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Apr 20, 2015
via India Insight

A Minute With: Radhika Apte

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Ekta Kapoor once asked sardonically, “Who is Radhika Apte?” This year, Indian audiences found out.

The 29-year-old actress came under the spotlight after playing a scared but protective wife in Sriram Raghavan’s revenge drama “Badlapur” and a liberal city girl in Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s “Hunterrr”, which earned her acclaim from critics and audiences alike.

Apr 17, 2015
via India Insight

A Minute With: Vidhu Vinod Chopra on ‘Broken Horses’

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The producer of Bollywood’s highest grossing film made his debut as a Hollywood director this month.

Vidhu Vinod Chopra hasn’t directed an Indian film since 2007, but couldn’t resist the lure of foreign shores for his latest project “Broken Horses“.

Apr 17, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Mr X (3D)

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

Twenty-eight years ago, there was “Mr India” – a film about an invisible man who helped bring down the bad guys. It is now 2015, and we have Vikram Bhatt‘s “Mr X“, which again is a film about an invisible man who fights crime. You would think, given how much Bollywood has progressed in the intervening years, that the 2015 film would beat the 1987 one at least on the technical aspects,  if not the creative ones.

On the contrary, Bhatt’s film makes the special effects of the 1980′s look good with tacky 3D and amateurish special effects. The plot isn’t much better either. Emraan Hashmi plays Raghuram Rathod, a taciturn police officer forced to kill the chief minister of the state at the bidding of his corrupt police commissioner (Arunoday Singh).

Apr 17, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Court

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

Chaitanya Tamhane‘s “Court” is a chronicle of the mundane – a housewife cooks dinner, a lawyer reads something in a monotone, another character shops for groceries. Yet, it is through the mundane that Tamhane weaves magic. “Court” is a rare film that creates drama out of the humdrum lives of ordinary people, whose limited world view and biases affect the lives of others in more ways than they can imagine.

Narayan Kamble (Vira Sathidar), an ageing folk singer, is arrested and charged with abetting suicide, because a sewer worker is found dead two days after he attended a street performance by the singer. The law takes its course at a glacial pace. Director Tamhane makes no attempt to speed up the proceedings. But it doesn’t hinder the film.

Apr 17, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Margarita, With a Straw

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

In Shonali Bose’s “Margarita, With a Straw”, there is a scene towards the end where the unraveling of a relationship is captured faithfully by the camera – there are accusations of betrayal, tears over what could have been, and frantic declarations of love. It is to Bose’s credit that in spite of the fact that it involves two women who are both disabled, she treats it in the same way that most films would treat a scene of this nature involving a heterosexual, abled couple.

Protagonist Laila may have cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects motor functions, but that is the least of the film’s focus – at least in the beginning. She is like any normal teenager, developing crushes on rock-star classmates, dealing with heartaches and surfing for erotica on the internet when her whole family is asleep.

Apr 10, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Dharam Sankat Mein

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

If Fuwad Khan’s “Dharam Sankat Mein” is any indication, Bollywood is in the midst of a theological crossroads. It certainly is debating the idea of God with more fervour than before.

After 2012’s “OMG: Oh My God!” and last year’s “PK”, Khan’s film also focuses on religion and the biases that prevail about other religions in the minds of the layman.

Apr 3, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

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

If beauty is skin-deep, then Dibakar Banerjee’s re-telling of Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s detective series set in 1943 Calcutta (now Kolkata) is beautiful.  Right from the costumes to the set design, everything is period-perfect. But the attention to detail never translates into atmosphere – that elusive element that makes for a successful whodunit film. The intrigue that is suggested through dialogue never turns into an edge-of-the-seat mystery, thanks to a shallow plot.

Banerjee recreates detective Byomkesh Bakshy’s adventure in “Satyanweshi”, the first novel in Bandyopadhyay’s detective series, and embellishes it with enough sub-plots and characters to make it almost indistinguishable from the original. There are Japanese agents, a drug cartel, India’s freedom struggle, and at the centre of it all – a young, cocky detective. Sushant Singh Rajput brings a level of arrogance to Bakshy that we haven’t seen in past characterizations; and in this tale, it works to his advantage.

Apr 2, 2015
via India Insight

Interview: Sushant Singh Rajput talks about “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!”

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“Please don’t ask me about my process. Are you going to ask me about my process?” Sushant Singh Rajput asks as soon I switch on my recorder. The 29-year-old actor is in the middle of hectic promotions for his movie “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!”, and has obviously given one too many interviews.

Rajput, a former television actor who made his Bollywood debut in 2013, has quickly gone on to become one of the Hindi film industry’s blue-eyed boys, catching the eye of directors like Dibakar Banerjee (who has directed “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!”) and Shekhar Kapoor (who will direct him in “Paani.”)

Mar 30, 2015
via India Insight

It was me, says Salman Khan’s driver in hit-and-run

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Actor Salman Khan’s defence in a decade-old hit-and-run case got a significant boost on Monday after his driver testified in court that it was he, and not the Bollywood star, who was behind the wheel of an SUV that ran over people in 2002.

The 49-year-old Bollywood star is accused of running his SUV on the pavement in Mumbai’s suburb of Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others.

Mar 24, 2015
via India Insight

Courtroom drama gets top prize at National Film Awards

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A multi-lingual film that chronicles the flaws in India’s notoriously slow judicial system and its effect on ordinary citizens won the top prize at the 62nd National Film Awards.

“Court” follows the tribulations of an ageing folk singer who is charged with abetting the murder of a sewage worker who has heard one of his songs. The film, which has already won accolades at international film festivals in places like Venice and Singapore, was praised by the jury for its “powerful and stark depiction of the mundaneness of judicial procedure”.

    • About Shilpa

      "Shilpa covers Bollywood and entertainment for Reuters India since 2008. She has previously worked with DNA and the Press Trust of India, covering train blasts in Mumbai, a constitutional crisis in Goa and protests in New Delhi. On Twitter, she's @shilpajay."
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