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Showing posts from July, 2010

Old Lovers Internet

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

Films and novels define romance as love at first sight, with no previous experience of loving anybody. Romance demands that a woman should be a virgin literally. The man is not and has left his mark on other women who provided a waiting room until he met the love of his life. The reality is that the slate is seldom clean. There were other people in your life before you meet the so-called soul mate.

Hopeless love
Ijaazat, directed by Gulzar is one of the films I’ve dropped in my shopping cart for the one million original films because it doesn’t have a happy ending. Ma used to cry in movies because the old Hollywood used to make films such as Madame X a…

Ravaan Review Dance

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

I was hoping that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will dance in the Hindi Ravaan. Well! Dreams never come true. Mani Ratnam gives us one measly dance where her character Ragini is fooling around with her beloved Dev Pratap Sharma (Vikram) at home. I was so devastated when I got home I raided my DVD library and fished out Priyadarshan’s film Bhool Bholaiyaa, where Vidya Balan dances just before the end of the film. Mesmerising! What a performance, definitely storytelling in motion!

Storytelling in dance
Balan’s character Avni is married to Siddarth, whose ancestors used to be kings in a certain part of India. They live in the U.S. and are in India on busines…

Ravaan South African Connection

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

Language is a means of communication, but somewhere along the line, in our self-importance and misplaced patriotism, it becomes a pair of scissors that cuts people apart, resulting in death in some cases. People are killed because their language sets them apart from the majority.

Therefore, it is comforting when human beings ignore the artificial barrier and use language as a bridge to promote understanding. Mani Ratnam’s film Ravaan is a case in point. You cannot imagine my joy when I heard my language in the song Beera.

It has a line ‘makube njalo’ which means ‘let it be’ in many South African languages such as isiXhosa, isiNdebele and isiZulu. Thes…

Ravaan Review Cinematography

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

Saint Claire Bourne the African-American filmmaker is remembered for many documentaries, including the making of Spike Lee’s film, Do The Right Thing. He took his cameras to Brooklyn, New York and talked to cast and crew about the making of the film.

I wonder if Mani Ratnam, the director of Ravaan, also documented how he shot Raavan, a project that reminds us what we also like about cinema, pleasing images on the screen. We have forgotten that cinema used to be just the moving picture, hence the term ‘motion picture.’ Dialogue came later, and the new films with talking heads were called ‘talkies.’ Incidentally, Ratnam’s film production company is call…

Ravaan Review My Take

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian. I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears. I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.

I don’t normally rush to the cinema on day one of a film’s release. Raavan was an exception because I screened it on 18 June, on a cold Friday here in Johannesburg. I was not a student of Indian cinema when Mani Ratnam made his other films, so I couldn’t wait to see the Hindi Ravaan, his latest project. I bundled up and went to Rosebank, past the bookshop at the mall, up the escalator to the multiplex that exhibits Indian cinema.

I had a lot of thinking to do in the dark theatre and I’m still thinking about Ravaan even now. Take the ending for example. I liked it. I also didn’t. It doesn’t make sense does it, and who has ever started a film review …