So I played the new Call of Duty. More specifically Call of Duty: Black Ops. Even more specifically in internetese: COD BLOPS. I love that name, don’t you? BLOPS. Completely devoid of the utter destruction inherent in the game it describes. Come to think of it, I may have eaten some BLOPS sometimes in me life.
Anyway, it was fun. Now I have made posts that may lead one to think I hate generic blockbuster shooters. I don’t. I hate generic blockbuster shooters that want you to think they are an intelligent piece of art commenting on the human condition. Remember no Russian? (see what I did there? Never mind.) BLOPS was entirely fun. It was made to look and act like a stupid 80s action film, and it does that. If you have a specific itch to shoot people in the face while moving along a fixed path whilst things blow up all to kingdom come around you, BLOPS will scratch it to HELL.
It occurs to me that most people are perfectly content to shoot humans in the face with pyrotechnics all around. By that yardstick BLOPS is for most humans. It isn’t especially different or interesting or builds a great world, but that’s not what most people want, yes? It’s not the best Call of Duty game ever made, it’s not even the most polished. For a game that choreographs each set piece, it often breaks its own rules about not keeping the player in the dark. The best thing about it I can say is that it is probably the best game Treyarch has made yet. And after years of mediocre Spider-man games and Calls of Duty, at least Activision’s hajaar dollars have made them competitive enough.
Long the bastard child of the CoD franchise, Treyarch has earned both player ire and mainstream derision by being mediocre and delivering games made by committee. They still do that here, but at least they do that with a sense of humour and a hitherto missing maturity. Maturity in development only, of course. The vision is still the 12 year old gun freak’s porn. Check your boxes for semen.
In any case, the story making a point to establish that it is bunkum makes up for the ludicrous ending, and you can enjoy the Shooty bits without rolling your eyes too much. It looks fantastic too. The production values, or to call it by its technical name, Activision’s 3rd world debt ending budget, are what they are – astounding and beyond comprehension.
I could pretend I give a rat’s ass about the multiplayer, but I can’t be arsed. It’s as good or as bad as you think the last one was. I’ll play it for a few months and then move on to some obscure German RPG, though, so the question is not for me to answer. Meanwhile, here: it is Mostly Harmless.
The set pieces do not overtly steal anything from a famous film, so at least I think the multiplayer will have some originality too, as much as is possible for a Call of Duty game to be original. (Infinity Ward were an amazing developer, but they pegged the biggest moments of their games on moments from iconic films. Back when they were 2015, it was Saving Private Ryan. With the first Call of Duty it was Enemy at the Gates and so on. With Modern Warfare 2, it was Bad Boys 2, so you can imagine how deep the shit hole was in which they found themselves at the end of that game. PS Anyone who likes both should probably try and grow a real beard before they can discuss the merits of any artistic endeavour with me. )
ANYWAY, Call of Duty Black Ops is perfectly okay, and not at all pompous or stuffy like its predecessor, so if you ever wanted to play a Michael Bay movie, this will work just fine.
I do utterly love Bolly and all other woods that come from India especially the rambunctiousness about that cinema ( like there is an impishness about Korean cinema, or a quiet dignity about Iranian) that is definitive of my Indian-ness.
Coming to the point of the post however, there is something about the underdog that has always appealed to me. it’s the quintessential human interest story, is it not? The guys in the fringe who make an impact. The filler with teeth; the guys who put support in supporting.
Here then, is my selection of 5 of the most impactful “that guy” s from Bollywood masala filmdom. The rules are simple:
1. They must not be bonafide supporting actors (so no love for Aruna Irani or Paresh Rawal. too famous)
2. They must not have transcended from that guy ness to genuine recognition including awards or a mainstream fanbase. This is a underdog story after all, non? Also excluded are fallen character actors. (bye bye Rajpal Yadav)
3. This is the most important rule, I think: their presence in the film has to mean good times all around. They cannot be good actors who can’t pick a role. I see this guy lurking in a promo and I am lining up at the cinemas, or at least interested in the DVD, because of him. (This, sadly precludes all those faces you see all the time, but can’t name or care to name. I kind of don’t like that, but I have to limit the list to 5. so long, Sanjay Dutt’s trainer)
4. They have to be professional that guys. That guy in a less than 10 flicks won’t cut it.
5. Lastly, I am removing all cameos and item numbers ( good riddance, Robin Bhatt)
Too much preamble , too less filmy-ness! Onwards, I say:
He’s just likable. Affable charm, goofy persona, and a cool demeanor. They tried giving him mainstream roles, but he kept on falling down to being the smiling guy just to the right of the ‘hero’. Why he’s awesome: There’s absolutely no character he cannot build sympathy for. He’s been slapped silly in stupid Govinda films (although he does get to dance in khaki shorts), offed in horrible ways by villains looking to score one up on the hero, and sometimes, just sometimes acted with dubious moral character that got him into way too much trouble than he bargained for. And yet you just look at that goofy smile, think of a cute pup, and go “Awww” Shining Moment: Should have been Arjun. Or maybe even Ankush. But it wasn’t. He will forever be the guy in that lovely advertisement on Doordarshan that was way ahead of it’s time. Raja Bundela is taking a shower, stops mid soaping lathering session, looks down (yes, they go there, but wait for it…) and looks back at the camera and says: “Sachmuch, kaafi bada hai”. If there was a list of advertisements with thinly veiled innuendo that paved way for the pornography visited upon us on a daily basis (not that I’m complainin’), this ad would make that list. Beloved that guy, forever to be remembered for something that was not meant to be dirty (but let’s face it: it probably was).
Better known to me and my friends as “Jaaju” (see below), this man has made it his business to play every bumbling idiot villain as well as every horror movie cliche. All that remains in his stalwart body of that guy work is to play the bikin clad girl in blood shower, I suppose.
Why he’s awesome: First of all, the name. That’s an awesome and classy name. To top it, there is nothing classy about this man.There is no depth to which he will not plumb in the service of horrible that guy acting. He’s extremely physical though. Using his huge eyes and body and a voice that cannot but remind us of the Punjabi Physics tuition teacher we all had to it’s utmost extent, his presence means at least 15 minutes of fun times of extremely questionable taste.
Shining Moment: He’s played umpteen horror Ramsey bros. cliche characters, but I remember most for his portrayal of Bajaj, aka Jaaju, the quivering idiot of an assistant in Mahaul Theek Hai.
It’s not the terrible acting, it’s the howlarious lines he spews including “Ouno Inni Chamm Jhaado” with a straight face that has cemented him in my head. Check out his full range of constipated facial expressions in this clip here. Make no mistake – he is terrible, but he deserves a spot on this list.
I wish I could have included Vivek Shauq in this list – but he’s done fairly drab roles in nondescript films that Jaaju trumps him.
He has done nothing but bad roles. Weak ass gangster who thinks he is pimp is his forte.
Why he’s awesome: But what forte it is! He owns the weak gangster waiting for a bitch slap to go all crumbling weasel howling kitten on us. And he’ll take one from anyone – when Farooq Sheikh can call your bluff, you’re really asking for it. But don’t take my word for it. Hit his imdb page and gape at the awesomeness of the names of his characters. Usman Kujli. Babu Karela. Rajjo Tabela. He’s even played a character called Qutub Minar.
It probably would be a tie between his Ninja Chacha (watch above video straight at the point where he unleashes his awesome here) or the straight up cynic Keshav in Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raaja.
I don’t have a video, but bad movie aficionados will remember the part where Anil “Black Forest Cake” Kapoor meets Jugraj for the first time. AK smarms his way into Kher’s trust, but Keshav the smart one (!) is having nothing of that. He quickly retorts: “Isko kuch nahin maloom hai, iske kandhe per to kabootar hai” (The man knows nothing; he has a pigeon on his shoulder). Oh Razak Khan, you teach us all. You teach us so much.
Men with Pigeons on shoulder clearly know nothing.
Sudhir beefcake for breakfast, girls.
If there was someone perfect to dub Christian Bale’s ridiculous Batman voice in the Batman and Terminator films, Sudhir is it. His gravelly voice and almost always surly demeanour has lent themselves to a certain niche that only he filled, and that remains empty even now.
Why he’s awesome: Contrary to what you may think Sudhir was never rape king. Heck, he wasn’t even minor rape fiend. However! He was almost always lecherous. This distinction is important, because you cannot love rapists. (Bollywood doesn’t know that yet, but hopefully you’ll tell them.) Sorry losers whoslip on their own drool over a woman, with no obvious hope in hell – that’s a hard task too, but when it’s Sudhir, you can’t help but guffaw. There is no question what’s on his mind, but he’s not gonna get there. is he?
Despite the above stereotype, he has played enough loud angry Hulk Smash characters that make his list of roles quite multifaceted. Actually, I prefer him in his angry hulk mode more, because it’s always good times.
Shining Moment: Would have to be Satte Pe Satta. Of the brothers playing each day of the week, he is the surly, angry, shrieking and bellicose Monday. Not only does he completely symbolise Mondays, his pining for a girl this time around has an innocence to it that will never again be captured on film.
He’s no Anil Kapoor or Raja Sen, but what a ‘stache, non?
This guy is the Stephen Lang of Bollywood. Not because he is a Shakespearean thespian, but because when you need a strong willed man with enough charisma to fill a frame to come and chew entire mountains of scenery and yet remain authentic, you call this man.
Why he’s awesome: Even when he was just a dude up against Mithun in a boxing ring, he was a formidable physical presence and a world weary ire that simmered on the surface. The go-to guy to play suave 2nd ring villains (never a henchman, but a deputy in his own right) called Daga or Doga or some such, his physicality was a menace and his presence a welcome relief over the minus-personality heroes of the time. That he always held his own against the likes of Mithun, Anil Kapoor, and Rajnikanth makes him THE that guy.
Guess who is Champion RaghuRaj?
In the aforementioned film about boxing with Mithun, he basically played Apollo Creed. And when a man out Apollo Creeds Apollo Creed, that there’s a truck full of awesome.
If memory serves correctly, he also has the distinction of being one of the few people who offed Rajnikanth in a film. How many people can boast of being awesome-er than Rajni, if only for dodgy script requirements? Using his powers for good and not evil, he also did some not so memorable character roles, but always, always with the enjoyable screen presence and the promise of a fun half hour.
Would be when he punches the living shit out of a whiny Aamir Khan:
Ostensibly, the film had him as the lead bad guy, but the real villain of the ill-conceived copy of On the Waterfront was Aamir’s past. Sharat still steps up to the plate and delivers a physical performance like no other. And look at him. That man’s huge.
Of course this would have made him a known guy over a “that guy”, but this film, apart from making Rani Mukherjea popular, did nothing. And poor Sharat was yet again left playing the old sullen guy with only half an idea what people are up to; twirling his moustache at them, going “Bah! Humbug!”
So there we are. These are my favourite underdogs of Hindi cinema. Some are camp, some are genuinely awesome. Some I just enjoy watching on screen. But all of them are faces you have seen and possibly ignored all your lives. Anyone I left out criminally?
In January 2005 Rick Rodriguez stabbed Angela Smith to death in his apartment in Tuscon, Arizona. He then drove to Blythe, California where he committed suicide. Rick was the son of of Karen Zerby, who Smith was a former associate of, and the adopted son of David Berg, leader and founder of the Children of God, or simply The Family. The family preached a New Age version of Christianity which specifically focused on sex. To recruit new members Berg instituted a practice he called Flirty Fishing (pamphlets detailing their work appeared on T.o.M.) by female members he dubbed “God’s Whores”. These women would make themselves sexually available to men with the purpose of indoctrinating them into the group.
As the heir apparent to Berg, Rick, along with his “sister” Davida Kelley were used as propaganda for the darker purpose of encouraging pedophilia amongst the group. Rick and Davida were sexually abused by Berg on a regular basis and Rick was, allegedly, made to have sex with his own mother while Davida masturbated Berg next to them. A childhood of sexual abuse led, unsurprisingly, to a life of shame, depression, and rage, which Rick detailed in the video that was to be his suicide note.
The Family, now known as The Family International, insists that pedophilia was institutionalized and steadfastly denies the group’s responsibility for the actions of individuals, regardless of the fact that one of those individuals was their founder. This documentary is from the U.K.’s Channel 4 and was aired in August, 2006. It details the history of the cult, Rick’s murder suicide, and the events leading up to it. It’s a brutal tale of what can only be described as a very painful life. Profanity and nudity here, so wait until you’re home.
A great photoset of intriguing 19th century magic acts and circus posters. Needless to say the above is my favorite. I think Gogia Pasha is going to be my new alter ego. Serious Gogia Pasha! Aur uska Serious bhoot mahal. This is world domination stuff, this. Fried Gold.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but somehow the universe has been kind enough to let me own a Wii. It’s a gorgeous machine and I am happy just to stand like a goofy idiot playing Golf (Golf! How I hate that sport outside of the electronic entertainment medium) all day. I do own games that let me be (among other things) a doctor (I know! Crazy!) and an Italian plumber.
What I haven’t mentioned, like ever, is that it’s Japanese. Now, there are times when you want to see an English menu, with the screen drawing pixels in the form you actually comprehend. But you know, geekery of geekeries, I actually enjoy swimming neck deep in the almost runic symbols that the Japanese language throws at me. As a result, you grow an appreciation of the various ways your brain makes sense of things. I absolutely marvel at my intuitiveness to just click the left squiggly to accept, and the right wiggly to cancel. It’s resonant with human potential, I tell you.
As a result, I may have no idea what the Miis are usually up to or if they assemble when you click the whistle just because they are Japanese in origin, or if they love you or if they are even crazy or what. I do know that they respond to you, and mock you by being happy in a round white room, while you can’t find the same hip deep in entertainment possibilities you invented for yourselves. We lack the Miiness and can’t respond to such a scenario with an even keel. It disturbs me.
Of course, much like Pi or other sane individuals, I had the option to actually buy an English language console – the fact that it is Japanese doesn’t mean that’s the only flavour it understands – but that would contradict my zeal to do something ridiculous each and every day, without which I don’t think I would be able to look at those fucking cartoons.
This was crazy uncle Sam, back to writing fucking cuckoo shit. Tell me something ridiculous you did today.
So Chris Baker over at Wired’s Game|Life says in his E3 round up : (Specifically for the Half Life 2: Orange Box)
“Let’s see: One of the best PC games ever made, plus two expansion episodes, plus an enormously fun multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2, plus the unique puzzle/action title Portal? There really isn’t a better bargain in gaming this year. Anyone with a 360 or PS3 or PC who doesn’t plan on buying this must be smoking crack.”
Hoo boy, really Chris? Really? I have the original Half Life 2 box. I have HL2: Episode one. I have paid for those, and own the original boxes, you shortsighted commenter! Do you really think its a good deal, me buying the whole original box, paying full price for 2 mods and one episode? Huh? Valve has left me with no choice, and I think that sucks. Don’t kiss their asses because you want to play the whole box on your 360. I don’t. I want to play Ep2, Portal and TF2 on my PC. And if Valve doesn’t provide, you know what lesser people are going to do Chris? You know what? They are going to pirate. Yo ho ho, Chris, yo ho ho.
Not me though, I will probably have to buy the damn box, unless they change their minds and release individual parts on Steam.