Monday, May 12, 2008

Jodhaa-Akbar (2008)

Two kingdoms unite
Sharafuddin will not die
How can love bring peace?
Jodhaa Akbar is a lovely movie. After being chastised by a few readers for so negligently allowing a full three months to pass without chasing down my BwBF's latest movie, I hustled on down to a new market to pick it up. (Dude only charges $2 and you can keep the film a week!)

Unfortunately, watching J-A allowed me to realize just how ridiculously shallow my tastes have become inasmuch as Hrithik is concerned. Sitting through 2+ hours of him looking stately without a single dance move was more than I can bear! *No booty shaking? None?!* I mean, I know he was supposed to be the Emperor and all but couldn't he do a little somethin' somethin'.....for the Queen? *sigh*

Additionally, the circumstances of my viewing were less than optional. I had gotten some girls together for another "Bollywood Night" and had planned for us to watch Bunty aur Babli. Then, at the last moment I thought Om Shanti Om might be better since I still haven't seen it yet. When it wasn't available I added on Jodhaa-Akbar instead. Foolishly, I let the newbies pick which film they'd rather watch based on the dvd covers. Wowed by the intricate costumes and a "princess story," they chose the historical drama.

After the bazillionth nobleman was introduced and the gazillionth hint of betrayal was shown, a few people's eyes started to glaze over. I've obviously seen a fair share of Indian films but I only have a fuzzy idea of Indian geography and the people groups in each state. I kind of get the religious conflicts presented but most of the other girls didn't. It was definitely not a good "first film."

Then there was Sharafuddin. I'm not the first blogger---and I certainly won't be the last---to comment on crappy subtitles but golly gee whittakers this was the worst I've seen in a while and THE worst film to have bad subtitles on. J-A has a cornucopia of peripheral characters and they don't have nice modern names like Pooja, Raj or Ali. The point being that Sharafuddin was a central character to the plot and due to craptacular subtitles, EVERYONE had gotten it into their heads that he was killed in the first half of the movie only to discover he was quite alive and preparing a large, sinister coup d'etat right around the time Akbar finally 'gets some' from Jodhaa---also a major plot element, but far easier to follow. ;)

Still, for all my complaints, the cinematography was flawless. The production values were INSANE. (I heard there were 1,000 extras for one of the songs and it sure as heck looked like it.) Doing a film with that level of opulence in the US hasn't been feasible for years. The costumes were designed by the fabulous Neeta Lula (Devdas). And of course, the director scored two of the most beautiful actors in the universe.

Bottom line, the film is good...heck, it's great. It just requires your full attention.

Friday, May 02, 2008

7,680 men: or Why I am still single...Pt. 2

The baggage mentioned in part 1 is in addition to the fact that I couldn't possibly marry a man who doesn't share my worldview, one based on Christian faith and a passion for intellectual inquiry. I've been wanting to calculate the numbers on this one and stumbling onto this page inspired me to finally do it.

2006 US census numbers indicate approximately 233,039,000 folks in the US of which slightly less than half are male--113,073,000. [ref] Of those, only 30,129,000 are between the ages of 25 and 39. Because I rob neither cradles nor graves, they are the only ones that matter.

It is estimated that 40% of Americans are Christians and of those, about 8% hold similar beliefs as my own. [ref] (I gave up my Christianity to follow Christ.) Accounting for beliefs leaves a solid 2,410,320 and we're only half way through. The general trend is that 51% of men 25-40 are married BUT Christians run about 10 percentage points higher on the marriage stats [ref] so actually, I'm looking at something like 61% married. I'm just under a million. (988,231 to be exact.)

[Side note: It is to my own detriment that I live in Tennessee, one of the most marryingest states in The Union [ref] a state where only 27.3% of men have never been married. Which is a generous calculation considering they included 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old jailbait.]

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, So what! That's still almost a million guys! True. I'll even leave in all the guys who are "separated"--cause you know, it was totally their ex's fault--and the 2-3% who are living closeted gay lives. I'm feeling generous.

All things being equal, of that infinitesimal sliver, 12.3% will be black. [ref] Of them, 8% will "marry out" and 2% of the others
(who are probably Latino), 0.2% of Asians and 0.2% of the white boys will convert to the dark side. Net loss: 9,724. Net gain: 4,544. *Such is life.* That leaves me with just 11.77% of the previously selected men--a grand total of 116,372 fellas somewhere in the United States.

In addition to all this, I have the nerve, the gall even, to want to marry a guy who's smart. Ok, ok, and not fat.
And has straight teeth.
And doesn't smell.
(A girl's gotta dream!)
Assuming "smarts" are on a Gaussian distribution, I've just cut my chances by 90%. I said 90% people! *cue gasps of horror*

That's only 11,637
potentially compatible men spread across 50 states and 3,794,083 square miles
[ref] ...and 1 in 3 is probably dating someone...make that 7,680 men. You do realize that's just one eligible bachelor for every 494 square miles? ...some of whom are very unattractive?!

I probably should be worried but I feel a bit liberated. I was beginning to think I should "try harder" but really, trying to root out 0.006792% of the male population is a task suitable only for His Infinite Majesty. Jesus take the wheel...

Still, the next person who asks, "Why aren't you dating anyone?" is getting a printed copy of this essay and a pop quiz.

Abhimaan (1973): and why I am still single

Man jealous of wife
Love withheld becomes sorrow
How can songs be sung?
Wow. This 70's throwback classic really dampened my spirits in as far as relationships go. Abhimaan is the story of a fabulously talented woman who is wooed heartily by a slightly less talented man who, after marriage, encourages her to shine...until she begins to outshine him. *grrr*

In general, I steer clear of flicks like this because I prefer to maintain rosy images of the other gender lest I dissolve into a pile of man-hating feminizing. I'm sure most women don't have such easily disturbed notions of menkind but to my own ridiculously-single-for-OMG-3-years-now detriment, I do. Seeing behavior like this reinforces the idea that men are petty, immature, and threatened by successful women.

Oh yeah, back to the movie, this is the only film in which I actually recall seing Jaya as a young woman. (I didn't know who she was when I saw Sholay.) She's so cute and "simple" in this film. I can see why she was very popular. In the defense of menkind, BigB's BFF was a source of reason throughout the film. He chastized BigB for kicking it at another woman's house and later inisted that he reconcile with his wife. The movie is interesting but not particularly challenging. It's amusing to watch the real life couple on screen in their youth though.

Soooo, what does this have to do with my life with two dogs rather than a boyfriend? This film strengthened my resolve to be single rather than annoyed. Unfortunately, I'm easily annoyed and clearly, all the more easily single. The thought of having to go pick up my drunk husband from another woman's house at midnight does not inspire the classy sort of resilience Jaya's character displayed in Abhimaan. It inspires thoughts of a BEAT DOWN.

To be continued...