Monday, May 20, 2019


Bollywood  provides some of my favorite movies.  Here are three different, but good ones. Their goodness is not accidental as the cast and crews bring a lot of experience to the projects.

"Gully Boy" offers a view into the rap world in India.  Rap is of interest to the younger crowd, but that means us older folks (in my case boomer) should be aware.  Naturally you hear a lot of rap music, but in Hindi.  The internal rhymes don't deliver the clever word play you might be hoping for except through subtitles.  The movie tries to convey feeling for the local atmosphere.  There is poverty, but also ambition. and not just for rap fame.  We see lower middle class people that are pointed towards medical careers.  Muslims are in a minority and although better off than in many Muslim majority nations still feel some grievances.  One of the characters is stigmatized as using young children to distribute drugs, but we learn they would otherwise starve.  In the end obstacles are mostly overcome and stardom arrives.

The cast is very good.  Ranveer Singh is believeable as a 22 year old rap singer.   Best seen in "Band Baaja Baaraat" "Lootera," and "Dil Dhadakne Do."  Alia  Bhatt adds another character to her long list of successes such as  "Highway," "2 States," "Dear Zindagi" and "Raaz."  Siddhart Chaturvedi is in his first feature film.  He started to follow in his father's footsteps as a chartered accountant, but won a talent contest which led to television series where he increased his popularity. In truth he matched Ranveer and is likely to develop into an equal star.  Kalki Koechliln has a relatively small role, but as usual she is impactful.

The brother-sister team of Zoya and Farhan Akhtar were producers, while Zoya directed and wrote.  In a previous wonderful movie, "Zindagi na Milegi Dobara" they again both produced, while Zoya wrote the script and directed, but this time Farhan played a leading role.   With "Dil Dhadakne Do" Zoya was director and writer while Farhan wrote dialogue, produced and acted.  More on Farhan,

Co-written by long time friend Reema Kagti.   Jay Oza  handled the cinematography;  Nitin Baid, was the editor and had previously edited" Raazi" one of the best films last year.i

"Badla" was based on a Spanish movie, written and directed by Oriel Paulo, "The Invisible Guest" with an interesting difference.  In the Spanish version the witness preparation lawyer was a woman while the accused murderer was a man.   Sujoy Ghosh, the man behind Kahanni adapted the script.  He wrote the script and directed "Kahaani" with one of the best twists ever.

It is set in Glasgow and layered with different versions of the same events as we try to find the truth.  Hint they both guard the truth carefully.  A brilliant woman has been accused of murdering her lover and was in a locked room with no apparent exits.

Amitabh Bachchan and  Tapsee Pannu- play the two main characters. Both performed in "Pink," one of the best movies to deal with sexual consent.  Worth learning about  

Another important character was played by Amitra Singh who I had seen in a few other movies, but not researched.  She was married to a younger man, Saif Ali Khan and had 2 children with him, both of which are starting to act in films.  Considered very attractive she was able to be the leading lady to both Dharmamendra and later to his son Sunny Deol.  These days she mostly plays mothers as in this film.  She was a very effective mother in "2 States."

Gauri Khan was the producer and co-owner with her husband Shah Rukh Khan of Red Chillies Entertainment that was one of the production companies for this film.  As many of you may know Shah Rukh Khan is my favorite actor

Avik Mukhopadhyay did the cinematography in Glasgow and the Scottish countryside.  He has also done "Pink," and another I hope to see soon, "October."  Not heavy Bollywood musical, but with good background music from Clinton Cerejo, Anu Malik and Anupam Roy.  Editing done by Monisha R Baldawa who had done "Mom," and "Neerja."

For a comparison with the original, "The Invisible Guest" see

"Badhaai Ho"continues a string of hits for Ayushmann Khurrana with an excellent supporting cast.  An older couple (in their 50's) become pregnant which is embarassing for sons.  The girl friend of the oldest son is very accepting, but her mother becomes upset to the point of disrupting her daughter's relationship.  There are lots of laughs before everyone not only accepts the situation but celebrates it.  It is common enough, that young people are unconscious that their parents are still sexual beings.

Ayushman has chosen a number of socially relevant topics.  Perhaps most famous for his debut role in "Vicky Donor" about a sperm donor who is ashamed of how he makes money.  Read more about his career and some other socially different roles includes a link to a single film blog:   Another blog on Ayushmann for "Article 15'

Sanya Mahotra plays the girlfriend.  Her first movie was "Dangal" where she played a female wrestler.  Looking forward to her appearance with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in "Photograph."

Several members of the supporting cast won awards: Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao and Surekha Sikri.  Neena and Gajraj won an award as Extraordinary Couple of the Year.

 Directed by Amit Ravinernath Sharma who also was one of the producers.  Akshat Gildial was the writer who won an award for dialogue.   This film was nominated for best film on several award panels.

As with most of my movie blogs I have bolded the films I have actually seen and have filtered down to only include movies I recommend--most of them very highly.

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