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July 02, 2008

Chute's Bollywood Tips

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

David Chute writes very amusingly about a Bollywood epic called "Sivaji," which sounds like it might very well be the greatest movie ever made. One of many fond and funny passages:

I say without irony that the constinacy and conviction with which the filmmakers have labored to make every speck of this movie eye-gougingly super-collossal deserves nothing but respect. Ranji and company make the act of driving an audience half crazy with entertainment seem the noblest calling on earth.

But read the whole posting, which is full of information, perceptions, and felicities. Buy a copy of "Sivaji" here.

For those who may not know: David Chute is the critic who has been most instrumental in opening up the Asian popular cinema to American audiences. Hong Kong action? David was the Western critic who was there first, and his writing on these films has never been surpassed.

Semi-serious filmbuff though I am myself, Bollywood has always been a baffling closed book to me. Where to start? What game is being played? What values are being tendered? Since I don't take to these films naturally I need guidance.

So I'm very happy that in the comments on his posting David has included links to many of his own pieces about Bollywood: here, here. A fun and twisty passage from this excellent survey:

For the last two decades, domestic distributors have tried to woo the art-house audience with "transgressive" films like Takeshi Miike's Audition (or anything by Guy Ritchie). Such an approach is hopeless with Bollywood, which is a radically conservative cinema not of unease, but reassurance. Still, the very things that make it seem square could potentially attract the hipster audience that loves Gilligan's Island.

David also recommends this book.



posted by Michael at July 2, 2008



Posted by: I. Know Nothing on July 2, 2008 1:38 PM

I thought basic "netiquette" prohibited comments on spelling errors...

Michael, I'm not worthy. Only a Blowhard wannabe. (I'm well on my way to becoming a crank, though. Does that count? Next milestone: Dirty Old Man.)

The big Bollywood opening this weekend is "Love Story 2050" {}, which I'll be seeing on the 4th with a group of regulars from the blog--which has been renamed Hungry Bhoot for a day.

Posted by: David C on July 3, 2008 3:49 PM

I didn't think it was an error. I genuinely thought that a word was being used I'd never heard before. Now I know.

Posted by: I. Know Something Now on July 3, 2008 6:37 PM

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