Tuesday, April 05, 2011

and now for something completely different

Welllll...not completely. But sort of. I've been suffering a bit of writer's block and general ennui recently*, so with the hopes of something new being just the sort of challenge I need to focus and get excited about writing, I've declared (the rest of) April a month of anything other than Hindi film reviews. Planned projects include a few Telugu films, maybe a Turkish movie if I can find something suitably bonkers, and perhaps even a Hindi soap opera, given my recent addiction to the so-bad-it's-good Pyaar Ki Yeh Ek Kahani.

And, of course, Bob's Your Uncle, a one-day festival of Bob Christo on April 24. Blog, tweet, tumbl, etc. anything you want about Bob and his astonishingly eponymous body of work and send me the link. I'll collect all the posts into a bookmark and publicize it here and on twitter. I'll be taking another crack (ahem) at Mard, focusing on Bob, the baddies, and what is probably my favorite fight scene in Bollywood.

To kick things off, here are just a few of the treasures I unearthed on my weekend trip to my university library. I work at the University of Illinois, which has the third largest academic library in the US. For years I've been borrowing books on Indian cinema, but for some reason it had never occurred to me to look for magazines. Last summer I was overwhelmed by the run of Filmfare from the late 80s and 90s I saw at the SOAS library with Steven Baker. Imagine my delight to find that not only does my library have those years
but in fact almost a whole run since 1963! And! I! Can! Check! Them! Out! The only thing better than knowing July–December 1975 issues of Filmfare exist nearby is having them in my home!**
There's so much Shashi and Neetu and Dharmendra and Rekha in here you won't even believe it. Many more pictures from its pages will be posted this month. The library also has many years of Movie. Here are some treats from some volumes I selected at random. Amitabh in comic form!

Amitabh and Batman and Tonto all on the same page makes my head explode.
Shahrukh in a dubious shirt!

Junior B in acid wash?

Way more pictures than I would have ever thought necessary of Shakti Kapoor and Kader Khan clowning around in shiny pants. I spare you the color versions.

"48 Hours with the Deadly Dutt."

With this picture, I finally appreciate why people love Sanjay Dutt.
A 1984 issue titled "The Rivals" with Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil.

Ajooba, Madame X, Pretty Woman, and Kate Bush all on the same spread!


Ajooba and Madame X face-to-face seems as good a place to stop as any. If you have any suggestions for me during not-Hindi-film month, please let me know. If I can access the film through Netflix, hulu, or my local libraries or video stores, I promise to consider it! First up is the 2009 Siddharth film Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam later this week.

* And yes, the new look is a result of that, though I've been wanting to redesign this site for months.
** Some might propose that actually owning them myself is better still, but for me it's much better knowing that the library takes good care of them, that they remain accessible, and that I can't be tempted to cut them up for letters and collages.

15 comments:

JR said...

I'm happy about your new projects!

dustdevil liz said...

I've been inspired by totallyfilmi's Malayalam Mondays. Netflix and Hulu don't have a lot, not sure about your local shops, but you can rent from njmtv.com for a few $.

I'd definitely love to read a post or two on the vampire soap.

yves said...

Hi Beth,
It's been some time, but you might as well know that as from today, I have decided to ask for a position at the University of Illinois. No, I am taking the plane tomorrow, please can we meet in the Univ lobby at 9 a.m., and do you think you can have a library card made out for me? Yves, from France. Tell them I'll give them all the personal stuff when we meet. THANKS

Anonymous said...

If you are trying hindi daily soaps you should try Geet Hui Sabse Parayi. Its also crappy, but much less crappy than Pyaar ki yeh ek kahaani. Its original theme was a young girl's fight for justice though now it has turned into romantic soap. For more info about hindi soap craziness you can visit this forum.
www.india-forums.com

memsaab said...

Hooray for libraries! Sadly the academic ones are mostly unaccessible to we non-academics (boo!) but I am so happy you will be sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

Yea, U of I! Wish I was a Bollywood fan back when I was a MLS student there and had access to the Filmfare run!

P.S. I'll be sad that you won't be posting any Bollywood reviews this month, but I'd like to recommend a Turkish-German movie director, Fateh Akin. His films Head-On, The Edge of Heaven, Im Juli and Soul Kitchen are all wonderful. Not necessarily quirky, but intense and beautiful.

Lime(tte) said...

Agree with Anonymous, Fateh Akin makes some really good films. Or check out the German-Turkisch series "Türkisch für Anfänger", if you find it somewhere...
I just watched my second Telugu film last weekend, so I'm curious what films you'll write about.

Susania said...

I highly approve of the Bolly-sabbatical; everyone needs a separation at times to come back renewed!

Have you considered something completely un-south-Asian? Like Japanese anime? I would highly recommend the films of Hayao Miyazaki, all of which are available on Netflix! Start w/ Nausicaa, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service... then tackle Spirited Away (which is so saturated in Japanese mythology it takes some adjustment!) http://www.netflix.com/WiRoleDisplay?personid=20018813

Suja said...

Oh I am green with envy about your stack of old mags!! Takes me back to my school days where all my friends and I would share a dog eared copy and giggle over the goss :)
If you considering South Indian films, I offer three suggestions as a start: Thillana Mohanambal (1968)because it has an iconic status, Apoorva Ragangal (1975) for a bold theme for those times and Sagara Sangamam (1982) because I liked it!

Beth said...

JR - your ID confused me! I had to go click on your profile :)

Liz - Yeah, that's a fun project! I've never loked into njmtv and am glad to know about it. The vampire post is in the works :=

yves - Bwahahah! Well done! :)

Anon - I have a very low tolerance for soap operas generally and only started Pyaar Ki Yeh Ek Kahani because Indie Quill gave it such a "so bad it's good" sell - but who knows, maybe I'll have a new addiction! Love the forum idea.

memsaab - You're such a good collector that I can't imagine I'll find much you don't already have. But the whole process of scanning in and wandering the stacks - some of which are so short I cannot stand up straight in them and I'm only 5'8" on a good day - and pulling dusty volumes off shelves is SO MUCH FUN.

Anon - MLS? Did you know I went to GSLIS too? Are we classmates and I am just not putting 2 and 2 together? :) Thank you for the recommendations - they sound like the kinds of things Rentertainment would have!

Lime(tte) - Excellent! My Telugu sample is small but more varied than might be expected within the ten or so I have seen. Next up will be some older ones.

Susania - SABBATICAL! That's the word I was looking for! :) I have definitely considered non-South Asian (Telugu was what I had on hand thanks to "donations" by readers). Another friend suggested wuxia :) I have actually seen Spirited Away a few times and love it!

Suja - They are SO FUN. :) Thanks for the suggestions - you are the third person in the last few weeks to talk about Sagara Sangamam!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful treasures! Thank you sooo much for sharing them with us <3

Anonymous said...

hiya beth, do you know where i kind find this sort of stuff in the uk? Like the old filmfare mags/volumes etc

Beth said...

Anonymous 2 - So glad you liked them! There will be more shortly!

Anonymous 3 - Sadly I don't. If you have access to a university library, I would start with looking through their catalog - not just at that institution but whatever network they belong to. The School of Oriental and African Studies has some things like this, although in my brief look around last summer they do not have periodicals as old as these.

Fellow blogger Memsaab buys lots of things online - you might ask her as well.

I wish you very good luck rummaging around! :)

Any SOAS people reading this, I'd be glad to know I'm wrong!

A.R said...

Beth, sadly you're not wrong...the collection at SOAS is tiny...HOWEVER...After a recent trip to the BFI library in Stephen Street, London...I was amazed! Any English readers interested in old Hindi Cinema Periodicals should check out their catalogue...you will be surprised!

Beth said...

AR - What a happy find! :)