Monday Morning Questions Post, A Gentleman Week!

Why am I so excited about this movie?  Is it the great soundtrack, the ridiculous plot, the shades-of-Dostana Miami setting?  Anyway, I’m pumped!  Can’t wait for Friday!  And in the meantime, you can ask me questions.

Happy Monday!  As always, you can ask me anything.  From the personal (“have you ever been this excited about a Siddharth movie before?”) to the specific factual type stuff (“why is Siddharth so handsome?”) to the general discussion questions (“do we really need substance in a movie, or are hot stars and a great soundtrack all that is required?”)

 

The only rule is, I get to answer first!  Feel free to jump in and add on once I do, but generally the discussion goes better if I start.  Plus, it’s more fun for me this way!

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37 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post, A Gentleman Week!

    • Hmm. It depends on what you mean by “gentleman”.

      If you mean the British version, then it would have to be Saif. Raised in the old Anglo-Indian style, perfect English, perfect at wearing suits, Cricket, all of that.

      But then if you mean the Indian style ideas of proper “rule”, it’s a whole different thing. Taking responsibility for “your” people, always being ready to help and available to the common man who needs you, etc. etc. In that case, the 3 Khans really do the best job within the Hindi industry I think. Not in the big publicized things they do, but in the little stories you hear of someone who stopped their car and asked for money for an operation. And Amitabh too of course, did that whole anti-Polio campaign at no charge, and now is doing the same for tuberculosis.

      And then there’s the more general concept of “gentleman” as a “gentle man” who respects women and is always polite and courteous and so on. In that case, definitely NOT Saif. Aamir maybe? He is always very generous and respectful towards women, at least in public appearances.

      I just don’t know! And I am eager to hear what other people think.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 6:51 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Akshay strikes me as a guy who tries to be a gentleman most of the time and then inadvertently screws it up (and Twinkle puts him back in his place!).

        Of the new guys (all of them are attention hogs as young men tend to be) but I actually think Sid, because he’s so quiet most of the time), is probably a gentlemanly sort of guy. He seems like he had a tough mom who raised him right.

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        • Oo, I like these answers! Now that I think about it, my basic gentleman test is from 4 years ago when I took public transit home from Target with an incredibly heavy box. All the young guys on the train ignored me, but there were 3 separate older guys who helped with doors and carried things up stairs and generally were super helpful. And literally would not take no for an answer, just took the box from me despite my protests and insisted on helping.

          In that situation, I have no doubt that Akshay, SRK, Salman, Sanjay, would all help me. Just because I was a woman who was panting and struggling. In that same “i don’t care if you say you don’t need help, i can’t stand to watch a woman struggle like that” kind of way. Varun too probably. Definitely Siddharth. But maybe not Hrithik, Or Ranbir. Or even Aamir. That kind of “let me break out of my comfort zone and help a total stranger just because she is a woman who needs help” is a very specific thing.

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          • Well, okay…but I thought of film-roles (characters) and acting in movies…so nothing from real life. As for the gentleman-behaviour, it is mainly towards women, what I meant… being considerate…

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          • Hmm. Purely film roles wise, I think Siddharth would be the only one of the younger generation who even comes close. Everyone else has fallen into this trap of being kind of crass and shocking towards their heroines.

            Of the older generation, maybe Aamir and Shahrukh. Everyone else has those few films where they play the stalker lover, or beat the heroine into submission or something. But I don’t think Aamir and Shahrukh ever fell into that.

            To go really old school, Dilip Kumar. Classiest onscreen presence possibly ever.

            On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 11:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. I struggled to think of a non-SRK question, but since JHMS came out my brain is pretty much one-track, so I gave up. I’m kind of fascinated by SRK’s style–in interviews and public appearances, but also to some extent in his movies–of wearing casual clothes always slightly askew. Like, one side of his shirt tucked in and the other out, and each sleeve rolled up somehow differently. And his constant thing of pulling his shirt collar backwards. Such an odd type of on-purpose dishevelment, and it has stayed constant since early on. It especially stands out against how put together and non-fidgety he is in formal clothes. The man can look like he was born in a suit.

    So the questions. What’s this all about and how does it fit into his “brand” or persona? How does it work practically–does he look in the mirror before going out and mess up one thing? How much influence do you think Gauri has had on his personal style?

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    • I would say “why resist the SRK love?”, except I am constantly trying (and sometimes succeeding) in that myself. My natural urge would be to turn this blog into a total SRK fest 365 days a year. But then I know I would get bored eventually, and so would my readers.

      As for your question, that is really interesting! Back when he started out, in some super early interviews and articles about him (if you get a chance, pick up Anupama’s First Day First Show book just for the time capsule effect) his clothes were one thing that made him distinctive from all the other young stars. He refused to go traditional, or formal, was the only guy out there in cool shirts and jeans. And I think maybe Gauri did have some kind of influence at that point, she is listed as his costume person on a lot of his early films, and I remember hearing that was kind of her “thing”, back when he was working all the time, she could have something to do and some kind of involvement by using her design degree to help with his clothes.

      But in a larger sense, just my guess, but I think he was the one who came up with the idea and stuck with it of wearing stuff really different than the other young actors. It was part of his overall strategy of just being the “hatke” star, who would do Darr and Baazigar and Maya Memsaab, and wear bright casual clothes, and talk fast and clever and honestly in interviews, and be open about his personal life. That’s one of the reasons that people are saying that Ranveer is a new SRK. Because he is doing the same kind of thing, just to get people talking and remembering him, even if it is a little out there and unrelated to his film roles.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 10:25 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. First, a disclaimer: my expertise is almost entirely western-style dress as worn in the U.S. that being said, this is something I have also noticed and been mulling over. All clothing is costume, and actors are particularly attuned to this fact. Even a movie that is set in the present day has a costume designer and an entire staff to make sure the clothing fits the character and the story, and actors arrive wearing their own clothing and then “put on” their character’s clothes. When I watch Shahrukh Khan’s interviews, it is very clear to me that he is ALWAYS acting. No matter how “relaxed” or casual he seems, he is always performing. And that means he is ALWAYS in costume — whether Gauri helps or not, I really doubt that he is ever photographed in “any old thing”. In his very young days, this was less well-developed. But he has it down to an art by now.

    So my reading of his casual look is that he is performing the cool urban dude, still young at heart and hip. Just one of us, a ordinary humble guy who hasn’t forgotten where he came from. But he clearly knows how to perform movie star glamor as well!

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    • In the few truly candid photos we have of him (for instance, at his birthday party last year saying good bye to the guests), he dresses slightly differently, which would go to your point. Worn out t-shirts and jeans. Not like the hip t-shirts and pants he wears to go to a party where he knows there will be photographers, but really kind of ratty stuff.

      I suspect he has a whole array of “on” type costumes, and then like 4 things that he just wears around the house.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Well, in my “expert” opinion, this makes complete sense. It’s what I was thinking of with what you hear about in the early interviews. Part of what made him stand out is that he was always “on”, even in an interview with a nobody young journalist like Anupama was back then. But “on” in a way that felt like he wasn’t really “on”. Like “no no, he is just naturally super entertaining and charming and open and honest”. Which goes back to the clothes, interesting different kinds of outfits, but with a shirt tail untucked or something so you could tell yourself “oh, this is really him, this is just messy casual clothes he threw on, not a calculated look”.

          On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think, ShahRukh is the harmony of opposites…acting in the shower, being private in the corner of a crowded room…going in oldest Tees and baggiest Jeans to his rehearsals…not bothering being watched by fans … keeping away from anybody when in costume or tuxedo till the very last possible moment…sitting with his kids in perfect silence…giving his kids total attention when they want something from him even during an interview but doesn’t bother when they room around while he has an animated conversation with someone

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  3. Sorry I haven’t been around much in the past month but I’ve been really busy going out of town plus shopping and getting ready for college. But I’m back now since the trailer of Judwaa 2 came out! Honestly, I’m not really that excited about the movie since it looks a lot like Main Tera Hero but the songs sound really good! Here it is 🙂

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  4. Is there any character in an Indian movie who you really related to? For example you saw them and thought “this person is exactly like me”.

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    • Kajol in DDLJ was the first one. Not super similar, but closer than any female character I’d seen in a movie before. I saw it for the first time when I was 19, just left home for college. And to see a heroine around my age who wasn’t casually drinking/talking about sex/going clubbing was wonderful! Not that there is anything wrong with a 19 year old doing all those things, but I never did, and I was so tired of only seeing movie heroines who were like that, who lived their lives very differently from how I lived mine.

      That’s the kind of heroine I still relate to the most in Indian film, the sensible one who loves her family and is very even-keeled and calm. Dips in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Sonam in I Hate Luv Storys, like that. Of course, the more I learn about Indian culture, the less I relate to them in a strange way. Because that kind of heroine (if they are done well) would have a very different background and cultural context than I would.

      And then totally different reason that I really relate to Indian film characters, sibling stuff! As I have mentioned before, my relationship with my big sister is the most important in my life, and it’s not something you see much in movies. There is still no sister stuff really in Indian film, but at least there is brother stuff. The brother relationships in Deewar/Kaminey/HAHK/whatever else you like really works for me. And it’s the main reason that Kapoor & Sons didn’t work for me, I just can’t understand siblings that distant.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 3:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That’s really interesting!
        I think one of the most relatable characters for me is Deepika in YJHD as well. I also felt that the way that Sonam in Neerja was really relatable to me in terms of how she interacted with her family.

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        • I think that one of the things I liked in Indian movies from the first sight was this kind of “good girl” heroine I could connect with. But watching more movies I felt like I shouldn’t because I’m not desi, and all not desi women are characterless and bad. This is what I hate the most in Bollywood movies. I wish somebody does a movie with western women who is not a drunkard/cigarette/drug/sex addict. It makes a good monday morning question: does a movie like this exist? There was once Salman movie with some blond girl, but I haven’t watched it.
          And it could be good idea for our SRK: after traveled in Europe/America he brings white wife with him to India and she learns how to live in India, and his family see that she is a very good women and start loving her 😉

          Sorry I wanted only answer that I didn’t like Deepika’s character in YJHD because I found her too fake (and because I didn’t like this movie at all) and instead I wrote about something else.

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    • Hmm, now you are making me think about it!

      I think the key is that the movie knows it has no substance. Fitoor versus Aashiqui 2. Aashiqui 2 put in great songs and swoony images. But it wasn’t pretending to be anything more than a silly love story between two very fake seeming people. It’s there to make us cry fake tears and not really think about anything. But Fitoor, it tried to deal with real issues like Kashmir and class issues and religion and all kinds of things. Only, it didn’t actually deal with them, there was no substance inside. In the end, it was just pretty pictures too. That’s the worst possible thing, something that pretends substance but has none.

      Aashiqui 2 was cotton candy, there is nothing there and you know there is nothing there. Fitoor was low fat cookies. Tastes kind of like the real thing, but doesn’t satisfy.

      A Gentleman absolutely looks like cotton candy.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 3:37 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. You are very knowledgeable about the Hindi film industry but is there anything – an particular aspect of it or area – that you wish you could learn more about?

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    • Oh there is so much! I want to know more about the production side of things, I need to watch more films before the 1990s, of course there’s the language too, I hate having to beg people for translations. I constantly need to learn more about Indian culture, Indian history, Indian religions. Indian folk tales, Indian music, Indian dance styles. Everything! I want to know more about EVERYTHING!

      That’s the problem, I know enough now to know how much I don’t know. And that’s my favorite thing about blogging! It forces me to learn so much more and constantly challenge myself.

      On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 7:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I know exactly what you mean. I have only been watching Indian films for about two years, and when people ask me why, it hard to explain just how rich the journey as been, and how hungry for more I am with every film I see. Yes, Shahrukh was the gateway drug, but watching his films led me to discover the music of AR Rahman, learn more and more about the story of Buddhism and Islam in India, go back and relearn what I once knew about Indian textiles and clothing, and so much more. I even just started listening to an audiotext on basic Hindi. My only regret is that I didn’t discover this cultural treasure trove until my mid-60s.

        Above all, it is through the similarities and contrasts between the US and India that I am learning the most. Hard to articulate; some of my friends think I love Indian film because it is “exotic”. But the most interesting films for me are the ones that open my eyes to my own culture and my own assumptions and beliefs.

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        • I know what you mean. I’m Indian-American and watching Indian films as a child was just something fun to do and made my parents happy because it helped me keep up my Tamil. When I was a teenager, Indian films were always a guilty pleasure because I bought into an idea that most were substance-less and just meant to entertain the masses. Now that I’m older and (hopefully) bit more aware, I see so many connections and ideas in Indian films that apply to broader ideas in America and everywhere I suppose. Which is why I enjoy this blog (and the commentators) so much – I always learn something new or leave with something to chew on so to speak.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Found your questions post!
    Question for you – have you seen, or written any posts about the Tamil actor Vijay’s work? Any other Tamil actors?

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    • Just looked him up, it looks like I have not actually seen any of Vijay’s films. Yet. I am trying to be better about watching Tamil, but i am still pretty weak.

      I have written a fair amount about Tamil films, but mostly just Mani Ratnam and K. Balachander stuff. And Madhavan. He’s the one Tamil actor I really know, because I am a cliche.

      https://dontcallitbollywood.com/2017/06/22/alert-madhavan-is-still-hot-also-interesting-cross-industry-promotional-strategies/

      On Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 1:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • You know how you’re always talking about how you don’t know much of the Tamil industry. Well it’s mainly because you haven’t seen movies of Ajith (who was in Kandukondain Kandukondain) and Vijay. I usually think of the Tamil industry as a mix of Telugu and Malayalam. They have the action masala movies that are popular in Telugu but then they also have the more sensible, natural movies that seem to be in Malayalam. When it comes to stardom and popularity, Ajith and Vijay are immediately behind Rajinikanth. Suriya, Dhanush, Vikram, Vijay Sethupathi are considered on the tier below Vijay and Ajith in terms of stardom. The reason that you probably haven’t seen any of their movies is because they make the pretty standard action entertainers. I’ve probably seen about 4-5 movies of each actor and neither of them have never really appealed to me much. The best Vijay movie I’ve seen is Thuppakki which was remade in Hindi with Akshay as Holiday. I think my favorite out of the Ajith movies I’ve seen is Yennai Arindhaal but that’s only because it’s more of a Gautham Menon film.

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        • I was thinking about watching Yennai Arindhaal. The songs randomly showed up on my youtube, probably because I was watching other Gautham Menon songs, and they really intrigued me.

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          • Yennai Arindhaal was pretty good. I loved Trisha in that movie, she looked gorgeous and her character was just amazing! The songs were really good as well but that’s kind of expected for a Gautham Menon movie 🙂

            But now that you’ve seen Luck By Chance, I’m gonna start nagging you about seeing Vaaranam Aayiram which is my favorite Gautham Menon movie.

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