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Showing posts from May, 2007

lunchtime poll #4: "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha"

So I'm sitting there, studying the vocabulary in chapter two of Teach Yourself Hindi (yes, I'm still on chapter two) with a random CD on in the background. "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" came on and I put down my book. Usually lyrics flow past me unless for some reason I've bothered to hunt down a translation; I hadn't done that with this song, but recently Filmi Geek, with her mad Hindi skillz, had been telling me about them. I remember thinking "that's a bit much" - I mean, "When I saw this girl it felt like a poet's dream...like the swaying vines...like the music of the fairies"? That's pretty sap-tastic. But just now, reading them over again, I started to cry and had to keep hitting repeat on the CD player. I think what happened is that I moved past the particular words - which I still think are quite heavy - to the totality of the feeling that would move somebody to say those things, and I found myself charmed and moved. And watching…

So what if the heart is broken? Dor

If you're like me and somehow haven't yet seen this lovely, thoughtful film, drop whatever you're doing and go, go, go. Of all its many strengths, I think the most important is how simply it asks and explores some very complex and emotional questions: What does a person's life really consist of? Why are we so easily tempted not to be generous and forgiving? Why do we resist love softening us? Why do we let fear keep us from joy? Why do we let sadness squash our dreams and hearts? In a world in which men control most aspects of women's lives and often hold them back, put them down, why do women not support one another? Dor shows us that maybe it really isn't so hard to be a better person. We are connected, and we must take care of each other. If you can speak honestly, it isn't that hard to express what you need, and responding to others isn't too difficult either.

A user on imdb commented that simple movies can be the hardest ones to make in India. Dor d…

Naqaab sneak peek? Bleak.

A Naqaab trailer and song premiere is up on IndiaFM and I am underwhelmed. Music that I'm sure is supposed to sound haunting (and part of which I swear is also used in the early scenes of Main Hoon Na, I think when Naseeruddin is shot and Shahrukh responds in slow mo, or maybe during his funeral) plays while we see the reflection of a woman in a white wedding dress (Urvashi Sharma, I believe) in a puddle in front of a dilapidated building. Bobby Deol - sporting his much-mocked long, bedraggled hair* - says "I do," Akshaye says he does too, and then the bride says she doesn't. And the voiceover says "There is a lie behind every truth; there is a face behind every face."

What? That's not suspenseful or puzzling or intriguing, as you'd want a thriller to be; that's just stupid. Everyone wears a mask and no one is who s/he seems, or every person is related to or entangled with others. Either way, we've heard it before, and my reaction is "So…

shake it to the right

Why didn't anyone tell me that Emma Bunton - that's Baby Spice to you* - was in a Bollywood movie?!? Pyaar Mein Twist, with Dimple Kapadia, Rishi Kapoor, Farida Jalal, and Soha Ali Khan. So, did anyone see it, is it any good, and what/how does my girl Emma do in it?

* I don't think my love of the Spice Girls is news to anyone. What may be news, though, is that one of the people I often link to here likes her too, and, in case that person doesn't know, she has a new(-ish) album out, which so far doesn't sound as good as the really cool previous one.

OMG indeed!

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Paint It Pink has trumped her own superwowness. From the creator of such pieces as the Guide to Shashi and the Men in Pink video I am honored to show you the very finest thing I have ever gotten in the mail, maybe even more exciting than last week's preview copy of a new SRK biography by Anupama Chopra and an earlier present from the Jaman crew chief of Looking for the Big B. Looky!
I am so delighted I don't know what to say other than thank you Kaddele! (And I bet she didn't even know my birthday is just a few days away, in the season of Bollywood blogger birthdays, including Filmi Geek, Maja, Babasko, and Armando, whom I will fête in due course.)

calm in the eye of the storm: Nishabd

The most striking thing about Nishabd, I think, is how reasonable and balanced all of the people are around and through their very dramatic emotions that arise from very unreasonable, absurd events. As is often the case in sad stories, I think, this one is fueled by people making bad choices. Really, really bad and selfish choices. Vijay may have loved Jia's youthfulness - her short-shorts, lollipop-sucking, tantrum-throwing, pouting, flirting, rude, repetitive youthfulness - but his short-sighted and selfish decisions about how he responded to her are the worst immaturity in this story - worse than Jia's because, of course, he's old enough to know better and he has very strong, important reasons (a wife, a child, the life he's built) to act on that knowledge.

Here's what he says when reflecting on what happened:
Since the time this happened with me I always used to think why does this happen. That an old man feels attracted towards a young girl. Why? And the girl…

Field trip!

Alternate title: Beth's next job.

Some clever person is building a Bollywood theme park/studio-type attraction. It's scheduled to open in 2008, according to Reuters, so that gives all of us far-flung fans a bit of lead time to start saving our pennies. Lots and lots of pennies. The Reuters report of the story is here and a slightly different version from The Times of India, in which this concoction is called a museum (and depending on how the thing is developed, I may or may not agree with them on that term, but anyway), is here.

Salaam-e-Ishq

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There was a time, long ago now, when I expected a lot from this movie. Then it came out, everyone said "enh," and I lowered my hopes accordingly. I finally got my hands on it and...enh.

I was really hoping that I would have a flash of insight and be able to state definitively what went didn't work in this movie, why it seems to inspire so many middle-of-the road reactions. (I don't think it's the number of stories or the length - we've all seen Hindi films longer than this that were perfectly good or even great, such as Lagaan - although I do think the DVD version has been trimmed down, because there are scenes and plot points that I had heard about but didn't see.) My hunch is that it's the characters, who for me were either really annoying and not fleshed out or likable but still just a sketch, and the stories, most of which felt equally skeletal, as though I had been plopped down in the middle of a novel and not allowed to read from the beginning. …

pre-proper-response thoughts on Salaam-e-Ishq

1. I love that Priyanka and Anil are having their late-night coincidental confab at a Cafe Rouge. Now another of my great pop cultural loves, Bridget Jones's Diary, has an overlap with Bollywood. By the way, I think a Bollywood version of Bridget Jones's Diary would be superwow, but I would have to be involved so that it is cast properly (which means Rani, not Priyanka, is Bridget, and Shahrukh is Daniel and Saif, I think, will do very nicely as Mark Darcy).

2. I want to throttle Priyanka's character. Just get married and do the movie. I know it's not the usual model for Bollywood actresses, but just try it, you idiot. And you are so not Lauren Bacall. Put your lips together and stop talking.

3. But first I have to throttle Anil's character, who is the most pathetic excuse of a grown-up I've seen in a long time.

4. Still love the soundtrack, though, maybe even more, now that I've heard it in context.

5. It's very pretty. It looks great. Classy, full of deta…

tee hee 2

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I just got back from a 4-day, 6,000-person conference and I am wiped out. I should have just taken today off but instead I'm watching more Abhishek ads online. From the "Motoslvr vs Abhishek" series, please note his very funny bedroom decor filled with big portraits of himself (as you do - or at least, as Bollywood set designers do, too).

PS - isn't that Ranjit Chowdhry playing his butler?

for those of us who wish Mr. Darcy could be just a bit more filmi

Somehow I have had my head under a rock that prevented me from ever hearing about Goodness Gracious Me, a BBC sketch comedy show I am going to have to rent at the earliest opportunity. Allons-y au Bollyblog d'A2 à voir une vidéo de YouTube in which recurring character Chunky Lafunga, a Bollywood star, appears in Pride and Prejudice. C'est tres bon, ça.

Javed Akhtar on Hindi films as a state of the union

Trivial Matters, or "darling Akshay," as he is known 'round these parts, alerted me to an article in Outlook India in which wordsmith (right, Filmi Geek?) Javed Akhtar proposes that because they so borrow and synthesize cultural elements from across the nation, and are made by a crew of people from various places and religions, Hindi films are the country's greatest common language - and constitute a culturally ecumenical state of the union in which everyone can (and does) participate.

Here is the first page of the section of the article on Hindi films (it starts in the fourth paragraph down and then continues on the next page for another paragraph). It's worth noting that the only direct quote from Akhtar is the introductory idea: "There is one more state in this country, and that is Hindi cinema." None of the explanation or expansion of this idea is attributed to him; it all comes as an excerpt from a forthcoming book The Miracle That is India by Rama…

a poem

It's a relatively lesser-known fact that while I may go on (and on and on) about Akshaye and Shashi and Saif, there is a signifcant part of me that quietly but absolutely adores Abhishek Bachchan. He's not officially on the FPMBF list, mainly out of affection for Maja ("I sacrified my love on the altar of friendship," as Babasko sometimes reminds me about her long-ago fledgling feelings for Akshaye), but also because I cannot quite put into words what I like about him. It goes beyond "madly talented and wildly attractive," and it can't really be expressed without sound effects. It has a lot to do with how funny he can be (and how geeky and selfless it comes off), a trait that Akshaye seems to be sorely lacking and that Shashi has but often couples with a touch of smugness that will probably grow tireseome. A shared sense of humor wins over an ability to smolder, dance, charm, be intense, or look good in pleather pants, no question about it.

Anyway, I wa…

Avoid, yaar! Avoid like the plague! Jigar

This movie is repellent.

It's so awful that I can think of only one remotely redeeming thing to say about it, which is that the "meet cute" between Karisma Kapoor and Ajay Devgan is indeed cute, starting with his accidental sighting of her on a balcony, then a very fine girls vs. boys wedding song, and then the usual hiding behind trees. The rest of it is absolutely not worth watching - although I have no qualifications to talk about the numerous fight scenes, which for all I know are really good.

My objections about the story are based largely on the morally bankrupt bad guy characters, who premeditate a rape merely to entangle Ajay's character into acting rashly out of revenge. To make things worse, the rape victim, still lying in the street in front of a crowd of dozens of onlookers who did nothing while all this was happening, sobbing and alone, then kills herself with a shard of glass. It's horrible. There are things I will put up with for the sake of a story …

This is the true story...

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roll out the red carpet

Beth Loves Bollywood is proud to present the unauthorized US launch of the highly anticipated English-language version of Shashi's Scandalously Shocking Shirt Scandalby - who else? - the wundergals of MissionBAS.