Wednesday Watching Post: What are You Watching and Reading and Thinking About the Week Before Valentine’s Day?

General discussion area!  Tell us what you’ve seen recently, ask for recommendations, talk about books, post article links, whatever you want!

I’ll start!  I think I have finally finished my Raees viewings, the required 4 in theater for every Shahrukh release.  And all my friends who really wanted to see it have now seen it.

I saw the new Dulquer movie on Monday.  And over the weekend, I finally watched a few more episodes of Zindagi Gulzar Hai (posts going up once I finish it, maybe next week).  I also finished Karan’s book on Friday, posts about that going up on that later today!

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71 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What are You Watching and Reading and Thinking About the Week Before Valentine’s Day?

  1. I finished Zindagi Gulzar Hai, re-watched KKHH and am in the middle of Dilwale, now that it is on Netflix. A friend and I saw Lion, which was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

    And I got Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge via Netflix DVD — it’s a remake of The Producers, which intrigued me. I am getting fascinated by adaptations. It was actually pretty funny, though Paresh Rawal is not as funny as Zero Mostel (how would that even be possible?) and Khumal Khemal is TERRIBLE compared to Gene Wilder. Sofa Ali Khan plays an aspiring (but untalented) actress, KK’s love interest, and is just okay. The first half of movie is slow, but once they are actually shooting the “flop” movie, it picks up. The screening of the finished product, a mash-up of Sholay, DDLJ, Gadar, and Lagaan in which the climax is an India-Pakistan cricket match which India loses, is the high point of the whole movie. Sonu Sood plays the lead actor, and is very funny. This is hard for me to admit, but Johnny Lever in the Kenneth Mars role of the crazy playwright, is perfect, and the funniest one in the whole movie. The music and dance numbers are mostly awful. Worth watching for the second half, especially the Sholay rip-off parts. Trivia — this was apparently made before Khumal Khemal and Sofa Ali Khan became a couple. Chemistry is non-existent.

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    • I think I might just get Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge through your description, doesn’t really seem worth it to try to get a copy of it.

      And glad to hear someone else finished Zindagi! Now I know there will be readers if/when I write a full summary.

      On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 8:58 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Just read Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh.The heroine who came across very proud,cold and unlikeable in the previous book learns to cope up with life after she learns that she’s illegitimate.Her father turns out to be a bigamist.Watched Oozham which proved to be another meh movie.Watched Kingdom of Heaven yet again.What a wonderful movie (if Bollywood were to remake it, the romance would occupy 90% of the time.I can imagine Ridley Scott’s reaction to that).Watched Naagin, the TV series (under duress) on the weekend.It’s every bit as bad as the Twilight movies.

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    • I’ve never really gotten in to Mary Balogh, but looks like she does the loosely-connected-series-of-romances thing, which I love (as you can tell from my Speculative posts, most of which are about continuing the story of a minor character).

      Agree with you that Oozham was meh. I saw it in theaters and got stuck in traffic and missed the first 5 minutes. But it sounded like that wasn’t much of a loss.

      Naagin looks amazing! I would never want to actually sit down and watch it, but I love how it takes The Vampire Diaries and Twilight and all those supernatural stories that are so popular now and gives it all an Indian touch.

      On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 9:04 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Don’t get me started about Naagin. We’ve moved on from the titular Naagin to were-mangooses,were-peacocks to a were-buffalo(complete with horns.Take that centaurs) and good knows what Ekta’s team will dream up next.

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    • Datablue, I love Mary Balogh, especially her Slightly series, (Slightly Dangerous is my favorite). Thanks for the reminder that she has a new book out. I also just finished Karan Johar’s An Unsuitable Boy, and it was fascinating reading! Looking forward to Margaret’s posts about it, because there is a lot to discuss.

      I saw Dulquer’s new movie, too. It was light and refreshing, if not that deep. Nice few hours away from the current news. Saw Fences last night, which is powerful acting, but still very much like watching a play on the movie screen. I try to see as many of the Oscar nominated movies I can — I’ve seen all the Best Picture nominees accept Hackshaw Ridge, and I’m not sure I can bring myself to give Mel Gibson my money. War movies aren’t my thing anyway. I heartily second the recommendation for Lion — the first half with the child actor in India is stunning. (And Margaret, while sad in parts, remember the child is saved and does reunite with his birth mother in the end.)

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      • All this talk about romance series and Zindagi Gulzar Hai in the other comments inspired me, totally just wrote this weeks Sunday post based on a Zindagi spin off character.

        On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 10:52 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh, I am planning to watch that! It just showed up online, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and see it yet, but this weekend for sure!

      On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 11:28 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Befikre – light and fluffy. You likened it to a soufflé – perfect description. I did laugh out loud at the wedding chaos at the end. I also wondered how Shyra could wander around Paris at night, in an elegant evening gown, with no bag/purse to hold her taxi fares, house keys – the practical stuff, lol

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    • I had similar issues! Seeing as I myself am a young person in the city, and I never go out without my massive purse (2 books, one I’m reading and one back-up, set of emergency keys in case I have to let myself in to a friend’s house, umbrella, emergency Valentine Cards, fold up grocery bag, kindle in case I run out of books, etc. etc.).

      I finally decided it was because Paris is so pedestrian friendly, so she could just walk everywhere, therefore not needing all the public transit entertainment options I require. But I don’t know what she would do with her emergency Valentine’s Cards that I assume all young people in the city carry with them!

      On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 12:32 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I’m now watching Mahira’s other serial “Sadquay Tumare”. Its much more village-oriented than most Hindi films. Very interesting. I loved Zindagi. Though I am very confused by the messages. Woman with a career good? Bad? His mother has one=bad. Her mother educated her to have one=good. He wants traditional wife=good and bad. He gets stubborn modern woman who covers her head in public (??) Good or Bad??
    I’ve led two book groups in “The year of the Runaways” about Indian immigrants to England: their lives in England and their back stories. It is an excellent book, (fiction) and I highly recommend it.

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    • I am so impressed by you watching Sadquay Tumhare! I tried to watch it, and the production values were just so baaaaaaaaaaad that I couldn’t do it. With the village setting and slight period feel, there were so much more options for terrible wigs and mustaches and clothes than in the modern ones where it was essentially just what the actors wore to work that day.

      I had the same confused feel about Zindagi! Which is part of the reason I want to write a post about it, even though I know that many fewer people will read it than the Humsafar posts (which weren’t that popular to begin with). But I really want to take some time and write out my feelings and thoughts and put the whole narrative down in one place and see if I can figure out how it hangs together. Because it definitely does hang together! I never felt like there was an awkwardly inserted moral message or like the characters suddenly changed in personalities, it all made sense as a whole, but the pieces don’t line up at all.

      On Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 1:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I had Amitabh week, not on purpose. First was an old one–Manzil. I wanted to watch this because I’ve seen the wonderful scene where Amitabh and Mousumi Chattarjee are roaming around 70s Bombay ruining Amitabh’s suit in the rain while Rhim Jhim Gire Saawan plays. The whole movie is filled with lovely sweeping shots like that and you get to see a lot of Mumbai. The plot seemed a bit thin to me and also oddly padded. Like, there’s a long conversation in which Mousumi’s mom’s tea-drinking preferences are discussed in detail. I thought that might be an important plot point but it wasn’t. (I do realize that older movies have different pacing, but it seemed excessive). I did enjoy the scene where the two meet. It isn’t a meet-cute or anything like that; they just meet at a wedding and have a very realistically awkward conversation.

    Then for a bit of the lion in winter, Pink. The whole cast is phenomenal. I do understand the objections to a purported feminist film in which a man comes and rescues the lead females, but I think it is best understood as a film in which the whole weight and gravitas of Amitabh Bachchan is put behind a feminist theme. It is decidedly not a niche film, and I think that’s important. (One kind of amusing note in a very heavy film: the judge’s name on the plate on his desk is “Satyajit Dutt” which I wondered if might be a tribute to a couple of great directors).

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  6. Akira – makes a change to have a kickass girl beat the living day lights out of the bullies and baddies.

    A document-drama series I have just started watching on Netflix – Tokyo Trial. I wouldn’t have mentioned it here but I saw Irrfan Khan’s name in the opening credits. I await his appearance.

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  7. Life got so busy that I couldn’t watch a movie for three days. It was horrible! When I finally sat down, exhausted, the other night I was looking for something light and easy. Sardaar Ji fit the bill and then some. I loved it! It was such a silly, cute and enjoyable movie. Talking and singing to the ghosts in the bottles was so wacky and fun. Diljit was awesome in it. Ten minutes in, I could totally understand his popularity. He has great comic timing, doesn’t take himself too seriously and does a great bhangra! The two actresses, Neeru Bajwa and Mandy Takhar, were fantastic. I fell in love with Pinky the feisty ghost and wasn’t too happy when Jaggi started spending time with Jasmine, the dance instructor, at her behest. Then, they were so cute together, that I fell in love with her too! I was awfully worried that Pinky was going to end up getting left in the dust. The way they ended it was perfect. Everyone was happy and got exactly what they wanted- so great! I loved the music and dance numbers. Everything had such a great energy.

    One thing I noticed, and thought was kind of smart, was the color co-ordination between Jaggi and Jasmine. As their relationship grew, every time that they met, his dastar matched her outfit. The last time that he went to her house, to tell her the truth and they had a quarrel, he was wearing red and she was wearing blue. Finally, during the climax when Jasmine showed up at the castle, she was wearing a red coat and they matched again. It was a neat little visual cue for their relationship.

    I also watched Nenunnanu. I really liked that one as well. It was another nice, light romantic comedy. I really like Nagarjuna in this sort of role. He does the comedy and serious scenes very well but he’s also pretty good at the fighting scenes. I liked the heightened reality of the fights, with the ridiculous “style and strength” of Nagarjuna and the excessive blood splatter and aftermaths. The scene when he was fighting the bad guys off with Shriya slung over his shoulder was a lot of fun.

    Shriya Saran did a great job with her role. It was nice to see them together a decade before Manam and they have a sweet chemistry. I agreed with your review that Aarthi Agarwal was just okay. I thought she did a nice job with her songs and she was in the majority of them. The rest of the time, she was just kind of there, while I felt that Shriya popped off the screen. Neekosam Neekosam (the last one with Shriya) ended up being my favorite song of the entire film. I also liked the drunk song a lot. Is that a Nagarjuna trademark? The drunk song from Manam was awesome and I’m pretty sure there was one in Manmadhudu as well. I’ve only watched three of his movies, though, so who knows?

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    • I’ve only seen three Nagarjuna movies too! And one of them wasn’t really a “Nagarjuna” movie, it was his one collaboration with Mani Ratnam, Geethanjali, and it is brilliant and touching and all of those Ratnam things. Oh wait, and also Khuda Gawah. But that was like 60% Amitabh, 35% Sridevi, and 5% everybody else. So it wasn’t really a Nagarjuna movie either.

      I’ve only seen two Diljit Dosangh movies (well, three if you count Udta Punjab), and Sardaarji is definitely my favorite. I had the same feeling as you! I really liked the ghost romance, and was all mad about the other one, but then I started to really like the other one too! the ending is kind of silly, but it’s the only resolution that would have made me happy as an audience member. I just wanted all 3 of them to find happiness!

      On Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 12:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • If you like Nagarjuna and Shriya together, you should check out Santosham (“Happiness”) which is another romance starring the both of them along with Gracy Singh (the girl from Lagaan). I personally like Santosham more than Nenunnanu.

      Speaking of the drunk songs in Nagarjuna’s films, I think that is just a coincidence that there happens to be one in each of the movies you’ve seen. I don’t really remember any other drunk songs off the top my head.

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  8. We’ve had four hot, hot days so all I could manage yesterday afternoon was to watch a DVD. I wanted to see Mother India but the DVD wouldn’t play (on 2 DVD machines). Drat. So watched (a rewatch) Parched – such a good movie. Then watched another episode of Tokyo Trial and dozed off, lol.
    Last night finally got around to watching Bobby – maybe there were one or two too many songs and the ending (running away, getting kidnapped and being rescued) seemed very quick and frantic compared with the rest of the film. An intrusive, at times, background score. In a few fleeting moments from time to time I thought Dimple looked so much younger than her 16 year old self (or 15 while it was being filmed).

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    • Having just read Rishi’s biography, I can tell you that the ending was supposed to be both kids dying. But test audiences didn’t like it, so Raj changed it. It never bothered me, but maybe you were more sensitive than I was! After reading that, thinking back, I can definitely see how the ending felt kind of random and thrown together.

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  9. I had my Shabana Azmi double feature of Arth and Fire. They were both excellent. Both films had really beautiful, sad and soulful performances by Shabana.

    Arth was probably my favorite of the two, but only by a slim margin. I also liked it a bit more than Daddy (which I also enjoyed a great deal). This seemed grounded in a slightly more realistic style. Mahesh Bhatt seems like he made many mistakes over the years and this film owns up to them and seems to offer an apology. His ex-wife is the hero of the film! The character is a strong, proud woman that overcomes such betrayal and moves on with her life on her own terms. Raj, the singer she meets, is there to sing a few songs and offer some support, but she doesn’t need him. I liked that. I thought Kulbhushan Kharbanda did a fine job in the Mahesh role- a drunk, an adulterer but not really a villain with a capital ‘V’. He’s just a screw-up that made a series of awful decisions and then had to deal with the repercussions. Smita Patel (oh my gosh, does her son ever look just like her) was really good as the mentally unbalanced mistress driven even deeper into madness by her guilt.

    Shabana was incredible as Pooja. She captured my heart with this performance. The scene at the party, when Raj is singing a song and Inder and Kavita walk in, was so good. I loved the confrontation and the way that Pooja chose her words so perfectly. It did more damage to Kavita than a knife to the heart! She conveyed the character’s journey mostly with her facial expressions. It seems so simple but so much of the performance is just her reacting to the situations. I loved that as the film went on and she had reclaimed her confidence and her footing in life, even her posture changed. There was a scene near the end with Inder’s friend, Kavita’s mom and a doctor. She stood so tall, with such grace, and showed such dignity within that moment. Then, she showed it even more by going to Kavita and trying to set her mind at ease- can you imagine?

    Fire was a quiet film, even by comparison. Again, the entire journey happened right there on Shabana’s face. Her Radha was such a calm, restrained and subtle performance. Nandita Das was very good as well, as the modern thinking sister-in-law Sita that moves in shakes everything up in so many different ways. She stirs something within Radha, right from the start, a “fire” that has been dormant for many years. This is such a beautiful, powerful and touching love story- the secret glances shared between them, the tender moments on the roof, the sweetness of Radha’s awakening.

    There is so much there about the traditional versus the modern, about the ridiculousness of a wife’s “duties” to her husband when he owes seemingly nothing in return, and about the basic human need for compassion, companionship and emotional and physical connection. I’d like to watch this again and try to focus more on the big picture. As I watched, I was emotionally drawn in by the two women and the love story they shared.

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    • It sounds like you got just about everything there is to get from those two films! I just want to add a couple of real life facts for context.

      First, for Fire, it caused a massive uproar when it was released. The first film to really be a target of the extreme right in India, which meant it was also the first film to inspire the film industry and the left to come together and fight back. It was eventually released in India in a very few theaters almost a year after it had come out in the west. Oh, and the ultimate censor decision was that it could be released, if the heroine’s names were removed entirely. Because they were named Sita and Radha, which was considered blasphemous, to give the names of religious figures to such “fallen” women.

      Second, for Arth, I don’t know if you fully wiki’d the plot yet, but while Shabana is playing Mahesh’s first wife, Smita is playing his mistress Parveen Babi (from Deewar). She never fully recovered from her mental illness, although she had periods of rationality. In the end, she was last in the news for filing an FIR claiming that Amitabh Bachchan and Bill Clinton were conspiring to kill her. And finally died of various complications probably related to her self and prescription medicating of her illness, and was found days later by the milkman. Very sad.

      Smita herself has almost as sad a story. She fell in love with her married co-star Raj Babbar and started an open affair with him. He left his wife for her, she was triumphantly and proudly pregnant with his child out of wedlock, and then a couple of weeks after the birth, she suddenly died of complications. Her son was raised by his grandmother, and Raj Babbar went back to his wife.

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  10. Okay, so I finally saw Deewaar and I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I expected to. I liked the story and the performances, and I definitely understand the importance of the movie to the history of Indian cinema and society, but at the end I just didn’t really get it. One of the things that I didn’t expect was that Deewaar is going to be so serious. I knew what was going to happen in the end, but I still kind of expected the movie to have a fun tone. You know that scene when Amitabh goes to the goons shed instead of running away. There was a certain swag when he says “peter” and puts his legs up, and I felt that same kind of attitude didn’t continue throughout the rest of the movie like I was expecting it to. Also another thing that was distracting was that the actress that plays Amitabh and Shashi Kapoor’s mom looks so much like Konkana Sen Sharma, and Shashi Kapoor kept reminding me of Saif Ali Khan. I don’t know, I just didn’t really seem to connect with Deewaar.

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    • Yeah, sometimes movies just don’t connect.

      Interesting thought about Amitabh’s “swag” in that one scene. It feels like in his later movies, like Shahenshah or even Amar Akbar Anthony, that was his personality. This super super cool guy that you wanted to watch and wanted to be. But Deewar, and the other early ones (Zanjeer, Trishul) you end up feeling very grateful that you aren’t him, They aren’t as “fun” as the later ones, but then we wouldn’t have gotten the “fun” ones if we hadn’t had the serious ones to make us pay attention to Amitabh and action movies to begin with.

      Anyway, now you can move on to Mr. India! Which you might enjoy a lot more.

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      • I just finished Mr. India and I really liked it! Sridevi and Anil Kapoor were great, and so were the kids! I thought Anil Kapoor was really endearing. Actually I think this is my first Anil Kapoor movie other than Dil Dhadakne Do.
        I really liked the way all the fight sequences were shot with the invisible Mr. India. They were quite clever and comical. Also I didn’t know “Kate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat” was from this movie! I really liked the way that this song was shot too. Overall, Mr. India was just a really fun movie!

        I was looking up Shekhar Kapur’s wikipedia page and it says that he left a bunch of unfinished films after Mr. India. Was there any reason for that?

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        • I have no idea. More recently, it looks like he tends to come up with ideas and research them and get started, and then stop. Which isn’t that big of a deal, the only time he is wasting is his own.

          But you are right, back in the early 90s there was a whole string of movies that actually started production and then he walked off. So strange! I don’t know, maybe that’s just his personality? He gets into stuff and then gets bored with it?

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          • I don’t know either but my guess is that maybe he really gelled with Boney Kapoor and that production team and he never found that much freedom with a producer again. I don’t know, but it just seems like Shekhar Kapur is a person who would want to experiment a lot.

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  11. I finally watched Lagaan on Saturday. I had been putting it off, mostly because it such a big, important film in Hindi cinema, and also because it’s really long. I wanted to watch it years ago when it first released and had all the Oscar buzz. I remember reading articles about it and then badgering both my local independent video store and Blockbuster to get a DVD copy (they never did). I never saw it anywhere to buy. So I didn’t get to see it and I forgot about it for over a decade, until I got into Hindi films. As with Deewar, a few weeks ago, I’m kind of glad that I held off. I think my appreciation for the movie, as well as my ability to better understand the “language” of Hindi cinema, has increased because of the wait.

    It did not feel like a near 4-hour movie. I didn’t find it slow and plodding at all. It was so well constructed and the pacing was perfect. Even the cricket match at the end was just perfect. It felt like watching three tense, suspenseful and crucial days of the most important game that any of the people had ever been involved in. The simplicity of the story really drew me in. The characters and their predicament are so easy to relate to. It is the ultimate underdog story. Who can’t get behind this cobbled together team, literally playing for their lives? Aamir’s performance was fantastic, as I expected, and he is the perfect way in to the people and their plight, as a viewer. All of the acting was so well done- from Gracy Singh and the ragtag group of villagers to the over-the-top British baddies and Elizabeth.

    The music was absolutely incredible. This must be considered one of A.R. Rahman’s masterpieces. Ghanan Ghanan and Radha Kaise Na Jale were my favorites but every song was amazing. I also really liked O Rey Chhori and the uniqueness of mixing in the English operatic style of vocals. It seemed so fresh and different. I really enjoyed the visuals for that one as well, the way the fantasies and realities came together (Aamir in the redcoat, waltzing with Elizabeth in the cantonment made me chuckle).

    Commenting on these classic movies is so difficult! What can I write about Lagaan that hasn’t already been written and said a thousand times? Nothing seems to do justice to such a masterpiece of cinema. I loved the film!

    Last night we watched Aaha Kalyanam- the Tamil remake of Band Baaja Baaraat, with Vaani Kapoor and Nani. It wasn’t bad! Most of it was close to the original but the songs were all completely different (the music and the choreography) and that helped a lot. And it definitely had a different flavor. Nani and Vaani both did a very nice job. Vaani couldn’t quite handle the emotional heft of the second half, especially compared with Anushka’s performance in the original, but she did as well as she could. She is still so young in her career. They both danced very well and their chemistry was nice, definitely less energetic and more laid back than Ranveer and Anushka. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a different take on the characters. The second half didn’t seem as long or drawn out as the original. The section where things go awry and they are working individually seemed shorter for some reason. The run-times are almost identical, so I’m not quite sure where they cut and added, but it wasn’t exactly beat for beat. It probably isn’t something I’d watch again but it was definitely worth checking out.

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    • It’s funny how the pacing for different parts can feel different between versions for no particular reason. I had a similar feeling watching Alai Payuthay versus Saathiya. In that case, the run times were different, and I could pin point the couple of scenes that were in one version not the other. But ultimately, they were really tiny differences. And yet, just those few minutes of scenes were enough to make the characters and the situation feel entirely different.

      Also, you mentioned that Vaani was early in her career and not able to do as much as Anushka. Which made sense to me when I read it, and then I remembered “hey! BBB was Anushka’s second film!” Which just shows how impressive and competent she has always been, that even in her second film she feels like an experienced actress.

      For Lagaan, I have to confess it is not my favorite film. I can admire the accomplishment of it, but it just feels so far outside of the norm for Hindi cinema. Almost purposefully so, in a kind of “hey white people! Like me!” way. By the way, did you recognize Paul Blackthorne, the “evil” British guy? If you watch the TV show Arrow (or even have caught ads for it), he is one of the main characters. And he is similarly 100% committed and willing to go over the top for the sake of entertainment in that part.

      On Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 9:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I completely forgot that Anushka was at pretty much the same point in her film career when she made Band Baaja Baaraat. I’m glad you pointed that out! I guess she is the rare talent that has “it” right from the beginning. She didn’t really have to go through any growing pains. Comparing the two, it makes me appreciate Anushka’s performance even more.

        And I haven’t watched Arrow but I was certain that I’d seen Paul Blackthorne before. His credits show multiple episodes of ER and 24, so maybe on one of those? Or, like you mentioned, from the bumpers for Arrow (we watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Jane the Virgin, also on CW). That’s the key to a performance like that- just completely going for it. He was really good at being so awful. I just wanted to punch him right in his smug face to wipe away that arrogant grin!

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      • Do you ever show Lagaan to viewers new to Hindi cinema? I can see it going both ways. It’s more Western in style and cinematography so it could produce a familiar, comfortable feeling. It has some really good songs and dances sprinkled in, but they’re staged in a pretty tasteful and appealing way. On the other hand, it’s so long and I could totally understand if someone found it dry and boring. Plus, as you wrote, it’s so different from other Hindi films that it definitely wouldn’t be a great introduction to that style of film making. Personally, I’m glad that I saw it at this point (I still think I would have enjoyed it when it released and it may have kick started my interest a decade earlier. Although, it has been pretty incredible and exciting to discover a new passion like this in my 30’s!)

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        • I don’t usually show Lagaan to new viewers. Or old viewers, but for different reasons. For new viewers, although they may enjoy it, it’s just so different, if they like it they will be disappointed that there isn’t really anything else like it. And if they don’t like it, it will turn them off Indian movies that they might have enjoyed. And then for old viewers, they are already all in on the Shahrukh romance/ridiculous action type movies, they would just be turned off by Lagaan.

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    • I haven’t seen Aaha Kalyanam but I remember people saying that it seemed like a Hindi film dubbed into Tamil in a bunch of reviews I read at the time. I remember this was only Nani’s second Tamil movie and Vaani Kapoor’s debut which is why I think it didn’t really do well. Also there was another Telugu movie that came out the year before that was inspired by Band Baaja Baaraat which was also negative for the Telugu dubbed version of Aaha Kalyanam. Sadly, I don’t think Yash Raj ventured into producing a Tamil or Telugu movie after the failure of Aaha Kalyanam.

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      • I figured that it didn’t do well since it didn’t even get a DVD release. I ended up renting it through Youtube and it was worth the $4 I spent. Like I said, not something I’d watch again (I’ll just watch Band Baaja Baarat if I get the itch). I really liked the songs and I’ll probably try to find the soundtrack. It’s a shame that it scared Yash Raj off from working on more Tamil or Telugu films. It would have been interesting to see what might have come from those collaborations.

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        • I should really check out the songs then 🙂

          I think Yash Raj should have teamed up with existing directors to come up with original stories that would work for the targeted audience while still being something that you would expect from a Yash Raj movie. I did think it was really smart of them to work with a young talent like Nani though. Signing stars would just complicate things in my opinion.

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          • I just saw the songs, and Vaani Kapoor is an amazing dancer! I would love to see her in a full-length dance movie like ABCD 2! I just wanted to point out that the Thala Thala song lyrics are just punch dialogues from various movies 🙂

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          • That makes sense about Thala Thala. The lyrics just seemed so nonsensical! I recognized the “all is well” line, but that was about it. Which film is the “banana fritter” part from?

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          • Actually I don’t know Tamil, but I listened to both albums. I realized that they were all dialogues when I listened to the Telugu version of the song. So I’m not sure about the banana fritter part :/

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  12. I watched Raja Rani, the 2013 Tamil film, last night. It was pretty good! The film starts with two people getting married that quite obviously do not want to be there. The woman says the wrong name while taking the vows, her father nearly takes a heart attack, and they end up going through with the marriage. They go back home, begin living as husband and wife, but never really give the other a chance. They’re both pretty horrible. She is cold and miserable. He’s either at work or drunk, and purposely tries to irritate her. It’s a bit strange to watch. You’re not really pulling for them (maybe for a quick dissolution of the marriage). The first half of the film tells the woman’s back story, the second half tells the man’s, and then it shows how this match came about and the reasons behind the coldness on both sides.

    The flashbacks are where the story really comes alive. You get to see both of the main characters younger, happier and totally in love (not with each other but in other relationships). Slowly, you begin to understand the two lead characters. They aren’t really bad people. They were driven to this point. They’ve been hurt, agreed to this unwanted union out of indifference, and never really gave it much of a chance. Of course, as the audience learns about the past, so do the characters. And, more importantly, they begin to sympathize with, and understand, each other a bit more. Sure, this could have been accomplished before the wedding with a couple hours of conversation, but that wouldn’t make for a very interesting film!

    The actors were all really good at their roles. Nazriya Nazim (the main reason I watched this) was wonderful in her supporting role. She didn’t appear until the second half, in backstory, but she made the most of her screen time. She’s so cute and sweet and bubbly- I just love her! Jai was good as the meek telemarketer of the first flashback. Nayantara and Arya did well as the married couple. My wife thought Arya looked like Paul Johansson, who played Dan Scott on One Tree Hill. Nayantara had the more unlikable part to play and she pulled it off.

    The music was pretty good but none of the songs stuck in my head. I really liked the way that one of them was put together. The husband, John, was at a bar drinking with his friend. They poll the rest of the bar, “who is here to get away from a wife”? Of course, everyone raises their hand. The song begins and a gaggle of drunk husbands dance out into the night, led by John. At one point, a police van pulls up, the song stops and the police ask why everyone is dancing in the street. Once they discover the men are henpecked husbands trying to escape their wives, the police call for the song to start back up and join in the dance! I thought it was pretty clever and funny.

    I enjoyed the movie overall. It was just shy of three hours, so maybe they could have edited it down a bit? I really liked the backstories, though, so I’m not sure where the filmmakers could have cut from. It didn’t really feel like the story dragged, but it did feel like a long movie, if that makes any sense. Still, a pretty solid effort from a first-time director.

    We had planned to re-watch Manam tonight for Valentine’s Day. My wife picked up a double shift at work, though, so now I think I might watch Dil to Pagal Hai instead!

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    • I still haven’t seen Raja Rani, although I have had it recommended to me. Have you seen Mouna Ragam yet? I ask because I had Raja Rani recommended to me with a big asterisk that “it’s really similar to Mouna Ragam, which is much better.” So I’ve seen Mouna Ragam, but not Raja Rani.

      And Dil To Pagal Hai sounds like a lovely way to spend Valentine’s! I traditionally have my friends over for a movie night and we spend Valentine’s with Shahrukh every year (this includes friends with significant others, obviously their love for Shahrukh supercedes their love for anyone else). With Valentine’s on a Tuesday this year, it might be a bit tricky. So I will see who shows up, and it might end up being just me, SRK, and a heart shaped pizza. The perfect evening!

      On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 9:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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    • I liked Raja Rani too and a large part of that was because of Nazriya! I hate the fact that she quit acting after getting married. I really liked the background score of Raja Rani though the songs are just decent.

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      • Is Nazriya officially retired from acting? That absolutely breaks my heart. She is so talented and has such wonderful screen presence. And she’s soooo cute! She’s one of those rare performers that just has “it” right from the jump. She was just getting started!

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        • I don’t know if she officially retired but she hasn’t signed a film since she got married to Fahadh Fasil, her co-star in Bangalore Days. I think Nazriya’s last movie to come out was Bangalore Days which released sometime in 2014. She is really cute! The good thing is that she’s only like 21 years old so it will probably be easy to make a comeback if she plans to do so.

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  13. Jolly LLB2 – I didn’t think I would bother making the 1.5 hour journey to see this but a friend treated me to a pre-birthday lunch/movie. It wasn’t what I imagined it would be (a bit of goofy comedy with a little bit of drama thrown in) – I hadn’t read any reviews or summaries. It was better – drama with some comic touches from time to time to lighten it. Giggle moments – the judge and the side story about his daughter’s wedding: him dancing to Gulabo and his worshipping Alia Bhatt, his proof reading the wedding invitations.
    We both enjoyed the movie very much.

    Like

    • I missed that one, because I hadn’t seen Jolly LLB 1, so it would be “wrong” to see it. I’m glad to get your report! From the trailers, it looked like something that would be fun, but also okay to miss.

      Margaret

      On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 4:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  14. I haven’t seen JLLB1 either but I don’t think the 2 are related so didn’t think it would matter if they were seen out of order. I will watch the first one soon 🙂

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  15. You should see this, it’s quite interesting. Basically talks about how scripts reach Karan Johar’s table. And also, isn’t that the guy that was in Mohabbatein?

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    • Just noticed that you posted this. I watched this the other day- it was fascinating to get a small glimpse into Dharma’s development process. I really love watching behind the scenes videos like this. My only complaint was that it was so brief! I hope Film Companion keeps going in direction with its content.

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    • Finally had a chance to watch this! It was very interesting, and in fact I think I am going to turn it into a little mini-post! I was just going to reply to your comment, but then my reply got looooooooooooooooooong.

      Like

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