December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays

In between our families extensive Christmas celebrations in Salzburg and Switzerland, here´s wishing you all Happy Holidays from MiniKhan, my family and me.

PS: MK is addicted to Xmas cookies. Say goodbye to his six-pack.

December 13, 2007

Prapancha Pash - A Throw Of Dice

Lets stick with the not so usual Bollywood fare for one more moment and go back to the very early years of the Indian film history. And by very I mean 1929. Late silent film era early.

Ever since I saw the trailer of Prapancha Pash - A Throw Of Dice sometime last year on one of my DVDs I was hooked. I like Silent movies and this one is a very important one for Indian cinema history. Directed by Franz Osten, a German director that started to work in India as early 1924.

Osten was working as a head director for Emelka Films in Munich, Germany (which would later become Bavaria Films) when the company was approached by Himansu Rai (who later founded Bombay Talkies Ltd), who was looking for co-operation partners who would invest in Indian films.
The first film that was co-produced was "Prem Sanyas", India´s first international co-production. Four years later Osten once again traveled, along with his crew, to India for "Shiraz" and later that year he started to work on "Prapancha Pash". A monumental film, shot on real locations throughout India, with hundreds of elephants, tigers, horses, real jungle sets and thousands of junior artists.

The story of Prapancha Pash is an adaption of the Mahabharata´s game of dice. Two kings, one good - Sohat, one evil - Ranjit.
The evil one is greedy for Sohat´s kingdom and during a royal tiger hunt Sohat is "accidentally" wounded with a poisoned arrow. Plan saphal? Arre nahin! Luckily the "accident" happens close to beautiful Sunita´s house, the daughter of a healer. So he is nurtured back to health and gets the girl on top. Happies endings? Phir nahin. There is still the greedy Ranjit. And unsurprisingly he also falls for beautiful Sunita and driven by jealousy, greed and some other not so nice traits he tries everything to create a rift between the two young lovers.

His most devious plan is set in motion at the eve of Sohat and Sunita´s wedding. He lures the young king who has a dangerous weakness for gambling into a game of dice where he plays foul and Sohat loses everything. His kingdom, his crown, his freedom. And now being reduced to the status of a slave, he even loses Sunita. How mean! Thank god Sohat´s closest servant has a nosy beta. He finds the loaded dice and now we can head straight to the climax.

Even if with a length of only 72min it is a huge film. The cinematography is great. Osten´s use of real locations creates an authentic even realistic feel. The story is well rounded. It just works. Bas.

Btw. the DVD I got has another interesting feature. The movies score is done by Nitin Sawhney. The BFI (British Filminstitute) restored the filmprints in 2006 and Sawhney got to compose a new score for it, that was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. In fact there were a few live performances since 2006 in London (more dates might follow) and now there is a UK DVD and German DVD that also features an interview with Sawhney.

As much as I love Nitin Sawhney, the score is not really a perfect fit for the movie. The power of silent movie scores lies in the parallel storytelling they usually provide. Sawhney claims Ennio Morricone and Bernhard Herrmann (two of the greatest film composers in history) as his musical influences and that is where the problem might be rooted. I feel that his music just accompanies the pictures and that is too little. It did not touch me. Not that the pictures and visual storytelling would not be able to stand on their own. It is just that I would have preferred a little more Max Steiner with his exuberant use of Leitmotif and moodtechnique, Mickeymousing and continuous Underscoring.

But still this is one movie you should not miss. It is a classic. I really do hope that more films of this section of the Indian film heritage will find their way back on the screen.

PS: Satyajit Ray saw Franz Osten as the founder of a Realism School in Indian Film. Osten became a guru to Indian cinema dignitaries like Raj Kapoor, Sasadhar Mukherj or Dilip Kumar until he was incarcerated by the British in 1939 as citizen of an enemy´s country (especially since he had joined the foreign section of the NSDAP in Bombay in 1936) and later was banished from Indian soil.

PPS: Btw. concerning the alleged kissing-on-screen-tabu that should stem from these times. Bakwaas hai. There are two big fat dead-on-the-lips smooches in PP. Hah!
PPPS: Oh, and another thing. Prapancha Pash is perfect for Movie Improv-Karaoke (no distracting dialogues *g*)

December 12, 2007

Dus Kahaniyaan. Not too good. Not too bad. Not too ugly.

No one can question my dedication towards Bollywood anymore. I really had my doubts about DK...Sanjay Gupta producing a film with 10 shorts (and directing 4 of them). Not the savest initial position. Still we showed up last Friday at the cinema for our now usual first day/first show date only to find out that the print was not there yet. Bleh. Both shows had to be canceled. By Saturday afternoon my motivation to watch it was close to zero. But thanks to a nagging phone call from fellow BW-fanatic Ezri I pulled myself off the couch and we gave it a last try. Good thing we did. Dus Kahaniyaan is not a key moment in Hindi film history but we had a very good time watching the 10 films.

Over the last year I started to love the format of shorts in film (I honestly didn´t before) So I was curious how the master of rip-offs, color filters and skimpy clad item girls managed to fare with a format like this.

10 films. Each about 10 minutes in length. An impressive cast. 5 directors apart from Gupta.

Usually when you watch that amount of different stories in such short time you tend to forget the forgettable ones right after you come out of the cinema. Well, we rather easily managed to get 9 of the ten films together in the right order.
But let me give you a short overview about all of them..

Matrimony: Arbaaz Khan. Mandira Bedi. Married couple. No kids. Bored wife to busy multinational company vice-president. And an extramarital affair. Nice twist. Director: Sanjay Gupta

High on the Highway: Jimmy Shergill. Mausmeh. A very stoned Jimmy and his girlfriend. The moral of the story: Thou shalt not get high on a highway. Especially at 4 am. One of the tougher stories. I especially liked the (very dark) lighting. I love it when directors/ cinematographers have the guts to work with darkness. Director: Hansal Mehta

Dia Mirza. Manoj Bajpai. Manoj moves into an apartment that has a beautiful young woman living next door. He takes a liking to her. She blocks his advances. The group of adolescent punjabi boys sitting behind us where reacting to this the strongest. And even I had to cheer at the final twist. Director: Sanjay Gupta

Pooranmashi: The only story that is set in a rural surrounding. And it is shot in a very straight manner. And thus feels a bit out of joint compared to the rest of the shorts. But it still packs a punch. Daughter (Minissha Lamba) is all set to get married when her loving symbolic gesture to her mother (Amrita Singh) causes a tragedy. Director: Meghna Gulzar

Strangers in the night: Neha Dupia. Mahesh Manjrekar. Wife tells husband her lives most memorable moment. It drags a bit. And the hand licking and kissing is rather yucky. Also the - in itself - powerful twist is a bit too far fetched the way the story builds up before. And the acting is a bit to sterile. Director: Sanjay Gupta

Lovedale: Aftab Shivastani. Neha Uberoi. Anupam Kher. It seems as if no true Bollywoodfilm can stand without a pinch of Masala. And Lovedale covers almost all the necessary points. Naive. Sweet. Plus it made me wanna see more of Aftab. He´s cute. [insert girly giggle] Btw. The earring was fugly. Very. Director: Jasmeet Dhodi

Sex on the beach: Dino Morea relaxes on the beach, when he finds a book in the sand. And a minute later a girl (Tareena Patel) in a very golden Bikini approaches him. The spookiest of the lot and the by far weakest. Because it is so predictable and in fact boring. But Dino looks cool shirtless and wet. Additional note: There were no Jet-skies in 1901 or 1946. Director: Apoorva Lakia

Rise Plate: Shabana Azmi. Naseruddin Shah. Clearly the highlight for me. The Story about a Hindu nani and a Muslim uncle and their fight over a rice plate had some fantastic moments. It also was the one short I wished would not end. Even if the twist was predictable pretty soon. Director: Rohit Roy

Gubbare: Nana Patekar. Rohit Roy. Anita Hassanandani. Newlyweds on a bus quarrel. Wife is miffed and changes seats. Sits down next to man holding a bouquet of red balloons. And he tells her why. Warning: there might be tears. Director: Sanjay Gupta (I did not think he might have it in him to tell something so sensible. But then again.. once you cast Nana you would have to work hard to ruin your film)

Rise and Fall: Suniel Shetty. Sanjay Dutt. And here is the stereotypical Sanjay Gupta I´ve been waiting all evening. At least for the storyline that he directed. There is a second storyline directed by Hansal Mehta that gets interwoven into the Sanjay/Suniel part. A local gangster and his closest aid/friend. And a story of loyalty and betrayal. Unfortunately it is not that good. Neither the story, nor the execution nor the acting by Sanjay and Suniel. A bit anti-climatic. It is understandable that Gupta placed the story with the biggest star at the end but "Rise Plate" and "Gubbare" are so strong that "Rise and Fall" gets overshadowed by them. Directors: Sanjay Gupta and Hansal Metha.

So yes. I had an enjoyable evening. And no. You don´t have to rush to the cinema to watch it. You can easily wait until the DVD comes out. But give it a chance.

November 28, 2007

Jaan-E-Mann. Quite late. I know.

I´m cleaning up my drafts list once again, and found a post that I started writing over 6 months ago. I guess that everybody has seen J-e-M by now, but if you resisted so far, maybe this piece can convince you to finally give it a chance.

When I was a little kid, my favorite picture books where books of the kind like the "Where´s Waldo?" series. I could sit for hours and look at one page and still find some new details and invent stories about the drawn characters.

Jaan-E-Mann is the grown up, moving pictures version of a "Where´s Waldo" book. The first time I watched the movie was last year´s Diwali and I liked it somehow but could not quite make up my mind about it. I decided to wait for the DVD release and give it another go. And I was right. Jaan-E-Mann is a movie that needs to be watched at least a second time. Every time I watched it since I found some new totally crazy details.

Sirish Kunder doesn´t offer a very new or exciting story. Sirf woh purani kahani about ek ladki aur do ladke. Here boy no.1 is Suuuperstar Salman Khan, the ex-husband of former college beauty Preity Zinta. Since the Suuuperstar thingy does not quite work the way he planned it, he has trouble coming up with the alimony Preity´s lawyer demand.

Luckly former college geek now astronaut Ahkhay Kumar shows up on the search for his college dream girl Preity and Salman and his chachu Anupam Kher come up with the idea of marrying off Akshay to Preity to get rid of the alimony demands. Kahani khatm? Naah, there´s a bit more. Former geek still has a problem with "tha´ ladies" so Suuuperstar and Chachu decide to send Salman along with Geek to New York to play a little "Cyrano" and make sure the fixing up works out. So far - so hilarious and there are, from a totally girly point of view, I have to confess, pretty convincing moves our man Salman comes up with.

The bad thing about Jaan-E-Mann: You clearly see that this is the director´s debut movie. He goes overboard on style-over-substance at times. He doesn´t manage a narration that is fluid throughout the film. After a totally hyper first half, the more conventional narrational path he takes in the second part feels almost a bit slow.

The good thing about Jaan-E-Mann: It´s the directors debut movie. He goes overboard with some of his ideas, visuals and his editing. He actually caters a devil may care attitude about many of his visual ideas, especially in the first half, that one seldom finds with more experienced directors. And that is what I loved about Jaan-E-Mann.

Oh and after watching OSO I can now clearly state that Farah and Sirish are a match made in heaven. May their combined insanity live long and prosper.

Aata. Can be a timepass.

Yes. I do watch films besides entertaining MiniKhan. Being host to a celeb like him is time consuming but still when the shipment from anytamil came yesterday, I knew what I had to do.

Have you ever read the liner notes on the back of official South Indian DVD´s? I stopped reading them before watching the film long ago. They usually spoiler the whole film. And the Aata DVD is no exception. On the other hand the verdict the authors of said notes are always passing is very often spot on. And the guy writing the one for Aata, worded some of it better then I could ever do. Please allow me quote:

Sri Krishna (Siddarth) is a film delivery man cum son of a theatre projectionist. He meets a beautiful girl at a jathara. That beautiful woman Satya (Illeana) is actually running away from Vicki (Munna) who forcibly wants to marry her. Vikki is son of a home minsiter and he is a bad guy. [Parts left out due to heavy spoilers. And I mean heavy. Except for the last 2 minutes the text tells every major twist] There is a twist in the tale in the end. M S Raju has tried to capture the chemistry between a beautiful young couple, Siddarth and Illeana. He has succeeded in projecting Illeana as a glamour girl. [The following part about the comedy, I don´t agree with the writer. At all. But then, Telugu and Tamil film comedy is something I have slight difficulties with] Her glamour and Suniel´s comedy (especially the hotel room sequences are the best comedy track) are main highlights of Aata. Comedy is a major plus point and also Illeana´s skin show [!!]. The theatre comes down with laughter at Suniel´s hotel lobby episode. It is situational comedy at its best. Chota K Naidu´s cinematography is another scintillating feature [Oh yes]. He has captured the river Godavari so beautifully and has brought richness to the film [Bilkul]. Director V N Aditya´s direction is neat [Autch!]. Aata can be a timepass.

Still, not all is lost. If we check the all important checklist for the discerning drooling Schnuffel cineast:

Schnuffel wearing pink - check
Schnuffel wet - check, check and check etc. ad infinitum
Schnuffel and puppies in same frame - check
Schnuffel fooling around - check
Schnuffel in full action mode - check

Schnuffel dirty and bleeding - check

What can be better than passing time with that...

I knew he would like it there..

We have final exams in our Sound Engineering department at the moment so the studios usually are off-limits to visitors but lunch break today provided a perfect moment for MiniKhan to still sneek into the studio to jam with the guys and fiddle with the mixing desk.

He is not the greatest of bass players but he does groove behind the drumset.

On another note. MK is getting a bit restless now. Because in perfect Bollywood-filmshoot-in-Austria tradition we have to postpone the filming schedule we planned for his stay. Postpone. Not cancel. Samajhe?

[PS: Wanna know what happens at such exams? Watch Pixars newest short Lifted replace the victim with a musician and it shows pretty much what is going on during some of them...]

November 27, 2007

Today is a good Sanjay day

The writer of this blog is very happy today. Sanjay was granted regular bail by the Supreme Court. He will be released from jail during the next 2 days. He has to hand in his passport, deposit a bond and report to the CBI branch in Mumbai once a month. His next court hearing is 6 months away. That is good. He managed to get through by far worse for the last 14 years. He can manage this too. So I´m happy.

And then I got news that from December 7th Dus Kahaniyaan will play at the UCI in Vienna. Sanjay on the big screen as early as Friday after next. So you bet I´m very happy.

I know, I know, there is a bit of a risk that DK might just not be it. But I like its basic concept and there are some very cool people involved in this film(s) and being the eternal optimist I can´t wait to see it.

November 26, 2007

Chestnuts, Punch, Thrills and early Christmas fun

The last weekend in November marks the start of the beginning of the Advent season in Austria and that is when all those beautiful Christmas markets open. Since MiniKhan did not get to celebrate Diwali I thought he should at least get as much of Christmas celebrations as possible.

So after we finally arrived at my sisters´ and he was back to his usual charming self, we took him along to our visit to Salzburg´s picturesque Christkindl-market where we also met with my mum and MiniKhan´s new best friend, my Naani.

Right in the beginning we had a short scary moment, when Sebastian, my 14 months old nephew, got hold of MK. But being the professional "thrills" coordinator he is, he managed to get out of that unharmed (and the big serving of candy cotton afterwards helped to calm his nerves)

After that he really got into an early Christmas feel. Checking out the stands with tree ornaments and sweets, having a glass of Lionsclub Punch and taking in the incredible scenery.

He even got to meet Salzburgs most famous son, W.A. Mozart and he could not resist having his picture taken in front of a "Empress Sissi" display.

He simply loved it in my hometown (and he finally put on some weight munching on chestnuts and cookies)

He can be a bit of a pain in the a**

What did we learn this weekend?
MiniKhan can be rather impatient (as is said about his alter ego) and that is quite irritating.
Our journey started very ok. He was happy when we let him drive for a bit...

But that lasted only for a few minutes...
We´re not even out of Vienna, when the first "Are we there yet?" came...

30 min later. "And now?"

Another 30min down the way: "But now we´re there, hai naa?"

Thankfully he fell asleep short after Ansfelden..

November 23, 2007

hanging out with the gang and a costume fitting session

There was so much going on at the OSO premiere, that MiniKhan had very little opportunity to just hang out, chill and gossip with the cool people of my Viennese BW gang. That´s why he was very keen on accompanying me to our usual hangout spot at Vienna´s Cafe Coffee Day in the 1st district yesterday.

But even there a bit of filmi work was waiting for him. We had a fitting session scheduled with his costume designer, Gabi, for the little film he´s going to shoot here. Thankfully he was very pleased with the way his Don jacket turned out (As if there was any doubt about that. Duh.)

And, tomorrow MK is going on a short weekend trip to Salzburg. I did not tell him yet, but he´s going to meet his new best friend, my grandma, again. As she is too visiting my family. Look for a write-up of his adventures in my beautiful hometown not earlier then Sunday night.

November 22, 2007

more fun in the snow and a new friend

So MiniKhan nagged me into driving to the mountains to get some more authentic winter wonderland feel. Last saturday the weather was perfect and I took him to visit my Naani in Semmering.

And boy those two hit it off instantly. Nani loves Bollywood films and has a special sweet spot for SRK (quote Grandma: "that nice young man"), so it came as no surprise that the two were inseparable and up to mischief the whole day. He even did his "Rahul - routine" for her. (Something he so far has refused to do for me. Not fair.)

They were constantly putting their heads together and came up with the funniest stuff. Like when MK said: "Do you think I´ll get myself into trouble with the Pepsi guys if I do this..?"

To which my usually very sophisticated Grandma said. "Oh fish. India is so far away. Who cares?"

November 21, 2007

Fun in the snow.

So MiniKhan had a lot of fun meeting all those great people at the OSO premiere and we all were partying pretty hard. But he had no time to recover and relax after it, as he had to accompany me to work and help me teaching my filmmusic classes.

And then one morning last week he woke me up all excited because it had been snowing all night. And even when I warned him that his wardrobe was not too suitable for that kind of weather, he insisted on building a snowman.

..And had a ball doing it. So much, in fact, that he nagged me into taking him to the mountains to get some more. But that is a different story...

November 20, 2007

MiniKhan at the OSO Premiere

There was a lot going on in Vienna on November 9th. Not only did Om Shanti Om premiere here, national TV covered the event and everybody was dressing up for the occation. November 9th also marked the date our celebrity traveller MiniKhan arrived from Germany and instantly used the opportunity to meet with fans from Switzerland, Germany and Austria and watched the premiere with a bunch of overexcited girls and gals.

So yes, he´s back from hiding. For all those fearing the worst.. Ab fikar mat karo. He´s alive and very well and I got a little story coming up that might explain if not excuse his absence.

Om Shanti Om - what a night!

Apart from being a fun ride for the discerning Bollywoodfan, Om Shanti Om also is the first BW film that got a mention on national TV, and that at prime time even.

So unsuspecting cinema-goers found themselves facing a camera on November 9th and asked what brought them there.. :-)

(the first few seconds have some errors but later you can even watch yours truly with her name misspelled..)

October 30, 2007

I tried to fight it. I swear. OSO.

The Johnny Gaddaar DVD is still on its way from Nehaflix to me. A No Smoking screening is nowhere in sight. So what remains to be done by the discerning Hindi cinema fan? Yes. Right.

Dive head first into the OSO pre-release hype. Yeehaaw!

The way it looks now Vienna will be the only city in the german-speaking parts of the world that will have a cinema release of Om Shanti Om along with the rest of saari duniya. And this suits me mighty fine, would I be if I did not take up the opportunity to go for a first day first (and second, yes, i already booked tickets for back to back shows) show.

As I mentioned before we here are in the lucky position to have a distribution deal between Eros Entertainment and the local UCI Multiplex. So far we got Partner, Gandhi My Father, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulayia out of it. Not that impressive for you? Well it might become so when I tell you that this is an increase in regular cinemas screenings of Bollywood movies by 400%.

But now back to hysterical filmifan-part. And why of all films am I excited about OSO? Oh c´mon. Masala. Plain good ´ole Masala, baby.

Has anyone seen the dialog promos? 1, 2 and 3 ? How can I not be hyped by the prospect of seeing Rishi Kapoor and Subash Ghai fighting over who will give a filmfare award to a bad actor with a too-good-to-be-true sixpack?
Or Deeptika doing a song a la Dhal Gaya Din. Or SRK doing all his SRK-things. And then there is Deewangi of course. And. And. And. Sigh.

I really loved Main Hoon Na. Perfect popcorn cinema. And I have really really high hopes that Farah will pull this one off too. Storywise, visually, performanceswise.

What do I believe to know about it yet? Well, its a reincarnation love story. Om Prakash (patheticly bad wannabe hero but only junior artist so far) falls in love with Shantipriya (a Hema Malini like superstar) Lekin problem hai. Evil mustached other guy with evil intentions hai. And so the lovely couple dies before their love story can bloom. *insert frantic NAHIIIIIN here* The story cannot end there. So we fast foreward to now, as in right now, as both were reborn under slightly different premises and now have to find each other, solve all the riddles and hopefully live happily ever after.

Pre-sale for the 2 shows on the 9th has already started last weekend. And the tickets sell like hot-cakes. We have some OSO refugees from Germany and Switzerland for the weekend, so I am preparing for a very fun, very colorful, very cool weekend.

PS: Bollywood sucks at merchandising. Why did nobody come up with the idea of producing small OSO snow-globes? Oh you could have made a fortune.

October 17, 2007

another teaser and short away notice

I´ll be flying to Berlin in about 2 hours. For a meeting and our annual Alumni Convention (This year no stage action from me there. Do count your blessings)

But to keep this post Bollywood-related.. here a pic that might give you a hint at what MiniKhan will have to do when he finally comes for his scheduled visit...

Dear friend and SRK fanatic Gabi made it. It is perfect. Unbelievably perfect. He will be too cool to be true in it.

October 15, 2007

Now that is where he got the idea from

A bit over a week ago at a classified meeting concerning the next IBBM, this little guy showed up for a short impromptu visit.

Now we finally know whom the big Khan got the idea for his six-pack from. It seems he just tried to look more like his doll :-D

October 03, 2007

I predict a lot of annoyed neighbours in the future

Birgit has been predicting it for months. And Sony seems to have listened. On October 19th they will release SingStar Bollywood for the PlayStation2 in the U.K. (AmazonUK lists two versions. Once with two microphones and once only the game)

The rumored songlist is:

Aashiqui - Nazar Ke Samne
Aksar - Jhalak Dikhla Ja
Chalte Chalte - Chalte Chalte
Chalte Chalte - Suno Na Suno Na
Chameli - Sajna Ve Sajna
Dil Chahta Hai - Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe
Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin - Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin
Don: The Chase Begins Again - Ye Mera Dil
Don: The Chase Begins Again - Khaike Paan Banaraswala
Dus - Dus Bahane Karlke Le Gaya Dil
Guru - Barso Re
Guru - Tere Bina
Ishq Hai Tumse - O Soniya
Kaal - Tauba Tauba
Kaal - Kaal Dhamaal
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - Where's The Party Tonite
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - Mitwa
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - Bole Chudiyan
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - Suraj Hua Maddham
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - Say Shava Shava
Kal Ho Na Ho - Maahi Ve
Kal Ho Na Ho - It's The Time To Disco
Kal Ho Na Ho - Pretty Woman
Khakee - Dil Dooba
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Koi Mil Gaya
Kya Love Story Hai - It's Rocking
Main Hoon Na - Main Hoon Na
Rang De Basanti - Rang De Basanti
Salaam-E-Ishq - Salaam-E-Ishq

Oh, I just got to get it. My poor neighbours. Teehee.

EDIT: One thing that came up when I mentioned it to Ehsaan.. Will Sony be paying royalties? Or are we getting into a sort of eye-for-an-eye situation here? Something like (use deep voice of any well-fed American oil-company CEO to read *ggg*) "Them Indian filmindustry guys use our ideas without asking and even worse paying up. Lets show ´m. Why don´t we do a Karaoke Game and use their songs without askin´. You don´t mess with us, hon´!"

September 28, 2007

just off to get new material

I'm trying something here.

Just a short note:
- i am in Zürich for the weekend to visit family.
- i did not bring my macbook (big mistake, i know, but how was i supposed to know, that Akshay Shah of would link to my Bhool Bhulaiya post, while i'm gone *g*)
- so i'm typing on my shiny new iPod Touch and that is kind of tricky. I have no idea how this turns out.

- on a filmi note... I did manage to get quite a few dvds today
And last but not least... The first thing i saw after leaving the plane today was an ad saying "Oerlikon is Bollywood" ?? I have no idea what that part of zurich has to do with BW. But then a few meters further it read "Oerlikon is Shanghai"... They are a weird but nice people here

September 24, 2007

Outsourced - Go and watch it.

Picture this:
A small Seattle based mail-order company is selling patriotic kitsch to Americans. And then one day their whole call center is being outsourced to India. Todd (Jeff Hamilton), the call-center manager, has no real option than going to India to train his replacement if he wants to keep working for his company. So he goes. And he´s forced to jump head-first into a life altering adventure. Having to adapt to cultural differences, wandering cows, endearing call-center employees, love and the pressure from his company at home.

Sounds corny? Not by far! It´s quite the opposite.

John Jeffcoat made a movie that captured the audience at the opening screening in Stuttgart in its first 5 minutes. (Like predicted by the german distributor before the film).
It´s funny. Very funny actually. Endearing. Smart. Schnuffelig. With a great cast (Ayhesha Dharker, Asif Basra and Jeff Hamilton in peticular) And apart from a few scenes, shot entirely in/around Mumbai.

One great thing about Outsourced is,that it is a true "cultural-crossover" film. Some reviews compare it to "My big fat Greek wedding", a statement that only true in parts. As here Jeffcoat took the American guy and put him through the "real" thing. Not only a westernized Immigrant suburb.
And really everbody in Stuttgart seemed to love it. The German Bollywood fan crowd, the Arthouse film buffs who usually frown upon mainstream movies, the Indian filmi-people. Some have been in India before and had a deja-vu experience on some of the scenes and others who only knew life in Mumbai out of movies or the news. You could sense from the timing of their laughter where the various groups sat in the cinema hall. No surprise that it won the Audience Award...

Starting September 26th it is opening on a limited release across the USA. So, anyone who has not seen Outsourced yet and lives in the vicinity of these movie theaters just needs to go and watch it. A post on the movies blog also announced a release in Germany this autumn. And there are plans for a release in India too.

Got curious? Here´s a link the
trailer and the movie´s website

September 22, 2007

Hah. Look what I found.

This is the downside of having a 4 Gig memory card in your compact camera. Never had to wipe it since Stuttgart until today, so I finally downloaded all the pictures taken during the summer and found these 2 small video-snippets from the Bombay Boogie night in Stuttgart in July on it. Don´t expect too much, they are very dark, but still you´ll be able to make out some slick moves:

Surya, Rita and Pooja burning the dancefloor

and here another 25 sec snippet.

And no, there are none with me in them. Count your blessings :D

September 21, 2007

Bhool Bhulayiaa. Strangely attracted.

I had a ball watching Chandramukhi a while back. Rajni Superstar rulez. No discussions about that.

Now the Hindi remake will come out on October 12th. With Akshay Kumar in Rajnikanth´s role as the a tiny bit wacko psychiatrist. Directed by Priyadarshan.
Hmm. If you just read those last two sentences, its nothing to get that much excited. Especially if you know that at first AB 1.0 was in talks to play that role.


1) Due to Akshay´s almost monopolistic presence in Hindi films in the Indian cinema history here in Vienna during the last 3 years, I somehow grew rather fond of him. Sharp tongues might say I got brainwashed. But I really do like Akshay in comedies. Such hai.

2) The story has enough potential to make for an delightfully entertaining evening. Pyaar. Suspense. Masti. Probably crazy stunts and SpecialFX. Spicy enough for a well rounded Masala fair.

3) Vidya Balan. Finally in a more traditional get up again. In
Jyotika´s role from Chandramukhi. Maybe that will make me forget her Heyy Babyy performance.

4) The soundtrack rocks. Love the title track. And Akshay´s
swami get up.

Still there are some risky points.

Amisha Patel. No comment. Shiney Ahuja. He has yet to repeat his great performance from Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi, hai naa? Don´t have much hope for it here too. Bhool Bhulayia is a Priyadarshan comedy. And it has been a while since he delivered too..

So all in all, you can count me in for a first day show. If only for Akshay and Vidya in the climax dance.