Bunty Aur Babli, 2005

Directed by: Shaad Ali

If this DOES NOT get stuck in your head 
you might not have the power of hearing.

This movie has it all! Bright colors, awesome dancing, super catchy tunes, RANI!!!!, Amitabh AND Abhishek AND Aishwarya, clever and smart acts of crime, humor, pyaar, the Taj, comedy and all over goodness.

Rani (Vimmi/”Babli”) and Abhishek (Rakesh/”Bunty”) are small-town people with big-time dreams that continually run into each other on in their quest for fame. After Abhi’s business deal gets stolen and Rani is refused for the Miss India competition they hook up and go on a crime spree becoming “Bunty” and “Babli” ripping off hotels, stores and even selling the Taj Mahal with ingenuity, charm and style.

They fall in love (how can you resist Abhi? Answer: You can’t) and have a cute little shaadi at the Taj, a kiss(!), a super sweet love song (“Chup Chup Ke”, complete with mountains and snow) and continue on their spree.

As they gain more and more publicity they attract the attention of super-sleuth DCP Dashrath Singh (Amitabh) who makes it his life’s work to track down the thieving duo and lock them up. 
Of course the big show-down/chase happens when poor Babli is going into labor; and I think she receives the award for fastest labor-and-delivery in the history of all time. (Also if my husband had dragged my onto a bumpy train just minutes after giving birth he would have been so dead. SO DEAD.) 

They get caught and promise to give up their glamorous life of crime and move back to their little village. A few years later DCP Singh comes back and recruits the pair to work for the police as expert scammers to catch other criminals. They say “yes” without hardly even thinking, so bored and unchallenged they are by their mundane, respectable lives. (How awesome is it that Rani goes back to work after having a baby!? Kudos to the writer for that!)

I love this movie, it’s just so fun and happy and sweet; the only bad part was that I started thinking “Is it really that easy to rip off whole hotels?!” and wanted to try it but my very real, very logical self caught up with me and forced me to acknowledge how wrong stealing and con artistry is. Very wrong. :)

There was also the funny interplay between Abhi, Amitabh and Ash; those made me giggle. All of the “you could be his father” nonsense and Ash’s scorn of Abhi’s affections in favor of Amitabh’s (which is still funny, even if they weren’t married yet)!

Whew! All those “A” names!

Also, “Kajra Re” is one of my new all-time-favorite songs! (even if the Bachchans squared leave something to be desired in their dancing…)

Bichhoo, 2000

Director: Guddu Dhanoa

This movie came free with my friend L’s copy of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, and I’m so glad it did. Or rather, I’m glad it came free so that I could watch it and not feel incredibly guilty about having paid for it or not getting another Netflix instead.

When we were about half-way through the movie I had two thoughts:
1) This is kind of, but not at all, like Bunty aur Babli. If BaB had been terrible. And it wasn’t.
2) I don’t think there was a plot. At all.

I’ve tried to decipher the “plot” and this is what I have been able to distill from the nonsense:

We start off at random, very random,  outdoor “No more Drugs” concert. The crowd is NOT, I repeat NOT waving their arms. They are just held stationary in the air. That sounds like a crap concert. Oh, and the performers have sequined Ric-Rac in their hair. Sexy.

Next we see the evening news and there is a crime wave in Mumbai (Mumbai? Is it? I don’t know that they ever specified…) and people are getting killed right and left in BROAD DAYLIGHT (including senior citizens in front of their retirement homes… which I found irreverently hysterical). We’re not talking one or two murders but whole groups of people just shot in the street. The news is calling the mysterious killers “goons”.

We then are teleported into Kiran Bali’s (Rani Mukherji) VERY dysfunctional house. It’s like Cinderella, but not. Her father has remarried a woman who is ugly and demanding (and in a moment of shame I thought was Juhi Chawla… what was I thinking?) and is abusive to Kiran and very loving to her sister/daughter. She’s called both, and I don’t want to delve into that particular family story, so I’m just going to accept it. As they are all fighting their upstairs neighbor, Jeeva (Bobby Deol) has a flashback about his girlfriend Kiran (nope not the same one) and how her father had his (Jeeva’s) family burned alive for working in prostitution. Kiran drives off of a cliff because of the pain her father had brought to Jeeva’s family; leaving Jeeva alone and girlfriend-less. Awesome.

Then we’re in some seedy office where Kiran’s (the one played by Rani, not the flashback late-girlfriend Kiran, keep up) father makes some deal with a drug lord. I think. Around this time the subtitles got really weird and then disappeared.

The rest of the story goes something like this:
*(J= Jeeva, K=Kiran, the Rani one…)

K takes milk to J, since it’s the only thing he eats and his fridge is full of boxes (yes boxes) and boxes of milk. K sees a scorpion in J’s house, she freaks out. While in J’s apartment they hear a lot of noise and look out of the peep-hole in the door. In the hallway a bunch of “goons” murder K’s entire family. K calls the police and tells them she knows who the “goons” are. BUT WAIT! The police are the bad guys and now they’re coming after K so J sprays Lysol in his apartment and then catches the gas on fire and it works, even though the gas had gone through some serious osmosis in the 10 minutes it took him to find a match.

J dumps K at a corner (hee-hee!) and checks into a hotel. K finds her way into the hotel and they are now partners in the run from cops. Something happens and they have to move to J’s uncle’s old abandoned house. Things get really Susie-Homemaker with K attempting to cook and play wife to J who really hates her (mainly because she talks to much and USES HER BRAIN. I wish I was joking). One night J is drinking some milk and K tells him she loves him. He spits out his milk all over the table. He’s class personified, that Jeeva.

We then experience K’s love song. As soon as it’s over they are grocery shopping and K runs away. J gets all upset and walks for about an hour (literal time) crying and singing HIS love song. Precious, they’ve both had their moments.

Next they are at a carnival where K gets shot (why the police are after her, I’m not really clear) and there is a big shoot-out at the carnival.

J & K practice self-defense by shooting RANDOM people from the top of buildings, sniper style. (I know).

Next there are SWAT people at their little abode and the body count goes from 15 to 300 in about 2 minutes. Also, for some reason K cut all of her hair off… it’s never really explained. Maybe the hair and makeup people just couldn’t get a tangle out. Who knows. Anyway, 40 minutes of bad fight scenes and bad sound effects later, K has escaped the house and J is shot in the back. As he is dying he hands something to the Bad Guy and KABOOM! It was a detonator for his body bomb. At the end of the movie K is left alone with a pet scorpion and a lot of money that J left her. Oh, and now she’s boyfriend-less.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in there it is reveled that J is a for-hire hit man. Like I said, he’s all class.

A lot of things about this film drove me kind of nuts…
-Multiple characters by the same name… It’s like the Rahul/Raj thing. Really? There has to be more than 5 names for people in India. Actually, I know there are.
-NO ONE HAD A COSTUME CHANGE! They were in the same thing the ENTIRE movie… and it was mostly leather. In India. In the summer. Don’t get me started.
-The whole “scorpion” thing was never explained… you just saw it crawling about every few frames. It didn’t even sting anyone. Major letdown.

And with the bad, there were some good things… like the HORRENDOUS fight “sounds” that never quite matched up with the action. And the awesome 90s BWood fashion that gave us the 1/2 track suit have salwar kameez ensemble and purple lipstick. Ah, I just love it. And there were lycra bodysuits.

Since it was one of Rani’s ealrier films, I’m not even going to knock anything about her performance. I love her, she’s wonderful and I’ll let her get away with acting a bit like Kajol in the beginning of K3G if I have to. And I did.

Bobby Deol didn’t do much by sit and stare at things in this movie, which I guess worked… but when he smiled, honey, I don’t have to tell you that my heart melted a little bit. But only a little.

Great Subtitled Moments:
“I have crossed the age of drinking milk”
“The city is engulfed by the goons!”
“They participate in the skin trade!”
“I haven’t been in class for three months because I died” (to which the principle accepts as an answer)
“What a dress!” (In response to a leather jacket”
“You have done a favor on me”
“Talk as and in when is necessary. Do as I tell you. Don’t use your brain.”
“I told you not to use your brain!”
“He survived a fatal attack”

According to IMDB it’s a “frame-by-frame” remake of Leon… I don’t know that I’ll watch the original… this was bad enough…