Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘trivandrum

Santosh Sivan to play renowned Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma in Malayalam film Magara Manju
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 04, 2009)

Even as the fate of Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya, based on Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma’s love life remains uncertain, cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan has quietly signed a Malayalam film where he plays the painter. The film is titled Magara Manju (meaning winter mist) and will be dubbed in Hindi and English. The film’s shooting begins next week in Cochin and will be directed by art house director Lenin Rajendran.


Santosh Sivan and Karthika in the first look of Magara Manju

Santosh, whose hands are full with cinematography and direction assignments, was at first hesitant to act in the film. He says, “Director Lenin Rajendran convinced me that I was right for the part. The main attraction for turning to acting is Raja Ravi Varma himself. I empathise very closely with his art as I’ve grown up with it. When I was a kid, my grandmother illustrated her stories with Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings. I also paint a bit. I think I’ve acquired my visual aesthetics from this man. I was also Director of Photography for M F Husain’s Gaja Gamini and his son Owais’s Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities.”

Santosh’s co-star in the film is the new South sensation Karthika . He says, “Karthika is the daughter of veteran Tamil actress Radha. I sort of like the way we look together.”

The film will also be shot in Trivandrum and Goa. Incidentally, the only other occasion when Santosh Sivan has acted was in Aditya Bhattacharya’s Raakh (1989). “After my shot, Pankaj Kapur (who was also acting in the film) couldn’t stop laughing (at his bad performance),” recalls Santosh with a chuckle.

Epic story

There is a growing interest in the life of Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), who is famous for his paintings based on Indian mythology and epics. First, Ketan Mehta took it upon himself to portray the love life of Raja Ravi Varma in Rang Rasiya. Randeep Hooda plays the painter while Nandana Sen plays his muse. Then Malayalam film, Magara Manju, has Santosh Sivan playing Raja Ravi Varma. A book on the life of painter called, The Painter: A Life of Ravi Varma by Deepanjana Pal, Mumbai-based art critic is expected to hit the shelves soon.



karan johar


A very ugly incident arose on Friday when Wake Up Sid (WUS) released across the country. The film, directed by debutant Ayan Mukerji and produced by Karan Johar, has several characters calling Mumbai by its old name, Bombay. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Raj Thackeray’s party, was furious with this and its members tried stopping the screening of WUS at two theatres in South Mumbai and at a couple of places in Pune. Johar, fearing that the matter may go out of hand, immediately went to Thackeray’s Shivaji Park residence and apologized to him. He assured that he had no intention of hurting anyone’s sentiments and that he would add a disclaimer in the film in 2 days.

The incident created a furore and Raj Thackeray’s rivals perceived it differently, of course, with vested interests and Johar was made a scapegoat by all of them.

I discussed this issue with more than 50 people (many of them Maharashtrians) and not a single person felt that there is any harm in calling Mumbai as Bombay. Go to South Mumbai and many residing there still refer to the city as Bombay. In fact, South Mumbai is often called SoBo (Bo is the short form of Bombay). Then there are so many organizations and companies whose name consist of ‘Bombay’. Bombay Stock Exchange, Bombay Blues (a famous chain of restaurants), Bombay Times, Bombay Parsi Punchayat, Bombay Catholic Sabha, Bombay Dyeing etc are the classic examples. The sunset point in Mahabaleshwar is called Bombay Point since decades. Jet Airways uses the code ‘BOM’ to refer to Mumbai. The funniest part of this whole incident-Raj Thackeray’s son Amit Thackeray studied in a reputed school called BOMBAY SCOTTISH! Ha ha ha!

It was equally shocking to know the quotes given by Raj Thackeray’s rivals. Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan called the whole incident a publicity stunt. That is, all this drama was created so that WUS gets more audience. A stupid comment, in my opinion, as Johars has and will never resort to such tactics to market their films. Also, there was no need for Johar to do any kind of publicity stunt as WUS had already aroused lots of curiosity amongst youngsters. The film already witnessed massive advance bookings, even before the audiences learnt of this controversy. Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut was of the view, “If he (Johar) really feels sorry about it, he should apologise to Maharashtra and the millions of Marathi manoos staying here”. Arre, who cares if Mumbai is called Bombay? People here are more interested in having a better infrastructure, traffic-free roads, organized transport system and sense of security. No one’s sentiments are going to hurt if anyone uses the word Bombay. BJP leader Kirti Somaiya claimed, “Nobody has the right to refer to it by the old name when it has already been renamed Mumbai”. Again, a senseless statement as there’s no law that makes calling a city by its old name illegal. One can fearlessly refer to Mumbai as Bombay, Kolkata as Calcutta, Bengalooru as Bangalore, Vadodra as Baroda, Thiruvananthapuram as Trivandrum, Chennai as Madras and also New York as New Amsterdam!

Raj Thackeray questions, “Why can’t people accept Mumbai if they can accept Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram?” But he should be told that people in these Southern cities don’t have to apologize to any tom, dick and harry if they use the old name of the city. And Thackeray has always been comparing with the Southern States. Last year he justified his signboard campaign (threatening shop owners to change their signboards into Marathi) by stating, “In Kerela and other South Indian states, all the signboards are written in their language, so why not the same in Maharashtra?” Maybe then Raj should make a comparison on all fronts. Kerela has high levels of literacy-why doesn’t he strive to attain the same in Maharashtra too? At least that’ll help the state. Changing the signboards to Marathi and revolting when someone uses the word Bombay is not going to help Mumbai progress even an inch.

Coming back to the film WUS, it depicts reality. Also, in one scene in the film, Konkona Sen Sharma says that she hails from CALCUTTA! No one in West Bengal protested. Also, there have been so many movies that have characters mouthing Bombay. In Dasvidaniya, when Svitlana Manoylo asks Vinay Pathak where he’s from, he replies that he’s from Bombay! This is just one example-one can find lots of such instances. And whose sentiments got hurt?

Karan Johar was also criticized. Many feel that he should have not apologized. But did he have any choice? If he had not done so, Thackeray and his men may had called for a ban for the film in Maharashtra and the state govt would have stood as helpless spectators. Crores were at stake and not to forget, Johar would have to answer his distributors. So I feel Johar’s actions were superfast and completely justified. 2 days back, director Ayan Mukerji, while interacting with movie buffs in the Bollywood Hungama Live Chat session rightly said, “He did what he felt he needed to do at that point to protect our film. It is not possible to understand from outside how much a film means to the people who have created it. It’s like having a baby or something-when someone threatens to hurt that baby, you put your personal pride and ego away to protect it. That’s all that Karan did”. Well said!

Finally, this incident proved that Bollywood is so vulnerable with no protection whatsoever, esp in such situations. A film passed by Censor Board can be released has to undergo politican’s clearance. Thackeray proved that he’s here just to be in the news and to please Maharashtrians with such tactics. His rivals made a fool of themselves with their comments. All this happening with an eye on the elections! God save BOMBAY!

Neeraj Pandey’s next, Special Chabbis is based on the 1987 TBZ incident in which 26 men posing as income tax officials walked away with jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh
By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 25, 2009)

Neeraj Pandey

Director Neeraj Pandey can’t get enough of gritty, edge-of-the-seat dramas. After making the taut and fast-paced A Wednesday, the director has decided to make another real-life-based film. The film, titled Special Chabbis, is based on a scandal, which made the Mumbai police force look helplessly inadequate. Neeraj’s next is about the March 19, 1987 incident, when 26 men posing as income tax officials stormed into the Opera House branch of Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri’s jewellery store and walked away with wealth worth lakhs.

Neeraj, who has been rigourously researching the scam from the Times Of India archives, promises a film very different from the much-applauded A Wednesday.

Confirming the news, Neeraj said, “Fortunately, I’ve a producer, Ekta Kapoor, who shares my enthusiasm. She is far more excited about this project than I can ever be. We hope to start shooting by the end of this year. Special Chabbis goes into headlines, but in the past. It would be more in the nature of a caper than a thriller.”

Special Chabbis will be shot in Chandigarh, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. As for the film’s music, Neeraj said, “It will have three songs- one of them will be lip-sync and two in the background.”

Neeraj and Ekta will sign the 26 actors in the next few weeks.

An ingenious trickster, posing as a CBI officer recruited 26 “intelligence officers”, conducted a “mock” raid at a leading jewellery shop at Opera House and disappeared with jewellery and cash worth Rs. 30 lakhs, here today.

The operation was meticulously executed over the last two days and the entire episode bore close resemblance to a crime fiction, leaving the 70 odd staff and about 30 customers at Tribhovandas Bhimji Zhaveri in a daze.

For nearly 30 minutes after the “jewel thief” vanished, the “intelligence officers” and the employees did not realise they had been duped. Later, the police were called and the so-called CBI officers rounded up.

A man called Mohan Singh, checked in at Taj Intercontinental at 5.30pm on March 17 and said he was coming from Trivandrum.

On his behalf an advertisement was inserted yesterday in The Times of India seeking 50 dynamic graduates for the posts of intelligence and security officers.

After the interview, 26 persons were selected and they were asked to come to the hotel again today at 11am. By noon, Mohan checked out of the hotel. He had booked a luxury coach through the hotel.

The recruits proceeded towards Chowpatty in the coach at 12.30pm. Mohan Singh stopped the bus and told the driver and cleaner to wait while he took his staff towards the beach ostensibly to have soft drinks.

The bus was stopped in front of Charni Road railway station and the “CBI team” walked towards the jewellery shop. During the bus journey, Mohan Singh distributed identity cards and at Chowpatty briefed them about the mock operation.
The candidates were asked to bring their biodata, passport-size photographs and certificates for an interview at the hotel inquiry counter from 10am to 5pm. Mohan showed his papers to the proprietor, Mr Pratap Zhaveri, and positioned his staff in the first two floors. He asked the customers to be seated in their respective places.

He then went about picking samples of jewellery from various show cases. He put them in several polythene bags and stapled them with slips containing the government seal. Having put the valuables in a suitcase, he told his staff to wait in the same shop for some time as he would visit another shop and return soon.

The operation lasted 30 minutes from 2.30pm. As there was no sign of the leader, the proprietor suspected foul play and rang up the police control.

After leaving the shop, Mohan boarded his coach and drove back to the hotel. He asked the driver to wait for about 10 minutes and went in. But, he never returned.

Meanwhile, the police began interrogation of all the 26 recruits and other eye-witnesses. Among the recruits were a number of government servants in active service.

Inquiries revealed that the advertisement in the paper was booked at Bandra by a person by the name Rajkumar who gave a Santa Cruz address.

Saturday 20th June 2009 20.00 IST

Press Release


WOLVERINE GARNERS THE BIGGEST OPENING IN THE U.S FOR 2009 & NOW THE BIGGEST OPENING IN INDIA AS WELL! Mutant superhero film ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ has not only become a blockbuster hit abroad but has struck a strong cord with the Indian audiences too.

A 20th Century Fox film starring Hugh Jackman, the film opened in India on June 19th in English and Hindi and has garnered one of the highest openings among Hollywood films in India, beating films like ‘Fast & the furious 4’, ‘Angels & Demons’, ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’.

Says Mr. Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios India, “We’ve had a strong opening for X-Men Origins: Wolverine across the country. The audience reaction has been very positive which is helping build great word of mouth for the film as a must see film!”

The film has grossed more than Rs. 2 Crores in its opening day itself. The first 2 days have seen theatres running houseful across all regions of the country. Here are some reports:

North India
– Interiors of Ghaziabad cinemas morning shows as early as 9.30am were full.
– The shows are full in centres like Gorakhpur too.
– At some centres the opening is comparable to that of blockbuster Spiderman-3.

– DT Saket & Spice Noida are running 14 shows daily, while DT Vasantkunj opening today is running 11shows daily.

Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts, the leading distributor in North India says “It’s the best opening for a Hollywood film in Delhi-UP & East Punjab” The Programming Head at DT Cinemas, Amit Shah says “This is the highest collection (1.22lacs) recorded for any movie (Hollywood or Bollywood) in a single day since DT Saket opened and hence we have planned 11 shows daily at our new plex opening today (Saturday) at Vasantkunj.”

West India

– Opening is as big as Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire with less number of prints.
– Most shows are running houseful in Tier II cities like Aurangabad & Solapur.
– Most of the single screens have covered their rental on opening day itself.

South India

– Prasad Hyderabad has given 11 shows for the film, which is unprecedented for any Hollywood film and still has got an 80% opening, which is expected to become 100% over the weekend.
– Even Kerala has seen one of the biggest openings for any Hollywood film in recent time.

According to Mr T Srikanth, General Manager Operations – Prasad Imax Hyderabad, “Inspite of releasing the movie in 17 screens in twin cities (Hyderabad and Secunderabad) the movie has opened well in Prasad clocking 80 % for the 1st day. We are expecting to reach between 90-100 % for Sat – Sun as the report of the movie is good. Also recently no English movie has done well in the Nizam circuit and we are sure that this movie will put an end to that dry run.” Mr Suresh Shenoy of Sridhar theatre Ernakulam is also pleased with the kind of response the 4th edition of X men as received in Kerala. “The previous editions of X Men never got the opening that Wolverine got especially in Ernakulam*, Trivandrum and Calicut. This proves that there are still audience left in Kerala for good English flicks.”

Internationally, ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ has grossed $160 million in its opening weekend and has crossed 350$ million worldwide & still counting. The film had got the best opening for the year and is on its way to become one of the biggest *grosser out of Hollywood* this year, beating flicks like Fast & the Furious 4 and Terminator Salvation in terms of box office collections not only in the US, but also worldwide.

Released under the banner of 20th Century Fox (Fox Star Studios India), ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ stars Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Live Schreiber & Dominic Monaghan and is Directed by Gavin Hood.

Here Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him a superstar – as the fierce fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, retractable claws and a primal fury. Leading up to the events of X-MEN, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE tells the story of Wolverine’s epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe whose appearances in the film series have long been anticipated.