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Showing posts from August, 2005

take this job and shove it: Aa Ab Laut Chalen

Shocker to find out this was made in 1999. Looked waaaaaay older. I guess that's what "low production values" means. I wonder if, as an American, it's fundamentally a little harder to appreciate stories about people moving here from other countries, facing western temptations, losing themselves in cash and booze and loose morals, then realizing their mistakes when they hit the bottom, finding a nice girl from the old country, and going back. Part of me thinks that if the only reason you want to move to a country is to make a quick buck, you're gonna end up associating with the wrong people and aren't seeing the real value of that place. Let me clarify that there's a difference between taking opportunities where they come because you want to do better for your family, etc., and milking innocent people or formulating grand plans and schemes, such as, in this case, marrying someone for a greencard. You sort of deserve what you get if you try to be shifty.

Th…

It's a bad sign when not even a dog can save a movie for me: Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon

People on Bollywhat have said so many funny things about this movie that there really isn't any need for me to post about it, but here goes nothing.

The main thing to keep in mind if you ever want to see this is that there is a lot of hyperactivity in this movie, from at least nine human characters (heroine, her friends, her mother, family servant, secretary, and hero) (more on the non-humans later), which is all counterbalanced by the energy-sucking placidity of one of the other characters. The placid guy doesn't show up until halfway through so the first hour+ is like when the bad boys who sit in the back row of music class are snorting pixie sticks. Just as sugary, too, so it's not really a bad thing necessarily - it's just rEaLlY ReAlLy LiKe OhMyGoD WoOoHoOo SuPeRwOW eyes bugging out bouncing dancing weird animation rollicking craziness that I guess the filmmakers thought might somehow be attractive or compelling.

I don't usually write out plot summaries to this …

all the vibrations in the universe were bound to have some sort of interesting effect: Koi... Mil Gaya

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Even after reading in my favorite Bollywood forum (Bollywhat) about this movie, I still have no idea what to make of it. At all. Is it a heart-warming sci-fi tale for 7-year-olds? A love story? A Coke commercial? A male fashion before-and-after nightmare? Advocacy for disability rights? An underdog sports story with some action sequences chucked in for good measure? Or is it simply a hodge-podge of every warm, fuzzy movie cliche ever made?

Basically, our hero, a mentally disabled man who has the mind (and heart, the subtitles point out) of a child, accidentally signals outer space with an old computer that had been created by his "space scientist" (not astronomer, apparently, thank you subtitles) but now deceased father (played by the actor's actual father, who is also the director, ha ha). The aliens land in an idyllic little town in the foothills of the Himalayas (Kasauli), and one of them gets left behind as the others are all running back to their ship while being cha…

Asoka and The Rising

This weekend I saw both Asoka and, much to my delight, in my local art theater, The Rising: The Ballad of Mangal Pandey. Uplifting, we-can-change-the-world goodness with dancing to boot.

some points of comparison:





compare/contrastAsokaThe Risinghero(es)Genius. Tempestuous second son, goo-goo-eyed lover, bloodthirsty conqueror, and pacifist, all in three hours. Shahrukh at his shirtless, intensely smoldering best. Not someone I'd want to be friends with, though. In DVD extra features, Asoka interestingly described by SRK as childlike in all his phases: he's innocently vengeful, innocently greedy, innocently in love, etc. Whatever. He does certainly come off as mostly, if not all, id.Also genius. Spirited underdog and his equally spirited but more tentative friend who amounts to more than he seems. Aamir Khan as a hero with a sense of humor and friendship. I'm sure every reviewer is saying this, but it seems to me that short of being a real person and dealing with the large…

six degrees of Shahrukh Khan

When I was in graduate school in Toronto, I lived in a residence college with 59 other graduate students. One late night, instead of writing theses, a bunch of us sprawled out on the floor with pieces of paper and crayons and made a big chart of how everyone in the college was connected to everyone else. A red line was for established couples, a pink line for people who were rumored to have hooked up temporarily, a green line for people in the same program or doing research together. After counting how many Hindi movies I have seen, I now want to do the same, but just tracking actors and movies. I made a big spreadsheet late last night, writing down what I have seen and who stars in each. The overlap is freaking me out.

Obv could do this with US, British, Australian, whatever movies too, but somehow that doesn't sound fun to me. Anyway, we already have a system for that, thank you Kevin Bacon.

Here he comes to save the day!

I'm sitting there, watching this standard romance, Saathiya, while sorting through some CDs, and I look up and see this silhouette coming out of the shadows, and I gasp. Even in the darkness I can realize, thanks to the profile, who it is. It's Shahrukh! I was thrilled. The nose appears and the movie took a turn for the more interesting and more compelling. (Really. He has a unique nose. You'll grow to love it.)

Something about the lead actor, Vivek Oberoi, had been bothering me for the whole film but I couldn't place my finger on it. Then all of a sudden, when faced with SRK (and Tabu, too, whom I love from Kandukondain Kandukondain!), I realized what it was: he's a child. He seems like a teenager earnestly but not effectively trying to be a mac daddy at the mall. Maybe it's his character here, who is supposed to be good-natured but sort of immature. Plus he has no eyebrows. What's up with that? He seems perfectly capable in the dance department but I have…