On May 3, 1913, the first full-length Indian film, Raja Harischandra, was released. The Dadasahed Phalke-directed silent movie was a commercial success, kicking off an industry that now produces close to 1,500 movies a year and which is projected to be worth $3.6B within the next five years. Two films were released in India today to celebrate Bollywood’s 100th anniversary including Bombay Talkies, which I wrote about earlier this week. The quartet of short stories, each made for about $280,000 by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap features Bollywood giant Amitabh Bachchan. But, it has caught some flack over leaving icons like Salman Khan out. (The trailer and theme song are here.) Bachchan will be in Cannes later this month in support of The Great Gatsby and also as part of a Bombay Talkies gala screening.
The other movie released today to mark the anniversary is Celluloid Man. The documentary, which has screened at myriad festivals, is a tribute to the founder of the country’s National Film Archive, P.K. Nair. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s black-and-white pic highlights Nair’s dedication to film preservation including several movies that date from the silent era. Here’s a trailer:
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: Read More »
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. Read More »
Simon Cowell Tries To Deflect Flak From ‘Red Or Black?’ The music and TV mogul said today “human error” was to blame after a man who did time for domestic abuse, Nathan Hageman, won the £1M jackpot on the game show’s … Read More »