EXCLUSIVE: Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has signed with Resolution. Bachchan is considered the icon of the Indian film industry and recently starred in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. His breakthrough role was in the film Zanjeer which established his persona of the “angry young man” of Bollywood. Amitabh reworked the image of the Hindi film hero with major hits like Deewar, Sholay, Trishul and Don. He popularized the violent melodrama genre but had an equal flair for tragedies and comedies. Attesting to his popularity, the entire nation of India prayed for his recovery during a near fatal accident on a film set in 1982. The agency will look to build the Hollywood feature momentum that came with Gatsby. Bachchan was once set to star in the Warner Bros film Shantaram when the film got shelved because of the writer’s strike; it’s unclear whether he’ll be involved as it is coming back together with Joel Edgerton starring.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Global Screen Gets World Rights To ‘Bank Lady’; ‘Madras Café’ Pulled After Protests; More
Global Screen Is ‘Bank Lady’s Partner In Crime Worldwide
Global Screen has acquired worldwide distribution rights to Bank Lady, the true story of Germany’s first female bank robber. Christian Alvert’s film is produced by Syrreal Entertainment. Gisela Werler, a factory worker from Hamburg, became notorious throughout Germany for carrying out 19 armed robberies in the 1960s. Nadeshda Brennicke, Charly Hübner, Ken Duken and Heinz Hoenig star in the film, which StudioCanal will release in Germany in the spring.
‘Madras Café‘ Pulled From Some Theaters After Protests
Bollywood spy thriller Madras Café opened Friday in India but was pulled from some British and Indian cinemas after complaints by Tamil protesters. The movie is set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war and stars John Abraham as an Indian secret agent sent to Sri Lanka during the conflict between the government and separatist Tamil rebels. “Our UK exhibitors, Cineworld, decided to hold back the film after protesters gathered outside their UK offices,” Viacom 18 Motion Pictures’ Rudrarup Datta told AFP. “Exhibitors do not want to take a risk and withdrawing screenings of the film is their prerogative.” The film has been released in North America or the United Arab Emirates. Director Shoojit Sircar has said the movie does not take sides. “Since the release, so many Tamil people have tweeted that there is nothing anti-Tamil about the film. People have the right to protest but you cannot stop cinema-lovers from watching a film and deciding for themselves,” Sircar told AFP. The film nevertheless brought in about $3.15M over the weekend, according to Box Office India.
A mainstay of Bollywood for 21 years, Jagdish Raj played a police inspector in at least 144 movies, which reportedly earned him a designation by the Guinness World Records as the film industry’s most typecast actor. Born in …
This is the latest in Deadline’s series of reports on the people, projects and polemics that have folks buzzing in various overseas territories.
The International Indian Film Academy Awards just announced the event will travel to the U.S. for the first time next year, settling in Tampa, Florida in June. The move is one that’s likely to up the profile of Indian cinema Stateside where Bollywood isn’t typically top of mind among moviegoers. But heat on Indian cinema and talent is growing with movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Dawaani, actors like Ranbir Kapoor and multi-hyphenates like Anurag Kashyap making waves. A question remains, however, on how closely the twains of Hollywood and Bollywood can ever meet.
India celebrated the 100th birthday of Hindi cinema in Cannes in May, turning a spotlight on the industry. Then last month, romcom Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani broke into the U.S. top ten upon release. The film’s success at home and abroad was partly because it’s the kind of “mushy romance we hadn’t seen in a while,” a producer who works in India and the UK tells me. Star Ranbir Kapoor is one of Bollywood’s hottest actors right now, also a key factor in Yeh Jawaani‘s success. He hails from a showbiz family and studied at the Lee Strasberg school in New York. With a sort of Ryan Gosling look, Kapoor is “the next one to be considered the Shah Rukh Khan-level mega-star” in India, a studio exec says.
Fanning the flames, Kapoor just won the best actor prize for 2012′s Barfi! at the Indian Film Academy Awards which were held this weekend in Macau. The romantic comedy was India’s 2012 Oscar entry. (Its title may be unappetizing to American ears – it’s the lead character’s name and also a condensed milk-based sweet – but it was one of Bollywood’s highest-grossing films of the year.) It also won several prizes at January’s Filmfare Awards including top picture and actor; Kapoor played a deaf-mute man involved with two women.
Kapoor’s Yeh Jawaani co-star Deepika Padukone is next up in Chennai Express. Padukone is an established actress who broke out in 2007′s Om Shanti Om. Chennai Express has the distinction of going out on August 8, the eve of India’s Eid al Fitr holiday. Beginning in 2008, films toplined by Indian superstar Salman Khan staked a claim on the Eid holiday which celebrates the end of Ramadan. With Khan’s next big production, Mental, not releasing until the January Republic Day weekend, the Eid spot is ripe for another comer with big box office potential. Conventional wisdom says it will be Chennai Express. (Chennai Express, like Yeh Jawaani, hails from UTV in which Disney has a strategic stake.) The love story cum road movie is directed by Rohit Shetty (the Golmaal franchise, Bol Bachchan) and, with Padukone, stars the iconic screen giant Shah Rukh Khan, making it one to watch. If Chennai follows Yeh Jawaani‘s path, Khan should be happy. He has said that his dedication is to getting Indian films seen by the world rather than having his own career in Hollywood.
As Bollywood celebrates its 100th birthday on May 3, the release of commemorative film Bombay Talkies approaches — but not without some controversy. The film, which will be the subject of a gala presentation at the Cannes Film Festival later in the month, celebrates 100 years of Hindi cinema via four short stories directed by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Gangs Of Wasseypur‘s Anurag Kashyap. The latter will be in Cannes for the second year in a row in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar with Ugly, and he’s also a co-producer on official selection title Monsoon Shootout. Both his and Akhtar’s segments of Bombay Talkies have reportedly come under fire in India from filmmakers who claim similarities to their own work. The directors are understood to have refuted the claims.
Veteran Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who will be in Cannes to walk the red carpet for his first Hollywood role in The Great Gatsby, stars in Bombay Talkies. But despite being an accomplished singer, Bachchan does not appear in the star-studded video for the movie’s official theme song “Apna Bombay Talkies” (see below), and this has caused some upset among critics and fans, according to ZeeNews. Billed as “special appearances”, about 20 Bollywood bigshots feature in the music video including Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Anil Kapoor, Imran Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Priyanka Chopra. But not appearing are such stars as Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan. Indian journalist Shobhaa De tweeted on Saturday: “Not a single shot of Salman Khan in the parade of Bollywood Greats (Bombay Talkies)? His absence registered more than several presences!” The Hindustani Times Sunday Magazine also said today, “We love this Bombay Talkies video, but where are Salman and Amitabh?” Either way, could the infectious anthem be the next Jai Ho? Here’s the trailer for Bombay Talkies, and below is the music video in question:
Rom-Com Zombies Lurching Into Bollywood Films
Indian filmmakers are dipping their creative toes into the zombie water, but with a light-hearted touch. Shaadi of the Dead (Wedding of the Dead) is about a zombie invasion at a Punjabi marriage ceremony. It’s set for release next year. Also in the works is Go Goa Gone, starring Saif Ali Khan, about a group of youngsters who fight the undead in the resort state of Goa. Shaadi of the Dead director Navdeep Singh is banking on the novelty value of the genre to attract younger Indian film audiences. “We feel this idea of a zombie film is very fresh,” he told AFP. “It is something that has never been tried in the Hindi film industry and so we feel it will work.”
Al-Jazeera Head Steps Down After WikiLeaks Link To U.S.
Qatar’s government has replaced Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of the Al-Jazeera satellite TV network, with a member of its own royal family. Khanfar’s resignation comes after eight years of revolutionizing the Middle East’s media landscape, but in the wake of a WikiLeaks controversy. A U.S. government cable uncovered last month suggests Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content and promised to “remove it over the subsequent two or three days.” Al-Jazeera has played a key role in the protest movements sweeping the Middle East, airing round-the-clock coverage of uprisings that brought down rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya this year. The new chief is Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, an executive at Qatargas.