Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to This Week?

Happy Wednesday! I woke up early for no reason, but at least it gives me time to answer comments and write this post before work.

I’ll start!

Reading: More Angela Thirkell books, of course. And also re-reading my old SRK reviews to make sure I don’t repeat myself, that’s fun. Oh, and this old paper I wrote on Karan and how all his films are really about Queer relationships: https://www.unive.it/media/allegato/dep/n25-2014/RICERCHE/06_Redlich.pdf

Watching: I watched Enola Holmes over the weekend. Last week for Friend Movie Night, we watched Mersal and they all loved it. I do highly recommend it to folks who need a shot of wacky. Tonight we are watching Duplicate by popular demand (I mentioned a really stupid SRK movie with a double role, and they had to see it).

Thinking: Oh, here’s exciting news! I get to take a mild anti-depressant! If you have been reading regularly, you know that every winter for the past 5 years has been a journey into increasing depression for me. Seasonal Affective Disorder: it’s a Thing. Anyway, I finally was brave enough to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, who didn’t give me a hard time about diet and exercise and too much caffeine, but just said “okay, here’s a pill”. Don’t know if it will work right for me, but I am very VERY proud of myself for being brave and forcing the medical profession to try to help.

Listening: Preparation for Bang Bang this weekend!

Now, question for you! It’s the 4 year anniversary of Mirzya, what is your favorite folk legend from India or elsewhere?

My favorite folk legend is East O’ the Sun West O’ the Moon/Cupid and Psyche, which is Arne-Thompson type 425A, and pops up all over the place under different names. Basically, woman has an arranged marriage, learns to love her husband, then he is taken away from her and she travels and finds him and rescues him. So it’s love-after-marriage (one of the best Indian film tropes, of course) and then it turns into a strong female hero going around rescuing the dude.

Also, you should all watch Mirzya, unless you have little patience for visual allegories and tragic fated love stories with great music and beautiful heroes.

41 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to This Week?

  1. Margaret, I have been a fan of Ashoka even without watching it. After your latest posting of the Ashoka review, I decided to order the bluray of the movie.
    Finally lockdown restrictions have been removed & all deliveries are happening. I should get it within 10 days, I think

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    • Oh, I am so glad! It is a very flawed movie, but still worth watching.

      On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 7:43 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I’m stressing out trying to keep up with Giornate del cinema muto viewings in between working. I think I might just have to give up on watching the talks and only watch the movies, which is annoying because some of the talks sound great.

    So yeah, it’s all silent movies all the time here. Most interesting so far: new Sessue Hayakawa film, a Chinese film with the most confusing ideological message ever, and early biograph (before 1902). It’s weird how much more real footage of the 19th century seems when it is in super clear HD on your TV, like it is happening now but for some reason in black and white.

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    • Yes! And the flipside of that, we believe fake past footage more if it is grainy and damaged. Like, if you are making a movie set in the 70s, you need to put in grain and over saturation to make us feel like it is “old”.

      Let me know if anything from Essanay comes up, Chicago, WOOT!

      On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 8:08 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Your legend reminded me of the Tamil epic shilapadhikaram. It does have way more drama..There is marriage, then adultery by husband leading to bankruptcy, wife lends him her anklets to sell in city, husband arrested and beheaded, wife comes and burns down the whole city…

    And of course my favorite folktale is the story of Onam. Just and fair demon king send to hell by God using trickery. Only boon he asks os that he wants to come visit his subjects every year.. And for him we celebrate Onam. I think it’s kinda unique in celebrating the demon (asura) not the God..

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    • I never felt really clear on the story of Onam, I like the simple description you give. You are celebrating the demon, not the God. And the “demon” is putting his earthly duty to his subjects over the whole heaven-hell afterlife issues.

      On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 10:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • The gist of the story goes like this..

        Mababali,the demon kong(asura) also called Maveli in kerala, ruled over Kerala. His reign was supposedly very very good and prosperous. The main hallmark being, all humans were equal and there was no scamming. But Gods aka devas got jealous and complained to Vishu, who is like the head of Gods.. I am not exactly sure why. Anyway Vishnu came as Vamana, a small boy and asked Maveli for 3 feet of land. Maveli easily granted him that. Then Vamana grew up into gigantic proportions, covered all earth with 2 feet and asked Maveli, where do I put the 3rd foot? Maveli without hesitation showed his head. Vishnu was pleased and granted him one boon before pushing him down to Patala aka demon world. Maveli said he wanted to come visit his subjects every year.

        So all the onam festivities are to welcome Maveli when he visits Kerala.

        This legend is important in the sense, it’s a counter narrative to all other festivals which celebrate winners. I think it defines the chareteristic quirkiness of Kerala people. And I know, you would like to keep your blog politics free. But this legend, which all Kerala people are told from an early childhood, is under attack from right wing politics because how dare they celebrate a demon and not the God..🙄

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  4. Just watched Khali Peeli,and felt that the film somehow trivialized a sensitive issue.Not in an offensive way,it just didn’t make enough effort to address it as something other than the background for masala.Ishaan simply grows better with each movie.He was lovely in A Suitable Boy,have you watched it yet?(I don’t think it is available in US through fair sources)
    My favourite folk legend is the legend of Aravan-a Mahabharata figure in South India,whose legend has him sacrificing his life to ensure victory of Pandavas and marrying Krishna(yes,you read it right)a night before his sacrifice.He is a spiritual figure of a sect of transgenders-Aravanis.Many binary minorities too follow him.
    Another legend I like is Maya Sita.It is not necessarily a folk legend,as it is canon in Ramcharitmanas-THE religious text for most Hindi speaking Hindus(for Tamilians,Kamban’s Ramayana is more popular and Sanskrit Ramayana is out of canon).One of the weirdest parts about the original Ramayana is the Agnipariksha and the second exile of Sita.The Ramcharitmanas in North India,Kamban’s Ramayana in Tamil and Adbhuta Ramayana of Shakta samprayadaya,all completely omit the second exile and give a happily ever after with return to Ayodhya.All of them also have the Maya Sita concept which says that SitaRam were aware of Ravan’s plan but were also aware that Ravan would burn on touching Sita.So *Goddess Sita and God Ram*(the divine omniscient forms,not mortals)decided that while Lakshamana was away,Goddess Sita would go with Agni Dev and leave behind an illusory shadow who would not burn Ravan on touch and be successfully abducted by him(otherwise the war would be impossible)and plan the Agnipariksha(without telling this to Lakshmana and others)beforehand to *fool* others after the closure of Ravan chapter,so that illusory Sita would enter the pyre from one end,and real Sita would emerge from the other(sounds like a perfect editing and stunt double team at job-dualism of deities was allowed in Hinduism).The focus shifted from protecting Sita from being defiled to protecting Ravan from Sita’s nascent powers.Basically rejects the idea of Sita proving her chastity at any point,as she becomes a deity in her own right with no right for mortals to judge her,but only accept her as a Mother.I think these deviations from the Sanskrit text into vernacular languages are intrinsically associated with the Bhakti and Sufi movements that sought to make religion more accessible to the masses and do away with the Brahmanical,ritualised,patriarchal scriptures and practices,especially since Sanskrit was restricted to upper caste Brahmins but spiritualitsm is a universal emotion.Almost like the Old Testament-New Testament of Christianity.Unsurprisingly barely anyone knows Sanskrit and these vernacular versions became canon in their respective regions,which I believe is a good thing.Most devout Hindi speaking Hindus(90% will not be an exaggeration)follow the Ramcharitmanas over Valmiki’s Sanskrit text.Reading Ramcharitmanas makes it easier to see why Ram is considered such a great king as he believes in family support,discusses spirituality with Sita,forgives repentant individuals,accepts a woman of Shabar community(a Dalit community)with open arms,while Valmiki’s Ramayana was undeniably questionable in its treatment of Sita(Even the “rituals” call for distributing copies of Ramcharitmanas.Valmiki’s Ramayana is that obscure).Adbhut Ramayana is from Sita’s point of view(so no Agnipariksha or second exile)and has Sita turning into goddess Kali to kill a second demon,Sahasra Ravan.

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  5. The legends I love are Mirzya Sahiban, Laila Majnu and Cupid and Psyche.

    Also, Madhuri and her Dr Nene being adorable! They are so normal and so charming!!

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  6. SO glad you mentioned the film, Mirzya. It’s my favorite and introduced me to Harshvardan, who remains a favorite actor, if only he’d make another film.

    Also glad you’re not averse to taking coolers now and then. (That’s what we used to call them.) I just went thru a bout of the nasties and pills helped a lot. And DCIB.

    Didn’t get thru all of Enola but The Family Man with Manoj Bajpayee was well worth a binge.

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    • I love Mirzya! I was lucky enough to see it in theaters, one of those “well, might as well even though it doesn’t look very good” moments, and of course I ended up LOVING it. It’s just amazingly beautiful on the big screen, I wish it was in more festivals and stuff like that, I think it could have found an audience that way far better than streaming.

      I like “coolers”, that’s a very calming way to put it. Makes me a bit scared, I don’t like taking any medication. But I also don’t like letting my emotions hold me hostage.

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  7. Yesterday I was looking for Hamesha on Einthusan but instead I found Aarzoo and I watched it because I remembered that somebody wrote good things about this film. It was fun. Not a good movie at all but fun. It belongs to my favourite sub-genere “movies so delayed you can see different hairstyle in every scene”. I read Akshay was the reason of the delay and that his voice was dubbed by someone else in some scenes and it’s true. Being honest those are 2 the best moments for me because the voice they use is a lot higher than Akshay’s voice and it’s so funny (especially because it changes in the most emotional scenes and you really don’t see it coming) .
    I wish I saw this film earlier, when I was Akki’s fan, because he looks so good and there is also a super sexy song with whipped cream, bath tub and shower. A must watch song 😉

    Aarzoo put me in a good mood and I felt ready to finish kannada super hit Mungaru Male. I started it last year but didn’t like it. Today I finally finished it, and OMG this movie.I understand it was special in 2006, but it didn’t age well. I only knew it’s a tragic love story and I kept guessing what will happen: Will they die? Somebody will be sick? There will be flood and one of them will die? Spoilers:
    Only the hare dies.

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    • You are so bloodthirsty, wanting true tragedy in your romances. On the other hand, it is Mirzya Day! So, enjoy remembering that movie!

      On Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 3:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • LOL.Spoilers
        It’s just because I read so much how tragic this story is and how it changed kannada industry and I thought it will be something more than “2 people love each other but are guilt tripped by the parents to not elope” (with addition of a hare who is like: OMG this hero is so melodramatic I think I gonna die, and he dies.)

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  8. last night I decided I wanted to see a Katrina Kaif movie, and discovered I had seen most of them, BUT I hadn’t seen Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, so I started watching it. Seeing her acting in the first part of the film I was impressed with what a better actress she has become in recent years. But she seemed to have a firm handle on the character by the second half. Imran was cute. It was a fun film, I’m glad I saw it. The I love you response of a slap was a fantastic scene.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awe! Mere Brother Ki Dulhan was one of my favorite early Katrina movies. Yes, she has become a wonderful actress over the years but I loved her spontaneity and spunk in that movie. She just seemed to
      be having so much fun!

      Liked by 2 people

        • I haven’t finished it. The way it was shot felt so cheap for me, and it was also too scary.
          It starts with a pair who was doing their buisness at home, and suddenly the guy sees a light in the basement and obviously, like in every horror movie, he goes there and is killed. I saw this scene in the afternoon, it was scary but I didn’t think much about it. But at 2 a.m my husband woke me up saying: hey, why are all the lights on in the living room? And I was like: OMG it’s just like in this movie, there must be a killer there. And couldn’t sleep for a long time.

          Liked by 1 person

    • You learn something new everyday. For instance, this movie taught me that tigers are on the loose in the woods around Seattle! Deer, yes. Grizzly bears, yes. Tigers? Oh my. (So happy the wild t-rex didn’t eliminate them.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Several of my kids went off to college with special lamps to help prevent SAD. When we moved from CA to TX, my kids’ schools went from outdoor oriented (all doors opened to the outside) to indoor oriented (all doors entered into dark hallways). My oldest was beside herself. It was hard to watch. She ate lunch outside for 4 years, regardless of weather. She got the first special college UV light!
    Just finished reading Tuk-Tuk for Two and now I want to embark on the official Rickshaw Run. Not sure where I’d stash my wheelchair … 🤔
    Watched Aiyyaa on the plane back from Florida. I’m still not sure what I think of it, although I am now a Prithviraj fan! Also, it must suck being so petite that people call you fat at 123 lbs. Poor Rani. But damn, can she dance.
    Any idea where to find Tere Bin Laden? The second seems available, but not the first.

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    • I never had a problem with SAD! All my life! And then I hit 30 and suddenly I did. NOT FAIR.

      Yaaaaaaay, Aiyyaa! It is generally adored here on DCIB, although we also hate the comedy track with her brother and co-worker. And so long as you love Prithviraj, you got the gist of it 🙂

      Tere Bin Laden is brilliant, I think it is on einthusan if you can’t get it anywhere else. I remember it is hard to find, I ended up buying a DVD.

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        • Well, I love the movie! So my answer would be “yes”, but you’ll have to decide on your own. Oh, and check ebay. They have international sellers, so I have the best luck there both with price and availability.

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  10. I started watching Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani and understood why you dislike Ranbir so much. I didn’t finish. And then I started watching Golmaal Returns, but decided I just can’t return to my teenage years, or even my 20s, so nothing was funny. And for some reason Netflix recommended the Wedding Planner, which I had never seen. So I watched it, the whole thing. In the middle the fake Italian dude says he wants three boys and garden with tomatoes which I have provided my husband. And pretty much the movie was worth it for that.

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    • Ranbir always has such a “look at me! look at me!” feeling to him.

      Agree about Golmaal! I very much enjoyed the last one, because I saw it in theaters with a friend I have known since I was 23 and we both got the giggles and basically returned to our early 20s. It was GREAT!

      You mean The Wedding Planner with J.Lo, right? my problem with that movie (and maybe you share it), is that her arranged marriage dude seems so great! And their little registry wedding seems so great! I want a movie about her fantasizing about someone else, realizing he’s kind of lame and unreliable, and then going back to arranged marriage dude.

      On Fri, Oct 9, 2020 at 10:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • My problem with The Wedding Planner was that I don’t like Matthew McConoughy (however you spell it). And the Italian dude was better, but he wasn’t really that great. 1. He was playing a stereotype. 2. He didn’t seem to have a passion or interest outside of her. 3. Best to marry someone employed, it is useful to have a way to earn money when starting a new life. 4. He was willing to marry her even though he didn’t know her. But he was cute. He and the Matthew McCon… are cute, but I don’t like watching that kind of white scrubbed all American face on screen. Perhaps because I am literally surrounded with it every day; on screen, I want dark & handsome. But anyway, three boys and a tomato garden = I AM A LIVING STEREOTYPE.

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        • I think I read a review of The Wedding Planner, maybe from Ebert, where he said it was one of those movies where you wanted the two women of the love triangle to get together more than any of the men. Not necessarily in a gay way, just they were both sooooooooooooo much more interesting and together and worthwhile than the dudes.

          On Sat, Oct 10, 2020 at 2:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

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