India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

A House for Mr Hashmi


When you are a Bollywood actor in Mumbai, doors open automatically — or at least so you would think. But as Shabana Azmi, Aamir Ali and now Emraan Hashmi have discovered, there are some doors which remain shut.

Hashmi has complained to the Minorities Commission of Maharashtra that he and members of his family were not allowed to buy a flat in the posh locality of Bandra — because of his religion.

In his complaint, the actor said he was stopped from completing a purchase of a flat in Bandra’s Pali Hill because the society did not want to allow Muslims.

On the face of it, it seems ridiculous. What’s more, it is illegal.

Abraham Mathai, Vice-Chairman of the state minorities’ commission, told Reuters it would recommend legal action against the building secretary and chairperson if what Hashmi said did happen.

Kal Kissne Dekha: Not really future perfect


The last Hindi film I watched in a theatre was Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer”, an improbable tale about a man who has ‘photographic visions’ and can revisit the past. Then Bollywood took a break and I hoped it would serve the industry well.

After all, isn’t that what a break is supposed to do? Refresh and enliven, so that you can come back feeling fresher.

Slumdog’s Danny Boyle wants to make another film in Mumbai


“Slumdog Millionaire” was proof enough of British filmmaker Danny Boyle’s love for India and Mumbai. But the filmmaker hasn’t had enough of the city or this country.


Boyle told reporters on Wednesday he would love to make more films in India and was in fact in talks with filmmakers Anurag Kashyap and Shekhar Kapur. He didn’t give any details but he did mention how much he loved working in Mumbai.

How to walk the ramp? Ask Shah Rukh Khan


Ever looked at those picture perfect fashion models walking on the runway and wondered how they do it? Well, actor Shah Rukh Khan has the answer.

“I was told the secret was to suck your cheeks in, pout your lips and look really angry, when you walk the ramp,” Khan told a wildly cheering audience after he walked the ramp for Manish Malhotra at Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week.

Every ‘Slumdog’ has its day


Dilshad Qureshi, Rubina’s aunt, is a happy woman. She got up at five this morning, finished her household chores and dressed up in her nicest clothes.

For this woman from a Mumbai slum, the Oscars were coming home.


I was there at Rubina’s (the youngest Latika in the film) cramped quarters, located in a slum by the Bandra train tracks, since six in the morning.

Slumdog Millionaire: You can’t help rooting for it


Imagine falling off a running train and slithering down a rocky slope even as swirls of dust and grime envelop you. Most people would land up with a serious hospital bill or at least a broken bone or two. Jamal and Salim, two of the “three musketeers” in Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” just get up, shake off the dust and move on.

It might seem a little unbelievable or incredulous, but in the midst of watching “Slumdog Millionaire” (or ‘Slumdog Crorepati’ as the Hindi version is called), you shake off that nagging feeling and move on with Jamal and Salim, simply because you want to believe in their story. It’s not a believable story and yet the film makes you want to believe.

How “Slumdog Millionaire” got its name


If you are wondering why “Slumdog” and why not “Slumboy”, there’s a story behind how Danny Boyle’s Golden Globe-winning film got its unusual name.

Turns out screenwriter Simon Beaufoy was wandering around the slums of Mumbai researching the film, when he saw cats and dogs apparently asleep in the alleys.

The Mumbai gawkers



Imagine taking a DJ to a funeral or U.S. President George W Bush taking Oliver Stone along to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attack. Would you call it inappropriate? I think the word doesn’t even begin to describe Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s actions on Sunday afternoon.

On a visit to the ravaged Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, he was accompanied by his son, actor Riteish Deshmukh, and filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, both of them strolling around as if it were a normal walk in the park.

A Wednesday — a thriller with a difference


A film that lasts under two hours is a rarity in Bollywood. And when the film pits an anonymous caller against Mumbai police, curiosity is aroused.

A WednesdayNeeraj Pandey’s film “A Wednesday” starts promisingly with staccato shots of a man placing a bag at a railway terminus and in the washroom of a police station.

A tryst with Ganesha


ganesha.jpgYesterday, I was stuck in the worst traffic jam ever. It took me half an hour to move two inches.Given that it was 4 pm on a weekday — hardly peak hour in Mumbai, I wondered what had caused this aberration.

Enlightenment came from unexpected quarters. “Ganpati aa rahe hai aaj (Lord Ganesha is arriving today) my taxi driver informs me. Aah, wisdom dawns.