Monthly Archives

May 2017

Signature Move (Day 1096)

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American film “Signature Move”, starring Indian actor Shabana Azmi will open the 8th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film festival – South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBTQ film festival. Signature Move directed by Jennifer Reed also stars Fawzia Mirza and Sari Sanchez (from the hit TV series Empire). The opening night film will be screened at Mumbai’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema on May 24, 2017. The five-day film festival that will screen 147 films from 45 countries will be held in South Mumbai at two venues – Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise.

blog thursday image 2“This is a deeply important story about love and families. One of these families is South Asian – such a beautiful culture. I am so honored to be a part of this film and to bring it now back to South Asia,” said Jennifer Reed the director of the film.

Shabana Azmi, plays a “sweet and TV-obsessed mother in Chicago” whose daughter (played by Fawzia Mirza) falls in love with a Mexican woman (played by Sari Sanchez). Shabana Azmi is acting in an LGBTQ film 21 years after the acclaimed film Fire (1996). According to Jennifer Reed, “the film is a lesbian love story between a desi American Muslim immigration lawyer and Mexican‐American bookstore owner in a peaceful diverse Chicago.”

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Movie Review: Watch Sarkar 3 for the magnificence of Bachchan Day 1093

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Film Review: Sarkar 3

Date: 12 May 2017

Director: Ram Gopal Verma

Writer: Nilesh Girkar/ story P Jayakumar/Ramkumar Singh/ Dialogues

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Manoj Bajpayee, Jackie Shroff, Amit Sadh

Rating: 3 stars.

He meets everyone only at his home and amidst his security and speaks more through his eyes and gesticulations than words.

The visitor seat is placed at a distance and from the manner in which they stroll into his abode, their body language, and tone, Subhash Nagre gages the purpose of their visit.

In 2005 Verma released Sarkar that introduced us to the power and charisma of Subhash Nagre. In 2008 he made Sarkar Raj that shed light on his family and complex relationships.

In 2017 Verma brings Sarkar 3 that gives insight into his wisdom and mindset.

In the decade gone by, a lot has changed in the life of Sarkar/ Amitabh Bachchan. He now lives in a new and a bigger home with his ailing wife Pushpa/ Supriya Pathak and has a new set of enemies Despande/ Manoj Bajpayee, Vallya/ Jackie Shroff and new body guards as well Gokul/ Ronit Roy.

A lot, however, remains unchanged…

His aura and power over the public… His passionate, motivating speeches…The stream of visitors at home and some old habits…Subhash Nagre still peppers his meals with a dash of pickle and audibly relishes his tea in a saucer.

The minus of the film is that it is too dark and without a serious plot. Most of the film is one location and one kind of lighting. The background is cacophonic!

The plus is that the story dares to focus on characters, not common in Hindi films. The dialogues are dramatic and all the performances first rate: Amit Saad is the surprise packet and Amitabh Bachchan – the backbone of the film.

There’s a favorite dialogue of Subhash Nagre in the film and he repeats it often: “I do what I think is right” he says and this conviction underlines his performance.

Watch Sarkar 3 for the magnificent presence of Bachchan. I rate Sarkar 3 with 3 stars out of which 1 star is exclusively for Subhash Nagre.

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Where’s The Party Tonight? (Day 1092)

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It’s been a long, extended evening but despite the exhaustion, everybody is in a mood to celebrate. There is no official dinner from the host but everybody has a plan in order. I am with Abhimanyu and Roopali Singh of Contioloe Pictures winners of Best Animation Film/ Mahayoddha Ram. Abhimanyu has strung his suvarna kamal/gold medal around his mother’s neck and senior Singh is so proud of the honor that she refuses to remove it from her neck through the dinner. We drink, eat and celebrate chatting on various topics but keep returning to the award ceremony because everybody is so happy and overwhelmed.

12.5.17 bLater in the night we arrive at the hotel and discover that other awardees are celebrating their glory in different groups and join the party. The mood is ecstatic and the conversation about films, films, and more films.  The celebrations go on till late night and nobody cares that they have to take a flight early in the morning.

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Certificates For All (Day 1091)

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In the olden days when I was on the jury for Feature Film, there were no daily allowances for the members, not just that all of us paid for our own dinner, laundry and personal travel. We were committed for 15 days in Ashok Hotel of Delhi and watched on an average five films a day to complete 100 films in a fortnight.

In the olden days, the process of watching the films and the deliberations that followed were concluded in a fortnight. Today, I am told it takes much longer because the entries have increased and so have the pressures. The NFA faculty informs that it is getting more and more difficult to get people to come on jury board because it is not easy to commit so many dates in a different city.

11.5.17 dTo attract competent members on the jury NFA office has revised its guidelines and now offer daily allowances so members don’t have to spend out of their pockets. As an additional incentive the government has from this year onward started honoring jury member with a certificate of merit for their services.

My co-jury members’ actor/ writer Mohan Raman from Chennai and publisher Prabhat Kumar from Prabhat Publishers were privileged to receive a certificate from Union & Development Minister A Venkaiah Naidu.

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Best Writing on Cinema (Day 1090)

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There were 33 books and 18 critiques as eligible entries for Best Writing on Cinema 2016. Out of these only 50 were in English and the rest in regional languages comprised biographies, chronicles, conversations, musical journeys and reflections on topics related to the business of entertainment.

10.5.17 dThe essays on cinema featured film reviews, analytical stories, a comprehensive listing and serious studies on changing perceptions of cinema.

It was a daunting task to compartmentalize all the writings but the directorate office helped us to take one step at a time and initiate system into the process.

We began with first evenly distributing the various books/ articles amongst us, the jury members and defined a deadline by which time we must finish our readings.

10.3.17 cMost of the regional books/ articles were submitted with an English synopsis and for those missing; the directorate office had a team of translators outlining the merit/ demerit of every book and essay.

The deliberation meeting was an enriching experience as the members shared what they had observed. All of us had shortlisted our choices and needed to arrive at a consensus collectively.

10.5.17 bThe emphasis was on original content, insightful writing, and meticulous research.

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Four Juries, Four Sections (Day 1089)

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The awards are divided into four distinctive sections namely Feature Film Central Jury which includes films from all regions and which was this year headed by eminent filmmaker Priyadarshan. The Non-Feature which includes short films and documentaries from all state was chaired by Raju Misra. Third, Writing on Cinema which includes critiques and books by me and finally a new category called Film Friendly State which was given to Uttar Pradesh this year and headed by Madhur Bhandarkar. While the jury members had a lot of time to interact with each other, the chairpersons of the respective juries only met on the final day.

9.5.17 bI got to spend some time with Raju Misra post the press conference announcing the awardees, Priyadarshan and I bonded over dinner at the hotel sharing films we must watch and had breakfast with Madhur Bhandarkar on the morning of the event. Come evening and we were dressed formally to read a citation each on what propelled us to make our choices and the guidelines we followed.

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National Film Awards (Day 1088)

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A fortnight ago I was at The Ashoka in Delhi for my Padma Shri felicitation and in less than a month I was back in the city and same hotel for 64th National Film Awards. As the Chairperson Jury of Writing on Cinema, I was invited to be on the dais with dignitaries and read an overview of the selection.

8.5.17 bLast time the ceremony was at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. This time it is at the Vigyan Bhavan, a premier Centre of Government of India in New Delhi. Built in 1956, it has been the venue of conferences of national and international stature, seminars and award ceremonies attended by distinguished world leaders and dignitaries.

8.5.17 aThere is excitement in the hotel lobby as the awardees assemble to travel together at the venue. At Vigyan Bhavan, the security guards are over cautious in checking the invites and ID proofs of the guests. There was a long queue but nobody complains and use the waiting time to click pictures with fellow awardees and fans.

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