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India Jadi Tumpuan Hollywood

25 Oct

GAMBAR ini menunjukkan watak-watak dalam filem animasi Roadside Romeo terbitan Yash Raj Films dengan Walt Disney Pictures.

MUMBAI – Sebuah filem animasi berbahasa Hindi yang dikeluarkan oleh Walt Disney memberi petunjuk bahawa Hollywood semakin serius memasuki pasaran di India.

Syarikat Disney itu kini menjalin kerjasama dengan Yash Raj Films dalam pembikinan filem animasi berbahasa Hindi, Roadside Romeo yang tayangannya bermula semalam.

Ia merupakan kerjasama pertama Disney untuk menghasilkan sebuah filem India.

Disney turut membeli satu rangkaian televisyen kanak-kanak yang berbahasa Hindi dan kini menumpukan perhatian terhadap pasaran filem di luar Hollywood.

Straetgi itu adalah sama seprti dilakukan oleh syarikat Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, NBC dan Viacom.

“Bagi studio-studio Hollywood, melebarkan pasaran di peringkat global bukan hanya bermakna mempromosikan produk di pasaran itu,” kata seorang penganalisis hiburan di PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Smita Jha.

Menurut laporan PWC, pertumbuhan industri media dan hiburan dalam pasaran yang sedang berkembang seperti di China, India dan Rusia diramalkan bakal meningkat dua kali ganda.

Studio-studio Hollywood yang pada mulanya hanya mengalihkan suara filem-filem terbitannya ke dalam bahasa tempatan di India atau membiayai penerbitan kini mula mengorak langkah setapak lagi.

Baru-baru ini Sony Pictures Entertainment menerbitkan filem berbahasa Hindi yang pertama, Saawariya.

Filem Chandni Chowk to China terbitan Warner Bros dijangka ditayangkan pada awal tahun depan manakala Studio Fox Star kini menandatangani kontrak dengan penerbit-penerbit Bollywood.

“Kami mahu melangkah lebih jauh berbanding hanya menandatangani cek dan mengukuhkan jiwa India dengan amalan serta proses Hollywood,” kata Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Studio Fox Star, Vijay Singh.

Baru-baru ini, bilionair Amerika Syarikat (AS), George Soros melabur sebanyak AS$100 juta (RM358 juta) untuk memperoleh tiga peratus pegangan dalam Reliance Entertainment di India.

Disney, NBC, Time Warner, Viacom dan Sony Pictures mempunyai komitmen dengan rakan kerjasama tempatan melibatkan kos lebih AS$1.5 bilion (RM5.37 bilion).

Pada awal tahun ini, Reliance Entertainment menandatangani perjanjian dengan lapan syarikat penerbitan Hollywood bagi menerbitkan dan membiayai bersama pembikinan filem.

Syarikat itu juga mendapat liputan antarabangsa apabila menandatangani perjanjian bernilai AS$1.5 bilion (RM5.37 bilion) bersama seorang pengarah filem terkenal, Steven Spielberg untuk memiliki sebuah studio baru.

Syarikat-syarikat India turut mengambil langkah berani.

Syarikat UTV Motion Pictures mempunyai perjanjian kerjasama dengan Disney, Fox Searchlight dan Overbrook Entertainment milik aktor terkenal, Will Smith.

“Itu merupakan satu petunjuk bahawa Hollywood kini mengundang syarikat-syarikat India untuk berkongsi risiko (perniagaan filem),” kata Pengarah Eksekutif Firma Media Partners Asia di Hong Kong, Vivek Couto.

“Mereka dan kita mengetahui bahawa pada akhirnya, sama ada berlaku kemelesetan atau tidak, penduduk di India akan dapat menonton filem,” tambahnya. – Reuters


Disney Releases First Indian-Made Animation Feature

23 Oct

MUMBAI : Disney makes a major foray into the Indian film market Friday with the release of its first full-length animation feature using home-grown Bollywood talent.

“Roadside Romeo”, a joint venture between Walt Disney Pictures and leading Indian studio Yash Raj Films, has been two years in the making and tells the story of pampered pet dog Romeo after he is abandoned on the streets of Mumbai.

Characters in the 90-minute film, which producers hope will be a hit over the coming Diwali festive period, are voiced by popular Bollywood actors Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Jaaved Jaaferi.

It also features trademark Bollywood song and dance routines as Romeo encounters fellow strays and falls in love.

Disney, responsible for hits like “WALL-E”, “Ratatouille”, “The Incredibles” and “Finding Nemo” through its Pixar Animations Studios arm, first began operations in India in July 2004.

It has since secured a foothold in the cable television sector, mainly through its children’s outlets the Disney Channel, Hungama TV and Jetix.

Walt Disney Company India’s managing director Mahesh Samat said the expansion into Indian-made animation films was a logical step.

“(Yash Raj Films) are experts in the Bollywood idioms and the local style of story-telling and we are happy to work with them in producing our first local full-length animation feature,” he said in emailed comments to AFP.

“While we understand that this is a relatively nascent market for animation films, we are confident that there’s a large market for decent family entertainment here.

“Animation films work equally well as live action films the world over and there is no reason why they would not work here as well.”

“Roadside Romeo” was inspired by Mumbai’s legions of stray dogs and written by the Bollywood actor Jugal Hansraj, who is making his debut as a director. The animation itself is entirely the work of the Mumbai-based Tata Elxsi outfit.

“I have always loved animation films since my childhood. I have grown up on them and to work with Disney was a fantastic experience,” said Hansraj, citing Disney’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book” as among his favourites.

Disney’s tie-up comes at a time when other major Hollywood studios are taking an increasing interest in India’s 2.1-billion-dollar-a-year film industry.

Sony Pictures made the first move, co-producing the love story “Saawariya” (Beloved) with acclaimed producer-director Sanjay Leela Bhansali in November 2007.

Warner Brothers is scheduled to release “Chandni Chowk to China”, starring prominent actor Akshay Kumar, in January next year.

Walt Disney India’s Samat told AFP he could not divulge how much Disney was spending in India but said they would fork out “whatever is required to execute these projects to world-class standards”.

“We have currently four live action films in the pipeline, which we are producing ourselves. “Zokkomon” is a film which will star Darsheel Safari and the second is “19th Step”, starring Kamal Hassan,” he said.

“We have also started working on our second animation script with Yash Raj Films.”

– AFP/il

Channel News Asia

Food For TRPs

23 Aug

Food for TRPs

Food is close to Indian hearts and many have tried to cash in on this. Earlier, food related shows were restricted to cookery shows where a chef or a housewife shared recipes. But now, the trend has undergone a facelift. In recent months, there has been a profusion of food shows on TV and these shows are not just about cooking, but about travelling to exotic places, sampling different cuisines, discovering interesting food facts and, at the end of the day, having fun.

Shows like Highway on My Plate, Chakh Le India!, Around the World in 85 Plates, Cooking isn’t Rocket Science, Italian Khana, Zaika India and Indian Food Made Easy have audiences glued to their television sets.

“Earlier, food shows were in a juvenile stage, people thought food shows should teach us how to cook, but now the mindset is opening up, and food represents passion, creativity, tastes of different parts of the world and liberation,” says Rocky of Highway on My Plate. This show is about two men who share their fun-filled experiences of scouting for food on the highway.

Mayur agrees with him, “The whole idea of a food show has moved on. People now have more money to play with, so they want to experiment and enjoy. It’s not a simple meal at home that appeals to them, they want to eat out and travel. They live and enjoy through us, and that makes our show popular.”

Ritu Dalmia, whose Italian Khana has taken audiences on trips to exotic locations abroad says, “An average young urban Indian likes to travel. And if he cannot travel, he aspires to travel, he is curious about international food, and will definitely give it a try. So that is the reason why the show has done so well.”

It is really surprising that these shows are popular among a wide range of people starting from nine-year olds to octogenarians. Aditya Bal, who travels to far flung places and checks out the eateries there in his Chakh Le India!, says, “My show is like a food guide. We cover varied menus and subjects, talk about the history of the place, the local culture and craft. It’s an informative, travel oriented reality show.”

Barring a few shows, many do not have celebrity chefs or guests. This, according to Mayur, is a healthy trend. “Our show is all about normal people telling you about places to find good food, you too can eat at the same palce and enjoy the same way. There is no pretension and perceived barrier between us and our viewers.” Shivani Sharma Khanna, channel head NDTV Good Times, says, “Fresh faces give a fresh feel to the show. We wanted indistinct people to highlight the idea.”

Food shows have received overwhelming response so far and are the future of Indian television. Aditya says, “Food is a never-ending aspect of life. People will continue to be interested in the little secrets and pleasures of food. There is bound to be a profusion of such shows.”

Shivani feels that the shows are doing so well that may be in a year or two, niche channels on food may come up.

Shilpa sizzles in Bigg Boss season 2

The much awaited Bigg Boss series was finally aired on Sunday night on Colors. Shilpa Shetty, who was the obvious choice for hosting this show after her Big Brother victory, looked smashing. Her perfect hour-glass figure with not an inch of flab proved that the Shetty lass could give the younger actresses like Deepika and Kareena a huge complex.

Shetty was in great spirits as she introduced the format and took the audience through the Bigg Boss house.

The choice of participants, however, came as a huge surprise. Wonder what made Rahul Mahajan and Sanjay Nirupam agree to participating in the show. Even if they have been paid big bucks, one can’t really imagine these guys willing to share a room and bathroom with the other inmates for the duration of the show. Of course, many of the other participants are basically down and out actors and performers who could do with the moolah and publicity.

From a Rakhi Vijayan, who has bloated beyond recognition, to Monica Bedi – perhaps she likes the idea of being under ‘house arrest’ to ara ra ra.. Ketaki Dave, to a sad looking Raja Chowdhury (for those wondering who he is – he’s TV actress Shwetha Tiwari’s estranged husband), this show promises to provide non-stop drama every single night.

Speaking of drama, those expecting fireworks from Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan when the former appeared on Dus Ka Dum were in for a disappointment. Contrary to all the speculation, the stars bonded like long-lost buddies, the only time one saw a flicker of annoyance on Salman’s visage was when Akshay wickedly asked him when he was planning to get married. Katrina, who was also part of the show played the coy, dumb doll to the hilt and even sulked when she lost the game to Akshay. Sallu, unfortunately for him looks utterly besotted by Kats while the latter simply preened and smiled and remained non-committal. Only a miracle would make her marry Salman.

The actor was once again roped in for a quick on the couch session with Koel Purie on Headlines Today. He looked rather funny with his surma laden eyes and heavy eye shadow on the sets of Veer where Koel had met him. Towards the end of the show, it seemed like a rapid-fire session was in progress. One hilarious answer though in response to who he disliked was unwittingly funny. Sallu replied that he didn’t dislike anyone that much for if he did, that person wouldn’t be alive. How typically brattish! But what else can you expect from this overgrown kid?

Real life has more drama then reality shows
By A.L. Chougule

Q How was the experience of anchoring Waar Pariwaar?

On the whole, it was fun and exciting as well as tiring and pulsating. As a judge on Jhalak, I was the third party marking performances. But here I was running the show. As an anchor, my job was to keep things together and act as a link between the contesting families and jury.

Q Did you follow any written script or was most of your anchoring extempore?

I didn’t have a proper script. This is why the pressure was more. Since I had to speak only in Hindi, it was a taxing job for me.

Q It means anchoring is more difficult than judging?

Definitely. As a judge, your involvement in the show is quite limited.

Q Do you think the best two families have made it to the finale? Who do you think deserves to win?

There can’t be one opinion on that. Different people will speak differently. When public voting is involved, some of the best contestants are eliminated early in the competition. That’s what happened in Jhalak and it happened here too. Whoever gets higher votes will win.

Q Don’t you think even judges have their own favourites? So why blame viewers alone?

I don’t know about others, but I was quite fair and straight as judge in Jhalak. Even the contestants said so. Personal likes and dislikes shouldn’t impact judging.

Q There were a lot of verbal duels between judges and families as well as between the families. Was it real or scripted?

I have been part of two reality shows, and I can say for sure that all the drama, arguments and tears that were seen in Waar Pariwaar and Jhalak were real and not scripted. The camera cannot lie, and if anything is scripted, people can see it easily. You can’t deceive the camera. There is far more intense drama in real life than in reality shows.

Q Do you think reality shows have a lot of drama?

Absolutely. Life has become so competitive that the competitive spirit is at its peak. People have become very pushy and they try hard to succeed. The contestants in Waar Pariwaar were families. So there were bound to be differences in each family too, besides difference of opinion with the judges.

Q Are you looking at doing another reality show in coming months?

Right now I need a break from television. I didn’t expect to do another show after Jhalak. But this show came my way and I agreed to host it because I liked the concept. It was exciting but the schedule was very demanding.

Q Aren’t you going to judge Jhalak’s third season?

I have not been approached so far. I will take a call when the offer comes my way.

Q Which are your forthcoming films?

I shot for two films while I did Waar Pariwaar. EMI is a light-hearted film with Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty and is almost ready for release. The other film is Karz which needs some couple of days more to wind up shooting.

Lack of innovation fails reality shows

Since 2008, reality television has not been doing well. Reality shows of different genres, be it singing, dancing, quizzing or stand-up comedy, have evoked poor response from viewers. While fiction is still delivering average ratings, reality TV is struggling.

Why is reality TV not putting up a good show? “The last nine months have been the toughest period for general entertainment channels because of the entry of new GE channels besides higher growth in regional channels which are giving tough competition to GE channels. It is why no show has got double digit ratings during this period,” says Anita Basu of Synergy Adlabs which produces both Paanchvi Paas and 10 Ka Dum. According to Anita, today neither quizzing nor song and dance shows are working. “People are craving for change and everyone is in search of a new ideas that will create high level of interest a la KBC,” she adds.

Consensus among media experts is that reality TV is unsuccessful because of lack of imagination.

“Till about a year ago, there were only a couple of reality shows. But now weekends are packed with reality shows of the same genres on all channels. There is no innovation and variety which is the essence of reality TV,” says Sony’s executive vice president and marketing head Danish Khan.

“As a result the time spent on reality TV is coming down considerably because viewers switch from one channel to another to sample other shows,” Khan adds

Shailja Kejriwal who heads the creative and programming division of NDTV Imagine thinks poor content is responsible for the downslide. “Take the case of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. There was no star in it but only unknown stand up comedians. But the content was so good that the show turned out to be a huge hit. Then came it clones and ratings went down. Shah Rukh and Salman can’t be blamed if their shows are not doing well. It is the content that has failed their shows,” she reasons. Why is fiction getting better ratings than reality TV? “People watch fiction because they follow the story and characters. Reality TV doesn’t have a story,” explains Danish.

So reality TV will continue and ratings will not improve as long as there is no innovation.

A. L. C

Shah Rukh in a double role?

Rumours are rife that Shah Rukh Khan is playing a double role in Yash Raj Films’ Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. For quite sometime now, there have speculations about how SRK will be doing a double role in the film and now sources have revealed that the star will be seen in definitely more than one avataar in the movie. However, we are not yet sure if this means SRK will be seen donning different roles in a story spanning over a period of time or if he is actually playing a double role after Duplicate and Om Shanti Om.

While no one is willing to talk about his roles as yet, people on his sets confirmed that Shah Rukh has been working hard on this romantic ballad and spending a lot of time in the make up room as well.ῠ Well, we are not complaining. After all, two Shah Rukhs for the price of one is always welcome both for the producer and the audience.

Saif keen to host TV show

Here is one more Bollywood actor who wants to be seen on the small screen. Saif Ali Khan wants to do television shows but says that he hasn’t got any good offers as yet. There have been rumors that he had been approached to anchor Kaun Banega Crorepati when SRK wasn’t keen on hosting the fourth part of the show.

But Saif brushed off the rumours saying that he has not got any interesting TV offer till now. But would he find it exciting to interact with fans through a talk show or a game show? “Yes, it would be interesting to be involved with a reality show sometime in the future. Maybe I would like to host a talk show; a game show also might not be a bad idea.”

According to Saif, actors should experiment with different mediums and roles. “But I will have to see if I’ll be able to perform well on the small screen and if the medium suits me. But I have an inkling that I might just enjoy hosting a show,” says Saif.

A unique, gripping tale of friendship

Four lifelong friends share one very special summer. Introduced as babies who were born to mothers who met in a prenatal aerobics class, the four grew up together and developed an enduring bond despite their distinctly different emerging personalities. Now, after years of sharing every little thing, these four young women couldn’t be closer -except that they’re about to be separated as their lives take them in different directions for the first time.

Introspective and occasionally volatile Carmen is looking forward to spending quality time with her out-of-state dad, who she hasn’t seen much of since he divorced her mother years ago; super-confident star athlete Bridget is heading for a soccer camp in Mexico; soft-spoken Lena, a gifted artist as beautiful as her drawings, is set to discover her heritage – and an unexpected romance – on a trip to her grandparents’ home in Greece; and sharp-witted rebel Tibby will reluctantly remain in town, stocking shelves at the local discount store while working on a video “documentary” to expose what she sees as the banality of everyday life.

On a shopping trip together the day before their paths diverge, the friends find a pair of thrift-shop jeans that amazingly fits and flatters each one of them perfectly, even though they are all different shapes and sizes. These pants are meant for sharing, and that gives the girls a wonderful idea. They decide to use the pants as a way of keeping in touch, each one wearing them for a week to see what luck they bring before mailing them to the next girl. In this unique way, the four still experience the challenges and surprises of life together in an unforgettable summer. Don’t miss this touching film.

Sisterhood of the traveling pants Director: Ken Kwapis Cast: Amber Tamblyn, Jenna Boyd, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel

Sanober flees from show

Threat of getting eliminated is developing into a major fear for many participants of Ek Se Badhkar Ek. Rajshree Thakur, who had displayed a bad temper and a couldn’t-care-less attitude, quit the show two weeks ago when she realised that her elimination was certain.

This week, things were different, Sanober Kabir didn’t turn up for the shoot at all. Apparently, she was miffed with the jury’s harsh comments, especially Abhijeet’s, since he had told Sanober that her ego would become the cause of her elimination. According to sources she backed out due to fear of elimination.

Zee’s programming head Ajay Bhalwankar says the past three weeks have been quite unpredictable, “Rajshree had minor health issues since the beginning of the show. But we never thought she would back out. And Sanober not turning up for the shoot was a big surprise because when Abhijeet had issues about judging Mussarrat, who is from Pakistan, she was the first one to stand against the judge.”

Monsoon blues hit actors

During Mumbai’s rainy season, hygiene is a major concern on the sets of most serials. Mosquitoes are a major health issue.ῠ Take the case of Tulika Upadhyay who plays Leeza in Saath Saath. She collapsed on the sets and the doctor diagnosed it as a case of low haemoglobin level. On not responding to treatment, Tulika was admitted to aῠ hospital where she was diagnosed with malaria. Even the food that is served on the sets is said to be a cause of health problem for actors and production people. This is why most actors carry lunch boxes from home. As Reshmi Ghosh says, “The quality of food served on the sets is not at all good.”

Telly rivalry moves to films

Prachi Desai and Roshni Chopra played sisters in Kasamh Se. Prachi as Bani was more popular than Roshni who played Pia. Not only were they rivals in the show but the duo were not on best of terms in real life either.

While Roshni took a break from Kasamh Se and has not returned to the daily, post-Jhalak Prachi quit the show for her big screen debut in Rock On opposite Farhan Akhtar. Now Roshni too has followed in her reel life sister’s footsteps. Roshni however, had played one of the leads in Let’s Enjoy, a serious-comic off-beat film that revolved around a party where different people meet to have some good time before she started doing television serials.

But Vikram Bhatt’s Phir is a big film for Roshni and it is almost on par with Prachi’s Rock on. It seems the rivalry that started on the small screen will now spill over on to the big screen too. While Prachi scored over Roshni on television, it remains to be seen who will score better on the big screen.

Namrata turns to television

She started off with fashion shows and modeling and has been doing Oriya and Bengali films. But Namrata Thapa finds television more interesting. She has done shows like Kya Hadsa Kya Haqeeqat, Vaidehi, CID, Ravan and Naagin and is currently playing the central character of Rani Madanlekha, wife of King Vikramaditya, in Mahima Shani Dev Ki.

“The King is under the spell of Shanidev and Rani Madanlekha stands by him in difficult times. The range of my role is interesting as I get to play a queen as well as a pauper,” says Namrata, who is looking forward to playing a mentally challenged girl in an upcoming daily soap.

She is also game for regular family dramas provided she gets to play the lead role. As for Hindi films, she is hoping that something interesting comes her way. “Otherwise I am happy doing television because it offers a variety of roles,” she adds.

Onscreen chemistry may not be real

They are good on screen but off-screen, we see them engaged in vociferous battles. Couples who share wonderful chemistry on reality shows do not depict a similar picture when it comes to reality. Recently we heard about a spat between the winners of Comedy Circus 2. It was heard that Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar popularly known as VIP and Juhi Parmar, who were the champions of Comedy Circus 2 were quite uncomfortable working with each other.

Kaate ki Takkar, which is the contest following Comedy Circus 2 will not have Vijay and Juhi working together as a couple.ῠ Vijay was apparently angered by Juhi’s habit of being unpunctual and making frequent changes to the script.

Smriti plans Gandhi series

UTV Television which gave India its first Hindi daily soap Shanti has joined hands with Smriti Irani Production for a series on Mahatma Gandhi. The series will be based on the life of Gandhi and his incessant search for Truth. The project is meant for a global audience as discussions with the US and UK broadcasters are underway. This series is Smriti’s idea. “Though Gandhi’s sacrifices have been chronicled on screen before, we would also like to highlight the sacrifices made by his family,” says Smriti.

Salman Khan gets TV offers from Abroad

Salman Khan has been receiving many offers for new projects. The latest is for a TV show along the lines of Donald Trump’s Apprentice, which is currently being aired on a Dubai channel called Hydra Executive. While the details of Salman’s role -whether he would act as host or a celebrity guest on the show – are unclear, we know that he visited UAE and had some serious negotiations with the team there. “Yes, I did meet the guys there. But nothing has been finalised yet. I am still exploring some aspects of the same,” says Salman. Currently, Salman is doing well on his show Dus Ka Dum, for which he is drawing a hefty remuneration. Apart from regular participants, the show has also had some celebrity guests.

Mouli’s back with Aathwan Vachan

Mouli Ganguly is back on the tube after a year-long break with Aathwan Vachan. “I badly needed a break from TV because I had stopped enjoying work. It had become monotonous,” says Mouli who is best remembered for her role in Kahin Kissi Roz.

About her new show she says, “Aathwan Vachan is a story of bonding two sisters and I find it quite interesting.”

However, she reveals, “My character is a cameo. I am not going to be there after about two months.”

She accepted the role because it sounded interesting. “I know the character’s graph and it’s definitely a special appearance. The rest depends on ratings and the call that channel will take,” she avers. Does it mean that she will be back in the show some time later? “I really don’t know. Nothing is certain about dailies where story changes, characters are bumped off and new ones are brought in. In television actors are like puppets,” she avers.

(Snippets by A.L.Chougule)

‘I like to shop abroad’

If you thought that film stars were the only ones who were a lot too specific about what they wanted in life, here’s news. Not that Anita Hasnandani throws tantrums. But the petite girl who has done a few odd roles in movies before realising that TV is where she belongs, says that she would rather shop abroad rather than in Mumbai. Though she frequents Atria Mall a tad too often and the Linking Road at suburban Bandra at times, Anita would still prefer branded stores abroad. “It is about the perfect fit,” says the actress.

“I like the variety of clothes available abroad, they also fit perfectly,” says the actress also known for her proximity to Ekta Kapoor. This pretty lady loves the clothes designed by Manish Malhotra and Reza, who creates all the ensembles that she wears on TV.

Shabana’s presence intimidates participants

Kritika Singhal is a popular participant on Ekta Kapoor’s Bollywood Ka Ticket. Singhal, who has become a household name, thanks to Kasautii Zindagi Kay, has now made it to the seventh round of the TV show. However, the comments of the judges on show makes her nervous. “When people like Shabana Azmi and Amrita Singh are about to comment on my performance, I feel jittery. Shabanaji is such a fine actress that one does not know how she is going to react to any performance, as it will definitely be nowhere close to what she has performed,” says Singhal. Shabana though puts on her best behaviour on the show and hardly tries to intimidate anyone. However, her sheer presence makes participants like Kritika uncomfortable.

Young talent hit the right notes

Everybody was there. From Megadeth, Slipknot, Cannibal Corpse to well-known names like The Doors, Bob Marley, Nirvana, but on T-shirts as emblems. A 360 degree panoramic spin gave us more names to add on to our list, and made us realise why Hamsadhwani theatre at Pragati Maidan was packed with black T-shirts on Sunday.

The occasion was Independence Rock’s North zone final. For the second time in the capital, Independence Rock (a 23-year-old venture), with an aim to promote budding talent in rock music, adjudged four bands to compete for the best rock act from the North zone (the final will be in Mumbai with the winners from all the four zones). The atmosphere was electrifying, provided your expectations were high. As the stands in the gallery slowly got occupied with rock lovers, the recorded music from the huge speakers set the right mood for an “action-packed” rock concert.

However, many didn’t like the public interaction before the concert (especially, the host’s choice of words). Finally, Farhad Wadia, the founder of Independence Rock (you can’t miss him standing behind the mixing console), announced the first band of the evening – Rampage. They did a neat job. Though the twin solo on the first track sounded a bit off the tune, they made everybody come alive with their “disciplined” 80s hard rock sound.

One characteristic of the band that might appeal to critics was that at a time when new-age sound is creating a buzz, these four guys from the North East offered the almost “forgotten” 80s hard rock sound (resembling bands like Rainbow and Dio).

Another Vertigo Rush was the next band on the stage. With their trademark numbers (Vibe, Conclave), AVR offered some “Tool-like” progressive sound to the audience (later Akhilesh, the guitarist of the band, confirmed Tool as one of their inspirations). Except the vocals (Viraj’s vocals sounded ordinary), AVR did “everything” right (as they had Nihkil Rufuzz from Superfuzz on bass and Akhilesh utilised the wah-wah to the fullest and his slide guitar solos did impress a few guitar aspirants). Later in the evening, AVR was chosen as the winner of the competition. After AVR, a new sound filled the ears of those who were present that evening at Hamsadhwani. It was Frequency. Armed with new-age metal sound, who did whatever they could.

From covering (or should we say improvising) Michael Jackson’s Beat it (to which they gave a electro new-age avatar) to AC/DC’s Highway To Hell, this five-membered band wasted no time to get into their act of presentation. Ruben, the drummer, showed some professionalism and wore his monitors on his ears.

The vocalist did his best to throw some power with his growls, but often sounded stressed while doing it. By the time Tear Cube came on to the stage, the crowd looked frustrated trying to find their “sound”.

They kicked off with Coal Chamber’s Loco. We overheard someone saying, “They could not even maintain the original tempo of the song.”

However, after half an hour of performance (which included covers by bands like Killswith Engaged), Tear Cube gave way to Superfuzz, the headlining act for the evening.

Considering Superfuzz’s disqualification from I-Rock last year, they looked happy to perform as headliners this year. Chanchal and his power-trio sprinkled their usual grungy-punk flavour and came as a relief for those who were waiting to hear some mature sound.

On Song

Film: Bachna Ae Haseeno

Khuda Jaane

Sajde mein yun hi jhukta hoon Tum pe hi aa ke rukta hoon Kya yeh sab ko hota hai

Hum ko kya lena hai sab se Tum se hi sab batein ab se Ban gaye ho tum meri dua

Khuda Jaane ke mein fida hun Khuda Jaane mein mit gaya Khuda jaane yeh kyun huwa hai Ke ban gaye ho tum mere khuda

Tu kahe to tere hi kadam ke main nishanon pe Chalun rukun ishaare pe Tu kahe tho khwabon ka bana ke Main bahana sa Mila karu sirhaane pe

Ohhh Tum se dil ki baatein seekhi Tum se hi yeh raahe seekhi Tum pe marr ke mein tho Jjee gaya

Dil kahe ki sambhal zara khushi ko Na nazar laga Ke darr hai mein tho ro dunga

Mom’s mutton chops are the best

I have traveled across the world and love to try out cuisines of countries that I visit. Though many try to look for Indian restaurants abroad, I don’t. Instead, I enjoy the local cuisine. However, I do miss homemade food. So, as soon as I come back from a trip, I ask my mom to prepare jeera rice, Kashmiri chicken and mutton curry. Her mutton chops also act as a comfort food for me in times of hunger or stress.

Being a foodie, I also experiment with strange combos such as eating namkeen with sweet yogurt. I also prepare namkeen sandwich by applying layers of aam ka aachar (instead of cheese or butter) on bread and then topping the bread with namkeen. It tastes quite unique and good.

Though I am not as good a cook as my mom, I can prepare various dishes – from biryani to baked delicacies and even pastas, baked corn and spinach – I have progressed quite a lot as a cook.

While dining out, I frequent Grand Kakatiya’s Peshawari, Zaffron Exotica for Indian, Ohri’s for Chinese, Lagoona for their thin crust pizza, and Krishna for their unique prawn biryani. For chicken 65 and roomali roti, which both my husband and I are extremely fond of, we go to Bawarchi. Narmada, a small take-away joint near Cafe bar, prepares excellent brain fry and chicken pakodas.

Besides biryani, Hyderabad can indeed boast of chicken 65, rasam, fried fish, Nizami kebabs, little fried idlis and gobi manchurian.

Apart from Hyderabad, Mumbai is also ‘the’ place for foodies. Mumbai ka ragda samosas and pattis, vada pao and custard ice cream are simply unbeatable. The sea food in Kerala and Goa are also great.

But when it comes to sweet dishes, I miss the gulab jamun and jablebis of Delhi. I have my favourite shops from where I buy these sweets, chaat and golgappas whenever I visit the capital. Also, Chennai’s Grand sweets deserve a special mention for halwa, Mysore pak and bisibele bhath.

Abroad, I ate the best pizzas in Brazil. There’s a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro called Kilos. Strangely, it charges according to the weight of the food you are consuming. They indeed weigh your plate!

In USA, I ate the yummiest chilli fries, without knowing that they contained beef.

In Malaysia I had the best exotic Chinese dinner.

I enjoyed the dry fruit desserts and sawarma of Middle East. The coffee shops in Paris are really interesting. I am fond of cheese cakes and in USA, I ate the tastiest dulce delache at their Cheese Cake Factory. However, I found the pastries at star hotels here are better than those of USA.

Twice or thrice a week, I dine out. However, dance serves as an intense workout and prevents me from putting on weight. Whatever I order, I make sure to eat in moderate quantities. So, I would advise foodies to follow my path as well.

Bift canteen puffs a hit

Hangout@canteen and campus of Badruka Institute of Foreign Trade, Kacheguda.

Who all frequent: Arunark, Muzammil, Praveen, Aparna, Alekhya, Priyanka, Vishnu and friends. Cost: Rs 5-Rs 30.

What’s hot: Samosa, pav bhaji, vada pao, fried rice, pulao, chips, tea, coffee, cool drinks and fruit juice.

What’s the catch: “The veg and non-veg puffs and pav bhaji are favourites. The food is very tasty. Usually, we take the food and sit on the steps nearby or on the grounds. The greenery around is soothing. Our canteen and campus is an ideal place to chill out after class,” says Praveen Kumar N., a second year student of Bift.

Monsoon Delights

The rain clouds may be painting the town grey but don’t let it dampen your mood. Splash on some colour and step out in style.

Slip into Nike’s new Air Rejuven8 range of sneakers. Not only do they look trendy but are also designed to help rejuvenate, repair, rebuild, refresh and restore the foot. They are waterproof and colourful. They are a must for the monsoons. These are available at all Nike showrooms in the city. If Sneakers are not your style then try out the colourful and convenient floaters available at Inc.5. Prices start at Rs1490.

Spruce up your wardrobe with a pretty military textured pleated trendy dress by W that embodies the free spirit of monsoon. This is available at W store in Banjara Hills.

Sling on a bag from the new range of Baggit bags, which are waterproof and available in bright colours. These are available at Lifestyle.

Jazz up dreary monsoon days with colourful raincoats from Westside. Their new rain gear will take the fashion quotient up by several notches while keeping your clothes protected from the downpour. The prices start from Rs 699 onwards.

This is also the time to get under a romantic and uber cool umbrella. Take your pick from the myriad colours and shapes. They are available at Lifestyle, Central and City centre. Prices range from Rs 150 to Rs 600.

For added protection from the rains, pick a trench coat from the label Adventure available at all leading stores and shopping malls. Prices start from Rs 3,500 onwards.

Keep your house spick and span with reversible doormats specially made for the rainy season. These mats are quick-drying, dust-resistant and are made of durable, washable, colorfast polypropylene material. These mats are available at Wellhome stores in the city.

Starry night

The 11th Annual Rajiv Gandhi Awards-2008ῠ witnessed the presence of many w ell-known personalities like Kripa Shankar Singh, Digvijay Singh, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Geeta Basra, and the sensational Baichung Bhutia.

Anchors Tisca Chopra and Sajid Khan added spice to the event. The best part was Salman Khan, who performed on some popular songs from his films. Among other performers were Rakhi Sawant, Kamya and Rajiv, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Navin Prabhakar.


 Features of the Week



Deccan Chronicle

Cinema: Cast, Humour Make It Worthwhile

2 Jul

Saif Ali Khan with Rani Mukerji and Amisha Patel in Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.
Saif Ali Khan with Rani Mukerji and Amisha Patel in Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic.

Now Playing

Directed by Kunal Kohli
Starring Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Amisha Patel, Rishi Kapoor, Akshat Chopra

JUST like Bhootnath (with Amitabh Bachchan taking the role of a ghost), this movie is aimed at the young ones.

But this movie is better than Bhootnath not only because it has a better cast but because of the seamless use of graphics to make the story more interesting. And the cinematography (Sudeep Chatterjee) is fantastic.

And there’s none of the melancholy that pervaded Bhootnath.

This is surprising since the story deals with four children who are orphaned after their parents are killed in an accident.

The car driver, Ranbir (Saif Ali Khan) is ordered by the courts to take care of them until they are 18.

Saif, who has never in his life bothered about anyone except his business, suddenly finds his life in turmoil.

The children are rebellious and only have one intention, to bring misery to the person who took away their parents.

What Ranbir needs is a miracle. An angel Geetha (Rani Mukerji) is sent by Bhagavan (Rishi Kapoor) from the heavens to help the children.

The song sequences are a bit far-fetched (including a trip to the museum where everything, including a dinosaur, comes alive) but you can easily forgive the producers as they are few in between.

You also get a wonderful free ride through Universal Studios and San Diego Zoo in the United States.

Don’t miss out the sexy song scene involving Amisha Patel at the poolside. She and Saif even managed to duet underwater!

This is a feel-good movie with plenty of humour.

Kunal Kohli, who had winners with Fanaa and Hum Tum, may have struck gold again, even if this is more of a children’s movie.

Yash Raj Films seem to have yet another winner on their hands.

Saif’s stars are brighter than ever. The heavens seem to be showering their blessings on him.


New Straits Times

Any Takers For Serious Cinema?

8 Jul

Any takers for serious cinema?


Parallel cinema lost out on the box office stakes long ago. Now it is losing space to the commercial variety on the small screen too.

Struggle for space: Stills from Shyam Benegal’s “Ankur.

Popular director Anil Sharma, whose high-profile “Apne” was released recently to a fine reception, is a touch disappointed these days. His first, and arguably the finest film, “Shradhanjali” has found no takers. Much like Prak
ash Jha’s “Damul” and “Hip Hip Hurray”.

Sharma laments, “TV satellite channels do not show ‘Shradhanjali’. They show what sells. They are ready to screen ‘Gadar’ and ‘The Hero’ 100 times but not my first film, which is also my best.” “Apne” was in great demand from channels even before the release.

No takers

Jha, who has also made a neat switchover to popular cinema with films like “Gangajal” and “Apaharan”, says, “There are no takers for serious cinema on television. The market is determining the choice. Nobody is interested in ‘Hip Hip…’ anymore. They want ‘Gangajal’. I am designing films that sell in the market. If I don’t texture a film according to the market, it won’t sell.”

He should know. While his films like “Damul” and “Hip Hip…” have struggled to find takers among the private channels, “Gangajal” and “Apaharan” have raked in more on the small screen than all his previous films combined.

It is not a surprise. Nor are Jha and Sharma without company. Govind Nihalani’s timeless classic “Ardh Satya” lies unsold as does his sci-fi venture “Deham”. Nihalani, whose “Takshak” and “Dev” (starring popular actors like Ajay Devgan and Amitabh Bachchan) have been shown repeatedly on TV, explains, “When films like ‘Ardh Satya’ were made, this kind of cinema had to fight for time then too.”

Yes, the small screen continues to ignore the works of the finest craftsmen of parallel cinema. Never far from being models of anonymity, serious filmmakers have failed to make the cut with TRP-driven satellite channels. Ironically, the stakes have seldom been higher for major players in the Hindi film world and the losses steeper for lovers of serious cinema.

At a time when major box office hits like “Rang De Basanti”, “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”, “Krrish”, “Dhoom-2”, “Phir Hera Pheri”, “Umrao Jaan” and “Don” have been lapped up for television screenings at whopping sums going up to Rs.15 crore, no channel is ready to push the envelope for serious cinema. Result? Parallel cinema is dying a second death.

Having lost out in the box office popularity stakes, worthies like Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Goutam Ghose, Kalpana Lajmi and others are being given the cold shoulder by satellite channels too. Almost all the movie channels including Set Max, Zee Cinema, B4U and Filmy show four films a day, but on a “safe average only about six parallel cinema films” a month.

At times less, coming down to as little as two out of 120 films a month. Interestingly, unreleased entertainers like “Partner” and “No Smoking” with popular stars have already been bought by various channels!

As Filmy’s Ashutosh says, “We don’t have the luxury of waiting to know the film’s box office fate.” The channels are ready to shell out up to Rs.30 crore for a Yash Raj bouquet, but will not stake even a fraction of that for parallel cinema. Even box office duds like “Raja ki Aayegi Barat” (one of Rani Mukherji’s early films) or “Janani” (a Bhagyashri-starrer that was taken off some theatres on the third day of its release) are preferred to classics like “Ankur”, “Bhumika”, “Mrigaya”, “Manthan”, “Saaransh”, “Katha”, “Ek Pal” or “Nishant”.

No wonder Kalpana Lajmi, who has directed films like “Ek Pal” and “Darmiyaan”, rues, “The channels only want films of the last five years. I am known to the new generation by some of my weaker films. Even I cannot see my favourite films like ‘Ek Pal’ on television anymore. The classics are lost.”

Only economics

Mahesh Bhatt, who started his career with films like “Arth” and “Saaransh” before being associated with the likes of “Murder” and “Zeher”, says “Contrary to the assumption that people want good cinema, they don’t. Even if they get it for free, they don’t watch it. Even Doordarshan, where profit is not the main motive, does not want art house cinema. It is a battle for the eyeballs, a battle for bums on the seat. It is pure and simple economics, no art.”

He reveals that the contract of his National Award winning “Zakhm” was not revived with Zee because it had exhausted its possibilities. “Zee found it too gloomy. The film in the first run on TV had exhausted its potential audience. Channels are petrified of losing their audience. When TV runs short of icons, it manufactures them.”

Not excluding himself, Bhatt says “You have to put up with potboilers on television today because even the filmmaker who made ‘Saaransh’ yesterday makes ‘Murder’ and ‘Jism’ today.” Incidentally, “Jism” got Star very good ratings!

What is worse, the channels plan special festivals of the films of Amitabh Bachchan —Zee cinema had Bachchan’s ‘Navarasa’ in April-May this year and around the same time Set Max had ‘Ab Tak Bachchan’ — Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Govinda and Akshay Kumar… But never is a festival of Shyam Benegal films or Goutam Ghose films planned or shown. And, in a rare case, as in Set Max showing films of Guru Dutt and Benegal, the films are dumped in the early morning slot, sometimes starting as early as 8.00 a.m. on weekdays. And they are completely off the radar on weekend mornings “as that is a time for family viewing”.

Dhoom 2”.

Nihalani states the obvious, “TV is a very commercial medium. The best time goes to blockbusters. The ‘other’ kind of films are shown according to the channel’s convenience. Often more like a filler.”

Ashutosh admits, “There are not too many art movies on the channel. They don’t work well if you take ratings into account. Ninety per cent of people don’t want them. One has to make the channel work. We are not for classics that don’t sell. It is a battle for the eyeballs. Even popular films like ‘Pakeezah’, ‘Guide’ don’t work.”

Older and cheaper

Set Max’s Sneha Rajani takes the same line. “When one criticises the channels for not showing serious films one must remember their number is smaller too. We have Ghose’s ‘Yatra’ and some of Benegal’s movies like ‘Sardari Begum’ and ‘Kalyug’. We do not have a strict schedule for them but Sunday morning is ruled out for any library movie.”

A library (old film of about 25-30 years) movie is purchased by a channel at less than one/tenth the cost of a blockbuster. The older it gets, the cheaper a movie becomes for channels. Still the best works of Guru Dutt and Bimal Roy hardly make it to the schedules of movie channels. For evidence, just surf the timetables of Set Max, Zee Cinema, B4U, Filmy and others. No movie has made it for screening in May. Even Star Gold that started with the idea of showing yesteryear super hits now plays regular, usually relatively new, movies.

Rajani counters, “When they talk of serious cinema, why only the past? We have shown Aparna Sen’s ‘15 Park Avenue’. I wish the audiences had supported us then.”

Zee Cinema’s Mohan Gopinath, head, marketing and programming, explains, “Case to case, we give recommendations according to the star cast, content, mass appeal, before a movie is selected. For instance we have had hits like ‘Diler’ and ‘Durga’. These films had flopped when they released in cinema halls. Sometime back we did show ‘Ijaazat’. But we normally have late night slot for such films as we have to cater to the larger audience at other times.” As Bhatt puts it, “Everybody talks of good cinema, nobody watches good cinema.”

Meanwhile, the rarely seen Lok Sabha TV is the only exception. Every Saturday evening, the channel is busy showing films like “Ek Doctor ki Maut” and “Pestonjee” at prime time. The films, according to the Executive Producer Vartika Nanda, “get good response from the viewers with a lot of enquiries about the films”.

Each film is introduced by an expert from the field and is ushered with promos played a couple of days before the film’s screening. “We are a low-profile channel. We don’t indulge in mirch masala. We are not in the
rat race. We shows films with sub-titling and intend to continue the series over 54 weeks,” adds Nanda.

But is that enough to take on the juggernaut where each offering of Yash Raj Films or Vishesh Films comes with truckloads of advance publicity and a screening schedule more than a month in advance. No guesses needed!

Hindu On Net

Around The Corner

9 Mar

Around the corner

Yash Raj Films kicks off the year with the Saif Ali Khan starrer Ta Ra Rum Pum

LONG LIST The line up of Yash Raj films opens with Saif and Rani

Yash Raj Films announced the line-up of films for the year. The first film from Yash Raj this year is “Ta Ra Rum Pum,” which is opening on April 27. The film, directed by Siddharth Anand (“Salaam Namaste”) stars Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji and tells the story of a race-car driver.

This film is followed by Shaad Ali’s third directorial venture “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” on June 15. With a cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Bobby Deol, Lara Dutta, and Amitabh Bachchan in a special appearance, the film looks set to repeat the success of “Bunty Aur Babli.”

Then there is “Chak De India,” slated to hit the screens on August 10. Directed by Shimit Amin, (“Ab Tak Chappan”), the film stars Shah Rukh Khan as a hockey coach. Then there is Pradeep Sarkar’s “Laaga Chunari Mein Daag” on October 12 for the festive season. The film features powerhouse performances from Jaya Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kunal Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan.

And saving the best for the last is cinematographer Anil Mehta’s directorial debut “Aaja Nachle,” on November 30. The film is significant as it marks the return of the ultimate diva Madhuri Dixit.

The New Year would be kicked off in grand style with “Tashan”. Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya (the screenplay and dialogue writer of “Dhoom” and “Dhoom:2”), the film stars Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor.

Yash Chopra, Chairman, Yash Raj Films said: “At Yash Raj Films, we truly believe that there are only two kinds of cinema, good cinema and bad cinema. And we are committed to bringing the best cinema that there is for our audiences. We are extremely excited about our offerings for 2007, not because of the star casts, but because of the unique subject matter of each of the films, and the youthful talent at the helm of these films. And with our commitment to the studio style of functioning uniquely enables us to make each of these offerings a very special experience for the filmgoer – even though we are releasing six titles at close intervals.”

Hindu On Net

Ready For Another Blast

13 Dec

Ready for another blast

Sanjay Gadhvi is set to rock audiences with Dhoom 2, the sequel to the iconic biker film, writes MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

ZIP ZAP ZOOM Sanjay Gadhvi (far right) shows the way in the sequel to the smashing bikes-and-babes original

Sanjay Gadhvi went around telling everyone he was making India’s first sequel with Dhoom 2. “Only everyone from good friend Raju Hirani (Lage Raho) to Rakesh Roshan (Krrish) got there first!” Gadhvi says with a laugh in an exclusive interview with MetroPlus over the phone. Dhoom 2, which opens on November 24, has the same crew and part of the cast. While Jai, Sweety and Ali (Abhishek Bachchan, Rimi Sen and Uday Chopra) return, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai and Bipasha Basu are the new entrants.

“When I made Dhoom, I never intended to make a sequel. The end, with John Abraham’s character, Kabir, going off the cliff and Jai and Ali walking away, is in the classic tradition. The fact that Kabir’s death is not shown led many people to feel that it was an opening for a sequel. There were so many hits on the site — over a lakh — which prompted the producers Yash Raj Films to look at a sequel and bingo here it is!

Contra casting

Gadhvi has indulged in big-time contra casting, with Mr. Nice Guy Hrithik, and little Ms. Plastic Ash walking the wild side. “At present there cannot be a better guy than Hrithik to play the bad guy. We needed someone to do a follow up on John and Hrithik has done a brilliant job. We needed an equally stunning love interest for Hrithik. Which is where Ash comes in. They are the two best-looking people in tinsel town today and what could be better than watching the two share some crackling chemistry? And the good thing about working under the Yash Raj banner is you just have to say it and the actor is available!”

Ask Gadhvi why John is not reprising his role and the director takes off. “Does James Bond fight the same villain in every movie? Did Sherlock Holmes solve the same case twice? Did Mel Gibson and Danny Glover fight the same villains in the Lethal Weapon series? Did Phantom and Mandrake fight the same bad guys in every comic? We cannot afford to get repetitive. And my apologies to all John’s fans out there that there would not be chance to see him bare-chested once more! That is a long answer to your short question!”

The edgy look of the film, shot on the sun-kissed beaches of Rio, is thanks to the brief of keeping it “young vibrant, hot and cool. We all looked like rock stars on the set! I wanted the film to be sexier than Dhoom.”

Gadhvi says: “Being a biker helped on Dhoom. I know bikes and have driven fast with girls sitting behind me. I know the gears are on the foot and know the exhaust from the engine. So it was fun making the film.”

And are there bigger and better bikes in the sequel? “You will have to buy a ticket and see the film to find out! I am not going to say if there are bikes in the film or if Ash wears a bikini!”

Dhoom made a huge impression for the slick technique and while Gadhvi underlines the importance of content, he says: “Content has to be backed by technique to make it work. Anyone who says the event is of prime importance is wrong. If you just put a camera and let it roll to record the events, you might as well make a play. A film is an audiovisual medium and the director decides what the audience should see.”

Gadhvi’s most memorable moment on the shoot was when he jumped off the highest freefall point in the world. “It was 125 meters high and I did the jump twice! I however could not watch the cast do the jump. It was too scary.”

Gadhvi, whose directorial debut Tere Liye (2000) and Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (2002) did not do too well, says he came to action-comedy movie genre “by default. I left home saying I wanted to make films like Amar Akbar Anthony or Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. But what Dhoom’s success has done is given me the confidence to try out other genres — maybe a thriller or a horror movie. I am 39 and plan to retire at 50. In the meantime I would like to make a seven or eight films, which I will choose carefully. Right now I think I want to take it easy for a bit and go on a Christmas vacation.”

Hindu On Net