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Posts Tagged ‘Udit Narayan’

Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), She’s more than just a gori extra.

With the encouragement of theBollywoodFan, I decided to contribute to his Lagaan Week to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the release of the epic film.  In order to develop something that would resemble a worthwhile blog post, I knew I had to re-watch Lagaan, since it had been a couple of years since I’d last seen it.  It was my third time seeing Lagaan, and I enjoyed it even more than I did the first 2 viewings, which I believe speaks to the quality of the film.  In case you don’t already know, Lagaan is about Indian villagers challenged by some British imperialists to a game of cricket, and if the villagers win they would not have to pay the Brits the unfair land taxes, known as Lagaan.   Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne) is a one-dimensional scoundrel, and this cruel man offers a wager he believe the Indians will never win.  His naive, yet kind-hearted sister, Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley),  arrives to India and begins to take in the scenes with a curious and open mind.  I love seeing  white people pop up in Indian films, since I can pretend they are me!  I can also think  hey, I can one day break into the Indian Film Industry, see, there’s a white person too! So with this delusional thinking, naturally I was fascinated to see Elizabeth.

Despite not knowing Hindi, she quickly sizes things up and all too soon she witnesses her brother’s  maniacal ways.

I do enjoy seeing the word “Whitey” it the subtitles, so I show it to you a lot in this post, here’s a start:

Lagaan (2001) is the movie that taught me about cricket, a little game I’d previously called gilli danda back in my village in India.

Wait, sorry, no village, no India, I keep loosing track that I’m from America and am not Indian, please pardon me.  When I was in contact with theBollywoodFan about Lagaan week, I said I’d like to take the angle of writing about Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), the gori extra since I’m always making note of my white sisters surfacing in Bollywood films;  theBollywoodFan, wise beyond his years, calmly replied, “She’s more than a gori extra,” and I realized he was right!  She is more than your typical gori extra, she not only plays a bigger role, but she also serves to bridge the cultural gap between the different groups, and helps us think, Hey, wait just one minute, not all these Britishers are so bad after all.  When the villagers are watching the game of cricket, Bhuvan ends up catching a ball out in the field which leads to a confrontation with some of the British players, that ultimately develops into the bet being made over the cricket game and the land tax.

Elizabeth realized this bet is unfair since the villagers are sure to lose a game they don’t know when pitted against people who have a full understanding and longtime experience with the game, not to mention endless leisure hours to play since the Indians are toiling away to make them rich.  She sets out to try to right her brother’s wrong by helping the villagers understand the finer points of the game.

So the teaching and leaning begins…

Recruitment: Initially Elizabeth teaches a small group the game, but there’s still the obstacle of establishing a full team who will be up for the extreme challenge.  Finally a diverse group of people are gathered from the village and surrounding areas since they have a common interest in eliminating the unfair tax by their common enemy, the British.

I learned all I need to know about cricket here:

Jealousy: Gauri (Gracy Singh) is a young village woman who has her eye on Bhuvan so it follows that she starts to get concerned about all the time he spends with the white memsahib.

Cultural exchange: Elizabeth helps to teach some of the finer points of cricket to the villagers, and in turn Bhuvan teaches her something about the Hindu legend of Radha & Krishna.


Elizabeth is enamoured by the festival and is even further taken in by Dandiya Raas number  Kaise Na Jale with music by A.R.  Rahman, playback singers Asha Bhonsle,  Udit Narayan, Vaishali.

Confession: As it turns out, Gauri wasn’t far off on her women’s intuition because Elizabeth, who has managed to learn Hindi in a few days, confesses her pyaar love for Bhuvan.  Luckily she’s able to save face since the part where she really lays it on the line is in English, so Bhuvan doesn’t understand, yet I think he may suspect it.

Fantasy: The tune O Rey Chori,  (playback singers Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Vasundhara Das) includes Elizabeth’s fantasy of what it would be like if Bhuvan was in her British world, or if she was in his Hindustani duniya.


Elizabeth is caught: A double crossing villager with an ulterior motive  informs Captain Russell that his sister is helping the villagers to learn cricket.  With shame, I admit I did find Captain Russell quite handsome, despite his evil deeds. Do you?

If I can answer for Elizabeth here, I’d tell her brother that it would be the delicious food and the Indian Film Industry that would allow her to turn against her brother, but I suspect she may say something about the cool Dandiya Raas dances and doing the right thing in the face of injustice.
The BIG Game: The stakes are high, and Aamir Khan’s Bhuvan conveys this beautifully here.  I believe Khan is very talented and expressing emotion through his eye, and this is a perfect example. Dekh!  I bet you’re even crying looking at the photos.  I am.



Elizabeth watches the game, worried about the outcome, rooting all the while for the villagers.  I suppose in Indian English one would say she was chewing her brains and taking much tension isn’t it?  In case you haven’t seen Lagaan and don’t know the outcome of the game *SPOILER ALTER*

There are winners and losers. Elizabeth sees the joyful embrace between Bhuvan and Gauri at the end of the match, and instantly understands that her fantasy will never be a reality.

Bittersweet ending: She can’t have Bhuvan, but she can play Radha to his Krishna.

Finally, you may be wondering how all those gori cheerleaders made their way to India, and I’m here to tell you that  Bhuvan and Lagaan are the reason.  When Elizabeth returned to England, she started the  first cricket cheerleading squad, and there after tradition has held that all IPL cheerleaders are to be white only.

And speaking of Lagaan and the IPL, Did you see A. R. Rahman perform at the 2010 closing ceremonies?   

After exploring the part of Elizabeth in Laagan, I am tempted to do a series on the pantheon of gori extra patron saints of Bollywood.

My personal favorite is the character Christina ( Barbara Lindley) from  Purab Aur Paschim (1970).

Opps! sorry, she’s been objectified as only a gori cold be, let me get a better picture of her….Ah, here, that’s better!

And then there’s Katherine (Antonia Bernath) in  Kisna: The Warrior Poet (2005)-yeah, I admit I saw it! So WHAT!?!

Sue McKinley (Alice Patten) of Rang De Basanti (2006); and most recently Sarah (Sarah Thompson) of Raagneeti (2010).

And like all good Bollywood films, allow me to leave you with some inspiration, courtesy of Bhuvan…and the moral of the story is:

This post was so long, time to roll the credits…

For more on Third Annual Lagaan Week: Ninth Anniversary Special, click over to theBollywoodFan-ji’s blog.

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I love a good orphan film, and there’s not much more I can say about Ram Jaane than hasn’t already been said so well by Fortune City and Post Punk Cinema Club, but I can show you some of the parts that I really enjoyed.  Just look at the cool movie poster from the film with bloody fisted, red headband wearing SRK and I think there’s ample evidence that this is a good film.

Ram Jaane (1995) translation: “Ram Knows” or “God Knows”) is a 1995 Indian Bollywood movie directed by Rajiv Mehra about an unnamed kid (portrayed by Shahrukh Khan) who grows up to become a gangster. He uses the name Ram Jaane after meeting with a priest who in response to the kid asking about his name said “Ram Jaane” (God knows). The movie ranks the 8th highest grossing Hindi movie of 1995 and is also the fourth time Shahrukh Khan is playing a negative role after BaazigarDarr and Anjaam. (source)

So here we start with a feisty young street lad, Ram, who meets his childhood companions who he continues to befriend into adulthood.  Prior to being named Ram, short for Ram Jaane, he was known as Footpath.

Eventually he becomes officially known as Ram Jaane.

He’s a small time hustler with lots of style, the bad boy you can’t help but love.

Sometimes his goonda living and dacoitery catches up with him and he lands in the clinker, and he suffers and bleeds from the mouth, which is something that I firmly belive King Khan does better than any actor!  Dekh:

One day I’ll do a post on a collection of SRK screen captures from various films where he bleeds from the mouth. Devdas would have some good mouth bleeding  material, na?  The story has the love triangle plot between the 3 life long friends.  After a bit of jail time, Ram reunites with his childhood pals Murli (Vivek Mushram) who helps the street kids, and Bela (Juhi Chawla).

Ram falls for Bela, but realizes that his pal Murli also loves Bela, or is it Bela who loves Murli, details.  Either way, Ram Jaane becomes a tad jealous and insecure as a result of this situation.  He begins to question his self worth.

Ram eventually is overtaken by what the viewer may think is blind rage and he roughs up Bela, and eventually gives her a tight slap to the face, which he immediately regrets.

BUT, but, but did he hit her out of a jealous rage? Did he hit her because of his inability to soothe his own psyche independently of his love object?  Nahin!  As it turns out he hit her out of love, because he knew his friend loved her and by hitting Bela she would turn to Murli for love.  Problem solved!  Hey, I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but it worked.  Now clear your mind from the disturbing image of SRK’s character being violent with his love interest, and enjoy the title track from the film Ram Jaane with playback singers,  Alka Yagnik,  Sonu NigamUdit Narayan, and music by Anu Malik.

A while back I did a post on B.Rohrer’s SRK Fantasies in which the artist pays tribute to SRK in a series of creative pieces.  Recently I was lucky to run across another such creative fan on youtube and Breaking Free of the Box has taken things to a whole new level with this video tribute to Ram Jaane.  How can my humble collection of screen captures from the films measure up to the devotional nature of Breaking Free of the Box‘s work? It can’t, so now, I’ve saved the best for last so sit down and get ready to be entertained.  In the words of Breaking Free of the Box:

Here’s a miniature tribute to Shahrukh and Juhi . . . Let’s hope that someday they make another romantic film as intense as their earlier ones. . . Enjoy!! (source)

Did you notice the Central Jail on the mini set?

To wrap things up neatly as Bollywood so often does,  let’s take a moment to empathize with our film’s orphan:

Let’s now go on to be uplifted by the orphan, who has been enlightened through his suffering, only to go on to inspire us all!  Jai Bollywood wisdom:

P. S.  Due to heavy international pressure from the blogging community, and to avoid further mutiny from blog commenters, I must make mention of SRK’s style of wearing a suit jacket without any shirt underneath (think of the ring around the collar!) in the film and link in the song Pump Up the Bhangra.  Thanks readers for keeping me on my toes! Now pump up some bhangra!

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Mehbooba was released in 2008, but director Afzal Khan began filming in 1999.  There are a lot of reasons why the filming took so long to finally be released which you can read about HERE.

mehboobaThe film stars Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgan and Manisha Koirala in the lead roles. Set on a huge canvas and shot across three continents, America, Europe and Asia, with four different countries as the story’s backdrop, with New York, Budapest, Austria, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Mumbai as the key locations, the film boasts of lavish settings and locales, expensive sets. (source) Also check out the film’s official website for more on the story.

Come with me for a quick review of what I enjoyed from the film.  Fancy NRI New York City based businessman Sharvan Dhariwal (Sanjay Dutt) meets Varsha (Manisha Koirala) and they enjoy a balloon filled party.  mehbooba.balloons

The film has some huge dance numbers, like Kuch Kar Lo with playback singer Sonu Nigam

Varsha finds Mr. Shravan Dhariwal much too arrogant for her traditional Indian ways and he takes things too far at a fancy balloon filled New Year’s party.

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Varsha warns him, and then winds up for a  tight slap to the face.

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Look at the aftermath of the slap: one sad bollywood balloon,  Sanjay, I mean Mr. Shravan Dhariwal, left alone with his feelings of regret, a cigarette, and a half empty bottle of Johnny Walker, black label, since he is a business tycoon afterall. Even business tycoons have it bad sometimes.  I almost feel sorry for him, dekh:

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Don’t feel too sorry for him because he’s got an evil plan brewing.   While sitting there he decides he will win over this Varsha woman in order to take his revenge.  He now has a vendetta!  He begins to formulate his nefarious plan the next day on his yacht, complete with the requisite blond gori extra (to represent low moral values, hai na?),  a bottle of Johnny Walker, and a phone that reveals that even thought the film was released in 2008, this scene must have been shot in 1999. ( Addition to this post:  It should be noted that  along with the Johnny Walker,  Samir the oenophile was able to identify Champagne, wine, orange juice, Perrier and  Heineken in front of the gori.  Perhaps this is used to emphasis the evil decadence of America and what it can do to an innocent NRI tycoon-industrialist-hotelier-investor.)

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Evidently Mr. Shravan Dhariwal ki plan works because he gets Varsha Merha all dancey, wiggley, and happy here in the Tu Meri Mehbooba number with playback singer Udit Narayan:

Spoiler alert: Varsha Mehra does what is normally done after making the 7  nuptial rounds, if you know what I mean. Mr. Shravan Dhariwal tricked her into a night of love all because of that slap he suffered from Varsha at the party, and then on top of all that HE goes on to slap HER!  As we say here in the USA, payback is a mother%$#@&*!

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Well you can’t just slap Sanjay Mr. Shravan Dhariwal at a lavish, balloon filled party in front of hundreds of his peers without some payback! In case those stills weren’t enough, take a look at what happens!

She was tricked by that player, but I say to Varsha, don’t hate the playa, hate the game.mehbooba.played

Like lots of girls do, Varsha heads over to Budapest with her broken dil.  She’s de-flowered afterall, so devalued in her own mind, but she meets a nice fellow, Karan (Ajay Devgan) who understands and loves her tarnished image.mehbooba.tarnish

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Karan wants to take Varsha home to India to introduce her to his family so they can get married.  Karan arrives to India before her and his brother also returns to India from New York and is delighted to see him. Karan spends a lot of time with Shravan. They party with dancing girls and drink Johnny Walker.

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And they spend more time drinking Johnny Walker.

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mehbooba.tub.2They even hang out in the hot tub together which some might find a bit homoerotic, but they’re brothers, you know how brothers take hot bubble baths together, right?  They take baths together and caress each others faces, right?

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Despite all these good times, Karan notices that Shravan is very melancholy and spends lots of time playing the piano and drinking Johnny Walker.

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Varsha arrives and she soon finds Karan’s rich, bahut rich, but little does she know he’s got a brother who is that same man who she had the intimate encounter with in New York. In fact, she never even catches a glimpse of him until her marriage to Karan is already taking place.mehbooba.crazycrazycrazy

Karan does eventually figure it all out and goes pagal and swings from a chandelier, did you know about THAT chandelier Shweta?

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mehbooba.manishaHow does Mehbooba end? Does Varsha marry Karan? Or does she marry his brother, Mr. Shravan Dhariwal?  You know I can’t even remember since it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, so even if I wanted to tell you I couldn’t.  I do recall that they didn’t even ask Varsha what she wanted and I’m not sure that she should choose either if they didn’t even check with her.   As usual, please let me know what you thought of this film, I’d love to hear from you.

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Yesterday I had a life just like Babita in yesterday’s video clip. Such generous dosto were Nandini, Brahmanadam and Gurubhai! Hard to believe it was Gurubhai‘s first time eating Indian food. They showered me with unique, lovely and valuable gifts, the most valuable being their waqt. We dined on scrumptious delicacies at Best of India in the cozy little gem of a strip mall: The Texa Tonka Mall. Strip malls can really be quite charming if you give them the chance.  The Texa Tonka not only has a great name, but is home of Best of India, Namaste Plaza, and Axman! After the great meal with yaaro, I was lucky enough to watch Beta, which has the most tight slaps to the face I’ve ever seen in a Bollywood movie.  A perfect birthday fo Sita-ji!

 Beta (Hindi: बेटा, Urdu: بیٹا, translation: Son) is a 1992 Bollywood movie directed by Indra Kumar. The film featured the pairing of Madhuri Dixit with Anil Kapoor, who were previously paired in Tezaab and Parinda. The film is perhaps best remembered for the hit song “Dhak Dhak Karne Laga”, which earned Dixit her nickname as the “Dhak-Dhak Girl” (“dhak-dhak” = heartbeat). Beta won four Filmfare Awards including Best Actress (Dixit), Best Actor (Kapoor), Best Playback Singer (Anuradha Paudwal for “Dhak Dhak Karne Laga”) and Best Supporting Actress Aruna Irani. It’s a remake of Tamil blockbuster Enga Chinna Raasa directed by Bhagyaraj. Beta is the story of Raju (Anil Kapoor), the only child of a widowed multi millionaire. Raju’s father can provide him anything he wants but Raju’s only desire is to get mother’s love,beta.jpg in order to please Raju, his father gets married to Nagmani (Aruna Irani), thinking that she will take care of Raju more than his real mother would. Raju becomes completely devoted to his stepmother, doing whatever she wishes. Time passes by, Raju grows up and gets married to Saraswati (Madhuri Dixit). Saraswati discovers that Nagmani’s motherly love for Raju is fake and all what Nagmani is interested in, is capturing Raju’s wealth. And thus begins a battle within the household between daughter-inlaw and mother-in-law. (wikipedia)

beta1.jpgToday’s video is so caliente, it should be rated R for racy!   My movie watching yaar fell in love with Madhuri during this song, and his love only deepened as the movie progressed. Can you say Filmfare award? Enjoy “Dhak Dhak Karne Laga” by playback singers Udit Narayan and Anuradha Paudwal from Beta.  

Thanks fo tilluskc for the video.

Lyrics

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Today’s video is the song,“Pardesi Pardesi” from Raja Hindustani (1996). First off here’s a bit about the movie:

raja.jpgRaja Hindustani (1996). (Hindi: राजा हिंदुस्तानी, Urdu: راجا ہندوستانی) is a 1996 Bollywood film directed by Dharmesh Darshan. It is a tale of cab driver from a small town who falls in love with a rich girl. Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor play the lead roles. The film became a box office hit. Its theme is similar to the 1960s hit Jab Jab Phool Khile starring Nanda and Shashi Kapoor. Two people from opposite socio-economic backgrounds fall in love and get married against the girl’s family’s wishes. The girl’s family then conspires to create a rift between the couple by exploiting the boy’s jealous, short-tempered nature. Wealthy Mr Sehgal (Suresh Oberoi) lives with his daughter, Aarti (Karisma Kapoor), and her stepmother Shalini (Archana Puran Singh) in a palatial home. Aarti wants to go for a vacation to a small hill station named Palankhet where her parents had met for the first time. Once there, she meets with taxi-driver Raja Hindustani (Aamir Khan), and after a short period of time, both fall in love with each other, and get married without Mr. Sehgal’s blessings. Eventually, Mr Sehgal forgives his daughter, and invites both newlyweds to his palatial home, not knowing that his wife, her brother, Swaraj (Pramod Moutho), and her nephew Jai (Mohnish Behl) have plans for him and his daughter that will change their lives forever. (wikipedia)

The movie stars Aamir Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Suresh Oberoi, Johnny Lever, Nevneet Nishan, Veeru Krishnan, Archana Puran Singh, Pramod Muthu, and the young Kunal Khemu. Kalpana Iyer and Pratibha Sinha are the roadside dancers in this clip of “Pardesi Pardesi.” The drunken-sharabi one, Kalpana Iyer, shows up in my internet research as the paramour of the married Amjad Khan! Her wikipedia link says, “Kalpana has been rumoured to have a live-in relationship with Bollywood villain, Amjad Khan until his death in 1992.”

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Well she is pretty hot and scary at the same time.

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I bet after seeing these screen images you can understand why I can’t get “Pardesi Pardesi” or the movie out of my head. The playback singers of the version here are Udit Narayan , Sapna Awasthi, and Alka Yagnik. There’s also a version of Pardesi Pardesiwith Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik as the playback singers. Enjoy and beware, this song may temporarily take over your brain!

“Foreigner, foreigner, don’t go and leave me. Foreigner, my friend, keep your promise! Remember me, don’t forget somehow!”

Thanks for the YouTube video chandaliali

LYRICS in Hindi and English and synopsis thanks to BollyWhat?

For more stills and a review about this great film click HERE.

For a bit of chugli on Karisma, read this blog entry: “The Real Pardesi

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dhtramdas.jpgAs mentioned in yesterday’s video, I haven’t seen the movie Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002) English: My Heart Is Yours; starring Rekha, Preity Zinta, Mahima Chaudhry, Arjun Rampal, Jimmy Shergill and Alok Nath. I now MUST see this! At the very beginning of the song, a part is played by a puppet, named Rangeela, which is always interesting if not startling. Sounds familiar? Well if you’ve read this blog it should be familiar, because puppets by these same people appeared in the movie Mahaan, which was this blog’s very first Video of the Day.         

  “Mohabbat Dil Ka Sakoon” with playback singers Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan:

Video thanks to 0five1zero6nine 

Lyrics HERE in English and Hindi, thanks to BollyWhat?

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Today’s video is “Dil Laga Liya Maine”  from Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002). I’ve never seen the film, but after seeing this song, I’d love to watch it!

dilhaitumhaaradvd.jpgDil Hai Tumhaara  (Hindi: दिल है तुम्हारा, Urdu: دل ہے تمہارا, English: My Heart Is Yours) is a 2002 Bollywood romantic comedy and family film starring Rekha, Preity Zinta, Mahima Chaudhry, Arjun Rampal, Jimmy Shergill and Alok Nath. The film is about two sisters, Nimmi and Shalu (Mahima Chaudhry and Preity Zinta) and their individual relationship with their mother, Saritaji (Rekha). Unknown to the two girls, Shalu and Nimmi are only half-sisters, as Shalu is the daughter of Saritaji’s husband with the woman he had been having an affair with. Her hidden parentage causes Saritaji to openly pay more affection to her own daughter while ignoring Shalu. Eventually a young man named Dev Khanna (Arjun Rampal) enters both their lives. Dev and Shalu initially do not get along but soon fall in love. However, circumstances make Nimmi believe that Dev is in love with her, not Shalu…(wikipedia)

 The film has nine songs composed by the duo Nadeem-Shravan.  “Dil Laga Liya Maine”  by playback singers – Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan.

Thanks to arjunrampalonline for the youtube video.

Lyrics HERE in English and Hindi, thanks to BollyWhat?

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