Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Make May Musical # 11 - Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Imagine there was a film that you saw in the cinema when you were a kid.
Now imagine going to the cinema, however many years on, and it was still showing in the theatres and it was still as popular as ever.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), or 'The Good-Hearted will take the Bride', is one of the most famous Bollywood movies there is. In Mumbai, there is a cinema that is still showing it. And yes people still go to see it.

It tells the story of two British born Indians, Raj is modern and spoilt while Simran has had a traditional upbringing.

Before Simran goes to get married, she begs her father to let her go travelling because she will no longer be able to after she is married. He is reluctant at first, but lets her go on the condition that she behaves herself. On her trip she meets Raj who, after being a bit of an idiot at first, falls in love with her. She falls in love with him after they part, and she realises that she does not want to marry the man of her father's choosing.

When Simran confesses this to her mother, her father overhears this and is furious with her. He takes her to India to marry her off as quickly as possible, because her groom is the son of a friend of his, and they promised to marry their two children to each other a long time ago. He however, is everything Raj is not, and she wants nothing to do with him.

Raj goes to India to save the woman he loves from this horrible man. He befriends the man she is about to  marry, in order to help with the wedding preparations and gain everyone's trust. Simran's mother realises who he is and tells the two of them to run away together because she sees that the two of them are in love.

Complications arise when Simran's father finds out who this Raj really is, and tells him in front of everyone to leave. Simran's fiance and his friends beat him at the train station for lying to them. They then try to beat Raj's father, but Raj intervenes and stops them.

Simran's father tells both Raj and his father to leave, so they get on the train just as the rest of the family arrives at the station. As they leave, Simran tries to follow but her father stops her. However, after some begging and pleading, he realises that Raj really loves his daughter, so he lets her go to be with the one that she loves.

This is the signature song:
Tujhe Dekha To from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.

The song is longer but, for some reason, once again the channel have only put up the first part of the song.
And a note - the actress - Kajol - is famous for that unibrow!

Is there a film you would love to see from your childhood, brought back to cinemas for today's generations?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Make May Musical #10 - Mere Haath Mein from Fanaa

A few weeks ago, I told you the story of Fanaa, where blind girl Zooni, fell in love with Rehan, who faked his death in a terrorist attack.

When they saw each other again, she had gained her sight (because he helped her get the operation) and had his child. He did not tell her who he was, because he did not want her to know the reason why he had to leave her all those years ago. To do that, would mean he would have had to admit to the kind of activities that he was involved in.

When she finds out that the injured soldier (terrorist in hiding) who came to her door, was Rehan and they fall in love again and get married (he doesn't tell her about his real past), and this song is played:

Mere Haath Mein

It's a lovely song, but the lyrics don't translate well in English, in summary, their lives are complete when their hands are together, and now they have no use for anything else in life - they are content just being with each other.

Just enjoy the music.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Make May Musical #9 - Joote De Do, Paise Le Lo

An Indian wedding is a fantastic place to make money, even when you are not the bride or groom. 

Before the bride and groom enter the wedding area, they have to take off their shoes, because they will be entering a religious area. The bride's side (mostly her sisters and cousins) steal  the groom's shoes, so that he can't leave and take their sister away from the family.
And they won't give the shoes back until the groom and his family pay for them, and it's up to the bride's side to decide whether they have been given enough money (within reason)

It can happen in many ways ...
  • It can be discreet, the shoes are hidden, and no-one will realise they have gone until it is too late. 
  • Sometimes the groom's family notices it happening and then shoes are being thrown across the room like a giant game of piggy in the middle.
  • Sometimes the groom's side will hide the shoes beforehand and another person's shoes will be put under his chair so the bride's side will take the wrong pair.
  •  Even better is when the groom's side bring a spare pair and let them keep the shoes they take.
  • There are times when it can turn into a stalemate and no-one will budge.
  • I'm waiting for the wedding when the bride and groom are literally carried out of the wedding hall, so shoes are redundant anyway.

It is not uncommon to hear this retro Bollywood Number:
Joote De Do, Paise Le Lo   from the film Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)
These old videos are funny to watch after a long time. And put your speakers on a lower volume, old songs sound so loud!

It literally means, 'give back the shoes, and we will give you the money.'
And the girls side are telling them to give the money first and then they will give the shoes.

How else can you make money at an Indian wedding?
  • Before the newlyweds leave the wedding hall, the bride's sisters/cousins will stand in front of the car and won't budge without financial incentive.
  • In some cases, when they have reached their family home, the groom's sisters will stand in front of the door to stop them from coming in and won't budge until he gives them money.
  • The bride and groom are tied together during the ceremony. When they reach home, one of the groom's sisters has to untie them, and won't do so unless she is given some cash.

I love weddings!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Make May Musical #8 - Main Yahaan Hoon from Veer Zaara

The first song I uploaded here was Do Pal from the film Veer Zaara, where I told you about Veer and Zaara, two people who fell in love with each other despite Zaara being engaged to another man and being from a different country. When I wrote that post, they left each other at the train station realising just how much they really felt about each other. That was just the first half of the story, and here is another song to go with it.

Main Yahaan Hoon from Veer Zaara

After Veer and Zaara left each other at the train station, Zaara cannot get Veer out of her head and she is thinking about him constantly. That is where this song comes in.
Veer is singing (in her imagination) that he is always there (not in a creepy way), the distance between them has now gone, he is the secret that she cannot hide anymore, he is the voice in her heart, he is in all of her thoughts, her questions and her answers, and so on and so forth. He has now become every part of her.

At the end of the song, after seeing him in the grounds of her house, she runs back in and tells her friend all about him. Her friend (Shabbo), calls Veer back in India and tells him to come and get Zaara because she is in love with him and doesn't really want to get married to her fiance, she is only doing it to keep the honour of her family. Before he goes to Pakistan, Veer has to resign from his job in the Indian Air Force, then he goes to find Zaara, and he has to stay at Shabbo's house while he does so.

Their secret comes out when Veer goes to see Zaara and, in front of both families she runs to him and embraces him. This causes her father to have a heart attack and the other family to call off the marriage. It is a scandal because both families are political and it would bring shame on them that Zaara is in love with an Indian. Zaara's mother find Veer and begs him to give her daughter back to her. Veer tells her that a mother should never have to beg for her children. Veer and Zaara agree to part ways for good and carry on with their lives, despite being in love with each other, and Veer proceeds to go back to India.

However, because of the shame brought on his family, Zaara's fiance frames Veer and he is arrested before he leaves, and is accused of being an Indian spy. The fiance blackmails Veer, and tells him that if he doesn't 'confess' to being a spy, he will make Zaara's life miserable. Veer agrees to confess and spends 22 years in prison, in order to uphold Zaara's honour.

Zaara is unaware of what happened, and when she sees the bus that was carrying Veer crashed and there were no survivors, she calls off the wedding.

This film shows the sacrifices the two characters have made for the sake of love. Veer spent 22 years in prison to uphold family honour, and Zaara spent 22 years alone because she thought the love of her life was dead.

We learn about their stories because a human rights lawyer is fighting to have Veer's name cleared and have him sent back to India.

Friday, 20 May 2011

My Very First Interview!

Check out the International Chick Lit Month Website where they have posted up an interview with me!

Interview with Naina Gupta    << clickity click

Since I can't tell my family about it, I send you all virtual hugs of excitement.

To all of you who visit here from the International Chick Lit Month website ...
Hi There!

And don't forget to take a look at the Make May Musical post below. I have chosen a cheerful and colourful one today. 

Make May Musical #7 - Jogi Mahi from Bachna ae Haseeno

When I started Make May Musical, one of the categories of song that I talked about was great big musical numbers that are splashing with colour. I have been lacking in those, so here is a great one for Friday. There's some great dancing in this one.

Jogi Mahi from Bachna ae Haseeno

Unfortunately the channel only put up half of the song, but if you enjoy what you hear then I'm sure you would be able to find the full song somewhere.

Bachna ae Haseeno tells the story of Raj (the man in the video dressed in black) who has a habit of breaking women's hearts and only caring about himself.

The first woman that we meet is Mahi, who is looking to be swept off her feet and fall in love. He takes a liking to her, and pretends to miss the same train as her so he can talk to her. She falls for him, especially after he reads her a poem that he wrote just for her, and they kiss. He takes her to the airport so she does not miss her plane. She tells her family all about this great guy that she met, and when she looks for the piece of paper that he wrote the poem on, she finds that it is blank. When Mahi looks for Raj, she sees him wth his friends bragging (and lying) about all the other things that they got up to. He sees that she saw him, and leaves the airport, leaving her heartbroken and humiliated.

The next time we see Raj, he is living with another girl, until he gets the opportunity to move to Australia for work. She is willing to marry him and move to Australia, but he doesn't want this. He gets on the plane for his new life abroad on the day that he was supposed to be married.

In Australia, he meets and falls in love with a third girl. He wants to marry her, but she does not want the same thing. He is heartbroken now, and realises what he had done to the women in his life. He goes back to India to make ammends with the women he left behind.

When he finds Mahi, she sees that he is married to a man called Joginder (Jogi for short), hence the song Jogi Mahi. You see the two of them at the start of the video before the song starts. Jogi loves his wife but is upset that she cannot trust anyone, even her husband, after what Raj did to her. Raj wants to fix their marriage, to make up for what he has done in the past. In this song he is comparing their love to another famous Punjabi love story Heer and Ranjna, which is similar to the tale of Romeo and Juliet. He wants to show her that he has found the man she was looking for when he first met her all of those years ago.

Will he find forgivness from all the women in his lives?

Now I pose a question to you ....

Would you ever want someone from your past to come back and make ammends, even if you have moved on?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Writing a novel in secret is very hard when most of the people in your house (including you) are home because they are ill.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Make May Musical #6 - Teri Deewani by Kailash Kher

Teri Deewani by Kailash Kher

Ok, so I slightly cheated on this one. It's not from a Bollywood film, but the guy who sings it is a Bollywood singer.

I love this song, I can't explain why. I think Kailash Kher has a unique voice and his songs are not like any of the other Bollywood singers who, even though they sing great songs, have similar sounding voices. I also like the fact that people in this video don't look like the typically gorgeous Bollywood actors, dancers and models.

Deewani is a word that is to describe yourself when you are crazy in love with someone. Teri means 'your'.

Kher is singing about how he cannot stop loving someone, he is crazy about her and would do absolutely anything for her.

(translated from the point of the guy with the red scarf)
I will live in your name
I will die in your name
I will do anything for you
Look what you have done to me
I am crazy about you

(or thereabouts)

The video is a bit odd though. I cannot explain to you why there is a guy weilding a knife at a girl and then falls in love with her.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Make May Musical #5 - Chalte Chalte from Mohabbattein

Apologies for the lateness of this post. Well we all know what happened to Blogger on Friday, and when it came back I was already at work until late in the evening, so I was far too tired to do any kind of posting.
So please forgive me.

I was walking around my house and suddenly found myself humming this song ...

Chalte Chalte from Mohabbatein

Mohabbatein (from the year 2000), is a story that has been compared to the Dead Poet's Society. It tells the story about a laid back music teacher Raj who gets a job in a strict boarding school, and inspires three students to follow their heart, and in true Indian film style, that means to fall in love.

There are three main students that we meet. One is Vikram, a cocky confident guy who falls in love with Ishika, a girl from another school, who is big headed and thinks she is too good for him. Another is Sameer, a shy, really nice guy who falls for his best friend Sanjana, who happens to be in love with someone else. The last guy, Karan's love is a little tragic. He falls for Kiran a widowed woman who has been requested by her father in law to keep acting like a good wife and wait for her soldier husband every night at the train station, because he refuses to believe that his son is dead.

This is the song that is played when they all realise that they are falling in love.
"I walk, but then suddenly I stop*,
I sit, and then get lost in my thoughts,
I talk, but then I am silent,
Is this what love is?"

*because they are thinking about the other person.

The headteacher, Narayan, of this very strict school keeps the gates closed to ensure that his students remain studious with no distractions. However, he has suffered from his own tragedies. His very obedient daughter, Megha, fell in love with one of his students when she was younger, but he did not give his blessings for her to get married to him, and then expelled the student for falling in love with his daughter. The standard of the school is such that when you are expelled, you will never find a place at another school.
At first she carried on with her life, but then could not live without the love of her life, and eventually committed suicide. This made the headmaster more determined that love should always take second place to everything else in life.

The music teacher begins to loosen up the school rules, and tries to create situations where each of those three students can spend time with the girl that they love, and convincing Narayan that these extra-cirricular activities will make them into better students. Unfortunately, the rules bend so far that the headmaster cannot take it anymore and shuts the school gates for good, and tries to fire the music teacher. That is when Raj confronts Narayan about who he really is. He was the student who fell in love with his daughter Megha. The very student who, when Narayan banned the two of them from seeing each other, was the reason for Megha committing suicide. He is back to spread love and happiness into a school where the very thing is banned.

There is a much more heartfelt/moving song in this film, but I am trying to put videos that don't have the same people in them.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Make May Musical #4 - Laung da Lashkara from Patiala House

I've chosen this one because it's a fun, catchy song that holds great memories for me.

I'm just in this for the music, I haven't seen this film, and I had to check various websites about the film, and what the lyrics mean.

The film, which came out this year, is about a second generation Punjabi family living in Southall (although I'm not sure Southall looks anything like this film). Patiala House is the name that they give their home. You wouldn't tell from this song, but actually the film deals with culture clash and racism.

The song has him singing about how beautiful she is, and she is singing that he is saying everything under the influence of his family, and he is never like this when they are alone.

Although I have to state for the record, that English lyrics in Indian songs really bug me. I personally think that, especially in this song, it is unnecessary. So if you want to skip to 16 seconds ahead into the song, then you are free to do so. If you do not, then the woman at the start is saying "something special to all the brothers and sisters-in-law" - it's a shout out to all the extended families! How Asian!
Another slightly annoying thing are the flashing words across the screen.

So why does this song hold memories for me? No it does not remind me of any love stories of mine (I'm lacking in those).
In fact, it reminds me of my recent trip to India earlier this year, where I learned that maybe some Indians do just burst into dance. There was a kite festival, second biggest festival to Diwali in some places, where my family and I were flying kites on the rooftop during the day. Everyone else in the town was doing the same - there were literally thousands of kites up in the air, it was warm, the sun was shining in the clear blue sky and it was such a beautiful sight. They do it for fun, and they have kite fights in the sky where you have to try and cut down another person's kite. Some people write messages on theirs for whoever will find their kite on the ground.
After we had dinner, we all went back to the rooftop, played loud music and started dancing into night. This was one of the songs. 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Make May Musical # 3 - Chand Sifarish from Fanaa

Fanaa is a strange film. But I like this song.

The original meaning of Fanaa is from Sufi philosophy meaning annihilation of the physical self (metaphorically) and reach a state of ultimate spirituality for God. In this film, it means to completely destroy yourself in Love.

Click the link >>> Chand Sifarish from Fanaa

The film tells the story of blind girl Zooni who, for the first time, is travelling around India without her parents, but instead with her friends. There she meets Rehan, a tour guide and huge flirt, who at the beginning of the song is singing to her:

"If the moon is telling us to drop the veil of modesty/decency, then I want to cross the line with you*, I insist on destroying myself with you."

*If you know what I mean ;-)

Later on, the two of them go on a private trip where they do spend the night together before she has to leave and go back to Kashmir. Before she leaves on the train, Rehan takes Zooni away, and during their time together, he helps her to undergo an operation to have her sight back. Before she opens her eyes, he promises to collect her parents so they can be there when it happens.

Unfortunately, Rehan is killed in a terrorist attack, Zooni is devastated and returns back to her home and has his child.

A number of years later, another attack is planned, where it is revealed that Rehan is not dead, but in fact one of those who orchestrated the previous attack. He goes undercover into the Indian Army, where he is to make his way to Delhi to provide the vital part of the next attack. When he is found out, he escapes wounded, and lands in Kashmir. He find his way to a remote home to try and get help for his injuries. The door is opened by Zooni, who obviously doesn't recognise him, but invites him in to take care of him. He also meets his grown up son, also named Rehan.

He does eventually admit his real name, but he does not admit to who he is, and why he disappeared in the first place. What will Zooni do when she realises the person she is in love with, is planning this terrifying attack?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Make May Musical #2 - Maar Dala from Devdas

I picked this song just to show how extravagent Bollywood can be. When Devdas came out back in 2002, it was the most expensive film ever produced in Bollywood history, and just watching this video you can see why.

Maar Dala from Devdas <<< click the link.

Devdas is one of those films which has had a few remakes, and this is the one of my generation, and yes the man in the video is the same one as in the last video I posted. His name is Shah Rukh Khan, and he is one of the top actors in India, you may recognise him from the posters of 'My Name is Khan,' which did become popular outside of the usual Indian cinema-goers.

Devdas tells the story of two childhood sweethearts - Devdas and Paro. They hadn't seen each other for many years because Devdas was away at law-school. Paro meanwhile, had kept a diva candle alight all those years which she had never allowed to go out, in honour of her friend. When he comes back to his home, his mother hopes that he will go to visit her first, but instead he goes to visit Paro, and the family realise that their childhood friendship has blossomed into something more. They were initially very happy about the match until Devdas's sister in law doesn't hesitate to tell her family that a match between the two would not be suitable, because Paro comes from a family of dancers. This pushes the two families apart, and Paro is made to marry a widowed man who has no interest in falling in love again, instead he just needs someone to be the lady of the house. She keeps her candle alight, still in memory of her love.
Devdas gets into an argument with his family, and takes refuge in a brothel. He tries to convince Paro to run away with him and she refuses, because of the way that he treated her. He moves into the brothel permanently and his depression leads to alcoholism.
One of the courtesans, Chandramukhi, falls in love with him, and that is where the song Maar Dala appears. His alcoholism then leads to being disowned by his family and extreme health problems. When Paro hears about this (after accusing said courtesan of pushing him towards drink), she begs him to stop drinking, he refuses but promises to return to her doorstep one last time before he dies.

That's not the end, it's a very famous story, and I don't want to give too much away.

Beginning of the song ....

"Whose footsteps are these? Whose shadow is this?
There was a knock at my heart? Who is it?
Who has spread this vibrant colour all over me?
I have died from happiness"

Hindi lyrics are very metaphorical, and not everything translates well into English.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Make May Musical #1 - Do Pal

I had to think long and hard about what song I wanted to put as my first song here. Did I want to put a classic song that everyone knows? A love song? A jumpy fun musical number splashing with colour that Bollywood is known for?

Do Pal from the film Veer Zaara <<< Click the link

This is a sad song, and it's one of my favourites. Veer (from India) and Zaara (from Pakistan) met while Zaara was on her way to conduct the last rights of someone who had died and was very important to her. There she met Veer, from the Indian Air Force, who rescued her when the bus she travelling to India on crashed. They spent two moments (Do Pal) with each other, he helped her with the last rights she had gone to India for, and she spent time in his village with his family and community. He began to fall in love with her. When he took her to the train station, she was met by her fiance. She introduced her husband to be to the man who saved her life. Veer was devastated, and when he was asked by this man what he should do to thank him for saving her life, he said to just make sure that Zaara was happy for the rest of her life. The song takes place at the train station (and again later on in the film), after they have said goodbye and they both realise that they are in love with each other.

The chorus of the song (roughly) says that 'our love story lasted for only two moments, and then we both parted, where did you go and where did I go?'