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Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Shahid is India’s Justin Timberlake! Kind Of!

In DJ Sumie on January 27, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Justin Timberlake’s Choreographer Trains Shahid Kapoor

Courtesy of Desi Hits

“I can’t call him the best dancer, I would rather say he’s a beast of a dancer,” these are the words of Justin Timberlake’s choreographer Marty Kudelka. But hey, these words aren’t in praise of Justin, they are for our Desi Justin, Shahid Kapoor.

First the famous Marty Kudelka who has made not just Justin Timberlake but artists like Janet Jackson, N’SYNC, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, O-Town, Christina Milian, Mandy Moore and Donnell Jones shake their booty, was going to make Shahid do the same for Ken Ghosh’s tentatively titled film [Chance Pe Dance]. When we visited Filmistan where the master and Hollywood’s most sought after choreographer was at work, we saw that Shahid Kapoor not just impressed him but passed his test with flying colours.

But getting Marty Kudelka to teach the actor wasn’t an easy job. The choreographer first watched one of the actor’s songs before he relented to come to Mumbai. According to our sources,”he was very curious to work with Shahid after he watched the song.”

Marty Kudelka gave Shahid Kapoor some tricky dance moves to try and the actor stumped him by picking them up in a jiffy. “Marty is very impressed that Shahid has also left no stone unturned to get Justin’s super flexible moves,” said the source.

Marty Kudelka who came to Mumbai not just to choreograph Shahid, but to also show Hollywood’s support for Bollywood, after the recent terror attacks, said, “Shahid is a fantastic dancer. He’s a fast learner. He’s incredibly focused and enthusiastic about his work. Given a chance to work in Bollywood again, I would love to work with Shahid once more.”

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Everybody Liked My Script Initially But Nobody Was Ready to Finance it: Paresh Mokashi

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Courtesy of Dear Cinema

Paresh Mokashi, the director of ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ India’s official entry to the Oscars this year looks like any other ordinary man. His feats though; are extraordinary- ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’ is his first film as a film maker and is already creating a buzz. Mokashi has won the Best Director award for this film in Pune International Film festival and Maharashtra state Film awards. He bares his heart to Divya Naik about his first film…

How did Harishchandarchi factory happen?

I basically started off as a backstage worker in a theatre group in Pune. I acted in some children’s plays. In 1999, I joined Prithvi theatre and directed my first play ‘Debuchya Muli’. It handled humor in a different style. In 2005, I read the biography of Dadasaheb Phalke by Shri Bapu Vatve and the idea to make a film on him struck me. I did a lot of research on him and his work at the National Film Archive. It took me 60 shooting days to make the movie. The script was completed in March 2005 and the film was completed in December 2005.

Harishchandrachi factory concentrates on the years that Phalke made his film ‘Raja Harishchandra’- 1911 to 1914. I didn’t mean to cover his biography. I wanted to concentrate on the making of ‘Raja Harishchandra’.

We know that Phalke made a film. But we are unaware of the toil and passion that he put into making that film. Phalke owned a printing business. He was poor and unemployed. One fine day, when he came across a tent theatre the idea of making a film struck him. He mortgaged his house and sold his household things and collected money. He read up a lot on cinematic techniques and made ‘Raja Harishchandra’. He made three films in a period of two years.

The special effects and techniques used by him were astounding. In fact, the British were so impressed with his work they offered him 1,000 pounds to make movies for them. However, he refused the offer as he wanted to establish the cinema industry in India and make movies here.

You come from a theatre background. How did you learn the nuances of direction and film making?

I did not go to any film school. All the knowledge that I have of films is from watching a lot of world cinema. I did my schooling in Lonavla and I earned a BA degree from a Pune college. It was during my college years that I watched a lot of Hollywood movies. I frequently visited the FTII and National film archive.

I still do not have any technical knowledge. But, as a director, the most important thing is that you need to know what you want on the screen irrespective of the technical details.

What was the experience while making ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’?

It was madness and stubbornness that kept me ticking all the while. I realized that you need to be really stubborn and focused or else others take over you. On the very first day itself others took over me and the result that I got was entirely different from what I had visualized. I had to re-shoot the entire material again.

What was the most challenging part of making ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’?

Recreating the era that Phalke belonged to was the toughest thing. It was difficult to find apt locations, design the sets and costumes, get the dialect right, etc. We shot in a bungalow in Pune, Manori beach, Nitin Desai studios, Mukesh mills and in Girgaon.

Though the film is in Marathi, the fact that the film won many awards from South and many other parts of India as also it participated in BAFTA and Golden Globe restored my confidence and belief in the film.

What is so unique about ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’?

Though the movie is about one man and his journey, I have avoided biographical picturization which includes sepia tone, black and white colour or moving camera. All those are clichéd elements. I have kept the story as simple and humorous as possible. There is no drama and emotional conflict. It is a positive tale based on the ‘One rasa theory’ of film making which has been used on films like ‘Life is beautiful’.

People fail to understand that humor is of many kinds and that it can be used for many other purposes apart from entertainment. It all depends on your style and sticking to your style.

Also, I have used the still frame technique of camera. It hopefully will turn out to be a sleek and compact experience.

Why did you name the film ‘Harishchandrachi Factory’?

Phalke called his set up as a factory. He said that he was making a drama on screen as people didn’t understand what he was doing. Also, those days’ factories and mills were popular workplaces. Hence he called his set a factory. Another motive behind it was that people involved in film making business would be termed as ‘mad’. Hence to avoid embarrassment of those involved with him, he termed it a factory.

You had to mortgage your property to make this film. You had to go through a lot of financial turmoil. What is your take on that?

Doing something offbeat has its own glamour. Everybody liked my script initially but nobody was ready to finance it because they realized it is costly. The budget was 4 crores. To add to that it was a big risk to finance it as I was a first time director and had no knowledge of direction. All I had done was watched a lot of movies.

People who were ready to finance it wanted to make the film in Hindi with song-dance sequences and big stars. But any first time film maker has to go through these obstacles and counter them. I have no complaints about any of these things.

I gave the film to UTV because it showed interest in my movie from the beginning. I have not sold the movie to them though; I am equally a partner even now.

Did you want to convey a message through the film?

Phalke was a scientific and eccentric person. The usual perception of Phalke is that of a common man who did uncommon things. But in the film I have treated his character to be a light hearted person. Hence the message of the film is that average and powerless people can also do extraordinary things.

What is your next project?

I have three ideas in my mind- a science-fiction adventure, an archaeological adventure and a story of the struggle of a poor family.

Will you ever be going back to theatre?

Of course! I will be going back to theatre immediately after the release of ‘Harishchandrachi factory’. I will make films later. But my passion remains researching ancient history.

What is cinema to you?

Buying a movie ticket and watching a movie in a movie theatre!

Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie to open Generation 14Plus in 60th Berlinale

In DJ Sumie on January 21, 2010 at 6:02 PM

Courtesy of Dear Cinema

The Generation 14plus competition of the 60th edition of the Berlianle will open with Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie. In this moving homage to the mobile cinema culture of India, the director pays tribute to the place where screen, light and audience come together in a magical event.

From melodrama to science fiction and musical – in the 33rd year of its existence, Generation has a broad cinematic range. “There’s not just one experience of childhood or adolescence and there are many ways to make a film about it,” says section director Maryanne Redpath in view of the 56 short and feature films in the Generation programme.

With Alamar, a documentary fiction will kick off the Generation Kplus competition for the first time. Rhythmically, with the water, wind and waves, director Pedro González-Rubio carries us off to a nature reserve in the Mexican Caribbean and intimately documents the relationship between a father and son. “Generation is marking the anniversary of the Berlinale with a programme full of contrasts. We want to celebrate this difference,” says Maryanne Redpath.

The Generation programme comprises 28 feature length films (among them ten world premieres and five international premieres) and 28 short films from 31 countries:

Generation Kplus – Feature films

Alamar by Pedro González-Rubio, Mexico 2009

Bestevenner (Rafiki) by Christian Lo, Norway 2009 (IP)

Boy by Taika Waititi, New Zealand 2010

Iep! (Eep!) by Ellen Smit, The Netherlands/Belgium 2009 (WP)

Knerten by Åsleik Engmark, Norway 2009 (IP)

La Pivellina by Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel, Austria/Italy 2009

Shui Yuet Sun Tau (Echoes of the Rainbow) by Alex Law, Hong Kong, China 2009 (WP)

Sukunsa viimeinen (Last of the Line) by Anastasia Lapsui & Markku Lehmuskallio, Finland 2010 (WP)

Superbror (Superbrother) by Birger Larsen, Denmark 2009 (IP)

Susa by Rusudan Pirveli, Georgia 2010

This Way of Life by Thomas Burstyn, New Zealand/Canada 2009 (IP)

Uchū Show e Yōkoso (Welcome to THE SPACE SHOW) by Koji Masunari, Japan 2009 (WP)

Yeo-haeng-ja (A Brand New Life) by Ounie Lecomte, Republic of Korea/France 2009

Yuki & Nina by Nobuhiro Suwa & Hippolyte Girardot, France/Japan 2009

Generation Kplus – Short Films

Apollo by Felix Gönnert, Germany 2010

Avós (Grandmothers) by Michael Wahrmann, Brazil 2009

Burvīga diena (Wonderful Day) by Nils Skapāns, Latvia 2010

Derevo Detstva (Childhood Mystery Tree) by Natalia Mirzoyan, Russian Federation 2009

Drona & ik (Drona & me) by Catherine van Campen, The Netherlands 2009

Fløjteløs (Whistleless) by Siri Melchior, Denmark/Great Britain/Sweden 2009

Franswa Sharl by Hannah Hilliard, Australia 2009

I-Do-Air by Martina Amati, Great Britain 2009

Indigo by Jack Price, Great Britain 2009

Jacco’s Film by Daan Bakker, The Netherlands 2009

Kozya Hatka (Goat’s House) by Marina Karpova, Russian Federation 2009

Masala Mama by Michael Kam, Singapore 2009

Munaralli (The Egg Race) by Kaisa Penttilä, Finland 2009

Sinna Mann (Angry Man) by Anita Killi, Norway 2009

Sol skin (Sun shine) by Alice de Champfleury, Denmark 2009

The Six Dollar Fifty Man by Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland, New Zealand 2009

Generation 14plus – Feature Films

Bran Nue Dae by Rachel Perkins, Australia 2009

Dooman River by Zhang Lu, Republic of Korea/France 2009 (WP)

Gentlemen Broncos by Jared Hess, USA 2009

Joy by Mijke de Jong, The Netherlands 2010 (WP)

Les Nuits de Sister Welsh (Sister Welsh’s Nights) by Jean-Claude Janer, France 2009 (WP)

Neukölln Unlimited by Agostino Imondi & Dietmar Ratsch, Germany 2009 (WP)

Os famosos e os duendes da morte (The Famous And The Dead) by Esmir Filho, Brazil/France 2009

Retratos en un mar de mentiras (Portraits In A Sea Of Lies) by Carlos Gaviria, Colombia 2009 (WP)

Road, Movie by Dev Benegal, India/USA 2009

Sebbe by Babak Najafi, Sweden 2010 (IP)

SUMMER WARS by Mamoru Hosoda, Japan 2009

Te extraño (I Miss You) by Fabián Hofman, Mexico/Argentina 2010 (WP)

Vihir (The Well) by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, India 2009

Youth in Revolt by Miguel Arteta, USA 2009

Generation 14plus – Short Films

Älä kuiskaa ystävän suuhun (Whispering in a Friend’s Mouth) by Hannaleena Hauru, Finland 2009

Az Bad Beporsid (Ask The Wind) by Batin Ghobadi, Iran 2009

Corduroy by Hugh O’Conor, Ireland 2009

I’m Here by Spike Jonze, USA 2010

Juzipi de wendu (The Warmth Of Orange Peel) by Huang Ji, People’s Republic of China 2009

Megaheavy by Fenar Ahmad, Denmark 2009

Mi otra mitad (My Other Half) by Beatriz M. Sanchís, Spain 2009

Ønskebørn (Out of Love) by Brigitte Stærmose, Denmark 2009

Poi Dogs by Joel Moffett, USA 2009

Redemption by Katie Wolfe, New Zealand 2010

Siemiany by Philip James McGoldrick, Belgium 2009

Zero by Leo Woodhead, New Zealand 2010

Reliance Entertainment is Making Gains!

In DJ Sumie on January 21, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Courtesy of Dear Cinema

Reliance Entertainment owned by Anil Ambani is likely to bid for the historic film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). MGM is the owner of a library with more than 4,000 titles, including classics such as the Pink Panther and James Bond movies.
Reliance Entertainment has already tied up with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studio and is looking to increase its presence further in Hollywood. It has also struck a series of deals with stars including Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts and George Clooney to develop their films.

Twelve potential bidders with background in media and movie-making have signed non-disclosure agreements for MGM, according to a Reuters report. Banking sources said Reliance Entertainment is among them. The other serious bidders in the fray are Fox Studios, the movie-making arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Lions Gate Entertainment and Warner Brothers.

Desi’s on Network TV!

In DJ Sumie on January 20, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Fox, CBS, ABC pick up pilots

‘Nevermind Nirvana,’ ‘Odds,’ ‘Happy Endings’ greenlighted

Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

By Nellie Andreeva

Three more pilots hit the runway Tuesday.

Fox picked up “Nevermind Nirvana,” a comedy from writer Ajay Sahgal; CBS greenlighted “The Odds,” a drama from feature writer-director Jeff Wadlow and producer Joel Silver; and ABC ordered “Happy Endings,” a comedy from producer Jamie Tarses.

“Nevermind Nirvana,” from 20th TV, is described as “Everybody Loves Raymond” with Indian Americans.

It is an ensemble multicamera comedy about two grown-up sons, their Indian immigrant parents and their friends, including one of the son’s Caucasian girlfriend.

“It’s about how their lives intersect in often polarizing ways and about the clash of the old Indian values and the new American values,” Sahgal said.

“Nirvana” is largely based on real-life experiences by Sahgal, who is the son of Indian immigrants and is married to “Lie to Me” co-star Kelli Williams.

He first developed “Nirvana” for NBC and NBC Studios during the 2003-04 season under Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who then was NBC’s president of primetime development.

The project was picked up to pilot starring Kal Penn and Judy Greer and directed and produced by David Schwimmer.

In the fall of 2004, NBC redeveloped it as “Nearly Nirvana,” with Schwimmer as director-producer and, in a last-minute recasting of Arj Barker, Sahgal as the lead opposite Greer.

While it ultimately didn’t make the cut at NBC, Reilly remained a fan of the concept, and when Sahgal ran into him at a “Lie” event last year, Reilly encouraged him to revisit it, which Sahgal did under a blind script deal he had with 20th TV.

“Maybe third time is the charm,” Sahgal said, dismissing any possibility for him to star in the new pilot.

“I’d like it to be successful,” he quipped.

“The Odds,” from Warner Bros. TV, is a buddy cop show set in Las Vegas where the cops are just as outrageous as the crimes they solve.

Wadlow (“Never Back Down”) penned the script and is exec producing with Silver. Beau Bauman serves as producer.

“Happy Endings,” from Sony TV and Tarses’ Fanfare, was written by up-and-coming writer David Caspe, who was recently featured on the 2009 Black List with “I Hate You Dad,” a feature comedy he has in development at Sony and Happy Madison.

The single-camera comedy centers on a couple that breaks up at the altar, forcing them and their group of friends to figure out how to maintain their friendships after the split.

Tarses is exec producing.

Engendered Presents”Indophile” Comedy Show in NYC

In DJ Sumie on January 20, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Photo Courtesy The Hindu

SOUTH ASIAN COMICS TAKE CENTER STAGE ON BROADWAY TO NEGATE STEREOTYPES ABOUT RACE, CULTURE, GENDER, SEXUALITY AND POLITICS THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF THE MASSES – HUMOR

Caroline’s on Broadway and Engendered present Indophile, the first-ever comedy show comprised of South Asian talent from around the world

(New York, NY – January 19, 2010) Caroline’s on Broadway, America’s premier comedy nightclub, has teamed up with Engendered, a transnational arts and human rights organization, to present a unique new live comedy show called Indophile that will feature the best and most diverse stand-up comedians of South Asian origin.

Indophile shatters the boundaries created by race, gender, sexuality and religion to showcase hilarious contemporary comedy that brings marginalized South Asian voices into the mainstream. “Various forms of comedy have long used incendiary subjects to create outrage, and in the process, foster dialogue,” says Myna Mukherjee, Founder and Executive Director of Engendered. “ The tone of the show fits with the mission of our organization to raise awareness, break silences and impact perceptions around the issues of religion, race, gendered identities, stereotyping, bias and sexual choice, and further how those issues relate to the affirmation or violation of human rights.”

“As an openly gay South Asian comic, my actions, thoughts, and voice have all been marginalized,” says Vidur Kapur, the comedian headlining Indophile. “Caroline’s and Engendered are presenting us a unique opportunity to speak our minds on the grandest performance stage in the world.”

“South Asian comics continue to make their indelible mark on mainstream American culture,” says Louis Faranda, General Manager of Caroline’s on Broadway. “We are so proud to diversify our acts and include the voices and talents of this under-explored region.”

Indophile will debut at Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets, on Wednesday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. and on Thursday, February 25 at 10:00 p.m.

Tickets are $25.00 per person plus a two-beverage minimum and can be purchased online at www.carolines.com.  For more information or to make a reservation, call the Caroline’s on Broadway Box Office at 212.757.4100.

Press opportunities for one-on-one interviews with the participating comics and any other South Asian celebrities will be made available at the venue by request ONLY an hour before each performance.

The comedians performing at Indophile include:

VIDUR KAPUR – A gay Indian immigrant, nominated for a NewNowNext Award by MTV Network’s Logo channel as “Brink of Fame” comic. Vidur has been one of the top 3 acts on US college campuses and was featured as one of the finalists on “New York’s Funniest Stand Up” as part of the 2009 New York Comedy Festival. He has toured India, the UK, Ireland, South Africa and the Caribbean

SHAZIA MIRZA – A British Pakistani comedienne who gained notoriety after 9/11 and his known for her laconic one-liners. She has appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and BBC and has toured Pakistan, Europe and the US.

HARI KONDABOLU – An Indo-American comedian who has been described by the Seattle Times as “ a young man reaching for the hand scalding torch of confrontational comics like Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor” Hari has appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and is currently appearing on the network’s “John Oliver’s New York Stand up Show.”

ANU KALRA – An Indo American native New Yorker who is a regular on the New York comedy scene and has toured nationally and appeared on CollegeHumor.com.

MONROK – An Australian born Indo American comedienne whose unique brand of dry witty humor won her the title of “California’s Funniest Female”

Additional comedians and South Asian celebrities will be added to this bill.

About Caroline’s on Broadway

Caroline’s on Broadway presents the best live comedy entertainment in a spacious, upscale environment seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Carolines on Broadway is located at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets, in the heart of New York City’s vibrant Times Square district.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit Carolines on Broadway online at www.carolines.com, or call 212.757.4100.

About Engendered

Engendered is a New York-based transnational arts and human rights festival that brings together the best in contemporary South Asian cinema, visual arts and performance to explore the complex realities of gender and sexuality in modern South Asia, especially at the intersection of ritual and religion.  For more information visit www.engendered.org.

Thanks Jitin Hingorani, for the info!

India Goes Indie: A Review of the 2009 Flick “99”

In Uncategorized on January 19, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Indie films are establishing their place in South Asian cinema. Last year, Eros Entertainment released a film called “99” which followed suit. Here is a review of the film by our friend Chetan Roy. Enjoy!

“99” Review

By Chetan Roy

On the plane to India, I chanced on a new but relatively unknown movie called 99. It’s a play on 99 not out, and cricket plays a role all through the movie. With an ensemble cast that includes Boman Irani, Soha Ali Khan and Vinod Khanna, directors D.K. Krishna  and Raj Nidimoru try to recreate the mood of an Elmore Leonard movie. It’s a decent effort, and bodes well for a nascent but growing indie cinema trend in India.

The story is clever and  the script crisp.  Zaramud (Cyrus Broacha) and Sachin (Kunal Khemu) are 2 small-time SIM thieves who get beholden to a mid-level mafia leader and cricket bookie in Mumbai called AGM (Mahesh Manjrekar in a delightful role) by stealing and then destroying his Mercedes. Sachin’s the cool dude, Zaramud’s the overweight brainy partner. They get dispatched by AGM to Delhi to collect money from Rahul, a bank manager (Boman Irani) who is addicted to gambling, addicted to marital strife, and addicted to patching up unsuccessfully with his wife. Gambling relieves him from his humdrum life, and he toys with the edge of his reality by taking on a big-stakes gambler (Vinod Khanna) as well as betting regularly on cricket matches. One such cricket bet goes badly on a visit to Mumbai, and Rahul owes AGM a lot of money.

In Delhi, Sachin and Zaramud meet Pooja (Soha Ali Khan miscast or misdirected, take your pick), an employee at the 5 star hotel they are staying at. No guesses on who gets the girl. Sachin and Zaramud go after Rahul, as does Rahul’s local bookie Kuber (acted with ferocious hilarity by Amit Misra). The story then takes as many turns as the by-lanes of Benares between the characters, the parallel plots and the final showdown where Rahul teams up with Sachin (cricket allegories galore), Zaramud and Pooja to bet on cricket again to pay off AGM.

The movie jogs at a good clip,  the dialogues are smart, and the ending is not entirely predictable. The most memorable character is Kuber, and Amit Misra plays the character with an aplomb that reminds one of P.K. Dubey in Monsoon Wedding.  Kunal Khemka is good in a role that doesn’t require too much histrionics, and Vinod Khanna does his role in his sleep.

The film does not take itself too seriously, and feels just right as an airline movie, but not more. It has the smirk of Get Shorty, but without the Highness of Smirk, John Travolta. And finally, that’s what one feels is missing through the movie. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, but the sauce is sugar, not dark chocolate.

Bombay Dreams

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Courtesy The Hindu

Special thanks to Sangeeta

‘Waiting Room,’ which releases today, has a group of Malayali technicians trying to make their mark in Bollywood. Indrajith Sukumaran stars in a key role.

The last decade saw a bunch of Malayali youngsters making it big in Bollywood. From Resul Pookutty to Asin to Rajeev Ravi, Malayali talents migrated to Mumbai seeking diversity, artistic space, freedom and money. Their work and sensibilities got due recognition, making every film aspirant in the South harbour his own set of ‘Bombay Dreams.’

Following their guts and dreams, yet another set of Malayalis, including actor Indrajith Sukumaran, are trying their luck in Bollywood this Friday, with their flick ‘The Waiting Room.’ The film, produced by Sunil Doshi’s Alliance Media and Entertainment, is directed by Kannur-based Maneej Premnath, a former associate of Ram Gopal Varma.

“It is my debut film and I set it in Kerala since many in the crew and the cast hail from the State. The film was shot completely in Thenmala,” says the filmmaker.

The film stars Raja Chowdhary and Radhika Apte in the lead with Indrajith Sukumaran in a cameo appearance. Sona Nair and child artiste Ganapathy also play significant roles.

Crucial role

“Indrajith plays a crucial role in the film. He instantly said yes once he read the script. He was pleased with the treatment and pace of the film. The only condition he put forth was that he should be allowed to dub in his own voice. It also worked out well as Indrajith has a strong base in Hindi due to his Sainik School days. He has performed so well that his character really stands out,” reveals Maneej.

The narrative revolves around a waiting room where four passengers wait for a train on a rainy night. They also witness a murder and suspect each other of committing the crime.

“The waiting room had to be a placed in a visually appealing railway station; hence the choice of Thenmala. The original waiting room of the station with its colonial structure was really nice, but it was not spacious enough to function as a shooting base. So we decided to construct a bigger one,” he explains.

The production design was handled by Sashi Perumanoor, a long-term associate of Bharathan. Camera was cranked by Dilshad and editing was by Baiju Kurup. The film marks the technicians’ foray into Hindi cinema.

Another significant Malayali on board the film is national award-winning sound designer Shajith Koyeri and Sreejesh Nair. “All my technicians were familiar with the sights and sounds of Kerala, which made the treatment authentic and interesting. Shajith could recreate the sound track and effects very well because he knew every nuance of sound that in the terrain,” he remembers. Music has been directed by Luvv Khush.

The film is part of the hand-made films’ package propagated by Sunil Doshi. The earlier films in the package include the much acclaimed ‘Bheja Fry,’ ‘Mixed Doubles,’ ‘Aamras’ and ‘Hulla.’

Globe Trotting Indies from India

In Payal Sethi on January 10, 2010 at 3:37 AM

Twenty-ten kicks off to a promising start at the movies with Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie, starring Abhay Deol, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Satish Kaushik bowing to European audiences through its premiere at the uber prestigious Berlin International Film Festival in February (11-21). The film has screened at other major international film festivals, such as Toronto and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, and will open in Germany right after its Berlinale screening. The Indian release is slated shortly thereafter for late Feb. Umesh Kulkarni’s Vihir (ABCL, releasing Jan 2010) is the other Indian film to be screened along with Road in the Generation section of the festival, where the best films are awarded Crystal Bears. BIFF also announced part of its Panorama section today with 25 films making the first cut.  Just Another Love Story by Kaushik Ganguly and Rituparno Ghosh features in this list. Ghosh plays a gay documentary filmmaker, Abhiroop Sen, in love with the film’s cinematographer.  The narrative follows the making of the documentary film about celebrated Jatra actor Chapal Chaduri, starring the actor himself. The global film industry has sat up and taken notice of Indian films after Slumdog Millionaire, although Indian auteurs have been churning out world-class cinema long before then. The truth is, festivals apart, when it comes down to business, buyers and distributors remain stumped about marketing and selling Indian titles in the international marketplace.  Screen Daily’s Liz Shackleton has an interesting analysis of why this might be the case.  Regardless of what the numbers say however, Indian indies are making their mark on distant shores, and its creators are becoming more savvy about navigating foreign markets. And with all this happening so early in the new year, that’s a very good sign indeed!

Last Week at IFC: Sita Sings the Blues

In Press Play on January 9, 2010 at 1:40 AM

Last July, FilmKaravan released the DVD of SITA SINGS THE BLUES on Amazon and Netflix.  Don’t miss the rare opportunity to watch this sumptuous visual treat on the big screen for one -week only at the IFC Center.

Courtesy of NY Daily News

By ELIZABETH WEITZMAN

Another year, another “Leap Year.” Oh, sure, last January it was called “Bride Wars.” The January before it was “Mad Money.” Does it really matter? This is the month, we can all acknowledge, where lousy movies are laid to rest. But why?

Well, the studios figure that you haven’t had enough time to see the 2009 films that really matter — the ones with the big budgets (“Avatar”) or stars (“It’s Complicated”) or Oscar dreams (“Invictus”). And why waste something worthwhile on a month that’s too cold to draw maximum viewers and too early to be remembered for next year’s awards?

So aging movies like “Youth in Revolt” and “When inRome” — whose original release dates came and went — often wind up here. And if the Tim Allen comedy “Crazy on the Outside” isn’t worth screening for critics in advance, why not sneak it in when people will watch anything, as long as the theater is heated?

We’ll reserve judgment on Jackie Chan‘s upcoming family flick “The Spy Next Door,” despite its evident similarity to Vin Diesel‘s “The Pacifier.” But as with the Rock’s “Tooth Fairy,” its slot at the start of the year is unlikely to raise audience expectations.

Regardless, there are options for frustrated film fans. In fact, this is the perfect time to dig for unexpected gems. The terrific animated love story “Sita Sings the Blues” (at the IFC Center) may not boast the budget of an “Avatar,” but it’s twice as inventive and just as memorable. The Belgian fantasy “A Town Called Panic” (also at IFC) is even quirkier than “Youth in Revolt,” but so much more fun. And since they wouldn’t show us “Crazy on the Outside,” we can’t tell you whether it’s any good — but we can promise you’ll laugh at the sly political comedy “In the Loop” (at MoMA).

Better still, instead of watching movies that came out last year, why not revisit ones made decades ago? This weekend alone you’ll find D.W. Griffith‘s “Broken Blossoms” at MoMA, Akira Kurosawa‘s “Stray Dog” at Film Forum and Martin Scorsese‘s “Taxi Driver” at the IFC. The latter, incidentally, was originally released in February. So hope may be just around the corner.

Republic of Brown

In DJ Sumie, Uncategorized on January 8, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Our dear friend Geetanjali Dhillon is launching a very cool new e-newsletter and site called “Republic of Brown,” showcasing “all things cool, hip and Indian across the globe” because they “scour the planet to bring [us] the best in Indo-cool!” The homepage currently features rotating photos of Padma Lakshmi for People, Rachel Roy for Style, Karsh Kale for Listen, Mira Nair and the Little Zizou for Watch, and New York Jeweler and Actor Waris Ahluwalia for Read. I’m interested in all of those topics and all of those people; I’m signing up today for the Republic of Brown newsletter to stay hip and current! Check out the site soon! Good luck Republic of Brown from your friends at FilmKaravan!

Here’s their “About” section:

Welcome to Republic of Brown

Have you noticed that Indo-cool is everywhere these days? Indians have taken things up a notch in the entertainment and lifestyle scene creating hip fashion, cutting-edge music, entertaining films, powerful literature and so much more. The world has taken notice. And this is only the beginning.

At Republic of Brown we’re bringing it together for you in one place, delivered right to your inbox – the coolest Indian-inspired fashion, movies, music and art from around the globe.

Become a part of the Republic of Brown community. We want to know what you’ve seen and loved. Hit us up with suggestions at indocool@republicofbrown.com

See you early 2010 with our first newsletter. Your friends at Republic of Brown.

Vision

Republic of Brown is the brainchild of Geetanjali Dhillon, former civil rights lawyer turned new media executive. With roots in London and Punjab and now Los Angeles, Geetanjali founded Republic of Brown to uncover and share the coolness of all things Indian with the world.

3 Idiots Striking Box Office Gold

In DJ Sumie on January 7, 2010 at 5:27 PM

At first skeptical of “3 Idiots,” since I don’t particularly love Bollywood comedies, I’m now swayed to catch the film still playing in theaters this weekend!  Indians and Indian-Americans alike are raving about the film, coining it hilarious and insightful! Given Aamir Khan’s track record, I knew in my heart that the film would likely be excellent but I was afraid to dive into what I thought could be a Govinda-like comedy. With Kareena Kapoor featured on CNN Go’s Who Mattered the Most in India 2009 list (see the last post) and her excellent performances in the post “Poo,” era with Jab We Met and more recently Kurbaan, I’m excited to see her in the song Zoobi Doobi, what I think will be the new “Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan” ala Dil Chahta Hai. FilmKaravan’s own Pooja Kohli saw and loved 3 Idiots and she is a film goer that I trust! Here is a list of theaters still showing the film in the New York/New Jersey area! Maybe I’ll see you at Big Cinemas in North Bergen on Saturday!

66 3rd Ave., New York, NY
30-300 Mall Drive West, Jersey City, NJ
234 West 42nd St., New York, NY
239 East 59th Street, New York, NY
3125 Kennedy Blvd, North Bergen, NJ
81-05 Lefferts Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY
651 Kapkowski Road, Elizabeth, NJ
6825 Fresh Meadow Lane, Flushing, NY
1655 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ
3165 Route 46, Parsippany, NJ

CNNgo’s people who mattered the most in India last year

In Red Hot Carpets on January 7, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Courtesy of CNNgo

By Udita Jhunjhunwala

While much of the world battled against the recession this year, India corrected, but didn’t falter. Indeed, there was even time for a general election that resulted in a thumping win for the United Progressive Alliance, victories in sports other than cricket, a successful moon mission and a new generation coming to power in Bollywood.

Much of the year was of course cast in the shadow of the horrific terrorist attacks in Mumbai late last year. 2009 also certainly saw no less corruption, nepotism and corporate scandal than previous years. But 2009 was about role models stepping up to show the rest that India has a central place in the world. Here are the ‘who’ and also the ‘what’ that propelled India this year.

Raima Sen Ready to Give Back to Society!

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2010 at 6:31 PM

Courtesy OneIndia

Raima Sen is excited about her small cameo in Mira Nair’s latest film ‘Aids Jaago”, which is a compilation of four films directed to bring about AIDS awareness amongst the masses. Besides Mira, the other three directors who have made the four films package are Santosh Sivan, Farhan Akhtar and Vishal Bharadwaj. Informs Raima,“I have acted in the short film called ‘Migration” for Mira Nair. It has been made to spread awareness on Aids.”

Raima adds, “I am ready to pay back to the society what it has given me. I readily agreed to be a vehicle to spread awareness of Aids which should be the concern of every citizen today in our country if we have to build an aware nation tomorrow. Mira has cast me with Shiny Ahuja in the film. I play Shiney’s rural wife while Sameera Reddy plays the frustrated wife of Irffan Khan who passes on the disease to Shiney. I have also done a short film for Ruchi Narayan who had directed ‘Kal”. It is a part of the series on the city of Mumbai for ‘Mumbai Ten’ for Sahara One.”

Looking back at her career, Raima feels that she could do a lot more of meaningful films. “I feel that it is getting better every year. I have learnt a lot. Had I done many commercial films in the beginning of my career, who knows, Aparna did may not have even considered me for her films? I could very well have done some six silly commercial projects and then burnt out myself as an actress.”

Raima is frank enough to confess that there are movies which she wants to do desperately but she does not get them at all. She adds, “There are movies which are offered to me but I do not want to be a part of them. As an actor, I make it a point to just rely on my instinct. I want to be here in the film industry for at least the next ten years.”

Raima says that post films like ‘Honey Moon Travels Private Limited” and ‘Manorma Six Feet Under”, she is happy that she is getting a lot of offers from Hindi filmmakers though earlier she was doing a lot of Bengali films. “As an actor; I feel that it is very important to do all kinds of roles instead of restricting yourself to one genre. I concede that ‘Choker Bali” projected me as a simple girl. You will see me as a simple girl even in ‘Japanese Wife.”

So what”s her role in ‘Japanese Wife” like? Pat comes the reply, ” Like in ‘Choker Bali”, I am playing a challenging role which needed me to apply less of make up. In ‘Japanese Wife” I have been teamed opposite Rahul Bose. I play the role of a young widow with an eight year old son in ‘Japanese Wife”. It is being made in English and Bengali with Aparna Sen as the director. To prepare myself for the role, I did an extensive fifteen days workshop with Aparnadi. Besides the fact that it is a challenging role, it was an exhilarating experience to work under her direction.”

Raima adds. “Japanese Wife” will be my fourth film with Rahul Bose. I have worked with Rahul in ‘Khela” directed by Parto with Manisha Koirala and Prosenjeet and am doing a guest appearance in ‘Sunglass”, with Rahul Bose. Konkana Sen Sharma is playing the main lead in the film. ‘Sunglass” is being directed by Rituparno Ghosh. ‘Khela” is a film within a film. I play a costume designer

in the film in which Prosenjeet plays the director. I had also acted with Rahul in the Bengali film ‘Anuranon.”

Raima is, after a long time, geared up to show her versatility as an actress by taking up a comic role with Tushar Kapoor. Says Raima, “Sachin Yardi who had written ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum” is directing the film for Balaji Telefilms with Tushar and me in the lead. It is not a sequel to ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum.”

Raima is also acting in a cameo role in Mani Shankar’s Mukhbir. “The thing that I can divulge at this moment is that I am just doing a guest appearance in Mani Shankar’s Mukhbir in which my co-star is Sameer Dattani. It is a character driven film which also has Om Puri in a stellar role.”

Raima is now glad that people have stopped comparing her with either her mother Moon Moon Sen or for that matter her sister Riya Sen. “Though no producer has thought of casting me with my mother as yet, Riya and I were cast together in Ajay Sinha’s ‘Bachelor”. It is sad that the film may not be able to see the light of the day for reasons best known to Ajaiji and the producer,” Raima quips sadly.

Which among her films does Raima think are her best five? She replies. “Among the films in which I have acted till date , I think the best five are ‘Choker Bali”, ‘Nishi Japon” directed by Satyajit Ray’s son Sandeep Ray, Pradeep Sarkar’s ‘Parineeta”, Aparna Sen’s ‘Japanese Wife” and ‘Manorama Six Feet Under.”

Memories of Overdevelopment going to Sundance 2010

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Special thanks to Sundance 2010

Our friend Yukiko Niigata, the associate producer of “Memories of Overdevelopment,” is going to Sundance 2010 for the film by director, Miguel Coyula! Congratulations Yukiko! Here’s a bit about the film!

Run time: 120 min. | aka: Memorias del Desarrollo | U.S.A., Cuba | Language: Spanish/English with English subtitles | color

What happens when a socialist revolutionary intellectual asserts creative freedom? In Memories of Overdevelopment, ideological clashes and contradictions explode and fragment within a Cuban émigré while they spurt across the world stage. A kinetic, mesmerizing, subliminal collage, the film forges new cinematic dimensions with multiple planes fueling each other: a picaresque saga of desire and decomposition, a self-reflexive formal project about art reifying life and vice versa, a surreal foray into memory and the unconscious, and a searing critique of twentieth-century forces like genocide and totalitarianism.

Shot with psychedelic lucidity, the narrative evolves from our rogue’s Cuban boyhood, when the revolution and his aunt’s dying wish for a kiss become formative fodder and iconographic propaganda. He constructs and deconstructs reality—manipulating language, image, and sound with his computer, camera, recorder, and X-Acto knife—to manufacture the very art we’re consuming. As he careens from youth to old age in elliptical swirls of misadventure, elusive pleasures of collectivity and individualism give way to existential truth.