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Showing posts from January, 2009

the light-up suit, great as it is, is not worth it: Yaarana

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Yaarana - also known around these parts as "OMG Amitabh is wearing a suit with mini lightbulbs on it and stamping around a cheering arena!" - is terrible. I don't know how a project from the director of Do aur Do Paanch went so horribly, horribly wrong just one year later - and with a cast of Amitabh, Neetu, Amjad Khan, Aruna Irani, Jeevan, Ranjeet, and Kader Khan, at that! I usually really like movies about friendships - especially when the friendships hold their own against the more pervasive social pressures of romance and familial love - but this one was so bad I almost turned it off without even getting to the light-up suit. Maybe casting Amitabh and Amjad as the bestest of best buds just upset the cosmic Sholay-ordained order so much that nothing that followed it could possibly be right? Or maybe this is the fateful lesson of what can happen when you remove Shashi from an Amitabh-based masala equation?* The central friendship starts out okay: Bishan (Amjad) and Kis…

Rihaee

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Rihaee opens with the return of NRI Mansukh (Naseeruddin Shah) to his rural village home. But Swades this isn't. Mansukh is a self-serving hedonist and quickly embroils himself in dalliances with several local women (including Neena Gupta, Reema Lagoo, and Hema Malini), whose husbands (notably Mohan Agashe and Vinod Khanna) are all away in the big city for work (and sleeping with prostitutes, apparently).

The two sides of the village are eventually reunited and forced to sort out what has happened during their time apart. The personal and communal fallout from these actions in the newly recombined situation makes up the rest of the film.

Rihaee is one of those movies that I wanted to be a little bit better than I can finally admit that it is. Like Amu, it depicts a difficult and important topic - here, the double standards for gender in contemporary Indian society (the film was made in 1988) - in a sad and moving way, but its dialogue and plotting are sometimes clumsy enough that so…

all atwitter for SRK

Pleeeeease let SRK's twitter be the real deal. My dil twitter-pitter-patters at the thought!

And even if it isn't, huzzah to whoever designed the background graphic.

Masalameister Desai rides again! Dharam Veer

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Dharam Veer is a masala TARDIS, holding waaaaaaay more R(ecommended) M(asala) A(llowance) of blinged-out boots, pirate shirts, Elizabethan doublets, Roman sandals, feisty gypsies, hand guillotines, romantic princes, creepy statues, sworn promises, lost relatives, baby-switching schemes, court politics, sword fights, naval battles, and eye-for-an-eye justice than you imagine could possibly fit inside its perfectly normal-looking DVD box - and did I mention it also travels in time?


There was no way this wasn't going to be superwow. I loved every minute. It's got all the fantastic time/place elements of Ajooba with a tighter, funnier script (though one of the same writers, the equally accomplished Masalameister Prayag Raj) and more masterly combination of RMA elements (sorry, Shashi). Dharam Veer has so much in it, plot- and look- and attribute-wise, that it can't fit into just one state of Masala Pradesh - don't fence it in, man! - and I think a time- and space-travel met…