This is thanks to two commentators, Filmilibrarian who reminded me about Victoria & Abdul, and Niki who sent me the Spyder teaser seconds after it dropped. Oh, and then Salman Khan who tweeted the new Tubelight song this morning.
I have never seen a Mahesh Babu film in theaters. But I have seen an A R Murugadoss film! I was one of those few people who saw and enjoyed Akira opening night. And this film might be my second Murugadoss film in theaters and first Mahesh Babu.
It looks interesting, right? I would be worried about it turning into a CGI spectacle with no heart, but it’s Murugadoss. He never forgets the heart.
Wrenching ourselves away from south India, let us fly aaaaaalllllllllllllll the way around the world to England for the latest light BBC historical drama with an Indian touch. Based on a true story of a clerk who was sent from India to England as part of Victoria’s 1887 celebrations, intrigued her, and eventually became her teacher and consultant on Indian issues. She also gave him the title to various lands in India. When she died, he was sent back to India and lived out the rest of his life quietly on the lands she had given him.
Based on the trailer, this has a couple of small changes. Makes him more of a servant than a clerk, or implies it. So that his sudden increase to a favored role is more of a leap. Also hits heavily on the wide-eyed pure soul kind of idea, which I don’t know if I like.
But generally, so far, it doesn’t seem as Orientalist as it could be to me. Only in a small under the surface way, that of the two title characters, it is the white one who gets the layers and sympathetic flaws and so on. It is the brown one who is a little more superficial.
I am also slightly disappointed by the casting. Judi Dench is such an experienced actress, knows just how to deliver a line. I would have loved to see an actor from India of similar caliber opposite her. Can you imagine Saif? Or Abhishek? Or even Shahid or Ranbir or Ranveer. Ali Faizal is fine, but he is more just kind of a prop for Judi’s performance, isn’t really challenging her.
And then there’s the new Tubelight song! A sweet one, about the relationship between Salman and Sohail. Yes yes, I am still worried about Sohail having such a large part, as are we all. But it really does work well to have two brothers play two brothers, when their relationship seems as though it will be pivotal to the plot. It is a little odd to see Sohail taking the helping-guiding-strong one role, when in real life Sohail is the first to acknowledge that Salman is the strongest one and the one who takes care of everyone else. But then, Salman is the better actor (by SO MUCH!), so it’s good that he has the more difficult role of the idealistic younger brother.
Although, I do wonder if Salman will really be the older brother? I could see that being a nice twist on the plot, Salman was born first, but because of his disability, his younger brother ends up taking on the protective role. And then Salman would always feel slightly guilty, because he is “supposed” to be the big brother.
And finally, a little news update on Shahrukh’s movie after next. Yes, he is playing a dwarf. Yes, the heroines are Katrina and Anushka Sharma. Now, we all can hope that this turns into Jab Tak Hain Jaan as it SHOULD have been. That is, Shahrukh picking Anushka (the real grounded person) over Katrina (the fantasy).
I saw a rumor somewhere that the plot will be Shahrukh (a dwarf) who is obsessed with movie star Katrina Kaif and travels to meet her or something. If that is the case, I will assume that he meets Anushka somewhere along the way and bonds with her and by the time he meets Katrina, he has discovered that he really loves Anushka.
Or else all these rumors are untrue and the plot is actually something completely different.