Friday, November 25, 2011

Phil goes Bollywood: Phil watches CHAMELI (2003)-November 22, 2011

Ever since I saw RA.ONE and ROCKSTAR a couple of weeks ago, my desire to watch Bollywood films has reached a fever pitch! I also made it a point to watch any film that had actress Kareena Kapoor in it. So while I was in the Willow Glen library checking out some books, I stumbled upon their Hindi DVD section. There I started to pick up Bollywood films that looked promising. One of those films had Kapoor in it, so I had to watch that one first. Expecting your typical lavish Bollywood extravaganza, the film CHAMELI is the polar opposite; offering complex characters and development while examining the affairs of the human heart as it tries to comprehend love, life, and loss.

Original Hindi Movie Poster (2003)
The film follows Aman (Rahul Bose), a wealthy investment banker, whose car breaks down during a cold, stormy night in the area called Kamathipura, which is notorious for it's red-light district and its also known as a crime-prone area. Unable to call for help on his cellphone, he takes refuge in a nearby building. There he meets a prostitute named Chameli (Kareena Kapoor), who at first propositions him, but he turns her down. But soon he gets involved in her nightmare world involving pimps, eunuchs, prostitutes, and corrupt police officers. However it is during the duration of the night these two opposite individuals begin to slowly reveal themselves to each other, and so do their hearts.

The film unfolds so beautifully, like a rose blossoming open during a warm spring day. Some fantastic directing on the part of Sudhir Mishra, who really takes his time and lets us in on these two lost souls who have some pain hiding within them. Also worth noting is the amazing acting on the part of Kapoor. She brought pathos, intelligence and vulnerability to the role, and her performance is just captivating. Before making this film, Kapoor was pretty much typecast as the "funny, silly carefree" character as seen in her previous films. When the role of Chameli was announced, she auditioned for the it, and the rest as they say is history. The film and the role redefined Kapoor, and relaunched her career into the stratosphere. New and challenging roles we offered, and soon she became the most popular actress in Bollywood.

The film was released in India on December 31, 2003. It received critical acclaim right from the get go. The film would later go on to win Best Cinematography at the Film Fare awards and Kapoor would also win a Special Award for Best Performance. The film was released on DVD here in the states in 2004 by Rainbow Films USA.

CHAMELI is a beautiful and enchanting love story of two strangers who meet by chance, but are destined for love. So if you if you are tried of the same old Hollywood love story, then please, by all means, track this film down and watch it! It is a fantastic film that I highly recommended!!

CHAMELI is currently available on DVD and can be purchased at your local video retailers or at Amazon. Visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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