January 7, 2009

The best & worst of '08: Slumdog & Rab Ne

The best and the other the worst of '08 were such easy picks.

The best
Title: Slumdog Millionaire
Year: 2008
Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Saurabh Shukla.

2 miracles happen simultaneously to 1 person: Dev is from a slum in Bombay, and works as a tea deliverer in some random call center. Not only does he get selected for India's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," but the questions asked to him there are all related to incidents in his own life. So of course, no one believes this guy and assumes he has been cheating, but Dev himself is really on a quest to find Freida, his childhood love who always watches the show.

Notes:

1- It was really a hard movie for me to watch because of all the violence against children portrayed, and I couldn't talk about it for almost 3 weeks since having seen it. I do realise of course that my reaction was purely personal, and I probably need to be more objective in my movie viewing- but hey- its the personal reactions that make movies magical.
2- The director, Danny Boyle, has of course done brilliant work, but I have huge respect for the casting done by co-director Loveleen Tandan- she has done some amazing work; getting together such an effective cast is utter genius.
3- Dev is SO Indo-American- he reminds me very strongly of Kalpen Modi ("Kal Penn")- love them both.
4- Its such a powerful movie, so brilliantly thought and planned- its like a series of punches to the gut. The momentum keeps building to the end, when the Bolly song in the final credits came to wash away all the stress. Its fantastic, but I think it will be a long while before I can rewatch this.

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The worst
Title: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Year: 2008
Cast: Shahrukh, Anusha, Vinay Pathak

Shahrukh is a Amol-Palekar-esque common man working in Punjab Power. He marries Anusha to support her when her dad passes away, and then finds that she doesn't love him. Therefore, when she decides to go for a dance competition, he joins the competition in the guise of "another man," and woos her. She falls in love with SRK II, but walks away because she believes SRK I is God-like :S So he tells her the truth, and they live happily ever after.

Pros:

1- Vinay Pathak.

Cons:
1- The story.
- If SRK is happy as a geek (he says Anusha should love him as he is), why change- why make Anusha love him in his hip avtar in the 1st place? If he is happy being hip (he seems to be having a arm-flingingly good time and looks completely comfortable)- why change back to being geeky?
- Whats with Anusha being BLIND to the fact that the guy she has been living with for months is the same as her dance partner?
- And what's with women imagining their hubbys as Gods? I have an insane urge to now seek my hubby's blessings every morning and evening (at least)- wait a minute- I WILL do that- will probably freak him out completely - heeh.
- All the Japanese references- cute, but I didn't get the point- it could have been Scandinavia for all it meant.
2- SRK's inability to be more than SRK- really, this makes me so angry and sad- I remember the SRK from "Fauji"- where the heck did that actor go??? And I am tired of all the arm flinging gesturing :S I don't doubt his stature, but this was a terrible movie to choose.
3- Anusha does nothing for me- which is fine, since she isn't meant to do much for me anyways :D

20 comments:

a ppcc representative said...

Agreed with everything you've said. I need to see Fauji, if only to find a reason to get back on the SRK train. Now I can't look at him without having flashbacks of the horribleness of Rab Ne!

Nida said...

Ahh, good old "Rab Ne"...I'd almost forgotten all about it in light of all the recent "Ghajini" and "Slumdog" talks!

Like PPCC, I need to see Fauji, too. I've never heard of it, but remember you saying once you preferred the pre-Kjo-glamourized SRK. So if you're recommending a SRK film, I've gotta see it!

Agree with you on both films!

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

PPCC: I was v disappointed because I had gotten false from from SRK's "common man" look :( Fauji kicks butt!

Nida: Oh Fauji was so so good- it was a TV show, and the 1st big thing SRK did- used to sit and wait for it to air every week eagerly as a child. The DVD is availalbe on Amazon and a lot of other places, and is def worth ur time http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=fauji&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=1103709461&ref=pd_sl_t18kqt1sz_e

Keith said...

Haven't seen the movie, but it's possible the Japanese references in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi are callbacks to the Japanese film, Shall We Dance, which is about a group of timid people who discover "that inner beauty" and come alive when secretly studying ballroom dance.

I actually wake up every morning and reaffirm SRK is godlike, usually by recreating one of his many shirtless slo-mo bath scenes from Asoka. In the end, it's just me, out of shape and pasty, splashing some water about int he sink, but SRK understands.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Keith: I have huge doubts If the lovely folk at Yashraj were given to making such parallels, but I hope that was the case, for their sake. Anything's possible :B Re: channelling the SRK- how slayingly brilliant! We all must have our gaurdian superstars- I've decided I must channel the Sridevi.

ajnabi said...

Am utterly ignorant--have never heard of Fauji till this post. LOL I thought every wife worshiped her husband as a god? I feel absolutely positive that Poonam from Vivah worships Prem. Clearly you are failing as a spouse. ;-)

Darshit said...

Humm..
My curiosity is going way. sky high.
Why why, Slumdog hasn't arrived in India yet???
Actually I have Pirated version since 2 weeks. But didn't dare to watch that. Cause I would like to see this on BIIIIG SCREEN.

Certainly Rab Ne...was not that good, as expected.

Banno said...

Can't wait for 'Slumdog Millionaire'. When, when will it come here?

OK, about 'Rab ne' .. (Teja calls it 'rabdi'), we went with sub-zero expectations, after all those reviews, so had a passably good time. Plus, I think we were so tired after that New Year's eve hangover, that the absolute dumbness of the film was quite soothing. :-)

Rum said...

Awwww Fauji, they showed repeats of that on zee tv in london. and i realized then that i love SRK, but Rab Ne completely made me angry, it seemed like he wanted to hurt her by making her fall Surinder instead of Raj, hell i woulda chose to run with Raj if he stayed like that all the time!
Lol the sumo scene was so cringingly bad, sumos are not monsters like Godzilla who would purposely kick the sh** out of a poor Srk!

Arantxa said...

RNBDJ was a nightmare and this coming from an ardent SRK fan who enjoys even his boppiest movies :P Oh god, just why make such a nightmare of a film?!?!?!?!

I need to watch SM still. Heard nothing but its praises and it managed to break into IMDB top 250[which I normally do not consider since I disagree with 50% of the choices on there :P]

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Ajnabi: Yes, I must redeem myself- from now on, lots of feet touching on my part is clearly in order- maybe they do it in lieu of crunches- and clearly I need to do tummy crunches, so thats good :D One day, u will see Fauji, and understnad y SRK makes me unhappy now :B

Darshit- It hasnt been released?? I think itll be a big hit when it does- its really good- they should have totally released it simulataneously in India.

Banno: Its really wrong that they havent released it in India.
I LOVE Teja's monikers for things- his "chaman" for Harman still makes me smile when I see Harman on TV :D I went in with low expectations, but still wanted to shoot myself in the head mid-movie- why is SRK doing such stuff??!! Its a strong word, but he was just vile as the "modern" guy- ugh.

Rum: That's exactly what I thought! If he wanted her to fall in love with his true self, why the hypocrisy? Sumos are good, calm guys- that whole Japanese bit was completely weird and unnecessary, though it was cute when they visited Japan in the credits :)

Arantxa: I am trying to forget about Rab Ne like a bad nightmare- butI am now hopeful about SRK's "My Name is Khan"- I have hope for that one.

Nida said...

Thank you Shweta! I will definitely check Fauji out!

P.S. Is Ajnabi picking on my girl Poonam again? ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

I too need to re-visit Fauji. I've seen it, but for some reason, I really remember Circus a lot better! Perhaps the setting was more appealing for a fourth grader :) I remember our discussion while watching Don...for once, was hoping there would be something interesting about Rab Ne...

LOL at that Anushka comment. Thought she was all right, and one of the few bright spots, but I'm puzzled at *all* the praise she's been getting, and all the comparisons being drawn to Kajol (which I don't think are warranted). Then again, *anyone* falls below the benchmark that is TABU! ;)

Trupti said...

I haven't seen either....*sob sob*.

trupti

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Nida: hehe- on the contrary, she is inspiring me to be Poonam-esque (rofl)

BollyFan: Yep yep- the Don discussions :D fauji wked for me cos- I am a girl and all the Top Gun type cute guy thing was totally perfect :D Circus I STILL dont understand :B Anusha was fuggly to me, but nowhere close to Kajol- and I of course agree that no one compares to Tabu- now am I being invited to that wedding with Tabu yet?

Trupti: oh boo- hope its at least getting warmer there!

theBollywoodFan said...

Ref: Tabu, of course you'll be invited! Rab ne jodi toh bana di, and I'll probably be singing 'Milan Abhi Aadha Adhoora Hai' (from Ajnabi's favorite Vivah ;) until the actual milan, which I'm starting to believe might be too pure for this world to sustain :P

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

Bollyfan: "too pure for this world to sustain"- am slayed w/ laughter :D Seriously, that woman's amazing- I cant wait for her Chandralekha and Kunal Avadna to come out already! She is bound to look brilliant in the 2nd one esp- all historical I beleive.

a ppcc representative said...

And guess who else is in Chandralekha? Annniiiiill Kaaaapoooooooooor! And guess who's directing it? Priyadarshan! And guess what else these three made back in the day? Virasat, yaaay!

Am DYING to see it!

In other Priyadarshan-related news, he directed Billu Barber too and - from the looks of the trailer - it's got that same gorgeous, rural vibe.

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

PPCC: Oh this is amazing- I JUST read an article on Priyadarshan's Dan Dhana Dan- rofl. Must be a popular day for him :D

theBollywoodFan said...

Both of them should be great, thanks for the heads up. I have yet to see many of her works, so definitely something I'm looking forward to, to build a legit case ;)