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Showing posts from April, 2007

less than the sum of its parts: Fakira

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This movie should have been better. It's got great ingredients: Shashi Kapoor in "a masala film he made with gusto" (so said Aspi when he told me about the movie, and I agree!), the always reliable Shabana Azmi, Amrish Puri's brother as the bad guy, Danny Denzongpa, a comic sidekick who's not too annoying (Asrani), and lots of Recommended Masala Allowance features, like a drive-in lair, quite possibly the inspiration for the Charlie's Angels logo, a cool female bandit (Aruna Irani), a Clapper prototype (used to awesome effect during a fight), disguises, pigeons who deliver fire cracker-looking bombs, murdered parents, flames, Dussehra effigies, long-lost brothers, treachery, an undercover female cop, revenge, a charity auction, and steamy bits. Phew! Even with all of this, Fakira , except for the fun performances and the never-ending parade of delightful elements, didn't really do much for me. When I was reading Filmi Geek's review , which

Best Subtitle Typo Award, 1976

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( Fakira )

UIUC India Night...starring Hrithik Roshan?

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You heard it right. The star of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Indian Student Association's annual cultural night was Hrithik Roshan. The humor highlight of the night was the portrayal of Hrithik in Bollywood celebrity Jeopardy! . When he was introduced, he hopped out from behind his podium and did the wiggle. One of the game categories was "ten" and he got the answer "This is how many fingers you have" and he held out his hands and looked at them very carefully. Abby and I were the first people in our section of seating to get it, I think, and the laughter built in a slow wave. Hrithik also begged Alex for mercy on one of his answers, saying "Please? Dancing is all I have." Another contestant was Aishwarya, but all she did was talk about how beautiful she is and refuse to kiss Hrithik (so had they or had they not watched Dhoom 2 ?). The writers' knowledge of Aishwarya's physical features was lesser than that of Hrithik&#

tee hee

the happy couple

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Finally a wedding photo we can trust.

and now for the important event of the week

You know what? I like them both and wish them all the best. I like how happy she seems here, just grinning widely, not caring if she doesn't look her movie-star best. Good for them! Update to post (April 22, 2007): apparently the photo was faked, so I've removed it. Sorry about that. Anyway, best wishes to the bride and groom! And after a week of no real movie content, I hope to have a review up soon of another great 70s Shashi masala film. Stay tuned.

next in the series of current events posts

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Don't know about you, but I listen to a lot of music online, filmi and otherwise. Now that I think about it, I don't even know where my beloved Raaga.com originates, but I do know that if it and its fellows disappeared, I would be very, very sad and my office soundscape very, very dull. So click on the picture and sign a petition. Don't know if it will help, but it's worth a try

because other things happen too

This post has nothing to do with anything on this blog. But this is one of the places I feel happiest, and I am in need of some happiness today. My father teaches at Virginia Tech University, as did my mother, a cousin is a senior there, and various relatives are alumni. They are all safe, but they are all horrified beyond comprehension. I grew up in a college town (not in Virignia - I grew up in Illinois and my parents have retired to Blacksburg, which is in the area where my mother grew up), and I work at a university and live in a college town now, and that precious feeling of security and good-natured insularity that such communities often have is a big part of what makes things feel like home to me - so in some ways I can sort of imagine how thrown, how torn, how shaken my...what's the word? fellow gownies? neighbors by type? whatever, colleagues in Blacksburg are. But in other ways I cannot, it is unfathomable, it is horrible, that's not how one uses commas but even I do

Sharmila, Shashi, and skates: Aa Gale Lag Jaa

My first post at Desicritics is up , so if you'd like to know how much brain power I devoted to trying to figure out the exact circumstances in which Sharmila and Shashi got busy, you know where to go. I'm so excited about it that I'm writing this at work, which means I don't have access to my many, many screen captures at the moment, so I'll add them here tonight. You should definitely check back for those, because there are some great visual moments in this movie. (Note: I was thinking about re-posting the article here, but I wanted all the comments to be in one place. Let me know if it's annoying to hop around too much.)

And when will we see pictures of the after party?

So much of felicitations to Babsy on the world premiere of her short film Tere Ishq Mere Pyaar !

high on the list of unfortunate film titles: Love 86

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I'll give the movie this: it helped with my occasional investigation into the all-important question, "What is with Govinda?" Here's what I learned. When he was younger, here not even 30, he was cute and spry and a spirited dancer. In any of the songs in which all four leads were dancing, he's the one to watch. Look how bad Neelam's got it for Govinda! Dang! But the rest of the time...zzzzz. I suppose the frequent mentions of the year the movie was set (1986, of course) are meant to emphasize modernity or youthfulness or generational identity, but the movie is dull enough that it's hard to imagine it did much to bond people to any ideas or feelings. We don't get to know our leads very well. They're depicted only superficially, and the little bit of interest I had in their story was owed to them being the focus of the story rather than me being grabbed by any kind of meaningful conflict or emotions. The various plot elements feel perfunctory,

Love 86: a preview

This movie is very early in the careers of both Johny Lever and Govinda (the third for each, according to imdb). And that, my friends, might be all you need to know. Woah. More to come.

The Namesake

I don't remember the book making me feel or think any of the following: that we might never know people as well as we think we do, that we might never be as close as we want to be; that things and people and bonds disappear with no notice; that parts of the world are closer than we thought, maybe; that the Gangulis' house looks so much like the split-level on my block growing up that was the fun house, where the 8-bottle packs of strawberry Crush were, where we could set up the Matchbox car tracks all over the basement, where we safety-pinned towels around our necks and leaped down the stairs like superheroes, where before I was even in high school the parents had divorced and the fun house wasn't safe anymore; that saying "no big deal" can be restorative and hopeful; that the older you get the more you can hurt; that something moving and meaningful and a little amazing happened the day I went to the Taj Mahal (and what Gogol experienced there is what my own belov

I'm just a girl who cain't say no.

When a mysterious man named Armando asks you to review Love in Tokyo , you go along for the ride. And when the crew of Desicritics asks you to write about movies there, well, it's such an honor to be asked that you decide you'll give it your best, even though you aren't desi and don't really know if you count as a critic. And PS, the journalist who was at the Vienna blogger meetup has published her article about it (thanks to Filmi Geek and Babasko for sending me the link). I don't remember saying that about KJo, but I'm sure I did - it sounds like the kind of goofy thing I would say.

Beth Loves Various Kinds of Popular Indian Cinema: Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana

Back in March, Babasko sat me down and we watched Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana , my first Telugu film. It's been a month, but what I remember is roughly as follows: both Babasko and me nearly collapsing in squeals and giggles because it was so delightfully cute* and funny ohhhhhh that Siddharth the mean girl entering a scene while we hear "Oh Baby Baby" "something something" cow song! cow song! Foggy as I may be, I still definitely recommend it. Good times. A little bit like Maine Pyar Kiya but not so much that I found it at all redundant or derivative. Definitely its own fun thing. Definitely, as Babasko says, a coconut with a flower inside. Aside re: Bollywood in the title of my blog: I happen to mostly watch Hindi films. When I started watching popular Indian films about two years ago, I relied on my local video store, and with just a tiny handful of exceptions, Hindi is the language of the movies they have, so that is what I watched. Now that I know about

almost "Avoid, yaar!": Kudrat

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Let's be honest: I watched this movie so I could review it for Jaman - and, more importantly, for Akshaye. And all of a sudden I felt a new, if flimsily-based, appreciation for Roger Ebert and the like who sit through mountains of crap because they have to. I should have known, right? Yikes. This shifts in tone of this movie are very, very awkward, and it is littered with both contextualized and completely random violence far beyond what even its basic plot entails. The "We hate each other! No wait, we love each other!" buildup of the love story has its cute moments, but Urmila's character Madhu is completely irritating and it's very hard to understand why Akshaye's Vijay likes her - or even gives her the time of day. The second part of the film is a bog of history (which explains why Vijay's parents have such fake-looking gray hair) and revenge, and despite all of the action sequences, complete with waaaaaay overdone punching sound effects, it's d