Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Shahid Review at LIFF 2013

Everyone that listens to UPodcast knows that my tastes veer towards massy entertainers that have had some thought put into it. I don’t need added sound effects to punctuate punch lines but I cant’ stand slow, dreary movies that only get praise from other movie directors (usually friends) or snobby critics.

So when we received the line up of films at this year’s London Indian Film Festival, I naturally try to find the ones I have some connect with, be it an actor or director whose name sounds familiar or a story that would connect with me somehow.

Shahid was high on my list of movies to watch at this year’s LIFF as it starred Raj Kumar Yadav (now shortened to just Raj Kumar as the statute of limitations have surely expired on that foot fetishist from Pakeezah) who had the stand out performance as the lecherous pervert in Love, Sex Aur Dhoka as well as the goody goody in Kai Po Che. The other vague familiarity was that the movie was directed by Hansal Mehta (Does anyone own Woodstock Villa on Dvd except me?) and appreciated his short in Sanjay Gupta produced Dus Kahaniyan starring Jimmy Shergill.

 

Shahid is based on the story of Muslim human rights lawyer Shahid Azmi who (SPOILERS for Real LIFE) was shot dead in his own office after trying to defend people wrongfully incarcerated under terrorism charges in India.

 

One of the reasons I have yet to see Bhaag Milka Bhaag is that autobiographies in my book just have the same “inspirational” story arc and a movie about an interesting person, doesn’t necessarily make an interesting movie.

Shahid doesn’t avoid all “inspirational biography” trappings but gives the audience enough in Raj Kumar lead performance (who looks a bit like Shahid Kapoor’s more talented but less buff older brother) , it’s the tight screenplay and fiery courtroom scenes. The story starts with Shahid’s murder and then in flashback mode we jump in a linear fashion through the major chapters that lead him to his end.

 

After seeing the slaughter first hand in the ’92 Mumbai communal riots, Shahid tries to get some sense of vindication as wayward youths do by joining an Islamic Militant group in Kashmir but very soon he finds out that it’s not the right place for him as he doesn’t have any interest in the physical training or the stomach for beheadings (as one would). Unfortunately, when he finds his way back home, the Bombay police pick him up and he is sentenced under TADA (now defunct anti terrorism law) and ends up serving 7 years hard time.

In jail he picks up a law degree and wants to make sure he can do all he can to help people who suffered the same faith as him when he is released.

 

Shahid has some excellent supporting mostly unknown actors (his older brother (who was Imran Khan’s friend in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan), the female lawyer in his final case, his prison mentor) and quite surprising cameos by Kay Kay Menon (who almost pulls a Kosmo Kramer the way he appears in the movie) and Tigmanshu Dhulia (who in my mind will always be Romance Singh thank you Qtipya’s Gangs of WasseyPur Spoof).

 

It was also refreshing that Shahid isn’t mythologized and is shown with real human flaws and weaknesses without resorting to clichés. He is a weak man when it comes to his small family and avoids confrontation but when it comes to the fighting for his defendants he is on fire. His passion for his cause is undeniable in the courtroom scenes, which seem to be done quite realistically, so there are no “Dhai Kilo Ka Haath” monologues that illicit wolf whistles but illustrates the frustration of bureaucracy and process very well.

The movie is shot beautifully from the small alleys to the middle classes houses and offices in Mumbai to the majestic beautiful vistas of Kashmir.

 

Some of the editing can be jarring because of that some of the chronology can be confusing but these are minor issues with an overall satisfying movie without screaming it’s own importance.

 

Shahid has been picked up by UTV Films so will be getting a wide release. And for my money it was one of the best movies at the London Indian Film Festival that I saw this year.

 @asimburney

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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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Azaan Preview

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 Reshamiya avec 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.

 

Here is the trailer:

 

The Awesome Rahat Ali Khan:

 

 

Azaan releases tomorrow in UK theatres.

 

There’s quite a few goodies on their website and Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us know if you are looking forward to Azaan in the comment section below.

 

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