Why be fascinated with Oscars, asks Manoj Kumar

(IANS) Veteran actor Manoj Kumar wonders why the Indian film fraternity is obsessed with the Oscars. He feels that an award that Hollywood gets attracted to, should be instituted in India instead. The Padma Shri awardee and Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner told IANS: “We should create an award here in our country. Hollywood actors should crave to get that. Why do we have this fascination about Oscars? We know the manipulation there. If a film is liked in our country, what else do you want?” This year, National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran’s critically acclaimed Tamil drama “Visaranai” has been chosen as India’s official pick for Oscars 2017 in the Foreign Language Film category. “Mother India”, “Salaam Bombay!” and “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” are the only Indian films that have made it to the top five in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. For now, Kumar is excited to be a part of the upcoming International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, where his films “Shaheed”, “Shor”, “Kranti”, “Purab Aur Paschim” and “Gumnaam” will be screened. The 47th IFFI will be held from November 20-28. Among new Bollywood films, Kumar is keen to watch Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. “Films have always been my passion and I enjoy watching different kinds of cinema. I will watch ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. Karan is a hardworking boy and he has done a good job in all his films. He has worked very hard to be where he is today,” the 79-year-old actor said of the director, who was recently under attack from right wing Hindu outfits for casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan in the movie.

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It's a great time for actors anywhere in the world: Nimrat Kaur

(IANS) Irrfan Khan, Anupam Kher, Priyanka Chopra to Deepika Padukone – Indian actors are making their mark on the foreign shores. Actress Nimrat Kaur says the world is opening up for people from all culture, various walks of life and ethnicities, adding that it is a “great time for actors anywhere in the world”.

“We are such a large industry and people in the earlier days like Om Puri, Saeed Jaffrey and Amrish Puri have done such incredible work in the west and now we have Priyanka and Deepika. They have been working for almost a decade or more, and the risks that they are taking with not really knowing the end of it all for them,” Nimrat, whose work keeps her on her toes, told IANS in an email interview. She added: “They are great role models and wonderful examples for the new inspiring lot. It’s only a matter of time before more and more people figure out a way to make it happen for them. And, the world is really opening up as well. The world that we know today is not the same as before be it London or a New York or any big city. “You have people from all culture, various walks of life and ethnicities, so I guess it is somehow going to reflect the world we see on television and movies. It is a great time for actors anywhere in the world to be able to work anywhere.” The critically-acclaimed actress, who has worked in films like “The Lunchbox” and “Airlift”, has made her presence felt internationally after being associated with foreign TV shows like “Homeland” and Manoj Night Shyamalan’s TV series “Wayward Pines” – which was aired in India on Star World Premiere HD. The actress feels social media and technological advancement has opened up various avenues for artistes. “The world is becoming a very small place. According to me, those were the days when social media was not very expansive. To work in the west was a far lesser possibility for more people than not, especially for the mainstream people,” she said. But things have changed. “Now, I think because of technology, I can screen test for any part sitting in Mumbai, for anywhere in the world and send my face across. I don’t think that things like these existed before… Things have changed so much for us to know that what is happening in what part of the world,” she added. The actress was busy shooting for “Wayward Pines” in Vancouver for most of the year, and is yet to sign a new Bollywood project. // ]]>

Sonam most experimental: Priyanka redefined modern women's image

(IANS) Nepalese-American fashion designer Prabal Gurung has said Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor is experimental with clothes and Priyanka Chopra redefined the image of modern women.

Prabal is a New York-based new age fashion designer who not only celebrates the feminism and gender equality on the fashion ramp but also managed to design for many iconic women. Some of the well-known women for whom he has designed include the US First Lady Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhatt. Asked to choose his favourite Bollywood star, Gurung, whose designs are heavily influenced by Bollywood, told IANS: “While Sonam is very experimental with clothes and can pull off any dress wonderfully, I think Priyanka has redefined the image of modern Indian women.” “She (Priyanka) is a Bollywood superstar who is also ruling the American entertainment industry! It’s amazing,” he said. “On the other hand, Sonam has changed the image of film actresses fashionably. Having said that, I must mention that Alia is very interesting! She is the youth fashion icon,” the designer said. The designer is in Mumbai for his SS17 collection inspired by Gloria Steinem’s poignant book – My Life On The Road. Born to Nepali parents, living in Delhi, Mumbai and New York, the diverse cultural exposure helped him to create his signature style on women’s dressing. “I can fuse various traditional elements with modern edgy dressing with ease. In addition, of course my mother is a big inspiration for me. When it comes to Bollywood fashion, I like Waheeda Rehman from yesteryear’s heroines, among others. “I wish to work for Bollywood filmmakers like Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali,” he said. Though he fulfilled his mother’s dream of designing for the First Lady, while asked about what makes him feel like an achiever, he said: “I cherish both the facts happily as a fashion designer but I feel the sense of achievement when I look at the effort of Shikshya Foundation Nepal where our work managed to bring changes in around 1,500 girls’ lives.” // ]]>

Independent, debutante filmmakers shine at MAMI

(IANS) As Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival provides a platform for many debutante and independent filmmakers to showcase their work, juries believe that the future of cinema does not rely on box office success but in digital space a good story. Talking about the potential of upcoming filmmakers jury member of International Competition category Christine Vachon told IANS: “Most of the films of my category were by debutante international filmmakers and I am quite impressed.” “The best part of watching a debutante’s work is the strong storytelling style. They mainly focus on the story, the story drives the film,” she added. Seconding Vachon’s thoughts, Mychael Danna said, “What amazed me is the diversity of storytelling, which included non-narrative, comedy, tragedy, documentary, etc. For more than 70 years, Indian film has been known by its narrow genre- Bollywood. Now things have changed for the better. The diversity is reflecting on films now, this is great!” Highlighting on the variety of stories, renowned film critic Stephanie Zacharek (Jury, India Gold) said, “India Gold section was one of the well curated section where subjects were so vast. What unifies them is the human experience it offers.” He added that in a country like India where projection of physical intimacy is a taboo, watching films on complex subjects like gay relationships or empowerment is encouraging. “In the West, it has been perceived as song-dance-melodrama affair, which is great. Nevertheless, these stories also exist in India and the international audience should watch them. I am very hopeful about these filmmakers,” Zacharek said. While most independent films struggle for a theatrical release according to Christine the future of cinema is not in a theatre. “The future of the cinema may not be in a movie theatre. In some way, we have to stop calling ourselves filmmakers, and start calling ourselves storyteller,” she said. However, the responsibility to grow independent cinema is not only on filmmakers but also on the audience. Since piracy is the cancer of movie business, experts urged audience to choose their experience and pay for it. “Film is more like music. You can either download music online or go to live concert. But can you replace the experience of a live concert by downloading music? No! Film should also be like that. If you want to support independent film, buy a ticket or download from official sites, instead of pirated copies,” said Christine.

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Didn't cast actresses in 'Judwaa 2': Varun Dhawan

(IANS) Actor Varun Dhawan has denied reports of casting actresses for the upcoming film “Judwaa 2”. He says he will announce the names soon. “We have not cast the actresses in ‘Judwaa 2’. Sorry I had to stop your casting party. Will announce the names soon,” Varun posted on Twitter on Thursday. Earlier there were reports that actress Alia Bhatt has been cast as one of the leading ladies in the film. “Judwaa 2”, the second installment of the 1997 blockbuster film “Judwaa”, will be directed by Varun’s father and filmmaker David Dhawan. The film, which is a sequel to Salman Khan starrer “Judwaa”, is slated to release on September 29, 2017.

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Akshay Kumar as a 'crow' in Rajinikanth's Enthiran 2.0

Akshay Kumar has rarely done negative roles, but, in Rajinikanth starrer Enthiran 2.0, he will be seen in a villainous role. Though superstar Rajinikanth will be the hero, and his numerous fans cannot wait for the movie, but there is some competition from Akshay too.

Though right now he is holidaying with his family in Maldives, but, Akshay is happy that his movie Enthiran is complete. He wanted the audience down south to get a glimpse of him in a strong role, thus, he is happy with the outcome of the movie.

Akshay is seen in strange get up, looks unrecognisable as he covered with feathers, elaborate mask and red contact lenses. A shooting still released on Twitter recently took Akshay’s fans by surprise, as the two actors shot for an epic fight scene.

Stunt director Stunt Silva revealed to a prominent daily that both the interval and climax fight sequences have already been shot and it will see Dr Richard (Akshay), who turns into a crow as a result of a freak experiment take on Vaseegaran (Rajinikanth) the robot scientist.

The film that is being made on a whopping budget of Rs 350 crore, will hit theatres in 2017. The first look of the film will be out next month, November. While this is Aki’s first film with the south superstar, it is also after a very long time that we will see him play a villainous role in a film after a forgettable ‘Aflatoon’ back in the ‘90s that saw him in a twin role.

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