Vikram-ji! Many happy returns of the day!

It’s Vikram’s birthday today, and Bollystalgia! put out a call for us to celebrate worldwide by posting about Chiyaan.When India is sweltering in heat and Chiyaan is working away at various locations across the globe or in some film studio in Chennai, many a cold climate dwelling filmi fan got through the brutal winter by imagining that south Indian heroes like Vikram did our chores; from the strenuous to the more simple things, like changing our clocks for daylight savings time.  Liz from My Year of Prakash Raj organized those images at Ayoo! South Indian Heroes Do Your Chores.  Vikram did many chores as evidenced by Liz’s site, one of which was wishing me happy birthday (and doing my snow shoveling), so it’s the least I could do to reciprocate, and wish him many happy returns of the day.
 
I first fell for Vikram when Apunbindaas, the Hmong Chick who loves Indian cinema, was kind enough to send me  Anniyan (2005)  all the way to Minnesota from Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Anniyan is the story of “Rules” Ramanujam Iyengar alias “Ambi” (Chiyaan Vikram), a lawyer who suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder. Ambi is an innocent and honest lawyer. If he comes across anyone not obeying the law, he files cases against them but all his efforts go in vain. (source)

Doesn’t reading Multiple Personality Disorder let you know already that this movie is a winner? 

It’s one of those multiple personalities that makes the film.  Once I saw Vikram’s Remo character (the crazy side of the multiple personality) that was it, I was in filmi love like never before!  Enjoy Vikram in his crazy Remo character here in the tune, Kadhal Yanai  with Nandhini (Sadha) playing the love interest and Yana Gupta as gori extra, (playback singers Nakul, Nelwyn & G. V. Prakash Kumar) and be sure to watch it all the way through so you can see Remo’s  love detector.

 Yes!

Arul (2004) also captured my attention when his passionate character went bilkul ballistic when he heard anyone engage in swearing or poor language, which he refered to as dirty talks.

Really makes you think doesn’t it?  Arul makes you want to be a better person, hai na? I liked Arul (2004) so much that I’ll write that up soon, but in the meantime head to Filmi Girl’s entertaining review of the movie HERE.

I also loved seeing Vikram in Mani Ratnam‘s Raavanan (2010) as a marvelous villain (misunderstood and surely with a heart of gold), but have yet to see him playing the good guy in Raavan, the Hindi version of the same film.  I saw  Raavanan on the big screen last year without subtitles, and now am fortunate to now be able to see it again in Minneapolis next week,  but this time WITH subtitles in English since it’s part of the 2011 Minneapolis-St.Paul International Film Festival.

Vikram speaks here about the process of filming Raavan (2010, Hindi)  and Ravaanan (2010, Tamil)  concurrently, playing separate roles, in different languages:

For more honors to Vikram on his birthday, head over to FilmiGirl in the USA, and click across the globe to New Zealand and read what Ness over at Shahrukh is Love  has to say about Bheemaa (2008).  Now head back to Bollystalgia, representing Boston, MA and Detroit, MI and every place in between to see her Happy Birthday Rampwalk Remo  post.  Huppy Burday to Chiyaan!  Now is simply the intermission until I see another Vikram film!   Until then, I feel like I’m behind bars!

What Vikram movies have you seen?  Tell me your favorites and your recommendations.  Check out Chiyaan Vikram’s website HERE.

Video of the Day: “Pretty Woman” from Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) or “How Kal Ho Naa Ho changed my life!”

Today’s video is “Pretty Woman” with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, by playback singer Shankar Mahadevan, picturized on King Khan from the movie Kal Ho Naa Ho.  I’ll get to that later but let me give you a little background first.

This is a pivotal Bollywood movie for me because it’s partly responsible for my current addiction to the genre. I had seen Devdas along with Nandini and other dosto at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis back in September 2003; the seed was planted. In the following years I saw Monsoon Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham, and Kandukondain Kandukondain. These Indian related movies swirled in my head a few years. Skip forward to August of 2006 and I’m looking at a Netflix page thinking, “Hey, I’d like to see that guy from Devdas in something.” I figure “that guy” is Shah Rukh Khan and put Kal Ho Naa Ho in the queue because it’s recommended. So I watch this movie and am stunned by how LONG it is! I’m disappointed that it’s set in what is supposed to be New York. Hey! This isn’t right, I wanted a real Indian movie set in India. Then I see this “Pretty Woman” scene and get that feeling you get when you’re embarrassed by someone, even worse that being embarrassed for yourself. But THEN the movie takes this turn that I never expect. Shah Rukh Khan is so dramatic that I’m sucked in. It has a love triangle, self sacrifice, and an emotionally wrenching hospital scene. So half way through, I accept it as a good movie and all I know is I want more! Then I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, followed by Main Hoon Na. Then I watch Main Hoon Na again with Nandini and I sense another Bollywood junkie. It’s like SRK was a gateway drug to Bollywood. Next discovery is the pure cocaine of Amitabh, and the angry young man movies. HOOKED! I pick up a Hindi street naam of Sita-ji after watching Dance Dance, to keep it real. So the addiction begins! I stay with Bollywood, because it’s what I know, it’s safe. I believe that if I slip into Tollywood and Kollywood, and I’ve had a taste of the Telugu and Tamil scene people, it would be like taking crack, possibly meth. I have to stay away from Rajinikanth for now. And Lollywood would be like heroin, unmanageable. I need to stay as clean as I can, so it’s mostly Bollywood for now. I saw Nandini the other night, and we whispered a bit about Nollywood, careful to not let too many people hear, but knew to back off, it was just too dangerous. And we know that kal ho naa ho, but it’s still good to play it safe.

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Kal Ho Naa Ho (Devanagari कल हो ना हो, Nastaliq: کل ہو نہ ہو, English: Tomorrow May or May Not Be) is a 2003 Bollywood film set in New York City. It stars Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Saif Ali Khan. The film was directed by first-timer Nikhil Advani; it was produced and co-written by Karan Johar, better known as the director of the hit films Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). This movie resembles Dil Chahta Hai (2001) in blending Bollywood and Hollywoodconventions with high production values. While copyright violation has long run rampant in the Bollywood film industry, Kal Ho Naa Ho is notable for having licensed the rights to Roy Orbison‘s “Oh, Pretty Woman” for an extended musical sequence taking place in the streets in New York. Because of its familiar setting and music, accessibility to non-Indians, good production values, and respect for copyright, Kal Ho Naa Ho has been used to introduce Bollywood to markets where Indian films have been rare. Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta) is an angry young woman, for more than one reason. Her father committed suicide when she needed him the most, leaving Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan), his wife, to raise their children all khnh2.jpgalone. Lajjo (Sushma Seth), Jennifer’s mother-in-law, blames Jennifer for the suicide. Furthermore, Jennifer is unhappy because Lajjo refuses to accept Gia, a six-year-old girl whom Jennifer adopted, as her granddaughter. In addition, the restaurant Jennifer operates is faltering. The only factors that redeem Naina’s life are the toiling and tolerant Jennifer and Naina’s bumbling MBA classmate Rohit (Saif Ali Khan). Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan), a happy-go-lucky man, arrives in Naina’s neighbourhood and soon changes everything with his contagious joviality and zest for life…(wikipedia)

And speaking of New York and India, our friend Brahmanandam, a.k.a. Tim, sent a great link to Indian restaurants in New York City; “A Passage to India,” by Matthew Fishbane. Click here to check it out the article published in the January 13, 2008 in the New York Times.

So here it is, “Pretty Woman”:

Thanks to nacromanser for providing the video.

Video of the Day: “Munbe Vaa” from Sillunu Oru Kaadhal (2006)

Today’s video is the song “Munbe Vaa” from the movie Sillunu Oru Kaadhal starring Surya, Jyothika Saravanan and Bhoomika Chawla.

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Right from childhood Kundavi has been brought up in a small village called Ambasamudram. She has two good friends right from school and one day both of her friends got married and leave. Kundavi’s father then fixes up her marriage with Goutham (Surya). Both look gloomy and dull during the wedding. Then the scene drifts to a period after six years in Bombay where they have 5 year old daughter and live as a happily married couple. Goutham works as a chief mechanic and he designs a new function for the car and he gets to go to New York for a short period. During this time, Jyothika somehow catches hold of Goutham’s old diary during his college days and the story goes back showing Goutham as a college wiz kid. In college, he was the popular guy who gets attracted to Aishu (Bhoomika Chawla), a local MP‘s daughter. Gautham and Aishu fall in love and they decided to get married. At the registrar’s office after Gautham ties the thali, Aishu’s father and his men beat him up and takes Aishu away. At the end of the diary, Goutham had written a note that basically said “if I have one wish, it would be to live with Aishu happily at least for one day.”From flashback, the scene now turns to the present as Goutham comes back from New York and finds his wife changed. She works late and avoids him. At this point, Kundavi goes and finds out Gautham’s lost love Aishu. Aishu has changed to a western clad modern girl in contrast to the salwar kameez girl in college. Kundavi tells Aishu to come over to her house and she tells her husband that he should live happily with Aishu for a day. Half heartedly though, Kundavi leaves her husband and goes. What happens in this one day forms the rest of the story. (wikipedia)

I’d sure love to see this movie! Any English subtitles? This is my Christmas wish: Tamil speaking people of Kollywood, I beg you, please subtitle your movies in English, like the kind people of Bollywood do! Must I learn Tamil to partake of your movies?  (Yes, I know some of the Tamil movies DO have English subtitles, but not as many as Bollywood.)

I LOVE this song! I love Shreya Ghoshal‘s voice!

Music composed by A.R. Rahman, with lyrics by Vali, playback singers, Naresh Iyer & Shreya Ghoshal. (Selected as Best Song of The Year 2006)

Thanks to rajhanish for the YouTube video. Lyrics in Tamil, sorry no English translation yet. Here’s a good blog about the movie.

p.s. It’s August 30, 2008, and I finally watched Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, and of course easily found an English subtitled version at Netflix. I really enjoyed it!

Video of the Day: “Kannamoochchi” from Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

kandukondain_kandukondain.jpgHere’s some more Tamil, like yesterday’s video it’s from Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000). The movie stars Mammootty, Aishwarya Rai, Tabu, Ajith, & Abbas.  Here’s my co-blogwallah Nandini’s favorite song from the movie, “Kannamoochchi.” The song’s music is by A. R. Rahman, lyrics by Vairmuthu, and features the fabulous vocals of  Chitra & K.J. Yesudas, picturized on Aishwarya Rai‘s dancing.

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Lyrics in Tamil with English translation. Here are the Lyrics and English translation for all the movie’s songs.

Video of the Day: “Engae Enathu Kavithai” from Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

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Kandukondain Kandukondain (Tamil: கண்டுகொண்டேன் கண்டுகொண்டேன்) is a 2000 Tamil film directed by Rajiv Menon. The film was also dubbed into Telugu as Priyuraalu Pilichindi. The film is a contemporary Indian take on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Starring Mammootty as Bala, Aishwarya Rai as Meenakshi, Tabu as Sowmya, Ajith as Manohar, and Abbas as Srikanth.

Set in modern India, it’s a classical tale of a widowed mother and her three daughters: Saumya and Meenakshi who are grown-up and beautiful, and Kamla who is still at school. They live with the widow’s father in his grand country house. The father, who is ill, dies unable to communicate that he wants to change his will. Everything is left to his son, Sam, and Sam’s mean wife. The family of women, who have spent years looking after the father, are evicted by Sam and his wife and are forced to move to Madras. Before this, both elder daughters have developed a romantic interest: Saumya with Manohar, a budding filmmaker returned from America who wants to make his mark in Tamil cinema; and Meenakshi with Srikanth, a young businessman who is involved in some dodgy investments. Major Bala (who is disabled) and his uncle befriend the girls and their mother. Bala, who was a commando major in the Indian army, is shown in the first scene being blown up, resulting in the loss of his leg. He drinks too much as he feels sorry for himself….(wikipedia)

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The USA release is titled “I Have Found It.”

Watch the distraught Aishwarya Rai, as Meenakshi, achieveing her dream as a singer, but it means NOTHING because the man she loves is marrying another. But things aren’t so bad, for Mammootty, as Bala, is about to step in and make things right.

“Engae Enathu Kavithai” sung by K.S. Chitra & Srinivas, music by A. R. Rahman. Chitra’s voice is one of my favorites! Just listen to its beauty:
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Thanks to youtuber guru8537 for the video that includes an English translation. Look what BollyWhat? has to say about it. Lyrics in Tamil.

And if you’re interested in my favorite new internet obsession, it’s watching contestants on “Idea Star Singer 2007,” the Malayalam version of the Idols show.  I particularly like Vani Jayaram. Check out her version of today’s video: “Engae Enathu Kavithai”