It’s Aamir Khan’s birthday today (yay!), and I want to mark the occasion not by giving him a gift, but by finally thanking him for the gifts he has given me.
I put up a post yesterday related to Sridevi’s death about how there is a recent association in Indian popular culture between “skinny” and “healthy” and also “beautiful”. And then the comments section just went wild with people talking. Mostly people from the west, where the weight issue has been the dominant issue in appearance for years. But I started to feel odd talking about this on an Indian film blog without acknowledging the fact that in India it is in fact skin tone that is the dominant issue.
Just trying to get something positive out of this. Might as well use it as a reminder of what “healthy” actually means, versus how the Indian press and public figures (just in the past few years! It is still reversible!) have started to use it. And how the West has been using it for years.
Oh look, Shahrukh is saying something important just as my blog views are beginning to drag again. He loves me! It’s totally not a one-sided thing.
On Friday I did a “TGIF” of happy couples, and then I realized that I was kind of skipping to the end, posting the couples without defining “happy” before. And I also find it legitimately fascinating how tricky the public versus private requirements of Hindi film industry marriages are.
There were 3 interesting industrial news stories in one day, which I want to use as jumping off point to discuss how money and art intersect in Hindi film. The first two are short and kind of set the stage, the last one is the very interesting one that relates to the whole history of how film finances work. (this was originally posted as a news round-up, but it really makes more sense as a Hindi Film 101)
I forgot about this post until reflects on life reminded me of it! And now I think I will make it an annual tradition, to update and repost it on Valentine’s day.
Valentine’s Day! Day of love! And for that reason, a good day for a one of post just about love stories. The two kinds of them, the socially relevant ones in which the romance is just a jumping off point for a broader social issue, and the fun fun fun ones that just make you smile.
Madhubala! One of the great actresses of Hindi film history, The Most Beautiful Woman, with the most ridiculously dramatic and tragic life story. Appropriately for someone so full of love and so loved, her birthday is Valentine’s Day. And so I thought it would finally be time to do a Hindi Film 101 of her life.
This is another one of those posts that I have been considering writing for a long time, and now suddenly seems like the right time. Because, in a certain way, things are finally beginning to shift. And I want to do everything I can to help in shifting that conversation.
Meenakshy asked me a question on Monday about fans, and then I gave a way way too long answer in response, because that was what my Masters Thesis was on! Fandom and how Hindi film inspires a different kind of fan. Anyway, I thought I might as well take my answer and turn it into a post. (my thesis is here if you want more details and and original research related to this)
I’m not going to get into the presentation of Jahuar in Padmavat again, I touched on it in my no spoilers review, and I will get to it possibly tomorrow in my full SPOILER summary. But I do want to have a conversation about conversation, and how it works and how it starts and spreads, based on Swara Bhaskar’s open letter objecting to Jahuar in Padmavat versus the response to it that is being sent around today.
Did I do that right? Anyway, what I mean to say in the title is that the Tiger box office is finally dropping off. And nothing else has shown up to pick up the slack, so it is yet another bleak and dreary week at the box office. Well, except for China where Indian films reign supreme.
This will be a fun post to write! A combination of audience, text, and industrial analysis, because all of those things combine to influence what happens to film. Part of what makes popular culture studies so fascinating to me! It’s the intersection of so many things.
Well, it has been officially confirmed for like 24 hours now that Padmavat is now releasing Republic Day, meaning a clash with Padman. And, like every other business decision related to this movie, I think this is idiotic and a sign that no one involved has a lick of common sense and is running their movie into the ground. And the rest of the Hindi film industry along with it.
I was going to do a “100 years of history in 10” list, and then I realized there AREN’T actually 10 jodis of equal level. So I am just going to introduce you to the really really big ones and without worrying about how many I include or putting them in order or anything.
This is a sort of updated post, but really totally new. I put it up for Rosh Hashanah a couple years ago, but back then I didn’t even know Aditya Roy Kapoor was Jewish, so it was woefully incomplete. Not to say that this post is complete, but it is at least more complete than the previous one.
Congrats again to Anushka and Virat! In their honor, I am pulling out and updating a post I did a few years back on the intersection between Cricket and Hindi film stars.
Well, enough avoiding, time to do songs. Music is NOT my area. I have never studied music history seriously at all, and more importantly, I am next door to tone deaf. I can enjoy music. But on a very very very superficial level. Like someone who looks at a beautiful sunset and sees it as 3 simple stripes of red orange and yellow. That’s me! So, treat me gently and kindly as I attempt to put together this post based on my knowledge of film history and what people have told me is beautiful.
Okay, you ready to fight me? The problem is, unlike actors, actresses never really get the chance to lead the industry, there isn’t a clear “Queen” the way there is a clear “King”. So this list is a bit of a judgement call, I realize that, and that means there is lots and lots of space for us all to argue.
This is fun, doing these little over view posts! The lists help me from getting all tangled up in my own thoughts, and let you join the discussion, because everyone has an opinion on what wasn’t included and should have been, and what was included and shouldn’t have been.
I put up a version of this post a couple of days ago, but then we all spitballed back and forth in the comments and ended up coming up with a few changes. So this is the New Improved Better version of the post (original version, you can still view here). This is to help sort of orient you to Indian film history. A big accepted “classic” from each decade that will help you understand how the industry grew and changed. I don’t promise that you will be able to find and watch each of them (the website indiancine.ma is a fantastic resource you might want to try), but you should at least be familiar with the titles of these films and what they meant.