PJ PARTIES FOR WOMEN OVER 40

Here’s a nifty way to plan a fun get together with your women friends and re-live the pajama parties from your youth. I heard about this kind of party from a young woman I recently met. Every other month, she and her friends gather for an all day /overnight event. They cook up scrumptious dishes, drink great wine, gossip and watch films. A spin on this is to create your own DVD women’s film festival. The film line-up could be Best Actress Oscar winning performances, or an all female comedy night or a collection of films either written or directed by women. Plan the meals around the films. So, while serving up fantastic Italian dishes you could check out the wonderful divas of Italian cinema. I am planning my first PJ party/DVD women’s festival around my favorite Indian women film makers. For food, I’ll be whipping up a curried chicken salad. Ina Garten has a tasty recipe: Google – Ina Garten’s curried chicken salad. The films on my menu are: Mira Nair’s MONSOON WEDDING; Gurinder Chadha’s BRIDE AND PREJUDICE; and, Deepa Mehta’s WATER. These films will not disappoint and even a second viewing is a treat. I tell you a little about them since you may want to check them out.

MONSOON WEDDING is exquisitely shot and tells the story of an arranged marriage taking place in a well to do Delhi family. On the Mira Nair’s website, Mira Bai Films , the film is described as “….a love song to both old and new Delhi. It is also an exploration and celebration of Punjabi culture. Five interweaving stories are told in the four days and nights leading up to an elaborate upper-class wedding. Each story navigates different aspects of love, crossing boundaries of class, continent and morality.”

BRIDE AND PREJUDICE is a Bollywood take on the Jane Austin classic. There is much singing and dancing and the spirit of the film is positively exuberant. The color palate of the film is dazzling. Fans of the TV show “Lost” may be surprised to see Naveen Andrews cast as Mr. Darcy’s good friend, Mr. Bingley. In an interview in About.com, Naveen said he had to train 9 hours a day for about 40 weeks (surely an exaggeration) to learn the dance numbers which he described as, “…traditional Indian dance coupled with M.C. Hammer from the early ‘90s.” The singer Ashanti makes a cameo appearance and sings a song that has no connection to the plot. According to Gurinder Chadha, it is a traditional in Bollywood films for a celebrity to make such a cameo appearance and sing a song unrelated to the storyline.

WATER takes place in 1938 and it tells the story of 2 women who are living in a widows’ house. At that time, if a woman’s husband died she had 3 choices: to marry her husband’s younger brother, if his family permits; to kill herself on his funeral pyre; or, to live a life of celibacy, discipline, and solitude in a house with other widows. The movie follows the lives of two women. Chuyia, had been married to a much older man. When he dies, her family places her in a widows’ house where, despite being a pre-teen, she is expected to live out her days. As the film progresses, it is heartbreaking to watch Chuyia slowly realize that her mother is not coming to take her home. Kalyani, another widow, meets a handsome young man, who is a progressive thinker. He believes in a new law which, while unpopular, does allow widows to re-marry. But crossing the river to meet his family, Kalyani realizes that events in her past, tying her to her beloved’s father, may prevent her from marrying. This film, like the other two, is beautifully shot and the performances are outstanding.

By the way, here are some additional films directed by these very talented women. Other notable films by Mira Nair: VANITY FAIR, THE NAMESAKE, and SALAAM BOMBAY. Other notable films by Deepa Mehta: FIRE and 1947: EARTH – the other 2 films that make up a trilogy. Another notable film by Gurinder Chadha: BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM.

So, those are my party plans. I’ll happily take suggestions for future women’s DVD film festivals.

Jan Bina, blogger for In the Trenches Productions
First Entertainment Website for Women Over 40

Advertisements