White Guy Watches Bollywood

A random white guy engages with contemporary Indian cinema... one movie at a time


Hindi Movie Review: Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya satirizes the raging A.I. debate with irresistible rom-com hijinks

Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon star in "Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya," here reviewed by White Guy Watches Bollywood.

The “robot woman” subgenre has certainly had a notable impact on culture worldwide, spanning landmark titles from The Stepford Wives to Ex Machina, but there are actually fewer of these movies than you’d think. The list gets even shorter if you winnow it to just those films that are not strictly about the perils of robot technology, i.e., those that attempt something more than just dystopian science-fiction. I point this out simply to say that the time is ripe for a movie like Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya, which definitely has its fair share of cautionary points to make in the end, but spends much of its runtime thriving as a frothy, off-kilter romantic comedy between a man and a female-appearing robot. Especially with all the media discourse of artificial intelligence’s role in present-day civilization, this subgenre feels like the right well to go back to in our current moment. Leave it to Bollywood to get there first.

But the movie doesn’t just feel like it’s seizing upon the zeitgeist; topicality aside, it chiefly succeeds as pure entertainment. Sometimes it’s aggressively silly, yes, but this is the type of good-natured, mass-appeal amusement that moviegoers used to love before they got overly self-conscious. The setup is simple, but satisfying: protagonist Aryan (Shahid Kapoor) is a brilliant robotics programmer whose personal life lacks the excitement of his coding innovations, marked by a refusal to marry any woman his family presents to him. Fortunes change, however, when Aryan’s U.S.-based boss and aunt, Urmila (Dimple Kapadia), introduces him to her lovely assistant Sifra (Kriti Sanon) on a business trip. He’s immediately struck by her – she’s perfect for him in every way – but the only problem is, Sifra actually stands for “Super Intelligent Female Robot Automation” (brilliant movie scientists just have a way of picking the lamest acronyms ever for their inventions!). Aunt Urmila had to test her technological masterpiece on Aryan without revealing the secret behind “her.”

>> Click Here to Continue Reading >>

Hindi Movie Review: Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani soars on infectious characters, sputters on sloppy politics

Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh star in Karan Johar's "Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani."

There is such an intoxicating energy to the first half – and especially the first third – of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (in English, “Rocky and Rani’s Love Story”) that it’s damn near impossible to resist in the early going. Telling an age-old story of opposites attracting with goofy aplomb, this latest directorial effort from megaproducer Karan Johar feels like a Bollywood-infused throwback to the golden era of early-2000s Hollywood rom-coms. With a seemingly effortless, high-energy style and two irresistibly charismatic lead performances by Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, the film flies by until the intermission point.

Only at the movies are we willing to suspend disbelief to the extent that we buy into a romance between characters as seemingly mismatched as Singh’s Rocky and Bhatt’s Rani, but there’s something distinctly pleasurable about believing that such a pairing could actually happen. Or really, that these leads – so endearing but also so fabricated – could exist in the natural world. We meet the two characters in introductions so cheesy-delicious, they could sell them at Little Caesars. Rocky, an intellectually vacant but well-meaning Punjabi heir to a packaged laddoo fortune, romps around a club with a shirt that seemingly won’t button, while women of all ages drool at his feet. Rani, a bohemian-raised Bengali television journalist, takes down a chauvinist politician in an on-air interview that would have never been consented to in reality.

>> Click Here to Continue Reading >>

Scroll to top