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Indian Movies: A Primer

This post is probably long overdue, but as with everything else, I’ve been too busy to blog about it. I’ve received enough ribbing in my life about Indian movies, Indian songs and everything to do with Indian culture. People making fun of “dancing around coconut trees”, moving their heads and hands in a horrible imitation of what they consider Indian dance, and laughing at music – all of which I am expected to agree with and laugh at. I don’t confront residual racism directly, and until recently, I myself would have been unqualified to confront it [But that is not really the point].

So, with the axiom that knowledge is power, I am giving all my readers a tour of that great Indian institution: Indian films. Before I start, I must disclaim that I am by no means an expert, and I have not seen every movie out there [that would take roughly 100 years], and I am only able to give my point-of-view from three languages. Yes, surprise, there is more than one Indian language – roughly 20 official languages, in fact, spread out over 26 states. But the languages with an active film industry are not that many – Bengali, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu and of course, Hindi (popularly known as Bollywood). I am familiar with three of them – Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil. My interest in Indian movies was only recently revived, after having considered most of them in disdain. I still do, but I have learned to appreciate the gems too. Continue reading


September 22, 2008 Posted by | Celebrities, Movies, Music | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Indian Women

I am soooo gay. I sometimes wonder why I didn’t realise it earlier.

I came out to myself officially about 3 years ago, and from there, it took me about a year or two to be absolutely, 100%, no-looking-back sure. And it is small revelations like this that just adds to the pile of evidence.

What revelation am I talking about? I doubt anyone reading this blog will understand what I am talking about, but today I caught the beginning of an old Malayalam movie, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, translated literally as “A Brave Western Tale”. It is a tale, set in the Kairali training grounds, of love and loss, of tragedy, of an orphan’s journey of being rejected. This movie is as classic, as enduring, as solid in the Malayali culture and history as you can get.

The film itself was made shortly after I was born, but set in a much olden time where women dressed like this:

[I can’t get a better photo, sorry…. this was before the internet age].

They were simultaneously strong warrior women and angel-like beings of beauty and grace. They set the standard for femininity, and captured the imagination of an entire generation. Only now I realise it, but I fantasised extensively about these women at that time [I was six or seven when I was first able to watch and understand the movie I think]. I thought I wanted to be like them… but now I know I really wanted them. Them with their elaborate hairdos, their voluptuous ripe bodies, their grace and passion.

Talking about these women, I might as well take this opportunity to gush about Vidya Balan, who first captured my attention when she played Lalita in Parineeta.

I totally fell in love with the character in the movie… this intelligent, witty, strong woman who is at the same time, a little domicile and soft, a paragon of Indian femininity and natural beauty. I seriously can’t take my eyes off her when I watch her on screen.

But of course, perfect women like this don’t exist in real life – which is why they are called fantasies, isn’t it?

September 15, 2007 Posted by | LGBTQ, Movies | , , , | Leave a comment