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bethlovesbollywood

Bombay Blofeld: Shaan

What if James Bond went to Bombay in the late 1970s and wasn’t so much a secret agent as a stylist and interior designer for a particularly aesthetics-oriented villain?  The plot of Shaan has very little to do with any of the Bond films that I can remember. […]

Kshudhita Pashan: A Ghostly Love Story

Bear with me: at first glance, this piece may fall outside the Cultural Gutter’s mission to share thoughtful writing about disreputable art. Kshudhita Pashan (1960) is based on a short story by Nobel laureate, author, musician, and all-around revered thinker Rabindranath Tagore. But its ghostly ladies, creepy palaces, […]

Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi

For those of us who did not grow up watching Bollywood films (and maybe even for those of you who did, depending on how closely an adult monitored what you were watching when or after this film came out), there is a particular threshold that each of us […]

Epically Epic: Sikandar (1941)

It’s not terribly high in historical accuracy, but Sikandar is wonderful to behold and thoroughly thought-provoking about empire and political virtue from pre-Independence India. Sikandar manages to be completely entertaining while still indulging in lesson-dispensing from Aristotle, who as the film opens is in Persia with Sikandar and […]

Bollywood Godfather: Dharmatma

It took Bollywood a few years to remake The Godfather, but when it did, HOO BOY. Sicily becomes Afghanistan, the family becomes the nation, there are two sets of costume-coordinated family members, and there’s at least one more musical number featuring scarf-based choreography.          At the center […]

Ankhen (1968)

  If you’re thinking “Hey, didn’t Cultural Gutter already do a piece on a wackadoodle Indian film about eyes starring the handsome and heroic Dharmendra?” you’re perfectly correct. But thanks to a career of over 300 films, producers apparently ran out of different words to use in the […]