Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching and Listening to in 2019?

Happy New Year! So lovely to have a nice fresh start every 365 days. Let’s all talk about how we have been spending the last week of 2018.

I’ll start!

Reading: Still romance novels! I’m on Grace Burrowes now, which are delightful low stress. And have lots of descriptions of sweets, for some reason.

Thinking: I will never be healthy again. I sat upright on the couch for a whole 3 hours yesterday (long enough to finish watching and taking notes on Koffee), and also drank an entire gallon container of orange juice. Otherwise, not much happening in my life and no energy to do anything more. I hate this part of being sick! When you just get bored with it.

Watching: My sick viewing of choice this time is Ekaterina, a Russian made series on the early years of Catherine the Great. Great costumes, ridiculous plot twists (which all are actual historical fact), and I don’t have to pay much attention because I can always catch up by reading wikipedia.

Listening: I’m free from Christmas music! But I am also too sick to try anything new. So I am retreating to pleasant soothing songs, like this one.

And, question for us! How did you spend your New Years?

I managed to finish the bare minimum of work and get home by about 3pm on New Year’s Eve, and then took a long steamy bath, and then a long nap. And then a second steamy bath. And then went to bed and managed to stay awake watching TV until midnight, and then went to sleep. A lovely New Year’s Eve! And then I spent New Year’s Day either in bed or on the couch, chugging orange juice.

What fabulously wonderful far more enjoyable thing did you do to celebrate the New Year?

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47 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching and Listening to in 2019?

  1. I had a stomach infection, so left work at around 1 in the afternoon, slept, got up to have dinner, and again slept at 9.30 in the night. I didn’t wake up until the next day. I woke up ok enough to head to work :/.

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        • My sister reminded me that our best holidays were always when someone was mildly ill. It kind of takes the pressure off and gives you an excuse to just do what you really want to do, not what you feel like you “have” to do. Of course, now that the holiday is over I am ready to be healthy again already!!!!

          On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 12:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Happy new year!
    Reading; the newspapers. Arghhh!
    Seeing; Dil to Pagal Hai
    Thinking after 22 years of the film:
    Karisma Kapoor; a surprisingly good acting beyond the dance sequences
    Madhuri; lovely, feminine, “fatty” sweet silhouette that nowadays is in disuse
    Shah Rukh; in all his youthful ambiguous splendor, living the real love story of his whole screen life; that with the adoring camera of Yash Chopra. Nobody got him better, not even Karan.

    This mutual adoration made believable and lasting all “absurd” Chopra love stories!

    Asking: what is the meaning of the bandanna tied on the left thigh of the boys. I see it in many different movies; is it typical of a region or of a dance?
    Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karisma is so good in DTPH, it always makes me wish she had a more successful return to acting. She has the ability to be really lovely in more mature and complex character roles.

      No idea about the bandanna, it is possible it is just something they thought looked cool. I think it was a thing in America around the same time. Plus also, I think Shahrukh’s knee might have gone out around this time? Maybe it was to help with a brace or something.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 7:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Oh right, Sai was in that movie! I remembered there was a reason I was surprise/disappointed by the low box office, but I didn’t remember what it was.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 9:04 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Apparently it did well in TN & even in Kerala. The dance is just superb anyways. I think we get to see such energetic, wonderfully choreographed songs only when they feature Vijay,Jr NTR or Allu Arjun.The heroines just stand-by showing bare waist and letting their hair fly during songs.

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  3. Thinking: how lovely it was to have rare unbroken time with extended family–some busy and some relaxed. Also, how glad we are to have our new pup, Comet, even though we all still miss our late pup, Bunny.

    Going through withdrawal from the Rachel Maddow show, which I usually listen to each morning (audio from the previous night’s episode) to keep me updated on 45 and the gang’s shenanigans, yet relatively calm. Hopefully she’ll be back tonight. Over the break I was disgusted in particular by Sec State’s reference to “the rapture” in an official speech, and his trip to Brazil to be at the inauguration of a right wing loony who will try to undo all the social progress Brazil has made in the last 20 years.

    Listening to audio books: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (because there will soon be a mini-series of it with David Tennant and Michael Sheehan–yay!) and Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny–liking this one much better than the last couple so far.

    Reading: my mom got me An Unsuitable Boy and my aunt got me SRK: 25 years of a life for Christmas (they spoil me!) and I zipped through KJo’s book and am leisurely perusing the SRK book.

    Music: pretty stuck on the Zero soundtrack. Hope it releases on Amazon at some point. My daughter, who plays the violin, likes Mere Naam Tu so much that she’s even considering coming to see the movie with me. I doubt she’ll really invest 3 hours of her life for a Shah Rukh movie, but it’s nice that she’s considering it. The power of music!

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    • An Unsuitable Boy really is a quick fun read, isn’t it? Feels like Karan hardly even edited it, it’s just his stream of consciousness gossiping.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 11:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I enjoyed it. I was a bit surprised at how much of it focused on the business side of his life. I found it really interesting. I think he basically dictated the book, as he seemingly does with scripts, etc. I have a new appreciation for his intelligence and acumen. I was disciplined and didn’t skip ahead to the chapter on Shah Rukh. I found that chapter a bit, umm, wishy washy and vague. But I respect wanting to be a bit careful with such a long lasting and complex relationship between individuals and families. Such a contrast with his firm declaration of being done with Kajol. I’m glad they’ve patched things up.

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        • What I got from the focus on the business side is a clear idea of how close to his heart his business stuff is. It really was the most important an emotional and so on part of his life. And the most personal part of it, he could talk easily about his film studio in a way he couldn’t about his SRK friendship, not without risking offense. Anyway, you know I love the industry stuff, so that part was just good fun for me.

          On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 2:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I always spend New Year’s Eve at home. I don’t like crowds, can’t relax when there is a lot of people so we always stay at home and eat good things.

    Watching:
    Meri Nimmo – cute, but the weakest of this year’s Colour Yellow movies. Now only Tumbbad and Zero are left.
    10 episodes of Humsafar, and please Margaret and MPK, don’t hate me but IT’S SO BORING. Why you’all love it so much? I am at the moment when this annoying Sarah’s cousin comes always to see Mahira, and Fawad is jealous. After last episode I said – I can’t take it anymore, will read what happens so I don’t have to watch it. But I read in comments here on blog, that maybe something will happen so I decided give it a chance . But only 2 other episodes, if it doesn’t change I quit.

    Listening: Spotify was adding this song to my telugu playlists and after some time, without noticing I started hum it, and now I must listen to it everyday

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    • There is a massive twist coming in Humsafar within the next few episodes, so hold out for that. But yes, it generally has a very slow and contemplative pace. That’s just how it is.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 1:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think my problem is how I watch it. It should be watched in the background, durning cooking, chores or something, and I watch it with all my attention, and nothing happens , there are at most 3 actors who are sitting on the couch talking.

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        • The Pakistani series I’ve seen start off suuuuper slow. It takes 8-9 episodes to even get the male and female protagonists in the same room together. Then right before the halfway point there’s an insane ramp-up in drama packed into 2 or 3 episodes, and it stays interesting after that. As I remember with Humsafar, Mahira’s character is also kind of a milksop for a while, it takes a while for her to come into her own. By the second half she’s gone through quite a change, and her acting to get there is worth it. Watch it like a soap opera, know that the chill parts will give way to crazy twists and character drama.

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  5. Listening to Michelle Obama read her own book ‘Becoming’ as an audiobook. I’m absolutely loving it. I don’t get much chance to read as I am always sewing or doing some other craft if I have spare time, so audio is the way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I miss commuting on public transit instead of driving mostly because it gave me time to read.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 9:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Watching: In no particular order, Happy New Year, the two hockey films, Swades (again, a request from a friend), Roja, and Andhadhun. And I just got home from watching Zero again, this time with procrastinix and her daughter. I still like it a lot, and this time around liked Katrina even more. What a great performance!!

    Reading: Trying Dimple and Rishi again, and re-reading A History of the World in Six Glasses, my favorite nonfiction from last year.

    Thinking: Trying not to worry about a very complicated trip I am taking in two weeks. I will be in Oaxaca, Mexico. Also trying not to notice the stock market.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Boy, what a mixture of movies! I’m impressed with the variety, I don’t know if I could handle the sudden shift from sports film to thriller and back again. Although I guess all of them except Andhadhun had some kind of patriotic element in there.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 10:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • She has caught the virus for the big, non-cynical feelings of Hindi films. She is as hooked on Mere Naam Tu as I am right now. She remains a skeptic about Shah Rukh though. One of her friends at school from a South Asian family told her, years ago, “oh, Shah Rukh Khan is old and he always gets drunk in his movies.” So that has really influenced her opinion, lol. Nevertheless she’s watched Chak De, DDLJ, OSO, Chennai Express, FAN, and now Zero with me, and has been pretty engaged in watching them, so I think he’s winning her over. Not as a crush though-she’s in that androgynous-boy-phase of crushes. Maybe when she’s older. Or maybe she’ll find her own crushes among the younger group of actors.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Have you tried her on Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na? I was just re-watching it and Imraan is very teenage girl swoony.

          On Thu, Jan 3, 2019 at 1:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • The SRK virus I intended was not an improbable crush 😊 but the fascination for a perfectionist who uses every single resource he has at the service of his art and craft.
          She is a violinist and she knows too well the difficulty of transmitting emotions by the mere mechanical striking of a string with her fingers. She must learn to “feel” her instrument as a living entity cuddled in her arm and make with it a unit that resounds with the composer creation and her interpretation of it.
          Enters SRK virus; observe each one of his movements posture or expression and you see, behind what can be seen as pure charming for the audience, the painstaking work of a goldsmith creating a character in filigree.
          Ask for a few minuts of her time and take look at three scenes:
          1 The very beginning of Jab Tak Hai Jan when he defuses the first bomb, observe the number of delicate facial muscle contractions; sheer concentration without any grimace.
          2 The scene when Meera awaits for him outside the restaurant; he approaches her and in total profile, without showing his eyes, he expresses in the sequence surprise, delight, desire and a restrained inner triumph.
          3 And, what is for me a life achievement, in Swades when he drinks the dubious water sold by the boy at the railroad station sealing his definitive marriage to India.
          The list can go on, from the overacting, to the drunken (yes!) to the seducer, the implausible, the ridiculous the self irony; nothing is done with less than total intensity, transmitting the director’s view of the script through his own interpretation.
          I choose this examples just to make a parallel with the necessary and complex muscular work embedded in instrument playing which is not perceived as such by the audience but is felt only as interpretation.
          In the absence of a young actor apt to do a new Khabi Haan Khabi Naa, the virus, induced by SRK charm, could be very healthy to our dear violinist as a reference for the hard work behind any artistic realization, while she enjoys the most welcome crush “on the androgynous boy” (loved the expression)
          PS. Still envying you all having such interesting conversations about Zero! Heaven knows when I will see it!

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          • Thanks for such a gorgeous reply! I will read it to her–especially the parts about playing an instrument. You must also be a musician? Do tell!

            Couldn’t agree with you more about Shah Rukh’s artistry and commitment, and love your choice of scenes. As a very self-conscious person physically, I wonder at his ability to lose himself, his “dignity” in submission to a role. The first time it really hit me was watching Ram Jaane (yes a ridiculous film in parts) when he grovels at the feet of the policemen taking him to his execution, because his best friend has asked him to not die a hero to the young boys. I got goose bumps. How can someone let themselves go like that, in public, in such an artificial setting as a film set?

            Daughter certainly gets that my admiration for him is in part because of his sheer drive, hard work, visionary leadership, and mastery of his craft. She also gets that I can’t really separate my crush from my appreciation of him as a person, artist, and filmmaker. 🙂

            What part of the world are you in? Whenever you do get a chance to see Zero, please do comment! We’re always happy to revisit discussions!

            Finally, I love this series of videos which capture the range of Shah Rukh’s macro and micro expressions. The original creator took them down, and someone else has uploaded them, so I feel a bit odd sharing them, but they’re so fun!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Reading: started A Winter’s Tale, it’s going to have to compete with movie watching if I’m going to finish before next year. Remembered in the first few pages that he’s notorious for not allowing himself to be edited, but it’s more entertaining than I expected.

    Also ran across this lovely piece about a group collecting oral histories of the Partition before the generation that lived through it is lost. https://psmag.com/magazine/saving-the-library-before-it-burns-1947-partition-archive-india

    Watching: loved Sudani from Nigeria, as you know – just a gem :).

    Thinking: everyone is getting sick and I never got around to getting my flu shot this year. I should really do that as soon as possible before the kids bring home something interesting.

    New Year’s was at a house party some friends threw, we took our children and our house guests. There were a bunch of countries represented, many of them Spanish-speaking, which meant twice as much food as we needed and dancing in the living room once things got going. The kids stayed up and were still involved in some intense version of all ages hide and seek well after the midnight countdown, I had to drag my husband away around 1am before the small people turned into zombies. It was nice. I find New Year’s hit or miss, this was a good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your New Years sounds really fun! Although I am also glad to know it is usually hit or miss, so I’m not the only one.

      Ugh, flu shots. I should do that too. I don’t get it every year, and somehow the years when I do are the ones when it turns out not to be affective and I feel silly for having bothered.

      On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 11:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I am gearing up for the big Telugu releases for the festival – Jan 14-15 is Sankranti/Pongal – the harvesting festival in South India. And Telugu films have major release for this festival, similar to Diwali/Deepavali for Hindi/Tamil.
    So, watching the trailers of
    1. NTR Kathanayakudu – the part 1 of biopic of the legendary NTR for which Krish ditched Manikarnika and the trailer had really setup huge expectations in the lines of Mahanati. Just like Mahanati, many actors are playing cameo roles of yesteryear actors – in addition to Balakrishna and Vidya Balan (as NTR’s wife), there are Nithya Menon (Savithri), Rana (as Naidu, current Chief Minister and NTR’s son-in-law) Mohan Babu, Sumanth (ANR), Kalyan Ram (Harikrishna), Rakul (Sridevi), Prakash Raj.

    2. F2 – starring Venkatesh & Varun Tej (Fida)
    3. Vinaya Vidheya Rama from Ram Charan

    Liked by 1 person

  9. me..nothing just listening to music…also revisiting old programs..I hope you and Hazel are doing fine .Oh and Wish you ,Hazel and your family a Happy and a Prosperous New Year 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  10. Dear Proc thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    No I am not a musician; I’m a would be pianist turned phisical therapist; hence the interest on the muscular expression of the most complex feelings. I live in Brazil and there are few Indians living here, so no theaters show indian movies and so no Zero on a big screen! Have to wait for DVD.
    Allow me to share how I got the SRK virus and became interested in Hindi film. Last year I was living a most difficult moment of my long life; so much so that I couldn’t read or listen to anything “serious”. Then I remembered what is said about Bollywood films as being all glamour, songs and dances: that’ all I needed! I searched Netflix and stumbled on Jab Harry met Sejal, which was illustrated by the photo of a deliriously happy couple with an obvious difference of age and I said to myself: this is it; an entertaining little comedy! What a naïveté…
    For a start I saw this:
    https://share.icloud.com/photos/0K7jeFc-B9UbqZhT1J13n3U2w
    That man with that improbable profile under that improbable hairstyle transmitted behind dark glasses the most poignant pain of a meaningless life. I bursted into tears.
    I spare the ladies the real wording of my anger but it was something like: ****! here I am to amuse myself and this is what you do to me **** ! ****! ****!
    I was hooked before the film ended! Then I found Margaret’s blog and her book, bought DVDs and books at Amazon and started studying seriously India and Hindi films and annoying my friends trying to divert them from Holywood…
    So this is SRK phenomenon; behind his glossy, carefully entertained, seductive persona he hatches his characters solidly grounded in real hard life even if they are exited from a video game! Through him I found the great “non cynical feelings of Hindi fims” as you properly said, and a host of great directors and actors, and this is no small thing!
    Best wishes dear.

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  11. Shahrukh’s magic moments! These are wonderful scenes that sadly are often overlooked in the hysteria that surrounds a film release, the quiet reflective moments that shine through his superb acting. They give the character depth and the film meaning and suggest that he takes his understanding of the character to a very deep place. In Fan the scene where Aryan studies himself in the mirror, looking for signs of age, perhaps relevance, before the abandoned concert, chokes me up.

    Liked by 1 person

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