Monday Morning Questions Post! Raees Week Edition (Part 1)

Just to clarify, you don’t have to ask me something Raees related!  That’s just my cheeky title so you can tell this week’s Monday Morning Post apart from all the others.  And so I can explain my plan for the week.  There are going to be 2 Raees weeks for Monday Morning Questions.  Because it’s coming out mid-week, I’ll be starting my traditional 7 days of vaguely related discussion this Wednesday, making today the beginning of my “Raees week”.  And then next week is the week it actually comes out, which shall be the second Raees Monday Questions Post. (full list of Monday Morning Question posts available here)

As always, feel free to ask me anything here, from the personal (“what is your Shahrukh new release day ritual?”), to the specific and factual (“Why is Raees coming out on a Wednesday?”), to the general discussion topics (“Will Raees be better or worse than Fan?”).


The only rule is, if you want to respond to someone else’s question, wait and let me say something first!  It’s no fun for me if I don’t get to answer first.


28 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post! Raees Week Edition (Part 1)

    • Frankly, I’m at a loss! I know each of the words, I think it is “Battery doesn’t talk”. But I don’t know what that means in context! If battery is slang for glasses wearer, than maybe it’s that Shahrukh’s character doesn’t talk? As in, he let’s his actions do the talking for him?

      Oh, and yes, Battery or “double battery” is slang for wearing glasses. I assume because the two eyeglasses kind of look like batteries?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh! Or it might be “don’t call me Battery”. ‘Battery” is battery, “nahin” is no, “bolne” is say, and “ka” is a preposition. But the order of the word and the slang meaning and all is throwing me, and I need a native Hindi speaker to help. Anyone? I give you permission to leap in and answer now that I have tried!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have a couple of questions based on recent conversations.

    Do the Indian studios generally print much smaller runs of DVD/Blu-rays than in North America? You had mentioned the incredible obscurity of certain DVDs. I’ve noticed a few titles on blu-ray that are seemingly out of print and nearly impossible to find (Dil Chahta Hai, Jab We Met, Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na). Here, you rarely see bigger, commercial titles become unavailable. More niche items, like anime or obscure cult/horror/exploitation movies, often have smaller print runs (sometimes numbered) and are expected to be limited in their availability. Every now and then, a company like Criterion loses its rights and stops producing a certain title (Chungking Express, the Third Man). Generally, though, if you want a copy of Jerry Maguire, American Beauty, Knocked Up or something, you can easily find it. Are they playing it safe and printing smaller amounts that sell out, rather than having thousands of copies sitting on store shelves, getting dusty for years to come?

    Also, what, exactly, does the term “chocolate boy” (or “chocolate hero”) mean? I’ve read it on the gossip sites and you also used it in reference to Imran Khan last week. It makes me chuckle a little when I see it mentioned.


    • My impression is that they do smaller DVD runs. The cost of producing DVDs is not inconsequential. Well, the first DVD is expensive. Once you have the master, you can crank out copies at almost no cost at all. But the expense is still there in distribution. And without a strong distribution network of stores and so on, it’s probably not really worth it. In fact, it’s really hard to make a profit off of DVD sales, it only worked in American films because they came up with a really elaborate system for it.

      I’m trying to remember the details of how it worked in America so everyone managed to make a profit back in the DVD heyday. We learned about this in my production class, but without going back and checking my notes, I can’t remember the specifics. Generally, I think the deal was that a rental store, a studio, and a retail store all worked together. The rental store would buy up dozens of copies of the newest release to handle the initial big demand from renters at a reduced “rental” cost. And then when the demand dropped, they were allowed to sell some copies back to the studio at cost (and keep some to rent in their store, before finally selling those as “used” back to the costumer), and the studio would turn around and give those same DVDs to a retail giant to sell in their store. Everyone made money this way, because the consumer was essentially paying for it twice, once to rent and once to buy, on the same DVD. And the studio got paid twice too, once from the rental store at rental costs and once from the retail giant at wholesale costs.

      In contrast, in my hometown when I went to my local Indian DVD store during this same era, what they would do is buy one “legit” copy of the DVD at full price (no deals available from the studios for rental stores), and then print up about 20 bad DVD transfers on their laptop and sell those for about $3 each. The transfers only worked for maybe 3-4 plays, so it was the same as if you were renting the DVD. This way the store was able to meet the high demand during that first week of release without needing to pay for 20 copies of a DVD no one was going to want 2 weeks from now. But no money flowed back to the distributor from this, and there were no extra copies of the DVD bouncing around that were cut to meet that initial high rental demand and then could be sold.

      Now it’s even worse for the DVD market thanks to streaming. Legitimate streaming, not even piracy. The Telugu films especially I’ve been noticing are all over youtube, posted by actual production companies, with ads in the middle and all of that. And they are almost impossible to get on DVD. Eros used to be one of my main DVD sources, they had a massive website and warehouse, I’d order dozens of films at a time. And now they just have a streaming site with a subscription charge. And of course Amazon and Google have jumped in with their “rental” streaming system.

      Going back to America for a moment, have you noticed that even American DVDs are getting harder and harder to find? I suspect that after the death of the video store, now that it’s just Redbox and Netflix, the American studios are printing up fewer copies as well. And the thing with DVDs is, those original 2 million copies from right when it came out are no longer in circulation. Because they just don’t last as long. They wear out or get scratched or break, you don’t really see a “Used DVD store” like you do with books.

      On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Absolutely. We can still buy movies for the kids at Walmart, or one of the few music stores still around. I order all of my stuff from Amazon or eBay. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a DVD/Blu-ray for myself in a store. It’s really kind of sad, when I think of how it used to be back in the early 2000’s.


        • I’m lucky, at least for Indian DVDs, I live near the hub for my region. But for the regional hub, it’s pretty sad! Only two stores, and even they don’t carry everything. They carry an awful lot, but not everything.

          On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:25 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Forgot to answer the “Chocolate Hero” question! An explanation I’ve read is that it is the kind of actor whose face is pasted onto chocolate boxes for decoration. The idea being, young girls who buy a lot of chocolate (or have chocolate given to them) like this kind of actor.

      Generally, it means that he is young and romantic and sweet, but kind of shallow too and can’t carry a film on his own. Just an actor that appeals to young woman, nothing else. Think like Leo right after Titanic, or Aditya Roy Kapoor now.

      I did a whole talk on this a few years back, one of those talks that I wrote just because I had the perfect title (“Breaking the Chocolate Hero Mold”), and I figured I would come up with something to fit the title later. Which I kind of did.

      My argument was that the whole “romance” film in Indian cinema is really a coming of age movie, a bildungsroman. Since marriage is a sacrament that marks the dividing line between childhood and adulthood, the structure of an Indian romance is built around our hero and heroine growing into adulthood with romance as the thing that pushes them along. So the hero starts out as a childish flirt, meets the heroine, goes on to get into a fight, confront his parents/other older authority figure, commit to the romance (may not be a wedding ceremony in the middle of the film, but there is always a moment where they swear their faithfulness to each other), and finally go off to build a new life and found a new household with the heroine.

      Only to make this film structure work, we need actors who can reset back to that boy-on-the-edge-of-manhood at the start of every film. So you have Imran very explicitly come of age in Jaane Tu….Ya Jaane Na. And then at the beginning of Break Ka Baad, he’s right back to being a “boy”. And so on and so on for film after film. And these are the chocolate heroes, the disposable types who come out fresh every year to play in the boyish romances and make teenage girls swoon.

      The tricky thing is that eventually you get just plain too old to play the Chocolate Hero. Plus, there’s a new 13 year old girl born every minute, and they all want their own “chocolate heroes” for their own era, not some hand-me-down star from their older siblings. So if you want your career to continue for more than 5 years, you have to do something shocking to break out of “chocolate hero” stage. Think like how all the Disney teen stars have to do a nude photoshoot or a sexual song or something to start off their adult career. So Shahid did Kaminey, Imraan tried it with Matru Ka Biljli and failed, Ritiesh Deshmukh never really managed it and switched to producing, so did Uday Chopra, Abhishek is doing character roles more now, and so on and so on. Ranbir and Ranveer are right in the middle of trying to make that leap. (again, this is all just my interpretation, not industry accepted wisdom. But it seems true, right?)

      On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

    • I know! And even the DVDs don’t really have a lot of features any more. I was just thinking about that with the deleted scenes of ADHM and Dear Zindagi. On the K3G DVD, which was about twice as expensive as this one and took maybe 6 months to come out after the film instead of just 6 weeks, we had Karan give this long explanation as to why each of the scenes was removed. And he put in every single moment of film that he had shot for the picture, even if it wasn’t dubbed and the images were flawed. And now on ADHM, it’s just 4 scenes with no explanation or intro for them.

      Heck, the Dilwale DVD didn’t even include Premika! It belongs in the film, but if you want to see it, you have to go online and stream it.

      On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:12 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • I love special features! They were one of the main reasons I started collecting DVDs (I never really went all out with VHS, just had a few favorites). American movies don’t even really put much effort in to that end these days. You used to get a feature length documentary, two or three audio commentaries, deleted scenes, etc. Now, you’re lucky if you get a promotional featurette or a couple interviews. I really appreciate the Indian blu-rays I have that have a few nice features. Tamasha is the one that springs to mind- a very interesting commentary by Imtiaz Ali, a half hour making-of documentary and a bunch of deleted scenes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d want to rush right out and buy the Tamasha DVD after that explanation, except that I HATED Tamasha and I never want to spend another second with it.

        On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • >I love special features!

        Me too!
        I don’t have a big Indian DVD collection (still it makes a half of all my DVDs), but all of them have special features. Most of them are 2-discs set special editions (like Lagaan with an extended 2 hours “making” film” and deleted scenes/songs).


        • I am so jealous of you having that copy of Lagaan! It’s surprisingly hard to find now, definitely one that they cut a couple million copies back when it first came out, and none new since then. Unless they just re-released it and I am out of date. Back about 3 years ago, I was finally ready to buy a copy to use for a talk I was giving, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I think I ended up buying it on PAL, because that was the only version I could track down.

          I should really be like you and limit my collection to just really good editions of really good films. But part of it is that I host movie nights every week, and I like to be able to show my friends any movie I can think of, not just the movies that are available streaming at the moment. If it weren’t for that necessity, I would probably cut down my collection severely.

          On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 12:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. >If it weren’t for that necessity, I would probably cut down my collection severely.

    I think it’s cool having a vast DVD collection!
    Well, if you have enough space to store them, of course.

    Quite a coincidence! ))) I ordered my copy of Lagaan from Ebay 3 years ago or so.
    I’ve just checked my Ebay history, and a few copies are still available at the same seller I ordered my copy from! So if you are still interested, here it is – .

    And here is my Lagaan collection.
    (I bought the book separately on Amazon).


  3. Which movie of Akshay Kumar’s upcoming movies are most excited about?

    Jolly LLB 2 (coming out on February 10th)
    Padman (Directed by R. Balki, co-starring Sonam Kapoor)
    2.0 (Sequel to Endhiran)
    Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (co-starring Bhumi Pednekar)
    Crack (Neeraj Pandey’s movie)
    Salman and Karan Johar’s Joint Production
    Gold (Directed by Reema Kagti, story of India’s first olympic gold)


    • Definitely absolutely Reema Kagti’s film. Actually, this list is almost perfectly in reverse order of my preferences.

      Padman: I am so sick of R. Balki after his last few disappointments. I’d be interested in seeing Akshay opposite Sonam, but not in a Balki movie.

      Toilet: Ek Prem Katha: I assume this is a really silly light film just based on the title. Not the “toilet” part, but that it is a re-working of another famous title. Unless it is like Sahib Bibi Aur Gangster where it really deals with and re-writers the original, it just screams more of “Scary Movie” kind of spoof thing.

      2.0-Still haven’t seen Endhiran! I am excited about the idea of a Hindi film star, like a legitimate really big star, choosing to do a southern film. And being excited about it and promoting it, not like some secret cameo he doesn’t want his Hindi fans to know about it. But I’m less excited about the film as a whole, since it’s a sequel, I don’t expect it to break huge new ground as a film.

      Jolly LLB 2-I still haven’t seen the first one, so I don’t have much of a sense for it. I am assuming a small clever comedy similar to OMG. I am delighted that these kinds of films are being made and doing well, but I’m not like “Excited!” about it.

      Crack: Okay, now it gets tricky! If it weren’t for the other two, I would be most excited about this one. M.S. Dhoni was really well directed, and I still haven’t seen Baby and Special 26, but I have heard they were really good collaborations.

      Salman and Karan Johar’s Joint Production: SO EXCITED!!!! By the concept of Salman and Karan coming together, by the concept of Salman producing a real grown up movie, not just one starring himself or a newcomer, but an actual big budget production featuring someone else. First of the Khans to do that! And at Akshay willing to be in another stars production. And to work with Karan! Has he done that before? I don’t think so. So many things to think about and discuss and wonder and look forward to.

      Gold: But see, this is the one! This is the one I didn’t even know about and now can’t wait for! Talaash is BRILLIANT, and like nothing ever done before, while at the same time feeling like it is related to what came before. And more than that, the way Kareena and Rani and Aamir and their stardom was used in that film, the way she managed to drag out original performances from these people who had already done so many roles, while at the same time keeping them in their comfort zone. Honeymoon Travels wasn’t as good, but it was way way more ambitious! I mean, flying superheroes? And a gay kiss? In a mainstream (ish) film with Amisha Patel and Boman Irani and Arjun Rampal and Dia Mirza and everyone else? And a huge song number? I just cannot WAIT to see what she does with a real life story and Akshay Kumar as her star. Plus, Akshay returning in a role as a sportsman, which I never would have thought I liked, but then Patiala House become one of my all time favorite of his performances. And it’s a historical!!!! We never get historicals!


      • Even if R. Balki’s movies aren’t good, the concepts are unique so I just want to see what he came up with this time. I’m not too excited about Sonam and Akshay paired together though for some reason.

        Toilet Ek Prem Katha sounds like a rom-com and I read somewhere that is has to do with the Swacch Bharat campaign. Are you saying it reminds you of Gadar? I’ve never seen Gadar so I don’t know.

        So far the promos of Jolly LLB 2 haven’t really excited me. Plus I haven’t seen the original either so I don’t really care about this one at the moment.

        I really liked Endhiran back when it came out so I am curious to see how they continued the story. Plus the first look posters look really interesting!

        The poster about Crack that was released looked really cool so I am really interested in this movie though I haven’t seen Baby or Special 26 yet either.

        Salman and Karan Johar’s production sounds interesting especially with all big names involved. Karan and Akshay did Brothers together in 2015. Apparently the director is the same person that directed Jatt and Juliet. If I remember correctly, you seemed to like that movie.

        I haven’t seen Talaash since it never seemed that interesting. I’ll have to check it out now. So far I’ve only known Reema Kagti as the writer on Zoya Akhtar’s films. That alone makes Gold interesting enough.


        • Gadar Ek Prem Katha is super serious and intense and stuff. Which is what makes me think a cheeky title using it has got to be more of a light spoof type film than something groundbreaking.

          Thanks for the reminder about Brothers! Okay, so Karan has worked with Akshay before. Has Salman? Oh right, Mujshe Shaadi Karoge!

          Talaash is quite good, it’s worth checking out!


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