Discussion Post: Give Me a Writing Prompt!

Yes, it is that time again, when I have completely run out of ideas. Coincidentally on the same day as the monthly “please promote me” request. So I am being all kinds of needy today!

I hate this, I have nothing interesting to say right now. Everything I think of, someone else has already said (sometimes me). Give me an idea! Any idea, fanfic or thought piece or history piece. Anything but a review, those at least are easy, I just watch a thing and then write about it.

Is there a famous person whose history you are curious about? Ask! I will write you a Hindi Film 101!

Related image
Suniel Shetty! What’s up with that guy?

Is there some kind of list of film recommendations you want? Ask! I will write you a “starter kit” in whatever.

Image result for jo jeeta wohi sikandar poster
Starter kit high school movies? No, that’s stupid, all my ideas are stupid

Is there a Big Deep Thoughtful thoughty thought you want me to talk about? Ask! I will write you a big deep thoughty thing!

Image result for Akshay Kumar
NO POLITICS! At least, not directly. Feminism and communalism and caste and class, sure. But nothing like directly related to stuff that is happening. This is a deep thoughts and escapism zone.

Is there a random book-movie-idea in your head that you want to see turned into a fanfic? Ask! I love fanfics!

Image result for peyton place
Except Peyton Place. I’ve tried 3 times to write a Peyton Place fanfic, it should be easy, but it’s impossible. Any other idea though!

So, give me ideas! Unless you want another few days of “why is Shahrukh sexy?” and “here are some repeated reviews, again!” posts.

63 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Give Me a Writing Prompt!

  1. This isn’t really helpful for today (unless you wanted to do it today of course!) but a good review for Father’s Day could be Pitaah with Sanjay Dutt. Assuming you want to watch a pretty depressing movie.

    Like

    • Oh dear, it does look sad! A couple years back I did Munna Bhai MBBS for father’s day, which was far more cheerful.

      On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 7:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • It’s pretty heartbreaking but I think Sanjay does an incredible job holding and emoting all the intensity needed for a role like that.

        Like

  2. I’ll do my best.

    1. What does “masala movie” really mean? When did the term first come into use? Do all regional film industries do some version of “masala movies” or is it more of a Hindi film thing? How has the “masala” formula changed recently, if at all? Are there any Hollywood movies, of any era, you’d classify as “masala” or close to it?

    2. A Pakistani banker once told me that Pakistanis love Indian movies, and Indians love Pakistani serials/soap operas. Why is that? How might Netflix and Amazon original series change that equation?

    3. Gotta do a Shah Rukh one. If you were at the Letterman taping today and could ask a question from the audience (so by necessity short and public), what would you ask?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1. Masala has kind of an interesting history, but not sure if I can tie it all up into a full length post. Hmm. Maybe generally about “the influences that lead to the typical Hindi film style”?

      2. I think there was some messy political thing that made Pakistan kill its film industry? Actually Dina has researched way more into this than I have, I’ll ask her next time I see her.

      3. “What is your next movie?” Might be a fun discussion question post thought! “What question would you ask/what question do you hope Letterman asks?”

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yep, the whole Hindi film style, including performance, is structured for an audience that may not be fluent in Hindi. At least, that’s my theory. I think I have section in my book on that? And that gets into the question of “do I try to summarize book stuff for blog audiences and sell out my publisher or do I keep the two things separate?”

          Sheila Nayyar also talks about stuff like how in oral narratives, to say something is for it to be true. So those monologues the hero and villain give to the camera, or the hero declaring “I will marry you” and we all accept that as part of the narrative structure, now it has to happen.

          On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 11:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Discussion of how “Hollywood” genres exist or don’t exist in Indian film? E.g. pretty sure there’s a bunch of film noir in Indian film, but what about cowboy movies, superhero movies, sci-fi…?

    Like

    • Kala Sona had Firoz Khan in full cowboy gear with twin guns blazing.He was so boring(even while romancing Parveen Babi) that the cowboy craze never truly caught on.Though, second lead Danny as the Native American friend pursued by sassy Fareeda Jalal was pretty hot. Ajooba which had Amitabh Bachchan playing a super hero suffered the same fate.

      Like

      • Oh, I looooved the intro scene of Zero…very cowboy-y 🙂
        Personally, I long for another DDLJ episode but I would also be interested in the why of the fixtion on types, I mean in terms of this actor (almost) only plays a villain or a hero or a side-kick, this actress is the vamp(item girl) or damsel in distress or brave one or the docile one…

        Like

        • Sheila Nayyar wrote a great classic article on Oral narrativity in Indian film that gets into the “types” idea, and a lot of other tropes. Her argument is that the films are structured for an audience that thinks in terms of oral stories, stories which tend to rely more on familiar types and familiar plots and so on so that the audience can easily follow them without being able to flip back and forth and refer to subtle hints like you would when reading a book.

          On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 9:58 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

          • Oh, I remember…you mentioned it in your book…oh, my memory…*sigh*
            (btw, did I ever tell you how much I liked your book? Well, very much…a gripping read with a loooot of info condensed in a reasonable length)

            Like

          • Thank you! That’s really nice to hear.

            On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 10:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

          • So, I guess, the cast the same actor in almost always the same role to keep a familiarity with actor x = villain (like that the actor’s name in a movie at once triggers: ah, he’s the villain.

            Like

          • Yes, exactly. And there is also the issue of actors and their roles being crossed more in Indian culture than in other places. If a hero role is played by someone who previously played a villain, it somehow dishonors the role of “hero” now. Like how Ram-Leela actors can’t really switch between Ram and Raavan without being disrespectful in someway to Ram.

            On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 10:23 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

  4. Just finished watching Sneaky Pete on Amazon.So how about a piece on all the conman hero from the 50s onwards starting with Bombay ka Babu, then onwards to Farebi,Haath ki safai,Bluffmaster,Ladies vs Ricky Behl. Somehow all it takes is the love of Ma(and sometimes a pretty girl) to reform them.

    Like

    • Ooo! The conman idea might also force me to finally watch Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and Special 26.

      What about expanding that a little and making it film noirs, some of which are also conmen movies?

      On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 8:44 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • Noir and con overlapped a lot in the 50s before being separated forever.So separate posts on both would be welcome.Special 26,Players,Bankchor and Kaante come under ‘heist’ which is yet another topic.

        Like

        • Oh! How about a series of posts breaking down genres and their subcategories? “crime/noir films: heist, detective, conman, etc.” and “romance films: married romance, college romance, etc.”?

          On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 9:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

          • That would be great.On that note how about a post categorizing all the different types of mothers? Nargis in Mother India who’ll murder her son for her ideals, Nirupa Roy who’s so partial towards her foster son at the expense of her real son in Munimji,again Nirupa Roy in Kucche Dhaage who raises her son to be a monster to satisfy her desire for revenge,Reema Lagoo in Vaastav who’s forced to kill her son because she loves him and want to protect him.

            Like

  5. datablue’s post made me think of: Are there Indian movies (Hindi or not) where a mother is forced to make a choice but whatever she will choose, she has to sacrify someone she loves (in the vain of Meryl Streep’s movie).

    Like

    • Well, there’s Deewar. She has to choose between the “good” and “bad” son. There’s also a classic challenge (that I can’t remember an example of at the moment) of a mother being forced to choose between her child and her husband. Like in Mughal-E-Azam! The proper answer is of course the husband.

      On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 10:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • Not like in Deewar or M-E-A…but like in “Muriel’s Choice” where she can save only one beloved by making kill the other beloved one…which leads me to the question of “Catch 22” kind of movies in Indian Cinema 🙂

        Like

    • I wish! I know you keep asking me for recomendations on those, but there just aren’t enough of them.

      On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 10:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • Ha ha sorry.
        What do you think about Rang Rasiya? I don’t know if I should watch it or not. And while I’m thinking about it – did you ever make a list of biopics and other biografical movies? It could be interesting.

        Like

        • I don’t know if you should watch it either! It’s Ketan Mehta, which is a bit hit or miss. And of course I hate Randeep Hooda. But the topic does look interesting.

          On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 12:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

  6. How about a post about Indian film at Cannes…which films were historically showcased there…does it matter that very few films get selected or even bother to try for the festival? How can Cannes help Indian film? Or is it just an archaic irrelevant festival?
    And most importantly, we need a fashion discussion post on the Indian celebs on the Cannes red carpet…Aish, Deepika, Sonam….who will be best dressed this year?

    Like

    • Oh, that is tempting! I just don’t know if I have the background for it, or even how to start researching. I could do a general post on “Film Festivals-what are they and what do they mean?” because that is useful (if dull) information when trying to translate the Indian coverage.

      On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 1:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

        • Ugh, I hate fashion posts! Just because it’s really difficult from a post creation perspective to collect all the photos together.

          On Thu, May 16, 2019 at 1:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

  7. I would dearly love a list of movies referenced in other movies – like, I still need to see everything referenced in OSO, but it would be ever so much easier if you simply listed those out for me! Also, RNBDJ please!🤗

    Like

  8. Still curious about how the music and movie studios split the revenue from songs, if you haven’t already written about that. And if a music studio like Sony is producing/distributing the songs, do they get any say over the composer or playback singers? Do the composers and musicians work with certain music studios and get placed in movie projects based on who the music studios partner with, or do they work with certain directors and movie studios and whichever music studio buys the rights distributes those songs? (So different music studios might have different songs by the same artists.)

    Fan fiction challenge: Three Men and a Baby. And Baby Boom. Unexpected babies of the 80s theme :).

    Like

    • But they already made Three Men and a Baby! Although it was terrible, I can probably do better:

      Interesting question about the song rights! I think it is a rapidly evolving part of the industry, just recently I have noticed that music studios seem to have rights to the videos in a weird way. There’s a bunch of movies where the films themselves are available legally from the studio for free on youtube, but the song videos are not.

      On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 12:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • Maybe it’s just the phase of life I’m in, but I feel like stories about fatherhood and working moms are ripe for reinterpreting for a new generation.

        Like

        • Also, for an Indian remake of either I feel like you’d need some kind of backstory for the characters to explain why there are no grandparents or other family support? That would give the characters more depth and complexity than the original versions, where they were just standard issue ambitious city dwellers.

          Like

          • In the currently existing Indian remake, they gave tons of family backstory to the mother, not so much to the 3 guys.

            On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 8:01 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

    • Ooo, then and now picks might be fun! I did something like that for my Easter card, photos from first films.

      On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 4:30 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  9. This is not exactly a writing prompt — you can choose not to write about it — but since you’re always saying you don’t have enough knowledge to write about the Southern industries, I thought I’d share this link to a Filmfare article on the Telugu industry from 1963, which I randomly came across again just now (That is, I had read it before, but forgot it, and it just came up again): https://cinemachaat.com/2011/06/23/telugu-film-history-%e2%80%93-filmfare-august-23-1963/

    A couple of more points:

    For Angie, there have been several Hindi films based on art or artists, though most of them are from the older era. A few I can think of off the top of my head are: Navrang, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Tansen (with K. L. Saigal) — these three are considered absolute classics. Others are Abhinetri (Hema Malini as a dancer with a jealous husband), Geet Gaya Pathar Mein (or something like that — not sure of the last word in the title, about a classical dancer), and of course Guide. Also Amrapali, though it is more of a historical, but it does center on a court dancer, played by Vyjayanthimala.

    Regarding Indian films at Cannes, there have been several in the past which not only competed, but also won awards, though they have mainly been small independent films, which got NO support from the Indian government even after winning awards, so they might be hard to track down. One of them I remember is the Malayali film Simhasanam, with Mohanlal. Now it’s just possible that I’ve mixed it up with another Malayali film with Mohanlal of a different title which I can’t remember. 🙂 But basically it looks at the relationship between a feudal landlord and his faithful servant. Oops I think that’s the story of the film whose title I can’t remember, and Simhasanam is about how power corrupts whoever is occupying the seat of power. In any case, the most well-known Hindi film which won the Golden Camera and Audience Awards at Cannes is Salaam Bombay.

    Like

  10. I’ve been away at a writers conference. Most of it was depressing. Is it me, or is everybody writing books on their phones these days? And why do they all look twelve years old? Anyway, I’m playing DCIB catch up.

    You are definitely a better writer than the current crop of newbies. So may I suggest, given your skill, your deep appreciation and outsider’s (you’re not Indian) knowledge of India and its premier industry, that you write about that. I know you covered that ground in your book, but your story is ripe for, tah-dah, a novel!

    From what I’ve been able to gather, you’re a good old (young) American gal, the child or grandchild, or great great… of immigrants, who fell in love with a country half the world away from hers. Your heroine can be a salt-of-the-earth Mid-West blogger with an unsatisfactory romantic past. (Her current guy is more into football than a night out with her.) Through some quirky fluke, she wins a trip to India that turns her life upside down. I can see it now: first time out of the country; train station snafus; dark, interesting men, one of whom…Get the idea?

    Now don’t tell me you’re not a novelist. I wrote for a newspaper for many years, contributed dry, boring essays and the like to magazines. But at the end of my work day, I went home and recharged my batteries reading fiction; mysteries, romances, any and all kinds. I was still young (like you) and primed to take a leap. (Probably wouldn’t do it now.) I quit my job, ate a lot of eggs and tuna fish, and wrote my first romance novel. And wrote another and another and another until somebody finally noticed. The rest is (limited) history. Now I know you have to work, and god forbid you put DCIB aside, even for a short time. (I’d go into withdrawal.) But it can be done. Write it in your head while you’re in the car, the shower, walking Albie, making pancakes. Then transcribe it every night before bed. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in a year.

    I can see your jaw-dropping skepticism as I trolley along with this comment. So I’ll stop.

    Buuut…

    Like

    • I’d love to write a romance novel! For one thing, it seems to be the only branch of publishing that still turns some kind of a profit. I just have to take the leap and do the thing, and then send it to you for notes. And publishing contacts.

      On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 8:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  11. I’d be honored to read and comment as you go along. But be careful; I might start sending you chapters of A Shining Place, which is so stalled.

    Having a writers group is crucial. Established and beginning novelists use them and I didn’t really get going until I found mine. You generally have to sort through a few before one clicks. You don’t want the ones led by a so-called “writing specialist” who charge $$, or the ones with members who say, “That’s great, wonderful. Next.” You want honest readers who know what they’re talking about when they comment. The comments can hurt but, “No pain…”

    One more thing. Part 1, the writing, is fun and fulfilling. Part 2, getting it out there is a depressing slog.

    Like

    • I know myself, and I know the first thing I write will be absolute trash. And I will reread it and go “this is trash!” That’s the moment I hate, the moment you read your first draft and just hate it. And I have to plow through soooooooooooo many of those before I get to something actually good that doesn’t make me want to throw up when I reread it. I just want to skip to the end! The part where I know what I am doing!

      On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 10:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  12. I love watching movies without reading about them, and without any expectations. Yesterday I saw a film, which I thought will be terrible but resulted to be great. And I was thinking if you have written a post about movies that surprised you . Sorry if a post like this already exist.

    Like

    • A post like this does not exist! But it sounds fun.

      What was your movie?

      On Fri, May 17, 2019 at 3:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • It was Ente Mezhuthiri Athazhangal (My candle light dinners). Anoop Menon wrote this film and also played the main role, and (as I have bad memories of the only one Anoop’s movie I have seen) I thought it will be terrible, but it wasn’t. It was romantic, funny, interesting and cute. Actors were very good also. I don’t want to oversell it, but romance lovers will like it for sure.

        Like

  13. Fanfic idea – Regresa
    It’s a mexican movie about a woman who is neglected by her rich buisnessman husband. He spends all day in his office, and she is sure he has a lover. One of her friends attends hypnotherapy sessions to know about her previous life, and one day she brings Maria (the heroine) with her. Maria does the session, but upon awakening she is frightened, doesn’t recognize her friends and talks some strange language nobody understand. She is hospitalized. Later her husband does his best to help her, and he finds out she talks Basque and believes she is a Basque princess from 15th-century. The rest of the story is about how the husband learns to appreciate his wife, and win her again (super romantic especially because JAIME CAMIL plays the husband and he is so good)
    The movie is on youtube with english subtitles:

    I really, really recommend it to you because it very cute, and only 90 minutes long. And I think it would be perfect as a indian movie, because reincarnation and also we could chose any indian state as Maria’s kingdom. She can be malayali, tamil, marathi princess and from any century. OMG I already see those beautiful costumes and songs!

    Like

    • Oh that does sound very cute! And a good silly light summer movie.

      On Tue, May 21, 2019 at 6:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  14. Omg this is like Christmas! YOU asking us what you could write about.. Okay hmm let me see..

    – I would totally love an in-depth-analysis on ”Kal ho naa ho” (just because its my favorite movie).
    – Maybe you could make a list of movies which deal in a ”uplifting/postive” way with the Indian/Pakistan difficulties ( I always loved Veer & Zara or Main hoon naa)
    – The best Indian movies that are remakes of Hollywood movies or american/english stories
    – Maybe an analysis on Ranbir Kapoor and his careless treatment of women (I am still angry about the way he treated Deepika and now also Katrina)
    – I would also love a list of SRK’s most underappreciated movies (Like, Swades, Dil Se, JHMS etc.)
    – Maybe also an explanation on the ”no-kissing/ sex-scene” clauses of some actors and actresses and why Indian movies in general either stay away from even mentioning physical intimacy (although they titilate it) or sometimes make the scenes so uncomfortable that I rather would have chewed off my own arm then seeing them again
    – I would also love for you to make more YouTube videos ( I already watched most of them lol)

    Hope this list inspires you in a way 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you! I love having new ideas!

      I will say, I already have SO MANY Shahrukh lists. Most recently “Shahrukh movies outside the standard list” or something like that. And his Birthday month posts have best films, best performances, and best characters, all as different rankings.

      On Wed, May 22, 2019 at 1:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.