Foreign Films

posted by on 2007.11.14, under India, Travel

Sometimes I feel like my life is like a foreign film. A better man than myself would have certainly learned the local language by now, and I really don’t have an excuse worth mentioning here. I have found myself several times around a group of friends who are native Telugu speakers and while they will make every effort to speak directly to me in English, they immediately go back to Telugu when talking amongst each other in front of me. It is very awkward, but understandable.

So, while wonderful conversation goes on around me I have developed a tendency to try to guess what the people are saying, similar to how I would in a foreign film. It really gives a new appreciation for observing body language, tonality and timing in speech, facial expressions, and other non verbal cues. On a road trip we played a game between myself and a Telugu fellow who barely spoke English. We would play a song in English and he would try to explain what he thought the lyrics were in Telugu. Then they did the reverse for me with Telugu songs, having be try to interpret what they meant in English. I failed miserably, but the car had a blast listening to me try. They call the language the Italian of the East, and it truly is a beautiful language to listen to.

A friend of mine invited me to see the hindi movie Oh Shanti Om tonight. It was the first time I watched a hindi movie here without subtitles or my cousin to translate all the dialogue to me. I was surprised on how well I was able to follow along. Living my 3 month Bollywood film here in Hyderabad made it possible to enjoy this movie just on Shahrukh Khan’s overacting (surprisingly, this was his first movie I enjoyed his performance in ), and the expressions on the face of the gorgeous Deepika Padukone. The movie was interesting, as it was a spoof of the old Bollywood movies. My favorite part of it was a colorful musical scene with Deepika acting with Bollywood actors in famous classic movies from the 70’s using effective editing techniques. Also, the bright colors and wild outfits have a total different look when seen on the big screen versus my laptop, and I found a new appreciation for set design and cinematography in this genre of film making. The movie synopsis can be found here. The song is still stuck in my head. All the most famous people that work in this town were in this movie, it was like the all star game for Bollywood, goofy masala movie that is not meant to be taken seriously. All the gossip on the movie related to the fact that Khan was able to develop abs for this movie. They are not there in the first half of the movie, but somehow magically appear after intermission. There was suspicion that they were air brushed on, and I am curious how long they had to stop filming so that he could build the muscle for them. And, yes, they have intermission for movies here, like a musical theatre performance would have. The movie was over 3 hours long, and the intermission was much needed. English movies also have these intermission, but are awkward pauses in the movies, unlike the planned Hindi movies who incorporate the break into the screenplay, pace and intensity of the movie.

I guess Deepika is not even 20 yet, and this was her first film, after being a famous model. One of the girls who was in our group is from the same school Deepika went to, and the girls mother met Deepika at a school function and scolded her for not studying hard enough. The actresses marketability for advertising endorsement increased ten fold after her role in this movie, co staring with Khan. She can now make rupees 80 lakh’s for an advertising endorsement. I will have to do some tough negotiating to get her to endorse TheWedLink on our India launch.

In other important news, in a foreign land called America there is a new business starting up that I know you all wanted to hear about. You might have heard of the concept of a “wing man.” Well, instead of rolling to a bar with your buddies and trying your luck meeting women, a company has started a dating service that replaces your male friend with a paid “wingwoman” who supposedly is able to make friends with the girl the customer is interested in, and introduce the customer in such a way that takes away the pressure of pick up lines, CB’s, and other reservations that the girl might have with strange men approaching them in a bar. The wingwomen cost $75/hour, and will only meet in public places.

Personally, I think it is a ridiculous concept, that is probably crazy enough to work. I pity the women who are fools to the wingwomen scheme, and wonder how they will react when they find out that their new romance was actually initiated by a professional woman paid 1/4 the rate of a prostitute. It is an interesting approach to dating services though, and if it brings joy in people’s lives, then i give it my seal of approval. Perhaps it will be a source of more users of TheWedLink.


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