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Cinema Junkie Episode 214: Hooray For Bollywood, Part 2

One of the recommended contemporary Bollywood films is "Badhaai Ho," in which a late in life pregnancy shocks an Indian family.
AA Films
One of the recommended contemporary Bollywood films is "Badhaai Ho," in which a late in life pregnancy shocks an Indian family.

Discover the Indian Macbeth, Mumbai noir, Bollywood rap

Get ready for the Indian Macbeth, Mumbai noir, and Bollywood rap. Cinema Junkie returns to India for Hooray For Bollywood, Part 2. This time we look to contemporary Bollywood cinema and redefine the term for India's film industry today. Joining me again are the podcasters of Moviewallas: Yazdi Pithavala, Rashmi Gandhi, and Joseph Djan. And joining us for Share Your Addiction is Ryan Bradford of Awkward San Diego (http://awkwardsd.substack.com). Plus, check out the latest Geeky Gourmet video where I will show you the perfect intermission snack. Here's the Geeky Gourmet playlist on the KPBS YouTube Channel: https://bit.ly/CJGeekyGourmet And if you'd like to contribute your own Share Your Addiction or Cold Turkey, then just email baccomando@kpbs.org and put Share Your Addiction in the subject line. For a list of films discussed go to www.kpbs.org/cinemajunkie

For part two of my month-long tribute Hooray for Bollywood I am again joined by Moviewallas podcasters Yazdi Pithavala, Rashmi Gandhi and Joseph Djan.

In Part One we defined the intoxicatingly over-the-top style of classic Bollywood cinema and the unabashed way it embraced its particular form of melodrama. Plus we heard the irresistible music that fuels these films.

Indian cinema is still often referred to as Bollywood but that term has in some ways become outdated. There are still ridiculously entertaining films with extravagant musical numbers but there is also an increasingly diverse array of films to choose from including the dark and gritty Mumbai noir, Shakespearean adaptations, realistic dramas, and even films that offer a different take on what Indian music is.

Moviewallas' Yazdi Pithavala pointed to one recent film that he loved: "If I got to see 'Badhaai Ho' [about a late in life pregnancy that catches a family by surprise] every year, I will happily die. I mean, that movie just made me so happy and when you get irrationally, deliriously happy seeing a movie represent where you came from and represent it well and kind of make you feel that this is as good as it can be, that's something amazing."

For Rashmi Gandhi, seeing actresses challenging traditional roles for women is an innovation she welcomes.

"So it really excites me when I see great actresses being given the opportunity to play the central role. I'll mention Alia Bhaat, she's kind of one of my favorites who's doing this fearless work and it just excites me also to see myself represented in some ways as well and for those ideas to challenge my family's way of thinking."

Joseph Djan said he is still waiting for that Indian film that really breaks through to the American mainstream: "I still think that you have to seek out Indian movies right now, you have to find Indian cinema. So my hope is that in the not too distant future, we will have a moment where something like 'Slumdog Millionaire' but not made by a Western filmmaker, but something made by an Indian filmmaker, that truly transcends to become hugely popular here."

Check out the new Geeky Gourmet and learn how to assemble Delhi Chaat, and make Indian papri and sev as your perfect Bollywood intermission snacks.

Geeky Gourmet: Delhi Chaat

Recommended viewing list and clips used:

Joe’s Picks

“Jodhaa Akbar” (2008) – currently streaming on Netflix

“The White Tiger” (2021) – streaming on Netflix

Rashmi’s picks

“The Lunchbox” (2014) - on Amazon Prime

“Gully Boy” (2019) – streaming on Amazon Prime

“Elizabeth Ekadashi” (2014)

“Dhanak “(2015)

“Pagglait” (2021)- streaming on Netflix

Yazdi’s picks

“Jab We Met” (2007) – streaming on Netflix

“Dil Dhakne Do” (2015) – streaming on Netflix

“Kapoor and Sons” (2016) – streaming on Netflix

“Dil Chahta Hai” (2001) – streaming on Netflix

“3 Idiots” (2009) - streaming on Netflix

“Andhadhun” (2018) – streaming on Netflix

“Devdas” (2002): rental on Amazon Prime

“Padmaavat” (2018) – streaming on Amazon Prime

“Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” (2013)– rental on Amazon Prime

“Badhaai Ho” (2018)

Beth’s picks

“Company” (2001) – rental on YouTube

“Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” (2017, you don’t need to see part one first) – streaming on Netflix

Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations set in India:

“Omkara” (2006): Othello adaptation; rental on Amazon Prime

“Maqbool” (2004): Macbeth adaptation; rental on Amazon Prime

“Haider” (2014): Hamlet adaptation; streaming on Netflix

“Bhaji at the Beach”

“Bride and Prejudice”

“Bend It Like Beckham”

“Monsoon Wedding”

“Kama Sutra”

“Mississippi Masala”