Saturday Small Talk: Coolie No. 1 Trailer! And I’m Putting Up a Christmas Tree

Happy Saturday! I’m gonna walk the dog, and then get fancy drive through coffee, and then go pick up my LIVE Christmas tree. Normally I do fake trees, but I am hosting this year, plus it just seems nice to have a live tree sometimes.

Things to talk about!

Coolie No. 1 trailer!

The first thing I notice about this trailer is that it is assuming I have already seen the original and can predict the plot. But, I haven’t seen the original. So I have no idea what is happening.

Also, the sex jokes seem kind of creepy, and I continue to like Sara Ali Khan, and Varun doesn’t dance enough.

Not much else to talk about today. Well, we can always discuss Fake versus Real trees, what is your preference?

In theory, I prefer real. But in practice, living in a third floor walk up, it is just not viable. That’s part of the reason I did my massive back killing furniture clear out two weeks ago, to make space for a nice tree this year. I’m getting one in a pot, and planning to put it out on the back porch once Christmas is over and plant it somewhere in the spring. Doesn’t that sound nice?

40 thoughts on “Saturday Small Talk: Coolie No. 1 Trailer! And I’m Putting Up a Christmas Tree

  1. I love real trees,but prefer to have it outside all the time in the porch(even if it is small enough to fit inside),as I don’t trust the kitchen exhaust system.
    I have read that Christmas trees grow well in cool,humid conditions.Surprisingly our cute little Christmas ‘tree’ remains stunted at two feet despite all the grooming,while we have a Christmas tree at our village home(a rather hot place)and it is just short of two and a half metres despite little scientific care.It is fascinating to have a real one,as it has such a different speed of growth than the tropical plants I grew up with,and at least I never understand what it actually wants.
    So is a Christmas tree decorated up a month in advance?That’s probably a good idea,as here I end up breaking my back doing everything at the last minute before Diwali(don’t trust movie songs,there is a lot of screaming and cursing involved in making a “family” rangoli!Not as pretty as shown).

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    • I haven’t done a real one in a pot before, I’m excited! We always did real ones that were cut when I was a kid. I know the Christmas tree farms have a good turn over rate though, I think it might only take them 2-3 years to get a tree to full height? But that is with agricultural magic, no idea how they do it.

      Christmas in America has no rules! The traditional German Christmas (the way my grandparents grew up doing it) does the tree and decorating and everything just for Christmas Eve. But that is exhausting, just like your Diwali memories, so once Christmas got to be a big thing, it was normal to start decorating the tree in advance so it is less of a last minute rush. Thanksgiving is usually the start of the Christmas season here, but I saw decorations and trees going up in advance in some households around me (you can see the trees through the windows). It’s a sign of the national mood really, when folks are depressed (like this year with the quarantine), decorations go up early and stay up late. When everything is calm and busy and normal, decorations go up after Thanksgiving and come down before New Years.

      In my family, everything is unconsciously based on my uncle’s birthday 🙂 His birthday is Dec 20, and when my Mom was growing up their rule was that Christmas didn’t start until his birthday was over. So my Mom still kind of had it in her head that Christmas trees and things were all last minute and that’s how we always did things when I was a kid. But I LOOOOOVE Christmas, so now that I have control of my own decorations, I put them up ASAP. Usually Thanksgiving weekend just because it is a 4 day weekend so I can get it all done in one go.

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  2. Real, because I like the smell. But I admit some real ones don’t smell. The prettiest ones don’t smell. My in-laws live on 300 acres covered in pine, aspen, and juniper. The forest service wants them to clear the pine and juniper away from the aspen, so we have guilt free access to live trees. The best smelling and prettiest trees are the young juniper, BUT they are also the most painful, scratchy and sticky even if you just brush past them. I would go for it anyway because I love the smell, but spouse says no. We’re going up to get our tree today, get to see the in-laws masked and outside for the first time in two months. It’s my husband’s birthday, so he’ll get to pick the tree.

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    • Oh right, you are an all December birthday’s family!!!! Is your husband the first of them? And does that mean he gets to pick the tree every year?

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      • I talked myself out of a grouchy WE ARE NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN funk yesterday by comparing getting a Christmas Tree at Grandpa’s to an arranged marriage. The family falls in love with a tree, and Grandpa rejects it. Grandpa wants you to pick a tree out of this one are near the house full of 50 ft to 100 ft trees. (He says cut it down and just take the top, but he is an eternal optimist thus doesn’t see the need for bigger saws and such for actual logging operations, paradoxically, after two strokes, he is very fond of saying no. I understand the desire for control.) So the chainsaw is like the dowry for one of those 100 foot trees, you just don’t have it. And the family is crying because they really want to take home their first love. But eventually, after much discussion and wandering and stress, and pretending everything is fine when it really isn’t, an acceptable tree is found. Acceptable because standards are low, and it doesn’t require the dowry of a different chainsaw, but is in EXACTLY the spot grandpa wants trees cut so he can’t reject it. The tree leaves its family and enters our house like a bride, and the children decorate it and give it water. And it looks okay, though its tall height and box top mean the star we have to put on top isn’t really gonna fit, but here it is anyway, and it is kinda nice to have a forest in the living room.

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        • Well, now I am in a grouchy “we are never doing this again” funk just from hearing your description!!!! Oh my gosh, this sounds so horrible. We had a hard enough time picking out a tree just me and my sister and my Dad (my Mom refused to go with us. Because it’s 3 hours of wandering around in the cold having never ending arguments. Also, pumpkin shopping for Halloween), I can’t imagine adding in a whole other generation to the equation of decision making. UGH!!!!!

          Oh well, you will “adjust” and learn to love it, right? That’s what all the movies say.

          On Sun, Nov 29, 2020 at 10:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

  3. I could tell you the plot, but I won’t, because you have to watch it and suffer with me.

    Wow, I’m so glad they chose to keep the racism and the unbearably annoying voice Govinda did as the brother. Honestly surprised they didn’t choose to keep the Shakti Kapoor disability minstrel show too.

    The dancing is hilariously clumsy and simple compared to the original, and the songs were the only good thing about that whole movie. I tried to rewatch it so I could complain more about the remake but I never make it past the twenty minute mark. I only made it through the first watch because I spaced it out in half hours over a week.

    Real trees! They smell lovely.

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    • I say the songs are the only good thing about the movie, but they are actually only good on their own because only two are actually integral to the movie, and that always annoys me too. So everyone should just watch the songs and throw that whole movie into the trash forever.

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          • Oh yeah he’s great and also weirdly attractive as a woman. This is how I fell in love with him, because in Aunty no. 1 and other stuff he mimics stereotypical female dance moves so well. There’s a drag song from a movie he did in the 80s when he looked prettier where I didn’t even realise it was him at first, I thought it was some random female dancer.

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          • I watched the original this weekend and made a gif. Well, I made a lot of gifs but this is one of the better ones.

            I thought the movie was a lot of fun but my expectations going in were pretty low. Nothing made sense but Govinda and Karishma were fire together and everything else was fine.

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      • So, your advice related to this Coolie No. 1 remake is to not watch the remake, not watch the songs of the remake, not watch the original, but just watch the songs of the original and call it a day?

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        • Yeah, though maybe one or two of the new songs will be fun because they did them differently. Doing the same choreography is a huge mistake, so they might not do it for all songs.

          There might be some funny scenes in the remake, I don’t know. They have to fill up the 50 minutes of Shakti Kapoor content with something.

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          • I don’t know if this makes it better or worse than Judwaa. I don’t know about you, but I found the original Judwaa a total BLAST. Every song was good, every actor was having a great time, and it really committed to the insanity of things. While also being less regressive and objectionable than the remake. Having a good option and then seeing the mess of the remake was so depressing. But is that worse than having a bad original and a worse remake?

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          • I haven’t seen it, but it’s not that weird, because the 90s were more liberal in some ways.

            I think Coolie no. 1 a weird choice for a remake now anyway, because it’s so subversive of caste standards and conservative ideas about family, that it seems like you’d get in trouble with the censors.

            There is also the chance that it’s going to be better in a lot of ways because the original seemed unscripted and like DD was just like KEEP GOING for 12 hours on everyone’s improv bits all the times and then kept literally all the footage, and he could have tightened it up a lot (probably not, knowing him).

            Anyway, I feel better about it than if it was one I liked, so hey.

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    • I thought I was the only one bothered by the stereotypical accent.They even brownfaced Varun in what appears to be a coolie scene.
      The songs were certainly the best thing about the original,and the lyrics despite making no sense were undeniably catchy.

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    • But I don’t have to watch anything any more! I am just blogging for fun now, not to amuse you all. HA!!! I’ll just wiki the plot and then put up a discussion space and make you all review the new one to each other.

      The past few years I have done fake trees and scented candles. But it’s not the same.

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  4. My expectations for Coolie are so low to the floor, they’re practically underground. Sara is gorgeous, the soundtrack sounds great, Varun is very good at comedy and you’re right, he needs to dance more. But a lot of this trailer made me uncomfortable, not even just the end with Varun crossdressing. I feel like they slipped a Jew joke in there and I can’t tell if I should be offended or not. Plus, I HATED Judwaa 2. It was so mind numbingly stupid I could physically feel myself losing brain cells. I’ll watch Coolie, purely because I love Varun and I think he and Sara are going to make a fabulous pair. But I’m super nervous for it.

    I am very excited on this Saturday because Darren Criss, one of my favorite American musicians, is hosting a live concert where the proceeds go to charity. And a book that I preordered over the summer is supposed to be delivered today, when the publication date isn’t even until Tuesday. Which I feel a little weird about being more excited for the book being delivered than the concert. And my roommate is hosting Friendsgiving with some of her college friends who are very nice. And tomorrow I get to Zoom with MY college friends because one is getting married next summer and we’re all in the bridal party and we get to talk bridesmaids dresses. This Thanksgiving weekend has been fantastic for me so far.

    And I’m Jewish so I don’t have an opinion on fake vs. real tree because I’ve never had a Christmas tree in my life.

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    • Your weekend sounds so nice! And the opposite of mine. I had a little burst of social life last week, this weekend to celebrate thanksgiving, I’m doing a nice little retreat to home. I spent Thanksgiving and most of yesterday at my parents’ reading comic books on the sofa. I don’t have any other zoom calls or anything exciting like that scheduled until next Wednesday.

      Oh, and I had friends who hosted Friendsgiving the weekend after Thanksgiving for a few years, it was great!!!! One of my favorite annual events. And then they moved to a different apartment and it didn’t work as well, but I loved it so long as it lasted.

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  5. Real vs Fake trees, I have an opinion.
    I had fake trees all my life, but every year I tell myself: next year we will buy a real tree, and we never buy it 😦 This year also, exactly today I saw the real trees in a shop and said I must buy it, but then I remembered we bought a new heater (yay! maybe I won’t suffer this winter) and maybe the tree won’t last long with this new heater.

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    • I never even thought about the heater issue and safety concerns and stuff with real trees, and now I realize it is because I grew up in an old drafty house. The tree was in front of the freezing living room windows, very unlikely it would dry out from heat, or catch fire, or anything. I’m very worried about my little real tree in my stuffy over heated hot radiator apartment.

      On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 12:28 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Wow, I have no idea what’s going on either. Varun and Sara look cute together, and the dancing is good, but I had subconsciously rejected this movie already purely on the title. Am I missing something, or is it as offensive as I think?

    I’m live tree all the way. The one time I tried to do a potted tree, when I was living in Madrid, it was dead by March anyway. I’m admittedly terrible with house plants. After that, I didn’t feel so bad about getting cut trees. I’ve learned over the years, though, that the cut trees last a max of two weeks before they get crispy, so after Thanksgiving starts the annual ritual of me trying to hold my husband back from buying a tree until it’s close enough to Christmas to last. I love the tree, though. I have a collection of ornaments I’ve gathered over the years, and the lights and decorations make me happy, and the smell transforms the house.

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    • I don’t think the title is offensive? “Coolie” would just equal “porter”, it’s the name for the job of the people who help carry luggage at train stations. This movie is a remake of a “Coolie No. 1” movie from the 90s, and Amitabh did a “coolie” movie back in the 80s, it’s a commonly used term. I think it got translated to general “manual laborer” in the British era, and then when the British started shipping people overseas to be laborers, it slowly became “thing you call all Asian people because you assume they are all manual laborers there to serve you”. But in the context of working at a train station in India, totally appropriate and not even thought of as maybe meaning anything else.

      I am also terrible with houseplants and I am very worried about my little tree! I have hope that I can keep it going until March at least, and then plant it somewhere.

      On Sat, Nov 28, 2020 at 5:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Interesting, it looks like the term “coolie” has retained much more politically and racially charged meaning in the Americas, the destination for coolies as indentured laborers who replaced slave labor after abolition. In the US it’s connected to the political debate that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, and in the Caribbean it’s still considered a racial slur. This article says there’s still some derogatory meaning attached to the word in India, but it’s one source so who knows.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolie

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        • I was reading about it and the closest comparison I can think of is the word for “black” in Spanish. If you are speaking Spanish, it literally just means “the color black”. But move it to a different context, and it is unacceptable. From what I have seen of usage in India, both in films and in real life, it has a very light derogatory meaning, the same way you might use “porter” in America, like “I’m not having my daughter marry a PORTER”. But in the proper context, it just means the job. In the case of this film, and many other films, it also truly just means the word for the people who have that job.

          On Sun, Nov 29, 2020 at 10:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I was thinking about Slumdog Millionaire in terms of the title speaking clearly about who you see as the audience of the film. The same way that title was offensive to the Indian audience who were clearly not taken into consideration when the film was named, using Coolie in the title of your film says it’s for the domestic audience and you don’t really care how it hits overseas diaspora filmgoers.

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        • As far as I can tell, that’s exactly right. It’s kind of like garbage man or something in the US, neutral or derogatory depending on context. There are a lot of plays on this in Coolie no.1 (original), and this is also why the whole title is supposed to be funny (he’s a coolie but he’s proud of it! hilarious!), and in the title song they visualise this through dance. Sounds weird but it’s true.

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          • And that’s not unique to this film. In Sadak, Sanjay Dutt has a song about being a taxi driver. And Sushant Singh Rajput had a song about being a guide in Kedernath. I know there are other examples, I’m just blanking on them. But it’s all about the working class hero being cheerfully proud of his working class job.

            On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 1:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • What makes this song interesting compared to other profession songs (besides the specifically derogatory meaning of coolie), especially from the ones in the Amitabh movie, is that it is a huge group dance of coolies, all singing about it. Instead of like, shuffling around folding their hands and shutting up, or the Govinda character being a special one that is allowed to be proud. It really beats you over the head with its point. I wonder if they’re going to do it like that in the new one, it seems so at odds with current norms.

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  7. Just saw a Netflix ad in the print NY Times for 8 movies releasing this winter, all high profile, prestige productions. One of them is White Tiger, and the ad copy says “From acclaimed screenwriter/director Ramin Bahrani” and “Introducing Adarsh Gourav, Rajkummar Rao, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas”.

    Introducing???

    Also, I really liked this book. Is there any buzz about the film?

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    • I saw the trailer but haven’t heard any buzz. Also, HA! Introducing Rajkummar!

      On Sun, Nov 29, 2020 at 10:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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