Charms of the others..

The women on one of my whatsapp groups ( Schoolmates) are united in Crush-cum-lust for the hunky stars from South. Prabhas, Rana, Ram Charan, Suriya and the other muscular gents with beautiful eyes grace the group DP several times. It is perhaps the only thing I relate to with the members, but that is another post. This fandom is largely thanks to the fact that for some years now, Hindi movie channels are awash with dubbed movies from South. The realization for ‘Non-Madrasis’ that Bollywood is not synonymous with ‘ Indian cinema’, nor can claim any superiority when it comes to music, technical aspects, story-telling, acting- has never been more evident with so much primetime focus every day. In recent years, there has been a mass awakening of sorts to the killer looks and rustic charms of the South heroes. To me this appeal has been immortalised in popular imagination with the image of the drool worthy Prabhas of sweet smile and beautiful eyes, in wet dhoti carrying Shivlinga on his sculpted shoulders ( which is a erotically charged association, come to think of it.)

The women in my group always wonder why aren’t these sexy men coming in a mainstream Hindi movie. Would they ever make it big in the Bollywood. Which role would suit them. Instinctively and with my experience in media- the answer is no.

For decades, Bollywood has had female superstars who were not from the Hindi speaking areas. Bengali and Marathi stars from Sharmila to Nutan to Madhuri. In recent years, quite a few women from European/ American countries have entered the industry. Katrina Kaif being the most successful of this lot. ( She also reportedly couldn’t speak Hindi for years ).

But for the purpose of this article, lets stick to the women from hardcore ‘Non- Hindi’ areas, i.e. South. Vaijayantimala, Hema Malini, Rekha, Shridevi, Jaya Prada are some of the most successful ones of the lot. Some of them like Shridevi, was a superstar in Tamil/ Telugu before she arrived in Bollywood and couldn’t speak Hindi for a long time despite of ruling the roost. Deepika and Aishwarya have come from international modelling backgrounds and while they have South Indian background/ last names, they are perhaps closer to Hindi speaking urban metros than the women of 80s and 90s. Overall, we can safely say that the success of a female star has not been hindered by their linguistic background/ heritage ever in Bollywood.

On the contrast, I can’t think of a single male star who has made it big despite of not being from typical ‘Hindi’ background. It is usually, Punjabis and North Indian men who are mainstream successes. The Southern mega-stars like Kamal Hassan, Nagarjuna, Chirnjeevi, Rajnikanth have been, at the most, recognizable faces for Hindi moviegoers. That’s about it. ( Again, can you think of any male star from any other industry making it big here? Nope. Even Uttam Kumar couldn’t make a dent. International models like Milind Soman haven’t been able to make it like their female counterparts could) If you take all the mainstream stars, their last names/ linguistic heritage has been uniformly Hindi/ Punjabi.

And then in the last 2 decades, the Tamil/ Telugu industry have seen Non-south women making it big. Tamannah, Kajal Aggarwal, Tapsee, Nagma and a dozen more women have been on the top. But again, you don’t see any non-South men making it big there. ( Interestingly, several non-South men have made it big as Villains – which is another post )

So, to conclude- While women can transcend linguistic boundaries while onscreen, men can’t when it comes to mainstream film industries.

My theory is that this is because mainstream industries tell stories about the men and thus require authenticity from men portraying these main characters. Women are seen as transient. It is expected that they adapt to ( largely male) systems which they go into. So be it their marital home, or the movie industry whose language they can’t speak- they are forgiven, nay, welcomed, as long as they adapt to their new homes and stay happy in status quo.

It would be easy to reduce it to simplistic statement that since women are not expected to essay demanding roles in mainstream cinema, and that they function cosmetically within the movies- it doesn’t matter where they come from. ( As long as they more-or-less are racially acceptable. Because you don’t see a woman from Arunachal Pradesh or China in Hindi movies, but women from Europe/ South America are welcome). But then how to explain Shridevi who was called a female Amitabh Bachchan? Or Hema-Malini the superstar? Or Rekha? No-one can challenge that these women and their stardom was based on their proven capacity to carry their movies on their shoulders to box-office success. Or that several times they essayed roles which were breakthrough for the times – being more important than the male ones. While a Tamannah could be explained away as the Telugu industry’s obsession over fair skin tone – how can you explain Nagma or Kajal Aggarwal?

Individually each of them can be explained. Some for their beauty, some for their dancing skills, some for their fair skin, some for their acting. But this theory falls apart when compared to male counterparts. Kamal Hassan doesn’t lack acting prowess. Rana can give any Bollywood star a run for their money in looks/ Machoness territory. And so on.

Another practical explanation could be the heredity. Many if not all today’s male stars have had benefits of their filmy families. Their fathers or uncles provide them with launch pads, sustain their initial career, they are helped by their seniors and friends in the industry. Women generally don’t have this benefit and where they do- they reap the advantages. ( The Hassan sisters, Sonakshi Sinha, The Kapoor sisters and so on.)

But again, why can’t established stars with national appeal move in industries? While the directors/ music directors/ editors/ DOPs can- why haven’t we seen any example of a successful male star moving from one industry to another with success? In fact when they do, they have to do so in secondary roles. ( Nobody will believe that Akshay Kumar will be equal to Rajnikanth in their upcoming movie together, will they?)

So coming back to the ‘authenticity’ theory. Men are expected to be ‘authentically’ representing the ‘roots’. You can’t have a non-Telugu guy representing the angst of Telugus in a Telugu movie. A woman is always expected to ‘adjust’ to the space she moves in. She is expected to forget her ‘maternal’ home and ‘ fit in’ with her new home. She can move in, while the man has to be ‘born’ in and ‘represent’ it. Her role could be bigger and better than the man’s occasionally. But the fact that she is accepted in that role, as a ‘native’ despite of her ‘other’ness is due to our collective acceptance of her ‘non-centrality’ to the representativeness of the culture.

Thoughts? Anti-theses? Arguments?

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Homeland Season 5

So I actually managed to watch season 5. Hurrah for 2016!!

Homeland, my guilty pleasure is as Islamophobic, pro-American as ever, sigh.

And still the most thrilling series I have seen in a while.

So quick points full of spoilers:

1. It is still the intricate, beautifully written thriller which manages to hook you no matter what is the ideology ( fucked up I know). The twists, turns, the way it is edited, shot, the conflicting interests, the compulsive characters all make this into a heady cocktail which is impossible not to like. The way plot thickens is unexpected even for a homeland hardened cynic. The pace is very Homeland- shockingly fast only to be followed by mellowness. Works for me. Episode 11 when Carrie discovers the real plot, while the villain soothes CIA into thinking otherwise, Carrie doing Carrie thing by following her gut and half dozen terrorists nonetheless, the drama in the terrorist group, Villain escaping with mindblowingly clever trick.. and some 5 other massively tense things happening – chop chop edited, pace heightening, beautiful action choreography, characters whirling in intense showdown- aaaaaahhhhh… Homeland does this on the edge of the chair like nobody can.

2. Strong female characters of all shades ( arr… all white of course). From chest thumping human rights activists to shadowy vamps to smart spies. And of course Carrie Mathison, who in this season has sobered down- literally and metaphorically- without losing her mojo. Watching strong female characters moving the narrative plot is a rare pleasure in a show of this scale. When Carrie learns that she has achieved safe passage to Lebanon and looks around to see her daughter/ boyfriend sleeping peacefully- I was pleased with the re-gendering of a classic scene. 99% of the times it is the male characters wistfully looking at the peace and stability- symbolised by his family. Women hardly get to choose dark, unstable decisions over the mature, wise ones expected of them, because duh. But Carrie literally gets to make tough decisions, be imperfect even in the context of motherhood and family, be a supportive lover, save her kickass assassin friend Quinn ( Eye candy numero uno), negotiate with the Hizbullah about values of respect and what not. I am constantly amazed at how her character transcends the boundaries of gender which I haven’t seen in any other spy show. I did find Allison’s character problematic in its fame fatale hints. Although she is not someone who gets to be a villain because she is a woman exploiting her femininity as such- it is rather strange that from the director of CIA to an Iraqi mole to a Russian super spy – all these wickedly twisted spooks are somewhat in love with her. It takes away some of her evilness. There was no particular need for that and it shows a bit of lazy stereotyping. Astrid is another find- she is cooler than Carrie, empathetic, kickass bright and could shoulder more narrative on her shoulders. The token leftie bleeding heart character Laura is a great character utterly ruined by a smirking actress who makes me want to slap her every time she spouts something sarcastically.

3. Islamophobia without shame. All muslims are either angelically good – reminding you of token Muslim chachas of 1970s Bollywood, or mad about ruining west. Be it Imams, scientists, young techies, poor people, rich people, men, women, kids, Hizbullah, army generals, Isis wannabes- all are reduced to their religion. There are hardly any human complexities written for Muslim characters. If they are good- it is because they follow their religion like good people. If they are bad, it is because they are following the wrong version. Hello, don’t people have life other than religion? Like white people do in the show? White people get to have all cool psychological traumas, affairs, lusts, ambitions, grey zones..and Muslims are there only because they are Muslims. Considering the fact that the show spends so much time on conflict with Muslim world- couldn’t they come up with one memorable character with interesting shades? ( And no, Abu Nazir wasn’t that- he was just played by an excellent actor, that’s all). The death of token angelic Muslim character is given 30 secs in this season- 20 of which are spent worrying about his ( white) Human rights activist. Isn’t his death supposed to say something about the man himself? Nope. He has served his function of good Muslim and now his death can only serve as the next cliff-hanger. This is not just racist and morally wrong the way Homeland ploughs through its ideological errors. But it is absolutely lazy. And it just goes on to show that smart people who create brilliant characters and write some of the best thrilling narratives are just not bothered about the major elephant in the room because they don’t care.

4. There are no super charming Middle eastern villains in this season- the honour goes to a blonde American woman this time ( she is lured by Russians you see. So you can rest easy lest America is dishonoured). There are no massively overarching characters driving the central plot as well. Quin is lame here, although he manages to look good even after being in a Sarin gas chamber. Otto – played by the ever brilliant Koch is ineffectively positioned as ‘ could he be behind all this sinister plot?’ suspicion since he is cute and rich and eminently suitable to play the modern James Mason. Saul Berenson has slimmed down and other than that there is no change in his character.

Well there it is. My belated analysis of Homeland- a show I love with shame!

Salmania..

I outright want to say that this is a highly irrational and contradictory post dedicated to the irrational guilty pleasure of loving Salman Khan.

I watched KICK last week and oh boy, does Bhai look boiling hot in the goatee and tight spandex.

I absolutely hate goatees. And gelled hair. And buffy muscles. And tight t-shirts. and crotch-hugging jeans. But on Salman it all looks like.. mmmmm…magic.

As expected, he sleepwalks through yet another ridiculous film, struts around like a lost bull and every now and then, oozes the easygoing sweet vulnerable charm which is his trademark.

My ongoing lusty affair with Salman Khan is filled with guilt and contradictions. But I have been thinking about it this week and I think there are a few reasons why he remains the most consistent beefcake in my life, despite of being the ultimate feminist nightmare.

1. Looks. I am extremely partial to men who continue to look this good. And there are very very few THIS good.
2. The disarming boyish charm and vulnerability, which makes me look beyond the macho chest thumping and ridiculous muscles and sexism in virtually all his movies.
3. The eyes. Simply the best eyes ever to grace Hindi cinema and ones who manage to convey several emotions at once. Yes, I do believe he is a fine actor when he chooses to, and every film of his has these priceless moments of baring the soul, which have never ever been recognised. There I said it.
4. Andaz Apna Apna- my all time favourite Hindi film.
5. Nostalgia.

I suspect the last one is the biggest reason. Nostalgia.

Salman Khan was the reigning star of my pre-pubescent hormones. I still remember watching Maine Pyar Kiya and the sultry vision of Salman in white ganjee playing saxophone and riding his bi-cycle down the stairs.

I had never seen something like this. Ever. How could I not fall for this strange-sweet-cute-sexy-gorgeous- clumsy boy?

And don’t forget. The small-town, non-glam girls like me and my friends were reassured, that if the doe-eyed sexpot like Salman could fall for someone ‘simply Suman’ and not the suave big city counterparts- then we had hope. Provided that we were sweet and innocent, which we believed we were. Since there was no other option really!!

As I grew into puberty and realised that being a Bollywood version of sweet and innocent woman meant sacrificing virtually every enjoyable thing- I sacrificed my ultimate dreamboat instead. I grew out of imagining Salman as the star of all my romantic fantasies!!

But, and it is a very important but- there was no harm in lusting after him, I was smart enough to realise. The perfect body. The melting eyes. The charm. The weird sense of humour. The floppy hair. The looks. The way clothes hug his body- as if they were invented for him. And the special way in which he bared it all with a child like simplicity.

Basically it has always been LUST.

But then over the years, there was also the surprising lovability and sincerity in performance which is lacking in virtually every major actor.

And above all- The absolutely stunning screen presence. Something inexplicable, only feel-able and totally adorable.

Over a period of time everything which I hated in a person came to be associated with him. Male Chauvinist- check. Sexist- check. Animal rights destroyer- check. Stalker- check. Criminal- check.

But human beings are filled with contradictions. Aren’t they? Despite of the overtly macho and sexist and conservative and criminal and outright dumb nature of most his films and his image- maybe it was my memories of sexual awakening, which still drew me in as a consistent fan.

I decided, perhaps hypocritically so, that enjoying a hunky man can be done by dissociating from his troubling image. I would always ignore the movies and news, and instead focused on select screen presence. Which was easy because the films he acted in were so obviously non-story-oriented.

I prefer watching selected clips. And songs. I have some silly favourites which make me feel absolutely charmed and refreshed.

And for a humongously judgemental person like me, it is a very very big thing!!

I seriously think that there has been something in him, which despite of his machoness, transcends the celluloid, and appeals to your very basic nature as a human being. You hope for him and chuckle when he bashes your hopes film after film. Most of the things he does on-off screen are highly offensive and downright criminal. But you want to forgive him. And you forgive him some more. And you hope that maybe he will see the right way and improve.

My friends call this ‘double-standards combined with delusion’ and I agree. Maybe I am a dupe of the magic of image and am willingly ignoring the very important reality. Maybe I am still as starstruck as I was as a 10 year old girl watching my first on-screen crush. Maybe I am a hypocrite to turn a blind eye to the obvious transgressions of this guy.

I know it and I have rationally tried to totally banish him as a non-fan. But then he comes wearing spandex and smiling that smile and blushing that blush and opening those doe eyes and phoooosshhh… all my resolutions to be politically correct with my fandom disappear and I am tempted to ogle at him some more.

And that is not all. You will laugh at this, but I hope he cleans his act so that I can be a fan without this guilt.

I wish he confesses to his crimes and does the rightful time in jail and comes out cleansed of his sins. Like a 1970s BW Blockbuster. I know.

I wish he lets go of his sexism- on and off screen .

I wish he chooses at least a few decent movies to prove that he indeed can act. ( And he can).

I wish he still retains his charm and sex appeal, but temper it with less drama in life.

There. I said it.

Now if that doesn’t sound like a true deluded Bhaitard, I don’t know what does!!

Bridge ( Bron/ Broen) season 2..

(I was looking in my archive and was shocked to see that I hadn’t published this post!! Especially since it deals with my 2 obsessions neatly wrapped in 10 episodes of pure bliss. Scandinavian Crime and Lady Detectives!)

bron
Bridge 2. Or Bron/ Broen 2 as it is called in original Danish/ Swedish. Speechlessly great, astounding tv. You know why you should watch this show even if you don’t watch anything else ( other than the equally brilliant first season)?

Outstanding Female characters.
So so non-cliched. It is a pleasure to see shows where women are shown as people. From heroic to bad ass villains to ordinary people caught in life’s complexities. The sheer range of women characters in Bridge- from cops to activists to lovers to tycoons to bitter troublemakers is huge. And there are no thin, young, suspiciously smooth-faced actors there. These women look and feel real and purposeful. Their individuality, intelligence, sexuality is so human, that watching something like Bridge painfully makes you aware of the sexism in virtually every other show.

Saga Noren.
The emotionally distant and inhumanly brilliant Saga gets a painful back story in this season, but the writers do not try to lazily explain Saga away. Saga epitomizes everything about the show. The morality, value system, detached honesty, cool rationality and a sweetly dark humour that makes you happy to be imperfect. The sheer range of this character makes me speechless. She is Lisbeth Salander’s nemesis – with a law rulebook in her hand. Saga tries hard to follow social norms in this season, mostly with hilarious outcome. She is trying hard to be in a relationship too and has memorised all the popular wisdom about modern relationships. Her desperate and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to be part of the normal society actually end up exposing the inherent hypocrisy of the world. Saga, ultimately, is so pure and adorable that you want to protect her from humanity. Not that she would let anyone do that.

Martin.
The intensely huggable and possessing merriest sparkly eyes with the best smile on TV papa bear, Martin is battling his demons from season 1. He is self-destructive in such a relatable way that you want to extend your hand towards the screen and stop him from treading the path that you know will harm him and his dear ones. Saga is perhaps the only one he relates to and is genuinely fond of without any complications. Martin is like you and me- weak, vulnerable, susceptible to temptations but ultimately a nice guy who desperately wants to do the right things.

Partnership.
Saga and Martin is one of the best detective partners in recent times. They are poles apart but are bound by their obsession with work and mutual respect/ affection for each other. Their friendship is priceless for both of them and is the only steady anchor in their rocky lives. In this season also Saga saves Martin’s family. Martin continues mentoring Saga in social niceties and being protective about her, albeit to disastrous results. When these two characters come together in one frame, it crackles with chemistry and camaraderie. Non romantic partnership between an eccentric woman and a more conventional and caring man seems to be the latest Scandinavian gender-bending formula, see Girl with Dragon Tattoo Series, The Killing. Saga and Martin seem like a classic detective pair- a cool, uber-rational, slightly superhuman genius ( Sherlock Holmes) is paired with a warm, genial partner ( a pumped up version of Watson) and the two form lasting friendship. But life is more complex than simple formulas and The Bridge shows us just how so. Towards the end of the show my stomach was twisted in knots with fear that our beloved pair might break off their friendship. The climax, was not unexpected but gut-wrenching nonetheless.

Lack of clichés:
Anything clichéd is going to be demolished in this show. If you, like I, try to be smart and predict the outcome- you will fall flat on your face. Because Bridge 2 is on a mission to give you characters, motives, clues and turn of events that twist the genre and your norms till they are unrecognisable. Seriously. Anything can happen in this show. So make sure not to form too many attachments and cling to any Sherlockian theories here- you will be deeply humiliated.

Emotional pitch:

I was watching the last episodes literally with bated breath, i.e., when you hold your breath for too long and your throat and jaw aches from too much emotion. The show peels away the characters and lays them bare. There is cruelty and honesty in the way we see the battle of conflicting emotions. Every lined face, every leafless tree, the dreary weather, race against time, disappointments, surprises crackle with muted tension. If it was not for Saga’s ‘I want to be normal’ humour, the show would have been unbearable in its sheer intensity.

Storytelling:

Even with a slightly sloppy and disappointing final answer to the mystery , the overall unrevealing of the suspense of the show is pitch-perfect, edge-of-the-seat. Which is not surprising knowing it is the Bridge we are talking about. There is very little one can talk without spoilers, so let me just say that your nerves will be fried in delicious anticipation when you watch the show.

Acting:

See it. Can’t be lauded enough. Can’t be reviewed. Just see it. Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia are gods. And while Saga is a more challenging character, I think Bodnia’s Martin is my most favourite performance in the show.

Humanity:

Finally, the real success of the show is the deep, very relatable and very very moving humanity that envelops every character, every event, every motive. Be it extreme ideologies or misguided people or dysfunctional relationships- this show champions the imperfect humanity in all of us in a manner that is brutal and still filled with love. Does this make sense? After watching Bridge, I am unable to watch anything else because it just feels so fake and shallow and wannabe.

In nutshell, see the show. And be happy that such TV is being made and we are being able to watch it.

(I was looking in my archive and was shocked to see that I hadn’t published this post!! Especially since it deals with my 2 obsessions neatly wrapped in 10 episodes of pure bliss. Scandinavian Crime and Lady Detectives!)

Borgen Season 3

borgen 3

I managed to finish Borgen Season 3. It is not only better than season 1 and season 2 ( which were outstanding) it is simply the best TV I have seen in ages.

Birgitte has quit active politics after two successful terms as prime-minister. She is in private industry now and travels across the globe for work. A particularly alarming law being passed in Denmark forces her back in politics. What follows is a heady cocktail of political shenanigans, ideological conflicts, moral dilemmas, new loves, health scares and following your ideals while still winning the game.

birgitte
Nyborg is simple the best character I have seen on TV in many many years. Heroic, inspirational, grounded in reality and morally complex. Sidse Knudsen’s performance is so nuanced and dazzling that she is my most favourite actor right now.

This season in particular is epitome of what the world loves about Scandinavian shows and fiction. A pitch perfect story telling flawlessly combining moral positioning, gravitas, unpredictability, broken stereotypes, pacy storytelling, identifiable situations, array of realistic characters put in difficult situations and a whole lot of edge-of-seat twists.

As a feminist- what a huuuuuggggee relief to see no cookie-cutter stereotypical female characters. Women are shown to be normal human beings- phew!! Neither their motherhood or loverhood overshadows the key focus of the show- What constitutes a great leader in today’s complex world.

I also loved the secondary track of life in Newsroom. Again- morally complex and a step ahead of http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/ hangover that every show about news media suffers from.

More well-known political shows like House of Cards or Newsroom don’t hold a candle to this masterpiece.

I am simply spellbound. I want to shift to Scandinavia like right now.

Beefcake in Bollywood…

I am so happy to have Ranveer Singh in my life now.

Really, I missed the little horny, slightly sweet, and a whole lot of fandomy pleasure that comes from having a guy to ogle at on screen.

I adored him in Band Baja Barat and hated him in that Ricky Bahl movie. Lootera was one of these slow, pretentious, middle of the road movies I have no patience for. I like me actors on the extremes- total hormones or total introspection.

This is partly the reason why I never went for Aamir or Ranbeer Kapoor or Irfan Khan- you get the drift. The thinking woman’s beefcakes/ chocolate boys/ crushes, epitomised by George Clooney . I like beefcakes or Chocolate boys who help me unthink. There are very few Marlon Brandos or Amitabh Bachchans who transcend all restrictions- and these guys are for keeps. I was always ‘give me either Yvgeny Mironov or Salman Khan’.If I want a good actor, I will go for Naseeruddin. If I want my blood rushing, Bhaijan is good enough. ( Which is not to say he can’t act. But I don’t want him for his acting and am indifferent to it.)

So far. Now Sallu looks like shit and the energy and oddballness is missing post Dabang.
I broke up with King of Ham SRK long time ago- post Dil Toh Pagal Hai, when he lost his floppy hair and intensity and wide-eyed puppy charm.

And these guys are OLD!! Sorry to be ageist but there it is.

Who then?

Ta da. Enter Ranveer with his hyper energy and cheap-cute boy charm and a screen presence that totally glues me through crap movies. He was a sex-fest in RamLeela ( all those peacock references were not really required when he was so much in your face with very little , albeit bright clothing) and I am going to watch Gunday now just for his hair and must ache. Ranveer has just that air of whimsy and joie de vivre that can cheer me up when I just want to watch a beautiful man move on screen.

I wish he comes back to his BBB physique though and loose those scary muscles.

But I am fine whatever he chooses. As long as he overacts and dresses outrageously and jumps and saunters onscreen with that oomph.

Happy Happy.

Sequels, Season 2s, Marathons

Christopher Nolan has surely been a trendsetter for long faces spouting deeeeeep dialogues uttered by self-important characters looking away from camera, all the while hiding the terribly silly shallowness of the entire premise of the story. I propose Nolan ‘reinterprets’ Tom and Jerry. Make Tom repent his horrible bullying ways, which turns him into vegetarian, and gives his clinical depression. The question Nolan/ this movie asks is, what is Jerry running from? Which internal conflict makes his steal the cheese and does he suffer any pangs of conscience? Is Jerry existential confused? The 220 minute movie spends a large amount of time in Lhasa where both Tom and Jerry battle the issues of mortality, violence and essential nature of cat-rat conflict in modern society.

Yes, I am so so over the overratedness of overrated thingies..

I was reminded of long-face-aesthetic when I finally saw Death Comes to Pemberley, which is sort of reimagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice, penned by P.D.James. And now made into a mini-series.

Dull as Mr. Collins’ sermons. Dull. Dull. Dull.

pemb

I know there were extremely large shoes to fill here, but Darcy and Elizabeth couldn’t have been more boring and lacklustre.

None of the vitality, the simmering sensuality, the wit, the biting critique of social manners that we love P & P for.

Instead we have faux-serious long faces whispering inspirational tidbits to each other set on boring violin score and a good bit of post modern marriage counselling thrown in.

The mystery is laughably silly. Direction is weak. Editing loose to say the least. Cinematography is the only saving grace.

I am seeing this faux-americanized-gravity in the guise of ‘reinterpretation’ becoming a mainstream trend now. There are two reasons for this and the similar malaise.

1. Christopher Nolan with his overrated, laughably serious and trying-too-hard-to-find-meaning-of-life-while dressed-in-a-bat cape style of cinema. Seriously, he is going to overtake Tarantino very soon for ‘the most overrated by wannabe film buffs’ status.
2. Scandinavians with their naturally morose and gritty style. Maybe it is all that snow and bad food, but nordics sure have a monopoly over long faces. And they do it with aplomb, unlike their pale imitations in the Anglo world.

There. I wish the English leave the style slick productions with shallow gravitas to Nolan and company, and get back to telling good stories with great acting, fantastic scripts and genuine honesty.

And talking of Scandinavians, I finally saw Borgen Season 2.
borgen
It is better than season 1. Really, what is it about Scandies? They seem to mix naive formula, morality and depth in such a delicious treat.

A political saga with Denmark’s first female prime minister as the protagonist is about ethical conflicts and moral choices one makes.

The only peeve I had was that as usual, when there is a powerful female character in power, the makers have to drag the precious ‘work-family’ balance in. What is the prime-minister’s husband doing when the daughter gets ill? There was a suggestion that only mother can help the ailing child, even if it means risk of political suicide, which I found ridiculous for such a progressive show and such a dynamic character.

And I tried watching Girls season 2, hoping I might have not liked Season 1 for some vague reason like common cold or inertia or something. But honestly, this show has not struck a single cord with me. Not one. Nada. So I am not going to try any more.

girls

My latest crush BTW is on Matthew Goode – the only saving grace in his rather small role in Death Comes to Pemberly. The delicious, slurpicious Matthew Goode, who now monopolises the ‘not blinking his beautiful and rather large green eyes EVER’ to a rather sexy effect. I suspect he hides his mediocrity behind the stock ‘look at my hauntingly stunning face that is hiding something’ expression. But it worked for me in Stoker and it works here. There are not enough beautiful men with large green eyes around and I am going to nurse a serious crush on this piece of Goode. Horrible pun, I know!

And since no post featuring P & P can be complete without the scintillating Colin Firth, here is him being smooched by Matthew Goode. Twooo much….

kiss