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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Bollywood, Bollywood... Bollywood

All right, after not nearly enough times of watching 3 idiots I gave in and decided to watch other films. By Mr. Aamir Khan, of course... Second in line after 3 idiots was Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. (And yes, I say "in line" because there is at least a third, but we'll get there later). All I can say about it is that it's so. very 80s. Not quite as funny as 3 idiots, the story was not nearly as exciting or heartwarming. I will say, though, that Bollywood has a long tradition of knowing how to keep you glued to your seat waiting to see a story unfold, even when you know what's going to happen, if this film in particular is any proof of it.

Now, that one I went into blindly, not having a clue what it was about. Ghajini I walked into willingly and I should have known better. Bear in mind, I've given at least 7 10 hours of the last 24 to watching Bollywood films (or Aamir Khan, whichever you prefer). This tells you something of an obsessive compulsion of mine. I should warn you, reader. Ghajini is inspired by Memento. I hated Memento. Wikipedia said it was not quite the Indian Memento so I gave it a try and I have to agree with Wikipedia and disagree with my poor judgement. I don't know what possessed me. Let's get on to why I agree with Wikipedia and you might understand the rest. I agree with Wikipedia because while the story is, in fact, centred about a man with short-term memory wanting revenge and using the same techniques... Bollywood has a very different way of telling the story. 

Bollywood films regularly take about 3 hours, it seems. It's on purpose. It's called character development Hollywood, take a hint. You'd think it ridiculous to include musical numbers and comedy and put so much time into the drama of how Sanjay fell in love with Kalpana, but every laugh, every giggle and every "Awwwww" will make you want to cry even more later. Even more so when you're seconds away from the inevitable, long-ago-announced murder and you find yourself wishing there was some way she actually survived and they can somehow have a happy ending. The fact that Bollywood is so quick to pair tragedy and comedy is not so much a faux pas as it is genius. While I'd normally hate to be manipulated into feeling anything "announced," I appreciate this way of doing it. This is not so much a "Feel sad! It's time to feel sad!" as a "Remember all of those nice things? Well, they can't be. Deal with it."

Side note: One thing I absolutely detested in the film? Sunita. I could not stand her. She was used so cheaply to be nosy and in the way and to move the story forward... above all, she was just such an unbelievably stupid, foolish character!

Now you can probably see why I was sobbing at 2am and at 3am because everything was set up for a lovely story with a charming man and an endearing happy-go-lucky woman (I could swear that scene with the blind man was from Happy Go Lucky Amélie). I knew she was going to die a horrible death. I knew all he could get was revenge and death in that order. I don't really care if they gave him a "happy" ending and I won't take down those quotation marks, damn it. 

Mr. Aamir Khan, sir, well played. You are an amazing actor and, Wikipedia tells me, a truly admirable human being. I am very impressed. Not just anyone could play action hero, nerd, spiritual guide, backstreet boy, Prince Charming and doofus. Not even Johnny Depp. I am in celebrity love with you. The teen chest hair, Gaston style? Sexy. The hip sways? Very sexy. Speaking French? Très sexy. The sudden loss of chest hair showing a very muscular body? Sexy-sexy, if I do say so myself. The loss of some of that muscle to reveal a more average complexion and growing a little body hair? Even more sexy! Hold on a second, he was 45 when he played a college student? I know a lot of it was massive amounts of impeccably applied make-up, and still... Wow... Wait. He does the singing in some of the films? 

He can sing, he can dance, 
after all, it's Aamir Khan... 
And a film he's in is seldom second-best
I've got a lot to do
Shall I watch one or two...?
Films of the best...
Of the best...
Of the best, yes, he's... the... beeeeeeeeest!

Oh, and, above all else, those eyes....? To paraphrase him (sorry) "Oh God!". 

Hollywood, take note! That's what I call a well-rounded actor! It's not just that he can transform so well, so readily. It's not how many films he's been in (apparently, very many). It's talent. Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. Someone give Hollywood the head's up about Hugh Jackman. Everyone stop bitching about Anne Hathaway. Don't adapt Bollywood, Hollywood. Try one Bollywood film. I dare you. Oh, that's what Slumdog Millionaire was supposed to be... sorry, you just don't measure up.

I'm actually a little late, coming to meet Bollywood. It has the manly men doing the fabulous things like lip-syncing and dancing! It has the music! It has the flamboyancy! It has the old-fashioned, prudish romance! (I don't think I've seen a single French kiss and I don't think I'll be seeing many, if any at all). I appreciate the breath of fresh air. Really, Ramin Karimloo made Aamir Khan easier to love and it's such a nice transition...

Well done, Bollywood. Well done. *slow claps*

Ok, so part of it is also my hormones. And part of it is the fact that I can't get LesMisGuy out of my head. Which probably has a lot to do with my craving for romance. I don't take any of it back. 

[6:36am edit]
I couldn't stop there. Sorry, future me. I know we have a test tomorrow. And another on Wednesday. And on Saturday. And Tuesday after that. And.... I don't even know when the others are scheduled. It was absolutely post-worthy, though. Dil Chahta Hai was quite lovely. It has a very 90s feel to it, and I worry that perhaps I wouldn't have tried to fit so many stories into a single film, but I'm not sure separating them would have made them work individually without making them look silly. I certainly do believe Sid's story deserved... well, not more time, not more glory, I quite like it subdued... I... er... well, I would have considered making it a film all its own. I'm thinking twice about it now. This is truly a film for the hopeless romantic: one about how people love, touching on the subject of loving in hopelessly helpless silence (or lack thereof). I would have been tempted to say Deepa was such a pathetic character to include, but having Sid granted a whole new perspective on it. I love the fact that it dignifies the idea of unrequited love. It's a breath of fresh air. I'd never seen anything like it. It was beautiful.

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