Archive for the ‘IndiansILove’ Category

Indians I Love: Siddharth

Movies are a big deal in India. However, in all of India, no state makes more movies per year than Andhra Pradesh, whose capital is Hyderabad. The Telugu film industry is affectionately called “Tollywood”, and releases over 250 films a year.  Aside from language, I haven’t seen much of a difference between movies from Bollywood, Tollywood, and Tamil movies, but my teacher insisted that the differences are there. To give you a brief summary of any movie currently playing, I can provide the same basic framework that : boy meets girl; comedy scene; dancing; Some obstacle prevents boy from being with girl (usually parents); action scene; dancing; boy confronts problem and ends up with girl; more dancing. For some reason, rather than having movies fall into a certain genre, like comedy, action, horror, etc., the Indian films lump all the genres into parts of one giant movie. Critics even review these parts separately, such as ‘the comedy in this movie is good’, or  ‘the action was bad’.

Telugu people love their movies, and driving through the city (okay, riding), you can’t help but notice the ubiquitous billboards advertising the latest movies. These signs often employ some of the most creative Telugu fonts that tax my reading abilities to the limit. Imagine my surprise last Friday when standing in the corner of a bar I was at, lo and behold, I find myself staring at the very face that stares at me from the billboards every day. It was none other than the young star Siddharth.

After pointing him out to Gloria and Jeremy, and doing a half-ass job of concealing my glee, I waved and walked over to talk to him. He didn’t have a posse with him, just one friend that owned an IT company and a corn meal processing plant (you know, your average Telugu guy). Siddharth and his friend were very friendly and we chatted for close to half an hour. He had just wrapped up a shoot that day and was out at the bar to celebrate. In Hyderabad, there is a dearth of nice bars to go to, so there are a few places where I almost guarantee you will see a star if you know who to look for. That is a strange thing about living in India, while my income puts me in the upper middle to upper class here, we often find ourselves face to face with millionaires, something that doesn’t happen so often in the USA.

Siddharth has a special place in my heart because during language training, the first Telugu movie we watched was “Bommarillu” (translation: Doll House) starring Siddharth and Genelia. To this day, Jeremy often breaks into songs from that movie, namely – ‘We Have a Romeo’ where he shouts, “we have a Romeo, where can we find a Telugu jooooliet? with a few pelvic thrusts thrown in for good measure. If you want to see any of these movies, you can find versions with English subtitles on youtube divvied up into 10 minute parts. Siddharth recently starred in a Telugu blockbuster of sorts called ‘Anaganaga oka dheerudu’ (once upon a warrior) that was produced by Disney! Check out the trailer below and tell me if that doesn’t look pretty legit. When I mentioned our training involved his movies, Siddharth chuckled and told me he was both pleased and surprised that his movies were serving educational purposes.

–> Dheerudu

Surprisingly, meeting Siddharth didn’t impress my colleagues at work. Male actors here have extremely long careers and do dozens of movies before they retire. In a society where there are tons of George Clooneys (cloonies?), Harrison Fords, and Bruce Willises, the young actors don’t get as much respect. Actors here have fans so loyal that they would make Justin Bieber jealous. Often actors go on to have political careers as well. When compared to these icons of the industry, young stars have it tough. I don’t think anyone even batted an eye when I said I met the young actor Navdeep at a club a few weeks ago. They only recognized him because they think he had a charge of DUI at one point. Great, I met the Lindsay Lohan of Tollywood. Still, Siddharth merits at least a blog post.


Indians I Love: Prabhu Deva

The Indian Michael Jackson... with a WW2 trophy.

I figure posting inconsequential posts more often is better than the option of posting a few long ones sporadically like the one I posted earlier. This post is the first of an ongoing installment of tributes and featurettes I will be writing about various Indian people that I find interesting.

Installment one -> Prabhu Deva or  ప్రభు దేవ

Prabhu Deva is a famous singer/dancer/choreographer/ and even director who won me over the first time I saw his Michael Jackson -esque moves. I don’t know what IT is, but this guy has got it. Although he was born in Mysore, Karnataka and grew up in Chennai, he does a fair amount of telugu songs. During my telugu studies while searching for interesting telugu videos that were neither tollywood movies nor news clips, I came across a few of this guy’s songs.

Strangely, I had seen a video of him before without knowing it. Prabhu’s alter ego, ‘Benny Lava’ was a name given to him as result of a hilarious, crude, completely innaccurate English dub. Somehow the english transliteration had its fifteen minutes of youtube fame.

This is a video that showcases his true talent, the dancing. Maybe EVERYONE looks like a better dancer when they have that many backup dancers?

Anyway, short post was the goal, short post it will be. Pictures and stuff  from other adventures coming soon.