Showing posts from 2008


Subhash Ghai's Taal and I have a complicated relationship. Part of me loves it, just absolutely loves it, and part of me has become wary of it after reading analysis by Filmi Geek and Philip's Filums and then considering it on my own in the cold light finished rewatching it and therefore not, at this very moment, basking in its glow of relentless beauty and razzle-dazzle. In a handy convergence of media consumption, my recent preparing-for-a-trip-to-London-to-see- David-Tennant-as- Hamlet -at-the-RSC viewing of "The Fires of Pompeii" episode of Doctor Who has provided me a new system for sorting out my reactions. If your eyes are glazing over at the mention of Doctor Who - as mine used to do until recently, despite evangelistic* efforts by many friends over the years (somehow I've only grown to love Doctor Who ** since falling for Bollywood, but that's another post entirely) - please hang on: this will only take a second, and I promise

Slumdog Millionaire

Soooo satisfying - a big ol' hunk of dil-nourishing masala cheese! Lost siblings! Misisng parents! Orphans! Violence! Tears! Religious identity! Shady authority figures! Shenanigans! Splashy piles of currency! Groovy title graphics! Stupid white people! Gangster hideouts! Outsider takes on the system! Very ironic and convenient coincidences! One true love! You have to eat this one carefully, predictable though it can be, because someone stuck bits of razor blade inside and then rolled it in jagged glass dredged up from the sewer. But but it's completely worth the risk if you love cheese (and some good movie-culture and -celebrity play). And I do. For discussion: did the portrayals of poverty, violence against children, gangsters, police brutality and corruption, etc, sometimes become just as easy-cheesy and/or fantastical as those of the heart-warming parts? I haven't decided. But wow, is my heart ever warm.

apparently violence is the answer: Ghajini

Note: I have seen neither Memento nor the Tamil original Ghajini , so I'm looking at the Hindi version on its own. Ghajini is a cruel, depressing, and disjointed story. Last thing first: the tone of the movie lurched around so frustratingly. Even before the intermission, we leap from shadowy, brutal hand-to-hand death to blathering Asin (who was maybe instructed to act like Kareena Kapoor as Geet in Jab We Met ? I don't have any other explanation for her character Kalpana's hyperactive act) to multiple hip-hopping Aamir Khans (and more of this, please - oh how I love his dancing). Jumpy editing and unusual camera angles might help the viewer get to know what it's like inside poor protagonist Sanjay (Aamir Khan)'s damaged brain, but the shifts between tones and components of the story went way beyond that. The nearly constant violence or aggression present in any scene with post-injury Sanjay combined with the sunny, silly romance of his previous self struck me as

warm fuzzies

Much to my delight, Banno , Todd , Rum , and Ajnabi have included Beth Loves Bollywood in their list of blogs that believe in proximity. Yes, I was confused at first too, as to my knowledge none of them also lives in Champaign-Urbana, or Illinois*, or even the midwestern United States. But then I read what it means. This award is given to a blog that invests and believes in PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. That's so thoughtful! I am often stunned by how much richer my life has become through reading and writing about Bollywood. I count among my ver

Oh. My. Stars.

Eeeeeeee! If you happen to pick up the current issue of Filmfare - and what a cover! - please stop by p. 157. Many, many thanks to Jugal Mody for including me. And be on the lookout for more Bloggers You Know soon!

Shankar Dada

Is Shankar Dada an ahead-of-its time example of decline and fall masala, a.k.a. teetering towards embarrassingly debauched and past its prime / backwass masala ? Or is it a brilliant synergy of style and substance? You decide! Exhibit A: story The description of Shankar Dada from the back of its Ultra DVD box says more about the movie than I could ever come up with. Here it is exactly: Amarsingh an honest Police Officer deligent, hardworking, dutiful and devotee of nation leads a happy life with his loving wife Shante and twin sons Ram & Shankar. Babu Dada an antinational, antisocial, criminal wants to buy Amarsingh the honest police officer, who defies and is trapped in a murder case. Innocent Amarsingh is sentence for life imprisonment. The family of Amarsingh is scattered. All three are separated. Wife Shanta becomes Half-mad. Ram becomes a Police Officer and Shankar becomes a criminal. Amarsing after serving his term in jail, comes out as a different person in disguise o