I’m super excitecd for DJ now after seeing Arya(2004) and Arya2 (2009) over the last 2 days. Only Arya2 is the MUST see movie, but you should watch the
opening dance number of Arya, to get a sense what a great dancer Allu Arjun is. Arya was his breakout film, and the debut blockbuster for director Sukumar — the guy who directed 1: Nenokkadine!
Like most Indian “sequels” Arya1 and Arya2are not continuations of the same story thread, but variations on the same theme.
Arya1 has Arjun playing Arya, and he’s in a love triangle with Geeta and Ajay and the setting is college. Ajay is your typical college tough stalker. He decides Geeta will be his and threatens suicide to make her date him.. Ugh. Arya loves Geeta but expects nothing in return. He even helps to get Ajay and Geeta togehter, etc. when her father wants her to marry someone else. Geeta is played by a former model, and she has only one basic expression the entire film — looking miserable. She has the charisma of a wet dishrag. Ajay is your basic evil boyfriend. Arya (Allu Arjun) carries the entire movie by sheer force of his cheerfulness, charm and excellent dance numbers
Seriously, Allu Arjun is THE best Telugu dancer I have seen yet. He dedicates Arya2 to Michael Jackson, and he can MOVE. This dancing ability leads to great action sequences, because he’s really acrobatic in his kicks and so on.
I thought I had to watch Arya 1 to get Arya2, but it’s not necessary as Arya 2 is a stand alone film, and not a continuation of the first film’s story. It’s amusing enough, and was a blockbuster hit at the time, but not nearly as enjoyable as the second film. The heroine is just so passive you want to scream, and the plot fairly regressive — except for Arya‘s selfless love.
It just made me appreciate Arya2 all the more. To see how Allu Arjun had grown as a dancer and actor and the director! . I’m really glad I waited until now to watch Arya2, because it is just that much more funny to me now!
Arya2 is brilliant, because it is a total riff and send up of all the usual Telugu movie tropes. And it makes fun of them all, while referencing Darr and even has a white dog at a wedding JUST like the one in HAHK! But what the director does with the dog in the scene just had me in stitches. The whole movie is very entertaining, if a tad long.
First off, we start with Arya and Ajay as fellow child orphans and there is something off about Arya. He demands to be Ajay’s friend, and is a psycho possessive kind of friend. The whole movie is taking that brotherly Dost bond to the far reaches of the extreme.
They fall in love with Geeta at the exact same moment — and she’s played by Kajal who I LOVE, so she’s a spitfire and not a dishrag. They actually flip a coin for her, again riffing on sexist Telugu tropes over and over again, and mocking them.
There’s the forced wedding, the battling families, and on and on. And throughout Arya is mostly completely off his rocker, and yet still mostly likeable! It’s a great performance. And so great of the director to make the main character with negative shadings — he has his blown up Darr sized picture wall of Geeta in his room and all.
The whole set up is in a way similar to the first movie — Arya has a struggle between his love of Geeta and this time his possessive love of his friend Ajay. He wants them to be happy, and works to make it possible for them to be together — while occasionally slapping his own face to remind himself, “Have to give Geeta back to Ajay, Have to give Geeta back to Ajay…) Also, Ajay is not a cardboard villain type. You go back and forth in and out of sympathy with his shades of gray third wheel character. Kajal is sometimes a spoiled brat — and has a penchant for throwing down cell phones and breaking them, which I found to be a very funny running gag.
Don’t expect an emotional rollercoaster with crying and pathos. Expect to laugh and laugh — and be delighted by the clever action scenes, and the allusions to so many other films.
That comedy uncle guy, Brahmanandam is in it as the HR manager of Ajay’s tech firm where they all work, and he has a toned down performance — and was really good! I actually liked him in this one!
This Arya2number is just jaw dropping AMAZEBALLS!! Allu Arjun’s dancing is off the chain!
I’d still say that Prabhas is my number one in Telugu films, and Mahesh second. Alllu Arjun has the best dance skills by far, and real comedic chops, though.
Paheli, Shahrukh Khan’s 2005 movie about a ghost or spirit is one of my all time favorite Shahrukh Khan movies, even if it is not one of his blockbusters. It’s not a scary Halloween movie (like maybe Darr, which is more creepy than scary), but it does have a ghost! Paheli means riddle.
Fantasy film seem to be unusual in Hindi cinema, and in this film Shahrukh Khan plays both a number counting merchant husband, and a bhoot, or a ghost or spirit (sort of a genie, really) who takes his place. Rani Mukerji is the bride who captivates the Ghost, with Amitabh as a wise shepherd in a cameo. It’s a fable that is also about women’s empowerment, and the scene where SRK tells Rani he’s a ghost is one of my all-time favorites. She laughs at first, because it sounds ridiculous! But her real husband barely noticed her, and wouldn’t sleep with her on their wedding night, but this ghost is obsessed with her every since he saw her at the well he haunted.
He could have lied and just taken her in the guise of her husband, but he loves her enough to give her the choice. Swoon!
Rani and SRK have always had great chemistry, but man do they smolder in Paheli. Yowza.
The costumes are just stunning, and the music in the film is just fantastic:
Amitabh Bachchan has a fun cameo as the wise shepherd who must solve the riddle of the two husbands. Juhi Chawla, who co-produced the film, plays Rani’s sister-in-law whose husband (Sunil Shetty) had disappeared. Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak play puppet narrators and of course Anupam Kher is the father.
I love Shahrukh in double roles and these two roles he makes completely separate people. The husband is comedic and obtuse, and the ghost playful and sultry.
Plus, I love the idea of a ticklish ghost! Paheli has been overlooked but I love it. And I love its message of female empowerment and choice.