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Showing posts from April, 2006

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer

When I watch movies like this and then think about what I want to write about, I feel like I'm a completely different person than the one who squeals about Akshaye Khanna and uses bright pink. I certainly don't respond to the movie in the same way - becuase it's not the same kind of movie. Okay, that said, this was amazing. I loved how quickly it flipped between magical and harrowing, sweet and harsh. Somehow the quiet gentleness with which the whole story was told made the horrifying things in it seem all the more frightening. When the militants broke on to the bus, none of us knew what would happen. I was really worried for all those people; since I'd already seen a bit of each of their lives, I felt like I knew them a little.

This movie is a lovely example of a story created and told with care, which is the kind of movie I find myself responding to most in the last few years. I feel this way about Wes Anderson movies, for example. And of course we have the protagon…

ugh: Neal n Nikki

There are many things I love in this world, and Bollywood and Canada are at the top of the list. So it was with trepidation that I rented Neal n Nikki (it pains me to spell it like that, just so you know), because I knew that if anything could make me cranky at a Bollywood movie, it would be messing up a portrayal of my adopted home. And sure enough, they did it wrong. Nothing too heinous, but enough little things to make me feel like the filmmaker hadn't read up. For example, during the water volleyball game, Nikki's ex's girlfriend is wearing a bikini printed with an American flag. No Canadian would ever do this (right, Rachel?). (And I think we have to assume she is Canadian, because we're in British Columbia and her nationality isn't given). Overall, the idea of BC as a hedonistic playground full of girls in bikinis is just hilarious to me. I mean this with all respect and affection for BC; while I have never been there, this does not at all fit with the storie…

Rock it Bollywood style, you say? Done and done!

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That's what the announcer said we were going to do, and rock it Bollywood style we did.

Except for Saif, who is recovering from surgery but was a real trooper, doing dainty twirls with a delighted audience member and a few gentle arm flings (well, flingettes, anyway) with Preity during "Salaam Namaste." He worked the mic a lot, though, so there was still plenty of Saif to go around. One of his entrances included a great lingering view of him in his jacket with his "Super Saif" logo on the back - does anyone know why he keeps popping up in that (other than him being beyond a doubt super, of course)? Very enderaingly, Saif also explained how he was going against doctors' orders by being on stage that night - "My doctors don't know me like you know me! You know I would never miss being in Shee-kah-goh for the greatest crowd ever!" I love him.

It's hard to know where to start. I should probably start with the drive up there, which consisted of …

introducing my partner in crime

My friend Abby, who is the only person in town I can reliably count on for watching Bollywood with me, and who is going to the Saif/Preity/Akshay/Sushmita show with me on Friday, has started a blog. She's a vet student and is going to Uganda this summer to research monkey pox or something like that, something dangerous and important, and has promised to write about Bollywood too. She says her first post will be about the show, so next week check out her report at The Pox Diaries.

Abby is the inventor of the phrase "the non-shirt collection" to describe the contents of Shahrukh's wardrobe. She also summarizes the typical SRK character's M.O. as a quick-change combination of "sexy beast" (think gazebo in KKHH) and "tee hee" (think nonstop pranking in DDLJ). She's very funny.

I really want to like Govinda, but, so far, no dice: Chalo Ishq Ladaaye

Well-intentioned cheese is usually right up my alley. But yet I can't quite come to terms with Govinda. I don't get him. I read that he's a great dancer, but I'm not sure I've seen it for myself - there's a scene in this movie, for example, when he and Rani seem to be trying to see how slowly they can do that thing you do with your arms if you're in a conga line but not holding the waist of the person in front of you. "Tujko Hi Dulhan," spangled with red, orange, and gold, stood out for me as the kind of scene I look to Bollywood for because so much of the other dancing was the two of them trying to do exactly the same movements at exactly the same time in lackluster settings. Govinda is fine, but he's got nothing on any of the people named in the dance discussion we had a few posts back. Anyway, I don't really have anything against Govinda, but I don't have anything for him, either.

This was one of those movies that looks a lot older …

quotes with Karan

I just read on one of the Bollywhat blogs that Karan Johar once said "Controversies in your own life: very depressing. Controversies in other people's lives: very exciting." I find this very, very funny because it's completely true. If he did say it, then dangit, how can he have created such emotionally bloated scenes yet also have made such a keen statement of my own philosophy?

(And yes, I know, he makes some really lovely and resonant scenes too.)

fake-pretend relocation

I've had it. I'm moving to Bollywood. I know I've talked about this before, but this time I'm serious. After my seminar is over this summer, I'm going to find the magic door that goes through into bizarro India, where everything works like the movies, and I'm not coming back. I'm tired of real life and its dramas, its hurting people, its confusion, its messes. I'm going to spend my days fixing up my hill station bungalow, playing cricket with the neighborhood kids, helping out at the local museum, sitting on the porch with a cup of tea, chatting with the neighbors. And my nights - "our" nights, I should say, as Akshaye will be there - at the nightclub, dancing away and occasionally cheering on the local boy who has suddenly morphed into a phenomenally good dancer.

Oh, it won't be perfect. I may cry, but my tears will actually make me feel better. I may have to run through the jungle in my pajamas with a flashlight, but I'll find what I…

"jhoot" 1; "pyaar," "mohabbat," "ishq," and "prem" 0

I'm listening to my Teach Yourself Hindi CD, just the first bit, with a keen-sounding man pronouncing the 12 vowels and 34 consonants. Much to my delight, the sounds are pretty familiar to me, after 79 movies. (Yes, I have a spreadsheet. I have many a spreadsheet.) And I recognize quite a few of the words he's using as examples, like...well, I feel guilty about writing them out in roman characters now that I have a devanagari font installed and a book right in front of me explaining which sound each letter makes. Oh, but I don't know how to type with it yet. Ha! Anyway, in addition to the above I heard "one," "two," "three," "five," "lie," and "friend," among others.

This is fun but a little overwhelming. This is my fifth start of a foreign language (bah! fluency is for the single-minded!) (and I shouldn't count Latin, because after a semester I ran away screaming, and probably breaking my Roman historian fath…

Are you trying to break my heart?

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Oh, Akshaye. Seriously.

What's with the corporate headwear? Are you in cahoots with Nike? I'm pretty sure this isn't the first time I've seen you at a press-heavy event wearing their stuff. That plus the belt give you the look of a high school boy trying to dress nicely for a summer wedding - you know, when he came downstairs with the hat on, his mom shrugged and said, "Oh, alright, you can wear the hat, but at least tuck in your shirt," and he did, but he grumbled and pouted about it for awhile.

I've tried to figure out where a person might wear this outfit, and I have no idea. With the slightly safari-esque lightweight shirt and flat-front trousers, we could go for a summer stroll along the pier then have a nice cool drink on the veranda, leaning in for meaningful conversation, chorii se chorii from the world in a midnight-darkened corner. I shouldn't think it's quite right for a music launch, but I've never been to one, so what do I know?

And …

Akele Hum Akele Tum

[sighing-type noise] Browsing the shelves of the video store, I came across this and picked it up simply because I remembered Aamir was in it. And so I found myself in a bad case of wrong movie, wrong time. When you're feeling confused and sad about relationships, don't watch a movie like this; if you're like me (and I think you might be, a little bit, since you enjoy Bollywood-type depictions of emotions), the sadness and hurt of these people are going to get to you in a way you wish they wouldn't, even though the story bears absolutely no resemblance to your actual situation.

This seemed a well-acted film; I appreciated its moments of humor; I squealed with delight when I could hear the Beatles in the background of the birthday party (Beatles and Aamir, all in one scene? What else could I ever want?); the little boy was the least annoying film child I've encountered in a long time; I was pleased that I couldn't completely write off either of the adults, despi…

inverse epic proporitons: Mughal-e-Azam

I do not like epic films - except Asoka, for reasons I cannot quite explain, although I suspect they might have to do with its eerie, unreal quality, amazing music, and Shahrukh being noble and wet. I digress. I rented Mughal-e-Azam because it seemed like the kind of thing I should see in order to continue my Bollywood education. I don't respond well to insta-love and big decisions when they're couched in hand-to-forehead turn-away drama-o-rama. The more they crank out the conflict and obstacles, the less interested I am. Perhaps because the obstacles in real life, while perfectly dramatic, are often nuanced and subtle and unexpected, as opposed to punctuated by thunderclaps and edicts and armies. I know, I know, no one said the movies had to be like real life, and there are many decidedly unreal Bollywood conventions that I adore and respond to, but somehow my disbelief can't cover them.

I wish I could have seen it in black and white. I have read about the colorization …

groovy

Courtesy of my Bollywood-loving friend at work, I now know the greatness that is Bombay Beats. Now if only I could get those film clips to work....

Who's with me?

There's a context for all of this, but I can explain that later: I think Aamir Khan is the best dancer of the Bollywood boys. I have never heard anyone else comment on his mahvelous moves. What say all of you?