Monday Morning Question Post! With Caffeine!

Happy Monday!  I’m sad the weekend is over, but glad I get to have coffee this morning! (5 more Christmas presents left to find and buy, 12 arriving by mail today, second Christmas party hosting tomorrow night, and Befikre comes out on Friday!  And that’s not even mentioning the Raees trailer celebrations! I’m exhausted already and it’s still 20 days left)  And I’m also happy that I get to put up a questions post, one of my favorite things! (previous posts here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here)

Time to ask anything and everything!  Something you are curious about me personally (“What’s the first Hindi movie you saw?”), something specific you are curious about in the films (“what does it mean when a character is wearing a turban?”), or some general discussion topic (“what is Shahrukh Khan’s best feature?”)


So, lay it on me!  I’m excited!  I’ve had caffeine!


38 thoughts on “Monday Morning Question Post! With Caffeine!

  1. I’ll throw a couple of softball questions your way:)

    We know who your favorite actor is, but who is your favorite actress?

    Do you listen to any Bollywood podcasts and, if so, which ones do you like?

    What are your favorite costumes/looks in Hindi films?


    • Fun fun fun!!! Excellent use of my immediately post-coffee energy, much more fun than working on box office analysis. Or, like, work-work at my job.

      Favorite actress: Kajol!!! Not just because of the SRKajol magic, but for herself. I find her both a very charismatic presence onscreen, and a really amazing actress. Okay, she’s been in some clunkers, but even in her worst roles (Karan-Arjun, for instance), she still finds some moments of emotional truth. And in terms of her public persona, I find it fascinating how effortless she is in her popularity. She doesn’t do a lot of interviews or public performances in between film roles. She just goes about her life, going to family events and supporting her husband and her favorite charities. And yet she is still consistently popular, everyone gets excited when she announces a new movie, and she is still being offered plum roles! Not just “mother” or “older heroine”, but real leading parts.

      Beyond Kajol, I think it would be a tie for second place between Nargis-Hema Malini-Zeenat Aman-Sridevi-Madhuri-Rani. And in the younger batch, I am super impressed with Anushka and Alia, and I have really liked what I have seen of Parineeti, although it feels like she hasn’t really reached her potential yet the way the other two have.

      Bollywood podcasts: I don’t listen to any. Actually, I don’t listen to podcasts period. They just don’t fit into my life. My commute is too noisy to let me listen to anything, so is my gym. At work I am constantly on the phone. If I am running errands in my car, I usually have a friend with me for company, and when I am home, I am watching a movie. Maybe if I ever got a different job where I drove to work, or if my gym stopped with the stupid piped in music, I would get into podcasts and I could answer this question.

      Favorite costumes-looks: Oooo, fun question! I am a sucker for cotton saris, and a well done Indo-western mix. I really loved the costuming all around in Swades, the heroine’s simple cotton saris and Shahrukh’s basic jeans and shirt look. Sridevi in English/Vinglish was of course stunning. But I loved that she wasn’t over-dressed, she had style, but the basic elements of her look were still the same as any other Indian matron abroad. Dil Chahta Hai gets all the style credit, and I did like Priety’s look in that film, but I felt like the rest of the looks were kind of hit-or-miss. On the other hand, Lakshya was excellent. Priety looked phenomenal through out the film, and I loved the way her style slightly changed as she got more mature, but remained distinctive. That was the movie that made me start thinking I should try the Indo-Western look (I shouldn’t, I can’t pull it off). Oh! Delhi 6 is another one like that, where the costumes are good all around, but also tell us about the characters. We should have known that Sonam would be a fashionista just from how spot on the varying costuming was for her character there.

      Those were all more “realistic” kind of examples, in terms of building a world, I loved the historical costuming in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaii, and Dirty Picture. And I loved the psuedo-historical effect they pulled off in Don 1, with all the looks that were 70s influenced while still being modern.

      For all time worst costuming, Kaho Na Pyar Hai!!! One of the reasons that movie is a “guilty” pleasure for me instead of just a straight pleasure, is how TERRIBLE everyone looks! Even Aish can’t pull off those strange tight pants with flared slits. Abhishek was closer, he had figured out his ideal button shirt and jeans look, but his hair wasn’t quite there yet, and without the scruff his face just looks odd.

      Oh, and I have to give a special mention to Silsila, which is possibly the best costumes of all time in Hindi film. Costuming as a component of mise-en-scene, and on it’s own. Everyone looks fabulous, but the costumes also tell you who these characters are and how they relate to each other. It was so spectacular, it has clearly influenced everything from Bunty Aur Babli to KANK to ADHM just this year (Aish’s coats with the big wooly collars? Very Amitabh-end-of-the-affair)


      • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was a good movie – except for the 1956 Olympics set in Melbourne part – the styling for the Australian women/athletes was completely incorrect and not of the period. Melbourne in those days was quite a conservative place and to go to a public event (Olympics) in a midriff baring tied crop top just would not have happened. The whole Olympics section really niggled with me – the researchers did not do their job!
        Rant over, lol


        • I was just grateful that for once it wasn’t in America, so there were no historical inaccuracies for me to worry about! Similarly, watching Salaam-Nameste, I was able to just assume that life was really like that in Australia and not worry about it. Much less stressful for me than, for instance, Kal Ho Na Ho.


          • The giggle I had from Salaam Namaste was that the actual location of their beachside house was really about a 2 hour drive out of the city on the Great Ocean Road. A quick commute, lol.


  2. I should have known it would be Kajol! I like her in her own right, too. I’ll even put We Are Family on my keeper shelf for her performance alone (and because it fills a necessary Arjun Rampal quota, too.) Completely off topic tangent…really excited about his Kahaani 2 reviews and the Daddy teaser. I think his acting (at least in the last few years) is on par with Irfaan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui and he doesn’t get the credit because he is too pretty.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about styling and costumes lately. It’s such an important component to character development and overall feel to any film (Hollywood, Hindi, whatever). I certainly have my favorites. Too many to list here and I need to do some real work, too. These are the times I wish I had a blog, too.


    • I have been super impressed with Arjun since Don. He really was terrible when he was starting out, and I feel like that still flavors people’s perception of him (Dil Hai Tumhare, for instance, is shockingly bad. There is a puppet).

      In a way, he had a kind of “feminine” career path, like Deepika or Katrina or Priyanka or Aish, getting his big breaks just because he was so pretty and being used in these simple window-dressing kind of roles, and then learning on the job and getting better and better as time went on.

      But after almost 20 years in the industry, he is turning in consistently great performances. He’s the main reason I am interested in Kahaani 2, despite the reviews.

      And by the way, it’s Manish Malhotra’s birthday today! So perfect timing to talk about costumes. In fact, I may steal this conversation for a blog post, with visual aids.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Why are Indian films available on alternative source so much sooner than “Hollywood” movies? The technology and hacker-ness (if that’s a word) should be the same for both.


    • At least for the past few years, it seems primarily to be a matter of start-up costs. Making DVDs costs money, money that a lot of Indian production houses don’t have. And they also cost money to buy, money that some of the Indian film viewers may not have. So it is just plain easier and more cost effective to make them available by streaming, either by a token cost or for free with ads.

      My impression is that’s the main reason, the DVD production costs, but piracy and distribution are also an issue. If I am in, say, Peru, I can probably get the new Shahrukh movie streaming illegally within a few days/weeks of when it is released. The actual film may not be showing in theaters anywhere near me, and even once the DVD comes out, I won’t be able to get it from a store, I’ll have to order it aaaalllllll the way from India. And it may not be in a format I can use. So piracy is my best option, to get an online file almost immediately.

      I think it was the release of Dilwale where someone (Shahrukh? Rohit Shetty?) specifically said they are releasing the film on itunes within weeks of the theatrical release, long before the DVDs were ready, because they were worried about the international fans. They wanted them to have a legal high quality option available immediately.

      Really, I think, it is because India is ahead of Hollywood in this area. The argument was presented ages ago that if there were two options, a low quality free illegal version, and a high quality cheaply priced legal version, people will pick the legal version. But Hollywood is resisting, trying to drive people to DVD sales or theaters (where they can charge higher prices) instead of streaming. Whereas India is trying to be, if not ahead of the tide, at least not too far behind it. And is aware that the majority of consumers today are looking for digital, not physical media.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Happy Birthday Manish Malhotra! In Your Honor, a Post About Costumes! | dontcallitbollywood

  5. Two questions. If SRK acts in an adaptation of Late Spring, who would be an ideal choice to play his onscreen daughter, the film’s female lead? Why?

    Second. Will your answer change if Aamir Khan replaces SRK? Why?


    • I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen Late Spring. Or Tokyo Story. But I have seen I Was Born But and I Went to College But, Ozu’s pre-war stuff. And I am realizing as I think about it, Ozu feels really similar to some of the Malayalam films I really liked! Same sense of slice of life slowly coming together into a cohesive whole. Does that make sense? Or am I miss-remembering Ozu?

      Anyway, having just quickly read the synopsis, I agree that this would be a great SRK role! Really really great. And the female lead I would most like to see opposite him would be Deepika or Anushka, because I think they would do a wonderful job with that kind of strong-minded young woman part. But I also don’t know if I would be able to suspend disbelief enough, since they already played his love interests in other movies. Just because of that limitation, Alia would be my next choice. She has such a babyface though, I don’t know if she would be convincing as a young woman who was almost too old to be married. Alternatively, maybe Sonam or Parineeti? I don’t know if they would be as good in the role, but at least there wouldn’t be that weird vibe that they romanced their father, and they wouldn’t look as babyish. Or, if I wanted to be really cheeky, I would say Sana Saeed (baby Anjali who is all grown up now). It would also be a really great launch film for Suhana, if we are talking real dream casting. She’s a little young, but it would be worth it to see the real father-daughter vibe onscreen.

      If it were Aamir, then we could cast Deepika, so she would be my first choice! Because she hasn’t romanced him yet, so there would be no creepy vibe. And I think she is really perfect for that kind of role. Mature and dignified but still young. Anushka might also be okay, she is great as headstrong young women, but after PK, I can’t buy her as Aamir’s daughter either.


      • Sana Saeed was lovely as little Anjali. I did not like her as the Vamp in Student Of The Year. I don’t think she appeared in any other movies and she hasn’t been in limelight. Thoughts? Ideas?


        • I was the reverse, I did not like her as little Anjali (found her too cutesy and fake, which is always an issue with child actors) and got kind of a kick out of her as the Vamp in SOTY. I think besides SOTY she’s been doing mostly television type stuff.

          Whenever I see an interesting actor in films who seems to know what they are doing (like it is not their first time in front of the camera), I always assume they come from a TV background. And most of the time if I look them up later, that’s the case. The same was true with, for instance, Varun’s Dad in SOTY Ram Kapoor.

          I’m glad India has such a vibrant TV world now, because it makes films so much stronger! To be able to pick from a wide array of actors like Ram Kapoor and Sana Saeed who are experienced in front of the camera, but aren’t looking to be film stars and therefore are willing to take these slightly smaller roles.


  6. Since awards season has begun in the Hindi Film industry, what would you think about giving out your own awards? I don’t know if you did predictions last year or not… but I think you should give out your own awards sometime in January. Oooh! Or you can pick the nominees and set up some kind of a poll for your readers to vote for the winners! This could be really fun since you could come up with your own categories like Best Movie Set Outside of India or something (that was the first thing that came to my mind, I’m sure there can be more creative categories) 🙂


    • Oh that is a fun idea! Thank you! I will definitely have to think about it. But not until January, because Dangal hasn’t even come out yet, and I am pretty sure it would qualify for something. If only “most impressive weight gain and loss of 2016”.


      • Of course, you can’t leave Dangal out!

        So what is your expectation for Dangal anyway? I feel like it is going to be good but honestly, I’m not really excited to go watch it in the theater.


        • I wasn’t that enthusiastic after the first trailer. But I have really really liked the two song trailers. If it ends up being more the light touch and focus on the kids from the songs, and less the angsty look at their Dad from the regular trailer, I could see it being a really fun family film.


  7. Monday is almost over here, but you have another hour so here goes: Why is Rab ne bana di Jodi so underrated by SRK himself as well as others? His performance is brilliant. The scene when Tani suddenly turns up at the garage and Suri has to dash over as Raj: he gets out of the TukTuk as Suri and transforms into Raj as he walks . It rivals Kevin Spacey in the “Usual Suspects”. Why isn’t it up there with Swades and Chak De? Because it isn’t patriotic or political?


    • I agree that it is a spectacular performance! And, for me, it gets discounted for two reasons.

      1. Like you say, it’s a romance. And it was sold as a romance, the title and the promos and the return of Aditya and Shahrukh Khan working together and all that. So everyone who loves romance saw it and loved it, but no one listened to us because they thought we would just love any Shahrukh romance. And the people who might have liked the deep character drama stayed away because they thought it was “just” a romance.

      2. The plot is a really really hard sell when you just hear the outlines! I’ve had a hard enough time convincing friends to see it, and they are Shahrukh fans! You say “a middle-aged man marries a young woman after her fiance dies and then romances her in the guise of a lusty young man, and in the end she realizes her true love is with her boring husband.” It sounds completely implausible, and also the worst kind of male fantasy. Which isn’t what it really is at all! But you have to watch the movie and meet the characters and see how it all unfolds before you can understand that.

      As for why Shahrukh himself doesn’t talk it up much, I would guess it’s a combination of those two above points? He feels like he should be doing more than “just” romance, and he knows it’s not an easy film to sell in a kind of “elevator speech”. Not like Swades or Chak De or even Fan.

      (also, feel free to ask questions on this post whenever you want! That’s why I put them up on Monday, so you have access to them all week)


    • As usual I think you nailed it. I wish we had a way to tell him how much we love this performance. I have watched it so many times and except for the Tiny and whatshername subplot it all holds up over and over. especially when he switches from one persona to the other in the same frame. On a completely unrelated topic, I also wish we could convince him or his stylist to have his hair down (not slicked back) in a film. He looks a) 20 years younger b) more “real”. I think there would have been less push back about “the star” persona getting in the way in Dear Zindagi if he had had his hair natural. Maybe that’s just me.


      • This reminds me of one of my favorite Times of India headlines. Right at the top of the main page of their website, in big bold print “Shahrukh Might Need New Hairdresser!” I was all set to make fun of them for pretending to be a legitimate news source, and really giving preference to silly stories like this, but then I realized that I had clicked on the story and was deeply DEEPLY concerned about it, so I couldn’t really complain. In case you were wondering, there were follow-ups explaining that his long-time hairdresser had gotten married and moved to Toronto to open her own salon. This was right before I think Jab Tak Hain Jaan maybe? His long time make-up guy died around the same time, so it was this very nerve-wracking moment of “what if he looks completely different and terrible in his next movie?!?!?!” Thank goodness, it all turned out okay.

        His big bouffant look is definitely my least favorite. All time worst hair, for me, is that moment in the evening clothes on the bridge during the fantasy part of “Tujhe Dekho To Ya Jaane Sanam”. On the other hand, I think he is worried about covering up his eyes/eyebrows/forehead if his hair is down, because he does a lot of his acting from there. I noticed in Main Hoon Na and My Name is Khan, he had fairly natural hair, but also kept the front really short so it wouldn’t interfere with his forehead.

        Being someone with a ton of hair myself, my suspicion is that there is just so much of it, he really can’t wrangle it around and act at the same time, so it either has to be very short, or pulled back with gel. I loved the way it looked in Dear Zindagi, all fluffy and moving natural in the wind, but I also noticed it is considerably thinner than it used to be, and I wonder if that is why it got to look so fluffy? Like, if it was still as thick as it used to be they would have had to cut it or tie it down with gel, it is only because it is thinning a little that they they can let it be free.

        Clearly, I have thought a great deal about this important topic.


        • Okay, I’ve thought about the hair topic way too much as well. And I hear what you are saying about the forehead and the expressions..but in interviews he often has it down and he manages really well. I think the puffy look was NOT good in DZ..the beach scene yes…If you look at the current pics of him at the trailer release, that hair is NOT thinning. Frankly, pulled back it looks thinner than down. Okay, should I stop?


          • I think maybe we have thought about this just the right amount, and everyone else in the world hasn’t thought about it enough 🙂

            I noticed in DZ that when it blew around, his temple part went quite a ways back, and his center part was kind of deep too. Not like noticeable, just down to a closer to normal level, unlike before when his hair was so think you couldn’t even see the part. So it’s maybe receding just a tad around the temple, which I can live with.

            Slightly related, have you spent any time on the planetsrk boards? I think they have died down a lot lately, but I spent some time lurking there a few years back. And they had one forum on “if you met Shahrukh, what part of his body would you want to touch?” And choice number one, by a landslide, was of course to touch his feet and get a blessing. And number 2 was to touch his hair, because it is just so tempting. I feel like that one beautiful slow take in My Name is Khan of Kajol cutting his hair is kind of feeding into a fetish that only Karan would understand the fans enough to know we had.


  8. First ever Hindi movie that I ever saw was – Ashiqui. 😀 And now you tell me, what is the “best worst Bollywood fare” you have ever seen?


    • Ooo! Tough one! Let’s see, there’s Dil Aashna Hai, which has the amazing camp factor and every actress trying to steal every scene. The’s The Fog, which has Irrfan Khan, the darling of Hollywood, playing a nutso slasher killer in a truly terrible Ramsay Brothers horror movie. But I think my heart belongs to Bal Brahmachari. From the shockingly bad acting by the hero, to the astounding plot, to the crazy feats of strength (“I didn’t know which medicine you needed, so I carried the entire floor to ceiling cabinet here on my back!” “But, the hospital elevator was broken” “I took the stairs”), to the seduction plot that somehow involves bring dozens of back-up dancers to your boyfriends house with you, to the amazingly charming even in this terrible film Karisma Kapoor. And, of course, the strangely Desi Arnaz-like title song that WILL NOT go out of your head.


      • Interesting!!! 😀 You nailed it! For me, it has to be – Main Prem Ki Diwani Hu. I can’t fathom why the cast agreed to be puppets of this extent!! And it was an overdose of overacting to say the least!


        • Ugh, Main Prem Diwani Hoon! I think I can’t enjoy that because I start feeling too bad for the cast. It starts to feel like I am watching some horrible hostage situation. Also, if you have not yet seen the Pretentious Movie Reviews youtube video about Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon, you must Run, not Walk, and watch it immediately.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. All agreed on the hair. (if I actually met him, believe me I’d be too stunned to tough anything!)New topic: Did you see his reply to Anupama’s tweet about “when he’s good, he’s very good and when he’s bad he’s better”? He wrote back in Hindi, (not fair) and as far as I can translate it he is saying, “Hey, why not say, “He’ll get good reviews for acting bad (double meaning bad acting and being a bad guy) (also how do I prevent this anonymous posting. I thought clicking “notify me” would do it, but not always.


    • Still working on getting the tweet translated for us!

      But for the posting, I think if you click on the little “wordpress” picture right under the text box and log in that way, that should work. At least, that’s how I do it when I’m not logged in already.


  10. Pingback: Monday Morning Questions Post! One Week to Christmas!!! | dontcallitbollywood

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