Bollywood- Three Movies

hum-hain-rahi-pyar-ke-1993-gvi-dvd-1486-p[ekm]149x200[ekm]Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke: From Wikipedia:

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke is a 1993 Bollywood comedy-drama film directed by Mahesh Bhatt, produced by Tahir Hussain and with a musical score by Nadeem-Shravan. It stars Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla. The film is a remake of the Hollywood film Houseboat, starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren

I saw Houseboat once a very long time ago, and I don’t know that the similarities are that close.

Aamir Khan here plays a young bachelor uncle named Rahul. His older sister and brother-in-law died suddenly in a car accident (this is all offscreen backstory), and he has has inherited the guardianship of their three children as well as the garment business he has to get back on its feet while he holds it for the oldest son. He loves his niece and nephews, but they are a handful and he is overwhelmed by all his new responsibilities and sometimes a little hard on them. On the other hand, his gestures of affection are misunderstood or simply not appreciated by these cute but admittedly bratty children.

Juhi Chawla plays Vaijayanti, spoiled only daughter of a rich, upper-caste tycoon of some sort. He wants to marry her off to another upper-caste artsy tartsy type that she doesn’t fancy, so she runs away from home.

The three children, locked in their room for their misdeeds, sneaked out to the fair, where they meet up with Vaijavanti, make friends, and sneak her home. They manage to hide her for two days but finally get caught. Together the four partners in mischief spin a yarn about Vaijavanti’s evil stepmother, and Rahul offers to let her stay at his house in return for helping with the children and housekeeping (he learns later that she cannot cook). The children have already gone through something like three maids, a couple butlers and five cooks, so he figures since they seem to have already bonded with Vaijavanti, they might t least behave for her, and this turns out to be a wise choice.

Naturally, they fall in love, she’s a darling, the children love her, she helps the children and Rahul understand each other.

Rahul’s garment factory has a huge debt they owe to an unscrupulous businessman, whose daughter Maya just happens to have her greedy eye on Rahul, and they contrive to make life difficult for him, to trap him into marriage in order to save the business, and short of that, to cheat him out of everything he’s been holding in trust for the children.

This is cute and fun in a totally cheesy, corny, predictable fashion. It’s an Indian movie so there are songs inserted in strange places. Usually, I love the Bollywood musical numbers, but most of these didn’t work for me. One of them I would skip for costuming issues, but the rest were perfectly safe.

There are a few uses of the Lord’s name, sometimes in vain, sometimes more by way of somebody actually calling out for Heavenly assistance, although it’s your call on whether you’re supposed to believe they mean it or not. Maya is a bit skanky in all her wardrobe choices and she doesn’t keep her hands off Rahul, but it’s overplayed and hammy which seems to offset what could be vulgar. The dancer Vaijavanti’s father wants to marry her off to is a little too campy for me. In one scene, V. changed clothes in Rahul’s room and accidentally left her dress there. The children are still keeping her a secret, so when their uncle asks them to explain the woman’s dress in his room they tell him they can’t explain it, they were going to ask him to explain it to them, and their tone is freighted with eyebrow waggling meaning.

It’s all hammy and goofy whenever there’s any shenanigans are suggested.
Otherwise, I’d consider this one squeaky clean, family friendly, goofy, fun show when in the mood for a foreign movie that provides mostly mindless entertainment. It’s hard to find with English subtitles, and the one I found did not sub the songs. I watched on youtube, but you’ll have to google around to find it.

jab27vJab We Met: 2007- Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Tarun Arora.   I really, really loved this one.  Better production values and more modern than the above. I liked this a lot. It was fun, and less obviously cheesy. There were also a few more innuendoes, and the last song and dance number was totally inappropriate for family viewing.  I wasn’t watching with my family, so no worries.
The song and dance numbers were the bigger, splashier productions I associate with Bollywood, so I enjoyed them more.

The two main characters meet on a train- he’s a depressed, suicidal, taciturn businessman. She’s a bubbly, vivacious, infectiously friendly Shikh girl on her way home after a long absence. At first she really irritates him, but she grows on him. They miss their train, and intend to go separate ways, but she ends up requiring his protection (a young woman traveling alone is like a treasure box without a a lock, she is told). There’s a lot of traveling together because of external circumstances and forced proximity, and a handful of comments I could have done without (‘just in case you’re thinking of rape, I know karate’), but, this being a Bollywood show, physically, it’s pretty chaste.
I didn’t care for the whole ‘follow your heart, if you’re in love you must do that and it cannot be wrong’ Disney theme. But the two main characters have a lot of charisma, the male lead is a very good guy, her family are all utterly delightful darlings, the music and the colors are fun, and over-all, this is fun intro to Bollywood with a bit of screening.
If you skip that last song and dance number, you do want to ffwd to watch the final scene with the grandfather/uncle. It’s precious and funny at the same time. Old people are always right, regardless of whether they have their facts straight or not.;-D
Netflix has this, and I suppose others do as well.

I Hate Luv Stories- I turned it off halfway through, mainly because it was so boring. He’s a playboy who doesn’t believe in love, working for the most romantic girl in the world and they both work in the movie industry, making cheesy love story movies. Naturally, they fall in love. But she began by being engaged to somebody else, by all appearances a very nice person, and I hate stories like that. Also, I really couldn’t see any reason at all for them to be in love with each other, and they weren’t that interesting.

I’m interested in other Bollywood movies (I have already watched Bride and Prejudice and loved it).  Any suggestions?

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  1. Posted June 16, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    My favorite Bollywood films both come with content warnings, mostly of the “don’t watch these with men in the room” sort:

    I really, really love Jodhaa Akbar, despite major historical inaccuracies. There is one music number/extended scene that’s meant to depict a honeymoon scene. Despite being way more chaste and way more symbolic than comparable scenes in American movies, it manages to be way more “hot” than any of what passes for sexy in American movies. So I’d skip that scene. But otherwise an excellent historical epic.

    Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham has GREAT music. A couple of the dance scenes are partially inappropriate–they involve women in Western clothing that isn’t overly skimpy, but is so contrasting to the Indian clothing that it makes them stand out. Also the whole premise of “saying ‘I’m sorry’ makes all sort of bad behavior immediately okay” annoys me. And I hate the idea of “you have to completely obey your parents in every little thing, no matter how old you are or how irrational they are because respect your elders.” It allows for too much bad behavior. But did I mention the music? Maybe you should just get the soundtrack for this one…

  2. Marie R.
    Posted June 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I love Jab We Met. So much fun!

  3. BR
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I mostly follow your blog for the Korean drama recs (I end up liking the ones you recommended) – thanks for that!

    You should watch Dil Chahta Hai – a coming of age move for 3 friends. Very enjoyable. If you like it I can suggest some more.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Oh, thanks! I will put that on my list!

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