Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to Varun’s Birthday Week?

Happy Wednesday! I am debating if I want to go over to my apartment again this weekend and, if so, do I want to do Thursday night and Friday night, or Friday night and Saturday night, or what. Such excitement!

I’ll start!

Reading: Alcott plot summaries mostly, I apparently no longer have the brain power I had as a child when I read the actual books, now I am just trying to remember who all married who.

Watching: Let’s see, my Dad picked Rocketman, the Elton John biopic with the interesting song numbers. The songs were great, just the rest of the story didn’t quite gel the way I wanted. And I picked Despicable Me (as already mentioned). Oh, and we watched Hail Ceasar! Which is AMAZING and you all should see it. That’s it for full length movies, otherwise there has just been A Lot of Queer Eye. It’s really the perfect show to watch with your parents. Touching, loving, happy, something for everyone!

Thinking: My nephew is getting 3 teeth simultaneously! So no matter how hard your life is, his is worse. And then his poor sleep deprived parents. And then me, because my little dog sometimes wants breakfast before 9am. Exactly the same thing as having a teething baby.

Listening: Varun week! He has a lot of dance songs, and not a lot of songs I like calmly listening to. But this one is really pretty:

Now, question for you! Random thought because I just remembered how terrible Kalank was, what era do you want to see a period Indian drama set in?

I want 1960s myself! Great hair and eye make-up, and those awesome Salwar-tights outfits, and some really fun music styles. Why can’t we have a fun period rom-com about, like, the first woman in the Indian diplomatic core working with a fast talking caterer to plan a reception for the Russian-Indian friendship league?

41 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to Varun’s Birthday Week?

  1. So I was going to say 20s or 30s, since those periods are really interesting, but I love the 60s idea! Sonam could run around in saris with serious eyeliner and a bouffant like Sharmila, and Ranveer could have sideburns and a mustache and bell bottoms. And I’m seeing Boman Irani in those little ankle boots for men and a leisure suit, as the rival caterer.

    I have been spending all my time on online lessons, so I’ve watched about 30 minutes of Dostana, the 1980 one, now on Netflix Japan. Shatrughan and Amitabh are best friends but it looks like that won’t last long. And it’s hard to believe Amitabh has a whole long speech and a SONG about how Zeenat can’t complain about being catcalled if she’s wearing a skimpy outfit. (On the beach!) I guess we could look at the speech he made in Pink and think how far we’ve come.

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    • I need to watch Dostana! That might be a possibility for my “weird old film on Netflix” Friday night routine.

      20s or 30s could be good to, I would love a behind the scenes at Bombay Talkies kind of film, wouldn’t you? Middle class girl who dreams of being an actress and lies about her name and age to get a role, nice young cameraman who helps her, but will she remember him after she has achieved fame and fortune?

      On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 7:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Reading: Finnish History books from High School for entrance exams which I have no idea of how they are going to manage to do in all this unless they just accept by diplomas this year or move them to autumn. It’s all a bit confusing.

    Watching: Watched the Malayalam movie ‘Helen’ and it was great! And now that we have Prime on our TV I plan to show my parents ‘Notebook’ tonight since I know they will love it the same way they loved ‘Kannathil Muttamitthal’ (butchered the name most likely there) and after it, I can show them more and more Indian films! 😀

    Thinking: See above for reading.

    And 60s sounds so good! There were some photos of Sonam in 60s sari and she looked so good. Last time a fully 60s movie was I think ‘Parineeta’ another reason I love it and they did well on the music in it to make it feel like the 60s India as well.

    I would also love to see more Mughal Era movies concentrated on the Mughal court and all that. That is why I cannot wait for ‘Takht’ whenever it comes. There is only so much one can have of the Maratha Empire and the Mughal’s just seem more interesting to me in terms of what can be done cinematically and character-wise for the women. Also – you know – positive historical Muslim representation would be refreshing for once.

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    • Everyone says Helen is great! And yet it just seems so stressful I can’t make myself watch it.

      My parents also loved Notebook, it’s such a great parents movie. Cute kids, nice story, pretty scenery, nothing not to love.

      Parineeta was so good! And it captured the cool modern feel, along with the pockets that stayed traditional. I think for “my” 60s movie, I want to stay more in the modern and less in the traditional. Kicky western style dresses and suits, rock and roll, and minimal family drama.

      More Mughal movies is a good one. And there’s so much historical material there, the stories are already written (and the costumes, and the jewelry, and the sets), you don’t have to make-up anything.

      On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 8:08 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to see a movie set in the late 1700s when the British just started out in India..mostly I want to see the book ‘White Mughals’ on-screen…its the time when the British were intermingling with Indians and cross-marriages were common…the book is a story of a doomed love affair between a British East-India company official and a Hyderabadi noblewoman…so we can have Hugh Grant romancing Shobhita Dhulapia…with Shabana Azmi, Saif Ali Khan, Madhuri, Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Eddy Redmayne playing various royalty/British officials as they build up the political tensions and add drama to the love story. Ohh and of course there will be gorgeous costumes, jewelry, and sets…hmmm…maybe Vidhu Chopra can direct the movie but Bhansali can be the creative director for the aesthetic stuff?

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    • But, isn’t Hugh Grant old and gross now? How old is the hero supposed to be, because Sobhita is gorgeous.

      Can we cast Taylor Swift’s boyfriend? He’s cute and young and British, and also a good actor with a decent filmography. I just want Taylor to come to India and become best friends with Sonam Kapoor.

      On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 8:18 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • And then Sonam will meet Taylor and they can all go out for drinks with Swara, and invite Zoya and Reema to join if they want, and then all of them will call up Alia and make her break up with Ranbir.

          On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 1:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Last night we watched the episode of Poirot where his doctor says he is rundown so Hastings takes him on a vacation by the sea. And then one by one Japp and Miss Lemon join them and all fuss at Poirot and it’s got this whole warm polyamory vibe, including little break off groups like Hastings and Japp hanging out together and talking about how sometimes Poirot can be a bit much.

      Also, you should watch Student of the Year.

      On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 8:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh, yeah, I should! Thanks for reminding me. That’s the kind of mindless fluff I want right now.

        Haha, I was just watching one the other day where Poirot overhears Japp saying how much he admires him and he has a lot of feelings and it made me ship it. Miss Lemon is more BFF material so far, but the polycule shipping sounds great.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Also on Prime! I have already alerted interested parties I know in real life.

          But don’t watch it with me! I am a total sour puss and will put a damper on all your joy.

          On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 10:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I watched it with my sister yesterday, and we loved it. As Margaret has said before, it is VERY inaccurate, but I still loved it. I genuinely liked the romance and actually laughed out loud multiple times, which I rarely do while watching Indian movies.

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  4. Reading: Your blog, and that is almost it. I read to the kids every night and the kid’s book we’re reading Allies, a youth book about WWll, is actually AMAZING. I’m not a war buff, but my middle son is, so while I wasn’t looking forward to the book I am now reading many more chapters than usual out loud every night because I want to know what happens…

    Watching: I’ve gotten through episode 8 of Heer, and I’m really tired of conversations. I think I need to give it a break for a day or two. I started watching the Telugu movie Maska because I wanted to see if Sheela was as good in other movies as she was in Parugu. I only got 20 minutes in because I started to feel like I’d seen this happy-go-lucky poor scamp of a hero before (even though I hadn’t) – I’m suspecting that Telugu movies have a lot of happy-go-lucky heroes. I like happy go lucky, and yet. I’m torn between enjoying the old familiar or seeing something totally new.

    Thinking: I probably like watching good dancing so much because I myself am so bad at it.

    Listening: I get to hear my husband play a lot of guitar lately, that is kinda nice.

    As far as period dramas go – I’m more interested in different versions of the future than the past today.

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    • Oh you make me feel better for not reading good stuff either!

      Heer has a lot of stuff start to happen in 9-10-11-12, but it’s still mostly conversations. Conversations are cheap!

      Have you watched my favorite Telugu movie yet, Bujjigadu? The hero is a scamp, but like a really violent one, which is different. And I just love the film, it’s ridiculous and over the top and amoral and glorious.

      My feeling with dancing is very much a “were I to have studied and practiced dancing, I would be good at it”. Which is a very comfortable delusion, so I watch all these dance movies and think “yeah, I could totally do that, if I wanted to do that”.

      Don’t watch Love Story 2050!!!!! It’s India’s big future sci-fi film and it is terrible terrible terrible. And flopped.

      On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 9:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I watched a movie from one of my favorite sub-genres – Telugu B- grade film. It’s called Mismatch and it’s about a wrestler girl who falls in love with a genius guy from a very well educated family. The movie objectively speaking was no good, and I can’t recommend it, but it was fun to watch and I enjoyed it a lot. The movie has many flaws: the way some scenes are filmed is annoying, the hero doesn’t have this something (and he wears a black satin shirt), the plot is a little silly sometimes. But it has what I like the most: a family that treats their daughter as a person, and not a property. So when she falls in love out of the blue they are surprised but not against it. And when she is rejected they say: how dare they look down upon a girl? Her father always treats her with love and trained her when he saw that she has a wrestling talent although she is a girl.
    Also, the other family clearly says they don’t want any dowry. I prefer this kind of flawed films then technically perfect but regressive big-budget movies.

    The other movie I saw was a Marathi film Girlfriend, and it was so cute! Perfect rom-com about two imperfect people. There is even a last-minute airport run! How cool is that? The heroine wears beautiful clothes and speaks Spanish! A perfect film for me 🙂 Recommended

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  6. Reading: Academic related stuff.

    Watching: Rewatching Amrutham (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amrutham_(Telugu_serial)). It is a Telugu sitcom that aired 2001 onward for couple of years. It has a fun premise, the characters relatable, and their take on everyday things is hilarious. A sequel is playing on Zee5 with some of the original cast.

    Thinking: Why are people crowding in the nearby custard shop? I was planning on going there but seeing people all standing without any distancing, I am staying away.

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    • That looks like a fun show and I’m interested to see that it is mostly a middle-aged cast! I am so used to the American style sitcom that always has to be young-young-young. Or else specifically about people being old (Golden Girls).

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      • Yes, the show revolves around two middle aged couples. The wives are more grounded whereas the husbands come up with crazy ideas.

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  7. I would like to see a movie about 90′ or 80′. I still remember Meri Pyari Bindu promotions, I was so excited it’s about 90′ but later it was such a disappointment.
    Dum Laga Ke Haisha was great with the song stylized like in 90. I want another movie like that.

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    • Oh oh! Ajay Devgan is working on a Raid sequel! So you will get your wish, but it will be a tight thriller about tax raids with no big song numbers. Sigh.

      What about two best friends, she is studying computers and dreams of getting a job outside of the little neighborhood where they grew up, he is happy running his Dad’s store. Hijinks and stuff, sneaking into exclusive hotels and only ordering a coke to split, playing tricks on their parents, you know the kind of thing. He gets a crush on a cool new rich girl, she helps him win her over, but somehow in the middle of it she starts to feel weird about it and doesn’t understand why. And he goes on the date with the rich girl and just talks about his friend and she ends up helping him realize he is in love (she knows about love because she already has a secret boyfriend who works overseas). Post date, after some more minor misunderstandings, they finally confess their love to each other. Everything is happy until the rich girl’s boyfriend comes to visit and offers the heroine her dream job. She turns it down because she is in love now and instead will be married and keep house and help run the store. But the boyfriend finds out and breaks up with her, says they were friends first, and as her friend, he is telling her to forget her boyfriend and go off and pursue her dreams. They have an emotional farewell, he is the one who takes her to the airport (just like they planned back at the beginning when she was dreaming about her future), and say good-bye and promise they will always be best friends.

      And then the epilogue is either a) present day, after she goes to a wedding back in India for her niece, she visits the old neighborhood and finds him still running his father’s shop. Neither of them ever married, both were instead head of the household for their relatives (he helped his little sister who used to run around teasing them all the time raise her kids and is going to leave the shop to his nephew, she adored and spoiled her big brother’s children and just handed over the very successful business she founded to her niece). They go out for a coke like old times and laugh over old stories and promise to stay in touch and then, as she is walking away, he suddenly runs out of the shop and chases her down and confesses his love, just as he did when they were kids. And they decide that now, as they start the next chapter of their lives, they are going to find a way to be together, maybe go on all those adventures they dreamed of as children. And then we have an arty cut from two little kids drawing pictures of things they want to do, to two nice older people holding hands and actually doing all those things.

      Alternative epilogue, just ten years later, but same kind of thing. She is back in India for a wedding and to open an Indian branch of her company, visits the old neighborhood, sees him in the shop, after some awkwardness they learn neither of them married (that small child she saw him with was his nephew not his son). They go out for a nostalgic coke and say good-bye. And this time she is the one who surprises him by chasing him down. She has conquered the world, she has her own business, she is free now. And maybe what she wants to do is move the headquarters to Bombay and move in with him in the tiny apartment over the shop. Who cares what people will think about this CEO living in this middle-class neighborhood, married to this middle-class man? They are happy!

      On Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 8:08 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Angie – have you seen Dor? It came out in 2006, but it is set in rural India and feels like it is set in the 80s or 90s. It is wonderfully feminist, explores friendship between two women, and is really heartwarning. There is no real hero, but Shreyas Talpade has the most hero like role and given that I do not find him attractive, you might. 🙂 We have already established we have opposite taste in finding men attractive. Fair warning, no real romance, but the friendship between the women is so so beautiful.

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        • And then we can end with early 2000s, my favorite era! He can have Dil Chahta Hai hair, and she can have lost the perm and replaced with a straight sassy shoulder length cut. And she can be like 33 and a young success, and he can be 33 and settled in running the store and gossiping with his friends at night. And they are still young enough to raise a kid if they want to.

          On Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 10:44 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Don’t hate me, but I haven’t gotten around to seeing Baahubali in all this time, but I started listening to the soundtrack this week and now I’m tempted to watch both.

    Last week I helped my school put together a lip dub video to Footloose for the kids and I couldn’t stop thinking about how awesome it turned out. Yesterday, I got an email from my principal that the sophomores loved it so much they made their own, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s so sweet.

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    • I hate you!!!! No, I don’t, I forgive you. The Bahubalis are awesome, but also addictive, so you need to set aside the full 6 hours to back to back them. Our hero might be slightly too old for your taste, definitely more “muscle mustache grown man” than “boyish college kid Varun-like”. But the story is Epic and the special effects are great, and they are very easy to fall into. And yes, the songs are definitely good.

      Awww, that’s so cute that the kids liked it! Share if you want, we are all sharing videos here nowadays!

      On Thu, Apr 23, 2020 at 11:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Late to respond to this, and for some reason I’m paranoid about sharing videos of my kids on the public Internet, especially since most of them are Indian, attaching it to this blog would be odd. But if you look up “JPS Footloose” on YouTube, you’ll see both videos. The one with that exact title is the staff one (which I’m in) and the one with “Sophomores” attached at the end is obviously the kiddos. A lot of my own students from previous years are in it.

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          • Just watched them both, oh my goodness they are so good! I love the teachers, giving us dorky/cool teacher realness (dorky/cool is the best kind of teacher). But your kids are so CUTE!!!! How do you teach them and not just pinch their cheeks all the time?

            On Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 8:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Because sometimes they can be obnoxious, annoying, sarcastic, needy, moody, dramatic teenagers. As most can be.

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          • This is the same thing I have heard from teachers of basically every age group, come to think of it. Kindergarten through High School, adorable to outsiders, just normal people to their teachers.

            Dragging it back to Indian film, this is kind of how I assume it is for people who have to work with movie stars. At a certain point, you don’t notice them being shockingly beautiful and attractive, just see them as people.

            On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 2:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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