Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On Vinod Mehra and strings of pearls

I’m not sure exactly when I sort of gave up watching Hindi/Tamil movies. I used to be enthusiastic about them long back, but that was probably because in my teenage years, I was more indiscriminate than discerning in the heroes I liked. From Amitabh Bachchan to *shudder* Vinod Mehra (and pretty much anybody in between), they were all grist for my daydream mill, so to speak. I admit to Vinod Mehra with the greatest reluctance, and I honestly can’t imagine how I could have ever thought him personable. I mean, that overly hairy, pouter pigeon chest visible through the yawning gap of the shirt open to about the fifth button, not to mention the large showy medallion hanging there – eww. I totally blame my teenage hormones. They weren’t brainy. Or even classy. Sigh.

Anyway, the enthusiasm for Hindi and Tamil movies has long exhausted itself, mostly without my noticing, mostly unconsciously. (And by that I do not mean that I slept through the movies.) I only realised this after coming to the UK, when I discovered that I didn’t really miss not being able to watch the latest movies from India. (They weren’t and still are not available in my town – the nearest theatres that screen Indian movies are in Birmingham, about 70 minutes drive away.)

I guess I just don’t have the patience to sit through endless song sequences and fight scenes… plus the original Hollywood movies are easier to watch and take less time. But what really brought home the fact of my disenchantment with Hindi movies was watching “Lagaan” in Paris, four years after the movie was made. I hadnt even known what it was about! I don’t think I’d have watched it at all, had my friend and I not been too tired and footsore, after a day of relentless walking, to move a single step further than the movie theatre that we had come across. I’m sure we would have watched anything that was showing, and it was just happenstance that the movie was Lagaan. Four hours of bliss in a near-empty cinema theatre, without the need to move. That was one good movie!

Of late, though, I’ve begun to pick and choose movies to watch, after registering with a DVD-by-mail service. Mainly I’ve been picking out movies after reading their reviews on my favourite movie review blog - B Rangan's Blogical Conclusion. If he says it’s worth watching (despite the odd hiccup or few in plot or direction or possibly acting), I’m willing to give it a go. I have a list of about 20 movies so far, in both languages.

The first of the movies that Pete and I saw was Pachaikili Muthucharam* – not a bad movie, thinking about it. I was mighty excited to spot AND recognise Milind Soman (although confirmation was afforded only when the end credits came on).

So of course throughout the movie, in between telling Pete what was happening, I was going “Could it be Milind Soman? Does he even speak Tamil? Nah, it couldn’t be him. Or could it? Milind Soman? I think that’s Milind Soman. He LOOKS like Milind Soman. I wish I knew if it is Milind Soman” and so on, until I’m sure Pete was ready to throttle me. He didn’t, though. Possibly because he’s a patient man, and possibly because there wasn’t anyone else about to translate the movie dialogue.

And re not being entirely sure that it was Milind Soman, in my defence, he was so very hairy about the face and head that you couldn’t see much of his face at any given time. Actually it was his teeth (displayed in menacing smiles) that first made me realise that it might be Milind Soman, male supermodel. He also has the most gorgeous hair (on his head)! The facial hirsuteness I could have done without.

*Might as well confess that I didn’t even know what the movie title meant. I mean, I knew that Pachaikili meant “green parrot” but muthucharam was a mystery that was solved only after I asked a friend what it meant. String of pearls, apparently. I still don’t understand what “Green parrot, string of pearls” has anything to do with the movie content, though.


Radha said...

Heh - just yesterday I came across the web site for the new movie Jodhaa Akbar. Both Ash and Hrithik look so jawdroppingly gorgeous in those period costumes - this is the first time in decades that I have been enticed by a Hindi or Tamil movie, enough to go watch it in the theater. And the nice thing is that soon after theatrical release in India, it usually shows up in a couple local theaters (the closest of which is barely 15 minutes drive from home).

As far as I know, it is currently set to release Feb 11th (most likely that's the India date). It should be in local theaters in about two weeks after that. Max one month. Wanta make another trip out here then? :D

Shyam said...

Have you heard one of the songs from Jodhaa Akbar, called "Khwaja"? It sounds absolutely gorgeous!

CW said...

Forgive me in advance for the long comment, Shyam! :-)

Have you seen any of Cheran's movies? They're good--no melodrama or excessive makeup on the heroines' faces. You might wanna check out Thavamai thavamirundhu. It might appear like a 'slow' movie but everyone has done their part beautifully. It could have gone w/o the songs though. Which brings me to Evano Oruvan (no songs, yay!). It's been getting good reviews. I'm waiting to watch it.
Oh, have you hear of Taare Zameen Par? I'm a more ardent fan of Aamir now!
OK I'll stop with this. If you need movie recos you know who to ask (or not ;-)

Shyam said...

CW, feel free to write essay-length comments :D Thanks very much for the movie tips, I'll add them to my to-watch list. Yes, I've heared of Taare Zameen Par - it was reviewedon Blogical Concllusion! :)

Anonymous said...

hey shyamala, i was going to suggest you see tare zameen par..seems like you alrady got that suggestion..i saw it myself sometime back and loved every bit of a must-see movie.

Shyam said...

Hi Mandira, thanks for the suggestion anyway :) It's good that the movie is getting so many rave reviews!

Anonymous said...

you know, we just had a screening of An Inconvenient Truth in office and its SO good, that I am going to suggest it to you! thats two suggestions in one day; from a person who hardly ever watches movies! lol.. the movie is very good, though a little on the serious side.

maami said...

Vinod Mehra's acting was effortless and he seemed self posessed that made him eminently likeable- that is if the ladies were able to overlook his carpet chest and the fattest bottom in flares beating even Rajesh Khanna in the Big B category.

swarna said...

shyam, is cheeni-kum on your list of must watch movies??

quite an off beat story but the romanticism is unmissable and Big B and Tabu have done a fab job, not to mention fantafabulous music by Ilayaraja's (sorry i'm biased on that)recyled songs are great!!
sure you'll like it!