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Lyn "Lyn" (Australia)

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Kisna [DVD] [2006] [NTSC]
Kisna [DVD] [2006] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Vivek Oberoi
Offered by Bollywood Shop
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A poet warrior who is more poet. A mythic feel with some beautiful choreography, 15 Aug 2009
This review is from: Kisna [DVD] [2006] [NTSC] (DVD)
This movie is described as being about a warrior poet. It tells of a young man (Vivek Oberoi) who has been friendly with an English girl in his youth. He is musical and likes writing poems/lyrics. She had been sent back to England but returns to India as a young woman (British but US born, Antonia Bernath) around the time of the spillover of anti-British sentiments and partition. She clearly loves the young man but he is being engaged to a local woman. Hostilities break out and the young man takes the girl away to get her to her own people in Delhi, and safety. A range of dangerous people try to stop him - including a local prince who want the girl for himself.
This sounds like a violent movie but it is more poet than warrior overall. While there certainly are fights and hostilities these aren't particularly troubling and the emphasis is more on the growing deep love between the two who are fleeing. The story is almost mythic in the dilemmas the young man faces, his heroic efforts to protect the woman and the soul mate love between them. It could almost have come from a hindu epic itself.
It is beautifully filmed and the choreography of a few songs interesting and exquisite images. The dancing is more traditional overall and the music is by the noted A.R.Rahman. I don't recall any particular melodies but the music appropriately built mood. The flight went on a bit long at times but overall it was time enjoyably spent.
The acting was fine except for a few dodgy British actors (like the girl's father) who were stilted and hammy. Vivek is fine as Kisna though, while they painted the love connection well, there was a lack of true chemistry apparent at times. Vivek seemed to reach deeper in his emoting for inner turmoil than love. However he is a beautiful man so he does romantic hero well.
I quite liked this one and will hold onto it. Elsewhere on the Net it tends to get above average but the range is wide. Some think it below average and others had a good time with it and gave it above average. I think it is probably a 3 so will give it a 4 as it is a cut above average.


Saaya [DVD]
Saaya [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Abraham
Offered by same_day_sender
Price: 15.00

3.0 out of 5 stars 'Dragonfly' a la Bollywood (but without the actual dragonfly imagery!), 1 Aug 2009
This review is from: Saaya [DVD] (DVD)
This is an almost faithful remake of Kevin Costner's `Dragonfly'. There are a few minor deviations - including no reference to dragonfly imagery as in the original.

It is about an atheistic doctor (John Abraham) who loses his pregnant doctor wife (Tara Sharma) when she is caught up in a bus accident in floods in a faraway border village she is doing relief work with. He then starts getting apparent messages from her from beyond the grave. He struggles with the reality of these and fears he is just going mad in his grief. He has a neighbor (Mahima Chaudhry) who was his wife's best friend and is a widow herself. She (and most others) tries to get him to see reason. In the process to sort this all out he also consults with a nun (the then 91 year old Zohra Sehgal) who has researched near-death experiences.

I liked the original and I like this one well enough. It isn't earth-shattering but was a fine way to spend time. It is `supernatural' in theme but isn't horror or even much of a thriller as often described. John wanders around grieving in dark settings a lot and can be sometimes troubled by a sudden `sign' (though these aren't troubling ones). It isn't a Bollywood song and dance. There are songs more in the background but they are low key and not that memorable.

John plays the role in a restrained way rather than being melodramatic in his grief. I would have preferred a bit more emoting but he is fine enough. I dint relate to the casting of Tara so much. She looks more like a model than a doctor used to living rough. The flashbacks to couple scenes I found unconvincing too as they looked more as if posing rather than deep soul mates as scripted. Mahima though is good and I always find Zohra great.

Elsewhere on the Net this has had a mixed response (but then so did the original Hollywood version. Indian sites found it a bit lacking. However in the West I see it is currently running at 6.2 out of 10 on IMDb (with one age group giving it 8+). Not a bad way to spend sometime and I will hold onto it.


Afsana Pyar Ka [DVD]
Afsana Pyar Ka [DVD]
Offered by Bollywood Shop
Price: 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Lively college romance with a watchable Aamir Khan, 9 July 2009
This review is from: Afsana Pyar Ka [DVD] (DVD)
In this 1991 movie we have morality play about ethics and values of loyalty and heart vs money accumulation. A man, though married and with a son, marries another woman for her money. First wife tells him to go but gives him the son as she believes it would be too hard for a son growing up with just a mother and without his father's name in their society. Son (Aamir Khan) grows up honorable like Mum but father continues to focus on wealth accumulation. The son falls in love with a newcomer to his college (Neelam) and through ups and downs claims her heart. Then her guardian refuses the marriage as he fears son may dump this wife as Dad did (though son didn't know anything about this till then) and Dad also says he'll disinherit the son if he chooses the girl. Coincidentally, though he thought Mum dead she is principal at his College...
While this is a predictable and average college romance Aamir adds sparkle to make it a decent one. I find the music of this period generally not to my taste and a bit too strings and Ho-Hum, it's OK and the movie opens with a full-of-life song that strangely resembled `La Bamba'! The film quality is a bit grainy and the sound a bit echoing in parts as it is aging a bit but it wasn't too much of a problem.
So- a plot with no surprises but Aamir is very watchable. Elsewhere on the Net it scores about average.


Khamoshi - The Musical [DVD]
Khamoshi - The Musical [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nana Patekar
Price: 2.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well observed above average piece that may be appreciated by both Bollywood melodrama & arthouse types, 9 July 2009
This review is from: Khamoshi - The Musical [DVD] (DVD)
This 1996 movie is about a simple deaf/mute couple (Nana Patekar & Seema Biswas) who live by the sea in Goa. They are very dependent on their daughter (Manisha Koirala) who has normal functioning, to be their voice and communicate to the world. There is also a grandmother who loves music and teaches the girl to play piano and develop her singing (that is till grannie dies ). So the story is above the joy of sound and music and all the subtleties of understanding of those living in a world without sound - and the dilemmas this brings for their child wanting ot have a life of her own. Of course daughter falls mutually in love with a caring composer/musician (Salman Khan) who helps her release an album with him- though her father disapproves of any liaison that could take the daughter from her role with them.
The script is particularly good and the actors put in strong performances (inclusing Manisha looking a lot more cheerful than I've generally seen her elsewhere, and a sensitive Salman Khan). For me the music (with the exception of one song which I liked) was not particularly memorable but was fine. The cinematography is also beautiful. It was a movie that left me thoughtful after the images faded and I always credit that. It wasn't the most involving Bollywood I've seen but it is a movie that focuses on disabled issues as well as the value of our senses and music, with sensitivity. There were times I found it inspirational but at others felt weighed down by the challenges such people face. It may require a little more patience than usual too. It could be a little slow in places when there are speeches by the mute involving sign language translation and these slowed the pace at times.
Elsewhere on the `Net it tends to score above average (e.g. averaging 7.4 out of 10 on IMDb) and almost no one puts it below average though some give it full marks.


Baghban [DVD] [2003]
Baghban [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Amitabh Bachchan
Price: 14.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A moving 2003 drama with heart that goes deeply into inter-generational relationships, 6 July 2009
This review is from: Baghban [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
Baghban (The Caretaker )is about an older couple (Amitabh Bachchan & Hema Malini) who have remained in love and devoted to each other, and have lived their marriage focused on their 4 natural sons and one adopted son (Salman Khan). They are good people who are loved by their friends but their geneority to their children means they retire with no money. They ask their sons that they live with them. All 4 natural sons and their wives resist this as it messed with their established lives. They offer a plan that Mum and Dad be split up and that each takes turns at putting one up. They aren't very generous with the parent they do have and treat them badly. Meanwhile Dad has befriended the childless owner of a local café/bookstore (Paresh Rawal) and his wife (Lillete Dubey) and they encourage him to write his story. Eventually adopted son and new wife rescue the pair and friends have arranged the publishing of the father's writings.
While it was a little slow in parts (and quite long) I became quite involved in this one. It is well acted -though Salman Khan was trying to play himself down as humble so much he was almost unnecessarily low key at times. The sons and wives were a bit stereotyped too. However this movie had some very thoughtful and poetic passages on love and relationships, and I found myself quite moved and drawn into it.
Frequenters of Bollywood are familiar with various plays on intergenerational relationships. We have seen amazing happy intergenerational families under the same roof; egotistical controlling parents dictating to their kids how to live with no real care for the child; and this sort - good parents with self-focused kids. This one was a bit deeper than usual and did leave me thinking of the balance between togetherness and freedom between generations that the West has taken into the free/ disconnected end (often as a reaction to experiences of control, blindness and suffocation from the opposite experience in earlier centuries).
It was also an exploring of a deep long-lasting marital relationship and how love can be when people are considerate and tuned in. I wouldn't have given it the ending they did but others may disagree with me on that.
Amitabh, Hema, Paresh & Lillete are especially good and the screenplay rich. The music was fine but mostly I can't recall much of it. The fact it brought me to tears at times (usually in a good way!) I always rate highly. Though it's fair to say some find it overdone in the melodrama too!
Elsewhere on the Net it scores above average and it was nominated for, and won a range of awards. A keeper.


Honeymoon Travels PVT LTD [DVD]
Honeymoon Travels PVT LTD [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shabana Azmi
Offered by Green DVD INC
Price: 11.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and lesser known 2007 gem, beautifully acted & very engaging, 5 July 2009
The plot is simple: 6 diverse couples are on their honeymoon bus trip to Goa. Between them they represent a range of different relationship connections and challenges. We have older 55 year old couple Shabana Azmi & Boman Irani ; inhibited Kay Kay Menon and aspiring fee-spirit wife Raima Sen ; romantic Amisha Patel & less romantic husband with his mind on a personal dilemma he won't discuss) Karan Khanna ; reluctant sexual partner Vikram Chatwal and affectionate wife he met on the .Net Sandhya Mridul ; unhappy Ranvir Shorey who can't get any response out of arranged marriage wife Diya Mirza who is always crying ; and magic young couple Abhay Deol & Minissha Lamba who seem the model romantic soulmates. There is also a small superhero interlude in a minor subplot! That may sound incongruous but it is done straight (rather than silly comedy) and it works. It almost underlines that some of the relationships we long for as humans are not what most people experience and that this sort of perfect love may only be available to those not fully human! There is also a cameo role for Arjun Rampal whose character upsets the apple cart for one couple.
I don't usually list most of the cast but in this one they all give above average performances and need comment. There was such texture and depth almost casually portrayed through these actors and a fairly tight script that I was engaged and caring about them from early on.
It is hard to describe the feel of the movie. It isn't a flighty Bollywood melodrama nor is the `real (often equaling dark and depressing) art house flavor. It is more on the real side but in an enjoyable entertaining way that makes you think a little more. I was also particularly impressed by the portrayal of gays in this one. They have so often been caricatured as effeminate jokes in hindi movies but here we have real feelings and normal looking guys struggling with different from straight inner urges in one subplot(though they still shy back from actually seeing a gay couple as fully acceptable)
The music is above average too- from melodic quieter pieces, through an up tempo Latin number (with flashy dance to match) and a very catchy crowd party song. Most music comes from expected locations like bars, interludes from a lonely heart radio station and a dream.
I found myself really enjoying this lesser known movie. The picture on the cover could have meant boring or silly comedic but the contents were surprising given that possibility. A definite keeper. Elsewhere on the Net it tends to get above average.


Saajan [DVD] [1992]
Saajan [DVD] [1992]
Dvd ~ Lawrence D'Souza
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 6.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above average Bollywood romance triangle/ close friendship movie, 4 July 2009
This review is from: Saajan [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
The plot of this movie is so familiar in Bollywood it could almost be a genre in itself. We have a triangle of 2 pseudo-brothers who both fall in love with the same girl unknown to each other. One sacrifices his love for the other. The other then does the same. However no-one asks the girl her position.
However this one is a cut above many others. We have the added dimension that these are 2 decent men who have been friends since childhood. One (Salman Khan) protected and befriended the other (Sanjay Dutt) an orphaned cripple, and then the latter was adopted by the others decent family and brought up as an equal brother. The cripple is rejected by women and also avoids relationships expecting rejection. He buries himself in fathers building work and is secretly a great published poet- writing under an assumed name, who the girl (Madhuri Dixit) is a great fan of and performs dances to his poems. The other cares little for work and is absorbed in his womanizing before he is smitten by the girl and wants to change his life.

The script was a little better than usual and the actors very strong. Both Salman and Sanjay are young and cute, albeit in their mullet hairdos of its 1991 era. Salman was young and innocent in this period and Sanjay makes a very convincing poetic soul rather than the action or comedic Sanjay often of later years. Madhuri Dixit also is always solid and has an acting range many other women of the period often lacked. Other main supports: Kader Khan as Dad, Reema Lagoo as Mum and Laxmikant Berde as servant are also very good. There was an interesting portrayal of father and sons as friends, and older wife and husband still being lovers, that was unusual for movies of this period in India.

Now the songs of that era I don't usually connect to but I notice others still like these. For me they were fine at taking the plot forward rather than exclusively being romantic diversions. If I have a gripe it's that the words of the songs are meant to be the words of poetry written by Sanjay's character yet we don't get subtitles during the songs so any poetry in the lyrics is unfortunately lost. Elsewhere on the Net it tends to consistently score above average and that's where I'd put it too. If you like Bollywoods you should be happy with this one and it really didn't look too dated to revisit.

This is a keeper though this was unexpected as the dated looking cover of the DVD suggested it may be risky.


Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke [1993] [DVD]
Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke [1993] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Aamir Khan
Offered by videosanddvds
Price: 4.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above average movie. A little dated in look but the leads are strong (subtitles may need accessing differently), 3 July 2009
This is about a guy (Aamir Khan) who is happily a student when his sister & brother-in-law's deaths leaves him with the care of their small garment factory, house and 3 spoiled children. He is an honorable man and moves to do the best with his change of direction. Enter a vivacious but slightly mischievous young woman (Juhi Chalwa) running away from home and an arranged marriage her father is trying to force with a mincing effeminate man of her caste. She hits it off with the kids immediately. The guy doesn't know where she has come from but takes her in to deal with the kids. However he is the object of a scheming rich girls plans to marry him. The factory is at the mercy of her scheming father too and he wants to have the factory for himself. Even though love is blooming between Aamir & Juhi her father wont accept his different caste and prefers to disinherit her....

This is one of those typical Bollywood light melodramas/ romance/ 'family movies and stands well in that genre. It is a little dated in look in a little lesser film quality and some horrific Western fashions adopted at that time (Juhi looks like she's dressed as a doll at times!) I was a little concerned the movie initially may be dominated by kids pranks but they didnt dwell on the kids as a problem feature after all.

The focus is on Aamir and his connection with Juhi. This works really well. There is good chemistry and they are both interesting actors with a good range. There is also the connection between Juhi and the kids - also well done. Then the support actors complete the ensemble. I dont relate to the music of that era much but it was interesting enough to watch as the song & dance interludes added to and deepened the emotional content being conveyed.

Elsewhere on the Net this tends to consistently get above average and that's where I'd put it too.

One comment:my DVD (and obviously some belonging to other reviewers) didn't have subtitles listed in the opening menu. In fact the English subtitles are there and can be accessed from your remote control if it has that feature e.g. as a subtitle button or on a display one. Alternately you may be able to play it through your computer through a DVD program and select the subtitle option. This is obviously a downside for a DVD but it may not limit you if you know to try this- and the movie is worth the journey.


Chaahat [DVD]
Chaahat [DVD]
Dvd ~ Naseeruddin Shah
Offered by desitunes4u
Price: 4.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strong start, SRK great but relentless violence in second half marred it for me, 1 July 2009
This review is from: Chaahat [DVD] (DVD)
Chaahat is about a regional musician (Anupam Kher) who goes to Mumbai with musician son (Shahrukh Khan) for an operation. He goes to hospital and while there sees a nurse he thinks would make an ideal daughter-in-law (Pooja Bhatt). Meanwhile son is looking for work and falls in love with the same girl (who loves him too) and decides on marriage. However he finds work with a rich ruthless businessman thug (Naseeruddin Shah) who intimidates everyone with his force and always gets his own way. The only one that matters to him, apart from himself, is his spoilt, and dangerously troubled sister (Ramya Krishna). The latter instantly falls for SRK and wants him as her gigolo/ toy boy and then husband. Brother agrees to buy him for her. He resists then gives in to get money for fathers operation. He later reneges and violence begins. The violence then just went on and on. Now the Indians seem to see this often as comedy as the violence is ridiculous (SRK should have been dead 30 times over and have no bones left unbroken) and like the 'Biffs' of original TV Batman to them. I don't find the same and found it brought my mood down and spoiled the first half. It just isn't what I enjoy. I can wear a bit of violence but this went on and on.

There are a few half-decent songs and stagy dance numbers though. SRK is excellent and very watchable. He throws himself into everything from the beginning. They also construct a great father-son pairing with him and Anupam. Some of the cinematography of the regional town was picturesque. However this was 1996 and the film quality was a little grainy and the dress of the period has dated a bit.

I thought it was perhaps a 4 in the first half but it slipped way down from that in the second for me. Not everyone feels as I do. Elsewhere on the Net it was mostly average. However some did put it above average so if you like this sort of violence you may fit that group. I won't hang onto this one.


Shabd [DVD] [2005]
Shabd [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Aishwarya Rai
Offered by desitunes4u
Price: 3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done complex psychological piece which I 'appreciated' rather than 'enjoyed', 28 Jun 2009
This review is from: Shabd [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Shabd is about a married novelist (Sanjay Dutt). His first book was hailed as brilliant but his second one panned for not being 'real' enough. He has had a 2 year dry spell since. To get 'real' he decides to encourage a friendship between his wife (Aishwarya Rai) and a new young teacher at her work (Zayed Khan) and write a novel based on his imagination of unfolding events and judicious questioning and guiding of his trusting wife. He is adept at mind games and she gets caught up in them. 'Real' and fiction start to get confused and the writer starts to unravel believing he is writing the 'real' events in a God-like way. Wife still loves him and the young guy wants to marry the wife (not knowing she is married till near the end)....

This isn't a movie I would say was 'enjoyable' but it was interesting and well done. It actually had a more 'real' ending (to an extent) rather than a Bollywood one (though I would have found a more Bollywood ending more emotionally satisfying). It is close to an art piece and, while there are some songs adding to the emotional buildup, it isn't a song and dance type Bollywood. It is slick and modern and often tortured emotions are played out.

Sanjay and Aishwarya are both excellent. It may be the best I've seen him do (though I cant say I've explored his movies much). Unfortunately Zayed is miscast and it is a bit unbelievable that Ash's feelings would drift towards him. The script is interesting (though a few scenes at the end dragged a bit when they'd made their point) and cinematography good too..

This tends to get average ratings elsewhere on the Net- though some have been a bit more generous here and there. I'm glad I watched it but it's probably one I wont revisit.


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