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Via the tweet of a friend , I came across this Channel 4 video on the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November last year. The video is a detailed documentary on the attacks with interviews of people caught in the line of fire or affected by it, and communication exchanges of the terrorists. It’s amazing how easily we forget and move on, and maybe that is a good thing, or may be not.

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It’s been a summer of movies. Watched the latest Harry Potter movie with a group of potterheads and muggles (defined here as someone that has not read the books or watched the movies before, in addition to lacking magical abilities). I’d classify myself someplace in between – haven’t read the books, have watched all the movies so far. At the end of the movie, the potterheads liked it, the muggles did not. My opinion of the movie is, unsurprisingly, somewhere in between. It did help me recover from the experience of watching Bruno a week earlier – a funny and brave movie, but to what purpose?

In South Korea, a curious ritual plays out weekly. A group calling themselves the Bollywood Lovers Club gathers to watch Hindi movies, which they themselves have painstakingly subtitled in Korean. They watch, in the club leader Kwanghyun Jung’s words, in “Indian style.” That is, they “make noise, laugh, and abuse the villain.” The club also runs Bollywood dance classes. Some of the 7,000-odd members wear Shah Rukh Khan T-shirts and drink coffee from cups with his photograph on them. Only one Indian movie has ever been released in South Korea-a Tamil language film called Muthu: The Dancing Maharaja, in 1998.

The above interesting excerpt is from a book titiled The King of Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan and the seductive world of Indian Cinema . I came across the book at the local library. An image on the cover page of SRK wearing red lipstick notwithstanding, chapter 1 (from which the above excerpt was taken) seemed interesting enough to be borrow-worthy. Cannot say the same for subsequent chapters that I have read, though I’ll reserve final judgement for until I finish it (if I do).

Multiple tidbits of trivialities, mostly pertaining to movies:

  • Watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and it was a letdown compared to the previous Potter movies – no interesting characters, no exciting moments, and bland humor. Above all, I feel the most serious difference between the earlier Potter movies and the present one, is that the pre-Phoenix Potter was this small frail kid, rendered extraordinary through his budding magical prowess, while the Potter in this movie is a rather muscular teenager waving a magical wand and ends up looking rather wimpy. I’d have preferred Harry walk up to Voldemort, break his twig of a wand into two, and engage in some good ol’ fashioned dishum-dishum. I suppose the book comes across as being much better, given a greater level of detail and freedom in conjuring up characters.
  • Watched The Bourne Ultimatum and it is one gripping edge-of-the-seat kind of movie that has me motivated ’bout reading the book. Its interesting to contrast the character of Jason Bourne and James Bond – the same initials, similar occupations but at opposite ends of the spectrum in most other aspects. They ought to be cast in one movie, with a CIA-MI6 face-off theme.
  • Two books that I have read partly, that will be released as movies – The Kite Runner and Shantaram. The Kite Runner is a priority since the movie releases in November. Shantaram, the movie, has not yet got around to putting together a complete cast, so I suppose the book will have to wait. Shantaram is being directed by Mira Nair and stars Johnny Depp and Amitabh Bachchan. Quite some contrast, that!
  • Over the course of a meeting with friends of my roommate from Spain, I asked them what they thought of Almodóvar’s movies. Cutting out the expletives, the general opinion was that his movies are not as popular within Spain as they are internationally, and that the themes discussed do not reflect realities. Reminded me of Indian directors such as Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair and the difference in opinion within and outside India concerning their movies.

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