July 16, 2010

Ten things I have wanted/done which my gender is not supposed to

I was tagged by The Banno (http://batulm.wordpress.com) more than a week ago, and I've actually spent a lot of time timing about this- ten things I have wanted or done which my gender is not supposed to. Its a challenging post, because norms mutate every few year or so, and as an Indian woman in the USA, there are tons of suppositions, cultural baggage and what not flung at me. More than what I am NOT supposed to do, there are way too many things I am assumed to be. Since this IS a blog dedicated to cinema, I used Sridevi's characters as examples. So here goes:
  1. I wont take BS. For all our modernity, women in general seem to always take a back seat to their male "superior"- boss/dad/significant other. Don't know why we are expected to, but the guys try their best to put us down! I cant shut up when I see them make unreasonable demands, and refuse. I do try to be tactful, but am usually not :) I wont be a tragedy queen. I cant suffer in silence, and I wont cry easy. Think Anju instead of Manju in Chaalbaaz (or was Manju the assertive one? (see comments)).
  2. I pretty much do exactly what I want. Because I am entirely convinced I'm right. Unless someone else has a better idea, which I am convinced is rare :D Kind like Sri in every movie she ever made.
  3. I don't walk, I clomp. My ma always wanted me to glide gracefully through life [sigh]- unfortunately today, my footsteps resound off the office's CARPETED floors. Ah well, I am not going to be expected to be swirling like Sri, Chandini style, anytime soon.
  4. I'm actually a good driver. Dunno why women are considered bad drivers. Most of the men I know drive worse than me.
  5. I'm not quiet/shy and don't speak in whispers. In fact, my "soft" voice manages to carry remarkably well. This seems to shock my colleagues no end. They expect all Indian women to be paragons of modesty and goodness :) I rush where others are afraid to tread- maybe that's not always good either :D Thats also like Sri's charcters in every movie she probably did :D
  6. I'm very comfortable with my body and sexuality. Cuddly looking and cute, this is who I am, and this is who I will continue to be, just hopefully healthier as time goes by (wishful thinking that). I refuse to follow popular fashion/body trends. Think Sridevi in Mr. India.
  7. I dress appropriately. Surprisingly, I don't believe we are even expected to! The men in the office wear sharp business wear, but the women dress like- butterflies or frumps. wth. We can looked sharper than the boys and better, any day. I think frump is ok if you are bumming at the beach or grocery store, but dressing like you are 16 when you are 48 is inexcusable! For that mater, dressing like an 80 year old at 48 is pretty wrong too :) And looking professional but interesting at work is fun! We can dress our age and look cute! Like Sri does, in real life :)
  8. Female power. I am not superior or inferior to men- I am not going to sell my husband (like Sri did in Judaii) or consider him God-like (like Manju from Chaalbaaz probably would), but my significant other and I can be in a relationship of equality.
  9. I'm not spitting babies. Most of the women I graduated with have babies, but my relatives don't ask me when I am having one- I think they may be a little scared to do so :) Because really, this is a personal choice.
  10. I don't clean house. I don't like to vacuum/dust/clean/mop and I'm no good at it. After vacuuming, the machine is still absolutely empty of dirt, and none of the dust from the floor has moved an inch. My ma and hubby have tried to inculcate this one bit of good Indian womanliness in me, but its never worked, and I've given up long back.
There's probably more where this came from.

July 5, 2010

I Hate Luv Storys

Title: I Hate Luv Storys
Year: 2010
Cast: Imran, Sonam, Samir Soni, Sammir Dattani, Kavin Dave

The best part of the movie has to be who I saw it with, a really fun group of fellow bloggers and tweeters: Cynthia, Jessica, Valencia, The Bollywood Fan and Joe. The company unfortunately was far better than the movie could ever be. Which sounds ominous, but it really isn't- its not a bad movie, but not memorable; a fact that could have been avoided... but I'm getting ahead of myself, first- the story!

Imran has let his home in Long Island, NY to be part of Bollywood. He is one of Samir Soni's numerous assistants; Samir being a director modeled after Karan Johar, maker of numerous weepfests/lovesfests/Bollywood sagas. In comes Sonam, who is the art director; Imran gets assigned to help her, and like all the love stories ever, they argue first, and then eventually fall in love. She proposes first, he balks. Then he proposes and she balks. And then they both figure it out. And thats it.

But its really well done, which makes the movie. Unfortunately, it could have been the little movie which could, and it ends up being the not so little movie which simply couldn't.

The pros:
  1. Imran Khan- he is all that a young hero should be. He makes his character quirky, funny, lovable, and that sweet face and those well threaded (or waxed) eyebrows do help- a lot. He slips right into his character, and lives it, and makes you believe, which is really all that matters.
  2. Kavin Dave- plays the chubby friend to Imran, and adds that unfathomable something to the movie. His humor fills in and lifts all the little gaps that would have been glaring in his absence. I want to see him in more movies.
  3. Samir Soni- One of those actors who has been around a long time, but hasn't gotten his due I think. This must be his most pleasant and long running role in a movie, and he does really well. His character behaves often how one would expect Karan Johar to behave, and he too, like Kavin, brings in his 100% to the movie.
  4. The script is well done- while the story could easily be classified as run of the mill, the script, the dialogues and their wit keeps things flowing as well as any good romantic comedy should. The premise of a movie inside a movie and of the self-aware humor are executed with a large wink to the audience, and have been done seldom better.
The cons:
  1. Sonam Kapoor- I saw Sawariya, and blamed Sonam's lack of performance on the fact that it was her first movie, and that she was just playing herself- a tentative, lovely girl, who is exploring the world around her. Then I saw Delhi-6, and blamed her lack of 100% being there in the fact that the movie was filled with so many great actors, an that since she was so new, she could just be herself- tentative, lovely, sweet. Unfortunately, with this movie, I cant make any of those excuses. She is lovely, wears adorable clothes, gazes prettily at the world, and - and that's pretty much it. The script granted her enough opportunities and dialogues to dazzle us blind. But like my fellow bloggers and tweeters agreed, she just doesn't deliver- her spoken dialogues lack emotion, her voice lacks modulation, and all the loveliness in the world cant excuse that. Her parents got her the face and the body, but the acting bit has to be her. She could of course, grow into being Aishwariya, and work with directors who give her fewer dialogues and more poses- which she would do very well at. Honestly. I was not being catty there.
  2. At some level, I have a little blame to place at the director, Puneet's door. It seems a bit complacent that having pretty stars and a snappy script would guarantee success. Maybe some thought should have gone to casting (See Con #1), and maybe coaching the actors to ensure that the end product works. All the self-aware cockiness of the script fails when one of the leads fails to execute, and that cant be just the actor's bad.
Conclusion: A movie to be seen only with pleasant company- alone, it would be simply a sad fail.