GOOD MORNING! I've got a nice pile of odds and ends for you...
* The New York Observer tackles the genre of Not Bollywood - and singles out Raavanan for praise!
Only this negative definition can account for, among other curious inclusions by both festivals, the most appealing film screened at either: a Tamil-language production based on the Sanskrit epic the Ramayana and boasting not only the marquee director Mani Ratnam and one of the largest budgets of any Indian film in history but also the superstar Aishwarya Rai, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Raavanan, in which an aggrieved bandit-king kidnaps the wife of the police officer trying to assassinate him, is the rare film that answers the halfhearted prophecies of mainstream Indian cinema's imminent breakthrough in North America: a story that is both indigenous and universal; imagery that is riotously, unnecessarily, nonsensically exuberant; musical numbers that feel natural and coherent rather than a reverse-engineering of the soundtrack into the film; production values sufficient to overcome kitsch; coracles, gang rape, wire-fu.
See!!! I told you all it was an amazing film! Definitely my favorite of 2010.
* Along those lines, read a review of Kites: The Remix that contrasts it with the original Kites.
The two key differences between the two versions (and between Hollywood and Bollywood) is length and the way music is used. Like opera, Hindi films are long for a reason: The time commitment heightens the audience's emotional investment in the characters as well as the characters' emotional investment in each other. Ratner edits The Remix down to an hour and a half from the original's running time of 130 minutes. The development of the romance is rushed, important intimate scenes are chopped, and it therefore doesn't make sense why the lead characters risk their lives to be together.
* And an interview with Aamir Khan from the Huffington Post. The Western interviewer asks some smart questions for once...
"First of all, I have to say that we have such a large and healthy audience of our own in India, the fact is that none of the filmmakers have really felt the need to reach out to a world audience. And when I say really felt the need, I mean filmmakers in Argentina perhaps, or in France or Germany, different parts of the world, don't have such big and healthy audiences of their own and so they come from a situation where they really need to reach out to a world audience and an audience in the West. Because of that need to reach out, they come at it with a different energy and a set purpose in mind. I think as far as Indian films are concerned, the creative talent in India has not felt the need yet, and I hope we never do, so that we are free to make films the way we want to, and for our audiences, which is great."
* The source of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's undeclared currency is being investigated.
* Bollywood dancing has been banned in Pakistan.
* Okay, my reaction when I read the first few words of this article was an annoyed, "Really?"
Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan is all set to play a youngster who is victimised by the system of reservation in the film 'Aarakshan' directed by Prakash Jha.
REALLY? Are you kidding me? In what universe is it okay for 40-year old Saif to play a "youngster" in a realistic film? Look, hero-uncles, I absolutely don't care if you romance 20-somethings in masala films or play "college students" in the same but for realistic cinema, it absolutely will not fly. Unless Prakash Jha has decided to make a Dabangg-influenced film, you can bet I will be skipping this one.
* Salman Khan's cameo has been edited out of Tanu Weds Manu.
And is Kangana's behavior upsetting Maddy? This article would like us to think so but in reality - she's such a young girl and he's 40! He should cut her some slack if she is getting over-excited and chattering away. I mean, really, he's almost old enough to be her father, so why not treat the girl with a little compassion.
* Did a secret meeting between SRK and Abhinav Kashyap anger Salman Khan?
* After Priyanka's PR people got everybody riled up about her doing Dhoom 3, she has come out to refute the rumor. Also, she would like us to know that she's playing a prostitute's daughter in the Agneepath remake. Because that fits her image more than "nurse"?
* Irrfan Khan talks The Amazing Spiderman.
* Rani and SLB have patched up.
* Ali Zafar has signed another film but he can't talk about it yet... hmm... let the rumor mill begin!
* Jiah Khan is joining a documentary on the declining population of tigers.
* Sonu Sood and Asin for the next Rajinikanth film!
* Ranbir Kapoor is debuting... a ponytail!
* Lovely Adah Sharma is making another film! Now, if we could just get Anurag Sinha from Black & White another starring role...