Wednesday Watching Post: What Are We Watching and Reading and Thinking About this Week?

Happy Wednesday!  Halfway through the week!  Time to talk about how we’ve been spending this week.

I’ll go first!  I saw Badrinath on Friday, and on Saturday I went to special showing of Baasha with my parents.  It was not what they were expecting (the description “classic Rajnikanth movie” meant nothing to them, they focused on the “classic” part and were picturing more of an arty thing).  But they had a really good time!  I mean, it’s just a fun movie!  There was a small audience (including a group of white people who seemed to enjoy it and at least one of them really really knew what was going on.  If you happen to be reading this blog, hey!  I was the person sitting with her parents in the top row!).  But they got into it with claps and cheers for certain lines and Rajni’s intro and all of that.  Fun!

Reading-wise, I haven’t been very productive.  I did read an assortment of Badrinath reviews, but I didn’t really agree with any of them (feel free to post links to ones you liked in the comments).

Oh, and I finally cracked open one of my new DVDs and watched Malavardi Arts Club, but you knew that.

 

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71 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are We Watching and Reading and Thinking About this Week?

  1. Had a snow day yesterday and really wanted to watch some new-to-me Indian films, but didn’t have any handy that I really wanted to see. And wasn’t in the mood for a rewatch (though I recently bought Yuva and Aurangzeb, still being in my Abhishek and Arjun crush phase!).

    Instead, I watched X-Men: Apocalypse (just ok), Singles (it’s so iconic for my generation), Crimson Peak (whoa, that was weird but beautiful production values), and finally did watch some episodes of Brown Nation on Netflix (some cute Salman Khan references with Omi Vaidya’s character but I don’t think it’s going to become addictive).

    I also watched most of OK Jaanu, will finish it tonight but I know exactly what to expect, and have tons of thoughts!
    1) Naseeruddin Shah is the best part of it, though I loved Prakash Raj in the original, too.

    2) I hated, hated, hated the scene for scene remake aspect of it. I’m very concerned that Begum Jaan will be doing the exact same with Rajkahini (a brilliant film that didn’t need to be remade even with Vidya on board…the trailer looks good but I think the Bengali original has already benefitted by having Bengali actors telling an inherently Bengali story). I know there are other remakes within India that have done the same (Mani Ratnam’s Ravanaan), but I feel like the masala/star vehicle ones tend to be a bit looser and at least have different music directors that give it a fresh appeal. Plus the stories are so recycled anyway (tough guy wins girl while fighting baddie) that it doesn’t matter. Why can’t the originals (especially in the case of OK Kanmani and Rajkahini which actually tell their stories in unique ways) stand on their own? I know it’s about money and wider audiences, but isn’t that what subtitles are for?!!! I had the same issue with the Hollywood remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    3) Aditya Roy Kapur is still more interesting to me than Varun Dhawan and probably Siddarth Malhotra in the younger class of guys and I’m just hoping for him to get better roles. Still in this role, he’s no DQ.

    4) Shraddha Kapoor is boring and terrible. You can see her acting and she has absolutely no charisma. I’m going to be really harsh and her talent level is on the Candace Cameron Bure level. Her portrayal of the playful side of Tara’s character made her seem manipulative and bratty, not endearing.

    5) The least they could have done is change up the setting for the hotel room scene song. I loved the original and this one seemed much sleazier to me for some reason. I’m not a prude by any means but the pelvic thrusting choreography was gross.

    6) All that being said, I still may want to own this one for purely academic reasons to demonstrate to myself and others why you don’t need to remake certain movies, especially those that are only a couple of years old, had wide critical acclaim and therefore did get seen by many outside their home industries! Also, why is OK Kanmani so hard to find on DVD?! I know you can own it digitally, but I’m not there yet with my movie collection and still like tangible things.

    Rant over. Happy Wednesday!

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    • I have seen none of those things you mention! Okay, I’ve seen Yuva and Aurangzeb, but none of the others. However, it sounds like I’m not missing much with any of them? Except maybe Singles?

      But I can maybe talk in a general way about what I have heard about remakes? Indian film has a long tradition of remakes scene by scene in multiple languages. Because the films were generally shown to a largely illiterate audience, so subtitles wouldn’t really work. Plus, the dialogue was so poetic and specific language to language, there would really be something lost in the experience of just reading subtitles versus hearing the words in a way you could understand. And, finally, the actors would be able to act that much better in their native languages than if the same cast was used but forced to talk in something they don’t understand.

      But this is talking back in 30s and 40s and 50s. When the language of film was much “higher” and the actors came out of regional acting traditions and all of that. Today I think we are in an odd position where the industries are still divided but the audience doesn’t necessarily have to be. At least when we are talking about movies like OK Kanmani which are aimed firmly at the multiplex crowd. Half the dialogue is in English anyway, and what remains in Tamil isn’t quite the “every line is poetry with complex meanings that can’t possibly be conveyed” level. And the setting and problems and everything else in the film is something that any upper middleclass person from anywhere in India could relate to.

      And yet the industries are still divided. The Tamil industry doesn’t think to sell DVD rights or release subtitled versions nationally, or even put films on streaming platforms outside of their established locations. And so a Hindi producer can swoop in and create a hacky rip-off version of the original, which adds nothing in setting or language or any of those other things, and still make a profit.

      It’s fascinating looking at just the difference between 2004 when Saathiya came out and this film in that way. Alai Payuthay is a brilliant movie but it is sooooooo specific to it’s location. I don’t think it could have become an all India hit, even if it had been subtitled and everything else. There were just some things that would be hard for an audience to relate to outside of Tamil Nadu. At least, not if they wanted to see movies that matched their life experiences closely. And then Saathiya really did have to change a lot to make it into a Hindi film, it’s a justifiable remake, not just scene by scene and shot by shot, but with slightly different songs and a different kind of cast and a different look and all of that.

      So I guess I either want the regional films to start being actively promoted and available just as much as the Hindi, since those barriers aren’t really there any more. Or I want all the film industries to go back to being more firmly rooted in their locations and cultures so that the barriers come back and the films in general improve.

      Okay, now my rant is over 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

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      • Interesting options at the end. I’d like a little of both, I guess, to hedge my bets. I think OK Jaanu just seems like a total waste of studio and production money in the end and the poor box office didn’t help. Maybe it will discourage producers like Karan from doing the same again, especially with recent multiplex-appeal films. Here’s hoping that Dharma sticks with homegrown rom-coms like their new franchise (which tellingly have a strong North Indian slant).

        When I was in high school in the early 90s, Singles and Reality Bites were the two most talked about “cool” movies. I still prefer the latter but hadn’t seen Singles all the way through in years.

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        • My hope is that Dharma learns from the success of Bahubaali and starts buying up national rights for more and more regional films. Even if they have to dub them, I would still rather watch OK Kanmani dubbed than OK Jaanu.

          When I was in high school/college it was Napoleon Dynamite. And Dil Chahta Hai. And then my parents get all sentimental about Love Story because it was everywhere when they were in college. I guess every generation has something!

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          • American Pie for me! Ha! And Dawson’s Creek for television-at least the first couple seasons.

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      • Just want to add my two cents worth. Indian audiences are remarkably tolerant of actors from other industries -so long as they are women. Men rarely become a crossover success.Even Kamal Haasan,Prithviraj or Ajith couldn’t make it in Bollywood.The south is equally insular.A lot of complaints about Veeram(the movie is flawed in lots of other ways) has to do with casting Kunal Kapoor in what is essentially a traditional ballad from Kerala.If we can accept Juhi Chawla and Katrina Kaif in Malayalam movies with scarcely a murmur what’s with accepting male actors from other industries -so long as they are good.

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        • The problem was Kunal Kapoor wasnt good in Veeram. Also Katrina Kaif Wasnt accepted. No one liked her in Balaram vs Tharadas which was a bad movie which didnt helped her.

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          • I guess we’ll have to agree to differ:) I found Kunal’s performance satisfactory.Granted, it wasn’t award-worthy or exceptional, but perfectly adequate.The film disappointed me with regards to character development.Beyond a 2 minute quickie introduction, the script didn’t devote any time to setting up who these people are or what motivates them.It was Slam, bam and on with the duel(which was not supposed to take place at least until half way through the movie).

            Katrina wasn’t appreciated(did anyone expect more from her?) but nobody went around saying that a Malayali actress should be cast instead of her either.Maybe because the movie wasn’t much good and the Malayali actresses probably were glad they weren’t cast in the first place.But it doesn’t take away the fact that female actors from the South (Hema, Sridevi) made it in Bollywood and those from the North made a name for themselves in South (especially in the Tamil cinema). Male actors are not easily accepted outside their turf- at least not as ‘the’ hero.

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        • @datablue – How about Njan Gandharvan? It starred north indian lead actor and actress, and went on to become a cult classic.

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  2. It’s spring break this week so we’ve been very busy. We’ve also had the worst snowstorm of the winter on-going (after 60 degree weather the last two weeks) so I’ve been shoveling my huge driveway non-stop. I haven’t had a lot of time for movies but I’ve watched a few.

    I saw Rang De Basanti for Aamir Saturday. I thought it was a really good, and really difficult, film. The story was very interesting and I loved the framing and the way that the re-enactment scenes were woven in parallel to the present. I enjoyed the performances (the white woman was kind of grating at times but even she wasn’t bad by “white person in Hindi film” standards). I had a bit of trouble with the closing stretch. It seemed like there could have been a better way for the characters to get their message across, although, I understood the influence that the past had on them and why they went that route. It was definitely a powerful way to end the film. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I had a really difficult time with the characters themselves and none of them really connected with me. I felt a kind of distance or disconnect as I watched and it was a different sort of experience. Oh, and the music was great! AR Rahman constantly impresses and blows me with the scope and diversity of his work.

    I watched Tevar. It wasn’t bad! I mean, it was far from a masterpiece or a movie I’d rush out to watch again, but it was fun. The fight scenes were numerous and very well shot and choreographed. I liked Arjun in the action hero kind of role. I probably like him more than most. Sonakshi was good, although, after a few flashes of personality and bite at the beginning, the character settled into a disappointingly helpless damsel in distress. I would have loved to see her character do more but that’s not what a masala movie offers, I guess. Still, the songs were decent and the action was exciting. We were so tired that night and this was a simple and breezy unwind.

    We got to see Badrinath Ki Dulhania on Monday. We loved it! Varun and Alia are so great together- an absolutely perfect pair. They’re such a cute pair and their chemistry jumps off the screen. I enjoyed the positive message about the dowry system and how antiquated these traditions seem within the modern world. I had the same problems with the ending- I couldn’t believe that the dad got off with a half lecture and a tight hug. He was such a monster! I would never let such a horrible person anywhere near my kids, family or not. The songs were awesome. I’ll never quite understand why everyone gets up and leaves during the credit songs. We’re always the weird white people that stick around right to the end. I wished there were a couple more songs! During the movie, a blizzard started outside, so our usual hour and fifteen-minute drive home turned into six hours. It was terrible! The roads were so bad and the traffic was bumper to bumper all the way back. We ended up listening to four of the six Hindi mix CDs that I’ve made!

    Last night we had a special Aamir Night for his birthday and watched Mann. I LOVED it! So much amazing 90s awesomeness! The songs were so good and plentiful! It was an intoxicating mixture of humor, romance, melodrama and just the right amount of cheese. It’s funny, Aamir’s character actually reminded me of a lot of the roles that Imran has played. He was so scuzzy and slimy at the beginning and transformed into a decent, respectable human with the love of a good woman. The ending was so great. I actually had a tear roll down my cheek when he picked her up and carried her around the fire! I was a bit late to realize that it was an Affair to Remember “remake” and once I figured it out, it was apparent how the movie would play out, but that didn’t matter. I haven’t seen the original in many years but this might have improved upon it. This movie hit all the right notes for me! These are the ones I’ll end up watching again and again.

    Oh, I watched Dilwale somewhere in there as well. It wasn’t my cup of tea but I did enjoy some aspects of it. The Shahrukh-Kajol present day scenes were nice. I couldn’t quite get over how weird and waxy Shahrukh’s face looked in the flashbacks. They must have used the same CGI effects as Fan because he kind of looked like Gaurav! The songs were fun but I somehow thought there would be more. It seemed really really long and I couldn’t get into all the gangster subplot stuff. Johnny Lever was funny! I did laugh quite a bit during the bonfire scene. I’d put it off for some time and it was pretty much actually exactly what I expected.

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    • Yay, so much to reply about! I’ll start at the end with Dilwale. I saw it in theaters 4 times, liked it better the second time than the first, and then worse the 3rd and 4th times. And then I re-watched it for Valentine’s Day with my finger heavy on the fast-forward button and LOVED it. That’s definitely the key, I liked it better the 2nd time because I knew which scenes I could zone out on and start thinking about what to have for dinner, and which ones to pay attention to. But then the 3rd and 4th time, sitting through those scenes even with only paying half attention was just torture. I stick by my initial reaction, they didn’t have enough filming date for Kajol and ended up fluffing the movie with a bunch of filler scenes that drop in quality hugely compared to the SRKajol moments. And some Varun-SRK moments. And like two of the comedy scenes. But so much of Boman Irani’s plot and Jonny Lever’s can just be zipped right past without affecting anything.

      For his face, in the “making of Fan” interviews, he talked about how Fan was different from how youthful make-up “usually” works, in a way that made it sound like he is very familiar with the usual tricks. It made me go back and look at Dilwale and JTHJ again to see if I could spot what he was talking about. The big thing he mentioned was taping back the skin, which he hates. And in Dilwale, I could really see how his face kind of looked thin and stretched. And he was clearly wearing a wig, not to hide hair loss, but to hide all the tape around his forehead and ears.

      Mann is so much fun! You may inspire me to write a mini-review of it. I somehow thought I already had, but looks like I hadn’t! Aamir is so dasterdly and yet lovable in it. He may be a flirt, but he doesn’t cross the line, you notice how Manisha just had to mention she was engaged, and he shut it right down? And she knew he would? I also love how casually beautiful Manisha is in that movie. She doesn’t have the nose jobs and the botox and the high power make-up that actresses use today, there are a few scenes where she isn’t even wearing make-up, and her hair and clothes were generally a disaster. And yet she is just naturally luminously beautiful! Oh, and if you liked that 90s Aamir thing, you should check out Dil and Raja Hindustani, if you haven’t seen them already. You’ve already seen Hum Hain Rahe Pyar Ke, right? Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin is also great, and another remake of an American classic. Speaking of, in case you don’t remember An Affair that well, a lot of the really clever things in Mann were from An Affair to Remember. The opening with the newscasters giving the breaking report that Aamir is getting married, the awkward interview with his fiance where he declares his love for Manisha, that’s from the original. The bumping into each other at the theater too, only it’s less dramatic in the original, she doesn’t fall off the chair trying to go after him.

      I’m glad you liked Badrinath! And I stayed all through the end credits too 🙂 Someone in Ganti’s book mentioned in an interview that Indian films always start slow because everyone is late, and then end suddenly because everybody wants to rush to their cars. I could see the end credits song as pure crowd control. Most people are rushing out, and they won’t miss any significant plot, but if a few people stay for the song, maybe the congestion in the lobby is a little better. Plus, it’s very handy for letting the ushers know when it’s time to turn on the lights and come in and clean.

      I had the same reaction to Tevar that you did. But the original Okkadu is apparently awesome. I saw the first ten minutes, and then got interrupted and still haven’t gotten back to it, but moviemavengal loved it.

      I’ve had a couple of people tell me both of those complains you made about Rang De. That they lost you at the ending, and that you couldn’t quite relate to the characters. And then I’ve also had people who were right there all along with the characters including the ending (I am one of those people). I don’t really get anyone who says “I just kind of liked it, no complaints.” It’s either “Brilliant, changed my life” or “had real issues with how they ended it and who the characters were.” Just FYI, it did actually change people’s lives, massive youth movement in India sprung up after the release. For example, the candle light vigil at the India Gate monument was something this film more or less invented. And now every time there is a protest, students and others naturally go to the India Gate, it’s already become a tradition in just a few years since the film came out. With the ending, I have a bit of a hard time with the specifics of it (the direct line from Madhavan’s death to the culpability of Anupum Kher is a little fuzzy), but I understand the instinct that violence is the answer. Indian politics is already so violent, think of it like the ending of Gangs of New York if it helps. The establishment has their own gangs of thugs and murderers, any revolutionary movement has to prepare to react to that. Most movies either present a perfect view of the government with no problems, or go so over the top that it’s easy to discount them as exaggeration. And of course the media and everyone else in the “real” world is also trying to prevent a best-possible version. But if you can manage to wrap your head around the idea that “party worker” in India means “armed thug”, things like Rang De Basanti start to make a little more sense.

      Oh, and I love the soundtrack! It’s my favorite Rahman soundtrack, as a whole. Every song has a distinctive “Delhi” flavor to it, and they are all connected to each other and the plot. And yet they sound so different from each other individually. He did something similar for Mehra’s next movie, Delhi 6. Which you should check out by the way. It’s not as high quality as a whole as Rang De, and definitely falls apart a bit at the end, but the message and characters might be a little easier to relate to.

      Finally, snowstorm! I am in Chicago getting the little edge of it all. So for me, it’s just pretty and a final farewell to winter. But I am also dreading my Sunday School class a little this week, I suspect I will have a bunch of 8 year olds bouncing of the walls because they’ve had indoor recess all week.

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      • Okkadu is amazing! It was the movie that basically transformed Mahesh Babu from another young actor into a star. It has great performances by both Mahesh and Prakash Raj! You should definitely continue watching because the first 45 minutes of the movie is mostly the set up. Okkadu really picks up after that. I haven’t seen Tevar, but the heroine in Okkadu doesn’t have much to do.

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        • Okay, after I watch a Malayalam movie for next week, and finish my Telugu movies from Netflix (Aarya!), and finish off The Golden Girls, and write my Golden Girls fanfic post (Dimple, Rekha, and Hema? Sridevi, Dimple, Amrita Singh? I know Kirron Kher is Sofia), I will try to do Okkadu.

          Nothing to do with the blog, but I’ve had kind of a crazy March so far, so not as much movie time available as I like. But I have high hopes of a lazy Saturday cranking through films this week.

          On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 4:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh, I will have to watch Okkadu sometime soon. It sounds great!

        Very interesting points about Rang De Basanti. I can definitely see how it could inspire the youth of India at the time, living in that sort of a volatile political climate. It was a strange experience, appreciating the film on different levels, but feeling removed from it at the same time. I also, obviously, meant that AR Rahman’s soundtrack blew me “away”-that was kind of a funny omission that totally changed my meaning!

        The face pulling “age reversing” method of Shahrukh in Dilwale makes so much sense. That’s exactly what it looks like-so unnatural and tight! SRK and Kajol both looked so much better in the present day scenes.

        Either Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin or Dil will be our next Aamir Saturday film. I’m also going to force my wife to watch Mela as punishment for Shivaay!

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  3. Well, I watched Saawariya, as promised. I posted my reaction elsewhere, but here it is again for anyone who cares:

    Visually and musically, absolutely stunning, like grand opera. Loved everyone in it except Ranbir, who has expressive eyes and is otherwise eh, for my taste. Salman is so sexy in this! And he doesn’t need a stupid towel scene to be hot. But the plot is too simple to stand up to the sets and the music. In the “making of the music” extra on the DVD, Bansali says Ranbir is “the greatest actor he’s ever worked with”. Oh, really?

    Bhansali’s visuals really appeal to me, and there’s a dreamlike, surreal quality in many of his films that I like. But the storyline in this was just too simple to support the production. And Ranbir — just nope. The towel scene was laughably awful.

    Last weekend I watched Maya Memsaab with a friend — a senior scholar in women’s studies — who love, love, loved it. We’d both read Madame Bovary and were having great fun comparing the two. Interestingly, the einthusan version had Deepa’s breasts, but not Shah Rukh’s butt. As my friend said, “You can see his butt all over YouTube”.

    Last night I watched the Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone, which was beautiful and sad. I love Nina Simone’s music, but didn’t know much of her story. Tonight I am watching King Uncle all by myself; I wouldn’t inflict it on anyone else. Sundays are becoming weekly movies-with-friends-and-beer time; this Sunday we are taking a break from Indian films and watching “My Dinner with Andre”, one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s love-it-or-hate-it, I know!

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    • As I already said where ever it was that you posted about Saawariya before, I fall in the “HATE IT!” camp. Skipped it in theaters, only saw it on DVD years later out of some kind of sick curiosity (and even there I got it from the library because I didn’t want to waste any money on it). The joke I’ve heard about it in several places is “Bhansali actually managed to make a boring ‘blue’ film”.

      So interested in your reaction to Maya Memsaab! I’ve seen it a couple of times, and Shahrukh’s part always stands out for me. In a way I think it is supposed to? Her life is so sad and hopeless, with so few people who sincerely care about her, and Shahrukh’s purity of heart and innocence is a balm to her. And in the same way, his parts of the film almost feel like a different movie, a little brighter and happier and bouncier. Especially his first song.

      King Uncle, not so much. Shahrukh is definitely the 4th lead, after Jackie and Pooja Ruperal and Anu Aggarwal. His parts don’t stand out that much. But Jackie is fun, and it’s kind of neat seeing Pooja in a role besides “Chutki” in DDLJ.

      And I watched My Dinner With Andre once, when I was 12 I think. My sister was going through a list of “100 Greatest Films” or something and voted for it for family movie night. Or maybe my parents suggested it? Anyway, I know I didn’t pick it! It was an interesting movie (to me, at age 12). And also a very memorable one which means I’ve never felt the need to watch it again. Not like I am avoiding it, but more like “yeah, I think I remember enough of that movie that I don’t need to re-watch it in order to be a sophisticated movie viewer”. On the other hand, HATED Alice’s Restaurant (also at age 10 or 12), and that one at some point maybe I do need to go back and see. Or do I? Is that actually an “important movie”, or is it just that my parents liked it?

      On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 2:24 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I watched it originally because I actually worked — very, very peripherally — with Andre Gregory when he was touring around doing a VERY crazy version of Alice in Wonderland, once at Syracuse U and then the following summer in Stockbridge, MA (home of Alice’s — no relation — Restaurant!!!). The film version of Alice’s Restaurant is nowhere near as much fun as the original song. Having worked in Stockbridge for two summers — and eaten in Alice’s place (after she sold it to someone else), waited on her at another restaurant, and seen Officer Obie and the blind judge with the seeing eye dog on a regular basis, it’s fun for me to watch for familiar faces and places.

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        • Maybe that’s why my parents like it? They lived around Boston for about 4 years in the 70s. I think they went on their honeymoon to Stockbridge.

          But it sounds like for myself, having no connection to either the Boston area or the 1970s, it may not be quite such a wonderful film.

          On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 2:54 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I’ve never seen Alice’s Restaurant the movie but I just bought a novelty book based on the song/movie at the New York book fairs last weekend! I loved the song and it was a tradition to listen to it on the radio every Thanksgiving in my family. What a weird coincidence that you all brought it up!

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  4. I’ve been traveling and busy and had only time for one (-ish) movie this week, and I continued with the “Old and Impaired Amitabh Saves the Day because it Turns Out he’s not as Impaired as All That” theme with Te3n. He is wonderful in this, and so is Nawaz, and I wish there had been more Vidya. Also quite liked the music. In addition to the good performances, this is actually one of the few mysteries that I couldn’t figure out (they don’t do the thing where it’s the most unlikely character).

    I started Happy Bhag Jayegi but I’m not sure I will finish it. It was pleasant enough, but I don’t like hilarious misunderstandings as a genre. (I think hilarious misunderstanding is what we are looking at, but I only made it through about 20 minutes. Please let me know if it gets a bit deeper). I will probably finish it for the sake of my boyfriend Abhay, though.

    I also got to see La La Land and, unlike most of the people I know who saw it, really loved it. It was interesting to a musical that’s sort of the opposite of an Indian film, in that the actors clearly did their own singing but, at one point at least, probably had other people dance for them. The purpose of the songs is different also as it seems to be sort of summing up where we are in the story rather than filling slots like party song/love song/item number. Anyway, loved it and recast it while I was watching (Ranbir and Anushka).

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    • I’d worry if it was Ranbir and Anushka it would feel too much like a Bombay Velvet re-tread and no one wants that. But on the other hand, that is perfect casting! I haven’t even seen the movie, I just know that Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone really really feel similar to Ranbir and Anushka!

      I missed Te3n in theaters and wasn’t planning to see it streaming, it looked so much like Wazir. Have you seen Wazir? And if so, would you say Te3n was better or worse? Or same?

      Happy Bhaag Jayegi definitely doesn’t get deeper. But it does get less farcical. Not serious, but the plot becomes less about misunderstandings and more about running around trying to solve problems. There are a few slightly unexpected turns. If you have an Abhay crush to keep you going, definitely worth it!

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      • Oh, I see your point about Bombay Velvet. My second choice was Ranveer and Parineeti, but they are both a bit too out-there, I think.

        I would really like to see Wazir, but it is not yet on a platform I can access. Now that I know it’s a bit similar to Te3n I want to see it more.

        You know, I was considering giving up on Happy Baag Jayegi and then I realized that I sat all the way through One by Two for love for Abhay. I can do this.

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  5. Just finished watching Angry Indian Goddesses on Netflix and was really enthralled by it. I see that it did well on the European festival circuit and it definitely has a “Euro” cinema feel to it (it reminded me a bit of one of my favorite director’s work, the German director Fatih Akin, especially his Gegen Die Wand/Head On). It’s ending is somewhat problematic, but entirely affecting. The acting is uniformly strong…which is a feat when you have an ensemble cast like this. I was particularly impressed by Sarah Jane Dias and Rajshri Deshpande. This and Parched really are the epitome of grrl-power films and I can’t wait for Lipstick Under My Burkha to be released. The three together would be great as a film series.

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    • I thought Fatih Akin sounded familiar! He’s the director we kept watching things by in my college German classes. This would have been in the early 2000s, looks like that is when his stuff would have been the cutting edge newest of the new stuff that all the German teachers were excited about.

      Moving on from that, I haven’t seen any of the movies you mention. But I am super interested to get your perspective on them! I thought they looked kind of Euro feeling. Speaking of, I just saw that the Lunchbox director’s next movie is coming out. A non-Indian production with an entirely non-Indian cast. Just like Shekhar Kapur before him. If your natural sensibility is something that feels less Indian-film and more European or American indie, it’s a happy ending for them to be whisked away to that kind of film industry where they can really be themselves.

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      • Fatih Akin’s Head On is one of my top 20 list for sure. Seems like kind of dark material for a German class screening…you must have had a cool professor.

        I think I watch films like Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses with a different lens because they are not “traditional” Hindi films and have more of an international appeal/influence. They are truly meant for the art house theaters and the international circuit and aren’t even in the grey multiplex/crossover hit area like a Queen or Lagaan. They’re made with an international audience in mind. In the case of both, I could see the same female dynamics play out in similar ways in other cultural settings, too. Both tackled many social issues (domestic violence, rape culture, LGBT rights, and other topics) that are global, though obviously the Indian context (and the distinct settings of each) impacted the stories. I highly recommend them both. I even read a review that described Angry Indian Goddesses as a revenge-themed “masala entertainer” for women. It’s kind of true in a weird way. The lead actress (if there is one) is Sarah Jane Dias and she’s going to be in the Viceroy’s House. I’m also looking forward to and dreading at the same time that one and the Victoria and Abdul one with Judi Dench, too. Both could be more Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and One Hundred Foot Journey, which were nice and pretty harmless, but we’ll see!

        I’m definitely planning to see The Sense of an Ending. Lunchbox was a beautiful, gentle film and I bet the director’s style will translate well to a British-y, navel-gazing type drama.

        And what is Shakhar Kapur even doing now? Is Paani ever going to happen?

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        • Paani is never ever going to happen. Mountains may fall, seas may rise, the rapture could come, but Paani will never ever happen. It is the one certainty we can have in this world.

          And second to that, Shuddhi is never ever going to happen. Karan can announce as many new casts as he wants, that film is not coming out!

          Moving on, I did have very cool German professors! Only by the time it was our 4th class with another Fatih Akin movie for the last week we were all rolling our eyes a little and wondering if we might be able to watch something nice like Heidi next semester.

          I am so glad you said that about how you watch Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses! That is exactly what I have tried (and failed) to tell people. Just because it is a movie-made-in-India doesn’t mean it is an “Indian movie”. And for me one of the most important parts of the Indian movie experience is how the audience interacts with the film. With Queen or Lagaan, we still had visual metaphor type songs and “wah! Kya dialogue!” type lines and distinct star personas that interacted with the script and all of that. Same for Pink or Neerja or Udta Punjab or any of those others. Even if they were telling more of a Western kind of story. But it sounds like Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses don’t have that so much? A story that is grounded in the place, but a narrative style that is not “Indian”?

          And all I have to say about Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is that when my sister saw the trailer in the theater with a friend, she shrieked so loud people looked at them. and then she had to call me and make me watch it on youtube with the phone on speaker so her friend could hear me shriek too. Because “If it’s not a happy ending, then the story isn’t over” is not something Dev Patel’s character invented!!!!

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          • I’ve been meaning to respond to this! I think you described it perfectly when you said that films like Pink, Neerja, and Udta Punjab, etc in theory are international art house films/Oscar bait, they still have “distinct star personas that interacted with the script.” And, yes, both Parched and AIG have much less of an Indian vernacular film narrative style. Though I will say that Parched has a couple of moments where it’s clearly relating to that particular style (it was produced by Ajay Devgn, if I recall). Road, Movie (another recent re-watch) is another that fits in with AIG for me. Finding Fanny is also one that was made for an international audience, too, and not just because it was made in English. It reminded me so much of that Liv Tyler film Stealing Beauty directed by Bertolucci.

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          • Stealing Beauty! Thank you! You know how there are those movies you see the trailer for over and over again because you just happen to see a lot of other movies around the time they come out? Or rent a bunch of DVDs that were released around the same time or whatever? Journey of Natty Gann for some reason was the trailer on every single children’s VHS we rented when I was little. And then Stealing Beauty must have come out right when we started seeing more arty movies. I never saw either film (Natty Gan or Stealing Beauty) but I must have seen those trailers dozens of times. And I could not remember what the movie was with Liv Tyler! Oh my gosh, I will sleep well tonight! No more digging through her filmography trying to tie a title to a vague memory of sunshine and Italy.

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          • Oh, and your comments about Paani and Shuddhi cracked me up! I do hope that Karan Johar is serious when he said he wants to speed up his directing pace, but I’ve got a feeling he’s going to be busier than normal right now. But I thought at one point that another Dharma director was going to take on Shuddhi…who knows?!

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          • Speaking of Karan being busier than usual, I am just assuming that the babies are coming in to work with him once they get a little older and everyone at Dharma from Alia Bhatt down to the lowliest intern will end up being part-time babysitters. Can you imagine his fabulous costume designed front packs and glorious in office nursery?

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  6. Earlier this week I watched both Jaan-e-Mann and Mujshe Shaadi Karogi. Jaan-e-Mann was really weird and I didn’t really know whether I wanted to root for Salman or Akshay to end up with Preity. I didn’t hate the movie but I didn’t really like it either. The movie was worth it just to see Preity in my opinion 🙂 . After Jaan-e-Mann, I ended up watching Mujshe Shaadi Karogi which was more fun. The story didn’t make much sense in my opinion but Akshay and Salman made this a fun movie. Akshay was the best thing about the whole movie! It was kind of weird to see Priyanka in a role where she didn’t really have anything to do. Overall, it wasn’t the best David Dhawan movie I’ve seen, but it was decent time pass. I think it would be interesting to see this movie remade with Varun as Salman and Ranveer as Akshay.

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    • Well, I am on record as loving Jaan-E-Mann. But I know it is too weird for most people. I will agree that Preity is awesome in it!

      I don’t think I’ve watched Mujshe Shaadi Karogi since college, I really should see it again! And it didn’t even occur to me until you put them together, that Akshay and Salman co-starred in both films! Very different in tone. I wonder if that was one of the (many many) reasons that Jaan-E-Mann didn’t do well? People thought it would be another super comic Mujshe Shaadi Karogi type thing and then it wasn’t really?

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      • I wouldn’t be surprised if the audience was expecting another Mujshe Shaadi Karogi style comedy and received something as weird as Jaan-e-Mann instead.

        What happened to Preity?!? Based on her filmography it looks like after Jaan-e-Mann and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom flopped, she never did another mainstream film again. She was a star heroine, so how come she never got another opportunity?

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        • If I am remembering the time line right, she had a messy break-up right around then. She was dating Ness Wadia for years, and they were business partners, and it was a public relationship. You know what happens when a public relationship ends, the man gets off no problems but everyone immediately starts pitying the woman and wondering if anyone will want her again. And they had all of these businesses to figure out how to deal with. Plus, it sounds like it might have been emotionally a little messy. Years later, they were at the same Cricket match (because they still own that Cricket team together), and she put in an FIR against him for harassment. I don’t know what happened with that, but if you are filing a police report years after the break-up, it probably means the break-up itself was not an easy one.

          She took time off and officially was going back to school and taking various courses overseas. Unofficially, there were rumors of drug problems and rehab around that time too. Generally it sounds like her life just kind of fell apart and she needed a break, it wasn’t that she wasn’t getting jobs or was hated in the industry or anything like that. And then she came back after clearly having had massive plastic surgery and tried to launch her own production house, starring and producing her own movie, which went nowhere. And then she married her white guy and now she is in and out of the industry and the country, tweeting people and going to parties and stuff, but not working and being back and forth between India and LA with her white guy.

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          • Oh yeah, I forgot about this! It’s interesting that she chose to make a comeback with her own production and everything. Wasn’t she one of those actresses that was close to YRF? I’m sure she could have gotten a bigger comeback with them kind of like Rani and Mardaani. I loved seeing her in Happy Ending though, her scenes were the best parts of the film 🙂

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          • Yeah, she did a lot with YRF. But, and this is just speculating wildly, if part of her issues were related to drugs and emotional and personal stuff, YRF is the studio least likely to tolerate that kind of behavior. I could see them wanting her to prove herself before handing her another lead role. Or, maybe she was just tired of working for other people and wanted to try on her own.

            On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 12:00 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

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  7. Udta Punjab was a really great film. I can’t believe I put it off for as long as I did! All four of the leads did an incredible job. And such meaty, realistic and complex characters for them to sink their teeth into. It didn’t feel like I was watching performances-they disappeared into the characters. Alia was so good-probably the best performance of her young career. She went in so deep and transformed so much that I never felt like I was watching Alia Bhatt. Diljit was fantastic. It was so much different than the roles I’ve seen him play in the Punjabi comedies. He handled the dramatic moments so well. I didn’t really see him as a bad guy in the beginning, just kind of a cog in the wheel, blind and ignorant. He brought such a human and sympathetic quality to the character. It was awesome to see Shahid really go for it as the insane, drug addicted gabru Tommy Singh! Even though he was such a lousy person, I was still hoping that he would find his way out of the darkness. His scenes with Alia were so good! Kareena had the smallest role but definitely made the most of her screen time. She was really the only purely good character and the heart of the film. I loved the chemistry she had with Diljit. It made the end stretch so much more devastating. Man, was that ever a punch in the gut. I’d love to see them work together again.

    The music was fantastic and had some incredibly powerful lyrics and themes. I really loved the song that Tommy sang after his encounter with Alia’s character. The cinematography was absolutely stunning. The world was so dark, grimy and painful but every shot managed to find the beauty within that. As heartbreaking as the film was, I thought that it ended on a hopeful note. Obviously, the drugs and corruption still existed and the wheels kept turning. But I felt like, if these characters could find redemption and make a difference, then things could definitely get better. And, I imagined Alia’s character at the end of this, on the beach in Goa, running into her character from Dear Zindagi, playing kabaddi with the sea.

    Lahu Ke Do Rang wasn’t bad! It was a decent masala movie with lots of great songs and some really good action. Vinod Khanna was actually really good! He played two roles- the father in the opening flashback section and the son in the present day. The father was a freedom fighter, so he was more stoic and serious. Then, as the son, he became a bit cocky and rakish, with a mischievous smile. Shabana was great, although she didn’t really have a lot to do other than look incredibly beautiful and spurn Vinod’s advances.

    The song with the obsessive photography made more sense in the film. Shabana was kind of a prisoner of some baddies who had taken over her mom’s tea factory and turned her mom into a deranged drug addict. I mean, they didn’t rape or mistreat Shabana or anything. She lived the life of luxury and had fancy clothes and stuff, she just couldn’t leave the mansion or they’d probably murder her mom. Anyway, Vinod’s character was a cop, tracking a bad guy just released from prison and he posed as a photographer to try and worm his way in. He met Shabana in peril (an out of control bus) and saved her and asked for 24 hours to photograph her. When she denied his request, he decided he would take the 24 hours in chunks-hence the skulking around, taking photographs through windows and generally acting like a weirdo. She eventually relented, gave in to his request and, naturally, fell for the weirdo with the camera.

    Danny Denzongpa played Vinod’s half brother (they didn’t find that out until way later). He comes to India as a diving specialist, hired by the goondas to fetch some gold from the bottom of a lake. Only the gold was stashed years earlier and now the lake is surrounded by an army complex! So it takes some doing to access it! Danny is then free to roam the streets of Darjeeling until the bad guys can devise a plan. He meets a little street girl, who is an orphan, and they sing an awesome song and she becomes his sidekick. Really cute. Helen has a small, but very important, role as Danny’s mom. She really did a nice job grounding that part of the story. Indrani Mukherjee, similarly, did a fine job as Vinod’s mom.

    Mahesh Bhatt’s style and sensibility was definitely present (although taken up a notch or two). The simple, elegant way that conversations and interactions are shot and staged. The straightforwardness of the storytelling was there to an extent. This had some crazy plot points but managed to flow nicely and wasn’t too confusing or cluttered. There was also a fight sequence in the factory that reminded me very much of the big fight near the end of Chaahat. I’m not sure of the timeline but Mahesh was probably even drunk while he made it! This movie was actually quite a bit of fun! Probably not something I would watch again anytime soon but I enjoyed the heck out of it as a Thursday night timepass.

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    • So glad you saw Udta Punjab! And so glad I didn’t have to watch it with you. A really beautiful powerful movie, but not an experience I think I can go through again.

      One of the commentators here told me that Shahid’s song for Alia is a famous Punjabi poem from the 70s (I think). Which adds another layer to the scene for me. He’s this rap star who is all about drugs and western music and has lost touch with his roots. But in his moment of extremes, what comes to his mind is a beautiful poem in his native tongue. And that’s what everyone is responding to as well when they stop beating on the doors and shouting to listen, a reminder that at heart they are all Punjabi.

      I was so impressed with Shahid in this role, because of his humility in taking the part. It’s about as far from a “hero” role as you can get, he is unpleasant and childish and selfish and just there for us all to laugh at. But he does a brilliant job, doesn’t hold back at all or try to retain any dignity.

      Kareena was such brilliant casting. I think she gets more and more beautiful with age, and you needed someone who had that kind of mature beauty and grace for that role. She had to be young enough that you could fill that extra sorrow at how she ended, but some actress like even Anushka or Deepika just wouldn’t have the weight you needed to believe that she had been doing this for years and years.

      Diljit I liked on first watch, but then I saw his Punjabi films and really really got to like him! It was amazing how he kept that kind of boyish simplicity that he has in the comedies I’ve seen, but layered on top of it a kind of world weariness and cynicism. It sounds like they wouldn’t fit together, but they really really do! When you are introduced to him, he seems like just another cog in the machine, like you said, kind of bored by it all and not caring. But then through his time with Kareena, the layers are peeled away and suddenly he is back to being this optimistic wide-eyed idealist it feels like he must have been when he first joined the police.

      And, of course, Alia is the heart and soul of the movie. I loved how she was always there at the back of our awareness. Diljit and Kareena are falling in love and tracking down corruption, Shahid is fighting withdrawal symptoms, and the whole time you are just thinking “what are you doing with all this stuff, go rescue Alia!!!” Which I think is the feeling the filmmakers were going after, while NGOs are talking about political corruption, and the media is selling drugs to kids, there are real lives in danger that no one seems to care about!

      Mostly I am impressed with how the stuck the landing. With these kind of intertwined plots it can be so easy to feel overly coincidental with how the lines come together, or to pair everyone up, or to try to find a grand point to it. But in this case, I believed how it ended, Shahid and Alia meeting earlier was the only coincidence, otherwise everyone happened to be on separate paths that happened to make them come to the same place at about the same time. And the final ending gave us a good resolution for the only characters who were real victims, who had earned an ending. Shahid was paying his debts and would have a future when he came out. And Alia FINALLY got rewarded for everything she went through.

      Oh, one final thing, for once the dream scenes in a film worked for me! That drowning image that kept recurring for Alia, really effective, didn’t feel out of place at all.

      Haven’t seen the other movie, but it sounds super fun! Did it make you more or less eager for the Vinod Khanna Sex Cult Hindi Film 101 post?

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  8. I finally finished the Spirit of Lagaan book. I enjoyed it so much that I had been reading only one chapter at night, when everyone was asleep, and the house was completely quiet. This was way too good to be interrupted and have to pick up and put down. I wanted to savor every page! It was the most in-depth account of a film’s production that I’ve ever come across. It covered every small detail-from the seed of an idea all the way until the final cut of the film was released-in such a descriptive and passionate way. The author had worked as part of the production team and was in the thick of things right from scouting locations and building the sets. The writing style is so intimate and insightful that it feels like a diary.

    It is such a gift to have this sort of a first-person account from the trenches of the film. I wish every movie had something similar! It’s the behind-the-scenes film book of my dreams. In one section, he writes about the ten thousand extras required for the wide shots of the cricket match. He could have simply written: “It was very difficult to organize so many people in the middle of the desert. It proved to be an even larger obstacle than first imagined but we persevered and triumphed.” Instead, he used four or five pages to discuss every tiny detail-getting so many villagers interested enough to show up (money meant nothing to them); physically transporting them to the set; feeding so many people; arranging thousands of period costumes and then, controlling and directing ten thousand regular people to produce the same reactions all at once. Also, they had to keep them reasonably comfortable and happy and interested in the sweltering desert heat for hours and hours with no shelter! I loved reading every excruciating detail of how the film was made. I’m excited to revisit Lagaan with this story fresh in my mind. I would imagine that any film lover would devour this book!

    Does anyone have the special edition dvd of Lagaan? The author also directed a two-and-a-half-hour documentary titled Chale Chalo: The Lunacy of Film Making that was included as a special feature. I was wondering if it was subtitled on the release (I’ve found it in parts on dailymotion but unfortunately, no English subtitles). If it’s subtitled I will order that dvd as soon as I can!

    I finally watched Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It was soo good! I’m ashamed that I waited so long. It was my favorite Salman performance by a good measure. I thought Kareena was wonderful and lovely and I really missed her during the second half (kind of wished she could have joined the adventure). The little girl Harshaali Malhotra was unbelievable! She was a million times better and more likeable than the girl from Shivaay! It wasn’t even close! You were so right! She was natural, adorable and the performance was amazing. She managed to not make a single sound and, still, she conveyed so much entirely with her expressions and body language. There are many seasoned adult actors that could never pull that off. She is either ridiculously gifted or the director did an outstanding job of coaxing this performance (probably a combination of both). Oh, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-he’s always so good that I almost take him for granted! He was a great complement to the road trip of the second half!

    I haven’t felt this good after a movie in some time. It had everything! The songs were amazing and melodic and the “chicken” song and dance in the restaurant to cheer the little girl up was wonderful. Salman throwing those awful brothel henchmen out the window was so enjoyable-I probably cheered out loud! Take that you jerks! Salman and Munni together put a huge smile on my face. Their chemistry was so cute and perfect. The messages of love, acceptance and following one’s heart in spite of one’s mind and beliefs were so clear and didn’t feel too preachy or manufactured. The ending was incredible and I cried many tears of joy. It was really one of the purest love stories I’ve seen in recent memory. I remember reading about this movie when I had just started watching Hindi films and I am absolutely kicking myself for sleeping on it. I am going to watch this film over and over!

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    • I’m so glad you liked the Spirit of Lagaan book! I haven’t seen the Chale Chalo documentary but I know at one point it was posted on youtube, you might want to check just in case it is there.

      If you haven’t already, you should track down and read Anupama’s book on Sholay. It’s similarly detailed, but I find it even more impressed because she wasn’t there herself, she was going around decades later talking to all sorts of people to try to put together an exact picture of every step from inception to after the release.

      And I am really glad you enjoyed Bajrangi Bhaijaan! That movie makes me so happy, because it was such a hit! It proved that a good movie can still find a bigger audience than anything else. And an All India and global audience, it did equally well everywhere. And the message was so great! You got it exactly, that his heart was going against his mind and beliefs and he followed it. Everything he had been taught his whole life told him that he shouldn’t care about this little girl, but he couldn’t stop himself from seeing the humanity in her.

      Harshaali, the little girl actress, had been in a bunch of ad campaigns and I think on a soap opera before. She seems just supremely confident, on and off camera. There were a couple of interviews with her to promote the movie, and she just babbled away, and then played “king of the castle” on top of the table with the reporters, and generally seemed to see the whole experience as just fun and not exciting or serious in anyway. It sounds like that’s how it was on sets too. She talked about playing barbies with the director and video games with Salman. ‘Kareena Auntie” was busy and couldn’t play. but everyone else played with her the whole shoot. I also suspect that the whole more relaxed and less “professional” attitude on Indian film sets is a lot better for kids. If she didn’t feel like acting, that’s fine, Salman can announce “pack-up” and they can all take a day off. It’s not like there’s an elaborate shooting schedule and union employees and a time limit on the shoot and all that.

      Salman was the one that cast her, which is interesting in terms of the kind of power he had as a producer-star, but also probably good for the film. That he was allowed to pick a little girl who he felt a spark with and then that could be shown onscreen. Her Mom brought her over to Salman’s house to meet him, and the first thing she said to him was “Salman uncle, I want you to make me a superstar like you!” and he was completely charmed.

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  9. That Sholay book sounds great! I’ve been meaning to read her book on DDLJ as well. I’ll have to keep an eye on Amazon to see if I can track down some cheap copies.

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  10. Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin was so much fun. I am loving these 90s Aamir rom-coms! Pooja Bhatt was so incredibly beautiful- definitely during her “peak hotness” period. She did a little thing where she blew upwards to get her bangs out of her eyes and it drove me wild! Aamir was really good and he seemed to have grown into himself a bit since QSQT a few years earlier. The captain’s hat was a wonderful touch! Anupam Kher had the most ridiculous haircut I have ever seen (long on the sides and back, the little hair on top was buzzed but not shaved. Were they trying to make him look even balder?)

    I was aware that it was based on It Happened One Night (which I don’t believe I’ve seen). Once it got to the meat of the road trip romance, I realized that it also drew a lot from one of my favorite 80s films The Sure Thing (which is also probably a loose remake of the classic). There was a scene where Aamir was giving Pooja a lesson on hitchhiking. Of course, he couldn’t flag down a car to save his life and when she tried, a trucker stopped to pick her up. He warned her against accepting the ride but she took it anyway. The trucker pulled off the road and into the brush, presumably to have his way with her, when all of a sudden Aamir pops out from the back of the truck. He gets into the cab of the truck, pretends to be a serial killer, and the trucker gets scared and lets them go. It was taken straight from The Sure Thing and they played it perfectly! That may have been the most blatant lift but there were other borrowed elements and moments that really worked well. They did a really nice job of using the original material as a jumping off point, expanding and adapting.

    The music was fantastic and plentiful- so many songs! I love that! The main theme, and the several variations of it, were all very catchy and hummable. I liked the sad numbers a lot. The one near the end where Aamir reveals his feelings while Pooja stands with her fiancé was really good. The song that she sang to the photo and Aamir sang to his empty wallet was a lot of fun too.

    It was just a light, silly and sweet movie! And I still haven’t encountered a Mahesh Bhatt film that I haven’t enjoyed.

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    • I haven’t actually seen Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin straight through, just bits, so I can’t talk about that. But I can talk about the journey of the adaptations! It Happened one Night is an all time classic rom-com, possibly even the first ever rom-com. It was a sleeper hit and then ended up being a surprise winner at that years Oscars. Made Clark Gable into a star. Also, killed undershirt sales for ever. That last bit may be urban legend, but it is a stubborn urban legend that is constantly repeated. There is a scene where he takes his shirt off, and isn’t wearing an undershirt underneath, and that immediately became the style. Sort of like when JFK killed the men’s hat. And the hitchhiking scene from that movie is a classic, first hitchhiking scene ever.

      Raj Kapoor remade it first in the 1950s, and then Mahesh Bhatt was riffing on Raj’s version and the original. The Sure Thing scene was also an homage back to the original. Really, any “man and woman who hat each other traveling together” movie is inspired by It Happened One Night. You should definitely see it! Although be warned, it will make you fall in love with both Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. But if it does, i have other movies to recommend for both of them!

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  11. I have a friend in Canberra who has the knack of finding me books on Indian cinema. A parcel arrived today with these (fingers crossed I can insert a picture) – [URL=http://s25.photobucket.com/user/salpenney/media/2017-03-20%2012.38.06_zpsa7fxsmbb.jpg.html][IMG]http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c91/salpenney/2017-03-20%2012.38.06_zpsa7fxsmbb.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

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    • You can insert a picture apparently sort of so long as I unspam it.

      And the Indian Film book is a super great find! It’s my favorite Indian film history, one of the earliest (possibly the earliest) ones written, and they did a ton of primary source research with government hearings and interviews and all sorts of things. I love that book!

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  12. This past weekend I rewatched Hum Tum and I really liked it! Saif and Rani were really good! After that, I ended up watching Mujhse Dosti Karoge which I also really liked. I thought I wouldn’t really like Mujhse Dosti Karoge because I heard that it’s a really melodramatic movie. But I really enjoyed it! I feel that Mujhse Dosti Karoge perfectly bridges the 90s melodramatic love stories to the more modern rom-coms of the early 2000s. I thought Tina (Kareena Kapoor) was quite similar to the character of Poo from K3G. Rani Mukherjee was perfect as Pooja and I thought she was so cute with Raj (Hrithik Roshan). Angry Raj was really weird though. At first I didn’t understand why Raj was pressuring Pooja to get married on the same day that he was marrying Tina. I later realized that he wasn’t trying to get revenge on Pooja, instead he thought that Pooja won’t be able to get married so then he can call of his marriage to Tina. The casting was spot on though I wish the character of Rohan was played by Abhishek Bachchan. He would have been perfect though Uday Chopra wasn’t bad either. One of the main highlights of Mujhse Dosti Karoge! is that it has great songs.

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    • I love Mujhse Dosti Karoge! And Hum Tum. I liked Hum Tum better the first time I saw it, but as time has gone on I have come to really enjoy Mujhse Dosti Karoge much more than Hum Tum. Although I still like them both.

      I went through the same journey with Hrithik pressuring Rani. I think it was both that he was hoping she would back out and he would be free, and that he was (correctly, I think) angry that she got to make the smaller sacrifice. She had to give him up, but he had to give her up and commit to living a lie the rest of his life. It wasn’t fair, and I think he wanted to show her that by making her see how hard it was to make the same sacrifice.

      And I would love Abhishek as Rohan, except that if it was Rani and Abhishek, I would have wanted her to forget Hrithik and just marry him!

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      • I didn’t think I would like Mujhse Dosti Karoge as much as I liked it, though Hum Tum is still one of my favorites. I think the idea about the sacrifices makes sense. It was just really random yet scary on how intense Hrithik got in the second half of the movie. I’d agree that I’d want Abhishek with Rani if he was playing Rohan.

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        • I find the second half super amusing, but I do wonder if it is a flaw in the directing or in the acting. Did they tell Hrithik “be subtly angry” and he couldn’t do it? Or did they tell him “angrier, angrier!!!” until he reached the performance we ended up with?

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          • I don’t think they wanted Hrithik to be subtly angry but instead maybe they wanted him in the middle and he just couldn’t find a balance. Either way, the output was quite amusing 🙂

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  13. I planned to watch Chori Chori Chupke Chupke but the version on Einthusan was such awful quality, I couldn’t get past the first song. I’m not really all that picky but this was ridiculous. I could barely make out Rani and Salman. I couldn’t find it anywhere else so it may be one I have to order on DVD. I ended up re-watching Mujhse Dosti Karoge, since you guys reminded me of how great it was. I loved it again!

    I enjoyed it a lot the first time but I was also a bit put off by Hrithik’s anger in the second half. This time around, I didn’t feel that it was nearly as bad as my first impression and I definitely thought it was kind of justified. He was getting such a raw deal! He really got put through the ringer at the end of the first section. I can understand why was so upset. Not only had he been deceived for many years but he was being forced into two compromises-giving up Rani and committing his life to someone else that he didn’t love (in that way). I liked your point about Rani only having to complete half of the sacrifice. It DIDN’T seem fair! I wouldn’t have reacted all that differently (maybe a bit less pure rage and scary eyes). I also felt a lot worse for Kareena near the end when she began figuring it out (the near-accident, spin the bottle, bangle incident). She handled it well though! The songs were just as beautiful and amazing and even more catchy than I remembered. I went ahead and purchased instead of just renting on Googleplay and I’m sure that it’ll be a good investment. It seems like one that I will watch again and again.

    I finally watched Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa on Sunday. It was great! I absolutely loved the songs. The fantasy song right at the beginning and the gangster ballad at the club were the standouts but they were all amazing. I related a lot to Shahrukh’s character. I had almost an identical experience during my high school years- right down to playing in a band and having the girl of my dreams fall for one of my bandmates and closest friends. For the next two years, I sat and watched them together and wondered what quality he had that made him more desirable. It’s a terrible, frustrating feeling (but looking back, also kind of wonderful at the same time. I also liked how unrequited love was portrayed in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as something bittersweet and not necessarily a complete negative.)

    Shahrukh was so good! He really captured the essence of that feeling. It was one of his most grounded and sweet performances that I’ve seen. I also recognized Ashutosh Gowariker, from the photos in the Lagaan book, playing the band’s drummer! In the book, it said that he had acted for several years before trying his hand at directing, so it was neat to see him in action. He’s very tall! I’m kicking myself for not spending the extra money to buy this from Googleplay- I just rented it. I hope that it’s added to Netflix eventually as part of that huge Shahrukh package. The quality was absolutely stunning. They really seemed to put a lot of work into this restoration. If more 90s films could be cleaned up and remastered like that, I would be a happy happy man!

    We also saw Dabangg on Sunday. It was fun and entertaining! I thought Salman was so good in the role. It was awesome to watch him in action-chasing bad guys, beating everyone up, dancing, awkwardly romancing Sonakshi, all of it. Speaking of Sonakshi-was Akira good? The trailer caught my eye but I didn’t get around to watching it last year. I really like her but I kind of feel like she’s being wasted in these masala kinds of movies. Looking down her filmography, it seems like she’s done a bunch of similar ones- Rowdy Rathore, Bullet Raja, R Rajkumar, Action Jackson, etc. I think she’s good in them (I’ve only seen this and Tevar) but I’d really like to see her in a meatier role. The Noor trailers look promising so far.

    Anyway, I loved all the action and the abundance of songs. It was a pleasant way to spend an evening!

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    • I remember I found Chori Chori Chupke Chupke either on Youtube or Dailymotion with English subtitles a couple years ago. I never finished the movie though because I thought it was getting kind of weird.

      I understand the reason for Hrithik’s anger in Mujhse Dosti Karoge but the thing that I thought was quite creepy was his ability to seem completely normal in front of the family and then get super angry when he is just with Rani. Honestly if I were Rani, I would be rethinking my decision of marrying Hrithik since he got way to intense and manipulative. But overall, Mujhse Dosti Karoge is a fun movie.

      Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa and Dabangg have both been on my watchlist for a while now, but I still haven’t seen either of them. I’ll probably wait a while to see if Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa shows up on Netflix now that they have their deal with Shahrukh. Speaking of Sonakshi, have you seen Lootera? It’s considered her best work so far. I personally didn’t really like Lootera but it has quite a cult following.

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      • You’re right, it really showed how fake some people can be! That ability to turn it on and off like a switch was a bit unsettling, particularly on first watch. The scene where he locked the door in the bedroom and also the scene by the pool, eating the bag of chips, really showed that. I’ve definitely known people like that in my life. I’m not much for societal facades-definitely more of a heart-on-sleeve kind of guy. If I’m upset about something, everyone around me knows it!

        I’ll have to check out Lootera! I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about it so I’ve been a bit hesitant.

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        • Lootera is one of those movies that was not a box office hit but it got a lot of critical acclaim. It’s a period romance and I’ve heard that the style of the film is similar to that of Bengali films.

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    • Finally getting around to responding to this! And there is so much to respond to!

      Mujshe Dosti Karoge was also one for me that it took a few watches to appreciate. On additional watches, I find Kareena and to a lesser extent Uday’s characters the most interesting ones. Rani and Hrithik are great leads, but they don’t necessarily surprise me that much. I really liked that Kareena was able to immediately find the good in what happened, to not see it as her friends having an affair behind her back or anything like that, but to know both of them well enough to understand exactly what had happened. And I liked that Uday was so low pressure with Rani. He liked her, he wanted to marry her, but he was willing to start with just friendship and let her decide from there. He was even willing to marry her with the understanding that she was marrying more the life in London and the idea of marriage than himself in particular.

      So glad you saw Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa! I looked it up a few years back and, if I am reading things correctly, this was the first movie where Farah worked with Shahrukh. It was early in her career, but she was already doing such interesting things with the songs. And doing things that worked really well with Shahrukh’s sort of acting-while-dancing style. You can see why they both immediately formed a creative team and kind of had each other’s backs from then on. Shahrukh would suggest her for movies, and she would put in a little extra effort to make sure he looked good in her songs.

      The director came out of the IIFT crowd, kind of artsy and out there, this was his big follow-up to Jaane Bhi Do Yaare, which is a cult comedy hit. This movie is a lot sweeter than JBDY with a much simpler plot, but it’s got a similar directing style of a series of small moments and people all sort of loosely connected. It’s also, and I am sure I have mentioned this before, one of the performances Shahrukh mentions as being actually proud of. It’s this, Swades, and Chak De. And I suspect the next time he is asked that question he might add Fan and Raees on to the list. But it is a very short list, and this is the only film on it from back in the early years of his career. If he owns the rights now, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is why it is so beautifully restored. Because he is so proud of it and wants it to look as best as possible.

      Finally, Dabangg! Such a fun movie! Sonakshi’s first film, which you probably knew. It was a great launch for her, really highlighted her different looks and screen presence. But without asking a lot of her as an actress, which at that point she probably wouldn’t have been able to handle.

      Which leads to her career in general and how it worked. I think she was really smart in her film choices, she started with this string of action movies with strong heroes. It let her get her feet wet in the acting realm and get known to the public and all of that. But with no pressure on herself, everyone knew these films were rising and falling on the strength of the male stars, not her. And then after doing a whole bunch of those kinds of films, she came out with Lootera and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara which let her actually show her acting abilities and have some kind of a role in making the film a hit. And then went right back to supporting parts in action movies for another 3 years until Akira came out, and now Noor and Ittefaq. I think it’s very wise to do it like this, to scatter the little lead performances and more challenging roles in the middle of the action films, much safer for her career longevity. Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara was a career ending kind of flop (it basically killed Imran Khan’s career), and Sonakshi rebounded with no problems by just going back to playing the action support heroine. And why not? Action heroine’s are fun parts, she gets to do some stunts and hang out on fun sets and get home early every day.

      Oh, and I really liked Akira! As did all 4 friends I brought with me. Sonakshi does a good job, and it is fascinating seeing her as the female version of an action hero. On the other hand, it was a flop and the critics didn’t much like it. So maybe you will hate it and my friends and I were the odd ones for liking it.

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      • I’m sure I’ll enjoy Akira. I thought the trailers looked amazing! I’m very curious to see Sonakshi in that kind of a role and Anurag Kashyap seemed really interesting, and comfortable, as the baddie. I also love Konkona Sen Sharma so this movie seems right up my alley. I just discovered that Company is on Einthusan with subtitles (and I’m SO excited), so I’ll be watching that next, but I’ll definitely put Akira at the top of my list. I’ll watch Lootera soon too but my wife asked me to save that for when she’s around.

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        • Very excited to hear what you think about Company! And that it is on einthusan with subtitles, I had such a quest to track it down even on DVD with subtitles just a few months back.

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      • I haven’t seen Akira but most of the reviews I read seemed to compare it to the original. I haven’t seen the original either but I thought it was really interesting that A.R. Murugadoss took a movie and remade it by changing the protagonist from a male to a female.

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  14. Pingback: Tuesday Telugu: Padayappa, Bahubaali’s Queen is EEEEEEVIL!!!! Also, Rajnikanth – dontcallitbollywood

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