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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.

At its heart, “Hasee Toh Phasee” is about Meeta and Nikhil, who meet a few days before he is to get married to her sister. Nikhil is stressed because his fiancée wants him to be successful and rich, while he is struggling with his event management business. When Meeta -- who gets mysterious phone calls from China; compulsively gulps down mysterious pills; and seems decidedly neurotic -- returns home, Nikhil is asked to take care of her and ensure she doesn’t ruin the wedding.

At first, he looks at Meeta (Parineeti Chopra) as a nuisance who just has to be kept at bay to ensure a stress-free wedding, but slowly, a bond develops. Alongside, the film also delves into the relationship between Meeta and her father, played endearingly by Manoj Joshi, and gives us some of the film’s most touching moments.

from India Insight:

South Indian masala remakes no longer a sureshot Bollywood hit

Once considered a permanent fixture on the yearly slate of most production houses, the masala film, a hodgepodge of romance, action and comedy that revolves around a flawless hero, is slowly losing its sheen among Bollywood audiences.

Box-office figures for such films during the last six months suggest that they have missed expectations. This includes the returns on Salman Khan’s latest release “Jai Ho”, a film that has earned the star -- credited with the return of these films -- his lowest opening in cinemas yet.

from India Insight:

India’s Oscar fight: Batra offers an apology, and some advice

(This post has been updated)

Ritesh Batra, director of the “The Lunchbox,” apologized to the Film Federation of India after accusing the group of corruption because it did not pick his movie as India's contender for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2013 Academy Awards.

Batra said his intention was to participate in the “vigorous debate” that arose over the selection process for the country's Oscars entry. His letter to the group came after the federation, which chooses India's entry for the Academy Awards each year, demanded an “unconditional apology”.

from India Insight:

Gujarati film ‘The Good Road’ is India’s Oscar entry

The Good Road”, a Gujarati-language film, has been chosen as India’s entry to the 2014 Oscars, stealing attention from a critically acclaimed love story that was screened at the Cannes film festival this year.

Gyan Correa’s debut film about two children lost in the Kutch desert won a national award for best Gujarati-language film this year, but was a dark horse among the 22 movies in the running to be India’s official entry to the Oscars in the best foreign film category.

from India Insight:

Mike Pandey hits bureaucratic hurdle for film on tigers

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

For more than 30 years, Mike Pandey has been a man with a mission. In its special issue on Heroes of the Environment in 2009, Time magazine credited the maker of wildlife documentaries with efforts to protect "everything from whale sharks to elephants, vultures to medicinal plants."

from India Insight:

No consensus on sex, violence and censorship in Bollywood

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

Getting directors, producers and activists into a room to figure out Indian cinema's connection to violence toward women, rape and crudeness in society can be like a family gathering. People shout, get angry and fail to solve fundamental problems because they can't agree on anything.

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 Financial Regulatory Forum:

Mitigating “Margin Call” risks

By Dave Ingram and Max Rudolph
The opinions expressed are their own.

The financial thriller, “Margin Call,” which opened in movie theaters on Friday, tells the story of a firm in the mold of a Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers at the height of the financial crisis. The firm in the film is akin to real-life firms that seemingly discover too late their reliance on a culture built on growth at any cost and tainted models at the expense of risk management.

Movies are great teachers, helping everyone better understand complex situations that can be confusing even to experts. “Margin Call” does just this, by putting a spotlight on the crucial role that proactive and skeptical risk management (or lack thereof) plays, particularly in financial services. Although the Occupy Wall Street movement is still in its infancy, it demonstrates how ordinary people feel the impact of the financial industry’s actions – and mistakes. Likewise, the movie demonstrates how great an impact one firm’s actions can have on the entire financial industry, underscoring the importance of risk management in such an interconnected system.

from India Masala:

If only Bollywood had discovered Freida

When Frieda Pinto made it big on the international stage with “Slumdog Millionaire”, there were quite a few who couldn’t quite believe her success. While she was feted all over the world, found herself on prestigious magazine covers, and on high-profile red carpets, in the country of her birth, there was some reluctant praise and a lot of silence, which is unusual for a country that “adopts” anyone who sounds remotely Indian and is a success in the West. After Slumdog, Pinto got to work with two of Hollywood’s biggest directors, Woody Allen and Julian Schnabel ("The Divng Bell and the Butterfly"), and I think I have seen more press about Anil Kapoor playing a bit role in the US series “24” than Pinto’s appearances in these two films. And now that the two films have done the rounds of the festival circuit, and the reviews haven’t been too good, there are media reports again, almost writing her off as an actor. I wish we would appreciate that she has been where even the biggest guns from Bollwyood tried to go and failed. She has shared the stage as an equal with names such as Anthony Hopkins and didn’t have to rely on being the geeky Indian friend/sidekick kind of roles to make her foray into Hollywood. I think we just can’t believe we didn’t discover her first.

friedaWhen Freida Pinto made it big on the international stage with "Slumdog Millionaire", there were quite a few who couldn't quite believe her success.

While she was feted all over the world, found herself on prestigious magazine covers and on high-profile red carpets, in the country of her birth, there was some reluctant praise and a lot of silence which is unusual for a country that "adopts" anyone who sounds remotely Indian and is a success in the West.

from MediaFile:

Bollywood to plagiarism: Bye bye?

Filmmakers in Bollywood, India's movie industry, are notorious for borrowing liberally from foreign films far and wide, especially Hollywood.

Even when they don't copy an entire film frame by frame, Bollywood directors often borrow from several films at once, melding story lines and adapting them to an Indian setting, complete with song and dance. They do this, of course, without buying the remaking rights. Despite a lot of original cinema coming out of Bollywood, plagiarism is rife.

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