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Posts Tagged ‘Hrithik Roshan’

Kites – NYT Review

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 10:00 AM

By Jeannette Catsoulis

Courtesy of The New York Times

On the whole, American audiences remain stubbornly immune to the charms of the Bollywood romance, a fact that “Kites” is determined to change. A carefully calibrated assault on resistant international markets, the movie harnesses English, Hindi and Hispanic talent to an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink plot, replaces dancing with explosions, and choreographers with stunt specialists. 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.

Set in Las Vegas and Mexico and unfolding in three languages, the story follows two gold-digging immigrants engaged to siblings from a powerful Vegas family. J (Hrithik Roshan) is a dance instructor and husband-for-hire; Natasha (Barbara Mori) is a terrified Mexican illegal needing a luxurious place to fall. But J’s limpid hazel eyes and smoking body will not be denied, even if it means dodging a posse of hired killers and an avalanche of special effects.

Directed by Anurag Basu with a finger in every genre jar, “Kites” caroms from car chase to shootout, from rain dancing to bank robbing with unflagging energy. It’s all completely loony, but the stunts are impressive, the photography crisp and the leads so adorably besotted that audiences might as well check their cynicism at the door.

A shorter version of the film (retooled by Brett Ratner) will be released next Friday, but 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.

KITES

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Anurag Basu; written by Robin Bhatt, Akarsh Khurana and Mr. Basu, based on a story by Rakesh Roshan; produced by Mr. Roshan; released by Reliance Big Pictures. In English and Hindi, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Hrithik Roshan (J), Barbara Mori (Natasha), Kabir Bedi (Bob), Kangana Ranaut (Gina) and Nicholas Brown (Tony).

Social Dramas and Shimmering Spectacles: Muslim Cultures in Bombay Cinema at Lincoln Center!

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2010 at 9:25 AM

Starts next week! A Vibrant Journey into the Fascinating Influence of Islam on Indian Cinema

A year ago, during our Satyajit Ray series, thousands of film lovers immersed themselves in the work of one of India’s foremost auteurs.

Starting next Wednesday, see Indian cinema in a whole new light through an extraordinary selection of films that chronicle the influence of Muslim culture both in front of and behind the lens.


garam hawaGarm Hawa
The 1947 Partition leaves a middle-class Muslim family suddenly adrift in what used to be home, in this fascinating Indian New Wave drama. Based upon a short story by Ismat Chughtai, Garm Hawa is an early, iconic film of the Indian New Wave that emerged in the late 1960s as an alternative to mainstream cinema. Read more… Fri May 21: 7:15
Mon May 24: 1:30

Fiza
Against the roiling backdrop of the 1993 Bombay riots, Amaan (Hritik Roshan), his sister Fiza (Karishma Kapoor), and their mother (Jaya Bhaduri) find their lives changed by a single day. Rescued by a leader of group of a violent Islamic militants, Amaan gets caught up in a spiral of violence from which there seems no escape. Read more…
Sat May 22: 8:00
Thu May 27: 2:30
jodhaa akbarJodhaa Akbar
Enlightened rule never looked so good as in this sixteenth-century love story between the revered Emperor Akbar and feisty Rajput princess, Jodhaa (the stunning Aishwarya Rai). Reviving the majestic splendor of the Historical genre, Gowariker unleashes battling armies and grand romance in grand palaces, all set to a score by A.R. Rahman. Read more…
Wed May 19: 7:00

Chaudhvin Ka Chand
Read more…

Thu May 20: 6:30
Sat May 22: 12:00

View the complete line-up and purchase tickets>>

Check out the complete list of events here!

Bollywood Soars Toward Hollywood

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2010 at 4:45 PM

A still from “Peepli Live”

Courtesy of The New York Times

By Anupama Chopra

LITTLE about “Kites” suggests “Rush Hour.” An extravagant Bollywood romantic thriller, “Kites” features the Indian star Hrithik Roshan and the Mexican actress Barbara Mori as mismatched lovers who can’t speak each other’s language and end up on the run in New Mexico.

But last October, when the director Brett Ratner saw an unfinished version at a screening in Los Angeles, he found echoes of “Rush Hour,” his own Jackie ChanChris Tuckersmash hit. “It was two characters that were fish out of water,” Mr. Ratner said in a telephone interview, “only here it was an Indian and a Mexican. I’m not saying that ‘Kites’ will be the box office hit that ‘Rush Hour’ was, but I felt it had the potential to cross over to American audiences.”

So Mr. Ratner, who until then had seen only a few Hindi films, offered to re-edit “Kites” and make it more accessible for mainstream America. Working with Mark Helfrich, his editor on the “Rush Hour” series and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” Mr. Ratner pared the 118-minute film to 90 minutes. He lost some of the elements that “just wouldn’t translate,” including a song sequence featuring Mr. Roshan, and had the dialogue for all the characters, except the two leads, dubbed by American voices.

On May 21 the original Hindi version and Mr. Ratner’s reworked English version of “Kites” will be released simultaneously globally, receiving a much bigger push than is typical for an Indian movie in the United States.

“For me it’s about breaking barriers,” Mr. Roshan said in Mumbai. “The larger goal, the big dream, is to have an Indian film being watched by a world market.”

Bollywood already has a world market. Indian cinema has an annual estimated audience of over three billion worldwide. South Asians are avid consumers, as are viewers in countries as varied as Germany, Malaysia and South Korea. But the world’s largest film market, the United States, has remained impervious to the seductions of song and dance. “There are essentially two kinds of audiences in the West: mass and niche,” said Nasreen Munni Kabir, a documentary filmmaker and authority on Indian cinema. “The mass audience wants English-language films with known stars and familiar story lines. The niche audience accustomed to world cinema accepts subtitles, slightly longer films and unfamiliar actors. But these films must reflect a cultural, political and social reality of their country. Bollywood films by their very nature do not fit into either category.”

That state of affairs is beginning to change, thanks in large part to the staggering success of “Slumdog Millionaire.” Hollywood studios have made significant investments in Bollywood (with a few missteps along the way) and wouldn’t mind their Indian movies translating around the world. It also helps that the definition of Bollywood has become more elastic. No longer a monolithic style that denotes stars, songs and melodrama, Bollywood has also come to encompass something else; over the last decade new filmmakers have tweaked the traditional form so that Hindi cinema also includes films without songs that are stark and rooted in contemporary Indian realities.

Even established filmmakers are willing to break boundaries. So in the recently released “My Name Is Khan” the director Karan Johar forgoes his trademark opulent songs and feel-good emotions for a more grim subject: the plight of American Muslims post-9/11. Bollywood’s biggest star, Shah Rukh Khan, plays the lead, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, who embarks on a journey to meet the American president, after his family is devastated by a hate crime. The film, which was largely shot in America and features extensive English dialogue, is the first Hindi film to be distributed by Fox Searchlight. The opening box office was solid — “My Name Is Khan” ranked 13th on the United States charts, with nearly $2 million, but with a per-screen average higher than that of the Presidents’ Day weekend’s box office leader, “Valentine’s Day” — and Fox is currently exploring options of releasing a shortened international version. (The movie has now made nearly $3.4 million in the United States, one of the best showings for a Bollywood film there.)

Even as overblown Bollywood extravaganzas are being reworked to suit more minimalist Western palates, smaller, grittier Hindi films are making inroads via the festival route. In January “Peepli Live,” a low-budget black comedy about farmer suicides in central India, became the first Hindi film selected for competition at Sundance. In February “Peepli Live” screened at the Berlin Film Festival, alongside another crossover candidate: “Road, Movie.” A whimsical tale of a traveling cinema in rural India, “Road, Movie” was co-produced by Ross Katz, whose credits include the Oscar-nominated “Lost in Translation.” Fortissimo Films acquired distribution rights last year (another first for a Hindi film) and, according to Mr. Katz, “Road, Movie” should reach United States theaters later this year.

He acknowledged that getting people to attend a subtitled Hindi film might be tricky, but the crowd-pleasing nature of the film might help. “ ‘Road, Movie’ is a celebration of the movies,” Mr. Katz said in a telephone interview. “There is an infectious quality in the film, which hopefully will translate to global audiences.”

It’s doubtful that any of these films will pull off a “Slumdog”-style success, but there’s hope for making bigger inroads in the United States. Rakesh Roshan, who produced “Kites,” was cautiously optimistic as he supervised the sound mix of the Hindi-language “Kites” at a recording studio in Mumbai. “I think we haven’t been able to make a ‘Crouching Tiger’ so far because you need guts, and you need a vision,” he said. “Maybe ‘Kites’ won’t work, but at least we took a step forward.”

Meanwhile Mr. Ratner has already figured out his next move: “I would love to make a movie in Bollywood,” he said. “I would do American stars in an Indian musical. That’s my idea.”

Just a minute with Farhan Akhtar…

In DJ Sumie on February 23, 2010 at 12:58 PM

…Actor, writer and producer talks about his new film ‘Karthik’

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI — If your debut Bollywood film is considered an iconic work, chances are you will stick to directing for the rest of your life. Perhaps, try your hand at production or writing. But Farhan Akhtar didn’t stop at just that.

In the last decade, the 36-year-old has tried his hand in every facet of the movie business — acting, singing, writing, producing and even hosting a TV show.

His third film as actor releases this month and work on a sequel to ‘Don’ begins later this year. Akhtar talks about what keeps him going and his role in “Karthik Calling Karthik.”

Q: Are you playing a double role in your latest film ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ or not? The promos look confusing.

A: “How can you ask me the mystery of the film? I can’t reveal the end. It’s like one of those ads in the papers which say, ‘don’t reveal the end, please.’ It’s like that. I am contractually obligated, to myself, not to do that.

“That’s part of the mystery of the film, as to who the other Karthik is. I have been resisting answering this question for the last two weeks.”

Q: You’ve had three films come out, one after the other as an actor. Is it fair to say acting is taking over from the other roles you have assumed?

A: “No, I don’t think it’s fair to say that at all. ‘Don’ (the sequel) was meant to happen last year but Shah Rukh (Khan) injured his shoulder so we couldn’t do it. I had a year to myself to do what I wanted to, which is how this script came along.

“But I am looking forward to it now, in fact I have already started work on it and we start the film October, and I am really looking forward to it. It’s been a while.”

Q: You were directing and writing before you got into acting. At what point did you start to take acting seriously?

A: “I took it seriously when I started doing it. You can’t take on something and then not do it seriously. Too many people’s careers and livelihood depends on it. What’s interesting is that with every film I am feeling a little more confident to push myself, in terms of playing a character, which is further away from who I truly am. It’s an evolutionary process.”

Q: Did acting ever figure in your scheme of things when you started out?

A: “It is difficult to answer this question with a simple yes or a no. My first attraction towards films was the attraction towards acting which also stemmed from not knowing what else there was. After that, as you grow up and learn what else goes into making a movie, I felt my strengths, my ability to do something about it lay more in writing and direction than it lay in acting, which is why I pursued that a lot more aggressively than I did acting.

“Also, over the years, sensibilities have changed. More directors are veering towards performances being more real and natural rather histrionics. There were times when everything had to be pitched up and you had jump out and shake the audience with every emotion. Now it isn’t like that which makes me comfortable in terms of the acting I would like to do and gives me the strength and the belief to do this.”

Q: So has that belief that you were better at writing and directing changed?

A: “No, I still feel the same. So whether it is writing dialogues for people or working on my own script or even collaborating with someone else on a film, I am giving them whatever input I can. To me, that’s as important as acting in the film. That’s a constant and that won’t ever go away.”

Q: What is different about being an actor now than it was say five or 10 years ago?

A: “What is being demanded from actors is different. It’s a question of the kind of performance that directors are demanding from actors. That has changed. There was a time when every single emotion, whether it be the performance, the way the scene was shot, the background music, everything was heightened. Like shock would be a big, wide-eyed expression, with a camera cut up really close. That has changed.

“Directors have moved towards creating a more lifelike situation and now when some one onscreen breaks some bad news you don’t cut to everyone’s reaction in the room. For me, that’s what works.

“From ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ to ‘Lakshya,’ that’s the kind of performance that I demanded from my actors. Even if I was directing Hrithik in ‘Lakshya,’ I couldn’t get him to scream and shout at the enemy, even though he was playing an army man. People don’t do that in real life.”

Q: Your last film “Luck By Chance” was perhaps the best reviewed film of last year but the boxoffice figures didn’t match up. Does that tell you something about our audiences?

A: “Honestly, I don’t know what I can learn about audiences from it. To me, it is easy to say, ‘oh the audience wasn’t ready for it’ or ‘it was ahead of its time’. It is very easy to have romantic notions but I don’t have these issues. I try to contemplate why this film didn’t work.

“What went wrong with the film was the way we marketed that film, the way we promoted it. There wasn’t a single clear message as to what it is that a person going in to watch this film should expect. If you know that I am going to watch a good versus evil film, like ‘Ghajini’ for example, you know that the good guy will beat up the bad guy in the end. So I know what I am going in for.

“Somewhere we didn’t manage to nail the intrigue factor of the film. If the message was that this was a film that talks about success, perhaps it would have worked. To me that’s a lesson in how to do things differently the next time around. Because there was nothing wrong with the film.”

Q: You are going back to direction after more than four years. Do you think you will have to feel your way around?

A: “Fortunately, I haven’t taken a hiatus from movies. I was always on set, so I haven’t gotten rusty. The one good thing is that I am feeling hungry to go out and do it. I cannot wait to go out there and direct my film. So far everything is on track, touch wood. I am sure as the day nears there will be a lot more nerves.”

Q: Do you ever think of directing yourself?

A: “Not right now, no. The demands of both jobs are very different. As an actor when I am performing I don’t want to be thinking about the camera problems or how long we have to wait. It would be distracting for me to do both, but you never know, there will hopefully be a lot more films in the future.”