Showing posts from January, 2008

A memo from the "too good to be true" files?

Alert reader Joyce sent me a website from iTalkies offering free DVD rentals. Forever. Does anyone know anything about this or how it might work? Here's the CEO's blog post about the idea. The comments on the blog are pretty funny and sum up my own sense: how on earth is this sustainable? And why does it sound so dodgy? I am very much in favor of more legitimate avenues for accessing Indian movies (by which I mean completely legal, the filmmakers/musicians/actors/distributors/rights holders are compensated for their works and product, no file sharing, no pirating, no hosting of videos, etc. - this whole "I should be able to watch movies for free" attitude is ridiculous), but this one puzzles me. Then again, I stayed as far away from possible from the business school in college, so what do I know? There's a (so far) small conversation rolling on Bollywhat .


(Warning: there are some badly written sentences in here, but this movie was so hard to write about that after two hours I had to let go and press publish.) As with Gandhi, My Father last week, I feel really bad saying anything unflattering about Amu . Its ultimate aims (as I interpret the film, these are to get viewers to question what they do and don't know about the 1984 Delhi riots - and why - and to turn that approach inward as well) are noble, the big and small parts of the story are tragic, and the acting is great (my favorites were Konkana Sen Sharma [no surprise], Brinda Karat, Yashpal Sharma, and Loveleen Mishra). There's an great, unnerving scene early on that nutshells the whole movie for me. While walking across some train tracks with new Delhi friends, Kaju (Konkana Sen Sharma) has a vision of a train hurtling by, and in between the cars she sees a woman on the other side of the train. (We learn more about her and the train yard later.) I'd seen Amu a few

I spy an automated feed

I'm getting dizzy from the meta: a post about a post about people stealing posts. On the truly up side of things, yesterday my beloved postal carrier brought me a big padded envelope of superwow - seven Shashi movies! Duniya Meri Jeb Mein (1979), Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968), Kaala Patthar (1979), Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966), Roti Kapada aur Makaan (1974), Shankar Dadda (1976), and Waqt (1965). How's a girl to choose? Also: love Ultrabrown's Brown Oscars .

Knock it off!

This post has nothing to do with movies, and I'm sorry about that, but I've got a bee in my bonnet and this is the only way I can think of to do something about it. There's a website out there, Apna Nukkad dot com, that's been copying entire posts from this site without my knowledge, without my permission, and without even crediting me directly. My name is there as author, with a link to a list of my pieces that they've posted on their site, as though I have set up an account there to contribute. I'd write them to ask them to stop, but the "contact information" section said "temporarily disabled." Nice. Classy. They even put Creative Commons material on some of the articles on their site. I wonder if they'll copy this one?

Bhagam Bhag and Partner

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...and apparently I get a Govinda/Lara Dutta/Rajpal Yadav double header. Yes, these movies helped a little with my occasional investigation into the all-important question "What is with Govinda?": I enjoyed his dancing very much in Partner and can see how he and Salman were appropriate counterparts of the cast of Hitch . Govinda projects a bumbling, eager sweetness, and Salman is more than believable as someone who thinks he knows all about women but doesn't have the skills to make his own relationship work. Partner made me think that I might have to add another question to my investigations: "Why does Katrina Kaif keep getting work?" I should include the usual caveat that I realize that not knowing Hindi is a hindrance in comedies, especially frantic ones like Bhagam Bhag , so I'll happily accept that I'm missing a skill needed to enjoy either of these. I have at best an inconsistent track record with Priyadar

Gandhi, My Father

The beautiful and depressing Gandhi, My Father was close to being very good. The performances were great, and of the four leads I can't even single out which was the most touching. The visuals (locations, sets, props, costumes) were rich and nuanced and felt very real. But there's just no sense of connection in the story. Over and over we are given evidence of the tragic irony that Gandhi was father to the nation but painfully mistreated his own son, but we never get any explanation or context. That Harilal is a repeated failure is all we know about Harilal; maybe there isn't historical evidence to tell us any more, but it leaves a hole in the center of the story. There's no real discussion of the revisited tension over MK not allowing Harilal to study to be a lawyer, but we see its effects in Akshaye Khanna's big, sad eyes throughout the film. We never understand why Harilal is unable to make good on the repeated offers of support from various communities. Some de

Beth aur Babli

Aspi has just written a post about what movie character he would like to play , and now Amrita has written a post about why none of the female role types are worthwhile and she'd rather play the hero, thank you very much . It's pointed and thoughtful and sharp and bang on. So let's hear it. What movie character would you like to play? I had to think about that question very hard for about ten minutes, and then it came to me in a flash of brilliance: Vimmi/Babli from Bunty aur Babli . She's smart. She's funny. She schemes, she laughs, she loves. She enjoys life. She knows when to let her emotions show and isn't afraid to be herself. Despite running away, acting out all sorts of brassy and bold roles, and being a criminal, Vimmi/Babli escapes the typical melodramatic horrors, punishments, and subjugations Amrita outlines. And in the very end, she doesn't have to sacrifice her individual talents and interests for husband, child, parents, or home. In my ideal

there are maybe three readers who will be as interested in this as I was, but too bad

So I'm watching Partner , and in the middle of "You're My Love," I spy Katrina Kaif wearing what appears to be a strategically sliced (and be-whaleboned) U of I t-shirt. We've all heard of Harvards and Oxford University London*, but I never thought Bollywood's incorporation of non-Indian universities would extend to Urbana-Champaign. But then when I took the disc out of the DVD player and put it in my computer to get screen captures, I was able to see that in fact it isn't a U of I t-shirt. It's a t-shirt for the fictional (or very unknown) Illinois Lions basketball team. Oh well. The song is still really catchy and chock full of fug potential. * Update to post: an email from a reader made me realize I should indicate that I do indeed know the proper names and locations of these universities - what I have written here is a reference to what I have heard them called in some (by no means all) movies. I don't remember where "Harvards"

the 2nd Annual (right?!?) Pan-European/International Bollywood Blogger Meetup

The Europeans are at it again. This year's mostly-German-language* Bollywood meetup is scheduled for Munich, March 7-9. I'm going to put the N(orth) A(merican) in "Internatio NA l" and I think others should join me. Chale chalo! All are invited, and, once you make it to Munich, there is a promise of help finding a cheap place to stay (someone's couch, a shared hotel room, etc.) - and a superwow time, of course. The weekend is being planned by Michael , Kaddele, Marco , Maini, Maria, and Babasko . They've already done a ton of work - and I already have very high expectations. the preliminary schedule - Friday, March 7th: meet in the afternoon to hang out, blog, chat, do silly stuff, eat, drink. One idea is to catch a Bollywood flick in a Munich cinema in the evening (which might be a problem, since Babasko et al. still have to convince one of the local distributors to play an Indian film, but I have faith they'll come up with something). - Saturday,

resolved: embrace my inner Prem

I love this. I love everything about it. I might just have a fever of insecure, self-conscious, dancefloor dowdiness, and Prem might just have the cure. Thanks to Abby for the video find.