Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Week in Entertainment

Live: L'Elisir d'Amore at the Met. Extremely good. Anna Netrebko was wonderful; Matthew Polenzani nailed his Act II showstopper - and did stop the show; Mariusz Kwiecien shone as Belcore; and Ambrogio Maestri was quite good as Dr. Dulcamara. This was also well worth the trip!

DVD:  Baghban (Gardener), starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini as a couple who've spent their whole life giving their four sons want they wanted, only to discover that once he retires, the sons don't want to take care of them since he's got no money left. Fortunately he has an adopted son - played by Salman Khan (whom Bollywood loves, and who's very good here - though the part was actually meant for SRK, who's played Bachchan's son before, but he was laid up with a serious back injury), so you can rest assured that things will work out in the end. It gets a bit preachy, even anvilicious, at the end, but it's good - and Big B is wonderful, as is Hema Malini. Also Dulha Mil Gaya (The Groom is Found), with Sushmita Sen, Ishita Sharma, Fardeen Khan and Shahrukh Khan, a story about a playboy whose father's will compels him to marry the father's old friend's daughter - a simple Punjabi girl - and what happens when she comes to Trinidad looking for him, not knowing he's hidden the marriage from everyone, including a friend who decides to help the abandoned wife win him back. Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (Who am I to You..!) with a young Salman Khan (still able to put some depth into his characters) and Madhuri Dixit, though it's Renuka Shahane at Pooja who really steals the show, along with several good character actors, especially Anupam Kher, Laxmikant Berde, and Reema Lagoo, and a really wonderful Alok Nath. This one is a real tear-jerker, but manages to end happily. And finally Koyla (Coal) with Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit as the unfortunate lovers and Amrish Puri as the truly detestable villian - this one's not the greatest quality dvd I've ever seen considering the film's only 15 years old, but the story's tense and keeps you on the edge of your seat - kind of violent for a Bollywood romance, especially at the end while Shankar is avenging his parents. (Yes, a lot of long Bollywood films this week - that's what happens when you get a long weekend and then spend two days off with a bad sinus cold...) 

TV: The Mentalist - and I'm with Charlotte: I'm so over Red John. But yet another depressing turn of events. This show used to be great fun. Now it's anything but.

Read: The Aviary, a YA reworking of an old fairy tale theme, very nicely done.  Began Orhan Pamuk's recently translated Silent House.



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