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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.

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Ep 233: “Insomnia is my obsessed lover” – Mahira Khan Talks Verna

This episode we speak to the luminescent Mahira Khan about her movie releasing in theaters today, Verna.

We recorded the interview last week, before the controversy surrounding the release became big news, but glad to hear everything seems to be sorted out and people can go out and watch the movie everywhere.

Mahira talks about:

  • International fame and fandom
  • How to promote a movie with impactful themes
  • Adapting a global message to a local audience
  • A rumor she doesn’t mind spreading…

Verna is playing in theaters from today!

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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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.

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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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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.

 

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

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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

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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

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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?

 

Certain Women- an Interview with director Kelly Reichardt

It’s been a long day for Kelly Reichardt, whose latest film Certain Women is due out in the UK this Friday, 3 March. When she listens to you, she folds into herself, her chin tucked in, almost disappearing into the enormous wing chair she’s seated in. And then she looks up to answer you, keen eyes direct.

It’s the morning after the Oscars and I want to know if she stayed up to watch the now notorious telecast that ended in a confused jumble with Moonlight eventually beating out La La Land for Best Picture.

“No, I didn’t. It was in the middle of the night,” she says, smiling a little wearily. She’s been working and gearing up for this grueling press junket, with more meaningful human contact in a day than most of us experience in a week. “I do know my fellow Miami filmmaker Barry Jenkins won for Moonlight, which was one for the home team. I liked the movie very much; it was nice to see parts of Miami portrayed that you normally don’t. It was a nice little shelter from a year of cruelty – when that film came out in such harsh times, to see it celebrated.”

Often described as the new master of the American experience, Reichardt’s own film, Certain Women, is also a triptych, a look at the lives of four ordinary women in an America that refuses to be safely pigeonholed into one familiar category or the other. There is an innate loneliness to the lives these women lead, bubbling under the surface where they have carefully hidden it away. It stems from their gender, their independence, their jobs, the people they love, the lives they have chosen for themselves. When the rancher played by Lily Gladstone finally makes a push and turns herself fully visible for an instant, it is a crystallized moment of uncertainty because this entire world is built on women who disappear in plain sight.

The stories of Certain Women are based on two collections of short stories by bestselling novelist Maile Meloy, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (2009) and Half in Love (2002). I ask Reichardt why she was so drawn to Meloy’s work and she says, “They were just great character pieces; the characters were really sort of hunkered down in this particular environment.”

The film is set in Montana, home to Meloy, and it’s an interesting juxtaposition of landscape and lives: the visuals are of the vast sky and cold beauty that are a familiar staple of the great American Western but the characters are unlike any in those kinds of movies. There’s a lawyer (Laura Dern) whose client won’t take her professional advice seriously but needs her to be his emotional sounding board; there’s an unhappy wife (Michelle Williams) who chooses to focus on the perfect home in the midst of the shambles of her marriage; there’s a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart) who is so wrapped up in the mere act of being herself that she can’t see beyond that struggle; and there’s a rancher (Lily Gladstone) who is so desperate to make a connection, she will do it any way she can.

“[Meloy] is from Montana, so she set the stories there and I went there,” Reichardt says. “It’s super intertwined… sometimes you’ve got to come to a place to figure out the people and they go hand in hand.”

Most reviewers have singled out the story between the lonely rancher and the young lawyer she falls for; in the original collection, the rancher is male, which turns that story into a more traditional, familiar one of a lonely cowhand and a city slicker. But the story in Certain Women is not that story, it is instead an unfamiliar one of female friendship and companionship and love. I ask Reichardt about the gender switching.

“It’s not a sexual romance in that story,” she says. “It’s a crush of sorts and someone projecting a lot onto another person. It just might be an attraction to someone that has access to a world that the rancher doesn’t. Someone isolated romanticizing someone else’s life.”

It strikes me that the thing I found most interesting about Certain Women is its refusal to romanticize these lives. Unlike the characters who populate it, the film remains clear eyed to the end, taking its time to capture the complex reality of these lives.
Add Certain Women to the list of interesting movies that 2016 sent us.

Winner of Best Film at the 60th BFI London Film Festival 2016

Michelle Williams winner: Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lily Gladstone winner: Best Supporting Actress at the LA Film Critics’ Awards

Kelly Reichardt nominated: Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards

Lily Gladstone nominated: Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards

Certain Women is in UK theaters this week

Kelly Reichardt was interviewed by Amrita Rajan.

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

Tu Mera Sunday LFF Review

Milind Dhaimade’s Tu Hai Mera Sunday is a charming little surprise of a movie. This story of five amiable friends in Mumbai trying to navigate a little football time for themselves isn’t really attempting to re-invent the wheel – and this allows the film to relax long enough to breathe some life into the characters that inhabit it, such as the rather mysterious figure of the old man suffering from dementia (Shiv Subramaniam, perfect) who becomes the catalyst for most of the events that drive the narrative.

None of these people are strangers to those familiar with the classic Hindi film “Bombay milieu” – there’s Jayesh (Jay Upadhyay, funny), the well-to-do Gujarati who wants to get away from his noisy, religious family that bores him well-nigh to madness; “Bawa” (Nakul Bhalla, affecting), the Parsi who is surrounded by the slowly crumbling ruins of his cultural past as he tries to comprehend his present; Domi (Vishal Malhotra, competent as ever), the Catholic mummy’s boy who could have been a musical success; Arjun (Barun Sobti, charming), the upper class, clean cut, “hero” type whom everybody loves but acknowledges is a slacker. However, this is a movie whose camera chooses to linger just that extra moment to capture the fly in one’s favorite sweetshop, so the last friend is Rashid (Avinash Tiwary, stellar), who wonders whether any of the girls who’re happy to go home with him at the end of a date would be equally happy to accept a proposal of marriage from a Muslim.

Tu Hai Mera Sunday is a movie that carries its liberality lightly and therefore feels more relatable and true in a way that the holier-than-thou lectures unleashed by hypocritical mainstream Bollywood stars are not. When one of the friends argues that the girl he likes is “not like the girls” Rashid takes home with him, he very matter-of-factly points out that there is nothing wrong with the girls he dates either. At another point, a man confesses that he chickened out of confessing his feelings because he wasn’t sure if he could provide the girl he loves with all the luxuries she wants out of life – only to have her retort that she is well able to get those material luxuries for herself and is simply looking for someone who cares for her (Shahana Goswami, total package as always). In fact, for a movie that’s all about five boys in need of a playground, this is a movie that embraces its women – from the happily married upper class woman obsessed with the perfection of her child to the middle class deserted wife striving to raise her deaf boys to the best of her ability to the woman navigating an inter-religious relationship.

Billed as a movie about creating space for oneself in the great urban sprawl that is Mumbai, Tu Hai Mera Sunday is equally a movie about living one’s life in a city where it is easier to live a routine. Dhaimade is a talent to watch.

Tu Hai Mera Sunday (You Are My Sunday) had it’s World Premiere at the  60th BFI London Film Festival, as part of the festival’s Love Gala on 15th- -16th October.

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

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.

You can listen/download/stream our episode below.

Or subscribe to iTunes and never miss a show!

 

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.

Win a DVD of the Stunning Sci- Fi Identicals!

For chance to win a copye of the DVD of Identicals: Like our Facebook page/ Follow us on Twitter and drop us a mail with subject line: “I want to win!” on Upodcasting@gmail.com

UK entries only and competition deadline is 22 august!

Here’s the trailer and synopsis:


The film follows an organization Brand New-U which identifies networks of IDENTICALS – people who walk like you, talk like you, but are walking through different, better lives. Slater (Lachlan Nieboer) seems to have the perfect life, the perfect job and the perfect girlfriend. But when Slater’s girlfriend is abducted by Brand New-U, he is forced to become an Identical. As he moves through a series of parallel lives, he becomes more and more obsessed with finding his girlfriend, but what he must find in the end is himself.

IDENTICALS is available on Digital/VoD 15th August and DVD 22nd August

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!

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.

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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/

 

 

Vidhu Vinod Chopra Interview- Broken Horses

Sometimes a man can be so talented that facing him for a short chat can be intimidating. Writer- Producer- Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra is one of those men. He’s been involved with ground breaking cinema for a few decades and today he sat down with us to talk about his English venture Broken Horses.

Our Review of Broken Horses can be found here.

Broken Horses cast features – Vincent D’Onofrio (The Judge, FULL METAL JACKET, MEN IN BLACK), Anton Yelchin (LIKE CRAZY, STAR TREK, ALPHA DOG) and Chris Marquette (ALPHA DOG, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR). The cast includes popular Spanish actress, Maria Valverde (Exodus), Thomas Jane, and Sean Patrick Flanery.

 

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From the Press Release:

The legendary film-maker, who has always set a new benchmark for the Indian film fraternity and has made some of the most memorable movies that India has cherished like the Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots, Mission Kashmir, Parinda, among several others, has once again decided to reinvent the wheel. He has stepped out of his comfort zone and with Broken Horses he becomes the first Indian filmmaker to make a Hollywood Production – it is the first Hollywood film produced, directed and written by an Indian!

Set in the shadows of the US-Mexico border gang wars, Broken Horses is an epic thriller about the bonds of brotherhood, the laws of loyalty, and the futility of violence. The film has been co-written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi (PK, 3 Idiots, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Mission Kashmir) and it based on an original story by Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Broken Horses is in currently playing in selected theaters.

 

The Imitation Game Review and London Film Festival Preview

As the London Film Festival rolls onwards, we are joined by writer, producer, DJ Shai Hussain and talk about the movies we are most looking forward to as well as give short thoughts on the ones we have already caught like Jason Reitman’s Men, Women and Children and Justin Simien’s Dear White People.

Our main review is the opening night’s The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley and Matthey Goode based on the life of mathemetican Alan Turing and how he worked on cracking the Enigma machine and helping the allies defeat the Nazi regime during WWII.

Here are some of trailers of the movies we covered during our chat if you haven’t seen them yet:

As always download and subscribe to our Podcast in the links below.

You can find more of Shai’s work on http://about.me/ShaiHussain

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

Santosh Sivan MasterClass BFI LIFF 2014

London Indian Film Festival brought with it the golden opportunity to spend an evening with ace Indian cinematographer/director – Santosh Sivan. As a fan of his work, this was something not to be missed, and I went in with high expectations. Held at the BFI Southbank, the Santosh Sivan Masterclass was being conducted by BBC Radio Presenter Nihal.

It started off as a QnA session on Sivan’s early inspirations that drew him towards the visual medium. Sivan’s stories clearly depict his childlike enthusiasm at nature’s offerings. And unsurprisingly enough, that enthusiasm is still alive, and is quite obvious in the way he narrated his stories, and also from the fondness that is conveyed. Most of his quirky experiences have somehow translated into his cinema.

Later on, we moved to the milestones of his career. To name a few, Mani Ratnam’s Roja, Iruvar, Thalapathi, and Dil Se, and his own directed features – Asoka, Terrorist, and Before the Rains. Sivan’s passion for storytelling, whether in feature film format, or documentaries was also one of the discussions in this masterclass.

His latest work – Ceylon, was met with a few controversies, and was pulled from the cinemas. Hopefully, we should get to see Ceylon in the near future. Here are 15 quotes from his masterclass.

On his early inspiration: My grandma always use to narrate me stories in a very cinematic way. The moon rose, then the night lit. So that has been my visual inspiration.

On why he chose cinematography: I used to love taking black and white pictures. If I wasn’t a cinematographer, I would be a farmer. Because I’d be very close to nature.

On how he deals with child actors: You don’t try to change child actors, but adapt yourself to them. Otherwise  you’d be changing the reason why you took them in the first place.

On Chhaiya Chhaiya: Sharukh Khan was the fastest thing on that train.

On his favourite scene: The complexity and lighting of the scene in Iruvar when Mohanlal wave shis hand and there is a crowd cheering loudly, that reminds me of the hard work we put in to achieve that. So that scene is special to me.

On actors and their insecurities: I often tell actors to act as if the camera is their best friend. And put as less makeup as possible.

On whether it is possible to be a director without being a cinematographer:
I disagree with that. Because it is not good too much of everything. A director can have a visual sense, and an idea of his end product, without knowing cinematography.

On his favourite international film: Bicycle Thief is one of my favourite films. Because it is a very little, and very real film.

On perceiving beauty visually: I wake up in the morning at 5 am, and see the world in monochrome. Then the first rays of sunlight appear, and you see the world in soft light. Then the bright light starts to appear. It is like the universe is putting on a show for you.

On how he handles his sensory overload when he sees beauty all around you: Smoke some cigarettes and a drink.

On Asoka: Even now I feel very proud of that film. It was inspired by my school teacher, who wanted to be a theatrical actor. And he used to teach us of Asoka.

On his collaboration with Mani Ratnam: He is an old friend, and a creative ally. We do have differences on set, and even fights. But at the end of the day, we just want to make the best film we can.

On why he chooses to make documentaries: It is like telling a real tale of how it was set in time somewhere. That excites me.

On his most embarrassing work : I don’t have any such list of work that I should be ashamed of. In the same way, I do not have a favourite project. I cannot sit on my past achievements. My best is always coming next.

On the controversy surrounding his next feature Ceylon: It got pulled because I did not want any tension around the election period. I am releasing it again, after getting an approval from those who objected to it without even seeing the film. I will be showing it to them.

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

@9e3k

OneKnightStands Bollypop | 9E3K | @9E3K

London Indian Film Festival 2014 starts with Dhol Dhamaka!

It was the opening night of London Indian Film Festival 2014. Now in its 5th year, the festival has become a major platform to showcase the best of what the Indian indie cinema scene has to offer. Running from the 10th to the 17th of July this year, this year’s programme not only features entries from India, but also other countries of South Asia viz. Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It being the opening night at London’s Cineworld Haymarket, the venue was star studded to the brim with familiar celebrities walking the short but shiny red carpet. The celeb list is long, but I have to mention two big names.
Firstly, Gillian Anderson, promoting and supporting her movie – SOLD, which opened the festival this evening.
And secondly, veteran Indian actress Kamini Kaushal.
Gillian looks exactly like she does in The Fall / Hannibal. I know, that’s an obvious statement. But she does. I was lucky enough to be seated just a few rows behind her. Unfortunately selfies weren’t even a remote possibility because she was surrounded by black suit wearing, bald and stout guards. Quite the stereotype for a Hollywood biggie, but there you go. I wonder what kind of guards J-Law has.


Kamini Kaushal on the other hand, was seated not so far from us. She looks like she hasn’t aged a single day from the last time I saw her in a movie – perhaps in a Dadijee role in Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega.

The opening night movie of the festival was Academy Award winner, director Jeffrey Brown’s SOLD – based on a real stories, is about a girl called Lakshmi who falls prey to a child-trafficking gang, and is smuggled into Kolkata. It is expected that with a subject matter like this, the movie is going to be a hard watch. It did make me feel very uncomfortable in a few portions. And it made me wonder whether this was a good choice as the opening movie for the festival. Previous years have seen such movies such as Gangs of Wasseypur and Monsoon Shootout as the one’s opening LIFF. Having said that, it is a compelling movie which tells it tale with little dashes of humour, and yet doesn’t shy away from punching you in the gut with its harsh imagery. More on the movie will be discussed on the Upodcast review.
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And as the lights came up after the end credits, the hall errupted with a loud applause for the makers of this movie. There was a Q&A session held after the movie. And to say the least, it was the most awkward public situations I have ever witnessed. Not because of the topic of child trafficking being discussed. But because of the level of stupidity and banality of the questions that were being thrown at Jeffrey Brown and Gillian Anderson. The usual keywords of “vision”, “preparation”, “feel” were thrown around. Let’s just say, the Q&A pretty much drowned any impact the movie had.

And as we walked out of the auditorium, a good friend of mine introduced me to ace cinematographer and director – Santosh Sivan. And yes, I have been making plenty of noises about that on social networks. And on my way out, I did catch a glimpse of Amy Jackson looking very yellow (because she was wearing a yellow dress), and (if you remember) popstar Raageshwari (of Duniya fame), looking very white (because she was very pale, and wearing white and shimmery). There was some noise about an afterparty being held, but in the words of the great Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”.

That wraps up opening day of London Indian Film Festival for me. I am looking forward to a feast of good cinema, and you should be looking forward to a barrage of coverage of LIFF from us.

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

Leave the World Behind Review

Breaking up is never easy, and saying sorry can sometimes be just as tough – so it seems for Swedish House Mafia in Leave the World Behind, the new film from Christian Larson which documents the trio’s final million-ticket-selling world tour.

It begins with show number one of fifty – the lights come up, tens of thousands of people are screaming, arms up and open wide. The words flash up on a giant screen We Come, We Rave, We Love. A curtain the size of the Vancouver Dam falls from the stage to reveal Axel ‘Axewell’ Hedfors, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angelio a.k.a Swedish House Mafia. The beats erupt, the arena explodes into an all out assault on the senses, and for several minutes, you feel you are part of it; that you’re sharing that experience with those who were really there. There’s no doubt about it, Swedish House Mafia are a musical force to be reckoned with. Or sadly, ‘were’ a force to be reckoned with, because this is there last ever tour and the last time these adoring beat-seekers will see their heroes perform on stage together. But why?

Is it down to all the regular clichés? The drugs? The personality clashes? Too many T.V.’s out of too many hotel windows? The problem is, I’m still not sure, and I don’t think they are either.

Leave the World Behind conveys a band in a constant state of frustration and disarray. They don’t hate each other, but are downright scared that they might start hating each other. The fans don’t want them to break up, and at times, they don’t particularly want to break up either, but something has become amiss between three guys who started out as just three friends out to spend every night on stage as if it were their last. The good times clearly can’t last forever. Things change and of course, people do too.

Larson tries to show us these changes. From party people to family men, some differences a clear, but these are in contradiction to other things we see; leaving the family to work on material, only for the interest of certain members seeming to waiver. There’s an elephant in the room, but this is a band hell bent on partying around it as opposed to blasting it away with those massive beats. The anger and frustration of three friends growing apart but still tied together by the most wonderful thing they have created is clear and yet no-one seems to have the guts to just come out and speak about it. Perhaps that’s just human nature and in real life, some questions will always go unanswered, especially when friendship is on the line. Although it seems Swedish House Mafia would be in a far better place if they were just honest and communicated properly with each other.

Larson gives us real insight into what made this trio such a giant in contemporary music and how their songs touched millions of fans. He also manages to show us the other side of being in a band with friends, and although this is by no means new territory to cover, it’s still a sad sight to see these guys drifting apart and completely unsure what to do about it except push the eject button. In the end, they sign off as a band that went out on top. A brave decision, but in light of Leave the World Behind, perhaps one made of less heroic choices. If you can’t confide in your friends, who can you confide in?

Leave The World Behind hits selected theaters in March.

Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

 

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Rio 2 Footage Screening and Q&A

It’s a Thursday night in London, there’s the cold, the wind, the rain, and the tube strikes to tackle if you’re going to get anywhere. But if you can brave the elements and the train unions, in a London Hotel Screening room somewhere in Soho, a glimmer of the spring ahead is on show.  I’m talking about Writer/Director, Carlos Saldanha’s footage screening of Rio 2.

 

Now, two confessions; one – I haven’t seen the original Rio as yet -it’s a film that passed me by. Like many CGI carton films, I always seem to forget how much fun they can be until someone picks me up and plonks me down into a cinema seat to watch one. I nearly always leave the better for it and then very quickly forget all over again how much I enjoy them until the next time I’m forced to watch one – it’s sort of like a much less interesting version of Groundhog Day.

 

Two – this was not a screening of the full movie – it’s still two weeks away from completion. This was an appetizer, showing off the story, the set pieces and the characters old and new. So here is the low-down on what you can expect from Rio 2:

 

A Bigger World

Having conquered Rio de Janero’s hustle and bustle in the first movie (thank you IMDB), Rio 2 moves our main characters away from the bright lights and big noise of the city and plunges Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) into the Amazon rainforest in search of more Blue Macaws like themselves. This of course, leads to more trouble for our lovable, domesticized Blu, having thought he and Jewel were the last of their kind, he now discovers there are more in the wild and once again he is the outsider.

 

 

New Characters

Having lived happily ever after at the end of the first movie, Rio 2 picks up with Blu as the family man… or family Macaw. He and Jewel now have the kids to think about – all three of them, and these aren’t the cutesy kind. Think – tying your babysitter to fireworks on NYE and you’ll be closer to the mark.

 

The new flock of Macaws are lead by the buzz-cut wearing, Eduardo, voiced by the always-gruffer-than-his-last-movie, Andy Garcia. He doesn’t trust human or their domesticized pets. He’s also Jewel’s father. Will Blu match up to his expectations as a son-in-law? Not with a fanny-pack in tow he won’t.

 

If that didn’t make life tough enough, he also has to compete with Macaw-stud and fantastic-at-everything Roberto, (Bruno Mars), who’s introduction as a singing Casanova had everyone in the audience laughing out loud.

Old enemies

Villain of the original Rio, Nigel the Cockatoo (Jermaine Clement) is back. The now-lame-winged bird is joined by Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), the love-struck poisonous frog and Charlie the anteater. Together they follow Blu and family into the jungle to wreak revenge – although somewhere along the way get caught up in a Talent Competition.

 

Set Pieces

Rio 2 begins with a massive New Year’s Eve Party on Rio beach, setting the tone for a film filled with colour, music and ambitions to convey the real heart of Brazil. This continues with a macaw-style football match in the middle of the second act; they may be birds, but they still love the beautiful game. The most entertaining footage however was left to last; a ‘Jungle’s Got Talent’ sequence where all the competitors get to show off their unique skills… Just before being eaten up by the other competitors – that’s the jungle for you. This sequence culminates in Nigel’s finest as-yet-seen moment. A performance of I Will Survive, with added Jermaine Clement Free-Styling.

 

And that was it. For now. It certainly left me wanting to catch up on the original before Rio 2 is released in the spring. With some great looking animation, an exceptional cast and a fair few belly laughs in just the small amount of footage we saw, Rio 2, so far, is a movie worth looking forward to. Roll on spring time.

 

 

Featuring the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann, Jamie Foxx and Andy Garcia, Rio 2 flies into cinemas April 4, 2014.

 -

Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

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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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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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LIFF Review Monsoon Shootout

 

 

Monsoon Shootout was the perfect opening film to the wonderful yearly non-Bollywood Indian film Festival LIFF. Not only was Amit Kumar’s 10 years in the making debut still riding on it’s praise from Cannes, it was a movie exclusive enough that wasn’t available to UK audiences but also had the cachet of a well known name attached to most of it’s marketing in critical darling Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

 

We follow Adi (Vijay Varma) who starts his day with his mother’s advice that life is basically Goldilock’s porridge, to be eaten just the right way. Armed with a Ganesha round his neck and the realization that his supervising officer (Neeraj Kabi) has watched Denzel Washington’s Training Day one to many times, he is assigned to chase down the Shiva, the Ax killer (Nawazuddin), who has been extorting money from builders for an underground Slum Lord who is preparing his entry for the world wrestling federation old timers division.

Adi and Shiva come face to face under on a rainy night which sets us up for the 3-way split narrative where we see what can happen if Adi eats his porridge too hot, too cold or just right.

 

It is clear to see that director Amit Kumar has poured in his personal vision in every frame of the movie, the movie is gritty, dark supported by some wonderful performances both by the leads Vijay Varma and Nawazuddin as well as the supporting cast of Neeraj Kabi, Tannishtha Chatterjee and the little dude that was playing her son. Monsoon Shootout clearly wants to distance itself from any conventional Bollywood film by its subject matter, casting choices and narrative flow.

 

Unfortunately this is not Tomas Twyker’s Run Lola Run, which had the visuals to support its structure forcing the movie to move at a relentless pace and never get boring.  Monsoon Shootout has none of those visual flourishes and keeps it dire and gritty vision until the end, whilst still managing to cut away from any impactful gore. From the 2nd narrative possibility things start to slow down and the aversion to Bollywood conventions seem a bit forced. Like most Hindi Independent films it remains in cinematic adolescents, rebelling against its Bollywood lineage but not grown up enough to play with global filmi big boys who have done this before and better.

 

Since Amit Kumar has been working on this story for a decade this are things he could have mended if he hadn’t been as close to the story as he was. I also think he had no idea that Nawazuddin would break out to become the start he is now. A savvier director could have padded up his scenes but this didn’t seem the case in Monsoon Shootout, so we miss out some of the fire that we know Siddiqui can bring to the screen as in Kahaani or Gangs Of Wasseypur.

 

But these are small issues with an overall positive cinematic experience and a great opener to one of the most unique cinematic festivals in London, which we hope to be covering in the next few days.

@asimburney

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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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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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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 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Being a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings book and movie series, I was quite looking forward to it’s sequel but when I started watching it when it finally came out on DVD, I fell asleep twice and never managed to finish it. The story has been stretched out for 3 movies where the book itself is quite short, I never bought into the central premise or the farcical tone.

This new trailer and images shows quite a bit more of the action as well as new cast members.

I still don’t know if it is enough for people to get really hyped about it though.

 

Here are some more images:

The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventures of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.

 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

 

The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug opens nationwide across the UK on 13th December 2013.

@asimburney

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Danny Boyle revisits Trainspotting

After 17 years, the cast and crew of the brilliant British film ‘Trainspotting’ (1996) came together for a very special reunion screening in London.

The first in a series of Classic Cinema Reunions, the Trainspotting event was curated by the London Film School in support of their exciting and ambitious capital campaign. On stage at the Ciné Lumière in South Kensington after the film were director Danny Boyle, actor Robert Carlyle, producer Andrew Macdonald and David Aukin, the Channel 4 executive who commissioned this lively, inventive adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel in the first place. Also in the room on this special night were the film’s editor, costume designer, director of photography and production designer. The audience was also treated to an appearance by phone from Ewan McGregor, who played the lead character Renton in the 1996 film.

Following the event, Danny Boyle spoke exclusively to HiBROW about his experience in making the film, and how it would be different were it made in 2013.

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

 

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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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Behind the Candelabra Trailer

Steven Soderbergh’s been claiming that he will soon be retiring from film making, so it’s quite interesting to see the project that he wants to finish. One of which is the Behind the Candelabra based on the life of Vegas showstopper Liberace and his relationship with partner Scott Thorson.

I’ve never really connect with Soderbergh’s work but he does always bring interesting people together on his projects and it has been a while since we saw Michael Douglas on screen after his health concerns. Based on the book by Scott Thorson who had a passionate 6 year relationship with Liberace, the movie is written by Richard LaGravenese (The Horse Whisperer, PS I Love, The Fisher King).

Here is the trailer and Synopsis:

Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was LIBERACE – infamous pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. A name synonymous with showmanship and extravagance, he lit up every stage he performed on, as bright as his candelabras and with a unique flair that gained him millions of devoted fans across the globe.

In the summer of 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into Liberace’s dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair. To the outside world Scott was an employee, at most a friend, but behind closed doors his life with Liberace was an intense rollercoaster of hedonistic fun, flamboyance and excess.

Starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, BEHIND THE CANDELABRA tells the fascinating true story of their glamorous life together and their tempestuous relationship — from the glitz and glamour of the early days in Las Vegas to their very bitter and public break-up.

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA is released in cinemas on June 7th

@asimburney

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Beat Girl Review

Releasing this week is the movie adaptation of Beat Girl a novel by Jasmine Kallay, about young Heather Jennings (played by Louise Dylan known to some form BBC’s Jane Austin’s Emma) who after the passing of her mother has to move in with her father and step- brother who she really doesn’t know or have any stable relationship with. She wants to earn a scholarship to Juliard as she’s quite the piano prodigy but along the way stumbles into underground Dj’ing and is torn between what she thought she wanted and the new enticing world that has opened up to her.

Beat Girl is an British independent feature produced by beActive but what’s interesting is that it’s simultaneously being released as a book, game, web series and of course the movie itself. We always want to support new initiatives and release strategies even though the target audience of the movie is women between 18 -35.

 

Or at least that’s what’s intended; unfortunately the real audience is probably a bit younger.

Struggling with a small budget and a very young cast, Beat Girl has its heart in the right place and delivers a few earnest performances especially from Louise Dylan and Percell Ascot (playing her younger brother). That was the main story line that I connected with most and I appreciated how casually a multi race family issue was dealt with. Unfortunately that story line gets side tracked by a romantic plot with Craig Daniels (playing Toby, the DJ Yoda), which lacks any semblance of chemistry.

The overall story of Heather being stuck between being a classical pianist or a DJ is just half baked and never really makes the viewer believe she has the skill or drive to be either.

The direction, cinematography and music are at the level of a day time soap or a TV movie for young teens that lack any sense of irony, I just don’t know if those teens exist, as I doubt people like Heather or Craig do either.

 

Although it has it’s heart in the right place, and an innovative way of releasing a project but unfortunately Beat Girl just misses the beat.

 

@asimburney

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Man Of Steel Banner Posters

We received these beautiful Banner posters for Man Of Steel and I just had to share them.

Not much to say much else as I’m going officially not going to watch any promo material anymore until the movie comes out to remain spoiler free.

But these were just too awesome not to share.

 

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures comes “Man of Steel,” starring Henry Cavill (“Immortals,” TV’s “The Tudors”) in the role of Clark Kent/Superman, under the direction of Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”).

A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth.  As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do.  But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

The film also stars four-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (“The Master”) as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) as her editor-in-chief, Perry White.  Starring as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (“Dances with Wolves”).

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”), and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue (upcoming “The Seventh Son”).  Also from Superman’s native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Ayelet Zurer (“Angels and Demons”), and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”).

MAN OF STEEL will fly into cinemas on June 14, 2013

@asimburney

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The 4th London INDIAN Film Festival Launches in July

We’ve been fortunate enough to have been covering the London Indian Film Festival for the past couple of years and we just received exciting news that in July the festivities in London are starting again!

Previous years we chatted with Abhinay Deo and Imran Khan for Delhi Belly as well as Anurag Kashyap for Gangs Of Wasseypur!

Although the full program isn’t out yet. At least we can mark down our calendar with this press release:

Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema London Indian Film Festival returns to the capital celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema. The fourth annual festival will run from 18-25 July, bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of India’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 the Indian subcontinent today, in all its diversity.

The festival will stretch city wide, opening in the West End at the Cineworld Haymarket and continue at BFI Southbank, Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue, Wood Green, Wandsworth, the O2 and ICA. For the second time the festival is also teaming up with the Tate Modern.

The London Indian Film Festival also has films and events for a wide range of audiences and includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring Indian/UK co-production and specially commissioned music and performance pieces.

A diverse range of World and UK Premieres will be screened including red carpet opening and closing nights of the hottest previews.

The latest confirmation is a centrepiece master class by actor Irrfan Khan, one of the very few Indians to straddle Hollywood, British and Indian cinema. Khan has come to world attention over the last 25 years with an impressive range of roles from under-dogs to action heroes, long distance runners and corporate megalomaniacs.
His memorable film roles include Oscar winners Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and Salaam Bombay, BAFTA winner The Warrior, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Bollywood hits Maqbooland Paan Singh Tomar. The festival will be honouring this versatile actor with a dedicated evening at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 20th July.

The London Indian Film Festival’s full programme will be released on 18 June.

We are delighted to announce that our major sponsors this year will include O2 International Sim, and the festival is also grant supported for the first time with Lottery funding through the BFI’s Film Festival Fund.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director says:

“It’s great to be working on the zeitgeist of new Indian cinema and we aren’t just showing Indian films for Indian

audiences, but kicking open the door to the rich diversity of independent cinema emerging across the Indian

subcontinent today. These films are accessible to everyone! It’s also exciting to see some of the best of the

filmmakers we have helped champion, now starting to be recognised on the world stage, where they belong. We

are very proud to be showcasing these new films here, first, in London, surely the world’s number one city of

culture, style and innovation”.

For more information on the festival please visit: www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

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300: Rise of An Empire Exclusive Stills and Poster

When 300 came out it pretty much blew people away partly because of the way it was shot. The technology was nothing new and we had seen it before in movies like Sin City and Sky Captain but the fluidity of action and bare chested action made the movie stand out although I’m not sure it really holds up.

Frank Miller’s work has always been very divisive and now seems to be of an entirely different era, so I missed out on his graphic novel Xerxes, which is a prequel to the events in 300 and is the basis for this adaptation starring Sullivan Stapleton (“Animal Kingdom”), Eva Green (“Casino Royale”), Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Callan Mulvey (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Jack O’Connell (“Skins”),  Rodrigo Santoro (“Love Actually”) and directed by Noam Murro.

Here is the Synopsis:

This new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war.  “300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and Artemesia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

 

no release date yet

 

@asimburney

 

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The Great Gatsby: New Trailer and Character posters

I have to admit that I’m getting quite excited for Baz Luhrman’s grand vision the roaring 20’s. There probably isn’t another director that could do the era justice and together with a great cast of Leonardo Dicrapio,  Tobey Maguire starring as Nick Carraway; Oscar® nominee Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) and Joel Edgerton as Daisy and Tom Buchanan; Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as Myrtle and George Wilson; and newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker.

Indian film legend Amitabh Bachchan will play the role of Meyer Wolfsheim whilst the  soundtrack is produced by the one and only Jay Z featuring original new music from Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé x André 3000, Florence + The Machine, will.i.am, The xx, Fergie + Q Tip + GoonRock, and The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, among others.

Jay Z and Amitabh working on the same movie, how could i not look forward to it?

We have a new Trailer and beautiful new character posters:

 

 

From the uniquely imaginative mind of writer/producer/director Baz Luhrmann comes the new big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.  The filmmaker will create his own distinctive visual interpretation of the classic story, bringing the period to life in a way that has never been seen before, in a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.

“The Great Gatsby” follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz, bootleg kings, and sky-rocketing stocks.  Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan.  It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits.  As Nick bears witness, within and without of the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.

The Great Gatsby will be released May 16th 2013

@asimburney

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The Wolverine- New Images

Being a huge fan of the X-men comics as well as Hugh Jackman as an actor, his 2009 solo outing X-Men Origins: Wolverine was such a disspointing movie that I quite watching anything with Jackman in it (except for Real Steel but I choose to forget that).

Having learned their lesson and Jackman showing some real affection for the character, they have roped in James Mangold for the sequel as well as set in fan favorite Japan- based adventrues of Logan.

Releasing this summer, we have some exclusive images and it already looks better than anything we saw before, although the CGI claws still look a bit iffy!

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee and Tao Okamoto

@asimburney

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Identity Thief New Clips

Already released in the US, the Jason Bateman- Melissa McCarthy comedy of errors Identity Thief releases in the UK, the 22nd of March, and we got our hands on some new clips from the movie.

Director Seth Gordon has been directing quite a bit of TV comedy and has had some success with last year’s Horrible Bosses but his claim to fame is still the awesome Donkey Kong documentary The King Of Kong.

Horrible Bosses had quite a few laughs and a good premise but overall it just didnt come together, looking at the reviews Identity Thief has gotten in the US, we might be facing some similar problems with this one.

Even so, the clips are quite funny and who doesn’t love the casting of Bateman and McCarthy?

 


Here is the Synopsis:

Horrible Bosses’ Jason Bateman and Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy lead the cast of Identity Thief, an all-star comedy in which a regular guy is forced to extreme measures to clear his name.  With everything to lose after his identity is stolen, he’ll find out how crazed you can get trying to settle a bad credit score. 
Unlimited funds have allowed Diana (McCarthy) to live it up on the outskirts of Miami, where the queen of retail buys whatever strikes her fancy.  There’s only one glitch: The ID she’s using to finance these sprees reads “Sandy Bigelow Patterson”…. and it belongs to an accounts rep (Bateman) who lives halfway across the U.S. 
With only one week to hunt down the con artist before his world implodes, the real Sandy Bigelow Patterson heads south to confront the woman with an all-access pass to his life.  And as he attempts to bribe, coax and wrangle her the 2,000 miles to Denver, one easy target will discover just how tough it is to get your name back.
Directed by Horrible Bosses’ Seth Gordon, Identity Thief is produced by Scott Stuber (Ted), Bateman and Pamela Abdy (upcoming 47 Ronin).  The comedy co-stars Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick and Eric Stonestreet.
Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick, Eric Stonestreet

Release Date: March 22 2013
Certificate: 15
Running Time: 111 mins
Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau, Amanda Peet, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Morris Chestnut, John Cho, Robert Patrick

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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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Hunger Games Catching Fire: new artwork and posters

 Upodcasting are pleased to present five stunning new character banners for the upcoming release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The posters feature Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) and the symbol of revolution herself, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

 

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is released in the UK on 22 November 2013 by Lionsgate.

The Hangover 3 Teaser Trailer

The beard versus the Chinaman

The latest instalment of booze-fulled mayhem and its after-effects is here!  Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong & John Goodman, The Hangover III is released May 24th.

This time, there’s no wedding and no bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? When the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

Check out the trailer below!

 

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The Croods: Meet the Characters of Dreamworks PreHistoric Adventure

Dreamworks and Pixar have been competing animation studios from the start and lately Dreamworks has really been stepping up their game and have totally landed on my good boosk since the wonderful How To Train Your Dragon (and even MegaMind had it’s moments) I still find the celebrity voice work distraction but The Croods they have enlisted the talents of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone whose charm even seems to translates through animated pixels.

Supposed to be in stop motion and produced by Aardman Animations, director Chris Sanders took over and rewrote The Croods after the success of How To Train Your Dragon.

I have to be honest and admit I couldn’t figure out that the voice of the dad was Nicolas Cage as he hasnt been this subdued in any of his live action movies in years. It still is an element of Dreamwork movies that distracts me but this could defintely be a fun time for the kids at least!

 

The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures — and their outlook is changed forever.

 

 

In cinemas March 22nd 2013

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The Last Stand: Arnie’s Awesome Illustrated Poster

Arnie is coming back on screen this Friday on our screens and he is teaming up with Kim Jee Woom, the amazing Korean director of The Good, The Bad and The Weird, I Saw The Devil and A BitterSweet Life (unofficially remade in India as Awaarapan). Although not to many Asian directors have been able to transport their abilities succesfully to the Hollywood (Park Chan Wook from Old Boy’s release Stoker is JUST around the corner too), and reviews that have been filtering through our US collegeues arent a full out endorsement (Check out our friend Danny Bowes‘ review “ARNOLD, AND THE STATE OF OWNAGE” over at his blog). I’m sure just the nostalgia factor of seeing Arnold back on screen and some old school action will be pretty cool!

And come on people LUIZ GUZMAN is in it too!

Here is a pretty bad ass New poster and some new clips.

Action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his much-anticipated return to the big screen in Korean action-suspense director Kim Jee-Woon’s hard-hitting US directorial debut, THE LAST STAND.

 

After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.

 

With the help of a fierce band of lawless mercenaries led by the icy Burrell (Peter Stormare), Cortez begins racing towards the US-Mexico border at 250 mph in a specially-outfitted Corvette ZR1 with a hostage in tow. Cortez’ path: straight through Sommerton Junction, where the whole of the U.S. law enforcement, including Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) will have their final opportunity to intercept him before the violent fugitive slips across the border forever.

 

At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately rallies his team and takes the matter into his own hands, setting the stage for a classic showdown.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in THE LAST STAND. Directed by Kim Jee-woon and written by Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff, THE LAST STAND also stars Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford and Genesis Rodriguez. The film is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (the TRANSFORMERS series, RED, GI JOE, SALT).

 

THE LAST STAND is released in the UK on Thursday January 24, 2013

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I Give it A Year New Clips and Poster

Only last night we were having a discussion about Damages the court room drama which just finished it’s final season in the US and after the promise of the first season, it couldnt really live up to it’s potential. As with any claim I make, I usually get challenged and proven wrong but the one take away was that everyone loves Rose Byrne and can watch her do anything.

Especially since she has been tapping into her comedic skills since Get Him To the Greek (she stole that movie) and the much more straight role in the hilarious Bridesmaids.

Although I Give it A Year has all the trappings of a paint by numbers Rom Com, the cast and the people involved sure are making me excited to watch it!

Here are some new clips and press summary from the movie:

I Give It A Year is the hilarious new comedy from Working Title Films, the producers of Love Actually and Bridget Jones’s Diary, and the writer of Borat.

Starting where other romantic comedies finish, I GIVE IT A YEAR lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage, and stars Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), Rafe Spall (One Day), Anna Faris (The Dictator) and Simon Baker (The Mentalist).

Since they met at a party, ambitious high-flyer Nat (Byrne) and struggling novelist Josh (Spall) have been deliriously happy despite their differences. Josh is a thinker, Nat’s a doer..but the spark between them is undeniable.

Their wedding is a dream come true, but family, friends and even the minister who marries them aren’t convinced that they can last. Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe (Faris), and Nat’s handsome American client Guy (Baker), could offer attractive alternatives.

With their first anniversary approaching, neither wants to be the first to give up, but will they make it?

I Give it a Year is released in cinemas on 8th February 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

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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Blu Ray Competition Jet Li’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate PosterWe have 3 Blu-Ray’ss to give away from Jet Li’s 3D extravaganza. We reviewed the movie at the time of it’s release (read it here) but since then it has garnered quite a few positive reviews (reaching up to a respectable 70% on Rotten Tomatoes)

So we have 3 copies of the movie to give away in Blu-Ray and if you have a 3D TV and those nifty glasses then you can watch kicks and swords fly towards your face.

 

 

How to win:

1. Like on Facebook (like US) and following us on Twitter (Follow US) !

2. Drop us a mail on upodcasting@gmail.com

3. Answer the question: My favorite Jet Li movie is… and why?

 

 

Best answers will be announced on the show. Our Twitter feed and FB page on 15 december!

And how knows, we might just do an entire show on the best choice.

Here is a synopsis and trailer to the movie!

Legendary martial arts action star Jet Li (Romeo Must Die, The Expendables 1&2) stars in thriller film FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGONS GATE, the first ever Chinese-lingo and wuxia film to be shot in 3D and shown in the stereoscopic IMAX format.

Released by the award winning independent film company Revolver Entertainment, this epic story, set in the Ming Dynasty, is a rollercoaster ride of 3-D Kung-Fu action sequences, breathtaking scenery and visual mastery. Brought to you by the special effects team that created Avatar, it is no surprise this film has become the fourth highest grossing Chinese language film of all time.

Written and directed by the cutting-edge and internationally acclaimed visionary director, Hark Tsui – who recently became the fourth Chinese film director to join the board of judges for the 57th Cannes Film Festival and famed for his incredible work on Shanghai Blues, Seven Swords and Once Upon a Time in China – this film is a reimagining of an original classic, rather than a re-make.

FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGONS GATE is the first Wuxia Chinese language film to be shot entirely in 3D, a feat that has earned it seven nominations at the Asian Film Awards 2012 since its release in Hong Kong at the end of 2011. The film boasts special effects and action sequences that are set to redefine the standards of the industry.

Set amongst such great Hollywood 3D epics as Avatar, Transformers and Titanic 3D, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate will provide action movie buffs with a visual feast of film-making set to get the adrenaline pumping and the heart racing.

Starring some of Chinese cinema and Hollywood’s leading action and martial arts stars, including, Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, Li Yuchun, Kwai Lun-mei, Louis Fan and Mavis Fan, the film tells the tale of a pregnant palace maid on the verge of execution. Rescued by the owner of Dragon’s Gate Inn, the concubine is lead into a parallel story involving a band of people in search of lost treasure. Seeking refuge from an oncoming storm at Dragon Gate Inn, the plot climaxes to see the two stories converge to create an action-packed quest for treasure amidst a tale of star-crossed love, all enveloped by a time frame that marks the arrival of a catastrophic storm that threatens to destroy everything.

@asimburney

 

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Midnights Children an Alternative Review

Midnights Children PosterWe were lucky enough to catch Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnights Children at the London Film Festival, and Martin Cawley loved it. Here is his review if you didn’t get a chance to read it.

But now with the release being closer, we had the chance to send our intrepid guest blogger and all round funny guy Sujoy Singha to have another look at he had quite a different take on the movie.

Here is Sujoy’s review who is also know as @9e3k on twitter and his wonderful Gif’s have been featured all over the interwebz:

Deepa Mehta’s latest feature, Midnight’s Children, is based upon the Man Booker prize winner book of the same name by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie has written the screenplay, and is also the narrator to this tale of three generations, and three different nations that stem out of a single one. The devil is in the details, as they say, and you get to experience exactly that in an excruciating snail pace, as Mehta indulges in the many details strewn across Rushdie’s faithful adaptation. It is hence, very difficult to review Midnight’s Children without diving into the details, and by that, I mean, discuss specific plot points which make it almost unwatchable to a certain extent. And so this review will have some minor spoilers.

Midnight’s is the story of Saleem Sinai (Darsheel Safary, Satya Bhabha), born at the very moment when India declared its independence, and by some stroke of luck, has a special power to connect with other children across India, who were born that very night – all of them having some superhuman power, although nothing of these powers is hardly anything to talk about, and it doesn’t become the focal point of the plot either. It is Sinai who gives a first person view of the state of the nations and many other historical milestone events, much like Forrest Gump. But the story doesn’t start there. It starts with the love story of Saleem’s grandfather, Aadam Aziz (Rajat Kapoor with a ridiculous prosthetic make up that means fuck all to me). And when told from Saleem’s perspective, it just doesn’t make sense, especially when Saleem starts narrating his grandfather’s sex life. Now that is some futuristic sperm. And boy oh boy, there are quite a few of these sex scenes at uniform intervals. Is that a filmmaker’s motif, or just a lame excuse to fit into that arty film mould? Fuck knows.

Spanning across almost 80 years, Rushdie’s tale has characters frequently entering the screen and exiting sooner than you realise. Mehta has been able to cast some really good actors no doubt, but they all fail to leave any lasting impression. Rahul Bose playing Army Chief Zulfikar is almost laughable, as he delivers monologue after monologue like a straight-up English play. Picture this; Zulfikar, on seeing Emerald (Saleem’s aunt) for the first time, falls in love with her. When he walks out of Aadam Aziz’s house, he says to his comrades in a very army general  tone – “Soldier, that is the woman I intend to marry. And the soldier replies – YES SIR!  Now that might seem like a good line in a book, but seeing that onscreen almost made me spill my drink.

There’s Ronit Roy, Shreeya Saran, Shahana Goswami, Siddharth, Khulbhushan Kharbanda, Soha Ali Khan, and even Shabana Azmi. And all of them seem too grateful to be in a Deepa Mehta/Salman Rushdie production to complain the mediocrity of their roles. I really wanted Siddharth to show off some badassness that his character promised, but alas that never happened.  And oh, there’s even Ranvir Shorey and Vinay Pathak, cast as Laurel and Hardy – no kidding. The biggest casting mishap however is of Suresh Menon as a Pakistani Field Marshall. I mean that pretty much ruined it for me. He is the equivalent of a modern day Jagdeep (but better). Now you wouldn’t cast Jagdeep as a Field Marshall, unless you were attempting a farce. And this is neither a farce, nor it seemed like a serious allegory that it was so desperately attempting to be one.

The only saving grace is Seema Biswas who can act her face off, even when she’s given so less material to play with. Her story seemed rushed, but even then, I was more interested to know how things were with her, than to know stupid Saleem’s ramblings. Yes, all these events are shown in the most clean and yet cinematically sumptuous fashion that Mehta is most known for. But even then, the drag of the script left me tired, underwhelmed, and with an overall bland aftertaste. It is only the striking background score by Nitin Sawhney which ties the narrative well, and for fans, there is even a Jagjit Singh track which caught me by surprise.

But despite that, the film fails to impress me. It goes from historical milestone 1 to 2 and so on. But by the end of it all, nothing came out of it. It lacked the emotional or dramatic connect that an epic tale of this size requires. Rushdie’s screenplay is the culprit here; it almost makes Mehta seem like an inept filmmaker. At a staggering two and a half hours, this will test your patience. Life’s too short and you’re better off watching MTV Jackass. At least that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Rating: 1 big plot-hole out of 5

 

Find more of Sujoy’s work on : OneKnightStands | Bollypop | @9E3K

 

@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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Oz The Great and Powerful: New Full Trailer and Movie Stills

We posted quite a few posters a couple of days ago and now we get the full trailer and a few still from the movie, set to be Disney first big release of 2013.

I love most of the cast involved just as long as the titular character doesn’t “Franco” it up. Whatever we’ve seen looks beautfil and colorful and I just hope that it stays clearly away from the Burton-esque esthetic of recent Disney releases.

Let us know what you think!

Oz The Great and Powerful Releases 13th of December

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The Hobbit: Amazing New Stills

There really isn’t much to say about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, if you loved the previous LOTR trilogy by Peter Jackson and have seen the trailers, you are pretty much completely on board and probably have the date of 13 december marked in your calendar.

Although the original book itself is much shorter, Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro have put their geek brains together and padded the story out for 3 movies.

Some cynics might see it as a cash grab but you can’t deny the passion and love that Jackson has for this world.

 

Here are some exclusive new images from the movie.

 

Honestly, I can’t wait to visit this world again.

@asimburney

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Life Of Pi: Exclusive Video Diary Suraj Sharma

Every shot we have seen from Life of Pi has just been excruciatingly beautiful, and although we haven’t read Yann Martel’s book the movie is based on yet, it has been recommended to us at least a gajillion time (no joke). Shot in eye popping 3D, Ang Lee is certainly an interesting cinematic voice even more so as he loves genre hopping.

And even though it’s only a cameo, I would love to see Tabu on screen again after such a big gap.

Here is video diary of Suraj Sharma who plays the titular role of Pi in the movie, nice kid!

and here is an excerpt from the press release:

Follow young Suraj Sharma, the debut star of the breath-taking film Life of Pi, in an up-close, behind the scenes exclusive on his experiences and challenges behind the spotlight.

New to the scene of acting, Suraj bagged himself the lead role in the highly anticipated film. He says: “I never knew I would be here on this scale.” See how he handles his first premier and red carpet stating “It’s like a walk in the Park” in this special video diary.

Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) directs LIFE OF PI, based upon Yann Martel’s beloved book, which went on to become one of the biggest publishing events of the past decade. An epic adventure of magical realism, LIFE OF PI follows the story of a young man’s incredible survival at sea against almost impossible odds. A remarkable breakthrough in the use of 3D technology, PI will take audiences on an emotionally captivating journey that will inspire, touch and transport them to a place of discovery they will be unable to forget. LIFE OF PI releases on 20th December 2012 from Twentieth Century Fox in 3D and 2D.

@asimburney

 

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LFF 2012 The Summit Review

In August 2008, 22 climbers from various international expeditions reached the High Camp of K2, the final pit-stop before the peak of the mountain, on an expedition renowned among adventurers as extremely dangerous to attempt – far worse than Everest, with a 1 in 4 chance of dying. Only 11 would make it down from there. The Summit is an attempt to understand what happened on a day that became known as the most tragic in modern mountaineering history. Through recreations, archive and home movie footage, and interviews with survivors and families of the people who died on the outing, Nick Ryan’s documentary presents a thorough, investigative and vivid version of events, showing the heartbreaking moral choices the climbers faced in attempting to survive.

As someone who has an interest in outdoor sports and various silly pursuits (nothing anywhere near as extreme as this) The Summit was something I wanted to catch.  Those who’ve watched and “enjoyed” Touching the Void will no doubt be aware of the unwritten code of the mountain (if someone falls or wanders off, then leave them) and this is brutally revealed in a brilliant documentary.  At the heart of the documentary, but not dominating the story, is an Irish climber, Ger McDonnell.  He was seemingly faced with a horrible choice when he discovered 3 battered, bruised, bloodied and dying climbers: follow the code or help them.  As The Summit unfolded, it was obvious I was in for an emotional 90 or so minutes and the archive footage, interviews and recreations are exceptionally well wielded.  Having a cousin who has climbed the highest peaks in Europe and South America and who has rescued fellow climbers certainly gave an added edge to this.

The main body of the documentary doesn’t necessarily seek out the truth (not that it tries to).  It simply builds a picture of the tragic events before presenting as much as real information as is known.  That Ger’s parents even needed to travel to Pakistan to try and understand what had happened to their son, is telling.  As we do get closer to the truth (as much as is possible) however, the horrors of those expeditions are shown and as hard as it to swallow, the reality is that a combination of factors got the better of most of the climbers: there is no one single cause.

I’m not always one for using recreations in documentaries – it can lead to things being a bit twee and childlike – but in this instance, I was stunned by how vivid and realistic they were, lending a genuinely convincing air to the film.  It was as if they had scaled K2 again with a film crew; truly remarkable.  This is a truly engaging documentary, whether you know a lot or little to nothing about mountaineering and if I’m honest, I’d have been crying if hadn’t watched this on a midweek morning with a roomful of journos; I was that affected.

No-one will ever really know exactly what happened in those few long days and no-one will ever really know what makes mankind want to push itself to such limits, where every second you spend in the death zone (8000m & higher) your body is dying.   The Summit at least shines a small light on human nature and the fragile relationship man has with the planet.

@martincawley

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LFF 2012: Midnight’s Children Review

 

The nose of destiny

Salman Rushdie‘s first film screenplay adapts his own Booker Prize-winning novel – an allegory that parallels the upheavals in one family’s history with the events that would shape a post-colonial India, from the British exit to the partitioning of Pakistan.

Born on the cusp of India’s independence from Britain and switched at birth by a maternity nurse in a secret act of protest, Saleem Sinai‘s fate is not only inextricably bound to the future of his country, but also to that of Shiva, the boy whose place of privilege he takes.

Following a traumatic incident, Saleem discovers he has special powers and is able to communicate with other children who share his special birthday. As the outside world become more chaotic, wielding his new-found magic becomes Saleem’s most powerful tactic for navigating the tumultuous course of history.

I’ll start by saying I haven’t read the book, so anything that follows is based solely on the film as I’ve seen it. I also cannot comment on how accurately the events are portrayed. Midnight’s Children was one the films at the London Film Festival that I really wanted to see and for a few reasons: it’s an Indian film that isn’t in a Bollywood style, based on a book by Salman Rushdie, whose other books I’ve enjoyed and that I was hoping it would serve as an elementary history lesson. And as someone who has benefited culturally, from Britain’s former empire in another part of Asia I did feel a personal draw to this movie.

Instinctively, the title of the movie is wrong, as Midnight’s Child would be more apt given the amount of the film given to Saleem’s journey, but this is a facile thing to say really. Of the important things that I felt fell short, the most significant would be my confusion / convenience of Saleem’s appearance (his nose) and the notion of switching a poor child for a rich child at birth. As we see at the beginning, “Saleem’s” grandfather has a gigantic nose and so when his own resembles this, no suspicion is aroused that he isn’t their biological son. It transpires that he is in fact the illegitimate son of an eccentric Brit (Charles Dance) and the young wife of a poor musician who plays the accordion and sings at his villa each day. Overlooking this however, I still can’t quite reconcile the switching of babies at birth as a justifiable action of Marxist revolution (let the rich be poor and the poor be rich) when the reality is that there are still the same number of rich/poor babies, who have no concept of what their life would have been anyway and who have been unnecessarily taken away from their own true parents. The futility of this gesture is played out with the stories of both Saleem and Shiva and in material terms you have to say that the rich-made-poor kid achieves a far higher station in life, although it’s not explained fully as to how.

At times I felt that perhaps there should have been more attention given to the other characters in the story – not so much for their sake, but so that there would be a better context to Saleem’s own life. That said, at two and a half hours, this is a lengthy film, so where this would come from isn’t clear. Thankfully, given the scale of the story (it starts in the early 20th century, ends in the 1970s), we have Salman Rushdie himself narrating and keeping the viewer in touch, should he/she have become a bit disconnected. Make no mistake though; this is a great film to watch and you will be able to follow it all the way through.

Deepa Mehta has created a film that looks and feels beautiful; it sent me back in time and place, easily evoking the emotions and tensions of the era and the beauty of this part of the world. Towards the end of the film when the dark times come and all of Midnight’s Children are imprisoned for insurrection, the sun simply fails to shine and it is black. Even this is poetically and subtly filmed and I think other directors would have made too much of this in a harsher and more obvious way.

There are many memorable moments, but seeing a young Saleem helping the generals plot the coup in Pakistan by moving the knives and forks and salt and pepper pots around the dinner table as tanks, soldiers and buildings around the battlefield was brilliant. There’s a positively black piece of humour when Saleem is knocked out by a silver spittoon, harking back to earlier scenes with his mother. And dancing to a Hindi version of Chubby Checker’s The Twist I loved and is as close to a Bollywood musical interlude as you’ll get. Satya Bhabha, playing Saleem, really is excellent and I felt very attached to his character and his journey. He has everything an affluent family can provide, loses it all, is beaten, humiliated, tortured, falls in love, is betrayed and still ends up happy with his lot in life. The story ends with the “circle” being completed as it were. Having invested nearly all my energy into Saleem, when the credits rolled I just breathed a big sigh of relief and was thankful for a wonderful movie.

I’ll end by giving a special mention to the musical score. Rarely, if ever have I heard such gorgeous music in a film and as sure as I am that Midnight’s Children will be nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, plus some of the technical ones, if Nitin Sawhney doesn’t win Best Music (original score) then any hint of respect I may have for the Oscars will cease to exist.

With Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Seema Biswas
Canada-UK 2012
148 mins

@martincawley

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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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LFF 2012: Dreams for sale / Yume Uru Futari

Their dreams are for sale

A young and in-love couple Kanya (Sadawo Abe) and Satoko (Takako Matsu) see their restaurant burn down in an accident and their savings are wiped out by a compensation claim. Not knowing where to turn or what to do. Kanya has a drunken one-night stand with a woman he meets on the subway, and emerges from it with a cash windfall. Once she’s able to forgive her husband, Satoko sees a solution: she pushes Kanya into feigning marriage proposals to a series of vulnerable women, fuelling them with hard-luck stories which persuade them to part with their savings…

First off, I really liked this film. Not having seen any of Miwa Nishikawa’s other 3 movies I can’t say where this one ranks, but it makes me want to watch them. Gentle accoustic guitar accompanies the opening shots, showing domestic bliss, boredom and banalities. This shot is echoed much later in the film once the whole episode has unfolded and played out. If like me you look at the scenario above and think “bloody hell, this cannot possibly work out well” then you’d be right. And you’d also be wrong.

Dreams for sale addresses themes of love, marriage, revenge, growing up, what it means to be in a relationship and how easy it is to be hurt by someone, especially when you love them – and with much skill. I will put this down to great performances from Sadawo Abe and Takaku Matsu, in conjunction with a great script. There are some seriously telling lines and scenes. Sadawo brings so much to Kanya’s character; moments of joy, comedy, terror, helplessness and slapstick (literally). And with Satako, Matsu shows us cunning, loyalty, despair, leadership and forgiveness. At the heart of the movie however is love between the couple and no matter what the hair-brained, ill-thought schemes, both Sato and Kanya are clearly in love with one another, despite a couple of wobbles along the way.

As the film draws to a close and the inevitable conclusion of their fraud is revealed, yet more sacrifice is required to save their relationship. I can’t really say much more than that without spoiling the thing – just trust me. With a running time of 137 minutes, this doesn’t technically qualify as a gem of a film and if I was being harsh I’d say a few minutes less would serve it well…but that is being picky. It’s set at pretty much a perfect pace and it suits the character of the film. Not one for switching-off to, but wonderful in any case, it left me feeling just a little bit heart broken.

Director-Screenwriter Miwa Nishikawa
Producer Kayo Yoshida, Matsuda Hiroko, Nishikawa Asako
With Sadawo Abe, Takako Matsu, Lena Tanaka
Japan 2012
137 mins

video platform

 

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Your Chance to Win 2 DVD’s of GBH

Here’s your chance to win DVD’s for the gritty new British Crime Flick hitting shelves in October.

We’ll be reviewing the movie on Upodcast very soon and looking at the trailer, it looks Extremely British.

‘Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro’!

Award winning independent film company Revolver Entertainment releases the gritty crime thriller GBH on DVD from 1st October 2012. The film is a powerful, no-holds-barred British tale of criminality, morality, justice and vengeance set amidst the stark and violent backdrop of the 2011 London riots.

Producer and directed by Simon Phillips (The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan), GBH takes as its core premise the age-old battle between good and evil, and sets the modern, urban story on the harsh streets of West London, as the capital is battered and burned during the infamous London riots. Boasting a talented veteran and newcomer British cast, including Nick Nevern (The Sweeney, The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan, Terry) Kellie Shirley (EastEnders) Jenna Harrison (Against The Dark, Telling Lies) Roland Manookian (The Rise & Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, RocknRolla, The Business) Con O’Neil (Frank, Telstar: The Joe Meek Story) Steven Berkoff (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Clockwork Orange) and Peter Barrett (The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan, Jack Falls), the story centres around lead character Damien performed by Nick Nevern, who is a London ‘copper’ with a criminal past he’s trying to forget.

Before signing up to the police force he ran with a vicious football gang with a penchant for violence and intimidation. Now that Damien is on the other side of the law, he faces a tough decision – side with his old crew or protect London as it burns and rioters run amok?  Things are complicated further when he becomes romantically involved with fellow police officer Louise (Kellie Shirley, Eastenders), and is helpless to protect her when she is viciously beaten and raped by one of his former gang members. Damien decides to take matters into his own hands, with brutal and devastating consequences.

Billed as the British thriller film of the year, GBH packs a punch like no other and depicts the gritty realities of inner-city deprivation and social disillusionment, as a city is torn-apart and one man desperately fights for justice.

To celebrate the release of ‘GBH’ on DVD from 1st of October 2012, we are giving away 2 DVDs of the film. For your chance to win, simply answer the following question and send your replies to upodcasting@gmail.com:

Q.    Who plays the lead role of Damien in GBH?

GBH releases on DVD from 1st October 2012.

Here’s the trailer:

@asimburney

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Remnants Review

Here is a review from our guest blogger Miss FooFantastic from FrightFest in London, she’ll be posting a couple of reviews here, so if you are a horror fan, keep your eye out for them.

A movie such as Remnants is a perfect example of Frightfest being more than just about films dedicated to showing flying limbs, blood splatters, or creepy supernatural forces terrorizing us humans. Frightfest movies are not all purely about blood and gore: it’s about anything that can make anyone feel uncomfortable. Director Peter Engert shows us a bleak scenario of the future with his movie Remnants, which can feel frightening for a lot of people, especially if you expect the world to end anytime soon.

 

I had completely different expectations of this movie; therefore I guess these expectations did affect my overall opinion of it. Introduced as a post-apocalyptic movie, taking place after World War III, Remnants is about a group of strangers ending up together in a cellar in rural Texas, struggling for their survival. The introduction on the Frightfest site also mentioned the main characters fending off ‘…hordes of terrified, dying refugees as they attempt to endure the devastating holocaust’. Well, unfortunately in my mind I translated that into some degree of zombie action (I guess that’s what happens when you watch so many horror movies). Although some zombie-like characters appear in the movie, they’re not really as you would expect, and that’s as close to a zombie you’ll see in this movie.

 

The main character is a young doctor named Hunter (C.J. Thomason), who ends up seeking shelter with 8 other random people in a dark cellar, in order to avoid radiation exposure from a recent nuclear attack. Among this group you’ll find the typical range of different characters: the traumatised nervous young girl, the confident woman, the old grandpa that will die sooner or later anyway. Of course a stereotypical angry redneck cannot be avoided if you have the movie taking place in rural Texas, and here is where we meet Brad (Edward Furlong), who’s with his pregnant wife (another must-have in situations where random strangers end up together). Since the majority of the movie takes place within a dark cellar room, you can imagine claustrophobia and the accompanying human reactions to feature heavily in the film, and it did. Unnecessary fights breaking out, tough decisions to be made, the movie did do a good job in capturing the tension, anguish, and despair the characters are experiencing.

Towards the end, the movie goes into the weirdest transition of camera style ever, which left me somewhat confused as I thought the movie was ending there, but it didn’t. Instead, you had a few shots of the alternative camera style, and then it continued again to its usual style for another 10 minutes or so. I’m not really sure what the intention of this was, but once the movie ended, my mind was more engaged with what was behind that camera style switch than with the whole movie.

 

Overall, the movie does leave you feeling a bit grim. Although I’d say it’s partly feeling grim about the fate of the main characters, but also partly about the disappointment of having watched 90, mostly uneventful, minutes of a bunch of people stuck in a cellar. What’s interesting is that the movie does show a more plausible concept of ‘zombies’. This does mean though that you won’t be seeing any quick-paced raging 28 Days later type of zombies, nor the classic slow, brain-eating ones. Although it was an interesting concept, if could have been executed better in my opinion. The movie is too much skewed towards drama, and is missing any true classic horror elements.

 

Watch this if: you’re more of a fan of dramatic movies, rather than your typical horror movie. Remnants is more about human behaviour in times of despair rather than anything else.

Don’t watch this if: you envisage the end of the world to feature zombies in the ‘traditional’ sense, such as in 28 Days later, The Walking Dead etc.

Here’s the trailer:

 

 

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Maniac Review: Battle of the Remakes

Here is a Battle of the Remakes review from our guest blogger Miss FooFantastic from FrightFest in London, she’ll be posting a couple of reviews here, so if you are a horror fan, keep your eye out for them.

 

Of the five movies that I watched at Frightfest the 13th, I’d have to say this one was my favourite. With a simple, straightforward story, and a very disturbed main character, director Franck Khalfoun leaves enough room for what matters in these type of movies: lots of gore, uneasy moments, and psycho creepiness.

Our Maniac is a man called Frank, who owns a mannequin shop left by his late mother. A strange fascination with women, mixed with terrorizing feelings of hatred, drives Frank to stalk and kill girls that catch his eye, and keep a souvenir of his victims. One day he meets photographer Anna, and a friendship develops, but this doesn’t stop Frank’s unusual obsession of collecting womens’ scalps.

The movie is a remake of William Lustig’s 1980s slasher ‘Maniac’, which I didn’t know at first. My initial plan was to watch the original movie before I would view the 2012 version, however in the end I had to do it the other way around. Didn’t make much of a difference eventually, since the 2012 version stays mostly true to the original storyline. The main difference is that the new movie is filmed from the killer’s point of view, so you see everything out of the Maniac’s eyes. You mainly get to see the Maniac himself when he looks in the mirror, is captured on photo etc.

While 1980s Frank is a big, sleazy-looking type played by Joe Spinell, 2012 Frank is very unthreatening looking and extremely shy in the form of Elijah Wood. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought of Frodo Baggins when hearing Elijah Wood was playing the main character… but he played a great Maniac. What definitely did not draw me to this movie was seeing Elijah Wood’s name popping up, but he really did deliver this wonderful sense of awkwardness in how the Maniac interacts with women.

Both Maniacs are very emotionally disturbed, their view of women and love completely warped through their dysfunctional relationship with their mother. We see more about this relationship in the 2012 movie through flashbacks, and only hear about this indirectly in the 1980s. The Maniac’s love of collecting the scalps of his victims is obvious in both versions, and both movies surely make a point of showing this as graphically as possible. The amount of blood and gore in the two versions is fantastic (= a lot), and there are enough moments in both movies that will make you wince.

The victim situations are also fairly similar in both movies, although there are some tweaks in the 2012 version. For example, 2012 Frank apparently also uses online chatrooms to find his victims. Obviously 1980 Frank didn’t have this same luxury, and just goes out on the streets (which 2012 Frank does too, he just gets to enjoy more options in this digital age).

In both movies, the Maniacs meet photographer Anna, and this turns into an obsession. 1980s Maniac recognises his mother in this young lady, while 2012 Maniac mistakenly thinks he’s got a chance to be with Anna, only to find out she already has a boyfriend. Apart from these minor details and a few other differences, the overall development of the story is fairly similar. I guess it’s not a surprise that 2012 Anna gets the opportunity to have a bit more of a character than 1980s Anna, who gets the predictive role of ‘beautiful woman that reminds the Maniac of his mother’.

The 2012 version uses a 1980s inspired music score, which works nicely to recreate the typical 80s slasher atmosphere from the original movie. Talking about the music, a nice touch during a scene in the 2012 movie is the inclusion of ‘Goodbye horses’ by Q Lazarus, a.k.a. the Buffalo Bill song from The silence of the lambs. Other people might know it through the spoof done in Family Guy where Chris Griffin does this same dance. Needless to say this caused a few giggles in the audience, although it’s unknown which of the two references they were thinking of, most probably both (I hope!).

 

So the 2012 version of Maniac stays mainly true to its original, and unlike most remakes, it is actually really good. With some updates to make it more in line with the current times, it does not take away from the original story.

Old or New Maniac?: hmmmm….. the 1980s version did feel somewhat dated, although the sleaziness of 1980 Maniac did add a greater sense of grittiness to the movie which made it a bit more uncomfortable viewing than the remake. And that is exactly one of the things what makes a horror movie for me. However, seeing everything from the killer’s point of view in the remake really does add a nice effect to the movie, accentuating the Maniacs stalking behaviour, but also giving the audience a look into the head of this very disturbed man. Also, I prefer the choice of a more unassuming character to be a Maniac (it’s the quiet ones you always have to watch out for, isn’t it?). I’d have to give a slightly higher preference to the remake, although it is a very close call.

 

Watch this if: you enjoy the typical 80s slashers such as Friday the 13th, or you’re sceptical about whether Elijah Wood can actually play a maniac. There will always be the ‘original vs remake’ debate, but I personally think it’s worth watching if you liked the original.

Don’t watch this if: you’re the squeamish kinda type (well, that’s pretty obvious considering the main character collects scalps), or have strong feminist views: it’s still a remake of a typical slasher, so lots of helpless females that don’t have much chance to defend themselves before being brutally slaughtered.

You can follow Miss FooFantastic or drop her a line on twitter!

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GBH Trailer Exclusive

Riots, Corrupt Coppers, Hooligans, we seem to have a gritty British flick on our hands people. From the star and producer of The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan and accompanied by some pretty strong recommendations from online critics comes GBH.

Here is the trailer and an summary of the plot from the press release:

Producer and directed bySimon Phillips (The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan), GBH takes as its core premise the age-old battle between good and evil, and sets the modern, urban story on the harsh streets of West London, as the capital is battered and burned during the infamous London riots. Boasting a talented veteran and newcomer British cast, including Nick Nevern (The Sweeney, The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan, Terry) Kellie Shirley (EastEnders) Jenna Harrison (Against The Dark, Telling Lies) Roland Manookian (The Rise & Fall of a White Collar Hooligan, RocknRolla, The Business) Con O’Neil (Frank, Telstar: The Joe Meek Story) Steven Berkoff (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Clockwork Orange) and Peter Barrett (The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan, Jack Falls), the story centres around lead character Damien performed by Nick Nevern, who is a London ‘copper’ with a criminal past he’s trying to forget.

Before signing up to the police force he ran with a vicious football gang with a penchant for violence and intimidation. Now that Damien is on the other side of the law, he faces a tough decision – side with his old crew or protect London as it burns and rioters run amok?  Things are complicated further when he becomes romantically involved with fellow police officer Louise (Kellie Shirley, Eastenders), and is helpless to protect her when she is viciously beaten and raped by one of his former gang members. Damien decides to take matters into his own hands, with brutal and devastating consequences.
Billed as the British thriller film of the year, GBH packs a punch like no other and depicts the gritty realities of inner-city deprivation and social disillusionment, as a city is torn-apart and one man desperately fights for justice.

GBH is out on in cinemas on 28th September 2012. GBH releases on DVD from 1st October.

@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

 

VEENA MALIK RELEASES HER FIRST LOOK FOR HER SINGLE DRAMA QUEEN

The US has Honey Boo Boo and before that Jersey Shore, India has Rakhi Sawant and Pakistan has Veena Malik. Some enjoy her antics ironically, but we can’t disregard the fact that she must have some genuine fans out there? Right?…

In any case, not content with everything else she is doing. Veena is now launching her music career too.

Here is an excerpt from the Press Release and teaser from her forthcoming video.

 

Here is the press release:

Known for her controversies, bold personality and daring stunts Bollywood actress Veena Malik is all set to launch her singing career with her debut single ‘Drama Queen’. As fitting as the title may seem this is just the beginning of her string of hits before she releases her album beginning of 2013. The album will host different producers from across the world giving each song a different vibe, including a collaboration with British Asian music producer Bups Saggu. The album is an exciting new venture for Veena aside from her film and TV career ” I’m so excited to release Drama Queen to the world, everyone is always tagging me like this so I thought why not let’s make a song on it, the song is fun and cheeky at the same time I hope everyone love’s all the work we’ve put in to it”  Said Veena Malik

Her music career will be launching in India and she will then head to the UK and USA for shows and appearances at the end of the year. Veena Malik is getting geared up to show the whole world the ‘Drama Queen’ experience . Nisha Sahdev from Sahdev Media, Veena Malik’s International Manager is looking forward to the launch  ” Drama Queen is a very catchy song, it’s surely going to be loved across the spectrum, the whole project is bold, fun and stylish which reflect Veena’s personality. We are putting together an album which will range different music composers to give a global feel and appeal to all her fans. Post the album we will be taking Veena on tour across UK, USA, UAE and Canada on the Drama Queen tour which will be announced January 2013″

Drama Queen as the title prompts is a fun, catchy song produced by ShreeD and Canadian producer IshQ. Written by Siddharth Bannerjree the song brings in all the perspectives of Veena Malik in one song.

Look out for the video to hit the screens near you! For now.. check out the Video Teaser.

Drama Queen out October 1st 2012.

@asimburney

 

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Q&A with Hollywood Actor, Faran Tahir for DALLAS (New Series)

Faran Tahir may not be considered a household name yet but he has a face familiar to millions around the world. The talented actor has appeared in a number of big Hollywood films and has guest starred in the many American household television shows like Warehouse 13, Blue Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles, Supernatural, Charmed and Lost, to name a few. Faran will now be seen guest starring in the resurrected drama series, Dallas, where he plays the character, ‘Smiling Frank’ who is Cliff Barnes, driver and right-hand man.

“Dallas was a phenomenon in its time. I didn’t get to watch it regularly but I definitely knew who was who on it. The resurrected Dallas has already proved to be a hit in the US and I hope it has the same impact with the British audiences” said Faran.

Faran made his first debut in 1994 as Nathoo in Disney’s live action version of The Jungle Book. He has since gone onto star opposite Hollywoods A-list, Tom Hanks in Charlie Wilson’s War, as the evil sadistic Raza in Iron Man opposite Robert Downey Jr and the heroic Captain Robau in J.J Abram’s reboot of Star Trek in a brief but momentous role.

Next year Faran will be seen starring in ELYSIUM, a sci-fi thriller with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster directed by Neill Blomkampthe director of DISTRICT 9. THE TOMB, a prison break action movie with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.JINN, a supernatural thriller and TORN, a drama about two families dealing with the untimely death of their teenage sons in a shopping mall explosion.

The new 10-part series of Dallas will be shown in the UK on Channel 5 starting 5th September at 9pm.

Here is a Q&A he did with some press people:

Did you ever watch the original series of Dallas?
Dallas was a phenomenon in its time. I didn’t get to watch it regularly but I definitely knew who was who on it. The resurrected Dallas has already proved to be a hit in the US and I hope it has the same impact with the British audiences.

What was the first day on the set of Dallas like?
On the first day we were all in the same boat. We were resurrecting an old classic with the old cast alongside a new generation of Barnes and Ewings. Everyone was nervous yet focused.

Were you given any advice by the original cast?
No. They were all praying that we wouldn’t screw it up!

You play the character ‘Smiling’ Frank Ashkani, who is he?
Frank is a mysterious man. Definitely not someone you want to mess or cross paths with. His real name is Raheed Durani and is Cliff’s right hand/driver and designated disposer of dead bodies. Sometimes referred to as ‘Smiling Frank’ but he doesn’t actually smile.

How does it feel working for Cliff Barnes?
It’s great working for Mr Barnes. All in days work.

Since starring in Dallas, have you felt the urge to shoot JR?
For those that have watched the old series will recall JR as a schemer with cut throat tactics. So, of course! Could you imagine the audience being left with another ‘Who shot JR?’ cliff-hanger.

So when did you first fall in love with acting?
My love affair with acting started when I was a little kid. I would often secretly stand in front of the mirror and act out scenes.

You have done film, television and theatre. What has given you the greatest satisfaction?
I get equal satisfaction from all three. There are stories that need the intimacy of live theatre to have the emotional impact. Then there are other stories that require the expansive canvas of the film screen and the sensitive eye of the camera to give the audience a window into characters and story. And sometimes, the freedom television affords to create a story and character over many hours can be priceless. I always say that a painter can paint in oil or water-colour or do a pencil sketch. It all depends on what story he or she is trying to tell. It is the same idea for me. It just needs to be interesting and challenging.

How did you feel when you landed a role in Star Trek?
I felt like a 10-year old boy. I have always liked Star Trek. I grew up on Star Trek. It was awesome. I have always been big fan of the original series with William Shatner and the Next Generation and respect the philosophy and its message of hope it portrays.

What was the whole experience of working in the film like?
You start off with complete awe but very quickly realize that you have a job to do and you better not screw it up. It was challenging and I wanted to show competence dignity and strength in a short amount of time.

Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you would become Captain of a Federation Starship?
A kid can dream, right? Sometimes even your wildest dreams can come true and the first time I walked on the set and the set of the ship I was like, “wow, I’m captain of a federation ship.”

How did the role of Raza in Iron Man come about?
It wasn’t easy! It involved a lot of readings with the casting director, the director and Robert Downey Jr. It also involved meetings with all the producers, a process which took almost three weeks.

What was your favourite scene in Iron Man?
I would most probably say, when I first encounter Tony Stark in the cave. I play an evil sadistic character of Raza, where it involves me or should I say Raza, putting a piece of burning coal in someone’s mouth, that’s fun right!

How did it feel getting beaten up by Iron Man?
Legendary. Growing up reading Marvel comics, never in my life did I imagine, that one day I would actually be getting beaten by Iron Man on the big screen.

Is it now easier for Asian actors in Hollywood or do you still get offered stereotypical roles?
There will always be stereotypical roles but I think that things are slowly changing. Hollywood is a tough place and not for everyone. Egos can be fragile and the business is tough. People with glass chins won’t survive. You need to be able to take a few punches and still be able to get back up.

What advice would you give young Asian actors?
Never give up on your dreams and work hard to achieve them. Complacency is death. When you find failure, be brave and when you find success show humility.

What else can we look forward to seeing you in?
I have some interesting stuff coming out in the next year. ELYSIUM, a sci-fi thriller with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster directed by the director of DISTRICT 9. JINN, a supernatural thriller and TORN, a drama about two families dealing with the untimely death of their teenage sons in a shopping mall explosion. THE TOMB, a prison break action movie with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

@asimburney

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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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Usain Bolt: The Movie DVD Release

Yeah, he's that fast...again

“I told you all I was going to be No. 1 and I just did that”

We certainly can’t accuse the aptly named Jamaican sprinter of lacking confidence. And now that he’s defended successfully both of his Olympic golds in the 100m and 200m we can all pretty much agree that he is truly the “living legend” he proclaims himself to be.

In this extraordinary film, French producer and director Gael Leiblang paints us an intimate and boundless portrait of the life of athletic legend and cultural icon Usain Bolt.

Breaking BBC records (reaching 3 million viewers) when aired in mid July, the DVD features an extra 30 minutes of never before seen footage, delving deeper than ever fathomed into the rigorous training sessions and elusive private life of the long-legged Jamaican.

Granted exclusive and unprecedented access to the fastest man in the world, Leiblang explores Bolt’s childhood and chronicles him in a series of in-depth interviews, as he prepares to make history at this year’s Olympic games in London.

Filmed over a 12 month period, leading up to this year’s Games, Bolt is examined both at home with his family and friends and on the road competing across the world.

Static for once

This stunning documentary expertly exposes his boyish charm in his home environment, juxtaposed to his uncompromising focus and invincibility on the track, where he gallops past the other runners, like a God competing with mere mortals.

Usain Bolt sealed his position as the fastest man on earth and entered the history books when he successfully retained his 100m Olympic title. As over four billion peopled watched the 100m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games on the 5th Of August, the Jamaican sprinter took the gold medal convincingly.

From gruelling sessions on the practice track, to deejaying for fans in Italy and including his infamous false start at World Championships, this remarkable documentary takes us inside the life of the man who could become the greatest athlete the Olympics has ever seen.

USAIN BOLT: THE MOVIE, released by Revolver Entertainment is now out on DVD to buy and rent.

@martincawley

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The Flowers of War Trailer

Remember last year when Christian Bale almost got arrested in China for visiting blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who had been under house arrest for more than 15 months in his village at that time? Well he was actually in China at that moment shooting The Flowers of War for director Zhang Yimou. The movie was released last year in some countries and festivals and has garnered some acclaim and is now finally seeing a UK Release (probably timed with that other Bale release)

Shot beautifully but dealing with a really horrific chapter of history, we’ll get to see another side of Bale.

The story is according to imdb:

“A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety”

The trailer looks like the movie is shot on a really grand scale but you’ll need guts to probably finish the movie as it deals with some real horror and although some might hope Bale will just suit up and solve problems with batarangs, I don’t think it will be happening. (actually just reading up about The Rape of Nanking on wikipedia, I’m feeling bad making jokes about it)

The movie releases exclusively in Empire Cinemas in theaters 3 August and surprisingly releases on DVD only 3 days after that on the 6th.

The Flowers Of War is showing exclusively at Empire Cinemas from August 3rd 2012. For information and to book tickets visit www.EmpireCinemas.co.uk or call 08 714 714 714.

@asimburney

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Now is the time for Now TV

Another Upod exclusive?  That’s right folks – we really do suffer so you don’t have to.  Upod attended a little launch for Now TV yesterday evening, appropriately held in London’s Film Museum in Covent Garden.  We were treated to in-person demos of the new service in a re-created house, which was pretty cool.

Building on the increasing popularity of watching TV over the internet, NOW TV will offer access to Sky Movies – the UK’s most popular subscription movies service – in a new way. It is easy, flexible and great value – with no contract, set-up costs or installation fees.

The service is available to anyone in the UK with a broadband or 3G connection across a wide range of connected devices including PC, Mac and selected Android smartphones from launch; with iPhone, iPad, Xbox, Roku streaming players and Sony Playstation 3to follow. Each device has an optimised design to deliver quality streaming with buffering minimised by the use of adaptive bitrate technology.

Nice & uncluttered, unlike some others...

For total flexibility, NOW TV customers can ‘pay & play’ for instant access to an extensive range of over 1,000 movies through Sky Store including the very latest ‘now on DVD’ releases and much-loved classics.  From launch, ‘now on DVD’ titles will include recent releases such as We Bought a Zoo, The Woman in Black, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, This Means War and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. ‘Pay & play’ movies on NOW TV range from 99p for classic titles to £3.49 for the latest blockbusters.

For an all-you-can-watch experience, NOW TV also offers the monthly Sky Movies Pass with instant and unlimited access to the entire Sky Movies collection. At any time, customers with a Sky Movies Pass can choose from over 600 movies, including recent blockbusters and classics from major Hollywood studios such as Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal.  Each Friday, there are up to five new and exclusive Sky Movies premieres, at least 12 months before they are available on other online subscription services. In fact, Sky Movies offers customers access to around three-quarters of the year’s top 100 UK box office movies.  At launch, the Sky Movies Pass comes with unlimited, instant access to titles such as X-Men: First Class, Bridesmaids, Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens and many more.

Now TV likes your Android very much

Available to anyone in the UK with an internet connection, NOW TV will launch tomorrow on PC, Mac and selected Android smartphones; on iPhone, iPad within the next month, on Xbox later this summer and YouView when it launches. NOW TV will continue to develop for other platforms and devices, including Sony Playstation 3 and Roku streaming player, with further announcements to follow.

So, if you’re like me and you don’t want to commit to a whole package and a year long buy-in, then this really could be for you.  The Sky TV content is a massive coup and being able to pick and choose your content is fantastic.  I also know from speaking with the guys, that they intend to to be very customer friendly, so no quibbles over refunds!

 

For more info, please visit www.nowtv.com and also on Twitter #nowtv @nowtv

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Brandon Generator: Part 4

A new breed of hero

The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator: episode 4 

As you will have already seen from a couple of blog previous posts, Brandon Generator is easily the best collaborative project that Microsoft have worked on to inspire people to learn more about the latest web technology and the web in general. Not only for creatives but also the wider web audience, IE9 is a fantastic showcase for all that is good about browsing and the web experience.

to re-cap: Edgar Wright (Spaced, Sean of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim…) and Tommy Lee Edwards (Marvel illustrator extraordinaire – Turf, Batman…) worked on The Random Adventures of Brandon Generator, a story about far too much coffee consumption, writers block and an escape into fantasy.

Feeding us the story is the narration of Julian Barratt (mighty boosh, Nathan Barley…) with the soundtrack provided by David Holmes (this film’s crap let’s lash the seats, Ocean’s 11 etc soundtracks). After the first episode “aired” online, parts 2 – 4 were to be crowd-sourced and co-created by members of the public. Edgar and Tommy would take submitted ideas – written, voicemails and drawings – pull out the best/funniest and work them into the story for the coming episode.

 

So, back to episode 4, the final installment. Upodcasting was kindly invited to a launch party for episode 4, at the suitably atmospheric Farmiloe Building in London’s Farringdon. Perfectly replicating Brandon’s apartment we were treated to a wonderful display of various storyboards and original artworks from the creative process; not to mention a vintage e-type Jaguar (that Brandon drives) and interactive displays about the making of and the episodes themselves.

The highlight of the evening though, was of course the screening of the final episode. Thankfully the organisers saw sense, read my mind and played all 4 back to back for the first time. Introducing the part film-short, part animation, part graphic novel, part… was Mark Kermode, well known hater of 3D and respected film critic from the BBC. I have to admit I was very excited to see all 4 in sequence and I have to take my hat off to all concerned – what a fabulous project to have been involved in.

Following the show, we were treated to a Q&A with all 4 of the creative forces, who despite having worked on Brandon Generator since the beginning of the year, had never been in the same room together until Wednesday evening. I’ll share 2 of my highlights from the session – when asked what browser they all used, only Edgar Wright had the sense to say IE9, but that he couldn’t comment on versions 1 to 8. The others all looked a bit sheepish at this point I have to say! And also, because I think the guy is a genius, David Holmes, when they were all asked what they ate when working / creating responded with “well I smoke a lot of weed…so whatever I can get my hands on”. An audience effectively wet itself.

So, what of Brandon himself? Does he get out of his scrape and who is the mysterious Victoria Mews? You’ll have to find out by going here and ideally use IE9 to get the best from the experience – it’s worth installing just for this, it really is. Talking to Gabby Hegarty the IE manager for the UK, it was clear that this was one work project that no-one had a problem getting motivated for; a perfect chance for everyone to flex their creative muscles. Let’s hope that IE9 can bring that spirit to the rest of the web.

You can find episode 4 here and of course all 4 parts will be released as a whole very soon.

@martincawley

 

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Aaranya Kaandam Review at LIFF 2012

Yet another gangster flick made its London Premiere (the other one being Gangs of Wasseypur) at the London Indian Film Festival. And like a moth to the flame, I sniffed my way to the cinema screen to witness one of best selections of the festival overall. Director Thiagarajan’s “Aaranya Kaandam” (referring to the ‘jungle chapter’ in the Ramayana) throws away all the rules in the rule-book, and narrates a story so compelling, that we are bound to lend him our ears and eyes. Soaked in dark hues, this gangster flick set in the grit and dirt of Chennai, bypasses all set clichés and stereotypes associated with the genre.

The story circles around the rivalry between drug-lords of Chennai. In the red corner (there is a lot of red), is Singamperumal aka Ayya (Jackie Shroff)- impotent, dangerous, and a mental freak complete with a signature smile that shows the ins and outs of his lack of dental hygiene. He beats his mistress Subbu (Yasmin Ponappa), and bemoans her fate with the timid Sappai (Ravi Krishna). Sappai and Subbu fall in love. And in the blue corner, is the gang of the Gaj brothers – Gajendran and Gajapati, one uglier than the other. And we are also told of the legend of Gajendran. (You’ve got to find that out for yourself).

But when it comes to gangster films, nothing is as simple as just two opponents battling it out. Thrown in the mix are Pasupathy (Sampath Raj), Ayya’s lead henchman,who comes up with a stolen drug deal, which actually belongs to the Gaj brothers. And this sets the ball rolling for the rest of the movie which moves at an insane pace, jumping across the numerous characters and building up to a climax that wraps it all in, in a very satisfying way.

I am trying hard not to reveal much about this movie, because I’m concerned if that will dilute your experience. You should sit through this movie, without any prior knowledge of it, just like I did, and just let yourself get consumed by its sheer powerful imagery. Be it from Jackie Shroff’s relentless and no-holds-barred portrayal of a gangster struggling to “keep up” even when he’s way past his prime, to the little kid Kodukkapuli (Master Vasanth) whose smile and tears can melt your heart.

Aaranya Kaandam quenches that thirst for something “new” to watch. With stylish cinematography and action choreography, as well as an anime inspired moody omnipresence, Thiagarajan’s array of quirky, mad and loud characters come to life in their rawest form. Accompanied by a rocking background score, dollops of humour, and razor sharp dialogues, Aaranya Kaandam breathes life into the jungle of Chennai and its wildlife. For a debut feature, this is a must-watch.

Verdict: Blood Spurting 4 out of 5

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!

@asimburney

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Edgar Wright & Tommy Lee Edwards – Brandon Generator, webchat

Got writers block? He's here to help

Yesterday evening between 6 and 7 UK time, Internet Explorer 9 hosted a Brandon Generator webchat. For those of us lucky enough to have been reading the random adventures of Brandon Generator it wasn’t just any old webchat, as creator Edgar Wright and illustraor Tommy Lee Edwards were there to answer our many varied questions!

Brandon Generator tells the story of Brandon and his struggles with writers block. Readers are asked to contribute ideas and stories that get incorporated into episodes and the project showcases all of IE7’s whistles and bells perfectly. Narrating the episodes is Julian Barratt of Mighty Boosh and Nathan Barley fame (whom Edgar has known since 1997) and the soundtrack is provided by David Holmes and his “Unloved” concept. What I didn’t know is that the pieces we hear are early edits that will be polished and then released as part of “Unloved” later this year.

The other surprise for me was that the timeline for what is such a beautifully produced project is very quick. Edgar and Tommy were in initial discussions as late as January with the fist full episode released in April. That said, both of them appear to be able to work at a crazy rate and have many things on the go at once. Edgar said he pretty much had the concept sorted within 24 hours of the kick-off. This might have something to do with Edgar’s addiction to coffee (note to Nespresso, he needs a new machine) and hence we know that Brandon is based on Edgar!

As for Brandon, well, he has one more episode left, due to appear in July and after that his fate is firmly in his readers hands. Despite both Tommy and Edgar enjoying working on this, there are no plans to take him to a larger screen, either TV or movie. That’s not to say we’ll see a Spaced Christmas special instead, because we won’t! The pace of Brandon Generator has been something both contributors enjoyed; seeing it as a welcome distraction from other things and affording the chance to focus on one character. The other thing that appealed was reader contribution and getting this into the stories. By all accounts there was a collective “Brandon consciousness” from those who submitted ideas, which just goes to show the power of great illustration, storyline and also voiceover. Somewhat randomly (or appropriately one could say), there were apparently attempts to get erotic storylines added and some people also submitted illustrations for this!

Just for the record, both Edgar and Tommy cannot wait to see Dark Knight Rises in a few weeks and their favourite films are Raising Arizona and Raiders of the Lost Ark respectively. And when Edgar was asked about working on Ant-Man, the response was a very coy “yes…and no”, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the outcome of that one.

Brandon can be found here and more about IE9 here

Have you been reading Brandon?  Let us know what you think!

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Abhishek Bachchan Press Q&A and Exclusive Stills for “Bol Bachchan”

Hey Guys, here are some media type questions that were asked to Abhishek Bachchan at a recent media Q&A as usual they are as generic and harmless like kitten wrapped in a silk blanket wathching day time TV.

The pictures are kinda sweet though. Check it out!

1.     One can see from the photograph and trailers that there’s two of you in Bol Bachchan. That must have been fun?
If my memory serves right, this is actually my first ever double role. I have done films in which I have had one character donning various avatars, like I did in “Bunty Aur Babli” (2005), in which I played a con man. But “BB” is the first bona fide double role that I have done. It was a challenge.

2.     Director Rohit Shetty has enjoyed huge commercial success.  You have worked with him in his debut film Zameen (2003). What is the difference that you see in him since he directed you for the first time?
I think Rohit has become more confident now. He is as hard working and humble as he was when we were making Zameen. He is one of the most successful directors that we have in our industry and his track record speaks for itself. He is like a machine who works for like 20 hours a day.

3.     Abhishek Bachchan or Abbas Ali – which character was more challenging?
Both Abhishek and Abbas Ali have unique characteristics. They couldn’t overlap in any which way. Keeping the divide was difficult as they are poles apart. They are not identical twins with similar traits and I have literally played two separate characters. If you must know, between Abhishek and Abbas, the most demanding was Rohit Shetty.

4.     This is your second song with your dad after ‘Kajra re‘. Are you nervous at all around him?
It is weird, but dad is the one co-star with whom I have done the maximum work. We’ve done “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Sarkar”, “Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna”, “Sarkar Raj“, “Paa”, “Buddha Hoga Tera Baap”, “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” and now this song in “BB”. Coming to the bit about my not being nervous around him – actually I was not nervous around him even when we did our first film together. It is every actor’s dream to work with Amitabh Bachchan. And dad’s greatest quality is that he puts you at ease. Being an actor and having the kind of experience he has on his side, he understands that for an actor to perform at his/her optimum, he has to be completely at ease. If there is any tension, an actor just folds up and closes in. He is aware that people get gobsmacked in front of him, so he goes out of his way to make them feel comfortable. He does it for the sake of the film. Also when he is shooting a song, he likes to have a lot of fun.

5.     How would you define your style of comedy?
My style of comedy is more deadpan and straight-faced whereas the comedy that I did in the film was very demanding, as a lot of energy was required. We all had to keep our energy levels high all the time. It took me a week to adapt to Bol Bachchan. The first week of shooting was really tough for me. I came with a particular mind-set for the film and Rohit wanted something exactly opposite to it. I thought this will be the easiest film to do and it turned out to be the most difficult film of my career. It looks like a fun film and I thought it is a comedy film where I will enjoy, but I was proved completely wrong. I have told Ajay if the film does well he has to send me on a holiday (Laughs).

6.     Ajay Devgn said that they literally had to groom you into their style of comedy. What was that experience like?
Ajay and Rohit taught me that there is a pitch behind every film and you have to match it. I cannot repeat my characters as it will not suit the script. My style of comedy was very different from what Bol Bachchan required me to do. The two literally made me unlearn what I already knew and adopt a different style of comedy, which was very difficult for me.

7.     How are you doing post your accident on the sets of BOL BACHCHAN?
These things keep happening. I had a small accident…cut my eye and injured a finger. But I am okay now. All good!

8.     On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your performance in Bol Bachchan?
I’d give my final performance a five. I’m very harsh with myself 🙂

‘Bol Bachchan’ produced by Ajay Devgn Films and Shree Ashtavinayak LFS Infra Ltd and presented by Twentieth Century Fox hits screens on 6th July 2012

@asimburney

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Gattu Review at the LIFF 2012

There can never be too many “children’s films”, especially ones which take you on a journey back to the days of innocence, where the mind was free from materialistic cravings, and all that mattered was to win a kite fight. Director Rajan Khosa‘s festival favourite “GATTU“, saw its London premiere yesterday at the London Indian Film Festival, and effortlessly swept the audience off its feet by its utter charm and simplistic story-telling.

 

At just 82 minutes, the story squeezes in multiple narratives. There’s the naughty protagonist in the centre – Gattu (Mohammad Samad), an orphaned boy who is unaware of his birthday, and is raised by Anees Bhai, whom he calls Chachu (Uncle). Between working at Anees Bhai’s junkyard, and doing daily chores, Gattu has one aim – to beat Kali, the unbeatable kite of Roorkee. To beat Kali, Gattu must find the tallest terrace in the town, which belongs to a school. Street smart Gattu devises a master plan, and even improvises on some. He sneaks into the school, posing as a student, but what he receives in the school, transforms him from being just a street urchin to a child full of hope. A simple lesson on gravity becomes the genesis of the “curious kid” in Gattu, and you can’t help but smile when he tries to educate his street mates with an apple.

 

Most importantly, GATTU touched me on a personal level, as it brought back a gush of nostalgic memories of my own school days – the images of the morning school assembly with children in uniforms, singing the school song in perfect cacophony, the punishments for not bringing text books, or “smuggling” comic books named “Wafadaar Jasoos” (the loyal detective), pranks played at clerks, and the innocent outburst of laughter at just the sight of a goat in the school compound.

Rajan Khosa seamlessly weaves all of that within the narrative, and yet doesn’t shy away from the reality of the street kids who toil tirelessly. Gattu also reminds me a bit of Amole Gupte‘s excellent feature film – Stanley Ka Dabba.

 

With its brilliantly filmed kite fight sequences which are a mix of CGI and aerial shots, Khosa efficiently captures the essence of a sport mostly unknown to the western world. But you can’t help giving in to the excitement, and cheer for the underdog. And just when you start to think that the climax is done, a final reveal leaves you with an aftertaste of “khussee ke aansoo” (tears of joy). Sprinkled with a healthy dosage of humour, GATTU conveys the message that it sets out to without being didactic. And that in itself is an admirable feat. Do yourself a favour and watch this. It is probably the nearest equivalent of a cinematic hug.

Verdict: 3 Giant Hugs out of 5

 

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!

@asimburney

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Dekh Indian Circus Review at LIFF 2012

Our intrepid reporter Sujoy (@9e3K) continues his coverage at the London Indian Film Festival with a review of Dekh Indian Circus.

What do you expect from a movie, which has a poster showing a young boy, with the fluttering Indian tricolour on a bicycle decorated with CDs and bottle caps. Also, a golden brown sandy background with the sun shining beneath, and a fun red font for the title of the movie, all point towards a fun, charming and innocent “children’s film”, well suited to please Film Festivals and Sunday afternoon TV slots. Director Mangesh Hadawale‘s second feature “Dekh Indian Circus” is a crowd-pleaser no doubt, with its child actors providing enough smiles that remain with you throughout the movie. But by the time the lights come up, that pre-assumption of it being yet another “children’s film” goes straight out of the window, as we are left with characters, metaphors and pointed statistics which leave an indelible impression.

 

Dekh Indian Circus has a rather straightforward storyline depicting the struggle of a family of four, somewhere in the middle of rural Rajasthan. The father of the family, Jethu (Nawazzuddin Sidiqqui, Gangs of Wasseypur, Kahaani) is one of the many who struggle hard to earn the daily bread for their family. Being illiterate, member of the minor class, and mute leaves him  struggling to make ends meet. This makes his wife Kajro (Tannishta Chatterjee, Brick Lane), the head of the family, who despite being a rural woman, is progressive-minded and ambitious. She holds strong opinions on everything, be it morality or politicians, and is fiercely determined to secure proper education for her kids – the naughty Ghumroo (Virendra Singh Rathod, the boy in the poster), and his younger sister Panni (Suhani Oza).

Set during a political campaign, it shows how rival candidates host huge rallies and promote electoral candidates – each promising to bring change, prosperity, as well as bribery in exchange for votes. This political “circus” is clearly taking advantage of the economically disadvantaged, who are manipulated, threatened and even beaten up. Meshed smartly within this political subtext, is the story of an innocent desire of the family to watch a traveling Circus. Little Panni is entranced by a flyer of the circus which has a stilt walker, she fondly calls “Lamboora Kaka” (Bamboo Man, literally translates to Very Tall Man). She begs her parents to make her only dream come true.

 

The story then takes us through the trials and tribulations of this circus visit. Hadawale smartly weaves various references to subtly convey the larger picture of how a nation, which is rising and shining as a leader of world economy, has poverty in its roots. India is the bigger “circus”, which has its “ringmasters” whipping the lions and making elephants dance, and then there are the “midget clowns” to be laughed at as well.

 

The performances by lead actors Nawazuddin Sidiqqui and Tannishta Chatterjee are top notch. Although Nawaz plays a mute, his angst, embarassment, and anguish comes alive with his expressive eyes. With Kahaani, and Gangs of Wasseypur, we have come to expect more and more out of this wonderful actor. And it was a bit disappointing to see him muted. But that is hardly a complaint. Tannishta Chatterjee might have been a bit “glammed” up for cinematic reasons, but brings authenticity in her role through mannerisms and genuine love to the role of Kajro – the ever sacrificing mother, and the relentless well spirited woman. And if young and naughty Ghumroo’s antics make you giggle and chuckle uncontrollably, little Panni’s sad face and precious tears are just heartbreaking.

 

Dekh Indian Circus is a competent film when it comes to depicting the story it intends to tell. It doesn’t take the route of portraying a third world environment via means of showcasing grinding poverty or sickening tragedy of rural India. It rather shows it in the light of ethnic beauty, of a communal presence of a society, which despite the dire circumstances they live in, derive happiness from the sounds of nature, the open landscapes and the simpler things in life. There is neither any didactic labeling when it opts to hint the political subtext. And enveloped with widescreen landscape images from Laxman Utekar, Wayne Sharpe’s effervescent score, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Prasoon Joshi handling the music and lyrics department, Dekh Indian Circus oozes of optimism and leaves you with a smile, even though your eyes might or might not be dry. It deserves the mainstream release it is getting in India.

Verdict: 3 Splashing Stars Out of 5

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!

@asimburney

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Anurag Kashyap chats with Upodcast at LIFF 2012

Anurag Kashyap, the firebrand director, was at the London Indian film Festival which is going on this week and took the time to speak to Upodcast! Sujoy discusses the differences between his brother and his approach to masala cinema, the music of Gangs Of WasseyPur and much more in a pretty short chat!

The movie as well as the Festival which runs until 3rd of July has been setting the city in a blaze of excitement with celebrity appearances and the whose who of Londontown.

You can head over to the Official website for more information as well as the programme of amazing movies they are showcasing by clicking here.

Here is an excerpt from the Press Team about what went down at the premiere!

The third edition of the hugely popular London Indian Film Festival (June 20-July 3) got off to an explosive start with the sold out UK premiere of director Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. It was standing room only at the Cineworld Haymarket as film buffs from across the world jostled for space at the glittering red carpet arrivals. Anurag Kashyap arrived looking natty in a Narendra Kumar creation. Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, whose film Dekh Indian Circus plays June 23 at the Watermans Arts Centre and June 24 at BFI Southbank, glittered in a Khubsoorat outfit as did Rang Rasiya (Colours of Passion) stunner Ferena Wazeir.

The celebrity wave continued with acclaimed British Asian actors Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors, Trishna), Upen Patel (Namastey London) and Shiv Jhala (whose Arjun & Alison will enjoy its World Premiere at the festival on June 30), walking the red carpet and obliging screaming fans with photo opportunities. Directors Asif Kapadia (Senna), Michael Winterbottom (Trishna) Q (Gandu), Sidarth Sharma (Arjun & Alison), Devanand Shanmugam (whose Tooting Broadway will World Premiere at the festival on June 22) and Sarovar Banka (A Decent Arrangement) were just some of the high-octane talent present on the occasion.

Bollywood royalty arrived in the shape of Pamela Chopra, the legendary Yash Chopra‘s wife and the Associate Producer of one of Indian cinema‘s all time biggest hits Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Anushka Sharma who is currently filming in London for Yash Chopra’s next, along with Shah Rukh Khan, sneaked into the cinema anonymously. She enjoyed Gangs of Wasseypur enormously and is looking forward to working with Anurag in Bombay Velvet.

 Anurag Kashyap said: “The London Indian Film Festival is lucky for me. My Dev D played in year one. That Girl In Yellow Boots premiered in year two and got UK distribution and now I’ve opened the festival. It’s a great platform.”

Festival Director Cary Sawhney said: “We are delighted that this year’s London Indian Film Festival has opened to such a tremendous response. We have a diverse range of events scheduled for the next two weeks, including the brilliant collaboration of director Q’s Gandu Circus along with Susheela Raman and the Asian Dub Foundation’s Steve Chandra Savale at BFI Southbank on June 21, and many World and UK film premieres. And for those who couldn’t get tickets for Gangs of Wasseypur, there are two more screenings scheduled on June 28 at the ICA and on June 30 at Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue.”

Here is a short podcast interview with our good friend Sujoy Singha (@9e3k)

Let us know what you thought of our chat in the comment section below!

@asimburney

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Gangs of WasseyPur Review At LIFF 2012

Right from the 6 minutes uncut first shot which has enough guns blazing to make Tarantino proud, Gangs of Wasseypur (GoW) sets out on a journey that will leave you gasping, shaken and stirred to the core. We are thrown right in the middle of the action, in the smokey and dark alleys, and you feel that despite of its length, Director Anurag Kashyap’s two-parter 5 hour long gangster magnum-opus, has a kineetic sense of urgency. Set in the land of coal mafia hub Wasseypur and Dhanbad, GoW  is rocking, grim, real and yet poetic somehow. It deserves all the praise that it has garnered from every possible film festival out there, to the last drop. I was at the London Indian Film Festival Premiere of the first part, which sees the rise of Sardar Khan and the genesis of the coal mafia of Wasseypur, and what I witnessed, might just be one of the best works from the auteur.

 

The story of GoW is nothing less than a Greek tragedy; immersed in revenge, betrayal, loyalty, and blood – lots of it. Spanning across generations, and overflowing with characters which will leave an indelible impression on your minds, this epic gangster story begins with Shahid Khan, who is oucast from Wasseypur by the Qureshis. He leaves for Dhanbad to work for the British coal mines. Post independence, these coal mines become the property of Ramadhir Singh. Shahid Khan, being the hot-blooded Pathan, plans on taking over Ramadhir Singh, and is murdered by Ramadhir Singh. Shahid’s son – young Sardar Khan, shaves his head, vowing not to grow his hair until he has Ramadhir Singh destroyed. And this sets the whole course for a story so bizarrely engulfed with bloodthirsty elements, that you’re compelled to wonder if the events have been exaggerated to some extent. Director Kashyap’s movie has no disclaimers stating the events depicted are fictitious, although he does point out that some timelines, and characters have been juggled around to make it more cinematic.

 

In a gangster film, you might assume that the males would be the ones who cast a shadow, and the women are left in the corner, beaten up and shut down. There are only four female characters in this male-club. But even then, when the males are comparable to ruthless animals, the female characters sometimes outperform their male counterparts, with the aid of a broom, or a ladle. Nagma, Sardar Khan’s first wife is the strongest of the lot. She’s the mother of four, and although she might be wearing the compromising wife exterior, her core is of a relentless fighter. Played brilliantly by Richa Chadda (Dolly from Oye Lucky Lucky Oye), we find shades of the Nirupa Roy mother to even a “HunterWali“. Sardar’s second wife Durga, played by Reemma Sen, is the Bengali sexy siren in the tale, y’know – deep neck blouse, sari drapes and all that. She can be a mute at times, and she belatedly contributes to the other branch of the Khan family, quite surprisingly called – “Definitive” Khan (to be played by writer Zeishan Quadri in part 2).

 

Amongst the males, of course male lead Manoj Bajpai stands out as the centre-stage character Sardar Khan. Bajpai is flawless, and breathes life into the persona of Sardar Khan, a man who always has sex on his mind, does not flinch a bit when it comes to stabbing someone on and on. And yet, he fears going back to his wife’s nagging and beating. Tigmanshu Dhulia (director of Haasil and Paan Singh Tomar) makes his onscreen debut as the older Ramadhir Singh and gives a commendable performance. There is not a single note of artificiality in his portrayal, and his transformation from the coal mine contractor to corrupt minister, and staying true to his gangster roots is all reflected in his speech and mannerisms. But the true icing on the cake is the brief round-up of the story of Sardar Khan’s second son, Faizal Khan, played brilliantly by Nawazzudin Shaikh. Faizal will be the focal point of part 2, and I cannot wait to see where his story takes us.

 

Faizal’s courtship with Mohsina might just be the most naturally funny and romantic scene that has been on the Indian screenspace in recent times. And with Mohsina and Faizal, we also get introduced to one of the omnipresent characters of the movie – Bollywood. Throughout the narrative, Bollywood serves as a quite witness to the unfolding of the events, often present as scraps of posters on walls, or tunes on a radio in a tea-stall. From “Trishul” to “Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki” to “Maine Pyar Kiya“, the influence and reach of Bollywood almost aids as an indicator of the shifting times. Amidst all the gun-cultured gangsters, like in Ishaqzaade, we do get a taste of rural entertainment as well. But instead of a gyrating Gauhar Khan, we have a Yashpal Sharma cameo singing “Salaam-E-Ishq” in both male and female voices, accompanied by the world’s most horrible orchestra ever. Just cinematic gold!

 

No review of GoW is complete without mentioning the cracking soundtrack by Sneha Khanwalkar. From the folk sounds which capture the rural backdrop of Dhanbad and Wasseypur, to the moody tunes of Kehke Loonga, to the “Super-Heroic” Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Lala, the soundtrack offers adrenaline shots at regular intervals. Hunter is already a runaway hit, and deservingly so. Offering the more poetic side to the violence, and the ongoing gut slashing, is the background score which switches from western spaghetti acoustic guitars and trombones, to metal riffs in a flash. Take a bow Ms Khanwalkar. I am ready to get drowned in the second soundtrack CD for Part 2.

 

To conclude, go watch this epic of a movie, and be a witness to the unveiling of a story of Mahabharata proportions. The language is colourful (like in a X-Rated way) and the humour will leave you giggling. The violence, though is not gory (most of it is suggestive), yet is shot in a continuous format, and is more effective. The cinematography by Rajeev Ravi leaves you with numerous painting shots, and I cannot say any further about how much I loved this movie without revealing any further plot details (although the subtitles were a bit disappointing – they translated “Saale” as fucker). We have been promised a climactic showdown in Part 2, which releases in a month. And I’ll definitely be back to the land of Wasseypur, hungry for more.

 

Verdict: A Slashing Five Star Out of Five

 

This review was written by Sujoy Singha also known as @9e3K on twitter, to check out more of his amazing work, head over to his blogs OneKnightStand and BollywoodLife

 

Bol Bachchan New Poster and Images

Very short post with some images we received from Bol Bachchan which releases on 6th of July and might be the first Rohit Shetty comedy we are actually looking forward to. And the main reason is the addition of Abhishek Bachchan in what looks likely to be a hilarious role! Bright colors, inane puns and wire fu Ahoy!

 

After the mega international success of blockbuster films Singham, Golmaal 3 and Golmaal 2, comedy maestro Rohit Shetty and Bollywood superstar Ajay Devgn, team up once again to create some spicy movie masala in the hilarious Bollywood comedy Bol Bachchan, and this time hearthrob Abhishek Bachchan comes along for the ride. The film releases on 6th July 2012 by Fox Star Studio. After the mega international success of blockbuster films Singham, Golmaal 3 and Golmaal 2, comedy maestro Rohit Shetty and Bollywood superstar Ajay Devgn, team up once again to create some spicy movie masala in the hilarious Bollywood comedy Bol Bachchan, and this time hearthrob Abhishek Bachchan comes along for the ride. The film releases on 6th July 2012 by Fox Star Studio.

 

Are you excited for Bol Bachchan?

@asimburney

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Win a Klarstein Mini Home Cinema Projector with Upodcast and Hi-Fi Tower

UPDATE: THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

We have a great give away today to take away the doom and gloom of UK weather!

UPODCast and HiFi-Tower want to upgrade your home cinema in this brand new competition! We’re giving away a Klarstein YX34B Mini Projector to one lucky fan. The projector is perfect for hosting a summer film party at home, and it’s ultra-compact so you can take it to go as well. Watch movies beamed up to 60″ image size.

The Klarstein YX34B Mini Home Cinema Projector has a host of connection options, so you’ll never be stuck without a choice of media. Its AV jack input can connect to DVD players and game consoles. What’s more, the projector also has USB and micro SD inputs, so you can play files directly from a digital storage device! It supports the following video formats: MPEG4, AVI, MP4, MPEG2, MPEG1, WMV (v7, v8, v9) FLV (Flash videos), 3GP (ITU H.263 encoded), ASF, DAT, RM, RMVB.

For your chance to win this prize, just answer the following question:

Which movie would be your first home cinema experience? And what would you do to make your first screening special?

 

Email your answer to upodcasting@gmail.com (don’t tweet us, don’t leave answers in the comment section), with “Klarstein Projector” in the subject line. This competition is open to residents of the mainland UK (excluding all Islands), Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden).

Contest closes on 30/6/2012 and the best answers will be decided by the Upodcast team!

 

 

 

 

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Gangsters, Queens and Rappers: 3rd LIFF serves up an explosive cocktail

The 3rd Edition of the London Indian Film Festival (20 June – July 3) is a feast for the senses, featuring circuses, mobsters, cockfights, transvestites and kite-flying, set in some of the world’s greatest cities and some never before seen virgin locations.

With funding from Film London and supported by the BFI and BAFTA, and sponsored by Western Union, the festival brings to UK audiences a selection of cutting edge films from some of the hottest independent talents from India, UK, US and Bangladesh.

The UK Premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, right after its full house screenings at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, opens the festival, at Cineworld, Haymarket on 20 June. British director Danny Boyle has cited Kashyap’s Black Friday as an inspiration for Slumdog Millionaire. The film is produced by Viacom 18.

The festival hosts World Premieres of two British films. Tooting Broadway featuring Elizabeth Henstridge,who has been touted the next Keira Knightley, from her beginnings in the TV series Hollyoaks, to her new status in Hollywood, where she will be seen in the upcoming horror film by the Butcher Brothers’, The Thompsons. Arjun and Alison has a storyline with parallels to the murder of British teenager, Stephen Lawrence and is a film that tackles racism in British society.

The festival will go on to showcase the work of the new wave of independent South Asian and British Asian filmmakers, including a director only named as Q, Rajan Khosa and Srijit Mukherji, whose thrill a minute whodunit Baishey Srabon (Seventh August) will close the festival on July 3, alongside a Q&A with its beautiful actress, Raima Sen.

The festival will stretch city wide, in venues like the Tate Modern, Cineworld O2 and ICA for the very first time and returning venues like the BFI Southbank, Nehru Centre, Watermans and Cineworlds Trocadero, Wood Green and Wandsworth.

Delhi In A Day engages the British writer of All God’s Creatures, Billy Fox, as the storyline consultant. US film A Decent Arrangement stars Adam Laupus (Law & Order) and Shabana Azmi (Kathyrn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children).

Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney says:

“As part of the festival we are undertaking several exciting new commissions, mixing film and arts, one of these is Gandu Circus – a live Jungle – rap rock performance by Kolkata based rapper and revolutionary film director, Q. This performance will be performed on stage at BFI Southbank on 21st June after a screening of Q’s film Gandu, a compelling story of a young Bengali teenager addicted to rap and sexual fantasies. Expect some special guests on stage including Asian Dub Foundation’s Steve Chandra Savale, joining Q for this one-off, unforgettable performance!”

Glamour, dancing and fabulous saris; award winning Queens! Destiny of Dance is set in a palace owned by head transvestite Ammu, played by Seema Biswas (of Bandit Queen fame). Pride London will be cross promoting this event. A definite family favourite will be Busan International Film Festival audience award winner Dekh Indian Circus with Q&A by Tannishtha Chatterjee (BIFA nominated for Brick Lane).

London Indian Film Festival is supported by Film London’s Cultural Film Exhibition Fund through the National Lottery on behalf of the BFI. Partners include Arts Council of England, Cineworld Cinemas, Western Union, Incredible India, Grange Hotels, Skillset, The Nehru Centre, BollySpice, Asiana.tv, Zee TV, Sanona and Eastern Eye, amongst others.

The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s Short Film Competition has joined the Festival with the winning filmmaker receiving a £1,000 Award on 3 July at Cineworld, Haymarket.

All audiences at the festival will be encouraged to vote for this year’s Western Union Audience Award and the winning feature film will be announced at the close of the festival.

Tickets are currently on sale at the BFI and Watermans and sales will commence at Cineworld and other venues from 1st June.

@asimburney

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Plot Spoilers for Rowdy Rathore: Bollywood’s Original Action Hero Akshay Kumar Gets ‘Rowdy’ In Bollywood’s Latest Action Drama

One movie that we have totally been looking forward to is Rowdy Rathore and since the release is just around the corner, there is quite a bit of promotion going on especially in India where the stars and director Prabu Deva are on a city wide tour. Together with the full Chinta Ta Ta Chita Chita – Rowdy Rathore Official Full Song Video, we received a spoilerific plot summary, read if you can’t wait to know the what the movie will be about!

*SPOILERS

Bollywood’s original hero Akshay Kumar makes his long-awaited return after seven years to the action movie arena with this summer’s big release Rowdy Rathore releasing on the 1st of June 2012.

Rowdy Rathore is a modern re-working of the Telugu film Vikramarkudu, and features an all-star Bollywood cast comprising of Akshay Kumar and Bollywood starlett Sonakshi Sinha who returns to screens after Dabangg. The film is directed by renowned Tamil choreographer and actor Prabhu Deva (Wanted, Shakti – The Power) and also features the considerable talents of producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, famed for his directing credits on cutting-edge films Black, Devdas and Saawariya. The film marks Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s first foray into the action genre.

Akshay Kumar returns to dazzling form in this all-action blockbuster, as he expertly plays two very different and intriguing characters. The film is enhanced by lighthearted moments of comedy, thrilling action sequences and a little sprinkling of romance to set things off. Rowdy Rathore showcases Akshay Kumar’s acting talents and versatility as an actor, and guarantees an exciting summer film for the whole family.

In a gripping tale of mystery, deception and revenge, the thrilling story is told through the eyes of lead character Shiva (Akshay Kumar), who is a small-time thief addicted to acts of daredevilry. Shiva’s life is turned upside down when one day a young girl turns up and claims to be his daughter. Stunned by the revelation, he soon uncovers a dark and disturbing story behind her claim. It turns out that the girl is the daughter of IPS Police Officer Vikram Singh Rathore, who happens to be Shiva’s twin brother. When the two meet, and Vikram is murdered in front of Shiva, the latter must assume his identity and work undercover to bring his killers to justice.

Here is another look at the trailer that we can’t get enough of!

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Gangs of Wasseypur’s World Premiere Opens to Packed Houses At 65th Cannes Film Festival

The movie we are licking our lips to watch like a cat looking at a goldfish in a bowl, with the bowl being the Cannes film festival is Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur. On a charming offensive since Girl With The Yellow Boots Anurag’s profile has steadily been increasing as a filmmaker to watch out for more so for the western audiences that weren’t aware of his excellent previous work.

Here are some shots from Cannes that we hadn’t posted yet and as well some of the press clippings:

 

 

“Today, Tuesday 23rd May saw eager crowds line the streets outside the world renowned JW Marriot for the exclusive world premiere of Gangs Of Wasseypur, the first mainstream Bollywood film to be selected for the Director’s Fortnight.  Onlookers screamed as the Belles of Bollywood sashayed down the red carpet and dazzled the fans with their jaw-dropping floor length gowns. Once again the supporters of the most highly anticipated Indian film of the 65th Cannes Film Festival proudly donned their statement red gamchchas as they took their seats in a fully packed 800 strong capacity screening.

Actresses Huma Quereshi, Richa Chadda and Reema Sen, and Bollywood’s only female music director, the 28 year old stunner Sneha Khanwalkar, were joined by the film’s acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap and the male leads in the film Manoj Bajpayee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, known as two of India’s most critically acclaimed actors.

 

Gangs Of Wasseypur, a mainstream Indian film, combines clever filmmaking with a powerful, high-concept and entertaining plot, with revenge at its core. Accentuated by strong performances by a talented and eclectic cast comprising of Hindi cinemas finest, Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Richa Chadda, the film is cleverly told in two parts. Gangs Of Wasseypur represents the brave new Indian cinema breaking the cliches and conventions, something which Anurag Kashyap has come to be known for. The film is presented by one of India’s leading integrated film companies, Viacom18 Motion Pictures and produced by AKFPL.”

 


If you haven’t checked out the awsome trailer for Gangs of WasserPur, then here it is again!

 


@asimburney

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Amy Jackson UPodcast for Ekk tha Deewana

Today we have a Podcast interview with the lovely Amy Jackson, award winning (runner-up miss Britain and miss Liverpool 2010) British model now making her Bollywood debut in Ekk Tha Deewana with Prateik, releasing the 17th of February.

We speak about how welcoming Bollywood has been to her especially being a non indian and by some of the other actresses and the differences between working in the South Indian and Hindi Film industry. Amy was very gracious with her time, lovely to speak with and has the cutest pronunciation of the word “Chennai”

 

We will be posting a chat we did with her co-star and close personal friend Prateik very soon, so keep your eyes out or subscribe in iTunes (click here) so you don’t miss any of our exclusive podcast interviews! ( and while you are there, leave us a review please!)

Here’s the trailer:

 

 

I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to catch her in theaters on 17th of February!

Leave us a comment below if you liked the show!

 

@asimburney

 

Listen or download here:

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Competition! Win 2 copies of A.R. RAHMAN’S MUSICAL, EKK DEEWANA THA

As most of you know we’re mildly obsessed with the music of AR Rahman, the promo’s for his fortchcoming compositions of Gautam Menon’s Ekk Deewana Tha has been doing the rounds and you have a chance to win 2 copies of the soundtrack if you take part in our competition!

 

Below are the rules and the Press Release, merry listening to all!

 

Hailing from the new age genre of Hindi cinema that presents a fresh and youth-targeted perspective, ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ retells the classic, intense love story with fresh impetus for a new generation of cinemagoers, releasing through Twentieth Century Fox on 17th February 2012.
‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ weaves an emotive and powerful tale of how the path to true love never runs smoothly and that following your dreams comes at a price as it explores the highs and lows of being in love and the pleasures and pains associated with it.

The soundtrack to ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ is simply outstanding with a memorable composition by multi-Oscar winner AR Rahman (‘Slumdog Millionaire’). Lyrics have been penned by India’s most popular and sought-after lyricist, Javed Akhtar.

The music has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike, with the track “Hosana”, already populating the radio airwaves. In speaking about the music, A.R. Rahman said: “This is my favourite romantic album in recent times, while I have been doing music for many fresh actors, I hadn’t composed a fully romantic album in quite a while”. His fans have been eagerly awaiting the music launch after listening to the background score in the film’s First Look trailer.

Speaking about the film, Rahman added, “This movie is nothing but romance and humor, with a very soothing kind of narration. People will love it. Music is the expression of love and with this movie, I am trying to bring that romance back.”

Making her Bollywood debut in the female lead after a successful run in Tamil Cinema is British actress and model Amy Jackson, who is also former Miss Liverpool, Miss Teen World, Miss Teen Great Britain, and Miss England runner up. The English starlet, who is making waves with her film career in India, stars opposite Bollywood heartthrob and youth icon Prateik Babbar (‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Aarakshan’).
To celebrate the release of ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ in cinemas, we are giving away 2 CDs for the film’s music soundtrack.

 

For your chance to win,

A. Like us on Facebook by clicking here:

B. Simply answer the following question and send your replies to upodcasting@gmail.com, together with your mailing adress:
Q.    Who is the music composer for ‘Ekk Deewana Tha’? (seriously, if you don’t know the answer… :-))

All Participants must be in the UK to apply!

‘Ekk Deewana Tha’ is released through Twentieth Century Fox on 17th February 2012.

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Don 2 (3D) Review

Our favorite suave and chique crime lord Don is back after escaping from Interpol agents Roma (Priyanka Chopra) and Malik (Om Puri) in the first part of this franchise. We pick up the story after a 5-year gap (most of which Don has spent growing his hair and getting a butt ugly tattoo probably as the trend of wearing a tie under your shirt wasn’t taking off)

After becoming the ruler of Asia’s drug empire, he has now set his eyes on conquering Europe too. The top gaudy shirted crime bosses of Europe get together to get rid of Don but by doing so they set into motion the return of the king. This time his plan is to steal the currency plates for Euro Notes, I think he probably watched Lethal Weapon 4 a few times when he was kicking back and having his hair braided by Apache Indian’s stylist, but to do this he needs to get a key to a safe containing a video tape from Vardhan (Boman Irani), his nemesis from the earlier adventure who’s locked up in a Kuala Lumpur jail. Will Don be able to bust out Vardhan, steal the Euro plates, wipe out his enemies and finally become the king of crime in both Europe and Asia?

 

Where as the 2006 Don was a remake/re-imagining, the twist it added set the movie up as a slick action thriller franchise. The sequel takes us into the heist genre following the usual tropes i.e. setting up the heist with blue prints and lasers, getting a crew together each with a specialized skill set, things go wrong during the heist and then the big reveal. The movie is quite action heavy and the set pieces are very glossy and precision engineered. The team will be glad to hear that they are on par with stunt sequences reminiscent of the James Bond or Mission Impossible franchises, and that is clearly what the film makers were intending. I particularly enjoyed the initial Muay Thai double cross in Asia and the main car chase in the middle of the movie.

Unfortunately the action scenes are very heavily inspired by some of the above mentioned movies, also they are trying to match that level but never surpassing or adding anything original to the mix. Barring arguments about budgets, this is something that Korean, Thai or even French cinema is able to do much better and hence has a more unique voice in the global cinematic landscape, maybe this is one of the struggles Hindi Film cinema will continue to have until they develop a confident identity and vision.

 

This brings us to the fundamental flaws in the screenplay. As an audience we are trained to inherently root for the good guy. The hero dishooms his way through a pack of villains and vindicates the social injustices we identify with. The original Don’s main intrigue was about a simple guy, Vijay, infiltrating a crime organization for the future of his adopted street children and a sense of civic duty.

You want him to succeed in his mission whenever he is danger of his secret identity being disclosed by police or gangsters. You cared for Vijay’s well being.

When you take that away that suspense from the audience, as was the case in the 2006 version, understandably you feel cheated. You loose track of why you are rooting for the protagonist and only your affinity for the actors on screen makes ithe movie a satisfying experience. The cache of the actors involved for both Priyanka and ShahRukh was on a much higher level in 2006 then it is now.

Although Don is now the king of Asian drug trafficking, in the screenplay as a character his crimes are white washed.  We don’t see him doing any “evil deeds” or get any retribution for his actions whatsoever, Don is and remains a bad guy form start to finish without any character development.

Shahrukh has played anti heroes before in Baazigar and Darr that have been dubbed grey or negative characters but of each characters as an audience member you understood the motivation and story arc, be it obsession for revenge or love. I do think his role in Anjaam was overwhelmingly negative and to my recollection Anjaam flopped because of that. Don is a different beast.

He isn’t a “steal from the rich, give to the poor” kind of criminal. He is a vicious drug lord wanted in pretty much every country (which would make his mom proud as he proudly proclaims).

We are expected to root for this character and many times I was left wondering why we should do that? Just because Shahrukh looks cool? (again his coolness has lost a lot of its sheen since ’06) Or because he says please and thank you? Also where is his gang? Where are his minions? He seems to be very hands-on when it comes to pulling capers?

Director Farhan Akhtar mentioned when we spoke to him on our podcast that he also struggles with why audiences’ root for Don as a character and I don’t think he ever really figures it out during the entire movie and the only thing we are left with is… “Isn’t’ Shahrukh awesome?”  (as a disclaimer, yes he is awesome)

 

The whole set up of Don 2 is that he wants to be a billionaire and wipe out all his enemies, of which all the information is contained on a again a mythical disk that acts as a mcguffin through the rest of the flick. You reach the intermission and ask yourself what are the stakes in this movie?

Are we just here to see a bad guy do more bad stuff (ie  kill hostages and security guards by his henchmen) and if he has planned everything in detail as we are intended to believe then the innocents killed are on his conscience making the character very hard to like.

 

As a side note, I was watching a very interesting Star Wars documentary called “The People vs. George Lucas”, it spoke partly about how George Lucas made the first Star Wars when he started wanted to have control of his own movies and image and wanted to rail against the established studios by being a rebel outside of the system.  But now after living years off of his franchise and desperately trying to protect his “vision” ended up becoming the system himself. Watching Don 2 made me draw a parallel between George Lucas and Shahrukh’s career.

Shahrukh in the same way started out breaking all the classical hero molds. He took on supporting roles, off beat characters and small scales movies when Hindi film leads were not willing to experiment. This became the reason we love our Shahrukh, the reason we want to see him on screen, the nostalgia we feel when we call him King Khan.

And now quite ironically, he has become the one hero who has become most rigidly stuck in the image he has created.

But it’s been a rough year for SRK and I don’t think the detractors will change their tune after seeing Don, which is unfortunate but also understandable after the oversaturation people fell after marketing mayhem of Ra.One and now Don 2.

 

Following the rules of sequelitis, this one is bigger, better, flashier but the ’78 Saleem Javed version delivered something that was still memorable after 20 years. So much so that it has been remade in different eras as well as languages and regions. No one will be remaking Don 2 in 20 years and people that aren’t on board of the SRK or Piggy Chops train, won’t come out of theatres won over by the movie.

 

Although the loopholes in the screenplay, the dialogues penned by Farhan Akhtar himself are fun zingy one liners that had me half smirking in the quintessential SRK way quite a few times. I did purposefully stay away from the “Don Says’ virals on the net as I didn’t want the impact of the dialogues spoilt outside of context and this was a major win for me. Also since I am not a fan of those desperate marketing experiments, which are the equivalent of entertainment fast food that neither the performers nor the audience truly enjoy, and if they do, shame on them!

 

The soundtrack has been a pretty big disappointment and lacks anything catchy or mythical for us to buy or even revisit the album. Unlike Don ’06 we missed Kareena’s sizzling item number and there isn’t a “Khaike paan banaras wala” to lift the spirits either. The background score is slightly better and makes the heist and the action scenes more impactful.

In a way this makes the movie less Bollywood and maybe missing what the French call ” I don’t know what?”

 

The stunts are shot exquisitely shot (actually most of the cinematography is great by Jason West. Who is also playing one of the baddies, if I haven’t misread the cast list) they are very much competing with the MI franchise but unfortunately never taking it ever further. The execution is top notch but it looses out in creativity.

 

I chose to see Don 2 in 3D even if I am not a big fan of post converted movies (I haven’t seen any that I have liked or felt that the 3D added anything more). The 3D adds a sense of depth to the action scenes and but also points out the low budget design of the movies CGI. What 3D can provide something more is to the dance sequences in Zara Dil Ko Thamlo, But again since there was only one song and not much choreography required, there wasn’t much left. (My hopes are still high for Shrish Kunder’s Joker, next year, which IS shot in 3d and not post converted)

I wouldn’t shell out for the premium ticket for 3D if you are on a budget or anything and don’t enjoy wearing the glasses.

Unless like me you are not biased against 3D or just want to see a hindi 3D movie.

 

The 2 other niggles I had with the movie were Priyanka Chopra as performer and the character of Roma and her team at Interpol.

Interpol never provides a foil for Don or any threat, weakening the dramatic tension. Roma was an innocent victim of Don and collaborated with Interpol as an undercover mole, now she seems to be a Special Agent and the bright shining future of the team and there isn’t a moment her ability to do anything except pout and point out whatever is obvious on screen. Here is an example of her investigative method: “We see 2 people in the car, BUT now there is only 1 person so someone must have stepped out of the car” – No shit, Sherlock!

Not even the local German police takes this version of Interpol seriously, neither do the banking officials (who seem to have the power to offer immunity to felons)

 

On top of that Roma struts around every time Don surrends as if she actually did anything to catch him, which she clearly didn’t. Her introduction to the movie is where she has forgotten her colleagues’ birthday… and this is the agency that is chasing Don, the most notorious criminal, no wonder they haven’t gotten anywhere.

Priyanka does look ravishing and is quite impressive in the final action scene where she kicks some ass with really skinny arms.

Too bad for her she again gets outshone by the supporting actress who is wearing a gold dress, last time Kareena, this time Lara Dutta.

 

Overall I would say, I had been really excited for Don 2 and I liked it but it’s not going be on anyone’s top 10 of the year list. It’s a very slick, enjoyable and above all well made movie reminding me of Excel’s Game, released earlier this year. The star power and the brand recognition of Don 2 will carry this movie further in terms of Box office then it did for Game.

And I do have to admit that I walked out of the theater humming the title track, popping my collar and sneer- smirking like only a wanted man does….

 

 

Spoiler Section:

  • Having been cheated once before in the earlier Don, you start to expect a twist at the end of this one. I wouldn’t want the Don franchise become a N Shymalan style movie where most of the impact is lost just because you as an audience member don’t want to me cheated and just sit there waiting for a twist.
  • Hritik Roshan’s cameo: Don goes undercover as Hritik followed by a Mission Impossible 2 style mask taking off, which was illustrated in one of the posters that came out earlier. Although a preposterous set up ( MI did put in the effort to explain how the managed to copy the voice and mannerisms, here it’s not the case) it was quite fun to see Hritik even if it was for a short while. It made me wonder when will we get to see Hritik play a bad ass? But then I thought of the Agneepath traier and it was like my wish will be granted very soon
  • More effort should have been put into establishing Interpol’s credibility, instead of introducing us to them by talking about missed birthdays, maybe talk about a case Roma just cracked? would have given her a bit more development as a character.
  • Some of the influencesI picked up watching the movie:
    • Die Hard and the Nakatomi heist, up to the final climax where Don arches his arms back when he is close to surrendering. I was hoping they would just go completely meta and make SRK say something like: “Yippikay kutte!”).
    • Mission Impossible 1: face masks, heist, poison pen, fire brigade escape, upside down safe crack
    • MI 2: Don’s get up in the finale
  • Shah Rukh’s hair foibles: Seriously what look were they trying to go for?

Let us know what you thought of Don 2? We have a podcast discussion with our good friend Danny Bowes about Don 2 going up in a couple of days so keep your iTunes feeds updated!

@asimburney

 

 

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Upodcast Interviews Farhan Akhtar for Don 2

When we posted the generic media interview a couple of days ago we put ourselves the challenge that if we get to interview Farhan Akhtar for his forthcoming movie Don 2, we would as much better questions. Lo and behold Asim got a chance to squeeze in an exclusive chat with Farhan whilst he was visiting Dubai for the international Premiere.

Although allegedly Shahruh was in the same room as this interview happened, we had to wrestle down our nerves to ask one of our favorite filmmakers some questions about revisiting a character much loved and how things have changed for Don, we ask about the post conversion to 3D and why certain action scenes remind us of other movies.

Have a listen to our podcast below and let us know what you thought of our chat in the comment section below.

@asimburney

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Don 2 Interview with Director Farhan Akhtar

Farhan Akhtar one of my favorite directors/producers has been doing some interviews during some media round table. Upodcast were unfortunately not invited, if we were the questions would have been a hell of a lot geekier 😉 but we are lucky enough to post some of his thoughts about his forthcoming sequel Don 2 starring Shahrukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra amongst many others.

We posted some exclusive pictures earlier but now let’s hear from the filmaker himself.

Enjoy!

Tell us something about Don 2.
I really don’t know what to say about the film as that way I will be giving out the whole story. It has been fun, challenging yet a satisfying journey so far to make this movie. I was guilty of saying that I won’t probably make a sequel of Don, but my obsession with the character got the better of me. With amazing help and support and almost a sharing of vision with Ritesh (Sidhwani, producer) and Shah Rukh and rest of the team, I could not help but make Don 2.

Who is the ‘King’ of Don 2: The King is Back?
The King of Don 2 is undoubtedly Shah Rukh Khan.

Did you consult your father and writer Javed Akhtar on the script of Don 2?
Whatever film I write, I give it to him (Javed Akhtar) to read. I want him to give his feedback on screenplay, dialogues. He is somebody who is extremely experienced, somebody who is very good with the art and craft of writing; and fortunately I have this kind of access to him. It makes sense for me to use him and I use him to get feedback on not only this, but every script.

When you were making Don: The Chase Begins Again, you consulted Salim Khan (Salim-Javed being the screenplay writer of Amitabh Bachchan‘s Don in 1978). Did you do the same this time too?
I had gone to him to request him to give permission to make the film. I thought it was important that people who worked on the earlier film be happy with the remake we had made. So I met him regarding that, not the screenplay or such things. He was very, very kind and completely wished us all the best for the remake. Hopefully that applies to the sequel as well.

In the 2006 film, you retained some of the dialogues from the 1978 film like Don Ko Pakadna Mushkil Hi Nahi Namumkin Hai. Are you trying some new lines in the sequel or want to carry forward the legacy?
There are other dialogues in the film of course. For us, the line you just spoke about, strike a chord. But who knows, may be some other dialogue Don says in Don 2, might match out to the audience. While writing dialogues and thinking about the style of the dialogues, I knew that the approach has to be to write it in a way that films of that time (1970s) were written, where people spoke with a bit of theatrical sense. There was a lot more drama in the lines. So I maintained the approach as it gives you good feeling and also makes the film sound different. It takes you back to the times when you got to see films like this where you know every dialogue was a DIALOGUE.  So it is written with that in mind. But again, whatever people take from that, is upto them. There are fun lines in the film, hopefully they will enjoy.

Did you ever think of another actor for Don, had Shah Rukh said ‘no’ to you?
I don’t even want to think about that. When I started out to make the film, I wanted Shah Rukh to play the character and he loved the part. Beyond that, I stopped thinking about any other actor as I got the person I wanted for my film.

Social networking sites are flooding comments since Don 2 trailer was put on Youtube.  What is the best compliment you have got so far?
The best compliment I have got about the film so far is ‘Thank You for making Don 2’…that’s the sweetest thing one can say with minimum words.

Why did Don 2 take so long in the making (five years)?
Well, it was a challenging but extremely satisfying journey. I was guilty of declaring that I won’t make a sequel for Don 2, but once I spoke to Ritesh Sidhwani and Shah Rukh Khan, I could conceive it.

Why have you decided to make the film in 3D?
The film is not shot with the 3D camera. But when we saw that there is a possibility to make it in 3D, we gave it a shot. The people at Reliance made a demo and it looked very good. Technology has advanced a great deal; it is great to watch the film in 3D as well.

So who is Farhan the actor’s favourite actor?
I like many actors. All actors have their own strengths. But I do enjoy watching Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn purely for the fact that when you see their body of work and the body of work of most other actors, you notice that these guys bring something new to the table by way of a story or character. I love the way Ajay keeps reinventing himself as an actor. I would hate to watch the same kind of performance over and over again. An actor must keep challenging himself if he wishes to have a really long innings. Even as a filmmaker, I believe in mixing genres. A film must be entertaining. When I say entertaining, I don’t mean that you should only make people laugh. You can enthrall them with drama or comedy. There should be a sense of variety in storytelling and performance.

I have to say that the approach to 3D is worrisome, post converted 3D usually sucks and some of the questions are really derivative but I am sure a lot of people out there will love reading up on this.

We’re still super Psyched for the movie which will be out Wednesday 21st December 2011 in theaters worldwide

@AsimBurney

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Exclusive: Don 2 HD images

Hey Guys,

Here is quite the exclusive. We got our hands on a bunch of unseen HD images from the forthcoming Don 2, The King is back.

I have to admit being quite excited about this one even though a lot of people were underwhelmed by Ra.One, in our opinion the movie was tons of fun and you can’t knock the ambition.

This time reprising his lovable bad guy role, Don takes us on a rollercoaster ride across the globe. I do like that the marketing is a bit downplayed after the over saturation of ShahRukh’s previous release.

(the images are quite big so the flash gallery might take a minute to load depending on your connection speed!)

[fgallery id=2 w=500 h=450 t=0 title=”Don 2 Exclusive Images”]

Let us know what you thought of the images above and if you are excited for Don 2?

Also if you want us to send you a digital copy, like us on facebook and drop us a line on our email ( there is a link if you scroll down)

@asimburney

 

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Lego The Movie

Don't leave us in pieces after the movie

Some interesting news greeted my inbox today and I’m not at all sure of where I stand on this one. In fact, even thinking of standing on Lego brings back painful childhood memories – especially when you step right on the corner of a little square block in bare feet.

So, back to the movie…the studio behind Lego The Movie* is Warner Bros. and a release date has been set for 2014. Notably, the movie is expected to be an animation / live action hybrid. Quite what this will really entail is anyone’s guess, but if anyone can show me a good and/or successful film in this format, since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? way back when, then I’d love to know.

Does this make me a sceptic? Yes, of course it does; but that’s only because I have the best of interests at heart. I loved and still love, Lego the toy and I think the Lego computer games are brilliant. I just want a decent movie out of this project; enough that I won’t feel like a total and utter victim for paying to see this when you can imagine the field day that marketing execs in both companies will have in the run up to the release. If Lego already make good toys (and computer games) associated with other movies – Star Wars, Batman, Hippy Puffer etc – then their own merch for their own film ought to be so good that a kid’s brain melts just by seeing the ads on TV.

With the apparent 3 year wait for a green light now over, casting for the human roles is expected to commence in January 2012. Aussie company Animal Logic (Happy Feet) has been lined-up to produce the effects and further details about the story and plot are expected to be released at some point next week. It is thought that production will also begin next week. If you’re not sure what Lego is (really, is there anyone?) then check out this clip…it’s also a really introduction to Eddie Izzard.

*As named by ME as no name announced just yet

 

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Ep 38 RDB Interview with Kuly for Sheera Di Kaum

We had a chance to speak with Kuly, one third of the biggest Bhangra band of the moment RDB or Rhythm Bhangra Dhol known for their massive songs, international collaborations with acclaimed rappers like Snoop Dogg and Ludacris and their total domination of the Bollywood charts since working with Akshay Kumar on movies like Namaste London, Singh Is King, Kambakth Ishq and now Speedy Singhs/Breakaway.

Now Upodcast is not well versed in music ( unlike or friends The CurrySmugglers who are back with an amazing season!) but we had a chance to ask some interesting questions about the state of bhangra, the new found international audience and some behind the scenes gossip on how the industry works.

Above all Kuly was a very nice guy to speak with and although he was in the backseat of a car, he really took the time to answer all of our questions.

It’s a fun listen, check it out below and don’t forget to leave us a comment!

Here are some of the tracks RDB is famous for

You can find more info on their website and also their forthcoming album WorldWide.

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Ep 37 Vidyut Jamwal Interview Exclusive – playing the villain in Force

Force is this week’s big Hindi release and we had a chance to have a conversation with Vidyut Jamwal, the surprise package and debutant villain pitted against a very buffed up John Abraham, in the remake of South Indian Kaakha Kaakha which originally starred Surya and Jyotikha (find our review here).

 

Force is already getting rave reviews (our review will be up shortly) and this is probably due to a large part to Vidyut’s performance. And I am sure as soon as the ladies (and some gents-apparently 10-12% of the male population) will get a look of Vidyut’s six-pack, they will turn into goo.
Vidyut was raised in an ashram and has been training in various different styles of martial arts since a very young age so he is definitely a good match for John’s bike lifting shenanigans.
Check out some of the stunts he did for the media at a press event.

 

 

Source: Fox Star India
We had a very nice time speaking with Vidyut, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and has that gusto that new comers have, plus he complimented me a few times so that always gets you brownie points.

The interview happened on the phone so there are a few things that gets lost in translation but I am sure you will have a great time listening to our chat.
Let us know what you thought of our interview in the comment section below (or even better leave us a review on iTunes)

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Ep 36 Speedy Singhs/BreakAway Q&A with Russell Peters, Vinay Virmani and Ghuggi

Upodcast attended a Q&A with the cast of Speedy Singhs/ BreakAway in London who were in town to promote their Ice Hockey Underdog crossover film releasing in the UK on Friday 30th September 2011. International comedy sensation, Russell Peters, and rising star of cinema, Vinay Virmani, joined fellow cast and crew members including much adored comedian/actor Gurpreet “Ghuggi” Singh and co-producer Ajay Virmani as they addressed the audience and conducted a Q&A session with media in attendance.

We had a chance to pose some of our questions in typical Upodcast fashion and tried to get some clarification from Russel Peters about the statements he recently made about Bollywood.

A lot has been said in the media and even more so has been pulled out of context but you can listen to the entire press conference here and make up your own mind.

From the Press Release:
Directed by Hollywood filmmaker Robert Lieberman (‘D3: The Mighty Ducks‘, ‘Table for Five’) and produced by First Take Entertainment and Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar’s Hari Om Entertainment, ‘Speedy Singhs’ is a gripping, cross-cultural hockey drama set in the Indo-Canadian community of suburban Toronto, Canada. Other stars in the film include Hollywood heartthrob, Rob Lowe; the demure Camilla Belle (‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park‘, ‘10,000 BC‘); and veteran of Indian cinema Anupam Kher (‘Bend it like Beckham’). A galaxy of other exciting cameos are provided by the likes of recording artist and actor Aubrey “Drake” Graham and Grammy Award winning rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. Ludacris added his vocals to the cross-urban music track of the year, “Shera Di Kaum”, the promotional song for ‘Speedy Singhs’, where he also features in the video.

‘Speedy Singhs’ releases in cinemas across UK and worldwide on 30th September 2011


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Drive – quite possibly movie of the year

A star is born

Having heard a lot about The Pusher and having seen Bronson, I’m not sure why I was quite as surprised as I was by how damned fine the film is.  It’s a pretty easy plot – stunt driver in the movies has a sideline at night driving getaway cars, falls in love with his neighbour and pulls one last, ill-fated job – but this sets expectations so low against what is delivered – Nicolas Winding Refn has really delivered with this movie.  First off, it would be remiss to not talk about the violence and there are some supremely bloody scenes in the film; really quite explicit and graphic but not gratuitous.  This is balanced by a very tender relationship between Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan which is not expressed in the conventional manner: there is but one kiss that is shared throughout the film.  For more on Refn’s observations about love and violence, see the clip from BBC Breakfast…  

So, Drive is a truly original film; a tremendous re-imagining of the “man with no name” concept and not easy to pigeon-hole.  That we don’t know any back-story about “Driver” makes this all the more compelling.  For that I guess we have to read the James Sallis novel upon which the film is based. 

Everything else aside, what else makes this such a winner (literally as Refn won Best Director at Cannes earlier this year for Drive)?  Well for a start, LA at night is shot wonderfully (as it is during the day too).  There are some great performances from the whole ensemble cast; standout from Gosling and I thought notably from Bryan Cranston who, not having seen Breaking Bad, for me will forever be Hal, the father in Malcolm in the Middle.  What will stay with me most I think will be the soundtrack; almost an ever-present in the movie and the most perfect complement to the visuals and story.  I was reminded both of the Scarface and Heat soundtracks – a brilliant blend of electro-pop-synth and moody atmospherics, particularly in the opening sequence.  A modern day noir, Drive gets the Upod thumbs-up, so treat yourselves and check it out as soon as you can.  A clip is below just in case you need more encouragement.

By: TwitterButtons.com
By”>http://www.twitterbuttons.com”>By TwitterButtons.com

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Review Bodyguard

It’s Eid, a day of rejoicing after a pious month of fasting and introspection. And how do us Hindi Film fans celebrate? We go out to the movies of course! Since the past few years Eid has become synonymous with a Salman Khan release. He’s set records with Dabanng and Wanted at Eid and Ready earlier this year. Will he be able to do so again with Bodyguard? Will he be A-One number one and beat that other King? Has Upodcast ever been interested in the box office fate of a movie and will we start to do so now? If you want to know if Bodyguard will be a hit, I am sure there will be numerous reviews posted around the interwebz in the next few days. But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of Bodyguard, read our review!

Bodyguard is the story of Lovely Singh (Salman Khan)a trusted and loyal bodyguard that gets hired by Sartaj Rana (Raj babbar) – one of those dhoti wearing rich dudes with a moustache-  to protect his college going daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Divya feels her style gets cramped by having a bodyguard shadowing her in college, so she decides to prank call Lovely Singh pretending to be a girl named Chayya to distract him by making him believe she is in love with him…Do I need to spell out what happens next?

It’s never great to start a review by talking about another movie but I have to admit as a Salman Khan fan, watching Ready ( our full review) was a torture that still gives me pant shitting nightmares every time I hear the annoying whistle from Dhinka Chikka. But it was a huge hit so I guess it only shows how much out of touch I can be with the taste of mainstream audiences. (I didn’t like Transformers 3 either). So to put it mildly I was reticent of watching Bodyguard after seeing the first trailer. I felt it was an easy cash earner riding on the popularity of Salman after his previous hits, the soundtrack wasn’t really exciting me either (does any Himesh soundtrack do that anymore?). Another thing Ready proved was that Salman’s movies were becoming critic proof, and no matter the shoddy direction or egregious plot, the shirt removal scenes would have the audiences in raptures. It’s back in vogue to be a Salman Khan fan and more power to him. He’s had a couple of rough years pre-Wanted.

(Where were you people when he was making Jaan E Mann, Garv and Veergati? I ask you this faux Salman fans, where were you when he needed you???)

Bodyguard is tailor made to be a massive hit. The timing is perfect, the marketing has been ramping up (of which you have seen a lot on Upodcast, truth be told) and they have created a lot of buzz in a short span of time (Bodyguard started shooting in January if I’m not mistaken). It mixes everything we want as a time pass movie in measured doses. First half is comedy and a hint of a love story. The 2nd half ramps up the action and emotions. The songs are placed with precision engineering and more than anything this movie is produced by an ace team.

Performances are what are to be expected from stars of this caliber. Glad to see that this will finally be a hit for this pair after the underappreciated Kyon Ki and the unmitigated disaster that was Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Salman is playing Salman as he usually does. He’s a lot more subdued playing a dutiful Bodyguard but the moments he needs to switch up with some classic Michael Jackson moves and charm the audience, he does so faultlessly. He’s become a master at giving the audience what they need, I just hope the audience needs this Salman for a whole while longer. Also can we have every movie of his start with a warehouse fight? (This one was particularly brilliant)

The money and effort spent Kareena’s look and wardrobe is staggering and she looks luminescent on screen in every frame. (We might still be a bit besotted by meeting her last week and her podcast with us). Compared to Kaajal Agarwal in Singham (The previous South Indian remake) who was also dressed in the ethnic look, you can understand what sets Kareena apart from anyone else and why she is in the position she is. Above all that she has really developed into a fine actress, even in a movie like this which is pretty light, the moments she needs to emote with her tear filled eyes, she does so with aplomb. She gets an introductory montage in the movie which makes you forget for a moment that you are watching a movie and if she would turn around and sell us a brand of shampoo or face cream, I am sure the audience would have run out and bought that product straight away. (She doesn’t do so although there is quite a bit of overt product placement throughout the movie). I’m not entirely sure she can still pull off the role of a college girl but I am sure people show me the “Amir Khan in 3 Idiots” card as soon as they have finished reading this sentence, so it becomes a moot point.

The action scenes designed by Vijayan (who worked with Salman in Wanted and Dabanng) are amazing, probably the best we will see all year (until Agneepath comes out). They take the no-holds barred mix martial arts approach from the climax of Dabanng and add more wire work to it. Whereas the wire work in Singham (apologies for harping on about Singham, maybe check out our full review for our thoughts) made the action seem weightless and cartoonish at times. The fights in Bodyguard feel more grounded as they are aided by well used freeze frames and bullet time. The final fight scene with Aditya Pancholi ( why don’t we see more of him) if breathtaking, and even if the villains are only punching bags for Salman in this movie, they do a pretty good job.

But all this is a success of the production team but a movie needs a few more elements like a tight or at least logical screenplay, clap worthy dialogues and competent directing and that is where bodyguard starts to falter.

Director Siddique has written and directed this movie 3 times (In Tamil as Kaavalan, in Malayalam as Bodyguard and now again in Hindi) now but he is still not skilled at telling the story and he seems to have no idea what the job description of bodyguard actually is. In Siddique’s warped mind a bodyguard is an amalgam of a special ops commando, a personal trainer and a nanny. Apparently a bodyguard needs to attract as much attention as possible and can also not sit next to his master.

He fills in the first half of the movie with an comedy track with overweight side kick (something that seems to happen quite a bit when importing movies from the south- see Wanted and Singham). The overweight girl from “I H8 Luv Stories” is somewhere on the background and only around so the midget (dwarf, little person, I don’t want to piss any karate proficient little people) can make some fat jokes. Apparently these jokes benefit from the rapid fire repartee of South Indian cadence, I don’t think I would find them funny in anyway shape or form.

The love story until the interval is pretty juvenile and if it wasn’t for the charming performance of the stars, it would be ridiculous. Why do remakes of South Indian movies make their female characters act only a couple of levels above the retardation line is a mystery to me? (I’m sure their moms had to get involved to get them just above that line a la Mama Gump)

I want to talk about the ending of the movie in the spoiler section but only read it if you have seen the movie already in one of its previous avatars or don’t care enough about it not to have it spoilt. But Siddique reminded me of Puri Jagganath director of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap. Another director who overstretches his skills and his movie was only successful through the weight that the actors brought in. At least Puri made an orginal movie. Siddique has done this 3 times now and if it wasn’t for a strong action director, camera man and production team, he would not have been able to deliver.

Clearly not every South Indian director is Prabhu Deva.

For whoever is keeping final score for Bodyguard:

Dabanng ≥ Wanted > Bodyguard > Ready > Suryavanshi

Before I go into the spoiler section I want to go into a bit of tangent.

I do wonder how far we can stretch the southification of Hindi Film Cinema. Audiences will get tired of the inane comedy that just doesn’t make that much sense and every South Indian I have spoken with prefers the original version and feels the adaptation wasn’t done right. It would be an idea to take the time and effort to really adapt and distill the screenplays to local audiences and just change the timing of the comedy and emotional beats. Even the dialogues lack the punch when translated from a language they weren’t originally written in. Until now, the power of the stars has been able to drag these movies to box office success. Stars like Aamir, Salman and even Ajay have enough of a following to do so but what will happen when these movies have minor stars attached to it?

I am dreading seeing the promo’s for Force and I do not believe that people who loved seeing Surya in Kaakha Kaakha( which we reviewed) will enjoy pretty boy John Abraham in it.

I also understand the anger that some South Indian fans feel towards these movies which can only be described as a Mcdonaldisation of their cinema transforming it into a bland mongrel form of sustenance which only nourishes but does not fill the appetite.

When speaking with my twiter buddy Reena Mumbai from TwoMangoes (check out her blog by clicking here) about our obsession with pre- 50 Cent hip hop. It made me think of a song by Mos Def called Rock N Roll on his epic Black on Both sides Album, about how white America has appropriated much of black culture thanklessly.

“I said, Elvis Presley ain’t got no soul
Chuck Berry is rock and roll
You may dig on the Rolling Stones
But they ain’t come up with that style on they own”

I wouldn’t say we are there yet but I do hope more effort is put into adapting these movies in the future.

But can we at least get rid of the overweight sidekicks and inane slapstick comedy?

Spoiler Section: ( Really do not read before watching the movie)

  • There is unnecessarily convoluted twist at the end of the movie which is an example of the ineptitude of the writing. Not only does it just seem to give us the same result we were going to get 15 min earlier but it does so using one of the most thankless characters in the entire movie. This could very well be a prequel to Kuch Kuch Hota hai. It really sucks and annoyed me to no end. (oh I was really evil, and I now have this ailment that the writer doesn’t even take the time to name and could you please not tell your daddy I was evil oh bespectacled son)
  • I also wonder why did no one get any older? We don’t need them to pull a Veer Zaara but you could add some wrinkles or at least dress people differently, it seemed the scenes were just shot 2 days later but a 7 year old kid had suddenly appeared out of the blue.
  • The entire phone plot made me miss Karisma Kapoor so much. I hope she comes back soon and if we pray really hard maybe she will do a movie with Salman Khan again. I don’t think there was ever an actress he seemed more comfortable with or just had fun with and it showed on screen. It’s a shame because to think that way though as Bebo looks so pretty but did anyone else feel she was channeling a bit of Lolo on those phone scenes?

Let us know what you thought of Bodyguard and how they did adapting it from the previous versions in the comments section below

 

 

 

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Salman Khan’s BodyGuard Interview for Upodcast!

Indian stars command a different level obsession than their western counterparts. The love and adulation we feel for “our favorites” combines the passion for a sportsteam with the myth of a rock star. We tailor our personal style, conversational idioms and day to day jokes towards them and every generation (even if they won’t admit it) has that one star that just sends them into a frenzy. My parents had Dilip Kumar, growing up we had Amitabh Bachchan but from adolescence there was only one name for me and that was Salman Khan.

The release of his Bodyguard is just around the corner (31st of August) and we had a podcast planned with him but then got diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a very painful nerve disorder for which he had to fly out for treatment for the US. But Salman Khan “ne ek bar jo commitment kardi, toh phir woh apni bhi nahi sunta” (once he makes a commitment, then he doesnt even listen to himself) and  he took to answer some of our questions via email  just before he flew out. And truth be told, I don’t know if I could have contained my excitement if I had gotten a chance to speak with him. (Clearly Upodcast is a place for fans more than journalistic professionalism)

Sabka hai Ek Bhaijaan, here is the one and only Salman Khan in his inimitable style answering questions from yours truly.

Photo Credit: www.SalmanOnline.net

Sorry to hear about your ailment through the news. I hope you are well
and that it doesn’t hurt too much? How were you able to cope with it
through shooting?

Ya, did get unbearable at times… I had planned to get myself treated
after the shoot, post productions and promotions for Bodyguard are
completed. But now pain has become unbearable.

You have had a time honored equation with music over the years? Is
that just luck or do you have a musical ear? Did you sit down with the
music directors of Bodyguard and discuss what was needed?

Na I have been lucky… my music directors do a good job.

I have been lucky enough to have all the talented music directors
composing music for the songs that I dance to on screen. I had given
certain inputs in the song ‘Teri Meri’ but it was entirely Himesh’s
creative efforts that the song a creating a buzz among people.

Desi beat has a slight tinge (maybe a sample) of “Kabooter Ja Ja” from
Maine Pyar Kiya. Do you reminisce about some of your earlier roles? Do
you rewatch any of your older movies?

All I can say Desi Beats is a big success in India and overseas. I do
recall my roles at times as I did them because I liked the role but
now I am always looking forward to do something new and exciting.

Did you bring any of those sensibilities from older movies to
Bodyguard? Is there a Jaagruti -style jungle
training scene?

Bodyguard is a very different film. I think it is an innocent love
story. It is a good balance of emotions, romance action and drama. As
far as action in the film is concerned the entire credit goes to
Vijayan Master. He directed my wanted and dabbang and wanted to push
limits with this one too.

What were the roles you think you nailed but maybe didn’t work with
audiences as well? How do you deal with a movie when it doesn’t work?

Yes, film is to be approached with new enthusiasm and more motivation.
If the film turns a blockbuster it’s great and if it doesn’t you have
to move on. The number of people watching your film is directly
proportional to how good the film is. The intension is always to make
a good movie and positive responses definitely make me feel good.

Are there times whilst shooting that you know it’s not going well? And
if so is there sometimes you pull back?

There are hardships everywhere. Facing the obstacles is the only way
to overcome them. If things don’t go well at times you just have to
work your way around it rather than pulling back.

You have been doing action movies since the start of your career but
now since Wanted it had taken another level. What has changed in your
mind?

Wanted has certainly added a lot to my performance and enhanced my connect with the viewers. But every role brings something new to me intensifies my ability to act.

Is it the effect of your TV presence that you have created a closer
bond with your audience?

Television is definitely a vibrant medium and reaches to masses far
and wide. It has been a platform to reach the audience who probably
miss out on catching me on the larger screen.

From Baaghi to Veer and of course your much respected
father (Salim Khan), writing has been a part of your life. You have taken on
painting since a few years too. Do you feel that these are ways you
communicate with your fans and audience or is it more of an internal
process where you deal with your own thoughts?

Just as everyone develops certain interests at different points in
their lives I am drawn towards painting. I am interested in painting
as it is an art form that helps me to express myself.

What type of creative input did you have in Bodyguard as the
production team is family?

My first responsibility is with my audience then it is to producer.
Who is the producer is not important. Atul (Agnihotri, producer and Salman’s brother in law-ed) came with this script
before the Malayalam bodyguard was made. And we had decided to make it
in Hindi whatever may be the faith of Malayalam.

You started the trend of South indian remakes with Tere Naam. What do
you think needs to be adjusted or tweaked when remaking a South Indian
movie to North Indian audiences?

I have loved the subjects of all the remakes I have done so far. Tere
Naam and Wanted fetched quite good results this only indicates
audiences liked the concept and the films at large. I believe it is
entirely the film maker’s call. Bodyguard which is a remake of the
Malayalam version had drastic changes in the characterization and
these were Siddique’s efforts to bring the film in a fresh form to
Bollywood’s audiences.

Are there any South Indian stars or movies you are particularly fond of?

Rajnikanth with out doubt…

Would you ever consider making a work-out dvd for all your fans that
want to be buff like you?

Have not thought about it…

So I hope you enjoyed reading some of his answers. For more BodyGuard goodness you can check out our Podcast interview with Kareena Kapoor, his co-star.

Or of course catch Bodyguard in theatres in a couple of days in a theater near you!

 

Let us know what  you thought of Bodyguard after the jump!

Enhanced by ZemantaAnd thanks to our good friend Amaluu from Bollystalgia, a fellow Sallu fan who helped us out with some of the questions!
You can follow us on twitter or Facebook by clicking links on the left!
EID MUBARAK!

Hunger Games Teaser Trailer

Apparently the MTV awards were last night, an event of no relevance except to teens and people with too much time on their hands. Beyonce showed of her baby bump (fingers crossed it’s an amazing female rapper with the booty bouncing skills the world has ever seen) and the other exciting news was the first teaser for Hunger Games, the young adult trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, got released.

 

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz and directed by Gary Ross (SeaBiscuit, Pleasantville)  is releasing 23rd of March 2012 and we have the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence ( we have raved about her many times in our podcast, recently in episode 27 where we reviewed her performance amongts many in Xmen First Class )  present the video too.

There’s not much to see in the teaser but what we see is enough to get a vibe of what the movie will look like.

 

Here is a synopsis from IMDB

In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. As the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss‘ young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.

We are currently stuck in the second book preparing for a dedicated podcast very soon, but we are slow reader so you will have to bear with us.

 

Are you excited for the Hunger Games?

Let us know in the comment section below

 

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Win Tickets to BodyGuard Preview in London!

If you want to see a special preview before anyone else of Bodyguard and you can attend the screening in London, you have a chance to win a pair of tickets! Check out how you can win a pair of tickets just after the jump! Read More

Ep 34 Kareena Kapoor Bodyguard Interview

The one and only princess of Bollywood Kareena Kapoor graced us with her presence when she was in London promoting Bodyguard, her forthcoming movie with Salman Khan. And we got a chance to interview her for an exclusive Upodcast episode. Check out our chat with the ever radiant Bebo after the jump! Read More

Ayaa Re Ayaa BodyGuard’s Item Song ft Katrina Kaif

We showed you some exclusive shots a couple of days ago( you can find the post by clicking here) and now the song itself has been released!

Check out a snippet from the much hyped Item song from BodyGuard starring of course Salman Khan flexing his muscles while wearing a fisherman’s cap and cut off denim shirt while 30 wet men are proclaiming him to be “sabse hot”! ( Not that there’s anything wrong with that). And we get a to see a bit of the beautiful Katrina Kaif bedazzling us with her smile in a recycled Sheila ki Jawaani Set. Check out the clip after the jump and enjoy!

 

Some thoughts:

The Soundtrack hasn’t really set the world on fire and this track is no different.

As the trailer for the movie showed, Bodyguard wants to fill in as many meta references to Salman Khan as possible as ride the gravy train to box office gold ( ie calling him “Bhaijaan”)

Is it me or is the choreography and the wardrobe very lazy? Did they run out of funding?

Fingers crossed that Bodyguars is more Wanted than Ready? (But I have to admit I’m worried that this might ne another Salman-Kareena misfire)

Let us know what you think of this new Item song in the comment section below!

You can follow more Bodyguars’ promo’s by subscribing to  T-series Youtube Channel!

 

 

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Exclusive: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s Item Song In BodyGuard

The buzz for Salman KhanKareena Kapoor starrer Bodyguard is on full swing! The trailers and song promo’s are out on all music channels. Now Upodcast has access to exclusive pictures of the Item Number with the wonderful Katrina Kaif stepping into her Sheila boots again. But there is another surprise appearance and that is Shera, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard for over a decade will also be getting his thumka on with Salman and Katrina. Check out these behind the scene images of the song being shot after the jump! Read More

Review Singham

Bajirao Singham is an honest cop and darling of a small town, Shivgad, where his daddy is a rich merchant and crime seems to be very low as he keeps paying off every crime anyone does, maybe not the best of crime fighting techniques. Singham also helps out villagers with road side assistance when their carts get stuck in the mud and helps crippled kids win school races (what type of school would put a crippled kid in a race, is a question best not asked), while all the time wearing Aviators and having the cleanest police uniform in the history of Ariel. Before spending the first half of the movie romancing Kaavya (Kaajal Aggarwal known from the bonkers Magadheera making her Hindi Film Debut), he comes face to face with Jaikant Shikre(Prakash Raj), the usual thug/politician villain and part time comedian in a pretty awesomely shot pre-intermission scene in his local village. Not able to take the insult to his ego, Shikre pulls some strings to get Singham transferred to Goa, a city under his thumb. He “tortures” Singham by prank calls and having his henchmen play “doorbell ditch” which forces our eponymous hero to take his shirt off and unleash the lion within him. The Indian Police uniform has lions on it, so there are metaphors on kung fu wires in this movie as much as there are cars and goons flying around.

Although I have laid down the plot in quite a few details, it’s a story we know and can’t be spoilt. This movie in my mind is truly critic proof. You can point out problems with it but at the end of the day it does win you over. You rejoice when the hero thrashes the bad guy and clap when he roars his punchy dialogues against the villain. Taking box office out of the equation, a movie is effective when it succeeds in its intention and Singham truly does that. The best comparison I can make is actually the Transformers ( of which we reviewed part 3 on episode 30 of our podcast) series. Like Michael Bay, Rohit Shetty has an unbelievable eye for action and quite the visual flair but his comedic sensibilities and handling of the romantic track is low brow and juvenile.  (And sometimes you do wonder if it’s written by this guy)

Director and longtime collaborator, Rohit Shetty (who also designed most of the action) uses a hell of a lot of wire work in his set pieces and most of it is truly heart pounding but he tends to go overboard quite a few times where cars and people are just flying around with no weight or consequence. There are moments where you just stop caring the third time Bajirao takes off his belt to whip villains. I admit, the first 2 times were awesome, the third even the villain seems bored and just talks through it.

I have never found wire work to be effectively done in Hindi Films ( I hold my heart for RA.One), it works when used as a punch line to action but not when the entirety of the action is built upon it. Unfortnately Rohit Shetty has a propensity for overusing it as demonstrated in pretty much every movie he has ever done as a director (Sunday, All The Best, Golmaal series) there are moments that it feels like a 5 year old bashing action figures against each other.  Some scenes are bizarre choices that take you out of the movie especially the night sequences which are shot with green screen and a filter, and everything just seems brightly pastel colored which give the movie a fresh look but for tires my eyes after a while. I do see Rohit turning to 3D, I think he would be very effective.  There are some underlying religious and nationalistic themes to the movie too which felt a bit heavy handed. (There’s that Michael Bay comparison again was…). I did really enjoy how hands on Rohit is in designing the action sequences as we see in the post credit sequence and he genuinely seems like a cool guy to hang out with unlike Bay who just seems like an twat.

Performance wise Ajay “Jazz hands” Devgan(I haven’t kept up with the latest version of the spelling of his name using numerology) in the titular role is amazing! One of the most consistent actors in the Hindi film industry (even more so than the Khans) he is back in an action packed role sans 90’s hair but mixed in with the comedic flair he has developed lately mostly by working with Rohit Shetty. The first half of the movie is full of comedy which is  completely subjective if it works for you or not.  Comedic sidekicks or villagers running away scared by a plastic mask are just not my thing but Ajay even performs well in those scenes. But he really comes into his own facing off with Prakash Raj or bashing goons and even in our screening the audience was close to clapping and whistling.

Kaajal Agarwal has a very perky appearance but unfortunately her character of Kaavya is the most vanilla of Hindi film love interests. She’s the annoying prankster in the first half and the motivator in the second. Even though Kaajal does well, I was groaning every time she would appear in the second half as I just did not want to get back to the corniness of the first. Someone does need to fire the wardrobe department as she’s wearing the same suit in a multitude of colors throughout the movie.

Prakash Raj has been playing the same bad guy in Wanted and Bbhuddah Hoga Tera Baap ( check out our special podcast) but he’s just so good at it, that I just love seeing him on screen. This time he gets a lot more screen time and amazing lines. And the balance he strikes between comedy and straight up menace even overshadows Ajay in some scenes.  The Shikre vs Singham dialogue showdowns are truly the best part of the picture and are so well paced from the pre-intermission on wards that you are fully on board with the pace of the movie.  Both actors get the chance to get the upper hand in sequences and especially Ajay Devgan is really great in underplaying when he needs to let Prakash’s charisma as a villain shine on screen.

The songs in Singham on the other hand are unforgiveably bad and even are shot uninspiringly.

Although I find the drums in the title song very rhythmic, the song works better as a background score then a fully-fledged play back song . However cool the Jazz hands are, the belt buckle shake from Dabanng trumps it. The other songs are completely forgettable and honestly I have forgotten them already… I just know they had Kaajal Agarwal and Ajay Devgan in them and they were dancing or riding a bike or something else romantic…

All in all Singham is straight up masala flick, nothing meta about it, no subversion of the genre like Dabanng was to certain extent. You need to watch this movie with your heart and whenever your brain starts thinking again, just wrestle it back to the ground or look at the pretty colors and carflipping or munch on some popcorn. Singham succeeds in what it sets out to do and if you want to have a good family friendly time (the action is completely bloodless) and some old school hero-giri, then it’s a total recommend.

Some Further thoughts:

I know Ganesh Acharya is not the most svelte of choreographers, but does he ever invent any dance steps that move more than 1 body part simultaneously?

The whole officer Kadam suicide track which serves as a catalyst just pops up and out when needed and his kid that’s supposed to play “the conscience” of the police force has the most morose face ever. Who in the production team is he related to?

Sonali Kulkarni is a joy to watch on screen and I’m glad to see her again, I can’t believe she is already relegated to aunty roles.

I had some real issues with the climax of the movie. I just don’t agree with police brutality and I feel it felt out of character for a straight laced, honest cop to out and out assassinate the villains. And you could totally flip around the roles and make the cop the villain and the hero the goon taking on a corrupt police force.

This movie is the bizarro version of Ajay Devgan’s “Gangaajal” directed by Prakash Jha, there is even a villain whipping scene which I felt was much more effective than the ones in Singham.

If you have watched the ManMohan Singham version on YouTube, you will be thinking about it and giggling during those scenes.

 

Here is the trailer:

 

 

Let us know what you thought of Singham in the comment section below. Also, this is a remake of a South Indian film , I haven’t watched it yet so let us know what the differences or improvements are?

ImageSource: JazzHands by PareshG from the CurrySmugglers

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BodyGuard Trailer gives us measured doses of previous Salman Khan hits!

Trailer Analysis: Our good friend Honey who always has all the latest Bollywood the scoops just posted the trailer and posters for Salman Khan‘s next outing The Bodyguard (check out her site for more pictures and goodies!). Written and directed by the director of the original South Indian movie, Siddique, it co-stars Kareena Kapoor and is produced by Atul and Alvira Agnihotri (brother in law and sister of the star actor). So check out the trailer below and some of our thoughts after the jump!

Read More

A Chat with the LIFF Program Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney

Running from June 30th to July 12th 2011, the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) offers cinema-goers  a new wave of Indian  films from film makers across the region.

Organised by Cary Rajinder Sawhney the LIFF aims to showcase Indian films in a different  light; those that don’t conform to the  traditional Bollywood structures, story and direction.

Festival organiser par excellence

 

Upodcast, in yet another exclusive spoke to Cary about the LIFF and what we  can expect from it in the future.  For those who can’t quite get their heads around the all singing all dancing side of Indian cinema, the good news is that there is a great outlet for something new and challenging and it will only get bigger and more accessible.

 

The full program can be found here

 

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A Conversation with Abhinay Deo, director of Delhi Belly at LIFF

Delhi Belly is already a huge box office and critical success, but Martin had the chance to attend the world premiere at the London Indian Film Festival and chat with director, Abhinay Deo‘s. In true Upodcast style we manage to ask the film maker about his cinematic influences (some surprising, some less so), the advantages of approaching Hindi movies from an advertising background and all this will the place was buzzing with the appearance of the London glitterati.

We have the inside track and as we were granted special access to the director for a quick interview.  Listen below to our exclusive!

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The Force Trailer: Surya-Ploitation Continues!

The Trailer for John Abraham cop drama Force has just been
released. Like Wanted last year and Singham releasing very soon, this is a remake
of a South Indian movie (Kaakha Kaakha). A couple of years before either of
these movies, Ghajini was remade by Amir Khan starting the trend of remaking
South Indian movies to a Hindi Film audiences and to mythical box office success.
Both Ghajini and Khakha Khakha originally starred south superstar Surya, a very
accomplished performer from everything I have seen of his, which admittedly isn’t
much due to the unavailability of South Indian DVD’s with decent English
subtitles (sort it out Tollywood if you want to compete with your Northern
brethren!) Now the question is why just importing Surya to Bollywood? He
managed a pretty menacing performance in Ram Gopal Varma‘s Rakht Charitra – 2 even
overshadowing Vivek Oberoi in some sequences.

If there is a language barrier (although I find the accent
charming) it’s nothing that a language coach can’t solve and it’s certainly
better than spending months with personal trainers and nutritionist to reach
the impressive physiques that seem to be a requirement to take on these role in
Bollywood.

Here’s the trailer: *Update this is a new trailer*

John Abraham’s dedication can’t be put into question
(especially as he had gained weight for his previous role making the Photoshop
laden poster above even more impressive) he doesn’t have a  huge fan following to speak of (none that I
can imagine lining up for an action movie) and I would argue Surya would be
able to bring in more people just from the South. I also wonder about John’s ability
to pull off a macho role like this…he just misses that masculine growl in the
few dialogues in the trailer.

Also I’m pretty sure he lotions up with Aloe Vera as soon as
he steps out of that pensive shower and books in a nail appointment.

Force releases in rumored for a releasing on September 16,
2011

Do you think this will be John Abraham’s breakout role? Let us
know in the comment Section below

Source: the always amazing TheDailyHoney

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Delhi Belly: The Anti-Slum Dog Millionaire

Delhi Belly is the long in the making black comedy produced
by the illustrious Amir Khan Productions, a banner that is constantly on the
threshold of that very coveted first potential Indian cross-over that gives Hindi
cinema the acceptance and credibility by International audiences that it almost
tasted with the 2001 Oscar nomination of Amir Khan’s very own period cricket
saga Lagaan (and then Danny Boyle took away it’s thunder with Slumdog
Millionaire). Former Ad maker Abhinay Deo‘s shows a hell of a lot of visual
flair, as he did in his previous release Game (a slick who-dunnit that Upodcast
enjoyed but was universally panned by critics and rejected by the box office),
taking us on a wild and thoroughly unhygienic ride through the mean street of
Delhi via diamond scams, dubious broast chicken, orange juice lota’s and halfhearted
cunnilingus interrupted by a Paris Hilton style inability to switch off the
phone.

The story of Delhi Belly is off three ironic T-shirt wearing
slacker types (Imran Khan- Tashi the jounalist, Vir Das– Arup the cartoonist
and Kunal Roy Kapoor- Nitin the perverted photographer) who live together in a
dirty ass apartment with bad plumbing, noisy classical-dancing (I won’t try to
guess if it’s Khatak or something else, just take it from me it’s classical as
the teacher is kinda effeminate) upstairs neighbors and a meek prostitute
visiting landlord. Tashi’s airhostess girlfriend played by Shehnaz Treasurywala
(a pleasant appearance after a very long hiatus- I didn’t bother with Himesh
Reshammiya ‘s Radio) asks him to deliver a package, containing a Russian doll
with diamonds, for some shady Russian types. Through a series of confusions, as
is the case with such crime capers, the packet gets exchanged with Kunal Roy
Kapur’s stool sample that’s off to the doctors lab as after he’s eating some
very dubious looking chicken and is suffering from the titular “Delhi Belly”. The
delivery was expected by wise cracking foulmouthed and pretty menacing Vijay
Raaz playing the crime boss. After a firecracker sodomy torture scene (reminiscent
of Dum Maaro Dum’s chili pepper pistol scene) the pressure is on our reluctant
heroes to retrieve the diamonds. There is a lot of running around, quippy
dialogue, snappy editing, a blaring background score, taking you on a wild journey
that all ties up at the end.

The problem is that the ride takes a pretty long time to get
going and before it does Delhi Belly tries so hard distancing itself from the
usual Bollywood tropes and clichés that it starts to revel in its own ugliness,
demanding a lot of audience. We see butt cracks, diarrhea spread out over
velvet and a cacophony of poop noises that after a while just ends up being
stomach churning. The comedic beats in the first half are very erratic relying
heavily in the ability of the scriptwriters to pack as many swear words as
possible. And boy there are a lot of swear words and although the movie is
mostly English spoken, it’s the Hindi dialogues that really work especially
when delivered by Vir Das or Vijay Raaz. The English ones just don’t seem to
sound right. Maybe not all the cast is used to delivering English dialogues and
sometimes the cadence is just a bit off making it lack verbal panache. But
Delhi Belly kicks and screams like a petulant child trying to break free by the
shackles of its expectations and even though it stumbles along the way to before
finding its footing in the second half, the overall the product is very
enjoyable.

Arup’s romantic and professional woes really slow down the
first half of the movie and serve no real purpose to the overall story line.
They also seem to pop and drop randomly. The banana joke, Ja Chudail and Disco
Fighter are funny as hell though helped by Vir’s comedic timing( probably honed
by his years of Stand up Comedy), the girlfriend break up scenes were unnecessary
except to make him get rid of that terrible haircut which we can all applaud. It
also further feeds into Bollywood’s newfound Elvis Jumpsuit obsession.

Kunal Roy is hilarious as the perverted and easy going
photographer playing the equivalent of the Zach Galafanakis role from the
Hangover, Melissa McCarthy in the recent Bridemaids or even taking us all the
way back to Jim Belushi in Animal Farm. In other words he’s playing the
overweight comedic catalyst to the plot. He does have a moment of emotional
redemption at the end which is sweetly played. In my mind he’s a performer than
his younger brother Aditya Roy Kapoor and has much better hair.

Imran’s Tashi as the lead is a tough call, clearly still
very fresh as a performer when this was shot (and you can see it in quite a few
sequences although Imran disagrees when we spoke during our Podcast). Dellhi Belly
is supposed to be Tashi’s hero’s journey but you don’t really understand the romantic
malaise he feels with his fiancée Shehnaz Treasurywala nor do you really root
for his no-nonsense chemistry with Poorna Jagannathan (making her debut in
Bollywood). Somewhere you want him to stand up and just become a man but at the
point it happens you’ve stopped caring for any of his three story treads. Maybe
it’s just the remnant of  Wake Up Sid/Break
ke Baad  slacker types from a couple of
years ago that just don’t want to take a stand in life until the climax of the
movie and audiences (and me!) have gotten annoyed with and latched on to more
testosterone driven masala hero roles like Wanted, Dabanng, Dum Maaro Dum and
soon Singham; But the guy definetly deserves respect for taking such bold choices at the start of his career. Clearly although he has found box office acceptance in romantic roles but the actor in him does want to experiment and do something different which is something that needs to be applauded and in my book puts him above the cookie cutter roles that his competitors take on.

As soon as the gangsters come into the fold, and this
happens quite quickly, the movie finally really picks up the pace and Delhi Belly
starts delivering consistent laughs. The visual style and the awesome
soundtrack that has been rocking my iPod since the first teaser trailer starts
kicking in and as an audience member (and I feel the movie makers) have a
better sense of where we’re going. A lot of Hindi movie fans have an
uncomfortable position towards the Danny Boyle Feel Good Oscar monger of 2008 Slumdog
Millionaire, feeling a lack of ownership towards but it being billboard or
entry point for “outsiders”. (If I only had a nickel for everyone that’s told
me they loved Slumdog Millionaire when conversations veer towards Bollywood). Delhi
Belly tries to cater to the same Metroplex/ International film smug geek audience
but instead of subverting Bollywood tropes as Slumdog Millionaire did it does
so with Danny Boyle’s own Trainspotting mixed with a heavy dose of Tarantino
and Guy Ritchie. A tactic that might backfire as this is exactly the audience
that is very familiar of this type of storytelling and doesn’t mind spouting
their half assed “IT’S A COPY, YAAR”-comments on every possible social media. A
point very eloquently written up on Rajasen Blog which you should definitely read
if you are one of those guys.

Releasing on the same day in India as Amitabh Bachchan’s
return to his angry young man template created in the 70’s gotten in Buddha
Tera Baap, a movie probably ingrained in Bollywood conventions and meta-references.
And although these movies have nothing to do with each other (except releasing on
the same day) and cater to completely different audiences, people will be
caught up in pitching box office returns against each other. Delhi Belly carves
its own path making no qualms of its influences i.e. Snatch and Lock, Stock and
Two Smoking barrels but to me it’s closer to 2002 Brazilian “Cidade de Deus” (City
of Gods) where director Fernando Mireilles managed to transport the Brit
Gangster/Tarantino tropes to the Favelas of Brazil. Delhi Belly does the same
and it does it quite successfully rising above its influences and adding that
desi tharka (seasoning) that adds all the flavor to Indian homegrown dishes but
comes with the risk of giving us the runs.

Sometimes Bollywwod needs a kick in the nuts or in this case a firecrackers up it’s ass! Delhi belly is just that wake up call!

Other Things I really liked

  • Shehnaz Treasury (wala) looked great shitting, bleeding
    out of her nose, almost sexually climaxing  and slapping Tashi (not all in the same scene)
  • Amir Khan’s, Austin Powers-hair wig wearing
    Disco Fighter promo that’s on the air now really worked for me. What can I say;
    the man can do no wrong in my book!
  • The soundtrack composed by Ram Sampath is
    amazing. Definitely a music director to look out for after Amit Trivedi (Dev D,
    Aisha)
  • The Cinematography is lucious even surrounded by all the murkiness
  • Vijay Raaz is a great desi Bricktop!

Some side thoughts:

  • Check out our interview with Delhi belly’s star
    Imran Khan by clicking here!
  • The Adult certificate and the production teams
    numerous warning should really be taken to heart. Don’t take your mommy and
    daddy to this unless you guys are cool.
  • What’s up with all the curly hairdos? (Poorna
    and Vir)
  • Is it wrong to think that chicken that causes
    all the problems did look delicious? I grabbed a KFC after the screening and
    felt something was definitely missing.

Here’s the trailer:

 

Let us know what you thought of Delhi
Belly and our review in the comment section below!

Image Source:

Bollykings

Totally Filmi

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Delhi Belly Exclusive A Conversation with Imran Khan

EXCLUSIVE PODCAST: We had a chance to catch up with Imran Khan (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Break ke Baad, I Hate Luv Stories) and talk about his forthcoming movie Delhi Belly directed by Abhinay Deo and co-starring Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapoor.

This is a real treat and Imran had the chance to speak about the marketing approach, controversies surrounding the release of the movies, on Delhi Belly not being a typical  Bollywood movie, the role of censorship in Indian Cinema and what his favorite swearword is! Riveting stuff!

 

Check out the trailer of the movie!

 

Delhi Belly will be premiering at the London Indian Film festival on the 30th of June and you can find more information on the screenings and programme on their site by clicking here!

A big thanks to Ashanti for setting this up for Upodcast. You can follow her on twitter and her blog and many of her writings pretty much everywhere from Cineworld Unlimited Magazine (UK), Anokhi Magazine (Canada/US/UK), Galatta Magazine (India), Desi Hits (Worldwide)!

Also a thanks to our good friend FilmiGirl for prepping us and giving some great questions to shoot and who also did a few interviews with Imran’s co-stars in the movie Poorna Jagannathan and Kunal Roy Kapoor.

Do leave a comment below and let us know what you thought of the Podcast!

 

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