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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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Filmistan High Class Reunion: Koffee with Karan Season 3 in Review

Maria of the blog Filmiholic returns to Masala Zindabad to review the rest of season 3 of Koffee with Karan. Just like your yearbook, we're giving out our own awards—Karan's were so predictable, darlings— to statement, moments, and performances on the show.

The Good:
  • guest we'd actually want to meet for coffee or a drink
  • most pleasantly surprising guest

  • cattiest Rapid Fire round
The Bad:
  • most eye-roll-inducing guest/moment/episode

  • most adolescent behavior

The Ugly:
  • guest whose ensemble made us say "What were they thinking?!?"
  • biggest cringe/"Oh no they didn't!"
Special Award for Outstanding Achievement in Yadda Yadda Yadda:

A few suggestions for the future of the show:
  • number one change we wish they'd make to the format of the show
  • guests we'd love to see
And some thoughts on the new show by Simi Garewal, India's Most Desirable. Plus, if anyone knows why a man so interesting and articulate as Karan Johar insists on making such a terrible show, let us know!

If you missed our first post on KWK midway through its season, you can listen at this link. Masala Zindabad is available on iTunes and through subscription to our feed, and you can download this episode here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Iconic Female Characters in Hindi Cinema part 3

In the third episode of our series on iconic female characters with Ira of Old is Gold, our discussion moves from Mother India to Seeta aur Geeta to Bobby.

  • Beth wonders why the general term "Mother India" seems to connote something so much meeker and lamer than Nargis's character really is.
  • Ira proposes that even Geeta is not quite as independent as we'd like.
  • Amrita gets all kinds of grossed out thinking about Raj Kapoor's use of actual teenage actors to tell the more uncomfortable arcs of Bobby's story.
Also, this episode originally included a momentary tangent into Shashi Kapoor love scenes that one of us might have uploaded just for fun. Maybe. Possibly.

In case you missed them, here are parts 1 and 2 of this series. You can listen to Masala Zindabad: Iconic Female Characers 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
4: Chandni, Simran, Geet – and Sid wakes up 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

the International Indian Film Academy awards in Toronto (insert joke about "I I F, eh?")

In this admittedly unpolished post, Beth reflects on her trip to Toronto for the IIFAs last weekend. Lots of pictures, too! Listen here, subscribe to our feed, or find us on iTunes.

before IIFA day

The lobby of the Fairmont Royal York hotel where many of the press and small events were held and several stars stayed.

This turned out to be my most successful celebrity-spotting location. Like this:

I also saw Madhavan, Arshad Warsi (whom I am fated to encounter on the steps of fancy hotels, apparently), Javed Akhtar, and Zeenat Aman, plus Tommy Sandhu, Raj, and Pablo from the BBC Asian Network.

Javed Akhtar and Vishal Bhardwaj at the IIFA music workshop. Squee!

Composing a song live at IIFA music workshop: from left, Ehsaan Noorani, Javed Akhtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, Shankar Mahadevan, and Salim Merchant. Akhtar wrote a few lines and the musicians made up a song on the spot.

awards night
The green carpet outside the stadium about five hours before the start of the show.

The stage.

Sonu Sood wins best villain.

Bipasha Basu's set.

The set for "the sons of Punjab."

If you squint, you might be able to make out Bobby in white just a step or two behind the front row in the center of the stage.

Ranveer Singh wins best male debut and elicits mighty squeals.

Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor present best couple, and Neetu looks like she's heard it all before.

In fact, even I had heard this before. Rishi spouted the statistic about how many heroines have launched opposite him (23, I believe he said), the same one he trotted out at an interview I heard him do in London last year, and my reaction was also the same: "That means you were a hero too damn long!"

"What the what?" moments: Hillary Swank and Cuba Gooding Junior help present top awards.

at the Toronto International Film Festival's Raj Kapoor retrospective red carpet
Vivan Bhatena aka the cricket-playing boyfriend from Chak De India.

Raj's sons and the premiere of Ontario (as you do).

I have no idea who this is but the people in front of me wanted her autograph.

I was told the woman in white is Krishna Kapoor; in pink, Raj/Shammi/Shashi's sister Urmi?

Javed Jaffrey! He was really nice.

Best for last: Zeenat Aman and Neetu Singh.

Other bloggers at the IIFAs: Totally Filmi, Dolce and Namak, Filmi Girl, Shell's Bollyworld, and Daniel at Bollyspice. And here's a lovely post with photos and quotes from the "Bollywood, Hollywood, and Beyond" panel discussion with Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Kabir Bedi, and Lisa Ray. Dolce and Namak also wrote it up here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Going to the Movies: Irna Q.

Our first Going to the Movies of what we're calling the second season of Masala Zindabad (because we can!) features Irna Q of the excellent blog Bollywood in Britain. Seriously, head on over there and read something. You won't regret it.

Irna brings us a charming story about the importance of Pakeezah in her life and how she accidentally gifted her friend Jodie with a new career when she asked her to perform one of the songs at her wedding. 

Available on iTunes, through subscription to our feed, or download here.

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, so send yours in! Submission requirements and instructions, as well as an overview of the project, are on the series page.