Monday, November 29, 2010

NIF-a-palooza!, or: Stories of Rewatching.

Dearest dears, according to a philosophy which says that every they dance! post is somebody's first, let me once again explain NIF. It quite simply means Non-Indian Film [fan/ enthusiast/ viewer/ follower] and was invented on the BollyWHAT? discussion forums when people needed a name for those friends of theirs who weren't too into the whole crazy Indian film business and in most cases didn't quite "get it", or were in the process of "getting it", ie. warming up to the films that fans of this type of cinema gobbled up like it was pie they could never have enough of. 

For the purpose of this blog, NIF mostly refers to friends I watch films with, who might've been a great number of films but aren't quite fanatic enough to buy them on their own or watch them on their own. That, or they're utter newbies, but curious enough to come over and let me pop one in the DVD player. 

This past autumn I've had a number of NIF film nights, so I thought I'd share some stories.

How Anthony Ended Up on a Skate-boarding Video

Some university friends were invited over and I presented them with many options; comedies, romantic films, straight-forward masalas - whatever they wanted, we could watch. They picked, surprisingly enough, the classic 1977 Desai-masala Amar Akbar Anthony. Well enough, though I warned them that films of this type were a little out there with the epicness of the storylines but also, well, pretty much everything. Still, this was no Dharam-Veer so I figured we were on safe grounds.

The film went down well, with all its twists and turns and action. It's no short wonder the film's such a classic. The only thing I regret is that my DVD has no subtitled songs, so I was forced to try and remember what each song was about - when nobody understands the lyrics, they miss the context of the song, which can be absolutely essential in these older films. So that was rather a shame. Of course, there is that one English song - My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves - which is utterly delightful.

At some point, a bit of which I couldn't find a screencap, Anthony shows the inside of his tux jacket to reveal the number 420. This caused amusement in one viewer who quipped, "Oh, I have to get a screencap of that!". Now this was for the reasons obvious to anybody who doesn't automatically associate the number with the Indian penal code for 'fraud'.. I did explain this to my friend, but he was still captured by this tiny little bit. 

Later, he borrowed the DVD to screencap it himself and told me it was for a skate-boarding video he and his friends were working on. So, congrats, Amitabh Bachchan.. While I'm sure the video is not in wide circulation, that's got to count towards ...something. 

How Rain Didn't Stop 4 Idiots

Organizing stuff can be a pain in the neck, so after I sent an invitation to another Bollytastic film night to a bunch of my uni friends, I had lots of preparations to make. Snacks to buy from the store, room to clean up completely, re-arrange the room for optimal film-viewing, haul all kinds of useless stuff out of the room and back into the cupboard, etc etc. So after I'd done all this, I could just back and wait for the people to arrive. Sadly, only four of them made it, in a car, and the rest gave up on the way, as the drizzle had turned into heavy rain as they began making their way over to my place.

Resigned, the small group of us settled in to watch something, and what my friends picked was 3 Idiots.  I felt like a bloody waiter at a restaurant, wanting to congratulate them for an excellent choice. Because, really. 3 Idiots is just a film that works on so many levels, I have absolutely no reservations about showing it to anybody who likes films. Of course, it has got its caveats, its tiny flaws - but they don't diminish the viewing experience. It's just great. The audience reaction was extremely positive. I just would've hoped more people had been able to show up. Better luck next time, I suppose. All izz well.. 

And I am especially happy that I own the PAL-DVD because it looks smashing, much better than a lot of the other DVD's I've got. 

Letting Salman Khan Into Your Heart, in 3 Easy Steps

1) Watch Wanted

2) Repeat step 1.

3) Repeat step 1 until you reach the expected result.

My friend Mog has a really bizarre taste in men. Or rather, fictional men, actor crushes, that sort of thing. She hasn't really been into any Indian actors, at least not in the "ooh, him! I want to see more with him!" type of sense.  It's been confusing to me, showing her all these films I really love with actors I really like and she just shrugs. 

Now, I sold Wanted to her, Babz and another friend of theirs (who has witnessed the most unfortunate Indian films so far, but that's another story) as a fun action film. While I think I was the one who enjoyed the film the most - I love it to bits, I realize more and more with each rewatch, Wanted is just amazing, and utterly a favourite by now - it worked its ballistic magic on them, as well. And Mog? She kind of loved Salman. To the point that when I left she was busy looking up "Love Me" on youtube. 

I understand the Salman love, don't get me wrong. Even older Salman has his moments, and Wanted is definitely one of them. But on the other hand ...really? You fall for this Sallu, not the fresh-faced MPK Sallu or the goofball 90's Sallu, who's still got a fresh face and eyes that look like he's slept well last night, or any of the nights last week? Well. Mog has always been something else. And if she loves Wanted, who am I to say no?

No Sleep for the Wicked, No Love for the Sakshay

Speaking of Mog, I entirely blame her apathy towards the 90's Saif-Akshay gem Main Khiladi Tu Anari for why this was my lamest reviewing of the film so far. MKTA is magical, but it requires the right sort of mood - the mood of being able to appreciate and adore cinema that isn't too good in the traditional sense but excellent entertainment if you're able to get into its cheesy charms. Mog wasn't in the mood, but Babz was, so we watched MKTA, but to no great success, as the slower parts, our commentary drifted to other topics and we basically talked until I was like "Oh this bit is great, focus!". 

Sigh. Sometimes film viewing goes like that - somebody takes an attitude towards a film and so it doesn't work for them, and that brings the mood down in the whole room. It breaks your heart when it's a favourite that a friend dislikes severely. But sometimes, that's just the way things work out. Sadly.

There were a couple of other films I rewatched with friends recently as well, but I'll end this post here for now so it doesn't get too long and dull. 'Til next time!


Filmbuff said...

Very interesting post Sanni. I too organise "film watching" events at my place esp hindi films of the 70s with friends who haven't seen these or those who haven not seen Indian movies at all.

Also, friends not liking a movie u like so much and bringing down the atmosphere in the room is something i can totally relate to. It has happened with me.

Dolce and Namak said...

Alas... ALL my friends are NIFs... :( I've been having them over for close to two years now and they still can't be bothered to buy their own, or even download. Sigh...

Then again, it ends up being a good thing because it gives me a chance to agonize over what to watch next (which is one of my favourite passtimes) and then to rewatch an old favourite. So it works. :)

And that's too bad part of your group got lost on the way to 3 Idiots (also pretty ironic considering an important part of the movie takes place in a monsoon :P - maybe it just jinxed itself! Try doing Chameli next and see what happens :D), but I hope that means you get to watch it again with them :)

It's nice to see new posts from you!

veracious said...

Filmbuff - yep, it is terrible. Of course, everybody's tastes are different and I'm sure if my friends did the picking, I'd end up hating some of their favourites. But in that moment, it kind of sucks.

Dolce and Namak - I don't mind them not buying their own films.. I think in a way the fact I am providing them with so much goodness is preventing them from doing so. If I only had 3 movies, they might be curious enough to explore and get some films of their own.. Who knows. Anyway, it's not necessarily a sign of failure, I mean, they still want to see more films!

Yep, I love rewatching old favourites.. I think I've watched Sholay about 7 times more than I would have on my own because I've been showing it to different people so many times.

Filmbuff said...

By the same token, I must have watched "Kudrat" about 5 times now coz I have been showing that to different friends!

bollychick said...

Hello! I'm a journalist, and I'm writing an article about Bollywood's global reach. I'd love to interview you about how you became interested in the films and what keeps you coming back. I'm a fan myself, btw. I live in California, but calling Finland is no problem. Or we can chat over e-mail if you prefer. Let me know if you're interested! Thanks!

veracious said...

Kudrat, the 80's film with Hema & Vinod? I should see that.

Bollychick - Um, sure, I guess! You can reach me at culling.songs @

Lime(tte) said...

I just recently stumbled upon your blog and it's very entertaining!
I know what you mean with those friends - I have only two friends that like Bollywood: My best friend, who mostly watches the 2000s classics and comedies and an other friend, who watched Luck By Chance with me and loved it! But they don't watch the movies themselves. Sadly... Because there's nobody I can talk to about the newest gossip and movies etc.

memsaab said...

I agree with Mog. Old Salman is much sexier than young Salman. I think it's because for all his mistakes and faults, he learns. He thinks about stuff. I still haven't seen Wanted, but I really...WANT to :D