Monday Morning Question Post! Last One of the Year!

Not the calendar year.  My first year of blogging!  And my first thousand posts.  There will be much festivity and celebration tomorrow.  But today, business as usual, time for questions! (previous posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here)

As always, you can ask me anything from personal (“why do you like fan videos?”) to specific technical questions you are wondering about (“who writes the song lyrics?”) to general discussion topics (“what is the best era of Indian film?”).

And, just for fun, here is a question song, one of my favorites.

 

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12 thoughts on “Monday Morning Question Post! Last One of the Year!

    • The Indian industry has an even greater divide between the physical plant and the creative offices than does the American industry. Back in the early days of film, 30s-50s, both India and America had combined physical plants and creative offices. Screenwriters and producers would work in offices, coming up with ideas and putting together talent, and just a few doors down on soundstages, their ideas would come to life. The great studios were all built in this era, Mehboob and RK and Filmalaya.

      But then it started to fall apart in the 1960s as more and more small independent producers sprang up and the original guiding geniuses of the 1930s-50s started retiring or dying off. Their heirs kept up the physical plants and started renting them out to these new one-and-done producers. This was standard practice for all studios all the way through the late 90s, the Kapoor sons getting a nice income from renting out RK studios to brilliant new director-producers like Manmohan Singh or the Sippy’s or Yash Chopra. Until the late 1990s, when Aditya Chopra took all his DDLJ and K3G and KKHH and DTPH profits and funneled it into the physical plant. Now, Yash Raj is the only studio that is truly vertically integrated. There is a creative office where the ideas are formulated, a massive studio space where they are filmed, and then a distribution and DVD wing to sell the final product directly to the consumer, just like in the old days of the 1930s when Bombay Talkies in India and Paramount studios in America did everything start to finish.

      But besides Yash Raj, every other director/producer, including the major ones like Dharma Productions and Excel Entertainment, need to rent space from the few old film studios still scattered around Bombay. Which is why you end up seeing the same sets over and over again in every movie.

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    • Yes! Partly because I visited Bombay, and basically all of Bombay is a film set. So, I’ve been to the Gateway to India, on Marine Drive, and walked up and down various fancy boulevards that I later see people walk down in movies and go “Hey! That looks familiar!”

      Also on that visit to India, we were able to work our connections to get a tour of the Indian Institute for Film and Television in Pune, which has a big filming area on campus that is used fairly often. Oh, and we stumbled into a shoot at St. Xavier’s school, just for a commercial, but it was still cool to watch them setting up cameras and stuff.

      I also visited London, which is a similar experience of “Hey! The exact same famous landmarks that tourists go to are used over and over again in movies.” Oh, and Paris, same thing.

      The place that I have the biggest warm fuzzy about seeing on screen is Budapest and Chicago. My sister did a study abroad in Budapest, and we visited her as a family while she was there. It’s not the most common place to visit, not like Paris or London or even Bombay, where it feels like you know the landmarks more from postcards than from real life, even if you’ve been there. So when they have scenes on the famous suspension bridge (like the end of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam), or in the village of Scentendre (like in Sultan), I feel all “Hey! I’ve been there! Me and Salman, it’s like a little secret we share!”

      And then of course there’s Dhoom 3 which filmed aaaaaalllll over Chicago. That’s the one that really makes me feel special, I even spent about 6 hours watching filming. Well, watching them set up for filming. But yeah, every single location shot for that movie, is in a place I have been to multiple times since I was a baby. And a friend of a friend was an extra, and another friend got to hang out with Aamir when he was nice enough to take pictures with her on set. So that’s the one that I have the biggest “It’s like I’m a part of this movie just because of where it was filmed!” feeling.

      This makes me sound really cosmopolitan, but really it’s a tribute to how cosmopolitan the films are. A few days wandering around Bombay, a brief trip to Europe, and just hanging out in the city I live in, that’s enough for me to have been in multiple locations where movies were filmed.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s really cool! I would love to see a film being shot, especially in my hometown 🙂

    I’ve never been to Europe, so that’s out of the list. I did go see the Golconda Fort in Hyderabad once and that’s where this song was shot.

    That was fun to see, but I’m sure actually seeing Dhoom 3 being shot in Chicago was really exciting.

    Like

    • It was mostly boring, at least the part I saw. They were preparing for the big car chase scene through downtown, which meant a lot of people talking to each other and moving barricades around and towing in cars and motorcycles for like 6 hours. And then we finally gave up and went home around 10 pm and still nothing had actually happened.

      My friend came back the next day (I had to work) and had slightly better luck, she got to see Akshay riding

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  2. Uff, hit send too soon! I meant to say, she saw Aamir riding around on a boat for about an hour. Not doing tricks or anything, just going back and forth until they got the shots they wanted. Luckily, he was bored as well, which made him willing to talk to them after the shot was over and sign autographs.

    Liked by 1 person

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