Arts Award

Exeter Public Library Screening

We had a great night at the Exeter Public Library where I introduced my film, Woof Woof, to the film club there. I got some great reviews and have put some below. The film club has been a great thing to do as it has introduced me to a lot of films that I might not otherwise have seen, including Koyaanisqatsi, District 9, Withnail and I, and lots of others.

This is me presenting Woof Woof at the Exeter Public Library ^~^

Another great thing that we got to do was introduce the group to BOLLYWOOD. We had a special Bollywood night and watched Paheli with Shah Rukh Khan (my favourite actor), then had samosas and chai afterwards for our film discussion. SRK rocks!!!! My mum wrote an introduction to Bollywood for people that had never seen it before and here it is.... ^~^

Bollywood Night at Exeter Central Library

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Tonight we are watching a movie called Paheli, filmed in 2005 and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Suniel Shetty, Rani Mukherji and Juhi Chawla. This film was not a success in India because it has three strikes against it: it is short at 134 minutes, the costumes are traditional and Indians prefer modern stories, not folktales. Shah Rukh Khan, the producer as well as the ‘hero’, took a chance on a traditional Rajasthani folktale and I feel that the results are wonderful.

As Paheli is not a typical Bollywood movie, I have given a list of better examples of the genre below, none of which are shorter than three hours in length. Character and story development is considerably more involved in Bollywood than in Hollywood movies and there are two distinct phases, commonly referred to as ‘before’ and ‘after’ (the intermission). The first half you get to know all of the characters, their strengths and weaknesses and their deepest longings..then ‘something’ happens. The second half presents all the twists and turns that lead to the inevitable happy ending.

There are more than 300 Bollywood movies made in India each year. Of this only a handful achieve major commercial success. The rest appear, are enjoyed for brief entertainment value, and then disappear.

However, the handful of really good Bollywood films each year can be so brilliant that it fuels an audience devotion unheard of in Hollywood. Shah Rukh Khan has nearly 2 BILLION fans. He has more fans than all of the people who watch Hollywood movies combined. Men and women equally adore Shah Rukh Khan. Bollywood takes this kind of power very seriously. If you watch only a handful of Bollywood films you will soon realise that the genre is used to teach the values of love, kindness, forgiveness, loyalty, integrity, honour, generousity, and more. In the political arena Bollywood encourages empowerment of women, banning of the caste system, renewed friendship between Palestinians and Indians, unification of India, family values and religious tolerance.

An important thing to aware of is that there are no cliches in Bollywood. It is understood that every human being requires love to be happy. There is no cynicism about love and the desire to love and be loved. There is always a happy ending. A Bollywood film without a happy ending is ignored by audiences, so they are rarely made and only then as a conscious risk. Why? It is because Indians believe that love is our inherent nature, that God is Love and we are made by God of Himself (because there is nothing else to make us from), therefore we are love. It is believed that the entire universe is conspiring towards our ultimate reunion with the Divine. It is felt that the love between human beings honours and reflects this ‘divine truth’ and is experienced through the love of parents for their children, husbands for their wives, loyalty in friendships, etc. The Indian film encapsulates the ideals of love, without apology. Why do people love Bollywood films? Because they are emotionally satisfying. Leave realism at the door and these films will touch your heart.

The Indian film industry is run by a handful of Bollywood ‘families’. You will find that the same actors and production members work on movies together over and over again. Also you find that the more Bollywood movies you watch the more you understand the visual, musical and storyline references that connect these movies. There are many ‘insider’ jokes and subliminal messages. ‘Getting’ this is part of the entertainment.

In the Indian film industry most deals are made on a handshake. Relationships are developed and nurtured throughout a career and lifetime. Unlike many Hollywood actors, Bollywood stars strive to live morally spotless lives, openly devoted to their spouses, families and extended families. Relatively few Indian movies are rated above 12 and most Bollywood stars have never kissed their co-stars. Feuds do come and go between studio ‘families’.

The ‘Hero’ is an important concept in Bollywood films. There are hundreds of well known Bollywood actors (Junior Artistes) in India but few reach the stature of Hero. A Hero represents the biggest aspiration of the Indian people ‘personified’. A Hero is rated in the following categories (not in any order):

Dancing & Singing Ability
Acting Ability
Emotional Expressiveness
Fighting Ability
Family Loyalty
Ability to do stunts
Ability to laugh at himself

The biggest Heros in Bollywood are Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan. These actors are like Kings in India! Shah Rukh Khan is the King of Kings.

The Heroine categories are the feminine version of the Hero catagories. The biggest Heroines in Bollywood are Kajol, Rani Mukherji, Preity Zinta, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Deepika Padukone, Tabu, and Shilpa Shetty. Heroines occasionally retire when they marry in real life, but it is not expected like it was twenty years ago.

Following are a few films to get started with if tempted to explore this genre:

Om Shanti Om - murder mystery with the added twist of reincarnation - the first half is a spoof on 70’s style Bollywood and so interesting from that perspective as well
Dilwale Buhania Le Jayenge - a classic that many films try to emulate
Kal Ho Naa Ho - have a full box of tissue ready, this film is a great example of the genre
Bhool Bhulaiyaa - a ghost story with brilliant dance scenes
Dil Se - some of the best music in a Bollywood movie - a few Hollywood directors cite this as their favourite film - a flop in India
Jodhaa Akbar - truly beautiful historic film starring two of the most gorgeous humans on the planet
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham - about family love through good times and bad
Koi...Mil Gaya - a visitor from outer space gives the gift of intelligence and super powers to an autistic young man
Krrish - followup to Koi...Mil Gaya - a great example of the ideal Indian Hero
Dhoom and Dhoom 2 - incredibly popular films about a policeman, his sidekick and worthy criminals
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - classic Bollywood love story
Main Hoon Na - two brothers brought up separately are reunited
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna - love, humour and a happy ending
Mohabbatein - yet more proof that love is the answer
Don - Shah Rukh Khan playing a BAD guy and his innocent look alike - steamy dance scenes

Good Luck. Just to warn you...Bollywood can be addictive!

Woof Woof Finally Finished!

Its done! and ready to be shown to all my loverly visitors and fans!

Comment your thoughts and you could win a rainbow magic unicorn (NOT)

My First Film is Nearly DONE!!!

Merely two weeks away from completing my first film.

Check back at the end of June!