Vidhu Vinod Chopra

Vidhu Vinod Chopra Interview- Broken Horses

Sometimes a man can be so talented that facing him for a short chat can be intimidating. Writer- Producer- Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra is one of those men. He’s been involved with ground breaking cinema for a few decades and today he sat down with us to talk about his English venture Broken Horses.

Our Review of Broken Horses can be found here.

Broken Horses cast features – Vincent D’Onofrio (The Judge, FULL METAL JACKET, MEN IN BLACK), Anton Yelchin (LIKE CRAZY, STAR TREK, ALPHA DOG) and Chris Marquette (ALPHA DOG, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR). The cast includes popular Spanish actress, Maria Valverde (Exodus), Thomas Jane, and Sean Patrick Flanery.

 

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From the Press Release:

The legendary film-maker, who has always set a new benchmark for the Indian film fraternity and has made some of the most memorable movies that India has cherished like the Munnabhai series, 3 Idiots, Mission Kashmir, Parinda, among several others, has once again decided to reinvent the wheel. He has stepped out of his comfort zone and with Broken Horses he becomes the first Indian filmmaker to make a Hollywood Production – it is the first Hollywood film produced, directed and written by an Indian!

Set in the shadows of the US-Mexico border gang wars, Broken Horses is an epic thriller about the bonds of brotherhood, the laws of loyalty, and the futility of violence. The film has been co-written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi (PK, 3 Idiots, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Mission Kashmir) and it based on an original story by Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Broken Horses is in currently playing in selected theaters.

 

Broken Horses: review

MV5BMTEyODkzODExMzReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDU0NjM2NzQx._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_AL_In cinemas today, Broken Horses is Vinod Chopra‘s debut Hollywood feature and makes him the first Indian filmmaker to write, produce and direct a Hollywood film  Set in the shadows of the US-Mexico border gang wars, Broken Horses is an epic thriller about the bonds of brotherhood, the laws of loyalty, and the futility of violence.

Having left town as a child after the death of his father, young music prodigy, Jacob “Jakey” Heckum (Anton Yelchin), returns to his desolate hometown after years only to discover that Buddy (Chris Marquette), the child-like elder brother he left behind, now works for a notorious drug gang. The gang’s ruthless boss Julius Hench (Vincent D’Onofrio) has twisted Buddy’s simple mind and manipulated him into a killer…a surrogate son who blindly does as he is told.  Jacob is unable to convince Buddy to leave his new fraternity. Drowned in guilt for having abandoned him, Jacob realises the only way to save Buddy is from the inside out.

After a somewhat brutal opening that caught me by surprise, the movie quickly settles down into the present day and we see really how different the brothers lives have become.  With this established, the rest of Broken Horses is really about the local gangster and how, despite how he has manipulated Buddy, he is in fact scared of him, knowing he is weaker without him onside and that he cannot allow him to leave the gang.  The three main characters are really well played and it is always a pleasure to see Vincent D’Onofrio in anything.  It could have been very tempting and easy to get all of them chewing-up the scenery and bringing far too much to the film so I enjoyed the restraint.  The only thing I’d pick at here is using a Spanish actress (Maria Valverde, playing Jakey’s finance) with an obviously Spanish accent, to play an Italian.

Broken HorsesAs the story unfolds, we get to see some familiar Western tropes such as the matches, the desolate churches in the middle of the desert and some stunning vistas.  It really is a beautifully shot movie and looks and feels like a mix of the kind of emotional stories I’ve watched from Indian cinema and a modern-day Western.  Presciently, it also incorporates the unfortunate situation Mexico finds itself in at the moment regarding corruption, drug and gang violence.  At a modest 100 minutes, strangely for me, I felt I could have done with more movie.  Not that I was confused or couldn’t follow the plot, but a bit more about Julius Hench wouldn’t have gone amiss – elaborating on his fear of fire, his dead family and his relationship with a corrupt Mexican arms dealer all would have added to an already sterling film.

As someone who doesn’t know much at all about films coming out of India, I was so glad to see my first Vinod Chopra movie.  And it has made me really want to see his first and Oscar nominated film (made for $400 apparently) and of course his most recent blockbuster, PK.  Broken Horses is a beautiful film that is visually superb.  Equally, it will be something that boyfriend and girlfriend can enjoy together…it’s got some violence, but not blood-spatter and not with a huge body-count.  Definitely recommended and by the looks of things, better than anything else that’s showing my local cinema this weekend.

Enjoy the trailer below, or better still, don’t watch the trailer…I think it’s better seen without knowing the trailer…

 

 

Farhan Akhtar LIFF Screen Talk at the BFI

That Farhan Akhtar is a multi-talented being is beyond doubt – just look to his amazing body…of work as an actor, director, writer, singer, lyricist, producer and general Mr Congeniality of Hindi cinema. But damn it, he is rather likeable too – at least I felt I wanted to hang out with him a bit more after a screen talk at the BFI Southbank. As part of the London Indian Film Festival 2014, (which is fast going from strength to strength and now a major event on the South Asian cultural calendar in London) and hosted by editor of Sight + Sound, Nick James, the evening quickly felt like spending time with a friend of a friend who you want to be friends with.

In front of a packed audience which also included filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra (whose presence was the surprise of the evening; when Farhan named the Munnabhai series as having a great social impact on society, the audience were alerted to Chopra’s presence and broke into spontaneous applause), his wife Anupama Chopra, who is perhaps the most sanguine film reviewer in India today, Bollywood casting powerhouse Mukesh Chabbra  and director of recent superhit Queen, Vikas Bahl, Farhan charmed with tales of how he started as an assistant director to avoid being thrown out of home and how he would cut class at college to watch films.

Photo Credit: London Indian Film Festival 2014
But there was also lots of unexpected fun – Farhan managed to make Nick James lose his calm composure and corpse into uncontrollable laughter a few times as well as delighting the audience with an impromptu snake dance (an interest he shares with Shah Rukh Khan) as well as singing the title song from Rock On! It was also interesting to hear Farhan talk about Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (including being unable to look at a tomato for a good six months post the Ik Junoon song filmed at the Tomatina festival in Spain). One did miss the inclusion of Lakshya which was a significant film in his career but with time of the essence, there was lots to get through.

When finally it was time for the audience Q&A, there was lots of enthusiasm and whilst a request for a hug from a determined fan was not quite appropriate, only the stoniest heart would have denied a two year old girl a hug and kiss from her favourite actor (though Farhan didn’t take a selfie with a fan who had come from New Zealand which felt unfair, especially as her question regarding how he worked with Zoya was one that seemed to pique his interest). All too soon, it was time to wrap the session up but not before a clip showing Farhan in his career defining role as Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. What added to this was how Farhan shared how he embraced the grueling process to achieve that amazing athletic look.

As I left the Southbank feeling inspired and pleased, fans had thronged all the possible exits hoping to get a photo with Farhan as he made his way to the after party. Inspiring that kind of affection and keeping it is not easy but then this is the very talented Mr Akhtar we are talking about here – and there is no doubt that as he forges ahead with anything he chooses to do, it will be with a degree of class, dedication and a disarming and endearing sense of humour.

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/