Tuesday Telugu: Janatha Garage, Mohanlal Does Telugu, Jr. NTR Does Hero

I was at my library checking out yet another DVD set of Murder She Wrote (it’s the perfect “have the TV on in the background for company while you unpack/blog” show), and there on the “recently returned” shelf was Janatha Garage!  So odd!  I took it as a sign and checked it out and watched it.

I am going to start with a possibly silly question: when did NTR drop the “JR”?  The credits popped up, and he was right after Mohanlal, and I got all confused that they were going to use CGI or something to have NTR’s ghost in the film.  And then, nope!  It’s that kid from Yamadonga!  NTR did a great job in this film, going more or less toe-to-toe with Mohanlal.  But it still feels weird to use “NTR” and not mean THE NTR.

Mohanlal is still definitely Mohanlal.  Even in a Telugu film.  He adds a kind of sadness and depth to his “noble action avenger” character.  And he has that distinctive Mohanlal fighting style.

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I know this was made as a Telugu film, but in some ways I found it a deeper film than the other recent Mohanlal film I watched, Pulimurugan, which actually was Malayalam.  Normally I would expect the Malayalam film to get more into character and motivation and all that stuff.  But this film did more of that than Pulimurugan did.

Although still not much.  I didn’t realize until I looked it up later that this has the same director as Srimanthudu and Mirchi.  But I should have known, because there were similar very confusing family relationships, romances that kind of went into a cul-de-sac and never came out again, and message about caring for people and the responsibility to the community.  That last is a good thing, it’s just the first two that I could do without.

 

Unlike the other two films, this showed how that kind of community oriented spirit can work in a city, not just a village.  As someone who lives in a city, I appreciated that.  Because we have our own greedy developers and abused workers and so on and so forth, all the problems aren’t in villages.

And maybe because of the village setting, it also shows how this protection can be found in a collective, and without a heritage behind it.  Both Mirchi and Srimanthadu dealt with the responsibility of an ancient family to hold up the honor of the village and protect it by birthright.  But this film deals with a more urban idea, of people arriving from outside the area and making it their own, building their own new families and communities, and finding their own place in this society, not by birthright, but by what they are best suited to based on their personality and talents.

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I wish I had known this was the same director as Mirchi and Srimanthudu going in.  I wouldn’t have wasted much less energy trying to follow all the family relationships.  I eventually realized with the other two films that the exact relationships don’t matter as much.  There is a patriarch, there are other people who fill the household, they all love each other, and the cousins end up married/in love half the time.  And there is a young man who seems to be rebelling, but in fact he is just trying to bring the family closer together and follow the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law.  Also, Ajay is there to play a noble quiet henchman of the good guy.

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(This guy)

As I said above, the twist is that this isn’t a “family” as we have seen it before, this is a family of circumstances.  Mohanlal comes to Hyderabad to start a garage with the backing of his more educated brother.  Mohanlal, I assume, is coming from Kerala or Tamil Nadu, to explain his accent and as a knowing nod to his fans.  And then there is a quick confusing montage of the various people hired to work with them at the garage, including our usual rainbow of religious backgrounds, Sikh, Muslim, etc.

And then an even more confusing montage of time passing and the garage getting bigger, and I think most/all of the staff members getting married, including Mohanlal?  But I never really figured that out, I am only assuming they got married because later they all had kids and wives, so it must have happened at some point.

And somewhere in there, one of their regular customers comes in, all upset about the abuse the local powerful wealthy gang leader type has dished out to him unfairly.  Mohanlal, being independent and fearless, and having acquired similarly independent and fearless employees, goes off and beats up the bad guy on behalf of the downtrodden.  And that kind of turns into what they do, the garage gets bigger and bigger and more successful as a garage, and Mohanlal and his workers gain a bigger and bigger reputation in the city as people who will defend the rights of the powerless and fearlessly help others.

We come swimming out of the montage just in time to see Mohanlal’s educated younger brother fall in love, and rapidly get his chosen woman accepted into the family, despite her family’s doubts about the safety of her living in this family of fighters.  And within minutes/years, they are proven right!  After giving birth to a tiny little child (baby NTR), the brother and his wife both die, leaving baby NTR an orphan.  Mohanlal, wracked with grief and failing that he has failed in his promise to keep his sister-in-law safe, gives the baby over to her family to be raised, swearing never to see it again.

This is all a very nice set-up for a lot of themes that were explored better in Mirchi and Srimanthadu.  The idea of the ancestral child being raised somewhere else, turning into an intelligent and kind person, discovering the dangers of their past, and embracing their destiny, blah blah blah.  Besides the urban setting, this film doesn’t have much to add.

It did have a few new ideas, but then failed in making them play out.  For instance, the idea that NTR, raised away from Mohanlal’s influence, became his true heir.  While Mohanlal’s own son, raised in his household, is resentful of his father.  Some big statement about how you have to come to this kind of life naturally and freely as an adult in order to appreciate it, or how growing up with a saintly father would turn you “bad” in contrast.  Something or other, instead of just feeling like they wanted to throw in some other young actor for Mohanlal to play off of but didn’t really think it through.

It also felt like Mohanlal, and his wife (when did he acquire her?  And where?  And how?  Who knows!) reacted more to NTR as a son than to their own real son.  Lots of motherly love scenes and fatherly chiding and stuff.  And it didn’t feel like it was a purposeful character note, more like in some earlier draft of the script NTR was their son instead of their nephew, and then it was re-written and the other son shoved in, but those original scenes weren’t re-written.

Oh, and then there’s the romance, which is definitely “whaaaaa?”  In the first half, it is a bit of a hard sell that NTR, who was raised in the same house with his cousin Samantha Prabhu since birth, is now in love with her.  But they make it work for me, showing how their sibling rivalry and sniping is just a smokescreen to hide cheerful flirtation and confidence that they will eventually marry, of course.  And the way they went around together, and talked, and teased their parents, it sold me on people who didn’t just love each other, but enjoyed spending time with each other.

Only, no!  That romance wasn’t going to work out!  Because it is a first half romance in a Koratala Siva movie that isn’t Srimanthadu!  So, for no particular reason, Samantha and NTR have to break-up, she has to marry someone else after his noble sacrifice, and he has to move on to a second romance.  Only, bucking the trend, the second half romance is a lot less interesting than the first half.  I love Nithya Menon, but she doesn’t have a super lot to do here.  She is the spunky modern girl he meets first in his hometown, and then again after he has joined the garage fighters.  And it kind of feels like he ends up with her after Samantha dumps him just because she is kind of there already.

Okay, I say “no particular reason” for him not to marry Samantha, but there kind of is a reason.  And that reason is the one kind of original twist to the old Koratala Siva plot.  This noble family who protect their “village” are not created through birth and childhood training, but inclination.  Mohanlal hired people who were looking for an honest living and a supportive group, and his Garage turned into a collective of defenders of society.  His son, raised in this Garage, did not fit in.  But his nephew, raised far away, found a home there.

In the same way, Samantha doesn’t fit in.  Despite her growing up with NTR, and being closely related to him, she would not be happy in this Garage lifestyle, not completely.  And that’s why NTR gives her up.  Because family ties, and childhood ties, mean nothing next to having found your own place in the world.

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18 thoughts on “Tuesday Telugu: Janatha Garage, Mohanlal Does Telugu, Jr. NTR Does Hero

  1. I didn’t like Janatha Garage, (which I mainly saw for Mohanlal), and I thought they wasted Mohanlal, turning him into the usual masala avenging hero. But those aren’t your reasons.

    I haven’t seen Srimanthudu yet, but I did feel disappointed in Koratala Siva’s script, though again not for your reasons. So what were my reasons? I can’t remember all the details now, but mainly, I think, that they didn’t develop the ideas properly, or showed that the only way to correct society’s problems was through violent means. Overall it was kind of a blah movie for me, so blah that I now can’t even remember properly why I didn’t like it. So there.

    On your other points. There is actually another grandson of THE NTR who is also named for him, and so is another NTR. This guy is also trying to make his place in movies. I think he has acted in a few films,without making much of an impact. I don’t know if he’s still actively acting. So THIS NTR might be trying to distinguish himself from that one by dropping the jr. As for when it happened, I think several years ago, after he had established himself and everyone knew who he was, so he didn’t need to CGI his grandfather in in every film. Also, for many years now, he has been going by the name “Tarak” (which is what the “T” in NTR stands for), but I guess he doesn’t yet use it in movie credits for some reason. But, if you read the Telugu movie news, all articles refer to him as Tarak, that’s how he’s referred to in movie reviews, etc. So maybe the next step will be that he will be billed that way in the credits, too.

    I want to comment on your repeated use of the phrase “confusing family relationships” in many of your reviews. I think this is where your cultural gap is showing in a big way. There are two reasons I can think of for this, one of which you can’t do anything about, and the second of which you might be able to work on, if you’re interested. So let me say that none of these family relationships are confusing to me, or, I dare say, to most Indian viewers. That is because there are very specific words in each Indian language that denote the exact relationship between two people. Unfortunately, with the modern “aunty, uncle, cousin” culture, especially in urban areas, even many modern and urban Indians are losing their understanding of these relationships. However, as long as the dialogs still use the proper words, even such people will understand the relationships. But for those who rely exclusively on subtitles, like you, you will be stuck with only “aunt, uncle, cousin”, without any more specific or clearer words which define exactly what kind of aunt, uncle, or cousin is being referred to. This is the part that I don’t think you can do anything about, except possibly by working on the second.

    The second reason why you might find these relationships confusing is that you have been brought up in the nuclear family model. You literally don’t have exposure to any other kind of family model, in particular, the joint family model. From reading reviews of other non-desi bloggers, I have come across the reaction many times, where, as soon as someone not in the immediate family appears in the same house, their eyes glaze over and their mind seems to stop functioning by seeing so many people together. But this problem I think can be overcome, as long as you are willing to keep an open mind to different kinds of family structure and are willing to learn about the relationships in an “extended” family (which most Indians will just think of as family). Once you accept that it is normal for all the sons of a family to live together, along with their parents and their wives and their own children (you once said something of the kind commenting about Salman’s family), as well as the unmarried daughters, and sometimes even the married daughters and her children (if the husband is away long term for some reason), then you shouldn’t be surprised by the number of people living together, and, even with subtitles, careful attention will soon explain who everyone is in relation to everyone else. I hope that doesn’t sound too snobby or preachy, which wasn’t my intention.

    Obligatory SRK anecdote just for you. 🙂 Several years ago, when I had just begun to get into Bollywood films, there was a forum which was mainly for non-desis. One American member had just read that SRK’s sister lives with him and his wife, and went on at length at about how “generous” and “understanding” SRK was for taking his sister into his home. I read this with a great sense of bafflement, thinking, “Where else would she live?” I then had to re-calibrate my reaction by reminding myself that the comment was from an American, for whom the norm was for all adult children to live in their own separate homes, even if unmarried, not for the unmarried siblings (especially a sister) to automatically live together.

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    • Thanks for the NTR explanation! Once again, southern names have puzzled me.

      You are absolutely right about needing the family relationship names to guide me. Hindi films made so much more sense once I learned “Bhabhi”, “Jijaji”, “Mama”, etc. Beyond the names, there were the particular relationships that were expected between these people. Which are slightly different in the south, adding to the confusion. Even if I correctly identify someone as “maternal uncle”, that means something slightly different in the south than in the north in terms of expectations and relationship shorthand.

      However, these films are on a slightly different level of confusion. This movie wasn’t nearly as bad, because most people weren’t related, so they could create the backstory and relationships as needed. But in Srimanthudu, without spoiling too much of it, I can tell you that our hero discovers something surprising about his family past as an adult, and finds new relatives in a village. However, because of the need for a large family group both in the happy urban home where he grew up, and in the village, you end up with this issue of his mother, aunt, and various other relatives in the city who should have also known this family secret and yet seem completely unaware and untouched by it, while the village relatives and his father are still damaged by it.

      Thank you for the explanation for combined families! I first learned that term and tradition in college when I made my first Desi friends. My phrasing of “confusing family relationships” is not meant to imply that there is anything wrong with that, my father was raised in a combined family (I was very excited to finally have a term to describe his childhood, as well as his relationship with his cousins which is closer than what “cousin” usually means in American culture), as were all 4 of my grandparents (there wasn’t the terminology for it in American culture, but pre-WWII almost everybody was raised in a combined family for economic reasons). My father’s best friend growing up, who was of Swedish heritage, had a childhood the same as any of these village households we see in movies, his father and his uncle married two sisters, all 4 households plus his paternal grandparents lived together in a little group of isolated houses. I think a lot of Americans may have lost track of how recently our families were structured in that way, “nuclear” comes from the “nuclear” era, meaning the 1950s. Before then we were just like any place else, parents and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles living together in the family home, and the outliers being the ones who went off to the city or otherwise left to make their own way.

      For the southern films, without being able to fully graph the relationships, because of the lack of knowledge of relationship terms, I have given up on explaining it exactly. It feels like it is sort of in an all or nothing area for explanations. Either I can tell you “she is his maternal cousin which means they are traditionally supposed to be engaged” or I can tell you “she is related to him somehow and lives in his ancestral home”. But just saying “I think she is his cousin?” is kind of useless, you know? Why bother? Just leave it at “related somehow and living in the same home” unless I can give the full sense of what that relationship would traditionally mean and what responsibilities come with it. I would rather give the minimal information that I can be sure of and know is accurate than risk making a leap past it. Although, I have now learned Anna and Akka, so give me another 5 years and I will be all over those exact relationship terms!

      On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 7:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Ha ha, you are making more effort than I expected. Be encouraged by the fact that, if you know anna and akka, those words are the same in three South Indian languages (Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada), so you’re ahead of the game there. (I’m not sure of Malayalam.) And once you understand the term “mama” to mean a male relation, you’ve got it made, because it’s a pan Indian term.

        You’re right that the nuclear family concept is fairly recent even in the U.S., but you are young enough not to be familiar with any other model, so it’s a good think you had your family tradition to help you out.

        Incidentally, the kinship terms and relationships are pretty much the same across all Asian cultures, so again, once you’ve mastered them in the Indian context, you’re good to go in several other cultures, too. 🙂

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        • In malayalam cheta is elder brother and chechi is elder sister. In all these four southern languages, the words are different for younger siblings. In Telugu thammudu is younger brother and chelli is younger sister. They sound difficult for an adult to learn but a child surprisingly learns at very young age.

          In western countries it would be ackward to call neighbors or strangers as akka/aunt or anna/uncle. But Indians feel happy to be called with those words.

          Margaret, I appreciate you learning so much of Indian culture.

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          • Cheta! I knew that! From gangster movies. It’s fascinating, there are all these different words for “big brother”, but the gangster slang using it is consistant across all of them. Although, come to think of it, “Bro” is pretty common in America too, although more for fratty college students than gangsters.

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    • Really well done! I was feeling bad because I only recognized a couple shots, but then the opening said 325 films, so I think I am okay not having seen all of them 🙂

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  2. Jumping into the conversation! I remember seeing NTR being referred to as NTR Jr. for a good long while, and then suddenly in an interview, SS Rajamouli was talking about “Tarak” – which I thought may have been a nickname (short for the Taraka part of NTR). Didn’t know that was what he actually goes by in his private life!

    his father and his uncle married two sisters

    Co-brothers! 😀

    On that note, I’m happy to go into the intricacies of Telugu family relationships with you, if you like. We can do a-relation-a-day, lol.

    Just a small sample – where A is a woman (and the locus of the relationship) and B is a man. As you rightly realised, with us, cousin-marriages are between:
    1) maternal uncle-mama (B) and niece (A)
    2) maternal uncle’s son-bava (B) and woman’s daughter (A)
    3) paternal sister’s son-bava (B) and brother’s daughter (A).

    Offspring of children of the same gender (ex: children of two sisters) can never marry because they address each other as siblings (akka or chelli) or (anna or thammudu.)

    As I recall, the relationship between NTR Jr. and Sam in this movie is a Type 3 cousin-marriage.

    When it comes to uncle-niece marriages (eeeesh so CREEPY it sounds in English :/ ) it’s always: mom’s brother marrying his sister’s daughter.

    When it comes to cousin marriages, it’s always children of siblings of the opposite gender who are allowed to marry. So the offspring of brother (and his wife) and sister (and her husband) can marry, regardless of whether it’s paternal or maternal.

    My mama is always married to my atha (aunt). Whether that’s maternal uncle or paternal aunt – the form of address is the same.

    (Still with me? We’re entering the home stretch, never fear. :P)

    SO. When it comes to the terms used to address in-laws, the same relationships are followed, even if they are by marriage only and not by blood. I call my father-in-law mama(garu) – an honorific added to denote respect and differentiate them from my actual blood mama.

    My mother-in-law is my atha (father’s sister) garu. My father and my mother-in-law address each other as “brother” (anna) and “sister” (akka) as do my mother and father-in-law.

    This is in contrast to many other Indian cultures, I think. Not sure about all South Indian cultures, but I find that in the north, a lot of urban Indians call their in-laws some variation of “Daddyji” or “Mummyji” – which always sounds weird to me, because, according to the culture I have grown up with, that would make your spouse your sibling. :/

    And because of that difference, I have a “co-sister”. Since I am married to the younger of two brothers, both my sister-in-law and I address our in-laws as mama and atha (uncle and aunt) – which makes our own parents “brothers” and “sisters” to each other. Which makes my sister-in-law and me, cousin-sisters, as we Indians say. 😉

    Hence why I call her “akka” and she is my “co-sister” – two women married to a set of siblings!

    (If your head is spinning, now is the time for a glass of water. And an apology – I am sorry for bombarding you with information you didn’t want or need! 😛 Chalk it up to my excitement at finding people who love Telugu cinema.

    Now, coming back to the topic at hand: this is one of the recent Telugu films that I didn’t really like. I was disappointed by the way the story played out. As you said, it felt very rushed, there were a lot of plot threads that went nowhere – and I was left feeling very bleh about this movie.

    About the two heroines thing – it seems to be trend (for the past few years) for Telugu movies to go in for one-hero-two-heroines in commercial, popular cinema. I really wish filmmakers would save on one heroine’s pay, combine the screen time they would have split up and just make sure the one heroine they have actually has some presence in the film. I mean, why were Samantha or Nitya even in this film? Removing their characters from the narrative would have made no difference to NTR’s story. :/

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    • This is SO HELPFUL!!!! Especially the uncle-aunt for your in-laws explanation. In Hindi cinema, hearing someone call an elder “uncle” or “aunt” means they are being casually familiar. Calling them “mother” or “father” means a deeper connection, they really care about these people, it’s not just some guy from the office. And then there is the separate terminology that is unique to parents in-law, or you might call them “mother” and “father” if the film wants to make a point about how close this family is in all ways. (also true in American culture, my Dad’s combined family kind of situation involved all adults calling the grandparent generation “Mom” and “Dad”) It had never occurred to me before that this would mean the couple was siblings! Now it’s always going to sound odd to me.

      Anyway, I have been very confused by the southern films, in which “uncle” and “aunt” are used, because it comes off as, not exactly insulting, but kind of distancing. Kattappa, for instance, it felt a little strange to me that Prabhas 1 called him “Mama” instead of “father” (whatever father would be in Telugu), like he wasn’t giving him the highest place possible on purpose. And then Prabhas 2 goes straight to calling him “grandfather” which fit better with my Hindi film sensibilities, but was also odd since he had been an “uncle” to Prabhas 1.

      But from your explanation, “Mama” would be an even more important relationship in the south than it is in the north, and to call someone “Mama” is about as respectful as you can get unless they actually are your parents. And following that, Anushka is the one who asked Kattappa to stand in as the grandfather of her baby, meaning that she is taking him in the “father” role, while he is “Mama” to Prabhas 1, thereby adopting the standard relationship pattern 1 from your description. And Prabhas 2 is his grandson not through Prabhas 1, but through Anushka.

      On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 2:26 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • YESS. You got it in one! In the Telugu version of BB2, Anushka explicitly says that since she has no living father, Kattappa is meant to stand in for him and be the first person to take her newborn in his arms. It’s also a nice throwback to Prabhas1 claiming kinship with Kattappa by addressing him as mama.

        She in fact reminds Prabhas of this promise when he goes to “save” Kattappa.

        Also, Prabhas1 would never call Kattappa an equivalent of ‘father’ BECAUSE there is a person whom he addresses as ‘mother ‘. And that would then make them his ‘parents’ – which, NO to the implied adultery. So a father equivalent will always be a “safe” relation of mama or uncle.

        Also, writing this, I recall – there IS a name for mother and father in law in Hindi – saas / sasur – but, as I understand, it doesn’t follow the “same gender parents and in-laws are siblings to each other” convention that Telugu relationships do.

        Also also: that scene in BB1 when Prabhas2 comes to the palace to free Devasena – he says ‘Amma, I’ve come to take you away.’

        Which would be confusing when translated because it would mean he’s calling her ‘mother’ the very first time he sees her – which sounds wrong, like how did P2 magically know D was his mother?

        But. In Telugu culture, more than in the north (not sure about other South Indian cultures) it’s common for people to use terms of address that mean ‘mother’ when referring to females – young and old, known and strangers.

        As I understand it’s more a reference to women as a representation of the mother goddess – so my own mother calls me ‘bangaru thalli’ when she’s in a loving mood (lit. Golden mother) – and one would address a strange woman in a public place older than oneself as ‘Amma’ – and in the workplace, I was called ‘amma’ by colleagues who were much older than me – as a way of showing respectful closeness without claiming too much familiarity.

        So that scene was actually on two levels : the audience knows that Devasena would feel all emotional because P2 addressed her as ‘mother’ – but P2 was just being polite.

        It’s like all those separated sibling movies like ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ – the audience sighs and weeps when the lost sons address their mother with the generic ‘maaji’ because we know the truth!

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        • See, I find these whole incest taboos fascinating! In Hindi film, it is the “brother” “sister” thing that is really strong. Well, and if you call a woman “mother” too. And then calling someone “uncle” or “Aunt” would just be kind of insulting, like, “I am being respectful, but I think you are old so I’m not calling you sister”. But it’s not really an “incest” thing, just sort of indicating a lack of interest. I never thought before about the issue of “if your mother is my mother than we are siblings. And if you are my mother and he is my father then that would be weird and icky”.

          In America, the taboos are really really strong, but only against literal incest. So you can call someone “sister” or “brother” really casually and it means nothing about romantic involvement later (so long as you aren’t actual siblings, legal or blood). Calling someone “aunt” or “uncle” would only be if you either had a real family relationship with them, or if they were such close family friends that it amounts to the same thing. So the taboo isn’t there from the name, it’s there from what the name means, if you see what I am saying.

          But our taboos are very wide, no relatives at all, even second or third cousins would be kind of shameful and something to keep secret. No stepsiblings either, or otherwise people related by marriage (dating someone who is a cousin to you through your stepmother is almost as odd as dating a regular cousin. “odd” meaning, people stop and stare on the street).

          On the other hand, dating siblings in the same family, very common! No problem! Your big sister’s boyfriend who later falls in love with you, it’s almost trite. Even divorcing one brother and marrying the other, while dramatic, isn’t exactly forbidden. I had a co-worker whose mother did that, so she had a literal cousin-sister.

          I wonder if it is because America is such a country of immigrants? That is, you have the option of easily marrying someone absolutely completely unrelated to you because most people in America are completely and totally unrelated to each other. Very small families here (compared with India). The exception would be a few areas of the country that had early immigration and then were isolated from other communities, so Appalachia, and thus all the jokes about cousins marrying cousins about those communities. Because it is so shockingly different from everywhere else here.

          On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 4:05 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I had a co-worker whose mother did that, so she had a literal cousin-sister.

            As someone who has told sooo many people that in English, it’s only “cousin” and not “cousin brother” or “cousin sister” – this amused me no end. 😀

            I never thought before about the issue of “if your mother is my mother than we are siblings. And if you are my mother and he is my father then that would be weird and icky”.

            There’s another habit that a lot of young men have – like how friends call each other ‘dude’ and ‘bro’ – a lot of Telugu males call their friends ‘bava’, or brother-in-law. My uncle tells me he finds that icky, because then that would indicate that the pair are married to/sleeping with each other’s sisters.

            Which I find amusing, because I know that in his time, it was the thing for male friends to call each other ‘mama’ – which ends up being almost the same thing. 😛

            I’m assuming it is meant to imply the depth of friendship between the pair – like, “I know you’re such a great guy that I’d want someone like you for my sister.” – which does sound a little weird, but it’s the only logical explanation I could think of.

            (Why yes, I spend too much time thinking about unnecessary things.)

            And there are other marriage taboos here that aren’t just about blood relations or cousin marriage. One that I am aware of is the taboo against marriages between two people from the same ‘gothram’, because they would be considered siblings. It can get really complicated.

            Because a gothram denotes the lineage (unbroken descent from a sage) of the family, it’s too distant a relationship to be ‘real’ incest – but it’s still a strict no-no, like the taboo against cousin marriage in the US. Arranged marriages are carefully planned taking this into account as one of the parameters. There have been cases of violent ‘justice’ meted out to people who fell in love with others from the same gothram. 😦

            The exception would be a few areas of the country that had early immigration and then were isolated from other communities, so Appalachia, and thus all the jokes about cousins marrying cousins about those communities.

            I never thought about the immigration bit of it! I never really understood all those jokes about “how things are down in the South” (of the US) – but this seems to be as good an explanation as any. 🙂

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          • I know in Hindi “Sala” is a kind of common slang for friends, but also a low level insult. What i’ve been told is that it is “I’ve slept with your sister”. So you use it for friends as sort of a joking insult, or for enemies as an insult when you don’t want to say something really really bad. Or maybe I am misinterpreting it, and it really is just “I wish you were married to my sister.”

            For the Gotra thing, I am assuming that it comes from the father’s side? So for cousin marriages, so long as it is cross gender, it’s not an issue?

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  3. I didn’t really like Janatha Garage. I had huge hopes for this one after Mirchi and Srimanthudu and this just didn’t match up. Plus a lot of the promotions were geared towards the hero being a nature lover and environmentalist which I felt wasn’t really the entire point of the movie. Plus I didn’t like the ending.

    I also agree with you that understanding the family relationships in Telugu movies is tough. When I was younger, I never really got the relationships and I understood more over time. One of my favorite movies is Murari starring Mahesh and Sonali Bendre. The family relationships in that movie were so confusing that I have to think about them even now. But Murari is more of an exception than a rule. It’s a really good movie and I would recommend it to you but I don’t think you’re ready yet 🙂

    By the way, what Telugu movie are you watching next? Ninne Pelladatha?!?!

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    • Aarya 2! I totally forgot that was the “real” one you recommended and Aarya 1 was the afterthought. I am so obsessive about doing things in order that I watched Aarya 1 first, and then got distracted and moved on.

      But moviemavengal just watched them both and put up a video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzuCePZ7X58)

      And she was so mind-blown over Aarya 2 that it got me to finally start it last night. I’m only half an hour in, and I am already addicted.

      On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  4. It was a good movie but not a great movie. I remember watching it in theatres and feeling all kinds of things, mostly confused. There were plenty of plot points that aren’t concluded for e.g. the point about him being a n environmentalist, his mission for forest protection which brings him to Hyderabad, etc. It started somewhere and reached some destination, but it all seems too real to be cinematic. More often than not, like you said, we find our true purpose somewhere and we get lost in it that we forget what our original intentions and goals were.

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    • I’m glad i watched it, for seeing Mohanlal in a Telugu film if nothing else, but I don’t think I will ever need a rewatch.

      On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 1:08 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

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