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

Happy Wednesday! I spent half the day yesterday sure that it was Thursday and today was Friday. I am still adjusting to the reality that today is Wednesday and I still have to work two more days.

I’ll start!

Reading: Still reading light weight mysteries, but just to shake things up a bit, after talking about it with Courtney and Niki last night I went back and read my Humpty Sharma posts again. They really are good! You should read them! Even if you don’t much like either Humpty Sharma or DDLJ, there’s interesting stuff on the craftsmanship of a young romance.

Thinking: I’m going on an adventure! This weekend I am making my first stop on my DCIB World Tour. The folks of the DC area get to hang out with me and play fun games and win fablous prizes. And then in a month the folks of the NJ/NY area get to meet me too. And a month after that, I visit my friend in the Bay Area and could theoretically also meet up with people there. It’s a whirlwind!

Watching: Have we talked about Schitt’s Creek? It’s one of those shows cursed by a terrible name, and a terrible station (Pop TV, who here has even heard of it?), and cursed again by jokes that sometimes swing way too raunchy. But if you get passed that, it is secretly the sweetest kindest most life-affirming show on air today. So, I am spreading the word! Oh, and also Pop TV picked up the “One Day at a Time” remake after Netflix canceled it, so that is another reason to figure out what the heck it is and where you can find it. And in less exciting news, I showed Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi to my co-worker that I am slowly seducing to the SRK side, and I finally watched Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai and it is INSANE and you should all watch it.

Listening: Wonderful news, the Shirtless Dance of Torment video is now on youtube! Not in its entirety, but it’s still pretty good. Must Watch.

Now, question for you all! First, I need your votes for the Valentine’s week movies on this post. Now, beyond the DCIB world, what are your favorite Non-Indian romances?

Ready for me to hit it old school?

April in Paris. Ray Bolger is a shy diplomat, Doris Day is a peppy chorus girl who through a series of misunderstandings gets an invitation to join him on a diplomatic trip to Paris, and then love blooms.

Walk Don’t Run. Cary Grant rents a room from a young Samantha Eggers during the Tokyo Olympics, and then rents half his room to Timothy Hutton and tries to throw the young people together.

The Major and the Minor. Ginger Rogers dresses like a child in order to get a discount on her train ticket, and ends up meeting Ray Milland who thinks she is a helpless little girl. When she is left stranded with no money to go home, she accepts his invitation to stay at his fiancee’s house for the weekend. The fiancee’s little sister immediately sees through her ruse and encourages her to try and break up the engagement because she thinks her older sister doesn’t deserve Ray Milland (no one does, he’s the best).

Easy Living. Speaking of Ray Milland, he is just dreamy in this. Millionaire Edward Arnold gets in a fight with his wife and throws her new coat out the window to make a point. It lands on office girl Jean Arthur and Edward Arnold gives it to her. Which causes gossip and misunderstandings, a luxury hotel owner gives her a free room, designers give her free clothes, all thinking she is the new mistress of millionaire Edward Arnold. Meanwhile, Ray Milland is Edward Arnold’s spoiled son who stormed out of the house that morning (setting off the fight between his parents) determined to earn his own living. He bumps into Jean Arthur and falls in love with her at first sight. She takes pity on him and lets him stay in her free hotel room, misunderstandings, love scenes, cute moments, all good things ensue.

Needing You. Did you know Hong Kong not only has awesome action movies, it also has awesome rom-coms? Truth! Really, seek this one out. A neurotic office worker is also the hardest working most reliable employee of attractive rising star new manager. Over the course of challenging sales meetings, stressful hunts for files, and on and on, they eventually realize that against all odds, they are in love.

Love on a Diet. Same couple from the last one, reunited! Super cute idea, they are two Hong Kong nationals in Japan, she attempted suicide and failed (don’t worry, it’s funny not tragic) and the landlady brought him in to help because they are from the same country. He talks her down by swearing he can help her lose weight. They try all kinds of wacky things to get her skinny again so she can be with her ex-boyfriend, but of course he falls hopelessly in love with her along the way.

I could go on and on, but I will stop here! Okay, two more, Last of the Mohicans and Rocky I. Now I’m done.

What’s your list of non-Indian favorites?

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

    • He is staying with my parents, he’ll be fine. They may be worn out by the end of it.

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 6:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. Since it’s almost valentine month and I dont have a bae unless your count HR in my head 😏 what are your favorite romance movies and which ones do you recommend? It can be both fun and light hearted or serious

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  2. Reading: I returned to Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day. Hope this time I will finish it.

    Thinking: Why I have no luck with movies in streaming? I was waiting for Shimla Mirchi. It was supposed to be here on Monday and no luck. Still no available. I hope it will appear unexpected like Motichoor Chaknachoor. But what made me even more mad was that I was waiting for Mamangam like a crazy. This week it arrived on Prime, but…not in Italy! And I don’t understand why because all the newest Mammootty movies are available except the only one I cared. Why I can’t enjoy shirtless Unni Mukundan?

    Watching: Asif Ali’s Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha. I can’t say much because I don’t want to spoil the movie, but it was good, even if I don’t agree with some of the things shown in the movie.

    Beautiful – 2011 malayalam movie with Jayasurya and Anoop Menon. Well it was super boring and there was hardly any plot. I’m reading now that it had good reviews and was a hit and I don’t understand why.

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      • Hard question! But I think no. There is a lot of romance, and many romantic scenes like long gazes, falling in love beacuse the person is nice and good etc, but overall it’s not the most important thing in the movie and I’m sure many people hoped the couple won’t be together in the end .

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        • Okay, then it will sadly have to wait until after Valentine’s Day.

          Also, did you see I just put up a post about all the Malang songs? Did ARK gain like 30 Lbs of muscle for that? Are you seeing the same thing I am?

          On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 3:07 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Reading My Brilliant Friend. Watching/Listening to Saif Ali Khan interviews because other Readers described him as super smart. Thinking I’m not sure he is a genius but he sure is honest. He told Anupama that he didn’t think movies like Tanhaji should be made because they factionalized history. Clearly he isn’t a producer. And he talked about politics in a real way.

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    • He is really strangely honest in interviews. There’s another older interview with Anupama where he just straight up says “yeah, that thing I said before was dumb”. How often do celebrities straight up say they made a mistake and said something dumb?

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 2:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I also saw absolutely random documentary on Netflix about Bikram Choudhury and it was odd. Many women were telling terrible things Bikram made to them but the only person who was crying was a guy who knew from the beginning about the ugly side of the guru (one of the assaulted women was his girlfriend then) and made nothing . Only years later when Bikram was officialy sentenced the guy was like: how those women and Bikram could do this to me? He was like a father for me. I’m suffering so much.
    It’s only January but I think I will not see bigger example of self-pity this year. Or maybe yes. Men never cease to disappoint me.

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    • I am just surprised by how completely UNsurprised I am that the Bikram Yoga guy is a creep. If you are charismatic and found a whole new thingy, I immediately don’t trust you. Because charisma lets you get away with stuff, and founding a whole new thingy is what you do when you don’t want supervision.

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 3:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. So I ended up starting Made in Heaven and I really like it so far!

    I rewatched both Fidaa and Tholi Prema last weekend and I realized that I liked Tholi Prema more this time. I have seen Fidaa more times so maybe that’s why I found Tholi Prema to be more fresh. Or maybe it’s just because Varun Tej’s character is more interesting in Tholi Prema than Fidaa. How many times do you have to see a movie to start getting bored of it a little. According to my letterboxd, I’ve seen Fidaa seven times so far and I’m thinking that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do. I still love the movie, especially the first half but the second half was kinda boring on this watch.

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    • So glad you are liking Made in Heaven! I think you will really like the overall narrative, I was just worried the episode by episode bits wouldn’t work. But sounds like they are!

      Tholi Prema is one I’ve been thinking about for a while. There’s also a Vijay Devorakonda movie I haven’t seen, right?

      For me, I get bored after one watch of a film. I’m cursed with such a good memory for movies that after one watch they are kind of burned into my brain. Which is why I love showing movies to other people! I can experience them fresh through their eyes.

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 4:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yeah, I do think I care more about the overall narrative rather than the weddings that take place every episode but I still like the show as a whole quite a bit.

        Are you talking about Geetha Govindam with Vijay Deverakonda and Rashmika? It was fun on the first watch but I hated it retrospectively. The plot was just very misogynistic and made me uncomfortable thinking about it. But it does have great songs though if you just want to watch the songs on youtube.

        Oh right, I forgot about your memory!

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  6. Work hell has ended as of yesterday! (I probably shouldn’t say that out loud).So, still have not read/watched/thought anything non-linguistics related, but hoping to soon.

    Walk Don’t Run looks super interesting, for me, because of the whole Japan thing. Had to watch it without sound because at work, but it looks like some of the humor comes because ha ha people bow to each other? That would be a bit of a turn-off. Also, it’s Jim Hutton, not Timothy Hutton (who is my age and would have been maybe a toddler in 1966), but maybe they’re related? They look alike.

    Varun, what are you doing? Among the least worst things in the video were the fact that they obviously contoured his abs with makeup, which I wish they would stop doing; it never works. Also, the part where he rhythmically bends his fingers while staring intensely at the camera. I did think he was going to do a Meena Kumari/Hema Malini/probably other people and dance on broken glass, so that was exciting.

    My favorite non-Indian romances are two by Steve Martin: L.A. Story and Shopgirl. Both are slightly surreal except for the romance part, and in both LA plays a big part. I also really liked Crazy Stupid Love, except for the creepy subplot in which the weird little kid develops a thing for his babysitter and basically stalks and publicly embarrasses her even though she hasn’t given him consent and it’s supposed to be cute. I also liked the Japanese anime Your Name. I usually don’t have much patience for high school romance, but this is very sweet and the artistry was amazing.

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    • Oh, give Walk Don’t Run another shot! It’s got some ethnic humor, but in a goodhearted heavy handed way. Our heroine’s best friend is a local, and there’s a bit later where they visit her parents’ house. Mostly it is all about Jim Hutton (duh, of course!) and Cary Grant being charming in competition. You should also try Love on a Diet, for a Hong Kong take on Japan, and I think it was actually filmed there.

      I also thought he would be dancing on broken glass! Why else would he be barefoot? But I guess the glass was just there to represent his broken self-image. Oh Varun.

      Haven’t seen Shopgirl, but I have seen LA Story. My parents showed it to us actually, they saw it in theaters and it stuck with them so well that they remembered it a few years later and wanted to show it to us when we were older. It is such a nice tinge of magical realism, but not a film that is talked about as much as I think it should be. Like, it should be included as a relative of Amelie and Enchanted and so on.

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 8:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Watching: Raabta. Made it to the interval last night. Jim Sarbh is so good, he gives me the chills. Kriti can do full on sizzling gazes, confirmed as my candidate for classic heroine roles from the younger generation. Sushant’s role reminds me so much of Ranveer in Befikre.
    At least up to now. Is this the part where we go back in time and they start wearing furs and loincloths and riding around on horses? I like Sushant too, he’s very intense. I just want his chin to be bigger? Maybe that’s a weird hang-up.

    Tired brain is conjuring up a weird list of non-Indian romances, some sentimental favorites from my youth, heavy on the classics:

    Crazy Rich Asians (finally saw this, so good! my current favorite)
    Say Anything
    Strictly Ballroom
    Moonstruck
    Dangerous Liaisons
    Pride and Prejudice
    Sense and Sensibility
    Much Ado About Nothing

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    • No horses, because it is Historically Accurate. Well, at least in that one tiny little detail. I cannot wait to get your reaction! The historical section is INSANE, but then the modern section gets even more insane when we come back to it.

      You absolutely MUST watch Kandukondain Kandukondain. It’s a great interpretation of Sense and Sensibility, clearly influenced by Emma Thompson’s version. And Much Ado About Nothing casting….GO!

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 10:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I want to watch Kandukondain Kandukondain. For Tabu too! It’s not any of the places I can watch things. That and Koode are now at the top of my unattained list. Something about those K movies.

        Going to bed now, but I’ll try to come up with a Much Ado About Nothing casting in the morning. The 1993 version is one of my dream casts, hard to top.

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      • Here we go, Much Ado About Nothing casting:

        Hero/Kate Beckinsale: Kriti Sanon. Classic ingenue character, she mostly needs to look beautiful, fall in love convincingly, portray tragic/stricken, and then back to radiant and in love. Kriti can totally handle that part, she would be convincing as the object of all of the other plot complications.

        Claudio/Robert Sean Leonard: Aditya Roy Kapoor. Paired with Hero and a male mirror of her character. Needs to fall in love, then get really mad in that you have offended my male honor but also broken my heart kind of way, then tragic, then back in love. ARK is tall, beautiful to look at going through all of those emotions, and I think he would pair well with Kriti.

        Don John/Keanu Reeves: Vicky Kaushal. This is a meatier part, layers of resentment and duplicity covered with charm. I think it would be fun for Vicky to dig into.

        Dogberry/Michael Keaton: Pankaj Mishra. This is one of those roles that can steal the movie if you play it right. He could be hilarious.

        Those castings I like, I have alternates for the other characters depending on whether we go with the older or slightly younger set.

        Don Pedro/Denzel Washingon: Wise, in command, a hint of mischief and meddling in other people’s lives. Don Juan’s half brother.
        Option 1: Salman Khan
        Option 2: Arjun Rampal

        Benedick/Kenneth Branaugh: Too clever by half, the determined bachelor, has to be tricked into falling in love but then falls hard. Witty, fast talking, turns out to have a true heart and conscience in the end. The best male role.
        Option 1: SRK
        Option 2: Shahid Kapoor

        Lady Beatrice/Emma Thompson: Too clever by half, too smart to have ever been deemed suitable for marriage, distrusts love and men. Witty, fast talking, Hero’s truest friend. The best female role.
        Option 1: Juhi Chawla
        Option 2: Vidya Balan

        What do you think? I haven’t cast the villain/Don John’s sidekick Borachio, or Hero’s father Leonato, open to suggestions on those!

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        • I love all of this, except I feel like we still haven’t quite nailed Beatrice and Benedict.

          Vidya could work for Beatrice, except she looks so sexual, and Beatrice to me is all about the mind and not the body. Benedict is the classic SRK part, all those words, only he is just too old now. I might consider Ayushmann Khurrana? He’s another Delhi boy, and another theater kid, so he has the same advantages of Shahrukh in ability to say Hindi dialogue super good and just nail a monologue. But I don’t know who his female equivalent would be. Oh! Or RANVEER! I would love to see Ranveer’s Benedict. Benedict is so smart, but not very wise (at least at first) and Ranveer would do that super good. Dips might work as a Beatrice, but again I just don’t know if she could handle the fast dialogue. Hmm.

          On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 12:47 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I feel like Benedick and Beatrice are on the verge of being too old for marriage, that’s what gives an extra dimension of pathos to their relationship. They are the only suitable people for one another, if they don’t end up together they will end up alone. I think Ayushmann and Ranveer are still too young. I don’t know if I see Ayushmann as enough of a wicked provocateur, though I could see Ranveer for that side of it, just in a few more years.

            For Beatrice, I could Vidya bringing the tomboyish energy she has in some roles. Not that she isn’t beautiful or sexual, just so challenging that she relates to men as equals and her sharp mind and tongue scares most of them off. I don’t think Deepika (or Anushka or Kat) has the right energy for this part. She’s secretly earnest and romantic, but it’s buried under deep layers of bitterness, wit, and humor, to the point that she’s accepted she’ll just be Hero’s spinster cousin.

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          • After watching the Malang songs… come to think of it, I might be open to switching ARK and Vicky. Not that I want to give Vicky another ingenue role, but he is good at them, and he tends to have good chemistry with his heroines, I’d bet he and Kriti could spark. ARK might have more deviousness in him?

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          • The ARK-Pari love story in Daawat E Ishq definitely had a Beatrice and Benedict vibe, so that could work. But again, I am stuck on Beatrice. What do you think about Kalki?

            OH OH! Kalki-Jim Sarbh?

            On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 12:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I was thinking ARK as Don John, I don’t see him as Benedick. Not quite light on his feet enough. Jim Sarbh would also make an amazing Don John, he might be the best choice. I could possibly see him as Benedick, a different kind of Benedick. He always has a bit of a sinister note to his characters, he would need to dial it back because Benedick is at heart a good guy. But there is that scene at the end where you have to be prepared to believe that Benedick might actually kill his friend Claudio for offending Hero’s honor, so a touch of sinister would be OK. He could play Benedick as a guy who can charm and talk his way out of every situation and thus has come to believe nothing is real because he can bend anything/anyone to fit his needs – except Beatrice. I guess you could cast Kalki as Beatrice? I feel like Kalki has a fragile side that makes her vulnerable and appealing, but I don’t see Beatrice as fragile. I guess you could play her that way. But I see Beatrice as strong and fine to look after herself, she just is so self-sufficient that she might end up alone. And her happy ending is that she can still be strong but doesn’t have to be alone. There’s this great dialogue she has with Don Pedro, I almost stenciled the last line on my wall:

            D. Pedro. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.
            Beat. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.
            https://www.bartleby.com/70/1621.html

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          • Oh oh! Can we make Anil Kapoor as Don Pedro and Harsh Kapoor as Don John? Harsh isn’t the strongest actor, but Don John is a weirdly easy role to play (I think) since he is just evil and resentful. And Anil would be a perfect Don Pedro, always wanting folks to be happy around him.

            Still doesn’t help with Beatrice though. Shoot! Parvathy from the south would be perfect, only I don’t think she is good enough with Hindi dialogue. But she has that intelligent spinster vibe. I do think Jim Sarbh might be a really interesting Benedict. Playing it so that even the audience isn’t 100% sure of his loyalties (does he really love Claudio or just tolerate his naivety? Does he care for Beatrice at all or just like the war of words?)

            On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 9:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And that makes me think of Irrfan, which makes me think of Tabu! What do you think about her?

            On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 10:23 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I did try to find Irrfan a role but I ultimately couldn’t decide where to put him. I kind of think he and Tabu might be in the aged out category, if we’re eliminating SRK and Juhi. Also not sure if Tabu is funny enough? You know I love her and she’s definitely strong enough, but I don’t think of her as merry or a jokester ;).

            What about Swara? She’s the same age as Jim Sarbh. Could you see them together, exchanging barbed repartee?

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          • Re: Anil, he would make a good Don Pedro. But then you have to cast a Don John who could be his half brother. You could change the relationship, but I think it works really well as a legitimate brother vs. illegitimate half-brother very close but with simmering resentment below the surface dynamic. Something about the brother thing, it gets savage when it goes wrong.

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          • I was thinking make Harsh the half-brother, but a lot a lot younger.

            On Fri, Jan 31, 2020 at 10:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • YES! And then the comic friend has a machine gun and is screaming and spraying bullets at bad guys! It’s just the greatest movie.

          And so sex/female agency positive! In both the past and the present, she goes for the guy with whom she has the immediate physical connection instead of the “nice guy”.

          On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 11:40 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Reading: Harlan Coben thrillers
    Listen to: audiobooks while doing house work
    Thinking: Has ShahRukh flown – under the radar – to be at the funeral of his cousin?
    Watching: No time to watch an entire movie (but bits & pieces with the kids)

    My list of non-Indian romantic movies I like/love would be into the hundreds…there are so, so ,so, so many from USA, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, … from the 40ies to 2006 (the year I discovered Hindi Cinema), I could watch over & over again without getting bored.
    I love all the Audrey Hepburn romances (with “Roman Holiday” leading the list), all Doris Day romances I’ve seen with maybe “Pillow Talk” at the top (Doris Day’s grandparents are German, too, btw….and Audrey was born in Belgium, the Flemish part), Katherine Hepburn’s romances (i.e. “Woman of the Year”), the ones of the Swedish Ingrid Bergman (“Cactus Flower” one of my favourites)…just to name some of my favourite actresses in romances of the world wars’ generation and internationally known.
    I could add – among many others – the Italian Claudia Cardinale or Sophia Loren, the French Catherine Deneuve or Brigitte Bardot, the German Romy Schneider…and gosh!, if I start with the men…

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    • Oh oh! Have you seen Indiscreet? It was one of my mother’s favorites so she had us (her daughters) watch it too. It’s delightful, Ingrid’s apartment is gorgeous, Cary Grant is Charming, and I want all the clothes.

      On Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 11:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yeah! multiple times…although without feeling the wish for the clothes 🙂
        I named “Cactus Flower” because of mature romance…there are soooo many of this genre I like (also the one/ones you discussed above).
        I love the romances of Taylor/Burton, too (Shakespeare also on the top).

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  9. I am a bit amped about a new series premiering on Bravo TV on March 8. It’s called Family Karma and deals with first generation Desi families living in Miami. Although the premise is intriguing, bear in mind that Bravo TV also brought you The Real Housewives of Atlanta and New Jersey. I’m hopeful but ready to get my cringe on.

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