After a conversation about what he was watching on the television, the friendly man who runs our local corner store has recently loaned us a stack of DVDs about two feet high, all of them Indian movies, from what I can tell.
Rick and I haven’t seen that many Indian films, but we’ve liked many that we’ve seen – particularly Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s lavish musicals, which we’ve watched over and over – so we’re eager to see what he’s got in his collection.
We started by watching Yuva.
We chose this one because it stars a couple of our favorite actors from the other films we’ve seen.
Yuva is an action film with a plot that begins with a fateful meeting of three strangers on a bridge in Calcutta. The film then goes back in time to follow these three characters lives – a hired criminal with a violent temper, a student political activist campaigning against government corruption, and a frivolous playboy who has just graduated from college – and show us how they came to be on the bridge at that moment. Then the film continues to follow them into the future to see how their lives intertwine.
Yuva is a great movie. After an initial bit of confusion, and overlooking the less-than-stellar quality of the DVD itself, we found ourselves completely caught up in the story. The repetition of the seemingly chaotic opening sequence from each of the three characters’ points of view, repeating moments of action and dialogue with new knowledge of their context, is cleverly constructed. The acting is excellent, and the acting style is more naturalistic than the over-the-top performances we’re used to seeing in Indian films – particularly good are Abhishek Bachchan, who plays the criminal and is truly scary, Rani Mukerji, she of the delightful scratchy voice, who is his unfortunate wife, and heart-throb Ajay Devgan, who plays Michael, the idealistic activist. It’s not a film to watch for the dancing – the musical numbers are not elaborately choreographed and thus fit more naturally into the story line – but the music is excellent. The final fight scene is one of the more imaginative that I’ve seen on film, full of well-paced surprises.
I totally recommend this movie.
I’ll let you know when we find more good ones in the stack. Which I’m sure we will.