Bollywood expedition update

I continued my Hindi adventures with a 7.5 hours long Dhoom marathon. I liked the third part the most. Abhishek looks just like young Amitabh! I also finally watched 7 Khoon Maaf and My Name Is Khan. All of these are very different than what I’ve used to by watching South Indian movies but still quite enjoyable.

Quick notes from recently watched South Indian movies

  • Kathaswamy: !!!
  • Aa Okkadu: I hoped it would have been better but it still is watchable at least once. Ajay’s role isn’t as big as one might think after seeing the cover. There is a song with some crazy editing and horrible clothing. I love the guys who write the plot summaries on DVDs’ back covers. “The rest of the film is all about whodunit!”
  • Businessman: This movie sadly had nothing special to offer. The hero doesn’t even have to face any major problems.
  • Upendra: I rewatched this one as requested in the end of the film because “IT’S A 2D FILM” but I really didn’t learn anything that I hadn’t get at the first watch. If I’m going to rewatch it again some day, I’ll have to count how many different outfits Upendra has. It has to be somewhere near the world record.
  • Vedam: I rewatched also this one and it’s still one of the best Telugu movies that I’ve seen!
  • Uttama Villain: Kamal Haasan’s newest movie is both very funny and sad at the same time. When comparing Kamal to Rajinikanth, the other big superstar of Tamil cinema, I have noticed that Kamal seems to make more “serious” films (with realistic gravity etc.) whereas Rajinikanth makes epic spectacles where nothing is impossible to him. At least during the 2010s. I should watch more Kamal movies to be sure. (Luckily I like both of these genres.)
  • Crocodile Love Story: Two lovers are trapped in a tree guarded by a hungry crocodile! The movie has its moments but it isn’t as good as it could have been (which is sad because I like crocodiles).
  • Shankar Dada M.B.B.S.: This was actually much better than I expected. I had to watch it because its sequel has Allu Arjun’s special appearance, but it was also nice to improve my knowledge of Chiranjeevi’s filmography as so far I’ve watched mostly the younger Telugu stars.

Bonus clip

Awesome usage of Nokia 2310 (a non-touchscreen model from 2006) in Vedam.

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I don’t always write new blog posts when something cool happens, so maybe I should periodically summarize the most relevant unblogged things from a longer period of time into a single post. This is a brief summary of the most exciting film related things that have happened to me in March 2015.

  • The blog now has a new domain name and I even managed to write a new about page!
  • Even though I didn’t yet advertise it anywhere, I made a new high score system for the Magadheera-inspired Warrior Game that I made last year. (My record is now 353.) I hope to add support for touchscreen devices some day but right now I have no idea how to do that. Until that, it’s playable only with mouse or touchpad.
  • I started the Super Star Project which might have been my worst decision ever. My DVD shelf is already so full! I’m glad I’m not doing a Brahmanandam Project.
  • Now I’ve finally seen Student No.1 (Telugu, 2001) which completed my list of movies directed by S. S. Rajamouli, and Gangotri (Telugu, 2003) which was my last unseen movie of Allu Arjun as the hero.
  • Dhoom Dhoom 1+2+3
  • I’m quite a newbie to Hindi cinema since I’ve watched mostly South Indian films. While I’ve seen some random Hindi films before, I haven’t seen anything that good that would make me watch more Hindi films instead of Telugu or Tamil films. Still Hindi films are more popular than South Indian films, so maybe I’ve just watched the wrong movies? Now I started to explore Hindi cinema a little more systematically than before. I began by watching Sholay (1975) which was actually quite good. I was surprised how well the songs fitted in the story, as most Indian films that I’ve seen have at least a couple of songs that feel a little random and disconnected from everything else. I also got DVDs of some newer “super hits”, for example Dhoom and Krrish series, as well as some more or less questionable Hindi movies.
  • Bollywood for Beginners Bollywood for Beginners
  • Just when I started to wander around in the big and scary world of Hindi cinema, one of the greatest Indian cinema bloggers, Filmi Girl, published a book called Bollywood for Beginners. I’ve really enjoyed reading it so far.
  • I remember a day last summer when I traveled around my home town. I laughed silently in my head because I saw a man that I thought looked a little like Dhanush. Then I came home and read the unthinkable news that Dhanush was making his new film Shamitabh in Finland! I missed a screening of the movie in February but this year the Season Film Festival screened two Hindi films, Shamitabh and Raja Natwarlal, so I got another chance to see it. Both of the movies were worth watching even though I probably missed a lot of references to other Hindi films in Shamitabh. It’s funny that the first Bollywood song shot in Finland is a song about toilets. I also made a fool of myself by some very bad dancing when a Bollywood dance group made the audience to try some dance moves in the cinema hall before the show, but I forgot it as soon as an enormous image of Rajinikanth appeared on the screen in Eros International’s short video clip and said “Let’s begin!” which already was more than enough value for the ticket price.
  • At least three interesting soundtrack albums for upcoming movies were released recently: M. Ghibran’s Uttama Villain (Kamal Haasan), Devi Sri Prasad’s S/O Satyamurthy (Allu Arjun, UPENDRA), and Ilaiyaraaja’s Rudhramadevi (Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun). I managed to watch the live stream only from Rudhramadevi’s audio launch event. It was held in two different cities on consecutive days so that they released three songs a day. Anushka made a grand entrance in a royal carriage and some of the dance performances were entertaining (while some others were embarrassing).
  • Aa Okkadu Aa Okkadu
  • I also have to mention that I got the DVD of Aa Okkadu (Telugu, 2009) which has AJAY in hero role! I hope to watch it as soon as it fits into the schedule of one of my friends who also is an Ajay fan.
  • And finally, I now have Yoddha (2014), the Bengali remake of Magadheera, on (unsubtitled) VCD, so now I’ll be able to make a screencap comparison between the two if I won’t have anything better to do.
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studentno1-dvd WPIMDbLB

The DVD release of S. S. Rajamouli’s debut film Student No.1 (2001) would really need the English subtitles. I had postponed watching it in a hope that someday I would be fluent enough in Telugu to understand it without subtitles. Luckily, I noticed that the movie has been dubbed into Hindi (as Aaj Ka Mujrim) and the dubbed version has subtitles, so I was finally able to watch the last remaining film that I hadn’t seen from my favourite director.

I don’t know much Hindi but I think the dubbing was mostly OK, far from the Russian dubbing style where one man just reads the whole dialogue with a monotonic voice. Watching a dubbed version was a little challenging as the familiar actors had strange voices. Sometimes it’s difficult to follow the dialogue by reading the fast-paced subtitles if you have no idea who is talking. Looks like the dubbing company didn’t ruin the whole movie like they did to Magadheera. At least this time they didn’t remove all the songs.

The movie has Jr. NTR, Gajala, and Rajiv Kanakala in the lead roles. (Rajiv Kanakala is always unintentionally so funny because “Kanakala” means a chicken-fish in Finnish.)

studentno1-ajay OMG! One of Ajay’s first supporting roles!!!

Jr. NTR’s character is of course the hero of the film. He is a new student in a law college (or was it a love college?) but it doesn’t take long when he finds out that the college has bad reputation because nobody ever graduates — the school is ruled by a violent gang which efficiently prevents all teachers and students from teaching and studying! It’s no secret that the hero is going to fix the situation but I can’t tell much more without spoiling the dramatic interval revelation.

This movie has only a couple of fighting/action sequences which is less than Rajamouli’s or Jr. NTR’s movies normally have but it doesn’t really need any more. Good fighting skills are almost a requirement for any Indian movie hero (except Siddharth) and we see enough to become convinced that also this hero can fight. This time however the hero isn’t supernaturally strong against the bad guys but he still does a couple of cool things, like jumping forth from a sea of burning fuel. (I think I’ve seen this somewhere else before!)

studentno1-ntr studentno1-comedy

This is again one of those movies that have all the three of them: Brahmanandam, Ali, and M. S. Narayana. This time Narayana is the only one who is somewhat relevant character as he plays a teacher in the college. Ali and Brahmanandam play an engineer and a doctor but they are used only in two scenes and didn’t add very much to the story. However I liked the bad joke that the doctor wants to cut a car accident victim’s leg with a handsaw to save him while the engineer would prefer to cut the car instead.

I guess the songs were nice but I’m not going to do any in-depth reviews of them as I was watching the movie in a “wrong” language.

Story 3
Star Power 2
Fights 2½
Comedy 1½
Overall 2½

Student No.1 obviously isn’t among the most entertaining Rajamouli movies but I still liked it very much.

Kantri on YouTube The subtitled Hindi version can be found on YouTube, uploaded by Goldmines Telefilms.

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The official trailer of Rudhramadevi is finally here!

Rudhramadevi, directed by Gunasekhar, is currently the second most awaited Telugu film (at least for me). It has a huge budget and its star cast is full of big names like Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun, Krishnam Raju, Prakash Raj, Cathrine Tresa and Nithya Menen (and Ajay!!!).

The trailer has some funny moments and the costumes look great. However, the visual effects are quite disappointing considering the high budget. (Just look at the sword’s glowing outline in the picture below.) The trailer somewhat reminds me of the 2014 Tamil animation film Kochadaiiyaan which was widely criticized for poor visual effects. Rudhramadevi still is a must-watch movie, but the story must be really extraordinary if it’s going to survive multiple watchings.

rudhramadevi-trailer-1

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November 27 was the fifth anniversary of the release date of Arya 2, so (actually quite coincidentally) it was a great day for an epic, over 5 hours long Arya marathon! Both films, Arya and Arya 2, are directed by Sukumar and starred by Allu Arjun as the main character Arya.

First time is saw Arya 2 sometime during the winter 2010–2011. After Magadheera, it was the second Telugu film that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve loved the Telugu film industry ever since I saw the opening credits absurdly announcing Allu Arjun as the “Stylish Star”.

The movie marathon was also the perfect reason to finally rewatch the original Arya. It was better than I remembered but still not as good as Arya 2. The songs are actually quite good and it was fun to notice that Allu Arjun does some dance moves that were familiar to me from Arya 2. Arya is quite creepy in this movie and I’m not entirely sure why Geetha (Anuradha Mehta) ends up loving him. In fact, she eventually tells that she has loved him throughout the whole movie, which by the way wasn’t very obvious. (But I think that unrealistic loving is a problem with many other movies as well.) Also, Ajay (Siva Balaji) and Subbu (Subbaraju) are quite one-dimensional unlike the corresponding characters in the sequel. However, I think overall Arya is a very nice movie and I will probably watch it again some day. I might also try to find the remake versions in Tamil and Bengali.

arya

Arya 2 is probably one of my favorite movies as the crazy, endless plot twists cause such an indescribable amount of strong emotions (well, mostly anger). Now that I’ve seen the movie about seven times, I think I’m finally able to watch it without losing track of the storyline too much (even during the complicated hostage triangle sequence).

While Arya is quite creepy already in Arya, in Arya 2 his creepiness level grows much higher than any other character’s in any other movie that I have ever seen. I’m not sure when exactly Geetha (Kajal Agarwal) falls in love with him in Arya 2, but she clearly doesn’t love him straight from the beginning like in Arya. I think Arya really doesn’t deserve to be loved by her – in my opinion, Shanti (Shraddha Das) would have been the perfect match for him. It’s sad that the movie doesn’t reveal what happens to Shanti afterwards. I hope she can find another Mr. Perfect who understands her feelings better than Arya.

In Arya, the other main role character, Ajay, is just like an ordinary bad guy, but in Arya 2, now played by Navdeep, he is much more complicated. He may not be the nicest guy in the world, but should I still feel bad for him because Arya ruins his life?

Dasavatharam is more tolerable than Brahmanandam’s characters on average, which is good because his role in this movie is longer than the average Brahmi role. The movie also has one of my favourite supporting role actors, Ajay, as Subbi. This particular role might be the reason why I like him more than most of the other regular supporting actors in Telugu cinema.


An almost relevant footnote: My friend thinks that Siddharth is hotter than Allu Arjun. I made a little online poll to find out which one of us is right.

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