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Monday, December 13, 2010

Going to the Movies: Beth Watches Bollywood

Next up in our Going to the Movies series (posted a bit early this week): co-host Beth talks about the surprising number and variety of venues for Indian films she's experienced just in her home state of Illinois in the last six years. A college classroom, a suburban megaplex, a crumbling art house, and a film festival run by an internationally-known critic - who knew the Prairie State had so many good options!
This story and all others will be collected at the series page, which is also linked on the left of the main site. We'd love to hear yours and hope to add a new each week, so send yours in! Submission requirements and instructions, as well as an overview of the project, are on the series page.

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Awesome recollections, Beth! Thanks so much for taking the time to share. Aw goody, you got Taal for your first big-screen Bolly movie? I'm jealous! Mine was (hold your Shashi-stolen breath) Shaan at age 4 (though I'd misremembered it as being Hero for the longest time, for reasons I'll reserve for my own "Going to the Movies" ep, fair enough? Shh, don't tell Amrita though. Wanna surprise the heck outta her. lol. Where the heck is she, btw. I miss her. She's like my compass or something...I feel somewhat 'lost at sea' without her, if you know what I mean...but don't worry, you're doing a FANTASTIC job in her absence, "orient"ing me). And how wonderful to experience it at so regal and pristine sounding a place as The Virginia movie palace!!

    Taal is an absolute favorite of mine too, mainly for its (first half) stolen moments and "peculiar eroticisms," as Ebert puts it. Second half kinda goes to hell in a handbasket but hey who cares, right? The moments that worked are all that matter. Well at least to me.

    "She looks studiously indifferent. The boy is intrigued. So am I ... I have to admit: This is fun. There is an innocence in this pure entertainment" Thankyouthankyouthankyou Roger Ebert!! (And Coca Cola, you too!!)

    You know I'm nuts about the word "juxtaposition" don't you?! Love how you sprinkle it at all the right places... so sweet!! Especially to illustrate the (co)existence of rural/urban elements of American culture, as epitomized by (the location of) The Princess. (A huge grain elevator in the vicinity? Are you kidding me? How awesome is that!)

    And you are a movie (s)talker?? Well I must remember not to sit next to you then, LOL!! Seriously, a trip to Chicago is long overdue (I'll let you know when I'm in town next, and we can go see a movie, deal? Must make pinky promise prior though, not to talk). The last two times I was there (in my 12 years of U.S. living) were in 2003 (Buffalo Grove, to visit cousins-in-law for Thanksgiving...brrrr so COLD, my first taste of Windy City) and 2006 (Schaumburg, for a work-related get together; events of that evening included a boat ride on Lake Michigan...we stood on the deck after dinner and drinks, while a live band played every cool song under the sun, and looked out at the beautiful Chicago skyline, lit with a million unforgettable).

  3. CheeC - Oh, I'm right here, waiting to pounce on you at the right moment, which is RIGHT NOW! Muahahaha!

    This segment was one of Beth's best ideas, I think. The stories everyone has are amazing.

  4. thud! flump! thud! Ouchie.. Look whachyu done?! You pounced so suddenly, and that too just as I was time-traveling to a whole another world listening to an abs-o-bloody-lutely amazing epi of uber-cool kitties cracking up over Koffee, I landed right onto the Momentary Laps of Reason!!

    But worry not. You know me. I'm atrociously good at picking myself up, dusting myself off and descending back down the dusty dungeons of undistubed depravity. Meanwhile, pliss to keep ploughing, kogitating, agitating and generally irritating, I mean, irrigating, coz...coz corn clearly craves all the 'farmerly' TLC. :)

  5. Beth, I really enjoyed your recollections of film viewing in and around Illinois. I was amazed to hear about your distributor sourcing prints and driving around for hundreds of miles showing the print in several locations over one weekend. That used to happen in Bradford (my home town) several decades ago, i.e. when men like my father first came to work in the textile mills during the early 1960s! Towards the end of the 1960s, there were seven or eight small cinemas in Bradford owned by South Asians showing the latest films. I gather legends like Dilip Kumar and Dharmendre would come to Bradford and say a few words to the audience at the start of one of their films - a sort of unofficial movie premiere although they referred to these as 'personal appearances'.

    Your recollections also made me realise how spoilt we are now in Bradford (and indeed many parts of England). In Bradford alone, the two main multiplex cinemas dedicate several screens to Indian films at any one time. The small independent cinemas I mentioned closed a long time ago. Sometimes the multiplexes even show a Lollywood film, when there's a decent one released! Guess we're spoilt for choice!

    Great innovative series!

  6. I'm so glad you like the series! We're really delighted with the stories that are rolling in. If you have friends who might like to contribute, please invite them to join in!

    When I recorded this, I was so surprised at how many film-viewing opportunities I've had just in a few years just within a 3-hour drive of my house. 3 hours is pretty far for a film, even by American standards, but I have blog colleagues who have no such luxury because they live in less populous areas and/or less diverse communities.

    How WONDERFUL that stars used to come to Bradford! That's so endearing and is a huge testament to how global Bollywood has been for so long - and to the power of films as a cultural connection!