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The Top 10 Bollywood and Hollywood entertainers of 2006

January 12, 2007

Some films have very high entertainment value (what I call EV). And when I see a film that’s really what I really care about. Usually I ignore what people call ‘good’ films or ‘bad’ films – if I enjoy a film I enjoy a film. And to me a film is a film, whether Hollywood or Bollywood.
The films mentioned below are the ones I saw and I have listed them in the order in which I enjoyed them. I probably missed some good ones and they are not given here.

1) Lage Raho Munnabhai
Bole to, Lage Rao is funny, simple to understand and meant for the masses and for people like me! The humour has nothing high brow about it, but I confess that it made me smile, grin, giggle and laugh out loud. The humour is situational, in the dialogues, and ofcourse – in the dialogue delivery. There is an undertone of seriousness, a kind of preachy tone. It goes down one’s throat only because it comes wrapped up in comedy. So what if the story is corny…who cares? Uh oh, maybe the critics and the cynics. I liked Munna (Sanjay Dutt) and Circuit (Arshad Warsi) and am looking forward to seeing their antics in the next movie. Oh please, let it be a good one! You can read the review here.
2) The Departed
Whew, what superb dark entertainment! But even for a crime thriller, the pace of this movie left me breathless. Simultaneous action. Three major characters – Billy Costigan, the undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio), Colin Sullivan, the gangster’s mole in the police force (Matt Damon) and the dreaded, blood-thirsty gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) – all thrown in your face at once. All the actors did good. The movie has surprises in store at every turn, and certainly some at the end. I would say one of the best crime movies I have ever seen. Read the review here.
3) Rang de Basanti
Aamir Khan and company act in this patriotic film where corruption is deplored and a gang of youth come together to fight it. I enjoyed seeing the boys and girls hang out, talk and enact India’s freedom struggle (reminded me of the idealism of my teenage years) and I also liked the music. However I could have done without the end. That spoilt it for me. The bloodshed and gory scenes not only made me sick – they just didn’t jell with the rest of the movie. I felt bad seeing this bunch of sweet kids getting killed. I can’t digest such sad endings.
4) Mangal Pandey – The Rising
I went to see this one inspite being warned not to, and inspite of the bad reviews. I am glad I did because I enjoyed this film thoroughly. It is a beautiful heart warming story of the independence struggle and Aamir Khan as Mangal did a brilliant job. I found the atmosphere of the film real and the touch of drama (which people said made it veer away from historical facts) added to the cinematic value of the film. I wasn’t really too bothered about whether Mangal Pandey was actually like that. As a story it was wonderful and inspired me to read up on our independence struggle. Read an excellent review of the film here, in the New York Times.
5) Don
Overall the movie is fast-paced and picked up speed in the second half. There are a lot of thrills for the viewer…as long as he overlooks the glaring impossibilities…the way Don manages to escape sticky situations has a touch of the ridiculous. But I liked the racy plot, the double role, the pretty women, the song and dance and ofcourse – Shah Rukh’s acting. It’s best to watch Don with a complete suspension of disbelief – which I did. You can read the review here.
6) Casino Royale
A fast moving entertaining action flick. This is his first mission and James Bond (Daniel Craig) has to stop the world’s terrorists from doing damage. It was sweet to watch this toughie romance the girl Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) who is his partner. The stunts were a delight to watch. Overall, the rapidly rising suspense which culminates in a terrifying climax makes this movie good fun.
7) Omkara
Another dark movie. A Bollywood interpretation of William Shakespeare’s classic, Othello. The movie takes us into a crime ridden area in rural Uttar Pradesh and the director’s ability to adapt the play to an Indian mileu is absolutely brilliant. The movie transported me into another world…a frightening world of goons and feudal India no doubt…but very very real. Saif as the devious Langda Tyagi was fantastic and Ajay Devgan as Omkara convincing. The music was good and though the movie was a grim one, it has it’s moments of humour. Very violent ofcourse, with a lot of abusive langauge thrown in (like in The Departed) and the end is tragic. But this movie held me in it’s grip, and as for the end…I was prepared for it as I had read Othello. Anyway, what else do you expect to happen to violent people? Those who live violently often die violently.
8. Krishh
Yep, the stunts pale in comparision to Hollywood but I kind of enjoyed seeing our very own Hritik Roshan enact them. Parts of this movie were slow, but basically it is about a boy called Krishna who is born with magical powers. He is a superman and the story is about how he wins his love and how he stops an evil man from taking over the world. I thought the Hritik’s acting was amazing and if it wasn’t for him I don’t think I would have enjoyed this movie.
9) Sarkar
I never liked Amitabh Bacchan but this movie changed my mind. He was awesome as ‘Sarkar’. He is a don and a godfather and manages an empire by himself. The movie revolves around his two sons, one good (Abhishek) and one bad (Kay Kay Menon) and how they both fight each other eventually. The movie moves fast and has many heart-wrenching family scenes as well as some chilling gangster ones. The sets are realistic and whether fact or fiction (they say that Sarkar’s character is based on Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief) one thing is inescapable. The movie does not have a boring moment.
10) Superman Returns
Superman returns to earth after a long break and finds that he has to win his love (Lois Lane) and save the world…again. I thought Kate Bosworth was alright as Lois Lane, but Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor the villain was even better. This movie is like all Superman movies except that the special effects are better and Brandon Routh is frankly refreshing. Nice to see a young handsome guy as Superman. I suspect that I enjoyed this film more because as a kid I was in love with the character of Superman. I was a sucker for the Superman (and Phantom) comics… unlike most girls .

Two movies which I thought were so low on entertainment value that I was tempted to walk out.

1) Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana
A multi-starrer with Shah Rukh Khan, Preeti Zinta, Abhishek Bachhan and Rani Mukherjee. Stupid convoluted and unbelievable story of extramarital affairs and very poor acting. I only stayed and watched because I like all these actors. Do I still like them? Well, I will have to wait and see another movie of theirs to make sure.
2) Pirates of the Caribbean (2) – Dead Man’s Chest
I had simply loved the first one (saw it twice) and so went to see this one with great anticipation. Well, Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was cute and convincing. I guess I could find some good things in the movie like the clever sets, the myriad characters…but frankly, I didn’t enjoy this movie. The story where Jack owes Davy Jones and his phantom army his soul seemed to drag on and on. We were supposed to be entertained just by looking at the beautifully done up characters and the interesting sets. For me, the story didn’t move fast enough. Yawn. But obviously I am a rare creature because this is a number three box office grosser in the world till date! The movie is visually stunning and Depp’s acting is brilliant, but I was more interested in my popcorn.

Related Reading: Lovers of Bollywood films are not always keen on Hollywood
Will Hollywood beat Bollywood?
Study proves the narcism of celebrities, but are they really all that bad?
More Hollywood: The Indian media goes beserk over Brangelina in India
How Brad Pitt broke the law in India
More on The Departed- a film review
More Bollywood: Lage Raho Munnabhai – a film review
Hear this song by Cliff Richard which the music director of Munnabhai lifted
Film Review- Don
Abhishek and Aish make an ideal pair
What Aish said to win the Miss World title

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Kamini permalink
    January 12, 2007 12:44 pm

    the movie that you claim had no entertainment value to you is actually called “Kabi Alvida Na Kehna” and not Kal Ho Na Ho

  2. January 12, 2007 1:17 pm

    hey, coincidently, i quite share your thoughts about sarkar…was a part of the minority that thought AB was no great deal actually…till Sarkar, that is…saw the film and was amazed by the guy’s sheer personlity and charisma…he rocks even in old age!

  3. January 12, 2007 3:56 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Am changing it right away.

  4. January 12, 2007 7:18 pm

    Oh, thank you. I’ve been meaning to hit Amazon for some Bollywood films. Now I have some recommendations.

    The only time I’ve caught Bollywood’s output was late at night on British TV when I…wasn’t entirely sober. I liked what I saw and think it would play well to Americans (of which I am one).

  5. Nite Rules permalink
    January 14, 2007 6:43 am

    I will say the following.
    The Pirates of Carribean movie DID suck. Much as Nitaji, I had also gone with anticipation. But it was one big drag. There really wasn’t much of a story going on. And the damn thing ended rather abruptly. Hope the final part is better; but again, will I even go and watch the movie? Don’t know. Guess I’ll ask for advice from the best source. Nitaji, what will you advise on the 3rd part? See or no see?

  6. January 14, 2007 7:51 am

    NiteRules – Whether to see the 3rd part or not is purely an individual decision. I guess I might watch it but am not sure.

  7. January 17, 2007 2:14 pm

    Hey Nita,
    I think u goofed up..Mangal Pandey was released in 2005.
    Aamir Khan had 2 releases last year – RDB and Fanaa.

    btw the movies i liked apart from the some listed above –
    Khosla ka Ghosla

  8. January 17, 2007 2:57 pm

    Yeah, thanks Neo. I guess Mangal Pandey made quite an impact on me!
    Unfortunately I could did not see the two movies you mentioned but if I get a chance I shall certainly see them.
    Thanks for dropping by.

  9. January 24, 2007 1:03 pm

    Good list I agree with most except Mangal Pandey which was directed and cut badly, Don was pretty bad too, that is if you have seen and liked the original. Krishh was mediocre. While Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kahna was pretty good considering that Karan Johan made all the male actors cry buckets in his previous movies. I will see that movie again just to see the way Amitaabh looks at Shahrukh Khan on the dining table.

  10. April 9, 2007 9:37 am

    I’ve been meaning to ask for a while now what you thought of “Water” by Deepa Metha, or if you had seen it. I haven’t, yet, but I found it fascinating that it was up for a 2007 Oscar in the “Best Foreign Language” category and represented Canada. It was the first time a movie had been nominated in a language (Hindi) other than the language of the country of origin… which, from Canada, has been English or French. Was the reaction towards her filming Water and her other two films in the trilogy in India really as virulent as we’ve been led to believe?

    Deepa Metha’s Biography

    “Water” Movie Review

    “Now Running” Film Festival

  11. April 9, 2007 10:42 am

    I have not seen Water and frankly nor do I wish to. I am sure it was a wonderfully made film but the subject is an unpleasant one. Those kind of things don’t happen in India anymore, in fact the ill treatment of widows died out more than a hundred years ago. In any case it didn’t happen in all parts of India and certainly not in all communities. For example, my grandmother was a child widow but she married my grandfather. Child marraige was prevalent in India and still is in some parts. Pockets. I have done a post on this.
    Some parts of India have shown social progress before other parts. Oddly enough those areas which bore the brunt of foreign invasions are the most backward today, both socially and economically, with the exception of Punjab which witnessed the Green revolution.
    Ofcourse child marraiges do take place still in some places, but apparently the film is about widowhood. Widows are not treated like this in India anymore. Its like making a film on polygamy in America just because some cults practice it!
    Yes the reaction to her film was pretty bad. There is a perception in India that Indians who are born and brought up outside India only highlight the bad things (in this case something that doesn’t even happen anymore) for sensationalism and making money.
    And it does influence people negatively. Someone i know (Indian American) who has not been to India for 15 years asked me if this kind of thing still happens in India! So obviously the film has given people a wrong impression.
    Each and every society has its bad aspects, past and present.
    I really wish one could take this just as a movie and view it without thinking of these aspects, but I am an emotional person, and I can’t. Probably it is a biased view, perhaps I am not an intellectual. But for me a film is not a painting, its not just a piece of art. Its a place where I will be in a darkened hall for 2 hours. I guess if i wanted to increase my general knowledge I would have seen that film, but I have read history. I know the past.
    I guess the foreign audience will lap this up. That was why Canada nominated this film for the Oscars. Something shocking and exotic. Good subject for a film I am sure. Deepa Mehta is obviously more concerned with ancient practices, rather than modern India, which too has its evils.


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