Showing posts from February, 2006

your everyday trip to the grocery store

This weekend, still mid-cold, I finally braved the Indian grocery store to rent movies. I wonder if they'd let me alphabetize the titles in exchange for half-price rentals? Anyway, what their shelves lack in organization they more than make up for in numbers. All sorts of things, and not Hindi-centric like my video store. But no Bobby . I grabbed a few things I thought I could recall the video store doesn't have, and the nice man working at the cash register suggested a few others. I politely refused Dhoom . When he asked me what kinds I liked and I said "comedies and romances," he handed me Bunty aur Babli . I laughed and said, "Oh, I already own that one" and he smiled. It's always a pleasant surprise to be sufficiently amusing to strangers. My fistful of treasures does not lend itself to a group review, and unfortunately I'm running on fumes and can't get each its full response. So here's what I watched, in order, with a few thoughts. K

because guests are as gods

Hey, everyone - hi. This is Beth. I am absolutely fascinated with the question of who is reading this, and my curiosity is further piqued by the growth of the happy little dots on my ClustrMap . Either there is some creative ISPing going on here, or I see people visiting from India, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Europe, South America, Canada, and the US. (Special shout-out to Canada! I'm an honourary Canadian! I love you guys!) Anyway, hello to you all! I don't like how most guestbook thingies on websites seem to work, so instead I invite everyone who stops by to leave a little comment on this post (this will also be linked from the nav bar) and say hi and share why you like or are interested in Bollywood - and what brought you here. Thanks! And don't forget to have a snack before you go - they're on the table over there. Punch, too.

Avoid, yaar! a book review of Bollywood Confidential by Sonia Singh

(Vielen dank [es ist fur dich, Michael!] to Tamara for giving me this book for Christmas. I have been lured by its title many, many times and had been wanting to read it for ages. Little did either of us know....) This is a bad book. It's packaged as - and I daresay written for the market of - "chick lit," and it does the term absolute disservice (even when one recalls how insultingly awful most chick lit is). This may be the worst of this genre I've read, and that's saying a lot. The author really seems to love Bollywood, and believe me, I can understand having a hard time containing one's love of Bollywood to oneself. But that doesn't make up for not having an interesting story to tell - the plot device of an American actress in her first Bollywood movie could have been funny, but we have to care about her and what she discovers. I felt like this was simply an excuse to try to get the uninitiated to watch Bollywood. A very fine mission, I am the first

whatever: Kyon Ki

This is another movie for which I should follow Thumper's advice, but I just used that method a few posts back, so here's what I'll say instead. I turned it off before it was over. I didn't even FF to the end. I just quit. Someone let me know if I'm missing something. Aside to costume designer: is Salman really wearing a shirt that says "out-law trucker" while he threatens to immolate himself for Maya's love? He is, isn't he?

Dil Chahta Hai + Swades + Footloose + gun ≥ Rang De Basanti

As you may have heard, I recently got to see Rang De Basanti in the theater, thanks to an occasional film series hosted at our art theater (and organized by an unidentified group to whom, in my infinite gratitude, I will gladly turn over my share of the Mehta group of companies). And as with my other experiences watching Bollywood in the theater, the audience was half the fun. It's such a treat to be part of the group experience when so often I just watch on my own - it's so fun to share! It's also a foolproof way to know with certainty that the subtitles really aren't conveying all the fine nuances - for example, when Sue rips into her boss at the film company in Hindi, the laughter in the theater was far beyond what was merited by what appeared on the screen. I also have to say right here that at one point the friend I saw this with leaned over to me and whispered "That man is beautiful" and I nodded in silent agreement, our eyes wide at Kunal Kapoor (if

radio free Beth Loves Bollywood

If you haven't had enough of me singing, you can now hear me talking. Today I was interviewed by Kamla Bhatt on Talk News India and you can listen to the podcast . Many, many thanks to Kamla for including me in her really interesting websites and for all the fun conversations that went into setting this up.

What a difference a year makes: happy Bollyversary to me!

If you're reading this, I probably don't need to explain to you how Bollywood can change your life - and not only the selfhelpish ways, either, although there are a few of those. But I'm going to list some anyway - these sorts of occasions being time for reflection and all. I won't lie to you: Bollywood takes resources. I stay up far past my bedtime at least once a week, often more, engaged in filmi fun. I have spent at least $100 buying DVDs (which is just a drop in the bucket of potential purchases, to be sure), easily $50 on renting (love the deal of 100 movies for $100 at my store), another $40 on a ticket to a live stage show coming up in April, and at least $100 in books (those pretty pictures will run you). I am out of space on my DVD shelf. I feel like an empty nester when I have lent out too many of my movies, and I worry about how to ask borrowers to please give them back before I lose my mind, lost in a panic of really needing to see KKHH and not being a

truckin' to destiny: Aasha

I knew nothing about Aasha and got it becuase I let my impatient companion at the video store choose something for me at random off the shelf. I liked the first song. There were some delightfully oversized sunglasses. It was overly emotional and not very interesting. But does anyone know who Jeetendra's little friend is? If you don't happen to know this fine piece of Bollywood trivia, take a close look at the little guy's hand in the bottom photo....

smashing debut

Okay. The people have spoken. And hopefully not covered their ears. The clip is really short because I couldn't compress it in a way that didn't make me sound like a robot. (It's still about 2 MB, just to warn you - and is aiff-C.) But you know what? That was really fun. I really needed to do something fun today, something creative, something that amused somebody, somewhere, at least a little. Someday when we have our Bollybloggers meetup, we can all take turns at the mic.

in a soup! in a soup!

(I know I already said that about SRK, but I'll be keeping him company.) What have I gotten myself into? I have just been practicing my song for the weekend, recording myself on whatever random software came on the computer. It is not pretty. You'll have to trust me that I really am quite a competent singer, but you'll hear no shred of it here, apparently. I have nightmarish visions of being the clip that gets forwarded around offices - "Hey dude, check this out - this chick thinks she can sing! Huh-huh!" What I've learned so far from this is that it is very hard to sing like a pop singer and not sound like a moron. This I think is why pop princesses everywhere are tempted just to belt it, hoping that loud and big make up for talent. They do not. Anyway, if I can compress the file down to something manageable, what you're going to get is me sitting with my laptop in front of my stereo. It sounds like I'm in the shower, minus the comforting background

and the winner, pulled randomly out of a pink cowboy hat, is

..."Chale Jaise Hawayein" from Main Hoon Na ! Performance this weekend, posted if at all possible. Thanks to all who weighed in! For those of you who had hoped for another candidate - if you stick around long enough, I might just randomly break into your preferred song. This is Bollywood, after all. Big thanks to Obi Wan for the singing idea and Accidental Fame Junkie for the voting idea. You guys are brilliant! I hope I live up to it.

Seriously, I love Bollywood. See?

Woah. Thanks to SnapShirts , I have a new concept of what I talk about - apparently Bollywood, movies, good, people, and thinking. Notice that Khan is in there. That's pretty funny.

Bollyversary update: choose or lose!

People, we have a tie! With about 14 hours left to vote, each song has received the same number of votes. Even for a girl who loves Bollywood, singing, and projects - and Bollywood singing projects! - as much as I do, the idea of learning five songs is kinda overwhelming. It's been suggested that the answer to a tie is a medley, but that involves arranging skills that I have yet to demonstrate. So tell your friends and make them vote, even if they don't care about Bollywood. For the sake of science, if nothing else.

if you can't say anything nice...: Dil Ka Rishta

"Dayya Dayya Dayya Re" was darn catchy, and it contains the excellent line "With your name on my lips, I spend my days. I spend my nights pining. I remember every moment the naughty things you did." The fortune teller from Lagaan makes an enjoyable, Bollywood-studded cameo. And there are only a few moments of wacky side characters. That's it. There isn't much else of note here. It's not the worst movie I've seen, but there isn't anything to like about it particularly, and it isn't so bad that I have to rant and rave, and it isn't even intriguingly or enjoyably bad. There really isn't any point to watch it. I generally like Aishwarya very much, but Tia didn't give her much to work with. And Arjun...well, he was boring. Paresh Rawal was by far the most enjoyable person in the movie. While I hadn't been led to expect much from this movie, I lost my patience towards the end, when Jai raises his hand to Tia and we never see hi


(Is it just me, or is one of the fun things about Bollywood that you can stick "Bolly" on the front of lots of other words?) Best I can tell, I watched my first Bollywood movie on February 18, 2005. I usually write in my calendar all of the fun things I do, but this one doesn't appear as such. But I remember the people I watched it with, and there's a record of doing something with them, so we'll go with that day. And appropriately enough, my local art theater is showing Rang De Basanti that weekend! (Although I have already have a ticket for the 19th. Previous commitments, etc.) But I will definitely mark the day in a grand fashion, including watching one of my favorites - or, if I can find it at the well-stocked but poorly organized Indian grocery store, Seeta aur Geeta , because surely nothing says "Bollywood rocks" like Hema hitting people with a ping pong paddle. Or so I am told. Anyway, by popular demand (hee hee: "popular"), I accept

flattery will get you everywhere (or at least posted about)

I couldn't be more pleased to have discovered that Beth Loves Bollywood is included in News I Like's Top Ten Bollywood Sources (even though I don't understand if "out of the mainstream" means that I come from the mainstream or that I'm outside it)! Merci beaucoup, Mackenzie Chan, for I would have liked your list and found you funny unprompted.

these occasions must not go by unmarked

I think my Bollywood one-year anniversary is coming up! I'd have to dig out last year's calendar to be sure, but I think I watched MDK in February 2005. To celebrate, I shall begin a ten-year email correspondence under an assumed identity. Excellent. These sorts of things always turn out well. Better celebratory ideas are welcome.

because sometimes, it's the time to disco

BBC Asian Network's poll of the top 40 soundtracks of all time is such an interesting read - and listen. My inner librarian loves how there are clips, background info, context, and often interviews for every entry. The thing about music, of course, is that there's no accounting for whims and tastes, and I haven't yet agreed with myself about the fair way to think of soundtracks. Do they stand independently of the film? Should they? Or the more intertwined, the better? My favorites do both, and music is one of the two major pulls that Bollywood has on me. (The other is wholeheartedness, but that's a topic for another day.) As I write this, I'm trying to figure out how to explain why I like, or would label as good, the ones I do. What I can say confidently is that they're just delightful, whether for fun or big emotion or good driving music or whatever. Let's just say these are the ones that lodge in my head completely independently of watching the movie.

Bollywood dreams indeed!

I know this is a completely crap picture but do you see who is going to be in Chicago in April? More importantly, I am going to see who is in Chicago in April! Sushmita, Preity, and Saif! However, last I checked, neither the venue's website nor the promoters' website listed the show. So I'll try to save the full-on rejoicing for when I have a receipt for tickets. But I am so going. And I already have three people to join me! I'm not sure I can describe how much of an idiot I looked in the store where I saw the poster, jumping up and down, squeaking. I had just bought casettes - yeah, that's right, I'm old school - of the B&B and Rising soundtracks, so I'm sure the dudes running the store already thought I was a nut. Update February 8: I've had an email from one of the concert promoters. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Mwa ha ha! Update March 23: this is the official site for the show . I have ticketst in hand and three people to go with. I don'

because shirts with nonsensical words on them can only solve so many of the world's problems: Salaam Namaste

I have been waiting for months to see Salaam Namaste , ever since it played at the local art theater while I was out of town in October. As we all know, sometimes the longer and more excitedly you wait for something, the less chance it has of living up to your hopes, even if you try really hard not to formulate specific expectations, since you are well aware of the aforementioned inverse proportion. In general, Salaam Namaste was along the lines of what I had thought it would be, with some extra especially appealing bits sprinkled throughout: textual shirts. There are many to talk about here, but there is one in particular I want to ask about. It's after they've met at the beach and Nick is discussing with his friend whether he should call Ambar, and he's wearing a gray tank top and jeans. The tank top is printed with lots of words, and despite various pauses I could only see, clearly, a few of them, but they included I COULD HAVE CMS , TV IS MY LIFE , and THE PANTY . Kya