Monday 5 November 2007

OSO- Celebrating the 70s



Om Shanti Om. 4 days to go. I confess. I am excited. Watch this video and see what Shah Rukh has to say about 70s Bollywood :D

Friday 12 October 2007

still alive

Hi! Main janta huun....long time no see.
I am freaking out busy. Just let me tell you one or two important things:

First of all live is good.

Second of all: Dumbledore is gay. Arewah. Cool. Rowling regarded her Potter books as a "prolonged argument for tolerance" and urged her fans to "question authority." I am dying to read the last "Harry Potter" book again soon as possible, it was sosoo great.

Thirdly. Bollywood-horrormovie "Bhool Bhulaiyaa", which is screened in Vienna (UCI-Milleniumcity) right now, has a fantastic Khatak-song&dance number in the end. So incase youre seeing it and spontaneously intend to leave the Cinema earlier, remind that. You should not go without seeing it.

And Finally: Bollywoodbug really has bitten me. Please check out my Bollywood-foto-story, which is published since yesterday on "www.derStandard.at". Click on "Ansichtssache" to see the pix.

Sunday 23 September 2007

spectacular videos

Cause i was badly jealous on Babasko, who shared the dancefloor with cool people in Stuttgart last summer, i decided to answer it also with another short dance-video.



Bollywood- behind the scenes in Goa


And here you have a flash of Boman Irani singing "we are the World" on KBC. Uahh!



Not enough, here is one bit more, showing the shooting of an advertisment (for what we call a "Wellenbad") in Arambol (Goa).

Saturday 15 September 2007

some more unspectacular Videos


Chai Wallah



Delhi- scooter

Vatsalas Can- The ultimate Diashow



Well, Its not a "must see"- thats for sure. I didnt had the time to do nice editing or special effects. But still you may enjoy the exploration of India through the view of an object which is unbound of the circumstances it is used to...

Saturday 8 September 2007

Beauty and Beast of India (Part 2)


Kerala: "The Boss" himself






Dharamsala: Iyengar-Yoga/ Hanging in Ropes (Sirshasana)




Road to Joshimat/Hemkund:Sikh-Pilgrims





Nainital: Mosque





Uttarnachal: wonderful road





Hyderabad/Ramoji Film City: average stuntshow with killing sound effects






Delhi: boys





indian Television: Ganesha





Nainital: Monkeys at famous school





Somewhere near Delhi

Friday 31 August 2007

Hello everybody-ji,
and thanks again for the warm welcome in Vienna. And I am also very pleased to get so nice email-feedback for this weblog. I decided to keep the blog running-
focusing on India and Bollywood - and various randomstuff, like for example crazy foto-serials. Here for example you finally see the viennese Bollywoodfanclub staging the Krrish-mask (I tagged them some ages ago to do it). Adorable, huh?



Uh, seeing Bollywoodsupercell Babasko (4th from the right) reminds me: Dearest Babasko, could you please finally write something about the Stuttgartfestival...tell us -at least- what was the coolest moment? *tagtagtag*

Well, I was really happy to see all of them again. And its soo funny that they seem to be rather overwhelmed of the many Bollywod-related events which have taken place the last 5 months in Vienna. Sometimes many Bollywoodmovies were running in cinemas the same time, awesome… And now we will, thanks to Nithin, have Bollywoodclubbings every two weeks. Some Bollywoodmovies are obviously played now regulary in Cinemas. And some movies, like for example “Aag” will be screened soon after the Indian release. And the "Ishq-Magazin" is now available here. Austria really is getting somewhere according to Indian Popculture. Arewah. Right now “Heyy Baby” is running well at Cineplexx Milleniumcity. In my book I wrote that Austria seems to be a developing Bollywood-country but now things are seemingly really starting...


At this point thanks to Mariak√§fer for the write-up about my book. She pointed out that sadly “Faszination Bollywood” is loosing actuality very fast - and she is so right with that. As i found an indian publisher who may want to publish an englishversion I start now to think if it makes any sense to publish it like this. Reviews are very good so far, but still - time is running so fast and the book focus is only till the very beginnings of 2007. Things are developing according to Bollywood and I think I would have to rewrite the whole thing anway - or make a complete new book.

Sunday 26 August 2007

Mumbai…curious?

Some things you may want to know about my days in Mumbai:

1) The meanwhile-legendary Coffe Can reached Mumbai safely. (Well, to be honest: Once she climbed a tree and had a small accident, that’s why she has a small cut, but nothing serious. Don’t worry.) Vatsala met me at Coffee Days in Mumbai and we had a very nice chat. She is working in Television.She and some of her collegues at work actually followed the journey of the can. I was very honored to hear that. It was somehow a very epic moment to pass it. Afterwards i felt that giving this questitem away released something profound. It was the only thing of my Mumbai-checklist, which i actually did and that felt very good. Thanks to Sophia, who inspired this dramatic journey. And Vatsala: I am still waiting to get a photo of the Can in her new home….


Mumbai: Vatsala with her Can



2) I tried to go to Filmcity. But the contact we had didn’t work out in time.

Mumbai: Filmcity


So, this is all I saw: The picture shows one of the guards, who examined his foot while we were making phonecalls to anyhow come in. Remember this: You’re chanceless to go to filmcity if you are not invited.


3) In Mumbai modernity is clashing together with middleage. When I arrived there my energyreserves were nearly done and I was overwhelmed by the Slumview-skyscrapers and the endless slums. The imagination of the number of lost souls in Mumbai totally overwhelmed me. (So i use the words "slum" and "overwhelming" quite a lot, huh? but i dont find other words right now, sorry.) I simply could not stand it. Its frustrating and depressing and nothing for sensitive people. There have been a millions of things which I wanted to do in Mumbai but my lack of energy and as well monsoon and traffic made it quite impossible to do anything. I keep my Mumbai-challenge -checklist for the next time. I am not sad about that.


Monsoon

Beast and Beauty of India (Part 1)

Being back feels very good, like waking up from a mindblowing dream. But where to start with writing? Pffff....

Sophia (who is the one who by the way invented the travelling coffecan) said in a chat recently (when i mentioned that I may have lost my sense for aesthetics in India): India is actually very aesthetic. In a sense of "baroque-esk, overwhelming lunacy". Well, i am sure she would come up with a better translation ("auf eine barocke Wahnsinnsart"). In german this sounds really fine. Here are some examples out of my humble camera (please click the pics to enlarge them).
There are more to come later.



Dharamsala: crazy rainbows at Triund





Oldmanali: Dylans Cafe





Arambol (Goa): Who is going to eat pork tonight?




Manali: sleeping drugdealer with dog
(working to much?)




Delhi: tripping white Sadhu





Varanasi: ghats





Manali: Snake shaker





Patnem: sunset






Delhi: Boy with kite, Metrostation Paharganj and Cows





Candolim: Shop with the true indian spirit





Rohtang: 1000s people coming to touch the (globalwarmed) snow





Margao (Goa): Blue Movie-Cinema





Hyderabad: Film-star-promotion





Hyderabad: capitalism




Auli: view from my hut




Candolim: best bookshop in Goa






Hyderabad: Family bike




Ramoji: filmicrap





Himachal Pradesh : cows, trucks,
“frist aid box” and “complant book”





Delhi: 20 seconds horrotrip in Appughar (funpark)





Vashisht- Hindu-Wedding: groom




Rohtang: Bollywood- ice figures named after a movie




Trivandrum: Book exhibition





Candolim: goanesque funart





Joshimat: typical indian shop with useless stuff




See? India is both crazy and beautyful. And as many others I still don’t understand why I actually want to go there again next year. India sometimes seemed to me rude and very tough and ugly and under-educated and mindwashed and basically un-official. And totally free… and everything is possible. Most of my friends started to ask me if I can recommend to travel India and I said no. Absolutely not. You must be crazy to go there. Tourists are basically treated like shit. And its not so cheap as you may think. You will pay also with your energy. And if you are unlucky you pay with your life. If you are extraordinary lucky you will have a nice bombblast in Banaras and go to heaven directly (but make sure you are dying on the good side of ganga. If you are dying on the wrong side you will be reincarnated as monkey!).

And the distances are so big. Roads are a mostly very bad (cause of the corruption-- as Manmohan Singh pointed out). Bus-company-employes will promise you everything just to ensure you are booking with them and (in most of the cases) nothing will come out to be true. And Busdrivers are sometimes not even able to fill fuel and you may be stucked in the middle of nowhere some hours. Crazy!


Delhi: Me, waiting for the bus 6 hours






In the middle of Nowhere: out of fuel



Why is capitalism not working in India? I don’t get it. Maybe one of you can explain it to me. Why is everything corrupt? And why are there thousand of laws and nobody who make sure that the laws are executed? And how comes that people still bribe each other when everybody knows that it nearly all the time will lead into a vicious circle? Why is there no revolution? Why is India staying in Pre-postmodern- times… And how do they manage to make everything that is new look very old?




Shiny new Metro-Logo in Delhi
(the metro, although, looks really shiny and
is one of the best places to be in Delhi)



It may feel strange to you reading questions like this in times where everybody speaks about the fast development of India. Well, this is, anyhow, my point of view.

Friday 17 August 2007

The Can- experience

I just read the Introduction for the Mini-Khan experience and decided that it is very funny. I suggest to shoot a short movie (whenever Mini Khan reaches us) which shows all the wonderful sets in Vienna Bollywood has not targeted yet. And maybe Babsy want to have a little Song&Dance with him. I literally can see it. It will be fun.

By the way, this reminded me that Beth sent me some can-tastic, photoshopped Can-pictures some ages ago and till now i was unable to open them. Here they are:







viennese breakfast

yeah, i am back home.

It has been a wonderful 5 months trip and i decided its time for me to surrender to my homesickness. But still i dont feel like india has won. I count 3:0 points for me against india. My third trip has given me insights into some depths of the indian ant-heap-system which were astonishing and frustrating and dissapointing. But also i felt in love all over again and had wonderful experiences. I plan to write up the next days. Also many Can-pictures are lining up and waiting for your Dekhonaa. But my laptop is in service and we have to wait till i sort out my crore of photos.

Meanwhile you can enjoy the story of the traveling Shah Rukh puppet. Maybe he should meet Vatsalas Can sometimes... whenever he reaches Mumbai again...?

Friday 27 July 2007

southern curry



People driving more crazy in Hyderabad then anywhere else (but this is maybe true for every new city you reach in India). And shops will not open before 11am. Rikschaws are much more comfortable, some having Bollywooddesigns and Music and are named after Movies. People are very moderat and friendly- and honest if you ask them for the way and they dont know where the place is. When it is raining streets look catastrophical, but nobody really seemes to care.

Additionally there are many touristhotspots- like waterfunpark, snowpark, childrens park, IMAX-Cinema, a lake with a buddist statue in the middle and some extraordinary old and modern buildings in various styles. AND- of course- there is RAMOJI FILM CITY- one of the biggest film-compexes in the world.


Ramoji Film City


Started in 1991 and (more or less) completed in 1996 the Ramojifilmstudiocomplex and Funpark has to be named as one of the best attractions of india. It is still not comparable to western Fun-Parks but it comes close. And you easily can spend one or two days there. About 3000 visitors per day - nearly all of them from india itself- enjoying this Disneyland-sort-of-park. The filmstudios themselves and the places where the real moviemagic takes place are not open for visitors. Entry is 300 Rs, including all the rides in the funpark (which are not very many, but still some) and a guided bustour through some sets and gardens.

It was rather dissapointing to see that Hollywood is the main topic in the Fun-Park. Batman and the Terminator lining up with Tombraider and Superman. Big letters on a green hill saying "Hollywood". And the Danceshows in the "Movie-Magic"-aerea we have seen were just about "Macarena" and other famous western songs. Like in Disneyworld some costumed guys walk arround making some fun with the visitors. There costums are not about Mickeymouse or Donald and even not about Bollywood-somethings at all- there are just dressed up as some teddybears with no further meaning. In the many Merchandisingshops you can buy little eiffeltowers, libertystatues and Sai babas. Additionally you will find all the usual stuff you can also find in any market of hyderabad. It takes a little time to find a "Ramojifilmcity"-pen or writingblock or the "I love Ramojifilmcity"-Tshirt, but it is possible. BUT: No Bollywood cups, no Bollywoodstickers no Posters, no Books, no Music. Only one Shop ("Cinema Cinema") has a very small variety of Bollywoodstar-Thsirts (215 Rs, all in white only XL or XXL)- some of the bollywoodstars are cheaply photoshopped into pictures of Ramojifilmcity-sets. It looks not very professional, but very bollywoodish- one could say. Here you can get a small variety of Movies, but every "Planet M"-Shop in India provides more than that.

The "Movie Magic" Area has been designed by western people and is meant to attract indian tourists, who have never seen something like this before. Mr. A.V. Rao, the general Manager for Publicity in Ramoji Film City told me that the feedback is very good and the number of western tourists is nearly Zero. (RFC has nearly 3000 visitors per day.) It seems to be not a major focus here to promote indian cinema at all - but Cinema itself and Hollywood, which is supposingly more attractive for indian people.

Also he added that Merchandising can only work out if you have a big market, and this is not given in india. Kya? I absolutley didnt understand, to be honest. Still India is the only filmmarket worldwide where Hollywood makes only 5 to 10 percent of the Boxofice-earnings. And every Toyshopowner i met, told me that they are just waiting fo more Bollywood-Merchandisingproducts, cause they are selling so well. When i told Mr. Rao that it is nearly impossible to find any Merchandisingproducts according to india-filmindustry he was suprised and immediatley called Merchandising-Department. But i was also told that indian audience is not interessted to buy SRK-Tshirts and stuff like this at all. Whatever- i am not interested to buy Popeye-Tshirts or MickeyMouse stuff when i am in the biggest funpark in the world biggest filmindustry (INDIA). Dont get me wrong- RFC is big fun- but i have to say that all in all it is very minimum compared to what is possible.




Studiotour

Because i am supposed to be a journalist i got a special tour to the studios. RFC has 47 studios, each named after a famous filmaker. RFC provides modern facilities for "cost efficent and comfortable film production", as they say. We saw the huge amount of destroyed sets (incredible when you think of how expensive wood is). We saw many sets (f.e. "Salaam E Ishq", "Tere Naam"). Sadly the set of "Sarkar2" was completly closed and we didnt had the chance for a Dekhonaa of Amitabh, Abhishek and Aish, who have been there just the same days. Because of the strict policy of RFC it was not possible to see any shooting within the studios. But lucky me saw Nargarjuna during an outdoor shooting. He is one of the biggest filmstars.

Sivaji

Finally- I saw "Sivaji" in IMAX-Multiplex. After searching for Hindidubbed-versions or pirated DVDs everywhere i have been so far (without any success) i went to the Cinema in Hyderabad as soon as possible to see the Original without Subtitle. When we reached the Multiplex people where lining up for the southindian Munnabhai Remake in endless lines (sadly i lost all my photos of this happening!).



Well, to follow the Sivaji-plot was not a problem. Rajnikant is the good guy who wants to build a Hospital and a University but bad guys make it impossible for him. So he starts to baksheesh lots of people. And he falls in Love. And he has to fight. And wash some money for good purposes. And there are incredible Songs with the most craziest sets i have ever seen. No wonder it is the most expensive indian film so far. I loved the film for his semi-realism. For example: When Sivaji is trying to impress his beloved with eating one kg of Chillis he really runs to the bathroom after it immediatly and screams like a girl. Or when he is fighting in the musicshop (my favourite scene) and smashing one villain up and down on a Chello, the trousers of the guy are really destroyed. What i dont like is the fact that he actually does throw a pistol like a boomerang and the pistol shoots itself without any explantion, before returning in his hand. Stuff like this is stupid. Also the fair-skin-song was real shit. Everybody in the cinema hated it. I tell you. But however- Rajnikant has a way to say "cooool" and flips chewinggum, specs or coins in a way which is awesome and remarkable- altough he has grown old and lost some of his shape, as some longtermfans may mention. The movie had wonderful funny "Prince-of-Persia/Matrix-style"-fightingscenes and bombastic crazy Dances. Altough...Music was average.

I wondered what happend to the sets of "Sivaji" and asked A.V. Rao from RFC, cause the movie was partly shot there. They spent 1,75 crore for the glasshouse dance scene! (The set was transported somewhere soon after, so sadly I could not visit it.)

It was my first Rajnikantmovie and i look forward to see more of him- the older movies should be much better- i was told. And before i forget: we saw the trailer of "Sultan"(!!!), an animated upcoming movie with Rajnikant. This really will be the superdupermovie for all Prince of Persia- fans.