London

Ep 218: Raees Review Upodcast

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

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

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

You can listen/download/stream the episode below.

Subscribe to our feed and leave us a review!

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

fb.me/HealRajee

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

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

How to register?

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

UK:

Age Above 30

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

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

Age Below 30 

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find more information on this here:

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

Thank you ever so much 

 

 

Tu Mera Sunday LFF Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


BFI Southbank Events & Screenings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

– For more information on the festival please visit:

www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

Happy New Year / Slam Tour Report + New Charlie Promo

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

HNY1

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

HMY3

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

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

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

HNY2

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

Happy New Year releases on 23rd October 2014

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


 

 

HNY_Poster Hindi

 

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

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

Or follow him on Twitter: @bogeyno2

 

Haider Press Conference

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

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

Haider Press Conference

Excerpts below:

Why did you choose to adapt Hamlet for Hindi cinema?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

It sounds like Vishal is quite the taskmaster!

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

Haider3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Sold Will open the 2014 London Indian FilmFestival

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.

 

 

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

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

So this sunday he’s coming to London for the very first time for an all out concert and joining him are:

Benny Dayal – Badtameez Dil from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani and Lat Lag Gayi from Race
Harshdeep Kaur – Kabeera from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Aditi Singh Sharma – Raabta Night In A Motel from Agent Vinod
Nikhil George – Aashiyan from Barfi!
Shreeram Chandra – Subhan Allah from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani
Anupam Amod – Rab Ka Shukrana from Jannat 2
Soham Chakrabarty – In Dino from Life in a… Metro

Here is a short Q&A he did about his Wembley concert this sunday:

– How do you feel about performing in London for the first time  

I have always wanted to play in London. I genuinely love the city. Given the large Bollywood music lovers there, I am eager to play in front of them and am looking forward to the show. To top that, it’s a dream venue like Wembley Arena. It’s a great feeling. Excited.

– Have you been following any artist who had performed at Wembley Arena in the past (Any International Artists)

Yes, Wembley Arena is a historical venue for music. I remember the epic Queen show at the Wembley arena and Wembley stadium. Also, I have followed bands like U2, Meatloaf, Corrs, Pink etc, performing at Wembley Arena .

– What is it like for you to be performing at the same stage?

I feel honoured obviously. It is one those arenas and venues you dream of playing in, as an aspiring young musician. The legacy and history makes it really exciting for me to perform there.

– Your music has gained a lot of prominence in the last 5-6 years; what sort of Bollywood gigs would you be performing at the Wembley arena stage

I have completed a decade in Bollywood scored for 100 films with films like Dhoom 1, 2 3, Gangster, Metro, Jab we met, love Aaj Kal, Bhoolbhulaiya, Race, billu barber Once Upon, Barfi, cocktail, Yeh jawaani etc . By God’s grace I have more than enough number of songs to keep everybody entertained (smiles). I am planning to perform songs which has been appreciated by my audience over the  last few years. So ya, from the romantic ones to the peppy ones. From Sufi to Dance. From guitars to Dhol. Trying  to incorporate a little bit of everything. I will be doing a combination of the chartbusters and popular songs mixed with some of my favourites. For the final list however, you will have to wait till 13th evening (smiles).

– Which other singers you are bringing with you and what key songs will they be performing, if you want to reveal the surprise

A few popular Bollywood playback singers are accompanying me . They will be featuring with me on 13th April. Benny Dayal for example, is the most sought after singer nowadays . He has rocked last year with his rendition of my song Badtameez dil and lath lag Gayi. He will sing lot more. Harshdeep Kaur needs no introduction to UK audiences, as she has performed there before. The magic of her deep voice will keep the stadium ringing. She is my favourite Sufi voice – no wonder everybody calls her Sufi ka Sultana. She will sing songs like Kabeera, Jugni etc. Aditi Singh Sharma is a rockstar. She’s a performer to look forward to . She will definitely create “Dhoom” with her performance. Then there’s my friend Nikhil Paul George joining us who sang Aashiyan main kya karoon in Barfi. He has a addictive voice. Shreeram Chandra actor singer winner of idol has a magical voice. He sang songs in Yeh jawaani for me. Soham Chakraborty has been a part of my band Metro since the Life in a metro days. And about the full performance, let that be a surprise!

– Finally, how you feel getting associated with World’ s biggest south Asian TV channel, Zee TV

I have been associated with Zee from a long time. From Sa Re Ga Ma to Zee Cine Awards. And experiences have always been overwhelming. I am happy to be associated with Zee again. Looking forward to something equally exciting.

Here’s a link to tickets: click here

Let us know your favorite Pritam songs in the comment section below!

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Leave the World Behind Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave The World Behind hits selected theaters in March.

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

 

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Kareena Kapoor & Imran Khan Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Upodcast Video Interview

Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan were in London promoting their forthcoming rom-com Gori Tere Pyaar Mein and we had the chance to speak to them face to pretty face (you can decide who has the pretty face for once).

Both stars were on a marathon promo tour and were dead shattered at the point we got to meet them, but Bebo put her hair up and Imran was still being very chatty.

Here’s our Video Interview with Kareena and Imran:

Since unlike most of our interview this is on video, we thought we would write up our thought in the post.

So here goes: “5 Things we learnt while speaking to Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan”

Meeting Kareena Kapoor after a couple of years, her magic has only amplified, even if she consider herself to be “BLAAH, WHATEVER”

Imran told me this really interesting story about how the weirdest thing for him is to see when they have mirrored the image in some shots. Apparently one of the final scenes in Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu was shot back in India whilst most of the movie was shot in Las Vegas, so they had to do everything in a mirror image and then edit it into the movie, it was one of his oddest filmic experiences.

Imran Khan was the first guy in all our interviews to step into the press room and come say hi to everyone and ask how were were doing and what we thought of the new promo of Naina.

Imran and Kareena genuinely get along, there is much more ease on screen and off now then there ever was during Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Check out Kareena’s face at 2.54 when I tell her Twitter is a scary place. PRICELESS!

Do Share and Like the video if you can, hopefully if the format is liked, we can do more of these.

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

Gori Tere Pyaar Mein releases in the Uk on 22nd of November

@asimburney

 

 

 

 

 

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Bad Grandpa Review Upodcast

Bad Grandpa is the latest release in the long line of Jackass related features, either TV or movie screen based.  Starring Johnny Knoxville as the aforementioned ill-behaved grandfather. Jeff Tramaine directing and Spike Jonze and  others behind the scenes, return to breathe life into a previously thought dead corpse.

Asim and Martin take a trip across country (London’s massive we’ll have you know) to check out a truly 21st century grandfather-grandson relationship.    Our initial fears about a series of random skits (a la Jackass) being stitched together prove to be unfounded and we’re given quite a thoughtful movie with some genuinely funny and occasionally moving moments.

In other news, Martin talks about how far behind in Breaking Bad he is (no chance of spoilers here folks) and that he is miraculously fully up to date with The Blacklist.  Asim talks about Pacific Rim and how sometimes waiting for the conversation to be over can elevate watching a movie.

Listen/Download/Subscribe Below:

 

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Monsoon Shootout, Bombay Talkies to bookend Fourth London INDIAN Film Festival

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.”


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

Join us on social media: www.facebook.com/LondonIndianFilmFestival & www.twitter.com/LoveLIFF

London Indian Film Festival is supported by partners including: O2 International Sim, BFI, Satyajit Ray Foundation, Cineworld, Grange Hotels, Zee TV, BBC London and BBC Asian Network.

@asimburney

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Ranbir Kapoor Upodcast Interview for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani

Tied in with the release of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in theaters everywhere, we bring you a very special interview with did with the one and only Ranbir Kapoor right here in London during his press tour.

As usual we have our set of quirky questions to ask our guests and I am pretty sure you will enjoy our chat.

For the first time as an intro we are also lifting the veil on what goes on behind the scenes of these press tours and give you “5 things I learnt when meeting Ranbir Kapoor” where I drop the guise of any journalistic integrity you might have thought i had.

If you like this segment do drop us a line in the comment section or on twitter and we will definitely do more of these.

 

"Happiness is real, only when it's shared"-Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani

For the meantime enjoy our interview by downloading, streaming or subscribing in iTunes.

 

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Danny Boyle revisits Trainspotting

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

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

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

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

 

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The 4th London INDIAN Film Festival Launches in July

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

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

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

Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema London Indian Film Festival returns to the capital celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema. The fourth annual festival will run from 18-25 July, bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of India’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of the Indian subcontinent today, in all its diversity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director says:

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

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

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

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

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

culture, style and innovation”.

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

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Karan Johar and the cast of Student Of the Year Upodcast Interview

For the promotion of Student of the year, Karan Johar accompanied by Sid Malhotra,Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt flew over to London to talk to the UK press and Upodcast was invited.

If you have ever seen a full press conference it’s pretty hard to get a non rehearsed answer out of the celebrities especially so if they have the quick wit and verbal prowess of Karan Johar, nevertheless we had a 1 one 1 interview where we could ask a few more personal questions.

Student of the Year is in theaters from today and I hope you enjoy our interview with Karan and the rest of the cast.

 

Listen or download below or subscribe to Upodcast in iTunes and never miss a show!

 

@asimburney

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Karan Johar and the cast of Student of the Year Upodcast Interview

For the promotion of Student of the year, Karan Johar accompanied by Sid Malhotra,Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt flew over to London to talk to the UK press and Upodcast was invited.

If you have ever seen a full press conference it’s pretty hard to get a non rehearsed answer out of the celebrities especially so if they have the quick wit and verbal prowess of Karan Johar, nevertheless we had a 1 one 1 interview where we could ask a few more personal questions.

Student of the Year is in theaters from today and I hope you enjoy our interview with Karan and the rest of the cast.

 

Listen or download below or subscribe to Upodcast in iTunes and never miss a show!

 

@asimburney

 

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Your Chance to Win 2 DVD’s of GBH

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

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

‘Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro’!

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

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

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

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

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

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

GBH releases on DVD from 1st October 2012.

Here’s the trailer:

@asimburney

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Remnants Review

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Here’s the trailer:

 

 

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GBH Trailer Exclusive

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

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

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

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

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

@asimburney

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Usain Bolt: The Movie DVD Release

Yeah, he's that fast...again

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

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

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

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

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

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

Static for once

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

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

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

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

@martincawley

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Aaranya Kaandam Review at LIFF 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Blood Spurting 4 out of 5

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

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

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

@asimburney

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Gattu Review at the LIFF 2012

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Verdict: 3 Giant Hugs out of 5

 

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

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

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

@asimburney

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Anurag Kashyap chats with Upodcast at LIFF 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@asimburney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

@asimburney

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Atif Aslam and Sonu Niigaam in concert in London’s O2

Two of the most amazing singers in South East Asia are coming to London in concert. I think both of them don’t really need any introduction so I’ll leave you guys with the most pertinent info from the following press release.

 

Dhamaka 2012 – Sonu Niigaam, Atif Aslam & Bolly Flex – Live at The O2!

Flex FX proudly brings you the aptly named show, Dhamaka 2012 at the world’s most popular venue ‘The O2’ on Sunday 22nd April 2012. Dhamaka means “explosion” and the show promises to be just that.

Creating musical history, are 2 of the world’s most sought after Asian voices – India’s soul, Sonu Nigam and Pakistan’s icon, Atif Aslam, together for the first time in history.

The venue is the world famous O2 arena, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which is part of London’s Olympics in 2012, and is known as the centre of the earth. No better a place to celebrate the unity that music can bring.

Both international singing sensations will be performing live with their own full bands for 90 minutes. Each with perform all their Bollywood blockbusters, latest chart toppers, and their everlasting renowned hits. Also on the cards, is special tribute from both acts!

The spectacular dance group Bolly Flex, who UK viewers cheered on in the popular SKY TV show, ‘Got to dance’ in 2011, will perform a grand opening to both halves of the show and introduce the star celebrities in a dynamic and artistic fashion. Guaranteed, are breathtaking, colourful and high energy performances.

Young East London born and raised producer and artistic director Naz Choudhury shares: “Dhamaka has always played a major role to my journey and the Flex FX legacy, over the past few years. I can proudly say I have my dream line-up in Sonu and Atif. After my appearance on the BBC show, Dragons’ Den, I nationally declared that I will do it and though the dragons didn’t come on board, I had investors who immediately took the opportunity, and have waited for this big event to come together.”

He adds: “Dhamaka doesn’t represent race, faith or culture, it’s about the passion for music, dance and unity. I’m proud to say it’s about time a show of this calibre has come to my home town, the East End of London, and only for one night. Tickets are already selling like hot cakes, so I buying early will mean no disappointments.”

Flex FX was founded in 2003 by Naz Choudhury as a dance group, and their first performance and launch was in the Millennium Dome, at the Festival of Asia in 2004. In 2007 Flex FX was commissioned by the European Union and produced Dhamaka 2007 with Atif Aslam and Jay Sean, alongside a UK cast of dancers and sold out the 5000 capacity Royal Albert Hall. Flex FX became a force to be reckoned with.

2012 sees Flex FX return to the Dome, which is now the world famous O2, a full circle back to where the journey began, in the 15,000 capacity O2 Arena. They proudly bring you the biggest Bollywood event of 2012.

Dhamaka makes history not just because of the line-up, but also the multicultural unity and power of bringing nations together in celebration, embracing London’s Olympic year in world class fashion. It’s back… It’s Dhamaka – an explosion to your senses!

Tickets start at just £25! Book your tickets now visit www.theO2.co.uk. For more information about the show visit www.dhamaka.co.uk

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Adit Rao Hydari Talks to Upodcast About London Paris New York

Part 2 of our interviews about London Paris New York, we chat with the wonderful Aditit Rao Hydari.

Dancer and actress Aditi Rao Hydari made her acting debut in 2007 in Sharada Ramanathan’s acclaimed film ‘Sringaram’. She is best known for her role in popular film ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’, and also in Rockstar and Dilli 6.

We’re posting both chats here in separate podcasts, let us know what you thought of the movie or our interviews in the comment section below. And do go back to check out our conversation with Ali Zafar.

As usual Upodcast tries to ask different questions and create a conversation with our guests, so we really do hope you enjoy it!

 

London, Paris, New York releases in theaters today!

 

@AsimBurney

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Ali Zafar talks to Upodcast about London Paris New York

We’ve got quite the exclusive for you again, we got the chance to speak with 2 exciting up and coming actors Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari for their release London Paris New York.

Ali Zafar has lit up the screen in Tere Bin Laden and supporting Katrina Kaif and Imran Khan in Mere Brother ki Dulhan and now is all set to star in this rom com spanning 3 stages in life and 3 cities.

We’re posting both chats but in separate podcasts, let us know what you thought of the movie or our interviews in the comment section below.

As usual Upodcast tries to ask different questions and create a conversation with our guests, so we really do hope you enjoy it!

 

Here is our chat with Ali Zafar

 

 

London, Paris, New York releases in theaters today!

 

@AsimBurney

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Ep 42 RaOne Special

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!

This week Asim is joined by some awesome guests: First of all Beth who’s been blogging for almost half a decade on BethLovesBollywood and recently started writing for the Wall Street Journal‘s India Real Time, a welcome return to Upodcast after her visit on Best of 2010 wrap up episode). Our second guest is the that unique balance of insight and hilarity Danny Bowes from Tor (check out his RaOne Review) and MoviesByBowes who is quickly becoming part of the Upodcast family.

And finally we have Dheeraj, Film Journalist and man about town for DesiBox joining us for the first time! Check out Desibox’s coverage of RaOne Premier in London‘s O2 and his review on the DesiBox website.

Is there any place on the internet for Hindi film geeks to have in depth discussion about cinema except Upodcast? Me thinks nahiiiin!

Let us know what you thought of our over an hour long discussion about RaOne in the comment section below!

@asimburney

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Win Tickets to BodyGuard Preview in London!

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

Ep 34 Kareena Kapoor Bodyguard Interview

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

Friday rant (only just)

Well well, it’s been quite some week, batting illness and the effects of an insane partying weekend in Sweden. However, here I am for another little shout from my soapbox. And in some ways, last weekend shapes the nature of the blog / rant this week.

American TV (see Friday rants passim) is currently held to be in somewhat of a golden age and generally speaking I have to agree, despite my protestations to the contrary. There is in my mind no doubting the sheer quality of a number of shows, from The Sopranos to The Wire, from Scrubs to Six Feet Under. But rather than focus on shows that I find to be merely crap and then tell you all that American TV ain’t all that good, I thought I’d draw your attention to something Anglo-Swedish – just to show that Europe still has a trick or two up its sleeve.

You may or may not have heard of Wallander, a Swedish detective show featuring Kurt Wallander as the lead role. Now, if you haven’t seen this programme, I’ll be honest; it’s a little bleak and a little dark, but then reality is little bit bleak and a little bit dark, so we shouldn’t complain greatly. First shown on UK screens in 2009, it accompanied the BBC remake of the same show. Fair enough you might say: a good cop show deserves a mention. But what is more interesting is not that the source material is good, but that the BBC has remade it for Brits in quite an interesting way. Rather than simply transplanting the show lock, stock into England and rather predictably London; the production – starring Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander – leaves the show in Sweden, with a host of good quality, jobbing British actors and a smattering of Swedish acting talent too.

The joy of this comes not only from it seeming more like the original, but at the same time in doing so (leaving the show set in Sweden) lends a far greater sense of originality (somewhat oddly). The remake by the Beeb succeeds where, alas, other remakes (UK version of CSI anyone?) fail in that the photography and feel of the original are maintained and we are allowed to see the lead character in situation as intended. BBC 4, you have once again done us proud.

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