Bollywood

The Upodcast team adds a bit of spice to your cinematic experience!

Ep 11- Hum Saath Saath Hain – Khandaan Podcast

Welcome to Episode 11 of the Khandaan Podcast and 1999’s Hum Saath Saath Hain, Sooraj Barjatya’s follow-up to his game-changing Bollywood classic, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…

Starring Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Tabu, Sonali Bendre, and Mohnish Behl alongside the regular Rajshri cast of Reema Lagoo as Maa, Alok Nath as Babuji, Shakti Kapoor as lower income (Muslim) dost, and other assorted stereotypes, this film was the biggest hit of the year when it came out. Together, the reunited trio of Asim, Sujoy and Amrita investigate whether it has held up or indeed, if there is anything to hold up at all.

A remake of the Ramayana, this movie isn’t short on homilies on the ideal family – and it is an orgy of patriarchy upheld by traditional gender roles interrupted by mediocre songs laboriously staged for minutes on end. Others have brilliantly lampooned the cultural aspects of this film already, so we kept our discussion to the film itself. HSSH provides many a LOL, none of them intentional. It is not a film we would recommend to anyone, not even budding Salman Khan fans. Our audience might disagree – and we read out a few responses from our listeners on why they chose this movie.

The three of us also discuss exciting trailers for upcoming movies (Bhavesh Joshi, Veere di Wedding, and the Madhuri Dixit-starrer Bucket List) and defend Sujoy’s honor on the internet.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

To Take Part in our Give Away!

1. Go to the Khandaan iTunes page

2. Leave us a review

3. Take a screenshot and send it to upodcasting@gmail.com

 

Ep 10- Andaz Apna Apna – Khandaan Podcast

Welcome to Episode 10 of the Khandaan Podcast, where we come at last to the one movie we’ve constantly been quoting – 1994’s Andaz Apna Apna. Starring the rare movie combination of Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, this Khantastic film was a big flop when it came out but has attained cult status since then as seen in our poll where it beat out the most commercially successful film of 1994, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…?

Costarring Karishma Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, and Paresh Rawal in key roles, this Rajkumar Santoshi film offers a veritable who’s who of character actors who elevate the sketches that make this movie a classic. If you can make it past Asim, Sujoy and Amrita crying with laughter as they struggle to describe what they liked about this film, you might find old memories awakened.

However, is this a movie we can recommend to newbies and non-native speakers? Join us as we discuss weighty issues such as effectively translating comedy, self-referential comedy in Bollywood, Aamir Khan’s undercooked comedic chops, and whether we had the same tastes as children as we do now.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

 

Ep 9- Kal Ho Naa Ho- Khandaan Podcast

Welcome to Episode 9 of the Khandaan Podcast, where we turn our eagle eyes toward Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), starring Shah Rukh Khan at the height of his stardom. Commonly believed to be a remake of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s weepie Anand (1971), starring Rajesh Khanna at the height of his stardom, KHNH is a souped-up melodrama best remembered nostalgically than rewatched in the present according to podcast consensus.

This week we are joined by guest host and writer/journalist Anisha Jhaveri as Sujoy continues to chase success as influencer to the sundar, susheel, and thodi special. Asim, Amrita and Anisha initially approached KHNH with eagerness, especially since it beat out Tere Naam, an excruciating Salman Khan remake of an excruciating South Indian film, but their joy soon turned to ashes as they were forced to confront that their nostalgia was misplaced and this movie was basically a sporadically funny, racist, homophobic mess with extremely unfortunate costume design.

We recommend you read Molly Ringwald’s excellent essay on dealing with problematic faves in retrospect after listening to this episode.

Episode 9 also includes a short discussion of the short-lived Salman Khan sentencing saga and Asim’s inability to properly understand the visual appeal of SRK walking around aimlessly while dressed in white linen.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

Ep 8- Chandramukhi – Khandaan Podcast

Episode 8 of the Khandaan Podcast features Chandramukhi (1993), starring Sridevi as a celestial being and Salman Khan as her child lover. An uncomfortable mish-mash of Tom Hanks’ Big by way of Telugu blockbuster Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari, starring Chiranjeevi and Sridevi, this little viewed film was a disaster at the box office – surprising none of us.

This week we are joined by guest host Tanvi from the MovieWalaPod in the absence of Sujoy, who is off launching a new career as Instagram model. Asim, Amrita and Tanvi all agreed that this was hands down the worst movie they have had to watch for a podcast, featuring: graphic child abuse, a pedophiliac alien, ALL the bad guys, and incredibly shoddy production values. We also discuss other movies that released the same year, notably Darr, and Asim requested an anthropology lesson regarding the finer techniques of dancing for Shiva, thereby exposing Tanvi and Amrita as Bad Indians. Thanks, Asim.

For a more appreciative review of Chandramukhi’s nonexistent charms, we recommend Beth Watkins’ much more patient article. In the meantime, Asim would like you to know this is not Chand ka Tukda, the other Sridevi-Salman starrer with much better music.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes!

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

 

Ep 235: “Making Bollywood replica’s won’t get us anywhere!” Asim Abbasi talks Cake

We catch up with Asim Abassi director of the Pakistani film Cake releasing in UK theaters on the 29th of March.
Asim talks to Asim if there is an actual revival of Pakistani cinema, claiming a cinematic identity and “gola-ganda” cinematography.

Subscribe to our new feeds and share if you like what you hear!
Here is the trailer for Cake:


Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

Ep 7- Paheli – Khandaan Podcast

Episode 7 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Asim, Sujoy and Amrita reunited to discuss Paheli (2005), starring Shahrukh Khan in a double role, Rani Mukherjee and a whole host of cameos from Juhi Chawla to Amitabh Bachchan.

This Red Chillies Entertainment film was directed by Amol Palekar, the everyman of yesteryears’ parallel Hindi cinema, and was even India’s official entry to the Oscars for its year. Based on a short story about a bride and the ghost who loves her, Paheli made a lot of right noises about women’s empowerment and the right to choose. More than a decade on, we examine how those messages hold up.

Sujoy declares Paheli the best film we have watched on this podcast thus far, while many of our listeners call it their favorite film, but Asim and Amrita play spoilsport.

We also take a moment to discuss the passing of cinema legend Sridevi and the recent Bollywood release, the rather controversial hit Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes!

Ep 6 – Talaash – Khandaan Podcast

Episode 6 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Sujoy and Amrita missing Asim, who is off doing other things just as we’re handed an opportunity to discuss Talaash (2012), starring Asim’s fave (or so he says) Aamir Khan. However, to make up for the disappointment, we’re joined by our special guest star Beth from BethLovesBollywood!

Although we’d all seen this film upon its release, this was our first rewatch and there were a lot of things here to surprise us. None of us remembered Rajkumar Rao also starred in this film, Amrita was taken aback by how beautiful Rani Mukherjee looks (watch out for Sujoy listing a looong list of movies in which Rani looked amazing), and Beth agreed that Shahrukh Khan (who was also approached for the role played by Aamir) wouldn’t have worked nearly so well for very particular reasons. We disagreed a bit on Kareena Kapoor’s performance, discussed the male-female dynamics, and loved hard on the soundtrack. We also took a quick minute to appreciate director Reema Kagti’s work – of which you can see more in the Akshay Kumar starrer, Gold, to be released this year.

2012 was a really great year for Hindi cinema but rather hit-and-miss for the Khans with Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Dabangg 2, and Ek Tha Tiger joining Talaash at the cinema. Sujoy, Beth and Amrita all agree that Talaash was the clear frontrunner in that pack, and a movie for everyone, irrespective of their fan loyalties.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Ep 5- Chori Chori Chupke Chupke Review and Padmaavat Discussion

Episode 5 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita discussing the first film voted to screen by their audience – 2001’s Salman Khan-starrer, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (CCCC).

First, however, we make a short foray into current cinema with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extremely controversial Padmaavat, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh. We discuss the fan politics surrounding the film as well as the merits of the film itself. (Please excuse the sound of the occasional firework in between – Amrita’s neighbors were very excited about India becoming a republic.)

Going back to our Khandaan business, however, 2001 was a significant year for Hindi cinema. It saw the release of Farhan Akhtar’s debut directorial Dil Chahta Hai, featuring Aamir Khan, a seminal road trip movie that is often credited with changing the very language of modern Bollywood by employing an everyday conversational style. Karan Johar, whose multi-starrer behemoth Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), featuring Shahrukh Khan, released to massive box office success later that year, has famously said that he knew his movie was outdated the moment DCH released.

This was also the year Aamir guided Lagaan to the Oscars, India’s first nomination in the Best Foreign Film category in decades, laying the foundation for his reputation as the great savior of good Hindi cinema. A nearly four-hour period drama about weather conditions, taxes, and cricket, Lagaan was a sensation when it released but isn’t much referenced today within the modern Hindi cinematic ethos unlike DCH and K3G, which each left an enduring impact on desi pop culture for very different reasons.

Shahrukh also had two other releases that year – Asoka, the directorial debut of ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan, was a gorgeous-looking period drama about the eponymous emperor that tanked at the box office before becoming appointment TV in its serialized form; and the washout One 2 ka 4, a rare movie that features SRK as a cop.

The fact that CCCC, a subpar family drama about a rich couple who hire a hooker to carry their baby, was able to win the vote against such a stellar field of choices is a testament to Salman’s star power – and we discuss the issues that arise when a celebrity wields such power. Made at the height of Salman’s personal problems, which would shortly include a murder charge, CCCC was also a troubled production, allegedly made with mafia money.

Belying the nostalgia of several friends of this podcast, CCCC is also deeply problematic, dealing with supposedly progressive ideas in the most regressive way possible. Rani Mukherjee is horrendously dressed and is the catalyst for the main plot of the film, which is bizarre and offensive. Preity Zinta is effervescent and charming – and completely wasted as a hooker with a heart of gold and a fertile uterus. The supporting cast includes an OTT Amrish Puri as a (male) baby-obsessed grandfather, Farida Jalal as a (male) baby-obsessed mother-in-law, Dalip Tahil as a dad who just wants to get his son out of the country for some reason, Johnny Lever as Random Family-Adjacent Dude who sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong, and Prem Chopra as a doctor willing to break every single professional ethic for the sake of friendship. Salman appears medicated.

We did not enjoy this movie but please do listen and laugh at our pain.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.

Podcast notes:

We refer to Sal Salam‘s excellent essay on BollyBrit which you can find here

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Ep 4- Deewana – Khandaan Podcast

Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, wrap up their re-watch of the Khan-debuts with Deewana. This 1992 blockbuster is the movie we chose as Shahrukh Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier appearance as a supporting character in the artsy In Which Annie Gives It To Those Ones (1989) and his official debut as a lead in Hema Malini’s Dil Aashna Hai, which released later in 1992.

Shahrukh is an electrifying presence in this movie, waking up the audience from its Rishi Kapoor-induced stupor when he makes his appearance in the second half, riding a motorcycle through the streets of Bombay, singing “Koi na koi chahiye…” 1992 was a banner year for SRK – in the history of Hindi cinema, nobody has ever had a debut like him. Signed on to five films (Dil Aashna Hai, Deewana, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Chamatkar, and Idiot) on the strength of his popular TV presence, SRK cartwheeled on to the scene with a brash energy and a willingness to upend everything in sight, immediately rendering everything and everyone before him slightly dated and old-fashioned. This is particularly evident in his scenes with Rishi Kapoor where the two of them appear to be acting in two different movies.

Asim, Sujoy and Amrita agree that Deewana is quite the worst film out of the three Khan debuts. If the second half of the movie features SRK laying the foundations of his obsessed creep/lover persona, the first half of the movie is interminable and stars Rishi Kapoor as a schlubby pop star who gets faux-murdered for his inheritance after successfully wooing the leading lady who looks young enough to be his child. Said lead is Divya Bharati, whose remarkable career in Hindi cinema spanned roughly 18 months during which time she starred in 14 films – an unbroken record to this date. Her tragic death under suspicious circumstances a year after the release of this movie is perhaps one of the only reasons to re-watch this film unless you’re a SRK completist.

Deewana also has the weakest soundtrack of the three debuts but it scores highly on nostalgia. Sujoy was the only one with strong opinions – he’s a big fan of the Rishi Kapoor number, “Sochenge tumhe pyaar“.

Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the movie you think we should feature in our first official episode.

Final Week to make a vote!

Deadline is 17th January!

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Ep 3- Maine Pyaar Kiya – Khandaan Podcast

Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, continue their Khan-journey with Maine Pyaar Kiya (MPK). This 1989 blockbuster romance is the movie we chose as Salman Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier ill-starred appearance as a supporting character in the Rekha-starrer Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988). (To read more about that experience as well as other fascinating bits of Salman’s history, we recommend this in-depth profile by Anna Vetticad.)

Directed by Sooraj Barjatya, one of the men who helped invent Bollywood as we know it today by inspiring seminal Bollywood filmmakers Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar, MPK is an all-out effort at portraying a young, modern love. In an ironic twist, the themes Barjatya establishes in this movie would soon be transformed into a template for conservative, even regressive, family-oriented “clean romance” in the popular imagination by the time it was remade as Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! or the execrable Hum Saath Saath Hain.

The co-hosts agree that despite its dated appearance and quaint 1980s-ness, MPK is the best made film out of the three Khan debuts. Fueled by his determination to succeed, the Salman we meet in this film is a bundle of energy albeit with the same trademark mannerisms and sly charm we associate with him today. Bhagyashree, whose cinematic career ended with her marriage to a possessive husband, has a raw charm to her that vibes very well with Salman’s Dennis the Menace persona. Also evident in this film are the characters we know from all the subsequent Barjatya films – the understanding mother, the busy father, the father’s best friend, the servants who are as good as family members, the outsiders masquerading as friends but who only exist to destroy the family’s happiness…

MPK’s soundtrack was a sensation when it released with funky sounds, a modern feel, and soaring ballads that are still popular today. Few in the audience at the time realized just how “inspired” it was, however; in 2017, while re-watching the film, Asim’s wife wanted to know why he was listening to so much Stevie Wonder out of the blue.

Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

Note: We did have some audio issues in this episode for the first ten minutes but it’s smooth sailing after that.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Ep 2- Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak – Khandaan Podcast

Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, begin their foray into all things Khan-related with Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (QSQT). Almost a relic of another era, this 1988 romance is the movie we chose as Aamir Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier appearances as a child star as well as his lead performance in the faux-art film Holi (1984).

Very little of Aamir as we know him today is seen in the fresh-faced hero of QSQT with his impish grin and shy glances at a delightfully effervescent Juhi Chawla (also making her debut). Directed by his cousin, Mansoor Khan, QSQT shows the youth of all those involved in the making of this film – in its tenderness, earnestness, conviction, and behind-the-scenes effort they put into crafting this the biggest success they could possibly imagine.

While neither Asim, Sujoy nor Amrita were old enough to be the target audience of this film (ahem! We are mere babies), we do have some memories of what a cultural phenomenon this movie became. It’s Romeo and Juliet undertones, the weird emphasis on caste, and the fact that the adults in this movie appear to be acting in a world far removed from the one inhabited by the sweet young love of its leads should make it a difficult watch but good filmmaking survives the years even when the material appears dated. QSQT remains a testament to Mansoor Khan’s talent.

It is also buoyed by one of the best soundtracks in Hindi cinema history, with beautiful hummable tunes by ace duo Anand Milind, one of the last of its kind. Maine Pyaar Kiya would soon replace it and surpass it in audience affection, but of all three debuts, QSQT’s is the soundtrack that has survived the test of time.

Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click here to vote for our first official episode.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

 

Ep 1- What is the Khandaan Podcast?

Can one really overstate the Khan effect on Bollywood these past 25 years? Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, don’t think so. The movies of Aamir, Salman, and Shahrukh are significant threads forming the rich cinematic tapestry that adorns the background of the lives of generations of South Asians – we sang their songs, mimicked their dance moves, and copied their wardrobe; we meme their blockbusters, obsess over their private lives, and giggle helplessly just remembering bits of their dialogue. There have been other hugely influential Khans in the industry but over the past quarter century, there’s been nobody like these three.

In their own ways, each of these men have changed the course of their industry. Aamir has evolved over the years into the Bollywood patriarch who invests in wholesome movies with a message; Salman is the boisterous life of the party who promises his audience as good a time as he can manage every single time; and Shahrukh is the risk-taking middle class boy whose reach extends beyond cinema and the desi diaspora. As we launch this project in late 2017, however, it remains to be seen how far their momentum can carry them.

Born in the same year, the Khan trio are now in their 50s even if they don’t always act like it. They are the first generation of Hindi cinema stars to have achieved such longevity as leading actors. After nearly 30 years on top, with younger actors jostling for space in this new iteration of the Hindi film industry that the Khans built with their favorite collaborators, one wonders if the Age of the Bollywood Khan is slowly coming to a close.

Thus, the Khandaan podcast – a timely retrospective of Khan work through the years.

We begin with episodes focused on the debut features of the three Khans – Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (1988) for Aamir Khan; Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989) for Salman Khan; and Deewana (1992) for Shahrukh Khan. Technically, of course, Aamir can be seen as a child actor in the films of his uncle, ace director Nasir Hussain, as well as his father and made his adult debut in Holi (1984) opposite Madhuri Dixit, ironically playing the type of obsessive creep that would be made iconic by Shahrukh a few years later. Similarly, Salman’s first foray into Hindi cinema was in the Rekha-starrer Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988) where the director hated his work (and specifically him) so much he had his voice dubbed. Meanwhile, Shahrukh was an extremely popular television actor who’d made his debut in the cult made-for-TV art film In Which Annie Gives it to Those Ones (1989) and his intended Hindi cinema launch was Hema Malini’s Dil Aashna Hai (1992) where he played the solo lead. However, we chose the movies that we considered as having officially launched the three into the arms of their adoring public.

Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click here to vote for our first official episode.

Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Ep 234: “Parts like these aren’t written for women in India” – Richa Chadha talks Fukrey Returns

This week’s episode is filled with tons of goodies!

We speak to the amazingly talented Richa Chadha about Fukrey Returns which is the Hindi theater release from last Friday.

I do keep mistakenly calling the movie “Fukrey two” which is not the name of the movie- my bad!

We talk about:

  • Shooting and fun on set
  • Lady Gaga
  • Leveraging Indie success to the mainstream
  • Why Bholi Punjaban is angry?
  • When to speak against social injustice

We also have a sneak peak of our new podcast series “The Khandaan Podcast” before the show, have a listen so you know what the fuss is all about.

Keep an eye out on our social media feeds so you are all caught up on when the new show drops.

Of course if you subscribe below in our iTunes feed, you definitely wont miss it.

We also have an amazing new theme song, created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!

Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.

Fukrey Returns is currently playing in theaters!

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Ep 231 My Pure Land Review

British-Pakistani director Sarmad Masud’s t MY PURE LAND is this week’s Upodcast Review and it was also announced as Britain’s selection for submission to the Academy Award® in the category of Foreign Language Film .

Based on true events, My Pure Land has been described as a Pakistani western, to break it down for our lovely listener we are joined by Omar Ahmed (@Bressonian) who is a film teacher, PHD Researcher and currently curating the film festival Not Just Bollywood in Manchester

With quite a lot going on with the film, Upod will break down for you:
The photography / cinematography
The patriarchal society & corruption
Some fine performances
Hopes for the debut director
Its narrative structure & how the story plays out

We talk about the previous short movie 2 Dosas in the show which you can find here.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

EP 230: “Woman Need to be their Own Heroes” Taapsee Pannu Talks Naam Shabana

This is one from the secret Upodcast vault!

We spoke with the wonderful Taapsee Pannu during the release of Naam Shabana but never managed to post the episode.

Since we talk a little about Judwaa 2 and the release is around the corner, what better time to than now to put our conversation up!

In this episode we talk about:

  • How many other Taapsee’s Taapsee knows?
  • Her career after Baby and Pink
  • How Hindi Cinema has changed for actresses
  • and what her favorite songs from Judwaa is

Naam Shabana is available for home viewing now!

Judwaa 2 releases 29th of September in UK theaters.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhavan) Upodcast Review

This week’s Upodcast review is for Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhavan) which came out last year in India, has been cleaning up awards at film festival and now is getting a UK release through the BFI.

We are joined by the always-entertaining Shah Shahid from the Splitscreen Podcast and Blankpage Beatdown.

This episode we talk about:

  • Splitscreen Podcast and some underrated remade gems
  • Thoughtful movies and the struggle to watch them
  • When the talent can be daunting
  • The brilliance of Adil Hussain
  • And more

To check out more of Shah’s work, head over to his site or his podcast.

We also did an interview with Shubashish Bhutiani, the director of Hotel Salvation, which you can find here.

Hotel Salvation is out in selected UK theaters this week.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes page and never miss a show

We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Ep 228: “We are all living stories”- Shubhashish Bhutiani Talks Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhavan)

We spoke to Shubhashish Bhutiani, director of Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhavan), at the London Indian Film Festival just before his UK festival premier. The movie is releasing this week through the BFI in the UK so it was the perfect time to post this interview.

We talk about:

  • Opening night at LIFF
  • How to get a movie made
  • Traveling the world and the difference in audiences
  • Dealing with envy and privilege

“Hotel Salvation has already won ten Indian and international film awards including Best Film at the 2017 New York Indian Film Festival, and the Prix Enrico Fulchignoni at last year’s Venice Film Festival (an award given by the International Council of Film and Television at UNESCO to the Venice film that best represents the values of peace and human rights.) It is now a strong contender to be India’s Academy Award entry in 2018.

There will be a full review Upodcast of Hotel Salvation later this week, Shah Shahid from The Split Screen Podcast will be joining us!

Until then,

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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Ep 227 Bhumi Pednekar talks Toilet Ek Prem Katha with Upodcast

On this week’s episode of Upodcast, we are talking to Bhumi Pednekar who is starring in Toilet Ek Prem Katha with Akshay Kumar, which is releasing in theatres this FRIDAY.

We talk about to Bhumi about:

  • Game of Thrones and her love of the show
  • The issues that Toilet deals with
  • Melding a romantic story with a movie dealing with social issues

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha releases internationally in cinemas on 11th August.

TOILET Ek Prem Katha - PosterYou can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Ep 226: Neeti Mohan talks AR Rahman’s concert to Upodcast

This week’s episode of Upodcast we talk to the amazingly talented singer Neeti Mohan who is joining AR Rahman on his “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” concert at SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday 8th July 2017.

 Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” marks the first in a global series, celebrating 25 years of the timeless music of AR Rahman and his team, who have crafted and perfected performances that are enriched with high-scale technology and

production. Leading engineers from around the world have been brought on board to present spectacular lighting and visuals as a backdrop to the live sounds of the musical genius, creating a multi-media extravaganza that will provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for fans and audiences.

AR will be joined onstage by Neeti Mohan as well as other special guests including Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Haricharan, Jonita Gandhi, Ranjit Barot and many more.

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 17.26.35

 

“Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” Saturday 8th July, SSE Arena, Wembley

Ticket Purchases:

www.ssearena.co.uk/events/detail/ar-rahman

We talk with Neeti Mohan about:

  • Working with a genius
  • How the internet has effected playback singing
  • Surprise at the name of her dog (who provides some back ground vocals to this chat)
  • How she feels about the recent trend of actors/actresses singing
  • The idea of a playback singer being the “voice” of an actor
  • We also follow up on the effects of the Film Companion Roundtable of female singers
  • The songs she doesn’t understand why people keep asking her to sing

For our review of AR Rahman’s previous concert at the O2, head over here.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

 

Bridge: review

The debut feature from Amit Ranjan Biswas, Bridge, draws together a lot of big questions, into a relatively small setting.

Bridge

In summary, a simple story; two strangers, both at the end of their tether, encounter each other on a bridge while attempting to commit suicide.  We have no idea why and this is slowly revealed as the film unfolds.  Little by little, like layers of an onion being peeled back, we understand more about the two main characters, played by Soumitra Chatterjee and Sandhya Mridul.  Bridge is a very still film, shot in a very patient and tranquil way, with a lovely eye to photography.  And this establishes the platform for things such as: love, loss, mental illness, and more importantly, hope, love, happiness.  Forgetting his own suicide attempt, Soumitra’s widower, prevents a young woman from taking her own life and, upon taking her home with him, discovers there is far more to her story than simply wanting to kill herself.  Clearly traumatised, to the point she cannot walk properly, communicate or even eat, Soumitra repots the incident at the bridge to authorities, who show a very establishment reaction – log the incident, take names, locations, add it to the catalogue they’re already investigating and then send the woman to a hostel.

The reality of mental illness is such that there is no procedure that will magically make the problem go away – and this is reflected in Soumitra’s character, who it transpires is battling his own demons and depression, following the death of his wife and the loss of his daughter.  As we discover more about both of the stories, it’s the little things that make the big impacts – be that the starting to eat again, going to have a shave and a haircut, or simply changing the clothes worn.  Whilst not at all a difficult or depressing film to watch, I did fear for Mridul’s character when the clumsy attempts by the authorities nearly send her back over the edge again, undoing all of the hard work and perseverance of Soumitra and his staff.  I am sure this is all too common in cases of mental illness but thankfully in his instance we see common sense, love and patience rule the day.  However at this point we finally understand the true horror of her past and it is quite sobering indeed.

A lovely sense of serenity came over me at the end of Bridge and it was not at all saccharine, fitting in perfectly with the tone the film had already established.  There are a few minor things i had an issue with – the story of his daughter I never quite understood, for example – but throughout there are lovely touches such as the flute player, or the shots of birds in the city.  I think a western production would have zeroed in one one or two of the biggest themes and tried to explain them somehow, with a conclusion of sorts, but this is the joy of watching foreign films and seeing a different take on a universal theme.  Quite possibly not the film you think it is or could be, I recommend this for anyone looking to Asian cinema and wanting something outside the traditional Bollywood offering.

Newton Review LIFF 2017

In director Amit Masurkar’s second feature, we land into the ever so old tussle between idealism and reality. Set in the backdrop of the world’s largest democratic election in India, with an extremely volatile political air, we see our protagonist Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) trying to make sense of the senselessness, find peace in the chaos, resisting the oppression, and eventually submitting to it. Or did he? I don’t remember having met a person like Newton, the idealist who believes in doing things by the book, no matter what the circumstances be. In fact, Newton is an abberation in the times we live in. Newton is honest, to the point of being proud about it and showing it off, as his senior states.

Masurkar’s second feature couldn’t have been more different to his urban comedy debut (Sulemaani Keeda) about struggling filmmakers in the land of Bollywood. With Newton, Masurkar doesn’t limit his narrative to telling the obvious right from the obvious wrong. We see the world of Newton in the span of the very few days leading to election day. And then as he experiences through the people he meets – the army officer (Pankaj Tripathi), the tribal subordinate female chief (Anjali Patil), his associate clerk (Raghubir Yadav) and juniors, the junior Army officer, his own parents, and the burnt world of the tribals. Newton is embodied by Rao in a performance that doesn’t have dramatic lines to express, but you can smell the frustration of the straitjacketed administration that handicaps what would seem like his obvious dutiful behaviour.

There is a particular scene in Newton which beautifully captures the theme of Newton to me. When Newton is lessoned about the harsh reality of how insignificant an election is to the daily lives of the tribals in the village by his junior clerk, an aspiring writer who has submitted to the routine of a cozy government job, he asks Malko – are you also as Niraashavaadi (pessimistic) as them? She simply replies – No, I am Aadivaasi (tribal). Newton maybe idealistic and wants to carry out his duty, but he is also ignorant of the bigger picture. His willingness to go through any means to achieve his duty goal is short sighted. There is hardly anyone of the 76 tribal people eligible to vote who has a clue of the elections – the candidates representing them, or what they promise to be on their agenda. People are busy making ends meet, worrying about basic necessities of life. And when they are not doing that, they are worried about their homes not being burned down by either the army, or the Naxals. Where does the round idea of democracy fit in this irregularly shaped hole?

As Newton fast descends into a more insane and far fetched tale, we do not lose the sense of realism however. And it is Rajkummar Rao’s grounded performance that makes it so. Now here is a movie that is not simply about an obnoxious idealist that you might not completely agree or identify with. It is also a tale of the far from perfect world we live in – a world fragmented by political interests and corruption, where Newton is not an ideal employee, but almost an absurd lunatic. He is one who needs to be kept silenced and consoled by trophies of punctuation awards. The movie however is not mean spirited about any of its characters. Masurkar narrates the film in a tone balanced between drama and suspense, often juggling it with absolute ease, and there are some humorous moments as well. But the laughs often come at the cost of how harsh the truth is.

@9e3k

Director: Amit Masurkar
Starring: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathy, Anjali Patil
Run time: 106 mins | Recommended Certificate: 12A
Language: Hindi with English Subtitles | Year: 2017 | Country: India

An award-winner at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2017, this delightful black comedy stars one of India’s top young character actors, Rajkummar Rao, as Newton, an everyday clerk who is selected for election duty in the conflict-ridden Indian state of Chhattisgarh. As local police and Maoists harass the locals and the voting process spirals out of control, the morally driven Newton becomes a reluctant hero in his zest to save the day.
24 JUNE | 18.10 | BFI SOUTHBANK
25 JUNE | 17.00 | CINEWORLD WEMBLEY

Check out more of Sujoy‘s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Let us know what you thought of the review in the comment section below and do continue to check out Upodcast for more coverage of the LIFF!

Ep 224: LIFF 2017 Preview – What To Watch?

The London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), regarded as Europe’s largest Indian film festival returns for its 8th edition to London and Birmingham and we are joined by Josh Hurtado from Screen Anarchy to help us navigate through broad choice of movies.

On this episode, we pick out the movies that excite us or intrigue us.

For the entire program, dates and tickets head over to www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

 

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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EP 223: Baahubali 2 The Conclusion Review

This week we review Baahubali 2 The Conclusion also known as the most successful Indian movie every to be released. And for this mammoth task we have brought in the most knowledgeable and best online voices to dissect this breaker of records.

On ep 223 we are joined by Sujoy (aka @9e3k), Amrita Rajan (@amritaIQ) and Josh Hurtado (@HatefulJosh) and we discuss the following topics:

  • Confessions of a Hindi film watcher
  • A taste of things to come post- Baahubali
  • Is Baabubali a commercial blockbuster or a vindication for South Indian movie makers and audiences against the Hindi domination?
  • Does Baahubali sound the end of the Khan era?
  • Who owns the succes of a movie?
  • We discuss the music, performances and the most insane scenes in the movie…

Check out our interview with director SS Rajamouli by going here.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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Ep 222: “Baahubali is not pro Hindu or anti Hindu…” SS Rajamouli Interview Upodcast

We were lucky enough to attend the UK press junket for what was supposed to be the UK premiere of Baahubali The Conclusion with director SS Rajamouli in attendance.

Since the movie had already released and is a massive success we had the opportunity to dig in a little deeper about the movie and it’s reception.

We spoke about:

  • Terrible experience of seeing his movie completed the first time
  • How he sees the value of film criticism
  • Rajamouli gives his secret formula to Bollywood film makers
  • If South India feel vindicated by the success of Baahubali
  • Making a movie like Baahubali as an atheist

Pardon the obvious fanboyism in my voice and the bad acoustics in the room but I think this might be one of the best interviews we have ever had.

Baahubali The Conclusion is currently running successfully in theaters.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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Mubarakan Press Conference kicks off London schedule

The cast and crew of the upcoming comedy movie “Mubarakan” are in London for the 50 day schedule of their comedy set to release in cinemas in July 2017.

The cast includes Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz and Athiya Shetty and they will be shooting in and around the England for around 50 days. As an exclusive first, the cast and director met with media at a fun-filled interaction on location amid the grandiose of Sheraton Park Lane, Mayfair.

In attendance were real life “chacha” and “bhateeja” Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor, who plays a double role in the movie, and Athiya Shetty and Ileana D’Cruz who are Karan (Arjun Kapoor) and Charan’s (Arjun Kapoor) love interests in the movie and of course the comedy producer, Anees Bazmee.

Here are some excerpts of the Q&A session with the UK press;

Q: How is it different working with local British talent and actors and actresses back in Mumbai, India?

Athiya Shetty: This is my second film so I still have a lot to learn, but I think everybody has a great energy and everybody is working together really well. They are adapting to the way we work and we are adapting to the way they work as well. But I feel it is a happy family even on set and everyone’s having lots of fun. So it’s not very different.

“We’re a happy family on set” @theathiyashetty talks about differences between shooting in India and UK

A post shared by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Q: You were shooting a scene in the Gurdwara in Gravesend. How’s the reaction been to shooting outside central London?

Ileana d’Cruz: I actually was really surprised when I saw the Gurdwara in Gravesend. It’s massive and I think I have explored every room there, it’s huge. It’s my first time inside a Gurdwara as well, but it was beautiful. It’s been fun, it’s been nice. I thought it was going to be really far off but it’s actually a really nice drive, about an hour and ten minutes way from where we are staying.

.@ileana_official tries to answer @ameetchana but @arjunkapoor got jokes #Mubarakan

A post shared by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Q: How is it for you to work a) with family and b) with new generation actors?

Anil Kapoor: I think when I am on set I just forget I am a professional. I remember one of the first shots I had was with the senior most actor in our country, which is Dilip Kumar, so for me I know that on every set I feel the same way with every actor. For me, when on set, I am in character and give my younger or senior the same kind of love and respect and I enjoy being on the set with everybody around me.

When we are on set we are all in the characters of what we are playing, it’s not that Arjun is my nephew but for me he is Charan and Karan in front of the camera.

Q: It’s been said in Bollywood it’s easy to make people sad, make them cry, make them sing and dance, but it’s very hard to get your comic right. Do you also feel that way?

Anees Bazmee: I feel I have written a lot of movies, romantic films, emotional ones but genuinely the most difficult ones to write are comedies. In comedy if you go slightly off, it can become a very poor movie and I feel as a writer if you haven’t written a good scene it becomes a big pain for actors because they have to try very hard to make it funny.

Whenever I have written good comedy I have mostly written them when I was in a bad mood, so for me it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you are writing a comedy you have to be in a very funny, laughing mood.

“This movie is about you” @arjunkapoor answers a question about UK Asian representation in #Mubarakan

A post shared by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Q: You are playing a double role in Mubarakan, what’s that been like?

Arjun Kapoor: I have played a double role before, I did “Aurangzeb”. It gives me a certain calmness because I have played it once before so I know what you have to do as an actor to prepare and to be on set and the time that it’s taken to pull it off. It’s a gift for an actor to get to do two characters in a film. You’re lucky to get one good character in a film, but I am getting to play two and I’m getting to do it despite doing it once before. So the faith that the director has in me that I can pull off playing two characters gives me a lot of confidence and excitement. It’s about having fun with the role.


Big Thanks to Iram and Imran for covering this event for Upodcast!

Mubarakan is produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Ashwin Varde & Murad Khetani’s Cine1 Studios.

The film has been written by Balli Januja and Rupinder Chahal.

Mubarakan is slated for a worldwide release on 28th July 2017 release.

Karan Johar : “I don’t discriminate”- LSE India Forum Event Full report

Two people who pride themselves on being punctual, Karan Johar and Anupama Chopra, are running late for their discussion panel at the London School of Economics SU India Forum. It’s not a starry late entrance though – they simply didn’t know that one never makes plans in London without checking the number of obstacles the city will inevitably throw your way when you’re in a rush. On this lovely, sunny Saturday, an entire section of the London Tube has been closed for repairs and two separate, giant protests (one against the Trump state visit and the other against the systematic gutting of the NHS) have blocked traffic in all sorts of interesting ways. Johar finally makes it in about 15 minutes late, having taken a cab from Mayfair like a total noob; Chopra got as far as Trafalgar Square before the massive crowds persuaded her to just hoof it. Johar, mindful of the plane he needs to catch later in the evening, uses the 20 minutes before she arrives to field questions from the room.

The LIF is a yearly event but this is the first time they’ve held a pre-LIF discussion and one suspects it was because they had to accommodate Johar’s packed schedule. He is clearly a speaker that draws a crowd – 200 students bought out the tickets in nine minutes flat and quite a few older guests have inveigled an invite as well. In person, he is exactly as you have seen him on TV: average build, medium height, familiar smirk. I’m struck by his shoes because a) I’m so used to seeing him midshot on TV, I don’t remember having seen his feet before; and b) they’re a violent shade of neon silver sneakers that I’m sure are the pinnacle of some mysterious men’s fashion that is more attractive to men than women.

The crowd is entirely desi (I spied one white photographer) and the young women in the audience are all dolled up and ready for their shot: perfect makeup and long, straight hair, chic dresses that are entirely too flimsy for the weather. The young men are no less, clean cut and leaning intently forward as Johar speaks, nodding along to his bon mots and catty zingers alike, some sporting those high collared Nehru vests that are the last word in rising-Indian-politician chic. He says hello to someone’s mom, professes his love for La La Land and Ranbir Kapoor, announces that Bombay Talkies 2 is in the works (Zoya Akhtar has already finished filming her segment while he is yet to begin scripting his) and speaks of Dharma’s evolving digital plans. One of the first questions is from a Pakistani fan who wants to know if Johar will ever take a chance on a Pakistani actor again; he is witty and diplomatic as he deflects her with protestations of his own helpless progressivism and effusive praise of Fawad Khan’s talent. Another young woman wants to know his take on Saif Ali Khan’s homophobic witticisms on this season’s Koffee with Karan; a nervous Nehru-vest-clad student organizer pipes up thinly that personal questions are discouraged. “Was that personal?” Johar winks broadly at the roaring audience before choosing to answer by affirming Khan’s liberalism in his personal life.

Once Anupama Chopra arrives, they’re immediately off; the comfort of long familiarity evident by how easily they’re able to launch straight into deeply personal subjects. The talk is as wide ranging as any Karan Johar event based on the always fascinating subject of himself that you might have witnessed before, with Chopra referencing a chapter in Johar’s recent memoir, An Unsuitable Boy, where his mother ticks him off for being mediocre in every respect and how that went on to fuel his discovery of himself as the celebrity we recognize today. He is candid about only attending award shows that pay him to emcee, his fear of eventual and inevitable irrelevance, his love of Hindi film music, that entire scenes of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil have been adapted straight from his failed romances, and his desire to make a film that Chopra will love.

Things then took a turn: Chopra introduced a segment on pay parity in Hindi cinema, pointing out that while she understands the pay scale being pegged to a star’s ability to attract an audience, even newcomers are paid different rates according to gender. Johar immediately distances himself from such practices.

“When it comes to newcomers, I don’t discriminate. When I launched Varun (Dhawan), Sid (Malhotra) and Alia (Bhatt), they all got the same number. Why should there be any kind of disparity in remuneration?” he said to loud applause. “You guys make the men bigger stars. When the audience empowers the women more, I would love to pay Deepika Padukone more than I pay Ranbir Kapoor but the truth of the matter is he opens to a number solo and she opens to a number solo. We have six movie stars in India who’re all men and then we have a few women who are doing really well but they can’t match the numbers or get that opening. They can’t get the economics right – satellite, music, overseas, digital, theatrical. They can’t pull in the same numbers on any of them so there is this disparity.”

Chopra reminds him of Sonam Kapoor’s recent statement that her upcoming project with Kareena Kapoor, Veere di Wedding, was unable to generate a fraction of the funding given to a Varun Dhawan and John Abraham project.

“Because Varun Dhawan is a bigger movie star,” Johar said, flatly matter-of-fact.

Really?” Chopra said.

“Yes,” he said. “Seriously! He has an ABCD that opened to 14 crores. Neerja opened to 4 crores. Dhishoom opened to 11 crores. Sonam is an amazing beauty and a humongously talented girl but she cannot compare on the economics.”

Next came the controversial segment where Johar defended himself from Kangana Ranawat’s accusation on a recent episode of Koffee with Karan that he is the “flag bearer of nepotism” and part of the “movie mafia” that made her early years in the Mumbai film industry a nightmare.

“I just want to say, I’m glad she knows what it all means,” he began, a perfect (and perhaps unintended) callback to Ranawat’s point that Johar was one of those who mocked her relentlessly for her poor English when she first arrived in Mumbai. The crowd erupted in raucous cheers that turned variously into gasps and applause as he went on to list the number of directors with no prior industry links who have been employed by Dharma. Even if Ranawat was talking about actors, he said, the only two industry kids he has given a break to are Alia and Varun, neither of whom are related to him. As for being a member of the so-called movie mafia that excluded her, he said he couldn’t understand the charge – although he considers her to be an outstanding artist who is fully deserving of praise, when it comes to making his films, he felt entitled to his choice of cast.

“I am done with Kangana playing the woman card and the victim card,” he said, to noticeably louder cheers than his statement identifying her as a serious talent. “You cannot always be a victim who has this sad story to tell about being terrorized by this bad industry. Leave it. Who is forcing you to be here? Do something else.”

Later, as the evening came to a close, I overheard a couple seated behind me discussing how much they’d enjoyed the evening and Johar’s frankness. I came home and began to write this article, Googling to see if anyone had uploaded video of the event – and the very first link was the surprise announcement of Johar’s brand new fatherhood via surrogacy. The man had sat five feet from me at an event to discuss himself, interviewed by a woman who plainly felt no qualms asking him sensitive questions, and there hadn’t been so much as a hint of any such thing in the offing. In fact, it apparently came as a surprise to most of his acquaintance who’d attended a well-publicized singles party for Valentine’s Day at his home a mere seven days after his children were born. In hindsight, therefore, the entire event became a whole other exercise in studying how celebrities hide in plain sight and retain the ability to practice discretion when warranted, even in the media-saturated environment of 2017. Celebrity events are a dime a dozen but it is always a pleasure to attend a master class.

by Amrita Rajan.

You can find more of her work on her blog or follow her on twitter!

 

LIF is the first of its kind forum in the UK involving keynote speeches and panel discussions on major economic, political and cultural issues facing contemporary India. The conference serves as a platform for students and young professionals alike to engage with some of India’s leading industrialists, politicians, economists and popular culture icons.

This year, the forum has been segmented into two unique events – the next even will be

LIF – Saturday, 11th March: India – A Superpower in the Making?

 

Ep 218: Raees Review Upodcast

We’ve got a jam-packed show today and not only because of the amazing roundtable of guests we’ve put together. After all a Shahrukh Khan movies needs the best of the best of bollybloggers to come together (of course we’re not including Asim to that list)

This week we are joined by Amrita, Beth and Sujoy and we talk about:

  • Quick thoughts on Rishi Kapoor’s biography called Khullam Khulla and a deeper dive into Ranbir’s breakfast habits
  • Sujoy talks about why he hated Kaabil and why the rest of the guest opted out of watching it
  • We delve deeper into what similarities there are between SRK and Hritik as performers and if Bang Bang is a better movie than Chennai Express?
  • Then it’s time for our main review of Raees:

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

Subscribe to our feed and leave us a review!

A close friend of ours, Rajee, is battling blood cancer and is in urgent need for a stem cell match for a bone marrow transplant. All it takes is a cheek swab (saliva) to get registered in your respective country’s registry. You can find more details about it at 

fb.me/HealRajee

Please help spread this message to your family and friends. And since ethnicity matters to get a match for Rajee please circulate this as best as possible among your South Asian friends and family.  However, all ethnicities are welcome to register.

Time is of essence – we need as many registrations as possible by the first week of February in order to find a match.

How to register?

India: http://datri.org/donor-registration/

UK:

Age Above 30

Registration: https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/register-now

FAQ: https://www.dkms.org.uk/en/frequently-asked-questions

Age Below 30 

Register: https://www.anthonynolan.org/apply-join-bone-marrow-register

FAQ: https://www.anthonynolan.org/frequently-asked-questions

US: http://www.aadp.org/learn/how-to-register/

If you qualify as a donor, all it takes is a bit of discomfort…

Stem cell donation in Rajee’s case would most likely be donation of bone marrow and this involves the removal of stem cells from your hip bones. This is done using a needle and syringe under a general anaesthetic in a hospital. Although this is not a surgical operation, there will be marks on the skin made by the needle. As there may be some discomfort where the needle has been inserted, you will need to stay in hospital for up to 48 hours and have a period of recovery at home of up to five days.

Stem cell donation is very safe. However, as we all know no medical procedure is entirely without risk. The procedure may involve some temporary discomfort in your bones and any small risks involved will be fully explained before you donate.

You can find more information on this here:

http://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow/qa/index.asp#whatare

Thank you ever so much 

 

 

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Review Upodcast

After many troubles Ae Dil Hai Mushkil finally released this weekend and we’re joined by Anisha Jhaveri (@Jhavanis) writer for Indiewire, to talk about Karan Johar’s new movie starring the all star cast of Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Fawad Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

We talk about:

  • Our expectations walking into a Karan Johar movie
  • Some alternative theories on how to view the ADHM
  • Deal with some of the major criticism the movies has faced
  • Is Ranbir Kapoor’s shtick getting old?
  • Is Anushka Sharma a new version of Geet from Jab We Met?
  • The wardrobe of ADHM: sneakers and red pocket liners on a pea coat
  • Was Aishwarya’s role over sold in the promos?
  • Aishwarya and Anushka straight out a magazine cover
  • Cameo’s of ADHM

Anisha’s review of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil can be found on Indiewire or you can follow her on twitter.

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

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We would love it if you can rate or write us a small review on iTunes! Just click here.

Mirzya Review Upodcast

Our best episodes are the ones where we see things completely differently. Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s adaptation of the Mirza Sahiban folktale is one such movie. Mirzya stars Harshvardhan Kapoor, Saiyami Kher (Check out our interview with her by clicking here), Art Malik and Om Puri and hits theaters today after it’s European premier at the London Film Festival.

We’re joined by the talented and always charming Shai Hussain to break down how this adaptation translates to the big screen, how both debutante actors perform  and if the overall world created is matches the legends of the folk tale.

Mirzya hits theaters this weekend and is having it’s European Premier at the London Film Festival.

You can listen/download/stream our episode below.

Or subscribe to iTunes and never miss a show!

Saiyami Kher Mirzya Interview Upodcast

“This experience has been life changing…”

We speak to Saiyami Kher who is making her big screen debut this Friday in Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirzya, a re-imagining of Mirza Sahibaan’s legendary folk tale.

We talk about her preparation for her role, her background as a marathon runner and how the experience was for an outsider to the industry to collaborate with the Harshvardhan Kapoor, son of living legend Anil Kapoor.

Mirzya hits theatres this weekend and is having it’s European Premier at the London Film Festival.

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M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story Review

The big question going into Neeraj Pandey’s M.S. Dhoni: An Untold Story was – why? Why does it exist? Given the sheer number of articles, think pieces and news reports that come out annually on the Indian cricket captain, who found his feet just as India became a nation addicted to social media shenanigans and hysterical yellow journalism, what exactly had its creators found that compelled them to make this movie?

The movie opened on a hopeful note for this reviewer as Pandey brought in several threads from Dhoni’s life – not all of them untold, but perhaps not previously narrated in a cohesive whole. There was the tension of being an Indian child with unconventional tastes (he’d rather play football than cricket!); the burden of meeting parental expectations, particularly that of the strict but loving, hardworking, lower-middle class father who carries the unspecified weight of the world on his shoulders; that now-famous rewriting of conventional wisdom that allowed Indian cricket to shift focus to the untapped talent languishing in “B-tier towns”; the tragicomedy of dealing with Indian bureaucracy; falling in love at inconvenient times and dealing with loss; the politicking that comes with power and position, etc. Every item on a checklist had been ticked off.

In fact, there were so many possible narrative threads set up in the first half of the movie, it was quite a puzzle how they would all come together in the second. And the sad answer was that all this rich texture simply existed to bring our attention to different parts of Dhoni’s flawless character. He is benevolent to the bureaucrats who nearly destroyed his career! He remembers his old friends even though he has learned better grooming and improved his English! He even has a friend whose possible alcoholism only exists to underline the fact that Dhoni himself would never touch terrible, soul-destroying things like beer because his body is a temple dedicated to sport. The much-touted story of the woman he loved and lost fades into a larger theme of his being a man beholden to second chances from life.

Part of the problem lies in the performance turned in by Sushant Singh Rajput in the eponymous role. Singh is a fine actor whom we have seen perform to better advantage elsewhere – here, he plays Dhoni as next to catatonic when trying to portray him as a reserved man with a rich interior life and terrifying focus. Most of the blame, however, rests on the shoulders of Pandey as the man who wrote and directed this movie, for trying to shoehorn a living, breathing man into a template more familiar to him.

For M.S. Dhoni: An Untold Story ends up telling you a lot more about the man who made it than the man it seeks to portray. Pandey is clearly a man who wants to write thrillers that incorporate the tiny details of everyday life in the less shiny bits of India. The problem with this movie, however, is that it is a thriller in search of a thrill. It can’t be found in the first half of the movie where Dhoni casually bats his way to the top until a mincing/swaggering Yuvraj Singh introduces a bit of tension by outclassing not just him but his entire team of rustics while armed with a pair of headphones. The movie keeps telling the viewer that this is an unconventionally cerebral man who has felt the pain of struggle and loss, but from the very first frame where an intensely focused Dhoni walks out to the gladiator’s ring that Indians like to call a cricket field, there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that this man is going to excel. His friends believe so strongly in him, they don’t think twice about bugging acquaintances to sponsor him; amazing opportunities continuously come his way without his ever having applied for them; when he’s stuck at a dead-end job, his boss encourages him to play truant and concentrate on his game. How is one supposed to feel sorry for this guy?

As for the emotional loss of his girlfriend, by trying to check that off the list, all Pandey manages to do is to turn her death into a teachable moment for Dhoni, shadowing his relationship with his future wife Sakshi. Both women exist without much context or personality, unlike the rest of Pandey’s dependable troupe of character actors who show up in this film to enact various roles such as cricket commentators and early mentors without making the kind of impact they did in earlier Pandey movies.

Finally, however, one does receive an answer as to why this movie was made – so that Indians may celebrate their 2011 World Cup once again. If you’re in the mood for a hagiography of India’s arguably most successful cricket captain, this movie is definitely for you. If you are looking for a competently made movie from a director whose movies have dependably entertained you in the past, like yours truly, you may walk out disappointed.

M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story is in theaters now!

Review by Amrita Rajan. You can find more of her work on her blog or follow her on twitter!

Rahat Ali Khan at the O2 Concert Review

Dressed in a golden embroidered jacket, sitting center stage on a bar stool and accompanied by a simple back up band, the heir of Pakistan’s qawwali legacy, Rahat Ali Khan performed before a sold out crowd at the London O2 arena for a special concert marking the celebration of Pakistan’s independence. The entire day was filled with cultural events, food buskers and Bollywood dance lessons just outside the concert venue where a diverse crowd of South Asian fans (and quit a few celebrities) enthusiastically took to their seats.

The concert commenced with what Rahat dubbed his “Love Songs”. But in the tradition of qawwali the “Love” can’t be distinguished between the love for a person or the love for God. There were many instances during the almost 3-hour concert, where devotion and emotion were indistinguishable for the performer as well as for the audience.From the first notes onward, the concert was an unending high consisting of goose bumps, musical elation, uncontrollable smiles and utter joy.The O2 - Rahat-145

Between the sets, Rahat had a surprisingly jovial back and forth with his audience, his respect for them and his art shining through every eloquently worded syllable, illustrating the fact that the singer’s poetic nature is not confined to his songs but also how he treats the people around him.

Although his recent popularity is partly due to his numerous Hindi movie soundtrack collaborations, his unmistakable talent and skill honed through decades of training is always accompanied by the clarity of Rahat’s voice and the Sufi tradition that power his songs.

The crowd erupts in roars as soon as they recognize the initial notes of hits like “Aas Paas hai Khuda” (Anjaani Anjaana) or the mere mention of Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, on who the song as “O Re Piya” (Aaja Nachle) was picturized. Both songs transcending the forgettable movies that they were in, becoming crowd favorites (as well as a personal favorites) and making us realize that whichever country we hail from, we share an on going obsession with Madhuri Dixit.

Closing the love block with the word “I have too many love songs” and the ever present smile, the musical maestro immediately kicks off his “Punjabi section” of the concert, or as Rahat told the crowd, the language in which you can call anyone, anything and they won’t mind it.

After a few more crowd pleasers like “Samjhawan” (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhanya), Surili Ankhyon Wale (Veer), we head into the qawalli portion of the concert, which was essentially the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tribute section, Rahat’s mentor and legendary uncle.

During the intermission  all the performers even changed in more traditional qawalli gear like purple kurta’s and elegant sherwaani’s taking their place in the classic formation behind tabla’s and harmoniums.

The Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan songs have decades old connect with the audience and it is the closest the London Arena got to the rapture and hypnotism of a true qawalli performance in the streets of Lahore or Delhi.

The lazy argument critics always make about Rahat is that he can’t be compared to Nusrat’s talent. (Try it out, go to any Indian restaurant, and start a conversation about Rahat Ali Khan when a song comes on the radio and you will hear “Nusrat wali bhaat nahi hai usme“)

To Rahat’s own admission, he understood early in his career and made the conscious decision to not only focus on classical qawalli but foray into more popular tunes, usually adapted and re-performed for the larger audience whereas his uncle had the popularity hoisted upon him, and he never really felt comfortable in this new modern medium of “music videos”. It is a decision to be applauded as it shows reverence for what has been but a determination to reach people through today’s medium.

But it is also in these songs that the comparison between the Rahat Ali Khan being in the shadow of his uncle becomes clear.  If you have heard the original recordings of Nusrat you realize how incomparable his talent and command of qawalli truly was. And although Rahat comes close, like listening to a great cover band, there is a silent agreement between audience and performer that this is the closest we are able to get to the original, and for most of us, that is already better than any other musical performance we have attended in our life times.

After the qawalli high, we return to some more Bollywood songs of recent years and somewhere, suddenly they seem much simpler and almost child like to the previous compositions. The energy drops a little but the audience is very happy to see their personal favorites ticked of the list and performed live.

Rahat’s commitment and sincerity never fails though, as he croons his personal favorite “Ae Khuda” from Rocky Handsome, a song I have gone back and revisited after the concert and have truly started appreciating for how it stands out compared to more the paint by number hits like Bodyguard’s “Teri Meri” or “Tere Mast Mast do Nain” from Dabangg.

The concert closes with Jiya Dhalak, his big introduction to the Bollywood audience and Mast Qalander, his uncle’s greatest hit.

Rahat Ali Khan sang for us with only a small intermission for 3 hours straight with power, sincerity, keeping in mind what the audience asked from him but giving them much more than they needed. He gave them the memory of an unforgettable experience with a true musical master of the likes that appears only once in a lifetime.

Dishoom Review Upodcast

New Podcast for your Ear holes! This week we take to task the Buddy Action revival directed by Rohit Shetty starring younger brother Varun Dhawan, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez.

We are joined by Hani from wonderful podcast The Bollywood Project and Sujoy aka @9e3k.

(Here is a link to our appearance on their show)

Will Dishoom enter into the pantheon of other classic buddy cop movies?

Does pack enough punch to Dishoom?

Listen/stream/download to the episode below and find out.

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Win 2 tickets to the Ustad Rahat Ali Khan Concert at the O2, London

Pakistan’s most famous Qawwali singer Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan, the nephew of the late, world-renowned singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, will perform his greatest hits live for the first time at The O2 on Sunday 14 August 2016.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 22 April and are available at AXS.com or by calling 0844 856 0202 or from www.theo2.co.uk.www.theo2.co.uk.

But we have a pair of tickets to give away for Free! and it couldn’t be easier.

Just click on the banner below and sign up with your email adress, and the lucky winner will be randomly drawn. Deadline for the the competition is 8th of August! So sign up ASAP!

Click on the image to enter the competition!

The performance will coincide with Pakistan and India’s independence weekend celebrations and will be Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan’s only London show this year. Discussing his forthcoming show Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan said; ”I’m very excited to be performing at The O2, London, for the second time, following my sold out tour in 2013.

“Coming to the UK is always a thrill for me and my performance is timed to fit the Independence Day celebrations for both Pakistan and India. I have a fantastic team of musicians joining me and will be performing my greatest film hits and new material, as well as my esteemed Uncle, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s popular Qawwali numbers, to rock the arena.”

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was chosen at birth by his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutoring in the traditions of qawwali music, a form of Sufi devotional popular in South Asia. Six weeks after his uncle’s death in 1997, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan took his position as leader of the group and has since become one of the most talked about Pakistani artists in the world.

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has performed on a variety of recordings, and his songs and vocals have featured in numerous hit Hollywood and Bollywood films including Bodyguard, My Name is Khan, Dabangg, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Drishyam, the Hollywood film Apocalypto and many more.

The maestro has released over 50 albums with over 100 hits in Bollywood and has been presented with numerous awards including Star Screen Awards for Best Male Playback 2010 and the IIFA award for best male vocalist 2011. He has also been a judge on top TV shows in India such a Chhote Ustad and Junoon, Kuch Kar Dikhaane Ka. He was the headline performer at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2014 and recently performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in March 2016.

In 2014, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan released his latest album ‘Back 2 Love’ which sold millions of copies worldwide.

The ticket will also include access to a variety of free live events and activities including Bollywood dance workshops, DJs, specially selected street food stalls and more.

SHEKHAR KAPUR: A LIFE WITH ELIZABETH LIFF 2016 at the BFI

Although Shekhar Kapur was at the BFI Southbank to talk about making Elizabeth (surely this would have sat better at the London Film Festival than the London Indian Film Festival? #justsaying), I was not so secretly hoping that he would talk about Mr India, one of my all-time favourite films; pleasingly, he did. In fact, I could have listened to a whole talk on the film, such is my devotion to it and the gems he gave did not disappoint – that there was no bound script for the film, many insiders tried to dissuade him from making the film and explained to presenter Nick James (editor of Sight + Sound) how Sridevi’s Seema was based upon Lois Lane from Superman.

He also spoke of how producers felt Sridevi could not be presented as “sexy” (which was immediately disproved by a 10 second clip of that iconic song) or how Amrish Puri stated that he would never escape the shadow of being Mogambo. The most interesting insight was Shekhar talking about metaphorically narrating the film to his 14 year old self and basing his narrative on those reactions – which perhaps explains why it resonated with so many young children (including myself) at the time of release.

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The other film that was discussed at length was Bandit Queen which Shekhar called his most instinctive film to date. With no commercial pressure or investors to satisfy, he was able to make his interpretation of the events that led to Phoolan Devi’s incarceration. Surmising the essence as the film of being about gender inequality, he also spoke how he wanted to show “the difference between nakedness and nudity” when filming the graphic sexual violence depicted on screen that survived being cut by the ever snip happy censor board of India.

Then it was time to talk all things Elizabeth. After Bandit Queen brought Shekhar to Cannes, the initial offer of a “frock film” did not appeal. Confessing to Working Title producer Tim Bevan that he was bored of British period dramas, he stipulated he wanted to make the Trainspotting equivalent of a period piece – and to his surprise, Tim agreed. Interestingly, Shekhar also insisted on casting the then relatively unknown Australia actress Cate Blanchett despite every top British actress vying for the role and after threatening to leave the project, he was able to get his way. Drawing parallels between Elizabeth I and Indira Gandhi, he also revealed that Elizabeth was actually a trilogy and was waiting for Cate to age before making the third and final instalment, teasing the theme: “if you think you are divine, how do you face your own mortality?”

Finally, the floor was opened for questions which ranged from what it was like to work with Amrish Puri (a great deal of fun -Mogambo was based on a Shakespearian villain and Amrish was directed to perform as if he were scaring 12 year old children from a rural village) to whether Paani (Water) was still going to be made (it is – has not been shelved but Yashraj Films are no longer producing due to creative differences) to using women editors so that he can redress the gender balance in his cinema and ensure a male viewpoint does not dominate.

Wrapping up the talk, Shekhar elaborated on how films allow one to discover oneself in ways an individual is previously unaware of and the struggle of how to make something relevant to the self is where his source of creativity and inspiration lies. With a candid demeanour and lots of wisdom, Shekhar Kapur not only made for a fascinating speaker but also one of the highlights of LIFF 2016.

Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.You can read more from him at www.bogeyno2.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Let us know what you thought of the review in the comment section below and do continue to check out Upodcast for more coverage of the LIFF!

For The Love of a Man Review LIFF 2016

The devotion some fans have towards their favourite superstars can be witnessed on a daily basis on many a Twitter thread but as this insightful film shows, the dedication some Rajnikanth fans have for him not only dictates the course of their lives but also has the potential to influence the world’s largest democracy, commanding a loyalty and devotion that an average public figure can only dream of.

Divided into three chapters with an introduction and epilogue, we see three different perspectives – one of a businessman/aspiring politician, a lookalike (who cheekily confesses he is actually a Kamal Hassan fan) and a family man who thinks nothing of mortgaging his wife’s jewellery to pay for a fan event whilst his wife struggles to make ends meet and care for her family. All are united by Rajnikanth who plays a central part in their lives; whilst the superfans seek to emulate and do what they think their idol would want them to do, the lookalike finds Rajnikanth may hold the key to his own dreams being realised.

The authorial voice is objective throughout, ensuring it never judges and tries to present a balanced viewpoint; explaining how Rajnikanth reinvented the hero for Tamil cinema from aristocratic model citizens to the working class man who had empathy and charisma, the creation of the superstar stemmed from a political movement that wanted to move people away from religion as their primary source of inspiration and in the process created a behemoth.

At the same time, Rajnikanth fans form an impressive community that look out for one another and pay back to society; organising food for underprivileged children, raising money and installing water tanks in villages as well as regularly convening to think up marketing for upcoming Rajnikanth films and ensuring the films always make their money back, showing a philanthropic side to the world.

For The Love Of A Man reminded me a lot of Being Salman Khan, a documentary which looks at Salman fans who are similarly obsessed with their idol. Both are sympathetic and try hard to show how these fandoms are an outlet for groups of men who feel this is a platform to express their masculinity on and truly is a fascinating world that is not what it appears to be on first glance. Moving and compelling in turn, For The Love Of A Man is worth a watch, whether you are a fan of Rajnikanth or not.


Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.

You can read more from him at www.bogeyno2.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Let us know what you thought of the review in the comment section below and do continue to check out Upodcast for more coverage of the LIFF!

Song of Lahore Review LIFF 2016

Before we even start talking about Song of Lahore, do yourself a favour. Go and watch the following video.

This was the video that started it all. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken’s Song of Lahore is a documentary that chronicles the surprising journey of an ensemble of classically trained Pakistani musicians – from the troubled streets of Lahore, to the their moving performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York. It is moving, touching, and even educational as we the audience join the musicians of Sachal Studios as they embark on their quest for excellence.

For the first 20 odd minutes, I admittedly found myself struggling to find a focus in the material. Too many individuals were introduced into the narrative, without any context to explain to me why I should care about them. But before I could even begin to prematurely dismiss any story, I was hooked in by the sincerity in their music. It is by means of these different individual tales coming together cohesively in a flourishing moving music piece that the “Song of Lahore” blossoms into its own melody. Like the jazz music the documentary is centered on, Song of Lahore is about the unwavering spirit of these Lahore musicians coming together against all odds of oppression, religious fascism, and even tyranny that almost killed their existence.

Lahore has been one of the cultural landmarks of Pakistan, housing great musicians, artists, writers, poets and painters for thousands of years, until the late 70’s when Pakistan’s political atmosphere drastically shifted to become one of an Islamic republic. Since then, most art, particularly music, has been considered sinful. As a result, Pakistan’s once rich culture of art has diminished, as artists struggle to even make ends meet, and have resorted to doing other jobs. And yet, as Song of Lahore reminds us, the art hasn’t completely died – it has simply changed from being people’s careers to becoming a passionate hobby among those who are still trying hard to pass on their knowledge to the new generation, and even attracting new audiences by fusing traditional sounds with modern ones. Sachal Studios decides to drum up attention by posting a Youtube video playing Dave Brubeck’s Take Five with Pakistani instrumentation. The clip goes viral, and gives them the chance to perform in New York alongside Wynton Marsalis. Thus, the Sachal Jazz Ensemble is born.

Originally content to remain obscure bearers of the Pakistani musical heritage, this opportunity brings the Sachal Jazz Ensemble to gain worldwide attention and truly hit its stride. It is Sachal’s chance to finally find the recognition they’ve missed out on, and also shows how a love of music transcends any barrier. It is heart-warming to see these men who are clearly past their prime, with their withered faces and grey hair, and still smiling wide with a passion so infectiously inspiring. And at the same time it is heartbreaking to think of how they have been deprived of what could have been. Born into a family of musical geniuses, and in a broken nation that looks down upon art, it has not just deprived these musicians from their future; it has deprived their nation of endless possibilities and the world of music greats. As neighbouring India almost takes cultural freedom for granted and takes pride in its geniuses – be it Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, or even A.R. Rahman, Pakistan has only lost this opportunity to nurture its talented sons and daughters. As the Sachal gang walk down Times Square and enjoys street performers, one of them comments – “They are poor musicians, just like us”. It hit me hard.

And then we see them singing “Country Roads, Take Me Home” with New York’s infamous Naked Cowboy. And it instantly brought a smile on my face, and surprised me how musical unity can come through in the most unpredictable of places.

The final performance at the Lincoln Center acts as the culmination of all their struggles and their pure and unadulterated love for music. Even with all the tension of rehearsals and adapting a new genre of music, the performance is sensationally tremendous, impactful, and echoes with applause. But I found it a little too short, as I was left wanting for more (I was quite relieved to find out that some of the performances are available online on Youtube). The performance provokes tears of both pride and relief. I was left dazzled by these courageous seniors, and the melody stuck in my head. I felt spiritually refreshed and joyous, and with eyes full of tears. The optimism is consistent in Song of Lahore‘s overall tone and interest in perseverance. I cannot recommend this enough.

Song of Lahore will stir you to the core.

A Song of Lahore is part a double bill by South Asia’s only double Oscar winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Based in Karachi, her documentaries capture key social issues and great moments of contemporary Pakistani culture.

18 JULY | 18:30 | PICTUREHOUSE CENTRAL

Check out more of Sujoy‘s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Let us know what you thought of the review in the comment section below and do continue to check out Upodcast for more coverage of the LIFF!

AN EVENING WITH SHARMILA TAGORE LIFF 2016 Q+A

“Are my answers too long?” Sharmila Tagore asks halfway through her answer to the first question about her esteemed lineage (her great grandfather was responsible for bringing Cubism to India whilst her grandfather was the poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore). The truth is one could listen to Sharmila talking all night; eloquent, polished and engaging, whether it was recounting her time in regional cinema or as one of the reigning superstars at a time when art house and commercial cinema were two different worlds, this Q&A was full of amazing anecdotes and stories that as director Sangeeta Datta put it “evoked lost worlds“.

A large portion of the Q&A centred on Sharmila’s work with Satyajit Ray; after a clip from Apun Sansar (The World Of Apu) was shown (which also saw Sharmila rightly questioning why a subtitled version was not shown for all the non-Bengali speakers), she described in detail the direction she had been given and also quoted key dialogues, commenting how economical the words used were but their impact was devastating when delivered under Ray’s direction. A clip from her next film Devi was equally fascinating, especially when Sharmila pointed out they had been shown out of order and presented the context herself. Sharmila

However, it was her work in Hindi cinema in the 70’s that seemed to really get the audience interested – what it was like to work with Rajesh Khanna (did you know Roop Tera Mastana was shot in one take as they only had a few hours to shoot it in), Shammi Kapoor (unpredictable; he would do one thing in rehearsal and then improvise in the actual take) and how Deewana Hua Badal from Kashmir Ki Kali was the first song Sharmila lip synched to and found it challenging as Hindi was not her first language but living in Bombay helped her learn fast.

Then came questions from the audience which Sharmila took on with aplomb – praising Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut and Vidya Balan when asked about current heroines whilst also reiterating she herself had taken roles where her characters had “agency till the end“. She also spoke about her recent visit to the Lahore Literary Festival as well as her time on the Censor Board, telling how she tried and failed to rebrand it as the CFBC rather than just the “censor board” as well as (in what was the line of the night) “politics divide but Hindi films unite“.

Finishing on the notion that “films are a wonderful profession” and how she had managed to juggle motherhood and work at a time when it was not the norm, one audience member commented how Sharmila was like a representative for women now as much as she was at the height of her star power. With an incredible body of work behind her, felicitated with Festival Icon Award as well as being invited to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it will be interesting to see what Sharmila does next.

 

Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.

You can read more from him at www.bogeyno2.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Cinemawala Review LIFF 2016

It does sound ironic that the film industry across the world has chosen digital media over film as its preferred future, even though it’s named after it. Much has been already said about this deviation, and only a select few filmmakers in the world continue their struggle to keep the torch burning. Digital media makes it easier for films to be released in more screens simultaneously, with a cleaner print and an almost flawless archiving process. It also has single-handedly spelt the doom for the art of film projection and the traditional single screen cinema which takes pride in that “larger than life” quality of the big screen. It is the struggle of letting go of this attachment to the glorious past that Kaushik Ganguly’s Cinemawala tries to explore. It brilliantly juxtaposes this struggle with the strained relationship between a father and his son. The parallel drawn between the two – the older generation set in their own ways and strict moral code, and the successor who just wants validation and success by all means, is brought to life by some brilliant performances.

 

The father of the Das family – Pranabendu Das, played exceptionally well by veteran Bengali actor Paran Banerjee, runs his family fish whole seller business with his only son Prokash (Parambrata Chatterjee, Kahaani). He also owns a failed single screen cinema, Kamalini, named after his separated wife. His cinema has seen better days, and along with his old confidante Hari, he dwells in the glorious days of the past – the days of Uttam Kumar, the days of CINEMA as it was meant to be. Prokash on the other hand, is the opportunist son, who reluctantly helps his father with the family business, but is more keen on making a quick buck by selling pirated DVDs. While Das senior’s life revolves around movies of the past, he realises that his son has a similar obsession, albeit an illegal way to be a “Cinema wala”.


There is a certain quality of ache and loneliness in Ganguly’s framing of the character of Pranabendu. And Paran Bandopadhyay just slips into this character effortlessly. His eyes and droopy face portray a defeated old man, who is struggling to give up what he holds so dear. His embarrassment from his own blood is painful to watch, and his love for cinema is inspiring. Parambrata plays the greedy son Prokash quite well, and at times can be quite slimy. Prokash’s wife played by Sohini Sarkar supports the two leads seamlessly. And there is even some comic relief. But my favourite character, surprisingly is Hori – played by Arun Guhathakurta. His loyal demeanour towards Pranab from the start reel makes one feel very attached to him. I won’t go into spoilers – but there is a scene where Pranab has sell of his big projection machines. Hori is cleaning it before the new owners come to pick it up, and he asks Pranab if he can spend some time with it alone. He has been in that projection room since he was 23, and to me it felt like Hori considered these machines to be his daughters, and now it’s time for their ‘bidaai’. It is a heartbreaking scene and I am sure there won’t be a single dry eye at the cinema when you watch it.

 

With the cinema industry finding newer ways to distribute movies, battling piracy and illegal downloads, and single screens becoming a thing of the past, what choice does the older generation have than to let go. The swan song of the single screens has not yet been sung, but people continue to be besotted by the swanky new multiplexes. Nostalgia is a dangerous thing. CinemaWala, in a not so subtle way, tries to pose this age old problem of accepting or resisting change. Go watch it, and give this piece of cinema a big hug. Cheers to the Golden Jubilee years!

Starring : Paran Bandopadhyay, Parambrata Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar & Others
Presented by : Shrikant Mohta & Mahendra Soni.
Produced by : Shree Venkatesh Films
D.O.P : Soumik Halder
Art Direction: Dhananjoy Mondal.
Music & Background Score : Indraadip Dasgupta.
Edit : Subhajit Singha
Story, Screenplay & Direction : Kaushik Ganguly.

CinemaWala, directed by Kaushik Ganguly is playing at the London Indian Film Festival this weekend.

16 JULY | 18:00 | ICA

17 JULY | 18:00 | CINEWORLD WEMBLEY

Check out more of Sujoy‘s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

For more about the London Indian Film Festival head over to their website or twitter feed!

Let us know what you thought of the review in the comment section below and do continue to check out Upodcast for more coverage of the LIFF!

Sultan Review: Bhaicot, Feminism and Muslim Superheroes Upodcast

For this week’s major Bollywood release Sultan, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and starring Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma, we are joined by Sujoy (@9e3k)  and Anisha (@jhavanis) to  break down a myriad of topics:

We gingerly discuss the topic of “Bhaicot”
The stand out supporting characters
Diversity and inclusion in Bollywood
We discuss Pradeep Menon’s article about Anushka’s feminism which you can find here
Ali Abbas Zafar and the stable of YRF directors
Sultan’s soundtrack
Spoiler section
What are hopes are for Dangal

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or subscribe to our feed in iTunes and never miss a show.

 

Te3n Review Upodcast

The team of Sujoy Ghosh (this time as producer) , Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan (switching roles as lead vs guest appearance)  that brought us one of the best Indian movies, Kahaani, of the last few years comes together again for Te3n.

The movie is set in Kolkatta and is a the remake of the Korean thriller Montage, but this time added with an amazing central performance by the living legend that is Amitabh Bachchan and directed by Rubhu Dasgupta.

Josh Hurtado from TwitchFilm joins us to break down if Te3n delivers on it’s promise, where it ranks in terms of recent Indian trillers as well as child abduction movies like Talaash and Ugly.

We keep the review spoiler free until the midway point, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, we warn you in advance where to stop listening.

Do also check out our interview with the talented and wonderful Vidya Balan by clicking here.

Or some of our other interviews by going to the interviews tab.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show

 

Vidya Balan Talks Te3n Upodcast

We had the opportunity to speak with the amazingly talented Vidya Balan about Te3n which hits theaters today in the UK.

As usual on Upodcast we talk about the most random things:

Greed as an actor
Our theory that Vidya might be a superhero ninja
How hard it was for Sujoy ghosh to not direct the movie
Vidya reveals a little about Kahaani 2 and we pitch our ideas for Kahaani 3
How the ending of Te3n was kept secret from the cast

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or you can subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show.

If you enjoyed the chat, do take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

7th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and BFI Reveal 2016 Programme

Europe’s Largest South Asian Film Event, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, now into year seven, returns to London, from 14 – 24 July, today announces the first raft of its programming with key festival partners BFI.

The full line up of the festival, which will be announced in June promises a schedule of some of the most prestigious and audacious new independent films from South Asia, and if the BFI Southbank schedule is anything to go by, this year, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival will certainly live up to its reputation of showcasing the most cutting edge films from across the Indian subcontinent.

The meticulously curated sessions with BFI Southbank include some spectacular talks by top talent including South Indian and Bollywood superstar Kamal Haasan, who gives a rare Screen Talk, and Director Shekhar Kapur, most famous for his multiple top tier award winning “Elizabeth” films, starring Cate Blanchett, as well as films that cover the linguistic nuances and cultural diversity of the Indian subcontinent.

A special “Women with a Movie Camera” debate supported by Sun Mark Ltd, will bring together some of South Asia’s greatest female filmmakers, including double Oscar®-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Leena Yadav, whose critically acclaimed film “Parched” stole the show at TIFF. Audiences will have the opportunity to listen to trailblazers in their field, and also see their work first hand, with special screenings of their films at the BFI Southbank.

Never a festival to shy away from controversy, Indian sexual diversity is highlighted in the empowering transgender movie “I Am Not He… She”, about a teenage boy who comes to Bangalore with dreams of becoming a woman. Continuing to build on its reputation as the ‘punk-rock’ of Indian film festivals, the UK cinematic premiere of the irreverent Sundance hit, the Netflix original ‘In-Betweeners’ style, coming of age comedy “Brahman Naman” screens.

Commenting on the BFI Southbank sessions, director of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Rajinder Sawhney states:

“We’re delighted that the festival gets such a great platform at the BFI Southbank, giving the broadest of audiences an opportunity to see world class Indian independent cinema and hear rare talks by top Indian stars and filmmakers in the UK’s cathedral of cinema. This is just a taster of what we have lined up in our seventh year, and we guarantee to not only show you entertaining films, but make you think and maybe even shock you”.


BFI Southbank Events & Screenings

FRI 15 JUL 20:30Brahman Naman (Directed by Qaushiq Mukherjee, 2016) / Onstage: Talent from the film

SAT 16 JUL, 18:20 – SPECIAL EVENT: Shekhar Kapur: A Life With Elizabeth / Onstage: Director Shekhar Kapur

SAT 16 JUL, 20:30 – SCREENING + Q&A: I Am Not He… She (BS Lingadevaru, 2015) / Onstage: Director BS Lingadevaru

SUN 17 JUL, 14:00 – SPECIAL EVENT: Kamal Haasan Screen Talk / Onstage: Actor Kamal Haasan

SUN 17 JUL, 15:00Women With A Movie Camera: A Life Less Ordinary: South Asian Filmmakers’ Debate / Onstage: a selection of female filmmakers

SUN 17 JUL, 17:30Arshinagar (Mirrorville) (Directed by Aparna Sen, 2015)

TUE 19 JUL 20:30Ramsingh Charlie (Directed by Nitin Kakkar, 2015)

 

– For more information on the festival please visit:

www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – The Greatest Hits Live at the O2

We’ve been having quite a few amazing acts lately at the O2 AR Rahman, Atif Aslam but we got very excited to hear that Pakistan’s most famous Qawwali singer Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan, the nephew of the late, world-renowned singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, will perform his greatest hits live for the first time at The O2 on Sunday 14 August 2016.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 22 April and are available at AXS.com or by calling 0844 856 0202 or from www.theo2.co.uk.www.theo2.co.uk.

The performance will coincide with Pakistan and India’s independence weekend celebrations and will be Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan’s only London show this year. Discussing his forthcoming show Ustad Rahat Fateh Khan said; ”I’m very excited to be performing at The O2, London, for the second time, following my sold out tour in 2013.

“Coming to the UK is always a thrill for me and my performance is timed to fit the Independence Day celebrations for both Pakistan and India. I have a fantastic team of musicians joining me and will be performing my greatest film hits and new material, as well as my esteemed Uncle, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s popular Qawwali numbers, to rock the arena.”

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was chosen at birth by his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutoring in the traditions of qawwali music, a form of Sufi devotional popular in South Asia. Six weeks after his uncle’s death in 1997, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan took his position as leader of the group and has since become one of the most talked about Pakistani artists in the world.

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has performed on a variety of recordings, and his songs and vocals have featured in numerous hit Hollywood and Bollywood films including Bodyguard, My Name is Khan, Dabangg, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Drishyam, the Hollywood film Apocalypto and many more.

The maestro has released over 50 albums with over 100 hits in Bollywood and has been presented with numerous awards including Star Screen Awards for Best Male Playback 2010 and the IIFA award for best male vocalist 2011. He has also been a judge on top TV shows in India such a Chhote Ustad and Junoon, Kuch Kar Dikhaane Ka. He was the headline performer at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2014 and recently performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in March 2016.

In 2014, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan released his latest album ‘Back 2 Love’ which sold millions of copies worldwide.

The ticket will also include access to a variety of free live events and activities including Bollywood dance workshops, DJs, specially selected street food stalls and more.

Kapoor & Sons Trailer Thoughts: Dysfunction is the new black!

The trailer for Kapoor & Sons just dropped and here are some free flowing thoughts whilst watching it:

  • Hey, at least Bollywood now accredits the internet when they steal a joke (looking at you Shahrukh)
  • Is this a Badshaah song? I don’t think i like Badshaah too much..
  • Glad someone switched Siddhart Malhotra’s setting from “brooding” to “happy”
  • Fawad Khan should grow his beard back…this chikna look isn’t working
  • The joys of watching fighting parents, Dil Dhadakne Do really started something in Bollywood…so deep….
  • Did Rathna Pathak just come back from a clown rave?
  • I know the make up in Kapoor & Sons is going to get lauded, but Rishi Kapoor looks like a burn victim
  • Are those the same eyes as the White Walker’s in Game of thrones?
  • ALIA BHATT in a DHARMA PRODUCTION??? WHHHHAAAT?
  • So is this Saajan mixed with Dil Dhadakne Do then?
  • Masturbation dance moves are always a laugh!
  • Do you even lift bro?
  • Spin the bottle always leads to tension and brooding…well it did back in the 70’s…
  • Isn’t there a Spin the Bottle app now? If not then must invent…
  • Sid is still not a good screamer unfortunately
  • Alia got some good cry face!
  • “Since 1921” makes it sounds like the movie has a weird tie up with Heinz’ Ketchup

Kapoor & Sons is in Theatres 18th March, 2016!

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Review: Airlift’s screenplay never takes off!

In one of the only emotional scenes of this movie, a very old Punjabi grandfather character (played wonderfully by the veteran Indian TV actor Arun Bali) speaks of the horrors of getting uprooted from what you once considered home, and being forced to leave everything behind. This scene is crucial in establishing why a certain Mr. Kohli (Kumud Mishra), a paper-pusher in the External Affairs Ministry Office, turns into one of the key figures in enabling the success of an impossible rescue mission. It is sad then, that Airlift, a movie based on true events of world’s largest civil evacuation could not evoke any further emotional hooks for me as a movie audience to remain invested or engaged. And yes, it even has a mini segment where we see the tricolour being hoisted and K.K. singing Vande Mataram. And even then, I did not participate in that moment of triumph. THAT is the biggest failure of the movie.

I am not for a single bit, attempting to undermine the real heroism of the true heroes who were involved in this rescue mission of 170,000+ Indians from war-torn Kuwait. I am in fact saying that a story as incredible as this deserves a much better movie than what it got in Airlift. It is a classic case of an ambitious director meeting an “out-of-their-league” story and getting overwhelmed by it. Writer-Director Raja Krishna Menon along with his team of writers have put up a screenplay which can be the equivalent of a college play on opening rehearsal day, with a very rough first draft of a scribble on a tissue paper acting as a script.

Airlift_Poster - INTERNATIONAL

 

The narrative tries to introduce several characters into the plot – from the ever so grouchy George Kutty (Prakash Belawadi – Madras Cafe, Talvar), the unnecessary Mr. Poonawala, and the somewhat simmering and confusing love story of Ibrahim (Purab Kohli – Rock On). But none of them ever have a sub plot as such. There is no distinct payback that we as audience get from these plot threads. The trunk of the story tree is the man who is front and centre in the poster – Akshay Kumar as Ranjit Katiyal. He is the Ship Captain who is reluctantly put in charge of the fate of 170,000+ Indians. And Akshay handles it as best as he can. But the screenplay again fails him.

In one of the scenes, Akshay’s wife played by Nimrat Kaur convinces him to go to the docks – because he is a negotiator. And there is hardly anything following that scene which highlights this very characteristic of Mr. Katiyal. On the other hand, there is a scene where Akshay goes gung-ho and attacks a bunch of check-point gunned security guards, and even manages to threaten them. It seemed like Katiyal was playing Akshay for that moment, and not the other way around. We are told of Rajiv Katiyal being a businessman through and through. But in the face of such hardships, there is hardly any conversation in the movie that is scripted as one that demanded special skills. The Iraqi General played by Inaamulhaq (Filmistan), is layered in poor and generic Middle Eastern accent, and is a character written as a caricature. And hence, there is no sense of threat or perhaps, we have all seen this done way better in many other movies and TV shows.

The female lead in the movie, Nimrat Kaur seemed like one of the stereotypical naggy Indian housewife for most of the movie. She’s pretty glammed up for a woman stuck in war-torn Kuwait. But I assume, the writers felt compelled to give her something more than just that. And by virtue of that, she gets one scene which showcases glimpses of the actor we liked so much in The Lunch Box.

But my biggest complaint from this movie, is that being titled Airlift, the movie spends a total of only 2 minutes speedily narrating about the mega-operation taken up by Air India who managed to “airlift” the 170,000+ Indians from Jordan. Perhaps, that wasn’t as exciting on paper as Akshay punching dudes in sandy desert. And let’s not even get started on that cringe-worthy remix of Khaled’s Didi .

This one is not even for a lazy matinee.

 

Airlift is directed by Raja Krishna Menon and stars Akshay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur (Homeland, The Lunchbox).

The film releases internationally on on the 22nd of January in the UK.

You can find more of Sujoy’s work on BollyPop or OneKnightStands or Follow him on twitter on @9e3K.

 

 

 

Wazir Review Upodcast

Wazir tells the tale of two unlikely friends – a wheelchair-bound chess grandmaster (Amitabh Bachchan) and an ATS officer (Farhan Akhtar). Both are brought together by grief and a strange twist of fate as part of wider conspiracy that has cast a dark shadow over their lives. Wazir is a pulsating thriller, a moving character study and a gripping revenge story.

This episode we are joined by Sujoy Singha, also known as @9e3k on twitter, where we try to be as careful as possible and not reveal anything that isn’t in the trailer or promo’s.

There is a spoiler warning from the 43 min mark, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you can still listen up that point.

For those have seen it, let us know what you thought of uPodcast in the comment section below.

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

Or subscribe to us in iTunes and never miss an episode.

 

 

Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon talk Dilwale with Upodcast

Rohit Shetty’s big release, Dilwale,  is just over a week away so ShahRukh Khan, Kajol, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan were in town for a press conference.

Upodcast had the change to sit down with Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon and ask the questions that only a nerdy podcast like ours dares ask. (Like debating which Star Wars character Kriti Sanon is Chewbacca or R2D2)

The video of our interview is below but the podcast gives you a bit more behind the scenes gossip as well as the 5 things we learnt segment which quite a few of you like listening to.

Do give us a shout or RT or like if you’re enjoying the interview!

Dilwale is a family entertainer with a perfect blend of action, romance and comedy. The film is produced by Red Chillies Entertainments in association with Rohit Shetty Productions. The film will release on December18th 2015.

You can find our Student of the Year interview by clicking here!

After the press conference the stars headed over to Feltham for a meet and greet and here is some of the craziness that ensued:

BIG BIG BIG thanks to our awesome Twitter Friend @JessicaSisk for all the help on the video editing, we were lost without her! Give her a shout on twitter if you liked the video

You can Download/Stream/Listen to the Podcast episode below.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo London Press Conference

Last week Fox arranged a video conference with Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor in London for the release of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Here are some excerpts of the Q&A session with the UK press.

 

Q/ WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PRDP?

 Salman: I like the film’s nice, sweet, cute, ticklish moments. I like the film overall and how this really nice, happy, sweet film turns into this really emotional, beautiful, romantic love story which involves the family, brothers, sisters.

I think PRDP is Sooraj’s best work to date. What I see in the character of Prem is what every guy should be like with a girl, which is very difficult as you need to have a lot of patience to be “Prem” in real life. Prem is so endearing that every girl would want to marry someone like Prem. He’s somebody like … he’s actually Sooraj Barjatya! Trust me, Prem is Sooraj. In fact Sooraj likes to see that side in me but the problem is that I only don’t see that side in me in my real life. So Sooraj puts that on film.

Sonam

Q/ YOU HAVE WORKED WITH SOORAJ B. THREE TIMES BEFORE – HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH HIM THIS TIME?

Salman: Yes, it is. I just wish I could do another 4 or 5 films with Sooraj! I’m here in this industry only because of Sooraj Barjatya. A 19 year-old boy took a stand when he was directing his first movie, at a point in time when Rajshri Productions weren’t doing that well, to take on an actor who had already done a film that’s releasing before his film.

Sooraj had seen Biwi Ho To Aisi, and we all knew that I sucked in the movie, but despite that he took me on because he thought I was good in the screen test for the film. He went by his instincts and the gut feel of his sister Chanda and cousin Charu.

Sonam: you see Salman was always gorgeous looking…it’s because they had a crush on him!

Salman: well, they thought they saw something in me to suggest I would make it. I still don’t see what, how… I don’t even question it…let it go!

Sonam & Salman 4

 

Q/ THE MUSIC IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS FROM THE MOVIE?

Salman:  Mine is the title track – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, and I like Jalte Diye, Jab Tum Chaho, Prem Leela and Aaj Unse Milna Hai

Sonam: Jalte Diye and Prem Leela are my favourite songs from the movie. I also like Aaj Unse Milna Hai as well – it’s a very beautiful, romantic song.

Q/ ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM THE FILMING? 

Salman:  We were working! It wasn’t supposed to be fun. You cannot make such a beautiful film whilst having fun; you need to be focused.

 Sonam:  It was a happy time – I think that’s the best way to describe it, we were very happy and content.

 

Q/ WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FILMING? WHAT’S THE BEST SCENE?

Salman: I think every single day was beautiful. Actually walking to the set was a really beautiful feeling. The set were so lovely that we didn’t mind shooting long hours. Sooraj actually is very particular about shooting long hours – he doesn’t like to shoot that many hours, even if the scene was not complete he used to say, let’s leave it now and we’ll continue tomorrow, even if we were like no let’s do it now.  You see, it’s a very large-scale film; in every frame there were like hundreds of people, there was a regal theme, which also made it a very expensive film. Each day costs the production 45, 50 lakhs so when Sooraj said let’s pack up and continue the scene tomorrow, it seriously took a lot of courage.

 Q/ YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD A VISION FOR THE TYPE OF ROLES YOU WANT TO PLAY. IS PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO THE BIGGEST PAYOFF OF THAT SORT OF CONVICTION?

 Sonam: Yes, I think that’s what it is. I think you are absolutely right. After I did Mausam, I gave my heart and soul to that and after it didn’t do very well, I didn’t sign a movie for a year and a half. Then I decided to sign Raanjhanaa – everyone around me said I was stupid but I decided to stick to my conviction. But I stuck to my guns. You’re absolutely right that this is the payoff for being patient and handling my life with dignity.

Q/ WHAT YOU ARE DOING ON YOUR INSTAGRAM PAGE IS A GREAT WAY OF MARKETING PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO. WAS THAT YOUR IDEA OR WAS IT SOMETHING YOU DISCUSSED WITH THE MARKETING TEAM? 

Sonam: Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret, when I spoke with the marketing team at Fox, they mentioned that people were finding the title Prem Ratan Dhan Payo a bit of a mouthful. They told me we needed to come up with a really fun and genius way to talk about the film a lot. So, there was this really cute guy who did this dubsmash on Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and I thought let’s put this up on instagram and maybe people would be excited about doing dubsmash. I thought it would be cool so I put it up and people really liked it a lot. And then a friend from New York told me to call a competition and to get the 5 best dubsmashes on Instagram – I did just that. There were lots and lots of people who did the dubsmash. It was easy to do and people loved doing the dubsmash as it has a great rhythm. Salman did one too, but he didn’t do it for long.

My aunt Sridevi also did one with Shilpa Shetty.  She loves me so much! I remember when I was just becoming an actress, she sat down with me and showed me how to do make-up really patiently for like hours and hours really patiently. I think she was extremely kind to have promoted me and the film. I’ve known Shilpa for a very long time and they had done the dubsmash at my home whilst I was away on promotions for the film. Once they did it they put it up on Instagram and I got a message from Shilpa saying to go on Instagram to see what we’ve done!Sonam & Salman 3

Q/ HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS PREM COMPARED TO ALL THE OTHER PREMs THAT YOU HAVE PLAYED? 

Salman: Prem is my favorite character too. I think this Prem is lovelier; he’s a grown man but a very childlike. Sooraj has written this character. He has always been a mature man and romance has also grown in his life ten folds. He was always a mature filmmaker starting his career at the age of 19. He wrote Hum Apke Hain Kaun at the age of just 22 and made the film when he was 24, and there is no man as mature as Sooraj Bharjatya.

The way he has written this character, he basically wants men and boys to be like Prem; he wants to change the way they are and to change this for women in the world. He wants men to be funny and charming but to also be respectful to women.

Q.YOU HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF STYLE. HOW SIMILAR ARE YOU FROM YOUR CHARACTERS IN REAL LIFE. 

Sonam: I don’t think I’m similar to any of the characters that I played, I mean I’m definitely not a princess.

 Salman: Yes she is a princess because her father spoilt her.

Sonam:  I’m not spoilt! (she laughs). No, answering your question…I don’t know, I hope I’m inspired to be someone with that much conviction and I try and do whenever I can to be like that. Perhaps there’s a little bit of me in every character.

Salman: I think she’s got it in Prem Ratan Dhan Paya … I remember when Sooraj was showing me pictures of a lot of leading actresses and each and every picture that Sooraj showed me of Sonam were absolutely stunning. He showed me all the picture when she was at her worst test, and she looked like the way she looks now, so that is one quality that he saw in her, and he said this is the lady for my film. This is something that I want.


Q/ SONAM, HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE GOING TO WORK WITH SALMAN? WHAT IS IT YOU MOST LIKE ABOUT EACH OTHER PROFESSIONALLY AND EACH OTHER’S PERSONALITY? 

Sonam: I was very nervous, like really nervous. It’s not easy working with someone who you’ve been a huge fan of. Also it’s not easy because before Salman, I had never worked with a big star like him before. It’s usually been contemporaries. I was nervous but he really made me feel comfortable.

The best thing about him professionally is that he is the most hardworking actor that I worked with, he pushes himself and he is extremely talented. He’s also very modest. Also, professionally it’s easier to work with someone who doesn’t judge you in anyway. I remember when I was messing up he’d come and tell me really nicely, he has a lot of patience.

Salman: That is true, when you need to get some good work out of a bad actor you need to be patient JJ

Q/ WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE PLAYING A DOUBLE ROLE IN THE FILM?  

Salman: Yes I am playing the roles of Vijay Singh and Prem – but if I open up too much about the characters I will spoil the suspense. But what I can say is that both the characters are phenomenal.

PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO releases this Diwali on 12 November 2015

Anupama Chopra Talks Jio Mami Upodcast

We got the chance to speak with Anupama Chopra, Festival Director, 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival With Star India about why these movies and the festival is important, which movies you should watch out for and how they dealt with some of the issues that happened during last year’s festival.

Listen/download/stream the episode below

JIO MAMI VISION 2015

The Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival is an inclusive movie feast. We showcase the latest cutting-edge, independent cinema – art house fare alongside genre movies from Bollywood and Hollywood and cult international movies. We offer the best of world cinema to the people of Mumbai and we offer the best of Indian cinema to the world. The festival is run by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image popularly known as MAMI. This is a space where we revel in the sheer pleasure of cinema, the joy it gives us and how much it enhances our lives. The goal is to nurture and ignite a passion for movies. We want Jio MAMI to be shorthand for excellence in cinema.

 

ABOUT JIO MAMI

Mumbai – the financial capital of India is also the epicentre of the Indian film industry. The city plays such a major role in production and dissemination of Indian films and television programmes that it is widely known by its acronym ‘Bollywood’. In 1997, a group of film industry stalwarts headed by late Hrishikesh Mukherjee founded the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) as a not-for-profit Trust. Their main objective was to organise an annual International Film Festival which the film industry and the country could be proud of. MAMI has been organising the festival for the last 16 years and aims to foster a climate of good cinema. MAMI engages people from all walks of life across the city and country who enjoy and love good cinema. It is Mumbai’s only film festival that is entirely created and run by film professionals and a group of members from corporate India. Appreciation of good cinema, stripped off all the limiting labels of art and commercial, can only come about through exposure to the best of films the world has to offer. The Festival is the first step in that direction.

 

In their Mission Statement in 1997, the MAMI Board of Trustees said, “We feel it is the need of the hour to disseminate and inculcate good cinema among Indian audiences. The only way to achieve this is to celebrate cinema by hosting an International Film Festival in Mumbai, India ‘s film and entertainment capital. MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Image) is committed to start Mumbai’s first independent international film festival organized by practicing film makers.”

 

For more information on MAMI and the upcoming 17th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival scheduled to be held from 29th October- 5th November 2015, do visit our MAMI Website, Twitter handle, Facebook Page, Instagram and YouTube as follows:

 

Website: www.mumbaifilmfestival.com #MAMI2015Twitter:/mumbaifilmfestFacebook: /mumbaifilmfestival Instagram: /mumbaifilmfestival YouTube: Mumbai Film Festival

Brothers Review Upodcast

This week’s episode FilmiGirl and Asim square off in the octagon to break down Karan Malhotra’s Akshay Kumar- Siddarth Malhotra starrer Brothers.

Although a massive success at the Box Office, Akshay Kumar movies tend to be critically derided, together we try to analyse why that is?

We compare how this Bollywood remake of Gavin ‘O Connor’s Warrior stacks up, if the trend of remaking Hollywood properties to Indian sensibilities is a reliable formula?

We also delve into if the movie is a successful follow up to Karan’s previous release, Agneepath that was one of our personal favourite movies of 2012.

Taking many tangents we wrap up the show by talking about the movies that Filmigirl missed this year and should catch up on as well as what else is coming out in Bolly-theaters this year.

You can listen/stream/ download the episode below. Or subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss an episode!

AR Rahman Greatest Hits at the O2 Review

NickyKelvin-0112For India’s Independence Day AR Rahman, held a concert at the O2 Arena to a sold out crowd, accompanied by an orchestra of musicians, singers, table players and qawwalli’s.

The concert was dubbed as « The Greatest Hits of AR Rahman » and whilst driving to the venue, it made me ponder: how can one compound Rahman’s oeuvre into a single sitting?

His musical portfolio is ginormous! In the 23 years of his career, he’s composed over 100 soundtracks for the various regions of Indian cinema, as well as performed stage shows, private albums and dabbled in Hollywood, (If winning an Bafta, a golden Globe,2 Grammies and 2 Academy Award can be called dabbling) whilst never compromising on the quality of his music. (Take that Dr Dre!)

And all this whilst jumping from one genre to the other and mastering pretty much all of them. (I’m a hip hop head and his mastery of rap has been weak since Patti Rap)

When Rahman debuted on the Bollywood scene in the 90’s, Hindi audiences had heard murmurings of some of his offerings down South with Roja and Kadalan (Hum Se Hai Muqabla) dominating video charts.

The music scene was much more fractured and isolated in the 90’s and there wasn’t ever a need to importing talent from another region. If movie producer or music director liked a tune, they just copy pasted wholesale and had the son resung by another local singer and no question was asked. This even happened to some of AR Rahman’s early songs, there were at least 4 Hindi versions of Muqabla floating on the airwaves at the same time.

But Rahman’s talent was such that his unique voice could not be denied. His music has always felt very personal, making the audience feel a sense of misplaced ownership. But sitting in a jam packed arena, I understood, I wasn’t the only one that felt this ownership over « my» AR Rahman. AR, like any musician, understands that his music is not his anymore once it is released to the airwaves but belongs to a collective that needs to be fed.

He tried to deliver on the expectations his audience has with him, he managed to partly on the promise despite some production mistakes.

Javed Ali started things off with a very soulful rendition of Delhi 6’s Arziyan, which seemed to be a prayer to kick off the concert as well as salutation to the audience.

Arziyan was followed up with a selection of classic hits like Chinna Chinna Aasai /Choti si Aasha (Roja), which was in 2 different languages sung by the wonderful and ever present Jonita Ghandi, the seemingly demure Shashaa Kiran Tirupati and the vastly under-used vocal powerhouse that is Neeti Mohan.

NickyKelvin-0181

Tu Hi Re was the sole pick from the Bombay soundtrack (I was hoping for so many more like Satrangi Re of Jiya Jale but alas) by Haricharan who managed to command the song in 2 different languages versions – whilst doing a pretty good Hariharan impression. Then came Dil Se’s title track sung by AR himself as he duelled Natalie Klouda, his wonderful violinist on the piano, which was an amazing spectacle.

The next half hour block was mostly from AR Rahman’s South Indian and private albums, which unfortunately for most of the Hindi audience in attendance felt like watching other people have lots of fun whilst they had a glazed expression over their eyes. Some audience members even started grumbling quite vocally and this might have been the only dip in the otherwise amazing set.

Some of the production choices were very odd, the first half ended abruptly and there was confusion if there was going to be an interval or not, the audience was left to their own devices, which is never a great choice with a South Asian audience. This happened again at the end of the show, there was a definite lack of cues and the band just disappeared without an encore.

The confusing interval ended up lasting only a couple of minutes, the curtain suddenly went up and AR and Jaaved Ali had donned their qawalli hats and tablas for the double whammy of the hypnotizing Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar) and soulful Khwaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar). Unfortunately some the magic of the Sufi segment was broken by the part of the audience hurriedly running back to their seats with still very wet hands from their bathroom visits.

  Kun Faya Kun Kun (Rockstar): The Qawalli interlude at #ARRahmanAtTheO2   A video posted by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Khwaja Mere Khwaja (Jodha Akbar): Qawalli interlude #ARRahmanAtTheO2 @TheO2 #TheO2

A video posted by asimburney (@asimburney) on

Always being a trailblazer, AR wanted to showcase a movement based instrument but technology failed the crew twice, forcing AR to climb back behind his piano and nervously entertain the audience with impromptu tunes. When they managed to get the tech to work, you realized it was supposed to be background vocalist IsshrathQuadhre time into the limelight but unfortunately for her and the audience the moment had passed.

From then on there was a clear course correction and the hits and performances were non stop, Neeti Mohan brought energy with her RE RE segment (Rangeela Re and Jiya Re) but overall she felt a bit underused compared to Jonita who pretty much dominated the pre-interval as well as jiggy-ing in group songs and some Hindi too. Jonita is a wonderful stage presence and very versatile, definitely one to look out for. Same for Karthik who was an absolute crowd favourite amongst the South Indian and clearly a born showman but only made a fleeting appearance and didn’t sing any Hindi songs. NickyKelvin-8667

During the different sets, AR Rahman would change get ups, some with hilarious combinations like a sparkly hat paired with a biker jacket or in the case of the bluesy Jaane Tu Ya Jaane na, he wore sunglasses like he was Ray Charles from Chennai, luckily the music always delivered and the powerful voice and jazz scatting of background vocalist Annette Philip’s really stepped up to the plate.

The show provided every member of AR Rahman’s band to shine too. The ones that really stuck out were Naveen Kumar’s flute during the Roja interlude, Mohini Dey’s bass (a 19 year old prodigy part of AR Rahman’s band NAFS who is also rumoured to be collaborating with Quincy Jones), Ranjit Barot’s drum and Keba Jeremiah Arul’s guitar solo’s during a very rocky rendition of Nadaan Parindey.

Ultimately the show couldn’t possibly have delivered on every song that a demanding fan might want of AR Rahman’s as we are a spoiled bunch now and even if combining sets from all languages didn’t always works as well as one would hope. What the show does give you is an evening with an artist of the likes only comes around once in a century, and as an audience member, that seems like the highest privilege.

Photo Credit: Nicky Kelvin

For more badly shot videos you can head over to my Instagram here

 

 

 

 

Akshay Kumar Brothers Press Q&A

Why is this film important to you?

This movie is very close to my heart, it means a lot to me, especially because it is a movie about Martial Arts, which makes it even more important for me. The movie is releasing in August this year, which also co-incides with me completing 25 years in the film industry and it means so much to me that this happens to be a movie about Martial Arts commemorating the accomplishment of my 25 years, when it’s because of my martial arts background that got me into the film industry in the first place. We’re mliterally going full circles.

 

Could you please tell me more about the character you’re playing in “Brothers”?

My character is a school teacher who teaches Physics and Chemistry. He used to be Mixed Martial Artist who would fight on the streets for money. Mixed Martial Arts is a very dangerous profession and due to issues monetary issues, my character faces he has no choice but to go back to the streets to flight in a professional tournament.

How was your experience working with Karan Johar?

Karan is mainly in the production side for this movie so I don’t really get to work with him much. But he really knows how to make big and brilliant movies; he knows how to do it right and I’m just here to make him happy 🙂

 

Mixed Martial Arts sounds dangerous!

Yes, Mixed Martial Arts is a dangerous practice that could result in injuries and loss of life. Even during filming we would end up with abdominal injuries and smacks on our face but overall it was important for the role to look realistic and conditioning for us actors to make the movie as real as possible.

Desipte being a professional martial artists, I underwent vigorous training for six months to be fit for the role. But besides all the fighting, there’s also a poignant love story at the heart of the film which we find out later is the main reason why my character goes on to become a street MMA fighter.

What all was involved in the training for the role?

The main part of the training was a 6 month intense and gruelling work-out followed by practicing different fighting styles like Judo, Karate, Kyudo, Aikido and other Mixed Martial Arts.

What was the most challenging part of your role?

The most challenging part was fighting like a professional MMA fighter, learning from the best and then trying to catch up with their fighting techniques! But I thoroughly enjoyed it as my teachers are from everywhere around the world – from Brazil, LA, Bangkok and Japan – they are true MMA fighters. It was an honour to learn fromt the best.

As part of our training programme I had to lose upto 16 Kg’s and Sidharth Malhotra had to gain 13 Kg’s in weight!

Whilst fighting was a major physical challenge, we also had to face a lot of mental challenge. A very high level of mental attention is required to remember your punches and every move.

Wow that must have been a challenge! Do you ever take a break?

Hah, its been 25 years and I haven’t had a break J Jokes a part my international filming schedulre becomes a break for me. Its the best thing if your work is your passion in life. It makes me feel like I’m always on break.

How was it working with Sidharth Malhotra?

Sidharth is a very talented young man; he is very professional when it comes to work. Although he had no experience with MMA he did really well. He also went through 8 months of training.

Sidharth has a great future ahead of him. In Brothers he plays the character of a “man” unlike his ealier movies, where he’s mostly played young characters.

We had a great time on set. He’s a Punjabi, I am Punjabi and even our director Karan Malhotra is Punjabi! We spoke in Punjabi all the time to the degree the film should have been called Prah (Brothers in Punjabi). Haha.

Do you have some MMA tips or warnings for your fans out there?

Mixed Martial Arts is wonderful to watch, it is very parctical but dangerous at the same time. You have to be very careful when doing something like that. Watch and enjoy MMA, and if some people are thinking about doing it, they must be very careful and think about enrolling in training first, they must make a thoughtful decision before actually doing it.

There are lots of talks going on about the movie everywhere, you must’ve done an amazing job. Infact I was researching about the movie right before this interview and I found out that the movie is a remake of the movie “Warrior” by Gavin ‘O Connor and Cliff Dorfman, I believe you will put forward an amzaing performance, maybe better than the original?

Well that’s news to me but very humbling to hear. We have tried our level best to give the best performance we can. I wouldn’t really compare the two movies to be honest as we probably can’t make it better than the original but we gave it all we could. Let’s see what the audience says.

The movie has a wonderful cast, we also have an “item-number” performance by Kareena Kapoor. Sidarth Malhotra and Jackie Shroff also play lead roles.. Is there a love story somewhere in the story line?

Absolutely, there is a love story in the movie. I mean the movie is about street fighting, but there’s a reason to why the fighting happens in the first place which emenates from love. You will get to know that there’s a love story between Jacqueline Fernandez and I, there’s also a family related love story between Jackie Shroff and Sidharth and also between Shefali and I. The fighting comes later on in the movie, the film’s main emphasis is on it’s relationships.

Akshay, what’s your favourite genre of movies? I mean you’ve done many different types of roles in different movies, which one is your favourite? Is it comedy, drama or action?

I like comedy when its mixed with action, its just so much fun to do comedy with a bit of action, its fun to watch and also so much fun to do.

So the movie is releasing on the 14th of August this year, which is just one day prior to the Indian independence day, does the movie have a hidden message of patriotism or any message relating independence of India?

No, no, there’s no patriotic messages, the movie is not related to the independence day and it does not end with me waving a flag J

How has it been working with so many Karan’s in the movie? The director is Karan Malhotra and Karan Johar is producing the movie? Is there more Karan’s you’ll work with in the future?

Ha, no that’s just a co-incidence, it was not planned to be like that.

What are your next projects?

My focus is on the release of Brothers. After that I have Singh is Blinng coming out on the 2nd October and then Airlift in January 2016. In Singh is Blinng i play a larger than life character, something I haven’t done in a couple of years since Rowdy Rathore. My films have been pretty serious with Gabbar, Baby, Special 24. I’m really excited about Airlift as it is a story about Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait.

What is your hope for Brothers?

I hope it brings in the mullah and gets the box office ringing whilst also gaining critical acclaim.

Your final message to your fans please!

I would just like to tell my fans how much it means to me to make a movie that they like. I really hope all my fans like Brothers. I would also like to tell them that the movie took about one whole year to make, we literally put our blood, sweat and tears into the making. The climax of the movie took about 52 days to shoot, just to get it perfect for the audience. All the fans across the globe should watch this movie on the big screen, watch it with your family and loved ones, do not watch pirated versions of it, we poured out our sweat and blood into this movie.

 

***

Synopsis:

Gary Fernandes (Jackie Shroff), a former alcoholic and street-fighter, returns home after serving a prison sentence of 10 long years to find that the wounds of the past still haunt his family. His two sons, David (Akshay Kumar) and Monty (Siddharth Malhotra), who had parted ways as kids, are grown men now, but are still bitterly estranged. Gary himself carries the burden of his guilt. His elder son, David is an ex-fighter turned school teacher.  He and his wife Jenny work hard to make ends meet and to provide the best they can for their ailing daughter Poopoo.

 

Troubled financial circumstances drive a desperate David to return to the world of street fighting. While, Monty struggles with his lonely complex existence. An alcoholic, he is active in the world of street fighting, but lacks focus and determination. He strongly yearns for the acceptance, love and respect of his family. As the story unfolds, we see the journey of these three men, as they seek to find redemption and healing.

 

Meanwhile, the arrival of ‘Right to Fight’ is announced in India — the biggest international event in mixed martial arts history. Both brothers, at the crossroads of their lives, end up enlisting to fight in this ‘Winner-takes-all’ event. And it is here after an age of estrangement, unknown to the two siblings, they finally stand to face off with each other and against their personal demons, in the ultimate final battle.

 

It is said, that when a deep injury is done to us, we can never recover until we forgive. With twists and turns, pouring emotions and edge-of-the-seat action, will this final battle between the two brothers repair old wounds?

Brothers releases internationally on 14th August 2015 through Fox Star StudiosIndia.

Win Jaanisaar’s soundtrack on CD!

People have been raving about the music of Muzaffar Ali’s Jaanisaar for a while now and here is your chance to win 1 of 3 CD’s of the soundtrack with Upodcast.

 

To win a copy:

1. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter:

2. Send us an email on upodcasting@gmail.com with the answer to the following (dead easy!) question:

Which 1981 Bollywood film did the ‘Jaanisar’ director Muzaffar Ali direct?

A. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar

B. Umrao Jaan

C. Silsila

(Winners will be announced Tuesday 12/8)

(Only UK entries apply -but if you’re nice and I like you, I might make an exception!)

Jaanisar stars Pakistani actor Imran Abbas and one of India’s leading style icons and fashion entrepreneurs Pernia Qureshi.

Playback singers for the soundtrack of the film have some of the most celebrated singers of the music industry like Abida Parveen, Shreya Ghoshal and Sukhwinder Singh. Music is by Muzaffar Ali as well as Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan. It truly has some great music.

It’s pretty much the type of music you should be listening to instead of whatever guitly pleasure is looping on your playlist now!

Jaanisaar is in theaters this Friday!

Win 2 VIP tickets for AR Rahman’s London O2 Show!

The double Grammy and double Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner, AR Rahman returns to The O2 after five years, with a one off greatest hits show on Saturday 15 August 2015. AR Rahman will be joined by very special guests including; Haricharan, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, Jonita Gandhi, and many more.

You have the chance to win 2 exclusive VIP tickets* including:

•    Access to The prestigious O2 VIP lounge
•    Access to the After Party at Brooklyn Bowl

For a chance to win, follow us on our FB page or Twitter and us a mail on Upodcasting@gmail.com  with the answer to:

What was the name of the first soundtrack composed in Hindi  by AR Rahman for a Bollywood movie?

Final Entry dates are 10th of August.

*(food, drink, parking & travel are not covered)

Tickets and limited VIP Packages go on general sale at 9am on Friday 12 June and are available at AXS.com or by calling 08448 24 48 24. Tickets are also available via www.chillitickets.comwww.seetickets.com and www.biggreencoach.co.uk

Discussing his forthcoming UK show of the year AR Rahman said; “The UK always brings back fond memories of working on landmark projects in my career and it’s good to be back again after five years.”

The announcement follows a hugely successful intimate American tour and saw AR Rahman, performs in multiple concert halls. Throughout the US, the tour received standing ovations and critical acclaim.

Working in India’s various film industries, international cinema and theatre with the hit show Bombay Dreams, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rahman, has sold more than 100 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide, and sold over 200 million albums. He is one of the world’s all-time top selling recording artists, with consistent chart-toppers across multiple continents.

In 2009 TIME magazine listed him as one of the world’s most influential people and cited his first album, Roja among the ”10 Best Soundtracks” of all time. Best known for his score and songs in Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has worked on more than 100 films, among them the Oscar nominated Lagaan, Bombay, Dil Se, Rang De Basanti, Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Raanjhanaa, O Kadhal Kanmani, Enthiran (Robot), Fox’s 127 Hours by Danny Boyle, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

He is working on a composition for the film Pelé, a biopic on the Brazilian football legend, as well as the score for Disney’s Mohenjo Daro. His album Vande Mataram, released for India’s 50th anniversary of its independence in 1997 remains a firm favourite with patriotic Indians both at home and abroad.

Show: http://www.axs.com/uk/events/279464/a-r-rahman-the-greatest-hits-live-tickets?skin=arrahman

 

Haraamkhor (The Wretched) Review LIFF 2015

Haraamkhor is exactly the kind of film one hopes to see at a film festival – a film that pushes the envelope, has been made with care and attention and has lots of soul. Keeping a packed audience engaged throughout, the cosmos built by Haraamkhor instantly felt very real and three dimensional.

The story focuses on a love affair between a married teacher Shyam (Siddiqui) and his student Sandhya (Tripathi) as viewed by two of her mischevious male classmates Mintu and Kamal. Kamal is also madly in love with Sandhya and seeks Mintu’s advice on how to woo her. As the story takes an inevitable turn, the fall-out from it has varying consequences for all the characters.

Sharma guides the story with a steady hand so that the focus of the story remains on the relationship between the teacher and the student. What makes this seemingly familiar story so unique is the absence of any judgement so that the audience can make their own minds up – we see for ourselves how Shyam manipulates Sandhya as well as his wife and how his world falls apart when those around him don’t subscribe to his patriarchal thinking. I also loved the way in which the script manages to empathise with the anatagonists as well as the protagonist – we feel for Sandhya who is abandoned by her mother and is clearly in need of companionship but then we also find we cannot entirely hate Shyam (who on paper is incredibly unlikeable) and I also liked how the viewer mirrors Sandhya’s journey and learn to trust Sandhya’s future step mother (who turns out to be her saviour and friend she has needed all along).

It should be no surprise that Siddiqui turns in a stellar performance as Shyam – to play a paedophile sympathetically really demonstrates his strength as an actor and the way he can summon emotions almost at will and heighten or downplay any scene is simply amazing. Shweta Tripathi is excellent as Sandhya, giving her a vulnerability and innocence that immediately endears the viewer and makes one root for her throughout. The chemistry between Siddiqui and Tripathi is electric and really does elevate the script further. I absolutely loved Mohd Samad and Irfan Khan (not that one!) as Mintu and Kamal – both are refreshingly natural and play their roles with panache and gumption that entertains the audience but also gives the film some much needed balance from the darker moments of Haraamkhor (of which there are many). I also loved Shyam’s wife and Sandhya’s step mother who underplay their roles with skill and compassion.

Haraamkhor was without doubt my favourite film at the London Indian Film Festival 2015 – it is a film that manages to encapsulate a vast canvas without losing any of its quality or vision. I loved how it kept my attention throughout and I also have to praise the cinematography which really comes into its own in key scenes. Like all good independent Indian cinema, Haraam Khor has a universality to it so that it can be watched the world over and resonate across the board but also have local meaning too. I really hope this film gets a worldwide release as it will be loved not only by lovers of World Cinema but fans of great cinema too. Recommended.

Haraam Khor (The Wretched)

Directed by: Shlok Sharma

Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Mohd Samad, Irfan Khan

 

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

Nirbashito Review LIFF 2015

Debutante director and lead actress Churni Ganguly’s semi-biographical take on controversial writer Taslima Nasrin is absolutely soul stirring. In Nirbashito (Banished), even though the protagonist has no name, and is always referred to as Lady, or Madam, the resemblance to Nasrin is unmistakable. The story circles around this controversial figure – a female writer who has caused a stir amongst the powers to be with her literary works that question the patriarchal society that is deeply rooted in religion. As a result, she has been deported from her residence in Kolkata, to the cold and dreary interiors of Sweden. Her exile away from home, and her struggle against the loneliness that comes to haunt her is what Nirbashito is all about.

On paper, that does sound like a very uncomfortable and miserable watch. But Churni Ganguly’s portrayal of “the Lady” turns it into an unforgettable and personal journey that makes for compelling drama. She conveys the complex layers of this real person effortlessly. The dark circles under her smokey eyes show the lethargy in her – the sort that you perhaps get after a strenuous long flight. In this case, she is tired of being dragged from port to port, of having no home to call her own, and with no clear sign of where it all ends. And the constant irritation of not being able to speak with someone in one’s own language or eat the food that one likes in a foreign land – her banishment punishes her every day in a new way. And yet, against all odds, she continues to channel her struggle and turn it into the most lyrical prose. Ganguly’s portrayal is absolutely note perfect.

And on the other side of the spectrum, are the ones who are handling “The Lady”s cat – Baaghini. Saswata Chatterjee (Kahaani, Bhooter Bhabishyat) plays the compassionate friend who is looking after the cat, and is also juggling his own daily drama – a pregnant wife who feels deprived, and the circus of bureaucracy. This parallel story line provides the much needed comedic relief in this otherwise bleak tale. Supported excellently by the ensemble cast that includes Kaushik Ganguly (Churni Ganguly’s husband in real life), Raima Sen, and Martin Wallstorm (Mr. Robot), Nirbashito received the National Award for the Best Bengali Film, and much deservingly so.

Nirbashito’s empty wide shots of nothingness conveys the deafening silence of loneliness, and leaves you feeling the pain that one goes through when freedom of choice, and speech are snatched away from you. Amongst all the human drama, it highlights one of the most burning topics of today. The Lady says to her friend, “It is a fight between the pen and the sword. And the sword always wins”. Truer words were never spoken.

Check out more of Sujoy’s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

Follow Sujoy on Twitter: @9e3k

Nirbashito still has a screening on the 22nd of July at the London Indian Film Festival.

Head over to http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/programme.htm for more info and tickets.

 

Screen Talk: Mani Ratnam – London Indian Film Festival 2015, BFI Southbank

Mani Ratnam is pretty much how I expected him to be – unpretentious, likeable and a man who doesn’t waste words. When he does speak, there was much to inspire and after the hour and bit talk, I am sure I was not the only who felt charged up to go out and make a film of my own.

With an audience that included Ratnam’s wife Suhasini (an accomplished actress in MalayalamTamilTelugu and Kannada language films) and ace cinematographer Rajiv Menon (who was sat next to me with his wife and Suhasini next to her), the talk was guided by Peter Webber (director of Girl With A Pearl Earring and all set to make his next venture in India) and held at the BFI Southbank which was the perfect place to host this afternoon event as part of the London Indian Film Festival 2015.

When asked about how he became a filmmaker, Ratnam described himself as a “disillusioned management consultant” who was passionate about cinema and wanted to see if he could make a career out of filmmaking. When Webber asked him if anyone had influenced his work, Ratnam mentioned Akira Kurosawa as a favourite but admitted he was generally inspired by anything he had read or seen (as indeed all creatives are).

There was also some good natured ribbing about songs in Indian cinema with Webber saying he admired Ratnam and Indian filmmakers for directing songs in their films. Ratnam explained how directing a song was a “liberating process” and was like making a mini film, with a story arc, choreography and sensibility all of its own. “Songs let you travel emotions in an abstract fashion” said Ratnam before joking that he felt sorry for Western cinema that does not have songs as part of its narrative.

Ratnam also spoke about his working relationship with A R Rehman who has scored the music for many of Ratnam’s films. Naming Bombay as his favourite Rehman soundtrack, Ratnam noted that Rehman was a very special composer who had a unique ability to find his own level in his music as well as achieving what had been asked of him when composing music and that the experience of working with him was a great one.

I was not surprised but interested by Ratnam’s revelation that he doesn’t really understand Hindi in the way he does Tamil. Ratnam went on to explain how he wrote in Tamil, then worked with a Hindi writer to translate the dialogue and then trusted his actors to enact their character properly as Ratnam felt he is unable to control nuances of word in Hindi as well as he would want to and for this reason preferred to work in Tamil.

Webber then took questions from the audience which ranged from what Ratnam does to make a set come alive (“have a good team and work with people better than you”), his inspiration for the strong female roles in his films (all based on the women he has met and his admiration for their amazing strength in character), his favourite director (“Guru Dutt”) and how he offered his first film to his wife but she refused it (“so I married her!” which delighted the audience). All too soon, time was up and Ratnam was presented the London Indian Film Festival icon of cinema award, the first ever recipient of the award to mark the conclusion of the talk.

My favourite anecdote came near the start, where Ratnam talked about how he saw his approach to film as “reinventing what is written on paper”. A simple sentiment that could easily be lost in the process of filmmaking, it struck me that this was exactly what Ratnam has done in each of his films and perhaps is instrumental in making him one of Indian cinema’s greatest filmmakers and a very worthy candidate for a truly fascinating screen talk.

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

Review The Master: Shyam Benegal LIFF 2015

Most fans of popular Hindi cinema will be familiar with films like Zubeidaa (2001) and Welcome To Saajanpur (2008) but as The Master: Shyam Benegal shows, Bengal has a formidable body of work before mainstream success; films that won many National Awards, defied convention and were very much ahead of their time – so much so, that today’s cinema will be forever indebted to Benegal’s contribution.

Unfortunately then, The Master has quite a jarring rhythm to it so that the viewer never really gets settled in and feels quite clumsy at times. I also found my attention wandering at one point and at one point, was not sure why we had certain contributors on screen who didn’t offer anything different from what Benegal has already told us. Although the affection Mohammed has for Benegal and his films comes across quite well, I do wish the editing had been more stringent and there was a greater organisation to the material rather than a brisk chronological stroll through Benegal’s filmography.

Thankfully, the subject matter here is fascinating and just about overshadows the flaws- Benegal is a very likeable person who comes across really well as a passionate creative who has conviction in his vision and one gets the sense that his pursuit in making his films really was instrumental in forming independent Indian cinema as we know it today. I felt all of his films could easily fill documentaries of their own, not only because they are rooted in various social causes but also the amazing roster of talent such as Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseerudin Shah that his films boast.

Out of all the contributors interviewed for The Master, I thought Shabana Azmi’s anecdotes were quite candid and offered a real insight into what it is like to work with Benegal whilst Manoj Bajpayee’s recounting of how Karisma Kapoor asked him not to kiss her on the lips in Zubeidaa is an awkward encounter, especially when Karisma manages to avoid elaborating on the subject. As Neena Gupta points out, most actresses are quite possessive of Benegal after working with him and it is not hard to see why – his films truly offer actresses a wonderful showcase for their talents.

If you have never heard of Shyam Benegal or are unfamiliar with his early work, The Master offers a a guide of sorts of which ones to watch (I had seen Ankur (1974) prior to this and cannot wait to watch Mandi, Nishant and Bhumika as well as a rewatch of Zubeidaa). Hopefully this won’t be the only documentary made on Benegal but it certainly is a starting point to learn more about one of India’s most prolific independent filmmakers.

Directed by: Khalid Mohammed

Narrated by: Naseerudin Shah

The Master: Shyam Benegal played at the London Indian Film Festival.

For more information about the festival and it’s programme, head over to: http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/programme.htm

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

 

 

Katti Batti Images and Promos

I really hope for Imran Khan’s career that things turn around a little. We’ve always liked the guy, and have even spoken to him quite a few time snow but his last few movies really haven’t worked at the box office and attaching the faith of your comeback to anunreliable director like Nikhil Advani is a bit troublesome.

But the ace in the sleeve is of course Kangana Ranaut, a lady who seems to do no wrong (or if she does, we as an audience just keep moving like nothing happened).

Katti Batti seems to be a straight forward rom com and our friend @bollybrit pointed out that it does have some shades of 500 days of summer.

Here are some promos and images:

Katti Batti 1 Katti Batti 2 Katti Batti 3 Katti Batti 4 Katti Batti Poster

 

Synopsis:

Katti Batti is a modern day romance that traces young architect Madhav Kabra’s (Imran Khan) love for the free-spirited Payal (Kangana Ranaut). They make for a perfect couple until a sudden turn of events creates an unanswered distance between them. What follows is a series a events that tests the fate of their relationship.

Katti Batti starring Imran Khan and Kangana Ranaut, directed by Nikhil Advani, the film releases on September 18.

Raees Teaser and posters!

After the Fan Teaser which was released last week, we now have the first look and teaser trailer of Raees. Shahrukh Khan’s collaboration with Rahul Dholakia whose not worked with any big canvas movies until now.Although the next movie SRK will be releasing is Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale, but like any Rohit Shetty starrer, it’s pretty much money in the bank, both Fan and Raees seem to be riskier propositions. (even if you wonder if having a movie star SRK is ever a risky proposition box office wise anymore)

I do wonder how great of an idea it is to release a trailer of an blackmarket alchohol selling muslim gangster on the most holiest days for Muslims especially when the portrayal of that community is so very skewed already.

But at least SRK makes a Shalwar Kameez and uncle glasses look good!

 

Raees Poster2 Raees Poster

Raees Teaser | Shah Rukh Khan I Nawazuddin Siddiqui I Mahira Khan

Release: EID 2016

Directed by: Rahul Dholakia
Produced by: Ritesh Sidhwani, Gauri Khan and Farhan Akhtar
Written by: Rahul Dholakia, Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi and Niraj Shukla
Director Of Photography: K.U. Mohanan
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Music: Ram Sampath

Umrika Review: Opening Night LIFF 2015

The yearly London Indian Film Festival started with the usual festivities and since we don’t take half measures here at Upodcast. We decided to give you 2 different perspectives by our good buddies Bhushan Kumar (@bogeyno2) and Sujoy Singa (@9e3k) on how the screening of Umrika went down.

Umrika

Bhushan:

Directed by: Prashant Nair

Starring:, Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Pramod Pathak, Rajesh Tailang, Amit Sial, Sauraseni Maitra, Prateik Babbar.

In the Q+A following the screening of Umrika at the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), director Prashant Nair explained how he wanted Umrika to reflect the character of rural India – as Nair rightly pointed out, when it comes to depicting village life on the silver screen, poverty and hardship are often the facets we see presented in Indian cinema by both mainstream and independent films. So Umrika is definitely unique in consciously trying to explore a rather sombre tale with a touch of lightness and humour.

Set in the 80’s, Ramakant (Sharma) idolises his older brother Udai (Babbar) who has left the village and is living in America (or ‘Umrica’ as it is often pronounced in the sub-continent). At first, Udai does not make contact with his family and the village but when he does start sending letters, Rama is fascinated by the ‘exotic’ American culture that his brother is living in. But as time goes on, it emerges that the postman of the village has been forging the letters to pacify Udai and Rama’s anxious mother. As Rama takes over the letter writing duty, he decides to track down his brother and find out the truth for his own peace of mind.

Umrika touches on so many issues at the same time that it could easily collapse under the weight of its own ambition but Nair multitasks with efficiency, managing the different strands of the story with care and clarity. Whether it is a timeless issue (sibling rivalry) or topical (immigration), Umrika is a film about both these things and a lot more all at once. The emotional core of the film is Udai and Rama’s mother who may not have much screen time but looms large in every frame, driving the story forward and representing a strange paradigm – even though she cannot bear to live without Udai, she seems content to send him miles away to a foreign land by himself and live vicariously through his letters, not realising the effect her behaviour has on Rama.

Performance wise, Sharma shines as Rama, depicting the character’s journey of self-discovery with a confidence and poise that carries the film well. Hussein is suitably menacing as the smuggler whilst Pathak and Tailang play their supporting roles of the father and postman respectively with conviction. The two biggest surprises for me were Revolori, an American actor who plays Rama’s best friend Lalu – whether it was his body language or expressions or dialogue delivery, I had no idea it was an American was playing a rural Indian village boy. The other standout is Tambe as the mother who effortlessly manages to show a gamut of emotions from grief to joy and whose actions and expressions remain in the mind long after the film ends.

Umrika is exactly the kind of film a festival like LIFF should be championing and deserves a thump on the back for bringing such great cinema to the world stage. Thematically, Umrika reminded me of another film festival hit done good, The Lunchbox which also had universal themes and forged an instant and intelligent connection to its audience. Having said that, Umrika marks out Nair as a director to look out for and the film is certainly worth watching a few times to enjoy all the nuances and quirks weaved into the story. Highly recommended.

 

Sujoy:

Director Prashant Nair’s “Umrika” seems to borrow from the many Bollywood movies of the 80’s – of lost brothers, of rural family values, of naive ambitions, the stark darkness of city life, and the yearning for loved ones. Rama (Suraj Sharma) is a young man who lives under the shadow of the elder son of the family, Udai (Prateik Babbar). Udai has gone off to Umrika for work, in search of a more prosperous life. It is Udai’s letters that tell the tale of a land so exotic and mystical. After a period, when the letters stop coming, Rama’s mother becomes depressed, and distances herself from her family. The letters pick up again, but when Rama discovers the secret behind these letters, he has to leave his family behind to unravel the mystery behind the American dream. Revealing anything more than this basic description would mean to delve into spoiler territory. But in my humble opinion, Umrika is not about the build up, or the culmination of its protagonist. It is perhaps about the many journeys that its array of characters take.
It does seem like a very conscious choice on the part of the director to choose name-dropping familiar historical names and events and references to songs and sights of that era. And it did help in making one believe in the world that surrounds these characters.  From Amitabh Bachchan’s infamous accident on the sets of Coolie to national events such as the  Emergency, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assasination, and even the Challenger space shuttle crash, Umrika weaves these historic events seamlessly into the story, hinting at the era and its eccentricities. These were simpler times, and also times when the only image of America are ones that are coloured in shades of brightness and prosperity.
It is however interesting to see how American culture and lifestyle, which is so much taken for granted, is presented from the eyes of a complete outsider – a young villager from India, who has only read about it from newspaper cuttings. What irks me a little however, is that how our protagonist Rama, in an era of no Google or Wikipedia, and with limited education, has been able to dig out so much information about America – from food, to festivals, to even the Cold War.
The cinematography by Petra Koner is absolutely on the money. The bright hues of Jitvapur’s scorching summer have been presented in stark contrast to the decayed blue indoors of the city. Because in the city, the Sun of hope never seems to rise. There’s despair in every move, with everyone filled with greed and deceit. Koner’s camera narrates a tale of its own.
The acting talent here is in top form – Be it Suraj Sharma, who gets to show off his acting chops a bit more after Life of Pi, and does not disappoint at all. He does look like MTV VJ Rannvijay Singh, which made me wonder what if Rannvijay would have played Udai’s role, instead of the mostly forgettable Prateik Babbar. Rama’s friend Lalu, played by Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel) is an unconventional casting choice. And yet, it works. Even though the dubbing can seem a bit jarring at times, Revolori’s relentless loyalty to his chidhood mate is reminiscent of the many onscreen Bollywood bromances.
And like most loved Bollywood movies, this one also has a Maa. And thank God for that. Because, it is the Maa who provides the emotional hook to the story. Smita Tambe has one of the most expressive eyes that you will see onscreen all year (perhaps, second to Ramya Krishnan in Baahubali). Her love for her son, anguish, and sorrow makes up for all the pacing flaws and almost left me gasping for a breath.
With Umrika, Nair attempts to bring in a lot of elements and promises under one roof – the horror tales of illegal immigration, the struggle of life in the rat race of the city, and yet, a beacon of hope that shines bright to keep things moving on. Umrika shines.
Rating: 3 Hot dogs out of 5.

 

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

Check out more of Sujoy’s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

Follow Sujoy on Twitter: @9e3k

AR Rahman announces UK concert dates at the O2

The double Grammy and double Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner, AR Rahman returns to The O2 after five years, with a one off greatest hits show on Saturday 15 August 2015. AR Rahman will be joined by very special guests including; Srinivas, Karthik, Shweta Mohan, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, and many more.

Tickets and limited VIP Packages go on general sale at 9am on Friday 12 June and are available at AXS.com or by calling 08448 24 48 24. Tickets are also available via www.chillitickets.comwww.seetickets.com and www.biggreencoach.co.uk

Discussing his forthcoming UK show of the year AR Rahman said; “The UK always brings back fond memories of working on landmark projects in my career and it’s good to be back again after five years.”

The announcement follows a hugely successful intimate American tour and saw AR Rahman, performs in multiple concert halls. Throughout the US, the tour received standing ovations and critical acclaim.

Working in India’s various film industries, international cinema and theatre with the hit show Bombay Dreams, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rahman, has sold more than 100 million records of his film scores and soundtracks worldwide, and sold over 200 million albums. He is one of the world’s all-time top selling recording artists, with consistent chart-toppers across multiple continents.

In 2009 TIME magazine listed him as one of the world’s most influential people and cited his first album, Roja among the ”10 Best Soundtracks” of all time. Best known for his score and songs in Slumdog Millionaire, Rahman has worked on more than 100 films, among them the Oscar nominated Lagaan, Bombay, Dil Se, Rang De Basanti, Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Raanjhanaa, O Kadhal Kanmani, Enthiran (Robot), Fox film’s 127 Hours by Danny Boyle, Disney’s Million Dollar Arm and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

He is working on a composition for the film Pelé, a biopic on the Brazilian football legend, as well as the score for Disney’s Mohenjo Daro. His album Vande Mataram, released for India’s 50th anniversary of its independence in 1997 remains a firm favourite with patriotic Indians both at home and abroad.

Tickets On-sale: Fri, 12 Jun 201509:00 BST: http://www.axs.com/uk/events/279464/a-r-rahman-the-greatest-hits-live-tickets?skin=arrahman

Dil Dhadakne Do Review Upodcast

The cruise liner of Bollywood Podcasts is back, this time joined by our friend Anisha Jhaveri, to break down the ups and downs of Zoya Akhtar’s dysfunctional family drama Dil Dhadakne Do.

Now that she’s 3 movies in, we can discuss:

  • What the characteristics of a Zoya Akhtar joint are
  • How succesful she is in combining content with entertainment and her place in the gaggle of nouveau Manmohan Desai film makers
  • What the movie would have felt like with the initial cast
  • The baggage of narrative devices

Beside the ins and outs of one of the most hyped movies of the year.

You can find Anisha’s review by clicking here!

You can listen/stream/download the episode below. Or you can subscribe to our iTunes feed and never miss a show!

Gabbar Is Back Press Interview

I haven’t been bowled over by anything related to Gabbar yet (how terrible is that Chitriganda- Honey Singh Promotional song?) , apparently it is a remake of a South Indian movie (alarm bells ringing already) with the big difference that the movie now references the famous Sholay villain for reasons that elude me.

But it is always great to see Akshay do his thing on the big screen although I am not quite sure how the pairing with Shruti Hassan is landing on the Icky Meter. (He looks so good with Kareena, why not just cast her as the main lead?)

 

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet- here it is together with a Q&A they did with I assume the marketing team.

 

Q1  Tell us something about Gabbar is Back?

Gabbar Is Back is directed by Krish and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Viacom18 Motion Pictures. It’s the Hindi remake of Tamil film Ramana and based on the story of corruption. I am playing the character of ACP Gabbar, who turns leader for a vigilante group and is en-route to end corruption in the city. It’s releasing on 1st May 2015 and also stars Shruti Hassan and Prakash Jha.

Q2  Is it inspired by the character of Gabbar in the famous movie Sholay?

No. Gabbar is the hero in the film and a vigilante, who takes it in his own hands to put an end to crime and injustice. Both the characters are very different.

Q3  What motivates you to do a movie like Gabbar?

I did Gabbar is Back because of corruption. I am alarmed by the crime rates in India and even calculated the amount of money gathered due to scams, to add up to 12 trillion dollars. I compared the crime rates between India and other countries and the numbers in India are astonishing. Crime rates are low in countries such as the UAE due to strict law enforcement which isn’t the case in India. So you need a name like Gabbar, who may behave like a villain but his actions are of a hero.

Q4 You are famous as the King of Action in Bollywood. Are you going to take action sequences to the next level in this movie?

Gabbar is centered more around delivering a message, rather than action sequences. Most of the instances in the movie are inspired by real life events.

Q5   Are you doing any special song for Gabbar?

Yes, I am doing one special soulful song called “Teri Meri Kahani” with Kareena Kapoor Khan, which happens to be the first song to be launched for this film. The song will take viewers through the emotional journey of the couple making itself indispensable to the overall narrative of the film.

Q6  How’s your chemistry with Kareena Kapoor Khan?

Bebo has been an integral part of my career. We’ve done many movies together and one can only hope we have many more to come. She is everything one could ever ask in a Bollywood actress. She will always know how deeply I appreciate her effort and expertise. I’m sure viewers are going to love her in this song. She has brought a kindness to our film like no other. We love working with each other.We had a great time while shooting for the song.

Q7 How is your experience in working with co-star Shruti Hassan?

I am working with her for the first time. She is playing my love interest in this movie. She is a beautiful, professional and talented actress.

Q8 Baby was the highest box office grosser of 2015. Do you think “Gabbar is Back” will surpass the record?

I always give 100 percent to any film that I do, and pray that it will do well. God has been very kind to me, and I owe him everything and my loyal fans so much for their continuous support and love.

Q9 Tell us about your new film projects?

My upcoming films include Brothers, which sees me star alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez. It’s the official remake of 2011 Hollywood movie Warrior and based on the story of two estranged brothers, whose entrance into the mixed martial arts tournament forces them to come to terms with their past and each other.

After this, I will have Singh is Bliing, a fantastic action comedy directed by Prabhu Deva and produced under my production company Grazing Goat Pictures. I am joined on screen by the very talented actresses Lara Dutta and Amy Jackson. We will shoot in Patiala, Punjab for this movie.

 

In Jan 2016 I have Airlift releasing which is is based on the invasion of Kuwait. I am playing the role of Ranjit Katiyal, anIndian-Arab billionaire who plans an ambitious evacuation mission to rescue 170,000 Indians in Kuwait during the Iraq invasion.

Q10  What kind of movies do you like to do?

I like to do films that are different and challenging, but which don’t preach any social message as such. I like exploring various film subjects, for example: OMG: Oh My God is about religion, ‘Baby’ is on terrorism, and ‘Gabbar Is Back‘ is on corruption. My films have a message, but with a commercial angle to it. With Gabbar is Back I got the opportunity to talk about corruption in a commercial manner.

Q11 Action and comedy films have been your forte so far. Do you have any unusual projects coming up?

I do films that I want to do, because they appeal to me in some way. I wouldn’t say that I only do action and/or comedy films, and if I do make these type of films, it is because I want to. I have worked in other genres, and really enjoyed it. I like to surprise my audience, so that they can never guess what to expect! Ultimately, I just love making films with people I admire and respect. A good film is about characters and feelings.

Q12 Do self-made actors like yourself have more motivation?

Yes, I think so! But this isn’t the case for everyone, each case is different. It is only natural to protect and work hard for something when you have been through hell to get it in the first place. I myself had no Godfather in the industry; I worked hard and wanted to constantly improve myself. My goal was to strive to be better, and so it was this drive that got me to where I am today. The only reason I am still here in this industry today is because of God’s grace, my parents blessings and my fans’ love.

Q13  Who do you admire in the industry? And why?

I admire everyone because it is hard to make it in the acting industry. Whether you are self-made or a star kid, the journey is still tough and not glamorous as it looks. Everyone in this industry deserves my admiration and that of the fans too. We all have the same vision and goal: to take Indian cinema to the next level. It is not a competition, it is a challenge and we’re all fighting for the same thing— our film industry, because without it, we’d all be nothing.

Q14 How do you protect your privacy when you encounter negative publicity? Does your discipline in martial arts help?

Yes, Martial Arts is a great source of strength, discipline and relaxation for me, in fact exercise is a great way for me to unwind and forget about my troubles. But the thing that really keeps me grounded is my family. I won’t be famous forever; I won’t be successful at work every day; and I won’t have fans who love me forever, but the one thing that I will have is my family, who will love me always, unconditionally.

 

Gabbar Is Back is scheduled for release internationally on 1st May 2015.

Lingaa Upodcast Review

Superstar Rajinikanth returns to the big screen in a live action role after 4 years with KS Ravikumar’s Lingaa. As every release of the megastar there is quite a bit of excitement and looking at the initial box office numbers, it seems to be another killer at the box office.

Although we South Indian cinema has a special place in our hearts, we are not the experts we would like to be so we called our friend Josh Hurtado, who covers a lot of Indian cinema for TwitchFilm.com.

We speak about the Rajini Effect, the expectations attached to Lingaa, Sonakshi Sinha’s South Indian debut and how Lingaa compares to Rajnikanth’s massive hits with Shankar (Sivaji- The Boss, Enthiran).

If you haven’t seen the trailer for Lingaa yet, here is it.


You can check out more of Josh. work on TwitchFilm.

Or follow him on twitter on @HatefulJosh

Listen/Stream/Download the episode below. You can also subscribe to the Upodcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode!

Happy New Year Review Upodcast

Farah and Shah Rukh Khan come together again after a long hiatus to give us Happy New Year which is shattering records left and right. Part Heist movie, part dance movie are they able to recreate the magic of their previous collaborationsMain Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om?

We are joined by Anisha Jhaveri and Danny Bowes to answer some of the most important questions in the history of Hindi Film Cinema:

Can a 6 pack actually be terrifying?

Is there something like a merry go round bar dancer?

Did Amir actually go “Full Retard” in the PK trailer?

Is it fair to have expectations from a movie like Happy New Year?

And does it deserve to make as much money as it did? Or do movies like Kick, Bang Bang and Dhoom 3 deserve it more?

As always you can listen/stream or download the podcast in the links below

Or subscribe in iTunes and never miss a beat!

@asimburney

Happy New Year / Slam Tour Report + New Charlie Promo

Farah Khan is suddenly a little tearful – “I’ve realised the journey is coming to an end“.

HNY1

Watching the star studded line up at the European press conference for the upcoming Happy New Year in a Central London hotel on a crisp Sunday morning, the camaraderie and strong bond between the cast was clearly evident. And if that is in the final product, then we really do have an amazing film to look forward to. Sonu Sood claimed it was “the biggest film ever made in India” and how it had been a “life changing experience working with Farah“. For Deepika Padukone, working with Shah Rukh in a lead role for the third time came very easily to her – not only did she know his processes but also revealed how she never questions anything that Shah Rukh tells her to do.

HMY3

Indeed, there was plenty of SRK mania evident at the conference and being in the same room with him, it was not hard to see why. Shy and unassuming, his poise and modesty came across with sincerity, gently encouraging to the Nepali journalist who had recently learnt Hindi when she asked a question and he seemed genuinely embarrassed when a French journalist offered him a book about him written in French as a gift. It was also touching to see how he made sure all his cast members got a chance to speak.

Things took quite an interesting turn when a press member suggested that the SLAM tour had allowed HNY to make all its money back before release and the rest was a money making exercise. The journalist also asked SRK what he had felt he had yet to achieve, cheekily adding on a request for SRK to reply in Hindi rather than English. SRK certainly gave a fitting reply in Hindi – explaining how a film could not guarantee it would do well at the box office and this was more a project of passion. As for his achievements, he said he wanted to give back to the audiences. It was interesting to see the superstar put on the spot and emerge with his dignity intact whilst shutting down the journalist.

Indeed, the SLAM tour has proved a blessing for HNY – as SRK explained: “We used the coincidence of the live concerts and film release as promo strategy” – certainly a savvy business idea which has been well received by the fans and by the rest of the cast too; apparently, we have not heard the last of the SLAM tour which may return once more in a different form in the future.

HNY2

All too soon, it was time to wrap up – it seemed the cast had more fun than anyone else, encouraging and teasing one another but with the feeling that the gathered audience were also in on the joke. How the film is received on release remains to be seen but it was Farah Khan who had the last word – explaining “HNY is a festival film – it is releasing on Diwali!” – let the festivities commence!

Happy New Year releases on 23rd October 2014

Here is a new poster and promo introducing the character of Charlie, played by SRK:


 

 

HNY_Poster Hindi

 

Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.

You can read more from him at www.bogeyno2.wordpress.com 

Or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

 

Haider Review: Hamlet in Kashmir

Let’s get rid of the obvious to begin with. If you are here to know if you should consider watching Haider, releasing in cinemas on the 2nd October 2014, then here’s my comment. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider might possibly be his best work yet, and is a must watch, not just for cinema enthusiasts or Bard-purists. It is also an essential watch for anyone who appreciates art, in any form – be it visual, aural, and I am sure if smell-sense tech was advanced enough, Bhardwaj would have made that available as well. He does come very close.

Haider, based on Shakespeare’s longest and most-adapted play Hamlet, is possibly the most tragic tale out of the Bard’s body of work. Romeo lost Juliet and vice-versa, Othello lost his wife, but poor Hamlet – that poor fellow lost his entire family, his loved one, and even his would-be in-laws. This potent tale of the Prince of Denmark set in the late 16th century finds a seamless transition into the 1995 world of Kashmir – a land amidst militancy and martial rule, torn between power heads exercising control. This Kashmir does not look familiar to Shammi Kapoor, or colourful Shikaras, or one where Kishore and Lata would sing – Kitni Khubsoorat Ye Tasveer Hai. Kashmir here has the gloom of loss, of half-widows and their dried tears, of frozen waters, dead cold snow, of curfews keeping life indoors, and of angry fires burning – literally and metaphorically.

Hamlet, here called Haider (Shahid Kapoor), has been summoned by the “disappearance” of his father, Dr. Hilal Meer, a respected Doctor of the community who on humanitarian grounds, operates on the leader of a militant group in his own house. The opening scene shows an elaborate miltary operation that ends up in the destruction of the Meer’s family home. Haider’s return to Kashmir is greeted by his burnt down house, and he then finds his mother Ghazala (Tabu), laughing at his uncle Khurram’s silly dance and song routine. Haider, still deep in mourning, is disgusted and torn between grief for his father, anger for his uncle, and longing for his mother.

Thus begins Haider’s quest to find his father, unravel the mystery behind the disappearance, and also answer the many questions that face him. It being a Shakespeare tale, there is enough scope of theatricality, but there is also the risk of alienating audiences by setting up a story that is politically relevant, and yet having the characters to be out-of-place by making them speak lyrical monologues. Bhardwaj strikes the perfect balance between the two. Haider was brought up in a “shaayraana” household, where both the father and mother sing Urdu ghazals and recite poetry. The many paralles between the source play and this adaptation are clearly present. And yet, Bharadwaj’s Haider is a beast of its own that comes alive not just in its deviations from the source, but also in the striking eyes of its stellar cast. And what a cast it has.

The leads – Shahid Kapoor is brilliant. There is no other way to put it. You can see how thirsty he has been for roles such as this. And perhaps, only Bhardwaj can tap his talent. Until now, Kaminey remains the peak of his acting career. Haider is undoubtedly a few planes above that in terms of performance. Through the span of the movie, Haider’s sorrow, misery, anger, frustration and rage of vengeance all come alive in the eyes of Shahid Kapoor. It is hard to believe that the same guy was seen prancing with Sonakshi Sinha on Gandi Baat. More of this please.

Kay Kay Menon’s Khurram is the Claudius of the tale. And no one knows how to play a slime-ball or an “aasteen ka saap” better than this polished actor. Menon’s perfect thick-Kashmiri accent and his treachery are just textbook performances. And it looks textbook, because the dude knows what needs to be done with what is arguably the meatiest role in the tale. And Menon runs with it, even at times convincing me to feel sympathetic for his sins.

I’ll save the best for the last – Tabu as Ghazala, mother Meer or Mauji of Haider, proves again why she is often referred to as the best talent we have in the Indian film industry. Her sensuousness defies her age, her tears cry out to you, and her sorrow aches your heart. Her last act brought me memories of seeing her in Gulzar’s Maachis, a similar story of a woman caught in desperate circumstances, striving to reconcile with life and finding release in the unspeakable.

The supporting acts – Familiar TV actos Narendra Jha as Dr.Hilal Meer, and Lalit Parimoo are both striking, even in their short appearances. Shraddha Kapoor’s portrayal of Ophelia is note-perfect. In her Arshia, we see the the love that Haider longs for. Veteran actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda’s two lines are enough to echo in your head throughout the movie. And then there is Bhardwaj alumnus Irrfan. His appearance just before the interval is possibly the “show-stealing” entry scene that even lead heroes would envy and die for. Coupled with a electric bass guitar riff, a burnt eye, an evil walk, and a name called Roohdaar, Irrfan scorches the screen, even when Kashmir is drowned in snow. Not to forget, the comic relief provided by the two Salmans who cannot resist dropping a nod to “Salman of the 90’s” is pure chuckle-nectar. It sort of reminded me of Key and Peele’s appearance in the Fargo TV Series.10385367_10152668413883278_1398774271011645796_n

Speaking of snow and Kashmir, this review is not complete without singing praise of the DOP – Pankaj Kumar, who has painted this tale with a gloomy blue hue. Teamed with the action choreography scenes in snow, there is something poetic about seeing violence being unleashed on a white snow floor with crimson red blood splattered all over. Kumar sweeps through the Kashmir landscape, unveiling the chill in the wind, the warmth over a cup of Kahwah, and even capturing authentic visuals through his un-touristy lens.

Bhardwaj has also composed the music for the movie, and it is gorgeously woven into the narrative. As previously mentioned, the electric bass riff that announces Roohdar’s entry spreads its wings as the gravedigger’s song – and I believe that it will continue to haunt me and the audience long after the end credits have rolled. Then there is Sukhwinder’s Bismil – the musical play within Hamlet that has a life in itself. Perfectly choreographed, and some amazing rhymes written by the one and only Gulzar. It leaves me awestruck, and in some sort of a dilemma, whether I love Bhardwaj the director more than Bhardwaj the composer, or vice versa. Fortunately, I don’t have to choose.

Haider is an accomplishment. It is perhaps the most ambitious and lavish piece of work that has emerged from Indian cinema. Lavish not in terms of production value, or how many crores were spent on a certain costume. I mean lavish in terms of power packed performances commanding your attention. I mean lavish in terms of giving your gut a kick with every single frame that wraps a gamut of emotions. Bow down Mister! Bow down to the might of powerful cinema. Ab toh Aaao… Jaan Meri…

5 #Chutzpahs Out of 5

Haider plays in UK theaters from today.

Sujoy is a bonafide Bollywood fanatic, and loves good food, cinema, and sleep, in that order.

Follow him on twitter: @9e3k

Blog: http://OneKnightStands.Net

Tumblr: http://Bollypop.in

Finding Fanny Upodcast Review

This Episode of Upodcast we are joined by the always wonderful Anisha Jhaveri in our search for Fanny. Before we get into our review of Homi Adijani’s follow of Cocktail starring the lumiscent Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur, Dimple Kapadia and Nasseeruddin Shah, we veer of topic as we always do.

We give our thoughts briefly about Deepika’s cleavage-gate with Times Of India, Asim goes on a rant about being disappointed by highly praised “Hindies” and Anisha talks about how watching Kick almost broke her as a human being.

You can catch more of Anisha’s work at:

http://jhavanis.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.popxo.com/author/anishajhaveri/

http://www.india.com/author/anishaj/

Or check out her previous appearances on Upodcast where we reviewed Gulaab Gang and Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (links below)

You can download/stream our episode below.

Or subscribe to our feed in iTunes:

 

 

Haider Press Conference

It might have been a rainy Tuesday morning after a bank holiday weekend but nothing was going to dampen spirits at the swanky London hotel where visionary director Vishal Bhardwaj and the dynamic Shahid Kapoor were in attendance to talk about their much anticipated next release Haider.

After showing those in attendance a sneak peek of the film (sorry, no spoilers here!), it was time to speak to Vishal and Shahid and find out what went into making one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and difficult plays into a Hindi film for a commercial audience.

Haider Press Conference

Excerpts below:

Why did you choose to adapt Hamlet for Hindi cinema?

Vishal Bhardwaj: Shakespeare has been my favourite because his dramas are so “juicy” – they have this conflict that is so universal that you can find those conflicts in any society because they are basic human conflicts.

So is Haider a faithful adaptation of Hamlet or a complete rewrite of the premise?

Vishal Bhardwaj: I always try to remain true to the spirit of the play rather than the text itself – that is what I also did in Omkara and I have also taken those liberties in Maqbool. In Haider, my ghost comes late, [whereas] in Hamlet, the play starts with the ghost so I have taken these kind of structural liberties but all those milestones which Hamlet is known for are there. But of course, it is a rewrite for me and I see it as completely my own work. It is very difficult to take Shakespeare’s burden off your head, especially when you are making a trilogy.

Shahid, the role of Haider is one of the most complex to play…Haider2

Shahid Kapoor: Especially when you are given contact lenses to wear and you are told you can only act with your eyes!

…so what were some of the challenges you faced in enacting this role?

Shahid Kapoor: One is usually used to doing movies which are largely single layered – it is very rare that you come across situations as an actor that are complex and I guess that’s where performance can actually come from. I just try to understand the character, his background, his mental state and just try and be honest with how that character would be feeling in that situation and I’ve pretty much played the whole role like that, I never tried to think of is this too many expressions, is this loud or is this not loud, I think those things are largely governed by the director.

This is your second film with Vishal – what is your working relationship like two films on?

Shahid Kapoor: I have a fantastic relationship with Vishal Sir – I think we had a really good relationship when we did Kaminey but now I think it has grown a lot, especially after this film, I felt very dependent on him, pretty much through the film, I would be very unconfident if I couldn’t see what his expression was after I had finished a shot, I felt the need for him and so, I depended a lot on him and if he seemed happy, I would feel like pretty much achieved what I needed to and we’re good.

 

It sounds like Vishal is quite the taskmaster!

Shahid Kapoor: He is very encouraging on set though and I’ve always felt that, a lot of people might feel because of the content that you view, that you must be feeling maybe he is really difficult, he pushes actors and does stuff but actually he provides you with a really good set of actors, really interesting new background and fresh content in terms of script, and all he does is encourage you on set. Actually, he has never been angry or upset with an actor – I’ve never seen him do that, which, you know, I guess is an amazing, amazing quality.

Haider3

Vishal, why did you choose to set the film in Kashmir?

Vishal Bhardwaj: I sincerely think that Bollywood has not been very sensitive towards Kashmir as [Kashmir] is the biggest human tragedy of modern Indian history. I had been reading about it a lot, I had been thinking about it a lot, that why have we not seen Kashmir from inside, why do we always have to go from outside. My eyes opened about what this region has gone through, this conflict and is still going through – that’s where I thought it would make the best backdrop for my film.

Haider completes a trilogy of Shakespeare’s tragedies that you have adapted for Hindi cinema (Omkara and Maqbool being the other two). What is next on the anvil?

Vishal Bhardwaj: Truly I want to make three comedies – a lot of serious stuff has happened for me so now I really want to get into comedies – there are so many. We [Shahid and Vishal] were talking about Comedy Of Errors

And Shahid, what will you take away from the experience of Haider?

Shahid Kapoor: What has lingered on is this feeling of why didn’t I do more films like this after Kaminey – that’s the one feeling I felt the most whilst shooting Haider. It was very enriching experience as an actor and when you do films like this, it reminds you of why you wanted to become an actor actually and then a lot of other things take over and I guess that holds true for any profession – we all get into something because at a certain age, there are certain things that attract you to a particular profession and then when you do it, there are rare opportunities where the things that you did it for are the things that you actually do it for. I really felt I should have done more films like this after Kaminey and I’m very clear that I want to do one such film every year for my journey as an actor.

Haider is set for a worldwide release on 2nd October 2014.

 

Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.

You can read more from him at www.bogeyno2.wordpress.com or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Kick Review and Bollywood Catch Up Upodcast

Our good friend FilmiGirl was nice enough to join us this episode and we had a VERY long but long overdue chat about tons of topics any Bollywood afficionado would be interested in.

We start with a rundown of this year’s releases and we give Filmigirl a ton of homework to catch up on since she is back from hiatus. Then we look towards the rest of the 2014 release calendar and the movies that are looking interesting and 3 that we agree on look terrible (funily for different reasons)- Can you guess which ones they are?

We wrap things up with a main review of Salman Khan’s Eid release Kick which is probably going to be one of the biggest BO earners every *until that records get shattered as Asim‘s predicts maybe even this year.

As usual we go off on many a tangent, but I guess that’s the reason you guys listen to us!

Let us know what you thought of this Upodcast Episode by streaming/downloading it below.

Or you can subscribe to us in iTunes in the links below and never miss a beat!

Kick Cast Interviews

A Copy/Paste job of some PR Media interviews we received from the Kick Cast (Sajid Nadiadwala, Nargis Fakhri, Chetan Bhagat, Mithun)

Usual Questions and quite bland answers but in a weird way, i’m having a very sanitized feeling about Kick in general. Maybe I don’t want to get my hopes up but the marketing of the movie has just made me feel a bit iffy about it.

Sajid Nadiadwala (Director)

Q: Kick marks your directorial debut, what made you step into your director shoes?

A: I think it was fate really; it happened so fast! It’s funny how things turn out in life. I was in a meeting with Salman, narrating the script to him, when all of a sudden he said, ‘Why don’t you direct it!’ I didn’t even have time to consider the offer, before I had even nodded he was jumping and hugging me and shouted across the room ‘Grandson is turning director.’  Before I even had time to share the news he had already written in his planner that a new director was coming. It’s been a wonderful experience and I felt right at home doing it.

Q:   Did your experience as a producer help you in your debut?Sajid Nadiadwala - Kick

A:  Absolutely! As a producer I have worked with extremely talented directors and have gained knowledge and experience from working side by side with them. One becomes seasoned after so many films.

Q: What was your most memorable day on the set of Kick?

A: My first day on the set, definitely. I was calm and ready to don my director’s hat. I felt completely at ease on set and was lucky to have a very professional foreign crew. I decided to start with an action scene, as I feel most comfortable with it. Everything went down smoothly, and as we were wrapping up I thought to myself I am a director now!

Q: What makes Kick unique?

A: I had a clear and unique vision for Kick and thanks to my amazing team it has come together far beyond my expectations. The script is great, the high-octane stunts are gripping and the locations where we shot are stunning. Salman and I were set on creating something new. It’s very different to his earlier films.
Q: We’ve heard you spent more than 72 hours at a stretch buried in the editing room

A: I can’t help it I’m a perfectionist. When you are dedicated to make a project succeed you forget everything else around you, including the time!

Q: Has Salman been a help to you on this adventure?

A: Absolutely. It was great fun discussing our ideas, brainstorming and working out the scenes together. He’s been very helpful and completely supportive of my vision. All in all, it has been a great experience.

Q: How do you feel about the release of Kick?

A: I am very excited. It has been a wonderful ride and now we have to enjoy the result of all our hard work. The trailer received five million views in 59 hours, so I expect great things for this film.

 

 

 Chetan Bhagat (Screenwriter)

Q:  Did you enjoy writing the screenplay for ‘Kick’? Does it mean that you are becoming more and more involved in the film-making process?

A: I did enjoy it. It was fun, plus Salman Khan was in it, so it was an honour too. But it doesn’t mean that I will become a screen writer. Occasionally, I might get into all this again, but I am more than happy with just being an author. I am comfortable with my books, giving motivational talks and writing columns. Those are the areas I want to dedicate my time to.

Q: When you’re writing a book do you automatically think of how it would pan into a film?

A: No, not really. I can’t think of it that way. Writing books was, is and will be my passion; it doesn’t really matter if it will be made into a movie or not. Moreover, if my book is good, then the filmmakers would approach me anyway. I wouldn’t have to do anything extra to get my books made into a movie.

Q:  What inspired you to start writing?

A:To be honest, I just wanted to do something different. I always liked writing and I thought it could be a great hobby. The only thing I did not know is that there would be so many people who would like my writing.

Q:  When is your next book coming out? What is it about?

A: It will be coming out in October this year (2014). I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so I won’t say a lot about the plot, except that it is a rural Indian love story. It is slightly different from the other books I’ve written so far, but I hope that my readers will enjoy it.

Q: Why did you agree to write the screen-play for ‘Kick’?

A: I’ve known Salman from the time of Hello, the movie version of my novel One Night At The Call Centre. But I never had a chance to work with him. So this was a perfect opportunity. Also, when I saw the original version of Kick, I loved it, but I felt like there is potential to take the content deeper. Sajid [Director] is debuting with Kick too and he has a huge vision for it – hopefully I will be able to make it come true.

Q:  What is ‘Kick’ about?

A: Kick is about a guy who lives life only for his kicks, a powerful concept and a perfect recipe for a Salman-Nadiadwala blockbuster.

 

Nargis Fakhri (Actress) Q&A

Q:  Were you excited to work with Salman Khan?

A: I was nervous! He’s such a big Bollywood star, I was afraid I’d mess something up. When I went to the set and met him, all my fears faded away. Salman is a very positive person and his sense of humour is amazing! I had such a great time working with him and the whole team.

Q:  You had some problems with your knee whilst shooting the song ‘Yaar Na Mile’. Did it affect your performance in any way?

A: Yes, I suffered from a ruptured knee and it was extremely painful, but I pulled myself together because I know that opportunities like this don’t appear very often. I have no idea how, but I managed to complete it in just four days.

Q:  It’s your second item number. Do you think there will be more?Nargis Fakhri & Salman Khan - Kick

A: I really enjoy dancing, but I don’t want to be seen as just an item dancer. Acting is my passion and I want to do some good meaty roles. I am currently talking to different directors, but nothing has been finalised just yet.

Q:  You will be making your Hollywood debut quite soon. What do you prefer Bollywood or Hollywood?

A: I think it has to be Bollywood. I am feeling more comfortable in Bollywood because I have spent more time here and I do have a much better understanding about it. Besides dancing and music is my passion, this is why I prefer to spend more time here [Bollywood].

 Q: Tell us a bit more about your dance number?

A: It is a very urban, edgy yet sexy dance number. There was a lot to learn. At first I thought I might miss some steps, but everything went brilliantly well. Salman has a great energy and I think that is what made me so comfortable around him.

 

Mithun Chakraborthy (Actor) Q&A

 Q:  You are known for being very particular about the roles you accept, what was so special about Kick that made you sign?

 A:  After 375 films, I would say I’m fortunate to be able to consider carefully which roles I take on. I don’t accept a role for the sake of it, there has to be something special about the character that draws me to the film.  When I read the Kick script I thought my character was hilarious, so I said yes. I thought it was a great project to be a part of.

Q: Your success as an actor and disco dancer has made you an icon of Hindi cinema, did you ever think you would make it this far?

A:  When I started out I was hopeful and determined, and took my career one step at a time. When you are an actor there is no point in predicting your success, I always say that luck plays a very big role in an actor’s life. It’s not easy being discovered, you have to be at the right place, at the right time.

Q: As Bollywood’s disco king, how important is dance in your daily life?

A:  Dance has and will always be a part of me. Whenever I’m sad the dance floor is my escape. I get positive energy through dancing. I am so lucky to be able to make my hobby an important part of my career and I don’t hesitate to accept projects that allow me to dance.

‘KICK’

Releasing worldwide through UTV Motion Pictures on 25th July 2014

Hemalkasa Review Liff 2014

In true tradition, the closing night of the 5th London Indian Film Festival featured one of the biggest and highly anticipated movie premieres of the festival – Samruddhi Porey’s biopic Hemalkasa. Based on the life of renowned social worker and Magsaysay award winner Dr. Prakash Baba Amte, the highlight of this feature was not just its subject matter, but also its top notch star cast – Nana Patekar and Sonali Kulkarni in the title roles of Prakash and Mandakini Amte. And there’s veteran actor Mohan Agashe as well, portraying the role of Prakash’s father, Baba Amte. With such big names, and a big story to tell, one would expect nothing less than a spectacular closing to the festival. Unfortunately, all of that expectation comes crumbling down pretty soon, right after the movie begins.

It was quite unfortunate, that the screening began with a short – Director Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Kush selected by the Satyajit Ray foundation as this year’s Best Short Feature). I say unfortunate, because as soon as that short concluded, and the opening titles of Hemalkasa rolled onscreen, I could tell that it wasn’t going to be at par with any of the movies I had seen in the festival, including the short that preceded it. Blame it on the extremely disturbing choice of font styling for the titles (which made me think if the director had got her young nephew to do it, who had just learnt about WordArt on PowerPoint). Or perhaps it was the unnecessary addition of laughably awful CG explosions. But wait, there is more.

The intro scene of Nana Patekar features him doing a sheersasan, with his upper half submerged. The director chooses this scene to be the best moment to let us know that Prakash Amte is perhaps a cross between Singham and Doctor Dolittle. So, just next to Patekar, there is a tiger washing himself. I love tigers. Onscreen ones to be precise (read my review of Ulidavaru Kandante). But this tiger, my friends, is the worst CG copy-pasted tiger to have ever existed. Patekar rises from underwater and walks out like a Bond girl. And accompanying him, is CG-Tiger. And in that moment, I knew that Hemalkasa is not going to be a movie that I’d like. And this was just the first 10 minutes of the movie.

In the course of its unbearable 117 minutes, Porey depicts the tale of this relentlessly generous man, and his many struggles and how he overcomes them. The narration is mediocre at its best, and extremely irritating at its worst as it jumps through the different stages in Amte’s life. I can see Porey trying hard to squeeze in as much detail as she can, as if she is begging for the audience to applaud at how unreal Amte’s sacrifices are in comparison with the cynical world we live in. But she hardly leaves any breathing space on a specific event for the audience to feel connected. The editing could be the culprit here. There are way too many events jam-packed into this, and yet, each one feels stretched out, or sometimes repetitive. I felt like I was compelled to watch an episodic TV series, albeit a boring one.

I can understand the underlying sentiment of the filmmaker might have been to genuinely show her reverence for Prakash Baba Amte. And nothing that I say here will take away from what Baba Amte’s influence is on people in India and all across the world. Neither does it undermine his efforts in any shape or form. But there is a clear distinction between the story and the story-telling. When asked in the Q&A section, what the real Prakash Amte’s reactions were on watching his own biopic, director Porey responded that Amte’s reply was – “I felt as if a camera was left on from my childhood to my present day, and I was watching it all on the big screen”. As a cinema lover, I cannot translate that to be a compliment.

This is a classic case of a filmmaker falling too much in love with the source, and failing to say “Cut”. There are numerous attempts by its stellar lead pair – Patekar and Kulkarni, who give earnest performances, and try to save this sinking ship. But it is too late by then. There are “Gods must be crazy” inspired scenes featuring the local tribes of Hemalkasa. You know the kind where they discover modern medicine, radio etc. But even these scenes failed to charm me. And the amount of bad-acting provided by its extras could put Farah Khan’s extras to shame. By the time the director decides to make Sonali Kulkarni and Nana Patekar give one-last-push with a breakdown scene when their domestic pet Leopard passes away, I was rolling my eyes. Looking at the audience around, I could see most attendees staring at their watches, or fast asleep. It is hence ironic to see that this feature won the runner up Audience Award.

 

This journey to Hemalkasa had the entertainers on the list, but was boring all the way.

 

For more info head on over to http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

@9e3k

OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

Daawat-e-Ishq Title Song and Trailer

Yash Raj has just released the first song promo from Daawat E Ishq starring Parineeti Chopra and Aaditya Roy Kapur, releasing in theaters september 5th.

Here is the synopsis of the movie from the YRF website and to be honest I have read it several times and I still can’t make head nor tails of what the story is about:

Meet Hyderabad ki tez Gulrez (Parineeti Chopra) and Lucknowka aashiq Tariq (Aditya Roy Kapur) in a love story from Yash Raj Films’ kitchen, where Love gets Spicy, Love gets Sweet, Love gets Bitter!

A shoe-sales girl, disillusioned with love because of her encounters with dowry-seeking men and a cook, who can charm anybody with the aroma and flavours of his biryani and kebabs, come face to face in the clash of diametrically opposite but equally spicy cultures of Hyderabad and Lucknow.

In her quest to find her Mr. Universe, she comes up against “Big Boss Hyderi Kebab” and in the process of arriving at a “tuning-setting”, Gullu and Taru rewrite traditional recipes of love, crush old-fashioned world-views and make their own masaledaar albeli pichchar… a deliciously romantic Daawat-e-Ishq!

YRF continue it’s streak where the city is the 3rd character yo! so  there seems to be a lot of Lucknow and Hyderabad flavors. (somewhere I blame Vicky Donor for this trend but it might have started earlier, I just hated Vicky Donor).  I’ve had trouble telling  their movies apart for the last decade or so, for my money this looks the same as Dil Bode Hadippa but with interchangeable actors or backdrops (Now he’s a cook, now she’s a crook!).

This must be the way YRF conceives their properties now:  Put in random ideas in a cookie box, pull 3-4 cards out, put them on a white board, lock some writing interns in until Habib Faisal is happy to sign off on the result and Adi Chopra approves the budget. Pour over standard YRF Art design and marketing, top it of with a shitty poster.

It almost makes me miss the mountains of Switzerland!

Since I was unaware that Aashiqui 2 was an actual movie and not just a super addictive music album, I still haven’t gotten round to watching it. So I was quite unaware that Afro Dork from London Dreams and Guzaarish has grown into a full on hearthrob. Ironic, when the character he played was an abusive alcholic in that movie, maybe some of people feel they can “save” him. I think there is a psychological term for that which I’m too lazy to google.

Parineeti Chopra is the main reason I would want to catch this on Netflix. She has been consistency the light of any project she has been in, and honestly I feel she deserves top billing now. There is a bit of criticism that she plays the same role over and over again but she’s quite a young actress still finding her feet and excelling whilst doing so. And might I say those are some very fancy hair extensions she has on.

Here is the full trailer again if you missed it, gives you a chance to see more Parineeti.


DEI_Poster3

Daawat-e-Ishq celebrates its worldwide release on 5th September 2014

@asimburney

Ulidavaru Kandante Review LIFF 2014

Ulidavaru Kandante_01[Disclaimer: Due to messed up scheduling at the screening venue (for London Indian Film Festival), I missed the first 30 minutes of Ulidavaru Kandante, as I was still watching Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya (review link here). This post is hence, more of a rant on the remaining 4/5th of the Ulidavaru Kandante experience.]

So, as I walked in straight into the world of Ulidavaru Kandante (UK, As Seen By The Rest) at 00:30:00, I was met with the end of Chapter 1, and a journalist called Regina (Sheetal Shetty) talking about something that went wrong, referred to as “the Incident”. I was left confused, and yet curious about what this incident was, and if I had missed it in the first 30 minutes. But at the same time, I was glad I that I came in just in time for the beginning of Chapter 2 – the story of Richi. Cue smoke machines, theatrical spotlights on, and through the smoky mist, enters our hero – director Rakshit Shetty as Richi, the cocky cop who oozes testosterone in every frame. This is one of those alpha male leads that’s part Tony Montana, part Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, and part Chulbul Pandey, sans the Sonakshi pyar-thappar angle, or the drunk sillyness. At first glance, Shetty looks like a long lost brother of Mahakshay ‘Mimoh’ Chakraborty, but one who can actually act, and commands attention, and minus 20-30 kilos (to be confirmed). Richi is not a do-gooder or a Robin Hood. He has a reputation to take care of, and even in a lungi, gulping down on local desi-daaru, with an unkempt moustache, that reputation brings broken noses for the unlucky ones. And that tiger dance, oh yes, I get that Singham metaphor. Richi does not walk, he has the gait of a lion, make up or not.

Coming back to the story, or stories rather, the trailer is quite spoilerific in my opinion. There is an incident, which we don’t know of, until the climax i.e. There are multiple witnesses, and their multiple/conflicting point-of-views, a Pulp-Fiction-esque MacGuffin red bag with shiny contents, and many bullet shots. There’s tiger-painted people dancing(I like tigers). If that sounds like UK borrows a lot from cinema pop-culture, yes it does. Does it look like a copy? No, it does not. Shetty’s influence is visible, but UK is a beast of its own. You can smell the authenticity in the environment, and it is quite obvious how comfortable it is in its own skin, and yet does not shy away to flash its influences – from Kurosawa’s Rashomon, to Scarface, to even Frank Miller’s Sin City. The director expertly hides the details, and patiently peels off each layer. With cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, and each chapter serving as a teaser for the final reveal, UK works because of its sharp editing, its crisp script, and the believability of the world that surrounds these characters.

Kudos to the DOP Karm Chawla to have presented Malpe in its most stunning onscreen version – from the warm views of the washed clean sea and sandy beaches, to the amber nights lit with fire. Painted tiger faces never looked this great. The hustle and bustle of Janmashtami festival in temple city Udupi errupts with its vibrance and is a colour overload of sorts. And that entry scene of Richi through the smoke (mentioned above), as he says “Phata Poster Nikla Hero” is a wolf-whistle worthy one. Coupled with a loud drum-heavy background score, UK does not go easy on your senses.

Donning the acting jobs, the supporting cast do pretty well. Worth mentioning are Tara as Ratnakka – that scene when she sees her son after 15 years, and bursts into tears, gave me goosebumps. Little Sohan Shetty as street-smart kiddo Democracy steals the show in many scenes. And Kishore as Munna, is the missing piece in the whole puzzle. He provides the much needed gravitas, the heart that glues the tale. His wide-eyed dreamy stoner romance makes you chuckle, and also leaves you sad. But of course, above all, this movie belongs to Rakshit Shetty. Not only as the onscreen lead dude, but also as the offscreen one.

On the surface,it looks like yet another South-Indian alpha male hero rescuing damsels-in-distress. But UK is not content with that template, and breaks the norms. It is a tall rebel, heck it’s the “Rebel Alliance” on its own, which even though has a vernacular language, its speech is loud and global in all respects. Shetty’s attempt at marrying the two, often looks effortless, but only shows the confidence in his craft. It is nothing short of groundbreaking. I am highly curious of what is coming up next on his filmography. If this is what the new wave of Kannada cinema has to offer, count me in. I will drive that hype train.

This has been the best of the London Indian Film Festival’s offering this year.

5 Tigers Out of 5. ROAR!!!

[Footnote: I have deliberatley tried not to tell you much about this movie, and would rather have you check it out for yourself. Ulidavaru Kandante is available as PPV on ReelBoxTV.com. However, it does not have any subtitles, but they are working on it. Follow them on twitter @ReelBoxTV to find out when this would be done.
 
 The subtitles at my screening were quite funny. The swear words such as bastard and the like, had the vowels replaced with corresponding Greek symbols. That probably is because Director Rohit Shetty has not been able to completely get over his Engineering past!
 
Contact the director @rakshitshetty on twitter, make some noise, and probably he will bring this to a screen near you. It is definitely one to be experienced on the bigger screen, with booming sound. Or for you influential people out there, make Netlfix pick this gem up.]

The London Indian Film Festival has screenings all over London until the 17th of July.

For more info head on over to http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

@9e3k

OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya Review LIFF 2014

Goopi_01Before I say anything about the movie, can I just applaud director Shilpa Ranade first, to have thought of remaking a Satyajit Ray classic that has been loved by generations. The classic short story by Upendra Kishore Rowchowdhury has already been immortalised onscreen by the inimitable pair of Tapen Chatterjee and Rabi Ghosh as the crazy duo – Goopi and Bagha. And such a mammoth task of re-doing it for the current generation – why would one do that? The only answer to that is immense love for the source. And that love shows in Ranade’s adaptation of Goopi and Bagha’s tale, titled Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya.

The world of Goopi and Bagha have now been translated from the black and white images of Ray’s version to a world filled with shimmering colours. The style of animation here is nothing like the 3D cell animation that we are accustomed to from the likes of Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks. The word I am looking for here is quirky. I know use that word a lot. It sort of reminds me of a few PS3 games such as Media Molecule’s Little Big Planet, or Sony’s own – Puppeteer. Produced by the Children’s Film Society of India, it brought back memories of the many indie short animation features that used to be screened on Doordarshan on Sunday mornings in the 80s and the 90s. And having watched Ranade’s adaptation, I am compelled to say that perhaps, there couldn’t have been a better remake for this tale.

Of course, with the target age-group of this feature being the little ones, there are plenty of fart jokes and a few slapstick pranks thrown in. But it being an animated movie, I was instantly transported into that world of innocence, and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at those silly fart jokes. I did miss the original voice of Bhuter Raja which has now been replaced by an ultra autotune processed monster voice. But those are minor complaints. The music, which was one of the highlights of the original, in this version of the tale, has been composed by the band “Three Brothers And a Violin”. And to say the least, the music brings this whole movie together.  There was a French family watching this movie at the same screening that I was in. And as the end credits rolled, the little kid, in his most French accent, was humming “Shundi ke Raja ko Salaam”.

I think that says a lot. Some stories never age. Some stories never get lost in translation.

The London Indian Film Festival has screenings all over London until the 17th of July.

For more info head on over to http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

@9e3k

OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

Sulemaani Keeda Review LIFF 2014

Sulemani Keeda_01Director Amit Masurkar’s slacker bromance ‘Sulemaani Keedha’ (SK) on the surface is pretty much what one of its characters wants a movie to be like. That character is Gonzo, a producer’s son, a big fan of out-of-the-box ideas and who plans to make a paradoxical movie with a story that has no story. This is a movie, which on the surface has no real story to it, and speaks to Gonzo’s sensibilities of having no real hero, heroine, villain in its tale. And yet, by the end of its run, you cannot help rooting for its struggling protagonists and their fight against their own banal lives, and to rise from the crowd. I feel Sulemaani Keedha (Hindi street slang for pain in the ass), does not necessarily translate to the negative meaning that it may imply. In my opinion, it may be the royal itch to prove something – to yourself, and to the world.

We are introduced to these two slackers – Mainak and Dulal (debutantes Mayank Tewari and Naveen Kasturia), who are drowned in their own torn scripts and unpaid rents, and are dejected from every corner of Bollywood. But even with such amount of rejection, they refuse to give in to the temptation of a comfortable paycheck by writing for daily soaps. In their free time, which they seem to have a lot, they aimlessly and unsuccessfully attempt at hitting on girls, in the bookstore, in the clubs, and everywhere else. SK is about these perennially hungry and horny struggling writers, who juggle their struggles, opportunities and love.

Shot exceptionally well by Surjodeep Ghosh, SK captivates the spirit and the sparkle of Mumbai. The guerilla style shooting used to shoot this movie to keep costs low, actually works in its favour to make it look real and authentic, and often as silly as real life can be. The dialogue is spunky, and emotes the angst and the ferocity of all creative strugglers who come to this mad city looking for that one shot to make it in the big bad world of Bollywood. There are plenty of nudge nudge wink winf references to the Rohit Shetty’s 100 Cr Club formula, there’s a chuckle-worthy animated sequence involving Gonzo and his cat, and the music by Arfaaz and Anurag needs to be released on iTunes pronto.

For its warm hearted spirit, and its giggly jokes, SK left me feeling happy. You shouldn’t be surprised if this lands up on your Netflix queue soon. Until then, it is worth travelling that distance if it is playing at a festival near you.

3.5 snorts out of 5.

The London Indian Film Festival has screenings all over London until the 17th of July.

For more info head on over to http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

@9e3k

OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

Sold Review Liff 2014

Sold_01The London Indian Film Festival started with the UK premier of Sold, directed by Jeffrey D. Brown, Oscar winning director for best short film (Molly’s Pilgrim -1985) and starring Niyar Saikia, a 13 year old girl Lakshmi who under the guise of a job in the city gets sold to a brothel where she is forced into prostitution. The movie is produces by Emma Thompson and based on a Patricia McCormick novel.

Sold isn’t just a movie but is tied up with a few charities and a social media campaign hoping to make an actual change to the problem of child trafficking globally.

The message of the movie is something we can’t turn a blind eye to so before I dig into the movie, do check out www.soldthemovie.com or search #TaughtNotTrafficked on twitter if you want to contribute.

The movie is a tough watch, but it needs to be, the topic of the movie is so bleak that although the full horror is never shown, the implications are enough to make you want to avert your gaze many times from the screen, even more so for the Niyar Saika’s expressive eyes and naturalistic performance and so much pain to what we’re watching.

She is aided by some wonderful supporting Indian actors, Tillotama Shome, Sushmita Mukherjee who plays the main madame’s at the brothel. Tillotama has really been knocking it out of the park in term of performances this year in both Sold and Qissa which both played at the LIFF. There are a host of actors of all ages who were wonderful, I especially liked Priyanka Bose who I had noticed earlier this year in Gulaab Gang and who in some ways is playing a similarly street savvy woman again.

 

The movie also has some fleeting appearances by Seema Biswas, Gillian Anderson and David Arquette who have pretty much have non-consequential roles to support the cause of the movie by appearing in random scenes that probably didn’t take a long shooting schedule but when working in indie’s having these names attached to a property, does help attract audience.

 

One of the aid workers who tries to get these girl out of these horrific situations is played by Parambrata Chatterjee pretty much reprising his role from Kahaani, charming out of town ladies with his smoothness but this time with added facial hair.

Sold is shot beautifully both in the open skies of Nepal to the seedy streets of Kolkata. The movie has heart and great intentions but unfortunately it might have worked better and had a greater impact if Jeffrey Dean had made this as a short film instead of a feature.

The editing in quite a few scenes is jarring and even the pacing seems off. There are fleeting moments that would need to be delved into a bit more like the men that visit these brothels or the people that manage or traffic girls and although I can understand that these are evil people, there were moments where there was doubt or regret on their faces that could have been explored.

As a topic it’s something that has been explored many times in Hindi cinema, in more (Baaghi, Sadak) and less glamorous (Chandni Bar) ways, it is interesting to see a western point of view and although the movie ends with a positive note, (and even a Great Escape style climax) any straight thinking person would understand that is the point in the movie where fantasy takes over and just how sad the reality of so many Laxmi’s really is.

 

For more information about Sold’s release date, go to www.soldthemovie.com

#TaughtNotTrafficked
http://www.childreach.org.uk/TaughtNotTrafficked/

Qissa: The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost Review LIFF 2014

Qissa_01There are some films that remain with the viewer long after the fade to black – Qissa: The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost one of them. This haunting tale tells of Umber Singh (Khan) who is uprooted by the Partition of 1947 along with his wife and three daughters. Displaced from the newly created Pakistan to the Punjab in India, Singh believes having a son will bring the stability he has lost. So when his wife gives birth to another daughter, Singh creates an elaborate delusion that has far reaching and tragic consequences for all.

There is so much to talk about in Qissa that it is impossible to know where to start. Whether is the debate of nature versus nuture, the unforgiving nature of patriarchy or the search for one’s true self, all these issues are neatly referenced without feeling laboured or clumsy. Anup Singh (the writer and director) manages to weave a very complex story that insists on keeping its characters at the heart of the action and even has the audience colluding with Umber’s vision (no spoilers here).

Mention must also go to the cinematography and original score; there are some stunning visuals here, with the lighting and composition giving an eerie feel – at times, one feels they are looking at a magnificent oil painting in a deserted haveli (mansion). Similarly, the score is subtle and underplayed, yet the way it heightens the dramatic impact is at once impressive and moving.

Performance wise, Khan does the impossible again; playing an unpopular character with a sympathy and dignity which leaves the viewer conflicted but with a grudging understanding of the circumstances that lead to the character’s motivations. Chopra is very restrained as the mother who suffers for her children whilst Raskia Dugal is a revelation as Neeli, fully embracing the journey that Neeli goes on and pitching it with conviction.

However, it is Bengali actress Tillotame Shome who astonishes here as Kanwar, the girl brought up as a boy – it is rare to see someone imbibe a role so fully and make something that could easily go wrong with one nuance seem so effortless and natural. Everything from her expression to her body language is faultless and she is the true nucleus of Qissa which is no mean feat.

Qissa is the perfect film to watch as part of a festival but it is also heartening to know it will have a general release in India. Not only are the LGBT themes handled with sensitivity and tact but also with a timely relevance for today’s audiences. In fact, though this is a period piece, there is no doubt Qissa has a modern sensibility to it and deserves to be seen and appreciated by diverse audiences across the world. Quite simply, hauntingly beautiful.

Qissa: The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost is now playing at the LIFF,  will have a limited release in Germany in July 2014 and a general release in India from September 2014 (TBC).

Qissa: The Tale Of The Lonely Ghost

Directed by: Anup Singh

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotame Shome, Raskia Dugal

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

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.

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!

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

 

 

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.

 

Singh Is Bling: New Posters for Akshay and Prabhu Deva’s latest team up

Akshay Kumar doesn’t make it easy to root for him as a fan, not only repeating the same genre repeatedly but now he seems to be revisiting characters too. Singh Is King was a massive success although I did not care for it much ( the non stop repeats on Asian channels do not help) and now Akshay follows it up with Singh is Bling which looks equally propesterous.

Working again with hit machine Prabhu Deva after Rowdy Rathore, Sing is Bling according to the press release is: “Going to be an outright entertainer and Akshay’s character in the film will leave an everlasting impression on the viewers. There couldn’t have been a better title for the film and we are extremely excited that Prabhudheva will be directing Grazing Goat Pictures’ next Hindi feature film.”

I think personally I disagree with at least 10 statements contained in the snippet above.

But I still like Akshay a lot and end up watching and getting annoyed by him in equal measures (see also our Holiday Trailer Breakdown)

Here are the posters:

‘Singh is Bling’ directed by actor, director and dance choreographer, Prabhudheva and produced under Akshay Kumar and his partner Ashvini Yardi’s production banner, Grazing Goat Pictures. The film is set to release on 31st July 2015.

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Pritam Comes to Wembley (London) and brings a bunch of friends

Pritam has become an unstoppable force on the Bollywood music scene in the past few years. His steady flow of chart toppers and the frequency and ease he drops them on people is something that is pretty much incomparable to any other music director.

So this sunday he’s coming to London for the very first time for an all out concert and joining him are:

Benny Dayal – Badtameez Dil from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and Lat Lag Gayi from Race
Harshdeep Kaur – Kabeera from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Aditi Singh Sharma – Raabta Night In A Motel from Agent Vinod
Nikhil George – Aashiyan from Barfi!
Shreeram Chandra – Subhan Allah from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Anupam Amod – Rab Ka Shukrana from Jannat 2
Soham Chakrabarty – In Dino from Life in a… Metro

Here is a short Q&A he did about his Wembley concert this sunday:

– How do you feel about performing in London for the first time  

I have always wanted to play in London. I genuinely love the city. Given the large Bollywood music lovers there, I am eager to play in front of them and am looking forward to the show. To top that, it’s a dream venue like Wembley Arena. It’s a great feeling. Excited.

– Have you been following any artist who had performed at Wembley Arena in the past (Any International Artists)

Yes, Wembley Arena is a historical venue for music. I remember the epic Queen show at the Wembley arena and Wembley stadium. Also, I have followed bands like U2, Meatloaf, Corrs, Pink etc, performing at Wembley Arena .

– What is it like for you to be performing at the same stage?

I feel honoured obviously. It is one those arenas and venues you dream of playing in, as an aspiring young musician. The legacy and history makes it really exciting for me to perform there.

– Your music has gained a lot of prominence in the last 5-6 years; what sort of Bollywood gigs would you be performing at the Wembley arena stage

I have completed a decade in Bollywood scored for 100 films with films like Dhoom 1, 2 3, Gangster, Metro, Jab we met, love Aaj Kal, Bhoolbhulaiya, Race, billu barber Once Upon, Barfi, cocktail, Yeh jawaani etc . By God’s grace I have more than enough number of songs to keep everybody entertained (smiles). I am planning to perform songs which has been appreciated by my audience over the  last few years. So ya, from the romantic ones to the peppy ones. From Sufi to Dance. From guitars to Dhol. Trying  to incorporate a little bit of everything. I will be doing a combination of the chartbusters and popular songs mixed with some of my favourites. For the final list however, you will have to wait till 13th evening (smiles).

– Which other singers you are bringing with you and what key songs will they be performing, if you want to reveal the surprise

A few popular Bollywood playback singers are accompanying me . They will be featuring with me on 13th April. Benny Dayal for example, is the most sought after singer nowadays . He has rocked last year with his rendition of my song Badtameez dil and lath lag Gayi. He will sing lot more. Harshdeep Kaur needs no introduction to UK audiences, as she has performed there before. The magic of her deep voice will keep the stadium ringing. She is my favourite Sufi voice – no wonder everybody calls her Sufi ka Sultana. She will sing songs like Kabeera, Jugni etc. Aditi Singh Sharma is a rockstar. She’s a performer to look forward to . She will definitely create “Dhoom” with her performance. Then there’s my friend Nikhil Paul George joining us who sang Aashiyan main kya karoon in Barfi. He has a addictive voice. Shreeram Chandra actor singer winner of idol has a magical voice. He sang songs in Yeh jawaani for me. Soham Chakraborty has been a part of my band Metro since the Life in a metro days. And about the full performance, let that be a surprise!

– Finally, how you feel getting associated with World’ s biggest south Asian TV channel, Zee TV

I have been associated with Zee from a long time. From Sa Re Ga Ma to Zee Cine Awards. And experiences have always been overwhelming. I am happy to be associated with Zee again. Looking forward to something equally exciting.

Here’s a link to tickets: click here

Let us know your favorite Pritam songs in the comment section below!

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Gulaab Gang Review Upodcast

Gulaab Gang released last friday and provides the unique pairing of Bollywood screen Godesses Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla squaring off against each other.

Released in a very crowded weekend of 2 other releases (Queen and Total Siyapaa) but pushed by a massive Marketing and PR push, Gulaab Gang has performed below most people’s expectations.

This episode we chat with Anisha Jhaveri, about why that happened? If actresses of the 90’s have the skill set required to pick the right projects? Or was it a case of director Soumik Sen taking too much on for his debut feature.

You can check out Anisha’s write up on PopXo by clicking here.

Listen/Download/ Stream our Upodcast below, Or subscribe to our stream in iTunes and never miss a beat!

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Highway Review Upodcast

We take a road trip through the lens of Imtiaz Ali’s Highway. Starring Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda, Highway is cute a departure from the movies Imtiaz has made up to now.

So does it measure up to his previous successes?

To discuss this we are joined by Aseem Chhabra who was one of the first people to write up his review after seeing the movie at the 2014 Berlinale, which you can find by clicking here. Our second guest is Shai Hussain, AKA DK Shai Guy who is also a writer, producer and director of the forthcoming webseries 3 Shades Of Brown.

Highway is out in theaters today.

Click below to listen/download or subscribe to us in iTunes so you never miss an episode.

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Jai Ho Review Upodcast

This week we take to task Salman Khan’s latest release Jai Ho.

A movie big in hype but ultimately a let down in terms of Box Office and some would say in entertainment value.

Upodcast is joined by Bollyspice Editor, Prathna Tiwari, who like us is a huge Salman Khan fan. You can find more of Prathna’s work on SakhiSpeaks or catch her on twitter.

We talk about about the expectations the audience had and how the reception has been so far. We dissect some of the criticism leveled at the movie and how it holds up. Then we get into the most detailed analysis of Jai Ho that the world will ever see, the way only Upodcast can.

For all the new listeners out there do check out our other Episodes as well as the sperate tab we  created with all the interviews we have done.

You can subscribe with the links to iTunes to never miss a show.

We hope you enjoy the episode as it truly was one of our favorites to record, the comment section below is available for rants, complaints and feedback.

Click/Stream or Download Upodcast here.

Dhoom 3 Review Upodcast

Dhoom 3, the third in the bikes- babes and abs series is poised to be the biggest blockbuster ever to have been made in Hindi Film history. But clocking in near 3 hours, does it deliver on the promise of a thrill ride?

 

FilmiGirl joins us for an in-depth discussion where we coin new phrases, philosophize about the possible subtext and dig deeper than any other review can as the podcast is spoiler free until the half waypoint.

 

Check out the latest Upodcast below and if you like it, subscribe or rate us in iTunes:

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Jai Ho Teaser: Joy to the world Salman is back!

Finally the trailer for Salman Khan’s next release is upon us. Now that we finally know Jai Ho is finally coming out, flowers seems to smell better, food tasts better, we can hear the singing of birds again.

Seemingly melding the plot of Pay It Forward and adding some Sallu style ass kickery and lion noises.

Jai Ho is directed by Sohail Khan, stepping behind the camera after more than a decade. Most of his movies have actually been quite good (Hello Brother is still a household favorite- PUNGI!) although only Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya was the biggest hit. But Sohail has always had a great grasp of action scenes, he just needs some more focussed screenplays. Maybe remaking a Telegu hit, Stalin: Man For the Society (how absurd is that title?) origingally directed by AR Murgadoss and starring Chiranjeevi.

An official synopsis hasn’t been released yet but according to IMDB the plot for the orginal one was: “The story is about how an ex-army officer brings change in society by making people to help each other.”

Obviously the movie will be adapted to Salman Khan and it’s great to see Tabu back on screen after such a while. The movie seems to contain a heavy social message with some ass kickery added.

Jai Ho releases the 24th of January 2014

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Kareena Kapoor & Imran Khan Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Upodcast Video Interview

Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan were in London promoting their forthcoming rom-com Gori Tere Pyaar Mein and we had the chance to speak to them face to pretty face (you can decide who has the pretty face for once).

Both stars were on a marathon promo tour and were dead shattered at the point we got to meet them, but Bebo put her hair up and Imran was still being very chatty.

Here’s our Video Interview with Kareena and Imran:

Since unlike most of our interview this is on video, we thought we would write up our thought in the post.

So here goes: “5 Things we learnt while speaking to Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan”

Meeting Kareena Kapoor after a couple of years, her magic has only amplified, even if she consider herself to be “BLAAH, WHATEVER”

Imran told me this really interesting story about how the weirdest thing for him is to see when they have mirrored the image in some shots. Apparently one of the final scenes in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu was shot back in India whilst most of the movie was shot in Las Vegas, so they had to do everything in a mirror image and then edit it into the movie, it was one of his oddest filmic experiences.

Imran Khan was the first guy in all our interviews to step into the press room and come say hi to everyone and ask how were were doing and what we thought of the new promo of Naina.

Imran and Kareena genuinely get along, there is much more ease on screen and off now then there ever was during Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Check out Kareena’s face at 2.54 when I tell her Twitter is a scary place. PRICELESS!

Do Share and Like the video if you can, hopefully if the format is liked, we can do more of these.

BIG BIG BIG thanks to our awesome Twitter Friend @JessicaSisk for all the help on the video editing, we were lost without her! Give her a shout on twitter if you liked the video

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein releases in the Uk on 22nd of November

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

 

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Sonakshi Sinha and Jimmy Shergill Media Interview

Here is a media interview done with Sonakshi Sinha and Jimmy Shergill, Jimmy (and Vidyut Jammwal) being the main reason I would want to watch this movie, its a shame that “the media” didnt bother to find any decent questions for him.

If you haven’s seen it yet, here is a trailer for Bullet Raja:

Enjoy!

 

Sonakshi Sinha Q&A:
 Q: This is your first time working with Saif Ali Khan, were you excited for this opportunity?
A: I think we make a very fresh pairing, I have wanted to work with Saif for a while now and was very excited to get the chance in Bullett Raja. Saif is a great actor and is so committed to his roles, I am very happy with how we look together on screen and I would love the opportunity to work with him again.
Q: Your role in the film is of a struggling Bengali actress, what did you think of your characters look in the film?
A: This is the second time I am playing a Bengali girl. But my character in Lootera was drastically different; I was playing a girl from the ’50s, who is a Zamindar’s daughter. In Bullett Raja, I am playing a contemporary Bengali girl. I loved my look for this role; it has a very traditional feel and there was a certain grace to it. Once I was in the costume, everyone was shocked to see how Bengali I looked. I wish the sequence we shot in that costume was a little longer, because I did not want to get out of it.
Q: After having so much success so early in your career with your films, do you feel under pressure with every new release?
A: There’s no pressure actually. I really like what I do and if I think of it as pressure it would really bog me down. I feel I’m in the right place at the right time because there are a lot of films right now where, for me as an actor, there’s something I can give to them. So I truly believe I’m in the right place at the right time.
Q: Do you feel overshadowed by your co-stars? Does less visibility bother you?
A: Never. I do my work to the best of my capacity. I don’t pick a role looking at its length. I take up a film because I would like to see it. People notice me, appreciate my work and dancing skills, so where’s the question of being overshadowed? No one has any complaints.

Q: How would you describe this phase of your life?
A: I’ve come in at the right time and I’m getting films with great roles. It’s fabulous.

Q: No one has ever heard of any stories of you fighting over a role or anything of that sort. Does that mean you’re serious competition here?
A: I’ve never had to fight for a role. Call it my ego or my self-respect, but I won’t pick up the phone and call a producer and fight or ask for a role. That’s not me. I’ve always got the best and my work speaks for itself.

Q: But you’re always the Indian girl. Don’t you want to break that image?
A: People see me like that. I may play an Indian girl, but each role is different. If I’m offered a film where I need to play an urban character, I will. But these roles work for me. I’m not stuck in a rut and neither do I feel the need to break the norm. When a female star plays western roles only, no one asks her these questions. At 25, I can proudly say that I’m successful.

Jimmy Shergill Q&A
 Q: What’s the relationship between you and Saif in Bullett Raja?
A: In this film we are best friends and we go out and do what gangster buddies do… casually shoot people.
 Q: What do you think about Saif off camera?
A: Saif and I were shooting together every single day and it was great as we got time to bond. Saif has a great sense of humour and he makes you laugh. I had a memorable time and I look forward to our second schedule which begins in January. I respect Saif as a friend and fellow actor. He’s a great guy and he’s one of the most genuine persons in the film industry.

Bullett Raja will be released in cinemas from 29th November 2013.

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Krrish 3 Press Conference London Upodcast

The Stars of Krrish 3, Hritik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra,  were in town promoting their upcoming superhero movie and Upodcast had the chance to attend the Press Conf.

There was also an Event at the Apple Store which is a first for a Bollywood Movie so it seems promotions are going full force!

During the short interaction with the UK media Hritik mostly spoke about the usual topics: his fitness, how it felt to play 3 different version and surprisingly he mentions that Vivek Oberoi wasn’t the first choice for the villain Kaal.

The conference was attended by our good friend Sujoy, who you can find on twitter as @9e3K or on his wonderful blogs BollyPop and OneKnightStands.

If you haven’t seen it yet. here is the trailer:

And you can listen/subscribe or stream the podcast in the link below:

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Krrish 3 Hritik Roshan Media Interview

By now most people have heard of this little underground movie called Krrish 3, although none of us have figured out how to write the title without googling it or why it isn’t just simply called Krrish 2. The marketing of the movie has been horrendous until now. The hairstyles, the music or even casting Vivek Oberoi as the main character, as such dumb moves that they must really be confident in the ability of father- son, aka director- actor, Rakesh and Hritik Roshan to sell us a desi superhero.

Krrish 2 never aged well with it’s Matrix hangover and none of the new trailers have excited anyone really. Maybe the kids that liked the first one are already old enough to call bullshit on this stake looking sequel.

 


In any case the cast are doing the UK media circuit round and we’re hoping to ask them some questions. Let’s see if that works out. Until then here is a generic media interview with main actor Hritik Roshan.


1.  You are undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in Bollywood obviously doesn’t come easy, where does your determination and passion stem from?
My family has been my biggest inspiration – they are my true role models and they continue to be. My parents through to my grandparents have seen and experienced all shades of life, the good, the bad, and always faced any situation God presented to them fearlessly together. We share a unified bond which I also instill in my own little family with my wife children.

2.  2013 sees the third instalment of Krrish, a franchise that you are renowned for, what can the audience expect?
I think the audiences are going to be in for a treat with Krrish – if you loved the first two films, you will adore this edition. Krrish is our home production and it was like coming home. I did miss Krrish’s character.

3.   What are your thoughts on Superhero movies created in Bollywood?
The Indian cinema industry is among the best in the world and has created movies of par excellence for years. Being our home production, Krrish 3 will master the superhero genre in Indian cinema and internationally. That is the vision with Krrish 3, to present a superhero entity that will appeal to all audiences globally, in the same zest and fervor that they appreciate other superhero films like Superman and Batman. I am very sure that regardless of the language Krrish 3 is shot in, the performance, narrative and overall content will help extend the film’s appreciate to audiences over and beyond the Indian market and global South Asian Diaspora. We have already seen this happening with the phenomenal appreciation we received for the film’s trailer which set a benchmark, garnering more views than that of Hollywood film trailers like Thor and Avengers. We are very excited to see the audiences’ response.

4.   People like Hrithik as a dancer, the dance seems to be missing in his movies these days, is it intentional?
Not at all! However clichéd this sounds, I guess the scripts I’ve currently been working on just haven’t demanded any breakthrough dance sequences. But never say never though! Krrish 3 does feature some notable iconic moves which will become synonymous of Krrish 3.

5.   Filmmakers from Bollywood have tried to make superhero movies before and they haven’t been as successful, what are you doing that is so different?
I feel the Krrish franchise has worked as we have listened to the audience, not just in India but globally. We always aim to deliver a film to them that we hope will appeal to their tastes and aspirations. I never like to operate with an insular mind-set. To produce a superhero film, one key factor to remember is that the focus should be on creating a connectivity between the narrative, the characters and the audience as the story of the superhero him the person. There is a hero in everyone. The focus should not be to make a superhero film that boasts style through special fx and never before seen technology but no substance. A balance needs to be met.

Also Krrish is really not about me. To make a film like this you need a team. An actor is nothing, he is a tool, he is the paint, but you need the painter to make it work. Our team is so strong on Krrish 3 and this is the key to our success. You cannot simply rely on the fame and popularity of an actor to make a film such as this.

6.  With the huge amount of excitement generated from the trailer for Krrish 3 expectations are very high, how do you deal with that?
I am very ecstatic and truly humbled by the views the trailer has generated. For me I am glad that the expectations are high as when audience have high expectations it only pushes you to stretch yourself to do more for them. I enjoy a challenge and I think that Krrish 3 presented us with a lot of difficulties, but you only get out what you put into a film and I am very happy with the finished product.

7. Krrish 3 will be the third time that you have played the superhero, do you feel that you have many similarities to Krrish in real life?
A superhero is about values, not about the costume or the powers. A superhero is someone who never gives up and is in service to others. I think I have the right attitude to be a superhero, to try and come through for those that depend on me.

8.  Some of the special effects that we saw in the trailer are truly breath-taking, how much time was devoted to making these sequences?
My father wanted to do all of the special effects in India, it is common in Indian cinema to outsource the special effects for a film to other countries, but my father and I believe that we have the talent in India and that we just need to give them the support and time they need to make a polished and believable finished product. The sequences that you have seen in the trailer are the result of this and I think they look fantastic.

 

9.  We hear that Krrish 3 has several market firsts. Please elaborate.
Yes! We have initiated key brand extensions for Krrish 3 which is really going to help create a greater connect with audiences. From animation, merchandise, digital and comics, we have a full breadth of products to deliver to audiences. We launched Kid Krrish recently, a series of 4 animated features being aired on Cartoon Network. Kid Krrish is the story of Krrish in his childhood who sets out on an adventure with his set of friends. Kid Krrish along with adventure and action also imparts life lessons of friendship and loyalty. It is the first Indian film / character to be adapted in an animated form. It is also the largest television deal in the animation space. On the merchandise front, we have Krrish live Action which will have unique merchandise ranging from Krrish Masks, wrist bands to first of its kind Consumer Electronics like Walkie Talkies, Music accessories and RC toys (Flying Krrish). The way we have structured the deal is market first in India and will be a more sustainable merchandising programme with a more longer term mind-set. We also have an extensive digital activation plan which will help our fan base be closer to the film and Krrish himself, more than ever before. I am also extremely excited about our forthcoming comic book series, Krrish: Menace of the Monkey Men, which will be released as a comic book magazine available in stores later this year.
10.  We hear that Krrish 3’s filming schedule was pretty testing. Could you elaborate please?
Krrish 3, is one the most difficult films of my career. I play various characters. If I wanted victory again, I’ll have to go through the battle again. The finest steel must go through the hottest fire was my modular during the shoot. It Was Difficult Playing Many Roles In Krrish 3. The script has been such that it challenged each and every character and department from the production to the creative.

11.  What else would you do if you weren’t a Bollywood actor?
I cannot imagine doing anything else than being a profession that allows me to develop and expand my creativity. I know it sounds clichéd but I love what I do and I do what I love! It really is in my DNA and whatever my parents, grandparents, uncles achieved in this industry is an intrinsic part of my make-up. I have had the opportunity to live multiple lives in one lifetime and through the power of cinema did my small bit to touch a chord with the world and form an indescribable bond.

12.  Being the superstar that you are, how difficult is it finding the right balance between your personal life and filming?
It can be extremely difficult being away from family when I’m at work, but I do try and see my family as much as I can as they mean a lot to me. I guess it’s crucial to prioritize time accordingly. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your family, it’s never really enough. But coming from a family where filmmaking runs through our veins, we do understand the pressures associated with work thus the understanding between us as family and for our work always helps us to strike that important balance.

13.  Your body is obviously very important to you, as millions of women have probably noticed. Do you have any tips for our readers trying to fight off the Christmas weight?
I work out a lot and have a strict diet and exercise regime that I follow religiously. Being fit isn’t just about being physically strong but also mentally. My fitness workout is a major release for me, in a way it’s my way of chilling out!

14. You have millions of fans the world over, whom are you the biggest fan of and why?
It’s going to be difficult to pinpoint a particular place. All the fans around the world have been so supportive and loving; I just can’t thank all my fans for the ongoing support.

15.  Being at the top of the industry, how do you keep yourself so friendly and approachable?
I have always believed in being a good human first and foremost. My parents have brought me up with great morals and values; life is too short to create negative surroundings and feelings. Like they say ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’. Furthermore, the persona I have has only been created by my adoring fans – I am here in this industry and now presenting Krrish 3 only because of them.

16.  What else can audiences look forward to seeing from you?
2013 was a busy year with Krrish 3 and the filming of Bang Bang with Katrina. 2014 is another year packed with lots of exciting projects including some other ventures outside of the film industry.
‘Krrish 3’ releases on 1st November 2013.

@asimburney

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Akshay Kumar Boss Media Interview

There is always a slight reluctance on my part to post these PR- Media interviews with actors. On the one hand it keeps feeding the PR bullshit machinery which none of us really want, but having done enough interviews I also realize that most of the actors are so coached anyway that it’s hard to get any honest moments from them anyway.

So here is a media interview done with Khiladi Akshay Kumar for his forthcoming Boss, which I am honestly looking forward to.

(also I am loving the Party All Night Track)

     Q: How would you define your character in BOSS? And what made you sign this movie?

           A: ‘BOSS’ is a very colourful Haryanvi character and that’s exactly what appealed to me.

He is a larger-than-life figure from Haryana with his own distinct style and attitude.

That forms the Masti [fun] part in the film. But there are some things he will neither

forgive nor forget, highlighted in reference to a particular situation involving the most

dearest people in his life. You don’t mess with BOSS and that message is very clear.

When Ashwin (Varde) and Tony (D’Souza) came to me with the film’s concept, I loved

it. BOSS is about fun, high octane action sequences and stunts and a good sprinkling

of romance (not for me though!).

 

       Q: How is BOSS different from other action movies?

A: It’s different in many ways. The main reason is that we are offering the audience a different type of action movie that has a unique panache and style. Every action sequence is designed differently. BOSS is an intense film with a strong action backdrop, needed to drive a powerful story forward.

      Q: You shot some major parts for BOSS in Delhi and Bangkok. How was it returning to these places that played such an important role in your life’s journey?

A: I grew up in Delhi and worked as a chef and learnt Martial Arts in Bangkok, so both places mean a lot to me. It was emotional returning to Chandni Chowk in Delhi especially though as we were barely 200 meters away from my old house. Due to the excitement around the film I was unable to go and visit my old house during the day, but managed to drive past in the early morning recollecting my happy childhood memories.

When I was shooting in Thailand, where I studied Martial Arts on the streets of Bangkok, I was also accompanied by my family. I took my son (Aarav) and niece to the kitchen I used to work, eat, sleep and train at in Bangkok when I was 17. Just seeing the small room where I used to rest my head after a tiring day of street fighting for extra money brought back so many memories. I had to fight back the tears in front of my son when I stood in the doorway of the kitchen I once worked so hard in, wondering how different my life is now. One day I was frying noodles, the next I was frying my brains over learning lines for my first film. Never say it isn’t possible. I’m proof that there is nothing more powerful than fate itself, even when the world thinks you’re just a plain boy wiping tables and cleaning dishes.

      Q: It took a little while before the industry and the audiences started taking you seriously as a star. How would you describe your journey?

A: My journey has been both difficult and fantastic at the same time but I guess that’s part of life. It may have taken time for people to accept that I was more than just a struggling actor. I was also very determined to succeed and you can never achieve success without working towards it and adopting a diligent, positive and honest approach to this. I was Akshay Kumar, born with nothing but good parents and God’s hand on my shoulder!

      Q: You worked with Ronit Roy way back in Sainik. How was your experience and how far has he changed now in BOSS? 

A: When Ronit and I worked in Sainik, we were both very young. There was a lot of affection and respect for each other even then. Working with him again in BOSS after so many years was a wonderful experience. He is a fantastic actor and BOSS will showcase him in a different way. He has worked very hard on his role in BOSS and the audience will be nicely surprised by his performance.

      Q: You are perhaps the first actor to ever play a Haryanvi character. What are your thoughts on this, was it a fun role to play?

A: Every character comes with its own identity. I was excited about playing a Haryanvi character in BOSS because that’s something I haven’t done before. And I always like to re-invent myself and present to fans a side of my persona they may not have experienced before. The character fitted so well with the story. It was a great experience.

      Q: How was the experience of doing action scenes at 47° Celsius? Is BOSS your best action film according to you?

A: I would say it was my toughest shooting experience when we shot in 47 degrees. But full marks to the entire unit for bearing it and giving the best results. I would like to believe that in every film, I try to give my best shot. As far as action is concerned, I like to set new records every time. BOSS features a variety of high octane action sequences – the best part is that some of the scenes were very new to me and I haven’t performed these in any other films before.

Q: Which is your favourite song from BOSS?

A: Please don’t ask me to pick out just one favourite track because I simply love them all. I genuinely believe that the BOSS soundtrack is a complete package. Each song has been shot in a unique way. But yes, the Pitaah song is somehow closer to my heart because it’s about a father-son relationship. Har Kisi Ko’ is another classic treat for everyone who grew up in the eighties.

BOSS, releases on 16th October 2013.

 @asimburney

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Besharam UK Press Conference Upodcast

The team of Abhinav Kashyap’s Besharam came down to the UK to talk about their fortcoming release.

Our good friend Sujoy Singha from Bollypop, attended and managed to even liven up the proceedings at the press conference.

Here’s the audio of the event with Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda as well as Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.

The podcast is below but here are some of the things they talked about typed out by the friendly people at Sterling Media.

 

From the Press Release:

The media were then treated to a special welcome from the man himself Ranbir, who said: ‘I am delighted to be here in the UK. This visit is even more special this time as I finally have my parents with me. Besharam is very much a family entertainer, so it is fitting that I should come with my father and mother.’

The floor was then opened up for a lively question and answer session. With the interest garnered by the fact that the Kapoor clan have acted together for the first time, the media asked the trio questions about how it felt to act together, to which Ranbir said: ‘It feels great. Both my parents are an inspiration to me. My father and mother are fabulous actors and my father has been passionate about his craft for over 40 years. I have learnt so much from both of them.’

Neetu Kapoor added: ‘For me, I took on this role in Besharam for two reasons. Firstly, it was a very unique script and concept, and secondly I could act with my family. It was nice, it felt secure and I was in my comfort zone.’

Attention then turned to beautiful leading lady Pallavi Sharda. The Indo-Australian actress spoke of her association with the Bollywood industry and of how Bollywood is perceived by the Indian community in Australia. ‘When I was growing up I was fascinated by Bollywood. I used to wear a Bindi on my forehead whenever I went out. I love Bollywood; it formed a big part of my identity when I was growing up in Australia. Australian Indians really identify with Bollywood as it acts as a way for them to connect with their roots. Indian Cinema is increasingly more cross-over nowadays in the type of films that are being made.’

She added: ‘I have had a great time working on this film. The Kapoors have been very welcoming to me during the making of this film. I had a great time.’
When asked about the key messaging behind Besharam, Ranbir Kapoor said: ‘Beshram is not about embarrassing anybody. Besharam is an attitude. It’s about listening and following your heart.’

Speaking about the evolving of the Indian film market, Rishi Kapoor said: ‘We are evolving by each film. We are making technically better films. Few films offer a message to society.’

In response to a question on what Mr Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of  Reliance Entertainment’s expectations are from Besharam, he said: “Reliance Entertainment distributes and produces both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. With a strategic global outreach, our films are going over 65 – 70 countries. Besharam is a movie for all. Besharam being the most commercial family entertainer, we want it to be liked by all.”

Mr Mahesh Ramanathan, COO of  Reliance Entertainment added: ‘There are 200 countries in the world. And Bollywood has gone only to 35 countries of the South Asian population. There are wonderful markets who are on the lookout for Bollywood. It is about taking the infrastructure, funding people with passion, to take the films to various markets. Reliance has one of the biggest distribution structures from India.’

Speaking about his involvement in the production, Himanshu Mehra, Partner at Movie Temple said: “I was part of Abhinav’s team with Dabbang. We realised that we could form a company and work together. We then approached to Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Ji with the script and went ahead with Besharam. Our like mindedness has helped us work in unison.”

‘Besharam Press Conference footage and star cast interviews courtesy of: Sterling Media’

You can find more of Sujoy’s work on BollyPop or OneKnightStands or Follow him on twitter on @9e3K.

Enhanced by ZemantaBesharam releases worldwide on 2nd October 2013.

Ram Leela Trailer: Romeo And Juliet through Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Lens

Like most Bollywood fans, we have spent the morning refreshing our social media feeds for the launch of the Ram Leela trailer and finally the wait is over.

Rumored to be an adaptation of Romeo And Juliet, Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets the story in contemporary Rajisthan. Some of the visuals do remind you of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam but adding fire brand actor Ranveer Singh, the movie just seems a lot more fun than anything we expected from Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Deepika has been picking some great roles and it’s paid off at the box office this year, and she seems to have amazing chemistry with Ranveer, which make me hopeful to see more of these 2 on screen together.

The trailer is quite extensive and a welcome change to the stupid marketing ploy of 30 sec teasers. I’m looking at you Dhoom and Krissh 3, this might be that we are pretty sure we know the major story beats so we can are allowed to see more of the lush world that they have built.

Here are some images, posters, synopsis and of course the awesome trailer:

Ram : Born in the land of guns, goons and hardcore enmity, RAM – the local village romeo, is a raapchik, cheap, dramatic vagabond. The lover who fights the whole world for his Leela and yet the man who stands by his clan even at the cost of his own love

Leela : In love with her enemy, a beautiful, young, spicy, fearless gujrati belle, born to an underworld mistress and yet far removed from the violence that surrounds her. Her life is only about her faith in her lover , her tireless wait for him, her sacrifices for him and ultimately her’self’ against him

When the two see each other for the first time, worlds collide, wars are fought and destinies are written in blood, forever. The Jadejas and the Rabaris are sworn enemies since the past 500 years and their own kin falling in love with each other is worst than any storm that could have ever come by. Set in the present day, magnificent vibrant landscape of Gujarat, woven with song and dance, Ram and Leela fight the world to live their own dreams. What will happen when they declare their love to the world? Will their families relent or will Ram and Leela carve their own destiny?

 



Ram Leela is in theaters on 15th November.

@asimburney

 

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Besharam Media Interview and New Song Promo

We’ve been having a hard time understanding what Besharam is all about. From the throwback promo to having Abhijeet sing Dil Ka Jo Haal Hail, it seems the team has been stuck in some sort of time warp where the 90’s never ended.

 

Here is the new Song Promo:

The entire Cast inluding Ranbir Kapoor and new comer Pallavi Shadra as well as Mom and Pop Kapoor and direct Abhinav Kashyap did a Media Q&A in India, and here is hoping to shed some light on what this movie is all about. Be warned though the interview is so generic that your eyeballs might fall asleep whilst reading it.

Ranbir Kapoor Q&A

What prompted you to sign Besharam?
It was several things that made me sign for Besharam. I am a big fan of director Abhinav Kashyap’s work. Abhinav knows how to tell a simple yet very interesting story. This film has it all; it has romance, action and comedy. It tells a simple yet effective story. I was also drawn to my character. It is a very different type of character to play and it allowed me to express myself in a new and creative way.

Were there any particularly special moments whilst making the film?
The entire film was a blast to work on. My character ‘Babli’ has very few hang-ups and inhibitions, he more or less does as he wants and so this was fun to portray. Also, I had fun working with my co-stars and my parents.

What was it like working with your parents for the first time?
It was fantastic working with my parents. I am a great admirer of my father and I’m in awe of my mother. They are both such professionals and great actors. They never once dictated to me during the shooting of this film, in fact I gave them suggestions on how I thought their characters should be portrayed. We had a lot of fun working together and it helped me to overcome a lot of inhibitions.

Do you feel pressure to have the same success as your famous parents?
Overall, I don’t feel that it has been a hindrance to come from a famous family. I have been exposed to cinema from a very young age and I absolutely love watching my family’s films. I wouldn’t say I have pressure on me to succeed, but it has been a bit of a struggle at times because of who my parents are. There is a ‘celebrity kid’ label attached to me that I have had to overcome to prove myself as an actor and as an individual.

Tell us about your character in Besharam?
I play a character called ‘Babli’, who is an orphan and petty car thief. He is a guy with no inhibitions; he lives life by his own rules. Babli is a very flamboyant and loud character, but underneath it all he is a good hearted kid. His main priority is to get money to help the children in the orphanage. It was an amazing experience to play this type of role, as I could take the character to new depths and have fun with it too.

Did the film allow you to let loose and have some ‘Besharam’ moments?
Of course! There are certain things that I could get away with that I wouldn’t normally be able to. My character is really shameless and so he does some pretty weird and gross things. One example that comes to mind is that in the film my character is obsessed with playing with his chest hair all the time, this isn’t something that I’d normally do in real life!

The film has a powerful message about doing good for others. Do you support many charitable causes?
I strongly believe that charity comes from within you. You can be charitable wherever you travel to; charity comes from the heart and soul; it is found in the little things we do every day to help someone and make their life a little better. I do support some charities, but I still feel that there is much more I can do and so I intend to support more charities in the future.

In Besharam your character loves football. Are you a football fan?
I’m a big football fan! I have always loved football from childhood and used to play when I was in college. I am the Indian brand ambassador for Barcelona Football Club and I’ve been lucky enough to see them at different stadiums. In the film I insisted on my character playing football whenever possible! If I wasn’t an actor I would have been a football coach I think.

Bollywood recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. How do you think the industry has developed?
I think it is a very proud moment for the Indian film industry to celebrate such a milestone. I feel honoured to be a part of the Indian film industry. My family has been in the industry for 80 out of the 100 years and this is a wonderful achievement. I think Bollywood is now attracting global audiences in a more engaging way. There is a healthy blend between the typical ‘Masala’ film and mainstream elements. An example I would give is the film Barfi, which was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.

Is there a set format for a successful Bollywood film?
There is no set format. People just want good entertainment. A Bollywood film entertains you; it is three hours of music, drama, romance, action and comedy.

Who are your role models within the Indian Film Industry?
There are so many people I admire. I look up to Amitabh Bachchan. I also think Shah Rukh Khan is a good ambassador for the industry.

Do you see yourself making the transition to mainstream/Hollywood cinema?
At the moment I am very happy doing what I’m doing. I think the Indian film industry is booming and is a great thing to be a part of. I truly enjoy my work and the roles I’ve played so far. A good film is often one that takes elements from its own culture and tradition rather than trying to just incorporate a mainstream/Western format. For example in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee took inspiration from his own culture and created a fantastic film.

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        Rishi Kapoor Q&A

Did you enjoy acting together as a family?
Yes very much so. We are all very busy people and do not always get time to spend together due to our separate professional schedules, so it was great to be able to spend time together on set and to work together.

How did you end up being cast for your role?
It was actually Ranbir who suggested to Abhinav that I play the role. After confirming his own commitment to the film Ranbir was discussing who could play a middle aged cop with Abhinav and he suggested me as I have rarely done it before.

The film’s trailer has received excellent comments, why do you think this is?
The trailer really captures the spirit of the film and manages to tease audiences with short clips showing the diversity of the action and comedy.

How much influence do you have over Ranbir’s choice of films?
He is an actor who has taken a less travelled route. He is choosing different films and doing films that are not the staple diet of film heroes. For that I give him credit. The choice of his films are totally his, all creative decisions are his, I have no contribution to that at all. People feel I chose his films, but it’s not so. I am just his father, not his manager.
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   Neetu Singh Q&A

How did it feel to act with your husband and son in a movie?
I was overwhelmed when I heard we were going as a family to act in Besharam. My acting scenes came naturally from the start, as it was easy to act and be myself in front of them.

Can you tell us some details about the film’s narrative?
Of course. Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) is a street smart car mechanic living in a Delhi orphanage. He is charming and lives life to the fullest. He also steals cars to support his orphanage. He has no sense of right or wrong until he unwittingly hurts the love of his life, Tara (Pallavi Sharda). Babli realises that there is no right way of doing the wrong thing. Babli sets out to fix all the wrongs in his life and he continues to be shameless about it.

Your son, Ranbir Kapoor plays a very different role to his previous films, why do you think he was interested in playing Babli in Besharam?
I think Ranbir has done a fantastic job in his previous films and has managed to win many awards for his portrayal of a traditional Bollywood hero. However, I think he was keen to stretch himself as an actor, to explore new territory and to challenge himself rather than become too comfortable. His role as Babli is a very diverse role and requires a portrayal of many different emotions on screen, I think this appealed to Ranbir as he is always keen to try something new.

Is there a scene in the film that is particularly close to your heart?
I think the performance of the title track was a lot of fun for the cast and crew and is definitely a highlight for me. Ranbir suggested that we include the director and choreographer in the sequence, and even choreographed the sequence himself. It was a lot of fun to see Abhinav Kashyap get involved in the film in front of camera for a change. I think everyone got the chance to be a little Besharam that day.

What role do you play in Besharam?
Myself and Rishi play bumbling cops on the trail of Babli, trying to deal with his shameless acts.

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Abhinav Kashyap Q&A

Talking about the film’s songs, why did you pick Ranbir Kapoor to take the lead in singing?
When the concept was formulated, there were no second thoughts about Ranbir singing this song as it is almost in verse form and no other sound would have worked.

What are your Box Office predictions?
Of course I do hope the film enters the new ‘Crore club’…but this isn’t my sole motivation.

As a director could you have changed a few things in Besharam’s production?
No, this film turned out exactly as I would have wanted it too. I’ve written over 14 drafts of scripts before finalising the last piece and undergoing production

If you don’t mind me asking, why so many drafts?
I’ve worked exceptionally hard on this film. But it isn’t like I had a hardbound script. I wrote 14 drafts because every time I gave the script to a friend, to my star cast, or even to my brother Anurag, they all made suggestions towards it. All of them asked questions. I incorporated all those changes in my final draft. I believe that if a script has to deliver then it has to answer the various questions that people who hear the script ask. A good script has to flow smoothly. And since I have followed that philosophy, I’m confident that Besharam will deliver.

Is it true you will feature in your own movie?
Yes, but only as a cameo appearance, as it was Ranbir’s idea to have both me and choreographer Remo D’souza to groove on the title track with him. Not only did the young actor suggest this idea to me, he also choreographed the dance routine. We had an amazing time shooting for the song. Ranbir told me he thought that featuring me and Remo would just enhance the fun quotient of the song. And I totally agreed with him.

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Pallavi Sharda Q&A

Before the TV industry, what were you doing?
I was a famous Indian dance instructor in Australia then I changed paths when I came to India.

What was your experience of working with director Abhinav Kashyap?
It was great working with Abhinav; he’s put his foot down to choose me for this role and so I wanted to do my best to impress him while we were on set.

What was the hardest element to shoot for this film?
The hardest element during the shoot of the film for me was the dancing parts of the film, as we did so many takes until Abhinav was happy with what we had. Also, I had to really get in close contact with Ranbir during our dance scene and it was really hard to keep those same emotions throughout that many takes.

Why should audiences see this film?
Audiences will want to see Ranbir’s new side, as an on-screen Besharam!

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zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz

God that was boring…The Besharam team is coming to the UK to promote the movie so we hope to be able to ask some sensible questions. I wonder if the jounalists asking these questions have any sense of sharam….

Besharam releases in theaters  worldwide on 2nd October 2013.

@asimburney

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Dhoom 3 Trailer Breakdown

Dhoom 3’s trailer has arrived and finally gives us something to look forward to in 2013, even if the movie releases just before the year ends.

An established and massively succesfull franchise being spearheaded by one of the most bankable actors in India (not Uday Chopra) directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya (of the vastly underrated Tashan) and shot party in Chicago, is going to be break bank when it comes out at 20th of December.

2013 has been such a dreary year in terms of Hindi cinema. The box office earnings have been huge this summer, even setting some records but most of the movies have mostly been mid-budget and just lacking that masala fun at least viewers like me have been craving. During the half way point we had hoped things would improve especially around the end of the year with heavy hitters Krissh 3 and Dhoom 3.

But after seeing the uninspiring trailers for Krissh 3, all my hopes at least are pinned on Amir Khan.

Some thoughts:

Praise the lord that stupd bowler hat from the teaser isn’t what Amir is wearing throughout the movie, although wouldnt it be awesome if this was some sort of Rene Magritte reference and he wore an apple on his face to hide his identity?

Also, why does Yash Raj Film make Amir Khan recite cheap poetry evertime they work together?

I wonder if the bowler hat and this clown logo on Amir’s desk means there is a circus theme to Dhoom 3? Knowing Vijay Krishna Acharya’s previous work, this totally might be the case.

 

It’s been way too long that Abhishek Bachchan has been on screen! (I am sure Amitabh Bachchan and I agree on this)

Katrina Kaif + kartwheels= YAY!

This face! Just before the money shot!

Dhoom Dhoom Dhoom People!

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Chennai Express Upodcast Interviews

We’ve kept you waiting but finally our Chennai Express Upodcast Episode is finally ready! Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Siddarth Roy were in town promoting their biggest Eid release which has also become the biggest box office earner in the history of Hindi Cinema.

How long it will be able to hold that position is another story with Dhoom 3 and Krish 3 (I refuse to learn how to write the title of this movie) releasing soon.

So being in the unique position of attending the Press Conference, the journalist round table as well as doing a 1-2-1 interview, we had so much content for our listeners, it took us a while to find the right format since none of us are genius editors as the listeners of our shows know too well.

If you want the Video interview head over to HeyUGuys by clicking here.

For all the other, Listen/Download/Share our chat with SRK and Deepika as well as our “5 things we learnt” by clicking below:

@asimburney

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Shahid Review at LIFF 2013

Everyone that listens to UPodcast knows that my tastes veer towards massy entertainers that have had some thought put into it. I don’t need added sound effects to punctuate punch lines but I cant’ stand slow, dreary movies that only get praise from other movie directors (usually friends) or snobby critics.

So when we received the line up of films at this year’s London Indian Film Festival, I naturally try to find the ones I have some connect with, be it an actor or director whose name sounds familiar or a story that would connect with me somehow.

Shahid was high on my list of movies to watch at this year’s LIFF as it starred Raj Kumar Yadav (now shortened to just Raj Kumar as the statute of limitations have surely expired on that foot fetishist from Pakeezah) who had the stand out performance as the lecherous pervert in Love, Sex Aur Dhoka as well as the goody goody in Kai Po Che. The other vague familiarity was that the movie was directed by Hansal Mehta (Does anyone own Woodstock Villa on Dvd except me?) and appreciated his short in Sanjay Gupta produced Dus Kahaniyan starring Jimmy Shergill.

 

Shahid is based on the story of Muslim human rights lawyer Shahid Azmi who (SPOILERS for Real LIFE) was shot dead in his own office after trying to defend people wrongfully incarcerated under terrorism charges in India.

 

One of the reasons I have yet to see Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that autobiographies in my book just have the same “inspirational” story arc and a movie about an interesting person, doesn’t necessarily make an interesting movie.

Shahid doesn’t avoid all “inspirational biography” trappings but gives the audience enough in Raj Kumar lead performance (who looks a bit like Shahid Kapoor’s more talented but less buff older brother) , it’s the tight screenplay and fiery courtroom scenes. The story starts with Shahid’s murder and then in flashback mode we jump in a linear fashion through the major chapters that lead him to his end.

 

After seeing the slaughter first hand in the ’92 Mumbai communal riots, Shahid tries to get some sense of vindication as wayward youths do by joining an Islamic Militant group in Kashmir but very soon he finds out that it’s not the right place for him as he doesn’t have any interest in the physical training or the stomach for beheadings (as one would). Unfortunately, when he finds his way back home, the Bombay police pick him up and he is sentenced under TADA (now defunct anti terrorism law) and ends up serving 7 years hard time.

In jail he picks up a law degree and wants to make sure he can do all he can to help people who suffered the same faith as him when he is released.

 

Shahid has some excellent supporting mostly unknown actors (his older brother (who was Imran Khan’s friend in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), the female lawyer in his final case, his prison mentor) and quite surprising cameos by Kay Kay Menon (who almost pulls a Kosmo Kramer the way he appears in the movie) and Tigmanshu Dhulia (who in my mind will always be Romance Singh thank you Qtipya’s Gangs of WasseyPur Spoof).

 

It was also refreshing that Shahid isn’t mythologized and is shown with real human flaws and weaknesses without resorting to clichés. He is a weak man when it comes to his small family and avoids confrontation but when it comes to the fighting for his defendants he is on fire. His passion for his cause is undeniable in the courtroom scenes, which seem to be done quite realistically, so there are no “Dhai Kilo Ka Haath” monologues that illicit wolf whistles but illustrates the frustration of bureaucracy and process very well.

The movie is shot beautifully from the small alleys to the middle classes houses and offices in Mumbai to the majestic beautiful vistas of Kashmir.

 

Some of the editing can be jarring because of that some of the chronology can be confusing but these are minor issues with an overall satisfying movie without screaming it’s own importance.

 

Shahid has been picked up by UTV Films so will be getting a wide release. And for my money it was one of the best movies at the London Indian Film Festival that I saw this year.

 @asimburney

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Madras Cafe New Images and Video’s

Whatever we’ve seen of Madras Cafe until now has been quite intriguing, it might be because John Abraham makes a savvier producer than leading man and because casting Nargis Fakri as a foreign war correspondent might actually work.

We received some new images and plot synopsis, which explains a bit as the movie itself was shrouded in mystery.

 

The political action thriller is set against the backdrop of the tumultuous and controversial Sri Lankan civil war of the 1990s. The film stars John Abraham as an Indian Army Intelligence Agent sent to Sri Lanka to break a resolute rebel group.  Once there, he meets a charismatic female journalist, played by Nargis Fakhri who is determined to uncover the truth about the civil war. Together the pair uncover a deeper, sinister conspiracy by a faceless enemy.

Madras Café releases nationwide on 23rd August 2013.

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Girish Kumar Talks to Upodcast About Ramaiya Vastavaiya

Is he a star in the making or just another producer’s son getting a huge launch? Girish Kumar talks to Upodcast with the release of Ramaiya Vastavaiya which is in theaters today!

Truth be told we give him quite a few tough questions to answer and he keeps his charm and smile which wins him points in our books. So I hope you enjoy our podcast interview you can find below.

The movie is out in theaters and if you haven’t yet seen Girish in action here he is shaking his money maker.

 @asimburney

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Madras Cafe Trailer Breakdown

During Part 2 of Our Bollywood catch up Upodcast ft FilmiGirl and Getfilmy (click here if you haven’t listened to it yet), I accidentally mentioned Madras Cafe as one of the movies I was looking forward to. Luckily enough my co-host corrected me that I had in fact confused Shoojit Sircar (Vicky Donor) for Shimit Amin (director of Chak De India) and that Vicky Donor was one of my most hated movies of the year.

But looking at the trailer for Madras Cafe it looks like this definitely has the potential to be something to look forward to.

John Abraham’s production company is teaming up again with Shoojit after the massively successful Vicky Donor to bring audiences, what looks like a Military/Spy Thriller shrouded in mystery looking at the set up of the facebook page and website of the movie.

Johnny BamBam might be a producer than actor (even though this must be the best phase he has ever been). Casting Nargis Fakhri might be a risk but unlike most people I felt her appearance wasn’t grating in Rockstar. The poor girl had to bear the brunt of an overzealous producer and actor who after hyping her, dumped her pretty bad. It’s never a good idea to dub voices and Nargis’ voice and the disconnect with her mediocre acting ability was something that should have never passed the rushes by Imtiaz Ali. She was fine as the girl you fall in love with in high school but playing a globetrotting journalist might be something more up her alley, if those horrible interviews of her in glamour magazines are to be believed.

I despised Vicky Donor much more than Nargis Fakhri’s performance in Rockstar but Madras Cafe looks like it’s much more dynamic and engrossing as a movie. The genre classically doesn’t do too well in Hindi Films but maybe Abraham and Shoojit have honed into an angle we haven’t seen yet.

Here is the trailer for Madras Cafe and the poster. (the Trailer is from Yahoo! India which has a very annoying Vicky Donor Style ad inserted, I wonder it’s an annoying meta tie in)

 

Madras Cafe Releases in August, Let us know what you think of the trailer in the comment section below!

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

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Upodcast’s Bollywood 2013 Mid Year Catch Up Part 2

Since we didn’t manage to fit in all we wanted to in one episode, we are joined again by the best bollybloggers in the business Filmigirl and Getfilmy to continue our filmi chat in this second part of our Epic Bollywood Mid Year Catch Up.

We head in straight away by picking the most interesting movies we’ve seen this year of Desi Zombies, Vidyut Jamwal’s jumpkicks and if Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani will join the pantheon of all time classic Bollywood movies like DDLJ and Jab We Met or will it run out of juice before that.

Continuing by going through the entire Bollywood Release Schedule of 2013 from upcoming release like Ranjhaana and Shortcut Romeo all the way to Dhoom 3.

Along the way we speak about 3D crotches, Akshay’s 90’s Pelvic thrusts, how big Chennai Express will be? Are Ranvir Singh and Ranbir Kapoor the succesors to SRK and Amir Khan and  if old school romance can make a come back with Ram Leela?

We do get a bit loopy towards the end but that’s what happens when you record for so long.

Hope you guys enjoy it!

@asimburney

Download/Listen/ Subscribe below:

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Bhaag Milka Bhaag Songs and Images: Farhan working out, Sonam Smiling

Not being a huge fan of Biopics or sports related movies, the cast invovled in Bhaag Milka Bhaag is the reason I still mentioned the movie as one I am looking forward to in our Mid Year 2013  Bollywood Upodcast episode.

Farhan Akthar is a great writer-director but creatively that combination can be very draining so he has spread out his talents to production and acting, with a reasonable amount of success.

Sonam Kapoor is wonderful to look at in screen, and usually is shot in a slow motion panning shot whilst she smiles. The lady has a lot of opinions which she brazenly shares, one hopes that she can start delivering the goods soon too.

Shankar Ehsan Loy’s music and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s direction has been a mix bagged lately but they are talented enough to create magic with the right project, if Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that project, we will probably know soon enough.

 

 

From the Press Release:

Many recall Milkha Singh as a world champion in the 400 meters, who infamously lost the penultimate race of his life – the 400 meters final at the Rome Olympics – but won in LIFE.

Milkha Singh’s life is a portrait of professional triumph over personal tragedy. The film attempts to understand a catastrophic loss that was deemed a sure victory and explores through the darkness of disgrace Milkha Singh’s redemption and catharsis that came when he confronted his past.

This iridescent tale winds through the plagues of a bloody civil war where Milkha’s family were brutally killed during the tumultuous India-Pakistan Partition era resulting in a lost childhood, homelessness, a life of petty crime, right through to victories hard won and easily lost.

The film draws an intricate image of human trials, setbacks and fate leveraged against the sheer power of will as Milkha Singh evocatively illustrates that true victory lies in racing with one’s troubles and not in running away from them.

The film stars India’s most versatile multi-star, the critically acclaimed actor, producer, singer, writer, director and musician Farhan Akhtar [Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Luck By Chance] who essays the role of Milkha Singh for what is described as Farhan’s most demanding performance to date.

He is joined by Sonam Kapoor [Saawariya, I Hate Luv Storys, Aisha (Indian version of Jane Austen’s classic Emma)], Art Malik [BBC1’s Holby City], Rebecca Breeds [Home and Away] and is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (director of the Bafta nominated film Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6).

The inspirational story is penned by Prasoon Joshi and the soundtrack is composed by the award-winning trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag will see Milkha fly, fall and rise, bruise his soul but not his will to survive. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag releases worldwide on 12th July 2013.

@asimburney

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Shuddh Desi Romance Digital Poster

Director of the run away hit Band Baaja Baraat,  Maneesh Sharma is back, this time teaming up Sushant Singh Rajput (Kai Po Che) with Parineeti Chopra (Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and Ishaqzaade) and newcomer Vaani Kapoor.

Yash Raj have released a digital poster and a very rustic looking one.

Although he got rave reviews for Kai Po Che, Sushant Singh just has a bit too much of Vivek Oberoi’s doucheyness for me to fully like him. Parineeti is awesome though and I can’t wait to see what she will be up to when her 3 deal contract with YRF is over.

I think like their predecessors Ranveer Singh and Anushkha the bigger and interesting works comes after the contract is done.

We don’t get to see much of what the movie will be about but here is some info in any case from the YRF website:

 

From the director of Band Baaja Baaraat and the writer of Chak De! India, comes a fresh and very real love story about the hair-raising minefield between love, attraction and commitment — SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE — finally, a romantic comedy that tells it like it is.

Starring in this classy, candid look at the affairs of the heart in today’s desi heartland are the endearing Rishi Kapoor, exceptionally talented Sushant Singh Rajput, and the versatile Parineeti Chopra, along with debutant Vaani Kapoor.

SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is directed by Maneesh Sharma, written by Jaideep Sahni, and produced by Aditya Chopra.

ADDITIONAL CREDITS:
MUSIC: Sachin-Jigar
LYRICS: Jaideep Sahni
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Manu Anand
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Aashish Singh
EDITOR: Namrata Rao
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: T.P. Abid
COSTUME DESIGNERS: Varsha-Shilpa
SOUND: Pritam Das
CHOREOGRAPHER: Brinda
LINE PRODUCER: Yogendra Mogre
CASTING DIRECTOR: Shanoo Sharma

The film releases worldwide on 13th September 2013.

 @asimburney

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Upodcast’s Bollywood 2013 Mid Year Catch Up Part 1

The Naughtiest Hindi Film Bloggers are back again for your listening pleasure.

FilmiGirl, Getfilmy and Upodcast got together for an epic Bollywood catch up of which this is just the first part.

The 2nd part of our chat will be posted in a couple of days but for this episode of Upodcast we start off with a recap of 2013 in Bollywood comparing the top 10 grossing movies at the Box Office in terms of quality and Revenue.

But you can’t have the queens of gossip on your show and not talk about the biggest News stories and juicy gossip of the year.

We talk about:

  • Himmatwala’s Epic failure
  • The greasy palms of TOIFA
  • Ameesha Patel went to Cannes and so did some other people…
  • Zinta’s comeback
  • Sanjay Dutt’s Chakki peasing
  •  The loss of Jiah Khan
  • And as usual much much much more

 

Subscribe to iTunes and make sure you don’t miss the 2nd part.

Until then you can leave a comment below and listen/stream/ download the episode here:

 

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Chennai Expres Trailer Breakdown

Rohit Shetty and Shahrukh Khan’s collaboration Chennai Express finally hits audiences with it’s first proper trailer and the result is an odd marriage of established tropes of both these brands.

We have SRK character named Rahul, who helps girls catch their trains, he runs a lot in slow motion and ends up with a bloodied mouth at what I’m guessing is the climactic battle of the movie.

Rohit Shetty on the other hand provides us with saccharine cinematography, car flips, a horrible soundtrack and everyone dangling from wires.

The oddest choice is to give heroine Deepika Padukone a very strong South Indian accent, I have to admit I did not see that coming.

On the one hand it’s interesting to see that it’s Deepika that’s providig the only bit of originality we can find in this trailer, she is at least trying something different and there is always a fine line between being humurous and being offensive.

The other surprise of the trailer is how much it is banking on the previous successes of Rohit Shetty rather than King Khan for this movie.

Our good friend FilmiGirl pointed out that Chennai Express is looking like the South Indian minstrel show to her on our Bollywood Mid Year Wrap Up UPodcast (going live tomorrow evening) and I’m not sure anything that the trailer shows us will prove her assumptions wrong.

But on the other hand both Rohit Shetty and Shahrukh Khan can’t be called subtle in anyway when it comes to humour.

This trailer definetly makes me want to watch the movie, which is a feat in itself when it comes to Shetty’s brand of cinema. Although it just seems odd that I won’t be getting an Eid release from that other Khan instead this year.

 

Here is the trailer and some posters. Let us know what you think in the comment section below:

 

 

Chennai Express is in theaters on th 8th of August

@asimburney

 

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New Trailer Lootera: Reveals more of the plot!

We just recorded a massive episode of UPodcast where we do 2013 mid year wrap up and also talk about the movies we are looking forward to in the 2nd half of the year. The one movie that both our guests FilmiGirlGetfilmy and Upodcast were very much excited for was Vikramaditya Motwane’s Ranveer Singh – Sonakshi Sinha starrer Lootera, slated for a July 5th release.

Until now not too much was revealed in the first trailer except that it was a romance set in the 50’s. The 2nd trailer changes that and give us much more of the story which seems to be Indiana Jones meets Catch Me If You Can added with some desi tadka.

 

 

How beautiful does that look?

Last time Ranveer Singh played a con man in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl wasn’t met with the kind of success as his debut so it’s quite interesting he is taking on what seems to be another role of a scam artist. As I mentioned during the UPodcast recording for me this is Sonakshi’s litmus test, she has the talent and screen presence but until now has been stuck doing inconsequential roles paired opposite much older heroes.

Director Vikramaditya Motwane’ s following up the critically acclaimed Udaan teaming up with Balaji entertainment which is an interesting collaboration. I have been listenting to the Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack pretty much non stop.

There is a lot riding on Lootera and I’m liking what I’m seeing until now.

@asimburney

 

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Ranbir Kapoor Upodcast Interview for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani

Tied in with the release of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in theaters everywhere, we bring you a very special interview with did with the one and only Ranbir Kapoor right here in London during his press tour.

As usual we have our set of quirky questions to ask our guests and I am pretty sure you will enjoy our chat.

For the first time as an intro we are also lifting the veil on what goes on behind the scenes of these press tours and give you “5 things I learnt when meeting Ranbir Kapoor” where I drop the guise of any journalistic integrity you might have thought i had.

If you like this segment do drop us a line in the comment section or on twitter and we will definitely do more of these.

 

"Happiness is real, only when it's shared"-Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

For the meantime enjoy our interview by downloading, streaming or subscribing in iTunes.

 

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Ghagra Song Promo Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

Having grown up in the 90’s it’s virtually impossible to not be huge fans of Madhuri Dixit, probably the last legendary heroine Bollywood has produced that exuded old world charm together with an abundance of talent, which made her reign supreme for more than a decade.

Although her return to Bollywood with Aaja Nachle had it’s merits, it didn’t light the box office on fire and since then we havent’ seen Madhuri on the big screen. But that is about to change with her taking on roles in Gulab Gang with Juhi Chawla and Dedh Ishqiya, until then we have her doing a special appearance for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and she clearly bring back her sparkle on screen.


  • Ranbir Kapoor is such a charismatic performer, it’s the first time someone has really been able to take away attention from him.
  • Can we all agree not to call this an Item number? Madhuri deserves more than that!
  • We did an Upodcast interview with Ranbir that we will be posting the week of release which is very soon so keep your eyes on that!

Until then, let us know what you think of the song in the comment section below!

@asimburney

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Fukrey’s New Title Track

Here is a song from Excel’s forthcoming “Young Indian men bonding over shenanigans and learning life lessons along the way”- movie Fukrey.

Frankly after Dil Chahta Hai, 3 Idiots, Delhi Belly, Kai Po Che, I’m done with this story trope and nothing I have seen until now from Fukrey is showing us anything we haven’t seen yet.

I do have faith in Excel as a banner so they might spring some surprise, but I’m not hedging my bets on it.

 

 

From the Press Release:

Your college days are said to be the best of your life – fun, frivolous and filled with friendship. But this is far from true in the new “rogue-trip” film ‘Fukrey’.
Fukrey is a twisted coming-of-age drama and deliciously hilarious tale of four young, hapless ‘nobodies’ [‘Fukreys’], running after their individual desires, brought together by one dream. Their lives are turned upside down when they chase that elusive ‘get rich quick’ scheme. The film combines the crazy antics and madcap mishaps of four loser college friends, as their paths cross with an array of colourful characters, from a tough-talking Punjabi female don to a Jugaad Baaz college watchman. Mayhem ensues with predictably hilarious and unexpected results.
Fukrey stars a bevy of talented stars in the Bollywood arena – Richa Chadda [‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’]; Ali Fazal [3 Idiots, The Other End Of The Line] Manjot Singh [‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, ‘Udaan’], Pulkit Samrat [‘Bittoo Boss’] and Varun Sharma, amongst others.
The film is directed by Mrighdeep Singh Lamba, [‘Teen Thay Bhai’], who also shares screenplay adaptation and writing credits with Vipul Vig. The vibrant and eclectic soundtrack is by composer, musician and producer Ram Sampath, noted for his musical scores on such films as: Delhi Belly, Talaash and Khakee.
The acclaimed producer duo Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani lend their sizable producer talents to the film under their production banner Excel Entertainment. The company was founded in 1999 with a vision to make contemporary Indian cinema. With modest beginnings nine years ago, today Excel is considered iconic in changing the sensibilities of Indian viewers, and for pushing the boundaries of ‘reel’ entertainment across the world. Some of Excel Entertainment’s cult classic projects include: Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya [the official entry for the Rio International Film Festival], Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Don 1 and 2 [screened at the Berlin Film Festival].

Fukrey releases nationwide on 14th June 2013.

@asimburney

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Raanjhanaa Trailer Breakdown: A Love Story for All Ages

Honestly there hasn’t been much to talk about going on in Bollywood worth talking about. Lately the release schedules of the bigger and more exciting movies has been consistently been pushed back in the 2nd half of the year, banking on the bigger holidays like Eid and Diwali. That doesn’t mean we don’t get some nice surprises from unexpected corners (Kai Po Che, Special 26, Jolly LLB), but 2013 has been really dire in terms of Box Office even with Chasme Baddoor and Race 2 being the only clean hits.

So the trailer of Raanjhanaa is very refreshing, not only as it seems something different but because it seems to focus on that one element that the Southie Remake/Massala/ Punchy Dialogue movie making has forgotten and that is to give the audience some sweet sweet romance.

 

 

Although the guy stalking and following a girl trope feels icky especially recent news stories in India, a guy like Dhanush really can’t be a physical threat to anyone.

Abhay Deol makes an appearance too which I wasnt aware of, didn’t he and Sonam have some sort of tiff during the shooting of Aisha?

The movie looks very colorful and sweet and the thing that has me even more excited is of course the soundtrack being composed by AR Rahman.

Releasing 21st of June.

What do you guys think of the trailer of Raanjhanaa? Will this be the movie where Sonam Kapoo blows our minds with her acting ability?

@asimburney

 

 

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Commando First Poster + New Videos

Seems like the producers of Commando are finally seeing what everyone already saw in Force. Vidyut Jamwal is awesome!

I feel we should have a weekly post just praising the guy, and with the release just a couple of weeks away, Vipul Shah and team are finally throwing their support behind the movie with some marketing material that defintely looks like it has been prepared after the first trailer went viral.

We now have a ton of new song promos, behind the scenes footage of the action, and even a new poster!

 

 


I still think it’s a shame that the stunts seem to be the same every time and rehashes of Tony Jaa with different settings, and I have no faith in the abilities of former model Pooja Chopra.

It’s all about our man Vidyut!

Ps We spoke to him just before Force on a podcast, so check if out if you havent yet by cliking here! (Upodcast talks to Vidyut Jamwal)

Commando releases 12th of April

@asimburney

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Aurangzeb First Look

Seems like Yash Raj has been sitting on these promo shots of Arjun Kapoor’s Aurangzeb for a while, Arjun seems to have Arshad Warsi’s hair from Tere Mere Sapne, but banking on the buzz for Gunday this might be the best possible time to tease the audience and get an intern to dust up the ‘ole photoshoppe.

I’m still not entirely sold on Arjun Kapoor after Ishaqzaade, Parineeti was the one to watch in that one and Ranvir will probably eat him up in Gunday but being a Kapoor scion, he’s bagged quite a few offers so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

The Synopsis looks pretty generic but he is backed up by a pretty good supporting cast.

“Gurgaon 2013.

A family of policemen…

A family of gangsters…

To bring down a criminal, the law will have to think like a criminal!

This summer, there will be only 1 Emperor…

Directed by Atul Sabharwal and produced by Aditya Chopra, AURANGZEB stars Arjun Kapoor, in a double role, along with Prithviraj, in lead roles in this intriguing and gripping drama. The film boasts of an enviable and dynamic ensemble star cast of Rishi Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sikandar Kher, Amrita Singh, Deepti Naval, Tanvi Azmi, Swara Bhaskar and also launches Sasha Aagha.”

Aurangzeg (or Orange Seb as I’ll be calling it) releases 17th of May.

@asimburney

 

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Commando The War Within/ A One Man Army Trailer Breakdown

Vidyut Jamwal is an awesome dude, we had a great time chatting with him when Force was released last year and even then it was clear that this was going to be his break out role and not John Abraham’s flex fest (and I think the trailer has a shot that winks to him doing just that). The dude has been training in ancient Indian Martial Arts since he was a child and we bonded quite a bit when we spoke to him  (Personally it’s one of my favorite interviews so do check it out by clicking here) geeking out about work outs and nunchuks.

It has been a long wait since then till Commando -The War Within and after seeing the first trailer it seems Vipul Shah has hedged his bets by making this a low budget, low risk proposal where Vidyut’s action takes central stage and the supporting cast and even the heroine don’t really stand out. I guess Vipul is a bigger risk taker when he wants Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan to play Wembley rockstars?

The 2nd schmuck move by the producers is to give the title two side titles as they can’t seem to choose which one will suck more. Is it a War Within or is he A One Man Army? One makes it sounds like a viral infection and he other is just a contradiction and stupid.

I hate you Vipul Shah!

The main thing that really sets Commando apart from any other actioner is this:

He is LITERALLY going Commando on these stunts!

Apart from that those crazy jumping jack push ups he’s doing that I honestly have never seen anyone do! It almost remind me of Akshay Kumar’s training sequence in his debut Saugandh amped and jacked up to a 1000.

It does seem to be a trend that heroes are fighting bigger and bigger armies of goons and unlike the HimmatWala trailer with Ajay Devgan (who also has some martial arts chops as you may have forgotten Jigar and it’s Drunken Master rip off training sequences) Vidyut  actually knows these things.

 

The minor niggle I have is that the trailer containts all of the same stunts that he performs during his showreel stage shows as well as some he already did in Force, and the heroine Pooja Chopra a forer Miss India (really??) just seems completely bland to me.

 

This is going to be the Jamwal show all the way!

COMMANDO- THE WAR WITHIN is slated for a  March 2013 release.

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

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Movies you might have missed in 2012 (Bollywood)

It’s that time of year again where we start wrapping up and looking back at the year that was.

As every year we will be having our big yearly Upodcast episode with loads of our blogger friends and this year me might even do a little something special.

You can still check out episodes from previous years:

Best of 2012 with guests Roti Kapada Aur Rum, Filmigirl and CurryBear

Mid Year Wrap up 2010 featuring Beth from BethlovesBollywood, Katherine from Totally Filmi and Filmigirl

To start things off,

Here is a list of 6 movies that you might have missed this year or probably won’t be featured on any “Best Of” List but deserves at least a watch!

Tere Naal Love Hogaya

Both Geneliza Desouza and Ritesh Deshmukh seem to be actors that we root for and we were glad to see them take on lead role after their debut together with Teri Meri Kasam (a movie impossible to find apparently). The movie got sidelined by the real life marriage of the actors and lost as its release was scheduled at the back end of a barrage of other rom com’s.

Although the story line has a very strong déjà vu feeling (Kidnapping ends in Love with the 2nd half from DDLJ), director Mandeep Kumar manages to add more life to Tere Naal Love Hogaya than it deserves.

It’s available on Netflix so do give it a spin as it’s head above Ek Tu Aur Ek Main at least, and where the main leads actually have chemistry together.

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Kai Po Che: Trailer + Poster

Desi dude friendship = Shirtless street dancing + jumping in lakes

Or at least that’s what seems to be the case for Abhishek Kapoor who gets back in the directing chair after a conspicuously long delay after his massively successful Rock on, now 4 years ago.

Teaming up with the producers of Rang De Basanti and adapted from the novel of Chetan Bhagat, the trailer looks exactly like what you would expect when these 3 names would come together.

3 different guy friends (we never seem to get movies about female friendship as much) taking car roads, teasing each other and running from stuff.

Pretty sure the movie will have heart and the newcomers do look quite energetic (although some have a bit of a Ranveer Singh hangover) but the trailer just looks a bit bland and paint by numbers for the moment.

Music is by Amit Trivedi so that should be pretty amazing.

Here is the trailer:

 

Kai Po Che releases in cinemas on 22nd Feb 2013.

@asimburney

 

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Dabangg 2 Exclusive Stills and Synopsis

Needless to say our readers know our allegiances and we are firmly planted in camp Dabangg, we loved the first part (here is our Upodcast) and have very high hopes for the 2nd one.

We wrote a trailer breakdown about Dabangg 2 on HeyUGuys, you can read it by going here.

In the meantime we have some very juicy looking stills and the plot synopsis of the movie.

It’s not really spoilery and most people would want to watch the movie for Salman awesomeness anyway.

We might not be huge fans of Fevicol but that still looks amazing!

Dabangg 2 is a continuation of the amazing exploits of Chulbul ‘Robin Hood’ Pandey played by Salman Khan. The notable facets of the character include his nonchalance, his wry sense of humor and his tongue-in-cheek dialogues.
This film begins with Chulbul (Now married to Rajjo- Sonkashi Sinha) moving on from being a local inspector in a small town Laalganj to becoming an Inspector-in-charge of Bajariya Thana, a police station in Kanpur, the largest and most populous city in Uttar Pradesh. After arriving in Kanpur, Chulbul immediately gets into action thus bringing him in conflict with Baccha Bhaiyya (Prakash Raj).
If Dabangg marked the return of action films, Dabangg 2 takes it to a higher level with some of the coolest action sequences ever conceived. All in all, Dabangg 2 promises to be a full on entertainer, with Chulbul Pandey and his sunglasses et al.

@asimburney

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Poster and Song Promo

To anyone who has listened to our Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review (If you haven’t you should by clicking here) you can safely say that we are quite enamored by Anushka Sharma, I mean she could be reading the ingredients off a can of kidney beans in Binary code and we would listen with bated breath.

With the first song promo released of her forthcoming Vishal Bhardwaj directed Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, we see her singing and dancing and pretty much stealing the show from Imran Khan.

Now dancing may not be the man’s forte but the ability to grow quite impressive facial hair does seem to run in the family.

We’re quite looking forward to this movie although Vishal Bhardwaj rustic taste might not be for everyone’s taste buds.

Here is the poster, the first song promo and a synopsis of the movie.

MATRU - Upodcast

Promo Shot Matru Upodcast

Anushka Sharma and some other dudes

Set in the rustic surroundings of a village in Haryana in India, Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola is a comedy-drama about Harry Mandola (PANKAJ KAPUR), a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee (ANUSHKA SHARMA) and the unusual bond they both share with Harry’s man-Friday, Matru (IMRAN KHAN). 
 
Much to her father’s delight, Bijlee is all set to marry Baadal (ARYA BABBAR), the son of a powerful politician Chaudhari Devi (SHABANA AZMI). This alliance which is far from just being a simple union of two young people becomes the seed for a story that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

 

Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola releases on 11th January 2013 by Twentieth Century Fox.

@asimburney

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Amir Khan And Rani Mukherji Interviews for Talaash

Tomorrow sees the release one of the most awaited movies of the year Talaash, starring Amir Khan, Rani Mukherji, Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Sidiqqui.

We have been covering the movie extensively with promo songs, trailer, an exclusive interview with director Reema Kagti (click here) But we have truly saved the best for last and that is 2 interviews with massive stars squeezed into a single podcast.

Your ear buds might just explode with awesomeness as we chat with Amir Khan and Rani Mukherji about Talaash.

 

We have been massive fans of both these actors for decades and the chance to speak with both of them was quite daunting but it happened and we can now share it with all our lovely listeners.

 

Do share your thoughts with us in the comment section and drop us an email, tweet or a rating on iTunes.

 

Talaash Releases tomorrow and hopefully we will be reviewing it for you too!

Stay Tuned

 

@asimburney

 

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Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review Upodcast

Jab Tak Hai Jaan ImageThis week we dissect Shah Rukh Khan’s latest movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan where he starts along side Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma (After Rab Ne Banadi Jodi).

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately this became legendary film director Yash Chopra’s final movie.

  • So does Jab Tak Hai Jaan still weave that classic Yash Chopra magic?
  • Does his cocktail of pathos laden, eternal love still work in todays Instant Noodle Age?
  • Can ShahRukh still romance a tree?
  • And can Katrina Kaif carry the mantle of legendary YRF heroines before her?

To talk about JTHJ some amazingly talented and well-spoken guest joins us, Daniel Pillai from Omni’s Bollywood Boulevard and WSJ India Real Time, Priya Joshi from Digital Spy who make their debut on Upodcast.

Joining for the 2nd time is Sujoy Singha, who has his own hilarious Hindi Movie Podcast called the Tripple Eggs Podcast and of course his gifs on Bollypop and Geekiness on OneKnightStand.

Let us know what you think of the show in the comment section below or drop us an email to Upodcasting@gmail.com

You can download/listen/ share below:

 

@asimburney

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Reema Kagti Director of Talaash Interview Upodcast

From AD, to script writer to director of HoneyMoon Travels ltd., Reema Kagti has been slowly working together with her partners at excel movies towards giving us this year’s Amir Khan release, Talaash.

Tagged as a Suspense drama and starring Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor and Nawazuddin Sidiqqui, we had the chance to speak with the passionate film director about how she became a film maker, her cinematic influences growing up, her journey with Excel movies and if Amir Khan really does have a halo above his head.

 

So Check out our Upodcast Exclusive interview with Reema Kagti and stay tuned for the chat we had with Amir Khan, which we will be posting in a couple of days too!

 

Talaash Releases in theaters, 30th of November

@asimburney

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Race 2 Trailer Breakdown

Director Duo Abbas Mustan have been on a mission to prove that Hindi movies can be as slick, fast paced but also inane and uninspired as any the studio action movie from Hollywood.

 

It’s a template they’ve had quite a bit of success especially with the first Race which was a topsy turvy twistarama of a movie where everyone was looking uber hot except Akshay Khanna’s hairpiece. After the epic failure of Players (where Bobby Deol played a magician and Sonam Kapoor a computer hacker…nuff said?) they are back with fast cars, race horses, guitar riffs and Saif Ali Khan’s beard.

 

Here’s the trailer:

Some thoughts:

  • Who asked for this sequel to be made? (Except the producers)
  • The trailer is contending to set at least 2 world records: “the most mentions of the title to a movie in any trailer” (8 mentions in a trailer of 2.30 min) and ” most number of low angle shots” (every character)
  • Peedika’s Stylist has gone for the “neandhertaler chique” for her eyebrows
  • Will Jacqueline Fernandez’ voice dubbed by the same generic voice artist in every movie? Just learn the language already, no one minds and accent!
  • The trailer contains the absolute best lines the script writers could come up with, thinking if this doesn’t get butts in seats, then nothing will! (What does the line “Ghora bi hero banega”mean???)
  • John Abraham can’t throw a convincing punch to save his life
  • Also why did his pecks not get a separate credit as the main attraction?
  • Ameesha Patel…hahahhahahahhahahhaa
  • Anil Kapoor is bad ass as always, after all these years Lakhan still rules anything he is in!
  • How bad does the CGI and wire work look? That jump Saif does is thoroughly underwhelming and didn’t they blow up exactly the same cars in the previous Race?
  • And just to finish Ameesha Patel… HAHAHAHHAHA

 

Race 2 releases in theaters in january, there is no stopping it

 

@asimburney

 

 

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Karan Johar and the cast of Student Of the Year Upodcast Interview

For the promotion of Student of the year, Karan Johar accompanied by Sid Malhotra,Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt flew over to London to talk to the UK press and Upodcast was invited.

If you have ever seen a full press conference it’s pretty hard to get a non rehearsed answer out of the celebrities especially so if they have the quick wit and verbal prowess of Karan Johar, nevertheless we had a 1 one 1 interview where we could ask a few more personal questions.

Student of the Year is in theaters from today and I hope you enjoy our interview with Karan and the rest of the cast.

 

Listen or download below or subscribe to Upodcast in iTunes and never miss a show!

 

@asimburney

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Karan Johar and the cast of Student of the Year Upodcast Interview

For the promotion of Student of the year, Karan Johar accompanied by Sid Malhotra,Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt flew over to London to talk to the UK press and Upodcast was invited.

If you have ever seen a full press conference it’s pretty hard to get a non rehearsed answer out of the celebrities especially so if they have the quick wit and verbal prowess of Karan Johar, nevertheless we had a 1 one 1 interview where we could ask a few more personal questions.

Student of the Year is in theaters from today and I hope you enjoy our interview with Karan and the rest of the cast.

 

Listen or download below or subscribe to Upodcast in iTunes and never miss a show!

 

@asimburney

 

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Muskaanein Jhooti Hai Song Promo from Talaash

Although Jab Tak Hai Jaan has been creating the most waves in terms of promotions, the movie we are most looking forward to this year is Amir Khan’s Reema Kagti directed suspense drama Talaash. The buzz has been building up and it seems only now that we are getting to see a bit of the movie. Here is the jazzy first track from the soundtrack and some very interesting tid bits about the movie, Spoiler Free (I checked before posting as I didn’t want to mess up anyone’s experience, being an awesome film blog and all).

Kareena looks ravishing, Rani looks ticked off that she doesn’t get to dance and be all smooth and Amir’s moustache fills up the rest of the screen while he drives through the seedy areas of the city. Ram Sampath delivered a cracking soundtrack last time for Delhi Belly and if this is the sound he’s going for then we can add that to the list of exciting things about this movie!

Here is the press release and some news:

TALAASH – The search is on… in one single room now!

We have heard of suspense drama films revolving their entire story around bringing together all suspects in one script and confusing the audiences. But Talaash, which features the acclaimed actor Aamir Khan (who has been India’s Oscar choice frequently and whose production house, Aamir Khan productions has co produced this film, was nominated in the foreign language category at the Oscars, for Lagaan), newly married Kareena Kapoor, and Rani Mukerji, has juiced up this suspense formula a little more.

In the first song video from the film, Muskaane Jhoothi Hain, all suspects of the crime are going to be seen in the same room, under one roof. Talaash being a film of suspense drama genre, this music video is set to build up the anticipation of the audiences even more.

The movie is about a police officer played by Aamir Khan, who is trying to investigate and solve what seems like a perfect crime, and all suspects in the film are going to be seen together in that one single music video.

The video will thus have Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherji, Nawazzudin (from Gangs of Wasseypur) and all principal cast of the film  in one single frame making it a never seen before visual.

In such an interesting and nail biting way, Talaash is thus reviving a popular long forgotten genre of Bollywood film-making i.e. suspense drama.
The film also marks the amalgamated re-union of Aamir Khan, Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani who last came together in the cult classic film, Dil Chahta Hai.

One more reason for having a special promotional video was to bring Aamir, Rani and Kareena together in one frame and give that sensational visual to the audiences, as in the entire film, all three are never seen together. The film has been scripted in such a way that three lead characters of the film don’t come face to face..

Reema Kagti has directed a music video for the first time, and as the director of the film. She says: “Muskanein jhoothi hain is the title song of the film. The idea was thrown by the producers that perhaps we should also shoot a promotional video with it. Farhan, Zoya and I sat and brainstormed, and we came up with this idea, to introduce all the players in the suspense plot that will unfold in the film”.

 

Talaash Releases 30th of November

 @asimburney

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Khiladi 786 Teaser Trailer

Akshay Kumar has officially jumped ships from Slap Stick Akshay to Action Akshay and donned his Khiladi tag again after 12 years (the horrible Khiladi 420).

Partnering up with Himesh Reshammiya we get the first teaser trailer for Khiladi 786 and it proves that Rohit Shetty must be an auteur as director Ashish R. Mohan (who was 2nd unit director for Rohit on many of his big hits) seems to have straight up lifted his visual esthetic of bright colors and wire fu.

Some thoughts:

 

  • This trailer does nothing for me and leaves me completely cold as the Son of Sardar trailer did previously even though it hits all the neo masala sweet spots of thundering hero entry, non-sensical one liners, punchy dialogues followed by a pause so the junta wolf whistles and packs tons of inconsequential action.

 

  • Quite a few people feel that the danger to currently reigning box office king Salman Khan is that he starts repeating himself, I feel this much more true for Akshay who even in this trailer seems like he’s having no fun at all and is just going through the motions. He just doesn’t look as fresh and good anymore even if we do see his trademark grin. Akshay has always been a tool more than a driver of his movies and he seems to just do what’s necessary but the passion seems gone.

 

  • The trailer is solely built on revisiting Rowdy Rathode’s success and doesn’t add much more (With RR which wasn’t that great of a movie in the first place). We don’t get to see Himesh Reshammiya or Asin yet, but obviously with this being just a teaser we will at certain point as well as the soundtrack which I am not really looking forward to, even if Himesh has done some good work in the past, it’s never been great has it?

 

  • The biggest problem with wire based action is if not used sparingly, is it looses all impact in a fight sequence, this was one of my major issues with Singham and I feel it’s an art that Bollywood hasn’t mastered as well as their Southern Indian brethren.The only segment of the action that does truly work is the spinning punch Akshay delivers that finishes in a martial arts stance. (As any kid coming back from Friday prayers know, a Shalwar Kameez is totally bad ass to train kung fu in)

 

  • Is Khiladi really a franchise???

@asimburney

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Don 2 Upodcast FlashBack

We recorded this podcast just a day after Don 2 came out in a casual late night chat with our good friend Danny Bowes, from MoviesByBowes and also IndieWire (he’s been firing from both barrels so definitely check out his work).

Unfortunately I’m only now getting to posting it since there were some audio issues that i could only solve now as I didn’t want to give you guys a bad experience listening to Upodcast, but with Priyanka Chopra coming at us with a critically acclaimed performance in Barfi and her career as a popstar starting, as well as just not being to wait long enough to talk Shahrukh until Jab Tak Hai Jaan comes out in November, it was the right time to dig up and dust of our great chat about Don 2 again.

The discussion is still very geeky and very indepth as usually is the case with Upodcast. Bringing you a twist on Bollywood reviews that no one else does.

We talk the Superstar that ShahRukh is, what kind of movies he wants to make and how he wants to project himself, and we even go into the age old Salman vs Shahrukh debate ( in a respectful manner)

We covered Don’s release quite intensly and even did an interview with director Farhan Akhtar in our inimitable style that you can check out here! ( funny story, Shahrukh actually stepped into the room when we were talking to Farhan on the phone so we were only 1 degree away SRK, WOOHOO)

Do check out the episode below or subscribe to us in iTunes:

 

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Jab Tak Hai Jaan Trailer and an Analysis of the 2 Shahrukh’s

The trailer for the most looked forward to movie for the rest of the year is finally out after so much teasing and marketing strategizing. And when you finally watch it, you wonder, why didn’t they just show us the trailer straight away without all the ridiculous “We don’t have a title yet” strategy as the trailer really does stand on it’s own.

 

Lush visuals of Ladhak, the famous SRK arm stretch in London, a bubbly Anushka Sharma in booty shorts, Katrina Kaif playing the lover lost who you danced with in the rain in a bikini top laced over Shahrukh’s voice over of the poem written by producer Aditya Chopra that was released a couple of weeks ago with the poster, accompanied by the guitar of an AR Rahman soundtrack.

First some quick thoughts before I get into a bigger talking point:

  • I think my eyeballs might pop out from all the beautiful images on screen and I don’t just mean the lovely ladies but the locations (London hasn’t shot so beautifully in ages and hey I live here), the Royal Enfield and Harley Davidson bikes, even SRK scruffy beard. (Not such a fan of the cut off gloves)
  • Doesn’t that Free coffee sign behind Katrina Kaif ruin a bit of the visual? Even more so as the wafting of her hair feels like someone just opened the door to the local Starbucks.
  • The trailer is pretty spoilerific: You can figure out much of the storyline with this trailer alone and especially the yearning way the Katrina shots are taken.
  • I don’t want to see SRK wear a fedora. Fedora’s are for douches, period.
  • I’m calling it now; this will be my favorite soundtrack of the year. No one does what AR Rahman can do musically, I will fight people if they claim differently
  • Still not too sure about the poem itself, but this might be because of the horrible translations SRK was tweeting which made me unfollow him.
  • Cool Guys don’t look at explosions indeed

 

I think I’ve cracked the ShahRukh Khan mystery to a certain degree after watching this trailer.

Like most of us he has 2 distinct sides to his personality. The first is the ambitious orphan underdog/outsider that came to Mumbai to chase the love of his live (Lets’ call him Scrapper ShahRukh) and the other is the guy that became the biggest superstar in the Indian Film Industry after a certain Big B (AKA Superstar SRK).

Scrapper ShahRukh takes chances, give us an abundance of emotions, can romance a tree and make us believe that his mom did actually say that there are 2 paths in life, one good and one bad, the bad one is easy, the good one is hard but the only right one. (Darr, Baazigar, Swades, Chak De India)

Superstar SRK on the other hand has grand ambitions as a producer is cockier, loves his action mixed with his own brand of smarmy charm and wants to create the biggest film and effects studio in India. (He also wears Fedora’s and makes gay security guards think he’s wearing a Prince Albert)

 

In the past few years Scrapper SRK didn’t want to get bogged down in Raj/Rahul roles and after loosing some of his long-term collaborators, his inherent competitive streak mutated to Hulk like proportions making him implode into Superstar SRK what seemed like a permanent transformations.

Even working with Karan Johar and to a certain degree Aditya Chopra, we end up getting disjointed movies that never find a compromise with that internal tug of war. (Rab Ne Banadi Jodi almost being a play by play of this theory)

 

When Superstar SRK takes over a project (as the superstars doesn’t star in movies but projects), he will include in the package a blitzkrieg media campaign; an oversaturation of “I am the best and the rest is shit” quotes, and promote the movie in every village, country, city and social media platform until he wears himself out physically and emotionally.

I strongly believe most people don’t like this Shahrukh. (not including fanboys and girls as they are crazy loons)

 

Only the relationship people that knew him from way back when (Farah Khan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Aziz Mirza, Juhi Chawla and Yash Chopra) can tap into Scrapper Shahrukh again and when he let’s go of the reins, cinematic magic happens.

 

All that to say, I’m really happy we seem to be getting scrapper Shahrukh as I’ve really missed him.

 

Movie is in UK theaters 13th of November.

 

Color us EXCITED.

@asimburney

 

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Taalaash Trailer Finally Surfaces

The long awaited trailer for Talaash has finally arrived after the release date got bumped from June 1st to November 30th and quite a few rumors about Amir Khan’s alleged disappointment with the direction Reema Kagti took or not wanting to loose his position at the Box Office after both other Khans delivered quite a few massive hits.

Frankly, I think both reports are B.S. as Amir has always walked his own walk.

 

When other actors are growing moustaches and donning police uniforms to cater to mass audiences, Amir chooses to work on what looks like a very cerebral thriller, a genre doesn’t draw desi audiences. Although No One Killed Jessica and Kahaani, prove that the timing might be perfect, and even I am getting tired of massy Southie remakes lately (and we have a few yet to arrive)

 

Dealing with a mysterious murder of a film star, Armaan Kapoor, but quickly turning into a story of obsession, guilt and infidelity. Amir Khan is accompanied by an amazing cast of Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee and Nawazzuddin Siddiqui (who I wonder if is getting more prominence in the trailer after Kahaani and Gangs Of WasseyPur)

 

I’m really looking forward to Taalaash, not only because it’s an Amir Khan flick, which is pretty much the gold standard in Hindi Movies, but also because I loved Reema Kagti’s debut HoneyMoon Travels, although I discovered it very late on a random tv zapping session. Khan is usually enjoyable in tough guy roles especially when he did Baazi and Sarfarosh years ago, although he doesn’t have the physicality anymore to convincingly play a cop, the moustache surely makes up for quite a bit.

It’s always fun to see Rani Mukherjee on screen who I never seem to get enough of and together with her Aiyya releasing soon, we’re in for some great releases from her and seeing her different shades.

The only wild card is really Kareena Kapoor, although she is fabulous as in her Heroine trailer, she just doesn’t seem to be part of the same movie we are watching, maybe it’s her diva persona that has gotten too big but it feels like very long ago since she actually had to challenge herself cinematically.

 

In any case Talaash is a movie to look forward to, hitting theaters on November 30th.

 

@asimburney

 

Kamal Khan, in search of his queen of angels

Kamal Khan, Pariyon Ki Rani

British Asian actor, Kamal Khan, is preparing to take the music industry by storm with the release of his debut single and music video, Pariyon Ki Rani.

“Pariyon Ki Rani is a soulful hindi love ballad about meeting someone special and not knowing when you’ll see them again” is the way Kamal likes to describe it. Produced by UK’s music maestro, Sumeet Chopra who has worked with world famous Bollywood playback singers such as Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Mahalaxmi Iyer and Shankar Mahadevan to name a few.

His versatile voice allows Kamal to easily adapt to both Hindi and English music, appealing to multi-cultural audience.

Born and raised in the UK, Kamal’s passion for music took him to Hollywood to be close to the heart of the movie-making and performing arts industry. “Having performed extensively in the USA at festivals over the last few years, it was finally time to unleash something to the world”

You may recall Kamal Khan as the “South Asian Face” that appeared in Ford commercials which were played throughout the UK. Others recall the dashing Royal Navy officer that made appearances all over UK and European networks.  I suspect however that for British audiences he will be best remembered for his roles in The Bill (a long-running but now ended Police procedural soap-opera) and of course Eastenders (a long-running and still running soap opera set in London’s east end).

His biggest breakthrough came when Kamal flourished the stage in the West End Fringe, playing the lead of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. The UK Press praised his abilities to succeed as a South Asian actor in the Shakespearean world in articles entitled “Asian Actor Plays Lead Role in Shakespearian Play”.

For enquiries, please contact Sohail Anjum www.sohailanjum.com

@martincawley

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Ek Tha Tiger Review

Yash Raj Films (YRF) and Salman Khan finally come together for the first time under the direction of Kabir Khan to bring us the story of what happens when a RAW Agent called Tiger starts us