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Posts Tagged ‘Bombay’

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maximum-cityIn Suketu Mehta’s book Maximum City, I recall a part where he speaks of the wonder of the Bollywood film industry, since it’s a place where all types of people come together and work. Mehta‘s take on the recent events in Mumbai and its relation to Bollywood is beautifully said and worth a read:

Just as cinema is a mass dream of the audience, Mumbai is a mass dream of the peoples of South Asia. Bollywood movies are the most popular form of entertainment across the subcontinent. Through them, every Pakistani and Bangladeshi is familiar with the wedding-cake architecture of the Taj and the arc of the Gateway of India, symbols of the city that gives the industry its name. It is no wonder that one of the first things the Taliban did upon entering Kabul was to shut down the Bollywood video rental stores. The Taliban also banned, wouldn’t you know it, the keeping of songbirds…But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder. If the rest of the world wants to help, it should run toward the explosion. It should fly to Mumbai, and spend money. Where else are you going to be safe? New York? London? Madrid? So I’m booking flights to Mumbai. I’m going to go get a beer at the Leopold, stroll over to the Taj for samosas at the Sea Lounge, and watch a Bollywood movie at the Metro. Stimulus doesn’t have to be just economic.

(Read Mehta’s full article from the New York Times HERE.)

Mehta’s other Bollywood related articles include:

Bollywood Confidential and Welcome to Bollywood.

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motiba1.jpgI recently read Motiba’s Tattoos, a memoir by Mira Kamdar. Kamdar is an American born Jain woman and her book traces the life of her grandmother. I was reading along, not expecting anything Bollywood, but when describing her time spent in Mumbai as a kid Kamdar served up some spicy Bollywood dish:

The slum was still cloaked in darkness, but on the other side of the street, the mansions of stars were lit up here and there with the garish florescence of hundreds of high-voltage projector lights illuminating the last of the nightlong marathon of shooting. ‘Bollywood’ movie stars are rich people in a poor country. Their real-life homes provide ready-made back-drops for the improbable lives of the wealthy heroes, heroines, and villains they play in their films. We children would often go up to the rooftop terrace of our Jehu apartment building after dark and pick out the homes of the stars where scenes were being filmed. ‘Look! Over there. Tonight they are shooting at Amitabh Bachchan’s house over on Tenth Road. You know who is starring, Hema Malini.’ Star struck teenagers in the neighborhoods waited patiently outside the gates of these villas for hours hoping to capture a glimpse of a favorite actor. When shooting was going on late into the night at Meena Cottage, directly behind our apartment it was hard to sleep. The bright lights and the knowledge that just yards away from where we slumbered, one famous star or another was breathing, walking, sitting, or drinking tea was simply too enervating.(p.150)

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Now everytime I see Bollywood movies, I’m going to wonder if the homes featured are possibly some star’s actual home. How exciting! Want to learn more about where Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Rekha, Aishwarya Rai, Aamir Khan, and John Abraham live? Click HERE, though it’s a bit dated, it’s still interesting. Remember what you see, because it could show up in a movie. I wonder if SRK’s home, Mannat, pictured here will or has ever been in a film?  For a thrilling and humorous account of seeing Mannat first hand, check out In Praise of All Things Dharmendra related.

In addition to writing about Amitabh, Kamdar also writes about Rekha’s romantic involvement with her cousin on page 165. Wow!  I also like Kamdar’s description of Bombay:

Bombay has been called a whore, a temptress, a slut. The city is a woman, enticing, betraying, extricating great sacrifice, sucking one dry. Indian speakers of Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi call the city ‘Mumbai’ after a local female deity, Mumbadevi, whose distinguishing characteristic is the lack of a mouth. (p.131.)

Until I read this, I didn’t know anything about the Mumbadevi and that she has no mouth. Of course I this made me think of Hello Kitty, who also has no mouth. I fell in love withbarbielogo.gif as a kid, and sanr_icon_kitty_1.gifas a much older kid, and Bollywood is my adult Barbie-Hello Kitty. Now I feel more justified in this hobby, because the Mumbadevi has no mouth.
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Today’s song is “Kannalanae” from Bombay (1995). I remember seeing this film and thinking in the music numbers the lips weren’t matching what they were singing and that Manisha Koirala should really work on her lip syncing skills.  I then much later realized that they were singing (or pretending to sing) in Tamil, and the movie was dubbed into Hindi. Duh! Of course I fell for Arvind Swamy  after seeing this movie. Didn’t you?

bombay.gifBombay (1995) is an award-winning Tamil feature film drama directed by Mani Ratnam, starring Arvind Swamy and Manisha Koirala, with music composed by A. R. Rahman. The film met with a strong reception upon release. The film is centred on events, particularly during the period of December 1992 to January 1993 in India, and the controversy surrounding the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Increased religious tensions in the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) led to riots. Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) is the son of traditional Hindu parents. He is studying journalism in Bombay and returns to his village where he comes across Shaila Bano, (Manisha Koirala), a Muslim schoolgirl. The story revolves around their relationship in the midst of religious tension. The film caused huge controversy upon release in India and abroad, for its depiction of inter-religious relations. Well received critically and commercially, it was screened at many international film festivals including the Philadelphia Film Festival in 1996 where it was an audience favourite.It was subsequently dubbed in Hindi and Telugu. The film was banned in Singapore, Pakistan and Malaysia upon release. (wikipedia)

“Kannalanae” with playback singer K. S. Chithra, I think that this is the Tamil version, maybe tomorrow I’ll add the Hindi version titled “Kehna hi kya,” or do I have that the other way around?

Thanks to aruhten  for the video.

For about the film, check out The Bolly Blog’s review HERE.

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