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The Magic of Bollywood

Aishwarya in Devdas

Is it magic? I don't know, but that Bollywood is actually still growing is obvious. In countries like the Netherlands, germany, France, The Middle East and Africa they are suddenly watching Bollywood Block Busters...
And since they keep making more and more, we don't have to worry that we won't be entertained the coming years...
I must be honest, much of what they make in Bollywood can be flushed down the toilet. It is just like this : violence, blood, hospital, heavy thunderstorm or rain, and more than one plot.
Forget about that. Asia has en-masse decided to make horror movies since Japan was doing so well. So from Thailand to Indonesia, Philippines to India, they are making horror movies...and most of them are awful.
So then what am I watching when I say that I like Bollywood...?

Kuch Naa Kaho - No Bollywood Block Buster without a thunderstorm

Bollywood in the cinema, well, in the Netherlands it began in the late 90ies. Watching a movie from India was even more expensive than going to the Hollywood Block Buster, and most people who watched were people from India who decided in those years to try to start some business in our country.
It was not untill I came to Indonesia that I actually watched my first Bollywood movie, and it was not a bad one... it was actually I big hit everywhere in Asia. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was so atractive, so intense, and above all musically great that I got hooked imedeately and had to watch it a couple of times. Mostly inviting friends to watch me as an excuse to watch again....
I must be honest, I didn't like Shahrukh Khan, and I still don't. he is just like Leonardo di Caprio. He may have a nice babyface, but when it comes to acting he can't show emotions. He can't cry, or look sad. Just always that smile.... But he is lucky, cause he is often working together with the best of the actors available in India. And the best scripts are often offered to him.
The movies thus that I like most, are those with big ballets, even if they dance a bit redicoulous. I love those glittering costumes, often with bright colors. Although you wonder if really everyone there in India lives in those big palaces you get to see in those hits from India....
So, the best ingredients for a hit in India are : forbidden relationships, love, generation conflicts, heavy thunderstorms, a hospital, and a happy ending. oh, and don't forget, at least 2 or 3 different plots. So if you think that after one and a half hour  or even two hours the movie is coming to an end, better prepare cause they start all over again, and finally you will be in the cinema for 3 hours or more...!

Jaya Bachchan - The Grande Dame of Indian Cinema

Young actors and actrecces seem to be the 'face' of Bollywood. Guys with athletic bodies rather than brains, beauty queens and miss india all play their part in Bollywood.
However, most of them can't act, and in my opinion it is about time they ask those who sing the songs for the movies actually should JOIN the cast instead of letting others mime their songs.
The 'old faces' of Bollywood however still do well, and I think often even better than their younger collegues. Jaya Bachchan is the Grande Dame of Indian cinema. with many titles on her resume, and still playing with as much pleasure as before. You can compare her to Judy Dench and Katherine Hepburn.

Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan played beside Khan in KKKG. But after that he found his own way. He not only acted, he gave advise to the directors about where to film, who to ask, how to promote Bollywood outside Asia, and it worked.
Europe, via England and the Netherlands where soon hooked on Indian movies, and other parts of Europe followed soon.
In the meantime Africa and Middle East have discovered Indian movies too. Part of it's succes it the fact that these movies are sensual but never vulgar, there is never a real kiss, no sex, but enough eroticism and therefore has no problem to pass the sensors in Indonesia or Arab countries.
Even some of the youth are bored and fedd up with Hollywood style movies. To much sex, to often faul language. But with the new generations easily getting bored, switching almost monthly from one mobile phone to another, the question remains how long Bollywood will enjoy it's succes of today...

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)

Children can be stubborn in choosing their own way of living, parents can be stubborn too. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham tells us the story about the clash between a father (Amitabh Bachchan) and his son (Shahrukh Khan).
The son leaves his fathers house, and moves to London with his wife (Kajol), giving up hope the family will ever be one again.
In the meantime his younger brother (Hrithik Roshan) moves to London for college, and there he meets a handsome girl (Kareena Kapoor). Moving into the house of his older brother, (who doesn't know yet  that this is his younger brother) he tries to do everything to get the family back together.
A story with lots of tears, crying men, beautiful decors, silly English dancers, great music and choreography, cricket.... all ingredients to make a perfect Indian dish. But you won't regret it!

Devdas (2002) The Remake

Devdas (2002) is actually a remake. Since 1928 (!) Devdas has been filmed 5 times! It is based on the novel with the same title written by Saratchandra.
The story is simple: love between two childhood sweethearts is impossible due to difference in caste. Devdas is send away, while his love, Paro is given away in marriage to a rich widower.
He meets a prostitue who he offers to marry, but his life is ruined by alcohol abuse, and finally he dies, right in front of the house where his love lives.
The 3rd version from 1936 is still popular. But also the 1955 version, in black & white too, is loved.
Devdas (2002) created a scandal for spending millions of dollars, not even normal for big movies in India. Though a succes, it was never such a big hit as KKKG. Especially Shahrukh who plays Devdas comes short as the drunk actor. Still it is a lust for eyes and ears.

More recent, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic (2008) is another movie that I would advise people to watch. it is some great family entertainment, even though at times you wonder if the plot hasn't been stolen from movies like Nanny McPhee and such, but still it has enough originality to keep you watching till the end.
WHen a man kills a couple in a traffic accident, the judge decided to send him not to prison but give him the custody of the children left behind by the couple.
Revenge lingers, but an angel send from heaven uses her charms and naughtyness to help both parties to learn to accept each other.
It is an endearing story at times, sometimes funny, and hardly ever dull.The outcome...? I won't tell, buy it and watch it!