Month: June 2014

New Clip Tammy: I Do like Apples

We’re quite looking forward to Tammy, Melissa McCarthy is going balls out and here she is having a bagged conversation with Sarah Barker, who was great in the unfortunatley cancelled Go On and also had a very memorable monologue in Louie.

After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman (Melissa McCarthy) hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Susan Sarandon).”

Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette and directed by Ben Falcone.

TAMMY is released in UK cinemas on July 4th 2014

Samar Shaikh Director of Bobby Jasoos’ Press Interview

Bobby Jasoos is directed by Samar Shaikh, whose impressive cache of work includes being the assistant director on the worldwide hit franchise Dhoom. The film is co-produced by Bollywood actress Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha under their production banner Born Free Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment and releasing on the 11th of July.

Here is Samar Shaikh interacting with the Press:

Q:  What was it like working with Vidya Balan?

A:It was my first time working with her, so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I absolutely enjoyed the experience. Vidya is an extremely talented actress. We got on really well and the atmosphere was great. She is a very creative actress, who knows how to bring any character to life on the screen.

 

Q:  How would you describe the movie?

A:Bobby Jasoos is a gripping film that sets a new benchmark for the thriller genre in Indian cinema and examines in a clever, witty and fresh way the dynamics of the gender struggle between women and men. The film centres around the main female character ‘Bobby’, played by Vidya [Balan],who wants to become the number one detective in the old city area of Hyderabad. The movie combines comedy with a classic thriller story, full of intriguing twists. The cast are superb, and I am very proud of the outcome of this film

 

Q:  What attracted you to ‘Bobby Jasoos’?

A:I thought it was a fantastic story to bring to life. Also, the story deals with myriad issues beneath the surface. It tackles such issues as a strong woman operating in a traditionally man’s profession. The film tries to balance hard-hitting issues with the more usual romance, comedy and suspense. I feel it is a story that hasn’t really been told before in Indian cinema.

 

Q:  Your favourite scene from ‘Bobby Jasoos’?

A:I don’t think I could pick out just one scene. Every single bit was so entertaining and I believe its part of having to work with a wonderful team.

 

Q:  What will audiences enjoy most about ‘Bobby Jasoos’?

A:I think the most enjoyable thing is that one can actually relate to the story very easily – it is not just a detective story, it’s really also a human story about a girl from a small village in Hyderabad with big dreams and aspirations. It shows that you can actually reach your goal no matter where you come from or who you are.

 

Q:  Do you think ‘Bobby Jasoos’ is destined for success?

A:I think it has a great story line and a superb cast, but it is up to the audience to decide whether it is going to be successful.  Sometimes it is not about box office figures – I really believe in this story and I did put my heart and soul into it. If people will be able to see and appreciate it – I will be very grateful.

Karan Johar Press Interview Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania

Karan Johar, brought in fresh faces for his latest rom-com (I think we can all be grateful he took a break from the Imran Khan – Kareena Kapoor combo).

Here is some of the press release:

Bollywood heartthrob Varun Dhawan (Student Of The Year, Main Tera Hero) plays hopeless romantic ‘Humpty Sharma’, an eternally optimistic young man, who is amiably searching for his ‘Dulhania’ (bride). Enter strong-willed, no nonsense Delhi girl ‘Kavya Pratap Singh’ (Alia Bhatt, Student Of The Year, Highway, 2 States). What ensues is a sweet and amusing story, as the ever simple loser in love ‘Humpty’ deploys every means at his disposal to convince ‘Kavya’ that he is her soul mate.

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania stars Bollywood’s new-kid-on-the-block Varun Dhawan, who made his successful debut with the breakthrough Dharma Productions film Student Of The Year along.Famed for playing the sentimentalist and also renowned for doing his own stunts, Varun is set yet again to show why he is one of Indian cinema’s rising stars in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. With charisma and acting talent in abundance, the young actor has already won awards, including the Star Gold and Lions Gold awards, and has been nominated for several ‘newcomer’ accolades.

Bollywood sweetheart, Alia Bhatt, who also made her big-screen debut in the Karan Johar production Student of the Year and received widespread critical acclaim for her role in Highway and 2 States, convincingly plays the main female protagonist, sealing her position as one of Bollywood’s most sought after leading ladies.

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is directed by debutant director Shashank Khaitan and is produced by award-winning film-maker Karan Johar.

Here is our favorite Koffee host answering some questions from the “press”.

Q:  Is ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ in any way related to the super hit ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’?

A:Our film (‘Humpty Sharma..) is an ode to ‘DDLJ’. One will see glimpses of ‘DDLJ’ but the love story is different from ‘DDLJ’. We have made this film with honesty, integrity (and) with an intention to entertain people.

Q: As a person you seem to be very happy & make a lot of people laugh, but most of your movies make people cry. Why is that?

A: I love crying and to me, cinema crying is very cathartic. I remember when I watched The Namesake with Mr Bachchan. All my pent-up emotions of losing my dad came out, even though, thematically, it had nothing to do with losing a parent. But something triggered an emotion and I just remember weeping. The second time I cried was while watching Taare Zameen Par as I was in boarding school for four days, that too, in the same one shown in the film. I remember my parents leaving me behind there. Seeing the film, I think Niagara Falls had begun and I wept and wept and I called Aamir after the show. The first film I cried was in Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se. I was eight years old and was bawling at the end of it. My mother kept explaining to me how that was not real, but that didn’t stop me from crying.

 

Q: What attracted you to ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’?Karan Johar

A:I really liked the script and I found it very funny. I also loved the fact that the classic ‘boy-meets-girl’ tale has been made into a unique and quirky youth drama for the modern generation.

 

Q: Alia Bhatt is often being compared to Kareena Kapoor. What is your opinion on the two Bollywood divas?

A:There is only one Kareena Kapoor – I am not only a huge fan of her work but I value her as a friend too. Kareena and Alia are two different people. Kareena has been in the Bollywood industry for a long time now; she has created a tremendous niche for herself and set a bar so high that it’s unfair to compare her with Alia. Alia is charming in her own way and I am sure she will make her own space. You just have to give her some time.

 

Q: You have launched quite a few newcomers to Bollywood – do you think it is much easier being launched rather that doing everything on your own?

A: It is definitely difficult for them. Even though they are very young they have seen pretty much everything now – they have seen success, failure, insecurity and anxiety up, close and personal. They have seen too much that can eat into them. The basic perception is that it is easy, but it is really not. They have a point to prove… there are so many expectations from them. I think film fraternity and star kids have it tougher.

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, releases on 11th July 2014

Bobby Jasoos Press Interview Ali Fazal

Ali Fazal has been grinding in Bollywood since quite a few years now. Most probably most people noticed him in 3 Idiiots as the engineer who committed suicide. But now he’s  looking forward to his biggest release yet paired opposite Vidya Balan in Bobby Jasoos.

He did some Q&A interaction with the press and here it is:

Q: What attracted you to ‘Bobby Jasoos’?

A:It’s a beautiful script. I thought it was a great concept and I loved the story. I was also trying to break the mould. Even though I’m just starting out I think it’s important to push myself and take up as many challenges that come my way. Bobby Jasoos offered me the opportunity to play a character that’s an integral part of the story. Also playing the lead role with Vidya and having Dia as a producer was also a major factor in my decision. I think signing this film has been one of my best decisions in my career so far.

 

Q:  How did you get into acting?

A:  When I was in boarding school I loved taking part in cultural activities like dance and theatre. But I did it for fun I never thought It could turn into something more. I was still a student when I got my first acting offer and having that experience made me realise if I worked hard I could actually turn my hobby into a career.

 

Q: Did you find the romantic element of the film challenging?

A:I was looking forward to playing a romantic role. Vidya is a fantastic actor and it was very comfortable and easy working with her. Even though she is a senior actress I wasn’t scared of romancing her, it was both fun and challenging. There was no awkwardness in the sense that she is a married woman, probably thanks to the workshops we did together before we started shooting. Hopefully our chemistry translates on screen.

 

Q: What’s unique about this film and why should we watch it?

A: The entire concept of this film is unique. I read many Indian detective stories and I can’t recollect  any story where the detective is a woman. I think it’s such an original angle. As well as being colourful and entertaining it has a really human story behind it. It’s a ‘hatke’ love story.

 

Q: What did you find most challenging about this role?

A: Sharing the screen with a powerhouse like Vidya Balan is challenging and very satisfying. My first worry was, can I do justice to it? But actually when you are presented with a challenge you know you have to give your best. It was great fun working with Vidya, we felt really comfortable on set. In terms of specific challenges we worked quite hard to get the Hyderabadi dialect and body language right, but we did some intense workshops which helped a lot.

 

Q: The songs are an important element of the film. How did you enjoy shooting these scenes?

A:It was an amazing experience. All of the songs are beautiful. They’ve got a classic touch that takes you back to the Bollywood of the 80’s.The film is packed with great numbers. They are a key element of the film’s romance.

 

Q: What can we expect from the film?

A: A powerful story and a colourful and entertaining film, full of music, jasoosi and excitement.

Bobby Jasoos releases on 4th July 2014 by Reliance Entertainment.

What Have We been Watching? And Robocop (2014) Upodcast

This is a busy episode so comes with a “wide load” sticker on the back.  Martin walks down the more arty path, talking about a classic Bernardo Bertolucci, The Conformist, before keeping up the Italian end by frankly, gushing about The Great Beauty, the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film this year.  Surely the contemporary equivalent of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.  Rounding off things is The Time Being, starring Wes Bentley and his very serious eyes and a star turn from Frank Langella.

 

Asim and Ahmed bring things bang up to date with talk of TV and blockbusters.  Dancing around the podcast they talk about Cuban Fury (Nick Frost and Rashida Jones) before moving on to Graceland and Gang Related.  Tom Cruise’s latest action blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow is reviewed by Asim, before we round things off with a battle royale: Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi (ish) satire and all round cult classic, Robocop versus the 2014 version by Jose Padilha.

You can Download/Stream or Listen to the latest episode below.

Or Subscribe to us on iTunes and never miss one!

The Expendables 3 UK Trailer

Being huge Stallone fans, we were quite excited for his career resurrection from the past years but it seems that he wasnt able to maintain that fire in his last few releases.

The Expendables 2 was quite the dissapointed as it seems like an Adam Sandler movie minus the holiday destination, where actors are just “bro-ing” out where the first one put in quite a bit of effort in giving every actor a chance to shine as well as at least having a coherent screenplay (kinda).

The 3 (and what seems to be the final part) of the Expendables franchises adds more actors from a bygone era ( WEsley Snipes, Kelsey Grammar, Mel Gibson) with a new director Patrick Hughes (who is also slated to direct The Raid remake).

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kellan Lutz, Antonio Banderas and Kelsey Grammer

In THE EXPENDABLES 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables — but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

THE EXPENDABLES 3, out in cinemas on August 14th 2014

 

Jersey Boys Infographic

To celebrate last week’s release of Clint Eastwood’s JERSEY BOYS, Warner Bros. Pictures is pleased to make available an exclusive JERSEY BOYS infographic. JERSEY BOYS stars Christopher Walken, John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza and is in cinemas now.

Jersey Boys infographic

From director Clint Eastwood comes the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.”

The film tells the story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons.  The story of their trials and triumphs are accompanied by the songs that influenced a generation, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn,” “Rag Doll,” “Bye Bye Baby,” “Who Loves You,” and many more.

These classic hits are now being embraced by a new generation of fans through the stage musical, which has been running on Broadway for more than eight years and has also enjoyed successful tours around the globe.

Starring in the film, John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli.  Erich Bergen stars as Bob Gaudio, who wrote or co-wrote all of the group’s biggest hits.  Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons.  Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) stars as mobster Gyp DeCarlo.

Oscar® winner Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”) directed “Jersey Boys” from a screenplay and musical book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, song music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.  The film is produced by Eastwood, Graham King and Robert Lorenz, with Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tim Moore, Tim Headington, Brett Ratner, James Packer and Steven Mnuchin serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team was led by Academy Award®-nominated director of photography Tom Stern (“Changeling”); Academy Award®-nominated production designer James J. Murakami, (“Changeling”); Oscar®-winning editor Joel Cox (“Unforgiven”) and editor Gary D. Roach; and costume designer Deborah Hopper.

Mardaani Trailer Breakdown: Rani is a bad ass!

Mardaani has been under the radar for a while now but I had assumed wrongly that it was going to be a female version of a Southploitation movie along the lines of a Rowdy Rathore but with Rani Mukherjee instead of any cash hungry male actor. Which didn’t really excite me as they tried doing that with Gulaab Gang to a certain extent and failed miserably.

The first look poster released back in May was pretty terrrible (as with most YRF releases)  and made me think they had roped in Ram Gopal Varma to direct a female Sarkar.

But boy, does this first trailer prove me wrong on all accounts (a feeling i love when a movie manages to do so)

Mardaani’s trailer is a tough watch which makes me wonder if the audience will be clamoring to watch a movie about such a horific subject as Child Trafficking but when making a movie like this, that might be besides the point especially as YRF has been doing a lot of brand diversification with collaborating with more Indie film directors.

Pradeep Sarkar had previously made Laga Chunariya Me Daag which dealt with prostitution and also starred Rani but that movie failed and was part of the old YRF glossy cinema where as Mardaani seems much grittier.

I love seeing Rani be a bad ass again after No One Killed Jessica and they again manage to put in a few scenes of Rani cussing out men, and then even elbowing their faces in which is all kinds of awesome. It’s really good to see a female actor do some push ups and quite realistic action instead of the kung fu wire crap they pulled off in Gulaab Gang, Dus and Chandni Chowk To China.

We love Rani here at Upodcast (As you can hear us gush when speaking to her for Talaash) and hope the movie is hardhitting but made sensitively enough, maybe softening up the next trailer might help in not scaring away some of audience members as some of the shots of girls being stripped are truly gruesome to watch.

Release Date: 22 August 2014
Starring: Rani Mukerji
Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar
Produced by: Aditya Chopra

LIFF 2014 Top Picks The Upodcast team

One of the best UK Indian Film Festivals is upon us again from the 10th to 17th of July.

And since there are a ton of films on offer we roped in some old friends and new to help cover some of the exciting movies showcased.

Here are some of the ones we are really looking forward to and hope to watch/review for you.

Sujoy – @9e3k

SOLD

Opening a film festival has its own pros and cons. Doing the honours this year is SOLD. Directed by Jeffrey Brown, it stars Gillian Anderson amongst other known names from the Indian film industry. The synopsis leads us to believe that it is going to be a powerful movie with a heart-breaking story. It remains to be seen if it can deliver on its promise.L014_NUN_PR

HEMALKASA

Closing the festival is Samruddhi Porey’s Hemalkasa. Starring Marathi cinema’s finest – Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Mohan Agashe – the cast itself should be reason enough to lure the audience into the cinema. Revolving around the story of rural development in Maharashtra, I hope Hemalkasa is able to pull the heartstrings of its audience.

Hank And Asha – As the title suggests, Hank And Asha is about the two of them. Judging by its recent Slamdance Audience Award could well be the indie romance movie that you should check out this year.

Barefoot to Goa – Director Praveen Morchhale’s festival darling finally finds its way to LIFF. Set between Mumbai and Goa, the story is a very conventional one that speaks of the bond between grandchildren and grandparents. It is quite inexplicable why this is one of the highlights of LIFF for me. Soon, I’ll let you know why.

Barefoot to Goa – Film Trailer with english Subtitle. from Praveen Morchhale on Vimeo.

Sulemaani Keeda

Everything about this movie screams PRETENTIOUS. When you throw in keywords such as suburban Mumbai underbelly, Tarkovsky, Bollywood – it just comes with a baggage of its own. That is also one of the key reasons why I look forward to this movie. And I wish to be completely corrected on my assumption.

Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya – The characters of Goopi and Bagha is not unknown to anyone who has grown up on Satyajit Ray’s cinema. The story of this mischievious duo, previously immortalised by the fantastic Tapen Chatterjee and Robi Ghosh, is now being adapted into a Hindi animated feature. I have great expectations from this version of the magical world of Goopi and Baagha’s adventure.

Sulemani Keeda_01

Ulidavaru Kandante

This movie’s promotional image has men with painted tigers on their face. And the synopsis speaks of the film’s homages to Sin City, Pulp Fiction, Agneepath, Rashomon. Two words – Must Watch, or could be one word – Oversell.

 

Qissa

Festival favourite Irrfan Khan stars in this period piece set during the Partition period. And Tilottama Shome stars too. The story could be a cross between Dil Bole Hadippa and Boys Don’t Cry. And I could be horribly wrong.

Apur Panchali: Not just Ray references, but a whole movie about the actor who acted as protagonist Apu in Pather Panchali. This stars Parambrata Chatterjee, and is directed by Kaushik Ganguly (Arekti Premer Golpo, Shabdo). Sounds like nectar for Ray lovers.

Qissa_01

 

Bhushan- @Bogeyno2

Qissa
Irfan Khan in anything is worth watching (Paan Singh Tomar,The Lunchbox) and Qissa should be no exception. With a flair for making even the most unpleasant of characters seem human (Saat Khoon Maaf anyone?) Khan looks certain to bring another dimension to Umber Singh in a complex role. Much like Khamosh Paani, films on partition tend to make for challenging yet compelling viewing and Qissa looks set to deliver the same.

QISSA – The Tale of a lonely Ghost – Trailer from Heimatfilm on Vimeo.

Million Dollar Arm
As Bollywood and Hollywood look for that elusive pan market breakout film, Million Dollar Arm strikes one as a film that will appeal to a universal audience without trying too hard (a key feature of all the films featured in the London Indian Film Festival). With an interesting cast headed by Jon Hamm and based on a true story, Million Dollar Arm on paper has all the trademarks of a sleeper hit in the making.

 

Asim- @asimburney 

Sold

I am expecting heartbreak from the opening movie of this year’s LIFF produced by Emma Thompson and starring Gillian Anderson, the movie is about “A girl risks everything for freedom after being trafficked from her mountain village in Nepal to a brothel in India.” Director Jeffrey Brown hasn’t directed many feature length movies and is mostly known for his work as a writer and TV director but the names attached and the sincerity to make a movie that has something important to say can not be denied. I will be bringing a box of tissues with me but do hope that we wont be starting the festival by exiting the theater bummed out.

But since there is a live Q&A with actress Gillian Anderson attending maybe I can sneak in some questions about Hannibal season 3 or what profound influence she had on a generation of men growing up and tuning into the X files every week.

Qissa:

Another female issue based film about “Umber Singh, a rural Sikh, dispossessed from his homeland by the Partition. He obsessively focuses on the ‘ideal’ of having a son and heir, but as his fourth daughter is born he hides the child’s true identity, she becomes the son of his dreams, but at a terrible cost.”

Irrfan Khan introduced last year’s Monsoon Shootout and seems to be a name that goes hand in hand with Indian Indie movies, always a thoughtful actor that brings quite a bit to the movies he chooses. A lot of times you don’t know the movies showing in festivals so you end up veering towards the names that are familiar to you even though they might not be the ones you would line up to watch on a regular Friday night.

Hank and Asha

A lighthearted breath of air after those first 2 issue based movies, Hank And Asha seems delightful. I saw the trailer for for the first time when it showed at TIFF last year and I knew I wanted to watch it but didn’t know how to. I’m really glad that this little modern day “You’ve Got Mail” is showing at LIFF. Here is the trailer that made me take notice.

Million Dollar Arm: 

Probably this years “biggest” movie with Disney producing, AR Rahman composing and Jon Hamm starring in this based on real life story, which feels like MoneyBall meets City Of Joy. The movie will be releasing in UK theaters august 29th so it’s quite cool to be able to catch this one before general audiences.

Anima State: 

The only Pakistani movie at the LIFF this year and it looks like quite a kinetic experience: A man with a bandage mask across his face goes on a shooting spree across a Pakistani city, gunning down random people. He soon realises that his actions have no consequences and nobody appears to be interested in his murderous deeds, and so he decides to go on live television with a view to committing suicide on air. And that’s when there is a huge twist in the plot.

Sounds a bit like The Man without a Past meets Network mixed in with a little bit of Falling Down. I missed last year’s Josh at the LIFF which got great reviews, and there seems to be a renaissance in Pakistani cinema which again being in the UK we don’t always get a chance to be a part of.

Anima State from Anima State on Vimeo.

 

These are some of our picks, for the full schedule and more trailers you can hear over to: http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/programme.htm

Let us know if you have seen any of the movies above or if you are looking forward to them in the comment sections below!

New Tammy Trailer: Melissa McCarthy fights a deer

The new UK trailer for Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy just hit the site and it looks pretty hilarious! Not only has McCarthy been an MVP as a supporting actor but now she is branching out and becoming the main reason audiences are flocking to her movies.

Not only was she recently declared one of the most bankable actors of the past years but she also seems like a pretty cool cat, according to this Washington Post article about her starting her own clothes line.

In Tammy she plays the titular character who after losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman (Melissa McCarthy) hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother (Susan Sarandon).

Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette and directed by Ben Falcone, TAMMY is released in UK cinemas on 4th July 2014.

 

The Class of ’92: extended collector’s edition – review

Teacher's pets

Teacher’s pets

As the resident Upodcasting sport fan and thankfully for this release, long time Manchester United fan it was an absolute pleasure to see this for review.

This is the story of how six 14 year-old working class boys (David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil and Gary Neville) came together to play for the same club, becoming the spine of the most lauded team in world football and who throughout their period of unparalleled success remained best mates. The film offers unprecedented access to all six players and includes numerous high profile interviewees including Sir Alex Ferguson, Zinedine Zidane, Tony Blair, Mani from the Stone Roses, Eric Cantona and Danny Boyle.

Man United fan or not, if you’re of a certain age you probably know all about the success of the Treble winning team from 1999 and the core of it being a group of players who came through the youth system at the same time. The great thing about this movie is the splicing of archive footage featuring the young players, but also the wider context given to the rise of the Manchester United team throughout the 1990s as Britain picked itself up out of the doldrums and began to feel like a happy place once more. In some ways it is also fortunate that Manchester has such a strong cultural identity of its own; giving rise to such bands as the Happy Monday, Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses and being a true centre for the birth of British dance music culture in the ’90s. It makes adding a superb soundtrack somewhat easier and if like me you’re in your mid-30s then you know all of the music. It would be so easy for me to get all misty eyed because this was my music and my team!

But the film comes into its own for not dwelling entirely on the stars of the side. Also featured are the lesser known lights – Ben Thornley – or those who went on to have great careers away from Manchester United such as Robbie Savage. There’s some great stuff involving them all having a kick-about…some players now more, ahem, portly than others. Ryan Giggs was still playing when this was made to put it in context!

As the story unfolds, you really do get to know more about what made the players tick, be so successful and what sets elite sportsmen apart from those who don’t quite make it. The power of your own mind, the will to succeed and make sacrifices, but also the personality of the manager – in this case Alex Ferguson – who was able to drive on his own teams to new heights. There are some wonderful comments from Eric Cantona who played with all of the class of ’92 and from Eric Harrison the youth team coach who brought all of the players through the set-up.

For any fan of Manchester United this is a great movie. It’s also the perfect gift for fathers’ day! The Class of ’92 is released this week.  Check out the trailer below:

LIFF 2014: Europe’s Largest South Asian Film Event is Back!

Emma Thompson’s Sold, Million Dollar Arm & Bollywood Stars at London INDIAN Film Festival

Executive produced by actor Emma Thompson, Sold will be the red carpet European Premiere opening night film of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (July 10-17). This film is a powerful, survival against the odds tale about a young Nepali girl who is trafficked to Kolkata, India. Gillian Anderson stars with a great Indian and Nepali ensemble cast including Seema Biswas (Bandit Queen). Central highlights of the festival will be the UK Premiere of the true story Million Dollar Arm, from The Walt Disney Company, starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi). Bollywood’s hottest actor Farhan Akhtar and South Indian cinematography supremo Santosh Sivan will be giving rare screen talks at the BFI Southbank. Closing the festival will be the World Premiere of Hemalkasa, an homage to the revolutionary human rights leader Prakash Baba Amte, starring Bollywood hero Nana Patekar. Many other special guests are expected to a packed week of UK first screenings.

Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, in association with Pure Heaven, the British Film Institute, and official Hotel Partner Grange Hotels, celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema and bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of the Indian subcontinent’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity. The festival will stretch citywide, opening in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continuing at BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas Wembley, Wood Green, Wandsworth and O2 in Royal Greenwich and ICA near the Pall Mall, so there is a screening near you.

The first weekend of this high-impact festival launches with Sold, on 10th July which explores the controversial theme of child trafficking; one school girl’s battle against the odds and the dangerous journey to liberate her from the Kolkata mafia; expect a glamorous line up of celebs to follow X Files and The Fall actress Gillian Anderson down the red carpet.

On 12th July Rotterdam Film Festival headliner Qissa: Tale of a Lonely Ghost, has its UK Premiere, Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi) plays a rural Punjabi father hell bent on having a son and heir, no matter what the consequences. Apur Panchali, based on a true-life story, is an emotionally charged homage to Satyajit Ray’s impoverished child character Apu and the real-life person who played one of the most famous child roles in world cinema. It screens on 13th July. By contrast Slamdance audience winner Hank and Asha explores a new generation of trans-global online romance, at ICA and Cineworlds across London. The festival’s Central Gala is the inspirational true story Million Dollar Arm that follows the uplifting journey of two Indian boys whose lives are transformed by a national TV contest and against the odds end up going to the US to train to become major sports stars.

As well as films in the Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam languages, and UK/Pakistani film Anima State, in Urdu, the festival previews its first Bangladesh based film Shongram (Struggle) directed by Munsur Ali. In terms of special talks, India’s most celebrated cinematographer and acclaimed director Santosh Sivan gives a unique Masterclass at BFI Southbank, 11th July. The multi-talented singer, actor and director Farhan Akhtar rocks into town on 15th July and offers an insight on his high-octane career so far, including his iconic recent role as muscle rippling athletics hero Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Expect lots of female fans! Bollywood icon Nana Patekar stars in the festival’s uplifting closing World Premiere of Hemalkasa. Directed by Samruddhi Porey it’s guaranteed to make you cry and smile at the same time.

London Indian Film Festival also includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring UK and Indian subcontinent co-productions. The winner of the annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition will be announced at the end of the festival, with short-listed contenders battling it out at the ICA on 15th July. We are delighted to announce that our Major Sponsors this year will include Queen’s Award for Enterprise International Trade winner Sunmark Ltd, producers of Pure Heaven brand and founding sponsor Grange Hotels. The festival is also grant funded for by the BFI Film Festival Fund.

Emma Thompson comments: “It is wonderful to have our film premiered at London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere”.

Says Farhan Akhtar: “At its heart, Cinema is about sharing ones culture with the world. Be it on screen or in representation of ones work. I look forward to sharing my experiences, memories and motivations.”

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director comments: “We are delighted that the festival is now firmly established on the London and international scene after five amazing years. If you want to find out more about South Asian cinema, come to London and soak yourself in a week of magnificent, world class cinema”

For more information and how to book tickets head over to:

www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

Join their on social media:

www.facebook.com/LondonIndianFilmFestival | www.twitter.com/LoveLIFF

 

 

The Rajini Effect Review

What does the “Rajini Effect” mean? It is extremely hard to encompass the meaning of these two words. No superlative feels adequate to describe the force of the superstardom and religious fan following of the one and the only Thalaivaar Rajinikanth. And so, kudos to debutante director-duo Kuvera and Nelson Sivalingam to have picked up such a monumental task upon themselves. And surprisingly somehow, they have been able to convey what the Rajini Effect stands for.

The Rajini Effect is what makes you wake up in the morning at 5 am, to travel 2 hours, and stand in the queue to get the tickets of a Rajini movie on the first day. It is the undying enthusiasm to fight the crowds and to uncontrollably whistle at the entry of the hero. It is the madness that makes you dance like a fool, trying to ape the Baasha, plastering your wall from corner to corner with Rajini images, and quoting dialogues even when you don’t know the language. All this dedication of a true hearted Rajini fan is shown through the story of our protagonist – Taiho (Jonathan Truong), a Japanese guy who has grown up watching Rajini movies and passionately loves them. When he comes across an advert for an Indian short film competiton looking for “Tomorrow’s Superstar”, he realises this to be his ticket to Kollywood (nickname for Tamil Cinema). Teaming up with his 50 year old Indian friend Ramu (who happens to be a budding filmmaker/accountant), they set out to make their mutual dreams come true.

In true melodramatic Kollywood style, this is life imitating art imitating life. I say that with the utmost love for this movie. It is an underdog story, like many of those Rajini movies. Our hero Taiho is a regular Joe, who is upset with his life, and seems his passion for Rajini movies to be his only outlet and also his true calling. Ramu, played exceptionally well by Ramesh Vethanayagam, juggles his life between satisfying his wife’s demands, his 9-6 work schedules, and attending to his true love – cinema. Through Ramu, we get a crash course in what South Indian cinema stands for. Not only do we get schooled on the “Feel” of a heroine romancing her loved one, but also how the Sari should be draped for maximum exposure of the belly.

Of course what follows next is quite predictable. The duo hit multiple road blocks, ranging from finding the correct female lead, to villains and their goons, to even the creative duo getting separated due to circumstances beyond their own control, and then eventually emerging triumphant. But, when I say predictable, make no assumption that it is boring; far from it. The script swims through these events smoothly, and the dialogue ensures that the audience is chuckling all the way. I believe I have never laughed so hard in a movie for a very long time, especially in an indie movie such as this.

I think the directors have used the indie movie feel to their utmost advantage. There is a movie within the movie, and this allows for shaky cam, amateur angles, guerilla filming, as well as not really spending on any exotic locales. After all, this is the story about a regular London guy trying to shoot his “Youtube movie”. But this alone cannot simply convey the Rajini effect, can it? The directors have a cure for that too. Weaved beautifully into the narrative, are some messages from many Rajini fans – from actors to journalists to just admirers, who in their own words try to express (and how) the essence of the Rajini effect.

The movie as a whole succeeds in conveying that very essence. There is a special scene where Ramu and Taiho, after having a fight and not being in contact for a while, agree to meet up and reconcile.

There is an awkward silence between the two when they meet. And then Taiho plays a Rajini song which depicts the meaning of friendship. Taiho and Ramu look at each other and smile instantly. The Rajini Effect is also that instant connect that you share with a fellow Rajini fan. Vethanayagam and Jonathan play it extremely well without a single false note.

And if just for that, for me, this movie achieved its goal.

*Winner of Audience Award for Best Film at the 10th Stuttgart Indian Film Festival*
*Official Selection for the 8th Seattle South Asian Film Festival*

For more info on the movie head over to www.TheRajiniEffect.com

4 Lungis Out of 5.
OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

Bobby Jasoos New Song Trailer, Images and Poster

Vidya Balan has managed to carve quite a unique and enviable niche for herself in Hindi Films with movies like The Dirty Picture and Kahaani where she isn’t reliant on an having a male star share the screen with her and yet still be able to bring the audience in.

But screenplays like Kahaani come once in a blue moon, and personally i wasn’t as enamoured with The Dirty Picture as most people were. Although the  central performance in the movie was amazing, in was another narrative made famous by the likes of Mahdur bandarkar where the female protaganist pretty much gets punished for her choices for close to 3 hours, ending with her being in a worst place than where she was at the start.

Her next movie seems a lot more fun but she seems to be veering into “jolly aunty” territory, something that also hurt the box office of Ghanchakkar.

Here are some press blurbs and images:

The gripping film sets a new benchmark for the thriller genre in Indian cinema and examines in a clever, witty and fresh way the dynamics of the gender struggle between women and men. The film celebrates the aspiration of ‘Bobby’ (Vidya Balan – The Dirty Picture, Parineeta), who wants to become the number one detective in the old city area of Hyderabad. What ensues is a classic thriller caper that serves up a tantalising mix of twists and turns, as the vivacious and engaging ‘Bobby’ solves a series of mind-boggling crime cases.

Bobby Jasoos stars the talented and multi-award winning actress Vidya Balan, who once again shines in the title role of this quirky and edgy thriller. Famed for playing strong female protagonists and for breaking the stereotype of a Hindi film heroine, Vidya portrays the lady detective ‘Bobby’ with dedication and suitable aplomb, marking a new direction in the career of this ever-versatile actress.

Bobby Jasoos is directed by Samar Shaikh, whose impressive cache of work includes being the assistant director on the worldwide hit franchise Dhoom. The film is co-produced by Bollywood actress Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha under their production banner Born Free Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment.

Both the trailer and song promo seem a bit uneven to me, as if they don’t really understand how to market the movie.

I do worry about everyone trying their best to put on a Hyderabdi accent, even in some of the viral video’s they used it came over a bit cartoonish.

And honestly the song Jashn does nothing for me.

I wonder about Bobby Jasoos, Vidya is always a treat to watch but as with many female centric movies in Bollywood, do they have a screenplay and team that can support and harness their talent?

Only July 4th will tell when Bobby Jasoos releases in theaters.

 

Pompeii, Godzilla, 3 Days to Kill Upodcast

They say good things come in 3s and after a short break, Ahmed returns to complete the 3 musketeers, joining Asim and Martin to talk about 3 movies.  Appropriately, we first talk about Kevin Costner’s latest film 3 days to kill.  Hit, miss or meh?  We’ll set you on the right path.

Next-up we get into true blockbuster territory with Gareth Evans’ much anticipated Godzilla.  A true beast in every sense of the word, it’s smashed the box office like a massive radioactive lizard-thing lying dormant in post-production before being unleashed on cinema-goers the world over.  How much giganto-monster action can we take?  Probably more than we get served if we’re honest, but we’ll guide you through the MUTO and Bryan Cranston show.

Completing the trilogy this episode is Pompeii.  It’s always good to see actors from one our favourite TV shows breaking into mainstream cinema and finding a new audience, but is Kit Harrington’s first major feature the vehicle to take him to the next level?  Opinion is divided within Upodcasting certainly and Martin comes dangerously close to defending it against Godzilla of all things!