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Mallika Rao
Mallika Rao is a staff writer at HuffPost, focused on the intersection of race and art.

Entries by Mallika Rao

Meet The Women Radicalizing One Of The World's Oldest Dance Forms

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 9:59 AM

One of America’s most unusual dance dynasties reigns in Minneapolis: the trio of Ranee Ramaswamy, and her daughters Aparna and Ashwini.

In just over two decades, their company, Ragamala, has become the standard bearer of a singularly successful kind of hybridity, merging ancient...

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This Parody Of Bollywood 'Party Songs' Is Too Good, Yaar

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 5:13 PM

Any behemoth industry has its lazy side. In Bollywood, this has to be the "party song," a seemingly requisite scene in a certain kind of blockbuster, governed by a crude formula that audiences still, somehow, go wild for.  

There's so much to satirize about the genre, from the requisite objectification of women (water must always meet clothing) to the reliable co-opting of black culture -- with an always sub par rap interlude, à la Rebecca Black's "Friday," that belies the culture's prejudices (against dark skin, and African-origin people, subservient in the insidious hierarchy that still lingers from colonial times).

Thankfully, India finally has satirists up to the task. In the long but worth it video above, the popular sketch comedy troupe All India Bakchod teams up with scene-stealer Irfan Khan  -- you know his scene thefts from "Namesake," "Life Of Pi," and "Jurassic Park" -- for a parody that perfectly skewers Bollywood's particular hypocrisies.

Based on "Party All Night," a hit song from 2013, the satiric version calls out everything from censor boards (Bottles! Girls! Because this is a song, censors will let it go!) to cynical producers who know the music-leading structure of the industry means they can make a hefty salary off a movie with a single catchy song and little else of note. Even for those unfamiliar with Bollywood, the tropes should feel relevant, given that every American party anthem music video engages in parallel ones.

As a side benefit, it's fun to see Khan -- a hidden gem in Bollywood's thicket of Ken-doll clones -- playing diva, in the leisurely intro. "I don't want to brag about myself, but I ... can ... do ... anything."

Respectfully requesting a parody of Indian cable news next.

Also on HuffPost:

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The Light Shift

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 4:03 PM

If you like your mysteries regular and small, you would have done well to park yourself all summer 2015 outside a house exactly 100 years old, in the city of Groningen, the Netherlands. At the start of every weekend you would have seen the same curious sight.

A figure, fine-boned...

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'RN,' So Hot RN

(0) Comments | Posted August 3, 2015 | 7:43 PM

An old acronym is everywhere, Tom Cruise-like, full of mysterious renewed vigor. 

Exhibits B, pulled from Twitter jn (just now):

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Here's Why Walter Palmer Keeps Saying He 'Took' Cecil The Lion

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 10:34 AM

George Orwell once wrote that political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” The same could be said of the language of the hunter: 

I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite, was collared and...

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This Simple Art Project Is Dismantling India's Rape Culture

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 9:38 AM

Locals call it "Rapist Lane."

At night, no lights ignite it. In the day, idle buses line its sides, slated to eventually shuttle workers home from a nearby factory. The road, stretching only a quarter kilometer through Yelahanka -- a suburb of the leafy southern Indian city of Bangalore -- is...

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This Card Deck Brings 2,300 Years Of Lost Indian History To Life

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 10:56 PM

The pivotal Indian leader Chandragupta Maurya has more or less receded from human consciousness over the centuries. With him have gone other former bigwigs of B.C.E. India -- Maurya's grandson, Ashoka the Great, described by historian H.G. Wells as a lone shining star; the next empire's Queen...

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Salute Your Shorts

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 2:45 PM

This is about a book you’ve either heard too much about or nothing at all. (If you’ve heard about it at all, you’ve probably heard too much.) It’s called The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. Translated into English late last year after unexpected success in...

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Six Countries Where It's Illegal To Dance

(0) Comments | Posted July 6, 2015 | 6:39 PM

It's not just the fictional town of Bomont, Oklahoma, that has a problem with dancing. Outside the silly world of "Footloose," the world's "only pure art form," in the words of a wise cartoon beagle, inspires intense legislation, black-market lechery, and even murder. In the wake of the news...

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Geeking Out With Misty Copeland's First Ballet Teacher On The Bigness Of Today

(10) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 5:37 PM

misty copeland

"I realized that I could put her body into positions and she could hold them and all of the positions were beautiful."

Tuesday morning, the American Ballet Theatre stopped delaying the inevitable and finally appointed Misty Copeland a principal ballerina. The...

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Designer Paolo Cappello Is Making Wallpaper Cool Again

(2) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 9:11 AM

Not so long ago wallpaper was considered a classic suburban feature, rarely associated with high art or ingenuity. But as the medium has staged a return in the past few years, stars like Lena Dunham are making certain wallpaper designers hip. Meanwhile, the designs themselves are...

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Sufi Music For The Spotify Generation

(2) Comments | Posted June 15, 2015 | 8:33 AM

arooj aftab

Lahore-born, Brooklyn-based artist Arooj Aftab is redefining Sufi music for the modern world.

Arooj Aftab is attracting attention, despite her best efforts. The New York-based artist -- “one of the biggest stars” of Pakistan’s underground scene, according to the...

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On One Of Japan's Most Magical Streets, An Architect Brings Beauty To A Chicken Shop

(7) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 8:49 AM

ethernet yakitori

Harmonica Yokocho is a special street, beyond even its wondrous name. The narrow alleyway in the stylish Tokyo suburb of Kichijoji is a time warp, still suffused with "the atmosphere of black-market stalls during the post-World War II period," writes the architect Kengo...

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Live, From Brooklyn

(2) Comments | Posted May 29, 2015 | 6:57 AM


Illustration by Priscilla Frank

Value typically parallels price. High-quality food tends to be expensive. Ditto for clothes, airline seats -- even medical treatment.

The rule does not hold for live comedy. In New York City, global mecca for stand-up, discerning comedy nerds...

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Here's Why The Biggest Slum In India Is Honoring A Fictional Rape Victim

(32) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 12:44 PM

priya shakti comic book

Ram Devineni has been thinking a lot lately about shakti -- a word that translates loosely from the Sanskrit to "female power." It's a transformative concept in a country like India, where the highest profile criminal cases tend...

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'Wet' Origami Artist Turns Damp Paper Into Gorgeous Sculptures

(2) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 8:56 AM

Hoang Tien Quyet has been folding paper since he was a little kid. The 27-year-old origami artist from Vietnam uses a lesser-known technique called wet folding to create sculptural animals, mythical creatures and flowers.

Pioneered by the late origami master Akira Yoshizawa, wet folding utilizes...

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A entrevista com a artista que tirou uma foto 'daqueles dias' e quebrou a internet

(22) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 6:05 PM

instagram period photo

Uma das fotos da série sobre menstruação de Rupi Kaur, a universitária canadense que desafiou o Instagram, foi banida e venceu.

Na segunda-feira, 23 de março, a poetisa Rupi Kaur postou uma foto no Instagram. O retrato é...

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売春宿に売られ、学校から消えたインドの少女たち アメリカ人教師がドキュメンタリーで告発

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2015 | 1:11 AM


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About That Period Photo That Broke The Internet

(358) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 10:01 AM

instagram period photo

One in a series of menstruation-themed photographs by Rupi Kaur, the Canadian university student who challenged an Instagram ban and won.

On Monday, March 23, the poet Rupi Kaur posted a photograph on Instagram. The portrait is of...

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(4) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:26 AM


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