Monday, May 3, 2010

Two good, relatively recent, Hindi movies

"Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year" (details@IMDb; is from late 2009; "Atithi, Tum Kab Jaoge?" (tr: "Guest, When Will You Depart?") (details@IMDb) is a 2010 release. Both are non-genre, in spite of the word "Rocket" in the first one.

"Rocket Singh" is the story of an entrepreneur - how circumstances forced a youngster to found a successful company.

While officially set in today's India, it actually describes India of early 1990s. There were 3 big local PC makers, innumerable small time PC assemblers, & IBMs & HPs were just getting interested in the country's hardware market. In time, they would eat up the market of each of the 3 local biggies, forcing two of them to look (very successfully, it turns out) for fortunes in software services. Big Bad company in the movie, as well as its CEO, appears to be modeled after the public image of one of those 3.

Hero, an average college graduate, has just landed a job at the Big Bad company as a PC salesman. He will goof up very very badly on his first assignment, playing messiah against corruption. This event's repercussions will force him to build his own PC company, Rocket Sales Corp, in a rather unusual way. Ending is too contrived, but otherwise a very good watch.

"Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?" is actually impossible to translate to English faithfully. Literally, it translates "Guest, When Will You Depart?", but there is a whole lot of cultural baggage it carries via the populat Sanskrit saying with nearly opposite meaning - "Atithi Devo Bhavah" (tr "Guest is God").

It's a light comedy where an unknown & impossible to relate to guest arrives & hosts have to play polite, resentfully. A guest who has some unusual abilities. Begins in a generally sane believable way, but gets quite filmy as the movies moves along - but remains very watchable most of the way.