Friday, November 30, 2012

Mustache Madness Quiz 2012 ANSWERS!

If you missed it, the quiz is here.


1. Of course, it's the 1979 Gol Maal, source of what might be the most famous mustache in Hindi cinema.

2. Noorie. I hoped Farooq's pouty lower lip would be a big clue.

3. Chunaoti

4. Charas. Note Tom Alter in on the act at the bottom left.

5. Deshdrohi. The day after I posted this, the auteur behind this horrendous film, Kamal R. Khan (top left), apparently tweeted spoilers of Talaash. As if the internet didn't hate him already.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mustache Madness Quiz 2012!

In honor of Movember and the #MouchoPrema Indian Cinema Mustache Appreciation Week, I present you a special mustache-only filmi quiz! Can you identify each of the 5 films below based only on their mustaches?

The collages do not depict all the mustaches in any of the films, and many of the mustaches are fake, either for the film in general or within the film as part of characters' disguises.

They are presented in order from least challenging to most challenging. I apologize for the terrible image quality of #5, but when you find out what it is, you'll understan why it's like that.

Submit your answers by email to me at bethlovesbollywood at gmail dot com. Please do not leave them in the comments of this post—that might accidentally spoil the fun for someone reading after you. The answers, including the collages showing the entire screen shots from which each mustache is taken, will be unveiled the morning of December 1 (IST).

Now...mush!

#1


#2


#3


 #4


#5

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sassy Ray Gay Friend noses through Charulata's notebook


(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see the real Sassy Gay Friend on the Second City Network!)

SPOILERS!

Meet the bored and lonely titular heroine of Satyajit Ray's Charulata.
Charulata husband's Bhupati is a newspaper editor with Big Issues on his mind and no time to pay attention to her.
Her life is turned upside down when Bhupati's little brother Amal comes to visit.
Amal is too much a tall drink of literary-minded Rabindrasangeet to go unnoticed, but he's also too much a baby to know how to deal with Charulata's feelings cleanly. Perhaps if this were a Hindi film, the two men would stand on the edge of a perilous cliff fighting over which one of them should get the brotherly honor of giving her up, but since this is Ray, Charulata has some agency in the matter and everyone discusses politics while awkwardly shuffling around their mansion for a few weeks. 

This fate could have been avoided if she'd had a Sassy Gay Friend.
Get your own at the Sassy Gay Friend Meme Generator!

Calcutta. 1879. Charulata is staring through the slats of the window with her binoculars.

CHARULATA 
Sigh.

SASSY GAY FRIEND
Enters in a swirl of fabric and smoke as he tries
to adjust his shawl while holding his pipe at a jaunty angle.
He accidentally sweeps a doily off of an end table
.
(to no one in particular)
Chabi Biswas makes this look so easy.

(to Charulata)
What are you doing? What, what, what are you doing?

CHARULATA (nervously eyeing her diary on the bed)
What do you mean?

SGF
For starters, you haven't said a thing about whether I can rock this pipe, but mostly I'm concerned with this little fraternal love nest you seem to be trying to feather.

CHARULATA (her face softening)
Amal? He's just helping me with my writing.

SGF
Oh sure he is, doll. Next you'll try to tell me a flute is just a musical instrument.

CHARULATA
Tee-hee.

SGF
I can't believe you made him a notebook. And I know you've spent hours wondering whether he's written anything about you in there.

CHARULATA 
Like you could resist him either if you had to spend all day in this house!

SGF
But this is Amal. Amal. You couldn't find anyone a little further from the family tree to get your long-lingering-look jollies with?

CHARULATA
You have seen Amal, right?

SGF
Oh believe me, I get it, but giiiiirl, that boy is trouble. Even if he weren't your husband's brother, he strikes me as a smidge of a man-child who won't even have a conversation with you about what exactly is going on. And why was he so pouty about your success in the magazine? Congrats on that, by the way—look at you, published author!

CHARULATA (brightening)
Thanks!

SGF
And since he is your husband's brother, you know this has dead end written all over it. You've noticed he never makes a move, right? He's just not that into you—or at least not that into running away with his brother's wife.

CHARULATA (offering SGF some paan)
Sigh.

SGF
Let's focus on how to keep you from becoming this week's Calcutta scuttlebutt. 
Eyes the paan suspiciously.
The last time I ate a strange leaf, I woke up with a bunch of hijras on a fishing boat 10 miles out at sea....
Shrugs and pops it into his mouth.
Anyway, you need to put down those binoculars and take a look at yourself. Look at your choices.

CHARULATA (beginning to sniffle as tears roll down her face) 
What choices? I've never gotten to make a choice in my entire life. At least with Amal around, there's a chance to do something new, to push myself in a different direction, to reach out and grab...

SGF (interrupting, eyes wide)
Grab what, exactly?

CHARULATA (looking down sheepishly)
He had a rip in his kurta, and he had to take it off so I could mend it, and....

SGF (clapping excitedly)
I knew it! You big slut! Good for you! But we should save the details for next time we're out of your husband's house, non?

CHARULATA (her face falling)
I'm never out of this house.

SGF
Eesh! There's a depression over the Bay of Bengal and its name is Charulata!
Grabs Charulata's hands and dances her around the room. 
Here's what we're going to do. Let's ask Bhupsybums for a trip to London to improve your political education. Leave Amal to fry in his own mustard oil for awhile. I think he's going to be very unhappy without you there to be his admiring audience and shirt-mender. And you can craft him a perfect "aloof, unavailable ice queen" goodbye letter that's one part "Toodles!", one part "Good riddance," and just a hint about all the dashing young dons you'll meet at lectures at Oxford.

CHARULATA (smiling)
And we can go to the British Library! And visit Dickens's tomb!

SGF
Rolls his eyes to audience.
She really knows how to hit the town, doesn't she?
Pinches her cheeks.
You're so cute. Baby steps, ma chère. PS, love what you're doing with the sari and lace-trimmed blouse that comes all the way down to your wrists. The Empress approves—and I'm not talking about Vicky.

They dance down the terrace towards Bhupati's office. 

CHARULATA (flinging open the door to the omnipresent bird cage) 
Fly, my pretty! Fly!

SGF 
To audience, over his shoulder.
She really is a stupid bitch. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jagir (with a brief introductory note about Shakha Proshakha) (Have you got whiplash yet? I sure do.)

Through masala-appropriate coincidence, I happened to watch what is maybe one of the last great gasps of 1970s style masala, Jagir, right on the heels of an unspeakably awful film from late in the career of Satyajit Ray. Shashi ki kasam—Soumitra ki kasam, even—I did not intend to couple a boring, depressing, shouty, badly acted, and irritating arty film with cracktastic Decline and Fall Masala, but that's how the DVDs fell.

Out of fairness to Ray, I want to be clear that I hated Shakha Proshakha almost from the instant I started watching it, and it being assigned the label "avoid yaar" has nothing to do with the wonders that followed it. This was my reaction to the film throughout.
Soumitra feels my pain.
What's wrong with Shakha Proshakha? EVERYTHING. If Soumitra Chatterjee is unwatchable, you know a film is in deep, deep trouble. This is the only time in my admittedly brief but intense affair with his work that I've seen Soumitra even come close to overdoing anything (oh okay, maybe he indulges a bit in Jhinder Bandi, but he was young and wearing hilarious historical turbans, so we must forgive him)—one of the things I admire about him as an actor is how finely he expresses life-shattering drama and disappointment—but, at least in this film, when he came up to that stylistic cliff, he leapt off with abandon. Yikes. The first ten minutes of this, in which he and Ajit Bannerjee (playing his father) yammer on about the past and dashed hopes and settling in life, remind me of the Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978 in which the first ten minutes are entirely in Wookie. MAKE IT STOP.

This film feels like a fake art film made to look like what a pretentious college filmmaking student would think is profound, like miserable people being either self-sacrificing or selfishly smug, peppered with touches I have learned to recognize from Ray's other works, like socially awkward picnics and men pontificating in paisley bathrobes. It might be telling that SatyajitRay.org does not even have a review of the film, let alone any quotes from reviews from other sources, which I think it has included in its entries for every other of the 18 Ray films I've seen so far. I have no idea how this film was received at the time of its release, but it's heartbreaking that this is Ray's last work with Chatterjee. At least it ends on a genuinely emotional and touching moment (which I won't show you because of  spoilers), and those of us in the future can look back at that great collaboration ending with proof of their skill. 

Now, just for fun and palate cleansing, Amrish Puri will demonstrate my delight with Jagir, which would have been vast anyway but on the heels of Shakha Proshakha was downright giddy. 
Amrish feels my glee.
ALL YOUR MASALA ARE BELONG TO ME!
There is no reason for me to tell you much about the story because any of us could have sketched it in our sleep, and fortunately the great Sachin Bhowmick was at his finest and created an almost perfect recipe of coincidences, long-lost family members, traumatized children, gypsies, treasures, anipals, and general adventuring silliness. The film is criminally weak on female characters—the heroines, for lack of another term, do little, the romances are blah, and there are no lecturing or dramatically sacrificing maas—but even I don't really care. So in love with the rest of the film am I that I will simply acknowledge the filmmakers had no use for women, scowl once very fiercely, and set that criticism aside. The rest of the film is awesome. Every element is in top form, in both concept and execution, and I found myself saying "Oooh, of course!" as plot points lined up or the past echoed into current actions and noticing my jaw agape at satisfying details and decisions many, many times. Take a look. 

The cast. MY STARS, the cast. Dharmendra, Mithun, and Danny as brothers in arms (and of course two of them are actual brothers). 
Sometimes they play cowboys and Indians.

Pran with an anipal, a very, very helpful falcon named Shamsher. 
Iftekhar, Amrish, Ranjeet, Mac Mohan, Sujit Kumar, and Bob Christo as their respective you-know-whats.   

The Pool gets a party makeover and a sort of disco slow dance song. Keep an eye out for the pink boas. 

An underground masala death trap has menacing spikey pyramids that move around the floor and shackles that fling themselves onto their targets! 

There's a secret temple full of treasure hidden inside a cave. Shiva wears this. 

Not to be outdone jewel-wise, both Dharmendra and Amrish try to steal this crown, even though it complements Zeenat's outfit way better than theirs.
The crown is put on display in a museum which is described as having stupendous security. This is funny for several reasons, one of them being that most of the Indian museums I have visited would be incredibly easy to rob, but more importantly this particular institution (which is filmed in a room I recognize from Dharmatma)'s security consists of some red lights and a little string fence that would not hold the plastic Barbie horse I had in 1983.

The film is as amused as I am that Dharmendra is doing this kind of role at age 49.
"You're still at the place you stood ages ago," sings Zeenat.  "New things are a passing fancy," he retorts. 
You can't quite tell from a distance, but get up close and it's clear he's begun to age. It's at least half a decade too late to put Dharmendra in head to toe black leather, in my opinion. But A for effort. He must have royally pissed off someone in the wardrobe department who takes revenge by dressing him like a a very dorky dad in most of the film.
These pictures show the standard wardrobe for the film: Dharmendra is dad in trousers one waist size too small, Mithun is ready to pick up chicks at the mall (or the disco, in the scenes with white pants and Beatle boots), and Danny has blousy tops and pants so tight it's a good thing he already has a kid.
Then again, maybe the wardrobe department is angry at everyone in this film. This is what Zeenat wears in her own house: skin-tight leopard-print bustier jumpsuit, black cape, gold headband, and gold holster belt. With a pistol in it. As one does. 
Shoma Anand, as Mithun's love interest/Amrish Puri's daughter, has an even worse time of it.
They even made a backing dancer/fire-eater wear a gold loincloth.

A lot of the dialogue in Jagir is funny or zippy, mostly in the one-liners hurled back and forth between chief baddie Amrish Puri and whomever he's tormenting at the moment. 
"Shame on your manliness! Why are you using a whip?"
Other exchanges I really liked:
• Mithun: "Are you scared of the man with the steel teeth?" (Did I forget to mention there's a 7-foot-tall henchman with steel teeth? There is! Click here for a picture.) Shoma: "Allah! I'm so beautiful even men with golden teeth are after me."
• Pran with his bird, who has just dropped a gun onto an end table: "Shamsher? Where did you find the gun?" Shamsher: [Squawk squawk!] Pran: "I see. The robber tried to kill you? I won't spare him."
• Multiple leads in the song "Shaher Calcutta" (no idea why they're in Calcutta), echoing the portrayal of the city seen this year in Kahaani: "Calcutta, the city of mazes, I've lost my way!" "In my own country, I feel like an alien here." It also works as a low-budget tourism video, tossing in mentions of things like the Howrah Bridge and Tagore. It's all extremely irrelevant and I wonder if the song was added in exchange for filming permits from West Bengal.

If all that is not enough to tempt you to see this, there are a few more of its many amazing details in the tweets I posted while watching. Read them here. Just don't ruin your appetite for this feast of a film. It's at least a week's worth of R(ecommended) M(asala) A(llowance) of all the good stuff.
This has nothing to do with anything, but how could I omit it?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bhanu Goenda Jahar Assistant

[I keep reading that title as Bhanu Goenda Johar Assistant, and as we all know, Karan Johar is the  assistant to no one.]

In addition to comedy so often not translating very well due to various challenges to or impossibilities of culture-to-culture of communication, especially through the filter of inexpressive subtitles, typically I find Indian comedies unbearably juvenile, loud, and forced. But when a top advisor on Bengali cinema recommended this film to me, I realized I needed to reconsider that, since almost all the Indian comedies I've seen are Hindi and made since 1990, and thus the traits I dread may not exist at all in older Bengali ones. Plus, said advisor's track record is excellent, having previously directed me to Bhooter Bhobishyot, which I liked very much.

To my naive eyes, this movie is not actually about Bhanu and Jahar, who flounder around trying to track down a runaway young woman from Delhi to collect a reward while also dodging their landlord's demand for back rent, as much as it is about that woman (Nupur) and the fellow (Anjan) who gives her shelter and their adventures while (very easily) staying a step ahead of Bhanu and Jahar. But that might just be because their romance is so cute that my focus was compelled in its direction. As for the question of comedy, this is more of a tee-hee than LOL type of movie, which is perfectly fine by me. In particular, I liked Nupur and Anjan's exchange of gentle one-liners, the kind of thing that people like me do when they are slightly nervous around a new person and then realize "Oh fudge, I'm actually more fond of this person than I'm ready to admit! Time to double my efforts at being a sparkling wit." As their attachment intensifies and they relax around each other, the zip in their repartee escalates. By the end of the film they're cracking each other up, which in my opinion is exactly as a romance should be.
Awww. This is almost When Harry Met Sally levels of courtship, in my opinion: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
Anjan is a little sassy from the get-go; he's a successful singer who gets mobbed by women after his concerts, so putting up a runaway in his bachelor pad for a few days is apparently no big deal. There's an attractive nonchalance to Subhendu Chatterjee's* performance, draping his lanky limbs over the furniture and rolling his eyes.
[Aside: the smoking, OMG the smoking. Do urbane gentlemen smoke this much in Hindi films of similar vintage and I just don't notice anymore?] Early on, as Nupur explains that she fled home because she didn't want to marry her father's choice of fiancé, Anjan stops her narrative to ask why she was afraid of this guy. "What was your groom like? African, Mongolian?" "Bengali," she says. "Bengali? Why were you afraid, then?" And once she's more comfortable with him, and they've worked out a cover story for why she's staying at his place, Nupur relaxes enough to indulge in love songs (one of which he overhears) and banter with him about why stardom has taught him to fear women.

Lest you think I have no patience for the titular comedy uncles**, I actually enjoyed them too. I think I could have scripted their action as well as the actual screenwriters did, but when Bhanu forces Jahar on to a stage to inspect whether the lead dancer is Nupur (and of course it is, because of course she's a good enough singer and dancer to just join one of Anjan's stage shows) and he flails all around in a silly outfit, I caught myself LOLing.
He runs around so much I couldn't get a good picture, so here are Nupur and her backing dancers, who also seem to be enjoying themselves. And I want those trousers.  
I feel about these two characters and actors the way I generally feel about Rajendranath's characters and performances, which is that if filmmakers need to have middle-aged men bumbling through their movie adding little, if anything, to the plot, then characterizations like these offer an acceptable compromise. Of course, Bhanu and Jahar are far more integral to this story than most comedy uncles, so they have more relevant things to do, which can be an effective way to make both characters and actors more fun to watch. The story cuts back and forth between their pursuit and Anjan and Nupur's flight, so there's never a chance to get really sick of them. Bhanu and Jahar also provide a (very loose) reason to show some decor that any masala lair would be proud of. For reasons I didn't catch, their office is decorated with skulls and skeletons and other creepy things.
This doesn't matter to the plot at all, but for someone with my 70s masala sensibilities, it is certainly a very welcome way to start a film. They also use disguises in aid of their sleuthing, leading to some silliness with an unreliable fake wig and mustache.
And speaking of, just in time for the #MouchoPrema filmi mustache festival on twitter (last week of November  [Movember]), our heroine gets into the act. 

The pacing of the story is also really pleasing. As mentioned, Nupur and Anjan's romance builds nicely, and the film also has an actual conclusion with all the important players, and it's well after the romantic leads are united, unlike so many 70s Hindi films that just stop, having the whole cast stand in a line facing the camera as a substitute for writing anything significant deriving from the story. None of it is particularly significant, but that suits the film's breeziness. Anything more dramatic or pronouncement-laden would be way too much. Add in some appropriate music and performers who know what they're doing and seem to like doing it, and the effect is very nice indeed. Bhanu Goenda Jahar Assistant, with its consistent, amiable humor, is not quite, say, His Girl Friday level of sparkling chemistry and zinging dialogue (at least not in the subtitles), but it's cute, funny, and satisfying. In fact, it's much more realistic, which is not a trait I require but is fun to experience now and then.

American pals, you can watch Bhanu Goenda Jahar Assistant on Hulu with subtitles. It's also on BIGFlix.

* That's the father of Bob "Nomoskar" Biswas from Kahaani, for those of you similarly new to Bengali cinema.
** Term courtesy of Temple

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teen Kanya

For a week now, I've been trying to come up with a way to link all three of the short films in Satyajit Ray's Teen Kanya (all adapted from short stories by Tagore). The thread I keep coming back to is "heaven help you if you're female: variations on a theme." I'm not going to propose that that sad idea is what either Tagore or Ray intended to be the feeling of their work, but I could not escape it. These are the kinds of films that are difficult to watch but impossible not to respect and admire.

The Postmaster
This is a tiny little story a man from the city (Anil Chatterjee) who comes to a village to be the postmaster, and he is befriended by an orphan girl, Ratan, who is his maid and cook and eventually nurse and pupil. The contrasts within Ratan—her slight physicality that had done so much hard work already in her young life, her shocking pragmatism that does not muffle her quiet vulnerability, her adult lifestyle with her childlike heart—make her one of the most compelling child characters in Indian cinema. The young actress, Chandana Banerjee, is equally amazing, and I wonder why she only did two more films after this. Her performance here is another example of Ray being able to elicit phenomenal work from debut actors (for example, Sharmila Tagore and Soumitra Chatterjee in Apur Sansar and Aparna Sen in the third segment of this film). 

To me, it is the teacher-student aspects of the postmaster and Ratan's relationship that are the most significant (and thus the most moving). This is clearly the first time anyone has encouraged Ratan to develop skills that can help her move beyond her current situation in life. I wonder if this is supposed to be read as the reciprocation of her having nursed him through malaria: she supported (or perhaps even saved) his life and he is providing something very significant to hers, even if to him teaching someone to read and write is no big deal and even if she never gets a chance to make use of what he taught her.

If you are unmoved by this, you are a robot, and I might even have to apply that label to the title character. He breaks her heart when he fails to understand what their relationship means to her, and I wanted to shake him: "Hasn't this child already had to learn enough about the bleak world of adulthood? Why are you adding casually-delivered devastation to her lot?"

Monihara
Though it is weird and scary in interesting ways, starting with the narrator who frames the story (Gobinda Chakravarti, who appears almost skeletal), I was frustrated enough with my failure to understand why the characters behave as they do that I never fully surrendered to the plot or the actors. This could very well be a problem of insufficient subtitles, but it could also just be me and occasional  inability to just let go and commit to the ride as I encounter it.

It reminds me of Charulata gone horribly wrong, with a wife (Manimalika/Kanika Majumdar) who is desperately lonely and a husband (Phanibhushan/Kali Banerjee) who seems to have little time for and understanding of her. Here, instead of reaching for an empathetic and stirring young man, the wife obsesses over jewels, but I have no idea what they actually represent to her: wealth, power, freedom,  love, children she can't have?

Maybe that uncertainty is deliberately cultivated and is supposed to add to the overall uneasiness in the story, especially when augmented by the arrival of someone from her past whose ability to threaten her is never explained. Kanika Majumdar's performance is wonderfully strange, her eyes wide and darting around, giving her character an unpredictability and off-kilterness that add to the sense that something nasty is brewing.

The set designer for this segment deserves special praise. Manimalika and Phanibhushan's mansion is very eerie: windows that hold only a vast and unspecified view, dark wood furniture that seems like a forest in winter, ominous taxidermied birds, and clouds of dust. In other words, it's dead, and it's impossible to hold out hope for those who find themselves inside.

Shudder. What a weird little film.

Samapti
Before I go anywhere else with this, I want to state for the record that I find this film very funny. Humor seems to be a trait that Ray does not to get enough credit for outside of the first Goopy and Mahapurush, but I've found myself laughing in most of his films I've seen so far. This one might be the funniest, with mischievous, face-pulling Aparna Sen
its overly dramatic, manipulative, hand-wringing maa (I did not catch who this actress is, but she's great),
and Soumitra Chatterjee managing to look dignified when sitting still in a suit jacket and otherwise falling all over himself as his character stumbles towards being an independent adult.
I love this face. I call it "Soumitra is not having it." Also: heehee Feluda and Jatayu, 13 years early.
The plot lends itself to humor, of course. Amulya (Soumitra) is home from university and his mother wants him to get married pronto. He goes to meet her selection, but it's a train wreck of mismatch (as you can tell in the picture above). He defiantly comes up with his own selection, the probably no more compatible Mrinmoyee (Aparna), who has earned the nickname Puglee for her preference for laughing and playing in the forest over housework. 

I watched "Samapti" twice, trying to figure out where it was going with the afore-mentioned "it sucks to be female" theme. In both viewings I fluctuated between "well, at least the romantic leads seem to really care for each other" and "compromise is necessary to manage the complexities of the world" on one side and "look what happens when a free spirit is caged" and "oh of course she is the one to have to compromise" on the other. What is clear is that poor Puglee had no interest in getting married and nobody gave a fig about her. 

I also cannot tell what Amulya expects of his new bride and whether he has any concept of marriage, of partnership (if in fact that's a term we can assign to someone in this historical context), or even moderately independent adulthood outside what he has gathered from his parents or larger, vague "society." His choice of Puglee for a wife is partly to spite his whining mother, I'm sure, but I think it's also in keeping with his character. He is refined and quiet, maybe even meticulous, 
but part of him is drawn to the more animal side of life (note him feeding a cat from his own plate), and Puglee is clearly unlike anyone else he knows. 
Puglee is repeatedly represented by her pet squirrel, who gives her great joy but also becomes a casualty of what she must give up in order to fit into Amulya's life. The death of the squirrel is a tragic moment in the film, not just for the death of a pet but also for Puglee's squirrel-less lifetime stretching out ahead of her. Being a grown (proper, society-approved) woman requires you starve your child (improper, society-unapproved) self. It's brutal.
In the above picture, Puglee is crying because she thinks Amulya doens't want her anymore, but this is also what she experiences immediately before returning to his room and thus beginning their married life together. It's easy to argue that she's lamenting more than one thing.

But on the other hand, Puglee is still Puglee, if in a small way, in the film's last scene. The final encounter between Amulya and Puglee takes place only after she has climbed a tree to reach his room. Proper wives don't climb trees, but he is delighted to see her anyway—and, I think, impressed by, maybe even respecting, her methods. There is a great breaking of spirit in this film, but it is not absolutely destroyed. I would love to know what happens to Puglee and Amulya in the first five years of their marriage. Do they go off to the city for him to finish his law degree and she has lots of adventures while he's in class? Or does she get stuck in a tiny apartment with only a sad potted plant to remind her of the forests and rivers she thrived in?

The environment plays a role in this film too, particularly the mud of the roads of the village, making both Amulya and Puglee clumsy in their movements. My first thought was that the mud represents his mother, since it seems to unsteady him and inhibit his motion. Then a twitter friend proposed that it represents the "position of Bengali gentry as regards modernity" and is a "inner-outer quagmire." I cannot claim to know exactly what that means, but I very much like the idea of the mud as a sign of the rural (or uncivilized?) that everyone still uses and depends on and of societal expectations that challenge our footing when we try to do our own thing on top of (or through) them. Basically, you have to deal with the mud, and it's a bugger, but you can get across it if you're careful and don't go too fast.

With "Samapti," Teen Kanya ends on a moderately hopeful note as Puglee and Amulya close the door on the outside world and, I wish fervently, all the expectations and constraints that come from it. But then I just keep remembering what happened to the squirrel, and the mud pulls me back down all over again. Any of you who have seen all three of the films, I would love to hear what you made of the connections among them and of the final moments in particular.