The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

"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

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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