one badass dude
(on the lighter side)

Went this afternoon to scenic Katugastota with Haakon, Lisa, and Joelline (new girl in town: French, NGO work, maybe taking my apartment) to watch Mangal Pandey: The Rising, the big shiny new Hindi film. It’s open all over the world. It’s good, go see it!

Why, pray tell, did we so scoutingly voyage to Katugastota, in reality a squalid crossroads? The film did not feature Shahrukh Khan. It did feature Haakon Aasprong, Norwegian social anthropologist and world traveler extraordinaire. He got picked up (twice by agents of the same film) on the hard streets of Mumbai while visiting there and stuffed into an East India Company Raj uniform, stood around waiting for a long time, and got to see Rani Mukherjee and other babe-a-licious gals in sexy semitransparent kit playing prostitutes. He got shoved by the male star, Amir Khan, as part of the scene. We couldn’t really see him.

The rest of the film was good too, heavily featuring white people speaking Hindi (inspiring!) and Amir Khan’s mustache (impeccable) and some more-than-usually scandalous love scenes. It’s about the Company sepoy (native soldier) uprising, led by one Mangal Pandey that predated India’s independence struggles by over fifty years. Violence both criticized and glorified, women both commodified and emancipated. Very beautifully shot. Amir Khan is a good-looking man and often shirtless.

I think more men should wear earrings, as proven by both Mr Khan and the perahera’s legions of dangly-jangly’d Kandyan dancers. They accentuate the ears and neck, sensual places on men as well as on women. A pair, not one: one is lopsided and creates problems of queer signification.

However, the above title refers not to Mangal Pandey, but to Mr Aasprong, who is recovering from devotional firewalking. Read all about it at globen cafe and, gosh, weep. When I was an ISLE student one of our TAs, a young atheist Lankan archaeologist, told us about his experiences doing all the different bodily mortifications (firewalking, hook-piercing, etc) without faith in order to prove that one didn’t have to be possessed by a god to do these feats. I say, you’re definitely possessed by something!

Haakon inspires me to pursue a career in being a Hindi film extra. (No firewalking please.) A friend of his even got to be a dancer in a scene filmed at the Taj Mahal! Forget Broadway, Mr. Goldstone...

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