“AIB had no clearance for the roast done by Karan Johar” – Ashok Pandit

It looks like the All India Bakc..d (AIB)’s troubles over the December 20 ‘Roast’ show featuring Karan Johar, Arjun Kapoor, Ranveer Singh are far from over.

The latest in the controversy is the film industry’s spokesperson filmmaker Ashok Pandit claiming that the AIB had no official clearance to stage the controversial stage show which has ripped open an entire moral discussion on the social network.

Pandit who has lately been appointed as a member of the newly-revamped censor board says that AIB had no clearance for the controversial show.

“All staged performances, plays or stand-up comedies in Mumbai have to get permission from the Maharashtra police. They also have to submit their request for permission to the cultural ministry. The AIB has done none of these. They got no bloody clearance to have the show,” states Pandit angrily. Continue reading

Nawazuddin has no scenes with Nicole Kidman in Lion

Bollywood suffers from ‘gora-phobia’. Any sign of a collusion with a caucasian actor has even the biggest of our stars turning into jelly with excitement.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has lately become an actor to reckon with, is now on a firangi trip. Last week the papers were flooded with Nawaz’s PR overdrive claiming that he was being “paired opposite” Nicole Kidman in Garth Davis’ Lion.

Some careful probing reveals some very embarrassing facts about this sensational spot of casting (Kidman and Nawaz together does look like an unlikely combination).

A source very close to the project reveals, “I don’t know why Nawaz has created the impression that he’s paired opposite Nicole Kidman. Nawaz doesn’t have one shot with Nicole Kidman. He is in the film for sure. But he features in one episode and Nicole in another. They don’t even come face-to-face in the film.” Continue reading

‘Baby’ review: The film is a khichdi of influences, uneven film

Director: Neeraj Pandey
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Zachary Coffin, Rana Daggubati, Danny Denzongpa
Borrowing its structure from Zero Dark Thirty, its climax from Argo, its intention from Nikhil Advani’s D-Day, and its occasionally jingoistic tone from your standard Bollywood B-movie, Baby, directed by Neeraj Pandey, is a khichdi of influences, and an uneven film as a result. Pandey, who made a big impression with the provocative and controversial vigilante thriller A Wednesday, applied the same sense of urgency and tension to Special Chabbis, giving us a smart con film that involved an elaborate cat-and-mouse chase between cops and thieves. With Baby, his treatment is more escapist than realistic.

Akshay Kumar is Ajay, a highly skilled agent in an undercover counter-intelligence unit dubbed Baby that’s tasked with foiling terror attacks on the country. When Bilaal (Kay Kay Menon), a terrorist facing trial in India, escapes from prison, and it becomes clear that a major attack is being hatched by Pakistan’s Lashkar group, it’s up to Ajay and his team to save the nation. This mission sends Ajay racing between Turkey, Mumbai, New Delhi, Nepal, and the Middle East, where he more or less single-handedly flushes out rogue agents, dismantles terror plans, and vanquishes the bad guys in well-executed action scenes. He is both the brains and the muscle in the unit.
Unfortunately however Pandey gives us a first half that is loose, and one that serves little purpose other than to act as a set-up, and to introduce us to the main players. Danny Denzongpa is Ajay’s boss Feroze Ali Khan, who paces down corridors and stares grimly into open spaces, leaving his star officer to do all the heavy lifting. There’s also a hate-spewing, India-bashing mullah (Pakistani actor Rasheed Naz) who, in one of the film’s crucial scenes, echoes an oft-repeated (and controversial) sentiment pertaining to India’s typical response to terror attacks.
The pace picks up considerably post intermission, when Pandey gives us some terrific moments of breathless action and genuine tension. In a rare scene that allows another agent besides Ajay to flex their chops, Tapsee Pannu gets her big moment to shine in a Kathmandu hotel room. However implausible, another break-in scene at a desert resort is riveting, edge-of-the-seat stuff. The film’s last hour in fact is so crisply done you’re even willing to forgive Pandey the messiness of the first act and the routine lapses of logic in the screenplay, like Bilaal’s escape in broad daylight on Mumbai’s busy Marine Drive.
To be fair, the film is an engaging enough thriller sprinkled with witty lines and crowd-pleasing moments that Akshay Kumar performs with a deadpan expression to great effect. An example of that is a superb scene in which he calmly responds to an apathetic offhand remark made by a minister’s PA. Akshay, in fact, is in very good form, giving us a glimpse of the solid actor he can be when he isn’t cashing his paycheck making low-brow comedies. He’s ably supported, in the film’s final act, by a buff Rana Dagubatti, and particularly by Anupam Kher as fellow agents on a daredevil mission.
I was rankled by the film’s simplistic arguments, its all-too-convenient solutions to complex issues, and Pandey’s tokenism when it came to portraying a few ‘good Muslims’. Also, wouldn’t it have been great to get a protagonist that felt vulnerable instead of a superhero? Well, perhaps in another film.
I’m going with three out of five for Baby. Enjoy it for the brisk action thriller that it is, and try not to think about how much better it could’ve been.
Rating: 3 / 5

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The History of Kissing in Bollywood: Timeline of a Taboo

The History of Kissing in Bollywood: Timeline of a Taboo

Kissing in Bollywood films has been a volatile subject, a heated source of international ridicule and shame, for almost 100 years. This blog post is likely to horrify just as many readers as it intrigues. What many people do not know is that the taboo of kissing in Hindi films has evolved so dramatically since the birth of film. In its early days, intimacy on-screen was not the heretical offense it later became–in fact, an appropriate diegetic display of affection was once standard fare in Hindi film! But a carefully constructed web of symbolic cinematography and allegorical imagery soon replaced the film industry’s brief encounter with physical romance. Instead generations of Indians grew up in a world where pretty treetops and flowers were more passionate than any human interaction could ever become. We created scores of young men and women like myself who get so uncomfortable when kissing appears on-screen if Indian parents are present, that we actually have to leave the room to relieve tension. And when I first saw Shashi Kapoor sell his soul kissing in a Satyam Shivam Sundaram, I felt my world had come to an end.

Why is there such hype around kissing in Hindi films? After all, we’re all modern citizens of the world, and certainly Indians are some of the most romantic. Kissing in Bollywood films has jumped the spectrum from as liberal as the French in the 1920s to a wave of conservatism brought by the 1950s and again a shift back toward cinema’s early lip-locking roots by the 1990s. We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 hope our descriptive timeline of this fascinating cause célèbre sheds light on this controversial impulse of nature we were all led to believe pure Indian film stars did not possess!

Kohra Waheeda Rehman kiss fish symbolism
Director Biren Nag cleverly cuts from a threatened kissing scene in Kohra (1964) between Waheeda Rehman and Biswajeet to two fish finishing what the married couple started. Continue reading

RIP K Balachander


From superstar Rajinikanth to DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth to actors such as Vijay, Vikram, Arjun, Sathyaraj, Sarath Kumar, Khushbu, Prakash Raj, Sripriya, Manorama, Srikanth, Sivakumar, Dhanush, Visu, Mohan, T. Rajendar paid their last tributes.
Earlier, mourners queued up at the residence of the filmmaker, where his body was kept Wednesday for the people to pay their last respects.

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PK Review

Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Posted: December 19, 2014 2:37 pm | Updated: December 21, 2014 11:44 am
PK movie review
Star Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Sanjay Dutt, Sushant Singh Rajput
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What keeps ‘PK’ afloat is Aamir Khan.
Director : Rajkumar Hirani
Is that a bird or a plane?
Old question, new answer. No, it is ‘PK‘. And who is PK? A guy in madly printed shirts, buttoned tight around the neck, eyes glinting green, mouth ringed paan-red. And what is PK? A voice of wisdom and reason, in a Bhojpuri accent. (Read: Aamir Khan – The versatile, Dhoom-ster and PK)
Laden with so many distinctive tics, the lead character in Rajkumar Hirani’s latest could have been a mess. But Aamir Khan plays PK not only to his strengths, but adds something new: we’ve seen his earnestness several times before, but not artlessness. That lack of guile leads us to believe in PK, and makes the film, up till the seamless first half, a terrific watch. (Read: Five reasons you must watch PK)
Till then, we get freshness and fun. PK’s journey from a distant Rajasthan village– where he meets colourful characters (Sanjay Dutt, in a ‘lahariya safa’), and a lady of ill-repute from whom he picks up a couple of crucial learnings– to Rajdhani Delhi, is gone through smoothly. His bumping into TV reporter Jaggu aka Jagat Janani (Anushka Sharma, trying for elfin charm) leads him to unburden his soul. And his problem: something that belongs to him is lost, and until that is found, he cannot go home.
Post interval, it slumps. The focus, which till then is on a character who intrigues us while interesting things are happening to him, gets diluted by a wholly superfluous romance (and songs, tuneful as a couple are), and a face-off between the guy awash in goodness who asks all the right questions and the bad godman who has all the wrong answers.
The robustness of the dialogue (it has a word which made me gasp and laugh out loud, but I’m not telling which) and the sting in the situations way to exposition. From this point on, ‘PK‘ becomes a message-y let-us-expose-those-who-give-religion-a-bad-name, just like the magnificent ‘Munnabhai’ took the pants off bad medical practice, its sequel docked legal sharks, and ‘3 Idiots’ taught a lesson to misguided educators.
The portly Saurabh Shukla, playing a white-robed crafty godman, is made up of all the ‘dhongi babas’ we’ve seen in the movies, and this movie’s taking the confrontation to the media (as a TV debate, because all media boils down to television, right?) makes it something we see all the time. On our TVs, right there in our drawing rooms. Rajkumar Hirani’s gift of telling the stories which are disappearing from mainstream cinema makes him the last man standing in Bollywood. ‘PK’ goes after religious fraudsters that divide and rule, with lines that speak of old-fashioned but crucial connections between ‘dharm’, ‘imaan’ and ‘mazhab’. What you need to re-purpose these themes is nuance, which, after a point, goes missing. This is where the Hirani magic recedes, and the film becomes commonplace. What keeps `PK’ afloat is Aamir. He holds on to the uniqueness of the lead character and helps us ignore the contrivances, right from when he appears with a tatty tape recorder as sole raiment, ears sticking out, and an expression which requires him to widen his eyes, and keep them wide open. Take a peek. – See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/movie-review/pk-review-aamir-khan/2/#sthash.uoJWu3eO.dpuf

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Actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar passes away

Actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar, who was being treated for lung infection at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH), passed away Monday morning.

READ ALSO: Lesser known facts about Sadashiv Amrapurkar

He was hospitalised about two weeks ago for lung infection and is kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In his long career, he has won two Filmfare awards – in 1984, he won the award for the best supporting actor for Ardh Satya and in 1991, the best villain trophy for his portrayal of a ruthless eunuch in Sadak. Continue reading

Actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar On Life Support

Sad news!

Versatile Bollywood actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar, who has been hospitalised at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) in Mumbai, is now on life support ventilator but his condition is stable, says his daughter Reema Amrapurkar.

“He is on life support but he is stable right now and has shown signs of improvement. His body is responding well to the ventilators. He suffered from lung infection a few weeks back following which he was hospitalised at Kokilaben hospital,” Reema Amrapurkar told IANS.

The 64-year-old was hospitalised two weeks ago and is currently in the Intensive Care Unit.

He is known for his performances in movies like Sadak, Ardh Satya among others. Continue reading

Movie review by Anupama Chopra: Haider is deeply stirring


Haider
Direction: Vishal Bhardwaj
Actors: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Shraddha Kapoor
Rating: ***1/2
There is much in Haider that deserves a standing ovation. Let’s start with the courage of director Vishal Bhardwaj. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most difficult and ambiguous texts. It’s also his longest— it takes over four hours to deliver.
Hamlet in itself is a beast to be tamed. Vishal and his co-writer, the acclaimed Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer, transplant the play to Kashmir. It plays out against a socio-political tragedy that has been wrought over six decades and that has a Rashomon-like quality to it — the heroes and villains switch places, depending on the narrator.
The result is a film that is problematic and far too long, but also thrillingly ambitious and powerful.
The action takes place in 1995. There is something rotten in paradise. Pura Kashmir quaid khana hai, a character remarks. Haider, played by Shahid Kapoor, returns home from Aligarh.
His father, a doctor who tries to save a militant’s life, has been imprisoned by the army. His house has been razed. His mother Ghazala, played by Tabu, has moved into his uncle’s house. The air is thick with deceit. Haider the poet slowly transforms into Haider the murderer.
Haider was shot almost entirely in Kashmir, but Vishal isn’t interested in presenting the picturesque tourist spots. Instead, we see narrow lanes, unadorned homes and swathes of snow that turn red as the bodies pile up. Vishal doesn’t flinch from brutality — men are murdered and abducted by Indian forces while women weep and a strange madness envelops the land. It’s horrific.
It’s also stretched and structurally disjointed. At one point, a romantic song randomly interrupts the flow. The Kashmiri accents are inconsistent. In places the narrative meanders, and Vishal seems to be losing his grip. At times, I got restless and wondered if perhaps the makers had bitten off more than they could chew.
But the one thing that doesn’t falter is the talent. Kay Kay Menon, whose ability is wasted in films like Raja Natwarlal, returns to form as the conniving advocate who covets his brother’s wife.
Irrfan Khan, playing the militant Roohdaar, brings an unflashy competence to the story. In the beginning, Shahid seems out of his depth; this is, after all, one of the toughest roles in literature.
One that actors like Sir Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh wrestled with. But slowly Shahid comes to inhabit Haider, veering from rage to jealousy to madness in a heartbeat. And towering above them all is Tabu— the mother who aches, loves and ultimately loses.
At the heart of Haider is the love between a passionate, complex woman who seeks a sliver of happiness amidst overwhelming circumstances, and her son, who both loves her with an unnatural intensity and hates her for her betrayal of his father. Vishal handles the Oedipal undertones with exquisite daring and understanding. This relationship powers the film. Haider must be seen for this alone.
Go into the film knowing that it is problematic and unwieldy. And that it is one side of the story — Kashmiri Pundits get a token mention and, after being cast as the villain, the Indian army gets a line of praise for its handling of the floods in Kashmir.
Those are stories that perhaps other filmmakers will choose to tell. But I can guarantee that you will emerge from Haider shell-shocked. And when was the last time a Hindi film did that to you?

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