Saturday, April 30, 2011

Top Ten Bollywood Films

I love making lists, especially top ten lists. Since Bollywood is a recent obsession, I've decided to compile one long blog post dedicated to that which I love most. Aaaaand, I had some time on my hands when I finished taking a test and couldn't leave...
So, the rating is purely of my own devising.Expect a lot of personal opinion here and not a lot of legitimate movie criticism. There will be five categories. Music, Characters, Plot, Costuming, and Overall rating, out of five stars, the stars being this * symbol.
*= No bueno
**=Meh, could have been better
***=I liked it while I watched it
****=I loved it and showed it to friends and family
*****=Loved it, spread it around, and was still talking about it even after I returned the movie
/=half rating
To make it musically, the songs have to be memorable or catchy. Characters means that I like the characters portrayed or the actors that play them. Plot basically judges whether or not the story makes sense. I mean, some story-lines are ridiculous, but they still are good. Some story-lines are just dumb (and probably didn't make the list. Believe it or not, I have seen more than 10 Bollywood movies, so that makes me qualified to even make a top ten. Obviously.) Costuming! This is one of my most favorite parts of Bollywood films; the costuming. There was a rough patch there, in the late nineties, early 2000's where the costumes were really, just awful. But then again, fashion was awful everywhere...I mean, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys were the trend-setters then...Yup. Not a great time for fashion. Lastly, there is the overall rating, which is the order of the list.
Let's start from the bottom and work our way to the top, shall we?
 10. Saawariya
This was my very, very first Bollywood film, way back in the days when my family used to get movie rentals every couple of weeks. (I guess this fever was a long time coming.) It has been ages since I've seen it, but it has stuck with me. It has also served as a sort of litmus test for friendships. I knew when one of my then new college roommates had seen it that we were going to BFFs. I mean, when you live in the USA and have both seen a movie than is only marginally available, along with a handful of other strange or rare movies, then you know you have to be friends.
Anyways, back to the movie. It had a strange, unreal, poetic dreamlike flavor to it. Kind of reminds me of Moulin Rouge. I love movies that really take me to another time and place, and this movie was ambiguous enough, that you weren't sure if it was a fairytale or not. Needless to say, I wouldn't mind seeing this one again. The title links to the IMDb page, so you can find a summary because I am afraid that I would give too much away. Here is my opinion though: The story wasn't quite what I expected and I enjoyed it even more so because of that. The main character was adorable and a heart-stealer. The costuming gets the rating it does because of the whole feel of the movie; it was all so magical.
Music: **/ (Three and a half because one song was particularly memorable, even after all these years.)
Plot: ***
 9. Bride and Prejudice
Just kidding guys, this might have been my very first "Bollywood" film. I put Bollywood in quotations because I am still not quite sure if I would classify this as Bollywood, mostly because there is just so much English! Haha, you get so used to hearing Hindi that listening to the movie in English is just odd. But it does have the typical song and dance. Aaand I love the wedding dance. I recommended this movie to a friend, except I forgot to mention that it was a musical, and it threw them for a loop when the first song happened. But I do love the storyline. I mean, it's Jane Austen's classic tale! Everyone loves a good love/hate relationship story that ends in marriage.
Characters:**/ (Love Aishwarya Rai as Elizabeth, but not so sure I like Martin Henderson as Darcy.)
Costuming: *** (Really appreciate traditional Indian dress. It's so bright and colorful!)
8. Pardes
Beautiful Shak Rukh Khan plays the best friend. He was basically adopted by a rich Indian businessman in American, and when his adopted father wants to arrange a marriage for his jerk of a (biological) son, he asks Shak Rukh Khan to make it happen. Besides the romance of the story, this story really made me think about the culture shock that Indian brides can go through. India is unique because of the tradition of arranged marriages but as India becomes more and more integrated with the world, they have to find a way to adjust their unique traditions with other cultures.
Characters:**** ( Shak Rukh Khan's character does the stupidest, most dramatic, possibly most romantic thing ever, potentially suffering severe nerve damage. We all screamed, like seriously screamed when it happened.)
Costuming: ***
7. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
This is the most recent one. We watched it last night. Since I cannot pronounce all the different k-words, I use its shortened nickname: K3G. So much simpler. The best part of this movie? So much eye-candy. I also loved the relationship between the brothers, and the portrayal of a mother's love. So touching.
Characters:*** (Kajol's character was slightly annoying, but her younger sister was even more so. I wouldn't mind just watching Shak Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan the whole movie, but having better female characters would have made the movie that much better.)
Costuming:** (One of the characters has NO fashion sense. She wears bell-bottoms with the front cut out, so it's capris in the front, bell-bottoms in the back. Ulghhh)
Overall: ***/ (I wanted to love this one more than I did. I mean, it has Hrithik Roshan aaaaand Shak Rukh Khan. But I didn't absolutely love it, which made me sad inside.)
 6. Vivah
Super sweet movie detailing the growth of relationship between a recently (arranged) engaged couple. The girl is sweet and loyal. The boy is super cute and is head-over-heels in love. The plot took a completely unforeseen turn towards the last hour or so of the movie. It was interesting, but I don't think it was completely necessary. It could have ended much sooner, still with the same ending! But still, I like it. This movie made me want even more than ever that arranged marriages were acceptable in LDS culture. ;)

5. Dhoom 2
If you recall, I shared a video from this movie previously here. This is an action/romance/buddy-cop/heist/thriller movie. Can you believe it, all in one?! Mr. A (Hrithik Roshan) is the world's most successful thief and a cop and his sidekick have decided to take him down. The movie goes from India to Rio, with music and dancing included. Aishwarya Rai is a girl thief who intrigues Mr. A, so he takes her on as a protege (that's the romance part). I watched the songs over and over again. :) Have yet to see the first Dhoom...
Characters:***/ (Just because I love Hrithik Roshan sooo much)
 4.Om Shanti Om
This was my first Shak Rukh Khan movie. I love, love, love him. I remember a girl telling me about this movie like last year, and I was like, 'yah, yeh, whatever'. Little did I know what joy this movie beholds! This movie has it all: reincarnation, character growth, bad guys, 70's parody, aaaand Shak Rukh Khan. Seriously, he is so so beautiful. At first, the movie starts out in 70's Bollywood and Shak Rukh Khan is hidden under hideous polyester and 70's mustache. Just wait though. Wait. He comes back. Modern day and BUILT. Based solely on Shak Rukh Khan's presence, he puts this movie into the top five. The plot isn't that bad either. It's also somewhat a parody of modern Bollywood with a lot of special appearances from lots of big names. It's funny cause the more I see, the more people I begin to recognize.

3. Jodhaa Akbar
I already posted about this movie here, so I won't go through my rave review again, but just to let you know, this is what started it all. This is also really the only historical one I've seen so far. I have started watching Lagaan (another historical Bollywood, but this time about British India) but haven't finished it yet, so I am not sure where it will fit in this whole list thing. Keep an eye out.
Costuming:**** (The mustache was a little weird, not going to lie...)
2. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ)
I want you to know that this is the longest running film in Indian cinema. It's been playing constantly for something like 15 years! I hope it keeps playing long enough that I can actually see it in India, someday (new life goal, yes indeed.) This movie also set the bar in Bollywood for romance. In another film, its entire premise was based on DDLJ. The main couple, Raj and Simran, have become synonymous with true love. True love, I tell you.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, here is my top choice. Ready?

I don't know what it is, but the whole story of best friends who fall in love gets me every time. Well, this is really two, almost three, love stories, but only one broke my heart. Seriously, I was simply in tears at intermission.  I loved Shak Rukh Khan (Rahul) and Kajol (Anjali). They have this sweet handshake thing that they do, between them. It's a sign of true friendship. And Rahul's little girl is quite adorable. AND his HAIR. I don't know how he does it, but his hair is absolutely beautiful every time!
Costuming:**/ (It was hideous at the beginning, but got better as time went on.)

Honorable Mentions:
Jaane tu--ya Jaane na; includes the three requirements for a boy to become a man. Plus some great quotables. "Uh, sir, the terrorist is meowing..."
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani; interesting look at the role of media in the govt., especially where corruption is concerned. However, some awful costumes and some silly moments.
Well, there is it. My top ten list. As you can tell, Shak Rukh Khan is slightly over-represented (5/10 movies!) but I can't help it! I just adore him so much.  Next most represented, Hrithik Roshan, of course. Believe it or not, there were actually some SRK (Shak Rukh Khan) movies I've seen that didn't make the list. Sometimes he does make silly ones.

Oo, what I'm looking forward to? The first superhero Bollywood film. Hmmmmmmmm. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jellies! was fun! Besides the fact that is was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and WARM outside, I also got the apartment (somewhat) organized and decorated.
My paternal grandparents came down to visit and spoiled us. I got bubbles for Easter!!! (As you can see, I was much more enthused about the bubbles than I was about the Easter candy or Easter monies.)
dang, I love bubbles
My grandparents treated us to dinner and then groceries, because we are poor college students. (When I say "we" I mean, my sister and I. No, I do not go around using the imperial "we" to refer to the single entity of moi) While we were at Smith's, look what I found in the promotional/seasonal aisle: That's right, jelly flats! No longer is this type of shoe only an elementary school-girl luxury. I can have them too!! And only for five dollars. Mmmm. That is my kind of deal. Anything that is cheap and brightly colored. And plastic.

While I know my shoes are clear and not technically brightly colored, the possibility was there. There were pink, purple, green, blue, and even black ones! So many decisions. I chose the clear ones because A: they will go with EVERYTHING and B: I can pretend I'm Cinderella going to the ball in my glass slippers every. day.
I can't get a really good shot of them because they are on my feet and florescent lighting is the bane of all photographers and it's one-freaking-thirty in the morning. I normally don't stay up this late. Oh wait, I'm done with school. I can stay up as long as I like! Well, what do you know...
So, so, so excited for summer and these jelly shoes. I'm telling you...Cinderella every day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jane Eyre

Last night I went with an old friend to see a movie. It's what we do. She had already seen this movie, and spoke quite highly about it, so I was quite eager to see, regardless of my less-than-affectionate feelings for the Bronte sisters.

It was, in fact, quite good.

As has been mentioned before, on numerous occasions, I don't do well with suspense. I get so involved in the story, that any suspense just destroys my nerves, so I was a little hesitant to watch this movie because of the genre classification. Often, the Bronte's works are classified as Gothic romance, so there was some level of mystery attached to the story, I mean, come on, it's Jane EYRE. There is a creepy, insane woman who walks around late at night, setting fire to things and screaming. So, there was some suspense as we watch Jane unfolding the mysteries around Mr. Rochester and Thornfield Hall. And it's sad. Any book that depicts early 19th century education for orphans always makes me very sad. Life is so dreary and depressing and the teachers are basically of the devil. No wonder no one likes teachers, because for almost as long as there has been literature, teachers have been vilified. Lastly, it wouldn't be complete (or a Bronte novel) without the dark, brooding Bryonic hero.

Mostly, I just get fed up with the heroes. Mr. Rochester is grumpy, mean and mysterious and yet, he still manages to make Jane fall in love with him. What the heck, right? If you met him in real life, the chances of him being this über romantic figure would be much, much less. No one actually likes being around people like him, they just like reading about him. It's OK that he is a jerk to every other character in the story,just as long as you don't have to ever talk to him.

The same goes for a whole host of characters: Edward (Twilight or really, any modern-day paranormal YA romance...all of the protagonists are dark, depressed or depressing, and mysterious...but that will have to keep for another blog post), Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), to some extent Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice). [[Trust me, I can make a good argument for Mr. Darcy.]]

I was quite impressed, however, with Jane and the actress, Mia Wasikowska, that played her. Even though Jane hasn't got much, she still had an inner-strength that was extraordinary and Mia portrayed it subtly and effectively. She wasn't faint-prone or annoying. She simply stated things as they were and dreamt of better things. Yes, I was very impressed with her.

I think I would like to read the book again, just to give the Bronte's another chance.
Have any of you seen the movie or other versions? What do you think, either of the book or movie?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love: Broken Hearts

"Love is always complicated. but still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something." (pg 277)

A broken heart never feels good, but I guess it helps us understand that we have participated in this beautiful thing called life...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Biebs: Like you've never seen him before

In my heart of hearts, I love the Biebs. Mostly because it's all just so ridiculous. Well, this youtube video takes the ridiculousness to a whole new level. These two fellows go through a instrument battle and "Baby" starts the whole thing, with a recorder! You know, that instrument that nearly every fourth grader plays at least once, but then it is never heard from again? If you have ten minutes to spare, I would recommend going through each link at the end of the videos. It's fairly hilarious.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

P.S. It's late and so I do this.

This is a really neat website where you can input any text and the program pulls the most repeated words and you can change the font, colors, layout, etc. It's a super cool way to see at a glance what the main topic of any piece is. This wordle is from my capstone research Hist 490 paper. You can see what I talked about the most. Any surprises? Probs not.
Go Norway!

Good News

I came home today from the last day of classes (technically the last day ever but it's hard to say so because I have a whole year left of student teaching) and on my bed was a letter. This happens occasionally, because my roommate loves to check the mail and she is nice enough to leave my letters on my bed. I really enjoy coming home to a letter surprise on my bed. Some letters are obviously much more delightful to get than others. I am much more excited to get a letter from a missionary friend than I am getting a letter from, let's say, my bank. However, when I get letters from my school? It's an ambiguous kind of feeling.
On one hand it could be really great news!
On the other hand, it could be some disciplinary measure. (You never know, I could have broken a rule without being aware of it or something.)
So today, I found a letter on my bed from my university.
With some trepidation, I opened it.
Inside was....
(can you imagine if I left the post there? I don't know about you, but the suspense would have killed me.)
Inside was a letter from the History department offering me a scholarship for new semester. A real scholarship!
I was so happy, I cried, a little. (Let's be honest though, I can cry at almost anything.)
And then I told everyone about it.
And now, I blogged about it.
Good news, eh?
P.S. Turned in my capstone paper today. IT'S DONE. 25 whole pages, the stupid beast. But, it's over now. WOOHOO!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Imagine: BYU Ballroom Concert

This weekend, mi parentals came down to party. They took me and my sister to the BYU Ballroom concert. It's kind of a tradition, at least for my sister and I. I may not go to football or other sports, but I do make it to the ballroom concert every year. Anyways, it was breath-taking as usual and since I don't work at the RB anymore, I didn't have any negative feelings towards the dancers. (Cleaning up after people doesn't engender positive feelings sometimes) This video that I posted was one of my favorite dances. This actual clip was filmed about a month before when this couple won some national title. The Marriott center was too dark for any actual filming. And I think it was prohibited...Anyways, this performance was simply stunning. I loved it. The rest of the concert was top-notch as well. They had a whole Cirque de Soleil vibe going on. It was very effective at setting the mood. Very inventive and almost otherworldly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

iic Competition: People's Choice

Hey everyone. This is a teaching competition that I wrangled my roommate into. To win the people's choice awards, we need to get the most original and unique views. So basically, a lot of people have to see our video and a lot of different states/countries need to see it. So...if you have friends out of state or outside of the US? Send them the link. I'd be eternally grateful. I'm sure I could make some sort of AWESOME thank-you gift. There is a window of time: April 1 (today) through April 7. So, click the link, watch the video and tell your friends. :)
Thanks again very sincerely.