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Nov 21, 2013
via India Insight

Obsessed Rajnikanth fans get their own cinematic tribute

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The scene is in a theatre in Chennai. The lights go off and the screen flickers. The first images appear on screen, and the crowd goes nuts — jumping in their seats, screaming incoherently. There is pandemonium, and the movie hasn’t even started.

The object of this frenzy is a 62-year-old, balding man, known to his legion of fans as Anbu Thalaivar (beloved leader) — Rajnikanth, aka Shivajirao Gaikwad, a former bus conductor who is arguably India’s biggest film star.

Nov 19, 2013
via India Insight

Mumbai police look to Bollywood for image makeover

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Mumbai’s police department has deployed an unusual strategy to revamp its sagging reputation and to counter criticism that it hasn’t done a good job at solving crimes against women in the city – it called the biggest game in town and asked for help.

Top city police officers, including the police commissioner, have asked Bollywood producers, directors and writers to portray them in a more positive light than they usually do.

Nov 15, 2013
via India Insight

Movie Review: Ram Leela

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

The lovers in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Ram Leela” are a bundle of contradictions. They speak of posting pictures on Twitter in the same breath as they speak of murder, blood and age-old rivalries. They have the mindset of urban Indian youth while living in Gujarat’s remote Kutch region in an environment where hate festers, people don’t think twice about shooting at a child and the rule of law doesn’t stand a chance. Meeting these people in the real world would be next to impossible.

Yet, they seem to fit right into the make-believe world built by Bhansali. There are gardens with peacocks flitting about, palatial houses, and breathtakingly beautiful costumes. Every scene, every song, every frame is lit up, awash with the inherent drama the film-maker brings to his projects when he’s at his best.

Nov 8, 2013
via India Insight

Movie review: Satya 2

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

To expect Ram Gopal Varma’s “Satya 2” to be even half as good as the original is unfair, given the filmmaker’s recent work, but even Varma’s staunchest supporters would find it difficult to defend his latest atrocity of a film.

In “Satya 2”, Varma intersperses gruesome violence with titillating song sequences, ludicrous dialogue and a surreal story. He does it with the brazenness of a man who either is confident of his mastery of the craft, or one who has stopped caring about it.

Nov 2, 2013
via India Insight

Fandry puts a harsh spotlight on India’s caste system

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Nagraj Manjule grew up as a Dalit, an untouchable, scorned by a caste system that he says never lets you forget how low you are. The short-film director channeled the shame and the ridicule of his childhood into his first feature film, “Fandry” (“Pig”) which won the Jury Grand Prize at the Mumbai Film Festival last month.

The movie is about a Dalit schoolboy named Jabya (Somnath Awghade) who  lives on the outskirts of a village and struggles against the caste system by daring to dream, and eventually rebelling against the perpetrators of that system.

Nov 1, 2013
via India Insight

Movie Review: Krrish 3

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

Rakesh Roshan’s third film in the “Krrish” superhero franchise is the film you have been waiting for. It has world-class special effects, some brilliant acting, and a plot so gripping it will keep you entranced for two-and-a-half hours.

I am kidding, of course. There’s nothing of the sort in “Krrish 3”.

The tacky CGI animation — characters flying through walls and catching planes mid-air — reminds you of the special effects in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan” television series two decades ago. Lead actor Hrithik Roshan twitches his facial muscles in his attempt to play an annoying old man, while flexing his biceps to play a younger avatar. And instead of a credible story, the plot of “Krrish 3” involves, among other things, a pen that captures the sun’s rays and brings the dead to life.

Oct 31, 2013
via India Insight

Bollywood banks on superhero saga “Krrish 3″

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Actor Hrithik Roshan returns as Krrish this Friday in the third instalment of the namesake film series, which pits the Indian superhero against a new villain out to destroy the world. “Krrish 3” opens two days before Diwali, India’s festival of lights and traditionally a time of Bollywood blockbuster movie premieres.

The film, made for an estimated 800 million rupees ($13 million), is coming out in 3,600 movie screens across India — a record — and is expected to pull in crowds with Hollywood-style special effects and a healthy dose of Indian “family values”.

Oct 28, 2013
via India Insight

Documentary captures Indian cricket’s lesser-known faces

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Prithvi Shaw is 14 and looks like any other schoolboy at first glance. But those who have seen him wield a cricket bat call him India’s next Sachin Tendulkar. They say he’s as natural and as powerful in his stroke play as the world’s most famous batsman was at that age. Shaw started playing when he was three, going up against people more than twice his age.

“He was shorter than the stumps he used to bat in front of,” Shaw’s father said.

Oct 24, 2013
via India Insight

Singer Manna Dey dies at 94

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Singer Manna Dey, whose versatile voice charmed fans of Bollywood cinema for more than 60 years, died in Bangalore on Thursday, a hospital spokesman said. He was 94.

He had been suffering from a lung ailment for several months.

Dey was part of the golden era of Bollywood, when Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar reigned supreme, and carved a niche for himself with his lilting, husky voice.

Oct 21, 2013
via India Insight

Costa-Gavras prefers Bollywood fantasy to American action

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Filmmaker Costa-Gavras, best known for the 1969 political thriller “Z“, has documented prickly themes such as dictatorship, dissent and oppression over the past half-century.

“Z”, which won the Oscar for best foreign film, was a fictionalized account of the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis and inspired the 2012 Bollywood film “Shanghai“.

    • 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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