Wednesday Watching Post, What Are You Thinking and Reading and Watching This Week?

Happy Wednesday!  Time to talk about what we’ve been thinking about.  And watching without thinking, and reading without thinking.

I’ll go first!  I watched two Telugu movies of the “pleasant to have on in the background, can kind of follow the plot without paying too much attention” variety.  The post on the first went up yesterday, I’ll review the other next Tuesday.  I am also now on watch 7 of City of God.  21 hours of one film seems like a lot within 11 days, but it really isn’t if you just cut down sleep to only 5 hours a night (Although that also leads to very grumpy fanfiction).  Thank goodness Angamaly Diaries isn’t available yet, I’d probably just stop sleeping entirely to watch that one, or else quit my job so I can stop wasting 8 hours a day not watching it.

I made myself turn off City of God over the weekend so I could catch up with my blogging, and you will be proud to know that I have now finished ALL 19 SEASONS of Midsomer Murders.  It’s the perfect blogging show, all the plot points are repeated 5 times over in case you weren’t paying attention, and it gives you something pretty to look at when you glance up from your computer.

Not much reading, because of the whole City of God obsession.  I friend linked me to an interesting article on “Choli Ke Peeche”, kind of similar to my film summaries with a shot by shot breakdown.  Oh, and the same friend reminded me about the amazing drag queen she introduced me to (we saw Dear Zindagi together!) who is doing this great series called “Bad Beti”.  There’s an article about her here.

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90 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post, What Are You Thinking and Reading and Watching This Week?

  1. May watch 1971 beyond borders a malayalam movie which will be dubbed in telugu, tamil and hindi as well – starring Mohanlal, Allu Sirish ( Telugu actor, brother of Allu Arjun) and Arunoday Singh (supporting actor in bollywood, acted in films like Jism 2, Mohenjo Daro, Ungli)

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  2. I have been on a tear with my chronological tour through SRK’s films, watching Karan Arjun, Zamanna Deewana, Guddu, and Oh Darling! Yeh Hai India! I know Karan Arjun was the biggest hit of the four, and the Salman/Sharukh pairing has its charms, but Oh Darling is fast becoming my favorite obscure SRK film. It is like an Indian Dr. Strangelove — wacky political commentary, and very well-acted by a marvelous cast. To follow on my Amrish Puri question from Monday, it is also my favorite Amrish Puri film so far. He clearly had a marvelous time chewing all that scenery, and does not blink once in the entire appearance.

    Next up are DDLJ, Ram Janne, and Trimurti. 1995 was a great year for cinematic emotional whiplash.

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    • It’s so interesting watching Ram Jaane and Trimurti, two so-so action dramas with two so-so Shahrukh performances, knowing that they came out after DDLJ! So when he was filming them, he was a well-known but not major star, still trying to find the genre that worked best for him and signing on to multi-starrers or cheap remakes just to keep working. And then by the time they hit theaters, he was SHAHRUKH KHAN with box office records and hords of fans and would never be in something this cheap ever again.

      On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 11:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh, Darling Yeh Hai India is one of my favorite films, and I consider one of SRK’s top three performances. It was directed by Ketan Mehta, the same one who directed SRK’s earlier Maya Memsaab, and Aamir’s Mangal Pandey. So glad you liked it, too.

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  3. Life has been pretty hectic but I’ve still managed a couple movies-Yevade Subramanyam and Aalavandhan.

    Yevade Subramanyam was a wonderful film (thanks again T.J Stevens)! It was probably the best Nani performance I’ve seen and also the most challenging, as he changes so much over the course of the film. He added so many little touches to his performance, from his body language to the way that he spoke, to show the transformation of character. The measured, uptight, serious Nani at the beginning was actually a lot of fun to watch because it was so different from the other roles that I’ve seen him in. I also thought that Vijay Deverakonda did a nice job as Rishi. He nailed the sweet, goodhearted, zest-for-life vagabond character. I liked Malavika Nair and she had nice chemistry with Nani. At times, she really reminded me of Nithya Menen! I really liked the way that they met her when everyone was kind of at their lowest points and made her a part of their group, just like that. It just felt right.

    I was surprised that there weren’t more songs and the ones that were there were montages rather than more traditional choreographed numbers. I can’t say that I was disappointed by that-it worked for this movie. The scenic shots of the mountains were absolutely breathtaking! It seemed to have some really unique locations (at least for me, maybe there have been a bunch of movies shot in those foothills). I’ve seen a few other films shot in mountainous locations of India, but this one seemed like it went a lot deeper and looked really different and fresh. The lake was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen on film! Absolutely made it seem like it was worth all the trouble.

    This was an epic journey of self discovery and friendship. I liked the story that the film told. I can also see why some people wouldn’t like it. Any film that comments on the rat race and grind of modern society always ends up being divisive. This one takes a bit of a hard stance that being career and money driven is a bad thing (which I don’t necessarily think that it is). People like Rishi-ones that drift around, living life to the fullest and disregarding the rules of society-are certainly flawed as well. The best option is probably a middle ground between the two philosophies. A happy medium. I liked the Ramaiah character and I thought that he was an example of that. He was a very successful businessman but also someone that cared deeply for his employees and would never compromise his morals or values for the sake of money or success.

    Oh, the Eega reference in the butterfly conservatory was awesome!

    Aalavandhan was a really intense and strange film. But I really liked it! I thought it was incredible. Kamal Hassan did a fantastic job with both roles (and was a lot more fun as the deranged brother Nandu). The drug trip/delusion scenes were as innovative, insane and jarring as anything I’ve seen on film. The use of animation during the most violent sequences was so effective and an interesting comment on “cartoon violence” and the desensitization of society (I’ve heard a rumor that Tarantino was inspired by this for the O-Ren Ishii childhood sequence in Kill Bill and that would make so much sense). Manisha Koirala was AMAZING as the drugged-out, apathetic diva Sharmilee. She seemed to relish the part and was the perfect casting choice!

    I thought the songs were great-not necessarily as pieces of music, but as part of the story. The Nandu song, where he’s dancing around like a madman, singing about how he’s half-beast and half-god, was my favorite. It was unsettling and exhilarating, at the same time. The songs just heightened the mood and helped to put the viewer into Nandu’s mind. I thought they were incredibly effective. Sharmilee’s stage song was a lot of fun too.

    I thought that the flashback sequence was handled very well. I really liked the idea of the sane brother Vijay being back at their childhood home and discovering Nandu’s diary, and the story of their youth plays out from within the pages. It also puts you into the mind of Nandu, and all of the terrible things that happened to him as a child, that led to him becoming a broken, dangerous and delusional psychopath. The finale action sequences were thrilling and amazing to watch (the leaping out of the window and grabbing onto a giant floating hot-air balloon was a bit much, but still kind of cool). Things got a little silly but I think that it worked for the film. There was a lot of humor in these strange, uncomfortable and macabre situations. It was truly a one of a kind film. I can understand why it didn’t do well on release (it’s so ahead of its time and innovative) and I can also see why it has become a cult classic in the years since. I would love to see a western company like Arrow Video put this out on blu-ray. I think adventurous cinephiles would eat this up! I can honestly say, I have never seen anything like it!

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    • Shoot, I have seen neither of these movies! although, on the other hand, I love it that my little commentator people are now talking to each other and having their own relationships outside of me.

      But, shoot, I can’t contribute to the conversation!

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      • Oh, you haven’t seen Aalavandhan? I was almost certain you had mentioned it in a comment once. It must have been someone else! I watched it on Googleplay, and the quality is great, if you’re ever interested in checking it out. It is definitely an experience!

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        • I am increasingly aware that Kamal Haasan and I just do not see eye to eye, so I have been avoiding watching his movies. I get all mean and angry in my reviews, and it’s not pretty.

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        • I remember someone mentioning it in a comment before about how they saw it as a kid but I can’t remember what post it was. I just scoured the blog’s archives for a while and I still haven’t found it. My only clues are that the post was after August and the post had at least 4 or more comments 🙂

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    • Yay! Another person that appreciates Yevade Subramanyam like I do!

      You’re right in that this role isn’t something that Nani usually known for. I really liked his character’s transformation throughout the movie! Vijay Devarakonda was also really good. His debut as a lead came out last year and it was one of the big surprise hits of the year. It’s a rom-com called Pelli Choopulu and it’s co-starring the girl that plays Nani’s fiance in Yevade Subramanyam. Here’s the trailer with subtitles:

      I felt the same way when I saw Malvika Nair for the first time! She reminded me so much of Nithya. Can you believe that she was only 17 when they shot Yevade Subramanyam?!? The scenery was so so so beautiful! I don’t think I’ve seen another India film shot in the mountains like that other than Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani which was most likely shot a much larger budget. I totally agree with you that one needs to find a happy medium between the philosophies. I never thought of Ramaiah as an example of the happy medium but now that you mentioned it, he does seem like it.

      Oh yeah, I don’t think I ever told you the story of how I came to watch Yevade Subramanyam. One of my best friends, who is 3 years younger than me, moved to India back in 2013 for good. Through some random spotting, she was offered to play the role of Divya in Yevade Subramanyam. You know the girl who was Rishi’s childhood crush. When she told me, I was really excited and I kept a watch out for the movie. I thought the trailer was okay but I wasn’t too interested in the movie. At that point, Nani was going through a rough patch and his last hit was Eega, so the only reason I went to see Yevade Subramanyam was to see my friend. I never thought I’d like this movie so much. Nani’s next movie after Yevade Subramanyam was a blockbuster, Bhale Bhale Magadivoy which is quite fun too 🙂

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      • Wow, that’s so cool! It must have been really neat to see your friend up on the big screen. Was that her in the classroom scene where young Rishi stands on the desk and sings the song from DDLJ? I’ll have to re-watch the scene and keep an eye out for her. And you’re right-the first half of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani did have some beautiful mountain scenery! It seemed like in YJHD, the area was a vast expanse, so large, desolate and open (and I’m sure with the larger budget, they were able to reach deeper areas and properly capture the grandness). I enjoyed that this film showed more of the nooks and crannies, little villages, that really gave the mountains a sense of life. Really beautiful.

        I’m still on the hunt for Bhale Bhale Magadivoy with english subtitles. It drives me crazy when I can’t track something down! Pelli Choopulu looks like fun. I’ll have to look around for that one as well.

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        • Yeah, she was the one who Tujhe Dekha To Yeh Jaana Sanam was being sung too! It was really cool and we still joke about it 🙂

          You’re one of those people who are really good at tracking movies down. If you can’t find it, then I would imagine that it’s close to impossible. Pelli Choopulu came out just last summer so I wouldn’t be surprised if a good quality version isn’t available online yet.

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  4. I watched 3 movies last week:
    The worst: Humpty Sharma ki dulhania. Maybe no total waste of time, but almost
    Than I re-watched Ohm Shanthi Oshanaa. Saw it for the first time few days earlier, and I fell in love, and had to watch it again. It’s been a while since any indian movie delighted me so much,
    Today I finished Manichitrathazhu 🙂

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    • That’s so interesting, I love both Humpty and Ohm Shanthi Oshaana for similar reasons. I find them both to be love stories grounded in their setting, with strong female characters. Although I find the opening of Humpty in particular hard to get through, our “hero” is just a little gross. Is that what bothered you about it, or was there something else?

      I also find Ohm Shanthi Oshaana just delightful! I assume you have also seen Premam and Bangalore Days? If not, highly recommended! From what I have been told (I am new to Malayalam cinema myself), those 3 are the 3 big crossover accessible and critically acclaimed hits. And they certainly felt similar to me, very well-made with great performances and sort of gentle plots. There’s also quite a bit of overlap in casting. So if you haven’t seen them, definitely check them out!

      On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 3:44 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I still haven’t seen Bangalore Days and Premam , but I have both and soon will watch them. And that’s one of the reasons I said Humpty.. was waste of time – I could watch something better . I felt in love with all things malayalam thanks to OSO and with Nivin Pauly, so I think Premam will be next movie I will watch. Than Bangalore, or Thattathin Marayathu.

        I think I didn’t like Humpty because it has nothing new. The hero is gross, as you said. The heroine is not shy, that’s for sure, but is she really strong? We know only that she want buy designer dress for her wedding, nothing else. I like her sister much more. She fought for her right to marry her guy, and now she is working, but Alia (I don’t even remeber her movie name) is only waiting that somebody will do something for her. And the ending? I mean, all this time we were waiting to know how Humpty will get rid of Mr. Perfect, and the movie ends without explaining it! I wanna know. At least they should have married him with Alia’s sister. What do you think? In my opinion they are much better together, even in age, because Alia and Mr. Perfect seem more daughter- father than fiances. And than he is a doctor, with hobbies and stuff, and she is like: I have designer suit and firecracker tatoo.

        p.s Sorry for my english but it’s almost midnight here in Italy and it’s hard write in foreign language at this hour 🙂

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        • Yay! Another Nivin Pauly lover! It seems like (again based on my superficial knowledge of Malayalam films) Nivin and Dulquer are the hot young stars and most people are for one or the other. I like both, but I like Nivin a little better. And moviemavengal, for instance, likes Dulquer a little better.

          I’ll be interested to see how you feel after Bangalore Days. Dulquer definitely has the author backed role in that one. But I still liked Nivin a little better. And then Premam is just a Nivin-fest. Oh! One more movie, that isn’t quite as good as Premam and Bangalore and OSO but is close, is Ustad hotel. That’s a Dulquer one. And then Thattathin is slightly worse, I think, as a movie. But it’s a great romance and a great Nivin movie.

          I always thought the fiance should end up with the sister in Humpty too! It almost feels like the film was going to go that way, especially in the big wedding song where the fiance has a little duet with her. Like maybe that was in an earlier draft and then they cut it for time but some of the earlier scenes were there as well.

          My feeling with Alia’s character is that she starts out seeming like she just cares about the fancy dress and all, but as the film goes on, if you read between the lines, she is deeper than that. But it’s not the explicit meaning of the character, I agree, on the surface she is just a girl who wants a dress.

          No worries about English! It’s my first language, and I’m sure you’ve already seen plenty of errors in my posts.

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          • Humpty sharma ki dulhania should end like this:
            Varun couldn’t find any flaw in Alia’s fiance, so he must go. The evening when he is ready to leave, Mr, Perfect goes to his father-in-law and tell him, that he fell in love with sister, and he can’t marry Alia. So simple. Now everybody is happy – we because we know how Alia escape this marriage
            -father because he can have Mr Perfect in family, and can finally arranged his older daughter life
            – and of course the protagonists
            This way the movie could spread positive message that divorced girls can find love too.

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          • I like that idea.

            But I think I like the original ending slightly better. Just because, for me, the point is that Varun can’t find any flaw, but that doesn’t matter. The whole challenge is meaningless, because it’s not about who is the “better” man, it’s about who is the man that Alia chooses. She has the right to pick her own husband.

            But, I would have loved to have a scene where Mr Perfect (love that nickname!) reacts to this by saying “I committed to marrying a daughter of your family, my whole family is here, will you give me your other daughter?” And then we would get the message that he doesn’t see a problem with marrying a divorced girl.

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  5. I watched Carry on Jatta this weekend. It is a good comedy movie. Comedy in this movie isn’t derived from physical traits like people doing stupid stuffs but from its script. If you like Jatt and Juliet, you will definately like carry on Jatta . Carry on jatta is infact superior film to Jatt and Juliet. Carry on Jatta is a simple pure comedy movie. It was released in 2012. I was watching it on you tube in my office. My office mates started asking me what i was watching. They asked for the link in the movie and it was liked by everyone. People from Jammu to people in Orrisa liked her. They asked me and my other Punjabi friend for more Punjabi movies. Gippy Grewal has atleast 10 south Indians fans because of me. It was me who told the
    Following is the synopsis,

    Jass is a young man living with his father, brother and sister in law. He meets a girl names Mahi and instantly falls in love. But Mahi wants to get married only to a guy with no family. Jass with the help of his friend Honey creates an impression on Mahi that he is an orphan. Both fall in love. Jass wants to tell Mahi the truth but Mahi’s cousin Taatji wants to get them married ASAP. They get married at court. Mahi finds an accommodation on rent which turns out to be Jass’s house. Jass and Honey tries damage control which creates turns their already dystopian life upside down.

    What i like best about this movie is that it is simple. Entire movie is shot in Jalandhar, which is not the most preferable shooting location. There is a promotional song though, which is shot in Canada. Characters are rich but not crazy rich. They look real rich.

    Characters

    Jass: Jass is a young man. He is a carefree guy and borderline idiot. His plans mostly fail and creates problems for him and his friend Honey. He is far from perfect. He is not super intelligent or super strong. Movie doesn’t have any action scence though.
    Advocate Dhillion ; Jass’s father. He doesn’t get along with anyone. He is at loggerheads with his own sons everytime.
    Goldy Dhillion: Jass’s elder brother. He has fairly good relations with Jass. His arguements with his father are perhaps best part of movie
    Honey: Jass’s best friend. He is not an inferior sidekick that we normally see in movie. His love story goes parallel in the movie. He and Jass are equally stupid. They both try to solve problems in stupid manner. Honey is perhaps more intelligent than Jass.
    Mahi: She is a beautiful girl. She hates lies. She is shown to be a capable woman. She is one of three normal characters in the movie. She is level headed person.
    Jasleen: Most normal person in Jass’s family. She is the voice of reason. She is the one who has good realtions with everyone in the family. It is implied that she cares for Jass the most. In the very first scence, where Dhillon is chastising Jass for being lazy she comes in his defence.

    Overall, the movie is quite good. Story doesn’t take backseat to the jokes in the movie. Some movies tries to focus only on jokes and failed miserably. In it, Jokes are in sync with movie. It is easy to follow. There are no boring parts. If you like comedy, you would like it.

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      • Good for you. If you post its review, there will be something for me to comment on or to read. I was trying to find Carry on Jatta with english subtitles. But it doesn’t exist on youtube

        What other punjabi movies have recommended to you? PUnjab 1984, Ardas, Love Punjab

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          • Carry on Jatta inspired south Indian movies like Carry on Maratha, Carry on Kutton. Carry on kesar

            Do watch them and post reviews of these movies. I am surprised that they are not screended in your area. I thought USA has a lot of PUnjabis

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          • You got me curious if it was just my local theater regional theater that doesn’t show Punjabi (“local” meaning the only theater in a 100 miles that shows more than just Hindi films) or if it is an American thing. Last week, in the US, 2 Telugu films each got 75 screens, a Tamil film got 50 screens, even a Kannada film got 52. But the Punjabi release only got 10. So it’s not just my area, it looks like Punjabi films just don’t get that big of a release here. They do a lot better in Canada and Australia. Just random immigration patterns I guess, more Punjabis ended up in other countries instead of the US.

            On Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 9:50 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think that you are in Chicago. I know nothing about it. My friends live in Kentucky. They dont get Indian movies over there. So I cant know, what is pattern. I know about Canada and Australia. My friends live there and they get Punjabi movies over there. There is Punjabi dispora over there. Good Punjabi movies will earn good money over there. Problem in their release exist in India too. I am barely able to see them in Mumbai. In Chandigarh, I could easily watch them. Thats why I have seen only Hollywood movies in last 2 years in theatres before watching Philauri. It is so difficult to watch movies in Mumbai

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          • I want make a tribute video for Undertaker’s retirement. Can you suggest some songs which can be used in this video? I have searched Punjabi songs. But couldn’t find anything. It should be fitting.

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          • Oo, really can’t help with this. I don’t know anything about him, so I have no sense of what song might be appropriate. Just for fighters in general, I’m partial to “Measure of a Man” from Rocky 5. Terrible movie, great song.

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          • Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave” would be a good one (and I think Undertaker incorporated it into his entrance theme at one Wrestlemania, so that might be too obvious). “I See A Darkness” or “The Man Comes Around” would be appropriate as well. It really depends on the tone that you’re looking for. Those later Johnny Cash American Recordings albums contain some really beautiful and poignant songs-definitely begin there.

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          • Actually, I was thinking with a hindi song for Indian fans. Tribute with english songs have been made. They came just few hours after wrestlemania.
            Undertaker is my childhood icon. It was year 1997 when I first got cable Television and star sports was telecasted. I watched WWF for the first time in 1998. It was a great break from monotonous live action things that I saw on TV. The first person that got me hooked was a big man in black clothes who scared me. He was the Undertaker. Now, i look back into days Undertaker was a big part of my childhood. I used to watch WWF with my friends. Everyone loved the Undertaker. Yes, there were The Rock, Triple H, Stone Cold but Undertaker was unique. My village got cable TV and when I visited my village, first thing I watched with my cousins was WWF. There was only TV over there. My mother bailed us out and we used to get TV to watch WWF for ourselves. My dad first watched something with me apart from cricket was WWE. It was all due to Khali. He wanted to watch Khali but soon after he became fan of the Undertaker. HE is also sad by Undertaker’s retirement. It was a sad affair to watch him go like this. It does signal all the end of those times.
            I think you have been fan of SRK for 5 years. Just multiply your love for SRk by 10 over 20 years.
            Now think, what should be a good hindi song tribute for his retirement

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          • Again, not sure if I know enough to pick the right song. “Jeena Yahan” from Mere Naam Joker is kind of the classic “old entertainer keeps going” song. And of course there is the Agneepath poem, there isn’t really a song for it, but any recording of that might be nice.

            On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 11:58 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I understand. I just want to make a tribute like this in hindi

            I will have to search more

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  6. This is the first week of the semester and so I have a window of about 40 minutes to watch a movie in the evening before I pass out, including Friday and Saturday because I worked through the weekend. As a result, and also due to my fickle nature I watched: (1) 50 minutes of Yuva, (2) another hour of Happy Bhag Jayegi, for a total of 77 minutes, (3) 46 minutes of my classic Bengali, Agni Sanskar and, (4) About 20 minutes of Aarti. My opinions: (1) If you’ve seen this, are these people going to get more likeable? I can’t rouse myself to care about them just yet. I like Abhishek’s performance as the chunky goonda, but I hate the character. Rani, girl, wake up. And Ajay Devgn is just sort of doing that thing he does, if you know what I mean. So far you could stick the character in Singham and no one would notice. (2) This is pretty fun, but I can only concentrate on one hijink per evening, so it’s taking forever. Also, I really wish I had a Hindi speaker with me since so many of the jokes seem linguistic (like, I can tell something is supposed to be funny but it’s not in English). (3) I am loving this. Uttam Kumar was in his mid-thirties and still matinee idol gorgeous and it has one element that I really love in a classic Bengali movie: well rounded female characters with agency, who are frequently in charge of stuff. (4) Too early to call, but I am looking forward to seeing Meena Kumari in a non-tragic role.

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    • The fact that you know down to the minute how far you are into Happy Bhaag Jayegi does not bode well for your involvement in the story.

      For Yuva, give it a little longer. I think some of the character stuff that is bothering you is on purpose. Ajay is set up as the Ideal, the catalyst that causes all the other characters to do and be better. Abhishek is not supposed to be a “good” character, so you are reading him right. And then Viviek is between the two, kind of feckless and not sure of the future. The film is about Viviek slowly being pulled more towards the Ajay direction, while Abhishek slowly gets pulled more and more towards the “evil” side. But mostly, yes, it’s not so much about the characters (although there are some great character moments) as it is about the whole idea of a political revolution and so on and so forth.

      Happy Bhaag Jayegi, if you are 77 minutes in, you’ve pretty much got a sense of how the movie is going to go. There are some twists with the decisions the characters make that you might not necessarily have anticipated. But mostly it is hijenks and wordplay comedy.

      And for the last two, you are a classier person than me, so I know nothing about either of them and have nothing to add 😦

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      • Depends on your definition of “classy”, but the Bengali ones I’m watching contain as many improbable plot twists, poor 70s clothing choices, and scenery-chewing as Hindi movies of the period, just with fewer big dance numbers. Satyajit Ray this is not.

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  7. I watched a really funny short film on Youtube starring Neena Gupta and Jackie Shroff – it was called Khujli. Do watch it if you get a chance. I think you might really like it.
    Rewatched Saawariya. Why do people hate this movie so much? It isn’t so bad at all. It’s like a poem or short story. I love the innocence of Ranbir and Sonam but Rani Mukherjee is the real scene-stealer.
    Also rewatched Yuva. My favourite Abhishek movie. His chemistry with Rani is amazing in this. He should play more grey characters.

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    • I’m kind of a closet Saawariya fan. I certainly realize its flaws but it is so beautiful and dreamy, mysterious and lush. The songs are really extravagant and fun. I’m also a giant mark for both Rani and Ranbir, so there is lots there to appreciate. My wife absolutely hated it and thought that I was crazy for deriving any enjoyment from it (and it seems that most people skew that way). Definitely not a masterpiece or anything but, like you said, not bad at all!

      Yuva has been on my list for a long time. I should check that one out soon!

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      • I am definitely with your wife on this!

        Yuva is great, but it’s one of those Ratnam’s that, for me, I kind of feel the effort of the remake. The cast is good, the script is good, the songs are amazing, etc. etc. But it just feels slightly off somehow from the usual peak Ratnam, like he is compromising his vision. And I assume that is because he really pictured it more with the Tamil cast than the Hindi or something? But, on the other hand, there are some wonderful character moments, and you get to see Ajay and Viviek reunited after Company.

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        • I’ve never seen the Hindi version, but I really like the Tamil version! Ajay Devgn seems way too old to play a college student unlike Suriya in the Tamil version. Plus Madhavan and Siddharth are there too! I want to see Madhavan in a Mani Ratnam movie again; I just realized that the ones with Madhavan happen to be my favorites.

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          • I forgot to mention Ajay as a college student as one of the things I am not loving so far. Some people can pull that off, but not him.

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          • I just re-wrote it in my head that he is so involved with campus politics, he got distracted and is like 5 years late to graduate.

            On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 10:05 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I am a Saawariya hater, and I can’t even completely explain it myself. Maybe because it just feels so self-indulgent? It’s a simple kind of story for a simple kind of film, and then Bhansali used a massive budget and huge stars to tell it. If he had made it on a shoestring with a kind of indie feel, I might not have minded it so much. But to throw all that waste on top of a story that really didn’t need it, just frustrating.

      The Rani-Abhishek track in Yuva is so amazing! I love how Yuva uses the romances to really show us what these characters are like. It’s definitely not a romance film, it’s about politics, but by seeing them in their love lives as well as in their public lives, we can sort of see how the same character traits go straight through. Ajay is fearless and direct, Viviek is carefree and slow to commit, but firm once he makes that commitment. And Abhishek has moments of greatness, crossed with moments of petty fear and tyranny. But they exist together, he isn’t a “bad” husband all the time, we can see why Rani is with him. And he isn’t a “bad” man all the time either. But at a certain point, the bad outweighs the good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve always liked the way Ratnam portrays romantic relationships.
        I can’t remember what the Tamil version of Yuva is called but Madhavan played Abhisheks role. And he was brilliant. Maybe even better than Abhishek.

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        • I never would have pictured Madhavan in that role. He always seems so controlled and internal to me, and that performance was so outgoing and aggressive. Now I kind of want to see it just to see how he pulls it off!

          Liked by 1 person

          • You should! It’s on Einthusan with subtitles. If I’m not wrong it’ll be your first introduction to Suriya, who happens to be my favorite Tamil actor 🙂

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  8. I saw so many films this week to celebrate the end of my final exams and school life. The day I finished my exams I ran to catch Badrinath Ki Dulhania, which I think I actually enjoyed more than Humpty. Varun and Alia, as always, were amazing.
    My next movie was Jomonte Suvisheshangal, which I liked a tad better than Jacobinte, but still found it underwhelming. Dulquer and Mukesh put in wonderful performances, as did the rest of the cast.
    Then I watched Kadhalum Kadanthu Pogum (2016), a Tamil Rom-com starring Madonna Sebastian (the third girl in Premam) and Vijay Sethupathi. I loved the film. It’s a remake of a Korean film I think. The music was quirky and fit the tone of the film really well.
    I also finally watched Alaipayuthe! The soundtrack was a BIG part of my childhood, and the movie didn’t disappoint either. Madhavan and Shalini made a great pair, and the songs? No words.
    Lastly I watched Maryan, on TJ Stevens’ recommendation on some other thread, and it was quite wonderful too. Both Dhanush and Parvathy are my favourites, and they did a wonderful job. The soundtrack by AR Rahman was good, though not one of my favorites.

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    • You were much more productive with your movie time this week than I was! And more adventurous, I haven’t seen half the movies you mention. Although they all sound great and now I want to watch them!

      I also took for ever to watch Alaipayuthe and knew the soundtrack way better than the film. I saw Saathiya close to when it first came out, and loved it. But then I ended up buying the soundtrack for Alaipayuthe instead, because it came in a double disc with Kandokundon Kandukonden which is the one I really wanted. So whenever I watched Saathiya the songs sounded “wrong” to me, because they weren’t in Tamil.

      I like Jacobinte better than Jomonte. I like the slightly wistful tone to it. And, also, I am a Nivin girl not a Dulquer girl. I resisted labeling myself as long as possible, but now I have just accepted it.

      On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 10:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Haha. I was just more productive because I didn’t watch any movie the last three months, and I was waiting to finish my exams to watch movies again.
        I know that Jacobinte was a better film, and I did like the second half of Jacobinte more. Just that I found the film a bit too saccharine, which kind of put me off. But the best part was that it was shot in Dubai, where I live, and during the shoot I actually got to see Nivin! Though just briefly, so I couldn’t really get a pic or an autograph. But still!
        I keep oscillating between Nivin and Dulquer. I still don’t know who I like better. But I’ve always been a Prithviraj girl for as long as I remember.
        I haven’t seen Saathiya yet, and I’m not sure if I want to either. The soundtrack itself sounds ‘wrong’ as you said, as I have heard the Tamil songs more. Plus I don’t really like Vivek, though Rani is amazing.
        Do you mind if go back and comment on your older posts sometimes? Because I think I might have something to say somewhere.

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        • Oh please comment on older posts! I get a notification on every comment, no matter where it is posted, so I will always respond. And I think lots of my readers/commentators follow the comment feed I put on the homepage and click through to read every new comment as well, even if it is on an old post. Especially do that for film reviews, I am assuming that people search for the old review as they watch the movie, and then read both review and comments. So it is nice if everything is kind of in one place.

          Girly confession time, I never really like-liked Prithviraj in anything (even Classmates! And Aiyyaa!), I certainly appreciated him as an actor and a star, but he didn’t make my heart beat faster. Until City of God, OMG!!!! With the scruffy look and the low key performance style and the fight scenes!!!! If he only did roles like that (and Nivin only did roles like Bangalore Days), he might take first place in my heart over Nivin.

          On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 11:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • What a coincidence! I happened to watch Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum a couple of days ago! Yeah, it’s a remake of My Dear Desparado. I liked the movie, though I wasn’t really wowed by it.

      I’m really glad that you liked Maryan! It’s one of my favorite Dhanush movies after VIP and 3. I actually didn’t recognize Parvathy the first time I saw Maryan; she looked quite different from how she looked in Bangalore Days.

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  9. I watched an incredible documentary that recently went up on Netflix called Celluloid Man. The subject of the film is the life and work of P.K. Nair, the archivist, film preservationist and the person that developed the National Film Archive of India, basically from scratch. It was very closely related to, but separate from, the Film and Television Institute of India. They had access to the Archives’ films and Nair had access to their theater. I had heard his name mentioned before (probably in the documentary included on Criterion’s Apu Trilogy box set, about the extensive and exhaustive restoration effort) but I had no idea that he was almost solely responsible for preserving India’s film history, particularly prior to the 1960’s. This was a fascinating documentary, probably one of the most engaging and interesting that I have ever seen.

    The first thing I noticed was that the documentary was actually shot on film (16mm according to the Wiki). It is very striking and natural looking. I have grown so accustomed to watching digital interview footage that this movie ends up looking, and feeling, almost timeless. It’s fitting-it would be wrong to make a documentary on a man who devoted his entire existence to preserving film, on video. I really like the idea that film itself is the true soul of cinema. The digitally shot and projected movies of today feel like they are missing something-a texture, a feel, a kind of magic.

    There are many poignant shots of the elderly man, slowly walking through the ruins of the old Indian studios and through the contemporary streets, himself a relic of the past. Like film itself. The most glorious shots are the ones of Nair sitting in a theater, in a state of peace and joy, basking in the glow of cinema.

    The film includes interviews with important figures like Naseeruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt, Rajkumar Hirani, Shyam Benegal and many more, who either studied at the FTII or passed through to watch films through the years. They all speak of the man with reverence, as though he is almost godlike to them-and he was! The only way that they could watch films in those days was through him. He was their portal into the world of cinema. It really makes me appreciate how easily accessible movies are now-through physical media, premium television channels, streaming, downloads. There are so many forms and platforms, and delivery systems. Even as a child, it was not so easy. VHS tapes were incredibly expensive to own, so I was always at the mercy of the video store’s selection and availability. I remember, vividly, the exquisite pain of going to the store with a particular title in mind, only to find it already rented out! Every now and then, I step back in absolute wonderment at how fortunate, and spoiled, we’ve become.

    The stories and anecdotes offered by the interview subjects are insightful and funny. Tales of Nair getting his hands on travelling festival prints and frantically employing labs to strike overnight, and not exactly legal, duplicates for the archives. There is a story of him bartering with a French distributor, a print of Pather Panchali for one of Battle of Algiers, simply switching the boxes between them. It seemed like these sorts of things happened often, little unspoken agreements between the archivists of the world. There are stories of students waking up at dawn, to attend 6:30 am screenings of newly arrived films. Naseeruddin speaks fondly of Sunday morning, standing room only, screenings of censor cut compilation reels.

    The film also talks about his efforts to rescue as many Indian silent films as possible. They estimate that around 1700 were made and only nine survive-entirely due to his efforts. It’s heartbreaking how few exist, simply because no one realized their importance or historical significance at the time. It seems that in those early days, and even into the 1950s, producers made their money in the theater and didn’t think too far beyond that. The negatives weren’t kept in very poor condition, if they were even saved at all. There are also startling scenes of films being stripped and mined purely for their silver content.

    There are other sad aspects. There is an interview with his daughter, later on in the film. When hearing of his passion and long days spent and efforts over the years, you could scarcely imagine that he had time for a family. But he had one, and they were at home, savoring the few moments he spent with them. His daughter doesn’t seem bitter, and they seem to have developed a relationship after he retired, but it was clear that he neglected his family for many, many years. He definitely sacrificed any sort of home life for his archivist’s work. It is also very sad that there is no heir apparent to his work. He never took an apprentice or groomed a replacement. It seems that no one exists with as much passion and fire for cinema, or willing to devote an entire lifetime to its preservation, the way that Nair did.

    It is an absolute must-see, not just for fans of Indian cinema, but for anyone that appreciates film and film history. This documentary is a gift. Highly recommended!

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  10. I did it! I made it to the end of Season 7 of The Good Wife. Do I get a medal, lol?

    Now it is time to start catching up with some Indian cinema. Recently added to our Netflix was Thithi, a Kannada movie I saw at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne last year. It is just delightful so I recommend it to you.

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    • Congrats! Is that it? Only 7 seasons? And did you notice the sudden quality drop in season 6, or was that just something that reviewers made up?

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  11. Was browsing on Netflix and came across an Indian TV show called Razia Sultan – soap-ish drama about a 12th century female sultan. The first thing that struck me was the narrator’s voice – it was SRK! Then I spied some 21st century bobby pins in the young female’s hairdos, lol.

    Lots of CGI for the aerial shots of 12th century Delhi. Might carry on with it for a little longer to see how it develops.

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    • After you watch that, you can watch the Hema Malini-Dharmendra version of the same story! And then tell me about it, I haven’t seen it yet.

      On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 10:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I had a quick look at the second episode – no SRK narration at the beginning. I don’t think I’ll continue with it – we’ll see. But might check out the Hema Malini version if I can find it somewhere.

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  12. Razia Sultan is an interesting character.Her life resembled a soap opera(pretty much like Ashoka’s if you consider the dramatic factor).You really don’t need to tinker with it.Her father was the last king of the Slave Dynasty(so called because every king was succeeded by his slave). Her father wanted his daughter as his successor despite him having sons.Razia detested being called a Sultana and demanded to be called a Sultan as she ruled in her own right.She wouldn’t wear a veil while attending to the business of the Court, had an affair with her stable master and was in other words a nightmare for the orthodox mullahs of that time.They convinced a general to go and conquer her kingdom.She seduced him and married him and then both of them turned on the mullahs.Things went downhill from there but I can see why Hema chose to do Razia Sultan’s role.

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  13. Have you seen the trailers of Meri Pyaari Bindu that they released? When I saw the first teaser, I wasn’t too impressed but the five chapter trailers that they released look really good! By the way, is it just me or do you think that Bindu is dead or something?

    Here’s the teaser:

    Here’s the link to the chapter trailers:

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    • Oh fun! The timeline makes me head heart though. If they met as little kids in 1983, they would have come of age in the 90s, and be well into their 20s in the early 2000s, and be straight up middle-aged today.

      Which also leads to the “Bindu’s dead!” theory. Because we see Ayushman in “present day” looking late 30s-ish, but we don’t see Parineeti. Plus, it would be a stretch for Parineeti to even play older than say 30. But maybe they will surprise us and have her show up at the end with a little grey at the temples and dowdy clothes to age her up.

      On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 2:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought about the timeline! I don’t think it would be too hard to make her look older than 30; I mean she’s not as baby-faced as Alia.

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        • I hope so! I would love it if it is all a joke on the audience, we see Ayushmann alone in the “present” and telling all these melancholy stories, and then the ending is middle-aged Parineeti and their 3 kids running in and interrupting him and her making fun of him for being so sentimental and stuck in the past all the time.

          On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 4:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • That would be funny and unique! Plus based on the trailers that we’ve seen, it seems like Ayushmann is the type that’s always stuck in the past.

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  14. Found MeeraBai Not Out on Netflix – about a cricket crazy maths teacher (Meera) and shaadi. Didn’t have good reviews on IMDB but it was a pleasant enough time pass when the brain cells were feeling a little tired. Anil Kumble (Indian cricketer) makes a number of cameo appearances throughout the movie. And a little running joke through the movie was random people saying to Meera that she looks like Mandira Bedi (the actress playing Meera).
    It wasn’t dreadful.

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    • I kept reading this as “Meerabai Not Out on Netflix”. Which is a great movie title! Got me super curious to know more. Kind of disappointed now that I have re-read your comment and accurately identified it as “Meerabai Not Out” on Netflix instead.

      On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 5:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  15. Something I have just come across on Netflix – The House That Made Me. Hosted by Vinay Pathak – Indian celebs return to their childhood homes, recollections etc. 24 episodes.

    Ep 1. Govinda

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    • That is fascinating! I probably won’t have time to watch it, but if you do, please report back!

      On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 10:33 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • We have a similar show here – Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery , Aussie and some UK celebs.

        The eps on Netflix are only 20 minutes long – good if you find yourself with a short time to fill.

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  16. I saw three movies last weekend. I first rewatched Khoobsurat which I loved! Sonam was great as Mili and I don’t think the movie would have worked if she wasn’t so endearing. This is probably my favorite performance of hers after Neerja. I think Sonam is really underrated as an actress, though I do think she didn’t take proper advantage of the success of Neerja.

    After Khoobsurat, I ended up watching Ugly because it was on Netflix and I remembered that Ms. Briganza mentioned it. It wasn’t as dark as I expected but it was still a pretty dark movie with messed up characters. It was an interesting movie though.

    After Ugly, I decided that I needed to watch something fun so I rewatched Jab We Met. Kareena was so fun in this movie! I don’t think I’ve liked her in any other movie like I like her in Jab We Met. Shahid was also pretty good. I totally forgot about how good a dancer he is 🙂
    I hope the Shahrukh-Imtiaz Ali movie will be more like Jab We Met and less like Tamasha…

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    • I love Khoobsurat too. And it seems like that was the movie that made Sonam decide to only do films really built around her character, where she isn’t just “supporting”. I think she is a good actress, but a better producer and PR person, and I am hoping that she decided to fold the success of Neerja into being able to star and produce in a really great film that would otherwise not be able to get that kind of release (Veere Di Wedding). But if that film turns out to be terrible and has a bad release, than yeah, she just wasted the Neerja bump.

      I love Jab We Met! And Kareena is amazing in it, it’s not just that she is a charming character, her performance adds a lot to the role as well. Although I also like her quite a bit in Hulchul and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Again, Veere Di Wedding! High hopes!

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      • Yeah, but it’s already been over a year since Neerja came out and she hasn’t had a release since. I’m sure she could have taken more advantage of Neerja’s success if Veere Di Wedding didn’t get delayed so much. It’s sad how they weren’t getting the budget that they wanted even though both Sonam and Kareena lowered their remuneration. Plus Kareena’s pregnancy delayed the movie even more. But Veere Di Wedding is being directed by Shashanka Ghosh who also made Khoobsurat which makes me feel that the movie will be good even if the release isn’t.

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        • My impression. based on nothing really, is that Sonam is actually actively producing Veere Di Wedding. So while the filming was delayed, she wasn’t available to work on anything else because she was running around taking meetings and trying every angle to dig up funding so the filming could be back on. And now she still isn’t available, because she’s running around doing post-production work.

          On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 9:19 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Well, her sister Rhea is the producer so you would think that they both are working on it. But yeah, what you’re saying does make sense though. I think Sonam has now started shooting for Padman. I’m surprised that they’re struggling to find funding though. I guess they want to make the movie on a large canvas compared to something like Khoobsurat.

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          • With Khoobsurat, Disney put up most of the funds I think. I wonder if they took most of the profits as well? So now The Kapoor family studios need the cash from where ever they can get it.

            And I assume Disney put up the money because they were outsiders and were less obsessed with making films using known male stars and all the other formulas that Hindi film studios believe in. The same reason they were willing to invest so heavily in ABCD2. But now Disney and all the other carefree outsider studios that were throwing money around have left town, and Sonam’s poor film is facing a backlash it doesn’t deserve. Kind of feels like when the recession hit just as I graduated college and started looking for my first job.

            On Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 7:53 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Right! That makes so much sense! Along with that, Veere Di Wedding is a movie that’s not a standard rom-com. From what I understand, it’s like a Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with girls which probably makes it look even more risky to traditional producers. I hope someone takes the risk though because I feel like Veere Di Wedding is gonna be a fun movie.

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  17. Over the last few days – Moh Maya Money – real estate guy (Ranvir Shorey) wants to make loads-a-money in a hurry and it all goes horribly wrong. Was OK.
    The Ghazi Attack – also OK but with perhaps slightly maniacal patriotism. I can’t imagine any friends/family of mine in the navy or associated with the navy being quite so fervent about killing the enemy. The female role was fairly insignificant so why bother with it?
    And finally, finally saw Mother India! That poor woman couldn’t get a break.

    Have watched a few episodes of The House That Made Me – Govinda, Javed Akhtar, Nawazuddin Siddiqi and Salim-Suleiman. It’s the kind of show you can dip into every now & then.

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    • “Maniacal Patriotism” is a great way to describe it. Sounds like I shouldn’t rush around to see Moh Maya Money.

      So glad you saw Mother India! Did you sense any burning romantic passion between Nargis and her son? And what did you think of Raajkumar? Smoking hot, right?

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      • I didn’t pick up on a burning romance in an Oedipal sense, lol, but did keep having the thought that they ended up married in real life. I was puzzled about the adult Birju’s face colour – it seemed to be red/orange for a lot of the time and wondered if that was significant. I think the little guy who played the young Birju was a character and wondered if he was playing himself, ha ha.

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