Wednesday Watching (Late): What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to This Week?

Sorry sorry! I forgot. I was so focused on remembering to post the Jacobinte Swargarajyam review, I forgot about the regular Wednesday post. Plus, you know, weird week.

I’ll start!

Reading: Nothing interesting. Romance novels. Oh, and a friend just sent me this article: https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/c8G15pdTySRnxFsk1OnSvJ/Breathing-uneasy-in-Bollywood.html

Watching: Still not Simmba! But I hope to see it tomorrow or Friday. Oh, and also a million British TV shows. Including A Bit of Fry and Laurie which is available in its entirety through BritBox through Amazon, highly recommend it. Worth the $6 subscription just for that.

Thinking: How glad I am that it stopped being overcast and we’ve had sunshine the past few days. Oh, and I got a Y membership so I can start working out again. And it was cheap, because the front desk guy gave me a “nice young woman” 30% discount (he lied and made me a grad student). Sometimes being young and female and white with a constant smile is really nice. Totally unfair privilege and so on, but I’m having a hard week, I’m taking the 30%.

Listening: I’ve retreated to my comfort listening, Shahrukh. But a newer Saavn playlist, so some of his newer songs. This one in particular I find myself liking more and more as time goes on.

Now, question for you! Along with the usual “what are you watching this week?” question:

What is your “I am so sad, I just need a movie to make me feel better” movie? I think I asked a version of this question last week, but now you have a better idea of the context, so I thought you might have a better suggestion.

I found myself surprisingly enjoying Happy New Year when I watched it last week, and looking forward to rewatching Singham a lot for this week. Turns out, when I am really sad I don’t want a “good” movie, I want a movie that is so stupid my brain can follow it even when I am feeling emotionally weighed down.

Which is of course the theory that Sullivan’s Travels proposed, people who are truly miserable don’t want a movie about being miserable, they want a happy stupid movie to take them out of themselves. And which is why I suspect the actual people shown in Gully Boy will prefer to watch Simmba instead.

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43 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching (Late): What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to This Week?

  1. My feel good movie is ‘Om Shanti Om’. It’s just pure movie magic, makes you laugh and cry with the emotions put forth and its for me a feel good movie in its purest form (at least in Indian film). Even listening to the music helps me because the emotions are so strong in them. It overwhelms anything else and the humour is surprisingly good too.

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    • Your right, and the emotions are what I think of as “cleansing” emotions. We can cry at “Jag Soona Soona” without feeling bad about the state of the world, just sort of enjoying the sadness.

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 4:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I’m obsessively watching Zero promotional interviews and the full songs, which T series just posted on their youtube channel yesterday (yay!). I’m just really bothered by the fact that it didn’t connect. More so than JHMS which I felt was more of a niche movie. Also, I’m not drawn to any particular books, TV Shows, and movies right now, so there’s nothing to fill the void. I wrote a (mostly) joking post on FC Film Club wondering if I’m jinxing Shah Rukh’s movies, since he hasn’t had a clean hit since I became a fan in 2015.

    My go to movies when I’m down are Yes Boss, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, or JHMS. Or just watching Shah Rukh songs. Young and innocent Shah Rukh and Juhi take away my blues. JHMS just transforms my sadness to lust and pining. 🙂

    Thanks for keeping a Shah Rukh background even after the holidays. Is it from Bole Chudiyan? I first thought Yeh Ladka Hai Allah, then Maahi Ve, but he’s wearing dark colors in both of those, right?

    Also, I enjoyed the extra Christmas cards. Thank you!

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  3. KKHH, RNBDJ, MHN, OSO, CDI are some of my cheer up films. I know them all inside out, scene by scene, but they still bring a warm glow. Or for non-Shahrukh silly, the first two Housefull movies are a giggle.

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    • Ooo, that reminds me I’ve only seen two of the Golmaal movie series! Another option for cheering up 🙂

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 8:02 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Marigold! One of those movies that libraries inexplicably tend to have, but no one else.

      Have you played the Movie game? You say a movie, the other person says an actor, you say another movie with that actor, and so on? Anyway, my sister and I play it cooperatively, we set ourselves the challenge of two actors as far apart as we can possibly imagine and see how fast we can get from one to the other. Like, Gene Kelly and Prabhudeva. It’s made me highly aware of cross over actors. Amrish Puri is invaluable, Aish isn’t bad, Amitabh being in The Great Gatsby made it hardly a game at all. Ali Larter is okay, but not THAT useful. Hard to leap from her back to classic Hollywood. Harrison Ford is really the best, you go from him to Sean Connery, and then you can go almost anywhere. Anil Kapoor in Mission Impossible is pretty good too, because then you have Tom Cruise, and that gives you Paul Newman, and then you have The World.

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 8:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. A lot of people’s go-to sad movies seem to have SRK, and mine does too: Main Hoon Na or Om Shanti Om.

    I watched two movies on my long flight back to Japan. The first was Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. I had no idea what this was going to be, because mentally I kept thinking it had Tiger Shroff instead of Harsh and I wasn’t interested. (I get those two confused all the time: two young actors whose fathers were notably hairy 80s stars). Anyway, I was quite surprised to see the Phantom logo since I thought it would be a pretty mindless action movie. The first 30 minutes or so was really funny and I would have liked that tone throughout the movie. I found the abrupt shift into a much darker mood really jarring, which is the same problem I have with Rang De Basanti, a movie it resembles in several ways.

    Then I saw Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana. This is an odd film that really feels like it was made in the 70s: boy meets girl and they fall in love instantly, then a series of increasingly improbable things happen to keep them apart, girl weeps and pleads while you yell at your screen for her to grow a spine (in my head, in my case, since I was on a plane), there is a twist which does not quite tie up the loose ends, then an equally improbable happy ending. I love those 70s melodramas, so I was on the edge of my seat, but one could make the case that it’s a waste of Rajkummar Rao. It does have an overtly feminist message in that the problems between the two leads have to do with dowry and the woman wanting to work. It really explains why some families feel they have to get dowry. Also, Rajkummar is really hot in this movie. I never thought he looked bad, just more of a character-actor look than a leading man. Due to a combination of him growing into his looks and being styled to within an inch of his life, he’s really handsome here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Flying Jatt, that’s what you want for your brainless superhero fun. Great movie. I agree, Bhavesh Joshi is far more like Rang De Basanti. And they didn’t know how to end it, which is a big problem. At least Rang De had a clear idea of where it was going to end up.

      I had hopes that Rajkummar would get to be romantic hero handsome in EKLKD, but looks like he will be more best-friend-of-the-heroine handsome.

      On Wed, Jan 9, 2019 at 9:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • OK, the ending was a problem for me too, but I get really sleepy on flights and figured I had just missed something. I was expecting a decisive, inspiring, I-am-Spartacus style ending and it never comes.

          Bareilly ki Barfi is still not available in Japan! Maybe it’s time to pull the trigger and watch it on Einthusan.

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    • Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana is a perfect example of “maybe not the best, but very satisfying movie” which is my fav kind of film. I loved Aarti’s salwars, I loved the music, and the plot in spite of being improbable was interesting.

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  5. Have you watched the roundtables with Rajeev Masand which released few weeks back? The actress’s table in particular is worth watching for the sheer entertainment value & seeing how all the top actresses interact with each other.

    I watched Thugs of Hindostan and wanted to kill Aamir Khan. Gosh,such an awful acting.Everyone was bad & Katrina’s dance was super weird. Too much choreography to show how well she can move-like a sprung doll. The director has no clue when to stop actors from over acting, how to picturize a song,how to build a story or how to imagine a spectacle. It felt like he hasn’t woken up from the 80s style film making. Such a waste of resources.

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      • I know rt? But I had serious doubts how much they even spend,if u take away the actors’ remunerations. Nothing in it makes you wonder,wow they must have spend a lot on it or how on Earth did they make/do that?Such poor,generic sets & costumes.Even the ship was so cardboard looking.Some of the Hindi television serials set in mythical times have infinitely better sets and costumes.

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        • And they spent money stupidly! Like, the “Sureiyya” song, they had to find and costume all those white guys for the audience. And then they were just there and didn’t do anything interesting. I would have far rather they spent the same amount of money and hired a bunch of good back-up dancers in fancy costumes, and fudged the audience reaction shots.

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          • Don’t even get me started on the Surraiya song. What a horrendous mess even after having a dancer like Katrina and a choreographer like Prabhudeva.Only it was infinitely better than the climax song which looked straight out of Mela.

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          • Ugh, I’d blocked out memory of the climax song! And again, stupid use of money. They paid to film on location, they had all those dancers and costumes and big sets and stuff, and it was just a dull song. I would rather watch the climax if Rajkumar which probably cost a 5th as much and was far more interesting.

            On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 9:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Haven’t seen any of the roundtables, I dig my heels in and have to be dragged kicking and screaming to watch interviews. I would so much rather read the text.

      Have you seen Tashaan? It’s like Thugs, but 10% less, and that makes all the difference. Crazy costumes, crazy acting, but at least a little bit of sincerity. And the final action scene actually makes sense and is entertaining. I don’t know how Victor got worse with more money.

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  6. I had one of the most boring week when it comes to indian movies. Meri Nimmo, Loveyatri, and after those two, for some reason I decided to watch Orissa. First the good things in Orissa, and really there was only one – Unni Mukundan looking cuddly, beardy, and the most important he plays a policeman and wears an uniform. So handsome!

    And now the bad things – everyhing else: the most boring plot ever, boring songs,malayalam actors talking in odiya, Veer-Zaara level of bad make-up when the actors played old. But the worst was the heroine who can’t act AT ALL. And I watched Loveyatri the day before, with Aayush Sharma and his facial paralysis and he was 10 times better than this girl. I missed him, when I was watching this girl. She was so bad. But now nobody can tell me that Unni can’t act because he was romancing this girl like a pro. The screen lightened up everytime he was shown.

    But now I can’t watch any boring movie. What I should choose as my next film?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trust you Angie to find& watch these movies which noone- and I mean absolutely noone- else would have even heard of.It took me two readings of your post to realise that Orissa is the movie name. You should tweet Unni,he would have the shock of his life to know someone watched it,let alone a non-Malayali..:))

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to do “must watch” lists but I realized I never follow them, watch strange random movies instead and feel guilty I chose some odd movie instead of a classic I should have seen. So now I stopped planning, and just watch what my head decides without regrets 😉

        LOL and after Orissa and “I love me” it’s Unni who should tweet me and send cute messages everyday 😉

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  7. I’ve been on a bit of a watching spree since last I posted in a Wednesday post! After finally catching up with Badhaai Ho and Manmarziyaan before the holiday break, during the holiday break I watched…

    Andhadhun – with my mom (new to both of us), which we both liked a lot…I need to show her more Hindi thrillers/mysteries

    The Man Who Invented Christmas – watched on Christmas Eve with my parents in a beautifully snowy Syracuse

    The Favourite – kind of a weird movie to see with your parents but they wanted to see it for some reason…they didn’t realize how arty it was, I think…I liked it for its artiness and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone’s performances but definitely not one I would revisit

    Simmba(!) – got to finally see an Indian film in theaters after a long time! Loved it, despite all of the problematic content…Rohit Shetty’s best all around entertainer (maybe tied with Chennai Express)

    Then this weekend, I also watched Kaalakaandi (why didn’t more people talk about this film this year…it was certainly interesting and Saif was great in it), Helicopter Eela (now tied for me as worst film of 2018 that I was able to watch all the way through…Kajol is so grating in it), Pataakha (always appreciate Vishal Bhardwaj at some level and this was an interesting kind of small film for him…all characters/performances were so unique), and finally had Teefa in Trouble on in the background while I was putting away my Christmas decorations. I didn’t watch it super closely, but what I saw I really enjoyed. I feel a little guilty liking Ali Zafar after the #metoo stuff, but he’s really good in it…you can tell it was one of the most expensive films made there).

    Also watched the whole season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.

    Reading: not much over the holiday break unfortunately, but did enjoy a good Indian romance novel, The Wedding Photographer by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal, and am now reading From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein (the Obama White House stenographer book which turns Dan Pfeiffer from Pod Save America fame into a bad guy player-type).

    My go to cheer me up movie would be just about any romantic comedy, I always like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan as a rewatch, but also will return to old Hollywood rom-com faves like The Matchmaker with David O’Hara and Janeane Garofalo…his character in that is my ideal real-life dream man.

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    • You and your Mom should watch Ittefaq next! Not quite as good as Andhadhun, but similar.

      Glad to know I didn’t miss much with Helicopter Eela. And still mad about Kaalakandi. At the last minute, it got a limited release, we were really excited to see it in theaters and then it didn’t even play overseas.

      And you are making me really excited for Simmba!!!! Hopefully tomorrow night.

      On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 8:42 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I didn’t love the new Ittefaq as much as the original:( but, yes, films like that one. I think next will be Kahaani or Talaash.

    I also forgot to mention that I introduced Hindi films to a high school friend and her husband over the break, too. We watched Ramleela and they seemed to like it!

    Definitely watch Kaalakaandi when you can (I think it’s on hotstar or eros?). It’s a quick watch with some really great scenes that had anyone seen it could have been iconic…there’s a hilarious police “chase” and Akshay Oberoi was surprisingly tolerable (always been interested in his weird career since Isi Life Mein-which was super cute). I wish the ending had been drawn out a bit more…there’s not much resolution…it was more a character/mood piece.

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    • Just Bollywood Hungama. BOI is sort of okay if you are looking for general “hit-flop” information. But if you want to the penny for the Indian market, there isn’t a great answer and REntrack is the only one for international.

      On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 10:48 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Just so I understand, is Rentrak only international? I know you’ve written about all this before, but I wasn’t sure where to look for it. Thanks!

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        • Rentrak is a third party group, producers/distributors contract with them to collect exact head counts of every ticket sold for their movie. And then journalists can purchase subscriptions to get copies of the weekly reports. It solves the problem that India is struggling with, no one believes the box office figures producers provide so they don’t get credit even for their hits. This way, there is clear objective disinterested accounting.

          But it is voluntary for the theaters to provide the figures. In America, distributors want the figures and rely on them, so there is pressure on theaters to provide them if they want the good films. So in America, the Rentrak figures are literally to the penny accurate for most films. When I worked at a theater, a little neighborhood 4 screen place, some lady in California called us at 1am every night and the manager read the ticket sales off the computer screen to her. And the same thing happened in ever theater in America. And it’s almost the same in countries like England, Australia, Canada, and so on, where Hollywood has been for decades. The gap comes when theaters somehow for some reason don’t give figures, or when producers refuse to pay for them to be collected and distributed. Indian film falls into this gap, the funky little all-Indian theaters may not provide figures, and the funky Indian distributors for things like Bahubali won’t bother signing up with Rentrak.

          there was a little news story a few months back, Rentrak is FINALLY coming to India. Some of the bigger chains have signed on and agreed to give figures. Only, the little single screens and so on still aren’t, so the Indian figures are still pretty shakey.

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  9. I forgot to write about my feel better movie. Definitely Ohm Shanti Oshana. I can watch it again and again and it’s still cute and funny, with all those little details that make you forget all worries.

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  10. I stumbled across Anjaan: Special Crimes Unit on Netflix. By the title, I thought that it would be an Indian version of CSI. It’s not. It’s like the X-Files meets Supernatural meets Kolchak the Night Stalker Meets What The Frack Was That…….It’s an Indian TV paranormal crime series that premiered last February. It has 65 episodes. I’m on #6. I see a lot of bingeing in my future.

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    • See, this is how you can tell the Netflix series from the Indian TV series Netflix buys! Episode count.

      You are on the other end of the binging line from me, I am watching BBC stuff which is like 6 episodes per season and a total of 30 episodes at the most. But it’s such a feeling of accomplishment when I finish the whole thing in record time!

      On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 4:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  11. I watched the latest KwK with the cricketers, what a train-wreck it’s turned out to be. Has to be the most controversial episode ever (beats the Sonam/Deepika one too) cos BCCI has issued showcause notices to the guys and they now might be banned from two games. They were completely tone-deaf (Hardik especially), over-aggressive and trying to to hard to be cool but the match ban might be a bit much I feel.

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    • Kind of a reminder of how the movie industry is still a bit in a bubble, freer than the rest of Indian culture. Movie stars come on the show and say whatever and it causes comment, but no one cares that much, it’s expected that movie people will have romances outside of marriage and say clever risque jokes and so on.

      On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 12:25 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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