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An eager Rajini and a reluctant crew


Rajinikanth

His fans adore every “punch line” he comes up with, but the superstar has now spoken that one line that many have been desperately waiting to hear over the last few months. “I’m alright now. Let us resume the shoot for ‘Rana’.” Though actor Rajinikanth, who underwent treatment at the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre in Porur and later in a Singapore hospital, has said he is ready to get back for the shoot, director K.S. Ravikumar and the producers have urged him to take more rest. According to a press release, Ravikumar said while Rajini has recovered fully and is keen to start the shoot again, the crew does not want him to rush back, as the film, in which Rajini plays three roles, “has some stunning stunt sequences”.

Decision on dates

Producer Sunil Lulla, Managing Director of Eros International Media, said: “We don’t mind waiting to be a part of this ambitious project with Rajinikanth, as we want him to rest for some more time. Hence, we have decided to take the decision on the shooting dates in December.” Eros International along with NextGen Films, will produce the film through Rana Production, United Kingdom.

The film opus, being made in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu, also features actors Deepika Padukone and Sonu Sood. The film marks the coming together of leading technicians, including composer A.R.Rahman, and cinematographer Ratnavelu. Soundarya Rajnikanth will be the technical director and Charles Darby of Eyeqube Studios, renowned visual effects expert, is the creative and special effects director.

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On a new curve


Ayesha Takia

Ayesha Takia talks about ‘Mod’ and her business plans

She’s been in front of the camera since she was four (the original ‘I am a Complan girl’) and signed her first film as a heroine when she was 15. Ayesha Takia was always cast in chirpy, predictable roles until Dor came by. Just when she was expected to do add more variety into her portfolio, Ayesha Takia tied the knot with longtime friend Farhan Azmi and took a break from movies. “I had started acting as a child. Acting is a way of life for me. But I really enjoyed the break. I spent two years travelling and learning the ropes of business with my husband. I am a hands-on business woman with Farhan’s restaurants in Mumbai and we are planning to start a boutique hotel in Goa. When I returned to shoot, it didn’t feel like I had been away for two years,” she says.

It took an unpredictable love story penned by Nagesh Kukunoor (adapted from the Taiwanese film Keeping Watch) to pull her out of her sabbatical. “I can never say no to Nagesh for he had given me Dor. Socha Na ThaMod is my third film with Nagesh after Dor and 8X10 Tasveer. Whenever it is from Nagesh, it is always a yes from me. He is my rakhi brother and knows how to get the best performance from me. Beyond that, I like the fact that he always writes powerful characters for women,” she says.

Mod, set in a quaint little fictitious town, was shot in Ooty, Kothagiri and Coonoor. “The setting was perfect. I hate shooting in the heat and loved shooting in the hills. Ooty has lovely people and the food was phenomenal,” she gushes. Unlike Dor that was set in interiors of Rajasthan, Mod is contemporary, she says. “For Dor, I tried to understand the way of life of the Rajasthani women, their clothes, culture… I had to play a child bride who then became a widow. My character in Mod is something most women can relate to. It’s not a melodramatic film like Dor,” she says.

Her diary is free post Mod, which releases this Friday. “Unless I really like a script or the unit, I don’t feel the need to act. I’ve been in this field for 11 years and it’s time to learn new things. I am growing as a businesswoman,” she says. Talking of business plans, Hyderabad is on her mind too. “Eventually we’d like to start something in Hyderabad, since the food industry here is not new to both me and Farhan. I have fond memories of shooting here (Telugu film Super with Nagarjuna).”

Cameron to build ‘Avatar’ theme park


A scene from the film "Avatar," showing actor Zoe Saldana donning the character of "Neytiri".

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with acclaimed filmmaker James Cameron to bring the world of Avatar to life at Disney parks.

The 2009 movie Avatar become the highest-grossing film of all time and fans will soon be able to experience Cameron’s fictional planet Pandora for themselves at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Disney plans to build the first Avatar themed land at Walt Disney World within the Animal Kingdom park and the construction is set to begin in 2013.

The project will reportedly cost an amount of $400 million.

“(Disney bosses have the opportunity to) go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experimental storytelling, and give park—goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Avatar,” contactmusic.com quoted Mr. Cameron as saying.

Preview: Ra.One


King Khan's Ra.One

King Khan’s upcoming sci-fi thriller promises to chill you to the bone with edge-of-the-seat action. Here’s a sneak peek at to what’s to come.

SRK plays the father Shekhar Subramaniam, who is trying real hard to fit in his son’s world. In the midst of this is a mother who tries to make peace between her husband’s attempts in transforming into the ideal dad and the man she loves. Shekhar constantly perseveres to become ‘cool’ and make his son proud. But alas, every attempt disappoints his son further. That’s until he creates a deadly game!

The game soon turns ‘deadly’ literally. All hell breaks loose when the game that was meant to be played with, starts playing them.

With this interesting premise, Shah Rukh Khan already has us in his grips. We can’t wait to watch the film releasing on October 26!

Mod Movie Review


Aranya, a “full-of-life” 25 yr old, lives in the sleepy and idyllic hill station, Ganga. The little town is the home of many colourful characters – Ashok Mahadeo, Aranya’s whacky father who is the head of the local fan club of Kishore Kumar, the fiery Gayatri Garg, “GG”, her aunt, friend, and confidant, who runs a …restaurant and is a mother figure to Aranya, chubby Gangaram, the local shopkeeper who harbors feelings for Aranya and Ashok’s music band, the ever present Kishore Bhakts.

Aranya’s mother left to pursue bigger dreams in the city when Aranya was a little girl and both father and daughter hope that one day she will return. They wait dutifully everyday to see if the lone train that passes by their house will bring her back. Aranya runs a watch repair store, a legacy handed down by her mother to support her father and herself.

One day a total stranger, Andy, lands up at her doorstep to have his watch fixed. He is painfully shy, but keeps returning day after day to have his water logged watch repaired. As payment he leaves a 100 rupee note in the form of an origami swan. Aranya slowly warms up to this quirky stranger and through a series of meetings and against all odds they fall in love.

But who is Andy? Where is he from? And what is his past?

As Aranya discovers the truth about Andy, the film heads to an exciting and emotional climax in the strongest tradition of great love stories.

When love happens, life takes a turn…

Mod is an upcoming hindi movie, produced by Sujit Kumar Singh, Elahe Hiptoola and Nagesh Kukunoor, is all set to release on 30th September 2011.

Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the film stars Ranvijay Singh, Ayesha Takia, Raghuveer Yadav, Tanvi Azmi and Ananth Mahadevan.

The music is composed by Tapas Relia and lyrics penned by Mir Ali Husain.

Mausam release shifted to 23 September


Shahid looked upbeat and optimistic despite the change in the release date, even as his father Pankaj Kapur and co-star Sonam Kapoor looked a tad somber. Raju Shelar/Firstpost

The Pankaj Kapur directed film, Mausam, has been facing rough weather with the Censor Board and the Indian Air Force for a while now; and even as it looked like things had cleared up in time for the film’s release on 16 September, a press conference was held at the JW Marriott hotel in Mumbai last evening to clear the air about the status of the film’s release.

At the press conference, Pankaj Kapur said, “The IAF asked for minor changes in the film and it is our duty to make sure that all the representation is done authentically and in accordance with the IAF. I thank them; they have been very supportive. The content of the film, in terms of the fight sequence, has not changed, the story is the same — only tiny details have been slightly altered as per the IAF’s requirements.”

Mausam procured the Censor Certificate three days ago but asked for a review of the film, after which the film received a ‘U’ certificate.

A press conference held last evening cleared the air about the status of the film’s release. Raju Shelar/Firstpost

Shahid, who plays a fighter pilot in the film, added, “The release date has been shifted to 23 September as we needed a No Objection Certificate from the IAF and Censor Certificate. We have made the requisite changes in the particular 30 seconds scene. It was very important to announce this as our entire team believes in the film and we want to bring the best for our audience.”

Due to all of the above delays, the release date of the film had to be switched from 16 to 23 September. Shahid looked upbeat and optimistic despite the change in the release date, even as his father Pankaj Kapur and co-star Sonam Kapoor looked a tad somber at the press conference when the announcement was made.

“Ra.One, a step ahead for Bollywood”


Shah Rukh Khan

The message of the Shah Rukh Khan film in the making is that “one should be careful before one makes a wish”

Hindi film industry is in for some bleak times. That is the prophecy of Bollywood idol Shah Rukh Khan who says over the next 10 years the audiences would not be eager to watch Hindi films.

Speaking on the sidelines of the audio release function of his sci-fi movie Ra.One, Mr. Khan said, “French, Polish, German and Italian cinema are already facing this situation as they have lost space to Hollywood. I am not taking on Hollywood. I want to ensure Indian kids and youngsters keep watching Indian films in future. My son doesn’t find me cool enough. We cannot just keep talking about an Indian imprint. We have to ensure that the Indian kids are proud of Indian culture. Inception was a huge hit in the country.”

Mr. Khan, who is playing the character of the superhero called G.One in the film, asked why is it that every time the earth is in danger, an American superhero has to come to save us? “When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of ‘Bahadur’ comics. Why can’t we have our own heroes? Our mythology is full of superheroes.”

He said the film represented the new age evil. “We thought, in this age if a villain has to come, it will have to be through technology. So Ra.One is an embodiment of the 10 worst thoughts in this digital age. But the message is that one should be careful before one makes a wish.”

It was literally a “Chhammak Chhalo” night in Mumbai’s Filmcity as the music of the much-awaited Diwali release was unveiled. It was released with the kind of razzmatazz no longer seen in Bollywood’s music release functions and the highlight was the “Chhammak Chhalo” song sung by international hip-hop star Akon. “My son is a fan of his. I was surprised that he managed to sing the Hindi song with three hours of practice. This speaks volumes of the sheer size of the Indian audience. Everyone wants to woo them,” he said.

Asked about the criticism that he pressed the same buttons as an actor, Mr. Khan said, “Germans say every time I press some buttons, Indians cry! But the bigger challenge in Ra.One was physical. It was difficult to even breathe in the superhero suit.”

But the promotional campaign is highlighting the emotional content. Is he playing safe? “See at one level it is an Aziz Mirza kind of film. A hero, a villain and mother and kid trapped in between…sweet! But when it breaks into action it matches the best in the world. It may or may not work but it is definitely a step ahead for Bollywood.”

“You can’t control emotions, you can’t control storytelling but you can control technology. It is one thing where we could be at par with the world. I told my team — make a superhero film and make it count. There was a small company called H2O and I bought it for almost nothing. For six years the team worked on the films that I produced. And Ra.One is the team’s big chance to prove its worth. For long our technicians have been contributing to Hollywood projects in a small way. Now it is time we give them a chance to create something big. Also, why should only small producers of offbeat films take chances, why should only producers who raise money on the Internet take a chance. I feel top producers should lead the way.”

One of the most expensive films in the industry, it is going to be released both in 2D and 3D. Versions dubbed in Tamil and Telugu will be released simultaneously. Mr. Khan said, “The film pays tributes to Rajini sir in one of the sequences.” Interestingly, Mr. Khan was the first choice of director Shankar for Robot but he opted out of the project after some creative differences.

Denying that he needed any controversy to create a hype around the film, Mr. Khan requested cinegoers to watch the film “with a clean heart as it has been made with a clean heart. For long we have had mother and son dramas. This time we have a film which is all about father and son.”

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan – Movie Review


Mere Brother Ki Dulhan

Yash Raj banner has earlier produced movies like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Band Baaja Baaraat, which had marriage as the backdrop. The production house is now back with one more movie on the same subject. But its latest venture Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is totally different and it lives up to the legacy.

Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is a romantic comedy flick, which is set amongst upper middle class families in northern India. The performances by Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar are the major highlights of the film. Ali Abbas Zafar’s wonderful script and direction and Sohail Sen’s music are the other attractions of the film.

Inspired by the matrimonial advertisements in newspapers, director Ali Abbas Zafar has created an interesting plot and garnished it with lively characters, which make the film a fun and joyous ride. The subject of the marriage has been used in several Bollywood flick, but the director has managed to be different in its treatment in the movie Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.

The director has made the first half of Mere Brother Ki Dulhan very interesting by including lots of fun elements. But his story turns bit predictable in the second half, which makes it unexciting. However, the twist in climax also seems to be dragging, but it is enjoyable.

Luv (Ali Zafar) is staying in London and his brother Kush (Imran Khan) is in search of an ideal Indian bride (Dulhan) for him. After an array of encounters with several families, Kush finds a girl-named Dimple (Katrina Kaif), who is the craziest/wackiest girl. Both the families agree for their union. But Kush falls in love with her when the preparations for their marriage are in full swing. What happens next will form the climax of the film Mere Brother Ki Dulhan.

Imran Khan is a perfect match for the role and he has done a fabulous acting. As wacky girl, Katrina Kaif’s performance is a notch better than her acting in her previous films. And the chemistry between Katrina and Imran is simply superb. Ali Zafar, who is making his acting debut with this film, has an impeccable comic timing. Others like Tara D’Souza, Parikshit Sahni and Kanwaljeet Singh are also good in their respective roles.

Besides having admirable performances, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan has also got rich technical elements. Mainly Sohail Sen’s music is beautiful and it suits the mood of the film. Its songs are both mass as well as class. The soundtracks like ‘Dhunki…’, ‘Choomantar…’, ‘Madhubala…’ and the title song are excellent. Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography and Bosco-Caesar’s choreography also add to the beauty of the movie.

In a nutshell, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan is a wholesome entertainer with a tender story. It can be good time-passer for this weekend. Don’t miss it.

Producer: Aditya Chopra

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Cast: Imran Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ali Zafar, Arfeen Khan, Kanwaljit Singh, Parikshat Sahni

Music: Sohail Sen

That Girl in Yellow Boots – Movie Review


That Girl in Yellow Boots

Director Anurag Kashyap has always managed to be something different, new and meaningful when it comes to the stories of his movies. His movies are dark, broody and psychological anxiety in form and meaning. The Bollywood helmer’s latest movie That Girl in Yellow Boots is not an exception. It is a fine specimen of his style of filmmaking. It is an artistic and wholesome experience.

That Girl in Yellow Boots is a tragic tale of British girl, who has come to India in search of her estranged father. The movie has been superbly crafted and wonderfully acted. It is a dark, dismal and desperate portrait of life inside Mumbai, where Ruth hopes to find salvation and a father. The movie also throws light on incest and sexual abuse, which have become an intrinsic part of our society.

Ruth (Kalki Koechlin) is a girl from England and has come to Mumbai to find her Indian father, who abandoned her family when she was a kid. She is without a work permit, which drives her to work at a massage parlour. She starts dating a drug addict Prashant (Prashant Prakash). A city that feeds on her misery, a love that eludes her and above all, a devastating truth that she must encounter. And everyone wants a piece of her. Will she find her father or not? This will be answered in the climax.

As Ruth, Kalki has delivered a wonderful performance and she has lived up to the expectations of her role. Naseeruddin Shah, Prashant and Gulshan have also added a lot of depth and conviction to their characters. Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor’s music, Rajeev Ravi’s cinematography and Shweta Venkat Mathew’s editing also commendable.

Producer: Anurag Kashyap

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Naseeruddin Shah, Prashant Prakash, Gulshan Devaiya, Divya Jagdale, Kartik Krishnan, Kumud Mishra, Shivkumar Subramaniam, Pooja Swaroop

Music: Naren Chandavarkar and Benedict Taylor

Rockstar is a musical journey: Ranbir Kapoor


Ranbir Kapoor

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, who promoted his upcoming flick ‘Rockstar’ in Mumbai on Sunday described the movie to be a musical journey.

“The film is a musical journey and a love story. A lot can be explained through the promos of the film on how the journey goes and when the film opens in theatres on November 11, 2011 you will discover yourself,” said Kapoor, who plays the lead role in this movie.

“But, of course I play a rockstar in the film, whose name is ‘Janardhan Jakkad’ and who in the film would transform into the rockstar ‘Jordan’,” he added.

Meanwhile, the director of the film, Imtiaz Ali, who was also present on the occasion informed that the music of the film, which will be launched on September 20, was parallel to the personality of the protagonist and was a mix of local flavour and the dominant western influence on his music.

“See the title is Rockstar so it’s obviously about music and I think the spirit of rock, I think is local to the place. This guy (the protagonist) is a Hindi speaking guy who can’t speak English well,” said Ali.

“He is a very local guy, who lives in New Delhi, but he plays western music. His music is a mix of the local taste and the influence of western music,” he added.

Nargis Fakhri plays the female lead in this movie. Oscar winning music director A. R. Rahman has composed the music of Rockstar.

Legendary actor Shammi Kapoor, who breathed his last on August 14 this year, makes his last silver screen appearance in this film.

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