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

Happy Wednesday!!! I have FIVE work calls scheduled today!!! First one in 10 minutes, so I gotta write this thing up FAST.

I’ll start!

Reading: I left my copy of Ronia at my apartment, so instead I skipped a week and binged Shards of Honor of the past two days. SO GOOD!!! Like, legitimately well-written, really romantic wonderful dialogue, plus it gets you all involved in the fictional universe. And now I will switch gears to Ronia for this Sunday,

Watching: My parents and I have officially switched to Poirot. My Mom is asleep within 15 minutes, and then wakes up and Dad and I tell her who the killer is. It’s the perfect evening activity. Oh, and we are also watching Dr. Pol on Disney, which is a country vet show, and is really harsh, but in a way that I think is good. People should know what farming is like. Animals die, it’s about the profit margin, and sometimes bad things happen.

Thinking: I think there might be a lowkey COVID outbreak at Starbucks? Which is SUPER inconvenient for me! I went to the Starbucks drive through by my parents and there was a massive line, like crossing into the intersection kind of line. It finally started moving really fast, and then I got to the speaker thing and it wasn’t turned on, so I pulled around to the window and there was a printed sign saying “closed for 2 weeks, sorry”. So I gave up and went to the other Starbucks between my parents’ place and mine, and SAME THING. There’s nothing on the website, and some other farther away locations in my area are open, so my guess is these two Starbuckses shared a staff member who tested positive and now they both have to close for 2 weeks. Which is a good responsible thing to do, blah blah blah, but MY COFFEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Listening: This popped up on my ipod and now all I can think about is how awesome Ranveer would be playing Sky Masterson opposite Deepika:

Now, QUESTION: Do we believe the Aamir news and, if so, should I do an Aamir theme week?

Follow up question: It’s Emraan Hashmi’s birthday! In your mind, hot or not?

I’m a “hot in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, nowhere else” person

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

  1. I am reading the John Meacham book about John Lewis, which is both inspiring and depressing.

    I am rererewatching Sudani from Nigeria because I got volunteered to lead a discussion of a film of my choice for the international film club here. We meet on Zoom.

    I am thinking about discussion questions! I picked this film because it is short (barely 2 hours), and although I was encouraged to pick something “typically Indian” for this group, which has not seem many Indian movies, I decided to throw them a curve ball. So the discussion will probably start with a question about what they expected.

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    • Oh, what a fun movie to watch and discuss! And of course the only question I can think of is “has anyone heard of this kind of soccer? Can you explain it to me?”

      On Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 8:42 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • That’s such a great pick for film club. Does your international film club tend toward artistic and depressing movies? I once popped into an international film series a library was presenting in a town where we were staying on vacation, and their Spanish language selection was a gutwrenching, tragic story about government killings. All I could think was that if this is what people think international film is, it’s no wonder they don’t watch more of it.

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      • When I was growing up, we had a little local international film festival, which was jokingly referred to as “Suicide on a Sunday Afternoon”. SO DEPRESSING. Although it’s also how I saw Lagaan on the big screen.

        On Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 1:10 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Reading-finished Mricchakatikam.I had seen the 1984 film Utsav based on it,but the play seems much more relaxed and something that would have appealed to the people in 500 CE after a day of hard work.
    Watching-took a break from movies,revisited the YouTube videos of the OGs.
    Thinking about jamdani sarees,Dhakai muslin and the belief that saree is a ‘ladies’ garment.I wish that more men could wear a saree in public,because who doesn’t want to strut around wearing all the nine yards being judged.Forget about wearing,even the shopkeepers shoot daggers with their glares if they sense that we are buying it for ourselves.
    Emraan Hashmi is not hot.Not at all.His hotness is an oppressive social construct.He was hot once upon a time in Mumbai-when his air conditioners stopped working due to a power outrage.

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  3. Well I started watching Badal, and am at one point wondering how the censors allowed it, and at the same time noticing that Bobby is not the only bad actor in the movie. It is not Rani’s best performance.

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  4. I have a week of rewatches . It’s so unlike me.
    I rewatched 96 and it’s still the best movie ever. I have seen kannada and telugu versions some time ago and they never moved me like the original but I didn’t know why. I thought it’s because I know the story by heart and can’t feel it like I did for the first time. But now after having seen 96 again I know what’s the problem – Ganesh and Sharwanand are not Vijay Seehupathi. They aren’t even close to him. I know this script by heart but still I melted like a butter on a hot toast everytime Vijay was looking at Trisha. And it’s like every 2 minutes! And isn’t Vijay in the climax scene the sexiest man? For me definitely.

    I’m also rewatching Luca and I started Bandish Bandits yesterday. It’s very “serial’y”, but the music is great. I’m obsessed with this song now. Shankar Mahadevan’s voice is a gift from God. I have goosebumbs everytime I listen to it.

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    • Thank goodness! If you didn’t slow down, you would have gone so far beyond me in movie watching that I could never catch up.

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          • I just realized that longing gazes are what makes a movie good or bad for me e.g there are some movies that aren’t good, to put it mildly, and nobody loves them but I do because a hero or heroine are good in this loving gazes (all Unni Mukundan movies for example).

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          • Oh oh! Have you seen the 2000s Pride and Prejudice?

            On Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 5:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Just started Bandish Bandits too. It’s sweet. Some goud longing gazes yes, though it’s got nothing on a Pakistani series in that category.

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  5. Reading: ‘Clytemnestra: The Mother’s Blade’ a self-published novel that is top quality. But dark in themes–it’s based on Greek Mythology so it’s expected–and last of the ‘The Tapestry of Bronze’ series.

    Watching: Music videos and Babylon Berlin and watched the two new documentaries Netflix put out about the college admission scandal and the one crime in Belgium.

    Thinking: I have SO MUCH writing to do…

    On happier news, Anil is being the PERFECT HUSBAND once again! He is so sweet!

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    • You know what’s hilarious? I watch all these true crime shows about serial killers and kidnappings and stuff, and then the college admission scandal one popped up, and I thought “oh no, too real! Can’t handle it!!!” I guess that’s the same theory I had before, the serial killers and things are pleasurably exciting because it is so far outside my blessed life. But college admissions? I am ALL about college admissions!!!

      And Anil is, indeed, the PERFECT husband.

      On Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 1:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. This week has not been any better for me than last. My covid test came back negative, and I got my first vaccine dose. My spring break starts in a few days. But my grandmother passed away this morning. She was 97 and lived a long, full, great life. I wasn’t extremely close to her. But death is terrible to deal with and think about, and the funeral is in a few days, and I have to take off work and tell my students, and taking time off work right before a long break is kind of frowned upon, and these are the things I’m thinking about. My students have been very nice about it from the messages they’ve sent me. I’m working on updating my happy playlist and trying to decide whether I should continue reading a book I just started that’s in the same vein as Anne Frank.

    Also finished Bridgerton. Overall enjoyed it but after Daphne did ~that~ I feel like the show itself dipped in quality, unrelated to her actions. Super predictable and melodramatic, and uninteresting. I’ll continue to watch the new seasons, but it really peaked with that sex montage and went downhill after. Still love Simon though.

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    • Oh dear Courtney! That is a hard week. I’ll also say (and this may not be true for you) that I had a super strong hormonal/emotional response to the vaccine. I felt horrible in a variety of ways for about a week, and then it was delightfully gone. So fingers crossed that is part of your bleakness and you will wake up one day feeling soooooooooo much better.

      On Wed, Mar 24, 2021 at 4:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Which one did you get? I got Pfizer and so far the only symptom has been arm pain for a lot longer than I expected. Nothing emotional besides the usual stuff. My brain right now is mostly the same kind of bleak that it was when my grandpa died years ago. Just general funk, no hardcore emotional response (yet). At least tomorrow is quiz day in all my classes, and Friday is the funeral so I take off work and don’t actually have to be on my game at my job.

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        • I got Johnson and Johnson. What I found mentioned online was that part of the female body’s response to vaccinations is to generate a lot of extra estrogen to fight it. And then you get into the issue of some women have a really strong emotional response to estrogen and some don’t. I do, and BOY did I go nutty the week after my vaccine!!!!

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  7. Watching: I haven’t been watching much, I’m kind of in a watching funk after finishing Peaky Blinders. Nothing seems that interesting. Though tonight I did just start Patriot with my husband on a couple of friends’ recommendations and it seems promising. I didn’t want to watch it because it looked like another Americans in the Middle East Homeland kind of thing, but it’s more like dark comedy where the tough guy keeps doing the wrong thing because the intelligence agency is bungling everything, but he’s the only one who knows it’s them, not him. It’s a whole show of him being gaslit and concern trolled, partly by his dad who’s his boss and his brother who has the cushy political job. Oh, and he writes indie-style folk songs about all his jobs gone wrong, which is, you know, kind of frowned on in intelligence.

    Then just now watched the first two episodes of Bandish Bandits, which is nice, and a relief because there’s still a movie void and I’m sick of reality shows. Things I like: the leads are fine, and very pretty. (Ritwik Bhowmik’s bone structure is in the same league as Cillian Murphy’s.) Naseeruddin plays a character kind of like in OK Jaane but where he’s the one who’s the venerated singer. Atul Kulkarni is his son, Ritwik is his grandson, good family drama where the sons tried and failed to love up to Naseeruddin’s expectations, and now the grandson is trying, but meanwhile Atul is barely keeping the family afloat with his boring job and Ritwik pursuing music means he’s not helping. The girl, Shreya Chaudhary, is a bad girl pop singer. She also has a loving father. The sparks between her and Ritwik work because he’s cloistered and virginal and has never encountered anyone like her before, while she thinks he’s cute and loves his voice and does most of the pursuing.

    Reading: the good thing about being in a watching funk is I’ve made a big dent in the very long book I’ve been trying to finish for a year. Maybe I will get through it and finally move on to the good stuff in my TBR pile.

    Oh man, Guys and Dolls is my sweet spot, that was my senior year high school musical. I can see Ranveer and Deepika as Sky and Sarah. How about Rajkummar Rao as Nathan and Bhumi Pednekar as Adelaide?

    I leave you with this version of If I Had a Bell that made me now down to Sarah Vaughan, because man, it did not sound like this in our little student production.

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    • Years ago, I read a thing about Sarah Vaughan which I always think of when I hear her. She was one of the few singers where musicians didn’t mind when she didn’t sing the notes. That is, she would lag ahead or behind, or repeat, but it was like she was using her voice as another instrument weaving in with the music, not like she was making a “mistake”. It’s so true! She always futzes with the song that way, and yet it somehow sounds better and more “right” than the “right” way.

      So long as we are talking Guys and Dolls, in my family it is the “More I Could Not Wish You” song and that sweet sweet old character that breaks the heart. If we have Dips and Ranveer, who plays Dips loving understanding father figure? Naseerji maybe? I feel like he could wring your heart in the right way.

      Sounds like Bandish Bandits is one of those shows that has a great concept and great ingredients but somehow doesn’t quite live up to them. I’m not getting a Made in Heaven “this is the best thing I have seen in my life” vibe from you.

      I am maybe another month out from wanting to watch fiction shows again. It’s just so HARD!!! And such a COMMITMENT!!! My True Crime shows, all the stories go start to finish in one episode, and I never have to think about how it is building a narrative because it’s just reality. Anyway, in a month when I am ready for fiction again, I will come to you for advice.

      On Thu, Mar 25, 2021 at 12:16 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Not the best thing I’ve ever seen but nice. (At least so far. Feel like I keep getting burned by streaming shows that lose momentum or go off the rails in the second half, or leave us with a totally unresolved ending in hopes of a second season.) Made in Heaven is a very high bar to measure against. Bandish Bandits has a good premise and character set up, interesting setting (Jodphur), strong supporting performances. If I were to put my finger on how it falls short of MIH, I’d say the acting of the two leads is not up to the level of the MIH lead quartet Arjun, Sobhita, Jim, and Kalki, and the central conflict feels a little smaller and lower stakes than the class and legal equality issues MIH grapples with. The central conflict in BB is set up as tradition vs. modernity, which is interesting, and music is a good field for this to play out because there is real cultural value to the sacred classical music tradition (in which I am largely ignorant and hopefully not tripping any landmines) even as there are aspects of it that are rigid and exclusionary, at the same time that the modern pop music scene also has value while not being clearly superior, either morally or artistically.

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  8. I just saw that hindi dubbed version of World Famous Lover has over 100 million views on youtube ! And it was uploaded only one month ago!

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