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Showing posts from September, 2007

Jaan-e-Mann

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Poor Jaan-e-Mann . When it showed up on my door - courtesy of dear Dr. Marcus, fellow Fulbrighter and Bollywood-watcher - I gobbled it right up. But it's been a month and I can't figure out what I want to say even though I really enjoyed it (despite too much of muscles and a very lackluster role for Preity, whose talents ask for so much more). I loved its use of imagination, memory, and daydreaming. It's also really rich in visuals, many resulting from all the flashbacks and imaginary scenes. When its quirkiness was tied to something relevant, it worked really well. My two favorites were Suhaan (Salman) and Bonney (Anupam) comforting flashback Agastya (Akshay), who had somehow come out of the story and joined present-day Agastya as he told his tale of woe. That's how sadness is sometimes - it slips out of your past and demands that your here-and-now life pay attention to it. And when we're lucky, here-and-now can help out the past, or at the very least acknowledge

Beth kahaan hai?

Buried in work, that's where. So buried that my brain is not able to figure out what to say about two recently-watched movies, Jaan-e-Mann and Teesri Manzil . While I work on those, help me figure out what to watch next. When my Hindi tutor returned from her summer in Rajasthan, she brought me, among many other delights, a handful of Mysterious Movies from Yore, and neither of us knows anything about any of them. Whichever of these gets the most positive and/or intriguing comments from you readers will be the next movie added to the queue. Here they are in chronological order. Chitralekha (1964) Dulha Dulhan (1964) Sawan Bhadon (1970) Jeet (1972) My tutor also brought me Jewel Thief, Sharmeelee, and Guddi . Yes indeed, I am the luckiest girl in the world! Jewel Thief is obviously superwow and what I wrote about it when I first saw it earlier this year doesn't at all do it justice, and at some point I might write about it again. As for Sharmeelee , well, I could go

Obama may have Oprah, but the truly important race isn't over yet.

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Post-Punk Cinema Club's Dance Off: Big B vs. Shashilicious Vote early! Vote often! (That's how we roll in Illinois, anyway.) And read the comments before you decide.

ahem

Public service announcement: if you are not doing so already, please read MemsaabStory and The Post-Punk Cinema Club . I've had the good fortune to encounter them recently and think they're totally superwow. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Junoon

In a movie that stars Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Naseeruddin Shah, and Deepti Naval, isn't it something that it's a much less accomplished film actor who steals the show? Everyone in Junoon is excellent, but it was Jennifer Kendal that impressed me most. Previously I'd only seen her in a tiny role in Ghare-Baire . (I have some James Ivory to catch up on, but I kinda burned out on Merchant Ivory in college back when we all wanted to be Lucy Honeychurch, you know? It's good, but I'm not sure I'm ready to dive back in.) She was best known around here as an unfugged costume designer ( Fakira , Kabhi Kabhie ) and T(rue) F(or) R(eal) S(ignificant) O(ther) of ascendant FPMBF Shashi Kapoor.* From the little I have read about her (and I haven't yet gotten my hands on the Kapoor dynasty biography - somehow the Illinois university library system doesn't have it, leading me to wonder where exactly my tax dollars are going), she has a profes

authentic 1978; fake-pretend 1977

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Coinkydink? Maybe, maybe not, but who cares? Too groovy for words. I'm all for very Brady Bollywood. This may just be the movie that gets me to drive three hours each way to the Chicago 'burbs to see it opening weekend.

Umm...my dog ate it? a very tardy book report on King of Bollywood: SRK and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema

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(What's the difference between a book review and a book report, anyway? Do teachers still ask children just to report on a book, as though it is a static fact, and not critique it and engage with its ideas? Kids can do that. They're really bright and have tons of ideas.) Anyway. In case you missed it, back in July before the book came out, several bloggers from the US and Europe participated in a marathon discussion of the book with author Anupama Chopra . My hat is very much off to her for agreeing to such a rambling project, and she answered questions respectfully and with humor, an approach I always appreciate. Now that I've had time to mull the book over - I was reading frantically right until I sent my questions in - I don't think I have much more to add to what was discussed in that post or to what other reviewers since then have said. It's an engaging, straightforward book, combining personal, industry, city, and cultural history. In its strongest moments

boys who wear glasses

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SRK's look of the decade? Thanks, Times of India ! Bespectacled and reading. Damn . Soooo much better than bulgy neck , bangs in eyes , and strategically ripped t-shirt things .

Satyam Shivam Sundaram

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Classic theme, souped-up package. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; what is seen is changed by the feelings of the viewer. You may look, but do you see? Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you? Etc. Like with yesterday's Chak De India , there's nothing particularly novel about what's going on here, but the movie certainly presents its ideas in engaging (and sometimes really weird) ways. Like Kaddele , I'm not quite sure what to say about this movie. It's both very familiar and completely strange. The visuals are strong, often really helpful to the story or message and always interesting. If you don't know the movie, there are probably two things that you've heard about it. One, Zeenat Aman wears little clothing, and what she does wear is either almost transparent or very tight. Totally true. I'm not quite sure what to make of this - on the one hand, sexing up the already uber-babe Zeenat seems redundant an

a ten from the American judge: Chak De India

Perfect. I loved this movie so much. I don't watch many sports movies, so the next comment is somewhat uninformed, but: I don't recall any other sports story having such a balanced, respectful approach to the question of how to encourage individuals to coalesce into a real team. I really appreciated the emphasis that the movie, via Khan, put on improving and relating to the larger communities to which the players belonged: each girl was a part of the team, but she was also part of womankind and India-kind. Each girl had something to give to - and receive from - each of these different overlapping and sometimes conflicting groups to which she belongs. (For a few of the characters, we saw even more bits of life to consider - family, boyfriend, and, in the case of Khan, the past. Of course most of us juggle all these pieces and more in our day-to-day lives, but I understand all of that couldn't fit in the movie.) Everyone had something to learn, and she did. Everyone had som