Friday, February 05, 2010

Still Cruising on Empty

So yesterday I go into a local barbershop for a well-needed haircut and all three of the Russian barbers are glued to the TV set watching Ong Bak 2. In Thai with English subs. Cool. I am impressed - Thai film and Tony Jaa are actually reaching an audience here. Then we start talking about the film and one of them goes "those Chinese sure can fight". Chinese, I ask? "Ya, that's Chinese they are speaking and that's Jackie Chan". I go back to getting my hair cut.

In the 1960's western rock music influences began invading Bollywood film music and some of it is actually pretty fun in a retro way. Here are two such songs - one could almost have come from a group like Herman Hermits and the other from the King.

I got a request from the peanut gallery for some pictures of Akshay Kumar. Akshay is Bollywood's number one action star and has been around for nearly two decades. A lot of Bollywood males pretend to be action stars full of swagger and roundhouse cuts that miss by a mile, but Akshay is the real deal - very athletic and often doing his own stunts.

And now back to the Babes of Bollywood.

Kangana Renaut is a fairly recent addition to Bollywood - hitting it big quickly with a few revealing (by BW standards that is) performances.

Deepika Padukone hit it big in her Hindi debut Om Shanti Om with Shahrukh Khan. Beginning your career playing opposite Shahrukh is like hitting the lottery. Born in Copenhagen, a former model and very good badminton player. She is a beauty.

Malaika Arora is famous primarily for one item number in Dil Se. An item number being a big dance number by a woman who is brought into the film specifically and only for that single dance. Dil Se was one of my first BW films and I was unaware of all of their film concepts and recall being totally confused by this song because it transitions from a scene at a railway station with Shahrukh flirting unsuccessfully with a girl right into the top of the train number. And I was trying to figure out if it was the same girl he had been flirting with and how the hell they they landed on top of a moving train!

and in case you are the only person on earth not to have seen this video, here it is.

And here are two photos of Amrita Rao, one of the rare cleavage impaired cuties of late. Her best film was also with Shahrukh Khan - though not as a love interest - in Main Hoon Na - a very fun film.

and here is a silly video from MHN. College just the way I remember it. The interesting thing about this song picturization is how few edits there are - very unusual for a Bollywood video these days.

Lately, I have been dipping my toes into the murky pool of Euro spy/heist films from the 1960's and 1970's. Enjoyable stuff on one level, but often mediocre on another level as so many of them were basically low budget imitations of what was coming out in the USA and the UK. I came across these two heist films the other day and enjoyed them probably more than I should have. They are more about pop style than anything else with silly plots and sillier characters, but there was a lot of that going on in the 60's. The films are Seven Golden Men (1965) and Seven Golden Men Strike Again (1967). These Italian productions star Phillippe Leroy as a dapper criminal mastermind and Rossana Podesta as his sultry minx of a girlfriend and partner in crime. In the first film they (and their gang of six men) steal a mountain of gold from Credit Suisse in Geneva and in the second film they kidnap a Latin American Communist dictator and steal a boat full of gold. Light as a molecule with a catchy lounge music soundtrack and a swath of mod fashions adorned by the marvelous Rossana who changes outfits and hairstyle in about every scene.

Here is a sampling of the soundtrack of the first film:

and the trailer for the second film:

I admit to developing a bit of a crush on Rossana. And why not?