Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fight Club: Members Only

Not "Fight Club". "Fight Club: Members Only". From 2006? Directed by Vikram Chopra? Starring Zayed Khan, Dino Morea, and a bunch of other Bollywood actors. This is the Bollywood Fight Club.

Okay! The first question I had was, naturally, "What the?" This was followed by "Is this really a Bollywood remake of Fight Club?" and "Really?"

First of all, check out the trailer:

So it's clearly Bollywood (I wanted to make some sort of joke about how instead of "Bollywood", it should really be called "Mumblywood" on the theory that we don't call it "Bombay" anymore. It's now "Mumbai". Unfortunately for me, William Safire beat me to it. Curse you, Safire!), but the logo looks just like the US movie. And today I finally got to see it.

Unfortunately, it's not a remake. There is a "Fight Club", but it's something set up for people to settle their differences, and there's a bunch of spectators who pay to watch. There's no heavyhanded philosophy. There's a list of rules, and the first one is "There is no Fight Club", which is kind of close to "Do not talk about Fight Club" if you squint. Frankly, what I think happened was that somebody in India saw the trailer for Fight Club, or possibly just a clip of the trailer, and came up with something different that "fight club" could mean. Even if that's not what happened, I think it would be an interesting filmmaking challenge to take a single trailer and have a bunch of different screenwriters and directors make movies to match it.

Anyway! I've never seen any Bollywood, although I've wanted to, so this was a pretty weird experience. For one thing, although it's theoretically in Hindi, about 20% of the dialogue is in English. They just jump back and forth, sometimes midsentence. It's weird.

There are, as expected, enormous dance sequences and a million subplots, including a scene in which the personal-trainer guy hits on the woman by acting real sexy and standing real close as he . . . helps her with her squats. How often do you see that in an American movie? I mean, one with women in it?

Basically, it was a big crazy movie, but it wasn't nearly as crazy as I was hoping.

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