Oh. My. God. If I EVER hear the song Apple Bottom Jeans again, I will shoot myself. No joke. This morning we did an acting video workshop – which really means that we danced hip-hop for four hours. Well, the class danced for four hours – not too many of us lasted the whole time. There was a very Twilight Zone-ish moment when I first walked into the room to find a guy in a bandana break dancing to T-Pain. That comes in second only to that Indian RSA last summer dancing to Footloose. I think the workshop might have been easier to deal with had we been prepared for it, and, say, brought other clothes to change into. As it was, I at least was dancing in jeans and a nice shirt, which quickly became a not-so-nice sweat soaked clingy tent thing. It’s really difficult to remain attractive for more than 23 seconds at a time when the average temperature is 98 with 546% humidity (that humidity part I made up, but it’s what it feels like).
After a looong dance class, we listened to Ravi Gupta, the CEO of Mukta Arts and Executive Director of WWI speak about the business of Indian Cinema. It was really interesting to learn that although Hollywood movies have been present in India for over 75 years, revenue for those movies only makes up 4% of the box office. India has the only industry besides the US that has such a strong cinema home-base. It was also fascinating to realize that what started an interest in TV in India was live coverage of the First Gulf War.
Next we heard a lecture from Somnath Sen, a director and writer for HOD direction. He spoke about making a film on the Indian Diaspora. He talked about people making films about the Diaspora, for the Diaspora and Diaspora filmmakers making films about themselves. I found the most interesting thing he had to say was who made Indians mainstream in the US – Apu from The Simpsons. He has a crazy family, a hard job, he’s funny, so he’s relatable. He just happens to be Indian as well.
After all those lectures, we had a screening of Karz – a Rishi Kapoor film. Considering how exhausted and jet lagged we all were, most of us fell asleep through at least part of the movie, but what I saw was OK. It is the movie that Om Shanti Om is based on, and from which the first scene is taken. The main issue I had with it was how dated it was – the style screamed 70s and it was terribly melodramatic. I know I should not hope for subtlety in Bollywood movies, but something that over the top irritates me. It’s like the filmmaker has no faith in the intelligence of the audience. Whatever, need to pass out now.