Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009

•July 7, 2008 • 10 Comments

Check http://saregamapachallenge2009.blogspot.com/ for Zee Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009 coverage.

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009 promos: http://saregamapachallenge2009.blogspot.com/2008/06/sa-re-ga-ma-pa-challenge-2009-promos.html

Update for first episode 04 July 2008: http://saregamapachallenge2009.blogspot.com/2008/07/update-for-first-episode-4th-july-2008.html

Indian Premier League

•April 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a while since the Indian Premier League (IPL) started with following teams participating in the first season.

Indian Premier League 1st Season Teams

Some of the highlights so far:

1. Mumbai Indians First Win — Watch a free online cricket highlights cricket video of the IPL Indian Premier League match: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders played on April 29 at Kolkata.

2. Fastest Century in IPL — Watch Adam Gilchrist (100, 42 balls, ten 6’s; nine 4’s) in a free online cricket highlights video of the IPL Indian Premier League cricket match: Mumbai Indians vs Hyderabad Deccan Chargers played on April 27, 2008 at Mumbai.

3. Harbhajan Singh Slaps SreesanthIndia’s ace spinner Harbhajan Singh, who has been in the news for all wrong reasons, yet again did it. Harbhajan allegedly slapped Sreesanth after the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at Mohali. Sreesanth was seen crying after the match. He was consoled by the teammates. Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh and coach Tom Moody confirmed the news ,Harbhajan later went to the dressing room and apologised to Sreesanth.

4. First match of this season — Watch free online cricket highlights of the IPL 20-20 Indian Premier League match – Bangalore Royal Challengers versus Kolkata Knight Riders.

5. IPL Opening Ceremony Full Video

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Taipei

•April 28, 2008 • 1 Comment

Yes, I have been away for a while… Last 6 weeks I was too busy having FUN in Taipei actually 🙂

I hope to blog more often from now…

Mithya

•February 12, 2008 • 4 Comments

Source: PassionForCinema

1. Mithya – Myth Buster? If only Half-Way

In one of his introductions to the film, Rajat Kapoor discussed his inspiration behind Mithya: his film was a take on the mythological story on how Vishnu lets Narad muni change his identity into a common householder and the latter starts believing in it. The experience was to teach him (and us) the difference between illusion and reality.

In Mithya, an out of work actor VK (Ranvir Shorey) is offered to play the role of a real life Mumbai gangster with a promise of one crore rupees as remuneration. The proposition coming from mobsters, VK can’t refuse the offer. Their plan is to bump off the dangerous don Raje Bhai (Ranvir Shorey) and VK to take his place. In the course of the film, VK ends up believing he actually is the don and head of Raje Bhai’s extended family, only to be hit hard by reality.

Kapoor’s story idea had great potential. In fusing the ol’ Indian philosophy as its theme with the most celebrated elements on Indian screen – Bollywood and Underworld – as its context, Kapoor surely had a winner in his hands. Although the film at its basic story is original and made with taste, there are notable problems with the screenplay and its execution.

If the idea was to explore the mithya (lie or illusion) of the glitter of bollywood and underworld, the screenplay fails to bring it out and create the narrative strength it needs. The half-comic first part, where the actor VK unwittingly gets dragged into the rivalry of two gangs, goes well with some credible work put in by the actors. However, there is a certain lack of movement in the narrative once VK gets into the Don’s den. But the real problem comes with the narrative twist when the actor loses his memory and starts believing he is actually the Don. This twist just fails to click.

The character of the Don, Raje Bhai is never analyzed. Except for one short video, one doesn’t see him much. So when VK prepares to play Raje Bhai, he is mostly working on his muscles or his moustache and perhaps a certain tone of voice. One is not surprised he loses confidence within days of entering Raje’s household. This lack of characterization also means that one doesn’t see the dramatic change in VK’s behaviour once he loses his original identity. For dramatic purposes and also for the irony of the situation to work, it was imperative that the audience see the contrast between the earlier VK and the new one. This failure of irony (of the actor now living the part he was supposed to play) also affects the unfolding tragedy of his being discovered.

And it certainly doesn’t help that the protagonist dies. After all, the whole idea of illusion versus reality was to be played through his conscience. It is then aesthetically and narratively jarring to see the protagonist die and the director take over to show what happened to other characters.

It is curious that Rajat Kapoor does not discuss his original idea in his more recent interviews and instead calls his film ‘an ode to the old Hollywood gangster films – like Little Caesar and Scarface.’ Now if one were to see Mithya as a gangster film it would do the film even less credit. Rajat could have been referring to the Hollywood classics in matters of story and setting (in fact, Mithya has a greater semblance, if only in passing, with the Indian film, ‘Don’, directed by Chandra Barot), but situating his film in the above category – threatens to completely take away its original & novel conception.

Ranvir Shorey does well as the half-comic struggling actor but falls short of creating the pathos necessary for the tragic end. Neha Dhupia has more screen time than spoken lines, which is just as well. As mentioned earlier the supporting cast does a great job (notably, Vinay Pathak and Naseeruddin Shah). The dialogues are not extraordinary but serve the purpose and are occasionally funny. More work was needed if they were to carry the black humour that Rajat seems to be attempting in many of the scenes. Some of the locations used in the film work well in creating the realistic framework.

Mithya is not a bad film, but knowing the director, it could have been better.
– Padmaja Thakore

2. Mithya: A Quasi Tragic Thriller

“Mithya” is the one that appears to be Sat (the existent – the past, present, and future) at first sight, but is really Asat (the non-existent). Yeh main nahin keh raha hoon; yeh Bhagvad Gita main likha hain.

“Mithya” is the third offering of Rajat Kapoor whose previous ventures were the unconventional, but laudable “Raghu Romeo” and “Mixed Doubles”. Here he teams up with Saurabh Shukla for the Screenplay.

There have been plenty of Hindi movies which have been focusing on the heady rise and fall of Dons, their lives, their molls, their pet peeves and their eccentricities. But there have been very few movies that have been focusing on the fate of small fry who are used as pawns by the kingpins. Mithya is one movie that attempts to weave a story around one such pawn.

The movie traces the life of VK (Ranvir Shorey), a wannabe actor, who struggles even to get a decent role as an extra. He goes through the grind by begging for work on a daily basis, sucking up role coordinators, bargaining with the friendly wine shop owner and losing temper in midst of all this. But he’s never disheartened and is always full of hope that his talent will be noticed someday and he’ll gain fame. As fate would have it, he does get noticed finally. Only it’s not a producer who notices, but it’s a gang that’s headed by Shetty (Saurabh Shukla) and Gawde (Naseruddin Shah). Instead of gaining fame, his life turns upside down forever and ever after that.

The first half has its share of gags and laughs which range from witty to hilarious. The presence of cronies Ram (Vinay Pathak) and Sham only elevates the hilarious situation that VK finds himself in. The story is built up very nicely and the ending of the first half does leave you gasping for more. The second half of the film in contrast is more somber and a tad serious. As VK’s life seems to spiral more and more out of control you can’t help but feel sorry for the sad situation that he unwittingly and unknowingly finds himself in.

The movie’s hero without any doubt is definitely the screenplay of the movie. The narrative’s pretty smooth and there’s hardly any loose end in the entire movie. The screenplay has quite a few twists that you won’t be able predict but none of the twists seems to be convoluted or forced. The editing and cinematography is top-notch. The movie is quite well paced and picks up pace big time in the second half. The background music is above par and does a wonderful job in setting up
the mood of the scenes. Some of the music strangely reminded me of Requiem for a Dream. Co-incidentally even in that movie the protagonists find themselves in a situation which has no outlet what so ever.

Ranvir Shorey as VK turns up with a first class performance as a struggling actor who effortlessly spews out “To Be or Not To Be” in Hindi. The role seemed to be tailor made for him and he does full justice to the character. He carries the film in his shoulders quite well. Hope to see him in more lead roles. Neha Dhupia as his love interest does a decent job. Naseruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Harsh Chaya – all turn up in important character roles and deliver commendable performances.

The director Rajat Kapoor does a fine job in expounding a tad intricate screenplay which has been co-authored by him. The scale and canvass of this movie is much larger than his earlier movies but he pulls it off quite well. All the actors admirably support him to make the movie all the more believable. The movie is replete with his quirky sense of humour which ensures that there’s hardly any dull moment in the narrative. A special mention must be made of Planman Motion Pictures who have produced the movie. Here’s wishing that more such movies will come out of their stable. (NB: Please don’t give us more “Rok Sako Toh Rok Loh”)

A must watch movie for its unconventional treatment; the casting of proper actors in all the roles; and above all watch it for finally seeing a movie that does not succumb to the so called market-diktats.
– Sudhir Nair, Mumbai

Room 999

•February 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Source: PassionForCinema

How does arthouse or independent film relate to growing commercialism?

Interviews:

Check this out: http://www.room999.nl/index.php

Partho Sen Gupta — “I don’t make products I make films!”

Backgrounds:

We’ve invited filmprofessionals from around the world to answer this question in our contemporary, but nonetheless equally urgent, spin off: Room 999.

Nowadays, cinema has a central position as a source of imagery, supplying our encompassing audiovisual culture. Still, as an artform, cinema is under fierce pressure. Development of thought and language has been narrowed down to elite arthouse cinema, which has troubles in reaching it’s audience. The loss which Wenders was fearing, has appeared to be the alienation between cinema and the public.

PAf (Pressure group Arthouse film) strives to keep the debate alive about the positioning of filmart in our society. Not because we don’t have a clue, but rather to sharpen our ideas, and to get them known. Our films contain these ideas too, but they need to be backed up by a contemporary discussion. Room666 was dominated by a postmodern frenzy, but it’s central concern seems actual as never before.

Interviews
We’ve invited a selection of international directors, producers, distributors and sales agents – all IFFR guests – to reflect on our central thesis: How does arthouse or independent film relate to growing commercialism? Cinema is an expensive artform and every fim is a challenge to finance. We ask ourselves if pure artfilm is possible to maintain itself in these circumstances. Isn’t a director forced to bend to the wishes of financers, funds, televisionstations, private parties, or the bigger audience? What we call arthouse today seems to be subjected to market mechanisms. It seems that artistic freedom is only reserved to the few big directors like Almodovar, Ozon, von Trier and Wong Kar Wai – and still just possible with the coöperation of celebrities, respectively Penelope Cruz, Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman and Norah Jones.

Others wil have to submit to smaller budgets and the consequential lesser public appeal.

We’ve asked a reaction to the following statements:

  • Arthouse cinema nowadays is subject to market-mechanisms.
  • The director’s artistic freedom is a fairytale.
  • A film involves many financing partners. This limits the director’s artistic freedom.
  • What do you choose: an author’s signature, or box office success?

Room999 is intended as a survey. After the IFFR 2008 we will research our material and publish our learnings in Dutch national filmmagazine De Filmkrant

Taare Zameen Par

•December 24, 2007 • 1 Comment

One of the best bollywood movies made ever… A must watch for anybody who is passionate about cinema.

Darsheel Safary

Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par

Taare Zameen Par

Give Me The Freedom To Choose

•December 24, 2007 • 2 Comments

It’s pretty sad to see nasty feedback and reviews about the movie – No Smoking. It’s not surprising though… Indian audience (in general) has never really been willing to understand such movies… and they will never be… I hope there are a few who understand the masterpiece Anurag Kashyap has created… Anurag Kashyap has been one of my favourite actors since I saw him first at Prithvi Theatre performing in a play “Sir Sir Sarla”. I started liking him as a director and writer when I watched Black Friday and I like him even more after watching “No Smoking”. He continues to make something different and meaningful unlike most others in the industry.

So what is No Smoking about? Is it about quitting smoking?

Read what Anurag Kashyap writes about it (http://passionforcinema.com/i-smoked-classic-milds/) :

…Yes it is an arrogant film..it is a film about arrogance.. of two kinds..why i made it , the way i made it, the reasons i have never discussed it before.. it is (like thani said) my most personal movie.. i am K.. K’s arrogance is the obvious arrogance, that everyone sees everyday.. he smokes..he breathes nicotine.. he says no one tells me what to do.. i breathe cinema.. and forever everyone has been telling me not to make the kind of cinema i do.. NO SMOKING is a tale of an arrogant man and another who is much more arrogant, who lives in his world, where he controls everything and he thinks he is morally superior to anyexisting Homo sapiens, he is the kind of man who thrives on minorities and underpriveleged, he worships the dictatorian attitude and all he wants from you is to lose your soul and convert….it,s a tale about an arrogant man’s descent into morality.. and the architecture of the moral world is so absurd that it sometimes beats reality.. what happens in the film is a parallel to what happens in the real world..

…baba bengali is like that man, who has already deciced what kind of cinema should be made and should exist.. the film is about my struggle against the system to have the freedom to (smoke)make films..

GIVE ME THE LIBERTY TO KNOW , TO UTTER , TO ARGUE FREELY ACCORDING TO MY CONSCIENCE ABOVE ALL LIBERTIES

since i do not have the liberty, and i get banned everytime i am directly stating my opinions(we started shooting much before Black friday got the clearence), one has to wage a guerilla war.. no smoking is my guerrilla war.. and in the end the man loses to the system and the only way he can survive is after having lost his soul(freedom).. everyone expects a good versus evil film, where good wins over evil, where the end sums it up, and all is well at the end.. well it doesn’t happen here.. here K doesn’t want to, but never comes to know how and when he gave in to the system, but accepts it and starts to do what his own people did to him,,why? in order to survive.. why his treatment becomes an incomprehensible nightmare, because it does in real life, i am the living proof..this film is just the treatment the powerful(baba Bangali) puts K(the man whose allusions are of greatness, seemingly invincible) through to bring him over to his side and manages.. there is nothing more.. i have seen the industry’s waking conscience when FANAA got banned in gujrat, and reading hrithik roshan’s democratic rights speech in midday the next mornig,, never saw none of that solidarity when my two films got banned..
Have had my film scripts stolen from right under me by the most powerful, respected and supposedly just people and did not see anyone even whispering it..and yes i am arrogant, because i work very hard to put my neck and my sense of security and my goodwill on line.. i do not scratch anyones back.. i criticise those who will always get the oppurtunity to trash me like they have this time.. i live on my own terms in this spineless world and that makes me arrogant, and i would rather have a good review when people like my film than by being on good terms with them..
in the end i do not want to explain no smoking anyfurther and would say i prefer it over Black Friday and i love every bit of it and i still hope it finds it’s audience and makes money for my producer who trusted me to make this film.

Siddharth Pillai writes:

…Superficially the movie may seem to be a shocking depiction of addiction and withdrawal that follows a common template for a horror flick, but deep down it ponders on the very philosophical issue that concerned ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ What is the notion of a ‘human being’? When K places his palm on the touch-screen at the Prayogshala the data arrives as ‘Species: Homo Sapiens’. The soul is disregarded. The nightmare of K is not one of addiction but of social dystopia. The Holocaust is invoked and Baba Bengali is shown in photograph sharing space with Hitler. Bengali’s appellation of ‘Shri Shri’ and the paranoid fervor with his inmates later spread his word are all an indictment of a system that runs on herd mentality. Baba’s methodology for curing addiction is a bloodlust driven by fanaticism. There is little to distinguish between him and a religious fundamentalist. It is like Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Mother Night- ‘True evil is hating someone and believing that God in on your side.’ Director Kashyap cheekily but furiously lashes out these extremist systems which require one and all to conform, submit and reject absolutely anything that is beyond…

…He strives for the right to choose, for human endeavor and he does it in style.

Another review:

…Wow, finally there is someone out there who tests the audience and at the same time explores the subconscious mind so beautifully that I felt I was dreaming, because that’s how dreams are and that’s what No Smoking is, the nightmare of a chain smoker.

Well, all the people who said it was absurd and hopeless have you ever got a dream in which you thought you were dreaming?

I can’t stop appreciating the guy who made it; for that matter any one can’t stop doing that once they get the point. Because it’s his proper understanding of the subconscious mind and applying that on an impulsive smoker combining this with a cool, slick look and a terrific sound track he delivers No Smoking. Kudos to you Anurag Kashyap.After listening to my fellow audience’s frustrated comments during some parts of the movie I thought of that musician’s character in Atlas Shrugged. What was his name?

And yes this aint an only bouquets to you thing hold this brick too Anurag. Why was the Natural Born Killer’s sitcom parody brought in? That seemed a little out of place. But the Schindler’s List’s gas chamber scene on TV and the mass bathing scene was subtle. Especially the frame when K looks up.

I don’t know what reviewers see in a film when they write a review. Seems like there is a greater urgency in delivering their product. Unfortunately these kinds of things give the audience a wrong idea.

In one line No Smoking is David Fincher and David Lynch having a hell of a party with Anurag Kashyap in desi style.

All I can say as an audience — I want more of such movies. I’m tired of sentimental crap like — “It’s all about loving your parents…”