Seema Biswas

Ep 14- Race 3- Khamoshi The Musical – Khandaan Podcast

Episode 14 of the Khandaan Podcast brings you 1996’s Khamoshi the Musical which stars Salman Khan, Manisha Koirala, Nana Patekar, Seema Biswas, and a very lovely Helen.

However, Asim, Sujoy and Amrita begin the podcast with a raucous discussion of Salman’s latest blockbuster, (the widely and justifiably reviled) Race 3. A bro-laden movie so terrible, it drives Salman-lover Asim into enraged incoherence while Sujoy and Amrita try not to die laughing. Please excuse the f-bombs in this family-friendly podcast.

Tired out from all the emotion, we examine Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s debut feature: a sensitive depiction of a tragedy-magnet family. Featuring several themes Bhansali would go on to explore with better budgets, Khamoshi nevertheless manages to retain some of its charm at this long distance of 24 years. The songs have withstood the test of time and the performances are better than any of us expected. Amrita, however, maintains her irrational dislike of Manisha.

Subscribers are reminded that Khandaan is currently accepting nominations for our special run, which begins with our next episode, #15. Please send your suggestions for movies of the Khans that you feel we must watch to upodcasting@gmail.com.

Note: The Khandaan podcast is an interactive experience! Please click below to vote for the next movie you think we should feature. For episode 15, we have Aamir Khan’s early era.

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.

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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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Midnights Children an Alternative Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 1 big plot-hole out of 5

 

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

 

@asimburney

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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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