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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bollywood Dreams
Bollywood Dreams
Pathfinder Home Entertainment // Unrated // September 27, 2005
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Langdon | posted October 12, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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Movie:
Bollywood Dreams [aka Rangeela] is a Bollywood musical about a young middle class named Milli (Urmilla Mathondkar) who dreams of becoming a movie star. One day out on the beach doing a dance workout she is spotted by a movie star named Rajkummar (Jackie Shroff) who suggests she try out for a role in his latest movie. She does and overnight becomes a star.

But all of this is to the chagrin of her friend Munna (Aamir Khan); a lower class street ruffian who likes Milli but cannot admit that he is in love with her. Over the course of Milli's rise to fame Munna finds himself having to compete with Rajkummar who has taken a liking to Milli. Eventually Munna must decide if he has what it takes to win her back.

The film, directed by Ramgopal Varma in 1995, is a grade B musical. There are half a dozen dancing musical numbers that add spark to the film but for the most part it is not well written or well directed. The film is very predictable, which is not surprising, but at 149 minutes [the box says 175] it plays long. It's also poorly dubbed and has an annoying uneven editing style that skips along with no care for continuity or pace.

In the film's defense it has a lot of energy and the lead characters are all pretty good looking. It also combines some of the MTV-type dance numbers with the story thus making for odd but compelling [or at least interesting] juxtapositions that I'm not so sure are intentional.

For some reason [couldn't be crass commercialism] there is a quote on the front of the box that declares the film is a worthy successor to Singin' in the Rain. This not only raises the stakes for this film but it adds the challenge of making comparisons between the two films, of which there are very little.

Video:
The transfer is terrible. First, the film was shot widescreen [2.35:1] but has been squeezed into 1.77:1 and it looks bad. All the characters are elongated. Second, the film plays close to one-and-a-half speed so it looks choppy and fast. Third, the print they transferred from skips up and down at reel changes. And fourth, there is noticeable compression artifact. This ranks with one of the worst transfers I've seen.

Audio:
Audio is in Hindi and Tamil stereo with optional English subtitles and is the best thing about the DVD. Not spectacular but with good sound especially in the musical numbers. The subtitles also seem to have a mind of their own as they fall behind the action or stay on screen from one scene to the next.

Extras:
Other than chapter selections there is a song selection for the film's main eight songs.

Overall:
Bollywood Dreams is an average musical comedy romance from India. Like many mainstream movies from India there are numerous dance numbers and musical bits. The plot is by-the-numbers and the acting, writing and directing leave much to be desired but it has an upbeat feeling and can be enjoyable. The DVD transfer, however, is as bad as they come. Only fans of Bollywood musicals [who haven't yet seen this film] will want to take a look. For everyone else I would look for other Bollywood musicals until Pathfinder gets a better transfer.

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