Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
The Union Budget is on everyone’s mind and affects Bollywood too. Here’s what people from the Indian film industry have to say –
Vipul Shah, Director
Vipul Shah, Director– “There have been a few burning issues that have plagued the industry for the last few years. Entertainment tax is pegged as high as 45 percent in Mumbai. There is always the impression amongst the general public and perhaps even the government that filmmakers rake in huge profits. The reality, however, is far removed. Films have an 80:20 success ratio — this itself is self explanatory of the plight of most producers.
Service Tax, VAT and TDS also remain grey areas for us. These are pressing concerns and have been presented before the government as major concerns for a few years now, and year after year, all of us await some change in stance on this. We are hopeful that the central government will pay heed to our concerns this time. As a fraternity that has been granted industry status, we feel that these reforms are extremely fair and can be looked into.”
Atul Kulkarni, Actor – “I don’t have a budget wishlist. I don’t want them to take less from me. Just wish that they spend it more appropriately. But then it is we who have either sent them (politicians) there. We have also not given importance to politics for generations together.”
It’s been a little more than a year since the last Shah Rukh Khan movie released but this year the star has two big releases — “Ra One” and “Don 2″.
The basic premise of Vishal Bhardwaj’s enticingly titled “7 Khoon Maaf” is enough to generate excitement about the film. A woman marrying several times and killing off each of her husbands is the kind of story you don’t get to see too often in Bollywood, and if anyone can do justice to that kind of a dark theme, it has to be Bhardwaj. There wasn’t much that could go wrong with this one.
That’s exactly what I thought when I entered the theatre, more than seven months ago, to watch a movie called “Raavan“. And we all know what happened with that one. I might be accused of being a little harsh here but this film might be Vishal Bhardwaj’s “Raavan”.
One thing I will say for Nikhil Advani’s “Patiala House”. It touches upon a subject that a lot of Indians will identify with — parents who think they know what’s best for their children and children straining against the leash to break out.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s “Udaan” explored that theme beautifully, and director Advani tries to combine it with another thing Indians can identify with — cricket. Unfortunately, he populates the story with so many things that the main story is lost amid Punjabi wedding sequences, slapstick comedy and an insipid romance.
Watching Sudhir Mishra’s “Yeh Saali Zindagi”, you get the distinct feeling that somewhere there’s the germ of a great movie in here. The problem is that Mishra burdens the film with so many subplots and assorted characters that it’s difficult to rummage among them and come up with the main plot of the film.
The film, which revolves around three characters and the events leading up to one day of action, stars Irrfan Khan as Arun, a fixer who works for a money-lender, and must save Priti (Chitrangada Singh), the woman he loves, from the clutches of a kidnapping gang. But things are not as simple as they seem at first glance.
There are many things wrong with Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji”, but the worst part is that nobody seems to have even bothered to rise above mediocrity in this excuse of a film.
Bhandarkar veers away from his “slice of life” style of cinema and moves to comedy, but it has the same clichés, the same dumbed-down dialogues, and strangely enough for a comedy, very crass humour that is more offensive than funny.
from Photographers' Blog:
Onions have been a very important part of Indian history. Governments have fallen here over the price of onions. So last week when our commodities correspondent Rajendra Jadhav suggested a story on the skyrocketing prices of vegetables, onions seemed the natural peg. The idea was to do something simple around the price of a vegetable as it changes from the field to the dinner table. Our destination was the wholesale onion market in Nashik, Maharashtra, one of the highest producers of onions in the country. Nothing had prepared us for what we were about to encounter.
On Monday, prices of onions nose-dived over a ban on exports by the government and the arrival of new stock through imports. Unaware of this, we went to the onion market in Lasalgaon.
There’s a charming scene in Kiran Rao’s “Dhobi Ghat”, where Yasmin (Kriti Malhotra) is filming her maid-servant and her daughter for a video tape she’s making for her family back home. While the maid is suitably coy about being on film, she’s also equally anxious to finish off with the niceties, and do what she’s there to do — work, earn her living and move on to the next house.
That scene for me epitomises Mumbai in so many ways. It’s a city always in a rush as Yasmin says — there’s no time to waste on getting to know your neighbours or sharing gossip with them — not when there’s money to be earned and a living to be made.
There is some charm in watching Sunny Deol on screen — whether it’s an emotional hug with his father or a fight scene where he holds up the entire floor of a building with one hand.
You realise his value even more when you see him alongside his brother Bobby Deol in “Yamla Pagla Deewana”. While Sunny is assured and warm, Bobby is awkward and bumbling his way through his role.
Raj Kumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica” is based on the very gripping saga of the Jessica Lall murder case, one that captured the collective conscience of India at a point in time, and galvanised a dormant middle-class into taking action.
A young model shot dead because she refused to serve a powerful politician’s son a drink at a party. The murderer gets away because of his connections, but when an aggressive reporter takes it upon herself to solve the case, things change.