Wednesday Watching Post! What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching the Week Tubelight Comes Out?

Happy Wednesday!  And happy two days before Tubelight! (or maybe one day in America?  Please please distributors, make me happy!)  Time to talk about what we have been doing in the days leading up to Tubelight, watching and reading and thinking.

I’ll start!  I am getting close to done with the Rise of Sivagami book, thank goodness.  I am not really enjoying it.  Quite a bit of discussion of naked ladies, which is frankly kind of boring for me.  Especially badly written discussion of naked ladies.

I am thinking about hanging pictures.  My “Dard-e-Disco” is up in the bathroom, my massive wall hanging Veer-Zaara is up in the kitchen, and my DDLJ is over the TV.  But I still need to decide where to put Josh, Chalte Chalte, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, and at least a dozen others.

And for watching, I showed Jacobinte Swarigam to Dina on Friday (as you would know if you listened to our podcast).  And I went on an impulsive trip to the theater last Thursday to see Ramente Edenthottam.  And I watched the best parts of The Legend of Bhagat Singh, now that it is on Netflix (see my full list of Netflix films here).

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47 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post! What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching the Week Tubelight Comes Out?

  1. Right now I’m watching Andaz Apna Apna – zany and I have just noticed Salman’s hair length changes a bit…

    In the last week I have also seen Rangoon, Angry Indian Goddesses and The Namesake.

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    • So, where do you fall with Rangoon? Brilliant exciting war movie, or total mess?

      Also, for AAA, it’s one of those “you’ll love it the second time” kind of comedies. Enjoy the zaniness, but you will notice a lot more jokes when you come back to it. It’s kind of the Arrested Development of Hindi film.

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      • Well, it is nowhere near as good as other VB movies but I didn’t find it completely dire and did watch to the end. Hubby watched it with me for a while and we did have a giggle at Saif’s clunk-click hand. It was probably a watch once movie.

        I liked Angry Indian Goddesses and might re-watch at some stage. Was it one of the female focused movies that the censor board wanted to mess with?

        The Namesake (from iTunes) I came across, I think, from one of Tried & Refused productions reviews on YouTube (probably one on underappreciated performances of Irrfan Khan). Starring Irrfan and Tabu, set mainly in the US but also Kolkatta, it is just lovely with Kal Penn as their son named after Irrfan’s character’s favourite author (Gogol).

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        • I’m gonna start at the end, was The Namesake not a big thing in Australia when it came out? It was a big thing in America. Not like The Avengers big, but like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel big. But I think that was a combination of Kal Penn being super popular then right after Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (which is a brilliant film if you want to think about Asian-American identity a whole lot). And The Namesake the book was super popular in America too. Now that i look it up, not only is the book set in America, it was originally published in The New Yorker, so it’s a really American kind of story. That’s really fascinating (to me), that it is a movie set in America, starring mostly Indian actors (except Kal Penn), but only popular in America. Anyway, I’ve always kind of known about The Namesake the movie but never gotten around to watching it because I felt guilty about watching it before I read the book and I didn’t want to read the book.

          I think Angry Indian Goddesses might never have even gotten passed by the censors? i remember a lot of buzz when it was finally shown, but that might have just been at MAMI or something, not a real release. It and Parched were ones that there was a ton of buzz in the Indian press about these “forbidden” films that no one could see, and I was thinking “wait, aren’t they streaming on Netflix in America? So I can watch them any time, and all these other people are desperate for a glimpse of them?” It was an odd disconnect.

          For Rangoon, now I am picturing your viewing experience, on the couch, able to get up and get snacks and make snarky remarks, and I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more that way rather than in theaters. Especially with a “status” bar to tell me how much was left. Watching it in theaters was a definite “bored-interested-confused-bored-how long until this is over?” experience. Kind of the opposite of Raabta, which I bet I won’t like nearly as much on the small screen when it isn’t all around me.

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 5:32 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I really wouldn’t know if the Namesake was popular here when it was first released which was before my interest in Indian cinema started and I had never seen a Harold & Kumar movie. Although Kal Penn’s face is familiar I haven’t watched most of the TV series or movies he has been in but probably saw him in 24 and definitely in Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain. His face is probably more familiar from promos of How I Met Your Mother.

            I saw Parched at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne last year, it was the opening night movie. Angry Indian Goddesses was the closing night movie but I decided to spend a little time with my son that evening. So, glad it came to Netflix 🙂

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          • Ha! So the people of Australia got to see Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses a good 18 months before anyone in India! i don’t know why I find that funny, but I do.

            i’m going to think that The Namesake was less popular in Australia then if you don’t remember when it came out. It was right when I started getting into Indian film, I barely knew Tabu, and hadn’t heard of Irrfan Khan, and hadn’t seen Harold & Kumar yet. But it got reviewed in People magazine, and there were posters on busses, and it was playing at all the mainstream theaters. I learned about it through that, couldn’t help but learn about it. Anyway, I find it really interesting that i thought of it as this big movie, because it was big around me, only to learn that it was really a little local American movie and I just didn’t realize it because i was in such a bubble.

            On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 8:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Well, I’ve watched Radha from JHMS a couple times this morning. Kind of eh about the song, but has cute (and hot) moments for sure. Ugh, the foot thing!

    This week I watched Udta Punjab and Rangoon. Udta Punjab was amazing and hard to watch. Great performances all around. I was disappointed, though, in the whole, “Universe punishes sinning man (the cop) via a woman (the doctor)” I hate that plot device with the fire of a thousand suns.

    Rangoon–I didn’t watch it for a while after it came on Netflix because you dislike it so much. I guess it goes to show how personal/subjective watching movies is. I really enjoyed it, though it felt much more like a big Hollywood period flick than a Hindi period flick (from the very few I’ve seen). Maybe that’s why it felt like it was lacking heart to you. I especially enjoyed Saif’s performance.

    I’m excited because I’m going to IIFA in New York, and he and Karan Johar are co-hosting. My family thinks I’m crazy. 🙂 Of course, I’m sad that SRK won’t be there. Wondering how much of that is really because he has to be in California for Aryan, and how much of it is because he’s thrown his weight behind the “Indian Academy Awards”, also happening this Summer in California, I think? What do you think?

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    • I was late for work today because of “Radha”! It was very important that I rewatch it several times in a row.

      I chose to see Kareena’s death in Udta as more “too good for this world” in general, not just punishment for Dilip. But that’s only because I was working really really hard to find an excuse for the film.

      With Rangoon, I think I might have judged it a little more harshly partly because I loved Bhardwaj’s other films so much. My favorite is Kaminey, which is like the anti-Rangoon, all harsh and ugly and intense and talking about important forbidden issues of today. So Rangoon really suffered based on my wanting him to make another movie like that. Well, and also I just thought it was a bad movie. But a worse movie because of the comparison.

      So jealous of you going to IIFA! Shahrukh hasn’t gone for a few years. None of the big-big stars have (Amitabh, or the 3 Khans). I assumed it was something about headline fees kind of thing. He’s not going to show up for something like that unless the pay him the amount he expects, not 4 days overseas (FilmFare, sure, that’s a tight 45 minutes just for his part and it’s right down the block from his house). Or it could be just that no amount of money is worth 4 days overseas any more. The “hosts” are expected to do photo shoots and interviews and just work their little tails off, its a huge commitment.

      Although, that could also go to your other point, maybe Shahrukh is willing to make that commitment, but for a show that he has a piece of, like the IAA, not one where he would just be a paid performer.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 8:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Haha, maybe I should have asked you before I bought the ticket. 🙂 I live in the DC area and figured a big show like this won’t be closer.

        Rangoon is for sure a shallow flick–but that’s what I prefer in War movies, haha.

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        • Keep your eyes open, there is a fairly large Desi community in the greater DC area. I don’t think you will get every single major show, but maybe once a year a tour should come your way.

          And hey, if you are willing to go to the NY area, New Jersey gets EVERYTHING!

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Watched the first 2 seasons of Psych. I liked it.

    Went to theatres and watched Pirates of the carribean and Mummy. Pirates of the carribean was good time pass movie not as bad as the critics where saying but Mummy was plain bad.

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    • Psych was/is one of my favorite shows. Surprisingly clever, in a way you don’t notice right away. And there were very very rare desi references, which was cool, because one of the writers/co-creators is Indian-American.

      I avoided both The Mummy and the latest Pirates, and it sounds like I made the right decision.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 8:28 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I watched the first part of Hey Ram, just long enough for SRK’s first appearance and the song. Then I mulled over whether to watch the rest or not, and decided I just couldn’t. Too violent, too sad, too close to current events. But Shahrukh ‘s performance is such a refreshing departure from the other stuff he was doing at the time. While the character is fun-loving and a bit of a prankster, he is also (1) Muslim and (2) clearly an adult, married and everything. With the beard, he looks very much like he does today.

    Then I watched Josh, which is the next in chronological order, and the age thing really stuck out. While there is no doubt that his physical ability still made it possible to play “young” roles, his face is losing the boyish contours. And it is such a period piece — loved the excitement over his personalized fanny pack!

    I also watched a documentary about the Minimalists (the bloggers) and added a whole bunch of the films you recommended to my Netflix watchlist. My husband is away (in New Orleans for the Unitarian Universalist general assembly and a side dish of tropical storm) so I can watch a couple of movies a day!

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    • Probably a good idea to skip the rest of Hey Ram for now.

      Agree about Josh. Have you seen Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak yet? It’s the same director/writer. His first movie was brilliant, but this movie is just missing something. It’s kind of fascinating, I can see how the two are related, but something is missing in Josh that was there in QSQT. The only other tidbits I have for Josh are that it came out around the same time as Mohabbatain/Devdas (as you know if you are going chronological) and there were all kinds of jokes about SRK and Aish playing brother and sister and also lovers at the same time. And that the “bad” brother of the other gang was original going to be Aamir and it was going to be a two hero film. But then Aamir backed out, so they changed the script around. I wonder if that is when the spirit went out of the film?

      Grr, GA! I am the chair of the Sunday Services for my church, and not only is the minister gone, all the reliable congregation members who I can usually call on to do services are gone. We should just give up and shut down the church so I can sleep in for once.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 9:01 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I’m tempted to just wheel a TV into the sanctuary and say that is our service too. But it’s Pride, so we have to do something real.

          Also, my Dad was in the tenor section at GA for a few years! He might have stood next to your husband! So cool! Not this year, they are skipping, but last year and I think the year before that,

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:29 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Amen to the bone structure!!!! That whole romance failed for me because I literally could not “see” what she saw in him. He also wasn’t that great of an actor. A charming witty seeming guy could have worked there, or a really really pretty one, but he just felt kind of bleh.

          Heck, Aamir as the good brother would have worked.

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Salman Khan is arguably the biggest crowdpuller in bollywood at the moment. But how do you rate him as an actor? TUBELIGHT seems promising, atleast the trailer. It looks very good.

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    • I think, like all stars, Salman has a good idea of which roles/films require “acting” and which do not. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, for instance, required a kind of light touch, he did a great job differentiating between the two brothers in poster and line delivery. But they were more character sketches than characters. Because that was the requirement of the film, it wasn’t supposed to be intense and “real”, it was supposed to be a fairy tale.

      He just blew me away in Tere Naam, Love, and of course Maine Pyar Kiya and HAHK. The lover type roles are deceptively simple, but he put all this nuance into them which really made them work. I haven’t seen as many Salman films as I have other actors, but I am sure it will be the same pattern, if it is a complicated character he will put in a subtle performance. But if it is a big entertainer type film, he will just show up and be a big entertainer type. It makes an actor appear to be a “bad actor”, but it doesn’t mean they can’t act necessarily, just means they don’t bother if the film doesn’t require it. Heck, it can even make the film worse if someone acts too much. Shahid Kapoor in Dil Bole Hadippa, for instance, there are a few scenes where he gets all intense and serious and it feels “off” in this happy farcical film.

      For Tubelight, Salman really impressed me with one of those deceptively simple but really nuanced performances in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. He wasn’t quite as good in Ek Tha Tiger, but still good. So I have high hopes for another Kabir Khan collaboration.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:34 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • There have been Tubelight promos on the trams in Melbourne – not usual for a BW movie. And I have seen that it will be showing at 3 cinema complexes here in Adelaide (when one complex is the norm) so they are expecting a big audience. I might get to see it in the cinema cos it will screen at the one that is not too far from me.

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        • I am hoping for a lot of showtimes near me, for convenience.

          But, if you recall my obsessively detailed box office post from last week, that also means the box office is going to be essentially completely false. Promos, wide release, it’s all getting skewed except the per screen figures. Now I am going to take the Australia numbers with a serious grain of salt based on my reporter on the ground!

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 5:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Watched Kandukondain Kandukondain.😊 Such a feel-good movie! My second Tamil one (after Robot, and I watched it dubbed). Loved Tabu soo much. And Ajit, and their pairing. Aishwarya was unobjectionable ( except when she was reeeally pretty). Liked Mamooty better in some of his other movies. Though some people liked him very much in this, I couldn’t really get past the age gap between him and Aishwarya. 😑

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    • KK was my first Tamil movie! And then Jeans was my second. And then there was a gap of a decade before Kabali.

      Did you also recognize super young and cute Dino Morea?

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 12:34 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. I watched The Legend of Bhagat Singh on netflix, after a long time. I probably watched it a decade and a half ago when it came out first. I didn’t like it much the first time. But strangely, I loved it this time. Ignoring the white actors (if at all they were white people) and some songs (I don’t like songs in a historical drama), the movie is pretty well made. I loved Ajey Devgan’s acting. He received national award for this movie which I must say he deserved it. The surprise factor was Sushant Singh’s portrayal of Rajguru. You can feel the passion in his acting. I don’t know if he received any awards for his acting.

    Anyway, I don’t know where did they get the white actors from 🙂 . They looked funny (may be that was intentional). Some of them looked like fair complexion Indians or someone from stan countries. I guess they didn’t wanna spend much money on these actors 🙂 . I have read so much about the life of Bhagat Singh and it was nice to see a good portrayal on screen. By the way, the Amrita Rao’s character is fiction. They just added it to create some sort of romance. Well, its a bollywood movie afterall 🙂 .

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    • I should re-watch The Legend. It sounds like we reacted similarly. The first time around. The white people section was just so bad, in every way. Bad acting, bad set design, bad costumes, really took me out of the film. But I bet if I came back to it, knowing i should ignore those parts and focus on the rest, i would enjoy it much more. Oh, and I felt the same way about the song sequences too. It was such an intense film, songs didn’t really fit. At least songs as they were done here. I think the songs in Gadar, LOC: Kargil, and Rang De Basanti are perfect. But they tread the line of making the characters stay serious even while they are singing.

      I thought Amrita was made up! What I remembered from my reading was that Bhagat ran away from home partly because his parents were arranging his engagement. But it wasn’t a great romance, it wasn’t really anything, it was just that Bhagat didn’t want to be tied to a wife when he felt he had to dedicate his life to freedom. And from that they build this woman he actually knew, who really loved him, and he was conflicted, and so on and so on.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 6:53 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I loved Sushant Singh too! I ended up watching him the whole time instead of Ajay, because he felt more in character and as you say, passionate towards the cause ( though I also appreciate the way Ajay underplayed his character). Unlike you though, I had no problem putting aside the few flaws in the movie (though the sad Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna was a bit too much) and appreciating the movie as it was. I was crying by the end and was singing the songs for days after.

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      • Sushant Singh was just awesome in the movie. He is one of the most uderrated actor in bollywood. He was also great in Seher (2005) playing a dark character. I don’t remember any of his other movies.

        Anyway, what has happened to Amrita Rao? We don’t get to see her in the movies these days. Is she not getting any roles? Thats too sad, I always liked her. Her role in The Legend was small but she still played it well.

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  8. I had only one night to watch movies this week, and Netflix was down that night. So I looked for something to watch on Youtube, and I found Chameli, a very old favorite and the reason Rahul Bose is my own and only true and entirely imaginary love interest. I think this movie is the reason I got hooked on Indian films. I had seen DDLJ and Devdas and Salaam E Ishq and maybe Chalte Chalte at that point, and I found this on Jaman and the description said it was “unusual” so I watched out of curiosity and that’s how I found out about the non “Bollywoody” side of Indian cinema. It deals with a single night in which Rahul and Kareena try to get her away from Kareena’s pimp. It only has a couple of songs and a few elements that at that time I didn’t expect to find in an Indian movie: a non-romantic plot, fairly frank talk about sex, and a sympathetically portrayed (but stereotypical) gay relationship. The film tries to portray the demimonde realistically, and there’s a reference to Umrao Jaan and Chandramukhi as more idealistic portrayals, but Kareena has a bit of a heart of gold herself and the film as whole is pretty upbeat.

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    • Still haven’t seen Chameli! But I am fascinated by how there is that one movie where everything clicks into place. Technically, my first Indian films were Lagaan, Rangeela (guy at the movie store recommended it to my mother because she liked Aamir in Lagaan), and Kandukonden Kandukonden (playing at an art theater). But then the same theater that was playing KK played DDLJ the next day, and that was the one that really did it for me.

      If you haven’t seen Pakeezah, I would be really interested in your reaction. It has some gorgeous dance numbers and luxurious sets, but it is also a kind of realistic view of the emotions of a Tawaif. And the hero is super dreamy, in that intelligent aristocratic but calmly rebellious way.

      On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 11:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I saw Pakeezah at about the same time I saw Chameli. In fact, I just now realized: Devdas was my first or second mainstream movie, Chameli was my first independent movie, and Pakeezah was my first classic movie. It’s a wonder I didn’t think Indian movies had to have some sort of fallen woman in them.

        I loved Pakeezah, but what really got me was the back story, which I think you wrote about in your Meena Kumari post. I don’t remember it very well, just watching it and wondering what happened to the wonderful lead actress, and finding out she had died immediately after finishing the movie.

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        • Oh oh! Have you seen Talaash yet? And Agneepath (the new one)? And Nayakan? Sadak with Sanjay Dutt, Baaghi with Salman? Now I am just trying to think of more movies that have strong interesting prostitute characters.

          On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 9:32 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I have seen Talaash (loved.it except for the twist) and Agneepath, not the others. The only other one I can think of is Amar Prem, which I watched when I was going through everything by Sharmila and Rajesh. I can’t think of another one right now.

            Do see Chameli if you get a chance! It’s a really interesting look at differences between the poorest Indians and the middle class, and the two leads are so good. Kareena is a bit of a MPDG (only a prostitute) but she can pull it off. In fact, I think I can only tolerate that kind of character only when it’s Kareena. (I love Anushka, and I just despised her character in JTHJ).

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          • Just to clarify, you despised Anushka in JTHJ, but still saw that she and SRK would be better together than SRK and Kat, right? Because that’s kind of one of the basic creeds all readers of this blog must share!

            On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 12:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Well, yeah, if you put a gun to my head I’d say he belonged with Anushka over Kat, but actually in that movie I sort of thought he should go off and just be by himself for a while.

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          • But he’d already been by himself for ten years! Although ten years of obsessing over Kat, so I see what you mean. Go back to Kashmir, maybe get a hobby, take up singing again, make friends, get a life. Then meet a nice divorced school teacher, go out for coffee, have some movie dates, and build a relationship that isn’t super super intense and immediate and romantic.

            On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 7:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • This is making me remember how mad I still am about JTHJ. I really, really wanted it to be a good movie. I heard it was a bad movie, but I thought if I willed to be a good movie while I was watching then it would be a good movie. It did not work, and it ruined Yash Chopra’s last film and Shahrukh at peak hotness. I mean, he’s still hot, but he’ll probably never kiss another woman on screen, and it was wasted on Kat.

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  9. I know I’ve been MIA for a while but now I’m back 🙂

    I have been on a Friends marathon with a couple of friends so I haven’t gotten the chance to watch many movies. But watching Friends has been so much fun! I’ve seen re-runs on tv over the years but this is the first time I’m watching the entire show from start to finish. I’m close to finishing so I’ll be back to movies soon 🙂

    I have seen Dear Zindagi during this time and I really liked it! I need to read all of your analysis on the movie now 🙂 I also saw Detective Byomkesh Bakshi which I liked a little less. It was darker than what I was actually expected.

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    • I only know Friends as a marathon! It ended my first year of college, so most of my childhood it was kind of around in the background, but not something we could watch as a family live, and not as many reruns available during the day. And then right before it ended, all of a sudden the DVDs were everywhere. So I came home for winter break and while my parents were at work, I rented and watched the DVDs for every single season in a row. I did that off and on all the way through college, doing one big binge and then not watching it at all for a year was just about right to forget everything again. And now any time I hear the theme music I have this nostalgic “aw, college!” feeling.

      I like Byomkesh a lot, but I like Dear Zindagi more, so I am glad you agree with me!

      On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:18 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It’s kind of weird watching Friends as a marathon though. Like I already knew that Monica and Chandler would get together so I was kind of waiting for that to happen for the first couple of seasons. But I never saw much of Friends growing up so nothing else was “spoiled” for me. I actually watched a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs with my family growing up so I think it would be weird to watch that show like a marathon.

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        • I get so distracted by that on a marathon watch! It feels like all of season 4 was kind of very very slowly moving towards Monica and Chandler. Only it wasn’t clear until you went back and watched it straight.

          I think I saw interviews with the writers confirming that? It wasn’t planned from season one, but it was planned far in advance, not just a random end of season cliff-hanger.

          This is all completely unrelated to the official topic of this blog, but I find it interesting!

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