Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘indian cinema

I want to achieve what Amrish Puriji did in Indian cinema, says Vindoo Dara Singh after the Bigg Boss 3 win

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 27, 2009)


Vindoo Dara Singh won Season 3 of Bigg Boss on Saturday night, richer by Rs 1 crore and, to his surprise, a Chevrolet Cruz (no less).

But also confused because only his little daughter and his brother had come to fetch him from the Bigg Boss  house in Karjat on the outskirts of Mumbai.

“Where are my sister and my parents?” Vindoo kept asking. “But my daughter is here. And I’ve kissed her a thousand times already. God, I’ve missed her so much.

Vindoo Singh beat Poonam Dhillon and Pravesh Rana in Saturday’s finale of Bigg Boss Season 3

Actually I had no friends inside the Bigg Boss house except Ismail Durbar. My first week was my worst week. If it wasn’t for Ismailbhai who supported me initially I’d have never survived in there. He had predicted that I’d win. I kept asking him how he  knew. But he just…knew. I love him for that.”

Vindoo also has fond memories of Raju Shrivastava and Poonam Dhillon from inside the House. “Whatever happened with Raju before he left in nine weeks I still would like to think of him as a friend. He made me laugh. He kept us entertained As for Poonamji in the closing weeks she was a great support. She guided me to the end. I’d like to keep in touch with these three. As for the rest of the housemates I wish them all the best in life.”

As for the ceasesless spats with Pravesh Rana, Vindoo chooses to look at the brighter side. “I saw a tremendous change in him in the last three days. He was actually heard saying he hoped I won. Did I hope to win? No matter what people think I wasn’t working towards winning. I just did what came naturally to me.”

Now that Vindoo is out of Bigg Boss house Vindoo hopes to take his career further. “I’ve a great father(Dara Singh)’s name to live up to. I’m hoping to consolidate my position in the industry. I want to work towards making the position that Amrish Puriji had made in our cinema. Let’s see. This victory has re-charged all my batteries.”

By Joginder Tuteja, December 21, 2009 – 12:52 IST

Rajkumar Hirani Get set for an epic take in the offing. This year’s most anticipated release, 3 Idiots, has a running length of close to 3 hours. Taking audiences through different locations in the country and across time zones, this Rajkumar Hirani film is in fact his longest ever when compared to his earlier two efforts – Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai.

“That’s true,” confirms Hirani. “Both the films in the Munnabhai series were under 2.5 hours. However, 3 Idiots required a longer duration. I am not worried about the length factor though.”

Well, even for audiences it should be pretty much the case of ‘ all izzz well‘. Longer stories, if told well, have traditionally worked quite well at the box office. Some of the biggest classics in the history of Indian cinema like Lagaan, Sholay and Mughal E Azam have all crossed the 3 hour mark. Yes, those were the times when only single screens ruled and hence the revenue earned through a larger number of shows wasn’t a criteria for a film’s length. However, the fact remains that the biggest ever grosser in the history of Indian cinema, Ghajini, lasted for a couple of minutes over 3 hours.

Says a trade follower, “I am aware of people’s expectations where they want to see more of an actor or a director, if their body of work over the years has been impressive enough. Remember those Amitabh Bachchan films in the 80’s? Or the ones directed by Subhash Ghai? Each of them was mandated to be magnum opus and it was an unwritten rule that their films have a running length of at least 3 hours. Similar are the expectations from an Aamir Khan film today.”

His comments do see good validation if one looks at every film that Aamir has done in the current decade. The running length of Dil Chahta Hai (180 mins), Lagaan (225 mins), Mangal Pandey (165 mins), Rang De Basanti (150 mins), Fanaa (170 mins), Taare Zameen Par (165 mins) and Ghajini (180 mins) has been close to 3 hours or even more.

“At the end of the day, it’s the story and the story telling that does the trick, not the film’s length. Yes, we have seen audiences rejecting What’s Your Raashee? due to its length of close to 3.5 hours but also because the film dragged at places. Seeing Hirani’s work over the years, the length is a non-issue and one truly believes and hopes that the screenplay holds audience’s attention. 3 Idiots is carrying great vibes, the holiday season is on and the festivities would be in progress well into the New Year. I don’t see any reason why anyone would even think about the length factor,” concludes the trade expert.

BOLLYWOOD HUNGAMA.COM

Anupam Kher writes from London on his experience of working with Woody Allen on his new film
Posted On August 27, 2009 (MUMBAI MIRROR)

A few months ago, my agent in London, Ruth Young, told me that Woody Allen had cast me in his untitled film as Freida Pinto’s father. That news came to me on May 24, as I was hosting the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the release of my first film Saaransh. No award that I had received in my quarter century in cinema could have made me happier than this bit of news.

Buried as I was with work, the excitement abated only to resurface on August 23, when I was set to go to London for the shoot. It suddenly hit me that I was going to work with someone I had adored and almost worshipped for decades. Then, a strange nervousness gripped me; just like it did during the first day’s shoot of Saaransh. But that was understandable when I was a rookie being directed by Mahesh Bhatt. Now I had acted in almost 400 films. Yet I was nervous.

To understand this reaction, I spoke to my mentor Mahesh Bhatt and asked him how I should behave when I would be on Woody Allen’s sets. Nervous, confident or important? Mahesh said, “Just be the way you are: inquisitive, nervous, and, be yourself.”

I reached London the next morning and was taken for a ‘costume and look’ trial. I was told that Woody Allen would see me the next day as he only meets actors directly on the sets on the day of the shoot. But I pleaded and they reluctantly took me to a holding area near the location. The scene that was being shot was the exterior of a restaurant on a busy street in Notting Hill.

I was introduced to Freida who was warm and turned out to be a great admirer of my work. She introduced me to her co-star, Josh Brolin and I told him that he was brilliant in Milk. I then went out on the crowded street and some Bangladeshis waved to me. But there was an overpowering silence. I was searching for the man who I had seen only in films and whose books I had read and who was my icon. And suddenly I saw him. He was in his trademark beige trousers, light blue shirt and brown shoes. His specs were black. His hair had gone whiter and strangely, he looked taller and larger.

I had never seen anyone in my life who was as focussed as him. For him, the world did not exist, the crowds did not exist. There were no security guards around him. All that mattered was the frame of his shot. Even the crowd sensed his concentration. In respect, passersby moved in silence.

The executive producer was apprehensive, knowing Woody’s reluctance to meet actors in advance. On seeing the waving Bangladeshis, she knew I was as famous in the sub-continent as I had been made out to be and that made her apologetic as well.

There was a gap in the shoot; Woody had turned to his iPhone and was listening with great concentration to some music. The costume girl then walked up to him and showed him my pictures with the ‘look’ and told him that I was on location. I was wondering what his reaction would be.  My tongue was swollen and my mouth was dry.

He turned around and tried to match the face with the picture he had seen. And then, he spotted me and smiled. I tried to portray the confident look of Anupam Kher the veteran of almost 400 films and the winner of many awards. But all I managed was the anxious look that I had when I had watched my first shooting as a 16-year-old in Shimla. That was Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Rakhee in Yash Chopra’s Daag.

I wondered if Woody’s smile was out of politeness. But there was warmth in his eyes. I felt as if it took me a year to cover the five feet that separated us and I can vividly remember each step. His grip was firm and before I could say anything, he said, “It is a pleasure meeting you.” I heard myself saying, “I can’t believe it!” Woody insisted and repeated, “I am really am happy to see you!”

I told him I had seen all his movies, and he kept nodding, as he had heard such comments many times in his career. Then he looked at me as if to say, “Can I go back to my work…”

The next day I did my scenes with him and I realised that all what I had experienced as an actor in the decades was not of much use as one could not depend on any one school of acting. In my eye flashed scenes from Annie Hall, Manhattan, Sleeper, Crimes and Misdemeanors…

Suddenly the sun got brighter and the shooting stopped. I asked an assistant the reason and was told that Woody does not shoot in bright light. Imagine, everyone loves to shoot in bright light, save Woody Allen!

I discovered that I had left my camera in Mumbai and decided that it would be a pity to shoot pictures of the occasion on my cell. And as the day ended, Woody was more vocal. I told him that Indian cinema was changing and how we were making the kind of movies we always wanted. His cogent response was that it could only happen when the audience changes. He spoke of his early years in New York when he would watch films by Satyajit Ray and Kurosawa. “But now, it is the time of $200 million blockbusters,” he said.

Later that evening, I bought a camera and clicked some pictures. I also got some books for Woody to autograph and gifted him copies of the Ramayana and the Gita. One of the vintage memories of that day I will carry is when Woody was shooting a scene with lots of people and he wanted, in his typical style, for the camera to move from one speaking person to another. At the end of it, he told his cameraman, “You were a little lost…but I liked the chaos.”

Indeed, working three days with Woody Allen has been my most memorable experience in cinema. And I wish to thank Indian cinema for making all this happen. As I have said in my one-man play, “Kuchh bhi ho sakta hai…” Or, as my grandmother would say, “Allah meherban to gadheda pahelwan!”

utv

TIMES NEWS NETWORK (BOMBAY TIMES; August 17, 2009)


Reaching out to a global audience with critically acclaimed box office hits, seems to be UTV Motion Pictures’ strategy. And how does Ronnie Screwvala’s production house do this? By making its presence felt at the most prestigious film festivals in the world, from Italy to Shanghai and New York to Moscow. Also Venice, where Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6 and Anurag Kashyap’s Dev. D will be screened at the 66th Venice International Film Festival next month in the ‘Out Of Competition’ section; and Toronto, where Ashutosh Gowariker’s forthcoming What’s Your Raashee? will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 19. The romantic comedy’s stars, Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja, will attend this show along with producers Ronnie and Sunita A and Gowariker himself.


Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO, UTV Motion Pictures, said, “It is indisputably
acknowledged as the artistic pinnacle for a film to be screened at Venice and Toronto — two of the most acclaimed film festivals. Receiving a platform there for three of our films is a rare honour.” Gowariker added, “We are very fortunate What’s Your Raashee? will be premiered at Toronto where, I believe, 64 countries are showcasing films before an audience of 300,000. I’m looking forward to getting the first international reactions to my romantic comedy with 13 songs!” While Rakeysh said of Delhi 6, “The new version of the film has done the trick. Being invited for screening at Venice is the first sign towards the acceptance of this version. The organisers are interested in screening it more than just once, which is very encouraging.”


New markets for UTV include Taiwan and Italy, where its films Jodhaa Akbar, A
Wednesday! Welcome to Sajjanpur, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Mumbai Meri Jaan have proudly been doing the rounds of the festival circuit. Welcome to Sajjanpur, in particular, was screened at the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, and will next be shown at the Indo-American Arts Council’s MIAAC Film Festival in New York, the Fukuoka International Film Festival in Japan and the Indian Ocean Film Festival at Reunion Islands. While A Wednesday! was selected for the Shanghai International Film Festival in the Competition section for the ‘Asian New Talent Award’ and for the Bollywood & Beyond Indian Film Festival in Stuttgart, along with Mumbai Meri Jaan.


Two UTV films of 2008 that have proved to be big

draws internationally are Fashion and Jodhaa Akbar. Fashion, for which Priyanka Chopra swept many awards, was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival and the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PIFFF) in South Korea; it has also been invited to the Kaohsiung Film Festival in Taiwan this October. While Jodhaa Akbar made the Barcelona Asia Film Festival in Spain as part of the Official selection and the Shanghai International Film Festival in the Panorama section. The Hrithik-Aishwarya starrer has also been invited to the Helsinki International Film Festival in September. And along with A Wednesday! and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, it was screened as part of a special exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York with Naseeruddin Shah and Abhay Deol introducing their respective films. Kashyap, the director of Dev. D, said, “UTV is making films that have real international potential in terms of content and not just face value. Their films are changing the world’s perception of Indian cinema.”