Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nag Panchami Film Fessssstival: a blasssst from my filmi passsst

With all this snake-watching going on, how could I have almost forgotten a essssssential serpentine scene from my own cinematic history?

Hey! I recognize that song!
Mary Bennet/Maya Bakshi doing a cobra dance for all of her family, Mr. Darcy, the Bingleys, and Mr. Collins!

Say what you will about Bride and Prejudice, it will always hold a very special place in my heart, partly for some clever migration of Regency social awkwardness of but primarily because it was my gateway into Hindi films. When B&P was released, I was desperate to see it for all the reasons you'd expect of the nerdy white lady with librarian glasses: Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels, and I'm a sucker for any adaptation of a Jane Austen story. One day I went to B&P's official website and noticed that Gurinder Chadha had created a list of Bollywood conventions that she would be playing with or winking at in the film. As I read through the list, I thought "Wow, these sound amazing! Why haven't I seen any?" With a huge love of Monsoon Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham already in place, I spent some time on Bollywhat looking at the newbie guide and then raced off to my fantastically stocked local independent video store (That's Rentertainment, which had everything I ever wanted for over a decade before Netflix existed). Once I was face to face with a rack of over 100 Hindi films, I had a momentary panic before grabbing Lagaan because it was in the Bollywhat starter guide and Mujhse Doste Karoge because of the happy people on the cover. Guess which one I watched first?

Leave it to Tina!


11 comments:

dustdevil liz said...

It's so fun how all paths seem to lead back to the first film you watched--during Lagaan Week, it occurred to me that my obsession with supporting actors started in that film.

Also, it's so much fun to go back to the Snake Dance in B&P now that I've seen the source material!

memsaabstory said...

I think I might be repeating myself, but MDK was one of my first Hindi films and I loved it shamelessly :)

Beth said...

Liz - You should talk to Memsaab about supporting actors. Have you seen her amazing decade-by-decade "yearbooks" of actors? SO HANDY!

And I agree, I have a whole new appreciation for the Cobra Dance now that I know what it's all about :D It's got an extra layer of awkwardness now. Though I must admit I have struck several snaky poses while brushing my teeth etc this week just to see what it's like to walk around with my hands cupped over my head.

Memsaab - If you are repeating, I sure didn't remember, so I am glad you said so! :D I need to rewatch it - it's been ages!

memsaabstory said...

Liz---I need serious help with the 80s through the present too! :)

Beth---it might be a good watchalong?

KC said...

omg! I used to rent from That's Rentertainment too! Did we go to school in the same town?

I think Lagaan was my second or third Bollywood movie, after Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Kal Ho Na Ho.

...did I miss what the cobra dance is "all about"? I'm so curious.

Beth said...

KC - I bet we did! After two degrees at UIUC, I now work for the university too :) Rentertainment is still goin' strong!

As for the dance, I just meant that in addition to be horrendously cringe-worthy, it's a nod to snake films :)

KC said...

Wow, cool! I also got too many degrees from UIUC, but I graduated a couple of years ago, and now I live in Boston. I wonder if you were ever in my Hindi class? When I finished my course requirements but still had research to do, I started taking languages for fun.

Beth said...

Oooh! I still haven't taken an actual Hindi class, but you may have met my friend Susan, who took a few years of Hindi in the mid 2000s.

KC said...

Ohh, you should. Especially if your work there can get you tuition discounts (might make scheduling difficult though). I had a great experience in the UIUC Hindi program.

I don't think I remember a Susan, but I think the years I took the class were 2007-2009. Maybe we missed each other.

Wow, small world. Nice meeting you! I dig your blog!

I liked Bride and Prejudice too, but it's weird because I didn't watch it until after I'd watched a bunch of Bollywood movies, and I think I was kind of disappointed by the English songs.

Beth said...

And to make it even smaller, google plus tells me you know Brian Cudiamat? I work with him! :)

Thanks for commenting and nice to meet you too! I need to give B&P a rewatch at some point, I think - people often ask me what I think of it and I really don't remember it well enough to comment intelligently.

KC said...

Yes, yes I do! I think he knows basically everyone, though. :) We should G+ each other. I don't know if that's a verb yet.