Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me the Day I Was Published on ArmchairJournal.com?

Happy Monday! One of the lovely commentators here linked me up with a website where she is doing an internship, and they gave me a chance to write an article. And in return, of course I promised to promote the article/them on my own sites (so, here, since I do nothing else on The Internet). Here you go, https://armchairjournal.com/could-covid-save-the-single-screen-theater/

Here is where you can ask me anything you want from “are you going to see Class of ’83?” to “how’s the foot doing?” Just keep swinging back to this post all week as you think of new questions!

Now, question for you! I totally ignored Independence Day because I am sick of Indian patriotism, but that doesn’t mean there are no good Indian patriotic-y films. What is an Indian patriotic film you enjoyed?

Just to start us on the right path, with thinking about patriotism as serving your community and appreciating what makes it unique, I’m gonna say Swades!

Oh, and bonus, I am having a hard time thinking of a new deep thinky post topic. Give me ideas!

46 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions: What Do You Want to Ask Me the Day I Was Published on ArmchairJournal.com?

  1. Well, what is a patriotic film? I like Sunil Dutt’s ones, and a lot of patriotic films from the 70s, because they have solid socialist ideals about Building India Together and so on. I also like some of the truly ridiculous ones like Sharmilee and Prem Kahani for being so stupid that all they prove is how stupid being patriotic is (see also: Padmaavat). But never if they’re by Manoj Kumar. His films are like literal torture to me.

    I don’t know about recent/post 70s ones. Does Neerja count?

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    • I would say Neerja counts, it’s about an Indian hero doing good things for the greater good. And definitely all those socialist 70s films count! Greater Good, Farmers, Industry, Fight Poverty, that’s the kind of patriotism I like.

      On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 9:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Khadgam in Telugu is a movie I enjoyed. It has Ravi Teja, Prakash Raj among other actors.
    Do you know about mumblecore movies? After I watched Slacker I started reading about the movie and the mumblecore movement. I might have found a genre that appeals to me the most.

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    • Mumblecore is a funny little movement, or I should say, is in a funny little stage right now. It was indie and weird and off beat in the late 90s, then became mainstream and hit machine in the 2000s, and then faded a bit to the background. It could stay where it is now indefinitely, a stable established style/genre that films dip into occasionally, or it could keep fading and fading into nothing. I think there’s a place for it myself, it’s as legitimate as any other style, but it’s also easy to do poorly, if you stretch a scene too long, or don’t have anything to bring interest to the characters, there’s just nothing there but the style.

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      • I am surprised that the movies are from 90s and I did not know about them. The reason I think am interested in this genre is because it up ends the usual movie structure.
        I can see what you are saying about the style vs engaging the viewer. I love dialogue heavy movies, so I have to see how the mumblecore movies fare when they are just dialogues and nothing else. Will update on Wednesday if I end up watching anymore of these films.

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        • Well, late 90s. There was some stuff that started influencing it heavily in the late 90s, movies about young people sitting around talking with lots of improvisation, and then it took off and became kind of a buzzword in the early 2000s.

          I think my big problem is that it is easy to make your characters unlikable. Ultimately you are watching people sit around and talk, which can quickly turn into people obsessing over their selfish problems and not thinking/caring about anyone else. Not always, but with the format you have to work a little bit to make clear that the characters do have lives outside of this, and interests outside of themselves.

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  3. “I totally ignored Independence day because I am sick of Indian patriotism”
    Could you rephrase it to being sick of crappy movies trying to make money off a unidimensional view of patriotism.You are mature enough to understand that saying “I totally ignored 6th August because I am sick of woke millennials mourning the past” doesn’t sound right if you just consider a bunch of crappy war-era films(that are historically inaccurate,the cherry on the cake)as a reason not to pay attention to it.Nobody forces you to celebrate it,if anyone actually does it is them who need to be ignored not the day itself.I know why you said that,but the phrasing does come off a bit irresponsible(I am not judging you,but the statement which could have been avoided).We can keep the debate about Bollywood movies shamelessly minting money off allegedly patriotic content and Indian patriotism separately,which is important because I have previously seen you writing about such stuff in an extremely professional,responsible and mature way,so this was not a good exception to it.
    Besides I would not even call some of these cringefests as “Indian patriotic film”,and if they indeed are then Titanic was a heist film.And Reign was a period drama,and Mission Mangal was based off true events.

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    • I think I’m gonna leave it. My point was to say “no, I don’t actually have to respect your feelings here”. It’s arguable that patriotism of any kind, or more accurately Nationalism is a fake emotion, and toxic. Doesn’t hurt to put something in to make people start thinking about what their feelings actually mean. I’m sick of all patriotism, from everywhere, blind allegiance to your country over other countries instead of Humanity. Let’s make Independence Day a day to celebrate humanity, not countries.

      I will celebrate Indian Independence Day as the end of colonialism in general, but not as a day for patriotism of one country over another.

      On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 10:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Patriotism is a fake emotion,when people start awarding certificates for it.One doesn’t need to be drilled to have it,it naturally comes.If it doesn’t,fine but calling out others for feeling it as good as forcing one to feel it.One can have an attachment to their bed and even that is sort of patriotism,and saying it is fake is how I feel about the concept of love between couples.I won’t mention the marriage of my friend and my distaste for this millennial ideal of true wurve in the same sentence.I cannot stand that cheesy idea of wurve(which is why I can never connect to most of KJo stuff,he makes movies on a concept that I don’t think exists,despite the fact I acknowledge the technical qualities),but it can exist even for a single moment.
        Nationalism is an ideology which cannot be confused with patriotism.Basically like feminists and feminazis,where there is 0.00001% insignificant presence of the latter but it feels like they have hijacked the moment if we want to ignore the true feminists and back our point with those weirdos that don’t deserve attention.
        Well,Independence day IS celebrated as the end of colonial oppression,India didn’t become free by outright starting a war.Republic Day is when Indian constitution was implemented (and no fool would celebrate a constitution being adopted in a country on the antipode if it is not even going to affect you).And if you think this way because of certain political factions self appointing themselves as guardians of patriotism and nationalism(which infact they are against.One cannot scream nationalism while ostracising valid citizens),not all Indians think that way.The toxic hooligans(I refuse to call them as nationals,they are not worthy of it)that you may find on the social media are the privileged ones that can voice their opinions with no care.It is lovely to think that Independence days should be celebrated as days to promote humanism.But an Indian cannot fathom the horrors of holocaust,an American cannot fathom the horrendous policy of lebensraum and an Korean may or may not understand the oppression of slavery.It is for the people who suffered,it was for them who were oppressed as we didn’t get independence if we weren’t subjugated in the first place.It is for them,not these delusional intellectuals who think they are doing the world a service by building walls or sending armies in foreign lands or tweaking the constitution in unconstitutional ways.Denouncing this day is like saying people should forget about the coronavirus pandemic saying more individuals have lost their lives to syphilis.
        There should be one country in the world,but it is easier said than done.And we are being generous if we think even states of the same country do not have scuffles.Independence is to be cherished and celebrated,unfortunately the self appointed upholders of it are the ones threatening it.
        And yes,I can clearly see the importance of accepting the shortcomings of a country like building cages and rampant capitalism,as well as lynching and enforcing nationalism.And one cannot show “patriotism” to another country,that’s common sense.And if you are,then you are still showing patriotism to some country.And if you show patriotism to the world,then,well there are too many issues that the people would have to make themselves aware of.While we are stuck at people not acknowledging the problems in their single country.
        And I still object to the statement.If 4th of July can be celebrated by discussing movies strengthening our ties,then so can Independence Day by discussing movies about the people who tackled oppression from colonialists AND their own government.Real people are not just gushing about the love of their life in NYC times square,some of them are literally migrating across countries for their freedom and sense of belongingness.Saying patriotism is a ground for division(that isn’t,mob mentality hijacking nationalism is)then feminism is misandry.Which it isn’t,except for some blessed unearthly folks.

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      • And if literally anything tangentially related to patriotism is to be frowned upon(Even GS biopic,which is more about feminism and barely about patriotism only as a work ethic of IAF,nothing else)then by that logic we shouldn’t be celebrating 4th of July because the founding fathers owned slaves.So basically we can just say “nobody should celebrate it or even talk about it because they owned slaves,there is racism,there was just a signed treaty and America is nothing-“that rhetoric doesn’t sound good on 4th of July,but 10th of December.Interesting to hate nationalism and still talk about Bollywood movies with Americans.Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say Bollywood movies that happen to be set in New York with a charming Caucasian man as the Indian protagonist’s best buddy(I agree with this,most migrants develop belongingness where they settle,even a city).And yes I agree not to call it Bollywood-Hindi cinema.Then the much misued term South Indian cinema should never be used on the site.There is no South India,there are four culturally diverse states with separate languages,and using the word South Indian is a stereotype and stereotyping in any form is wrong.Why can’t people be more specific in respectfully addressing them as Keralites or Tamilians or Mangalorians,they identify more as this than the label of South Indian which is used as per the convenience of people despite the fact that nationalism cannot be drilled(rhetoric aside,should not be drilled)so referring to them by a stereotype must be frowned upon.Besides I feel it highly problematic to address us as South Indians.We have our states,why to use the same language as the nationalism propagandists?
        I am still objecting to the statement,not you.Independence Day is not something you ignore as per convenience and talk about 4th of July and not address the discrimination against Asian Americans.Strange not to address rampant racism but India needs to address its issues(rhetoric aside,it needs to).Seems weird to see that toxic nationalism has caused people who would normally discuss about diverse cultures and mainstream media to suddenly feel that people of a country cannot talk about “India” as it would fuel nationalism-Ganges can stand as a symbol of supremacy,but not to those living on its banks and seeing it as intangible part of their life,but nationalism does not exist talking about America.
        When the blog is dedicated to Bollywood,one needs to have a rough understanding of Indian culture.Otherwise it would sound like a man’s(David Starkey,highly educated,but so not progressive)interpretation of the situation of Tudor women,which is to say,one sided.

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    • If you’re looking for sympathy for that statement in a crowd of people who are mostly progressive and many of whom are deeply invested in the cinema and culture of a totally different country than their own, I don’t think you’re going to get it.

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      • Having a blog doesn’t guarantee deep investment in cinema and culture.Most people here have a day job,not an entire business about critiquing movies from a different land in a language they don’t even know.
        And sympathy?Well,I ignore anything about 9/11 because of people who choose to villify Muslims in the land of the free.And 4th of July,which was a bunch of racists signing off treaties.So progressive not to address the queerphobia in movies like Dostana or misogyny in KKHH.Deep investment in movies that most people have forgotten about and neither critics nor audience cared for.Amazing to hear the phrase “crowd of progressive individuals”-who knew that the land of the free was chock full of closeted racists who would shamelessly talk about American history not once talking about racism or hostility to migrants.Even those racists at one point upheld the flag of self proclaimed progressive while not addressing rampant sexism in Bollywood.But ofcourse we are modern and like colourful Hindi song and dance,as if declaring liberalism is synonymous to activism.

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        • I think you need to take a breath.

          First, most people on this blog have dedicated their “real” lives to fighting those injustices you mention and come here to escape it. No one here would disagree with what you are saying about America, in fact it is what we have said ourselves. If you go looking for American centered content here, all you will find is calls to protest, to vote, and general lamentation over the state of the country.

          Second, in general it is a good idea not to make assumptions about who people are online. Not just here, but anywhere you go, please don’t do that because you can cause unintended hurt. I’m not saying you are insulting us, I am saying that people here have been victims of the situation you are describing. They aren’t going to reply to your comments explaining their trauma, but they are going to be reminded of it because of your words, and feel guilty for not discussing why they come here for a haven and what they have survived. For example, perhaps the reason no one here calls out Dostana is because they have been victims of real life homophobia and therefore react differently when they see a film that treats it as a joke. Read the comments, pay attention to the people around you, and you will see that you have said hurtful things.

          And third, this is not an American blog. Over half my readership is based in India, another third in other locations overseas. My regular commentators are maybe 50/50 American based versus elsewhere. And of the Americans, I would say at least a 3rd if not more have Indian heritage. If you are imagining a blog filled with white American women commenters and readers, that is not this space. I am very proud of that, my content goes beyond borders and outside of a simple limited perspective. I ask that you do me the courtesy of the same, try to look beyond your stereotypes for who we are.

          On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 11:18 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I apologise if my comments came off as rude.What I didn’t like was the original statement because I would have really appreciated if you had said that you ignored the day because you didn’t like gaudy display of patriotism or nationalism.Infact the reason I got a bit angry because of being told that I was in a progressive place,while I find myself in position where it is not possible for me to express my feelings over the state of the country(which is,infact,falling apart).Independence day is not just what our leaders advertise,there is a diaspora that celebrates it because they just feel they belong somewhere.I would not have minded if you did a post on what you didn’t like about your experience with India-it is always welcome to know about shortcomings.
            But patriotism and nationalism are different things,and unfortunately the former is being advertised under the cover of latter.One is personal,the other is community based(which gets problematic).Still,I understand that you are none of these stereotypes,otherwise I would never follow you for so long.But saying that patriotism is fake is as good as cynicism against love,whose very existence is questionable but maybe it can exist,even for a short while.Infact Independence day has always been about getting together as a nation,not about our superioriority over others.If people around the world can celebrate 4th July for the land of the free,I see no wrong in atleast addressing it or if not,then choosing not to mention it.Obviously I didn’t expect anything about it on 17th August,but there are a gazillion issues in India that you could have mentioned than saying “feel wrong about the shortcomings of your country”.You didn’t say that,but could have reserved not to comment about a different country altogether.And if we talk about humanism,then as much as we get posts about IndoAmerican relations for 4th July,is it not about America as a great nation?So others are inferior?If we can celebrate that,why not this?And it’s your choice not to do it,but talking about it two days later out of the blue how much you hate it is not right.I would not care if anyone likes Dostana and it is indeed hurtful if I point it out,but then so is saying that patriotism is bad and fake.I do not like Dostana for reasons different from what makes others like it.It would be more responsible if I state why I don’t like it instead of bunching anything tangentially associated with it as queerphobic.Nationalism is no justification for lynching,even though it is unfortunately happening.What I didn’t like was the fact that you felt compelled to point out your dislike of celebrating Indian Independence Day but nothing about the shortcomings in IndoAmerican relations on 4th July.If we turn humanitarian,that doesn’t mean 4th July,15th August and Christmas lose their significance.Fine if you are uncomfortable with Independence Day promoting one nation over another,but then 4th of July too is exclusive to USA.Saying BLM does not negate ALM,but apparently Independence Day of a nation can demean another nation.I don’t have a problem with your general views,but their is no use of maligning the importance of a day due to pathetic governments and their blind devotees.It is no better than to talk about the fakeness of millennial idea of true wurve at someone’s wedding.And we don’t celebrate just anything on these days.Most people know more about local cultures from Republic Day parades than from NCERT books(which,I agree,is weird because people flaunting diversity know so little about it.)I would have appreciated it more if you had elaborated on the toxic display of nationalism by pseudo-patriots instead of bunching this day itself with the toxicity.I don’t have problem with your views but they would be more relevant if there was consistency with the celebration of ideas.It would be as easy to insist that Dostana is queerphobic because some lgbtq+ folks online expressed their disappointment with it,but I wouldn’t call you queerphobic if you found it entertaining because even I did,and you have expressed your open mindedness about it in the past.Regarding assumptions,bringing in sympathy and progressive views is one,if you consider just addressing the problem enough.And if you can call patriotism fake,then I too can call keyboard progressive liberalism as good as nothing.Were I making assumptions,I would not have addressed your side for the statement in my first comment.Celebrating Independence day is wrong because it promotes one country over another,but by that logic 4th July is the same.I didn’t intend to incite you,but a fact expressed with zero consideration for emotions will come off as rude.Cancelling Dostana for a queerphobic scene is like saying Independence day is unimportant because of issues.Address those issues,instead of grinding an important day with it.And yes your statement about such a day promoting superiority of a nation over another is factually wrong.If that was the intention,the date would be 5th August not 15th August,considering the situation of the country.By misinterpreting the purpose of the day,you are questioning even 4th July but celebrating it.It was not an opinion but a fact that Independence day IS celebrated as the end of colonial rule IN India(in general is not right because well,colonialism has not ended throughout the world.If the ‘in general’ logic is applied,all saints would be celebrated together on Christmas in general instead of assigning different dates).Anyways if you cannot distinguish between the significance of Independence Day,patriotism and toxic nationalism then it is your selective opinion which is incorrect.Atleast the Wikipedia thinks otherwise,and so did the pioneers of individual liberty in the 20th century(not many countries have gained freedom in the 21st century except a few).And you are not so immature not to understand the reference to sympathy are progressive views.So far no one mentioned about BLM on the blog but wouldn’t it sound rude to say out of the blue “I have totally ignored BLM for the past few days because I am sick of woke culture”.Woke culture was a positive thing taken to extreme l,so was patriotism.No one is going to object to your silence,but it is rude to just say it out of nowhere.If you were uncomfortable with certain issues, address them.Have healthy discussion.But it is strange to see the “I am going to leave it as it is so that people can see how toxic it is”and “not comfortable with promoting one nation over another”.Well,then leave me a comment “for people to see how racism was not addressed in Bollywood on this blog”(it was,much earlier,not recently when the movement gained momentum)and “I am not comfortable with anything about 4th July because the founding fathers just signed off treaties while owning slaves,and it is pretentious to talk about it because how protestors are being charged on streets”.I am going to leave it because there were small scale gatherings for 4th July while protestors were being dragged on roads.If we look at another country like this,it would come off as rude as this.
            I am not calling you racist or anything,and your intentions are right,but the phrasing would sound weird to anyone who doesn’t know you at first.Accept it or not,but backing your statement with a factually incorrect opinion is not right.It would make more sense if you downright mention that celebrating Independence Day(or as you think of it,Superiority Day)would make more sense if efforts are made to address the shortcomings.It is not like critiquing a film script to make nonchalant off hand remarks about anything.Or if you are just invested in films,do not drag the country itself in it.No one is expecting you to be a Mark Twain.I don’t have a problem with you not talking about it(why on earth would a White American woman talk about it)but if you are so disinterested in it then say that you are not interested.Disinterest and selective contempt are completely different things.
            Besides I did not originally comment about patriotism but just asked you not to confuse it with movies(and is romance in real life anything like SRK?),so instead of passing comments on patriotism which is not real wouldn’t it have made a more constructive reply about the shortcomings in India instead of “Patriotism is fake,I don’t celebrate it”.Even atheists and agnostics celebrate Christmas for the fun of it.Don’t celebrate if you don’t want,say you are disinterested instead of “I am sick of people visiting Church and gushing about local saints”.You had to make a point about Independence day with your comment,but was this point invalid last month?You could have laughed off it instead of claiming inconsistent points to prove.

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          • And in case you consider that I have issues with you not watching patriotic content,well that’s what brought me to your blog because we stood on a common ground that those films were pathetic and morally questionable.I always had a disinterest in cop films,war films,detective films and stuff because it is not even relatable.Same with allegedly patriotic stuff.Allegedly because lack of common sense served with topping of patriotism is still jingoism.Jingoism is the word,by pretending to disguise themselves as patriotic they are just hiding the agenda.But America will come off as a land of whites pretending to be messiahs if we form opinions based on Green Book and Indiana Jones.The fact remains that the present situation is not to be forgotten while addressing sacrifices of people who fought for independence.Everyone hates those paedophile popes so celebration of local saints too is manifestation of superiority of religion.But if you think that the day itself needs to be cancelled because of misdeeds of the present,then you are factually wrong.If you agree religion is part of culture,then so is a historic date,and the plight of the people following the partition.It is not just a flashy parade and jingoistic chanting by blind devotees,but anyways I can’t expect you understand that from US.But if you agree to have selective opinion about the day itself and not the connotations of it,then essentially Independence day is not a big deal.But we will remind others “see your country’s shortcomings” instead of addressing the shortcomings that you felt.Good intentions with rude statement don’t sound right.And I had to mention them,and I admit that you are not those stereotypes.

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  4. Have you ever talked about cancel culture? Not sure if it’s as prevalent in Indian cinema as it is in American social media, but it could be an idea for a think-y post.

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    • That’s an interesting thought. The thing with India is that there is no actual official “cancel” person. Like, in America there’s a cycle, right? Social media campaign that pushes against a person, and then the corporate overlords cancel the TV show/concert series/new album/whatever. But in India, if everyone gets upset about nepotism and Jhanvi, Karan can just say “yeah, I don’t care, I’m doing whatever”, because he answers only to himself. Or even if he bows to pressure, any other producer can jump in and say “sure, I’ll take it”. The power is too defuse for one entity to truly “cancel” a person.

      On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 11:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • But Karan doesn’t broadcast. Usually what causes actual firing is either legal liability or pressure on advertisers causing a broadcaster to cut a show or a famous face. Wouldn’t that part work the same?

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        • Yes, but also no. The broadcast world is so ignored versus the theatrical release world, I don’t think there is any pressure there. The audience doesn’t notice stuff, so the advertisers don’t notice stuff. Movies is where all the attention is, and that is a direct link, producer to audience.

          I do think that is a large part of why Karan ignores this stuff. He knows the audience doesn’t care enough for it to affect his bottomline, unless threats of violence are involved. There’s all these online campaigns, and then the movie releases and usually does fine. The only time he’s made a move is when there have been death threats trying to scare people away, or scare theaters from showing the movie. That’s happened to him 4 times that we know about, and he doesn’t change the film, he just humiliates himself until the threat goes away.

          Maybe that’s another reason he isn’t moving? What does he care if a bunch of angry internet people say mean things, he is used to guys with guns and knives on his doorstep trying to stop a movie.

          On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 7:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. As a German, I have a very awkward relationship with any kind of patriotism anyways. Swades may be about the maximum I can handle.

    I do have a legitimate question this week, though. In watching song videos I’ve come across another one of those dancers during a wedding preparation, a woman dressed up as a man – like the one Regina Cassandra was dancing with in Gud Naal Ishq Mitha in ELKDTAL. And I realized I don’t know what they’re called or what their function is. Do you?

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    • I don’t know a particular name for them, I believe they are not professional performers usually, more members of the wedding party. It’s a way to act out different sex romantic scenes in a same sex environment. I’ve seen them in movies as part of Henna parties (all female) and also baby showers (also all female). Sometimes the “male” performer is a character in the rest of the film, with no particular gender bending characteristics. They are just putting on an act for the purposes of one party performance.

      But I also find the practice so intriguing because it is so unquestioned! Is it because queerness is completely impossible and so these very queer moments of women dancing together are ignored? Or is it because queerness is escaping into the culture in these little ways? Or is it because someone involved in the films is enjoying playing with the idea of queerness (obviously what is happening in ELKDTAL)?

      The most famous example I can think of is “Didi Tera Deewar Deewana”, which has a long section of a woman playing a man romancing another woman. The woman who plays a man in this case is a character in the rest of the film, not particularly “mannish”, and ends the movie happily married to a man:

      On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 1:19 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • See, I didn’t even think of that one for my re-imagined medley, and it fits pretty nicely. Still researching in my collection of “old Hindi film songs”.

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  6. Ooh, I didn’t know you’d watched GS! I’d love to read your review (and then rethink the way I watched the movie, just because hearing someone else’s point of view is so novel)!

    Congratulations on the article! It’s great and hopefully you’re right. Either multiplexes start being more equitable or some more single screens pop up.

    A patriotic movie, I’m not sure. But Veer-Zaara is interesting, since there’s a clear comparison made between the two countries, their cultural similarities, the fact that people emigrate from one to the other, and even that their Independence Days are on the same day!

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    • Oh no, I haven’t seen GS! Still avoiding it.

      Thanks for reading the article! I enjoyed writing/researching it.

      Veer-Zaara is an interesting choice, it balances appreciating aspects of both countries, and accepting that people can be proud and happy with where they live, without being blind to the problems, or thinking other places are worse.

      On Mon, Aug 17, 2020 at 3:28 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. GS is attracting lot of criticism, than required, already IMDB had got 2000 and more reviews on it.
    SS demise triggered this type of trend

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  8. During my long life as a movie watcher from movies of different countries, I watched a lot of movies where belonging to s special country was a part of the plot.
    I like all of those where specific subjects are put in a more larger plot that revolves around humanity (like the mentioned Veer-Zaara or ChakDe or Dil Se or MainHoonNaa – just to mention some ShahRukh movies). I’m not into movies where violence is shown as a patriotic somehow requested behaviour…in this regard I can understand your take.
    I strongly detest when patriotic feelings (which are firstly based on human values) serve a political agenda (which every movie industry is prone to do). because – for me – patriotism is a feeling that describes the need to belong to a community…like being a microcosmos in a macrocosmos.

    I think, as an Indian, I would like to cherish dates that mark this aspect of belonging, but I absolutely could do without celebrating the outer signs of power…everything related to power-demonstration has nothing to do with human values.

    After having experienced a vaste panoply of patriotic movies, I’m not interested in them anymore if – even beforehand – I get the feeling that glorifying socalled patriotic behaviour may be the subject of the movie. That’s the only choice I can make in regard to artistic work.

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    • Perhaps the issue is with films that put patriotism first? As in, that is the main reason they expect you to watch, to prove you are a patriot, to enjoy that feeling of nationalism? Versus movies that put humanity first, the good message, the characters, the story, and then fold in a specific national identity.

      On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 7:37 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • That’s exactly what is important: the human behaviour, human values, the social bond that isn’t nationality-bound even though it may be displayed in a national context.

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  9. Now to your article (happy to see you again on another platform!):
    It reminds me of the blog-essay you wrote some time ago. Me too, I’m not at all happy with the increasing dominance of the Multiplex Theatres and the streaming craze. As I could experience throughout my life and also in Mumbai the importance of single-screen-cinemas this kind of focussing on money even in the artistic work (and neglecting the importance of footfalls) repells me.
    All the glamour and multiple choice of a Multiplex Cinema Hall cannot sustain that – basically – a movie should be a work of art for entertainment which you share with many others at the same time, like a social event. In a single screen theatre nobody looks at you as if you are from another planet when you applaud or shouts to the people on screen, voices concerns, laughs out loudly or starts to dance in your seat…and you even get into animated conversations with complete strangers not being strangers anymore for those moments.

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    • Yes! Movies as a work of art that you share with others at the same time is exactly what is special for me as well! A portrait in a gallery, everyone sees differently, at a different time, in a different place. Live theater, there is a chemistry between the performers and audience that changes every night. But a film is always the same, static, and the audience is brought in and experiences it simultaneously.

      On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 8:05 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Thanks for the link!

      Yes, this is something I am very aware of, I think I wrote about it in my book but I can’t remember if it made the final draft. Ganti’s book talks about it, and Karan Johar had this great old interview talking about it as well. Everyone agrees that Hindi film is a 6 act structure. I would add that it is actually a 6 act structure with two half acts on either end (intro and epilogue). All of them are important, and all of them are part of the theater experience. 20 minutes at the beginning to just kill time and let people find their seats, then you start the first act and set the stage for the real story, then conflict, then resolution, then sudden TWIST and interval. Second half, establish the new situation, then new conflict, and final final resolution. And then epilogue, end with something light and fun as people are finding their bags and leaving the theater.

      What I find really interesting is that some of these new movies feel like a standard three act Hollywood film, and some of them feel like a 6 act Indian film that got cut off before the second half. Badla, for instance, is a solid 3 act film. But Daawat-E-Ishq feels like a 6 act movie that got a hurried ending before the second half could start.

      On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 5:32 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I mean, I think it’s definitely already happening, the shorter length of the Hindi movies and the 3 act structure go hand in hand.

      On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 8:12 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes, I’ve noticed since a while, but I still hope that they won’t give up the other format completely. It’s such a distinctive part of Indian culture.

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  10. gunjan saxena film got a lot of flak everywhere due to many reasons , nepotism , wrong actress for role etc.
    i dont want to go there , but major chunk of people including air force people criticized it for distorting the real facts by taking a lot of cinematic liberties. Almost all of hindi film distort facts to make it ‘interesting’. The real stories were already interesting and engaging as it is. Then why is the need to distort facts on the name of cinematic liberties. A simple disclaimer is enough for the makers to go scott free and prevent legal backlash, then why not be true in the 1st instance itself.

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    • I haven’t watched the film, and obviously the flak is because Karan Johar is gay and liberal and there is a coordinated campaign against him and everyone he supports, especially young women because of misogyny.

      But in general real stories to film are, of course, always fictionalized. There are 3 things to consider. First, if there are outright lies or just slightly changing of the truth. For example, all Bhansali histories are full of major outright lies (Khulji did not kill Ratan Singh, the royal women of Jaipur did not commit Jauhar, Bajirao’s first wife had no problem with his second marriage, these are 100% FACTS). Second, if those outright lies change the essence of the real story you are telling (Nargis knew Sanju was addicted to drugs, and his stint in rehab came years after her death, not immediate. But changing those facts doesn’t completely change the essence of Sanjay’s story). And third, if those outright lies dishonor the meaning of the true story. Dangal changed a lot of facts as well, but the point was that a father trained his daughters to be wrestlers because he had no sons, and that came through loud and clear.

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      • The dislike for the film wasnt due to karan johars sexual orientation , but due to backlash over nepotism following sushants death. There is a huge media circus going over here , which has become tiresome.
        Anyone siding with the so called movie mafia is boycotted and trolled mercilessly.
        The makers of the film distorted the sesism angle too much , and the events shown in the film were far from the truth.

        Similar with dangal, what was the need for that weird climax where the coach was mean and jealous of her father.
        Almost all sports biopic distort facts to sell it.Priyanka chopras mary kom was shit .They didnt show her olympic bronze as they didnt want to show here lose in semis instead some weird end was shown.
        Same was case with diljits soorma.And dont go into mission mangal.

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        • I am sorry, I am no longer going to even pay lipservice to “nepotism”. It’s a whip used to control anyone out of favor with the conservative extremists who run social media. They start the fire, and everyone else keeps it burning. It has no logic to it beyond attacking anyone who is different. That is my baseline with all these debates, they are not worthy of serious consideration, they are hate campaigns against minorities and I will not pretend otherwise.

          The actual Gunjan Saxena agreed with the presentation of herself in the film, is the filmmakers “distorted” sexism, perhaps they were reflecting how she felt about her experience which may not be the most comfortable presentation for people in power.

          Agree about biopics in general of course, you need to distort reality in order to provide a comfortable storyline for the film. That alone doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is if I feel like the film is bad on its own, or if the message they are giving is flawed.

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        • I assumed so, there were plenty of friendly photos of her with the filmmakers

          On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 10:27 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • She also released this statement a few days ago, where she half agrees and half disagrees with some of the liberties taken: https://www.ndtv.com/blog/won-t-let-anyone-take-away-my-achievements-gunjan-saxena-on-movie-row-2280730

            I don’t disagree that a lot of backlash was because of SSR’s death. I also feel like it’s very uncomfortable for a lot of people to watch, because unlike Dangal (which I actually disliked due to the weird sexism I kept seeing) etc., the lack of support came from inside the family, breaking that myth that family is the be-all, end-all, even though there were several concessions made in the form of her dad being cool with her being a pilot and support from a Captain. And unlike several other movies mentioned above (Mary Kom, Dangal, Mission Mangal), there’s little backing from a well-known and well-liked person in power, whether it be Aamir or Priyanka or anybody. Karan is well-known, but unfortunately not well-liked (which UGH. Hurts.). In addition to that, there’s already the label of nepotism placed on Jahnvi and also, well frankly, she’s not great yet, so it’s hard for her to carry this movie on her shoulders alone, with strong actors who instead of supporting her, show her up instead, perhaps unlike Ishan, whom she could support and who supported her.

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          • That is an excellent statement. I encourage everyone to read it. And I am interpreting it as her agreeing with me, mostly, in the idea that there is a difference between strict total accuracy (which is impossible), and telling the main story truly. Yes, the film took liberties, but with the larger purpose of telling a story that was true. The film never pretended to be about the details of battles or anything else, just one person’s story. And she agrees that some of the institutional issues in the film were not what she herself experienced, but if you watch the film as a whole, those are not major points of the movie. Most of all, that it is ridiculous for anyone to say the film insults the IAF, on behalf of the IAF. Which I think is my biggest take away in most of these things, folks on the internet leaping up to “defend” organizations who DO NOT AGREE with their defenses. It happens all the time, and somehow the legitimate voices end up lost in the screaming match.

            I’m glad to hear there is less backing from the family in this plot. That is one of my biggest issues with these “feminist” movies. It’s only okay for a woman to break boundaries and do something great if her family gives her permission. It’s still the same idea, her life belongs to others not herself, just with a different ending than “and so I have picked this groom for you”.

            On Wed, Aug 19, 2020 at 11:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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