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I think she’s trying to say she likes your work.
[Click here for Parts 1 & 3 from AnneCam]
Salman Khan loves gladiators. He loves their mullets, their bulging muscles, the way they lop off body parts and dress in furs. If Dharmendra hadn’t frightened off the rest of Hindi herodom with his amazing legs in Dharam Veer, he’d probably even love their leather skirts. So when he teamed up with Vijay Galani, producer of his original gladiatorial opus Suryavanshi, and director Anil Sharma (Gadar) to give us Veer… well, hopes ran high. In my bosom if not in anyone else’s. It was going to be epic!
So how did it measure up against its forefathers – cult favorites Mard and Conan the Barbarian? Meh. Not so much.
The Evil Conquerors
Mard: The evil Brits bottle the blood of the vanquished in multicolored glass bottles. They make Dara Singh grind wheat (or was it drill for water? well, they make him turn a giant wheel anyway) for the whole country all by himself!
Conan: They make him turn a wheel by himself in the middle of nowhere too! He has thighs like tree trunks to prove it! And then they make him fight for his life and get him hookers before trying to kill him. Niiiice.
Veer: The evil Brits… make speeches about how they’re about make Indians slaves forever by teaching them English? Then they stand around and get killed? Lame.
Full of win: Mard!
Manhood is a Sacred Thing
Mard: His daddy carves it into his baby chest!
Conan: He learns it drilling in the desert all by himself while being whipped silly!
Veer: His daddy takes him out into the rain.
Full of win: Getting it carved into your baby chest makes for a pretty hardcore Mard!
The Father Son Conflict
Mard: There are misunderstandings! There are betrayals! There is separation! Father and son fight each other in an arena! Dara Singh might have worn a leather skirt. I was so exhausted by then, my poor brain can’t even remember.
Conan: Conan’s daddy done be killed. Aww.
Veer: Dadda (Mithun Chakraborty) likes to make out with Maa in public. Dadda and Veer do the Macarena before he throws Veer into tanks full of water. When Dadda and Veer fight, Veer feels each cut on Dadda’s body twice as much as he does his own. Veer cries.
Full of win: Veer stepped it up with the last minute groaning and the moaning but the sympathy vote goes to Conan.
Mard: Nirupa Roy. That is all.
Conan: Conan’s mommy done be killed. Aww.
Veer: Neena Gupta looks concerned, gives birth, looks concerned, uncomfortably shakes her booty, looks concerned, cries. What? She never loses her eyesight, pours lead in her ears, goes insane, anoints her son for battle or tells him to remember his sanskar? Have these people never met a mother?
Full of win: Haven’t you watched American Idol, Conan? The sympathy card can’t be cashed in all the time, you know. Besides, Nirupa Roy always wins. Because she is The Maa, bitches.
The Man Say What?
Mard: “Mard ko dard nahin hota.” Growf.
Conan: Conan don’t talk. Talking’s for girlie men.
Veer: “Jahan se pakdoonga, wahi se paanch ser ghosht nikaal ke rakhoonga.” Roar!
Full of win: Was Veer a butcher in his last janam? Give it to Mard!
The Girl Says Aieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Mard: Bow! Bow to the Mard-ess! She has a whip! She likes to tan – on top of pagodas in her swimsuit! She has a convertible and she will run over yo mamma with it! She will turn you into party entertainment! She likes it when you get so kinky with her, baby!
Conan: Some chick with no clothes and terrible taste in men.
Veer: Some chick with too many clothes and terrible taste in men.
Full of win: The Mard-ess! I’d be afraid to give it to someone else!
Fine, Fine, Finery!
Mard: Whatever the Wonder Dog and Bahadur could round up, really.
Conan: Nekkid is a lifestyle choice.
Veer: After careful research, Anna Singh threw out the research.
Full of win: The clothes were by far the best thing about Veer. I think I asked the universe, “WHAT IS SHE WEARING?” at least a dozen times. Someday, Bollywood will stop dressing their cast like this and then I will weep.
The Supporting Cast Gets One Close Up Shot
Mard: Bahadur the faithful steed! Brownie or Moti or Whatsis the Wonder Dog! Loyal commoners who die for the cause!
Conan: Snakes! Big ones, small ones, stiff ones, all sorts! Nekkid women! Humongous men!
Veer: The results of Anil Sharma’s raid of an Ashutosh Gowarikar set.
Full of win: Veer gets it hands down. Sohail Khan made me think twice, but really – gotta hand it to them. Never have so many well known supporting actors gotten so little to do.
The Villain Says Muahahahahaha!
Mard: Prem Naam Hai Mera! Prem Chopra! Muahahahah! Specialities include cross, double cross, cross stitch and double stitch. Fine embroidery optional. (Listen, it’s Mard – let’s not look for sense, mmmkay?)
Conan: James Earl Jones is the voice of DOOOOOOOM! He has snakes. He is a snake! He has virgins who will kill themselves if he asks them to. If you go to his parties, he’ll make you eat Soylent Green soup. He will fucking stare you to death and then cut your motherfucking head off! He has the power!
Veer: Jackie Shroff is the man with the golden arm. Beyonce called and says if you want it, you shoulda put a ring on it. Oh-uh-uh-oh.
Full of win: Veer! Ha. Kidding. Conan, of course!
The Final Tally
Because they will tell it like it is.
Post-screening Sundance Q&As are frequently gushy affairs, sometimes to the point of awkwardness… But last night’s The Killer Inside Me conversation veered off-script in a big way. The first question came from a woman in her 60s, who demanded to know how the film made it into the festival at all. She then proceeded to berate Sundance for the decision, her tirade going on for about 20 glorious seconds, during which it elicited some applause and far more jeers from the crowd. She then stormed out of the Eccles Theater. Director Michael Winterbottom, meanwhile, stood nonplussed at the dais. “Any … other questions?” the moderator asked.
The matter of the movie aside (it’s based on a Jim Thompson novel – I mean Stephen freaking King thinks he was over the top and he is not wrong!), it seems to me that women of my generation are shockingly easy to shut up. How many times have I or women I know chosen to just sit in passive silence, all the while seething on the inside with all these things we’d love to say, just in case verbalizing our true feelings would make us “look bad”.
We don’t want to be that crazy lady who yells at people, we don’t want to sound bitchy, what if someone makes a funny about hormones and periods, what if everybody laughs, it’s not nice to hurt people’s feelings, oh God people are going to judge me, etc.
And then there’s my mom’s generation – less educated, less privileged, less traveled, less almost everything. Except for balls. Piss them off and they will take. you. down. Maybe it comes out of fighting for everything that women like me take for granted coz it got served to me on a platter. If it’s age related, on the other hand, I can only hope it’s contagious.
Meanwhile, I want video of the Winterbottom takedown! Do not fail me, internet!
I have no idea what the movie Striker – or Strikah as the title song calls it – is about other than it stars Siddharth, but if I had to make a guess I’d say kirkit? Or maybe it’s about an assassin because it apparently also has Aditya Panscholi in it and I don’t think he’s played anything else in forever.
What I do know is that it has some pretty amazing music. From an eclectic mix of people including my least favorite rapper ever: Blaaze.
Knock me down with a feather. Maybe he only sucks when he gets with AR Rahman? I’ll even forgive him the gratuitous remix of his title song – those things are pretty much the rule these days aren’t they? I don’t know why. Are the honchos of the music companies under the impression that the audience craves them in some way or are they just getting more bang for their buck by scuttling whatever plans someone else might have had for remixing their oh-so-special tracks? Do they have special acoustics in their offices that makes it perpetually sound like the 1970s? Coz not every song is worth it, you know.
Moving towards the more traditional end of the spectrum is Swanand Kirkire with Maula, which is an enjoyable track but is terribly outshone by its company who definitely brought their A-game. However, Kirkire makes up for lost ground with his wordsmithing skills.
Vishal Bhardwaj then teams up with Gulzar to show him how it’s done with Yun Hua. When the man can take a song that by rights belongs on a Hallmark commercial – or some other product that makes Young Love flip their hair a lot and punch the air in celebration – and melt your heart with it, you know things are good. Could anybody stand up to these two?
Funny you should ask. Because the person who does the most interesting work on Striker is Shailendra Barve. He gets two songs and he makes them count. After what seems like a long time, Sunidhi Chauhan gets to do something different with her voice in the quietly reflective Pia Sanvara. And it is Barve who composed what is the standout track on this album for me: the semi-classical Chham Chham. Here’s something after a good long while that actually asks Sonu Nigam to do more than coast.
To me, it sounds like the song I always wanted AR Rahman’s Kehna Hi Kya from Bombay to be. If it manages to capture the zeitgeist a la Amit Trivedi’s Kavita Seth-crooned Iktara from Wake Up Sid, I bet you’re all going to be mighty sick of this song in the near future. The good news is that I’ve been listening to this song, alongside that other recent Vishal Bhardwaj gem, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s rich caramel-y Dil to Bachcha Hai from Ishqiya, on a near constant loop for the past week and it still hasn’t palled.
This is something I would buy. If the movie’s even half as interesting as its album, you can sign me up. But then you already knew that. 2010’s off to a flying start. What’s everybody else listening to these days? I need weekend recommendations!
Mahi Talwar (Pushtiie S) is young, pretty and smart. She wants to be a serious journalist covering serous topics. In the meantime, she’s putting in her hours at Delhi-based ladymag “Trend” where she writes an agony aunt column and is paid in all the temp-work and humiliation she can take. Why? Because she’s fat.
Not pleasantly plump or a little overweight. Fat. And if anyone knows anything about Punjabi girls in Delhi, it’s that that kind of weight is only acceptable after she’s gotten married to and reproduced with some teenager who’s in line to inherit his daddy’s business. Then, it’s golgappa city, baby, because chickadee has done. her. ever-lovin’. job! She’s hooked her man and popped out a kid! Pile on the pounds before that holy state of affairs though, and you’re just the eyesore that’s going to break the family’s back.
Mahi is convinced she’s never going to find her Prince Charming at this rate and her over-critical mother (Suparna Marwah) shares her belief. To severely undermining levels. Add to that an unrequited crush on the hottest guy who doesn’t even know she’s alive (and who prefers to date six foot tall blonde amazons anyway), and you wouldn’t take Mahi’s life if it came free with a packet of biscuits.
So how does she deal? With liberal doses of her favorite cookies, her ditsy-but-hot BFF Roshni (Monica Khanna), chocolate, a gazillion pairs of shoes that have a habit of making her trip at unfortunate moments, whatever she can find in the fridge, romantic movies (from the Yash Chopra stable, natch), all the golgappas she can chow down and her other BFF Sid (Mark Farokh Parekh) the gay fashion designer who is totally hot, doesn’t lisp, lachko-matko when he walks or dress in Hello Kitty colors.
Three episodes into its run, what I find most unbelievable about Mahi Way is that it’s on Indian television. I give both Indian TV and producer Aditya Chopra a fair amount of grief for their increasingly substandard produce – albeit heretofore in separate fields. So I wasn’t expecting their synergy to result in anything good. I was wrong.
Mahi Way has all the trademark YRF-isms that have turned its movies into such a chore and a parody of its Bollywood heyday in the recent past: from the “cunningly” inserted footage of old Yash Chopra romances, references to the cult of Romantic SRK, a Punjabi joint family presided over by a sweetums grandmother (Alka Mehta), etc. But head writer Devika Bhagat (with dialogues by Anvita Dutt Gopalan) and director Nupur Asthana actually pull it off.
The father (Ikhlaque Khan) is the gentlemanly type who can never win in a family situation and has already made his peace with it; the mother is a total harpy who is about as far away from the Mother India ideal as you can get – “Sometimes my mother looks at me and wishes she’d practiced family planning,” Mahi muses as an aside. Her elder sister (Amrita Raichand) is a nightmare: the popular girl from school whose life has gone exceedingly well and is now set into the habit of rubbing it in her dorky sister’s face – upon being told of her sister’s decision to enter the Mrs. Delhi pageant, Mahi imagines herself standing on the stage with a sash labeled “Miss Nobody”.
It’s one of the reasons why Mahi is so endearing as a character – she’s funny because her humor is of the scorched earth variety. Underneath the prickly layers of the sulky fat chick who snarls at strangers who cut in line is a decent human being who’s hardly ever given a chance to be recognized as such because all anybody can notice about her is her weight.
Mahi Way has a habit of deftly switching back and forth between the truly ridiculous (the “perfect for Mahi” underwear barons The Chhadhas, for example) and the truly heartbreaking (the hippo arc) without so much as a hitch in its stride. “That really wasn’t necessary,” she tells a date who leaves her with a nasty comment about her weight after a really disastrous evening. “Yes it was,” he says, echoing all the other people in her life who go straight for the blubber as an easy way to put her down.
Not that Mahi doesn’t have issues of her own when it comes to people. Or men. She’s obsessed with her crush because he wears expensive clothes, wears an expensive cologne, and is the kind of guy who would make her mother and sister’s eyes bug out if she ever brought him home. We have a better idea about the unknown stranger she’s constantly bumping into and skirmishing with all over town, than her dream man who works in the same building as her magazine.
This is, of course, deliberate but like I said earlier, this is a show that isn’t afraid to embrace the cliche so that it can put its own stamp on it. For instance, the wise old Yash Chopra grandmother who likes to overshare about her romantic past is very much in play here – but she balances it out by assuring Mahi that her Prince Charming must be on his way. “You know what idiots men can be about asking for directions,” is her way of cheering up her granddaughter.
So yes, Mahi Way sounds like an uneasy cross between Ugly Betty and Sex and the City. What of it? They make it work, with better production values than you’ve seen on Indian TV before, and have a channel on Youtube so you can watch it. That’s all that matters.
What on earth? A “genital cosmetic colorant”? This is a thing?
I guess it’ll go great with my fake boobs, my pasted on eyelashes, my hand-drawn eyebrows, my collagen-pufffed lips, my made-to-order “just like that of my favorite celebrity” nose, my lipo’d thighs, my chemically peeled butt (to remove cellulite, duh!), etc. And then maybe I too can look like this! I’ll be my very own robot! Beat that, Japanese scientists!
However, it’s an ill wind that blows no good and thus we can thank “My Pink Button” for this post:
The kit contains 20 of the cheapest eye shadow applicators you will ever see, the kind where the foam is kind of wonkily glued on to the plastic stem. Also included is a small vial of pink powder, helpfully labeled “Marilyn.” I chose this shade because I felt like my vagina could most identify with her: pill-popping, confused, and crammed into small garments…I put the product on and let it sit as the instructions advised. Things were okay for a few seconds, and then…THE BURNING! I have certainly felt worse, but it was very noticeable. The instructions assure me that this burning is “due to the ingredients reacting to your bodies own PH balance which is normal and will go away upon rinsing off the colorant.”
Hmm. You know, I’ve never felt any kind of burning in that area and don’t really feel the need to start now. Pass!
I was going to laugh until I remembered this scene from a Jilly Cooper novel in which the woman actually tries something similar. So apparently this is a real fear that women have? I’m beginning to wonder if someone’s going to show up on my doorstep and ask me to turn in my female card on grounds of insufficient body image issues.