Sunday, May 13, 2007

NASCAR Meets Bollywood

Or, you could also title this one "Rum Pa Pum Pum." Seriously, though...

My sister, Janeen, celebrates her birthday on April 28. This year, she decided, in lieu of gifts and a party, she'd invite a bunch of friends to see the Yash Raj Bollywood flick Ta Ra Rum Pum. I was invited, as well, despite the fact that I always end up renaming these movies in a manner that is just shy of mocking.

Simply put, Ta Ra Rum Pum is a big budget film that pairs one of America's hottest pasttimes with India's biggest industry. NASCAR meets Bollywood in this film and, for three hours, it is both poignant and hilarious.

TRRP is the story of Rajveer Singh (RV, for short) who dreams of being a race car driver. He meets Radhika, an accomplished pianist and intellect, and falls head over heels in love. He also meets Harry, the manager of a racing teams called the Speeding Saddles. Harry recruits RV to be the team's driver and RV convinces Radhika to marry him. They live a life of celebrity and big dreams until the day RV is in a horrible crash on the track where he first started racing. He ends up out of commission, broke, forced out of his home in the Hamptons, and living in the slums of New York City where he works as a taxi driver.

The movie chronicles RV and his family's struggle to overcome their financial woes and his psychological trauma and once again triumph. It's a fun movie with a good message about making the best of a bad situation.

Being a Bollywood flick, it's obviously long (3+ hours) and includes several musical pieces, including a Mary Poppins-type scene in New York City's Disney store where the family dances and sings with a family of animated bears, but all in all, it's a good movie. Frankly, it's better than Talladega Nights and, unlike Talladega Nights, I didn't feel like I'd lost three hours out of my life I'd never get back. If you're up for a Bollywood film and you want something the entire family can watch, see this one.

P.S. Did you know that 40 percent of NASCAR's fan base are women? I learned that today on CBS Sunday Morning. Who knew?!

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