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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Comment for the Weekend Open Thread


    by Shariq on 14th November, 2008 at 7:50 pm    

    To Cameron’s credit, he did reshape the Tory party to a centre-right party, and thus providing an alternative to Brown. Both Brown and Cameron are not Obama, but you know what? I prefer to live in a country where the choice is between two (or three) viable candidates, then in the US, where the choices seem to go between retards (Bush, Palin) and a superb candidate (Obama).

    And Lammy’s attack is lame.

    By Ravi Naik in the comments of the Lammy/Cameron thread.

    Sunny adds: Some weekend reading, this profile and this interview are excellent, on Nate Silver a mathematics genius who started FiveThirtyEight in March this year, now an immensely popular blog for its political number crunching.



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    32 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. El Cid — on 14th November, 2008 at 9:21 pm  

      I don’t wish to rain on Ravi’s parade, but in the spirt of a weekend thread I was wondering — now that we have a black US president, a couple of white world heavyweight boxing champions, a yellow (is that PC? Admittedly, it’s a long time since I have seen the term, so I’ll wait until Lord Sid puts me right) UN Secretary General — whether it was time we had an even more historic development.
      I’m talking of Doctor Who of course.
      I understand from my kids that the next Doctor is another white man.
      But it’s surely time for our favourite Time Lord to regenerate more radically.
      Question is, what would be progressive a black/south Asian Doctor or even… a FEMALE Doctor?
      Better still, how about a blonde blue eyed boy as a sidekick? OK, maybe that’s too ambitious.

    2. Sid — on 14th November, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

      I understand from my kids that the next Doctor is another white man.
      But it’s surely time for our favourite Time Lord to regenerate more radically.

      Let me guess…a chinky eating Spaniard? ;-)

    3. El Cid — on 14th November, 2008 at 10:07 pm  

      Why not?
      “Cor blimey senor, the Daleks have stolen the world’s supply of spicy pork wanton soup and crispy fried beef, innit bruv. To the tardis!”

    4. Leon — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:01 pm  

      I really don’t get the point of this thread? What was so special about Ravi’s comment that couldn’t have been discussed on the original thread?

    5. Sunny — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:12 pm  

      Wait till the Indians arrive on national stage! These people are gonna be runnin! Oh and then Pilger’s not gonna know what to do or say.

      Meanwhile, agree with Ravi’s point whole heartedly.

    6. shariq — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:54 pm  

      Thought this would serve as an open thread as well. Probably should have mentioned it.

      El Cid, a South Asian doctor? Surely we have enough of those already :p

    7. El Cid — on 14th November, 2008 at 11:57 pm  

      Ha! All the more reason to think a South Asian Dr Who is long overdue (or would that be typecasting?). ;)

    8. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:00 am  

      Screw Dr Who; Amitabh Bachchan should have been a Jedi in one of the prequels dammit.

      Lucas you fool, you really missed a trick!

    9. Sunny — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:07 am  

      LOL! At least Star Wars would rake money in India then. I actually reckon that’s just a matter of time.

    10. Leon — on 15th November, 2008 at 12:21 am  

      He would’ve been sooooo cool man, sooooo cool!!!

    11. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:42 am  

      What was so special about Ravi’s comment that couldn’t have been discussed on the original thread?

      The point of this thread is to to discuss how special I am during the weekend. You got a problem with that? ;)

      At least Star Wars would rake money in India then. I actually reckon that’s just a matter of time.

      Joseph Campbell in a book called The Hero With a Thousand Faces”, finds a similar structure in most epic stories, including the Mahabharata and the Illiad, where the hero is called to an extraodinary adventure. Most superheroes from Marvel and DC worlds, the Matrix, and yes Star Wars all borrow from such structure.

      So, Bollywood would be wise to borrow from the source. :)

    12. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 1:55 am  

      Nate Silver a mathematics genius who started FiveThirtyEight in March this year, now now immensely popular for its political number crunching.

      He is amazing. His predictions were the most accurate, beating every other professional organisation. He created a very solid statistical model, and predicted the popular vote by missing only a single decimal point. And it was weird: while the media was pretending that the race was close, this guy had already predicted weeks before that Obama had a +90% chance of winning.

      This is where I realised that there is a narrative lag between blogs and the media. Blogs like DailyKos and 538 seem to give you a snapshot of reality as it happens, whereas it would take two extra weeks until the media changed their narrative to match reality.

    13. El Cid — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:37 am  

      Hmmm *anticipates backlash but presses ahead*
      Talking of Bollywood, has India ever made a genuinely good film? No really, a proper movie. No Thriller-type dance routine and escapist clap-trap, but a non-English language masterpiece, like Seven Samurai, or Amores Perros, or Z, or Life is Beautiful, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
      I had a chat with an Brit Indian girl the other day. She was stumped. Her laughter suggested that deep down she thought I was right.
      So I am laying down the gauntlet and saying what is long overdue:
      British Asian films are reasonably good, even if they are not Asian enough for some people, but Indian Indian films are shit. Discuss.

    14. billericaydicky — on 15th November, 2008 at 9:17 am  

      El Cid,

      I know it’s not Hollywood but Ray has made some masterpieces. What about Shayam Benegal? When there was an Indian cinema at Balham Hill just down from Clapham Commen tube I used to go with a friend of mine who lived in the road opposite.

      Even she thought some of the antics were hilarious and she is from Bombay. Sholay is still one of my favourites though.

    15. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:31 am  

      Talking of Bollywood, has India ever made a genuinely good film? No really, a proper movie. No Thriller-type dance routine and escapist clap-trap, but a non-English language masterpiece, like Seven Samurai, or Amores Perros, or Z, or Life is Beautiful, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

      To me, it is amazing that an industry that produces more movies than Hollywood is reduced to a genre. There is really a resistance for creativity in Bollywood, a lot of the plots are just borrowed from other non-Indian movies, and they seem to be afraid of letting go the same “singing+dancing” formula that has been proved popular over decades among Indian audiences. Rather than spending so much money filming in exotic places, why not spend more money on creative writing? Indians are pretty good at story-telling.

      By the way, you didn’t include any Almodóvar film in your list… A friend of mine of Spanish persuation (ok, Catalan) told me that Spaniards don’t really appreciate him as the West does.

    16. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 11:40 am  

      And who needs to watch the Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when you can watch both in this Bollywood sci-fi? :)

    17. Jai — on 15th November, 2008 at 6:08 pm  

      Talking of Bollywood, has India ever made a genuinely good film? No really, a proper movie. No Thriller-type dance routine and escapist clap-trap, but a non-English language masterpiece, like Seven Samurai, or Amores Perros, or Z, or Life is Beautiful, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

      Mughal-e-Azam.
      Pakeezah.
      Devdas (the version with Dilip Kumar).
      Sholay (ref: Seven Samurai).
      Mother India.
      The original Umrao Jaan.
      Numerous black & white films starring Dilip Kumar, Guru Dutt, Dharmendra etc which I can’t name but the parents’ generation are very familiar with.
      Arty 80s films starring the usual suspects, ie. Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi etc: Mirch Masala, Ek Pal, Arth etc etc.
      Lekin (especially for the music).
      Abhimaan.
      Deewar is superb if you want to see Amitabh Bachchan in his prime and in “full force” charisma, even if it is a bit of a masala movie.
      Agneepath.
      Maachis.
      Virasat (okay not a masterpiece, but good anyway due to the non-escapist subject matter and several of the lead actors/actresses in what were for them unusual roles).
      Sarkar.
      Dil Chahta Hai (which, admittedly, does have 2 song-and-dance segments).

      I thought Jodhaa Akbar was really good too.

      There are also plenty of excellent, more “Americanised” Hindi flicks around, eg. Ek Haseena Thi, Being Cyrus (hilariously sardonic voiceover by Saif Ali Khan, and the whole film is in English), Company, Gangster.

      Phir Milenge was good in terms of Shilpa Shetty’s acting in a deadly serious role and its handling of the sensitive main topic, ie. HIV/AIDS. Similarly, My Brother Nikhil.

    18. Ravi Naik — on 15th November, 2008 at 7:16 pm  

      Jai, which of these movies you enjoyed the most? “Being Cyrus” seems interesting.

    19. El Cid — on 15th November, 2008 at 8:08 pm  

      Yeah Jai,
      Prove that I am an ignoramus on Indian films.
      Tell me ONE film on your list that will move me, that will enchant me, that will make me go ‘wow’, and make me reconsider, and I will try to get it on lovefilm.
      I hope you trust me enough to give you honest feedback in a few weeks time.

    20. Anas — on 15th November, 2008 at 8:46 pm  

      Pinjar is a bloody amazing Bollywood film and I’m usually a sceptic (it does have some singing and dancing but it isnt intrusive).

    21. El Cid — on 15th November, 2008 at 8:57 pm  

      So I have Pinjar or Shayam Benegal so far. Either worthy of being called a masterpiece?

    22. Amrit — on 16th November, 2008 at 12:07 am  

      People talking about really good Bollywood films?!

      Jai’s list is pretty comprehensive, allow me to elaborate on it!

      Pyaasa
      Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (effing BRILLIANT, one of the best things I have seen in a long time, albeit rather sad)
      Amar Akbar Anthony (for a laugh, Amitabh camps it up like never before…)
      Cheeni Kum (modern love story made by an advertising exec and featuring a more in-depth look at love than most Bollywood films)
      Naseeb
      Shaheed
      Rang De Basanti (this needs to be given more kudos as a fairly mainstream Bollywood film that DIDN’T shy away from reality for once!).

      If I really had to whittle that down to only 3 that you MUST watch, I’d say: Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Rang De Basanti and Amar Akbar Anthony. Ticking the shocking/sad, rousing/informative and amusing/heartwarming boxes respectively :-D.

    23. El Cid — on 16th November, 2008 at 2:19 pm  

      The only Indian movies mentioned by MovieLine Magazine in their foreign film top 100 are Satyajit Ray’s Panther Panchali and The World of Apu.

    24. El Cid — on 16th November, 2008 at 2:35 pm  

      Thanks for the feedback. I have short list of three and will stick with more modern releases for now to get a flavour of the current state of the genre:
      Rang de Basanti, Pinjar, and Being Cyrus.

    25. Jai — on 16th November, 2008 at 5:47 pm  

      Ravi,

      Jai, which of these movies you enjoyed the most?

      I enjoyed all of them in different ways, although if I had to pick an all-time favourite, it would be Mughal-e-Azam.

      Sholay is obviously another option, if somewhat masalafied. But it’s sufficiently well-made in all aspects — and the acting by the major players (especially Amitabh and Amjad Khan, the latter unbelievably in his first-ever film role) is sufficiently excellent and charismatic — to raise it above the masala masses.

      Lekin also has one of the classiest Hindi soundtracks of all time, in my view. (The movie’s okay and quite unconventional, but the accompanying music album’s a masterpiece).

      Out of the modern bunch, Dil Chahta Hai seemed to strike a chord with myself and younger/2nd-gen Indians everywhere, both in relation to the urban crowd in India and the rest of us overseas.

      “Being Cyrus” seems interesting.

      “Black humour” is probably the most accurate term to describe it; in some ways it reminded me of all those offbeat films that came out of the US in the mid/late 90s. Also, it has Dimple Kapadia in it as you’ve never seen her before…..

      Coincidentally, if you get B4U at home, the channel’s showing the movie at 8pm next Sunday.

    26. Jai — on 16th November, 2008 at 5:57 pm  

      El Cid,

      Tell me ONE film on your list that will move me, that will enchant me, that will make me go ‘wow’, and make me reconsider, and I will try to get it on lovefilm.

      Okay, Mughal-e-Azam. Based (more or less) on real Indian historical figures and events, incidentally.

      will stick with more modern releases for now to get a flavour of the current state of the genre:

      You should probably see Sarkar too, in that case. Although be advised that the similarity to The Godfather (Parts 1 & 2) is not a coincidence.

      Dil Chahta Hai as well (cheesy nightclub dancing scene early on notwithstanding).

    27. soru — on 16th November, 2008 at 6:47 pm  

      I understand from my kids that the next Doctor is another white man.

      The Sun are saying Colin Salmon, and they do seem to have a better track record of reliability about Doctor Who stuff than the real world…

    28. Kulvinder — on 17th November, 2008 at 3:21 am  

      Can someone tell me how a fucking model of the angel of the north is an antique??!

    29. Sunny — on 17th November, 2008 at 5:31 am  

      All these are still mostly Bollywood films.

      Deepa Mehta’s films, Fire and more recently Water were excellent.

      Mr and Mrs Iyer, another really good film. Indians are great story tellers, not so good with CGI or sword fighting :)

    30. Prem — on 17th November, 2008 at 12:13 pm  

      British Asian films are reasonably good, even if they are not Asian enough for some people, but Indian Indian films are shit. Discuss.

      I don’t think that British Asian films are very good. I think they are formulaic. I understand why some of them are popular though. Trying too hard to be liked, cinema as sociology. Boring, boring, boring!

    31. Jai — on 17th November, 2008 at 12:36 pm  

      Jesus, I can’t believe I left the following 2 films off my list.

      El Cid, you should definitely check these out too if you want to get a flavour of the best “recent” Indian films:

      “Maqbool” and “Omkara”, based on Macbeth and Othello respectively.

      ***********************

      By the way, “Mughal-e-Azam” is available both in its original (mostly) black & white form and also in a recently digitally re-colourised version. Take your pick. Personally I recommend the latter.

    32. Amrit — on 17th November, 2008 at 2:08 pm  

      @ Jai:

      Urgh… I have watched the remastered version, but the sound is all echoey and shit on it! I actually managed to track down the original and bought it for relatively cheap though. Thank you, ebay!



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