Posts Tagged ‘Bollywood’

Inspiration – Some of my favorite Bollywood Movies

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

As some of you may know, I am a fan of Bollywood movies. My knowledge and expertise is narrow, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have people who are knowledgeable provide me with recommendations. Including, as it happens, some members of the offshore development teams I work with.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites, with some links to reviews where I’ve done them. You can find more if you click on my Arjun Rampal Fan Page tab.

This link will take you to my movie review posts, most of them are Bollywood movies so just scroll past the American Sniper review.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi — This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it. You all should watch it. Shah Rukh Kahn.
Om Shanti Om — SRK AND Arjun Rampal
Rajneeti — Arjun with homage to Quentin Tarrantino — so, if violence bothers you, maybe skip, but this is a political film.
The Last Lear — Really really really good movie.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham — a recent recommendation from one of the offshore devs I work with. This is about family.
Band Baaja Baaraat — @alisharai recommended this on twitter. Super cute movie with a super hot kiss scene.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai — SRK, with one of the hottest shoulder touching scenes in the history of ever. Persevere to the 2nd half of the movie.
My Name is Khan — SRK. I bawled like a baby.
EMI — kind of a silly movie but thoroughly redeemed by one of the love stories — probably a must see for Romance authors.


Interview with Mina Khan — Also Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Interview with Author Mina Khan

Author Mina Khan

Author Mina Khan

Today, the lovely Mina Khan is visiting my blog to give away a book and be awesome. Which you will find out from the probing, serious, deeply intelligent questions I ask her.

About Mina Khan

Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She writes about djinns (genies), dragons, hunks and whatever else sparks her fancy. She also writes a weekly food column for her local newspaper. Originally from Bangladesh, she is now a proud West Texan.
For more information check out her:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog: Stories by Mina Khan

Facebook Author Page

Twitter: @SpiceBites


To sign up for Mina’s quarterly newsletter with release updates and inside information on the stories, please check out:


The Questions

1. So. Your story in Alphas Unleashed. Tell us about it!

Alphas Unleashed: A collection of hot science fiction and paranormal romance stories from Michele Callahan, Carolyn Jewel, S.E. Smith and moi. You get 5 heroes, 5 romances, and 4 story worlds.

Mina: My story in Alphas Unleashed is Sealed with a Kiss. It’s about a fire djinn (genie) and the desperate woman who captures him. While deception brings them together, dangerous enemies make them unlikely allies. Can one wrong lead to two rights and true love?

I had a lot of fun writing this pair and figuring out the magic and mayhem that are essential to the story.

2. Do you have any pets? Tell us about your pets. Do you have pictures?

Mina: Erm, I have a full house: three cats and three dogs. All of them are wonderful rescues.

Patches & Mason

[Ooh. So cute!!!]

3. How do you feel about winter? What is your favorite kind of weather?

Mina: Lol! I’m such a cold wimp! Maybe that’s why I associated one of the villains in Sealed With A Kiss with winter…

4. Your books have been nominated for lots of awards. Which books, which awards? Tell us about them!

Mina: I have been very fortunate that my stories (cooked up by my crazy imagination) have been well received. I think all writers/artists/creatives hope their work will connect with another.

WILDFIRE E-book 1400px

Wildfire: A Paranormal Mystery with Cowboys and Dragons. Lynn, a Japanese American dragon shifter, hunts down a rogue dragon setting fires in the wilds of West Texas.


Wildfire is a finalist in the 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence and the 2014 PRISM Contest.

It also finaled in the paranormal category of the Write Touch Readers’ Choice Awards, but Crista McHugh (an author I love to read) won… so thrilled to be in the running!

What Readers Say About Wildfire

“I love books that shift and twist genres, and Mina Khan excels at this…I have to say that this novel is paranormal in a way that no other paranormal I’ve read, it’s romance with some serious sexual tension, and in case that’s not enough, the backbone of the story isn’t the romance or the mystery arsonist, but family, tradition, and acceptance of who you are and where you came from.” ~ Amazon Customer Heather C. about Wildfire

cover 1
A Tale of Two Djinns won the 2013 RomCon Readers’ Crown for best paranormal.

The Djinn’s Dilemma won the novella category of the 2012 Romance Through The Ages contest.

5. You must make this choice: Take an all expenses paid trip to:
(assume VERY high expenses and someone to do all the housework while you’re gone)

Pick one

  • the wilderness (lake or no lake, your choice)
  • the beach
  • your backyard
  • a city somewhere

Where do you go, why, and what do you do while you are there?

Mina: I love exploring cities so have to pick the last one. Probably London or Paris – lots of history, culture, interesting neighborhoods, architecture, and, of course, good food! I’d make sure to visit graveyards, flea markets, and book stores. I’d spend a lot of time walking around at an unhurried pace, following my curiosity.

6. Look to your right. What do you see?

Mina: My backyard with mesquite trees, the Concho River and puppies!

7. You are granted three selfish wishes.

If they aren’t selfish the world will end but not before everyone knows it’s your fault. What do you wish for and why?

Mina: Oh wow, this is a challenging question! But since it’s wishes and I write about genies, I think I can work up a few answers.

A. Money. I would wish for an unending supply of money because money can make things happen. From letting me jet set around the world, to building schools, hospitals and job training centers (here’s the selfish part: they’d all have big signs with my name). Of course, how I spend the money is up to me and not a wish-granting qualifier as stated.

B. The best library ever (open 24 hours) – with books, electronic databases, comfy chairs, café with an international menu, natural light, lots of space so patrons weren’t intruding on each other, good soft jazz, beautiful inspiring architecture, lots of plugs so I could write wherever I wanted. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love libraries and would realize this is truly a selfish wish.

C. My dream house: It would be a penthouse overlooking Central Park, but also open to a beach in the back, and have lush tropical gardens (hey, it’s a wish, so why limit myself?).

8. Tell us a little bit about you as a writer. [EG, plotter, pantser, or something in between? That sort of stuff]

Mina: I’m definitely a pantser. However, the term I prefer (because it’s really how my stories develop) is “organic writer.” I usually start with an image or a sentence that just pops into my mind and refuses to let go.

9. Hobbies?

Mina: Cooking, gardening, doodling, Renaissance dancing, walking, and watching movies (Bollywood & Hollywood).

9.5 OH!! I LOVE Bollywood movies. Who are some of your favorite Bollywood actors and actresses?

Actors: Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, and Sanjay Dutt. I have actually named two of my heroes after two of my favorites — Akshay/Shay, the crown prince of the earth djinns in A Tale of Two Djinns, and Rukh O’Shay, my djinn assassin from The Djinn’s Dilemma. 😀

Actresses: Kajol, Ashwairya Rai/Bacchan, and Rekha

Note: Mina and I had a great twitter conversation about Bollywood movies we’ve enjoyed. We both really like Om Shanti Om, and she was quite jealous that I scored a signed poster of SRK. (Shah Rukh Khan). Regular readers of my blog may already know about my love of Arjun Rampal.

10. What’s next for you?

Mina: More stories! Lol! I’m working on a sequel to Wildfire, a trilogy set in my djinn world, and a secret project. And, of course, several different food stories for my day job!

Other Books By Mina

A Tale of Two Djinns: is a sexy Romeo & Juliet story with genies, feminists and a happy ending. Warning: Assassins and worms tend to pop up at inopportune times!
Also, 50 percent of the proceeds from this story are donated to UNICEF.

“Because of its thematic complexity, its strong and magnetic characters, and its vivid setting, A Tale of Two Djinns is easily a keeper. I’m a fan of the author and the series now, and I truly can’t wait for the next foray into this world!” ~Book Lovers Inc.

The Djinn’s Dilemma: A djinn assassin falls for his human target. He has to figure out how to keep her alive and win her heart.

“The Djinn’s Dilemma is a romantic story about being accepted for who you are. It’s a unique novella that paranormal romance readers will want to check out! It’s a GraveTells Recommended Read!” ~ GraveTells

Dead: A Ghost Story: A multicultural ghost story in which Nasreen – the Indian American protagonist – grapples with her life and death in West Texas.

You can check out all my stories on:


Mina Will give away a digital copy of any of her books to one lucky commenter. The rules are below!

The Rules

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 to enter. To enter leave a comment with at least one of your three selfish wishes by 11:59:59 PM Pacific, Saturday, July 5th, 2014. If the winner does not reply to the notification email within 10 days, an alternate winner will be chosen. The winner will be chosen at random from among the qualified comments.

How to Enter

What would at least 1 of your 3 selfish wishes be? Refer to interview question 7, for the details. All three is fine, but bonus points for that will have no effect on your chances of winning.



Movie Review: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

What? No Arjun Rampal?

Sorry, no. But you get Shah Rukh Khan and he is pretty darn awesome.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

This movie was two, two movies in one. The first half is the absolute silliest most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s 10 years or so before the main story and everyone is in college and they’re wearing these WTF outfits and acting like they’re in Welcome Back Kotter, I swear to God. There’s a whole trainwreck sub-plot theme that suggests it’s just fine to harass women — they like it! It makes them hot!

Oh Lord, I wasn’t sure I could survive it other than the whole rubber necking thing. But the singing and dancing was GREAT and that helped a lot. Plus SRK is smoking hot.

Anyway, Rahul (SRK) is best buds with Anjali, this girl in college — really truly best buds, only she realizes she’s in love with him and he does not get it even a bit. Instead he falls for this hot babe and they get married and are happy and have a daughter while Anjali leaves and, we presume, goes on with her lonely life . . .

Back to the Future

Rahul’s wife has died and his 8 year old daughter, also named Anjali (NOT a coincidence!) through letters left by her mother now has the task of finding his best college buddy Anjali. At this point, the movie turns amazing. It’s really good, if a bit contrived but who cares! Rahul and Anjali have astonishing chemistry and did I mention SRK is smoking hot? It’s just so sweet and she almost marries the wrong man and and wow.

The Take Away

The power of the performances and the romance in the 2nd half of this movie completely make up for the ridiculous beginning.

My vote for best caress ever in a movie. If you love romance in movies, this scene is amazingly hot and sexy.

Highly recommended.


Movie Review: EMI

Monday, September 5th, 2011

My Bollywood adventures continue. I am so completely loving this!

EMI: Liya Hai to Chukana Padega

Once again, the structure of this movie is quite different from what I’m used to. I think, however, that there’s a LOT I missed because the title wasn’t explained anywhere. Also, parts of this movie struck me as silly and disjointed.

But not this: Arjun Rampal

This movie follows four separate stories involving people who take out loans and are, for various reasons, unable to pay them back. The Good Luck Recovery Agency is an outfit that, as you might guess, is in charge of securing payment on the delinquent loans. The story of the owner of the agency ties back and resolves the other four stories. It’s almost like watching five different movies with a magic wand at the end.

At first I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what the Good Luck Recovery Agency had to do with anything aside from comic relief, and fairly ridiculous comic relief at that. It was like watching the comic relief in a Hong Kong martial arts movie: completely unsophisticated and very boy-driven humor. In other words, the humor, while it was obvious it was supposed to be funny, wasn’t very funny to me. In the way that so many women fail to find the Three Stooges very funny.

But those four stories, which are woven into the beginning of the movie without reference, yet, to the Good Luck Recovery Agency, ranged from meh to interesting to funny to heart-breakingly sweet.

Arjun Rampal plays a man who intends to “borrow until he dies.” He was hilarious in this part. And gorgeous, of course. His story line was a favorite of mine because he was just so good. His comedic timing was wonderful. Then he meets the woman of his dreams . . . just as his financial house of cards is collapsing. She dumps him because she expects to be taken care of in style. Alas, he wears the dorkiest hat ever (Why? For the love of God, why?)

I can just imagine the conversation in costume:

“Hey, here’s a hat someone needs to wear.”
“Whoever wears that hat is going to look like a doof.”
“Yeah. That hat is going to kill someone’s career.”
“Better give it to Arjun. No one else can survive the hat of doom.”
“Hey, Arjun! Wear this hat, k?”

Only his major hotness saves him from looking like a doof.

Another of the story lines involved a father who borrows money to support his rather spoiled son’s dreams. This story line was sweet and tender and I teared up several times. You could see the looming financial disaster and oh, my. Even if this were the only decent part of the movie, I’d give this a recommend. It was just so beautifully acted, particularly by the father.

There’s a young couple that borrows so they can marry and go on a honeymoon. For me, this was the least compelling of the stories.

A woman’s husband commits suicide and leaves her with a daughter to support. She can’t get the insurance to payout and she borrows money in order to pay off certain nefarious persons who are supposed to provide evidence that her husband was murdered. Even though this was one of the more emotional stories with some really fine acting on the part of the widow, I had the most trouble with this story. In the West, what she’s doing would be fraud and she’d go to jail for it. So I think I’m missing some cultural context.

Sattar’s story wraps up all the others. He’s a self-made man of humble origins who now employs over 400 people via The Good Luck Recovery Agency. From what I could tell the agency is essentially an extortion racket ala the Mafia, only on behalf of a bank for at least some clients. But now Sattar wants into politics and he is advised to do some good deeds. Initially, he struggles with the concept of doing good. Isn’t employing 400 people good enough?

Then Sattar meets the widow and his story turns into one of the most touching romances I’ve seen in quite some time. He’s smitten from the very moment he sees her. Arjun Rampal’s character agrees to bring them together and plays a sort of Henry Higgans to Sattar’s Eliza Doolittle. And then he has dinner with the widow and he’s just so in love, you can’t help but root for him and he pulls it off. He really does.

Sattar-in-love becomes the solution to everyone else’s financial troubles in a Deus ex Machina way that was silly but whatever. Then there’s a big PSA at the end about the evils of borrowing money and living beyond one’s means.

The Take Away

For me this started out as a jumbled mess of a movie that came together quite late but completely won me over on the strength of 3 of the stories. The romance is wonderful and Arjun Rampal and others turn in some truly excellent performances.

Thumbs up.


Movie Reviews

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

I have slowly been getting in more Bollywood movies. I’ve seen 3-4 more over the last 6 weeks. I’m finding them incredibly entertaining and extremely inspirational, and not just because Shah Rukh Khan and Arjun Rampal are hot men. The movies I’ve seen so far work the emotions like you wouldn’t believe. There’s practically no special effects so they have to actually have a plot. If they’re running out of plot, well, let’s sing and dance! It’s incredible fodder for a writer. The stories are wonderful, even when they’re completely sappy or strain credulity.

I feel I’m still culturally clueless and I find myself wondering about what names signify in these movies — if they do. For example, do Indian surnames indicate ethnicity/caste/class/religion? If so, to what extent does it matter? And what clues and subtext am I missing because I don’t understand the significance of names?

Anyway, I am absolutely loving my exploration of Bollywood films and if you’re a writer looking for different ways to think about story, there’s a goldmine here. Plus some really fun movies.

My Name is Khan

This movie stars Shah Rukh Kahn and is the one that was filmed about 20 miles from my town. The movie is LONG. It’s interesting throughout but the last 45 minutes or more derail and take a stunningly good movie down several notches. But most of this movie is so good I still think everyone should watch it. I tell you I cried like a baby at least twice. Oh my goodness.

Most of the movie takes place in the US and primarily Northern California, though there is a Road Trip later on. Shah Rukh Khan plays a fairly highly-functioning autistic man who falls in love and marries an Indian woman. There’s a tragedy that will break your heart, after which his wife says something unfortunate that Khan takes very literally. This sets him off on his Road Trip. A couple more things happen that will make you cry because all you want is for Khan and his wife to find each other again and wow. Maybe that won’t happen.

Then the movie derails with Khan ending up in some sort of fantasy rural South town being flooded by a hurricane and he saves everyone and the social and racial metaphors are flying so thick all you can do is wish the popcorn had lasted longer while you duck being bludgeoned by THE MESSAGE.

But then everything turns out OK and I cried again.

Total win of a movie. Plus, SRK is hot. There, I said it. It’s true.

Rab Ne Bana di Jodi

This is another Shah Rukh Khan movie. I LOVED this movie. LOVED it even when I totally couldn’t believe the premise. I also secretly wished there had been a slightly different twist but it doesn’t matter. It’s so cute and funny and the singing and dancing is fun fun fun!!

SRK plays a complete nerd who works for Pubjabi Power and he is secretly in love with this woman who is utterly out of his league. Fate conspires to bring them together in a marriage of convenience. He has to pretend he’s not in love and she’s had her heart so thoroughly broken it takes her a while to think about what her life is like now.

She loves to dance and he pays for her to join this dance class/competition where at the end couples will compete for best song and dance. THEN he secretly joins the class as Raj, super hot mechananic and fate intervenes again and they are paired as a dancing couple. As Raj, SRK breaks out of his nerdiness and romances his wife WHO DOES NOT RECOGNIZE her own husband because he has shaved off his mustache. (He keeps a fake one for when he’s his “real” self.)

Here’s the thing: It is actually not completely unbelievable (at first) that she does not recognize him. The physical transformation is astonishing and so is the personality change. The couple is, after all, more or less strangers to each other. At first, this worked for me. But as they get to know each other (as Raj and husband) that failure became less and less believable for me. She really ought to have figured it out.

There’s lots of emotion with the singing and dancing because SRK is romancing his wife as two different people and well, it’s really worth watching. The premise is silly and fun but the sub-text is quite serious and a bit angsty.

Total win of a movie.

Dil Ka Risthta

This movie stars Arjun Rampal and, well, he’s the only reason to watch it. There’s unrequited love, amnesia, a secret baby that is a secret from the mother (I am NOT kidding) and a fake marriage. The theme of fate runs through many Indian movies and that’s the solution to this one.

Basically, the plot is this. Jai (Arjun Rampal) is a wealthy business tycoon who falls deeply in love with the stunningly beautiful Tai (Aishwayra Rai). Seriously, this woman is so beautiful it hurts to look at her. Problem: Tai is madly in love with someone else and none of Jai’s huge “I am Rich as Hell Isn’t This Romantic” stunts do him any good. In fact, he’s a bit stalkerish and she tells him to take a hike and marries the man she loves. They have a wonderful marriage– they’re poor but so happy you could gag — and then a baby! Poor Jai. He can’t stand to see the love of his life so happy, it’s driving him to drink.

Then, one night he’s out drinking with his girl buddy and he drinks and drives and no one is wearing a seat belt. Jai crashes the car, girl buddy goes through the windshield and dies AND the car hits another car and in that car are . . . . Yes. Tai and her beloved husband who dies. I think Jai might get a sexy scar or something.

So, in the hospital, it turns out that Tai has total amnesia and the doctors warn everyone that if anyone tells her about her true past, she will have a brain hemorrhage and die. The solution is for Jai to pretend to be the father of her baby with his dead wife having been Tai’s sister or maybe her best friend, I can’t remember and they all live together in Jai’s fabulous South African mansion with Tai’s mother who has perfected the art of evil glances at Jai, who, after all, is responsible for the destruction of Tai’s happy life.

Jai himself is horrendously guilty. You never saw such pain in your life. There’s singing and dancing and they’re falling in love only he can’t let her know how he feels because, yeah, he killed her husband in the car crash, is pretending he’s the father of her baby, which she doesn’t even know is actually her son, and basically everyone is lying to Tai but especially him.

Then more stuff happens and she remembers her past (no hemmorrhage!) and she forgives Jai because obviously fate intended for them to be together.

The Stare of Evil mom was amazing. Rampal was gorgeous. The movie was terrible. But I might watch it again.


This was another Rampal movie and what stands out in my mind is Arjun Rampal in the shower. I think there was more, but I’m blanking. He was in the shower. OHmygod.

OK, I’m not really blanking out. This was a movie I thought I had all figured out and it turns out I totally did not. Three times. Holy CRAP! This movie had more twists than any Hollywood Noir of the 1950’s, which, clearly, I think was the inspiration. I can’t even begin to describe the twists and turns except to say that there’s amnesia (Yes! More Amnesia!!) and nobody is who you think even when you’re convinced you know.

Total win for the shower scene.


3 Movie Reviews – Arjun Rampal

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

I have three movie reviews for you today. Three. You might notice a theme. That theme looks a lot like this:

That is because I have discovered Arjun Rampal, an Indian actor who has officially taken over as my Other One True Love and is, and it’s shocking that I can even write this, making a serious bid for my One True Love. Many of you probably know that Alexander Skarsgard is my One True Love, by the way. Meaning the bar is pretty damn high.

A bit of a disclaimer:
One thing I’ve learned is that the English language descriptions of Indian moves (in my admittedly limited experience) do a very poor job of describing the actual movie. Another consideration is that I am missing a lot of cultural context that would surely expand and deepen my appreciation of any Indian movie. So, keep in mind that I am viewing these films as an American woman. I’m quite sure some cultural things whooshed right over my head. My ignorance of Indian culture probably explains some of the things I was at times confused about.

Here are the three movies I’ve seen so far in which Rampal appears:

The Last Lear

Movie director Siddharth (Rampal) talks an eccentric Shakespearian stage actor, one Harish Mishra, out of retirement in order to act in his film. In the course of filming the movie, Siddharth elicits an electrifying performance from Harish. We know as well that Harish was horribly injured in an accident connected with the film. The Last Lear is, in essence, about what happened and why and how lives were affected. And, of course, as with any good story, about a great deal more.

It’s not inaccurate to say that Siddharth seduces Harish into agreeing to act in his movie. Rampal is absolutely brilliant as Siddharth, by the way. The man can act. Harish (Amitabh Bachchan) is completely and utterly charming. His defense of the stage over cinema is wonderfully done, and yet, he ends up agreeing to do the movie.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I will say that I did not anticipate what happened. Did not. When the moment came, everything I thought about previous scenes completely changed. There were several points at which the movie changed for me as plot lines and time lines came together, raveled and unravled. I was a bit confused at the beginning and probably for about a third of the movie, but that was a result the structure of the movie (which completely works, by the way).

The Last Lear is an amazing movie and Rampal’s portrayal of Siddarth is multi-dimensional and nuanced. Oh my. This is a movie I recommend seeing no matter what.

Rock On

Rock On is about the four members of a Rock band who disband just as they are on the cusp of major success. Ten years later, they reunite. The movie has two time lines: the 10 years previous when they are dedicated musicians and the present, 10 years later when most of them are either not involved in music at all or are only peripherally involved.

Rampal plays the part of Joe Mascarenhas, the volatile but talented lead guitarist. He’s Catholic and there were times I was pretty sure someone was flirting with the Joeseph of Nazarene theme there. But again, I think my cultural ignorance prevented me from picking up on the nuances and implications of his religion other than to see they were put front and center in a couple of scenes. The actual star of the movie was Aditya, the band’s lead singer.

For this American, the movie was way too long. I’m told (and am discovering) that Indian movies have a different pacing. (And yet, see my review of Raajneeti where the length was not a problem at all). Rampal burned up every scene he was in and, frankly, the other actors simply weren’t a match for Rampal’s talent and charisma. They held their own scenes quite well, but as soon as they were in a scene with Rampal, they just weren’t interesting enough. In my opinion, the movie was miscast. Rampal should have played the role of Aditya.

The plot was completely schmaltzy and you could see the ending coming about 10 miles off, but it was still fun. And, to its great credit, the movie is not just about 4 guys forming a band, breaking up and then getting back for more fun later. It’s about 4 men who lose their way in life and find their way back.

For me, this was an OK movie with Rampal being almost the only reason to stick with it for as long as it lasts. If this had been an American film by the way, it would have starred Mike Meyers and been a completely stupid boy movie. But it wasn’t, thank goodness.


Much as I liked The Last Lear, Raajneeti is by far my favorite of the three. Its 162 minutes and it’s gripping for just about all of it. This movie was EPIC. EPIC I tell you. If I were more familiar with Indian politics I might not have been so surprised by all the twists, but HOLY FUCKING HELL!

The movie is about a family of politicians — they are all in one way or another supporting their party, until the patriarch and party head suffers a stroke that leaves him barely able to communicate. The family fractures and splinters and it was like watching Good Fellas and The Godfather all rolled into one movie with a dash of Quentin Tarrantino. There is a secret baby thrown in, too.

The Indian caste system comes into play as well. All the women get knocked up and let me just say that, with my limited cultural context, politically I think the parallels to Indira Ghandi and probably Benazir Bhutto were pretty evident.

Rampal plays Prithviraj Pratap, the elder brother who, after his uncle’s stroke, is given a powerful position in the party. A lower caste man (Sooraj) whose father is the Pratap family chauffeur, wants a role in the party and appears to have some serious support from his caste. Prithviraj’s younger brother, Samar, has been in America getting his PhD in . . . . wait for it . . . 19th century Victorian poetry! He returns to India for what is supposed to be a short time, after which he’s going back to New York to do a “presentation” on his dissertation and then probably accept a teaching job. I think this was supposed to mean his orals. For quite some time Samar is fairly uninteresting, and then, holy moley! He’s not.

What I loved about this movie was the way the brothers where at times noble, conniving, cheaters, bribers, dedicated to the good of their country, murderers, mad-bombers and hit-man hirers. I swear, there were scenes where I thought Prithviraj (Rampal) was as dirty as a politician could get and then his enemies were even dirtier and I was back on his side. And then there’s the baseball bat scene and even after that Tarrentino inspired scene, Prithviraj manages to rehabilitate himself. Samar, mild-mannered, Americanized Victorian poetry Academic is a fish out water and then, whoa. Evil mad poetry genius?

And then Indu — the beautiful young woman with political ambitions who is still at the complete mercy of her father. She loves Samar, but Samar loves this American woman (except it turns out she was born in Ireland –WTF?) and well, she was the weakest character who kept pronouncing Samar’s name as “Summer” and let me just tell you that there are more than enough Indians in New York that there’s just no excuse for her cultural insensitivity. I’m calling out the directors and writers for that. Sorry, but America really is culturally diverse and a NYC college student just would not be so completely treacly. Ick. Anyway, Indu is in love with Samar who loves that American dishrag bit but she ends up having to marry Rampal and to be perfectly honest, I thought, oh, you lucky lucky woman. Do not look back. You are now married to the hottest man on the planet.

OK, so some other things about this movie. There is a scene early on where Rampal is having what I later realized was sex with this other woman. It started out really hot but then, when they’re actually having sex (mostly standing up) I DID NOT realize at the time they were having intercourse– mostly I was wondering why the foreplay was so … odd– because they were not physically close enough for his *ahem* member to be where a man’s penis goes during such a moment. Seriously. Once I realized that they were supposed to be doing the deed, all I could think was, no man’s dick is that long. A rare fail moment.

Anyway, Raajneeti. Highly recommended. It’s a brilliant, gripping movie with plot twists galore and well, Arjun Rampal, who was fantastic. He’s one hell of an actor.