Darling, if you keep gushing about gay men, you’ll never get married

 Darling, if you keep gushing about gay men, youll never get married  

Karan Johar to Mallika Sherawat on this week’s Koffee with Karan, with regard to her fondness for Rock Hudson.

 

And the Oscar didn’t go to… Water

Sarala%20in%20Water,%202 And the Oscar didnt go to... Water  

But regardless, the nomination has been significant.   And to judge by the increasing amount of coverage that Deepa Mehta’s Water has gotten on Indian television in the past few weeks, and the mention of it by Karan Johar and Anupama Chopra when interviewing them both in the past six days, it’s clear that this Canadian entry for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards has gotten a second wind with making it to this illustrious shortlist of five.  

Water releases (finally) in India on March 9th.

Seeing Honeymoon Travels near NYC

 Seeing Honeymoon Travels near NYC  

Some friends have expressed dismay as it seems that Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd will not be shown in Manhattan.

biglogo Seeing Honeymoon Travels near NYC

One alternative that   people can try (and without driving to get there) is Cineplaza, the large desi cinema in North Bergen, NJ.   This is the one the New York Times wrote about a month or so back.

The cinema manager, Mr. Shah, detailed for me last month the several buses that leave from the Port Authority bus terminal and stop at 31st street and Kennedy  (or JFK) Blvd.

He said that at gate 51 in the Port Authority it’s possible to get at least one of these buses:    125, 127.

(I think he mentioned that 127 stops by McDonald’s, which is about 1 block away from the shopping center.)

For a fun preview of the food you’ll be able to eat when you get there, have a look at this ABC News story.

Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

honeymoon%20color%20poster%202 Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd  

It’s seems ages since I first saw a trailer for Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd on the big screen.   And I remember thinking “Interesting concept for a film.   It looks like fun.”

Well, bohut mazaa hai.

It could be unweildy to tell the  stories  of 5 couples on a group honeymoon in Goa, but Reema Kagti manages to do it, without getting tangled up or losing  anyone  in the shuffle.   One device that is used, along with flashbacks, is narration by a DJ at Radio Mirchi.   (Product placement, helloooo!)

There’s the perfect Parsi couple, the older couple on their second marriage, the uptight Bengali couple, the arranged marriage Gujurati couple,  the  filmi couple, and the hip couple.   We think we know what to expect with each, but there are some surprises, and some very gay positive messages (though there was one couple I was hoping would have wound  up together that didn’t).  

It’s a long list of  actors, and you can read  about them individually at the movie’s website, but some of the more recognizable names who’ve signed to this endeavour are Shabana Azmi, Boman Irani,  KayKay Menon, Raima Sen, Amisha Patel, Diya Dia Mirza and amazingly (because he keeps getting offered roles) Vikram Chatwal.   (Nothing against the hotelier’s fabulously wealthy son,  who actually has pretty eyes and an interesting face, but his  delivery when he speaks is slurred and jerky.)

One face I was surprised and happy to see in the role of Chatwal’s character’s wife was that of Sandhaya Mridul, who I enjoyed as the spunky roommate in Page 3.   My heart went out to her character, a cool, loving girl who has the worst luck with men.

mridhul%20and%20vikram%202 Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

Shabana is understated and lovely as the grieving Naheed, married to long-time acquaintance Oscar Fernandes (Boman Irani).   I had a great time watching his hair, after listening to him on the most recent podcast of the BBC Asian Network’s Film Cafe, where he revealed that the wig was a nightmare and required a lot of care and attention to get it right, then a gust of wind would come along and undo everything.   Yes, they do actually lock lips, apparently a fact that’s getting a lot of attention, but who cares?   It fit in fine with the moment in the story, and Boman looked bashful.   (And the film is a Farhan/Zoya product.   That must have been interesting conversation.   “Ok Mom,  listen, we think it would be integral to the story if Boman kisses you.”)

hollywood%20group%202 Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

Once we get beyond the first impressions of each couple, we learn that there are some people struggling with issues of sexuality, others pining for someone other than the one they married, and some who have super powers as the result of being struck by lightning (yes, really).   Raima and KayKay have great chemistry, and she just looks fabulous.   It’s funny to see him in the role of a buttoned-up guy who wears a fanny pack!   Both are enjoyable to watch as they shed some inhibitions and get closer to each other.

I’d like to include some more details but it’s late and this will have to do for now.   I will say that there is a filmi dream sequence, and yes, that is Amisha Patel wearing a tiara as she rises out of a faux fur-lined giant clamshell:

tiara%20and%20furry%20clamshell%202 Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd

See it or skip it

See it.   It won’t reveal  the meaning of life, but it’s a fun escape, especially for people  living in cold, grey climes.   And vah, kya ensemble cast hai!

Firangis Flip for Eklavya

eklavya%202 Firangis Flip for Eklavya  

Two US- and UK-based media reviews caught my attention.  

First, the NYC-based Village Voice carried this rave about Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s latest release, wherein David Chute writes:

Elkavya was filmed in two actual Rajasthani palaces, one for the endlessly receding gilded interiors and another for the crumbling facade. But the action that unfolds in these enormous spaces is almost a chamber drama, all intense two-shots and vehement whispered exchanges. And because the entire cast (with the single exception of the star) has been carried over en masse from the last several films produced by director Chopra (including Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Parineeta), the movie often feels like a work created for a snug repertory company, with roles tailored to the talents of each familiar performer.

And, across the pond,  the BBC’s most talented Dr. Mark Kermode not only listed Eklavya  as one of his Top 5 Films of the Week here, in the podcast of his most recent show with Simon Mayo, he said:

Bollywood movies have  recently started to be screened  for the English-speaking  press, though not  enough of them.

There are certain clichés about Bollywood films:  they’re all too long, there’s lots of singing and dancing, with flimsy plots, but it’s not true.   There are many different types of Bollywood movies.   There’s action movies, movies based on Shakespeare like Omkara and Maqbool.

Interesting case in point, Eklavya, which has a Shakespearean tone to it.  

It’s a two-hour movie, a melodrama,  with one musical  sequence that fits in the world of the film.  

At the centre of it is Amitabh Bachchan, an absolutely magnetic presence.   He’s magnificent, he has  these deep whirlpool eyes, very intense face, who manages to convey extraordinary  emotion without doing very much.  

Very well directed, well put together, and very, very  accessible to a western audience.   A very fine piece of work.

And no, I haven’t seen it yet.   (Curses!) But I hope to rectify that very soon…

Up next: Karan Johar at NYU

 Up next: Karan Johar at NYU

The stylish, amiable and chatty filmmaker and television host was scheduled to be present at the conclusion of a screening of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna  at New York University Saturday evening for a Q & A session.   The event was hosted by Professor Richard Allen of the Cinema Studies Department at NYU.

Camera lights from one of the local desi TV shows outside the door to the auditorium heralded Mr. Johar’s arrival.   Before he took his seat at the front, next to Professor Allen, he removed a heavy black leather jacket with shearling collar, apologizing as he draped it across his chair, saying “Excuse me, it’s so cold outside!”

Notes from the event to follow shortly…