Monday, November 19, 2012
Yes, I watched a foreign romance this weekend. Not just any romance, but an Indian musical of the Romeo-Juliet variety that questions Pakistani-Indian rivalry and calls for the improvement of conditions and education of women in both countries, as well as reform of the justice system. Yash Chopra's Veer-Zaara (2004) is a delightful movie. Dancing. . .yes, we gots some! Colorful dress and beautiful women. . .we've gots that too! :) Luckily the Bollywood extravaganzas were kept in check (though I was let down that there wasn't a huge final fling), but there was the chance an outbreak of motion could occur at any moment. The leads, Shah Rukh Khan (as Veer, who I have seen in Indian movies before) and the lovely Preity Zinta, are wonderful, as is also Rani Mukerji, who plays the progressive Pakistani lawyer who comes to Veer's aid. After saving Zaara from a bus accident while she is on her way to deposit her Bebe's ashes in her homeland village in India, the free-spirited woman is taken under the chivalrous and smitten Veer's wing, as he shows off his country while falling in love. Despite her betrothal to a stern Pakistani man in an arranged marriage for political purposes, Veer steps aside for the sake of her family and is unjustly forced into jail under a vow of silence to protect her honor, and it is only through the retelling of their romance to the newly appointed legal defender that we learn of his plight. Normally Indian films are little more than eye and ear candy (I love the music, rhythms, and dancing though, as well as the colorful costumes), but I really enjoyed this movie. The running time is a little over three hours, so get settled. But I really enjoyed it. I thought it was interesting how often English words crept into the dialogue.
Not to be totally sissified in the eyes of my few followers, I also watched a Thai film, Headshot (2011), a rollicking story of a framed ex-policeman who becomes an assassin for a secretive dealer of justice outside of the corrupt legal system. There is no dancing here! But lots of shootouts and dead bodies. And yes, beautiful women. . .especially Sirin Horwang and Chanokporn Sayoungkul (who is eye candy that you wouldn't believe). Nopachai Chaiyanam, as former undercover drug agent Tul, is shot in the head during a later assassination and surprisingly survives, only to find that he sees the world now upside down. Of course, circumstance that you will see in the movie have already turned his world askew. I wouldn't rank the movie highly in a cinematic scale, but it is lively and entertaining, and (did I not mention this), there are really beautiful women and lots of shoot-em ups. Who wouldn't like?