Entertainment behind the scenes
from Photographers Blog:
I’d heard of Rubina Ali in my earlier visits to the Gharib Nagar shanty colony outside Mumbai’s suburban Bandra station but had never had the opportunity to meet her. It took a raging fire through the colony to finally bring me face-to-face with the child star of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire".
On Friday night, after a long day out in the field covering various stories, I was finally on my way home. Suddenly I got a call from a friend about a major fire in the slums close to Bandra railway station in suburban Mumbai. I immediately called my colleague, Mumbai-based Reuters photographer Vivek Prakash, who lives quite close to where the fire had broken out. While Vivek rushed to the spot, I reached there shortly after. An inferno was burning in place of the small fire I’d imagined it to be.
I had spent several afternoons roaming around in these slums that were now burning. The fire had engulfed several hundred shanties, as the residents watched helplessly their lives’ savings go up in flames.
The crowd had turned agitated and hostile. The media was at the receiving end of their anger against the police and fire personnel who they accused of reaching the site too late. Luckily, I spotted one of my contacts who helped me get closer to the slums, while Vivek captured pictures from another vantage point. After shooting for a few hours, we decided to call it a day. We had been shooting late into the night and it was exhausting.
About the only thing Taiwanese in Yann Martel’s cultish epic novel “Life of Pi” is the captain of the ship that sinks, yet celebrated director Ang Lee has chosen Taiwan as the place to make a 3D film version of the award-winning book.
Much like the novel’s hero, a boy named Pi, Taiwan has something of a second chance at making itself shine after years of diplomatic isolation that has kept its global economic competitiveness clinging to a life vest. It gets that chance when audiences see the movie, now scheduled for release in 2012. But Taiwan has a long way to go as China has stolen its spotlight with a rapid economic ascent since the 1990s. For long-standing political reasons, Beijing actively squelches its offshore neighbor’s international profile.
from India Insight:
"As the film revels in the violence, degradation and horror, it invites you, the Westerner, to enjoy it, too...Slumdog Millionaire is poverty porn," wrote London Times' columnist Alice Miles.
The phrase "poverty porn" spread across the Indian media as commentators nodded in agreement or shook their heads even before the film premiered in its native Mumbai and India could (legally) watch it.
Watching “Zero Bridge”, a film set in Indian-administered Kashmir, I have to say I was constantly braced for something nasty — a bomb from nowhere, a gun attack, blood on the streets. Like many Westerners I associate Kashmir with conflict. Unlike many Westerners I have actually been there, but to Muzaffarabad and along the valleys beneath towering mountains on the Pakistani side of the divided region.
The film, presented at the Venice film festival, is not directly related to the conflict — tens of thousands of people have been killed since 1989 when Muslim rebels launched a violent campaign opposing Indian rule in the Muslim-majority region. Yet it still carried a powerful message.