Episode 6 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Sujoy and Amrita missing Asim, who is off doing other things just as we’re handed an opportunity to discuss Talaash (2012), starring Asim’s fave (or so he says) Aamir Khan. However, to make up for the disappointment, we’re joined by our special guest star Beth from BethLovesBollywood!
Although we’d all seen this film upon its release, this was our first rewatch and there were a lot of things here to surprise us. None of us remembered Rajkumar Rao also starred in this film, Amrita was taken aback by how beautiful Rani Mukherjee looks (watch out for Sujoy listing a looong list of movies in which Rani looked amazing), and Beth agreed that Shahrukh Khan (who was also approached for the role played by Aamir) wouldn’t have worked nearly so well for very particular reasons. We disagreed a bit on Kareena Kapoor’s performance, discussed the male-female dynamics, and loved hard on the soundtrack. We also took a quick minute to appreciate director Reema Kagti’s work – of which you can see more in the Akshay Kumar starrer, Gold, to be released this year.
2012 was a really great year for Hindi cinema but rather hit-and-miss for the Khans with Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Dabangg 2, and Ek Tha Tiger joining Talaash at the cinema. Sujoy, Beth and Amrita all agree that Talaash was the clear frontrunner in that pack, and a movie for everyone, irrespective of their fan loyalties.
Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.
Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!
Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.
Episode 5 of the Khandaan Podcast finds co-hosts Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita discussing the first film voted to screen by their audience – 2001’s Salman Khan-starrer, Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (CCCC).
First, however, we make a short foray into current cinema with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s extremely controversial Padmaavat, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, and Ranveer Singh. We discuss the fan politics surrounding the film as well as the merits of the film itself. (Please excuse the sound of the occasional firework in between – Amrita’s neighbors were very excited about India becoming a republic.)
Going back to our Khandaan business, however, 2001 was a significant year for Hindi cinema. It saw the release of Farhan Akhtar’s debut directorial Dil Chahta Hai, featuring Aamir Khan, a seminal road trip movie that is often credited with changing the very language of modern Bollywood by employing an everyday conversational style. Karan Johar, whose multi-starrer behemoth Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), featuring Shahrukh Khan, released to massive box office success later that year, has famously said that he knew his movie was outdated the moment DCH released.
This was also the year Aamir guided Lagaan to the Oscars, India’s first nomination in the Best Foreign Film category in decades, laying the foundation for his reputation as the great savior of good Hindi cinema. A nearly four-hour period drama about weather conditions, taxes, and cricket, Lagaan was a sensation when it released but isn’t much referenced today within the modern Hindi cinematic ethos unlike DCH and K3G, which each left an enduring impact on desi pop culture for very different reasons.
Shahrukh also had two other releases that year – Asoka, the directorial debut of ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan, was a gorgeous-looking period drama about the eponymous emperor that tanked at the box office before becoming appointment TV in its serialized form; and the washout One 2 ka 4, a rare movie that features SRK as a cop.
The fact that CCCC, a subpar family drama about a rich couple who hire a hooker to carry their baby, was able to win the vote against such a stellar field of choices is a testament to Salman’s star power – and we discuss the issues that arise when a celebrity wields such power. Made at the height of Salman’s personal problems, which would shortly include a murder charge, CCCC was also a troubled production, allegedly made with mafia money.
Belying the nostalgia of several friends of this podcast, CCCC is also deeply problematic, dealing with supposedly progressive ideas in the most regressive way possible. Rani Mukherjee is horrendously dressed and is the catalyst for the main plot of the film, which is bizarre and offensive. Preity Zinta is effervescent and charming – and completely wasted as a hooker with a heart of gold and a fertile uterus. The supporting cast includes an OTT Amrish Puri as a (male) baby-obsessed grandfather, Farida Jalal as a (male) baby-obsessed mother-in-law, Dalip Tahil as a dad who just wants to get his son out of the country for some reason, Johnny Lever as Random Family-Adjacent Dude who sticks his nose where it doesn’t belong, and Prem Chopra as a doctor willing to break every single professional ethic for the sake of friendship. Salman appears medicated.
We did not enjoy this movie but please do listen and laugh at our pain.
Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature.
We refer to Sal Salam‘s excellent essay on BollyBrit which you can find here
Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!
Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.
Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, continue their Khan-journey with Maine Pyaar Kiya (MPK). This 1989 blockbuster romance is the movie we chose as Salman Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier ill-starred appearance as a supporting character in the Rekha-starrer Biwi Ho To Aisi (1988). (To read more about that experience as well as other fascinating bits of Salman’s history, we recommend this in-depth profile by Anna Vetticad.)
Directed by Sooraj Barjatya, one of the men who helped invent Bollywood as we know it today by inspiring seminal Bollywood filmmakers Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar, MPK is an all-out effort at portraying a young, modern love. In an ironic twist, the themes Barjatya establishes in this movie would soon be transformed into a template for conservative, even regressive, family-oriented “clean romance” in the popular imagination by the time it was remade as Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! or the execrable Hum Saath Saath Hain.
The co-hosts agree that despite its dated appearance and quaint 1980s-ness, MPK is the best made film out of the three Khan debuts. Fueled by his determination to succeed, the Salman we meet in this film is a bundle of energy albeit with the same trademark mannerisms and sly charm we associate with him today. Bhagyashree, whose cinematic career ended with her marriage to a possessive husband, has a raw charm to her that vibes very well with Salman’s Dennis the Menace persona. Also evident in this film are the characters we know from all the subsequent Barjatya films – the understanding mother, the busy father, the father’s best friend, the servants who are as good as family members, the outsiders masquerading as friends but who only exist to destroy the family’s happiness…
MPK’s soundtrack was a sensation when it released with funky sounds, a modern feel, and soaring ballads that are still popular today. Few in the audience at the time realized just how “inspired” it was, however; in 2017, while re-watching the film, Asim’s wife wanted to know why he was listening to so much Stevie Wonder out of the blue.
Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.
Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!
Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.
Note: We did have some audio issues in this episode for the first ten minutes but it’s smooth sailing after that.
Asim, Sujoy, and Amrita, co-hosts of the Khandaan podcast, begin their foray into all things Khan-related with Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (QSQT). Almost a relic of another era, this 1988 romance is the movie we chose as Aamir Khan’s debut feature despite his earlier appearances as a child star as well as his lead performance in the faux-art film Holi (1984).
Very little of Aamir as we know him today is seen in the fresh-faced hero of QSQT with his impish grin and shy glances at a delightfully effervescent Juhi Chawla (also making her debut). Directed by his cousin, Mansoor Khan, QSQT shows the youth of all those involved in the making of this film – in its tenderness, earnestness, conviction, and behind-the-scenes effort they put into crafting this the biggest success they could possibly imagine.
While neither Asim, Sujoy nor Amrita were old enough to be the target audience of this film (ahem! We are mere babies), we do have some memories of what a cultural phenomenon this movie became. It’s Romeo and Juliet undertones, the weird emphasis on caste, and the fact that the adults in this movie appear to be acting in a world far removed from the one inhabited by the sweet young love of its leads should make it a difficult watch but good filmmaking survives the years even when the material appears dated. QSQT remains a testament to Mansoor Khan’s talent.
It is also buoyed by one of the best soundtracks in Hindi cinema history, with beautiful hummable tunes by ace duo Anand Milind, one of the last of its kind. Maine Pyaar Kiya would soon replace it and surpass it in audience affection, but of all three debuts, QSQT’s is the soundtrack that has survived the test of time.
Have a listen and let us know if you agree that when it comes to Bollywood, nothing matters but the Khandaan.
Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click here to vote for our first official episode.
Our awesome theme song was created by mash up king Dj Shai Guy!
Follow him on Bombay Funkadelic Facebook page or twitter so you can attend his unforgettable Bollywood parties all around the UK as well as his awesome mash up mixes that are regularly featured on BBC Asia.
This week we review Baahubali 2 The Conclusion also known as the most successful Indian movie every to be released. And for this mammoth task we have brought in the most knowledgeable and best online voices to dissect this breaker of records.
On ep 223 we are joined by Sujoy (aka @9e3k), Amrita Rajan (@amritaIQ) and Josh Hurtado (@HatefulJosh) and we discuss the following topics:
Confessions of a Hindi film watcher
A taste of things to come post- Baahubali
Is Baabubali a commercial blockbuster or a vindication for South Indian movie makers and audiences against the Hindi domination?
Does Baahubali sound the end of the Khan era?
Who owns the succes of a movie?
We discuss the music, performances and the most insane scenes in the movie…
Check out our interview with director SS Rajamouli by going here.
The team of Sujoy Ghosh (this time as producer) , Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vidya Balan (switching roles as lead vs guest appearance) that brought us one of the best Indian movies, Kahaani, of the last few years comes together again for Te3n.
The movie is set in Kolkatta and is a the remake of the Korean thriller Montage, but this time added with an amazing central performance by the living legend that is Amitabh Bachchan and directed by Rubhu Dasgupta.
Josh Hurtado from TwitchFilm joins us to break down if Te3n delivers on it’s promise, where it ranks in terms of recent Indian trillers as well as child abduction movies like Talaash and Ugly.
We keep the review spoiler free until the midway point, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, we warn you in advance where to stop listening.
Do also check out our interview with the talented and wonderful Vidya Balan by clicking here.
Rohit Shetty’s big release, Dilwale, is just over a week away so ShahRukh Khan, Kajol, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan were in town for a press conference.
Upodcast had the change to sit down with Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon and ask the questions that only a nerdy podcast like ours dares ask. (Like debating which Star Wars character Kriti Sanon is Chewbacca or R2D2)
The video of our interview is below but the podcast gives you a bit more behind the scenes gossip as well as the 5 things we learnt segment which quite a few of you like listening to.
Do give us a shout or RT or like if you’re enjoying the interview!
Dilwale is a family entertainer with a perfect blend of action, romance and comedy. The film is produced by Red Chillies Entertainments in association with Rohit Shetty Productions. The film will release on December18th 2015.
Which 1981 Bollywood film did the ‘Jaanisar’ director Muzaffar Ali direct?
A. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
B. Umrao Jaan
(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!
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.
The yearly London Indian Film Festival started with the usual festivities and since we don’t take half measures here at Upodcast. We decided to give you 2 different perspectives by our good buddies Bhushan Kumar (@bogeyno2) and Sujoy Singa (@9e3k) on how the screening of Umrika went down.
Directed by: Prashant Nair
Starring:, Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Pramod Pathak, Rajesh Tailang, Amit Sial, Sauraseni Maitra, Prateik Babbar.
In the Q+A following the screening of Umrika at the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), director Prashant Nair explained how he wanted Umrika to reflect the character of rural India – as Nair rightly pointed out, when it comes to depicting village life on the silver screen, poverty and hardship are often the facets we see presented in Indian cinema by both mainstream and independent films. So Umrika is definitely unique in consciously trying to explore a rather sombre tale with a touch of lightness and humour.
Set in the 80’s, Ramakant (Sharma) idolises his older brother Udai (Babbar) who has left the village and is living in America (or ‘Umrica’ as it is often pronounced in the sub-continent). At first, Udai does not make contact with his family and the village but when he does start sending letters, Rama is fascinated by the ‘exotic’ American culture that his brother is living in. But as time goes on, it emerges that the postman of the village has been forging the letters to pacify Udai and Rama’s anxious mother. As Rama takes over the letter writing duty, he decides to track down his brother and find out the truth for his own peace of mind.
Umrika touches on so many issues at the same time that it could easily collapse under the weight of its own ambition but Nair multitasks with efficiency, managing the different strands of the story with care and clarity. Whether it is a timeless issue (sibling rivalry) or topical (immigration), Umrika is a film about both these things and a lot more all at once. The emotional core of the film is Udai and Rama’s mother who may not have much screen time but looms large in every frame, driving the story forward and representing a strange paradigm – even though she cannot bear to live without Udai, she seems content to send him miles away to a foreign land by himself and live vicariously through his letters, not realising the effect her behaviour has on Rama.
Performance wise, Sharma shines as Rama, depicting the character’s journey of self-discovery with a confidence and poise that carries the film well. Hussein is suitably menacing as the smuggler whilst Pathak and Tailang play their supporting roles of the father and postman respectively with conviction. The two biggest surprises for me were Revolori, an American actor who plays Rama’s best friend Lalu – whether it was his body language or expressions or dialogue delivery, I had no idea it was an American was playing a rural Indian village boy. The other standout is Tambe as the mother who effortlessly manages to show a gamut of emotions from grief to joy and whose actions and expressions remain in the mind long after the film ends.
Umrika is exactly the kind of film a festival like LIFF should be championing and deserves a thump on the back for bringing such great cinema to the world stage. Thematically, Umrika reminded me of another film festival hit done good, The Lunchbox which also had universal themes and forged an instant and intelligent connection to its audience. Having said that, Umrika marks out Nair as a director to look out for and the film is certainly worth watching a few times to enjoy all the nuances and quirks weaved into the story. Highly recommended.
Director Prashant Nair’s “Umrika” seems to borrow from the many Bollywood movies of the 80’s – of lost brothers, of rural family values, of naive ambitions, the stark darkness of city life, and the yearning for loved ones. Rama (Suraj Sharma) is a young man who lives under the shadow of the elder son of the family, Udai (Prateik Babbar). Udai has gone off to Umrika for work, in search of a more prosperous life. It is Udai’s letters that tell the tale of a land so exotic and mystical. After a period, when the letters stop coming, Rama’s mother becomes depressed, and distances herself from her family. The letters pick up again, but when Rama discovers the secret behind these letters, he has to leave his family behind to unravel the mystery behind the American dream. Revealing anything more than this basic description would mean to delve into spoiler territory. But in my humble opinion, Umrika is not about the build up, or the culmination of its protagonist. It is perhaps about the many journeys that its array of characters take.
It does seem like a very conscious choice on the part of the director to choose name-dropping familiar historical names and events and references to songs and sights of that era. And it did help in making one believe in the world that surrounds these characters. From Amitabh Bachchan’s infamous accident on the sets of Coolie to national events such as the Emergency, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assasination, and even the Challenger space shuttle crash, Umrika weaves these historic events seamlessly into the story, hinting at the era and its eccentricities. These were simpler times, and also times when the only image of America are ones that are coloured in shades of brightness and prosperity.
It is however interesting to see how American culture and lifestyle, which is so much taken for granted, is presented from the eyes of a complete outsider – a young villager from India, who has only read about it from newspaper cuttings. What irks me a little however, is that how our protagonist Rama, in an era of no Google or Wikipedia, and with limited education, has been able to dig out so much information about America – from food, to festivals, to even the Cold War.
The cinematography by Petra Koner is absolutely on the money. The bright hues of Jitvapur’s scorching summer have been presented in stark contrast to the decayed blue indoors of the city. Because in the city, the Sun of hope never seems to rise. There’s despair in every move, with everyone filled with greed and deceit. Koner’s camera narrates a tale of its own.
The acting talent here is in top form – Be it Suraj Sharma, who gets to show off his acting chops a bit more after Life of Pi, and does not disappoint at all. He does look like MTV VJ Rannvijay Singh, which made me wonder what if Rannvijay would have played Udai’s role, instead of the mostly forgettable Prateik Babbar. Rama’s friend Lalu, played by Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel) is an unconventional casting choice. And yet, it works. Even though the dubbing can seem a bit jarring at times, Revolori’s relentless loyalty to his chidhood mate is reminiscent of the many onscreen Bollywood bromances.
And like most loved Bollywood movies, this one also has a Maa. And thank God for that. Because, it is the Maa who provides the emotional hook to the story. Smita Tambe has one of the most expressive eyes that you will see onscreen all year (perhaps, second to Ramya Krishnan in Baahubali). Her love for her son, anguish, and sorrow makes up for all the pacing flaws and almost left me gasping for a breath.
With Umrika, Nair attempts to bring in a lot of elements and promises under one roof – the horror tales of illegal immigration, the struggle of life in the rat race of the city, and yet, a beacon of hope that shines bright to keep things moving on. Umrika shines.
Rating: 3 Hot dogs out of 5.
Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.
Farah Khan is suddenly a little tearful – “I’ve realised the journey is coming to an end“.
Watching the star studded line up at the European press conference for the upcoming Happy New Year in a Central London hotel on a crisp Sunday morning, the camaraderie and strong bond between the cast was clearly evident. And if that is in the final product, then we really do have an amazing film to look forward to. Sonu Sood claimed it was “the biggest film ever made in India” and how it had been a “life changing experience working with Farah“. For Deepika Padukone, working with Shah Rukh in a lead role for the third time came very easily to her – not only did she know his processes but also revealed how she never questions anything that Shah Rukh tells her to do.
Indeed, there was plenty of SRK mania evident at the conference and being in the same room with him, it was not hard to see why. Shy and unassuming, his poise and modesty came across with sincerity, gently encouraging to the Nepali journalist who had recently learnt Hindi when she asked a question and he seemed genuinely embarrassed when a French journalist offered him a book about him written in French as a gift. It was also touching to see how he made sure all his cast members got a chance to speak.
Things took quite an interesting turn when a press member suggested that the SLAM tour had allowed HNY to make all its money back before release and the rest was a money making exercise. The journalist also asked SRK what he had felt he had yet to achieve, cheekily adding on a request for SRK to reply in Hindi rather than English. SRK certainly gave a fitting reply in Hindi – explaining how a film could not guarantee it would do well at the box office and this was more a project of passion. As for his achievements, he said he wanted to give back to the audiences. It was interesting to see the superstar put on the spot and emerge with his dignity intact whilst shutting down the journalist.
Indeed, the SLAM tour has proved a blessing for HNY – as SRK explained: “We used the coincidence of the live concerts and film release as promo strategy” – certainly a savvy business idea which has been well received by the fans and by the rest of the cast too; apparently, we have not heard the last of the SLAM tour which may return once more in a different form in the future.
All too soon, it was time to wrap up – it seemed the cast had more fun than anyone else, encouraging and teasing one another but with the feeling that the gathered audience were also in on the joke. How the film is received on release remains to be seen but it was Farah Khan who had the last word – explaining “HNYis a festival film – it is releasing on Diwali!” – let the festivities commence!
Happy New Year releases on 23rd October 2014
Here is a new poster and promo introducing the character of Charlie, played by SRK:
Bhushan Kumar is a film obsessed amateur fashionista who lives in London.
We look forward to the London Indian Film Festival and this year they seem to be bringing in the big (although maybe slighlty downbeat) guns for this year’s premiere.
Sold will have its red carpet European Premiere at the opening of the Fifth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (10 – 17 July). Based on the bestselling novel Sold by Patricia McCormick, the film is a powerful drama based on real life events, and tells of a young Nepali girl’s struggle for survival after being sold into prostitution in Kolkata, and an American photographer (Gillian Anderson), who, against the odds, attempts to rescue her and other young women. The X Files and The Fall star Gillian Anderson is expected to participate in a Q&A in London at the film’s opening night amongst other talent.
Director Jeffrey D. Brown, Executive Producer Emma Thompson and Producer Jane Charles have worked tirelessly to bring this film to the screen researching every aspect of the story in depth with charities which deal directly with child trafficking in India including: Apne Aap, New Light, Sanlaap, Prajwala and in Nepal: Maiti Nepal, Shakti Samhua and Childreach International. Emma Thompson, president of the The Helen Bamber Foundation, works with survivors in London which is why she is informed on this issue and cares deeply about it.
The film is a collaboration between US and Indian production teams and includes supporting cast David Arquette (Conception) and Indian actors Seema Biswas (Bandit Queen), Parambrata Chatterjee (Apur Panchali), Tillotama Shome (Monsoon Wedding) and Susmita Mukherjee (Dostana). Debutante Niyar Saikia plays the central role of Lakshmi, the young girl from Nepal.
Now Europe’s largest platform for Asian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, celebrating Independent cinema and 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 India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity.
The festival will open in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continue at BFI Southbank, ICA and Cineworld Cinemas around London. The festival is grant funded by the BFI Film Festival Fund.
About the screening, Executive Producer Emma Thompson comments: “It is wonderful to have our film premiered at London Indian Film Festival, to raise awareness of child-trafficking, which is an issue close to my heart and is shockingly on the increase world-wide. We hope that this film will make people think and highlight the support for key charities such as The Helen Bamber Foundation and others working in this difficult area in India, Nepal and elsewhere”
About the film, Actor Gillian Anderson states: “Working on this sensitively told film and with young women who have themselves experienced the un-believable trauma of abduction and trafficking has opened my eyes to the horrors these young people face on a daily basis as well as the often life threatening danger those working at the charities put themselves in to free these innocent victims from modern day slavery”
Gillian Anderson has been on a roll with some amazing performances in the past few years like The Fall and Hanibal, and being a huge fan and spending a large chunk of my adolescence watching her as Scully in X-Files, I am quite excited to see Sold, even though the subject is such an important one, I do wonder if it might be a depressing start to such a colorful festival.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the rest of the programme looks like, every year they manage to show some great movies, we so have faith in the team led by Cary Raj Sawhney.
Gulaab Gang released last friday and provides the unique pairing of Bollywood screen Godesses Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla squaring off against each other.
Released in a very crowded weekend of 2 other releases (Queen and Total Siyapaa) but pushed by a massive Marketing and PR push, Gulaab Gang has performed below most people’s expectations.
This episode we chat with Anisha Jhaveri, about why that happened? If actresses of the 90’s have the skill set required to pick the right projects? Or was it a case of director Soumik Sen taking too much on for his debut feature.
You can check out Anisha’s write up on PopXo by clicking here.
Listen/Download/ Stream our Upodcast below, Or subscribe to our stream in iTunes and never miss a beat!
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
By now most people have heard of this little underground movie called Krrish 3, although none of us have figured out how to write the title without googling it or why it isn’t just simply called Krrish 2. The marketing of the movie has been horrendous until now. The hairstyles, the music or even casting Vivek Oberoi as the main character, as such dumb moves that they must really be confident in the ability of father- son, aka director- actor, Rakesh and Hritik Roshan to sell us a desi superhero.
Krrish 2 never aged well with it’s Matrix hangover and none of the new trailers have excited anyone really. Maybe the kids that liked the first one are already old enough to call bullshit on this stake looking sequel.
In any case the cast are doing the UK media circuit round and we’re hoping to ask them some questions. Let’s see if that works out. Until then here is a generic media interview with main actor Hritik Roshan.
1. You are undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in Bollywood obviously doesn’t come easy, where does your determination and passion stem from?
My family has been my biggest inspiration – they are my true role models and they continue to be. My parents through to my grandparents have seen and experienced all shades of life, the good, the bad, and always faced any situation God presented to them fearlessly together. We share a unified bond which I also instill in my own little family with my wife children.
2. 2013 sees the third instalment of Krrish, a franchise that you are renowned for, what can the audience expect?
I think the audiences are going to be in for a treat with Krrish – if you loved the first two films, you will adore this edition. Krrish is our home production and it was like coming home. I did miss Krrish’s character.
3. What are your thoughts on Superhero movies created in Bollywood?
The Indian cinema industry is among the best in the world and has created movies of par excellence for years. Being our home production, Krrish 3 will master the superhero genre in Indian cinema and internationally. That is the vision with Krrish 3, to present a superhero entity that will appeal to all audiences globally, in the same zest and fervor that they appreciate other superhero films like Superman and Batman. I am very sure that regardless of the language Krrish 3 is shot in, the performance, narrative and overall content will help extend the film’s appreciate to audiences over and beyond the Indian market and global South Asian Diaspora. We have already seen this happening with the phenomenal appreciation we received for the film’s trailer which set a benchmark, garnering more views than that of Hollywood film trailers like Thor and Avengers. We are very excited to see the audiences’ response.
4. People like Hrithik as a dancer, the dance seems to be missing in his movies these days, is it intentional?
Not at all! However clichéd this sounds, I guess the scripts I’ve currently been working on just haven’t demanded any breakthrough dance sequences. But never say never though! Krrish 3 does feature some notable iconic moves which will become synonymous of Krrish 3.
5. Filmmakers from Bollywood have tried to make superhero movies before and they haven’t been as successful, what are you doing that is so different?
I feel the Krrish franchise has worked as we have listened to the audience, not just in India but globally. We always aim to deliver a film to them that we hope will appeal to their tastes and aspirations. I never like to operate with an insular mind-set. To produce a superhero film, one key factor to remember is that the focus should be on creating a connectivity between the narrative, the characters and the audience as the story of the superhero him the person. There is a hero in everyone. The focus should not be to make a superhero film that boasts style through special fx and never before seen technology but no substance. A balance needs to be met.
Also Krrish is really not about me. To make a film like this you need a team. An actor is nothing, he is a tool, he is the paint, but you need the painter to make it work. Our team is so strong on Krrish 3 and this is the key to our success. You cannot simply rely on the fame and popularity of an actor to make a film such as this.
6. With the huge amount of excitement generated from the trailer for Krrish 3 expectations are very high, how do you deal with that?
I am very ecstatic and truly humbled by the views the trailer has generated. For me I am glad that the expectations are high as when audience have high expectations it only pushes you to stretch yourself to do more for them. I enjoy a challenge and I think that Krrish 3 presented us with a lot of difficulties, but you only get out what you put into a film and I am very happy with the finished product.
7. Krrish 3 will be the third time that you have played the superhero, do you feel that you have many similarities to Krrish in real life?
A superhero is about values, not about the costume or the powers. A superhero is someone who never gives up and is in service to others. I think I have the right attitude to be a superhero, to try and come through for those that depend on me.
8. Some of the special effects that we saw in the trailer are truly breath-taking, how much time was devoted to making these sequences?
My father wanted to do all of the special effects in India, it is common in Indian cinema to outsource the special effects for a film to other countries, but my father and I believe that we have the talent in India and that we just need to give them the support and time they need to make a polished and believable finished product. The sequences that you have seen in the trailer are the result of this and I think they look fantastic.
9. We hear that Krrish 3 has several market firsts. Please elaborate.
Yes! We have initiated key brand extensions for Krrish 3 which is really going to help create a greater connect with audiences. From animation, merchandise, digital and comics, we have a full breadth of products to deliver to audiences. We launched Kid Krrish recently, a series of 4 animated features being aired on Cartoon Network. Kid Krrish is the story of Krrish in his childhood who sets out on an adventure with his set of friends. Kid Krrish along with adventure and action also imparts life lessons of friendship and loyalty. It is the first Indian film / character to be adapted in an animated form. It is also the largest television deal in the animation space. On the merchandise front, we have Krrish live Action which will have unique merchandise ranging from Krrish Masks, wrist bands to first of its kind Consumer Electronics like Walkie Talkies, Music accessories and RC toys (Flying Krrish). The way we have structured the deal is market first in India and will be a more sustainable merchandising programme with a more longer term mind-set. We also have an extensive digital activation plan which will help our fan base be closer to the film and Krrish himself, more than ever before. I am also extremely excited about our forthcoming comic book series, Krrish: Menace of the Monkey Men, which will be released as a comic book magazine available in stores later this year. 10. We hear that Krrish 3’s filming schedule was pretty testing. Could you elaborate please?
Krrish 3, is one the most difficult films of my career. I play various characters. If I wanted victory again, I’ll have to go through the battle again. The finest steel must go through the hottest fire was my modular during the shoot. It Was Difficult Playing Many Roles In Krrish 3. The script has been such that it challenged each and every character and department from the production to the creative.
11. What else would you do if you weren’t a Bollywood actor?
I cannot imagine doing anything else than being a profession that allows me to develop and expand my creativity. I know it sounds clichéd but I love what I do and I do what I love! It really is in my DNA and whatever my parents, grandparents, uncles achieved in this industry is an intrinsic part of my make-up. I have had the opportunity to live multiple lives in one lifetime and through the power of cinema did my small bit to touch a chord with the world and form an indescribable bond.
12. Being the superstar that you are, how difficult is it finding the right balance between your personal life and filming?
It can be extremely difficult being away from family when I’m at work, but I do try and see my family as much as I can as they mean a lot to me. I guess it’s crucial to prioritize time accordingly. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your family, it’s never really enough. But coming from a family where filmmaking runs through our veins, we do understand the pressures associated with work thus the understanding between us as family and for our work always helps us to strike that important balance.
13. Your body is obviously very important to you, as millions of women have probably noticed. Do you have any tips for our readers trying to fight off the Christmas weight?
I work out a lot and have a strict diet and exercise regime that I follow religiously. Being fit isn’t just about being physically strong but also mentally. My fitness workout is a major release for me, in a way it’s my way of chilling out!
14. You have millions of fans the world over, whom are you the biggest fan of and why?
It’s going to be difficult to pinpoint a particular place. All the fans around the world have been so supportive and loving; I just can’t thank all my fans for the ongoing support.
15. Being at the top of the industry, how do you keep yourself so friendly and approachable?
I have always believed in being a good human first and foremost. My parents have brought me up with great morals and values; life is too short to create negative surroundings and feelings. Like they say ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’. Furthermore, the persona I have has only been created by my adoring fans – I am here in this industry and now presenting Krrish 3 only because of them.
16. What else can audiences look forward to seeing from you?
2013 was a busy year with Krrish 3 and the filming of Bang Bang with Katrina. 2014 is another year packed with lots of exciting projects including some other ventures outside of the film industry. ‘Krrish 3’ releases on 1st November 2013.
The team of Abhinav Kashyap’s Besharam came down to the UK to talk about their fortcoming release.
Our good friend Sujoy Singha from Bollypop, attended and managed to even liven up the proceedings at the press conference.
Here’s the audio of the event with Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda as well as Rishi and Neetu Kapoor.
The podcast is below but here are some of the things they talked about typed out by the friendly people at Sterling Media.
From the Press Release:
The media were then treated to a special welcome from the man himself Ranbir, who said: ‘I am delighted to be here in the UK. This visit is even more special this time as I finally have my parents with me. Besharam is very much a family entertainer, so it is fitting that I should come with my father and mother.’
The floor was then opened up for a lively question and answer session. With the interest garnered by the fact that the Kapoor clan have acted together for the first time, the media asked the trio questions about how it felt to act together, to which Ranbir said: ‘It feels great. Both my parents are an inspiration to me. My father and mother are fabulous actors and my father has been passionate about his craft for over 40 years. I have learnt so much from both of them.’
Neetu Kapoor added: ‘For me, I took on this role in Besharam for two reasons. Firstly, it was a very unique script and concept, and secondly I could act with my family. It was nice, it felt secure and I was in my comfort zone.’
Attention then turned to beautiful leading lady Pallavi Sharda. The Indo-Australian actress spoke of her association with the Bollywood industry and of how Bollywood is perceived by the Indian community in Australia. ‘When I was growing up I was fascinated by Bollywood. I used to wear a Bindi on my forehead whenever I went out. I love Bollywood; it formed a big part of my identity when I was growing up in Australia. Australian Indians really identify with Bollywood as it acts as a way for them to connect with their roots. Indian Cinema is increasingly more cross-over nowadays in the type of films that are being made.’
She added: ‘I have had a great time working on this film. The Kapoors have been very welcoming to me during the making of this film. I had a great time.’
When asked about the key messaging behind Besharam, Ranbir Kapoor said: ‘Beshram is not about embarrassing anybody. Besharam is an attitude. It’s about listening and following your heart.’
Speaking about the evolving of the Indian film market, Rishi Kapoor said: ‘We are evolving by each film. We are making technically better films. Few films offer a message to society.’
In response to a question on what Mr Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of Reliance Entertainment’s expectations are from Besharam, he said: “Reliance Entertainment distributes and produces both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. With a strategic global outreach, our films are going over 65 – 70 countries. Besharam is a movie for all. Besharam being the most commercial family entertainer, we want it to be liked by all.”
Mr Mahesh Ramanathan, COO of Reliance Entertainment added: ‘There are 200 countries in the world. And Bollywood has gone only to 35 countries of the South Asian population. There are wonderful markets who are on the lookout for Bollywood. It is about taking the infrastructure, funding people with passion, to take the films to various markets. Reliance has one of the biggest distribution structures from India.’
Speaking about his involvement in the production, Himanshu Mehra, Partner at Movie Temple said: “I was part of Abhinav’s team with Dabbang. We realised that we could form a company and work together. We then approached to Ranbir Kapoor and Neetu Ji with the script and went ahead with Besharam. Our like mindedness has helped us work in unison.”
‘Besharam Press Conference footage and star cast interviews courtesy of: Sterling Media’
We’ve been having a hard time understanding what Besharam is all about. From the throwback promo to having Abhijeet sing Dil Ka Jo Haal Hail, it seems the team has been stuck in some sort of time warp where the 90’s never ended.
Here is the new Song Promo:
The entire Cast inluding Ranbir Kapoor and new comer Pallavi Shadra as well as Mom and Pop Kapoor and direct Abhinav Kashyap did a Media Q&A in India, and here is hoping to shed some light on what this movie is all about. Be warned though the interview is so generic that your eyeballs might fall asleep whilst reading it.
Ranbir Kapoor Q&A
What prompted you to sign Besharam?
It was several things that made me sign for Besharam. I am a big fan of director Abhinav Kashyap’s work. Abhinav knows how to tell a simple yet very interesting story. This film has it all; it has romance, action and comedy. It tells a simple yet effective story. I was also drawn to my character. It is a very different type of character to play and it allowed me to express myself in a new and creative way.
Were there any particularly special moments whilst making the film?
The entire film was a blast to work on. My character ‘Babli’ has very few hang-ups and inhibitions, he more or less does as he wants and so this was fun to portray. Also, I had fun working with my co-stars and my parents.
What was it like working with your parents for the first time?
It was fantastic working with my parents. I am a great admirer of my father and I’m in awe of my mother. They are both such professionals and great actors. They never once dictated to me during the shooting of this film, in fact I gave them suggestions on how I thought their characters should be portrayed. We had a lot of fun working together and it helped me to overcome a lot of inhibitions.
Do you feel pressure to have the same success as your famous parents?
Overall, I don’t feel that it has been a hindrance to come from a famous family. I have been exposed to cinema from a very young age and I absolutely love watching my family’s films. I wouldn’t say I have pressure on me to succeed, but it has been a bit of a struggle at times because of who my parents are. There is a ‘celebrity kid’ label attached to me that I have had to overcome to prove myself as an actor and as an individual.
Tell us about your character in Besharam?
I play a character called ‘Babli’, who is an orphan and petty car thief. He is a guy with no inhibitions; he lives life by his own rules. Babli is a very flamboyant and loud character, but underneath it all he is a good hearted kid. His main priority is to get money to help the children in the orphanage. It was an amazing experience to play this type of role, as I could take the character to new depths and have fun with it too.
Did the film allow you to let loose and have some ‘Besharam’ moments?
Of course! There are certain things that I could get away with that I wouldn’t normally be able to. My character is really shameless and so he does some pretty weird and gross things. One example that comes to mind is that in the film my character is obsessed with playing with his chest hair all the time, this isn’t something that I’d normally do in real life!
The film has a powerful message about doing good for others. Do you support many charitable causes?
I strongly believe that charity comes from within you. You can be charitable wherever you travel to; charity comes from the heart and soul; it is found in the little things we do every day to help someone and make their life a little better. I do support some charities, but I still feel that there is much more I can do and so I intend to support more charities in the future.
In Besharam your character loves football. Are you a football fan?
I’m a big football fan! I have always loved football from childhood and used to play when I was in college. I am the Indian brand ambassador for Barcelona Football Club and I’ve been lucky enough to see them at different stadiums. In the film I insisted on my character playing football whenever possible! If I wasn’t an actor I would have been a football coach I think.
Bollywood recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. How do you think the industry has developed?
I think it is a very proud moment for the Indian film industry to celebrate such a milestone. I feel honoured to be a part of the Indian film industry. My family has been in the industry for 80 out of the 100 years and this is a wonderful achievement. I think Bollywood is now attracting global audiences in a more engaging way. There is a healthy blend between the typical ‘Masala’ film and mainstream elements. An example I would give is the film Barfi, which was India’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars.
Is there a set format for a successful Bollywood film?
There is no set format. People just want good entertainment. A Bollywood film entertains you; it is three hours of music, drama, romance, action and comedy.
Who are your role models within the Indian Film Industry?
There are so many people I admire. I look up to Amitabh Bachchan. I also think Shah Rukh Khan is a good ambassador for the industry.
Do you see yourself making the transition to mainstream/Hollywood cinema?
At the moment I am very happy doing what I’m doing. I think the Indian film industry is booming and is a great thing to be a part of. I truly enjoy my work and the roles I’ve played so far. A good film is often one that takes elements from its own culture and tradition rather than trying to just incorporate a mainstream/Western format. For example in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee took inspiration from his own culture and created a fantastic film.
Rishi Kapoor Q&A
Did you enjoy acting together as a family?
Yes very much so. We are all very busy people and do not always get time to spend together due to our separate professional schedules, so it was great to be able to spend time together on set and to work together.
How did you end up being cast for your role?
It was actually Ranbir who suggested to Abhinav that I play the role. After confirming his own commitment to the film Ranbir was discussing who could play a middle aged cop with Abhinav and he suggested me as I have rarely done it before.
The film’s trailer has received excellent comments, why do you think this is?
The trailer really captures the spirit of the film and manages to tease audiences with short clips showing the diversity of the action and comedy.
How much influence do you have over Ranbir’s choice of films?
He is an actor who has taken a less travelled route. He is choosing different films and doing films that are not the staple diet of film heroes. For that I give him credit. The choice of his films are totally his, all creative decisions are his, I have no contribution to that at all. People feel I chose his films, but it’s not so. I am just his father, not his manager.
Neetu Singh Q&A
How did it feel to act with your husband and son in a movie?
I was overwhelmed when I heard we were going as a family to act in Besharam. My acting scenes came naturally from the start, as it was easy to act and be myself in front of them.
Can you tell us some details about the film’s narrative?
Of course. Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) is a street smart car mechanic living in a Delhi orphanage. He is charming and lives life to the fullest. He also steals cars to support his orphanage. He has no sense of right or wrong until he unwittingly hurts the love of his life, Tara (Pallavi Sharda). Babli realises that there is no right way of doing the wrong thing. Babli sets out to fix all the wrongs in his life and he continues to be shameless about it.
Your son, Ranbir Kapoor plays a very different role to his previous films, why do you think he was interested in playing Babli in Besharam?
I think Ranbir has done a fantastic job in his previous films and has managed to win many awards for his portrayal of a traditional Bollywood hero. However, I think he was keen to stretch himself as an actor, to explore new territory and to challenge himself rather than become too comfortable. His role as Babli is a very diverse role and requires a portrayal of many different emotions on screen, I think this appealed to Ranbir as he is always keen to try something new.
Is there a scene in the film that is particularly close to your heart?
I think the performance of the title track was a lot of fun for the cast and crew and is definitely a highlight for me. Ranbir suggested that we include the director and choreographer in the sequence, and even choreographed the sequence himself. It was a lot of fun to see Abhinav Kashyap get involved in the film in front of camera for a change. I think everyone got the chance to be a little Besharam that day.
What role do you play in Besharam?
Myself and Rishi play bumbling cops on the trail of Babli, trying to deal with his shameless acts.
Abhinav Kashyap Q&A
Talking about the film’s songs, why did you pick Ranbir Kapoor to take the lead in singing?
When the concept was formulated, there were no second thoughts about Ranbir singing this song as it is almost in verse form and no other sound would have worked.
What are your Box Office predictions?
Of course I do hope the film enters the new ‘Crore club’…but this isn’t my sole motivation.
As a director could you have changed a few things in Besharam’s production?
No, this film turned out exactly as I would have wanted it too. I’ve written over 14 drafts of scripts before finalising the last piece and undergoing production
If you don’t mind me asking, why so many drafts?
I’ve worked exceptionally hard on this film. But it isn’t like I had a hardbound script. I wrote 14 drafts because every time I gave the script to a friend, to my star cast, or even to my brother Anurag, they all made suggestions towards it. All of them asked questions. I incorporated all those changes in my final draft. I believe that if a script has to deliver then it has to answer the various questions that people who hear the script ask. A good script has to flow smoothly. And since I have followed that philosophy, I’m confident that Besharam will deliver.
Is it true you will feature in your own movie?
Yes, but only as a cameo appearance, as it was Ranbir’s idea to have both me and choreographer Remo D’souza to groove on the title track with him. Not only did the young actor suggest this idea to me, he also choreographed the dance routine. We had an amazing time shooting for the song. Ranbir told me he thought that featuring me and Remo would just enhance the fun quotient of the song. And I totally agreed with him.
Pallavi Sharda Q&A
Before the TV industry, what were you doing?
I was a famous Indian dance instructor in Australia then I changed paths when I came to India.
What was your experience of working with director Abhinav Kashyap?
It was great working with Abhinav; he’s put his foot down to choose me for this role and so I wanted to do my best to impress him while we were on set.
What was the hardest element to shoot for this film?
The hardest element during the shoot of the film for me was the dancing parts of the film, as we did so many takes until Abhinav was happy with what we had. Also, I had to really get in close contact with Ranbir during our dance scene and it was really hard to keep those same emotions throughout that many takes.
Why should audiences see this film?
Audiences will want to see Ranbir’s new side, as an on-screen Besharam!
God that was boring…The Besharam team is coming to the UK to promote the movie so we hope to be able to ask some sensible questions. I wonder if the jounalists asking these questions have any sense of sharam….
Besharam releases in theaters worldwide on 2nd October 2013.
When we met the Kochadaiiyaan team for a press conference back in April 2012 producer Murali mentioned: “Kochadaiiyaan is going to be a very different animation film with Indian and international technicians. Even better than Tin- Tin. And first of the kind to use photorealistic technology., making it more realistic”
Since then we haven’t heard too much about Kochadaiiyaan and today the first teaser has dropped and is frankly quite dissapointing.
Animation has never been of too high a standard, because most of the times it is still seen by Indian audiences as something meant for children and not adults. And even though there have been collaborations with even with Disney, it has never been an attractive proposition on the box office.
But what no one can’t, Rajni- can (t)! or that’s what we hoped for.
According to Producer Mural the movie is “a fantasy film with an indian subject, which has been carefully done to attract international audience”. Director Soundaryha (Rajnikanth’s daughter) added that Photorealistic Animation was used because: “It immortalises my father and everything is really created. He plays a warriorin the movie. And we wanted him to do something that we as a fans would want to see. Everyone wants the sound and vision to be spectacular”
We know this is just the first shots we are seeing but they are quite dissapointing shots, the realism spoken about still needs quite a bit of work and what we see doesn’t look much better than a video game (an old and cheap video game for that matter).
Deepika Padukone, who we don’t see in the teaser, is paired opposite Rajnikanth, which i hope looks less creepy than it sounds and one place where having the movie animated migh pay off.
Here is the press release which next to the actual teaser looks like someone talking about an entirely different movie:
Film aficionados across the world are gearing up for the futuristic fantasy event of the year with the release of the eagerly awaited film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend worldwide in cinemas this December 2013.
Poised as the grand finale film of the year, Kochadaiiyaan will rival and transcend the CG capabilities utilised in such Hollywood masterpieces as Avatar, Tin Tin and Beowulf. The avant-garde film features the unique visual mastery of Photorealistic Performance Capture technology, a first within the realm of Indian film-making.
Kochadaiiyaan is an epic dramatisation of good versus evil starring South Indian megastar Rajinikanth who is cast as the archetypal superhero in a dual role. Also starring in the grand production are Indian A-listers Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and South India’s leading stars R. Sarathkumar, Nazzer, Aadhi, Shobana and Rukmini.
Providing the musical score is maestro and Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman, whose list of credits includes a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and two Academy Awards for his outstanding musical compilation for the multi-Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. The story, screenplay and dialogues have been penned by K S Ravikumar and the lyrics by National Award Winning lyricist Vairamuthu.
Kochadaiiyaan stemmed from the grand vision of the director Soundarya Rajnikanth Ashwin, a talented and forward thinking filmmaker who is well versed with various trend setting film techniques. She says: “My ambition has always been to immortalise my father and bring the legendary Rajinikanth that audiences around the world adore in an ‘avatar’ he hasn’t ever been seen in nor experienced.
During the making of Kochadaiiyaan, I began to realise that through the medium of this film, we had to embrace a much broader aim which had the potential to be a game-changer for Indian cinema on a global level.
I have been passionately involved in film animation techniques and production for the last six years and for Kochadaiiyaan we wanted to do something unique and to create a new cinematic experience for India. To achieve this we decided to use Photorealistic Performance Capture technology which allowed us to have unlimited creativity on all grounds from building lavish sets, directing expansive fight sequences and creating elaborate costumes. Through the film, we will be able to transport audiences back to historic India and provide them with a much broader sensory experience.
Kochadaiiyaan has created not only firsts in Asia but also on a world level through the use of the technology. What we achieved with the support of our technical partners in the UK, USA, India and China, has made this project a truly international venture and we are sure that Kochadaiiyaan will set the path for Indian cinema’s next 100 year journey.”
The British funded project by reputed producers Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited and the AIM listed company Eros International has been shot exclusively at Pinewood Studios in the UK with a team of world-class technical experts including the London based Centroid Studios, a state of the art facility for Full Body Motion Capture, which have worked on various famous Hollywood productions including the recent Brad Pitt starrer World War Z, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ironman 2 and Harry Potter, and Counter Punch Studios from Los Angeles, who have been behind successes such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They worked in collaboration with Faceware Technologies, who have worked with The Mummy 3 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the Facial Capturing technology. A team of technical experts from South India and China have worked on the animation and the overall completion of the project.
India’s first Photorealistic Performance Capture film Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend is not only set to transcend boundaries creating a market first in the realm of world cinema but will cement Indian Cinema’s place indefinitely within the global film fraternity.
Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend releases worldwide this December 2013.
Director Shoojit Sircar’s latest –Madras Cafe, sees him teaming up again with actor/producer John Abraham after the successful Vicky Donor to bring a different story to life. This time, John takes matters in his own hands, as he takes centre-stage as the big and brawny Indian Army Officer Vikram Singh, who is dropped in the middle of a country in civil war. Set mostly in India and Sri Lanka, Madras Cafe depicts the tale of 25+ years of the Sri Lankan Civil War, which eventually resulted in the assassination of one of India’s ex-Prime Minister.
The events in the story demand the plot to be taken seriously, and Madras Cafe wants to be a lot of things. From a political espionage thriller, to a war drama, to even a conspiracy theory about the dealers of war, Madras Cafe does not shy away from the grim side of politics and war. It does not necessarily take any sides, or show a blatant support to anyone. The one opinion it projects however, is how humanity is completely destroyed when the wrath of war strikes.
With cinematographer Kamaljeet Negi’s lens sweeping the tropical landscapes of Sri Lanka and the Southern coast of India, Sircar expertly captures the ugliness of how a nation gets torn into pieces when its people go to war. Enter our hero Vikram, who is on a mission to “conspire” peace by dealing with the ones who are the centre of it. Turns out, things are more convoluted than it seems, and caught in the action are not only the neighbouring countries, but a hell lot more. With so many dramatic elements playing, Madras Cafe does get a bit confusing at times.
And yet, it somehow feels a bit inadequate in its storytelling. The scenes where RAW officers are in a cabinet meeting, making the calls on what would happen on the field is reminiscent to many political thrillers. And yet, it lacks that extra oomph that would grip us. It often feels like the dialogues by Juhi Chaturvedi were instead written by an intern who was provided with an outline of the scene, and just wrote the first thing that came into their heads. It is blatantly obvious at times, sometimes obvious enough to make you cringe.
It is unfortunate to see a brilliant supporting cast such as Siddharth Basu, Piyush Pandey, and the Bongs from Vicky Donor to be undermined by these badly written lines. Having said that, Siddharth Basu does seem effortlessly natural in his role as the head of RAW. Thankfully, there is no sexual tension explored between John Abraham and Nargis Fakhri’s character, however it did come a bit close. Fakhri is not as annoying here as she was in Rockstar, however her character makes me confused. Why would a war reporter (apparently intelligent and pretty attractive) go in a jungle full of sexually starved men, dressed like she was? All for the job eh!
Madras Cafe also sees the debut of News Reporter Debang as a “khabri”, and one can only laugh when he says with a deadpan face – “Ye meeting kabhi nahi hui” (This meeting never happened).
For those who expected this to be a John Abraham version of Ek Tha Tiger, they would be utterly disappointed. Because our hero is a mere mortal, and not a Sunny Deol, who’d gatecrash the Jaffna border, and win the island back with a handpump in one hand, and a baby in the other. Abraham’s Vikram Singh is a helpless protagonist who is compromised by moles in the organisation, kidnapped, beaten, and who eventually ends up as a drunkard in Kasauli. If you are not ready for your hero to be that, you should rather catch the Chennai Express. John does seem to play his part well, and I think it is all down to a director like Sircar to cut down the theatrics and treat the story as how it should be. However, I do have a problem with the lead guy being treated as one, when it comes to fashion. There are several moments where it does look like a snippet from a shirt advert.
In conclusion, all I would like to add is that Madras Cafe is an earnest effort at telling the tale of the Srilankan civil war and its aftermath. However, it does fall short as a captivating movie, and it is entirely the writer’s fault. There are scenes which you can predict coming from a mile, and for a thriller, that just should not be. With scenes involving hacking code that will make you giggle more than having a “Whoa” moment, Madras Cafe could have been so much more. Instead, it is a fairly simplified version of one of the many espionage conspiracy political thrillers that we have seen.
Never been a huge fan of Indian Television, which are formulaic, melodramatic family dramas that keep going on and on! But there was always potential in the vast audience and talent available and it seems that legendary actor Anil Kapoor has finally tapped into it with the adaptation of “24”, produced by him which also marks his debut on the small screen.
Following the format but not the story line of the massively successful TV show, which ran for 9 seasons and ended every episode with a cliffhanger, we will see Anil Kapoor playing Jai Singh Rathod together with Anupam Kher, Tisca Chopra, Shabana Azmi and Rahul Khanna.
The show was a run away success in the wake of 9/11 and it’s tough, non negotiating brand of counter terrorism appealed to a global audience, but the concept got stale after a couple of seasons so it’s going to be interesting to see what director Abhinay Deo (who we interviewed when he was in town for promoting his debut Delhi Belly) and writing team of Rensil D’Silva and Milap Zaveri do with the format and if they’ll be able to breath live to serialized story telling in India.
Already the production values and cinematography looks like a vast improvement from what we usually see on South Asian Channels.
Here is the first trailer and poster. We’re just happy to see more of Anil Kapoor on screen, time to dust off that Lakhan costume we still have hidden in our wardrobe somewhere.
What an amazing line up that LIFF has in stall for London Audiences! Some of these movies you won’t be getting a chance to see in the UK anywhere else.
The London Indian Film Festival will be running from the 18th to the 25th of July this year.
Here is the full press release:
Amit Kumar’s trigger happy Monsoon Shootout will be the red carpet UK Premiere opening night film of the Fourth annual London INDIAN Film Festival (July 18-25), Together with O2. This film is a version of Sliding Doors meets a hyper-real cop thriller, which will have you on the edge of your seats. Closing the festival will be a special UK premiere of favourite Bombay Talkies with four magical stories by acclaimed directors Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap exploring 100 years of Indian cinema, studded with top independent and Bollywood stars. Both films had a triumphant reception at the recent Cannes Film Festival and special guests are expected to both screenings.
Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema and 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 India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity. For the first time, the festival is going on tour to Bradford and Glasgow.
The festival will stretch citywide, opening in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continuing at BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas, Shaftesbury Avenue, Wood Green, Wandsworth, Staples Corner, and the O2 in Royal Greenwich, the Peckamplex and ICA near the Pall Mall, so there is a screening near you, traversing iconic sights and sounds of the city of London like a Monopoly game board.
The centrepiece ‘In conversation’ on Saturday 20th July at the BFI Southbank, will be with Actor Irrfan Khan, one of the very few Indians to straddle Hollywood, British and Indian cinema, talking to award winning director of Senna, Asif Kapadia. Khan’s memorable film roles include BAFTA winner, The Warrior and Oscar winners, Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi and Hollywood biggies like The Amazing Spider-Man, The Darjeeling Limited and The Namesake, and Bollywood hits Life In A Metro, Mumbai Meri Jaan, New York and Paan Singh Tomar.
As well as films in the Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi languages, and our first Pakistani film Josh, in Urdu, we will be having a rare ‘Life in Pictures’ Masterclass, by the great South Indian Director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, on 19th July at BFI Southbank.
London Indian Film Festival also has films and events for a wide range of audiences and includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring UK and Indian subcontinent co-productions. The winner of the annual Satyajit Ray short film competition will be announced at the end of the festival at The Nehru Centre in Mayfair.
We are delighted to announce that our Major sponsors this year will include O2 International Sim, and the festival is also grant funded for the first time, by the BFI Film Festival Fund.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director comments, “We are delighted that the festival is growing from strength to strength. If you want to find out more about South Asian cinema come and soak yourself in a week of magnificent films in London, or catch the festival tour in Bradford and Glasgow.”
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.
Director of the run away hit Band Baaja Baraat, Maneesh Sharma is back, this time teaming up Sushant Singh Rajput (Kai Po Che) with Parineeti Chopra (Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and Ishaqzaade) and newcomer Vaani Kapoor.
Yash Raj have released a digital poster and a very rustic looking one.
Although he got rave reviews for Kai Po Che, Sushant Singh just has a bit too much of Vivek Oberoi’s doucheyness for me to fully like him. Parineeti is awesome though and I can’t wait to see what she will be up to when her 3 deal contract with YRF is over.
I think like their predecessors Ranveer Singh and Anushkha the bigger and interesting works comes after the contract is done.
We don’t get to see much of what the movie will be about but here is some info in any case from the YRF website:
From the director of Band Baaja Baaraat and the writer of Chak De! India, comes a fresh and very real love story about the hair-raising minefield between love, attraction and commitment — SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE — finally, a romantic comedy that tells it like it is.
Starring in this classy, candid look at the affairs of the heart in today’s desi heartland are the endearing Rishi Kapoor, exceptionally talented Sushant Singh Rajput, and the versatile Parineeti Chopra, along with debutant Vaani Kapoor.
SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE is directed by Maneesh Sharma, written by Jaideep Sahni, and produced by Aditya Chopra.
ADDITIONAL CREDITS: MUSIC: Sachin-Jigar LYRICS: Jaideep Sahni DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Manu Anand EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Aashish Singh EDITOR: Namrata Rao PRODUCTION DESIGNER: T.P. Abid COSTUME DESIGNERS: Varsha-Shilpa SOUND: Pritam Das CHOREOGRAPHER: Brinda LINE PRODUCER: Yogendra Mogre CASTING DIRECTOR: Shanoo Sharma
The film releases worldwide on 13th September 2013.
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!
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
Honestly there hasn’t been much to talk about going on in Bollywood worth talking about. Lately the release schedules of the bigger and more exciting movies has been consistently been pushed back in the 2nd half of the year, banking on the bigger holidays like Eid and Diwali. That doesn’t mean we don’t get some nice surprises from unexpected corners (Kai Po Che, Special 26, Jolly LLB), but 2013 has been really dire in terms of Box Office even with Chasme Baddoor and Race 2 being the only clean hits.
So the trailer of Raanjhanaa is very refreshing, not only as it seems something different but because it seems to focus on that one element that the Southie Remake/Massala/ Punchy Dialogue movie making has forgotten and that is to give the audience some sweet sweet romance.
Although the guy stalking and following a girl trope feels icky especially recent news stories in India, a guy like Dhanush really can’t be a physical threat to anyone.
Abhay Deol makes an appearance too which I wasnt aware of, didn’t he and Sonam have some sort of tiff during the shooting of Aisha?
The movie looks very colorful and sweet and the thing that has me even more excited is of course the soundtrack being composed by AR Rahman.
Releasing 21st of June.
What do you guys think of the trailer of Raanjhanaa? Will this be the movie where Sonam Kapoo blows our minds with her acting ability?
Vidyut Jamwal is an awesome dude, we had a great time chatting with him when Force was released last year and even then it was clear that this was going to be his break out role and not John Abraham’s flex fest (and I think the trailer has a shot that winks to him doing just that). The dude has been training in ancient Indian Martial Arts since he was a child and we bonded quite a bit when we spoke to him (Personally it’s one of my favorite interviews so do check it out by clicking here) geeking out about work outs and nunchuks.
It has been a long wait since then till Commando -The War Within and after seeing the first trailer it seems Vipul Shah has hedged his bets by making this a low budget, low risk proposal where Vidyut’s action takes central stage and the supporting cast and even the heroine don’t really stand out. I guess Vipul is a bigger risk taker when he wants Ajay Devgan and Salman Khan to play Wembley rockstars?
The 2nd schmuck move by the producers is to give the title two side titles as they can’t seem to choose which one will suck more. Is it a War Within or is he A One Man Army? One makes it sounds like a viral infection and he other is just a contradiction and stupid.
I hate you Vipul Shah!
The main thing that really sets Commando apart from any other actioner is this:
He is LITERALLY going Commando on these stunts!
Apart from that those crazy jumping jack push ups he’s doing that I honestly have never seen anyone do! It almost remind me of Akshay Kumar’s training sequence in his debut Saugandh amped and jacked up to a 1000.
It does seem to be a trend that heroes are fighting bigger and bigger armies of goons and unlike the HimmatWala trailer with Ajay Devgan (who also has some martial arts chops as you may have forgotten Jigar and it’s Drunken Master rip off training sequences) Vidyut actually knows these things.
The minor niggle I have is that the trailer containts all of the same stunts that he performs during his showreel stage shows as well as some he already did in Force, and the heroine Pooja Chopra a forer Miss India (really??) just seems completely bland to me.
This is going to be the Jamwal show all the way!
COMMANDO- THE WAR WITHIN is slated for a March 2013 release.
Here is a list of 6 movies that you might have missed this year or probably won’t be featured on any “Best Of” List but deserves at least a watch!
Tere Naal Love Hogaya
Both Geneliza Desouza and Ritesh Deshmukh seem to be actors that we root for and we were glad to see them take on lead role after their debut together with Teri Meri Kasam (a movie impossible to find apparently). The movie got sidelined by the real life marriage of the actors and lost as its release was scheduled at the back end of a barrage of other rom com’s.
Although the story line has a very strong déjà vu feeling (Kidnapping ends in Love with the 2nd half from DDLJ), director Mandeep Kumar manages to add more life to Tere Naal Love Hogaya than it deserves.
It’s available on Netflix so do give it a spin as it’s head above Ek Tu Aur Ek Main at least, and where the main leads actually have chemistry together.
Sometimes you come across a book that comes so close to your personal experiences growing up that it feels like the author has been following you your entire life in a Truman show kinda way. But rarely is there a book that combines that personal journey for Asians with such humor and insight.
Sanjit Singh, who a lot of people might know his from his twitter alias Bad Swami or comedy website, has just written “Are You Indian? A Humorous Guide to Growing Up Indian in America” and he was our guest on this episode of Upodcast chatting to us about growing up as an Asian kid in America and how it differs from growing up in Europe, how he came about writing his book and a host of other topics in this hilarious yet soul searching chat.
You can head over on to amazon or his website to see some of the amazing reviews he has been getting, and his book is definitely a strong recommend by the Upodcast team.
To anyone who has listened to our Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review (If you haven’t you should by clicking here) you can safely say that we are quite enamored by Anushka Sharma, I mean she could be reading the ingredients off a can of kidney beans in Binary code and we would listen with bated breath.
With the first song promo released of her forthcoming Vishal Bhardwaj directed Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, we see her singing and dancing and pretty much stealing the show from Imran Khan.
Now dancing may not be the man’s forte but the ability to grow quite impressive facial hair does seem to run in the family.
We’re quite looking forward to this movie although Vishal Bhardwaj rustic taste might not be for everyone’s taste buds.
Here is the poster, the first song promo and a synopsis of the movie.
Anushka Sharma and some other dudes
Set in the rustic surroundings of a village in Haryana in India, Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola is a comedy-drama about Harry Mandola (PANKAJ KAPUR), a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee (ANUSHKA SHARMA) and the unusual bond they both share with Harry’s man-Friday, Matru (IMRAN KHAN). Much to her father’s delight, Bijlee is all set to marry Baadal (ARYA BABBAR), the son of a powerful politician Chaudhari Devi (SHABANA AZMI). This alliance which is far from just being a simple union of two young people becomes the seed for a story that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.
Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola releases on 11th January 2013 by Twentieth Century Fox.
We 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.
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
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.
The Awesome Roop Kumar Rathod (I still regularly rock “Tujme Rab Dikta Hai” From Rab Ne Banadi Jodi) and his wife Sonali Rathod will be touring the UK and picking up some selected songs throughout the 100 years of Bollywood Music. Together with a live band they will be giving their own renditions of classics by Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood and Noor Jehan as well as some of his own repertoire of Bollywood songs.
Dates are announced for Leicester, Birmingham and London and find info on how to book tickets and some excerpts from the press release below:
According to Roop and Sunali, “We are thrilled that Saregama Events are doing this. We are completing 100 years of Indian cinema next year, but if we try to count the names and pay homage to all those responsible it will take another 100 years. So in our own innovative style, we will sing not only our own popular numbers but also gems from the Golden era of cinema.”
With a fan following of millions around the globe, the likes of Rafi, Lata, Talat and Noor need little introduction. Nevertheless, Saregama recognizes the importance of showcasing India’s classic singers and songs.
Modern Bollywood music fans will recognise Roop Kumar Rathod as the voice of superstar Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai’ from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, ‘Tere Liye’ from Veer Zara, ‘Maula Mere Maula’ from Anwar, the award winning ‘Sandesein Aate Hai’ and ‘To Chaloon’ from Border, ‘Barson Yaaron’ from London Dreams, ‘Vatna Ve’ from Pinjar, ‘Dil Ko Tumse Payar Hua’ from Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, ‘Zindagi Maut Na Ban Jaye’ from Sarfarosh, ‘Salaam Aya’ from Veer and most recently ‘O Saiyaan’ from Agneepath 2012. Also a veteran of ghazal, bhajans, Sufi and light classical genres, together with his wife Sunali, Roop has performed numerous stage concerts around the world and been given the accolade of one of the finest voices in the industry.
Equally talented and a charming soul mate to Roop is Sunali Rathod. Sunali began to sing at a young age of seven and received formal training in Indian Classical music at the age of twelve from Pandit Ridnath Mangeshkar (brother of Lata Mangeshkar). Well known in the classical and ghazal genres, Sunali’s perfectionist nature and vast knowledge of Indian cinema and music has made her the ideal companion to Roop. Her solo ghazal album, Aghaaz, may have catapulted her to fame, but it is Sunali’s love for all kinds of contemporary music that contributes to her versatility.
Roop and Sunali have of course synchronised their artistry by releasing several acclaimed albums including Ishaara, Sun Zara, Velvet Voices and Mann Pasand.
Leicester: Fri 07 Sept, 2012, De Montfort Hall, Click here for tickets
Birmingham: Wed 05 Sept, 2012, Symphony Hall, Click here for tickets
London: Sat 08 Sept, 2012, HMV Hammersmith Apollo, Click here for tickets
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.
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 Kashyapand themaleleads 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!
The Trailer for Despite the Gods combines two things that I love hearing about: the making of a movie that ends up in a disaster for the film makers (Lost in La Mancha, Heart of Darkness) and non-indians thinking that India is a mythical land of enlightenment, nirvana and cows but ending up finding that levels of insanity that they could never imagine. (Think the guy from the Oatmeal who went to India).
Here’s the trailer:
I never watched Hisss as I could never find a decent copy of it but I was always intrigued by this weird cross over movie starring Malika Sherawat (who is awesome) and David Lynch’s daughter especially after our good friend FilmiGirl loved Hisss and even wrote up this awesome review. Plus we get to see more of Sherawat which we can all applaud. I’m really looking forward to watching Despite the Gods for all these reasons.
And a movie that gave us Malika Sherawat in this Holi Song can’t be all evil can it?
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!
This week we bring together the biggest and snarkiest voices on the Bollywood Blogosphere to review the year past. We are joined by FilmiGirl, Rum from RotiKapadaAurRum and the infamous CurryBear!
We start of with our thoughts about the year that was and which trends stood out. Does Akshay Kumar need to re-invent himself for a comeback? Was this the year of Salman Khan? And can we count out ShahRukh Khan?
We then go in to our top 5 movies of the year, how we made our lists and why we chose a top 5 instead of a top 10 (coz we’re rebels of the underground!) And there are quite a few surprising choices!
We finish up with some of our biggest disappointments and films we hated and what we’re looking forward to in 2012.
This is a no holds barred episode so only suitable for mature audiences J
You can find CurryBear, FilmiGirl and Rum’s blogs in the links below!
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.
B. Simply answer the following question and send your replies to email@example.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.
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.
RaOne is more of an event than just a Hindi Film so Upodcast got together with some of the most interesting voices on the internet to talk about ShahRukh Khan’s latest sci-fi epic. Already having set records in terms of box office and revenue as well as production budgets combined with a never before seen marketing campaign and corporate tie ups. But is it enough? Find out in this week’s Upodcast by clicking/downloading/subscribing to us in iTunes!
Part 2 of our massive Episode 39 and of course we can’t have Filmigirl as a guest and not dedicate a whole episode on Bollywood!
Put your Snark Helmet as Filmigirl and Asim take a swing and dissect the late summer and early fall releases of this year.
Starting with one of the biggest hits of the year Bodyguard, we ask the question did it deserve it’s success? We quickly takie a detour to find Mere Brother Ki Dulhan– the movie where the hero is actually the heroine and will there ever be an serum invented to protect audiences from Ali Zafar‘s infectious charm?
Father and Song duo put everything they had into Mausam but what the hell went wrong with that movie (or did it even?) and is John Abraham after his recent success a Force to be reckoned with or did Vidyut Jamwal run away with the accolades?
We finish off with what else is there to look forward to? Rockstar? Desi Boys? Or will it only be about Ra.One vs Don2? We finally come clean about our issues with ShahRukh Khan, so if you ever wanted to hear what we really feel, listen to the episode below!
Of course we would love to hear form you so please do leave a comment!
For more of FilmiGirl, you can check out her blog or catch her on twitter!
I’ ve been quite intrigued with Azaan since I first came across the trailer but been so busy lately that didn’t have the chance to post it, we havent been able to review the latest Bollywood releases either but will be releasing a podcast where we catch up and talk about Bodyguard, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Force and all the forthcoming releases with Bollywood diva and great buddy of ours FilmiGirl. Keep your eyes out for that episode or subscribe to iTunes so you dont miss any episodes of Upodcast which are frankly pretty amazing.
So tomorrow sees the release of Azaan, the Indian International espionage thriller by new comer Sachin Joshi and ad filmmaker Prashant Chadha ;who previously directed Aap Ka Suroor with Himesh Reshamiyaavec casquette , but we shouldnt hold that against him (or should we?). I was quite reluctant as commercial directors making a movie just make everything kinda look the same, very slick and clean where as a spy thriller needs a bit of dirt and grime in my mind.
Although surrounded by controvery in India at the moment, but then again isnt every other movie release surrounded by some sort of controvery? It’s seems to be part of the marketing mix now. Maybe mixing religious iconography, lyrics and playboy bikini models might not have been the best way to do things? But when you are a business tycoon financing your own debut, who is anyone to say what you should or shouldn’t do?
I do appreciate the fact that Sachin Joshi is going for a non conventional movie debut and the spy thriller hasnt been seen too much in Bollywood except those few horrible movies Mani Shankar made a few years ago and I imagine Saif Ali Khan‘s next release Agent Vinod is going to be in the same mould.
Azaan’s also been shot in a gajillion countries which might be a double edges sword as almost no indian director has ever been able to succesfully direct a non indian cast, you can quote me on that.
The soundtrack of the movie is pretty amazing too with Rahat Ali Khan and quite a few other big names, I’ve added some tracks I liked and some stills from the movie after the trailer.
The subject does make me nervous and I hope they handle it with some sensitivity but can it really be any worse than Ajay Devgan’s- The Rock remake- Zameen City Under Threat. And I do hope that although inspired by the Bourne Series, that the director is able to hold the camera still so we can see the action.
Here is the synopsis from the press release:
Synopsis:‘Aazaan Khan’ (Sachiin J Joshi) – a young, upright army officer working for RAW (India’s Research and Analysis Wing) with a mixed lineage of Afghan and Indian parents, as part of his duties, gets drawn in to the murky world of espionage only to find his younger brother a suspected terrorist. Torn between his love for his country and his brother, Aazaan embarks on his mission of unravelling a conspiracy of science and technology, which turns uglier when he realises that it stands to threaten the 1.2 billion population of one of the largest developing nations in the world – India. What unfolds is a fast paced story of one man’s determination to save his country against all odds of human defiance. Strengthening him in achieving his mission is his relationship with Afreen – a beautiful Moroccan girl who grounds him with human love and emotion to help him reach his goal.
A harsh and hard-hitting portrayal of an issue that continues to plague the modern world, ‘Aazaan’ is a captivating story that delves into the global issue of terror, presented on screen by one of the key influencers among the new generation of pioneering Indian filmmakers, Prashant Chadha. Touted to be Bollywood’s biggest espionage thriller ever, ‘Aazaan’ is set in one of the world’s now top five economies, India, but travels to international territories as far afield as Germany, Morocco, France, Poland, Thailand, China and South Africa, highlighting how a single seed of hatred can spread so rapidly across the world.
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.
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 IndianKaakha 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)
The buzz for Salman Khan–Kareena 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
With the release of Murder 2 and Singham, message boards and twitter timelines are rife with calling out movie makers as lazy thiefs and intellectual hacks. Bollywood has always had a rich tradition of playing fast in loose with it’s ‘inpirations’ so Upodcast decided to take on this subject head on with our unique view of the world of Hindi Film and music industry and accompanied by an esteemed panel of sharpshooter bloggers, we give you the discussion to end all discussions. Check out our take on Remakes, Adaptations and Straight Lifts in Bollywood! Read More
The Trailer for Shahrukh Khan‘s Sci Fi extragavabonanza Ra.One directed by Anubah Sinha has just been released. He jumps, he flies, runs in leather bootsies, flips cars on Battersea Park Power Station, raises his arms slowly and romantically (i’m guessing here) and all this with funky spikey hair whilst Kareena Kapoor stares at him mouth agape as I’m sure the rest of SRK fan club will be. We have to admit this trailer leaves us severely underwhelmed. Check out our thoughts and the full trailer below.
Thanks to Honey for the exclusive of course. There really is no other blog for Bollywood gossip and exclusives. You Go GIRL!
So the extremely calculated marketing machinery Random Access One has been a rollercoaster ride of which we are only seeing the first bump.
It started with the Ra.One poster, then the 30 second teaser a couple of months ago (which was pretty exciting we have to admit) and then yesterday the first track from the soundtrack “Chammak Challho” got ‘leaked’ featuring Akon. which you can listen to on The Daily Honey too by clicking here (legitemately popilicous crack for your ears)
We will still have to live through for another half a year of Arjun Rampal‘s reveal, SRK getting back on twitter and every tweet being regurgitated on blogs and gossip sites, the song promo’s being on 24/7 rotation. Add to that some political hoopla of offending one people or the other (I am guessing the electricians this time) and SRK apologizing in a passive agressive manner.
Just show us the damn movie already , as we won’t be able to take months of Shahrukh’s marketing ‘wizardry’. In this case wizardry and deluge being a very fine line indeed.
We don’t know much about the story, we haven’t seen much of the the titular character, Shahrukh Khan’s character is named G.One (so we got a bit of Ghajini going on here) and he flies around a lot with his mouth tightly shut, probably worried he might swallow a bunch of insects. And is it me or does he just look extremely skinny and tired.
Most of the shots we see have a huge Endhiran hangover (a movie offered to SRK initially), Matrix’ s sound design), Spiderman’s urban setting and the final shot is pretty much T2 Judgement Day’s liquid T -1000 rehash but a quarter of a decade later. And I still think a lot of it is inspired by Infamous the Playstation game. Not to forget that Anubhav Sinha has not really ever made a decent movie ( Dus was half average and hasnt aged well). Also SRK doenst make good movies with people he doesn’t know well.
There is the heavy reliance of slow mo wire-fu, a completely played out technique and something Bollywood has never really mastered. The pairing of SRK and Kareena just doesn’t seem to gel with me. (Was Marjaani from Billu really that good ? And I see a little girl touching G.One’s face whilst they are spinning around in a car, an image that fills me with sappy dread)
The whole thing just smells of desperation and seems a bit “deja-has been” but you can never count out SRK expecially when his competitive edge has smelt blood like a starving shark.
The Bollywood media will of course be demanding Ra.One to be as big a hit as his other 2 Khan rivals ie Amir’s Ghajini and 3 Idiots and Salman’s Dabanng and the upcoming Ready.
So here is a list of what we don’t to see in the next trailers but I am guessing we will be seeing:
Some corny ass lines that are meant to be bad ass dialogues
NEW SEASON! And we are back from our short break, with an amazing Bollywoodepisode. This week Beth, FilmiGirl and I discuss the critics/fan reactions to the release of Farah Khan‘s Tees Maar Khan. We delve into many controversial topics and many feathers will get ruffled, so listen to the complete episode after the jump! Read More
Do you want to see your eminent Upodcast hostÂ Asim dance on the Internet and make a fool of himself!Â Of couse you do!Â Watch Project Munni, our tribute to one of our favorite movies of 2010 Dabangg and our friends from CurrySmugglers.Â Watch the video after the jump!Â
This week we crack a main ingredient of Bollywood movies. The Item number! Asim is joined by our very own Bollywood Diva Kara also known as FilmiGirl and Paresh, one half of the music mix masters duo, The CurrySmugglers. Together we dissect what makes Bollywood Item Numbers such a unique phenomenon and what makes them really tasty, we pick our favorite tracks that made us throw our hard earned cash on screen and making it rain. We finish off with the Paresh’s “Memorial Picks of Filthiest Item Numbers”. Our mommy’s will be proud. Check out the full episode after the jump!
DABANGGÂ has been my most anticipated Bollywood movie for 2010 and I am elated to see that the trailer is catering to all our masala sensibilities and delivers an all fronts. It’sÂ like an explosion of all things yummy and dipped in awesome juice!
Starring Salman Khan and introducing Shotgun Sinha’s daughter, Sonaksi. Dabanng is a movie about a “bad ass Robin hood corrupt cop” set in rural India. Arbaaz Khan is producing (and acting) with Abhinav Kashyap in charge of direction and the trailer looks uh-ma-zing!. Check it out our thoughts and the full trailer after the jump! Read More
It’s directed by acclaimed south Indian directorMani Ratnam after their awesome collaboration in Guru.Â It also stars the wonderfully effervescent Aishwarya Rai of which we only see a passing shot. Watch it here now before it get’s pulled by the man!
It’s time for a run-down of some of the hottest trailers coming from the outsourcing capital of the world! We all need a bit of spice in our lives (unlessÂ you suffer from IBS then you should clearly avoid anything relating to Bollywood or Mexican). And I look forward to the new batch of emotional overdoses coming our way.
Keep reading for some of the most exciting Bollywood trailers and our thoughts on them! Read More
The superhero bug has bitten the entire world and the Indian film industry is no different.
Except for the ridiculous Govinda- Kimi KatkarÂ Indian Superman scene on YouTube, the first real superhero that I can remember was Amitabh Bachan in the awesome Shahenshah. I remember there was a 3 week waiting period in our Karachivideo rental store.
But I’ll let that memory back in the campy 80’s where it belongs.
We had the Hritik Roshan starrer Krrish which really wetted our appetite for a proper Bollywood superhero.(Good effort but doesn’t have originality or repeat value unless you actually think you can be Krrish when you grew up)
Shahrukh Khan, the supreme superstar of Bollywood (aka King Khan) is taking a swing on the genre with Ra.one a cutting edge mix up hi-tech and skin tight Lycra insanity. My worry is that Bollywood is making the first type of superhero moviesÂ as we saw back in the 70’s -80’s with a supreme good guy as a heroe with no human flaws whilst the audience has now grown up, moved on and prefers a moreÂ darker approach( more real?) eg The Dark Knight, The Watchmen and the forthcoming Kick Ass.
But in the meantime Disney have released the first images and trailer to Zokkomon, their foray into live action Bollywood production.
Their previous animated release was Roadside Romeo which to me it felt like an incoherent mish mash of deja-vu sequences with strained voice work of super couple said ali khan and Kareena kapoor. It was clear that the actors were not yet comfortable with the animated medium.
But now we have Zokkomon starring the revelation of Taare Zameen Par(masterpiece by Amir Khan about a child coming to terms with dyslexia- a strong recommendation from my end).
The costume design kinda reminds me of Red Mist in the kickass posters but to me that’s a minor detail and still I’m excited!
Red Mist-Kick Ass (I’m not crazy that i see a similarity right?)
let us know what you thought of the trailer in our comments section!
A line spoken many times in this movie by Indian Superstar Shahrukh Khan, playing a good hearted Muslim man suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, resonated with me in a very strong way. It’s a feeling that I have tried to utter many times but this movie manages to do so very simply.
I have been racking my brains on how to approach this review.
I could talk about it from a Muslim point of view, living in a country that is not my own and the struggles many of my similarly skin-toned brothers and sisters have to battle. Unfortunately Iâ€™m not that good of a Muslim so my arguments could be completely invalid and I donâ€™t want to proclaim to be a victim when my own parents went through a lot worse in their days. I’m sureÂ Chris Rock has enough clips on Youtube to illustrate my point.
I could approach it from the angle of a Bollywood aficionada that can finally recommend a movie that is in general release thanks to Fox (apparently even the evil empire can do good sometimesâ€¦) and that the general audience can watch as maybe their first Masala experience (which Slum dog Millionaire wasnâ€™t although it had brown hewed people in it dancing)
I could write as a critic of Hindi Cinema tearing down any inconsistency I was able to pick up on, be it the slowing of pace post-intermission, the horrible broad strokes that every non-Indian character is painted with or the lack of a riveting climax.
But whenever in doubt, I take a scattershot approach, try everything at once and fail horribly in the public eye. Yes, that is how I (Jelly-)rollz.
The route I choose to take is the one this movie tries to takeâ€¦ the human route, taking away all other details to bring things back to a core message, one that our protagonist is taught by his mother played wonderfully by yesteryear ( I do hate that word) actress Zareena Wahab.
There are good people in the world that do good deeds, and evil people that do evil ones. There is no further difference, be it religion, race, creed or culture.
I loved My Name is Khan for its message and intentions. Itâ€™s so good hearted it can be forgiven for its overt sentimentality, dramatic music and dialogue cueâ€™s. This story of Rizwan Khan who has trouble connecting with the subtleties of day to day life (some may argue that this movie has trouble with cinematic subtleties but you did sign up to watch an Indian movie). Although he suffers from Aspergers he is a very bright and ingenious thinker, comparisons with Rain Man donâ€™t hold up as he isnâ€™t playing an idiot savant (plus his brother never kissed Mia Farrow). Forrest Gump would be a more apt comparison but only for the second half of the movie.
He takes his simple message to San Francisco moving in with his brother and Sister in Law. Where he meets and falls in love with Hairstylist/Single mother Mandira (played by the always delightful Kajol). The repercussions of 9/11 create a rift in their love story causing him to undertake the mission of going on a road trip to meet the president of the United States to tell him that one simple messageâ€¦ My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist. On his road his good heartedness affects a wave of people along the way leaving the audience a blubbering mess.
Shahrukh Khan is always entertaining; his charm (as recently seen on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross) carries this picture to an emotional but underwhelming conclusion. It’s the little moment of charm that make you fall in love with Rizwan Khan and you end up completely buying into his quest. You feel for his character, the frustration he feels of not being to express his emotions and the love he feels for Mandira.
Overall the performances are great by most Indian actors. I could watch Kajol read the news and I would be glued to my screen, both Jimmy Shergill (playing the role of Rizwanâ€™s frustrated younger brother, this would be a character you would have in any other movie but Jimmy carries it off because he is that damn good) and Sonia Jehan (almost makes me want to see Taj Mahal, her first big screen appearanceâ€¦ almost) are great in their small roles and I would have loved to see more of their struggles. Mostly the focus lies on Shahrukh character and his wonderfully understated approach on a subject matter that might not be appealing from the get go.
Cinematography by Ravi Chandran is beautiful, costumes, art direction and music are of vey high quality but I wonâ€™t be putting this album on repeat, itâ€™s just not that kind of album.(special mention to Sajda by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, hear me rave about him in episode 5 of UPODCAST)
The few points that work less for me are:
All performances by non Indian actors, or they ran out of budget and got actors that arenâ€™t of a much higher caliber than an average porn actor or Karan Johar was unable to direct them in the proper manner.
Listening to Kjoâ€™s interviews it does seem he is hands on with most actors except Shahrukh Khan( as Khan doesnâ€™t want to listen to Karan) so I think the failure does lie with his character design. Another example of this is Kajolâ€™s motivation in the second half of sending Rizwan off on his quest, which seems too abrupt and contradictory to me even if the tragedy she goes through is very real.
The stand out scenes for me where the entire romantic track between Rizwan and Mandira from their meeting until the interval point. There chemistry is still the strongest romantic pairing in current Indian cinema.Â The segments of Rizwan growing up in India and the confrontation he has with some of the more violent Muslims in the US mosque are riveting.
Itâ€™s great to see a moderate voice take on some of the people that are usually the more vocal (and maybe â€œinsaneâ€) part of the Muslim community. And the words he says are onspoken by many of us have had but have not been shown this way on screen.
What works less is the CGI both in the Georgia flood scenes as in the key moment Mandira and Rizwan fall in love. It made me think of a discussion going on about Titanic and how after AVATAR James Cameron claimed he would do the entire movie in CGI.Even the sunset on that famous kiss scene between Leo and Kate would be CGI. I think if he was able to do so we would have lost out a lot of the power and exactly this power is what’s missing in the scene where Mandira decides to marry Rizwan and bring him into her and her teenage son’s life.
The ending doesn’t work for me because of the casting. The portrait of the president is very jarring. And altough the president of the US is never named specifically, the movie just looses steam.
But I would urge you to seek out this movie as since it’s been distibuted by Fox it does have a wide release and it’ s an unbelievably fresh approach to issues that really do affect all of is.
The message of hope it carries, needs to be heard, needs to be listened to…
My Name is Burney, and I freakin’ loved this movie!
Iâ€™ve been meaning to write a little bit about Bollywood (I know some people hate the word as they feel itâ€™s derivative of the term Hollywood and the colonial name of the City of Mumbai– I like using it as it just sounds better then the Mumbai Film Industry) Â movies in more details then our occasional review of the genre but I worry about the cultural gap.
Like Westerns or Kung Fu movies, Bollywood speaks a different language and dances to a very different beat and it’s hard to criticize them with the same standards as we do maintream movies. Bollywood movies are supposed to entertain one of the largest audiences and make lots of money!
Itâ€™s a prestigious and long standing independent industry, which unfortunately doesnâ€™t receive the respect it deserves. I have been force fed these mass-appealing entertainment juggernauts since birth but they have now become a part of my being. I can watch all the Korean, French or American movies I want. But nothing feeds the craving for all out paisa vasool (AKA your moneyâ€™s worth) entertainment as Bollywood does! Itâ€™s like coming home to your parents and having your favorite dish prepared for you, served up with some mango pickles and lassi.
2009 wasnâ€™t a great year for Indian Cinema although SlumDog Millionaire win at the Oscars did put the spotlight on the potential. But instead of being able to cash out on the limelight the country went into a producerâ€™s strike that lasted and as with the Writersâ€™ Guild Strike in 2008 in the US, it had long lasting impact on release schedules, marketing budgets, star salaries but most importantly the weekly hit of singing, dancing and dishum dishum that â€œJo(-winder) Publicâ€ craved for.
Another trend that affected the industry, as it effected everything else in the world, was the Global Economic meltdown. Since the past few years corporate houses (e.g. Reliance group, BIG, UTV) saw investment possibilities in funding movies for a quick buck, the gamble paid off and actors and producers started charging enormous amounts.
Salaries were going through the roof, quality was nowhere to be found but when the US market crashed it, it deflated a lot of egos.
2010 already is proving a good year with some very exciting releases lining up, special mentions to Kites (redited by Brett Ratner), My Name is Khan (Distributed by Fox) and Veer(awesome Troy like epic).
So theseÂ are my favorite Bollywood flicks of 2009, some of these I have reviewed in more detail on my badly maintained personal blog but I would suggest, stop reading, go to Amazon and order these flicks!
Riding on the wave of 80â€™s nostalgia this movie revisits the classic Masala genre meaning you get everything in small doses, action, romance, singing and dancing.
All of this goodness is covered with balls out action and harebrained scenario. If you can identify with the character you are in for a thrill ride where you are the one shooting people in the face (in slow motion with Pecs gleaming in sweat). Girls are pretty, villain is evil and the Hero is awesome!
What more can a man ask for? Click here for the trailer.
Ps this is not the Angelina Jolie movie based on the comic from Mark Millar
Ajab Ghazab ki Prem Kahani
I got to admit I had very low expectation of this movie and it completely took me by surprise.
Itâ€™s a very funny (I hate to use the term whacky adventure as it makes me think of Scooby doo) romantic, itâ€™s harmless and very well shot and it just flies by. The main cast is hilarious and both actors pitch in a performance that you really donâ€™t expect seeing their past efforts. Ranbir Kapoor is destined to be the next big thing in Bollywood and this was the first proof how his appeal is able to draw crowds.
And I even liked Katrina Kaif for her performance for once. Oh and the songs were pretty catchy too!
The Biggest Box Office in all foreign markets. 3 Idiots talks about so many different things which I am trying not to spoil as I want to have an in depth review with the guys. This was my favorite movie of the year, it had me laughing and it even made me shed a tear or 2.
But most of all it changed the way I think and how I will raise my children ( if one day I have them or Â whenever they are able to track me down but bounty hunting ainâ€™t what it used to be).
All iz well people… all iz well…
Weâ€™ve had a whole episode on this movie so you can always go back and revisit episode 1!
Together with Ajab Prem Prem ki Ghazab this were my 2 romantic movie pics of the year.
Love Aaj Kal is the story of how love has evolved from our parents generation to us.
I have to admit I havenâ€™t revisited the movie since but if you want a great date movie for Valentineâ€™s day, this is it!
Dev D/ Luck By Chance
The 2 movies that illustrate the changing face idea of Indian cinema.
Dev D is a modern take on the classic novel which was given the grand treatment a couple of years ago starring superstar SRK. Anurag Kashyap (the director of Black Friday,which was amazing but ran into problem with censors) had a very different take, he took Dev from the beautifully lit gondolas of Bengal to the gutters of LSD laced nightmares. A Bit over trainspotting, a lot of Leaving Las Vegas but all accompanied by an AWESOME soundtrack. My second favorite movie of the year and the one I have probably revisited the most. This is not a family movie!
Luck By Chance I reviewed extensively on my Things on my bheja. Although at the time I was not aware this would still be my favorite movie at the end of the year but it still stand outs for me.
All of this to say, if you haven’t ever watched a Bollywood movie, you can pick out one of these pics and be ahead of the curve or you can share Martin’s opinion on bollywood movies also in our episode1 and agree that most Bollywood is shit! But that’s probably coz y’all can’t dance 🙂
After India and New Zealand, you will travel back in time to 1988 to check out Robert De Niro (in his Golden Globe-nominated performance) as a bounty hunter and Charles Grodin as his prisoner! Check out the trailer for Midnight Run below
First let me take you to our world of underwhelming trinity¦
Small ticket entertainment we may be, but you can’t accuse us of not trying to visit the corners of the world
India one week and New Zealand the next. That’s right folks for episode 2 we visit the land of Lord of the Rings and apparently some demented man-eating sheep – check out the trailer for Black Sheep below
But before the main event, we also have the underwhelming trinity!!!