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January 14, 2015

The making of “Chammak Chhalo” with Akon

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June 27, 2013

Why wait until you are dying to start living? The message of Kal Ho Naa Ho- Miriam Gaistman

Kal Ho Naa Ho, also known as Tomorrow May Never Come, is a romantic film which not only made Naina question how she lived and looked at life, but put a lot of things in a different perspective for me on a personal level. Naina is angry at life because her father committed suicide and left her, Gia and Shiv her two sisters, as well as her mother alone. It is a very rough patch for Naina and her family in their lives right now. It is not until Amar comes along with his optimism and positive outlook towards life and changes Naina for good.

This goodness out of his heart causes Naina to eventually for in love with Amar; however, Rohit who at the beginning seemed to be the only shining light in Naina’s life is in love with Naina and this is when I get a glimpse of how it is better to have one good friend than a lot of buddies. Amar proved to be an amazing friend repeteadly; first by lying and protecting Rohit saying that he was married, thus causing Naina to look for that option in Rohit who was dying to make her fall in love with him. Eventually with the help of Amar and his many love warming tricks he was able to do so, and even had to poetically read what Rohit had “written” in his diary about the true love that he felt for Naina.

My question is…why do we have to wait until we are dying or very sick to truly start living? Did Amar live the way he did because of his terminal death condition? What has to happen in our lives in order for us to alter the way we think and act so it could be done for things we truly love and want to do and go about them in a positive manner.

This movie made me really question how to live and above I attached a video which really makes you think as well about the situation; how to behave with people around you and maybe even how to go about living your life every day. We should truly live it as if it were our last, because one day it may truly be the last. If it were the last day of your life would you want to do what you are doing right now?

Filed by mirigai at June 27th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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A blessing in disguise…-Miriam Gaistman

Main Hoon Na is a movie that is filled with disguises; mainly a blessing in disguise. If you think about it the first curse and terrible thing we see as the antagonist is Raghavan who is diguised by his mask. If it weren’t for him threatening the prime minister Ram wouldn’t be protecting Sanja, thus meeting his long lost brother and the chemistry teacher for whom he fell in love with. Maybe Sanja wouldn’t have come out of her tomboy disguise in order to make Lucky realize his true feelings for her. Though it upsets Lucky and Madhu they come to realize the true meaning of family and how many things in the end to fit to be blessings in disguise. This reminds me of Purim, the Jewish holiday where we are taught this message; at first you may not realize but many things are blessings in disguise.


1) Raghavan: his mask hiding his face and true identity; when the movie first began and Ram was told he had a brother my first instinct was that his mysterious brother was going to be Raghavan the terrorist.

2) Lakshman: disguises his name through his nickname Lucky, thus at first Ram doesn’t know that he is his long lost brother.

3) Ram: disguised as a student in order to protect Sanja and find his brother.

4) Sanja: disguised as a tomboy thus not allowing Lucky to realize he was truly in love with her (looks?)

Filed by mirigai at June 27th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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Shahrukh Khan: A Hunk of an Actor-Miriam Gaistman

This is a video where Shahrukh Khan is being interviewed about being an actor and a star, in this case in Om Shanti Om. I think he is so successful because he knows himself and knows who he is; he knows he is a great actor and great to work with. He does his acting from his heart and goes about to say that he is so good at what he does because he is playing himself in the films. He goes about to imagine what would he do or be like if he were to be place in this or that sort of situation. Shahrukh Khan is someone who is very sure of himself and knows he is good looking and great all around. He worked hard to get to his glistening half naked body and is proud to show it off (where “nudity” and sexual appeal is not so liberally accepted. He is more like a the forbidden apple that everyone wants but only a few dare to accept it). He says he is easy to work with and makes others laugh and enjoys working with those who appreciate his work. Even though I do believe he is a great actor I also believe that he is a little full of himself, and could show a little more modesty in order to appeal more to people on a personal level and not so much like a god like amazingly good looking good actor kind of man. Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 3.07.23 AM

Filed by mirigai at June 27th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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Modernization and Brotherhood in Kaminey-Miriam Gaistman

Kaminey has been one of my favorite movies watched throughout the course. It is one of the most westernized films in Bollywood; first of all it only lated around 2 hours and the whole ambience was full of intensity in the whole realm of sexuality, violence, and breaking through society’s expectations. In Bollywood it is rarely seen, and even looked down upon any sign of sexual activity or going out the modest code of conduct. Here we see them kiss and an implication of them having sexual intercourse out of wedlock, and having an unplanned pregnancy. These actions are completely shunned upon. When they are in the streets they begin singing a song which talks about aids and they hand out condoms as a message to portray protection. This whole modernization in the movie is one which is rarely seen but it is good to know that there are people out there with different perspectives and open minds even if for the most part it is completely unacceptable.

Another aspect I would like to touch base on is brotherhood. It is very difficult for me to grasp the fact that two blood brothers let alone don’t get along, but can’t be in the same room as each other because they can’t tolerate their mutual presence. Ever since I have reason I remember my parents telling me in the end the only thing you have is your family for the good and the bad, everything else in life comes and goes, but-immeadiate-family is unconditional. They always told me that no matter what I must always defend and stand up for my sisters, even if it was standing up to them-my parents. Throughout the movie they fight, they hit, yell, insult each other and it is not clear why until we see that he is blamed for his father’s death and could never pardon him or himself. A lot of this could have been prevented if it weren’t for the lack of communication.

Filed by mirigai at June 27th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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Dil Se: Everything shown from the heart with the whole passionate heart…-Miriam Gaistman

The title Dil Se, with all my heart or from the heart resonates throughout the movie at all times; everything that is done is done in a very passionate manner. At the beginning of the film we see how Amar is immediately drawn to Meghna when her vail uncovers her with the wind; he is attracted to the sadness and emptiness in her eyes. I couldn’t quite grasp how after 30 minutes of the film Amar told Meghna that he knows nothing except that he loves her; was it love at first sight? He didn’t even know her on a personal level and was declaring his love to her as if he were going to propose. It was more of an obsession and infatuation than actual love. It was not until the end where you could see that it was “true” love because Amar told Meghna that it didn’t matter if she didn’t want to go with him and stop the explosion but that he wanted her to take him along, so they could die in love together. I feel that it was when he was exposed to the truth about Meghna being raped and experiencing first-hand so many deaths that he was in some way able to accept her actions; the only reason he didn’t want her to go through it was mainly because he didn’t want her to leave him and die.

Here is where another question arises. Where do you draw the line of what is a terrorist and what is an act of vengeance and even a cause for justice. How can you blame a poor girl who was victimized and whose laughter left her when she was only eight years old; her innocence was torn apart from her. All this injustice and political criticism on the Indian government and military was because there was truly no freedom and the people were very unhappy with the government becasue of the lack of progress; those who acted upon were seen as terrorists because of some of the extreme measures they took out of desperation. Once again these actions were done with all their hearts and from their hearts; “Nobody is more beautiful than a martyr,” is what Meghna is told the morning of her sacrifice.

Filed by mirigai at June 27th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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June 25, 2013

The Shekhar and Amit Bromance: A love and promise in the most heterosexual way-Miriam Gaistman

We have come to learn that Silsila was a very controversial film because of the perceived extra marital affair; even more so it was rumored that actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha were involved in a real affair making the movie more appealing . I believe more so the controversy was accompanied a little by the extreme closeness of Amit and Shekhar, which by many could be perceived as a homosexual relationship; however, in modern day America this would be called a bromance. 

This is a song called Bromance by Nigahiga. I believe that this pinpoints exactly the relationship that Amit and Shekhar have throughout the movie. Like the song says there is nothing gay about their closeness and they love each other in the most heterosexual way. They love each other so much that when Shekhar dies Amit feels the responsibility to be a partner for Shobha and a father like figure for the child he left behind. I believe the chorus of this song is exactly what happened in the movie and they were there for each other in the good and bad times that life presented them; they were their wingmen as well as a support for the family when tragedy hit.

s likeEminemand Dr. Dre
If I loved you more I might be gay
And when I’m feeling down
You know just what to say
You my homie, Yeah you know me
And if you ever need a wingman
I’d let any girl blow me off
Cus you’re more important than the rest
I confess, I’m a mess
If I’m not hanging with my BFF
You know its true, you my male boo,
Now sing the chorus with me if you’re feeling the same
way too.

Bromance, nothing really gay about it
Not, that there’s anything wrong with being gay
Bromance, SHouldn’t be ashamed or hide it
I love you in the most heterosexual way.

Verse 2
Hold me
To a promise that I”ll be the kind of the friend that
in the end
Will always keep you company
Because when the world gets tough
And times get hard
I will always love you, I’ll be your bodyguard

Cus you’re my bestie, and if you test me
I’ll prove it time and time again, I got your back
until the end
A brotha from anotha motha never knew how much I loved
Till i started singing this song… huh?

Bromance, nothing really gay about it
Not, that there’s anything wrong with being gay
Bromance, SHouldn’t be ashamed or hide it
I love you in the most heterosexual way.

Now that I told you how I feel
Hope you feel the same way too
BUT if you dont, this song was just a joke
BUT if you do, I LOVE YOU

Filed by mirigai at June 25th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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June 1, 2013

Simran and Baldev = Miri and David-Miriam Gaistman

I really enjoyed watching DDLJ because it is a film I can greatly relate to. My family and I also came to live to the United States from Mexico City and come from a close knit Jewish community where it is very rare to let anyone “in.” Just like Baldev in London, it was very difficult for my dad, David to accept the mentality in the U.S. An example is that in Mexico you don’t leave your home-even for college- until you get married, so for him coming to terms with the fact that I wanted to leave to the other side of the country was very difficult and took a lot of convincing. My parents also stress the fact that I have to marry someone Jewish, and it would be preferred that  he were Mexican; however, if he were not they would accept him because when they decided to come live to San Diego there were things that eventually they needed to accept and change their way of thinking and expand on their friendships and comfort zones. In the movie Baldev had a very difficult time accepting that Simran and Raj were in love and wanted to be together because Raj adopted many of the western cultures as apposed to the traditional ones; he wanted to keep it in the family circle and have her marry Kuljit, his friend’s son. He ended up realizing that Raj wasn’t that bad of a guy after all and he indeed have good intentions with his daughter. When they were in the meadow talking they had a one to one interaction where he saw his true heart and Raj expressed how no matter where he went his culture and beliefs went with him. The mother is also like my mom trying to form a middle ground between me and my dad just like she did in a way with Baldev and Simran. I really loved how I could make so many personal connections with my life and similarity in the family and cultural aspect.



Filed by mirigai at June 1st, 2013 under Uncategorized
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Riches and fame; greed and “king of the reign”?-Miriam Gaistman

Guide is a film which left me uneasy because of the manner the characters unraveled. When I watch a film I like to know which characters are villains and which characters are the heros clearly; however, in Guide there was a double standard to how the characters were presented. At first glance one would think that Raju was a true hero and he would be the one to make the ethical choices throughout the movie. On the other hand he became sucked into a world of vices and forgery and stealing from the woman he “loved” because of the riches he gained through Rosie’s popularity. When he got released from jail it seamed that he made some sort of transformation but when he was in the village he still had some sense of greed.

Rosie was also another character that bothered me the way she acted. She seemed to be kind and genuine and wanting to be happy with her husband and please him even though he treated her as if though she didn’t exist. Once again when she became famous she only cared about herself, Raju was just another guy out there and she became like Marco. And Marco tried to win her back when she was famous even though he loathed her and called her some sort of whore because of her passion for dance. Money, wealth, riches, popularity and power were the key factors that lured everyone in and caused them to become selfish and greedy.

I feel that that is the reason Raju dies and it is not until then that they both have some sort of epiphany and realize that they were sucked into a crude and superficial world and that doesn’t truly matter, but what matters is the bond, love, and family; but then it is too late.

Filed by mirigai at June 1st, 2013 under Uncategorized
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May 15, 2013

Swades Final Film- Lilian Medford



Swades, or “Homeland” is a Sharukh Khan film from 2004. This film brought together so many Bollywood elements that we’ve discussed this semester that it’s hard to pick what to talk about here, but I think I’ll mainly talk about what the title makes it sound like, a movie about the homeland.

This film is really a love letter to India! It made me fall in love with India more than any other film we’ve watched this semester. I’ve never been to India, but I definitely know now that at some point I’m going to go to this stunningly beautiful country and see it all for myself. Much of the cinematographic attention is given to the landscapes of India, and also stunning portraiture of the Indian peoples, both of which I really appreciated.

Mohan (played by SRK) is an NRI living in the U.S. and working for NASA on a global precipitation monitoring project. He has been in the US for 12 years when he decides to return to India for a brief vacation to reunite with his old nanny, a woman named Kaveriamma.


Kaveriamma is most definitely the “Mother India” of this film. Mohan has no family of his own, having lost his parents in an accident while he was in college at UPenn. It is also made clear that his parents did not take nearly as big a part in physically raising and emotionally nurturing him as did Kaveriamma when Mohan was growing up. Taken as a symbol for India, Mohan was raised by Mother India… his upbringing (Kaveriamma’s nurturing guidance) in the homeland clearly made him the person he became. Yet, he somehow lost sight of his inherent Indianness after so long in the states, made clear symbolically by his losing touch with Kaveriamma at the end of college.

Mohan wants to do good for the world, wants to create technological progress and help impede global warming through his work with NASA. But the movie makes it clear through many dialogues that to help the world, Mohan must first help India. Though he dons the name Non-Resident Indian, Mohan’s love interest in the story calls him “NRI: Non-Returning Indian,” criticizing Mohan’s innate lack of contribution to the betterment of Indian society.


This love interest comes in the form of the perfect Indian woman, named Gita. Gita was Mohan’s childhood friend, and became the caretaker for Kaveriamma (taking her out of a nursing home where Mohan had left her) when Mohan lost contact, returning Kaveriamma to her roots in a small village. She is a teacher whose passion lies in educating the next generation and fostering their growth not to follow their dreams like Mohan and leave India, but to stay and work for the betterment of their society. I think it’s no coincidence that Gita is played by Gayatri Joshi. Like many other Bollywood actresses in recent years, she was first a supermodel. But unlike many others, she was a runner-up in the Miss India pageant, and as such, was chosen to represent India in the Miss Universe pageant the following year, about 4 years before the release of this film. I take this to mean that she has been chosen before to represent all that is good about India, and her character, along with the fact that she is not at all a big name in Bollywood cinema, reflects that.

When doing research on the film, I also came across an interpretation of the film’s Ghandism. It’s therefore no coincidence that the protagonist’s name is Mohan, the birth name of Ghandi. The film opens with a Ghandi quote: “Hesitating to act because the whole vision might not be achieved, or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude that only hinders progress.” This quotation really sums up Mohan’s self-conflict in the film. He is hesitant to contribute to Indian society because he feels that so much of India is simply lost, never to be found again. His dreams for world progress and advancement, he feels, are of greater purpose than helping his homeland, but he eventually comes to see that this ‘attitude’ only ‘hinders progress’ in the long run.


Mohan, inspired by Gita’s persistence, decides to use his time in India to do good for society. First, on Gita’s behalf, he recruits many new students to Gita’s school by persuading their parents that education and literacy are worthwhile contributions to the village families even more so than any financial contribution the children could be making to their families with their child labor. He then uses his engineering knowledge to help the village construct their own hydro-electric reservoir system that can give power to the village (which has trouble with frequent power outages). He finds these projects to be extremely rewarding, but after many weeks, he must return to his obligations at NASA.


(For this photo, I tried to get the shot visible at 2:57 in the video link below where it sharply contrasts the Americas on the globe with a quick cut for the rotation focus on India)

Nevertheless, as with any good NRI we’ve seen this semester, eventually Mohan’s visceral love for India wins over his heart and he decides to return to India for good. This decision comes in the form of a song sequence that I think blends together all that’s good in Ghar Aaja Pardesi (DDLJ) and Tanhayee (Dil Chahta Hai) into one AMAZING diasporic song sequence that calls the audience back to the homeland. This song sequence makes ME feel like I need to go BACK to India, and not only have I never been, but I’m an American, and this song sequence also has many shots of the beauty of America, too!

Watch it! It’s seriously good: Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera

Overall, I really appreciated this film. I think it was a CLASSIC in terms of encompassing most of the themes we’ve discussed this semester. The film wasn’t, however, well-received in India. Wikipedia speculates that this may have been simply due to the release date (3 weeks after Veer Zaara, another SRK film, but with Preity Zinta, so who wouldn’t want to go see THAT in theaters??). But it may have been my favorite Bollywood movie I’ve seen so far, and in terms of the discussion of the future of Bollywood, I really hope that THIS is the futuristic direction Bollywood chooses to go.

Filed by lime at May 15th, 2013 under Uncategorized
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