DARR blu-ray review

India Region A Blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.20:1

Hindi DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Hindi Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English, Arabic








Finally. All I can say is finally. I have finally seen a real Bollywood film.

After all these years of thinking that I have been watching Bollywood films, I now understand that I haven’t been watching real Bollywood films until watching DARR. DARR is an example of a prototype Bollywood film that puts everything I’ve seen in the past to shame. All the typical Bollywood films that I have seen mainly from post-2000 have been put to shame. I started with Mission Kashmir and Devdas in the early 2000s to jump start my interest in Bollywood. But after those two films gave me a good first impression of Bollywood, I was usually disappointed there after – not that I wasn’t entertained by many Bollywood films, but I usually averaged about one impressive Indian film per year since the year 2000. I have always known that I should be watching pre-2000 Bollywood movies, but it’s hard for non-Indians to watch them due to the DVDs that have been available. I don’t consider myself too picky and I still enjoy watching DVDs, but pre-2000 Bollywood DVDs are pretty awful – the video and audio quality is fair to poor, but the main negative factor is that the English subtitles on pre-2000 Bollywood DVDs are painfully translated with grammatical errors. I can’t watch a movie with bad subtitles. I know that there may be many great old Bollywood films on DVD but I just can’t watch them due to those poor quality DVDs. And I do know it’s better than nothing to have a poor quality DVD with awful English subtitles, but I know that the poor DVD quality will kill the enjoyment of a potentially good Bollywood film for me.

But now here is Yash Chopra’s DARR released on blu-ray by Yash Raj Films. A perfect Bollywood movie released on a perfect Indian blu-ray. Finally. This blu-ray is why we all upgraded from DVD to blu-ray. And if you haven’t upgraded to blu-ray yet, this DARR blu-ray is the blu-ray that should change your mind if you are interested in Bollywood films.

I don’t know what to talk about first – the movie quality or the blu-ray quality first? DARR seems to be a Bollywood masterpiece that I would have assumed that many people would have been waiting for to come out on blu-ray for a while. I blind-bought this blu-ray based on postive reviews of the movie and blu-ray, but I didn’t sense that Bollywood fans were telling others online that this is a must-have blu-ray? I’m assuming that most people that buy Bollywood blu-rays would buy this blu-ray since this is a masterpiece. This film has ironically come out on blu-ray during the same time as the STAR WARS blu-ray. This film is like STAR WARS, a film that seems to have also influenced so many Bollywood films, but all these other Bollywood films cannot capture the essence and charm of what DARR has:

1. Yash Chopra.
Within the first couple frames, you know you are watching a real film, instead of a current Bollywood movie that’s trying real hard to be a real film. I always thought that Bollywood filmmakers were trying to copy Hollywood. Maybe. But i’m now starting to believe that current Bollywood filmmakers are trying to capture the filmmaking style of old Bollywood. I haven’t seen enough old Bollywood films to make a statement like that. I’ve seen DARR. I’ve seen DIL SE…and i can’t think of too many other 1990 Bollywood films I’ve seen. But I know that Yash Chopra represents Bollywood. This is the first Yash Chopra film I’ve seen. I feel like an idiot as if I have just watched a Steven Spielberg film for the first time at the age of 34. I have always heard of Yash Chopra and I always knew that I should be watching all of his films if I like Bollywood. And now they better put the rest of his films on blu-ray. I have a feeling I will now be blind-buying Dil To Pagal Hai and Veer-Zaara on Bollywood blu-ray next. I do hope they release more of his older films on blu-ray though. Yash Chopra is a real classy filmmaker. His direction is perfect. In DARR, the supposedly cheesy scenes in this film – such as some of the fight scenes, the 80s music, and the absolute gullibility of everyone of not knowing that Shah Rukh Khan’s character is the villain – are actually not cheesy at all. Whatever magic Yash Chopra does as a filmmaker makes all of his scenes gold. While these scenes would be typically cheesy or negative in another Bollywood film, it’s not found in DARR. It’s Bollywood charm.

2. The story.
DARR is interesting from beginning to end. It’s not even a rip-off of any Hollywood film. The ending may look similar to Cape Fear, but there have been many showdowns in a boat. One could have said it’s like a remake of Dead Calm (it’s not). And it’s not a remake of Cape Fear. I didn’t think that DARR was a remake of a Hollywood film. I thought that the movie is very Alfred Hitchcockian which is a plus, and I also thought of The Talented Mr. Ripley mainly due to both Damon and Khan playing memorable and similar creepy villains, but it’s far from being some knock off. DARR is original and it’s a special movie for Bollywood. I just get a kick out of the story that these two lovers just want to be happy, they want to sing and dance, but they can’t get this annoying creepy a-hole out of their lives who won’t let them frolick around the Swiss flower fields as in another Bollywood film. This film is like a cross between The Sound of Music and a horror movie. This is the first time I’ve seen a Bollywood film with violence that makes sense. I think other Bollywood filmmakers are confused and have been inspired by this film – they make a masala film for everyone, but the violence in those films just seems out of place. It’s as if they saw DARR and said, “hey, let’s throw some violence in our film too because it is possible to have a cheerful charming love story mixed with a violent story.” But in other Bollywood movies, it just seems out of place. And furthermore, Bollywood filmmakers seem to have loved Khan’s bad-ass, villainous performance so much that they think his character should inspire future protagonists in Bollywood films – STALKERS! His character shouldn’t be transferred to the good guys. His character should have inspired more three-dimensional villains in future Bollywood films. Khan’s creepy villainous character is so memorable that it’s as if other Bollywood filmmakers think that Khan’s perfect example of an antagonist should actually be transferred into protagonists (aka leading men…the good guys). No, don’t do that. It’s creepy. That’s one of the worst aspects of Bollywood screenwriting nowadays – making the protagonist (aka the good guy) the stalker? Stalk the girl and then she will finally fall in love with you? Please don’t do that, it’s poor writing. This is why the story is so good – it’s as if Yash Chopra is addressing that stalking protagonists in Bollywood films are creepy and weird.

3. Juhi Chawla.
I always thought that Ash and Madhuri Dixit were the main two female stars that are not only hot, attractive, and sexy, but also great actresses. I didn’t know of Juhi Chawla. I have only seen her before in Luck By Chance and I thought that she was pretty hot and looked like an older Ash, but I had no idea how talented she is. She is amazing in Darr. She’s not only an amazing performer, she surprisingly has a comic talent. The funniest scenes in the whole movie are subtle quick scenes which involve her – whether it is to kick off her shoe and lands on her head or to cross her eyes, she understands humor. So she’s hot, sexy, attractive, good actress, and funny – the perfect package. It’s a shame that she doesn’t get big roles anymore since Bollywood likes to use youngsters for their leading ladies. Her Kiran is a great character and it’s understandable why Khan’s character is obsessed with her.

4. Shah Rukh Khan.
“I love you, K-K-K Kiran!” I’ve never seen a more memorable three-dimensional villain in a Bollywood film. Now I understand why Shah Rukh Khan is a star. He should play more villain roles. It’s too bad he turned down a role to play a villain in a James Bond film, because he would be a great villain.

5. Music.
Great songs one after another. The best song is the final one with Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla.

6. Everything else is great in this film too – Sunny Deol is a reliable leading man, playing it cool and chill (as the way Bollywood leading men actors should be), the scenery especially of Switzerland (I loved the scenes of Geneva where I used to live), the action (the chase scenes in this movie are the best I’ve seen in a long time, as good as chase scenes in Point Break or the beginning of District B13), and the brother and sister-in-law whom are both actually funny too. It’s so nice for a change when “funny scenes” in Bollywood films are actually funny and not forced. I love the final, final scene in the movie which may be a bit jarring to some but just shows that it’s good to laugh about crazy and negative experiences that happened in our lives, even if it may seem to soon to laugh about them.

The Yash Raj Films blu-ray is just about as perfect as it can get. First, start off with the first beautiful front cover I’ve ever seen for a Bollywood blu-ray. That is how a blu-ray cover should be – a nice painting of imagery that captures the essence of the film. Second, the back cover shows clear blu-ray specs and a grammatically correct summary that doesn’t give away the movie as in most Indian blu-ray back cover summaries. Third, turn on the blu-ray to see a charming menu. Fourth, play the movie and watch what blu-ray is all about – perfect video quality. Nothing is more impressive than an old movie getting a perfect remastered video quality. The result is a movie with more 3D depth, sharper edges and more visible detail and textures. DARR has been brought back to life in 1080p. The image and colors are rock solid and clean. The audio is another story. Overall the audio is excellent, especially during the song scenes, but the dialogue has a sort of echo-sound. And it’s throughout the whole movie with both audio tracks. I’m not even sure which one is better sounding – the DTS-HD or the Dolby Tru track. And once again, the songs sound perfect. It’s just when characters are talking. It sounds like they are talking in some echo chamber. But it has that type of acceptable audio which one would hear on an older film. I’m assuming it sounds that way because the actors dubbed in the dialogue later? I’m not sure but the audio is totally solid other than that aspect.

There are no extras and the English subtitles on the movie are….drum roll…..perfect! Yay! This is one of the rare Indian home videos released by an Indian movie company that actually put perfect English subtitles on their blu-ray. Keep it up!

I’m going to say it again – Yash Chopra’s DARR is a prototype Bollywood film. It’s not a film to watch with kids, but this is a perfect Bollywood film and if you are a Bollywood movie fan, I don’t understand why you wouldn’t buy this blu-ray. If you are tired of the current trend of lazy filmmaking in Bollywood, DARR is an example of how a Bollywood movie should be filmed. DARR is a must-have!

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