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Feb 6, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Shamitabh

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

Every director has his muse. Farah Khan has Shah Rukh Khan, Ayan Mukerji has Ranbir Kapoor, and R Balki has Amitabh Bachchan. The one actor they admire so much that, at times, their films are nothing more than a simpering tribute to their favourite artist.

Balki’s “Shamitabh” (a play on the names of the two main characters Daanish and Amitabh) is certainly more tribute than film, not just to Bachchan but to his baritone, an aspect of his personality that lends itself to much awe and imitation. Bachchan was famously denied employment in radio because his voice was deemed too deep for the medium, and Balki makes sure that this and many other real life incidents are referenced during the film. “Shamitabh” is as much about the industry that Bachchan inhabits as it is about the star himself.

Feb 6, 2015
via India Insight

A Minute With: Sriram Raghavan

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Director Sriram Raghavan lives on the fringes of Bollywood, rarely making the scene unless he has a film about to come out. The film-maker is also unusual in that he has made two of the most underrated but slickest crime thrillers to come out of Bollywood in recent times, “Ek Hasina Thi” (“There Once Was a Beautiful Woman”) and “Johnny Gaddar”, while being inspired by, but never weighed down by the kitschy melodrama that most Bollywood thrillers are known for.

Raghavan’s latest film “Badlapur” is based partly on a book by Italian author Massimo Carlotto, and is a revenge drama of a man whose wife and son are killed, prompting him to seek vengeance. Raghavan spoke about the film, his love of the crime genre and why his last project didn’t do well at the box office.

Jan 30, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Hawaizaada

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

At first glance, Vibhu Puri’sHawaizaada” (“Prince of the air”) looks like it’s been made from the leftover set pieces of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. You are treated to opulent mansions, cobbled streets and raindrops falling in slow motion. While they make for great visuals, they don’t really help the story.

The film is based on the life of Shivkar Talpade, who is said to have designed and flown an aircraft eight years before the Wright brothers, although there is no definitive proof that he actually achieved the feat. Puri’s film is more a fairytale than a biopic; and for a period film, certainly doesn’t bother with authenticity. So in a film that is set in 1895, men are wearing modern wristwatches, women are wearing nail polish and people are talking about “cutting chai” (half a cup of tea, in Mumbai parlance).

Jan 30, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Rahasya

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

Manish Gupta’sRahasya” (mystery) might be in the news for being loosely based on the Aarushi Talwar double murder case, but other than a few cosmetic details, the film is more of an ode to “Queen of Crime” Agatha Christie.

The two hour-long murder mystery is taut; and even though it is packed with all the familiar tropes, the atmospherics ensure that the story never sags, keeping the audience engaged throughout.

Jan 23, 2015

Nativist film targets outsiders in cosmopolitan Mumbai

MUMBAI (Reuters) – A film looks set to whip up sentiment against immigrants in Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, by lionising a deceased right-wing politician and endorsing his often divisive policies.

“Balkadu”, or “Bitter Potion”, produced by a prominent lawmaker of the Shiv Sena political party, opened in India’s most cosmopolitan city on Friday, the birthday of the party’s firebrand founder, Bal Thackeray, who died in 2012.

Jan 23, 2015

Nativist Indian film targets outsiders in cosmopolitan Mumbai

MUMBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) – An Indian film looks set to whip
up sentiment against immigrants in Mumbai, the country’s
financial capital, by lionising a deceased right-wing politician
and endorsing his often divisive policies.

“Balkadu”, or “Bitter Potion”, produced by a prominent
lawmaker of the Shiv Sena political party, opened in India’s
most cosmopolitan city on Friday, the birthday of the party’s
firebrand founder, Bal Thackeray, who died in 2012.

Jan 22, 2015
via India Insight

Shiv Sena stokes the anti-immigrant debate on celluloid

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A new film that lionizes late right-wing leader and popular Mumbai politician Bal Thackeray and endorses his often divisive policies and philosophies looks ready to stoke more anti-immigrant feelings in the city.

Balkadu” (a bitter potion given for digestive problems) is produced by Sanjay Raut, leader of the Shiv Sena (Shivaji’s Army), and is set to release on Friday, Thackeray’s 89th birthday. The film contains plenty of venom against outsiders who come to Mumbai, and even justifies violence against those that don’t support the cause of Marathi people, those who come from Mumbai’s state of Maharashtra.

Jan 22, 2015
via India Insight

Movie Review: Dolly ki Doli

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

The best thing about Abhishek Dogra’s new film “Dolly ki Doli” is that it is all of 100 minutes long. Whatever flaws the script might have, whatever acting that goes haywire, goes by in such a flash that you don’t have time to dwell on it.

Sonam Kapoor plays Dolly, a sweet-faced con who is a serial runaway bride. She charms men, convinces them to marry her and then splits, looting them of everything before she goes.

Jan 20, 2015

Modi gets more sway in new-look movie censor panel

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Politicians, writers and Bollywood film-makers linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party have been named to the censorship panel, battling allegations they were hand-picked by a pro-Hindu government with a partisan agenda.

Pahlaj Nihalani, a movie producer, was chosen as chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification on Monday along with nine new members to replace incumbents who quit last week citing government interference.

Jan 20, 2015

Modi gets more sway in India’s new-look movie censor panel

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Indian politicians, writers and Bollywood film-makers linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been named to the censorship panel, battling allegations they were hand-picked by a pro-Hindu government with a partisan agenda.

Pahlaj Nihalani, a movie producer, was chosen as chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification on Monday along with nine new members to replace incumbents who quit last week citing government interference.

    • 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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