The Other End of the Line

TOEOTL%20poster%202 The Other End of the Line  

The Taj Mahal?   Really?   There was nothing else that they could put on the poster to suggest India to Amrikan audiences?

Ok, so, Priya lives in Bombay (or Mooooom-buy as, Granger, her love interest, hottie from Desperate Housewives Jesse Metcalfe calls it), and maybe not all gringos will realize that Gateway or the Taj hotel are shorthand for the bustling metro, but they could learn, couldn’t they?

I know it’s a small detail, but it’s annoying, especially since the girl they present in this film is supposed to be a modern careerist who has learned her American Pop Culture well enough to be able to fake it on the phone of the credit card call centre where she works, and where she and Jesse cross paths, er, lines.   Actually, forget the Taj, Gateway or VT: show us Café Coffee Day on Carter Road.

But I digress.

Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment has brought us this romcom that has the pre-wedding jittery Shriya Saran meeting cute over the phone headset, at the exact time when she starts to chafe at the fiancé and affluent family she’s being pushed towards marrying.   On the spur of the moment, she decides to fly off to SFO to meet Granger before settling down and accepting her fate.

Of course, chaos and pratfalls ensue, complete with protoPapa Anupam Kher (in delightful comb-over wig and mush) in flailing pursuit across oceans and continents.   (And when was the last time anyone on those hilly streets of   Frisco had a leatherbound stranger approach them and offer “Group sex?” just like that only?)

Jesse Metcalfe is his own cute self, though he doesn’t have much to offer here, aside from looking like a young, very pretty Pete Sampras.   And that “You know more about me than my mother” line landed with a thud and just lay there dying on the floor.   C’mon, a few calls about one’s recent purchases and someone 10,000 miles away  knows you that well?

Shriya Saran’s American accent voiceover starts to grate soon on, and it seems to me it would be more the style of speech you’d hear from a woman doing another sort of transaction over the phone.

I will say this:    they did make Bombay look lovely and sunny and bright.   Sure, there was lots of traffic and vehicles, but none of the dust and cows and other favorite fallback close-up subjects that are usually sprinkled through filmi street shots of the city.

See it or skip it

It occurred to me the night that I saw this film I was in the same screening room where I had seen another East-West love story some three years before:   Bride and Prejudice.

This film is nowhere near as bad as that one was, though, it does lack such fun musical items as this one  with Naveen Andrews shaking a leg, or the wonderful Mr. Kholi song.    

I’d wait for the DVD, or pass on it altogether.   It doesn’t really add anything new to the Indo-American clash-of-cultures filmi catalog that’s out there.

Happy Diwali to you

 Happy Diwali to you

Whether you call it Diwali or Deepavali, I hope you enjoy yours.

Here’s a cute Cadburys  holiday advert with Amitabh Bachchan.

Here’s a piece I did a few years back about celebrating the holiday in Amrika.

Amitav Ghosh on film

amitav%20ghosh Amitav Ghosh on film  

At the end of a recent interview, I couldn’t help but ask the charming author of the Booker-nominated Sea of Poppies a filmi question:

I noticed where, in Incendiary Circumstances: A Chronicle of the Turmoil of Our Times,  in the piece “The Ghat of the Only World” Agha Shahid Ali in Brooklyn, you mentioned you both shared an attachment to old Bombay films.   What were some of your favorites?

The films we used to talk about were the “˜70s films like Aradhana and Padosan and films like those.

Do you watch much film from India nowadays?

I do sometimes.   Usually now I watch films on planes, and sometimes they’re lovely.   I think what Bollywood does really well are young love films.   I think that’s its great forte.   They’re doing a lot of those, some really nice ones.   I saw Jab We Met, which I really enjoyed.

Get ready for Slumdog Millionaire

dev game%202 Get ready for Slumdog Millionaire

Had a chance last week to see the upcoming release, Slumdog Millionaire, an amazing  modern-day Dickensian saga set in aamchi Mumbai.   In addition to the doe-eyed Dev Patel in the lead, and the hunky Madhur Mittal as his brother, the film also stars Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and Mahesh Manjrekar.

The film’s  done very  well already in Toronto and Telluride, though it’s not  always an easy watch, as you might expect from the man who made Trainspotting.

It opens in the U.S. on November 12.    Check back  for a full review that week.

Why I’m glad I’m not a celeb

AB%20shades Why Im glad Im not a celeb  

Get ready, folks.    In the vein of Frank Sinatra has a Cold, any minute now someone will be publishing Amitabh Bachchan Can’t Move His Bowels.  

Oh wait, the  Times of India has already jumped that shark in this  speculation today about Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s internal workings:

In an attempt of keeping the readers abreast about Amitabh Bachchan’s health we bring to you the latest updates right from the hospital.   The latest is that the doctors have allowed Big B to start consuming fluids from Monday night.

Our inside sources say that Bachchan has not passed stool as yet and that’s why he is being kept under observation in the hospital.   However, once the doctors are completely sure that the medications are working well, they will grant discharge permission.  

Jesumaria, talk about TMI!  

Look, I’m the first to admit that, like many other folks who love fillums and their fillum estars, I too have a certain voyeuristic curiosity about the mundane, and not-so-mundane, details of their lives (e.g. Abhi’s phone, Maddy’s shoes), but this is just beyond the pale.   Chee!

Black telephones for boys, pink for girls

TOEOTL%20poster%202 Black telephones for boys, pink for girls  

In anticipation of the October 31 release of the Ashok Amritraj production The Other End of the Line, the film’s poster is out, complete with gender-appropriate colored telephone handsets.   You can see the trailer here.    

The film stars hunky Jesse Metcalfe (from Desperate Housewives) and Shriya Saran (recently seen in Sivaji: The Boss  ) as well as Anupam Kher and Larry Miller.   In a nutshell, the story is that Shriya, who works the phones for a credit card BPO in India come to SFO to meet the guy she’s fallen for over the phone (yup, that’d be Jesse).

The film is the first in a multi-year deal between Reliance and Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment.

I have to admit, I’m a wee bit wary of yet another East-meets-Vest story, but hey, let’s see, maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.