Monday, September 30, 2013

BollyWeekly Report (Week of September 30th)

Here's the excitement for this week:

Hrithik Roshan in a new still from Krrish 3. How does that mask stay on?

The Krrish 3 release date has been moved up to November 1st. A new video has been released of the song "Dil Tu Hi Bataa," which will appear in the film. Watch it here. We at Bollywest love the song, but wonder.... Hrithik, when it comes to your Krrish hairstyles, what are you thinking?

Actor Ranveer Singh, who is currently in the middle of filming his new movie, Gunday, has been hospitalized due to contracting a severe case of dengue fever.  Best wishes for his recovery! Read about it here.

Ranveer Singh
Is Bollywood "lacking creativity" these days? Actor Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire) seems to think so.  For us, coming from a Western perspective and also a "new to Bollywood" point of view, we still find it all fun and exciting.

Irrfan Khan
For some eye candy, check out these photos of some of Bollywood's hottest actors at the Indian GQ Men of the Year Awards. Here is a link to a photo gallery of some of the women that were in attendance as well.

Rani Mukerji the 2013 GQ Men of the Year Awards
In romance gossip, actress Pooja Bedi is totally enamored with her boyfriend, Askashdeep Saigal... and says that as far as his love for her is concerned, all the proof she needs is written on his...arm? Over a year ago, Saigal got Pooja's name tattooed on his arm. Perhaps this couple has never heard of the curse of the name tattoo? All kidding aside, we wish the happy couple the very best.  

Pooja and "Sky"
In Dhoom 3 news, a new poster for the film has just been released. Looks pretty awesome! The film comes out on December 20th, not November 4th as previously reported. There seems to be a lot of date-shifting in Bollywood lately!

New poster for Dhoom 3
And finally... nice guy Abhishek Bachchan, husband of the lovely Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, sets a good example for all young Indian men looking to romance women... the right way. AB says:
"I am used to people whistling at my wife... see my wife then you will know why I am saying this. I have never whistled at her to woo her... I don't think its the right thing to do. I courted her through my gesture, emotions and words." 
Aish remarks:
"That's why I married him."  
Awwww... just another example of why AB and Aish are one of our favorite Bollywood couples. Their love and respect for each other is obvious. Plus, they have a pretty adorable kid.

Abhishek, Aaradhya, and Aishwarya Bachchan

Until next week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BollyWelcome: Four Movies to Start the Journey

You've just seen your first Bollywood movie. The singing. The dancing. The colors. The characters.

If your first thought was "What just happened?", well, we all thought that. If your next thought was "I WANT MORE," then you're in the right place. 

As you probably discovered within the first ten or so minutes, Bollywood isn't like Hollywood. Not really at all. It's a whole new aesthetic. The humor is different. Everything is changing. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it's hard to know where to get started. Not all Bollywood movies are created equal, and some are more accessible then others. 

In order to fully appreciate the culture and artistry of Bollywood, it's important to know what you're looking at. Today, I'm focusing on movies that help the average American viewer get introduced to the Bollywood scene. 

1) Bride and Prejudice. This is really a western movie with some Bollywood thrown in for good measure, but if you're coming in without any previous exposure, this is my #1 favorite place to start. It lets you get a feel for the vibrant colors and fun of Bollywood, but flaunts a Western story line that is familiar and easy for the American viewer to follow. It also introduces the age-old Bollywood trope of plot borrowing. It's fun for the whole family, but it gives you a little flavor of what to expect. Plus, it stars Naveen Andrews, who played the dreamy Sayid Jarrah on Lost. 

2) Kuch Na Kaho. Can I just say I love this movie? It wasn't a stunning success commercially, but it's an easy progression for an American viewer. The plot line is pretty straight forward and the characters aren't too complicated, but I feel like this entry gives a really solid grounding in Indian culture--dealing with social pressure and mores and how they can be addressed. It really dives in to the gender inequalities and hello, who doesn't like looking at Aish and Abishek? Turn your subtitles on, tally up the costume changes in each song, and follow along. 

3) Dhoom 2. Generally, I think it's best to start with the first movie in a series. Not in this case. The Dhoom series is a massive commerical hit in India, and it's easy to see why. Once you're accustomed to the Bollywood tropes and style, this is a visual and audio treat. The songs are awesome, the dancing incomparable, the action stunning, and the plot line is solid. I have mixed it up and used this as an "intro to Bollywood #1" movie, but I think it's easier to appreciate when you know what to expect, especially in regards to funny man Ali. Until you appreciate the style of humor common to the whole art form, you just won't understand why Ali is there. 

4) Salaam Namaste. Set in Australia instead of India, this film takes on some very interesting and modern themes, specifically out of wedlock pregnancy. Not a big deal in the US, but as the previous movies have portrayed, you're not in Kansas anymore. ;-) The music is still great, the actors are some of my favorites, but it's a modern flavor and a lot of fun. 

That's just a start. After seeing these four movies, you should have a little better grasp of what's going on and why. Once you understand the form, it is a lot easier to appreciate the different styles presented. Classic Bollywood has a lot to offer that we haven't even touched on here. The super modern movies are looking very similar to Hollywood, but then they start to lose their unique and amazing flavor. 

These four movies offer a great selection of plots, characters, colors, songs, and styles. Once you've seen them, you're ready to take the next step into the vivacious new world you've discovered. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Douchey Shirt of the Week #1

One of the things we love most about Bollywood cinema is the clothes. Let's just say that Bollywood fashion sense follows a....different aesthetic than Hollywood.

A very Ed Hardy-centric aesthetic, especially where male characters are concerned.

"What makes a shirt douchey?" you ask? Well, you'll pretty much know it when you see it. But, generally, douchey shirts tend to have these  characteristics in common:

1) Ridiculously loud or busy print
2) Plunging necklines low enough to put Fabio to shame
3) Fit either much too tight, or much too loose and 'flowy'
4) Bonus points for Ed Hardy "tattoo" designs and/or rhinestones

We encourage you all to embrace the douchey shirts, as we have. They make everything that much more entertaining.

So, without further ado, presented without comment, here is our first Douchey Shirt of the Week:

The luscious Abhishek Bachchan, in a still from the incredible film, Dhoom 2


Monday, September 23, 2013

BollyWeekly Report (Week of September 23rd)

Welcome to the first real post on BollyWest! 

As part of our exploration of Bollywood culture, we thought it would be a good idea to keep tabs on what's going on in Bollywood news. Every week, we will post a list of relevant news articles and discuss everything from upcoming films and awards shows to fashion and gossip. 

Here's the excitement for this week:

Hrithik Roshan (or, as he's known in my house, "that amazing dancer guy with those abs) is excited to play an all-out superhero in the upcoming film Krrish 3. Roshan comments: "He was just an ordinary boy who discovers his powers. The previous two films were family-oriented. This time, I play an out-and-out superhero. He's a superhero who has values and culture embedded in his DNA. That's what makes him different." Hear more of his thoughts on the role here.  Krrish 3, who some say is Roshan's best film to date,  premieres on Diwali (November 4th) this year. We here at BollyWest cannot wait for this film to come out!

Check out the trailer for Krrish 3 here.

Speaking of Hrithik, one of the biggest gossip stories in Bollywood right now involves Roshan and his wife, Suzanne. There have been reports for many years regarding Hrithik's supposed infidelity with a number of women. Is their marriage as troubled as the press would make it seem? This story, which states that the couple are still very happy together and not considering divorce, would suggest otherwise.

Hrithik and Suzanne Roshan
Bollywood's reigning queen, and BollyWest favorite, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks stunning in a new ad campaign for Kalyan Jewelers. Not that we're surprised... she is the most beautiful woman in the world, after all! Check out the images from the Kalyan Jewelers ad campaign here. Unfortunately, Bachchan is still on maternity hiatus and has not been in any new films since the birth of her adorable daughter, Aradhya Bachchan, with husband Abhishek Bachchan in 2011. Come back Aish, we miss you!

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in an ad campaign for Kalyan Jewelers
Did you know that Aamir Khan is playing a dual role in the upcoming blockbuster, Dhoom 3? This franchise is near and dear to our hearts, and we are SO excited to see the third installment! We are hoping to see this film in the theaters when it comes out this winter.... more on that later on, as we further develop our plans.

Check here and here for some more news related to Dhoom 3, and here for a teaser trailer.

Actor Saif Ali Khan, star of films like Kal Ho Na Ho (2003) and husband of Bollywood superstar Kareena Kapoor, is more than Bollywood royalty... as the 10th Nawab of Pataudi, he is also Indian royalty. For more information about what a Nawab is and what the title entails, check out this article here. Check out this article to find out how much Khan and his family are worth... it's insane!

Saif Ali Khan
Are you a football fan? If so, you might have heard Priyanka Chopra singing this year's NFL theme song, "In My City." Take a listen here.

This has been a pretty exciting week in Bollywood! Stay tuned for several new posts on the blog this week... and bear with us as we get this whole thing going!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Hello Internet!

SprinklerBandit here. Bear with us as we get things started up. I hope to have it spit polished inside a week, but we'll see how life goes. This is our place to share our love of Bollywood and India. We plan to do movie reviews, road trip write ups, cuisine exploration, and some cultural obvservations in whichever order we get around to them. Ellie is developing a working knowledge of hindi, while I study the mythology of India and amass a mighty Bollywood movie collection.

The catch? We've never been to India. We live in the American West (in different states), and have to see what we can find. Hang on! It's going to be a fun ride.