Not too serious a post--a friend asked for some Indian music recommendations and I put together a little (ok, not little, it's 100 songs) playlist for him. Just posting it here if anyone wants an afternoon or ten of music to listen to, and also to test out the playlist embed link for future use.
And the second half since 100 videos seems to be too much for Blogger to handle...
I thought about posting my favorite song from Dus ("Dus Bahaane") or even my second favorite song ("Cham Se") but thought "Deedar De" was a bit more interesting (even if it has less Abhishek and a lot less Zayed Khan, shame).
What does it have going for it then? Let's see...there's Mayte Garcia (the artist formerly known as the wife of Prince) doing her best booty shaking (and wow look at those arms!), alongside two nondescript random blonde-ish women, one of whom is wearing one of the most hideous dresses known to mankind (the pink one, in case it's in any way unclear).
And then there's Abhishek (squee!) with a gun (boo) and Esha Deol (is it me or is she doing some serious bra stuffing here?) in the only role I've been able to stand her in so far apart from Yuva (and if I recall the plot of Dus correctly (if you can call it a plot) Abhi had a bit of an itch for Esha's character, which explains the whole "you touch my woman and I'll shoot you in the head" thing they've got going here) and Suniel Shetty, in probably the last movie he did before he officially became middle-aged uncle material (in my opinion anyways).
Oh and Zayed Khan, who's totally hot in this, which is lucky for him because his acting in this is so bad that his character is nearly irredeemable.
Rajeev Masand, of CNN-IBN, might not be the most beloved film critic in the world (though I really like him), but this seems a little extreme. Someone set up an account in Taran Adarsh's name and, well...see for yourself:
Why don't you tell us how you really feel buddy?
In case you're wondering, the real Taran Adarsh's account looks like this:
Mohammad Rafi's "Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai" came to my attention through the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack, and I listened to it for years before I bothered to seek out the original video. I'm so glad I finally did though, becuase, well, LOOK at it! Dharmendra! Plaid pants! Big hair! It's 70s eye candy for sure. My only quibble is that the film version leaves out my favorite verse:
Kya hua hai, hua kuch nahi hai Baat kya hai pataa kuch nahi hai Mujhse koi kataa ho gaye to Isme mere kataa kuch nahi hai Kuubasuurat hai tuu rut javaan hai...
I dare you not to have this beautiful tune in your head all day.
For those of you not following the Tweeple Film Awards on Facebook or Twitter (and if you're not then why aren't you?!) here's some kick-ass news: the Twi-Fi Awards are getting big attention from the Mumbai Mirror and the Hindustan Times! Check out these two clippings, courtesy of the Tweeple Film Awards Facebook page.
Speaking of TwiFi, voting for jury members has been extended an extra day, so don't forget to go here and vote if you haven't already: http://twifi2010.in/
New York, I Love You is the second of the "Cities of Love" features and follows the hugely successful (and far superior, in my opinion) Paris, je t'aime. While I absolutely adored Paris, je t'aime, I had no interest whatsoever in seeing the New York iteration, in part because I tend to hate sequels and copies, and also because I don't have even a passing interest in NYC.
However, I do have an interest in Irrfan Khan--ever since seeing Maqbool and The Namesake I've been head over heels for him, and I consider him one of India's most talented actors. One of NYILU's little vignettes is a piece directed by Mira Nair (swoon) which stars Irrfan alongside Natalie Portman (swoon again) so off to Netflix I went.
I have to say I have somewhat mixed emotions about the piece. Irrfan is great, Natalie is mostly great (unconvincing accent aside) but the piece as a whole didn't hit the right notes for me. It felt a bit preachy, a little bit too "let's celebrate what we have in common" and all that jazz.
Irrfan plays Mansukhbhai, a merchant in NYC's bustling diamond district, and Natalie Portman is Rifka, a Hasidic gem dealer who comes to see Mansukhbhai about some diamonds the day before her wedding.
The hard bargaining begins right away, with Mansukhbhai discussing the price over an intercom with an associate in Gujarati, and quoting a higher price to Rifka. She understands enough Gujarati to call him on his numbers, and they have a laugh--this isn't the first time they've played this game.
He eats as she considers his offer.
"You can't eat meat right, you Hindus?"
"No, we are not Hindus. We're Jains."
They discuss food--for Mansukhbhai it's no meat, no fish, no potatos and no garlic. For Rifka it's no pork, no shrimp, nothing that hasn't been blessed. In the customs of food they have much in common.
"That is why there are no Christians in the diamond market. How can you trust a person who will eat anything?"
They agree on a price, and he reaches to shake her hand.
"I'm sorry, I can't shake your hand. I'm not allowed to touch any man who isn't my husband."
Talk turns to family. Rifka asks about his children, whose pictures hang on the office walls. Of his wife Mansukhbhai reports that "last year she decided that marriage is a sin. Now she's in India, with her head shaved, going door to door collecting food in a bowl."
Rifka then displays her own shaved head--her hair a banished memory in accordance to her strict Jewish faith.
"And now for the rest of my life I have to wear some other woman's hair."
At this point the story turns from one of believable simplicity to surreal (and possibly imagined?) romance. Mansukhbhai tells Rifka that her wig might be made of his wife's hair, as so many wigs are made of the hair that Indian women cut off and leave in temples, and Rifka, who wouldn't allow Mansukhbhai to shake her hand only a few minutes earlier, not allows him not only to touch her bald head but to kiss it.
Fast forward a day to Rifka's wedding. We see her being joyously hoisted aloft on a chair, her husband the same on the other side of the partition which divides the men and women at the wedding. As her husband bobs in and out of sight her face changes, and we see instead the happy face of Mansukhbhai across the wall.
Meanwhile, Mansukhbhai drives his car along the city streets and smiles to himself as he, like Rifka, imagines himself with a very different partner and a very different life.
I wanted to like this so terribly but I ended up finding it somewhat tacky (particularly when Mansukhbhai sees them reflected in his diamond). I might have felt better about the short as a whole if it had ended with their eyes meeting over the partition at Rifka's wedding--the last thirty seconds seemed somewhat cheap. And I certainly expected something more from Mira Nair--granted, this is a five minute film but it could have been so much more. Instead it preached and wandered--"what's so wrong with women's hair anyways?" The short seemed set up to be a lesson on religion and culture rather than a story to get lost in. It was contrived.
Irrfan, I thought, was excellent, as he always is, and Natalie was lovely, though as I said her accent was somewhat...stereotypical. Interestingly enough there was supposed to be a third character, a real-life Hasidic man was cast to play Natalie's husband. The Hasidic community threatened him if he continued, as participating in a film was against the community's values. He withdrew from the project only a few days into filming. It would have been interesting to see how the story was originally meant to play out.
If you have Netflix then you wouldn't be completely wasting your time to check this bit of the film out (it's about ten minutes into the movie), but otherwise don't bother renting New York, I Love You just to see it. It's sadly not quite worth the trouble.
Over the course of the year Wake Up Sid has become one of my favorite movies. It's not convoluted or contrived or overly sappy, it doesn't try to hard to be cool, there's no faux-badassness or celebrity vanity showing through. It's just a sweet, simple story about two people and the lives they make for themselves.
There's a freshness in the film that you unfortunately don't see a lot of in Bollywood these days--it's the type of film that could have easily been overlooked in favor of some of the flashier fare that shows up in theaters if it weren't for a few of the bigger names associated with it (Ranbir Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, and Karan Johar). Yes, there's a trendy urban sensibility on display, punctuated by a good-sized dose of "spending my father's money" but the characters don't live in a bubble, which is something I appreciate about the story.
I'll save further comment for a proper review but the one thing I really love about Wake Up Sid is, well, Sid. Let's face it: Ranbir Kapoor is a beautiful man. One or two films aside (*cough* Anjaana Anjaani), I'm a huge fan of his. It helps that he's more than a pretty face--the boy can act.
What else can he do, you ask?
He can wear a freaking t-shirt. And seeing as how the production team went to great lengths to feature him in every version of "pop culturally-relevant graphic t-shirt" known to man, I feel it's only appropriate to ogle...erm, observe him in a few of them.
Who am I kidding? Let's look at alllllllllll of them. :)
Sid wakes up.
Let's get some Scooby Snacks ya'll!
Daaaaaaaaance the night away...
I can't come up with a witty caption for this one, I'm too busy staring at Ranbir's arms and drooling.
I was thinking that Anupam Kher always rocks as the father...except for RDB, of course...
Nothing's wrong with me...I'm wearing a Joker shirt! What's wrong with YOU?
No. No no no no no. Take this off immediately.
Beavis and Butthead Do India.
Silly Aisha. No one enjoys work.
Your guess is as good as mine on this one. Digging the salmon though.
"Soooo Aisha, I'm wearing this spiffy Mr. Spaceman t-shirt..."
Joe failed. Joe sad.
Sid wears approximately 57 different shirts in this movie but only two different pairs of boxers. Hmmm.
Mumbai = Gotham. Can't believe it took me this long to figure out.
Who you gonna call? (Psst! Ranbir! Call ME!)
There's pretty much no color that this boy can't pull off. And Tom and Jerry! I love me some Tom and Jerry, those little rascals...
I think someone in the costume department is a Trekkie. Just saying...
No cartoon characters--this is Sid's most formal interview t-shirt.
I pretty much expect to go to Mumbai and get a job that lets me wear random tshirts at work now.
And so is this shirt.
An homage to me, his American girlfriend. Obviously.
Arms again. Drool.
What a pretty shirt you've got there, chai-wallah.
It's cool Ranbir, I don't want guns either. Peace love and understanding, baby.
The real beef between Sid and Rishi? Sid got all the cool shirts and Rishi was mad jealous.
They call me Mellow Yellow...
This is like that scene in BILB where Jonathan Rhys-Meyers shows up at the Bhamras' house in his sexy white shirt and Pinky's all like "yeah?" and he's all like "hello" and I'm all like "melt."
Plaid? Next thing you know he'll be living in Williamsburg and reading Hipster Hitler.
Dull, grey, and no cartoon characters? Sid, man, I know you're depressed and lovesick but COME. ON. You can do better than this.
On the one hand, he's wearing women's clothing. On the other hand, his shirt is see through. I'm gonna call this one a draw.