Sunday, April 28, 2024

Laapataa Ladies

This seemed like a time filler only, but it packs a powerful story   

It starts with a film convention of two women getting mixed up, an easy task with two women encased in face covering wedding garments.  Naturally there is a lot of confusion upon efforts to reunite them with their new husbands.  

One of them is actually resistant and gradually we learn her story and watch her efforts to avoid her new husband.  A comic crooked cop comes to the rescue and helps illuminate  some cultural anomalies that are being changed.  

The story is engaging, but the reward comes near the end and is one of the reason I am including this as one of my top favorite films of the year.

It is not an accident that this film is so worth the effort to see it.  A few of the contributors are outlined below.

Aamir Khan was producer along with ex wife Kiran Rao and Jyoti Despande.  Aamir Khan is one of the premier actors and film makers in the world.  As he got established he became an actor who concentrated on one film at a time. He abstains from drinking and smoking, but will do so if a film role requires it.  Related to filmmakers he started as a child actor, but became a star with "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" (1988).  Most of his films were successful at the box office including "Dil Chata Hai" (2001), "Mangal Pandey" (2005), "Like Stars on Earth" (2007), "Ghajini" (2008), "3 Idiots" (2009), "PK (2014), "Dangal" (2016) and "Secret Superstar" (2017).  "Lagaan:  Once Upon a Time in India" (2001) started his success in the Chinese market (meaning he was at various times the most famous actor in the world with more than two huge markets).  Like Tom Hanks, Aamir did a lot of running, but he has a good body as has been required in some of his films.  Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2011/07/dil-chatha-hai-bollywood-classic.html and  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2015/03/pk.html and  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2022/07/the-making-of-lagaan-chale-chalo-lunacy.html 

Kiran Rao was director and producer.  She worked her way up from assistant director.  In 2001 she met Aamir Khan on the set of "Lagaan:  Onc Upon a Time in India" (2001).  They married in 2005 after Aamir's divorce.  After a few miscarriages they used a surogate to have a child.  After their divorce they agreed to co-parent.  They collaborated on several films both during their marriage and afterwards.  Some films included "Like Stars on Earth" (2007) and "Dangal" (2016).  She was an assistant for "Saathiya" (2002) and a favorite, "Swades" (2014).  How I became more aware of Kiran:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2017/01/ship-of-thesus.html

Still another key producer was Jyoti Despande.  She has often been put on lists for Today's Most Powerful Woman in Business.    She is the CEO at Viacom 18.  She has 53 credits as producer including "OMG 2" (2023), "Dunki" (2023) and "Article 370" (2024).  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/10/omg-2.html

Sneha Desai wrote the script.  She had acted and written for Gujarati stage.  She has 4 credits for writing and 3 as actress.

Ram Sampath composed the music.  He started writing jingles for advertising.  He also played keyboard for a rock group and at one time collaborated with an Australian rock band.  As he got involved with films he was able to win a plagiarism case.  He has 36 film composing credits including "Peepli Live)" (2010), "Delhi Belly" (2011), "Talaash:  The Answer Lies Within" (2012) and "Raees" (2017).

Vikash Nowlakna was the cinematographer.  He has 16 credits for cinematogrpay and 9 for C Department including amera and Electrical including "Black" (2005), "Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year" (2009), "The White Tiger" (2021) and "The Green Planet" (2022).  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2021/01/the-white-tiger.html

Jabeen Merchant has 38 credits including "7 1/2 Phere:  More than a Wedding" (2005), "Manorama:  Six Feet Under" (2007) and "NH 10" (2015).  

Pratibha Ranta plays Jaya, one of switched brides.  She was Miss Mumbai in 2018.  She has 3 acting credits.  

Nitashi Goel played Phool, the other switched bride.  This was her first adult role, having played a lot of youngsters and teens.  She has trained in Kathak dancing.  She has 17 acting credits including "Vicky Donor" (2012) and "M.S. Doni" (2016).   Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2020/04/vicky-donor-cf-dharala-prabhu.html

Sparsh Srivastav plays Deepak, one of the grooms.  He has 10 acting credits.

Ravi Kishan plays Manohar the police chief.  He is associated with Bhojpuri fillms and once dubbed Tobey MdGuire as Spiderman.  He has been very popular on reality television as contestant, judge and host.  He is currently an elected Member of Parliament.  His 231 acting credits (spread over Hindi, Telegu, Kannanda, Bhojpuri and Tamil) include  "Tanu Weds Manu" (2011), "Agent Vinod" (2012),  "Lucknow Central" (2017) and as the leading man in "Maamia Legal Hai" (20240.

Chhaya Kadam plays Manju, a street vendor who helps one of the brides.  She started acting on the Marathi stage.  She has gone onto 54 film acting credits including "Andhadhan" (2018), "Sairat" (2018) and "Gangubai Kathiawadi" (2022).  

Satendra Soni played Chotu, a short helper for Manju.  He has 5 acting credits including "Doctor G" (2022).  Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2022/12/doctor-g.html

This film may well sneak up on you, but is well worth the effort.  At first I wondered what all the fuss was, but towards the end I felt rewarded. 

I have bolded film titles for the first mention. 

Available on Netflix in subtitled format.

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