Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Watching and Reading and Thinking This Week?

Happy Wednesday!  Halfway through the week!  I was up way way too late last night, but I am proud to say I have now almost finished my entire Friends rewatch.  So you get to entertain me and keep me awake today on our Wednesday watching post!

Besides last night, I also finished Andaz which I have been meaning to watch for years and finally did.  This is the value of the Friday Classics post!  Gets me caught up.  And I watched 3 films in theaters of the weekend, which was exhausting and I will probably never do again.

For reading, I am zipping through Ramesh Menon’s Siva Purana thanks to recommendations by Asmita and Datablue.  It’s a very easy read, and very sexy.  And also teaches me the Puranas, which were a huge gap in my knowledge base (although I do have the massive hardcover Gods and Goddesses ACK.  But this feels a little more grown-up.  In many ways).

And for thinking, I am thinking about how I have to see a big release every week for the next 4 weeks (Munna Michael, Mubarakan, Jab Harry Met Sejal, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) and I am going to be exhausted at the end of it and just hoping for a break.  Which won’t come until Republic Day, fall is exhausting!

 

Oh, and if you want something else to talk about, I will repeat my question from Monday: of all the married couples you have seen in Indian film, who would you most like to hang out with?  And who would you least like to hang out with?  I am sticking with Anil and Tabu from Biwi No. 1 as best, and Rani and Aamir from the start of Talaash as worst.
(Bonus question in honor of finishing Friends, is Akshay good casting for Rishard? Or should it be someone else?)

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80 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Watching and Reading and Thinking This Week?

  1. What do you mean by “this week?” Is it from Wednesday to Wednesday, starting today, or starting from Sunday a few days ago, to Saturday a few days from now? If it’s the former, I am thinking about going to see Some Like It Hot at our local theater (which screens old classics from time to time). If it’s from Sunday to Saturday, in addition to Some Like It Hot, I would have to include the tail end of a film festival I attended last weekend. I must tell you that on Sunday I watched five films back to back, of which the TD Malayalam movie was the fifth. Perhaps now you can understand why I didn’t last all the way through. 🙂 Saw some good films at the festival, Ventilator, Karsandas Pay and Use, and Newton on Sunday. Bishorjon and Lipstick Under My Burkha earlier (which is not strictly “this week”, unless you count last Wednesday to today). So I’m movied out for a while. I do have Phantom from the library which I’ve been slowly working my way through, and a couple of others — the Malayalam Drishyam which was also very boring, and the dvd got skipped so much in the middle I gave up on it.

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    • “This week” is purposefully vague, whatever you want it to be.

      Some Like It Hot on the big screen is SO FUN! Here’s a fun thing to watch for: in the scene where Jack Lemmon tells about his engagement, they added in the business where he keeps punctuating his lines by shaking his maracas, because the test audiences were laughing so loudly, they would miss the next line. So they put in filler business to give them time to stop laughing. Which never made sense to me when I watched it at home, but then when I saw it in theaters, by golly people were laughing so loud that I would have missed the next line if it weren’t for the maracas!

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 7:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. After my Lijo Jose Pellissery marathon (3/5 films so far), I watched Guddi for a complete change of pace and because you have recommended it in places as Jaya Bachchan’s best performance. It was SO interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about the uncle manipulating her like he did (but at list her suitor wasn’t completely involved). It’s definitely a movie that benefits from knowing who’s who (the whole Pran thing, etc) in the industry and that was fun. Jaya’s performance was very good and I even liked Dharamendra who I’m usually lukewarm on.

    Guddi also made me think about all of the interesting behind the scenes films that are out there and how I think there are still so many interesting stories to tell in that setting. My favorite is definitely Luck By Chance, but there’s such an interesting mix of films that have this conceit: Billu, Dirty Picture, I Hate Luv Storys, Om Shanti Om, Naach, Rangoon, Heroine, etc. Also, I tend to find it frustrating when Hollywood turns the camera on itself (with some exceptions), but because I’m still always learning about the Hindi film industry it’s always worthwhile.

    I’m also more excited than I expected to be about the new season of Game of Thrones. The first episode was pretty good (except for that stupid Ed Sheeran cameo).

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    • Still no City of God? SO GOOD! I finally got my Angamaly Diaries DVD and I’ve been re-watching it in bits and pieces. It’s more technically brilliant than City of God, but I think I might love CoG more.

      I find Guddi fascinating for the behind the scenes stuff! Especially because that era of filmaking is so much less covered than the current era, so I actually learned things I didn’t know from watching it. For modern day, I have kind of a softspot for I Hate Luv Storys version. Karan is just so enthusiastic about making fun of himself/Dharma productions.

      Ed Sheeran to me is now always “Guy who cut with a sword by Princess Beatrice when she was pretend knighting him”.

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 9:16 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Still haven’t found City of God somewhere free or streaming on my subscribed services. I wish that Netflix would invest of some series non-Hindi films. I might watch Nayakan sometime soon though…I’m definitely looking forward to City of God and rewatching Angamaly Diaries once I have the funds to do a big DVD order.

        Do you have any other favorite behind the scenes films besides Guddi and Luv Storys. Maybe older ones I haven’t seen?

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        • Hmm, now I am thinking. Behind the scenes movies…. Arth is a great movie, the industry stuff is the least of it, but it is still interesting to see a hero who is a producer benefiting from a relationship with an actress. There’s a Malayalam film I saw recently, Udayananu Tharam, which was really interesting and well done. Teri Meri Kahaani, but you’ve probably already seen that. Bombay Talkies (not the 4 director’s one, the Merchant/Ivory one), if you can find a copy.

          Oh! Kaagaz Ka Phool!!!!! One of the greatest films in Indian cinema, possible THE greatest film. It’s about film, it’s about art, it’s about life, it’s so BIG that just calling it a “behind the scenes” movie feels like minimizing it. But it’s that too.

          On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 9:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Writing them down…I tried Arth but I had a bad DVD from the library and had to stop. Seemed like a movie I had to be in the right mood for…often when a film has low production values and reminds me of cheesy 80s nighttime soaps…it takes me longer to get into them. I have seen Teri Meri Kahaani but totally forgot she’s a movie-star in that one era. Not being a PC fan, I was still bummed that that one wasn’t better…it had some good moments! I also recently tried Bombay Talkie (library DVD) and I couldn’t get through much of it…it was too stilted and I don’t think I like Shashi much except in his ridiculous dancing scene at the engagement party in Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati. It’s like Elaine in Seinfeld, but not intentionally bad, and it’s one of my favorite scenes ever.

            That last one sounds really good!

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  3. I was back on the remote island with weak wifi again last week (so nice for a change) but that also meant limited movie time. But when I got back, I watched two more episodes of Buddha and most of Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam. And I have my ticket to watch Devdas on the big screen on the 23rd!! It is supposed to be over 100 degrees in DC, but I do not care. Then I will load up my tablet with stuff to watch on the train to San Francisco next week.

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    • Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam is SO STRANGE. It’s a movie where you can really feel the starts and stops in the filming schedule. But the SRK/Madhuri chemistry is great.

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I just finished it, and you are so right! There are all these one-sided conversations where you just know the actors are not even in the same room. And I counted at least three different cars that Salman is driving. The most irritating thing is that all the main characters are so DENSE! The horse scene, however, is magical.

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    • Hi, Jo–Ashley here. Where are you going to see Devdas? I haven’t seen tix available–have been out of town. Would love to go together if tix still available.

      Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam–I love the part of this movie where SRK and Madhuri are falling in love, and I love from the part where she lets loose on SRK through to the end. Hate the middle part where SRK is being all sexually agressive and grossly jealous. The “talking to the horse statue while drunk” scene is one of my all time favorites of his!

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  4. So, this week I watched the IIFA Awards live, at MetLife Stadium. It was super super fun, and I will never ever go to an award thingy like that again, unless personally invited as as guest of a nominee. 😉

    I went on my own, and was adopted by a very nice extended Indian/American family for the evening. They were so worried that SRK wasn’t there, on my behalf. But relieved when I told them I was excited to see other folks perform also. All of the dance performances were super fun–especially Alia’s, Sushant’s and Kriti’s (he’s such a good dancer that he makes her look ok), Katrina Kaif’s (such a better dancer than an actress), and Shahid Kapoor was pure energy.

    The audience reaction was fun too–folks around me were singing along to ALL the songs, commenting on everyone’s looks, connections, and talent, and getting loudly irritated when the “playful banter” between performances or awards got too long, lol.

    I was happy Udta Punjab won so many awards, and that Kapoor and Sons won best story. It was a weird vibe though, for sure. Very “insider-y” and so clear that the only people who came were the ones who knew they would win. Also–the thing started at like 9:30 and went til 3 am. And had all sorts of weird plugs for new shows coming up on Colors network (the network broadcasting the awards in India the next day). So–very fun, I’m glad I went, and never again!

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    • Thank you so much for the report! I have always wondered what it would be like to be at one of those live. This is fascinating! My first takeaway is, as suspected, they must edit it done like crazy for broadcast.

      I may have a similar experience on Sunday night, I am going to something that I can’t quite understand which I think is a Malayalam film awards show. Only, it looks like even more of a “show” than an award night than usual, because they are doing it in 3 different cities on 3 different nights. I suspect the audience will be like insider-plus, since the Malayalam industry is such a comparatively small subset of Indian culture. Anyway, I will report back on Monday!

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 10:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That sounds really cool. Have fun! Looking forward to hearing about it.

        I’m so glad to have a place to talk about the IIFA experience. My friends and family all think I’m a bit nuts–they’re happy I had a good time, but they don’t have any idea what and whom I’m talking about. So, thanks!

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        • Oh man, I was so glad I was able to experience the SLAM tour with a group of friends! I was like flying for the next 3 weeks and everyone around me was sick of hearing about it, and I just wanted to live it over again and again. Thank goodness I had friends to talk about it with.

          On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 10:21 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • There was this thing about how Sushant tweeted “@iifa hahaha” or something supposedly at them awarding Shahid best actor for Udta instead of Sushant for Dhoni lol.

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  5. I’m back from two weeks of vacation that was go go go so not very much movie watching at all. In one remote village in Northwest Scotland I was amused to see a notice board advertising a movie caravan truck on one night the following weekend showing the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It reminded me of the movie trucks in rural India but I don’t know how they show the films outside in Scotland since it isn’t really dark that far north even at 10:30 at night.

    I was determined to stay up the whole flight back from Scotland, so I watched three Indian films in a row. MS Dhoni was playing on the airplane’s movie selections so I gave that one a try — meh. Only for Dhoni fans. The first half was compelling, his childhood and early struggles, but then it just became a highlight reel of sixer after sixer in games that I assume were important — but the filmmaker didn’t keep any sort of dramatic tension to the later story. Romances were good, though, and Sushant did a good job. Video review coming soon.

    I watched Dhanush in VIP which was really good. Dhanush is a very good actor, and looking forward to the sequel with Kajol even more now. Video review posting soon.

    And lastly, I really liked the classic Mohanlal Spadikam. Wow, what a movie with his father played by Thalikan. Epic!

    In theater, I am playing catchup. Enjoyed Ninnu Kori with Margaret and totally agree with her that Nani and Nevitha were amazing, but the film’s message didn’t sell me in the HEA.

    Saw Mom with a friend who has only seen a few Hindi films — so you don’t have to be a Sridevi fan to enjoy it. Acting by Sridevi, Akshaye and Nawaz all fantastic, but the film’s length could have been tightened up for me.

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    • I am so glad you saw Mom! I wasn’t able to go with anybody, and I have been eager for a second take on it. It is a great film for a “newbie”, very clean modern kind of look to it. Also, the soundtrack is sneakily great! I didn’t even notice it while watching the movie, because it fits in so well, but I’ve been listening to it on Saavn since then and I am addicted!

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 11:22 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Dhoni fan here and fully agree, it was just too long and plodding and beyond a point I was only interested in it just because Sushant practically became Dhoni for the film. So as a film for neutrals who don’t follow cricket it would have been a pain.

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      • I didn’t really know anything about Dhoni and I don’t follow cricket (blasphemy, living in a cricket loving nation, lol) but I was transfixed by the Dhoni movie (maybe it was Sushant’s smile…).

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    • Welcome back, Melanie! I went to Scotland last year and am very jealous that you were just there! I’m reading a fun YA paranormal trilogy by Elizabeth May set in 19th century Scotland if you’re looking for something to extend your trip.

      Has anyone ever watched Pyaar, Ishq, aur Mohabbat with Arjun Rampal and Suneil Shetty which is set in Scotland? I’m wondering if it’s worth tracking down?

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      • NO!!!! Don’t watch Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohobbat! It is sooooooooooooooo bad, and you run the risk of losing any love you might have for Arjun. If you need Scotland, watch Kandukonden Kandukonden for the Scotland settings in that one fairy tale style love song.

        On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:47 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I would say that you can watch Pyaar, Ishq, aur Mohabbat only if you are big fan of early 2000 romantic, bad movies. I was, but still didn’t like this movie.
          And wasn’t Tum Bin 2 filmed in Scotland? It’s not good, but much better than Pyaar..

          This week I manage to finish Vettai (not bad), and Kahani (awesome)
          I stil listen often to Premam soundtrack, and I love “Malare” more and more everytime I hear it. This song is perfect.

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          • The new Madhavan movie IS playing near me this weekend, which brings up the question of if/when I will be able to see it. It’s probably going to have inflated prices, but on the other hand it is Maddy.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 4:22 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • LOL I would pay for seeing Maddy reading a phonebook if it would be screened somewhere here 😉

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          • Oh! I have something for you! Do you know the Indian TV show CID? It’s a police procedural, incredibly long running, and my brother-in-law sent me this link for a recent episode and told me I HAD to go about 7 minutes in.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 4:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I hate when they do this too! Just search CID episode 556, it’s all over the internet.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 4:54 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Found it!
            Oh man, who dressed him here? He looks like he borrowed clothes from his son 😉
            I hate that I understand so little, and there are no subtitles.

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          • I suspect you aren’t missing much. I’m guessing the usual kind of “well, I saw a blue car around 8pm” kind of witness statement. And yes the clothes! Maybe he showed up on set in something else and they couldn’t use it for some reason, so he had to borrow like a shirt and a hat from some random cameraman.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 5:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • The only film I can immediately recall shot in Scotland is Skyfall in all it’s desolate grim setting.

          Am I the only one getting a Dark Knight-y vibe from the Vikram Vedha trailers? Insofar as the concept/idea of the thin line between right and wrong.

          Anyway here’s a good talk with the director couple:

          PS: There’s a Fandango promotion ongoing for $5 off tickets thru their app using Android Pay and the promo code androidpay3 ending today that I think can be applied for any number of future date tickets/purchases. I’m using that discount for my Uber back from Dunkirk tomorrow :p

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          • I Know Where I am Going/Highlander/Outlander are my go to Scotland references. And all of them, now that I think about it, could work as Indian remakes!

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 4:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Ever since I saw Spider-Man and loved it, my friend has gotten me hooked on to the other Marvel movies. I didn’t think I would be interested but it fascinates me so much how all the movies are interconnected. It must be so much work to make quality movies and also make sure that everything fits into a larger universe.

    The only Indian movie I saw was the Telugu version of Premam starring Naga Chaitanya which I loved just as much as the first time I saw it.

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    • I still haven’t watched that, because I love the original so much. The one thing that really intrigues me that moviemavengal mentioned is that the last romance is expanded a bit and gets it’s own song.

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:01 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That’s the same reason that I haven’t watched the original 🙂
        I knew Naga Chaitanya was remaking it so I didn’t want to spoil the plot. Then I ended up liking the movie so much that I didn’t want to watch the original.

        By the way, if you have no Telugu movie for next week then you’ve got to watch Ninne Pelladatha.

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        • My Tamil readers have started pointing out that it is supposed to be Tuesday Telugu/TAMIL. And they are right. So I am thinking maybe Raavan, or an old Ratnam or Rajnikanth next week.

          On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:08 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • If you plan to watch a Tamil movie, you should see Vaaranam Aayiram! It’s a Gautham Menon movie starring Suriya. I remember a couple people, including me, recommended it to you.

            If you’re going to do Raavan, are you doing the Hindi version or the Tamil version?

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          • Whatever version it was that my sister picked up for me! I think Tamil, and I hope Tamil too, because I have no interest in the Hindi version.

            And thanks for the Tamil rec! I’ve had that one in my mind for a while, but without the title, just “older brother of hero from Vaatru movie that Niki likes and has good soundtrack”. Which isn’t the simplest thing to google.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 12:18 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Bah, of all the terrific Tamil films out there past and recent surely not Raavan! Really, apart my usual appreciation for directors who at least try new stuff, he got that one about as right as Basu did with JJ frankly. Skip that if you can avoid it. I’m sure you’d rather seek out stuff that never got it’s due like Luck By Chance. In that vein there are such great Tamil films like Vazhakku Enn 18/9, Joker or even Kaaka Muttai (assuming you’ve not seen them) or for more entertaining/pop flavor examples Jigarthanda, Soodhu Kavvum, Sathuranga Vettai etc. All solid content only ranging from the serious to satire to meta to irreverent comedy to heist genre and no star power to speak of.

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          • Raavan is only on my list BECAUSE it is so bad. I am trying to be a Ratnam completist and I am getting pretty close to it, but I’ve been putting Raavan off. I’ve got Thiruda Thiruda too, between the two of them, which should I watch first?

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 5:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh between them TT is less bad I suppose. But apparently it’s soundtrack is Rahman’s personal favorite so there’s that.

            Question, I see you mentioning DVD a lot, do you watch on a laptop/PC or like a DVD player hooked up to a TV or something?

            Aren’t the films available digitally usually at HD quality and cheaper? I don’t think I can stand watching DVD quality anymore!

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          • I watch on a DVD player hooked up to a TV. Mostly because I need to two screen it. So I can be blogging while I watch.

            I’ve also got soooooooooooo many DVDs, I’ve been buying them for years, so it’s easier for me to watch them than dig around and find it somewhere streaming. Anyway, I think the best is when I can purchase it or watch it on a streaming site that I can access on the TV, but there aren’t that many Indian options available, so I fall back on DVD. Einthusan is great, but really not the best if I try to chromecast.

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          • You may want to check out Spuul and give their one week free trial a shot.

            Decent reviews, HD subtitled desi films with native chromecast support as well, 4.99 a month. Haven’t used it personally, just suggesting after googling.

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          • Thanks! I’ll check them out.

            On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 6:58 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I hope you do the Tamil Raavanan with Vikram and Prithviraj. It’s so much better than the awful Hindi version. I don’t know why people don’t like it! The music is one of my favorite soundtracks and the visuals are really, really good.

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  7. It has been nearly a month since I last reported in – am in the middle of the big sewing job so viewing has been some re-watches or English language stuff. I will be busy sewing for several weeks to come so viewing will be sporadic.

    Begum Jaan – good but Rajkahini had more impact on me.
    Aankhen – a rewatch
    Meri Piyaari Bindu
    Deewaar (the 2004 movie) – the Great Escape with a better outcome…and songs… 🙂 I think I have yet to see Kay Kay Menon in a sympathetic/likeable role (although I think he was fairly sympatheic in Shahid).
    Players – took a while to twig it was a remake of the Italian Job remake. Should have been called the New Zealand job. Did have a giggle at the bad guy’s enormous mansion/palace supposedly near Wellington (was it a transportable from Russia, lol?).
    Dus – I was only partly paying attention whilst hand-sewing – oops
    The Dirty Picture – Vidya was fabulous – steamy! But a sad ending 😦
    Sarkar – a rewatch – building up to Sarkar 3
    Lahoriye – a sweet movie.
    Kahaani – a rewatch whilst hand sewing.

    I started to watch the series Designated Survivor on Netflix but it is getting too far-fetched and convovulated (up to ep 6 or something). May or may not continue with it.

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    • For not watching a lot of movies, you have been watching A LOT of movies! Wow! Also, did you prefer Vidya sad but controlling her own destiny in Kahaani, or Vidya happy but torn apart by fate in Dirty Picture?

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 10:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Vidya was fabulous in both but I preferred her Kahaani character. She was sad but was still grieving for her hubby. I like to think she would have a future shot at happiness.
        Her Dirty Picture character, based on a real person, I think was happy to get into movies, didn’t mind being raunchy but ended up being typecast and not being able to break out of that, then going into a downhill spiral. Pity she couldn’t have hung in there and found happiness with Abraham. Shades of Marilyn Monroe 😦

        This evening, whilst hand sewing I watched Hindi Medium and enjoyed it very much.

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        • And this is why I will always love Salim Khan! Helen was in a similar situation, aging, no support, and lovely Salim and the whole Khan family took her in and loved her and respected her.

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  8. I am also watching/rewatching Friends (I have been in Japan forever, so it was actually first on while I was already living here). Got to the Richard plot this week: shouldn’t it be Arjun? (Rampal, not Kapoor, obvs.) Or was Arjun somebody already?

    For the past couple of weeks I have been looking at such sparse Indian pickings as there are on Netflix Japan.

    First, Sunrise. This is a very good movie, although not one that I ever want to watch again. It has kind of the same theme and feel as Ugly, although unlike Ugly the movie is dark because the topic (basically, every bad thing that can happen to a child in India) is dark, not because the characters are awful. The characters are, in fact, doing their best in bad circumstances to an almost heroic degree. (It focuses on a policeman whose own child has been kidnapped). Netflix makes you think it’s a mystery but it really isn’t. It doesn’t so much have a plot as a stream of images, almost all harrowing: a child is kidnapped, a child is sold, a child is exploited, a child is murdered. Even the little boy who carries the tea to the policeman stares at you accusingly. It is not quite a relentless downer; unlike Ugly the bad stuff happens offscreen and it feels much less exploitative. Also, there are uplifting moments in the relationship between the child prostitutes, and the tenderness with which the lead character treats his shattered wife.

    And the acting, damn. Halfway through I thought how strange it was that I had never seen the wonderful lead actor in anything else, and I looked him up and found that it was Adil Hussain and I’ve seen him in all kinds of stuff! (Notably as the jerky husband in English Vinglish). He’s unrecognizable here, partly because of a big mustache. His face is a mask of exhaustion and horror, but he also manages to give the character compassion and strength. Halfway through 2017 and this is the best movie I’ve seen this year.

    After I finished Netflix suggested Peppa Pig for some reason.

    Then I watched Abby Sen. The good thing about this is I like all the lead characters and they are good here. The bad thing is the rest of it. Now, I have accepted that time travel movies will always have plot holes. However, this one has an absolute crater, right in the middle. Also, the guy travels back to 1980 Kolkata! How much fun could you have had with that! (That is fact why I watched it). They ignore all this in favor of a Back to the Future-style plot about his wife who won’t exist if the right people don’t get married. The only way you can tell it’s the 80s is the many mentions of Uttam Kumar. They don’t mention his frequent partner Suchitra Sen because her real granddaughter is in the movie (I’m beginning to think it’s illegal to make a movie in West Bengal without Raima Sen) and they don’t want to cross the streams and make the universe implode.

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    • What an odd collection of movies Netflix Japan must have! Also, it took me a surprisingly long time to realize that you mean an Indian film called Sunrise, not the classic American silent. Which is also beautiful but disturbing in its own way.

      For Richard, I like the look of Arjun, but I am worried that he wouldn’t have that “most manly confident man in the world” vibe that you get from Tom Selleck. I really want a Deol, but I don’t know if there is one that is the right age. If it were 20 years ago, Sunny would have been perfect.

      On Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 11:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. The benefit of choosing between two Mani Ratnam movies is that either way, you’re guaranteed a gorgeous looking movie with a good soundtrack. I have a bit of a soft spot for Thiruda Thiruda. I saw it as a kid and it was definitely different from the other Tamil movies I saw at the time. Plus its written by Ram Gopal Varma and directed by Mani Ratnam which just makes for an interesting combination.
    On the other hand….there’s Vikram in Ravanan so…tough choice.

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  10. The benefit of choosing between two Mani Ratnam movies is that either way, you’re guaranteed a gorgeous looking movie with a good soundtrack. I have a bit of a soft spot for Thiruda Thiruda. I saw it as a kid and it was definitely different from the other Tamil movies I saw at the time. Plus its written by Ram Gopal Varma and directed by Mani Ratnam which just makes for an interesting combination.
    On the other hand….there’s Vikram in Ravanan so…tough choice.

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    • That is exactly the series of thoughts that just went through my head! RGV and Mani Ratnam feel like the most unlikely artistic partnership possible. But on the other hand, Vikram is very very handsome.

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  11. I watched three epic romances this weekend so I’m happy! I’m finally getting the regular hits of romance that I’ve come to expect from my films…but I’ve had to go back to the 1950s!

    Awara: I thought I had seen this but I’ve confused it with Shree 420 for some reason. Shree 420 and Chori Chori were my only Raj and Nargis films to date. I loved Awara and you’re right that beach scene is right out of 50 Shades of Grey. And the dream song sequence was incredible. The pacing of the film is perfect and the story is familiar yet it felt like watching it for the first time. I loved that Nargis’s character was an educated woman, a lawyer. And this may be the first Shashi Kapoor role I’ve liked. He was an adorable kid. Definitely my favorite Raj Kapoor film and role so far. I really liked Chori Chori, too, but I saw that there’s another version of It Happened One Night with Dev Anand that might be even better.

    Aah: OMG, it’s Mujhse Dosti Karoge’s inspiration (I think?). The whole letter writing thing and then the manipulative, martyr hero in the second half. Probably my least favorite of all of the Raj/Nargis films though…the original ending probably would have been better. And it’s going to take me some time to get used to the Hitler-esque mustache that Raj Kapoor sports.

    Speaking of Shree 420 and the great Nadira, there’s an interesting BBC One Documentary podcast on the “Jewish Queens of Bollywood” which talks about two of her predecessors from the 1930s whose films barely survive today.

    And finally, I watched Raabta last night and as you predicted in your reviews, it was the kind of romantic fantasy for which I’m definitely a sucker! I liked it far more than I even thought I would. All of the OTT acting by Jim Sarbh (who has scarcy sexy potential…I’d like to see him in an intense hero role someday or in a wacky rom-com opposite Kalki (his rumored off-screen girlfriend).
    Wouldn’t the latter be interesting as both of them have unusual looks and grew up in minority communities and are seen as outsiders to the industry in more ways than one…). So much about this film cracked me up in a good way and SSR’s head tilt that Melanie pointed out was the best. And what was with the Christian Bale/Dark Knight voice?! And then when the friend started shooting up the boat and that it just happens to be near by in the water at the end. And Rajkumar Rao in the weirdest cameo ever. The ridiculousness never ends and it’s fantastic! Plus at the core it’s such a romantic story and even though I enjoyed SSR’s performance, Kriti Sanon completely won me over (I’ve only seen Dilwale and she barely registers in that not surprisingly when Varun is a scene stealer and then there’s SRK/Kajol). She actually seems to me to be very comfortable on screen and as you stated a strong presence (she reminds me of Vaani Kapoor in that respect…who I’m also rooting for to have good opportunities). This is completely the Sanam Teri Kasam kind of romance that I needed!

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    • I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED RAABTA!!!!!

      I wrote that glowing review of it, and then everyone else hated it and I started to doubt myself. But no, you saw the same things I did. Charming stars, great chemistry, delightfully ridiculous all-in kind of plot and acting. It’s one of those movies where I feel like having a star really could have helped. Maybe if there had been that push to get in the opening day crowd, and if critics had felt like they needed to take it a little more seriously instead of just writing it off as “Magadheera ripoff”, it could have done well. But as it was the audience didn’t feel like they needed to give it a chance, and the critics didn’t bother with it. Plus, that whole thing with their epic romance involving her deciding she just didn’t love Jim Sarbh as much and running off with the hot bad boy was really revolutionary! And no one talked about that.

      Also very glad you liked Awara! It is SUPER romantic, isn’t it? Their chemistry is just scorching off the screen. Unlike in Shree 420 where it is a little more restrained and grown-up.

      I have to confess, I have never seen Aah straight through, although I have seen bits and pieces. What I have seen shows Nargis being super cute and adorable and I just want happy things for her, so she better have a happy ending!

      On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 8:29 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  12. You’re not crazy! Raabta is better than people say, and even though the hilarious Baradwaj Rangan review is kind of valid, that makes me love it more because it’s so polarizing. Maybe I’m just being oppositional because Raabta is the kind of movie I’m always hoping the Hindi industry produces and instead we get so many romances that are told from the male point of view. I would argue that this film is really Kriti Sanon’s film and her character was the central role. I wish that we had opened with her waking from her nightmares and then with SSR’s character arriving in town. There could have been more moments where she had more agency but at least there’s the great line when they escape from the castle where he’s says something like did I kidnap you or did you kidnap me? She leaves less interesting men in both time periods. Plus she does save him at the end!

    I think Raabta and Sanm Teri Kasam share the same qualities for me (the unabashed melodrama, the fresh(ish) faces, the old-school romance *novel* qualities, the use of the female gaze, the unusual styling of the heroine, etc). Plus, both films have outstanding production values and interesting direction, and the music in both was also above average. The only weird thing was that the Irrfan narration was absent in the version I saw but it’s listed on wikipedia and there seemed to be some subtitles from it? Was it in the theater version you saw?

    Nargis is super cute in Aah, but the second half is Raj Kapoor’s character being crappy to her for no good reason. There’s an unbelievable HEA and the original tragic ending was rewritten after the premiere apparently.

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    • Yes! To Kriti. She has the agency, she makes the decisions, in both timelines. SSR is just there, in both timelines, to follow her directions. I love the turn after their meeting in the “past”, when you think it will be about her being kidnapped or destroyed by this unbeatable force. But then it turns into her winning him over completely so that even when he thinks she has betrayed him, he still loves her.

      Just so much more interesting than the Magadheera romance! Which had some interesting twists to it, but was still about a man “winning” a woman over, and then her being unfaithful. Oh, and I also love that neither Kriti nor SSR, in either timeline, has a moment of doubt. Their conflicts weren’t self-created, they were faithful in their love straight through. Jim Sarbh didn’t “trick” Kriti because she is a weak willed woman, and SSR didn’t have commitment issues or something stupid like that.

      On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 10:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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