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Showing posts from December, 2011

in conversation with Minikhan: Mothra vs. Godzilla

When members of the Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit decided to play Secret Santas, I knew I would be in for a treat. Last week I opened my mysterious package to find Mothra vs. Godzilla (trailer here)—a film I knew only by reputation, and what a reputation!—courtesy of Monster Island Resort. A perfect emissary, I think, given that it features two monsters (or four, depending on if you count species or individuals), a very important island, and a sub-plot about a theme park.

Minikhan: People know that we know this isn't an Indian movie, right?
Beth: I hope so. I think they even know that we watch non-Indian things fairly often, though mostly of the tv variety, and we generally don't write about them here.
Minikhan: I haven't seen a lot of films from the non-subcontinent parts of Asia.
Beth:
Nor have I. My dad may have taken me to re-runs of monster movies at Saturday matinees when I was young—this is the same man who took me to Monty Python and the Holy Grail when I …

"unmitigated trash": an opinion piece on 1970s films from Filmfare September 1–15 1978

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I can count on one hand the number of points that I agree with in this piece by Tony Mirchandani entitled "The 70s—Cheap Stunts, Loud Music, Stale Stars"—and one of those is that villains often wear "silver, blonde, or even purple wigs." Some of the observations just don't hold up under the privilege of hindsight; for example, we would probably all agree that Amitabh Bachchan has had plenty of staying power, even if we haven't always applauded his deployment of it. Mirchandani's claim that films and audiences are wildly unpredictable is an interesting contrast to what I feel I hear critics of Bollywood (by which I mean people who don't like it or dismiss it, not the film critics) say in despair of "mass entertainers" today.
This piece appeared in the same issue of Filmfare in which I found the article on Vinod Khanna quitting the industry and the kerfuffle over the casting of Kranti (see them here). I have to applaud Filmfare for runnin…

Haatim Tai (1990)

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Haatim Tai, which begins with giant glittery letters forming the production house emblem, whooshing stormy winds, and a booming voiceover, hints at certain pleasures from the onset: flying giants,
underwater pastel palaces, fire-breathing mouth-shaped lair portals, that kind of thing. With the caveat in place that Temple and I watched this without subtitles, I think it's as likely as not that the plot was selected and developed just to support director Babubhai Mistry's taste for the fantastic and very special special effects as the other way around. 
The basic structure of the story is the attempt by the titular hero (Jeetendra) and his bumbling buddy (Satish Shah) to lift a curse by undertaking a series of seven quests. As far as Temple and I can tell, the curse is the result of an angel/fairy (Sangeeta Bijlani, I think; here she is floating to the right of the chandelier)  punishing a king (?) (Raza Murad) who tried to rape her (?). Curiously, the angel also seems to have…

Moucho Prema: 1970s Masala Mustache Quiz ANSWERS

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Answers!