Monday Morning Questions Post: What Do You Want to Ask Me on Armistice Day/Veterans Day?

Happy Monday! I get to spend 6-8 hours in a car driving through nothingness! And a snowstorm!

This is where you ask any question you want! With the understanding that (today at least), I will be typing my answers into a tiny cell phone screen at rest stops. But I will still answer! And you can keep coming back here all week with new questions that I will answer on full size keyboards like a normal person after today.

Now, question for you! Two questions really, one random and one Indian film related.

First, random question, how many of you think of this as Armistice Day and how many of you think of it as Veterans Day?

My mother brought me up telling me about the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and how when my grandparents were in school, the teacher used to make them stop and stand at 11am for a moment of remembrance. So I always think of 11/11 as Armistice Day. Anyway, it’s way easier to remember than Veterans Day which moves around the calendar looking for a Monday! And I am very curious, with the range of ages and nationalities here, what you all grew up with.

Second, since I am in a car for eternity today, what are your go to car songs from Indian film?

You know what is perfect for me when I am running low on energy and interest? The song that is guaranteed to get me singing along at top volume and happy? “Bheegey Honth Tere” from Murder. It’s just so good! And so easy to sing along!

31 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post: What Do You Want to Ask Me on Armistice Day/Veterans Day?

  1. Mmmmhhh, how often would you sing that song in a 6-hours drive through nothingness???

    In Germany, the 11.11 has the meaning of starting everything related to carnival (which will end in the night of Mardi Gras because, after that, repenting and wearing sackclothes and ashes are the demands of the day). So, I’m not into either Armistice or Veteran on this day (although I would be a fervent supporter of Armistice year in-year out).

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    • We changed up the music, switched to broadway classics for a bit so we could both sing along!

      I am completely out of the loop with Mardi Gras. I thought it was pre-Easter, not pro-Christmas?

      On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 10:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Veteran’s Day and Armistice Day were kind of interchangeable when I was growing up in the U.S. The “older” people tended to use Armistice day but with all the WW2 vets around, Veteran’s Day was becoming the standard.

    For long drives, I eventually have to switch to the spoken work. I need an interesting interview or clever dialog to keep me awake.

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  3. My favorite long car ride/drive song has always been Yun Hi Chala from Swades!!! It helps that I am also perpetually in love with Mohan Bhargava ❤

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  4. I’ve always thought about it as Veteran’s day to be honest.

    So I ended up going to Bala with a friend of mine and both of us didn’t really like it much. It was another one of those Ayushmann movies where his character has a problem that he’s embarrassed about and it affects his happiness and he lies to the girl he loves about it and finally learns to accept himself the way he is in the end. I really liked Bhumi Pednekar’s character but I wish they actually cast someone who was dark-skinned in the role. I know how Bhumi usually looks so it was distracting and looking very artificial to see in the movie.

    One of my go to car songs would be Subhanallah from YJHD. It always makes me happy!

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    • Thank you for the Bala report! I skipped it, just like I skipped Dream Girl, because it felt like I’d already seen that movie three times over and I just couldn’t face another one. Sounds like I was right.

      The whole YJHD soundtrack is better than I remember, every time I listen to it.

      On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 6:33 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Bala had some nice moments but I felt like the movie as a whole wasn’t worth going to the theater for.

        That YJHD soundtrack was great! Ranbir has had many movies with great soundtracks in his career so far.

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        • It’s my favorite part of his birthday celebration! Making a post of his best songs.

          On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 7:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. So a bigger picture question, while driving to soccer practice the 10-year-old was asking me why Hindi Films are so fake. We had just seen Singham and he was referring to the fight scenes, which he likes, but are stylized and over the top. My response was that unlike in the U.S., in India there is less division between between adult films and kid films, and the whole family goes to the theater together so the movies are for both adults and kids. If it is too realistic it scares the kids, and stylized action is cool. My son pointed out that there is a LOT more blood in the Hindi films (but then he doesn’t get to see U.S. adult films so his point of comparison is Pirates of the Caribbean). – Now I don’t actually know if my response is true. I think it might be true, but I also think I’m no expert. There are more realistic violence Hindi films (Darr, NH10), but it doesn’t seem like there are that many. A post on the complete history of how violence is portrayed in Hindi films through the decades? Does anyone other than me want to read that?

    And in response to your questions I’ve always thought of the Holiday as Veteran’s Day and as I’m too cheap to pay for a music streaming service that goes through the phone, and the only Indian music album I own is JHMS – so THAT is what we would listen to in the car, as long as my husband isn’t in the car. When he is driving, we listen to Hard Core History with Dan Carlin. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at some point Dan Carlin will do a podcast on the East India Company.

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    • Great answer for the violence question! I would combine it with other stuff and expand past violence. Indian film (or Hindi film at least) developed with different standards for “realism” than film from Hollywood because it is a different industry. In Hollywood you have those simple punches angled so it looks like they landed, or gunshots and someone falling with no blood. But we all accept that. All violence is fake and looks fake, just in a different way. And there are other things, India you have reincarnation and love at first sight and big song sequences and constant breaking of continuity. But then, how is that less fake than the way all Hollywood characters have made up jobs and unrealistic apartments? And getting to your very good answer, I think a lot of it is that, that the films are designed for the whole family to watch together, so the focus is on making things feel “real” and “true” in a way that would be true for all ages. The important stuff is realistic, mothers love their children, families fight with each other, bad behavior is punished and good rewarded, and all that. It’s just the unimportant stuff, like if a man could really leap 6 feet into the air, that is fake.

      This is not a child appropriate answer, but I find it even more striking with physical intimacy. All physical intimacy is fake onscreen, but we are used to the way Hollywood does it. If you watch an Indian film, you think “by god, that’s fake!” But, why? Why do we have a harder time believing in a couple rolling in bed fully clothed than we do a perfectly waxed and tanned naked couple fumbling with careful camera angles in a position no one has taken in real life?

      On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 8:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I have to admit, the first Hindi film I saw was Jodhaa Akbar, and I made fun of the love scene. I brought dolls to a book club and re-enacted it for my fellow club members. What really struck me was how many times they sat down on the floor, and then got up to then sit down on the floor in a different position. Their floors are a lot cleaner than mine. I often don’t like the movie love songs in the mountains, BUT not always. Sometimes, if the choreography is well done and the actors have chemistry I do like those mountain love songs. I don’t actually think of of Hindi love scenes as fake. I’ve been married 12 years and in my opinion a kiss is not more intimate than a caress of the neck. Though all the nose rubbing is sometimes odd. I have not seen a hollywood adult love scene in a long long time, I don’t think of adults lying in bed together in their clothes is weird. I’m pretty comfortable talking to my kids about sex, but it does get tricky with the different ages. The whole family was in the car yesterday when the 10-year-old asked what “rape” meant.

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        • I would be interested in this post, I have had the same wonderings.

          Part of it is blood is one of the deciding elements for me in American movies that determines whether the violence is too realistic for me to let my kids watch. So Star Wars was OK even when they were younger, but I still don’t let them watch action movies that show realistic use of weapons or death scenes. For movies today, this seems to line up well with the audience the films market to (family superhero movies = little to no blood, crime movies or adult superhero movies like Logan = liberal use of blood). We watched Jaws a couple of weeks ago, though, and it’s clear the rules were different back then. Jaws is rated PG! But the final dude who gets eaten has semi-realistic blood spurting from his mouth in the center of the frame. I hadn’t seen it before, that one caught me by surprise.

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          • Your kids are so hardy. My sister and I had to close our eyes during parts of Indiana Jones (too scary!).

            I think I could do a brief post running down common elements of fight scenes in Hindi film (the punch sound effects, the kicks that don’t connect, the over the top flying reactions to punches, the walls that break), but I’m not sure I have any hope of tracking the history of it.

            On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 8:19 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • So after seeing Jaws are your kids willing to step into the ocean? That is my fear. And life is funny, Jaws was our dinner conversation two nights ago, (my 10-year-old has seen parts of it at other people’s houses). The blood doesn’t bother me as a parent, as long as the fighting is so over-the-top that the kids know it is all fake. I’m totally cool with them re-enacting fake fights where the kicks and punches don’t connect. The thing I let my kids watch that I’m most unsure of are the WWII documentaries. One child is obsessed with it, and it is history, but there nothing fake about it.

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  6. Are you aware of the webseries ‘The Family Man’ on Amazon Prime by Raj & DK? I watched it last week and it’s pretty good! Manoj Bajpayee is this middle-class guy with wife and kids who’s also a super spy and it’s about how he tries to balance the two. It’s a mix of humour, drama and action, released around the same time as Bard of Blood and is much better than that at realistic portrayal of issues. I don’t know if it’s to your taste but worth giving a shot.

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    • Yes! People keep telling me to watch it because I love Raj and DK, and I like Manoj Bajpai. But I am just not up for another spy series at the moment, I want happiness and flowers.

      On Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 11:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Question: why is everyone named Raj Malhotra? OK not everyone, but I started watching Kismat Konnection on impulse last night and there was yet another Raj Malhotra. Is it just a more common name than I know or are they trying to communicate something specific?

    Answers to your questions: I grew up with Veterans Day, but my mom is in town and she’s been talking more about her Catholic school days on this trip, and she has memories of honoring “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”

    I lean towards acoustic guitar on road trips for some reason. Closest Hindi film song I can think of is Train Song from Gully Boy.

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    • Names in India are a big big thing. If someone tells you their last name it tells you their caste. ethnicity, everything. “Raj Malhotra” is a neutral Kshastriya northern Hindu name. There are a few last names that indicate that cast, and “Raj” would be a first name that is as common as “John”, just easy to pronounce and remember and all of that. You’ll notice that not just characters but actors share only a few last names. The many many Kapoors, that is their real last name, and most of them are not related to each other. But it is a name for a particular caste of wealthy landowners from the greater Peshawar region. A lot of them immigrated after partition, and because of their high status (meaning literate, well nourished, etc.) and pale skin and strong features, they tended towards acting. “Chopra” is similar. “Khan” also, obviously. In south India (and maybe in north too, I just haven’t heard of it), there is a move to drop your last name or change it as a political statement, removing that outward sign of caste. There’s also some shifts with names in south India, sometimes the last name is a version of your father or your husband’s first name. Which has it’s own sign, based on what that first name is you can figure out the persons family religion and their place in that religion.

      When I hear of someone who is South Asian, my first question is always “what is their last name”, which sounds like such a weird question, but really it’s a short cut. If you get their last name, you know their caste, region, religion, everything.

      Acoustic guitar is a great choice, we ended up with Broadway musicals which were perfect because they were written to be sung, if that makes sense. Opera or something, not so good for singing along.

      On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 8:07 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • It’s like being named John Smith. Raj Malhotra is supposed to be a very generic type of name (even though it’s visibly Punjabi) that you use when you don’t want to make any political statements with your movie. The Punjabi culture is dominant in movies and music so it has become the norm.

          The only times you will see other types of names are when it’s supposed to specifically say something about the character. When a character has a Muslim name, it is almost never a by-the-way thing. It’s there with a purpose. Even Jehangir Khan in Dear Zindagi was making a quiet statement (that Muslims are just normal people like everyone else and not defined by the religion – He has a visible Muslim name but is divorced, possibly dating a white women, well-educated psychiatrist, etc)

          Bhansali usually uses Gujarati names because he is Gujarati himself and there is some backlash against the Punjabi dominant movie culture from some quarters. Sejal Zaveri was a very Gujarati name in JHMS – the last name basically means jeweler and most of those people actually *are* in the diamond business in India.

          South Indian names are almost never used because those states have their own movie industries.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I watched Kaho Na Pyaar Hai last night and realized (partly because of your review) that it’s an audition reel for Hrithik. That’s why you have the dual role, because he starts out playing the sweet romantic innocent and then plays the sophisticated NRI who is also an action hero. It’s like here he is folks, your new star who can do everything. I’m glad I watched the whole thing now (I’d see bits of it before) when I have enough movies under my belt to appreciate why the film landed the way it did.

    Another thing I’m musing about is how so much of Hrithik’s life and career is about people reacting to his appearance. I did a twitter thread of movie snippets with people ogling his body. What a weird way to live, right? Causing a sensation just by walking into a room. I think the director of War understood that and used it in a very smart way. Big chunks of the movie are Hrithik not doing much and just having other characters reacting to his sheer physical presence.

    I’m fangirling Hrithik hard at the moment but I’m kind of embarrassed about it. He’s so very dumb and vain and was mean to Tiger who, whatever his faults, is apparently a sweet guy. I’m looking forward to this passing so I can move on to the next screen crush (Can you tell I’m fickle? Not at all like you and Shahrukh).

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    • Oh oh! Watch Na Tum Jaana Na Hum! It’s super stupid, but Hrithik looks great and is tormented a lot. Best Hrithik movie is obviously Mujshe Dosti Karoge, but Aap Mujhe Aache Lagna Lage and Na Tum Jaana Na Hum are pretty great too. They are from the era before Hrithik decided he had to be an Actor. Or, as I think of it, Best Era.

      It is odd now that you put it like that how much of Hrithik’s career is tied up in his appearance. But then, that’s how most female performers live, isn’t it? Hrithik is just the rare male addition.

      Aw, Hrithik isn’t that bad! He handled being stalked with more grace than I would, and he seems to be a really great father. No shame there! But if you want to move on to a Superior Star, you can always watch Aiyyaa and start fangirling Prithviraj instead.

      On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 10:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • If you want to move on, just watch a few Hrithik interviews. You will be rolling your eyes in no time. He talks as if he’s repeating lines from dumb motivational posters. I can’t even appreciate his looks because he really is just so dumb and silly.

      I went through a mild Hrithik phase after Dhoom 2 but for some reason, the same things I liked started annoying me after a while. Like what a hot body.. but then it was the realization that this guy spends 3 hours in the gym everyday, another hour styling his hair along with the weekly highlights appointment for that blonde look, another 3 hours on dance practice, and the rest probably staring in the mirror and regulating his carbs. And then it was never the same again.

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      • I went through two major Hrithik crush phases. One was as a 12-year old after Kaho Na.. like everyone else in India. I even got a crush on a classmate who I thought looked like NRI Hrithik with glasses! I think this went on till K3G. Second was after Dhoom 2 and continued till Jodha Akbar. That was intense, I was shipping Hrithik-Ash hard! After that period, I’ve never felt that way toward him again. I haven’t seen War, but even after seeing him and people’s reaction to him, I suspect I won’t feel the same when I watch it. I just get this feeling of Hrithik trying hard to look cool in all the clips and songs, which is not attractive.

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        • KHNP is such a crushable movie!!! There’s almost no plot, it’s all just there to make you swoon over Hrithik. I start to get echoes of a crush on him too every time I watch it.

          Try out War, the songs and clips gave Hrithik his coolest moments to help sell the film, but there’s lots of times when his character is mission focused and directed, like in Dhoom 2.

          On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 6:29 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Just learnt it’s 15 years of Veer Zaara and 26 years of Baazigar today, realizing why SRK was synonymous with Diwali blockbusters! I think people who discover SRK later like/love VZ better than Baazigar, but for me who grew up with his movies, I have a special fondness for and memories of the latter. I cried hard during VZ in the theater but would still rewatch Baazigar over VZ. I’m almost certain Baazigar was my 1st SRK movie as a 6-7 year old, I was hooked to the film and this new leading man who I wasn’t sure whether to like or hate. Even then I knew he was unlike any other ‘heroes’ I’d seen. I was intrigued and fascinated by this guy who threw people off roofs! I was also confused about things like- are there 2 SRKs in the movie, why is he zipping/unzipping Shilpa’s pants in Kitaben Bahut Si, why am I feeling sorry for this murderer?? Too much for a 7 year old brain to handle lol!
    Kaali Kaali Aankhen was a rage those days, I found the way he slides Kajol under him so cool! I also thought Vinod Rathod’s voice suited him somehow, though it was nothing like his own voice then.

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    • Baazigar is such a great movie. Pure entertainer, you don’t have to follow the plot or understand what is happening, you can enjoy it moment by moment as its own thing.

      On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 10:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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