Wednesday Watching Post: What Are We Watching and Reading and Thinking and Listening to on May Day?

Happy International Day of Labor! And also, Wednesday! I am celebrating by going to work, and laboring, so that’s fun.

I’ll start!

Watching: I am watching the American TV show Mom which is kind of shockingly good. Oh, and also, my friend is coming over tonight. She likes Tiger Shroff, Nivin Pauly, and Prithviraj: what movie should we watch?

Reading: I took the time to write a whole loooooooooooong response to the “An Open Letter to Shah Rukh” on bollywoodhungama. So you better all be reading that! Here’s a link to the original post, and here’s a link to my response.

Thinking: Rainy here, and it is driving me and Albie Dog crazy. Well, it’s driving Albie Dog crazy, and he is driving me crazy. I gave up and swung by the dog park last night because it was only slightly raining instead of heavily raining, and now I have a smelly muddy dog.

Listening: It’s May Day, so obviously I’m listening to my favorite communist song. I’ve put it up a whole bunch and you are all probably sick of it, but I don’t care.

I already did a Communist song, so I will shake things up by celebrating the May Queen and the flowers and spring time and all that rubbish with two songs.

Flowers! Fertility! Spring!

May Pole! 1:00 in to the song. For bonus subtle visual metaphors, start watching a little before and check out Amitabh’s expression just befor ethe cut. Also, young girls and dancing and all that stuff.

Okay, question for you, not film related I’m just curious: Who here does May baskets?

My grandmother started our family tradition back in the 1950s, she made May baskets by folding up wallpaper (can get sample books for free!) and put in candy and flowers, and then sent her kids to hang them on doorknobs for all the neighbors. And then the whole time I was growing up, we did the same thing. I don’t do it for my neighbors now, it seems weird, but my Mom does it for everyone in their apartment building. When I was growing up we had one neighbor who gave us a basket, but besides that I’ve never heard of anyone else ever doing May baskets.

27 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are We Watching and Reading and Thinking and Listening to on May Day?

  1. Happy (actual) Labor Day! My day will be a lot like yours, smelly dog and rain included! No friend coming over to watch a movie tonight though. I vote for Aiyyaa, skipping the annoying “comedic” bits. Because Spring, fertility, and all that! I approve of your communist song posting and Malayalam movie reviews for today!

    I’ve tweeted and retweeted your response to the open letter which lived up to my expectations. I’m glad you took the time to write it! No traction on Twitter that I can see so far but I’ll keep trying for a couple days. I now have a little taste of what you must feel when you write a blog that gets no likes or comments. 😦

    Waiting with bated breath to see who wins the cuddly Shah Rukh poster! I’ve decided if I don’t win (which I probably won’t because I was MIA for most of April), I may just have to buy it or make one. So cute!

    May baskets sound like a cool idea. I’ve never heard of them.

    Watching: catching up on the last 3 years or so of Superwoman (Lilly Singh) videos on youtube, both her main channel and her vlog/video diary. Talk about a self-made woman! And she seems to have her head on straight. And makes me laugh, which I need a lot in these post (redacted) Mueller report times.

    Listening: Hindi film soundtracks and every single legal podcast I can find about the (redacted) Mueller report and its implications. Grow a spine, Democrats in Congress!

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    • Thank you for the tweets! I got a handful of likes from the usual SRK twitter accounts and a slight uptick in views, but it is SO GOOD! It deserves more, hopefully more people will find it.

      I am dreading figuring out who wins it. My highly technical method is to go through the admin portal that lets me see a list of every comment and count on my fingers the total number for each commentator in turn. It takes about half an hour to do it for a week, but for a month it is going to take FOREVER. Announcement may not come for a while just because I am putting off all the tedious counting.

      I love Superwoman SO MUCH!!!! I first found her back when “Exotic” came out and her spoof video was recommended as a related video. It was already really good and really professional, but I think that was back when she was still working full time and just doing the videos as a goof, before she really started getting traction. I love how she manages to gently tease desi culture without insulting it, and to keep a nice female voice without playing into simple gender binaries.

      Good soundtrack times! I like both SOTY2 and Bharat, even if the movies seem very different. Thank goodness, after Kalank was such a disappointment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Two side of Prithviraj: hottie/Aiyya; hottie and amazing actor/Raavanan. Thank you, procrastinatrix.

    May baskets? I did Easter baskets for my 8 and 10 year old grandsons; dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies, etc. Never heard of hanging a candy basket on your front door knob. And won’t try it. We have raccoons.

    Reading? Elizabeth David’s An Omelette and a Glass of Wine. She soothes my teeming brain.

    Watching? Mostly screaming at the TV. Messed up everything trying to download hotstar and einthusiasm. Ended up watching Vikram Vedha w/o subs just to gaze upon Madhavan, which also soothed me.

    I know I’m not in the poster-running. That’s okay. There’s this “Everything Indian” place in Queens I’m planning to visit some day. Maybe I’ll send YOU a poster!

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    • My family doesn’t do Easter baskets, we do Easter clothes nests. You take the clothes you are going to wear on Easter and make a little nest of them in the living room and then the next morning you get presents from the Easter bunny in the nest. And all of these things that I thought were just normal stuff every family does, I am beginning to realize were just what my grandmother invented for her kids and then my Mom kept up the tradition.

      You have to report back on the “Everything Indian” place! And if it is good, my other NY readers can check it out. If you want a real trip, the best place to go is Oak Street road in Edison New Jersey. I used to go there with my sister when she lived in Jersey, it is AMAZING. Oh, and it is where movietimevideo is located, important for you to know about them because they do rentals by mail. Here is the website: http://www.njmtv.com/

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  3. I had a week of hating almost everything I watched.
    First Dishoom, than I started Notebook (american one), but it was boring and I just read how it ends. Than 30 minutes of Petta, and it’s not great. Later netflix series “You”, everybody was recommending to me. OMG it depressed the hell out of me, and I hated it.
    Yesterday I found interesting pakistani movie “Load Wedding” on youtube. I thought: It looks colourful, about weddings and also has a social commentary about dowry – Must Watch! And in the beginning it was very good. It remined me RNBDJ and Bareilly Ki Barfi. It’s about a guy who has been in love with his neighbor since childhood, but he never had courage to tell her. The day he finally made up his mind, his father dies and he has to take responsibility for his older sister’s wedding. The problem is that they aren’t rich, and can offer little dowry +the sister is not the best looking girl in the village, so years pass and she is still unwed.
    In the meantime his lover gets married. The guy is heartbroken. But soon the girl returns because her husband died one day after the wedding. People treat her bad, because they belive she brings bad luck. Our hero doesn’t care, and decides marry her no matter what. This is the first 30 min of the film. Very nice. Unfortunately later the movie changes many times. First it’s romance, than annoying comedy, than game show, and in the end social film. But what irked me the most is how the women are shown. And it reminded me why I don’t watch punjabi movies (it was pakistani, but about pak.punjabis) . The guy can be ugly, stupid and good for nothing but the woman (even if she is better in everything) must listen and do what he says.

    Here’s the movie is somebody wants to watch it.

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    • I hate the American Notebook! No one should watch it, it is STUPID. Good for you turning it off. And glad to hear you didn’t like “You”, everyone is recommending it to me too but I don’t want to watch it.

      I’m fascinated that you saw Load Wedding! I’ve been seeing trailers for it, the Indian movie theater I go to plays Pakistani films too and that trailer was playing for weeks. I’m glad to know what it was like, but also really interested that it is already streaming since I am sure I saw the trailer for it just a few weeks back. Maybe the Pakistani film industry is smarter about making stuff available right after the theatrical release?

      And agree completely about the Pakistani Punjabi films feeling really similar to the Indian Punjabi films. We talked about this before with Teefa in Trouble, right?

      And now I want to recommend a good movie you will like, but I am scared. There’s Iyobinte today, which has a really good white girl character. But the hero is a skinny little guy. And I really love big mature grey-haired Ajith in Yennai Arindhaal but that movie is kind of hard to find.

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      • I thought Notebook is good because it’s famous and even I know it exists, but not.

        Oh, there was one movie I watched this week, and didn’t hate – The light between oceans. I started watching just like that, while cooking, and liked it so much I watched entire film, and even my husband was very interested.

        “You” was interesting, but OMG I couldn’t with the women in this series. The heroine is beautiful, smart and nice, and she wastes her time with a guy who doesn’t respect her. Why? Other woman prefers her abusive partner over her son. The boy spends all days outside the apartment because his mother is busy fighting or having sex with her man. I don’t want to watch movies like this. I already have my problems and I don’t want to depress myself thinking about women who don’t respect themselves.

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        • No, Notebook is stupid. You and I are right and everyone else is wrong.

          I just watched Sakhavu, which I don’t know if you would like or not but I am pretty sure it has the exact hero body type you most appreciate. Here’s an image, I will leave it up to you to decide:

          On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 3:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

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          • LOL you know me well.
            I was thinking many times if I should watch Sakhavu because youtube often adds one beautiful song from this movie to my malayalam playlist. But then I think: don’t be a fool, it’s about communists, and it won’t be romantic.

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          • Yeah, it isn’t romantic. Little romance, not much. But a lot of Nivin striding around looking fluffy!

            On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 4:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I haven’t gotten past the pilot of You but I have read the book which I really liked and I’m surprised to hear that Beck is perfect in the show. In the story it’s very clear that she has her own set of issues, is self-destructive, attention seeking and phony. Also that little kid did not exist so Joe didn’t empathize with anyone.

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  4. I was aware of May poles thanks to all thehistorical romances.But May baskets? That’s something new. I watched Gulzar’s Lekin last week. Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia were magnificent in it. It just replaced Paheli as my favorite Rajasthani paranormal romance. Vinod K is sent to inventorize a haveli which had been shut up for forty years. He’s intrigued by Dimple Kapadia who plays a mysterious gypsy girl who appears and disappears randomly.She’s suitably cryptic and Vinod (and the viewer) is soon obsessed about piecing together her past.For once, Gulzar doesn’t maintain his neutrality and careful distance from the characters.He raises a lot of questions and leaves it to the viewers.Does it have anything to do with Vinod’s past life? Is Dimple a helpless damsel as she appears? What’s with her pulling an Orpheus and Eurydice and warning Vinod “Do not look back or you will not see me again”. What about the two murder attempts on Vinod’s life?Are Vinod’s friends right and Dimple is just a hallucination? Vinod’s friend Amjad Khan decides enough is enough and seals the haveli and packs off Vinod back to the city.Except that’s just the beginning of things and the climax is mindblowing.Hema Malini appears in a lovely cameo and adds to the lustre. The movie is based on a short story by Rabindranath Tagore and is produced by none other than Lata Mangeshkar herself. The music is by Lata’s brother and is haunting.Vinod Khanna gives one of the best performances of his life and you feel for Dimple who’s caught between life and death and unuable to move forward.

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    • You watch such interesting movies!!!! Also, from your description, I am interested in how similar it sounds to Meghna’s movies. Not the details of the plot, but the distance from the characters and no firm “right” or “wrong”, the sense of place, the story over everything.

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      • I wouldn’t call it a typical Gulzar movie.Because usually the most horrible things happen to his characters and he treats it very dispassionately.Blindness, death of a beloved character… everything is so matter of fact.But here the treatment is a bit different.Slowly he pulls you in, makes you care about the characters and their pain.This is the most emotional of his movies.U nlike Gulzar Meghna however does not believe in totally deglamorizing her actors (Alia looked gorgeous in Raazi) .But yes, Gulzar and Meghna does have one thing in common.They do not spoon feed you and gives a variety of choices leaving you to make your own conclusion.For eg: I’m convinced that Dimple was manipulating Vinod Khanna all along.She needed someone tenacious, obsessed with solving a mystery (when we first meet Vinod, he’s just spent 2 weeks solving a decorative lock), someone who loves the past and someone who doesn’t have a family who’ll get in the way of his obsession.She chose her own knight-errant.Or it might have all started because Vinod Khanna was clipping his nails at night.”Be careful, you might be haunted by a ghost” warns his fellow passenger in the train.The irony is that Dimple herself is so scared of ghosts and haunts.

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        • I can picture Meghna sitting around with her father and having long conversations with open-ended stories and unclear characters, and it changing how she looks at the world. That seems like a reasonable thing to be passed on from father to daughter, right? A certain discontent with simple endings?

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          • To be fair, all of Gulzar’s films which I’ve seen so far have a proper ending.Even Lekin has a pretty clear ending.Granted it was totally unexpected.But we know without a doubt where the ending leaves Vinod and Dimple.But Gulzar doesn’t answer all the questions raised throughout the film.

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  5. I’m still having my week off because of switching emperors. I didn’t know what to do with all the movie-watching time, so I decided first to knock a few classic Bengali movies off the bucket list, then later this week watch Bareilly ki Barfi and Veere di Wedding for dessert. So, finally saw Pather Panchali and followed up with Dosar. Dosar is from 2006, a Rituparno Ghosh film with Konkona and Prosenjit. They are a married couple and Prosenjit is in a car crash with his mistress on their way to a hotel. The mistress dies and Prosenjit is badly injured, and Konkona has to deal with taking care of her husband having just found out he’s having an affair. It’s her movie and she’s amazing. It’s all long silences and pained elliptical talks and an ambiguous ending, and to make it even more Bengali it was filmed in black and white. Also has Parambrata, somehow unrecognisable in curly hair and sideburns. (And Pather Panchali was great and I really enjoyed it, but what can I say that hasn’t been said?)

    Then last night I watched the first episode of Made in Heaven! And it is really confusing to watch in Japanese! I’m going to head over to the dedicated posts and see what actually happened. Does the timeline skip around? Anyway, I did really enjoy having Vinay Pathak and Vijay Raaz pop up; I hope we see more of them.

    May baskets: I’m from New Orleans and these are not a thing. We pretty much have Mardi Gras and then Jazz Fest and then we are too tired to do anything else. But I did at one point make one in school with construction paper and pipe cleaners and gave it to my mom.

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    • Yep, the timeline skips around like crazy. The two leads are constantly flashing back to their past, and sometimes the opening of the episode shows you a bit of the married couple for the episode before flashing forward again to the present.

      And I can’t believe Amazon Japan doesn’t offer English subtitles! That is so WEIRD!!! Also strange, Amazon US doesn’t offer Japanese subtitles. If you have them already for the other markets, why not make them available?

      Oh, and you have expressed one (of many) reasons that I have never bothered reviewing Pather Panchali, what’s the point? It’s all already been said.

      On Wed, May 1, 2019 at 8:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • Yeah, the subtitle thing drives me nuts as well. Only Netflix does it, and Netflix is spanking Amazon and Hulu here, so. . .hello? Also I’m a bit disenchanted with Zee5 on this issue. They’ve got Trapped in Hindi, and they’ve got it dubbed into English and German! No subtitles! Why would I want to hear some random white guy’s voice come out of Rajkummar’s face?! Perhaps more relevantly, why would a lot of non-Hindi speaking Indians? I guess I don’t know all the ins and outs, but it seems like if you’ve already translated the script it would be easy enough to subtitle it.

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        • Super disappointed with zee5! They won’t let me play the video with my tablet hooked up to the television with an hdmi cord, so I’ll have to watch movies on a tiny screen. I’ve cancelled the subscription for the time being and I’ll have to think about if I want to continue. It’s pretty expensive.

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          • Booo! This is making me worried about whether Zee5 will be worth it for me if/when it finally comes to America. It’s another “myth of progress” moment, isn’t it? We have all these streaming services now and no rental stores or DVDs, but the streaming services actually have worse subtitles and overall quality than I used to be able to get from my scuzzy neighborhood DVD rental store.

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          • It looks fine if you’re watching it with a laptop, but it’s probably one of those things where you can’t hook it up to a projector or larger TV, so you won’t be able to watch in a group. Or maybe Americans won’t stand for that and they’ll change it.

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    • Thank you! This is exactly the kind of thing I hope for with these Wednesday Watching posts. I spend so much time writing my own stuff, I never have time to read anything else so I have to rely on you all to steer me towards the good stuff.

      On Thu, May 2, 2019 at 9:02 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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