Friday, May 6, 2011

Saif Ali Khan to walk the Cannes Red Carpet on Opening Night, May 11


Saif Ali Khan at the Chivas Regal Press Conference



Outstanding actor from India, Saif Ali Khan, will be in Cannes for the festival’s gala opening night, courtesy an exclusive invitation from Cannes film festival partner and global luxury brand, Chivas Regal.

As reports stand today (Cannes’ news filters in hour to hour adding dimensions to its galaxy of stars), Saif Ali Khan is the sole screen hero from India to be in Cannes on opening day. The other bevy of celebrities from heralding the start of the 64th Cannes International Film Festival include top Bollywood names, Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor, Mallika Sherawat, Minisha Lamba and to top it all, Freida Pinto.

Bikram Basu, Vice President-Marketing, Pernod Ricard (global distributors for the blended Scotch whisky Chivas Regal), talking of Saif Ali Khan’s presence, says, “We are excited that Saif will represent India and Chivas Regal at the opening night of Festival de Cannes.’

Indian stars attending Cannes as brand ambassadors are playing an increasing role in Cannes over recent years. Aishwaria Rai wears this crown for the longest period. This is her tenth year in Cannes. She has the additional distinction of being on the 2003 Cannes international jury. She is present again in Cannes as the brand ambassador for L’Oreal, and will attend the opening night and Day Two of the festival. Minisha Lamba will be present on behalf of Seagram for the opening day and its screening of Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris.

L’Oreal has this year added Sonam Kapoor as brand ambassador. She will walk the red carpet on May 15. Freida will represent L'Oreal at the amfAR (The American Foundation for AIDS Research) dinner/after-party on 19th May. The event, co-sponsored by the brand, aims at raising money for the fight against AIDS.

Finally, Mallika Sherawat will be at the red carpet as well, making her third appearance in Cannes.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

“Tagore Stories on Film” – pack of six dvds to be released May 7th


The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with the National Film Development Corporation of India has prepared a special DVD pack to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. It will be released in Delhi on  Rabindranath Tagore’s birth date, May 7, by the Ministry of Culture.

“Tagore Stories on Film” is a presentation pack of six digitially restored DVDs. Five of them are different films made in the past each using a different Tagore story directed by known names, and the sixth is a bonus DVD on Tagore’s life.

The five feature films in the pack are:

1. Tapan Sinha’s Khudito Pashan (Hungry Stones), 1960, in Bengali, on Tagore’s classic story.

2. Satyajit Ray’s  Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) 1961 in Bengali, based on three of Tagore’s stories, The Post Master, Monihara and Samapti

3, Hemen Gupta’s  Kabuliwala, 1961, in Hindi, 1961

4. Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Bhaire (Home and the World) 1984, in Bengali screened in competition at Cannes the same year.

5. Kumar Shahani’s Char Adhyay (Four Chapters), 1997,  in Hindi, based on Tagore’s novella of the same name.

The sixth DVD has two documentaries on Tagore’s life, one made by Satyajit Ray in 1961 and the other, the silent film Natir Puja, a compilation of footage directed by Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore was directly involved in the production of this film and he played an important role init. The film was shot for  Tagore’s 70th birth anniversary.

The “Tagore Stories on Film”  special DVD pack priced at Rs 399/-  will be available at leading retail outlets in  India from May 10th onwards.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Marathi film 'Gabhricha Paus' selected for Cannes Cinéphiles​!

Celebrated Marathi film
‘Gabhricha Paus’ (The Damned Rain)
selected for Cannes Cinéphiles


The good news is that Marathi comes to Cannes 2011, in competition, and at select beach screenings, open to the public.


Satish Manwar’s Gabhricha Paus, produced by Prashant Pethe, will feature in Cannes Cinéphiles, Screens, Junior section. Aimed at a young audience, the film will compete among 8-10 movies chosen because they highlight themes or depict worlds that may provide topics of thought for young people viewing them.


Cannes Cinéphiles (Cannes Film Enthusiasts) is an event organised by Cannes Cinéma and the Festival de Cannes to provide public screenings from the Official Selection, as well as films that have travelled worldwide.


The jury, composed of a class 'cinema' College Gerard Philippe de Cannes, will determine the outcome of the event, a work they wish to study in class. There will be 2 or 3 public screenings of Gabhricha Paus in this section. Other movies in this section are from all over the world including movies from France, Italy, and Israel to name a few. Gabhricha Paus will be presented with French subtitles.





Premiering at 2009 Rotterdam, Satish Manwar’s debut work Gabhricha Paus (based on his own script) went on to become the most talked about film from India. It is a darkly amusing tale on the mounting incidents of farmers so deep in debt that their way out is to commit suicide. Set in Vidarbha, Maharashtra, the film begins with two boys playing in the fields coming upon the body of a man who has hanged himself. The shocked villagers arrive to find that he is from their village. The wife of Kisna, another stricken farmer, is nagged by the worry that her husband too may take this extreme step. She and her mother-in-law Purna conspire to watch the dour, reticent Kisna, tilling his land all day praying for rain so that a good crop will bring his debts to an end. Alaka forces her reluctant little son Dinu to shadow Kisna, who reacts to Dinu’s constant company. The family’s ruses to avert Kisna’s possible suicide, adds humour to events that eventually take a macabre turn. The film, in Varadi, a Marathi dialect, is produced by Prashant Pethe. The fine cast includes Sonali Kulkarni, Girish Kulkarni, Jyoti Subhash and Veena Jamkar. Its cinematography is by Sudheer Palsane, editing by Suchitra Sathe, and music by Dattaprasad Ranade.



The director, Satish Manwar, a post graduate of the Center for Performing Arts, University of Pune, has been a part of Marathi parallel theatre for 15 years, writing, directing and producing plays. He is from the same area where Gabrachi is located and has first hand experience of the happenings there. He says that more than his choosing this subject for the film, the subject chose him.

Spot News! Gabhricha Paus will release commercially in France on June 1, 2011,
distributed by Yohann Cornu. Elated producer Prashant Pethe says that he is making more prints for his French release than he did for India!

Monday, May 2, 2011

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Kerala’s Biju Viswanath's Viola (in English)
wins Mexico’s Golden Palm!

Held annually each spring, the two-day Mexico International Film Festival (May 20 and 21, 2011) screens around 50 films (features, shorts and documentaries). An important destination event for film lovers, it is founded on the premise that the language of film is universal and a dynamic force in bridging cultural understanding. It gave its Golden Palm to the filmmaker from Kerala, Biju Viswanatah, for his English film, Viola.

Director-cinematographer Biju Viswanath commutes between New York and India. Over the years, his films have increasingly used themes and locations of the west. His 1998 debut, the silent short, A Voyage, based on the work of renowned Indian writer M.T. Vasudevan Nair, explores the relationship between a writer and a character. His seven feature films made since use languages that range from Irish, Urdu, Japanese, to English. His films have screened at international festivals held in Locarno, Berlin and New York. In 2010, the New York Independent Film Festival awarded Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay to Biju’s film, Marathon.

Vishwanath’s latest film (85 mins) follows a German girl, Viola, who arrives in New York to escape an abusive relationship. Finding work at a Jewish bakery, she is first swindled of her life’s savings. Then, she gets a phone call from the dead film star, Marlene Dietrich. Her initial thought that this was her boyfriend’s prank soon develops into a certainty that someone is stalking her. A search for the mysterious caller leads to a deeper mystery. Finally, the unlikely combination of a kindly Jewish baker, a persistent suitor, a dead film star and a lonely old woman help Viola on a realisation of love and self discovery.



Julie Kilzer plays the pivotal role of Viola with Peter O’Connor in the male lead. The other actors include Beverly Hayes, Bristol Pomeroy, Arthur Rosebery Yoder and Nick Dullea. The film’s script is by Viswanath and Julie Kilzer.

Viswanath is also the film’s cinematographer (shot in red camera). The music is by Christof Moser, sound design by Arun Rama Varma (Oscar-winner Resul Pookutty’s associate in Slumdog Millionaire) and Renjith Rajagopal. Julie Kilzer’s production company, Bijulie Cinema, has produced the film jointly with Hill Farm Productions LLC.

Mexico’s Golden Palm also went to Indian documentary, Burma In Peace (directed by Arun Sharma, You are Not Forgotten (directed by Samrat Chakravarty) and Made in India (directed by Rebecca Haimowitz and Vaishali Sinha)