Showing posts from November, 2012

Mustache Madness Quiz 2012 ANSWERS!

If you missed it, the quiz is here . 1. Of course, it's the 1979  Gol Maal , source of what might be the most famous mustache in Hindi cinema. 2. Noorie . I hoped Farooq's pouty lower lip would be a big clue. 3. Chunaoti 4. Charas . Note Tom Alter in on the act at the bottom left. 5. Deshdrohi . The day after I posted this, the auteur behind this horrendous film, Kamal R. Khan (top left), apparently tweeted spoilers of Talaash . As if the internet didn't hate him already.

Mustache Madness Quiz 2012!

In honor of Movember and the #MouchoPrema Indian Cinema Mustache Appreciation Week, I present you a special mustache-only filmi quiz! Can you identify each of the 5 films below based only on their mustaches? The collages do not depict  all the mustaches in any of the films, and many of the mustaches are fake, either for the film in general or within the film as part of characters' disguises. They are presented in order from least challenging to most challenging. I apologize for the terrible image quality of #5, but when you find out what it is, you'll understan why it's like that. Submit your answers by email to me at bethlovesbollywood at gmail dot com. Please do not leave them in the comments of this post—that might accidentally spoil the fun for someone reading after you. The answers, including the collages showing the entire screen shots from which each mustache is taken, will be unveiled the morning of December 1 (IST). Now...mush! #1 #2

Sassy Ray Gay Friend noses through Charulata's notebook

(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see the  real  Sassy Gay Friend on  the Second City Network !) SPOILERS! Meet the bored and lonely titular heroine of Satyajit Ray's Charulata . Charulata husband's Bhupati is a newspaper editor with Big Issues on his mind and no time to pay attention to her. Her life is turned upside down when Bhupati's little brother Amal comes to visit. Amal is too much a tall drink of literary-minded Rabindrasangeet to go unnoticed, but he's also too much a baby to know how to deal with Charulata's feelings cleanly. Perhaps if this were a Hindi film, the two men would stand on the edge of a perilous cliff fighting over which one of them should get the brotherly honor of giving her up, but since this is Ray, Charulata has some agency in the matter and everyone discusses politics while awkwardly shuffling around their mansion for a few weeks.  This fate could have been avoided if she'd had a Sassy Gay Friend.

Jagir (with a brief introductory note about Shakha Proshakha) (Have you got whiplash yet? I sure do.)

Through masala-appropriate coincidence, I happened to watch what is maybe one of the last great gasps of 1970s style masala, Jagir , right on the heels of an unspeakably awful film from late in the career of Satyajit Ray. Shashi ki kasam—Soumitra ki kasam, even—I did not intend to couple a boring, depressing, shouty, badly acted, and irritating arty film with cracktastic Decline and Fall Masala, but that's how the DVDs fell. Out of fairness to Ray, I want to be clear that I hated Shakha Proshakha almost from the instant I started watching it, and it being assigned the label "avoid yaar" has nothing to do with the wonders that followed it. This was my reaction to the film throughout. Soumitra feels my pain. What's wrong with Shakha Proshakha ? EVERYTHING. If Soumitra Chatterjee is unwatchable, you know a film is in deep, deep trouble. This is the only time in my admittedly brief but intense affair with his work that I've seen Soumitra even come close to o

Bhanu Goenda Jahar Assistant

[I keep reading that title as Bhanu Goenda Johar Assistant , and as we all know, Karan Johar is the  assistant to no one.] In addition to comedy so often not translating very well due to various challenges to or impossibilities of culture-to-culture of communication, especially through the filter of inexpressive subtitles, typically I find Indian comedies unbearably juvenile, loud, and forced. But when a top advisor on Bengali cinema recommended this film to me, I realized I needed to reconsider that, since almost all the Indian comedies I've seen are Hindi and made since 1990, and thus the traits I dread may not exist at all in older Bengali ones. Plus, said advisor's track record is excellent, having previously directed me to  Bhooter Bhobishyot , which I liked very much. To my naive eyes, this movie is not actually about Bhanu and Jahar, who flounder around trying to track down a runaway young woman from Delhi to collect a reward while also dodging their landlord's

Teen Kanya

For a week now, I've been trying to come up with a way to link all three of the short films in Satyajit Ray's Teen Kanya  (all adapted from short stories by Tagore). The thread I keep coming back to is "heaven help you if you're female: variations on a theme." I'm not going to propose that that sad idea is what either Tagore or Ray intended to be the feeling of their work, but I could not escape it. These are the kinds of films that are difficult to watch but impossible not to respect and admire. The Postmaster This is a tiny little story a man from the city (Anil Chatterjee) who comes to a village to be the postmaster, and he is befriended by an orphan girl, Ratan, who is his maid and cook and eventually nurse and pupil. The contrasts within Ratan—her slight physicality that had done so much hard work already in her young life, her shocking pragmatism that does not muffle her quiet vulnerability, her adult lifestyle with her childlike heart—make her o