A meme is going around where we of the blogging worlds pat each other's backs and say, "SHABASH, BETA, SHA-BAAAASH!" in a Shashi-like tone of parental pride. We at the PPCC have instead a Pran-like nonconformist streak of refusing to participate in memes just because they're memes, but then we realized we were being like Scrooge to Christmas. And we don't want all of you fellow bloggers to think we don't love you all as much as we secretly love tinsel, presents and vegetating on the couch with some boozy egg nog. Let the pyaar flow! So we've achieved a compromise - rather than using the current standard, we'll take this opportunity to cast the Mega Masala Extravaganza Blogger Movie from our head. That way we can do the meme... without actually doing the meme. Yes, yes, pity us, we know.
First off, the two bloggers that reached out and touched us. Long ago (like, early 2007), we lived in a dark cave of ignorance, where we put up our little Bollywood reviews on our little website and never suspected that (1) anyone (apart from maybe Mom) was reading them, or (2) there were... Others. But then - on the Kaala Patthar review - we received, lo!, our first two comments. From people who actually blogged about movies we liked! These two sparks were our first tentative steps out of the cave and into the light of the Bollywood blogging community (and mixing metaphors, unfortunately). So, to begin with:
Beth Loves Bollywood, as Shashi Kapoor. We pick Shashi because of several reasons: Beth loves Shashi. Big time. So do we, but sometimes we think Beth might love him more (the horror!). Then we get conflicted - no one can love Shashi more than we do! No one must be allowed to love him more than we do! And so to assuage our guilty feelings and assure ourselves that we really do love him more than anyone else does, and especially more than Beth does, we sometimes challenge Beth to fights (all of which she has won, incidentally, because of her training in kung fu and knowledge of dishoom). But apart from liking Shashi, Beth also IS the Shashi of the blogging world - she is an affable, ubiquitous presence, easily switching from the intellectual to the pop, with a hypnotic (writerly) voice, and she's a star!
Filmi Geek, AKA Carla, as Shabana Azmi. Again, Carla runs the global Shabana Azmi shrine, but she also resembles Shabana in that she's an intelligent, aware blogger who can give even the zaniest pop a clever analysis. Like Shabana, she lifts whatever she touches - whether it's Parallel or mainstream - into the realm of thoughtfulness and intelligence. Yay!
Filmi Girl, Bol! as Helen. Consistently fun and increasingly occupying a cool niche of resident podcaster and gossip reporter (just like Helen occupied the niche of fab item numbers), Filmi Girl's got that fresh, independent, go-girl, Heleny spirit. Like Helen, we discovered FG relatively late in our game. Like Helen, we always want to see more of FG and keep hitting refresh on our reader in the hopes that FG will update again today!
The PPCC as Pran. I mean, come on. Duh.
Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! as Prem Chopra. Smart takes on loony films that we often don't understand (like Prem Chopra), a great sense of humor (like Prem Chopra), kind of scares us (like Prem Chopra) but we're always, always happy to read, and we're secretly big fans of (like Prem Chopra)!
Bollyviewer's Old is Gold as Ashok Kumar. An old school lover of old school films - we imagine BV lounging in her pad with Ashok Kumar-style superfly glasses, offering sage advice on what is vintage and what is best forgotten, and smiling with knowing patience when we bring her our latest Shashi Kapoor trinket. "I've already seen that one," BV doesn't say but no doubt thinks when we tirelessly encourage her to watch Baseraa or Naina some other movie she's actually already seen (possibly several times). Like everyone listened to Ashok, we're always heeding BV's advice, since she knows what's up - especially with respect to our beloved Shashi. We're also waiting for the day that BV will give us the invisibility bracelet.
MemsaabStory as Amitabh Bachchan, because just as Amitabh owns Bollywood, Memsaab owns Bollywood viewership. Who knows more than Memsaab? NO ONE. Who's watched more than Memsaab? NO ONE. She is like the guiding beacon of knowledge and filmi fun, and, if anyone can save us, our hero, Memsaab, can.
Shweta's Apni East India Company as Shammi Kapoor: jolly and good-humored and occasionally very excitable. We love reading Shweta's reviews because she always includes a convenient list of pros (like Shammi's shiny dinner jacket) and cons (like Shammi's black trousers). Like Shammi, Shweta can sometimes make us laugh and laugh with her comments!
We were going to make Roti Kapada Aur Rum play Shah Rukh Khan, because they're both so bouncy and lovable and young (OK, the masala blog movie was made in 1995), but then Rum's never let us down the way SRK has - nor could she! So instead Rum will be playing not a character, but an AURA. Yes! The aura of absolute over-the-top wackiness found especially in Namak Halaal. Think glitter and lots of mirrors and smoke machines and a hallucinogenic feel. The youngest of our group, Rum's writing is jam-packed with perfect, hilarious phrases - the "barsaat cry"! the "blobby"! - that we consistently find ourselves stealing. Her writing is electric pink (literally) and disorientingly frantic. We love it! Also, Rum picked us up on the good ship Pyaar 4 Anil Kapoor, and we'll forever be grateful for that.
Ajnabi's Paisa Vasool -- Or Not as Preity Zinta. Not only a pretty face, Ajnabi's got a fresh, new take on Bollywood. Reliably fun reviews as well as the occasional meta-post on filmi lingo or... just prettiness! Another blog we want to see more of!
Doc Bollywood as Manmohan Desai. Yes! Even though Doc's blog crashes our computer with the sheer weight of that radio widget (which is our fault... or rather, our computer's) - much in the same way Manmohan Desai's filmmaking crashes our sense of reality with the sheer weight of its insane logic - his blog is a feast of masala goodness, with great songs and intelligent commentary and tons and TONS of knowledge.
Amrita's IndieQuill as Naseeruddin Shah. Like Naseer, very high-quality and consistent, politically aware, socially aware, always marching to her own beat and never giving into the Man, man! Like Naseer, Amrita's posts pop up with not enough frequency! We want more, more, more!
Along the same lines, Jabberwock as Om Puri. Another "Parallel" blog powerhouse - providing great insight into... well, everything. Om Puri has been in some of our favorite films - My Son the Fanatic - and Jabberwock has written some of our favorite posts - the sex lives of the gods!
And finally... Amitabh Bachchan as... well, Amitabh Bachchan. Yes, a DOUBLE ROLE! Memsaab is Amitabh in Bollywood blogging spirit, but Amitabh is Amitabh in sheer "he actually really is Amitabh Bachchan"-ness. Like Amitabh Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan always gives an earnest, likable take on things, whether it's those nagging filmi journalists or his legions of loyal (some would say, frenzying) fans, and - even though we don't give him or his blog the same devotional ("We're not worthy!") spirit as we do to Shashi Kapoor or Anil Kapoor, we must admit that we do actually read it regularly and love it always.