The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Seven Strange “Indian” Creatures

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Friend of the Gutter, Samit Basu shares “7 Strange ‘Indian’ Creatures” at Huffington Post. “I’ve never written an “about India” book — the closest I’ve come is setting large parts of a superhero novel, Turbulence, in India — but I did notice several British and American reviewers mentioning that reading it made them realize that people […]

Mithun Chakraborty Returns!

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On a Special Beth Loves Bollywood Audio Edition, Beth and the Gutter’s own Carol discuss Mithun Chakraborty’s Gunmaster G9/secret agent films: Surakksha (1979); Wardaat (1981); and Guru (1989). Fights, mad scientists, zombie robots, radio-controlled locusts, the Green Revolution, amazing clubs that look like Nintendo games or that have plaster animals and villain lairs are discussed. […]

An Excerpt from Resistance

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Tor has an excerpt from Resistance, the latest book by friend of the Gutter, Samit Basu: “A giant lobster rises slowly out of Tokyo Bay. It is an old-school kaiju, 300 feet long, and stands upright, its hind limbs still under water, in defiance of biology, physics and all codes of lobster etiquette.”

Global Pop Offensive!

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Friend of the Gutter, Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! joins the Pop Offensive to share two hours of fine global pop. Listen here.

Prithviraj Kapoor Is Alexander The Great

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At Beth Loves Bollywood, Beth watches Sikandar, a 1941 Hindi-language, sword and sandals movie in which Alexander the Great’s army sings these words as they march on Hindustan: “Life exists because of love, so let it be spent in love.”

“You Don’t Have To Be Eurocentric To Make It To The Future”

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“’You don’t have to be Eurocentric to make it to the future,’ said Andrea Hairston, a professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, whose side gig happens to be writing award-winning science fiction. ‘We have to figure out how to be different together. [And t]hat is what storytelling is all about, […]

Collection of R.K. Laxman Cartoons

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The Times of India has collected a gallery of satirical cartoons by R.K. Laxman. And here are episodes of R.K. Laxman Ki Duniya, a tv show based on his work. (Thanks, Sava!)

“Indian Comics Beyond Balloons and Panels”

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Alok Sharma spent five years finding creators of Indian comics for his documentary, Chitrakatha: Indian Comics Beyond Balloons and Panels. Check out all the resources at the film’s website and this ten minutes of footage from the film.  There’s also an older news story about the film at The New Indian Express. (Thanks, Aseem Chandaver) […]

Disco! Disco! Disco! Disco! Yeah!

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The Gutter’s own Carol was invited to watch and discuss the 1983 Bollywood classic, Disco Dancer, with Beth at Beth Loves Bollywood as part of the Mysterious Order Of The Skeleton Suit‘s Swap-a-thon. See pictures, read a report and listen here. (Carol also has a little about it here).

RIP, Suchitra Sen

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Actor Suchitra Sen has died. Sen starred in both Bengali and Hindi films (Aandhi; Devdas) and is probably most famous for her roles opposite Uttam Kumar, including Sharey Chuattar; Agni Pariksha; and, Saptapadi. The Times of India, Firstpost Bollywood, and The Indian Express have obituaries. The Times of India also has a video tribute and […]

“Representation of Women in India Cinema and Beyond”

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Text of Sharmila Tagore’s lecture on women and Indian cinema at the India International Centre. (via Memsaab Story)

Filmi Fiascos

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Beth Watkins seeks out the truest fiascos in Indian film, which, of course, includes Shaitani Dracula. “To paraphrase Seinfeld, these movies are a mess—and they’re spectacular.”

It Started Out Being A Book That Obeyed The Laws of Physics: An Interview with Samit Basu

via Times of India

Author Samit Basu’s first American release, Turbulence, is the story of a few regular people who arrive in Delhi on a flight from London…with superpowers. Talk about baggage. Not just the standard flying, invisible, very very fast kinds of superpowers, either: each one of them gets what they most want in life. Basu doesn’t bother […]

100 Years of Indian Film

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of filmmaking in India, CG Guest Star Beth Watkins offers some things she loves about Indian film.

“The Poet of Poop”

Gutter friends Todd Stadtman and Keith Allison are quoted in Shaikh Ayaz’ Open Magazine article about Indian filmmaker, Joginder, “The Poet of Poop.” “You need a special sort of brain to invent the lota dance, or potty rap, as it is known in somewhat better civilised parts of the world. And Joginder, according to his […]

Using Fantasy To Be Better Than We Are In Real Life

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Instead of raving about Satyajit Ray’s well-known-outside-of-India projects like the Apu Trilogy (Pather Pancahli/Song of the Little Road, Aprajito/The Unvanquished, and Apur Sansar/The World of Apu) or Jalsaghar/The Music Room (available through Criterion), I want to rave about his fantastic fantastical 1968 children’s film Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne/The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha.

The Bicholim Conflict Hoax

“The Bicholim Conflict is a figment of a creative Wikipedian’s imagination. It’s a huge, laborious, 4,500 word hoax. And it fooled Wikipedia editors for more than 5 years.” The Daily Dot has more.  

Gorgeous Film Posters from India!

A gallery of amazing film posters by Kannada artist, Ramachandraiah. And another! (thanks, @lowdudgeon and @TeleportCity!)

Filmi Top Ten and More

At Beth Loves Bollywood, Beth shares her top ten films of 2012–and adds special recognition categories such as:  “Women Doing Stuff,” “Hip-Flicking Earworm,” and “The Unpopular Movie That Has A Surprising Number of Supporters and We’re Vocal About It.”

Most Enjoyable Asian Films of 2012

At Wildgrounds, Kevin Ma shares his most enjoyable “bad” film and most enjoyable “good” film of 2012.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    A gallery of Fan Ho’s photos of Hong Kong from the book, Fan Ho: A Hong Kong Memoir. (Thanks, Clarice!)

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    A gallery of Medieval European beasts and creatures who can’t even.

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    At Badass Digest, Gaming Editor Andrew Todd writes about “rampant issues with sexism, homophobia, and racism within the gaming industry.”

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    Jenn Frank writes about horror, games, “Tropes vs Women In Video Games” and “consuming media responsibly”: “I think what I’m getting at is, especially with the horror genre, it’s less important what a movie says and more important that you, the viewer, understand why you’re enjoying it. I believe in judicious self-awareness; a director like Nicolas Winding Refn knows exactly why he makes the directorial choices he makes, and he works those kinks right out onscreen.

    Or, if you aren’t enjoying a piece of work—if ultraviolence isn’t your thing, or if you’re suffering a visceral reaction—it’s every bit as important that you identify what about the piece is making you uncomfortable.”

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    In  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, “Women As Background Decoration: Part 2,” Anita Sarkeesian discusses “how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.” It is quite graphic in terms of violence and sexual violence.

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    Here are the films playing the Vanguard program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Spring; Luna; Hyena; Goodnight, Mommy / Ich Seh, Ich Seh; Alleluia; The Duke Of Burgundy; Over Your Dead Body; Shrew’s Nest; They Have Escaped; Waste Land; The World of Kanako; and The Voices. (Trailers added as they become available).

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