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Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India Review


Excellent
Welcome to Bollywood, where every film ever produced is a musical. If you're frightened by the thought, rest assured that with a population of 1.2 billion people backing a film industry that has been remarkably successful, it is no wonder Indian filmmakers stick to the formula.

Nevertheless, what has been lacking for many Americans like myself, curious to know what Indian movies are all about, is a Bollywood production with real crossover potential. If you're one of those interested people, look no further than Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India, written and directed by Ashutosh Gowarider. Although movies like ABCD (which stands for American Born Confused Deshi), American Chai, and Monsoon Wedding have exposed Western audiences to a fascinating Indian culture, they are not cut from the traditional Indian movie blueprint. Thankfully, Lagaan is a film made by Indian filmmakers for a primarily Indian audience... but that can be enjoyed by anyone with an open mind.

Continue reading: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India Review

Armaan Review


Grim
Having limited knowledge of Bollywood movies, I'm a little afraid of showing cultural ignorance in my review of Armaan. However, if there's one thing I've learned from my nearly three-year stint at filmcritic.com, watching some of the worst movies ever committed to celluloid, it is that cinematic flaws transcend geography and cultural understanding.

The movie, which clocks in somewhere between 160 minutes and forever, deals with the trials and tribulations among the personnel at a gorgeous estate of a hospital, which is in need of new equipment and a load of cash. From that main conflict springs a virtual geyser of events, including a romance between a talented neurosurgeon (Anil Kapoor) and an anesthesiologist (Gracy Singh), an arranged marriage that puts a strain on the two lovers' professional and personal rapport, two tragic deaths, ghostly visions, a staggering number of brain surgeries, lots of screaming, and other conflicts, songs, a pretty sexy dance routine, two car accidents, and more songs.

Continue reading: Armaan Review

Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India Review


Excellent

I have a new favorite musical -- and I'm not even a fan of the genre, per se.

It's a nearly four-hour long, epic Bollywood extravaganza about rain-starved Indian peasant farmers in 1893, the cruel colonial British tyrants that oppress them, and the bold, impossible challenge of a winner-take-all cricket match between the two that will determine if the farmers will have their taxes waived for the next three years -- or tripled.

It sounds ridiculous, I know. But the prolific Indian film industry has been cranking out pictures in this vein for years. They know what they're doing and "Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India" is the fabulous, whimsical, Oscar-nominated culmination of every ambitious, romantic, cinematic and melodious instinct of showmanship that country's studios have ever mustered.

Continue reading: Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India Review

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