Archive for the ‘celebrity’ Category

Aamir Khan has the midas touch – anything he touches turns to gold. His films make the most money and every new launch breaks previous records. He shuns award shows, rightfully so, award shows have become ways to award film industry children more than talented actors, and anyway Aamir is laughing all the way to the bank! Any movie that has Aamir’s stamp is bound to be awesome. I think he is the most respected actor in Bollywood today, and he has successfully stayed out of controversies unlike Shah Rukh (proposing to Priyanka Chopra in an audience full of politicians and the like while married with children, mid-life crisis?) and Salman Khan (bad boy of the industry). So while Shah Rukh and Amitabh Bachchan are making money from Kaun Banega Crorepati (Who Wants to be a Millionaire), Salman from Dus Ka Dam (Power of 10), Aamir is making greater waves with his Satyamev Jayate.

Aamir launched his new show this month with Star Plus, Satyamev Jayate. Satyamev Jayate means truth always triumphs, from the inscriptions on the Ashoka pillars. I caught up on two episodes yesterday after my mother told me that he is getting Rs. 3 crores per episode ($3MM)! Every single person, adult or child, should watch this show all over the world, not just Indians. The show is doing a great job bringing awareness about age-old practices in India, and possibly worldwide.

The first episode touched upon foeticide. When the British took over India, they tried to eradicate the practices of female infanticide. Even today, 72 years after independence, foeticide is still being practiced across the country. One would think that advancement in medicine would save lives, quite the contrary. Sex is detected sooner now, hence a better likelihood of foeticide. Doctors are running clinics especially for this purpose. Despite documented proof, the government doesn’t do anything. Like Fareed Zakaria said at an event I attended, “China is advancing because of its government, India is advancing despite its government”. Its true. Indian government does more harm than good in the country. The show brings that to light since lawsuits go on for 10+ years even with solid proof.

A few women came on the show to discuss their plight. In all cases mothers wanted to keep their child but their husbands and in-laws got girls aborted, sometimes without the mother’s knowledge by taking her for “doctor checkup”. Doctors are in on it. In one case a man ate, I mean ate his wife’s face while his family looked on, she lost her child and had to get stitches. What types of animals are these men? I am filled with disgust for men and their families in general just with the thought of this. In a lot of cases, educated people do this. One woman herself was a doctor, her husband a doctor, MIL Vice Principal of school, and FIL similarly educated. Yet they practiced female infanticide and tried to kill the live daughter after she was born. Who are these people? Why kill women? Because of the dowry system. It is hard to get poor women married due to dowry demands. Population of men has exceeded women, now men are finding it hard to find women to marry. So what do they do? Buy women from poor families, sell her, or have sex with her and get others to do the same. Either way a woman loses.

The second episode was about child abuse. One guy talked about his abuse, in most cases the abuse happens at their house right under the parents’ nose without their knowledge. It was so heartbreaking. I know someone close who was sexually abused for several years and it all came out in resentment years later. It is so depressing and heartbreaking that men abuse others as young as 6 years old, innocent kids who have no idea what is going on. Who are these fucking assholes? One guy shared on the show how he was abused for years since he was 6, he tried telling his mother who wouldn’t believe it. He said he was bleeding, and she said perhaps he is eating too many mangoes! Parents cannot even fathom sexual abuse. The only person he spoke to is his German shepherd dog, who somehow sensed what he was going through as soon as he came home.

I wish the show showed photos of abusers so that they become social pariahs and everyone shuns them. There is very little awareness about child abuse in India, in a lot of cases parents cannot even imagine that people they know so well could do this. Children don’t know what is happening so cannot tell their parents. One girl came on the show to share her story, she spoke of how communication is very open in their family yet she could not tell her parents. 53% of people surveyed were abused as children. A lot of Indian men live in a repressed society where topics of sex are taboo and there are restrictions around what women can wear and do, this is how that repressed society pays.

I feel like having a Facebook page and asking all the abused to join and post photos of abusers, get everyone to shun these disgusting parasites. Despite education and advancement, instead of moving ahead India is moving backwards.

This time when I went to India, my sister shared horror stories about life in Delhi. I thought Delhi would be the safest place being the capital of India, quite the contrary. People don’t talk, they shoot. I feel so much safer being in the US. There is so much corruption in India, terrorists shoot innocent people in broad daylight yet cases continue for years. Why? I feel for the people who have to go through this. Its so terrible.

Aamir’s show not only brings about awareness, but also talks about solutions. He promotes relevant NGOs, and asks people to text their support, all proceeds from the texts will be donated to support the NGO. He conducted a workshop with kids as well to communicate which body parts others should not touch. Now if only Aamir took a portion of that Rs. 3 crore and donated to these NGOs as well, he doesn’t need the money!

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Since AM is away, I spent my Friday night and all of Saturday watching movies, given how much it snowed today and I could not step outside. I am always looking for lists of Bollywood comedies, off-beat movies, and classics to fill my time, so I decided to do one myself. Here goes…

Bollywood comedies – some of them are completely mindless and slapstick. A lot of them are with Akshay Kumar, he is my favorite comedy actor. Years back when I went to get my US visa in India, I had to take an entire wedding album of photos to prove that I am married since I wanted a dependent visa, the guy at the counter asked if my the guy in the photos was Akshay Kumar instead of AM, haha, I was quite flattered, so silly. Not that Akshay is the best looking guy, but he plays comedy so effortlessly, and his performances during award shows are so energetic.

  1. Delhi Belly – I can watch this movie again and again, it has toilet humor but is so so hilarious, the dialogues are so funny. Amir Khan never disappoints. And it doesn’t have people breaking out into a song out of nowhere, there is a 30 seconds song in the middle and one at the end. The film falls in the category of Hangover.
  2. Chalo Dilli – Offbeat and satirical, it stars my favorite actor, Vinay Pathak, and Lara Dutta has changed for the better these last few years.
  3. Andaz Apna Apna – The funniest movie ever and a classic, totally mindless though. Wish Amir and Salman would get over their egos and do a sequel.
  4. Hera Pheri – Another classic comedy (slapstick) that brought Paresh Rawal, Sunil Shetty, and Akshay Kumar together, the rest is history. The sequel Phir Hera Pheri is not as good but has its funny moments.
  5. De Dana Dan – A laugh-out loud riot with Akshay, Sunil, and Paresh back together. Akshay is a housekeeper for Archana Puran Singh, a cruel employer, and he pays her back at the end. A comedy of errors.
  6. Houseful – Akshay never disappoints, another comedy. Akshay is unlucky for everyone around him and has a hard time keeping relationships till he finds the one. It is completely slapstick, but I enjoyed it.
  7. Malamaal Weekly – This movie has classic old actors such as Om Puri and Paresh Rawal, both can carry off a movie even today. The movie revolves around a dead man winning lottery and the rest of the village wanting a piece of it. I lost count of how the amount would be distributed…
  8. Awara Paagal Deewana – This is a copy of The Whole Nine Yards. It is very slapstick, so watch this only if you don’t mind a mindless film.
  9. Chup Chup Ke – This is an under-rated film and came right after Jab We Met starring Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor. A very nice movie, but like usual Bollywood films the end became mushy and unrealistic.
  10. Hungama – Another mindless comedy flick from Priyadarshan. His movies promise a laugh-out loud hilarious ending, no matter the rest of the film.
  11. Bhagam Bhag – Slapstick, debut of a new slimmer and more stylish Lara Dutta.
  12. Hulchul – Very loud but has some funny moments.
  13. Dhamaal – Another slapstick movie but if you like Arshad Warsi it is funny. I would skip the sequel Double Dhamaal.
  14. Welcome to Sajjanpur – A highly entertaining and simple film about a village letter-writer and his love trysts.
  15. Bend it like Beckham – A sweet look into an Indian family that moved to the UK. The only Keira Knightly move without her smug-face.
  16. Monsoon Wedding – A sweet movie about family, love, and a feel-good ending.
  17. Chameli Ki Shaadi – A very funny old movie, Amrita Singh is hilarious.
  18. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron – Another classic, black comedy.
  19. Gol Mal – The old one released in 1979, one of the funniest old movies starring Amol Palekar directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
  20. Padosan – I like Sunil Dutt and he was amazing in this movie, really funny.
  21. Chupke Chupke – Another funny oldie directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

I will keep adding if I think of more.

Good, some offbeat (new-age) films

  1. Black – Serious and slightly depressing, about a woman who is deaf, mute, and blind.
  2. Khamoshi – Excellent actors, but serious. Nana Patekar is a brilliant actor as is Manisha Koirala. Manisha is a beautiful singer but both her parents are deaf and mute.
  3. Tanu Weds Manu – A charming movie, Kangana looks gorgeous.
  4. Udaan – One of my favorite movies, bitter-sweet, depressing moments with a very positive end. This is one of the most heartfelt movies I have ever seen emerge from Bollywood. I wrote a review about it.
  5. No One Killed Jessica – A good comeback for Rani based on a true story about Jessica Lall.
  6. Tahaan – A very charming film, the little boy steals the show. My review is here.
  7. The Blue Umbrella – A very sweet film, Pankaj Kapoor as usual delivers his best.
  8. Jab We Met – The charming duo Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor come together for this one. Rumor has it they broke up while shooting, but they continue to ooze chemistry on-screen. An American friend’s favorite song is “Nagada Nagada”.
  9. Swades – Slightly serious, but a very charming and patriotic movie, takes me back home. It performed better overseas than in India due to its nostalgic tone.
  10. Chak De India! – A must-watch about a hockey coach’s comeback.
  11. Bheja Fry – A copy of the French movie Dinner Game.
  12. Dasvidaniya – A poignant and sweet movie starring Vinay Pathak.
  13. Khosla Ka Ghosla – A trying time for a family.
  14. Mithya – A comedy version of Don.
  15. Johnny Gaddaar – Talk about irony.
  16. Being Cyrus – I loved Saif, Shabana, and Naseeruddin in this.
  17. Corporate – The first time I took note of Kay Kay Menon.
  18. Mixed Doubles – This is a bit serious but tackles a serious subject of couple swapping. It keeps the viewers wondering, did she or didn’t she.
  19. Kaun? – A thriller from Ram Gopal Varma, Urmila overacts a bit.
  20. Rangeela – This is one of my favorite movies, and it put Urmila on the map. The songs are amazing, AR Rahman at his prime.
  21. Omkara – A story about Othello.
  22. Maqbool – A different take on Macbeth.
  23. Company – Mumbai underworld by Ram Gopal Varma.
  24. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa – A cute take on friendship turning to love.
  25. Band Baaja Baaraat – Two partners turn from lovers into rivals.
  26. Tere Bin Laden – A hilarious underrated movie based on a Bin Laden look-alike.
  27. Dil Chahta Hai – Amir’s movies are always classics and so much fun to watch even after all these years, and the songs are amazing. He is like Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, he always makes movies for the youth.
  28. Ghajini – Wonderfully acted, another one from Amir. Serious but very interesting.
  29. Hum Tum – Not one of the best films, but good time pass about men vs. women.
  30. Taare Zameen Par – A serious story about dyslexia.
  31. Earth – A story during riots when a jealous boyfriend acts out.
  32. Rockford – If you grew up in a boarding school, you will relate to this one – a very good movie.
  33. 3 Deewarein – A good suspense movie from Nagesh Kukunoor.
  34. Karthik Calling Karthik – The final wedding song used in the TV show Outsourced was from this movie (uff teri ada). An okay movie to watch when you have nothing else, it has some suspense.
  35. Lagaan – Another classic by Amir Khan, a truly inspiring movie about cricket and an attempt at sending the British back with their tail between their legs.
  36. Prahaar – Madhuri looks so natural in this movie. Nana Patekar is at his best. A slightly serious film.
  37. Bluffmaster – A light movie.
  38. Dostana – I really liked this film, its funny and has good songs. Abhishek and John have amazing chemistry, and their Koffee with Karan together is a must-watch. I hear there is a sequel in the works.
  39. Lage Raho Munnabhai – While I was not too crazy about the prequel Munnabhai MBBS, this sequel is very entertaining. Arshad Warsi steals the show.
  40. Life in a Metro – Another offbeat decent movie.
  41. Rajneeti – A brilliant cast, Ranbir brought his acting chops to this one. A good political movie. Katrina looks too old for Ranbir though, he needs to work with younger actresses.
  42. Rocket Singh – Another Ranbir movie. I liked 3/4th of the film, the ending was poorly done, but worth watching once.
  43. Outsourced – I chanced upon this movie after watching the TV show Outsourced, its such an under-rated film, and quite charming.
  44. Sarfarosh – Another charmer from Amir Khan.
  45. Wake up Sid – This is a very light film, a love story about an older woman falling in love with a younger man. Very light and average.
  46. Jhankar Beats – Another charming under-rated film.
  47. Pyaar Ke Side Effects – I don’t like Mallika Sherawat and she cannot act to save her life – she should stick to item songs. But Rahul Bose steals the show in this decent movie.
  48. Kaminey – I like this one only because of Shahid Kapoor, he does a very good job in a double role.
  49. Sardar – I am including this one because AM likes it – I haven’t seen it yet. According to him, Sardar was very practical during the partition of India and Pakistan; Nehru, on the other hand, wanted partition to fulfill his own desire to become Prime Minister, while Gandhiji was always against partition of any sort. In the fight for power, Sardar stood, an unsung hero, the most practical of the lot. Had he prevailed it would have caused India much less grief from the spurts of riots that continue between Hindus and Muslims. Totally AM’s opinion, not mine. Its on my list to watch.
  50. Border – No list can be complete without Border. Its a very heartfelt movie based on a true story where the bravery of Indian soldiers protect an area of Punjab from Pakistani attackers. Akshaye Khanna made his impressive debut.
  51. The Japanese Wife – A very charming Rahul Bose movie where he tries his stint in long-distance relationship with a Japanese. The visuals are very calming and pretty.
  52. Zubeidaa – An art film with a great cast in Rekha, Manoj Bajpai, and Karisma Kapoor depicting the tug of war between a wife and a mistress.
  53. Water – A Deepa Mehta movie, it shows the plight of widows. I had to watch it for John Abraham.
  54. Jodha Akbar – A stunning portrayal of the relationship between Akbar and his wife. Hrithik and Aish ooze chemistry, and the visuals and fashion are all very stunning. Breathtaking!
  55. Choker Bali – An art film starring Aishwarya Rai. She looks beautiful.
  56. Mujhse Shaadi Karogi – Another slapstick movie starring Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan.
  57. Fashion – Starring Priyanka Chopra, the film is about the rise and fall of fashion models. It is a serious film and gets unrealistically emotional at the end. Of course Priyanka could never walk in Paris, their models are stick-think, “almost” anorexic, while Priyanka has a healthy figure.
  58. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – The movie is a decent watch for an afternoon at home, kind of like Dil Chahta Hai but less funny, like Hangover but less slapstick, it is loosely based on The Hangover. Farhan Akhtar is fantastic, he plays comedy and serious roles perfectly, Abhay Deol was quite good too as always.
  59. Taxi No. 9 2 11 – Good entertaining movie starring Nana Patekar and John Abraham. A remake of Changing Lanes.
  60. The Namesake – A serious and heartfelt film, I love Irfan Khan in general and he plays the role of a patient father and husband quite well. Based on a book by the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri.

3 Idiots does not make my list because even though it was a top grosser, the pregnancy scenes were over the top and unrealistic, I would not watch it again. Rang De Basanti also started off well and then went into an unrealistic mode.

Roja and Bombay are good movies as well, just not at the top of my list.

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I was shocked this morning when I saw on the Yahoo homepage that Heidi Klum and Seal are getting a divorce! Really shocking! This is the same couple that renews marriage vows every single year and holds the craziest halloween parties. I watched Germany’s next top model and Heidi brought Seal in for an episode to promote his music, and she was all over him, kissing him. They decided to call it quits after being married for 6 years, just 6 years, of which Heidi has been pregnant for 4 years – with her first child with someone else and then 3 with Seal. Methinks there is more to this story, I will not be surprised if it comes out the Seal cheated on her given his constant tourring. If anything, both have gotten busier than ever, perhaps they didn’t give each other much time?

What a way to fake it all by showing so much “love” in public. This is the last couple I ever expected to divorce given their PDAs. And it is not normal to renew vows every year, what is the point of marriage then? I am waiting to see what skeletons come out now. Cheating and divorce is so common in Hollywood, why do they even bother to get married anymore.

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As a kid, I loved watching British shows that came on after 9pm in India such as Yes Minister, Mind Your Language, etc. till American shows such as Friends, Seinfeld, Small Wonder, and Wonder Years took over. I loved Friends, but I like the dry tongue-in-cheek British humor much better than in-the-face American. I could never understand Seinfeld till I spent a few years in the US – back then it just seemed stupid that people laughed at obvious stuff.

I recently decided to start watching Brit shows online, and found my fav Mind Your Language on YouTube. It is a show about a British teacher and his class of international students who want to learn English. Barry Evans is very charming as the Brit teacher Mr. Brown. The class has one person from each country – India, Pakistan, Middle East, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Africa, France, and China. Each character is very stereotypical but entertaining. And of course the matronly Miss Courtney who runs the school and epitomizes the “stiff upper-lip” British. I enjoyed watching the show again even after so many years.

It is unfortunate that even after being such a good and charming actor, Barry Evans lead a sad life. When he was born, he was left in a box outside children’s house and was brought up in orphanages. He acted in a few shows and was popular, but later on his boyish looks made it challenging to get roles depicting his real age. Apparently he was bisexual. Towards the end of his days, he was broke and worked as a cab driver. At the age of 53, he was found dead – the cause of his death is unknown. An 18 year old kid was arrested because he stole Barry’s car and a few credit cards. But Barry had an overdose of alcohol, and a bottle of pills was found near him although he did not take any pills. The kid was later set free.

I felt very sad reading about his life. It is so sad that untalented women like the Kardashians and Hiltons become popular and  mint money just because of their silly useless reality shows. While really talented actors and actresses have to struggle for years. Same thing for designers – “celebrities” like Lauren Conrad who come up with their own clothing line do well, and take the place of really talented designers who would do better with such opportunities. Why is our culture so celebrity-driven rather than talent-driven? I just feel so bad for all these talented people.

I wish I could learn more about Barry Evans’ life. He has faded into oblivion…

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I saw Shilpa Shetty entering Chola last weekend for lunch. She probably came to NY to participate in the annual Indian Independence day parade, which happens every year on the streets of NY during the second Sunday of August. On screen, she seems very tall, skinny/slim, great figure, but her face seems asymmetrical and larger than her body. I don’t find her tpretty, but most people do. To her credit, she has one of the best bodies in Bollywood, and has maintained it. Every other actress with a good body has put on so much weight (Aishwarya, Urmila), not Shilpa. Priyanka Chopra does not count – she is a relative newcomer.

Shilpa came in a few movies and did a couple of songs – the most memorable is the one with Akshay Kumer Mein khiladi tu anari. And of course her side role in Baazigar. She was lost for a few years, but came back with her stint on Big Brother UK.

A Brit Jade Goody was racist towards Shilpa and bullied her on Big Brother UK. Shilpa won public sympathy and BB in the end, and moved on. She made tons of money and came out with her own perfume in the UK. Since then she has risen to fame in India, and hosted Big Boss (Indian Big Brother). She looks good and conducts herself well, but is dumb as a doornail. She is not funny and is a terrible terrible host. Such a step down from Arshad Warsi. She came across as silly and stupid as host of Big Boss, who could not say anything without being scripted. I hope they don’t bring her back.

She was literally mauled by Richard Gere below. She took it well, but what was Gere thinking? These men cannot keep it in the pants when they see Indian women. Richard Branson took Neha Dhupia by surprise and turned her around completely on the stage – ya like a roller coaster or something. Crazy antics!

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I decided to skip dinner and go with my hubby to Pinkberry on 58th St for their delicious frozen yogurt (yummy!!). Andie MacDowell walked in. For a moment I could not believe it was her, but a second look confirmed it. She wore a dress, and was with an older woman and a much younger guy, probably a relative. She looked incredibly skinny but not very different from the picture here. I tried not to look because I didn’t want to stare. She stood in line normally, and by then I left the place. I rarely see celebrities, and when you see them in normal surroundings, its interesting to see them be so normal. Nobody treats them special, they stand in line normally, nobody runs to them or stares. Well, maybe if it were Angelina Jolie, then paparazzi would not have been far behind. Andie has not done a movie in years.

How do these celebrities keep the money coming? They do maybe one movie in several years, some interviews and photo shoots, so where does the regular supply of money come from? I wonder…

I saw Nicholas Cage a couple of weeks back. He was shooting on the street outside my apartment building. There was a huge crowd and I caught a glimpse of him in a car. The car was in another vehicle, which was moving. He looked like he had a lot of make-up on, and the light on his face made him glow. It must be hard acting in front of such a crowd! I do like my new place – while I hate having to deal with tourists that walk on narrow streets like in a park with the entire family occupying the street walking like snails, I like the proximity to everything – great Indian food, several delivery options, Pinkberry, Columbus Circle, Central Park, and stores. Its nice to walk around at night which we have started doing of late.

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