Topic 17 Posts


Monkeying around

Monkey Man is fun: great action, ok writing, shallow politics. Does next to nothing with supporting characters Alphonso and Sita. Why water down the Modi satire so much if it’s going to get banned in India anyway.

Tries to reclaim Hanuman from the Bajrangis, back to fighting for the oppressed. But it’s mainly about one guy’s trauma: Oldboy with a young boy.

Dev Patel returns to the setting of Slumdog and Danny Boyle’s propulsiveness, with a scene of slum kids relaying a stolen purse.

Patel’s final kill run is Matrix-like, god mode, powerful and effortless. Hanuman was once cursed to forget his powers, Patel finally remembers them.

Like a monkey, Patel’s character is a biter. One kill leaves a brothel owner disfigured like Surpanakha. Another is a knife away from a puma kill.

The needle drops are clunky and too on-the-nose: “Roxanne” for an escort, Jefferson Airplane for a drug scene.

Funny that British Patel’s fighting a villain with lion and crown logos, called “Sovereign” Party, with a lieutenant named Rana Singh (king lion).

Fictional Yatana’s police jeeps look like Bombay’s, while the name sounds like Haryana.

Sikander Kher is a magnificent bastard cop, looks like a brute. 6’2” like Dev Patel, but much beefier.

Makarand Deshpande plays the stock evil godman, shades of Sacred Games. Wonder how it feels for a veteran Bombay actor to work for a British kid with the shallowest gloss on Hindu myths and Indian politics :)

Punjabi ‘Wish’

Paint-by-number rom-com Irish Wish puts Brigid, mother saint of Ireland, in a Punjabi salwar kameez, with trim vaguely like an unwound Celtic knot. Punjabi Ichha (Wish)? :) (via Ravi Swami)

The Bollywood refs are quite explicit. Here she is in a khet / farmer’s field, the headscarf a shorter dupatta…

Ducking behind a tree mischievously, missing only the love interest and rain machine

In multiple salwars.

Desi Brigid, goddess of protection and healing, evokes to me the martyrdom of Savita Halapannavar, whose tragic death enabled abortion rights for all Irish women.

Pagan goddess Brigid of the Tuatha Dé Dannan was imported into Xtianity. Hard reconciling this Brigid with the fiery, armor-forging goddess of war in the Iron Druid series.

It’s an ABCI love story: diasporic Irishwoman goes back to the desh, falls in love. This setup is very Bollywood, sort of like “#DDLJ.”

Ayesha Curry as sidekick

Brown extra


Love the spice, hate the spicers

Dune 2 strip-mines Arab culture more than spice while casting no Arab leads. Souheila Yacoub gets a sidekick role and (spoiler) is summarily dispatched.

Full of Arab customs / names / vocab, Muslim clothes, Egyptian architecture. Florence Pugh in a taqiyah, kurta, zari work. Ferguson in Arab jewelry. Witches in burqas. “Fedaykin” = fedayeen. Islamic carved stone screens.

Padishah Walken = badshah (emperor). (pic not from Dune)

Very weird that the top US sci-fi flick is about a skinny, pale French kid cosplaying the Sunni-Shia split and emergence of the Mahdi.

Not once did I buy Chalamet as a leader, let alone a messiah. Waterboy maybe. Chocolatier, sure. Bardem’s Mahdi? Nah.

Fanatic hype man Bardem had the faithful’s hand gestures down, lol. Such a better actor than Timo Thee Callow Fae.

Fun movie, inventive visuals on the Harkonnen’s planet (b&w, triangular arena, triangle-hatted picadors, grease-bubble fireworks).

But when they get around to desi epics they’ll absolutely cast the palest actors available and relegate desis to background villains and sidekicks.

They love the spice, hate the spicers: Hollywood repeats the history of colonizers.

‘Kung Fu Yoga’

Jackie Chan doing a Bollywood-style dance in Kung Fu Yoga, lyrics in Chinese.

2017 Chinese action adventure comedy… sequel to The Myth… ending dance number choreographed by Farah Khan… Jackie Chan's highest-grossing film in China [Wiki]

Co-stars Disha Patani, Sonu Sood:



“Breakaway” aka “Speedy Singhs” (2011): “Bend It Like Beckham” for hockey. Sad-sack Sikh amateur hockey team coached by Rob Lowe.

Camilla Belle love interest, cameos by Russell Peters, Akshay Kumar, Ludacris and Drake. 17% 🍅.

Also Anupam Kher, Sakina Jaffrey, Noureen De Wulf, Lilly Singh.

How they solved “they won’t let us wear turbans without helmets”: went ancient Sikh warrior on their kundis.

Could be so bad, it’s good? So many Canadian desi hockey comedy scenes (“Love Guru,” “Masala” 1991), and they’re all terrible :)