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Posts Tagged ‘INDIAN FOOD’

Bollywood Bewaafa!

Bollywood, I’ve been unfaithful. Please allow me to explain. Maybe it’s because it’s spring, and sometimes that’s the season when hearts wander, but I’ve been back to my old self, sampling the world and enjoying it. Yet still I keep getting reminded of you and all the great times we’ve had. I’ve cheated on you with China, (my ex), Egypt, Ethopia, and Kerala. I’ve cheated with films, documentaries, food and even books. Here’s how it happened:

I saw a Chinese movie a few weeks back called Luxury Car (2006). It was bleak, depressing and very good, but it brought me back to Bollywood. How you ask? Well it was directed by Wang Chao, who studied under director Chen Kaige, who made some movies starring the lovely Gong Li. Gong Li was the first actress I saw that moved me to want to see all her films. It was only after running out of movies with Gong Li, did I think maybe I’d like to see another movie with “that guy from Devdas,” who I later found out was Shahrukh Khan.

Then I was listening to NPR and heard a mini documentary on Umm Kulthum. Now hipped to Umm Kulthum, I promptly went to the library to get “Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt.” It’s an excellent documentary on a fascinating life. While watching Umm-ji’s life story, I thought of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

‘All Arabs agree,’ reads The Rough Guide to World Music. ‘Umm Kulthum is indisputably the Arab world’s greatest singer.’ The name Umm Kulthum may not strike a chord to Western ears, but she was a larger-than-life presence in the Arab world. The Egyptian singer’s career was long, its heyday extending from the 1930s to the 1960s, and her music became a powerful symbol of Arab nationalism. When she died in 1975 at the age of 70, 4 million people poured into the streets of Cairo to mourn her passing. Today, her music is everywhere. Even at truck stops, CD kiosks are brimming with Umm Kulthum’s many recordings. In the 1950s and ’60s, her fame grew, thanks to her legendary live radio broadcasts. On Thursday nights, the streets of Cairo would empty as people gathered around radio sets to hear the great singer. You can still hear a lot of Umm Kulthum on Egyptian radio today. In honor of her famous broadcasts, her music is played at 10 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. (NPR)

Can you watch and hear this and not want more? I couldn’t.

Come, enough, we’ve already missed so much. O love of my soul. What I saw, what I saw before my eyes saw you was a wasted life. How can it be counted? You are my life whose morning began with your light. You are my life.

Is even Umm telling me in this song to get back to Bollywood?

Thanks to armacino89 for the video.

Click here for a subtitled rendition of the same tune, and here for another.

First I cheated with films, documentaries, China, Egpyt. Then I cheated with food, Ethiopian food!

When eating out, instead of dining at one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Best of India, I strayed over to Fasika and dined on Ethiopian food, which I hadn’t had for years. My mind was seduced by the wall mural of Victoria Falls and other images throughout the restaurant of Lalibela, Axum, and Addis Ababa. My interest was peaked, but how could I even think of traveling to Ethiopia before I see my mother India? That food was really great!


I also cheated with books. When I’m not watching movies, I enjoy reading and I’d heard the “The God of Small Things” was an excellent book. It’s set in a village in Kerala, India, so I was slowly getting back to Bollywood, more or less. I know the author, Arundhati Roy, wrote “In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones” which was one of Shahrukh Khan’s first gigs. Bollywood calling me again. Then within the book, Roy makes reference to a tragic love triangle (sound familiar, Bollywood?) in a Malayalam film Chemmeen(1965). It’s not Bollywood, but it’s the Malayalam film industry, so I’m getting closer to coming back Bollywood.

Bollywood was so majestic, waiting gracefully as I looked around enjoying all the world has to offer, all the while being reminded of him. Really, I never left, you were always in my heart, I mean in my dil.


Forgive me Bollywood, for I have sinned!

I confess to almighty God, (Bollywood) and to you, my brothers and sisters,that I have sinned through my own fault,in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

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Today’s video is “Pretty Woman” with music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, by playback singer Shankar Mahadevan, picturized on King Khan from the movie Kal Ho Naa Ho.  I’ll get to that later but let me give you a little background first.

This is a pivotal Bollywood movie for me because it’s partly responsible for my current addiction to the genre. I had seen Devdas along with Nandini and other dosto at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis back in September 2003; the seed was planted. In the following years I saw Monsoon Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham, and Kandukondain Kandukondain. These Indian related movies swirled in my head a few years. Skip forward to August of 2006 and I’m looking at a Netflix page thinking, “Hey, I’d like to see that guy from Devdas in something.” I figure “that guy” is Shah Rukh Khan and put Kal Ho Naa Ho in the queue because it’s recommended. So I watch this movie and am stunned by how LONG it is! I’m disappointed that it’s set in what is supposed to be New York. Hey! This isn’t right, I wanted a real Indian movie set in India. Then I see this “Pretty Woman” scene and get that feeling you get when you’re embarrassed by someone, even worse that being embarrassed for yourself. But THEN the movie takes this turn that I never expect. Shah Rukh Khan is so dramatic that I’m sucked in. It has a love triangle, self sacrifice, and an emotionally wrenching hospital scene. So half way through, I accept it as a good movie and all I know is I want more! Then I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, followed by Main Hoon Na. Then I watch Main Hoon Na again with Nandini and I sense another Bollywood junkie. It’s like SRK was a gateway drug to Bollywood. Next discovery is the pure cocaine of Amitabh, and the angry young man movies. HOOKED! I pick up a Hindi street naam of Sita-ji after watching Dance Dance, to keep it real. So the addiction begins! I stay with Bollywood, because it’s what I know, it’s safe. I believe that if I slip into Tollywood and Kollywood, and I’ve had a taste of the Telugu and Tamil scene people, it would be like taking crack, possibly meth. I have to stay away from Rajinikanth for now. And Lollywood would be like heroin, unmanageable. I need to stay as clean as I can, so it’s mostly Bollywood for now. I saw Nandini the other night, and we whispered a bit about Nollywood, careful to not let too many people hear, but knew to back off, it was just too dangerous. And we know that kal ho naa ho, but it’s still good to play it safe.

khnh.jpg

Kal Ho Naa Ho (Devanagari कल हो ना हो, Nastaliq: کل ہو نہ ہو, English: Tomorrow May or May Not Be) is a 2003 Bollywood film set in New York City. It stars Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Saif Ali Khan. The film was directed by first-timer Nikhil Advani; it was produced and co-written by Karan Johar, better known as the director of the hit films Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). This movie resembles Dil Chahta Hai (2001) in blending Bollywood and Hollywoodconventions with high production values. While copyright violation has long run rampant in the Bollywood film industry, Kal Ho Naa Ho is notable for having licensed the rights to Roy Orbison‘s “Oh, Pretty Woman” for an extended musical sequence taking place in the streets in New York. Because of its familiar setting and music, accessibility to non-Indians, good production values, and respect for copyright, Kal Ho Naa Ho has been used to introduce Bollywood to markets where Indian films have been rare. Naina Catherine Kapur (Preity Zinta) is an angry young woman, for more than one reason. Her father committed suicide when she needed him the most, leaving Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan), his wife, to raise their children all khnh2.jpgalone. Lajjo (Sushma Seth), Jennifer’s mother-in-law, blames Jennifer for the suicide. Furthermore, Jennifer is unhappy because Lajjo refuses to accept Gia, a six-year-old girl whom Jennifer adopted, as her granddaughter. In addition, the restaurant Jennifer operates is faltering. The only factors that redeem Naina’s life are the toiling and tolerant Jennifer and Naina’s bumbling MBA classmate Rohit (Saif Ali Khan). Aman Mathur (Shah Rukh Khan), a happy-go-lucky man, arrives in Naina’s neighbourhood and soon changes everything with his contagious joviality and zest for life…(wikipedia)

And speaking of New York and India, our friend Brahmanandam, a.k.a. Tim, sent a great link to Indian restaurants in New York City; “A Passage to India,” by Matthew Fishbane. Click here to check it out the article published in the January 13, 2008 in the New York Times.

So here it is, “Pretty Woman”:

Thanks to nacromanser for providing the video.

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Enjoyed the lunch buffet at Surabhi  today. 

Located at 517 w. 98th St., Bloomington, MN  952-746-FOOD (3663)

and what they say here is true!

Welcome to Surabhi Indian Cuisine. The Indian food experience in Surabhi Cuisine will give you a glimpse of heaven, it is authentic and delicious to provide an unforgettable time.

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