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Hachette’s The Bollywood Pocket Book Series, A 4-in-1 Set, by Diptakirti Chauduri: Get set

Hachette’s The Bollywood Pocket Book Series, A 4-in-1 Set, by Diptakirti Chauduri: Get set Yes, it’s a pun. I mean you should get the set, buy the book, or rather, books. They look deceptively thin when ensconced in the hardcover box, but provide a substantial reading once you pull them out. Book one is about Iconic Dates, with Raj Kapoor and Nargis on the cover, under an umbrella. The author reminds us about the calendar of events that begin with Raja Harishchandra’s releas...

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ

Wonder-dancer AJ stakes claim as India’s answer to MJ Amit Jadav, aka AJ, a Mumbai prodigy, is a singer-dancer who can leave you wonder-struck with moves that are leaves right out of Michael Jackson (MJ)’s work-book, including the moonwalk and spin. At the performance on 07 May at the Birla Matushri Sabhagar, South Mumbai’s prestigious hall, a packed auditorium found their jaws dropping when he wowed them with act after act, syncing hundreds of moves with video-projection of...

Parveen Babi, A Life--by Karishma Upadhyay: Break-ups and break-downs

Parveen Babi, A Life--by Karishma Upadhyay: Break-ups and break-downs Appearing out of nowhere, Parveen Babi made her screen debut with the film Charitra, acting opposite cricketer Salim Durani, in 1973. That was not the first film she had signed, which credit goes to Dhuen Ki Lakeer, released the following year. Her career really took off with Majboor (1974, co-starring Amitabh Bachchan) and she was seen in some 58 films totally, the last one releasing in 1991, years after she had given up a...

Heropanti 2, Review: A bullet in his bum

Heropanti 2, Review: A bullet in his bum Denizens of Mumbai and environs might not need the meaning explained, but this is an international portal, and an explanation is in order. The title comes from two words, hero, which needs no translation, and panti, which does. Most probably, it is derived from panthi, which mean traveller. Panthi easily becomes panti, the combination with hero standing for one who follows the hero’s, or heroics’, path. Lead actor Tiger Shroff took a walk a...

Runway 34, Review: Plane truth

Runway 34, Review: Plane truth Yes, the film is about an aircraft, and a pilot’s attempt to land against all odds on Runway 34. But that is exactly half the story. The film has no action whatsoever, not even a single blow, and it is not even about hijacking. A married man, with a young daughter, is piloting a plane with 150 persons on board, when it hits rough weather. How he manages to avoid disaster constitutes the portion before the intermission. Next appears a much feared man who is...

Bachchan Paandey, Review: Gangsters are best played by real-life gangsters

Bachchan Paandey, Review: Gangsters are best played by real-life gangsters Why would you choose a name like Bachchan Pandey, unless you thought you could cash-in on the franchises called Amitabh Bachchan (name of a real life actor) and Chulbul Pandey (name of a reel-life character, played in several movies by Salman Khan)? Point is, does a superstar himself, like Akshay Kumar, who plays the title role, need these props? Leaving the Paandey behind, ‘Bachchan’ is made to speak some ...

Jhund, Review: Every Jhunderdog has his day

Jhund, Review: Every Jhunderdog has his day Literally translated, Jhund means herd. Only in this case, the reference is to a group of young slum-dwelling, smoking, drinking ragamuffins, who are also petty criminals, but are transformed into a high class football team, thanks to the efforts of a neighbouring school-teacher, who is about to retire. The film is many films in one and can be seen from several perspectives, each of which would be a valid point of ‘view’. But at its core...

IFFI 51, 16-24 January 2021, 20: Rahul Rawail retraces Hindi film history, ‘In-Conversation’, online

IFFI 51, 16-24 January 2021, 20: Rahul Rawail retraces Hindi film history, ‘In-Conversation’, online The 1970s saw influx of new ideas, new experiments and a new genre of action films in Hindi cinema. Those were also the golden years for unconventional films and emergence of new techniques, said acclaimed film-maker Rahul Rawail, in an online ‘In-Conversation’ session on “Film-making in 50s, 60s and 70s”, at the 51st International Film Festival of India (I...

MIFF 2020: The torch-bearers of Indian animation

MIFF 2020: The torch-bearers of Indian animation A protégé of the legendary animator Ram Mohan, who passed away recently, Chetan Sharma has curated an exhibition as an homage to his Guru, and two other of his Guru’s contemporary masters, who also left for their heavenly within short spans of each other. The exhibition, titled The Torch-bearers of Indian Animation, which is dedicated to V.G. Samant and BhimSain too, is located in the basement of the NMIC building. &ldquo...

IFFI 50: Some people will work, some will bless—Rohit Shetty

IFFI 50: Some people will work, some will bless—Rohit Shetty The last session at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa ended with a bang with blockbuster director Rohit Shetty, moderated by senior journalist and film critic Mayank Shekhar. “I have been here before. This is my second time. I was given the State Honour before. I have shot 12 films here. 14 years ago, I shot Golmaal 1here. People are very positive here, the landscape is very beautiful,” Rohit sai...

IFFI 50: Opening highlights

IFFI 50: Opening highlights A star-studded opening hosted the King of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan, and legendary Rajinikanth, who flagged off the extravaganza at the Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Stadium, Bambolim, Goa, on 20th November. Official dignitaries present at the launch of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2019 were Honourable Information and Broadcasting (I & B) Minister in the Central Government, Prakash Javdekar, Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawan...

Marjavaan, Review: Monica, harmonica, loyalty, penalty, cute, mute, swords, words

Marjavaan, Review: Monica, harmonica, loyalty, penalty, cute, mute, swords, words Umpteenth reworking of the Godfather theme, albeit with a couple of new angles, Marjaavaan is definitely not a film to die for. Old songs are recycled, the religious divide is milked, fights are conceived as moves of dance choruses and a violently doomed love story is thrown in to add to the misery of the lead couple. See it only if you like to feast yourself on blood and gore, tragedy and heartbreak. Translate...

Angelina Jolie speaks with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s voice in Maleficent II

Angelina Jolie speaks with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s voice in Maleficent II Mistress of Evil’s voice has been dubbed in Hindi by Indian star actress Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan in Disney’s Maleficent II, which opens in India on 18th October, 2019. In a press meet held in Mumbai’s J.W. Marriott Hotel on a Monday afternoon, Bikram Duggal, Executive Director and Head for Disney’s Studios business in India, revealed that hers was the first, and only, name that came-up duri...

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Review: Per capita

Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy, Review: Per capita “This Gandhi Jayanti, India unites to fight,” declares a large card on the trailer of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi (born 02 October 1869) was the father of the nation and an apostle of peace and non-violence. ‘Jayanti’(in Hindi) refers to his 150th birth anniversary, which is being celebrated with many campaigns across the country, like  voluntary service to society, cleanline...

Ardh Satya: Govind Nihalani revisits the time of half-truth

Ardh Satya: Govind Nihalani revisits the time of half-truth Many things were happening in Indian cinema during the early 1980s. The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) was financing and producing/co-producing unconventional, art-house, parallel cinema films, but also the rip roaring comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro and the blockbuster, Gandhi. A theatre like Prithvi, set-up by the husband and wife duo of Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor in Mumbai, was becoming the hub of all drama activity, and p...

Thugs of Hindostan, Review: Where are the thugs?

Thugs of Hindostan, Review: Where are the thugs? In the Hindostan of the early 1800s, as in most countries at any time in history, there were thugs. India, as Hindostan came to be called by the British, had an exactly similar term for these gentlemen, only the t in thug was hardened to sound like tug. Our story begins in 1795, when one small kingdom dared to withstand the marauding East India Company forces, led by John Clive. There is one solitary thug in the film, who has an ambivalent att...

Helicopter Eela, Review: No copter, too much of Eela

Helicopter Eela, Review: No copter, too much of Eela An intriguing title, the film has nothing to do with helicopters. It is the story of a domineering and stubborn mother who has a fixation about her only son’s welfare and whereabouts. Trouble is he is twentyish and the last thing he needs or likes is being mothered all the time. Designed to showcase the talent of actress Kajol, and co-produced by hubby, actor Ajay Devgn, Helicopter Eela begins on a bright note and then peters down to ...

102 Not Out, Review: One run short

102 Not Out, Review: One run short In India, cricket is a religion and most filmgoers will need no explanation about the title of this movie. But for those who are unfamiliar with the game, in India and abroad, this is what the title means: when a batsman scores 102 runs, which is a major landmark, being two more than a hundred, and continues to play after reaching the milestone, he is said to be 102 not out. Now that you got the context, you need to be told that the film has nothing whatsoev...

FICCI Frames 18, VI: Master Class by master director R. Balki

FICCI Frames 18, VI: Master Class by master director R. Balki Ace ad film maker turned ace feature film director, R. Balki, chatted with senior TV journalist Anuradha Sengupta in a Master Class on the broad convention theme of Re-Imagining India’s Media & Entertainment Sector, at FICCI Frames 18, on the second working day of the three-day international convention. Balki has made two of his most successful films with India’s longest reigning superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, in the ...

Newton, Review: Gravity of the situation

Newton, Review: Gravity of the situation Had he been alive in the modern period, the British scientist would have bagged multiple Nobel prizes for his pioneering work in Physics. As it happens, the film of the same name, not a biopic of Sir Isaac, rather about an idealist in the Indian bureaucracy, has been eliminated from the race for the Oscars. A million or more Newtonians are feeling heart-broken that a film that they considered a breakthrough, and the best film made in India in recent t...

IFFI Goa 2017, XII: Winners’ List, and a few regrets

IFFI Goa 2017, XII: Winners’ List, and a few regrets It was an evening of regret. At the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which concluded in Panaji, Goa on November 28, six films/directors made it to the top, of which I had seen only 30% of one, the only one to win two prizes. Why I did not see the others, and why only 30% of a particular one will be explained below. But first, the LIST. Films  (In absentia) 1. Morocco-born French Directo...

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 9

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 9 To remind you, Aamir is indeed Aamir Khan, Amjad is definitely Gabbar Singh, and the triple M above is to acknowledge that it was Akshay Manwani’s biographical book on the cinema of Nasir Hussain that got me delving into the period of about 15 years, when I interacted with the Hussain Khans (first five) and the bare Khan (last, but the most imposing personality). Actually, Mansoor did not use his middle na...

Siraj Syed’s IFFI 2016 diary, IX, Open Forum V: “We need more Amitabh Bachchans to help reduce global warming”

Siraj Syed’s IFFI 2016 diary, IX, Open Forum V: “We need more Amitabh Bachchans to help reduce global warming” In its second Open Forum at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2016, Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) sounded an urgent warning about the spreading carbon footprint and discussed steps to curb/neutralise its deleterious effect, especially among the film fraternity. Mike Pandey, President of IDPA and world-renowned environment-aware...

MFF 17, by Jio-MAMI, Festival Diary, I

MFF 17, by Jio-MAMI, Festival Diary, I                                                                                                        (Coming up: Part II) It began in 1997, as the International Film Festival of Mumbai (IFFM). Som...
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