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Oct 12, 2012
via India Masala

Bhoot Returns – That’s not the spirit


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.

Oct 12, 2012
via India Masala

Aiyyaa: Theatre of the absurd


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.

Oct 4, 2012
via India Masala

English Vinglish: Mum’s the word


“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.

Sep 29, 2012

Silver lining for Anupam Kher in Hollywood

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.

Sep 19, 2012

Strike threat looms over Bollywood’s festival season

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.”

Sep 18, 2012
Sep 17, 2012
via India Masala

A “cleaner” Bigg Boss?


If you’ve been a regular watcher of “Bigg Boss”, India’s version of the international reality show “Big Brother”, you will never look at a mop the same way again. Remember model Pooja Mishra breaking a mop and then flinging it across the room in a fit of rage?


Or Sambhavna Seth during one of her screeching sessions? Or the romance between Anupama Varma and Aryan Vaid?

Sep 16, 2012
Sep 13, 2012
via India Masala

Barfi!: The sweet life


Even before you see a single frame of Anurag Basu’s “Barfi!” you will get a sense of the movie, thanks to a quirky song which calls on you to switch off “both your mobiles and kids”. It also promises that the film will give you no “gyaan” (expressing opinion) and that it will tell you about “saccha pyaar” (true love).

You could either be charmed by this unusual beginning or be put off by it, as I was, especially because it feels like overstating the tone of the movie and making a judgment for you about its content. But you might soon forget that and a lot of other things. The very first scene, a Chaplinesque chase through narrow streets is shot expertly by Ravi Varman, and will give you a sense of the old-world charm that pervades the film.

Sep 12, 2012

A minute with Gauri Shinde on “English Vinglish”

MUMBAI (Reuters) – When one of Bollywood’s most successful leading ladies chooses your film to make a comeback, it turns up the pressure on the film-maker.

But not so for director Gauri Shinde, who is making her debut film with Sridevi, whose last major role was in the 1997 film “Judaai”.

    • 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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