18 December 2008

Confession No. 2

While I may be a swooning idiot for the romances, there is one Bollywood-induced emotion I am apparently immune to: I have yet to cry during a Bollywood film. I'm not admitting this as any sort of accomplishment; on the contrary, I feel like a bit of a freak. Not even Kal Ho Naa Ho or Veer-Zaara could make me shed a tear and they had totally sad moments. 

This is not to say I never cry during movies; I cried during Little Women, and Dances with Wolves, and The Namesake, and Dumbo, to think of four at random, and there are plenty of others I just can't remember right now. But no Bollywood films so far. I don't have a whole big theory why this is*; I just had to get it off my chest. Admittedly, not every Hindi movie I watch is a tearjerker, but I've seen quite a few with sad, sad scenes in them, and yet I remain strangely dry-eyed.



*Maybe it's because I know that Bollywood films will usually (usually!) end happily despite trauma and heartbreak in the middle bit of the picture?  But there has to be more to it than that. What is it? I haven't been able to figure it out yet. Maybe it's because I'm the figuring-out type and not the heart-on-her-sleeve type? I have no idea.

10 December 2008

Confession No. 1

This will most likely be the first in a series. This post was originally going to be a set of one-line bullet point confessions by me of my unpopular opinions about several different movies, but once I got started on one movie, I couldn't stop. Man, this article wrote itself! Stay tuned for more!

Confession: I didn't really like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) all that much. I really want to have liked it, I do, I do! But my delicate fashion sensibilities* were overwhelmed by the shockingly loud and brightly colored early-nineties style, name-brand type outfits, and subsequently I couldn't pay much attention to the plot. First of all, the clothing was way too reminiscent of the clothing worn by everyone during my own high school years [shudder] (. . . but much, much more garish).

This cover doesn't actually come close to portraying the full extent of it.

Secondly, it wasn't just the clothing that tickled my shallow-bone, but also the sets. It's supposed to take place at a college, not a high school. It didn't look like any college I'd ever seen or been to. I just kept getting the (loud, garish) high school vibe. Again, distracting.

While I was looking for pictures to illustrate my post, I came upon this slide show article from ABC News entitled "The Biggest Movie Star You've Never Heard of" (i.e. Shah Rukh Khan). ABC describes Kuch Kuch Hota Hai as "Archie Comics come to Bollywood," which pretty much sums up the look of it, anyways. I mean, I know why director Karan Johar did it--because he was trying to drag Hindi films into a more modern era with the American designer duds and all, but oh, Karan! Too much!


I don't even know who that girl is. It looks like . . . Preity? She's not in the movie.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was one of the first Hindi films I saw after becoming a Bollywood convert. Maybe I would like it better if I saw it again now, a year later. I could ignore the shockingly bad clothing and the sets and just focus on the plot (I will like it! I will like it!). Or at least try my darndest.


*If you knew me, you'd probably laugh at this.

04 December 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for November 2008

kahaan? (where?)

jahaan (where . . . ; in the place where)

yahaan (here)

vahaan (there)

kahiin (somewhere)

kahiin nahiin (nowhere)

kahiin bhii (anywhere)

sab kahiin (everywhere)

kahiin na kahiin (somewhere or other)

kahiin aur (somewhere else)

jahiin (in the very place where)

yahiin (right here; in this very place)

vahiin (right there; in that very place)

jahaan kahiin (wherever; everywhere)

kab? (when?)

jab (when . . . ; at the time when)

ab (now)

tab (then)

kabhii (sometimes, ever)

kabhii kabhii (from time to time, sometimes)

kabhii nahiin (never)

jab se (since, from the time when)

jab tak (as long as, until)

jab jab, jab bhii (whenever)

ab tab (now and then)

ab se (from now on)

ab tak (up till now)

ab bhii (even now, as yet; even so)

abhii (right now)

tabhii (just then)



I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the enormous Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

03 December 2008

What just happened here?

So, Jewel Thief. What? I'm totally lost.

Apparently I should have read a detailed plot summary first before I watched it. And followed along. And taken notes.

Don't get me wrong; I liked it. I just can't figure out who's who, or what's going on. 

20 November 2008

Or not.

I lied when I said I would recognize Priyanka Chopra whenever I saw  her from now on. I just finished watching The Inner/Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan and I kept thinking, "Who IS that girl?" I should have known. 

What is wrong with me? I think there's a bug in my brain's facial recognition software, and only Priyanka triggers it.

02 November 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for October 2008

sahelii (a girl's female friend) 

pahelii (puzzle, riddle, mystery, enigma)

aana (to come, to arrive, to know a language, to have a skill); aao! (come!)

lambaa (tall, long)

baat (matter, thing, something said); kyaa baat hai? (what's the matter?); koii baat nahiin (it doesn't matter, never mind)

rahna (to live, to stay); some verb forms: rahtaa, rahe

himmat (courage, spirit, resolve, nerve)

haan (yes); nahiiiiiin! (noooooo!)

khel (a game); khelnaa (to play); some verb forms: kheltaa, kheltii, khelte

kaagaz (paper, a piece of paper)

khilaarii [also transliterated as khiladi] (n. "one who plays", athlete, sportsman; adj. skilled at games, playful, mischievous)

milnaa (to meet)

jeb (a pocket); duniyaa merii jeb mein (the world in my pocket)

filmii (having to do with movies; melodramatic)

derh (one and a half); dhaaii (two and a half)

dono:m (both)

dhundh (fog, mist, gloom)

honaa (to be)

main huun (I am)

tuu hai (you are); tuu = 2nd person singular, intimate

tum ho (you are); tum = 2nd person plural, familiar; can also be used for 2nd person singular, polite

yah hai (he, she, it, THIS is); vah hai (he, she, it, THAT is); yah = 3rd person singular, nearby; vah = 3rd person singular, farther away

ham hain (we are)

aap hain (you are); aap = 2nd person plural, formal; also used for 2nd person singular, formal

ye hain (they/THESE are; he/she is [formal or respectful]); ve hain (they/THOSE are; he/she is [formal or respectful])

baarish (rain); barsaat (the rains, the rainy season)

thaa, thii (was); the, thiin (were)

thoraa [also transliterated as thoda] (a little, a few)

pal (a moment, an instant); pal pal (at every moment)

phamsnaa (to stick; to be trapped, stuck, caught, ensnared)

chashmaa (eyeglasses)









I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the enormous Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

25 October 2008


Because I have trouble keeping track of who-all is in Salaam-e-Ishq, I'm going to list the main cast in pairs here and get it out of the way: Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan, John Abraham and Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla and Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna and Ayesha Takia, Govinda and Shannon Esra [or Esrechowitz], and finally, Sohail Khan and Isha Koppikar as the unlucky newlyweds who just can't find a spot to have their wedding night without setting fire to their room or ending up in the hospital.

You can see a star-studded trailer of the movie here. This particular trailer also includes the title song from the film (by my favorite music directors, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), and which is very, very catchy  and quite possibly contains bagpipe music.

First off, a mini-review: I knew that Salaam-e-Ishq was based on Love, Actually, so I was prepared for the loosely-intersecting ensemble style, but I thought that the film took a little too long to come together in the first third (it's too long a film to call that section a half). The tone was too varied amongst the different subplot-establishing scenes, but I think the songs went a long way in pulling all of the different stories and styles together. Once it got going, the rest of it was more evenly paced. And other than all that, I loved it.    

I'm just going to mention a few of the performances from the film.

1. This is the fourth Priyanka Chopra movie I've seen, and the first where I've actually remembered what she looks like once the movie was over; the others were Don, Krrish, Bluffmaster! and her special appearance (along with everyone else) in Om Shanti Om. I sort of knew she was going to be in this movie before I watched it, so that helped.  It's not like I wasn't trying to keep track of her before this, either. I was familiar with who she was and what her name was, but just not her face or personality. Or what she starred in. If you had asked me yesterday who the girl in Krrish was, I wouldn't have been able to tell you.

To misquote from our movie at hand, 

     "Yeh [Priyanka] hai kaun?"         


However, I should be able to remember Priyanka from now on. I think she finally had a role where she could actually show some personality and spark. I wasn't sure about her filmi, overacting-type indignation in the first half, but since she was playing a Bollywood item girl trying to reinvent herself as a leading heroine, I guess I can see where she was coming from. And anyways, she makes up for it in the second half.

2. Strangely enough, and against all odds, I really liked . . . Salman Khan. I can't believe I even just wrote that.  He and Priyanka had a really romantic storyline and great chemistry.  I can't believe I just wrote that either. How girly.

3. Juhi was beautiful and heartbroken and real.

4. Anil Kapoor. Wow. I don't think he said a word until halfway through the film, yet was thoroughly compelling. On a very shallow note, he looked much better unshaven.

5. Frankly, I saw this film for Govinda. I'm sure there are plenty of 'em out there, but I have yet to see a bad Govinda film (okay, I've only seen three Govinda films: Partner, where he was adorable and he danced; Albela, where he was adorable and he danced; and this, where he was extremely adorable but I wish he had danced more). How can you not love Govinda? I suppose I will have plenty of chances to find out.

Oh, and I liked that Govinda (as Raju) called Stephanie's boyfriend "jackass no. 1".

02 October 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for September 2008

This month's selection of words is a (mostly) totally random collection. For a while there at the beginning of the month, I thought I had come to the end of my Hindi vocabulary limits (I hadn't been watching too many Hindi movies recently), but some good suggestions got me back on track (shukriyaa Anarchivist, for suggesting milaap, tuufaan, insaan, nasiib, and qasam!).

phuul (flower)

dhuup (sunlight, the sun)

baal (hair); zulfein (tresses, locks)

raaz (a secret, a mystery)

lenaa (to take, to receive)

likhnaa (to write); lekh (something written); lekhaanii (writing instrument)

zaruurii, zaruudii (necessary)

agar (if)

denaa (to give, to let)

milaap (meeting; mixing; union, harmony; reconciliation)

tuufaan (a storm of wind and rain)

insaan (a man, human being); insaanii (human); insaaniyat (humanity)

piiche (behind, afterwards, later, back, ago)

uthnaa (to rise up, to get up, to stand up); uthaanaa (to lift, raise, pick up)

nasiib (destiny, fate, fortune)

qasam (an oath)

farz (duty, obligation)

qarz (a debt, loan)

ajnabii (a stranger)

dushman (enemy, adversary)

bhaasa (language)

bhii (even, too, also, as much as, still)

phir (again, then, next); phir bhii (even so)

lagnaa (to seem, to begin to); some verb forms--lagtaa, lagte, lagaa, lagii

pahle (before)

gandaa (dirty)

bajaa, baje (o'clock [singular, plural]); ek bajaa (one o'clock); do baje (two o'clock)

paas (nearby)

lifaafaa (envelope)




I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the enormous Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

26 September 2008

Jodhaa Akbar: A Spectacle-and-a-HALF

I'm not generally a fan of Hrithik Roshan; he's usually oddly over-muscled, and his acting style is just not for me (Main Prem ki Diwani Hoon--wtf?).

And while I have seen a lot of Aishwarya Rai films, I can't say she's one of my favorite-favorite actresses. I think it's the little-girl voice she usually does in her films. I've heard her in interviews and was surprised to find that the voice she used for the interviews was much lower and more serious.

But in Jodhaa Akbar, I was impressed with both of them. I actually forgot they were Hrithik and Aish. That takes some doing, with those two. I was surprised how much I liked Hrithik in this especially. Fellow blogger Anarchivist and I have discussed before how much better he seems to be in the action-type roles than the straight romantic-type roles. This wasn't the same kind of action role as Dhoom 2, but there was enough action so that it worked for him, and the romantic parts were, well, surprisingly romantic. Also plotwise, even the government-type bits were interesting. I didn't think the movie dragged at all despite the three hour and forty-five minute running time, but then, I did watch it in two different sittings.

Other than Hrithik and Aishwarya, there didn't seem to be many big-name actors, or at least, I didn't recognize many. Kulbhushan Kharbanda was one I knew, but mainly by name, rather than by what he looked like. I recognized Rajesh Vivek, who usually has a bit of the Amrish-Puri-evil-eye going on, but I never knew his name till now. Apparently I've seen him in Bunty aur Babli, Lagaan, and Swades, too, but only remembered him from Nanhe Jaisalmer before this (sorry, Rajesh।) Also, I had never heard of Sonu Sood, who played Jodhaa's brother Sujamal, but I was quite taken with him. If anyone knows of a good movie to watch Sonu in, let me know.

Update: I totally forgot to mention the guy who played the mute drummer Bagha in Lagaan, Amin Hajee. In Jodhaa Akbar's qawwali song (I think it's called Kwaja Mere Kwaja) I noticed what looked like two of Amin, one on either side of the main singer. Amin does not have a credit on the imdb for Jodhaa Akbar, but according to the imdb's trivia section, he does have a twin brother named Karim, and I'm pretty sure they are the ones shown in the picturization.

Now, enough about the actors, I should mention the other beautiful parts of the movie: those incredible, jewelry-laden costumes and that incredible, enormous, and lushly designed set. (I don't have any screen caps, sorry, but I'm sure you can find some all over the internet.) I looooved the color scheme of the saris (and of the entire movie): dark ruby red, deep emerald green, and gold. Oh, the clothes porn*! I think this is the best I have ever seen. You must watch this movie on a widescreen hdtv if at all possible. I saw the first half on a 60-million inch widescreen (not mine), and it was extremely beautiful to look at. Sigh.

*credit goes to Anarchivist for this phrase.


  • Other notes/footnotes: I have heard the movie is not particularly historically accurate, but I think anything that illuminates a previously dark (for me) corner of history is worth watching. It's just a starting point, really. I had no concept of this time and place at all, but, hey, so it's not a history lesson; at least now I have some idea of it that I can use to pin other informational tidbits onto.

07 September 2008

"Worth renting": so indefinable, yet so easily decided

I went home last weekend (home home--where my mother lives, where I grew up) and when I got there I thought, as I always do, "Ah, nice relaxing weekend with nowhere to go and nothing to do but watch movies and read a couple of books," and then as always, spent the entire three days in endless rounds of gadding about (her doing, not mine).

So my mom and my aunt and uncle and my other uncle and I were at the pizzeria/gas station/coffee hang out/convenience store/machinery parts store/movie rental place, having coffee (well, they were having coffee; I had tea) and I had a look at the movies on the wall while they talked.  I idly thought about renting a movie for my mom and me to watch later, but I dismissed almost all of them as being not worth renting. And then I suddenly realized how different my standards are when I want to actually plop down money to pay for a rental dvd versus when I have free access to the same titles at the library. I don't really know what makes a movie worth renting or not, but it was quite clear to me as I looked at them which ones were and which ones weren't.

I don't think the money was the only issue, though. The other hurdles included, but were not limited to, "Is it worth the hassle of bringing the empty case up to the counter and having the clerk find the movie behind the desk, and also having to dig out the money to pay for it?" as well as "Is it worth making an event of it?" (Meaning: "We only have a couple of days to watch it. Do we have enough time to set aside for both of us to watch it together and return it before it's due? Because if we don't, and we have to return it without watching it, then that's wasting money as well as time.") Also, most of the movies I get from the library, I watch by myself. Having another person watch a movie with you ups the stakes--you want to make sure that they will like it too, and that they haven't seen it already.

I saw many, many titles at the convenience store that I would never have paid money to see, but which I had been totally keen to watch when I had had the opportunity to check them out from the library. I can't even remember what most of the titles were at the convenience store, but I know one of them was Stick It, the gymnastics ("It's not gym-nice-tics") version of the cheerleading movie Bring It On. I got Stick It from the library once, and I liked it; especially the first half, which had attitude with a capital A and which got off some pretty funny lines. The second half was more of a conventional sports movie but still not bad. Would I have ever rented this movie? No. Was it worth checking out from the library? Hell, yes.

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for August 2008

paanii (water)

pyaasa (thirsty)

duudh (milk)

billii (cat); billaa (tomcat)

kuttaa (dog)

makaan (house)

ghar (home)

pakaanaa (to cook); khaana (food); khaana banaanaa (to make food)

roti (bread)

makkhan (butter)

gaay (cow)

makkhii (fly); makkhiyaa maarnaa (to kill flies--i.e. to laze about)

paisaa (money)

saaikil (bicycle)

bhai (brother); bahin (sister)

maa-baap (mum and dad, parents)

betaa, betii (son, daughter)

parivaar (family)

gaarii, kar (car) relgaarii, tren (train)

maamaa, mausaa, taduu, chaachaa, phuuphaa (uncle); maamii, mausii, buaa, chaachii, phuuphii (aunt)

bhaarat, (India); hind, hindustan (India, especially north India)

log (people)

desh (place, region; country, nation; native land); svadesh (one's own country, native land); desh-prem, svadesh-prem (patriotism, love of country)

mausam (weather; season of the year)

saknaa (can, to be able)

jaanna (to know); main jaanti huun! (I know!)

jaanaa (to go); jao! (go!)

mat (don't); e.g. mat jao (don't go)

karnaa (to do)

vaqt (time, period of time)




I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the enormous Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

03 September 2008


I have no profound statements about this movie, sorry. I just have two things to say about it.

1. The first thing I ever heard about Guide was that Waheeda Rehman had recreated one of her dances from it years later in a different movie (I can't remember which movie; whatever it was, I haven't seen it), so I figured the dance must be good as well as extremely famous. When I finally sought out Guide, it wasn't particularly because of the dancing--I just wanted to see a classic movie starring two actors whom I wanted to learn more about. It should have been because of the dancing, though. I didn't know what I was missing before this movie. So far in my Bollywatching career I haven't seen a lot of movies with classical-type dancing in them like I saw in Guide, but I'm really hoping I can find some more. The songs don't have to have any singing; just dancing will do.

2. Recently Beth Loves Bollywood did a review of Guide, which I didn't read past the first paragraph at the time, because she posted a "vague spoiler warning" that stopped me from reading further. (Why a spoiler warning should suddenly stop me from reading a movie review, when I've been all over the internet reading reviews of movies I haven't seen yet and which give away all sorts of plot points, is beyond me.) While the main part of Beth's review was full of deep and meaningful discussions, the very first thing she said she had to get out of the way about the movie was how much Dev Anand's hair distracted her from watching properly. I mention this because of what happened when I saw the movie this weekend. 

My mom watched part of it with me, not because she wanted to, but because it was there and she was there. (The only other Bollywood movies my mother has seen are Kal Ho Naa Ho, which she liked; Om Shanti Om, which she saw under duress [I think she liked it, really. She was just being stubborn because I made her watch it; like, all-day-hounded-her-about-it-made-her-watch-it]; and Chak De! India, which she didn't see from the very beginning but which she was into by the end.) She was mostly napping while I watched Guide but every once in a while she would wake up and try to make sense out of a random scene before going back to sleep.

But her one comment during the few parts of the movie she did see was,  "What's with his hair?"

25 August 2008

How did I miss this?

My weekly Google Alert on the search terms "Shahrukh Khan/Shah Rukh Khan" (oy, the things I'll admit in public) has alerted me to the fact that apparently the Israeli rhythmic gymnastics team performed a clubs and hoops routine at the Beijing Olympics to the music of Om Shanti Om, including musical bits of Dhoom Taana.

See articles http://entertainment.oneindia.in/bollywood/news/2008/om-shanti-om-olympics-250808.html  and   http://sports.in.msn.com/olympics/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1647876.

A while ago I saw the youtube performance of the two dancers on that tv show So You Think You Can Dance, or whatever it's called, who also did a routine to Dhoom Taana, but the Olympics is something I actually watch. Eeeeeeeeeeee!

Update: I've finally found a clip of what must be the same routine from the European Championships. I don't think the first half of the music is from Om Shanti Om (it's hard to hear) but the second half is definitely Dhoom Taana.

And now I've found a better clip (and a better performance) from the World Cup(?).  [Random aside: If you want to see really good rhythmic gymnastics routines, however, check out the Russian, Chinese, and Belarus medal-winning 2008 Olympic performances.]


In other news, I'm working on a sort-of-review of the movie itself, Om Shanti Om, but I'm 1. slow and 2. lazy. It's kind of ironic that I haven't watched any Bollywood movies in the past two weeks because I've been too busy watching the Olympics instead, and yet still didn't see the Olympic Dhoom Taana performance.

18 August 2008

This is deewani

I have a stack of knitting magazines sitting on my floor, unread. Not just a few, I'm talking eight or nine, and one more just came in the mail today. You'd think I would have read them right as soon as I got them, but no. (Instead, here I sit, watching the Olympics and writing pointless blogs.)

I can't bring myself to read all those magazines, because then I won't have any more knitting magazines to read. Either that, or I'm really, really, lazy.

01 August 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for July 2008

This month, I focused on names. Four out of every five of the words this month are actually names of either characters from movies, or of actors and actresses. Names are not usually translated in the subtitles of movies, so I had to do a lot of looking up in the dictionary this month. I apologize for any mistranslations.

My other mini-theme for the month is words that are the same or similar in Hindi and English. (Some of them are the same because they are both derived from Arabic or Persian.) And then there are a few random words rounding out the list.

shantii (calmness, quiet, peace)

shakti ( power, strength, energy)

shashii (the moon; see also chandaa, chandra)

rishi (a sage, a seer)

safarii (pertaining to a journey); safar karna (to make a journey)

geet, geeta (a song)

puujaa (worship, adoration of a deity, prayer)

priya (dear, beloved; agreeable, kind person)

preeti (love, affection)

duurdarshan (television [literally=far-sightedness, long-sightedness, foresight])

aishvaryaa, aishwarya (supremacy, dominion; superhuman quality, divine majesty; grandeur)

abhishek (anointing, usually with sacred water; investiture, consecration; religious ablutions, the ceremonial bathing of an idol)

jayaa, jaya (the victorious one: a title of several goddesses, including Parvati and Durga); also "Jaya Hind!" = "Long Live India!"

amitabh (supremely brilliant, magnificent); amit (immeasurable, incalculable)

zameen (earth, ground, soil); zamindar (landowner, landlord)

amaan (1. modest; 2. incalculable, vast)

rohan (rising)

amar (immortal; eternal)

aakash (1. space; 2. the sky, the heavens)

jangal (forest, woods; a wild, uninhabited place)

sharmiilaa, sharmila (bashful, shy; modest);

rakhee (a protective talisman)

rehkha (a line, streak, mark, sign; a line such as on the palm [figuratively=fate])

madhubaalaa, madhubala (bee attracted to honey);           maadhurii, madhuri (1. type of jasmine 2. sweetness; 3. charm); madhu-raaj (bee)

paajaamaa (loose cotton trousers)

amir (of rank or distinction; rich, wealthy)

roshan, adj. (light, bright, lighted); roshnii, noun (light; brightness; illumination)

akshay (imperishable; permanent, durable; undecaying)

anupam (incomparable; excellent, best)

sahraa (desert, wilderness)

raaj, raaja (king; prince; ruler); raanii (queen)





I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the enormous Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

25 July 2008

How do you say extreme nerdiness in Hindi?



I made this myself!!

16 July 2008

Okay, fine, I give up

I've been resisting it on principle but I've caved and have started referring to Shah Rukh Khan by his initials (SRK) like everyone else.  It's just so much easier to type and it seems to fit.

But I'm still holding out on abbreviating movie titles. KKHH, KANK, KHNH, K3G, KHKN*, I always get confused by the Ks and have to think about it too much. There's DDLJ** too without the Ks, but still no! not even for that. I like seeing the whole title as I type, and I like spelling it out. I don't care if other people abbreviate their titles, but I'm not going to. I'm idiosyncratic (idiotic) that way.

Abbreviation gods: 1,  Me: 1

We'll see how long it lasts.

*Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Alivda Naa Kehna, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa

**Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

05 July 2008

Happy Un-Birthday to Abhishek Bachchan

I realize this blog is heading in the direction of becoming the Abhishek Hour, but I just have to say one quick thing: The imdb has FINALLY changed Abhishek's birth year from 1965 to 1976. About six months ago as I was doing some research, I noticed that they had him listed as what amounted to being ten months older than Shah Rukh Khan, instead of ten years younger. I mean really, yaar, watch Kabhi Alivda Naa Kehna and get back to me on that one. I love them both, but there's no way. No way.

 Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

So I wrote the imdb a (nice!) note about it and included for their perusal an official link to an official mention of Abhishek's age and birthday in, I think it was the Hindustan Times, or else The Times of India, but I wasn't optimistic they would change it. There are avenues for users to submit corrections to the imdb website, but they had a note in their help section that said that for birthdates, they pretty much need to see a copy of the first page of a person's passport in order for them to do anything about it. (Apparently the first page of a passport has enough information on it to verify birthdate without giving away too much other private information like address.) They also said it takes a while to change anything, so I didn't keep too close a watch on it after I submitted it.

I know I wasn't the only person to have submitted a correction up to that point. There was a whole talk topic on Abhishek's bio page about users who had tried unsuccessfully to get the imdb to change it before, and the thread went back pretty far. So I wonder what finally made them fix it. Maybe a fan alerted Amitabh about it on his blog and he got someone to provide the correct information for his son's birth year to the imdb. It could happen. Or they might have just gotten tired of being bugged about it constantly when it was so clearly the wrong information. But I'd like to think I helped.

03 July 2008

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag; Not a Review

I have seen many, many Bollywood films where the characters either mention other Bollywood stars who are not in the movie, or where the filmmakers include random gratuitous cameos by other stars (usually in a song, but not always) who just seemed to have popped by the set for a minute, or where the film itself references another movie, or where a song from another movie is used in the background or sung by a character. In fact, I would say most Bollywood movies I've seen incorporate at least one of these elements, and sometimes more than one.

Random examples I can think of right now include Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna's "Simran!" moment, Kal Ho Naa Ho (Rani and Kajol's two-second appearances in "Maahi Ve"; Daadii pinches the boy's cheeks and tells him he looks just like Rakesh Roshan and is corrected: "Hrithik Roshan! Stop it Daadii!") and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (Abhishek says "...our Bachchan!" when he and Preity are talking about Madame Tussaud's; the side-car motorcycle ride; Abhishek's "Hey Handsome!" ringtone; the "she's no Miss World!" line*). In Nanhe Jaisalmer, the entire premise of the movie is that the boy Nanhe is friends with Bobby Deol, as played by himself, Bobby Deol--which is really, really weird. And as a side note, I think it was in Bluffmaster! where someone has a line about Shah Rukh Khan and Bipasha Basu as movie stars, and the subtitles translate their names as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (not even close, but whatever).

So I was not surprised when a film crew comes to Rani Mukherjee and Konkona Sen Sharma's family's crumbling mansion in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and one of the first things that the younger sister Konkona asks the film assistant girl is, "Have you met Shah Rukh?" And it's quite funny a short time later when Rani's about to get on the train to Bombay and Konkona yells to her, "Get me a picture of Mannat!" and then has to explain to their mother (Jaya Bachchan) that Mannat is Shah Rukh Khan's bungalow in Bombay. The Shah Rukh referencing doesn't stop, though. Later, when she reaches Bombay, Rani is confronted with a giant billboard advertising Chak De! India.

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 2 Shah Rukh Khan

You can hardly pick out any of the people on the street in the screencap below but Rani's orange outfit matches the orange of the billboard.Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 1 Rani Mukherjee

Somehow, the fact that you have the visual of Shah Rukh's face taking up half the screen and half the billboard (as opposed to the previous mentions in the movie, where you just hear his name being spoken by the characters) makes the whole thing even more surreal.

But the part that made me choke on my chai this morning was where Rani opens the door to the downstairs neighbor boy who brings in a case of beer and then starts singing "Where's the Party Tonight?" at her. A song she was in! With Shah Rukh Khan!

Now, I'm not complaining. I thought it was funny. But I still haven't decided if I think the wink-winkness of all these moments is a good or bad thing on the whole. On the one hand, it's kind of fun to think about. On the other hand, It takes you out of the film most of the time. And it's almost too much for me to handle sometimes (brain-exploding-wise), having that extra layer of meta-movie connections and relationships to think about as well what's going on in the movie itself.

***Sidenote(s): That said, and speaking of cameos, Hema Malini has an item number (!), close to the beginning of the movie, and she's great. I hadn't researched this movie beforehand, so I didn't really know who exactly was in it. I did know that Abhishek Bachchan was in the film (properly, not a cameo), but it was quite a while before he finally appeared on screen, and I had kind of forgotten--so when he did, I accidentally let out a squeal.***

But back to the referencing, I suppose in the interest of realism (such as it is), if you are going to include references to a movie star in a film that has at least some reason to refer to a movie star (any movie star), you may as well pick a real one--and a big one. It's like when a tv show tries to make a can of pop look like a can of Coke without actually showing a can of Coke. It's red and it has white lines on it. What else could it be? Everyone knows what you are trying to show without you actually showing it, so why not show the real thing? It would be disingenuous not to. But then there's sort-of realism (picking Shah Rukh Khan as the big movie star that you happen to refer to in your movie because he happens to be a big movie star--and if the film were really real life, there's a good chance that's who a real girl might have mentioned) and there's the surrealism of having the characters refer to Shah Rukh Khan as a movie star when you know very well he and one of the characters in the movie you are watching have starred in at least six other movies together. Bollywood is such a small world. But that's a discussion for another time.

In the meantime, I'll just leave you with this bit of goofiness:

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 7 Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee (2)

*Or whatever it is. I tried to find it but couldn't, so if anyone wants to correct me, go ahead.

01 July 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for June 2008

rang (color); rangeela (bright, showy, gaudy)

laal (red, ruby-colored; a ruby); rohit (red)

naarangii (orange)

neela (blue)

safed (white, chalky color); saf (clean)

kaalaa (black)

gulaabii (pink); gulaab (a rose)

piilaa (yellow)

khaakii (dust-colored, earth-colored)

kya? (what?);  kya hai? (what is it?);  kya hua? (what happened?)

kyu[n]? (why?);  kyu[n]ki (because)

kaun? (who?); kab? (when?) kahaa[n]? (where?)

samajhe? (understand?)

bollu! (speak!)

kam (few, less)

kaam (work)

mandir (temple)

duniyaa (world, the world)

akele (alone)

mastii (intoxication; delight, passion, unrestrained joy)

jeena (to live, to be alive);  jiivan (life, existence, lifetime)

josh (excitement; passion; enthusiasm, ardour)

hai na? (n'est-ce pas?; isn't it?)

duusraa (second, other, next)

[k]huun (blood, a murder); [k]huunii (bloody) --yes, I heard this in a Bollywood movie; it's not all song and dance

dard-e-disco (the pain of disco)

hangaamaa (tumultuous crowd; commotion, din)

chiiz (a thing, an item)

juutaa (a pair of shoes; not to be confused with jhuut, a lie)





I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

22 June 2008

Bollywood for Beginners

It's amazing what comes over you when you become obsessed with Bollywood films. You feel you must keep track of all of the movies you have seen. You say, "I can totally learn Hindi from watching Bollywood movies!" and then go out and get every dictionary and Teach Yourself Hindi book you can get your hands on. You want to share the linguistical wonders of Hindi with as many people as possible (whether they want you to or not), so you start a "Hindi Word of the Day" feature on your Facebook profile. Your mp3 player will only hold so many songs, so you take off all your other music to have enough room for all your Indian film music (well, that and the downloaded podcasts of Learn Hindi from Bollywood Movies). Your friends already think you're crazy. But no! That's not enough! You annoy them even further by trying to get them to join you in the madness! Oddly, some of them actually do.

My friend watched Kal Ho Naa Ho at my recommendation (I accidentally said to her one day, "I think you might like this movie," before I could stop myself), and since she liked it, she wanted to try some more Bollywood movies but didn't know what she should watch next. I mean, where do you start? There are zillions to choose from. I remember feeling the same way, about three or four years ago, when I was trying to figure out which few Bollywood movies to purchase for my library's collection. I wasn't very familiar with any of them, but I ended up picking an actor (Aamir Khan) and an actress (Aishwarya Rai) and going from there. It's always nice to have recommendations though, so here are the suggestions I sent to her by email (I had some input from my friend Anarchivist as well).

Note: there are mild spoilers in some of the movie descriptions so beware.

January 28, 2008


1. To start you off, Anarchivist suggests Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge [The Brave Heart Takes the Bride]. It stars Shah Rukh Khan (whom you saw in Kal Ho Naa Ho) and Kajol. It's an older movie (1995, same year as Pride and Prejudice!) but something of a classic by now. You'll have to suffer through some truly hideous wardrobe choices in the first half, but it gets better in the second half. Actually, the second half is better all around. I've seen the whole thing 2x.

2. If you want to just jump right in with a movie that includes staggering plot twists, then go with Fanaa (2006), starring Kajol and Aamir Khan. (Tabu, from The Namesake, is also in it for just a bit.) It's a comeback film for Kajol, who apparently hadn't done any films recently up to that point. Fanaa was one of the first Bollywood movies I saw at the Art-House Theatre. It starts out as a boy-meets-blind-girl love story, but then...as I said, staggering plot twists. It doesn't stick with just one genre, let's say.

Kajol (Fanaa) (Kajol)

Aamir Khan (Fanaa)

(Aamir Khan)

3. I also saw Omkara at the Art-House Theatre a couple of years ago. It's an adaptation of Othello. It's more of an art film, but it still has some songs. It's very well made. As Anarchivist says, the events that take place, the jealousy and misunderstandings--you can see how these events could really happen to them. It makes more sense than some other Othello adaptations. It also has kind of a Wild West/outlaw feel to it. It stars Ajay Devgan as Omkara/Othello, Kareena Kapoor as Dolly/Desdemona, and Saif Ali Khan as Langda/Iago, all of whom did a really good job. (You saw Saif in Kal Ho Naa Ho.)

Ajay Devgan (Omkara)

(Ajay Devgan)

Ajay Devgan (Omkara)
(Ajay Devgan)

Kareena Kapoor (Omkara)
(Kareena Kapoor)

4. Salaam Namaste is a romantic comedy I really liked, starring Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta (both from Kal Ho Naa Ho). It takes place in Melbourne. It's amazing to watch Saif as Langda in Omkara and then as Nikhil in Salaam Namaste because he hardly seems like the same person (looks and acting). I know you saw him in Kal Ho Naa Ho, but he gets more screen time in Salaam Namaste, so you notice the contrast more here between this role and his performance in Omkara.

Here's Saif as Langda:
Saif Ali Khan (Omkara)

(Saif Ali Khan)

Saif Ali Khan (Omkara) (Saif Ali Khan)

And here he is otherwise:

Saif Ali Khan (Salaam Namaste)

(Saif Ali Khan)

Saif Ali Khan (Salaam Namaste)

(Saif Ali Khan)

You might watch both movies and not even realize it was him in both. After I saw Salaam Namaste, I had to go back and watch his performance in Omkara again because I was so amazed at the difference in his characters.

And for good measure, here's a picture of Preity in the same movie:

Preity Zinta (Salaam Namaste)

(Preity Zinta)

5 & 6. If you want to watch more Shah Rukh Khan, try Chak De India! or Main Hoon Na [I'm Here Now].

Main Hoon Na is about an army guy (Shah Rukh Khan) who has to go undercover at a college to protect a girl going to school there. He is also looking for his brother, whom he has never met, while he is there. In the mean time, he falls for his chemistry teacher, and every time he sees her, his arms rise up from his sides of their own accord, and he can't help himself singing.

Chak De India! is made more like a Hollywood sports movie than a Bollywood movie, but it's about the Indian National Women's Hockey Team and how it is always third-string compared to all boys' sport and all the other girls' sports. Shah Rukh coaches the team.

7. Another movie Anarchivist mentioned is Straight from the Heart starring Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai (Miss World or whatever), and Ajay Devgan. Salman and Aishwarya are okay, but if you liked Ajay Devgan in Omkara (I did), you should watch this one. It's not a great movie, but it has its moments. It's a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with a twist.

8. Dhoom 2 is an action heist flick starring Aishwarya Rai, Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, and Hrithik Roshan. It is extremely, wildly, incredibly implausible. Ludicrous, really. But fun. Abhishek and Uday are buddy cops, Bipasha is another cop, and Hrithik and Ash are the baddies trying to steal things. I really liked Abhishek in this one. He played the straight man so well. [update: Turns out, I love Abhishek in everything!]

Abhishek Bachchan (Jhoom Barabar Jhoom) (Abhishek Bachchan in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom)

But anyways, back to Dhoom 2. For a good picture of the cast, click here. In the picture, left to right: Uday Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Bipasha Basu.

9. If you want to watch a vintage Bollywood comedy, you can try Chupke Chupke. It stars Dharmendra, along with Amitabh Bachchan (Abhishek's father). I thought it was really funny, although it would have been even funnier if I understood Hindi. [update: I'm working on that]

Dharmendra (Chupke Chupke) (Dharmendra)

Dharmendra (Chupke Chupke) (Dharmendra)

Amitabh Bachchan (Chupke Chupke) (Amitabh Bachchan)

Amitabh Bachchan (Amitabh Bachchan)

10. If you are not sick of Bollywood movies in a few months time, you have to put Om Shanti Om in your Netflix queue (have to, have to, have to!). Om Shanti Om is the movie that put me over the edge and made me get Netflix so I could watch more Bollywood. I'm definitely going to buy it when it comes out [update: it came out earlier this year and I did indeed buy it] (I also bought Kal Ho Naa Ho because I couldn't resist that one either). Om Shanti Om is about a bit-part actor (Shah Rukh Khan) in the movie industry in the seventies, who is in love with a superstar. He meets her and begins to romance her, but finds out something shocking. Things happen, they both die. In the second half of the movie, he is reincarnated as the superstar son of a superstar and it is now modern time. He meets a starlet who looks exactly like his lost love (but it's not really her) and begins to remember things from his past life. I LOVED the music. It's incredibly, unbelievably catchy. Trust me.

Tidbits about the stars:

Shah Rukh Khan--India's biggest superstar, although he's been overshadowed by Hrithik Roshan somewhat recently. But not after this, apparently (from Om Shanti Om):

Shah Rukh Khan (Om Shanti Om) (Shah Rukh Khan)

Aamir Khan--considered one of the best actors. Very picky as to roles.

Amitabh Bachchan--a legend.

Abhishek Bachchan--son of Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri (aka Jaya Bachchan--she was Jennifer in Kal Ho Naa Ho)

Preity Zinta--one of my favorite actresses.

Kajol--Fanaa was a comeback for her. Married to Ajay Devgan.

Ajay Devgan-- see http://specials.rediff.com/movies/2008/jan/22slde1.htm This slide show also mentions Irfan (below), among others.

Irfan Khan--played the father in The Namesake and Ajit Khurana in Dhund (Bollywood horror film) . Anarchivist's favorite actor, I think it's safe to say.

Aishwarya Rai--Miss World, married to Abhishek Bachchan, dated Hrithik Roshan [update: I don't even know where I heard this in the first place or if it's actually true. It was news to me when I reread it just now as I was editing this post for publishing.] and Salman Khan, before marrying Abhishek.

Hrithik Roshan--he's better in action films than romance films, I think. He's an incredible dancer and very athletic.

Kareena Kapoor--she comes from a long line of Kapoors in film.

Saif Ali Khan--dating Kareena Kapoor, last I heard.

Rani Mukherjee--starred in Mujhse Dosti Karoge! [Let's Be Friends!] with Kareena Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan. Rani is second[?] cousin to Kajol.

There are more, obviously, but I can't think of any right now.
You had to ask...

[end original email]

One last thing I should add is where to get your Bollywood fix.

Check your local library. They may have more titles than you realize. If they don't carry it, ask and they may be able to purchase it for the collection, or get it for you through interlibrary loan (you don't need to know how it works--just tell the librarian what title you are looking for and they will see what they can do).

Netflix makes it a whole lot easier now to rent movies if you don't have a local rental store with Bollywood titles. They don't carry everything, but they do have a lot.

And if you must own it, Nehaflix is your site--it's both cheap and fast. I ordered three movies and two soundtracks on Tuesday evening and they were in my mailbox on Friday afternoon. Amazing!

01 June 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for May 2008

bas! (enough!)

acchaa, thiik (fine, good, well; acchaa also means okay)

ek, do, teen, char, paanch, chah, saat, aath, nau, das (one, two, three...ten)

bahut (very, many, much)

matlab (meaning); "kya matlab?" ("meaning what?"/ "what do you mean?")

pyaar/prem/ishq/muhabbat (love)

dil (heart)

shaadi (marriage); "hum shaadi n'hi karti!" ("we are NOT getting married!")

sundar (beautiful, handsome, charming)

chandaa, chandra (moon); chaandna (moonlight); chaandni (moonbeam); chaandla (crescent-shaped); chaandi (silver)

khush (happy); khushi (happiness)

khushbo (fragrance, pleasant scent)

yash (glory, honor, fame)

jaaduu (magic)

ankh (eye); ankhen (eyes)

roshnii (light, brightness)

raat (night)

sapnaa (dream)

jaage (wake)

soona (sleep)

dost (friend)

yaar! (dude!)

hameshaa (always)

bilkul (absolutely)

naach (dance)

sab/sabhi (all)

naag (cobra, snake); nageen (female cobra, snake)*

jau! (go!)

bhaloo (bear)*

bagheraa (tiger cub, leopard); bagh (tiger); sher (tiger, lion); khan (lord, prince)*

haara (green)


*Apparently "Mowgli" was made up by Kipling, and I couldn't find "Kaa" in the Hindi dictionary either.




I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.

01 May 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for April 2008

Last month I started updating my Facebook status with a Hindi word of the day every morning as a way to make use of all these new Hindi words that have been floating around in my head since I started watching Bollywood movies.  I lost my original paper list that I was using to keep track of the words I posted, but I've tried to reconstruct it here as much as possible. Ninety-eight percent of the words listed here are ones that I've picked up by watching movies; they just stuck in my head. I chose words I already knew the meaning of, but I looked most of them up first to check spelling and to pin down more specific meanings.  The ones I didn't know beforehand include mangal, which I heard in a song lyric and had to look up, and barf/barfistan, which I saw in the dictionary and had to use on a snowy day at the end of April (had to! How could I not!). I also came across the explanation of parsom/tarsom/narsom in my Living Language Hindi Complete Course book.  The other books I've been using for reference include Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, and the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November and has no previous experience with the language.


kitna? (how many?)

mangal (auspicious, fortunate, well-being, good fortune)

chellu! (let's go!)

zindagii (life)--this is my favorite word. I just love how it sounds and looks: zinnndddaaaggiiiiiii

chup! (shut up!)

saach (true, truth)

jhuut (lie, lying, falsehood)

dekho! (look!)

sunno! (listen!)

kahaanii (story, tale)

paagal (mad, crazy); "tum paagal ho!" ("you're mad!")

deewana/deewani ([m./f.] crazy, obsessed, besotted, insane)

shaayad (perhaps)

jaldi (hurry)

kitaab (book)

kal (yesterday/tomorrow); parsom (day before yesterday/day after tomorrow); tarsom (day before the day before yesterday/day after the day after tomorrow); narsom (day before the day before the day before yesterday/day after the day after the day after tomorrow)

dhanyavaad/shukriyaa (thank you)

lekin (but)

barf (snow); barfistan (snowy expanse, snowy waste)

sirf (only)

chotaa/chotii/chote ([m./f./pl.] small, little)

baraa/barii/bare ([m./f./pl.] big, large, great)

10 April 2008

Pay No Attention to the Girl Behind the Curtain

I just want to start a list of all the Hindi, Bollywood and other Indian-related films I've seen and I need a place to keep track of them so here it is (in rough order of when I saw them).


* * * * * =ratings system (out of five stars); keep in mind this rating system is for whether or not I liked the movie, not whether I thought it was well-made (well, except for that one There'll Always Be Stars in the Sky: The Indian Film Music Phenomenon--it was so strangely judgmental about its purported subject matter, I couldn't give it good marks)

2x = number of times seen

Own = I own it

OS = I own the soundtrack

Theatre = I saw it in the theatre


The Indian-related movies I've seen in the past eight or so years, pre-obsession:

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) 4x; Amrish Puri!!! and Roshan Seth

A Passage to India (1984)  * * * * Victor Banerjee, Judy Davis, Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth

The Peacock Spring (1996) * * * * * Naveen Andrews, Hattie Morahan(PBS, please please please put this out on dvd!!!!)

The World of Apu (1959) Theatre; Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore

The Jewel in the Crown (1984) Art Malik; I didn't see all of it--only the first two episodes

Monsoon Wedding (2001) * * * *

East Is East (1999) * * * * Om Puri, Jimi Mistry,

Fanaa (2006) * * * * * Theatre, OS; Aamir Khan, Kajol, Rishi Kapoor, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Kirron Kher, Shiney Ahuja,

Don (2006) * * * * Theatre; Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Boman Irani, Om Puri, Kareena Kapoor, Chunky Pandey,

Omkara (2006) 2x * * * * * Theatre; Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vivek Oberoi, Bipasha Basu, Naseeruddin Shah

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanaam [Straight from the Heart] (1999)  2x        first half * * *, second half* * * * * Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Helen

Kandukondain Kandukondain [I Have Found It] (2000) 2x * * * * Aishwarya Rai, Tabu, Ajith, Mammootty

Bride and Prejudice (2004) 3x * * * * Own; Aishwarya Rai, Martin Henderson, Naveen Andrews, Indira Varma, Anupam Kher,

Partner (2007) * * * *  2x Salman Khan, Govinda, Lara Dutta, Katrina Kaif

Dhund (2003) * * Irfan Khan, Gulshan Grover, Tom Alter, (sorry, Irfan, but it was really bad)


Om Shanti Om (2007; the movie that changed my life) 3x                * * * * * * * * * * Own, OS, Own Book; Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Shreyas Talpade, Arjun Rampal, Kirron Kher, and just about everyone else in Bollywood


Everything since Om Shanti Om from November 2007 on:

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) 4x * * * * * * * Own, OS; Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Jaya Bhaduri

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) * * *

The Namesake (2007) * * * * * Kal Penn, Irfan Khan, Tabu

Mujhse Dosti Karoge! * * * Rani Mukherjee, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor

Dhoom 2 (2006) * * * * * Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Bipasha Basu and Uday Chopra

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) 2x * * * *  OS; Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri

Main Hoon Na (2004) 2x * * * * OS; Shah Rukh Khan,

Chupke Chupke (1975) * * * * * Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri

The Mistress of Spices (2005) * * * Aishwarya Rai, Dylan McDermott

Lagaan * * * * Aamir Khan,

Koy Mil Gaya (2003) * * *  Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta,

Sholay * * * * * Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri

Rang De Basanti * * * Aamir Khan, Kunal Kapoor

Chak De! India (2007) 2x * * * * * Theatre, Own, OS; Shah Rukh Khan

Salaam Namaste (2005) 3x * * * * * Own, OS; Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arshad Warsi

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007) * * * * * 3x, Own, OS; Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan

Earth * * * Aamir Khan

Krrish * * * Hrithik Roshan

Kabul Express * * * * Arshad Warsi, John Abraham

Disco Dancer * * * * Mithun

Asoka * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor

Gandhi (1982) * * * * * Ben Kingsley, Roshan Seth,

Karz * * * * Rishi Kapoor

Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon (    ) * Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) 2x * * * * OS; Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan, Kirron Kher

Water * * * * * John Abraham, Seema Biswas

Fire * * *  Aamir Khan

Mississippi Masala (1991) * * * * Denzel Washington,

Maqbool (2003) * * * *

Don (1978) * * * * Amitabh Bachchan,

Guru (  ) * * * * * OS; Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun

Kuch Naa Kaho (2003) 2x * * * * * Own, OS; Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai,

Bhool Bhulaiyaa * * * * Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Shiney Ahuja, Amisha Patel

Aaja Naachle first half: * * , second half:  * * * * ; Madhuri Dixit, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Akshaye Khanna

Dil Chata Hai * * * * Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Aamir Khan

Baabul * * * Rani Mukherjee, Amitabh Bachchan, John Abraham, Hema Malini, Salman Khan, Om Puri

Veer-Zaara (2004) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini

Devdas (2002) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit

Bobby * * * * *  Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia,

Gumnaam (1965) * * * Manoj

Darr (1993) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sunny Deol

Main Pyar Kiya

Life...in a Metro * * * * Konkona Sen Sharma, Irfan Khan

Baadshah * * * * Shah Rukh Khan,

Mangal Pandey: The Rising * * * * Aamir Khan, Toby Stephens,

Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai

Duplicate * * * Shah Rukh Khan,

Swades (2004) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan,

Deewana * * *  Shah Rukh Khan, Rishi Kapoor,

Paheli (2005)  * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee,

Cheeni Kum (2007) * * * * Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu,

Chalte Chalte * * * *  OS; Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee,

Bluffmaster (2005) * * * * * Own, OS; Abhishek Bachchan,

Seeta aur Geeta

The Killer * * * * Emraan Hashmi, Irfan Khan

Provoked * * * * Aishwarya Rai, Miranda Richardson, Naveen Andrews

There'll Always Be Stars in the Sky: The Indian Film Music Phenomenon *

Jab We Met * * * * * Kareena Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor

Discovering the Music of India * * * *

Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) * * * * * Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman

Devdas (1955) Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Motilal, Suchitra Sen. I actually didn't finish this one. Devdas overload.

I See You (2006) * * * * Arjun Rampal, Vipasha Agarwal, Chunkey Pandey, Boman Irani, Sonali Kulkarni

Ram Jaane (1995) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Pankaj Kapoor, Tinnu Anand, Gulshan Grover

Hameshaa (1997) * * * Saif Ali Khan, Kajol, Aditya Pancholi, Aruna Irani

Nanhe Jaisalmer (2007) * * * * Bobby Deol

Chaudhvin ka Chand (1960) * * * Rehman, Waaheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt, Johnny Walker, Mumtaz Begum

Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007) * * * Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007) * * * * * Rani Mukherjee, Konkona Sen Sharma, Abhishek Bachchan, Kunal Kapoor

Welcome (2007) * * * * Akshay Kumar, Nana Patekar, Anil Kapoor, Mallika Sherawat, Katrina Kaif

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) * * * * * Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi

Mohabbatein (2000) * * * * Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Uday Chopra, Jugal Hansraj, Jimmy Shergill, Sharmita Shetty, Kim Sharma, Preeti Jhangiani, Aishwarya Rai, Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri, Helen

Doosra Aadmi (1977) * * * Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Rakhee

Yuva (2004) * * * * Abhhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Ajay Devgan, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri

Sharmeelee (1971) * * * * Rakhee, Shashi Kapoor

Namastey London (2007) * * * * * Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Rishi Kapoor

Guide (1965) * * * *  Waheeda Rehman, Dev Anand

Dil Se (1998) * * * * Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta, Zorha Sehgal

Saaya (2003) * * * John Abraham, Tara Sharma, Mahima Chaudhry, Zorha Sehgal

Dream Girl (1977) * * * * Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Ashok Kumar, Prem Chopra

Jodhaa Akbar (2008) * * * * * Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Sonu Sood, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Amitabh Bachchan (narrator)

Jewel Thief (1967) Dev Anand, Ashok Kumar, Vyjaanthimala, Tanuja, Helen, Faryal, Anju Mahendru

Blackmail (1973) * * * * * Rakhee, Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha

Salaam-e-Ishq (2007) * * * * * Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, John Abraham, Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla, Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Ayesha Takia, Govinda, Shannon Esra [or Esrechowitz], Sohail Khan, Isha Koppikar

Hum Apke Hain Koun . . . ! (1994) * * * * * Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan, Anupam Kher, Reema Lagoo

Tashan (2008) * * * * 1/2 Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor

Mother India (1957) * * * * Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Kanhaiyalal

Chori Chori (2003) * * * * Rani Mukherjee, Ajay Devgan, Sonali Bendre, Kulbhushan Kharbanda

 Jaan-e-Mann (2006) * * * 1/2 Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, Salman Khan, Anupam Kher

Pestonjee (1988) * * * * Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Kirron Kher

Saawariya (2007) * * Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee, Zohra Sehgal, Salman Khan, Begum Para

Kyun? Ho Gaya Na (2004) * * * *  Aishwarya Rai, Vivek Oberoi, Om Puri, Amitabh Bachchan, Tinnu Annand, Rati Agnihotri

Guddi (1971) * * * * Jaya Bhaduri [Bachchan], Dharmendra,

Thoda Pyaar, Thoda Magic (2008) * * * Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Amisha Patel, Rishi Kapoor [as God]

Outsourced (2006?) * * * Josh Hamilton, Ayesha Dharkar, Asif Basra


First published 4/10/2008 1:45pm

24 March 2008

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

Bollywood is like crack cocaine*.

When I first watched Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, I gave it four stars out of five because I thought it was very well made, very pretty and stylish, and it had all my favorite actors. But I didn’t really like it. I wanted to, but the characters were all unhappily married, the situation was uncomfortable, and the whole movie was full of mean and crabby people. I also thought the music was too similar to the music in Kal Ho Naa Ho, and not as good (both soundtracks were done by the same music directors, Shankar, Ehsaan, & Loy). After the movie was all over, I decided it had been worth watching—once.

*not that I would actually know.

I took it back to the library, and believed I would never need to watch it again. After all, I have only so much time and so many thousands of Bollywood movies to watch, and I had to get cracking on the rest of them. And yet…and yet…somehow I found myself still thinking of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.

Despite not liking the movie, I did have a favorite song video scene which kept popping up in my brain, but I didn’t realize it was from that particular movie right away. The scene is this: Shah Rukh Khan is shown standing by himself on the playing field of an empty soccer stadium, singing, with his arms outstretched and the camera swooping and swirling around him in a circle, showing off the green playing field in the background. (It sounds cheesy, yes, I know. It always does. But it was a great shot, really—trust me.) I had to do some research online to try to figure out if it was in fact from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, or from Chak De India, which is a movie about the Indian National Women’s Hockey Team and also involves large green sports stadiums and Shah Rukh Khan. Once I figured it all out and found the right scene from the right movie, I realized I also really loved the song Mitwa, which is the song playing during the scene.

One weeklong, nonstop Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna soundtrack binge later, I thought I would just check out the dvd a second time from the library, to watch the one song in its entirety—just the one song, you know. But by this time, all of the other songs from the soundtrack had been burned into my brain, and I had to play the videos of all the rest of the movie’s songs on the dvd too. Had to!

You can see where this is going. I must own this dvd. I must watch it again. The whole movie, not just the songs. Why? Why?? I have no idea. Regular movies don’t have this effect on me. Yes, I do own a great many non-Bollywood films, and I will pull one out every once in a great while to watch it again if I haven’t seen it in a few years. But I am not compelled to watch them over and over again within a month of first seeing them. Why are the Bollywood ones any different? Okay, so I LOVED Kal Ho Naa Ho. I LOVED Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. I've watched them both at least three times each since November, squeezed in among all the other Bollywood films I’ve seen since then. One could say it would be sort of understandable to want to watch them more than once in such a short time period, although I don’t usually do that with movies, no matter how much I loved them the first time. But Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna? Why? I didn’t like it much in the first place. Why do I need to see it again? (And I really, really do.)