Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
This 1960 film was a megahit unrivalled until Sholay came along in the 70s. Filmed in both color and black and white (this song is one of three color sequences), it starred Madhubala and Dilip Kumar. Lata Mangeshkar, the most recorded singer in history according to the folks at the Guinness book, sings (Madhubala lip syncs and dances here as the rebellious slave girl in the Moghul court.) Filmed in the hall of mirrors at Ajmer Palace.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Kumar is one of the most interesting, and best-paid, Hindi stars. He flew under the radar for a long time, and then burst into top-tier films like a supernova. He's had a string of superhits (Chandni Chowk to China notwithstanding), not just in India but abroad. Like Hrithik Roshan (pre-knee surgery), he does his own stunts in movies, and the trickier, the better. He comes from a very humble background, worked as a cook, studied martial arts, until he accidentally got a modelling gig, which lead to acting. In this clip he talks about working in 8 X 10 Tasveer with Nagesh Kukunoor, a young, maverick, auteur type making some of the best films around. (see Dor, Iqbal, Hyderabad Blues, Teen Dewarein.)
Akshay has had quite the week, receiving the Padma Shri (a high indian honor for contribution to India), and then being charged with obscenity for this. That's his wife Twinkle undoing the button. Keep in mind this was for the Levis Unbuttoned campaign and all the models undid their top buttons. I suspect this Bollywood "obscenity" case will be laughed out of court as they always are.
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is the incomparable Helen. In addition to dancing in over 500 movies, she was also the subject of a Merchant-Ivory documentary Helen, Queen of the Nautch Girls. This one is for the pink chaddi girls.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Amar Akbar Anthony.
* Hindi cinema is what is known as Bollywood. People who work in it prefer the term Hindi cinema, but when I call in that when talking with Gora (white) people in the west, they're puzzled until I explain, 'Bollywood." Ah.
Friday, February 6, 2009
This looks much better on the big screen, but this will give you a taste of Hrithik Roshan's big song in Luck By Chance, a gentle satire on the Hindi film industry (more popularly known as Bollywood). Lots of cameos in this.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Zoya and Farhan Akhtar are the children of Javed Akhtar, a renowned poet and lyricist, and Honey Irani, a renowned screenwriter, and the stepchildren of Hindi film great Shabana Azmi.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I underestimated Aamir Khan. I knew he was a talented actor (India's Johnny Depp verging on India's Brando, to put it in E!nglish terms). But when I heard he was directing a movie, I thought, "Another actor who thinks he can direct. Ha." But his movie, Taare Zameen Par, made a fool of me. It's fresh, innovative and intelligent.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
SM seems to be accomplishing what all great art should, inducing us to look at ourselves and those around us in a fresh way. Hope is palpable in rising India. Vikas Swarup, who wrote Q and A, the book the movie is based on, discerned and expressed that with humanity, and it was vividly brought to life by Boyle and his cast and crew.
Swarup got it exactly right: The Indian slums teem with geniuses.
Inspired by Millionaire, Rediff, an Indian news service, profiled some slum kids:
The Car Washer Who Wants to Play for India.
The guy makes 1000 rupees a month (about 25 US dollars) and puts half of it towards cricket training.
Does it sound ludicrous?
Ten Paise per shoe.
It is now the kind of India where these dreams can come true in multitudes. Millionaire captures that India perfectly. My ex-boyfriend, a handsome Rajput man who funds and runs schools for poor kids, can speak volumes on this subject.
The girls below, Kajol and Pooja (L-R), live with their mother in a lean-to outside Newmarket in Kolkata. They go to a free school, and after school they change from their crisp uniforms into beggar clothes. Their father is dead. Kajol, the older sister speaks Bengali and Hindi, and understands English but is too shy to speak it. Pooja speaks English superbly, in addition to Bengali and Hindi. She's very animated, clever, and cute, could easily be an actress, but plans to grow up to be the prime minister of India so she can help the poor. (This earnestness and sincerity runs like a river through India.) I hired them to show me around Newmarket and got a tour that blew all the guidebooks away.
And finally, this is Father Paul, the coolest priest in India. He, Brother Charles, a dozen teachers and a half dozen German volunteers, run the Gandhi Ashram school in Kalimpong.
The school uses violins to help kids embrace education, It was started by a Canadian, Thomas Edward "Ed" McGuire, who passed away in 2005. He was a very funny guy, a philosopher, and a student of other religions. He never preached his own. Watch this and weep when Kushmita plays. She is now at a prestigious German conservatory on scholarship.
If you want to give to the Gandhi Ashram school, there is a donation link here.
A very good NGO that works with poor kids in Mumbai is Atma Mumbai
In Jaipur, The Alternative Development Centre.
(Click on photos for larger versions.)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Starring Abhishek Bachchan (son of actors Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri) and Sonam Kapoor (daughter of Anil Kapoor of Slumdog Millionaire and Bollywood). Music by AR Rahman, also of Slumdog.
Do you think they sewed that dove to her head?
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This young actor who played young Jamal at the Taj in Slumdog Millionaire is one of the reasons I can't help but believe in reincarnation. The video is by his favorite director, Iranian Majid Majidi, who made this for the Beijing Olympics.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Dev Anand tries to save his sister Zeenat Aman after she falls in with drug-addicted hippies. Also starring a cast of gora hippies raked off the beaches of Goa and/or shaken from the hostels of Kathmandu. Thanks to Little White Lies for this and Typewriter Tip etc. Singer: Asha Bhosle. A longer version here.
(Dum Maro Dum, roughly translated, means 'Take another toke.')
Here's one for the writers (the ones who remember typewriters in any event). Here, Shashi Kapoor and Helen, the "Queen of the Nautch Girls." From Bombay Talkie, a Merchant-Ivory film.
Friday, January 23, 2009
"The Empire has been finally, overwhelmingly trounced."
Cultural imperialism is dead, long live cultural free trade.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
That's Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Bendre. Saif's a sort of prince in real life as his father is the Nawab of Pataudi (as well as a renowned cricketer back in the day). This makes him the Chhote Nawab. His mother is Bollywood actress Sharmila Tagore who sits on Indian's film review board.
Monday, January 12, 2009
This Karan Johar film stars a highly beloved film duo, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, along with Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor, and supernovas Amitabh Bachchan and his wife Jaya Bhaduri.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Yeah, can't wait to see this. Hrithik, Konkona, Farhan, Juhi, Dimple etc. etc. Lots of star power in this story about breaking into Bollywood (in a nutshell).
This movie puts a whole new spin on the old trope of arranged marriage versus love match. It's a charming love story, and about tradition versus modernity, and India meeting the world on its own terms. I love it on so many levels. Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar positively sparkle in this film.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
January looks to be a very good month for new releases. This one stars Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Mithun Chakraborty, and Ranvir Shorey. It's the story of an Indian cook who becomes an action hero in China and it looks to be the latest in a string of big hits for Akshay "Akki" Kumar, who, incidentally, is married to a girl named Twinkle (the daughter of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia). He has another big film coming up, Khambakht Ishq, about an Indian stunt man in Hollywood, and it features an appearance by Sylvester Stallone.
(Contrary to what the promo states, Chandni Chowk to China releases January 16th, 2009.)
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini (the future Mrs. Dharmendra Deol) and Jaya Bhaduri (the future Mrs. Bachchan) star in this 70s megahit about two devilish, low-grade criminals recruited to bring down a truly evil villain.
Irrfan Khan and Shah Rukh Khan together. Choreography by Farah Khan. I can't wait.