Welcome back! The last post focused on an overview of celebrity media from the big picture perspective, how the fans and media found each other and grew. Now, let’s shift to looking at what this is like for the Stars and bringing it through to today where media and Stars have come together and turned into one entity
Sonam’s wedding is the perfect opportunity to discuss the changes of old media and new media and blah blah blah to how the Hindi film industry operates! And, hopefully, how it will start operating in a new way. I’ll get to Sonam in the next bit, but first I have to back up and deal with celebrity culture in general, and how the media works with it.
I just ordered possibly the last copy in America of the only English language full biography of Savitri. But it’s shipping from a million miles away, and it looks dauntingly thick, so I have no idea when I will finish reading it. In the meantime, I wanted to put up a post based on the very superficial information I have gathered by reading every single English language article I could find on The Internet about Savitri and her associates.
Yesterday the new Badshah song for Veere Di Wedding came out, which made me think back on how long hip-hop/rap has been part of the Indian film scene in one way or the other. I know almost nothing about this (like, I’m not even clear on the difference between “hip-hop” “rap” and “rock and roll”), but at least I can put up some fun videos and start the discussion!
Shoot, I was sure I had already done a post on him! Oh well, I am sure I have done posts which mentioned him without him being the main focus. And today I will try to fix that.
Another big structural thought post! This one is on the problems that come up when the same handful of people, at the very top the industry, are controlling everything. And no, I don’t mean the stars.
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.
The final (and most important) awards post: Awards for ME!!!!! I am a guaranteed winner, because I am only competing against myself. But let’s see what I won FOR! Oh, and the most exciting news, thanks to these posts I have a good start on indexing the TGIF and FanFic posts, so look for those indexes to be going up sometime soon.
Well, here’s exciting news! For the first time since these things started being tracked, Shahrukh Khan is NOT the most valuable celebrity brand in India!!!! Instead, he has been knocked off his perch by Virat Kohli. Which made me start thinking in a different way about Virat, about Shahrukh, and about all the other perches Shahrukh should be knocked off of.
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.