Author Archives: schroedinger's cat
Happy Birthday 67th Maharashtra. The Sanyukta Maharashtra* Samiti (United Maharashtra Organization) succeeded in their quest for the formation of the state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital. Because many of the leaders of SMS were labor leaders, they chose May 1 to commemorate their victory. It took a bitter struggle of over five years and the blood of more than a hundred martyrs. The ruling party at the Center under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted Bombay to be a centrally administered area. Ramachandra Guha has a more detailed background of the struggle here.
Photo Credit: Sameer Markande
By two_kittehs (Picture by: cvf)
Happy Gudi Padwa, the first day of spring and the New Year. Its time to welcome spring and the new year by celebrating love. Starting the new year in spring makes much more sense than the dead of winter, isn’t it?
And now a celebration of love.
I heard this today, from the recently released Phillauri. I think I am in love. The very last lines, slay me.
Tere bin saas be kaanch si kaate re,
Zindagi raakh si laage re
Translation: Without you , every breath cuts like glass
Life feels like ashes.
ETA: Check out Diljit Dosanjh, you won’t be sorry, Anushka Sharma, too looks radiant.
Moving is not fun, no matter how many times I do it. Whether it is across continents and oceans, states or to the neighboring town, it never gets easier. I am so glad that the Insufferable Movie Snob kept the blog going on, posting her detailed and funny reviews. If you haven’t already checked out her reviews you should do so now. She rocks! Here is a link to her last review.
My last movie/TV review post before my brief unplanned hiatus was on Star Trek Deep Space 9. Unlike The Next Generation, aliens of DS9 were more than just obnoxious caricatures and Star Fleet officers were not always perfect. Main and recurring characters experienced growth and change. The show had strong women characters who had more to do than just look pretty. I have be re-watching DS9 since the fall and I for one would like to revisit Terak Nor more than once. It has a wealth of episodes pertinent to this moment in history that we are all a part of.
When I asked which episode you wanted me to review, these were the episodes that came up in the comments.
His Way (6.20)
Its Only a Paper Moon (7.10)
Far Beyond the Stars (6.13)
Blood Oath (2.19)
In the hands of the prophets (1.20)
A Time To Stand (6.1)
Tears of the Prophets (5.26)
Once More Unto the Breach (6.7)
In the Pale Moonlight (6.19)
Most of these episodes are in seasons 6 and 7 when DS9 reached its climax. Because of the serialized nature of the show I think it would be better to go in chronological order. So people who haven’t watched DS9 before, can join in if they want to.
With that in mind, I will start at the beginning with The Emissary. I also think Duet, is a must watch of the season one episodes and we can end our season one watch with In the Hands of the Prophets. If you would like me to cover any other first season DS9 episodes leave a comment.
This is a complete list of season 1 episodes. Without further ado let’s dive in and begin at the beginning.
Since I have been sick the past two weeks, I have been remiss in posting reviews. To take my mind off the election results, I was watching the last episode of the Season Six Dominion arc, Sacrifice of Angels and was struck by the parallels between our times and the DS9 universe. It’s the best of all Treks in my opinion. I love the interplay between the various races, the villains who are unapologetically wicked but have human failings and Garak!
Do you have a specific episode you would like me to review. Leave your selection in the comment section. I will do a poll of the first four by Wednesday. Here is the entire episode list for DS9. DS9 is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and CBS.
Until then enjoy the Klingon Kitteh, one of my lols that got more than 1000 votes when it made to the first page on ICHC, a few years ago. Kittehs + Trek = Win Win!
New York Times has failed as a newspaper this election season. The big scoops about Trump are coming from Washington Post and Newsweek, while the hometown newspaper is asleep at the switch. Even today, NYT is on the both-sides-do-it wagon soft pedaling of Trump’s hate and bigotry. It happened after the immigration speech and it happened again this morning. Their headline this morning reads:
Bitter, Personal Tone Marks 2nd Trump Clinton Debate
Sounds like a bickering match of he said, she said with both parties equally to blame doesn’t it? That’s not what I saw, this is what I saw when I made myself watch yesterday’s debate.
* Trump stalked Hillary Clinton throughout the debate
* Said bragging about sexual assault is OK because ISIS
* He had no clue about what he was talking about be it Syria or healthcare or Russia.
* He admitted as much in so many words about Russia
* He wants give Putin a complete free rein in Syria and elsewhere
* He promised to jail Hillary Clinton like his idol Putin does to his political opponents
* Tried to relitigate Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a negative against Hillary
*Repeated what do black people have to lose by voting for him, line
*Demonized ordinary Muslim citizens and Syrian refugees fleeing war
*Called Hillary Clinton, the devil
*Did not answer a single question, just repeated his fact-free bilious stump speech replete with conspiracy theories
Compared to the toddler tantrum that Trump threw on the debate stage for an hour and half, Hillary Clinton was a model of restraint and civility. She has nerves of steel, I was sputtering with rage at Trump’s indecent and ignorant behavior in my living room. No matter how low Trump goes, New York Times normalizes his behavior and enables him. Paper of record, indeed.
* Thanks to chech 1965 for letting me use his lol.
Welcome to the second edition of the Weekend Movie Club. Queen won the poll by a wide margin. If you haven’t seen it yet it is available on Google Play and iTunes for streaming.
I loved Queen the first time I saw it and I enjoyed it even more the second time around to do this review.
Spoiler Alert: Avert your eyes if you don’t want to be spoiled.
When we first meet Rani (Queen) her wedding preparations are in full swing. It’s day of the mehendi (henna) ceremony, a day before the actual wedding. Rani is full of verve and spirit and has a family that dotes on her and she is getting married to Vijay. A perennially popular name for a Hindi movie hero. What can possibly go wrong?
Plenty, we soon find out. When the London-returned Vijay makes his first appearance, we find that he is no prize. He wants to call off the wedding because he considers Rani gauche and no longer cool enough for his fancy self. We see Rani crumple before our very eyes, her freshly applied mehendi flaking off as she nervously clutches her phone. As she returns home crestfallen with her chaperone and younger brother Chintu, hugging herself, clutching her sweater, you just want to give her a hug.
Pay close attention to both the mehendi and the ugly sweater (her security blanket) she is wearing, they are a guide to Rani’s evolution throughout the movie.
After moping for what might have been and a pep talk by grandma, Rani decides that she wants to go on alone her honeymoon to Europe. Thus begins Rani’s journey from Delhi to Paris to Amsterdam and back again to Delhi.
When she leaves for Paris she is still sad about being dumped, but through subsequent epiphanies at pivotal moments, she discovers her own strength and recognizes Vijay for the controlling cad that he is. But enough about Vijay, the movie is about Rani and how she discovers her mojo, her spirit which was always there. Even when she was being chaperoned on dates by her younger sibling and bullied by her fiancé’.
In Paris, Vijaylakshmi the lanky half-Indian hotel maid takes her under wing. Initially, Rani is shocked and scandalized by Vijaylakshmi devil-may-care attitude compared to her own uptight conservative upbringing. However, she is non-judgmental and open to new experiences and ideas and accepting of people for who they are. At the Paris night club when the drunk Rani loses her sweater and lets her hair down to the tune of Asha Bhonsale’s 1970s hit, Hungama, it’s a sight to behold! Though Rani and Vijaylaksmi are nothing alike on the surface, they form a close bond.
When she heads to Amsterdam on a train to a Youth Hostel, it’s a different Rani than the one that landed in Paris. Initially she is freaked out at the idea of having to share a room with three strange guys in a youth hostel. However, they win her over with their humanity and understanding of where she is coming from, something she never experienced with her clueless fiancé.
Rani soaks up the experience, takes up new challenges, sometimes makes an ass of herself, aces a challenge with flying colors. For the very first time in her sheltered life, she experiences freedom and finds it exhilarating. So when Vijay shows up in Amsterdam to make amends, she is ready. She no longer wilts at his criticism but stands up for herself and does not let him destroy what remains of her vacation. She will deal with him when she gets back to Delhi and deal with him she does!
Kangana is Rani, she makes Queen, utterly believable and real. Her National Award for acting in 2014 for Queen was well deserved. She imbues Rani with grace and character even in her most vulnerable moments. Rani’s transformation from a diffident and shy young woman to a confident person who knows her mind happens before our very eyes. Kangana’s Rani is immensely likeable and vulnerable and makes you want to root for her. We share her enthusiasm, cheer her small victories, feel for her when she is at the receiving end of Vijay’s clueless male privilege. Kangana Ranaut is a revelation as Queen. The supporting cast was memorable too, starting with her family, her grandma, parents and Chintu felt like a close knit Punjabi family. As for the three guys she befriends on her journey, together with they reminded me of the United Colors of Benetton. Lisa Haydon as Vijaylakshmi stood out for me, tall and willowy and charming, she was Rani’s very own fairy godmother.
I liked Vikas Bahl’s little directorial touches, like the motif of the fading mehendi and Rani’s ugly sweater. As she becomes more confident and the mehendi fades, she no longer needs her security blanket. Even the change in Rani’s wardrobe is subtle, she still sticks to long skirts and kurtas. Its more daring than before but Rani is never going to be another Vijaylakshmi, she just going to be the best Rani that she can be!
One of the reasons that this movie resonated with me was that I have known many Ranis IRL, who unquestioningly accept the unspoken mores of the society they live in. Shackled by tradition that expects women to put up with men who belittle them. Unlike the stereotypical Hindi movie leading lady, Rani realizes that there is more to her life than a man. She doesn’t waste away pining for a man who clearly doesn’t deserve her, she goes ahead and lives her life. You go girl!
Credits: From IMDB
P.S. If you missed our first outing, check it out and stayed tuned for a poll of classic comedies to be reviewed next by the insufferable movie snob. Suggestions and questions welcome as always.
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.