As most of you know, a couple weeks ago I trekked out the snowy mountains of Park City, UT to take part in Sundance mayhem, Taqwacore style. I was there to blog on behalf of The Taqwacores motion picture – and you can read my full experience here. I ended up having one of the best (and most surreal) times of my life, hanging out with The Kominas, getting to interview celebrities (like in the video above of Gurinder Chadha and Sendhil Ramamurthy), and watching a ridiculous amount of movies. It was also a surprisingly mutinous adventure, and by the end of Sundance week I was literally introducing myself to every Desi person at Sundance. So, let me see if I can give you a celebri-Desi mutinous rundown of what happened at Sundance 2010.
The biggest highlight to my week was getting the opportunity to interview Bollywood movie star, Aamir Khan. He was there to promote the movie Peepli Live which was being released out of his production studio. With The Kominas as my hilarious Flip camera crew, we talked to him, first time director Anusha Rizvi and actor Omkar Das Manikpuri. Peepli Live is the first Bollywood movie to make it into competition in Sundance, and I really enjoyed the movie. It was an indie comedy with a Bollywood look, but without the cheesy song and dance numbers. And Aamir Khan was super normal, sweet and nice (as well as his wife Kiran Rao, who started talking to me in Bangla when Basim, Shahj, and Imran were talking to Aamir in Hindi). Check out the first part to the interview and visit MTV Iggy for the full run down.
I was also really excited about meeting Gurinder Chadha, who directed one of my favorite movies, Bend It Like Beckhem. Of course, it should be no surprise to the mutiny how drool-worthy I find Sendhil Ramamurthy, who plays the leading man in Chadha’s latest movie, It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. The interview was fascinating as the conversation revolved around the comparison of Brit Desi and American Desi film and cultures and I only lost my composure once – it was when Chadha talked about giving Mr. Ramamurthy a shirtless scene in the movie and all I could respond with was a “Thank you!”
Sadly, tried as I wanted to, the movie was disappointing in what I can only describe as orientalizing dark comedy. To read the rest of my review and check out the full interview go to MTV Iggy here.
The first couple nights there, I went to a party that DJ Rekha was spinning. It was my first time meeting her and I was kind of giddy since I had just named her a top Desi Woman of the Decade. Also at the party was My Pet Dragon’s Reena Shah who was teaching everyone at the party to bhangra, and Toronto tabla extraordinaire Gupreet Chana. Also there was the director of Punching at the Sun, Tanuj Chopra. While dancing with Rasika Mathur (she’s in The Taqwacores) on the dancefloor, we were introduced to Tanuja Desai Hidier, the author of Born Confused. My jaw dropped as she talked about being a fan of Sepia Mutiny. It’s easily one of my top twenty books, and I was excited to learn that the book had been turned into a screenplay. Read the full party review (and an interview w/ Tanuj Chopra) at MTV Iggy here.
I also got to meet 10-string violinist Gingger Shankar who talked about her amazingly eclectic musical background. She talked about scoring movies for Mel Gibson, singing soprano opera at Carnegie, going on tour with Smashing Pumpkins, and how her parents toured with George Harrison in the 70s. Read the full interview here.
There were other random encounters too. We met up with actor and musician Riz Ahmed (of the movie Britz) at a sports bar. He was there with his fellow cast members to promote Four Lions, a comedy about jihadists. I met director Samina Akbari at a bus stop – she was there to promote her short The Visitors which was screening at Sundance. We went to a party hosted by Noureen Dewulf, who’s performance, by the way, as the burkha clad Rabeya in The Taqwacores was surprisingly stellar. She was super nice in person, and super normal.Spoken word artist Dawah Poet, who was in town to support the movie Bilal’s Stand, stopped by the Salt Lake City taqwacore concert. Actress Nidhi Singh from the play The Domestic Crusaders also stopped by The Taqwacores premeire party Monday night where The Kominas performed.
Finally, of course, of course, was all the punk rock antics I had access to by staying at the punk house with the cast, the crews, at the punks in town for The Taqwacore world premiere. I got some great interviews with the cast (check out the video of my interview with Nav Mann who plays Umar in the movie). There were some silly antics with The Kominas (such as hanging out at a gifting suite with Imran and meeting the guy from My Name is Earl or checking out Kim Badawi’s photo exhibit). And we were all there for the movie, which was fantastic (my first review here and second review here). The concert (w/ The Kominas, Al Thawra and Filmstrip) was pretty Epic too. I’m not sure when the The Taqwacores motion picture will be near a city near you, but it did get accepted into SXSW (along with the documentary) so if you are in the Austin area, be sure to check it out.
So that’s it Mutiny – Sundance with my mutinous twist. To check out the MANY videos I collected along the way, visit my YouTube account, and of course, for the full unedited story, go to Taqx at Sundance. I do have to say, it was totally amazing to be ‘just a blogger’ and to have access to all these amazing people. To call it surreal doesn’t even cover it. Till the next adventure…
” I was literally introducing myself to every Desi person at Sundance” I BET YOU THINK THAT EVERY DESI IN THE WORLD HAS FUCKING BROWN SKIN YOU AND THIS WHOLE SITE ARE SO STEROTYPICAL OF WHAT A DESI IS IF YOU KNEW INDIA YOUD KNOW THAT NOT EVERY FUCKING DESI HAS BROWN SKIN AND LOOKS LIKE RUSSEL PETERS INDIA HAS MANY AND MANY ETHNIC GROUPS NOT EVERY ONE HAS FUCKING BROWN SKIN
someone needs a hug
Taz: Great job. Congrats.
aamir khan is ace!! cracks me up when he drops the tea bag.
amazing job taz.
Thanks for editing those videos and sharing them with us, Taz. I appreciate the time it took.
Taz, did you edit those? what did you use?
Wow, thank you, thank you Taz. This is great. I’m so jealous that you got to hang out with Sendhil and Amir…too many cuties to handle at one time! Too bad that you didn’t like Sendhil’s movie; I loved Bend it like Beckham but after that I haven’t been too impressed with the director.
good stuff, entertaining for sure!
I am jealous as shit. My boss wouldn’t give me the week off to go to sundance. Any other films we should be on the look out for?
cool cool cool!
That’s all I have to say… 🙂
YES! I did. For filming we used Flip Cameras (One HD, one not) and one day my flip decided to stop charging so the Gurinder/Sendhil interview was hella ghetto and filmed on my kodak digital camera on the movie setting.
Videos were edited using the program that comes with the Flip, Windows Movie Maker or Quicktime Pro, depending on what didn’t crash on me that day and what movie would open using what program. I had a lot of issues. I never do film editing now, but was trained in Final Cut Pro back in the day, so was super wishing I had that and a Mac for this.
I thought BOY out of New Zealand was Napolean Dynamite style quirky amazing – here’s my review at MTVIggy on that. I LOVED the Dakota Fanning/Kristen Stewart movie, The Runaways – here’s my review on that. And a small movie out of Greenland called Nuummoiq was well done – I interviewed the cast here and went for a walk in the snow while they played here. My review at MTV Iggy.
Congrats on the interviews, they look great! And we spoke in Urdu, not Hindi 😉
Functionally, colloquial Urdu and Colloquial Hindi are pretty much indistinguishable.
That’s what I’m sayin’! Especially to ears accustomed to Bangla!
choli ke peeche is an amazing song! great post – keep them coming.