This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


“Slumdog Millionaire” might mean a grittier Bollywood.

“Slumdog Millionaire” might mean a grittier Bollywood. (photo)

Posted by on

Ready or not, Bollywood, here comes the sex, drugs and violence. At the Guardian, Nirpal Dhaliwal gives a qualified thumbs-up to “Ride the Wave Johnny,” a new Mumbai-based melodrama about a boy who…okay, I can’t paraphrase this:

The Johnny of the movie is a coffee-boy who also delivers cocaine for his gangster boss, Chutta, while nursing dreams of escaping to Dubai. Having seen his parents murdered in his rural village, he eeks [sic] out a living in the big city under the wing of Chutta’s lover, an obese Muslim transvestite… Johnny’s tale is interwoven with a moving love triangle involving a corrupt policeman, Chiple, his beautiful younger wife, Divya, and her young lover, Parvez. Johnny helps Parvez break into a safe house Chiple uses for whoring and stashing the proceeds of his bent activities, which include assassinating local businessmen.

Dhaliwal isn’t crazy about the anemic quasi-sex scenes or the cocaine-and-models subplot, but still thinks the film is evidence that “Indian film-makers are mining the streets for stories rather than repeating the same middle-class Bollywood cliches. By no means a masterpiece, it is a sign of much better things to come.”

But is anyone besides critics going to be interested in this new breed of grittier Bollywood movies? There’s no evidence that Bollywood audiences are looking for a change of pace beyond the still-dominant escapist blockbusters, or at least not one as dramatic as Dhaliwal seems to hope. Not that he can be blamed for wanting Hindi cinema to leverage “Slumdog Millionaire”‘s success to reach a more international audience.

Mumbai, he thinks, “has the potential to replace New York as the globalised world’s iconic cityscape.” Certainly New York hasn’t been cinematic shorthand for The City for a while now — a few years ago, I thought its successor might be Dubai, the obscenely wealthy United Arab Emirates playground Michael Winterbottom brilliantly used as The Future in “Code 46.”

Mumbai is a city that has the potential, on every block, to rub your face in the past and future simultaneously. But while the Bollywood formula has proven capable of chewing up and spitting back out any subject matter into two-and-a-half-hours with four musical numbers, foregrounding social critique is a whole other matter. And if that’s what it’ll take to make Mumbai cinema’s the new global landscape, there’s still far to go.

[Photo: “Ride the Wave Johnny,” Mediaent, 2009]

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More