Bollywood Movie Staples

 

–Parents who want son or daughter to wed and are constantly bringing in photos of potential suitors or setting up meetings.

–A plot involving an unsuitable romantic partner versus the husband or wife arranged for the protagonist years ago.

–Scooter-riding montages with laughter,  goofing around, and close-up scenes of crowded, colorful Indian cities.  One minute, the guy is driving and she is playfully covering his eyes–then she is driving and their eyes are wide in mock fear.

–The smiling couple buying food from street vendors to the pulsing of an energetic musical number.

–A giant spectacle of singing and dancing to wild rhythms in flowing costumes of crimson, saffron, lime, and indigo.

–A scene with the parents and fortune teller determining the auspiciousness of the match and the right day to wed.

–The actors caught up in a street festival, in cascades of brilliant color and fast-moving images.

–The train ride through the countryside, or the bus or tuk-tuk ride through town.

–Cell phones and texting figuring largely in the plot.

–The actors breaking into charming English phrasing, with the viewer slow to notice due to reliance on subtitles.

–Big, gaudy weddings, with the bride in a shining sari and nose ring, the groom handsome in long shirt and trousers.

–A story involving a convoluted business deal or scam leading to cringe-worthy scenes of deception.

–Beautiful, dewy-eyed actresses with lovely complexions.

–A couple in an arranged marriage slowly growing in affection and respect for one another.

–The fascination with love matches versus arranged marriages. After one such movie, there were real interviews with Indians on the street, who were still largely more comfortable with arranged marriages than with the Western way of meeting and falling in love before talking of nuptials.

–Meals of white rice with a ladle of thin liquid poured over, scooped up with the fingers.

–Conversations and close-ups of a delectable range of restaurant foods.

–Someone cooking chupatti.

–Flocks of birds scattering above telephone wires and blocky concrete buildings.

–Actors framed in archways and under Moorish architecture.

–Addressing of national issues–dowry scams, mistreatment of women, shady business practices–with an affectionate overtone.

–Warnings in opening credits about smoking being harmful to one’s health.

–Certificates of permission displayed in film’s opening, along with a memorial photo and tribute to someone who presumably died during the shoot.

–Wedding negotiations with the parents of the groom, while pretending they don’t want much, asking for what sounds like a bundle of money, along with random goods such as refrigerators.

–Deliciously corny discussions in the sale of visual concepts.

–Dreams of building a business and moving up in the world.

–Ideas of moving to America.

–Plans to finish college before getting married, especially for women.

–Classroom scenes.

–Scenes in homes of wildly wealthy families.

–Rural life with bicycles, boats,  and oxcarts.

–An inside look into lives of Indian citizens of all classes and professions.

And that’s why I can’t get enough of these films, taking time to sample digital suggestions until I land on one that’s watchable, fun, immersive, even compelling.

Published in Entertainment
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  1. DMak Member
    DMak
    @DMak

    You forgot the Swiss Alps. When the main characters are falling for each other, we get singing/dancing sequences with the Swiss Alps in the background. 

    • #1
  2. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    So, do you perhaps have a list of recommendations?

    • #2
  3. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    So, do you perhaps have a list of recommendations?

    Netflix has a ton of Bollywood movies. I have never watched them. It might be fun to try something different. I second the motion regarding this request.

    • #3
  4. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy
    @Illiniguy

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    So, do you perhaps have a list of recommendations?

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s not Bollywood, but it has many of the attributes, and it’s really funny. The sequel is fun, too.

    • #4
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    I am currently re-watching Band Bajaa Baaraat, made available with subtitles once again, which had mysteriously stopped being offered when I previously looked up this Prime item to enjoy a second or third time.  In this fun film, a whiny, unambitious most unappealing young man insists on becoming business partner to a college woman with the drive to start a wedding planner service.  Of course we see him develop as he figures out how to become useful. She thaws and realizes that a business partner is indeed what she really needed to be successful. Lots of gaudy weddings and energetic music numbers here. And the actress is just lovely, adding a graceful, statuesque aesthetic. I do recall a bedroom scene, surprisingly, in that at least up until recently, it was unlawful in India to show a couple kissing on screen.  However, I can skip that and just enjoy the spectacle.

    • #5
  6. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    I just remembered another staple: 

    –Another sixty minutes of movie after the plot has seemingly been resolved. 

    • #6
  7. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    I’ve never seen a Bollywood movie, but I did enjoy the film “outsourced”.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourced_(film)

    Also, in about 2007 or so I was working for a consulting/contracting company that had a large contingent of Indian workers (surprise!).  At the company Christmas party that year, a group of about 20 or so did a big group choreography dance number in the middle of the dance floor that was pretty entertaining.

    • #7
  8. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Indian movies certainly are bigger than life, aren’t they?   But they follow the culture and personality.  Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?

    • #8
  9. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    I’ve never seen a Bollywood movie, but I did enjoy the film “outsourced”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outsourced_(film)

    Also, in about 2007 or so I was working for a consulting/contracting company that had a large contingent of Indian workers (surprise!). At the company Christmas party that year, a group of about 20 or so did a big group choreography dance number in the middle of the dance floor that was pretty entertaining.

    I really liked Outsourced. I think it’s an American film. It’s on my re-watch rotation. 

    • #9
  10. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Indian movies certainly are bigger than life, aren’t they? But they follow the culture and personality. Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?

    No, I’ve only attended via movie. 

    • #10
  11. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Dawaat-e-Ishq or “Feast of Love,” despite cringy moments with a ruse taken too far, is a treat with food, attractive actors, and fun musical numbers.  Here is the title song. Such a fun watch! 

    • #11
  12. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Rocket Singh, Salesman of the Year— I don’t remember such an emphasis on music and dancing, but this entertaining flick is a tribute to free enterprise and integrity in business dealings. 

    • #12
  13. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Here is the trailer to another one I remember liking (probably not necessarily for its plot, but perhaps for rich details of everyday life and one or two catchy dance numbers).  Love Per Square Foot

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Indian movies certainly are bigger than life, aren’t they? But they follow the culture and personality. Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?

    No, I’ve only attended via movie.

    Well, I’ve only seen one movie, but the real things are riotous with color, conversation and jewelry.

    • #14
  15. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    DMak (View Comment):

    You forgot the Swiss Alps. When the main characters are falling for each other, we get singing/dancing sequences with the Swiss Alps in the background.

    The people who edit Bollywood musicals are so good at their job. The jarring changes in sceneries between somewhere mundane to the Alps and other vacation spots are always amazing. 

    • #15
  16. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    DMak (View Comment):

    You forgot the Swiss Alps. When the main characters are falling for each other, we get singing/dancing sequences with the Swiss Alps in the background.

    I don’t think I’ve seen one with the Alps in the background.

    • #16
  17. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Lagaan, a movie about a cricket match between poor villagers and British military in the 1800’s, is about as long as a baseball game, but still recommended. 

    • #17
  18. DMak Member
    DMak
    @DMak

    Try this one. Pretty enjoyable, with the entire plotline solved in the first 20 minutes. 

    Biwi No 1

    • #18
  19. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Dawaat-e-Ishq or “Feast of Love,” despite cringy moments with a ruse taken too far, is a treat with food, attractive actors, and fun musical numbers. Here is the title song. Such a fun watch!

    Sounds more Persian at first note, dawaat-e-ishq. 

    • #19
  20. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    And often the male lead looks like Saddam Hussein.

    • #20
  21. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    LC (View Comment):

    DMak (View Comment):

    You forgot the Swiss Alps. When the main characters are falling for each other, we get singing/dancing sequences with the Swiss Alps in the background.

    The people who edit Bollywood musicals are so good at their job. The jarring changes in sceneries between somewhere mundane to the Alps and other vacation spots are always amazing.

    Just making sure you don’t fall asleep. 

    • #21
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Not Bollywood, but rec The Lunchbox, on Netflix

    • #22
  23. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    BDB (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Dawaat-e-Ishq or “Feast of Love,” despite cringy moments with a ruse taken too far, is a treat with food, attractive actors, and fun musical numbers. Here is the title song. Such a fun watch!

    Sounds more Persian at first note, dawaat-e-ishq.

    Well, from what little I can tell, it seems to be a bit more western a term (that is, west of the Indus), while the movie is about a relationship between the people of the two Indian and rather-more-west-of-Indian cultures, so I don’t feel too far off.  It’s not as though I speak any of the languages involved.

    I note that most of the reviews of the movie are labored analogies to the qualities of food.  Sigh.  The movie itself gets a 43% (3/7), while I would rate the reviews as 29% (2/7).

    • #23
  24. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Here is my Ricochet review of serious Indian drama that was very well done. 

    • #24
  25. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy
    @Illiniguy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Indian movies certainly are bigger than life, aren’t they? But they follow the culture and personality. Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?

    I went to one just a month ago. Beautiful ceremony and the food was fabulous. 

    • #25
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Also please try The World Before Her

    on Prime

    • #26
  27. Chris Gregerson Member
    Chris Gregerson
    @ChrisGregerson

    I liked the many wedding scenes in “Bend it Like Beckham.” The culture contrasts kept the film moving along.

    • #27
  28. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Bride & Prejudice.

    • #28
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