Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bollywood: Ghajini, Dev.D, Jodhaa Akbar

After a significant of time off, I will return to regularly scheduled posts and updates in the coming weeks.

This past month a significant number of Bollywood films have been added to Netflix Watch Instantly.  Some of them mark the return of films that I've posted about in the past, including several films with Shah Rukh Khan.

Ghajini might not be for everyone, but it certainly is a wild ride and it features many of the pleasures and odd contradictions of Hindi popular cinema.  It is actually a Hindi-language remake of a 2005 Tamil language film (by the same director), and it is currently the sixth highest grossing Bollywood film in history.  It is often described as a Bollywood version of Memento, but that description will be misleading to those who are unfamiliar with the mix of tones and genres within many Bollywood films.  Certainly many of the plot elements will be familiar to those familiar with Memento, but Ghajini also features an extreme mix of light whimsical romance and brutal violence that one simply would not see in Hollywood genre filmmaking.  If you are willing to handle some extreme genre mixing within the same film (even more so that the typical Bollywood film), you should give Ghajini a try.

Ghajini (A.R. Murugadoss, India, 2008, 177 minutes)
Netflix: After a vicious attack claims the life of his girlfriend and leaves him with a debilitating case of short-term memory loss, mobile phone mogul Sanjay Singhania sets out on a quest to bring down the perpetrators that have ruined his life. Netflix link.

Here are some other films, perhaps more typical of recent Bollywood output.

Dev.D (Anurag Kashyap, India, 2009, 137 minutes)
Netflix: Because they come from different castes, Dev, the son of a tax collector, and his true love, Paro, are not allowed to marry. After Paro's family sends her to Calcutta, Dev despairs and spirals down into a life of overindulgence. Netflix link.

Jodhaa Akbar (Ashutosh Gowariker, India, 2008, 205 minutes)
Netflix: What begins as a strategic alliance of two cultures becomes a genuine opportunity for true love between a mighty Mughal emperor and a Hindu princess in director Ashutosh Gowariker's epic romance set in 16th-century India. Netflix link.

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