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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Indian Cinema
Topic by: SRhodes
Posted: February 26, 2003 - 1:42 PM PST
Last Reply: August 6, 2004 - 4:32 PM PDT

page  1  2  3      prev | next
author topic: Indian Cinema
SRhodes
post #1  on February 26, 2003 - 1:42 PM PST  

I was about to start a topic on films from India since noticed there were a bunch had just been added to the catalog when I noticed that DPOWERS wrote in the Asian Cinema topic:

post #73 on February 25, 2003 - 6:43 PM PST

hey i noticed a bunch of new indian pop cinema flix. were these particular titles in demand? are you guys going to try to get older stuff, too?
dpowers
post #2  on February 26, 2003 - 2:50 PM PST  
and rheumatism.
dpowers
post #3  on February 26, 2003 - 2:55 PM PST  
object A: we see wide interest in indian cinema, perhaps sucked into the vacuum left by an overdose of bullet-ridden hong kong residents.

object B: the san francisco international asian american film festival whose name is tooooo loooooooong will be showing mother india, kuch kuch hota hai (that's "hay" said my pakistani alterego, not the japanese "hai!" i'd been assaulting him with) and other bolly-wollies.

object C: has been traded for a right-handed pitcher from detroit.

object D: greencine has picked up some recent films.
ggsuperhero
post #4  on February 26, 2003 - 3:09 PM PST  
There are a few Bollywood fans here (*clearing throat*) at GC and we pushed to get those DVDs in :).

We are looking to expand our Hindi collection and are very open to suggestions. Please email those suggestions to dvdrequest@greencine.com and I will make sure to get those in during the next order.


ggsuperhero
post #5  on February 26, 2003 - 3:12 PM PST  
BTW, I recommend Kuch Kuch Hota Hai .. wonderful soundtrack! touching story .. very Bollywood. It also features the handsome Hrithik Roshant :).



kuch kuch hota hai (that's "hay" said my pakistani alterego, not the japanese "hai!" i'd been assaulting him with) and other bolly-wollies.

ggsuperhero
post #6  on February 26, 2003 - 3:20 PM PST  
Oooppssss.. I stand corrected

No Hrithik here but the talented Shah Ruhk Khan : Kuch Kuch Hota Hai


If you want see Hrithik rent: Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham


> On February 26, 2003 - 3:12 PM PST ggsuperhero wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> BTW, I recommend Kuch Kuch Hota Hai .. wonderful soundtrack! touching story .. very Bollywood. It also features the handsome Hrithik Roshant :).

bacchus68
post #7  on February 26, 2003 - 3:51 PM PST  
I have noticed all those indian films as well and have to admit I don't believe I've ever seen an indian film.

I saw all the films seemed to be musicals. I guess musicals are big in indian cinema then? Since I never saw one of these films can someone give me the skinny on any good movies to rent for a first time person interested in checking some out and what I could expect from these movies. Do most of them ha a similar formula etc.. etc.. Is it hard if you don't know the language/culture to follow them.

Always looking to try new films/genres so thanks in advance for any info.

bac.
dpowers
post #8  on February 26, 2003 - 5:01 PM PST  
this is a quick answer. wanna longer answer there's a couple of articles you might like to read when i find them online i'll yell.

> I don't believe I've ever seen an indian film. <

until the last couple of years, all you could rent in the united states was the films of satyajit ray, who is one of the all-time-great directors worldwide, and the occasional political film like bandit queen (which is also very good). ray's work was atypical: novelistic, western influenced, linear. and oddly, because his movies had an american video distributor and that distributor is a slowpoke, ray's films are almost the only indian movies you can't get on DVD here.

> I saw all the films seemed to be musicals. I guess musicals are big in indian cinema then? <

more like they all have music scenes in them, like american movies tend to include car chases and sex scenes. indian pop cinema doesn't do tidy genres. everything gets mixed together and sometimes that looks really odd. the transitions from text to song to text are weirder for us than others but in most cases, transitions from part to part are handled with roughly the same "time for the love scene!" sort of enthusiasm, it's fun.

> Since I never saw one of these films can someone give me the skinny on any good movies to rent <

i'd start with lagaan, which is very linear, has a great and really engaging sports contest, and was designed to appeal to westernized indians who wanted scene transitions to make sense. even if you don't know anything about the game of cricket (or how crazy indians and pakistanis are for the game) it's explained well enough that you can follow the action.

monsoon wedding: mira nair bathes herself in the scented music of her family life. this is a subtle tour of the total love people have for these movies, many people are famous old timers, many scenes are reenactments of favorite sequences, songs come and go, and one of the daughters even performs a movie dance for the family during the celebration. (in you like this one, then maybe dive in and try kabhi khushi kabhi gham.)

the terrorist gives you a peek at the military themes in a lot of the movies. independence and ongoing ethnic trouble are common sources of romantic pain. no songs in this (so it's short) - but if you want the songs, try out
dpowers
post #9  on February 26, 2003 - 5:02 PM PST  
[continued] mission: kashmir. these movies are mostly set in kashmir because a) there's random death there, which is good cinema, and b) there are pretty mountains there, which is better cinema.

> for a first time person interested in checking some out and what I could expect from these movies. Do most of them ha a similar formula etc.. etc.. Is it hard if you don't know the language/culture to follow them. <

for one thing, partly for religious reasons, there's a lot of romance in them. a lot of romance. lots and lots! virtually the only reason to tell a story is to cry about being in love and how everything is keeping you and your lover apart.

they do follow a similar formula, it really depends on how you see it. in american movies victory is defeating the bad guy. in indian movies generally victory is getting married. that's not a joke! okay it is a joke but it's pretty funny.

subtitles aren't hard to follow, the dialogue is usually slow. sometimes the songs aren't translated which is frustrating because usually the songs are developing character but you can read that from the staging, music, faces, tone of voice, and so on. cultural differences are hard to gauge. if you've seen a lot of chinese movies then you should be able to follow the story through the crowd. expect a crowd though, and some logic that gets your american my-way blood sizzling.

hope that helps... seems pretty solid you should be able to walk on it safely.
ggsuperhero
post #10  on February 26, 2003 - 5:16 PM PST  
My reccomendations: (in no particular order)

Fiza
Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Devdas

But yes, as per dpowers, you might want to start slow and go from there. From my experience, you can either not care for it or get really into it. Also, it comes with it's cheesey-ness factor .. which for me just makes it more fun to watch! :) Enjoy!
dpowers
post #11  on February 26, 2003 - 5:51 PM PST  
going back a little here's some stuff i liked. mahal is my favorite of them, it's dripping with poetry and mood.

mahal (1949)
do bigha zameen / two acres of land (1953)
shree 420 / mr. 420 (1955)
amar (1955)
chaudhvin ka chand / moon of the fourteenth night (1960)
zanjeer (1973)
mr. india (1987)
roja (1992)
khuda gawah / god is my witness (1992)
vaastav / the reality (1999)
asoka (2001) ("ashoka")
aakash
post #12  on February 27, 2003 - 9:17 PM PST  
Here are some newer movies that I would recommend:

1. Dil Chahta Hai
2. Company
3. Lagaan

For some really good older stuff, try

1. Golmaal
2. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
3. Chashmebaddoor



dpowers
post #13  on February 27, 2003 - 11:20 PM PST  
alla mine were on DVD that's how i saw them.

Chashmebaddoor - no DVD? - found this as "Chashme Buddoor" looks like the same thing - sort of a parody of romance movies?

hey what else can you recommend?! i have a long list to see but looking for more. this is my list. (yep, it comes from a database. sometimes i even have the database in my pocket. this is very sad! but do not weep for me.)

some of those came from film comment last year and some from upperstall.com, both sources very artsy.
dpowers
post #14  on February 27, 2003 - 11:25 PM PST  
on that list not all of those are BEST EVER in fact i think some of them are maybe crappy but interesting socially or for a film history kind of thing. there are 120 in there, i've seen about 20 of them.
BVandemark
post #15  on February 28, 2003 - 2:24 PM PST  
I wanted to recommend the Apu Trilogy to anyone who is interested in Indian Cinema. When I was in film school I watched these classic Indian films by filmmaker Satyajit Ray and I really enjoyed them all a lot. These films presented an interesting, realistic view of Indian culture and the infancy of Indian Cinema. They are called the "Apu Trilogy" because they focus on the life of a fictional character named Apu as he grows up from a child in a poor indian country village to a professional in the big Indian city.

The films are

Pather Panchali (1955)
Aparajito (1956)
Apur Sansar (1959)

Here is a link to some more detailed information about these films

http://members.tripod.com/satyajit_ray/about_ray/apu_trilogy.htm
dpowers
post #16  on February 28, 2003 - 3:05 PM PST  
and they're really really pretty, especially pather panchali, so that seeing them on VHS is terrible and where are hte DVDs!!!

it's not true the apu trilogy was in the infancy of indian cinema. of art films, maybe. but pather panchali was one of five indian movies that came out in 1955 that are considered mature classics; the infancy was long over. this timeline is really interesting! and -- this being my point -- it's a long haul to get from 1896 to 1955.
BVandemark
post #17  on February 28, 2003 - 3:22 PM PST  
I see what you mean...there was a lot going on in Indian Cinema before these classic films. Too bad they aren't on DVD. After experiencing Pather Panchali on the big screen I watched them all on VHS and it was pretty obvious how much detail was missing.
dpowers
post #18  on February 28, 2003 - 3:52 PM PST  
yeah see, and it's even more interesting because they were the only major cinema in the world not to go through a giant war, the Great Depression kept american studios from getting involved, and after the partitioning, pakistani audiences wanted to see movies just as bad as they did before there was a pakistan. it was not only swinging, it was a big time local operation.

i have theories about various things, that are untested, but one of them is that i suspect the lack of any severe propaganda period is what really makes indian pop the special thing it is in the world today. the images remained light and fairly close to dream fulfillment.

back to 1955. what's funny is last night i saw jhanak jhanak payal baje, a gorgeous piece dedicated to all kinds of classical indian dance, a very patriotic film actually. (according to that review, JJBP played for two years at a theater in mumbai... something like the red shoes's run in NYC. dance makes people happy!) JJBP was the first indian technicolor production and it goes almost as far overboard on the color design as the wizard of oz did. somewhere i read that these musical sequences were to blame for the many years of gaudy outfits since. they are fun.

great thing: half the movie is dancing. awful thing: no subtitles for anything spoken or sung during those dance sequences. grrrr! whose stupid idea was it, not translating songs!

bacchus68
post #19  on March 1, 2003 - 3:26 AM PST  
Thanks to everyone who has given me input into this. actually you have made me more interested in indian cinema then I was before(am always a sucker for a romance) and I am glad I have a bit of history of the nature of the films and such. I look forward to checking some out and see.

Bac.
Eoliano
post #20  on March 1, 2003 - 8:00 AM PST  
Will Satyajit Ray's films ever make to DVD?

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