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.
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.
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.
This is a loose collection of what I call “Hindi Film 101” pieces. Things that give you a basic grounding so that you are able to understand the films, and the film industry instead of feeling lost and confused. And which might also make you think a bit even if you are already familiar with the industry.
Padmavati is almost definitely certainly not coming out tomorrow (I have learned to not really count on anything with Indian film releases, but it does seem pretty certain). So, if you are jonesing for a cinematic Indian history fix, what can you watch instead?
This came up on yesterday’s News Round-Up post when we were talking about Dips and Padmavati and where she might go next. The thing is, there is a standard route where she will go that is kind of an unspoken but accepted thing. So I thought I might as well speak it, just in case you are new to the films and are unaware of the expectations for an actress. Oh, and also give a comparison with Hollywood in case you are new to Hollywood and unaware of the standard route there.
And now we reach the era that the majority of us are actually aware of! Yaaaaay! Which is also why this is the shortest post, because I didn’t feel the need to give nearly as much background. Feel free to take off in the comments with your on details for these films, if you want.
I don’t care if no one else is interested in this, I AM!!!! Plus, it’s good for you few people who want a sense of where the industry came from and where it’s going. And it is basically the complete opposite of JHMS coverage, so that’s a nice little refreshing breather for us all. (1940-1955 in the last post)
I got lots of cool suggestions yesterday as to what I should cover next, but while I let those percolate (and please, keep suggesting! Here is the post where I ask for ideas), I am going to do something simple and look at the top grossing film year by year since 1940. Should be an interesting way to see the industry evolving, both financially and creatively. You’ll see what I mean when I am complaining about the out of control box office inflation lately. Plus, gives us all space to talk about something totally different from Jab Harry Met Sejal.
Remember yesterday when I was driven to an existential crisis by the way the release of “Phurr” kept being delayed and delayed? Well, googling around today revealed there is a fascinating industry story behind it. “Phurr” is being publicized as the first song to be released behind a “paywall”. Which isn’t actually true, but that’s another story. (also, it’s on iTunes now, but also on Saavn, if you pay for the app like I do, you can download and listen as much as you want)
I put up a random epic post last Monday going over every step of the filmmaking process. But it seems like as a follow up I should really zero in on what happens during a “schedule”, when you actually start filming. Oh, and my Hindi Film 101 schedule is now totally blown, you may not get anything at all next week, because this exhausted me. But it was so interesting I just couldn’t resist!
Oh boy, getting close to modern times! And the stuff that doesn’t have, like, any “perspective of history” on it at all. Which is also why it is really important to know about it to watch film, because it is the stuff that is kind of being worked through actively still through film plots. (part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here)
Did anyone notice I skipped Hindi Film 101 on Tuesday? These loooooooong posts take a long time to write, and in the meantime I am missing reporting on trailers, news stories, box office. So I am trying to find a better balance, and since Hindi Film 101 is the least read of them all (then DDLJ posts, then Sunday Speculative. Monday Malayalam and Tuesday Telugu/Tamil, so long as I write about newer movies, do really well. No one reads about the K. Balachander films), it is getting the axe. Well, the half axe, I’m still doing it on Thursdays. (last Nehru-Gandhi post here)
I was going to do a box office report for Raabta earlier this week, and it turned into this very very long post about what box office is and why I look at it the way I do and so on and so forth. And I thought “heck, I should just turn this into a 101 one-off so people can easily refer back to it later!” (don’t worry, I will come back to my Nehru-Gandhi family history and finish it in a bit)
Well, this is fun! It’s partly a list of every Shahrukh Khan film, but more than that, it is a case study for how a career progressed in the 90s in Bombay. Lots of work, not a lot of hits. And then the 2000s came in, and it was less work and less hits (notice I was able to cover twice as many years in this post as in the last one)
This is just a random idea because I am in the middle of unpacking my Shahrukh DVD box and putting them in chronological order on my shelf. It’s kind of fascinating to look at his career as a case study of how an actor’s career progresses.
Just saying, if I end up getting threatened/killed for writing this, it’s on all your heads! But I probably won’t, right? It’s not like Dawood is in exile in Karachi reading English language film blogs. (if he is, “Hi Dawood! You should turn yourself in to the authorities because you are a terrible person who deserves to be punished!”) (also, this is one of those posts that is very similar to my book. If you like it, you might want to buy the book)
Prepare yourself for another Hindi Film 101 that takes me out of my comfort zone! Someone asked a question on Monday about dancers on film, and there was also suggested that I do some discussion of actresses from the south. So I am going to try to combine that and talk in very very general terms about classical dance traditions in India and how that relates to actresses, especially from the south.
Happy Thursday! It’s too bad this family is so nice, makes for a kind of dull Hindi Film 101 series. But at least now we have gotten to the interesting people, Tanuja and Kajol. Well, exciting might be a better term. Nutan was plenty interesting too. (don’t forget to go to the end and vote for what you want to read about next!)
I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing a post that tries to put Bahubali 2‘s all India success into context. And then both T.J Stevens and Cerusee indicated that they would be interested, so the poor Samarth-Mukherjee family has to wait another week for me to finish them, because I want to try a brief history of “regional” films.