Weekend Movie Club Update

Queen won the poll and I will review it for the coming weekend.  Meanwhile, I realized that though Hindi films were a huge part of growing up for me that is not the case for most of my readers. So before I jump in and start reviewing a movie let me give you some perspective.

Hollywood beats Hindi movies handily in terms of dollars and cents, they have Hollywood  beat when it comes to the number of movies produced every year.  Hindi movies have not made significant inroads in the United States yet. They have a reach far beyond the Indian diaspora and borders. I have found Hindi movie numbers with German, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.

Hindi is the language of the north Indian plains and one of the 22 scheduled Indian languages. Native speakers of Hindi don’t number more than 25% of the Indian population but Hindi is widely understood and prevalent as a second or third language.

Hindi film industry is based in Mumbai  (Bombay) and in many ways is a microcosm of India and an unconscious representation of its diversity of both language and religion. Yes, they sing and dance and wear their emotions on their sleeve.

If you have any questions about Queen, Hindi movies or the Weekend Movie Club, please feel free to ask. I will try to answer as best as I can. After I review Queen for the next weekend, the insufferable movie snob will review classic comedies. I will put up a poll for the classic comedies this week. If you missed movie snob’s review of the Shock Corridor, check it here.

Before, I end let me leave you with this:

The 10 day long Ganesha festival ended just last week. Here is Shahrukh Khan,  bidding Ganpati adieu in the 2006 movie Don, set to music by the trio Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and sung by Shankar Mahadevan.

Don

The Votes Are In

By two_kittehs ( Picture by: cvf)

Queen has won the poll by a wide margin. So I will be reviewing it soon. Hopefully, this weekend.  We had some unfortunate business with the furnace in the basement, that lead to a 911 call. Kittehs and peoples was safe but firemen gave us an okay to get back into the house only at 1 am. As a result I have been a Zombie kitteh all day.

Movies to Review

For the next installment of  the Weekend Movie Club, I am going east, to India.  If you missed our first installment check it out, here. I grew up watching Hindi movies and more importantly listening to Hindi movie numbers. I must have heard and watched many more songs than the movies themselves. Growing up I used to turn up my nose at most of the offerings that came out of the movie industry which is now popularly known as Bollywood.  There was a dichotomy between commercial cinema and art cinema and there very few  popular Hindi movies that didn’t insult your intelligence or so it seemed to me. For twenty odd years, the new Hindi movies that I must have watched could be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Now that I am at a  distance from both my childhood and Bollywood, I think I may have judged those movies harshly. Hollywood can be pretty formulaic too. They have different formulas, that’s all. Since last year I have been rediscovering Indian cinema, particularly Hindi movies, mainly through their music. Through my YouTube meanderings,  I have stumbled across many gems.  The list of movies that I want to see keeps growing by the day.  Either I have become more forgiving or the movies have gotten better. For example, there are many more movies with female protagonists which don’t have a love story as their focus, than the Hindi cinema of yore or even present day Hollywood. Here is a list of three movies with strong female leads.  You can click on the links below to see the trailers with English subtitles.

Queen:  Rani (Queen), a sheltered young woman from Delhi gets dumped the day before her wedding.  Her solo European honeymoon turns into a voyage of internal and external discovery.

Neerja: A biopic about Neerja Bhanot, flight attendant on the hijacked Pan Am flight 73, whose bravery saved many lives.

Jai Gangaajal: A  district police superintendent takes on a corrupt and lawless politician who rules the district within an iron hand in the north Indian hinterland.

So vote early and often. You can also leave  suggestions in the comments below.

Shock Corridor and Masculine Fragility

I want to thank Schroedinger’s Cat for inviting me to post with her on her blog. She thought our two ways of writing about movies and culture would be compatible, so here I am! I still have my (sadly neglected) blog about Pre-Code movies, so I’m going to use this space to talk about other movies in the same vein that don’t fit into the Pre-Code time period of 1929 to 1934. Today’s topic is Samuel Fuller, who managed to independently produce his own films his own way at the height of the studio system by imitating the ploy of the Pre-Codes and not submitting his films to the censorship office until they were completed. This allowed him to explore stories and subjects that were supposed to be off-limits, as in today’s featured film, Shock Corridor (1963).

A word of warning for those who’ve never read my regular blog, The Insufferable Movie Snob: my motto is “All Spoilers, All The Time.” If you don’t want to know what happens in Shock Corridor, go watch it and then come back to read this.

Okay? Okay.  Read the rest of this entry

Introducing the Weekend Movie Club

By two_kittehs

Do you need a respite from the Trump Horror Show that we are watching unfold? Starting this week, we will feature a movie review every weekend. I am happy to announce that the Insufferable Movie Snob, a serious student of  movie making  has joined forces with me in this endeavor. Stay tuned for her review of The Shock Corridor. If you haven’t already done so, you should check out her blog here.

Three Reasons to Celebrate the 5th of September

1. Labor Day, to truly celebrate Labor Day government policies should not favor businesses that treat workers like expendable widgets.  This more than any other factor has contributed to the rising inequality.  What is good for Wall Street has not been good for Main Street.

2. Ganesh Chaturthi*, It is  start of the 10 day Ganesh celebrations. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the leader of India’s freedom struggle before Gandhi, is credited with popularizing the annual Ganpati celebration,in the public square aka Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav. Tilak tapped into the popularity and affection people felt for Ganesha  and harnessed it for grass roots organizing  and public meetings against the British rule. India won its freedom in 1947 but the  Ganesh festival in the public square still endures post independence.

3. Freddie Mercury gets a shooting star named after him on what would have been his 70th birthday. Like a shooting star leaping through the sky he graced our lives with unforgettable music.

*Chaturthi == 4th day of a fortnight. In the Hindu Lunar calendar, each month is made up two fortnights.

Shame On You New York Times

For soft pedaling Trump’s hate and bigotry and your mealy mouthed coverage of Trump’s full on fascist speech. This is their headline about Trump’s immigration speech from yesterday.

Donald Trump Gambles on Immigration but Sends Conflicting Signals

Really, Patrick Healy? Is that what you got out of Trump’s white nationalist speech? The focus of the undocumented immigrants is just a prelude  to a far more radical agenda, overturning the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. Make America Great Again is code for Make America White Again.

These are his policies goals:

1. Deport the undocumented by a deportation task force (on the day he takes office)

2. Ban Muslims and any other undesirables as determined by Trump from entering the country on temporary visas (visitor, student, work visas etc)

4. Give local law enforcement jurisdiction over immigration matters which is currently strictly under Federal jurisdiction

3.Overturn the immigration and naturalization act of 1965

5. Get rid of birthright citizenship (remember his rant about anchor babies)

And the final solution, not articulated but can be inferred from the hate he has been spewing for the last one year. Or before, if you take into account his entire birther campaign against President Obama.

6. Impose loyalty tests on naturalized citizens, legal immigrants and children of immigrants for being insufficiently American (you know like Judge Curiel). He doesn’t say what he plans to do with those found not sufficiently loyal but we have history as our guide for this one.

Happy 70th Independence Day, India

India is merely a geographical expression. It is no more a single country than the equator.
-Winston Churchill

Despite Churchill’s pronouncement, independent India is seventy years old, while her old rulers struggle to hold onto their not so united kingdom. On August 15, 1947, India achieved its independence from the oh so benevolent British rule, whose legacy involved mass death by starvation. One of the worst famines to strike British India was the Bengal famine of 1943.  While volunteer army recruits from India were dying by the thousands for Winnie’s King and country, his decisions led to millions of avoidable Indian deaths.

Home to every religion in the world and twenty-two official languages; India’s amazing linguistic and religious diversity is its strength. This diversity is reflected in Indian art, be it Hindustani classical music or popular Hindi cinema. India’s struggles are many and it still has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential, but those are topics for another day.

But today I want to celebrate this milestone by celebrating India’s unity in diversity. First broadcast on 15 August 1988 on Doordarshan,

 

Mile sur mera tumhara, to sur bane hamara ( when my note (musical) melds with yours, it becomes our note)

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Bhimsen Joshi gets its started in Hindi, then we travel the length and breadth of India, from north to south and from east to west, ending in Hindi again. I counted fourteen languages including Hindi.

In the order they appear:

  • Bhimsen Joshi (Hindustani Classical music maestro) sings in Hindi
  • Boatman  in Kashmiri
  • People on the tractor in Punjabi
  • Shabana Azmi  (actor) in Urdu
  • Narendra Hirwani (cricketer) in Sindhi
  • Cast of Tamas, a Doordarshan miniseries on India’s partition  in Hindi/Punjabi
  • Balamurali Krishna (Carnatic music maestro) in Tamil (In his audience I could identify Kamal Hassan, Venkatraghavan and Meenakshi Seshadri)
  • Prakash Padukone (Badminton player) in Kannada
  • Couple in Telugu
  • Man on the elephant in Malayalam
  • Mrinal Sen (Film director), Arun lal(Cricketer)  etc getting out of a train in Bengali
  • Assamese singer
  • North eastern dancers (with no voiceovers)
  • Oriya couple
  • Mario Miranda (Cartoonist/illustrator)  in Goa (again no voiceovers)
  • Mallika Sarabhai (Dancer) in Gujarati
  • Tanuja (Actor)  in Marathi

Again we end in Hindi

we see

  • Waheeda Rehman (Actor)
  • Hema Malini (Actor)
  • Sharmila Tagore (Actor)
  • Lata Mangeshkar (Singer), then the voice behind the women
  • Amitabh, Jeetendra and Mithun  (all actors)

Ends in refrain of the Indian national anthem

  • I could only identify Syed Kirmani (cricketer)

If you can identify anyone else who I have missed, let me know in the comment section.

From Russia, With Love

Congratulations GOP, you  have just installed Putin’s puppet as your nominee. Isn’t it curious how Trump’s foreign policy objectives align so completely with what Putin wants. The mainstream media has just woken up to Trump’s soft corner for Russia.  While they were obsessing about Hillary Clinton’s email servers, Adam Silverman over at Balloon Juice was on to it even during the primaries.

In the Republican nominee’s  New York Times interview he is signaling the end of NATO and that the United States will renege on its treaty obligations. He is willing to throw everything successive administrations since WW II have built,down the toilet, just so that he appears tough.

Mr. Trump  wants the United States to run  NATO like an extortion racket.    His proposals resemble dinner rants of your drunk uncle who everyone in the family goes out of their way to avoid. He wants to destroy the post war world order. He seems to be unaware of his own ignorance and is proud of it. He is evil and stupid, a dangerous combination. The Republican party has placed him on the path to power, to destroy the world as we know it. Hillary Clinton is all that stands between us and  Trump induced mayhem.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Dr Tiny Cat’s Purrscription

By two_kittehs