25 July 2008

How do you say extreme nerdiness in Hindi?



I made this myself!!

16 July 2008

Okay, fine, I give up

I've been resisting it on principle but I've caved and have started referring to Shah Rukh Khan by his initials (SRK) like everyone else.  It's just so much easier to type and it seems to fit.

But I'm still holding out on abbreviating movie titles. KKHH, KANK, KHNH, K3G, KHKN*, I always get confused by the Ks and have to think about it too much. There's DDLJ** too without the Ks, but still no! not even for that. I like seeing the whole title as I type, and I like spelling it out. I don't care if other people abbreviate their titles, but I'm not going to. I'm idiosyncratic (idiotic) that way.

Abbreviation gods: 1,  Me: 1

We'll see how long it lasts.

*Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Alivda Naa Kehna, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa

**Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

05 July 2008

Happy Un-Birthday to Abhishek Bachchan

I realize this blog is heading in the direction of becoming the Abhishek Hour, but I just have to say one quick thing: The imdb has FINALLY changed Abhishek's birth year from 1965 to 1976. About six months ago as I was doing some research, I noticed that they had him listed as what amounted to being ten months older than Shah Rukh Khan, instead of ten years younger. I mean really, yaar, watch Kabhi Alivda Naa Kehna and get back to me on that one. I love them both, but there's no way. No way.

 Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

Does this larkaa look 43 to you? No. Because clearly he is not.

So I wrote the imdb a (nice!) note about it and included for their perusal an official link to an official mention of Abhishek's age and birthday in, I think it was the Hindustan Times, or else The Times of India, but I wasn't optimistic they would change it. There are avenues for users to submit corrections to the imdb website, but they had a note in their help section that said that for birthdates, they pretty much need to see a copy of the first page of a person's passport in order for them to do anything about it. (Apparently the first page of a passport has enough information on it to verify birthdate without giving away too much other private information like address.) They also said it takes a while to change anything, so I didn't keep too close a watch on it after I submitted it.

I know I wasn't the only person to have submitted a correction up to that point. There was a whole talk topic on Abhishek's bio page about users who had tried unsuccessfully to get the imdb to change it before, and the thread went back pretty far. So I wonder what finally made them fix it. Maybe a fan alerted Amitabh about it on his blog and he got someone to provide the correct information for his son's birth year to the imdb. It could happen. Or they might have just gotten tired of being bugged about it constantly when it was so clearly the wrong information. But I'd like to think I helped.

03 July 2008

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag; Not a Review

I have seen many, many Bollywood films where the characters either mention other Bollywood stars who are not in the movie, or where the filmmakers include random gratuitous cameos by other stars (usually in a song, but not always) who just seemed to have popped by the set for a minute, or where the film itself references another movie, or where a song from another movie is used in the background or sung by a character. In fact, I would say most Bollywood movies I've seen incorporate at least one of these elements, and sometimes more than one.

Random examples I can think of right now include Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna's "Simran!" moment, Kal Ho Naa Ho (Rani and Kajol's two-second appearances in "Maahi Ve"; Daadii pinches the boy's cheeks and tells him he looks just like Rakesh Roshan and is corrected: "Hrithik Roshan! Stop it Daadii!") and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (Abhishek says "...our Bachchan!" when he and Preity are talking about Madame Tussaud's; the side-car motorcycle ride; Abhishek's "Hey Handsome!" ringtone; the "she's no Miss World!" line*). In Nanhe Jaisalmer, the entire premise of the movie is that the boy Nanhe is friends with Bobby Deol, as played by himself, Bobby Deol--which is really, really weird. And as a side note, I think it was in Bluffmaster! where someone has a line about Shah Rukh Khan and Bipasha Basu as movie stars, and the subtitles translate their names as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (not even close, but whatever).

So I was not surprised when a film crew comes to Rani Mukherjee and Konkona Sen Sharma's family's crumbling mansion in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and one of the first things that the younger sister Konkona asks the film assistant girl is, "Have you met Shah Rukh?" And it's quite funny a short time later when Rani's about to get on the train to Bombay and Konkona yells to her, "Get me a picture of Mannat!" and then has to explain to their mother (Jaya Bachchan) that Mannat is Shah Rukh Khan's bungalow in Bombay. The Shah Rukh referencing doesn't stop, though. Later, when she reaches Bombay, Rani is confronted with a giant billboard advertising Chak De! India.

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 2 Shah Rukh Khan

You can hardly pick out any of the people on the street in the screencap below but Rani's orange outfit matches the orange of the billboard.Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 1 Rani Mukherjee

Somehow, the fact that you have the visual of Shah Rukh's face taking up half the screen and half the billboard (as opposed to the previous mentions in the movie, where you just hear his name being spoken by the characters) makes the whole thing even more surreal.

But the part that made me choke on my chai this morning was where Rani opens the door to the downstairs neighbor boy who brings in a case of beer and then starts singing "Where's the Party Tonight?" at her. A song she was in! With Shah Rukh Khan!

Now, I'm not complaining. I thought it was funny. But I still haven't decided if I think the wink-winkness of all these moments is a good or bad thing on the whole. On the one hand, it's kind of fun to think about. On the other hand, It takes you out of the film most of the time. And it's almost too much for me to handle sometimes (brain-exploding-wise), having that extra layer of meta-movie connections and relationships to think about as well what's going on in the movie itself.

***Sidenote(s): That said, and speaking of cameos, Hema Malini has an item number (!), close to the beginning of the movie, and she's great. I hadn't researched this movie beforehand, so I didn't really know who exactly was in it. I did know that Abhishek Bachchan was in the film (properly, not a cameo), but it was quite a while before he finally appeared on screen, and I had kind of forgotten--so when he did, I accidentally let out a squeal.***

But back to the referencing, I suppose in the interest of realism (such as it is), if you are going to include references to a movie star in a film that has at least some reason to refer to a movie star (any movie star), you may as well pick a real one--and a big one. It's like when a tv show tries to make a can of pop look like a can of Coke without actually showing a can of Coke. It's red and it has white lines on it. What else could it be? Everyone knows what you are trying to show without you actually showing it, so why not show the real thing? It would be disingenuous not to. But then there's sort-of realism (picking Shah Rukh Khan as the big movie star that you happen to refer to in your movie because he happens to be a big movie star--and if the film were really real life, there's a good chance that's who a real girl might have mentioned) and there's the surrealism of having the characters refer to Shah Rukh Khan as a movie star when you know very well he and one of the characters in the movie you are watching have starred in at least six other movies together. Bollywood is such a small world. But that's a discussion for another time.

In the meantime, I'll just leave you with this bit of goofiness:

Laaga Chunari Mein Daag 7 Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee (2)

*Or whatever it is. I tried to find it but couldn't, so if anyone wants to correct me, go ahead.

01 July 2008

Hindi Word of the Day Archives for June 2008

rang (color); rangeela (bright, showy, gaudy)

laal (red, ruby-colored; a ruby); rohit (red)

naarangii (orange)

neela (blue)

safed (white, chalky color); saf (clean)

kaalaa (black)

gulaabii (pink); gulaab (a rose)

piilaa (yellow)

khaakii (dust-colored, earth-colored)

kya? (what?);  kya hai? (what is it?);  kya hua? (what happened?)

kyu[n]? (why?);  kyu[n]ki (because)

kaun? (who?); kab? (when?) kahaa[n]? (where?)

samajhe? (understand?)

bollu! (speak!)

kam (few, less)

kaam (work)

mandir (temple)

duniyaa (world, the world)

akele (alone)

mastii (intoxication; delight, passion, unrestrained joy)

jeena (to live, to be alive);  jiivan (life, existence, lifetime)

josh (excitement; passion; enthusiasm, ardour)

hai na? (n'est-ce pas?; isn't it?)

duusraa (second, other, next)

[k]huun (blood, a murder); [k]huunii (bloody) --yes, I heard this in a Bollywood movie; it's not all song and dance

dard-e-disco (the pain of disco)

hangaamaa (tumultuous crowd; commotion, din)

chiiz (a thing, an item)

juutaa (a pair of shoes; not to be confused with jhuut, a lie)





I am not a native Hindi speaker. The words I list are either ones I have picked up by watching Bollywood movies or from perusing my Hindi reference books, including Teach Yourself Beginner's Hindi Script, Teach Yourself Hindi Dictionary, Teach Yourself Hindi Complete Course, Living Language Hindi Complete Course, and best of all, the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Despite all these reference sources, it is still totally possible that I read something wrong or misunderstood it--so keep in mind that this list is made by someone who's only been watching Hindi movies on a regular basis since November 2007 and has no previous experience with the language.