[MA-SOC] OT: Favorite Indian films [WAS Re: Craptastic casting]

Oneirophile at aol.com Oneirophile at aol.com
Sat Jan 31 22:33:14 EST 2009

Hiya Ric & Disa --
Well, I realize we're probably venturing into OT  territory here, but what 
the heck....
I've heard SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was brilliant, and I intend to  rent it when 
it's available on DVD.  I've also noticed THE NAMESAKE at  our local 
Blockbuster -- a minor miracle since the place ain't exactly known for  its great 
selection of indie (or Indian  ^_^) films -- and since  you've recommended it I'll 
probably check it out too.  Isn't Kal Penn of  HAROLD & KUMAR fame in that one?
Anyway, of the Indian films that have been publicized on the  American 
market, my favs so far are ASHOKA and WATER -- two very different but  equally 
worthwhile flicks.
ASHOKA, with Shah Rukh Khan (who is *gorgeous* as well as  talented), is 
technically Bollywood because it is interspersed with a few  musical numbers.... 
good ones, incidentally.  However, it isn't  just splash-and-spectacle fare; it 
is the biography -- probably somewhat  fictionalized, like most big-screen 
bios -- of Ashoka the Great, the Buddhist  emperor who ruled India for the 
greater part of the Third Century B.C.   Ashoka didn't start out as a Buddhist -- 
he was a bloodthirsty warrior who  converted to Buddhism, due to the influence 
of a Buddhist wife (according to  legend, anyway).  As a Buddhist ruler, he 
instituted many compassionate  reforms for which he is known to this day.  The 
film depicts Ashoka's life  and spiritual transformation, and Shah Rukh does a 
fantastic and often very  moving job of portraying the ruler's personal 
conflicts and dramatic change of  heart.
WATER is about as far from Bollywood style as Indian cinema  can get -- 
although it does have one very understated musical  number.  The film portrays one 
of the darkest aspects of  India's social history:  the forced sequestering of 
 child-widows.  WATER begins with a funeral -- the sudden death of a  
middle-aged man betrothed to an 8-year-old girl.  Though the little girl  has never 
even met her "husband", his death irrevocably brands her a widow,  and 
therefore a living bad omen, unfit to ever marry again but unable to  return to her 
family either.  The child's head is shaven, and she is taken  away from her 
parents to live in a "widows' house" with other women whose lives  were rendered 
permanently worthless (in Indian society's eyes) by their  husbands' deaths.  
In addition to the prison-like conditions of the  "widows' house", the younger 
widows -- even the little girls -- are pimped  out to wealthy men by the 
corrupt and sadistic house matron.  The film is a  heartrending, depressing, and 
revealing glimpse of the oppressive and  exploitative practices which Mahatma 
Gandhi eventually strove to abolish in his  country.
(And now back to topic -- forgive the brief digression, but  since we're 
exchanging Indian film recommendations I thought I might as  well add my 2 
rupees.... ^_^)
Your Burukkurin buddy,
+ + + + + + +  + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
("Bidden or not bidden, God is present")
+ + + + + + + + + + + + +  + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

In a message dated 1/31/2009 7:17:37 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
rtorres81 at gmail.com writes:

The  Namesake and Outsourced were two good films I loved that had mainly
Indian  casts. Most people that I loaned the DVD out to said they watched  it
multiple times and bought a copy. Hmm I wonder how much money they  made
cause when I saw Namesake it was at a small theater and when I  saw
Outsourced it was at a promotional screening where you saw for free  but
filled a survey out afterwards I saw it in San Francisco and New  York.

Oh  well.

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