Lootera, enchanted.

Get ready for some arresting, beautifully filmed images and songs that will melt your heart away.

Sonakshi Sinha has never been more charming and Ranveer Singh makes us fall in love with him all over again in Lootera.

Not only does the movie take place in 1953, it gives you the feeling  you are watching a movie of that era. It flows easy and gently through the first half, a romantic lullaby. It picks up drama and temporarily pace, only to level out again. The last quarter is quiet and introspective. No great Dabanggs here. Inner turmoils. A tale of redemption, of love conquers all and makes wrongs right.

The movie is set in West Bengal and captures the essence of Bengali films. It reminded my of the quietness of deep mountain lakes. You jolt a stone and it will create gentle ripples on the surface whilst it cuts through the deep waters, never to touch bottom.

Sonakshi Sinha graces each frame with her quintessentially Indian beauty. She conjures images of goddesses. As if somebody rubbed an oil-lamp, releasing a genie. She is greeting you from old paintings of a bygone era.  Sonaskhi is so beautiful you want to freeze time to keep her that way forever. I will always want to see her draped in colorful saris, not in skimpy Kareena outfits. The role of Pakhi was written for her.  I was glad to hear that she quit her agent over the refusal to take part in “Welcome.”  She is a character actress like Vidya Balan, a powerhouse, wasted on dumbed down movies. She should be weighing carefully her roles and remain true to herself.

Ranveer Singh plays his character Varun with depth and complexity.  Not to say I was surprised. I loved his nonchalance, energy and charisma  in Band Baaja Barat. This role as Varun,brings out a new side to him, the turmoiled, torn, emotionally charged.  Ranveer reminded me of Ralph Fiennes in The English patient, when he opened the door of his room to Pakhi. Or Ruldolfo Valentino in The Sheik. I bet every woman’s heart stood still for a moment.  This movie is heartbreakingly beautiful. I savored each minutet. Maybe it’s also the nostalgia of going back in time, before computers, before cell phones. A movie without the gadgets of our time felt so good all for sudden. Life seemed so different then.

If you want to spoil it for yourself, read all the reviews and storyline upfront. Or don’t ready anything about it and let the movie do its magic.

In a nutshell, a young archeologist, Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh), comes with a friend  to excavate a temple site situated on grounds of a local Zamindar. He gains his trust and confidence of the kind Zamindar’s , whose most valuable asset is his daughter Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha). Her feeble health is of great concern to him. From the first encounter  Pakhi feels increasingly drawn to  Varun and falls under his spell.  He is not what he seems to be though and things take an ugly turn.

If you are a guy, who loves action movies, don’t watch this movie. If you suffer from attention deficit disorder, don’t watch this movie. If you haven’t slept in days, bring a comfort pillow.

It’s a good date movie, if you want to reach out to the woman of your dreams. You might get lucky.

Writer/director Vikramaditya Motwane is a filmmaker after my heart. He has shown his talent with Udaan and DevD. He has worked on Devdas (2002) as associate director, as the choreographer in Water (2005)  and it must have inspired him. This movie is ripe with the tone and color of those two films, but Lootera is his masterwork.

I hope the movie makes it to the Oscar’s.

Khiladi786’s genius soundtrack

I am going to watch Khiladi this weekend, and I am excited. Not so much because I love bodies flying through the air, car collisions and firecracker-Kung-Fu. Well, I do love Akki, but that’s besides the point.

My autistic and predominantly non-verbal student LOVES Bollywood music, so whenever a new movie comes out I am showing him the trailer and the songs. I show him Stardust magazines with all its glamorous Bollywood stars. When I point and ask him “who is this?” he will identify the star with 100% accuracy. On our frequent walks I may start humming a BW tune and lo and behold he will know one or two lines of the lyrics -without understanding a word. Point in case I was humming after a very long hiatus Chammak Challo and he knew the title and who’s acting in the movie.

Today I was telling him about the upcoming Khiladi and I went on Youtube to show him the trailer and then the songs. I had seen the trailer but I had no idea how many beautiful tunes it had!

From my student’s point of view here are the songs he liked best: (with passionate repeat-listening..)

Hookah Bar

music and lyrics  and vocals by Himesh Reshammiya

in second place came The Lonely Song, credits go again to  Himesh and Yo Yo Honey Singh & Hamsika Iyer
Lyrics by: Shabbir Ahmed

followed by Saari Saari Raat also by the ultra-talented Himeshji, GEE!!

and we liked Long Drive, music Himesh.  sing sing: Mika Singh

for some reason Balmo came last in our favorite countdown:

music Himesh, singers  Shreya Ghoshal and Sreeram

I mean, this movie is a musical treasure chest

and off I go to buy the CD :-)

can’t wait to see these beautiful songs on the big screen!!

– which makes me laugh because before my Bollywood mania days  I DESPISED music and dance in movies. Go figure.  What a turnaround.

Thank you Youtube, Eros Entertainment and T-series for all these great Bollywood video clips

And thanks Bollywood for adding another dimension to my life. With its colors, its music, its stars, it just brings so much joy, not just to me but all the peeps I can share this passion with. Like my wonderful student.

Mika Singh – popular Bollywood songwriter, singer, performer in his own rights


you probably know best his songs from Singh is King and the Desi Boyz


but he’s got many more goodies hidden under his sleaves..and here are some of my favorites:




Desi Beat – Bodyguard


Watching  Namaste America (the only Bollywood program available on my optimum cable, Saturdays at 10 am on channel 48)  there was a segment on Mika Singh, one of Bollywood’s top playback singers. You can’t help it but dance to his bouncy songs..


in case you missed him in Singapore at the IIFA 2012

Mika Singh live performance Singapore IIFA 2012


I did…


so I looked him up on wiki and walked away IMPRESSED.  I know very little about the playback singers and songwriters in India but I have heard their songs of course. I try to catch them live, very often I hear too late about their US appearances. Mika I have missed. Apparently he was on a US tour. Too bad. I got to catch him on Youtube :-)


from his wikipedia page:

Mika is a singer, composer, performer and songwriter. He is considered[by whom?] an acclaimed musician and most of all the ‘Powerhouse Entertainer’.[citation needed] Amongst a wide catalog of smash hits, the prominent ones remain “Singh Is King” (Singh Is King), “Mauja Hi Mauja” (Jab We Met), “Idn-e-Batuta” (Ishqiya), “Dhanno” (Houseful), “Dhin Chika” (Ready), “Desi Beat” (Body Guard), “Subah Hone Na De” (Desi Boys), “Pungi” (Agent Vinod), “Ganpat” (Shootout at Lokhandwala), Gabru (album) and Sawan Mein Lag Haye Aag (album), to name a few. He is also famous for “Jaatan (Jat) ka chora” song which is based on Jat clan (Haryana)Rani tu mi RajaSon of Sardaar.

Early life

Mika was born on June 10, 1977 at Durgapur, and brought up in Patna, Bihar with his brother Daler Mehndi. Although born and raised in Bihar, he is a Punjabi. His father, Ajmer Singh Chandan, was a classical musician and amateur wrestler. His mother, Balbir Kaur, took interest in folk music and is a state level amateur wrestler. He is the youngest of six brothers.


Song Title Movie
Rani Tu Mein Raja Son of Sardar 2012
9 Track Album Pardese 2012
Go Go Go Govinda OMG: Oh My God! 2012
Paglu Title Track Paglu 2(Bengali Movie) 2012
Humse Pyar Karle Tu Teri Meri Kahaani 2012
Kammo Department 2012
Chinta Ta Chita Rowdy Rathore 2012
Chaddha Vicky Donor 2012
Bittoo Sabki Photo Lega Bittoo Boss 2012
Pungi Agent Vinod 2012
Pyar Ka Jhatka Khokababu (Bengali Cinema) 2012
Saj Dhaj Ke Mausam 2011
Pyar Do Pyar Lo Thank You 2011
Gaddi Modange Dharti 2011
Paglu Paglu (Bengali cinema) 2011
Saari Duniya Mere Ispe Loot 2011
Subah Hone Na De Desi Boyz 2011
Ban Gaya Kutta Pyar Ka Punchnama 2011
Desi Beat Bodyguard 2011
Dhink Chika Ready 2011
Ishq Na Kariyo Kake Pyar Ka Punchnama 2011
Jugni Tanu Weds Manu 2011
Ibn-E-Batuta Ishqiya 2010
Aal Tu Jajal Tu F.A.L.T.U 2010
Saajna Lamhaa 2010
Balu Rao Once Upon a Time in Mumbai 2010
Dhanno (Aapka Kya Hoga) Housefull 2010
Jis Din Toh Baat Pakki 2010
Pilla Navarda Kadu Adhurs (Telugu) 2010
Ba Mulaiza De Dana Dhan 2009
Oh By God Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani 2009
Dil Bole Hadippa Dil Bole Hadippa! 2009
Quick Gun Murugun Quick Gun Murugun 2009
Aage Aage Life Partner 2009
Dhun Lagi Jai Veeru 2009
Tabahi Tabahi Jugaad 2009
Duniya Hai Gol Bad Luck Govind 2009
Muztarib Wafaa 2008
OK Tata Done Dil Kabaddi 2008
Oye Lucky Lucky Oye Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! 2008
Khoka C Kkompany 2008
Ganesha My Friend Ganesha 2 2008
Singh Is King Singh Is King 2008
Bhutni Ke Singh Is King 2008
Talli Ugly Aur Pagli 2008
Apun Ke Saath Mission Istaanbul 2008
Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag Woodstock Villa 2008
Tu Makke Di Roti Mr. White Mr. Black 2008
Nachle Soniye Dus Kahaniyaan 2007
Mauja Hi Mauja Jab We Met 2007
O Yaara Dhol Bajake Dhol 2007
Ganpat Shootout At Lokhandwala 2007
Neeli Neeli Aankhon Wali Nehlle Pe Dehlla 2007
Dil Mein Baji Guitar Apna Sapna Money Money 2006
Dil Tod Ke Na Ja Pyaar Ke Side Effects 2006
Album – Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag 1998
Album – Gabru Gabru 2004
Album – Dunali Dunali 2006
Album – Something Something Something Something 2008


“Dancing with the Stars” sizzles with Bollywood flavor


Gilles Marini and Peta Murgatroyd

Season 14: Derek Hough and Maria Menounos


Derek Hough and Shawn Johnson dancing to Bhangra


I bet it’s not the last time we will get Bollywood-inspired dances on this show. They are always a sure hit.

Even though the guys are all doing a good job…. Bollywood-moves are not in our exactly in our collective DNA.  Maybe they should invite Hrithik :-)

if I wanted to decorate my pillows with Bollywood songs…

you know, the way they put a piece of fine chocolate on your pillow in either very small and fancy or big and expensive hotels…. well, I’d go for a Bollywood song from my Favorites Collection :-)


[These ones are for you, Scotty! :-)  some you know, some you don’t…]


Marjaani Marjaani from Billu Barber  (Shahrukh Khan)



Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli (Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya)



Jan Pehechan Ho by Mohammed Rafi from Gumnaam



Salaam E Ishq (Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra)



Subha Hone Na De from Desi Boyz  (Akshay Kumar and John Abraham)



or multiple times? parallel?  haha… WHATEVER!



Preity Zinta – Happening from Main Aur Mrs Khanna



Bumbro from Mission Kashmir  (Preity and Hrithik Roshan)



good nite,  sleep tight,  and don’t let the bedbugs bite.

Rock India Rock!


That’s the spirit of India. That’s the spirit of its youth.

Rock reincarnated in India.


Raghu Dixit, Antaragini



Shor Bazaar. Savita Bhabhi]


Voice by Pentagram


Motherjane. Jihad


Avial. Chekela


Parikrama. but it rained.


The Superfuzz. School






Best Bollywood Wedding Songs

Coming back from a phat Indian wedding in New Jersey. It’s easy to understand why Katy Perry and Russell Brand wanted to have an Indian wedding, what’s more in India, because if you have ever been to one you’ll be hooked and all other weddings will look boring to you. No one knows how to celebrate it better, grander and more joyously. This is my fifth Indian wedding I was invited to and if you know any NRI getting hitched in the greater NY region please send me an invitation. I can do Indian weddings every day and all day long. I’ll be happy to blog about it in return..haha

Well, yesterday’s wedding was truly fantastic with the bollywood-hunky groom arriving very traditionally on a white horse. The food was to die for, the venue well-chosen and I’ll share it with you here only because it was such a magical place for this grand occasion: The Merion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Wedding planners, check it out if you want something special for the big day..

This was a Sikh wedding,  which varies slightly in ritual from a Hindu wedding, where bride and groom walk seven times around the sacred fire. In the Sikh tradition you have prayers read from the holy book of the Sikh, the Guru Granth Sahib.

The Guru Granth Sahib – Holy Book of the Sikhs

at the end of the auspicious ceremony a sweet pudding is distributed. Truly a grand occasion. A wedding is marking a milestone in life. To be there and witness it is a blessing in itself, but when the celebrations take off to beloved Bollywood songs later on in the day after the completion of all ceremonies your heart starts singing to these beautiful melodies.

We don’t have that in the West. We may play disco music, hip hop, waltzes maybe, evergreens, Klezmer but rarely do we hear film music or are dancing to it. Tops, Saturday Night Fever. At Indian weddings you will hear Bollywood songs. Predominantly from movies with Shahrukh Khan.  Chammak Chalo from Ra.One is the latest gem from his treasure chest of super-catchy filmi songs.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi songs are never missing in action

go a lil retro and introvert

and then let it all go

Salman Khan’s songs are just a step behind. Dabangg high on the list:

and the sweet song Teri Meri of Bodyguard, for desert and a slow dance:

and we got a new hit song that surely will be making the rounds:

Mashallah from Ek Tha Tiger

Salman’s songs usually rock: Desi Beat from Bodyguard

Salaam E Ishq

and did I mention Tanu Weds Manu? Sadi gali

I always loved Khuda Jaane’s beautiful melody:

Oh lala from The Dirty Picture is running wild.

I’d definitely include Shava Shava

Mast Kalandar

Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli

going retro with It’s the Time to Disco from Kal Ho Na Ho

and if it were my wedding I would throw in Jaan Pehechaan Ho for good ole sake

Happening with Preity Zinta

and no wedding is complete without Bhangra

and the Desi Boyz

want to get your guests on the dancefloor? Papa Toh Band Bajaye

and or some romantic older songs like Aaye Ho Meri Zindagi

Have I forgotten Senorita for a little Spanish flavor and get the guests to dance?

or this song from Zindagi that makes you want to get married all over again

Here comes a new addition of a feel-good song, from the upcoming movie Khiladi 786 with Akki and Asin: Hookah Bar Song

and the Lonely Song, which won’t leave you much longer lonely if you shake your booty

and the most beautiful love song ever, Saari Saari Raat by Himesh Reshammiya
Lyrics: Shabbir Ahmed

for a Punjabi wedding perhaps the little edgy… Shera di Kaum

dunno what the lyrics are about but I like the tune of Aga Bai from the movie Aiyaa

another nice dance song is Sheila Ka Diwani

and what could be more fitting than a song from Teri Meri Kahaani?

of course I don’t speak a word of Hindi, so some of these songs maybe inappropriate… :-p

and one last thing, there should be songs for all generations. grandpa and grandma need to have a good time too.

and here are a few more from Lootera: Sawaar Loon

actually every single song on Lootera is worth gold :-) get the soundtrack. I am addicted to it.

Ambarsariya from Fukrey

London Thumakda from Queen

Queen had many goodies, like this  Hungama remix

Oh Gujuriya…

Nahin Maloom from Total Siyapaa

I haven’t added in so long, I am sure I forgot to mention a ton of good songs, I would like to hear at MY wedding LOL

Anyways, see if you can get invited to an Indian wedding. I am ready for my next :-)


PS.  wedding planner on this wonderful day was no other than the lovely bride herself. If I’d plan anything big, I’d call  Enarmorme.

enamorme.com      event-planning

35B South Van Brunt Street
Englewood, NJ 07631


Tel: (201) 439-9999

Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar wins big at the FICCI FRAMES excellence awards

link to Ficci Frames:   about.htm



I don’t understand a word, but I am posting the clip for those lucky enough to know Hindi.  I am listening cuz  there are bits of Hinglish that allow glimpses into the nature of the conversation.  and underneath a kind soul translated the essence:  Story is everything.  What the filmmaker makes of it determines success or failure of a film.

– which is only partly true, because if you think, for example, of Swades,  perhaps Srk’s best movie, the script is good, the music fantastic, the cinematography is wonderful. So why did it flop? I know tons of people who LOVED that movie…

But let’s come back to Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor and Imtiaz Ali. It’s Ranbir’s most complex role up to date and he did a phenomenal job. P H E N O M E N A L.  I loved the story too. It sounds like such a cliche that great music or art for that matter should be the substrate extracted from sufferings, we don’t want to accept it but most often it has been proven true.

We have to have experienced the bottom, the abyss, to create something that touches the soul of others . We see it in artists that once the great success comes in the art suffers. Too good of a place is the kiss of death for the creative mind, who becomes too complacent, almost. too saturated.

I am going to be killed for it, but I am going to say it anyway. It’s not even a matter of compassion, love for others.  very often the great artists are intensely narcissistic and they can create greatness by just feeling sorry for themselves, but the suffering has to be there.  I found this to be true and so this movie Rockstar resonated with me

Ranbir’s performance was powerful, though a little uneven in places.. like in the beginning of the movie, where he appears a bit too dopey and naive… Nargis Fakhri was criticized mercilessly and sometimes I think unjustly. The role should have been given to somebody more experienced maybe, it was a gamble. I still liked her in this role.

Writer/Director Imtiaz Ali is so incredibly versatile, so gifted.  I am delighted for him receiving the award for Best Director!! Deserved!
These awards were wisely distributed. Rahman wrote beautiful songs for Rockstar.  Best film for Zindagi, my favorite movie last year. Not to mention Vidya Balan whose performances are just explosive. She starts looking like one of these mighty ancient Greek or Roman goddesses to me.

Mumbai: Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Rockstar’ emerged a big winner scooping four awards, including best actor for Ranbir Kapoor, at the 2012 FICCI FRAMES Excellence Awards.

The film, which chronicles the story of an aspiring singer, walked away with the trophy of best director for Imtiaz Ali, best music director for A.R. Rahman and best singer (male) for Mohit Chauhan. Vidya Balan received the best actor (female) award for ‘The Dirty Picture’.

The best film award went to ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’. Directed by Zoya Akhtar, the movie featured Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol.

Meet the winners of the 57th Filmfare Awards

“The best debut male and female awards went to Vidyut Jamwal for ‘Force’ and Parineeti Chopra for ‘Ladies v/s Ricky Behl’, respectively, while Abhinay Deo was adjudged best debut director for ‘Delhi Belly’.

Usha Uthup and Rekha Bhardwaj jointly received the award for best singer (female) for the film ‘7 Khoon Maaf’.

Hosted by Mandira Bedi, the awards, presented by UTV Stars, featured performances by Usha Uthup and rocker Papon.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the award for maximum impact made by a personality.

The awards ceremony, held Friday night, was the concluding event of the three-day annual FICCI FRAMES conclave.

“When it comes to entertainment, India is reaching new heights with each passing year due to the efforts and passion of a set of people who are its driving force,” filmmaker Karan Johar, co-chairman, FICCI Entertainment Committee, said in a statement.

“With the FICCI Frames Excellence Awards, we hope to honour the best across the different media platforms. We hope the awards inspire all to excel,” he added.

The awards ceremony will be aired on UTV Stars at a later date.”




Holi Hai @ Rizzuto Park, Queens



The air filled with talcum and colors, from a stage further away you could hear Oh lala from The Dirty Picture, and young and old dancing to greet the arrival of spring. And it was a glorious spring day indeed yesterday,   a mild and sunny afternoon that brought out the best in people.  Truly a crazy mix of cultures that congregated here at  Rizzuto Park in Queens, which kind of transformed  Holi into a more global holiday, as you can see from the pictures. The atmosphere was infectious…  I guess evil had to take a hike and goodness streamed in oblivious abundance..

to the tune of Oh lala.. :-) which we whistled then all the way home….

actually there were little groups with some fantastic drummers at Rizzuto Park and if and when I figure out how to do it, I will post my videos here..

meanwhile  namaste & phir milenge & Happy Holi!!!