Monday, December 24, 2007

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Short Film Contest

Are you a filmmaker under 25? Just the right person for the Short Film Competition at the 10th Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai (February 2-10, 2008).

Only 20 films are being screened at the 9-day event, so the sooner you submit the better your chances.

All you have to do is make a short film titled TEN.

Duration
1 min - 5 mins
Format
DVD only
Deadline
January 26, 2008
Submissions
Brinda Miller, Millernium, 665, Cadell Rd, Next to Dadar Catering College, Dadar West, Mumbai - 400 028
Inquiries
Smriti Garach 09819242246
Jethu Mundul 09820254429

Official Blog

Focus on India at Annecy animated film fest

India is the country in focus at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France (9 - 14 June 2008) and Market (11 - 13 June 2008).

Indian animation will be showcased through special programmes, premieres and numerous events.

Interested? Film studios, production companies and creatives can submit films (features, short films, TV series, graduation films) for selection at Annecy 2008 by contacting: Laurent Million at
laurentmillion@annecy.org

But do remember these deadlines
- 15 January 2008
Film submission (shorts films, features, TV and commissioned films, graduation films)
- 15 March 2008
Submission and reception of feature films

"The Annecy festival will be a huge platform for the Indian animation industry to showcase its talent, technology, services and post-production facilities," Mohamed Bendjebbour, head of French film and TV office in India told The Times of India.

An Indian pavilion will be set up at the Market giving industry visitors the opportunity to find out about artistic techniques and production from India.

Wanna join the Indian delegation - contact:
Mickael Marin at
mickaelmarin@annecy.org
St├ęphane Loison at
stephaneloison@annecy.org

Official website

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Viagra for Impotent Cars


Well, I spotted this masterpiece at an automobile workshop near my house. Needless to say, I doubt if any "imported" car ever did make it to ARA Motors. How did they propose to "ripair" the "impotent" car anyway - giving it Viagra?

And I thought I was bad at spellings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 2007 Blog Mela - Nominate Now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the December Blog Mela being hosted here on January 2



Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-31 December, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on December 31 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

November 2007 Blog Mela

Chronicus Skepticus wonders if all 33 million Hindu gods are deaf

Krish Ashok comes up with a Facebook mini-feed for the Mahabharata

Falstaff explores why a crowded Starbucks is better than an empty one

8 by 52 battles dengue and is thankful to be alive

Great Bong reports on the killing fields of Bengal

Jabberwock may just find Blogspot is his new employer

The Compulsive Confessor addresses all the boys she loved before

Mitali Saran is sleeping with the enemy

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi tries hypnosis to quit smoking

Sidin Sunny Vadukut is feeling nostalgic about growing up in the Middle East

That's all for now. The Blog Mela returns later this month. Keep watching this space for nomination guidelines. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the November 2007 Blog Mela.

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
The best of November 2007 Blog Mela
Chronicus Skepticus
Krish Ashok
Falstaff
8 by 52
Great Bong
Jabberwock
The Compulsive Confessor
Mitali Saran
Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
Sidin Sunny Vadukut
None of the posts were that good
  
pollcode.com free polls

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hello Delhi - Am back from Goa

Back from a hectic fortnight in Goa. No, I didn't spend time on the beach. Was cooped up watching flicks at Panaji's INOX multiplex. And with good reason.

The 38th International Film Festival of India was on - with 176 films from 46 countries screened by the time the 11-day event wrapped up.

And with most of Bollywood giving it a miss, watching films was a pleasant affair. Why? Well, the absence of tinseltown celebrities meant I could focus my attention on watching films. See official blog.

And here's some of the stuff I wrote -

"Elizabeth" director inspired by cockroaches tale

Jesus Christ gets an evil twin in fantasy film

Goa's bell boys inspire U.S. director's Hindi film

Bollywood shorts on AIDS to get YouTube release

Goa stirs colonial memories in Portuguese filmmaker

Taiwan film triumphs at global Indian film festival

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival

Filmmaker Navdeep Singh's thriller "Manorama Six Feet Under" won the Best Film honour at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York last week.

"This award certainly means a lot and both Ketan (producer) and me feel like on top of the world. There is a deep sense of satisfaction to know that your piece of art is recognized by prestigious International Festivals," Singh said in a press release.





The film festival was attended by over 8,000 people with over 50 films screened in Manhattan and Jersey City over five days. Here's the list of winners -

Chandrika Tandon Best Film Award
Manorama Six Feet Under

Indira Mahindra Best Director Award
Rituparno Ghosh for Dosar

Nationwide Actor Award
Danny Denzongpa for Frozen

Dina Kothari Best Actress Award
Konkona Sen Sharma for Dosar

Best Documentary Award
India Untouched directed by Stalin K

Best Short Award
Shanu Taxi directed by Vasant Nath

Verizon People's Choice Award
Love Story by Amit Gupta

Special Jury Award
Frozen directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan

(For more details on films screened as part of MIAAC, click here)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

If Rembrandt painted Homer Simpson

Link via Reddit

November 2007 Blog Mela - Nominate Now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the November Blog Mela being hosted here on December 6



Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-30 November, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on December 4 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Chessboard serial killer complains of injustice

He may have killed 48 people in his quest to complete the 64 squares of a chess board but Alexander Pichushkin thinks he's being punished a bit too much.

For the Russian serial killer, spending the rest of his life in jail seems too dear a price to pay for his crime.

His lawyer said Pichushkin felt the sentence is too harsh and should be cut to 25 years.

What do you think?
Pichushkin should be punished with
Death sentence
Life sentence
25 years in jail
10 years in jail
A year in jail
  
pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 2007 Blog Mela

Mitali Saran comes to grips with a stolen water meter

Jabberwock proposes an alternate list of celebrity responses to brighten up Sunday mornings

Falstaff finds that everybody flirts with the new girl.

The Great Bong realises his PhD is a Potato Highly Defective.

Aditi Sen muses on the sexually incorrect.

Gaurav Sabnis thinks Bobby Jindal is hell-bent on throwing away as much of his Indianness as he probably can.

Suyog Deshpande reveals why he loves meetings

Sidin Sunny Vadukut is at pains to let the world know that he's not Amit Varma

Presstalk nearly falls asleep during a one-on-one interview.

Son of Bosey says Al-Quaeda is to acquire distribution rights for Vista Home Basic.

That's all for now. The Blog Mela returns later this month. Keep watching this space for nomination guidelines. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the October 2007 Blog Mela.

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
The best of October 2007 Blog Mela
Mitali Saran
Jabberwock
Falstaff
Great Bong
Aditi Sen
Gaurav Sabnis
Suyog Deshpande
Sidin Sunny Vadukut
Presstalk
Son of Bosey
None of the posts were that good
  
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 2007 Blog Mela - Nominate Now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the October Blog Mela being hosted here on October 31



Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-31 October, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on October 31 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Mom and Dad walked out of Plaza cinema 22 years ago

Back in 1985, Mom and Dad had just shifted to New Delhi. The capital's hectic pace of life didn't suit them at first and they looked for ways to maintain an umbilical link with their native state of Kerala.

A casual glance at a newspaper column one morning brought the welcome news that a new Malayalam film was playing at the Plaza cinema in Connaught Place. As you can imagine, my parents were overjoyed and promptly drove down to the hall.

Mom was a bit disconcerted to find the cinema theatre nearly empty. But that was nothing compared to her surprise at seeing a Sikh gentleman occupying one of the seats nearby.

"Must be a film critic," mumbled Mom. "Why else would he be interested in a Malayalam film?"

"There would be subtitles...He can understand it that way," said Dad.

The mystery was solved when the film started and a woman started disrobing on screen. And my parents realised that they, the Sikh gentleman and a few other men were watching what can only be described as a softcore porn flick.

"He didn't need subtitles," said Mom - a few minutes after my parents had slunk out of the hall and into the parking lot.

"And that's certainly not a family film," she added.

The film's name - which roughly translated to 'Family is Heaven' - had not given my parents any clues about its content. But they did learn one thing. That morning shows in Delhi theatres were not for the family.

P.S. Two decades later, things have changed. The refurbished PVR Plaza is no longer a haven for voyeurs and morning shows are usually reserved for family films. But Mom still makes it a point to check the Adult 'A' listing before venturing into theatres.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

September 2007 Blog Mela

Dear Reader,

The middle of October is no time to showcase the best of Indian blogs for September. I'm not making any excuses for the fortnight's delay - just hoping that the sumptuous fare on display will help assuage frayed tempers. Enjoy.

AB slaps a man who slaps her back.

Deepa bumps into a Dhoni fan in a New York elevator.

And Falstaff rants against NYT's coverage of India's Twenty20 triumph.

The Great Bong blogs on an important issue - namely whether certain formations of rock on the sea floor were made by an army of dhoti-clad monkeys or not.

You should ask Rajaram about it. After all, he's the one caught in the middle.

Jabberwock comes away impressed by Johnny Gaddaar.

Suchitra Krishnamoorthi tries to get karma points by following up on an SMS.

Bikkupedia visits Ponmudi - where's that? It's a hill station in Kerala.

Sakshi wonders why divorce is no longer a dirty word in India.

That's all for now. The Blog Mela returns later this month. Keep watching this space for nomination guidelines. But before leaving, do please vote for the best post in the September 2007 Blog Mela.

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
The best of September 2007 Blog Mela
AB
Deepa
Falstaff
Great Bong
S Rajaram
Jabberwock
Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
Bikkupedia
Sakshi
None of the posts were that good
  
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

BLOG INTERVIEW - Somdev Dev Varman

When Somdev Dev Varman won the NCAA championship in May this year, it caught the Indian media by surprise. The 22-year-old had become the first Indian winner of the premier American collegiate event, emulating the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe.

Surely, it was time for Dev Varman to say goodbye to the University of Virginia and turn professional. After all, the man he beat in the NCAA final - American John Isner - is already making waves on the ATP Tour. And doesn't India desperately need a male Sania Mirza?

For the moment, Dev Varman is content playing the occasional ATP tournament - he was last seen in action as a wildcard at the Kingfisher Airlines Open, Mumbai.

In this exclusive interview, Dev Varman told The Indian Tennis Blog he isn't ready to put away his books till May next year.

Several people are astonished that you seem to be putting your college degree over tennis. When are you going to turn professional?
I'm planning on turning pro after I graduate and finish up the NCAA team and individual tournament in May 2008. I feel graduating and getting a degree from the University of Virginia is a special thing and I've enjoyed my time there so far. I have no regrets of returning to school and hope to help my team be the frontrunners for a national championship this year.
Do you think staying back in India would have hindered your career?
No, I don't think it would have at all. Going to college was just another option for my life and my tennis. Indian tennis is growing and we're developing many juniors thanks to the efforts of the organisations in control.
Which tennis player is your idol and which is your favourite surface?
It's hard not to like Federer. He's a great player and represents the sport in the best way possible. I like playing on hard and clay.
John Isner, the player you beat in the NCAA final, is now the talk of the ATP tour for his meteoric rise up the rankings. Any comments?
John is a great player and a good friend. I'm a bit surprised that he has made his move this quickly but I thought it was going to happen sooner or later for sure. His serve is absolutely enormous and he's very mentally tough and focused. I'm happy for him and hopefully I'll be able to join him there soon after I graduate.
Can we see you playing more events in India in the future?
I would love to play some events in India if I'm given the opportunity.
What apart from playing tennis gives you a high?
Apart from playing tennis, I enjoy playing pretty much any sport. I love hanging out with friends and having a good time. I also love listening to music and watching movies in my free time.
(This interview was first published on The Indian Tennis Blog)
Should Somdev Dev Varman turn professional?
Yes - he's wasting his best formative years
No - he will peak gradually this way
Can't say
  
pollcode.com free polls
Other Exclusive Interviews on this blog

Sona Mohapatra
Mahesh Dattani
Ruchi Narain
Will Bigham
Shiva Keshavan
Ravi Godse
Suman Ghosh

Sunday, September 30, 2007

India's best bet at the Oscar awards

India needs help deciding which film should be its official entry for the 80th edition of the Academy Awards. While officials and filmmakers squabble over India's best bet in the Best Foreign Film category, you should vote for your choice.

The background so far: Filmmaker Bhavna Talwar thinks her film 'Dharm' was given the boot because some jury members were biased towards 'Eklavya - The Royal Guard' director Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

Talwar has taken the matter to court and the issue will only be resolved on October 10. But does either film deserve to be sent to the Oscars?

Should the Tamil film 'Paruthiveeran' - which won the Best Indian Film award at the Osian's-Cinefan film festival in July - have been selected? Did the hockey-playing damsels of 'Chak De India' stand a better chance of triumphing at the Kodak Theatre finale on February 24, 2008. Or would Mani Ratnam's 'Guru' have gone all the way.

Is there no film this year which can compare to 'Lagaan' and 'Salaam Bombay'?

You decide. If your choice is not on this list (but eligible for the Oscar awards next year), write to me at toeknee@gmail.com or leave a comment on this post. And do participate in the poll.

ALSO READ
Why Chak De India won't win an Oscar
What India won at the Oscars earlier this year
List of 2006 Oscar nominees and winners
Which film should be India's Oscar entry?
Guru
Chak De India
Paruthiveeran (Tamil)
Dharm
Eklavya - The Royal Guard
Gandhi My Father
Cheeni Kum
Life in a ...Metro
My choice is not on this list
No Indian film in 2007 worth it
  
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, September 28, 2007

Shilpa Shetty arrested over Richard Gere kiss!!!

Just when you thought British newspapers and websites had all but forgotten about Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty, here comes the latest salvo against Indian prudishness.

Several biggies in the British media went overboard on Thursday, reporting on their websites that the Bollywood actress had been arrested over her kiss with Richard Gere.

For the record, the actress had not been arrested at all. Apparently, some immigration officials at Mumbai airport were still in the dark about a Supreme Court ruling allowing the actress to travel overseas.

Shetty was questioned for a few minutes before being allowed to proceed to Berlin for the premiere of her musical Miss Bollywood.

So much for martyrdom at the hands of India's moral police. Soon this episode will be forgotten in Britain and Shilpa Shetty will once again fade from public memory like she had in the past few months.

ALSO READ
Is Shilpa Shetty's UK honeymoon over?

Shilpa Shetty's career
is better than ever
is down in the dumps
can't say
who is Shilpa Shetty?
  
pollcode.com free polls

Ben Kingsley as Shakespeare and Shahjehan

English playwright William Shakespeare and Mughal emperor Shahjehan were contemporaries - though it is doubtful either knew of the other's existence. Four centuries later, Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley is playing both historical figures in two different films.

First up is the one on Shakespeare, based on a novel about a meeting between The Bard and his lawyer as he prepares his last Will and testament.

The second is a film about the making of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Kingsley, 63, will essay the role of Shahjehan who built the marble monument in the memory of his wife Mumtaz, played by Aishwarya Rai.

Shooting for both films is slated to begin in 2008.

And what of the Indian Express report which had Kingsley playing spiritual teacher Osho Rajneesh in the Guru of Sex?

Seems Kingsley, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's 1982 film, is trying to catch up on his history.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Aishwarya Rai - pregnant or not?

So is Aishwarya Rai pregnant? Well, given that the first rumours of her pregnancy surfaced in late July and there is still no tell-tale bump as we head into October 2007, I guess it's safe to assume that she's not.

Rai and hubby Abhishek Bachchan have been denying it from the start but journalists citing information from reliable sources had been keeping speculation alive for weeks. And given the number of hits my previous post on the subject was getting, it seemed plenty of Aishwarya fans were curious too.

The celebrity couple were last seen walking hand-in-hand in Boston where Aishwarya was busy shooting for her latest Hollywood venture The Next Pink Panther.

(Photo Credit: KCS/Splash News)
Is Aishwarya Rai pregnant?
Yes, look at the top she's wearing
No, it's all just a rumour
Can't say
Who cares? She'll reveal it when she wants
  
pollcode.com free polls

Saturday, September 22, 2007

And Delhi's best FM radio station is

Believe it or not, Meow! 104.8 FM has been voted Delhi's most popular FM radio station in a poll conducted on this blog.

The Just-for-Women initiative had been the newbie on the block, making its debut on Delhi's airwaves some three months ago. But it must have done something right to get 28 percent of the votes cast in the poll.

Hit 95 FM finished in second place with 20 percent, finishing just one vote ahead of Fever 104 FM.

The three were the leaders in the pack, with only 11 percent going Radio City 91.1 FM's way. And six percent voted Red 93.5 FM into fifth place.

Before the radio stations see red over these results, let me clarify that this poll had a strong online bias - the votes came from 166 random surfers.

FULL RESULTS HERE

RADIO TALK FROM THE ARCHIVES
Adam moos better than Amit Varma's cows
Delhi's "all talk" radio station
Getting high on Fever 104
Ten hits in a row, anyone?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Now a Finn blogs about Bollywood

One would have thought natives of Finland won't know much about India, so it was a pleasant surprise to come across a Finn blogging about Bollywood in Finnish.

Anu, 29, is so enamoured by the Indian film industry that her blog is choc-a-bloc with photos of several Bollywood actors.

She even calls herself Anuradha on the blog because she's "fallen in love with India".

But why does she prefer Bollywood films? Anu told Toe Knee Unplugged she's sick of answering the same old question.

"Bollywood films are lovely, romantic and very good music! I love them! I understand that with English subtitles."
Anu and her husband first visited India in 1998 and have been here several times since. They even met Aishwarya Rai at a Goa hotel in 2003 when the former Miss World was filming Kyon Ho Gaya Na.

Their 7-year-old daughter loves Indian clothes like the salwar-kameez as much as her mother does, though Anu admits the sari is a tad too difficult to wear.

What was the strangest thing she saw in India?

"Nothing," she says at first. And then has an afterthought. "Maybe naked gurus."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is Shilpa Shetty's UK honeymoon over?

She has a musical in hand, a perfume to her name and fashion shows to grace - but at 32, is that all Shilpa Shetty can achieve?

When Shilpa won Celebrity Big Brother, she was perhaps the only Indian any Briton recognised - except maybe Mahatma Gandhi. And the buzz was she was headed for superstardom and a film with Hugh Grant. She even met the Queen.

What now?

Well, she did make the headlines once again but only for the infamous Richard Gere kiss. Won India's Rajiv Gandhi National Quality award (for what I wonder). Her S square perfume is doing well. And this month, Shilpa was the most famous Bollywood celebrity to walk the ramp at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

And what of her projects?

- Her musical Miss Bollywood opens in Berlin at the end of this month. Why not in Britain, I wonder?

- She's apparently producing a DVD on yoga. Aimed at plump British ladies, I guess.

- Is she really being considered for the next Bond film? Did she actually refuse The Pink Panther? Or is all this just a publicity gimmick.

- No news of her turn as Sita in the international version of Hanuman nor the much-delayed Quick Slip Me A Bride

- The producers of a Kannada film starring Shilpa in her pre-Big Brother days are releasing a dubbed version of it, hoping to cash in on her new-found fame. It's apparently called Shilpa: The Big Don. But Shilpa's not amused.

- She's busy denying an affair with a married man (a UK-based businessman) and fighting several legal battles.

And this is what the UK media has to say -

The Telegraph: After a Celebrity Big Brother debacle that saw Jade Goody and her henchwomen reviled as racists, she achieved saint status on an unprecedented scale. Next to Shetty, Mother Teresa looked like a kitten-drowning deviant...There is a palpable chilliness about her. While the hotel room we're in is as baking as a Kew hothouse, from Shetty herself there emanates little genuine warmth...In the absence of any tangible talent other than dancing skills and a forgiving way with racist oiks, the brutally short attention span of the Heat-reading masses will see to it that she is over before she ever really got going.

Daily Mail: If Shilpa's popularity is indeed beginning to wane, many blame her domineering mother and her agent.

Me thinks

Shilpa should come back to earth and forget about the UK for a while. Life in a Metro wasn't so bad. Shilpa acts well enough and she won't have much trouble finding roles back home in India.

ALSO ON THIS BLOG
SPOOF - Shilpa nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
DAILY HIGHLIGHTS of Shilpa on Big Brother
Shilpa wins: The final moments
Day 26
Day 25
Day 24
Day 23
Day 22
Day 21
Day 20
Day 19
Day 18
Day 17
Day 16
Day 15
Day 14
Day 13
Day 12
Day 11: Part Two
Day 11
Day 10: Part Two
Day 10
Day 9
Day 8
Day 7
Day 6
Day 5
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1


VIDEOS
The Best of Shilpa Shetty on Big Brother
And the winner is - Shilpa Shetty
Day 19 - Shilpa's Aunt Jameela act

Shilpa Shetty's career
is better than ever
is down in the dumps
can't say
who is Shilpa Shetty?
  
pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Notes from the India Fashion Week

Yes, I did promise you guys I'll be blogging live from the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. But I couldn't. Was just too tired.

Since it was my first Fashion Week, the winged chariot of Time passed swiftly by as I struggled with terms like A-line dresses, blouson and leg-of-mutton. And fabrics like soyabean lycra.

Why, why, why can't press releases for fashion events be written from the common man's perspective?

Five days later, despite hours spent Googling and rereading collection write-ups, I am not much better off.

I guess covering fashion events is a skill directly proportional to the number of fashion events one attends. Some reporters, having covered this sort of thing for eons, were already on "embracing" terms (no pun intended) with designers while I was the notebook-in-hand "Excuse me, Mr Rathore/Bal/Tahiliani" type.

By the end, I was so sick of the Fashion Week I could have easily blown up Hall no. 7 of Pragati Maidan, had a stick of dynamite been within my grasp.

Then the grand finale happened. And after an agonising wait of an-hour-and-a-half, I caught my first glimpse of 'Siyaahi'. Rohit Bal's phenomenal new "ink-stained" range was undeniably the best collection of the five-day extravaganza.

Add his little jig after the show, the touching gesture of inviting the late Rohit Khosla's mom and dad to grace the stage, the tough act of convincing fellow designers to walk on the ramp - and you know why Bal is the ultimate showman of fashion.

It also explains why his was the only show, apart from Tarun Tahiliani's "Shilpa Shetty studded" event, to get a standing ovation.

All I can say now is - Mr Bal, I'll be back next year.

Here's my official coverage of the Fashion Week -
Preview - Hotel? Nah! Destination Pragati Maidan
Day 1: Posh Beckham in Varanasi
Day 2: Shilpa Shetty sizzles
Day 3: Phone-in fashion
Day 4: Blow Blow Isabella Blow
Day 5: Ink-stained gowns
India Fashion Week competes with New York
Delhi's plastic bags go chic at Paris Fashion Week

[Photo: From a preview of one of Rohit Bal's dresses]

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fashion, fashion everywhere...

The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week opens tomorrow and between 12 pm and 12 am for the next five days, a bespectacled guy looking forlorn and lost will be seen roaming around in the sprawling Pragati Maidan complex, trying to come to terms with the fact that covering a Fashion Week is not a suitable pastime for those who find nirvana in watching romantic comedies on HBO.

For live coverage of Delhi's premier fashion event, keep watching this space.

September 2007 Blog Mela: Nominate now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the September Blog Mela being hosted here on September 26



Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-22 September, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on September 22 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Faakhir back with new album

Remember Mahi Ve? A beautiful mix of jazz, melody and a rocking video made this song a rage in India when it was released as part of the Mantra album in 2005.

Well, Pakistani singer and composer Faakhir Mehmood is all set to bring out his next album. The popular musician will start production work on his latest project next week.

Faakhir told Toe Knee Unplugged he's busy "polishing" the melodies he's composed in the last three years. Well, given the number of hits this singer has churned out since his debut in 2000, the wait should be worth it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ruchi Narain's next is a short film with Raima

Filmmaker Ruchi Narain has just completed a short film with actress Raima Sen and she's pretty excited about it.

Narain, a protege of renowned director Sudhir Mishra, had won critical acclaim for her debut film Kal - Yesterday and Tomorrow in 2005.

Now returning after two years of Bollywood hibernation, the 30-something filmmaker isn't about to spill the beans on her latest project.


Apparently, the film's producers have put a communication ban in place. All Narain told Toe Knee Unplugged was -

"I've really taken advantage of the format and had a lot of fun with an experimental structure."
As for her next feature film, Narain said she is working on the script of a love story.

"It's coming out well. Hopefully we'll finish scripting in a month and be able to move on to the next stage."
There's more good news in store for the Narain family. Sibling Ashima's wildlife documentaries - In The Pink (about flamingos in Mumbai) and The Last Dance (about cruelty to sloth bears) - have been aired several times on Discovery channel and are now doing the rounds of various film festivals around the world.

Both films have also been nominated in the Wildlife Conservation category at the 4th CMS Vatavaran Environment and Wildlife Film Festival (12-16 September) in New Delhi.

BLOG INTERVIEW - Suman Ghosh

Meet Suman Ghosh. This professor of economics at the Florida Atlantic University has an unusual hobby - making films.

Beginning with a documentary on Amartya Sen, the world-famous economist who won the Nobel Prize in 1998, Ghosh has now moved on to directing feature films.

Ghosh's Bengali film Footsteps (Podokkhep) was screened in July as part of the Indian competition section of the Osian's Cinefan film festival in New Delhi.

Ghosh told Toe Knee Unplugged he is now working on an English film.

How has the response been for your debut feature Footsteps?

Footsteps has already been to around 10 film festivals worldwide. I was surprised by the overwhelming reaction. It felt nice to find out that certain issues cut across cultures.
Though I had framed the film with respect to a Kolkata background it was pretty universal. It was really satisfying to see people in Canada, Prague and other places react to things the same way.
Footsteps was released in Kolkata in January. Unfortunately in India regional films do not get a release nationwide.
You have worked with Nandita Das and Soumitra Chatterjee in your Bengali film. Which actors do you want to work with in the future?

I have no particular targets as far as working with so and so is concerned. It depends on the particular role. I can only say there are actors that I like currently, but as I said it does not necessarily mean that I will cast them and work with them. That said, I think Saif Ali Khan and Konkona are the two actors that are consistently churning out amazing performances. They never cease to amaze me.
What project are you working on next?

I am working on an English film next. I can't say anything more about the project now.
A professor who's also a filmmaker - how hard has it been juggling the two vocations?

I never think of it that way - juggling two vocations. I think one must enjoy whatever one is doing. So the fact that I am pursuing two professions is an artifact of the excitement involved. The moment I will stop getting excited about making films or doing research in Economics, I will stop it. I can't see myself forcing into something.
But yes, I would say that I am good at compartmentalizing my vocations. When I was making the movie in India - for six months I just forgot about my existence as an economist. Similarly, when I am working on a research project I seem to forget about films. I can manage this changeover quite effectively.
Other Exclusive Interviews on this blog

Sona Mohapatra
Mahesh Dattani
Ruchi Narain
Will Bigham
Shiva Keshavan
Ravi Godse

Mahesh Dattani hard at work on new film

Playwright Mahesh Dattani is busy working on his latest project - a feature film. But it could take months before someone finds out what it's about.

The Bangalore-loving playwright who made his mark in filmdom with Mango Souffle and the Oscar-nominated Morning Raga is not revealing much at the moment.

Who will star in it? Will Shabana Azmi return after Morning Raga?

But Dattani's lips are sealed.

All he told Toe Knee Unplugged was -

"Madly working on the screenplay. I do have a few actors who are interested but it is a bit premature to mention names right now."
There's more good news in store for the 48-year-old writer. His play Double Deal starring Mahesh Manjrekar and Sandhya Mridul is doing quite well and was staged in Lucknow recently.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 2007 Blog Mela

Lokesh Dhakar comes to the rescue of people who can't order a cup of coffee

Deepa used to think being North Indian was cool

Great Bong caught General Musharraf flying full mast

Falstaff remembers his own tryst with destiny

eM wonders why those born with a uterus are put into a special category

Gawker hits out at razor blade manufacturers

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007

Wanna get featured in next month's Blog Mela? Visit this blog in the first week of September for nomination guidelines

BLOG INTERVIEW - Will Bigham

Meet Will Bigham. The 31-year-old Texan triumphed over 12,000 other entrants to win the American reality show for filmmakers, On the Lot. The prize - a $1 million development deal with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Pictures.

Each week on the show, contestants created short films on a theme chosen by the producers. The finished films were then screened in front of a live studio audience while millions of television viewers voted for their favourite work.

Bigham, a great visual storyteller, was a formidable contender from the very beginning and beat 18 short-listed filmmakers, including Indian American Shalini Kantayya, to the grand prize.

The actor-turned-editor-turned-director loves Bollywood films and told Toe Knee Unplugged he wants to start work on a comedy.

What kind of feature film would you want to make now - a comedy, drama...?

I love comedies, and with On the Lot, that was the genre I chose to show the public week after week. I think the first feature I direct is more than likely going to be some type of comedy.
Which actors would you want to direct in the future? Would you continue acting as well?

There are several top actors that I would love to have a chance to work with. Too many to name. Coming from an acting background, I respect any actor who is willing to take a risk and make bold character choices. I would love to continue acting in the future, but for now, I'm going to focus on directing.
Which of Shalini's On the Lot films did you like best?

I enjoyed Shalini's Dr. In-Law. I had a chance to work with her on the script, as we all helped each other from time to time. It was a very collaborative atmosphere. But I thought that Shalini was able to find some really funny moments.
Have you watched a Bollywood film? Any thoughts on featuring Indian themes in your future projects?

I love Bollywood films. Visually, they are some of the best out there. I've never considered featuring Indian themes in my movies, but I would never rule it out. One of the greatest things about film making is that you can explore different aspects of this vast world in each of your projects. And everything you see (movies, art, architecture) informs the visual choices you make.
Other Exclusive Interviews on this blog

Sona Mohapatra
Mahesh Dattani
Ruchi Narain
Shiva Keshavan
Ravi Godse

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bigham wins big on the Lot

Will Bigham is the last man left standing in the On the Lot reality show for filmmakers - winning a million dollar picture deal with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks Pictures.

The 31-year-old American had been my favourite on the weekly show where TV audiences voted for the best short films made by contestants.

Bigham's Nerve Endings is my favourite film on the show this season. You can watch it and other On The Lot hits here. Meanwhile, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Bigham's first Hollywood blockbuster.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Why Chak De won't win an Oscar

Chak De India is a good film. Unfortunately, taking home an Oscar needs more than a good film. I may be treading dangerous ground here but fans of Shahrukh Khan are likely to be disappointed when Chak De doesn't make the Oscar shortlist.

Chak De is not your typical Bollywood kitsch. Granted. But there's nothing new about an underdog team striving against all odds to win a team championship. A bit like Remember the Titans and the dozens of the sports flicks before it.

Remember Lagaan? At least, it had the colonial angle. Here it's national integration and gender inequality.

Must say director Shimit Alam has taken advantage of a brilliant screenplay. Add some good acting by Khan and his pan-Indian wards. Plus a release date the week before Independence Day when patriotic fervour is likely to be at its peak. And you have a winner on your hands.

A well-made film that will do extremely well in multiplexes. But story and acting alone does not an Oscar-winning film make. There would be calls to make Chak De India India's official entry for the Oscars but it's a lost cause.

P.S. For those who watched the film, don't you think the fight sequence at McDonalds was a bit over the top?

Parking Blues


(Link via Reddit)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Vishal Bharadwaj: Leery of Lear?

Will it be King Lear or Hamlet? After Maqbool (Macbeth) and Omkara (Othello), fans are wondering which Shakespearean play will filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj attempt next.

Speculation had been rife that the Indian filmmaker would choose King Lear as the basis for the third and final film of his Shakespeare trilogy. But Bharadwaj told Toe Knee Unplugged he hasn't decided yet.

"I do have to complete my trilogy but many filmmakers are making films on Shakespeare's plays so I haven't decided yet."
Was Bharadwaj referring to Rituparno Ghosh's take on King Lear? Ghosh's The Last Lear has Amitabh Bachchan playing a failed and ageing Shakespearean actor. The film premieres at the Toronto film festival in September.

Perhaps, Bharadwaj should stick to his original plan - that of making Julius Caesar. He had even thought of having Sanjay Dutt and Irrfan Khan play the pivotal roles of Caesar and Mark Antony. But with Dutt's incarceration, that plan seems to have fizzled out.

For now, Bharadwaj is revelling in the success of his award-winning children's film The Blue Umbrella and busy working on his next film - a docudrama.

So is the Bard of Avon on hold for now? Yes, but you guys can help Bharadwaj out. Should he go in for a Shakespearean tragedy, comedy or tragi-comedy?

Bharadwaj's next film should be based on
King Lear
Julius Caesar
Hamlet
Antony and Cleopatra
Romeo and Juliet
Coriolanus
Much Ado About Nothing
As You Like It
The Tempest
The Taming of the Shrew
  
pollcode.com free polls

Monday, August 13, 2007

REVIEW: There's no myth about Mithya

If you thought Bheja Fry was excellent, wait till you watch Mithya (The Imposter Who Wasn't). This time around, Rajat Kapoor wields the director's baton in a satire set in the Mumbai underworld.

Funny man Ranvir Shorey plays an aspiring actor who has an uncanny resemblance to a don. This gives rival gangster Naseeruddin Shah a brainwave. Kill the original and replace him with the reluctant imposter.

Shorey is forced to accept the role of a lifetime - no Oscar for him though. His lone friend in the world is Naseer's moll Neha Dhupia. Things go wrong when the imposter loses his memory in an accident and starts believing he actually is a don. How will he get out of this mess?

Reminds you of Don, doesn't it? Well, the story line may not be original, but Kapoor's treatment leaves viewers rolling in the aisles. If you always thought of Shorey as that VJ dude, he's going to surprise you in this film. The guy can really act the part of an endearing loser.

Shorey can't hog all the credit though. Kapoor and Saurabh Shukla's gripping screenplay does the trick, ably supported by superb performances by Naseer, Vinay Pathak and Ikhlaque Khan.

Neha Dhupia can't act though but who cares? She fits well into her role as a flop actress and gangster Naseer's companion.

Rajat Kapoor reveals that the script of Mithya had been lying with him for 9 years with no producer willing to take the risk. Were it not for multiplex culture, films like Bheja Fry and Mithya would never have been made, he says.

The good news is that Kapoor's tribute to Hollywood gangster films generated some good vibes at last month's Osian's-Cinefan film festival and this bodes well for its September 2007 release.

Verdict: **** A worthy successor to the Bheja Fry genre of films

Exclusive Coverage of Osian's-Cinefan 2007 film festival

Sunday, August 12, 2007

August 2007 Blog Mela: Nominate Now

Did you just come across a quirky, interesting or something-that-tugs-at-your-heartstrings blog? If yes, feel free to nominate it for the August Blog Mela being hosted here on August 26



Blog Mela Rules
- Posts must have been written by Indians or have an Indian angle
- Only posts published between 1-22 August, 2007 would be accepted
- If possible, please nominate individual posts, not the whole blog
- Feel free to nominate something you have written. Immodesty appreciated
- You can nominate as many blog posts as you like - provided you really like them
- Only nominations received before midnight on August 22 will be featured
- No, you don't get any moolah for nominating or getting featured in the Blog Mela. That could change once I am a millionaire but for now you'll just have to bear with me
- Yours truly reserves the right to nominate good posts which you ignore

How to Nominate
- Leave a comment on this post OR better still - Mail me at toeknee (at) gmail (dot) com

Check out previous Blog Melas
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007

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