maeve66: (Nagini)
Okay, that's a stupid title. But whatever. I haven't posted in yonks (= donkeys' years, Brit colloquialism from my early 20s), in ages, in literally months or more than a year, I am not even sure. I could look, but I won't.

My last gift from Winter Break was from my poor father, who gave me (I guess) the illness he caught from a friend while visiting out here for two weeks. My father, my stepmother, my aunt, and my two cousins were all here over Xmas, all staying at my sister's (my dad and stepmother were at my mom's mother-in-law-apartment, where he can smoke his pipe, addict that he is. He can't smoke at my apartment because my landlord made it a non-smoking building a couple of years ago). Anyway, R. had them all*, and was prostrate with exhaustion (I exaggerate, but not by much -- my father and my aunt [ex-wife of my mom's brother who died this Spring... there, I HAVE written less than a year ago, because I wrote about our Wisconsin/Chicago trip this Summer, for his memorial...] and cousins are not hella close, and my father very much wants the familial spotlight to himself.) I love him, but he's immensely emotionally insecure. Which bugs my sister, who hates to have to balance a bazillion emotional needs. I did my best to take up some of the slack with him and my stepmother, but ended vacation with severely swollen lymph nodes on the last weekend, and then a vile flu which I even gave up and went to Kaiser about... this whole past week. It's finally, FINALLY fucking departing, I believe. I don't even want to talk about what missing a week of work will mean. I guess I'll find out Monday.

The first thing which has given me any pleasure in 2016 is a Bollywood movie which I discovered tonight by Googling and Wikipedia-ing around... in fact, I think finally I just looked up Yash Raj releases, tbh. I haven't even finished it, but I am writing about it now, in the beginning of the film. Why? I guess because I haven't seen a Bollywood film I've loved for so very, very long. Dhoom 3 was such a relentless disappointment, especially with Aamir Khan starring and being pompous as fuck (with another of his hella ridiculous attempts to portray someone vaguely Aspergers? Actually, that's slightly unfair, as Shah Rukh Khan has as much blame as Aamir to shoulder, in that regard... but at least SRK's versions are so fucking over the top that you almost don't care (I'm looking at you, My Name is Khan) and with a Chicago setting. They filmed, in fact, right in front of the building one of my above-mentioned cousins lived in, at the time. The film also deeply disappointed my younger niece, whom I have successfully recruited to Bollywood addiction, unlike her older sister, who now only politely tolerates Bollywood, much like she sort of politely tolerates cats (astounding! How could anyone in my family not love cats?). R-the-younger's favorite movie in the world is Dhoom 2, and she loves Aishwarya Rai... (I have to remember to tell her that Aish has a couple of films due out relatively soon; she'll be overjoyed). So this bleaker D3 was a miserable flop for her.

So, to the film I am ENJOYING. It's called Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, and it stars someone I'd never seen until an earlier movie tonight (also quite cute, called Shuddh Desi Romance) -- Sushant Singh Rajput**, and other actors I've never heard of. The rising tide churns big names over so quickly -- actors I like a lot, like Priyanka Chopra and Rani Mukherjee and even Shahid Kapoor are less seen, and names I've never heard of are at the top. The movie is a period mystery thriller, and oh, my god, the production values are so insanely better than the aspirants to that category from the 1980s, 1990s, and even 2000s. It's apparently based on a comic book character, a disappointed academic in Calcutta during WWII who becomes a detective and has adventures. Great background. Lush filming. WWII facing east towards the Japanese and Chinese, from the viewpoint of nationalist Indians. I hope this movie bears out my absolutely caught fascination. I'll report, maybe, later. Thank fuck I am finally even feeling up to watching movies. It was a wretched week.

*Well, I had my mother staying with me, on my living room futon with the Xmas tree. That way, my dad and stepmother could be at her place, etc. It's actually really nice having my mom stay with me, even for two weeks. We would get on each other's nerves after that point, no doubt -- I know that, as we lived together right before I moved out to Cali, and it was fucking hard for us not to grate on each other then. Now she's older, and I am a real adult with a full-time job, so she has less to be resentful about. God, I can't stop dangling my prepositions. I always consider writing those sentences correctly, and then think it out in my head and decide it sounds contrived.

**Oh, these (at least apparently) Indian elite names of actors... it's like in England, where people like Christopher Eccleston complain rightly that Eton boys and Sloane girls get all the acting jobs... Kunal Kapoor (not Shashi's son, who has the same name but is a generation older and unrelated) has made the identical complaint... I recall reading about his pretty ordinary father, possibly a Punjabi carpenter, though I might be remembering that wrong, not long after seeing him in Rang de Basanti, still my favorite Bollywood movie ever. ANYWAY, my point was that Kunal Kapoor was in solidarity with Christopher Eccleston's class-based complaint... but now Kapoor has married into the premier Bollywood acting clan, the Bachchans.
maeve66: (Nagini)
This is an old movie poster for a Naag-Nagini movie; there have been many, many iterations of that plot. I was torn between this and a gun-toting Pakistani woman, but this won. I draw women like this all the time -- maybe not with such a ferocious expression. But I like the outthrust and ample hip, as a visual trope. It's also a sort of wistful homage to M. He has a definite soft spot for movies with strong, curvy, campy female protagonists in spandex who smash the hell out of the men in the movie. I like the balance of colors and lighting in this userpic too, though. In all, score.

Saw Zindagi Na Milega Dobari last night with [ profile] amarama. I enjoyed it much more than I expected I would. Hrithik Roshan has really grown on me, though M. despises him. (I WILL get over alluding to M. every five seconds, I swear to fuck I will... it's just a bit hard in this context, to ignore his legacy, as it were). [ profile] amarama and I were talking about how much we enjoy Hrithik's dancing, and his eye makeup, and his general willingness to be a gay pinup idol, especially wearing a biker cap and oiled pecs. Well, that was my thought; I shouldn't foist it on her. The movie suffers (as almost all Bollywood does) from wealth fantasies that make it a bit ridiculous -- traveling in Spain is not as *I* remember it. My traveling in Spain was first by bus, to a dusty town in the middle of fucking nowhere, and then by troop train (not kidding; I'm sure I've told this story at some point) across the border from Portugal to Spain, overnight. Spain IS beautiful, there's no question. But it's not necessarily luxe. Whatever, it was a fun movie, even if I wasn't a fan of the Spanish-Hindi hybrid music. What I want to see is Delhi Belly, an Aamir Khan film promoting the career of his nephew Imran. I love the nepotism of Bollywood, seriously.

I also want to see, though it's hard to find a copy -- a film I am sure is wretched, but hey, it's a modern nagini film -- Hissss. I hope that's enough Ss. Triumph! Amazon has a used copy. Here is the review of it, from that site.

As the story goes, the movie is about the Vengeance of the Snake Woman, when the legend of the Naagin has been spreading for over 4000 years ago.

Finally in 2009 George States (Jeff Douchette), a ruthless American travels to the jungles of India and captures her mate. She transforms into a stunningly attractive woman (Mallika Sherawat) with absolutely no clue about contemporary civilization or the ways of mankind, and ventures into the city in desperate search for her lover with vengeance on her mind and venom in her fangs.

What follows is a chase at breakneck speed, with horrifying deaths, narrow escapes and special effects never seen before in India, as Vikram Gupta's (Irrfan Khan) Clarice Starling chases down a beautiful sexy killer more dangerous, powerful and terrifying than Hannibal Lecter.

This is India's Werewolf, Vampire, and Hannibal the Cannibal, who has an axe to grind with the villainous human race who has dared to desecrate her environment and capture her mate...

I love the equation of Irrfan Khan with Jodie Foster's Clarice Starling, and Mallika Sherawat with Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter. I also love that the American (I guess) actor's name is Jeff Douchette. Gotta see that movie. Which reminds me, I NEED to post about a Pakistani horror/splatter movie I want to own, a fairly recent one that should, in my opinion, entirely revitalize the Pakistani film industry. It's called Zibahkhana. Maybe I'll do a two movie entry on the Pakistani film industry, also dealing with Khuda Kay Liye. That would be a funny mash-up review.
maeve66: (Hammer & Sickle Bollywood)
Labor Day Weekend. It's nice to have all three days off. At 4:20 on a normal Sunday, I would (possibly, anyway) be starting the slow slide down to mild Sunday night anxiety about the work week. Instead, I am playing around on the computer, reading stuff about John Reed (Ten Days that Shook the World, and, of course, Warren Beatty in Reds) and Louise Bryant. My mom is hanging out with me. This is nice. We started Dil Chahta Hai last night, but didn't get far. I did love the leather/satin pants male dance number, with the three stars singing about the right of their generation to be young and irresponsible, in a disco. Three guys, three pairs of shiny, shiny pants, red, white, and dark blue. Where we left off, they're on road trip to the Indian version of Spring Break in Goa, I think, and have been singing the title track, which is something like "Which way for love?". I should look it up, but I'm too lazy. Oh, they say that it's "Do Your Thing", in English. Hm. Here, a hilarious review of it.

My apartment is fairly clean, and laundry is in the dryer. I made good onion-and-mushroom scrambled eggs for my mother and I, for brunch I guess, since we were so slow moving this morning. And I socialized by phone, which I always enjoy. My friend [ profile] john_b_cannon is coming up this evening, and we're debating what we want to do -- we can play! Because there's no work tomorrow! We'll probably end up going to the Starry Plough, though I am also arguing on behalf of a certain musical that looks so awesome. This is the last night, and I want to go to it. But it depends on the two friends who are hanging out with me.

What else? Cramps and bleeding and a certain emotionally labile mood. Yeah. Oh well, I don't usually mind that all that much. So far, it's bearable.

As for both my jobs (the normal teaching, and the online teaching): at school, things are a little more complicated by the arrival of a student who speaks almost no English -- definitely does not understand any abstractions in English, though he can name a vast number of nouns, both verbally from pictures, and by reading the words and sounding them out* -- but is fluent in CANTONESE, and also by the fact that the data lists of students who need to be given the CELDT test are in far more than disarray. Online, this particular US history survey has students ranging from 17 to 48 years old. One student is a sort of autodidact who can really write and debate well -- I am hoping that his contributions will raise the level of the discussion rather than alienating the other students. He seems pretty diplomatic, so far.

*This seems especially impressive to me for someone whose native language doesn't use an alphabetic mapping of sounds to symbols, which is, I guess, a redundant way to say that. Ah, well. Viva redundancy!



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