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Showing posts from August, 2006

KANK it ain't

This is not nearly as exciting as Totally Basmatic's on-set adventures, nor do I have my picture taken with the same caliber of star, but it's all I've got, so here you go. Here is a preview for Mongoose Production's Pagal Dil, the Bollywood-ish movie I was an extra in in June. At 00:43 is a snippet of the big dance number; I watched it three times and can't see myself anywhere (I'd be on the left side of the screen and am wearing a pink sweater and black skirt). My university quad looks pretty, though, and you get a peep at of my favorite lunch spots as well. You may notice that the movie title is translated as "crazy love." Is that right? Does "dil" ever mean "love"?

Aside: how many posts am I going to make with KANK in their title? I haven't even seen it. Geeze.

They made a show just for me!

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Things I love or that otherwise resonate with me (presented here in chronological order):
1) plot lines involving girls who fall for gay boys
2) teen dramas on tv
3) Canada, specifically Toronto
4) Bollywood

So when I recently got hooked on Degrassi: The Next Generation - I didn't often watch the original, but the new one is gooooooood - imagine my squealing delight when the chair of the junior semiformal dance committee, Marco, announced the theme of this year's dance:

In his words, "It's themed on those movie musicals from India, so hot right now!" It's even consistent with his character; earlier on this DVD he goes to see Pather Panchali. Do you think he might also be the aforementioned gay character, and that the girl in the poster with him is the long-suffering beard? Well done! To be fair, said girl is over him this season and dates...well, Lite Maple Syrup Eminem, basically, but they seem to really like each other, so who am I to judge? This being Degrassi…

link of the day

I think most of you read her anyway, but please do so today particularly. T-hype has posed a really good question about non-Indians' (a category into which she and I both fall) love of Indian film. I really hope people post about this.

B(eth)L(oves)B(ollywood) L(oves) B(ebo)

Dear Times of India:

Thank you for the highly entertaining list of ten sexiest dancers in Bollywood. But please stop implying that Kareena Kapoor is fat. She's obviously incredibly fit, as are all the young women I've seen parading across India's screens. Because I want to avoid being strident or full of platitudes, I will just say this: believe it or not, when you say things like that, real damage can be done to women's mental and physical well-being (heck, maybe men's too, I don't know), and with every iteration by every media outlet, it gets worse, and I am unbelievably tired of seeing my sister-friends wounded by this sort of thing. So just knock it off.

And for the record, I have no quibble with your choice for number one. Well done.

sincerely,
Beth Loves Bollywood

Aside to Kareena: I really do. I love you. I may not always agree with you, and I may feel compelled to shine a bit of cold, hard light of "please stop screeching" on your performances here…

C'mon, the other two guys from DCH sell all sorts of crap!

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Finally. If you want to see my movie-related pictures from India, go here. There are many, many of them. They're mostly of movie posters or ads featuring movie stars. No Akshaye, though. Not a one. I think I have one Akshaye-related photo. I'll tell myself his lack of advertising contracts is because he has principles, but I doubt that's actually the reason. Notation is minimal and in process. I keep saying I'm going to make some grand captioned posts but...yeah, well, there's a lot going on these days, so not yet.

I also have a magazine with a really elaborate Aamir Khan ad for cars, in which he is posing as various people - or maybe the same person in different outfits? - using the car - as businessman, as happy family man, etc. I should scan that. When you come from a culture in which the biggest movie stars do not lend their visual image to advertisements in the country, it's a little jarring to see your much-beloved filmi friends selling stuff. My initial r…

Reading "Bollywood": The Young Audience and Hindi Films

by Shakuntala Banaji

Has anyone read this?

I have half a dozen unread books on Indian cinema scattered around my house, including the completely wonderful-looking Lights Camera Masala, snagged at the just-as-wonderful Gangarams in Bangalore. The university's library has dozens more, many of which I have checked out, stared at, and then returned because I was unwilling to engage in academic-ese frippery. Newly energized for reading, maybe I'll get cracking on them, finally. I have to be in just the right place for nonfiction, even if it is superwow nonfiction.

And some good news: the local art theater is going to show KANK in September. On the same night as the Indian Student Association is giving bhangra lessons. And the same night I have to work a fundraiser auction for the museum. Bunking work for KANK would be fun but I certainly don't want to risk kanking my coworkers. Here's hoping for an afternoon show too.

As I write this, "Madhorama Pencha" from Monsoon W…

Balle balle!

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I wish I could remember what song was playing when this picture was taken. What's funny about this is that Rajan looks completely calm and collected, whereas I am pink-cheeked (shall we blame the stage lights or the Kingfisher?) and bewildered (but having a wonderful time), which is not at all a bad summary of much of the trip. Now, obviously this is not at all a flattering picture, but I'm postoing it because 1) maybe this will sate Michael and Babasko, who wanted footage of me dancing as an extra in a Bollywood-style number in a local independent film, and 2) it was a superwow evening that truly should be documented.

what this movie needs is some foreshadowing: Muqaddar Ka Sikandar

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One afternoon in Kovalam, I stumbled across a veeeery intense scene with the Big B and my FPMFIL (that's fake-pretend movie father-in-law - keep up, will you?). What in the name of thunderclaps was this drama overload, I wondered? So I called up one of my filmy informants, who told me (in an impressively short amount of time, I might add - as soon as I said "Amitabh and Vinod Khanna," he knew) it was Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.

Frivolity first: who is the sexier father-son pair: Amitabh and Abhishek, or Vinod and Akshaye (or Rahul, let's not forget Rahul)? Seriously, that's a tough call. Votes welcome. This was my first Vinod Khanna movie and I thought he was really cool and fun to watch, like he was having a good time with his role and just generally enjoying himself - and totally owning his tight white pants.

Muqaddar Ka Sikandar gets the prize for First Movie to Show the Gateway of India since Beth Saw It Herself, and that was very satisfying in a way I can't quit…

slow photo boat to India

(What? Does that even make sense? No? Well, I'm tired, okay? And I haven't had any coffee all day.) Finally, my photo album for India. [For whatever reason, these appear in reverse chronological order in each album (or in the slideshow or film loop thingy) - so if you want to see things as I took them, start on the last page of each album and go forward. No idea.] I had over 1,000 pictures, so these are just my favorites. Rather, they are my favorites that do not need me telling you what they are in order to be appreciated. These are my self-guided favorites. I'm going to make a whole separate album for the movie-related pictures, as there are quite a few of those.

Meanwhile, my friend Kamla today said she thought India has high emotional productivity, and that really struck me as a very clever and insightful thing to say. I'm sure I'm not qualified to talk about the country as a whole, but I'd certainly agree with that statement as it applies to movies. Which …

wow: Being Cyrus

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What isn't to like about this movie? Everything about this movie is really, really good. It's smart. It's funny. It's weird. It sounds fantastic. It has funky plot twists. It lets you feel confused - maybe even conflicted - about characters who are complex and engaging. The acting is nuanced, engaging, fun. And let's just come out with it: as one of my friends said, Saif is a rockstar in this movie. It's so incredibly good and interesting that I have nothing else to say.


Except: Saif? Damn. Dimple sure knows how to pick 'em, doesn't she? Maybe she gives lessons.

happy Indian Independence Day yo!

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Detail of a truck somewhere in West Bengal.

It sure is great! And yes, this is a smidge early by my clock, but it's Indian Independence Day somewhere in the world - like, in India! And while I can't think of a tidy way to tie Indian Independence Day with Bollywood, it just seems really gauche not to wish the country that has produced so much of superwow.

Aside to grammar-loving people: from what I gather, it is perfectly acceptable in Indian English to use "wish" like that, with no object. Fun, huh?

So much of kanked!

Loving the mixed reports on KANK and still undecided as to whether a 6-hour (total) car trip in suburban Chicago traffic is worth it. Abby said we could justify the drive by seeing all four of the Hindi films playing at that theater. What say you, readers: is at least 12 hours in a movie theater too much, even if spent on KANK, Omkara, Anthony Kaun Hai?, and Golmaal?

Also loving the acceptance of "kank"/"kanked" as words, even if there seems to be some disagreement on what they should mean exactly. But language is a dynamic medium, changing with needs of expression, etc. Pip pip.

catch you later, I'm kanked

So maybe TB was right, maybe "kanked" should mean "worn out" or "irritated": the one person I've talked to who has seen KANK dozed off in the theater. On opening night. In Mumbai. Which makes me far less interested in driving to Chicago next weekend to see it.

collaborative-ish project #1: Army of Monkeys gets off the sofa and Disco Dance[s]

I meant to direct attention to this ages ago, and you've probably already seen it anyway, but just in case: a few months ago, it came to light that my friend Steve over at Army of Monkeys had never even heard of Disco Dancer, a problem that surely needed to be addressed, so I sent him mine. He did a full-on AoM-style article on it - with video clips too! He also gave me space to explain why I had inflicted the movie on him, so you can read that too.

Basically, he was all "I can handle frighteningly bad Bollywood films," which seemed to me to smack of hubris. He and I like very different kinds of bad movies, though, so I wasn't sure I had anything to counter his claim. But then I remembered Disco Dancer. So I tossed it out. And he knew nothing about it. So a project was born.

I believe part of our arrangement was that I'll have to watch Jaani Dushman sometime soon. Unless I'm conveniently out of the country again...any invitations? Please?

Two Disco Dancer-rela…

Aap Ki Khatir bits and bobs

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We've all seen him with better hair, but he really does look happy, so that's all that matters na?

The outfit is a step up from the last music launch photos I saw, although the tshirt under the nice button-down is superfluous, and I'm so over the strategically distressed denim. So overall, upgrade!

And let's look at this, which is even better:

The best part of this is the sweater. I love sweaters, which is why it's probably best I didn't run into Akshaye in Mumbai after all, since you would have to be crazy to wear a sweater in Mumbai in July. Forget spring; fall is romantic, with its cool air and warm sun and crunchy leaves and bright, appley scent.

I'm listening to the soundtrack and am completely underwhelmed and it sounds way too much like everything else I associate with Himmesh Reshammiya, especially him going "oooh" or "ohhhh." The acoustic with a dash of Akshaye in it is a little different, but I can't say I actually like it. Of…

First "psyched," then "geeked," now "kanked."

Dibs on using KANK as a verb! Doesn't it sound liked "crank" and therefore should mean "geared up, wound up, excited"? Try it out. And ten points to whomever best uses it in their review of the movie tomorrow.

I spent my morning drive to work thinking about my excitement level for KANK. It is minimal, even with the onslaught of gorgeous visuals (and Abhishek - SRK looks gaunt and drawn) in the previews and the chance to see TB on the big screen, partly because I have no idea if I'm going to get to see it any time soon; the local group that organizes screenings of new Hindi films has been silent so far, so I'm assuming I'll have to wait for DVD (or haul my sorry self up to Chicago, which I might do if Abby or Si want to [and a hearty welcome back to both!]). But it's also because I have a really complicated relationship with Karan Johar - I know, you thought things with Akshaye were tricky! Of course I love KKHH, but I find K3G bloated and manipu…

in which Akshaye gets to scowl at Johny Lever and Kareena in ways I've only dared dream of: the rest of 36 China Town

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Warning: this post may very well veer from snarky into mean. I'm sorry. I could make excuses, but basically it's boiling down to me being really tired. But c'mon, if you've seen this, you know - there's a lot in here to make fun of, and I'm just gonna call it like I see it.

Also, I added some pictures to my first post on this movie.

I don't know what to make of this. I've wanted to see it for months and it's neither exactly what nor as good as I was expecting, but it certainly didn't stink. There wasn't as much emphasis on a real mystery as I thought there would be, and it also wasn't quite as slapstick/wackadoo as it might have been (it had far less frantic running around than, for example, Hungama, thank goodness). I guess that's what happens with masala sometimes: you get so much of so many things that no one flavor stands out? I don't know, like I said, it wasn't bad, but I'm not sure what it was.

Even Akshaye's p…

you'd think I'd like this, but no

I just heard the BBC Film Cafe interview with the inventor of Bollywood Legends dolls so of course I had to find a picture. As a museum person, I really do understand the urge to have physical reminders of things you hold dear, but for whatever reason, probably because they don't really look very accurate, I find these really unappealing. What say the rest of you?

Go. Read. Be impressed.

Liebling Michael has a new project underway, and he graciously invited me to play too. Looky.

Why is it so hard to refer someone to a url without using the phrase "check it out"? I had to think really hard about another way to send you over there.

as far as I let-jaggedly made it through 36 China Town

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(And yes, I'll definitely finish it.)

I am so out of it. I've been awake since 4 this morning and have somehow stumbled through the day with the single goal of not going to sleep again until a normal-ish bedtime. Mucho thanks to the co-workers who welcomed me back with open arms only to see me stagger out at noon. So I spent some time, as I was able to concentrate on anything, watching bits of my new DVD. I played with some of the extra features and made it through "24 x 7 I Think of You," which, by the way, I love way more than I should, and the picturization makes me love it even more, and I've learned a few of the moves, so look out. Anyway, here are my thoughts on what I've seen so far. You might remember this ensemble (cough) and think, as I did, "Well, at least I'll never see him in that again." Wrong. It pops up in some of the interview/making-of footage, I do sincerely hope shot at the same event as the unfortunate photo. You didn't w…

oh, now I get it

Psssst. I have something to tell you. I don't know if it's a secret, technically, although certainly nobody told me, and I had to discover it on my own (although there's little I like more than stumbling across something really interesting, so that's totally okay). Here it is: men's Bollywood costumes make a whole lot more sense once you have seen what some people in India actually wear. It's true!

Not everyone dresses like Govinda, to be sure; but as someone pointed out, even if only one percent of the population is wearing filmy clothes, that's still 11,000,000 people - many of whom were outside and spottable from the bus window.

I saw orange cargo pants and funny hats and insane shirts - including one in a store just outside our hotel in Kolkata that I wanted to hand to Salman right away (only after ripping the sleeves off a bit, of course) (a red button-down with rainbow-striped sleeves, in case you were wondering - he'd wear it with most of the but…

just plain wrong

If I hadn't already been warned by Obi Wan of this phenomenon, I would have dropped my bowl of ice cream when, happily settling in to watch the songs on my new DVD of 36 China Town, a loud preview burst on the screen for...wait for it...WWE wrestling. In Hindi. If I understood correctly, you can buy WWE DVDs in Hindi. Now, I'm all for equal access and all, but why does everyone seem to be dazzled by the very stupidest American popular culture has to offer? Maybe Arrested Development has also been dubbed into Hindi, I don't know. Hope springs eternal. Until it is bodyslammed on the mat of...um.... Yeah, well, I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep until after 6, so you'll please excuse me and can submit your own end of that metaphor.

the lieblingest

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Readjusting to life outside five-star hotels is a little rough so far - yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds, but you'd be surprised how quickly you can get used to it; besides, there's no fresh jasmine on my dining room table and last time I checked no one had come by to make my bed and put a card with a sleep-related quote by Keats on my pillow - but Michael is really easing the transition.

Also, somehow while I was away I missed reading about what is surely going to be my new favorite song. Thanks again, Michael.

Inauspicious!

[modified cross-post from Beth Goes to India]

So much of happiness to settle into my seat on the Delhi-Chicago flight and see in the entertainment guide that the two Bollywood movies playing are Shaadi Se Pehle and 36 China Town. So much of sadness to discover that the listings are a colossal lie and that the films actually showing are Shikhar and Fight Club. I mean, really. That's just mean. When I first saw the listings, I almost got up and ran over to my friend Lindsey's seat to tell her about this great auspicious occurrence. Good thing I didn't.

So is it any wonder that the flight home stank on ice? I slept - or rather "sat with my eyes closed" - restlessly off and on almost the whole way, rustling around in my seat, somehow unable to get to a good position or temperature and I'm sure annoying the daylights out of the shy Purdue grad student next to me. Also, the Saif-emblazoned bag of potato chips I had as part of a snack did not sit well. What kind of u…