Aashi Gahlot – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 Udta Punjab Controversy shows Bollywood has backbone http://bollyspice.com/udta-punjab-controversy-shows-bollywood-has-backbone/ Sun, 12 Jun 2016 12:31:33 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=124723 The question on everyone’s mind is whether Bollywood is allowed to reflect the truth – as in what’s “really” happening in the world? Like an Indian parent at a family gathering, the Indian Censor board tells the aunties that their son is becoming a lawyer when in actual fact, he’s in art school, being creative. Creative? Heaven forbid! Who will marry him now?! Being creative is just not Indian…not for the lawyer neither for the Indian film director. It’s not like a film director is actually allowed to move away from the Bollywood formula and think up an original storyline

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The cool Udta Punjab Trailer LaunchThe question on everyone’s mind is whether Bollywood is allowed to reflect the truth – as in what’s “really” happening in the world?

Like an Indian parent at a family gathering, the Indian Censor board tells the aunties that their son is becoming a lawyer when in actual fact, he’s in art school, being creative.

Creative?
Heaven forbid!

Who will marry him now?!

Being creative is just not Indian…not for the lawyer neither for the Indian film director. It’s not like a film director is actually allowed to move away from the Bollywood formula and think up an original storyline reflecting social issues to do something like try and make the world better…

If a real life issue like drug abuse is conveyed, such as Anurag Kashyap’s Udta Punjab is trying to do, it will only get banned. And drugs in Indian society must not really exist according to the Indian Censor board.

The Udta Punjab issue brings up issues of shame and hiding the truth. It’s clear that the Central Board of Film Certification, India, are controlling and all too concerned with what people might think of India – all association with Punjab and 89 cuts have been ordered by them.

Sources state that director Kashyap called the chief at the Indian CBFC, a “dictator” and an “ogligarch”. The question arises, what is the audience actually allowed to experience and process? Isn’t all this control unfair?

The good news is that Kashyap is gaining a lot of support from the industries top stars including Bachchan and Aamir Khan.

Amitabh Bachchan, for example, pointed out that the censorship is detrimental and is killing creativity: “I hope we can device a system where there is certification rather than censor. Don’t try and kill creativity. We all must have the freedom to create because we are in this field and all we have is our soul to create,”.

Kashyap’s film gained the support of Shyam Benegal, prominent film director and head of the government-appointed censor board revamp committee. Benegal described the film as “technically…a very well made film” according to sources.

It was Balaji who had the courage to fund Udta Punjab when no other production house would. The production and marketing costs have come to 40 crores. The financial damage will be substantial if the film is released later than than the planned released date which is 17th of June. Despite knowing the risk of loss, head of Balaji, Ekta Kapoor, is adamant to support the creativity of the film and take the risk of financial loss.

The Udta Punjab experience is important to see. We still have those who will not be bullied into submission.

Films are not mere entertainment. Films can change society for the better – only if the censor board allows the truth. The moment of truth will come on the 13th of June, when judgment will be made by the Hon’ble Mumbai High Court.

Udta Punjab stars Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

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Fan Movie Review http://bollyspice.com/fan-movie-review/ Sun, 17 Apr 2016 03:00:57 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=122108 Gaurav (Shah Rukh Khan) is a hard core, die hard, fully filmy fan of Aryan Khanna (SRK). Not only that, but Gaurav shares a strong facial resemblance to the star he adores. His obsession becomes creepy and dangerous when Aryan Khanna refuses to feed his devotion. This rejection breaks Gaurav’s heart and he then becomes obsessed with making Aryan Khanna’s life hell. What the film highlights are differences between love and obsession. Fan is a love story of sorts. SRK playing stalker and star is symbolic. It reflects each one of us projecting onto to celebrities we see on the

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Gaurav (Shah Rukh Khan) is a hard core, die hard, fully filmy fan of Aryan Khanna (SRK). Not only that, but Gaurav shares a strong facial resemblance to the star he adores. His obsession becomes creepy and dangerous when Aryan Khanna refuses to feed his devotion. This rejection breaks Gaurav’s heart and he then becomes obsessed with making Aryan Khanna’s life hell.

What the film highlights are differences between love and obsession.

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Fan is a love story of sorts.

SRK playing stalker and star is symbolic.

It reflects each one of us projecting onto to celebrities we see on the big screen and trying to find a little bit of our own lives in the films we see.

Does the world of films create a room full of mirrors for both celebrity and Fan in a world where finding ourselves is already a challenge?

How do boundaries get blurred?

Is Gaurav a Frankenstein?

Is he created by the film industry and is he necessary for the film industry?

What does it mean to be a Star?

These are some questions provoked.

Fan is big for Bollywood.

Instead of escaping into a fantasy and then sugar-coating it, the fantasy is thrown up in our faces and exposed with a big bright torch.

True, celebrity obsession is a cult worldwide and not just a Bollywood thing.

Nonetheless this film is particularly important for Bollywood because Bollywood is a religion in India.

Bollywood celebrities have semi-divine status.

Good on Shah Rukh Khan, the biggest star in India if not the world, to do a film provoking issues revolving around celebrity obsession. In fact, only SRK could have done this film. Because of his real life star power, the film delivers the seriousness of the issue.

The only complaint is that the film is too long.

The last 20 minutes drag on, making one feel: Okay, got the message – now don’t spoil it by overdoing it please!

Director Maneesh Sharma hasn’t given any filmi songs, just good performances and some questions for us to ponder.

Fan is a winner.

Highly recommended.

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“Meditating on Mount Abu…I was prompted to write a novel about Merlin” – Carmel Niland http://bollyspice.com/meditating-mount-abui-prompted-write-novel-merlin-carmel-niland/ Sun, 10 Apr 2016 05:00:13 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=121775 A mysterious and magical being with raven hair and intense blue eyes is about to enchant you! Merlin, also known as Ambrosius Marcus Cotta and Myrrdin, is the legendary wizard popularly associated with Arthurian legends.  When one mentions Merlin, the word magic immediately comes to mind. In fact, you could say that magic is Merlin’s middle name and indeed it is. Written by Carmel Niland, A Darker Magic This Way Comes is the first tale of five belonging to the Merlin’s Secrets series. Merlin’s love story is certainly special. For one, the love story stretches through time across 1500 years! Merlin and

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Merlin_coverA mysterious and magical being with raven hair and intense blue eyes is about to enchant you!

Merlin, also known as Ambrosius Marcus Cotta and Myrrdin, is the legendary wizard popularly associated with Arthurian legends. 

When one mentions Merlin, the word magic immediately comes to mind.

In fact, you could say that magic is Merlin’s middle name and indeed it is.

Written by Carmel Niland, A Darker Magic This Way Comes is the first tale of five belonging to the Merlin’s Secrets series.

Merlin’s love story is certainly special. For one, the love story stretches through time across 1500 years! Merlin and Emily are fighting destiny to be together.  Was falling in love part of the plan? Is falling in love ever part of the plan? This couple have the meddling parents, scheming villains, a battle between good and evil and of course, fireworks aplenty!

Definitely a Bollywood formula.

We caught up with author Carmel Niland and asked her what the book would look like on a Bollywood screen, which actor would be playing Merlin and whom Merlin dances like.

And yes…

Merlin can definitely dance!

Follow now:
Twitter @MerlinsSecrets
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MerlinsSecrets
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“A Darker Magic This Way Comes” is out on 14/04/2016 (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and all good bookstores)

Please describe Merlin in three words?

Hot, sexy wizard.

Carmel Niland copyWe heard that Merlin dances! What’s his style?

Somewhere between Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor, although the Kapoor style is more like another character from our world in the novel, Toby. Toby practices Tae Kwon Do with its aerial turning kicks which are heart stopping but Merlin prefers dancing as opportunity to leap and spin with music holding Emily in his arms, She is classically trained in ballet and in the street dancing of hip hop so she will take him places where he never thought he’d go.

Is Merlin a better lover or fighter?

Merlin is an Arch Druid from the fifth century and he does not fight in the traditional sense of the word. He does not carry a weapon and must live by his wits and his magic. As a lover he still has his training wheels on with few prospects, in this first book, to observe or practice lovemaking. But his innocence will provide Emily with an opportunity, who although she is a maiden, she is from the twenty first century and therefore more worldly-wise. She will have to seduce him. He will prove to be a fast learner and that by the second book The Curse of the Dragon Kings he will soon make up for it!

What are Merlin’s flaws?

He is jealous of Emily’s longstanding relationship with her childhood friend, Jack and he nearly loses her because of that. He is a show off anxious to demonstrate how good he is at everything. As well, he also overestimates his own abilities to engage the Darkness and win. The sorceress, Morgana, continually out manoeuvres him with some tragic consequences.

If a Bollywood film on Merlin was to be made then what are the three MUST HAVE ingredients?

Given that A Darker Magic This Way Comes is already a story of forbidden love, with a love triangle, interfering parents, outstanding magic and wonder and a fight between good and evil you would think it had been conceived in India, the birthplace of the world’s magic. .If you ask me instead what are its must have ingredients beside those mentioned I would say it is the swirling darkness and the colours that dance across the skies, the characters of remarkable beauty and grace and a reverence for the place of spirit in all things. And, by the way, once in the nineties meditating on Mount Abu, a hill station on the border of Rajasthan and Gujarat, I was prompted to write a novel about Merlin.

If you could put a Bollywood song into ONE dramatic interlude where would that be and what would the song convey?

I would build it into the chapter called Battle of the Elements where Moloch and Merlin battle in the night sky across Dartmoor displaying their artistry at making roars of torrential rain and sky splitting lightning and thunder. Merlin flies using his staff and he is dressed in a long cape of black and purple and Moloch is a vast crimson mask over swirling rancid air. But they are both masters and their work compares to a New Year’s Eve fireworks display. Merlin brings in the spirits of the elements to help him. They all sing. Meanwhile Toby is on a giant bat singing Credence Clearwater Revival’s “I see a bad moon rising,” and Emily and Jack on the ground of Dartmoor praying for the Archangel’s Michael’s intercession.

We love love stories and we heard that “A Darker Magic This Way Comes” is a magical love story pivoting upon Merlin and Emily. What inspired you to write about love?

Because love is all there is. Merlin says to the evil Moloch: “use your time to ponder love, the most powerful force in the world; it is that which inspires shining courage in us all” Love moves, like Ganesh, immovable objects. It melts rocks, creates life and through it all things are possible.

What makes Merlin and Emily’s love story special?

It is forbidden because it is across fifteen hundred years and these two people had agreed to their destiny before they were born. Now they want to change it. Who knows where it will take them?

Merlin-2A good Bollywood film must have a conniving villain! What are the villains like in your book and who is Merlin’s worst enemy?

There are five villains. There is King Vortigern, obsessed with power and greed who brings in invaders, Saxons, Jutes and Angles to protect his backside from the invading Picts. There is Gorlois, the father of Morgana, who beats her beautiful mother, Ygern, at every opportunity. There is Morgana an evil, voluptuous sorceress, a woman of perverted tastes. There is the Arch Druid Hu Powyll who uses his position of trust and power to work with the Dark and finally there is Moloch, a Prince of Darkness with blazing vermillion eyes. His purpose is to enslave Britain and place Morgana on the throne. He is Merlin’s worst enemy.

What have been your challenges whilst writing the book?

My challenges have been finding a quiet place and time to go into the very different world. It is a world of the disintegrating Roman Britain where dragons live in the waterways, gryphons that carry people across the abyss between the worlds and sometimes there is a very bossy Archangel Michael, with his sky of swords who wants to play with Merlin. And there is the wondrous Arianrhod, a weaver of dreams from the Northern Lights, who spends most of her time on the ceiling in the spying guise of a spider.

Which character do you most relate to and why?

Merlin. He is everything, timeless and just as at home in Australia or India as he is in Devon or Wales. He is a genius, a mathematician, an engineer. This is how he describes himself…”I weave magic. I engineer battles, I remember the future. I toy with the laws of nature. I fly with my ladyhawk on the sky tracks of the air. I am a smith of strangeness.” He is simply irresistible.

Finally, which Bollywood actor would you cast as Merlin? 

I am thinking of Ranveer Singh because his style is both classical and contemporary, he is very athletic, he can smoulder and he is very intelligent. That covers the hot, sexy part of Merlin and he can learn the wizardry. I prefer Romantic Comedies and there I see the perfect actress to play Merlin’s mother, Ingraine. She is Aishwaya Rai who, in my opinion is and was the most beautiful woman in the world and she would be perfect for the role of Arch Druidess and Mistress of Magic and healing arts and the guide of Merlin

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Neerja Movie Review http://bollyspice.com/neerja-movie-review/ Sun, 21 Feb 2016 05:00:12 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=120038 It is not very often that a film can grip its audience and have them believe that the screen is really happening there and then. Neerja is one of those rare films. A hijacked plane. Angry terrorists. Your heart in your mouth. This is the theme, the setting and the film’s overall tone – all of which is made even more intense by the knowledge that yes, what we are seeing on screen, did actually happen. The audience are transported to the scene through the powerful performance of the sinister hijackers and the brave Neerja Bhanout, portrayed by Sonam Kapoor.

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16feb_neerjareviewIt is not very often that a film can grip its audience and have them believe that the screen is really happening there and then. Neerja is one of those rare films.

A hijacked plane.

Angry terrorists.

Your heart in your mouth.

This is the theme, the setting and the film’s overall tone – all of which is made even more intense by the knowledge that yes, what we are seeing on screen, did actually happen.

The audience are transported to the scene through the powerful performance of the sinister hijackers and the brave Neerja Bhanout, portrayed by Sonam Kapoor.

Director Ram Madhvani has done a fantastic job of portraying the traumatic last moments of Neerja Bhanot.

Neerja was a young air-hostess and model who sacrificed her own life in order to save the passengers of her hijacked plane. On September 5th, 1986, a Pan Am flight was hijacked at Karachi Airport, Pakistan. The flight had come in from Mumbai and was heading to America. Neerja Bhanot kept the four hijackers as distracted as possible, saving the lives of the majority on board. 240 of the 361 passengers survived.

The horror of such an event is difficult to fathom. However, with Sonam Kapoor’s stellar performance and with the intensity of the characters playing the crazed hijackers, this film will leave you shell-shocked.

Sonam Kapoor’s depiction of Neerja Bhanot is proof that Sonam is an actress that has got what it takes. Her critics have at last been proven wrong! The sensitivity and strength required for Neerja’s character must have been a balancing act, one that Sonam has got spot on.

Shabhana Azmi as Rama Bhanot deserves a special mention. Azmi has a way of touching a chord with just a look or a gesture. The song Aisa Kyun Maa is heart wrenching and portrays the helplessness of both Neerja and her mother.

Nevertheless, what struck me was how clearly this film has been made with love and not with hate or revenge. The opening credits show Rama Bhanot, the actual mother of Neerja, sat in an aeroplane, sending her blessings to the audience. At this point, the viewer would not have experienced the film. However this short opening scene is vital in highlighting that kindness is stronger than hate. On seeing the mother who lost her young daughter in such a heinous way, it perhaps is easy to forget that love is really what makes the world go round.

Simply put, go and watch this film.

However be warned that the film’s intensity is reminiscent of a turbulent rollercoaster that one feels the need to get off, but must stay put until the ride is done.

The shocking events of Pan Am Flight 73 were unheard of to many, as was Neerja Bhanot.

Films are an important medium in changing the world. Neerja is a film that does just that.

Neerja Bhanot is a hero and an example of the courageous splendour the human spirit contains.

This film is not entertainment, it is education.

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REFLECTIONS 2015: Top 10 Actors of 2015 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2015-top10-actors-of-2015/ Sat, 16 Jan 2016 05:30:00 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118610 We know 2015 was not the best of years for Bollywood. Big names, bad scripts is how the year mostly went. Nevertheless, despite the bad scripts there were some stellar performances. Badlapur’s gritty plunge into the darkness of the human spirit had us recognise what a gem Varun Dhawan really is. Bajirao Mastani’s warrior general, Ranveer Singh, had us on the edge of our seats. Bhashkor Banerjee (Big B) had us love him and accept him (as well as all his imaginary illnesses) in Piku, teaching us that parents are unusual and vulnerable too. We filtered through a very mixed

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We know 2015 was not the best of years for Bollywood.

Big names, bad scripts is how the year mostly went.

Nevertheless, despite the bad scripts there were some stellar performances.

Badlapur’s gritty plunge into the darkness of the human spirit had us recognise what a gem Varun Dhawan really is. Bajirao Mastani’s warrior general, Ranveer Singh, had us on the edge of our seats. Bhashkor Banerjee (Big B) had us love him and accept him (as well as all his imaginary illnesses) in Piku, teaching us that parents are unusual and vulnerable too.

We filtered through a very mixed 2015 and now bring you BollySpice’s Top 10 Bollywood Actors of 2015!

10. Ayushmann Khurrana – Dum Laga Ke Haisha

16jan_BestActor-Ayushmann

At number 10 we have the charming Ayushman Khurrana. Ayushman has always been especially special because he is never afraid of trying unusual roles. He made his Bollywood debut in 2012 with gutsy film on being a sperm donar, Vicky Donar and 2015 saw Ayushman in another unique film Dum Laga Ke Haisha, playing the part of as Prem. When Prem has his marriage arranged to a large and curvy lady, she seems far from his dream bride. However, Prem soon learns that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that love is not cliched nor is it predictable. Ayushman brings out Prem’s conflicting emotions beautifully!

 

9. Anil Kapoor – Dil Dhadakne Do

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Anil Kapoor is always such a pleasure to watch! His role as super rich business magnate Kamal Mehra has the audience in stitches of laughter. Anil Kapoor’s sense of humour seems to be getting better and better, exactly like a good bottle of wine!

 

8. Farhan Akhtar – Dil Dhadakne Do

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Although Farhan Akhtar’s role in Dil Dhadakne Do was short, it had power. Sources state that Farhan immediately said yes to the role because the character echoed the ideology of his campaign which voices gender equality, MARD. Farhan Akhtar is a man against rape and believes in gender equality. More please!

 

7. Ranbir Kapoor – Tamasha

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Mix Ranbir and Imtiaz Ali in a pot and ta-da! We have an emotion churning, musical magic potion! Ranbir had us all gobsmacked with Rockstar, a real turning point in his career and this year we saw Ranbir in Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha. A quirky and unique film, Tamasha is guaranteed to strike a chord! Ranbir’s character Ved connects with the audience whole heartedly and reflects a person who has had to give up stability. Highly appealing as change is the only constant in life and stability but a myth.

 

6. Irrfan Khan – Piku/Jurassic World

Jurassic World

As the reluctant taxi driver in Piku, Irrfan Khan charmed hearts with his dry sense of humour. Irrfan has the gift of making a huge impact with a single expression or a single word. His role in Piku is a strong performance proving Irrfan Khan is one of the best. 2015 was also the year Irrfan shone on the Hollywood screen once again, this time as Jurassic World owner Simon Masrani in sci-fi adventure Jurassic World. He keeps getting better and bigger in Hollywood!  

 

5. Ranveer Singh – Bajirao Mastani

ranveerisbajirao

Although the film was appreciated but did not live up completely to the hype, Ranveer Singh’s performance as the undefeated general of 41 battles cannot be faulted. Ranveer holds the authority and charisma of a powerful leader and lover. Ranveer and Deepika’s chemistry made the performance all the more powerful!

 

4. Salman Khan – Bajrangi Bhaijaan

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The issue of prejudice due to religious identity is raised in this heart warming film. Salman Khan plays Bajrangi Bhaijaan, an honest and shy but courageous Hanuman devotee. What we like about Salman Khan is that he is sincerely interested in having a positive impact on the world and in being human. Salman Khan reflects being human through his performance and gives hope for the power of love and honesty to rise above the problems of the world.

 

3. Amitabh Bachchan – Piku

14oct_Piku Amitabh Bachchan 2

Big B is an iconic figure who has given Bollywood the gift of many special characters. Adding to the list is Bhaskor, the hypochondriac father in Piku. A shining performance, Amitabh Bachchan makes Bhaskor come to life with a Bengali accent and  eccentric personality. Portraying a difficult to be around parent, Bhaskor reflects the unique challenges parents and children face.

 

2. Nawazuddin SiddiquiManjhi

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui has now safely attained a reputation for being one highly talented actor who chooses complex roles pushing him the extra mile. This is just the case for Manjhi, a biopic on Dashrath Manjhi – the man who carved a road through a mountain. The task inspired by Manjhi’s beloved’s death whilst crossing the mountain takes an excruciating 22 years.  Nawazuddin as lead role ensures that the audience can not only see the painful journey, but feel the painful journey.

 

1. Varun Dhawan – Badlapur

Varun Dhawan in Badlapur 003

The cute boy next door surprised us by playing Raghu, a heart broken man seeking blood thirsty revenge. When Raghu’s wife and young son are killed during a bank robbery his life falls to pieces and his goal in life becomes killing the two men responsible. He chooses hatred instead of forgiveness, diving deep into the darkness of the human spirit. Varun Dhawan’s  portrayal of Raghu gives the audience goosebumps because it is impossible to hate Raghu. Although Raghu has morphed into a cannibal, it’s clear to see that his pain keeps him human. This performance is a must watch.

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Reflections 2015: New Year Resolutions 2016 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-new-year-resolutions-2016/ Thu, 31 Dec 2015 09:16:41 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=118197 It is already that time to say goodbye to the year that has passed and to look forward to the year ahead. And oh are we glad! Let’s face it, 2015 has been a poor year for Bollywood. A really poor year. For instance Shamitabh, Bombay Velvet and Katti Batti had the audiences hoping for a great show. We held our breaths and were rather… disappointed. And Dilwale?! Where is our SRK who has the God given gift to make the audience reel with tears, or with laughter? Well, we won’t be despondent as with a New Year arrives new

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15dec_BollySpiceNYResolutions2016It is already that time to say goodbye to the year that has passed and to look forward to the year ahead.

And oh are we glad!

Let’s face it, 2015 has been a poor year for Bollywood.

A really poor year.

For instance Shamitabh, Bombay Velvet and Katti Batti had the audiences hoping for a great show.

We held our breaths and were rather… disappointed.

And Dilwale?! Where is our SRK who has the God given gift to make the audience reel with tears, or with laughter?

Well, we won’t be despondent as with a New Year arrives new hope.

The BollySpice team have put their Bollytastic heads together to provide essential Bollywood New Year resolutions to ensure 2015 is not played on loop!

Bollywood,  you can do it!

Konkona Sen –  I shall do more films

Aishwarya, SRK, Imran, Salman – We will pick better scripts

Anushka Sharma – I will keep shining! No way will I stop shining! My NH-10 performance was a new record. But I won’t smoke in my films.

Ranbir Kapoor – I will carry on being charming. And oh so talented.

Deepika and Ranveer – We will keep on being cute. Our chemistry rocks!

Kunal Khemu – I have great potential and will get signed to more films

Tanu Weds Manu Team – We will return in 2016 because frankly we were awesome and the reason why many still held faith in Bollywood (Possibly Tanu and Manu will have kids)

Varun Dhawan – I will only say yes to a film that has a storyline. Dilwale was an “experience”. My Badlapur performance was amazing so only scripts that justify my acting skills from now on.

Kajol Devgn – I am coming back to do more films! I am gorgeous and so have not put on weight, as joked about in Dilwale.

SRK – I will never ever ever never do a Rohit Shetty film ever again. But I would like to keep the beard.

Censor board – If we are cutting a kiss from the James bond movie then we might want to consider cutting movies like Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Mastizaade next year from the theatre all together. We might as well show porn in theatres.

Bollywood –  I will go back to classic both in film AND music. I remember the days of Mughal-e-Azam! Oh and Pakeezah, Umrao Jaan, Guide, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge!

Bollywood – I will write better scripts! I remember the days of Maine Pyar Kiya!

Bollywood – I shall return to music that makes the world want to sing. I remember the days of Bobby and Taal and DDLJ!

So there we have it, keep believing in Bollywood people!

Very soon we shall see the return of films such as this…

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When Bollywood gets Real: Lessons through Songs http://bollyspice.com/when-bollywood-gets-real-lessons-through-songs/ Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:02:30 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=115609 Bollywood is famously known as being escapist. True, there are heroes who can lift cars, women who can change into 7 different sari’s during a 4 minute song and indeed dance in these saris amidst snowy mountains. However, Bollywood can be non-escapist too as it deals with real life issues that are deep and sometimes that are at the core of us all. As we live our lives we find that sometimes we tumble through, sometimes we swim and sometimes we sink. Or rather, we feel that we sink. It is certainly in those challenging moments of feeling utterly lost

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Bollywood is famously known as being escapist.

True, there are heroes who can lift cars, women who can change into 7 different sari’s during a 4 minute song and indeed dance in these saris amidst snowy mountains.

However, Bollywood can be non-escapist too as it deals with real life issues that are deep and sometimes that are at the core of us all.

As we live our lives we find that sometimes we tumble through, sometimes we swim and sometimes we sink. Or rather, we feel that we sink. It is certainly in those challenging moments of feeling utterly lost and betrayed by life that transformation occurs – if we choose.

Life is full of ups and downs and we cannot control the seasons that come.

Nevertheless, choosing to see bewildering times as transformation is in our power.

And films can serve as an inspiration to do that.

For some, films help to understand the world.

Okay, life is not like Bollywood with the ideal families, the perfect love story or magical endings. With family and love sometimes come unexpected difficulties, and “endings” don’t exist. Instead it is all a continuing personal journey of learning and self growth.

So, placing aside Bollywood’s reputation as “escapist” here is an exploration of songs that go deep and hit nerves that really exist. If we are lucky, we may tumble, stumble or sink amongst these places.

Yeh Duniya Bhi Miljaye (Pyaasa, 1957)

Guru Dutt’s masterpiece poignantly reflects that we chase those things that usually take us further away from ourselves.

So what if I end up with the whole world at my feet?

The money is fake. People are fake. Prestige is given to the fake.

Youth is wasted on trying to make the word love the body whilst love itself has become a word distorted, devalued, misunderstood.

So what if I end up with the whole world at my feet?

Take it away, burn it away, take it away.

 

Wahan Kaun Hai Tera (Guide, 1965) 

Sometimes we cannot go where we want to go. Even worse, we do not have any one to turn to for love and comfort. That’s when we must trust life to take us where it may and to go to a place inside where there is abundance of love and comfort. Trusting life and finding the key to that inner place is the best lesson life can teach.

 

Aye Khuda (Murder 2, 2011)

Becoming so bewildered that one is lost. Holding onto things in this life that will eventually turn to dust. Emphasised is that it is never too late to find an inner place within and deal with the pain.

 

Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar, 2011)

Nothing stays the same in life. Nor the good times or the bad. It all passes. So, when we look to a place beyond desire and attachment, that’s when it becomes clear. It becomes clear that there is something higher which is accessible to all. Letting go and trusting the universe is the best way to live. Flourish where you are planted.

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Rock on 2!! – A musical beauty begins filming http://bollyspice.com/rock-on-2-a-musical-beauty-begins-filming/ Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:25:39 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=114509 The sequel to Rock on!! (2008) is now busy filming. Sources state that the script demanded a picturesque location. Well, India is certainly not devoid of that! The lucky town to have been chosen is that of Shillong. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is also known as “The Abode of Clouds”. The small town’s beauty is sure to captivate it’s audience on the big screen – a huge plus already as the sequel has big boots to fill. It’s prequel Rock on!! was critically acclaimed despite not doing exceptionally well at the box office. The BBC for instance described Rock on!!

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The sequel to Rock on!! (2008) is now busy filming.

Sources state that the script demanded a picturesque location. Well, India is certainly not devoid of that!

The lucky town to have been chosen is that of Shillong. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is also known as “The Abode of Clouds”.

The small town’s beauty is sure to captivate it’s audience on the big screen – a huge plus already as the sequel has big boots to fill. It’s prequel Rock on!! was critically acclaimed despite not doing exceptionally well at the box office.

The BBC for instance described Rock on!! as, “an enthralling watch, with entertaining moments to make you smile. Predicted to be a cult movie for many years to come, it truly deserves the Bollywood awards this year! A must-see whether you are a rock fan or not!”

Director Shujaat Saudgaar and Farhan Akhtar have arrived at Shillong and are expected to be joined by the rest of the team in due course.

The film is set to star the original cast of Arjun Rampal, Farhan Akhtar, Prachi Desai, Purab Kohli.

The additional star is Shraddha Kapoor who will act opposite Farhan Akhtar.

Our Sources also tell us that Shraddha Kapoor has been receiving singing lessons by Priyanka Chopra and is to sing three of the films songs.

A musical no doubt, sources are stating that a popular Shillong band Summersalt is to record a song with Farhan Akhtar and there are also plans to be featured in the film too!

A feast for the eyes no doubt.

Rock on 2!! Promises to also be a feast for the ears!

The film is scheduled to release September 2016.

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The Merchant of Vembley – Bollywood in North London! http://bollyspice.com/the-merchant-of-vembley-bollywood-in-north-london/ Sun, 04 Oct 2015 08:30:00 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=114249 The world of Bollywood and the works of Shakespeare have an igniting connection. Oozing with Othello’s jealousy and a love affair gone sourly pear-shaped, we have Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2006). Then there’s the obvious Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers are a favourite pair amongst Bollywood. The tragedy has churned out flicks such as Bobby (1973), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) and the more recent Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (2013). The surefire combination of Bollywood and Shakespeare now comes through The Merchant of Vembley, a stage play set in London’s North Wembley and perfomed at The Cockpit, London. If you

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15oct_merchantofvembleyThe world of Bollywood and the works of Shakespeare have an igniting connection. Oozing with Othello’s jealousy and a love affair gone sourly pear-shaped, we have Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2006).

Then there’s the obvious Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers are a favourite pair amongst Bollywood. The tragedy has churned out flicks such as Bobby (1973), Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) and the more recent Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela (2013).

The surefire combination of Bollywood and Shakespeare now comes through The Merchant of Vembley, a stage play set in London’s North Wembley and perfomed at The Cockpit, London.

If you have never been to Wembley (or even if you have), close your eyes and picture delicious samosa’s selling in the high street. Then visualise every Asian aunty and uncle on the street and of course, that Indian shop that sells 50 different types of achaar (pickle).

Yes, we are in Wembley!

There is the football stadium of course but for some, Wembley is the home of culture clash, the strange world of confusion and delight experienced by both Asian parents and their British offspring.

So, it is clear.

The soil of Wembley is fertile for exploration and primed to sow seeds of crisis. Seeds which may bloom (hopefully) into realisation.

Taking this dizzying mix and adding not just Bollywood but Shakespeare is Shishir Kurup who brings to stage The Merchant of Vembley.

The Merchant of Vembley pivots on Hindu-Muslim struggle for power and explores a multi-cultural society harvesting tales of forbidden love. Sadly inevitable in today’s world is also prejudice, a theme explored in the play.

One asks, is there a way around prejudice? Is a happy society, a happy world just a myth? Perhaps the play will delve into this – but I’m not expecting the answer to be black and white. It surely will be interesting to see how this theme is tackled.

The play unfolds with Bollywood dropout Jeetandra setting his sights not only on Hollywood but Pushpa, a loaded Gujrati heiress. Then comes Jeetandra’s best friend Devandra. Throw in the villain Sharuk, some unsettled bills and an ever-green arranged marriage and there we have it! Shakespearian tragedy and Bollywood drama!

This play certainly promises to be an exciting watch.

Music.

Music is the backbone of Bollywood thus how can a Shakespearian Bollywood play be devoid of music?

Wickedly funny and written in iambic pentameter, The Merchant of Vembley reflects the multi-cultural diversity of Wembley through music: rock-n-roll and Bollywood as well as the dramatic blank verse, video and pop-references.

Indian, American and Afro-Caribbean jargon will bring to life characters giving the viewer an insight into today’s multi-cultural London and South Asian diaspora.

Clashing cultures can be painful but also the perfect soil for one to truly find their roots. Will ex Bollywood boy Jeetandra fly back to Mumbai? Will Pushpa find true love? Will the best friend come through. And indeed, will the villain have a protruding mole on his right cheek (aka. Jivan the original Bollywood gangster)?

Visit The Merchant of Vembley to find out!

Website:  vembley.com

Twitter : @merchantvembley

Facebook:  facebook.com/merchantwembley

Creative team:

Directed by Ajay Chowdhury

Design by Sean Cavanagh

Lighting Design by Ben Cracknell

Video by Louise Rhoades-Brown

Cast

Jarreau Antoine – Armando (Lorenzo in Merchant of Venice)

Shamir Dawood  – Jeetendra (Bassanio)

Mikhael DeVille – Amithabha (Gratiano)

Emilio Doorgasingh – Sharuk (Shylock)

Vijay Doshi -Yogananda (Salarino)

Rohit Gokani – Devender (Antonio)

Anil Goutam – Shivananda (Salanio)

Taj Kandula – Kavita (Nerissa)

Ishwar Maharaj – Tooranpoi (Lancelot Gobbo)

Aria Prasad – Pushpa (Portia)

Ambreen Razia – Noorani (Jessica)

Tuesday 6th to Sunday 25th October

Tuesdays to Saturdays – 7.30pm, Sundays 2.00pm

Tickets:

Full price: £17.50 Concessions: £13.50

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“It opened my eyes towards the plight of homosexuals in India” – Preeti Gupta speaks to BollySpice http://bollyspice.com/it-opened-my-eyes-towards-the-plight-of-homosexuals-in-india-preeti-gupta-speaks-to-bollyspice/ Sat, 27 Jun 2015 02:00:47 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=105497 Raj Amit Kumar’s film Unfreedom remains banned in India. Having watched this brave film I must say that it touches on the taboo of lesbianism, honour and shame and the position of a daughter amidst South Asian Society. If one explores the histories of South Asia then one will find same-sex love and the blurred lines of a fixed state of gender in abundance. For instance Agni the Hindu fire God is stated to have been born of two mothers. Urdu poetry celebrated same-sex female love through Rehkti Poetry. So why so much ignorance and shame towards lesbianism, same-sex love?

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15jun_preetiinterviewRaj Amit Kumar’s film Unfreedom remains banned in India.

Having watched this brave film I must say that it touches on the taboo of lesbianism, honour and shame and the position of a daughter amidst South Asian Society.

If one explores the histories of South Asia then one will find same-sex love and the blurred lines of a fixed state of gender in abundance. For instance Agni the Hindu fire God is stated to have been born of two mothers. Urdu poetry celebrated same-sex female love through Rehkti Poetry.

So why so much ignorance and shame towards lesbianism, same-sex love?

There are many factors including carrying on the generation and producing offspring, the issue of whom one marries reflecting family honour and of course, a woman’s chastity representing the family reputation.

These hard hitting and raw realities are explored in Unfreedom through Preeti Gupta’s lesbian character, Leela. I had the opportunity to interview Preeti Gupta and ask her about her experience playing an Indian lesbian character – certainly a big step in a country that has banned homosexuality as criminal offence.

Did you feel hesitant playing a lesbian role because of the stigma surrounding homosexuality in South Asia?

No I did not, exactly because there is a stigma attached to it, so I think more and more people should help the LGBT community by taking up roles representing them. 

What reactions have you received since the film? Have you received any negativity or any threats since playing a lesbian character?

I have only received support and encouragement… If there’s any negativity, no one has directly expressed it to me.

Describe your character in 3 words:

Love, Light, Vulnerability 

What challenged you most about your role?

Playing a homosexual and getting inside the skin of someone who is deeply fighting her own sexuality and for the acceptance of that.  

What did you love about Leela?

I love that she loves fully and expresses it to the person she loves. 

What annoyed you about Leela?

That somewhere she forgets her own self in being this and that for people she loves whether it’s her father or her partner Sakhi, they are always first for her… Which is how it is for many of us.. But I like that by the end of the film she is more resolved and in a space of strength. 

What is your opinion on “honour and shame” in South Asian society?

My opinion is that honour comes from living as a good human being and truly being able to care for people whether we agree we them , their cultures or not.. Being expansive and tolerant is honourable for me. 

What are you taking away from your experience with UnFreedom?

I’m taking away a lot of gratitude that my life allows me to be who I am, also it opened my eyes towards the plight of homosexuals in India.

You recently praised the fashion app Myntra for portraying a lesbian couple in their advert. How can other brands be encouraged to also stand up for LGBTQ rights?

I think everyone should think in their own way how they can support this cause. 

Do you see same-sex love appearing openly on the Bollywood screen soon?

I don’t see it happening currently but I truly hope to see it very soon.

In the film, a father and daughter’s relationship is explored. What advice would you give to a parent who has had a child come out as LGBTQ?

I would say please love your child and accept them, your love and acceptance will give them strength to face an unkind world, being a homosexual is neither a curse , nor is it a psychological problem not is it something that can change… It’s just. A natural state of being. So please accept the apple for being an apple instead of trying to make it an orange  

What advice would you give to a person who is thinking of coming out as LGBTQ?

I would say be wise, be patient with your own self and others, understand that change and transformation is a process which involves time and lot of mistakes, there is no right way of doing it… But you will surely find a way that suits you best if you keep walking…

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