Sunday, March 23, 2008

I went to a film on opening weekend, and all I got was lousy, unsurprising plot twists: Race

Abbas-Mustan's Race is largely disappointing and ineffective, though it does have its moments, like Akshaye in a fringed leather jacket

and boot-scootin' with Saif. This particular song also has a US Civil War-style confederate flag in the background - nooooo! - and interestingly I saw this movie the day after I saw the Sony Ericsson ad in which Hrithik might be wearing blackface (starting at :17)...eeep.

I do want to say one significant nice thing about Race: the two lead female characters, played by Bipasha and Katrina, actually have a lot to do in the story! They're not significant in the major action sequences, but they certainly do their share to move the plot along in other ways and have as much up their sleeves as Saif and Akshaye. And these are figurative sleeves, of course - BipKat usually wear tank tops, mini skirts, and wee dresses. There's a ton of skin in this movie, and some of it felt like the directors were compensating for the less-than-thrilling thriller they were making. "If you're not surprised when this character switches allegiances for the umpteenth time, how about seeing both Akshaye and Saif with no shirts!" (Though not at the same time, of course. Then someone would have had to come up with a clunky, stupid gay joke.)

Look out, Mr. Darcy! You're getting a run for your horse-accompanied, soaked-white-shirt smolder!

My further thoughts on Race are at Desicritics.

(Images courtesy of the official site.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

70 years of Shashiliciousness

I've heard about Raj Kapoor calling his baby brother a taxi, flitting from project to project when anyone waved money at him. I don't know enough about Raj in general or Shashi's filming schedules in specific to comment on this, but it seems a little mean, especially since one of the fares he took was a very unsympathetic role in Raj's troubling (and slightly lechy) Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Yesterday, on Shashi's 70th birthday, Glamsham ran an article discussing what this approach achieved for Hindi and Indian films. It's a much more generous assessment, noting his his appeal to audiences in a variety of roles and his tendency to share the screen, as well as suggesting that the range of projects helped bring international attention to the richness of Indian cinema. Now that's what I call Shashilicious.

Aside: I spent Shashi's birthday yesterday flying home from Vienna, and on my Heathrow/O'Hare leg, I sat next to a pleasant and chatty man from Chicago who showed me pictures of his dog on his iPhone. As we were browing through the photos, I spotted a shot of a poster for Jodhaa Akbar, and it turns out he's an occasional Bollywood goer. We agreed that compared with the material evidence of historical royal excesses we had seen on our recent travels (he'd been in Istanbul, and I've been spying on the Hapsburgs and Wittelsbachs), the Mughals had by far the most attractive bling and other material accoutrements.

Monday, March 17, 2008

in which Sanni makes a good point about Akshaye's curious choices

...and includes cute screen caps from Doli Saja Ke Rakhna. Though not the point of the post, the question of how someone so choosy could choose so strangely is a good one. Of the recent projects I've seen him in, usually the role itself strikes me as unappealing (Aap Ki Khatir, Shaadi Se Pehle) or the role is okay but the film overall just doesn't quite work (Salaam-e-Ishq, Gandhi My Father, 36 China Town). Le sigh. Fingers crossed for Race, which will be showing in Champaign four days after I get back. Yippee!

Friday, March 14, 2008

the adventures of Mini Khan, phase 2

He's well-rested after his vacation in Vienna, and the future is so bright: soon he is off to Switzerland and France, lucky thing, and then back to Vienna for a Top Secret Project That May or May Not Involve This Jacket, Nigeria, India, and Japan as promised. Adventures will be on his official page as usual.

Too bad he can't be trusted to go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum with Umananda, Babasko, and me this afternoon. All he would care about is art for his vault, and, while I adore him and generally enjoy being part of his hijinks, my museumista self cannot abet art theft. He can stay home with the Sacher torte.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pan-European International Bollywood Blogger Meeting pictures, round 1

Enjoying Bollywood Sing Star with Maini and Kaddele.

Here are Babasko's pictures from our Bollywood weekend. Unfortunately for her, she was the MC, tech support, and DJ on Saturay night, so she wasn't able to take photos at dinner, the awards, and dancing. I have tons, as do several other people, and they will be added to the PEIBBM pool on Flickr.

A note about these awards that keep getting mentioned. I'm referring to this year's Annual Central European Bollywood Awards, as determined by the readers of the German-language forum. The forum is also how most of the people at the meetue know one another. As you will see, Om Shanti Om swept the awards. For many German-speaking fans, Bollywood=SRK. My understanding is that this phenomenon is partially due to German tv stations broadcasting dubbed versions of mainly SRK movies, and German subtitles on DVDs are rare. "The Khanians" (apologies if this is a derogatory term - I find it cute) are a very strong and vocal presence on the forum, and if one of his movies is nominated in a category, it is likely to stomp out other entrants. (They also love Kajol by extension, so last year, even though apparently many of them had never seen it, Fanaa won a few titles, as did KANK, to which most everyone present in Vienna for the unveiling of the awards yelled "Booooooo!")

T-hype, I Want to Dance with SRK, GrrlPretty, and Miss Bolly will no doubt be glad to know that Mini Khan is indeed alive and well in Europe, despite his loooong absence from travel updates. Here he is in his incredibly awesome Don jacket, made by one of the Viennese, helping show off the table decorations for Saturday night.

There was much discussion of where he will go next, and it sounds like Switzerland and France are in the works before he departs Europe for Nigeria, India, Japan, and Canada.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Pan-European International Bollywood Blogger Meeting! Finally!

Ohmigod! The madness is fully underway. And y and z are reversed on German-language keyboards, so please excuse typos more than usual.

Last night at dinner, the owner of the restaurant (called Bollywood, of course) made us put in someone's ipod and dance. As usual, the Europeans make me do things I wouldn't necessarily do. There's even photoraphic evidence, which perhaps will never surface....

So. What can I tell you about the events so far? Thursday night we played Bollywood SingStar at Kaddele's restaurant. The playback industry can rest easy knowing that we're not going to give them a run for their contracts any time soon. Friday people descended upon M├╝nchen for lunch and then more chatting and preparatory projects (decorations for tonight's dinner tables and props for the liveblogging film) at "the Bollywood flat" where nine of us are staying. There are at least 30 people here this afternoon, from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, the UK, and the US. Bunty aur Babli has begun, huzzah!

Dhadak Dhadak!

You can follow what Kaddele, Michael (who has pictures up already, heaven help us), Maria, Marco, und Babasko have to say. I love this movie. So charming and funny and sweet. But it's good to realize how horrible Rakesh is to his parents and how obstinate Vimmi is before they meet cute and develop their new plans. It's hard not to root for them from the start, but they don't quite deserve our love until later, do they?

We're now at the bit when they've gotten on the pink bus and with each of Babli's slaps the shouting sound effect comes on. So fab. This is one of my favorite films but I haven't seen it in ages, and there is so much to catch. All the music references in the hotel with Q Q Qureshi, for example.

"Who are you to do? Babli will." That's a bit how I feel too - Beth at home rarely dances at restaurants.

For the record, Michael has accused me of "flipping aus" at half-naked men, but really it was for the appearance of Rani.

Title song! Dance break!

I loooove when Rani cries just like I Love Lucy. "I'm missing her, not laying an egg."

Much hooting from the audience before "Chup Chupke" and its ├╝bercuteness. Kaddele and I are acting out the song using gummi bears. (Gummi candies are huge here. There must have been 30 kinds of Haribo at the grocery store.)

Uh-oh. The DVD is stuck. Kaddele and I are to the rescue using our character stick puppets (you can see pictures on the other blogs) to act out key dramatic moments. Yet another performance career I will not be called in for further duty.