Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yudi, Yogi, and Happy Ending… (I promise a real review soon!)

How odd that Happy Ending should follow my rediscovery of my obsession with doubles and double roles in Bollywood. In Happy Ending, the main character is a writer, Yudi (Saif Ali Khan, on the left), who is basically "writing" the movie as we're watching it… if that makes sense. Yudi doesn't just narrate the film but scene notes also appear at the appropriate times. (i.e. something like "Scene 90: Race to the Airport" during the inevitable scene where the hero races to the airport to catch up with the heroine and stop her from leaving.) Sure, it's a cute conceit and if that was all there was to it, we might as well just be watching another Imran Khan-starrer. What really makes the writer-writing-the-film concept work is the addition of the character of "Yogi" (also Saif Ali Khan, on the right).

Yudi "writes" Yogi into his story as his own (and a certain portion of the audience's) alter ego. Yogi is the personification of the type of fanboy who sits around in his superhero T-shirts debating what "tropes" are in which films and basically not seeing the forest for the nitpicking "that contradicts this origin story" trees. Yudi turns to Yogi with his actual life problems and Yogi delivers "wisdom" gleaned from snarky reviews from the Onion AV Club. I was really amused at his inclusion in the film, especially as the alter-ego of the slick, cool Yudi--each trapped in his own version of suspended adolescence and seeing the world through a specific filter.

As the stand-in for the audience, Yogi has one really great zing at the expense of "Yudi" but really at the expense of Saif, saying what we're ALL thinking when Yudi goes off on how he is still young and has time to figure things out… and Yogi just looks at him and kind of shakes his head like, "Naw, dawg." And so Yudi has to qualify with "young at heart." Yogi still doesn't quite buy it--and neither do we--but it's hilarious and a nice meta-commentary on the critique Saif and the other 40+ heroes get from the Yogi-types in the audience for playing "young… at heart."

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who saw it like this since the reviews I read all seemed to think Yogi was Yudi's twin brother… something that never occurred to me until I came home and read the reviews.

One other thing on Yogi… I found it very interesting that basically EVERYBODY agreed that Govinda and his antics were way more entertaining than the rom-com elements because Govinda and the "jimmy jimmy jimmy jimmy HERO ENTRY" is exactly what the Yogi types who found Happy Ending so dull have been trying to get erase from Bollywood for the last 15 years. I don't know. Maybe I'm just Raj & DK-biased but I read Govinda's turn as kind of a fuck you to the people who had been trying to erase his particular talents from the screen. Turns out WE FUCKING LOVE GOVINDA AND WANT HIM BACK! Oh, Govinda…

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ahhhh! Monday came too soon!

The mixed to negative response to Happy Ending has been interesting. The critics I expected to love it, really didn't. On either end. Anupama Chopra thought it didn't have enough rom-com "sparkle" and Mihir Fadnavis thought it had too much rom-com. The thing is, I understand both perspectives even if I don't necessarily agree with them. Happy Ending suffers from what we can call Tashan-itis. Just like Tashan was pastiche of and a commentary on Bollywood masala, Happy Ending is both pastiche of and meta-commentary on the rom-com genre but, just like Tashan, the mixture (apparently) didn't quite gel for most of the audience.

I enjoyed it quite a bit. I have some theories I'm working out that the film is essentially Hum Tum Plus Ten Years so if you can wait another day or so for my review…

I will say that if you are wavering on whether or not to see it:




And this song is, to quote a great hero: "Kickass."

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Fri-- Happy ENDING!

Sooooo sorry, guys!! This week has been crazy at work and I didn't have time to post anything yesterday… or today, really.

But if all goes well, I should be able to see Happy Ending this weekend! YAY! Lucky me! It's nice that Raj & DK are finally getting accepted into the cool "in" crowd. I remember seeing 99 in the theaters WAY back when and just being so impressed. That was back during the strike, I think. Funny to think of now.

Anyhoooo… I think I mentioned I've been going through old posts but I was reminded of when I was obsessed with doubles and doppelgängers. I wish I had time to re-watch Kaho Na… Pyaar Hai.

What a truly odd and wonderful film. And such a good launch vehicle for Hrithik. You know, I think Hrithik is one of the slipperiest heroes in Bollywood to get a hold of. He started off so young and cocky and sexual but his recent "big" films have him humble and self-sacrificing and just so earnest. Agneepath, Krrish 3… Or playing second fiddle to Katrina Kaif in Bang Bang. We've grown up together, Hrithik. ♥

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Favorite musical moments?

I got asked on twitter what some of my favorite "musical moments" in movies were… it's a tough question and a different one from favorite song picturizations, in my opinion. I can love a song picturization having never seen the film it's attached to--Jacqueline Fernandez in Jadoo Ki Jhappi springs to mind--but a "musical moment" is deep in the film itself.

But off the top of my head…

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The world waits… for Tuesday!

Ugh… I think I'm fighting off my yearly sinus infection. Ew. Ew. Ew. Anyways, folks, some good stuff in the wings!

Lingaa song trailer!! I can't wait for this!! I will NEVER forget going to see Enthiran and then how obsessed I was with it afterwards. I think I wrote like three or four long posts on that film. I wonder if I have time to re-watch some Rajini movies before seeing Lingaa...

Also, the only two words I needed to hear were "Bala presents…" and I'm sold. BALA!

AND, this really made me laugh:

I'm excited about Akshay, too, but trending below Charles Manson (!!!!!!!!!) isn't something I'd want to brag about.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Perfume at the Hammerstein Ballroom. World Tour 3rd. New York City. November 15, 2014.

「三人あわせて、Perfumeです!」(from left to right: Nocchi, Kashiyuka, and Ah~chan!)

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of seeing Japanese pop group Perfume. The group is insanely popular in Japan and are currently on their third world tour, which is the first world tour to include a stop in America. Perfume are a pop group consisting of three members: Nishiwaki Ayaka (“A~chan,” the defacto leader), Omoto Ayano (“Nocchi”), and Kashino Yuka (“Kashiyuka”). Perfume’s music--written by electropop maestro Nakata Yasutaka--is insanely catchy but the group’s hook is really their intricate three-part choreography. The three women weave in and out of each other’s space like gear wheels, a single mistake, a moment’s hesitation could end in a hard smack to the face or a high heel caught in a member’s skirt.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Post!!

So… Yagavarayinum Naa Kaakka looks interesting! God, I love the sound of Tamil. I wish somebody around here offered classes or lessons but nobody teaches it!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday! Kapooooooors!

Is it weird that I found the song I was looking for by checking Rishi's sweater? I couldn't remember the song title or film but I KNEW THE SWEATER! GOD DAMN IT I KNEW THAT SWEATER! I KNEW IT!

I wonder what happened to all of Rishi's sweaters. I've long wished Bollywood had a costume museum of some sort. That would be epic.

I went digging on youtube because I caught this stupid story about Neetu cropping Katrina Kaif out of a photo and it just… made me sad. I kind of wish these kinds of dumb stories were kept to half-truths in the pages of Stardust where they belong but I suppose the genie is long out of the bottle when it comes to social media and gossip websites.

Neetu-aunty, any interest in setting up that costume museum instead of instagramming?

And the bad news is… Happy New Year is STILL taking up the Indian movie slot at my local multiplex so no Kill Dil for me this weekend. Ah, well. I was going to a concert in New York on Saturday anyways so it would have been ギリギリ timing on Friday night to make it to the theater.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How many more days to Kill Dil???

How much do I love these three?

I am really, really forward to Kill Dil!

In the process of going through my old reviews, there definitely comes a point where I begin just DEFENDING THINGS I ENJOY really hardcore. It's kind of funny reading those without the critical context that surrounds them. My review of Khiladi 786 is like that. This feeling that I was dishoom-ing myself out of a warehouse full of scolding critics like I was Amitabh in Deewar. THIS STUFF DOESN'T SUCK! *dishoom* SHUT UP WITH YOUR "SO ILLOGICAL" CRITIQUES! *dishoom*

It does really bother me that the films I love--or even films that I find pleasurable--are routinely (and possibly deliberately) misunderstood by the very people who are supposed to be "experts" on this stuff. Ah, well. I'm going to make an effort to be less defensive in the future! If I like it, then I like it. It's not like anybody actually cares what Anupama Chopra and Rajeev Masand have to say anyways, isn't it? Heh.

To that end, I should fulfill the promise I made and was reminded of while re-reading my Student of the Year review and buy the DVD of Student of the Year. Come on, Karan! Make us another one like this!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tevar: Arjun still hasn't gotten rid of that constipated look.

I don't hate it but I've been burned by Arjun's lack of acting/hero-ing abilities in so many other films that I'm reluctant to give him yet another shot. And this seems like one of those films where the heroine is sidelined in order to boost the profile of the hero. All in all, not really feeling it… but I don't hate it.

Totally unrelated… remember this?

"What? The party's over?"

LOVE STORY 2050 FOREVER!!!!! When will we get a film this gloriously stupid again? WHEN?!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday, Monday… the weekend goes so fast!

Oh, Saifu! I love you… from far away. But I really hope that Humshakals was not you "being true to yourself" and more the "imbalance" part. *cough*

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy… WEEKEND!!

Jeez, this week really dragged.

Maybe I'm just too pumped for NEXT WEEKEND when I'll be seeing Perfume in concert in New York!

I'm still going to try and make Kill Dil on that Friday evening--if it's playing at the closer theater.

In other news, I was watching a few behind-the-scenes from PK and is it me or is this movie like… PEAK HIRANI. You can't get MORE HIRANI than PK. I thought 3 Idiots was a lot of Hirani but… I don't know. I'm sure I'll still love it despite myself. LOL!

And the other movie besides Kill Dil I'm anxious for is… Happy Ending!

YES! Sleazy Saifu, just like he's best at! Always trust Raj & DK. Always trust.

And a big shout out to my Uncle for this awesome article about his work as a teacher!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another Punjabi song?! IN BOLLYWOOD?!

I tease, I tease. So… Prabhudeva got Ajay to dance about as well as Salman in Wanted. Yes/yes?

LOL! I am going to enjoy me some Action Jackson like nobody's business.

Plus Kill Dil in just one week!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hirai Ken doing it right.

(alternate link) I was really wary when I heard the concept for this video from Japanese pop singer Hirai Ken but I actually think it's really cute!! I know the "cultural appropriation" tag and "exoticism" tag get thrown around a lot and there are some truly horrendous examples out there--Natalie Portman as a "Bollywood Princess" and whatever that crap from Smash was--but Hirai Ken manages to pull off a fun, Indian-themed PV without being all gross about it.

Apparently Hirai Ken says that people think he looks Indian which is where the idea for the video came from. He does have kind of an Arjun Rampal, John Abraham vibe about him, huh? Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Madras: Tales from the Hood.

Choosing the right hero is the most important decision that will get made for a film. The tone of a role, the tone of a film changes depending on the hero. I would never claim to be an expert on Karthi’s screen presence but from what little I’ve seen of him--Saguni and Alex Pandian--Karthi’s speciality is playing the affable straight man who responds with a smile and twinkle in his eye when crazy stuff happens around him. As a hero, he’s a very likable light weight. I mean that in the best sense possible. Not every hero can be as charming and delightful to watch as Karthi and it’s no crime to specialize in being “affable” rather than “angry” or “serious.” But “affable” is not exactly the first quality one might choose for a hero in a non-filmi, revenge-driven masala film.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Upcoming… upcoming…!


I will be at the theater for this, come hell or high water. Seeing Enthiran in the theater was one of the BEST film watching experiences I've ever had. Superstar fans bring it!

Ditto for this.

I had kind of a busy weekend so while I did watch Madras, I haven't had time to finish my review yet. Hopefully I'll have that up for you in the next day or two. Quite an enjoyable film, I must say.

I also have to give a shout out for the delightful DØD SNØ 2:

My dad and I watched this and laughed our asses off. Nazi zombies vs. Commie zombies. What more do you need? Oh, Norway… I miss you.

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