Bipasha Basu is known for being sexy and sizzling on screen. Having a decent entrance into Bollywood with 2001′s Ajnabee (Stranger) and then later following up cult Bollywood hits such as Jism (Body), Raaz (Secret) and one of the biggest item numbers of 2006 “Beedi” from Omkara – Bipasha proved that good looks and sex appeal could create a gigantic cash flow at the box office. In fact, Bipasha came into films at a time when sex appeal, the overt kind, started becoming popular in Bollywood scripts.
Yet, Bipasha was never vulgar.
Confident, yes. Bold, yes. Sensual, yes. But, Bipasha had a different kind of sexiness and sensuality that most moviegoers were not used to. Bipasha’s characters were always borderline, riske, but safe. Titillating without overflow.
Now, the film in question here is Raaz 3, Bipasha’s next release. Will it create the box office magic that Raaz did back in 2002 and Raaz 2 in 2009? We’ll have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure, the theatrical trailer which released earlier this week is HOT! With films the like of Love, Sex Aur Dhoka and the upcoming Jism 2 with Sunny Leone just around the corner, “hot” is not enough. It seems that moviegoers want “hot” with an actual storyline. The trailer of Raaz 3 does promise this, however can it hold out for an entire film?.
It’s lovely to see Bipasha back in the Raaz franchise of films. She started it with Raaz, skipped Raaz 2 leaving it for Kangana Ranaut and now has come back to continue the legacy of edgy, determined and somewhat crazy women. In Raaz, Bipasha was the victim and in Raaz 3, she’s making a woman become her victim. Let’s not forget the mention of “Kaala Jaadu”, which means “Black Magic”. Seems that not only are Bipasha’s bombshell looks set to kill, but she’s going to get the help of her handy book of spells to cast some magic at the box office this fall. Bombshell black magic I tell you!
From what we’ve seen in the theatrical trailer already, Bipasha’s characterization is not completely new. We see the beauty and the elegance she depicted in Raaz (I think that was the last time we saw Bipasha wear neck high sweaters), we see the mystery and curiosity she portrayed in Race (where she played a sexually subdued character keeping her true intentions a secret), and the anger and the outbursts she displayed in Bachna Ae Haseeno (no one can forget that scene where she lashes out at her entourage).
Needless to say, the trailer of Raaz 3 is out and I am certainly looking forward to seeing Bipasha scorch the screen once again! The film is being produced by Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt and Directed by Vikram Bhatt the film is set to scare us all this September.
The Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner, and what makes this years festival extra special is its City to City Spotlight on Mumbai. Yes, Bollywood fans will go crazy once they see the films that have been selected. Let’s not be confused, a “spotlight on Mumbai” does not mean a focus on Bollywood cinema. Bollywood cinema is mainstream Hindi Cinema which is a sector of the massive Indian Film Industry.
Currently in it’s 4th year, the City to City programme showcases new talent, new films and new voices from a particular cityscape. The programme is an effort to explore the urban experience, highlighting the best of the best from a new crop of talent specific to a city. Cameron Bailey, the festival’s Artistic Director confirmed earlier in the year that the 2012 spotlight would shine on filmmakers working and living in Mumbai while introducing audiences to local independent films that contrast with Bollywood’s dazzling commercial movies.
“Mumbai’s cinema today is entirely different from what it was even a few years ago. The rise of independent cinema has shifted the terrain, probing into previously taboo subjects and adopted styles that were earlier unpalatable to the Indian audience,” said Bailey. “Mumbai’s film industry is going through a significant change and a strong group of new filmmakers has emerged. They’re representing the evolution of their city in an interesting way. Toronto audiences are in for a treat this fall.”
ISHAQZAADE dir – Habib Faisal World Premiere
Habib Faisal‘s Ishaqzaade will have its Canadian Premiere at TIFF this year. Having a selected release earlier in the year, Ishaqzaade opened up to much fan fair in the Bollywood circuit. The film brought to life a fresh onscreen pair with new actors Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. The film tells the love story of a Parma, a Hindu and Zoya, a Muslim. It is set against a political backdrop – as the newly in love pair try to escape cultural and familial ideals and pressures from society and their families. Produced under the Yash Raj Films banner, the film is one of the first from the production house in recent times to look at the nitty gritty settings of India.
GANGS OF WASSEYPUR – Part One & Part Two dir – Anurag Kashyap North American Premiere
Anurag Kashyap is known for creating cinema that is thought provoking and rustically realistic. Both Part One and Part Two focus on the power struggles, politics and vengeance between three crime families during Indian independence and industrialization. The film features an ensemble cast with Manoj Bajpai, Richa Chadda, Tigmanshu Dhulia. Anurag is a pioneer when it comes to creating cinema that runs against the grain – part of a new wave of films in the Indian Film Industry known as “independent films” or “art house cinema”. These two films will definitely be ones to watch out for.
Trailer for Part 1 (with subtitles)
Trailer for Part 2 (with subtitles)
SHANGHAI dir – Dibakar Banerjee North American Premiere
Just as my predictions of Bollywood films coming to TIFF this year stated, Shanghai is indeed coming to Toronto. Having premiere at IIFA 2012 in Singapore in June and released a few weeks later. Directed by Dibarkar Banerjee, Shanghai is a political drama that looks at the murder of a political activist leading a campaign against a project led by the government. As the investigation of the murder begins, the falsity of evidence and various situations begin to unfold. Banerjee always blends Indian cinematic elements that compliment one another when telling a story, such as music, realism, rustic character portrayals and lots of action.
PEDDLERS dir – Vasan Bala North American Premiere
Peddlers will make its North American premiere at TIFF this year, and it marks the first time Vasan Bala takes the lead in the director’s seat. Peddlers was earlier screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and received critical acclaim for Bala’s artistry and direction. Earlier Bala has acted as Associate Director in the Freida Pinto starrer Trishna and even worked with acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap in 2009′s Dev D, the indie take on the literary and cinematic Indian classic Devdas. Peddlers stars Gulshan Devaiah and Siddharth Mennon and tells the story of three lives, a rookie cop, a streetwise orphan and a beautiful young former teacher. All three lives coincide explosively with the backdrop of the underworld drug scene in the city of Mumbai. This powerful film is just one example of the thrilling, edge-of- your-seat films that are becoming popular in a new wave of independent cinema emerging in the Indian Film Industry.
SHIP OF THESEUS dir – Anand Gandhi World Premiere
Anand Gandhi is a renowned Indian playwright making his first directorial debut with a feature film with Ship of Theseus. The film takes place in the busy and bustling streets of Mumbai. The story centers around three people drastically different from one another, living their lives individually – a devout monk hit by an illness, a woman who was once blind only to have her vision suddenly restored and a stockbroker who makes it his goal to fight the illegal trade of human organs across the world. All three lives are related to one another by an unknown connection.
The Punjabi International Film Academy is all set to glitter for its Awards weekend from August 3-5, 2012. The place of choice? Toronto, of course. After the 2011 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards were held last June, Toronto has transformed into a Bollywood city. So it’s know no surprise that PIFAA will be makings it entrance into the world through the gates of Ontario.
While the world may be familiar with Bollywood films, Bollywood is only representative of mainstream Hindi cinema. Indian cinema is a vast industry that encompasses all region of India, including Punjab home to Punjabi cinema. While citizens of India identify with various different regional identities, customs, religions and films, PIFAA is a wonderful way to represent the diversity of Indian cinema on a larger – international scale. PIFAA Toronto will bring hundreds of the world’s best and brightest Punjabi Cinema stars to Toronto for the Awards weekend. Punjabi mega-star and PIFAA Brand Ambassador Dharmendra will head-up the contingent of attending Punjabi film stars.
“I am very proud of the Punjabi community of Greater Toronto for executing what will be a landmark international event for Punjabis around the globe…PIFAA is the ideal platform to recognize the significant impact the Punjabi community has had on Indian Cinema. I am thrilled to be part of the inaugural PIFAA weekend.” - Dharmendra Deol, PIFAA Brand Ambassador and Indian Cinema Star.
Despite the fact that PIFAA would be a window into the diversity of Indian cinema, its main goal is to celebrate and highlight the poignant history of Punjabi films. While Indian cinema, especially Bollywood has a growing viewership – there is a lot of Punjabi talent. From actors, singers to directors and cinematographers – the Punjabi culture is being represented – strongly.
“The GTA alone boasts a South Asian community of over 700,000, fifty percent of whom are Punjabi,” said Rajinder Saini, President of Parvasi Entertainment Inc, which is organizing PIFAA. “This gives Punjabi Cinema an immense and captive audience of Punjabi fans and an opportunity to bring this popular, fast growing and in demand film industry closer to all Canadians.”
It certainly is an exciting time to be a Torontonian. Be sure to check out the PIFAA from August 3-5. The Awards weekend will consist of a World Premiere, a concert celebrating Punjabi music, the two-day PIFAA Trade Fair and the main PIFAA Awards Ceremony.
Yes, you’ve read the title of this post loud and clear…“I Want Fakht You!”. But before you jump the gun, “Fakht” in Marathi means “Only” or “Just” and the title simply means…”I Want Just/Only You”! It’s simple, but what a clever play on words, sounds, or what have you.
Now, aside from just being the title of this post, it’s actually the title of an item number in Shirish Kunder‘s upcoming film Joker starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha, set to release worldwide on August 31st. The title of the song has caused controversy with the Indian Film Censor Board and they have requested an adjustment to the lyrics. Needlesss to say, it looks like the song will be called “I Want Just You” by the time the film releases…big deal!
In case you didn’t know, the song was leaked online just a few weeks ago and has since become all the rage where someone has been able to connect to a computer or download illegal music. The dance sequence is picturized on sizzling Bollywood beauty Chitrangada Singh. While speaking to her at the 2012 IIFA Awards in Singapore, she discussed how the songs choreography and overall feel was directly inspired by Madhuri Dixit‘s 1990 hit “Humko Aaj Kal Hai” from Sailaab. Did I know that the song would have this title and cause a massive rage in many Bollywood movie-goers? No. But am I happy it has…YES, YES, YES!
The tides are changing when it comes to Bollywood cinema, and Indian cinema in general. I am not one to talk since I live all the way in Canada, but from what I know and have experienced, the Indian culture is changing too…and Bollywood cinema is a reflection of those changing times. Many of you may recall, in 1993, Subhash Ghai‘s Khal Nayak caused an uproar when the popular song “Choli Ke Peeche”, brought to the big screen by Madhuri Dixit offended the traditional sentiments of many in the industry and public at large. The song’s title literally translates into “What’s behind your Blouse?”. While the female protagonist is clearly referring to her “heart”, it was considered to be far to sexually suggestive for Indian sentiments.
So, it was banned.
Thank goodness for film piracy. Due to the flourishing piracy business in the 1990′s, the song leaked and everyone was able to experience the piece of entertainment that has since become an iconic dance number in Bollywood cinema today. For goodness sake, it’s now considered to be a standard when it comes to music, choreography. Madhuri’s dancing skills are what today’s superstars are expected to live up to. But that was 1993.
Now, in 2012, you expect me to sit here and watch this entertaining song get banned or adjusted just because the word “Fakht” sounds like “F&%$” – NO WAY! In fact, I say, “Fakht You Censor Board!”. Please, just let us enjoy this harmless and entertaining song without any interference.
So, by now, everyone has seen the theatrical trailer of Heroine, Madhur Bhandarkar‘s latest release starring Kareena Kapoor (if you haven’t, it’s above). But wait, before we admire Kareena’s dance moves (yes, I am finally becoming a fan of them) and the trailer (which is completely void of a storyline)…we must look at the history of Heroine. It’s short, but it’s so full of drama. It’s Bollywood – why would real life be any less dramatic than reel life, right?
For those not aware of Heroine‘s brief dramatic history, the film, directed by Bhandarkar, was to originally star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It was much talked about then and seeing that Aishwarya was not acting much at the time, fans and the industry were looking forward to it. After a few pre-promotional photo and location shoots were wrapped up, a few pictures of Aishwarya’s look for the film were revealed to the public, including a first look poster.
Then, moviegoers received good and bad news.
Good news. Aishwarya was pregnant, expecting her first child with superstar husband Abhishek Bachchan.
Bad news. Aishwarya had to back out of Heroine leaving Bhandarkar hanging. Oh and pissed!
But hold your horses; the plot thickens. After hearing news of Aishwarya’s pregnancy, the film’s future was being gossiped about left, right and centre at which point Bhandarkar took to social media and blogged about what he believes was the truth behind the films sudden halt in shooting and production. The exact post can be read here, but to keep it short, Bhandarkar accused Aishwarya of having kept her “health” (ie: pregnancy) a secret, hidden from the director and the films crew.
“The entire event would not have taken place if on the onset the actress would have informed the state of her health an impending maternity…. The truth was hidden from us. We learnt about the entire thing from news channels like the rest of the world that the said actress was 4 months pregnant and she was due on November… Film making in Mumbai film industry is not a mere business but one big fraternity who functions on total faith and trust. The film was announced in Cannes on 13th May while we commenced shooting on 7th June…. There was a gap of 24 days even if we had known the truth behind the maternal state of the actress… things could have been reworked keeping the state of matters in mind accordingly and this crisis could have been averted.
Of course, Aishwarya was not a fan of this accusation, and her “people” denied it, but the drama went on.
Enter Kareena Kapoor. Just like a true Bollywood heroine, she swooped in for what looks to be the role of a lifetime. A role that any Bollywood actress would have loved to portray.
Despite all this hoopla, Heroine still looks pretty decent – if its trailer is anything to go by. From what it looks like, Kareena digs her teeth into yet another role – can’t say I expected anything less. We have the laughter, the drama and the tears…and oh, this really, really, over the top press conference scene where she lashes out at the media. FINALLY. I just wish it actually happened in real life more often.
Let’s not forget that really hot and sizzling item song “Halkat Jawani”, which sounds AMAZING. Kareena shows some serious moves (I just hope there is more and not just what we’ve seen so far). Looks like the film has the typical Bollywood elements in place. Box office moola? Still unknown, until it’s release.
However, my one teeny issue with the trailer, actually not teeny – but BIG issue is that its void of a storyline. After all, the whole point of filmmaking is to tell stories, right? Anyway, I shouldn’t be so harsh, many trailers in Bollywood these days function as “extended first looks” instead of portraying what they should in the traditional sense. I am sure as a button that Bhandarkar has a story to tell – as he always does. I hope this film isn’t just about the typical “rise and fall” of a superstar. He’s already done it in 2008′s Fashion starring Priyanka Chopra, and the trailer already looks like a mix of both Fashion and 2011′s big hit The Dirty Picture.
Let’s be honest, the drama in the world of glitz and glamour is far more interesting in “real” life than it is in the “reel” one. Just saying!
So, the little boy inside me is freaking out. Why? Simply because Sridevi could possibly, and most likely will be making a glamorous appearance at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. She will be coming to Toronto for the Gala Presentation of her upcoming film English Vinglish. Now, you must be asking yourself…what’s so good about Sridevi? and for those of you asking that question, I ask..How dare you? Sridevi defined the 1980′s in Bollywood cinema. She brought her South Indian charm to the Hindi movie scenario and wooed everyone with her dancing and brilliant comic timing.
She’s a powerhouse.
My early childhood was spent admiring two women. Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. The former ruled the 1980′s and the latter ruled the 1990′s – two eras in which I was 1) alive, 2) learned that Bollywood films were a PASSION and 3) I learned how to dance. All in all, Sridevi and Madhuri were both integral in my schooling as a Bollywood passionista.
What made Sridevi special was that she could portray the most complex of characters and still deliver light-hearted moments with her comic capabilities. Anyone remember that hilarious scene from the 1985 Bollywood classic Masterji where Sridevi tries to sexually arouse the late Rajesh Khanna without being too forward – only to achieve what she intended through a song and dance? I do. Hilarious.
Scene and “Swami ji” song from Masterji
And of course, she knew how to dance. Sridevi came from a time when natural talent was admired and when Bollywood actors were what the industry liked to call “complete packages”: actors that looked good, acted well and knew how to dance. After her Filmfare Award nominated role as Jhanki in 1997′s Judaai, Sridevi left the business and hasn’t graced the big screen since.
15 years later, Sridevi is back with Gauri Shinde‘s English Vinglish. The film tells the story of an Indian woman who struggles to learn the English language in order to help provide for her family – hence the “Vinglish” in the title. From the first look of the trailer, we can witness Sridevi’s brillance in comedy and how she brings an innocence on screen that is captivating. What’s more, the film is being simultaneously release in Tamil as well, since Sridevi was first a Tollywood (Tamil cinema) megastar before become extremely successful in Bollywood cinema as well. A Tamil version of the films Trailer has also been released.
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival has chosen a Bollywood film that truly is international in nature. With scenes shot in New York City and the representation of both Indian and North American society, the film promises to be a comedic cultural fusion – in pure Sridevi style.
Theatrical Trailer of English Vinglish (Hindi)
For your viewing pleasure as well as the unitiated, below are some of Sridevi‘s most memorable dance sequences.
Mere Haathon Mein Nau Nau – Chandni
Mein Teri Dushman – Nagina
Naino Mein Sapna – Himmatwala