Anjum Shabbir – BollySpice.com http://bollyspice.com The latest movies, interviews in Bollywood Fri, 01 Jul 2016 16:18:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.3 REFLECTIONS 2014: Best Directors of 2014 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2014-best-directors-of-2014/ Wed, 14 Jan 2015 04:48:02 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=95842 Directors, they are the driving force behind the movies. They take the words on the page and bring them to life on screen. They guide the actors, they work with the crew, they create the shots, they create the sound and the songs with the music directors and so much more. Every year there are some directors whose work truly stands out and we like to shine the spotlight on them.  So, it’s not strictly a top ten and we have not put them in numerical order as such. Plus there are a few surprise horses, but here are the

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Directors, they are the driving force behind the movies. They take the words on the page and bring them to life on screen. They guide the actors, they work with the crew, they create the shots, they create the sound and the songs with the music directors and so much more. Every year there are some directors whose work truly stands out and we like to shine the spotlight on them.  So, it’s not strictly a top ten and we have not put them in numerical order as such. Plus there are a few surprise horses, but here are the directors the BollySpice team thought shone through brightest in 2014 and a few personal reasons for why – enjoy!

Hansal Mehta (Citylights)

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It was a remake of 2013’s Metro Manila, but relocated to Mumbai. It tells the timeless tale of a village worker migrating to the big city and the struggles which that bring. Hansal’s remake was as good as the original (check the ratings in IMDB!) and extracted great performances from his cast, most notably lead actor Rajkummar Rao. A slow burner, but nevertheless a really well made film.

Vinil Mathew (Hasee Toh Phasee)

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He gave loveable and rising actress Parineeti Chopra her only decent film and hit of the year. Praised for not being a run-of-the-mill romcom, the film was noted for its excellent dialogue, which was written by? You guessed it – Vinil also!

Hasee Toh Phasee had a great combination of comedy, emotion and entertainment. But it also went a little deeper, giving us a reflection on Indian society and providing extra layers to the script, which weren’t expected.

An excellent debut for a promising first time director!

Pradeep Sarkar (Mardaani)

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Re-launching former lead actresses the right way is becoming an art form itself, requiring more mature roles and scripts and allowing actresses the opportunity to do something both different and challenging. Pradeep delivers these aplomb for Rani Mukherjee.

As one of our viewers put it: “It was like watching Aamir Khan, in an Aamir Khan movie!” What more can we say of both Pradeep and his Mardaani!

Homi Adajania (Finding Fanny)

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An amazing star cast comprising of thespians Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Dimple Kapadia and also featuring Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor, this film had one of the most interesting lineups, music and treatments of 2014.

One BollySpicer says: “He (Homi) really managed to balance the absurdity and humour so well.”

David Dhawan (Main Tera Hero)

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One of our surprising entries for 2014 and one which quite a few of our writers backed.

One BollySpicer totally explains why: “He (Dhawan) took an incredibly (average) South Indian film, reworked it so that it worked as a Bollywood film and just sparkled. It was his own inimitable style of filmmaking (and I recognize that may not be everyone’s cup of tea), but he was on form and the film ended up a lot of fun. I’ll confess to having seen it maybe five or six times already!”

Abhishek Varman (2 States)

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It’s always tough adapting a book, and a successful one at that, onto the big screen. Audiences were clearly pleased with the results which saw writer Chetan Bhagat’s real life romance between himself (a North Indian Punjabi) and his wife (a South Indian Tamil) presented through the dynamic pairing of Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Vikas Bahl (Queen)

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One of the best feel-good films of the year and one which saw Kangana Ranaut shine through as a young lady on her journey of emancipation. Amazing performances, great music and a lovely story line.

Our BollySpice review expressed the entire film in just five words: “Simple and heartfelt film making.”

Mohit Suri (Ek Villain)

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Following up a mega-hit like Aashiqui 2 was always going to be difficult. But our review said, “It was a really good watch. Though not as romantically intense as Aashiqui 2, I still think the story was quite meaningful and well made…”.

Not to forget one of this year’s best film soundtracks also.

Imtiaz Ali (Highway)

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Imtiaz continued his classic themes of displacement and belonging with an early career best performance from Alia Bhatt. He took us on an amazing journey from the city, through the interiors of India and back, laced with some amazing cinematography and plenty of food for thought throughout and by the end. A journey many of us had never taken before and one we would love to go on again.

Rajkumar Hirani (PK)

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What next from the man who last gave us 3 Idiots? Re-team with the country’s greatest actor and deliver something fun, loving and different.

Critics and fans may have been torn, but one BollySpicer puts it best: “Very few directors would have been able to create a unique story like that. There’s a lot of complexity in the narrative and the fact that he interspersed it with comedy, romance as well as presenting a social message is a very rare indeed.”

Vishal Bhardwaj (Haider)

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Hands down winner with the most votes from all of us for 2014. Vishal took a Shakespeare classic, shaped it into a classic Indian story and totally revitalised Shahid Kapoor’s career in the process. Anyone who will have seen even the trailers for this film, would have realised a masterpiece in the making.

Special mentions:

Omung Kumar (Mary Kom)

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The second of 2014’s first time directors was Omung and picking a biopic of female boxer Mary Kom was a tough call. However, it was one which Omung was able to pull off. Taking a leading commercial actress such as Priyanka Chopra, having her portray a sports icon and pulling it off, was a success in itself.

All credit to Omung, his direction was sincere and honest throughout.

Shashanka Ghosh (Khoobsurat)

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His last film was back in 2010 and he is known for small budget, powerful performance films, therefore directing a film for Disney, Anil Kapoor and Siddharth Roy Kapoor, was a big move for Shashanka. With a good critical response, the film which started slow, grew through word of mouth and ended up being declared a surprise hit. Let’s hope we see more from Shashanka.

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REFLECTIONS 2014: Best Indie Films of 2014 http://bollyspice.com/reflections-2014-best-indie-films-2014/ Wed, 07 Jan 2015 10:32:52 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=95893 Powerful messages, stunning cinematography and authentic performances – 2014 was a good year for independent (indie) cinema. Here is a list of some of our favourites which are worth catching if you missed them. Ilai (Leaf) Director Rajiv Reddy’s film traced the journey of a young homeless girl in India, Chennai. Ilai was a good exploration of human emotion, survival and regeneration. The performances were outstanding and natural. Profoundly, the protagonist returns to the same place that she had started off at at the beginning of the film; however, this time she sees the world with different eyes. The film

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Powerful messages, stunning cinematography and authentic performances – 2014 was a good year for independent (indie) cinema. Here is a list of some of our favourites which are worth catching if you missed them.

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Ilai (Leaf)

Director Rajiv Reddy’s film traced the journey of a young homeless girl in India, Chennai. Ilai was a good exploration of human emotion, survival and regeneration. The performances were outstanding and natural. Profoundly, the protagonist returns to the same place that she had started off at at the beginning of the film; however, this time she sees the world with different eyes. The film highlights how experiences impact the human soul. We saw this at the London Indian Film Festival and our reviewer wrote, “At times, the cinematography will have you spell bound. Artistic shots of the sun and the streets make this film a visual treat: for instance, a particular shot of the heat rising from the train tracks is executed so well, you can feel the heat – an achievement for any piece of art.”

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Anima State

Directed by independent filmmaker Hammad Khan, Anima State was a bold film which required patience to understand it. It was filled with symbolism and offered much to digest. At the London Indian Film Festival, the director said that this film “is like a strange sequence of dreams – a factor excellently portrayed throughout the film.” This film is certainly not for the faint hearted! Bloodshed aplenty and many complex messages – do not watch this home on a date! Anima State is worth a watch. However, expect to be confused.

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Barefoot to Goa

Director Praveen Morchhale’s film told the story of a Mumbai raised brother and sister who decide to run away from home and set out on the search for their grandmother, to bring her home. The film’s strength lay in its direction, dialogue and symbolism. A beautifully sensitive film exploring family, Barefoot to Goa is poignant and haunting. Just to note at the end credits of Barefoot to Goa screening at LIFF, there was pin drop silence.

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Qissa

Director Anup Singh’s Qissa was a artistic and hard hitting exploration of home, identity and belonging. The foundational strength of the film were the performances. The films complexities were intensified through breath-taking cinematography. Qissa courageously explored same-sex love and highlights that love is beyond gender. The film is a must watch!

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Hemalkasa

Hemalkasa was based on the true story of the lives and works of Dr Prakash Baba Amte (Nana Patekar) and his wife Dr Mandakani Amte (Sonali Kulkarni). Both of them contribute towards the development of the rural village by providing medicinal support to its people, as well as protecting animals who have escaped from harm.

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Margarita, with a Straw

Brave, real and beautiful, were the words which described Director Shonali Bose’s Margarita, with a Straw. The films protagonist Laila (Kalki Koechlin) was a young bisexual woman with cerebral palsy and made the film a must watch. A message that shone through was that love is something each one of us want and have the right to have – without discrimination. An important film for human rights and a celebration of life.

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Titli

Director Kanu Behl’s Titli displayed Delhi’s dystopic underbelly and focused on protagonist Titli, the youngest member of a violent carjacking brotherhood, who plots a desperate bid to escape the ‘family’ business. Quirky and interesting.

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Sulemani Keeda

This was one of Farhan Akhter’s favourite films of 2014. A bromantic comedy about two struggling writers who peddle their mediocre screenplay, “Sulemani Keeda” in Bollywood. The characters were quirky and the movie is full of witty dialogues and fun elements.

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Citylights

Director Hansal Mehta’s official remake of Metro Manila was a well made film, which extracted amazing performances from its lead cast, featuring Rajkummar Rao as Deepak Singh, who faces the challenges of life in a big city. Critic Subhash K. Jha gave the film 4 stars out of 5 and states that Citylights “would remain with me for a long time. Gripping glorious and unforgettable, it is a shattering life-changing experience.”

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Filmistaan

Filmistaan starring Sharib Hashmi and Inaamulhaq was one of the feel good films of the year. Essentially about a movie buff who dreams of becoming a superstar, the film actually explored the bond which ties two foes (India and Pakistan) together, through a shared love of film – Bollywood!

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Ugly

Perhaps the last release of 2014, not everyone has a taste for an Anurag Kashyap film, but if there is one Anurag Kashyap film you’re to watch, it should be Ugly! “Immacutely conceptualised and executed”, Ugly serves as a brutal mirror to society, which will act as a wake up call and stir up realisations that perhaps you’ve been ignoring.

 

Though not Hindi Indies, there are two films we HAD to add to the list.

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Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain

Inspired by true events, Bhopal followed the interwoven stories of characters in both India and America, set in the months leading up to the Bhopal industrial disaster and the devastation that occurred in one night. The strength of the film was that it puts a human aspect to the horrific tale and it makes the tragedy felt so much more. With outstanding performances by Rajpal Yadav, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Martin Sheen, this film is an absolute must see. This story must be told and people must be made aware so that something like this can never occur again.

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Sold

If we were to review it simply as a film, we can confidently say Sold is an excellent piece of cinema – well written, well acted, well directed. However, it is so much more. Sold was produced with a vision and mission in mind – to help eradicate child sex trafficking. In the words of the director, Jeffrey D Brown, Sold was intended more as a movement, rather than simply a film. “We are really hoping to use the film Sold to leverage change and mitigate the end of this human issue globally.” A film to see and then to act!

With contribution from Aashi Gahlot and Stacey Yount.

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Haider Movie Review http://bollyspice.com/haider-movie-review/ Thu, 02 Oct 2014 13:27:57 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=91867 “To be, or not to be: that is the question…” To watch Haider, or not: that is the question. Prologue ‘Hamlet’ is a Shakespearean tragedy adapted countless times, on stages and celluloid throughout different nations, cultures and times. Now the sir who adapted ‘Macbeth’ (Maqbool) and ‘Othello’ (Omkara) previously, presents his interpretation of ‘Hamlet’ as Haider. Enter filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and his actor Shahid Kapur as Hamlet. This is the third part of Vishal Bharadwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy and we can tell you beforehand, his best was saved till last. Opening Act: The exposition The greatest achievement of Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation

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14jul_Haider-Poster03“To be, or not to be: that is the question…” To watch Haider, or not: that is the question.

Prologue

‘Hamlet’ is a Shakespearean tragedy adapted countless times, on stages and celluloid throughout different nations, cultures and times. Now the sir who adapted ‘Macbeth’ (Maqbool) and ‘Othello’ (Omkara) previously, presents his interpretation of ‘Hamlet’ as Haider. Enter filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and his actor Shahid Kapur as Hamlet. This is the third part of Vishal Bharadwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy and we can tell you beforehand, his best was saved till last.

Opening Act: The exposition

The greatest achievement of Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Hamlet, lies in its setting – Kashmir. (The tragedy of) Hamlet was set in the dark and cold Kingdom of Denmark and tells the tale of Hamlet, a young prince out the avenge the death of his father, the King of Denmark. The King is killed by his own brother Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and has also wed Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude.

Haider is set in the beautiful valleys of mid-nineties Kashmir, against the backdrop of state oppression and separatist militancy, where Haider is a student and his father is a local doctor named Hilaal, from a middle-class background. His mother Gertrude (Ghazala) is enacted by Tabu, his uncle Claudius (Khurram) is performed by Kay Kay Menon and his love interest Ophelia (Arshee) is played by Shraddha Kapoor. The context of Haider is relatable, it is realistic and yet contemporary.

Themes

Vishal Bharadwaj weaves Hamlet’s varying and complex themes of revenge, moral corruption, deception, politics and madness into a perfectly blended tale which satisfies both the Shakespearean and Indian cinema lovers alike. He also effortlessly merges the political backdrop of Kashmir and it’s issues of ‘disappeared persons’ and ‘half-widows’, to the themes and context of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Two short examples: one is a key act in Hamlet where he stages a play, in which he narrates a running commentary throughout and that serves to re-enact his father’s murder. From this Hamlet seeks to ascertain his uncle Claudius’ reaction and therefore implied guilt. This is presented in Bharadwaj’s adaptation in the song ‘Bismil’, sung by Sukhwinder Singh, which is both dramatic and Bollywood in it’s presentation, yet retains the essence and purpose of the original scene.

Another delightful example are the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are two student friends of Hamlet and sent as spies to observe him. In Haider they become two entertaining Salman Khan obsessed devotees, which is both comic and poignant. Those two examples aside, much more lies within Haider, which again you will either appreciate directly as a Hamlet adaptation, or even without, you will enjoy as a piece of popular Indian cinema.

Closing Act: The finale

Haider is a cinematic triumph for Vishal Bhardwaj and the crescendo of his three Shakespearean adaptations. It is an acting re-birth of Shahid Kapur following 2007’s Kaminey. It has a plethora of scintillating performances: Tabu as Gertrude/Ghazala, Kay Kay Menon as Claudius and special appearance by Irrfan Khan, as one of Hamlet’s integral characters. Haider is an experience which needs to be watched by audiences all over for it’s cinematography, directing, performances and as an accomplished adaptation of a literary classic. Encore team and cast of Haider, Encore!

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Akshay rocks London’s O2 http://bollyspice.com/akshay-rocks-londons-o2/ Mon, 11 Aug 2014 06:39:43 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=88446 If anyone thought it was the first ever Kabaddi matches of the newly formed World Kabaddi League in London’s O2 arena, you will have completely forgotten about the tournament, for once the Khiladi Kumar stepped onto the arena floor, following the end of the matches, it was ALL ABOUT HIM! Akshay simply rocked the floor and audience, with uplifting beats ‘Shera Di Kaum’ and ‘Party All Night, and even a rendition of ‘Mujh Mein Tu’ from his film Special 26, as well as lending his vocals to ‘Mundiyan To Bachke’. Akshay not only addressed the audience in Punjabi, he also

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If anyone thought it was the first ever Kabaddi matches of the newly formed World Kabaddi League in London’s O2 arena, you will have completely forgotten about the tournament, for once the Khiladi Kumar stepped onto the arena floor, following the end of the matches, it was ALL ABOUT HIM!

Akshay simply rocked the floor and audience, with uplifting beats ‘Shera Di Kaum’ and ‘Party All Night, and even a rendition of ‘Mujh Mein Tu’ from his film Special 26, as well as lending his vocals to ‘Mundiyan To Bachke’. Akshay not only addressed the audience in Punjabi, he also shared some special words of wisdom on the key to success.

What made Akshay’s performance all the more special was that it was reported to be his 500th performance in his 24 year career! Despite the below average turnout for the matches, once Akshay hit the floor, the number of ladies who raced to grab the superstar’s hands, showed that everyone had clearly been waiting for him all day!

Oh and if you were wondering about the Kabaddi matches, then we are pleased to share with you that Akshay’s team Khalsa Warriors did win their debut match against rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh’s team Yo Yo Tigers. So a double win for Akshay’s fans. Go Akshay Go!

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Kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi…An introduction for BollySpice readers http://bollyspice.com/kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi-introduction-bollyspice-readers/ Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:45:22 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=87988 The popular classic Indian sport known as Kabaddi is about to get Cricket’s Indian Premier League treatment. By that we mean a complete makeover and relaunch with heavy doses of glamour and glitz, teams brought to you by Bollywood stars and matches played across the world. Here at Bollyspice we thought we’d take a little time to give our own special overview of the game, the key things you need to know and what to watch out for. What is Kabaddi? Kabaddi is a popular national sport played across the Indian sub-continent, with many other countries such as China, Thailand,

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14aug_WorldKabaddiLeague-Sonakshi01The popular classic Indian sport known as Kabaddi is about to get Cricket’s Indian Premier League treatment. By that we mean a complete makeover and relaunch with heavy doses of glamour and glitz, teams brought to you by Bollywood stars and matches played across the world.

Here at Bollyspice we thought we’d take a little time to give our own special overview of the game, the key things you need to know and what to watch out for.

What is Kabaddi?

Kabaddi is a popular national sport played across the Indian sub-continent, with many other countries such as China, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Iran and Nepal also participating. It is also played extensively in Western countries by diaspora communities.

Kabaddi is a combination of ‘tag’ and wrestling. A contact sport, which consists of 2 teams, each with 7 players and 3 reserve players. The game is played in 2 halves of 20 minutes each, within a circular boundary.

A team sends 1 of it’s players into the other teams ‘den’ or side, where they have to tag 1 of the opposing team’s 7 players and return to their side without getting wrestled down to the ground. However, whilst doing this the player must inhale his breath and not be able to exhale again until the player returns to their respective side. The player will be chanting ‘kabaddi, kabaddi’ during this process. If the player is taken down, then the opposing team scores a point. When the entire team is taken out, 2 additional points are scored.

14aug_WorldKabaddiLeague-Sonakshi02World Kabaddi League

The inaugural match of the World Kabaddi league kicks off on Saturday 9th August at the London O2 Arena. The opening ceremony will see a crowd raising performance by Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, who is also the owner of one of the participant teams.

Following the opening weekend in London (9th and 10th) the venue will be shifting to England’s second city Birmingham, where Sonakshi Sinha’s team will be playing (16th and 17th August).

The league will be played internationally moving from cities in England, to America, Canada, United Arab Emirates and on to India. Fixtures will be spread across 5 months and a multi-million pound prize awaits the league winners, as well as healthy annual salaries for all the 250 world class players.

The finals will be played out in December in India, but not before 86 gruelling matches, where each team will get to play the other at least twice.

Bollywood star owned teams

– Speedy Singhs is owned by Akshay Kumar

– Yo Yo Tigers is owned by Yo Yo Honey Singh

– United Singhs is owned by Sonakshi Sinha

– Punjab Thunder is owned by Rajat Bedi

If you’re in the U.K and want to catch one of the matches in either London or Birmingham you can book your tickets here.

Stay posted for our exclusive interviews with team owners Sonakshi Sinha and Akshay Kumar.

GET READY TO JOIN OVER 1 MILLION EXISTING KABADDI FANS ACROSS THE WORLD…

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(L-R) Rajat Bedi, Akshay Kumar, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Honey Singh

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Raman Raheja, CEO WKL

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Exclusive interview with Farhan Akhtar at LIFF! http://bollyspice.com/exclusive-interview-farhan-akhtar-liff/ Thu, 17 Jul 2014 05:12:09 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86399 A BollySpice exclusive with filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, as part of the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) 2014 and ahead of his public ‘Screen Talk’. Farhan shares his views on American television series, 3D cinema, budget filmmaking and more… Have you had a chance to catch any of the films showing at the LIFF and are there any stand out films for you? The one film I have seen, in Mumbai actually, which is part of the film festival, is Sulemani Keeda. That’s one film that I liked very much. I believe the filmmakers are in London as well, so hopefully

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14jul_farhanliff-01A BollySpice exclusive with filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, as part of the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) 2014 and ahead of his public ‘Screen Talk’.

Farhan shares his views on American television series, 3D cinema, budget filmmaking and more…

Have you had a chance to catch any of the films showing at the LIFF and are there any stand out films for you?

The one film I have seen, in Mumbai actually, which is part of the film festival, is Sulemani Keeda. That’s one film that I liked very much. I believe the filmmakers are in London as well, so hopefully we will get to meet them.

How about in the last 9-12 months, particularly in the world cinema range, anything which particularly stood out for you?

Gosh, I wish I was more prepared! Really have to jog my memory on that one!

No worries at all. Lets talk about television: there’s a big movement towards television series in America, by big Hollywood actors and filmmakers. Is that something which interests you and that you would consider doing?

I would definitely consider doing it! What’s currently happening is series like 24 are now being made in Hindi, which Anil Kapoor is doing. I feel content is going to be very key, for any actor to decide whether he or she wants to be part of a TV show or a TV mini-series. As long as the content is something which is very exciting, by all means why not.

Production values need to be to a certain level also. The writing which happens for television, be it Game of Thrones, True Detective, House of Cards or Boardwalk Empire – these are some great shows from a writing perspective. If that could happen in India, then I think all actors would want to work in them.

Expanding on this idea of good content, what do you feel is the state of (Mumbai based) Indian cinema today – the good, the bad, the ugly?

14jul_farhanliff-02THE GOOD: What is happening with the Mumbai film industry today is that the horizons are definitely getting broader. The kind of stories that we are telling, the issues that we are wanting to talk about are getting more diverse, which is a healthy thing.

THE BAD: On the other hand I also feel that there is a strange kind of censorship that is creeping in, in terms of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. A lot of these at times can be self-inflicted, for fear of what may happen to your film once it’s out there. If we have our films put through a process, where they go through a censor board, where the board gives it a certificate and deems it fit for the wider public, beyond that I feel that the filmmaker needs to be protected by that administration and there has to be a machinery that stands up for the filmmaker, once the process it through. In India, you’re currently left pretty much to your own devices.

THE UGLY: Nobody wants their theatre to get broken, or their family to get threatened, or a threat to their lives. it’s a human instinct. With that I feel that there is a certain protection that filmmakers need, which they aren’t currently getting. If the Ministry of Information passes your film, I don’t think a non-Governmental agency, or random people should be able to stop you from releasing your film. So if you can empower me to feel safe in sharing my ideas in the way that I would like to, then I feel you will see even more diverse subjects being made. Until that happens, there will always be a fine line of how far a filmmaker is willing to go.

You’ve talked about the process of getting a film made, so of all the hats you wear: director, actor, writer, producer – which role do you find most creatively satisfying?

All of them actually! There is a slightly more wholesome fulfilment from when you direct a film, because you have seen something from inception all the way till it’s out there, which you don’t as an actor or as a writer. As a director it’s more fulfilling, especially when your work gets appreciated. Saying that, of course when you work in anything and people say good things about it, for example Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, you feel good about it too. As long as I feel good about doing something, whether it works or it doesn’t work, if my conscience feels good, then I’m satisfied.

Focussing on Farhan the director, what would your advice be to a budding filmmaker, given the accessibility and technology available today: go out and make a film on a shoestring budget, or learn the ropes under a director?

I’ve seen many people make films with not much in terms of production back up or set up. A great example of this was a talent who was taken away from us too early, Manish Acharya, who made the Loins of Punjab. It was made on a really tiny budget, but was such a powerfully written film and very fresh. I feel what he did with that film, is a great example for budding filmmakers.

14jul_farhanliff-03It eventually comes down to good content, whether you shoot it on film, or on digital. If you have the biggest star in India, or just a capable actor, what will connect with people is how interested they are in the story. Is it engaging them? Is it entertaining them? Or is it boring them? You’ll see some of the biggest budget movies, with the biggest actors and you’ll think within fifteen minutes, I need to leave!

So as a budding filmmaker, just be true to making what you want to make and don’t feel bad if you don’t have something somebody else has. Focus on the positives and any opportunity you have to make your film. Finally just go and make it to the best of your ability.

Finally, from low budget filmmaking to big budgets: 3D cinema is a big part of the Hollywood machine today. Do you see a place for 3D in Indian cinema?

For the audience 3D is pretty popular. With 3D, there are certain films which somehow work better than other, personally the one that worked for me was Life of Pi. I know it had a lot of SFX, but it’s not one I would have associated with 3D. It worked amazingly well for that movie.

More often than not, 3D requires a certain budget, to make a good film and in order to make it well. Indian films don’t really have huge budgets and also the certain technology to make films which look world class. I think we focus on what it is we do well and what it is that sets our film culture apart from other cultures making films.

So 3D, as amazing as it is, I don’t think it’s the first thing that people think of when they’re setting out to make a film in India. It is an expensive process and we have a long way to go to start making films on that level.

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LIFF Special Movie Review: Sold http://bollyspice.com/liff-special-movie-review-sold/ Sun, 13 Jul 2014 10:02:03 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=86007 [This review is taken from the London premiere, as part of the 5th annual London Film Festival, featuring a special Q&A with the director, producer and actress Gillian Anderson]. Sold is based on the award winning 2006 book by Patricia McCormick, brought to the screen by first time director Jeffrey D Brown. The story is the single tale of a young girl called Laxmi from Nepal, who is sold into sexual slavery and trafficked into India. However, these facts and figures put into context just how many Laxmi’s there are worldwide: * There are 5.5 million people trafficked each and

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[This review is taken from the London premiere, as part of the 5th annual London Film Festival, featuring a special Q&A with the director, producer and actress Gillian Anderson].

Sold is based on the award winning 2006 book by Patricia McCormick, brought to the screen by first time director Jeffrey D Brown. The story is the single tale of a young girl called Laxmi from Nepal, who is sold into sexual slavery and trafficked into India. However, these facts and figures put into context just how many Laxmi’s there are worldwide:

* There are 5.5 million people trafficked each and every year
* 20,000 of these are children from Nepal
* The sex slave trade is a $1.5 billion dollar annual industry
* It is the 2nd highest illegal trade in the world

In the words of the director, Sold is intended more as a movement, rather than simply a film. It was inspired by the award winning documentary ‘Born into Brothels’ (based in Calcutta) and by films such as Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay. If you know, or loved either of those, or films of those backdrops, then you will appreciate Sold.

As far as the film goes, it has some amazing performances from the young Laxmi, to all the characters she meets, good and bad. The casting of the film makes it feel all the more believable and real. Gillian Anderson’s role is short, but should hopefully add a commercial value to attract mainstream viewers in to watch the film. The gritty and real location settings bring the horrors of the red light district to life, but Jeffery also captures the beauty of mountainous Nepal on screen beforehand. Additionally the music by Sammy Chand is simply excellent, both uplifting and a great listen.

Going back to the story, although shocking as it is, Jeffery still manages to inject moments of humour, moments of hope and moments of happiness into the narrative. As viewers you are completely immersed into the world of the sex trade and get to understand just how the business works on a practical level. Through the films’ characters and back stories, we understand the context and background to what leads so many girls in becoming trafficked and how they become trapped and are unable to break free. What shines through as glimmers of hope within a horrible world, are the simple relationships Laxmi has with comrades around her. This makes SOLD a much more compelling human story, peppered with countless real life tales.

As we mentioned at the start, Sold is produced with a vision and mission in mind – to help eradicate child sex trafficking. If we were to review it simply as a film, we can confidently say it is an excellent piece of cinema – well written, well acted, well directed. If were to ask you get involved with the cause, then please please do so:

#TaughtNotTrafficked
http://www.childreach.org.uk/TaughtNotTrafficked/

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London Indian Film Festival launches with powerful premiere of Gillian Anderson film ‘Sold’ http://bollyspice.com/london-indian-film-festival-opening-night-sold/ Sun, 13 Jul 2014 07:13:06 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=85959 The London Indian Film Festival opened with a bang last Thursday evening at it’s home location in central London. In its 5th exclusive year, BollySpice is proud to once again be of its main supporters. Welcomed by traditional dhol players was guest of honour Gillian Anderson (Scully from X-Files), whose film SOLD was opening this year’s ceremony. The film is a hard hitting tale of child sex trafficking, where Gillain plays a real life American photographer. The film was completely ‘sold’ out and was followed by a special audience Q&A with Gillain and the film’s director and producer. Also gracing

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The London Indian Film Festival opened with a bang last Thursday evening at it’s home location in central London. In its 5th exclusive year, BollySpice is proud to once again be of its main supporters.

Welcomed by traditional dhol players was guest of honour Gillian Anderson (Scully from X-Files), whose film SOLD was opening this year’s ceremony. The film is a hard hitting tale of child sex trafficking, where Gillain plays a real life American photographer. The film was completely ‘sold’ out and was followed by a special audience Q&A with Gillain and the film’s director and producer.

Also gracing the red carpet was actress Amy Jackson, who is no stranger to Bollywood, having starred in a film and been in her very own Bollywood romance! There was also Bollywood’s very own Santosh Sivan, talented director and cinematographer, who will be delivering a masterclass at the festival.

The London Indian Film Festival runs from 10th July to 17th July. Watch this space as we bring you our exclusive reviews and interviews.

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Preview: The Hundred-Foot Journey http://bollyspice.com/preview-hundred-foot-journey/ Sun, 15 Jun 2014 07:47:12 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=83867 This summer, get ready for what looks like an amazing Indian story set in a small French town, featuring an International cast and brought to you by an award-winning team. – Oscar-winning actress: Helen Mirren – Award-winning producers: Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey – Music maestro: AR Rahman – Bollywood stars: Om Puri & Juhi Chawla Based on a 2010 novel by Richard C. Morais, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a simple plot of two rival restaurants in a small French town. When Hasan Haji (Manish Dayal) and his family are displaced from their home in India, he ends up in

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14jun_100footjourneyThis summer, get ready for what looks like an amazing Indian story set in a small French town, featuring an International cast and brought to you by an award-winning team.

– Oscar-winning actress: Helen Mirren
– Award-winning producers: Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey
– Music maestro: AR Rahman
– Bollywood stars: Om Puri & Juhi Chawla

Based on a 2010 novel by Richard C. Morais, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a simple plot of two rival restaurants in a small French town. When Hasan Haji (Manish Dayal) and his family are displaced from their home in India, he ends up in France with his family.

Upon arriving, his father (Om Puri) sets eyes on a dilapidated site, which he aims to turn into an Indian restaurant. However, just opposite the site stands the area’s finest restaurant, where even the French president comes to dine. It is run by the widower and forthright Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren).

The opening of a colourful and alien cuisine does not sit well with Madame Mallory, who will do everything she can to put obstacles in the Haji family’s way. Will they overcome their rivalry? Will they be able to cross their cultural differences? Will they be able to unite through the universal language of food? Find out on 8th August, when The Hundred-Foot Journey releases worldwide.

Until then, you can check out the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6H8pAKKkgQ

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Million Dollar Arm Music Review http://bollyspice.com/million-dollar-arm-music-review/ Sat, 14 Jun 2014 11:20:43 +0000 http://bollyspice.com/?p=83837  Million Dollar Arm has a total number of 16 tracks on the album, with all of the songs composed and written completely by music maestro AR Rahman. Having already delivered some amazing international music albums previously (Slumdog Millionaire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 127 Hours, The Lord of the Rings) AR Rahman is always pushing himself further and with it Indian music on a global scale. We thought we would share our music review with you as very often international films soundtracks can be easily passed over, but with AR Rahman’s name to it, intrigue and loyalty is surely enough to

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 14jun-MillionDollarArmMillion Dollar Arm has a total number of 16 tracks on the album, with all of the songs composed and written completely by music maestro AR Rahman. Having already delivered some amazing international music albums previously (Slumdog Millionaire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 127 Hours, The Lord of the Rings) AR Rahman is always pushing himself further and with it Indian music on a global scale.

We thought we would share our music review with you as very often international films soundtracks can be easily passed over, but with AR Rahman’s name to it, intrigue and loyalty is surely enough to have a listen.

There are only a handful of traditional singing tracks in the album: Keep The Hustle is essentially a hip hop track, featuring Raghav, with a nice beat and an Arabian rift thrown in.

We Could Be Kings is an upbeat western track, designed as a positive and uplifting sports motivational song, but is amazingly blended with sufi raags and taals.

Makhna is a pure unadulterated Hindi song, the type of sports anthem one would expect in a mainstream Bollywood sports film. The song has rustic feel to it.

Million Dollar Dream features Australian singer Iggy Azalea and is a great fusion of Indian music and electro sounds.

Unborn Children is a soothing Tamil song and classic AR Rahman, which reminds you of the Roja days.

In addition to these tracks are a host of instrumental tracks such as: Taa Taa Tai, Bobbleheads, Never Give Up, Lucknow, Farwell, Desi Thoughts, First Try Out, Calling Scouts Again, Welcome to India, and The Final Pitch. The range of the instrumental tracks is huge and varied, from western beats, to traditional Indian, to sufi sounds.

Million Dollar Arm is a perfect album to play in the background, whilst reading, studying or enjoying a glass of wine. One for deep music lovers and one which will make you feel proud of our very own AR Rahman.

An Indian album, for global ears.

The movie will have its UK premiere at the London Indian Film Festival on July 14th!

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