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Flying In

Posted by anandrr on November 20, 2007

bheja fry poster.

On the flight to Bangalore, I ended up watching 3, count them 3, Hindi movies. Effectively this doubled the total number of Hindi movies I’ve watched in the last 11 years. (Not exactly, but close). The good thing about this was the pleasant surprise that they were all reasonably good movies. At least one of them was adapted from a Hollywood movie, another had a borrowed soundtrack, but who’s quibbling?

First up was Bheja Fry. This was the best movie of the three. It stayed funny all the way, taking a completely implausible premise and working on it and making it even more ridiculous as it got funnier and funnier. This is how comedies should be made.

I then moved on to a Chinese movie, Infernal Affairs III. It has been a while since I watched Part I, and the crosses and double crosses were already a dim memory, so the movie stopped making sense very quickly. At some point, I need to rent all three and watch them back to back.

An hour or so into III, I gave up and found Cheeni Kum. This was the worst movie of the three. It’s actually an interesting premise. Unfortunately the second half of the movie is weighed down by a train-load of melodrama. And any movie during the course of which we learn about 4 characters as being dead, or dying imminently and uses two of them to move the plot along needs a thorough rewrite. The soundtrack has good music, but either Ilaiyaraja got lazy or the director demanded that he recycle his old songs. Both songs are well known Tamil and Kannada songs from way back, the Kannada song was particularly nastily butchered.

Finally, I settled down for Life in a….Metro. Because this is a modern movie that makes us smarter, it has a few different threads running through it. But one of the major threads that keeps the plot going is directly ripped off from The Apartment. I suppose Bombay is now going through the same growing pains that New York did some 60 years ago, you’re very unlikely to find rows on rows of people poring over their work in modern day NYC, all those jobs have now been outsourced to India. The movie was eminently watchable, and for various reasons, I did end up watching a great deal of it twice. I have no idea how anybody takes a man named Shiney seriously, but that’s Bollywood for you I suppose.

The one big lesson I learned from movies 1 and 3: in today’s India every middle class person is sleeping with somebody they shouldn’t be sleeping with. And in Cheeni Kum, we don’t pass such moral judgment but we certainly notice that one of those middle class people is 30 years older than the other.

Update : I’m told now that Bheja Fry is also a remake of a French movie, so that makes us 3 for 3 on borrowed ideas. Well, anyhoo.

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