Rey Bhaiyya!

Three years ago, I made a post about DVD pricing in India and how it was extremely brain-dead to charge big money for DVDs of movies which come with no special features and bad film transfers. I ended the post with a fingers-crossed comment about Lagaan not having come out on DVD yet and about how I trust Aamir Khan to “rock my socks off”.

I can uncross my fingers now.

Lagaan has just been released on DVD for the first time ever. And not just that, the documentary The Making of Lagaan ( which has two alternate titles – the Indian version is called Chale Chalo and the international version Madness in the Desert) by Satyajit Bhatkal has also been released. I saw the DVD, which has been called the ‘Anniversary Edition’, at Music World last Friday, and I bought it yesterday. Putting my money where my mouth is. I promised myself I would buy it THE MOMENT it was released. Late by three days, but yeah, I paid up. The single DVD set comes with deleted scenes, which I had already seen before, thanks to a pirated DVD I bought off National market. It also includes the song ‘Rey Bhaiyya Chhootey Lagaan’ , previously released as ‘Zin Kinak Zin’ in a double-cassette collection called The Spirit of Lagaan that had background scores, dialogues and the songs from the movie. ( Including the Sadhna Sargam version of ‘O Paalanhaare’, which I think is way, WAY better than the Lata version we are familiar with) Also picked up the documentary, though only the VCD seems to be available right now. Odyssey was offering a copy of the book The Spirit of Lagaan free with the DVD, and so I picked that up too, though I already have a copy.

Watched the movie again last night, with someone who hadn’t seen it before. Both of us LOVED it – c’mon, who wouldn’t? It’s Lagaan, after all. The transfer was perfect, the sound slightly schizophrenic – kept going high and low everytime the music stopped or crescendoed. I have a feeling it might be because we were watching it on stereo speakers. Rachel Shelley looks as beautiful as ever – wonder what she’s up to nowadays?

(breathless) ( gasping for air) (SQUEEEEEEE)

Just did a Google search for her, and…and…Rachel Shelley’s appearing on the third season of The L-Word. And in an episode of Coupling as well. What? WHAT?

It somewhat pains me to think that when I talk to kids today about Rachel Shelley, they will remember her as Helena Peabody from L-Word rather than Elizabeth from Lagaan. *sigh*

Ok, fanboy hat off. This is good news. I can now revel in more Rachel Shelley goodness with ease. Though I thought the first season of LW was pretty boring, hot lesbian women can only take up so much of my attention.

Back to Lagaan. Just when I was being very happy about my acquisition from yesterday, there came a bombshell, when I went to the www.lagaandvd.com website. You know, just to check out the press release and shit.

Turns out, there’s a 3-DVD Collectors’ set . That comes in a wooden box. With lots of additional goodies. Priced at a fairly decent 2000 Rs. GODDAMNIT, I knew I should have waited.

So far, I have – two pirated copies of the Lagaan DVD ( one with the deleted scenes that stops midway into the film, and the other with a bad transfer and audio, but works), the official single disc edition. I NEED the three disc edition, and I think I am going to have it. Soon.


Mama I’m coming home!

I leave the US of A on Monday night.

In the last one and a half months, I have –

  • been part of a team that’s delivered a feature-complete product a day ahead of deadline.
  • seen my first Monet, Titian, Manet, El Greco and Gainsborough. And these were names I remembered off the top of my head.
  • visited my first comicbook shops.
  • bought out full runs of comics and manga and exceeded my weight limit by 20 kilos.
  • been to my first Comic book convention. Woo Hoo!
  • indulged in Major Comic art acquisitions, 32 in all.
  • managed to buy Perfect Gifts.
  • visited 5-level used record/CD/DVD outlets, each of which made me want to sit in a corner and whimper to myself.
  • held original first printings of the first three Dark Tower books in my hands, caressed them for about twenty minutes, put them back gently in their display cases and cried on the way out.
  • eaten The Crappiest Biryani Evah, and priced at 8.99$ to boot.
  • had surprise packages mailed to me from Spain.
  • become part-time Web Elf for the coolest Electronic Dance Music site ever.
  • not had the time to write about all these. Mostly because of point (1), but that will soon be remedied.

Hitman is back!


And the comic shop owner quoted too much on that Hitman cover. Higher than my initial estimate. Goddamnit. I will try to bargain him down, but…erm….I don’t think it’s happening. Sucks.

But I picked up a complete run of Michael Zulli’s Puma Blues ( 23 issues) and a complete run on Ted McKeever’s Metropol ( 2 volumes, 15 issues), both for a cumulative price of 20$. And two old Heavy Metal issues for 2$ each. Cheaper than in Best Book Stall, and in better condition at that.

I have earmarked quite a bunch of stuff for the upcoming sale. Most likely I will be cleaning up their stock of complete runs. There are sets of Sam and Twitch, The Human Target ( the Vertigo series by Peter Milligan), a complete run of Longshot, and all the issues look like they are signed by Art Adams ( I am greedy, so I didn’t buy that off immediately because they were 15$ for 6 issues, but 50% discount next week – yum! ). Quite a bit of other stuff too, I don’t remember for sure. And seems like there’s more full runs coming in.



So I am in Palo Alto, California right now.

Right opposite my hotel, there is an Indian Chaat place, where you get thaalis and panipuris. I am not interested in either. ( “Panipuris? You are not interested in panipuris??” “Well, not when they are $3.95 for six pieces. It’s un-Indian that way.”) But. But. There’s a comicbook store right next to that eatery. Unfortunately for me, the time it closes is much before the time I get back from work, except on weekends.

Luckily enough, yesterday I came back from work just about half an hour before closing time.

And went inside My Very First Comic Book Store.

It was a cool experience. The salesman really knew his stuff, and pointed out the stacks of Asterix and Tintin they had right next to the door, because of the Indian population who inquired about them frequently. Because I did not have too much time, I decided to ask him about the art collection they had advertised outside, and he came back with two huge folders. Yum. Got to looking at the pages. Saw some nice Buscema/Severin Weirdworld pages, a couple of excellent Thor splashes, a Son of Satan splash by Ed Hannigan and Sonny Trinidad that set my heart a-flutter, especially when I saw the low price marked onto the pages. ( The salesman explained that those were the prices the owner had paid for them when he bought the pages himself. Damn.) And then, just at the end of the second folder, I saw…

A Hitman cover.

There was a Hitman cover for sale at the store.

Ok, let me set this straight. There are 60 John McCrea Hitman covers in existence right now, 61 if you count issue 10 Million. I own one of them, I have reserved three more, there’s one on sale right now on Comic Art fans, Romitaman.com has the cover to #34 marked at an exorbitant price because it won an Eisner award, and I have accounted for about six or seven more of the covers.

That leaves us with about 40. And I just found one opposite my hotel room.

I would probably preen a little, but let me figure out how much the owner quotes. Fingers crossed.

And did I tell you about the sale that begins May 20th, which involves a 50% discount on all back issues and 25% on statues?


Naanda bakayero?

Heh, now that the Spider-man 3 movie featuring Venom is out , there is a flurry of eBayers who are selling their Hot Copies of Amazing Spider-man 300 at very Hot ( read: expanded) prices. Now if only someone would tell them that Venom made his first (though admittedly brief) appearance in Amazing Spider-man 298. 298 also happens to be the first issue in which Todd McFarlane elbowed his way into Spider-man history. I think I shall go take out my autographed copy of ASM 298 and gaze at it fondly for a minute or two today.

Bought Absolute Watchmen off White Drongo the day it landed. Whoo hoo. What is Absolute Watchmen, you ask? It’s the remastered version of Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, newly coloured, oversized with a couple of pages of extras in which Dave Gibbons shows off his thumbnails, Alan Moore shows off how he can write a page describing a single panel, and DC figures out a new way to get you to buy an old favourite. You ought to be happy with the trade paperback, really, leave the Absolute versions to the maniac Completist Bastards. Either ways, I am happy I got it at a discount and proceeded to reread it again. As always, Moore’s characters are too talky, and all of them, including Rorschach are quite erudite when it comes to explaining their motives and writing in their journals. The book is magnificent, the story is a landmark effort, but I still think Miracleman is better, and From Hell knocks both of them out of the park with its glory.

And then Vasu sent me Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman’s second collection of short stories which was released last year and made it to India just last month. I love you, Vasu.

( Sidetrack: Ennio Morricone on my playlist after a long, long time. )

52, DC’s 52-issue-long series which was released weekly over a period of one year, has just gotten over. eBay, here I come!