Wednesday, March 19, 2008

70 years of Shashiliciousness

I've heard about Raj Kapoor calling his baby brother a taxi, flitting from project to project when anyone waved money at him. I don't know enough about Raj in general or Shashi's filming schedules in specific to comment on this, but it seems a little mean, especially since one of the fares he took was a very unsympathetic role in Raj's troubling (and slightly lechy) Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Yesterday, on Shashi's 70th birthday, Glamsham ran an article discussing what this approach achieved for Hindi and Indian films. It's a much more generous assessment, noting his his appeal to audiences in a variety of roles and his tendency to share the screen, as well as suggesting that the range of projects helped bring international attention to the richness of Indian cinema. Now that's what I call Shashilicious.

Aside: I spent Shashi's birthday yesterday flying home from Vienna, and on my Heathrow/O'Hare leg, I sat next to a pleasant and chatty man from Chicago who showed me pictures of his dog on his iPhone. As we were browing through the photos, I spotted a shot of a poster for Jodhaa Akbar, and it turns out he's an occasional Bollywood goer. We agreed that compared with the material evidence of historical royal excesses we had seen on our recent travels (he'd been in Istanbul, and I've been spying on the Hapsburgs and Wittelsbachs), the Mughals had by far the most attractive bling and other material accoutrements.

10 comments:

Memsaab said...

OMG, that is hilarious! The Mughals did have the best bling BY FAR....and I've visited a few schatzkammers too :-) that is just great.

Welcome home, and happy birthday Shashi!

Beth said...

They totally do. No doubt about it. I don't have knowledge to back this up, but they might even win the title worldwide, not just against central Europe and the Ottomans.

Aspi said...

Welcome back, Beth. Hatte eine gute Zeit?

DesiDivX said...

hey beth,
thought you might me interested in this
http://www.flickr.com/photos/decaflatte/2345264511/

cheers
ravi

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

That is definitely a interesting article. For myself, I've been devoted to Shashi since "Kabhi Kabhi"- a movie that was essentially dedicated (though I may be too harsh here) to Amit's moroseness- Shashi actually delivered a v natural and almost heartwarming performance. I really beleive that he firmly represented the "modern man" in the movie, an antithesis to the popular hero of the times.
Gosh I am SO glad he was a taxi- he can be a cab or bike or plane or whatever he likes, and take all the fares he wants!
:D

Beth said...

Aspi - Ja! Natürlich! I saw/did interesting things, learned a lot, spent high quality time with lovely people, and ate some seriously good food. A perfect vacation, really.

DesiDivX - kewl!

Shweta - Very well put! I hadn't thought of Kabhi Kabhi like that but I think you're exactly right. I am so not interested in moroseness - thank goodness for Shashiliciousness to balance it out.

indiequill said...

Well, according to people who knew him best, Raj Kapoor wasnt a very nice man. So im not surprised. Welcome back!

Beth said...

iq - Thank you! And phhhhbt to Raj.

celluloidrant said...

Beth,

The Mughals did have some amazing bling, but back then, a whole bunch of pricely states did that. The Salarjung museum in Hyderabad periodically has exhibitions of the Nizam's jewelry. I visited one of those in '06, and I gotta tell you, most of those women probably died of a broken neck from wearing all those boulders.

But that's not what caught my attention in this post. You called Satyam Shivam Sundaram slightly lechy. Slightly? :D

RK, of course, defended the movie saying people would come into the theatres to watch Zeenat Aman's... erm, assets, and go out remembering the movie. Many years after watching the movie, I still don't remember much else other than Zeenat. And I don't think it's just me either.

~r

Beth said...

r - Your comment has me giggling wildly. I would love to see that exhibition - I somehow missed exhibits of bling when I was traveling around India.

You're totally right - "slightly" is an understatement. As for what people remember, most of what I remember is 1) Shashi being pretty and 2) wondering why we saw so much skin if we're supposed to learn not to judge a book by its cover?