Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm not dead!! Updates and some travel photos! Golden Bomber! A.B.C-Z! Kyary Pamyu Pamyu! Broken toenails! Godzilla!

Me and my buddy, the Godzilla statue in the Tokyo theater district!

Hello, dear friends! I'm so happy to be talking with you after so long! I wanted to drop in and let you know that I should be able to return to writing in some form or other in June. Exactly what form is something I haven't decided yet but I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments.

You see, what happened was this:

a) I got a new job very suddenly and the work is much, much more demanding, leaving me much less time and energy for hobbies.

b) My local Indian cinema has closed down, leaving me without an easy source for first run movies.

c) I went to Japan, which was both expensive and time consuming. And a dream many years in the making. (I saw an A.B.C-Z stage production and the band GOLDEN BOMBER in person!!!!!)

As well as d) I'm just growing increasingly uninterested in the corporately-funded, navel-gazing, Hollywood-influenced films coming out of Bombay.

When I started blogging back in dickity-six, there really wasn't much out there in terms of information or reviews, other than what you could find in the Bollywhat forums. And now, well, there is a massive amount of information and reviews and I'm not sure how much I'm contributing to the conversation, if at all. Is it necessary for me to continue to pick over the film "news" (such as it is)? How useful are my overly serious reviews of mass films? I just get the feeling that fewer and fewer people share my point of view. That the old films aren't just to be laughed at but have something important to offer. That filmi emotions other than romance exist. That mass films can address important topics. That the Hollywood "tropes" aren't the only way or, indeed, the BEST way, to tell a story.

On the flight to Japan, there were three Hindi films available and I decided to watch R…Rathore again. (Strangely enough, it had been "edited for content" to the point where if I hadn't seen it before, I wouldn't have known why certain plot points happened, but that's beside the point.) The film reminds me quite a bit of something like Rishi Kapoor's Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, a really uninspired plot and underwhelming acting from most of the cast, fondly remembered for the amazing song picturizations. But even though R…Rathore is not a good movie by any standard--including the "I have a 13 hour flight and the pickings are slim" standard--there are at least some echoes of the Hindi film style I fell in love with. An appreciation and dedication to the "show" of show business, chief among them. When Sasha is working so hard to entertain me, who am I to deny myself the pleasure of being entertained?

So, as you can see, I am rather conflicted here. I'm almost tempted to switch entirely to South films, if I had a reliable and inexpensive source of new releases. With the theater closing, though… and watching in my living room is so unsatisfying. But in my film viewing of the last couple of years, it's been the Tamil films that have stuck with me. Bala's Paradesi, Kamal Hassan's Vishwaroopam, mass entertainers from Vijay and Jiiva, experimental films like Pizza… the theaters of Chennai are full of surprises and delights.

Anyways, I wanted to update you on my status and my thoughts for the future. Please feel free to weigh in, although if you are one of my hate-readers (and I know there are a few), please feel free to keep your comments to yourself!

And now, the dessert of this post… have some travel pictures from my trip to Japan! I went hunting for records, attended a crazy number of concerts and productions, and found one of Vijay's filming sights from Jilla! I can also proudly say that after five years of studying the language that I can speak enough Japanese to get by. There was no prouder moment on my trip than when I was able to make small talk with a shop clerk in Harajuku.

The VERY first day I was in Tokyo, I went to the Nissay Theater see my fave idol group A.B.C-Z perform in 『ABC座ジャニーズ伝説』, a delightful musical (based on a true story!) about a Japanese idol group from the 1960s that goes to America to record "Never My Love" but must tragically leave before it can be released and then the Association does it first. 
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