Priyanka Chopra

Ep 1- What is the Khandaan Podcast?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can listen/stream/download the episode below.

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AN EVENING WITH SHARMILA TAGORE LIFF 2016 Q+A

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Anupama Chopra Talks Jio Mami Upodcast

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

Listen/download/stream the episode below

JIO MAMI VISION 2015

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

 

ABOUT JIO MAMI

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Quantico Ep 1 & 2 Upodcast Review

Priyanka Chopra US TV debut Quantico is a big deal! So much so that we needed to dedicate an hour just to dissect the first 2 episodes.

We’re joined by Jay also known as @Bollybrit (Nominated as a finalist in the Best Blog Category at this year’s Asian Media Awards!) who is a pretty big Priyanka Chopra fan and of course Martin who saw her in our first ever Upodcast episode of Kaminey but had lost any recollection of seeing the movie.

We talk about why Quantico is important from a diversity perspective as well as stepping stone for Bollywood. We review the first 2 episode in more detail, speak about the general intrigue, the action set pieces and how it stacks up to contemporary shows like Scandal and How to Get Away from Murder.

We wrap up the podcast by talking about which level of Bingeability the show has and which other actors could possibly make the jump to Hollywood too.

Check out more of Jay’s work on his blog on www.BollyBrit.com

You can listen/stream or download the episode below.

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

Dil Dhadakne Do Review Upodcast

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

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

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

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

You can find Anisha’s review by clicking here!

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

Gabbar Is Back Press Interview

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

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

 

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

 

Q1  Tell us something about Gabbar is Back?

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

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

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

Q3  What motivates you to do a movie like Gabbar?

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

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

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

Q5   Are you doing any special song for Gabbar?

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

Q6  How’s your chemistry with Kareena Kapoor Khan?

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

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

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

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

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

Q9 Tell us about your new film projects?

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

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

 

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

Q10  What kind of movies do you like to do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Krrish 3 Press Conference London Upodcast

The Stars of Krrish 3, Hritik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra,  were in town promoting their upcoming superhero movie and Upodcast had the chance to attend the Press Conf.

There was also an Event at the Apple Store which is a first for a Bollywood Movie so it seems promotions are going full force!

During the short interaction with the UK media Hritik mostly spoke about the usual topics: his fitness, how it felt to play 3 different version and surprisingly he mentions that Vivek Oberoi wasn’t the first choice for the villain Kaal.

The conference was attended by our good friend Sujoy, who you can find on twitter as @9e3K or on his wonderful blogs BollyPop and OneKnightStands.

If you haven’t seen it yet. here is the trailer:

And you can listen/subscribe or stream the podcast in the link below:

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Krrish 3 Hritik Roshan Media Interview

By now most people have heard of this little underground movie called Krrish 3, although none of us have figured out how to write the title without googling it or why it isn’t just simply called Krrish 2. The marketing of the movie has been horrendous until now. The hairstyles, the music or even casting Vivek Oberoi as the main character, as such dumb moves that they must really be confident in the ability of father- son, aka director- actor, Rakesh and Hritik Roshan to sell us a desi superhero.

Krrish 2 never aged well with it’s Matrix hangover and none of the new trailers have excited anyone really. Maybe the kids that liked the first one are already old enough to call bullshit on this stake looking sequel.

 


In any case the cast are doing the UK media circuit round and we’re hoping to ask them some questions. Let’s see if that works out. Until then here is a generic media interview with main actor Hritik Roshan.


1.  You are undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in Bollywood obviously doesn’t come easy, where does your determination and passion stem from?
My family has been my biggest inspiration – they are my true role models and they continue to be. My parents through to my grandparents have seen and experienced all shades of life, the good, the bad, and always faced any situation God presented to them fearlessly together. We share a unified bond which I also instill in my own little family with my wife children.

2.  2013 sees the third instalment of Krrish, a franchise that you are renowned for, what can the audience expect?
I think the audiences are going to be in for a treat with Krrish – if you loved the first two films, you will adore this edition. Krrish is our home production and it was like coming home. I did miss Krrish’s character.

3.   What are your thoughts on Superhero movies created in Bollywood?
The Indian cinema industry is among the best in the world and has created movies of par excellence for years. Being our home production, Krrish 3 will master the superhero genre in Indian cinema and internationally. That is the vision with Krrish 3, to present a superhero entity that will appeal to all audiences globally, in the same zest and fervor that they appreciate other superhero films like Superman and Batman. I am very sure that regardless of the language Krrish 3 is shot in, the performance, narrative and overall content will help extend the film’s appreciate to audiences over and beyond the Indian market and global South Asian Diaspora. We have already seen this happening with the phenomenal appreciation we received for the film’s trailer which set a benchmark, garnering more views than that of Hollywood film trailers like Thor and Avengers. We are very excited to see the audiences’ response.

4.   People like Hrithik as a dancer, the dance seems to be missing in his movies these days, is it intentional?
Not at all! However clichéd this sounds, I guess the scripts I’ve currently been working on just haven’t demanded any breakthrough dance sequences. But never say never though! Krrish 3 does feature some notable iconic moves which will become synonymous of Krrish 3.

5.   Filmmakers from Bollywood have tried to make superhero movies before and they haven’t been as successful, what are you doing that is so different?
I feel the Krrish franchise has worked as we have listened to the audience, not just in India but globally. We always aim to deliver a film to them that we hope will appeal to their tastes and aspirations. I never like to operate with an insular mind-set. To produce a superhero film, one key factor to remember is that the focus should be on creating a connectivity between the narrative, the characters and the audience as the story of the superhero him the person. There is a hero in everyone. The focus should not be to make a superhero film that boasts style through special fx and never before seen technology but no substance. A balance needs to be met.

Also Krrish is really not about me. To make a film like this you need a team. An actor is nothing, he is a tool, he is the paint, but you need the painter to make it work. Our team is so strong on Krrish 3 and this is the key to our success. You cannot simply rely on the fame and popularity of an actor to make a film such as this.

6.  With the huge amount of excitement generated from the trailer for Krrish 3 expectations are very high, how do you deal with that?
I am very ecstatic and truly humbled by the views the trailer has generated. For me I am glad that the expectations are high as when audience have high expectations it only pushes you to stretch yourself to do more for them. I enjoy a challenge and I think that Krrish 3 presented us with a lot of difficulties, but you only get out what you put into a film and I am very happy with the finished product.

7. Krrish 3 will be the third time that you have played the superhero, do you feel that you have many similarities to Krrish in real life?
A superhero is about values, not about the costume or the powers. A superhero is someone who never gives up and is in service to others. I think I have the right attitude to be a superhero, to try and come through for those that depend on me.

8.  Some of the special effects that we saw in the trailer are truly breath-taking, how much time was devoted to making these sequences?
My father wanted to do all of the special effects in India, it is common in Indian cinema to outsource the special effects for a film to other countries, but my father and I believe that we have the talent in India and that we just need to give them the support and time they need to make a polished and believable finished product. The sequences that you have seen in the trailer are the result of this and I think they look fantastic.

 

9.  We hear that Krrish 3 has several market firsts. Please elaborate.
Yes! We have initiated key brand extensions for Krrish 3 which is really going to help create a greater connect with audiences. From animation, merchandise, digital and comics, we have a full breadth of products to deliver to audiences. We launched Kid Krrish recently, a series of 4 animated features being aired on Cartoon Network. Kid Krrish is the story of Krrish in his childhood who sets out on an adventure with his set of friends. Kid Krrish along with adventure and action also imparts life lessons of friendship and loyalty. It is the first Indian film / character to be adapted in an animated form. It is also the largest television deal in the animation space. On the merchandise front, we have Krrish live Action which will have unique merchandise ranging from Krrish Masks, wrist bands to first of its kind Consumer Electronics like Walkie Talkies, Music accessories and RC toys (Flying Krrish). The way we have structured the deal is market first in India and will be a more sustainable merchandising programme with a more longer term mind-set. We also have an extensive digital activation plan which will help our fan base be closer to the film and Krrish himself, more than ever before. I am also extremely excited about our forthcoming comic book series, Krrish: Menace of the Monkey Men, which will be released as a comic book magazine available in stores later this year.
10.  We hear that Krrish 3’s filming schedule was pretty testing. Could you elaborate please?
Krrish 3, is one the most difficult films of my career. I play various characters. If I wanted victory again, I’ll have to go through the battle again. The finest steel must go through the hottest fire was my modular during the shoot. It Was Difficult Playing Many Roles In Krrish 3. The script has been such that it challenged each and every character and department from the production to the creative.

11.  What else would you do if you weren’t a Bollywood actor?
I cannot imagine doing anything else than being a profession that allows me to develop and expand my creativity. I know it sounds clichéd but I love what I do and I do what I love! It really is in my DNA and whatever my parents, grandparents, uncles achieved in this industry is an intrinsic part of my make-up. I have had the opportunity to live multiple lives in one lifetime and through the power of cinema did my small bit to touch a chord with the world and form an indescribable bond.

12.  Being the superstar that you are, how difficult is it finding the right balance between your personal life and filming?
It can be extremely difficult being away from family when I’m at work, but I do try and see my family as much as I can as they mean a lot to me. I guess it’s crucial to prioritize time accordingly. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your family, it’s never really enough. But coming from a family where filmmaking runs through our veins, we do understand the pressures associated with work thus the understanding between us as family and for our work always helps us to strike that important balance.

13.  Your body is obviously very important to you, as millions of women have probably noticed. Do you have any tips for our readers trying to fight off the Christmas weight?
I work out a lot and have a strict diet and exercise regime that I follow religiously. Being fit isn’t just about being physically strong but also mentally. My fitness workout is a major release for me, in a way it’s my way of chilling out!

14. You have millions of fans the world over, whom are you the biggest fan of and why?
It’s going to be difficult to pinpoint a particular place. All the fans around the world have been so supportive and loving; I just can’t thank all my fans for the ongoing support.

15.  Being at the top of the industry, how do you keep yourself so friendly and approachable?
I have always believed in being a good human first and foremost. My parents have brought me up with great morals and values; life is too short to create negative surroundings and feelings. Like they say ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated’. Furthermore, the persona I have has only been created by my adoring fans – I am here in this industry and now presenting Krrish 3 only because of them.

16.  What else can audiences look forward to seeing from you?
2013 was a busy year with Krrish 3 and the filming of Bang Bang with Katrina. 2014 is another year packed with lots of exciting projects including some other ventures outside of the film industry.
‘Krrish 3’ releases on 1st November 2013.

@asimburney

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Best of Bollywood 2012 Upodcast

The Upodcast episode you have been waiting for! We break down 2012 in Bollywood together with special guests FilmiGirl, GetFilmy and Charla Manohar.

We speak about the good, the bad and the ever so sad.

Agneepath, Vicky Donor, Pan Singh Tomar, Student Of The Year, Gangs Of Wasseypur, English Vinglish…Who will win it this year? Or will there be a surprise entry? Players or Jism 2 maybe?

Before we get into our top 5 movies of the year, we analyze what the worst part was of Agneepath: Sanjay Dutt’s toenails or the romantic track with Priyanka Chopra’s utterly forgettable role as Kaali? Was she able to redeem herself in Barfi! And we debate if lifting too many scenes from others can spoil a movie in its entirety?

We talk about the 6 female directors that made a mark in Hindi Film’s this year.

What did 2012 mean for the heroes, heroines, debutantes, climbers and…

And you can’t finish a year review with an update of “The Khan Ranking”, taking a moment to discuss how shit Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine truly is and concluding with what we are looking forward to in 2013?

 

Special appearances by UK media personality Ashanti Omkar, Beth from BethLovesBollywood, Amaluu from Bollystalgia, Katherine from Totally Filmi,  Sujoy from Tripple Eggs Podcast, Danny Bowes from Moviesbybowes, Stacey and Prathna from Bollyspice , so big thanks to all of them for stopping by and making this awesome episode even more special!

 

Being a bumper episode it pretty much has the length of an entire Manmohan Desai masala film but that’s why it contains songs, laughter, and even some dishoom dishoom between us film nerds.

 

Download/Stream or Listen to the episode below

@asimburney

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Don 2 Upodcast FlashBack

We recorded this podcast just a day after Don 2 came out in a casual late night chat with our good friend Danny Bowes, from MoviesByBowes and also IndieWire (he’s been firing from both barrels so definitely check out his work).

Unfortunately I’m only now getting to posting it since there were some audio issues that i could only solve now as I didn’t want to give you guys a bad experience listening to Upodcast, but with Priyanka Chopra coming at us with a critically acclaimed performance in Barfi and her career as a popstar starting, as well as just not being to wait long enough to talk Shahrukh until Jab Tak Hai Jaan comes out in November, it was the right time to dig up and dust of our great chat about Don 2 again.

The discussion is still very geeky and very indepth as usually is the case with Upodcast. Bringing you a twist on Bollywood reviews that no one else does.

We talk the Superstar that ShahRukh is, what kind of movies he wants to make and how he wants to project himself, and we even go into the age old Salman vs Shahrukh debate ( in a respectful manner)

We covered Don’s release quite intensly and even did an interview with director Farhan Akhtar in our inimitable style that you can check out here! ( funny story, Shahrukh actually stepped into the room when we were talking to Farhan on the phone so we were only 1 degree away SRK, WOOHOO)

Do check out the episode below or subscribe to us in iTunes:

 

@asimburney

 

 

 

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Don 2 (3D) Review

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Spoiler Section:

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

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

@asimburney

 

 

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AgneePath Trailer: Khoon se lath path!

Agneepath, the Amitabh version of the 1990’s, was always a very special movie for Dharma Productions and we had been hearing about the remake this time starring Hritik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra for a while now and today the first trailer has been released and it looks amazeballs! Being huge fans of the original, we wanted to see what this new take was going to be like and we must admit that most of our concerns have evaporated.

Sure audiences growing up with Amitabh’s legendary perfomance as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan will always be reticient of anyone taking on the role. Amitabh’s all white suit,the kohl in his eyes and the gravel in his voice when spitting out dialogues that have been quotable from the nineties. Shahrukh tried to give it his own twist in Ram Jaane, without Mukul Anand a director known for his large scale cinematic movies, you could only have a movie which was memorable for it’s leads performance but not much more.

Shahrukh also was the first out of the gate to remake an Amitabh movie, Don, of which the sequel is just around the corner. Although a massive success, critics were not favorable to the Khan filling in Amitabh’s shoes. ( I have high hopes for the sequel as they are stepping out of that large shadow)

 

So will this remake of Agneepath, share the same faith as Farhan Akhtar’s Don?

 

We don’t think so.

The original Agneepath is the story of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, a village boy exiled from his native village where he was raised by the principles of his father, the much respected village school teacher. When some gangsters wants to take over the village as it’s ideally located as a port to Mumbai, Vijay’s father opposes them and he meets a cruel and very dishonorable end. Cast out and exiled with a mother and sister to take care of, Vijay is hardened by the streets of Mumbai until he becomes a gangster himself and vows to take back the village that was stolen from him, but to do so he must take on the debonair and cool drug lord Kancha Cheena.

From the trailer we can see that there are already quite a few elements from the orginal. We see the death of Vijay’s father but mostly the trailer focusses on Kancha Cheena this time played by a bulked up Sanjay Dutt.

The 90’s version of Agneepath, the whole middle portion of the movie was heavily inspired by Scarface and Danny Denzongpa was playing a desi version of suave Alejandro Sosa.  Here Sanjay is taking a very different take although he does seem to have the same ruthlessness that Danny showed in the original. Sanjay had a massive comeback where he played a villain in Subhash Ghai‘s Khalnayak years ago (Was he really a villain looking back though?) Could this do the same trick from him? He certainly looks quite menacing and could be the shot in the arm that Sanjay needs as his career has been dying a slow death lately.

We see a bit of Pryanka Chopra here too but it’s hard to understand what her role will be, the previous female protagonist was Madhavi who was a typical non essential female role as was the case in many 80- early 90’s movies.  I am sure being a Dharma favorite they will have a substantial role for her, but it’s not something we are seeing in this short clip.

What is there left to say about Hritik Roshan? The actor is so thorough and earnest in every role he takes on, there is no doubt for a second that he will dissapoint. He seems to have an army of Eunuchs accompanying him in some of the fights scenes. Maybe Vijay has been watching a lot of Sholay and has raised a hijron ki fauj?

Rishi Kapoor is in here too for a few frames and we think he’s playing a negative role, something else to applaud as his rolly polly uncle act was getting a bit old

Hritik and Sanjay have acted together in Mission Kashmir earlier and although the movie had a wide release ( there was even a copy in the video store in my college town in Belgium), it’s jingoistic themes didnt translate too well to any audience.

Apparently the movie is a reimagining of the original and you know Upodcast always celebrates remakes ( you can listen to our podcast about it, by clicking here). There is still that little Dharma polish to it that can get a bit irksome ( the color combinations) but since the movie is director by newcomer Karan Malhotra, we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

In any case this is only the first step in Dharma’s marketing machine but if they can deliver on the promise of this trailer, we are heading for a thoroughly great time in theaters.

AgneePath “ka audience ke saath appentment hai” 13 January 2012.

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Do you have high hopes for this remake? let us know in the comment section below?

 

 

 

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Episode 1 Bollywood – Kaminey!

The Under Promise Over Deliver Podcast- a weekly dose of small ticket entertainment!

A podcast with 3 distinctly different voices:

Ahmed -PopCorn- K loves his blockbuster entertainers Michael Bay , animated movies and anything with big explosions

Party Marty C has a more discerning taste raning from Ingmar Bergman to a deep love of everything Bond related

And Asim hasnt come across many movies he hasn’t liked in his life: from Kurosawa, to the latest Bollywood movies. He has only walked out or turned off 2 movies EVER in his life.

 

The first ONE – Kaminey!

Welcome everyone and let’s get started!

So, for our UPOD casting first episode with Ahmed, Asim and Marty we will be kicking it with Kaminey!

You can always check out the Kaminey’s trailer!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh0yCd5z77A

 

But before we get into that, let me take you away from the movie scene and introduce you to a little something that we call the Underwhelming Trinity, each of us will talk to you guys about something new, forgotten about or simply something that is kick ass!

Are you ready to get underwhelmed!!

This week, Asim will be discussing an interesting point of view on laugh tracks in sitcoms and how much they annoy him!

Party Marty will be talking about some of the best absinthe-films of snowboarding around; check it out!

And last by not least, I will be talking about the new Nokia 4G concept prototypes!

You can always e-mail us at feedback@upodcasting.com or on Ahmed, Asim or Martin’s mail. Join us next week for a brands new episode and an underwhelming experience!

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