Bollywood Shuffle

I’ve become interested in the Hindi film industry (often referred to as “Bollywood”) over the past few months. I’ll admit that what got me interested were the song from a film called Gumnaam (1965) which was used in Ghost World (2001) and some of the music from Moulin Rouge! (2001). I bought a film called Sholay (1975) from a site called IndiaWeekly and was pleased to note that most Bollywood DVDs are not only long (three hours is average), but also ridiculously cheap, at least from this vendor. I think the disc was US$6.99.

Well, today I decided to try to track down some Indian DVDs here in Toronto. I found a bunch of Indian grocery stores around Bloor and Lansdowne and proceeded to look for some titles I’m interested in: Company (2002), Satya (1998), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), and Jewel Thief (1967). Though these are all available online, I thought I’d try for a little instant gratification. Well, it was like pulling teeth. All Indian grocery stores seem to rent discs, but trying to buy one is an ordeal. They sell them, but don’t have them on display. Instead, they’d ask, “Which ones are you looking for?” and then search for them. I tried four different stores, and none of them had any of the discs I was searching for. And when I asked how much they usually sell for, I was told $25-35. Hello, IndiaWeekly? Clickety Click!

Oh, and last night? Well, last night we felt brainless and rented Shallow Hal (2001), the latest from the Farrelly brothers. It was actually pretty sentimental and “feel-good.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t very funny. And when it tried to be funny, it used either the self-deprecating humour of a man with spina bifida (which wasn’t funny), or relied on the old tried-and-true fat jokes, which in addition to running counter to the film’s “message,” also weren’t funny. It did manage a few moments of charm, but overall, I think the Farrellys are getting soft.

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