Friday, January 16, 2009

another reason to love Roger Ebert

He has a fine sense of humor, as demonstrated by this gem from his Chandni Chowk to China review: "She [Deepika Padukone] is breathtaking, which of course is standard in Bollywood, where all the actresses are either breathtaking or playing mothers."

If I understand him right, Ebert gets a good zing in about this film being more intelligent than the average Adam Sandler movie (or at least more intelligent than the average Adam Sandler fan) but is otherwise unimpressed with CC2C. He proposes that Hindi film fans will probably wonder "why this movie, of all movies, was chosen as Hollywood's first foray into commercial Indian cinema." Without having seen it - or any plans to, unless it happens to pop up here, and I go to any Indian movie I can if it happens to pop up in my area, if just to show support - I propose CC2C might have been a candidate for North American experimentation because physical expression - stunts, slapstick - translates more easily than words, and most of us have seen some sort of story about an unlikely guy being tapped as a hero or someone getting transplanted into a culture they don't understand (and possibly both at the same time).

I hate to argue, but isn't he wrong about this being the first Bollywood movie to get a North American release from a major studio - what about Saawariya, which was so majorly released that it played in one of the megaplexes in my little city of 100,000 in the middle of the soybeans?
And when we say "North American," do we just mean the US and Canada? I have thought long and hard about the potential success of Indian films in Central and South America, and I have concluded that it's a gigantic untapped market. Just think of it: emphasis on traditional family-oriented values, joy in music and bright colors and spangly costumes in entertianment programming (e.g. the many Spanish-language variety shows), an appreciation for melodrama (telenovelas!)....

12 comments:

memsaab said...

It sounds also like he's pretty familiar with Bollywood!

Amrita said...

Agr, I'm going to see this (for my sins) and if Raja Sen's review is any indication, I'm going to dry heave my way through it. No wonder Gordon Liu looked so pissed during the promotion.

fittingly, my word for verification is dinglem. should've been dingleberry.

Filmi Girl said...

I don't know if you could call Saawariya "commerical" in the same way that CC2C is obviously going for the masses vs. the classes...

I happen to enjoy Adam Sandler-style comedy (although not Adam Sandler, himself), so I have high hopes for CC2C. :)

It seems like Bollywood crops into American consciousness every 30 years or so - I was looking through old newspaper articles and it looks like there was a another period of fascination with Bollywood back in the 1970s - around the time of that Merchant-Ivory/Helen movie...

We'll see if this actually sticks...

Beth said...

Memsaab - I was trying to figure that out when I was writing about Taal, but based on what I found at his review site, he's written about fewer than ten Bollywood-ish movies - but I bet he's seen more than that.

Amrita - No self-flagellation!

I love the synergy of verification word with content.

FG - Bombay Talkie is a horrible movie - if that what was promoted, no wonder it didn't stick. And it's not very Bolly, either, I'd say, though I don't enjoy exerting effort on definition-squabbling, so never mind. :)

desipolitan said...

Speaking of South American potential, think of former telenovela actress Barbara Mori who is playing the lead in Kites opposite Hrithik Roshan. She's already got a fan base via Telemundo so why not take Beth's idea and capitalize!!!

Anyway, money talks and western studios are getting harder pressed to ignore the $$$ generated by Bollywood films as well as the fact that the Indian market (or SE Asian market) still strongly prefers Bolly flavor to standard Hollywood fare.

Rum said...

lol there's my filmi journalism hero right there! I love his review, it seems like he likes it but he likes waay more than the crap that he's paid to watch!

houseinrlyeh said...

Since I dislike Ebert as a critic immensely, I'm now really looking forward to the film.

Kamal said...

I'd met a Sushi chef in Atlanta in 99 who was originally from Mexico. His background was interesting in a way that ethnically he was Japanese (or from a Pacific rim country) and had watched Hindi movies growing up in Mexico. I'm assuming this might be a rare occurrence of this combination.

Anonymous said...

Entertainment Weekly hated it, too. They hoped that because it's such a bad movie (they gave it a D) it isn't the last Bollywood movie to be released widely in the US. This made me wonder, of the Bollywood movies of the last few years, which ones would be the right ones for an wide American audience?

Joyce

ajnabi said...

Hmmm, what would be a good crossover film, I wonder (with Joyce)? I know this question has tormented fans for years, esp. since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon got mainstream success for wuxia.

Ahem. I have been known to enjoy some Adam Sandler films.

Keith said...

Hey! It has Gordon Liu Chia-hui in it!

UtesFan89 said...

I actually enjoyed the movie. Not the out-and-out comedy I was hoping for (the 2nd half becomes a bit more serious), but still a lot of fun. Not a big Deepika fan though.


But I tend to enjoy movies like this (and Adam Sandler movies), so it's probably just me.