Archive for the the good Category

The Disguised Mode of Secret Superstar

Posted in the good on October 29, 2017 by Satyam


In the romantic comedies of the 60s a fairly quintessential sequence would involve the male protagonist sneaking into his lover’s residence dressed in a burqa and therefore able to avoid the watchful gaze of her stern father. Sometimes traffic would also flow in the other direction. In these instances the female would borrow the very same attire from a friend (who would in turn stay hidden in the room for the duration of the assignation) and similarly exit her home, once again with the father’s semi-authoritarian gaze shadowing her. The subversive potential of the burqa was charmingly revealed with such moves. An article of clothing meant to sequester the woman from public eyes would in effect enable this sort of commerce between the lovers. This kind of moment was a negotiation where the minority was affectionately represented in somewhat cliched fashion and then in turn the very same cliches were normalized and became useful for even the majority toolkit. For the longest time Bombay cinema, reflecting contemporary political cross-currents, has moved away from such playful representations in the service of a more anthropologically oriented or ghettoized notion of identities. In these cases the minority becomes simply a set of fetishes to be examined or cured. There have been exceptions to the rule every now and then but Secret Superstar strikes one as being perhaps the most significant such effort in recent times. Not least because this film is not really ‘about’ minorities. The family at its center is simply an ‘Indian’ example and the true heart of the film’s critique is directed at the edifice of patriarchal tyranny or that which transcends various identity fault-lines. And so after a long time the burqa is dusted off and brought out of the closet of Hindi cinematic history and becomes once more the instrument of delightful subversion. Continue reading


Park Chan-Wook — NYT Profile (Oct. 21, 2017)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2017 by Qalandar

EXCERPT: “He recalls a James Bond film he saw in the theater as a boy — he doesn’t remember which one, but it excited him so much, he began imagining his own Bond films. But not just the stories: He saw them in his head, shot for shot, thinking of how lighting, angles and editing told stories, and he began formulating his own. When I asked him if he felt anything was lost in translation, he shook his head. “I still understood them,” he said. “When I finally watched some of them again, with subtitles, I knew I had understood the faces, the things they did.” He credits this kind of watching — only being able to grasp expressions and actions, not language — for developing his sense of visual storytelling. There is a well-known anecdote of how Park was inspired to become a film director after seeing Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” in college, and this is true, but he was already thinking like a director long before that, thinking of how to tell stories on film — image by image, face by face, not outside of language, but with more than language”

Read the complete article HERE.

An Jo’s Random Note on KBC 9

Posted in the good on October 12, 2017 by Satyam

I bought-in a subscription to SLING only to watch ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ 9 primarily, and secondarily the India versus Australia matches. [Somehow, it is India facing Australia on Australian pitches boosts the adrenalin in me and not that highly vice-versa.]

I am amazed by the vibrancy the show still generates after 17 years and with that same, French-bearded man heralding the show. It requires a special strength to under-play one’s over-whelming influence on people as a cultural icon and let the common man take center-stage: How Amitabh does it, is not only his secret but also a testimony to two facets of his: a) a pan-Indian cultural icon who is still in touch with his roots inspite of annoying wealth and a whopping fandom at his disposal; b) and that of being an out-standing star-actor still not dampened by the sands of time. Whether one picks a) or b), it doesn’t matter; cynicism or fondness, the winners in the end turn out to be the audience and the common man.
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Amitabh Bachchan turns 75: How the veteran superstar established a strong south Indian base (FirstPost)

Posted in the good on October 12, 2017 by Qalandar


“Unlike the rest of India, the south always had its home-grown superstars. Though Anand and Aradhana made Rajesh Khanna a household name in Tamil Nadu, it was Amitabh Bachchan who made his firm mark in South Indian cinema, with his brooding countenance and deep baritone in Zanjeer (also because MGR starred in its remake Sirthu Vaazha Vendum).

Tamil Nadu, in the mid-70s, had more room to accept a Hindi star because Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth were just emerging actors then, Sivaji Ganesan had progressed to donning older roles and MGR had become the Chief Minister.
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Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories (New Yorker)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2017 by Qalandar

It’s hard to believe that this sort of conduct could remain out of the public eye for this long if it weren’t part of a wider problem in the industry, and the forms of exploitation that we all know have formed part and parcel of the film industries all over the world.  Even as we digest the allegations against Weinstein, we would do well to remember that this offers a glimpse into the system, and should not interpret this simply as an aberration — Qalandar

Excerpt: “…For more than twenty years, Weinstein has also been trailed by rumors of sexual harassment and assault. This has been an open secret to many in Hollywood and beyond, but previous attempts by many publications, including The New Yorker, to investigate and publish the story over the years fell short of the demands of journalistic evidence. Too few people were willing to speak, much less allow a reporter to use their names, and Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, monetary payoffs, and legal threats to suppress these myriad stories. Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now––Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her—because she feared that Weinstein would “crush” her. “I know he has crushed a lot of people before,” Argento said. “That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old, some of them are older—has never come out.””

Read the complete article HERE

An Jo’s note on Toilet : Ek Prem Katha

Posted in the good on August 13, 2017 by munna

In one of the scenes in TEKP, Akshay repeats the same line he used in KHAKEE; that he’s a human and not a ‘machine’ to keep repeating the sex-act at the will of his heart or something below his navel depending on his wife’s bedroom-demands. It was a nostalgic moment endorsing a fantastic masala movie. Thank you, director, for that.
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Satyam on Shahrukh Khan and his contemporaries

Posted in the good on August 5, 2017 by munna

the comment was originally in the box office thread, some discussion followed

On SRK while those who don’t like him can get a bit too dismissive those who like him are also often as divorced from reality. I’ll recap things a bit:

There’s a difference between a declining top star and a much smaller one. A declining top star can still count on his history with the audiences. Moreso in certain genres. Beyond this a declining star can, especially in this day and age of the Hollywood-like production, put together subjects in different genres that excite a large part of his audience or at least an important cross-section of it. A top star even in decline can also start poaching on other dominant genres of the day and get some traction that way. All of this is possible because the star has built up enough cultural capital over time. Even rapidly declining top stars don’t suddenly fade. Or this really happened only once on Bollywood. This was Rajesh Khanna’s dramatic decline (to match his meteoric, really seminal rise) but here he lost out to an even greater force called Amitabh Bachchan. Then there were other historical factors in play as well. But this is hardly the norm. Usually top stars can hang around for a while. Hey, even less than top stars can extend their life quite a bit!
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