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Showing posts from October, 2008

Kalyug

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Shashi is in his brainy specs, ready for a serious discussion of Shyam Benegal's 1981 retelling of the Mahabharata set in two wealthy industrial families in contemporary Bombay.

I'm sorry, Shashi ji. I'm feeling really daunted. I don't know much about the Mahabharata* - and even less about the works of Shyam Benegal.

Can't we just lounge about on your tastefully-appointed ocean-view terrace and listen to western classical music and talk about art?

Yikes! So disapproving! Okay, I didn't realize you felt so strongly about it. I'll try.



Kalyug follows a brutal struggle for industry dominance by two branches of the same family, Puranchand and Khubchand, each comprising three generations. (Don't ask me what their businesses actually do - I think it's engineering of some kind; machinery and factories are important.) In the process of trying to win an important government contract, each side issues attack after attack on the other, with devas…

some websites of note

Sometimes the Google powers that be smile upon you and you find two really amazing things quite by accident:
1) Celebrating Indian Cinema, an exhibit at the National Media Museum (UK) last summer. I can't believe there was a Bollywood exhibit and I hadn't heard about it. Now what am I supposed to do for my life's work?!? Anyway, I'm very grateful for its website. I especially liked the interviews with people discussing their filmi memories, growing up watching Sholay, etc. And if you know anyone just getting into Hindi films, this site has good introductory material, including overviews of particular films, directors, stars, and genres here.
2) Bollywood and Globalization, an amazing multimedia presentation by Sharmistha and Soam Acharya about the effects of 1990s economic changes in India on the Hindi film industry, which at the time of writing (2004) the authors say is "emerging from the doldrums." Cartoon caricatures of stars serve as nagivation to the secti…

pardon my German, but that's just Scheiße

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SRK's Temptations Reloaded concerts in Germany (and Spain) have been canceled just a few days before the first performance, apparently because the promoters failing to fulfill part of their contract. The Bachchan & Co. Unforgettable Tour dates in Germany suffered the same fate in August. Shady.

Babasko has a few choice words about the ways concert organizers and DVD producers/distributors are behaving badly with German-speaking Bollywood fans. Read her thoughts here. Even if I hadn't met some of them and seen for myself how happy their SRK and filmi love makes them, I'd feel really bad for them.

Here are a few of them in happier moments, at this year's German-language fan meetup in Munich. The girl in the red shirt and teeny black vest...does that outfit look familiar to you?

If so, it's because she and her friends came dressed in homage to SRK's then-upcoming song in Krazzy 4, complete with black fedoras. (Look at about 2:08 for a taste.) They love movies so …

Helen: cures what ails ya

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The inimitable Celi, co-founder of the (Somewhat Un)official Shashi Kapoor Fan Club on Facebook, sent me this link, and it has totally lifted my spirits as I languish on the sofa, home from work with allergies/sinus unhappiness.



I am by no means a Helen connoisseur, but this one is just so incredibly fun - and judging by the context at the beginning, she's not being overly objectified by the male gaze, gyrating while trapped in a bottle, etc., so this one feels a lot more joyful and free and less "overtly sexual women=bad or dangerous" than some of her other songs. I like anything from mod or go-go Bollywood, and this one is extra great because of the three wildly different and unrelated settings/costumes (even if one of them is objectionably fake-pretend Polynesian), the groovy moves, and the West Side Story-ish backup dancers. And surely only Helen could sell the line "demonstrate your talents to the world" while writhing on her back in a mini-skirt cowgirl o…

lunchtime poll #8: villain lairs

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As promised: per Todd's suggestion in lunchtime poll #7's responses, it's high time we discussed in finer detail one of the key ingredients in any good masala...the villain lair! Or gangster hideout. Or criminal-infested dive bar.

Somehow I am missing suitable pictures of such notable dens of iniquity as the dungeon in Ajooba (though I do have one of the tiger attacking Amitabh there)

the underwater spinning control room from Shaan, Sam's debauched bed-on-a-platform from Disco Dancer*, and Raghavan's dank, dark, drippy basement in Main Hoon Na.


In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.

In Sharmilee, the villains' hideout has a nightclub attached, and in said nightclub, the performers enact the temptations of evil (note the giant prop booze bottle)!

It's a musical meta lair!

Original Don's vault is pleasingly 70s-looking and amuses me with its frilly pink lampshades,

and new Don's vault is a real doozy.

As a side point, it might be argued that …