Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bollywood Perfection

You must watch, by whatever means you can, the "Krishna's Birthday" scene from Laagan (2001), which was India's Oscar entry for best foreign film that year. The lead male dances as if he were Sri Krsna the cowherder and beloved of all the cowherdesses (gopis) simultaneously. Hence the flute playing gestures which replicate paintings of Krishna, and the jealousy of Radha, his divine consort. The religious theme is transposed to a 19th century village setting in which a village girl finds that she must compete for the attention of the male lead (Aamir Khan, not insignificantly an actor of Muslim heritage dancing as Krishna) upon whom the eyes of a British white lady have also fallen. Many Bollywood films are cheesy, many are worthwhile. This, by the director of the also magnificent Swades (2004), is one of the best.