Sanam Teri Kasam: All the Best Female Fantasies

I know this is a fond favorite for some of my readers, but you don’t mind if joke about it a little, right?  Like, you are aware that this is a little sappy and fantasy-fulfilling and ridiculous from the plot side of things?  If your reaction is “This is the most realistic and perfect presentation of love I have ever seen!”, then maybe don’t read on.  If your reaction is “This is like a romance novel come to life and that’s why I love it!”, then go for it.  Because that was my reaction too!

You ready for an embarrassing confession?  I own all the Twilight books.  And I have read them.  More like devoured them.  It was a difficult time in my life, I was living at my parents for a month while my apartment got cleared of bedbugs.  So I was putting in a shift at work, then going home and washing everything I owned, and then going over to my parents’ place, showering, and crawling into bed and trying not to think about little bugs growing fat on my blood.  So, perfect time to read a terrible but addictive romance!

In my R…Rajkumar post, I talked about how I legitimately feel “guilty” for watching that movie.  Not just “oh, this is bad for me” guilt like when I have chocolate for breakfast, but “oh, this is bad for the world” guilt like when I don’t recycle.  I do NOT feel guilty for enjoying Twilight, or many other terribly written romances.  I know some people do, the abusive relationship implications and general stupidity of a teenager giving up everything for love make them concerned for, like, the world.

But for me, the poor quality of the writing balances out the flawed message.  This is not a book that is going to secretly work on my subconscious and make me want a boyfriend who watches me while I sleep.  It’s straight up trash that buys into female fantasies that already exist, doesn’t try to make new ones.  And they are female fantasies we are all very aware of within ourselves, no need to guard against them or anything.  Especially when the writing is so obviously bad that you can easily see and avoid the brainwashing.

A lot of these fantasies come out of the same place, that women tend to do more of the “emotional labor” in relationships.  There’s a lot of worrying about other people’s feelings, and remembering special occasions, and generally taking care of people.  So being “passive” in a romantic fantasy isn’t necessarily about women losing their power, it’s about them losing their responsibilities.  Let the man make all the moves and decide the future, I’m exhausted because I just spent all day working customer service and then cleaning bedbugs out of my apartment!

That’s the appeal, I think, of this film.  For the woman who has sooooooooooo much responsibility, both emotional and in the wider society, the idea of a hero who is somehow outside of society and can pull you out of it too, and can also do all the emotional work of taking care of you and nurturing the relationship, that’s pretty darn perfect!  Oh, and he’s rich.  Don’t forget that.  If I am fantasizing after working 8 hours and then shopping for discounts at the grocery store, I want a rich hero!

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(Here, you can see right on the poster that it is a movie for women.  See how he is all naked and vulnerable and she is all protected?)

Oh, and also the idea of being desirable.  Just take it as a given that women are taught their value is tied to their appearance.  Don’t even try to fight that part of it.  Since we have that as an exhausting constant concern, the fantasy would be to find out that we don’t have to worry about it.  Not because appearance doesn’t matter (again, don’t even try to fight that battle), but because we are beautiful already just by being ourselves.  Which is where the love triangles come in, that one hero who is devoted and passionate may think we are beautiful, but that’s not enough to give the sweet sweet validation high you really need.  No, you need multiple male characters (yes yes, they have to be male, again, just don’t fight it, this is the world you live in by the time you are 2 years old if you are female) to also see your beauty.  Your natural beauty, not your “make-over” beauty, but what you look like when you role out of bed.  That’s the fantasy, to no longer have to spend all that time prepping before leaving the house, or else waste all that energy feeling guilty for not prepping before leaving the house (I didn’t bother putting on mascara this morning and it’s making me feel more guilty than not doing my dishes last night), because you have firm reinforcement that your appearance is acceptable to society even if you don’t do anything about it.

It’s not just a matter of slapping an outsider hero who takes control of everything on top of a passive heroine who doesn’t have to wear make-up.  You need all the fal-de-rol (sp?) and fripperies around it too.  The fantasy touches in Twilight, the period touches in the traditional romance novels, and in this film, the great songs!  And really pretty visuals in general.  Great costumes, great looking characters (but in a way that doesn’t make you hate them), and really nice color palette.  And then you just sit back and let the romantic fantasy wash over you.

I wish there were movies made like this.  Not this movie exactly, but LIKE this movie.  Same whole-hearted commitment to the romantic fantasy for the female audience, slightly better script and less ridiculous plot.  One of the people who recommended it to me (I want to say Filmilibrarian? But I could be wrong) said that it was the kind of film that got her into Indian cinema to begin with.  And that’s exactly right!  This kind of swoony romance is a long-term genre in Indian film.  Maybe not always the most popular of genres, and usually with some comedy or action scenes thrown in, but it was always there.  And now the straight up romances have been shoved into some kind of female-audience ghetto, just like they are in America.  We get the rare Badrinath Ki Dulhania, but more and more the good romances are more like Happy Bhaag Jayegi or Running Shaadi, a great script wasted with no budget or promotions.  Or this movie which, okay, is not a GREAT script, but it’s not terrible!  Take one more pass at the dialogue, put in a big catchy promo song, and promote it as the all ages film it is, and it could have made decent box office.  But instead it had a barely known southern star, and a Pakistani model as the leads, songs that never really cracked the charts, and box office so terrible that it will continue to scare producers away from this kind of film.

Oh well, in this case I am not that upset, because while I can see all the reasons it is appealing as a film, I also found the plot RIDICULOUS!!!

 

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Okay, try not to laugh, our heroine is a librarian.  A dowdy glasses wearing librarian.  And our hero is a tattooed poor little rich boy recently released from juvenile detention.  It’s like someone just reached into two hats labeled “romance heroine” and “romance hero” and went with what they got.  Could have just as easily been “widow who’s sworn never to love again” and “cowboy who doesn’t trust women but just inherited a baby”.

What makes this film watchable, enjoyable even, is that they kind of dig out some vague social statement behind the two roles.  She isn’t just “dowdy librarian”.  We see that her naturally retiring nature was encouraged by her authoritarian father.  She was never supposed to talk to boys or have friends or be outside of the house, so she didn’t do those things.  Her sister, who is more naturally outgoing, fought back against those restrictions.  But Mawra, our heroine, isn’t a fighter so she just went with the flow and ended up being more and more retiring.  Incapable of putting herself forward and demanding what she wants from life.

Our “bad boy” hero is this perfect combination of sacrificial and giving (so our heroine can relax and let someone else take care of her), but also tough on the outside so he can protect her.  Not protect her from dull stuff like rapists and gangsters like in another movie, but the really bad stuff, parental disapproval and feeling like you aren’t “cool” and don’t have any friends and needing to find an apartment.  Blech!  Let our tattooed bad boy take care of all that!  And then look at us soulfully and tell us how beautiful we are.  Sure, in “real life”, that would get super boring after about a day, but this isn’t real life, this is a fantasy.

Oh right, actual plot.  Our dowdy heroine lives in a dowdy respectable apartment complex with her prettier younger sister and her authoritarian father and doormat mother.  Recently moved in to the first floor of the building is the “bad boy”, Harshvadhan Rane, with tattoos and all, recently released from juvenile detention.  He doesn’t belong in this boring middle-class world and everyone tries to avoid him.  But they can’t throw him out, because for some reason he inherited the apartment from the respectable middle-class woman who used to live there.

Our dowdy heroine’s problem is that her sister is in love and engaged, but her parents refuse to let her marry until the dowdy big sister is married.  So she goes to sexy boad boy downstairs for help with a make-over so she can get a man.  This sounds SO STUPID when reading the wikipedia plot summary, but in reality, it’s kind of the smartest part of the film.

Remember Pardes?  On watch 3 or 4, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about a love triangle between the fiance and his brother.  It’s about the “fixer” who pushes these matches together between two people with nothing in common eventually taking responsibility for his actions breaking the match just like he put it together in the first place.  And the romance is about someone who knows all our flaws, knows them so well that he was able to get rid of them, loving you anyway.  In fact, loving you because of your “flaws”.

That’s what this movie is digging in to as well, but even more so, because it adds on the frustration of the very people who caused those flaws now turning around and blaming you for them.  Mawra doesn’t wear make-up and prefers baggy dowdy salwars and only goes from home to work and home again because that is what her father told her to do.  And now he is blaming her because she can’t get a man to marry her, even though it is the very things he turned her into that are stopping her from finding someone.  And Mawra herself has a crush on Anurag Sinha, but doesn’t now how to act on it, because she doesn’t have the tools.  It’s the purest form of torture!  Not able to fulfill her family’s desires, not able to fulfill her own desires, and somehow believing herself to blame for it all as well.

And the only solution to this, the big fantasy solution, is to just leave them all behind.  Leave all those people who take and take and go with someone who gives and gives, yes!  That’s the dream!  And for a real fantasy, have them throw you out.  So you don’t have to feel guilty for leaving (seriously, being a woman suuuuuuuuuuuucks!).

Which is what we get here.  Our heroine, in an effort to somehow please everyone around her, is driven to ask the “bad boy” downstairs for help in the middle of the night, wanting him to get her in touch with one of his girlfriends for make-over advice.  And it has to be the middle of the night, because things just came to a head with her sister and her parents are coming back tomorrow.  So this is her one gap between doing things that her father would approve of and doing the things her sister needs her to do.  Anyway, middle of the night, they are caught together, there is a misunderstanding, her father slaps her and throws her out of his family.  Woo-hoo!!!!  No family!!!

Harshvardhan, our perfect bad boy hero, picks her up at work (making all the cool business types who work near her lending library, including the guy she has a crush on, stop and stare).  And he takes her back to a wonderful apartment that she has all to herself, and then takes her grocery shopping the next day, and doesn’t tell her she should or shouldn’t do anything, or make any demands on her.  Heaven!

But remember how I said knowing that one person loves us just as we are isn’t quite enough?  For the real fantasy, other disinterested people also need to give us that sweet sweet social validation.  And therefore, Mawra has to get a “make-over” so the boy she has a crush on will return her feelings and generally people will react as though she is beautiful.

But it is a perfectly calibrated make-over, so we can keep both the “he sees her when no one else does and she is legitimately struggling in the world” effect of the first half, and the “she is beautiful without even realizing it” effect that we all crave (stupid mascara guilt!).  Mawra sympathizes with Harshwardhan about his own family issues, and in the process reveals how miserable she is being removed from her family.  And so Harsh turns it back on her, and instead of sucking up all her sympathy, he gives it back to her, taking her to a back alley blackmarket designer label dealer who can give her the make-over she thinks her family wants.

It’s a great make-over!  I was kind of worried about that, knowing that the heroine is played by a model, that it would be one of those make overs where she doesn’t even look like the same person after.  Or else that she would be transparently already pretty from the start.  But it was just right, in the beginning she braided her hair and wore baggy salwars, telling the world to look at her like “little girl” or “old-fashioned”.  Post-makeover, she looks just the same, only with her hair down and brushed away from her face, and adult clothes that actually fit her.  She was “beautiful” all along, just had to change a few things to make people notice it.

And her crush does notice it, and proposes (sweet sweet validation!).  But before that, Harsh commits himself to getting her married.  This is the part that reminded me of Pardes.  Getting married, finding a husband, is such a stressful time.  You end up bonding with the one who you share it with, the person who builds you up and supports you in this incredibly sensitive moment.  And Pardes and this film take the same idea, that you can be yourself with some lowclass outsider who is helping you with all this touchy stuff, and that makes it all the more romantic when that very person falls in love with you.  So Harsh gives her the make over, then helps track down grooms, then after the engagement, he helps her pick out her wedding outfits and plan the ceremony and everything else.

And so, when the groom stands her up, it is the ideal romantic fulfillment for her to have sex with hot Harsh.  He’s a “bad boy”, so he’s experienced.  But they’ve also spent so much time together, that she can feel completely comfortable with him.  And he’s been so super protective, she knows he will take care of her.  That’s the sexual experience sweetspot, a little bit dangerous so you know he will be good at it, but totally familiar and trustworthy, so you know you will be safe with him.

Okay, then the film gets RIDICULOUS!!!  There’s a monastery?  But it’s also a little interesting in how the perspective shifts.  We spent most of the first half of the film in Mawra’s mindset, so we could fully enjoy all the wonderfulness of leaving your family without guilt, and getting a makeover, and being proposed to by the boy you have a crush on, and so on.  But now suddenly we shift over to Harsh, and stay with him for the rest of the film.

See, this is when Mawra disappears the morning after their night together, and Harsh finally tracks her down at a monastery (!!!!).  Only to learn that she is dying (!!!!!) of random Attractive Movie Disease.  No one wants to fantasize about dying.  But fantasizing about how dramatically miserable everyone else around us will be if we were dying, now THAT’S a fantasy.  Some hot tattoo guy who will take care of our every need and sob himself to sleep every night, oh yeah!  That’s the stuff!

The only time we go back into Mawra’s perspective is when we get the final sweet twist on the romance.  Mawra, being a good undemanding female character, refuses Harsh’s proposal, thinking it was made out of pity.  But then goes to the library, where she used to work, to clear her head.  And randomly pulls out the first book she recommended to Harsh (Catcher in the Rye, beloved of sensitive male souls everywhere), to find a note he wrote asking her out for coffee on the back of the check-in card.  See!!!! He really did love her all along!  And he is so emotionally self-contained, he didn’t even let her know, assuming she had seen the cards and didn’t want to respond.  That’s what makes it awesome, not that he loved her all along, but that he never showed it!  He just lived to serve, silently, whatever she wished, without wanting anything for himself.  Basically, he was the ideal self-sacrificing Indian wife.  Only, a man.  Which means the woman gets to fantasize that she is the typical Indian husband.  Perfect by in their essential essence, just there to be served and adored.  So relaxing!

 

Oh, and then she dies.  Which is sad I guess, that she dies of Movie Disease right after the wedding.  But on the other hand, it also means we never lose the fantasy.  She never has to clean a kitchen or change a diaper or any of those tedious things which in real life aren’t that bad and are definitely way better than dying, but would kind of spoil the fantasy.

 

 

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56 thoughts on “Sanam Teri Kasam: All the Best Female Fantasies

  1. This is by far my favorite analysis you’ve done! And all of this is why I love this movie and its ridiculous plot and female fantasy fulfillment. Unapologetically, too:) It’s pure escapism.

    I’ve been reading romance novels since I was in 4th grade and my teacher, Mrs. Ford, handed me a book called Cassie by Vivian Schurfranz from the Sunrise Romance series for young readers. I’ve read all different kinds of romances in different phases of my life (Harlequin, historical, urban-fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, chick-lit, etc) and I’ve never been ashamed to admit it either.

    And, yes, it is movies like this one that keep me hooked on Hindi and Indian cinema and got me hooked on it in the first place, though obviously I just like movies in general and will watch any genre. In the first films I saw I found my movie romance novel equivalents: Jodhaa Akbar was the epic historical romance of my favorite Jude Deveraux and Liz Carlyle novels, Mujhse Dosti Karoge was the Harlequin Presents with the alpha hero and the martyr heroine, K3G was like an old-school Judith McNaught, Jab We Met was the romantic comedy with the dramatic chops like a Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Jennifer Crusie novel.

    But then, of course, there’s no perfect comparison since filmi romance is really its own thing, informed by the culture and the narrative style, the personas of the actors and actresses, etc. But just like romance novels, sometimes a librarian/bad boy filmi romance with a quirky makeover sequence with a song that references Google and Wikipedia is exactly what you need to get you through the week.

    PS I couldn’t finish the Twilight series but I did read the first couple of books. I still haven’t read the 50 Shades of Grey series because even I have to draw the line somewhere!

    PPS I’m watching Deewaar right now for the first time. The Shashi romance is so boring (not all filmi romance is magical!) and all I want to see is Amitabh and Parveen back on the screen.

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    • I’m glad you liked the post! For myself, romance novels were just always around. My mother had a ton of them all over the house, and told me they were “like fairy tales (which I loved) but for adults”. I borrowed my Mom’s Elinor Lipman’s in middle school and then graduated to Crusies in college. I’m not a total addict, but I tend to cycle back to them every Christmas season or any other time I am super stressed.

      I agree completely with what you say about Hindi films being similar-but-different. It’s that overall embrace of emotion and relationships and the female perspective that sucked me in when I first saw DDLJ. And then I got more into them and started seeing more and more of the differences, but that total focus on dealing with internal emotions in an external way still kind of gives me a high.

      On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 8:52 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I have read this view before of Americans, or westerners in general, who get their romance fix via Hindi/Indian films, and I have a few questions for you folks.

    1. Is it that Hollywood stopped making these types of films, so you had to find fulfillment in Hindi films, or that the Hindi films are even more “romantic” than the Hollywood ones? As a corollary, are there Hollywood/western films, from any period, that give you the same romance thrill you get from the Hindi films?

    2. Is it specifically Hindi films (actually “Bollywood” films) that give you this romance, or Indian films in general? I ask this because I think Indian films of other languages approach romance/love very differently, and people who got their introduction to Indian films through Hindi films are, a lot of times, in for a rude awakening when they watch, let’s say, a South Indian film and try to fit it into that preconceived mental framework.

    I’ll hold off on other questions till I see what kind of response I get to these.

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    • Great questions, Moimeme! I ask myself the same thing. I definitely don’t watch as many Hollywood films as I used to and I do think that Hollywood doesn’t really do straightforward romances and romantic comedies much anymore and they certainly don’t take them that seriously when they do. There hasn’t been the equivalent of an Out of Africa, a Last of the Mohicans, or even a Pretty Woman or Sleepless in Seattle in years. I’ve had to look for my swoonworthy romances in other places like BBC literary adaptations or tv shows or, for the most part, Hindi films. I like what we perceive as “romantic” can be a very personal thing, informed by our physical, emotional, and practical ideals in a partner and in life in general. And, yes, for me Hindi films often seem more romantic than Western films. I still love my Hollywood romances though…some of my favorites of all time (in addition to the classics listed above) are The Philadelphia Story, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pretty in Pink, Jack & Sarah, Baz Luhrman’s Australia, Brooklyn, Ever After, Firelight (one of my all time favs), Queen Margot, A Royal Affair, The Swan (with Grace Kelly), Bull Durham, and just about any Jane Austen or Bronte adaptation, and finally the best of the best, the British tv series North and South with Richard Armitage.

      Per your second question, I am most familiar with Hindi film romance, which I think has more variety in the romance genre than it gets credit for…I just watched Chameli yesterday and that was quite different! I’ve enjoyed many of the Malayalam romances I’ve seen, but I don’t think I’ve seen enough of the other industries’ romance offerings to make any real comparison. I’ve been able to find satisfying romances in the Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu film industries, too, but I’ve definitely self-selected to find the films that focus on the romance as I’m generally not a fan of the action and all-out testosterone in Tamil and Telugu films.

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    • I hope you don’t mind me answering, too:

      1. For me, I always watched older Hollywood movies, 30s and 40s and 50s. It was only a rare modern film that felt “romantic” to me. Romantic meaning dealing with emotions and relationships more than mysteries or action scenes or any of that stuff. And which had a strong central female character. The films that really give me the same thrill as Hindi films are Last of the Mohicans, Laura, the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, and I am sure some others I’m not remembering at the moment. It’s also often just a moment in a film, even if the rest of it isn’t “romantic” to me, there will be a random scene dropped in the middle that is. Seeing DDLJ was a revelation for me, to have an entire film just about a couple falling in love and then getting their families to agree to their marriage, with no comic misunderstandings or crime story or anything else in it. And where the heroine was just as central to the film as the hero. And the hero was just as central as the heroine, not just a boring cut-out figure to dream about (a problem with a lot of American movies, especially teen girl romances). Of course, I later realized that DDLJ is kind of unique, which gets into your second question 🙂

      2. Not just other genres, but even in Hindi, i quickly realized that the romance “high” I got from DDLJ was pretty rare. But beyond that high, there was being able to relate to the story, which was still there. Pretty consistently in Hindi films, even in action movies, there will be some family storyline, something about relationships, which just isn’t there in Hollywood movies and never really was, and that’s what I relate to. So I really like the movies that just perfectly line up with my romantic needs, but even if they don’t, I can still relate to sibling relationships and worrying about your parents and all of that stuff which isn’t included in Hollywood films. And that is the kind of thing that I consistently enjoy in every Indian industry. They vary so much language to language, but they all have family storylines and complicated relationship storylines, even in the action movies, and that’s what keeps me coming back more than anything else. Oh, and there is also the unembarrassment with emotional display in the acting style. In Hollywood, it often is so unemotional that it swings back to unbelievable. Someone’s mother will die, and they will just flex a muscle in their cheek. I love the excess of the emotions in Indian films, of course it varies language to language, but you never get a hero who has no emotions at all.

      On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 9:48 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • 1) In my opinion, Hollywood maybe didn’t stop making romantic movies, but the movies that are done , don’t fulfil my idea of romanticism . And yes, I find bollywood movies more romantic, mostly because of songs (e.g in western movie, the scene when protagnist fall in love is romantic, but in indian movie, there will be fall-in-love scene and fall-in-love song. Double dose of romanticism. And we didn’t even start talking about lyrics)
      What I love in bollywood, indian or all movies in general , is old-fashioned charm. I like the idea of knowing each other, courtering. Give me a movie with those elements + good, inteligent heroine and I’m sure I will love it. In fact I love almost all BBC adaptations of Jane Austen , and sisters Bronte. (I know Pride and Prejudice form 1995 almost by heart). And I know almost every scene form Dirty Dancing too 🙂

      2) My top 5 favorites movies:
      -Veer-Zaara (hindi)
      -Paheli (hindi)
      -Bommarillu (telugu)
      -Kandukondain Kandukondain (tamil, but Jane Austen’s adaptation so I don’t know if it counts as tamil)
      -and the newest addition Ohm Shanthi Oshaana (malayalam)

      I find my idea of romanticism in all indian movies. I like tamil less than others, because in my opinion tamil movies are too complicated (there are like 5 movies in one: love story, police movie, terrorist, political dramas etc), but even there you can find something. Now I’m little dissappointed with hindi movies, so I move towards malayalam.

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  3. I love a good romance as well as the next person. But this is too sappy for me. Why didn’t Mawra take her sister’s help for a makeover? I’m assuming that the sister doesn’t wear dowdy clothes.The song ‘Kheech meri photo’ was a chartbuster. Speaking about that song, does our hero have a job? He’s shown sweeping the railway station(?) Is he a sweeper? A part of Modiji’s Swachh Bharat initiative? Or does he live off his inheritance? I can’t help but draw parallels between Mawra’s situation and Amala Paul’s situation in Mili. Nivin didn’t bring Mili home and give her a makeover.Instead he put her in touch with his friends and arranged her to have alternate living space, and Nivin’s sister pitched in with an idea to give her a job. That’s helping someone stand on their own feet, not making them permanently dependent on you.I agree with you that the director randomly took two romantic stereotypes out of a hat.I can’t help thinking about Mawra with the cowboy who inherited a baby.Never say that there aren’t cowboys in India.Just take a look at Firoz Khan-Parveen Babi starrer Kala Sona or Mahesh Babu’s Takkari Donga starring none other than MB, Lisa Rey and Bipasha Basu.

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    • Speaking about Hollywood romances, the last one that I loved was Leap Year.IIRC it came out about the same time as Jab we met.

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      • Haven’t seen that one, although I do love Matthew Goode. I should put it on my “fun movie to watch while folding laundry” list.

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      • Leap Year is on my DVD keeper shelf. Irish “things” are my other obsession and that movie is also ridiculous and reads like a romance novel, too. But my favorite Ireland-set romance is The Matchmaker with David O’Hara and Janeane Garofalo. I’m such a fan of Matthew Goode that I am also a big fan of Chasing Liberty, which is also a silly movie.

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        • Oh yeah, Chasing Liberty is another one of my guilty-but-not-really pleasure films! Matthew Goode has been getting all this buzz for Downtown Abbey and The Good Wife lately, and I keep thinking “yeah yeah, I’ve known he was wonderful since Chasing Liberty.” Kind of like when everyone else discovered Channing Tatum was really funny, and I already knew that from She’s the Man.

          On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 8:16 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Me, too! His characters on both shows were short-changed. Looks like he’s got a few cool British films coming up!

            Speaking of Chasing Liberty…didn’t the recent Ishq Forever seem like a remake? I haven’t been able to find it to watch?

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          • I never even heard of Ishq Forever! But Chasing Liberty without Matthew Goode is a Chasing Liberty I have no desire to watch. And speaking of plotholes, can you really be in the secret service and have a British accent?

            On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 8:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Here’s the imdb for Ishq Forever with a plot summary…definitely a remake of Chasing Liberty. From the trailer, it doesn’t even look that bad. I’m dying to see it and I’ve been looking online for a while. Maybe you can find it! Some of these under the radar films never seem to make it to DVD which is so frustrating. Sonali Cable is another one that I kind of liked and can’t find on DVD.

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          • Yay, they kept the security agents plot! That’s what makes the original not just romantic, but kind of clever.

            On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 9:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And here’s the trailer. It kind of looks awesome! I’m so confused why it didn’t get a bigger release.

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          • See, this goes back to my “producers don’t believe in romance any more” argument! Stupid Shivaay gets all the funding in the world, these cute little rom-coms don’t even get DVDs.

            On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 9:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Oh, Lordy, how I adore Matthew Goode in Chasing Liberty. I own that baby on DVD. Mandy Moore has come quite a long way since then. Really loving her in This Is Us now. I also get a kick out of the side romance with Jeremy Piven!

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    • Here’s what bugs me, our hero is introduced having just won some big court case. So, did he study law while in prison? Or did he take an accelerated course and somehow get his degree, pass the bar, and then fight and win a major case all within the 2 years since Mawra died?

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      • Major plot hole…I’ll just choose to believe that he was somehow studying for his degree all along, multi-tasking while doing pull-ups? What better way to prove his dad wrong.

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        • That completely makes sense. Also, why does he need to pull his waistband way way down and unbutton the top button in order to do pull-ups?

          On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 8:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Simply for female fantasy fulfillment…I’m going to start abbreviating to FFF since that it is a useful phrase!

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      • I guess this is one of those “leave-your-brains-at-home” films.As for Leap Year all the people I’ve shown it you have agreed that it’s a Bollywood movie in disguise.Matthew Goode is a favorite of mine too.I’ve loved him from his Chasing Liberty days. In Leap Year, it’s a close call which is prettier -Matthew Goode or the scenery.

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  4. You again praised a bad movie. I am not talking about Sanam Teri Kasam( haven’t seen it but my friends said that it is a sheer waste of time). It is definately a bad movie but cant comment on that
    I am talking about Twilight. Twilight? You praise Twilight? The movie that destroyed complete vampire and werewolf genre.

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    • I’m sorry you disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to my own opinion. Please try to keep that in mind when you phrase your comments.

      On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 9:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I am sorry for rudeness. It is just that twilight triggers my anger. I thought it will be battle between Vampires and Werewolves.

        I didn’t mean to offend or be rude.

        I apologise for my bad behavior. please forgive me.

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        • Thank you for responding so maturely!

          Twilight is a terrible book if you were reading it for a battle between Vampires and Werewolves. But since I was reading it as an escapist romance novel, it was just what I was looking for. I still don’t think it is an objectively “good” book, but it is exactly what I expected and I was not disappointed by it. In the same way, I knew perfectly well that this film would be an overly dramatic and unrealistic romance, and it lived down to my expectations. But sometimes it is nice to watch or read something that is just escapism and nothing else.

          On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 10:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Okay, I see your view point
            I never liked romance movies. Give me Terminator 2 over Titanic any day of the week.
            May be I don’t agree with it because I have different definition for escapism. For me, escapism is watching action, horror and comedy movies like scary movie, Erasor, Hard target etc For me best SRk movies are baazigar and Chak De India not kuch Kuch Hota hai, DDLJ etc. For me, he is Hulk Hogan of Bollywood. Like Hulk Hogan, he also depends on persona rather than talent and delivers great matches once in years.
            I didn’t read books but found movie to be very boring. i just couldn’t see any twilight movie full. Another my problem was potrayal of Bella. I found her character to misgyonstic. I am not feminazi that will find fault with every portrayl of women( I wont even like complete feminist propaganda like Ghost of Girlfirend’s past) but I am not comfortable with visible misogyny. This is what I hate about item songs in Bollywood.

            Thanks for a mature reply.

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          • Again,

            I am sorry for rudeness.
            People on internet are sometimes rude to me too because I like Robert Baratheon and hate Lyanna and Rhaegar

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        • OK, I’ll jump in and defend our gracious host! She was talking about the books, not the films. Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean you should judge others on what they enjoy. Please keep in mind that we are essentially guests in this blogger’s house and we should treat her appropriately and not insult her nor demand her attention with comments that are very rude.

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  5. You again praised a bad movie. I am not talking about Sanam Teri Kasam( haven’t seen it but my friends said that it is a sheer waste of time). It is definately a bad movie but cant comment on that
    I am talking about Twilight. Twilight? You praise Twilight? The movie that destroyed complete vampire and werewolf genre.

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  6. I answered Moimeme questions, but haven’t written nothing about Sanam Teri Kasam .

    I started watching it with “This movie will be so bad. Yeah, there will be a lot of laughing” kinda thinking. And beginning really was bad. I laughed at Mawras’s sister, and her father. But then, not sure when I started thinking: The story is so good, with some famous actors it would be a hit.

    I like the protagonist. I like the fact that she is not another crazy girl without problems. And that she is not another “looks like Miss India, but she can’t find a man because she wears glasses” like Deepika in Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani (I still get mad when I think about this movie)
    Another thing I like was that she become free after her reputation was destroyed. She had apartment, was free to wear, and do what she wanted. There wasn’t man who controled her. I love it. It makes me think about Devdas (the Bimal Roy’s one).. I was little shocked that Chandramukhi – the one that lives in shame is the one with more freedom. She worked, then she decided to move out to the country, then she returned to the city. Yes, maybe nobody loves her, but nobody could lock her in house neither. Of course Sanam Teri Kasam is not Devdas, and Mawra is not Chandramukhi but I like this aspect that loosing reputation can give freedom. Are there other indian movies with this theme?

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    • Hmm. This is a really interesting question, whether there are other Indian films with the theme of the heroine being freed once she is cast out of society. It’s a very common theme for male heroes, the outcast hero who is wrongfully accused and put in jail or otherwise destroyed. Which frees him to fight back outside of the restrictions of society.

      But that’s slightly different from what you are talking about, the women don’t necessarily “fight back”, they just find a different way to live. And yes, I guess there are a fair number of those films. Often it is framed as a tragedy, just like this film, although we the audience can see that she is clearly much better off without her family, the script keeps repeating “I just want my family back, I just want my family back.”

      Off the top of my head, Laaga Chunari Main Daag, Aaja Nachle, Bandini, 22 Female Kottiyam, Umrao Jaan, Jaanwar (sort of, Karisma’s storyline is not the major part of the film), Highway, Guide, they all have heroines who have been cast out of society for one reason or another and ended up finding greater strength and freedom in their new situations.

      On Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 3:52 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. I finally watched this one tonight, after Filmilibrarian mentioned rewatching it in the Wednesday post. Total utter FFF and I loved that it was essentially a romance novel on screen for me. There are a LOT of bad boy romance novels with characters like our hero, but the latest trend would have him in a biker gang with all those tattoos if it was an American romance novel.

    The makeover was wonderful, and while the plot got super ridiculous in the second half, I still cried my way through it. It was one of those nights when I sort of wanted to wallow in a good cry so it was a very satisfying movie.

    King of Punjab — you talked about your escapism being Terminator 2 and the like. I do enjoy action movies, too, but this movie is all about the female gaze, and what is escapist for us — and Margaret’s wonderful review lays out all the myriad reasons why it is such a fantasy filled movie for women. The setting in India allowed for valid non trivial reasons why an innocent girl could be thrown out of her family. The set up was good, but then the tragic death went WAY over the top. I still cried.

    I’m sort of intrigued by these actors. The lead actor is a Southern star? I’d see something else with him in it.

    And Moimeme, I am a HUGE fan of romance novels — in fact, I’m going to a book convention in about a week called Romantic Times — just all romance authors and readers for five glorious days. And that’s why first attracted me to Indian Cinema. The out and out romance in the films. Like Margaret, I loved the classic Hollywood movies of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and they just rarely, if ever, make romantic films in Hollywood or Western cinema any more. It is a very rare thing, and usually has a very cynical edge to it. Plus I love the music — and Hollywood rarely makes musicals either. That’s why I swooned for La La Land this year — I felt like they made that movie just for me.

    The emotions in Indian films are something that is rare to see in Hollywood or English films. People joke about how much Shahrukh Khan cries in his films, but I really respond to the emotions shown in Indian cinema. I do like the more natural acting, too, in Malayalam cinema, but that industry has a great emphasis on women centric films — like Om Shanti Oshana. Telugu and Tamil films — even if it’s mostly action will still have a romance at the core, something most Hollywood action films barely pay lip service to.

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    • Yes, for me escapism is action movies. I am Punjabi village guy. For us, Sunny Deol is bigger than SRK. We enjoy even the movies that are shunned in USA like Terminator 3, Die hard 4, Rambo 3, 300, The Mummy etc. We enjoy Slyvester shooting and killing everyone in sight without looking ridiculous. There was scence in recent Punjabi movie where Diljit uses Arnold Gun from Terminator 2. His friend asks “where did you Arnold’s Gun?”There can be some beat pe booty, chittiyan kalliyan, nashe si chadd gayi songs available but we wait for Taare Gin Gin, Tera Yaar Bolda in every wedding. Since my childhood, no wedding ever concluded without these songs. There is Honey singh but we revere Babbu Maan, Jazzy B
      Romantic movies are not liked in my entire village. In my childhood, we watched Sunny Deol movies, Dubbed action cartoons and WWF. We used to enjoy attitude era and great matches were discussed for months.
      Yes, we do make fun of SRK. We like SRK better in Baazigar than in anything.
      Ironically, I watch Hollywood to escape from same things that draws you to Bollywood

      Sorry, if my response was rude

      One question,

      Were you insulting Hollywood entertainment industry? Hollywood entertainment has been a big part of my childhood. From Hanna barbara Cartoons to Harry Potter to WWF. I have watched Rambo, Terminator, Commando etc.

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      • King of Punjab — Please. I am not insulting the Hollywood entertainment industry by stating the fact that they do not make hardly any romance films anymore! I love ALL sorts of films, from Indie films to summer blockbusters, and the Oscars are my Superbowl. I like superhero movies, too, and can’t wait for Thor Ragnorak and Guardians of the Galaxy. But I LOVE Indian cinema, and love talking about it with Margaret and the other people who read this blog and mine.
        We don’t all have to like the same things. I love opera. But that doesn’t mean that YOU have to love opera. Or that Margaret has to love opera.
        Margaret’s blog is to discuss Indian cinema. That is her main interest. There are plenty of other blogs and websites out there to discuss Hollywood films and action movies and super hero films. Here’s a few I follow that you might want to check out:
        https://keithlovesmovies.com/
        https://lazysundaymoviesblog.wordpress.com/
        https://screenzealots.com/
        https://assholeswatchingmovies.com/

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        • Actually, the reason that I asked this question because I didn’t understand your responding to emotion part. I should have been direct. I didn’t understand different emotion part. I found Logan to be more emotional than any Bollywood movie released in a long time.

          I was not trying to insult anyone.

          Yes, you can like anything you want. I wasn’t judging. I also get judged for my tastes. I was called brute for not liking DDLJ. My friend used to say ” your taste is so brutish”. I also made fun of them.

          Will I be watching Sanam teri Kasam? Not at all. If my gf insists on watching it, I would rather breakup with her than watching this movie.

          I am here mainly to discuss Punjabi movies. There are no sites or blogs where I could do that. This site is dedicated for entire Indian film industry, hence I think that I could discuss punjabi cinema over here. I do it because I love to do it.

          I went through the site and found some articles that confused me and I commented on them.

          It does confuse me that you can watch even bad Bollywood movies more than once but brilliant ones like Logan not even once.

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    • The actors really weren’t bad, right? They weren’t shockingly good, but they had more promise than some other actors who get huge launches.

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          • I would like to review Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh. You love romantic movies then this movie is definately for you. I love this movie and that is actually saying a lot.
            This movie was original of Gadar . Both were inspired from a real life love story. But these movies are completely different. In gadar, politics were given same prominence. It was made by keeping Bollywood audience in mind. But Shaheed e Mohabbat focused on love story and everything else is background. Dont think that if you have seen Gadar, you have seen it. It is completely different movie. In this movie, there are not one or two Pakistanis helping Boota. There are a lot of people who help him. It shows Pakistan is much more favorable light. And bigotry is shown on both sides.

            I watched it as a kid on TV. It is my mother’s favorite movie.

            I think you know the basic synopsis. Boota singh is retired army man returns from second world war. He decides to get settled by getting married but he is old and there is no unmarried woman. His uncle hopes to get Boota’s property when Boota dies without heir. He one day saves a Muslim girl named Zainab from rioters. Rest is anyone’s guess

            It stars Gurdas Maan(pride of Punjab). Everyone idolzes him. Even now, he is inspiration of every young Punjabi singer. Diljit, Gippy, Amrinder, Babbu Maan, Sharry Maan etc. Everyone touches his feet. Kapil Sharma always touched his feet when he came to his show. He delivers a brilliant performance. His face makes you pity him. Divya Dutta plays role of Zainab. She is also brilliant in her role.

            It is a kind of movie that you dont watch for happy ending. It is not normal Bollywood style romance. IF you like happy ending, then dont watch it. It is a depressing movie. It is a good movie but not a jolly good feeling movie. It has sad ending.

            I love Gadar. I am a much bigger fan of Sunny Deol than you are of Shahrukh Khan. But you watch Gadar for patriotism and Sunny Deol and you watch Shaheed E Mohabbat Boota Singh to see real life love story of Boota SIngh and Zainab

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          • Interesting how they changed it to be more general and political for the Hindi audience, goes back to what I was saying about how Hindi films have lost that authentic touch as their audience expanded. And I love Divya Dutta!

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    • Glad to hear you enjoyed Sanam Teri Kasam, too, moviemavengal. It really is a kind of hidden gem! I’m so jealous that you’re going to the Romantic Times convention. I’ve been a romance reader for most of my life and I’ve always wanted to go to one of those! Maybe if one comes to Philly in the future. I have to ask, are you a writer/aspiring writer (besides your awesome blog!)? Every once in a while I think about trying. One of my good friends (who was Sarah MacLean’s first agent and helped her come up with the ridiculous names for the first trilogy) is always trying to get me to write one!

      I too miss the golden age of Hollywood romance that seems to be a thing of the past now. Though I haven’t seen La La Land yet and I may unfortunately be predisposed to dislike it based on a lot of what I’ve read. Interestingly, I randomly watched How To Be Single and thought it was quite interesting, if not good. It had a decidedly unromanticized outlook on relationships and what life for the “modern” single woman is like. Books like Rebecca Traisters’s All the Single Ladies are defining a cultural moment, too. I just think we’re entering a phase where unfettered romance (in tv, films, and books) is less popular in the mainstream. Which is fine, because we still have our Indian film industries to give us that!

      I’m really surprised that there isn’t more talk about Harshvardhan Rane. I don’t think he’s done any really high profile Southern films either from what I can tell. And Mawra Hoccane was quite good, too, and deserves a shot if Pakistani actors are ever allowed back into Indian productions!

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      • Filmilibrian, RT is a blast, and if you enjoy reading romance you would love it. This year will be the fifth one I have attended as a reader. I first met Sarah MacClean in the registration line a few years back and I totally fangirled and she was just so delighted to meet a fan right off the bat, too. Your friend is brilliant as those titles were extremely clever. I’ve read every single book Sarah has written. RT is my little vacation treat I give myself — I can’t really describe how wonderful it is to just be surrounded by almost all women for those days, all people who love the same thing I love. This year is Atlanta, and next year is Reno. (I would be open to sharing a hotel room, if you wanted to attend next year!)

        Thank you for the compliment on my blog. I have never tried to write a romance novel. I just enjoy reading them!

        Totally agree with you about the two actors in this film, and I may just seek out Harshvardhan Rane’s Telugu films. His wikipedia entry said he was Bhansali’s first choice for Ram Leela, but he dropped out of the film because he didn’t want to commit to so many months on one film. There’s an interesting thought — where would he be today, if he’d had THAT film?? Here’s hoping that all the Pakistani actors we love can work in Hindi films again SOON. Fawad I miss you……

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        • I really would love to attend one someday! Thanks for your offer of sharing a hotel room…I might take you up on it someday. We would have tons to talk about between romance novels and film! Reno might be too expensive for plane tickets. Do you know if they have ever had it in Philly or somewhere in the Northeast? I couldn’t find the future sites after Reno. I know that RWA is in New York in 2019 but I think RT would be more my thing, since I’m not a writer either. I do go to ALA every year lately and sometimes get some free books, occasionally romances, too. But it’s not the same as a dedicated fan convention! It sounds like my kind of scene.

          I really liked Sarah MacLean, too. My friend, who is more of a children’s/YA literary agent, only helped her make the transition after her first YA novel to the contract with Avon. I read all of the first trilogy and the quartet in the gaming hell. I’ve burned out a bit on that regency historical genre, but she’s one of the best. I’m actually in a romance reading slump in the last few years…I used to consume at least 30 or so a year. Now I’m down to less than 10 or so (in addition to the other things I’m reading). The last ones I read were Lucy Parker’s Act Like It and one of the Lauren Willig Pink Carnation books. I also read some historical mysteries (with romantic subplots) and some selected female-protagonist fantasy/paranormal stuff. I also read lots of South Asian lit like Anuja Chauhan’s fun chick-lit titles and the more literary stuff like Jhumpa Lahiri (who I’m seeing speak on my campus next week!). And I still read Irish literature, too. Reading Edna O’Brien’s The Little Red Chairs right now and it’s brutal. Are you on goodreads?

          I’ve heard that rumor about Rane and Ram-Leela. How could he give up an opportunity like that. These actors are hard-core about their commitments but, wow! I think he would have been very interesting in the role. He would have had the same simmering sensuality as Ranveer but I think a lot less of the energy which could have been a good thing, maybe? A much cooler, less wild vibe. I wonder if he was actually up for one of the supporting roles like the brothers or the villain/cousin and this is a rumor his publicity team and fans keep up.

          PS If I ever start a blog, it would be focused on all things that in someway celebrate romance. I’d cover Indian films (of course), tv ‘ships, romance novels, and random things like fashion and figure skating. There are like ven diagrams of overlapping fandoms out there and figure skating, romance novels, and romantic tv and movies are right in there!

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          • Not much to add to the romance discussion, I am in a romance reading slump a bit myself, and I’m doing a lot of repeats instead of branching out into new authors.

            But I can add something to the Ram-Leela discussion! Ram-Leela was SLB’s comeback film. After the box office disasters that were Saawariya and Guzaarish, no one really wanted to commit to all the workshops and rehearsals, and then months and months of filming, that he was demanding. Ranveer and Dips, at that time, were kind of hungry and desperate themselves, not top stars. I remember months of casting debate, as he kept offering it to different people who ended up passing. And then Ranveer and Dips took it, and kind of disappeared for a long time because they couldn’t do anything else. And against all the pundits, it turned out to be a hit and turned around all 3 of their careers.

            Small thing I remember from that same time, Sonam was originally supposed to be the heroine. But then Ranveer was cast, and he really really needed the work, so she had to back out. I saw some quote about it where she was kind of joking, how irritating it was that she couldn’t play a big romantic heroine just because no one wanted to see two cousins opposite each other. Same way Kareena is occasionally bitter about not being able to be cast opposite today’s top hero (Ranbir).

            On Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 11:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I always forget that Sonam and Ranveer are cousins. I do think that casting producers don’t take advantage of the novelty of casting siblings/cousins in films as siblings or cousins enough. Even with two generations of stars it doesn’t happen enough, though there are several I can name I suppose. I know that it’s a whole star balance thing and you would need to have the perfect script that would let both Sonam and Ranveer/Ranbir and Kareena have a lot to do. Dil Dhadakane Do was the perfect version of this and then the Ranbir/Kareena casting never happened!

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          • Exactly! I wrote a whole review Somewhere on The Internet about DDD, and how it suffered because it missed the ideal casting. It’s not just Kareena/Ranbir, it was also supposed to have Kat playing the Anushka part, and Madhuri playing Shefali Shah’s role. So you would have had this whole history of Anil and Madhuri as a romantic couple that has now grown up, Kat as the woman who defied convention and left London to pursue a performing career, plus the layers of the Ranbir/Kat romance.

            Oh well, Shefali Shah was magnificent in her role, and Ranveer was pretty good too, so I guess we shouldn’t complain. Although I agree with you more, real life relatives should be cast. But not Salman Khan’s brothers!

            On Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 1:47 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Love the Willig Carnation series! I am on Goodreads with the same name — Moviemavengal – and would love to connect there as well. I would recommend Sonali Dev — The Bollywood Affair, The Bollywood Bride, etc. I’ve recently read some Beverly Jenkins which I loved, still historical, but out of my Regency rut — African-American historical.

            RT moves around, and was in NYC years ago so maybe East coast will be next. I don’t think they announce more than a year in advance. I started when it was in Chicago a few years ago because Nalini Singh was coming to it from NZ.

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          • Moviemavengal, I will look you up on goodreads! I think my profile is under my full real name (Kim T). I somehow deleted my old profile, so my current profile is just what I’ve read this year. I’ve read all of Sonali Dev and many of the Nalini Singh Psy/Changeling. All good, though I’ve lost interest in Singh’s since I’ve been in my romance reading slump.

            Keep in touch about future RTs. If it’s anywhere between Boston and Washington, I’ll be there and would love to share the cost of a hotel room, too! If it’s in Philly and you don’t mind riding the regional rail into the Convention Center, I can always host, too!

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        • From what I know, Harshvardhan Rane just starred in small budget Telugu films and played supporting roles in a couple movies with medium-budget stars. I know he’s most famous for playing the lead in a horror film called Avunu. It was successful and I think he was in the sequel as well. But other than that, I don’t think he has any notable movies.

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  8. Pingback: Silly Sunday Speculative Post: World Book Day! Let’s Remake Jane Eyre as a Hindi Film – dontcallitbollywood

  9. Pingback: Happy Birthday Himesh Reshammiya! 25 Reasons I Love You! | dontcallitbollywood

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