The gori extras of “Kismat Konnection”

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Sometimes there are those movies where you just have to look for the enjoyment, since it might not really happen to be there. Kismat Konnection (2008) was one of those movies where I just had to give up at the start and make my own fun.  Even super Shahid supporter, Ajnabi at Paisa Vasool–Or Not, was able to determine that Kismat Konnection perhaps wasn’t the greatest time pass as evidenced in her entertaining review of the film.

Before this unremarkable easy listening tune started in the movie, I had spied this very suspicious group in the background, and my Bollywood intuition told me that they were more than your typical gori extras.

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ddljI thought Why are they standing in a group like that ? Why the mandolins? Well yes, I know Bollywood films have mandolins, but still, I wondered, why?  So check out this tune from the film, Is This Love (Kahin Na Laage) with playback singers Shreya Ghosal and Mohit Chauhan, picturized on Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan. Pay attention to the gori extras please.  And darn it if this song didn’t stick in my head, despite me trying to shut it out!

Playing a bit bigger role than is typical, this group of long blond haired, mandolin playing, acid washed shorts wearing gori extras (and one supposed to be Jamaican guy) really stole the show for me.

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It’s the kind of extra work that I’d be proud to do!  Wouldn’t you?  Who are these gorii?

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So the joy of Bollywood, as you already know since you’re here, is that even a weak movie has a few strengths, and sometimes I really have to reach for them, as is this case, where I found the subtitles unintentionally homoerotic:

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I made some more fun for myself when I noticed that Boman Irani’s character in Kismat Konnection looked like a Hasidic Jew, minus the ear locks, so I just added some here to complete the picture.

kismiatKonnection.BomanEarlockHasidic

kismiatKonnection.functionI also enjoyed the use of the word function in the film.  To many this may not seem so great, but I love it.  I noticed on my trip to India the liberal use of the term function for many different events.  Here in the US, we’d more likely just say what the actual event is, e.g. a party, a wedding, a concert, a lecture, etc., but it seems in India they just keep it simple and say function. I do like it though, and have been working steadily to use it as often as I can now.  It’s really a lot more mysterious to go to a function and just let people wonder what that function is.  There really are so many functions that we all have to attend each day.  In fact I have to wrap up this post since I’m going to a function. (function = I’m going to put a movie in the DVD player and watch it.)

Explosion 2009 tour-spoiler alert!

If you’re planning on catching Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Hard Kaur’s tour…Spoiler Alert!

Sorry, I just like the drama and warning of typing Spoiler Alert! At least this is a spolier alert for about 10 minutes of Sonu bhai’s segment. Check out a bit of the Explosion 2009 show from Washington D.C., USA. These videos are from the 7/29/09 show,  or for those outside the US, that would be from the 29/7/09 show.


Thanks to Prathamesh24 for posting these!

subhajitroy77 has also posted many video clips from the show.

“Explosion 2009!” Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan & Hard Kaur Tour the US

Friends in the US, are you going to go to the Explosion 2009 show?

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Here’s the list of dates I found for the tour:

24th July 2009 - Washington DC/Fairfax

25th July 2009 - Dallas/Garland

26th July 2009 – Boston  - The promoter has cancelled this show

31st July 2009 - Chicago/Rosemont

1st August 2009 - Atlantic City

2nd August 2009 - Los Angeles

7th August 2009 - Houston

8th August 2009 - San Fransisco/Oakland

9th August 2009 - Denver

15th August 2009 – Orlando Canceled?  :(

16th August 2009 – Minneapolis Canceled? I’d like to hope postponed

23rd August 2009 - Minneapolis - NEW DATE - Sonu Niigaam LIVE in Concert

15th August 2009 - Phoenix - but not confirmed til now

16th August 2009 - Los AngelesNEW DATE

25th September 2009 - BostonNEW DATE but not confirmed til now

The main Explosion Information from Sonu bhai’s page keeps changing, so go HERE to keep updated.

exp.mspIt seems like there’s no centralized promotion of this tour and you’ll have to track down tickets via local promoters by clicking on the city of choice above or go through Localfiles.   I hope to make it to the Minneapolis show to see and hear Sonu Nigam.   Unfortunately the promotional flyer  for the August 16th show doesn’t list Hard Kaur or Sunidhi Chauhan, so who knows if they’ll be there.  If  Hard Kaur is at the Minneapolis show I’ll try to find her back stage so I can free style with her.  Once the tour has started and you’ve seen a show, please stop in with your comments to share.

Stop over to Filmi Girl’s blog, where she’s doing a daily countdown featuring each of the artists from the tour: Sunidhi Chauhan, Hard Kaur and Sonu Nigam. She’s also posted an excellent SHOW REVIEW with setlist and photos!

Anil Kapoor cooks with Martha Stewart.

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I posted about Hillary Clinton and Aamir Khan a couple days back and now I have yet another famous American gori hanging out with an Indian Film Industry super star to show you.  Anil Kapoor on the Martha Stewart Show!  How did I miss this? Well I suppose because the show is on while I’m working is the reason I missed it when it originally aired.  The other day I watching Martha Stewart and chef Suvir Saran was her guest and they were making some cauliflower dish. Then I hear Martha casually comment on how when Anil Kapoor was on her show he also used asafoetida in the black dal recipe he made.  SAY WHAT!?  The search was on!  Better late than never.

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I found that Anil Kapoor had been on  Martha’s show April 1, 2009.

Just look at Martha acting so coy around our beloved Anil!

She is looking just like a gori extra in a Bollywood film.

Lekin, how can I blame her?

Can anyone resist his charms?

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Martha becomes more aggressive and it looks like she’s trying to accidently touch his hand here.

Nahin!

How dare she!?

Back off Martha!

Dammit!

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You may watch the episode at THIS LINK.  In the clip you’ll see that Martha doesn’t know a whole lot about Bollywood, but she tries to talk about it, and Anil is very polite about her lack of knowledge.  Mention not! Ahh, if she only knew of his vast mega-star fame and cinematic accomplishments!

Anil Kapoor’s black dal recipe.

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Aamir Khan & Hillary Clinton talk education.

Look at HillaryClinton being charmed by Aamir Khan! I wonder if she’s seen any of his films.India Clinton

I find this photo romantic, don’t you?

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Thanks to Bollywood Cookie for the photos and you can see more HERE.

Saturday, Jul 18, 2009, India

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Mumbai on a five-day India visit.  And at a programme, she met Bollywood star Aamir Khan and spoke to students at the Xavier’s College. (source)

As a teacher, I decided not to be insulted by some of Aamir’s comments regarding the profession that he makes here. I’ll let them slide. It’s quite an interesting video and both Hillary and Aamir have some insightful comments about education in the US and India.

Noor Jehan, Queen of Melody. Plus: murder by balloons!

Dosto! I’m working my way back from the world of Iranian cinema through Pakistan films, before I eventually land again in Bollywood. I have only seen two Pakistani (Lollywood)  films, one was Khuda Ke Liye (2007) and the other,  Dupatta (1952).  I read about Dupatta at Dances on the Footpath where Richard did a great write up HERE. I’d heard of singer/actress Noor Jehan, who of course I like to call  Mallika-e-Tarranum, the queen of melody.

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Now that’s really and achievement to be a playback singer and actress all in one.  The song that sticks in my mind still months after viewing the film is Chandani Raatein:

Then I found a more recent version of the song and Noor Jehan is really the Queen of Melody in this rendition:

If you want a modern Bally Sagoo remix of the same tune, Darshit told me about this version.

Chandani Raatein is not all that stuck in my head from the film.  If you read this blog, you may have seen me fixate on the use of balloons in Bollywood films.  I love it!  Well this scene from Lollywood surpasses almost all balloon scenes I’ve seen in Bollywood, except for maybe this one from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin.  Enjoy this sweet little murder by balloons scene and keep it in mind in case you need to murder a small child, or anyone easily fascinated by balloons:

The entire film has been lovingly uploded with English subtitles by jimmynoor68 HERE. Now please, take these balloons…no, no, how about from here. Yes now step up here…yes! take them from here…

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Bollywood taught me Farsi!

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Gori learns Farsi! OK, maybe that’s an overstatement.  It’s fun to exaggerate, hai na?  To wrap up my recent foray into Iranian cinema posts and to help to somehow justify all my film watching hours, days, weeks.  I have to prove I learned something, from all this entertaining time-pass right? So here goes: while watching all those Iranian films I recognized the following words I originally learned from Hindi films. I apologize for my misspellings, since I had to guess on some words:

farsicompletedarwaza (door)
hamisha (always)
kasam (promise)
salam (hello)
ishq (love)
shayad (maybe)
zindigi (life)
bachchay (children)
Khuda Hafiz (God keep you safe)
chai (tea)
garam (hot, as in as in garam chai)
diwani (crazy)
yadon (remember/memory)
dushman (enemy. Boy do I have enmity with them! I love how enmity is used in Bollywood subtitles)

I can’t be certain, but I think I also heard a possible mohhabet (love)

So in the world of languages I can see that Hindi–>Urdu–> Farsi, or maybe it’s more like Farsi–>Urdu–>Hindi. You can imagine my excitement on hearing and recognizing these words. So you see yaar, Bollywood taught me Farsi, by way of Urdu.

My foray into Iranian cinema: Part III – Majid Majidi’s Baran(2001)

baranFor the last couple posts I’ve been focusing on Iranian films instead my usual Bollywood theme.  The other posts have been on directors Abbas Kiarostami and Tahmineh Milani, and this time I saw a film by director Majid Majidi.  Baran (2001) is a film the mesmerized me.  It was so beautiful to watch and was nearly free of dialogue, telling its story through stark, yet beautiful images.

Baran (Persian: باران) is a 2001 Iranian film directed by Majid Majidi, based on an original script by Majid Majidi. The movie is set during recent times in which there are a large number of Afghan refugees living on the outskirts of Tehran. Almost a silent movie, Baran won a number of awards both nationally and internationally for the director and writer Majid Majidi. The movie is about maturing of the character Lateef and his silent romantic interests in an Afghan refugee, Baran, in the construction site where he works. It is necessary to describe the work force at the site to fully appreciate the movie. At the point the story is told, in 2001, there are many Afghan refugees in Iran due to the war with Russia and also due to the oppressive regime of Taliban. There are many Afghan refugees working at the site for far less wages than the Iranian workers. In Iran, the Afghan refugees are not allowed to stay anywhere except the refugee camps unless authorized and hence the Afghan workers need to travel everyday from the camp to the work site. The Afghan refugees also need authorization cards to work in the country but it is difficult to obtain. Hence many of the Afghans are working illegally which is depicted in the movie. Lateef, who is an Iranian, is having an easy time at the construction site with the job of making tea and lunch. He always seems to be making witty remarks which are not taken by some of the other characters in a similar manner, especially Faraj. He is also shown to be very careful with his money and saves every single pocket money he gets. He is also shown to be intolerant towards doves. One day when Lateef comes to work he finds one of the Afghan workers, Najaf, has been injured and is being taken to the hospital. The next day, Najaf sends his son – Rahmat – to work, since he is unable to work with a broken leg and he has many children to take care of. Rahmat is a weakling and is unable to do to the heavy manual work at the construction site. Hence, the contractor, Memar, allocates Lateef’s easy job to Rahmat and Lateef has to help with the construction of the building. Lateef is sore about losing his comfy job and continuously torments Rahmat until he learns by accident that Rahmat is actually a girl. He is really sorry about his early acts and vehemently tries to be protective about Rahmat at the work site, trying to save her from Faraj and the inspectors. (source)

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For more information of the film, and other Majidi films, consult his website.  I also found a nice review of Baran HERE.

Here we are in the dismal, yet somehow lovely work site near Tehran:

baran.setting

On “her” first day of work, Rahmat (Zahra Bahrami), an Afghan refugee, is welcomed by Lateef (Hossein Abedini).  He offers Rahmat tea and even gives some work tips and bit of help here and there.baran.tea

Yet when Rahmet is given Lateef’s chai wallah job, Lateef is enraged, but not for long because he discovers Rahmet (aka Baran) is really a girl and that he has feelings for her.

baran.work

He even helps protect her from work site inspectors looking for the illegal immigrants working at the site.

baran baran.burka

“Rahmat” has to leave the work site and Lateef spends time tracking her down, eventually finding her.  Lateef’s search is difficult and lonely, but he gets unexpected support and encouragement from strangers along the way.

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baran.lateef

I had so many images from this film that are still playing in my mind.  One of the most gorgeous but sadly poignant scenes was when Lateef spies Baran from afar working in harsh conditions, pulling large rocks from an icy cold river.

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If you’re interested, you can see Baran HERE. I’d also like to see Majidi’s 1997 filmChildren of Heaven (Bacheha ye Aseman) which sounds wonderful.  Please let me know if you’ve seen any of Majidi’s films and what you thought of them.

My foray into Iranian cinema: Part II – Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten(2002)

Ten_DVDDosto, yesterday I explained my foray into Iranian cinema.  Today I’ll  tell you about another Iranian film I saw, Ten (2002)  directed by the illustirous  Abbas Kiarostami.

Ten (Persian: ده) is a 2002 Iranian film directed by Abbas Kiarostami and starring Mania Akbari. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and ranks at number 447 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The film is divided into ten scenes, each of which depict a conversation between an unchanging female driver (played by Mania Akbari) and a variety of passengers as she drives around Tehran. Her passengers include her young son (played by Akbari’s real life son, Amin Maher), her sister, a bride, a prostitute, and a woman on her way to prayer. One of the major plots during the film is the driver’s divorce from her (barely seen) husband, and the conflict that this causes between mother and son. Much of the cast were untrained as actors, and the film has an improvisatory element. Elements of the characters were based on the actual life of the main actress and her son. The film was recorded on two digital cameras, one attached to each side of a moving car, showing the driver and passenger respectively. The film explores personal social problems arising in Iranian society, particularly the problems of women. (source)

You may be thinking Sita-ji, what does this have to do with Bollywood or the Indian film industry? Well just DEKH who he’s compared with here, some bahut famous Indian film makers!

Though Kiarostami has been compared to Satyajit Ray, Vittorio de Sica, Éric Rohmer, and Jacques Tati, his films exhibit a singular style, often employing techniques of his own invention. (source)

and

Kiarostami, along with Jean Cocteau, Derek Jarman, and Gulzar, is part of a tradition of filmmakers whose artistic expressions are not restricted to one medium, but who show the ability to use other forms such as poetry, set designs, painting, or photography to relate their interpretation of the world we live in and to illustrate their understanding of our preoccupations and identities. (source)

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Now if Kiarostami is mentioned in the same company as Satyajit Ray and Gulzar, I say that I’ll see more of his films!

I found a few more Bollywood similarities, firstly, the mention of orphans, so very Bollywood, na?

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There is also a lot of sound metaphysical advice given out, also typically Bollywood.  One of my favorite parts came when Mania Akbari’s character tried to comfort her friend who was just dumped with  practical and spiritual advice. I also liked how her friend cut her hair all off in order to move on from her loss.  Here are some of those images:

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I’m almost done posting on Iranian filums and will show you one more tomorrow.  As usual, I’d love to hear you’ve seen this film or any more of  Kiarostami’s works.  I know I’d like to see more of his films, though my dil is firmly in the land of Indian films now and forever.

I’m back from Iran! My foray into Iranian cinema: Part I- director Tahmineh Milani

Tahmineh_MilaniHey Bollywood Fans!  I’ve been in Iran, well more precisely watching some Iranian cinema. With all the recent turmoil in Iran, I thought the least I could do is watch some of their movies. I was inspired to do this after seeing NBC’s special Behind the veil: Inside Iran which included an interview with director Tahmineh Milani.

Over and over again in Iran, we meet women who are challenging the status quo. Like filmmaker Tahmineh Milani.

Tahmineh Milani: I believe this way. This is the– best way to change people.

Milani is one of the most popular and respected directors in Iran. She’s won numerous international awards for her films, most of which are about the unseen lives of middle-class women in Iran.

Tahmineh Milani: They accept their situation. And they don’t talk, they don’t protest. But they suffer.

Her movies have to be cleared by censors. At least three have been banned. She says that earlier in her career, she challenged the country’s top censor.

Tahmineh Milani: I went there and he start to– accuse me. And he said, “We will bring you and we will– beat you– here.”

Ann Curry: Whip you.

Tahmineh Milani: Yes, whip you. Yes, yes, yeah, whip you.

She was not beaten, but pregnant with twins at the time, she says the stress took its toll. She gave birth prematurely. Her daughter lived.

Tahmineh Milani: And after two, three days my son died.

Ann Curry: Why didn’t you stop your work?

Tahmineh Milani: Because I believe my way. Because, I believe– I can be useful in my society, because this is my society. This is my country. We really love Iran. I choose to live here and I want to keep this place.

In 2001, she made a film called “the hidden half” about a woman unjustly sentenced to death. Ironically, after the film was released, Milani was arrested and jailed and faced the death penalty herself.

Ann Curry: They accused you of being anti-God.

Tahmineh Milani: Yeah, and three–

Ann Curry: Other charges.

Tahmineh Milani: –more dangerous than these.

She says she was given a stern warning:

Tahmineh Milani: “We are going to kill you to be good lesson to another people.”

Ann Curry: They said that to you? They said, “We’re gonna kill you”?

(source and more of the interview HERE. There is also video of the 6 part special HERE.)

So far I’ve seen Milani’s Do Zan (Two Women), 1999; Nimeh-ye Penhān (aka The Hidden Half), 2001; and Vākonesh-e Panjom (aka The Fifth Reaction), 2003 and I’ll share a bit about each here.  It was interesting that all three films starred Niki Karimiand in each film her character was named Fereshteh, though they were each separate unrelated characters. I found that Fereshteh is a Persian name for Angel.

dozanSimilar to many Indian films, every the Iranian films all started off with a dedication to God.  Since God watches movies, I’m sure he/she appreciates the shout outs. I like that merging of art and religion, but I don’t like at American music awards shows how artists thank Jesus, or the Lord, or Jesus my Lord and Savior, I suppose because I’m some sort of hypocrite, but I digress. I should start every post, “In the name of God.”

 

342px-Two-WomanDo Zan (Two Women), from 1999 was, you guesses it, the story of 2 woman who met in college in Tehran and how both of their lives took different courses over the years.

Two Women charts the lives of two promising architecture students over the course of the first turbulent years of the Islamic Republic, creating a portrait of traditions that conspire to trap women and stop them from realizing their full potential. The film won the best screenplay award at Iran’s Fajr Film Festival in 1999 as well as Best Actress for Niki Karimi‘s part in the Taormina Film Festival. (source)

Roya (Marila Zare’i) and Fereshteh (Niki Karimi) are total BFFs, but the revolution and some domineering men really get in the was of things.

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Well looks like the more things change the more they stay the same, hai na?  So if the political situation weren’t enough, Fereshteh is being stalked by a psycho.

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dozan.getawayIt’s not quite love, since he follows her with a knife and threatens her and her friends.  Long story short, she goes back to her home town to avoid the maniac, but he hunt her down. One day while he follows stalks Fereshteh, she drives into a group of kids and kills one of them.  This causes her family disgrace, even though it wasn’t her fault at all. To the “rescue” in court comes man number two, and poor  Fereshteh’s dad marries her off to this guy, who I think is just as bad as the stalker.

dozan.disgrace dozan.promise

Her mom can’t help her, since her dad and men in general run the show. Now here’s a snap from their little nikkah (wedding) ceremony.  I suppose you may know that the women and girl in the background are doing that happy little screaming thing, but I interpreted it as yawning: they wanted to see a proper Indian wedding ala Bollywood.  See how dull:

dozan.wed

So the husband is a real tyrant and controls Fereshteh as much as possible:

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Sort of makes the stalker seem romantic by comparison.  Eventually she wants out of the abusive marriage and goes to her family for support without luck.

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Well I’d say hey, why not help your daughter, after all you’re the one who married her off to that creep.

♥ ♥ ♥

hiddenhalfNext I saw  Nimeh-ye Penhān(aka The Hidden Half) from 2001 and if you’re expecting a happier story than Do Zan, give up now.

An official is sent from his home in Tehran to hear the final appeal of a woman sentenced to death, a political prisoner. The official’s wife of nearly 20 years, Fereshteh Samimi, writes him a letter to read when he reaches the hotel – the story of her student days during the revolution of 1978. We see the story in flashbacks as he reads: she leaves her province on scholarship, joins a Communist youth group, avoids arrest, and comes under the sway of a suave older man, Roozbeh Javid, a literary-magazine editor. As she tells her husband about the hidden half of her life, Fereshteh asks that he listen to the woman facing execution, a woman and therefore one of Iran’s hidden half. (source)

hiddenhalf.1978 hiddenhalf.1979

Fereshteh meets an older man, Javid (Mohammad Nikbin),  and there’s a mutual attraction, but despite being an intellectual, he patronizes her.

hiddenhalf.prettylady hiddenhalf.fereshtah.javid

She asks the party leader the official view on romantic love:

hiddenhalf.nolove

She gets tired of wearing the seemingly required communist outfits and again questions the party official.

hiddenhalf.dress hiddenhalf.dress.2

One of Mr. Javid’s associates helps set Fereshteh straight about the struggle:

hiddenhalf.slogans

I believe the  movie’s title, the Hidden Half,  not only referred to Fereshteh’s earlier life that her husband didn’t know about but also the (hidden) wife of the older man who pursues her. Later in life Javid and Fereshteh meet again.  He speaks to her about love and to me she looks a bit like Aishwarya Rai here, right?

hiddenhalf.javid hiddenhalf.likeAish

♥ ♥ ♥

5thReactionFinally, the last Milani movie I saw was Vākonesh-e Panjom (aka The Fifth Reaction) from 2003.

Fereshteh loses her home and her two sons after her husband’s accidental death when Hadj Safdar, her stubborn and powerful father-in-law, forces her to return to her parents. She is faced with the loss of her visitation rights when Hadj plans to send his grandchildren to live in a remote town. With the help of her circle of women friends she tries to take them beyond his reach, but in a patriarchal society it is hard to find a safe haven. (source)

5thReaction.teach

Fereshteh is out with the gals in Tehran talking about their teaching jobs.  Her friends are encouraging Fereshteh to stop mourning her husband.

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Her friend also is talking about how great her own relationship with her husband is, but opps! He walks into the same restaurant with his young secretary.

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And then comes the attempted tight slap to the face. How dare she question her husband! Luckily the owner of the place is a true gentleman and sends the crazed, tyrannical husband on his way.

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Fereshteh’s father in law, Hadj Safdar, played by Jamshid Hashempur, tells her that she must either marry her brother in law now that she’s a widow, or he will take her two sons from her.  He believes  she’d no doubt be a temptation to his other son and  would work in conjunction with the devil.

5thReaction.stay 5thReaction.devil

Fareshteh cannot fathom marrying her brother in law, or leaving her children, so she escapes town with her sons. 

5thReaction.separate 5thReaction.teacher

It becomes a game of cat and mouse between Fareshtah and her father in law.  He tries to track her and her sons down all around Tehran and into the countryside.  Notice like many a Bollywood villains how Hadj wears more that one ring, which I see as a bad sign! Furthermore, whenever you see a pinkie ring, run!  It’s never good.

♥ ♥ ♥

The other Iranian films I’ve  seen are  10  by director Abbas Kiarostami, and Baran by Majid Majidi, which I’ll cover in a post in the next day or two…then it’s back to Bollywood yaar!  Have you seen any of these films or other Iranian films?  Let me know.