Saturday, January 20, 2007

gurus and peking toms

The previous week and more has brought about more change for R&H India. We have had a new arrival from Los Angeles and just this morning a departure. Going back to over a week ago, however, we got Audie, who is here to help with the Animation apprenticeship that my new roommate Shish had been running. Audie had never been to India but he has jumped in with both feet and a cast iron stomach :) His initial arrival must have felt pretty weird though... it was a Thursday night, and the very next evening a big group of us headed to a nearby theatre for the opening night of Guru. The event was organised by my Indian brother Pavan... who I must explain seems to be the social lifeblood of the office - I hate to think how many numbers are stored in his cell phone ;) Guru is a big new Bollywood movie with the stars of the moment (or of the decade!).. Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan. The news of their real-life engagement just days ago has swept the land or rather the world. I actually read it on the BBC news website.. this is B-I-G people ... the most beautiful woman in the world is taken ...and the timing is perfect for selling a movie.

We pack into the theatre to take up our allocated seats (Indian cinemas have set seating which can be good or bad depending on the size of your party and if you wanted to sit next to someone!) I have to say I really enjoyed the movie... even though of course it was in another language (or, as I found out later, several languages... Hindi, Gujurati and to Serkan and Burcin's delight some Turkish for the early part filmed in Istanbul). It's interesting the rhythms and flows you fall into when you watch a movie not understanding the dialogue. You look at the body language, you listen to all the musical cues (which Bollywood does really well) and you find you are reading the 'language' of cinema which speaks clearly in and of itself.

So.... I may have missed a lot of subtle dialogue, but I came out feeling I'd seen something powerful and dramatic... now I just need to see it again to get the smaller details. It was beautifully filmed and the soundtrack by my idol A.R. Rahman was so great I had to buy it right afterwards. I still think about that magical concert of his at the Hollywood Bowl last year.

I could understand that it was a bit much to expect Audie to last through the whole thing.... the combo of jetlag, hunger and the shock of sitting though his first Indian movie (and without subtitles!) all within a few hours of landing was enough to send him on the search for dinner and a bed at the intermission. Oh yes peeps! these movies are long and there is always an intermission... just watch yourself... as there is no warning to get back to your seat before the 2nd half starts! ;)

A bunch of us headed round the corner afterwards to the standard place for LA R&H crowd - Pop Tates (Danny.. JP? memories for you I'm sure!).... but they were full, so we went next door to a chinese place called The Peking Tom (dontcha love these names!) A lot of food and many cocktails later and we were a bouncy happy crowd. It was an interesting night. I had a little too much to drink, but I ended up with a ride home on a motorbike and that is always my favourite favourite thing to do in India... so I couldn't ask for more!

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