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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Pop Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0564  Friday, 21 March 2003

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 10:52:10 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop

[2]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 11:21:42 -0500
        Subj:   Shakespeare in a Box

[3]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 10:48:05 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 10:52:10 -0500
Subject: 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop

Jennifer is far more generous to the film than I am.  Viewers can judge
the film's merits or lack thereof for themselves, of course.  Mehta has
given many interviews about the film (you can find them by searching
google), and nowhere does she say anything remotely like what Jennifer
attributes to her.  And neither has any reviewer.  The supposed parody
is apparently to all reviewers of the film.

As I believe I made clear, I think the film is a piece of crap,
regardless of Mehta's earlier films, which I confess I have not seen.
This is not to say that one shouldn't talk about it, of course.  But I
see no point in trying to save it by saying, in effect, that it mimes
the supposedly sly and subversive mimicry articulated by post-colonial
theorists like Homi Bhaba.  It seems to me, in any case, that Jennifer's
defense of the film is a version of the mimetic fallacy--to make a film
criticizing bad films, you have to make a bad film.  Whether Mehta set
out to make a parody (and I don't believe she did), the film fails to
rise above the kind of tripe it is supposedly parodying.  If there is a
critique at all, it should be directed at the film itself.

For an interesting recent take on Bollywood, see below:

Planet Bollywood?

Indian musicals are hip, sure, but the Hollywoodization of Bombay cinema
may not be as imminent - or as desirable - as advertised

Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik from his forthcoming book BOLLYWOOD DREAMS
(to be published by Phaidon Press in May) and exhibition at the Stephen
Cohen Gallery (May 22-July 5)

by David Chute

AMITABH BACHCHAN IS THE MOST POPULAR movie actor in the world. And he
can prove it: Back in 1999, he was voted the Star of the Millennium in a
global poll conducted by the BBC. But if you've never heard of him,
don't curse Entertainment Weekly. Bachchan is instantly recognizable
only within the alternate universe known as Bollywood - a slang term,
popularly credited to a Bombay fan-magazine columnist writing in 1979,
for the Indian movie capital that turns out more than 1,000 films per
year.

Then again, Bollywood is not just an Indian, but a global, phenomenon.
"Our films have reached half the world," declares the expat Indian
director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding). "The Middle East, all of Africa,
all of Russia, the Far East, and the Indian diaspora everywhere - the
half of the world that Hollywood has not yet recognized." For many of
those people, Amitabh Bachchan is Bollywood personified. He's their
Robert Redford or Harrison Ford - only bigger.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 11:21:42 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare in a Box

At a local store, my wife ran across a product called Shakespeare in a
Box.  There are two boxes (sold separately), one King Lear, and the
other The Taming of the Shew.  Each box allows you to act a version of
the play (some props are supplied) in 45 minutes (or so the box says).

There's a company website (quite well-done) at

http://www.shakespeare-in-a-box.com/

Retail price is 30 dollars each, but online they go for less.

See, for example,

http://www.mystery-games.com/shakinboxtam.html

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 10:48:05 -0600
Subject: 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0552 Re: Bollywood Shakespop

Jennifer Drouin's remarks puzzle me, though perhaps they wouldn't if I
knew the film in question.

This example, for instance, puzzles me:

>the Bollywood song and dance on the patio of a Toronto condo with the CN
>tower in the background exposes just how utterly ridiculous the
>traditional Bollywood musical scene set in fields of green somewhere in
>the English countryside really is.

On the one hand, I'm not sure I can recall ANY Hollywood musicals set in
English fields of green. What is she thinking of here?

On the other, I can't see why there is something innately ridiculous
about setting a musical (a notably fantastical form) in any given
locale. Which are the acceptable locales, and which are the ridiculous
ones.

Incidentally, is there any doubt that Shakespeare, had he lived later,
would have written musicals?

Cheers,
don

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