Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)
There is nothing ostensibly wrong with Rajkumar Gupta’s “Ghanchakkar”. The filmmaker builds a story about a bank robber who loses his memory and cannot remember where he stashed the booty from a heist three months ago.
Emraan Hashmi plays Sanjay Atre, a seemingly mild man who is an expert at cracking bank vaults and lives with his garrulous and gaudily dressed wife Neetu (Vidya Balan). In what he decides will be his last crime, he pulls off a 350 million rupee heist with Pandit (Rakesh Sharma) and Idris (Namit Das).
The trio decide to lie low for a while. Sanjay is asked to keep the money safe but three months on, when the other two arrive to claim their share, much has changed. He’s lost his memory in an accident and is unable to recognise them, let alone remember where he hid the cash.
Gupta builds his story very well – you are sufficiently intrigued by the characters and their intentions by the time half the film is over. You are never certain what the two main characters (Balan and Hashmi) are thinking and Gupta tries to add a Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of humour in some scenes.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)
Sonam Nair’s “Gippi” is the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl who stumbles through life dealing with the typical crises of adolescence. Boys, parents, body image, acne and Shammi Kapoor come together to form the crux of this story, one that was probably written with the help of a handbook on how to script a teen movie.
from India Insight:
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
The most unfortunate aspect of the censorship controversy over Kamal Haasan's new movie "Vishwaroopam," which came out on Thursday, is that it is happening in Tamil Nadu. India's southernmost state has a history of using cinema as a tool of political dissent and expression, particularly regarding the Dravidian movement, but that spirit seems to have vanished with the decision to release a truncated version of the film after Islamic groups said certain scenes offended them.
Tamil filmmaker Shankar’s last project “Sivaji – The Boss” was reported to have a production budget of a billion rupees and his latest “Robot” is being pegged at 1.5 billion rupees, which would make it India’s most expensive film ever.
Starring Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, “Robot” is set for worldwide release on October 1. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making India’s most expensive film – from director Shankar himself.
At the “Dabangg” screening, someone sitting a few rows behind me would scream hysterically whenever Salman Khan came on screen. She would cheer, shout out encouragement when he was beating up the bad guys and wolf-whistle when he was romancing the heroine.
In the beginning, it was endearing. But then it began to seem contrived, forced and totally unnecessary — just like the film. Unless you are a Salman Khan fan like her, because then you would be able to forgive anything.
There are a lot of nuances in Anusha Rizvi’s “Peepli Live” that you may not get at once. There will be a comment on the health system in villages or the lack of hygiene but they are so subtle that it may escape the notice of the less attentive viewer.
It will be your loss if you do miss out on these small details because this film thrives on subtlety — something we aren’t too used to as viewers.
from Photographers' Blog:
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.
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.
At one point in Punit Malhotra’s “I Hate Luv Storys” one of the characters tells another to just follow all the clichés and go for it. That could well have been Malhotra’s motto while making this run-of-the-mill love story that drags on for what seems like forever.
Malhotra seems to take every single cliché you can think of and insert that into his film – while pretending that this is a different love story. Boy who is commitment phobic – check; girl who has an overdose of pink in her bedroom and believes in love at first sight – check; Hate turns to love – check; Boring boyfriend – check. IHLS is definitely not big on the originality factor and you know how it is going to end. You just wish the journey to the end was pleasanter.
If any real-life kids went to the school shown in Milind Ukey’s “Paathshaala”, you can be sure they would hardly get any studying done. Instead they would be busy dancing, singing, ogling at teachers, romancing and participating in reality TV shows.
The teachers in this school aren’t any better — they also sing, dance, wear inappropriate clothes and generally do everything but the things you are expected to do in a school.
A road trip epitomises my idea of a good time and so does watching a great film. A combination of the two on celluloid is an exciting proposition.