Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010/2011

2010 was a watershed year in Indian cinema, which saw, notably: the rise of the Hindi Indie; a profusion of new directors, screenwriters and actors with fresh eyes and attitudes; awards and raves from the world cinema circuit; and massive international dealmaking.

Here are the first roundups I've seen:

This is the Way it Ends from the Indian Express.

365 Days to the Arc Lights, from Outlook.

2010: Year of the Smart Film, via the Times of India.

Look ahead at 2011 releases and it's clear that this will be the Year of the Woman in Indian film. In the last decade, and especially the last few years, Women have made a splash in every capacity, producing (Ekta Kapoor, Savita Raj Hiremath, Kiran Rao, Sonam Kapoor), writing and directing (Aparna Sen, Zoya Akhtar, Farah Khan, Kirin Rao, Reema Kagti, Rhea Kapoor, Anushka Rizvi, Kalki Koechlin, Alankrita Srivastava, etc.). Meanwhile, actresses demanded and found more complex roles (Konkona Sensharma, Vidya Balan, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Gul Panag, Kangna Ranaut, Katrina Kaif--and the greatly underrated Sandhya Mridul). Some (but not all) of these people do films dealing with women's issues, but most do it in a way that is inclusive, and not parochial.


Future Gazing
--2010 was a great year for interesting women's roles and more on the boards for 2011.

Power-Packed 2011 --look at all the women directors with movies out this year, including the fabulous Hema Malini, who knows a thing or two about groundbreaking women's roles.

The Thriving 30s--2011 looks like a powerhouse year for Kareena Kapoor who has five big releases including Excel Entertainment's untitled thriller.

NDTV's Anupama Chopra wants Original Scripts in 2011.

What will be the next great masala film? Bollywood legendarily serves many masters, from the villager to the urban professional, and the masala formula evolved to please as many as possible. This dates back to the days of the humongous cinema halls when the audience was likely to comprise a vast cross-section of Indian society. These days, with the multiplexes, there are more venues for parallel films and Hindies. Masala still sells, but its audience is increasingly demanding and what worked even two or three years ago falls flat at the box office now.

The best masala of 2010 stayed true to the important--and beloved--conventions but fired them up with original scripts, characters (Dabangg), special effects (Endhiran) and relevant social topics (Three Idiots).

Elsewhere, Dawn looks ahead at the Pakistan Film Industry in 2011--Part One and Part Two. (I have a feeling we'll see a lot more cross-border collaboration between Indian and Pakistani artists in 2011, barring interference by Hindu and Islamist militants, but maybe that's wishful thinking.)

Happy New Year.



Updated January 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

More Subtitle Magic

There are some fresh-ish entries I missed at Paagal Subtitle so I've been going through the archives and LMAO. This and this are classic.

Small advice.

Timeless wisdom.

(This, my friends, is how I sound in French.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turning 30

Turning 30, billed in the media as India's first "chick flick," opens next month. About 3/4 of the visits to this blog come looking for it, along with the star, Gul Panag, This is remarkable for a couple of reasons: until recently, there was only quiet publicity about the film and most of the chatter has been word-of-mouth; and, aside from today's post, I haven't written about it since June, which means people are doing very deep searches and hitting many blogs before mine. Okay, it's not a scientific survey, but an interesting sampling, and it started right after the June post.

The colors are much brighter than a western chick flick--less pink more RED:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dhobi Ghat Trailer

Kiran Rao's directorial debut (IIRC), Dhobi Ghat, continues to get great reviews from world festivals:

Tees Maar Khan: Sheela

Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar, together again in the upcoming Tees Maar Khan, the latest from Farah Khan and Shirish Kunder. If it's anything like Khan's other directorial efforts, there should be great choreography,costumes and action, along with a silly but (hopefully) fun plot and some hammy acting. Akshay and Katrina have a lot of pop as an onscreen couple when they have a script and a director who serve their considerable comic talents, as in Namastey London.

Katrina's item number from TMK has generated chatter even from the Guardian:



Rediff Review
.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Phas Gaye Re Obama/With Love to Obama

I agree with this journalist's reviews almost all the time, and think Rajat Kapoor is greatly underrated and Manu Rishi was terrific in Mithra and Oye Lucky, so I shall be looking for this. From director/writer Subhash Kapoor:



(Bollywood needs to get with it and release trailers with English subtitles too.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beyond Lollywood

Slackistan:



(Lollywood-Lahore-based film industry in Pakistan.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rekha Month: What you get when you mix pure sex with pure gold...

In honor of Rekha month, which is headquartered at Beth Loves Bollywood, here's one I had not seen before, Rekha and AAAAAAArshad Warsi*:



"My anklets chime..."

*You thought I was going to say Amitabh, didn't you? :)

More Rekhatober Posts:
Here
Here
and Twitter thread here.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Two You Shouldn't Miss: Udaan and Dabangg

Udaan got a lot of nice coverage on the festival circuit, but has been largely overlooked by all but the critics:.



For pure fun, Salman is terrific in Dabangg, a winking entertainer:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Endhiran



Wow. Rajni, Ash, Danny, insane special effects plus music by A.R. Rahman. Look out America.

(Hat tip to Lauri Hart for leading me to the trailer.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Busby

From 1934, when Hollywood still made brilliant musicals:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The New Bollywood at TIFF2010

Two "non-masala, non-singing and dancing" Bollywood films are getting a lot of press in advance of screening at the Toronto International Film festival, Dhobi Ghat and That Girl in Yellow Boots. Both films are collaborations by offbeat Bwood couples. Dhobi Ghat comes from writer/director/producer Kiran Rao and her husband Aamir Khan, who produces and stars in the movie. TGIYB is the result of cross-pollination by writer/director Anurag Kashyap and his girlfriend, writer/star Kalki Koechlin. Both films are set in Mumbai.

More of Indian Cinema at TIFF here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quick Hits

Watching for Peepli Live and Aisha, both opening soon. Haven't seen Tere Bin Laden or Once Upon a Time in Mumbai (not playing near me). Intrigued by upcoming Rahul Bose starrer Mumbai Chakachak (fall 2010). (Uh, Mr. Bose, what's going on with Moth Smoke?) Still waiting for confirmation on Dhoom 3 cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Uday Chopra, Bipasha Basu and.... drum roll... Aamir Khan. If that cast is right, am guessing a 'takes a thief" kinda thing with Jai and crew working with Aryan to catch Aamir's crook...would be a lot of fun as director Sanjay Gadhvi is full of surprises...

AND...

Is this Akshay Kumar's desi ice hockey movie, reported to be in the works last year? I am very keen on this. If so, am guessing there'll be cameo for NHLer Manny Malhotra :) The story is reportedly about how ice hockey unites people in Canada. More when I get more info (and have more time.)

Go see Udaan, an excellent "Hindi Indie" film, with rave reviews from both Indian and Western critics (and moi).

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hatke: Between (And Beyond) Bollywood and Parallel Cinema

I want to write more extensively about the 'uncategorizable' films, not really arthouse per se, not Bollywood masala either, even if they employ masala ingredients in innovative ways:



That's from Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara (2006), a stunning retelling of Othello set in gangland Uttar Pradesh. The word I am hearing now for the Hindi Indie film movement is 'hatke,' which is Hindi for 'off-beat' etc., and kinda sums it all up.

I want to write more extensively about it, but can't at the moment as other work must be done. I also wanted to do some top ten lists but noted that I have 14 films tagged as top ten on this blog already. Poor math skills, yes, but it's also just too hard to limit a list to ten with so many great movies out or coming out soon. Will work on some other format when I get back. In the mean time, please enjoy the left side links.

Netflix listing for Omkara here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Great White Way to Crossover Success?

That's white as in the lights on Broadway, not white as in gori. :) Column here.

Another column, on the Great Date Movie, here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aar Paar: Hoon Abhi Main Jawaan Aye Dil

From the late, great Guru Dutt (and sung by the late, great Geeta Dutt):



Netflix listing for Aar Paar here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peepli Live Trailer

Advance word from international screenings = all praise. Here's the trailer. (No subtitles on the trailer alas.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

FAQ: Bollywood (Part One)

1. How did you end up in Bollywood?

I fell in love with Indian cinema in 1986 as a young woman backpacking alone around India and Pakistan. I rode trains and buses and often ran out of reading material mid-journey.  In smaller towns, the only English-language reading material were movie magazines like FilmFare, Stardust, and CineBlitz (and occasionally, a newsmagazine). I bought and read every one I could get my hands on, and knew all the stars and film plots before I saw my first Bwood film, which was Karma, starring Sri Devi,  Naseeruddin Shah, Dilip Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, and Jackie Shroff.

 I stayed with Bollywood all these years for the stories and characters, for the way the movies depict social and political changes, and for the sheer joy of the music and choreography. No other cinema does unbridled joy like Indian cinema. Take a look at this, filmed on the train to Ooty:



Not to sound too lofty, but I believe one of the reasons a diverse country like India survives and thrives is because of the way its cinema plays out society’s conflicts on-screen. It's been interesting to watch over the years as Indian film took on the British overlords as well as indigenous villains, and promoted progress in everything from women’s rights to communal harmony.

Someone told me years ago, “every Indian film is a ‘social,’ meaning a film that deals with social issues. It’s almost true, just as it's almost true that every Indian film is a musical. Even the most saccharine candy-colored froth might be promoting progress with a ground breaking woman character or a sly, subversive joke or song.

2. You said you did a visualization exercise about working in Hindi cinema, and then got a call out of the blue about a Bollywood job. What is this visualization exercise?

My friend Paulette told me about this. You make a slideshow of photographs and/or artwork representing your dreams and desires, and put it to a song you find inspirational. You watch it every morning when you get up, and every night before you go to bed, and whenever else you feel like it. :) It is rather eerie that so unlikely a dream as Bollywood could come true, without really trying, but I did this same exercise for the lottery and it didn’t work, so don’t bet the house on it.

It was also about ‘who you know.’ While backpacking in India 2006-2007, I had sent a small Indian film sampler to a bunch of friends in the west, four films: Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Dhoom 2 and Dor. A few months later, one of the friends got called about a job with a new premium movie channel doing world cinema, including a Bollywood blockbuster every week. I was hired to find the films, negotiate the deals, and produce video to support, “Bollywood Saturday Night.”

3. Bollywood sounds so glamorous!

Yeah? Most of my job involved negotiating for the Canadian rights and poring over lots of long, fatally boring contracts. Indian film rights are kind of a mess. The situation is being remedied now but the wild west nature of the business pre-1990s still makes it a nightmare of tangled threads. This kind of business/legal area is not my forte at all so I had to learn on the job. But I also got to go out with my cool TV crew around Mumbai, interviewing stars and filming the city. I went to some premieres and parties as a guest, and I went to others as part of the mad media scrum, so I saw them from both sides of the fence. Sometimes, it was a lot like this. Plus: I got to live in Mumbai and.... free movies.

4. Why do you call it Bollywood? That’s a western construct. It is the ‘Hindi cinema.'

You’re right, but when I say Hindi cinema in the west people don’t understand. I then have to explain, “Bollywood.” Everyone knows that brand name. I use 'Hindi cinema,’ too but that doesn’t seem to stick with the Gora folk. It is easier to change the image of the brand than its name in the world’s imagination, I think.

(I chose to take a very broad view of 'Bollywood,' when buying films so I could slip in some 'parallel' films, like Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Dor, etc. A 'parallel' film is a non-formula film, aka an arthouse movie, though that makes the movies sound less accessible and entertaining than they are. The lines between Bollywood and Parallel are blurring every day. Bollywood refers to one cinema industry in India, there are also industries in the Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, and Bhojpuri tongues and so on.)

5. Sorry, I don’t get Bollywood. What’s with all the dancing around trees instead of kissing?

When was the last time you saw an Indian film? I can’t recall a dancing around trees number in years. You are more likely to see something like this:



(That's Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.)

Or this:



(That's Saif Ali Khan -- he's a prince in real life.)

Or this:



(That's Bobby Deol and the effervescent Preity Zinta.)

Also, there’s kissing now.

6. Where can I go to learn more?

Start with Bollywhat. It has the best Bollywood 101 stuff I've found. After that primer, cruise through the links to the left.

More:

The Name FAQ.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bollywood 101

Ossining Public Library last year promoted a Best of Bollywood film series with delightful (there is no other word) vids here on YouTube. This tasty sampler includes one of my top ten, Lage Raho Munnabhai, a romantic musical comedy about Gandhi:



This is a film that should have crossed over -- all over the world. I just wrote something about how wonderful LRMB would be on Broadway too. (No link for that column yet.)

Netflix listing for Lage Raho Munnabhai here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fearless Nadia, Sultana of Stunts

"Fearless Nadia, a fair-skinned Australian with not a skerrick of Indian ancestry, earned her own place in Bollywood history by literally whipping and beating the baddies into submission, then lecturing them on the values of female equality and literacy in schools. She became known as "the Sultana of Stunts' and 'Hunterwali' (Hunterwoman), after her most popular and daring film, shot in 1935, in which she went around cracking a whip, earning her yet another sobriquet, Whip Lady." More.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lagaan Week -- Crossover



Sita-Ji from Bollywood Food Club tipped me off to The Bollywood Fan's Lagaan Week. Shell's Bollyworld has a great post, Everything I know about cricket I learned from Lagaan.for those in the new world who find the game incomprehensible.

I have been thinking about this movie a lot in terms of "crossover." While it wasn't the kind of blockbuster hit we think of now when we talk about Bollywood crossing over, this was the first genuine Indian movie to break through the barrier.

Here's what the New York Times said about Lagaan back in 2002:

"The musical ''Lagaan,'' however, has leapt over the usual boundaries. It became a genuine popular success in London last year, crossing over to a general audience, and now it is reopening in New York, after having played the Indian neighborhoods last summer, and opening in Los Angeles....Coming on the heels of Baz Luhrman's heavily Bollywood-influenced ''Moulin Rouge,'' ''Lagaan'' seems to confirm the globalization of the genre -- a mixed blessing, as always. But as the makers of ''Lagaan'' well know, there's an irresistible pleasure in rooting for the underdog. If a bunch of impoverished farmers can humiliate the British Empire, why can't an Indian film do the same to Hollywood?"

Now considered a classic, it did good business abroad. It didn't rock the box office like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or even Monsoon Wedding but then, it didn't really try to crossover. Three-and-a-half hours long, in Hindi mainly and about, among other things, cricket, it had everything against as far as crossover potential goes. Yet, it moved beyond the NRI cinemas to the mainstream theaters and found a whole new audience for Bollywood, making around $3.5 million by some estimates in the US and UK (not counting rental revenue). Box Office Mojo has more conservative figures.

The story is one almost everyone loves: David vs. Goliath, the underdog villagers up against the colonial masters. When the poor villagers, who are desperately waiting for the monsoon rain, are unable to pay the crippling Lagaan (land tax), the local British overlord agrees to give them a reprieve if they can beat the British in a game of cricket.

This is one of the things that deters people from seeing the film in America, as there are very few non-Indian cricket fans in the U.S. The movie handles this with seamless exposition, by having the English lady character, Elizabeth, explain the rules to the villagers who at that time were as unfamiliar with it as your average Yank. No reason to be afraid of the cricket, Americans, Believe me, by the end you will be standing, cheering for the Indian villagers to win.

Director Ashutosh Gowariker shows his way with sweeping historical epics in Lagaan, and all the performances are great, but it's Aamir Khan's sparkling intensity that makes this film really shine. The film's success echoes the plot in many ways. An underdog film in the West, it went on to overcome its inherent obstacles to be nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category, and all India stood and cheered for it when the Academy Awards rolled around. It didn't win the statuette unfortunately, but it did break down the doors for Bollywood abroad. Had its makers mounted a big media blitz, it might well have taken the Oscar and the box office.

Netflix listing for Lagaan here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crossover Dreams

Good piece on "crossover" in Mumbai Mirror this week. Read here. It argues that a film has to be distinctly Indian in order to crossover, and emulating Hollywood is a mistake (one made by the Canadian film industry for years). I agree, Bottom line is, in the words of Billy Wilder, "tell a good story." This doesn't mean all good stories that are distinctly Indian can crossover and win the mainstream Western audience of course, but those with great, relatable characters and compelling storytelling should have a chance. Monsoon Wedding by NRI director Mira Nair is probably a better example to use than Crouching Tiger -- a very Indian story, without ever playing to Western stereotypes of India, yet one that resonated deeply and broadly around the world.

Oh, and I liked Kites. The original version may not have found the wide Western audience hoped for, but it did really well with the anglo critics and at the box office.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Turning 30

This is fairly radical for Bollywood, but it represents a lot of young women I know, and stars one of my favorite actresses, Gul Panag (Dor, Fashion). It's in English, so apparently aimed at the urban multiplex market, but this will also make it big with the NRI audience and may give it some crossover appeal:



Directed by Alankrita Srivastava, and produced by Prakash Jha who has been bringing some powerful female protags to the screen.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Kites: The Remix

The LA Times' very nice review of Brett Ratner's recut of Kites for an international audience is here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Peepli Live

August 13th release date announced for Peepli Live, which has already received rave reviews from advance screenings at Sundance and Cannes. Variety weighs in here:
"A peppy screwball comedy with elements of social satire, 'Peepli Live' suggests a rural Indian take on Billy Wilder's 'Ace in the Hole.' A big carnival of media and politics swirls around farmer Natha (Omkar Das Manikpuri) when he announces plans to kill himself, the poor man hoping his surviving family members will collect compensation as part of the government's 'suicide program.' But Natha, natch, is in no hurry to fulfill his part of the bargain. Whether or not India's first-ever Sundance entry can capitalize on the international success of 'Slumdog Millionaire,' it deserves a long life in distribution."
.

In the previous post I wondered if a purely Indian film could crossover beyond the arthouse. This looks like it might be the one.

Meanwhile, going to see Kites tomorrow....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kites: Hrithikmania hits U.S. Film Critics

Kites has opened in America, and reviews there for the 130-minute Indian version are exuberant.

New York Times: "The result is a lovers-on-the-lam blast of pure pulp escapism, so devoted to diversion that you probably won’t even notice the corn....Mr. Roshan requires viewing uncut: writhing on the dance floor or just gazing into space, the man was made to drive women crazy, one movie at a time."

NPR: "The leading man, a drop-dead-handsome gold digger and con man played by Indian heartthrob Hrithik Roshan (with charisma, humor, and even occasionally a shirt), speaks Hindi and English but no Spanish. And yes, that means subtitles, but in the service of a deliriously gleeful misplaced-in-translation plot that allows both stars to be sexy, funny and really charming. It also leaves a smidgen of room for them to be downright heroic about the Tarantino-style mayhem that seems to lurk around every plot curve."

The Hollywood Reporter: "Roshan anchors the film with a solid, believable performance and a palpable chemistry with his co-star that will remind audiences just how hot a good Bollywood romance can be."

Variety: "Deliriously entertaining."

LA Times: "An exhilarating escapist entertainment that plays out like a violent and floridly poetic allegory."

CBC: "The over-the-top nature of Kites is what makes it so delightful...Basu is focused on bringing Eastern moviemaking conventions to savvy global audiences — to do so, he never strays too far into intrusive Bollywood dance numbers, nor does he allow the more contemporary action sequences to hijack the film. It’s a tricky balance, one that’s referenced in Kites’ central theme, which shows lovers from different worlds fighting to meet each other somewhere in the middle. In one scene, J notes, “Love and music… have no language.” With the ambitious Kites, Basu has made great strides in proving that trope."

San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, Boston Herald, Christian Science Monitor, Village Voice and more here.

The Indian reviews? Not so exuberant.The reviews from the Indian critics are much more mixed,and an Indian tweet mob was on a mission to trash the film, though they have since been drowned out by Indian fans of the film. How much of this comes from hardcore cinepiles in India, who have a very low threshold for film masala, how much just comes from an anti-hype backlash or spite, and how much of this comes from the Bollywood fans for whom Kites' devices may be already stale and dated, or otherwise lacking in Bollywood terms?

And that raises another question. In the quest for "crossover," how much, if anything, has to be lost in order to appeal to a non-traditional, mainstream audience?

Can a purely Indian film succeed in winning the hearts and minds of the coveted American audience, be it a "Bollywood" film or "parallel" cinema?

Brett Ratner's take in the Guardian, here.

A shorter version, 90-minutes, edited by Ratner is due to follow in about a week, but I'll go see the 130-minute version first -- it includes a dance number, and Roshan can dance like God. See below, from 2006's Dhoom 2, a favorite action film:



Trivia Note: Hrithik Roshan has three thumbs (which is considered very lucky in India) and he does his own stunts.

UPDATED: May 24, 2010.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Japanese Wife

The latest by Aparna Sen is a dream you want to live in. Shot in Japan and in the incredible Sunderbans of India, it stars Rahul Bose and Raima Sen. Go see it.

How I Ended up in Bollywood (Abridged Version)

A very cool woman,starting a new website for expats, interviewed me about my Hindi film experience. Thanks to author Alex Sutcliffe for asking me to participate and doing the interview for Expat Everywhere. There is a lot I love about Bollywood and India not touched on here, but I am saving that for a book/script I am working on, set in the world not of stars so much as strugglers: the writers, dancers, extras, low-level techs, and unknown actors. Stars appear peripherally. :)

It is an exciting time in Indian film. We are seeing the rise of the scriptwriter, who in the past has generally been a poorly paid, often-ignored player, unless he (and occasionally, she) was also the director. This is the single most important factor in the new Bollywood and IMHO heralds the arrival of a new golden age in Indian cinema. Budgets are bigger, ambitions are greater and Bollywood, like Hollywood, now attracts a lot more foreign interest and talent. One recent example: Brett Ratner was approached by the makers of Hrithik Roshan's upcoming Kites and he offered to do an edit for an international (read:non-Indian) audience.

Monday, March 15, 2010

All Shashi All the Time

In honor of Shashi Kapoor's 72nd birthday this week, Beth Loves Bollywood is hosting a week of tributes. In addition to starring in dozens of big Bollywood films, he appeared in a couple from Merchant-Ivory and did theatre work. He now runs a theater in Mumbai, named after his father Prithviraj who founded an acting dynasty still going strong in Bollywood with great-grandchildren Ranbir and Kareena Kapoor. Here is a tribute someone did. Beth knows a lot more so pay her a visit.

Hey Mujhe Dil De Nahi Toh:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Watching For...

... Peepli Live from Aamir Khan, Dev Benegal's Road, Movie with Abhay Deol and Tannishtha Chatterjee, The Japanese Wife from Aparna Sen, starring Raima Sen, Chigusa Takaku and world arthouse darling Rahul Bose.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Name is Khan

Been meaning to write something on MNIK but no time right now. The Guardian and the New York Times gave it nice reviews. Not this year's best movie so far, but certainly the most important. More later.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wow. Mallika.

This looks promising. Mallika Sherawat, one of Bollywood's bolder, sassier, yet still-under-the-radar heroines, stars in the upcoming "Love Barack," a comedy inspired by the many true love stories that bloomed on the Obama campaign. She reportedly has another Hollywood production in talks, in addition to doing Jennifer Lynch's film Hisss, with Irrfan Khan of Slumdog fame (as well Life in a Metro, The Namesake, Darjeeling Limited, A Mighty Heart and many others). This new production banner, Nuclear Mango, is interesting too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Love Letters for Peepli Live

The latest Aamir Khan/Kiran Rao production, Peepli Live, the first Indian film invited to the Sundance festival, is getting great reviews from American critics (and reportedly got a standing ovation from the Sundance audience). Here's one review. Directed by first-time director Anusha Rizvi.

Saw Ishqiya last night and both my movie friend Mantu and I gave it five stars. A gem that will change the way you see Bollywood. 2010 is shaping up to be a breakout year for fine Indian films, a New Wave.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bollywood Roundup 2009

Here. Most interesting to me is the Holly-Bolly dealmaking, and that Kites will have two edits, an Indian version and an international version:
"Hopes are high from Kites as its international version is being edited by Brett Ratner, best known for the Rush Hour series and for Family Man. He is currently at work on the English version of Kites and is tailoring it to appeal to an international audience.

The Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol film on terrorism, My Name Is Khan, has been selected to screen at the 60th annual Berlin International Film Festival. Directed by Karan Johar, the film has been acquired by Fox Star for a reported $20 million.

Fox Star has also signed a two-film deal each with Vipul Shah and A R Murugadoss.

Paul Schrader of Taxi Driver fame is making Xtreme City on Mumbai slums and mafia in collaboration with Bollywood director Anubhav Sinha and writer Mushtaq Sheikh.

Reliance BIG Pictures has inked deals with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Films, Jim Carrey's JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus' 1492 Pictures, Tom Hanks' Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, Jay Roach's Everyman Pictures, Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment, Julia Roberts' Red Om Films and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment to develop scripts."