Ever since I saw my first Bollywood-style film Bride and Prejudice, I've been in love with Bollywood films -- ones produced in India, as well as ones produced in the UK and US.
I remember watching Bride and Prejudice and thinking that I had never seen a more beautiful film, with so much color, exuberance, and beauty. I loved all of the fabrics, all of the many textures, and the architecture. I couldn't get enough of the music, or the dancing, or the striking characters. I loved the fact that there was ancient culture mixed with modern culture, and a sense of individualism and independence that coalesced with a strong sense of family, community, and dependence. Although these elements are usually indicative of Eastern/Asian entertainment, and I often saw these same elements in the Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese dramas and films that I watched, it seemed like Bollywood did it better -- more grandiose. More vivid were the colors, more soulful and moving was the music, and more breathtaking were the landscapes and the buildings... I had never seen such beautiful houses.
Since then, I've seen a good handful of other Bollywood films, mostly via Netflix. Some have been amazing through-and-through in every aspects... others have been great in one aspect, and maybe not so great in another. A couple haven't been so great. But overall, I'm still in love with these movies. Even if a story is weak, the visuals are so stunning, I just have to keep watching. Other times, it's the music and choreography of the dancing that really gets me -- which brings me to another realization.
I'm not a musical person.
I don't know what it is, but I've never been one to get super excited over the prospects of watching a musical. I'm not into live musical theatre, and I'm not into musical films, aside from maybe your basic Disney movie. Other than that... I just don't get it. I never have. I have nothing against them... I just don't have anything for them. And yet, aren't Bollywood movies musicals? I can't explain it. Well, perhaps it's because I find the music more appealing? Actually, that might be exactly it.
Anyway, I watched three Bollywood films on Netflix today: Band Baaja Baaraat, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, and Thoda Pyaar Thoda.
Band Baaja Baaraat
Band Baaja Baaraat is about two near strangers that end up in a wedding planning business together. The one stipulation is that they will NOT fall in love and will not complicate business with a relationship.
Yeah, you know where this is going. Although it's a storyline we're all familiar with, isn't that what makes it so great?
I love watching things like this and figuring out how they fall in love... and waiting until that moment where we can actually see it in the characters' faces.
Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
In Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, a guy asks his brother to find a wife for him. The wife-finding brother ends up falling for the girl that he sets his brother up with! A classic love triangle, and while the story started out okay, things kind of got awkward because the wife-wanting brother and the girl actually get married.
Then the rest of the movie's plot centered around finding a way for the wife-finding brother and the girl to get together by reintroducing the wife-wanting brother's ex.
Thoda Pyaar Thoda
I just finished watching Thoda Pyaar Thoda. It's cute, has a fair dose of humour, and there's a lot of cute and interesting CGI in it.
Sometimes the CGI was a bit over-the-top and sort of kitschy, but there's a level of fantasy and wonder to it that cannot be ignored, and the kitschy-ness sort of adds to it. It's very cute.
I also liked the music and choreography (I don't think there's ever been a Bollywood movie where I didn't!)
I only wish Netflix had more foreign movies and television shows than they do. I usually watch foreign films and foreign television dramas online, because that's really the only place that I can find them in large quantities and variety... but to be able to watch them on Netflix means being able to watch them on my television screen, which I love, and it's also 100% legal, with no iffy boundaries, and the quality is much better.
I wonder, though: What are some recent, really popular Bollywood movies? I want to watch more, and watch more of what people in India are actually watching, and what they consider popular.
No wonder Bollywood is considered one of the largest film industries in the world (some sources say #1, followed by Hollywood... others say #2, after Hollywood).
Bollywood movies are just too good! :)