How do Turkish call Turkey, the bird ?

Interesting question, eh? Believe it or not, they call it Hindi! And, in the Turkish language, Hindi means Indian. So, a bird that is popularly named after their country is called Indian in their own country. Be mindful that this bird is not native to either Turkey or India. Leave the countries aside for now – they are not even from the same continents.


Despite its abundantly clear origins, America’s, the world mostly attributes it as Indian. These names got the geography wrong by about half a world’s hemisphere. Take, for example, Turks call it Hindi, the French call it Poulet d’inde (Indian chicken), in Latin they call it Gall dindi (Indian chicken), Israelites call it Tarnegol hodu (Indian chicken) Russian as Indiuk, Polish: Indyk.

Some of these names even go to the extent of naming after an Indian city Calicut of Kerala. The Dutch call it Kalkoen, Indonesia: as Ayam kalkun, Danes call it Kalkun, Swedish as Kalkon, German as Kalkuun and Finnish as Kalakuna.

Fantastic! Any thoughts on the reasons behind these nomenclatures?

You can listen to the post, if you prefer that to reading

It’s less likely merchants from Calicut went to the Atlantic Ocean to pick these ugly birds from central America and supply it to these European nations. Why so much confusion. At the least, Indonesians should have known better. They must have seen it being imported from the Pacific rim rather than the Indian ocean.

Copyright 2007 : University of Amsterdam and Leiden university, used under fair use

Is this because Europeans referred to it as bird from Native American Indian? Less likely, as some of these names go to a specific of city or ports.

Is it because the bird looks ugly and strange as us Indians? Maybe?

I assure you that this is not where confusion ends. Egyptians call it Greek while Greek and Scots call it French! Malaysians call it Dutch, while Portuguese call it Peru (finally, the one American country accused). Arabs interestingly call it either Indian or Roman, depending on their mood. Good stuff.

While you are here, did you know English is probably the only language to call pineapple a pineapple? Rest if the world calls it ananas. I grew up calling it ananas in all languages I spoke, including my mother tongue.!

Strange world, eh?

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Review: 7 Khoon Maaf

Saat Khoon Maaf has been underperforming at the box office! What did you expect? You should have anticipated it when you brought that plot for Europe, which does not fit in our “Indian culture”,. I mean, a woman with 7 husbands!, and she kills all of them – what a slut!.  Did you not know that we Indian cinemagoers are bunch of fourteen year olds who would like to giggle for PJs and miniskirts? Let me remind you again, we can’t bare the thoughts of serious thoughts of homosexuality, pre (or extra) marital sex, female polygamy (male is fine) etc, even though they all are stacked up in the closet.

image via wikipedia

It’s so frustrating to see such artwork does not get the attention, recognition and popularity it deserves. Almost a century now of history of Bollywood and its audience still did not reach puberty.

Back to the movie, it’s brilliant, just what Vishal Bhardwaj promises, every time! I am a Vishal fan, ever since Omkara. This again, based on a book, “Susanna’s Seven Husbands” – a Ruskin Bond novel. Story of a woman constantly in search of eternal love (read: overrated love) and she ends up marrying (and killing) all of them. As it was done for Omkara, story was customised to the Indian context. Susanna, of course, is retained as a westernised Christian woman; otherwise it is not possible to tell a story of seven husbands. Remember that Indian cultural thing – once a widow always a widow (Manu wrote this, not me).

Movie is collectively almost a masterpiece – fine acting, great direction, brilliant storytelling and nice choice of character. Priyanka Chopra did a great job, but I am still not a fan. Annu Kapoor was the best part of the movie, other husbands did well. Songs were good; “Daaarlinggg” was worth the applause.

Only departments that fail in the movie are graphics and make up. Black panther was totally a cartoon, and the burning house looked like a gif image from a mail forward. Bollywood has a long way to go make the graphics look real. While fixing that, for the next movie, Vishal can fire his Make-up artists. Plot reads Susanna ageing from 20 to 65 along the storyline, but she always looked like age 28 to 28.5, with several bad disguises!

Review: Dhobi Ghat

An art film, to me, falls into either of two categories. One kind strikes audience with a brilliant sigh, making us wonder how a complex thought can be so simply put (E.g. Black Swan). The other kind is a folder of scribbles thrown at you, which does not make any sense even if you arrange in any order. Dhobi Ghat belongs to second category. It’s a high profile, big banner, “star” cast, much anticipated commercial-art movie which makes you feel you are reading few torn pages of someone else’s dairy. Probably, that’s the reason wise say you shouldn’t read someone else’s dairy. It’s so freaking boring!

Dhobi Ghat
image via wikipedia

Dhobi Ghat is not a traditional Bollywood commercial-art movie; hence my comments are also not regular ones. Movie is attributed with fine acting and brilliant direction. Bummer – it is pointless and boring. It neither does the justice to the time spent in cinema nor to the pop-corn bought. (Just a thought: Movie like this is the reason why Akshay Kumar in industry, to bring pointless but not boring movies). Dhobi Ghat revolves around a modern art painter Arun (Amir Khan) obsessed with video letters of Yasmin. At the same time NRI investment banker Shai (Monika Dogra) stalks him while successfully manage to get herself obsessed by Munna (Prateik) the Dhobi, whom she meets on her clichéd poverty trip. Arun changes houses! That’s all – I dint miss anything to explain on the plot!

All newcomers (all of them except Amir) have done nice job, justice to their roles, while Amir still struggles with “new age” acting – the natural one. Amir acting still stuck in mid 90s standard of great acting, I feel he was weakest link in acting department. Kiran Rao’s direction is great, even without considering this is her first presentation. Actually this is a relief! Since for a long time now Farah Khan was taking all the sympathy votes for being the only female Bollywood mainstream director. Now Farah can retire and Kiran can take her place with an understanding that her first movie is a mistake and she won’t be making a pointless movie again.

After Dhobi Ghat, I went into depression for a while and was actually looking for an Akshay Kumar kind of movie to undo this effect. We don’t run out of options do we? I chose Vijay’s Kaavalan over “Yamla Pagla Diwana”. As anticipated it was crapy one and boom! I am back to this world again, Thanks to Vadivelu!. Anyways, here are some options; if you would like undo the hangover after watching Dhobi Ghat (I used all three):

Kaavalan: Vijay is a kick boxer, student, body guard, dancer, comedian, singer, honest but innocent, most eligible bachelor as usual! Basically he is almost all the things I dreamed I would become when I was 12.

Black Swan: Amazingly brilliant movie. Watch it yourself, I am running out of words to explain it.

127 Hours: Another brilliant masterpiece by Danny Boyle. It surely will bring you goose bumps (as “The way back” did). Again, I am running out of words to explain the movie. One note on AR Rahman though! One more evidence to show he copies tunes, from his own work! Or, do we call it reuse? Some part of this movie has background tune of Raavan (Behene De to be specific.). Probably he thought the crowd that watched Raavan and watching 127 Hours are mutually exclusive. He is obviously wrong isn’t it?

Enthiran – the robot

Enthiran - the robot
image via

It wasn’t horrible. Not bad for an attempt from Indian cinema trying to match Hollywood standards. I enjoyed it, well done. At the same time I wish the movie could have been better if director did not worry about audience “understandability factor”. Some compromises were silly.

It looks like Indian cinema waited too long, with jealousy, to make a movie Hollywood always bragged about. Enthiran the robot try to attempt all of them in single shot. If you club all of the action scenes of this movie together and observe you can see Terminator, Mummy, Mask, Anaconda, iRobot etc etc. You can even name specific scenes which are picked, and where they are picked from. Good news is there is nothing taken from The Matrix, unlike all Bollywood action movies from last one decade did.

On the whole, while watching the movie, you could read through director’s mind. Let’s make biggest budget movie in India, then let’s add biggest star in India. Let him be present in almost all frames of the movie. To make it easy, let’s put him in double role, or hundred more. The aggregate of five minutes where he is not present on the screen, let’s put the most popular actress in India even if her presence does not matter. Hire some expensive graphic designer from west and ask them to repeat the designs. Find locations for songs, where no other Indian movies are shot, a great wonder may be! etc etc. Watch it yourself (yes, I recommend), if all these taken out of the movie – it’s an average average plot.

Few good things about the movie…

  1. Graphics: never been tried in Indian cinema in such a detail with so much clarity. Stills falls way below perfection. For example, there is a scene one day old Enthiran tosses an infant to play with him, looked like old jungle book cartoon.
  2. Technicality: Very good progress as compared to same industry which produced movies about hacking systems with “Windows media player”. Nothing much silly. Just fine except few.
  3. Rajanikanth: he was good. He looked natural and not much “style factor”. I have few things to criticise, but that would be Blasphemy. Overall, no complaints.
  4. Aishwarya Rai, she was good. No overacting and no under acting. Looks like she found some weight(see image below).

Few bad things:

  1. Music, Not even half of Rahman’s level. Songs are crappy, plain simple stupid. Kilimanjaro, for the record, is my third most irritating song. (The other two being “Kajrare” and “Aa ante amalapura”). These songs make itching sensation at back of my brain.
  2. They sing and dance Kilimanjaro on the top of Machu-pitchu Mountains! These two are half globe away from each other! Makes me wonder where is costume from – Papua New Guinea?
  3. Robot should be designed to take optimal path. But this one acts plain stupid path. I mean Anaconda – Really? Can a robot fly?  If yes, then why does it walk on rest of the scenes?
  4. Costume: Robot costume could have been improved a lot. In some scenes (a song) it looks like Flintstones costume(see image below ). Back to Kilimanjaro song, Rajani was wearing a doormat!
  5. Is cycling shorts in fashion again? Must be for conservative crowd! Miniskirts are beyond our cultural limits, but it is acceptable if it is accompanied by cycling shorts.
  6. “DOT”?!? Is a “dot” after a strong statement same as PERIOD? Probably because “period” already has some other meaning in Indian English.

image via a forum

As I said earlier, it’s worth watching movie. I would watch it again, but not same crowd please. The cinema I watched was filled with some absolute crazy dudes. They had no idea what’s going on in the movie. For example, maximum applause (and whistles) winning scene in the movie is Robot Rajani harassing Ash! I don’t think movie fails to deliver the message it was originally intended to… but for some whatever Rajani does is fun. DOT.

Alright, you gonna have to stop these.., forever!

Indian movie industry has changed a lot, just in last 20 years. We have better technology, directors, actors and concepts. Our directors no longer think it’s cool to insert songs and fights at predefined places. Neither they think we are idiots to watch anything they make, nor do they think we need to be fed with every minute detail, just in case. Having grown up in “last sane generation”, the 90s, I have seen this transition happening, and I am pretty much happy about it.

Having said that, it’s still worth having a look around on what needs to be changed further, to provide feedback to our directors, just in case they dint figure it out themselves J  . I have listed few things where Indian movie industry still needs correction. Feel free to add more.

180 minutes: What’s this deal? Take a thumb rule: “90 min is OK, 120 is pain and anything above 150 is harassment”. Directors need to learn this, quick.

Copycats: Things are not improving even after few law suits. It’s embarrassing. “Dil bole Hadippa” is latest I can name.

Songs and dances: Oh come on! Such a pain!. These days it’s comparably better. I still recall the nightmares of those heroes of 80’s  and early 90sheroes who danced like pregnant buffalos.

Slow motion: Overused technology. Never ever use it again. At least not for the scenes where actors are walking, sitting, running etc.

Age limit: Actors need to take self discipline here, not to take role of below their age. Those “three idiots” dint exactly fit there, did they? Come on,! We all have all studied in the universities and we know how exactly first year students look like

Action: What’s all these flying around please? Just with a punch? People never fly around for simple punches in real life. They’ll punch you back, that’s all.

Happy ending: really? Are all things happy? There is a famous stereotype that Telugu movies never end sadly, if they do, they flop. I am not sure how true it is, but when enquired, my friends couldn’t name a single recent tragedy movie.

Camera: Recent thing our cameramen picked up from Hollywood war (action) movies. Now they are overdoing it. I just saw recent Ajit movie where he is talking to a girl (in slow motion!) and camera is shaking like cameraman had mice in his pants. Silly!

Overacting: Inherited, but diluting slowly.

Details: Directors need to keep a close eye on this, it could go insult the movie. For an extreme example: No one can type commands and hack systems using “windows media player”, and everybody know that and we have movie doing exactly this.

Genre: The type of movies made in Indian Industry did not change much. We are still spending our time in making Romcoms and on social issues. Again, just in case our directors don’t see out side, I would like to suggest a few:

    • We haven’t seen a good war movie since “Border” If we were Hollywood  we would have filled our screens with wars with all the neighbours we have, even lost ones.
    • Historic: We have some here, but not good ones to brag about.
    • Sci-fi: Never explored this, was “Jaadooo… “a sci-fi?
    • Horror: Few bad ones, we call them B-grade.
    • Sports: “Chuck de” was good, but that’s one. What about cricket?
    • Animation : Question mark. [tweetmeme]

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