Monday, December 31, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top Ten Films She Didn't Get to See in 2012!

One of the difficult things in following Indian films it that only a few get distributed here in America and fewer still get English subtitles. I am very grateful that my local theater has begun screening Tamil films and even more grateful that the Tamil film industry has begun subtitling them!

Between the lack of distribution and my limited amount of time to watch films, it's only understandable that some fall through the cracks. Here are the ten I wanted to see in 2012 but never got the chance.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top 10 Heroes and Heroines of 2012!

What’s Bollywood without charismatic heroes and heroines?! Let’s show some love for the men and women who carry the weight of a film on their shoulders.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday Gossip: BACK TO WORK edition!

Good morning!! I hope everybody who celebrated had a nice Christmas... I'll be in and out until after the holidays. We'll see how much time I have to write.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top 10 Scene Stealers of 2012

Some people love strong heroes, some people love plucky heroines, but I love a good scene stealer. Those unsung actors and actresses who can take a three line role and turn it into the most memorable part of film. Those actors and actresses whose names rarely appear in awards shows but without whom, Bollywood would become a much more boring place.

Here is my tribute to my favorite mothers, sisters, brothers, villains, comedians, and best friends of 2012!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top Ten Flops of 2012!

The real marker of a flop isn’t piddling box office returns, though box office can be a good marker for audience interest. A flop is a film that fails to accomplish its goal, whether that is making a blockbuster or kickstarting a debutant’s career. And, for some reason, I can’t get enough of them. Why do they get rejected? Why do they get made? What is revealed in their failings?

In that spirit, here are my top ten failures of 2012, with the BIGGEST failure coming last!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Filmi Girl's Top 10 Song Picturizations of 2012!

It’s always fun to look back at the year that was and I want to start with my favorite song picturizations of 2012. This isn’t a definitive list by any means and includes mostly songs from films I saw. Picturizations are fun on youtube but, in my opinion, context really matters but there are those songs that transcend the film.

So here we go in reverse order!

Dabanng 2: A Second Place Finish

Sequels are tricky. Does the audience really want to find out what happens next or do they just want to watch the same movie again? Rohit Shetty seems to have solved the problem fairly well, refining the Golmaal formula with each pass, distilling the Golmaal essence to its purest form. Arbaaz and Salman Khan, on the other hand, with Dabanng 2, have given us what a film that extracted what they enjoyed most about Dabangg. Unfortunately, it’s not what the rest of us found so engaging. That’s not to say that Dabanng 2 is a bad watch...exactly. But it’s certainly not a good film by any measure. If you are amused by Salman Khan being amused at bad puns and silly pranks, then Dabanng 2 might be worth a watch but anybody expecting another Dabangg will be sorely disappointed.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Special Chabbis Trailer!

No news today because I'm heading to New York City in a few... to go see Dabangg 2!!

Instead, please enjoy the trailer for Special Chabbis! I'm not quite sure what to make of it - I can't imagine Akshay agreeing to do a straight "hindie" film (especially not after what he's said about doing 8 x 10 Tasveer) but it seems that "hindie" is what the trailer is aiming at.


(Also. JIMMY SHERGILL! Be still my heart!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday Gossip: OMG OMG! Alex Pandian is coming!!!

I'll be in New York City tomorrow to watch Dabanng 2 if anybody is interesting in joining, drop me a line! AMC Empire 25. Salman Khan. (On the screen.) Whistling and cheering are mandatory.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday Gossip: The Hang-The-Bastards/Where's My Bikini Girl Edition.

Just a quick note - I did listen to the first part of that BBC World Service piece on Bollywood "Breaking Barriers and it's... okay. There is an undertone of "Western ideals about individualism and consumerism are progressive" that I found uncomfortable but I suppose that's to be expected from a BBC program.

The two things I think are worth picking out are a) Dibarkar Banerjee saying flat out that he doesn't care if non-metro audiences see his films or not and b) a student in charge of a group protesting the increased amount of sex and violence in films arguing that keeping A rated films off television and mainstream theaters is for her freedom - freemdom to be in a public space without it becoming sexualized or dangerous.

It's just two very different views of cinema clashing in the multiplex.

The documentary has very little sympathy for the young woman and her freedom, just FYI. And doesn't seem to think that masala films can offer social commentary as well as escapism.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday Gossip: Where My Ladies At Edition

The BBC World Service has a two part documentary on Bollywood today. I haven't been able to listen (yet) so I can't tell you how good it is or what it focuses on.

And those looking for Dabangg 2 Salman interview coverage check out Get Filmy's post on the topic!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Gossip: New Computer Edition!

Good morning, friends!!! My apologies for unexpectedly abandoning you for a few days. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that my trusty lap top died and (being a bad digital citizen) I had nothing backed up. I lost EVERYTHING. And I needed a new computer.

I'm typing from my reluctantly purchased, brand new one right now but I had many drafts and recordings that were just gone. I needed a few days to mourn.

Anyways. All is more or less back to normal and I am the proud owner of an external hard drive so this won't happen again if I can help it!

Thankfully there was nothing new at the box office, so I didn't really miss anything (I think.)

Now, news.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday News and my own Open Letter to Anurag Kashyap

I was going to write a separate post about this last night but, to keep my blood pressure reasonable, decided to just do it as part of news. I posted the link the other day to an open letter to Anurag Kashyap from a female filmmaker named Shilpa Munikempanna, who was unhappy with how she was treated by the team of Anurag Kashyap's 12/12/12 Project. The project was to take 12 short segments from 12 different filmmakers and combine them into one complete film. Apparently, Shilpa's film did not meet the standards of the project and was dropped.

I'm not going to comment on whether or not they were right to do so because a) they probably were and b) it's beside the point. What has really made me furious is the way Anurag Kashyap - and his supporters - have flat out dismissed Shilpa's concerns about sexism (and other 'isms).

Here is a thought - when orchestras introduced blind orchestra auditions more women were hired. Why? Not because the panels doing the hiring hated women but because in the music world, as in the cinema world, there is a deep rooted bias against taking women seriously. When Anurag Kashyap says this: "I think you are more conscious being a woman than others are of you being one." I want to throw something at him. How can he know what it's like to be the one woman in a group of men? How can he know what it's like to try and find technicians and cameramen and others to you seriously as the person in charge of a film set instead of just wanting to work with you in the hopes of getting in your pants?

When Anurag Kashyap says gender wasn't an issue, what is he basing that on? Did he institute a "blind reading" of applications before selecting which ones he was going to use? Did go out of his way to ensure a healthy number of women applicants? Were there women on the panel selecting scripts? Anurag sounds more like Stephen Colbert when he claims to be colorblind and his attacks of her in the press and online have come across as nothing more than one of those big bullying guys who cry Reverse Discrimination every time their privilege is exposed.

Here's the deal: I know from experience that being a woman (especially a young woman) in a male dominated industry is tough. You have to work 10 times as hard as the average man and must balance a fine line of being neither too "feminine" (nobody takes a director in a skirt and heels seriously) or too "butch" (you'll get labeled a bitch or dyke for behavior that would be praised in a man.) You have to deal with guys that think working with you means you are interested in dating them. Especially in an industry like filmmaking, you have to deal with guys who are bitter about women in general and think "women in film" means Katrina Kaif in a bikini in front of the camera.

Does Anurag Kashyap hate women? No, but he is a part of a sexist industry and seems to think that he alone among the thousands of men working in it is untouched. I call bullshit.

My open letter to AK: Stop acting like a big bully towards Shilpa. You have all the power here; Shilpa has none. If I was a filmmaker, I would not want to work with you after the sexist garbage being spewed from you and your supporters.

I'll give the final word to this comment from Amol Bhatt from a Times of India article on the spat:

sexiest to pata nahi but moviemaker me to best he...

And now news.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Gossip: Happy 12/12/12 Day!!!

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the man himself... Rajinikanth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Gossip: PC's WORLD MUSIC AWARD Nomination edition

A big happy birthday to Dilip Kumar, who celebrated by doing a slew of interviews.

Which were the best years of your life?

My childhood in Peshawar. I was filled with curiosity about everything around me. I would follow my mother everywhere and listen to the stories she and my aunts told each other — some eerie and spooky, some charming and idyllic. They would recite verses written by famous Persian poets and I would try and fathom their meaning. Those were wonderful years.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Khiladi 786: Can the critics just shut up already?

“That was the worst movie I’ve ever seen,” said the woman in the bathroom stall next to mine after a screening of Khiladi 786. Judging by her voice, I suspect - though I can’t confirm, for obvious reasons - that this was the same woman who, as we were exiting the theater, whipped around with a sarcastic, “Aren’t you glad we something brainless?” thinking that I was her husband instead of an awkwardly tall white girl.

Clearly, Khiladi 786 is not the movie for everybody. And unsurprisingly it has gotten a real bashing from the critics for things like - and I saw this mentioned in two reviews - there is more than one singer doing Akshay’s playback. Well, pardon my lack of shock. I seem to recall hearing Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi both singing for the same hero in the same film on more than one occasion. Should we start a petition or something? Is this really what the critics are wasting their time picking on? How come none of the critics cry about reality when stars with very obvious plastic surgery are playing simple village girls or when we’re supposed to think an almost 50 year old man is actually 25?

Monday Gossip: Under the Knife Edition!

Sigh. My Khiladi 786 review to be posted tonight after I've had some time to mull it over. The short version is: I really enjoyed it but then I really enjoy loud, shouty Akshay comedies. Of the loud, shouty comedy genre, Khiladi 786 is a fine specimen and Himesh doesn't ruin it too much, putting in an inoffensive comedic performance that put me in mind of those roles that brothers of famous actors end up doing, Rajendra Nath or Anoop Kumar-style. We all know it's a charity gig but why not let him do it.

Anyways, I have a feeling my review will be the only one that isn't massively snotty like all the others. Do click on that for an example of the least helpful way to review an Akshay Kumar comedy film.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Gossip: Two Trailers!

There isn't much news today, unless you're interested in Priyanka's PR team refuting stories from earlier this week that Deepika had replaced her as the face of Garnier or bullshit puff pieces from the AP about how Bollywood is aiming for America and Europe.

So, instead, have two trailers!

Mumbai Mirror with PRAKASH RAJ BEING A BADASS and, oh yeah, that other guy... what's his face... from Aazaan. Whether or not this film is worth watching depends on how able we are to ignore Sachiin Joshi's emotionless dialogue delivery and wooden acting in favor of an inappropriately sexy Prakash Raj smouldering on screen.

And a teaser for Mani Ratnam's Kadal. I have to admit that I've become one of those snobs who find his Tamil films superior to his Hindi work. With the exception of Dil Se, which is a work of genius.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Gossip: Hyderabad Express

This article on the upcoming season of Smash popped up in my searching because of this line:

The first season of NBC's "Smash" was full of much-discussed moments, including a truly loony Bollywood fantasy dance number and a musical number set in a bowling alley.

Sigh. The article goes on to say that there will not be "Bollywood" in the second season, for which I am grateful, because from what I remember the Smash version of "Bollywood" was sub-par in execution and only "loony" in it's casual racism.

Remember when I had to block that one actor on twitter because he was harassing me for saying so? Good times, 2012, good times.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Gossip: Wax Figure Edition

It's so frustrating that online retailers in India don't ship overseas because obviously I need this book about Bebo's style.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reema and Zoya, Zindabad!

One spoiler ahead for Talaash, but it’s not the main one - just an FYI!

(Reema in an appropriate Star Trek T-shirt!! I cannot wait for this!)

There is a scene somewhere in the middle of Talaash where Roshni (Rani Mukherjee) and her husband Suri (Aamir Khan) go watch a film. Roshni has spent the entire film consumed by grief - for her son, who died, and for her husband, who is emotionally detached from everything around him. But in the darkened theater, cocooned in the audience, she laughs. And Suri watches her in wonder. Roshni comes out of the film with a smile on her face - a smile that lasts until real life creeps back up on her. For those few hours in the cinema, she was free of the troubles of her own life. Her burden was lightened.

The film she was watching? Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 3*.

Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar get it.

Thursday Gossip: Who is kissing KJo edition!!

Good morning, all! Only one more day until Khiladi 786! And then a couple weeks until DABANGG 2! And, you know, I just checked Wikipedia and it seems they got Deepak Dobriyal! That makes me incredibly happy!

Okay, news!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Gossip: Catfight edition!

This is going to be short today because some of us stayed up too late watching movies... I don't know who would ever do such a thing. Certainly not me. Um...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Gossip: Rajinikanth can answer a missed call edition!

The iTunes store moves to India. Now how about letting the rest of the world buy things on Flipkart in exchange? LIKE THE UPCOMING RAJINIKANTH BIOGRAPHY THAT IS RELEASING ON 12/12/12!!!


Well, maybe we non-India residents can find copies on ebay... India residents can attempt to win a copy and if you win and want to send it to me, I won't complain!!

Now, news!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Gossip... the romantic plotline and love triangle edition!

Here is a rule of thumb: when any article about Bollywood starts with this paragraph you can safely ignore everything after it as bullshit.

It’s rare for Hindi films to break the traditional Bollywood mold, where romantic plotlines and love triangles abound.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Talaash: The Brief 100% Spoiler-Free Review!

Talaash is not groundbreaking cinema nor is it going to change anybody’s life. Watching Talaash is like watching a world class athlete at the top of her game - a Mary Kom, if you will - the beauty of the film is in the skill and craftsmanship on display. The feeling I was left with after Talaash was not the giddy joy of seeing an underdog outperform expectations or the shock of seeing something novel but a deep satisfaction at seeing a lot of talented people come together to create something beautiful.

Saturday Gossip!

The box office watch is on for Talaash. It's not a real crowd-pleaser of a film so I think we'll be looking more at Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara numbers than 3 Idiots numbers...

I saw it yesterday and if you did get spoiled for a certain plot point, don't worry! The film is still very enjoyable. I'll be posting my review a little later.

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