Hindi Film 101: The Sangh Pariwar Philosophy, and What It Lets In

I’m back! To more depressing stuff! Be warned, this section starts with some hard hard stuff. But also important stuff, a reminder of why all this philosophy and discussion matters. And this will, once again, get people mad at me. But I’ve decided it is worth it (even though I hate it when people don’t like me). And if necessary, I can also close the comments.

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Hindi Film 101: The Sangh Pariwar, Part 1, or “What I Mean By Hindutva”

Oh boy, people are gonna get MAD at me! For lots of reasons. Shoot. I hate that. But I also feel like I have to at least try to address bigger concepts in modern India sometimes, because otherwise you cannot understand the way Hindi Film fits within them.

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10 Indian Historical Films About the Quit India Movement

The history streak continues!!!! This time, focused on that early 1900s era right before independence. And I am pretty sure I can come up with a whole other 10 films. Also, prepare yourself for a whole lot of versions of “Rang De Basanti” (yes, according to contemporary accounts, Bhagat Singh did sing it while preparing to be hung) and “Vande Mataram”.

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10 Indian Historical Non-Epics Dramas

Writing the 10 Historic Epics post got me thinking about the movies that are set in the past, but not so they can do a big historical fight scene, more for purposes of putting this particular story in this particular time and place, whether it is a semi-fictional biography or a completely fictional invented story.

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10 Epic Indian Historical Films to Watch

Normally I do “10 films to watch once you finish the standard list”. But there are so few historical films from India, that I don’t think I could come up with 10 to recommend without dipping into the standard list. Plus, everyone should watch Mughal-E-Azam, and that essentially IS the standard list.

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Hindi Film 101: Ramayan and Mahabharat Part 6, The War Begins, Drona and Bhishma Arrive to Meet Their Doom

Part 6!  Back to the main storyline after a detour into Krishna and Karna.  Although I guess there will be more detours here, that’s what the Mahabharat is about, all the little stories that make us think about how things happen, how they begin and end.

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Hindi/Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam/Kannada 101 RePost: Rajinikanth Part 2, Homeless to Millionaire (in honor of the release of 2.0)

I already put up my part 1, which I am sure was not fully accurate and certainly not complete.  But it is my stab at somehow pulling together what little I know into a cohesive whole, in the hopes that it starts a conversation and I can learn more from you all.

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Hindi/Tamil/Kannada/Malayalam/Telugu Film 101 RePost: Rajinikanth’s Life, Part 1 Bus Conductor to Movie Star (in Honor of 2.0 Releasing)

Well, I did it!  I finally finished my Rajinikanth biography!  Now I just have the Savitri, Hema Malini, and Shashi Kapoor biography on my to do pile.  Plus various other film books that aren’t star memoirs.  Anyway, now I am ready to very tentatively try to put together some kind of narrative of Rajinikanth’s life, based on the movies I have watched (far more than I realized!), and this book, and information I gathered elsewhere

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Hindi Film 101: Ramayan and Mahabharat Part 4, Karna, the Saddest and Best Character

The Mahabharat is so complex, each character is the lead in their own story, and each character (of the many many characters) could easily have their own post.  But I am going to restrain myself and just focus on the two most intriguing (to me) characters of the epic who are not part of the Pandavas or the Kauravas, Krishna and Karna.

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Hindi Film 101: The Mahabharat and the Ramayan Part 2, It’s All About the Questions Without Answers

I want to clarify, I am in no way a religious scholar or even just a regular average Hindu.  This is the story and philosophy at the most basic level as I have gleaned it through reading various simple versions of the text, and seeing how it played out in the lives of people I know and in the films.

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Hindi Film 101: The Basics of the Mahabharat and the Ramayan, Part 1

This was a request from Angie, to break down the essential elements of these stories and save you the effort of trying to research them yourself.  Obviously, if you are a desi person, you already know them more than well enough.  But if you are a non-desi, I can give you a sort of primer on them.

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Hindi Film 101: The Structure of the Tawaif/Item Song, Inspired by how “Suraiyya” Wasn’t Quite Right

I already did a general post on item songs (here), this is specifically looking at how they are structured, the components of them, inspired by how “Suraiyya” from Thugs of Hindostan kind of twisted the standard structure.

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Hindi Film 101: Social life in the Hindi Industry, Why Weddings Are Important

This is inspired largely by the first two episodes of this season of Koffee with Karan, both of which put together two stars (Deepika and Alia and Ranveer and Akshay) who never co-starred together and aren’t known as best friends, and yet had surprising connections.

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Hindi Film 101: Indian Film as Escape and Reality

This came up in a conversation with Niki in the comments a week or so ago, the difficulty of when a fantasy is too real, too close to reality, not the hero part of it that I already discussed, but the situations, the life that the heroine is leading.  And it made me think, is that why Indian films are so consciously unrealistic in certain ways?

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Hindi Film 101: #MeToo and the Responsibility of the Court of Public Opinion

This is a very long post with a lot of big thoughts and some specific examples but even if you don’t read the whole post, you should read this new rule I am instituting for #MeToo related comments: IF YOU ARE COMMENTING HERE ABOUT A #METOO STORY, YOU MUST INCLUDE A LINK BACK TO THE ORIGINAL DETAILED REPORT, OR SUMMARIZE IT FOR US.  YOU CANNOT SIMPLY GIVE A NAME WITH NO CONTEXT. If you forget, I will find the link and summarize it in a reply.  But I’ll only do that three times before I start just not printing your comments, so please try to remember.

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Hindi Film 101 Repost: Why It Is So Hard For Women in Indian Film, In Honor of Tanushree Dutta’s Experiences and Kangana Ranaut’s Rapid Rise

This is another old post, but one that is relevant again today as we are reminded both of how aggressive women have to be to get their fair due, and how dangerous it is to make demands, thanks to Kangana and Tanushree Dutta.

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Hindi Film 101: Dangers and Strengths of Romantic Fantasies, Alpha to Beta to Devdas

Alisa/BollywoodNewbie inspired me in another post, the way she does, by pointing out something I was so lost in that I was blind to it: Indian film plays in to certain specific types of romantic fantasies, types that do not work equally for everybody.

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Hindi Film 101 (Reprint): Rahman-Ratnam and the Importance of the Composer-Director Relationship in Honor of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam

This is a post I wrote a year and a half ago for the last Rahman/Ratnam movie, but I thought I should repost it today in honor of Chekka Chivantha Vaanam.  It’s important to know why it is so especially exciting when a new Ratnam-Rahman movie comes out, and why that director-composer relationship is so special. (also, usually in this posts I try to use images instead of songs, but because of the topic, this will be an all songs post.  I encourage you to actually watch all the videos too)

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News Round-Up/Hindi Film 101: #MeToo in Hindi Film, From All the Angles, Nawazuddin to Nana to Vikas Bahl and How Anurag Kashyap and Shahrukh Khan React to Them

Still no big big exciting stories, but some interesting things today, worthy of discussion.  Some more than others, but all worth reporting.

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Hindi Film 101: Kangana’s Coup D’Etat and Why Closed Doors Increase Creativity

I finally found out how to spell “coup d’etat”!  Thanks to a comment, because spellcheck and google certainly weren’t going to help me.  As my German teacher used to tell me, French is a silly language where nothing is spelled the way it sounds.  To the degree that I can’t even get close enough to google it.

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Hindi Film 101: The 6 Kinds of Film Songs

Procrastinatrix just mentioned a helpful post I wrote on this, and I looked and looked and I don’t think it was a post, I think it was actually in my book.  So if I were mean, I would make this headline and then the post would just be “ha ha, buy my book!”  But now I kind of want to write the post!  And it will be better than the book (although you should still buy the book) because I can use video link examples.

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