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Showing posts from August, 2009

Avoid, yaar, even though the yaar in question is Dharmendra or Amitabh! Ram Balram

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You heard me. Your outfit here is the best thing in the movie.

You know what? With Memsaab, Filmi Girl, and Rum already giving Ram Balram waaaaay more ink than it really deserves in their noble attempts to figure out what went wrong with it, I'm going to protest this film being any further drain on the collective brain power of humankind and just say this: the songs are fun, but don't, for the love of high Helen above, let them sucker you into the whole movie. "Ek Rasta Do Rahee" shows the easy glee of Dharmendra + Amitabh (Dharbh?) and "Yaar Ki Khabar Mil Gaye" starts off with Amitabh in a poncho and a giant hat, which are exactly the tricks writer/director Vijay Anand and crew use to trap you. DO NOT FALL FOR IT. Do not fall for the poncho! Do not fall for Rekha's tambourine! Do not fall for the funny effect of Amitabh's long limbs, swathed in black, poking out from under the poncho as he dances in the flamenco/cowboy/village-defending song!


Do no…

Shaitani Dracula: the worst movie ever made?

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This is Dracula. I think he's channeling General Custer.
My original plan for the morning was an international watch-along of Ram Balram. But when House in Rlyeh's DVD would not offer up its promised subtitles, we had to come up with something else. That something else was Shaitani Dracula, which I went along with because apparently I am a total sucker for European accents even when they're typed. I had never heard of this film or its director/writer/producer/star Harinam Singh until last winter, when Keith over at Teleport City wrote it up in one of the finest pieces of cinema-related blogging I've ever read. As soon as you're done looking at the pictures here, hie thee immediately to Teleport City and laugh until you cry (which is what happened to me). And then hie to Die Danger Die Die Kill! to read another like-minded and like-styled report.

As someone who likes to know what's going on and why, Shaitani Dracula actually is a nightmare. To avoid repeating Ke…

I'm just not that into it: Swayamvar

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Once again, my plastic robot heart remained mostly unmoved by a Shashi movie PPCC seemed to like and respond to so much more than I did. Parental wishes are fulfilled, the memory of ancestors/old friends is remembered, people learn things, uppance comes, kuch kuch lovey-dovey happens, true identities are obscured and false ones are perpetuated, fires are set, punches are thrown, rape is threatened, blah blah blah. Nothing unexpected here, and they're all fine ingredients (except for the rape thing) in what feels like a half fairy tale/half masala blend. But...enh. Swayamvar did nothing for me. There's nothing really wrong with it, but nothing in it really stands out, either. PPCC's and Memsaab's posts are much richer than mine is going to be, and I'm about ready to say I liked reading them more than I liked watching the movie.

I did not care for:
There's stuff about husbands being wives' protectors, the film seems to criticize a woman for being angry that …

this week's Cha Cha Cha! Bahut Accha! Award: Let's Twist Again edition

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Bollywood Banter has put up a wonderfully groove-inducing list of Twist-inspired songs from the 60s and 70s.

(Image courtesy of Bollywood Banter.)
He includes "Jaan Pehchaan Ho," "Tumse Hai Dil Ko Pyaar," "Aaja Aaja," and my own personal favorite "Kehne Ki Nahin Baat." I love absolutely every one.

an hour in the presence of SRK

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Bitten by Bollywood has done a lovely job telling you what our day at the South Asian Carnvial - a.k.a. "that event where Shahrukh Khan is scheduled to appear, and oh yes, there are a few other famous people, some extremely overpriced food, and some slim-pickings shopping booths, but honestly who's here for those?" - which means all you're going to get from me is philosophizing.

Oh alright, and some pictures. We got to shake hands with Gulshan Grover

because we had lodged ourselves thus:


That's the other side of the fence, but we had the same position. And thank goodness, too: I can't imagine standing still for so long without having something to lean on/prop against. This is the line for autographs.

This line was, in our opinion, for suckers. Maybe ten percent of these folks got an autograph and photo with SRK. We got neither, but we did get super-amazing unobstructed views for at least a few minutes. (Though I am very happy for the blond woman in the light blue…

Bollywood Hero: emphasis on "hero"

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My bar for Bollywood Hero was low. Really low. Everything I'd heard about it made it sound like a perilous venture. "Post-famous-ish/B-list-ish white American comedian (Chris Kattan, playing a character of the same name) goes to India to star in a Bollywood movie" would surely lead to thoughtless stereotypes, ignorant or misapplied use of filmi conventions, and scorn for both the Indian and US entertainment industries. Despite the Mumabi setting of its a classic "fish out of water" and "how will this rag-tag mess ever pull together into a success?!?" plots - a sister (Priya/Pooja Kumar) and brother (Monty/Ali Fazal) creating their deceased father's ponderous dream script, a project appropriately called Peculiar Dancing Boy, and in the process shoring up their family's film legacy - there's little Bollywood-specific of heft in the show. There are plenty of trappings, mostly enjoyably executed. A starlet (Lalima/Neha Dhupia)'s career is …

The Deceivers and Chor Machaye Shor: an unsatisfying Shashi double-header

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Dear oh dear, where to start? Here I was, thinking I would spend the air-conditioned day luxuriating in Shashilicousness (it's too hot out to do anything else anyway). And while these two films offered sufficient - plenty, even - Shashi, I don't have much else complimentary to say about either. Even the cover of The Deceivers indicated the movie was likely to be Raj-y, exoticizing ridiculousness, and at least three people had told me Chor Machaye Shor was really not the finest possible mid-70s Shashi offering - but did I heed the warnings? Nooooo. But at least with lots of Shashi, I can salvage some visual fun.

Apparently filming The Deceivers was Ismail Merchant's pet project(read here on the official site). Its story, in short, is that a British officer, the amusingly named William Savage (played by Pierce Brosnan), discovers a Thuggee group in the 1820s (in Gujarat, if I recall correctly) and then infiltrates it in an attempt to stop their crimes. I haven't read Jo…