Friday, November 19, 2010

It's my Birthday! and OMG I love Twitter!

    I can't resist doing a short post about my Birthday. And Twitter. And how totally awesome Twitter is especially on my Birthday! I was really feeling down yesterday. Not about getting older mind you. I turn 49 today and am proud of every grey hair and wrinkle because I (mostly) had fun earning them. And the ones I got from sad and stressfull situations have made me a very strong person so I celebrate them too.
     Also I don't feel middle aged at all. I still feel like a kid. Well my vision has gotten worse, I wear trifocals now but I've always had poor vision and have worn glasses since I was 10. So that's not a big deal. And my knees hurt sometimes because I have arthritis, but they have hurt since I injured them when I climbed Kilimanjaro so I totally BRAG about that! So that's not a big deal either.  I feel so much like a kid ( kid I mean 25-ish) that my 15 year old daughter complains about how loud I play my music and says I play around too much. I say there is no such thing! Plus embarassing her is kind of fun and rediculously  easy given her age.
    I was down mainly because it seems we miss all holidays and family celebrations because I live so far from my family. Americans are like that, we spread out! I think it is the pioneering spirit, leaving the old country knowing you won't see family again...nowadays we leave home and make our way independently. It's part of what we do. Especially midwest farmer types.  I haven't celebrated any family Birthdays, Anniversaries, Thanksgiving or Easter with my family in maybe 20 years.  I was feeling down because my daughter has always missed out on that too. (Except Christmas, we manage somehow at Christmas.) She's a sweetheart and tells me it doesn't bother her because it's normal to her, so I am the only one that probably feels bad about it.
    But  when she sees me feeling down then she feels bad, then I feel worse.  I was in the middle of feeling crappy but trying not to, so I went on Twitter and decided to spam my Favorite Tollywood stars to see if I could get one of them to wish me Happy Birthday. I focused on Jr. NTR because he is my number 1 favorite and Prakash Raj because he is Prakash Awesome! Spamming them was fun in and of itself because I tried to write something different each time.  I am especially proud of this one, a two for one spam about subtitles and my Birthday!
    And then some of my tweety pals, as Prakash Raj calls them, helped me and spammed them for a Birthday wish too. Thank you Nicki, Cynthia, Liz, Suzy and Harsha! And look! It worked!

    OMG! I was just about to go to bed when Tarak tweeted so I almost missed it! I squeee'd so loud I woke my daughter up! Poor thing! I totally scared her, she thought someone was breaking in! And he tweeted directly to me too! It was so cool and so very sweet of him! It is almost silly how happy it made me!  And then when I got up this moring I found this!

Squeeee! Prakash Raj called me dear!

    And then on top of all of that I have been getting  Happy Birthday Greetings from Tarak's and Prakash Raj's fans all day!  I can't tell you how much everyone's Brithday Greetings have meant to me. So Thank you all that have sent them!
    And then the wonderful guys over at Nandamurifans DB have been sending me wishes there as well. There are 2 threads started, here and here.

I love how the internet makes the world small. Instead of feeling disconnected from my family I feel so lucky and connected to everyone. Thank you everyone for making my Birthday so special!

My special friend Harsha from NFDB and Twitter has started a new blog about Telugu Films. It is going to be great having an actual Telugu person writing in English about Tollywood films. You can find Harshas Theory here. Welcome to the Blogging world Harsha!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Takkari Donga (2002) Dir. Jayant Paranjee

My alternate title for this post is: Move over Old Spice Man: It's Mahesh! In a Cowboy Hat! And Chaps! On a Horse! That should be sufficient information for anyone to watch this 3 hour unsubbed extravaganza of leather multiple times like I did. But if you are not into Cowboy Westerns (or should it be Cowboy Easterns?) and would need further encouragement to watch this wonderful movie, there is available on-line a subtitled version created painstakeingly by a fan, god bless them.
       I happen to love Cowboy Westerns. It is one of those things that my sisters and I bonded with our Dad over. He loved cowboy movies starring John Wayne, James Stuart, James Coburn, John Ford, and Clint Eastwood and he grew up on Roy Rogers Serials. When we were kids he loved sharing his favorite movies with us. I think our family favorite was McLintock! starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. (That movie is my dream Southie remake, Rajamouli, how'd you like to give it a try? Please!)
Clearly writer and director Jayant Paranjee is a huge fan of the genre as well because every possable Cowboy cliche and trope is irreverently put on display in Takkari Donga. Don't believe me? Just look:
We got Spurs

Cowboys galloping across scenic vistas

An exciting  train robbery!

Obligatory fight on the train
And under the train!

Wanted Posters

A Bank Robbery!

Woo Hoo! Mahesh in chaps!

Western town with Hotel, Bar, Bank and Jail

What's for dinner?

Did ya think it would be chicken Tikka?

If that's not enough for you wait 'til you hear about the plot. The film starts with Bad guys on horses dressed in black, lead by Rahul Dev chaseing down some men. They kill one and chase the other off a cliff in pursuit of information about a secret diamond mine.
Fast forward 18 years and you have the survivor of the fall waiting for Raja, played by Mahesh to come and rob a train. Raja shows up in time to singlehandedly rob the train. Next are a sequence of roberies and shootouts and daring escapes as the price on Raja's head climbs higher. He runs into two con-artists played by the lovely Bipasha Basu and Tanikella Bharani (I think he is in every movie ya?) They steal his money, but he manages to get it back after some more fights, shoot'em ups and daring escapes.
The conartist and gambler

A poker game

During one of his escapes Raja runs into Bhuvana played by Lisa Ray. She is seeking a fortunetellers advice about finding her true love. Raja overhears and immediatly begins teasing Bhuvana. Of course she takes an immediate dislike to him. Next Raja is hired by Bhuvana's Father to take her away from the town because the Bad Guy Shaka is after him and he fears for his daughters safety. Now Raja has to travel with an uncooperative female (shades of True Grit) while being chased by Shaka and his men, the Marshalls that are after him for the robberies, and Bips and Tanikella.
More fights shoot'em ups and several daring rescues of a fluffy dog. (Awww!)

During all this Bhuvana tries to get Raja's pants off. Several times. Now I watched this without subs the first few times and I was allways curious what she was doing. I mean I know why most of us ladies would want to get Mahesh's pants off but Tollywood films usually aren't that risque. She never does manage to get his pants off. She should take some lessons from Raja.
After all the fights, escapes and general riding around. (They always seem to end up back at the same town) Raja tells Bhuvana about his past and it turns out that the bad guy Shaka was the one that killed his father and sister. We also find out that Bhuvana has the map to the diamond mine hidden in her locket.
But Shaka catches Raja just as the map is burned up. He takes Bhuvana and leaves Raja on a horse with a noose around his neck! How many Cowboy movies have we seen that happen!  And you know there is gonna be snakes, rattlers maybe that will scare the horse into galloping away!
Well not rattlers exactly...COBRAS!

Now there is another daring escape,  a hazardous travers of a waterfall and a harrowing climb down a cliff. Finally Shaka and Raja fight it out in the diamond mine. And Rahul Dev meets another spectacular demise at the business end of a stalagtite.

Besides all of these fabulous Cowboy western tropes, Takkari Donga has not forgotten it's Tollywood sensabilities either.  There are  the usual song picturizations. I have to say the music didn't stand out to me in this film, but the picturizations were great because they had Mahesh in all kinds of shiny fringed outfits and tight jeans.

Ah Mahesh! I am waiting for your next Western. In a cowboy hat! And Chaps! On a Horse!