“The River” is a weird film. It’s weird for a lot of reasons. It was made in 1951, when experimental films were less familiar. It was made outside of the studio system because the film’s director, Jean Renoir, had fallen out of fashion and couldn’t make the film the way he wanted. For example, he… Continue reading The River (1951) Film Review
Fire was the first Indian movie Puja ever showed me. It was her way of introducing me to some of India’s cultural issues that mean so much to her. In 1996, Fire was an extremely controversial film. Fundamentalist groups in India overran movie theaters, destroyed movie posters and forced moviegoers to leave while making sure… Continue reading Fire (1996 film)
Kahaani is a pretty solid mystery thriller. It starts with a chemical terrorist attack that kills all the passengers on a particular train car. Then we cut forward two years and a pregnant woman is searching for her husband who has gone missing in Kolkata (Calcutta).
Whenever I learn about Indian history, I am always surprised by the long history of interconnectedness between India and the West. Well before America was a country, India was influencing Europe and Asia in ways that would eventually make it here. This tradition continued in the life of Rabindranath Tagore. He was born in Calcutta… Continue reading Rabindranath Tagore (1961), A Documentary on a Great Literary Figure
Who is junglee (uncultured, wild)? Is it the mannered, wealthy people who live lives according to the rules of society, who suppress all joy and happiness in exchange for great riches. Or those of less wealth, who are less restricted by society, who are capable of experiencing joy, happiness and love? Junglee means ill-mannered or… Continue reading Junglee – Hindi Movie Classic
Well Done Abba is a delightful farcical comedy about corruption in India. Armaan Ali (Boman Irani) is a chauffeur in Mumbai who returns to his village near Hyderabad to get his daughter married. He planned to go back for a month, but ends up staying for three months. When he get to his village, he… Continue reading Movie Review: Well Done Abba!
In the 1960s, many Westerners flocked to India on a spiritual journey. Most left after weeks or months. Hippie Masala is about the ones who stayed. The sixties were such a defining period in American history, sometimes it’s easy to forget that it was a movement that happened worldwide. The hippie counterculture really peaked, as… Continue reading Movie: Hippie Masala
About as long as I’ve known Puja, she’s shared with me stories of the Mahabharata and tried to explain Hinduism to me. Years ago, when we drove from California to Virginia, she passed much of the time telling me stories from the Mahabharata. These stories are deeply ingrained in her from her childhood. She always… Continue reading Movie Review Monday: Arjun: The Warrior Prince
Perhaps to us Westerners, India is best known for it’s outlandish weddings full of bright colors, bright lights and many days of dancing, partying and celebrating. It should be no surprise that many of the best movies to come out of India have to do with these great parties.
The Bollywood system is quite powerful and moneyed, often relying on old formulas for the movies it produces for a pretty good guarantee of profit. However, in recent years there have been more and more attempts made to go beyond this, to present social messages in meaningful ways. Kai po che! makes a pretty heartfelt… Continue reading Movie Review: Kai Po Che! (on Netflix Instant)
Hostel is probably the first Indian movie I’ve watched without Puja. I picked it because it’s about a serious social issue in India and I thought it could teach me something about the culture and it’s values. My hope was since it was about a serious topic, and not one of the standard premises of… Continue reading Indian Film Review: Hostel
Ambitious young Indian, Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), wants to resurrect his father’s dream of restoring a grand hotel in Jaipur (the capital of Rajasthan, India). His idea is to take this inherited property, which he calls with great enthusiasm “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, and make it a luxurious retirement destination.