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Monthly Archives: MARCH 2016


Raima talks about the challenges of playing a sex worker
19.03.16 - VISHAL MENON*
Raima talks about the challenges of playing a sex worker



The recently released film, Bollywood Diaries, is about three people from diverse backgrounds pursuing a common dream—that of making it big in Bollywood. Of these three, Raima Sen plays Imli, a sex worker from Sonagachi, Kolkata, who hopes to be rescued from the notorious red light area, so she too can go to Mumbai. Talking about her role, Raima says she has met several people like Imli, from back when she used to teach little children in Sonagachi, while she was in school herself.
 
These experiences, too, have helped in moulding this character in the film. She says, "I’m used to playing very intense roles, so it was a bit of a challenge to be playing someone as bubbly and talkative as Imli. Playing a sex worker is always exciting, because you’ve seen films with incredible performances, such as Chameli and Pretty Woman, which are tough to match. Of course, you get an understanding of the character with research, experience and discussions, but you still need to believe in the character to make it believable to the audience.”
 
Raima particularly was fascinated by Imli’s pure, innocent love for Bollywood. "She is so in love with the world of movies that is she is totally consumed by it to the point where she’s unaware of her own reality. That aspect makes her so attractive.”
 
So, has she met aspirants who’re just as passionate like her character in the film? "My grandmother Suchitra Sen was very passionate about the movies. But of course, it is not as big as Rajinikanth’s fascination for movies, which helped him turn from an ordinary bus conductor into India’s biggest superstar.” (*The Hindu)




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Review : Love Punjab
19.03.16 - Sameer Valecha*
Review : Love Punjab



Pargat (Amrinder Gill) and Jessica (Sargun Mehta) are a couple who are going through separation for various reasons. They together have a son named Manveer (Manveer Johal) who has his own set of problems in school where he faces racism and discrimination issues. Manveer goes into deep depression and on the recommendation of the doctor, his parents decide to take him to Punjab to show his roots, culture and ancestral village.
 
Jessica somehow manages to convince her father in law, Brar Sarpanch (Yograj Singh) to show Manveer the Punjab he’s dreamt of – A clean, drug free Punjab. Will Manvir Love Punjab? Will Punjab bring the love back between Pargat and Jessica? Well find out after you watch the film. Here’s our analysis.
 
At the onset, it may sound and look very easy to bring back a successful team (Angrej, 2015), but real challenge lies in transforming the new film into a goldmine at the box-office. Director Rajiv Dhingra makes his directorial debut with Love Punjab. He’s been entrusted with a very big responsibility of making this film titled ‘Love Punjab’ which deals with various aspects – Child Psychology, Separation, Common Issues in Punjab – Corruption, Drug Addiction, Child Equality and the script which he chose to depict these problems ain’t a tragedy or slow art house cinema but mainstream commercial ‘Rom-Com’.
 
Right from the word go (read ‘first frame), the film’s writer Amberdeep Singh successfully hits the right cords.  Amberdeep who is at the helm of things in the writing department is now a seasoned campaigner when it comes to flawless screenplays. No forceful scenes, no unwanted songs, smoothly moving screenplay with no hiccups and glitches, punch-packed dialogues. What else do you expect from a big film? The story revolves around a couple and their child. People always ask for something different from punjabi filmmakers and here’s a writer who has now given you 2 back-2-back really different from the league and yet entertaining films.
 
Rajiv Dhingra, who marks his directorial debut with this film has done a lot of television as a director before. He seems to be in the hangover of television in some of the scenes. But he’s flawless in the other ones. I felt that Dhingra let go off some scenes which could have turned into classical moments in the Canada schedule which happened to be the entire 1st half. But when the film shifts to Punjab, believe it or not Dhingra is a different person all together. Maybe he got a bundle of talented actors to play with instead of just 4 in Canada. (Interesting fact – Punjab portion was shot before the Canada portion).
 
As far as the performances are concerned, Amrinder Gill seems to be in a different league all together. 8 years back, when he made his debut with Munde U.K. De, I personally never thought that Amrinder could act this brilliant one day. But he’s proved me and so many others wrong twice in 8 months time. He was brilliant all together but especially in the argument scene at lawyer’s office he was just too good. Sargun Mehta who won our (read ‘my’) heart(s) with her portrayal of Dhan Kaur in Angrej has won the same heart again. I wonder how she just comes to Punjab, delivers a power-packed performance and goes back to her regular TV life in Mumbai. This is just like the phenomenon called ‘Eat-Sleep-Repeat’ happening with Sargun. Amrinder and Sargun’s chemistry in the film was simply iconic. Manvir Johal as Young Manvir was fantastic in the film. I hope he doesn’t get over-utilised in films now.
 
Coming to the supporting cast, Yograj Singh and Nirmal Rishi were just absolutely amazing with their characters. In some scenes, their chemistry was way better than the lead pair’s chemistry. Maybe I haven’t seen them in this much significant roles as this one in recent times. There were 3 guest appearances in this film – Rana Ranbir (2 scenes), Amberdeep Singh (3/4 scenes), Binnu Dhillon (4/5 scenes). All of them had the same job – to make you laugh and they do it with ease, especially Binnu Dhillon. As soon as he comes on screen people laugh as they see his face. Rest of the support cast comprises of Hardeep Gill, Harby Sangha, Harj Nagra, Gurinder Makna and others. All  of the support cast fit into their roles well. One or two here and there did not fit but who cares? Hardeep Gill was wasted here. The actor of his potential shall be doing bigger roles and not 2-3 scene roles. Harj Nagra as Zora had a forgettable on-screen debut.
 
Coming to music, no prizes for guessing who the music composer was. 3 mainstream releases this year and just one name for music – Jatinder Shah. He’s such a busy man, I wonder does he even remember which song he composes for which film? Here Shaan Wakhri was the best of the lot followed by Heerey, Des (Ranjit Bawa), Goriyan Bahvan, Akhiyan De Taare. Basically the whole 7 track album is a complete package. My review will not be complete if I do not mention Naveen Misser’s cinematography. He was just brilliant at his job. I loved his work.
 
Overall, Love Punjab is an entertaining gem. Brilliant performances, superb and new story, power packed dialogues (hell lots of punches), foot tapping music. Isn’t this much package enough a reason to watch this film? If
Yes, go watch it then!
 
(Courtesy : *punjabimania.com)




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Modi finds a place at Madame Tussauds
16.03.16 -
Modi finds a place at Madame Tussauds



Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the ranks of prominent global leaders at Madame Tussauds in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok next month, the world famous wax museum announced on Wednesday. 

Describing him as a "hugely important figure in world politics”, the museum said the Indian Prime Minister had given the museum’s team of artists and experts a sitting at his residence in New Delhi earlier this year.

"Madame Tussauds has crafted figures of very distinguished dignitaries from around the world — how could I regard myself worthy of being alongside them? But when I was informed that your decision had emanated from public opinion and public sentiment, I was comforted,” Mr. Modi said in a statement to the museum.
 
"During my sitting, I observed the team carefully and was deeply impressed by its dedication, professionalism and skill.

I have visited Madame Tussauds three or four times and had the pleasure of getting myself photographed standing next to the figures of various dignitaries,” he said. 

The wax figures at each of the museum’s locations around Europe and Asia will be dressed in Mr. Modi’s "signature kurta” in cream with a jacket and he will be featured in a traditional pose "making a namaste gesture”.

"Prime Minister Modi is a hugely important figure in world politics, a position supported by his place in the top 10 of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year List 2015,” said museum spokesperson Kieran Lancini.

"His massive social media presence — he is currently the second most followed politician on twitter after President Obama — also confirms the intense interest the public have in him, a fact supported by the requests our guests have made for us to create his figure. 

We are delighted to be including the Prime Minister’s figure in our attractions in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok,” he said.

Each figure took a team of Madame Tussauds’ artists four months and cost around 150,000 pounds to create.

"Guests will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder and measure up to one of the most powerful men in the world — and even grab a selfie when the figures arrive in their locations,” the museum said. 

The launch in London and all other centres is expected around late April and it is yet to be confirmed if Modi would be personally unveiling himself in wax at any of the four locations.

A new branch of Madame Tussauds is also set to open in New Delhi as part of the India-UK Year of Culture in 2017, announced during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK last November.




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Aur Ab Bhabi Ji Ghar Par NAHI Hai
15.03.16 - pt team
Aur Ab Bhabi Ji Ghar Par NAHI Hai



Shilpa Shinde who effortlessly portrayed the character of Angoori Devi in &TV's most watched show- Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai- has now left the show and has also slammed the makers of the show for being biased and unprofessional. In an explosive interview to a leading online portal, Shilpa lashed out at the team and accused them of mistreating her.
 
But that's just one side of the story. Producer Binaifer Kohli who heads the Edit II production house has finally broken her silence on the issue and sent out a statement against the actress' allegations.
 
One of the major points that Shilpa has cried about is the exclusivity clause, which she refused to sign. But the production house has a different story to tell. "We have been giving into all her demands even though such demands are contrary to the terms of the agreement she has entered into with us. However, her demands have not ended here. She now wants to us to allow her to take up projects on competing channels. When it was pointed out that the contract clearly stated an ‘exclusivity clause’ she stated that she never had the intention of adhering to terms of exclusivity. Post this incident, she has been threatening to quit the show if we do not waiver the exclusivity clause," Kohli wrote in her statement. 
 
Another thing that Shilpa accused the house of was the difference in treatment meted out towards her and her co-star Saumya Tandon. Talking about that, Kohli said, "Actor Shilpa Shinde had entered into an agreement with us in September 2014 and the Artist Fee has been increased two times till now on her demand. Furthermore, she has also been in breach of the contractual terms by reporting late for shoots, ordering her own costumes while there was a designated leading designer and arm twisting us to pay for the same."
 
What's the current state of things? "At present she has stopped shooting for the show and has sent us a letter informing us of her migraine issue and asking us to find a replacement soon. This blatant and material breach of the agreement and irresponsible attitude is causing irreparable losses and damage to not just the show but also to the production house. This is not the first time that we have put up with her unprofessional attitude and it has now reached a point where this cannot be tolerated anymore. We are professionals and we respect and encourage a healthy working environment," the statement reads.
 
Refuting and rubbishing all the accusations that Shilpa made against the channel and the production house, Kohli says, "Shilpa has been making several false, baseless and defamatory statements to media about us and the channel and since we have been silent so far it may have been viewed as our weakness. We have heard from media reports that she is planning to take up another show to be broadcast on a competing channel in blatant breach of her contractual obligations. If she has stopped shooting with us citing health issue like migraine, then it’s surprising that she is medically fit to consider taking up another show."
 
The makers haven't taken her blames lightly. Kohli has clearly mentioned that she has slapped a legal notice on Shilpa and it seems the battle lines are drawn. "Since she is the one to repeatedly breach the contract, we have sent across a legal notice to her and we will take necessary actions against her as instructed by our team of lawyers."  




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This Oscar-Winning Movie Is Getting Pakistan to Reconsider Laws About ‘Honor Killings”
15.03.16 - Shashank Bengali*
This Oscar-Winning Movie Is Getting Pakistan to Reconsider Laws About ‘Honor Killings”



A Pakistani filmmaker’s second Oscar victory prompted celebration in her home country and renewed the spotlight on so-called honor killings, which claim thousands of women’s lives every year in the South Asian nation.

Honor killings are deeply embedded in South Asian culture, where arranged marriages are common and tradition subjugates women to the sometimes lethal authority of their male relatives.
The government has pushed to hold some of the perpetrators accountable, and on Monday, two brothers were sentenced to death in the eastern city of Lahore for killing their sister and her husband after they married against the family’s will.

But filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Oscar-winning documentary, "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” has inspired new efforts to crack down on the deadly custom. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a screening of the film at his official residence last week, the first time it was shown in Pakistan, and promised new government help in eradicating the practice.

"Women like Ms. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy are not only a pride for the Pakistani nation but are also a significant source of contribution toward the march of civilization in the world,” Sharif said in a statement after Oscar ceremony.
 
But the power of film, and of international pressure, has its limits.

Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary, which won in the short-subject documentary category, traces the story of Saba Qaiser, a teenage girl whose father shot her in the head and dumped her in a river for marrying a man her family didn’t approve of.

Qaiser survived the attack and sought justice, a rare story in Pakistan, where women and girls — and a small number of men — believed to have shamed their families are killed despite legislation outlawing the practice.

Loopholes exist in Pakistani law under which survivors can "forgive” their assailants — often husbands, fathers and brothers — and allow them to escape serious punishment. In the end, that’s what happened in Qaiser’s case: Tribal leaders put pressure on her to pardon her father and uncle for attacking her.
 
Ultimately, her husband’s older brother persuaded Qaiser to forgive them — "We have to live in the same neighborhood,” he said — and they were set free.

Her father’s defense was that he did the right thing, and that it would serve as a warning to his other daughters not to defy his wishes.

"After this incident, everyone says I am more respected,” her father says in the film. "I can proudly say that for generations to come none of my descendants will ever think of doing what Saba did.”

Many perpetrators are not charged in the first place, especially in rural, tribal areas where police may turn a blind eye.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan documented nearly 500 deaths in honor killings last year, although advocacy groups believe that thousands of cases go unreported annually.

After the film’s Oscar win, Sharif said in a statement that "there is no place for killing in the name of honor in Islam,” and vowed legislation "to stop such brutal and inhumane acts.”

In her acceptance speech, Obaid-Chinoy drew applause when she said, "This is what happens when determined women get together.”

"This week the Pakistani prime minister has said that he will change the law on honor killing after watching this film,” she said. "That is the power of film.”

One step that Pakistani lawmakers could take immediately would be to revive a bill that eliminates the loopholes for those who perpetrate honor killings. The measure stalled in Pakistan’s parliament last year.

But even with that, deep-seated cultural attitudes that sanction such violence persists in many parts of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s rapidly urbanizing society has afforded women many more opportunities, but has not completely eroded traditional beliefs. In a 2013 Pew Research Center poll of Pakistanis, 84% of respondents said Islamic religious law should be the law of the land, and of that percentage nearly 9 in 10 favored stoning as a punishment for adultery.

"The voices that speak out against honor killings are a minority. The great majority of society is quite apathetic,” writer Bina Shah said in an interview. "There is a culture of male supremacy in this society and it's taken for granted that men will dominate women. Chauvinistic people interpret this as women being the property of men.”

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize went in part to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the face for advocating education for girls — but while she has received global acclaim, she has not yet been able to return to Pakistan, much less turn around conservative attitudes about schooling.

Like Yousafzai, Obaid-Chinoy has been criticized in some quarters for spreading negative stories about Pakistan to a global audience. The filmmaker faced such a reaction for "Saving Face,” a previous documentary about victims of acid attacks in Pakistan, which won an Oscar in 2012.

"A Girl in the River” is due to air on HBO in March.
 
(Courtesy : *Los Angeles Times)
 




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