It’s been in the news for months. Yash Chopra is coming back to take his rightful place on the director’s chair with a new romance. After all, there is no better romance than a Yash Chopra one and it’s such an exciting time. The last film Chopra directed was 2003′s Veer-Zaara, and before that was beautiful films such as Dil To Pagal Hai, Daar, Chandni, Silsila and the list goes on.
This time around, Chopra brings to the screen a fresh new pairing – Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead with Anushka Sharma (the current Yash Raj Films here) in a supporting role. Chopra is known for taking the conventional love story and making it so beautiful, so touching and so alluring each time around that it seems like a love story in Bollywood can never be stale. But of course, I only say that when I speak of Yashji – who knows the sentiments and emotions that appeal to the masses and the plot twists and turns that are necessary to engage an audience in the story of people in love.
Now, the 30 second teaser doesn’t really say anything. A brief look into the past films directed by Yash Chopra himself with a few snippets from the film in question here – which still has no title. A waste of time you say? No way. This teaser just has the anticipation and excitement growing even stronger.
Preity Zinta has not been away from the limelight for a long period of time, but it’s still a large enough gap for Bollywood film movie-goers to miss her effervescent spirit and dimpled smile on screen. I had a run-in with Preity Zinta at the 2012 IIFA Awards in Singapore in June and she was all smiles, bubbles and dimples when she discussed her upcoming film Ishkq In Paris. Now, in August, we have the theatrical trailer of the film…which is beautiful.
First thing, the cinematography looks gorgeous. Although its hard to make Paris look bad, getting the city from the right angles is very important and from what we see in the trailer – Paris is stunning. The music, which chants French lyrics “Ah Oui Oui Mon Cherie” is very catchy and the look and vibe of the film is quite young and trendy. Clearly it cannot be a typical Bollywood romantic comedy without the cheesy lines, and we get a healthy dose of it in the trailer too.
With a gorgeous look at Paris, a cheesy dose of Bollywood romance, oh and a quick glimpse of a condom packet – this certainly seems to promise nice light-hearted entertainment. Let’s hope it lives up to all it’s expectations.
Up until now, all Sridevi fans the world over have waited with bated breath for the Bollywood diva to grace the screen once again. August 13th saw the release of the theatrical trailer of her upcoming film English Vinglish, which is also set to appear at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
From the makers of Paa and Cheeni Kum comes English Vinglish which tells the story of a woman who does not know English and is made to feel insecure by her family and society at large. The film is a light -hearted yet touching and transformational journey of Shashi. Circumstances make her determined to overcome this insecurity, master the language, teach the world a lesson on the way to becoming a self assured and confident woman. The film is shot mostly in New York and captures the inherent struggle of many people all over the world with the English Language. Hilarious, touching, sensitive, this film marks the come back of India’s biggest female star…Sridevi.
Theatrical Trailer for English Vinglish
I wrote about my excitement about English Vinglish and its presence at TIFF 2012 a few weeks ago (this previous post includes a look back at Sridevi’s body of work for the uninitiated). That excitement just grew when the theatrical trailer released. Sridevi may have been away from the screen for 15 years – but when you watch the trailer, it seems as if she never left. I can only imagine how I, as well as all the other Sridevi fans may feel when we see the entire film. Sridevi has this brilliant way of striking the right balance between comedy and hard hitting emotion. You can laugh with her and sympathize with her at the same time in each frame of her performance. The trailer is clearly just a sneak peek into the film – but anyone familiar with Sridevi’s body of work will know that she is a powerhouse performer – known for her comedy.
Director Gauri Shinde and Sridevi speak about the film at the Trailer launch for English Vinglish
The only other time I felt this confident about an actress returning after a long break was when Madhuri Dixit came back with Aaja Nachle in 2007. Yet, despite the success or failure of a film, one this is for sure, just like Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi is here to stay.
It will be exciting to see what film she signs after English Vinglish. I wait with eagerness.
This week saw the release of the theatrical trailer for Karan Johar‘s next film Student Of The Year. Everyone’s been waiting with bated breath to see what would be Johar’s next directorial venture. Since 2009′s My Name Is Khan, we’ve seen Johar out and about in town, celebrating his birthday in grand style and also churning out hit after hit from his production banner Dharma Productions. This is the first film, where the director has directed anyone else but his favourite pair Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.
What’s fresh about Student Of The Year is its casting. The film introduces to the Bollywood world newbies (freshly squeezed, like orange juice) Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt. Yet, despite the cast being new and unexplored, the film has all the typical Karan Johar elements: good clothing (most likely designer or couture pieces hot off the runway), big and bright sets for the song sequences and of course, a love story.
Yet, with all these Bollywood elements in place…I cannot help but get this whole Harry Potter vibe – and it’s not a bad thing. Rishi Kapoor seems like the Bollywood Dumbledore, the whole Student of the Year cup competition reminds me of the Goblet of Fire competition and of course, the whole two guys – one girl dynamic = Harry, Ron and Hermoine.
The film may not have have a spells, wands and wizardry in it, but it will sure be interesting to see if Student Of The Year creates some magic at the box office just like Karan Johar’s past films. Especially with all the other big releases set to release in the last half of 2012!
Let the box office competition begin!!
There have been a few recent happenings that have my mind buzzing when it comes to the representations of the act of sex in Bollywood cinema. Bollywood without the expressions of sexuality is impossible and quite boring to be honest. Without being swept away into a song and dance sequence that substitutes for the actual “act”, there would probably be no reference to anything sexual and that can be quite dull. These days, song and dance sequences are used less to express this “act” in Bollywood instead, vulgarity has become the new trend.
This brings me to Jism 2, the latest release from the Bhatt film camp. Believe it or not, there are high expectations for this film. Will Jism 2 live up to the trend-setting and pathbreaking formula that made Jism a hit? Will there be nudity? Can Sunny Leone act? and of course, Will there be an actual storyline or will it be about nude bodies colliding?
A lot of questions. A lot of pressure.
Needless to say, the film starts with a rather dimly lit scene, where we see Sunny Leone passionately kissing the bare chest of a well chiseled and highly oiled gentleman. Actually, shortly after that scene, there’s a one night stand…and the movie has only been running for 5 minutes. Surprised? Don’t be. I actually think it’s rather smart to start with sex since that is what the viewer is expecting with Sunny Leone‘s presence. The trick is to glue the viewers to their seats with an actual plot. Does that happen…you’ll have to visit your local theatre to find out.
The film in my eyes, had a rather strong start. There was sex, there was music, there was a nightclub, there was a secret mission and I was expecting drugs, but we somehow ended up with lemon water. Weird.
Anyway, the film had an intense beginning as the director, Pooja Bhatt gets right down to the emotions that connect Sunny Leone and Randeep Hooda‘s character. Arunoday Singh‘s character makes a sexy start, but it isn’t until the later parts of the film where his presence in the plot thickens and becomes substantial – until the second half, Arunoday is what I call a “hanging character” – he has no purpose.
Now, let’s get to the technical bits, which I think make this film a bit watchable.
The cinematography is splendid – whether you notice right away or not. If a film seems “beautiful” when you leave the theatre – it’s because the DOP has done a good job. In fact, it’s the cinematography that makes the sexual encounters in this film seem beautiful and tasteful rather then being vulgar and obscene. The music is soothing to the soul – it definitely compliments the intense emotions that the film portrays.
Randeep Hooda and Arunoday Singh are very good in intense roles and we shouldn’t expect anything less. BUT, and a very big BUT here – their incredible acting skills are lost in 1) your fascination with how beautiful Sunny Leone is, 2) your quest to find out if Sunny Leone can actually act and 3) the intense moments just don’t flow in the film. The intensity between characters are apparent and the relationships are portrayed quite well, but all of these relationships, the situations, the circumstances just don’t mesh together as one complete package . I guess this has something to do with scriptwriting.
Truth be told, whether I liked the first Jism or not, I went to see this film strictly for Sunny Leone. I think Sunny is great, but I could tell that her voice was SERIOUSLY dubbed. Sure, it was dubbed with her own voice, but it was dubbed nonetheless and if that fact is apparent when you’re watching the film – then it ultimately takes away from its credibility and the films believability. We know Sunny Leone from the hit reality series Big Boss and we know she cannot speak Hindi well. Heck, even Katrina Kaif needed lessons, but the dubbing was just something I couldn’t ignore. Sunny’s body language is great, and rightfully so – after all she is very experienced in the art of body language and her previous body of work is proof of that. If you don’t know what I am talking about – just Google her.
There is one thing you cannot take away from this film, and that’s the simple fact that it is HOT. Sunny Leone is HOT – the film, not so much!
Continuing our ongoing coverag, I present to you the second half of my preview of the films to be featured in the City to City programme spotlight on Mumbai at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. Be sure to catch the first part as there I break down some fantastic films and show you their trailers.
The selection of films chosen for this Spotlight on Mumbai are diverse in genre, and showcase a range of artistry coming from cutting edge, leading filmmakers in India. All the filmmakers selected for this special City to City programme have been chosen because of their talent in the telling of new and different stories within Indian Cinema – all representing this emerging voice coming from Mumbai. Generally, the thought is that India’s films are all Bollywood films. Wrong. As stated before, Bollywood is just one of the main different and diverse film industries that come together to create the very large Indian Film Industry.
SHAHID dir – Hansal Mehta World Premiere
Hansal Mehta‘s Shahid is the remarkable true story of a human rights activist and lawyer, Shahid Azmi who is murdered by unknown members of his office. Shahid, which stars Raj Kumar, Prabhleen Sandhu and Baljinder Kaur closely looks at the awe-inspiring story of the personal journey of a young boy who become an unlikely hero for human rights, especially for the Muslim minorities in India. Wrongfully accused and imprisoned under draconian anti-terrorism law, the film looks at the story of a struggling individual looking to come to terms with the injustice and inequality that surrounds him.
MISS LOVELY dir – Ashim Ahluwalia North American Premiere
Sex has always been part of Bollywood cinema – it’s only now that more mainstream filmmakers are willing to explore its intensity on screen both in script and visually. Ashim Ahluwalia‘s film focuses on Mumbai’s sex film industry and stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh and Anil George. Miss Lovely, which also competed in the “Un Certain Regard” section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was also screened at the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival. It looks at the devastating story of two brothers who created sex-horror films in the 1980′s. The film takes a look at the what’s terms “the Bollywood underground” and looks into an industry and its filmmakers that have a lot to face.
MUMBAI’S KING dir – Manjeet Singh World Premiere
Manjeet Singh‘s Mumbai’s King stars Rahul Bairagi, Arbaaz Khan and Tejas Parvatkar. The film looks at the character of Rahul who roams the streets with Arbaaz who sells baloons. These two kids escape the grim realities of their lives by gambling, roasting stolen potatoes, stealing an auto rickshaw for a joyride, and chasing girls. Later, as the characters grow older, they are faced with difficult circumstances – Rahul is put into a situation where he must look after his father, whose violence and ill treatment forced Rahul into a life on the streets.
THE BRIGHT DAY dir – Mohit Takalkar World Premiere
We all ponder life and its significance at some point or another, and Mohit Takalkar‘s film explores just this. Pining away for the meaning in his life, The Bright Day tells the story of a young man named Shiv who leaves his current relationship, abandoning his girlfriend and family to embark on a spiritual journey across India – not know if he will return at all. Shiv yearns for meaning and looks for something that will provide important and significance to his existence, yet doesn’t know exactly what it is he is looking for. He faces his own insecurities, basks in adventure and freedom and learns about different philosophies about life that he finds exhilarating.