Monday, September 24, 2007


What better way to greet the week than with a spot of day-glo Bollywood insanity - courtesy of Heeralal Pannalal, a loopy buddy movie from the late 70s scored by that masterly maestro R.D. Burman?

Here we have lovely heroine Zeenat Aman feigning blindness in order to track down her dear-departed father. This being Bollywood, the trifling matter of life-and-death subterfuge doesn't stop here engaging in an eye-popping song & dance number, (vocals via the legendarily ubiquitous Asha Bhosle).

Watch in wonder as a girl gang of grouchy guitarists groove away, under the watchful eye of a mustachioed crime lord - sporting the most hellbent headgear ever conceived!!

70s bombshell Aman hit the ground running after her sultry (and award winning) performance in Hare Ram Hare Krishna. Life hasn't provided her with the easiest of rides, but she was recently ear-marked as the All Time Sex Symbol of Bollywood Cinema - and who I am to argue with such wise judgement..?

If you were wondering who provided the grunting, growling male playback - (and if not, you should have been) - it was none other than Burman himself, proving once again to be one of the most unique forces of nature nurtured by the motion picture screen!

Many thanks to Symaster for posting this, along with gaggles more glorious Bollywood clips on Youtube ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ditko Doco Definite Diamond! - Johnathan Ross In Search of Steve Ditko reviewed...

Regular readers will know that very little gets me blogging with bated breath these days, but I felt duty bound to reference this evening's screening of Johnathan Ross In Search of Steve Ditko reet sharpish like...

Without doubt the finest, and certainly the most enjoyable and intelligent documentary I've ever seen on comic books, it squeezed in an impressive wealth of detail, down to discussing Steve Ditko's most confrontational creation, Mr A, & the inspiration behind him at some length.

Johnathan faced down Smilin' Stan Lee in a pretty candid & revealing interview, alongside golden moments with legends like Alan Moore, Jerry Robinson, John Romita - even finding time for Silver age secretary Flo Steinberg!
Possibly the highest point of fanboyism came near the end as Ross attempted to get in contact with Ditko, writer Neil Gaimen tagging along as his sidekick. Gaiman manfully described himself as Etta Candy to Johnathan's Wonder Woman, and what followed was a true passion affirming popculture moment for anyone who grew up reading and loving comic books...and still does.
Fabulous, inspiring stuff - can't think of anyone else working in television today who could have done a finer job (or would even have been given the opportunity) - so hats tipped in the direction of BBC4 also...
(Eyeteeth would have been duly supplied to have worked on the show, but I did notice a clip of the notorious death-by-boat-propeller scence from Turkish Spider-man epic, 3 Dev Adam. That may have come courtesy of a pre-release Onar DVD I slipped the big man himself last year, so it certainly pasted a big grin across my mug. Although no Japanese Spider-man? For shame... ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ditko Doco drops anchor! Jonathan Ross - In Search of Steve Ditko.

Heads up for this - broadcast on BBC4 in the UK this coming Sunday evening and no doubt appearing at a torrent site near you soon : a brand spanking new documentary on Steve Ditko, the infamously private co-creator of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man and sorcerer supreme Dr Strange, (not to mention such iconoclastic characters as The Creeper, Hawk & Dove, The Question and Mr A).

This came as a bit of a surprise to me back in April when first mentioned on Ross's Saturday morning radio show, as I was under the incorrect impression that Mr Ditko had long since shuffled off to the big comic store in the sky, along with contemporaries such as Jack Kirby and Wally Wood - which perfectly illustrates how much attention I tend to pay to the latest goings on in the medium these days...

Genuinely looking forward to this - in my book Ross is still the godfather of cult programming since his watershed series The Incredibly Strange Film Show opened up a whole wide world of cinematic weirdness to impressionable viewers, such as m'self. I'm of the opinion that productions like this come alive and thrive when fronted by a genuine enthusiast rather than a faceless identikit voiceover (same applies to any documentary really, from David Attenborough to the current BBC2 series The Story of India with Michael Wood - one of the very best things on the box at the mo).

Alongside his day job as the BBC's top presenter and chat show host, Ross has unleashed series after series on grindhouse movies and Asian popular culture, but has never tackled comic books - a subject very close to his heart. (In fact a couple of years ago Damon Albarn put Ross on the spot on his talkshow by pointing out this very fact - to which he responded he preferred to keep this passion more or less private).

Well, if you're going to break your word and whop out a private passion for all and sundry to gawp at you couldn't find a better subject than the Steve Ditko, and this promises to be a benchmark show - comic books have never been highly valued by mainstream television and the only half decent study I can recall is Comic Book Confidential (which was a movie anyway, and actually something more than half decent - well worth watching.).

In Search of Steve Ditko is showing on BBC4 at 9pm on Sunday 16th of September (repeated Wednesday 19th at 12:30am) as part of the Comics Britannia season, which also includes some airings of the classic, camped up 1960s Batman show, so ya-boo for that. ;)

(Ooo - before I forget, there's a couple of enlightening pieces on Ditko and the show here, on Mark Evanier's always eye opening website.)