Favorite Movies We’ve Seen in 2010 (so far…)

We recently bought a blu-ray dvd player that also can stream Internet content to the tv. We are enjoying it a lot and are hoping Satya’s parents will also enjoy it when they visit this summer. We definitely recommend it because we can play Internet radio through Pandora (without commercials!!) on the tv and instantly stream Netflix movies to the tv. There are a few Hindi radio options. Pandora offers channels like a Kishore Kumar channel, A.R. Rahman channel, an Anu Malik channel and more. For all those lovers of Kannada music from the ‘60s there is not yet a Dr. Rajkumar station, though. Last summer, it was tough for the four of us to comfortably watch an instantly streamed Netflix movie on a laptop! Also, YouTube is able to be streamed to the tv so Satya’s parents should be able to find a wider variety of Kannada songs and movies there as well. (Unfortunately for me, a lot of the old Kannada movies on YouTube are not subtitled.) Without further ado, here are 3 movies we’ve recently enjoyed.

Khosla Ka Ghosla This was about a retired father of 3 who dreams of owning his own plot of land. Finally, he has enough money and buys it, but then everything crashes down on him. One son announces he wants to go to the U.S. on a work visa which crushes his father’s dream of everyone living in the same house on the plot of land. A local goon seizes the land and then offers to sell it back to him, the rightful owner, for half price. At this point, Satya said his parents in India could no longer watch the movie. For them, I think it just struck too close to them-all their kids are in the U.S. and they do have a plot of land. Even for me and Satya the movie was a tense one. How will the man ever get his land back? Will the family be reunited?

In many ways the movie is very realistic about the struggles of middle class people and about the dreams of retired people. It does show a generation gap in India pretty well-daughter arguing about wearing salwar kameez, young women not wearing bindis on their foreheads, sons in their 20s expecting to make their own decisions but running into parental opposition. It does show how easy it is to encroach land-something I also saw in India (scheduled caste group seizing land of a school playground, poorer people encroaching on the outskirts of a university).

The tidy Bollywood ending was not very realistic of course, but it was satisfying. This movie kept us on the edge of our seats with the plot and good acting. There were no big budget Bollywood musical numbers. The film did win the National Filmfare Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi in 2006.

Loins of Punjab What would American Idol be like if it was in NJ and done in Hindi? Loins of Punjab answers that question. It is a small budget, independent movie but gives some good laughs. There is a sweet love story, a subplot about the trials of an intercultural relationship, and a character you will love to hate. There were a lot of stereotypes (Indian guy who is clueless about women, the engineer type, the Indian American girl who doesn’t know Hindi, etc.), but lots of laughs and heart. One part that made me uncomfortable was near the beginning when the white Jewish contestant enters the contest. Some other characters commented that , “He is white, of course he will win.” I didn’t agree completely with the ending, but it was a fun movie to watch. Has anyone else seen this movie? What did you think of the ending, especially regarding the contest?

Welcome Bright colors, big song numbers, lovable villains, lots of laughs. This is a typical Bollywood movie, but nicely done. There was even a Karnataka tie-in (although not flattering) in that the gangster brothers had the very Karnataka name of Shetty. Nana Patekar and Anil Kapoor were hilarious as the gangster brothers. They were especially hilarious when trying out their legitimate careers (acting, and painting.) The big stars were Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar. One of our favorite songs “Kiya Kiya” is in the movie too. We’d heard the song and seen the video, but the video was a little confusing before seeing the full movie context.  This was a fun movie all around and one we intend to watch with Satya’s parents. 

What technologies do you use to help make parents visiting from India feel more at home?