India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Ghanchakkar: Not crazy enough

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(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.

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.

from India Insight:

‘Vishwaroopam’ and Tamil Nadu’s cinema of politics

(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.

from India Insight:

Responsibility or censorship: why Bollywood should pick

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp.)

The mother and father of the 23-year-old Delhi gang-rape victim were cremating their daughter's body around the same time I discovered Honey Singh, now lately known for his notorious song, "Ch**t," or "Cu*t." The song revolves around the singer's vision of satisfying a woman's lust, followed by beating her with a shoe and then moving on to other things.

from India Insight:

Bollywood stars kick up a fuss with real-life rumpus

Pow! Biff! Bang! Dishoom! Real life action by Bollywood celebrities has caught the nation’s eyeballs. Shah Rukh Khan was accused of roughing up Shirish Kunder some days ago and made ripples as he brought the media’s gaze from corruption scams and the election circus to the one thing that never fails to draw attention -- a spicy brawl.

Now, Saif Ali Khan diverts attention from Vijay Mallya’s king-size woes for beating up a certain businessman in Mumbai’s Taj hotel. Saif was booked for assault, arrested and later bailed -- insisting that he was only defending himself.

from Left field:

ICC name best test team of all time. Right or wrong?

The ICC has unveiled the best test team of all time as voted for by fans on the governing body's website. The ICC offered a shortlist to choose from.

Here it is:

Virender Sehwag

Sunil Gavaskar

Donald Bradman

Sachin Tendulkar

Brian Lara

Kapil Dev

Adam Gilchrist (wk)

Shane Warne

Wasim Akram

Curtly Ambrose

Glenn McGrath

Is it a bit 1980s focused? No Englishmen either but maybe that is not a big shock. Sehwag probably the biggest surprise.

India takes cue from Pakistan as Coke Studio crosses border

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By Annie Banerji

Usually known to adapt shows from the west like American Idol, The X Factor and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, India is set to start Coke Studio @ MTV, a rendering of Coke Studio Pakistan, which is currently airing its fourth season. It seems the two initialised an exchange of television programmes last year when MTV Pakistan asked the Indian counterpart for the licence to produce Roadies, an Indian home grown reality show.

Coke Studio, which originated in Brazil in 2007, welcomes and celebrates the diversity in unity in the genres of music, wherein the artists collaborate to offer a plethora of cultural and diverse influences ranging from classical, Sufi, folk to contemporary, pop and even bhangra (a type of music combining Punjabi folk traditions with Western pop).

from Photographers' Blog:

Left teary-eyed after an onion attack

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.

Female labourers work in an onion field in Pimpalgaon, 215 km (133 miles) north of Mumbai January 23, 2010.  REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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.

WIFW 2010: HIGHLIGHTS – Varun Sardana

Highlights from the Varun Sardana collection at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2010 in New Delhi.

WIFW 2010: HIGHLIGHTS – Rajesh Pratap Singh

Highlights from the Rajesh Pratap Singh collection at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week 2010 in New Delhi.

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