Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Movie Review


Yesterday, after church, the Lovely Mona and I went to the Paitilla neighborhood of Panama City to do our otro grocery shopping. We have three different supermarkets in our own neighborhood, but they don't sell everything we need. We go to Paitilla to get Asian foods. We get things like basmati rice and falafel mix and nuts and kosher meats at Super Kosher. Around the corner from Super Kosher is Mini Max, a market which features items from Japan, Korea, and China. They carry the spicy ramen I like, and have started carrying a kim chi-flavoured ramen which is killah (I will always be a ramen-boy; it's the Okinawan in me). We bought some nori and some kim chi, too. Then we crossed the street to King's Food. King's Food sells Indian foodstuffs. I buy the majority of the ingredients for my curry Powdah there, as well as various chutneys and pickles, and these "two-minute" curries such as mutter paneer and dahl tadka and pav bhaji, you know THAT kinda stuff. They also sell Bollywood films. We picked up three films yesterday. The Lovely Mona and I love Bollywood; it's not art but it's great entertainment. We like to watch Bollywood on Sunday afternoons because most Bollywood movies are close to or longer than three hours, so it's not something you want to take on in the evening. We purchased Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (Journey Of A Woman), Chalte Chalte (While Walking) and Aaja Nachle (Come Let's Dance). I'll be reviewing these films over the next few weeks, when we can find time to watch them all. Yesterday we watched Aaja Nachle.

Aaja Nachle is Madhuri Dixit's comeback film after an absence of six years. It was released in November of last year. Madhuri Dixit is in my trinity of Bollywood actresses along with Kajol and Rani Mukherji. I enjoy her acting but she is also an incredible dancer. Her dancing really stole the show in Devdas. So, as one would expect from Madhuri, Aaja Nachle features a lot of dancing.


The story is simple, as is usually the case in this genre. Daiya (Madhuri Dixit) has a dance studio in New York. She is tough task-master and really drives her students to excellence. One day she receives a telephone call from India; her dance guru is near death and wants her to come home. Daiya and her daughter return to India. Daiya's daughter asks her why they are going to India since she said she would never return. We get a flash-back which tells the story of the school she attended in her home town of Shamli. She was a strong-willed girl, and caused a scandal when, on the night of her engagement to a local boy chosen by her parents, she ran off with an estadoünidense. Her parents left Shamli in shame and no one knew where they went. Soon after arriving in New York, she and her estadoünidense husband realized that they weren't really meant for each other (must be that Tropical Heat!) and even though she was pregnant, they divorced.

She comes back to find that her teacher had died and that the city authorities want to demolish the school/temple to put up a shopping mall. To make a long story short, she puts on a show in the hopes of saving the school/temple.

I really enjoyed the songs and the dancing. Madhuri Dixit uses her whole body when she dances; not just feet, hips, and arms. She dances with her head and face and even her eyebrows. I really enjoy watching her. Below is a scene from the film.

The show that is put on is way over the top; one wonders how a school that is going under in a town that is in economic recession could afford the sets, but it IS a Bollywood movie, for goodness' sakes! One simply surrenders to the story and music if one wants to enjoy the film.

This movie was panned by many critics and was banned in certain provinces in India due to a line which some believed was a disparaging remark about caste. I disagree with the critics; it's Bollywood, not Satyajit Ray! Padre Mickey and the Lovely Mona say "Check it out!"

Here she is, the Beautiful and Talented Madhuri Dixit dancing to the song Aaja Nachle

8 comments:

David |däˈvēd| said...

WOW... if I could learn to move my hips like that I know I could have a waistline like them!

And here I thought that you guys would be connoisseurs of Panamanian food!

Ramen... yuk! But it is very popular here in Mexico. The first time I saw ramen was with a classmate at Perkins, SMU. He was raised 7th Day Adventist and was mostly vegetarian (ovo lacto). He made this beautiful salad with lots of fresh veggies. Then he made some ramen. So I am thinking, "Oh, soup & salad." But then he dumped the ramen into the salad and mixed it together. Yuk!!!

So these Bollywood movies are subtitled?

Padre Mickey said...

David, there is ramen and there is ramen. Top ramen and the stuff they sell at most grocery stores is terrible. When we lived in Berkeley I used to buy certain ramen by the case, because it was exactly like the Okiko™ ramen I ate back in Okinawa. The ramen I buy has lots of picante and sabor, and the fideos are not those gooey things that pass for noodles in Top ramen.

Have you ever seen the movie Tanpopo? It's a Japanese film about a woman and her ramen shop and a man's obsession with finding the perfect bowl of noodles. That's how I am about ramen. There is nothing in this world like a bowl of ramen properly made. As a boy on Okinawa my ramen consisted of pork broth, sliced pork, nori, sliced green onion, shitaki mushrooms, and a big crab claw all on top of the ramen noodles.

Yes, these Bollywood films have subtitles in English, Español, Arabic, and several Asian languages.

FranIAm said...

I like your take on ramen - we must be strong.

And I want some curry powdah!

Mickey stylee.

johnieb said...

OK, Padre,

my Bollywood cherry is gone; it reminds me of the Esther Williams movies of my kindergarten crush years.

Ramen: good.

Anonymous said...

Ok...I like Soba noodles, the cold ones with essence of fishbait (which takes some adjusting to)...my Far Eastern days came to a screeching end after 5 months every year for 8 years quite a few years ago...I'm just now wishing I could go back for some bigtime shopping at the Shinshibashi in Osaka or B.B.Q dinner with LOTS of garlic/cabbage in Taegue (not dog bbq por favor).

Dancing in the dark.

Roland Rivera Rothchild-Spitz

Suzanne said...

I LOVE Bollywood!

s.j.simon said...

I love bollywood songs! Check out this site… it has awesome lyrics from thousands of songs.

Dennis said...

I'm surprised that Aishwarya Rai isn't in your pantheon of Bollywood actresses.

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