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May 11, 2012
via India Masala

Ishaqzaade: A rugged love story

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At first glance, Habib Faisal’s “Ishaqzaade” has a lot going for it — there’s some great casting, good direction and performances. The milieu is different — arid, rugged, rural India and this is about feisty, gutsy lovers who are smart enough not to view the world through rose-tinted glasses.

At the halfway mark, Faisal sets up the film so tantalisingly, you can only wonder what surprises he plans on throwing at you. But the second half is somewhat of a let-down. The story goes haywire, characters act out of character, and the whole film sort of ends in a whimper, when it should have ended with a bang — which is how it starts.

May 11, 2012
May 10, 2012
via India Masala

Dangerous Ishhq: Death is not the end

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“What is my soul trying to tell me?” Karisma Kapoor asks a character in ‘Dangerous Ishhq’. It’s a serious moment in the film, one that is expected to lead to a major plot point, but all you can do is try hard not to burst out laughing.

All the characters in Vikram Bhatt’s latest 3D project are trying so hard to “act” in a film that has inane dialogue, a ridiculous storyline and absolutely no honesty at heart — that their acting rings hollow.

May 10, 2012

Oscar nod no boost in India: Ashvin Kumar

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Winning accolades at international film festivals and being nominated at the Oscars didn’t make it any easier for Ashvin Kumar to release his film in India.

The 39-year-old film-maker waited for six years to release his debut feature “The Forest”, and says being nominated for an Oscar (for his 2004 short film “Little Terrorist”) didn’t help.

May 7, 2012
via India Masala

India not shining — on prime-time TV

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Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar said during an interview that “Indian audiences don’t like to see reality on screen, they see enough of that in life”. Bhandarkar is known for making “real” films, but he might have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps that is why Indian TV doesn’t normally depict “reality” on screen — preferring instead to hide behind yards of brocade sarees and scheming mothers-in-law and coy brides.

On Sunday though, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan chose to tell the story of a different kind of Indian woman — one that doesn’t get to live. On the first episode of his new talk show “Satyamev Jayate”, Khan chose to talk about female foeticide, a rampant issue in India, where the sex ratio is currently at its lowest since independence.

May 5, 2012
May 3, 2012
via India Masala

Jannat 2: This sequel is not paradise regained

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In the first ten minutes of Kunal Deshmukh’s second instalment of the “Jannat” series, the director sets up his principal characters, establishes a romance angle and even adds a song for good measure. He also manages to inject no originality or freshness in any of these facets of the film, with the result that “Jannat 2” never really takes off, maintaining a staid pace throughout its two-and-half-hour duration.

Deshmukh borrows nothing from the original “Jannat”, except for his lead hero and the vague notion of a protagonist who seeks heaven on earth — mostly in the arms of a coy lady.

Apr 27, 2012

No change in film-making style, says Ram Gopal Varma

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Box-office success has eluded Ram Gopal Varma in recent years and critics have panned his offerings but the film-maker says his style and sensibility remains the same.

Varma, 50, has been plagued by failure in the last five years, especially after “Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag” — a 2007 remake of the Bollywood classic “Sholay” — which bombed at the box office.

Apr 27, 2012
via India Masala

Tezz: Slow and unsteady

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Film-maker Ram Gopal Varma, in a recent chat, said films are like products which have to be manufactured and treated accordingly. I’m sure Priyadarshan agrees. He certainly seems to make his films like assembly line products — all style, no substance.

Tezz“, similar to the Japanese movie “The Bullet Train”, is supposed to be a high-speed action thriller about a bomb on a long-distance train. Ajay Devgn plays Aakash Rana, an illegal immigrant in London who is deported to India, along with his co-workers after he is found working without a permit.

Apr 26, 2012

Bollywood’s Dibakar Banerjee on his uncommon “Shanghai”

MUMBAI, April 26 (Reuters) – Political thrillers are not
that common in Bollywood but then director and producer Dibakar
Banerjee rarely chooses conventional subjects for his films.

Banerjee, 42, explored sexual attitudes in small-town India
with “Love Sex aur Dhokha”, “Love, Sex and Betrayal,” in 2010.
His latest film puts the spotlight on the dark underbelly of
urban development in rapidly modernising India.

    • 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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