Saturday, June 30, 2012

On writing for money...

Friends! Sorry for no gossip this morning. We had a terrible storm here last night (15 people died in the area!) and were without Internet and phone service for most of the day. I had some time to think and let me be straight with you, dear friends about some things. Due to the nature of my employment I am unable to accept any kind of monetary payment for writing. The benefit of which it that you can trust that nothing I write is motivated by cash and I generally pay to see every film that I review. No freebies here, folks, just opinions!

Now, I recently had an offer to write some flashy columns for a - shall we say - well known Bollywood site. I won’t name names because I’m classy like that. I gave it some very serious thought and almost (almost) signed on but decided against it for a few reasons. Though it would have been great to get a broader platform for my writing, the fact that I wouldn’t own my own words anymore after publication left a bitter taste in my mouth. My words are all I get out of this. And though I was very tempted by the chance to throw a few stink bombs into the greater Bollywood conversation, in the end, my inner adult spoke up and reminded me that I really don’t have the time or energy to write diatribes on how much Neil Nitin Mukesh sucks monkey balls... for somebody else’s profit. I don’t care about money but I also don’t not care about the effects of money, you know?

But one thing that the offer did spur me on to do was think up column ideas and guess what? I have a lot of opinions about things. So, because you guys are so great I thought I would go ahead and write up a few things anyways. For YOU only. And, hey, if people google “Neil Nitin Mukesh sucks monkey balls” and they end up here - I’m not going to complain.

The other day I was listening to NPR (a sentence starter that one hears far too often around my house) and caught Joan Rivers talking with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Joan, a living legend, had some advice for people trying to make it in show business - take every job because you don’t know what might be your big break. That was in the back of my mind as I mulled over this offer but, in the end, I’m not a struggling writer trying to make it. I’m content to sit back and do things on my own terms at my own pace.

Besides, Shobhaa Dé already exists. There don’t need to be two stink bomb throwing lady columnists around.

I'm working on a mini-project on the 100 crore club at the moment, so you'll have that to look forward to!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Gossip Post!

I got some promotional material for Supermen of Malegaon but never got around to posting it. A review from Preeti Arora for Rediff:

Would you ever visit Malegaon just for the sake of it? Probably not. But, watch this film and you just might. You will want to meet Nasir the director, Farogh the writer, Akram the photographer/editor/ actor/ musician. You'd like to have a little chat with them over chai and exchange numbers. You end up wanting very desperately to be a part of something as special as they are. There is a word for that. It's called inspiration.

I'm not sure if I would like the film. I'm overly sensitive to filmmakers that make fun of their subjects - not that that is what this film does, but there is that possibility. It might be worth a look if it's screening near you. Unfortunately, there is only Kunal Kohli's Dull Kahaani playing again this weekend here.

And if you are going to be in New York at the end of July, consider checking out a screening of short films from Mumbai's gay film festival - the Kashish Festival with the festival director Sridhar Rangayan. More information is at the link.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Gossip!

Attention people in Winnipeg - Sonu Niigaam is playing tonight! Get your tickets!

Also, the Saifeena wedding drama is already beginning to heat up. Let's just take it as a blanket statement that I don't give a fuck about wedding trousseaus and will probably be ignoring most stories about this unless something really dramatic happens or there are official photo shoots to ogle over.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

EK THA TIGER! (English subs!)

Shut up! This totally deserved it's own post...

EK THA TIGER TRAILER! I've been seeing the "teaser" at the cinema for what feels like at least a month and have gotten worked up every time so this was a welcome trailer for sure.

The first 30 seconds are a rehash of the teaser but then... enter La Kaif! And let me tell you that con man who gets conned by his own heart is one of my FAVORITE fictional tropes.

Now we have a month and half to get juiced by this before the film itself releases.

Oh, Sallu-bhai, you never disappoint. (Well, at least not recently!) Forget the 100 crores club, Ek Tha Tiger is going to CRUSH the 100 crores club.

Wednesday News Post!

I'm always fascinated with how Western critics "read" masala films. Here's a review of Rowdy Rathore from Variety. The critic found the comedic first half dull but enjoyed the violent second half.

Subtlety and cohesive plotting are not the strong suits of this no-brainer by choreographer-turned helmer Prabhu Deva ("Wanted"), but auds seeking high-octane fight scenes, ripe melodrama and peppy song-and-dance numbers will get most of what they came for.

In this case, the critic thought the film was as dumb as the Indian critics did but he was more positive about the entertainment factor.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Gossip!

Greetings, dear friends! I know people were interested in that Rajini article I (poorly) translated from Japan and I thought people would be curious to hear that currently there is a 1 yen promotion for tickets going on for Ra.One. Apparently, they are trying to rely on word-of-mouth to spread it around.

I would suggest to Shirish Kunder that he think about sending Joker over... I'd be happy to meet him in Tokyo for a big premiere!! (I'll even pay my own way, Shirish! Come on, it will be fun!)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Saguni: Both a comedy and political

I’ll be honest. I had never seen Karthi in anything before I saw Saguni this weekend but considering my other option in the theater was the vapid Teri Meri Kahaani, I had no problem plunking down my cash for the film. And, thankfully, Saguni turned out to be worth the time and money. I’m not sure I feel the need to revisit it again on DVD but, as a one-time watch, it’s well worth a look if you enjoy Tamil masala.

Saguni was billed as a political comedy but that’s not quite right because while the first half is mostly comedy and the second half is mostly politics, the two don’t quite mesh together to form “political comedy.” Unfortunately I know nothing about the politics of Tamil Nadu that I haven’t learned from films, so you’ll have to forgive me if I overlook any obvious allusions to contemporary events. (And please feel free to tell me in the comments. I like to learn new things!)

Monday Gossip!

So, my friends, we start another week... what will it bring us?

It will bring you, at least, my Saguni review. I'm sorry I didn't have it up yesterday but we had a belated Father's Day BBQ for my papa and I spent the day eating too much and catching up with my family. And it was such a nice day, no? They let me be in charge of grilling the corn and the sweet potatoes... and I didn't do too badly!

Okay! Let's see what the Internet has churned up for us today...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Gossip!

It's a beautiful Sunday out here in Washington! I'd have to be a crazy film addict to spend the day indoors... well, guilty as charged! Heh.

Okay, then... just an update from yesterday, it does look like the media consensus is now that Rajesh Khanna is in the hospital for renal failure.

And this is just awful on the media's part - they are reporting that missing starlet Laila Khan has been found in Dubai when if you read the story, all it says is that one of her "friends" picked up by the police says that she is. Unless I'm seriously missing something, she hasn't been found at all!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I am real: TL;DR thoughts on being real.

“Well, it no use your talking about waking him,” said Tweedledum, “when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real.”

“I am real!” said Alice and began to cry.

“You won't make yourself a bit realler by crying,” Tweedledee remarked: “there's nothing to cry about.”

“If I wasn't real,” Alice said — half-laughing through her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous — “I shouldn't be able to cry.”

“I hope you don't suppose those are

real tears?” Tweedledum interrupted in a tone of great contempt.

“I know they're talking nonsense,” Alice thought to herself: “and it's foolish to cry about it.” So she brushed away her tears, and went on as cheerfully as she could.

-Lewis Carroll, >Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, 1871

It should come as no surprise to anybody that when I was a little girl, I lived for stories - novels, fairy tales, the classic myths, religious stories, family lore, and even actual history. But while romance novels and Stephen King potboilers have their pleasures (especially if you are an overly curious 12 year old girl), the stories that really resonated with me were the fairy tales, both old and older. The quest, the plucky heroine (my favorites all featured girls, naturellement), the exaggerated characteristics of good and evil, the air of magic, and the structure of formality in the telling - I craved these things.

Saturday News Post

The reporting on the state of Rajesh Khanna's health is nearly as confused as that on Hosni Mubarak. Rumor has it he has been admitted to the hospital.

And an update on the file sharing ban in India.

The revised decision requires the internet service providers to block only certain web-addresses (URLs) that contain the pirated material. The ISPs are not required to remove the entire website as was determined in the prior ruling.

(Meanwhile, in Japan, they just passed a law to send illegal downloaders to jail.

Can media companies just stop trying to legislate us back to 1960 and punishing their customers in the process? Have they thought about just offering products in a format people want for a reasonable price instead?)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Gossip!

Happy Friday, friends! I liked this review of Teri Meri Kahaani for basically confirming that I'll hate it... but the reviewer begrudgingly admits it's not as bad as one would have expected. Although Priyanka playing "22" is a bit far-fetched. The woman is 30!!! The Gangs of Wasseypur reviews seem to be running along the lines of "a bit (or very) self-indulgent" but technically good.

And now! News!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday Gossip!

First some serious and very sad news: I know we've all kind of been waiting for the other shoe to drop with Rajesh Khanna. His condition is deteriorating.

The other above-the-cut news is that Sunidhi Chauhan will be performing in Auckland on the 23rd. She puts on a good show so it's worth checking out for sure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday News Post!

Another day, another pile of stories... how is everybody doing? I had to sift through some pretty stupid column filler today. Every time Salman tweets a brainfart, it provides acres of material to deadline-punished "entertainment journalists" at the Times of India and other rags.

Well, let's hit it, boss!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday News Post!

Good morning! It's a rainy day here in Washington, DC... and unlike in films, our rains don't bring songs with them. Hee!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Gossip Post!

Sorry for missing a news post yesterday. I may or may not have still been sleeping off the effects of Saturday night. Hee hee!

Okay! Let's do it to it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday News!

It's Saturday!! YAY! One more week until Billa 2 but until then...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Rajinikanth in Japan!

You may have heard that Enthrian (aka Robot) has been going gangbusters in Japan! Well, I took it upon myself to translate an article about two super-Rajini fans from Japan.


(You can find the original article here. The translation is mine. Please don't use it without permission.)

In the Indian film Robot, Rajinikanth gives an enthusiastic performance in a double role as both doctor and robot. He’s called Superstar in India and even in Japan is known for his role in Muthu, which was released here. [Title in Japanese is “Muthu the dancing Maharaja.” Heh. - FG] I met with two people who have encountered Rajini to discuss the man himself and the appeal of Indian movies.

Friday Gossip!

Good morning, friends! It has been a long week let me tell you... I am ready for this weekend. To quote one of my favorite films (Zombieland) my inane Facebook status may as well be: "Rob Curtis is gearing up for Friday."

Okay! Ferrari Ki Nobody Cares is out and you can check the review round up over here. Reviews go from uber-suck up to tepid. I have a feeling the truth is somewhere closer to the cute-but-tepid side of the spectrum. (And a bonus Ferrari story I found while searching.)

Now, NEWS!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday News Post!

Good morning, friends! I hope all is well!

I have three things to say.

1. I'm kind of over the Gangs of Wasseypur promotions. There's even a "Shit Wasseypuris Say" video up on youtube. Really? You have to push the film this hard? These pre-packaged "viral" videos are always so stupid.

2. I'm working on translating some of the Japanese coverage of Rajini's Enthiran. It's pretty interesting to see the cross-cultural references at work. I should hopefully have something to post tonight where a journalist talks to two mega-Rajini Japanese fans.

3. I refuse to pay to see Ferrari Ki Sawaari and have zero interest in the film. So, I'm not sure what I'll be reviewing for the weekend. Could dig into a big pile of DVDs I have maybe... watch something a bit older. Oh wait a minute... it looks like Jodi Breakers is up on youtube! Anybody interested in a new edition of Box Office Poison?

ETA: 3b. If you're in Chicago, New York, or New Jersey - you can see Patang!! Definitely your best bet. I really enjoyed this one.

Are you in Shanghai? The Shanghai International Film Festival is getting three Indian films - Ek Main aur Ekk Tu, Dhobi Ghat, and the poorly reviewed shoddily put together Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. Are people in Shanghai going to care about any of these?

And are you in Vancouver? You can pay to see Sharmila Tagore and have cocktails with her.

Last item above the cut - I was properly chastised for skipping this item yesterday. Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan has passed away.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Gossip!

Good films are universal, my friends which is why I'm so happy that RAJINIKANTH IS KICKING BUTT IN JAPAN! Enthiran! Enthiran! Enthiran!

I'll use some librarian-fu today to see if I can't find some articles to attempt to translate for you. I'm curious to see what audiences and critics are saying.

And on to your regularly scheduled programming!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Filmi Girl talks to... Prashant Bhargava!

Dear friends! I was lucky enough to able to do an e-mail interview with Patang director Prashant Bhargava. You know me and I don't like to ask anything I could just Google so I tried to think up some questions that might not have been asked yet.

Prashant Bhargava, a native of Chicago, came to film making through the visual arts - moving from graffiti to graphic design to, finally, film making. How does a former graffiti artist tackle a kite flying festival? Like a boss.

Tuesday Gossip Post!

For whatever reason, my Internet connection is massively slow this morning. This took way longer than it should have and I couldn't stream any videos (like to check out why anybody is asking Akshay about IIFA or the Sarah Jane Dias item from Kya Super Fail Hai Hum) but... hopefully you enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Patang: Kites in the Sky

The last couple of years has seen a boom of high-quality, low budget Hindi language films. Patang, directed by Prashant Bhargava, is one of them. The film has been slowly making the rounds of film festivals like Tribeca* and Ebertfest to good reviews and mild buzz and is now set for an official release on June 15th. I was lucky enough to be able to screen the film beforehand.

Monday news post!

Monday, Monday... let's read that news!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shanghai: A nice place to visit...

A lot of (virtual) ink has already been spilled in praise of Shanghai and I’m not sure how much more I need to add to what’s already been said but when has that ever stopped me before? The critical consensus is that the film is good and Emraan Hashmi is excellent. Surprisingly, I agree with both of these statements. This is the first time I’ve actually been impressed with Emraan’s acting and you all know I’m one who finds a lot of these “Hindie”* films extremely dull (e.g. I couldn’t sit through Oye Lucky) but in Shanghai Dibarkar Banerjee actually manages to tell us a good story.

IIFA Awards 2012!

The now traditional end of the Awards season is... IIFA! A weekend of blowharding, gladhanding, and fabulous gowns!

The winners mostly line up with the other awards from earlier in the year and I only take exception with one award...

Winners and pictures below!

Sunday Gossip!

Today... ah, Sunday. It's usually the slowest news day of the week and today is no exception. But there is at least one story that put a spring in my step...


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Gossip Post!

Mini-announcement: I'll be podcasting LIVE on ustream with Asim from Upodcast TOMORROW in the afternoon UK time. Not sure exactly when yet but stayed tuned!! I'll update you when I have more details. We'll be talking about Rowdy Rathore, recent films, and Akshay Kumar.

Now... news!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Patang Promos!

Just as an FYI - I had the opportunity to screen a copy of Patang (and possibly to ask a few questions of the director)! I'm not allowed to post my review until next week when it releases but in the meantime, please enjoy these lovely promo videos.

And the painfully cheezy English voice-overed trailer:

Can I just say that I'm really worried about how the Western press is going to review this one?

Friday Gossssssip post!

You know what I'm doing this weekend... SHANGHAI! Also, if I can swing it... ROWDY RATHORE AGAIN! What? I love films!!! Is there something else I should be watching? PrometheDON'T ANGRY ME

Okay! News time! News time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Satyamev Jayate: Entering the No-Irony Zone

Just a note - as of this post, I have only seen the first three episodes and my understanding of episodes four and five is based solely on the reaction in the press and from online commenters.

Aamir Khan’s television show Satyamev Jayate has generated a lot of controversy since it began airing last month. Critics of the program have lobbed charges that Aamir is only in it to further his image as a “different” kind of film star and it’s easy to see why. Other film stars who have taken on television hosting duties have very clearly done it for publicity and a fat paycheck and there’s nothing wrong with that. Stars provide us with entertainment and, in turn, we give them money. Simple. But unlike the game shows and reality shows that have drawn other film stars to television, Satyamev Jayate is a show that wants to mean something. Of course Aamir wants to provide entertainment and to collect a (reportedly very) fat paycheck but Aamir also wants to do more than that - he wants to use his entertaining platform to open our hearts and, hopefully, engage our sense of social justice, too. And it’s this latter desire that makes the critics so uncomfortable.

Thursday Gossip!

I was smart today and wrote this up before putting it in Blogger. Ai yoo~ that was awful losing everything yesterday.

Okay, first, head over to Get Filmy to check out her take on the whole Nargis debut fiasco. It just goes to show you how lightly even an "indie" director like Imtiaz Ali takes heroines.

To quote GF:

It’s really too bad that Imtiaz dropped the ball on this – that’s the kind of stuff Nargis should’ve been doing to prep for Rockstar. To be that neglectful of your lead heroine is just unforgivable.

I lost a lot of respect for IA over this.

And over at Satyamshot, Anurag Kashyap is taken to task for his cheerleading of films like Love Aaj Kal and Delhi Belly as masterpieces when, clearly, they are not.


You praised Love Aaj Kal to the skies. Here I was bewildered not because I felt you were being hyperbolic but because I didn’t see what there was at all to praise here. Or by these liberal standards very much coming out of Bollywood could be praised. I remember being extremely disappointed by Imtiaz Ali here. I felt he had Joharized himself. Or performed a kind of upgrade on that kind of cinema.

And now onto your daily dose of newsy goodness!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday post... has vanished.

Sorry, folks! My browser crashed while I was adding the final touches to my gossip post and I lost everything. (I blame Veena Malik and her awful item "Madam Malai" which I was watching to decide if I wanted to add it to the end.)
I don't have time to re-write it before work so instead have a few magazine covers.

Ugh! I'm so mad right now!! I had some good stuff, too... oh, well. Such is the transient nature of blogging.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Gossip!

CHINTA TA TA! Good morning, everybody!

Are you ready for an action packed gossip post?!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Gossip!! Welcome to June!

I'm ba~aaaaack!! Did you miss me? Florida was wonderful and the wedding was really nice. It took place in an orange grove - appropriate!

Since I spent most of my time off drinking fruity drinks at the beach bar I have no idea what I missed so let's dive back in together! I'll go put my bathing suit back on; you pour the bahama mamas! I'm sure I'll be playing catch up all week so let's hit it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rowdy Rathore: Two Akshays for the price of one

I couldn’t decide whether to subtitle this review with some sort of pithy play on words about the Khiladi kicking some major “power zone” (or whatever Ra.One called his crotch) or “two for the price of one” (referencing the great Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson classic) - I went for the latter, as you can see.

When one awaits a film as eagerly as I awaited Rowdy Rathore there is always the very real chance that one’s sky-high expectations will not be met. Fortunately for me Rowdy Rathore was everything I was expecting and more. (And MORE, you guys!) Prabhudeva’s remake of Vikramarkudu is pitch-perfect paisa vasool masala film making. I laughed; I cried; I ogled; I chair danced during the songs; and I air punched bad guys (no, really, just ask the guys sitting behind me).

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