Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tell me why...

Um, now y'all know I love my boo. Nonethless, tell me why he is straight lookin' like,
"Hulk Hogan, are you my daddy?" in this pic.
[*whose idea was this? raise your hand so I can pimp slap you*]
Our friend Hulk is like,

God has an entourage

This article made me happy so I thought I'd share:

If you look in the right places, it's not hard to find God here. The celebrity press tends to focus on Madonna's involvement with kabbalah or Tom Cruise's commitment to Scientology, but often overlooks more mainstream professions of faith.

It turns out that in Hollywood, the unlikeliest of places, God has an entourage. Quietly and passionately, Tinseltown's biggest African American stars are expressing their faith. They're marrying their spiritual beliefs with their creative impulses in a way that is hip, accessible and grounded in Christianity.
Read the original article from the LA Times here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Dhoom 2 promo

Here's the latest Dhoom 2 promo making the rounds. If you haven't already, you can watch the trailer here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Presenting Don!

Cool. Don is coming to Nashville on November 5th and, having thoroughly learned my lesson during the ticketing fiasco that was Lage Raho Munnabhai, I will probably buy tickets this weekend.

I need to start my own string of Bollywood showings in this town. (I could use another stream of income...) The fans are dedicated and they will NOT be denied!

Who's with me?!

[Official site here.]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Paheli (2005)

I'm a sucker for fairy tales, which is why Disney cartoons held my loyalty for so long... Even though the ending seriously irked me, Paheli is one movie with most of my favorite things: a fairy tale, singing, dancing, romance, killer costumes, settings & cinematography, tastefully applied special effects--supplying two sets of SRK's eyebrows--and last but not least, a happy(?) ending.

At any rate, what can I say about SRK being so unShahrukh like? It was fabulous! There were fewer opportunities than usual for him to go about hamming it up for the camera and that was remarkably refreshing. As a ghost at least, he behaved more like a man and less like an overgrown obsessive child. *fingers crossed that the same is true of SRK in Don* Rani looked convincingly cute throughout. Seriously, other than the ending--note to producers: ghost babies & body sharing are NOT ok--I have no beef with the film. (It's a first, I know.)

My Notes:
The visuals are remarkably lush and the choreography was engaging. Hello, there's more colors than two bags of skittles! There were also some moves I haven't seen before. They were subtle yet added a sense of newness to the obligatory "100 women dancing in the courtyard" scene.Ridiculously large bright orange turban speaks for itself...For the ladies (or similarly afflicted men) there was a gratuitously unnecessary shower scene.Did I mention the special effects were flawless? Now true, it would have been a lot more fun if SRK had a fist fight with his evil twin but I guess the story didn't really call for it. I'm also really curious as to whether or not the shadows were heightened for either of these two shots.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention Big B as the shepherd. It was cool to see him "pop in" like that. Very cool. (Maja, please note, the pink scarf has been replaced with a red headcovering.) Nor can I hate on 4 of those tilde-like eyebrows!Um, I LUUURVE the puppet dance at the end. I need a reason to learn that choreography. And in general, I love the puppets. Interesting choice for narration. Thumbs up!

Dhoom 2 songs

DJ posted songs from Dhoom2 on his site.
"Touch Me" is a salsa/reggaton mix--very smart move for the producers. While "My Name is Ali"--did Uday really need a song?--has elements of the Spanish classic, "Quizás, Quizás, Quizás"

All the tracks are big party songs. I'm way hyped for the movie!

Check the songs out here!

[I sware I heard some Spanish mixed with Hinglish. I don't think I'm cool enough to be trilingual 'cause my brain went into momentary overload...]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aish & Will...together at last!

True, true. I'm getting ahead of myself. What Aishwarya actually said was:

I hope to be able to work with Will Smith...it will be fun to work with him. [Link]
This from the woman who had not been seen so much as talking to Will in public during his visit to India earlier this year! The script must be that good...

Tyrone Malone, aka 'The Urban Eye That Will Tell You Why' has a funny post about the Will & Aish situation here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hate Masquerading as Love

Should I be creeped out that someone took the time to comment: "All White Dating" 4 TIMES on an older post titled "Does It Matter?" about black-white dating?

This, complete with a link to a 'White Nationalist' dating site. Um, if that's what makes you happy, stick with it and keep it on your own blog...

Dialectical Prestidigitation

After seeing Akeelah and the Bee, I sincerely wondered to myself when one would ever have a proper opportunity to use the word prestidigitation. In case anyone else was wondering, here's the answer: When writing a really long philosphical diatribe about why God does not exist.

For you philosophy buffs, Richard Dawkins, Oxford Professor and avowed atheist has written, The God Delusion, in the great tradition of Bertrand Russell's, Why I Am Not A Christian. The NYTimes book review seemed fairly balanced. The only thing other than his use of prestidigitation that stood out was this bit:

The least satisfying part of this book is Dawkins’s treatment of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. The “ontological argument” says that God must exist by his very nature, since he possesses all perfections, and it is more perfect to exist than not to exist. The “cosmological argument” says that the world must have an ultimate cause, and this cause could only be an eternal, God-like entity. The “design argument” appeals to special features of the universe (such as its suitability for the emergence of intelligent life), submitting that such features make it more probable than not that the universe had a purposive cosmic designer.

These, in a nutshell, are the Big Three arguments. To Dawkins, they are simply ridiculous. He dismisses the ontological argument as “infantile” and “dialectical prestidigitation”...
I haven't heard the word ontological in years but I remember it coming up in Philospophy 101. None of those "Big 3" arguments are circular and they're still veritably ironclad. Few people have brought up anything substatial to refute them--as if that would change the matter of God's existence--but they're pretty much rallying points for believing folks.

At any rate, I only brought it up because I was reminded that while a few of the issues mentioned were kind of interesting.Ultimately, everything falls back on point of view and belief.

People believe what they want to believe.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Nayagan (1987)

I've got just one question: Are there any Mani Ratham films that aren't good?

This one came by recommendation of Sid's Guide to Kollywood. I think I mentioned before that Dil Se is one of my favorite Indian films. It's also one of the first I watched. Part of the reasons Dil Se "got me good," as I like to say, is because of the cinematography.

The "hook" in Nayagan is the story, and a deceptively simple one. A kid (Velu) sees his father get killed and stabs the guy who did it. The kid later sees his father figure smuggling illegal goods--did they ever say what it was?--and he takes up smuggling in his father's place. Father figure gets killed, the kid (now grown) kills the guy who did it. It's a continual give-and-take of action-reaction sequences building brick upon brick to the concluding moment which, while fitting for the life Velu has lived, neither sympathizes nor sermonizes.

Now for my notes:

  • Could the kids have been anymore cute?! That little girl was dressed like a princess every time she showed up on screen. Freakin' adorable!
  • The moment where Velu's daughter asks whether or not it was his fault that mommy died--ouch. The look on Kamal Hassan's face spoke volumes. That was a great moment.
  • Saranya looks a heck of a lot like our friend Kajol here, no?
Other than that, I can only say, "Did the retarded guy have to be the one? For reals?" I thought the same thing after watching The Village. True, there are mentally handicapped people who have issues and may do something dangerous but using them as a cinematic tool to do so is unsettling to me because in media there are NO images of mentally handicapped people behaving harmoniously to balance out the crazy attacker images. *steps off soapbox*

Ugly, Ugly, Bollywood Fugly

In the great tradition of honoring those things which are outlandishly bad, I decided to kick off a new blog: Ugly, Ugly, Bollywood Fugly! That's right folks, properly attired people need not apply.

[Bobby-socks & clear plastic knee-high boots anyone?]

There's all kinds of places online where you can find Bolly/Kolly/Tollywood filmstars traipsing about town in ill-fitted clothes from their own closets but 'Bollywood Fugly' is dedicated to the fugulous clothes they did not choose. It is an examination of the costuming perils of filmmaking.

At some point we might even conduct a conspiracy-theory type tally of which stars have been the most frequently mishandled by their stylists or which costume designers are more likely to abuse the actors. All in good fun of course.

Check it out and feel free to contribute! On the team so far are Beth, Susania, Babasko and me. Something tells me we could use a few male points of view...


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

What can be said about a classic film--1 year my senior--that hasn't already been said?

a.) That a small child can not only survive a 'run-in' with 1.5 tons of automobile, but land on pavement and receive no broken bones?

b.) That being hit on the head can cause blindness?

c.) That if your hitman/bodyguard shows up wearing a t-shirt with a cuddly baby beluga on it, you should fire him post-haste? (Obviously, he's trying a little too hard to appear trustworthy!)

d.) That during the theme song, the lead characters said their names more times than the average rapper on an entire album?

Nay, friends, nay. I'm sure someone, somewhere in the past 29 years has brought these important truths to light. I shall simply make a few personal comments on my AAA experience. Here goes:

I always recognize I'm in for a special treat when the movie credits start so late into the film you forgot you hadn't seen them. Especially when the font looks like it should be called, "Gothic Cotton Candy."

[So sweet of the boys to volunteer to give blood to the injured lady and to show up all at one time so that the staff could hook all their little tubes together in one container...]

The actors who played AAA as little boys were just as cute as can be! They've got to be just a few years older than me. Does anybody know who they are? Are they married? I'd love to have sons that cute. I wonder if anyone on crew was the least bit concerned that the littlest one seemed to be crying for real during the shoot...

Between this film and Satte Pe Satta, I'm beginning to wonder what Amitabh Bachchan is like in real life when he gets drunk...

I once ate something not intended for pre-bedtime consumption and had a nightmare that looked a lot like this scene with the gianormous Easter egg. I remember running in slow motion but I don't remember any extras waving their arms in the air. I seem to have blocked it all out now...

Still, my favorite gem from this classic is Anthony's pronouncement that there are only two reasons for a man to run fast, either he is in the Olympics, or he is being chased by the police. How can you hate on a film that drops that kind of knowledge?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

If I didn't know better...

...I'd think this was a photo of an action figure. I'm beginning to think Michelangelo is Hrithik's personal trainer. [Thanks naina for the 411!]

I really hope Dhoom2 comes to Nashville before 2007...

More Dhoom2 promo pics at rediff.com.

Also, bonus question for those in the know, Do the words "Dhoom machale" actually mean something? Or is that another "shava shava" type thing going on?

On that 'Night with the King'...

Ok. I just realized that after hyping up One Night With the King, I failed to comment on the film after watching it.

It was one of those rare times when I simply felt there wasn't much to say. I mean really. Susan did a pretty good job of running the story down on her blog: here. While I'm no purist when it comes to art--if you think I'm bad at the movie theater, you do not want to be with me in a museum--the movie was kind of bleh. The storyline was very flat and all the who's-against-who? stuff was confusing. If there's one thing I've learned from Bollywood, you can get away with a bit of confusion if you're willing to take it to the next level. If the highs are really high and the lows are really low, the audience will stay with you because they came for the ride. On the other hand, if the storyline more resembles a roadtrip through Kansas, you're on your own.

That said, there are a few unpleasantly noticeable things about the film:

  1. Blindingly white teeth. I am not, in fact, the first to point this out via blog, but it is most certainly true. I had imagined the phenomenon a figment of my imagination much like the *cough* Star of David appearing on the wall *cough* only to find someone else had corroborated it as truth.
  2. Dialogue that would slow even the finest Shakespearean diction coach.
  3. Not even the slightest allusion to the seediness of a woman's life in the palace. The king has his head eunuch wake you up in the middle of the night to 'read to him'? Turn to your neighbor and say, "BOO-TY CALL!"
  4. Last but not least, Peter O-who?! How were the producers not embarrassed to give O'Toole top-billing for 60 seconds of screen time? [Did Kajol or John "Hottie McHot-Hot" Abraham get billing in KANK, an equally unenthralling yet much-hyped picture? I think not!]
Not-too-unpleasant notables:
  1. The moment after the king confesses his love to Esther, they have a moment--a Bollymoment. There are only two appropriate responses to 'that' moment. Option a) Western-style descent into passionate debauchery. Option b) a song! Ms. Martini Ministry and I shared an intuitive spontaneous moment as we broke out into "Let's Get it On," as the actors languished momentarily because everyone knows that was THE perfect place for a song, particularly one where the guy gets to tug on the girl's sari.
  2. Esther arriving into the royal court after running through the courtyard in the rain so that she looks like a wet muskrat. Where's that gorgeous cape thingy she had on earlier? No where to be found. Why? Because everyone knows the power of the wet sari scene! And fainting!
Seriously, I was telling my roommate, this film would have rocked Bollystyle. The king needed to be a man who could confess his love to Esther but be menacing enough to kill her if tradition called for it. That's my biggest complaint. [Lallan (Ab2) in Yuva was a good example of this.]

In fact, my favorite line from the film was delivered by the king. After a little mixup leads him to believe that Esther is cheating on him he says something like this: "I thought I was your Rachel but now I see I'm only your Leah." rofl!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Between me and the Motherland

[How ‘bout that pseudo-militant graphic?]

Anyways, the two dedicated readers who’ve been here from the beginning might remember my post on Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates’ documentary, African American Lives, and how I was super impressed by the dna testing he used to trace the ancestry of his celebrity guests. (Quincy Jones is a white man! lol.)

Well, who needs the AP or Reuters newswire when you’ve got my dad? I have yet to scrape together my $550 dollars and dad, ever the pessimist? realist, delivered to my gmailbox this morning the link to this article, which highlights the present state of genetic testing for African Americans. Apparently, a British journal article was published this week that publicly maligned the reputation of the hope of "huddled black masses yearning to breathe free."

a study found that fewer than 10 percent of black Americans whose mitochondrial DNA was identified matched perfectly with a single African ethnic group, and 40 percent had no match.
Friends, countrymen, that is not what I want to hear! In fact, that makes me very sad. The technology has gotten pretty advanced, but not advanced enough. I doubt that my mom’s side of the family would fall in the “no match” category because my maternal grandmother is Cape Verdean. On the paternal side though, God knows what they’ll find. I have yet to hear of freckles originating in Africa…

I can only hope that by the time I have an extra $550 (and $219 for an admixture test), that the technology will have significantly advanced.

If you've got the cash, check out African Ancestry here and Ancestry by DNA (measures all ethnicities) here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yaadein (2001)

Truly, the most notable aspect of this film was the fact that Hrithik's character behaved like an egomaniacal child throughout. I'm sure if he and Kareena's characters met in real life, actually dated, and had the chance to break up, Hrithik's photo would appear on dontdatehimgirl.com.

All that withstanding, I make no apologies for my bad tastes. Two car accidents, a kerosene, a knife and a gun suicide threat, who can ask for anything more? This movie isn't very good but I'll probably buy a copy when Nehaflix adds it to the $5 sale. Maybe it's because I have two sisters--the youngest one is a bit too wild for her own good and the middle one doesn't take any crap and the oldest (me) can be a bit of a pushover for conformity--that the echoes of sisterhood override my more discriminating tastes. In this fictional account, somehow these girls have an overwhelmingly loving relationship with their father and I for one, am all for living vicariously.

There are parts of Yaadein that I really like:

  1. Hrithik's family playing like this hotel is their house.
  2. The scene where Kareena slaps the mess out of the youngest sister. Way to take it to the street y'all! ("Call the police! You said you were going to call the police!")
  3. How ghetto fabulous Sukhant’s family is! Stop playin!
  4. The theme song, Yaadein. [Would it be wrong to name a child that? I mean, it's quite possible that somewhere in the non-English speaking world a child is named Memory.]
  5. Dude with the BRIGHT yellow turban has a matching BRIGHT yellow tie.

Even the bad parts of this film get mad love:

  1. Boo-ty outfits. (Click to enlarge.) Somebody was trying to sabotage Hrithik's career early on and this film is concrete evidence. Heck, even Kareena deserves better than pink puffy prom sleeves. [Who wants to start the site for Bad Bollywood Fashion? There's enough fugly in here to be posts 1-10.]
  2. Serenading a Coca-cola can.
  3. Kareena crying like Claire Daines. (Again.)
  4. Hrithik imitating Jim Carey. Why lawd, why?!
  5. FYI: Bed sheets are the new black.
  6. Rich people with surveillance photographers. (Again.)
  7. Those rich folks hired paparazzi but where is security when you need them? They let Hrithik have 3 whole minutes to embarrass the mess out the whole family. This, from the same man that had security attack him 20 minutes earlier? I think not. In fact, his diatribe was so long, I wanted to pimp slap him. He did not have to embarrass little whats-her-face-with-the-short-hair like that even if she is fast...

Still, there are only two actually unacceptable things about this film:
1) this is the first time I’ve seen a black (African) man in a Hindi film and said man is shooting at the police while running like a fairy princess. He obviously didn’t have the skill set to be a store clerk or something; 2) this is the first film of any kind I’ve seen where someone has heard gunshots and proceeded NOT to take shelter in the nearest building or at least duck/dive to the ground, but to walk—not run—out into the street, then get hit—not by a bullet—but by a CAR.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Lonnae O'Neal Parker of the Washington Post is my new best friend

That my decision to end our love affair had come only after years of disappointment and punishing abuse. After I could no longer nod my head to the misogyny or keep time to the vapid materialism of another rap song. After I could no longer sacrifice my self-esteem or that of my two daughters on an altar of dope beats and tight rhymes.
THANK YOU Lonnae! THANK YOU! I really hope the ludicrous stuff that currently passes for hip-hop burns itself out like ska and grunge and disco before it. (Though disco suffered a long hard death and still survives in parts of India...) The article is called "Why I Gave Up on Hip-Hop."
While the mainstream culture celebrates the pimped-out, thugged-up, cool-by-proxy mirage of commercial rap, those of us who just love black people have to be a little more discriminating...rap music used to be fun. It used to call girls by prettier names. We were ladies and cuties, honeys and hotties, and we all just felt like one nation under the groove.
Read the entire article here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Yuva (2004)

Since I'm writing this review over a week after finishing the movie, it will be the farthest thing from thorough AND since it's a Mani Ranitham piece, there isn't really anything wrong with it per se.

In fact, my primary beef(s) with the film have to do with Ab2 and his character, Lallan. Abishek was so believable, his character worked so well and the story ending was SO open. Auurrrghh! Regardless of how the orginial script was written, Ab's character was the strongest and most compelling yet at the end of the film, his story was left wide open. <---personal pet peeve [Um, if you see Lallan coming your way, run!]

There are a few things about this film to love:

  • This is one of Kareena's least annoying roles. She seems like a normal human being!
  • Vivek Oberoi. Where has he been all this time?! I heard he was pretty popular. I think I'm beginning to see why. He has "that thing."
  • Random, life-changing collisions at swanky clubs.
  • The very disfunctional--if you're in a similar situation, you need to get out!--relationship between Lallan and his girlfriend/wife. It was real. It also had a Streetcar Named Desire elements. I almost expected Ab to bust in the house yelling Stellaaaaa!!! I was hanging on to find out what would happen between them. The other two relationships paled in comparison to this one...
There were a number of amusingly naughty relationship moments throughout which still managed to be cute.

Second beef with Lallan: He did NOT have to do his boy like that! I like the little guy from Monsoon Wedding and he was a loyal flunkie! Good flunkies are hard to come by. Recognize.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Just in time for Halloween...

Watched Paheli last night. LOVED it!

I'm wondering what's gonna happen to that baby though. [It ain't right y'all.]
Maybe she'll grow up and marry Krrish...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Maddonna Adopts African Toddler - updated

God help us every one...

Sadly, the kid she adopted isn't even an orphan. Yup. Your family has to be piss poor to hand you over to THE Material Girl aka "Even though I'll be a senior citizen in 7 years, I still like to parade around in leotards like it's 1989" Lady. The only plausible explanation would be, "We deeply worried that you would starve to death so we handed you over to an alternate universe where at least you would be fed." I hope the kid doesn't snap on any of them when he gets older.

I also hope Madonna keeps her promise to bring him by the village every so often so he can visit his family...

The Times (UK) and The Washington Post bring up pertinent issues...

*Update* Twice the Rice stole the words right out my mouth! Read the post here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

King Khan & Prince

Somebody tell me why Shahrukh is looking like
"Prince, are you my daddy?" in this photo...
[Thanks Filmiholic for the connection!]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I now have three delinquent reviews Yuva, Yaadein & Amar Akbar Anthony. The last two really deserve photos. Hopefully my router will arrive today as the images are still trapped on my laptop...

On Theological Fantasy

"Facing the Giants" is in many ways a theological fantasy: God answers prayers.
Woah there cowboy! That's the WTH statement of the week right there! Why I oughtta...
[Pray that Christians make better films so that people will stop trash talking.] Geez! Jump off the, "since I'm part of the powerful, highly-educated media, I'm fully qualified to make theological conclusions about those foolish Middle American Bible believers in flyover country" bandwagon already!

I'm not sure why I'm surprised that comment went unchecked but I am. The journalist very blatantly assigned his personal values to the piece by including that sentence and everybody at the Washington Post let it slide. It's no different than Rimi Sen's "Rohit Shetty is amazing as a director. He can make even a black African look pretty" statement that went completely unchecked by everyone at glamsham.com. In either case, I guess the entire editorial staff was too blinded by their own values system to notice that either of those statements were a far cry from objective.

This is a statement that makes sense:
A review in the industry trade paper Variety scolded, "by preaching to the converted so heavy-handedly, the filmmakers fumble an opportunity to reach beyond their target demo of devout churchgoers."
Agreed. I haven't even seen the movie and I don't doubt that. I'll probably catch in on dvd. At the same time, I don't think the folks at Sherwood Baptist Church much intended to make a film for everyone. They wanted to make a film for themselves and those like themselves, in which case they succeeded. It's no Blair Witch but $2.7 million dollars after two weeks from a movie that only cost $100,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Biblical Bollywood

I discovered a couple of interesting tidbits about the movie One Night With the King, a film based on the Biblical account of Esther and King Ahasuerus that premieres next Friday (Oct. 13). Despite being made by the same production company who did The Omega Code, the film appears to have potential. [Stop laughing.] Not big-time, I-love-this-film-more-than- anything-I've-seen-all-year potential, but something more like, at-least-the-production-value-was-pretty-good potential and OMG!-the-costumes-are-fabulous potential.

Believe it friends. Reasons why this film will be good even if it's bad:

  • The costumes were designed by Neeta Lulla best known for her work on Devdas, alternate title, The Most Ornate Film of All Time.
  • Most of the film was shot in palaces in Jodhpur, India.
  • Aradhana Seth, production designer for Deepa Metha's elements trilogy, lends her skills to the production team.
  • Most importantly, supermodel Aditya Bal is rumored to be in the film. (Have you seen him?)
Admission #1: I'm not going to lie. I don't have high hopes for writing of the film. The Christian industry isn't exactly known for writing prowess. At the same time, anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a sucker for eye candy. In fact, if they had the wherewithal to throw in a dance number, I'd add One Night With the King to my favorite movies list, no questions asked. Hopefully, I'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing.

Admission #2: I'm a little disappointed that the casting directors chose lead actors who look so, well...European. I guess there weren't enough Middle Eastish looking folks who applied? In fact, I'd go so far as to say Ms. Tiffany Dupont looks American--like an American girl playing dress up in some really exotic clothing. As for the king--played by Mr. Luke Goss is best known for his time in the British boy band pop duo, Bros--he looks quite stately--like a member of King Arthur's Court. [Oh! Wrong continent!]

[Notes: Click the photos above to enlarge. The production notes from which I gleaned these gems are here. Official website here.]

Friday, October 06, 2006

Brangelina in Bollywood!

Okay, not exactly. They're working on a film project in Pune not terribly far from Mumbai. You have to love how so much info is swirling around:

The production unit, besides booking two posh hotels for the stars, their family and crew members, have also taken a couple of private bungalows on rent. One of the bungalows on Baner Road, on the outskirts of the city, also has a helipad.
Man, I'm disappointed they didn't give out the room number or anything since you know, rediff.com seems to have the scoop on everthing else. You can read the article here.

[Sorry. The photo isn't particularly relevant but it made me laugh.]

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Respecting other's wishes

My roommate emails several friends a "Haiku of the Day" from a book she picked up at B&N. I will now share with you the haiku for Wednesday, October 6. Please clear your minds from all distractions at this time.

After the atheist's sneeze
I bite
my tongue.

-- Alexis Rotella

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beyond the Next Mountain (1987)

I forgot to add this movie to my Indian film list. Whether or not it qualifies is up for debate but it deserves a mention if only for the fact that I'm not aware of any too many other films that mention the Indian state of Manipur. [I mean, Manipur is so far off the map it's like in China or something...] On second thought, I suppose it qualifies as Saeed Jaffrey (English Babu Desi Mem) was kind enough to lend himself to the production. Furthermore, the dvd cover says 'melodrama' like nobody's business.

This family-friendly production was brought to us by the same director who made The Hiding Place (1975) and China Cry: A True Story (1990). [If you don't recognize those titles, they're both Christian films that came out when people were making movies because of the story behind it, not the special effects or ability to supplement an enlarging--Left Behind--book empire. These were the glory days when entire films were shot in foreign locales yet all the characters spoke English. (Hey, subtitles cost more in the olden days!)]

Basically, the movie is about Rochunga Pudaite a Hmar from Manipur, who at the behest of his father, leaves the hill country to get an education and learn enough Greek and Hebrew to translate the Bible for the Hmar people. What makes the story interesting is that Rochunga's father was one of the area's first converts to Christianity back in 1910, before which the Hmar people were headhunters--and darned good ones. The Welsh missionary who brought the Gospel to the the Hmar had violated a British Raj directive by entering the hills in the first place. Soon after, he was sent back to England by the missionary board who had commissioned him because he had "gone native." Meanwhile, Rochunga's father was (literally) whipped at the request of missionary board authorities for continuing to teach the scriptures while no longer under the "authority" of a British pastorate.

I like this film despite the fact that it has Wisconsin's share of cheese. I mean, there's an entire segment early on where Rochunga as a kid has to go through the jungle by himself to get to school. It provides a rudimentary introduction to jungle creatures of India in case you missed Jungle Book. It's cute in a campy sort of way...

At any rate, the best part of the movie is when Rochunga goes to England and looks up Watkin Roberts, the Welsh missionary. By this time, he's like 200 years old--well, the actor looked like he was waiting until the film was over to kick the bucket--and he's all torn up about the whole situation in India. Rochunga asks Watkin to come back to Manipur but the old man tells him there's no way he could make it up the hills because of his health. Then Rochunga tells him something to the effect, "If you returned, you would not have to walk because all the men of the village would carry you on their shoulders because of their honor for you." It's a very sweet moment. In response, old man looks like he's going to cry (and/or die) and restates his love for the hill country.

Now, if you choose to watch this film, you have been henceforth forwarned about the pidgin English the hillfolks are speaking. However, I think if you pick up the dvd (as opposed to the video I saw) you can watch the whole thing in Hindi with the bad English in subtitles which would be a little more like usual.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Not only did the cd player I keep at work "burn out" on Friday morning, leaving me in a mausoleum* of silence, but that very night my wireless router experienced the same fate, failing to even blink incompetently. This after two weeks of suffering with steadily weakend signals! Boo.

That being the case, my medium long, moderately interesting review of Yuva will have to wait.

[*Did you know the plural of mausoleum is mosolea? Who comes up with this stuff?!]