MUMBAI (Reuters) – Movie lovers, Bollywood stars and well-wishers paid their last respects to film-maker Yash Chopra on Monday, a day after he died of multiple organ failure.
Chopra, who turned 80 last month, was one of India’s iconic film-makers and was known as the “king of romance”. He also owned one of the industry’s biggest production houses and studios, Yash Raj Films, which recently ventured into Hollywood movie production as well.
My very first Yash Chopra film was a disappointment.
I remember watching “Lamhe” as a kid, almost without blinking, on a grainy television screen on a newfangled device called the VCR and thinking to myself, what is this story about? To my young mind, it didn’t make much sense. But the memory of “Lamhe” and that lazy summer afternoon I watched it with my cousins is still vividly etched.
Of course, it took years for me to actually “get” the film and what it was trying to say. For an Indian film-maker to explore a theme as bold as that of a woman falling in love with her mother’s lover was brave, and to pull it off as he did, spoke volumes of his control over his craft.
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Veteran film-maker Yash Chopra, known as India’s king of celluloid romance, died on Sunday just weeks after announcing he would not direct any more movies. He was 80.
A Yash Raj Films spokeswoman said Chopra died in the evening. The film-maker had been admitted to a Mumbai hospital last week and was being treated for dengue fever.
Is it possible for a film-maker to regress with each film? Wouldn’t logic dictate that you learn and therefore progress with each film? But Karan Johar, who otherwise comes across as one of the most savvy, intelligent and knowledgeable people in the industry, doesn’t seem to apply that same logic to his films.
After his last film as director “My Name is Khan“, in which he tried to deal with the sensitive issues of terrorism and racism, Johar is back to what you would think is familiar turf with “Student of the Year“. College romance, pretty people falling in love, dances, wedding sequences interspersed with bikini scenes, and bare, perfectly sculpted bodies that are given lots of screen time.
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor tied the knot on Tuesday in a low-key ceremony in Mumbai after a courtship of five years.
The couple were married by a registrar in the presence of family and friends at their house, followed by a formal reception at the Taj Colaba hotel in the evening.
I remember watching Ram Gopal Varma’s “Bhoot” in 2003 in a movie hall in Delhi. Or rather, I remember trying not to watch it. Most of the time, I had my face in my hands and had shielded my eyes because I was just plain scared.
Varma set a ghost story in a modern apartment, with two people and everyday settings, but he did it skillfully enough for you to be on the edge of your seat throughout the film. For weeks afterwards, I couldn’t look into a mirror because I’d remember the scene where the ghost appears in the mirror behind Urmila Matondkar’s back. That’s what a good scary movie should and can do.
Director Sachin Kundalkar’s “Aiyyaa” is based on one of three stories in his earlier Marathi film called “Gandha”. The story, about a girl who falls in love with a man because of the way he smells, is 30 minutes long, simply and honestly told. There are are no frills, no side characters and certainly no sign of any of the absurdity that Kundalkar brings to “Aiyyaa”.
It is very difficult to slot Aiyyaa into a genre. There are strains of comedy, drama, romance and the absurd in the film. There is also over-the-top risqué humour and some raunchy song sequences that will remind you of late night music shows on Tamil channels.
“English is a very funny language,” said Amitabh Bachchan many years ago, and many Indians agreed. In Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s comedy “Chupke Chupke”, a character makes fun of the English language, ridiculing its pronunciations and syntax; and when Kamal Hassan sang “come fast, come fast, don’t be slow”, no one blinked an eyelid at the bad grammar in the song.
In the India of 2012, English is no longer a language to be made fun of – fluency in English is an indicator of upward mobility, of having a chance at “making it” in this country. As of 2010, English was the second-most spoken language in India, behind Hindi, and the number of Indian English speakers was double the UK’s population.
MUMBAI (Reuters) – The offers may be pouring in from Hollywood but actor Anupam Kher is determined to choose roles that don’t cater to cultural stereotypes about India in the West.
“I am very conscious when it comes to choosing roles there,” the 57-year-old actor told Reuters in an interview.
MUMBAI (Reuters) – More than 500 single-screen cinemas in Maharashtra are expected to go on strike next month to protest entertainment taxes in the state, threatening box-office revenues as Bollywood readies for the festival season.
“We are going on strike during the festival period so that no one can accuse us of not being serious,” R.R. Vidhani, president of Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association India (COEAI), told Reuters. “We will lose business but the government will also lose business. They should understand that.”