India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Aatma: No soul in this horror flick

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(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.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the angst-ridden ghost out to take revenge on his ex-wife by taking his daughter along to the world of the dead. Abhay (Siddiqui) haunts the house and his daughter’s school, killing anyone who dares to offend the child — whether it is the strict teacher or the class bully.

When his wife Maya (Bipasha Basu) realises what is going on, she and her mother (Shernaz Patel) enlist the help of a priest who reveals that the husband is back from the dead.

from Photographers' Blog:

Come, fall in love

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I first encountered the 52-year-old Maratha Mandir movie theater while I was on one of my walks to explore Mumbai. Being new to the city, I do this often. It was just a casual walk down the lanes of the city when I saw a huge billboard promoting a film outside the cinema. The billboard proudly advertised it as the longest-playing film in Indian history.

A cinema goer buys a ticket for Bollywood movie "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride), starring actor Shah Rukh Khan, inside Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai July 11, 2010.   REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The film "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" (The Big Hearted Will Take the Bride), starring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, is a simple romantic film shot in Europe and India, where a boy meets a girl and falls in love with her - girl is about to get married in India - boy takes the journey from Europe to India to win her over.

Can festivals escape popular cinema?

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When Goa first hosted the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in 2004, it seemed there was no escaping Bollywood and its glamour.

Vidya Balan, Salman Khan, and a host of Bollywood stars were part of the event.

It led to vehement protests from delegates and guests at the festival who felt “unnecessary importance” was being given to popular cinema.

‘Short Kut’ takes the long, boring route

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Somewhere in Bollywood, there has to be a movie-making machine.

All you do is insert a reel, change a few specifications (perhaps the hero’s name and occupation or the reason for a romantic obstacle with his leading lady) and wait for a “masala” movie to pop up, fresh and ready to hit unsuspecting audiences.

How else do you explain a movie like “Short Kut: The Con is On“?

This one is supposed to be a sometimes funny, sometimes emotional comedy about a struggling filmmaker and his double-crosser friend. It turns out to be neither.

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