Dear readers of Masala Punch, Bollyviewer is no more. My sister and founder of this and a previous blog (Old is Gold) died in February as a consequence of cancer. Bollyviewer was so full of life and so interested in observing and participating in its ups and downs, that it is difficult for me to accept that I will no longer be talking with her or hearing her beautifully acidic comments on the world and its stories. It is difficult to accept that I will no longer be having fun, discussing Bollywood movies with her or hear her planning for her next blog post. Because yes, although she had not been posting actively on this blog in the last years, she was still full of plans for her future posts. Bollyviewer had so much more to say to the world and to hear from the blogging community, where she had found kindred souls and formed deep attachments. Thank you dear Anu,dear Madhu for the heart-warming tributes to Bollyviewer.
Bollyviewer enjoyed her life but she was also a realist and knew when the end was near. Her only sorrow then was that she was not allowed to end her life with dignity, at a moment of her choosing, but had to endure as it slowly and painfully drained away.
In the last year Bollyviewer and I had started with some posts, which I hope to share in the coming weeks and months. For now, here is one of her old posts, which I had enjoyed a lot. She had created this whole post after I happened to remark that the movie seemed full of “gobhi ke parathe”!
While I love blogging, in the past few years I’ve found it very hard to write. There are multiple unfinished posts on my hard drive, and I have little energy to complete them. So when my younger sister offered to write a post for me, I jumped at the chance! She wrote this months ago, and has been wondering when her post will be published. So without further ado, over to BollySpektator. Hope this is the first of many of her posts….
I recently watched the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) and it made me think. Yes, really. What if the movie-makers had given the vacant characters a real life? What if these characters had jobs or were shown to care about something other than themselves? What if they hadn’t chopped off Fawad Khan’s role? Would the film have touched a chord with me then?
Like me, you must have seen countless ads that tell you how using XXX product will get you the attention of beautiful, sexy women. But how often have you seen a gender-flip version of that – a product that promises the attentions of a sexy, beautiful man? If you don’t count Fair & Lovely, and I don’t because that only gets you a ‘good husband’, I can’t think of anything! So this Oppo F5 ad is unusual. Clocking in at over 13 minutes, it is a bit more than an ad, but given how central the product is to the plot, and how prominently it is displayed throughout, I cannot think of it as anything but an ad.
And in case you don’t have 13 minutes and 27 seconds to watch this, here’s a quick summary. Aditi (Kriti Kharbanda) has bought the F5 phone as a valentine gift for her long time boy friend (?) who chooses THE ROMANTIC DAY to break up with her. A while later, she decides to switch on the phone and try it herself. Naturally, her fingers dial the most familiar number of all – and instantly Siddharth Malhotra appears to tell her off for chasing after the ex and neglecting her goal of becoming a supermodel. Over the next few weeks/months, he (and the phone) help Aditi train for a modeling competition. You can imagine what happens next…
One may, of course, point to the fact that the ad talks about the woman’s looks and how they may be improved, but I’ll stick to the positives, instead.
It is re-union time again! In masala-land, a re-union does not need a reason, but a rhyme (and music) is always welcome. When Madhu posted her Aankhen songs list, Anu also wanted to post about filmi eyes and I am always happy to join a song-n-dance party. So we planned our re-union party, with songs about eyes – Anu decided to bring Nigaahein songs to the party, Madhu opted for Nazar, and I settled on Naina songs.
Vidya Balan, in and as the eponymous jasoos? Sounds like a film right up my street. I somehow missed catching this in the theatres and then could not get my hands on the DVD. So when it showed up on youtube’s suggested videos last weekend, I had to see it right away. Even though it was 1:00am and sleep was threatening to get in the way. And I am glad that I watched. Yes, it is fun. Yes, it gets plus points for a story that focuses on a woman building her career and not letting such trivial things as cute men get in the way of her happily-ever-after. And yes, the film had its faults. But more on that later. First the good stuff.
In the two years I spent in India, I did my best to avoid becoming re-acquainted with Indian TV. From interminably boring soap operas and reality shows to horrendously banal “breaking news”, and “music channels” that play the same three songs on an endless loop, it was mostly bad. The only tiny little ray of sunshine on this dark horizon was was Zindagi – a new channel that telecast Pakistani series. I have very fond memories of old Pakistani TV series and was delighted to see some new ones. (They’re not a patch on my favourite dramas of yore, but that is a gripe for another day.) Today, I want to talk about one of the few new Pakistani series that I liked quite a lot. Zindagi Gulzar Hai is an interesting romantic series starring the oh-so-good-looking Fawad Khan (yes, I admit that that was my main motivation for watching!). It is very well made, with a strong female character, lots of believable drama and a happily-ever-after end. It does have some major flaws (more on that later) but on the whole, it is a lovely series and, more importantly, way better than anything else I saw on Indian TV.
Its been two years since my last post. I kept meaning to update but it never happened. Its been a time of lots of changes. In 2013 I moved from Canada to India, and in 2015, I moved back to North America (USA this time). New place, new career, new life, but one thing remains the same – my love of movies! And now that I am (almost) settled in my new life, its time to revive my blog. Time to get back to masala-land and work those suspension-of-disbelief muscles! Want to join me? Here is something to get you started – Balraj Sahni in Johnny Walker’s role and lip-syncing to Mukesh (it should have been be Rafi!) from the film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere.
I’ve always been keen on watching foreign films set in India, though I’ve seldom liked them! They’re either too Orientalist or too boring – frequently both. In spite of that, it’s hard to resist the pull of seeing India through an alien lens. Bhowani Junction was one of the first set-in-India English language films that I ever saw. I’ve compared every subsequent film of this kind against it, and found it wanting! It’s not because Bhowani Junction eschews Orientalism/Colonialism altogether, but because these are kept in fairly good check, and the fast-paced and interesting narrative keeps me too occupied to brood upon the flaws.
Once upon a time in masala filmland, families/siblings were routinely torn asunder (usually in Kumbh Mela, accidents or by the machinations of the evil villain) and brought together years later through inevitable coincidence. Sadly, families always seem to stay together these days. Be that as it may, as a card carrying member of Bollywood’s families-torn-apart-and-re-united party, I was, naturally, always alert to the possibility that I have missingfamily out in this big bad world. But it was in blogland that I finally met my long-lost masala sisters – Anu (Conversations Over Chai) and Madhu (Dustedoff). Anu and Madhu found each other years ago. My masala sibling-ness took a while to manifest itself – Anu and I both lived in Bombay, Madhu and I both live(d) in Delhi, all three of us had (mostly) the same thoughts about movies/songs/actors/books. But when Anu and I watched the same movie (five years apart) and found ourselves making the same comments on the film, it was time to face up to the truth – we were bicchdi behne indeed!
A re-union of masala sisters does not happen everyday. To celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime re-union, we decided to watch our favourite masala re-union stories. In order to spare you reading about the same movie thrice (of course, we all chose the same movie to review!) Anu decided to watch Yaadon Ki Baaraat (three brothers separated in childhood by an evil villain), Madhu went for Johnny Mera Naam (two separated brothers) and I settled for my favourite twin-sisters-separated-at-birth film.