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

Happy Wednesday! Halfway through the week after Daylight Savings started! I am delighted to drive home with the sun still out, but I am also very sleepy and looking forward to the weekend.

I’ll start!

Watching: Finished Made in Heaven, yaaay! And now I am sad because I don’t get to watch any more episodes.

Reading: The dowry episode of Made in Heaven reminded me of this article that moviemavengal sent me ages back: https://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/2/6/14403490/dowry-india-bride-groom-dilemma

Thinking: I still haven’t found a dogsitter, grrr! I’m going out of town in a week (yaaay!), but I need to do something with doggie. I don’t want to put him in a kennel or a boarding situation because he is barely used to my place. But it’s also really weird to have a stranger stay in my house, you know? I thought I had the perfect solution with a friend of a friend, but no luck.

Listening: I’ve been taking a brief break from Hindi for girl pop stuff. The weather is (finally) warmer and the sun is out when I drive home, it’s time for pop music! But at least I can still have a little bit of Indian connection through my fanvids. Like this one!

Now, question for you! What’s your sunny day driving the car with the windows down song?

I know it’s not original, but for me it’s this one:

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

  1. I am sleepy too! We’re dogsitting this week, so I’m getting up to help with morning dog walks. Thanks to daylight savings that means I’m actually getting up 2 hours earlier than usual this week. My body and brain are not happy with me at all. Thankfully Doggy 2’s parents are coming back this weekend.

    Yay, love that fanvid! And now I have the song in my head.

    Watching: I keep waiting for Stree, Badhaii Ho, and Manmarziyaan to come onto a streaming service that I get, with no luck. For Shah Rukh I’ll watch stuff on my laptop on Einthusan if I can’t get it elsewhere, but I’d rather wait to see other stuff on my TV. Wish they’d hurry up, though!

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    • Stree and Badhai Ho, you may have to give up on, they are on Hotstar and Hotstar has a stranglehold, their stuff doesn’t go anywhere else. And Manmarziyaan is on Zee5, the service that hopefully soon will be released in America, and until then all the things they have US rights for are impossible to get for any of us.

      I taught Sunday School this week, and my co-teacher didn’t show up, nor did half the children. Because everyone forgot about Daylight savings. Those of us who were there felt very proud of ourselves. Although I was only there out of laziness, I never bothered to change my clocks in the Fall, and so I rolled out of bed and looked at the time on my phone and then didn’t notice anything weird since it matched all the clocks. I had no idea it was Daylight savings until I got to church and found it a ghost town.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I added BritBox too! And Acorn, and Masterpiece. But then I worked very very hard and watched all the shows I wanted to watch in two months, and canceled them all 🙂 It makes me feel like I am saving money somehow when I spend all of Saturday trying to finish the new season of Agatha Raisin, because then I can cancel.

          Hotstar and Zee5 (if they ever launch) are really going to be essential, at least Netflix usually offers the same stuff as a one time purchase on googleplay, but Hotstar and Zee5 don’t even do that, it’s them or nothing.

          Also, you should watch Made in Heaven!

          On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yep, I might. Depends on whether I’m in the mood for realism or escapism this weekend. I watched I Am last weekend, and appreciated the stories and performances, but it didn’t really “send me” the way I like movies to.

            Happy to see that Zero is a top selling movie on Google Play (according to KoiMoi and outlets like that on Twitter), and is getting high ratings from users. Some movies are meant for big screen, and some for streaming, I guess.

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          • It’s funny, Zero had such spectacular visuals, and yet the narrative is really more of a “small screen” narrative. Pay attention to the characters, pay attention to the dialogue, let the story take you where it wants to go. Smaller budget, smaller cast, it could have been a lowkey hit on the art film circuit.

            With Made in Heaven, I’ll tell you the same thing I told BollywoodNewbie, give it to the end of the second episode before you give up. There’s a lot of set-up of the setting and characters that has to happen, the second episode has a really fun contained story, and the end of the first episode gives you a new view on the lead characters. If you don’t like it after those two, it’s probably not for you. How did you like Dil Dhadakne Do? It’s kind of similar to that, same kind of setting, and also same kind of idea of the story building on itself and getting deeper and more interesting as it goes along, not so much things “happening”, but more characters revealing more of themselves.

            On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I loved DDD. I can watch movies about rich people problems all day long if the writing’s good and no one is too brutal. Thanks for the detailed recommendation about how long to give it. 🙂

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          • Also, I want to watch Welcome to New York, which is also not on anything I get. I understand it’s a real stinker, but it was made during the IIFA’s that I went to in New Jersey, so I want to relive that experience a little bit.

            I tend to listen to Greatest Hits albums on sunny days if not Hindi movie songs. The Pretenders, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Chicago are some faves. (I am an old white lady.)

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          • I am apparently a million year old white lady, because my “Greatest Hits” albums are mostly Ella Fitzgerald and Glenn Miller. And Aretha, but she is timeless. I’m trying to act my age and listen to Taylor Swift and stuff, but my comfort food is still the Great American Songbook stuff from my youth. Well, not “my” youth, but what I listened to when I was young, even if it was released 50 years earlier.

            On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:33 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, along with Hindi film songs (honestly just from the 90s on, I’m still learning about the older stuff), I can listen to Motown and New Wave synthpop any day, rain or shine. Those were the soundtrack of my youth.

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          • Oh, I don’t listen to before the 90s much either. Except for the Umrao Jaan and Pakeezah soundtracks, those are on regular play for me, so beautiful.

            On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 1:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Last two weeks were strange for me, I don’t know, maybe it’s spring time blues or something but I don’t have patience to do and finish things, even the enjoyable ones. E.g It’s been one week since I started watching Awe, and I’m still in the middle. And it’s not even 2 hours long! The same with Mikhael (but it’s a bad one so no surprise I’m slow).
    Instead of watching movies, or reading, I spend hours listening to Alejandro Fernandez’s rancheras. OMG I forgot how good he is. Here the proof (but attention – it’s addictive 😉 )

    Sunny day song? It must be Chris young’s Sunshine Overtime 🙂

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    • Do not know “Sunshine Overtime!” This is my favorite kind of Wednesday post, the one that gives me cool new things to watch/read/listen to.

      You really should finish Awe, because I want to talk about it with you! The ending is a big deal and you really can’t discuss the rest of the film without getting through to it.

      I can tell you that the pacing speeds up and straightens out a bit as you go. I also had a hard time with the opening, because it felt like we were getting a series of short stories and I was less interested in some than the others. But then each story goes deeper and gets more interesting as you go along, and eventually it all comes together. The last hour went a lot faster for me than the first.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’ll try my best to finish Awe tomorrow. I loved some stories (time traveler and Nani the fish) and was bored to death by some other (magican).

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        • I was bored by the magician as well. His story goes away after a bit. And the Nani storyline gets deeper as it goes, really satisfying ending.

          On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 11:41 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh, if you liked Sunshine Overtime, there is other Chris Young song that has very “car windows down” vibe for me:

            LOL maybe next time when he’ll be in Chicago you will go to see him 😉

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  3. I am not a big fan of Salman Khan but I did like him in Bodyguard. So, in the interests of science and time-change insomnia, I decided to watch all the other Indian Bodyguards. These included the Hindi, Malayam and Telugu versions along with the Tamil version, called Kavalan. (Instead of just redubbing the original version, the writer/director Siddique filmed multiple versions of his story.) I was not able to find the Kannada version starring Jaggash and the Bengali version starring Shakib Khan appears to be a myth.
    Anyhow, Salman’s version is the easiest watch as Salman and Kareena are spot on in their roles. The only problem, as with ALL the versions, is the “comic relief.” This one, in the form of Tsunami, reaches past Johnny Lever levels of obnoxiousness. Every time he came on, I had to go to the kitchen or somewhere.
    The Malayam version stars Dileep, who is sweet and cute but not exactly bodyguard material. However, he does grow on you and, by the end, is totally endearing.
    The Tamil version, Kavalan, stars Vijay. He looks quite boyishly appropriate in the beginning but doesn’t quite click as the older bodyguard at the end.
    The Telugu version, starring Venkatesh, has the opposite problem. He is physically correct for the part but, in the beginning, is too old – especially playing against Trisha. A bad wig doesn’t help. However in the later scenes, playing the older bodyguard, he sells it. Prakash Raj, in the role of Trisha’s father, is certainly a major plus for this film.
    The Malayam and Tamil films have a different backstory for the bodyguard. Since they were evidently the first films made, Siddique must have altered the backstory to something more appealing to the viewer.
    Final takeaway? They are all good, watchable movies. The supporting cast of the Telugu version is superior but it all comes down to the lead actor. I’d have to go with Salman, although Vijay and Dileep are pretty good and Venkatash can carry the action.
    Now I’ve got to watch the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston Bodyguard. There is a rather popular song in it, I think.

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    • Ha! I am so impressed with you! This reminds me of when I watched all the Devdas movies in one weekend! Except far more obscure and challenging to find, and probably challenging to watch.

      I’m glad to hear the Hindi and Salman reign supreme. Did any of them feel like exact matches? That’s sometimes been my discovery when I do something like this, it is the exact same movie just with new actors swapped in. Makes it kind of boring to watch, since it is the same thing over and over.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 3:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think that the Telugu version would have been superior with a different lead actor. All the other elements were there – terrific leading lady, superb supporting actor in Praqkash Raj. It just needed a younger “bodyguard,” with the physicality to handle the action. Prabhas would have been perfect. Or Rana – beardless or short bearded for the younger scenes, full beard for the older, more mature character. Both could have sold the action scenes.
        Since the lead actors in the 4 movies were so-o-o different, the story did not get old.

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  4. Interesting thing about DST… during the years of 3 networks and one nightly news program that everyone watched, Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather started warning us about 2 weeks beforehand, and I would prep for it it anticipate it. Also I think it used to be April/November, thus roughly demarcating the start of summer/winter.
    But now, with smart phones and atomic clocks and IoT, no one needs to reset their clocks. Last 5-8 years I’ve only found out the day before, usually announced during a news radio program like NPR while I’m driving. This year and last year, I didn’t even find out till the night before, each time someone mentioning it during a Saturday night dinner party. Plus, now that it’s March and Oct, it doesn’t really demarcate any shift in weather (weather shift for me is also a psychological shift).
    So the decentralization of news not only leads to tribal ideological politics among the electorate, but it also leads to a basic lack of common knowledge among the public as well. … all making Fake News and Alternative Facts far more viable.

    I’ve been trying to watch Made in Heaven, but I get so sleepy at night. 😦

    I’ve been told to watch The Jane Austen Book Club.

    I watched Badla last week. I’ve been recommending it to my “desi friends who love movies but dislike like Indian movies”. IMO this is the same demo that loves The Lunchbox, The Namesake, probably Manmarziyaan, possibly Gully Boy.

    Listening to: getting more into podcasts. Still Processing and Code Switch both analyze the the implications of race in our daily lives in the USA on both a micro and macro level. Several Bollywood related podcasts. With Serial, Slow Burn, and El Chapo over or on hiatus, I’m looking for a new (or new to me) serialized podcast covering true crime and/or politics. Suggestions appreciated.

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    • Every other year, I’ve been alerted to Daylight Savings by my church, there is a mass email sent out saying “remember to turn your clocks back and get to church on time!” I get it every year, and smile at the “oh how nice that they are worried about this, of course it isn’t an issue” feeling, and then delete it. This year, they forgot to send the email, and sure enough half the congregation missed the service. I guess that first Sunday morning is when folks are most likely to get confused, so of course the church would care the most. If we think about information distribution, I knew about Daylight Savings because I put in no effort at all. That is, I looked at the first reliable information source (my phone) and then stopped thinking or bothering to go further. You could make the same argument with other information patterns, if you do a simple google search and go to the first source listed (often wikipedia), you usually get good factual information. It’s when you start going into the separate data streams, or isolate yourself from the rest of the information world (only look at your favorite sites or your own facebook page), that you actually lose out on basic knowledge. The same as relying on your old-fashioned personal clock instead of on your phone or computer. Now we have to make a slight effort to get information instead of having it flow over us through the few inescapable sources. But the key is to know that the least effort you make, the most reliable the data, not the other way around. To put it in Indian film terms, if I do a simple google search on Shahrukh, I find out he is married and has three children. If go deeper, I find out his third child is his love child with Priyanka, and his marriage is in trouble, and all kinds of false data. It would be better to just stop at the surface.

      Watch out, the Made in Heaven episodes have varying lengths! That’s what always gets me in trouble with these things, I think “oh, I can stay up a little longer and finish”, and then it is much longer and you start to fall asleep.

      Add “Ittefaq” to that list! And that was my same reaction to Badla, it was made for the NRI audience that has drifted away from Masala but can still enjoy a film with familiar actors and in a familiar language if it is non-Masala.

      On Wed, Mar 13, 2019 at 7:43 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. That dowry post is so interesting, thank you. I didn’t think the rate was so high! Discouraging. Shows the limits of what laws can do.

    Sun brings out the reggae in my playlist :).

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  6. Raajamouli’s next movie cast includes Alia Bhatt,Ajay Devgan and a foreign actress along with Jr NTR & Ram Charan. Things just got interesting.

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    • I just read on twitter that Alia will be in RRR and I’m so angry!
      WHY? WHY? WHY? I don’t want her in southern movies. Isn’t it enough that she steals all the best scripts in hindi?

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      • I think Raajamouli is more responsible for this than Alia. But it’s also a big statement for him if the resident top heroine of Bollywood is willing to work in ‘south’ with Telugu heroes just to be part of his film.No guesses now as to who is the most desired director in India. Also Telugu audience die for north Indian heroines and don’t consider younger south Indian heroines worthy of acting with their heroes.So it’s a win-win for both sides.She’s paired with Ram Charan apparently & the foreign lady is paired with Jr NTR.Maybe an Avantika kinda role for Alia.Shes going to be in a lot of princessey roles. Enough already Alia!

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        • And I don’t think she is a natural in Princess parts! She’s got more of a girl next door look to her than a royal perfection look.

          On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 3:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Huh. Ajay? I’m kind of excited to see what Rajamouli does with him.

      On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 1:38 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • That is very cool! And yes, I love that. It’s even more so once you get out of the Hindi industries.

      On Thu, Mar 14, 2019 at 9:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Recovering from a brief illness and back at work but a bit tired. But I finally got to see some Hindi movies. I was planning to see Padman in the theater on Saturday, so I decided I could afford to see something a bit sad on Friday and finally saw Neerja. I’ve been really wanting to, but always think “Nah, I’m in the mood for something light and happy.” It was very good. I liked the tightness of the story–I was expecting them to do a run-through of her whole life until her last flight, but I think it was much more effective to keep the action in the one day, with flashbacks where necessary. And Sonam is so good in this! Her face when she eats the cookie and smiles through her fear when she thinks of her boyfriend, in a long shot with the camera right on her face! Why can’t she do this all the time?

    So then I saw Padman, in the theater, which was nice. I liked it, but I really felt it patronized Akshay’s character, particularly in the end when he is unnecessarily speaking English to Sonam because it’s so adorable and hilarious. I have a major chip on my shoulder with people using a non-native accent or grammar for cuteness and laughs. This is probably due to the fact that I am not only a linguist but someone who lives in her second language, and it is beyond frustrating when you are a middle aged woman and get the “aw! look at you!” face when you are trying to make a point in a meeting/order at Starbucks/describe how you want your pedicure/do any of the million things that are part of life and I am perfectly capable of doing but might make a grammar mistake or two. Compare this with English Vinglish, which realistically portrayed a woman who is learning English and makes mistakes but gives her some dignity.

    Thinking: so happy you put up the reviews for Made in Heaven! I didn’t know about it and was kicking around the idea of getting Amazon Prime to see it, and then I went to Amazon to see how much it would be and discovered I already have it! I signed up January of last year and then immediately decide Jeff Bezos was the devil and I was boycotting Amazon and forgot about it. And they automatically renewed it this January. Which, grrrrr, but I have a year to watch that and also Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

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      • I knew that! It’s kind of a fun mental challenge for me, how well do I really know my commentators? Can I recognize them without the username?

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    • Yes! After I saw Sonam in Neerja, I did a run through of all her other movies that I had watched before to see if I could spot similar brilliance. I didn’t exactly, but it did give me more respect and patience with her as an actress.

      I hadn’t thought about the Padman issue with language, you’re right, especially since we have Sonam and other characters in the film speaking proper correct English.

      And, yaaaaay! You should totally watch Made in Heaven, you will LOVE it. Very beautifully filmed, but also very mucha bout interesting class and society statements and stuff. Way way deeper than Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I also watched and which was very fun, but which chooses to avoid grappling with any really hard stuff about society while Made in Heaven runs towards it.

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