June 24, 2022 - Coming next week: Multiverse of Madness review!
Like the Beatles, scores of gap year backpackers, and various well-to-do White women seeking meaning in their lives beyond soccer mom-ing and wine-guzzling, it looks like the time has come for your friendly, neighborhood Cinemavenger to make a pilgrimage to India. Which is to say watch and review an Indian film.
Why now, you might ask? If I'm being honest, it's partly because while many of you fuck-knuckles have decided that Covid is over despite Covid not actually being over, Cinemavenger hasn't been lured back into movie theaters and, even after nearly eight years posting taint-ticklingly hilarious reviews, still doesn't get screeners of movies from the studios. But really it's mostly because my improbably-named Scottish-American friend, Sergei, asked me to check out Gangubai Kathiawadi on Netflix. And what kind of keeper of my brother would I be if I didn't take his request?
Even if the only things you know about India are that they make some seriously love-it-or-hate-it cuisine, that they still have a backward-ass caste system, or that they could - to put it mildly - be doing better on women's rights, you'll be able to follow Gangubai Kathiawadi just fine. This is, at its heart, the same hooker with a heart of gold story that's been told in every culture and every language since the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of hooking.
Gangubai Kathiawadi is a pseudo-biopic based on the life of an Indian woman who was sold into prostitution as a teenager, rose through the ranks to become a powerful madame, and all the while stood up for the little people (I.E. whores/women). I can't say how much of the movie tracks to that woman's actual experiences, but I'm guessing there were fewer spontaneous song and dance numbers in real life.
Oh yeah, despite the depressing subject matter full of greed, abuse, and heartbreak, Bollywood will not be denied. Every 20 minutes or so, out of the fucking blue, suddenly everyone on screen is dancing and singing like they're in a completely different flick. You've been warned.
The lead, Alia "Baby Got" Bhatt, grabs this bull by the horns and never stops riding. Her performance elevates what is basically Lifetime Network India material into something worth watching. I guess you could say it was enough to . . . wait for it . . . curry my favor.
June 3, 2022
Just edit this element to add your own HTML.