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E has been into Bollywood. I'll have to post a photo of her in her dress, all green and orange. She'll probably get a new one this summer, brought all the way from India by a friend whose little sister is having her head shaved this spring.

This is my first attempt at an embedded video; the opening of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, E's current favorite Bollywood film. (A true Bollywood film, as opposed to "Bride and Prejudice," "Monsoon Wedding," also favs.)

A hilarious and accurate review of the movie is here

The one thing I disagree with is the criticism of Amitabh Bachchan's costume. I love the coat, the hat and the boots. So did he. It's his own hat and his own boots from an early film.

Amitabh is apparently one of Bollywood's greatest stars. He was quite popular when he was younger, took a hiatus, and is now doing age-appropriate parts. In this film, he plays the part of a "Love Troubadour" as it were. After asking me if he's still alive (I show E lots of films with actors no longer with us), she wants to write him a fan letter. I'm still working on that one.

I watched a documentary on "Bombay Dreams" a musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. They used Indian music and choreography. E loves some of the songs, but I can't find a full film of the stage production itself, just this fascinating documentary. The team spent a few weeks in India learning choreography. The comment one of them made was that Indian choreography is low to the ground, from the hips, with less emphasis on upper body movements. And, this very slight woman remarked, well-suited to curvy women's bodies.

What's interesting in the embedded video that opens Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is that most of the dancers are western and their upper body movements are large and exaggerated. If you watch Amitabh, his movements are subtle. This led the Dude to opine that he couldn't dance. After watching the "Bombay Dreams" documentary, I disagree.

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is available through Netflix, which is how we first saw the movie, after I had downloaded the songs from iTunes. We now own a copy, with a second disc of extras. Some of the music is repetitive, but the dance numbers are catchy and colorful. The camera work is spectacular, though the steadycam can get annoying. As the reviewer says, the plot and storyline are pretty awful, no substance, and silliness abounds. Unfortunately, it has a couple of explicit references and was rated for "12 and above." Those go over Miss E's head and her ability to read subtitles is not up to snuff yet, thank goodness. So unlike the "U" rating, there are a couple of kisses and clutches in this film. But not during the dancing parts.

Another interesting trivia point about Bollywood films is that the music is all recorded by other singers who are themselves stars of Bollywood. The actors are all lip-synching.

And that's your lesson for an icy day in Bollywood film.
Frog Out


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Indian films are delicious!

I want to recommend (for you, not for E) an Indian version of Othello called Omkara. It's utterly brilliant.
Feb. 13th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
oooh, thank you. I love Shakespeare adaptations.
Feb. 13th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
Me too! Um, as you know.

Have you seen Rave MacBeth? It's not bad, low budget though and not as good as Omkara.
Feb. 13th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
No. Until recently, this was all for E, so I've focused on finding musicals. We started with Monsoon Wedding and I wanted her to see something a little less adult. She's only allowed to watch the dancing scenes. So I started downloading songs in iTunes and then found videos on YouTube once we got a faster connection and then researched whether the films were on Netflix. It's a journey of discovery.
Feb. 13th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Tell E that I liked Amitabh Bachchan in that Jhoom Barabar Jhoom dance too! But I didn't think he was wearing ostrich feathers. They looked more like rooster feathers to me. Unless he has rooster feathers pointing forward and ostrich feathers pointing back. Yes, maybe that's it.

Foggy, with rain on snow here.
Feb. 13th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Feathers
or maybe the reviewer doesn't know an ostrich from a rooster!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )