Monday Morning Questions Post, With a Question for You!

Happy Monday!  I’m back at work, wishing it was a little bit cooler, or else that I hadn’t put away all my t-shirts away already and was stuck wearing a sweater in 80 degree weather.  So, distract me!  Ask me questions and answer my questions!

As always, you can ask me anything from the personal (“what’s your favorite song to watch to cool yourself down when you are too hot?”) to the specific (“what’s the reason there are so many snow songs in Hindi film?”) to the general discussion (“What’s the best cool down song?”)

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  Otherwise it is no fun for me.  And also, the discussion seems to go better that way.

 

Now, the question for you!  Niki asked me last week if I would prefer a) Shahrukh makes a movie which you absolutely love but a lot of people end up hating it and it’s a box office disaster.  Or, b) Shahrukh does a movie that you hate but it’s huge blockbuster that converts many more people into fans.

I landed on b) because it could lead him to have the money and freedom to make more a) type movies.

But how would you answer?  And, to expand this, would you prefer a movie of your language of choice (Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, etc.) be a huge success even if you hate it and thereby bring more audience to the industry, or be a flop but be something made seemingly just for you that you love?

Or, you can also answer your favorite “cool down” song, if you would rather!

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159 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post, With a Question for You!

    • Hmm. I only know The Walking Dead by reputation, enough to have a sense of who the hero is but not the rest of the cast so much. It seems like a big part of our hero’s character is that he is kind of a small town guy. Would SRK be able to pull that off do you think? I almost might want to say Aamir for this, he can do the accents and so on, and also downplay the character a lot. “laconic” is what I would be looking for more than anything else.

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      • Oh dear Lord!! I resisted watching it all this time because I’d had an overdose of zombie flicks. And earlier this year I went WTH and watched the first episode. I’ve never been actually traumatised by a TV show before. Like actually on the verge of throwing up. GoT depressed me but TWD was traumatising. This is actually one show that would translate so well into Indian context because there aren’t that many rules anymore and we’re already ok with murdering those that even remotely threaten us.

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        • Have you read the World War Z book? It’s fascinating, because it’s a lot more about how the survivors turn on each other than on how the Zombies attack. That I could see working in the Indian context, the “enemies” being people who still hold on to caste and class and artificial boundaries no matter what, while our heroes are the group that is able to come together across those lines and realize what really matters. And the zombies themselves are just sort of in the background.

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      • apart from The Walking Dead (which I don’t know), I think that ShahRukh could play any character as long as he is feeling the persona of the respective character and that his feeling corresponds to the director’s vision.

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  1. Answering your question:
    There is no ShahRukh movie I hate and I doubt there will ever be. I would like him to do what he said, doing movies from the heart (& mind), both types, for only a part of the audience and moneyspinners (although there is never a guarantee that a movie will make big bucks 😉 ).

    Concerning Indian cinema, whatever language, blockbusters that make Indian cinema more known are always welcome. I just hate the term Bollywood or other Indian Film-woods! Indian media and filmpeople should stop to use these terms…forever!

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    • Obviously, I agree with you on the “Bollywood” hate! One nice benefit of the Bahubali success in America is people had to scramble to come up with a new term since it wasn’t Hindi. Most of them went with “Indian film”, but there were a few that landed on “Tollywood”.

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    • Because it’s hot in India! In other places the fantasy is somewhere like Hawaii, but if the regular weather is hot, then the fantasy is snow. Maybe there is more to it that I am missing, but at the base level, it’s just hot and you want to pretend you are somewhere cool!

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      • I’ve noticed in many Indian movie snow scenes, the actors use umbrellas (which I have never seen happening in a real snow storm). And, in Indian movies, I rarely see actors using umbrellas in a rain storm (which I always see in a real rain storm).

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        • I think it’s two different things? The umbrellas in snow are because of a lack of familiarity with how snow works (you would be so bundled up that you can’t feel the snow, and it falls so lightly an umbrella is not needed). And then no umbrellas in the rain is to show that they are teh kind of natural joyful people who dance in the rain.

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          • Umbrella in snowfall looks stupid and really needed in rains. But we don’t use them because we want our heroines wear white sarees and get drenced in rain so that we can fantasize them 🙂

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          • It’s not just that you’re bundled up for snow — rather, snow doesn’t get you wet. It blows off or you brush it off before you’re in some place warm enough for it to melt.

            And if it’s 100 F / 38 C — I wouldn’t mind getting rained on, either!

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      • You are right Margaret. We crave for what we don’t have.

        Especially South India that I live in is HOTTER. When I saw snowflakes in Roja movie, I couldn’t imagize the real weather in Kashmir. But when I stayed in Canada I had the first hand experience of snowfall and enjoyed it. My mom also enjoyed it
        ofcourse from indoors 🙂

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        • My dad was posted in Kullu when Roja was being shot there and we met Madhu and Arvind when they were shooting this song. That was our first year around snow too and we felt the song totally captured what we felt with our first snowfall!

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          • You remember Madhubala’s wonder (starting of the song) when Aravind showed her the snow mountains? We viewers (south Indians who never get snowfall) too shared her joy, but only in 2D. I wish to see the technology (something like 360 view with environment) where we are teleported to “live” the experience in any movie.

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          • It doesn’t really compare to the real think though does it? It’s the same thing as seeing the ocean for the first time. A picture doesn’t capture it. I have a semblance of a disaster fanfic that begins with snow in south India. 😂

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          • 😂 well mine isn’t just fanfic, it’s more of a disaster film fanfic. Although Darling is too bright and sunny to have been a prophetic predictive programming bit about an impending disaster on the peninsula!! or could it??

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          • I grew up in himachal where it was sweatshirt weather four months of summer and hog-the-space-heater weather the rest of the year. You could actually tell your boss you’re going to go stand in the sun for 5 minutes every other hour and usually the boss joined you. Now I live in the plains where it’s hot/humid to cold\humid and humid/humid the entire year which means of course that I dream of it snowing in the plains! 😛

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          • Meanwhile, I am looking at 4 more days of surprise 80 degree weather in the middle of fall and dreaming of sweatshirts.

            On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 3:10 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I’d like Shah Rukh to do whatever films he wants to do, and have them make enough profit for him, his family, and his businesses to keep doing well. I’m also worried about the distributors and single screen theater owners who seem to be the ones hurt by the changing box office biz in India. So I’ll go with b. Thankfully I can always re-watch one of the many SRK performances and movies I enjoy!

    I had a question in mind for Monday morning questions last week, but now have forgotten it. Is it ok if I type an idea for a Monday morning question question in a non-Monday morning question thread? Or, I guess I could use the new contact form!

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    • Sure! You can do anything you want. You can also always come back to the most recent questions post through out the week as things occur to you.

      I like your b answer out of the over 75 performances he has already given us, there are so many great ones, we don’t need many more.

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    • I was just thinking about that! I missed opening night, because there was just too much going on this weekend. But I may check showtimes and if there is an easy one to get to after work on a weekday, it might be worth it.

      On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 10:00 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Just my little view in response to your question – and apologies to Shah Rukh if I’m completely off-base here, but this is just what I’ve seen him talking about lately:

    I think a lot of people (particularly those who choose to abuse him on SM) have missed that now he has personal financial security, he seems to have consciously moved away from being a Box Office cutie (unlike others), and is no longer choosing films strategically on their ability to be certain hits. Instead, he is seeking some deeper level of artistic integrity e.g. his constant talk of those ‘5 great films’ that he wants to make which he feels that he never has, so that his children (well, him really – he’s pretty transparent!) don’t think he’s wasted his life. He’s now investing and developing films which interest and challenge him rather than those which will be automatic blockbusters – as he said, he’s competing with himself now not the others. He’s also taking a pragmatic long-term view with the rest of his career – the fate of one film won’t make him change direction.

    What’s in his favour is considerable:
    1) He is self-funding – he doesn’t borrow any money to make his films, or rely on significant investment from studios. But being the ridiculously ambitious and maverick man that he is :-), he’s funding big studio-level films with an indie ethos and young team. Sooner rather than later, the team will mature and these risks will come off in the form of a big or small budget film, which will just blow the doors off the industry and change it. We all know this will happen, just a question of when. And until it does, he’ll do the occasional mindless blockbuster when he needs to, in order to fund what he actually wants to do. [And although he isn’t always very ‘planned’ with his projects, I also think he’ll go into directing soon – he basically ghost-directs everything anyway, he may as well get the credit for it, and that will be a whole new thing again.]
    2) He is now a global star, not an Indian one. He is the Roger Federer of films – he’s on home territory wherever he brings out a film, and connects with everyone, and he has huge visibility. Even if his films don’t do well in India, they are increasingly doing well internationally, and he’s reaching markets that no-one else has before. So this gives him security both financially with his films (As a minimum, worldwide he is tending to break even on the worst-performing films in an industry which is haemorrhaging money), but also confidence to continue this more difficult path that he has chosen.
    3) (Controversial opinion): In my view, he’s a better actor than he was 10 years ago, and increasingly getting better with each passing year now that he’s working on stuff that he’s passionate about. In a few ways, he has outgrown what Bollywood has to offer, and if he wants to continue that growth rather than retreat back into safety and phoning-in performances, then he needs to do what he’s doing.
    Side Note: His performance in Raees was mind-blowing, absolutely stunning – there is noone else (Bolly, Tolly, Holly, Lolly or any other wood) who could have done what he did with that role. I think a lot of people now take his acting skills for granted, without seeing just how incandescent and subtle he has become.

    So after an essay (Sorry), my answer to your question is B: Because he needs the confidence and money to keep on the road he’s on, because it’s absolutely the right one for him. And if that crappy mindless film I hate ends up funding that beautiful film which will break the mould and bring together the box office, with critical appreciation and a new generation of adoring fans AND, mostly importantly, makes Shah Rukh’s personal great film list, then I’d go for that option any day!

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    • I love this answer! I agree with all of it, and I am really intrigued by the idea that, at some point, Red Chillies is going to find the next big thing. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, I was just seeing it as SRK himself trying out new things for himself. But you are right, they are new things for the industry too, and someday he could be the one that finds the new track for Hindi film.

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      • Thanks :-). I do think he is looking far beyond himself with what he is doing. He is seeking new challenges for himself, yes, but I do sense this whole trajectory is less about him and his own career (to a degree he’s knowingly sacrificing some elements of it) and more about leaving a larger legacy which will preserve India’s film future. He’s spoken before about his worry about the Indian film industry is being eroded by the Hollywood juggernaut but particularly new technology platforms, and a lot of the financial/critical risks he is taking (plus the projects he is championing – like the one he tweeted about literally 1 minute ago!) are focused around modernising the Industry and its outputs. He knows that once it’s used successfully in 1 innovative film, it will become the norm. He (and we) just needs to wait until it all comes together at the right moment in time in the right film.

        And as for Red Chillies – they’re the only ones really in this game at this level at the moment. He clearly feels a huge direct and fatherly responsibility towards ensuring the futures of the 250 people who are directly dependent on him, and any short-term ‘failure’ weighs on his mind in that regard, but I also think he’s thinking much bigger than that too. He’s a visionary – I can only hope that others follow him with that vision too.

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        • I feel like, if Shahrukh wanted to be the massive hitmaker, he would be. He’s too experienced and knowledgable not to be able to tell when a film will work and when it won’t. So yes, I agree, he has to be looking at the bigger picture and consciously sacrificing his own market to get there.

          At a very base level, the industry has to move past the 3 Khans because they won’t be around forever. So even if he wasn’t doing anything else, just choosing to take smaller odder roles is a gift to the industry, helping newer actors thrive.

          On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Completely agree with you. People act like he’s shooting for a 1000 crore film every time and missing – but he’s not. He’s hugely knowledgeable about what he’s doing, he knows the risks, he knows what it will cost, and what it will make before he agrees to invest in anything – and also knows that if it does under-perform for whatever dopey reason, there are other ways of getting that money back in time.

            He knows exactly what he is doing, and he’s good at this (Although he downplays this). As you say, if he wanted to be Mr Blockbuster, that’s what he would do – lots of mindless crud which is, let’s say, politically expedient with the current powers that be (ahem). And his soul would shrivel each time as he cashed in. But he’s doing the exact opposite by taking roles and investing in films which have something different to offer, because each time he is incrementally moving towards something greater.
            The-film-not-called-Dwarf is a good example: He’s putting in 120-150crore, it will need to make at least twice or three times that to be seen as a success (hugely risky and unlikely, and he knows that given the current climate) but the technological advancements it will bring to the Industry will outweigh everything else (And potentially if they can sell that to other films, then that will bring the money back ten-fold too, and maybe that’s how he’s looking at it too).

            And it’s a fab point about the other things he is involved in – for example, he did DZ to support women in India’s film industry, he got nothing out of that himself. He is hugely generous when it comes to supporting new generations of actors, directors and producers and film-makers, and again, doesn’t compete with these people any more but he nurtures others so that they get ahead on their own merits. In a way, he seems to be paying back everything the Industry has given him – and maybe that’s the bigger picture for him?

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          • One thing that always comes up in the fine print of these “flops” is that the production houses (like Red Chillies) still make profits, always, no matter what the box office is. So if Shahrukh is looking longterm, he can keep his company going and not take a loss just from the satellite sales of the film rights and other pre-sales, the box office is meaningless to him. Long term, the box office is still important because it’s what keeps the industry afloat, and confirms SRK’s power. But short term to keep Red Chillies afloat, he just needs to coordinate the contracts for these pre-sales to be enough to cover their costs. And accept the potential short term loss for the industry as a whole in order to in the long term get it through this ugly growth period to something new.

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 2:56 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I can’t reply to your RCE profit point for some reason, so will put it here. But yes, completely agree with you again, and you’re right, RC is running along fine – well more than fine, and I recall he said a couple of days ago it was breaking even – so he’s protected it. He’s willing to accept that patiently, and support the company and its efforts until the ship comes home. Maybe it will be Dwarf, maybe it won’t, but it will happen (I just hope it’s for one of his films, because he’ll get absolutely no credit if its on someone else’s film!).

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          • Here’s your little intro to the site: I have limited replies to only 5 to one comment, because if I allow for more than that, they get nested so small that they are impossible to read. A constant frustration for all commentators including myself, but I can’t seem to find a good solution for it. Sorry!!!!

            Not only is RCE protected, it is growing in a very small dull way that no one feels the need to report. While SKF films is “launching” new heroes and A films is breaking records, Red Chillies is the one slowly expanding it’s corporate size, opening new departments, really building a long term foundation, not just a one-big-film kind of attitude towards profits.

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 3:59 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Thanks for the intro! Excellent point that RCE is growing – more than 200 employees in a few years is slow and steady expansion as you say (Adding to the long-term legacy view) which is designed to serve all types of films. Weirdly, given who is involved, it’s not designed exclusively around star power. He’s said now that he can only do one major film a year max due to his personal and professional commitments, so they’re bringing in other business. He’ll never do a crash-and-burn business philosophy though, he’s too aware of the value and fadiness of money for that. Whatever his fears, he wouldn’t invest in anything which knowingly risks his people’s livelihoods. So they’re on safe ground.

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          • Not a matter of ‘if’ actually. He’s said it on record that he’s in the business to make money and that he’d even dance at weddings to make money (which he does). He’s committed to the mass, commercial genre on record. His global appeal? That’s curated. He did more shows abroad than anyone else and that’s what got people noticing him. It isn’t new. It has been going on for the last 20 years.

            And it’s the same bollywood press that crowned him King Khan and made sure anyone who Googles bollywood, sees his name on top. Sorry I may be commenting on the wrong comment in this thread.

            With SRK, it’s not the Bollywood press that’s made him who he is. It was the people. And even now, it isn’t the press that’s tearing him down, it’s the public. Through social media.

            You’d have to understand that we live in a country where theatres get taken for granted by everyone they build up. So when SRK and Salman decide to do the same, the public rejects them. And why shouldn’t we? If you’re the king of bollywood and you think the public deserves Dilwale, you deserve the hate.

            Films aren’t just films in India. They’re the primary source of big-budget entertainment. And anyone who thinks they can offer us a sub-standard product just because they’re a huge star are going to get rejected!

            I don’t mind it at all that people love him and his films and think he’s the greatest Indian actor. That’s their choice. But this glossing over his actual flaws helps no-one. Including SRK. He’s human and he wants to make money and he wants to be bollywood ka Rajnikant. This is jis journey. We’re in the post interval part of his life and our hero is at the verge of realizing that he’s going to need to do more, be more and change with the times to stay relevant. Whether the story is a tragedy or a comedy will depend on what he does in the next five years.

            As for self-funding heroes, almost everyone that’s spent 10+ years in films in India is self funding.

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    • Preach! I agree with much of this. He has always had moments of acting brilliance, but I think–as he has said himself–he has re-connected with rawness and vulnerability in his recent roles. I’d say from FAN onwards–and it’s mesmerizing to watch/listen to.

      Raees is a great film for any ‘wood. Even with the amazing disappearing/re-appearing baby. 🙂 I’d dearly love to get a director’s cut that didn’t have to keep to this new arbitrary 2 hours and 30 minute time limit.

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      • *whispers* I actually wonder if he’s driving the new time limits to be more internationally attractive – but I may be wrong there. He’s just made a couple of comments about wanting to reduce the time to be more like the international 90-100 minute standard, and given one eye is now on the international market, that would make sense. Perhaps he could do two versions of things – one 5 hour one for India, and one 90 minute one for everywhere else ;-).

        I agree about Fan – I think that was the turning point for him, or perhaps it was a more gradual transition which started around MNIK (equally mind-boggling performance), as he found himself as an actor again, bringing together his rawness/talent and the craft that he has perfected. Raees left me shaken for days – I know everyone talks about the riot scene (He played it like there was something much deeper and real-life going on there, although he claimed he was just in pain) but all scenes with him were equally brilliant and hugely brave. That look of total shock after he killed for the first time – I’ve never seen that before. He was even great in Diwale – as problematic as the rest of the film was, he was fantastic in it. Whatever the film turns out like, he’s consistently the best thing in it. I think people will realise that over time, once the hype around his career and BO rubbish has died down.

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        • Bravo Claire! To recognise and articulate his vision like this is marvellous. He is totally capable of achieving all you have said and his choice of film is now allowing his acting skill to shine through.
          My only worry is that the media are making a sport of denigrating him, their ridiculous and ill-informed focus on box-office diverts attention from the quality of what he is doing. Even if his films are becoming more targeted to an international audience, he still needs India to support him. The international audience, at least where I live, in Australia, is still 99% Indian. He may not need big money coming in to support his film-making, but he still needs the love and support of people. (Is it lame to say I just want him to be happy?)

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          • Me too!

            Even taking it as face value, I think the reaction in recent weeks has been disproportionate and disgraceful, and I suspect he is worried and bumfuzzled about what it all may mean and where it has come from (and bumfuzzled with the rudeness on social media in general, join the club Shah bhai!). He’s been as classy as hell though, much more than I would have managed in the same situation, although I sense it’s hit him pretty hard, given that for all his SRK swag, there’s that deep element of him which isn’t wholly confident in himself or his abilities.

            I agree that he does need to keep his audience – not just for the business model we’ve been discussing (if he loses the audience in the big blockbusters consistently, then it’s effectively game over for a while at least- but then every actor has ups and downs in their career, and he’ll always be back.), but because deep down, that’s what he really wants. He loves the love – and he was secure in that, just as he trusted people to come with him on this tricky journey he’s on, but now I suspect that trust is a little shaken, so he may rethink things and I hope that doesn’t lead to knee-jerk decisions. But he’s an intelligent reflective man – I have faith that he’ll figure things out and he’ll know which negative messages to listen to and learn from (or what is the root cause of all of this at least), and which to discount as pointless noise.

            It’ll be interesting to see how things develop over the next couple of years as not-Dwarf happens. Not-Dwarf may work brilliantly if it takes an Elf-type funny approach, otherwise he’s going to have to tread a very fine line to avoid a targeted negative ramp-up again. Which he can do, and will I’m sure.

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        • I do think he’s supportive, and maybe even driving the new timing for Red Chillies. The industry folks know best on release times–but I will still want director’s cut DVD’s to get access to the more comprehensive story–and just more SRK goodness!

          Funny you should mention both MNIK and Dilwale. I almost called out both of them too. MNIK as an overall ego-less performance (even with a real clunker of a second half), and Dilwale as showing moments of greatness in the midst of a characterless, scriptless, frankly insulting to viewers mess. 🙂

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          • If Red Chillies is driving the shorter running times (if so, I am sure more for theater convenience so you can easily squeeze an Indian film into their schedule of other 120 minute films), they are also driving the solution. Check out the Red Chillies youtube channel, all the deleted scenes are there.

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 4:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Nope, I want that too! But I am also grateful just for the deleted scenes. I was worried when they started disappearing from DVDs (not just Red Chillies, but all companies), and everyone switched to the streaming model, that it wouldn’t be something we would see at all any more. Glad that RC is putting them up on youtube for us.

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 4:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • With Diwale, it always seems to me that while he was around on set, the greatness came out, and while his back was turned, they got a bunch of stoned 5 year olds to write, direct and act some of it. I read a review which said that he was like Robert De Niro on an Adam Sandler film set, and that seems about right.

            MNIK – you can’t fault his performance, just the plot lost it’s way around Georgia somewhere ;-), although to be honest, I can’t think of a better way around it. I liked the concept of him toddling off to find the President in a Forrest Gump kind of way, and I liked the FBI stuff (although it was too neat – in real life he would have been shot in the head in 5 seconds). The hurricane stuff was just silly and the non-main actors were rubbish. Apart from that…

            But I have views like that with almost all the films in some way: KANK should have led to Dev being suicidal given that he had lost everything, K3G should have focused more on his struggle to make it in London rather than squeezing in more useless dancing sequences, veer zaara should have had another lead actress in it (Sorry!), Swades should have been more tightly edited, and I never understood how Om didn’t get charged with murder at the end of OSO (I don’t think the ghost thing would quite stand up in court).

            But you know what? In every one of those films, he was utterly outstanding. Whenever I watch any film without him now – Oscar-winning Hollywood films included – I find them all terribly badly acted (last week I actually yelled out “This is crap, there’s nothing going on behind the actors’ eyes!” …to LaLa Land!), and keep thinking that he could do a much better job. He’s ruined films for me! Thanks Shah! 😉

            But on a serious note – I hope that there are some wonderful roles for him around the corner. He’s so brilliant, he deserves the best that there is available.

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  4. First of all Claire (my late beloved mother in law and my very beloved grandchild are Claire so I am biased in favor of all Claire’s) you are a revelation! Your analysis of Shah Rukh’s career is so 1) intelligent 2) optimistic that I am thrilled to read it. I hope you are 100% correct. One of my favorite lines in your first post above was,” I also think he’ll go into directing soon – he basically ghost-directs everything anyway, he may as well get the credit for it, and that will be a whole new thing again,” was spot on. Carol (another Margaret groupie) and I were discussing this just this morning. I think he directs every shot he is in and then some. Now, directors say he is a dream to work with because I’m guessing he never insists on his version and its never about vanity. (“No, my other side is better type nonsense) in all the making of’s he is talking talking. He has said he doesn’t want to direct, but I hope in this new avatar he is changing his mind. One concern about your idea that all of these choices have been very deliberate: he has for all intensive purposes left twitter and it has felt like he was sad about the negative response to JHMS. He was expecting a non block buster response to fFan, though he was also expecting or hoping for a filmfare award (which he should have gotten) but maybe not for JHMS. If this is all deliberate, why the silence? And frankly, why did he promote it as if it was one of the standard films? He was very careful about DZ in saying this is “not a SRK film”. I wish he had done that for JHMS. Margaret’s analysis of this is spot on.

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    • Hello! Lovely to meet you!

      I think the simple answer is: “It didn’t perform as he had calculated it should going into it”, although I think the real answer is somewhat more complex. If I was a betting person, I would say that he knew there was a problem with it after the first full viewing prior to the promo tour – whether he saw the same problems with it that the critics did, is anyone’s guess, but his demeanour changed in the interviews after that, including the interview immediately afterwards. Much much quieter and he started to downplay the film’s message and prospects right there and then and I did think that there was an issue with the film at that point – but of course he was already committed to a full (ridiculous) promotional schedule (if I was ever to gently offer him any advice, I would say the next promo tour needs to be a little less exhausting for him, because that was amateurishly run and didn’t do anyone any favours). It would also be difficult to say that it wasn’t an SRK film, and it would have been worse if he had run around and said “it’s not my film, it’s the director’s!” – he’s much too classy for that.

      What happened afterwards has taken him aback as any sensible person would be, and it’s no surprise that he’s personally detached himself from twitter (can’t say it’s permanent, but it may be). The big problem is that many people use twitter forgetting that there is a human being at the other end of it. On any given day, when nothing special is happening, he gets in the region of 15,000-20,000 tweets per day. 1/3 of these are full of love, 1/3 of these are demanding something from him that he can’t give, 1/3 are abusive (or irrelevantly dragging him into something he’s not involved with). So there’s just enough there to keep him feeling like he’s still loved and engaged, and he knows enough now to ignore the haters. But during JHMS, there was a ramp-up, led by certain groups with different agendas, where it was about 1/10 love and 9/10 abuse (some threats were in there too) and 40,000 tweets a day, and that’s difficult for anyone to take – particularly when you’re feeling a little down and vulnerable, and everyone on earth is pointing out every flaw that you believe about yourself. He’s always had a wary relationship with social media and he always reacts to hurt by withdrawing from it – he’s clear about that. So it’s no great surprise that he handed things over to his manager for a while. I think a lot of fans have taken it personally – although a lot of ‘fans’ have no right to call themselves that after what they have written to him – but it feels like he’s just protecting himself at the moment. It’s a shame that people aren’t giving him that time but are now turning on him for not tweeting, like he’s some dancing monkey who performs on demand, which is even more disgusting. Poor guy just needs a bit of gentleness at the moment.

      [It reminds me a little of how people treated the Beatles during the height of Beatlemania – even down to when Shah was injured during one of the promos events due to people bashing into him. It’s objectification not love – and people forget their own humanity when it comes to objects].

      Liked by 1 person

      • I watched all the interviews but I want to go back to the one you refer to that was “right after”. Which interview was that? I agree about the tweets. Carol and I think that there was a concerted effort in some quarter ( I really don’t know who or where) that started a negative campaign to on this film. I’m not big on conspiracy theories but there seems to be a force out there that is eager to specifically topple him. I think his withdrawal makes sense and i fear it is permanent. After all, he doesn’t owe anyone daily or weekly tweets. Many fans disagree but it might be wishful thinking. He’s reached such heights that there is always a group that thinks someone at a height should fall. I’m so glad you’ve joined the conversation!

        Liked by 1 person

          • Wait, does this also mean you don’t sing and dance all the time? And is it possible that every Indian man isn’t greek god handsome and charming and romantic? Say it isn’t so!!!

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 9:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

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          • 😂 except we kinda do sing and dance a lot. Maybe not on the streets. What am I saying! Of course we dance on the streets too just in a barat or a religious procession which happen what every second month?! As for singing, that’s provided by beggars, street kids, auto drivers, catcallers, etc. 😂

            And why would Indian men be Greek gods? They’d be Indian gods. And they are! To their wives! That’s why everyone is dying to get everyone married so Indian men can become gods. 😂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Too late, I already saw Shivaay! Now I am having flashbacks to Ajay Devgan’s bad acting and bad parenting.

            Now, see, this is what I was thinking of:

            On Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 9:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Liked by 1 person

          • When we talked about sexy chest hair I thought it would be implied that hair elsewhere on the body was equally desirable! Also, not a fan of legs like PK. You could replace his head with Karisma’s and nobody would know the difference! My idea of dreamy pins on a man

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          • No way don’t believe that image Indian Gods do not smoke or have any vices. My mom was pretty adamant on that and I believe her. Else they would not have idolised Lord Shiva in Baahubali either if He was not the perfect God for Amarendra and his son.

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          • No no! The nice rope ladies just danced for him! He was a saintly perfect man who never would have let it go farther than that!

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          • No no no see that he only turned on his charm for obvious reasons there. Like M said in her analysis, he wears all that charm so lightly he can just turn it on and off at the flick of a switch.

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          • I just realized that I’m not sure if you are talking about SRK or Bahubali here. Which is either a sign of me idolizing SRK too much, or Bahubali not enough.

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          • Watch Jab Harry Met Sejal! Watch Jab Harry Met Sejal!!!! Apparently, those people have stepped aside a bit.

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          • Current film choices — Pauly, Prithviraj, DQ. SRK isn’t even my top three. Why would push aside these three for SRK? especially now that I kinda wanna watch Bahubali a few times again!! My dadi is visiting. I should show it to her. She’d probably love the shivling scenes!!

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          • Well, in that case, watch Kammattipadam and prove me right that you will become obsessed and in love with it. Or maybe bored, but it’s a 4 hour epic about gang warfare with DQ aging from 16 to 40 and remaining true to his forbidden love, really seems like your kind of thing!

            Or, Classmates, and see where Prithviraj began. He’s a campus radical who always fights with the wealthy daughter of a Congress guy, until….

            Liked by 1 person

          • They’re all on my list. I might have to take a break from them till after dussehra though. Dadi can’t read english. We’re probably going to be watching a lot of south indian massy films or saas bahu fares from the 80s like ghar ho toh aisa because she really loves those. Or anything with sex scenes. She has a wide range 😛

            Liked by 1 person

          • And again I say, Jab Harry Met Sejal! Jab Harry Met Sajal!!!! Or, Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju which I finally watched yesterday and is very ridiculously romantic if you are looking for something like that.

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          • Can I bear three hours of anushka and fidgety SRK for that? I’m sure someone on YouTube has those specific parts up. And if there was a proper SRK sex scenes, it’d be on my WhatsApp already so my hopes and other things ain’t all that up! 😁

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          • Yes that seems plausible however Shiva still remains a being of impeccable character and morals. That image is blasphemy!

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          • That video is giving me the distinctive “this makes me feel vaguely nauseated” feeling that means it is probably drug related.

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          • I feel like one of those phrases you used is a drug thing. And therefore, i am sticking with my original analysis!

            On the other hand, Kwaja Mere Kwaja, makes me feel totally fine and healthy. Just high on God and stuff.

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          • Hmm. Should I buy this argument? I am somehow picturing a teenager trying to sell it to a parent and not necessarily succeeding.

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          • Not even joking dude. It is actually an offering in the north. Cannabis and opium both. If you’re ever drinking in a jungle in the hills, you gotta splash a little on the ground in the name of the goddess and Bholenath. Seriously not joking about it. At Banaras, you pay for the thandai and the cannabis you get for free.

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          • Now I am switching to being worried about accidentally taking something because I am trying to be religiously polite.

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          • You should be. Although nothing in food would hit bad. It would be mild like in the Jai Jai Shiv Shankar song.

            To get a really bad hit you’d have to have like a spoonful of the ground stuff. And that tastes like leaf. In general stay away from anything that looks like a large brown laddu that tastes a little leafy. The large brown laddu really gets you. This once I had it I could no longer follow what Salman was saying on bigg boss. I understood individual words but I couldn’t thread a sentence out of them. I laughed for half an hour straight. Then I watched ragini mms. Not a good choice!!

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          • In America you can get it in gumdrops. which I know because I was at a party where it was offered, followed by a “Margaret! DON’T EAT THESE!”

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          • They’d never stay in, my hair is way way too slippery. Plus, then I’d be that white girl with dreadlocks, and I never want to be her!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Then be the white girl who does cannabis on movie nights but goes back to being innocent Sunday school teacher come morning. Come on!! Ganja Girl would be a kickass superhero!!! 😂

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          • Well, we sort of have that in America now too, there is supposed to be a licensed dispensary opening in my neighborhood. It looks a lot nicer than some of our liquor stores. On the other hand, the store off the highway that I drove by this weekend called “Puff ‘n Sip” did not look that classy.

            Liked by 1 person

          • You bigging up that video sums up everything wrong with the western influence on desi women! And the irony is the actual western person is so good and nice and all. God knows when the switch happened.

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          • I KNEW there was something oddly tempting about those fumes all around on my two trips to Varanasi but alas both as a kid. So couldn’t really investigate on my own. Nice throwback of a city though.

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          • Those fumes were probably from the kachoris.

            Dude you gotta make a trip there as an adult. The good bhang vendors are close to Bhairav baba mandir. But you gotta get to Kashi Vishwanath by the time for arti. The arti would sweep you off your feet. Of course then you can eat all the way to Ganga arti in the evening. Total spiritual experience!!

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          • Haha yeah gotta go there again for sure. M should really do a video when high. A million views within a year guaranteed!

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          • Seriously, I get “high” on like caffeine. There was one time I had to work 20 hours straight, I had like 2 coffees and a coke (which is a lot for me), and I spent the last 4 hours of my shift trying to catch a penny on my elbow and giggling until my co-workers threatened to strangle me.

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          • Huh. I barely get through a normal 8 hour workday on 3 coffees. You don’t even do high caffeine drinks like Red Bull?

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          • I have 3 coffees a week, Monday morning, Tuesday morning, and Wednesday morning. Any more than that and I just stop sleeping entirely.

            I could obviously raise my tolerance and so on, but why would I want that? This way, if I have to work another 20 hour day for some reason, I have my in case of emergencies caffeine sensitivity to rely on.

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          • Let’s see how long you’re able to maintain this angelic lifestyle and values now that evil vultures are circling.

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          • Also, it is now after 11 my time, I’m going to bed so I don’t have to get high on strong coffee tomorrow.

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          • Asmita, my reply was to your eariler below comment.

            No. There’s no force out there to topple him. That’s just Indians being Indians. We’re not as nice as SRKs films show us to be. 😂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Asmita (and Siva too) I’m so glad we have your alternate perspectives on SRK to balance out us fangirls/guys. Last night I was chuckling at all of us worrying about a multi-millionaire movie star/businessperson. He has said it himself–his fans somehow feel he is one of their own, and we clearly do.

            I’m lucky to work with a few Indians, from Bangalore, Delhi, Tamil Nadu (can’t remember which city), and a bunch of folks from Bhubaneswar. I’ve had the most interesting reactions and conversations with them about SRK and Hindi movies generally. Ranging from “How can you like that guy–he just struts around everywhere?” to “I’m an SRK fan, but my brother’s a Salman fan, and we like to fight about it.” to “Oh, I don’t watch Bollywood” (except for a few nostalgic 70s-90s movies, in this guy’s case), to “Everyone watches Bollywood, but urban elites don’t admit it.”

            Anyway, it feels like there’s much more of a “you’re only as good as your last movie” feeling among the few Indian movie fans I’ve talked with. Except for Aamir–that guy’s like teflon.

            Liked by 2 people

          • That’s kinda generalising the sentiment. That’s like saying everyone in America is a Tom Cruise fan and everyone watches all his films. 😁

            New SRK and non-Indian SRK/bollywood fans may find it weird that right up to the millennium, 80% of India had access to just the single state owned TV channel which was free to air. It was only the upper class living in bigger cities that got cable and had access to hindi and English films and general hindi entertainment channels. This means the vast, vast majority only had films in theatres as their primary source of entertainment which was followed by the same films on VHS which required on to rent out a video player plus tapes. Again, only the upper middle class and above could afford a video player of their own and a cassette library.

            It wasn’t till chinese made CD players, cable TV and cheap CDs became freely available around the mid 2000s that the Indian film audience got actual options. Like actual options. So imagine living under, let’s say the communist regime, and you have basically one kind of film and one kind of actor to entertain you. And then the economy is liberalised but the people at the top insist on echoing the same sentiments and basically making the same movies as they were under the reds. Would you LOVE those stars? Or would you think of them as condescending for exploiting your nostalgia for your youth to make easy money? That’s what people HATE about SRK today. Dilwale confirmed what people had suspected after Chennai Express. People appreciated Raees but that got lost in the Mahira Khan and anti-Pakistani actor sentiment. With JHMS, it is again the same thing- it looks like SRK is trying to make money off the public by making a film that has all the SRK staples. People watch Amir reinventing himself film after film just to stay relevant and then there’s SRK doing a less obnoxious but equally as condescending act as Salman. Result– people are in open rebellion again Salman because he’s openly crass but SRK, they’re happy ignoring because he’s a nice guy IRL who happens to make films that are a throwback to his earlier films and there’s nothing new from him at a time when the industry is exploding with fresh ideas.

            If this feels like a rant or blasphemy, just remember SRK in Bollywood =Tom Cruise in Hollywood.

            Liked by 2 people

          • First, watch Jab Harry Met Sejal! Really, it’s not the same thing he was doing before. It was promoted as that, which is a problem and his fault and totally follows along with everything you are saying, but it really isn’t that.

            And second, i would expand it past “not everyone is a Tom Cruise fan” to “no one is a Tom Cruise fan”. Not just because of his various personal stuff, but because the way fandom is in India just isn’t something we have had in America since like the 60s. Fan clubs, autographs, politicians talking about celebrities, it’s just not something we “do” any more. At least not for movie stars, pop stars sure. And definitely for things like TV shows and book series and stuff.

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          • Exactly. And urban fandom in India too isn’t what it used to be. Rajnikant, Salman and the telugu commercial cinema fandoms are exceptions and they’re really a tiny tiny fraction of the Indian film audience in India.

            I want to desperately believe JHMS is something new, something different but those subtleties might ne lost on me because I’m not in his fandoms. Like I’m in the prabhas fandom right now and I can tell you why yogi is less watchable than munna and you can technically sit through billa but that’s not enough to convince someone outside the fandom to become a fan or to even understand why one prabhas film is less worse than the other.

            SRK really is everywhere. He doesn’t just pop out during promotions. He’s always present on TV. Hosting nonsensical award shows where the jokes are written by professional comedians who have funnier content on the Web, he’s endorsing fairness creams, he’s on Comedy shows, he’s on entertainment segments in news, he’s on magazines and then he’s on social because of all of these. For a dedicated dan living outside of India maybe it looks like his new film has him in a new avatar but for us that have to bear the SRK overdose everywhere, the new SRK is really the same SRK that’s been the same SRK for at least three years now.

            I could watch JHMS but I’d really have to have run out of every other movie I’m curious about to do that. If I want to watch the new SRK, I’d just watch an award show he’s hosting. 😁

            That’s one reason why writing fanfics around him or discussing his previous work is more appealing than watching any of his recent films.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi,

            Appreciate the additional background. I was actually trying to convey that I haven’t gotten a generalized reaction from the very small sample of Indians I’ve talked about and/or watched Hindi movies with. 🙂 I’d say only 25% of them have been movie fans at all. When I say Aamir seems like teflon, it is because people recommend like, every one of his films to me.

            Another reaction I get to saying I like SRK is a vague–wow you must be some middle-aged pervert cuz all that guy does is kiss ladies’ necks.

            Liked by 1 person

          • 😂 yea the neck kissing thing is getting a lot of flak on the comedy and meme scene now. It’s outdated. Everyone is doing real kissing and actual sex scenes now.

            Trust me, I’m from the hindi belt and I definitely watch very few mainstream hindi films all the way through. The real gems, I watch over and over again every time they’re on tv.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Claire & welcome to the party!

          I agree with just about everything you’ve said, not least because it gives some perspective to both the ramp up to and the aftermath of JHMS. I’m a little tired of fans hating as well as refusing to accept what happened to this film. Sure, I’m saddened that it wasn’t loved more. I loved it and have thoroughly enjoyed the discussion here about the film. And I do believe there was a concerted effort to bring Shah Rukh down. I’m just not sure who or what is behind it.

          Molly has pretty much accurately reported all the stuff we talk about–all the time–so I don’t have more to add. Except to again thank you for helping me see the bigger picture here. It’s easy to get lost in the fog sometimes.

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          • This is gonna be a controversial reply but what the heck. SRK will have to slog through another 2 years IMO and then the amount of flak will reduce, I’m sure of it. There is a very disturbing desh-bhakti trend in India brought in with the BJP/Modi atmosphere, very akin to Trump emboldening the racists in the US. What earlier could not be said in pleasant company can now be parroted all over social media and the real world. I’ve never lived in India but do have family members there so it means being forced into whatsapp groups and the like. There is a very concerted effort to prove SRK as being anti-national, a hidden Pakistani, someone who doesn’t do charity for Indians, and what’s more – because of his ubiquity in the media space especially internationally, he becomes a target in the way the other two Khans usually don’t. I have seen silly 17 year old teenagers (my cousins) making posts on facebook about how SRK movies must be boycotted because only nationalists can be supported and these things get shared *thousands* of times. Nasty forwards get passed around in whatsapp with fake quotes he’s never given, fake photoshopped tweets, long held-anger over Pakistani players in the IPL and whatnot. Of course it’s often combined with the insistence that the hatred is really about his movies (though really, who else is making great movies anyway?).

            It doesn’t help either that he doesn’t get photographed with Modi the way the others do or make outright jingoistic films waving the Indian flag. For all the talk about him being money-crazy, SRK must know all he really needs to do to get a big blockbuster is to make some heavily patriotic mainstream movie – either a war/army movie, something about Indian pride (sports, medals, etc. – Aamir has an Indian in space movie coming up), or some specific “issue” movie. Word of mouth doesn’t work the way it used to before. Now social media sets the tone and if enough people slam a movie the first weekend, the rest won’t even see it to know if it was good or bad. Twitter, especially, is a pile on. If one person sees a movie and hates it, another 10 who have not even seen it will bash it alongside that person because it’s fun and makes them look so cool and hip.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Totally agree with Anonymous, but I would still refuse to believe that that kind of a sentiment is tangibly affecting SRK’s movies and their BO I don’t think.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Dilwale at least, there was a trackable effect. But limited, opening weekend in places with actual protests in front of the theaters. That’s pretty rare.

            Also, so nice to hear you agree with anonymous! really, that just gave me a big smile.

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  5. I kinda feel like my question has been misinterpreted. More than a Fan vs. Chennai Express type of question, I was trying to make it more personal. I’ll use a Mahesh example to try to make more sense. Choice A would be Khaleja which was an action-comedy that I really like but it ended up being a box office disaster. Choice B would be Pokiri which is a movie that I don’t hate but I don’t like as much. Pokiri is one of the biggest hits in Mahesh’s career and it made him a huge star. Both movies are comparable since they’re both action movies; the only real difference between them is their box office fate. I think my choice would be B because more Mahesh fans in the world is always a good thing 🙂

    But I’m glad that my question has sparked a lot of conversation. As an outsider looking in, It was really interesting to read what y’all (as in Shahrukh fans) thought of how Shahrukh’s career is going.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ooh ooh. I remembered my Monday morning questions question! So, both Baahubali’s are on Netflix. I’m excited to watch them, in part because I think my husband will like them–he likes quasi-mythological, heroic stuff. But I think at least the first one is dubbed in Hindi, with English subtitles. Should we go ahead and watch them or make the effort to find the original language version? How much do the original actors’ voices add?

    Wikipedia tells me it was shot in Telugu and Tamil–if we should postpone watching til we get one of the two initial languages, which language is easier to find or makes more sense in terms of the actors’ home languages?

    Ok, that was several questions. Thanks!

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    • Get ready for a barrage of advice! Not just from me, but from others.

      First and most importantly, Bahubali 1 and 2 are available on Netflix in 3 languages, Hindi and Tamil and Malayalam. Tamil is the one you want. Partly because the actor’s performances do add something. But also because it was written in Tamil/Telugu. So it sounds slightly more melodious and lovely in those languages than in Hindi. If you understand the words of course it makes a huge difference, there are all kinds of meanings that are lost in the Hindi translation. But even if you don’t understand, it still “sounds” so much better in Tamil/Telugu.

      So far as I know, the Telugu version is currently not legally available anywhere. That is the “real” version and the hope is that it is being held off for a fancy blu-ray or similar release. But Tamil is pretty close.

      Otherwise, yes you should watch them! Super amazing impressive films. The first one is fun and wonderful and entertaining. The second one takes that and adds on kind of epic Shakespearean level interpersonal drama and tragedy.

      One final thing to be aware of going in, there is a particular style of acting and character that is specific to a performing tradition in Telugu films (and possibly elsewhere, but definitely films). So this is one of those times that you have to be aware they aren’t acting “wrong”, they are acting “different”.

      Okay, that’s enough for now. Can’t wait to here what you think!

      On Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 10:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

        • I can give an advice here too! Hindi version is the worst in my opinion. I watched Baahubali 1 in hindi and it all sounded so wrong – like you can see that it was dubbed, and that it was simplified, it’s lacking something. And I can’t even speak any of indian languages. I know only few words in hindi, and nothing in telugu/tamil/malayalam. Then I watched Baahubali 2 in tamil, and it was great. After that I reccomended it to my husband, who just like yours, like heroic, mythological movies, but as he doesn’t speak english I found version with italian subtitles. It was dubbed in hindi, so I can compare both versions, and tamil is so much better (and my favourite song Kannaa Nidurinchara in tamil/telugu and malayalam sounds much much better than in hindi) So if you can choose, avoid hindi, especially in Baahubali 1.

          Liked by 1 person

      • “they aren’t acting “wrong”, they are acting “different”.

        Margaret, I don’t understand what you mean by ‘different’. Is it something like overacting? Can you please elaborate?

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        • The declaiming style, with the elaborate speeches, and hand gestures, and so on. The more common style we see is the “natural” look. But for this particular film, I think at least, the other style is a better fit. It just takes a little getting used to from the audience.

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          • We Indians use hand gestures in real life too… and elaborate speeches, mostly women are culprits. My niece is a non-stop chatter box 🙂

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      • Just saw this comment. The Telugu version of Bahubali 1 is legally on Youtube, in 4k, no less (though you can adjust the resolution to match your screen’s).

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    • It depends on the film. Most of the time, going with Dina is the best. Because she is similarly serious about films, so she’s not going to be interrupting me with questions during an important part. But if it’s bad, then I have someone to laugh with, and if it’s good, then I have someone to talk with during intermission.

      For some films, the big fun stupid ones, going with a large group is the best, because then I don’t care if they talk over things. Dilwale and Happy New Year opening night were two of the best times ever, I went with like 8 people, and we all cheered and laughed and whistled for the whole movie. But I wouldn’t have wanted that experience at, say, Dear Zindagi.

      And then very rarely there will be a film I would rather watch alone. Jab Harry Met Sejal was one of those, and Fidaa. Partly because I really wanted to focus, but also because I wanted to be swept away in a way you can’t be if someone is sitting right next to you.

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

      >

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      • Ok, that makes sense. Yeah, I have a friend that’s serious enough about movies that I love to watch movies with. I went to Ninnu Kori with her and we had a lot of fun.

        The first time I saw a movie alone was the first time I saw Badrinath Ki Dulhania. I’m so glad that I did because I cried like 3 or 4 times while watching that movie. Whenever I watch movies with friends, I can’t seem to cry even if they’re crying. The next day I went with my friends and I enjoyed it but it wasn’t the same as watching it alone.

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