Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Goodness. I wasn't sure how much more I could suffer in silence! Dhoom 2 is coming to Nashvegas on December 7.

Why Thursday night I don't know but I will most certainly be buying my ticket early to avoid any potential violence on my part should the showings become sold out.

I am so looking forward to seeing Bollywood Boyfriend #1 on the big screen again. That Abhishek guy ain't bad either...

See you: 6 p.m. at the Belcourt.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kareena Paris

There's just something about Kareena Kapoor that reminds me of Paris Hilton. I guess that's why I have such a hard time liking her...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Salman Khan in 1989

Let me begin by acknowledging that some time ago, Daddy's Girl tagged me to do a post on my favorite Khan. As would anyone with good taste, I fully intended to do a post on my love for SRK in coordination with Beth’s suggestion that we Bollybloggers should write odes to the Badshah on his birthday, November 2. I only bring it up because without contest, Salman Khan was ranked as my LEAST favorite Khan.

Not much has changed after watching Maine Pyar Kiya except for the fact that I do feel the slightest twinge of guilt at dismissing Salman so completely before seeing the spectacle that was MPK. I can’t think of any better way to send the 80’s out in style! [Have you SEEN the movie poster?!]

Let’s begin with the opening sequence, a silhouetted Dirty Dancing simulation set to a tune overly reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You.

I mean, after watching Salman do his best impersionation of Patrick Swayze on at least two seperate occasions, I had to cut the guy a break. So what if he stalks his ex-girlfriends and kills endangered species for fun--he can dance like a ballerina! So while he still holds last place on my list of Khans, it's only because everyone else is much more endearing, not because he doesn't have any redeeming qualities...

At times this film was a bit exhausting. I don't think it would have felt the same way in 1989. The "teens commit to love each other despite their parent's wishes" theme was probably pretty fresh back in the day but in 2006, it's pretty tired. The highlight for me was watching Salman, whose street creds far exceed the behavior he exhibited in this film. (Come on, just look at that baby face!)

Finally, I close with a message courtesy of our friend Totally Basmatic: Guns don't kill people, doves kill people. I guess that's what happens when doves cry...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A King and A Kingdom

This is my favorite song this week:
A King & A Kingdom
by Derek Webb
from the album Mockingbird

who's your brother, who's your sister
you just walked passed him
i think you missed her
as we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

there are two great lies that i’'ve heard
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

Listen to the song here. If you like it, download the album for free here. (I promise, it's legal!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dhoom Again

As if you hadn't seen enough already...
Here's the newest music promo for Dhoom 2.

Seems like a little Gene Kelly meets NSync to me!
[From Our Bollywood]

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Worse than Mel Gibson...

...only because this jerk was sober.

By now you may have heard about Michael Richards, the actor who played Kramer on Seinfield and his belligerent racist tirade that caused half the audience at the Laugh Factory to walk out of the club last Friday. In fact, the folks at the Laugh Factory were so mortified, they offered everyone at the show a refund. From their website:

This is a comedy club and while we have always supported the comics first amendment rights, we have done so with the understanding that they were exercising that right in an effort to be funny...We have made it clear that Mr. Richards is no longer welcomed here. The Laugh Factory is a comedy club not a forum for personal attacks.

I can't imagine a professional comic losing it that bad over a couple of hecklers regardless of what they were saying. Even if Richards had stooped down to heckling but kept it at that level--if he was straight up like, “Oh, you can call me a cracker but I can’t call you a nigger?”--quite honestly, I wouldn’t have had much to say about it.

The thing that lets you know that he has supremacy issues is the way that he brought in the Jim Crow era with reference to bodily harm in his attack. That's when he crossed the line. I don’t know too many sane white folks who want to align themselves with the atrocities of the Jim Crow period unless they're closet members of Stormfront or something...

Naturally, somebody caught half the ordeal on video. You can watch it here if you're in a moderately reflective mood and a safe place where it would be okay to watch something like American History X because the language is that bad.

[From Racialicious.]

The 4th Dimension

After consulting my site statistics again, I realized that most of the people who google their way to the site are looking for one thing or another about hottie of the universe, Hrithik Roshan. As much as I hate to infringe upon the trinity of Beliefs, Blackness & Bollywood, I've given everyone's favorite fake-pretend boyfriend his very own category:

Try not to overdose...

Monday, November 20, 2006

What do Dhoom2 and Coca-Cola have in common?

...Hrithik Roshan of course!

While I'm on the Coca-Cola kick, here's a little refresher on why I can't wait to see Dhoom 2...

Sidenote: Is anyone else the least bit bothered that there is NO way that could be Hrithik's hand holding the Coke in the bottom left of the screen in the last shot?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Blast from the Past

RA HA HAHAAA!!! I know Coca-Cola is shameless but this is right up there with using Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai...

Did I ever mention how much I love YouTube?! [FYI, this is Grambling State University's band.]

Friday, November 17, 2006

After all that...

Thanks for all the input on what to watch first! It's been a busy week and I still haven't gotten to any of the films in the last post. (Although it's safe to say I'll stick with my instincts due to the overwhelming response for HDDCS!) Unfortunately, it'll be a while before I get to any of those selections.
This Sunday at the Belcourt Nashvillians will be treated to Bommarillu, a Tamil Telegu film by Bhaskar featuring our previously naked friend, Siddarth.

[Sid, I'll have you know it's all for you that I'm going to see this one. I skipped Stalin on your account! ;) So far, all of your recommendations have been on point. Right now you're 3 for 3! Feel the pressure?]

No worries. I'm sure the film will be interesting. Siddharth is an excellent actor even if he does look about 18 years old. (He's 27, married and father of 1.)

But it is at his time I must make a personal confession: I don't like mustaches. Seriously, if Hrithik Roshan himself committed to wearing a mustache from here to everafter, I would shed a few ceremonial tears then move on to Kunal Kapoor as Bollywood Boyfriend #1.

I like facial hair on men. It's very, well, masculine. It's just that my dad has ALWAYS had a mustache and a mustache alone. (I remember him once shaving it off when I was a kid and he looked like an alien.) I can't think romantic thoughts about someone who reminds me of my dad, or any other old guy for that matter!

I only bring it up because I know our boys from the South love their "mooches" (meeshas?) Anyways, I'm hoping there'll be more goatees and less reincarnations of my dad...

[For the record, Siddharth is absolved from 'old man' status by attempting to grow a French Beard though I get the impression his won't grow in properly.]

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What next?

Friend Susania loaned me 6 Bollywood flicks and I'm debating over which to watch first. I'm leaning quite heavily toward Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). I haven't seen Aish in anything recently.

What do you think? Here are the choices:

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Zamaana Deewana
Biwi No.1
Chori Chori

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How we roll in the Dirty Third

This weekend I had the privilege of sneaking [no, for real] into Vanderbilt's Masala-SACE Diwali performance. Apparently, those in the know know. These kids were not playing. For $11 you got an all-you-can-eat buffet and a 2.25 hour show! [Photo from 2005.]

And that brings me to how we roll in the Dirty Third. I have to admit a great deal of the amusement to me was the apparent fascination (obsession?) with hip-hop a few of the guys had. It's no more odd than me and Bollywood but still a surprise. Maybe I was just in "Diwali" mode as opposed to "117 college students showing off for their friends" mode.

There was this running skit with four of the guys being college-y and one of them was imitating Lil' John complete with dreadlock wig. I wonder how that would fly outside the third coast. I don't get 'crunk' style. I really don't. [I'm east coast FO LIFE!] I'll let it slide though. There were enough black folks in the production this year to tip the brown scale to the dark side.

Believe it, the white folks were out in full force as well. As I heard some kid say before the show, "I know! There's as many non-Indian students as Indian." It slipped out of his mouth just as I entered his peripheral vision. I'm not hating, I hear him though.

That unskillful segue brings me to my favorite part of the show--the spoken word. It was performed as a skit with two opposing couples at dinner. Y'all, I knew it was about to go down when they said it was about arranged marriage vs. love marriage but I was next to tripping when I realized that the girl speaking in favor of arranged marriage was--gasp--black like me.

Ok, ok, she wasn't black like me, she was about 4 shades lighter which meant that under the stage lights, with her silky straight hair and salwar kameez, one might not notice as she poured chai for everyone seated before looking to her "husband" for approval to sit. Her delivery gave her away though--crisp spoken syllables with a sing-song lilt. It sounded like spoken word as I'm used to hearing it. The others were a bit more loose in their form. Overall it was great though.

The dance teams were amazing! It was a lot of fun to watch. There were over 100 performers. Every thing was pretty varied and the remixes they used were hot to death! It was mostly modern-ish filmi stuff, a little hip-hop, one classical (bharatanatyam) piece and of course a big bhangra number. Next year I'll be prepared. The class of 2008 better come with it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Humanity's Sins

“All of humanity’s sins are forgiven by God.
All of them—while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
The love that he has for us has not increased or decreased in capacity one bit since the moment he died.”
Wow. That’s the most radical thing I’ve heard in a long time.

I haven’t done a ‘beliefs’ post in a long while primarily because I’ve been thinking about a lot of things that are difficult to articulate. When I heard the pastor say that this Sunday, I figured it was as good a place as any to start.

The past month and a half or so, I’ve been overwhelmed with a sense of discovery every time I look at the Bible. I am desperately wanting to bridge the gap between the truth of scripture and present reality. I am overwhelmed by Jesus’ claim that he came to
  • to preach good news to the poor
  • to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
  • and recovery of sight for the blind
  • to release the oppressed
  • to proclaim the Lord's favor
and grossly underwhelmed by dour half-hearted attempts by the church-at-large to complete the task. I am underwhelmed to the point of implosion. [Seriously, as I was telling some friends the other day, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” à la Network.]

When Christ stood up in the synagogue and read those words from Isaiah, then said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” people—religious people at that!—got so angry, they tried to throw him off a cliff!!! [link] How’s that for intolerance?

Not much has changed in two millennia. Religious folks, as a whole, are no more interested in the message of Jesus—good news: freedom, recovery, release, proclamation—than their secular counterparts but a heck of a lot less honest about it. And all this ranting is to say, I am just now beginning to realize how very much I fit the description of the angry mob that was so willing to throw Jesus off a cliff because they didn’t like what he was saying. They didn’t understand it so they thought he was a fraud.

For a long time I didn’t realize Christ wasn’t just talking smack—trying to be poetic because somebody was going to write a bestseller about it—he was stating facts. If he, God-in-the-flesh, came to do something, by definition it will (has been) done.

I could write for days about revelatory minutia because the revelation of Christ is that big. It’s that complex. Today, I stop here. The rest is marinating…

Monday, November 13, 2006

Jolly Bolly Cross Pollination

I'm beginning to think all actors and actresses come from the same gene pool. I'm pretty sure they're manufactured in a secret laboratory.

Rekha & Michelle Pfeiffer - cousins?

Crowd pleasers Aamir Khan & Tom Hanks share a few too many similarities as well.

Looks like a well-hidden conspiracy to keep below average-looking people out of work if you ask me...

[Connections courtesy of Manish.]

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don.....Don.....Don.....Don .....Don.....Don

[In my imagination, there's at least 2.5 people eagerly awaiting this post...]

Despite all the whispering of Don's name, the remake left me mostly underwhelmed. I don't guess that's any big suprise considering that the classic version wasn't that good to begin with. [Don't hit me! Amardeep said it first.] That's not to say that there weren't good things about either film. There were several.

My favorite thing about the original Don is the music! Not the dance numbers either, the background stuff. It is unashamedly '70s--hard hitting bass lines, twangy strings and distorted guitar. I LOVE that sound.
One of the tracks seriously sounds like a 1996 Quad City DJs backbeat dropped an octave. [For reals! Listen to this track then pop in Don and fast forward about 24 minutes to the scene where Roma goes to the restaurant.]

Other than that, there are a few cinematic moments that give cause for pause. The opening is an obvious one. Is that a wheat field?

If I were in a room with a man known to be unpredictably dangerous and he donned a lion mask, then began singing and dancing, I'd be creeping the heck out of there. But that's just me...

The "baby beluga" bodyguard from Amar Akbar Anthony is back. I guess that’s what “fierce” looked like in the late ‘70s.

Somebody has got to help me understand the pink scarf! It appears on Ab1 over and over again. I notice this time other people are wearing them. Maybe it’s the marker of a secret society…

For all the remake’s foibles, I was impressed by Shahrukh’s seemingly innate sense of villainy. (A bit too much of that might have leaked into his acting in KANK.) He was remarkably vicious. On the other hand, Priyanka did a great job kicking butt. And I hate to admit it but I wasn’t too sad about seeing Kareena’s character die off early on…

I didn’t miss anything from the 70’s version besides the music. The most impressive part of the remake were the stunts and chase scenes. I’m curious as to whether there are any other Indian films to date that can match them.

Visual moments that stand out: the car chase in which Don gets nearly killed was impeccable. Jumping out of a plane! That actually had me on the edge of my seat. I think I threw out a WTF at that point primarily because I’m thinking, There’s NO way Vijay could pull that off! Um, yeah. Also, the scope of the final fight scene of course! Did I mention I added Malaysia to my list of vacation locations? [Note to the police: If you are in a helicopter hovering over a member of the police force being beat to death for 2.5 minutes, it would behoove you to use the large assault weaponry in your possession to free him from said beating. Just a thought.]

The camerawork in Main Hoon Don, aka Song of Crushed Velvet is also noteworthy. It was sporadic and disorienting with delightful moments of visual pause. It reminded me a bit of Moulin Rouge which of course, was Baz Lurhman recycling Bollywood…

Even though I’m not so impressed with Don, I like Farhan Akhtar’s directorial style. I guess the problem with remakes is that they’re so often self-referential. Do we stick with the original or flout expectations? You could almost hear the whisper between every scene. So I guess we have to blame the staleness of the film on its initial incarnation. Still, I’m hooked on Farhan-ics. I look forward to Kismat Talkies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I really shouldn't.

I really shouldn't bring up these search terms because it may mean more people will end up here for the same things but:

"hrithik roshan dressed as a woman"
came courtesy of San Francisco and
"bloody racist bollywood"
from our friends in Zionhill, PA.
Sorry to disappoint guys. I doubt Hrithik would look any less fugly than Brad Pitt in that getup. Besides, boys in dresses isn't really my style.
As for the racistness (I know, that's not a word) of Bollywood, all entertainment industries are elitist and shallow. Is that a suprise?

It is however, worth noting that I've also seen several more searches for "collard greens in hindi." I got whatcha lookin' for right here.

Okay, okay, I'm just procrastinating on my review of Don because there isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. Maybe tomorrow...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Black Moment of the Week =0(

Ed Bradley was on CBS's 60 Minutes for 26 years--
basically my whole life.

Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley died Thursday at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan of complications from leukemia.

Bradley joined the staff of the venerable news magazine 26 years ago. His consummate skills as a broadcast journalist and his distinctive body of work were recognized with numerous awards, including 19 Emmys, the latest for a segment that reported the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.

Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, was wounded while covering the Vietnam War and later became the first black White House correspondent for CBS News.
From CBS, CNN and the NYTimes.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The most sensible thing I've read in a good while...

I don't believe I could have said this any better:

Of course it's true that a handful of Christian figures reinforce the worst stereotypes of the movement. Their loopy and triumphalist claims are seized upon by lazy journalists and the direct-mail operatives of political opponents.

Yet it is dishonest to disparage the massive civic and democratic contribution of evangelicals by invoking the excesses of a tiny few. As we recall from the Gospels, even Jesus had a few disciples who, after encountering some critics, wanted to call down fire from heaven to dispose of them. Jesus disabused them of that impulse. The overwhelming majority of evangelicals have dispensed with it as well. Maybe it's time more of their critics did the same.

From a column at the Washington Post.

Creating Perception (or Cultural Prestidigitation!)

My response to an anonymous comment on the Flavor of Shame post was getting too long so I indulged myself and made it a new post.

Well not having seen the show, I can't really comment. T-Hype, are you of the opinion that NONE of the perception created by shows like this has any basis in reality? How about the perception created by some of the rap videos on BET etc? Does ANY of it ring true with modern black culture- or is it all a lie, done just for the cameras?
You've definitely asked some good questions. I will say this, every lie has an element of truth.

Reality tv is just that, "an element of truth." I suppose it doesn't really become a lie until it's presented as Truth. At the point when people watch shows like Flavor or 90% of BET or Hustle and Flow and think, "This is black culture." Then it's a lie. The part is not the whole.

It's like watching Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" and being like, "That's the Truth!" Hmmm.

Most of us would know better because we know lots of white people who aren't like Al and it's fairly clear that Al is an entertainer. But let's say you lived somewhere where you didn't know any white people. You'd never interacted with any but you'd watched White and Nerdy over and over again and one magic day you meet some white people! You're SO excited. You're like, "So, tell me about MC Escher! Can you show me how to play Dungeons and Dragons? Do you rock at Pac-Man?"

That would be dumb. And that's a problem. I know that. You know that. But for some reason, a lot of people don't or refuse to believe otherwise. [And that's what pisses me off.] I had a Jamaican roommate in college who told me before she came to the US she thought all white people were crazy and loose moralled. What? Jamaicans are... Don't even let the thought form. She didn't know any white people and most Americans don't know any Jamaicans. Did I mention she grew up near a Spring Break hot spot?

As for BET, I don't know any black folks over the age of 20 who think the stuff on BET represents reality! But maybe you know some. The artists themselves know better than anyone that videos and stage performances are a mode of--to borrow a couple of words here--created perception. They know that the cars & the jewelery are going back to wherever they rented them from and that fame is fleeting. "Get what you can while you can by any means necessary." That would be a fairly accurate mantra for 80% of the artists & personalities that are out right now.

So, to answer your questions directly:
Are you of the opinion that NONE of the perception created by shows like this has any basis in reality?
No. There's some truth there. The question is: Which part?

How about the perception created by some of the rap videos on BET etc? It's an illusion. Maybe 20% true. [Come down to the hood. I promise it's not nearly as glamorous. Admittedly, it does look a little more like Hustle & Flow than not but WAIT! OMG! Not all black people live in the hood. Some of them live in the suburbs.]

Does ANY of it ring true with modern black culture-or is it all a lie, done just for the cameras? Sure. Flava Flav is the crackhead on the block. The chicks on Flav's show are the local strippas. [Not 'strippers' because the girls on the show are mostly low-class and I don't mean poor.] Almost every poor neighborhood has a strip joint if not two. That's reality. There are more liquor stores in a poor neighborhood than fast food joints. Poverty and crime go hand in hand. None of that is untrue. It's universal. It's not black culture. It's the culture of poverty. Again, the part is not the whole.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Flava of Shame

Because I liked his post, I decided to use his title.

In “Burn, Hollywood, Burn,” [Public Enemy] challenged media portrayals of Black men as uncivilized, criminal-minded buffoons, and likewise criticized the depiction of Black women as domestic handmaidens willing to perform on cue if the price is right. But Flav has now become complicit in the distribution of these same stereotypes. I’m not surprised that VH-1 would seek to exploit these sorts of images for profit: this is what mass media companies do. I am disappointed, though, that Flav so cheaply sold his integrity — and further contributed to the demeaning of Black identity.
The thing that burns me about it is that there are people who watch this stuff the world over, and for them, these charicatures are real--real black culture. After all, it is "reality" tv.
[You have no idea how many times I've wanted to punch somebody in the eye for treating me like a member of their imaginary reality.]
You can read Shavar's article here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm sure you already noticed BUT I got my banners to work! Hooray. Unfortunately, that means the top part of my page looks janky. Too bad! I'm enjoying my banners so much I don't care. Hopefully Blogger will offer more beta fixes soon...

How Hrithik's bringing sexy back

Um, thanks to this commercial--dang it Hrithik!--I am now running out the door to see if the market has a pack of Parle Milano cookies...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Suniel & Shemar y'all

Suniel Shetty as Shemar Moore with a turban.

They need to call their daddys and find out why they look alike.
[From Umrao Jaan. Thanks filmiholic!]

Friday, November 03, 2006

If you're having difficulty breathing...

...DO NOT press play. Seriously. This movie clip might kill you.
[Found at Totally Basmatic's blog]

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Iranians love Bollywood

I think I'm going to have to start doing a post on search terms once a month. [In which case, I'm a day late for October. Let it slide alright?]

Anyhoo, October's selected search term is "iranians love bollywood." While there was also a search for "dialectical prestidigitation," which under other circumstances might have come in first place, the person searching for Iranian shoutouts was located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Friends, I spent four years of my life in Lynchville at Liberty University and I can assure you, there is virtually nothing to do out there despite the fact that the population of 69,000 and includes 3.5 colleges.

So, to whoever was searching, I say, "Yes, Iranians love Bollywood!" Who in their right mind doesn't? ;0)

Black people love Bollywood too. Recognize!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This broke my heart!

They are such a sweet couple! I saw them at Sylvan Park a year or so ago with their kids and they looked like any other Nashville family. No, Ryan didn't look particularly happy but hey, he was probably hungry. (Heck, I didn't even recognize them until my friend pointed them out.)

Considering how grounded Reese comes across, I wanted to believe that they were going to make it, that they would be an exception to the rule...

Boys (2003)

[This review is SO overdue…]
Man, this fiasco is going on a special list with Ishq! It's the list for films that have elements that are really fun even though the movie as a whole is absolutely out of control. The difference is, my viewing companion and I both decided that to really enjoy Boys, you have to be under the influence of an illegal substance, but neither of us were willing to test our theory...

The fascinating thing is the film is rated 8.8 (out of 10) at imdb.com. Maybe I need to be 10 years younger to properly appreciate this one?

I suppose I should give the filmmakers some props for taking a film about teenage angst, turning it into a love story and meteoric rise to pop-stardom, while painting the film with a broad brush of adolescent male bonding and sexual frustration. *two. solid. hearty. handclaps.*

The story line: prettiest/most popular girl is the object of affection for all five pals, which allows numerous ridiculous moments of rivalry for approximately 30-60 minutes. As it so happens, pack of boys meets pack of popular girl’s friends, they all pair off--as nature has overridden logic and allowed warm fuzzies to flourish for even the less attractive males of the bunch—allowing them abandon rivalry.
Just as it seems all is well, our hero (Siddharth) feels he has been slighted by popular girl sending him into a well of despair. Seeking advice from the girl’s friend, he commits to publicly humiliate himself in order to win her hand. And humiliated he is--all the way to the local jail.

Naturally, pity sets in, she gives him a try, and as the Bollygods would have it, she falls for him. Fast forward to an elopement, getting disowned by parents, kicked out of college, desperate attempts at “work” and a rise to pop-stardom and you basically have the film. A lot going on and not so much substance. In fact, I think this film could enjoy a very successful remake in the States.

Final thoughts:

  • If you’re going to see this film, see it for this scene alone. It is one of the few moments in the film that work from start to finish. Very funny. Very fresh.
  • I will never be able to hear the song “Boom Boom” without seeing these hideous visuals in my head.
  • Depending on your life aspirations, Boys might release your inner rock—star.
  • I promise this little romp doesn’t look as scandalous in the film as it does in freeze frame. All's well that ends well, right?