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

Happy Wednesday!  Halfway through the week, I stayed up way too late watching movies with a friend last night, but tonight I might maybe be able to go home and go to bed at a regular hour.  And then be up too late again on tomorrow, possibly.  Oh well, such is life.

I’ll start!

For reading, not much.  I am taking a break from serious reading, although Memoirs of a Thug is calling me, saying “Margaret, Margaret, you only have 11 months to finish me before the movie comes out!”

For watching, I finally saw the Call the Midwife Christmas special, my last Christmas special until next December.  And I’ve gone back to Murder She Wrote, which is perfect blogging watching, in English so I don’t have to pay as close attention, calm and soothing with nothing upsetting that will effect my writing mood, and of course inspirational since Jessica Fletcher manages to write AND solve murder mysteries AND teach a class at a University AND go on exotic vacations at least once every 4 episodes.  Surely I can manage to write a blog while also working full time!

Thinking, the dog quest continues!!!!  There are plenty of almost right dogs out there in the world, but my mother said I shouldn’t take one home unless I absolutely fall in love, so I am on a quest for that perfect dog I can love.  The problem is, it is much easier to full in love with a full size doggy-dog, instead of the tiny little apartment dog I am stuck looking for.  Did you know there is a rescue called “big fluffy dog rescue”?  That is the dog I want!  But cannot have.  So sad.  Here, browse and join me in jealousy: https://bigfluffydogs.com/dogs/available/

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

  1. Ohh all those fluffy dogs are so cute. I don’t know how a person can decide which adopt. They all are so adorable.

    Reading: I managed finish Karan’s biography and I’m happy. Procrastinatrix asked last week if this book is worth reading, I can say yes now. It’s confused, but I’m mean and I liked that it affirmed what I already known – that Saif Ali Khan and his wife are two annoying divas 😉

    Watching:
    Vikram Vedha finally and I’m even more in love with Madhavan now.
    Ustad Hotel which I didn’t like.
    Coco in cinema, sweet and touching
    Then I started some odd movies I found on amazon, like Urban Turban and man how bad it was! I thought it will be funny in “so bad it’s good” way, but it’s really really bad, and looks like bad wedding video. I resisted only 10 minutes. It’s impossible to watch it sober.
    And today encuraged by good reviews I started Anarkali of Aarah. But why nobody warned me? I think I will never forget the first scene from this movie. I’m still shocked. Now I must finish it.

    Thinking:
    About Unni Mukundan, because I found out that he is accused of molestation! I don’t know if he is guilty or not but now I can’t look at him like I used to.
    The woman (scripwriter) says that she came to Unni’s house to talk about the script she is writing. But Unni wasn’t interested and insteed started kissing her. She started screaming and escaped. Than he called a taxi and she went home.
    Unni’s version is different – the woman came, but as the script wasn’t ready he said he will not do her movie. They discussed and then he called a taxi. Few days later women called and asked: in which jail you want to go? He had to give her 25 lakhs or marry her, otherwise she would accuse him of rape. Unni then accused her of extortion and blackmailing him.
    I really hope he is innocent, but on the other hand he is young, single sexy guy so I can believe he was trying with this woman.

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    • Exactly! I have been browsing dogs for months, and the problem isn’t that I can’t find one I like so much as that I like all of them equally.

      I also found Karan’s book worth reading. For the gossip if nothing else. And congrats on finishing it!

      So glad you finally saw Vikram Vedha! It made me love Madhavan both because his character is so great and because he was so smart to produce it and find this script and all of that.

      That Unni story is really fascinating! I have no emotional relationship to him, so it’s just interesting to me instead of upsetting. And another one of those stories that I’m not going to touch because I don’t know enough about the Malayalam industry. I don’t know if Unni is someone there have been rumors about before, if this kind of shakedown is common, or what. Hopefully someone else can come in and inform both of us!

      On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 12:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I try to read as much as I can about Unni’s case, but there are only few informations. What I find interesting is that many sites write only about Unni’s petition against the woman, adding only in the end “Oh yeah this women filed a case agains the actor befor he did it”. BTW I’m so proud of myself – I opened one site in malayalam and was able to say where exactly Unni Mukundan name was written, so learning malayalam script is starting to bear fruit.

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  2. Our furnace failed last Wednesday and didn’t get repaired until Monday evening, so mostly I thought about keeping warm and not having our water pipes freeze. (Success on both accounts) Once of the ways we kept warm was going to see “The Greatest Showman” at a real theater. It was quite wonderful in a very Bollywood way, but which I mean right from the beginning it is clear that this is NOT history, it is a story that is “true” in the feelings it evokes, but not in the factual details. The music and choreography were superb. I would be so pumped to see SRK and Hugh Jackman in a movie together.

    On Sunday. the lovely Procrastinex drove all the way over to my frigid house, bringing taquitos and guacamole and we watched the 1955 Devdas together. My observations: (1) MUCH better introduction of the childhood story (2) black and white films can be so beautiful and (3) the Bhansali version relies too much on bad/evil characters (the sister-in-law, Paro’s son-in-law, even Devdas’ parents are cast as villains) and it was not only unnecessary, it completely changed the story. Now I understand why you like this version so much and why the Bhansali is worth watching mainly for the pretty musical numbers, and Madhuri. (Although I still prefer Jackie Shroff…)

    Reading: The Four Tendencies, by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a self-help book, not my usual thing, but I came across a post by her that gave some insight into my work habits and I decided to borrow the book. If anyone is curious, here is a quiz that will explain about 70% of her thinking.

    https://gretchenrubin.com/2015/01/ta-da-the-launch-of-my-quiz-on-the-four-tendencies-learn-about-yourself/

    Thinking: I am back to work on my book project, but am not going to say more right now because I want to wait until I’ve been more productive. It sort of explains my lack of comments here.

    Also: my pub trivia team went to the finals and finished 5th out of over 700 teams statewide!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on your pub quiz team! And I am jealous of you and Procrastinatrix getting together. And SO GLAD you saw the “real” Devdas! It was a beloved novel that became multiple beloved movies, and the lesson always was that life isn’t that dramatic, sometimes things just don’t work out, there are little hidden tragedies in even the most common of lives. Which somehow Bhansali managed to turn into the total opposite message.

      Totally just went over to do the quiz, and I am pretty sure I fit exactly within one of her tendency fields. Clearly, the BEST tendency field!

      On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Thanks for hosting, joyomama! I really enjoyed hanging out and watching the movie with you! It can be tough to find movie-watching partners who have interesting comments and don’t mind the occasional comment from me, but also don’t talk too much. AND the fact that we both seem to like similar types of Hindi films is a bonus!

      Re: the 1954 Devdas, I agree it is a beautifully made film, and I was surprised at how much I liked the songs. It’s my first Dilip Kumar film, and I’ll have to watch something else to get a better sense of him as an actor. Storywise, I had a hard time seeing how that boy turned into that man. But as you’ve said Margaret, that’s not really what’s important about the story.

      Dev and Paro’s childhood scenes, roaming around in their own wild world, reminded me a lot of the young Heathcliff and Catherine in 1939’s Wuthering Heights. Beautiful, but can’t last.

      Liked by 1 person

      • For Dilip Saheb, check out Mughal-E-Azam on Netflix, which is just a super fun movie in general, and a painless way to see more Dilip.

        Andaz is the performance of his I’ve seen that really blew me away, and has the bonus of letting you see Nargis and Raj together.

        On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 2:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think that’s so cool that you gals got together to watch a film together! Wish I had a true Hindi film fan here in Philly to do the same. Of course, I have “forced” a few favorites on friends (and most have been well received), I also have to let them pick the movies sometimes, too:)

        But you never know when you may find a film buff kindred spirit. I was walking to the train with a (non-desi) neighbor the other week and we were talking about Instagram and who we follow and I said I follow mostly Indian movie stars and she had seen several Hindi films and knew the names of her favorites…3 Idiots was her entry point but she especially loved Band Baaja Baarat. Will have to follow up with her someday!

        Liked by 1 person

          • Cool…I remembered that you were an academic working on the history of fashion, but didn’t realize you had so much else linked from your profile/website! Now I have a new blog to check out! By the way, we also have a couple of places in common…I grew up in Syracuse and lived in DC (well really Rosslyn) when I worked at the Folger for a couple of years on a grant project.

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  3. Continuing to explore the ALTBalaji platform. Watched the free episodes of Romil & Jugal. A well produced gay rom-com. Each episode starts with a quote from Romeo and Juliet and is informed by that quote. Romil is a Punjabi hunk who is in denial about his sexuality and over compensating by womanizing. Jugal is a Tam Bram who is out, but his parents are in denial. They are also involved in staging Romeo and Juliet at their college. So there is north-south conflict, gay-straight conflict, man-woman conflict, parent-child conflict, all set to a well paced light rom com with heart and empathy. I don’t know if any industry in the world is making anything like this. Kudos to Ekta Kapoor!

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    • That sounds AWESOME!!!!! And yeah, I always thought Ekta was way more progressive under the surface. Plus, there’s her brother.

      On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 6:01 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I read Bard of Blood which is going to be made into a netflix movie produced by Red Chilies. It is a a predictable story and clearly clearly Bilal had Shah Rukh in mind for the main character. It is so obvious (his dimples! his floppy hair! His muscular body which belies his age!) but Shah Rukh says he is not going to be in it. Will be a fun action packed movie though.
    Also, this might be more of a Monday question: but is it true that Amitabh is starring with Kangana? I cannot imagine what that set will be like: the gentleman and the sociopath…
    Also, where did the little bell icon go in the upper right of your site that indicated you had a response or a like to one of your comments?

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    • No idea about the bell icon, I haven’t changed anything on my side. I also see a different version of the site than you, so I haven’t noticed a change.

      And yes! Seems confirmed, Amitabh and Kangana in an R. Balki film. I have all kinds of concerns. Starting with, I don’t think Balki is that good of a director and Amitabh indulges him. But also, like you saw, seems like a very odd combination of talents. Kangana is seemingly proud of challenging her directors and creating art through conflict and so on, while Amitabh is proud of his professionalism and showing up on time and knowing his lines and being respectful and, like you say, a gentleman. Just, NO IDEA what is going to happen.

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  5. I finished Mughal E Azam and it seriously dragged through the last 30 minutes, but I enjoyed it. Not super into the talking map of India, and Prithviraj’s over the top theatrical acting style takes some getting used to, but overall a good experience and I knocked another classic off my list.

    Over vacation in the US I also saw The Big Sick, The Shape of Water, and Ladybird, and I liked them all so much. I can’t decide who I’m rooting for to win the Oscar.

    On the plane home I watched Traffic. I had my choice of that or Death in the Gunj, which would ordinarily be a no-brainer but I’m really looking forward to DITG and want to watch in a better venue than an economy seat with a kid kicking my back. So, Traffic it was. This movie is bad. Really, really bad, and this is more of a shame because of its stellar cast (Jimmy Shergill, Manoj Bajpayee, and for some reason Bengali megastar Prosenjit and Bengali regular star Parambrata Chatterjee). It could have been really interesting but you get the feeling that the filmmakers are desperately trying to fill out 120 minutes with a very slight story about racing a heart for transport from Mumbai to Pune. Bad bad writing. Do not watch. Avoid, yaar.

    Thinking: Bahubali, both of them, is finally at my local cinema this weekend!!! Woot!!! I’m wondering if I should watch Bahubali 1 and then Bahubali 2 in one 5-hour marathon with a single bathroom break for a special price, or if I should go see Bahubali 1 this weekend and Bahubali 2 next weekend? I feel like the marathon would be too much Bahubali, and Japanese theater seats are not super comfortable, so I’m leaning toward the latter, but what if I get hit by bus or something next week and never get to see Bahubali 2??

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    • I will tell you that B1 ends with a massive cliffhanger, so you would have to suffer a whole week waiting for a resolution to that. But on the other hand, both films are kind of an emotional roller coaster, so after 2 and a half hours of B1, I don’t know if you would have the emotional energy for B2. So I guess I am torn between the two options! But perhaps others will have opinions.

      I saw the Malayalam original of Traffic, which was very Malayalam, in that it had a looooooooooong time setting things up and digging into the characters and all that before anything “happened”. That feels natural in a Malayalam film, because that’s how they all are, plus it was structured in such a way that it all ended up feeling sort of connected. But I could very easily see how just the slightest change in translation could tear that balance apart and suddenly it turns into a big mess.

      On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 9:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I’ve always wanted to watch both movies back to back so that’s really cool that you have a chance to do that. But for the first time, I would suggest watching B1 and then B2 the next weekend because I feel like you should have time to think about everything in B1 and speculate about the cliffhanger before watching B2.

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      • Good point. It may be torturous not knowing, but it makes the resolution so much more satisfying if you have to wait for it.

        On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 10:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I would watch the movies separated. Watching them together could be great but not on uncomfortable seats and not when it’s your first watching. In my opinion the second part is the best, and maybe you will not appreciate it fully if you will be tired.

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      • Thanks for your input, everyone, my course is clear: Bahubali 1 tomorrow, Bahubali 2 next Saturday. In addition to all the other points, I realized I would be watching 5 straight hours of Japanese subtitles, which will probably be fatiguing.

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  6. Watched Judwaa 2 (well, kind of half-watched it while multi-tasking). Surprised that I didn’t hate it since I’m not a Varun fan and I couldn’t get through 10 minutes of the first one. The songs were undeniably fun and Jacqueline continues to be very good at silly comedy. Taapsee looked more uncomfortable in this kind of film, but she was fine. Maybe because I had already heard about the tasteless moments in the film they didn’t bother me as much. I’m still not a Varun fan and will probably grudgingly like many of his films just like I like a fair share of Salman’s films.

    And I watched Ittefaq to see why you raved about it! It was very well done. And Akshaye Khanna really is the heart of the film. Wouldn’t a tv series with his character solving crimes be great, with his kind of silly team of cops. There was a surprising amount of subtle and overt humor in the script that worked to lighten the melodrama. Sonakshi was good in the femme fatale parts and Sid was ok and relatively well-cast.

    Neither would make my top Indian films of 2017 list but they are definitely ones I’d watch again and maybe want to own for the songs and the originality respectively.

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  7. I did my annual re-watch of Happy New Year on New Year’s Eve. But this time a friend came to stay over for NYE and watched it with me so that was fun. And I had cooked an Indian meal using my new slow/pressure/multicooker thingie just to make an event of the evening, lol

    We have had some stinking hot weather lately so on one hot drowsy afternoon I came across Maacher Jhol and Mantra on Netflix. Maacher Jhol – Bengali movie about a NRI Michelin star chef, living in Paris, who returns to Kolkata when his mother is taken ill. He attempts to make her the perfect fish curry. Family tensions and a reveal of the reason why he was so lukewarm to the idea of marrying his French girlfriend. It was a nice time pass on a hot afternoon. Mantra – mainly English dialogue starring Rajat Kapoor and Kalki Koechlin. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5046500/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl It only has a 5 rating on IMDB but I liked it.

    Also last week I had the sudden urge to watch the gorgeousness of Jodhaa Akbar once again so I did over a couple of afternoons.

    And Ittefaq – yep, this was good, well acted and directed with no melodrama (or melodramatic invasive background music score).

    Reading – finished Sonali Dev’s latest, A Distant Heart. liked the way it connected to her previous novel, A Change of Heart.
    I seem to have stalled about half way through The Night Manager and never quite made it to the end of Karan Johar’s autobiography. I think I got fed up with the writing style and he contradicted himself in a couple of places.

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    • I’m beginning to feel like doing a rewatch of J-A myself after writing that post. It was on Netflix for a while and I used to watch it in the background fairly often, but now it just seems like too much work to dig out the DVDs and put them in and all that.

      Were you reading or watching The Night Manager? I have not attempted either, but am leaning more towards watching than reading.

      On Fri, Jan 12, 2018 at 5:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Reading The NM – a couple of chapters a night bedtime reading but then the run-up to Christmas got in the way. I haven’t seen the TV series yet.
        A couple of Hollywood I forgot to mention – Star Wars Last Jedi which was fine, scope for another sequel etc… These days I usually only go to the cinema for an Indian movie and during Last Jedi I was waiting for the intermission….
        A friend wanted to see The Greatest Showman for a second time and asked if I wanted to see it with her (I was supposed to have had lunch and movie – TGS – with her and another friend a couple of days earlier but I was unwell and had to cancel) so I said OK. For me it was mehhhhhh. Entertaining but superficial and I had a real problem with the costume/hair styling for the period it was supposed to be set in.
        I had wanted to see some of the TED Talks India BUT I can no longer see videos through Hotstar. How dare they! I used to be able to watch Koffee with Karan albeit a bit bufferingly but no longer. Our Roku gadget has the TED app and the talk by Javed Akhtar is available, supposedly with subtitles but in actuality no subtitles. So I give up… 😦

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  8. I contacted YuppTV about subtitles and had a reply –

    Thank you for taking time to contact YuppTV,

    We do understand your requirement, but please know that we do provide what we receive from our content providers. We do not have an option to add subtitles, however we have forwarded your feedback to our concerned team. They are working on this, we shall update in our website once there is any information regard this. Until then we appreciate your patience.

    So will wait and see if we get a Hotstar app.

    I clicked on one of the movies on YuppTV and you can get a 2 minute preview – but the preview starts at the beginning of the movie so it was 2 minutes of opening credits/brand partners/thank yous etc, ha ha ha.

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  9. I started off the year watching Khoobsurat with a few friends. I then showed my mom Mubarakan which she really enjoyed. After that, the only movie I saw was Son of Satyamurthy starring Allu Arjun and directed by Trivikram. This movie came out in 2015 and I enjoyed it a lot more now than what I remembered it to be. I really liked Allu Arjun’s performance and I felt that this is a lot better movie than Sarrainodu or DJ which were his recent releases. Here’s the trailer to that:

    Speaking of Allu Arjun, the teaser of his upcoming film is out and it looks really good. It looks like Allu Arjun is moving away from the masala movies he’s been making recently and doing a more serious looking action movie.

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    • Khoobsurat is an excellent choice for a film to watch with friends!

      and thank goodness Allu is back to semi-normal hair. I just do not like the experimentation!

      On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 6:59 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yup! It’s one of those light happy movies which you can still follow along without paying too much attention.

        But some of his best movies were when he had the long hair 🙂

        By the way, Spyder premiered on TV and the general consensus among the adults that have seen it in our family friends group is that the villain is way too creepy.

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        • It’s kind of an odd thing, I think taking the villain to another level made it a much better film as a film. But also made it less commercial. And I don’t know how they could resolve that, making him less creepy would take away what made the film special, but keeping him this way makes it almost impossible to watch.

          On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:16 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I agree! I liked that they made the villain so creepy since it was really unique. But at the same time, I still feel like they didn’t elevate the hero enough to match up to the villain. The scene where Mahesh interrogates SJ Suryah should have been a meeting between two equals but it still felt like SJ Suryah was so much smarter and better than Mahesh at that point. It was like Mahesh won at the end only because he’s the hero and they wanted a happy ending, not because Mahesh’s character could truly defeat the villain.

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          • Maybe cutting the romance entirely (they hardly seemed to care about it anyway) and spending more time establishing how Mahesh’s program worked and what his skills were and so on would have fixed it?

            On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:24 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Maybe. I think what AR Murugadoss was trying to show with the romance was how Mahesh’s software program worked but it wasn’t executed right. But yeah, the romance was basically useless.

            One thing my dad mentioned was that he didn’t feel like this was a movie that Mahesh would make. He felt like this is the the type of movie that an actor like Sharwanand or Varun Tej would make instead of a star like Mahesh.

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          • That may have worked too, if it wasn’t a Mahesh movie then the hero could have stepped more to the back and let the villain shine completely, and it could have been a smaller film that didn’t need to be commercial.

            On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:31 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Exactlty! I feel like Murugadoss went to Mahesh with this story just so he could get the budget to do all of the vfx for the disasters. The movie didn’t do well commercially in the Telugu states where Mahesh is a star but the movie did do pretty well in Tamil Nadu where Mahesh isn’t as well known.

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          • It also felt more like a Tamil movie to me, somehow. The slow build, not starting with a big action scene, stuff like that.

            On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:39 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah, that was also another complaint that I’ve heard about Spyder. That it seemed more like Tamil movie than a Telugu movie.

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  10. By the way, are you planning on checking out Thaana Serndha Kootam? It’s Suriya’s new movie and I heard it’s really good! I know that moviemavengal has seen it so I was wondering if you wanted to check it out. I really want to watch it but I usually watch the Telugu version of Suriya’s movies and the Telugu version hasn’t released near me. Here’s the trailer for the movie with subtitles:

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    • I wasn’t going to, but now that Kaalakaandi isn’t coming out my schedule has opened up, so maybe!

      On Sat, Jan 13, 2018 at 7:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I hope you get to see it! I’m really excited because it looks like this is Suriya’s first blockbuster movie since Singam 2 in 2013. 24 was critically acclaimed and everything but he hasn’t had a blockbuster in a while and this looks like it will be the one.

        Like

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