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Sunday, November 13, 2011


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Season 3 of Masala Zindabad kicks off just in time to speculate on one of the biggest releases of 2011. Join us as we review what worked and didn't in both the 1978 and 2006 versions of Don as we queue up for tickets for the new one!

Everyone should read this fascinating interview with Chandra Barot, the director of the 1978 Don, by Syed Firdaus Ashraf on Rediff. Among the tidbits you'll learn: it was dreamed up as a fundraising project for a friend, it was made on a shoestring over the course of three and a half years, its producer died during shooting, and it had very tough competition at the box office. And read about how Don's bow ties ripple through to today's fashion, at least for one interviewee in this Times of India story.   

A note from the Quality Control Office: We apologize for the technical problems with this recording. Most of our discussion of the character of Roma did not record (you will hear what sounds like a context-less discussion of how she is introduced in the 2006 version of the film), and there are also some bits that drop syllables or short strings of word and sound a little like a radio station that isn't quite coming in. Also, I (Beth) forgot to add music as an intro and fade-out, but given everything else that happened with my work and home computers today, I'm lucky just to still have a keyboard that works. Sorry!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aa Gale Lag Jaa, You Roller-Skating Demon!

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What Every Woman Needs: stalkers in fancy dress!

As regular visitors will have no doubt realized by now, this is a podcast that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the international territory of Shashi Pradesh, a magical land of wicked grins, illegal amounts of charm, great hair, seductive eyes, and surprising amounts of body hair.
Our national dance is called The Aggravated Puppet and it is awesome. It won't surprise you, therefore, to learn that Masala Zindabad has more than one measly "favorite Shashi Kapoor movie." We have one for every season and every mood! But one we love to discuss again and again and just once more for luck is 1973's Aa Gale Lag Jaa.

In which Shashi is still figuring out the difference between newborns and footballs. SOB!!!

This under-rated Manmohan Desai movie co-starring Sharmila Tagore, Om Prakash, and Shatrughan Sinha is beloved for reasons that took us many years and several blog posts to fully examine. Meet us in ten years, and we might just surprise you with a few more to add to the list.

Aa Gale Lag Jaa, therefore, is a movie eminently worthy of our full and solo attention. So today, join us for an excursion to the mystical land of Shashi Pradesh. We follow a free immigration policy and our oaths of allegiance are very accommodating.

And now! Accordions on roller skates! With a side of yodeling and heartbreak! What more do you neeeeeed?!

Perhaps you like rumpled yet elegant beachfront single dads with roly-poly sqooshy-wooshy babies?

So wholesome!

PS - All Germans please note: we in no way, shape or form hold you responsible for Shatrughan Sinha.
PPS - Never, ever use this medical technique. Unless your patient is Shashi.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No animals were harmed in the making of this podcast: The Wild, Wonderful World of ANIPALS!

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Todd from Die Danger Die Die Kill and Teleport City is back to talk with us about filmi friends furry, feathered, and finned. Join Charles from Doodh Ka Karz,

Sheroo the Wonder Bird (Dharam Veer),
the respectful tiger (Mard),

the villain-busting Fluffy (Khel Mohabbat Ka),

the subliminal marmoset (Pyasa Shaitan),

and the top primate himself, Pedro from the Zimbo films,

as we discuss Indian cinema's contributions to zoology.
  • Are all birds (including Allah Rakha from Coolie) inherently evil?

  • Which dog has the better trick: shooting Shetty (Rani aur Jaani)
    or sniffing out Kader Khan and Kabir Bedi (Khoon Bhari Maang)?

  • Can you really call yourself a spy film villain if you don't have a lap cat as in Maha Badmaash?

  • Does any Hindi film character love their pet...or rather, any pet their human companion more than Moti of Teri Meherbaniyan?

  • Is Shashi Kapoor's Ajooba the most diversely populated anipal movie of all time?

  • And speaking of Ajooba, perhaps you prefer Khoon Pasina's take on the classic theme of Amitabh vs. tiger?

  • How villainous is this evil killer from James Bond 777?
    Could he be turned to the good (but still very feisty) side by Moti (Mard)?

  • The growing field of human-ichthyological communications as depicted in Arya 2.
If this epic hour-long episode leaves you wanting more, you can read all of Todd's Animalympics posts here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We Love the 80s: Disco, Glitz and Art

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This week, we take on the mammoth froth of catchy music and bad fashion that is the 1980s in Hindi cinema with Anandini from the amazing retro-blog Bollystalgia.

Given the general lack of love experienced by this decade in Hindi fandom, the decade where the parallel movement was put on life support, we thought it might be fun to compare a list of movies that won the Filmfare Award for Best Film through the 80s with their blockbuster counterparts. The two lists threw up a few surprises to say the least! This chart will show you what we mean.

Of course, lists don't always represent the reality. For example, Amitabh Bachchan delivered some of his greatest hits during this decade without rating a mention in these lists. Meanwhile, the list is full of the old guard, which isn't an accurate description of a decade dominated by newcomers like Sunny Deol and Anil Kapoor. The trend continues today - the Khans dominate the box office even though the chatter is all about the young guns like Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan and Shahid Kapur.

Yes, you really DO need to watch Toofan!

In this episode we discuss
  • our list of the quintessential 80s movies / actors
  • why Sridevi was hot and Jayaprada was not
  • where is Amitabh? Delivering some of his greatest hits followed by some of his greatest clankers.
  • the star kids of yesteryear like Sunny Deol, Sanjay Dutt and Kumar Gaurav
  • where is Mithun? Becoming a national icon.
  • Rishi becomes Sweater Uncle
  • Jeetendra was the hero of our childhood
  • the always fascinating topic of 80s fashion! Say yes to apsaras in netting!

PS - According to an interview with Anusha Rizvi (Peepli Live) Kamal Swaroop's Om Dar-ba-dar - the title makes more sense once you figure out the pronunciation - was an excellent film that was either never released or couldn't manage a distribution deal. If anybody has seen it or knows where we might get to see it, do let us know!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Straddlers: Actors of Parallel and Mainstream Cinema, part 2

In the concluding part of our conversation with Carla of Filmi Geek about actors who have tried both mainstream and parallel cinema, we cover more key members of the cast who have been successfully straddling worlds for years as well as some newer performers:
  • Rekha (Carla: "She's just so much better when she gets to be fiery.")
  • Om Puri (Carla: "...and then he's in Disco Dancer.")
  • Aishwarya Rai (Amrita: "She has 'righteous face' going on.")
  • Kay Menon (Amrita: "I have no idea why he isn't a huge star.")
  • Konkona Sen Sharma (Beth: "Once again, KSS is the great hope of our podcast.")
  • and apologies to Neha Dhupia, Mahie Gill, and Abhay Deol, whom we talked about for several minutes, but the computer garbled their segment into unintelligible gibberish. As for the latter, we all three love him very much and he'll have to feature in a later episode.
Also for discussion:
  • What other actors would we like to see in Indian—and non-Indian—art films?
  • Would any moneybags out there like to make Carla's "Shabana Azmi + Helen Mirren" film?
  • Should the US have followed India's lead in banning Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for its insane depiction of the country by blocking My Name Is Khan?
This episode is the second of a two-part conversation. You can listen to Masala Zindabad: Straddlers part 2 by clicking the player above, subscribing to our feed, on iTunes, or downloading here. Part 1 is available for download here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Straddlers: Actors of Parallel and Mainstream Cinema, part 1

Carla of Filmi Geek joins us to talk about actors past and present who have worked in parallel cinema as well as more mainstream films. And what a star cast it is! Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Shashi Kapoor, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh, Sanjeev Kumar, Anupam Kher.... Points of discussion include:
  • What would it take to tempt you to sign a movie that turned out to be Dance Dance or Toofan after you've done things that are decidedly not Dance Dance or Toofan?

  • How to portray that certain kind of madness that results from Jeevan having stolen you away from your mother Indrani Mukherjee when you were just a wee baby.
  • The sensation of recognizing the family features under very different exteriors, aka "That looks like a KapooOHMYGOD!!!"
  • Does Shabana Azmi convince you she's a masala heroine in her early years?

  • The relationship between Masoom and Main Hoon Na.
  • Naseeruddin Shah shakes it in "Oye Oye" from Tridev

    before we get to his of blue footie pajamas and the BOOM! of Asambhav (pleasingly by the same director as Tridev).

This episode is the first of a two-part conversation. You can listen to Masala Zindabad: Straddlers part 1 by clicking the player above, subscribing to our feed, on iTunes, or downloading here. Part 2 is now downloadable here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Manmohan Desai & the Women

Over the course of a career that spanned three vastly different decades, Manmohan Desai revolutionized Hindi cinema - not by inventing something new, but by knitting the most recognizable bits of the very old into a one-size-fits-all comforter dubbed a masala movie. His work at the pinnacle of his creative years are classic Bollywood: Raampur ka Lakshman, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Roti, Dharam Veer, Chacha Bhatija, Parvarish, Amar Akbar Anthony, Suhaag, Naseeb, Coolie, Mard...a truly astonishing ten years.

Most people will agree that Amar Akbar Anthony was the ultimate masala movie ever made; our panel on the podcast today will testify that Mard is possibly one of the most camp movies ever filmed. The classic Desai film is always fun, patriotic, and family-friendly with wink-nudges for the adults. Everyone is the movie suffers through multiple horrifying incidents but at the end of three hours it all ends happily. They have become a part of the fabric of Indian life and have been remade into other languages, referenced in newspaper articles, and studied and cited.

So we sat down with known Desai-lover Angela of the Post-Punk Cinema Club to discuss the women in his movies - from the classic all-suffering Maa to the kickass criminal chicks, the virgin prostitute to the nice girls forgotten in all the action.

And of course, in true Masala Zindabad fashion, along the way we found the time to detour on to subjects like Shashi Kapoor's lovemaking skills vs. Amitabh Bachchan's, a short investigation into Dharmendra's underwear (again), and how religion leads to Bollywood fandom. You're welcome.

You can listen to Masala Zindabad: Manmohan Desai & the Women by clicking the player above, subscribing to our feed, on iTunes, or downloading here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Iconic Female Characters in Hindi Cinema part 4

In the final episode of our series on iconic female characters with Ira of Old is Gold, we move from Sridevi in Chandni up to Konkona Sen Sharma's mature, modern working woman in Wake Up Sid. Despite both of these women making choices we don't quite understand - picking an irritating Kapoor father/son pair over the much better Khanna set - they're fascinating artifacts of their eras. No discussion of important characters of the 1990s would be complete without Simran, the girl millions of fans wanted to be. Does she still seem enviable in 2011? We're more impressed by how family attitudes towards daughters have changed by the time movies get to Geet of Jab We Met barely a decade later.

And yes, there is another detour about Shashi Kapoor...and Dharmendra's thighs. Trust us, they make sense when you listen to the whole thing.

"O Meri Mehbooba" from Dharam Veer. And here's Amrita's theory about thighs in case you hadn't read it.

You can listen to Masala Zindabad: Iconic Female Characters part 4 by clicking the player above, subscribing to our feed, on iTunes, or downloading here. The other parts of this series are here:
• 1: the Bharatiya Nari
2:  Fearless Nadia, Chhoti Bahu, Sujata
3: Mother India, Seeta, Geeta, and Bobby