India Masala

from India Insight:

Kids rule the roost as Bollywood woos audiences

August 30, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Mumbai resident Gopal Das doesn't usually go to the movies. It's the children who drag him and his wife to the cinema to watch the latest Bollywood film.

The Attacks of 26/11: Revisiting the ghosts of Mumbai

March 1, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)

Just before the intermission in Ram Gopal Varma’s “The Attacks of 26/11“, a police constable stumbles around with a rifle, searching for the two gunmen who had just wreaked havoc at Mumbai’s busiest train station. He slumps to his feet on the blood-stained floor and lets out a cry of anguish.

from India Insight:

Responsibility or censorship: why Bollywood should pick

January 2, 2013

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

Mumbai’s Oktoberfest takes place under the stars

By Jen Swanson
December 2, 2012

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Thomson Reuters)

That Girl in Yellow Boots: Stark, unsettling cinema

September 1, 2011

Anurag Kashyap’s “That Girl in Yellow Boots” is an unsettling tale of a girl in search of the father who walked out on her as a child. Kashyap holds back very little in his narration of this tale, portraying Mumbai as a ruthless city that makes her search even more difficult than it should have been.

Shor in the City: Smart writing makes a smart movie

April 29, 2011

It’s OK not to have too many expectations from “Shor in the City” — I know I didn’t. After all, it doesn’t have a great star cast, there hasn’t been too much buzz around it and except for the music (the lilting ‘Saibo’ number especially), the promos didn’t really stick in your mind.

Dhobi Ghat: A whole new hue

January 21, 2011
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. Rao captures this and so many other myriad hues of the city marvellously in her directorial debut, a deeply insightful portrait of four individuals who find and lose love and deal with loneliness in Mumbai. Aamir Khan plays Arun, a reclusive, commitment-phobic artist who is fascinated with a set of tapes he comes across, chronicling the life of a new bride in Mumbai city. Kriti Malhotra plays that bride, coy and full of hope, reporting daily events like what she’s made for dinner and her neighbour’s problems on tapes that she hopes to send to her brother back home. Monica Dogra plays Shai, an investment banker on sabbatical who after a one-night stand with Arun is slighted by him, and uses their common laundry man or dhobi Munna (played by Prateik) to keep tabs on Arun. Slowly, she forms a bond with Munna, a migrant from Bihar, who harbours dreams of making it big as an actor. Rao takes her time establishing her characters, but they are so well fleshed-out, you don’t mind discovering their quirks slowly. The film moves at a slow pace but is beautifully shot in real locations, mostly in South Mumbai. Performances are top-notch, but Malhotra and Prateik stand out – both conveying so much through just one glance that you empathise with their characters straight away. Films like “Dhobi Ghat” are like exploring a new cuisine — your palate may take time to get used to, given the “masala” and action it has been used to — but stick with it, and you will discover flavours you have never tasted before.

dhobighat1There’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.

from Photographers' Blog:

Come, fall in love

July 27, 2010

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.

Striker: Sporadically good

February 5, 2010

Chandan Arora‘s “Striker” is one of those sleeper films — the ones which don’t have big stars or a big marketing budget, so that you don’t find hoardings at every street corner or its stars on every reality TV show.

Fashion overdose: Do we need so many expensive clothes?

September 22, 2009

Whenever I have attended the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, it has always struck me as an event that is a little out of my league, but something that always gets the eyeballs.