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Count me in as a Bollywood fan...


Glad there's someone else on the board into it. I think TCM would do well to broadcast a few Indian classics (like Straight From The Heart) as a month long spotlight.

I've found US audience to be more receptive to East Asian film including J-Horror & Martial Arts than to anything Indian-and the Indian film industry is HUGE and much better in my opinion!


I enjoy the morality: the honor & dedication to the planet, family and tradition and the joy and spectacle of the dance numbers. Escapism at it's highest form.


Personally, I find the "shoot 'em ups" to be too brutal for my taste, although I did enjoy Eklavya for it's bee-utiful cinematography. Mostly I enjoy the fun Bollywood and the long drawn out epic romances and the spiritual horror. Once in awhile I enjoy the silly comedies like the Munna Bhai series, they always have underlying morality at the base.


Speaking of Amitabh, how did you like him in JhoomBarabarJhoom? All he did was dress up like a hippie and punctuate the dance numbers-typical for silly romance films.


Nowadays I'm limited to library borrowing (thank goodness my city has a large Indian population) and blind DVD buying at the Indian grocer. I did buy young Amitabh in the remake of Meet John Doe online and it was horrible.

I've moved on to Shah Rukh Khan for older beefcake and very much enjoyed My Name is Kahn.

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Speaking of Amitabh, how did you like him in JhoomBarabarJhoom? All he did was dress up like a hippie and punctuate the dance numbers-typical for silly romance films.




I share your opinion of some of his movies, which are little more than ways to make money for the producers with as little effort as possible, just by having Amitabh in them, which I think was the case here. No story to speak of.


I've loved most of his movies, even the silly ones like Shahenshah, a favorite of mine, which I watch just to see him portraying the befuddled pseudo-victim of the robbery by the con artists. He is hysterical when he really gets into gear. I also liked his playing three characters in that movie ... the bumbling policeman, the superhero, and finally the sincere, normal man he really was,


You're lucky to have access to Indian movies. You have to have a sizable Indian population to get dealers or libraries to stock them, which we don't have here in Hawaii ... at least not on the Big Island, where I live.


I like Shah Rukh Khan, but I'm fonder of Hrithik Roshan. Now there's a hunk! Those muscles are absolutely staggering, as seen in Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon and Kaho Naa ... Pyaar Hai. I heard him say once that he has a bad body, so he has to work on it all the time (which accounts for the perfection he strives for). My favorite of his, however, is Jodha Akbar, the semi-historical romance with Aishwarya Rai. I thought it was exquisitely done and the performances great, but I especially liked the scenery, since some of the buildings I had visited when I was there long ago.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a feeling Amitabh Bachchan may be about to burst on the US scene once they see him in Gatsby. He's gotten a couple of good reviews just from his minute or two on the screen, and his co-workers are raving about his being an incredible actor in any country, and his utter professionalism. One said, "He's a prince. Just a prince." I could have told them that. I just think it's interesting that someone who has been famous all over the rest of the world for 40 years isn't known at all well in America. As I say, I think that's about to change.

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Sorry, Dothery, I haven't looked in on this thread for a while. That's exciting about your tweet from Amitahb! An Indian actress who intrigues me is Zohra Sehgal, who turned 101 on April 27. I first saw her as Lili Chatterjee in "Jewel in the Crown," but she has made numerous movies before and since then. She is also a dancer of some renown, having studied and worked with Uday Shankar.



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Remember that "most gorgeous" thread here, a couple of weeks back? Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai should have been on it:






Apparently Roger Ebert (rest his soul) regarded her as one of the most beautiful women in the world.



As for Bollywood, I'm afraid I've only seen bits of Bollywood movies, from the booths of modest Indian restaurants. I'd love to see more. They look like fun !



You Bollywood fans might be interested to hear, there's an English-language Bollywood movie - sort of - It's a Canadian film, set in Toronto, which has a very large Indian community. It's called *Hollywood Bollywood*, and it's quite enjoyable. Not that I'm comparing it to the real thing, but it is fun, and I recommend it. Here's a link:


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Hey Swithin, thanks for that photo of Zohra Sahgal...she's in several DVDs that I own and I knew nothing about her except I like her. She's in everything....the Ward Bond of Bollywood films.


>Apparently Roger Ebert regarded her as one of the most beautiful women in the world.


Well, she WAS Miss World, obviously other people thought so too. And isn't she married to Amitabh's son? Talk about Bollywood royalty.


English language Indian film set in Toronto or London are pretty common, especially romantic comedies. Indian made films are more interesting to me, if only for the exotic locations.


I've been looking for "Desperately Seeking Helen" for years now. It's a FBC film about tracking down the very famous queen of dancing in Bollywood film from the 60's & 70's.

Every once in awhile she shows up in a cameo performance, but I'd love to know her story these past decades.

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Hi, Swithin ...


Zohra Sehgal played Amitabh's mother in "Cheeni Kum" ("Not so Sweet"), the movie where he played opposite Tabu, a gorgeous woman, as an Indian chef in London. A comedy/romance but with bittersweet overtones, since there was an adorable little girl who lived next door to them who was terminally ill. Zohra was marvelous in the part of the mother.


Amitabh always pays attention to his fans ... amazingly, he actually depends on us. I remember when he began his blog and I thought, well, this will last a little while until he gets tired of it, but it's been five years and he writes every day unless he can't because of logistical problems, like no signal. He really loves us, pays attention to birthdays, consoles us during times of loss. Once someone asked his wife Jaya what the one thing is people don't know about him. She said, "I don't think even he knows what a good friend he is." A lovable man in anyone's book. I'm so happy that he's being well received in Gatsby, even though he has a miniscule part.



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Oh, Miss W., I've thought Aishwarya was the most gorgeous girl for the longest time ... she was in a film with Hrithik Roshan where she played an empress ... a fictional/historical wife of an emperor ... and the two of them were almost too much to take, they were both so beautiful. Hrithik is almost as pretty as she is. The movie was called "Jodha Akbar." Check it out. (I hope it opens.)


I began watching Indian movies on Netflix after my husband died and I had a lot of time on my hands. A lot of them are available that way. I became a fan after seeing bunches of them and finding that they cheered me up most of the time ... there are some that are a little grim, but they always have some singing and dancing in them.



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Dear Dothery,


Your initial post has prompted me to respond, as I consider the subject of Indian cinema of vital importance in general, and of potential interest to the TCM community.


Two realities will have to be faced if one wants to educate our readership and to make them potentially more interested in the subject:



1) The cultural, historical and religious context of classic Indian cinema is unfamiliar to most Americans. Many classic Indian films deal with religious epics and historical personages.



2) to do the subject justice on these threads would require great effort and expenditure of time in research and presentation.



Are you prepared to take this thread from a discussion thread to a "project thread", where films are presented and explained? You may have seen my work elsewhere; I can make those kind of presentations here if you like, but if I do that, this thread can become a "Thelma Todd Production"!



A project thread devoted to Indian film on these boards should start with the roots and beginnings of Indian cinema. This is after all an adjunct website to a classic film channel, and most of our readership likes very old films! My idea would be to start at the beginning with *Raja Harishchandra (1913)*, (available on youtube) India's first feature length silent film, and "map out" the subject from there throught the 1920's, 30's, 40's and 50's. Find the classics from those eras which are available on the internet and which also have been dubbed or subtitled into English. This subject will require a "Robert Osborne" approach, no easy task when you are introducing the unknown cinema of a foreign culture.



The Your Favorites forum would probably be a better place, as General Discussion threads fade back into page 10 and beyond very, very quickly!



Indian film needs to be taken seriously, because it's an up and coming nation with a huge and established domestic film industry. I predict that Bollywood will not remain a provincial backwater indefinitely. For one, Bollywood can become a low cost production center for Hollywood to outsource and offshore production. Also, someday Bollywood will develop the knack for making films that can compete effectively in the global and US market. When they invade the local cineplex with westernised product, watch out Hollywood! Hollywood has never had foreign competition that it couldn't handle. That may change someday. The threat will come from India.


Yours truly, with my signature panel:



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, ThelmaTodd ...


Incidentally, she and I were born just a few miles apart; I much later than she, of course.


I'm afraid I'm not the type of movie buff to do justice to your project. I love Indian cinema, but I'm not into it deeply, as you are; I simply enjoy the fun of it. That's not to say I wouldn't enjoy reading your presentations. I would.


I'm like a kid in a candy store with Indian movies. Would you believe I got a tweet from Amitabh Bachchan a few weeks ago? He missed my being on Twitter, and wrote to say so. Love that man.

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Here's something fun:




It's a scene from the 1965 movie JANWAR. More on the movie:





Performers (actors) in the clip: Shammi Kapoor and Rajshree Shantaram (billed as Rajshree).

Actual singers on the soundtrack (billed as Playback Singers): Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle.



Band: Ted Lyons and His Cubs (they were a real band. Ted's the drummer). They're pretty good! I like their guitar work.



Everyone will know the song. But what makes this all the more unique is that the movie's producers used the song without crediting the famous composers at all! They gave it a new title, wrote new lyrics, took writing credit, and evidently considered it their own! (But strangely, the film's main titles do include a credit for Beatle Wigs!)



I guess I can understand hardcore fans of the original group whose song is being ripped off finding this number offensive or an inferior rip-off of the original...but I find it absolutely delightful!



What do others think?


(By the way, the complete movie can also be found on YouTube).

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>ThelmaTodd wrote: Indian film needs to be taken seriously, because it's an up and coming nation with a huge and established domestic film industry. I predict that Bollywood will not remain a provincial backwater indefinitely.


I agree 100% and have been saying this for years.

If you watch the credits, you'll often find several Indian names among the crew in US films...especially if made in Canada (Hollywood North).


When I saw Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, I noted his dancers were in a triangle formation (with MJ at the peak front) dancing "moves" in one spot instead of fluid movement using the entire floor space. This is a style of dance perfected by Bollywood movies previous to MJ's choreography, which is now typical in the US-you see it on all the kid's group dance competitions.


So, Bollywood dance style has already infiltrated US productions.

I can't wait for the "tradition" & "morality" aspects of B'wood to filter into US filmmaking. That's what I like most about their films-they remind me of grand MGM musicals of the 40's-50's.

I don't think you need any historical backround to understand their traditions.


And musicalnovelty, Ted Lyons & His Cubs are great! A clip from Gumnan was featured in GHOST WORLD to illustrate the teen girl's acceptance of all types of music. Superstar Helen is the featured dancer in the number. I didn't know Lyons was in other films!


When TCM had it's spotlight on Merchant Ivory Productions, they showed "Helen, Queen Of The Nautch Girls" a short about her life as a Bollywood dancer in the 60's. (introduced by Illeana Douglas) It can be found on the Shakespere Wallah dvd as an extra.


I have never seen the 90's FBC film "Desperately Seeking Helen" about Canadian/Indian film fans who wanted to meet her. Although now rediscovered, she often is in cameo roles in B'wood films.

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