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Oct 24, 2014
via India Insight

“Margarita, with a Straw”: dissolving hatred of homosexuals in India

Modern India is walking slowly towards a general acceptance of homosexuals and lesbians. Shonali Bose in her new film, “Margarita, With a Straw,” tries to pick up the pace. The film, which premiered and won the NETPAC award at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year, is about a teenager with cerebral palsy who is unabashed about her sexuality, much to the horror of her middle-class, conservative mother.

Bose, who identifies herself as a bisexual, says the film comes from two personal experiences – that of exploring her own sexuality and the experiences of her cousin, who suffered from cerebral palsy. Bose said she hopes that the film contributes towards the debate over Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which forbids homosexual sex, and eventually sexual legitimacy for homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians.

Oct 24, 2014
via India Insight

Kalki Koechlin on her role as a disabled girl in “Margarita, With a Straw”

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Kalki Koechlin is one of the few actresses in recent years to build her star power while proving her talent in indie and mainstream Indian cinema. Last year, she played what many would consider a side role in one of Bollywood’s biggest romantic movies, “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, decked in designer, slinky outfits and danced to peppy dance numbers.

She also has done star turns in “Dev.D,” “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Shanghai”. This year, she plays Laila, a teenager who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, but is also discovering her own sexuality, much to her conservative mother’s horror, in Shonali Bose’s “Margarita, With a Straw”.

Oct 17, 2014
via India Insight

Movie Review: ‘Sonali Cable’

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

Charudutt Acharya’s “Sonali Cable” telegraphs its intention in the title: it’s a communications movie, focusing on the Internet, that part of Indian urban life that has become indispensable to the growing ranks of India’s middle class. Grandparents use it to speak to their grandchildren living a continent away, bored housewives surf for erotica, and pot-bellied businessmen use it to run their businesses from home.

The growing need for Internet service is one well met by our baudy hero Sonali (Rhea Chakraborty), owner of a small cable service business. She is super-charged like the Energizer Bunny, jumping between buildings, flinging cable wires as enthusiastically as her dialogue, and zooming in and out of the screen with a perpetual grin plastered across her face. She’s a whiz with wires and definitely not the cable guy that the company usually sends out to hook up your service.

Oct 15, 2014

State elections could unlock Modi reform push

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Voters from Maharashtra and Haryana headed to the polls on Wednesday for the first major elections since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to power five months ago, in a test of support that could unlock a round of delayed economic reform.

Opinion polls showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was likely to win in both states, unseating unpopular incumbents, but fall short of a majority in each.

Oct 15, 2014

India state elections could unlock Modi reform push

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian voters from two states headed to the polls on Wednesday for the first major elections since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to power five months ago, in a test of support that could unlock a round of delayed economic reform.

Opinion polls showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was likely to win in Haryana and Maharashtra, unseating unpopular incumbents, but fall short of a majority in each.

Oct 12, 2014

Modi seeks state election wins to support reform agenda

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded his party’s campaign for elections later this week in Maharashtra state, knowing that victory in the home of financial hub Mumbai will make it easier to push through economic reforms.

The state of Haryana also votes on Wednesday. But it is Maharashtra that will provide the best test of how well Modi’s appeal is holding up, five months after he stormed to power in a general election with promises to mend a country battered by corruption scandals, high inflation, and sharply slowing growth.

Oct 12, 2014

India’s Modi seeks state election wins to support reform agenda

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi spearheaded his party’s campaign for elections later this week in Maharashtra state, knowing that victory in the home of India’s financial hub Mumbai will make it easier to push through economic reforms.

The smaller northern state of Haryana also votes on Wednesday. But it is the western state of Maharashtra that will provide the best test of how well Modi’s appeal is holding up, five months after he stormed to power in a general election with promises to mend a country battered by corruption scandals, high inflation, and sharply slowing growth.

Oct 10, 2014
via India Insight

Movie Review: Tamanchey

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

The producers of “Tamanchey” (“Guns”) are being sued by a man who claims to have directed the film but hasn’t been credited for it. This is hardly new or surprising in an industry not known for respecting writers and directors. What’s really baffling is that someone would want to take credit for this appalling gangster film.

As on-the-run prisoners Munna and Babu, Nikhil Dwivedi and Richa Chadda seem to be competing to see who can come up with the most ridiculous line delivery. (Dwivedi’s faux Bhojpuri accent sounded like he spent an hour learning the language before launching into monologues)

Oct 2, 2014
via India Insight

Movie Review: Bang Bang!

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

There’s a scene in Siddharth Anand’sBang Bang!” when Katrina Kaif as a woman in danger worries that Hrithik Roshan’s pistol, cradled in her worried hands, isn’t big enough to do the trick. Roshan produces a gigantic gun from just off camera and shows it to her. “In shock?” he asks. You bet. It’s just what she’s been hoping for.

Bang Bang indeed.

The film is a remake of the Tom Cruise action comedy “Knight and Day”, a fun caper about an unlikely couple on the run from the U.S. Secret Service. In the Bollywood version, the single-line plot gets expanded to include all the baubles and ornaments that India’s mainstream cinema can’t seem to do without. Patriotism, brotherly love, romance, exotic locales, cut-cut-cut shots, pounding techno music, sexism? You name it and they are all there, larding up this film to the 160-minute mark.

Oct 2, 2014
via India Insight

Movie Review: Haider

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

In retelling William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet” against the backdrop of war and sectarian strife in Indian-administered Kashmir, Vishal Bhardwaj’sHaider” starts off promisingly. It’s too bad that the promise never delivers.

A tense, beautiful 10-minute opening sequence introduces Kashmiri doctor Hilal Meer, who thinks nothing of hiding and treating a wanted militant in his house, and his wife Ghazala. Meer does it for humanitarian reasons, telling his wife, “I support life over death.”

    • 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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