Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me 4th of July Week?

Happy week before 4th of July!!!!! I may or may not have all day Friday off. My work schedule is unclear. Anyway, I’ll definitely have a half day and can do a watchalong, which is what matters.

Here is where you get to bring up anything you want to ask me about! News story you are curious about, movie you just watched, wondering why I don’t do TGIF any more, anything at all! Just keep swinging back to this post all week as you think of new questions.

Now, question for you! In honor of if being 4th of July week, what is your favorite American set Indian film?

I should say Dhoom 3, because it made Chicago look breathtaking, but I think I’m gonna stick with Kal Ho Na Ho. It captured this particular moment in time of the American desi community, when the balance between assimilation and heritage was perfect, when you could be friends across class and language barriers with your fellow desis, when America was your home and there was no need to convince yourself India was better.

26 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me 4th of July Week?

  1. This is an odd thing to answer as a European, but thanks to you I feel like my favourite American set film is Loins of Punjab and adding Dostana to that too since it’s one that I enjoy a lot.

    Would you ever watch a Hindi movie that doesn’t have subtitles even if the movie was good and one could basically read the Wikipedia plot before? Asking for Laila Majnu…the movie I somehow can enjoy even without knowing all that is said.

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    • Yaaaaaay, a Loins of Punjab fan!!!! My life is complete.

      I have watched Hindi movies without subtitles, and it is okay, but very frustrating. I can grasp the overall plot and so on, but I lose the subtleties. The problem is, if I really want to watch a movie, then I want to get everything out of it which means subtitles. And if I don’t particularly want to watch a movie, than I would be fine watching it without subtitles, but why not try to track down a different movie with subs instead?

      On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 8:42 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yeah, I understand. Let’s hope the contract with Zee5 expires at some point so it can go to places like Netflix or Prime to get the proper platform it desrves with the attention it has gotten after Bulbbul.

        Also, surprisingly I just found out that Finnish Netflix has added a bunch of Indian films, not all that I can go search for everywhere and I suspect you in the USA have, but most – the bad thing is Delhi 6 has been cut from 2h21m to 2h8m, not a horrible to cut (I suspect most are the songs), but still *bad* in a sense of losing the original film, that was already quite a beezy watch, to this quarter cut of the main story without the gorgeous soundtrack.

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        • Oh I am FURIOUS if they cut Delhi 6 songs!!!! It’s one of Rahman’s best soundtracks, and the songs really are the heart of the movie. They don’t necessarily add to the “plot”, but you can’t understand the internal journey of the hero unless you have the songs.

          On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 10:28 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s so mysterious to me that they would do that. The other older films make sense because they clearly bought the rights and print from a company that had a worn out edited print. But Delhi 6? Surely there’s an original digital perfect version available to them?

            On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 11:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I love it too! I read his blog every once in a while. He has such good observations on the symbolism and themes of the movies he reviews, even though he might not like the movie or it doesn’t speak to him (like Love Aaj Kal 2, which is understandable) he still tries to see the good in them and notices things others might miss in the sets or some mythological parallel that is drawn (like in his SLB movies analysis’).

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  2. My favorite US set Bollywood film is A Gentleman. It really nailed the absurdities of the NRI experience and also skewered American culture. It was brilliant!

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  3. I have to second KHNH and A Gentleman, but I am also adding My Name is Khan, despite how sad it is. Gut-wrenching, but in a necessary way, even for American viewers, maybe even especially for American viewers. I know it’s not talked about on the blog for obvious reasons, but I love that movie.

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    • I think we all love that movie, but, you know, HAPPY PLACE. So we aren’t allowed to talk about it. Also Dil Se, Bombay, Shahid, lots of good stuff out there that it is simply not okay to talk about on DCIB.

      However, A Gentleman YES!!!!

      On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 1:12 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Padamati Sandhya Ragam in Telugu is my favorite Indian movie set in the USA. Jandhyala who is popular for his comedies made this movie. Have you watched any Jandhyala made?
    I watched Krishna and His Leela yesterday. None of the women in the movie need the hero to save them – that is the best part. The emotional parts did not stick with me – I feel this is a shortcoming.

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  5. Any reaction to the HotStar movie release announcement?

    And I second Padamati Sandhya Ragam for best US based film, though I know it is hard/impossible to find with subtitles. Maybe a quest you can work on? 🙂

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    • Two reactions to Hotstar announcement, first “yaaay, Sadak 2!” I didn’t even know they had finished that movie, and I’ve been excited about it since it released.

      And the second is that it adds a layer of exclusion to the international audience. I regularly recommend movies to people, or now do a group viewing, because they are on Prime or Netflix. You don’t have to be interested in Indian film to check those out, they are available to anyone. But now with the Hotstar releases, I have to ask people to set up an expensive account with a service exclusively for Indian films just to watch them.

      On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 10:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Some other reactions I’ve seen, which, to my surprise, didn’t even seem to occur to you: 1. Many people felt that the OTT platform would give a chance for lesser known actors and films to be seen. Now it seems to be again being taken over by the same “stars” that dominate theatrical releases, crowding out the smaller films. Unfair! — My reaction: I heard this same argument when multiplex theaters started. That was an unrealistic scenario just based on the economics. Similarly, here also the streaming service needs to have big attractions to draw their customers in. Maybe, once they’ve subscribed, they can stumble onto the smaller films and give them a chance. At least on streaming, both kinds of films can coexist, unlike the situation in theaters. 2. Only five films starring “nepo kids” were promoted by Disney, and two other films starring “outsiders” (Vidyut Jamwal and Randeep Hooda) were completely ignored, showing the deadly hand of nepotism. Again unfair. — My reaction: It’s not clear to me that these two other films are also being released on HotStar. If they are, this is a legitimate complaint. If they’re releasing on other platforms, why would Disney publicize them?

        As for your point about not reaching the international audience, frankly I am very baffled by this. The reason Indian films went to simultaneous global release in theaters was mainly to combat the video piracy problem. This approach didn’t completely eliminate that, but at least it reduced some of the motivation. Now, if a film is released in India but not available outside, wouldn’t that just give additional motivation for the pirates to creat the bootleg versions, and for customers to buy them. It seems like the film proudcers have shot themselves in the foot with this approach. I don’t know if they have something up their sleeve to address the potential piracy problem, but otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.

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        • Vidyut Jamwal’s film Khuda Haafiz has an exclusive contract with Disney-Hotstar for its release. Not sure about Randeep Hooda’s film.

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        • Those first two arguments never even occurred to me because they are so transparently flawed, as you describe.

          For the third argument, I am assuming that Hotstar, the international streaming company, will make the films available simultaneously internationally. What I find interesting there is that when Netflix or Prime picks up a film, there is at least a chance it will be noticed by people who don’t usually watch Indian film, since they are services that cross outside of the Indian and diaspora markets. But Hotstar would only have subscribers internationally who are already committed to Indian content. The pirating shouldn’t be more of a concern though, Hotstar has the biggest market share in India so I assume a streaming release there might be even less appealing to pirates than a Prime or Netflix release.

          On Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 1:56 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Or attempt to watch the movie without subtitles much like Sandhya’s and Chris’ conversations in the initial parts.

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    • This is what I was thinking about back when theatrical releases started hitting OTT!!!! The Streaming Services (and Hotstar in it’s satellite incarnation) are used to picking up proven products. The theatrical campaign is what drives what they do. But if it is all their campaign, can they handle that promotion on their own?

      I don’t think they can, I don’t think they have made the leap yet of instead of following the interest already there, they have to create the interest. They focused on the big name films that already had a half-started publicity campaign and just followed with that, instead of starting something new for their other lessor known at the moment products.

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