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Showing posts from January, 2011

Copy Cat Films

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 such as Dhoom 2 and Krrish make a pretty penny for producers, but they also widen the bridge we have to cross before reaching the goal of just one million original stories.  Producers are businessmen and will use any ploy to earn a fast buck, including capitalising on our weaknesses.  
Dhoom 2 is a case in point.  I bought the DVD despite the fact that I’m not a fan of special effects films.  I blame Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, whom I liked in Jodhaa Akbar.
What do Dhoom 2 and Pink Panther 2 have in common?  Aishwarya Rai. She is a thief in both movies but what is important is that Mumbai likes resurrecting Hollywood spy thrillers tha…

Ghee Films

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.

Following Indian cinema has enabled me to recognise some ingredients used in Indian food.  That is where I learnt about ghee, also known as clarified butter.  This article was prompted by a tub of ghee I saw at a supermarket in Killarney, Johannesburg the other day. 
Next to it was salted butter.  It seems as if butter and other substances we shunned some years ago as being fattening and bad for your heart are sneaking back in.  I have a few films that remind me of ghee.
Namaste London, director Vipul Amrutlal Shah Manmohan Malhotra, played by Rishi Kapoor goes back to Punjab to find a husband for Jasmeet, his British-born daughter played by Katrina Kaif.  She…

Hit And Run Drivers

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.
Tum Bin, director Anubhav Sinha Indian producers have a few films about road accidents.Tum bin is a sad film about Amar Shah (Rakesh Bapat), a Canadian citizen who is killed on a road accident in Mumbai on his way to the airport to catch a flight back to Canada and his fiancée Piya (Sandali Sinha).
Shekhar Mehta (Priyanshu Chatterjee) is the man behind the wheel.He is trying to avoid a little girl and a dog when the car hits a fire hydrant blinding him.That is how he hit Amar Shah. Shekhar gets out the car and the dead man’s phone rings.He picks it up and listens to a woman reciting a poem for him not knowing that Amar Shah lies dead.
Bosco (Rajesh Khera), She…

Black Movies

I’m a cinema nomad.I move from cinema to cinema looking for original stories.My journey has not been successful, that is why I ended up in Hindi cinema.I followed Chinese, Japanese, Nigerian and African-American films before I landed in Mumbai.I always leave when I can predict the storyline.
I cannot share all my favourite black movies with you but I must tell you about G, from Andrew Lauren Productions, directed by Christopher Scott Cherot.I love lighting and this is one of the reasons why G is one of my favourite movies.Lighting is soft and black people are lovingly lit, bringing up their black skins, such as Richard T. Jones.
The story begins with Tracy, a journalist (Andre Royo) who is looking for Summer G, one of the hottest hip hop record producers in the United States (Richard T. Jones).He has a summer house in the Hamptons.Tracy will stay with his cousin Sky (Chenoa Maxwell), who also has a house there with her husband Chip (Blair Underwood).
It turns out that Summer G has a …

Girls' Education

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 Malayalam, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Khasi, Dogri, Garo and other languages.
Saathiya, directed by Shaad Ali puts a few issues on the table.One of them is class differences.Aditya, son of the Om Sehgal a wealthy barrister wants to marry Suhani, who comes from a poor family that lives in flats near a railway line in Mumbai.
The barrister goes to Suhani’s home to initiate a wedding proposal on behalf of his son Aditya.He arrives there with an attitude which Suhani’s father Mr. Sharma detects a mile away.He throws him out and tells him that he might be poor but has raised his daughters Dina and Suhani like princesses.
Mani Ratnam, came up with the story and also wrote the screenplay.Let’s concentrate on education for girls’ angle for…

Europe Tourism

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’m waiting in the wings for a conference where Indian producers debate the pros and cons of shooting abroad in countries such as Canada, United States and New York in particular, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.  I want to hazard a guess that they will cite the storyline as the main reason. 
Be that as it may, Indian cinema is good news for European and American tourism.  Producers have their own reasons for shooting outside India.  Karan Johar for example is a big New York fan so films such as Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna were shot in the Big Apple.  Eros International regularly shoots in Europe because it is ‘international'.
The n…

Women's Lot

Deepa Mehta’s film, Fire, raised some eyebrows and ruffled some feathers because it was dubbed as a film that tackled the taboo subject of women loving other women.  I don’t know how lesbians and homosexuality in general are perceived in India, but Fire is more than that.
It is about women’s lot.  It is about religion.  It is about religion used for selfish reasons.  It is about tradition that ties women’s hands and feet while men float away into the sunset.  Deepa Mehta, the director did a wonderful job in putting the lesbian angle in context, human context.  The film is dark, with no lighting at all, as if the director shot it in secrecy, but the story is easy to follow.
Sita, played by the beautiful and talented Nandita Das joins her new family via an arranged marriage.  She meets Radha, her sister-in-law who is married to Ashok (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) her husband’s older brother. 
Radha (Shabana Azmi) appears meek but she is hiding behind a tough interior.  She is not the stereot…