Monthly Archives: May 2008

Are We Looking at…

Brad Pitt’s Oscar winning role? Imagine the possibilities. The existence of God would be proven beyond a doubt.

PS – so you all prefer coming here when I’m not around? Don’t think I haven’t noticed the spike in stats. Meanies.


Posted by on May 30, 2008 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Video


One of Those Days

Growing up, there were certain movies that we saw over and over and over again because one or the other of us was in love with it. For my dad, it was David Lean’s movies. My brother was obsessed with Charlie Chaplin’s – especially the sadder ones. I was the baby by a mile so my gig was musicals: Gene Kelly was my pretend boyfriend for years. For my mother, though, Sydney Pollack was the man.

She’s not very good with names so she often forgets his name, but she’ll always remember his movies – “That man who made Out of Africa / Tootsie / Three Days of the Condor / Electric Horseman” is how she refers to him. She’s been in love with Robert Redford for years but the man who made her fall in love with him was Pollack.

Watching him in Michael Clayton last year, I didn’t have a clue that he was so seriously ill. I guess that’s a testament both to him as a man and the horrid disease that took his life.

R.I.P. Mr. Pollack.

But the story that made me bawl like a baby was this one. Goddammit. I hate it when this sort of thing happens.

I would be on a crowded busy street running an errand or picking up the boys from school near his hospital and my stomach would do a somersault at the sight of a man in my peripheral vision. I would instantly feel shame that my eyes had wandered or my loins been stirred by another and would quickly turn away, only seconds later to hear someone laughing and saying: “My darling, you just walked straight past me!”

I would explain how I thought I’d seen another sexy man and all along it was him and he would blush like a schoolboy and bury his face in my neck.

I just can’t believe I won’t feel his skin any more, how is that possible? I loved and touched him every day, and thank goodness I did.


Posted by on May 28, 2008 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Life, Movies, News, Video



So here’s something you didn’t know: blogging helps me unwind. Alternatively, it can help me limber up. You know how those health nuts say exercising their various body parts makes them feel like a million bucks and leaves them energized (yeah, I don’t know what they’re talking about either – my mother got me yoga classes last year and it left me more flexible and this close to death by exhaustion. Freaks.)? Well, writing for the blog makes my writing muscles feel happy and relaxed and ready to model for the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated. Yup.

Plus, it allows me to rationalize all the time I spend on the net as “research” but let’s not digress.

The point is that I sadly find myself in a situation now where I can’t spend as much time trawling the net as I like or writing long posts on the fly – the two things that make me most happy. This really sucks because I usually have a couple of ideas percolating in my brain on any given day and these past few days it’s been extra hard not to sit down and let it all out (thanks a bunch, Mad Momma) but sometimes you just have to leave the cake on your plate.  Until you can find the time to pop it back out of the fridge, that is! So I’ll still be here every few days, just not as often as before.

It’s only for a month or so but I figured netiquette demands I let the regulars know that I’m not spazzing on you because I’ve grown tired of your grumpy smileys.

Awww, don’t you feel special? That’s because you are! :mrgreen:

PS – Yes, I know the song is kinda molesterific but all that talk of Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar had me jonesing for a song. And you’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty nice song if not entirely appropriate. Also, for those who asked at the time: HBO’s John Adams will be out on DVD June 10th. Enjoy, all piracy-averse, HBO-less lovers of American history and good television. Plus, the one movie I totally, rabidly want to see this year is Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Synecdoche, New York.

PPS – It’s at moments like these I wonder if I should Tumblr. But then I remember how unbearable I find short bursts of prose, not to mention being connected to people, and decide a postscript on a regular blog post will serve me just as well. Just in case you wondered.


Posted by on May 25, 2008 in Personal


Thoda Pyaar Thoda Costume

Amisha: Dammit, I told you my grandma’s bikini top wouldn’t fit me.

Rani: Hey, you want my boyfriend to give your skinny ass a job and a makeover? Not while I’m queen. baby.


Posted by on May 22, 2008 in Life


Somebody Help?

Pretty please? There’s this Zeenat Aman song that’s been teasing my brain for the past few months and no matter what I do, I can’t bring it into focus. So I figured one of you movie mad people might know. Here’s what I know about it:

  • It’s definitely Zeenat Aman.
  • She’s on a train.
  • She’s wearing a bottle green sari that keeps flying in the wind in that very sexy Zeenie way.
  • She’s cavorting with someone – Rajesh Khanna? Dev Anand? Somebody who’s totally overshadowed by her sexiness. Not Amitabh Bachchan – on bales of hay being transported on the train.
  • The song is about them running away from home, which fits because they’re in one of those goods wagons with no roof.
  • It’s shot in daylight or maybe late afternoon, but definitely not night time.
  • There’s a lot of making out (but of course).

And that’s it. I can’t remember a single lyric of the song or the tune or even her co-star much less the name of the movie. For all I know, this is a movie that I know very well and have seen a million times but I just can’t put the visuals in their proper context. I also think the song might have been composed by RD Burman with the male vocals by Kishore Kumar (yeah, that really narrows it down, doesn’t it?) – but as far as i can make out this is because I remember hearing it on a compilation album when I was a wee kiddie and I automatically assumed it was an RD-Kishore compilation for reasons I don’t understand. I guess that means this last may not be a clue at all. Sorry.

Any help in identifying this song and putting me out of my misery would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and I want to say that NO! I did NOT confuse Rishi Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapuri with Zeenat Aman and her unknown hero, so please don’t tell me it’s O Kanchan. As it is, it keeps popping up in my head when I try to think of this song. Argh, make it stop! Momm-eeee!


Q: Who has the most awesome readers on her blog?

A: Me. 😳

It is indeed Hum dono do premi from Ajnabi, starring Zeenat Aman and Rajesh Khanna. Music by RD Burman, vocals by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. Zeenie wears a green blouse with a green-blue striped saree that flutters sexily in the wind on a train piled high with hay. There is a lot of making out.

Many thanks to Rada, Prasun, Ana, Silvara, Harini, Neha and Rads.


Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Entertainment, Movies, Music


Aishwarya “Cannes” Rai

I’m afraid I will never understand what the Indian media makes of Cannes. It’s like they’re so enthralled by all the pretty people in all their pretty finery parading up and down the red carpet, that it’s completely slipped their attention that its a film festival comprised of the biggest movie snobs in the world. Yes, it’s full of Eurotrash and movie stars and glitzy parties on yachts but that’s merely the sideshow. The real business is all about the movies.

This is a crowd where even critics’ darlings like the Coen brothers slink out of the hall after gauging the mood in the theatre because when a movie gets booed in Cannes, it’s basically the creme de la creme of the international film community telling you you suck. And nobody wants to hear that.

Which is why I thoroughly enjoyed hearing, back in 2002, that Sanjay Leela Bhansali had taken his Devdas to screen in Cannes. The last time Indian cinema had been this welcome at Cannes had been in the 1950s – now Bhansali was taking his version of the 50s to the Cannes. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed imagining the baffled faces of the international critics as Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai made their stilted, hammy way through the bloated script, drenched in what must have looked like bordello colors to the Europeans. Richard Corliss, one of the rare international reviewers who liked it, has said before that he was pretty much the only person left in the hall once the movie shuddered its way to a stop.

I love it when people raise a giant fuck you to the establishment. And in Devdas‘ case, I don’t think Bhansali even knew that was what he was doing. Icing on the cake.

Anyway, Devdas‘ drunken debut onto the world stage heralded another, more significant event – the emergence of Aishwarya Rai as a Cannes regular.

It’s rather unclear what she does in Cannes – I believe the French would sooner slather their crackers with Kraft cheese than screen the likes of Steve Martin’s Pink Panther, one of her upcoming movies, at Cannes – other than look pretty for L’Oreal but thank God she does that because otherwise the Indian media might have been forced to talk about the movies instead and that’s always a disaster.

So here you have it – Aishwarya Rai gilding the lily in everything from a parrot green Neeta Lulla outfit to a silvery off the rack (oh, the ignominy!) Armani. One ton of paint on her face and Jaya Bachchan dressed like a she-leprechaun lurking the background with trusty sidekick Amar Singh, and she still looks better than you, doesn’t she? Them’s the breaks, cupcake.

*click to enlarge image*


Posted by on May 19, 2008 in Celebrity, Entertainment, News


The Mother Daughter Test

I’m sure you’ve all heard of this thing called “the mother-daughter test”, right? The way it works is that you take a given set of circumstances and try to imagine someone dear to you in that scenario to check whether you’d be inclined to let it stand. It’s been applied to everything from MF Hussain’s paintings to IPL cheerleaders – as in, would you be okay with Hussain using your mother as a model or your daughter working as a cheerleader for an IPL match?

The general idea behind this little trick is to help you understand where the other person is coming from when they object to something, which is a goal I generally support. The way I look at it, a little bit of empathy is always a good idea. It’s fun to look at the other person and say, “Wow, you suck” but that doesn’t actually solve anything. And sometimes, a solution is called for because we’re all stuck on this one planet together and space is limited in a way people’s belief in the power of violence is not.

However, the more I think about the mother-daughter test, the more I’m bothered by it.

To be honest, it was a slender chance to begin with that I would have been in favor of something called a “mother-daughter” test because it strikes me as horribly proprietorial and feudalistic (I’m trying really hard not to rant about patriarchy here but the connections are kind of in-your-face). But leaving aside my issues with terminology, I’m not convinced this is a test that works in any meaningful way.

Take my mother, for instance, and the MF Hussain paintings. If Ma came up to me tomorrow and said she was going to model for the most controversial Hussain painting ever, would I be cool with it? Well, yes.

For one thing, it would be her choice and she is not merely my mother, she is an adult in her own right who’s been alive a lot longer than I have and if she wants to do something, then I have no right to impose my decisions on her. Secondly, if she made up her mind to do a certain thing and I had a problem with it, I could very well register my complaint (in a civil manner or she’d kick my ass) but I couldn’t force her to comply with my wishes because I simply don’t have that kind of power. Well, I suppose I could try emotional blackmail but as it turns out I love my mother and want her to have the same freedom that she has always sought to grant me – often in direct opposition to her own deeply held beliefs.

And that’s the point, right there – what do any of these fevered imaginings signify when I know for damn sure that my mother is a deeply conservative South Indian lady who’d sooner take to jumping out of airplanes with faulty parachutes than let go of her Kancheepuram pallu?

To make the case clearer, say you ask me what my reaction would be if my mother suddenly stood up tomorrow and said she was off to marry her lesbian girlfriend. Would I be happy that my parents’ 35+ year marriage was thus coming to an end? No. But would I rather my mom was happy with someone she loved and my dad had a chance to find someone who didn’t think of him as an unwanted obligation? Yes.

And I can say this knowing full well that my parents can’t stand living apart no matter how much they may fight and roll their eyes at each other when they’re together. (Also, I don’t think my mother knows what a lesbian is. She keeps asking me why Ellen DeGeneres doesn’t dress prettier – draw your own conclusions. :mrgreen: )

Do you see what I mean? I could build all the theoretical castles in the air I wanted and probably live a rich emotional life off it, but none of it would matter a rat’s ass unless there was a chance that I would actually be faced with that situation in real life. So all the mother-daughter test did was cement my previously held convictions. In my case they’re what you would call liberal but it could work the other way around too. Sure, I can see why other people wouldn’t want to see their moms au naturel in an art gallery but I could have appreciated that point without picturing my mother in that situation and forcing my mores and choices on to her.

Which leads me to my second issue with this test: you could apply this to pretty much anything and come up with a result of some kind that amounts to absolutely nothing in real world terms.

Take my father, for instance. And let’s take someone admirable – like John F. Kennedy. And let us suppose that I have it in my power to decide whether or not I would like to see my father as John F. Kennedy. The answer? A resounding no.

I don’t care how handsome he would have been or what lovely speeches he’d have made or how much of an icon he’d have been. And it’s not like I have anything against JFK – I even had a Camelot fascination for a couple of months in my teens. But this is my dad we’re talking about and I don’t want a dad who’d publicly, legendarily, cheat on my mom with multiple women before getting assassinated in my childhood.

Yes, my focus is that narrow – because I’m not thinking of what my father would like or whether the world would benefit, any more than any of the people who’re conducting the mother-daughter test are considering what their mothers or daughters would like themselves: I’m simply thinking of what I would like. And I would like a dad just like the one I grew up with, who might not have made it into the history books but was around to read me comics when I was a toddler, talk when I was a teen and be a good husband to my mom.

If you want to empathize, why can’t you do it on your own time and in your own skin – why drag other people into it?


Posted by on May 16, 2008 in Life, Personal, Politics