Give Me Hindi Film 101 Ideas!

I’m in the mood to write something analytical and complicated and stuff, I just can’t think of a topic. Help!

Any famous movie person you want a biography of?

Any topic of Indian culture/history?

Any question about anything at all that you are curious about?

Please, give me suggestions!

31 thoughts on “Give Me Hindi Film 101 Ideas!

  1. First of all happy to read you in a mood that has nothing to do with election stress (and anxiety)…
    101…I love all your 101s…a suggestion??? “SRK – (self-)deconstruction of a mega-superstar while maintaining the brand-value”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe you’ve already done something along these lines and I just haven’t dug far enough into your archive, but I was fascinated in your book where you cover the 1910s and 1920s of the early beginnings of cinema in India. So maybe that’s an idea

    I am also interested in what kinds of movies flew just under the censorship radar in the 40s, 50s, and 60s that allowed for what *appears* to be greater freedom in movies made in the 70s, 80s, and then the seeming explosion in the 90s of far less censored movies. I know part of it is just changing cultural attitudes, but movies are how a culture talks to itself about itself….which brings me to the “what kinds of movies were made that were just toned-down enough to make it past the censor but still told or asked the questions that were normally censored.”

    Think the SRK/Letterman interview where he briefly talks about the “flowers bapping against each other instead of showing a kiss,” bit, to illustrate what kinds of movies he watched growing up vs the movies he’s made and the topics they cover/traditions they show or push against.

    Like

    • The fascinating thing with Indian censorship is that it isn’t a matter of things being more or less censored, just different areas being censored. So the political stuff is far FAR more censored now than ever before. But you can show sex onscreen.

      Anyway, thanks for the suggestion!

      On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 9:11 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not really that some movies happened that wouldn’t otherwise happen or stuff you can point to happened that doesn’t now, it’s more than the tone and content was so radically different that it’s sometimes almost entirely incompatible with current norms. This is how they end up cutting huge parts and then also blurring things for TV so the movie doesn’t make sense anymore, and basically no movie from the 70s can be shown uncut on TV. Like if you compare G rated 70s movies in the US with G rated movies now.

      That said, there’s been some INSANE stuff I can point to like that phase a few years back where they blurred all cleavage on women visible above their shirts, as well as the breasts of STATUES OF WOMEN, no matter how stylised.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been very curious about the role of alcohol in Indian society. I recognize that it plays a different role in different parts of India, but it seems to play a huge role in so many Indian films. I was reading a Gary Snyder Reader that had bits about his travels to India in the 60s, when alcohol was nasty, expensive, and almost non-existent. And I keep thinking of Ram Jaane, and SRK’s drunken dance and all the other drunken escapades I’ve seen on film. I don’t know how real what I see on film is. And if it is real, how did it go from expensive nearly non-existent alcohol to overconsumption. Or is any consumption over consumption (as my deceased grandmother felt). And yet even if there is regular over consumption (a big IF) there are very clearly gender rules about alcohol consumption. I’ve only remember seeing one drunk female in an Indian film, and her drink was secretly spiked.

    Like

    • Hmm. Well, I can give you the quick and dirty answer. There’s always alcohol around, there’s the rich people who can afford the imported stuff, and then there’s the “country liquor” which is extremely potent and potentially deadly which can be drunk by the common man. Not drinking is generally considered in the same realm as being vegetarian for Hindus or keeping strict Halal for Muslims. It’s good for both communities, but not everyone follows it by a long shot.

      But of course women are held to a much much higher standard so a “good” woman wouldn’t drink, even if a “good” man still will. Oh, and the other part of this, especially in older movies, the “country” liquor is way WAY stronger than what we think of as regular alcohol. So the comic bits or whatever where someone becomes falling down drunk after one drink could be true.

      On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 3:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 2 people

        • We’ve mostly forgotten about it in the US but part of the issues with Prohibition back in the 20s was that people turned to home made alcohol (moonshine!) and while it is easy to make something that is alcohol there is a certain finesse required to make sure it isn’t just pure methanol or too high of concentrations of methanol. There was also no testing or restrictions on the alcohol content of non-toxic alcohol, so it was usually REALLY strong even if it was save to drink. Alcohol that is good to drink is ethanol, or as my sister calls it “drinking alcohol.” Methanol is called “wood alcohol” a lot, and then you have rubbing alcohol which is isopropanol/isopropyl alcohol. Neither methanol nor isopropyl alcohol are good to drink — methanol is really really toxic and can lead to blindness, extreme pain, etc.

          Like

      • This was all addressed so well in Raaes. Before that, I had no idea that Gujaraat was a dry state. It’s fascinating to watch ‘crimes’ being created that allow for war and jailing and gangs etc., while across the street, it’s legal and none of that exists.

        Then you have the problem of poor people with wives and kids spending what little cash they have on alcohol, and then going home in a bad mood to his starving wife and kids and beating them because his life sucks and he can. Temperance movement are always aimed at altering that behavior, and while it’s a noble pursuit, it just seems to make things worse.

        Like

        • Here’s another thing, alcohol has such huge taxes that people go to Gujurat to buy bootleg drink because it is cheaper/easier than getting it legal elsewhere. So the bootleg business in Gujurat is a huge moneymaker for the state, it’s not that it is replacing legal Gujurat liquor, it’s drawing people in from elsewhere.

          But the other side of that would be, if alcohol is so expense that people will buy it bootleg, then I suspect there are loads of folks buying unregulated liquor just because it is cheap. So the same toxic too strong stuff that makes the risks so much higher.

          On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 12:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

          • We use to buy 151 grain alcohol to use on fire ant mounds in the lawn. You can’t get it in California, but you can get it in Texas! Recently, my brother said they had a patient who checked in to the VA for alcohol abuse. They left her alone and she CONSUMED ALL THE HAND SANITIZER on the floor!!

            Like

  4. I am getting to be obsessed with character actors! I have this recurring experience when I see someone in a film and spend half the movie thinking “where have I seen them before” before realizing the answer is EVERYWHERE!

    Like

  5. I would love something like a family tree or Class Of yearbook type-of thing. I start getting in the weeds with a lot of the names, their nicknames, and when/where they were relevant. (‘Cause a lot of the southern cinema films and stars have been very influential in Hindi cinema, too.)

    Like

    • Oh, I feel like I had this! But maybe I never broke it down by decade? I should totally do that, list out who matters decade by decade and how they are related.

      On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 11:51 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, here’s something for discussion that’s not really political – but rather a cultural and religious observance;
    The US mailed out ballots this year, and it occurred to me that part of the good thing about voting in person is that it is anonymous, and that it’s just you, your ballot, and your ideals there at that moment. Ballots at home – well that’s another thing entirely. What worries me is that many NRI families (or really any minority family in the US) don’t necessarily change their cultural views on women and heads of household and such. So you’ve got big families living together, and the one old man in charge gets to take away the voice of (probably) the women in the family.
    What say you? Worth considering?

    Like

    • Oh definitely! This also relates to movies directly. The big family groups go to the movies together, and the power flows down. So all the stupid macho movies get good box office because the head of the household gets to decide what everyone watches.

      On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 12:07 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  7. Oh I saw this but didn’t want to write down an off-the-cuff idea. I was wondering if it may be possible to do a Hindi Film Siblings 101? Like, how siblings are portrayed in Hindi film and their relationship and what they expect and what we expect?

    Like

    • Hmm, maybe! I feel like I did something similar at some point, but I don’t think it was a 101 post, maybe just a long comment or something?

      On Mon, Nov 16, 2020 at 11:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.