Road to an Oscar?
Debut feature filmmaker Gyan Correa’s Gujarati film The Good Road has been chosen to represent India in the best foreign film category at the next Academy Awards. It is said to be the first Gujarati film to have made it to this prestigious event to be held in March 2014.
“It was a unanimous decision to select The Good Road, which is a movie produced by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC),” said renowned filmmaker Goutam Ghose, who headed the selection committee appointed by the Film Federation of India (FFI).
A haunting tragic travel drama, the movie is the story of three individuals on a highway, and was widely shot in the Kutch district in Gujarat. It had clinched the National Award for Best Feature Film (Gujarati) earlier this year. It features actors like Sonali Kulkarni and Ajay Gehi.
Ghose says it reflects an India that our movies usually don’t showcase.
“We chose this wonderful Gujarati film The Good Road. We were surprised by the film… The Lunchbox is very good too,” said Ghose. “I loved the performances of Irrfan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. But The Good Road got our vote. It’s a lost-and-found story set in the Kutch area. It reflects on an India not seen in our films. The film explores an entirely new cinematic space,” he added, mentioning that a long five-hour discussion followed before The Good Road was chosen by the 16-member committee.
The movie left behind 21 other contenders, including strong films like The Lunchbox, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, English Vinglish, Vishwaroopam, Malayalam film Celluloid and Bengali film Shabdo.
Ghose also revealed that the FFI has sent a request to the Academy Awards asking that India should be allowed to send several Oscar entries per year, instead of just one “as we are such a large cinema-making country”.
“So many diverse kind of films are being made in India. We make 1,500 films. The Tamil film industry is itself bigger than Korean cinema. Why should we send only one film to the Oscars? We cannot dance only to their tune,” he added.
So far in the history of Indian cinema, only three Bollywood films, including Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957), Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay (1988) and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan (2001), have made it to the nomination stage of the Oscar.
Let’s hope the end of the road is an Oscar for this unique film.
John prefers sense over nonsense
Hunky actor John Abraham has been propagating off-beat and ‘sensible’ films in a space full of masala entertainment, because he believes that Bollywood currently lacks ‘sensible’ stories to tell.
“We lack stories. We have no stories to tell. We put five songs with five comedy scenes and say it’s done,” lamented John in an interview. And that’s why the 40-year-old actor enjoys the role of a film producer. He’s already tasted success with eclectic movies like the entertaining Vicky Donor and the engaging Madras Cafe.
“I love the role of a producer because I make the kind of films which I want to make,” he said. “I make sensible films. I think Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe are examples enough about the cinema which I want to propagate”.
But the ever-practical actor who has been in the film industry for a decade, is open to the idea of producing a masala film. “I’d love to produce a big masala film, and I will make sure that you are genuinely entertained by it,” he said. As an actor, he admits it has been “important to be a part of commercial films and to entertain people. At the end of the day, people want to laugh and enjoy. But if I am doing a Race 2, Housefull 2, Dostana 2 or a Welcome Back, it is important that I make sure that a Madras Cafe is also made,” said John. “John Abraham is known to do a mix of films. If I do a New York, I will do a Kabul Express as well. It is important to balance it out,” he added.
And of course, it’s fun to be a part of true blue Bollywood entertainers. “I don’t regret it. They are fun. I am not condescending towards them, but it is good to have a balance of both. I love slapstick comedy. The best case in point is Chennai Express. I am sure I will enjoy it. But I feel it is interesting to make a Madras Cafe,” he said.
Irrespective of the genre, the story line is prime. “I feel that only a good story line can get you respect. Commercial is a by-product, you will make money… but a good story line will get you respect,” said John, who is planning a film on motorcycling next and has already begun scripting one. Himself a bike enthusiast, John is also buying a spot in the Moto 2 format of motorcycle road racing championship, one of the classes of racing organised under the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix.
After the success of Madras Cafe, John is now producing Hamara Bajaj, although he is quick to clarify that the name of the movie is only a working title. The poor guy is keen to avoid litigations, especially from motorbike companies. He did say however, that those who loved his debut production Vicky Donor, will also enjoy the new film which will go on the floors soon. The film will star Ayushmann Khurrana and will be directed by Shoojit Sircar once again.
Good luck John, with your latest venture of ‘sensible’ and non-litigious cinema.
Vivek admires Hrithik!
Actor Vivek Oberoi is an obvious fan of co-star Hrithik Roshan after watching the hunky actor perform in Krrish 3, a soon to be released sci-fi flick. “Krrish 3 is one of Hrithik Roshan’s career’s best performance,” Vivek said in an interview. “”To play three characters: Krishna, Krrish and Rohit and to play them so differently in one film… especially there are scenes where they (Hrithik’s characters in the film) are talking to each other and the performances are so beautifully done that they look like different people… It is an outstanding performance,” added Vivek.
Directed by Rakesh Roshan, Krrish 3 is the third film in the franchise that began with Koi Mil Gaya in 2003. It also features Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut.
Vivek even recalled an incident that moved him to tears after watching Hrithik’s performance in one of the scenes from the movie. “When I was dubbing for the film, there was a very emotional scene of Rohit, being played by Hrithik in the film and his performance and emotion in that scene was so deep, so beautiful that it touched my heart deeply. I was choked in that moment,” recalled the 37-year-old actor. “I couldn’t speak, there were tears in my eyes. I remember stopping the dubbing (in between), came out and called up Hrithik and said, ‘I love you man, what a performance,’” he added.
Hrithik himself admitted that he likes challenges of all kinds, be it in acting or dancing, as he believes overcoming difficulties help in his growth. The actor and his dad made the statement when attending an interactive session with students of a school in Singapore recently. “I like it when it gets difficult, whether in acting or dancing. Whenever something gets difficult, I know this is my axis point to growth. The modular I live by is that the finest steel must go through the hottest fire,” said Hrithik in answer to a question on whether he likes acting or dancing more.
Meanwhile, Vivek Oberoi is pleased with his villain avatar called Kaal in Krrish 3. “Bad characters have always attracted every actor and it is so enjoyable to play a negative shade or character,” said the actor, who earlier played negative in films like Shootout at Lokhandwala. “I am very excited because there is an aristocratic aura around this character. This character is the prince of darkness. He is a super villain who is the king of his own world,” he added. Recently, Vivek’s look in the film was unveiled and he was happy with the response he has received for it. His hard work of over three months has paid off.
So let’s wait for early November to see if Krrish conquers or crashes at the box office!
Real to reel Maa-Beti duos
India celebrated Daughter Day on September 22, inspiring us to look at the powerhouse mother-daughter relationships in Bollywood. Maa-beti duos like Kajol-Tanuja and Sharmila Tagore-Soha Ali Khan have not just struck the right chemistry and friendship off the arclights, their bonding has translated on screen too, bringing their real life magic alive on reel via films. While some of them have faced the camera together, there are exceptions like Hema Malini and Aparna Sen, who even directed their daughters in their movies.
They first teamed up for the 1992 film Bekhudi and were last seen on the screen in the 2010 movie Toonpur Ka Superhero. Kajol had once admitted that the idea of working with her mother scared her because of the latter’s perfectionist attitude. But when the movie released, she did admit to gaining the confidence to face her mother for the camera.
Soha Ali Khan had always maintained that she wanted to be a part of her mother’s glorious filmography. She finally got a chance with Sangeeta Datta’s 2009 film Life Goes On. Off the cameras, they share a mother-daughter bond like any other with Soha eyeing her mother’s jewellery pieces, but Sharmila always lends her expertise, be it in acting or in delivering Bengali dialogues in movies, to her girl.
Actress-turned-director Aparna Sen’s fine tuning with her talented daughter Konkona Sen Sharma was evident in Mr. And Mrs. Iyer that even won Konkana a best actress National Award.
Aparna went on to helm 15 Park Avenue which also featured Konkana, and garnered much critical acclaim. On screen, they teamed up for Bengali drama Iti Mrinalini, where Aparna essayed the older version of the character played by Konkana.
Hema Malini and Esha Deol got together for many films like Cash, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum, Kuchh Toh Hai, Chura Liya Hai Tumne, Darling and One Two Three, which failed miserably at the box office. Esha floundered in Bollywood, but devoted mum Hema Malini tried every attempt to jumpstart her daughter’s flagging career. She even directed Tell Me O Kkhuda, which unfortunately also bombed.
Some of Bollywood’s other popular mother-daughter duos include Dimple Kapadia and her daughters Twinkle Khanna and Rinke, Moon Moon Sen with her daughters Raima and Riyaa Sen, and Lilette Dubey with her daughter Ira Dubey.
In the ad world too, actress Neetu Singh has posed with her girl Riddhima Kapoor. Sonakshi Sinha too will reportedly team up with her elegant mother Poonam for an advertisement.
So it’s women power to Bollywood’s beauties and all the very best to them!
Vidya supports child education
She’s among an increasing breed of actors who are taking social issues to heart and making a hands-on attempt at being more than just the face of a cause. Vidya Balan visited Thanapur village in Uttar Pradesh as part of Nihar Naturals Shanti Amla’s Chotte Kadam Pragati Ki Aur, an initiative to empower women to support children’s education in India. The talented actress is the brand ambassador of the hair care brand.
Vidya launched a mobile phone-based learning system that seeks to make the learning process interesting for children, and will also help them learn English words. The brand, in association with Child Relief and You (CRY) India, is in its second phase of the campaign and brand ambassador Vidya showed how to use the IVR (interactive voice response) system. “I did a similar thing (play a teacher) last year in Lusa village of Mirzapur district. But this time, I had more information to share,” said an enthusiastic Vidya. She even used Bollywood songs to teach children of the village, also situated in the same district. The Paa star believes movies have the largest reach in this context. “When you use a song to tell them something… you are hoping it stays with them. It has strong impact on them,” said Vidya. The actress also interacted with self-help group women who are spearheading the campaign in their respective regions. They took a pledge to ensure the progress of children’s education.
Vidya also revealed that her next release will be Shaadi Ke Side Effects which will l come out on Valentine’s Day in 2014. The film is a romantic comedy also starring Farhan Akhtar and is being helmed by Saket Chaudhary.
Keep up the good work Vidya!