Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Watching and Reading and Thinking About the Day After Valentine’s?

Happy Wednesday!  Looking forward to hearing what all you guys have been watching and reading and so on.  And how you all celebrated Valentine’s!  I had my usual traditional celebration of Shahrukh and take out.  With friends, not just the two of us, that would be weird.

So, I’ll start on the reporting!  Last night we watched my person 75 minute edit of Dilwale, just the action and SRKajol scenes. And to eat we had this lovely piece of art.  Valentine’s special from the pizza place around the corner!

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On my trip I watched Guide and Guppy (reviews of those going up in a bit).  And also Baby (to get ready for Naam Shabana) and Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (because I listened to the songs enough, I thought I might as well see the movie).

Oh, and John Wick 2 of course.  Which was EXCELLENT!!!  I don’t want to say better than John Wick, because what could be?  But at least as good.

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69 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Watching and Reading and Thinking About the Day After Valentine’s?

  1. My youngest son celebrated Valentine’s by getting sick all over! After cleaning that up, and giving him a bath, we watched Dil to Pagal Hai together. Best Valentine’s Day cuddles ever (sick cuddles with kids are the nicest cuddles, even though I’ll probably end up with the flu)!

    It was wonderful, as always- so many great songs, amazing dancing by Karisma and Madhuri (Shahrukh’s not so bad either) and the delightful ridiculousness of removing one’s pants to try on a shirt at a clothing store. Oh, and goofy Akshay Kumar trying to woo a woman, who practically grew up as his sister, by repeatedly calling her ‘fatty’. Still, the only scene that truly moves me is the shoreline conversation between Shahrukh and Karisma, concerning the nature of love and how God plays with us all like pieces on a chessboard. I don’t know why I love this film so much but I do. I really really do!

    My wife and I moved our plans of Indian takeout and Manam to Saturday night. She got home from work last night at 11:45, gave me a kiss and a McDonald’s burger, and we watched the finale of DTPH together. Perfect Valentine’s Day!

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  2. I saw John Wick 2 on Saturday! Definitely not as good as the first one, but a good middle film for the planned trilogy. Keanu is the new Liam Neeson in Taken. Sunday night I saw the Red Hot Chili Pepers in concert with some college friends, reliving the mid-90s!

    Rewatched Road, Movie the other day and still really like the simplicity of the story, the charm of the band of misfits, and the cinematography. One of the few Abhay Deol performances I like (but he’s really not that good…the entire Deol family is so underwhelming for me). Tannistha Chatterjee is one of the coolest actresses out there…she makes interesting choices.

    Also rewatched Tamasha in the last week. Still absolutely hate the framing play because it is so objectively awful and hurts the whole promise that Ranbir’s character needed to let his art out…because, yeah, no he didn’t. The rest of the movie is a lot of navel gazing and pretentious crap about self-knowledge and the miracle worker woman who wakes him up, but I’m still keeping it in the collection because I feel like in time I may enjoy it more and for now it’s good for the performances (though I think Imtiaz Ali was not giving them good notes at times) and the scenery.

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    • I was really pleased with how they managed to take John Wick 2 forward, without doing a retread of the first movie, or radically changing the backstory, or anything like that. John Wick was such a tight contained simple storyline, it’s a challenge to see where it could go after that, but they found a way forward that doesn’t feel THAT contrived! And I can’t wait to see how they end it!

      I still haven’t seen Road, Movie and I don’t even feel that bad about it. If it’s not a big mainstream release, or so brilliant it gets massive buzz, I don’t feel such pressure to give up 3 hours to watching it (Lunchbox, on the other hand, I do feel kind of guilty about missing). But for Abhay, Dev D and Socha Na Tha were so good, I kind of give him a lifetime pass for those two roles. And for taking those two roles! He helped launch Imtiaz and Anurag Kashyap!

      Speaking of Imtiaz, oh my gosh totally co-sign on all your Tamasha complaints! God, Ranbir! Get over your tortured artist self! The movie I keep comparing it with is 2 States, strangely enough. Where our hero also wanted to be an artist, but he knew he had to get out of his parents’ house and support himself, and then pursue his passion in his free time. And the romance was about him sharing this secret dream with someone, not her inspiring the secret dream to begin with. Also, the script took the time to show that Alia was happy and fulfilled in her profession, not just there to admire him. I wasn’t blogging when I saw Tamasha, but I wrote a review for another site here, if you want to read my rants: https://learningandcreativity.com/silhouette/all-the-worlds-a-stage-prem-ratan-dhan-payo-and-tamasha/

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  3. If you saw Filmistan and liked it, you might like Road, Movie. It’s kind of a similar take on how even in moments of high stress the joy of cinema can get you through.

    That’s true about Abhay, but I always expect him to be better than he is for some reason. Plus on a purely superficial and catty level, he always looks like he’s storing food for winter in those cheeks of his!

    I’ll check out your rants on Tamasha. The 2 States comparison is really valid. I actually just rewatched that recently and enjoyed that one more than the first time I saw it. Ronit Roy is really, really good in it. Plus he’s hot:)

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      • His character or the actor? Do I not know something about the actor? I know he plays evil characters a lot (in Kabil, for sure). His character in 2 States is definitely not a sympathetic character but I feel like there are powerful scenes of anger and healing in that film and I wanted to have more of his back story and the failure of his business ambition and why he became such an asshole.

        I just think Ronit Roy is good looking, that’s all. Not necessarily the character. And I know, unless I find the tv series he was in online, that there aren’t that many “positive” roles out there for me to enjoy him in:(

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        • I don’t know anything about the actor, it’s just that his two most famous roles, Udaan and 2 States, were similarly repressive and abusive and just plain bad people. I guess the coach is nice in SOTY, but for me it is too little too late 🙂

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  4. I watched Premam (2015, Malayalam) and Gentleman (2016, Telugu) this Valentines’ day. Premam is always more introspective and quite too funny at times. I mean, it sounds like a delightful parody on the cliched slice of life love stories usually seen in Indian cinema. Coming to Gentleman, it was a thriller but I loved how the romance became an underlying emotion to those crime portions. Plus, it has Nani at his best which itself was cheerful for me.

    (Reminding of any SRK’s film?)

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    • I’ve been wanting to watch Gentlemen! But I haven’t seen it with subtitles. Perhaps just because I haven’t looked enough. I’ll have to scour through youtube and other sources and see if I can track it down.

      Premam, of course, is always wonderful.

      On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 10:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Lol, my personal edit of Dilwale would just be all of the scenes with Varun in them 🙂

    I ended up, ironically, deciding to watch Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu on Valentine’s Day. It was a fun, light rom-com/coming-of-age movie, and Imran and Kareena were nice.

    So what did you think of Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada? I saw the Telugu version, Saahasam Swaasaga Saagipo, starring Naga Chaitanya and I thought it was pretty good. I loved the way Vellipomaakey was shot! The climax twist was very unlike Gautham Menon’s style but it was fun. The only thing I didn’t like was Manjima Mohan; she had no charm whatsoever.

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    • I liked AYM, but I liked Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa better. It felt like Gautham wanted to experiment and see if he could turn his usual plot and hero into an action thing. But it wasn’t really what he was comfortable with. Also, SO SAD! In a way that kind of made me unable to appreciate the film. I was too sad about the sad things to switch over to focusing on the new things that happened after the sad things (that doesn’t have any spoilers, does it?)

      I wasn’t in love with Manjima Mohan either, but she didn’t bother me. She also had really nice chemistry with the Tamil hero. Maybe her chemistry wasn’t as good with Naga?

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      • Same, I liked Ye Maaya Chesave (the Telugu version of VTV) better than SSS. Gautham Menon is known for his cop movies along with his love stories and I remember that he said one of his intentions of making AYM was to make a movie where a cop was the villain, not the hero. It’s true that it was sad, but there were too many “wtf is happening right now” moments for me to not focus on the sad things.

        The thing is that Naga Chaitanya acted in Ye Maaya Chesave with Samantha (who was debuting) and their chemistry was great! I love that movie and Samantha is just so charming and cute in it! I ended up having huge expectations for the romance in SSS and Manjima didn’t really good chemistry with Naga Chaitanya. They didn’t really look good together either. By the way, I think you should watch Ye Maaya Chesave just for Naga Chaitanya and Samantha though you’ve already seen VTV.

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        • I was strongly tempted to watch Ye Maaye Chesave to begin with because, I believe, it is the only version that actually gives a fully happy ending. But that seems weak! To watch it just for the happy ending. So maybe I will pretend I am just watching it for Naga Chaitanya and Samantha.

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          • Keep in mind that Ye Maaya Chesave is just Naga Chaitanya’s second movie and Samantha’s debut so they are kind of raw.

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  6. Pingback: Anupama Takes a Look at Dharma Productions: The Arrival of the “D-Girls” in India! – dontcallitbollywood

    • Fascinating! Thank you! I wonder how early in Alai Payuthey he decided to drop Shahrukh? Because I saw somewhere else that he wanted Madhavan for something else (can’t remember what) but dropped him because he looked too young. And then brought him back for Alay Payuthey, because he wanted someone that young. And Shahrukh, even in the Dil Se era, just did not look that young.

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      • Mani Ratnam wanted to sign Madhavan for Iruvar which came out in 1997. Alaipayuthey came out in 2000 so I guess Mani Ratnam put aside Alaipayuthey after he began Dil Se and realized that he wanted some one younger for the role.

        By the way, what is your opinion on Dil Se? I like the symbolism of the movie but Shahrukh was way too stalkery for me to be able to like the movie. I loved the songs and Preity Zinta though!

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        • I think Dil Se is a really good and important movie, but it is too sad for me to watch many times. For the “stalker” bit, the interpretation that works best for me is that Shahrukh is representing national/northern India while Manisha represents the disputed territories. He loves her and can’t give her up, and his love drives him to violence.

          Alternatively, you can look at it as a problem of him needing to break through all the misery and damage that Manisha has survived, to force her to let his love in. That’s what the title song feels like to me, him trying to bring joy and love into the wartorn landscape of her mind. And so his “stalker” kind of love is required because it is the only kind she is able to feel. You could also think of it as “she drives him to it”. That is, Manisha has so much PTSD that she can’t even relate to people except through violence. Shahrukh learns this through her reactions and subconsciously alters his behavior to the only thing she can understand.

          If it were any director besides Mani Ratnam, I would just right off the uneven bits as “flaws”, or maybe some strange stalking fetish. But it’s Mani Ratnam, so I am going to assume he had a reason for all of that. Especially because it is the only Ratnam movie I can think of where the romance is so violent.

          On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 4:55 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I do get that the their relationship is supposed to represent that of India and Northeastern India, but overall the tone of the movie was too depressing for me.

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  7. I also spend Valentine’s with Sharukh! For the past few years I have watched DDLJ every Valentine’s Day, except last year I decided to switch it up with Dil To Pagal Hai, but it was not the same and I decided to go back to DDLJ this year. So I was all ready with my sushi and my bargain chocolate, but once again got no joy from Einthusan (or maybe my internet connection). The movie froze a milliion times and just would not stream. I perservered, restarting and rebooting, until Simran’s mom is reading her diary and then I decided it just wasn’t happening and rewatched Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewani. Which is a great movie, but not the same.

    Fortunately, Japan has two Valentine’s Days, one for men (Feb 14) and one for women (called “White Day,” March 14), so I will have my sushi and discount chocolate and DDLJ next month.

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    • that’s a great tradition! I was considering DDLJ, or else Kuch Kuch, if my friend had been able to stay later. But since I knew she had to work in the morning, I went with Dilwale, which we could fast-forward through.

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  8. I watched the Malayalam movie Lailaa O Lailaa last night. I have to watch a bunch of movies on my Spuul list because I’m hoping to cancel it at the end of the month. I picked this because it starred Mohanlal and Amala Paul and looked like it might be Bang Bang-ish style of fun. I was also a big fan of the television series Chuck, and from the trailer, it seemed like it might have that sort of a flavor. No such luck, though, it was not very good!

    Mohanlal plays an intelligence agent who decides to get married for a second time. His first wife left him because he was so guarded and secretive. He still had the same job and responsibilities, so I’m not exactly sure why he thought that a new marriage would work out any differently? His new bride, played by Amala Paul, falls in love with the kindly, older gentleman whom she thinks is a manager at a boring exporting firm. The first half wasn’t too bad, with Mohanlal running between both worlds, trying to keep them separate and failing miserably. There were some funny moments and the lead pair had a strangely sweet chemistry, despite being 30 years apart in age.

    I can see a soft spot developing for Mohanlal. He reminds me of my best friend’s dad, who passed away ten years ago. He looks just like him. My friend’s dad was this big, burly Italian man with a booming voice but he was the kindest, gentlest person. He had a massive toy collection and went to Disney World every single year. I met my best friend when we were both 5 years old, playing teeball, and his dad terrified me! I got to know him and, over the years, he became like a second father. Anyway, I may have enjoyed the first half more than most.

    Surprise, surprise, the secrets and lies catch up to him again. Amala thinks that he is having an affair, follows him one day, and learns his secret. What a shocker! Interval. The second half, when the action plot really kicks in, is so boring and silly, I had difficulty finishing the movie. Amala ends up being recruited by the agency to assist in the mission. She has a cute-ish song where she is pretending to be a sexy nightclub dancer, but other than that part, it is no fun at all. I guess it was kind of neat (but very unrealistic) to watch Mohanlal beating up goons and busting out martial arts moves. I almost wondered if it was meant to be a bit of a spoof on these sorts of movies. I’m not at all familiar with Malayalam action movies (I haven’t even watched a ton of Hindi ones) so maybe it’s incredibly clever and hilarious and it all just went over my head. The last hour I found myself wishing that it had just been a straight romantic comedy. I would never recommend this to anyone under any circumstances. I need to research my Mohanlal films better. He’s made so many movies; there are bound to be a few stinkers in the bunch.

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    • I haven’t seen this one, and it sounds like I didn’t miss much. The only thing I have to add is, have you explored ErosNOW? If you are thinking about canceling SPUUL, you may want to try them. It’s a one time annual fee, they get most of the new releases and have a good back catalog too. Most importantly, they are google chrome compatible. Their Malayalam and Telugu and Tamil selections are pretty lousy, but they actually do have a couple of really good old Mohanlal classics!

      On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 11:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Spuul has been great. The problem is their selection isn’t very big and I’m getting near the end of the ones I need to watch. I’ll probably check back in six months and see what they’ve added. The big plus is that they have the Roku app, so it’s very easy. The ability to download from Einthusan now is fantastic. I’m always so paranoid about services pulling titles. It’s nice to have a movie on my hard drive and not have to worry. I just put them into my Plex media folder and play them through my Roku. I’ll have to look deeper into Eros. I did the free trial a couple months ago but I didn’t really take much advantage of it. I like the idea of paying once a year as well.

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  9. A love song from Badrinath Ki Dulhania has come out 🙂

    After seeing this, I feel like there is going to be a time lapse of some kind.

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  10. The last two nights I have watched Dostana (2008), Jatt & Juliet and Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. They were all enjoyable!

    Dostana was a fun one. Abhishek was awesome! Priyanka and John Abraham were good, but Abhishek stole the show. He nailed the comedy parts and completely sold the premise. I bought in entirely. Abhishek and John played well off of each other and their friendship came across as genuine. The supporting characters all did a nice job as well to create the slightly zany and off beat world of the movie. The music was very good and ridiculously catchy- Jaane Kyun has been stuck in my head for two days now! The video is really nice to watch because it really captures the “heart” of the film.

    I had read a few negative comments about the portrayal of stereotypes so I was expecting it to be a lot worse than it was. Honestly, many American movies have been just as over-the-top, if not worse, in their portrayals of homosexuality. Also, after reading Karan’s book and your paper on the subject, I could absolutely see the intent behind the characterizations. It was a way to introduce the topic into mainstream Indian society with humor and in a safe and easily digestible way. And it worked! I thought it struck a fine balance of humor and seriousness on the issue. The part that irked me was completely unrelated- how Abhishek and John manipulated the 5-year-old boy for their own selfish purposes and gains. That was kind of disgusting. I mean, they lied to Priyanka and a slew of other adults (who were all either too self-involved or stupid to see the thinly veiled truth) but that didn’t seem nearly so awful. That child was so innocent, and worse still, was in such a vulnerable state after his mom left. Two grown men preyed upon that and took complete advantage of his fear and insecurity. Minor gripe aside, I liked the movie a lot more than I expected to. It was a pleasant surprise!

    I loved Jatt & Juliet! It was a solid, yet simple, pure gem of a romantic comedy. Diljit and Neeru Bajwa were so good and their chemistry together was incredible. The entire movie hinged on their relationship and they delivered. Diljit is great in these types of roles- a bit of a con-man and a bit goofy, but ultimately good-hearted and very charming. Neeru is a tough, independent woman who doesn’t put up with Diljit’s foolishness and calls him out on everything. She is very pretty, but it’s an effortless, subtle kind of beauty.

    I enjoy love stories like this, where the two people meet and it isn’t love at first sight. Not even close! They start out not even liking each other and using each other as required. They end up spending time together, having honest conversations and getting to know each other. Then, all of a sudden, they realize “wow, I have feelings for this person”. It seems so much more realistic than lightning and fireworks and magic. That has been my experience. I mean, that spark happens eventually, but it grows and develops over time. This film was a pitch-perfect portrayal of real life love. It’s the sort of film that used to be so plentiful in Hollywood but are now so rare. I enjoyed the little twist during the last part and really felt like they “earned” the happy ending. I found myself wishing for a couple more songs but I have nothing bad to say about what was actually there (except Jenny from the first half- attack of the dreadful white actor!).

    After watching this and Sardar Ji, my hopes are up even higher for Phillauri (although now I REALLY wish that Diljit had a part in the present, with the fun quirkiness and ghost Anushka, instead of the boring, old, well mannered past).

    I watched Honeymoon Travels tonight and I thought it was really good. The acting was all very well done, aside from Vikram Chatwal who played Bunty. He seemed uncomfortable and out of place. His role was very important- it’s a shame they couldn’t have cast someone better, with more experience. My favorite couple, hands down, was Shabana and Boman. Man, were they ever wonderful together! I would have LOVED to watch a movie with the two of them as the main characters. Their story had so much weight and I really felt their life experience and wisdom. Shabana is always sooo good. She conveys so much with so little- just a slight smile or raise of an eyebrow, a glimmer in her eye, or the way she folds her hands. I felt all the pain that she had gone through. She just wore it, right there, in her expressions. You could also feel the hope for the future. She is an absolute treasure.

    The other couples all had interesting stories (Abhay and Minissha’s story was really kind of silly, but made a certain sense within the logic and flow of their arc). I liked Shabana’s speech at the end and thought that it summed up the idea of the movie in a nice way. In another actor’s hands, it may have felt contrived, but she made it feel sincere and spontaneous. I liked that the movie swooped in to these people’s lives and then swooped out, with some situations resolved and others up in the air. It’s nice, in some cases, when things aren’t wrapped up. Life isn’t really like that. Sometimes it annoys me and seems like a cop out. For this film, though, it felt right.

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    • Dostana has a ridiculously good soundtrack! Also, Desi Boyz. Soundtracks that are really much better than their films deserve. And I have the same problem with Dostana that you do! I can’t believe it gets so much social criticism for having “gay stereotypes”, and no one talks about the horrible horrible things it says about stepmothers and single parents and all of that stuff!

      I’m glad you liked Jatt & Juliet! Watch one more Punjabi film, and you will have beat me.

      And I’m glad you liked Honeymoon Travels too! I find that movie fascinating. It is so strange, and so progressive (legitimate and serious perspective on being a gay desi!), and it doesn’t quite work, but I have to admire the ambition.

      Some background for the Shabana and Boman bit. And actually for the gay bit too. Reema Kagti, who wrote and directed it, is a creative partner with Zoya Akhtar, they have done everything together since college. And they are also CLEARLY a couple! Lots of adorable photos of them going around holding hands and stuff. So the gay stories in this film come from a real place. Also, Shabana Azmi is Zoya’s doting stepmother, who married her father when she was in her teens. So that storyline comes from real life too!

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      • I figured that the Shabana storyline (minus the tragedies) was at least partially inspired by real life. I’m sure there was an adjustment period and some pushback, as there always is, no matter how wonderful the outsider coming into a family is. And I have a niece that is 13 so I DEFINITELY know how volatile that age is for a girl!

        It’s also an interesting point about the Zoya and Reema relationship. I hadn’t thought of that! I remember watching an interview Anupama did with the two of them during the promotion of Dil Dhadakne Do and they seemed very much like a couple- finishing each other’s thoughts, little jabs back and forth and just a general thoughtfulness and sweetness between them. They are very cute together and no one can deny the fruit that their creative relationship has borne (or is it bore? That didn’t seem right when I first wrote it. Either way, they’ve made some great films together!)

        I was so glad that Honeymoon Travels popped up on Einthusan. I had been wanting to watch that one for a long time!

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        • Now that you’ve seen honeymoon travels, you might want to check out Talaash, if you haven’t seen it already. It’s completely different in every way, which is what makes it kind of fascinating to me, that Reema made such a different film for her follow up.

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  11. After watching Lagaan last weekend, and now Talaash, we’ve decided to do Aamir Saturdays for the next few months. I still have a bunch of his important films to watch and I do well with structure. I’ve loved all of his movies (except Love Love Love, ironically). It should be fun!

    I thought that Talaash was great… And certainly, very different from Honeymoon Travels! I enjoyed the blend of genres- from crime procedural to a family drama to a supernatural revenge thriller. The performances by all three leads were incredible and even all of the secondary characters were fantastic (Nawazuddin and Sheeba Chaddha in particular). I loved the style of the film. I haven’t seen a lot of the seedy underside of Mumbai in movies- the red-light district, slum areas, grimy alleyways- and they were filmed and showcased with such gritty and melancholic beauty. I saw touches of David Lynch (with a nice little nod in the form of the Eraserhead poster, although it reminded me more of Twin Peaks or Mulholland Drive), Michael Mann, William Friedkin’s Cruising and Eyes Wide Shut (winked at with the Dr. Strangelove poster as well) but just kind of as a tone or a mood. I didn’t catch the other posters (maybe Run Lola Run?) in that scene of the dead movie star’s room, but I’m sure that they were very much intentional.

    I really latched on to the story of the couple touched by such a profound and unthinkable loss. This film, above all, was an aching portrait of their grief. There were some brilliant ways they got inside of these characters- Aamir replaying his last moment with his son over and over, changing it each time and hoping for a different outcome; Aamir arriving home after work with Rani sitting on a chair, their spirits coming together for a greeting but their physical forms still and separate. Aamir’s character was so quiet and expressed so little verbally, but they managed to convey all of the pain, suffering and sadness that he was going through. Rani, who didn’t have much screen time, seemed like a different person in the present than in the memories or flashbacks- her face, mannerisms, posture were all completely different. She really had lost her smile. I thought that the film’s biggest strength was showing the absolute devastation that such an unimaginable loss incurs. My heart broke for them and I cried a lot of tears during this movie.

    I thought the ending was well done. It may have been flawed in its concept but the screenplay set it up perfectly, the performances and the way that the elements came together, all completely sold it. About half way through, the first time that Kareena takes Aamir to her special spot, I had this flash in my mind about the “twist”. I suggested it to my wife and she looked at me like I was nuts. I paused the movie and started going over everything. It was set up so well, where everything could be read both ways. And it didn’t seem outside the realm of the film’s reality- that element had already been introduced into the story by way of the medium neighbor and the letters that she was transcribing for Rani. I’m interested to watch the movie again down the road to look for clues and things that I missed.

    I dug around a bit afterwards and realized that most people HATED the ending. Was I just slow to figure it out? Was it completely obvious the whole film and therefore not enjoyable? Were people mad at the genre-blending and felt “tricked” into watching a different kind of movie than they were expecting? I know that a lot of people look down on horror as a lesser genre. If the actors, screenwriters and director weren’t all so talented, the movie could have fallen apart and come across as silly. Everything was set up, justified and executed- I thought that it worked. Kareena’s performance was just amazing! I realize I’m in a small minority (so tiny, in fact, I couldn’t find one reviewer that liked the ending) but I bought in, went along for the ride, and enjoyed it. Perhaps I related so much to the couple and I was pleased that they were given some form of a happy ending.

    The music was awesome too!

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    • I didn’t like the “twist” in Talaash the first time I watched, it but I have come around to it. For me, the flaw is not in the story, but in the presentation. I feel like the ending was slightly abrupt, and things like the medium, it wasn’t clear early on that she was good intentioned. I would have tweaked those elements slightly just to make it feel more cohesive. But the overall concept I thought worked really well. Tying together the idea of helpless people, whether a child or a prostitute, who somehow just escape the notice of society leaving few to mourn them.

      I loved how Rani and Aamir’s relationship was handled. What really struck me was how it showed that they were living a lie that Aamir was “fine” and Rani was the sick one. But in fact, Rani was the only one who was even trying to deal with what had happened, while Aamir was in a much more dangerous state, drowning in denial. And you could see that it wasn’t the grief which was tearing them apart, but that Aamir was refusing to share his grief, and not fully letting Rani share hers, insisting that they just keep going through the motions of life. The last shot of the film made complete sense to me, this really was the resolution, the two of them finally sharing their emotions and Aamir finally letting go. But, I think it could have had slightly more build up, to feel less of a jolt to go from the murder mystery to this.

      I love how the world of the film is just, or more accurately, Kareena is just in her vengeance. Those who committed a sin, even if they were sympathetic like Nawazuddin, must be punished. But the innocents, the girlfriend who was sold back into prostitution, Sheena’s character, they ended up better than they started. And I agree, Sheena Chhabha was amazing! She plays Shahrukh’s mother in Raees, only has a few scenes but makes a big impact. And Nawazuddin, of course, is excellent.

      I really love the title song sequence. They made a promotional video of it with everyone in character, which is fun, but the way it is in the film, moving through the red light district and showing us everything, that is really beautiful. The lyrics, of course, are by Javed Sahib. I don’t know if you have picked up any Hindi yet, but his lyrics are really amazing. Beautiful and poetic, and yet so simple that even I (who can barely understand Hindi), can follow them.

      I like your idea of doing an Aamir film every weekend! Let me suggest (if you haven’t seen them yet) Sarfarosh, Ghulam, Ghajini, 3 Idiots, PK, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Rangeela, Dil Chahta Hai, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par. And then, on the “bad but fun” side of things, Dil, Ishq, and Mann. And Raja Hindustani.

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      • This is my “Aamir Saturdays” list: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke, Sarafrosh, Mann, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Taare Zameen Par and Dhobi Ghat. Plus we’ll probably re-watch several of his films that my wife hasn’t seen yet. We have to watch Fanaa next, since it’s on Spuul, but other than that I’ll jump around a bit. I might even try to suffer through Mela!

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      • Sheeba Chaddha is a really good actress. I recognized her from Luck By Chance and she was pretty good in that too though she had a smaller role.

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    • Well, I finally saw Talaash today and I really liked it! I actually knew the twist before hand because someone else spoiled it for me so I was prepared for it. But I still wanted to see how they set it up throughout the movie and I thought they set it up really well! I could pick up hints in the dialogue but I know that I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t know before hand. I also loved the music, especially the background score.

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  12. Talaash is my favorite Aaamir Khan movie.To be frank it’s the only movie where Ioved him.Probably because he was not in control of the situation.Kareena was.And I loved the twist.But then, I love urban fantasy/supernatural fiction.Talaash looks like something Dean Koontz would write .(for eg:Door to December) And the ending was wonderful -not that everything was hunky-dory.But that Aamir and Rani were on the right path.For once they were on the same wavelength.I wonder if Aamir’s insistence that he was alright came because he doesn’t want to take pills like Rani does.There is thiswidespread reluctance to take treatment for depression,anxiety and sundry lesser mental disorders of the spectrum in India.Or he might be thinking that he’s the man of the house and he should be the rock.He’s not allowed to show a weakness.

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    • I love the point that Aamir isn’t in control here. And you’re right, I can’t think of another movie where he wasn’t in control in some way. For me, it’s not so much that Aamir can’t get treatment because he can’t be weak, but that he needs Rani to be weak. That so long as he can focus on her being “sick” and having pills and a doctor, he doesn’t have to look at his own problems. Or do his job as a husband, because she didn’t really need pills, she needed talk therapy or just talking to her husband. But if Rani was taking pills and was the “sick” one, then Aamir didn’t have to put in any work or think about how their whole lives were falling apart.

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  13. Last night I watched Jatt & Juliet 2 and, since today is a holiday and everyone could sleep in, we had an “Aamir Sunday” and watched Fanaa.

    Jatt & Juliet 2 was a huge disappointment for me. I knew that it wasn’t a direct sequel- it has the same actors, playing the same characters (in name at least) but the world is “reset” and it is a completely different story. And, unfortunately, a completely different style of rom-com. The aspects of the story that made the first one so great were absent here, in favor of more zany, ramped up humor. It was light on the “rom” and heavy on the “com”.

    Also, remember how in the first film, there was a nice build up to the two leads falling in love, through spending time together and getting to know each other? Here, it was the lightning bolt, boom, everyone is in love all of a sudden. Diljit is a Punjabi cop sent to Canada to bring home the estranged daughter of his boss, who happens to be a Canadian cop. The Punjabi’s cook up some phony criminal that Diljit is tracking in Canada (poor Shampy from the first one) and off they go. Diljit’s character keeps mentioning a secret Punjabi Police power that he is saving for the proper occasion. Late in the film, he does this goofy thing with his hands, basically playing peek-a-boo, and then bats his eyelashes- the power of his looks, apparently. Neeru’s character laughs and laughs and then realizes she’s in love with him. It was ridiculous! It did not feel organic. They didn’t earn it, and as a consequence, I didn’t really care. Diljit and Neeru were both great, naturally, and the only reason that I kept watching. The whole movie felt like the director had been rushed into putting out a sequel to capitalize on the monster success of the first one (and, since it came out less than a year later, I’m sure that was the case).

    Fanaa was a very interesting film. I liked it (but didn’t love it). I went in cold and had no idea about the interval “twist”. My wife figured it out this time, based on the news reports and strange way that Aamir acted at times with Kajol. It caught me by surprise! I thought that Aamir and Kajol made a wonderful onscreen pair and I loved the first half. I did enjoy the second half as well- it was just so radically different (at least Aamir’s hair looked a lot better). Strangely, it reminded me of Kubrick, in a couple of ways. The seclusion and isolation of the snowy mountain cabin, obviously, brought to mind the Shining. The setup of a man, near death at his lowest point, stumbling to a doorstep and it being the home of someone from his past, reminded me of A Clockwork Orange. I’m not sure if this was intentional, probably not, but I found it interesting.

    I loved the songs! The visuals were great, especially the more fantastical images of the second half numbers. And the nursery rhyme style one that Aamir, Kajol, Rishi and the boy sang was so good! I also really liked the “Des Rangila” number that Kajol performed (an intentional reference to Rangeela, or is Rangila a different word? The subtitles translated it as “colorful” which is the same.)

    It certainly wasn’t my favorite Aamir film. I liked the characters and the story captivated me, but I didn’t feel much for any of them. I had trouble connecting to them. It was odd- my biggest soft spot is anything with parents and children. In this case, it didn’t get me. Aamir was a pretty bad guy and, while he showed remorse for lying to and hurting Kajol, he never showed remorse for killing a bunch of people or participating in horrible, destructive activities. He believed he was right. I knew that the ending, as it happened, was inevitable and it was probably the best way the film could have ended. It still left me a bit cold. I’m glad I watched it but I’m not sure it would be one that I would ever want to watch again. It was a little too bleak and grim.

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    • I have to confess, I haven’t seen either of these movies. Jatt & Juliet 2, it sounds like I’m not missing anything. But Fanaa has been on my long-term watch list for all the reasons you mention. Aamir and Kajol, great songs, interesting plot, etc.

      I can give you some background info for Fanaa at least. “Rangeela” means colorful and it is the same word. However, because of the different situation, “Des Rangila” meant something totally different than “Rangeela” in the Urmila film. In Fanaa, it was a reference to the Indian flag, you will occasionally here it used that way, a more accurate translation might be “The tricolor”. But it’s all a context thing, just like in America sometimes saying “red white and blue” is just describing the color of your kitchen, and sometimes it’s a way of referring to the flag.

      Aamir and Kajol opposite each other in Fanaa was kind of a big deal because it was only the second time they have co-starred ever and the first time they were a romantic pair. Which was remarkable, because they both made soooooooooo many movies through out the 90s, them never overlapping before was kind of notable. Their only other movie together, Ishq, they played friends but not a romantic pair. It is also one of my guilty pleasure so-bad-it’s-good films.

      And that’s it! I have nothing to add to Fanaa!

      On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 2:08 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • I really liked Ishq too! Neendh Churayi Meri is one of my favorite Hindi songs (even though it’s a complete ripoff of Linear’s “Sending All My Love”- the Hindi version is soo much better!)

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        • Yaaaay! There’s two of us! I have not been able to get anyone that I know in “real life” to watch Ishq. The thought of Ajay Devgn grinning maniacally and Kajol being fake-raped and all the other insanity is just too much for them.

          Neend Churayi Meri is my favorite, but I also have a soft spot for Mr. Lova Lova. Which is also a complete rip off, I believe? (I’m bad with American music after 1960)

          On Mon, Feb 20, 2017 at 3:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

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          • Yeah, that was “inspired” by a terrible dancehall/reggae song by Shabba Ranks. Again, the Hindi version is eons better!

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