I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera because the Amazon channel just increased its Hindi film collection by more than 25%! Heera added 79 movies to its streaming catalog, including a ton of titles from Yash Raj Films and a bunch of interesting older fare. Highlights include Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham…, Ishaqzaade, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. I’m inordinately excited that the horror flick Khamoshiyan is now available, just because it gives me an excuse to post a screenshot of one of the movie’s many amazing set decorations (seriously, if anyone knows where I can buy this painting, please let me know!):
[Update: The scoop from Sofia on Twitter is that these may not be “new” additions, as they’ve all been available to her since she subscribed last month. They only appeared in my results on Saturday, and I check Heera’s catalog everyday. Hrmmm…]
One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving as a kid was the annual “Turkey Day” marathon on Comedy Central, featuring back-to-back episodes of my favorite show: Mystery Science Theater 3000. The marathon’s name referred to not only the traditional Thanksgiving turkey we all dined on, but also to the awful movies — “turkeys” — the guys from MST3K skewered each episode.
Though the old Comedy Central event featured lousy films, it got me thinking about how I would organize a Thanksgiving marathon of good Bollywood movies, using only titles available on Netflix. I’ve posted my list below, complete with a fictionalized account of what the day would be like if I were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family (which will never happen, BTW).
I’d love to know what your Thanksgiving Bollywood-on-Netflix marathon would be. Here are the rules:
List them in the order you want them to be shown (sure, you could follow Guzaarish with Humshakals, but that’s just mean)
Make sure to limit your movies to those on this Netflix list. This isn’t your ideal Bollywood marathon, just a Netflix marathon. Post your lineup in the comment section below. Happy Turkey Day!
Kathy’s 2015 Bollywood-on-Netflix Turkey Day Marathon
9 a.m. — Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Gotta start out strong. The catchy tunes are perfect background music for early morning prep. (My review | Netflix link) 11:30 a.m. — Kill Dil. By this point, my brother and his wife have come over to help cook. Kill Dil is quirky enough to appeal to my brother, and Ali Zafar can be the eye candy for my sister-in-law. (My review | Netflix link) 2 p.m. — Dhoom 2. The great thing about Dhoom 2 is that it’s just as entertaining (and makes just as much sense) if you come in halfway through the movie as it is if you watch it from the beginning. Perfect for the time period when most of the guests will arrive. (My review | Netflix link) 4:30 p.m. — Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. The main course. Dancing, crying, family reunions… This has “Thanksgiving” written all over it. (My review | Netflix link) 7 p.m. — Hawaizaada. How about some kid-friendly fare to go with my Aunt Mary’s pumpkin pie? (My review | Netflix link) 9:30 p.m. — Aurangzeb. My cousins Lara and Jill have taken their kids home, so any adults still lingering are subject to my whims. That means a soap opera about twins separated at birth swapping places to take down their gangster father. Good times. (My review | Netflix link)
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… (“Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sadness“) may not be the best movie ever, but it certainly is the most movie ever. Those able to embrace the film’s excesses are rewarded with non-stop entertainment.
From the outset, K3G (the film’s popular nickname) establishes familial love as its theme. The movie opens with a wealthy man, Yash Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan), talking about the particular affection a father feels for his child. Yash’s wife, Nandini (Jaya Bachchan), stresses the unconditional nature of motherly love. They smile as they talk about their pride and joy: their son, Rahul (Shahrukh Khan). Cut to a portrait of the happy family.
Wait, who’s that other kid in the picture? The one they didn’t bother to mention? It’s their younger son, Rohan, who is a complete afterthought in his parents’ eyes.
Yash and Nandini adopted Rahul as a baby, after having trouble conceiving. When Nandini unexpectedly became pregnant with Rohan nine years later, they continued to focus all of their parental affection on Rahul, leaving young Rohan to make due with hugs from the Raichand family maid, Daijan (Farida Jalal).
Yet when Rahul is disowned for falling for a working-class gal named Anjali (Kajol), it falls on poor Rohan to try to reunite his family. He does so willingly, despite being the acknowledged second-favorite of his parents’ two kids.
Fortunately, the years spent carrying that chip on his shoulder have molded adult Rohan into an Adonis, played by Hrithik Roshan. He takes his prep school education and sleeveless shirts and heads to England to find his estranged brother.
Rohan’s quest is aided by his former childhood nemesis: Anjali’s younger sister, Pooja (Kareena Kapoor). The minute grown up Pooja is introduced, everyone else in K3G ceases to matter, because Kapoor’s fabulousness outshines them all.
Adult Pooja is the queen bee of her college, sneering at the girls and smugly brushing off the boys she deems too lowly for her to date. She’s so damned popular that she can go by the nickname “Poo” without people laughing in her face. Her wardrobe is made up exclusively of hotpants, fur shrugs, and tops that are basically a cocktail napkin held in place by a shoelace.
It cannot be overstated how amazing Poo is. Everything she does is over the top. No character has every been as bratty yet lovable. Kapoor commits to Poo’s outrageousness, and the results are hilarious.
London is where the character relationships in K3G are at their best. Shahrukh and Kajol are even more charming as a married couple then they are in the early stages of Rahul and Anjali’s relationship. Rahul and Poo banter sweetly as he acts as her protective older brother. Poo’s romantic advances toward Rohan are as funny as his rebuffs.
There are a couple of negative aspects to K3G. First is the incessant fat-shaming of young Rohan (Kavish Majmudar). Young Rahul (played by Shahrukh Khan’s son, Aryan) calls his little brother “fat” in every conversation he has with Rohan as a boy. Other members of the household join in, too, as do young Pooja and her pint-sized cronies. When adult Rahul realizes that the hunky guy who’s been living with him under false pretenses is his long-lost brother, the first thing he asks Rohan is how he lost so much weight.
Then there’s the creepy relationship between patriarch Yash and Naina (Rani Mukerji), the woman he’s chosen for Rahul to marry. Naina is all kinds of fabulous, in her sparkly backless dresses and midriff-baring tops. Yash is way too touchy-feely with Naina, and she only makes it worse by singing a sultry, Marilyn Monroe-style rendition of “Happy Birthday” to her would-be father-in-law.
Yet all can be forgiven thanks to the movie’s endearing absurdity, including a song that features Shahrukh dancing in front of the pyramids while sporting see-though shirts, and then pawing at Kajol while wearing various all-leather outfits. When characters aren’t celebrating, they are crying. There is so much celebrating, so much crying, and you just have to roll with the whole experience. Keep that mindset throughout Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham… and you are guaranteed a great time.