Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mini-hiatus, hopefully not too long.

Parineeti Chopra walking the ramp in a special tribute to Yash Chopra--more heroines walked, including Madhuri Dixit and Rani Mukerji; pictures over here!

Just a little treat to beg your forgiveness in advance. As you may or may not know, I'm based in Washington, DC and the situation here is currently very stressful and I'm afraid I don't have much mental energy left over to spend on being entertaining or writing about much of anything. Hopefully everything will be resolved soon but in the meantime, please forgive my absence until this budget crisis passes. And, Americans, please spare a thought for the hundreds of thousands of hard-working civil servants caught in the middle of this mess.

At least the only thing at the theater this weekend was Chennai Express so... no worries about me missing that.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Curly, wurly Friday post! I should wear my hair down today, hmm...

Elle Magazine discovers Bollywood exercise classes... but...

When I was speaking to Bollywood Funk’s Ayesha Khanna about some of the ignorant and misguided online comments about our new Miss America, she said that Bollywood sends the opposite message. “I think Bollywood is very open and that’s how the world should see it,” she told me. “Anybody can be a part of it. We welcome everyone.”

Um... I don't know how to phrase this without sounding combative but I wish they had phrased this better: Bollywood doesn't welcome everyone; Bollywood dancercize classes can and do welcome everyone.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday Post: FG puts on her Jagga T-shirt and Jagga backback with a Jagga notebook inside and some Jagga-braded cool drinks and snack bars and watches Jagga spin-off videos on her Jagga phone and... and...

Hello, hello, people of the world! The sun actually hasn't risen yet--that's how early I get up every day for you--and neither has the schedule for this weekend been posted. I do have a backlog of things to watch via streaming. For one thing, if you missed Eega, which is , you can catch it on this newly launched Telugu film streaming site with English subtitles!! I am very interested in watching again with English subs in order to catch some of the dialogues I missed... and because who doesn't need more Kiccha Sudeep in their lives? Am I right?! (*Sudeeeep!*)

I'd also enjoy writing a review that could talk more about the plot than the first time around. I do try not to give too many plot spoilers in my reviews and for the most part, if I'm talking about a new release, you can feel safe reading my reviews unless I specify otherwise.

PS Is there any interest in photos from the Besharam press meet in New York? I received some but will only post if you're interested.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Post: The Oops! Ranveer Singh's shirt fell off edition.

Moimeme had the best comment on The Lunchbox Oscar fuss on yesterday's post:

Since last night I've been convinced that the real reason Kashyap & Johar and their cohorts have been kicking up such a fuss is to raise the box office collections for The Lunchbox. Consider -- the film opened to lackluster collections on Friday, but since the announcement about The Good Road selection and all the "protests", its collections nearly doubled the next day. Great publicity to get the film into the public's consciousness. :)

Oh ho ho! Good point!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday Gossip: BUT MAAA! I DIDN'T WANT THIS IN MY LUNCHBOX! Why can't I have Lunchables like the other kids?!

So, I just tried to do my news search and basically the only story today that wasn't planted by Priyanka's PR team is MORE WHINING ABOUT THE LUNCH BOX. Are you kidding me?! This is getting obnoxious on an almost Shahrukh-ian scale...

It's almost enough to make me think that the FFI has pulled off A DELIBERATE AND EPIC bit of trolling of the Corporate "Indie" Bollywood establishment--a real frying pan to the face, so to speak.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Post: Welcome back, drama!

Good morning, folks! I had a lovely day bopping around DC yesterday with an old friend who was visiting from Boston--

*still as cool as ever*

Jenn is one of the smartest and most dedicated people I know. If you're at all interested in literacy or education, you should check out her blog or the blog posts of her ESL students, one of whom was featured in a documentary about little Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for trying to get an education. These kids have a lot of truth to tell and it's quite moving reading their statements.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Phata Poster Nikhla Hero: Delightful, delightful, delightful.

I’m not sure what was in the Kool-Aid served up to Bollywood’s finest movie critics but I’m very glad I didn’t listen to their moaning. Take note: Phata Poster Nikhla Hero is delightful, as is the titular Hero, Shahid Kapoor. The feel is closer in tone to Khiladi 786 than Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani; it’s a comedy first and foremost but with a nice strain of family drama and some fun out-and-out action. This is masala in the old-fashioned definition of the word--there is something for everybody, from kids to grannies.

Going up the country... for brunch!

Hey, friends! I hate to do this to you but Phata Poster review will come later tonight. It's only about half written at the moment but I'm meeting some out-of-town friends for brunch and can't be late. Although I've drifted (more or less) over to Desi Standard Time the last few years, my friends are pretty punctual, so off I go! ♥

I said this on Twitter last night but if you're wavering between seeing and not seeing Phata Poster I would definitely recommend going if any of the following apply to you:

1. You even mildly enjoy Shahid Kapoor.

2. You enjoy clean but funny comedies.

3. You like maa-centered family drama.

Because--don't get me wrong--Ileana does a fine job here but the real love story is between mother and son. A very refreshing change from the usual Romantic Love Is The Purpose Of Life sop we're fed. ♥

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Post: Of lunchboxes and more important things.

Goooood morning, MUMBAI! And the rest of the world!

I woke up this morning and--at least on my Twitter timeline--you'd have thought the Film Federation of India had personally taken a dump in every former PFC-er's tiffin because the butthurt was flying fast and furious over Gujarati film The Good Road being selected as India's entry to the Oscars instead of... The Lunch Box.

Now, you know me, I had zero interest in this film before all the hype and even less interest now that the hype has reached hysterical levels. Negative interest. While there is nothing inherently wrong with making a small, self-contained, film about a romance between a housewife and an office worker, I do think it's ridiculous to slather on the praise so thick--unless I'm seriously missing something and the housewife ends up going all Second Wave on the menfolks and starting her own lunchcart business? Or going all Fire and running off with her daughter-in-law to have a torrid love affair in Goa or something?

Because otherwise, my interest in The Lunchbox extends about as far as this Faking News article: Housewives Request Dabbawalas to Commit More Mistakes.

Frustrated and angered by their illogical demands, Ghule Bhau is reported to have told the women to ask their husbands to shave off mustaches and buy sunglasses, and they will have Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi right at their doorsteps.

Come on, PFC-ers, The Good Road has Sonali Kulkarni in it and she's awesome. So deal with it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Post: Kuuu-ku-kuuu!

As much as I found Grand Masti really distasteful, I am happy for Riteish that he has a hit! But I do hope that he gets a film more worthy of his charms and talents.

Speaking of actors who often select dicey projects, I'm kind of amused at the handful of reviews I skimmed for Phata Poster Nikla Hero which say that Shahid and Ileana don't have Ranbir and Kat's chemistry from Ajab Prem because I remember all the same critics trashing that one when it came out, too. (Something Google confirms if you feel like trolling through old reviews.) I liked Ajab Prem a lot; I like Shahid a lot; ergo if Phata Poster is like Ajab Prem but starring Shahid instead of Ranbir, I'll probably enjoy it.

Ah~ I remember when I really liked ol' Ganglu...


Vivek Oberoi joins the list of stars with tax troubles.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday Post: BUT I WANT TO SEE SHAHID NOW! *cry*

Good morning, Thursday! What is it about fall that makes everything better? I love the switch to cooler weather. AND guess what we're getting this weekend?! PHATA POSTER NIKHLA HERO! EEEE! Shahid Kapoor on the big screen! And it feels like he's really taking his career seriously... (Most of these Shahid interviews cover the same talking points.)

“I am not 45. I am not at that stage where people have seen 20 years of my work. So I feel it is important to keep presenting yourself to the audience. There will be times they will like you; there will be times they will not like the film. I have learned over 10 years that films will come and go, but people must like you. And therefore your performances must be consistent,” said Kapoor.

Good luck, Shahid! I like you even when I don't like your films--but usually I like your films, too. Even the ones everybody else hated. I stand by both Mausam and Chance Pe Dance, damn it!

The other film playing is... Ya Ya! I saw the trailer for this a while ago in the theater and it looks good!

But definitely one I would need subtitles for. I love Santhanam's comedy! ♥

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Post... not too much news of interest today. Dilip Kumar is still in hospital... :(

Because I'm weird like this, as I was dozing this morning in bed, I was thinking about this Emily Nussbaum post I read yesterday on fans watching media (in this case Breaking Bad) "wrong." Before you comment here, don't worry, she gets taken to task in the comments section for her judgemental use of language and I'm certainly not going to accuse anybody of watching "wrong." What I was musing on--and it ties into conversations we were having in the comments earlier this week--were the films made for people who don't watch movies (and song picturizations) like I do, preferring a more MTV/Hollywood style of film meant to be put on while you're doing something else starring celebrities whose main talent is selling gossip magazines and featuring songs meant to be played on iPhones while waiting in line at the grocery store.

There is nothing wrong with that--let me emphasize again, no negative judgement implied--but there's no point in me caring about Poonam Pandey and Gauher Khan when I have much easier access to (and to be honest, more cultural investment in) in Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyruse and Demi Lavato. AKA The stuff whose main value is for me to have something to make small talk about with people in my day-to-day life. I do understand the value of having an Imran Khan to gossip about--as somebody who moved back to America as a teenager and had to teach herself American culture in order to fit it, believe me I do understand the value there.

Anyways, there are still lovely films being made that are for people watching films like I watch films and I am overjoyed at the Ram-Leela trailer! And really looking forward to Shahid's upcoming films and Akshay's and Dhoom 3 and anything Rakesh Roshan puts his hands on. But I'll be honest, as somebody with a love for stories AND songs, I do miss the richer musical palate of the older films, the way the emotions were deepened through music. Filmi-Contrast opened up a question on a previous post but I don't think too many people follow old comments chains so I'll re-post here:

I still feel like it is rare to see the type of plaintive individual lament made famous by Mahudbala in M-e-A: "Mohabbat ki Jhooti Kahani." Or the poignant rebuke/lament, like "Jab Bhi Jee Chahe" from Chopra's Daag (1973). Whether or not it was ever a common type of musical expression in any decade, I wish we had more of it! Does anyone have any thoughts/examples on where the individual lament songs are in films today/recent years?

I feel like mostly these types of songs--if used at all--are done as montages:

And... I do miss seeing the characters actually SING their feelings. It feels more immediate and intimate and, yes, "real" to see them singing versus the audience just observing the action, you know? But maybe I'm just old-fashioned. And I know John Abraham would say I'm trying to hold Indian cinema back from competing with the West but I would politely disagree with Johnny and say there is value in using songs in a narrative in the unique Hindi cinema way and who cares what some Hollywood critics think.

(Unless Johnny is just angling to elbow his way onto the cushy Irrfan Khan international film festival press junket circuit and then more power to him. I bet Irrfan gets some SWEET goody bags and other swag. Hollywood does have cash and is appears to be more than happy to throw it around.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Post... oh, you copyrighted that? T...y Post. No? T...T

We have a desi Miss America and she's had to put up with some INCREDIBLY racist bullshit since winning.

But her talent was... dancing to "Dhoom Taana!"

Incredible! I guess Bollywood is really going mainstream in America, too!! Just wait until Miley Cyrus gets her hands on some Mumaith Khan numbers...

Regular readers can skip this but for anybody just Googling around for more information about Nina Davuluri and her "Indian Classical-Bollywood Fusion Dance" who's landed on this page--the original song is from a movie called Om Shanti Om and you can watch it here. No, that's not what all Bollywood movies are like. Om Shanti Om is a deliberately campy film but if you've never seen anything Bollywood before, it's not a terrible place to start. You'll be dazzled even if you don't get all the jokes.

For films available on Netflix Instant, I'd check out Jab We Met (romantic comedy featuring a very likable lead couple) and Lagaan (historical-sports-political drama that was an Oscar finalist). There are other good ones, too, but I'm not sure if the charms of a Tashan or Vettai (actually a Tamil language film) would be apparent to somebody not used to the style.

People interested in more typical mainstream "foreign films" from India that aren't uber-depressing slum dramas should check out Peepli Live and Kahaani--both on Netflix Instant.

If you like them, come back and tell me and we'll talk!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Post: Get well soon, Dilip Kumar! Then you can see Ranveer PWN the Ram Leela trailer with the rest of us!

Very short post today, mostly because I wanted to join the people wishing Dilip Kumar a speedy recovery--he was hospitalized with a heart attack yesterday.

I never thought of songs as one of Dilip-saab strong suits but browsing through things to post, there are some lovely ones out there:

Is miming the piano a lost art now?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Context: Do you have it?

I don't have a new review for you, so have a mini-post touching on some ideas I've been mulling over recently!

Last night I stumbled across a new addition to the Criterion Collection on Hulu: the Japanese film Fall Guy (1982). By happy coincidence it happened to be based on a play by the playwright I’ve been researching--Tsuka Kouhei (つかこうへい), who seems to be a Neil Simon-y type figure. Even with my library access, it’s been difficult to find anything out since very little seems to have been written on him in English and Japanese language books aren’t exactly easy to come by. But my difficulties in geeking out on research are neither here nor there; the reason I bring this up is that the film got me thinking about context.

Sunday Post: Short and sweet.

Oh, dear lord! Grand Masti is the fourth biggest opener in India this year?! WOW! So, Neha Dhupia is proven right once again--the only things that sell are sex and Shahrukh.

And Irrfan Khan--at least in the West. I'm already fed up with "Oscar Buzz" around The Lunchbox and it's still September!

Saturday, September 14, 2013



Sorry for missing yesterday's post--it was entirely unintentional. I woke up feeling very poorly... but today is a bright and shiny new day! And there is just a touch of fall in the air. I love the autumn, don't you?

For many here in America, though, autumn means AMERICAN FOOTBALL--a game for the life of me I've never been able to muster any interest in. (WHY DOES 60 seconds of play last half an hour?? WHY?!) But apparently the NFL is attempting to drum up international interest in their product by hiring a celeb trying to drum up American interest in her assets. Yup, Madame Piggy tossing around the ol' pigskin. And they are welcome to her--in fact, I'd be thrilled if Piggy fully crossed over to Hollywood so I never had to see her again!

Hey, Hollywood, how about a Katherine Heigel x Priyanka Chopra two heroine rom-com I never have to see!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday's Half Assed Post!!

Good morning, everybody!

I woke up a little late today so.... have some pictures of lovely Parineeti in Toronto.

And you can watch the press conference for Shuddh Desi Romance!

And Akshay's specially penned Ganpati version of Boss. Just do yourself a favor and DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES read the comments underneath the video on youtube. I got curious and scrolled down... big mistake.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Wednesday Post where I thought it was Thursday... but it wasn't. Yet.

I'll open with this because... it's a terrible crime blotter story.

What an awful way to die. RIP, Anil.

(And way to keep it classy, Firstpost. That headline! DEAR LORD!)

Also awful is that some reports had him working on the film "based on" poor Jiah Khan's life and death.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



Not even my loathing for Piggy and her dumb bimbo heroine act can keep me away from KRRISH 3! LOOK AT HIM MOVE! *whistle whistle*

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Post and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Khiladi!

Wowwwww... I think everybody got up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. Cranky interviews galore today but first...


Still the most virile man on the Bollywood screen!

The horse in the water kills me every time!


I cannot wait for Boss! CANNOT WAIT!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to Asha Bhosle!

Posting today as an excuse to with Asha Bhosle a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

She's celebrating 80 years old!

I'll never forget seeing her sing live... incredible voice!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Post: Happy birthday to my sis!!

Bad reviews can convince me to see a movie, especially if the reviewers are complaining about things that I enjoy--see also: my viewing of Himmatwala after Ajay bashed it.

That does not seem to be the case for Zanjeer, however, where reviews seem united on two points:

1. It's kind of boring.

2. Piggy is annoying as fuck.

From the first linked review: Priyanka Chopra as Mala seems to be trying too hard to be bubbly and be the comic relief in the movie.

If there were words that could keep me away from a movie theater besides "starring Shahrukh Khan" those are them.

(Speaking of: oops.)

SO... Riddick this weekend? Yes/Yes? Hands up who loves Vin Diesel! Two hands up who loves Katee Sackhoff! (ME!) Dear lord, if there were an article designed to get me into the theater...

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Okay, so, number 1, it's actually really good to see Uday and Abhishek together again!


Just imagine me dhooming around my apartment right now.

I think this definitely calls for a double-feature rewatch right before the release? Who's in?!

Thursday Post: Bosssss, Boss, Boss.

The schedule is out for this weekend and... we're getting Zanjeer, Shuddh Desi Romance, AND a Tamil film called Varutha Padatha Valibar Sangam. I'm not sure what I should go for... usually, I'd pick the masala film but Zanjeer just seems like a hot mess of a film. I mean, I would also have to suffer through Piggy hamming it up in booty shorts. But I'm not a huge romance fan, either... what to do...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Post: Early morning...

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of Bollywood's favorite grumpy, old men--Rishi Kapoor!

He can still go toe-to-toe with the charmingest men in the business.

Keep making films, sir, and I'll keep watching them!

(But not Besharam because Ranbir in the trailer gives me a headache.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Post: More tasty than a mouth full of chipped polish?

First of all, a huge hat tip to Chicken Khurana for writing what we were all thinking while watching the Nargis "item."

You’d think the svelte girl in harem pants and sparkles, baring her belly button in a Hindi film song is the item, but Fakhri is about as comfortable in Dhating Naach as Queen Elizabeth II in Glastonbury. She can’t swivel her hips, she’s about as flexible as a ballpoint pen refill, her dhak-dhak makes you want to duck-duck-go for the ageing Malaika Arora Khan. Plus, it looks like the wardrobe guys basically flung different pieces of costume jewellery at her. Whatever was caught by the material is there, dangling apologetically. And maybe some of you are turned on by the sight of a woman biting a massive, fake nail. Me, I’m wondering is how much chipped nail polish is in her mouth.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sajid Khan's Himmatwala: NOT the worst movie ever made

Sajid Khan is notorious for giving precisely zero fucks about critical attention but I do hope that it would warm his heart a little that I was inspired to finally watch Himmatwala because Ajay Devgn has been going around town trashing it:

I think it will be critical to my director. But I think 80s were shown and shot like 80s while when we did Once Upon A Time in Mumbai we had shown 70s and 80s in a contemporary manner. So I think that's what did not work very well for the film.

Obviously this caught my attention as a masala fan because, when you untangle the syntax, Ajay is saying is that Himmatwala didn’t work because it was a film in the style of the films of the 1980s instead of a film made in the style of today and taking place in the 1980s. Everybody who’s been reading me for more than minute knows my disappointment with the way middlebrow Bollywood has been rapidly lurching towards the tired filmmaking conventions of its Los Angeles based counterpart, if Himmatwala was a throwback to the good old days, it was clearly my duty to do my best to rescue its reputation from the Passion for Cinema crowd.

But here’s the thing--Ajay is right but not for the reasons he thinks he is. It's not the old style of masala filmmaking that failed but the stale contents.

Monday Post: HAPPY LABOR DAY (In America!)

Happy Labor Day!! In America, anyways.

Here are two work place songs that came to mind immediately:

Construction site qawwali from the great Roti Kapada aur Makaan...

And a food cart song from Vastaav: The Rising.

I've always been fond of these kinds of "real life" songs--maybe it's just me but sometimes I like to imagine a song starting up in my own life. Of course, being a librarian, it would probably be something more like this:

But recently I keep imagining that my new favorite group A.B.C-Z is going to burst around a corner with one of their brilliant one camera-no cut performances:

It's the magic of show business!!! Taking our mundane surroundings--library, food cart, construction site, office hallway--and adding a bit of razzle dazzle. I carry the memory with me into the day. What's wrong with adding some sparkle to mundane surroundings? Who says "realism" is always best? (And what's "real," anyways?)

.article .article-content { word-break: normal !important; }