Saturday, March 22, 2014

Anurag Kashyap to present
Nisha Pajuja's documentary 'The World Before Her' 
... slated to release on April 25.

Writer/ director Nisha Pahuja is overwhelmed "It has been in credible the way the film fraternity in India and also Canada have rallied around ... Anurag putting his name behind it and presenting the film, that takes it to a whole other level. Documentaries are still not given the kind of value that feature films are in India. that is slowly changing. Anurag's stature and importance as a filmmaker in India and internationally means the film will reach so many more people and that is key."

Anurag Kashyap says, "I want to make sure this film gets to as wide an audience as possible. That is why I decided to get behind it. It is the first documentary I have launched and it feels like a narrative film."

The Chak De director Shimit Amin says about the film," It is not west looking into India. It is not India trying to portray itself to the west. Its above all of that. That is wonderful to see."

The 6-month-nationwide-campaign which was launched on March 8th, International Women’s Day is being supported by three powerful women, Nandita Das, Deepa Mehta and Lisa Ray. The incredible trio who have always stood up for woman's rights strongly feel that the documentary is a must watch for every Indian.

About the film

“The World Before Her” shifts between the worlds of the Miss India pageant and a Hindu fundamentalist camp for girls. In one, Ruhi Singh is a small-town girl competing in Bombay to win the Miss India pageant—a ticket to stardom in a country wild about beauty contests. In the other India, Prachi Trivedi is the young, militant leader of a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls run by Durga Vahini, where she preaches violent resistance to Western culture, Christianity, and Islam. Moving between these divergent realities, the film creates a lively, provocative portrait of the world’s largest democracy at a critical transitional moment—and of two women who hope to shape its future. The film also features former Miss India Pooja Chopra who was a near victim of female infanticide.

For further information about the Kickstarter fundraising campaign
please see the link 
To know more about the documentary please log onto the website 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Premiere: Khalid Mohamed on Shyam Benegal

Khalid Mohamed (Left) with Shyam Benegal

The Master: Shyam Benegal premiered to a packed audience at Mumbai’s Asiatic Society of India, yesterday (March 20).  This is a feature length documentary by Khalid Mohamed, a personal tribute of gratitude and thanks to his mentor in filmmaking.

It’s a definitive work going into Benegal’s early years but, importantly, into the inspiration and drive that make him  and his films what they are today  -  his upbringing and inborn love of filmmaking, his years in advertising in Mumbai and, finally, about the birth of a star in India’s filmmaking firmament.

The personal touch comes in when Khalid Mohamed confesses that, in his younger days, he was driven by purist cinema and therefore dismissive of Benegal’s style. He apologizes now, saying that he later saw the range and merit of Benegal’s distinctive work.  Khalid has written the stories and screenplays of three Benegal films, all based on Khalid’s own family: Mammo (based on his grandmother and her sister), Sardari Begum (based on a cousin of his mother’s) and Zubeidaa (based on Khalid’s mother).

Two years in the making and self-funded, Khalid’s documentary  looks at Benegal’s work from his advertising films to his features, Ankur, Nishant, Manthan and Junoon,  to the TV series Bharat Ek Khoj and Samvidhaan, a series on the Indian Constitution, currently being broadcast.

The Master has been jointly produced by Khalid and Anjum Rizvi. Among those who have worked with Benegal, the documentary features Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Karisma Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee, Om Puri, Rajat Kapur, Raageshwari Sachdev, Divya Dutta, Sachin Khedekar, Surekha Sikri, Ila Arun, Minissha Lamba, Govind Nihalani, Girish Karnad, Anant Nag, Nina Gupta, Pallavi Joshi, Vanraj Bhatia and Govind Nihalani. Reflections by Anil Kapoor, Richa Chadda and Ram Gopal Varma are in the film. The narration is by Naseeruddin Shah.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

IFFLA's 2014 film fiesta!

12th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
Closing Night Gala and Film Line-Up

Closing Night Gala film will be culinary comedy JADOO by 
London-based director Amit Gupta

The 12th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has announced its 2014 line-up of narrative and documentary features and short films for this year’s festival.

IFFLA will run April 8-13 at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles, the festival’s home since its inception. This year it presents more than 33 films, including three world premieres, six North American premieres, six U.S. premieres, and 16 Los Angeles premieres. The films feature 10 different languages, from Hindi to Marathi, to Russian to Bengali. Additionally, IFFLA supports American, Australian, British, Canadian, and European diaspora filmmakers from nine different countries telling their stories.

“I'm thrilled and proud that IFFLA's line-up this year includes an especially diverse range of cinematic experiences, covering many regions of India and the diaspora,” said IFFLA’s Artistic Director Jasmine Jaisinghani. "We would like to thank our Programming Advisor in India, Uma Da Cunha, for helping our programming team source some of these exceptional films."

IFFLA will open with Jeffrey D. Brown’s SOLD, produced by Jane Charles and executive produced by Emma Thompson.

Closing Night Gala  Amit Gupta’s Jadoo, a delightful and delicious exploration of family bonds amidst two feuding brothers’ restaurants in England. 

Program highlights include:
Anurag Kashyap’s latest, Ugly, an intense, masterfully directed psychological thriller; Liar’s Dice, the remarkable directorial debut of South Indian actress Geetu Mohandas; Anup Singh’s latest feature QISSA: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost, starring Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), winner of NETPAC Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Dioraphte Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; the Audience Award winner at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival; Hank and Asha, an exploratory, romantic look at two people bonding in the digital age by newcomer James E. Duff; Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, a highly praised debut feature for its multi layered emotion and realism on the subject of caste discrimination; Mahesh Pailoor’s Brahmin Bulls on an estranged father and son unexpectedly brought together to confront the family’s past; and Siddharth, a nuanced look at a family whose son goes missing, by lauded Canadian director and IFFLA alum Richie Mehta.

The festival's feature documentary competition includes an eclectic mix of films from established and upcoming filmmakers that consider India's unique traditions and dynamic future. The films include: the world premiere of  The Auction House, an intimate and funny look at two brothers trying to keep their anachronistic family business going in the digital age; festival favorite Powerless, which depicts intense struggles over electricity in a mid-size Indian city; Faith Connections, IFFLA alum Pan Nalin's beautiful and rare look at the Kumbh Mela; and the National Award-winning Shepherds of Paradise, about an arduous, mountainous trek through an animal drive in the Kashmiri winter.

The popular Bollywood by Night series returns this year with Bombay Talkies and Monsoon Shootout.

The shorts competition showcases a diverse selection of 15 films that include narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated works. Highlights of this year’s program include Academy Award shortlisted Kush; Sundance award winner Love. Love.Love; and the world premiere of acclaimed director Umesh Kulkarni’s The Fly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irrfan Khan nominated for "Asian Oscars"

 8th Asian Film Awards
Irrfan Khan nominated for Best Actor  


Irrfan Khan is one of the five nominees for the Best Actor "Asian Oscars"  at the prestigious Asian Film Awards (AFA) -  for his role in the critically-acclaimed film, The Lunchbox
The four other nominees are  Masaharu Fukuyama (Japan, Like Father, Like Son), Song Kang-ho (Korea, The Attorney), Lee Kangsheng (Taiwan, Stray Dogs) and Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Hong Kong SAR, The Grandmaster).  

The AFA, dubbed the “Asian Oscars” for its  status and scale, will be held on 27th March 2014 at Macau’s City of  Dreams state-of-the-art Dancing Water Theatre. The award ceremony will honour the best of Asian films with 14 award categories. This year’s award ceremony at Macau sees a total of 73 nominations from 13 countries and regions.

About Asian Film Awards
The annual Asian Film Awards was established in 2007 as the first Asian film awards that recognizes all the cinematic talents in the Asian region. The AFA is the only ceremony in the World that brings together the Asian cinematic elite. The AFA will be the focal point of global attention as World-renowned filmmakers and celebrities gather on the red carpet. The judging panel consists of 12 respected film industry experts that will screen the nominated films through stringent judging processes and eventually vote to decide the winners of each of the 14 categories. The annual award ceremony has garnered attention from both industry professionals and movie fans alike. The AFA strives to promote cultural exchange between film industry professionals from all across Asia in the hope of propelling Asian films to greater heights.

Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screenwriters' Lab selects 8 Fellows

The Mumbai Mantra Sundance Institute Screenwriters' Lab, 2014
announced their final selection of eight Fellows. They are:
·         Ashvin Kumar (Script - Noor)
·         Bornila Chatterjee Script - (Nuclear Hearts)
·         Neeraj Ghaywan and Varun Grover (Script - Fly Away Solo)
·         Gaurav Madan (Script - Shaktipur Crude)
·         Deepanjali B Sarkar (Script - Svadharma)
·         Sanjay Talreja (Script - The River Murder)
·         Navneet Behal (Script - Experiments with Truth), co-written with Maitrey Bajpai and Ramiz Ilham Khan
·         Dylan Mohan Gray (Script - The Last Day of Winter), co-written with Vikramaditya Motwane)
The selected writers will be mentored by leading American and Indian screenwriters. The names of the mentors are:
Naomi Foner
Michael Handelman
Dante Harper
James V Hart
Anjum Rajabali
Malia Scotch Marmo
Elena Soarez
Sooni Taraporevala
Rose Troche