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Archive for the ‘Hollywood/Bollywood’ Category

The Difference between Bollywood and Hollywood – A Blunt Explanation

Posted by litdaily on January 19, 2011

Writer Monojit Lahiri attempts to arrive at a reason for why Bollywood stars don’t quite make it in Hollywood. The exception, of course, is Freida Pinto…>>

Currently shooting the film Black Gold, opposite Antonio Banderas, Pinto seems to have made the crossover…>> Lahiri warns that this fame is temporary and that Pinto shouldn’t expect to be the next Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz.  Unlike other actresses from Bollywood that have made their temporary splashes in American entertainment, Pinto seems to fit the bill. In many ways, there is nothing Bollywood-ish about her. Neither her name nor her phenotype explicitly identifies her as an Indian to an American audience. Her appeal lies in the very notion that she might be considered ethnically or racially ambiguous.


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“In Treatment” on HBO Features Irrfan Khan

Posted by litdaily on October 25, 2010

The third season of HBO series In Treatment premieres tonight with Bollywood actor Irrfan Khan playing the role of Sunil, an Indian immigrant facing alienation in America. Sunil is a Bengali professor, a role familiar for Irrfan Khan. Khan had earlier played another Bengali professor, Ashoke Ganguli, in Mira Nair’s movie The Namesake, adapted from Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel of the same name. Lahiri is also connected with this season of In Treatment as she served as a “cultural consultant” for Sunil’s story…more>>

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Race and Reality TV

Posted by litdaily on October 13, 2010

In an article posted on Colorlines yesterday, the writer breaks down racial representation on mainstream media and reality television…more>>

Lately, many blogs that lean towards race and gender have focused on racial identity of actors and actresses on television. Although mainstream dating shows like “The Bachelor” have failed to incorporate people of color as candidates, other reality television shows such as “America’s Top Model” often depict stereotypical roles of Asians, Africans, and Latinos.  Either that, or in the case of Asians, these actors are whitened.

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Shyamalan’s “Devil”

Posted by litdaily on September 16, 2010

“Devil” is the first installment of M. Night Shyamalan’s “Night Chronicles,” a planned trilogy of original stories…more>>

As the article notes, Shyamalan is a controversial figure.  Critics either love him or hate him.  Some believe he’s still living on the glory of “The Sixth Sense,” which has carried him through a series of movies that have a lot of trimmings but not enough substance.

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Courting Bollywood

Posted by litdaily on September 15, 2010

In this article, one of the main questions the writer asks is: Is Bollywood misrepresenting the real India? She considers the appeal of Bollywood to NRIs…more>>

The transnational popularity of Bollywood is uncontestable. Although this popularity is truer  in other parts of the world (Britain, Middle East, Africa), even American culture and society is catching on.  Shows like “So You Think You can Dance” are incorporating Bollywood numbers while stars like Aishwarya Rai have made appearances on Oprah and The Late Show with David Letterman.

What’s fascinating about the popularity of Bollywood is that no one can really figure it out. Why has Bollywood gained such sudden appeal?  Is it because of the support of NRIs or is it something else?  Why would Indian Americans born and raised in other countries care about cheesy story lines that incorporate the same old class/caste differences, family feuds, and an ending where love conquers all…

For me, it’s the “love” part that gives it away.  While watching Bride and Prejudice a couple years ago, it hit me – no one does LOVE better than Bollywood.  Who cares whether these love stories represent the “real” India when the love portrayed by Bollywood is unabashedly pure, light and something to believe in and hope for?  I can’t even remember the last time I saw a Hollywood film where you could feel the love falling off the screen, misting up your eyes.  How can it even be possible when Hollywood wants people to buy into notions like “starter” marriages or no marriages at all.

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Chicago South Asian Film Festival

Posted by litdaily on September 14, 2010

The inaugural Chicago South Asian Film Festival runs from October 1st through October 3rd, 2010 with showings at Columbia College Chicago’s Film Row Cinema and Chicago Cultural Center. The festival showcases filmmakers from South Asia and South Asian diasporas. Expected attendees include Deepti Naval, Manisha Koirala, Ajay Naidu, Aparna Sen…more>>

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The Film Adaption of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go

Posted by litdaily on September 14, 2010

Mark Romanek’s second feature film is an adaptation of Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go.  A hyrbid of Japanese and British sensibilities, the novel and the film exhibits a calm surface with underlying emotional turmoil…more>>

Having read the book a couple of years ago, I know that descriptions of Ishiguro’s work will never be able to do justice to it.  The most surprising aspect of his narrative is the way that the characters capture your heart, which in the end, feels twisted with emotion.  It is not an easy to novel to forget, and for this reason, there is no better title.

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“Flesh Business” in Bollywood

Posted by litdaily on September 9, 2010

The recent arrest of two Indian actresses in Bollywood raises questions regarding the conflation of sex with acting.  This is not the first time that Indian actresses have been arrested for sexual prostitution and employing sex workers…more>>

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Bollywood movie on Jesus

Posted by litdaily on September 2, 2010

The first Bollywood film on the  childhood of Jesus Christ will be shot in Jerusalem.  The film, “intended for a global audience,” will be one of India’s highest budget movies…more>>

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“Aashayein” Defies Bollywood Formula

Posted by litdaily on August 31, 2010

Director Nagesh Kukunoor’s latest offering Aashayein(Wishes) resists the typical Bollywood formula of music and dance mashed up with melodrama. The movie explores issues of disease and death…more>>

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Batman Comics Writer Looks to the East

Posted by litdaily on August 29, 2010

Grant Morrison, author of Fantastic Four, Batman, and Superman is collaborating with Indian artist Mukesh Singh on a new-age, sci-fi television series and video game that will appropriate and refashion “Mahabharata” into 18 days.  Dynamite Entertainment and Liquid Comics have already released the first four books, which focus on the chaos of the war…more>>

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Bollywood Goes to Washington

Posted by litdaily on August 28, 2010

South Asian American filmmakers are auditioning actors for a Bollywood film to be shot in the D.C. area. The film’s title is “9 Eleven” but it is not about the September 11 attacks…more>>

The responses from the people interviewed for the article reflect the increasing cultural value of Bollywood. Both in India and in the West, Bollywood is no longer viewed as a trivial object of pop culture consumption but as something “cool”. Paul Singh, one of the article’s respondents, considers Bollywood a means of cultural fulfillment—something more than financial fulfillment. Similarly, the director of the film Manan Singh Katohora acknowledges that while acting in Bollywood was not considered a respectable profession for women earlier, women are now encouraged to act in films and TV. Of course, what Katohora fails to comment upon is that even with the changing perception of Bollywood as culturally valuable and of women’s participation in it as respectable, women directors and complex portrayals of female characters continue to be few and far-between in mainstream Bollywood cinema.

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Freida Pinto Doesn’t Fit the Bill…in Bollywood

Posted by litdaily on August 26, 2010

Frieda Pinto, the international heroine of Slumdog Millionaire, claims she doesn’t fit the bill.  While she landed roles in Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and The Rise of Apes, she hasn’t received any offers from Bollywood…more>>

Freida’s reflection is interesting here.  Is there something about Freida that is anti-Bollywood? Is it possible that her performance in Slumdog Millionaire was just average, considering that her characterization in the film was primarily developed by child star, Rubina Ali?

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From Invisible to Hypervisible

Posted by litdaily on August 24, 2010

Reuters seems to have caught the drift of the postings on this blog today, and their report echoes reader AD’s comment that Indians are no longer the invisible minority on American TV. The hypervisibility of Indians on the U.S. screens is supplemented by increased presence of Hollywood studios in Indian markets…more>>

In a June article for Slate, Nina Shen Rastogi outlined the reasons for this hypervisibility of Indians: changing demographics, Asian American media advocacy, more opportunities for Indian actors to play Middle-Eastern terrorists …more >>

It is indeed interesting that the timing of this buzz about hypervisibility of Indians coincides with the worst kind of fear-mongering, in both television and print media, about South Asian Muslims. Is it that audiences are happy to consume images of South Asians on screen as far as they don’t have to deal with them in real life? Or is it that they think of Indians as a category that does not include Muslims?

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“24”…Bigger than the Biggest?

Posted by litdaily on August 24, 2010

Bollywood star Anil Kapoor made his debut on international t.v. with the final season of “24”.  Calling it “bigger than the biggest” action drama he ever did in India, Kapoor played Omar Hassan, the president of a fictional Islamic Republic of Kamistan…more >>

Kapoor conceded that his success was due to his role on “Slumdog Millionaire,” which brought him onto the international scene.  Rather than looking at the past (um…Bollywood??), he was focusing on the future (Hollywood??).  Since Kumar hasn’t appeared on the Hollywood scene, is Hollywood the future for Bollywood stars?

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Dileep Rao in Box Office Hit “Inception”

Posted by litdaily on August 24, 2010

After his big role as scientist Dr. Max Patel in “Avatar,” Dileep Rao is now playing an avant-garde pharmacologist in the film, “Inception.”  A Sci-Fi lover, Rao says his role allowed him to balance intelligence with humor and wit…more >>

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Bollywood Remake of The Hangover

Posted by litdaily on August 18, 2010

Comedian/Actor Zach Galifianakis, the socially-awkward Alan in The Hangover, is all for a dance number in the Bollywood remake of the movie.  Although he claims that his only exposure to Indian films has been through Indiana Jones, India is a place he’s always wanted to go…more>>

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Posted by litdaily on August 18, 2010

In this much anticipated comedy, Todd Dempsy, is sent to run a call center in India.  The show is about culture differences, culture shock, and assimilation where east meets west through imitation, recreation, and work…more>>

While the show has received much positive attention in the media, there have been occasional voiced concerns. Will the show be funny or offensive?  Read more>>

Certainly, the concerns regarding the “offensive” nature of outsourcing in today’s economic climate is an important consideration, however, other offenses also come to mind. One prominent one is the popularity and reinforcement of South Asian stereotypes: thick and heavy accents, passive South Asian women who are doe-eyed and barely audible, turbaned male heads, the westernized/modernized South Asian woman in jeans, etc.

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