Top 5 “that guy”s in Bollywood

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:

5. Raja Bundela
This Guy:

Kaafi Bada Hai

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).

4. Rana Jung Bahadur
This guy:
Photo Courtesy Beth Loves Bollywood
Photo courtesy Beth Loves Bollywood. Forgive, Beth. It is hard to find his face.

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.

3. Razak Khan
This Guy:
Ninja Uncle
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.

Shining Moment:

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.
AK and Kabootar
Men with Pigeons on shoulder clearly know nothing.

2. Sudhir
This Guy:
Cheesecake
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.

1. Sharat Saxena

This Guy:
The 'stache
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.
Champion, they say. Truth.
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.

Shining Moment:
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?

How the year that good things happened happened, OR how my spaghetti got ravioli OR how 2007 was good for the gamer in me OR The best games of 2007 OR how I can’t ever think of a clever title and usually quote Dylan instead

A whole lot of people like to recap their year and tell everyone what they thought of it, and I guess I am that sort of person too, but these are not borrowed thoughts like most. Though talking about 2007 does seem kinda moldy and I even thought I almost found a reason to not write about this, but hey, we’ve got free crab cakes, so we’re good. (plus I’ve been nonexistent on LJ, so not like anybody’s readin)

Last year was, among other things, a year where things shook up like a very big earthquake. I moved cities again, after about eight years in New Delhi, the city of my heart. I traveled a lot, and I mean a LOT, as far as my track record goes (thirty one flights, four rented car journeys, two bus trips, and a tractor ride). I played a lot of great videogames, got two new consoles and a PC, and well, I um, well…

Let me tell you about gamers and the women who date them.

In my experience, the girlfriend of a regular gamer, or ‘gaming widow’ to use the technical scientific classification, passes her time in the life of said gamer in four distinct levels. There is no fifth level, because the fourth level is the unbeatable boss level. Level one brings with it feelings of deep and infatuating affection and she pictures the man as a cute boy-man, who likes playing Mario on a coin op. This is a good level, as it is characterized by the generally misinformed understanding that someone who plays a lot of videogames is also very technically intelligent, and may yet become a superwhiz IT consultant, and hey, all that passion means he is passionate. It is important that a level one girlfriend never actually see the man play his videogames, staring at the TV like a monkey with no other motor skills evident than the pressing of buttons, twirling of joysticks and stuffing of face with nachos, or hear the almost primal screams of his mates who spew advice while passing the nacho bucket around, thus shattering the illusion. In level one videogames==love. Level two, which comes about very soon to fairly early, depending on the season (Christmas deluge plays weird murder games in the relationship) is marked by resigned acceptance. Go on then, she thinks, play your stupid games. At least I know where you are at all times. At least you’re not eyeing my best friend, or shagging someone on the side. Level three, better known as the stage where the trouble actually starts is when she begins to compare herself to the hobby itself. The phrase ‘You and your stupid videogames’ will be used a multitude of times. Especially if Preeti and her idiot boyfriend and some friends want to do movies and lunch at Nirula’s with the both of you, and you have got an important TF2 tourney on that damned Singapore server. “You go and have fun, honey,” the gamer says trying to squirm out of the event, trying not to let on that he secretly hates Preeti and all her friends. “I’ll join you if I can.” Yeah, at seven. Level four is the advanced, cancerous version of stage three. The phrase repeated ever so often now is ‘You and your fucking videogames.’ When it’s time for another group lunch, the gamer’s girlfriend really hits it off with Preeti’s friend Rohan, who is a banking consultant with a cherry red Honda Civic who hates videogames, and she never returns your calls again.

Going back to the thought I didn’t complete, I finally figured out how to beat level four. Having struck out at all my relationships at Levels one, two, three and four in varying circumstances, I was determined to win this time. I decided I would cheat.

Turns out, the cheat code on level four is, “Will you marry me?” and it is not really one of those God-mode cheat codes, but kind of like that stupid small mushroom in Mario that turns you tiny, which whatever you say about it, only is good enough to make you excitable and jump really high, but does bugger all against Bowser, not to mention takes away whatever power up you were on at the time. Yep, 2007 was also the year when I beat Level four by getting married.

I know, I know. But at this time, it’s like telling a person that he can’t make a grilled tuna sandwich with a hosepipe, when he has invested not only in the pipe, but drilled a hole in an underground water reservoir, created a fence around the hole for leakages, laid out a picnic table with the fancy tablecloth and nice china and bought a big bottle of Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilly Sauce (It’s different). I would have probably made a more direct analogy and enlightened all of you on the inner arguments about marriage, but I DON’T HAVE PERMISSION.

Surprisingly, though, it has turned out to be very good for my gaming, because first of all, everyone in the whole world, including the wife, now understands and empathizes that I need a consolation prize. Games are my lollipop after the tetanus shot. Second of all, hey, you need someone to pummel at DoA at 3 in the morning. Am I right, or am I right? Plus, after I got the Wii, Nintendo saw fit to reward me with the single most effective advantage of being married – Super Mario Galaxy. While I am playing the game, I need someone to collect all the star bits for me, and the universe has literally conspired for me to make the most of my situation. Plus when you get married and someone (these two fine people) gifts you an X-Box 360, not to mention games to play it with and bean bags to play it on, you start to think maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Digressi-mon, I choose you!

(I really need to tell you about the great year in gaming I have had, especially with all the console love and a new PC, and I create segues like hosepipes create grilled tuna sandwiches.) Here, then, are the videogames that made the most impact in a mad mad year, and while I know your favorite is probably not here, remember that I may possibly hate you personally.

10. God Of War 2 (OR The most fun pressing buttons in the order someone tells you to)
God of War 2
It is surprising that I remembered this game at all, having played it in bouts and fits all through the year on my choking little PS2. But playing the middling to horrid Heavenly Sword made me realize how much I love the impeccable design decisions in this game. As much as I love David Jaffe, this sequel topped his creation many times over.
Why your game isn’t here: Because if you show me a game and claim it as a more polished example of a gameplay balance and carnage I will think you are wrong.

9. Eternal Sonata(Or Best game about hallucinations)
Eternal Sonata You are a character inside the dream of a sick and fevered Frederic Chopin, and you must battle monsters in turn based musical combat with musically named party members. Do you need another reason? It seems unlikely that Chopin dreamt of wide eyed Manga characters and turn based combat, yes. Still, you never know.
Why your game isn’t here: I haven’t played Mass Effect, and I think The Witcher had terrible voice acting. I think Persona 3 deserved to be on this list, and I think it still is. You JUST CAN”T SEE IT. Freaky.

8. Supreme Commander (OR Best game that made you feel like Mogambo)
Supreme Commander
World in Conflict has prettier explosions, and the battles are more intimate. But I can play Sup Com on dual monitors, keeping my eye on different parts of the epic battle at all times. That makes me feel all sorts of awesome, and dammit, games are supposed to do just that.
Why your game isn’t here: Muhuhahaha, watch as I obliterate you and build a frigate while keeping an eye on both things.

7. Team Fortress 2(OR The best game to wrest the crown from Counter Strike, never mind CoD)
The Orange Box - Team Fortress 2
It is the single most fun experience online I have had all year, despite the MMO trappings of CoD 4 or the trappings of the actual MMO expansion of the year, or even the fact that it ships with less maps than any other online shooter.
Why your game isn’t here: I hate Halo 3 multiplayer and the douchebaggery that it encourages in normal people on Live, I do.

6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (OR The best case for scripted gameplay, sandboxes be damned)
Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare
I like its multiplayer almost as much as I like TF2, or maybe a little less, but it is the relentless single player campaign with its cinematic gameplay, orchestral score, and finally, AI smart enough to immerse you completely in the game make me love this game. I have played this twice in different difficulty settings, and I plan to replay certain missions. Pure fun out of a tap.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (OR The best game to buy if you travel a lot)
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Don’t be fooled by what I just said. Even if you sit rooted to your desk playing Phantom Hourglass, it is pound for pound one of the best adventure game this year, and another solid achievement on the DS. I am surprised at how much I love my little DS every year more and more due to the absolutely fantastic games that keep coming on it.
Why your game isn’t here: I absolutely loved Crush, loved it. I am the man who will defend Jeanne de’Arc and FF Tactics to death. But there is something about the mad load times and the eldritch murderous refresh rates on the PSP that make me not pick it up. Something clearly needs to be done here.

4. Bioshock (OR The best game about Ayn Rand, and I know Chris Kohler said it first)
Bioshock
As a game that can be classified as a first person shooter, the game only about treads similar grounds as System Shock 2, so that can’t ever be bad, but not terribly new. But it the compelling story that makes it a gem. More importantly, the back story is told through what comes as a slap on the face to the cut scenes of FF and the briefing sequences in the Medal of Honor series. It is told through the game. YOU piece together the narrative by looking at an exquisitely detailed world and make sense of the narrative ion a world gone awry. This is not a novel or a movie as some people like to think. Bioshock is pure game.
Why your game isn’t here: Crysis is gorgeous, and the trying to find ways to kill the next set of bad guys is intact from Far Cry, but it bores me no end. HL2 Ep2 is pretty good, I admit. But you’ll know in a bit. And oh, Halo 3? Well, the 10 minutes of fun is intact. Unfortunately, so are the uninspired levels.

3. Rock Band (OR The best way to make you feel like a rock star)
Rock Band
3 minutes into this awesome game, and I already had creative differences with the drummer and the soloist. No one paid attention to the bassist, because, he is the bassist, and I fucked their song up. Bring it on bitches. Pure genius then, that the default controllers are broken as well. You can SMASH THEM and play with the GH controllers.
Why your game isn’t here: Because I can’t play with you anymore man, you are stifling my creativity.

2. Super Mario Galaxy (OR The best science fiction game)
Super Mario Galaxy
If you need reasons to play Super Mario Galaxy, you are clearly a dead husk of a human being, and your decaying body needs no more nourishment. Go eat human brains, and don’t bother me. I’ve got a chainsaw tied to my arm.
Why your game isn’t here: Because if I had to remove this for Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction, it would make me evil. Oh, and the princess is another castle.

1. Portal (OR The best cake and the best lie and the best lie about the cake)
The Orange Box - Portal
Funniest game of the year, the best song of the year, the game with most character, and the most innovative gameplay mechanism. It took me about 4 hours to finish it, but is very quietly changed the way game design is looked at in that time. I doff my hat at the game everyone should play because your life is incomplete without it.
Why your game isn’t here: The cake is a lie.

I have played these and more this year, making 2007 an absolutely fantastic year for gaming. That I have now a wife who plays and loves these games as much as me makes it bloody brilliant. Since 2008 has no hope I hell of beating it, I proceeded straight to the getting drunk on the 1st. One thing that wasn’t brilliant in 2007 was however, the fact that I blogged (read mental masturbation) fairly less. Maybe this will be the same, but at least I have fucked your friends page/RSS feed/iPhone browser once this year. Let’s a go!
Year 2007 was also the year when The Sopranos ended. Not that I cared about the show one way or the other, but I hear the ending was so limp and vague, it left people talking for months. That is exactly how I am going to leave this post, so’s it leaves people talking. I like comments because it proves to the intarwubs that I have friends.

Boo.
(Thanks to Harry Thompson’s views which colored mine completely, and on which the most amusing bits are completely based on.)

Half Life 2 in sixty seconds

While I absolutely don’t like to bugger around with your RSS feeds, all 12 of you, but there is something so perversely funny about the following video that it makes me LMAO, ROTFL, and all other sorts of LOL. So here it is, FYI and FYC:

The story of Half Life 1 and Half-Life 2 (sans Episode 1 and episode 2 of course) in sixty secods. There you have it. Don’t tell me I don’t love you, you Portal playing Team Fortress 2 hating monkeys.