Bollywood/Hollywood (Canada; 105 min.)

directed by: Deepa Mehta
starring: Rahul Khanna; Lisa Ray; Rishma Malik, Jazz Mann
Bob says: "BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD is strongly influenced by its (and I assume director Mehta’s) location in the west. It seemed to me that it referred more to Bollywood than it was part of the genre. Characters are constantly talking about their favorite films and mocking each other (especially the mother) by comparing them to Bollywood actors, and Indian movies are often seen on people’s TV screens. It also dealt more, or at least more seriously, with the kind of issues that an émigré would take personally: class, tradition, identity, wealth, gender, etc.

"I haven’t seen enough Bollywood to know if those subtitles that were thrown in, sometimes to announce a song, and other times to comment like an audience member (there was one that said something like 'the kiss of all kisses. No debate.') are at all common in the genre.

"I’d have to say that BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD reminded me more of MONSOON WEDDING than anything else I’ve seen in the way it treated both its themes and Bollywood films in general. The songs and dance sequences are rarely (but sometimes) the kind of thing that requires much suspension of disbelief. Instead they usually come up due to the fact that a scene is taking place during a party or a performance, where such things are to be expected. However, even under those circumstances, everyone knows their lines and steps as if by nature. There were also a few moments in the film that reminded me of CELESTIAL CLOCKWORK. A 'must-see. No debate." 3 1/2 cats

Michael says: "Okay, let me admit off the bat, I'm a sucker for the few Bollywood films I've seen. I get such an incredibly giddy thrill out of seeing groups of superficially normal (although usually strikingly handsome) people suddenly breaking into dance and song to the modern, electronic strains of Indian techno-music. So, on that level, I certainly got my share of giddy thrills from Canadian director Deepa Mehta's BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD. The film itself, however, while sweet, and amusing, isn't all that amazing. Mehta parodies the over-the-top, melodrama of Bollywood films in a tale of race, caste, expectations, and ultimately love-conquering-all, but in a way, she buys into it as well. The winking and nodding is there, but it's not quite there enough.

In a way, it's too bad that there wasn't time to discuss the film after it's screening at this morning's Sunday Eye-Opener. Despite the fact that it seemed a fairly superficial, romantic/comedy, Bollywood style, Scot and I came up with plenty of things to talk about on the way home. Like, the rather obvious way Mehta highlighted the fact that the central family was extremely over-privileged. What was she saying about that? And the unusual acting style/comedy rhythms... were they a product of culutral differences? Or the inexperience of a director unused to comedy.

So, while not a great movie, it was certainly fun... just thinking about that awesome rooftop dance sequence just brings a giddy grin to my face. 3 cats