Monday Morning Questions: Padmavat Week! What Do You Want to Know?

Happy Monday!  I had the laziest weekend.  No dog (the one I want is still too sick to come home, it’s a whole thing), but I’d already cleared my schedule, so I ended up doing nothing.  And now I am ready to THINK again, so ask me questions and get my brain started!

As always, you can ask me anything from the personal (“are you seeing Padmavat?”) to the specific and factual (“when is Padmavat releasing?”) to the general discussion (“should I see Padmavat?”).

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  The discussion just goes better that way.  But once I answer, if you have something to contribute, please join in and give your own response.

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50 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: Padmavat Week! What Do You Want to Know?

    • Yep, because I am running this blog. I don’t like Bhansali’s movies (except for Khamoshi), so if I were still just watching movies “for fun” I would skip it. But I really can’t write about Hindi films in 2017-2018 without seeing it, so I will drag myself to the theater.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 6:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yes, but still with an open mind. I think I won’t like it because I don’t like Bhansali, or this type of films. But I could always be surprised! It happens a lot. That’s why I try to go to every single movie I can, because you can never be sure if you will like it or not until you see it.

          On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 8:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • According to Prasoon Joshi, head of the censor board, it was in an effort to clarify that the film is based on the poem “Padmavat”, rather than on a historical person (who may or may not have existed) “Padmavati”. I suspect it’s not so much the extra “i”, as wanting a framework for the censors and the filmmakers to bring up the poem and make sure it is clear to everyone that is what the film is based on.

            Now that I think about it, it’s the same reason Aamir’s next is titled “Thugs of Hindostan” instead of “Thugs of India”. They wanted to use the odd arcane title to make it clear that it is based on an arcane version of India, not on real India.

            On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 5:34 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • No idea about either!!!! Who’s in the Super Bowl this year? It’s not the Chicago team, right? Because if it is, I have to pay attention. But otherwise I can skip.

      For the Oscars, I predict a lot of complicated political speeches, but otherwise obstain. Although from the coverage I’ve been seeing it looks like they are swinging artie/independent this year, just like FilmFare. And it will be interesting to see if there is a dramatic difference thanks to the massive effort to open up Academy membership to a more diverse group.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 7:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Patriots vs. Eagles in the Super Bowl, so no Chicago teams and you are safe. 🙂

        You know I can remember a time when Oscar audience booed people off the stage for making political statements. 🙂 Google Sasheen Littlefeather if you don’t already know this.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This isn’t a question, but I wanted to let you know that the horrid video ads that used to take over your blog seem to have backed off. You still get them when you scroll over them, but at least they don’t jump out and override what you’re trying to watch.

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    • Wonderful! So WordPress wasn’t lying to me when they said they were fixing them.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 9:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance because I’m proud as a fan of Shah Rukh getting the “crystal award” from the world economic forum at Davos, but I don’t like WEF or Davos. While there are some “self-made” people there, most are doods who were born on third and think they hit a triple, thinking they can solve global problems that have a lot to do with wealth and power inequality, without dismantling their own wealth and power. Harrumph.

    What do you think of the idea of “global elites” who’s loyalty tends to be to their own economic interests and the interests of other elites vs, say country, environment, or human rights? Does it have some validity or is it too conspiracy-minded?

    I hope your doggie gets better soon!

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    • I don’t know if I would expand to “global elites” as a coordinated group or not. However, one thing I learned in my sociology classes in college and which has stood me in good stead when I look at Indian film as a global artifact, is that people naturally relate to their similar level in other cultures. So, as a middle-class to upper middle-class person from families who were leaders in their respective communities in America, I am going to naturally relate to upperclass Brahmin and Kshatriya types in Indian culture. And vice versa, the upper class types in India will more naturally relate to the upper class powerful groups overseas, rather than to people who share their own ethnicity but are oppressed.

      The film where this struck me the most was Ta Ra Rum Pum Pum, which was infuriating because we were supposed to relate to and care about our upper middle class central family rather than the lower class struggling families surrounding them. Even though they were all desis living in America. But there was still a “us” versus “them” line being drawn. It’s there to a somewhat smaller degree in Kal Ho Na Ho, the crass uncultured desis versus our educated “good” desis. But in that film, they make fun of it a little, we are invited to laugh at both groups (the spoiled protected rich ones and the lower class ones) equally.

      Another film where I notice it in particular is Dil Dhadakna Do, which was sold exclusively to the very very upper class crowd both at home and abroad, desi and non-desi. Or, Kapoor & Sons. And from the flip side, there is The Post which is about to open in India and will no doubt gain much of its audience from the same class that enjoyed it in America.

      I don’t mind films made for particular classes, but what irritates me is when within the context of the film, and in the way it is spoken about in the larger world, the other classes are erased. The film is sold as something “everyone” can relate to, without acknowledging that this particular “everyone” is a limited group. The same problem with the “everyone in —- has servants” statement which I have had told to me by multiple people from multiple places. No, not “everyone” has servants, “everyone” either has servants or IS a servant. Acknowledge the other side.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 11:45 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • And, he gave a wonderful speech and I’m now in tears at work. What a human being. He said exactly to the folks at Davos some of the ideas I said up above–but much more eloquently and persuasively. And much else besides. Cate Blanchett’s speech was moving and meaningful too. Elton John’s up next.

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          • I saw that one of SRK’s fans tweeted to the Davos people asking them to put up a stream of the awards!

            On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 12:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And, Elton John was wonderful too. To paraphrase, “Treating some people as less deserving allowed AIDS to flourish.” and “The minute we chased our shame is the minute we started to fight back [against AIDS].” Cool! Shah Rukh was the only one to acknowledge the accomplishments of his fellow awardees. Pure class he is.

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          • He really is!!! I love how very seriously he takes these moments on the international platform. Clearly having thought through every word he utters to make sure it is exactly right.

            On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 12:22 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Apart from the speech there is also an interview with Tania Bryer !

            Enjoy!

            Just want to let you know, Margaret, that every time I see you Lisbon-Harry&Sejal header, it warms my heart 🙂

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          • That’s nice to hear! That’s my hope with those headers, I went for images that would remind you of good films, as well as looking food as headers.

            On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 1:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. How do you think Padmavat is going to do at the box office? I have read past blogs where you do not seem so hopeful it will fare. Why so?

    I understand Padman backed out but is Aiyaary still releasing? Isnt it like based on being nationalistic? for republic day?

    Thanks!

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    • I do think Padmavat will be bad at the box office. First because Bhansali is always hit and miss. His films are sometimes just too rich for the audience. Bajirao benefited from the Bahubali hangover, people wanted the epic fight scenes and so on, plus the Ranveer-Deepika combo was hot, and just generally it was the right time for a huge epic.

      But now, Bajirao and Bahubali 2 have JUST come out, it feels to me like the audience is over-saturated with these huge epics. And in general the big big films have been failing at the box office lately. Plus the trailers just aren’t that exciting. I didn’t like Bajirao, and didn’t think it was that great of a movie, but even I had to admit the shield climbing moment to get to the top of the elephant in the trailer was very cool. I didn’t see anything that made me go “oh wow!” like that in the Padmavat trailer.

      And on top of all that, I think the controversy ultimately damaged the film. Not because people care about it, but because they don’t care about it. The film has been talked about so much that people are just sick of it and any initial excitement has now faded away.

      I’m not saying it will be a record breaking flop, but I am expecting average to bad box office returns.

      Aiyaary announced it was moving first, as soon as the Padmavat rumors started coming around, basically as soon as it was cleared by the censor board.

      Aiyaary was always going to be the smaller movie that weekend, the one people saw if they couldn’t see Padman. And it didn’t have nearly as coordinated a promotion campaign, just released a trailer and that was it, not the big interview and everything push that Akshay and Sonam were giving Padman. It was also more of an action/thriller kind of film than straight nationalistic. So I think they probably weren’t as committed to the Republic Day release as Padman was. And certainly didn’t want to be the film you saw if you couldn’t see Padman OR Padmavat.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What do you think of Aiyaary? I was pretty excited for this movie because I loved Neeraj Pandey’s movies except for Special 26. But the trailer left me feeling cold. Trailer of PadMan left me colder but somehow PadMan is carrying more buzz

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    • I think Aiyaary is not getting the promotional push it could for some reason. Akshay is a master at promos, hitting just the right tone for the film so you are talking about it but don’t feel pressured to see it, and don’t feel like you already know all about it. Aiyaary was never going to get as good of a push, but for some reason it’s hardly even getting that. The trailer was so-so, there’ve been no song or rumors or anything else to follow it up.

      Maybe it is because of the scheduling? They knew they might get bumped and so have been holding off on parts 2 and 3 of the promo push until it gets a little closer to the date? Or maybe the producers just don’t have any faith in the film. Which could mean it is a bad film, or that the producers have bad taste.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 5:06 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Sid, varun alia came together. Both of rest went a notch higher in industry, but Sid is only hanging around, maybe bcoz of karan. What’s your take on it?

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    • It’s all about their second films. Alia made a seemingly foolish choice to dedicate herself for the next year or so to Imtiaz’s very uncommercial Highway. But her performance ended up being the kind of brilliant that makes everyone take you seriously from then on. And I think it also served as a bit of an acting training camp for her.

      Varun did a full star turn in Main Tera Hero, a great entertainer kind of performance, yes he was helped by his father directing to his strengths, but he also showed the industry that he had what it took to carry a film.

      And then Siddharth ended up in Hasee To Phasee, a cute little rom-com, but Parineeti stole it from him.

      Ultimately it is about talent. Varun and Alia are just better actors than Sidharth. And even if the first film was an equal launch for all of them, the second film is where the real talent came out. From then on, Varun and Alia were on the fast track to the top of the industry, and Sidharth was sliding down to a lower level. Which isn’t bad, we need actors like that, the Jackie Shroffs and Anil Kapoors and Raajkumars, who everyone kind of knows but they aren’t big big stars.

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  6. So I read some takes on Deewaar and a lot of people thought that Shashi’s motivation for pursuing Amitabh was jealously because he was the more loved brother. And somehow I didn’t see it? I thought it was more that Shashi was shielded from a lot of the realities of the life led by his brother and mother so he couldn’t comprehend why his brother was a gangster. Shashi had a tiny awakening when he shot the boy stealing bread but it seemed easier to revert to seeing the world in black and white than confront all the grays in the lives of brother and mother.

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    • Yeah, I don’t see that interpretation either. I think in fact it was the opposite, Shashi was tormented by the awareness that his brother deserved more love from his mother, was greater than he could ever be. He believed in law and order and the role of the state, but he also knew that his brother was a better person than he was personally, even if the state was backing him. He felt guilty for his mother’s approval, and guilty for his clean good job, but also driven to keep doing the best he could by his own conscience. One of my favorite lines late in the film, which I probably quoted here somewhere, is “in my veins runs not just my father’s blood and my mother’s milk but my brother’s sweat”. He knew that his brother and mother were somehow beyond him, went through things he couldn’t understand.

      I read a long long article a few years back arguing that it is all Raakhee’s fault. In that, she elevated Amitabh to the role of “husband” or at least “fellow head of household”, twisting their little family into mother and father and Shashi as the son. I wouldn’t go that far, but I do think it does a good job of showing how the single mother can end up making one of the children into her fellow “adult” while the other one gets to stay a child, and it leads to a complicated difficult dynamic once the children are both actually adults.

      There’s a fascinating alternate take in a later movie, Trishul, in which the two brothers are raised separately, again Amitabh is the older gets the much rawer deal, and Shashi the easier way. But this time they aren’t in such a clear position of “right” and “wrong” as adults, and without the position as police officer who has to uphold the law weighing down on him, Shashi easily and gracefully steps aside for Amitabh, acknowledging his superiority and authority over him. Same cast and same writer and same director, so the comparisons are obvious. I think they wanted to take another pass at Deewar and this time give the brothers a happy ending.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 8:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Salim of the Salim-Javed duo who penned Deewar did a twist of it in Naam.He made Shashi’s character played by Kumar Gaurav the elder,responsible one.The one who sold newspapers as a child and later worked at two jobs to support his poor widow mother and brother.Amitabh’s character played by Sanjay Dutt was the one who was allowed to be the child and troublemaker.He was impulsive but very popular and always protected by his elder brother from the consequences of his actions.Yet the mother was strict and uncompromising with Sanjay/Amitabh often coming across as a tyrant.I think Salim was exploring if it would have made a change in the story of Deewar if Shashi,the straight arrow had been the elder brother.

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        • Interesting! Especially the mother dynamic. Because in a way that stays the same, there is a special bond with the older brother. In Deewar, it felt like she overlooked a lot because she understood Amitabh more, there was an extra closeness. While she praised Shashi because she knew, objectively, he was doing all the right things and she should praise him. But in this film, the older son is not just the one she is closer too, he is also the one doing the right things, and so the younger son gets no love or praise.

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          • Not necessary closer.She loves them equally but is not capable of showing it.The elder son Kumar Gaurav is easy to love -he’s responsible,loving and never gives her any cause to worry.Not that he hasn’t problems.But he handles them on his own.Nutan is strict with Sanjay because as she says he always takes the easy way out.If she gives an inch he’ll take a mile..And his elder brother indulges him -letting Sanjay sleep late as a child while going to work himself,letting him drink the milk meant for both etc.As an adult always bailing him out of trouble.So she has to be the strict one-the enforcer if you will. is Plus Nutan has a secret which is tied to the movie’s title Naam.She’s so afraid of playing favorites that she goes overboard.Her harsh words (not meant to be overheard ) sets the course of Sanjay’s life and she comes to regret them later.

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          • Thanks to your comment on the other post, now I am thinking extra hard about how this relates to Sanjay’s real life. The story-of-Sanjay was always that Nargis over-indulged him and Sunil under-indulged him. It sounds like there was an intersting echo of that in the film, with Nutan playing the role of Sunil and Kumar being the Nargis. Or, the other way around, the idea of the strict and indulgent parent became part of Sanjay’s star mystique because it was such a strong part of this star making film.

            On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Naam is somewhat autobiographical in the sense that the characters remind us of Sanjay and his family.Nutan as you say stands in for his strict father with high principles who at the same time worries over him a lot.Kumar Gaurav’s character has elements of his mother who shields him from the stern parent’s wrath and intercedes for him.At the same time he also stands in for Sanjay’s real life siblings who love him but can stand only helplessly as he makes a trainwreck of his life.It was a master-stroke getting Sanjay’s real life brother-in-law to play the role of his brother.Their offline friendship translated well onscreen.

    Here they are with Namrata, Dutt’s sister and Kumar G’s wife

    https://st1.redm.ru/proxy/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsaveimg.ru%2Fpictures%2F16-04-11%2F2593aa927b3a333ce9271ed973888831.jpg&token=ecb03f4995b344cc32afb4e08decc545fe1e3d26

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    • Thank goodness Sanjay has gotten himself together! That “standing by helplessly while he destroys himself” feeling would be so tragic I don’t know if I could have stood it. Now, despite the jail term and everything else, it feels like he isn’t sending himself to destruction any more, he’s taking care of himself.

      Also, Namrata was really pretty.

      On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 12:26 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’m also hoping he’s settled down somewhat and happy with his family.Dare I hope you’ll do a Naam review? It’s available in the Amazon Prime in the U.S website.Ashutosh Gowariker has a small role.You can see him in the first 10 minutes.

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        • Maybe! I haven’t seen Vaastav either, and I know those are the two MUSTS for Sanjay’s filmography. I need to watch them before Sanju comes out, whenever that ends up being.

          On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 1:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Hey Margaret! A friend of mine has recently discovered Malayalam movies and so far she’s seen Bangalore Days, Om Shanti Oshana, and Premam. So that’s one more movie she’s seen than me. What would you recommend next? By the way, she’s in love with Dulquer so she’s willing to watch anything that he’s in 🙂

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    • Ok Kanmani, which isn’t Malayalam but Tamil, but it is Peak Dulquer.

      Hmmm, what else? 100 Days of Love isn’t very good, but it is a nice Dulquer love story is she really needs one. Oh! Ustad Hotel! She’ll love that one. Charlie is another really good one. Kali is nice, but turns kind of thriller-y in the second half instead of romantic.

      For non-Dulquer, I just watched Godha and LOVED it. Thattathin Marayathu with Nivin is a really good romance. Action Hero Biju is also good, although action-y as you would guess.

      In old school films, Niram is wonderful. Ennu Ninte Moideen is really good but really sad.

      And that’s it! That’s all I can think of. But first and foremost if she is in love with Dulquer, OK Kanmani. And then Charlie.

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      • I know we both saw OK Kanmani back when it came out but we were disappointed since the trailers were so good. But I don’t think she’s watched it again since…

        I totally forgot about Ustad Hotel and 100 Days of Love. Both of those are with Nithya Menen right?

        By the way, I watched Jomonte Suvisheshangal with my dad over the break since we randomly found it dubbed into Telugu. It was nice but it was so slow and I kinda got bored in the middle. So that ended up being my third ever Malayalam movie.

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          • REally? Mili for Nivin? I liked Nivin in it, but the opening was so slow.

            On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 3:36 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Nivin is not the hero in Mili, but I really like this movie, much more then Thattathin Marayathu and so I recommend it.
            Oh, and I read yesterday about Arikil Oraal, and it looks like good thriller with Nivin and Indrajith.

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          • There’s so many good movies out there! Now that Christmas is over, I suddenly have so much energy to watch them all.

            On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 3:49 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yep, Nithya and Dulquer have been in a few movies. Their chemistry in OK is so amazing, it’s not quite as good in the other films, but it’s still good.

          I randomly saw Jomonte in theaters, becuase it was one of the few Malayalam films to actually release simultaneously in America. And yes, it was kind of slow and dull. It was also very similar to a Nivin movie, Jacobinte Swaragyam which I liked a lot better.

          On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 3:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Margaret, do you think bahubali should be nominated In filmfare/other award shows? It has transcended languages and become a cult Indian movie

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    • I don’t think it should be nominated, not the way the awards system is structured currently. Right now there are separate awards ceremonies. To nominate Bahubali for the Hindi awards would seem to discredit all the previous winners of the Southern awards. However, something like the National Awards, or the Oscar committee selection, which is always all India, then it would be completely appropriate.

      Or, if there is a special category in the awards ceremonies for “best all India hit”, then it could win everywhere. But I don’t want to feel like the ways in which it is a clear descendant of the Telugu film industry, the Maya Bazaar and Magadheera and everything else, are being ignored. It may be an all India hit, but every film industry in India cannot take equal credit for its success, let the industry that created it, own it.

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  10. I like what you said, maybe they could have given special award etc. But on the other hand, kjo was one of the major reasons y a telugu movie got so big audience at the 1st place. Otherwise it would have been like magadheera/eega etc. Grand beautiful etc but honestly who in North had heard about them before bahubali

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    • In that case, perhaps the flip side, the Southern awards should invite and honor Karan for a special award on national integration or something like that.

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