How do you really measure a movie? There are all sorts of schemes to do a comparative measurement, but they are all subject to a personal bias individually or collectively. We all enjoy different things by which I mean not only that different people enjoy different things, but that each one of us enjoys different things.
So far this year I have watched over 150 movies, many of which were very good and satisfied to some degree different aspects of my psychological needs. People like to be happy, like to be scared, like to cry, like to laugh, some even like to think--at different often unpredictable times. Two movies this year have really left a feeling of enjoyment--"200 Pounds Beauty" and "About Time". It really is some sort of chemistry and admittedly not everyone would get the same reaction. Another movie, "2 States" recently viewed has left a similar feeling.
In this case I had a few expectations which can be dangerously unrealistic. Chetan Bhagat has earned my respect by the one book I read and a few earlier movies that have been tied to him. Shankar Ehsaan Loy are my favorite music composers. Words and music. I also have a visual side, but that is the unexpected bonus.
Chetan's name first came to my attention in relation to the movie "3 Idiots", but the producers and even Aamir Khan distanced themselves from him. Most observers readily give Chetan credit for inspiring the movie if nothing else and it has become one of my favorites. Bookwise I have so far only been able to read "One Night@the Call Centre" which was very imaginative and was able to see the movie adaptation which was enjoyable. "Kai Po Che!" was another very good movie where Chetan was credited. "2 States" is supposed to be biographical as was "3 Idiots." Humour is definitely one of his tools, but so is a realistic view of humans as individual and in relationships. I have written about Chetan elsewhere and now follow him on Facebook. More details at: http://www.johnfdavidson.com/2011/10/chetan-bhgat-new-discovery-for-me.html
Shankar Ehsaan Loy have also been covered in numerous blogs of mine. They have such a range in a number of movies such as "Kal Ho Naa Ho" "Rock On" "Dil Chatha Hai" "Lakshya" Karthik Calling Karthik" Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara." A lot of good movies enhanced by their music and a few saved. Three guys that bring different things to the table--a playback singer, a guitarist and a keyboardist brought together for radio jingles.
I started with Bollywood and discovered there is more depth than weird music and dancing (although us Westerners can get addicted if we allow ourselves). Indians do have a different perspective, but in the most important aspects of being human they are the same. A country that big and with their long history contains a lot of insight and have their own unique ideas of beauty.
I have also watched a number of Tamil movies which are different from Bollywood and one can appreciate a few differences--as a distant observer it is something like Italy where the money is made in the north and southerners seem to enjoy life more. In India as with Italy there are racial (the south tends to be darker skinned) and cultural (one newspaper carrier parent pointed out the food in the south tends to be spicier) differences. There is an underlying unity partly brought about in part in Italy by Garibaldi (one of my heroes). In India one of the unifying factors would be Gandhi (another one of my heroes) and perhaps a reaction to British (and other) colonizers.
"Two States" (based on Chetan's courtship and marriage has the usual plot; boy meets girl, they fall in love and their parents object. Overcoming the obstacles is the whole point. The main protagonist, Krish resembles Chetan in his education following engineering to a business school all the time proclaiming he wants to be a writer. He is not sure what he wants to write about, but he wants to be realistic. The dialogue is excellent. In India they award dialogue writers as well as those responsible for the story.
The music was enjoyable. with music to express great joy, and great despair. Bollywood has a long tradition of dancing which is expected by a large part of their audience. The dancing might distract Westerners, but if you loosen up you will appreciate dancing is fun.
Binod Pradman award winning cinematographer provided a sight for sore eyes. Instead of the usual Mumbai settings we viewed some sights of Delhi, Ahmedebad and Chennai (formerly known as Madras).
Alia Bhatt has been on a roll this year with a few hits, one of which I had recently seen. Her father Manesh Bhatt is a well known producer, director and screen writer and I am sure the connection helped, but she has also obviously learned a few things including picking good scripts with good crew and the subtleties of acting. I am more impressed by her acting (Highway) than looks (she is definitely more than ok, but not outstanding in my opinion) Amitra Singh, Revathy, Ronit Roy and Shivkumar Subramaniam veteran actors as unhappy parents added dramatic realism. Arjun Kapoor played the leading man as I might imagine Chetan to have been in his college days.
Lots of other movies are worthy of your time and at different times some will hit the right nerve. This is my latest experience where an appreciation of art and emotional response tied together almost perfectly. Looking forward to more.