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  • Taal
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Taal
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Taal is almost two movies in one, its two halves linked together by love. What begins in the scenic, provincial setting of Chamba ends in the boisterous city of Bombay. In some ways, it is a conventional love story involving that most star-crossed of romances, one between a wealthy young man and a poor young woman, and all the necessary complications such a love gives rise to. In Bollywood, though, nothing is ever simple - and the whole atmosphere of this film swings ponderously between beginning and end.

Akshaye Khanna plays Manav Mehta, a well-bred young man who comes to India with his fantastically wealthy father and quickly falls in love with Mansi (Aishwarya Rai), the daughter of a local folk singer named Tarababu. How could he not fall for the most beautiful girl in the world? She, her father's only child, resists Manav's affection, afraid to give her heart to a man of such wealth. She is right to fear that Manav's family will not accept a poor girl such as herself (especially his aunt - aunts always seem to pose a major problem for romances in India). She does love Manav, though, and he pledges his everlasting love before accompanying his family back to Bombay. Manav's father had treated Tarababu as a brother in Chamba, but such high regards for the folk singer disappear when Tarababu takes Mansi to be with Manav in Bombay. Mutual insults are exchanged between the two families, and Manav himself sends Mansi away. The love affair looks to be dead and gone at this point, but then Manav learns how his family had dishonored Tarababu when he arrived. Although Mansi wants nothing to do with him, Manav not only renews his pledge of love to her, he remains steadfast in the belief that she will come to him eventually.

Meanwhile, Tarababu and Mansi have been welcomed by Vikrant Kapoor (Anil Kapoor), a famous musician and TV producer who has made all kinds of money remixing the songs of Tarababu. Vikrant takes the simple girl and transforms her into an international singing star - and, as you might expect, falls in love with Mansi. Manav, still confident in his love, shows up from time to time but seems to have lost Mansi forever - yet he still manages to prove his love in the most simple but daring of ways. Herein lies the power of true love; it has the ability to change not only the souls of two lovers, but also the hearts of those around them. A lot of things happen as the story progresses towards its end, leaving Mansi to make the difficult choice of whom she will be with in the film's climactic finish.

Naturally, there are a number of wonderful songs scattered throughout the film, and the movie showcases Rai's beauty across the whole spectrum from young, simple village girl to mega-glamorous international superstar. The whole superstardom thing tends to make the second half of the film a little overblown (and the costumes worn by Vikrant's dancing troupes are just horrible), and I think that takes a way a little bit from the beauty of the film's romance, but the simple truths of this story still shine through. It's a wonderful love story told as only Bollywood can tell it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2013
Why you may ask, did I rent this movie when I've already spent two long reviews ranting about my distaste for Subhash Ghai. It's a reasonable question. Two Words, Aishwarya Rai. (Now Rai-Bachchan), I have so much admiration for her talent that I can't skip it. Another reason, I watched it is because I like Akshaye Khanna a lot, and I had nothing better to do tonight.

Mrs. Rai-Bachchan is pure grace. Oh yeah, she's gorgeous too, but what makes her presence on screen so unique is her exquisite poise and grace. Now I love watching all sorts of heroes and heroines in Hindi movies, actresses like: Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and Rani Mukjeri are favorites of mine. But, Mrs. Rai-Bachchan outshines them all for me because she rarely oversells her emotions. When the typical heroine is bouncing and chirping with happiness, a luminous, smile and gentle laughter are her trademarks. When the typical screeching like a harpy when she's angry, a tight hard voice is what Mrs. Rai-Bachchan uses. When she cries, she cries like every woman I know cries. She showcases this extremely well in this movie. Either Mr. Ghai decided to forego his usual style of squeezing people into acting styles that won't suit them, or Mrs. Rai-Bachchan couldn't give him the usual so he made due with what he had. Whatever it was, her performance as Mansi is lovely and natural. I've yet to see a film of hers where I don't feel for and with her character. I love her dancing here, she floats with the air and her every movement is refinement itself.

Akshaye Khanna was exceedingly sincere in his role as Manav. That's a good thing because as written Manav's idea of courtship strongly resembles stalking. If Khanna wasn't able to channel sweetness and goodness so effectively the romance would be more disturbing than anything else. As it was, I did have the willies for the first ten minutes. I blame that on the script.

Once again, the favorite bhabs (fathers) of Bollywood join forces to separate and reunite the lovers. Amrish Puri, plays Manav's father, the stern, snobby industrialist based out of London, but lives in Mumbai. Alok Nath, plays Mansi's father, the traditional, and poor, but revered folk singer and school master. I'm just thrilled neither threatened to kill their respective offspring this time, and best of all, the daughter doesn't get slapped for a change. Then again, who is going to slap the first Indian Miss World?

But next to Mrs. Rai-Bachchan's performance the movie belonged to Anil Kapoor. The man had attained legend status working with actresses such as Sridevi, and Madhuri Dixit. His turn as the self-centered, profit driven, showman chewed scenery. Unfortunately, he overdid it just a tad. He's much better when he can be restrained, but I think since Ghai allowed both his hero and his heroine to be more natural than appears to be his usual practice he wanted the character of, Vikrat to pick up the slack with HUGE overwrought emotion.

One of the great aspects of fun of this movie is to spot the "blink-and-you'll-miss-them" appearances of a young Shiad Kapur. I adore him, so that made me smile.

Okay technical stuff...

I just can't get over the shock that Ghai wrote a screenplay that had an NRI as the good guy! Hooray! I wish I could say he learned his lesson from the cesspool of prejudice that is Pardes but unfortunately he made Yaadein after this so I'm thinking this one is just a fluke. I'm grateful for this though, I actually enjoyed this movie. I don't need to see it again, but I had expected to be angry and depressed. I'm not and that's awesome, but I said once I saw this movie I was through with Ghai movies and I AM! No more, this was a perfectly fine film to see once, but the only truly special thing about it is Mrs. Rai-Bachchan. The cinematography is adequate, particularly the outdoor scenes but nothing spectacular. The screenplay dragged a lot and there's that stalker-ish vibe. The worst part is that the hero straight up tells you exactly how the story will end. Okay, in fairness, anyone who has watched enough Bollywood could guess. But to tell word for word the actions and dialogue of the ending is just a total bummer. And yes, I'm showing my age there. Once again, Ghai edited his own work and once again, he shows he's not too ruthless in determining what to keep and what to trim. I genuinely believe fifteen or twenty minutes trimmed would have made a decent movie a very good one.

One thing that is miles ahead of the other Ghai films I've seen is the soundtrack. The music is exquisite, and it should be with Bollywood's very best composer and lyricist in charge. A.R. Rahman and Javid Akhtar once again give the world exquisite beauty. I don't have a favorite here, they're all lovely songs to listen to. Unfortunately, I think one or two of the musical numbers contributed to the uneven pace of the movie.

All in all, this is the one-and-only time I didn't waste three hours of my life watching a Ghai film. But in case you're wondering, those four stars are for Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan. She's recently said she's coming back to the movies, I for one, cannot wait!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2011
its been a long time since i saw this movie , you can say i was a kid then and so far i have seen this movie so many times which i haven't even counted , every time i watch this movie i just say "wow" ..every aspect of the movie is great though there are some minor drawbacks which are always there in bollywood movies but i won't count any of them in this case . music of the movie is just great as its been almost 10 years but i still like them and .. one thing i noted in the choreography was that , it would have been better if ghai would have hired some professional orchestra people to train anil kapoor as it feels odd at times. Subhash Ghai is a smart man. He wins half of the battle by putting together what is arguably the strongest production team of the century. Names like A.R. Rehman, Sharmishta Roy, Anand Bakshi, Shiamak Davar, Ahmed Khan, Saroj Khan (all three hotshot choreographers), and Mr. Ghai himself come together to create a very, very powerful force. Don't insult Mr. Ghai's intelligence by comparing his film to any of the other recent releases. It's not about Amitabh or Salman vs. Anil Kapoor or Akshaye; it's about the team behind the scenes. THAT, my friends, is what makes a film run nowadays, and by those standards alone - "Taal" is a hit. That there are three good actors in these roles is an incidental finding. Put any half-competent actor in front of the camera in a project with such a strong foundation and it won't make a difference - it will work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2012
Okay, the first 20 minutes is a bit slow and corny. The plot and the characters are a bit simple - sometimes reminiscent of a good old 1950s film; but the characters are endearing, and just like those old films, this one can make you anxious one minute and bring tears to your eyes the next. I love that. But the five-star features of this film for me as a Bollywood fan were the rich soundtrack by A.R. Rahman and the remarkable amount of really fantastic Indian choreography. I certainly felt that I got my money's worth!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Aishwarya Rai is amazing, I love how the two male leads seem to get along despite fighting over her, a great film with great music! Highly recommended!
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on November 15, 2014
For Bollywood's crappy production even as recent as this movie, this is still a fantastic movie.
Aishwarya was truly one of the most beautiful women in the world, and her sense of gentleness
and ability to pull these movies off the way she did was amazing. Taal is a special movie.
But it and enjoy.
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on September 10, 2014
It not as great as some of the other Bollywood movies but you should watch it as least once. I like it enough to purchase it.
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on May 14, 2013
This movie was boring, i thought i was going to see Ash sing and dance thru out the movie. Slow slow
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on June 13, 2015
This is an excellent movie but I am giving one star because the video quality was very poor.
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on April 25, 2015
Such a beautiful, epic story of love! Must watch
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