Tuesday, November 15, 2005

proving that every man, no matter how drunk, looks great in a tux: Raja Hindustani

Despite everything I'm about to say, please believe me that I really did enjoy this movie. I don't think I'll need to watch it again anytime soon, but it was campy good fun while it lasted. Anything with Aamir Khan in it is well worth watching, in my experience, although to be honest here he is certainly not helped by a story and characters who are mostly either silly or occasionally just absurd (and not in the way that I enjoy, either). But he is by far the best thing about this movie. As usual, his face is so sincere, and he expressed being pissed off in a way that seems both frightening and realistic. If there's one consistently true rule of Bollywood, it's that you do not mess with Aamir Khan when he's angry. My only complaint about his performance is that I wish he got to dance more - he is my favorite male star for dancing and I think he's woefully underused. And maybe, just maybe, he, like everyone else, overdid it just a little in the fight scene at the end. Coming in second is Archana Puran Singh as a dressed-to-kill evil stepmother - just as scheming but far more nefarious than KKHH's Ms. Briganza (ah-ha!).

I know I said in my last review of a Karisma Kapoor movie that I thought she was pretty good, but I'm changing my mind. Maybe I've seen the wrong movies, but if she's not dancing, she doesn't really do anything for me. She shows here that manic screeching seems to be a family trait, so I'll try to lay off Kareena in the future. And I have got to say, she has the most grating dubbed-in laugh ever. If that's what she sounds like when she's actually speaking when the shoot the film, anyone who is with her gets a gold star from me for remarkable restraint for not running away, smacking her, or just going "Huh? Is she for real?"

In her favor, I must say Karisma manages to get ultimate mileage out of some truly ugly outfits - continuing with the 90210 upchuck theme from last time - and probably does no worse than anyone else would with a role that is not particularly likable. I know Aarti is fancy and purty, but she comes off as pretty shallow and has no sense of self (although sometimes this serves her well, as she realizes and admits when she is wrong) and I don't understand why Raja falls for her. Maybe Raja has a subconscious affection for squawking birds. For someone who is the king of his moods, he sure hands a lot of them over to Aarti - although maybe that's how we know he's in love. Raja himself is no prize either - temper, temper, temper!

This is the first Bollywood movie I've seen whose music was so bad that I had to pause and go find out who was responsible. The songs are okay, but the background music is hoky, brash, and dramatic to the nth degree. It really detracted from what was going on and made scenes that were already corny come off as melodramatic and trite. For example, the spazzy violin lines when Aarti and Raja are fighting at her birthday party. This movie also wins the prize for the worst rendition of "Happy Birthday" ever captured on film. I admit I have not seen every movie in the world that features this song, but I'm willing to go out on a limb.

Aside to final scene: you know perfectly well that they did not live happily ever after. As Aarti very sagely points out, their relationship was so fragile that it broke at the first test. This relationship clearly needs a lot of work, including anger management for Raja and think-before-you-speak lessons for Aarti. And, twenty years from now, probably some therapy involving childhood memories for the tot.

Aside to Aamir and the costume designer: you can't overestimate the level of compliment this is, coming from me - but I found Aamir even more attractive than usual in his beard, wild-man eyes, and professor-type elbow-patch coat. Numma.

4 comments:

rhilex said...

...just as scheming but far more nefarious than KKHH's Ms. Briganza (ah-ha!).

LMAO. I love how you used that-- Really took me by surprise!

Annnnd, I have to add this to my now ridiculously long to-watch list. Well, at least I'll be able 'to watch' them once I have the means to buy them. :p But I found 5 of them on youtube, so hooray! I should watch them quick before the copyright police take them down.

Re: Karisma-- I've only seen her in Dil To Pagal Hai and thought she was alright, though maybe a little too soft and nice. But then again, I thought Pooja was that way, too, so it might just be me. ;)

Beth said...

That's still one of my favorite Bollywood...quotes, I guess we could call it. I'm glad you reminded me of it - I haven't used it in awhile!

Have you checked your local library for any of these? More and more public libraries are getting Indian films.

rhilex said...

Meh, my library only has Aaja Nachle, which I've already seen (and own, so renting it would be a bit pointless!). We do have an Indian grocery, but their films almost seem to be pirated, the quality is so awful. Actually, my Aaja Nachle copy came from them, and for the first half of the movie, the audio was about 5 seconds before the video! Ugh.

Yeah... End rant! xD Thanks for trying to help, though. :)

Beth said...

Probably worth asking them, though - they can inter-library loan things to you from elsewhere! :)

You're willing to watch whole films on youtube but not pirate DVDs? Bummer about the crappy supply at the grocery! I've had a few like that that were definitely legit product. It's pretty shocking what DVD manufacturers put out.