1. Things I'm looking forward to!

    Saturday, 31 October 2009
    By Sonia
    Chance Pe Dance Full-length Trailer!

    Next week is going to be an interesting week!
    We have....

    Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani - Katrina Katrina Katrina!!!!! And it seems to be quite an entertainer.

    Jail - The new Madhur Bhandarkar film! Don't think it's just copying "prison break". It's definitely not 'cuase Madhur Bhandarkar's just a wonderful filmmaker!

    3 Idiots

    Well, not that I don't love Aamir, I totally do. But is it convincing to have somebody over 40 to play college student? It didn't work so well in Rang De Basanti..... Again? And pair up w/ Kareena Kapoor?????????


    3 Idiots is too huge. Even Kites w/ Hrithik Roshan has been pushed back to Jan 2010.
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  2. ATTN: HK Bollywood Fans!

    Tuesday, 27 October 2009
    By Sonia
    Vaibhavi Merchant's show "The Merchants of Bollywood" is coming to HK in Febraury 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's not exactly Vaibhavi Merchant's show. But she did the choreography and the show is partly her life story!

    Amanda's introduction: http://amandalin.pixnet.net/blog/post/24796348

    Please!!!! Let me know if you're going too. It's be a lot less enjoyable to go w/out some company!
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  3. Chance Pe Dance!

    Monday, 26 October 2009
    By Sonia
    This is definitely the year of Shahid Kapoor!

    His upcoming film with Genelia --> although it's pushed back to next year, a teaser is now available online!

    Continue reading »

    I just finished my job application for Swire. It took me like 3 hours......... Well, I admit that I wasn't very well prepared in dealing with that online application system. And all my standard cover letters didn't help 'cause they were all for consulting firms.

    Sometimes even I wonder why I'm spending time to apply for a bunch of jobs that I won't get it. But if I have the luxury (ie. tutoring full-time) not to compromise for less, why not? I'm lucky in this aspect. I also hope that my time doing all these applications can exchange for an opportunity that some HR people are more sophisticated and look at things other than academic results/exchange/scholarships.

    Gosh........if Swire took me 3 hours, don't know how long the other one's going to take!!!!!! And I have numerous things on my to-do list and they're not just mid-terms.
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  5. My film review assignment (just so so...)

    Saturday, 24 October 2009
    By Sonia
    This should be the 1st assignment of mine that actually has a 2nd draft!


    Film Review : Kandukondain Kandukondain

    Jane Austen's works have been the favourite of film makers for a long time. There are films and TV series based on Pride and Prejudice, Emma and other Austen's works.

    A few years ago, a film called Bride and Prejudice impressed the global audience with the Jane Austen story with an Indian touch. Pride and Prejudice is not the only work of Jane Austen that has an Indian remake. Kandukondain Kandukondain is a remake of Jane Austen's first novel, Sense and Sensibility. It was not remade by Bollywood, which is better known to the global audience, but by another major Indian film production centre Kollywood, the Tamil cinema.

    This essay will discuss the different types of love illustrated in the movie and the Indian characteristics of the movie. Personal opinion on the film will also be shared.

    Part 1: Summary
    The story of Kandukondain Kandukondain evolves around the life of two sisters, Sowmiya and Meenakshi, and their family. The family is a respectable one since they have been running a local school in the village. The focus of the film is the romantic relationships of the major characters.

    Sowmiya, the elder sister, is the Principal of the school. She is of marriageable age but not yet married. Everyone in the village thinks she is inauspicious because a man approached the family to discuss marriage died right after meeting her. This rumour disheartens and troubles Sowmiya. She acts tough just to reassure her family. She meets Manohar who is struggling to become a film director. They fall in love but Manohar will not marry before he can make a breakthrough in his career.

    Meenakshi, the younger sister, has many fantasies about love. She meets Srikanth, the owner of a finance company. It is love at first sight. But young Meenakshi also catches
    the attention of a disabled retired soldier, Major Bala.

    Unfortunately, the family is driven away from their home as they cannot inherit the property. They are forced to leave for Chennai and face the hardship of living in the city. At the same time, problems also come up in the relationships of the two sisters.

    Part 2: Love Illustrated in the Movie
    1. Familial Love

    Usually, when we talk about love in movies, we would think of romantic love. But the movie can show another important aspect of love in the Indian culture – familial love.

    First, we can see that the unity in the family is strong and they are willing to sacrifice for each other. After the family left their home, they had to settle in Chennai. Sowmiya took tried very hard looking for a job to support her family. She was willing to work as a receptionist even though she used to be the Principal of the school. And her mother and the old maid also tried to ease the family’s burden. They sold all their jewelleries and worked in a restaurant despite their respectable family background.

    Besides, the characters in the movie are caring to their family at the time of need. Sowmiya and her family used to stay away from their village because her grandfather disapproves the marriage of his son and Sowmiya’s mother. But they returns to take care of him when he becomes seriously ill. Another son of grandfather’s was away from home and left the responsibility to Sowmiya and the others. Major Bala’s uncle is also a caring elder. He keeps Bala company and always encourages him.

    Finally, family is forgiving. When grandfather died, he left the house to his son. His wife drove Sowmiya and the others away. However, when the son died later on, they came back from the city for his funeral and were kind to his wife. They did not take revenge of the way she treated them.

    2. Romantic Love
    There are three romantic relationships in the movie.

    The first one is the relationship between Sowmiya and Manohar. Different from typical Indian romantic fantasy, Sowmiya’s relationship with Manohar was very subtle. Sowmiya hopes for love and care but she did not show it because she bears the burden of being called unlucky and the responsibility of taking care of the family. People look up to her and expect her to be prudent and reliable. Therefore, she often suppressed her feelings and did not let anyone know. Her relationship with Manohar depicted in the movie is also far from perfect. She had to work very to support the family and Manohar was constantly struggling to have a breakthrough in his career. The difficulties in reality caused them a lot of frustration.

    Meenakshi is romantically involved with both Srikanth and Major Bala.

    Meenakshi is the complete opposite of Sowmiya when it comes to the attitude towards love. She has always dreamt about it and indulged her imagination in poetry. Although she lives in a society where arranged marriage is popular, she challenges the feasibility of marriage without love. She believes love to be beautiful and passionate. She thought that other people should be awakened from the traditional values of marriage.

    Srikanth seems to be the soul mate and true love that Meenakshi has been waiting for. He has all the qualities of a typical Indian romance hero. He is wealthy, successful and handsome. When he first met Meenakshi, she was injured and he came to her rescue. Also, he shares Meenakshi’s passion for poetry. However, this passionate love does not last. When Srikanth’s company is at the edge of bankruptcy, he marries a girl from a rich family to save his business.

    When Meenakshi is completely overwhelmed by her relationship with Srikanth, she finds Major Bala annoying. He is an alcoholic middle-aged man. He is ashamed of himself because of his disability. Despite the fact that Major Bala is not a typical hero in Indian movie, his relationship with Meenakshi reflects the positive side of love.

    Originally, Major Bala has given up on his life. After meeting Meenakshi, Major Bala quits his bad habits such as heavy drinking. He has a new purpose in life. Then, he helps her when she needs help and he does not expect any return. He thinks that the age difference between Meenakshi and him is irresolvable. He helps Meenakshi to contact Srikanth and later on persuades Meenakshi to marry another man. At the end, Meenakshi is finally mature enough to appreciate what Major Bala has done.

    Part 3: Indian Characteristics
    Having captured the main ideas of the book or the movie of Sense and Sensibility, Kandukondain Kandukondain has also managed to incorporate many Indian characteristics.

    First of all, the audience can find some characteristics of Indian movies. There are many songs and dances. Indian films are known for their songs and dance. Tamil movie is no exception. Sometimes, time would be frozen and the characters depart from the storyline temporarily and start dancing and singing. Many people reject the use of song and dance in Indian films. But they can help develop the storyline and portray the feelings of the characters. Also, the importance of religion in Indian culture is reflected in the movie. Many scenes are conducted in religious occasions. Major Bala first met Meenakshi at a worshipping ceremony of Natraj. Some dialogues are also delivered when the characters are doing pooja in temples.

    Second, several social issues are addressed in the movie. The first example is superstition. Sowmiya is not married because of the rumour about a potential groom committing suicide after meeting her. Since then, she has been labelled as the unlucky girl. In the 21st century, people are still heavily influenced by these superstitious ideas that have no scientific basis. Even Sowmiya, a well-educated person, believes herself to be unlucky. For this reason, she becomes very sensitive and has the idea that she would never marry. Another example is dowry. Nowadays, dowry is still popular in many parts of India. The family of the bride has to pay a sum of money and give other valuable gifts to the groom’s family. But the mother of the sisters repeatedly says that she would rather have men who marry her daughters for who they are but not for their asset.

    Finally, the movie mentions the Kargil war. Kargil war was the conflict between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir area in 1999. Although it lasted for a relatively short period, it was widely reported in the media. In the movie, Major Bala was an outstanding soldier but he lost his legs in the Kargil war. He realized the cruelty of war. Since then, he could not find the motivation in life and he found no purpose to lead a positive life. The war is not only important in portraying Major Bala’s character. The filmmakers start the film with a scene of fighting and there are also a few scenes in which Major Bala expresses his questions and anger towards the war and the government.

    Part 4: Opinion
    In general, Kandukondain Kandukondain is an entertaining film. It is a good adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. I think it has outdone Bride and Prejudice as an adaptation of Jane Austen’s work. The acting is good as the movie has prominent actors from both and North and South Indian cinema in the leading roles.

    It was an interesting experience to watch Kandukondain Kandukondain because I could compare the Tamil films and Hindi films. In general, mainstream Tamil films are quite similar to mainstream Hindi films. In 2 to 3 hours, there has to be humour, romance, songs and dance (the only part that is missing is the exaggerating action and fighting scenes which audience can often find in Tamil movies). But details in the movie, such as clothes and accessories, can reflect how South Indian culture is different from the North. For example, South Indian women like to wear flowers in their hair and a lot of gold accessories. It is also common for South Indian men to wear dhoti, while not traditional clothes are less popular among North Indian men. There are also completely different standards of beauty, especially for men.

    As an adaptation, I was amazed how compatible a Western story can be in the Indian context. The 17th-century England and modern South India are completely different, yet the main ideas and the values underlined in the story can be perfectly presented in both contexts. It is another thing that I really appreciate in Kandukondain Kandukondain – It is an entertaining movie but it is not unrealistic as many Indian movies are known to be. It is closer to the daily life of most people and it has touched on some social issues.

    It being a mainstream Indian film, the audience can expect a happy ending. But I think it is not just the usual cliché but brings out something positive. Compared with Sense and Sensibility, it seems to be more fortunate for the characters in Kandukondain Kandukondain. Even though they were in difficulties, they could be less passive in the process of becoming independent. In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood family could only hope and wait for assistance as they were restricted by their gender. But in Kandukondain Kandukondain, they can have more control over their life although the situation is difficult. Women are less vulnerable than they were a few centuries ago.
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  6. Finish-ing...

    Thursday, 22 October 2009
    By Sonia
    It's pretty crazy to do this at 0426. I'm working on my mid-term assginment for Love in Indian Culture. It's almost done! (Although I planned to finish it last week...) Anywayz, the main point is that the assignment is on Kandukondain Kandukonain (the Tamil adaptation of Sense and Sensibility!). I will really finish it ASAP and I'll post it up (despite it not being particularly good)
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  7. Sci-fi Sweetheart - Eliza Dushku

    今晚Pearl有新劇集- Dollhouse, Gimmick是Buffy creator和演員的新作.

    我沒有看過Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 但很多追看美國劇集的人都會知道那是一套有很多season的劇集.

    看看Wikipedia, 才發現她原來是我很喜歡的Tru Calling的女主角. (對不起, 我的認人能力真的很有限)

    Tru Calling是一套被腰斬了的劇集. 主角Tru天賦異稟,在殮房工作的她可以聽見死去的人求救,預見他們的遭遇,然後可以在現實生活中拯救別人. 有很好聽的主題曲和插曲,Full Blown Roses甚至沒有出過唱片,但因為音樂出現在Tru Calling而得到不少注意.
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  8. Can you not love her?

    Tuesday, 20 October 2009
    By Sonia
    很多人對Katrina Kaif都不以為然(用錯詞語請指正),覺得她只是花瓶一大個. 但我始終很喜歡她. 我很佩服她年紀輕輕便這麼努力養家, 也佩服她可以忍受得了Bollywood一些服裝指導的惡俗品味. 而且,她真的是一個美女!

    最近,她也努力擺脫花瓶的stereotype. 繼New York之後, 有她和Ranbir Kapoor的合作 - Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani. (Ranbir Kapoor新作Wake Up Sid也甚獲好評)

    新video, 質素的確麻麻, 但人靚歌也不錯.

    雖然不是完美,不過還是很喜歡她在Namaste London的演出.
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  9. 周秀娜與科大學生

    雖然約好了和Daph在UNIDAS裏"公器私用"時才談周秀娜, 但我忍不住想分享一下.

    這班"靚"模,本來不在我注意範圍內. 但科大學生的"抽水"態度十分令人憤怒!

    你可以說周秀娜為人氣所以出席座談會, 但anyway她答應了出席也盡力回答問題, 而且她很誠實. 教授想解構周秀娜, 但我覺得最終是科大學生"露底"比較多.

    周秀娜的出身,那一班邊排隊邊打機,甚至用周秀娜的相做exam cheat sheet浮水印,意圖Distract tutors的男學生,應該很清楚. 那一班平時喜歡講是非,唱衰同學的女學生,除了讀書,搵intern搵工外,甚麼都不懂,難道你們不膚淺嗎? (有不少科大畢業的朋友...3年以來對科大都有不少認識.) 我相信, 教授問周秀娜的問題, 這班大大聲對記者批評周秀娜膚淺的科大學生也不會答得到. 而我也不相信他們對教授真正想解構的現象有很強的理解.

    周秀娜坦白後悔沒有努力讀書, 總比那些讀了等於沒有讀的人要好.
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  10. Taiwanese Soul - 楊蒨時

    有一,兩季沒有看American Idol. ATV的亞洲星光大道, 好看歸好看, 唱歌質素始終差一點. 唯有看看台灣的歌唱選秀節目- 超級偶像. 我最喜歡的倒不是冠軍得主, 亞軍的楊蒨時更得我心. 她擅長的是R&B和Soul, 我本來不愛聽的, 但也因為她的演出而覺得"可以聽一下".

    雖然我不覺得是蒨時最好的表演,但最多人知道的 - Alicia Keyes:Fallin'



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  11. 亞洲電影節- 心窗 Janala

    第一次看Bengali電影, 這小品當然和之前看的Bollywood大製作相距甚遠.

    看印度電影如果不是Pure entertainment, 就多少都會有提到當地的社會問題. Janala也不例外.

    1. 現代男女角色定位

    男主角是老人院管理員, 一份薪金微薄且沒有前途的工作. 女主角在Kolkata的Call centres工作, 一份薪水支持兩個人在大城市的生活. 女主角懷孕, 沒有催逼男友發憤上進, 反而建議男友當"全職煮夫".

    2. 鄉村政治

    印度政治我雖知道不多, 但肯定混亂.(看一天印度電視新聞台便可得知) 鄉村政治沒有見得簡單. 男主角想捐贈一扇新窗給母校但也諸多阻滯, 因為有決定權的人早己收了好處/利益輸送給"自己人", 沒有機心的好心人實在百般無奈.

    (有親身體會: 在印度時到農村做field work, 被訪者投訴"鄉議會"(panchayat)沒有發規定工資, 只發原定的50-60%.)

    3. 歧視

    南北印始終有些互相排斥. 故事中出現了來自Kerala的一對"空中飛人"雜技人. 但當地人總是有著嫌棄和不禮貌.

    鄉議會的那些大叔, 懂幾個字就自以為是, 說村民沒有學識, 甚麼也不懂.

    (也有親身體會, 就算是和我同年紀的人, 有頗高的教育水平, 還是會對來自農村的人有Stereotype.)

    印度的非主流電影有時真的看得人很"灰". 它們不會給你false hope......
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  12. 新家

    Blogspot這個新家還算合我意, 管理其他事情也比較方便.

    今次Blog沒有以Bollywood"掛帥", 不是Bollywood在我心中地位下降, 只是想多寫些其他事情.
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