Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Something from the Tamil Cinema: Thaam Thaka

It's not enough to be able to act in India, you have to be able to dance too. Unless you're Nana Patekar.

Happy New Year.

Devdas: Maar Dala

Netflix listing here.

Ghajini: Behka

Haven't seen the movie yet but the music is good. A.R. Rahman, of course.

Slumdog Millionaire: O....Saya

Other Western directors have made Bollywood movies, but nobody succeeded before Danny Boyle. It took the director of Trainspotting to do it, and do it so well. All the familiar tropes of a masala film are there, the good/bad brothers, the romance, the death(s) of the loved one(s), the dance number, etc., but Boyle doesn't imitate the formula as other Westerners have -- he has internalized it and so it comes out fresh again. Very Indian. A.R. Rahman's score is another good example of this cultural fusion, as is M.I.A. As my friend Sanjay says, India is all about fusion.

Danny Boyle on Destiny:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer: Don't Look Away

This is a hauntingly beautiful song from one of my all-time favorite movies, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, from India's most intelligent director Aparna Sen, and starring two of its most intelligent actors, Konkona Sensharma and Rahul Bose. Amazingly, this movie came out the same year as Titli, another fine, fine film in which Konkona Sensharma plays a teenager. Aparna Sen's movies have always been done in English, although she has a Hindi movie in the works. She follows Satyajit Ray, and is followed by Rituparno Ghosh, who directed Titli.

Here is the more languid version of the song for the opening credits. This is a beautiful film. See it if you can. See all of Aparna Sen's movies, starting with 36 Chowringee Lane, starring the luminous Jennifer Kendall Kapoor in one of her last roles.

Konkona Sensharma is Aparna Sen's daughter. Sen lives in Calcutta. (Officially, the name has been indianized to Kolkata, but nobody I know calls it that.) Calcutta is India's intellectual capital. Almost everyone in Calcutta is multilingual, speaking Bengali, Hindi, and/or English, often better than most Englishmen. There seems to be a disproportionate number of fine filmmakers, writers, journalists there. There are all kinds of people there, of course. It is a very cosmopolitan city yet distinctly Indian. It has a spirit that no other city has (except perhaps Mumbai, now, after the terrorist attacks).

In an endlessly fascinating country like India, Calcutta is its most fascinating city. I always break down in tears the first day I am back in Calcutta, and leave more deeply in love with it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Telugu Cinema: Chiranjeevi 2

More from Chiranjeevi, megastar of the Telugu Cinema which is centered in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Chiru is in his late 50s, and can still cut a rug. Again, dig the color combinations in this, and ponder the peculiar scene where it appears dead women are dragged offstage:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Singh is King: Title song (featuring Snoop Dogg and RDB)

Stars the hottest romantic comedy duo in Bollywood right now, Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, and features Snoop Dogg, and homegrown hip hop from RDB:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom: Kiss of Love

Do you see Baz Lurhman's influence? Baz Lurhman himself was influenced by Bollywood, and has a nice bit of homage to the Hindi film industry nestled in Moulin Rouge.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dor: Dance in the Desert

One of three delightful bits of homage to Bollywood in this film. This movie should be seen on the biggest screen possible. Buy the DVD:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Howrah Bridge: Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo

Jodhaa-Akbar: Azeem-a-Shaan

One of my favorite movies this year, with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai:

Dil Se: Chaiyya Chaiyya

Music by A.R. Rahman, choreography by Farah Khan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Malika Arora Khan and Preity Zinta, and filmed aboard the train to Ooty in South India:

Brought to you by the Telugu Cinema

... centered in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, starring the great Chiranjeevi. The color knocks me out.

Namastey London: Chakna Chakna

Out of sync but still great. Akshay and Katrina are so good together:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bunty aur Babli: Amitabh's Rap

He is too cool. This funny, clever and heartwarming movie also stars his son, Abhishek, and the divine Rani Mukherjee as a pair of con artists in love. Turn up your speakers for this one, the audio is a tad low.

A Little Cricket

The Rajasthan Royals, the Cinderella team of the Indian Premiere League.

(I don't quite understand it, but I have succumbed to India's collective madness and spend far too much time watching it on TV. I'm learning.)

Hero: Lambi Judai

Simply one of the most beautiful songs in Hindi cinema. Starring Jackie Shroff and Menaskshi Seshadri:

Dhoom 2: Dhoom Machale

The opening number from my favorite action flick of all time. Watch this while you can, before Yash Raj takes it down from YouTube (they are notorious for keeping a tight rein on their movies so they don't get overexposed, but it's a shame, this film could reach a lot more viewers if people saw this great bit.) I have watched this film about 50 times now. It is an action film, a comedy, a romance (best kiss ever), a musical, starring Hrithik Roshan (man, can he dance), Abhishek Bachchan, his lovely new bride and Amitabh's bahu, Aishwarya Rai, Bong beauty Bipasha "Bips" Basu and Uday Chopra. Clever and campy. Get the DVD:

If it disappears, try this. And here is the trailer:

Dor: Nagesh Kukunoor dir.

A woman treks across India to obtain mercy from the widow of the man her husband accidentally killed. This is simply the most beautiful movie I've seen in years on every level. The music, rooted in traditional Rajasthani folk music, is heartbreakingly beautiful. Filmed in Himachel Pradesh and Rajasthan.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Time for a Change

Life is nuts, so no blogging for a while. I have moved this site to a new url, from the old moonsofsaturn url, using my name in the address, to preempt confusion as there are people out there using my name as their email address and to post on other blogs. Why they'd want to is a mystery. I am the only me. Accept no other.

Yours from Bollywood
a goddamned ray of sunshine etc.