Saturday, June 30, 2007

Q&A with E J-Yong of Dasepo Naughty Girls

Here is the director's Q&A hosted by Grady Hendrix courtesy of David Lau.

And a 3rd screening of I'm a Cyborg has been added on July 5th at 5pm! So take the day after the 4th off and come watch Cyborg followed by Jackie Chan's Crime Story and the silly hit of the festival, Dynamite Warriors!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The New York Asian Film Festival - Update 1

The first weekend is over and all is good in the world.

This is our first year showing the festival at IFC on 6th Avenue and 3rd street. It is a more interesting area than I had thought before. We set a table up outside to answer questions, give comp tickets to people and help publicize the festival. I was primarily asked directions to Bleeker Street. It is a neverending stream of humanity walking by of all shapes and sizes, colors and costumes, sexual orientations, different languages and accents - it is NYC at its finest and strangest. I've told some people that this show is better than some of our films and it doesn't cost a dime. With the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday it particularly took on a whimsical flavor and I had no idea there were so many Latina teenage lesbians as the front of the theater seemed to be the agreed upon meeting place.

Anyway, the festival. It went great. We had sell outs or just missed them by a hair for The Banquet, Dasapo Girls, Hard Boiled, I'm a Cyborg, Hula Girls and just a little more than a hair for Exiled. I'm a Cyborg has also already sold out for the second show and we are hoping to add a third but that may be iffy. I think I am a bit amazed at how quickly it sold out - faster than Godzilla from 2 years ago.

The director from Dasepo Girls, E J-Yong, was here and turned out to be a funny self-deprecating guy who loves musicals and wants to make a really big one someday. One of the questions to him in the Q&A was how well Dasepo Girls had done at the box office in Korea. "Ooo - not very good". After his previous film, Untold Scandal, he said the moneymen were very happy, not so much after Dasepo. In fact, he went on to say that in an internet poll in Korea, Dasepo Girls came in dead last. Second to last? I'm a Cyborg. He congratulated the festival for bringing the two least popular films from Korea last year! But they both sold out and people loved them. Just between you and me, I am not a big advocate of Dasepo Girls - it felt like it kept missing the punch line and I kept expecting to laugh a lot more than I did. Much to my chagrin I went against the golden group rule that I created - never say No to a film featuring Asian school girls. What was I thinking? Never again. All films like this are welcome. It has never failed us - Bounce Ko Gals, Linda Linda Linda, Hana and Alice and Kamikazee Girls all did great. We will see how Yo-Yo Cop Girl does.

There are a few films in this festival that I have not seen. The way it works is that all of us have an equal vote and try to watch every film - but with well over 100 of them that gets difficult. So if a film has already been voted down by a majority of the group I won't bother and if a film has already been voted in I figure I might as well wait to see it on the big screen. This was the case with Johhny To's Exiled. I am so glad I did because what an experience seeing this in a totally appreciative crowd who applauded during the opening credits when To's name appreared and even bigger applause when the cast names came up - especially Anthony Wong and Simon Yam. I felt like I was reborn into HK film again. A near perfect film of astonishing tense shoot outs and simple killer cool. To builds tension like Hitchcock did - one small move at a time. Just remarkable.

And for kicks (and to please our sponsors!) we showed Hard Boiled. To a sold out show. People ate it up. It is admittedly beginning to show its age a bit - and if you compare it to the tight sleekness of Exiled it feels bloated but the final hospital shoot out is still perhaps the best put down on film and you can see such future stardom in Tony Leung' s coiled nuanced performance.

Oh - and we added Jackie Chan's Crime Story - one show on July 5th at 7pm. This is one of his less known but absolutely better films as director Kirk Wong keeps Jackie from being mugging Jackie but still allows him to show his incredible physical skills.

The Audience Award balloting is well under way and for the most part everything has done very well. This year we are just asking people to rate the film on the scale - 1-10 with 10 being a classic, 5 being average and 1 was so painful you would rather have passed a kidney stone. And we have had a couple one's! I feel bad for those people, but not so bad that I would give them their money back! A couple of the films have had really diverse voting patterns with lots of 10's and 9's and also 3's and 4's - which only shows how differently people see the same film at the same time in the same theater. But some have had consistently high 8-10 ratings - Getting Home (one of my favorites in the fest), Exiled (pretty much loved by everyone) - but the leader so far is Hula Girls. 40% of the audience gave it a 10! By now I have come to expect our Audience Award Winner to be either a feel good film or a sentimental film and this scores big on both counts. It had people crying and laughing throughout. It shows again next Monday.

After this Our Exile on the other hand had people coming out looking like we had hit them with a stun gun - just exhausted and beaten up. For some it was too much pain, but for the majority it was almost a cathartic experience and they thanked us so much for bringing it. It shows again on Sunday. The Asian-American Festival which takes place from July 19-July 28 will have a focus on Patrick Tam and will be showing this film as well as two of his classics - Nomad and The Sword. He will be present. The Sword is dazzling, but have never seen Nomad. Here is a link to their site.

And one last word for Miracle on 1st Street. It played last night (Monday) and I was a bit concerned how the audience might react to it. It sort of sets itself up to be a feel good film and then proceeds to slam you over the head till it throws you a bone right at the end. Just how much misery could an audience take? Well it averaged 8.3 on the ballots so it's either a good film or we had a room full of masochists last night. I went in for five minutes and couldn't leave. My ex-Subway Cinema colleague Paul who hadn't seen it called it the best film he had seen so far. It will be showing at Imagination Theater later this summer but that was our last screening.
Here is one final write-up on the fest from Time Out NY

And many more days to go.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NY Asian Film Fest Press Links

The festival begins in a couple days and amazingly tickets are being sold. It always comes as a surprise to us when that happens. The picture above is from the film Miracles on 1st Street - the second biggest box office hit in Korea so far this year. I really enjoyed it a lot but we got it late and we didn't have time to get screeners to any of the press and so it gets nary a mention. So I am pushing it wherever I can because I think most people will enjoy it - think Frank Capra in a really bad mood - and because I have a bet with one of my colleagues that it will sell a certain amount of tickets. $5 is at stake and how can anyone resist Ha Ji-won in the boxing ring.

Here are some of the press notices we have had so far plus a link to an article in Time Magazine about Hell's Ground - probably the least likely candidate that I would have thought Time would cover - but very cool that they did. That should be a fun night with the director here and Grady wearing a burqa.

NY Times

Village Voice

The Paper

NY Magazine - small mention

Time Magazine

Jawani Diwani (Youth is Insane) - India, 2007

Director: Manish Sharma
Music: Sajid-Wajid
Year: 2007
Running Time: 115 minutes

A number of Bollywood films of late are coming in at around the 2 hour mark – fairly short for a traditional Bollywood film. Whether this is for commercial reasons or simply because they have nothing to say is uncertain – but in cases such as this I don’t look gift horses in the mouth. Even with eight songs interspersed throughout, this still seemed to go on forever. There is a whole mysterious world of Bollywood B films that I have done my best to avoid but this is clearly one that I mistakenly stepped on. They are filled with B actors, middling scripts and TV production values. I am not exactly sure how this film crept into my DVD collection but I suspect it was in one of those continuous $5 sales that the stores in Queens are always in the middle of and I figured what the heck.

It also may be that Celina Jaitley was on the cover. I have come across numerous photos of her in the Bollywood movie magazines that I devour from time to time and in almost every occasion she is wearing a low cut outfit in which her breasts look ready to jump out to do a victory lap. I keep hoping. But I thought it might be interesting to see her and her breasts in motion as opposed to a still frame. They move well I must admit like well trained tango dancers. Like most B actresses these days in Bollywood, Celina doesn’t overwhelm with her acting ability – she basically takes up space – but it is a well rounded space with enough curves to make you want to take up geometry again. She also has these huge eyes that sadly make it difficult to focus solely on her cleavage.

Otherwise, there isn’t any reason whatsoever to watch this film unless under threat of death or dismemberment. The male lead Emraan Hashmi has the presence of a petulant poodle and a constant two-day stubble that makes you want to throw him in the shower. That two female characters in the film fall in love with him stretches one’s disbelief like silly putty. He plays Mann Kapoor an aspiring singer in Mumbai who is looking for a break. It seems that music producers only want to do remixes but he has his own original songs that he wants to make the world happy with. He spots his opportunity at a party when he comes across Radha (Hrishita Bhatt – who has a remarkable resemblance to Allyssa Milano), the spoiled daughter of a big music entrepreneur (Tiku Talsania). So he chases after her in hopes that by marrying her it will bring him a contract. And it nearly works.

After their engagement, he and his two buddies who act as a Greek chorus go to the lovely island of Goa, where apparently they only allow young people with perfect bodies to vacation. In an Ursula Andress moment he spots Roma coming out of the water in a bikini that could be doubled as a wash cloth. Bedazzled he ends up in bed with her after a few too many drinks and wakes up to find an admirer of hers sitting there – an underworld Don (Mahesh Manjrekar). But instead of beating Mann, he comes up with the ultimate punishment – he forces them to marry. Aghast at what this will do to his career, Mann pressures Roma to divorce him. She though is in love. I just didn’t care. He is a selfish twit and doesn’t deserve either woman. It all meanders on to a horribly banal ending that the scriptwriters must have held their noses as they wrote it. The music? I barely recall it? The film? I wish I could forget it? Celina? Her talent is clearly upfront but it’s nice seeing the sex bomb who jumps into bed on her first date turn out to be the good girl. Bollywood is definitely changing.

My rating for this film: 3.5

Monday, June 18, 2007

Namastey London (India, 2007)

Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Year: 2007
Music: Himesh Reshammiya; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

This cheerfully dimwitted film is so inept that I kept blinking my eyes in amused disbelief. It was like sitting next to a guy on the subway who keeps laughing to himself – you are glad he’s happy but you sure wish he were somewhere else. What surprises me most though has been the generally positive reception that this film has received – making me wonder if global warming has begun to affect our brain patterns or whether people simply judge Bollywood films on totally different criteria than films from anywhere else? I have been guilty of this latter condition certainly and in truth you have to watch Bollywood films with a different set of sensibilities than you do others – because they are so culturally different – but no matter where you are bad acting is bad acting, bad editing is bad editing, bad cinematography is bad cinematography and bad story telling is bad story telling. This film reeks with a painful lack of imagination that it tries to cover up with cute performances and apparently it worked.

Jazz (played by Katrina Kaif who is most famous for being the girlfriend of Salman Khan and for not getting a black eye yet) is short for Jasmeet, but living most of her life in London she has tossed her Indian culture overboard and just wants to be an English girl – though thankfully not to the point of eating bad English food. As most Indians living in England are portrayed in Bollywood films, her family is enormously wealthy though her father (Rishi Kapoor) never seems to work and she lives in a house large enough to play a game of cricket in. She also likes pale blond bad boys and has latched on to her boss who goes by the name of Charlie Brown – which passes for wit in this film. He has an even bigger house and meets with Prince Charles from time to time when he isn’t shagging other girls or getting divorced. Charlie that is, not the Prince.

Of course, dear dad isn’t too thrilled with Jazz hanging about with British boys and so takes her to India where she goes through a round robin laugh-a-thon of boorish boys and their silly parents meeting to discuss marriage. But dad thinks he has struck gold when he meets the son of a friend who falls in love with Jazz at first sight. Why Arjun (Akshay Kumar) loves her at first sight is one of those mysteries of the universe – could it be a. she is a total spoiled air head, b. she has no respect for Indian traditions, c. she can't speak Hindi, d. she turns up her nose at everything Indian, e. she ignores him, f. she can't dance worth a lick, g. there are no eligible single women in India, h. she has very nice breasts. I put my money on h. Not that he is a great prize either as he is past forty and drinks milk right out of the cow’s udder and thinks that’s how you impress women. No wonder he is still single. In fact, it wasn’t until after the intermission that I realized he wasn’t mentally disabled. Her brilliant plan is to do the marriage circle thing with him – postpone the honeymoon night shenanigans - and then back in London tell everyone that they aren’t really married because nothing was registered. After she does this, it of course only makes him love her more with a desire to continue to pursue her - even after she announces that she is marrying the weenie Brit. Gosh, I wonder how this film is going to end.

Filled with more bad acting than a convention of Republicans pretending to be compassionate towards the poor, this is like watching a very long high school play. Akshay in his oddly dyed brown hair just looks so bored that he gives off an attitude of tell me my lines and let me get this over with please. But this doesn't even come close to how bad Katrina is in acting and it's not only that she has to wrestle with the language like a Brazilian grappler - she just has no clue how to add shades or depth to a character. Her scene when she tells the family and Arjun that she didn't consider herself married was so poorly read that I felt embarrassed for her. It’s not really her fault. She lived abroad most of her life having been born in London and came back to India with a smattering of Hindi. This is the first film in which she wasn’t dubbed. She modeled and hooked up with Salman – became a gossip commodity and moved right into films. Who needs to learn how to act?

Worse than the acting though is the stereotypes this film targets for humor – that wealthy Brits are snotty, prejudiced, immoral and can't even play a good game of rugby – likely true but rather tiresome and blandly done. Considering that Katrina is from mixed Indian/English parents, it seems rather odd to push the point that good Indian girls should marry down home Indian boys. At one point when your typical effete Brit makes fun of Indians and quotes Churchill to support this, Arjun nobly lectures him with a litany of stats about how many newspapers there are in India and engineers and so on – not bad for a farm boy. I guess Indians really are good with numbers (stereotype intended). Here is another number:

My rating for this film: 3 out of 10

Song 1

Song 2

Santa Promo

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Korean Posters - 1955 to 1989

A friend brought back a couple books with pictures of loads of Korean posters and he was kind enough to lend it to me to scan many of them. The books are in Korean so I am unable to say what the titles of the films are. It is interesting to watch how both the style of the posters changes with time as does the general content of the films - in particular you can watch as the films clearly take on more and more sexual explicitness as the decades pass.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Japan Cuts

As I think I have mentioned the New York Asian Film Festival is co-presenting many of the films with the Japan Society. But though the NYAFF comes to a merciful end on July 8, Japan Cuts continues for another week with many more great films, documentaries and shorts. Those tickets are also on sale. So sell some of your mutual funds and invest in Asian film!

I haven't seen most of the non co-presented films at Japan Society, but I highly recommend Kamome Diner and Sway with Joe Odigiri. The directors of both films will be present. To read up on these and other films they are showing, please go here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bluffmaster (India, 2006)

Director: Rohan Sippy
Music: Various
Year: 2006
Running Time: 137 Minutes

To me, Bluffmaster is a fair representation of what might be considered the New Bollywood. For the past few years the industry has been lurching about like a drunken sailor trying to find its way in the globalized market place. It is a difficult road to navigate as it attempts to hold on to some of its traditional elements and yet continue to be relevant to modern audiences. But in doing so it seems to have lost a bit of its soul. Films such as Bluffmaster are the technical equal of films anywhere with fine camera work, excellent production values, seamless editing and solid acting – but in trying to emulate the West on the technical front they also appear to have absorbed a large dose of their vacuity and indulgent self-awareness. Many of these new films are certainly entertaining on a superficial level but all too often they arouse a sense of déjà vu. That is because if you dig deep enough you can often find an American film lurking about in the basement that “inspired” the Indian movie. By taking on a lot of these Western elements and themes the films may appear modern but they have too often left their hearts on the sidewalk.

Bluffmaster is all of that. Well made, fast moving and slickly plotted – it has all the personality and warmth of a doctor’s reception area. If you have seen any of the American films it appears to have modeled itself after, you will have a fair idea of what is coming and you just wait patiently for the other shoe – or in this case shoes – to drop. In the meantime your mind kind of wanders to chores that need to be done and travel plans that need to be made. It is all very painless mind you - and at times engaging - but in the end it is so hollow that you can hear an echo reverberate.

Roy (Abhishek Bachchan) likes having money; especially other people’s money and he has become a high flying conman that plans logistically elaborate swindles against the wealthy of Mumbai. He has everything including a stunning girlfriend in the form of the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra. After being together for six months with Simmi, he pops the question and decides to retire from the con business with enough booty stashed away to keep him dry on rainy days. But disaster strikes during their engagement party when one of his previous targets shows up and points him out to Simmi and her family. She breaks the marriage off and Roy begins an emotional descent to hell.

Later on he comes into contact with two incompetent street level conmen and almost on a whim takes one of them (Riteish Deshmukh) on as his student and takes him through a few easy jobs. Roy begins fainting on occasion and after seeing a doctor (Boman Irani) he discovers that he only has a few months to live – so when his pupil asks him to help revenge his father by conning a gangster (Nana Patekar) out of a bundle Roy figures why not – perhaps one bit of good karma for him before he dies.

There were a few strikes against the film – the cons were not all that clever actually and in a con movie that is pretty important – the music falls into the latest hip hop trend that has no interest for me and there just isn’t enough Priyanka! Priyanka makes my toes curl and there just wasn’t enough curling going on. Most important though was that the characters all felt very shallow and the film created no emotional bond between them and the audience. Many fans of Abhishek prefer this light charming side of him as seen here and Bunty Aur Babli – but I like him all glowering and dangerous such as in Yuva. Still the more I see him, the more I think he is the most promising leading man in Bollywood. Others would disagree.

My rating for this film: 6.0

Song 1

Song 2

Song 3

Song 4

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New York Asian Film Festival Trailer

Here is a bit more self-promotion. This is the trailer for our festival.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New York Asian Film Festival Line-up

Hey, it's finally ready to go! There is one last film that we are trying to get but otherwise this is it like it or not. Later in the week the schedule and ticket information will go up. Please note that the festival is playing at two different venues and tickets have to be purchased separately for each. It's a pain I know but there was no way around it. Also, things are looking up sponsorship wise so we are feeling very good all of a sudden and are very excited about bringing all these films to New York City and having some fun!

To read about the films, go to the Subway site.

Bollywood Songs II

Continuing with some of my favorite musical numbers for films M-Z.

1. From the 1997 Minsara Kanavu (Tamil) with Kajol, Avind Swamy, Prabu Deva and music from AR Rehman. This is a very peculiar offbeat romance - sort of an upside down Roxanne in which a shy fellow in love with Kajol hires a talkative comic relief barber to teach him how to court her - but against all expectations the barber falls for her and she for him. Prabu Deva is considered the best male dancer in Indian film and a fine choreographer as well - his looks though have generally consigned him to roles other than the hero. This is a lovely number that feels very old Hollywood musical - an intimate setting that brings on memories of Astaire/Rogers. It is during this song that the couple realize that something romantic is lurking in their souls for one another.


2. From the 2001 Nayak with Anil Kapoor and Rani Mukerjee. This is yet another score from A.R. Rehman and is one of his best. It is a wild and crazy film in which Anil becomes Chief Minister for a day and cleans up government with his fists and finds love with a lovely village lass. My song choice from this film though is what they call in the industry an "item number". It often has little to do with the plot of the film but is just an opportunity to dazzle the audience with a fast paced song with oodles of sex appeal and has a female guest appearance of either a star or an unknown that the producer is probably sleeping with. In this instance, it is Sushmita Sen who was Miss World and a very well-known Bollywood actress. This is one of the more famous item numbers ever and I never get tired of watching it.

Shakalaka Baby

3. From the 1997 Pardes with Shahrukh Khan, Mahima Chaudhury and Amish Puri. This is a terrific romance with a large element of anti-west sentiment woven throughout. In it Shahrukh is living in the USA and has to act as the middle man between an arranged marriage for his boss and a young woman back in India. In the process he falls for her and learns that his boss is a complete swine, but can't do the right thing. This is just a catchy song that I recall humming the main refrain of for days afterwards. Amish comes across some children who want to go to America and tells them in song to love their own country.

I Love My India

4. From the 2000 Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani with Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla as rival journalists going after the big stories. Among the sparks of course romance blooms and they team up to save a man from being unjustly executed. When Shahrukh wasn't opposite Kajol in films, Juhi was often his female love interest and they have a very likable chemistry. So much so that they formed a production company together. The film has a few very playful songs - the energetic I am the Best and this one.

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

5. From the 1980 Qurbani with Feroz Khan and Vinod Khanna jousting for the affections of Zeenat Aman. An enjoyable action film that pauses from time to time to catch Zeenat in her nightclub act. This disco influenced song was a big hit. The outfits would fall directly into tacky territory but Zeenat can look good in anything. She was one of the first Indian actresses who broke through the heroine/vamp stereotypes by being able to be a little bit of both. That is Feroz Khan looking on.

Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye

6. From the 1996 Raja Hindustani with Aamir Khan and Karishma Kapoor. Poor boy loves rich girl but has such a big chip on his shoulder that he can't see that she loves him too. Not one of my favorite films but it contains one of my favorite songs. A group with Aamir and Karishma have gone driving out into the countryside and come across a band of gypsies who break into this astonishingly mournful song. Aamir joins in the song and Kareena realizes that she cares for him - which sends her snooty entourage into fits.

Pardesi Pardesi Jana Nahi

7. From the 1998 Soldier with Bobby Deol and Preity Zinta. He is a hired killer and Preity is the daughter of a man he wants to kill so he uses her to get close - but needless to say falls in love. This song is a bit trite and goofy I suppose but it is another one that I found myself singing the refrain for days afterwards, but its main appeal is simply Preity being adorable and doing this cute little marching step.

Soldier Soldier

8/9. From the 1998 Taal with Aishwarya, Anil Kapoor and Akshaye Khanna. This was the second Bollywood film I watched - again at the recommendation of the same friend who thought I would like Aish - this time he was spot on. She is knockout glorious in the film and it is still her warmest performance in my book. She is an innocent village girl who gets swept into show biz and has two men falling for her. Sadly, I thought she ended up with the wrong fellow. This is my favorite film score with so many good songs - A.R. Rehman again of course - so I had to choose two. The first is when she is still a village belle and dances in the rain, in the next one she has become a bit more glammed up. She is a feast in both songs.

Taal se Taal milao

Ramta jogi

10/11 From the 1973 Yaadon Ki Baaraat with Zeenat Aman and Dharmendra. India has a special genre of its own that you could call Broken Families and Amazing Co-incidences. Many films revolve around siblings who are separated as children and then later in adulthood unknowingly all find themselves in the same room. This one is a classic - three sons get split up after their parents are murdered and one becomes a musician, another a student and the final a thief looking to avenge his parents. I will include two songs again for this one. The first is one of my favorites songs from Bollywood that begins with the clinking of two glasses and then pans to the stunning Zeenat with guitar. The other is when the musician brother sings a song at a concert that his father always sang - and sure enough both his lost brothers happen to be in the room. Corny? Ya- but boy does it work within the contaxt of the film.

Chura Liya Hai

Yaadon Ki Barat

And finally two just fun songs that I like to watch from time to time to just feel good. One is from the all time tackiest film ever made, Disco Dancer, and contains clothes and dance moves sure to bring a smile to the most curmudgeonly among us - the quality of the video is rather poor I am afraid but nothing can hide fashions this bad. It makes you pray every night that disco will never make a comeback.

Disco Dancer

The other one was made famous in the film Ghost World and is just pure pleasure. It comes from the film Gumnaam and has absolutely nothing to do with the film plot, but who cares. It is just a dance number that you wish you could imitate at parties. After this number the film relocates to a deserted island with a group of people stranded on it who begin getting killed one after another.

Jaan Pehchan

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bollywood Songs

I have my usual litany of excuses lined up like good little soldiers as to why I haven't been updating the blog recently - sleeping too much, lack of potassium, too hot, all the troubles in the world, a blister on my toe and of course too many late night conversations with Hsu Chi. Oh, and I haven't watched anything recently either. For no particular purpose other than to amuse myself, I did go through all the Bollywood film reviews on my site and added links to whatever songs I could find on Youtube for those films. I have perhaps gone a bit Youtube crazy lately, but until a month or so ago I had never really gone to that site and have been somewhat amazed at how much they have on practically everything. People sure do keep themselves busy uploading things on there. And I am grateful that they have the time. So if ever you have a few hours to kill at work and feel like watching Bollywood musical clips, you can go to my section on Bollywood and click on the film of your choice.

While doing this linking up, I obviously saw a number of musical numbers and here are eleven of my favorites for films A-L. I like them for different reasons - sometimes it's the song, sometimes the picturization, sometimes the actress and sometimes it's the context within the film. M-Z will be coming soon if anyone cares.

1. From the 1973 film Bobby with Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor. Here Rishi is singing to the older Aruna Irani - one of the great vamps in the 60's and 70's - but thinking about Dimple. Just a great ballad that is beautifully poetic. One of the best first young love stories to come out of Bollywood.

Main Shayar To Nahin

2. From the 1995 Bombay starring Manisha Koirala and Avind Swamy with music from A.R. Rehman. It is about a Hindi man falling in love at first sight with a Muslim woman and the many troubles that follow. Here he sees her dance and is lost in love. A heartbreaking cry for understanding and tolerance. The director Mani Ratnam had his life threatened many times for making the film.

kehna hi kya

3. From the 2001 Chori Chori Chupke Chupke starring Salman Khan, Rani Mukerjee and Preity Zinta. It is a pretty silly film but has a few very good musical numbers. Here Salman first sees Rani at a friend's wedding and falls in love. Later problems begin after marriage when she can't give him a child and they turn to a prostitute - Preity - to do so. Wedding songs are a big staple in Bollywood films and I love this upbeat one as well as the playful chemistry between Salman and Rani. Not the best quality video though.

no. 1 punjabi

4. From the 1998 Dil Se with Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta. This is probably the best known song from Bollywood with the marvelous Malaika Arora doing an item number by dancing on top of the train. This one song made her an icon. The film is brilliant about a man falling in love with a female terrorist and the songs from A.R. Rehman are all great.

Chaiya chaiya

5. From the 1995 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. Films don't get much bigger than this as it ran for years in the theaters and made these two actors the biggest stars in Bollywood and everyone's favorite couple. SRK falls for Kajol but her father has already made arrangements for her to marry someone she has never met and she feels obliged to do his bidding. SRK goes to her father's home and tries to seduce the family with his charm - to no avail. This song is just lovely and one of my favorites.

Tujhe Dekha To

6. From the 1998 Ghulam starring Aamir Khan and Rani Mukerjee. Basic poor guy falls for rich girl story but these two stars make it quite enjoyable. This song became a big hit and was one of the first instances that began pushing Rani into stardom. It is very simple but I love the playful mood, the dance steps and Rani is adorable in it. One of the very few instances in which the actor sings as that is Aamir you are listening too.

Aati Kya Khandala

7. From the 1971 Hare Rama Hare Krishna with Zeenat Aman in her star making role as a good Indian girl gone bad by going to Nepal and getting into the dope scene. This song was a smash hit and is still a favorite of many with Asha Bhosle providing the vocals.

Dum Maro Dum

8. From the 1994 Hum Aapke Hain Koun with Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit. This film was one of the biggest box office hits ever in Bollywood and is credited for bringing back both the family film as well as loads of music. It is also the film that made me finally give in to Madhuri's charms - in particular this song. This is another wedding ceremony song that apparently has something to do with hiding shoes and the best man and best woman have a game of hide and seek. In the film this is the moment that the previously feuding couple realize they are attracted to one another. Full of energy, silliness, the lovely Madhuri and it is Salman's best moment in film.

joote de do

9. From the 2000 Kandukondain Kandukondain with Aishwarya Rai and Tabu (in the recent the Namesake) with music once again from A.R. Rehman. Gorgeous songs and choreography throughout, this film is an adaption of Sense and Sensibility and one of my favorite films from India - it is actually Tamil though. In this scene, a man shows up at a party who is in love with Tabu but she has been jilted once too often and has given up on love or ever getting married. Her protective sister dances for the audience and Aish has rarely been lovelier.

Kannamoochi Yeanada

10.. From the 2001 Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham which was a huge hit and had stars up the wazoo - Shahrukh, Kajol, Hrithik, Kareena, Jaya and Amitabh. This is just a big old fat glossy tear jerker about family that is nearly irresistable. This song has all of them in it and is just big and brash.

Bole Churiyan

11. From the 1999 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which again teamed up Shahrukh and Kajol and was again a huge hit. This was actually the first Bollywood film I ever saw after a friend told me to keep an eye open for Rani Mukerjee - but like so many others it was the impish Kajol that blew me away. Rani came later. A great romance and tearjerker about two women in love with the same man - this song portrays that beautifully.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai