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Tue, 02 Dec 2008
Availability of Bollywood DVDs in Bangalore

I've been visiting Bangalore many times throughout the last five years. Every time I've spent a visit to "Planet M" on Brigade Road for buying some Bollywood DVDs.

And for some unknown reason, the size of the racks with Bollywood DVDs is shrinking from year to year. And with it, obviously the choice...

What you can get are sort of the last five major blockbusters, and tons of cheap re-releases of old movies from the seventies through nineties. But what about the last five years? What about anything that was released recently but is no longer part of the top-10? _nothing_!

Oh, and then you can get tons of Bollywood VCDs. But who wants that low quality? It's definitely no pleasure to watch a VCD. Even DVDs have way too little resolution to capture e.g. the details of costumes in a lot-of-people-dancing kind of scene.

It's really sad. Are people no longer buying those DVDs? Do Bollywood fans go to different places? Where should I go in Bangalore for a decent selection? Hints welcome, please send e-mail.

As a side note, yesterday I've also been at Planet M in the Esteem Mall. It's sort of a joke. Never seen a CD/DVD store that small. Obviously no choice at all.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Mon, 06 Oct 2008
In Switzerland again. Feeling like in a Bollywood movie

I'm back to Switzerland for some Swisscom related work. Right now I'm sitting in the Intercity train between Zurich and Bern. And believe it or not: Half of the car is occupied by (loud) Hindi speaking Indian tourists ;)

It really feels like I'm in a Bollywood movie. Indians in Switzerland. And not only in Switzerland, but in the Train. Couldn't be any more cliche ;)

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sun, 05 Oct 2008
Drona - what a disappointment

In Berlin there are not many chances to watch a Bollywood movie in an actual cinema. Those few movies that they show, I usually try to watch, at least if I'm in town. So far they've always made a great selection and picked only blockbuster movies that actually were any good.

Since I haven't been staying up-to-date with the latest Bollywood releases (mostly due to time constraints and lack of access to Indian DVD's in Taiwan), I didn't even check about the background of the latest movie they've started to show here: Drona.

After watching the first five to ten minutes of the film, it became already clear to me that I should have done better and check beforehand. Never seen such a trashy movie before. What a disappointment.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sun, 18 Mar 2007

On my China Airways flight from Frankfurt to Taipeh, I have continued my tradition of watching the [usually] only Bollywood movie that the in-flight entertainment system offers. In this particular case, it was Dor

I had not yet heared/read anything about that movie, and not even the name sounded familiar. So I was a bit skeptically if this was one of those cheap superficial "B-class" movies that I try to avoid.

To the contrary. What seems like a low-budget production without any major actors [that I would recognize], is actually a masterpiece. Very unlike the cliche Bollyowood, it is not "overdone". Nothing is exaggerrated into self-irony. Everything feels real, down-to-earth. No princess-like costumes, no palaces and no super-rich Indians in their mega-cities. This impression is further substantiated by the somewhat simplistic editing. Scenes end abruptly, and the audio track does not spawn such 'hard cuts' smoothly either.

Dor is a sincere and honest movie about two women who have nothing in common, and come from completely different cultural backgrounds of Indias diversity. However, both of their husbands go abroad to work in Saudi Arabia very soon after marriage. A terrible accident involving those two Indian workers sets the stage for the remainder of the plot.

The whole movie is shot at various locations on the country side. The only remnescent of modern india is a cell phone with SIM card, and the mainstream bollywood songs that are sometimes playing on some squeaky radio.

It seems like this is the next DVD on my 'to-buy' list. Let's see if I manage to pick it up during my trip to Bangalore in early April.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sat, 09 Dec 2006
Seen "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" in the cinema

Just by coincidence I noticed that yesterday was the only show of "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" anywhere near Berlin _at all_. So no matter that it was some 60km away, and I had to drive all the way to Potsdam, I had to go. And that decision was right. It definitely has become of my personal "all-time top ten" Hindi movies. It could have been a bit more serious, according to my taste. But apart from that: Great music, fabulous choreography, camera, costumes, acting, .... - everything!

So as soon as it becomes available here, I have to buy the DVD. Oh, and yes, I still have to buy that LCD projector for my home cinema, the one I intended to buy for several months now...

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Thu, 05 Oct 2006
Bollywood Musical in Berlin

Tonight I've been to Bollywood - The Show, a Bollywood musical that is touring through (I guess among other countries) Germany for the next couple of months.

It was truly amazing. First, there is the irony of playing a story that is remotely based on a true story - probably an idealized form of the story of the musicians and choreographer family behind this musical: The Merchant family. Secondly, the number of dancers is actually quite limited, so they need to danca and dance and dance for hours. What is usually done in many takes (with breaks) when shooting the song sequences of a Bollywood movie - those musical dancers have to do it all in one row. One some days even two shows on one day. What an amazing talent and stamina.

It's too sad to learn that such musicals can only exist in the west, since their cost of production is just too expensive for India, plus apparently the lack of a musical culture there.. quite strange, isn't it? I bet a lot of Indian Bollywood fans are definitely sad to lack the opportunity to see this (or another upcoming one, such as the Bharati).

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sat, 12 Aug 2006
Bollywood / Hindi-pop Web-radio: Radio Teentaal

I've recently discovered Radio Teentaal, a web-radio dedicated to "100% Indian music" - being streamed live from Paris.

It's certainly no surprise to see the radio being shoutcasted from some western country, since [that kind of] bandwidth is still not really affordable in India. But it's surprising to me that it's not from UK, US, Canada or another English-speaking country with large NRI community.

Anyway, they seem to play the latest popular Bollywood beats, no commercials, no interruptions, not even one the otherwise omnipresent self-advertisement jingles. Just pure music, at 128kBps stereo mp3.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Thu, 20 Jul 2006
Retrospective on Shah Rukh Khan

The much-to-be-thanked Rapid Eye Movies cinema movie distributor for Asian cinema brings a retrospective on SRK into German cinemas. It includes the movies Baazigar, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Dil Se, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Swades and Pardes.

They start with showing those movies from July 20 (today!) to August 8th in the Babylon Theatre Berlin.

I've seen most of those movies before, but on DVD. And I'm definitely going to watch many of them in the cinema, since Bollywood movies are just too colorful and rich in detail to watch them on something as "low-res" and compression artefact encumbered as DVD...

So I'd expect some drop in productivity over the next two weeks, but I can't help myself...

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Mon, 03 Jul 2006

Yes, apparently it's Bollywood season in Berlin, thanks to rapideyemovies.de who has brought Krrish at least for one week into one of Berlin's smaller cinemas.

I definitely enjoyed the movie quite a lot. I believe it would be a good example for a "masala movie". Love, Romance, Action, Eastern, Sci-Fi, Thriller: all-in-one. And that with the most excellent dancer and "India's Schwarzenegger" Hrithik Roshan and former Miss India Priyanka Chopra as the two lead actors. And despite all the action scenes, the film actually is still cheesy enough to fulfill the Bollywood cliche :)

I also think it marks a new milestone in the area of special effects for Bollywood cinema. As a sequel to "Koi Mil Gaya", it definitely goes way beyond its prequel.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sat, 01 Jul 2006
Rang De Basanti

It doesn't happen very often that one of the many Berlin cinemas shows Bollywood movies. Last Thursday, even two of them started simultaneously. So yesterday I had no chance but to watch Rang De Basanti. I had to go, even though I had seen that movie in Bangalore before. Obviously at that point without any subtitles, so there certainly was a lot of the plot that I didn't realize yet.

The movie was as good as the first time. There are very few movies that don't get overly pathetic when it comes to telling/interpreting a story about [past] heroes. But in this one, everything feels real. The strong emotions, the incredible pain, hate...

Definitely one of the top Indian movies that I have seen, even though it isn't not a very typical cliche Bollywood movie at all ;)

On Monday, I'll be watching Krrish. Let's see how Hrtik Roshan plays Krishna ;)

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Mon, 12 Jun 2006
KRISH in German cinemas

Thanks to rapideyemovies.de, the follow-up to the Bollywood sci-fi "koi mil gaya" called "krish" will be shown soon in cinemas all over Germany (well, at least in all major cities).

I'll certainly make use of it, especially since I'll be missing the Bollywood night at Filmmuseum Potsdam because of my trip to the GPLv3 conference in Barcelona.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Mon, 15 May 2006

I've had the chance to watch Swades at the home cinema of a friend. Swades is a quite impressive film, and definitely [for me] one of the best recent Bollywood films.

I think the most interesting aspect is the way how they display the transformation process of an initially extremely alienated NRI (officially "Non Resident Indian", in the movie jokingly referred-to as "Non Returning Indian") back ti a "true Indian".

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sat, 21 Jan 2006
Family - Ties of Blood

Tonight I enjoyed the rare opportunity to watch a Bollywood movie in Berlin, almost at the same time the movie is released in India. We usually only get a hand full of Indian movies every year, to very small cinemas, and about one to two years after they ran in India.

I personally enjoyed the film quite a lot, even though the critics in India seem to be disappointed by it. But well, what do I care about those critics ;)

One advantage of watching Bollywood movies in Germany is that you don't need a ticket reservation, since very few people are interested in those movies anyway. Second, you can actually enjoy a film without some 20 to 30something minutes of advertisements and anti-screener propaganda.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Sun, 18 Sep 2005
My first Bollywood party in Berlin

The frequent reader of this blog will have noticed that I love Indian Bollywood cinema (and of course the corresponding music).

Unfortunately there are very little Bollywood movies in the cinemas in Germany, and other Bollywood events are almost as rare. However, Club Deewane now organizes more or less frequent parties in Berlin.

Due to my frequent travel, yesterday was the first time I was around when the event took place. It was quite an experience... I wouldn't have imagined that such an event could actually draw some 200+ people. I'd say no more than 20% of the guests did were of Indian origin/decent, the rest was the usual multicultural "Berlin mixture".

Anyway, I had a great time, and was surprised how much of the music I actually recognized ;)

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Thu, 14 Apr 2005
The largest original collection of Bollywood actresses rendered in ASCII

It's amazing what kind of websites people are starting. This one is definitely one of the most geeky subjects I've seen so far.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Mon, 21 Mar 2005
Source for Bollywood movies at least temporarily down :(

Some months ago, when I first discovered bwtorrents, but that's "full" with 40k users... seems like a strange idea to me, since the torrent distribution mechanism works better the more users you have.

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]

Tue, 15 Feb 2005
A really big Bollywood fan

Since there's a severe lack of non-technical subjects in this blog, I decided to write something about a passion of mine that developed over the last two years: Bollywood Movies.

Most German readers of this blog will probably not have heard about Bollywood before, it's India's mainstream Hindi cinema, from Mumbai aka Bombay (guess that's where the 'B' is coming from).

Unfortunately Bollywood DVD's with English subtitles are very hard to get here in Germany, so I've had to order the initial couple of movies from Canadian NRI-oriented mail orders.

More recently, my friend Atul Chitnis was kind enough to bring a stack of DVD's every time he travelled to Germany - despite his personal dislike of Bollywood cinema. Thanks again, Atul.

Since a very short time ago, I also know DesiTorrents, a forum related to all kinds of Indian cinema, music, music videos, ...

Now you will ask yourself, "hey, isn't that the same guy who prosecutes copyright infringers?". Yes, it is. However, I have no way of legally obtaining the DVD's of the respective movies over here. I haven't found even a single DVD mail order specializing in those DVD's within .de. And ordering from abroad is very impractical, due to the high cost of shipping, and even more due the complicated customs procedure here in Germany.

So as soon as anyone can point me to a less problematic source of desi movies here in Germany, I'll immediately stop using DesiTorrents!

[ /personal/bollywood | permanent link ]