Alright. So we said this blog is dedicated exclusively to Bollywood movies, but as you are all aware, the line nowadays is getting extremely blurry. Now Slumdog Millionaire and Kites are obvious examples. But if you examine Sex and the City 2 closely, you will notice that this movie is OMG, SO BOLLYWOOD!
We knew we were signing up for a Bollywood experience even before we saw the movie because: 1) We knew were weren’t watching it for the touching storyline, 2) The only real appeal of the movie was the women’s unaffordable clothes and fashions, and 3) Movie length – 2 hours and 27 minutes! These are 3 crucial Bollywood-like movie components. But wait till you read what else we discovered…

Good Points:
+3 points for Aidan’s character who looked so hot. Another +5 points because in typical Bollywood manner, it was evident that the actor had spent considerable time and effort on himself to ensure he looked pretty and dreamy but had no real lines and delivered a sub-par performance at best.
+100 points for the wonderful fashions and the costume changes every 4 minutes – no joke!! The women even embarked on their desert safari in 8 inch heels!! The movie delivered exactly what it promised and women everywhere will thoroughly enjoy the visual clothing, jewelry, bags and accessories feast! [Ok, secret’s out, this blog is written by women!]
+45 for Miranda who delivered a Bollywood performance like a pro. She overacted like she was Govinda in a David Dhawan movie, played the most stereotypical over-enthusiastic-American-tourist, and spoke Arabic at every opportunity in the most horrendous accent you can imagine. In short – a flawless Bollywood-sidekick-comedian performance!

Bad Points:
-50 because we lost some of our brain cells to this movie. Any person with a working human brain who spent 2 hours and 27 minutes in the theatre would tire themselves out in an attempt to figure out the vaguest trace of a plot in this movie. Let us save you the damage. There is absolutely no plot. The whole movie is an excuse to show off all pretty things that money can buy – clothes, hats, shoes, vacations, servants, furniture, electronics, swans… hormones.. the list goes on.
-1000 points for actually taking the time to explain, in elaborate detail, terms like hookah and abaya to the audience. What happened to the spirit of the show ‘Sex and the City’ that wikipedia describes as “The quirky series” that “tackled socially relevant issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, safe sex, and promiscuity” and “examined how changing roles and expectations for women affected the characters.” This movie could not have been dumbed down more!
+5 for all the song and dance sequences added into the movie, how very Bollywood. Except, actually 235 for using stale songs (“Single Ladies” and… “I am a woman”!!!) and dancing like its 1959.
-325 for shooting in Morocco and promoting Abu Dhabi! We heard that originally, the movie was supposed to be shot in Dubai, but dah-ling, Dubai was so 2006.  Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, was so NOT 2006, or 7, or 8 or this decade or the next!

Overall Score: -1452. Integrating singing and dancing with fashion into a movie that has an excuse for a plot is an art Hollywood is yet to master – much work needed! For all those in Western world critics who are still Bollywood skeptics – we hope you have realized HOW much easier it is to make movies that have a storyline, a realistic setting, and actors who know how to act. Watch Sex and the City 2 at your own risk. We bet you’ll be thinking the same thing we did as we walked out – “this movie could have been SO much better in Bollywood!”

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Good Points:
– Amazing camera work and impressive action scenes. We wholeheartedly believe that with this movie, Bollywood has provided its audience proof that they are technically able to deliver at extremely professional and slick levels.
– Having said that, we’d like to cut to the chase and declare that this movie is what truly inspired the birth of this blog. It had been a while since we had such a violent response to any movie. We wanted to curse the reviewers, but realized it wasn’t entirely their fault because they were restricted by having to stick within their rating scales of 1 to 5 (or 10). Lucky for us, we got the number line! This movie has indirectly sparked innovation and for that, +100
Barbara Mori was a delight to watch. She is a beautiful woman and an amazing actress. +10
– For the first time, a Bollywood movie pictured areas of the US that weren’t New York or San Francisco! It was refreshing to see the wild wild west! +5
– The torture lasted only 130 minutes, and we hear the international version is only 90 minutes! +75
– In the end, everyone dies, eliminating the possibilities, you’d think, of a sequel (phew) +200

Bad Points:
–  Hrithik’s acting was way worse than we could remember in
Lakshya, Koi Mil Gaya, or Krrish. We wonder if it was the intimidation of working with Mori, the pressure of making such a big film, or simply because he had to ‘Act in English’ for 90% of the movie. This might sound weird to some, but haven’t you noticed how much worse Aishwarya Rai acts in English? Examples – Bride and Prejudice, Pink Panther 2… The
‘angrezi effect’ is definitely something our actors and directors need to start considering as Bollywood expands into and merges with the cinemas of the world! -60
–  Shame for having Hrithik play a dance teacher in the movie and only show him dancing for all of 4 minutes! Double shame for adding so many extra effects to those scenes that the true magical effects of his dancing drowned in the flashy lights and tricky camera work. -120
– We’re all about sappy endings and cheesy love stories, but this was TOO MUCH! Two people fall in love with each other by looking into each other’s eyes just once. Boy flirts with the girl by impressing her with a shadow show of hand puppets. Their only date is a few hours spent together one night drinking and talking in languages the other person does not even understand! And boom. They then run away together, risking their lives, and eventually dying for each other. Now usually, our directors are masters at taking a plot like that, adding some songs, some dancing around trees, a little bit of Hrithik dancing solo, adding a pinch of Switzerland, and creating 100% believers out of us. We’re the same audience who have decade after decade believed that Shahrukh Khan is still in college, and Kajol, even with her unthreaded eyebrows and jelly-belly is the sexiest woman alive! But with these essential components missing, even lifelong brain-dead Bollywood fans are going to have a very hard time digesting such a helpless hopeless romance. -250
– KITES? There was absolutely no connection between the title of this movie, the title song of this movie, and the actual movie. Anyone who tries to tell you that the director had some intricate, subtle symbolism there is lying. This would not even qualify for the world’s most extended metaphor. Only
-15 because who in Bollywood cares about the title anyway!
– We tried many angles to give Kites some credit. Let’s say the team purposefully designed the unrealistic romance, the exaggerated plot, unnecessary scenes, slo-mo breathing and blinking, and the horrible acting ONLY to educate the foreign audience about Bollywood as a genre. If that were the case, then we might almost commend them for a very accurate delivery, EXCEPT for one huge EFF UP – Bollywood lovers always always find their happy ending and they don’t DIE!!!
Even Danny Boyle had that figured out!!! -100
– Just when you thought everyone was dead, the movie had finally ended, and you could run out of the theatre, the lovers met again!! Under water – in the lake where they both committed suicide, taking up some hybrid angel-slash-mermaid forms. Our fear: Could there in fact be a sequel? An after-life, under-water love story? We know Rakesh Roshan’s obsession with rebirth/ reincarnation: Karan Arjun, Kaho Na Pyar Hai, Krish. Noooo, please no!! -400 for having to live in this fear!

Overall Score: -540. We applaud the technical skills and the attempt. But we will not be recommending this movie to any of our fellow non-Indian friends to spread the gospel of Bollywood. For our fellow desi-kind who, like us, are on a mission to make Bollywood a world-wide phenomenon, we urge you to continue using Slumdog Millionaire for PR for now. Or as it stands, even K3G is a better bet than Kites. Poo is awesome.

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Establishing the ZERO

Before we can dive into what we really set out to do here (i.e. review new Bollywood releases), there is one crucial thing we must do. Since we are mapping Bollywood movies on the number line, we must first establish our base, or in mathematical terms, our ZERO. This movie will serve as a reference point. So that any time you see a movie rated positive, you at least know that its better than the “Zero Movie”. Similarly, you’ll be able to rest assured that movies scoring in the negative region are worse than this “Zero Movie”.

Now, this was an extremely challenging task! We had to chose a movie that was neither interesting nor boring. It neither evoked laughter, nor tears. It was neither good, nor bad. It neither made us happy, nor sad. Funnily, this last criteria was a HUGE HELP! Because the lucky winner that will forever hold the “Zero Movie” title from here on now is….

(or in our experience- na khushi, na gham)

Good Points:
– Kajol and Shahrukh, trying to re-create the magic of KKHH +10
– Amitabh Bachchan and wife Jaya Bachchan together, so cute! +2
– Kareena’s clothes +3
– Hrithik’s dancing +20
– the Creation of ‘Poo’. As ridiculous as her character was, it made for a great bollywood movie! Don’t deny it, you too at some point quoted from the movie and asked “Am in looking PHAT??” +100
– Movie plots and female characters based out of Chandni Chowk are always a 100% formula for success. Needless to say, Kajol and Fareeda Jalal definitely delivered some great moments! +20
– The national anthem always gets us. Especially when the British people get up and join in! oh what glory! +55

Bad Points:
– Kajol and Shahrukh, trying to re-create the magic of KKHH by literally reciting dialogues from KKHH verbatim!!!!! -20
– In fact, Karan Johar’s obsession throughout the movie to re-create moments from KKHH was a little nauseating. Shahrukh running from the chopper to his house in slo-mo was so 1998 (recall, same scene in KKHH when he ran in slo-mo over the camp bridge to find his daughter Anjali). Hrithik and Kareena singing the popular bhajan Om Jai Jagdish vs. Kajol singing Raghupati Raghav in KKHH. Coinicidence? We think not! -10
– We enjoyed Poo, but then Kareena took over (and, ahem, she was no size 0 back then!) -5
– We don’t care how chubby your brother was when you left him 10 years ago, there’s no way in hell that he moves in with you and yet you take 6 months to recognize him!!! -155
– The message ‘Its all about loving your parents’ can be delivered in MUCH less than 210 minutes! Especially when the plot you’re using has been used 1563 times before, has no twists, and no suspense. -20

All this, bringing us to a grand total score = 0.

So there we go. The biggest task has been successfully completed. From now on, our job gets a lot easier. We watch new Bollywood movies, review them, rate them, rank them. You might not necessarily agree with our “ZERO” and thats ok. Like Albert Einstein said, “Its all Relative” 🙂

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Our Goal: Mapping Bollywood

In this first post, we believe it is important that everyone understands our goal and methodology. We are not experts of Bollywood, but we are ardent lovers, willing to sacrifice 3 hours on any given day to watch any and every bollywood movie.

By trade, we are mathematicians and financial analysts. It is in our blood to keep score. We are constantly formulating methods to express even the simplest phenomenon around us in numerical or formulaic form. So imagine our frustration when we rush to google reviews of new Bollywood movies and find that no blog, newspaper, or magazine is about to provide us with fair, accurate, or remotely just ratings. How can you restrict movies catering to such a diverse audience, of plots originating from such a wide spectrum of human nature, to a scale of 10? or worse, 5?

Yes, the non-believers will say that all Bollywood plots are the same and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But we believe every Bollywood movie is unique, hence deserving of a very unique rating. We draw inspiration from one of the most basic instruments of mathematics – the number line. Every bollywood movie, no matter how similar (sometimes identical) the title, plot, characters, or music, deserves its very own unique place on the number line ranging anywhere from negative to positive infinity!

So here’s to a brand new way of rating movies! We hope you enjoy reading our reviews as much as we enjoy writing them. We also hope you take pride in our methodology, but don’t take us too seriously. We wish we could claim that we had devised a  ground breaking, unquestionable, 100% consistent rating system. But doing that wouldn’t be very Bollywood of us!

We’re going where no one has ever gone before. We are on a mission… to map Bollywood on the never-ending number line.

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