Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to on Ayushmann’s Birthday?

Happy Wednesday! My house is all in an uproar. My monthly cleaning person is coming, and I woke up early and cleared out my under-stairs closet, and I dropped my sofa slipcovers off at the dry cleaners yesterday so now I don’t have a sofa. It’s just so much muchness.

I’ll start!

Reading: Sewing directions! I promised to make my friend an Elvira dress for Halloween so as soon as she buys the fabric, I need to hit the ground running on cutting it out and sewing it up.

Watching: I’m halfway through season 2 of Bollywood Wives (no spoilers!), and I’m also watching Silent Witness, which is the MOST 1990s BBC crime show EVER. It’s all about Youth and Violence and Over Sized Sweaters. Very soothing.

Thinking: Fall stuff! I’ve got little indoor lettuce plants going, hopefully they survive. And I got all my sweaters out. Next step, putting the a/cs back in storage! But I will ramp myself up to that, because UGH.

Listening: Gosh darn it, the Brahmastra soundtrack really is great.

Question for you: Which of these things is more 90s TV: chunky oversized sweaters, woman torn between career and love, Meaningful Episodes about HIV?

I think, meaningful episodes about HIV! In a good way, we no longer need to be hit over the head to be reminded it exists, and also the treatment options are sooooooooooo much better now.

53 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to on Ayushmann’s Birthday?

  1. I have movies to report!

    Viraata Parvam -Sai Pallavi and Rana’s naxal romance. You can’t skip this one. Or better watch the first 30 minutes and quit. It starts great, with “I’m Vennella and this is my story”, then with one simple childhood scene director shows us heroine’s fervent nature. It works greatly because when later she falls in love and leave for her lover, we don’t have questions. Really excellent beginning, followed by 2 hours of great boredom. Also it was so hard for me, Polish and Catolic, watching the heroine drawing hearts next to Hammer and sickle symbol, or talking about Lenin like he was a great man.

    Sundari Gardens – this one should go to our “little known rom-coms” list. A little slow but cute and very nice, with strong heroine. Recommended. I even made a meme about it.

    Thiruchitrambalam – I already said few times that I loved it. Dhanush playing a cute guy in love – the best movie genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who was bored to death while watching Virata Parvam! I’ll usually watch anything with Sai Pallavi in it but this movie took me four days to finish. Also I went in expecting an actual love story rather than the more one sided love story of Vennela’s which annoyed me quite a bit.

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      • I also spent like 4 or 5 days to finsh it. And I had to force me to watch the last part because it felt like doing a boring homework. The movies shouldn’t be like that! I can watch good and bad films, but I just can’t stand boring.

        SPOILERS: And yes, the fact that it’s one side love story almost till the end was annoying. There should be a scene or two in which we could see he also loves her. It would make the ending better, the movie less boring and I would be happy because there is nothing better than secret loving gazes.

        But what I personally find the stupidest part was when Vennela talked with the teacher and became revolutionist all of sudden. Even Sai Pallavi couldn’t sell this scene! I’m against the violence and rebellions but even I felt offended when she declared she loves revolution.

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        • I agree, I thought they would be in love with each other but just express to each other it until the end. But I felt like there were barely any hints that Rana likes her at all. And the ending was just a shock even though I should have seen it coming.

          Btw have you seen Gargi? That was the Sai Pallavi movie and performance from this summer that I thought was amazing.

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          • I still haven’t seen it, but I will watch it soon. I always kept up to date with Sai’s movies, but then after NGK (which I started but couldn’t finish) and Paava Kadhaigal (which I’m afraid to watch) I remained a little behind.

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  2. I do vote for chunky sweats but only if they are long enough to be a dress. There’s a movie where Govinda essentially wears a sweaterdress and it’s great.

    I watched some recent(ish) movies, American and Indian (don’t ask me which because I have already forgotten) and I really, really hated their plotting. Everything is extremely boringly done and then they all rely on a twist or reveal, sometimes several.

    Like maybe if you tried to tell the story in a more interesting way you wouldn’t need a twist, have you thought of that? It’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to watch anything with a twist or reveal and not really anything I can easily divide into acts either. Acts can go die, honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. But chunky oversized sweaters and HIV messaging also feels very 80s to me, esp post 1985, when we wrote oversized sweaters with leggings every single day and twice on sundays. Even a lot of the Grunge signifiers were part of the 80s.
    So my 90s signifier would be characters with dirty/unwashed, unkempt, or unstyled hair, because in the ’80s no character existed without their hair in some style, showing some effort, even it was a simple wash and blow dry or a braid . Even a ponytail looked like you had brushed your hair first before tying it back.

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    • Oooo, yes, dirty hair! The Youth on the Streets with dirty hair. There was an episode of this show where a Youth with dirty hair LITERALLY STRANGLED SOMEONE WITH HIS LATCHKEY!!!! Because Latchkey Kids, also a 90s concern.

      On Wed, Sep 14, 2022 at 3:32 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      • Even the well-heeled characters of the pre-boy-band ’90s had stringy, piece-y, 2nd-day hair. Even the celebs did it – just look at ’90 pics of Wynonna Ryder + Johnny Depp, Kate Moss + Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt + Gwyneth Paltrow. In India, I think the South Bombay crowd had adopted the trend, but it definitely wasn’t showing up in movies yet.

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      • Recall in DDLJ, Kajol traipsing around Europe with a red flannel shirt tied around the waist of her jumper dress over a white t-shirt? Probably the first Bollywood movie where much of the fashion sense of the characters was up- to- the-minute current with fashion in the West (which would make sense since the characters grew up in the UK).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Watched: Thiruchitrambalam (I can’t wait for you to watch it, Margaret. You are going to love it!), Ek Villain (love love love!), and Awarapan (dark, well acted and very well done).

    Listening: The Ponniyin Selvan: Part 1 album. It is so highly addictive! Also, the songs of Raavanan, because they are ALSO amazing.

    Answer: The episode about HIV seems more 90s. The oversized sweaters are still a thing, and the career vs love thing is always going to be there in one form or other.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Outside of checking out Neelam’s old songs I have failed in my Indian film watching this week. Still haven’t made it through the Ranveer supports women film. BUT I watched a TON of other stuff. The highlight was honestly Love in the Villa – a cheesy netflix romance. But it was actually funny without being overly embarrassing. And BOTH lead actors were good actors! And it took place in Verona, and my memory of Verona was that the city was kinda boring (I spent a single night there in 1998), and the movie city felt true to the vibe I remembered. Boring city, but fun actors. Such a fun and happy little movie.

    I also saw and loved Mr. Right, a 2016 romcom where the lead is a hitman for hire. I don’t know what it is about hitman romances, I just love them, maybe because the suspension of disbelief is so strong it just can’t be anything but fun.

    And the family saw Red Notice with the Rock and we are eagerly awaiting its sequal. It did have a couple F-bombs though, so well, hopefully the seven year old remains behaved at school. I’m pretty sure the 10 year old swears like a 12 year old when he’s out of sight. The 13 year old NEVER swears.

    And totally – HIV story = 90s! Philadelphia in 1993!! Who can forget watching Tom Hanks die? That was a seriously unfun movie. It should have had a hitman in it. Dying Tom Hanks with a hitman lover. That would have been a much better movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I restarted Ek Villain Returns and OMG, some scenes are so romantic. I’m here , on my couch smiling and saying Awwww every 30 seconds. Who would say this movie will be so charming (only love parts of course). After Malang I doubted Mohit Suri a little but here I am again, a proud beliver. Really the love scenes remind me of Half Girlfriend and Hamari Adhuri Kahani best moments and I love how those scenes make me feel.

    https://wifflegif.com/gifs/69226-love-aww-gif

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    • Angie, my fellow Arjun fangirl! I agree that there were a couple of moments that Ek Villain Returns tried to win me over (all having to do with Arjun’s sexy grin). Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me overall, but I’ve never been a fan of romantic thrillers or thrillers in general. Still a good choice for Arjun and it wasn’t a flop so that’s good.

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      • Definitely there were some WTF moments in Ek Villain Returns but the scene when Arjun leaves the hospital and talks with Tara stole my heart. As Alia says in Brahmastra: Click. This scene goes to my hall of fame of the most romantic movie scenes (the others are Veer-Zaara moment at the bus stop when they must part ways but none of them wants to ; Ohm Shanti Oshana- when Nivin shows Nazriya the backseat on his bike ; Dia- when Dia meets his college love and learns he loved her also; Half Girlfriend – when Arjun finally finds Sharadha and they have sex or Hamari Adhuri Kahani – when Emraan “marries” Vidya with a flower)

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        • That was one of the best moments, but I also liked their first playful kiss and bedroom scene:) I also kind of liked when he was messing with her in the beginning. He would be amazing in a romance with the “bully turns love interest” trope…which usually I don’t like, but his sexual charisma definitely goes in that direction. I didn’t like in the EVR plot how he terrorized the other woman just to prove a point and win Tara’s character.

          P.S. I really need to rewatch OSS sometime soon! I think I’ve only ever seen it once. It will definitely be on my rom-com rewatch list!

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          • I must admit that seeing Arjun saying K..k..k..Kiran made me laugh, but yes the part with traumatizing a girl was bad (even worse was the decision of making it comedy). But I loved when Arjun crashed the wedding and then abandoned the bride. Excelent start of “bully is saved by the love” movie. The film would be better without the killer nonsense.

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  7. Rom-com rewatch report:
    Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani – still enjoy it a lot and it’s aging well, definitely a new classic, Ranbir at his charming best, but Deepika’s character is a little too underwritten, the scene with his step-mom at the end always gets me, Kalki is so cute in this one…wish that she got her own lead in a mainstream rom-com…don’t think she ever did?

    Chori Chori (2003) – always a sucker for the fake relationship trope and Rani and Ajay are so sexy in this, I don’t even mind the 90s cheese at times

    Tanu Weds Manu – couldn’t get through this one on the rewatch which surprised me because it was such an early fave for me when it came out…I think I’ve never completely got the Madhavan fandom and that consent scene in the beginning doesn’t help me like his character here, supporting characters are pretty great and the clothes and music are so cool, but Kangana’s off-screen antics now are influencing how I react to her on screen which stinks because she is so talented…I did really dislike the sequel for many reasons (chief among them that I thought she should have ended up with Jimmy Shergil’s character in the end which also kind of ruins the first movie for me now)

    Also tried rewatching Baar Baar Dekho recently and that also got removed from my keeper shelf…all production values and pretty faces and no story or soul

    Just started rewatching Anjaana Anjaani – I do like an unusual rom-com and this one definitely has some dark humor and much more serious moments, but the dark subject matter in the beginning actually makes the HEA much more earned in the end, Priyanka and Ranbir do have great chemistry (also love a good male virgin trope!), I think if the viewer can get past the sometimes too flippant/superficial treatment of suicide and mental health an, there is actually a really solid and interesting rom-com moments here, also they both are styled really well and all of the US locations look great, too, and it’s just fun to see Bollywood starts in US settings on screen, forgot that it is very much a winter/holiday romance, too; the premise of this one also reminds me of one of my favorite German films Gegen die Wand (Head On) – that one is a bit darker but does start with two suicidal people falling in love and there’s a HEA in that one, too, if I recall, pretty sure that the story idea came was borrowed from this German film in the same way that Befikre borrowed from the French film Love Me If You Dare

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    • Aw, I liked Baar Baar Dekho better on the last watch than on my first one! now you have me questioning myself.

      Also questioning if it’s time I finally get around to watching Anjaana Anjaani,

      On Fri, Sep 16, 2022 at 8:19 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • I was surprised about not enjoying Baar Baar Dekho the second time because I am certainly predisposed to like both Katrina and Sid, but this was certainly a case of wooden performances from both of them. The movie looks great and Kat wears one of my favorite outfits ever in the party scene. Bummer that it didn’t do well and didn’t age well for me, because it really did try to do some cool things with the storytelling.

        OMG, I forgot that you haven’t seen Anjaana Anjaani! It’s such a weird but satisfying movie, sometimes it feels really 90s and then sometimes it feels super modern. Ranbir is doing nothing different than he usually does, but his charisma works here just fine, but Priyanka (who I’m usually lukewarm on) really sells her part. And there are a couple of super sexy moments, too. I challenge you to watch it after your current homework assignments! I would totally participate in a watch-a-long of that one, too:)

        I just finished rewatching Raabta. Definitely doesn’t qualify for my rom-com list (too much blood and murder), but I still love it as an epic romance story. SSR’s manic magnetism comes across here and you can’t help but project his real mental health struggles on to his performance, but he is totally fascinating to watch (the shirtless scenes help, too). When I think about my favorite Indian actresses of all time, Rani Anushka, and Parineeti immediately come to mind, but more and more Kriti Sanon’s name pops into my head, too. I probably won’t ever see a lot of her Tiger or mass films like Housefull, but I’ve been so impressed with her acting and presence in Mimi, Raabta, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Luka Chuppi, and Panipat. The last was underrated for sure (and not just because I love Arjun…they had some very believable chemistry in that one).

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        • Also just finished the rewatch of Break Ke Baad. My rewatching project has literally become watching every Indian DVD I have and then deciding whether or not to keep it (as well as making my top rom-com list). The librarian in me has wanted to deaccession all of the stuff in my apartment lately. Break Ke Baad didn’t make the cut. The rare Imran Khan film where he couldn’t get by on his innate charm and he didn’t have great chemistry with Deepika…just platonic energy. Also I thought both he and her mom were super manipulative and cruel about her acting dream and her need for a little freedom. It has a couple of interesting moments but goes on my thrift shop mountain.

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          • Rewatching 2 States right now. This of course will make my list. Just a really well done film all around. Another modern rom-com classic.

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          • Break Ke Baad was one of my favorites when I first got into Hindi movies when I was in high school. I haven’t watched it again since but maybe I should because I don’t even remember the fact that Deepika wanted to become an actress.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Even more movies to report! I think I rewatched about over ten movies this weekend, almost done with my rom-com DVDs…

    Dil Bole Hadippa! – hasn’t aged as well, while both Rani and Shahid look great and the songs and YRF kitsch are all there in full force, I thought execution was pretty juvenile…still makes the list but just barely

    Ki & Ka – still interesting as a much needed gender flip rom-com, but it felt very one-note on the rewatch and the train scenes and Segway haven’t aged as well…I do love Arjun and their chemistry is very natural if not fiery, but I almost think this is one I would have wanted someone else opposite Kareena, maybe Ayushmann or Rajkumar

    Cocktail – Deepika’s performance is still the most compelling and the comedy still works, both Dimple and Boman were great, I liked the actual romance slightly better on the rewatch, filmed and directed beautifully

    Aisha – a quick fast forwarded rewatch for ranking purposes on my rom-com list…it will stay on my keeper shelf because of the Austen/Clueless connection and because I do like Sonam, but the lackluster direction and low production values really annoy me in this at times…very silly and it could have been so much better

    DDLJ – you’re not going to believe this, but I haven’t seen this since I saw it for the first time, so it was like watching it for the first time again…movies like this one and KKHH are hard for me to fall into the romance of it, because I’m watching it through the lens of a “classic”, it really is a beautiful and fun film (I had forgotten that Karan’s role was actually quite big), loved Simran’s mom and sister and had forgotten about them

    Last night after watching these five, I was at a loss on how to cap off my marathon weekend, but I realized that I hadn’t yet rewatched Manmarziyaan for my list (does this even qualify as comedy? definitely more of a dramedy/drama) Anyway, this might have been only my second time all the way through and, wow, did this movie surpass my already very positive memory of it, this is the kind of movie where I’m just in awe and jealous of the filmmakers and the actors for having told this story. I hope it continues to age well (it seems to come up a lot as an underrated film). It is currently at the top of my rankings.

    So today I am listening to the Manmarziyaan music on repeat!

    P.S. I never said what reminds me of the 90s the most, but when you said chunky sweaters, I immediately thought of My So Called Life and Claire Danes’ fashion in that show!

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    • YES! Give me the Manmarziyann love! It’s just so SO good.

      Also, once you finish this mammoth project, I’m totally stealing your “keepers” list and using it for a brackets challenge ๐Ÿ™‚

      On Mon, Sep 19, 2022 at 8:30 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • That would be awesome! Here’s a preview of the rankings (and they are listed in order from most favorite to still pretty fun for mostly nostalgic reasons). I’m on the home stretch (and remember this is really just 21st century with DDLJ and KKHH thrown in just because). And it is distressing lacking non-Hindi films…OSS will be added but I don’t know how many more will fit my rather strict rules of generally lighter in tone, focused on only one couple, the romantic track has to basically be the only track, and with a HEA.

        If there are any obvious ones I’m missing let me know so that I can rewatch them or rule them out based on my strict rules:)

        Manmarziyaan
        Band Baaja Baaraat
        Mere Brother Ki Dulhan
        Jab We Met
        Khoobsurat
        Hasee Toh Phasee
        Anjaana Anjaani
        Hum Tum
        Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
        2 States
        Dum Laga Ke Haishka
        Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
        Bareilly Ki Barfi
        Cocktail
        Love Aaj Kal
        Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na
        Befikre
        Shuddh Desi Romance
        Daawat-E-Ishq
        Shaandaar
        Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania
        Geetha Govindam
        Chori Chori
        Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
        Gori Tere Pyaar Mein!
        Love Per Square Foot
        Ante Sundaraniki
        Ki & Ka
        Aisha
        Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl
        Mujhse Dosti Karoge!
        Jab Harry Met Sejal
        Dil Bole Hadippa!

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