Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hollywood, Schmollywood...

Have you heard about Bollywood?

Well, maybe you have. Thanks to Slumdog Millionaire (SEE IT!). But, honestly, Slumdog is not a Bollywood, and the dance scene at the end doesn't do true Bollywood dance scenes any justice.

Bollywood is not a place like Hollywood, but it is the affectionate name for the Indian Hindi Film Industry. It is everywhere. Nearly every movie is 3 or more hours long and includes cheesy dance scenes and pop songs that never die and are forever linked to the films. Most plot lines involve something related to a young couple in love who decides to buck the system of arranged marriage against the wishes of the father and, therefore, spend the rest of their lives trying to restore the relationship with their families.

Here's an example of a Bollywood dance scene from the film Kal Ho Naa Ho. There are definitely better songs and dance scenes, but I chose this one because it has English subtitles (so you could get the full cheesiness effect). Also, the actors don't sing! They always lip sync.

Well, let me be honest. Not all films are like this. In fact, there are some really really good plots in some, and they all (even with the cheesy dance scenes) are generally very good, expensively-produced movies.

The funny thing about Bollywood is that there are several families that kinda rule the roost of Bollywood actors. Actors from these Bollywood dynasties are in nearly every movie. So, you end up seeing the same folks over and over in different roles. It starts to be a little confusing. Movie plots begin to blur.

Perhaps the most famous Bollywood actors are Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

"King Khan", as SRK is affectionately called, is the Bollywood heartthrob, and has been for many years. He almost always plays the young, star-crossed lover who wins the woman anyway, despite going against his own father or the father of the lady.

Shahrukh Khan

Amitabh Bachchan is referred to as "Big B," and he has been around Bollywood for years. If you've seen Slumdog, you might recognize Big B as the famous actor that little Jamal swam in poop to see! Big B's family is a Bollywood dynasty. His son, Abhishek is also a famous actor. Abhishek's wife Aishwarya Rai is a famous Bollywood actress, a former Miss World and is considered one of the world's most beautiful women.

Amitabh Bachchan

My personal favorite is John Abraham. What a hottie.

John (we are on a first name basis)

My favorite Bollywood actresses are Rani Mukherjee and Kajol.


Some of my favorite Bollywood movies are Jodhaa Akbar (really good one about the Mughal rule in India), Black and Jab We Met.

And, perhaps one of the best movies I've ever seen is the Hindi film Water. It's not a Bollywood, per se. It's a socially conscious movie about Indian widows and is set in the time around Indian independence from Britain (1947ish). It stars my beloved John Abraham and music by the guy who won the Oscar for Slumdog (A.R. Rahman).

In my humble opinion, everyone should check out Bollywood. Try one of the movies mentioned here, and let me know what you think. You'll be singing and dancing along in no time. For more suggestions on good films to watch, e-mail me!

P.S. Don't forget to make sure they have English subtitles!

No comments: