Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (Girl... In Your Love)

So, apparently Bollywood is a regular thing that I do now. That developed quickly. I guess I might as well, if they're playing at a theater that accepts MoviePass and there aren't necessarily a whole lot of other new options in a given week, as has been the case with much of November.

It's fun, though. I think it's giving me a bit more of an appreciation of musicals, in how even though there is an artificiality about them that can yank a viewer right out of the story if handled clumsily, they're also a chance to see something big and entertaining without it being related to destruction. The trick is to get them to advance the story in the same way an action scene does (or make them good enough that the audience doesn't mind the detour), and while Bollywood movies can certainly suffer from going by the book in how songs are placed - introduce the star with one, have one for when the lovers meet, a duet where they try and one-up each other - there's something very filmic about them here. American musicals are often translated from stage plays, and the songs often reflect that.

The other thing I'm sort of learning as I watch them is how non-homogeneous India is. This movie take place in three distinct locations - Bangalore, Delhi, and a village in Gujarat - and while as near as I can tell, everybody is speaking Hindi (with just enough unsubtitled English thrown in to mess me up because my brain doesn't shift between reading and hearing dialogue that fast), it's an issue. My eyebrow raised a bit when one character asked another if he was really sure about pursuing this sort of mixed relationship. It wasn't a particularly thoughtful moment, but the equivalent discussion seldom seems to play that way in America; we either portray the person asking as a nasty bigot or pointedly act like it's no big deal, and that's with differences that seem, to my untrained eye, much more obvious than the ones here.

As an aside, I was reminded how much India is in many ways several smaller countries pushed together by the other movies playing at Fresh Pond this week, with one being listed under separate names and different art depending on whether the showtime was in Tamil or Telugu. I really wish those were subtitled more often, because it seems pretty clear that I'm only seeing a small slice of Indian cinema and culture (as much as you can absorb that from a place's popular cinema) by only seeing Bollywood productions.

I'm not sure how many more of them I'll be seeing over the next month or so - I've got a vacation coming up and there aren't many weeks with one wide release left in the year. Still, it's been a fun new thing to dip my toes in, especially now that each one being something of a double feature is something I've mostly gotten used to.

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (Girl... In Your Love)

* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 23 November 2013 at Regal Fenway #2 (first-run, DCP)

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein is a movie about a layabout becoming a productive and charitable member of society, and maybe it takes that lesson too well to heart. For all that there are moments of it being sweet, boisterous, or funny, the need to do the right thing (and talk about doing so) overwhelms it. A romantic comedy doesn't necessarily need to be packed full of jokes, but falling in love should probably have a little more fun and a little less duty.

As things start out, Sriram Venkat (Imran Khan) is all about fun - since returning to Bangalore from receiving his education in America, he's been quite the playboy. After the latest disappointment, his parents decide the thing to do is arrange a marriage, and good luck - Vasudha Natrajan (Shraddha Kapoor) is beautiful, intelligent... and in love with someone else, though she lacks the nerve to defy her parents and marry her Punjabi boyfriend. Her social conscience reminds Sriram of the last girl he had a serious relationship with, Dia Sharma (Kareena Kapoor), though he eventually drove her away.

Perhaps the opening half of this movie goes a little more smoothly for fans of Indian film who recognize which actress was second-billed in the opening titles when she shows up on-screen. Those of us who can't quite keep our Kapoors straight might initially think that Shraddha is the intended leading lady while the flashbacks to Kareena's Dia are just "crazy ex-girlfriend" bits, and be confused by how the film continues returning to her (by "might", I mean "this happened with me"). Either way, the jumping back to various points in Sriram's and Dia's relationship is still probably not the ideal way to go about it; the audience's first exposure to Dia is at her least personable, and the moments where she is meant to be warm, funny, and unpredictable seem like the exceptions instead of who she really is. Vasu's attentive skepticism makes the audience to want him to prove himself to her, not the girl from back when.

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

Mirza Ghalib said...

God I never knew South Indians look like Imraan Khan, Maddy (R Madhavan) ok good but Imraan khan looks south indian from none of the angles. bekaar movie