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from India Insight:

Kalki Koechlin on her role as a disabled girl in “Margarita, With a Straw”

Picture taken from the official Facebook page for the movie https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaWithAStraw  Kalki Koechlin is one of the few actresses in recent years to build her star power while proving her talent in indie and mainstream Indian cinema. Last year, she played what many would consider a side role in one of Bollywood’s biggest romantic movies, “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, decked in designer, slinky outfits and danced to peppy dance numbers.

She also has done star turns in “Dev.D,” “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Shanghai”. This year, she plays Laila, a teenager who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, but is also discovering her own sexuality, much to her conservative mother’s horror, in Shonali Bose’s “Margarita, With a Straw”.

The film, which is scheduled to be released in India next year, won the NETPAC award at the Toronto Film Festival last month, and screened at the London Film Festival over the weekend.

Koechlin, who was born in India to French parents, spoke to Reuters about her role in the film and spending two months in a wheelchair for the part.

from India Insight:

For Oscar-winning Tanovic, Emraan Hashmi’s “serial kisser” tag didn’t matter

When Danis Tanovic chose Bollywood star Emraan Hashmi to play a Pakistani whistle-blower in his new project, the Oscar-winning Bosnian film-maker wasn’t aware of the actor’s notoriety as Indian cinema's "serial kisser".
Tanovic eventually watched some of Hashmi’s Bollywood hits and found it funny that the actor had such a different image in India.

"Here he comes with a bunch of luggage and in front of me he came as a man, as an actor," said the 45-year-old director, describing Hashmi as a "very calm, decent guy."

from India Insight:

Representing Manipur: Priyanka Chopra on playing Mary Kom

Priyanka Chopra is not a Bollywood actor who waits around for assistants to mic her up, set a TV camera's white balance and tell her where to look during an interview. When I met her on Tuesday at a posh hotel in Gurgaon, she used the paper I brought with my questions on it for the white balance, told the assistant how and where to set up the mic and opened a bottle of cough syrup, sparing the poor staffer who was struggling with it for her.

"I can get things done," she said. Indeed, the latest evidence that the 32-year-old superstar is telling the truth is her portrayal of Mary Kom, the Olympic medallist and five-time World Amateur Boxing champion who comes from the far-flung state of Manipur in India's northeast, an area that is far away from the heart of the country and home to many of its ethnic minorities.

from India Insight:

Movie Review: Main Tera Hero

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

When you think about it, David Dhawan’s latest comedy is more tragic than comic. In almost every frame of “Main Tera Hero”, you see glimpses of a film-maker desperately trying to restore his former glory by using the same gags in a newer, more polished setting -- and failing miserably.

When Dhawan hit box-office gold in the 1990’s, the humour in his films was often crude and irreverent. His most successful leading man, Govinda, often played a flashy, street-smart but pudgy hero.

from India Insight:

Movie Review: Hasee Toh Phasee

(The views expressed here do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

Vinil Mathew’s “Hasee Toh Phasee” has the trappings of a conventional Hindi romantic comedy -- the big fat wedding; the quirky extended family; two lost souls; and much song and dance.

Yet, Mathew manages to combine these elements into an unusual film that sparkles with humour and witty repartee, and despite a few bumps along the way, makes for a fun ride. The humour is reminiscent of TV sitcoms, and draws on several modern Indian pop culture references, including campy Bollywood songs and cult TV favourites like CID, to draw laughs.

from India Insight:

Obsessed Rajnikanth fans get their own cinematic tribute

The scene is in a theatre in Chennai. The lights go off and the screen flickers. The first images appear on screen, and the crowd goes nuts -- jumping in their seats, screaming incoherently. There is pandemonium, and the movie hasn't even started.

The object of this frenzy is a 62-year-old, balding man, known to his legion of fans as Anbu Thalaivar (beloved leader) -- Rajnikanth, aka Shivajirao Gaikwad, a former bus conductor who is arguably India's biggest film star.

from India Insight:

Costa-Gavras prefers Bollywood fantasy to American action

Filmmaker Costa-Gavras, best known for the 1969 political thriller "Z", has documented prickly themes such as dictatorship, dissent and oppression over the past half-century.

"Z", which won the Oscar for best foreign film, was a fictionalized account of the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis and inspired the 2012 Bollywood film "Shanghai".

from India Masala:

Aatma: No soul in this horror flick

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

The real test of a good horror movie, at least in my book, is when you can’t stop thinking about it and feel a shiver down your spine at night. All the great horror movies do that to you.

Suparn Varma’s “Aatma”, about a violent man who abuses his wife in life and in death, is one film that doesn’t scare you most of the time. Instead, there is much twiddling of thumbs as you wait for the next predictable twist and yet another person to die on the way to the climax.

from Photographers' Blog:

Inside Kabul’s theaters

By Danish Siddiqui

I believe that sometimes you learn about a city and its society from its local cinemas and the genre of films they choose to screen.

Coming from the heart of the Indian film industry in Mumbai, popularly known as Bollywood, I had no idea what to expect from the cinemas in Kabul. I had several questions on my mind. Did families go out to watch films or was it only a getaway for men? Is watching films at the cinema as popular as it is in other parts of the world? What kind of films entice the Afghan cinema-goer?

from The Great Debate:

How movies explained the lone unrecorded event of 9/11

By John Markert
The opinions expressed are his own. 

Certain events are seared into the collective memory of those who lived at the time the event occurred. Those most affected are those who experienced the event during their critical ages of adolescence and early adulthood; those least affected are those who are born after the event occurred because of their psychological distance from the event. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the assassination of John F. Kennedy may be historical footnotes for those born after the event, but few that heard of the tragedy at the time fail to remember where they were or what they were doing when they first learned of its occurrence.

The collapse of the WTC may be even sharper on the mind than earlier historical events for those who lived through it. In part, this is due to the extensive television coverage that took place as the twin towers collapsed and to the ensuing search for survivors and cleanup efforts that followed. In part, it is also owing to the video-recording equipment widely available to the man on the street. This visual coverage of the collapse of the twin towers, the narrator of In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/2001 points out, is the reason it is “the most documented event in history.” The amount of film footage also explains the outpouring of documentaries examining the collapse.

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