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Bollywood Favorites


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Because there were an awful lot of people who didn't think that the selection of bollywood films were what they would have chosen, maybe people can respond here with their own recommendations. For people who are interested in Bollywood films but don't know what to look for here is a list of some of my favorites and a bit of info about them:


Umrao Jaan: Starring Rekha as a woman who is kidnapped when young and sold to become a courtesan, movie takes place several hundred years ago. About her popularity because of her poems and dancing, but also the havoc it wreaks internally as she can never return home and lead a normal life. Good kathak dances.


Devdas: Now this is one that may be tough to understand for someone who hasn't seen so many bollywood films. I was really confused the first time I saw it because I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. However, IMO, the dances, the sets, the cinematography, songs more than make this a film worth seeing. Epic tragedy based on popular indian novel (from the 1800's?) about a man whose arrogance causes him to lose his first love and how afterwards he sinks into depression and alcoholism.


Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam: One of my all time favorite films, great songs, great dances, very aesthetically beautiful film. Not quite as dramatic as Devdas. The plot revolves around a young woman who is forced to marry one man when she loves another and how her husband helps her to reunite with the man she originally loved.


Ganga Jumna: Older movie set in a rural indian village. Basically about the rift that the newly imposed legal order creates between two brothers. Deals with corruption, and lack of mercy in legal system. Acting is great. Stars vyjayanthimala and dilip kumar, two excellent actors. This is another of my favorite movies. Dilip Kumar is probably the most famous actor from the 50's, and although this is later in his career, he is excellent in this movie.


Dil Se: About a hindu journalist who falls in love with a woman who turns out to be a member of a terrorist cell. Great movie, although songs have almost nothing to do with plot. This is the third movie in a trilogy of movies by Mani Rathnam including also Bombay and Roja.


Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai: Raj Kapoor 1950's movie about a simpleton with a good heart who ends up staying with a band of dacoits (sort of bandits) and causing them to see the errors of their ways. Also stars Padmini as the daughter of one of the dacoits. Great songs, dances. Padmini along with Vyjayanthimala were two excellent classically trained dancers from South India who made a big impact on north indian films.


hmmm...what else?


Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and also Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: If you liked Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge, you'll probably also like these two. Both star Shahrukh Khan and are high-budget recent films with catchy songs, good dance numbers and a bit of melodrama. Mohabbatein is another one done by the same people, which also has good songs and a good storyline. In fact, I think Mohabbatein has one of the best soundtracks I've heard in a long time.


Aan: This is a good movie for fans of old american movies. It has dilip kumar as a peasant who sets out to antagonize an evil princess and ends up kind of in love with her. It is done by the same director as Mother India, Mehboob Khan. Very colorful movie with well-choreographed sword fights.


Chalti ka Naam Gaadi: Black and white film starring the Kumar brothers: Ashok, Anup and Kishore. Good music and good plot. I thought this movie was really funny. Has a kathak-esque dance sequence by the same woman, Helen, who does the belly dance song "mehbooba" in Sholay. Kishore Kumar went on to become one of the most famous playback singers in the history of hindi cinema so this is one hindi film in which the singer of the songs and the actor on whom it is picturized are the same.


*By the way, there are numerous places online where one can rent/buy indian films, also most big cities have a store which sells them.

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