In IMBD top 250, there are several Indian movies, a.k.a. Bollywood, and each of them won or nominated for many awards including BAFTA and Oscars. I watched all of them and here are my compact critiques:
3 idiots (2009) One of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Criticizes the harsh and competitive educational system in India and gives good insight about career choice issues in India. A must see as it is really different in Europe or USA. There are many students who commit suicide every year in India because of the pressure of failing in the class. If possible, watch it with your children. Aamir Khan shows one of his best performances.
What I learned:
1. “Being an idiot is not being stupid.”
2. “Do what you like the most and you are already best at. And do it perfectly. Success will follow”
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) A must watch, not only an Oscar winner but also a masterpiece in both script and directing.
For the casting of the adult actors/actresses, I cannot praise that much though.
As the script and directing is too good, the mediocrity of the cast is eliminated. Too long but bearable. This was the only one I watched at the movie theatre and at some moments I got sleepy 🙂
Very important note that the children acting in the movie depicting the toddler years were extremely successful. Their acting is far much better than the adults in the movie.
What I learned:
1. “A good movie is not about casting, it is about script, directing and cinematography.” (It is no surprise that it won 8 Oscars including script, directing, cinematography, music and best movie.)
2. “Notice everything. It will help you some way.”
Taare Zameen Par : Like stars on earth (2007) Another too long movie but the messages are too important so I recommend this one too. It is about a boy with dyslexia suffer from living an ordinary school life failing over and over until a teacher (Aamir Khan of course) gives him a chance to show his great talent in illustration. A life changing movie with many educational quotes for families with young children and teachers in competitive schools. The best scenes are the ones that show how different a dyslexic child’s brain works from “normal” ones.
This movie is about how things “do not change” in time and revolution will always be there as far as a handful of innocent, honest young students exist. Differing from V for Vendetta, this movie is not about revenge. It is purely about justice. So, it is far better than V, which is also one of my favorites.
Rang De Basanti shows gradual transformation of university students from being politically apathetic to antigovernment rebels. After the death of their friend, who is in the army as a pilot, Defence Minister blames the pilot for the crash although it is because of the Minister who was bribed and purchased the plane parts which should not be used.
The students organize a peaceful candlelight at the India Gate, but the police severely and the rest of the film shows the dramatic results of this violence.
10 out of 10 from me… In terms of script, directing and casting.
What I learned:
1. “No country is perfect. You’ve got to make it perfect.”
2. Thanks to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra I learned a lot about directing. The yellow bus passing in the background when we see the past and present is one of the best scenes of simple symbolism along with the song Rang de Basanti, which means “color me saffron(yellow)” (80 yrs ago some firebrand young indian nationalists were singing this song in all parts of India and trying to fight colonialism.)
3. “There are 3 kinds of people. The ones who go to death screaming, the ones who go to death silent (like Vendetta) and the ones who go to death “Laughing”. Those are the ones who believe in others will take the torch and they did not die for nothing.”
Dil Chahta Hai (2001) I will be honest. I did not like it. Too too long and very very boring. It is about love and finding love etc etc. I don’t really know why this one is on IMDB top 250.
What I learned:
“You can be a man who falls in love easily or never falls in love at all. It does not matter. When it comes to a relatinship, you should first be a good friend to her. It takes time and effort.” (Spice Girls said this one earlier, so… 🙂
“Conversation is the key”
“You cannot choose who to love, it just happens.” What a cliché 🙂
These messages are in most of the movies so it becomes boring seeing them again and again. I simply do not recommend this one even Aamir Khan cannot save this movie 🙂
To sum up:
The only bad side that all of those movies share is the length. They are too long to capture my attention as they are nearly 3 hr movies. I cannot imagine myself watching them in a movie theatre. At home, I watch them while doing other things including texting or tweeting. Sorry but especially the songs and dances are too too long with an exception of Slumdog Millionaire. It has no songs or dance until end credits; however, still too long…
If you want to start, start with Slumdog Millionarie. Then watch 3 idiots. You will love them I promise 🙂
If you liked V for Vendetta, watch Rang de Basanti in the first place.
Believe me, these Indian movies will give you a realistic perspective in Indian Culture like My Sassy Girl (2001 – original) gives about Korean culture. I strongly recommend that one too.
As a last word. Please do not waste time on remakes. When they are remade by Hollywood they are not successful because of the cultural differences. Hollywood should continue to do Hollywood and stop doing the remakes of international blockbusters.