Wednesday Watching: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching This Week? Also, Wedding Questions!

Happy Wednesday!  I’m having one of those sleepless weeks.  Thank you Sonam’s Wedding/Time Zones!  Anyway, half done!

I’ll start!

Reading:  Thanks to a generous friend who lent me her entire run of Witches books, I have FINALLY started reading Terry Pratchett.  It’s true, he’s good.  In that particular wise-cracking post-war British sci-fi way.

Thinking: Should I give up on sleep entirely and go see Mahanati tonight?  And also give up on money?  I wouldn’t even be considering it, except the showtimes are PERFECT for me, just enough time to come home and walk the dog before leaving again.

Watching: Brooklyn 99, now that I have finished Parks & Recreation.  And I watched Ittefaq with friends on Friday, the new one on Netflix.  Holds up perhaps even better on a second watch, when you can catch all the clues.  Oh, and they both liked it, and also told me that everyone goes to bed in tiny negligees and big floppy shirts and full make-up like Sonakshi does, so I guess I am the odd one out.  Or else they were pulling my leg.

 

Now, question!  Along with telling me whatever interesting thing you have been reading or thinking or watching this week, also answer this:

After reading all the Sonam coverage, what has she inspired you to add to your wedding?

I have narrowed a successful wedding down to 3 vital ingredients.

  1. A DJ who plays “Chalti Hai Kya 9 Se 12” all night because it is the perfect party song
  2. A comfortable outfit to switch into at the reception when you want to dance
  3. Anil Kapoor as the father of the bride

 

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49 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching This Week? Also, Wedding Questions!

  1. Reading: Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals”. Not for myself. I have special orders from the top to rate if it’s appropriate for my 10 year old niece.

    For Mahanati, I guess, if you haven’t read up on Savitri and watched her Maya Bazaar(I recommend this highly) yet, it would be best to go later? Idk..Will it still be there where you live?

    The lesson I learn from every wedding: make it as simple and sober as possible. Almost like it never happened. But feed everyone well! Nothing else matters really. Everyone’s here for the food. (Although no one in her wedding seem like they’ve eaten in days or want to eat).
    Apart from that: e-vites! It was a no-paper invitation wedding right?

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    • If your niece likes that kind of book, I have SO MANY recommendations. When I was that age, those sort of funny reminiscences were our go to family read aloud books, because the chapters were short and fun and my parents could enjoy them as much as we did.

      I have seen Maya Bazaar, and was mostly lost. I watched it more from the Bahubali perspective, trying to understand the tradition of special effects and Puranic based stories in Telugu film, than from looking at the particular actors. But I remember I did really like her, and was struck by how the story was primarily told from her perspective, rather than the hero. It should still be playing in a couple weeks (unless it flops horribly), so maybe I will wait and see.

      Yeah, where was the food at the Sonam wedding? And when? Did they have just a continuous buffet for the whole day and half covering Mehndi-Sangeet-ceremony-reception? Or was there a mixture of fancy appetizers at some events and full meals at others?

      Purely from a practical perspective, having 3.5 events in a row is great for food use, they could just keep making the same things over and over again and not worry about running out or having leftovers.

      On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 8:58 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • My niece is in her Dickens and Jane Austen phase right now. This will likely be her first Gerald Durell or just memoir-type books. Then there’s Harry Potter which she’s looking forward to reading because she loved the first two films. I would love to hear your recommendations 🙂

        Idk if there was food at her wedding..maybe it’s those appetizer plates floating around. I’m sure someone will stalk them hard enough to find a menu.
        Oh oh! Story: two freelancing wedding staff keep running into each other serving food and getting routinely humiliated at every wedding. They bond over their fondness for judging rich people (whom they hate but secretly want to be) and eventually other things…ailing parents, boring relationship, crippling poverty etc .at first it’s just a hookup situation and then it’s like “is this love?” and then they kinda have a fight in the middle during which time one of them applies for a hotel management/hospitality thing internship/scholarship program thing and by the end of the movie they realize “yes it is!”. But now one of them has to now leave the country to pursue that scholarship thing and omgomg will they or won’t they??? Maybe it’ll end with them opening a catering service together

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        • Harry Potter, obviously. Percy Jackson is like Harry but a slightly easier read. A Series of Unfortunate Events is really fun if she likes Dickens style language tricks, although the plots are probably a bit simple for her now. John Bellairs is a fun sort of children’s gothic horror author, and has a movie coming out soon.

          Edith Nesbit is a MUST and if she likes him, also Edward Eager. Oh, and the original Oz series, Wizard of Oz is good, but I like The Land of Oz and the others after that even better. Bonus, they are all out of copyright now, so you can get them super cheap, or for free electronically.

          Anne of Green Gables is amazing, and so are the Betsy-Tacy books, if she wants a sort of “girls growing up” kind of story. Pollyanna is surprisingly good, much better than the movie version, and has a sequel (Pollyanna Grows Up).

          The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, both wonderful books for girls, the other Burnett books are a little hit and miss for me, but those are great.

          In newer books, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the Penderwick series are both great. The Invention of Hugo Caberet is an amazing original book, there is a movie but the book is almost certainly better. Oh, and the Patricia Wrede Dragon series were my favorite books at that age. And Because of Winn-Dixie I read as an adult, and still loved it. And of course E.L. Konisburg, although she may be a little young for them now, but in a couple years she will love them. And Jean Craighead George! Anything, but especially Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain

          And for funny memoirs, James Thurber is great, so is Shirley Jackson, and Never Cry Wolf is a really good one if she likes animals.

          Now, if you ask me to recommend Grown Up books, I would have no ideas. But children’s books, SO MANY. Somehow my reading age never moved beyond 14.

          On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 10:32 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Thank you so much for this! 😀
            I’ve handed over my Harry Potter collection, but my sister has decided to introduce Azkaban when she is probably 13. I don’t get it, because she’s already reading Roald Dahl..but anyway…I think she’s been introduced to Oz and Anne of Green Gables. But thank you again. 🙂 I will try to get these.

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  2. Reading: I’m reading a Telugu book “Gona Ganna Reddy” which the movie Rudrama Devi is based on. I read it when I was young so couldn’t really understand why she was great. Now that I am grown up, I realize what an amazing role model she is. This book is a work of fiction told mostly from Gona Ganna Reddy’s POV (Played by Allu Arjun in the move) but she is still amazing.

    Watching: Cricket mostly!! Doesn’t leave much time for anything else.Will watch ‘Maha Nati’ if I get tickets.

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    • Yaaay, a Cricket person! So I can ask you, when is Cricket over? I want normal movie star life to resume, meaning Amitabh tweeting about his grandkids instead of Cricket matches.

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      • Cricket is never over!!! IPL final match is on 27th May. After that, Indian team is going to play in Ireland, England and Australia(I think). But they are not as exciting as IPL.

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        • Cricket is so strange! I am used to American style sports, where there is a clear season, and then an off season. And a regular schedule of games within each season, so if you care about a particular team, there is one or two games to watch a week with each game lasting a few hours. But with Cricket, there are these random bursts of week long series that go on and on and can happen at any moment without warning.

          Also, I was going to complain that the Indian team never comes to play in America, but then we don’t play Cricket, so I guess that is fair.

          On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 10:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Holy …! Gona Ganna Reddy is about him, and Rudrama Devi is not based on that book (are you reading the one by Adivi Bapiraju?) There are actually many other books about Rudrama Devi, which I’m sure were consulted by the film makers.

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      • Yes. I’m reading the one by Adivi Bapiraju and I read other book (can’t remember the author) but somehow I felt the movie strongly follows the sequence in this book. I hated the other book because it had Chalukya Veerabhadra being unfaithful to Rudrama Devi!!!

        Do you recommend any other novel that is as good as the one by Adivi Bapiraju?

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    • There is another book by Adivi Bapiraju which is about Rudrama Devi, but I’m blanking on the title now. I’ll look it up and post it later.

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  3. Reading: work stuff and politics stuff as always.

    Watching: Aggretsuko–an anime-ish Netflix show about an office worker who is meek and mild on the outside but secretly sings death metal karaoke to get out all her frustrations. So fun, but only one season and the episodes are really short. I want more! Also, Episodes–a funny Anglo/American series which is so awkward that I can only watch a couple episodes at a time. I watched Dhoom 3 over the weekend because I was killing time while waiting for other stuff to happen. Aside from Katrina’s item number and the ridiculous motorcycle/car/boat/helicopter chases it was a snooze fest. There were fun moments with Aamir as the villain, but the whole Sahir/Samar thing was super uncomfortable, and the ending did not make that any better. Also–why were the interiors and Aamir’s clothes right out of the 1930’s?

    To answer your question–my wedding happened 20 years ago this year, and I’m not planning another one (Insha’allah). So watching Sonam’s wedding/reception/all-night party mostly brought back fond memories of our own. We had a mediocre DJ but lots of people danced anyway, and it was a good party. We went to the wrong hotel for our wedding night but the wrong place had room and we were too tired to do anything but eat cheeseburgers, drink champagne and sleep anyway.

    For my daughter’s wedding, if she wants one, my advice to her will be to focus the planning on making sure the ceremony is meaningful for her and her partner and that guests have a good time–not on trying to impress anyone or to be the center of attention. Then on the day, just enjoy and don’t worry about a thing, knowing you did your best and no plan works out perfectly. Anil and Shah Rukh will be more than welcome to come and dance with the father of the bride. 😉

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    • I find Dhoom 3 very enjoyable to watch, but I have no idea how it plays for someone who isn’t spending the whole time identifying familiar landmarks. The motorcycle-boat-helicopter chase is my favorite part, and if you ever come to Chicago, you can recreate it for only $5! One of the hidden fun things in the city is the Chinatown water taxi, you get on in downtown and then it takes you down the river and lets you off in Chinatown. Probably not a coincidence that is the same route Aamir takes, I am sure it is zoned and cleared for small craft and stuff so they recommended it to the filmmakers.

      I also really love their version of Chicago with completely empty farm fields 20 seconds outside of downtown, a massive Dam another few minutes away, and the White Cop’s apartment somehow in the middle of the lush rolling hills of the city. And of course a circus inside of the Shedd Aquirium. I like picturing all the fish stuffed into tanks backstage going “what’s happening? Why is there a circus here?”

      Congrats on your 20th anniversary!!!! Have you hit the magical moment yet when you have been married more of your life than you have been not married? And I like your wedding advice, especially because it seems like sometimes the best way to relax and enjoy is to focus on making sure other people are having a good time. There’s so much pressure if you are constantly questioning yourself “Am I having a good time? Is this the best day of my life? If not, what am I doing wrong?”

      On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 10:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Thank you! Not quite yet. If we both make it another 4 years, I’ll have known my husband for half of my life. It’s an odd thing to think about.

        Yes, the whole “best day of your life” thing, and the idea that “it’s the bride’s day” are not helpful for getting in a good frame of mind to host ceremonies and parties. Even if it’s the parents of bride and groom doing the hosting. These ideas are good for selling lots of wedding-related stuff though!

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        • Dragging it back to Sonam, I definitely felt like the family attitude was “this is a really great day, and a fun excuse for a party, but nothing more”. It was a really big wedding by my family’s standards, but so small compared to what they could have done.

          On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 12:19 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. It was Rajamouli week for me. First my son surprised me because he said: Mom, let’s watch this movie about the fly you were talking so much about. I answered: but you know, it’s not cartoon, and not in italian, are you sure?, and he said yes. So we watched it in telugu ,with english subtitles and I had to tell him what is happening. He liked it, and only complained that some scenes were too violent, and it wasn’t as funny as he thought.
    And yesterday I finally finished Magadheera. Basically it was like prequel to Baahubali, so many similar scenes and details. Sher Khan was the best, and Kajal Aggrawal terrible. Why she was hired?

    And for your question: I would hire Anil Kapoor to pretend he is my party uncle 😉

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    • I like Kajal in other things, I blame the script for what happened to her character.

      It really does feel like Bahubali-the rough draft. My vague memory is that it was the film which proved Rajamouli’s crazy idea just might work, helped him convince people to give him the funding to start working on Bahubali. You can tell how he really doesn’t care about most of the modern day stuff, the film comes alive in the past, but he still had to put in the modern day stuff to make it commercial and keep the costs down.

      On Wed, May 9, 2018 at 11:22 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I finally watched Fidaa. And Sai Pallavi, Omg! Now that is who they call a natural actress. I liked her in Premam and Kali, they were good performances, but in this she just blew me away. I watched all my favourite parts ( where he helps her study, their first meeting in the car, she playing a prank on him) immediately the next day. She was literally the hero of the movie. Pity her recent Tamil and Telugu bilingual didn’t do well. Im waiting to see her in Maari 2, a proper Tamil launch she actually deserves ( she’s a Tamilian)

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    • She is so amazing in Fidaa. The promise of Premam and Kali more than fulfilled. I hope Maari 2 gives her a full character, doesn’t just turn into a star vehicle for the hero.

      On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 3:02 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • So, I guess Tovino is sticking with the baseball hat from Mayanadhi?

      On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 10:09 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • It looks good on him, so I don’t mind. I only hope he will throw those stupid “80′ style” spectacles he was wearing often lately.

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    • I would love to see that too! Maybe I will write a post just for you and me to have fun with and no one else. (I suspect the B99 and Indian film overlap is fairly tiny)

      On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 4:25 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Tried to watch Sonu K Titu K Sweety. I turned it off in the middle of the first song because it was just gross and knowing enough about the story, I knew it was just going to get worse.

    But I did see Pari and I absolutely loved it! Even cried a couple of tears at the end. I’m confused by all of the reviews that said the script was a mess. Yes, there was a lot going on and there was a lot of atmosphere and build up but I could easily follow the story and your interpretation of it in your spoiler review seemed pretty true to what the script was doing. All of the performances were strong and Anushka really is one of the best actresses around in any industry.

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    • I am so glad someone else saw Pari! The real problem with the bad reviews is that no one else saw the movie so I had no one to talk to.

      Yeah, the script felt pretty straight forward to me. The only problem would be if you tried to lock it into one genre, if you were only looking for the romance, that would be confusing, or only for horror, that too. But if you just accept it as the kind of dark fable it is, then it is fine.

      On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 8:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I actually kept thinking about The Shape of Water when I was watching it because they both are dark fables with romance, bad guys hunting the “creature,” and some social commentary. I actually didn’t like The Shape of Water much partly because it wasn’t really creepy enough…just way to twee and “magical” to use one of your favorite words. Pari was definitely not twee. This reminded me of some of the darker stories that come out of Irish and Celtic folklore (or even some of the original Grimm Brothers tales), just a really interesting gothic adult fairytale. There were some brutal emotional moments…I usually can’t deal with dogs getting harmed in films, but Pari’s sketches of the dogs and her last words about how the dogs don’t desert her when she needs them are what really got to me. And now that I think of it Anushka Sharma’s real life love of dogs must have informed those scenes. (One of my favorite Bollywood interviews of all time was the one she did with SRK and Anupama with her dog running around in the background and barking.)

        I was so glad that this movie didn’t disappoint. I was really looking forward to it. I also really like Parambata Chatterjee and think he’s pretty fascinating. He conveys such depth with his quiet acting and there is a fascinating world weariness and sexiness underneath it all. He was really good in Kadambari with Konkona. I really should delve into his Bengali films but there’s just no time. I hope he gets more Hindi films.

        Also thought the references to Let the Right One In were pretty strong in Pari which was cool.

        Have you seen Phobia yet? That one and Pari together are quite a double whammy of feminist “horror.”

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        • Good comparison to the Grimm tales. One thing that occurs to me is that the Grimm tales and others were originally adult stories told to work through social problems of the powerless, or give warnings. Don’t go in the forest, avoid the prince he might rape you, your parents might leave you to starve if they don’t have enough money, and so on and so on. This one is very similar. Don’t trust the nice guy with glasses, don’t trust the official scholar with the fancy credentials, let a woman control her own body or horrors will result.

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  7. I saw Shubh Mangal Savdhan last weekend, finally, after I tried to watch it about 3 months ago and discovered that the subtitles were about 10 seconds off (enough that you really have to concentrate on who is saying what). I wrote to Eros about this and instead of sending a form email that says “Yeah, we really super care about this” and then not doing anything, the guy corresponded with me a few times and confirmed that they fixed it. I’m glad they are stepping up the customer service. Anyway, this film is lovely and funny, not as good as Dum Laga Ke Haisha but very good, and it could have gone so wrong.

    I also am still plowing through Inquilaab, about 15-20 minutes per day before I sack out, and I highly recommend it for watching with friends over pizza. (So you can talk while Amitabh is punching people). It’s just nuts. I’ve been through the part where Amitabh discovers he’s been trapped in a web of deceit and his psychological state is represented by him splitting into two Amitabhs: one in a white suit who sings about the dilemma and one in a dark suit who sweats and runs around something that looks like the set of a 70s children’s TV program, while the camera shimmies and turns sideways. (Later in the song, there’s an Amitabh in brown pants, but I kind of think that’s a continuity error and not another Amitabh). Also, while escaping they have to hide themselves within a group of disco-dancing girls and Amitabh is disguised as an old man and he looks so much like present-day Amitabh that it was seriously disconcerting. It is incredibly fun if you fast forward through all the punching.

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    • Oh, forgot the wedding question. My take-away from Sonam’s wedding is that, failing having Shahrukh, Ranveer, Anil, and Arjun all get completely lit and start dancing, I really need to have my train carried by a bunch of my male friends and relations. That was really sweet.

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    • I’m so glad you liked Shubh Mangal Saavdhan! It was such a sweet movie, against all odds based on the plot. Also, bonus Jimmy Shergill!

      And you are making me very much want to watch Inquilaab.

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  8. Reading: Done with Maidanam. For its period, yes it was daring. Nothing more to comment.
    Watching: Mahanati, tomorrow. Feeling excited, given that Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Keerthy Suresh and Dulquer Salmaan are dubbing for themselves in Telugu for first time.
    Thinking: Why is it that we tend to judge an actor/actress performance emotive only when they sob and cry? Most of the reviews of the recent films find the performances “particularly fantastic” in the emotional scenes, which are nothing but the ones where people cry their heart out. Joy, rage, confidence, assertiveness, discomfort, humour… Leaving aside all, why crying is being looked as the biggest parameter?

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    • I was just thinking the same thing watching Raazi! Alia has a couple of complete break down scenes, but if anything I found those a little overplayed. It was the smaller moments that she really impressed me, when you could see the stress on her face but she didn’t completely give into it.

      On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 12:59 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Just popping in to say zomg Rishsi, what an ass and poor Neetu (who I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know was married to him. I’m still so new to all this). Is it mean that I kind of wish Salman had found out about it before Rishi left the wedding? Wait, scratch that, he has enough legal problems.

    Also, a request: Any chance you can add a weekend discussion post to your schedule? It’s a long gap between Wednesday and the following Monday and I don’t want to spam your regular content.

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    • I love discussion posts! Because I love talking to you all, and also it’s really easy for me. So sure! I’ll see if I can put one in on Saturday morning somehow.

      And yeah, Rishi has always been like that. The only nice thing is, he doesn’t talk about people behind their backs. he will go on record badmouthing his director to the press while the film is being promoted, he will tell the complete truth in his autobiography including about his father’s alcoholism and affairs, that’s just Rishi. He feels like one of those guys that prides himself on always “being honest”, you know? The ones who see politeness as weakness.

      Oh oh! Perfect timing! This is part of Ranbir being in Sanju, he and Sanju were both children of strong powerful personalities in the industry who had to fight to make their own way while also relying on their father’s strength. Rishi is Ranbir’s hatchet man now, the one who says “no” when he has to, and issues angry defensive statements, so Ranbir can just relax and focus on the acting. Rakesh Roshan does the same for Hrithik, which is why the mob tried to kill him, because he was the one saying “no”.

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        • Yep! If you are an outsider, you have to be your own hatchet man. Shahrukh when he was starting out had to get real scary crazy a few times, there are still stories about it. Or if your family just wasn’t around. Rishi had to take care of himself, because his family has a long tradition of never helping your children ever (Rishi is in fact a way better father than his father or grandfather). Karisma was thrown to the wolves at 15 when her family disavowed her. Maybe that’s part of people’s difficulty with Kangana? A feeling of “what’s she complaining about? Most people had to go through it”. You’re lucky if you’ve got family with the power and interest to help you out.

          On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 10:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • As difficult and crazy as Kangana is (including her politics which I don’t agree with) I do admire her ferocity and willingness to get into it and not back down. With her background I don’t think there’s any other way she could’ve gotten to the position she’s in today.

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      • Thanks to Bollywood Newbie alerting me, I did an internet search. Rishi felt that Salman did not greet him with the proper respect. And, unable to talk to Salman about it since he was on the dance floor, instead he buttonhold Seema, Salman’s sister-in-law, and yelled at her. Which upset her greatly, she told Salman, who was furious and went looking for Rishi, but Rishi had already left. And the next day Neetu had to call up and apologize.

        So, first, this just puts the topping on the whole wedding experience, right? It’s not a real party unless there is a fight. And second, I bet Neetu has spent the past 37 years calling people up and apologizing for Rishi.

        On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 4:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Thanks. I thought I can’t dislike Rishi more, but seems that I can. And why people still give him roles, if he is so dificult and fights with everybody?

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          • Rishi also seems like one of those people who runs hot and then gets over it super fast. Which isn’t great, but is probably better than working with someone who holds on to grudges for forever.

            On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 9:41 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. Reading – not a lot at the moment.

    Watching – over the past few weeks/month – rewatches of Airlift, Main Hoon Na and Guru. A friend said he had watched Half Girlfriend on Netflix (cos his daughter selected it) and liked it so I gave it a go too. It was an OK time pass so then I read the novel as well. August 25 – a short movie, sort of about time travel, which I found on YouTube (possibly), the series Breathe on Amazon prime, Rukh on Netlfix and Bahu Mahi (Pakistani movie) on Netflix. I have also just finished watching the series Rishta.com on Netflix – from YRF TV, produced by Aditya Chopra, made in the same year as Mahi Way with some cast members in common. At the end of the last episode it said ‘end of season one’ but I don’t think a second series was made 😦

    In my ‘Watch all SRK movies in order’ quest I tried to rewatch Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na. I didn’t really like it the first time I saw it and couldn’t get past 20 minutes or so the second time, so I give up on it. I think it is the delivery of the dialogues – everyone seems to be hyped up/over excited/on speed or something. I will move on to Anjaam which I haven’t seen before.

    I started to watch Haseena Parkar last night but fell asleep – mainly because I was up very early yesterday morning to watch the Eurovision Song Contest live – I will carry on with it later (after rewinding a bit…)

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    • You have been so productive! That’s way more movies than I have seen recently.

      I’ve watched Guru and Main Hoon Na I don’t know how many times, they really hold up on rewatches, but I haven’t been brave enough to try Airlift again, it was so stressful the first time. Is Hot Young Guy, still hot and young? Is Akshay’s performance still brilliant?

      My sister saw Balu Mahi and told me it was amazing (in a “I can’t believe that twist” way), but we couldn’t watch it until we were together, so I am jealous of your ability to see it on your own.

      Interesting you couldn’t get through Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. It’s generally considered one of the best movies he has ever made, but I can also see what you are saying, there is a kind of hyper comic book energy to it.

      And falling asleep during Haseena Parker, I will choose to see as a commentary on the quality of the film, not your lack of sleep 🙂

      On Sun, May 13, 2018 at 11:53 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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