Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spot News!

Emraan Hashmi walks the red carpet at Berlin today!

Emraan Hashmi has signed his first international film, not yet titled, with the Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, who is now based in Paris. Tanovic bagged the 2002 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as well as the 2011 Palme d’Or for Best Screenplay in Cannes for his celebrated film, No Man’s Land. Hashmi is at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival to attend the screening of Tanovic’s latest film, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, which is screening in Competition.

Emraan Hashmi will walk the red carpet today along with the director Danis Tanovic and the producers of his film. Hashmi will be accompanied by his Indian team, Prashita Chaudhary (Cinemorphic), Guneet Monga (Sikhya Entertainment) and their international partners Cedomir Kolar and Marc Baschet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Read about the latest books on Indian Cinema in the Berlin issue of Film India Worldwide


Naman Ramachandran
Published by Penguin-Viking
Price  699 rupees  Pages 290

Presenting a book that contains ‘everything you always wanted to know about the great man’, Rajinikant: The Definitive Biography, is quite simply about the biggest superstar that cinema-crazy India has ever seen. His stylized dialogues and screen mannerisms are legion and his guy-next-door-cum-super hero image has entralled millions of movie-goers. The biography recounts the actor’s career in Tamil cinema in detail, tracing his cinematic journey from his very first film, Apoorva Raganla (1975) to memorable forays into Bollywood (Andha Kanoon,1983 and Hum,1991), landmark movies like Annamalai (1992), Billa (2007) and mega successes such as Muthu (1995) and Sivaji (2007). The book provides insights into his personal life, including his childhood days, his early encounters in the film world, and eventually, his stardom. It covers all of his 154 films in great detail. A film journalist and critic by trade, Ramachandran has written for Sight & Sound, Variety and other leading publications. His first book was also on cinema, which he co-wrote with Sheena Sippy and Divya Thakur titled Lights, Camera, Masala: Making Movies, published by India Book House in 2006.

GURU DUTT - A Tragedy in Three Acts Guru-Dutt
Arun Khopkar
Translated from Marathi into English
by Shanta Gokhale
Published by Penguin Books
Price 250 rupees  Pages 150

The original Marathi book won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema in 1986, and has been published now in its English translation. Guru Dutt was among the most original minds working in cinema during the 50s and early 60s. He was ahead of his times and some of his most notable films failed at the box-office, specially his last film on which he had pinned his hopes. The deep disappointment is said to have led to his untimely, sudden death in 1964 when he was 39. Guru Dutt remains an intriguing, dark personality, one that this book examines through three of his most known films: Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz ke Phool (1959) and Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962). Each slim chapter starts with a still from his films or of him as an actor in that film. Author Khopkar explores the historical context which influenced Dutt’s deeply melancholic style while analyzing the techniques he used to create masterpieces. Khopkar has a diploma in direction and a gold medal for best thesis from the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. He is a filmmaker, film scholar and film teacher. His films on art forms like music, dance, painting, architecture and literature have won national and international awards, including three National Awards. His feature film Katha Doan Ganpatraonchi (A Tale of Two Ganapatraos, 1996) based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story, screened at Moscow, Sarajevo, Cairo and Beppu (Japan) film festivals.

Mohammed Rafi picture005
MY ABBA - A MEMOIR (in English)
Hamara Abba - Kuch Yadein (in Hindi)
Yasmin K Rafi
Published by Westland Ltd
Price 295 rupees  Pages 204
(with a 12-page photo insert)

Mohammed Rafi is one of the most adored singers of Hindi cinema. He had the ability to sing in various styles which included classical, ghazals, quawalis and romantic fare. In a career spanning 35 years, he won numerous awards, including the Padma Shri in 1967. The author is Mohammed Rafi’s daughter-in-law. She provides an intimate portrait of the gifted singer who continues to enthrall generation after generation with his magical voice. Yasmin writes about Rafi’s simple and caring nature, and dwells on various sides of his personality such as his love for good food and flying kites with children. Mohammed Rafi My Abba - A Memoir was launched in November 2012 in Mumbai at the hands of veteran actor, Amitabh Bachchan. The Hindi edition, Hamara Abba-Kuch Yadein was also released on the same day.


POPULAR MASCULINE CULTURES IN INDIA: Critical Essays bollywood-popular-masculine-cultures-in-india-cover

Edited by Rohit K Dasgupta & Steven Baker
Published by Setu Prakashani
Price 325 rupees Pages 201 (paperback)

Popular Masculine Cultures in India: Critical Essays has been
edited by Rohit K Dasgupta, associate lecturer and doctoral student at University of the Arts, London, and Steven Baker, a UK academic and journalist based in India. How masculinity is represented in India through cinema, literature, media and theatre is what this book is about. Baker says, “The Bollywood male breaking into song and dance, shedding tears, and being so closely attached to his mother, are signs of masculinity synonymous with Indian cinema.” But gradually there has been a change in the way the male is represented. Examples in Indian cinema include Shah Rukh Khan’s portrayal in Devdas (2002) and Satyajit Ray’s presentation of Bengali men in films like Mahanagar (1963) and Seemabandha (1971). Dasgupta says, “Masculinity in Bollywood has seen a sea change, from the sensitivity of Dev Anand we are confronted with the hyper-masculinity of John Abraham and Salman Khan. The picture of the Indian male is definitely changing.”

Style diary of a Bollywood DivaKareena Kapoor
the style diary of a bollywood diva
with Rochelle Pinto
Published by Shobhaa De Books, Penguin India
Price 699 rupees  Pages 270

Kareena Kapoor is the archetypal symbol of a Bollywood star. She is the third generation diva of the famous Kapoor film family, and carries her illustrious lineage with aplomb and talent. It is unusual to come across a life so rich in experience at this young age. The star recounts her days in school, filled with fun, laughter and mischief, often being pulled up for her pranks. It is her elder sister Karishma who was ahead of her in climbing the ladder of fame in Hindi cinema. Kareena’s rise to stardom came later. This book covers the gamut of her work routine, where she talks of her exercise regimen and how she attained her much talked-about size zero, her yoga practice, her taste in clothes, her fashion style, shopping habits and her yen for travel. The glamour girl even reveals her beauty secrets. Kareena was interviewed on behalf of this book by Rochelle Pinto, journalist and fashion writer. The book falls into the category of celebrity authors handpicked by leading writer and columnist, Shobhaa De. 

The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic
Anna MM Vetticad
sonam-at-book-launch-event (2)
Published by Om Books International
Price 295 rupees  Pages 256 (paperback)

This book is journalist Vetticad’s account of a year in which she resolved to blog reviews of every single Hindi film released in the National Capital Region, quite apart from the high-profile, well-promoted films or star-studded big-banner productions. Through reviewing these 121 films and interviewing those behind them, the author captures the changing face of Bollywood, discovering an industry beyond the known star faces and film clans. This is the other Bollywood where appealing, small films routinely disappear. It presents the talented actor who trained Ranbir Kapoor for his role as a deaf-mute person in Barfi!, but whose own debut feature flopped because of inadequate marketing. Through the microcosm of Bollywood, this book discusses the ethics of filmmaking, film criticism and film marketing in India, and raises important political and social questions. Delhi-based Anna MM Vetticad, in her 18 years in the profession, has worked with India Today, The Indian Express and Headlines Today (which hosted her television talk show ‘Star Trek’) and been a consulting editor with The New Indian Express. She has reported on most major Indian entertainment and lifestyle events and international ones such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscars.

Satyajit RayFILM: in his own words
a tribute to Satyajit Ray
IFSON Special Ray Number
October 2012,  3rd edition
Federation of Film Societies of India
– Eastern Region
Price 100 rupees  Pages 110

IFSON is the journal published by The Federation of Film Societies of India. This special Satyajit Ray number is dedicated to the genius of India’s master of cinema, universally seen as among the world’s top ten film directors. The journal carries 120 pages of Ray’s writings on various subjects such as ‘My life, my work’, ‘A film must achieve its objectives’, ‘On scriptwriting’ ... the list is overwhelming. The manual also carries articles by various people of the film fraternity paying tribute to Ray. Subrata Banerjee talks of Ray’s maturity as a filmmaker, Nimal Ghosh feels that Ray’s pinnacle of glory as a filmmaker came with Pather Panchali; other writers include Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen and the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Throughout his career, Satyajit Ray maintained that the best technique of filmmaking was the one that was not noticeable. For him, technique was merely a means to an end. He disliked the idea of a film that drew attention to its style rather than the content. He stayed away from cinematic embellishments. Besides filmmaking, Ray also wrote stories and developed his own distinct style of writing. He is known for his works on calligraphy and advertising. Ray directed 37 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. He received innumerable awards and honours for his work: 32 Indian National Film Awards and an Academy Award in 1992. The Government of India honoured him with the Bharat Ratna in 1992.

Deep Focus CINEMA deepfocus
Vol 01 01/2012/13
Quarterly publication
Editor Georgekutty A L
Published by Deep Focus Trust, Bangalore
Price 200 rupees Pages 106 

Deep Focus, a unique film journal presenting an in-depth coverage of Indian cinema was launched at the 1988 International Film Festival of India held in Thiruvananthapuram. To the disappointment of its readers, it was forced to close down in 2010 for lack of funds. The good news is that it is back re-titled as Deep Focus CINEMA,  with its indefatigable editor,  Georgekutty A L back at the helm. The magazine has gained a new lease of life thanks to its association with Sanjay Wadhwa, who says that the quarterly will soon be a bi-monthly. The magazine’s advisory board includes names like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Girish Kasaravalli, Govind Nihalani, M K Raghavendra and Manu Chakravarthy. Georgekutty explains, “In India, there have been several attempts at serious film journalism. We wanted to provide a platform for it, and we had a measure of success.” The magazine will cover a gamut of areas - regional films from across India to popular Bollywood cinema, - and will include documentary and animation films, books on cinema. Plans are afoot for reviews of films on dvd as well, and also uploading back issues soon in answer to popular demand.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Festival Touchstone section in the latest Film India Worldwide Berlin issue


Shoonyo Awnko
(The Zero Act) 
Goutam Ghose

Goutam Ghose presents his eagerly awaited latest work. It follows hard on the success of his previous film, Moner Manush (2010). On a flight, while reading Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, the last sentence on the last page, ‘a man can be destroyed but not defeated’ triggered his mind and formed the basis of his new film. Within three months, he wrote the script. The intriguing title, Shoonyo Awnko, conveys the countdown starting from ten, with the climactic impact when the narrative touches zero. The film looks at the opposite worlds of two Indias, one that is modern, flourishing and forward-looking, and the other that is held back by poverty, helplessness and deprivation. Within this divide, six characters recall past memories of their routine compulsions being over-shadowed by their aspirations, even while they are in the midst of insurgency, infiltration and proxy wars. The two worlds co-exist in tandem. The film is presented by Gautam Kundu for Rose Valley Films Ltd. Reputed actor Soumitro Chatterjee heads a cast comprising Priyanshu Chatterjee, Konkana Sen Sharma and Priyanka Bose. The original story is by Samares Mazumdar and Goutam Ghose. Ghose has written the script, scored the music and handled the camera for this film. It is edited by Shuvro Roy. 
Sudhir Mishra

Known for his hard-hitting films on social imbalance and the demands of contemporary life,
Sudhir Mishra now presents his 130-minute Hindi film, Inkaar. It deals with sexual politics at the workplace. Ad man Rahul’s creative acumen and skills have done well for him in his fast-moving career. He hires a young ambitious writer, Maya, and becomes her mentor. They are drawn into a close relationship. When Maya’s triumphs at work are seen as concessions to her relationship with Rahul, she resigns. Years later she returns, now a top professional on par with Rahul. Their torrid past and sizzling rivalry escalate into a power game, culminating in Maya filing a sexual harassment complaint against Rahul. The one who wins this case gets to head the company. A non-linear narrative triggers the film as a thriller. The cast is led by Arjun Rampal and Chitrangda Singh alongside Deepti Naval, Vipin Sharma and Sujata Segal. The film is produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures in the RED format/print on 35mm/DCP.
The screenplay is co-written by Manoj Tyagi and Sudhir Mishra. The DOP is Sachin Krishn. Shantanu Moitra scores the music. Sudhir Mishra started as assistant director/scriptwriter on Kundan Shah's comedy classic, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983) and then worked with Saeed Akhtar Mirza in Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! (1984) and Vidhu Vinod Chopra in Khamosh (1985). His very first film, Yeh Woh Manzil To Nahin (1987), won him the National Film Award for Best First Film of a Director (two more came his way, Dharavi, 1992, Best Feature Film in Hindi, and Main Zinda Hoon, 1988, Best Film on Social issues). Sudhir Mishra’s body of work has placed him among the top ranking directors of the country, with the enviable proviso that he bridges mainstream with independent filmmaking. Inkaar released commercially in mid-January 2013 to an eager public.

Meghe Dhaka Tara                  
(The Cloud-Capped Star)                   
Kamalweswar Mukherjee   
The latest venture of director Kamalweswar Mukherjee is more than a biopic of the legendary filmmaker, Ritwik Ghatak. The film is in Bengali, and bears the exact name of the classic film directed by the revered filmmaker in the year 1969. The new Meghe Dhaka Tara goes beyond the original film -
it revolves around the life of the filmmaker who directed that classic. The central character here is Nilkantha Bagchi and the role is enacted by Saswata Chatterjee. Shot in West Bengal, mainly in Kolkata and Purulia, the film is set in the year 1969. Its protagonist is the non-conformist filmmaker, Ritwik Ghatak, now confined to the mental asylum where he was admitted for alcohol detoxification.
The film dwells on the time that Ghatak spent in this place. The film’s cast includes award-winning actress Anannya Chatterjee alongside Abir Chatterjee. Director Mukherjee, by profession a medical practitioner, is a playwright and director of the theatre groups, Shailushik and Fourth Wall. He is also an acclaimed screenwriter, notably for the film Natobar Notout (2010), directed by Amit Sen. Mukherjee’s first film Uro Chithi: The Unbearable Heaviness of Soul (2011) was well received. His second film, Meghe Dhaka Tara is produced by the Kolkata-based Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt Ltd.

72 miles Ek Pravas     
(72 miles A Journey)
Rajeev Patil

Grazing Goat Pictures Pvt Ltd, launched in December 2011, is a joint venture powered by Mumbai’s A-list star, Akshay Kumar, and Ms Ashvini Yardi, former programming head of the television channel, ‘Colors'. The company aims to focus on quality, creative and content-oriented films, in both features and shorts. Their successful first Hindi production, OMG- Oh My God (2012) is now followed by the Marathi film, 72 Miles Ek Pravas. The 95-minute film centres on the true story of a troubled 13-year-old boy, Ashok, who runs away from his harsh boarding-school in Maharashtra, heading towards his home and family. Through his eyes we see the India just two decades past its freedom from British rule, still struggling with prevalent strict systems of class, illiteracy, gender bias and poverty. The film explores Ashok’s coming-of-age road journey of 72 miles, from Satara district to Kolhapur. Robbed and beaten, the boy is befriended by the kindly, spit-fire woman, Raddhakka, also making her arduous way home. She comes from the lowly backward class community of the Dalits. Beset as she is with her three unruly older children, Rannu, Baiji and Bhimi, and a dying baby, she takes Ashok into her care. Ashok is awed by Raddhakka’s indomitable and assertive attitude despite a miserable life. Her simplistic wisdom affects him deeply. For him, Raddhakka, is Mother Courage personified whose spirit will remain with him. The film’s DOP is Sanjay Jadhav, music director Amit Raj, and the cast comprises Smita Tambe, Chinmay Sant, Chinmay Kambli, Shravani Salaskar, Isha Mane. Director Rajeev Patil is a mechanical engineer whose deep interest in theatre led him into filmmaking. His first film Jogwa (Awakening, 2009) won a whopping six National Awards. He is now developing six projects as writer/director.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Call for Entry: New York Indian Film Festival 2013




The 13th New York Indian Film Festival (April 30 – May 4, 2013) is calling for entries for features, short films, documentary features and short documentaries. Features should be of 40 minutes or longer duration and shorts should be under 40 minutes.

The entries are divided into two categories: Indian Diaspora Cinema and Indian Independent Cinema. The former invites films made by filmmakers of South Asian descent living outside the sub continent and films made by non-South Asians featuring significant South Asian content, inspiration and subject matter. The latter calls for the works of independent filmmakers from India.

For the first time, the festival will present the Best Student Film Award and is calling for student films (5 minutes or less). There is no entry fee for these entries.

The last date for all submissions is February 15, 2013. For fees and more details, write to

The week long annual festival is organised by the Indo-American Arts Council, a non-for-profit organization based in North America.