Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching and Listening to First Week of Ramesh Sippy Fest?

Happy Wednesday! I am having a weird low energy week, work has suddenly slowed down and now I am bored. Plus, sex week is over, which is just depressing.

I’ll start!

Reading: My brain not think good. It’s really amazing how much the mind slows down when there’s nothing to do at work all day! Oh, and my sister sent me this link to an article in People with hilarious quotes from Deniro’s newest ex-girlfriend. It’s not Indian film related, or smart in anyway, but by golly it made me smile! https://people.com/movies/al-pacinos-ex-girlfriend-meital-dohan-says-they-split-due-to-difficult-36-year-age-gap/

Thinking: I bought a whole bunch of jigsaw puzzles so I wouldn’t give in to temptation and rearrange my furniture again, and then I rearranged my furniture again. But I think I am getting closer to the perfect arrangement!

Watching: In an effort to make my brain work, I signed up to go to a film get together thing and talk about Jacques Tati this weekend, so now I have to watch Tati movies. He’s fine, but I’d rather watch An Evening in Paris. Oh, and I have to watch a bunch of Ramesh Sippy movies because I made A Commitment.

Listening: The Love Aaj Kal 2 soundtrack! I may be the only person in the world who liked the movie, but surely everyone likes this soundtrack, right?

Now, question for you! I think sex week worked so great because it was a universal topic. So everyone felt they had something to say, and there were all kinds of angles to attack from, and there was some part of it in every movie. What other topic is similar?

I’m at a loss! Gender Issues week? Mother Stuff Week? Violence week? What other stuff is both universal and fun to talk about? Puppies?

64 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Thinking and Watching and Listening to First Week of Ramesh Sippy Fest?

    • Hmm. Maybe. I could do a post on, like, “hottest progressive male characters” and put Mohnish Bahl’s doctor in Vivah up against Shahrukh from Swades.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • “Who would you rather marry, were you to be a scandal ridden unmarriagable woman: Sunil Dutt in Sujata, Dharmendra in Bandini, Shammi in Andaz, Shahrukh in Deewana, John Abraham in Baabul?”

        On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:19 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh heck, I may not do the post, and if I do, I may change the list.

            But let me guess before you answer! Sunil Dutt in Sujata?

            Personally I am alllllllllllllllllllllllllllll about Dharmendra in Bandini and it ruins the movie for me, like I want to throw things, that Nutan turned him down for Ashok Kumar.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:25 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Nope not Sunil Dutt. I am actually with you. In terms of how wonderful they are in the movies, Sunil, Dharmendra, and Shammi all tie for the win. But I am shallow and Dharmendra is the prettiest of them all, so I would totally pick Dharmendra. And I also get really really unnaturally angry at the movie because of the end. Bandini squarely falls in the catagory of movies I will never ever watch a second time despite my love for Nutan.

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          • UGH! Bandini is sold as this great feminist woman’s film, and I watch it and think “What woman could enjoy watching a movie where Nutan picks million year old pauper Ashok over Peak Dharam Garam?????”

            And I’m not just being shallow! The film ends up privileging female sacrifice over female happiness, Dharmendra was young and hot and healthy and EMPLOYED. If it was really about Nutan’s journey, that is her happy ending. But instead Ashok gets the happy ending of having this woman serve him the rest of his days.

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 2:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. This week I have seen: malayalam epic movie, bengali political drama and telugu rom-com.

    Mamangam – don’t watch it people! Not even for shirtless Unni Mukundan. I saw some bad movies for him, and this was was absolutely the most boring. It’s 2 hours 33 minutes long and there were maybe 3 interesting minutes, I’m not kidding you. Even the actors look so uninterested, and Unni the most.

    Ghawre Bairey Aaj – Aparna Sen’s movie, a modern version of Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Ghare Bairey. Well, I admire the courage of doing a movie like this in today’s political climate. It’s about a woman, married to a liberal bengali editor (best man ever), who starts an affair with Hindu nationalist professor, member of BJP. At first she is infatuated with the things professor offers her, but later discovers the ugly face of the man and his ideas. I fell in love with editor’s character – a perfect man (or idea of a man) played by Anirban Bhattacharya. Unfortunately all the rest wasn’t good. Some things were too slow and long, some other rushed. I don’t reccomend if not for Anirban.

    Tholi Prema – I almost had a crush on Varun Tej! Almost. The central part of the movie is co cute, and he looks so so good. I was asking myself: why I hated him so much in Fidaa? He is fine here. But then the movie moved with the plot, Varun changed the hairstyle and the beard and the worst thing : started acting and it was the end of my little love story πŸ˜‰

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    • Thank you for saving me from Mamangam! It popped up on some service and I was debating trying to watch it, sounds like I can go ahead and ignore.

      I didn’t know Aparna Sen was still directing! That makes me happy.

      Is Tholi Prema another Telugu romance that decides suddenly it isn’t enough to just be a romance and they need to shove on more plot?

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:44 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • No, Tholi Prema is 100% cute romance; from beginning to the end. The central part, when the heroine and the hero start dating, is the best, but the rest is not bad either (except the fact that everytime the heroine remains alone goons apear, and there is also casteist joke I didn’t like).
        I’m sure you will like the movie.
        Oh how about the week of telugu rom-coms? We all love them. You can watch Chi La Sow, Tholi Prema, Sammohanam…

        Liked by 1 person

          • How about some kind of most unexplained goons comparison/contest? Still recovering from the end of Seeta And Geeta.

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          • I just rewatched that ending fight, and those goons were SO COMMITTED!!!! How much was he paying them? How do I get that kind of dedication in the people I supervise?

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          • They were so committed, and so cooperative! Patiently holding Dharmendra’s hands until he threw them, helpfully waiting their turn for Sanjeev to bop them on the head with his doctor bag…

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          • Goons Week discussion posts:
            – What Makes a Goon a Goon?
            – Shades of Goondom, from Comic to Scary
            – Goons as a Romance Plot Device
            – Goons Across Industries: A Semantic Analysis
            – Goon Economics: Cost of Goons vs. CGI
            – Goons in Foreign Settings
            – Contest of Goon-Conquering Heroes: Who Deserves Top Honors?
            – Goons and Gender: Can Women Be Goons?

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          • My biggest question: Goon Uniforms, Where Do They Come From?

            All these movies where the goons are in matching sweaters or shirts, is there a sign up sheet? Is there some goon clothing warehouse company? Who figures out sizes and stuff? Or do they just order an assortment and let everyone pick out their own?

            On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 7:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh yes, Telugu has a lot to contribute to Goon Week.

            How about Classic Moves of Goon Choreography? The flattened circle of goons, the bum rush, the mud puddle fall.

            Or Goon Career Paths: Can the Role of Goon Ever Lead to Stardom?

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          • Bob Christo! Most famous goon (maybe). 1970s muscle white guy who shows up in everything and almost never gets dialogue, just beats up the hero. And we all see his face and say BOB CHRISTO!!!! So he never really got a career or anything, but he certainly got famous.

            On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 8:33 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Telugu has a lot of movies where the Goon is the hero. In recent times, it’s polished – like Prabhas in Ek Niranjan or Mahesh in Pokiri (Wanted) .
            How about a movie title – Goon for the State – an intro song to show his status – check State Rowdy πŸ™‚

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  2. I am rewatching just about all of Ramesh Sippy movies (besides Sholay because many other people will likely comment on that one, and I am not sure what I can really add that isn’t already said about it, and Zamana Deewana because we just watched it a few weeks ago) so I can comment on your posts.

    I am reading the second Pineapple Port Mystery. I started and stopped it right away. I am a little afraid to continue because the last book I devoured in one day/night. I feel like when I start a novel I forget to do just about anything else.

    I am listening to a lot of Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, and Lata Mangeshwar mainly because songs from Ramesh Sippy’s films are stuck in my head and I am rolling with it.

    I am thinking I like Angie’s recommendation on movies with most regressive/progressive plot.

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    • Okay, you are challenging me! Today is Seeta Aur Geeta day, and I have to admit I didn’t rewatch it. I’ve seen it like 3 times, but not recently. So the review is going to be very broad strokes and very little specifics, and you get to have the fun job of correcting me if I get something wrong.

      And tonight, I watch Shaan! Or not. I’ll see how I feel.

      The Pineapple Ports are definitely a 2-3 hour read. I’ve only got 2 left, and I am holding on to them to make them last until my next trip.

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      • Shaan is probably my favorite Ramesh Sippy movie besides Andaz. Yes, I realize that I sound nuts given Sholay and Seeta Aur Geeta, and noone in their right mind will agree with me. But I just love Shaan and Andaz so much.

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  3. Hi from New Zealand! I am relaxing so hard. It’s all wine and food and dogs up in here. I finally saw Guru, on the plane from Taipei to Auckland and I really liked Aishwarya in it, but everyone is really good. I also had the best South Asian food I’ve had outside of South Asia and enthralled my dining mates with the exciting story of the rise of Katrina Kaif, as we were watching her dance at one of the past IIFA award shows.

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    • Oh that sounds so nice! Relax SO MUCH!!!

      I’m thrilled you finally saw Guru. I love that movie, for reasons that are not intellectual “ah, what an interesting translation of Citizen Kane” but more “this is SO ROMANTIC”.

      Oh oh! And watch Kaho Na Pyar Hai! And tell us if there really is a Club Indiana in New Zealand!

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 3:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Okay, my original post got eaten so here’s take 2: Dropping in to say hi, I love India, it’s beautiful, the people are friendly and the FOOD my god. Masala chai is life and dosas are the food of the gods. The funny thing is it all feels very comfortable and familiar because of my movie watching. I do have a bit of Delhi belly, boo, but YOLO no regrets about all the food I’ve eaten. Someone also tried to scam me but I channeled my Bronx Puerto Rican and handled it. But those are minor blips. Mostly it’s been f*****g amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • HIIIII!!!!! So happy you are having a good time!!!!! And so thrilled you stopped by to say “hi”! Can’t wait for you to get back and tell us all about it.

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      • Alisa – I just checked out your twitter and my mouth is now watering!!! Hope you are having the best time.

        Have you gone to a toddy shop in Kerela yet for food and drinks? Toddy is a mildly alcoholic fenmented beverage made from the sap of palm trees and the toddy shops have some really unique declicious spicy food that they serve with it. I am going to rely on the commentors familier with Kerela to guide you but when I went there a very long time ago, it was some of the best food I had ever eaten.

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  5. Watching: Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Often skipping over dialogue to get to the musical numbers, except for season 3. I’m trying to not skip any part of season three, it is amazing.

    Thinking: About mental health, due to its depiction in Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Thinking of all the mentally ill people I’ve cut out of my life. Feeling some guilt for it, but well, not a lot. Thinking of Kangana and how she seems to fit that borderline personality disorder diagnosis, and how like the main character in CEG she inspires strong loyalty and could be full of love.

    Reading: Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels. I’m only on the second one, but they might be the best books I’ve yet read on close (sister-like) female friendships.

    I can’t think of anything more fun than sex to talk about.

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    • Did I watch season 3? Yes, I think so. I think I finished that season and then stopped. Someday I will come back and finish….

      Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is such a fabulous depiction of mental health, especially since it is a non-medication disorder. It’s something she has to learn to live with and which is part of her and her personality, but also an illness. When I think Indian celebrities, Meena Kumari is the one that comes to mind for me. Everyone talks about how emotional and erratic she would be, but also so desperate for love and approval, and with these moments of crazy generosity, and crazy need that eventually drove people away.

      On Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 11:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Just read this:

    https://www.missmalini.com/2020/02/20/sara-ali-khan-to-play-a-double-role-as-she-romances-akshay-kumar-dhanush-in-attrangi-re/

    Akshay is romancing Sara Ali Khan?!?! Eww. I know this keeps happening because people keep watching these movies, but ugh, it annoys me. I was going to recommend posts on movies/songs where the age gap seems icky vs when it doesn’t seem that bad but then I realized I really really don’t want to watch the icky movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ick! Especially considering the friendship of her father with Akshay, meaning she definitely absolutely for sure knew him as a witty-bitty baby.

      But maybe it’s false! Maybe it is just based on one song being filmed or something and it will turn out that it is a father-daughter Akshay-Sara song.

      On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 8:19 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. From other annoying movie news: So I was right and Vijay Devarakonda will be doing a hindi pan-India movie. Karan is producing and guess who is a heroine? Anaya Pandey. Man, I just want to take this cast and put it in a trash bin.

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    • Ananya isn’t bad! She’s fresh onscreen, and very young, but Vijay is pretty young too. It’s a Puri Jagannadh movie, he’s very hit or miss. I absolutely adore his earlier stuff, it’s very clever in a kind of cartoony Tarantino way. But if he’s not interested in the script, or doesn’t have creative freedom, or I don’t know what, it just gets weird and bad.

      Assuming Karan give him the creative support he needs to make something really good, this could be fun. Think along the lines of a Rohit Shetty movie.

      On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 8:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I hate Rohit Shetty movies!

        And my problem with Anaya is the same problem I have with Alia – I hate when somebody/something is being forced on me. And with Anaya it’s even worse because I don’t like her as a person, while I do like Alia.

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        • I think I might like Ananya onscreen better than Alia. I’m ashamed. Not that she’s a better actress, but in her first few movies when she just has to stand there and look pretty, I find her less full of tics and tricks and just more pleasant to see.

          Anyway, makes Shraddha look good, doesn’t it? She may not be able to act, but by golly everyone likes her!

          On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • There was a time I hated Shradha but now I love her. She is beautiful, works hard, dances well and is a nice person. Also I don’t feel like she is casted in every upcoming movie, nobody buys her awards and most importantly I don’t hear her complaining how difficult her struggle is.

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          • I am coming around to the same feeling about Sonakshi. I like her movies, she works hard, and she keeps her head down.

            On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:29 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Okay, Angie and I might both have some questionable taste, but you might like Ananya onscreen better than Alia?!?! Really? It’s a good thing I know you don’t drink. I am going to chalk this up to Mercury being in retrograte making you temporarily lose your mind.

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          • Purely talking onscreen presence! Not acting ability or appearance or anything else! But if I compare the two SOTYs, Alia in her first movie felt awkward and uninteresting and I just wanted to stare at pretty pretty Sid M and ignore her. Ananya’s face I found interesting right away.

            It is BARELY possible that this is also because Alia was with Sid M and Ananya was with Tiger S. and so there is a comparison factor at play.

            On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 3:36 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh this makes me feel better. I don’t have any strong feelings for Ananya one way or another. She seemed “fine” in both the movies I have seen of hers. She didn’t jump of at me like Alia, Kriti, Taapsee, or Bhumi did but also doesn’t antagonize me.

        In another news, did you both see the trailer for Guilty on Netflix? It’s Karan/Dhametic new movie with Kiara Advani and Akansha Ranjan Kapoor (Alia’s Bff). I would be curious to hear your thoughts.

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        • Urgh, I don’t want to watch another Netflix movie! Especially if Kiara is being slanted that way instead of towards theatrical releases. Booo!

          Potential downside to a Puri-Vijay-Ananya movie, Puri does this fine dance of making movies that take everything to an extreme (our heroes are completely cheerfully amoral, shoot outs are ridiculous, plots switch around like you wouldn’t believe) but that includes his romantic storylines. When he is on his game, it is delightfully anarchistic, he takes the tropes and brings them to the end limits of what is possible. When he isn’t on his game, just like the rest of it ends up feeling too dark, the romance goes way too dark also. With Vijay’s tendency to go all dark and abusive and think it is romantic, combined with Puri’s desire to play with those kinds of tropes and turn them over, and Ananya being this baby faced heroine, it could be a big old mess.

          Or, delightful! Who knows!

          On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Watching: watched Bala and was so mad with the casting of Bhumi and the subsequent brownface. I would have loved the film if it featured a different actress who actually looked the part. So distracting, despite Bhumi’s strong performance. I liked that Yami’s character still didn’t come running back after his big speech and was still sympathetic. The film was about loving yourself and that was a simple nice message. Too bad about the glaringly hypocritical casting at the core of the film. Honestly, Bhumi should have known better and I do blame her as much as the makers of the film.

    Also watching Lucifer (on the fourth season now). So pretty and fun, but god that lead actress who plays the detective is absolutely horrible in the role.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still haven’t seen Bala, and you are not making me eager to seek it out.

      Ditto Lucifer! I can’t take terrible lead actors. Terrible supporting actors, sure.

      On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 9:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. It’s 20 years of Hey Ram & I rewatched it. I feel like I am officially a grown up cos I can finally understand what Kamal Hassan was trying to say years back. Such a relevant movie for current India. SRK,Rani,Atul Kulkarni were all cast so perfectly. SRK played a Pathan,Rani-a Bengali,Atul- a Marathi,Hema Malini- a Tamilian. So there’s something honest they all bring in. Plus they have all dubbed their Tamil dialogues so well. Don’t think such a movie can be made again- it’s ambition & theme would not be possible today. Have you ever reviewed it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really don’t like Hey Ram because I feel it is too forgiving towards Kamal’s character, and far too slanted towards excusing and explaining RSS beliefs rather than condemning them. I don’t want to review it because I know people will disagree with that opinion, and because it will lead to an angry tone on this Happy Place blog.

      So, no Hey Ram! EVER. I just pretend it doesn’t exist and then we can all be happy.

      On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 10:47 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Agreed,it has too much politics to be reviewed without few angry comments. But I feel like it’s an important film cos it tries to look at why the RSS ideology gains prominence among Hindus.I felt it was more like a cautionary tale and now that history is repeating, it can warn the centrists of what happens when Hindutva becomes all consuming. Demonising & cancelling isn’t going to be helpful,but introspection & learning from mistakes does.

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      • I just want to pipe in that I am really interested in reading different opinions about Hey Ram. The movie exists, SRK is in it, and I don’t feel my non-Indian/American brain is capable of fully understanding it.

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        • Well, you won’t find them here! Be careful if you discuss it elsewhere, confirm anything you are told by consulting outside sources, and use your judgement.

          But really, Hey Ram is a film that I absolutely will not allow to be discussed on this blog.

          On Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. So I am back in Bollywood marathon mode! Watched three relatively new Hindi films this weekend…

    Good Newwz – I thought it had genuinely funny moments and a lot of heart. Kareena Kapoor was wonderful and beautiful, the highlight of the film for me…though I wanted to slap her costume designer for one particularly jarring look. Kiara and Diljit were cute. Akshay was more palatable than he has been lately. I have yet to see him in a role that I completely believed him in. He’s always so obviously acting, the crying scene when the daughter is born premature was just so OTT, I have never seen him successfully pull off any emotional depth. The closest he came was in Gold and that’s probably my favorite performance of his. The premise and it’s happily ever after were totally unbelievable, but a nice bit of heartwarming fun.

    Panipat – After Mohenjo Daro, anything would be better, but I kind of didn’t hate this film. It should have been an hour shorter and it would have fared so much better. It was just interesting to have this “follow up” to both Jodhaa Akhbar and Bajirao Mastani. Arjun Kapoor had some decent moments in it (though it still doesn’t give me hope for his future acting career). Kriti Sanon was charming but I agree with the critique that she seemed too modern at times. I wanted less about the changing alliances and more between Arjun and the young prince and the other general guy. There are moments of directing brilliance in the set pieces, the battle sequences, and the dialogue, but for me Gowarikar is actually a pretty boring throwback kind of director…I’m not a fan of Swades and Lagaan. What’s Your Rashee? is one of the worst Hindi films I’ve ever seen. The most overrated director ever. Any producer working with him next should mandate that his film be under 2 hours and force him to control himself. Jodhaa Akhbar is only really dear to me because it was my first Bollywood film, I guess.

    The Sky Is Pink – My favorite of the three if I had to rank them. Always surprising to me when I love a Priyanka Chopra performance so much (since I hate her off-screen personality, all of her Hollywood work, and her desperate attempts at A-list celebrity. But she was so good in this and it reminds me of how she can be a such a force on screen. The one critique was that she still looked so glamorous throughout the film, but I think this seemed to fit the actual real-life mom. Farhan was solid and had some of the most nuanced and emotional scenes in the film. The scene where he lets Priyanka know just through a look that Aisha has chosen not to get the lung transplant and that he won’t fight it is heart-wrenching. I’m not as big a fan of Zaira Wassim as most (also hated the voice over), so I’m glad that the story of the couple and them as a family really was the core of this film.

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    • Well, this is terrible, I didn’t want to like The Sky is Pink! I was all set to write it off and never think about it again. Ditto Good Newwz. Thank goodness you confirm that Panipat is a slog and needless, so at least I can keep ignoring that one.

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 8:30 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  11. I would recommend seeing both The Sky is Pink and Good Newwz, for sure. For Priyanka and Kareena’s performances alone. It’s actually just cool to see them both doing the age appropriate mother roles but doing justice to them without seeming regressive. They are both Bollywood queens for a reason and I have new appreciation for them both after these two films.

    Panipat is definitely watchable you just have to be in the right mood and I watched it in two parts.

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    • I saw Good Newwz, hated it. Loved Kareena, but felt she wasn’t given enough to do and her character was under-served in general.

      I imagine PC’s character in The Sky is Pink is better, but she irritates me so much, I don’t know if I can get past that.

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 10:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Sorry you didn’t like Good Newwz! It is a silly film in the end, but Kareena rose above it, I thought. You’re right that she doesn’t get enough to do, but she nails the opening sequence where she is trying to get pregnant, the bonding with Kiara, and the one mini-speech she gets about women and pregnancy.

        The Sky Is Pink is definitely worth watching if you need a good cry. I immediately believed Priyanka in the role and I also had to overcome my dislike of her, too:)

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