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Showing posts from October, 2011

in conversation with Minikhan: Ra.One

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Ayooooo! My thoughts on Ra.One are still swirling around, so I thought I'd talk it over with Minikhan. After all, who understands rubbery SRK better than he does? 
Before we begin, a disclaimer about our conversation: I do not have an informed opinion about superheroes generally or superhero films more specifically. I'm not sure what Minikhan reads and watches while I'm at work, so for all I know he's an expert on sci-fi and superheroes and VFX and might have surprisingly strong opinions.

Beth: So Minikhan, what did you think of your first trip to a Bollywood movie in central Illinois?
Minikhan: To be honest, I was kind of surprised no one recognized me, but it was nice to be able to just watch the film in peace. That hasn't happened in I don't know how long. The crowd didn't seem terribly excited about it, though, did they?
Beth: They did not. My India Real Time column is going to discuss that this week, though, so hush.

Minikhan: You and Bollywood Fangirl w…

Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi

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First, an overdue announcement: the wonderful site Without Giving the Movie Away (WOGMA) is holding a blogging contest in honor of its fifth birthday. The gist is that you should write something about your favorite film, however you wish to define the term. Click here for details.

[This post contains a significant spoiler about the end of the film. I'll warn you again when it's imminent.]

For those of us who did not grow up watching Hindi films (and maybe even for those of you who did, depending on how closely an adult monitored what you were watching when or after this film came out), there is a particular threshold that each of us must cross in our filmi-life's path. That threshold reveals itself to each of us at a different time—I like to think at the exactly right time—and affects us in particular ways. But there is one commonality in the experience: after this line it is crossed, there is no returning, no backtracking, no un-knowing. You can never un-see Rekha and A…

the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit investigates Hindi cinema

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You may have noticed a new link in the sidebar to a site called the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit. If you're into poppy, sometimes monster-y, other times spy-y, always silly goodness, you will probably love reading (and listening to!) the works of my fellow MOSS agents (who include long-time friends Memsaab, Die Danger Die Die Kill, the Horror, and Teleport City). Our October mission—should we choose to accept it, and we probably do—is to investigate our namesake motif: that classic cinematic costume staple, the skeleton suit.

To my knowledge, there are very few skeleton suits to be found in Bollywood. I can think of only three: Pran and some of his friends in Karz,
one of the countless low-budget monsters in Shaitani Dracula, a movie so bizarre and terrible that you kind of have to see it to believe it, or if you are concerned for your mental well-being just read all about on Teleport City because therein Keith delivers one of the funniest pieces of writing of the decade…

The 30-Day Bollywood Song Challenge! part 3

21. A difficult song that you wish you could sing
Anything that uses or depends on structures or techniques from classical Indian music is beyond me (all my decades of musical training and experience are western), so much so that I don't even know how to talk intelligently about what I hear—or, more to the point, what strikes me as difficult. Lately the song I love the richness and expressiveness of the voices in "Katiya Karoon" from Rockstar—and have been practicing a lot in my living room. You've been warned.

Shifting the question a bit to voices, I'd love to be able to sing like Rekha Bhardwaj and Vasundhara Das, who both have simple, straightforward, expressive voices I just adore. And some tricky tricks I wish I could do?  R. D. Burman's and Mohammed Rafi's howls and growls!

22. A song that you know you the whole routine and choreography to
It is for the safety and sanity of everyone within eyeshot that the answer to this question is "none."…

mini-reviews from the Chicago South Asian Film Festival

Somewhat distracted by all the delightful friends who were there, I managed to catch seven films at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival last weekend: a short, three documentaries, and three features.

short

The Eclipse of Taregna (2011, dir. Rakesh Chaudhary)
So much happened both to the characters and to me in this tiny film that I hardly remember it's a short. There is full character development, real hopefulness is established, and the titular eclipse works so well as a metaphor in several different ways. It manages to be both momentary and full, very focused yet emotionally expansive. It's really, really lovely.

Totally Filmi has a great (and much longer) writeup here.

documentaries

Roots of Love(2011, dir. Harjant Gill; trailer.; interview with the director)
On this film's official website (linked above), there's a quote from a reviewer that calls this look at contemporary Sikh attitudes towards hair and the turban "compassionate." For me that sums up its …