Monday Morning Questions, My Sister’s Birthday Week!

Also, my mother’s birthday week!  As I said, it’s a whole thing, they are one day after the other, so I am running back and forth between work and celebrations all week.  But I still want to answer your questions!

As always, you can ask me anything from the personal (“what is your favorite sister film?”) to the specific factual (“what are the sister honorific names in Hindi?”) to the general discussion questions (“why are there so few sister plots in Hindi film?”)

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  That way the discussion is better, plus it’s more fun for me!

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33 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions, My Sister’s Birthday Week!

  1. A very Happy Birthday to your mother and sister! (I guess I should say, “Belated Happy Birthday”?

    My question for you is: You say you are a student of film and media analysis, Did that involve any instruction in or study of film making techniques? That is to say, did you study anything about screenwriting, directing, editing, cinematography, etc.? Are were you mainly focused on watching the final product and critiquing that? If it’s the latter, my question is, when you make statements about the direction, acting, even editing, etc., in your film reviews, on what basis do you judge these things? Just theory about what should be done, or how it was done in famous or classic films of the past? How do you know when some one is going against convention due to ignorance, or deliberate innovation?

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    • So, there are two parts to the question. I did not take a straight up filmmaking or scriptwriting class. But I did learn about the basics of techniques and so on from the perspective of being able to recognize them in the finished product, not necessarily how to achieve them if someone handed me a camera.

      It’s the same as a degree in English versus in Creative Writing. In an English class, you read Hemingway and talk about how he wrote in such simple sentences and why he made that choice and what a metaphor is and how the situation in which he was writing might have affected him and so on. But you don’t actually write your own fiction.

      For the second, how I can make statements about the direction, acting, etc., that’s my own judgement. Sort of. When I say someone broke the 180 rule in camera work, that’s a fact. But my choice to interpret it as a creative choice versus a mistake, that’s a judgement.

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  2. OK, a second question I thought of last week, and thought I’d wait till Monday to ask — you had a post last week about remaking Friends in Hindi. In the past also you have speculated about remaking some Hollywood film into Hindi. My question is, what Hindi/Indian film do you think would be good or would work if it was remade in English for an American audience?

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    • Hmm. I don’t know if there are any? Or I guess it’s that what makes a Hindi/Indian film “good” to me is everything that goes into the distinctive kind of film style it has. If you took Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and told the same plot, but without the songs and the innocent kind of romance and the mixture of child and adult themes, it would just be kind of bland. Maybe what I would remake is something that isn’t that good in the original but might work better in an American version. Happy New Year, let’s say. If you took out the songs and kept it as a straight heist movie with an educated upperclass guy falling for a stripper in the middle of the plot, made it a bit of a black comedy, that might be fun.

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      • If we look genre wise then romance is unlikely to translate into success going from Hindi to Hollywood simply because of the relative conservatism in Hindi romances. Action, again, Hollywood is always like a decade ahead there. That probably only leaves crime drama/suspense/revenge thrillers which might be the best options.

        Off the top of my head plots like A Wednesday, No Smoking, Ugly, Trapped, Johnny Gaddar, Kaminey etc may be a good place to start.

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        • Interesting! Now, I would say the problem is that those films are already so good, and already friendly to a western audience in many ways (minimal songs, restrained acting style, etc.), that I would rather simply encourage people to watch the originals than remake them.

          However, I like the track you are on, and now I am trying to think of a film that is a revenge thriller type, but terrible, and therefore could benefit from being remade.

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  3. 1. Who are your favorite onscreen sisters? Shabana and Neethu Singh in Parvarish, Rani Mukherjee and Sandhya Mridul in Saathiya…or someone else? I don’t think Seetha and Geetha we can include since they hardly spend any time together doing sisterly things growing up.

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    • Kind of sad that there are so few options, right?

      But even if there were more options, Rani Mukherjee and Sandhya Mridul in Saathiya FOR SURE. I love how matter of fact their bond is. There’s never a big discussion about how her big sister knows all about her secret romance and supports her, or is obviously the only family member at the secret wedding, or any of that. They are sisters, of course they share everything and support each other in everything.

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      • Exactly! Neethu and Shabana are little too perfect(and saccharine) for my taste.Rani and Sandhya push each other’s boundaries all the time.Sandhya has no qualms giving Rani’s details to Vivek after checking him out(much against Rani’s will).

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          • Rani and Priety were not actually sisters in Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. Which always bothers me, because there relationship feels more like sisters than a lot of actual sister characters (Kajol and Kareena in K3G, for instance). But I guess they had to do it that way so Salman would need to choose between the “poor” girl and the “rich” girl.

            On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 4:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Ah yes didn’t remember as them not being sisters but just being as close as sisters in the film lol. Also I think Raveena and Karishma were sisters in Andaz Apna Apna not sure. Oh and Renuka Shahane and Madhuri Dixit in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.

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    • Not Raveena and Karishma in AAA, for the same plot reason. Maybe that’s why there are so few sisters? There usually has to be one rich girl and one poor girl so they can’t be from the same family?

      On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 5:01 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Haha perhaps. Ties into the still progressing idea and view that women must also get proper screen representation so yeah maybe that’s why and more sister pairings might come to happen. Although in 2017 there are still titles like Behen Hogi Teri starring Rajkumar Rao no less.

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          • Looks like Shilpa and Konkona were sisters, but Kangana was just a roommate.

            On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 5:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. What do you think about all the young actors playing double roles all of a sudden? You have Arjun in Mubarakan, Sidharth in A Gentleman, and then Varun in Judwaa 2. I’m kind of worried that this will bore the audience or something by the time Judwaa 2 comes out in September.

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    • Yeah, and it feels like at least Arjun is really ripping off the Judwaa 2 buzz a bit. This film is so very different that I bet it was developed separately, but the Arjun movie is a little too similar.

      On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 10:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • A Gentleman looks different so I’m not too worried about it. But Mubarakan kind of worries me. I do think that Judwaa 2 will have more action than Mubarakan and hopefully that will be an advantage.

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        • Well, it will also most likely just be a better movie. Although that may be part of the problem. People will see Mubarakan, hate it, and then not want to see Judwaa because it will remind them of the other one.

          But I also think Varun may have enough star power now to get over that opening weekend danger zone. And after that, if word of mouth is good, nothing else will matter.

          On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 10:38 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think I’m the only one more excited to see Mubarakan than Judwaa 2! Of course, it’s all about Arjun vs. Varun. A Gentleman does look different enough so it won’t draw comparisons and it could potentially be the best of the bunch.

            Arjun does need to be careful to select some more serious roles that aren’t as comfortable for him. Clearly he wanted to do this one because it was an opportunity to play opposite the uncle he idolizes, plus he knows he needs to keep doing hits (even if they’re not superhits) in order to maintain his viability. He is too into box office numbers…he is definitely a producer’s son and wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the direction his career takes. I worry that he lacks the ego and self-confidence he needs to last as an actor. He’s got definite body image issues and his loveable, cool dude persona also seems to hid some insecurities. Or am I projecting?:)

            I feel like playing a double character is a rite of passage for younger male stars, much less so for women (because why would screenwriters want to waste two roles on a female!). Arjun wants a second chance at it after Aurangzeb’s slight failure. And the old guys are still doing them despite how lame they can be, cf. Aamir Khan in Dhoom 3.

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          • The double role for women is a real test of their star power. Meena Kumari did it (Pakeezah), Hema Malini (Seeta Aur Geeta), Sridevi (Chaalbaaz), and Kajol did it twice! (Kuch Khatthi Kuch Meetha and Dushman)

            But you are right, while for women it is a sign of them arriving, for men it is more just a thing you have to do on your way up to bigger heights.

            On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 10:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • This is an excellent interview with Arjun where he does admit he has a lot of insecurities and a lot to prove, perhaps too much even. Very candid.

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          • karthik, I loved that interview because he’s so honest. I also just am a fangirl for Arjun and I root for him more than any other star kid.

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  6. I saw some rumors on Twitter saying that Karan Johar’s next south distribution venture will be distributing Spyder. I know that the producers of Spyder are trying to plan a Hindi release but I don’t know whether the rumors of Karan being involved are true. While I’m thrilled about the fact that Karan being involved will bring a lot of credibility and publicity to Spyder, I am also interested in the fact that Spyder will probably end up clashing with Judwaa 2. Both movies at the moment have the same tentative release date, Sept. 29. Varun is Karan’s student so what do you think it means if Karan is willing to clash against him.

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    • I think he might be counting on Judwaa pulling from a different audience. I just don’t see Spyder being as big and dominating as Bahubali. More for southern/action/sci fi fans. Whereas Judwaa is solidly aimed at the nostalgic Hindi market, plus (presumably) will be the kind of happy all family comedy that the original was.

      In a weird way, this could be good for Varun. Showing that he can go up against competition, and taking off them portion of the audience that would make all those cynical complaining remarks about the plot being unrealistic and stuff, because they would all be over watching Spyder instead.

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      • Yeah, I was counting on Judwaa 2 and Spyder being different genres but I still think there will be an overlap of some sorts. Even though one is more on the comedy side and the other is more sci fi, both movies will have some massy elements. My ideal scenario would be that Spyder came out the week before and it does well in Hindi but not so much that it hurts Judwaa 2. Hopefully it all works out 🙂

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        • Heck, if you want to be complete conspiracy theory about it, you could say that Karan is buying the Hindi rights only so he can convince them to move and protect Judwaa 2.

          On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 8:25 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Oh! I forgot the most important part! WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO??? This is one of those defining moments of fandom, when it gets down to the wire, which one do you care about more?

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          • I never thought I would be a bigger fan of anyone than I was of Mahesh but then I ended up losing sleep because I was so anxious about Badrinath Ki Dulhania. But now, I think which movie I watch first will depend on the timings. Especially since I’ll need to come home from college which complicates things further. Mahesh movies have always been an event for my family and friends so Spyder will most likely come first. So far me watching Varun movies has been me telling my friends that the movie is coming out and convincing them to watch it, some of them still think of him as the “short guy from Student of the Year”.

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          • Well, who knows, maybe you will go to college and find people who share your interests! Maybe there will be a Varun fan club on campus you can join! Maybe there will be a special school trip to opening night of Judwaa.

            On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 9:06 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • The team of Spyder has announced that their release date is on September 27 which is two days ahead of Judwaa 2. I haven’t seen anything about Karan Johar buying the distribution rights of Spyder after that one day though.

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