Anuja Chauhan and the Missing January

June 26, 2017

I recently reread Anuja Chauhan’s Those Pricey Thakur Girls. This was an extremely close reread, because I was looking for specific details to figure out when exactly the sequel takes place. And in the process I discovered something surprising. Time in Those Pricey Thakur Girls does not move at a constant rate. At least ninety days have just vanished from the narrative. The rest of this post describes how this happens, in detail. This of course means that I will give away many, many spoilers for the book. It also means that this post will probably be of interest to you only if you have already read the book; which means the relevant readership for the post is tiny, probably even smaller than this blog’s already vanishing readership. However, it’s an interesting discovery, so I might as well set it out anyway. Here we go.

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Bombay to Bangkok

January 20, 2008

I saw the 2130 show at Rex on Friday night because I didn’t want to endure the traffic on the way home. It turned out to be well worth it.

The hero of the movie is a cook who is on the run from a gangsta-rapper mafioso. He gives him the slip by impersonating a urologist in a medical relief camp in Thailand. He then falls in love with a Prostitute with a Heart of Gold who tells him to keep his morality off her body. Such joy. Oh, and the sidekick is a sardar called Rash.

While I am delighted that the fabulosity of urologist-based humour is being recognised by mainstream storytellers, I am also miffed at losing the first-mover advantage. A month ago, Kodhi and me had decided that it was essential to have a urologist as a recurring character in our sitcom when we got down to making it. Now we’ve been pipped to the post by Nagesh Kukunoor.

The really worrying bit is that fundaes cascade in Indian entertainment. One guy uses a funda, and two months later it pops up in five different movies and TV serials. The most painful example has to be when J-First started calling The Consultant Formerly Known As Gandyman Jignesh. For a year nothing happened. Then Jigneshes started popping up everywhere. There was a Jignesh in Guru. There was a Jignesh in Honeymoon Travels. And while Jignesh did get established as the archetypal Gujew name, J-First lost its exclusive ownership of the Jignesh concept. I fear a similar thing may happen to urologist jokes.

That aside, the movie is to be commended for faithfully sticking to the standard romantic comedy framework. The lead pair makes out after being imperiled, they fight at the eighty-percent point of the movie, and they make up at the climax. The only minor deviation is that the moment of truth and not the make up happens at an airport terminal, but that is okay.

What is saddening is that the movie failed to make use of all possible Thai stereotypes. It brought in massage parlour workers, Buddhist monks, laughing Buddha statues, tuk tuks, and fried locusts, but mysteriously left out ladyboys. Tragic. It came so close to perfection.

The best part of the movie, though, came after actually watching it. An IMDb search for Lena Christensen eventually led to the Wiki page for SARS Wars. Now this is a movie that I have to watch:

Thailand’s leading health official, Public Health Minister Ratsuda, declares Thailand free of the SARS virus and that Thailand’s superior technology and medical research will prevent the disease from occurring in the kingdom.

However, far away in Africa, there has been an outbreak of a mutant Type 4 strain of the SARS virus, which causes sufferers to turn into bloodthirsty zombies when they die. A hornet carrying the virus from Africa is hit by an airliner and lands in Thailand. It flies into the open window of a farang driving a Volvo and stings the man on the back of his neck. The man becomes patient zero in the outbreak of SARS 4. He returns to his apartment building and infects others in his building. Among the zombified creatures is a giant Burmese python named Albert.

Meanwhile, Catholic schoolgirl Liu is kidnapped by a gang led by a transvestite named Yai, who dressed as a sexy woman in a bikini and used a furry as a distraction. Liu’s father, an influential businessman, does not wish to involve the police, so he turns to his old friend Master Thep. Thep, injured from his last outing, assigns his stop student swordsman, Khun Krabii, to rescue Liu.

I love foreign cinema.