November 5, 2006

IT'S AS IF THEY MAKE MOVIES FOR THE VIEWERS INSTEAD OF THE PRODUCERS:

Bollywood emigrates in blockbuster style: Indian crime flick storms Western box offices (BRUCE DEMARA, 11/05/06, Toronto Star)

Add strong production values, a modernist score and sensibility and you've got an idea of what to expect with Don, the latest Bollywood blockbuster to come to a GTA theatre near you.

Don, starring Indian heartthrob Shahrukh Khan, is a remake of a 1978 classic and is the latest in a series of Indian films to have rocked the North American box office in 2006. Where Bollywood films once played on one or two screens around Toronto, Don opened on eight — including theatres in the giant chains Cineplex and AMC — a larger rollout than Helen Mirren's successful and much-discussed The Queen. [...]

Two other films, Krrish and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (alias Never Say Goodbye) similarly had strong North American openings earlier this year. UTV is expecting the imminent arrival of Rang De Basanti — which Dhar fully expects to score nominations at the Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs (the U.K. Oscars) — to also bring in strong numbers.

Part of the reason Indian cinema is getting attention is a result of the greater sophistication and improved production values throughout the industry, Dhar said.

"Indian cinema is going through a resurgence in terms of bigness and the feel of the movies. If you see Don, you can compare it to any Hollywood movie. There's a lot of stereotyping ... with Indian cinema. (But) it's moved beyond those song-and-dance sequences," he added.

In fact, Don (screening with subtitles) has several such numbers, filled with energy and colour. The title character is a crime lord who is resourceful and ruthless, handsome and charming, an anti-hero who deserves to be loathed — yet somehow retains his appeal.

The film's plot, filled with murder, treachery, secret identities, an unlikely doppelganger and surprising plot twists, is equally as likeable. It also has a truly international flavour, moving from Paris to Malaysia with a brief segue to India.


They retain the ambition that Hollywood has largely lost.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 5, 2006 11:04 AM
Comments

There's a delightful website that lets you make your own subtitled Bollywood movies--and it's stocked with many, many clips from the original Don

Why yes, now that you mention it, I have made a couple of my own. Click here and here.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 5, 2006 11:47 AM
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