Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002)

Na Tum Jaano Na Hum is just as cute as can be. I desperately try not to fall prey to chick flicks because well, I don't want my teeth to rot out from all the sweetness. At the end of a movie, I hate to feel like my girliness has been taken advantage of. You can't help but like this movie. It's bloody precious.

To sum it up: Sleepless in Seattle meets You've Got Mail + dance numbers.

So basically, as usual, Hrithik runs around looking gorgeous, mischievous and yet somehow approachable. Saif plays the bumbling skirt chaser. Naturally, the two have known each other since childhood and through a chance series of events end up tangled around the same girl (Esha Deol). Oh the irony! One can't help but wonder how the tragically lovesick couple will ever be united. Only after much heartbreak and sobbing, I assure you.

I was even a bit taken in by the exchange of childhood toys between secret lovers. Yes, they went there. I have no shame, I'll probably buy a copy off Neha Flix later...

At any rate, this is the second time I've seen Hrithik in a dress. Not sure how I feel about that. When one is pretty, it would behoove one to guard one's masculinity a bit more closely. But I digress.

It's worth the watch but you've been warned.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Shahrukh does hip-hop

Um, I don't think I should I should say anything about this video because it speaks for itself.

Please Shahrukh, don't hurt 'em.
Or yourself...

Kar Le Kar Le promo for Kaun Banega Corepati
[via Our Bollywood]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mira Nair, Johnny Depp & Brad Pitt

Fabulous! Fabulous! Fabulous!

Looks like three of my favorite Hollywood types will be making a movie together.

According to Variety, Brad Pitt's production company Plan B is planning to produce Shantaram a film directed by Mira Nair, starring Johnny Depp.

That's the kind of news that makes me happy!

[via Our Bollywood]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

White people can't wear cornrows

It's news to me!

I had no idea that cornrows were "an extreme of hairstyle" but that's probably because it's part of my "cultural and ethnic background"? lol.

These two little girls were excluded from regular classroom activities in the UK because they were rocking 'rows. I guess high school sucks everywhere...

As, pointed out on Nappturality 101, straight hair is ok for everyone--texture is an exception allowable only for those with "unmanageable hair."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blackface Because?

I just got an email day before yesterday from a fellow black American who enjoys Bollywood films:

I find the subject of racist attitudes in my beloved Bollywood a fascinating one. It saddened me to hear of the mistreatment of Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK and when I tried to learn about her, I stumbled upon this image:It comes from a 2004 article: http://www.indiantelevision.com/tube/y2k4/aug/augtube33.htm

After seeing this, I realized how long it's been since I've seen a person in blackface. Then I remembered that I was born in the eighties and the only blackface that I'm familiar with comes from documentary footage. So now, I'm having a bit of a crisis. I love Bollywood films but I feel conflicted with supporting an industry that constantly portrays Blacks in a negative light. I've ignored movies where we are seen as token criminals, glossed over stereotypical expressions in film dialogues and viewed the Rimi Sen comment as an isolated incident. However, blackface is pretty darn hard to excuse. How do I express my love for Hindi cinema, while acknowledging my disdain for the cultural ignorance and racism within its community? I'm at a loss.

My response:
You're right. That behavior is ignorant as hell. It's also interesting to note that the guy in the picture is wearing a curly wig as if to say, "Don't worry, I'm not making fun of dark skinned Indians, I'm clearly portraying someone of more closely African descent."

Unlike the US, India doesn't have very many black skinned people of prominence and influence. It wasn't until the civil rights movement brought international attention to black Americans (and Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize) that the US was embarrassed into decrying blackface. It's also important to note that there was no federal imperative to do so. People in the entertainment industry simply found it in poor taste as they began--not only to rub shoulders with--but to admire various black Americans for their achievements. India has no such influence to offer a catalyst for change (other than increasing globalization).

It will probably never disappear completely (it hasn't in the US) but I think the offensive portrayals will continue to decrease as India continues to embrace globalization and more of its foreign-educated children take control.

As for me personally, I continue to enjoy the good and use my blog to address the things that need to change.

All right friends, correct me if I'm wrong. I have faith in you!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Oscars for India!

Over at the Mutiny, Amardeep did an interesting post about Bollywood and the Oscars. He begins by referencing an article in The Indian Express by Shubhra Gupta:

Gupta is right on many counts here. Rang de Basanti does have urban, middle-class kids speaking liberal amounts of English (as well as a white girl, speaking Hindi). What she’s overlooking, of course, is that while Rang de Basanti is a lot of fun, it just isn’t that serious a film. It doesn’t have the sense of gravity or “prestige” that makes a film a plausible Oscar contender. A much better choice, by far, would have been Omkara — which has the three A’s: it’s Arty, “Authentic” (though still legible to western audiences, via Othello), and most importantly, Adult. (I often feel that NRIs or ABDs should pick India’s official Oscar selections, since the Board that currently makes this selection clearly has no idea what it’s doing. Paheli?)
As regular readers already know, I luuuuved Paheli. But in this particular instance, I don't suppose my opinion really matters...

Who knows what motivates those Academy folks. One can never tell. Crash vs. Brokeback anyone?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Anbe Sivam (2003)

So I finally finished watching Anbe Sivam--without subtitles--and I liked it. I'd probably like it more if I knew more details of what was going on!

The first half was fast-paced and funny so it wasn't too hard to follow. After the flashback where Anbe tells about his past and the girl that he loved, the story seems to get more interesting but there's much less physical comedy and "Tanglish" so I missed a lot.

For the life of me, I could not figure out what was up with the old bearded guy with the tikka. He would appear and corner Anbe at the most inopportune times and I was never quite sure whether or not he was supposed to be threatening.

Also, the ending kinda bummed me out. It would have helped to know Anbe's motivation for walking away.

Anyone want to fill me in on the details?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Remembering a King

Hope everyone takes a moment to be thankful for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today!

(And equally as greatful for Malcom X and the Black Panthers--without whom the American government would have never listened to Dr. King--but that's another post.)

My parents grew up through the turbulent times of 1960's lynchings, Jim Crow segregation and the drama of forced integration. I can hardly imagine what that would have been like but I am SO thankful that numerous people sacrificed their lives for me. Everytime I vote I do it for them!

If you haven't already, this would be a great time to make a donation to the Dr. King memorial in Washington DC.

One love!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Play on Players

Gee. I can't imagine what I'll blog about when Hrithik gets old and ugly. Until then, feast your eyes on this John Players ad.
If only life imitated art...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

God is like Beyonce

I beg to differ but fellow Nashvillian Kage's post made me laugh. Sounds like he was being harrassed by the neighborhood Mormons...

When asked, "Do you know what God is like?" He answered:

God is like Beyonce. You know Beyonce Knowles, right?

They are both really famous and both have a huge following...I’m equally unsure if either actually really exists...
He ain't right y'all! ;)
You can read the rest here.

Speaking of African (North) Americans...

Here's an interesting post I ran across today about Afro-Mexicans:

As cultural anthropologist Dr. Bobby Vaughn said, “If you are like most people, you probably have never heard of Afro-Mexicans and are completely unaware that they exist.”

Just who are the Afro-Mexicans? They are the descendents of African slaves who were brought to Mexico as early as the start of the 16th century.
Interesting stuff! Hopefully, the documentary she mentions will become widely accessible.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Paris vs. Jesus

This is the best quote I've heard all year. (So what if we're only 11 days in.)

“I believe in the culture war,” she said. “And you know what? If I have to take a side in the culture war I’ll take their side,” meaning the Christian conservatives. “Because if you give me the choice of Paris Hilton or Jesus, I’ll take Jesus.”
Raaahaaahaaa ha!!
I'd like to think that given that choice, most sensible people would.

From the NYTimes interview with Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and director of “Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi,” showing on HBO January 25.

[She interviewed Ted Haggard shortly before his confession.]

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dark am I, yet lovely

One of the most viewed posts on my blog is the one about Rimi Sen's "black African" comment. Personally, after saying my piece, I was quite prepared to let the whole thing die. I mean, it's not like she threatened to put a pitch fork up anyone's hindparts or anything. Four months later in a new year, that post is once again getting hits [Hello black Britain!] so I figure it's way past time to collect and spew my thoughts.

Initially, I intended to do a multi-paragraph pondering on the semantics of "dark" versus "black." In one sense, dark is a more likely accurate description of someone than saying that person is black because they most likely aren't. Then again, dark is merely comparative--it can only be understood in relationship to its opposite--whereas black is definitive.

So then, to say that you are black is to define yourself. Say it loud! I'm black and I'm proud! To say that you are dark is much more elusive. It establishes "otherness" without affiliation. (I guess this is where brownz comes in?)

So back to my post on Rimi. There was one comment that reminded me once again that "Who is black?" a neverending question with many possible answers.

I've never met or seen a "black African" that looks remotely like Beyonce, Halle Berry or Rihanna.
That's probably because those girls are black but not African! [FYI, Halle's mother is white and Rihanna is from Barbados. Her father is half white.] That leads to the question, "Does black = African?" Not necessarily but black is always a derivative of Africa, much the same way that high fructose corn syrup is all natural. ;) This leads to a second anonymous "gem":
The so called American Blacks like Beyonce and others are not like black Africans at all.
While I realize it's probably not the best use of mental resources to even bother with this, I'm always up for providing an educational moment. Of course there are tremendous differences between black Americans and residents of the Mother Continent! American life has ruined many a person for life anywhere else.

If I wanted to be all deep and break it down to minutia, I would give a detailed explanation of the Transatlantic slave trade that brought hundreds of thousands of West Africans of to the US and tell you which countries they came from then go into tribal affiliations but anyone who was really curious about that would already know something about it.

So what are we talking about here? The way people look? It's no secret that many black Americans aren't even close to being fully African in ancestry. About 30% of black Americans who take DNA tests to determine their African lineage prove to be descended from Europeans on their father's side. [ref] It's quite likely that Beyonce and Lord knows Harold "light, bright, darn near white" Ford, Jr. are in that camp. And we're not just talking a single white ancestor.

While taping the documentary, African American Lives, Harvard University's chair of African American studies, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discovered that his DNA was sourced as 50% European! Music Producer Quincy Jones is 34% European. Do either of them look European to you?

On the other hand, Oprah Winfrey is 89% sub-Saharan African and Whoopi Goldberg 92%. Is that what you think of when you hear the word "African"? Who among the two camps reserves the right to be called "black"?

Or are we decrying a difference in culture? I don't care what your background is when you get here, I'll bet money your great-great grandkids' lifestyles won't be much other than American with a twist. That being the case, what can we realistically expect from families that have been in the U.S. for 15 generations or more while unable to reconnect with their ancestral land?

As for Ms. Sen, she leaves a few questions lingering in my mind: Did she mean to say that black people are ugly? African people are ugly? Dark/black-skinned people are ugly? As for commenters on the fascinatingly unique situation of the "black American," I hope this post offers some food for thought.

Okay, I'm all blogged out. I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts!

FYI: Today's post title is brought to you by the Song of Solomon chapter 1, verse 5! [ref]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The "Other Bollywood"

Filmiholic emailed this to me the other day and I forgot to post about it. So the truth is out: Tollywood's been holding back on me!

I don't know that the first paragraph of the article is entirely accurate. I was under the impression the whole of India turned out about 800 films a year, not Mumbai alone:

HOLLYWOOD, shmollywood. Give me Bollywood. As serious film fans know, India's Bombay-based, Hindi-language movie industry is the world’s largest, grinding out 800 or so features a year, vastly more than its California rival. And these are movie-movies, where boy meets girl, boy loses girl amid angry parents, evil gangsters, rapacious landlords, corrupt politicians, fistfights, machete fights and communal warfare until, three hours and five dance numbers later, love and justice prevail. Cut. Print.
Anyhoo, the article is about Ramoji Film City down in Andhra Pradesh, and from what I can tell from their website, this place is way more exciting than the Taj Mahal. Beth, do tell Rajan to add RFC to our 2008 itinerary please. I am so crashing that pimped out honeymoon suite!

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

About Indumukhi

Since my last random question was answered quite thoroughly, I've got another one:

What is this song about?
[I would post the mp3 here for listening but I don't know how.]

It's by a guy named Krishna Prasad from Cochin, India. The song is Iniyum. I found it on download.com in the music section. I like that one and Thrushna. From what I can tell, dude doesn't have a website so I have no idea where to find lyrics, etc.

He did however, score a mention in The Hindu back in 2004. *sigh*

Any translation help is appreciated! Based purely on geography, I guess it's Malayalam.

Little Asia on the Hill

When I hear Berkeley, I think of crazy white hippies yelling "Down with the Man!" and Manish Vij ;) Shows how East Coast and ridiculously un-current I am. (If the school don't have ivy, it's not really in the league, right?) That aside, The New York Times ran a feature on several of the public California colleges, featuring UC Berkeley and its overwhelmingly Asian makeup. Again, I've always lived east or close to it, so the idea of a 46% Asian (29% white) campus is absolutely fascinating to me.

[We won't even talk about my people. It appears we're going the way of the Native American...]

I lean toward the "College should be a microcosm of real life" camp, which I know is highly unlikely but a girl's gotta dream... Anyways, any discussion about the racial makeup of a student body is bound to initiate conversations about affirmative action which is not a conversation I wish to have. No amount of current programs or "reserved seating" can genuinely revive decimated cultures. I agree with this guy, mostly because I always root for the underdogs:

Eric Liu, author of “The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker” and a domestic policy adviser to former President Bill Clinton, is troubled by the assertion that the high Asian makeup of elite campuses reflects a post-racial age where merit prevails.

“I really challenge this idea of a pure meritocracy,” says Mr. Liu, who runs mentoring programs that grew out of his book “Guiding Lights: How to Mentor and Find Life’s Purpose.” Until all students — from rural outposts to impoverished urban settings — are given equal access to the Advanced Placement classes that have proved to be a ticket to the best colleges, then the idea of pure meritocracy is bunk, he says. “They’re measuring in a fair way the results of an unfair system.”

Ah, yes. But life isn't fair. It never has been and I believe the international moratorium on unfairness failed to pass again this year.

At any rate, Native Americans have their own colleges and HBCU's have been around since right after slavery ended, which coincidentally, was around the same time the Chinese started building the railroads. I say, it's about time they got their own universities. ;) They can invite whoever they want.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Hooray for musicals!

When I was home for a week, I went to see Dreamgirls with my mom and sister. We had a fun time. None of us expected a full-blown musical but we were pleasantly surprised.

The film chronicles the rise of a Detroit-based girl group during the Motown era. Basically, it's the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes with names changed to protect the guilty (and avoid nasty copyright infringement issues).

All I can say is that the film was worth the $8.50. It's been quite a while since I've heard people clap in a movie theater but Jennifer Hudson sang that good. I wanted to get really black and shout while I waved a hankerchief but my mom was thoroughly convinced I was disturbing the people in front of us. Besides, I don't own any hankerchiefs.

Nonetheless, Jennifer Hudson has so much voice that I don't think Beyonce should sing anywhere near her ever again. She makes Beyonce sound like she's playing games. Or trying out for a high school talent show. It's almost heartbreaking (for Beyonce).

This film was very well cast. It's nice to see all of the characters fit their roles--even if that means that Eddie Murphy playing Johnny Early ends up being a Motown-singing guy that acts a lot like Eddie Murphy. Here, it works.

I'll be really interested to see how Dreamgirls shapes up in the awards season. If they win, at least my mouth won't hang agape as it did during Three 6 Mafia's Oscar acceptance speech (fast foward to 6:15) for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."

[Yes, he did say, "Thank you Jesus." *sigh*]

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How they roll in the Dirty Jers.

Pooja emailed me this piece from the NYTimes about a theater in New Jersey that features predominately Indian films. Pretty interesting. Here's the intro:

Swollen ticket lines, shouting children, tempers rising as the movies sold out: This was any suburban multiplex during the holidays.

But different.

Vada pav sandwiches and mango kulfi were sold at the concession stand. Conversations were in Gujarati or Hindi. A poster in the lobby advertised an action film starring Aishwarya Rai on one of six screens showing Indian cinema.

There's nothing revolutionary about the article but it's a nice little "slice of life." [And a great photo!]

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Representin' 2007!!!

Where you from kid?!

For year two of this blog I thought it'd be nice if we all introduce ourselves, especially you Nashvegas lurkers!

*I see you.* Holla back!

Me, I'm t-hype. From Hampton Roads, VA. Born in New London, CT. Five years in Nashville, going on six. I try not to dream about the ocean or snow-covered slopes because neither are near. Born 1978. Used to be a featherweight. Now I'm just a lightweight. B.S. in Mass Communications for no good reason. Aspire to screenwriting. Christian by choice. Black by birth. Bollywood because.

Who you?