pre-marital sex part could be implied since the heroine runs away from her impending marriage to meet with her lover.
  • Koshish - Drama about a hearing impaired couple who fall in love and get married.
  • Mother India - Serious film about a woman who struggles to raise her sons when her husband abandons her. Top notch acting by the lovely Nargis.
  • Sholay - The best Indian western hands down.
I don't really prefer musicals as a genre in any language, except for the ones I grew up watching. For example, I recently watched Kismet for the first time last week. It took me some time to get through it, although I thought the singing was great. I really loved A Stranger in Paradise and the sequence where Vic Damone is going to visit Ann Blyth's house. However, I could watch other Minnelli musicals like Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, and Gigi repeatedly and sing along to every song. It's either totally about nostalgia or those are much better movies. Could be both. :smiley_chinrub:

I wish I could love Bollywood films like my friends do. They watch tons of them, but then again they do not watch nearly as many movies as I do. They rarely watch classic Hollywood, arthouse, silent or foreign films. It's just one of those areas where there is not a whole lot of overlap in our interests.

Sometimes I think I am not considered Indian enough because I don't like to watch Hindi movies. I have a friend who makes fun of me for it. :roll: The rest are like "name an old movie and she's probably seen it".

Even though I like only a few Bollywood movies, I absolutely love the songs featured in the Bollywood films of the 1950s through the 1970s. My parents listened to those songs all the time while I was growing up. Like most kids I would complain and want to listen to something else like the oldies station. It's funny because now I listen to those old Hindi classics in the car.
Last edited by umop apisdn on January 31st, 2024, 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
umop apisdn
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Joined: November 17th, 2022, 8:52 am

Re: Bollywood - in US theaters

Post by umop apisdn »

Nellie LaRoy wrote: January 30th, 2024, 10:51 am Hi umop!

So last week I watched Fighter - enjoyed it a lot! It is SO MUCH BETTER than the Top Gun movies, as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not much of an action movie fan. I haven't even seen Rambo and have skipped almost all the Marvel movies. However, I did enjoy Top Gun: Maverick mostly because I grew up loving the original. Nostalgia was huge selling point of Maverick, but it won't be enough for me to sit through the announced 3rd film.

Not sure I will end up watching any of the newer Hindi films. The latest action craze is copying Hollywood, which they is what they have always done. However, classic Bollywood would draw on quality Hollywood films or on literary adaptations especially from Bengal. If the quality of Hollywood films declines, so does Bollywood.

Another recommendation
Baazigar (Hindi) - SRK stars in a remake of A Kiss Before Dying
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TikiSoo
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Re: Bollywood - in US theaters

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umop apisdn wrote: January 30th, 2024, 8:58 pm Another recommendation
Baazigar (Hindi) - SRK stars in a remake of A Kiss Before Dying
Indian "remakes" generally leave me cold at best, Amitabh Bachchan/Sanjay Dutt in ALADIN Mystery of the Lamp was so bad it made me angry!

My first Bollywood movie was SRK in SWADES which sparked my fandom. But my favorite role of his was in MY NAME IS KHAN.
I almost added the tagline, "Repairs Almost Everything" to my business sign in homage but figured no one would get it.

I've been told a local megaplex offers Indian films, gotta find out the schedule. It was way better when a local Indian Grocer rented a small venue to show them-it was like a big party with hot Samosas offered from a food truck outside!
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TikiSoo
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Re: Bollywood - in US theaters

Post by TikiSoo »

For anyone interested....
I have a group of Indian movies on DVD to give away:
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15 Park Ave and nishabd are both social dramas and Salaam-e-Ishq and Taxi No 9.2.11 are romantic musicals, so a mixed bag.

I can list them on ebay as a "one day private auction" with you as the only bidder for $5 (postage cost) so both of us get the insurance/protection.
Or, if you have another way, I'm open to it.
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