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Bollywood Celebrates 100th Birthday With ‘Bombay Talkies’ & ‘Celluloid Man’

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:

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‘Bombay Talkies’ Has Stars, Controversy… And The Next ‘Jai Ho’?: Videos

Bombay Talkies Controversy Music VideoAs 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 »

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