The Future (hopefully) Toh Bright Hai Ji – for Sanjay Amar.


Future Toh Bright Hai Ji is a refreshing Indian slapstick comedy of the sort I would like to see more of. It’s listed as drama, inexplicably. Okay, satire maybe, but drama? I had the best time watching this movie. It was funny and uplifting.

Aamir Bashir as Ajay and Sonal Sehgal as Sonia kill it as a struggling writer and  B starlet in an Indian Soap, two Kashmir ex-pats who dream of making it in Bollywood.

Married four years and tired of living in a crappy apartment in a crappy section of Mumbai with work opportunities going nowhere, an incidental visit to an astrologer who promises them a turnaround of their lives within seven days, we follow the young couple through the maze of bureaucracy and the threat of the underworld and more. This movie becomes a rollercoast ride through urban culture and the spontaneity of Aamir Bashir’s and Sonal Sehgal’s acting just brings it home what it means to be small timers in Mumbai’s bubbling entertainment industry. “Think Big, not Small” says the agent to Ajay as she is rejecting his script. This might be a small independent film but it shines pretty bright for its size.

Future Toh Bright Hai Ji is a great ensemble effort. It’s loaded with personable characters that stay with you. Not to be missed.

I put my money on Sanjay Amar, the writer/ director of this refreshing tale. If he is dreaming big, he might very well be on his way :-) If you enjoy Indian new wave cinema, you are going to enjoy this one.

Cast & Crew


  1. Aamir Bashir
  2. Sonal Sehgal
  3. Asrani
  4. Satish Kaushik
  5. Vipin Sharma
  6. Delnaaz Irani


  1. Sanjay Amar


  1. Rama Mehrotra


  1. Sanjay Amar

2013 NY Indian Film Festival from April 30- May 4th

New York Indian Film Festival 2012
April 30 – May 4, 2013




Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 6:00 pm, Skirball Center for Performing Arts.
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Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Directed by Feroze Abbas Khan.
India 2012, 108 Minutes, Hindi with English Subtitles.
World Premiere
Cast: Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe, Ganesh Yadav, Apoorva Arora, Alok Rajwade

The story revolves around the search for the religious identity of a poor man crushed under the weight of a politican’s hoarding. A social and political satire, the film explores the impossible India, where bizarre is normal.

Feroz Abbas Khan Director’s Bio: At the forefront of Indian theatre today, Feroz Abbas Khan is recognized as much for exploring new forms, as for bringing Hindi theatre, mainstream recognition. In a career spanning more than two decades, he has directed some of India’s finest acting talent, both from stage and cinema. In line with a belief, that any pursuit of excellence, must go parallel to continued relevant social contribution; Feroz Abbas Khan’s theatre company has been silently but significantly associated with various committed social organizations; supporting and helping them raise funds and awareness. As the first Festival Director of the prestigious Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, the throbbing hub of the young, the talented and the restless; Feroz, along with the late Jennifer Kapoor spearheaded the International Prithvi Theatre Festival.

Pune 52 Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 6:00 pm, Theatre 1 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Pune 52
Directed by Nikhil Mahajan.
India, 2012, Feature Film, 121 Minutes, Hindi with English subtitles.
United States Premiere
Cast- Girish Kulkarni, Kiran Karmarkar, Sai Tamhankar, Sonali Kulkarni

The life of a private detective undergoes a dramatic change when he takes up a case that is deeply personal and highly complex. Set in the year 1992, against the backdrop of the finance reform policy that spiraled the Indian Middle Class in a tizzy of consumerism, reforming everything, including their relationships, PUNE 52 is an heartbreaking love story blended in a edge of the seat thriller.

Nikhil Mahajan Director’s Bio: Nikhil Mahajan is a graduate in film direction from The International Film School Sydney, Australia, and comes from an academically inclined Middle class family. Growing up on Bollywood cinema, making films was possibly the only thing that Nikhil could imagine himself doing. Pune 52 is Nikhil’s first film.

the_only_real_game Thursday, May 1, 2013, 4:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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The Only Real Game
Directed by Mirra Bank.
India, 2012, Documentary, 82 Minutes, English and Manipuri with Subtitles.
World Premiere.

The movie explores the power of baseball for people in a troubled, distant place. The small, once princely state of Manipur in embattled northeast India, counters gun violence, poverty, corruption, drug traffic, and HIV/AIDS with its surprising passion for our National Pastime. Manipur, which shares a porous border with Burma, joined the Indian Union under pressure in 1949, triggering a corrosive separatist conflict that continues to this day. For decades baseball has delivered release from daily struggles and a dream for healing this wounded society, as well as a way to connect to the wider world.This dream moves toward reality when First Pitch, a small group of baseball-loving New Yorkers, and two Major League Baseball Envoy coaches, join Manipuri men, women and children to “Play Ball.”

Mirra Bank Director’s Bio: Mirra Bank directs film and theater. Her previous feature documentary, “Last Dance”, was short-listed for an Academy Award. Her innovative nonfiction feature, “Nobody’s Girls”, was a PBS primetime special; and her groundbreaking indie feature enormous changes premiered at Sundance, followed by a critically praised theatrical release. Bank has been honored with awards and production support from, among others: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, NY State Council on the Arts, NY Foundation for the Arts, American Film Institute. Her films have premiered at festivals worldwide, including Edinburgh, NY Film Festival, Chicago, Seattle, Hawaii, AFI, Silverdocs, Final Frame, London, and Palm Springs.

B. A. Pass Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Directed by Ajay Bahl.
India, 2012, 100 Minutes, Feature Film, Hindi with English subtitles.
New York Premiere.
Cast- Shilpa Shukla, Rajesh Sharma, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Geeta Sharma, Shadab Kamal

A young small town boy moves to Delhi to stay with his aunt and finish his college. Soon a mysterious married woman seduces him known to him as Sarika ‘Aunty’. Set amidst the neon-lit by lanes of Delhi’s Paharganj unfolds an erotic human drama between the two. A relationship based on lust, lies and deceit is forged. As the young boy gets more and more entrenched into his surroundings he discovers a city that thrives on corrupting even the most naive and innocent.

Ajay Bahl Director’s Bio: Ajay Bahl grew up in the city of Delhi and was a state level cricketer in his teen years, disillusioned by the corruption in sport he meandered into many different vocations before chancing upon a book on filmmaking at a friend’s house. He is a high school drop-out and a self-taught filmmaker, he began his career in the advertising industry in the year 2005, always more interested in narrative fiction he started his film production company Tonga Talkies in the year 2010 and after reading Mohan Sikka’s short story titled “The Railway Aunty” in the anthology “Delhi Noir”- HarperCollins 2010, Ajay acquired rights to make it into a feature which is now titled “B.A Pass”. It is his first narrative feature.

Much Ado About Knotting Thursday, May 2, 2013, 4:00 pm, Theatre 1 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Much Ado About Knotting
Directed by Geetika Narang Abbasi and Anandana Kapur.
India, 2012, Short Film, 55 Minutes, English and Hindi.
World Premiere.

Born into a society obsessed with marriages, a young girl, a not-so-young man and an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) couple are compelled by tradition to look for matches via classifieds, matchmaking bureaus and websites. Confronted with innumerable criteria that determine who is acceptable and who isn’t, they question themselves and their choices. As they introspect, the melee of the matchmaking industry continues. At every turn, there are service providers who are ready to snoop, style and solicit potentials on their behalf. People are searching for the ideal one endlessly and the oft-heard question is – When are you getting married? Much Ado About Knotting is a lighthearted chronicle of this very predicament that almost every Indian faces.

Geetika Narang Abbasi Director’s Bio: Born and brought up in Delhi, India, Geetika Narang Abbasi pursued advertising after completing her graduation in English Literature from Delhi University. Soon, her love for films led her to the field of filmmaking. Having worked on various genres of filmmaking, from documentaries to TV commercials, she ventured into independent filmmaking with her first short fiction, the multiple award-winning Good Night (2008). Subsequently, she has edited and directed several documentaries that have been recognized and showcased nationally as well as internationally. Her next venture is a film about cross-border marriages between Indians and Pakistanis.

Anandana Kapur Anandana Kapur is an independent filmmaker and social scientist based out of New Delhi, India. She has previously worked in broadcast television and is a published author on Media, Art and Gender. As part of a cultural diversity initiative she holds lectures on Cinema and Culture for exchange students from US, Canada and Europe. Anandana is also a wiki-educator and her latest works include a group exhibition on Re-envisioning in Nicosia, Cyprus and the critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary The Great Indian Jugaad (2009). Anandana likes to travel, photograph and collect folklore. She is currently working on a film on grass roots innovation in India.

Much Ado About Knotting Center Piece Movie, Thursday, May 2, 2013, Tribeca Cinemas.
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Directed by Hansal Mehta.
India, 2012, Feature Film, 123 Minutes, Hindi with English Subtitles.
New York Premiere.
Cast- Raj Kumar Yadav, PrabhleenSandhu, BaljinderKaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia, KK Menon.

“Shahid” traces the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer ShahidAzmi. In the backdrop of communal violence that was unleashed on the city of Mumbai since 1993 we see a remarkable tale unfold. From attempting to become a terrorist to being wrongly imprisoned under a draconian anti-terrorism law to becoming a criminal lawyer Shahid traces the inspiring personal journey of a boy who became an unlikely messiah for human rights while following the rise of communal violence in India. The story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice, inequality and rising above his circumstances is an inspiring testament to the human spirit.

Hansal Director’s Bio: Hansal made his debut with Jayate (Victory, 1998), a languid tale on the Indian judiciary, medical malpractice and ordinary human lives in the city of Bombay. This was followed by the dark, tragic and funny DilPe Mat Le Yaar (Don’t Take It To Heart, 2000), a film that reflected Hansal’s concern for the increasingly marginalized immigrants in the city of Bombay. This film (and Hansal) ran into trouble with intolerant political parties in Bombay because of an innocuous section of dialog. Shahid (2012) is the result of this soul-searching mission and a return to roots for Hansal. Shahid is a deeply personal story that reflects Hansal’s anger and concern towards religious/class based/racial intolerance around the world.

Hansa Thursday, May 2, 2013, 4:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Directed by Manav Kaul.
India, 2012, Short Film, 88 Minutes, Hindi with English subtitles.
United States Premiere.
Cast- Kumud Mishra, Abhay Joshi, Trimala Adhikari, Bhushan Borgaonkar, Ghanshyam Lalsa, Ashish Pathode, Suraj Negi, Yogesh Kabadwal and Saurabh Nayyar.

The movie revolves around a little boy, Hansa and his sister, Cheeku. Their father has mysteriously disappeared while the mother is pregnant and about to deliver. Their father disappeared with outstanding loans and now it is left to young Cheeku has to prevent her house from getting sold and is at the receiving end of a powerful villager’s lecherous advances while little Hansa is too restless and distracted to pay attention to all the trouble his sister is facing. For Hansa his troubles revolve around a small red tennis ball which has got entangled in a huge inaccessible tree, a five rupee coin stolen from a local bully and all the travails of a boy and his closest friend Raku playing hokey from school and asking the time.

Manav Kaul Director’s Bio: Manav Kaul started his theatre career in Bhopal in the year 1994. He came to Mumbai in the year 2002 & along with a few friends formed “ARANYA Theatre Group” in 2004. The promise he showed as a young playwright with his first play ‘ShakkarKePaanchDaane’ in 2004 wasn’t misplaced.Manav is 37 years old & has written & directed 10 critically acclaimed plays in the last 8 years. His plays have been invited to most of the prestigious festivals in India & have been translated into English, Marathi & Bengali. Four of his plays have won awards at META (Mahindra excellence in theatre awards).

Jadoo Friday, May 3, 2013, 4:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Directed by Amit Gupta.
India 2012, Feature Film, English and Hindi.
United States Premiere.
Cast- Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Kulvinder Ghir, Tom Mison, Madhur Jaffrey.

Two brothers, both wonderful chefs, fall out catastrophically. At the climax of their dispute they rip the family recipe book in half – one brother gets the starters and the other gets the main courses. They set up rival restaurants, across the road from each other, and spend the next twenty years trying to out-do each other. Neither brother will admit it but they both know they are not entirely successful in the ‘other half’ of the menu. It takes a daughter to reunite them. She is planning her marriage and is determined that they will both cook together. But can the men bury the hatchet?

Amit Gupta Director’s Bio: Amit directed Resistance starring Andrea Riseborough and Michael Sheen it was his debut feature film. Sharon Morgan won the BAFTA Cymru award for Best Actress and Amit has been nominated for the Best First Film award by the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain. Amit’s last play, Campaign, was part of the epic Great Game at the Tricycle Theatre and was nominated for a 2010 Olivier Award. After the acclaimed run in London, The Great Game toured some of the most prestigious theatres in the US including: The Shakespeare in Washington, The Guthrie in Minneapolis, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and The Public in New York. In February 2010 the play was performed for The Pentagon.

Investment Friday, May 3, 2013, 9:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Directed by Ratnakar Matkari.
India 2012, Feature Film, 122 Minutes, Marathi with English Subtitles.
United States Premiere.
Cast- Praharsh Naik, Sanjay Mone, Sulabha Deshpande, Supriya Vinod, Tushar Dalvi.

Investment is a realistic, socially relevant and hard hitting film for the urban audience that can identify with its characters and the nature of the issues dealt within. The protagonists are a couple striving for greater ambitions, eager to move into a higher class of society, but at the cost of their social values. Their 12 year old son is being nurtured to become a politician, as the couple believes politics offers lucrative opportunities of growth, power and finance. The bratty son believes in always getting what he wants and his shocking involvement in a crime brings forth the changing face of today’s society and its uncertain future. It won The National Award for best Marathi Film in 2012.

Ratnakar Ramkrushna Matkari Director’s Bio: Ratnakar Ramkrushna Matkari is a Marathi writer, a movie and play producer/director, and a self-taught artist from Maharashtra, India.

When Hari Got Married Friday, May 4, 2013, 12:00 pm, Theatre 1 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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When Hari Got Married
Directed by Tenzing Sonam, RituSarin.
United Kingdom, India, Norway, Documentary, 2012, 75 Minutes, English with Foreign Subtitles.
United States Premiere.

When Hari, a small-town taxi driver, has an arranged marriage to a girl he has never met, the result is an intimate and humorous look at the changes taking place in India as modernity and globalization meet age-old traditions and customs.

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam Director’s Bio: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam have been making films on Tibetan subjects for more than 20 years. Through their work they have attempted to document, question, and reflect on, the issues of exile, cultural identity and political aspiration that confront the Tibetan diaspora.Working through their film company, White Crane Films, they have produced and directed several documentaries, including: The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche (1991); The Trials of Telo Rinpoche (1993); A Stranger in My Native Land (1997); and The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet (1998). In 2005, they completed a dramatic feature film, Dreaming Lhasa, executive produced by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Gere.

LISTEN AMAYA Friday, May 4, 2013, 12:00 pm, Theatre 2 at Tribeca Cinemas.
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Listen Amaya
Directed by Avinash Kumar Singh.
India, 2012, Feature Film, 108 Minutes, Hindi with English Subtitles.
New York Premiere.
Cast- Farouque Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar, Amala Akkineni, Siddhant Karnick, Vidya Bhushan, Viren Basoya

Listen Amaya is a modern, young, contemporary film about relationships, family dynamics, about pre-conceptions and about priorities. Book a coffee, is an offbeat library cum coffee shop. It is owned and run by LeelaKrishnamoorthy, a middle aged widow. She herself is as interesting and free spirited as the café she runs! Amaya, Leela’s only child is a firebrand 22 year-old writer; quick witted, confident and open-minded. They adore each other as only mother daughter can. Into this mix, is thrown JayantSinha. A 60 year old retired photographer, who continues his chosen profession as a hobby today. He is passionate about people and the memories they create; he is also a great friend to Amaya Krishnamoorthy, with whom he decides to co-author a coffee table book, titled Memories…of The Busy Bazaar. The Busy Bazaar as a title has its own story and adds a subtle but intriguing undercurrent to the narrative woven around it.

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam Director’s Bio: Avinash started in Television in 1998, as a researcher. Albeit a very keen researcher! With a natural flair for writing, it led to many opportunities behind the camera(s) and then in front of the same. Being an anchor on channels such as the BBC and Star, whet his appetite, but also showed Avinash where his heart truly lay.Having seen both sides of the coin, Avinash then began to write and direct. Setting up a production house with his wife, along with a small but extremely talented group of individuals, Turtle on a Hammock Films grew in stature and capabilities with the work that came out of their stables, across channels such as Discovery and numerous other clients. Avinash’s directorial debut, a fantastic drama, set in urban Delhi with a stellar cast is now released theatrically across India, to great critical and public acclaim.

Filmistan Closing Night Movie, Friday, May 4, 2013, 6:00 pm at Skirball Center for Performing Arts.
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Directed by Nitin Kakkar.
India 2012, 117 Minutes, Hindi with English Subtitles.
United States Premiere.
Cast- Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Datt, Inaamulhaq

This National Award winning movie is set in Mumbai where, affable Bollywood buff and wanna-be-actor Sunny, who works as an assistant director, fantasizes on becoming a heart-throb star. However, at every audition he is summarily thrown out. Undeterred, he goes with an American crew to remote areas in Rajasthan to work on a documentary. One day an Islamic terrorist group kidnaps him for the American crew-member. Sunny finds himself on enemy border amidst guns and pathani-clad guards, who decide to keep him hostage until they locate their original target. The house in which he is confined belongs to a Pakistani, whose trade stems from pirated Hindi films, which he brings back every time he crosses the border. Soon, the two factions realize that they share a human and cultural bond. The film shows how cinema can be the universal panacea for co-existence.

Nitin Kakkar Director’s Bio: Born in Mumbai to a photographer father in 1975, NitinKakkar grew up on a staple diet of Bollywood. After gaining experience as an assistant director for Hindi movies, NitinKakkar made his directorial debut with the award-winning short film BLACK FREEDOM (2004). Since then, he has worked on a number of television projects including. ‘FILMISTAAN’ is his debut Feature film. It received a Special Jury Mention during its World Premiere at the Busan International Film Festival and embarking on its international tour, the film won him Best Debut Director at the International Film Festival of Kerala and Jaipur International Film Festival.

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Satyagraha and Prakash Jha: Bollywood’s voice of conscience

For his new film Satyagraha (which means literally zeal for truth and refers to a non-violent, gandhi-esque type of resistence), Prakash Jha isn’t only constructing a whole filmi city in Bhopal, where he has rented a couple of acres for the whole duration of the shoot, he also gives extensive workshops to locals, who will be acting in his film. The use of local actors always conveys the feel of authenticity to his movies, a raw energy that permeates every facet of his films.
He has roped in some mega stars as his protagonists in Satyagraha: Amitabh Bachchan (who had starred in Jha’s Aarakshan) , Ajay Devgan (Apaharan, Rajneeti) , Kareena Kapoor,  and Arjun Rampal (Rajneeti, Chakravyuh)

Zeal for truth, this could be Prakash Jha’s red thread common to all his socio-politically charged movies. Sometimes I wonder why men like him aren’t in government positions, then again, not everyone wants to swim with sharks).


Find out more about him on Wikipedia:




Spielberg coming to India: what’s for dinner?


who can forget the immortal scene of


but didn’t Kate  look lovely in that jewelry? I wonder if she got to keep it…


Ladies, eat your heart out!    :-)


but with our vegetarian Amitabh Bachchan presiding during this visit of Grandmaster Spielberg, I am sure the menu looked somewhat different.





Also, the elite guests consisted this time of 60 Indian filmmakers. Talk wasn’t about lost treasures but about future possibilities of collaboration.

ndtv article:

Steven Spielberg’s India: Benaras to Mumbai, 30 years apart


61 directors meet Steven Spielberg in Mumbai. Can you identify them?

Katrina Kaif sprints into action: who needs romance?

googled and found

Katrina is excited about her two new action movies “Bang Bang” and “Dhoom3”

but nobody could be more excited than her fans who admired her sprinting through Ek Tha Tiger with Salman Khan. (why wasn’t that the most successful movie of all times? I LOVED IT, but then, I am a huge Katrina fan and I love her in all her movies. she just always shines so bright).

I googled and googled and googled my heart out but I couldn’t find the scene where Katrina shows off her action skills. But if you saw the movie, you know this girl can RUN! :-)

and DIVE:


check out:

Katrina Kaif excited to take up action genre

Press Trust of India | March 14, 2013 20:12 IST (Mumbai)
Katrina Kaif excited to take up action genre

Katrina will next be seen in action flick Dhoom 3.
Katrina Kaif has usually done love stories but the actress says she is looking forward to go beyond her romantic image with action films Dhoom 3 and Bang Bang.The two films, starring Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan, involve hardcore action and Katrina herself will be seen performing some dare devil stunts.”Bang Bang is inspired by Hollywood film Knight and Day but we have re-done the story to suit Indian audience. It is an action comedy and I haven’t done anything like this in a long time.

“All my previous movies have more or less been love stories. This also has a love angle but with a twist. It is a huge change and I am really excited about it,” she told PTI. Katrina is currently busy filming Aamir Khan starrer Dhoom 3 in Switzerland.

“We are still shooting… Still have a lot of work to do but it is shaping up well. It is a very glamorous and bold role at the same time. I am having a good time working with Aamir. He is a wonderful actor, extremely supportive.”

The Singh Is King star recently joined the list of actresses who have worked with the top three Khan’s (Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir) of the industry.

Though she feels lucky to have worked with the three superstars, Katrina says beyond a point name does not matter more than the work she is being offered.

“The big deal is they are legends and have been in the industry for the longest time… I am very fortunate to have got an opportunity of working will all three. It has been a learning and informative experience but beyond that I think it is not whom you work with but the kind of movies you do and what are you interests. What matters to me is the script and the director I am working with,” she said.

Coming from a non-filmy background and considering her non-fluency in Hindi, Katrina has achieved a lot by delivering hits like New York, Raajneeti, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Bodyguard, Ek Tha Tiger and Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Besides movies, she is also a part of many endorsements. She recently shot for an all new campaign for Mango drink Slice, titled the Slice taste challenge.

Katrina returns to her seductive look in the commercial, which she feels has a very poetic feel to it.

“Slice has been one of my best associations. When they started, their ideas just clicked with me. I believe if the base of the project is strong be it movies or ads, half of the work is already done.

“Also what I like is the sensual and visually appealing look of the ad. The quality is so poetic and it has a story with a message. All of this makes the journey of being with them more special and exciting,” she added.

Commenting on the recent reports about her younger sister joining the film industry, Katrina said, “Isabelle is currently in LA completing her acting course. She is happy there and has no plans of coming to Bollywood as of now. So as and when she completes her course and if she wants to come she can come.”

and here is her juicy Slice ad:

okay, Katrina you got us to eat the pound of sugar hidden in that drink. what else?

almost as yummy is her performance in the song Sheila Ki Jawaani

oh sorry, that was her body-double



phir milenge at Bang Bang and Dhoom 3



Jolly LLB on collision course with India’s esteemed legal Incs

Hello lawyers, lighten up! It’s just a comedy.

From the director/writer  of  the wonderful quirky movie Phas Gaye Re Obama,  where a bankrupt American gets kidnapped and devises a plot together with his kidnappers how to make money out of their failing plot,  comes a new film along, Jolly L.L.B. This time Subhash Kapoor ventures into the court system in India.

Lawyers filed a petition against the film claiming it undermines the dignity of lawyers and judges of India’s legal system. That’s funny already and should be incorporated in the film as a side-show. Look, I would think the dignity of Indian courts is in question when rapists get a slap on the hand, when VIPs, who trespass the laws, never serve a sentence…but no, a comedy, a satire apparently is more inflammatory and damaging. Okay.


Here is a good interview I found on TOI with Boman Irani, who’s playing a hot-shot lawyer in the movie, talking about his costar Arshad Warsi, children, and India’s New Wave cinema.





Ram Gopal Varma’s film based on “The Attacks of 26/11”

a date that will live on in infamy in India, remembered for its senseless bloodshed.  At least 164 died that day in a hail of AK gunfire, and close to 300 were injured. The terrorist attacks were minutely orchestrated and executed by members of the Pakistan-based militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), showing no mercy on men, women, children, the sick, the old, the innocent,  Hindu, Christians and even Muslims. Not even street dogs are spared.. The message is to spread terror and instill fear.

Ram Gopal Varma conveys that brutality in his movie 26/11 convincingly. The movie opens at the trial with the testimony of the Joint Police Commissioner played by Nana Patekar before it cuts to the action that we all await with pounding hearts in memory of those painful days in Mumbai in the fall of 2008.

A fishermen’s boat being is captured by a group of men with blood on their mind. Hat off to Ram Gopal Varma. The early scenes on open sea and as the determined and blood-thirsty jihadists make it to shore are foreboding, bone-chilling. Numbing. Evil taking over. That moment right there, the fishermen chatting on about their lives, simple men working hard to eke out a living. A boat approaches from far with someone waving a white flag signaling distress. A short and brutal take-over. Knowing what is to come, the audience is shrouded in helplessness. Ram Gopal Varma has us in his hands.

We get a first glimpse at Sanjeev Jaiswal as Kasab, the lone gunman brought to justice later on. Jaiswal dominates the second half of the movie with his unbelievably powerful performance.

Meanwhile the dangerous, cold blooded fire in the eyes of the jihadists is grabbing us by our throats. As we watch the first wave of slaughter taking place offshore in deep waters and almost feel in flesh the fear and helplessness of the fishing crew, all of whom will perish, it fills you with disgust and rage seeing the perpetrators change into outfits of regular tourists, who could be easily mistaken for a group of high-school friends coming to town for an innocuous sightseeing tour. Only instead of notebooks and travel guides they carry AK47s which they now start to unleash in unprecedented fashion on innocent Mumbaites, targeting at least six different locations.

The city is under siege for the next three days. But RGV is not guiding us through the whole process and exact events. He gives us an idea about the first hours and what they looked like. The Leopold Cafe, the Taj Mahal Grand Hotel, the Chhatrapati Shivaji train station, the Cama Hospital, the taxi, who is picking up the group with Mohammed the driver who gets later on blown up into pieces. No one is spared in the bloodbath that unfolds..

This is Ram Gopal Varma’s most powerful film to date. Even though I felt it stopped in its path by dedicating too little time on the whole event, which encompassed a couple of days. It would have been probably too grand of a task to film a Taj Mahal Hotel engulfed in flames, how the terrorists went from room to room through the whole building lining up hostages. So many stories of heroism and victimization untold…voices who would have had merit to be heard. Instead Varma takes a different route. He cuts short to the capture of Kasab and the second half it becomes Kasab’s story.  Sanjeev Saiswal’s intensity  reminded me of some of the most epic moments in film, the greatness of actors like Toshiro Mifune. Makeup and cinematography and his acting it all comes together in a torrent that washes you away like a tsunami. The one weakness the film has, it can’t hold the bundled up tension together, it becomes preachy and verbose as the Police Commisisoner starts philosophizing over the true meaning of the Quran and Jihad. Even though the message is well taken, and Nana Patekar delivers a fine performance here, the movie would have been much stronger without a sermon at the end. Do we need to rehabilitate jihadists on death-row? show them there are no virgins no baths in milk and honey, only scores of victims cursing them out in the afterlife? Any wannabe Jihadist will walk out of the movie or turn off the TV. Sometimes messages clouded in silence speak actually louder. The scene where Kasab is seen thrown on the corpses of his comrades was powerful enough in itself. It didn’t need any dialogue.

So I would have preferred more time dedicated to actual facts and events, which were kind of hushed over and lingered in question marks in my head as I was walking out of the movie. I felt that one third of the entire film was MIA, due to perhaps budgetary restraints or were left behind on the cutting board. Despite some of its weaknesses, this film is incredible and the most powerful moments have etched themselves already into my memory files.

and one question at the end I want to ask RGV: did he bring a vet to the set who knocked out the dog temporarily? or more permanently? I’d like to know. Usually you will see a “no animal was hurt” – maybe I missed it?

“Shootout at Wadala” already making waves

I love Indian crime stories. They are gritty, messy, wild, passionate. In the US they are polished, predictable and boring. Bharat mein, pre-release there are always some little scandals surfacing, pushing much awaited release dates back. Personally I believe that monies might get shoved under some tables to make more people happy.This is India, afterall, where honey cakes get divided, or else!!

Shootout at Wadala is no exception. but it’s not about release dates but rather it might step on some sensitive toes in the underworld.  specifically, we hear,  Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is not happy with his depiction by Sonu Sood :-) so there, let’s quickly change the character’s name..we don’t want Ibrahim to be sulking.

I just ordered the book the movie is based on. Dongri to Dubai  by Hussain Zaidi at amazon. I hope it’s not written in Hindi :-) i did it a bit in a hurry.

Directed by Sanjay Gupta, close friend of Sanjay Dutt, who was proofreading the script and exclaiming here and there,” no it wasn’t like that at all!” I am making fun of course, Sanjay Dutt has no connections to the underworld whatsoever.

What I am looking forward to is John Abraham and not because of his muscles displays. He is just getting better and better with every film. more forceful, more powerful, more convincing. He can play the phonebook, he’s good at comedy at action at drama at romance.  John Abraham is maturing like a good bottle of Bordeaux. And boy, I wish I had him in my wine cellar. I want to add, I very much enjoyed his first gig at producer, Vicky Donor, it was a hilarious movie. (btw, i think Hollywood might have stolen the idea, just saw a trailer yesterday which reminded me very much of Vicky Donor, a bit too much! )

Most of all,  I love John’s naughty little smirk. but that’s just an afterthought….



If Inkaar has taught me one lesson: don’t sleep with your boss or Mayday Mayday

This movie never made it to my shores. An  interesting and multilayered film dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace. But if you think you learn something, then let’s cut to the chase. Don’t sleep with your boss. EVER. Under no circumstances. We know from experience how messy that can get. Case in point: Inkaar

A  panel of investigators is summoned to determine if a sexual harassment suit filed by the creative director of an ad agency, Maya (Chitrangda Singh)  against a CEO, Rahul  (Arjun Rampal)  has any merit and a solution can be found internally without creating too many waves. The questioning takes place over three days and we viewers  feel just as exhausted at the end of this film as the members of the panel. But then comes the film’s climax and we realize our sufferings were in vain.The two feuding parties were just trying to figure out how they feel about each other. Duh!

So what started out as a really interesting premise of He Said She Said, the whole muddiness of office romance, game of ambition, blame and accusation had me in its grip. Usually sexual harassment is about one willing and one unwilling party, but in this case there was mutual attraction and boundaries were crossed consensually An ambitious young attractive employee finds a mentor in her boss and climbs up the ladder.

To illustrate how young and dumb she was in the beginning of her odyssey we see Maya adorned with unattractive body piercings until she morphs into a sophisticated dame in accordance with her new position. of creative director, which turns her into a mean and patronizing boss who fires old tested employees at will. Maya never appears as a victim and never gets our full sympathy. except of course we ask ourselves, in order to climb the ladder in a company on the fast track, do we need to sleep our way up? and that’s a concern of many women. It’s legit. We see it happen all the time.  Maya does and gets somewhere fast. She has a good mind and everyday situations are converted into creative ideas that benefit the agency. So even if she hadn’t slept with her boss and mentor, she would have probably climbed up pretty fast. We understand his well-controlled rage and anger when she is being promoted and encroaches now on HIS territory.

We see their relationship play out in their reciprocal flashbacks. And our sympathies may switch from one to another as we can understand their viewpoints..

I was happy to see Chitrangda Singh, who had so impressed me in Desi Boyz. She is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful actresses in Bollywood these days. She exudes elegance and sophistication. Somehow she reminds me of Zeta-Jones.. What I loved about her in this role is, that she remained enigmatic to the end. A superbly nuanced performance.

This was a fantastic role for Arjun Rampal, too. I could too fall in  love him  and hate him and admire him, just as Maya. This emotional roller-coaster kept me glued to the story.The tension was building up, but helas, it collapsed like an undercooked souffle which you have pulled out of the oven with great anticipation and then see it sadly deflate.

I wish I could re-write some of Bollywood’s endings. They oftentimes feel rushed, clumsily put together and reverse the positive feelings you built up during the movie. No exception here. They should have brainstormed the ending maybe via a focus group. The climax and resolution was the weakest part. So weak indeed that I felt that I had wasted two hours of my time. Still, the characters resonated with me and I therefore I would recommend watching it to my friends, warning them ahead of time about a weak ending.

I, Me aur Main: John in the avatar of a hot male narcicist


He’s never looked hotter and never played a more despicable character. Or that at least is what I think as a woman. Parents of eligible daughters, meet your nightmare. Well, the girl will never get to meet the parents and that’s how the movie starts. Haven’t we met them before, the commitment-phobic?

This is a bittersweet movie about a flailing relationship that doesn’t go anywhere, mainly because our protagonist, music producer with a golden touch, Ishaan (John Abraham)  is a self-centered and self-destructive SOB, the center and blackhole of his own universe.

His girlfriend Anushka (the beautiful Chitrangada Singh from Desi Boyz and Inkaar) a successful professional in her own rights, has had it with him, his empty promises, his hedonistic life-style. He doesn’t know it, but there is an ultimatum in the air. She gets dressed up to meet his parents, he forgets all about it partying and drinking after-hours.

Anushka means business and for her a no is a no and shuts him out of her life, figuratively and literally. Even though the movie applauds the manifesto of “hey, I don’t need you. I can figure it out on my own,” none of the female characters is flawless or very likeable. Each character is actually pretty lonely and struggles with their own demons and their own narcissistic tendencies. I couldn’t warm up to any and yet, could relate to their strengths and their weaknesses, their humanity. Often we don’t mean to be hurtful and just don’t think things through, the ramifications of our behavior.

After being fed to the dogs, Ishaan seems to find new love and outlook on life when he gets to know more intimately his new neighbor, Gauri, played by Prachi Desai. But even this relationship is flawed. In his professional life, Ishaan doesn’t score much better. His boss is a woman with her own S&M fantasies (slightly wardrobe challenged Raima Sen). We can’t even celebrate her higher salary and position because she is not much nicer than Ishaan and seems just vindictive.

And then there is still Ishaan’s overpowering and overindulging mother, who clearly favored her son over her daughter from the getgo. since he was the younger of the siblings, did she feel the need to protect him or is it that she favored in good old tradition the male progeny?

We know little about the sister other than she sides with Anushka, not her brother, which isn’t difficult to understand.

Relationships leave marks and sometimes have consequences. The film offers a window into difficult and uncomfortable solutions. When we walk out of the theater, there is no sense of elation. The movie attempts to close on a high note, but we don’t buy it.

This is not a high-five type of a movie. But this is exactly what I appreciate about it. Once again John Abraham doesn’t shy away from a role that makes him appear unlikeable. Even though I must say he has never looked hotter and made my heart stop more than once with his brooding masculinity. Deep down he represents these dangerous type of men good girls are attracted to. And somewhere inside of him he might have caught a glimpse of familiarity with the dark side of his character. He played Ishaan with ease.

This movie reminds us to be better, as lovers, as friends, as mates. So it comes with a message. It’s almost a dialogue opener between the sexes, between partners. What do we want from each other, what are our expectations? What is acceptable, what not?

I liked the conclusion of the movie. It was painfully realistic. Therefore I believe it won’t be a big box office success. For some reason I gravitate towards those.

On another level, I liked the nuanced cinematography. It’s a promising directorial debut for Kapil Sharma. Not a novice in the film industry, this is his first gig as director. Promising.

Writer Devika Bhagat has written some fabulous screen-plays, like Manorama 6f u.Bachna Ae Haseena, Aisha, Ladies vs RB, JTHJ..

Even though Devika takes a women-centric stance she still doesn’t lose perspective. We have our weaknesses too. I like that about her characters. Never comes out more than in this movie.  Aisha was such a mix of likeable, manipulating, shallow and earnest.

However, her characters put their foot down and are unafraid, facing a challenging world upfront. Gone are the times in India that women smile bashfully through abuses. Anushka, Gauri, even the mother are decision-makers and won’t get bullied into submission.

Devika Bhagat writes for contemporary women, encouraging them to come into their own. Yet, a reconciling middle-ground should be the goal. I wouldn’t like to see male chauvinism being replaced by female chauvinism.We can find a seed of that threat in I, Me aur Main.