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Hybrid IFFI From January 16

admin   January 7, 2021

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said the 51st International Film Festival of India in Goa would be organized in a ‘hybrid manner’. People would be able to witness the festival online while the opening and closing ceremonies would be organized at the location with a smaller audience.

Javadekar said that the inaugural ceremony of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be held on January 16th in Goa. He said, the ceremony will be held in a hybrid mode wherein the inaugural and closing ceremony will be held in physical mode while the remaining part of the festival will be conducted in virtual mode.

Javadekar also announced the selection of 23 Feature and 20 non-feature films in Indian Panorama for the 51st IFFI to be held in Goa in January 16-24. In the Feature films section, 23 films are selected that include Kripal Kalita directed Assamese movie Bridge, Hindi Films Saand Ki Aankh and Chichhore, Govid Nihlani’s English movie Up Up & Up, Nila Madhab Panda’s Odia movie Kalira Atita, Marathi Movie Prawaas, Sanskrit Movie Namo and Malayalam Movie safe directed by Nila Madhab Panda.

Saand Ki Aankh, directed by Tushar Hiranandani and featuring Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar, will be the opening movie for the Panorama section at the festival, which will also see the screenings of Vetri Maaran’s Asuran, Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore among others. The list of films, selected by a jury headed by filmmaker-writer John Mathew Matthan, also includes Bengali film Avijatrik Kannada film Pinki Elli? Malayalam film Trance (Malayalam) among others.

In non-feature films, 20 films were selected that include Ankit Kothari’s Gujarati movie Panchika, Bimal Poddar’s Bengali movie Radha, English movie Ahimsa-Gandhi : The power of powerless directed by Ramesh Sharma and Manipuri movie Highways of Life directed by Maibam Amarjeet Singh.

 


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Taapsee’s takes on OTT, Nepotism & Covid

admin   July 6, 2020

I welcome changes. But I am a very old school person where I enjoy watching films in theater with the community, says actress Taapsee Pannu, while talking about OTT and cinema halls at CII Delhi eConclave ‘Building Delhi for a New World’

The film fraternity is together in this (Covid-19) crisis. There are a lot of workers who depend on weekly wages and all of us have decided to take care of them till the time the economy gets back to normal. I believe that when things return to normal, people will flock the theatres again. You can’t replicate the theatre experience with streaming websites, says Taapsee Pannu.

While speaking on nepotism in the film industry, the actress, who is popular pan-India thanks to movies in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, mentions that favouritism, being integral to human nature, will not go out of the industry and we cannot totally get rid of it.

“I also have that urge of going back to work because I’ve never had Monday blues. We don’t have weekend or weekday in our profession. I am finally looking to going to work knowing probably that I will be the last one going to work,” she says, at CII Delhi eConclave ‘Building Delhi for a New World’.

On Covid, the actress says, “We never believed that such a crisis will happen. I guess none of us have prepared for it. We are lucky enough that many of us still survive. But there are so many who have literally hand to mouth existence in terms of not just the labour workers, but people who earn per shoot or per day basis and, and those people I don’t think can survive beyond a few weeks. The industry did come together to raise funds and then help these people out in a lot of ways. Also migrant workers walking back home are painful insights of Covid.”

Talking about OTT and big cinema, Taapse says, “I welcome changes. But I am a very old school person where I enjoy watching films in theater with the community. Rarely do we see people just going alone to watch a film. The experience of going in a big dark hall and focusing all your energy on a huge screen can’t be replicated anywhere else. II was not an ardent OTT viewer before lockdown happened because an average film also will look good to me in a theatre. I enjoy watching films in theatre and really miss that. I have a firm belief that when things get back to the old normal, not the new normal, I think everybody is going to rush to theater to have that experience with all safety norms. OTT platform is good as a temporary fix.”


Stars of a Parallel Sky

admin   February 21, 2020

Mainstream Bollywood is on the cusp of change with the rise of a parallel cinematic universe that uses the means and resources of the industry while making films that are akin to the social chronicles and cautionary tales that emerge from a more independent space By Saibal Chatterjee

A parallel universe has taken a concrete shape in mainstream Bollywood. It is defined by the work of directors and actors who work within the mass-oriented Hindi cinema but, in their films, address issues and themes of contemporary relevance in a manner that generates serious conversation and attracts ample media and audience attention.

Exactly one such Bollywood release is scheduled for February 28. Thappad, directed by Anubhav Sinha (Mulk, Article 15) and starring Taapsee Pannu, deals with a woman’s right to fight off domestic violence in a conservative society.

Sinha and Pannu, who played an important role in the former’s Mulk, a film revolving around the impact of Islamophobia on unquestioning minds, have both carved a niche for themselves by delivering stories that confront prickly subjects in a manner that facilitates engagement with wider audiences.

The duo represents a segment of Bollywood that uses the means and resources of the industry but makes films that are akin to the social chronicles and cautionary tales that emerge from a more independent space. Their upcoming collaboration, Thappad, is about a woman who walks out on her marriage when her husband slaps her. Sinha is a Mumbai film director who devoted more than a decade and a half to making romantic dramas (Tum Bin and its sequel), thrillers (Dus, Thathastu and Cash) and a superhero film starring Shahrukh Khan (Ra. One). In 2018, he reinvented himself with Mulk, about a Muslim family in an Uttar Pradesh town struggling to clear its name when one of its younger members is drawn into a terror plot.

In 2019, Sinha made the hard-hitting Article 15, which told the story of a young police officer who is posted in a town where caste discrimination is rampant. Three girls go missing and the protagonist is sucked into a world where the weak and oppressed are also completely defenceless as a result of deeply ingrained social prejudices of those that wield political and administrative power.

The role of the cop in Article 15 is played by Ayushmann Khurrana, who
has achieved stardom on the back of a series of roles that border on the revolutionary in the context of popular Hindi cinema. The actor made his film debut in 2012 with Vicky Donor, directed by Shoojit Sircar. Khurrana played a sperm donor, a character unheard of in Hindi cinema.

After a few misfires, the actor began a phase that has seen him, among other things, play the husband of an overweight woman in Dum LagaKe- Haisha, a man with erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, a youngster grappling with a bald pate, and a blind pianist who ‘witnesses’ a murder in Andhadhun.

In Shubh Mangal ZyaadaSaavdhan, the follow-up to Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Khurrana dons the garb a small-town middle-class boy who causes a stir by coming out as gay and bringing his partner home. So, there we are: a whole new world is opening up in the pan-Indian Hindi cinema on account of actors and directors who are willing to take risks.

Shoojit Sircar, who directed Khurrana in Vicky Donor, also gave Taapsee- Pannu a role that changed the course of her career. The film was the intense legal drama Pink, featuring Amitabh Bachchan as an ageing, cynical lawyer who comes out of retirement to represent three young women subjected to sexual violence after a rock concert. It was produced by Sircar.

A Bollywood director who has made a career out of dark thrillers, Sriram Raghavan has never lowered his guard in the matter of keeping his output free from dog-eared devices. He helmed one of 2018’s most acclaimed Bollywood thrillers, Andhadhun, which arrived virtually unheralded and went on to acquire a cult following.

A decade ago, Raghavan delivered Johnny Gaddar, a stylized crime thriller that remains a benchmark for the genre. In 2015, he made the subversive thriller Badlapur, about a man who lies in wait for years for a criminal who killed his wife and child in a random act of violence.

Also working in mainstream Bollywood but with a distinct slant towards the real and tangible is AshwinyIyer Tiwari. She has directed three Hindi films to date – Nil BatteySannata, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Panga. Each one of them has struck a chord without having to resort to potboiler conventions.

Bareilly Ki Barfi, a romantic drama set in a specific small-town milieu, saw Ayushmann Khurrana lock horns with an actor who has a niche all his own – Rajkummar Rao. Rao, a regular Hansal Mehta collaborator, has built up an impressive body of work since debuting ten years ago with Dibakar Banerjee’s Love Sex AurDhokha.

With Mehta, Rao has delivered two of his finest performances – in Shahid, which fetched him a National Award, and Aligarh, a film in which he held is own against a superlative Manoj Bajpayee.

Together, these directors and actors have created a space where Bollywood explores themes and ideas that are far removed from easy certitudes that the industry usually peddles. They have lent Mumbai cinema an edge it never had before by erasing the line between commercial success and artistic courage.

Winds of Change

The ageing Bollywood superstars are nearing their sell-by dates. Their fan followings are intact, but are struggling to convince audiences that they are still young enough to play action heroes and romantic leads. With the goalposts having moved significantly, the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan are exploring fresh creative pastures.

Aamir Khan is the lead of Laal Singh Chaddha, an official remake of Forrest Gump (1994) directed by Advait Chandan. Shah Rukh Khan, on his part, hasn’t signed a film since 2018’s Zero. And Salman Khan, despite the below- par showing of several of his recent releases (notably Tubelight, Race 3 and Bharat) is sticking to his guns.

He seems to be continuing down the Dabangg path – the third installment of the franchise hit the screens in 2019 – with Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, directed by Prabhudeva. Dabangg 3 was incidentally also helmed by Prabhudeva.

It is reported that Shahrukh has given the go-ahead to a script penned by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK (writers of Amar Kaushik’s Stree and makers of Shor in the City and Go Goa Gone). So, has SRK seen the writing on the wall?

But even as winds of change sweep over the Mumbai industry, Akshay Kumar (Good Newzz), Ajay Devgn (Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior) and Hrithik Roshan (War) have delivered massive hits this past year. Bollywood is, therefore, being driven by contradictory impulses.

On one hand, films like Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Panga earn critical accolades that do not necessarily translate into box office returns. On the other is the next Tiger Shroff vehicle, Baaghi 3, a high-octane actioner that will probably rake in big bucks.


India Shines in Toronto Film Festival 2018 Picks

admin   July 25, 2018

BY Saibal Chatterjee

India watchers have much to look forward to among the first slate of titles that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced on Tuesday (July 24). Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan, a romantic drama featuring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu, will be accorded a Gala world premiere, while Nandita Das’ Manto, which premiered in the Un certain regard section in Cannes earlier in the year, is in the Special Presentations lineup of 30 titles.

Nandita Das’ Manto

North America’s premier film festival (September 6 to 16) will also host the world premieres of three films with an India connect — British director Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest, Australian Anthony Maras’s first feature Hotel Mumbai and French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest

Confederation of Indian Industry is taking a high level media and entertainment industry delegation to TIFF from 8-10 September 2018, led by Mr Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd. CII has taken space at the market to promote cinemas of India, film locales and services. A breakfast session with global producers is slated for September 10.

Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya

This is the second year running that Kashyap makes the trip to Toronto. He was in TIFF last year with Mukkabaaz. Manmarziyan, jointly produced by Phantom Films, Eros International and Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions, centres on “a spirited girl” who “finds herself caught in a complicated love triangle while burdened with societal and familial pressures”. Manto, Das’ second directorial outing, Manto, an Indo-French co-production that brings to the screen the final tumultuous years of the legendary Urdu writer’s life, earned critical acclaim in Cannes in May.

Anthony Maras’s Hotel Mumbai

Both the Wedding Guest, which “follows a mysterious British Muslim man” who travels across Pakistan and India, and Hotel Mumbai, centred on the 2008 terror attack on Taj Mahal Hotel, feature Dev Patel in a stellar role. The two films will screen in TIFF’s Special Presentations section.

Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan

Maya, also in Special Presentations, is about a French war correspondent who returns from Syria and travels to India in order to recover from the trauma. The cast of the film has India newbie Aarshi Banerjee alongside Roman Kolinka and Cedric Kahn. Maya has been line produced by Mumbai-based La Fabrique Films.