Wednesday Watching Post: What are You Reading and Watching and Thinking About This Week?

Happy Wednesday!  Halfway through the work week, yay!!!!  And it’s the day we all get to start a fresh discussion about what we have been watching lately.

I’ll start!  After watching Angamaly Diaries last Tuesday, I rushed around and got Amen and City of God on googleplay, and now I am mostly caught up on Lijo Jose Pellissery’s films.  Only missing Double Barrel and Nayakan.

And I bought Running Shaadi on DVD, yay!!!  And Monday night a couple friends came over because I said they HAD to watch it.  And I may have another group over tomorrow night.  Because even I will not rest until this film gets its due, even if I have to make it happen by showing it to everyone in the world one at a time!

Oh, and I also finished reading Karachi You’re Killing Me, which was great fun!  And I will put up a post about it at some point before Noor comes out just to catch up all of you who haven’t read it.  And of course I read Karan’s new column this morning, I will also be posting on that.

Also, did you see the Noor songs that came out?  Surprisingly catchy!  And I will save you some time, the original “Gulabi Aankhen” song is great, but the movie it is from is not necessarily worth it.  The last hour is filled with incident, and twists, and moments of “Wait, that makes NO SENSE!!!”  But the first two hours kind of drag a little.  But the song is fun!

 

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73 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What are You Reading and Watching and Thinking About This Week?

  1. Karan’s column was so well done. I agreed with everything he said. Nepotism happens literally everywhere, including in Hollywood.

    I’ve definitely been on a binge lately in anticipation of a large order from Induna today! Half unseen older films like Waqt and others and then half recent watches that I want on DVD like Baby and Phobia.

    Got through the rest of Rock On 2 and enjoyed it overall. My favorite role of Shraddha’s so far and she still wasn’t amazing…I think I just give her credit for being somewhat of a talented singer (though Parineeti is clearly better!). The social message was cool, but I also agreed with many reviews that it was a little condescending.

    Watched Akira and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t at all what I expected, for some reason I thought it had a kind of martyr ending, so was wary of watching it. Definitely one of Sonakshi’s best performances and I thought Konkona Sen Sharma (in a role clearly an homage to Frances McDormand’s role in Fargo) was cool as usual. Even Kashyup was decent in his villain role. And Amit Sadh pops up again…could he be the next big outsider to succeed in the stew of Bollywood’s nepotism?!

    Also watched the original Don the other day and absolutely loved it (though I did pay half-attention at times, especially the Pran plot). Amitabh and Zeenat were magnetic on-screen and after seeing their pairing in Dostana too I think she’s my preferred pairing with Amitabh. I need to rewatch the remake and the sequel, though neither blew me away the first time I saw them. Not the biggest Priyanka fan.

    Also tried to watch Hum Saath Saath Hain and came to the tough realization that I really dislike that dude’s films. Maine Pyar Kiya was one of the first Hindi films I saw and the poor subtitles plus the obnoxious romantic Salman Khan persona ruined it for me. It basically turned me off of Salman Khan until Dabangg redeemed him for me. Vivah was fine and I had a soft spot for a long time for Main Prem… (mostly due to Hrithik and the talking parrot). Couldn’t get through Prem Ratan…so finally have to write off this director’s films. Just too damn sugary and I like a good family film with lots of party sequences as much as the next girl.

    Outside of Hindi films, I saw Beauty and the Beast and enjoyed it almost completely because of nostalgic reasons. Also started watching Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix…it’s a zombie comedy with Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore. Olyphant is one of my favorite actors and his comedic talent has always been overshadowed by his darker tv roles.

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    • I really want to know the plot of Rock On 2, but I don’t want to actually watch it. SPOILERS please!!!!

      I’m glad you liked Akira, and I had the same Frances McDormand feeling about Konkona’s character. I had the reverse reaction to you about ending, because I wasn’t expecting a “martyr” ending! So for me, it wasn’t happy and non-martyr enough. I wanted more triumph for her character. Although I did like the way Amit Sadh popped up in the happy epilogue with no explanation, just her little boy toy who goes around with her. Definitely felt like another part of the gender reversing in the film, and an important one, that sometimes a man can be relegated to the “just the love interest” role. He doesn’t get a lot of backstory or motivation, and isn’t super involved in her journey, he’s just there to be understanding and helpful and supportive. And yes about Amit suddenly popping up everywhere! Sultan, Running Shaadi, this, and Sarkar 3 coming up. This isn’t the year he’s going to break out, but it could be the year that he makes the industry connections and gets the experience that lets him break out next year. Which I guess would be “nepotism” because he would only get those really plumb roles next year because he worked with Salman and Amitabh and took a small part to support Sonakshi this year, and that’s somehow “wrong”.

      I’m so glad you liked the original Don, and now you HAFT to go back and watch the remake! And pretend you have amnesia and haven’t seen it before. I feel like the remake was really made to work in conversation with the original, so the audience watching it can constantly be thinking “that’s old, that’s new, that’s different.” And then it makes the really really big differences at the end land that much harder because you feel so sure you have seen this all before.

      No!!! You can’t not like Sooraj Barjatya!!!! He is a GENIUS!!!! But also, his films were definitely made to be watched in a group. Preferably including old people and children. I’ve had a similarly hard time getting myself to watch them alone in my apartment. My mind tends to drift, and there is a lot of checking of email. But watching them on a movie night, or even with just one other person, and they are much much more enjoyable. You can give opinions on the characters and try to predict what will happen next and cheer the hero during the fight scenes and all that stuff. And you should definitely join our twitter watchalong in a week for Maine Pyar Kiya if at all possible! I promise, you will enjoy it much more with other people to share it with, even if it is just on The Internet.

      For non-Hindi, I was vaguely interested in The Beauty and The Beast, just like I was vaguely interested in Cinderella when it came out, but not enough to go to it in the theaters. I did not realize Timothy Olyphant was in The Santa Clarita Diet! I really loved him in Justified, and just loved Justified in general. Which I think might make me reluctant to see him in anything else? I don’t want to risk damaging my vision of him from Justified, where he so perfectly fit the character.

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      • Quick spoilers for Rock On 2. The guys set up a record label to help new talent. An aspiring (and mentally unstable) young musician commits suicide and Farhan’s character feels responsible so takes himself off to the Northeast to help a struggling community start a farming co-operative. Arjun runs a club and is a judge on an Indian Idol-type show and Purab Kohli (KD) is still in the music talent business. Farhan’s mid-life crisis leads to an amicable split with his wife (Prachai Desai). Shraddha’s character is the sister of the young musician who killed himself (their father is a classical musician who is domineering and dismissive of their modern music interests). She and a friend are working with KD initially and then the rest of the band on writing songs and then they find out who she is. She and Farhan’s Adi have a connection (not necessarily romantic but the door seems left open at the end). There’s tension among the old band members around Adi’s running away and not carrying on with their business and Arjun’s Joe is getting a little too out of touch since he’s become rich but that’s resolved by the end. The end sequence is around a big benefit that’s planned to help the Northeast village after wildfires destroy their crops and local corrupt officials steal their welfare funds. There are some really good musical performances at the end, including Usha Uthup and Shankar Mahadevan. But the songs that Magik and Shraddha sing are weak. Oh and Arjun’s character’s wife is seen in a very brief cameo thought they still seem to be together…I really liked them in the original.

        I think the ending of Akira was abrupt and I find it hard to believe that she still won’t need therapy after all of that, just not electric shock therapy. She can’t be that strong! I think this is one of the few Hindi films that would have benefited from a little more length. The Amit Sadh boy toy thing was very subtle and I liked that it was a gender role reversal, too. Starting out in supporting roles like this shouldn’t be a bad way to build your profile in Hindi films and more and more are doing it this way at least. Rajkumar Rao, Nawazuddin Siddiqi, and others have done the same.

        Yeah, the original ending of Don was much less complicated than I was expecting because I knew the modern one first. I’m still smiling when I think of Zeenat Aman kicking ass with Amitabh and Pran at the end. I did love seeing the Helen song…I can now see what they were going for with Kareena in the newer one, but, yuck, Poo trying to seduce her big brother-in-law did not work for me! Still really can’t like Asoka for the same reason.

        I sat down completely in the mood for something like HSSH and the opening credits are amazing! And then when Tabu arrives and that sweet scene where she holds his hand up at the wedding I was still on board for at least seeing her in a more mainstream role. I just kept thinking the 90s really were all about loving your parents and the pouring on of the cheesy affectionate stuff was too much for me. And I just can’t like Salman in these early romantic lead films. There’s something creepy about his overly sincere and innocent roles that I can’t get past. I wonder what Barjatya is working on next. I would still try his future films.

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    • Talking about nepotism, didn’t Nicholas Cage change his name to distance himself from his illustrious family and make his own way? Or did he want to get rid of his Italian connection and be more American? And what about Emilio Estevaz? I admire him for changing his surname back to Estevaz.Not many people here know that he’s Charlie Sheen’s brother.

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      • I think Nicholas Cage changed his name to avoid an appearance of nepotism. But it’s the same as in Bombay, everyone in the industry would know who he is related to anyway no matter what name he uses. So it just ended up giving him credit as an “outsider” that he probably didn’t deserve. At least, that’s how I see it.

        Emilio Estevez I feel a little better about. I’m sure when he was starting out everyone who mattered knew he was Martin Sheen’s son, and I believe his mother was involved in the industry as well. Not famous, but someone people would have known from working with in a play or an acting class. But my understanding is that the name change wasn’t a nepotism issue, but a matter of his father having to hide his ethnicity in order to get roles, and Emilio wanting to show his pride in it. Which is admirable, and it probably did limit him a little bit in terms of the parts he was considered for.

        But there are so many other people who have benefited from some form of nepotism! Both the Deschenal sisters, Jennifer Aniston, Giovanni Ribisi. And loads of people who have benefited from the Karan Johar brand of nepotism, TV actors who have been mentored and assisted by their original showrunner into a long career (Lorne Michaels alone has contributed to about half the comedy casts and writers in Hollywood for the past 40 years), the whole Weinstein films stable of young fragile blonde women they keep shoving at us. It’s just that the media isn’t as obsessed with reporting all these connections, or that the Hollywood industry does a better job of controlling the media reporting, so the general public is less aware.

        On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:18 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. This weekend will be watching Naam Shabana and The Great Father – A Malayalam movie starring Mammootty and produced by Prithviraj .

    Last week Saw the malayalam movie Take off – A brilliant movie and the english movie Life – A good entertaining movie.

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      • Monk is great! I never watched it straight through, but it’s a really good one to just randomly watch an episode when it pops up on TV. Although, as you would expect with a long running series, it got less grounded and emotional as the seasons went on and more and more over the top and gimmicky.

        On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 9:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I’ll be watching Naam Shabana too! I have no idea if it will live up or down to my expectations. On the one hand, Baby wasn’t really my favorite movie. But on the other hand, the reason I didn’t like it as much as I could have was because it didn’t have a strong emotional through line and I couldn’t relate as easily to all the male characters. Which looks like the exact two ways that Naam Shabana will be different.

      My theater got Take Off this week and I am debating if I’ll be able to see it. Realistically, probably not. I have to drive around and gather cardboard for Sunday school again on Saturday, and then Sunday I have to actually teach Sunday school. Which means I won’t be able to make the one midday showing they will have on either day.

      On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 9:32 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Last week was devoted to rewatching old favorites.First on list is Salaam E Ishq which I watched for John & Vidya and ended up appreciating Akshaye Khanna & Ayesha Takia arc better this time around.Life and experiences have a way of changing you over the years. Akshaye was a hoot what with hiring an actress to end his engagement, stealing John’s lines to romance Ayesha at the mandap etc. In the light of your Nargis post today, it makes sense why Ayesha chose to leave him.There was no future in that relationship and he was not going to change.Why should she waste her best years trying to change him? He set the precedent for immature hero which would be taken by Imraan Khan and Ranbir Kapoor years later.

    Rewatched Ocean’s Eleven.I love a good heist movie.I don’t know why Hollywood wants to remake that or Ghostbusters with a female cast. That seems like a lazy approach and no imagination.Wouldn’t it be more fun to create movies with strong women from the ground up?

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    • I need to watch Salaam-E-Ishq again. I remember enjoying Akshaye the first time, but I bet I would enjoy him even more the second time around. And I liked that storyline, especially how neither of them was “wrong”. Ayesha was right that she shouldn’t waste her time with him, and he was right that he had some growing up to do before marriage.

      Love Ocean’s Eleven, and the heist doesn’t even matter to me. It’s all about an excuse to get together this random group of actors and have them interact. And a heist works great as an excuse for that, better than a love story or a war story or anything else that would be too “heavy”.

      I assume that Hollywood doesn’t think anyone would see a female lead film unless they had a “hook” to it, and that’s why the remake. Which I hate! There must be hundreds of fresh female lead comedy scripts landing on producers’ desks every day, produce one of those! No need to remake something, or do a sequel, or base it on a popular book, or any of that! People don’t need to be “tricked” into seeing a movie with women by some other aspect, we will see it just because it is a good movie.

      Okay, rant over.

      On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. 3 Idiots (at last!!! What a fun movie) and Anjaam (again, as I rewatch SRK films in order this time). I am one hour into Karan Arjun, and I just got home from seeing Phillauri, which was very sweet and entertaining. I liked music in the 1919 part, especially.

    I am reading a sociology book on self-identity. Actually, I gave up on it last night and am dropping it back to the library today. To much jargon…

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    • I am reading a children’s book from 1951! Which is just about as challenging as I can handle. You have to remember things like “slacks” used to mean “pants”, it’s very intellectual taxing.

      I’m glad you saw 3 Idiots! Have you seen Munna Bhai(s) yet? I find it fascinating to trace Hirani’s progression as a filmmaker. The Munna Bhais were kind of too rough and ready. Fun, but not quite as polished and accessible. And then I found PK kind of too polished. But 3 Idiots was perfectly in between. And hopefully doing something different with the Sanjay bio will give us a whole new kind of Hirani film.

      Anjaam is just crazy. My big memory from that is “Badi Mushkil” being about the sweetest sounding song ever, but terrifying and disturbing in context!

      And Karan-Arjun, of course, I love. My least favorite SRKajol movie (barely edging out Dilwale), but still wonderful.

      On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 3:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. OK, my third *big* order from Induna has arrived and I love how they put a magazine in there if you order a lot! Got a Stardust Awards special issue this time. So here are the ones I got that I haven’t seen yet? What should I watch first?

    Chameli, Deewar, Bobby, Chander Bari (Bengali), Kadambari (Bengali), Khubsoorat (Rekha), Ittefaq, Waqt, Junglee, Daag, Pyaasa

    And here are the ones I purchased that I’ve already seen if you’re wondering:)

    Running Shaadi, OK Jaanu (still didn’t love it but it needs to be in the collection along with the original), Mirzya, Phobia, Agneepath (original), Akira, Baby, and Rock On

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    • Sheesh, I haven’t seen most of those! Of the ones I have seen, they are all classics, so it is hard to pick. Excellent job ordering!

      Waqt and Deewar might be interesting to watch as a double bill or else two nights in a row, just so you can admire Yashji’s range, since they couldn’t be more different. Also, keep my Kapoor Family 101 close at hand when you watch Waqt. It was meant to star the 3 brothers, Raj, Shammi, and Shashi, but Yash could only get Shammi. But the character’s personalities are still clearly just the Kapoor boys. Deewar possibly has the greatest script in the history of Hindi film, be ready to pay close attention to the dialogue. Oh, and also arguably the greatest performance of Amitabh’s career, get ready for some amazing moments.

      Bobby is, well, Bobby!!! The great teen love story, watch it if you are in the mood for something fun and a little campy and youthful.

      Pyaasa is just gorgeous and brilliant and possibly the greatest film that will ever be made. So, watch it when you are ready to focus and appreciate and be swept away by beauty. If it’s your first Guru Dutt movie, there is really no way to prepare for it. But if you’ve seen a Guru movie before, just be aware that this is possibly his best ever (it’s either this or Kaagaz Ke Phool).

      and all the others, I haven’t seen! I have opinions, obviously, because I always have opinions. just be aware that they are based on hearsay, not actually seeing the films. Khubsoorat Rekha is a Hrishikesh Mukherjee film, so fun and happy, but you have to concentrate a little to get the jokes. Junglee might be a kick to watch with Bobby so you can see the two versions of the “teen romance”. Daag, I really really don’t like Rajesh Khanna’s mustache in the poster, maybe hide the DVD case under your bed so it doesn’t give you nightmares.

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        • I loooooved Chameli, and it was my first encounter with my spiritual soul mate, Rahul Bose. It was one of my first Hindi films, and previously I had only seen DDLJ, Devdas, Ghajini, and Heyy Babyy (long story), so Rahul’s was my first experience of a restrained Bollywood performance. (There’s a bit of a false note right at the end, but in the director made him do it over his polite but firm objections). Even if you’re not in the mood to fall eternally in love, it’s a super fun, really different, funny and suspenseful film. From what I remember, anyway.

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          • That should read: in my mind the director made him do it over his polite but firm rejections. But for all I know it was totally his idea.

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          • See, I love Rahul for the exact opposite reason! I’d seen him in Jhankaar Beats, and some other stuff I can’t remember. But then I foolishly went to suffer through Midnight’s Children on the big screen, which was just soooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaad! And Rahul was the only shot of energy in the film! Like, he was the only one smart enough to see that the film was going off the rails during filming and he went ahead and turned his performance into a parody instead of serious. And ended up being the only entertaining part of the film, and the only actor who could come out of that disaster with their dignity intact.

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          • Chameli will be next! I’ve never warmed to Rahul Bose, but I can see why he’s such a big deal in the arthouse world. This could be the film that changes my mind.

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      • I’m almost through Bobby now and I can’t believe I took this long to watch it because I thought Rishi Kapoor looked weird in those glasses in the bikini scene! Dimple is amazing, the costumes are wonderful, I love Sonia Sahni as Raja’s mother for some reason, and now I understand why and how this film is referenced so much in others (the towel scene, the line Muhse Dosti Karoge?, and that wonderful song sequence “Jhoot Bole Kava Kate” which I only knew from the MDK medley sequence. I don’t usually like the song sequences in classic films, but that one is wonderful

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        • I am so glad you are enjoying it! Is it your first Raj Kapoor movie? His films always sound so silly when you hear them described, and then you actually watch it, and it is so colorful and fun and fast-paced that it all works. And Bobby is just SO MUCH FUN!!!!

          On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 8:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • No, I’ve seen Awaara and Shree 420 and I didn’t love either, but that may be because I really dislike the Charlie Chaplin thing. Still haven’t seen Barfi for the same reason.

            Looks like I need to check out his later work anyway!

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          • I still haven’t seen Barfi because I really really don’t want to, so you have a better reason than me.

            Bobby is the best of his later work, I think. Satyam Shivan Sundaram is just bonkers. Prem Rog is kind of fun, but over the top in some bits. Oh! Sangam! You might like Sangam, Raj stars but he isn’t playing so much of a Chaplin thing. And it’s a gorgeous movie.

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  6. Still ploughing my way through The Good Wife. The end is in sight, I’m nearly at the end of season 5.

    A friend and I saw Phillauri. We both liked it. I thought it sweet and your likening it to a fairy tale was spot on. My friend would have liked some dance sequences in it but that didn’t bother me.

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    • I would have liked some dance sequences too, although I wouldn’t say that bothered me exactly. But I am a little frustrated by this trend away from massive chorus style dance scenes in general. I want my dance numbers! Badrinath had plenty, but that wasn’t enough to keep me going for the rest of the spring.

      On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 8:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t really like this trend away from dance numbers either! Looking at the lineup for the rest of the year, I don’t think we’re gonna be guaranteed to see dance numbers in a movie unless it’s starring Tiger or Varun. Along with Mubarakan since it’s an Aneez Bazmee movie and the Dutt biopic because it’s Raju Hirani. Jagga Jasoos can be added to the list if it ever comes out and also Padmavati. Oh yeah, I forgot about Tiger Zinda Hai!

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        • I don’t know, Ek Tha Tiger only had one real dance number, and that was all chopped up and over the end credits. i could see Jagga Jasoos being all cute and montage-y instead of doing a full on number with back-up dancers. At least with the Dutt biopic, wasn’t it confirmed that Sonam would be doing an item number as not-Madhuri? If it’s a remix of Choli Ke Peeche, I will be SO HAPPY!!!!

          On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 7:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Are you forgetting about Banjarra?!?! That was definitely a large dance number. I’m sure we can at least expect something like that in the sequel. Plus Ali Abbas Zafar has always had dance numbers in his movies like Madhubala, Tune Maari Entriyaan, and Baby Ko Bass Pasand Hai.

            You could be right about Jagga Jasoos though, but the trailer made it seem like it a dance number or two.

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          • I am forgetting about Banjara! And I just posted on it too. Oh, now I am excited! Should be at least one big number, like you said.

            On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:16 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. I really, really wanted to like Angry Indian Goddesses, but by the end I was just so mad. At the movie, not at the issues I was supposed to be mad at. (I mean, I’m mad at them too though). Like, why take a bunch of women’s issues, assign one per character, and try to cram them all into one film? The movie has too many characters and they barely scratch the surface with each one. While watching it I said to myself, looks like there’s going to be one rape and one lesbian, and I was right except it’s two lesbians. I think this movie actually sort of ghettoizes and trivalizes feminist issues. And, if you are going to try to make a film covering all the issues, do it like Lajja so we actually feel something for the characters. The ending makes dramatic sense but is infuriatingly stupid.

    Next was Udta Punjab, which is a good issue film. Shahid was great Kareena was great. (Why couldn’t it have worked out for those two?) Alia was great and Diljit was great. I liked everything about this movie and I think it’s my favorite I’ve seen in 2017 so far.

    Also about halfway through an old Bengali film, Agni Sanskar. So far it’s classic Uttam Kumar in his best matinee idol form, and another character with a form of mental illness made up specifically for the plot of the film. (Cf. the original Khamoshi, although I do find Khamoshi has an emotional resonance even though it makes no sense from a mental health standpoint. It works as a metaphor).

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    • Yay, now I don’t have to watch Angry Indian Goddesses! I get what you are saying, it is a fine line between acknowledging that most female characters in a film will suffer some form of challenges at the hands of the patriarchy, and just coming up with a list of situations and randomly assigning them one per character. I’m watching City of God for the 4th time as I write this, and one of the things I really like about it is that 2 out of the 4 main female characters have abusive husbands. But besides the fact of abuse, their situations are totally different, and it feels like both characters were conceived organically, not to prove some point about spousal abuse.

      So glad you saw and liked Udta Punjab! Isn’t it funny that Shahid and Kareena were a pair for so long, and now they are in the same movie but Kareena is put in with the “adults” and Shahid is put in on the “kids” side of the plot? I thought they both did a great job, really everyone in that movie was fantastic. But for me Alia’s performance and character were on a different level than the rest. Not even “better” necessarily, just more raw.

      And I have no comments on classic Bengali! But I am so glad you are talking about them, so I can slowly learn.

      On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 10:58 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yeah, I didn’t think of it as an adult plot and a kid plot, but it really is! And if I were just casting those with the four actors I would totally put Diljit in the kid’s plot.

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        • I thought Shahid did a phenomenal job, and part of that was making me believe him as a 24 year old kid, when in fact he is about 10 years past 24. So the casting made sense in terms of his abilities, but just from the ages, doesn’t work at all!

          On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 8:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I enjoyed Bodyguard when I saw it back when it came out, but I didn’t really like the movie on my second watch. I realized that I don’t like seeing Salman in an action avatar which was basically movies like Bodyguard and Kick. For some reason, I have a tough time believing that Salman is an action hero. I prefer to see him in innocent roles like Bajrangi Bhaijaan or in romantic roles like Hum Saath Saath Hain. Salman’s larger-than-life action roles end up becoming way too over-the-top which ends up being funny or silly. I think my favorite Salman role has to be his role in KKHH!

    Because of this, I ended up really hating Bodyguard until the point where Lovely Singh (Salman) gets assigned to be Divya’s (Kareena Kapoor) bodyguard. I felt that Kareena was miscast as the character of Divya. This character is that of a college-girl who is kind of immature and Kareena seemed to be too mature for the character. Though Kareena is definetely a better actress, I think it would have been better if Katrina Kaif played Divya. Overall, the movie is not really that entertaining.

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    • Phew! I still haven’t seen it. This is great, today I’m able to knock Bodyguard and Angry Indian Goddesses off the top of my to-do list!

      On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 8:08 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • They where not rich but dont think they had financial difficulties. Prithviraj did his first movie during a summer vacation, he was studying in Australia, while indrajith had finished his engineering before he acted in his first film.

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          • Okay, so it wasn’t a necessity thing. I’ve been writing all these posts on Meena Kumari and Nargis and Rekha, I’m in the mindset of starving families and children forced out to work!

            On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 12:43 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha was another great Telugu recommendation from T.J Stevens. It was so much fun! I enjoyed this one a lot. Nani was fantastic in it (Nani’s been so good in everything I’ve seen; my whole family adores him). His comedic timing is excellent but he was also great in the serious moments and action scenes too. His character had a nice arc. I really enjoyed his dancing during the very upbeat and lively numbers. Is Nani known as a great dancer or is he just one that works and works at it? He really has a smooth and natural feel to his movements.

    Mehreen Pirzada was wonderful and it was nice to see her in a bigger role than Phillauri. She was definitely feisty! I love that type of woman, on film and in life, and she played the role very well. The two actors had really nice, easy chemistry and their love story was very sweet. I liked the little twist that they were secretly together since they were kids but publicly, they fought and argued incessantly. The side story with his friend falling for her added some funny moments. Even the part about her failing her exam repeatedly didn’t bother me. It made sense in the story-once she graduated, her family was going to marry her off and certainly not to Nani. She was trying to buy some time, so it came off as sweet instead of incredibly foolish.

    The second half got a bit clustered, with all the different side plots and characters, but I thought they did a nice job of wrapping it all up at the end and making sure that every story had a payoff and a conclusion. I did miss Mehreen for the chunk that she wasn’t onscreen with Nani but it made sense (and it made it sweeter when they finally reunited). The kids were absolutely adorable, especially the youngest girl, and I loved their interactions with Nani. They kind of took Mehreen’s place for the second half and did a very nice job taking over that emotional center.

    I didn’t really know much about the film going in and I think it was an advantage. The movie kept me constantly surprised with the twists and turns. At the same time, it seems like one that would be even better a second time, not having to pay such close attention to the plot. My youngest son watched the first hour with me and was very invested (he actually went to bed at a good time, right before the violence started up. I think they could probably handle the whole movie-it wasn’t super bloody or violent. Probably not even as scary or heavy as the bad guy choking the life out of Nani in Eega.) Overall, lots of fun!

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    • I really glad that you liked Krishna Gaadi Veera Prema Gaadha! I love Nani’s comic timing! I would suggest trying to get a hold of Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (2015) which is another really fun rom-com or Pilla Zamindar (2011) which is a coming-of-age movie which is also pretty fun. If you want to see him in a more serious role, I would suggest trying to get a hold of Gentleman (2016) which is a romantic thriller. About the dancing, I really liked how all the songs were picturized. But Nani is not known as a good dancer, I think he’s average compared to others. The best dancers in Telugu are Allu Arjun, Jr. NTR, Ram Charan, and Ram Pothineni. For example here is my favorite Allu Arjun dance number 🙂

      I liked Mehreen in this one and her character in general. The kids were really cute and fun too! My favorite was the little one too 🙂

      You were right about the second half being convoluted. Because of this, I didn’t really enjoy the movie on my first watch but I ended up liking the movie a lot more when I watched it a second time.

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      • Oh wow, I’ll have to watch some of those other actors, if Nani is only average! I can kind of tell that he’s not super technical, I just find his dancing has a natural, spontaneous feel to it. Allu Arjun looks incredible in that song. I can definitely see the difference! Some of those moves seem ridiculously complex and he is so clean and smooth.

        I’ll try to track down those other Nani films. I become a bigger fan with every movie that I watch. I have Gentleman on my computer already so I’ll probably watch that one soon. Thanks for your awesome recommendations!

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        • If you like these big dance numbers, you definitely need to check out more Telugu movies! If you want an introduction to Allu Arjun, I would recommend starting with Aarya which Margaret reviewed recently.

          Have you seen Baahubali yet?!?!? If you haven’t maybe you should check out Rajamouli’s Magadheera (2009) starring Ram Charan which now is kind of like a precursor to Baahubali. The experience that Rajamouli gained while making Magadheera and the response to the movie led to eventually make Baahubali. Here’s the trailer of Magadheera:

          Gentleman isn’t my favorite Nani film but I liked it quite a bit! Watch out for Nivetha Thomas in the movie, she’s really good! I totally forgot, but you need to look out for Yevade Subramanyam which my favorite Nani movie. It’s a fun coming-of-age movie which came out in 2015. It was a minor hit which is probably why I haven’t found it anywhere with subtitles. But it’s my personal favorite! Here’s the trailer:

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          • Yevade Subramanyam looks great! I’m so excited, I was able to track down a version with english subtitles. I’m definitely going to watch soon. I’ll put Aarya on my list as well.

            And sadly, I still haven’t watched all of Baahubali (I’ve seen the first thirty minutes). I’m determined to watch it tonight with my youngest son!

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          • I hope I haven’t oversold Yevade Subramanyam, since I’m the only one that I know who really likes the movie :/

            By the way, Baahubali is being re-released in theaters in India next Friday. I hope they do it here too but I doubt it. If it happens you should check it out because Baahubali is one of those movies that needs to be seen on the big screen!

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          • Oh I REALLY REALLY want it to re-release here!!!!! But I’ll be seeing a southern movie next week either way, because Kaatru is coming out then, right?

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          • Yup, Kaatru Veliyidai is coming out on April 7th. I don’t think Baahubali’s getting re-released overseas. At least I haven’t seen any news regarding it. It would be great if they did re-release it here too though. Did you notice that their guaranteeing Baahubali 2 tickets to people who are going to the re-release. It’s really smart of them to do that, I’m sure that people will buy tickets to see Baahubali just so they can get tickets to see the second part.

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  10. Baahubali was an incredible experience! I truly feel like I’ve been living under a rock! I’m kicking myself for not watching it sooner or seeing it on the big screen. In a way, it’s nice that I only have to wait a few weeks to see the second part, instead of almost two years. I really hope they re-release it around here but my hopes are not high (Naam Shabana isn’t playing at any of the five theaters within two hours of me). I am excited to check out the trailer and songs and promotion for the second movie. I’ve been steering clear of everything.

    The first time we had watched it, we got as far as Shivudu finally scaling the waterfall with the help of the siren/butterflies/goddess. My three-year-old son remembered so many details, it was kind of amazing. We’d watched a bit further than I had thought because he reminded me about the part when Shiva tattoos Avanthika’s hand under the water. Now, that aspect kind of bugged me a bit. Avanthika seemed like a really great character. After their super catchy, sexy song, I was expecting that he would join her journey and assist her in rescuing the queen (obviously taking over a bit since it’s his movie). I assumed, though, she would be heavily involved and play a large part in the story. What the heck happened? It was her mission! Instead, they had their fun and then he sends her home to sit and wait while he completes HER mission? She’s a strong, fierce warrior that has waited her whole life to fulfill her duty and then she just steps aside and lets some guy take over? It seems crazy! The scene with her staring into the little waterfall and seeing her reflection as beautiful, after he’d taken off all of her armor and let her hair down, was ridiculous. She looked great before! And why would she even care how she looked? She’s a mighty warrior! Did I miss something? It was kind of cool how their tattoos matched up. The juggernaut of a spectacle moved along and I kind of put it aside while I watched it (and I’m more bothered thinking about it now). I really liked the character, though, and wanted to see more of her!

    The rest of the movie was awesome. I kind of just stopped thinking about anything and sat there with my jaw on the floor. The songs were fantastic but were almost overshadowed by everything else. The CGI and visual effects were incredible (with a couple of little things that could have been better, like the sled ride down the hill on the boulder slice). From the waterfall village of the first part to the kingdom of Mahishmathi, the detail in every scene was breathtaking. This film was made to be seen on a big screen! The action scenes were amazing. The battle at the end really blew me away. It also seemed very well edited, paced and coherently structured. It’s such a difficult thing to show on film. Even in some of the best historical epics, the war scenes can get a bit confusing to watch. This battle kept me on the edge of my seat and also did a nice job of juggling all the characters and stories at play. The ending was a shock and I’m really happy that I managed to avoid the spoiler for so long. Now I can finally watch the trailer for the second part!

    My son and I both loved it. The poor little guy fell asleep twenty minutes before the end, so I’ll have to go back and watch the rest with him. He covered his eyes a bit during some of the fights (and the beheading definitely surprised us) but he held up pretty well. I looked over at him quite a bit just to see the wonder and amazement on his face. It also was similar to Eega where he didn’t need much in the way of translation, just a few questions here and then. It’s a testament to Rajamouli’s incredible visual storytelling abilities. I’m hoping to watch it with my six-year-old sometime soon and then go to the second part as a family. My older son is more sensitive to violence (he cried a lot when Nani was killed in Eega) so it will be interesting. At least now I know the scenes to have him close his eyes or turn away.

    Afterwards, my wife and I watched Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, as a special Aamir Friday, since we’re going to a concert on Saturday. Loved it! You know, I love Aamir’s more recent output, but these 90s films fill my heart with such joy and happiness. I was definitely expecting a lot more focus on the racing aspect so I was pleasantly surprised that it took a backseat to the love story for the meat of the movie. I’d heard it compared to Breaking Away (which I haven’t seen) and I found similarities with the 80s cult classic Rad, during the racing scenes. The love story reminded me of Some Kind of Wonderful (that’s a good thing, for me, it’s one of my favorite 80s movies).

    Aamir’s character, like Eric Stoltz, is so frustratingly blind to the beautiful, sweet, amazing “tomboy” (because she works at a garage and gets a bit of grease on her occasionally) that he’s been friends with since childhood, that so obviously adores him, in favor of some tall, leggy girl of no substance. Ayesha Jhulka did a nice job with the best friend role. Such a fun story to watch! The brother had a sweet romance with a girl from up the street as well. Deepak Tijori was such a jerk as the bad guy, I just wanted to punch him right in his smug, entitled face. The songs were great, very melodic, and the picturizations were perfect in their 90s-ness. I swear the one was almost a parody of typical tropes-Aamir swung around a tree and a branch fell down, he got so into his arm waving at the top of a hill that he lost his balance and rolled down, etc. Mansoor Khan’s films were like that, though, right? I loved Akele Hum Akele Tum and QSQT and both had little touches that set them apart from other films of the era. It’s a shame that he stopped directing. His movies are really really good! I think I’ll end up watching this one a lot. Just a feel-good movie that really put a smile on my face!

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    • I’m so glad you saw Baahubali! And that you are going to watch it with your kids, definitely a family movie.

      For me, I had the same reaction to the Avantika story as you on the first watch. It didn’t really bother me, and then I thought about it, and it did start to bother me. But after seeing the move several more times and knowing where it was going to end up, it didn’t bother me as much.

      Also, as I think we were just discussing in some area of the site (maybe comments on the trailer for the second one?), it’s possible that the whole character was added last minute when they decided to split it into two halves and needed to fluff up the “modern” section. Which would explain why she felt like such an after thought, because she was. They needed a reason for Prabhas to get up the mountain, and go to the city. And they maybe were going to use something simple like a dream that would guide him all the way, until they decided to expand the film and needed to add in a love story and a song and some more action scenes in the first half. But once he gets to Mahishmati, there’s no place for Avantika.

      I came out of the first movie hoping that the second film would give us both a flashback to fill in the gaps in the past, and a real resolution on the Avantika story in the present day, lets see her meet her mother-in-law and learn she is going to be a queen and all of that. But based just on the trailer, it looks like maybe not. Boooo! Although at least she is allowed to join in the fight scene, I didn’t notice but Moimeme pointed out in the comments that she is there in action mode for a few seconds.

      Oh, and you talking about your boys reminds me of an interview I read with Shahrukh a few years back. They asked if his kids have seen all his movies, and he said yes, when they were little they didn’t let them watch Darr or Baazigar or anything where he died. But then when Suhana got older, the sat her down and showed them to her, and she cried a little. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT????? I suppose better to make her watch it at home and not have her be surprised by watching her father be brutally killed at some sleepover movie night, but STILL!!!!

      I’m so glad you liked Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander! and when you get a chance, you should check out Breaking Away. It’s got a bit more humor to it than Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, and it’s also more of an ensemble cast, there are 3 friends and they each have to work through their issues.

      The song that you noticed, that was Farah Khan’s first song! Her uncle (I think) was working on the film and she was apprenticing with him, and he let her try her hand at doing a song all on her own. The brilliant part of it, which unfortunately you don’t see as clearly on the small screen, is that the visuals are slowed down, but the lip-synching still matches with the music. She wanted this dreamy feel of first love, but she wanted to keep the lip-synching so you knew it was all from their perspective, this was the characters’ song. So what she did was speed the music up to doubletime, have them synch with that in their lip-synching and movements, and then slowed both the film and the music together so they stayed in synch, but she got the dreamy look she wanted.

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      • That would make a lot sense if the Avantika character was a later addition to the film. Tamannaah did a really nice job to make the small role memorable. She definitely left me wanting more! I’ll have to go back and read the pieces you’ve written about Baahubali and the subsequent conversations. I’ve steered clear of everything for fear of spoilers.

        It’s amazing that it was Farah Khan that did the song! It was so good! Her incredible talent was apparent even in her first number. It felt fresh and different than every other song I’ve seen from that time. I’ll have to re-watch it and pay more attention to the technique she used to give it that dreamy-feel. The solution she came up with is so brilliant-outside-the-box and creative.

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        • I should saw that Avantika being an after thought wasn’t my theory, it was T.J Stevens maybe, or someone else who was paying attention during the promotions and production news and noticed that Tamanna was announced much later than the rest of the cast.

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          • I don’t know what statement you are trying to attribute to me, but i don’t recall saying anything about Avantika being an “afterthought.” She definitely wasn’t. Tamanna joined the cast after about a year of shooting, while they were shooting the other parts (including the scenes that will now be show in part 2). The film wasn’t “split up” into two parts; it was already envisioned as one complete whole, but, once it started to go over the four hour mark, they realized that they’d better show it in two parts, as it was too long for one show, and they couldn’t edit anything out. So there was no need to “fill up gaps” with Avantika. Why would she be an afterthought anyway? You have two heroes (Amarendra and Shivudu), so you need two heroines (Devasena and Avantika). And I’m sure you will see her arc completed with Shivudu in The Conclusion.

            I think at most finalizing Tamanna for the part may have taken longer than the casting of others — Prabhas and Anushka were in from the beginning, and Rana before they began filming (after Rajamouli saw a film of his where he had some heavy duty dialogs and decided he would be appropriate). Similarly Ramya Krishna was also “added”, in that she wasn’t the first choice — they approached Sridevi first. So, while the choice of the actor might have come later in the process, the character herself was there from the beginning.

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          • Mystery solved! The original comment came from Spandana. I just dug through my archives because it was bothering me so much trying to remember.

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    • I’m glad that you enjoyed Baahubali! I loved the movie, but I do agree that I was quite bothered by the Avanthika track in the movie. I remember that my family went to Baahubali with family friends and the little one who was like six years old at the time was really scared. Some of the visuals and the war scenes in particular bothered her back then.

      You should now watch Magadheera! The visuals may seem kind of outdated now, but I think it would be interesting for you to see Rajamouli’s first experience with vfx and a period backdrop. I personally feel that Magadheera is better than Baahubali storywise, but maybe that’s just because the true story of Baahubali is unfinished. Magadheera has modern portions along with the period potions and it’s a love story based on reincarnation.

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    • Re Avantika: A lot of people have this complaint that Avantika just gave up on her mission once Shivudu showed up, and I have to wonder if they watched the movie properly. There was a clear and explicit explanation given *by Avantika herself* — in that attack where she was captured by Mahishmati soldiers, and then Shivudu shows up and they end with that wild ride down during the avalanche — anyway, before they jump on to that rough tobaggan, Avantika is injured in her leg — that’s why they have to use that sled like thing, as she can no longer walk. Once they’re safely down, Avantika explains about her mission to Shivudu — that it has to be done THAT DAY, because they only have a two day window, according to their informant, in which to effect a rescue. So they are under a very tight time constraint, and here she is put out of commission, and can’t fulfill her mission. She starts to ask Shivudu if he would … when he steps in and says that now that they’re together (he actually says that now she is his — and before the feminists start, he has earlier said that he is hers), all her responsibilities become his, too, so he will act on her behalf and fulfill her mission. This is such an extended scene that I wonder why so many people miss it, unless they have been brainwashed that heroes automatically take over the heroine’s life and mission, that they can’t even see it when the movie goes to so much trouble to give a clear and non-sexist explanation.

      As for why Shivudu removed her armor so she could see her inner beauty, I suggest you read the review of Bahubali by Filmigirl (sorry, Margaret, for plugging another blog here). It gives a very good explanation about his motives — about the only one I read, since once again, everyone went with their preprogrammed thinking instead of seeing what was there.

      The thing is that Rajamouli can be and has been quite sexist in his treatment of his female characters in earlier movies, but the one time when he basically does everything right, and gives us not one but THREE extremely strong women characters, he gets so much grief. I can only shake my head in wonderment.

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      • About Avanthika, my problem is that she had to end up getting hurt in the first place and allow Shivudu to go instead of her. Because the character isn’t given a chance to go on the mission with Shivudu, it makes her seem more like an afterthought or just a catalyst that sends Shivudu to Mahishmati.

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  11. I rewatched Oopiri yesterday and I really loved it! I feel that Oopiri is actually kind of similar to Manam in that it has the perfect blend of emotions and humor in it. Though Nagarjuna was great, I felt that the performance of Karthi was the heart and soul of the entire movie. Tamannah and Prakash Raj were also pretty good though Karthi ended up stealing the show.

    Karan Johar owns the remake rights of Oopiri and I really want him to remake the movie in Hindi. When I saw this movie for the first time last year, I thought that Shahrukh and Varun would be perfect in the remake of Oopiri and I still feel the exact same way. After watching Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, I feel like Karan himself should direct the Hindi remake. If not Karan Johar, maybe someone like Abhishek Varman could handle the movie. But either way, the remake of Oopiri would be great if made by Dharma Productions starring Shahrukh and Varun.

    You should definitely try to get a hold of Oopiri (or look for the Tamil version, Tozha, since the movie’s a bilingual)! I think you would really like it!

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    • I will! As you know, I loved Manam. The next two, maybe three, Tuesdays are planned. But I could do Oopiri after that, if I can find a copy. Looks like einthusan has it, but without subtitles.

      On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 5:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • I still think Manam is better movie, but Oopiri is really good too. Yeah, I haven’t seen it anywhere with subtitles which is quite disappointing. But do try to look for it, it is worth it 🙂

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