What do Ganesha, Sanjay Patel, The Minnesota State Fair, crop seeds, Shree 420, and Bollywood have in common?

I put myself on full throttle ultra purdah for a few days in preparation for my creation of crop art for the Minnesota State Fair. Crop art is the design of crop seeds in artistic arrangements, and if you’re crop arting for the MN State Fair, the artists are to use only seeds of plants and crops that grow in the state. It’s how city folks like me learn about farm crops from the country. I’ve entered before and there is a time commitment involved in gluing seeds down, and you have to make a sacrifice, and you can guess what I had to sacrifice: Bollywood! But my qurbani, I mean sacrifice, yielded this:

I recreated the image using these seeds: barley, canola seeds, corn, flax, golden flax, millet, oats, safflower, sunflower seeds, and wild rice. You can see my Sanjay Patel inspired Ganesha recreation in person in the Ag-Hort building at the MN State Fair through labor day. I would like to think that some people will do a little puja in front of my Ganesha of seeds.

I found Sanjay Patel’s excellent Ghee Happy website back in early 2007 while looking around for Hindu god images. When I saw Patel’s super cute deities I immediately thought: crop art! If you don’t already have it, I recommend his book The Little Book of Hindu Deities to you. It’s not only adorable, but also a clever, fun, and informative read. How could I choose from the dozens of ultra cute deities to recreate in seeds? I decided since the RNC is coming to Minnesota during the time of the fair, that it would be nice for a very different kind of elephant to welcome that RNC elephant. Maybe Ganesha’s divine energy could help out the Republicans.

I did contact animator extraordinaire, Shree Sanjay Patel, via email to tell him about my crop art and to let him know that I may be infringing on his copyrighted material. It seems that the copyright doesn’t cover seeds, so I should be safe from a lawsuit. Mr. Patel graciously responded to my email and was so very kind. Thank you Shree Patel!

When my Ganesha was completed and delivered to the state fair, I got back on the happy Bollywood train. The first movie waiting for me was the 1955 classic Shree 420. The Shankar-Jaikishan soundtrack is awesome, but I was particularly taken by one song for obvious reasons: Eechak Dana Beechak Dana, picturized on Nargis and Raj Kapoor, with playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. The Bollywood universe knew I was heavily dedicating myself to seed work during my purdah and rewarded me with this gem of a tune. Just look at the seed related lyrics!

I know what Nargis is talking about, one little seed, two seeds, seed on seed!

Thanks to Sharikazoid for the video with the English subtitles.

If you’d like to hear it again, Dr. Chadhury did a remix of the song.

I’m certainly not the first to recreate Sanjay Patel’s images. Check out this impressive stuffed Kali inspired by Patel’s image. For further reading of the art of seeds, consult David Steinlicht’s excellent CroptArt.com site as well as Colleen Sheehy’s book, Seed Queen: the Story of Crop Art and the Amazing Lillian Colton.

Happy Independence Day my Indian dosto. Jai Hind! Inquilab Zindabad! Bharat Mataki Jay! Vande Mataram!

 

Happy Independence Day to you!  We all eventually get our freedom from the Brittishers, hai na? Since I recently watched The Legend of Bhagat Singh, I’m feeling a bit revolutionary, so I also wish you on this day celebrating your long fought struggle for freedom a very happy Inquilab Zindabad! To read more about The Legend of Bhagat Singh, stop over to Philip’sFil-ums.

 

If I somehow developed Tourette syndrome I would like to have a Bollywood-style Tourette syndrome, and the phrase I’d shout out most often would be Inquilab Zindabad! I’d also shout out the following, of course using a very heavy Hindi accent: Jai Hind! Shut up! Get out! All the best! Scoundrel! What would you shout out if you developed a Bollywood flavored Tourette syndrome?

 

On this Independence Day click over to TheBollywoodFan, where you can find a great post on Indian patriotic films.  Thanks to blog posters-n-friends, jen AND Brahamandam, who both sent me a link to this Amitabh’s India Poised, perfect for viewing on this Independence Day. Enjoy, and of course Inquilab Zindabad!  Jai Hind!

And with feedback from one of my NRI consultants, Milind-ji, I will also add Bharat Mataki Jay! and Vande Mataram!

 

What to do when you’re missing Amitabh in Chicago? Watch Abhimaan (1973)

You may be wondering like I am, “Sita-ji, why aren’t you in Chicago tonight enjoying Amitabh and everyone else in The Unforgettable Tour?” You see there was a time not too long ago when one could fly from Minneapolis (blog headquarters) to Chicago for $100 or $200 round trip. Now with the poor economy, the airline troubles, and many of the charters that serviced the MSP-Chicago route being shut out of service and our poor corporate citizen airline, NWA somewhat monopolizing the route, flights now routinely cost between $500-$800! I could fly to NYC for less! NWA, did you forget the state of Minnesota graciously bailed you our with millions and millions of dollars($245 to be specific), I mean lakhs and crores of rupees? You forgot to pay us back NWA! I digress, let me swallow that bitter pill and move on, teekay? But you see, we are all related and everything is connected to everything and I choose to partially blame NWA for me missing this show. :) So I had some tentative plans to make a spur of the moment driving pilgrimage to Chicago with a Bollywood buddy pending on how the vibe felt this morning. It was not vibing, so we settled in to watch the next best thing to seeing Amitabh performing on stage: we watched Abhimaan (1973) instead, where Amitabh plays a singer who performs on stage before the masses. Sort of the same thing, without having to make the 12 hour round trip drive.

Amitabh seemed to be speaking to me throughout the film, asking Sita-ji what she wanted (to see The Unforgettable Tour, duh!) and then trying to comfort me by showing he understands the disappointment:

Thanks Amitabh! Here’s the lowdown on the film:

Abhimaan(Devanagari: अभिमान, Nastaliq: ابھمان, translation: Pride) is a 1973 Bollywood film starring Amitabh Bachchan; his real-life wife, Jaya Bachchan, Asrani, and Bindu. It was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.The film is perhaps best remembered for its songs, composed and arranged by the late S D Burman, written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, and sung by famous playback singers Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, and Mohammed Rafi. The movie takes inspiration from A Star Is Born(1954). When it was released, audiences found similarities between real-life couple Amitabh and Jaya and the couple they portrayed on-screen—as Jaya’s career was stronger than Amitabh’s at the time. She won the Filmfare Best Actress Award for Abhimaan. Subir (Amitabh Bachchan) is a professional singer whose career is soaring. He does not plan to marry—until he meets Uma (Jaya Bhaduri), a sweet village girl who also sings. Subir falls in love with Uma and marries her. He returns to Mumbai with his new bride. Subir continues as a singer and also fosters Uma’s singing career. His career falters, however, just as Uma’s singing career begins to thrive. Eventually, she becomes more famous than her husband, sparking jealousy from Subir. His pride and jealousy tear the marriage apart. The question becomes whether Subir can overcome his jealousy? (wikipedia)

For a nice blog review of the film, I direct you to The Bolly Blog. And now on to my more shallow reflections of Abhimaan! Amitabh (Subir) and Jaya (Uma) look fabulous in this film. Her saris are gorgeous! In nearly every scene she wore a new, more lovely sari! Amitabh’s shirts were just are beautiful, with a funky 70’s twist. I said to myself, “Costume designer? Kaun hai?” So let me give a shout out to whoever found the beautiful fabric and made it into those outfits and got those guys looking so great:

Shalini Shah, Ramlal, Farida and Shyam Khandekar, nice job! I like your style! I think Amitabh even looks smokin’ hot smoking and drinking:

One thing that surprised me was the sexual tension portrayed between Amitabh and Jaya. Since I am a good Hindu-Catholic-Muslim-Buddhist-Sikh-Jain and sometimes Parsi girl, I was a bit embarrassed by Amitabh tugging on Jaya’s hair and pointing to his lips for a kiss. Bachchans, keep that sexy stuff behind closed doors please! See! Bas!

The movie taught me some new things like this. Who knew men were jealous of women?

Another delightful part of the movie for me was seeing Bindu, who gave a great line said with confidence and love, that we all should consider using if ever dumped. So classy, dekho:

Bindu’s character drops some bollywood wisdom on Amitabh’s Subir. I love it!

Well he’s not ready to hear all that, nor her urging him to lighten up on the whiskey, since he’s trying to drown his sorrows vs. facing them head on. His retaliatory statement:

Snap! Oh no he didn’t! If what Subir says here makes no sense to you, go see Devdas!

For me this was a movie about they style and the music, since that’s what I enjoyed most, rather than the story itself. Not my favorite Amitabh movie, but a great one to see nonetheless, especially as a cheap subsitute to missing seeing him live in Chicago tonight. But I think the Chicago show of The Unforgettable Tour may have been a bit like this tonight; from Abhimaan, Kishor Kumar singing for Amitabh, Meet Na Mila Re Man Ka, with music by S. D. Burman, who won the filmfare award for his work here:

Here’s the remix, from Dr. K Chaudry, who is very devoted to Bollywood.

If you’d like to hear yet another marvelous tune from the film, take a detour to TheBollywoodFan’s great blog to hear Tere Mere Milan Ki.

Really how lucky we are to live in a time where we have these films at our disposal, hai na? No this isn’t a photo outside of The Unforgettable Tour, it’s from Abhimaan, showing that then and now, Big B as an actor and as himself is filling the house!

Chicago Unforgettable Tour attenders, post your review here. I’d love to hear about what I missed! Mr. Bachachan reported the following on his own blog: I have to say it. . Chicago was amazing.. Everyone was just awesome and the audience to die for. . Sold out stadium. . And India just won a gold in shooting..  Read more at his blog about this on day 109.

Amitabh in Houston

I thought this was so exciting I had to copy it and share it here.

Head over to Amitabh Bachchan’s Blog to read all about his thoughts on the Houston show of The Unforgettable Tour.  In today’s post at Amit-ji’s blog, he writes about a time he lived in New York city,

I have lived in this metropolis in short spells, when I had taken a sabbatical. Walked the streets, bought my own grocery, parked the car in a garage and stepped out to my place of residence and got mugged. Twice actually. Once in the lobby of a 5 star Hotel. Lost everything. Money, passport, personal paperwork, letters of value from my father and my mother. Everything. And realized the importance of your own homeland. It is wretched when you are alone in foreign surroundings and have an emergency. Suddenly from admiration for the city, you are compelled down to the other extreme. (day 105, August 7, 2008)

Outrageous!  On behalf of the USA, I apologize to you Mr. Bachchan!  No one should ever get mugged, it is indeed wretched.  New Yorkers, I’m counting on you to look out for Big B and show him nothing but pyar.

Dil Hi Dil Mein (2000) aka Kadhalar Dhinam, My first hybrid dubbing experience.

When I saw Dil Hi Dil Mein (2000), I felt like a genius, or an idiot, or both.  I kept thinking that since this was originally a Tamil movie titled Kadhalar Dhinam (1999), that is was probably dubbed into Hindi.  But then I’d see scenes where the lips were completely synching up with the Hindi, and Bollywood actors like Anupan Kher and Johnny Lever.  These guys don’t do Tamil movies, right? I felt like I did when I was a kid seeing dubbing for the first time in some Godzilla film on TV some Saturday afternoon.  As a 5 year old watching that, I knew there was something off with the voices; adult women pretending to talk like kids for the children’s parts, and lips not matching up with the voices.  Well here’s the genius part, when doing my post movie internet research I read this:

The film’s success prompted Hindi Distributors to dub the film in Hindi as “Dil Hi Dil Mein”. However, director Kathir had actually reshot scenes in Hindi featuring actor Kunal and Anupam Kher [Replacing the Kunal-Manivannan tracks] conversing in Hindi while Johnny Lever’s scenes replaced the Goundamani Tracks [Even though he appeared briefly for the Chand Aaya Haisong] with the same Titanic hairdo. Even the tracks dubbed from the Tamil version were re shot with Hindi synchronization sans for the first line of Roja Roja. Actor Nasser, though dubbed in Hindi, had given his Hindi synching in the song “Sawar Gayee”. Though actors Kunal and Sonali Bendre had synched their dialogues in Hindi, the rest of the film was dubbed and became a flop at box office. (wikipedia)

So there!  It’s not completely dubbed over, since some portions were actually re shot in Hindi, so those no-dubbing lips were completely synchronized, since they were speaking Hindi after all.  So this is what I will now term a hybrid dubbing film, since I don’t know what else to call it. Do you?  Here’s a bit about the film:

Kadhalar Dhinam meaning Lover’s Day (English) is a 1999 Tamil film directed by Kathir. This film is based upon love which started upon an internet chatroom and how it developed. The movie stars Kunal, Sonali Bendre, Nassar, Manivannan, Goundamani, Rambha, Visu and Chinni Jayanth. This film was also known as the transition film between the 20th Century and the 21st Century.Produced by A.M. Rathnam and the music was composed by A.R. Rahman. The film was released April 1999 and was a box-office record breaker.(wikipedia)

What I enjoyed most in this movie is the story of how Rosa’s wealthy, accomplished father, played by the very handsome Nassar, once was an orphan. Who doesn’t love a good orphan story? With his orphan background, he’s naturally drawn to help out Raja, who he has no idea is in love with his very own daughter!

Orphans unite! Here are some images to show the rough start Roja’s daddy had before winning his hard earned success. 

Well one of the things wrong with begging in this case was that they didn’t give the little girl milk, so she’d cry with passion and get more money from begging.  But they went too far and she died.

As an young orphan boy, Roja’s dad, aka son of the eclipse, was blamed for his sister’s death, since her begging money went to pay his tuition and satisfy his lust for education.

Well it sounds to me like his mom was projecting her guilt over her beti’s death onto her son. I hope he eventually grew to understand this. I do love these neglected orphan tales though.  All the suffering!

I found the Dorthy Hammil hair of the lead star, Kunal, distracting.  For those who aren’t old enough to recall, Dorthy Hammil was the gold medel winning figure skating darling of the 1975 Olympics, who stormed the world with her sassy hairdo.

Even Johnny Lever’s character wore the Dorthy Hammil hair:

“…and your tresses look like those of Dorthy Hammil.”

When I tried to find out more about Kunal, I was saddened to see that he committed suicide on Feburary 7, 2008, which is incidentally my birthday.  I heard Dorthy Hammil interviewed on the radio recently and she spoke of her struggles with depression, which must have been what Kunul suffered from, since untreated depression is the cause of suicide.  So sad.  But we have this nice movie to remember him by.

Now on a lighter note, who doesn’t like dancing with sticks? Do you know if there’s an official name for this style of stick dancing? You can see it here in “Daandiya Aattam,” from DHDM, with music by A.R. Rahman:

Thanks to memsaab for coming through with the answer to my question.  The dancing with sticks is called dandiya raas which has an interesting history you can read about at Dandiya: The Great Indian Social Dance. Look! The type of dance is right there in the title of the song, “Daandiya Aattam.

Bollywood Insider: Latest reports from July & August, 2008

Dosto, it’s time to get the latest Bollywood chugli from Suzi Mann, Bollywood Food Club’s favorite entertainment correspondant. Suzi gives us the latest news hot off the press on all your favorite Bolly stars!  Sorry I’m a bit late in passing this news on to you.  Enjoy!

 

 

From July 04, 2008:
London hosts Love Story 2050 Premiere – Khan and Kumaar are inseperable – Hard Kaur is a party animal
From July 11, 2008:
Shilpa makes a comeback – Kumar lives like a Kinng – Career lift-off for Harman
From July 18, 2008:
Kaif’s birthday surprise – Priyanka turns 26 – Bolly brand is big bucks
From July 25, 2008:
Bolly stars unite for Unforgettable Tour – Salman and SRK run-in – Govinda relives his youth
From August 01, 2008:
Jewel in Kat’s crown – Chopra choppy waters – King Kumar cashes in