Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hum Saath Saath Hain The Happiest Family EVER on Steroids!

Hum Saath Saath Hain is Hum Aapke Hain Koun on steroids.

Auteur Sooraj R. Barjatya lavishes upon us another even more perfect, happy, (and fabulously wealthy) family! This one isn't just perfect, it's Super-Perfect!

Ram Kishen and his wife Mamta have not one, not two, but three, count 'em three (3) sons!

One's a business whiz with a heart of gold, one looks sad whenever he sees anyone poor or suffering, and spends his spare time reading about Mother Teresa, and a Peter Pan one, all fun and innocent who has an alarm clock shaped like a dancing pink hippo. And a beautiful daughter! Actually, the whole family is beautiful.

They are, as noted, fabulously rich like their Hum Aapke Hain Koun counterparts, and like them, they always wear beautiful clothes, and since this is Bollywood, of course they can all sing and dance, and burst into frequent choreographed production numbers, most with religious overtones, because they are also all joyously devout, and every moment of their lives is spent expressing their love for each other and sublime happiness.

Important Viewing Note: You will notice that this movie not only features a lot of the same actors you saw in HAHK, but to your bemused surprise, quite a few of them are playing pretty much the same roles. And it's a BIG cast - even for a Bollywood family love extravaganza. (Though alas, this one doesn't have a fluffy white pupdog).

For that reason, it is best not to spend too much time trying to figure out all the various relationships and who's who - not only because there are so many of them, but because the girls are all styled to resemble each other - just like The Hills and many other US shows, only instead of long blond hair, smoky eyes and a pound of clear lip gloss, the Bollywood Look is often characterized by long dark hair, more definite lip color, and a pound of eyeliner and another pound of lashes.

Also, if you are not familiar with eastern dress, it may take some time before you can perceive and process distinct differences in detail without pausing specifically for that purpose. Films like HAHK and HSSH tend to be such sumptuous visual banquets that the unaccustomed eye darts around wildly - there is just a lot more to look at than you may be used to!

Not to mention Sooraj's penchant for having the principal family under intense and unrelenting Visiting Friend Siege. As one reviewer (who didn't like the movie so much) snarked, "don't any of those people have homes of their own?"

But never mind the haters. You are not watching this for purposes of profound artistic analysis anyway. You are just here to enjoy a never-ending parade of fantabulousness, get a basic grip on some of those Bollywood Basics in a painless, enjoyable way.

So - where were we? Oh yeah. Each son has a beautiful girlfriend, even the business whiz who also has a bad arm, but that's OK because his beautiful girlfriend, who of course he was ready to renounce, so as not to saddle her for life with a husband with a bad arm, loves him anyway, and the noble, kindly father has promised his wife that as soon as all 3 sons are married he will retire. Just as the other 2 sons are about to announce their engagements, though, a Problem clouds the family's blissful sky.

I won't try to explain the Problem, because it would involve going into a whole bunch of cultural stuff, but basically it has to do with some of the family's in-laws, and some busybody friends of the saintly-but-still beautiful mother of the family poisoning her mind with worries, and next thing you know -

Whoomp! There it is! Let the violins soar!

The main reasons for the family's epic happiness is not their vast and untold wealth, oh No! - but that they all live together, in one house (well, OK, one huge sprawling mansion) and are all going to continue living together all the sons with their wives, all their lives, and including any and all prodigy that may issue forth in the event that any of them dance around trees, etc, and the Problem that comes up causes them to cease this practice.

So naturally that destroys everyone's perfect happiness.

Which is why there is no point trying to explain it, because unless you happen to define perfect happiness as spending your life living in the same house with your parents and 20 or so other relatives, it won't make much sense.

See, her sophisticated late-sleeping city friends persuade her that if the father makes the oldest son the head of his huge conglomerate, that he may kick the other two brothers out, like what happened in the daughter's husband's family.

It's important that these are wicked city women because the Epically Perfect Family are of course all simple village folk at heart, and the only reason that the old dude started a huge conglomerate in the first place was to help his fellow simple village folk, who unlike him, weren't born with a stately ancestral estate and the wherewithal to start a huge conglomerate. Noblesse oblige. As one of his perpetually visiting friends says of Ram Kishen "His entire life is exemplary!"

Anyway, of course everything gets resolved in the end, and the family gets to stay united, but the plot isn't why you should see this movie.

Unless you have a whole closetful of cultural hooks to hang it all on, the plot will not make much sense, and as previously noted you will probably not even be able to keep up with the ways the characters are related, even though they sing whole songs about this trying to make it easier for you.

Unlike Mother India, which I very plainly told you to watch first, HSSH is unlikely to win a spot on anybody's list of Seriously Greatest Cinematic Art Ever Produced By Earth Residents.

You should see it because it is a panoply of delightful entertainment of every flavor imaginable, and a few you probably haven't imagined, all positively dripping with Xtra Xtra Cheese.

Yet another good reason to watch the movie is because every frame contains such beautiful clothing. It's set in Rajasthan, so we would expect nothing less.

There are even a few shots of ordinary people, and they are also wearing unspeakably beautiful clothes, just to show you that it really is Rajasthan.

No comments:

Post a Comment