Poll: Who likes Bollywood movies?

Last night I was finishing up watching Kal ho naa ho, my latest rental of a Bollywood film. I love watching these, and my husband can’t stand them (they’re melodramatic, subtitled, and they have music–he doesn’t even like musicals in English and really can’t see the appeal).

So as we were going to bed, he asked me why I like them, and I explained why, and he said that I must be one of the very few non-Indian people in America who watches these things–hardly anyone likes subtitled movies. I disagreed and said that lots of people watch them who aren’t of Indian descent (for one thing, I got hooked through a bunch of other white women, and I’ve been lending everyone I know Bride and prejudice on the theory that it’s a gateway drug and I will soon have recruits of my own).

So, I appeal to the Teeming Millions to settle this dispute with a poll: who likes Bollywood movies? Please specify whether you’re from an Indian family or not, so my husband will realize that not only people who are already familiar with them like to watch them. As long as you’re at it, suggest your favorite titles for me to put on my Netflix queue!

raises hand But I’m Indian, so I don’t count I don’t think. And I rarely watch anything from the last ten years. Most of the new movies are crap.

i will list:

Newer movies:

Hera Pheri
Munna Bai

Old movies:

Sholay (truly a classic)
Namak Halaal
Umrao Jaan

I don’t watch many; most of the newer ones I’ve seen are absolute garbage, such that I couldn’t sit through them. But I was watching “Umrao Jaan” last night, and enjoyed it immensely. I also watched the extremely old “Shah Jahan” a couple of months ago, and it was really good, although the songs were kind of meh. “Lagaan” and “Monsoon Wedding,” which are in wide release, are also good. The former is like every other sports movie ever made, except that more is on the line. The latter is a very pleasant character study, a rarity (AFAIK) in the heavily plot-and-music-driven world of Bollywood.

My husband and I aren’t Indian, but we both love Bollywood films. We haven’t seen that many, but plan to start taking advantage of our local mom’n’pop video store (actually run by 2 bothers, who are Indian) because there’s a whole section of Bollywood DVDs. There must be a couple hundred there.

We went to the theater Sunday night and saw Don. We didn’t plan to see Don. We went because they were supposed to be playing Baabul, but something had gone wrong with the Baabul print so they replaced it. Don stars Shahrukh Khan, who seems to be in every single Bollywood film, which is cool because he’s great, and is more of a gangster film than your stereotypical bright-colors-singing-dancing Bolly film. Not that there’s not singing and dancing, there is. I think it’s contractual. It’s just a bit surreal when a cold-blooded killer all of a sudden starts singing and dancing.

Who, in my opinion, has the hardest job in the film industry? Bollywood choreographers! They have to come up with new dance moves for every single film, as well as keep track of the dance moves in all the other films to make sure they don’t repeat.

In Chicago, Bollywood films show at the 600 North Michigan (that’s the actual name of the theater), and in the 'burbs at the South Barrington 30 in, uh, South Barrington. Baabul is playing at the Barrington but we don’t have a car so it might as well be Miami. Too bad, I really wanted to see it. (Reader showtimes) Babel is also playing at the South Barrington, and it’s amusing to think of someone who wanted to see one, accidentally walking into the wrong theater (“Hey, there’s no singing and dancing in this!” or “Hon, didn’t you say that Brad Pitt was supposed to be in this? Where is he? And what’s with the subtitles?”)

I generally can’t stand them. I didn’t mind Devdas so much, but that might be because of the novelty of it. I hadn’t seen a Hindi movie since I was a teenager (15 years ago or so). But they’re too long with too much music, and plot holes galore. My wife likes them so I have to sit through some of them once in a while. I’m Indian, but don’t speak Hindi, so I still have to read the subtitles. I’ve never seen a Gujarati movie, and that’s the only Indian language I speak.

When I was a kid, my whole family would go to watch them. The ones I remember being good were:

Naseeb (which Anaamika mentioned)

I’m a non-Indian male married to an Indian female, which has probably given me more exposure to Bollywood than I would have had otherwise.

There are quite a few Bollywood movies I enjoy, but like Anaamika, they are mostly older, or non-traditional (no musical numbers). These include Sholay, Laagan and Monsoon Wedding, plus others whose names I cannot recall. (One of the greats was about three male friends, one of which was dating an older woman - divorced? married? A trip to Goa was prominent. Dil Chahta Hai?)

We saw Dhoom 2 in the theatre 10 days ago. I disliked it for the same reasons I dislike many new Bollywood movies, namely: it was highly derivative of other movies, both Indian and non-Indian, plots were added and dropped for no reason and with no resolution, and in many cases the acting was sub-par.

I was, however, amused by the reaction to Aishwarya and Hrithik’s kiss.

To be fair, I also can enjoy Bollywood movies for the attractive female leads. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Bunty aur Babli come to mind in that respect.

We know a couple that we’re friendly with that seems to have a love/hate relationship with Bollywood. They appear to be genuinely interested in Indian culture and Bollywood, to the point of owning hundreds of Bollywood movies. However, when they screen movies or clips for friends, as often as not they’ll play the silly scenes or stolen music numbers just for laughs instead of highlighting what they enjoy. This annoys my wife to no end.

My wife constantly points out that it’s much harder to be a Bollywood star than a Hollywood star. Bollywood stars need to be able to dance as well as act.

dasgupta, the movie you are thinking of is indeed Dil Chahta Hai. I have it on DVD, it’s a very good one.

Also, many Bollywood stars sing as well. And every major film has a dance instructor whose job it is to come up with the moves. Plus many major actors/actresses have their own personal dance trainers. Rekha had her own for a long time; I don’t know if she’s still around but her name was Saroj.

raises hand I love Bollywood movies. I generally go to watch them with my parents, and in fact saw Babul on Sunday. Part of it is is that they’re just complete escapist fantasies in many cases, and in a lot of them, the music is so good. My parents have been slowly attempting to convert Bonzer to the genre, but he’s not convinced.

I couldn’t name even one Bollywood movie, but I always watched them when I lived in Canada and would come across them while channel surfing. They seem to be so passionate about whatever it is they’re up to that it’s hard to look away.

Man, some of you guys live near theaters? Lucky. I suppose there’s probably one down in Yuba City (which has a large, well-established Sikh population), but not here. Yuba is really too far away to visit on a whim.

I loved Lagaan, but I haven’t seen most of the others here, though several are already in my queue and Devdas is next on my list. I mostly just pick ones from Netflix that look good, and trust to luck. The results are a bit uneven, but it’s no worse than American films and I have a very high tolerance for cheese (I love B-movies, even without the MST guys, which is another thing my husband doesn’t get).

OK, keep the votes coming…

Since Bombay is now known as Mumbai, should we be calling them Mollywood films? Do Indians themselves call the films “Bollywood” films?

My first B/Mollywood film was Laagan, because it was nominated for an Academy Award and I try to see as many of the nominated movies as I can. My husband and I loved it!

I have to mention that my favorite “ethnic” food is Indian (and Mexican, they tie) and we ate at our favorite Indian restaurant (Standard India on Belmont) before going to see Baabul (which turned out to be Don). The funny thing is, we didn’t equate the two. We never said “let’s go eat Indian food before seeing an Indian movie.” We just said, let’s go somewhere to eat before the movie, and chose Standard. It wasn’t until after the movie was over and we were on our way home that I realized, hey, we ate Indian food then went to see an Indian movie! Silly, eh?

Equipoise, that is not silly. That’s awesome.

Aw thanks Ginger! But uh…why? I almost didn’t post it, thinking it would make us sound like real doofuses. Which we are, but I usually don’t want anyone else to know. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bollywood needs its Griffith.

I’m Indian, and I enjoy a certain set of Bollywood movies. A lot of them are certainly derivative, but there are a few gems here and there (Lagaan and Dil Chahtha Hai being two recent ones). And heck, even some of the derivative ones, or ones that have blatantly stolen plots from elsewhere, can be fun (Parineeta being the former, Munnabhai MBBS – or “Gangster Patch Adams” – being the latter).

A lot of the movies are pretty terrible, though.

Non-Indian, and I love Bollywood movies. Even the cheesy '70’s ones like “Gol Maal,” which is basically an extended episode of “Three’s Company” with singing and dancing.

My wife loves them. She loves the dance numbers and has a few compilation DVDs of just those. She had a membership at an Indian video shop. She still gets them from Netflix regularly.

I’ve only sat through two of them. One was Ashoka which looked interesting until there was a musical number.

Another was a Tamil cinema movie which starred a young Aishwarya. It was a pretty good movie although it was pretty long. I went with some friends, one of whom had less exposure to the genre than I did. He was super impressed with Aishwarya because of her singing until he was informed that it really wasn’t her singing.

It just is. I do stuff like that all the time.

I’ve liked what I’ve seen - Lagaan,* Devdas*, a couple of the patriotic ones & one that was a complete rip-off of that “boarding school taken over by terrorists” movie.

Although it got bad crits for ahistoricity, I rather enjoyed Ashoka - I think it was the gorgeous hennaed warrior woman with punchdaggers that sold me. Mmmmm Kareena Kapoor

I am a Hispanic guy who can’t stand Hollywood musicals, but I can watch the Bollywood ones when they come on TV (I guess that they are relatively new- past 10 years). The music and dancing ain’t half bad (lots’o fun and energy), but what makes them easy to watch for me is the incredibly beautiful actresses.