IIFA heads back to Singapore. Why not NY, may I ask?

I am so jealous… I would love if this event  just once would take place in Manhattan!

I guess NY wouldn’t be such a great idea, afterall,  since there are too many actors named Khan that will run the risk to be detained at JFK…mistaken as possible security threats to the USA. Just imagine the ruckus, they couldn’t deal with Shahrukh, our Bollywood luminary, and he is only ONE Khan!!!!   now add:

Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Farah Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Imran Khan, Irrfan Khan,Saif Ali Khan…(well, they better don’t mess with him! could lead to a bloody nose)

Another solution would be to hold IIFA directly at Kennedy. Glam up the airport! Dress up   Homeland Security agents in Bollywood attire, let them swing a leg while they do their multiple background checks :-)





It’s back to Singapore for IIFA this year

iifa 200x170 Eight years after showcasing Bollywood’s wonder in Singapore, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) is heading back to the City of Lions for its annual weekend and awards, to be held June 7-9.

Singapore will host the 13th edition of IIFA, which will have fashion shows, a musical extravaganza, and all the celebrations culminating into a glittering awards presentation ceremony.

“Our focus is to showcase the best of Indian cinema to the world. With the unparalleled success of IIFA Singapore in 2004, we are back here to relive the magic,” Sabbas Joseph, director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, said in a statement.

“We have only just opened the Wizcraft Event Management operations in Singapore and are delighted to showcase our most prestigious creation, IIFA once again in Singapore. We hope that the IIFA’s help bring India and Singapore closer together,” he added.

Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor and Bipasha Basu were here to unveil this year’s IIFA venue.

“It has been my pleasure to be associated with IIFA for over a decade and once again, on behalf of IIFA and the Indian film industry, we commit to give our audience in Singapore the opportunity to witness one of the finest celebrations of culture and cinema ever held,” said Anil, who is awaiting the release of his film “Tezz”.

Bipasha, looking resplendent in a white sari by designer Anamika Khanna, added: “IIFA is the most respected cinema awards and something I look forward to every year.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to be here in Singapore personally to represent Indian cinema on such a global platform. I’m sure that this year’s IIFA will be a phenomenal success.”

The IIFA awards this year are presented by Videocon Industries and Wizcraft International Entertainment, and supported by the Singapore Tourism Board.

The 2004 IIFA award ceremony witnessed a contingent of over 450 stars, celebrities, cricketers, industrialists and government leaders over the festive weekend.

The impact of IIFA Singapore was experienced across tourism influx, investments into Singapore and closer ties between India and Singapore.

This year, they hope for more.

Last year, the award ceremony was held in Toronto. – IANS

Tezz or the patience one needs to sit thru an action flick

Tere Bina by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will be probably the only thing I will like about Tezz. It looks like a rehash of all kind of Hollywood action movies from Unstoppable to all of these Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Samuel Jackson, Denzel Washington kinda  flicks. Who has to stop whom to prevent a major catastrophe, a terrorist attack, a nuclear bomb with chases after chases after chases by car by bike by bus by train by plane or just by running obstacle courses..

From the trailer we can see  that Ajay is pacing around this movie looking all so serious after being innocently accused and now on the run to discover the truth. He is supported by his innocent damsel, wife or girlfriend played by Kangana Ranaut (Tere Bina is probably a song belonging to the intro of the movie where we get to know her a lil bit)  who might or might not be sacrificed. And if she does we’ll be angry, HE’ll be VERY ANGRY and carry out his mission with even higher resolve. That’s how I picture the movie. The only thing I know about it so far is that it has got mediocre reviews, which I haven’t bothered to read since I am going to see this movie in a few days and I want to maintain a shred of  a surprise factor.  Maybe Kangana isn’t as innocent as she looks in Tere Bina. Maybe she is the mastermind and is holding back a few surprising Karate moves? :-) Nah. Too revolutionary. Would be as convincing as Paris Hilton playing a nuclear scientist.

Obviously films of this kind aren’t targeting my peeps. Women. We sit through these shallow exercises in ‘figure out who’s the bad guy and why he’s doing what he’s doing’ with a sense of duty to please whoever took us to see the movie. We yawn through the car chases, gun-toting guys running wild. there will be always a woman on duty, who is sharp and can run fast too, she doesn’t have to be so pretty. and then there are glimpses of the one or two objects of desire, clad in little nothings, appearing briefly but have no part in the plot. Let’s face it, movies that are targeting men are usually one-dimensional and dull. Will Tezz be any different?

Let’s lean back and watch. I’ll tell you later. Or you tell me…




The Reluctant Fundamentalist shimmies to Cannes

Mira Nair’s upcoming thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist, presently in post-production, is  based on the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamid. The novel is set taking place over the course of one evening in a cafe of Lahore,  in the post 9/11 era, where a bearded Pakistani called Changez approaches an unnamed American, joins him at his table and tells him his story.  The  narrative spans various continents, a love story and the impact 9/11 had on Changez’ and his friends lives, torn between the dream of a successful career on Wall Street and the love for his native country, Pakistan.

It stars Riz Ahmed as the protagonist Changez and Kate Hudson as Erica, his love interest.  Other cast members include Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Shabana Azmi. The movie is not part of the official selection but will show footage in Cannes.


interview with Mohsin Hamid




Lahore is Delhi 50 years ago: Mira Nair

Subhash K Jha, IANS Apr 16, 2012, 02.57PM IST
(Mira Nair )

Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, who managed to shoot a part of her next project ” The Reluctant Fundamentalist” in Lahore, Pakistan, says the city, though unsafe to shoot in, was a “twin” to Indian capital New Delhi’s old world charm.

Nair managed to shoot in Lahore for four days, but had to shoot the remaining part in locations in New Delhi.

“We did succeed in shooting in Lahore for four days. But the remaining 20 days’ shooting for Lahore had to be done in Delhi,” said Nair, who admits the Pakistan schedule wasn’t a cakewalk.

“We had to do it with only a full Pakistani crew. It wasn’t safe to shoot there. But otherwise, such a beautiful, refined city and such a twin to Delhi! But Lahore is Delhi 50 years ago. So we had really look hard for a Delhi that isn’t so immediately visible to the eye,” she added.

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, based on Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s eponymous novel, narrates the transformation of a Princeton-educated Pakistani youth with a cushy American job and an American girlfriend.

Nair, who found international recognition with films like “Salaam Bombay”, “Monsoon Wedding”, ” Vanity Fair“, “The Namesake” and “Amelia”, hopes “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” gets released in Pakistan.

“I sure as hell hope it gets released in Pakistan. I mean I’m not too clear on political issues. But there’s a new liberalised trade policy between India and Pakistan. So if nothing else, at least we can hope to see the film gets released in Pakistan along with the rest of the world,” she said.

The US-based filmmaker says gets nostalgic as she talks about Pakistan.

“My father is from Lahore. I grew up with Pakistani culture all around me…qawwalis, shayari, the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz,” she said, and added that she has also included a qawwali in her movie.

“I’ve put in a huge qawwali sequence in ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’… an original, traditional qawwali sung by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohamed. I grew up in Delhi, but I had Lahore all around me,” said Nair.

For now, she has immersed herself in the post-production work of the movie, which also features Shabana Azmi, in Mumbai.

“For the first time I am doing the post-production of my film in India, and it’s a blessing. It’s so economical,” said the filmmaker, who has roped in Shimit Amin of “Chak De! India” to edit the movie.

“To have Shimit Amin editing my film is a miracle. It’s amazing how I know him. I first invited him to come as artistic director and lecture in my film school in east Africa last summer.

“He happily came for two weeks to teach. I didn’t know him before that. But I loved his movies… I offered that he edit ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’.

“He said he’d love to edit my film. He’s total magic. And so egoless. He’s definitely making a film for me. I guess I’m lucky to get the right people on board,” she added.

Nair was recently also in Delhi to receive the Padma Bhushan award.

Currently in Mumbai, she is staying at her actress friend Shabana’s parental home in Janki Kutir, where Shabana’s mom, the formidable Shaukat Azmi stays.

source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-16/news-interviews/31349148_1_mira-nair-lahore-qawwali

High honors for Santosh Sivan

The extraordinarily talented South Asian cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan, who brought us movies of the caliber of  Asoka, Dil Se, The Terrorist, Meenaxi: tale of 3 cities, Raavan (photography), Fiza, Before the Rains,  Mistress of Spices, was honored by being awarded membership to the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers. Well-deserved!  He creates sheer magic.



Dil Se


The Terrorist


Meenaxi: tale of 3 cities

gurls, if your heart stops at the beat of the 40th sec, that’s Kunal Kapoor…:-)


Before The Rains




Mistress of Spices




Santosh Sivan first South Asian to get ASC membership

Indo-Asian News Service

Saturday, April 28, 2012 (Thiruvananthapuram)            

Ace cinematographer Santosh Sivan became the first South Asian to be given the prestigious membership of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) for his outstanding work. The ASC membership is extended to individuals through invitations from existing members. “I was first invited by American cinematographer Michael Chapman, who shot Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Subsequently, two other members sponsored me. Then there was an interview that was reviewed by all ASC members,” Sivan said. Sivan said he was informed about his selection last week and it would be announced in the next issue of the ASC journal American Cinematographer. Multi-talented Sivan, who graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, is an actor, producer, director and a cinematographer who has worked in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and English cinema in a career spanning more than two decades. A four-time National Award-winning cinematographer, Sivan has worked on 45 feature films and 41 documentaries till now. “I want to dedicate this honour to my father who was a regular reader of the American Cinematographer,” said Sivan. His father, also popularly known as Sivan, is an award-winning producer and director. The young cinematographer added that he was deeply moved by a note send out by Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Beristain who was present at the ASC meeting on behalf of Sivan’s sponsors, Theo Van de Sande and Michael Chapman.

“Everybody thanked us for proposing such an interesting and original mind to our organisation. Santosh Sivan was a big star at the membership meeting of the ASC last Saturday. He blew everybody away with his wit and phenomenal vision,” read the note by Beristain. “Just before his meeting, the committee had interviewed another prospective candidate whose main strength is in the stereoscopic (3D) world, the well attended meeting had a good deal of technical information, so they found – in their words – very refreshing to hear Sivan.”

Currently, there are 302 cinematographers from 20 countries as ASC members. The society also has more than 150 associate members working in ancillary sectors of the motion picture industry.

Imdb filmography
Cinematographer(46 titles)

2010 Tatvä: Nature’s Elements(video short)

2010 Raavan(director of photography)

2010 Raavanan(director of photography)

2008 Tahaan

2008 Prarambha(short)

2007 Before the Rains(director of photography)

2005 Navarasa

2005 Silsiilay

2003 Tehzeeb

2000 Fiza

2000 Pukar

1998 Dil Se..

1997 The Duo

1996 Halo(photographed by)

1996 Kala Pani

1995 Barsaat

1995 Nirnnayam

1994 Pavithram

1993 Gardish

1993 Rudaali

1992 Roja

1992 Yodha

1991 Thalapathi(as Shantosh Sivan)

1991 Dilli – A few Images(documentary short)

1990 Midhya

1990 Vyooham

1989 Raakh

Hide HideDirector (10 titles)
2008 Tahaan

2008 Prarambha(short)

2005 Navarasa

1998 Malli

1996 Halo

Shahid and his pretty stalker

Shahid and his beautiful stalker

So we hear that our filmi heartthrob Shahid has filed a complaint against Raj Kumar’s daughter Vastavikta Pandit.

Shahid Kapoor has accused her of stalking him. Just like in a good Bollywood movie, the beautiful Vastavikta was smitten with her Shahid since she laid eyes on him at Shiamak Davar’s jazz classes which they both seemed to have attended.It must have been love at first sight on her part, and who can blame her? He is gorgeous.




From what we hear, Vastavikta, apparently after moving nearby his home about nine months ago, started standing at the gate of his building when he leaves for shoots and waits for him when he comes back. (bit like Haatchi, the loyal dog, who awaited his master at the train station every day and continued to do so for years after his owner’s death).  She followed Shahid in her car, she even climbed the walls to get to his apartment… dodging security guards. (Reminds me a lot of Socha Na Tha…) Yup, it’s a bit extreme this infatuation. But it’s still very human :-)

Now Vastavikta is a very pretty girl. she holds a degree from S.I.T in Manhattan. You would think she has everything going for herself, except for the man there she fell in love with and so desperately wants that she forgets all her good manners. He should be flattered, maybe. He should have tried talking to her maybe and explain that he has no interest whatsoever instead of filing a police report.

Very few things in life hurt as much as unrequited love. This woman, she is desperate but not a mental case. Filing a police report seems to be a bit drastic. Why ruin her life like that? He talked to her family apparently but never to her. I guess stardom makes you a tad paranoid. She doesn’t appear to be a monster. She has just hopelessly fallen for the wrong guy. But she is still a person, a woman, not some stray dog nor a terrorist whom he has to fend off with the help of police. at least, that’s how I see it.

Now in a Bollywood movie thisscenario would lead probably  to a shaadi, because the person who loves so intensely without boundaries usually gets rewarded with the price. Helas, not so in real life. Not so in real life.

In real life unrequited love is something most of us had to deal with and live with it  at one time or the other. It’s a pretty common phenomenon.Somebody who gets smitten with you and will start calling you day and night. We feel stalked but we usually talk it through. We might follow ex lovers on FB, stalking them there… We do all kind of stupid things when we are in love..

Shahid is a big star, so when you fall for a star in this manner you probably delude yourself that if he  would just get to know you, if you just would have a chance to talk to him he will turn around. Afterall, there are cases of that recorded in history. Movie stars have fallen for cocktail waitresses and sometimes even married them, happened to Kevin Costner, to George Clooney and god knows.. Prince they say got married to a fan of his.. Arthur Rubinstein, the famous pianist got married late in life to a much younger fan…divorcing in his 70s from his wife. We hear this kind of stories. But this is not what is happening here.

Vastavikta , daughter of the legendary actor Late Mr. Raj Kumar, made her filmi debut in 2006 in Karan Razdan’s ‘Eight Shani’. I haven’t seen the movie, I don’t know how good she is, but apparently instead of applying herself to get more acting gigs she dipped into a day dream fog, imagining herself as Mrs Shahid Kapoor.  Somehow that’s so sad and I wish her good luck in her life. Hopefully she will leave this infatuation  behind her now and hopefully her life won’t be too damaged by this scandal. I feel for her.



Amitabh and Aishwarya: Love comes in all forms

Whenever I see photos of Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya together side by side, an overarching vibration of closeness in mind and soul between these two is palpable. They must be soul-mates, who somehow found each other amidst the torrid of reincarnations. .And I am saying this with no disrespect or impurity of thoughts. Not in a sexual way and yet much stronger than sex.

I am sure Aish has great love and feels passionate about her husband and Amitabh has great love for his wife, but there are other dimensions of love, and some beyond our grasp. He has fatherly love for her and she probably feels safe under his loving protection – just like we seek out a mighty oak tree  that shields us from the rain.

Their body language reveals  intimacy (on a psychological level), trust and the type of selfless love that brings out the best in us. We are lucky when we meet someone in life with whom to share such deep connection. He is her mentor, her tutor, simultaneously her (2nd) father and father in law. Probably to people around them a puzzle.

it doesn’t surprise me to read that he wants to build a college in her name. The ultimate honor and proof of love. An appropriate, educational  sort of Taj Mahal. One that will not make eyebrows raise and yet will be expressing perfectly his devotion for his darling daughter-in-law.

It’s the love Nietzsche talks about, the one beyond good and evil. A love no one can touch, pure and beyond reproach. One of these divine forms love can take on. Stories written on the canvas of the soul.