April 27, 2007

Kartoos - a question that might never be answered.

What do this:

and that:

have in common?

You´d think nothing? Ghalat. They´re both "inspired" Mahesh Bhatt while working on Kartoos.
In Kartoos he takes the story and a whole lot of almost 1:1 copied scenes of La Femme Nikita with changed genders (here we have a guy being saved from the gallows only to be turned into a government hired assassin) and the first assignment, the "test" in the restaurant, starts with the piano scene from Big. Scary.

Why do I expose myself to it then? C´mon that´s so obvious. Sanjay. He´s wet and without shirt almost half of the film. My hair fetish gets well fed.

And then I really was curious about the Luc Besson angle, who is one of my favorite filmmakers. Verdict? Well, lets just say that at least Mahesh Bhatt doesn´t have the Sanjay Gupta-colored filter-obsession. And he bollyfies and morally sanctions the special forces and their ACP Suryavanshi´s (Jackie Shroff) ways to work outside the law and use Sanjay as hitman.
Bhatt also keeps pretty close to the emotional side of the story. The dilemma Sanjay has to face when he, after meeting and falling in love with sweet innocent Mini (Manisha Koirala),

stops to functioning according to ACP Jackie´s plan make for some pretty cool scenes.

And still. How do you come up with the idea of putting the piano scene in?

We might never know.

April 23, 2007

this is excactly why my teachers always told me to think before talking...

As I might have told you or not, I´m in more or less constant contact with mera accha dost Birgit who is roaming India at the moment. One morning (my time) came a rather hectic phonecall from Goa that went something like that:

"Hi, you won´t believe where I´m at"
"Don´t speak in riddles. Bolo na!"
"I stumbled upon a Bollywood filmshoot"

"No way"
"Where, what, who?"

"They are shooting a song sequence. It´s for a movie called Shaadi Ke After Effects with two actors called Arbaaz Khan and Mallaika Arora. Do we know them?"

"YES! We do. They are Salman´s brother and sister-in-law. How cool. You might know him from Hulchul and her as the item girl with SRK in Kaal"

and here is where the "think before you talk" part comes in

"Say hi to Arbaaz from me and tell him I really liked him in Hulchul"

"Haha. You want me to do that? Ok, I will tell him. Oh, they´re starting to shoot again. Got to go. Bye"

Oh. Wait! Rukh chao! Ahem. Immediate reassuring conversation with myself: "She´ll never do that. She´s not the kind of person to do that"

Do din ke baad. Skype. Birgit.

"I did it"
"You did what?"

"Told Arbaaz. He was flattered. Check your email."

And that is how I got my first autograph of a real Bollywood Star.

April 16, 2007

FilmASIA - Part two. Umesh Maddanahalli.

Where were we? Ah yes.

...One more point on the program before the break and the last movie. A stage interview with Umesh Maddanahalli. Kannada actor, sculptor and visual artist. And a great guy.

Interlude. I did not have my notebook and pen with me to scribble down notes. And since I was able to talk with Umesh some more during the further course of the evening I might mix up some answers. So all I´m able to tell you is vaguely what I remember.

During the interview (with questions prepared by BW friends Boomer, Eduardo and yours truly) Umesh spoke about the diffences between the Hindi and Kannada (or in fact all south-indian) cinema. The casting process. Typecasting. Movie scripts. And the target audience for the Kannada cinema.

What Umesh said (who btw. lives in Graz at the moment) is that Kannada cinema is a typical south indian cinema if you take for example the way it projects cultural peculiarities.
With a wide range of topics and, this is a point we further explored later that evening, a cinema that is directed at the local audience. In Umesh´s opinion the vast part of NRI´s is a Hindi speaking audience. There is not much of a Kannada speaking audience outside of Karnataka, so its cinema naturally aims at the local audience only.

One difference to the Hindi cinema would maybe be the way the modern Hindi cinema mixes customs of various culture groups like Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, vagairah, vagairah and thus creates new more unified habbits and cultural customs, whereas the Southindian cinema still sticks very much to local customs. And thus maybe seems more traditional to us.
As to the casting process, there are screentests and castings like in any other film industry. Even if Umseh himself was "discovered" at a parking lot while waiting for a friend.
The movie script issue depends on the filmmaker and the film. There are the ones that shoot with a full, ready, bound script just as there are changes that get made on the set or other productions that work without a written script or storyboard.

There was not much time for the interview due to the delay caused by Don problems (see previous post) so Umesh had not too much time to further his toughts but after a few shots for the paparazzis (read: me and a professional photographer) who took some pics of the celebs (read: Babsy, Dorothea, Umesh and Oliver the organizer)

we invited Umesh to come along for a drink and spent the next 4 hours talking films. We actually had planned to watch the late show with Kal Ho Na Ho but Ezri, Ulli and I skipped that in favour of chatting on about our favorite subject with Umesh (Though choice, duh!) So we raided the local Kebab stand and moved on to a fantastic place the "Parkhaus" a pavillion in the middle of a park where we sat outside until 2 am. And quoted LRM and got more stories out of Umesh.

Perfect day. Great people.

PS: Umesh, if you read this. Yell at me if I got anything wrong. I shall yell at you in return if you don´t get in contact the next time you´re in Vienna. :-D

FilmASIA - Tere Ishq Mere Pyaar

We had a blast on Saturday driving to Graz for the Bollywood Special at the FilmASIA Film Festival in Graz, Austria.
Two Cars. Six Seven Girls. A Hostel with bunk beds. Fantastic weather. Three BW Films. Babsy´s Film Premiere. Party.
That was the plan.
Arriving with a half hour delay *winks at Babsy* we got into our first film when the credits where already rolling. Three of us went to LRM (me of course being one of them), the rest chose Don (the new one). The Don screening had some technical problems so the three of us slipped into the cinema after LRM to get the last 30 minutes of Don too (and resisted the urge to burst in and shout: " That´s not Vijay, thats Don! He killed Vijay!") after that we had a 2 minutes cigarette and loo break and went on with Kabul Express ( I was extremely curious how that one would look on the big screen - fantastic!)
Then we fast approached our highlight of the day. The "special event" part. First a short reading from the book "Spiegelbilder" by Dorothea Nürnberg, a fiction novel with 3 stories that interweave different life stories with Bollywood film plots. And then after a short interview with maker and heroine -

the World Premiere of Tere Ishq Mere Pyaar.

Our very own Babsy Artner, professional actress and Bollywood fan, came up with the idea of shooting her own small Bollywood film late last year . If you´re aquainted with Babsy you know that she is very dedicated. Once she has a plan, she follows through with it. So without any budget armed only with her ideas and the help of friends and some film professionals (kamera, makeup) she wrote, directed, edited and of course acted in her 12 minutes short. And finished all in less then 2 months time.

TIMP is the very bollywood-ish story of Aish. Aish is in love. With Hiro Hero, a friend of her rather strict brother. One day at a party it gets very obvious that Hiro Hero and Aish have something serious going on...evidence? A song-sequence of Aish dancing and Hiro Hero running.

Uh-oh. Back from the dreamworld at the party, the looks the love-birds send each other are way too obvious. Bhai bahut naraz hoon and drags Aish rather unfriendly from the room. Poor ladki. No other option then to break away from her brother´s grip and run to the park-like garden of the NRI´s mansion and cry her eyes out. But wait. Not all is lost. Look who´s running too. In her direction even. Hiro Hero. Leaving all family-bonds and demands behind. The lovers unite. Happy End.

Oh, I had a blast watching it. Yes sure, it is no high gloss production. But then Babsy is a professional actress and neither a director nor has she ever before edited a movie. So no technical marking allowed from my side. What counts is that it is filled to the brink with all those BW clichés we so love. Babsy is endearing. And beautiful. The story is short. The song is long. The emotions run high. There was a lot of hollering and applause in the end (far not all from our side), and I really hope you all get a chance to see the first all Austrian Bollywood production one day too. Verdict: Shabash beti, shabash.

A great premiere demands a great premiere party. But before that there was one more point on the program....

Stay tuned.

Socha Na Tha - much ado about nothing

See, that is what happens if you don´t listen to your parents. Viren (Abhay Deol) loves Karen. Viren´s family wants him to marry Aditi (Ayesha Takia). Viren and Aditi decide that he will reject her at the viewing because of Karen. Aditi is totally cool with it.

And then everything goes downhill from there. The rejection causes the families to fight with each other. Viren messes up his relationship with Karen. AND since he and Aditi accidently meet again and again...

Kuch feelings start to mess with Virens heart. And now it really gets complicated.

The problem sounds familiar? Well here again we have a guy who is too scared of his dad to tell him clear out what he wants. In addition to actually not knowing what he want himself until its too late.

Socha Na Tha was Abhay´s debut movie and after seeing it and Ahista Ahista it is now clear as the ocean at the Goa beaches Birgit chanced upon a Hindi filmsong shoot today that he is definitely THE current generation Deol. Can´t wait to see him in Honeymoon Travels Pvt.Ltd.

As for Socha Na Tha. The story is a bit wooden, as is especially the second half of the film, but Abhay and Ayesha Takia are cute and if you care to a film character making a mess of his life and watch a nice timepass movie, go and give it a chance.

*Spoiler* I really really liked Viren´s part in the dialog between him and his father outside their homes gates. I never got myself into such a mess, but I can very much relate to the "Main Thaka Hoon" sentence.

April 11, 2007

Most Useless Piece Of News. Ever.

It´s too good to let pass. Read this.


And now that I wasted perfectly valueable minutes of your life - Isn´t it great that in this context even staring at a blank wall for hours seems to be the epidome of information-gathering?

April 06, 2007

Happy Easter. Family affairs are calling.

I´ll be gone for the next 3 days to visit my family in Salzburg. For the first time since I can remember we will spend Easter not at my grandma´s house in Carinthia but in at my parents in Salzburg. Hmm. Whatever.

So no updates over the weekend here. I hope some more will have viewed Bommarillu when I return, so I can start discussing it more openly without spoilering too much - read the comments in the review post if you have either seen it or don´t care about spoilers.

April 05, 2007

Bommarillu - Same old. Thank god.

Is it good if one gets exactly what one expects, bad or is it slightly disappointing? Can I love a movie that doesn´t do anything new - without feeling guilty?

What´s even more - a film that uses the very same formula that has been done before successfully. With only slight variations? Does my loving it wreck havoc to my "street-cred"?

But then. Who cares? *Sigh*

The director took all the incrediences and pieces that made the last two Siddarth movies so cute, and mixed them up. But only a slight bit. We wouldn´t want to risk too much. Hain naa?

So everything we need is here.
Schnuffel* in Pink.
Schnuffel wet.

Schnuffel fooling around.
Even a double Schnuffel.

The thing with Bommarillu is that it really is very close to NVNV and Chandrudu. Not too much storywise, especially if you ignore the fact that there is the obvious "boy looks for girl to marry that he truly loves and somebody is not too happy with it" main storyline. But from the feel and some other factors. One being a very familiar Siddu-film cast. Prakash Raj as dad for example, or Suneel, this time as servant. Nice songs that are pretty similar to NVNV (No dancing cows though).
The main thing that changed is a new even sweeter heroine - Risky move, but worth it. Genelia is perfect.

This time Siddu has a problem that at the first look seems pretty petty. His dad is too nice and careing. Spoilt brat, one is tempted to think. But as Freedy Mercury already said "Too much love can kill you" or in the case of Siddu suffocate you. So to escape Super-Dad he builds up an image of the good obedient son at home and tries to live the life he always wanted outside. Not really the perfect solution but it works. At least until Daddy decides it is time for chota Siddu to get married.
Full stop. No way that can happen. We need a love marriage here. And there even would be the perfect candidate.

But being engaged to one girl and loving another one can only lead to trouble. And a lot of songs and nice shots of Frankfurt/Main and the Tyrol Salzkammergut/Salzburg county/Upper Austria/Styria aka the place close to where I grew up.

Two more points. Loved this (especially in regard to this topic) and two: Siddhu´s friend´s t-shirt. what were they thinking?

*Schnuffel. If you still don´t know what that means. Go here. Beth researched it for all non-native German speakers.

April 04, 2007

We´re making News ;-)

Mehru Jaffer, a columnist for Hard News in India, wrote an article about the IBBM and the ACEBA ceremony last month.


Hah! We´re news-worthy.

April 03, 2007

Bommarillu - Teaser.

Today at the un-godly hour of 7 am my new best friend from the austrian postal services rang and brought a small package that contained my long awaited Bomarillu DVD. Since he woke me up and my workday starts as late as 10 am, I had to watch it already. And had a relapse to my NVNV state of mind. A proper review will have to wait until tomorrow night as I won´t be home until late today. But in the meantime, just that much: Loved it. And while you´re waiting, some eyecandy.

FYI: Since there were some discussions going on, the iDream DVD from KAD has engl. Subtitles.

construction work being done

I´m trying out something here. So for the next few hours the layout might get a bit messed up. don´t worry if I ruin everything, I´ll ask for help in our creative media department tomorrow morning

April 02, 2007

Do Raaste - beware of the greedy bahu

Ever get the feeling you should jump into the screen and yell at a character? Watch Do Raaste. There´re plenty of opportunities.

Meet the Gupta family. Dad died years ago, so the eldest son takes care of his stepmother, stepsister, two stepbrothers, his wife and kids.

Bahut pyaar hai. Aur bahut kam bhi. Since the elder of the stepbrothers studies abroad and that´s expensive. Lekin koi problem nahin hai. Mortage the house and wait until he comes home with a good job in store. Film khatm? Not by far.

Prem Chopra is not returning empty handed. There is this girl (Bindu) that also studied in the West. And there is her mom. And her useful advice. Like "you have to show them who´s the boss" and "seperate yourself from your in-law´s. that way you wont have any trouble" Thank you very much mom. Thank you for helping ruin the life of every member of this so far big, loving happy family.
The new bahu manages to insult everybody in the family. And poison her husbands mind. So everything falls apart.

Really. It get veeeery ugly. And as it is with too good people, they are helpless in the face of evil. Not even the sweet romance between the younger stepbrother (Rajesh Khanna) and the bura bahu´s sweet sister (Mumtaaz) can bloom the way it´s supposed to. And that´s a pity as we have some nice chemistry going on there.

So everything gets from bad to worse. And whenever you think "well, now Prem Chopra should see the light" bura bahu is there to spread more malice. Bleh.

At least the music is nice and we have Rajesh Khanna with and without facial hair. And some very chic late 60ies attire.

PS: Beware of the Baba Traders DVD if possible. It´s irritatingly blurry.