July 19, 2007

why I´m late with the write-up..

I´m not lazy. Well I am, but thats not the reason why I had no time to write more about Stuttgart yet. Rita Rani, a filmmaker who was in Stuttgart with her shortfilm "Bombay Skies" just came to Vienna for 2 days with her parents and we were roaming the city doing heavy sightseeing and chatting and more chatting. But don´t dispair. The post is coming soon. Kasam se.

July 16, 2007

Bollywood and Beyond - Stuttgart Last Day

I´m back home, save and sound. And I already terribly miss all the fantastic people I met and hung out with since Wednesday.

Here now the last bunch of pics.
Day 5. I´l do the write-up tomorrow. It´s just too hot (37 C/98 F) today and I´m too lazy and tired. I hope everybody got home well. (Edit: Surya did. Just got his mail)

Thank y´all so much for an unforgetable time.

July 15, 2007

Bollywood and Beyond - Stuttgart day 3+4

So. Here before I rush out for the award ceremony and the closing film.

Day 3 and Day 4. As mentioned in my prvious post, foto descriptions and my write up will follow from tomorrow when I´m back in Vienna.

July 13, 2007

Bollywood and Beyond - Stuttgart Day 1+2

Way to tired to post. But here for starters some pics. Day 1 (opening night) Day 2 (interviews and all kinds of other fun)

So and since there is a free Jonny Walker bar for the film-related guests and the festival team (to neither group I actually belonged, but that is another story) and it´s 1:30 am and I´ll have to get up at 8 tomorrow, you´ll have to make up your own stories for the time being.

I love it here!

July 10, 2007

Holidays - sort of..

Tomorrow morning I´ll be heading to Stuttgart (that would be in Germany) for five days of Bollywood & Beyond i.e. the biggest Indian film festival in Germany. Its my first time there, I hope to meet tons of great people, indulge in heavy partying and overdose on Indian cinema in all its aspects.
Btw. I´ll take my Macbook and camera with me and try to update from there.

See ya´ll later.

July 09, 2007

King of Bollywood - the interview

Thanx to Filmiholic I was part of a very exciting virtual online email interview event today. Anupama Chopra was so nice as to answer all our (read: Filmiholic, Michael, Beth, Maja, Darshana, Jo and myself) questions about her new book "King of Bollywood - Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema" during a day long Email conversation.

Filmholic will put the results of those 36 43 Emails into readable posts on her blog during the next few days. You might to want to head over to have a look then.
Edit 07/10/07:
It is online, fun and long..

As for the book which will come out Aug. 2nd in the USA, Aug. 9th in India and Sept. 6th in the UK. I´ve read it and liked it, very much in fact. It is not your average SRK fan book. It is more like a chronicle of Hindi cinema
of the 90ies and its industry until today through the life and films of King Khan.

And Anupama, after her books on Sholay and DDLJ, again gave me a highly entertaining book. Interesting background on the industry, the change that it went through during the 90ies and of course a whole lot on the Baadshah himself
spiced with fantastic anecdotes like the one about SRK´s phonecall after he got arrested due to... no, you´ve got to read that for yourself.

The regular reader of this blog probably knows that I am not a die-hard SRK fan. What might be new for all is that he was in fact my first Bollywood love. But you know how shilly-shally girls are. Nice Rahul didn´t stand a chance when Sagar/Munna walked in. And since cranky Dev did nothing to get me back, imagine my surprise when after reading Anupama´s book, he fought himself back into the ring. That´s the King Khan for you.
Not sure though if Anupama is to blame or my fickleness ...

July 02, 2007

Backlog. Eklavya and Guru

In the draft section of my blogger admin site, there are a few unfinished posts that deal with a number of films I watched during the last weeks but that never came out of the draft stage. Since I don´t feel like finishing them and still I want you to know, here a short résumé.

Eklavya. This one pains me a lot. I really really really was looking forward to seeing it. I mean take in the cast. AB 1.0, Saif and his mom, Jimmy Shergill, Jackie Shroff, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen and mera pyaara Sanjay. It is the first direction of V.V. Chopra after Mission Kashmir. The promos hinted at a "Gone with the wind" like outset.
And then V.V. blows it. My Eklavya draft was subtitled: "It might have been grand" and that precisely how I feel about it. The setting is grand, the acting too, even the basic story. Then why, oh why did he have to cut it down to 107min? It is an epic saga, it demands an epic length. So instead we are left with hints at some backstories and we almost don´t learn anything about what drives the characters. And that assembles to a lackluster feeble movie. There is potential, and you get a glimpse of it in various scenes, like at the the climax. But. But it feels like an abstract of a Shakespearean drama for a 3rd grade english class homework.
Two presumptions:
One: In addition to the mutilated story, the very last, bahut kharab scene hints at some "higher power" that forced Chopra to a) give it a masala standard fare ending and b) to edit the length to some "western cinema" timeframe. Big mistake.
And two: It is still rather difficult to get the official DVD. None of the leading online stores have it yet. The only place I found it is amazon.co.uk . I so hope that this hints to a directors cut version in the hopefully not to far future.
So if you can get your hands on a copy. Go and watch it. If only for the acting and treat it like a preview of what might come one day.

Film two is Guru.
I love Mani Ratnam. He is my favorite director. Bas.
But, and here comes another but, Guru is his weakest film so far. I just can´t empathise with the characters here. And that is such a pity. I feel it is the death of any movie if you just don´t care what happens. And that is exactly the problem I have with Guru. Unreflected greed as main statement just does nothing for me. Corruption is good as long as I can turn it into wealth? Journalism should use all means to get the story across even if you have to stage the stories? Don´t get me wrong, but where´s the message? And I don´t mean a profound life altering message. Anything would do, leave it open or tell me you don´t have a message for all I care, but give me something.

So is it a bad film? No. It is still a Mani Ratnam movie. It´s a AB 2.0 one-man show. I love the songs. And technically (in any way) its a great film. I just don´t care about it.

Dil To Pagal Hai. I had nothing better to do

Just like any healthy human I sometimes get cravings for various stuff.
Sprüngli Truffes for example. Or Sushi. Or sitting beside the ocean watching the sunset. Yesterday after again stumbling over the Aaja Nachle stills on the Yash Raj site my life would have ended on the spot if I had to live one more moment without watching a Madhuri Dixit film.

Thankfully I have some of them at home. And since
this pic of SRK of last week made me loose my cool too, I thought why not combine the two. And to make it three I decided to give one DVD a try that has been lying unwanted and unwatched around for at least two years. Dil to Pagal Hai.

Why didn´t I watch it before? Well, I´m not too fond of Karisma Kapoor. And the only time I tried DTPH before was short after I watched Raja Hindustani where I really hated her (sorry

And that´s when the DVD went to the bottom of the "to be watched" stack and lingered there until yesterday.
So for all those who haven´t seen it either:
Rahul (SRK - who else) is a singer/director who has a dancecompany that does fairly successful naachgaana shows. His female star dancer is Nisha, who in addition to being his best friend also happens to be madly (and of course secretly) in love with Rahul. Who in spite of producing one tearjerking love story show after the other is completely alien to the concept of love. So far so nothing-new.

Now Nisha has a small accident while rehearsing for the show that is in production and leaves the play without a female star. Enter Pooja (Madhuri) an orphan who grew up with her aunty, uncle and cousin Ajay (Akshay Kumar). Guess what, his best friend love turned into the real thing a while ago (quel surprise!). Oh and did I tell you that Pooja is convinced that for every human there is a perfect match made in heaven. (And Ajay is not it)

Oh and of course she dances like a godess.

The rest is as sweet and harmless to watch as it is predictable. Pooja fills in for Nisha. Ajay asks Pooja to marry him. Pooja despite not loving him and thus betraying her believes says yes. Nisha gets drunk and confesses her love to Rahul. Rahul falls in love with Pooja. Pooja falls in love with Rahul. They both sacrifice their love on the altar of obligations/friendship/inanity. And all live un-happily ever after? Oh, c´mon its a Yash Chopra movie. No points for guessing.

There are a lot of songs in DTPH and a lot of late 1990ies gym-clothes. And the steroptypical Rahul, a pleasantly nice Karisma, way to little of Akshay Kumar and my fix of Madhuri.
Dancing, smiling and being the devine loveable Madhuri I so missed. There is way better fare out there but for a hot summer afternoon this was one perfect, harmless timepass.