Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to on Sanjay Dutt’s Birthday?

Happy Wednesday! I go back to work today! Well “go”, obviously I am still working from home, but I am going to try to be partially vertical and clear headed and conscious for the majority of the day. Goals!

I’ll start!

Reading: Mostly comic books, but also celebrity gossip just to change things up a bit. Did you know Dennis Quid married a woman 39 years younger than him who is getting a PhD in accounting? Did you know they had PhD’s in accounting?

Watching: I finished Andi Mack, so sad. And then I watched This Way Up which is a good enough BBC female focused sitcom. With my parents we have been doing a lot of Midsomer Murders, my goodness people die a lot in England. And Queer Eye of course, for Happiness. Oh, and I had them watch that Eurovision movie on Netflix and my Mom thought there were too many penis jokes. Tonight I am having another remote movie night and am considering Paheli.

Thinking: Well, I’m done with being sick, the excitement has passed, I am ready for it to be over. And yet, it is not! This is no fair! Oh, and also my parents got a shower stool and I was able to wash my hair and it was The Best Thing in The World.

Listening: Don’t judge me but….Taylor Swift. I feel so faithless to my Indian film music! I’m not supposed to be listening to American pop! But it’s the same because she, like, deals with emotions and stories? Some argument like that, whatever, it’s Taylor Swift!

Now, question for you! If you could pick one story-song (yes, it can be Taylor Swift) to be made into an Indian movie, which would it be?

Gonna go old school and out on a bit of a limb and say “Taxi” by Harry Chapin. Kind of a sad song, but I’d make it happier for my movie. Woman gets into a taxi and she and the driver recognize each other as their first love. He was gonna be an airline pilot, she was gonna be an actress, they broke up to follow their dreams. Now he’s driving a taxi and she’s a housewife, but he’s a “pilot” driving his taxi and she’s an “actress” pretending to be happy. Like I said, sad! But in my movie version, that would just be the pre-interval, complete with flashback to falling in love when they were young and stuff. And then post-interval, she would track him down and ask him to drive her somewhere again, he would become her regular driver, they would admit they were still in love and start an affair, she would leave her husband, and in the end we would have a little lesson about “not achieving your dreams is okay if you still feel loved and happy with the person you are with.”

58 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to on Sanjay Dutt’s Birthday?

  1. I watched a bunch of Douglas Sirk movies and then faceplanted into stupid British detectives again. I also started watching Style but something about it annoyed me, I don’t know what. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.

    lol the only real story songs I can think of right now are Big Bad Bruce and Harper Valley PTA, which would absolutely make great movies.

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    • Magnificent Obsession is a Sirkian family favorite. Best bit (which I think is consistent in the Sirk-verse) is that as soon as you are a doctor, you get gray at the temples. Like when they hand you the diploma, poof! Grey appears!

      Yes Harper Valley PTA!!!! With Sushmita Sen as the heroine. Or Swara Bhaskar? I’m torn. Anyway, it can be a slow build as she enrolls her daughter in school, makes friends, puts up with icky guys and judgey women, maybe starts a little romance with extra-marital sex, and then culminates in the PTA scene.

      On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 9:11 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That’s extremely true about the grey temples. I just watched Interlude, and that had that too. My favourite is All That Heaven Allows, though I also really love To New Shores.

        Harper Valley PTA would be perfect for Sushmita, I can’t believe nobody has done this yet.

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        • For Sush in Harper Valley, can we have a flashback to how Sush met her now-dead husband? I’m thinking, she was a Naach girl at a high priced club, he was a wealthy older businessman, they sincerely fell in love with each other, he proposed and she refused because she didn’t want to ruin his reputation and offered to just be his mistress instead, then he had a heart attack and was told he could die any time and she decided reputation didn’t matter when they were in love. They got married and had years of happiness together, then he died (but made her swear to stay happy and keep living and wearing mini-skirts afterwards), and she enrolled the daughter in his old school because it was his fondest wish. His whole family ignores her and her daughter (although his will set up an unbreakable trust with shares in the family business so they would always be taken care of). Some of the Evil PTA ladies are her in-laws, wives of his snooty cousins. And the daughter is bullied by her fellow students/relatives who look down on her. The happy ending can include Sush and the daughter finally being welcomed by the family as they realize they all loved the Dead Husband and miss him, and the daughter deserves to have a connection to her family. Obviously the Mean Girl in high school and the Mean Girl on the PTA are both unhappy because they hate themselves and so on, and Sush helps them self-actualize so they stop being mean. Oh OH!!!! The PTA Mean Girl is Dead Husband’s cousin or sister or something, but she married and let her husband take her place on the company board and is all proper and quiet. Sush encourages her to take her rightful place, she ends up divorcing her jerk husband and announcing herself as the new head of the family, and chair of the board, with Sush’s shares to support her.

          Dead husband, Sanjay? Or Salman? Or Amitabh? Evil Antagonist Perfect Wife, Aish? Or Juhi? Or Madhuri? Current boyfriend who is maybe also the lawyer that helps Sush hold on to her trust and teaches the Perfect Wife how to take control of the board, Arjun R?

          On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 9:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I don’t know, for the set up I was thinking more of an undermining of Sharmilee, where she is the Kamini, and the Kanchan turns out to be the Mean Girl (who is then reformed in line with your mean girl cousin), and nobody wanted him to marry the Kamini but he DID. Then the rest of it follows your storyline, and I think for dead husband, Salman actually is a pretty good choice? You need someone unconventional. Although I, of course, will also take Govinda in that role.

            I think Mean Girl really HAS to be Aish, right? The only way.

            I want to give her a younger boyfriend but not much younger, because she is young at heart. Maybe a Southern actor because then he can also not be accepted in the town? And he is a lawyer who helps her and also does human rights stuff for his people in the region or something like that.

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          • That works if the Kanchan was his intended bride partly because her family owned a lot of corporate shares. So the ending is the same, she married someone else who took control of her shares, but after the divorce she and Sush join up and take over the company. But I want Sush to be more than just “rich bad girl”, because that’s boring. But we could keep her lower class and sexy and also make the love triangle a bit juicier. Maybe Salman was actually engaged to Aish, but had been dating and in love with Sush-the-naach-girl for years. That’s why he was so old and unmarried, he was with Sush for like a decade trying to avoid marriage so they could keep dating. Sush made it clear that she was never going to marry him, it wasn’t right, she wasn’t good enough, but she would keep living with him until the ring was on his finger, and then would say good-bye forever. Ooo! We could even have it that she refused to take his money, she lived with him but kept working and even paid him a token amount in rent because she is just that noble. While his family constantly insults her and assumes she is a golddigger, and she doesn’t contradict them. And lots of drama about how he is desperate to marry her but she refuses because she is “soiled” and he deserves better, so they are left with this angsty misery, the preparation for saying good-bye as the wedding gets closer and closer, her learning she is pregnant and deciding to keep it a secret so at least she will have some small part of him after he leaves her for marriage, and so on. And then he got the heart attack and everything changed, he decided to break the engagement with Aish and leave his family so he could live the last few years of his life for himself, with Sush. And she agreed because after almost losing him, she realized she loved him so much she couldn’t refuse him anything he wanted.

            And yes, I will take a southern lawyer! Rana? He has that nice feminist-ally vibe somehow.

            On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 10:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeah but I want someone who’s unapologetic for being/seeming slutty, because she thinks it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t fit the character otherwise. So then it would only work if she didn’t want to marry him because she thought marriage was bourgeois and suffocating or something like that. Or because she thought rich people were horrid and hypocritical because they were.

            Rana is perfect!

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          • Okay, I see. She is a free spirit, she loves her independence, she doesn’t want to be beholden to any man. And she doesn’t want to be a “wife”. She and Salman fall in love at first sight, basically, and she goes home with him. The next morning he surprises her with an engagement ring and a romantic proposal, and she explains that she doesn’t want that, she is happy with her life as it is. Angst, and then an agreement to compromise. She will move in with him, they will be together, but no marriage, no family, none of it. He has a regular table at her dance hall and cheers her on as she flirts and gets money from other men, then drives her home to their apartment where she puts on cold cream and they watch cartoons together. She surprises him for his birthday with a sweater she knitted herself (because they have a $5 limit on gifts) and he gives her a painting he made. They are completely happy, except that once a year his mother visits and pushes him to get married. And then his family kind of railroads him into an engagement, and Sush refuses to fight for him because she is just not into playing that game, she would rather move out and forget than get caught in some family drama. Even after she discovers she is pregnant, she decides she is keeping the baby and they will be fine on their own, better than if they got caught up in his family. Until he has a heart attack and she finds out when she sees the headline in the newspaper and rushes to the hospital and has to sneak in disguised as a nurse to see him, and Aish (who was just there being the perfect fiancee and feeling all loving) overhears them talking and her world crashes down. Sush doesn’t realize Aish overheard, she and Salman decide they want to be married no matter what so when he gets sick again, Sush can be the one to take care of him, blah blah blah. And then years later, Aish sees Sush at the PTA and it all comes rushing back, that feeling of powerlessness and humiliation.

            On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yeeess, that’s perfect! Especially the illness as the motivation to marry after all. and the cartoon at night and gift limit details are just genius. Also, good meta touch about Salman wanting to get married and her eternally refusing.

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          • Obviously, she would make it clear to Rana that she is never getting married again. And he would have to be okay with that. So it’s not that Salman converted her to marriage, it’s that in their particular situation (he has an illness, his family will keep her away unless she has a legal right) it just made sense. But Rana is young and healthy and his family isn’t an issue, so they will just date forever.

            On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. ISN’T FOLKLORE BEAUTIFUL??? I might have said this on Saturday, but I locked myself in my room and listened to the entire album all in one go and was in tears by the end. That’s all I’ve been listening to too. I wanna try to put each song to a Bollywood movie/character (because I think that’s kind of why I started crying, because my brain went places) but that’s proving more difficult than I thought.

    I did also watch Dil Bechara though, after I had calmed down from Taylor, and I know I went on a rant about it on the Saturday post.

    I just started The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali which feels like the Notebook but set in 1950s Iran. Because I guess this week is about me purposefully making myself cry.

    No apartment news from me. I went mini golfing for the first time in years, had my own routine doctor’s appointment, and I guess I have to figure out what I actually want to do for my birthday, and it’s weird that it’s next week.

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    • DCIB WatchAlong!!!! Ask Rachel, it’s the best way to celebrate your birthday. And it’s Friday, you get to pick the time, so you still have Saturday to do whatever.

      For my birthday this year I had my parents make me a cake that looks like Albie dog, and we did a jigsaw puzzle. So, you know, there’s that option. Jigsaw puzzles can be festive.

      There is a mini-golf place near my apartment that I drive by pretty often, and it is the busiest I have ever seen it this summer. There’s an outdoor ice cream place, and an outdoor snack shack place right by it too, all hopping with activity.

      Yes I want to match every Folklore song to an Indian movie! You and I can do it even if no one else is interested.

      I’ll start, Exile is clearly about every forget-first-love-marriage-is-better Indian movie, from Manmarziyaan to Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

      Oh, and illicit affairs is Rani in KANK

      On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think I just got so emotional because I’ve been thinking about Kalank for some reason, and I was all “Peace is Varun’s song to Alia. Hoax is Alia’s song to Varun. They’re the last two songs and they’re back to back and oh no I’m crying”

        Also August could maybe be Rani in KKHH?

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        • I was thinking that Rani-Kajol-SRK works perfectly for the Cardigan-Betty-August trilogy! Listen to Betty and think about Shahrukh going to the wedding at the end of KKHH.

          On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 3:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I was thinking that after I posted that, it’s so perfect!

            Maybe The Last Great American Dynasty could be Sonam in Khoosburat? “She had a marvelous time ruining everything”? Or is that movie too light for an album like this?

            Mirrorball has to be some kind of manic pixie dream girl who affects multiple people but I got nothing except maybe Ayushmann in Dream Girl, but I haven’t seen that movie in full.

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          • I was thinking since The Last Great American Dynasty was based on a real person, we should do the same and just find an equivalent in Hindi film. Maybe Tina Munim marrying into the Ambanis? Or Rekha and her shocking brief marriage that ended in suicide and divorce?

            Mirrorball made me think of Katrina more than anyone. Just dancing to entertain and make us happy, even when everyone else has left for something “real”. OH! Or Helen!!!!

            On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 6:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • That would make sense. Are there any biopics that have a similar story?

            I can definitely see Katrina in the spirit of Mirrorball.

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          • Ooo, what about Zubaidaa? Divorced Muslim movie person became the second wife of a rich Hindu ancestral royal?

            Oh oh! Mirrorball is obviously Umrao Jaan! Beautiful talented courtesan who never gets to find real love or escape the brothel, just travels through the world entertaining and being beautiful, but never respected.

            On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 2:22 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I have never heard of/seen either of those things, so I’m gonna take your word for it, lol.

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  3. I know this is a happy place but I just want to quietly mention that the SSR story has taken a bananacakes turn. Hoo boy.

    On a much nicer note, I finally have a proper outdoor living room and I’ve been taking full advantage of the space. And being in California I can use it almost year round, woo! Here’s a pic of my kitty Felix testing the new loveseat.

    Felix

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    • Felix looks a little doubtful about the security of this new furniture. Kind of how I felt the first time I sat down on Ikea furniture I built myself. Will it really hold?

      Only SSR discussion I can possibly think of as being productive right now is a philosophical debate about the ethics of a driven-to-suicide law. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it, and it might be productive for us all to practice ethical abstract thinking on the topic.

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      • I’m so torn about that. OTOH, I feel pretty strongly that it’s a bad idea to blame other people for suicide. One person will struggle through adversity, another with similar circumstances dies by suicide. How can you really blame anyone for this? But the situation with SSR sounds jaw-droppingly abusive and the family has (literal) receipts. So a driven-to-suicide law makes me deeply uncomfortable but holding someone accountable for abuse sounds correct.

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        • Forget SSR for a moment, there are so many stories of abused partners who were told “why don’t you just kill yourself”, and then they did. But it’s messy. Yeah, I think I will do a post, clarifying that we can NOT talk about SSR, but any other example is allowed to support your opinion.

          On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:17 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But there are also abused partners who don’t kill themselves and there’s also revenge suicide, where the person kills themselves specifically as a way to abuse their partner. It’s very complicated.

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          • Exactly. I think it’s worth an open discussion to think about every possible ramification and consideration. It’s always good to talk about suicide anyway, it’s something that needs to be addressed and thought about in the light of day with the shame removed.

            On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 12:22 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Turns out spending all day in the fresh seaside air doesn’t leave much room for thinking, much less reading or watching. We’re finally having a slow evening today and will probably soon call it a night.

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    • Oh oh! Is the baby seeing the ocean for the first time? Does he have opinions?

      On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 2:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • “Watch ocean”. We can even see it fro our windows, so he’ll pull up a chair and climb on it. He also loves climbing the big rocks directly at the beach and has developed quite an appetite for fish.

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        • A future meditation Guru, obviously! Already giving you things to focus on as you let your worries slip away.

          On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 5:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Started watching Father Ted but now I am conflicted after finding out that is created/directed by Graham Linehan who is well known for his transphobia and anti-transgender views. I usually do not buy stuff from brands that in some way do not align with my values. I am beginning to think should I do the same with television/films?

    Reading – What Religion Is by Swami Vivekananda. I read it long back but rereading it now.

    I do not listen to any music so I do not know what to make of songs.

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    • Oh oh! I have an answer for your debate about Father Ted! I can’t even remember which movie it was, but I had to hammer out my reasoning and I ended up with a useful (for me) flowchart approach:

      1. Will the artist who I do not approve of benefit financially directly from my actions? Where they hired and paid for their work decades back and nothing I do makes any difference, or are they still getting a cut of my money somehow?

      2. Will the artist benefit in their career by my consuming their work? Even if they were already paid for their labor, will my contributing to the popularity of this thing be seen as showing their continued popularity and help their career?

      3. Is there anything in their public persona/work that is related to the bad things about them? In this case, YES! He created the show, is known for his views, and probably wrote some things into the show that supports it. But in the case of someone like Cosby, it gets more complicated.

      4. Not on a moral intellectual level, but purely gut instinct, can I enjoy watching this thing knowing what I know about the creator?

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      • This is a great approach. Yes, now that I know who he is and what he stands for, I will not continue watching it. I will bookmark this page for future reference. I accidentally stumbled into Father Ted when I was looking for Father Brown.

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  6. We are winding down the semester here, but because of world events I won’t mention in the happy place even though they are pretty obvious, back to working from home, which certainly complicates final exams.

    Anyway, happy place! I had a four day weekend this past weekend. First I watched Thappad. This movie really makes you think–pro tip, do not read the Einthusan comments! Lots of people are super offended because Taapsee should stay in her marriage until her husband actually injures her I guess? Despite the movie being super careful to pre-emptively Not All Men.

    Then I also saw Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. Didn’t super land with me because of the broad humor, but I wound up thinking that was the point. There were so many references to DDLJ–I caught Gajraj being referred to as Amrish Puri, and Gajraj again saying “Jao Simran” to Jeetendra, and of course the whole train thing, and of course there were probably more that a Hindi speaker could have picked up. And then there’s a whole thing about Amitabh’s homoerotic buddy movies. I thought they were maybe trying to make the kind of movie that would have been made 25 or 30 years ago, only about a different-gender couple divided by religion or parental opposition or something. It basically normalizes it in a way the independent movies don’t. (Another shout out to Rahul Bose! Kissing other men when Ayushmann was in short pants!) But there’s still the anti-gay violence, and the fact that the men have accepted that their parents will never fully accept them, so it’s not sugar coating it. Also, yay Neena Gupta. She’s playing against a guy 11 years younger.

    Then, speaking of Amitabh and homoeroticism, finished the 1980 Dostana! Fun time-pass, pretty nuts plot that I did not fully appreciate because I watched the whole thing in 15-20 minute segments over about 3 weeks. At one point a guy with a great butt and tight bell bottoms walks across the screen and turns around and it’s Amrish Puri, speaking of Amrish Puri. That’s a bit disconcerting.

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    • I love that Thappad both “Not All Men’d” and also “yeah, all Men, PATRIARCHY!”. Great mix. Her brother loved his fiancee and would never hit her. But he kind of thought that he was more important than her and his needs were bigger. Her father supported his daughter without question and loved her, but was a bit unquestioning about the sacrifices his wife had made. There are lots of good people in the world, male and female, but it’s hard to speak out and question the structure you are used to living within.

      Did Amrish Puri still have his Afro in Dostana? He did in Qurbani, and it was freaky. Young Amrish in tight pants and big hair, not what I expected at all.

      On Wed, Jul 29, 2020 at 11:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. I did not know you could get a PhD in accounting, and I’m amazed that you learned that by reading celebrity gossip about Dennis Quaid.

    How’s the foot? I feel like you should do a Bridget Jones-style diary about the foot. “Two glasses of wine with dinner seemed to calm the beast, everything was going swimmingly until Albie Dog licked the toe. Now he smells of dog breath and toe funk and has decided to sleep on my chest and drool into my hair.”

    For some reason this song came to mind when you said story song, I’m going to go with it. It does seem like a movie, though not a happy ending.

    Maybe Kriti as the beautiful tough girl, and as the bad boy with good taste in women and motorcycles…I don’t know, Ranveer? Someone loveable but who could believably play dark enough to die in a shootout. At least the girl gets the bike, Kriti riding off alone into the sunset would be a good ending.

    I watched 7 Khoon Maaf because I’d considered it a bunch of times and saw it was about to leave Netflix, but I kind of regretted spending two and a half hours of my life on it. Though watching all the cameos was entertaining. The role they gave Irrfan was downright disturbing, still not sure what to think about that one. Naseeruddin’s part was more on tone, I enjoyed that character more. For some reason that part made me think of Phantom Thread, not a connection I expected with a Priyanka movie. Must have been the mushrooms. John’s dude was the funniest. Still, could have happily skipped the whole thing.

    Listening: I’m still in Denver, we’re driving around and sometimes up to the mountains, and this song is on the radio like every fifteen minutes. It’s been stuck in my head for two weeks.

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    • I was thinking about doing a foot post, and then thought “nah, no one will be interested”. But, HA! You are! I’m totally doing it!

      I like your story song choice, and I think we could make it the kind of romantic tragedy that Angie would love. We just need more focus on Kriti. She can be dying in middle-class tragedy, like her father is a drunk who beats her, her mother is dead, she’s got some creepy uncle trying to molest her, she is allowed to leave the house for classes every day and all appeals well but really it’s terrible, she rebels by having secret clothes stashed to wear outside, like a leather jacket. And then Ranveer shows up and teaches her to be free and wild and happy, he came from a similar tragic abusive background and one day just walked away from it. They are in love and planning to run off together but, you know, crime doesn’t pay. Still a happy ending though because she gets the bike and uses it to flee her terrible life and this terrible town and find her happiness. Maybe we start with a flashforward and she’s doing something cool like running a bar in Goa? OH OH!!! She’s running a bar in Goa and some guy shows up on the motorcycle and she is stunned. He explains where he bought it and she realizes it is her bike, he bought it from the place she sold it in order to get the start up money to buy this bar. And he asks for the story of the initials scratched on it, and then she flashes back. We can have a hopeful ending, with an implication that this new guy is going to be her new love, the motorcycle coming around again. And maybe she has a young son from Ranveer who is cute and helps out at the bar?

      Glad you confirmed my decision NOT to watch 7 Khoon Maaf for all these years. I will continue to not watch it then.

      And now I have that song stuck in my head!

      On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 12:33 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes! Love the motorcycle love story. She definitely must have a young son by Ranveer, but she’s making it work OK as a single mom when new dude shows up. Who do we cast? Vicky? Harsh? Has to give off beautiful and good vibes in 5 mins of screentime.

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        • Harsh! He’s beautiful, and you really don’t want him to have to talk that much. He can be some lost poet type, he was living a 9 to 5 life when he saw the motorcycle for sale and somehow it called to him. He bought it, and started traveling India, looking for something, he doesn’t know what (obviously, looking for Kriti even though he doesn’t know it). I want a tone over all of “I’m not sad Ranveer died, I’m happy we had our brief time together, and he saved me”. Ranveer gave Kriti the strength to escape, and the means, and she is a happy strong single Mom with a chosen family. Oh oh! Her Goa bar can have a bunch of similar misfits there, older woman who was abused by her son and escaped and now is a “grandma” to Kriti’s son, young boy whose stepfather threw him out of the house and now he works as a busboy and Kriti is paying his school fees, older fishermen who are too old to fish but their kids don’t want them hanging around the house so they spend all day sitting at the bar sipping black tea and teasing Kriti. So she doesn’t have Ranveer, but her life is full and happy and he saved her.

          On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 9:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I watched The Woods on Netflix sometime back. It’s atmospheric, twisty as I like them and I enjoyed it. It’s based on a book set in US, but the show is in Polish and set in Poland. It got me thinking that it’s not common for the first screen adaptation of a book to be by a different culture and language, is it? And though I appreciate it just fine, this whole acting-directing style of extreme close-ups of faces being stoic, generally not showing emotions, had me occasionally going ‘Would it kill you to express something now and then?’ Oh well, that’s just how it’s being done I suppose.

    I’ve gotten back to Turkish shows, with one that’s currently being aired weekly, and it’s frustrating having to wait! Streaming has truly spoiled me, and I’ve forgotten that this is how the world used to watch things earlier! And this week there’s no episode because it’s Eid on Friday, which apparently means they don’t air anything that day, I’ve never heard of something like this!

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    • Huh, that’s really interesting, a Polish show taking an American book. I am pretty sure that there are lots of American movies and TV based on books in other languages (because American pop culture is an unstable gaping maw of need), but I hadn’t heard of it going the other way before.

      I kind of like watching shows live! Just for variety. the idea of “oh boy, a new episode to enjoy tonight” and then you watch it again and again and really think about every part, before moving on to the next one. I mean, I still want 90% of my viewing to be streaming binges, but I like having the 10% live 🙂

      On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 1:19 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • From what I’ve seen, US studios hardly ever buy books in foreign languages. The gatekeepers often don’t speak other languages, and if they bought a book that hadn’t been translated yet they wouldn’t be able to hand it off to their usual stable of screenwriters, who also often don’t speak other languages, etc. The usual path is book to film within the same country, then film rights sell across borders. Or book rights sell for translation and publishing across borders. But not usually to cross borders and mediums at the same time, that is unusual.

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  9. Been watching musicals once again. This time Jesus Christ Superstar 2014 Swedish Arena your that is on YouTube free with English subtitles (it lasts less than 2 hours). OH BOY THIS MUST BE GAYER THAN THE 2000 JSC! It is even a plot point! I LOVE IT!

    I’ve watched the show twice now and it’s just fantastic. Peter Johansson is Judas and he is amazing! Worth watching just for him if you have 2 hours to spare and his chemistry with Ola Salo whos is Jesus and who was in Eurovision in 2007 in Finland (I just found that out! Life is so strange!) who is basically playing a Chaotic Bisexual Jesus (the acotr/singer is himself openly Bi). WORTH THE WATCH!

    First song:

    Link tot he English subbed version that is in parts:

    And, finally, the song Ola Salo sang in Eurovision! It is truly a gift! It’s a purely happy song and is sung in English so you will understand it. THIS MAN IS JESUS!

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  10. Not sure if you saw this article by Shekhar Gupta. For context – he is one of the most respected journalists in India…and was an editor at prestigious publications like Indian Express, NDTV…and has been given a Padma Bhushan…So he is not the typical entertainment journalist gossipmonger.

    Anyway, he wrote an oped about the dirty business of Bollywood…and what he saw behind the scenes at awards shows…the most interesting thing he revealed was that even the “respected” celebs use politics, arm-twisting, collective boycotts, etc to get awards….he has revealed very pointed stories about KJo, Bacchans, Hrithik, Farhan/Zoya, Katrina etc….its kinda sad…I somehow thought that maybe Farhan/Zoya are above it and too cool to care about these things…clearly not.

    https://theprint.in/national-interest/its-a-dirty-picture-thats-what-sushant-singh-rajputs-death-reminds-us-about-bollywood/467820/

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    • I’m not gonna read the article (because life is too short to be sad), but generally that doesn’t really surprise me. All Indian film awards are obviously bought and paid for somehow, so I figure if someone is winning it means they are playing games. You aren’t going to win on merit alone (or at all). Rishi Kapoor had a really interesting take in his memoir. He talked about buying the award for Bobby, I think it was. Anyway, early in his career. He was approached by a broker who quoted him a price and he thought “hey, I did a good job in that movie, I should get an award, I’ll pay it”. Didn’t even occur to him to think there was something wrong, just felt like how things worked. I imagine the same is true for a lot of these people, they are approached and told “this is what you need to do”, they figure that’s how it works and do it without considering any larger moral issue to it.

      I should say that Rishi went on to regret what he did, but it wasn’t some idea of the purity of awards shows, just that it wasn’t fair for him to have taken an award from his friends just by paying for it. Not sure if I am clear in the distinction, but he didn’t seem to look at it as “if I hadn’t done that, someone else would have won on merit”, but more like “if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have told my friends that I believed I deserved an award more than them”.

      On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 9:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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    • Wow, it sounds like high school. Nothing too horrible, just social manipulation. But it’s interesting that he specifically calls out the economics of how the awards shows work and how that leaves them open to these kinds of hijinks. And if it’s true that you can buy a certain number of stars for your review, then the film critics and newspapers too.

      Kind of what you’re saying, Margaret. People will work within the system that exists. If you want different behavior, you have to change the system.

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      • I’m probably being too cynical, or too idealistic, but mostly I am stunned that anyone ever thought reviews and awards were real? It doesn’t take much attention to see that they are useless. I mean, you can start from the end and see that, reviews are unconnected to the quality of a film and so are awards. Or to see which ones matter (Awards, sometimes the National Award, usually the Critics Award at FilmFare, otherwise nothing; Reviewers, me and Raja Sen and Sukunya Verma and Baradwaj Ranjan) and ignore the rest entirely.

        On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 11:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

        >

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        • Yes, I always knew that the awards/reviews were all BS…was not surprised by any of that…but I had some hope that the new-gen folks (Abhishek Bacchan, Zoya, Farhan etc. etc) were in it for the art/expression and were above the awards drama…i was upset to learn that they are all a part of it…sigh…is there anyone in the industry with some ideals left? anyone we can actually respect?

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          • Well, the people who have never won awards should be safe.

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

            >

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        • Really, everyone just knows this? As a casual watcher of Indian films, I didn’t know that all awards are bought. I know there are multiple award shows which dilutes their importance, but they do have juries. Maybe I’m naive, but it is shocking the industry as a whole doesn’t respect themselves to have a genuine way to award talent. They all come across as children throwing tantrums.

          Reviews are personal opinions anyway, so I don’t think anyone’s opinion is more valid than others’. Unless you mean all reviewers except the ones you mention are paid to give good reviews. Again, how is a casual watcher supposed to know this?

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          • I mean, if you watch a movie, and then look at the awards list and reviews, the disconnect between film quality and awards/reviews is so shocking I would think it would be clear. Not necessarily something you consciously state, but just a general sense that “5 star reviews” doesn’t guarantee you will think it is a good movie, and “1 star review” doesn’t mean you will hate it. Even just the consistency of awards and reviews should be suspect, if every reviewer gives the same rating to a film, and every awards show awards the same movies, that’s not natural.

            Based on box office, it appears that most film watchers ignore reviews and awards entirely, there is minimal connection between the two. So I always assumed that if you cared enough to read reviews/follow awards, you would also care enough to notice that they don’t make sense and laugh at the way the worst films are given FilmFare awards and the best films are given bad reviews.

            The reviewers I list off are the ones I’ve noticed who tend to have unique opinions, not just in their general ratings of a film but what they choose to discuss within the review. There are probably others, but my experience is a sea of identical opinions, with a few bright spots of originality.

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          • ‘if every reviewer gives the same rating to a film, and every awards show awards the same movies, that’s not natural’ – but that’s everywhere, including Hollywood. Is it the same there?

            I’ve had enough agreements and disagreements with both reviews and box-office with the films I’ve watched, that I don’t see a pattern. You see way more new films than me, so maybe you have reason to believe it. I’ve liked many films which get good reviews, like Gully Boy. Even your reviews generally don’t agree with box office, same as many reviewers.

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          • Here’s a post on reviewers that gives details as to how the Indian film movie reviewers are skewed far more than the norm using raw data: https://dontcallitbollywood.com/2019/05/03/hindi-film-101-film-companion-stops-using-star-ratings-but-indian-film-reviewing-still-has-a-long-way-to-go/

            I’m not sure how we are disagreeing here, I’m saying “I saw this pattern ages ago just based on information available to any movie reviewer and I assumed everyone else saw it too”. Obviously I was wrong if people are surprised, but also obviously the information was there for folks to see since I’ve got oodles of posts breaking down how clear it was to me just based on a skim of review headlines and looking at the FilmFare awards every year. And now there is an article with actual sources confirming what I always knew just based on subjective reasoning. Heck, I think my last FilmFare post casually mentions which awards I assume were bought with a pay off and why the producers of that film might have decided to bother buying an award.

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  11. Shakuntala Devi is on Prime. I plan to watch it over the weekend but I am also keeping my expectations low. From what I am reading, the directors depicted the story entirely from interviews with Shakuntala’s daughter and never really dug into other sources.

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