AS two of Bollywood’s blockbusters hit the cinema screens on the same day, we sent Asian Sunday reporter and non-Bollywood fan Alison Bellamy, to check them out and see if these Bollywood films are her cuppa chai.

By ALISON BELLAMY

I anticipated that the two Bollywood films out on December 18 were going to be very different, and I was right.

This was my first taste of Bollywood and all I had in mind was sunshine, dancing, singing, a bit of cheesiness, with perhaps a twist or two.

So after jumping in head first to the world of Bollywood with two films in one day (phew) I certainly experienced the more traditional and also the fun, wacky sides of the industry.

I loved being a part of the Bollywood excitement. And you can too, by winning tickets to see films at your local Odeon Cinema. (See details below)

Sarah Ellis, general manager at Leeds-Bradford Odeon said they were opening on Christmas Day this year for the first time, showing the Bollywood films and other movies too. She said: “The Bollywood films always do well. We have the local audience and are expecting good turn outs for Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani.”

 

Dilwale

Dilwale
Dilwale

Not really sure what to expect, I went to the early 9.45am showing of Dilwale, at Leeds-Bradford Odeon. I was there along with a few couples. I was excited after reading a lot of hype about this latest Rohit Shetty blockbuster, starring Kajol and Shahrukh Khan, in two of the leading roles.

It seems to have been promoted heavily to mainstream media in the UK and people are definitely talking about it.

I had not realised the length of the film, and was used to an average one hour, 20 minutes for most Hollywood films. But the two hours and 18 minutes length of Dilwale, passed quickly.

And it was a throwback to get an interval, as I only vaguely remember these from childhood films at the cinema in the 1970s.

It was impressive, slick and exciting. I even liked the fast cars, as the film was filled with flashy BMWs, which had been modified and jazzed up.

There was plenty of screeching, racing and spinning, for all those boy racers, who appreciate fast car moves.

It was a double love story with a handful of gangsters, cars and lots of shooting and fight scenes. I had not been expecting so much fighting and bullet scenes, with effortless martial arts moves thrown in. At times this did remind me of a Jackie Chan style production.

Shahrukh Khan in Dilwale
Shahrukh Khan in Dilwale

The story tells about the children of two competing families meet up again after a 15 year separation. Competing families sound familiar? You bet and I’m not even Asian.

The colourful houses and scenic settings were wonderful. I liked the beach scenes and the longing looks, singing and embraces between the two leading couples.

There were a lot of rainstorm moments. I get the feeling this is ‘a thing’ in Bollywood. Is the heavy rain a symbol for something else I wonder?

And of course the inevitable twist, which I won’t give away. But it is worth waiting for. Lots of fun guaranteed.

Rating: 3/5

 

Bajirao Mastani

I loved this film from the start. I especially liked the romantic atmosphere, the exotic Indian palaces along with the costumes, jewellery, silk saris, textiles and even the magnificent chandeliers.

Visually, it reminded me of HBO series Game of Thrones, which I adore without question.

Bajirao Mastani
Bajirao Mastani

And of course the leading roles are filled with two of the most beautiful people. I fell for both of them. Their chemistry is electric. They are both heart-achingly perfect for their roles.

Ranveer Singh plays Bajirao and Deepika Pudukone is Mastani, from which the film takes its name.

Singh is hot. Especially in his fancy warrior outfits. I would definitely run away with him. But whether he would run away with me though, is another question.

The Indian historical romance narrates the story of the Maratha Warrior Peshwa Bajirao of the Maratha Empire and his ‘second wife’ Mastani.

The film was first announced in 2003 and has taken 12 years to come to production.

It has been made on an epic scale. And I mean breath-taking. I could not see any signs of computer generated images (CGI), especially in some of the battle scenes, which were simply magnificent.

Deepika and Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani
Deepika and Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani

Again it is a lengthy film at two hours and 36 minutes, so the interval was a welcome break. But I could not wait to find out the conclusion. I won’t give the game away, but by the end I had shed quite a few tears.

There was also the mother-in-law from hell in it. She only wanted the best for her daughter, but I am sure this will be familiar with a lot of people.

The theme of religion is prominent as we see a Hindu man and a Muslim woman fall deeply in love and the problems that come with it. This is all very topical at the moment and certainly made me think about things and how futile war is.

Although there were some violent battle scenes, they are needed. Again rainstorms and water are a prominent theme, with plenty of frolicking in pools of water.

The traditional Bollywood dance scenes were indeed spectacular. The decadent settings and costumes were a feast for the eyes.

Despite having attended a Bollywood dance session myself some time ago, I had not realised the emotion expressed through the dancing is an essential part of the films.

Rating: 4.5/5

So which one did I prefer? They were both very different and I can see why Dilwale appeals to a younger audience as it is daft, fun and gives an overall happy feeling.

But personally Bajirao Mastani is my choice. But I never go for the obvious. And of course there was the matter of Mr Singh.

Will I be back to see more Bollywood? You bet I will.

 

COMPETITION: Your chance to win a pair of tickets courtesy Odeon cinema and go watch the films. 

Bajirao Dilwale competition

Well after such glowing reviews, we are sure you want to get down to your nearest cinema and watch the films. So we’ve teamed up with Odeon who want to give our readers a chance to win a pair of tickets to go and enjoy watching a movie on them as a festive treat. We have 5 pairs to give away, so get entering.

To enter all you have to do is answer this question:

Which cinema did Alison go to watch Bajirao Mastani and Diwale?

a. Cineworld

b. Odeon

c. Imax

Send in your answers to [email protected] Please include your full name and contact details when entering. Competition closes midnight 23rd December. Competition terms and conditions apply. For terms email [email protected] Winners will be picked at random and notified by 24 December. Good Luck!