Nawazuddin Siddiqui's portrayal of Ramanna is spot-on. The glint in his eye, snarl on his face, menace in his voice – all enough to give you chills. Shot in squalid slums and deserted godowns, Jay Oza’s camera twists and turns through narrow alleys, ably capturing horror unfolding on screen. Read more | Q&A with Anurag Kashyap
A new Bollywood film gives a rare glimpse into the exploitation and enslavement of women in India's drug trade, highlighting how the stigma surrounding women drug users leaves them vulnerable to abuse. 'Udta Punjab' (Flying Punjab), directed by Abhishek Chaubey and released last week, shows how one of India's most prosperous states has been blighted by drug use. Full Article
It is to the credit of the four actors and the ensemble cast that “Udta Punjab” is mostly a triumph. For all the controversy surrounding this film and its print being leaked two days before release, the main talking point about “Udta Punjab” should be that it is, by far, one of the best-acted Bollywood films in the last few years. That alone is worth the price of your ticket, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Review
Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Dhanak” (Rainbow) is a two-year-old film that is releasing in cinemas now after having done the rounds of festivals all over the world. The 106-minute film focuses on siblings Pari and Chotu, who live in a village in Rajasthan with their slacker of an uncle and a wicked aunt — a staple character in old Bollywood movies, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Review
An official remake of a 2013 Korean film, “Te3n” focuses on John Biswas (Amitabh Bachchan) and his attempts to find his grand-daughter’s kidnapper eight years after she dies during a ransom handover gone awry. Despite having a lot of things going for it, “Te3n” doesn’t pass the first test of a thriller – it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar Full Coverage
Watching the first “Housefull” film six years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine a movie with so much inanity could spawn not one, but two sequels and be called a ‘film franchise’. Thanks to the vagaries of the Indian film market and the mystery that is the Bollywood movie watcher, we are faced with “Housefull 3“, a film that should never have been made, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Review
In nearly a decade of composing for Hindi films, Amit Trivedi has kept his music fresh and evolving. A self-confessed fan of A. R. Rahman, Trivedi’s scores for “Kai Po Che“, “Ishaqzaade” and Dev D have found him plenty of fans in Bollywood. But when it came to composing for Abhishek Chaubey‘s “Udta Punjab”, a film about a rock singer addicted to narcotics, Trivedi said he had to be extra cautious. Q&A
The idea of isolating a mentally ill person rather than getting her help seems stupid, but once you get over this flaw in the script, the director manages to produce the required thrills and chills that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Thanks to Apte’s acting, some well-utilised background music and lots of false alarms, “Phobia” manages to convey Mehak’s fears and illusions very well. Review
Ram Gopal Varma brings together a bunch of bad actors in “Veerappan” and eggs them on towards even more mediocrity. Based on events leading up to the death of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan who operated from the forests of South India, Varma manages to make this at best a one-dimensional tale about a police officer and his arch enemy, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Review
“Azhar” is an unmitigated disaster only because of its relentless idolization of an obviously flawed man. A more subtle, honest and casual admission of the cricketer’s repeated lapses in judgments would perhaps have made him look less greedy, and more deserving of sympathy and forgiveness, writes Anupriya Kumar. Full Article
“Nil Battey Sannata” (a slang for incompetent) is a charming little film that shines a light on people we tend to overlook in movies and in our daily lives – domestic helps. The screenplay can’t escape a few bumps, and some scenes come across as gimmicky. But these are small hiccups in what is otherwise a film that is bound to bring a smile to your face, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Review
Syed Ahmad Afzal’s “Laal Rang” is supposed to be inspired by true incidents surrounding illegal blood trade in India. The narrative is thin and repetitive, and the film relies mostly on the charms of its two leading men to carry the burden of a middling screenplay. The dialogue lacks spark and the director takes his own sweet time getting to the conclusion, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar Review
Maneesh Sharma counts himself as a Shah Rukh Khan fan. He met the Bollywood superstar when he was a struggling screenwriter and dreamed of making a film about a fan obsessed with an actor. Nearly a decade later, Sharma’s film starring Khan in a double role as an actor and his lookalike fan opened in Indian cinemas. Read | Review
R.Balki fills "Ki and Ka" with more stereotypes than you can count. In the guise of a film about a progressive man who stays home while his wife lives the corporate dream, we get a movie that makes sweeping generalizations about both genders. Why make a real film about real people when you can stereotype, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar Read
A fantasy epic billed as India’s most expensive movie was named the best film of 2015 at the National Awards, while Bollywood swept the acting and directing honours in a rare triumph for the Hindi film industry. “Baahubali“ captured the imagination of audiences across India with its top-notch special effects and grossed nearly $90 million at the global box office. Full Article
A remake of the Korean film “The Man From Nowhere”, Nishikant Kamat’s “Rocky Handsome” stars John Abraham as a hulking man-robot who seems capable of the most complicated stunts and ruthless killings, but is unable to muster up basic emotions. The movie is solid proof that Bollywood can ruin even the most straightforward of remakes. Full Article
Shakun Batra‘s “Kapoor and Sons” is a beautifully shot, perfectly airbrushed family drama set in the hill station of Coonoor in southern India. The word ‘dysfunctional’ has made its way to the publicity material for the film, but film-maker Batra’s version of dysfunctional is superficial at best, almost as if he is afraid of getting his hands too dirty and sullying the near perfect visage of his film. Read | Interview
If the publicity material of Prakash Jha’s “Jai Gangaajal” is to be believed, this is the story of a woman police officer trying to take on and win against the system, but the biggest twist in this tale is that it’s not. Priyanka Chopra’s face adorns every poster of the film, but the real hero and the one who gets the most screen time is Jha, playing Chopra’s subordinate, a crooked police officer. Review
LIGHTS, CAMERA ... CASH!
With smartphone sales booming and India preparing for nationwide 4G Internet access, India's film and TV industry hopes the ease of tapping your phone for the latest release will generate profits at last, overcoming the problems of woefully few cinemas and rampant piracy. Full Article
The Indian film industry is changing and films no longer have to have a song and dance sequence to be successful, superstar Shah Rukh Khan said. "The younger filmmakers and everyone, they know that, you know, we don’t need to just shove in a song anymore," he said. Full Article | Video
NEW DELHI Indian counter-terrorism officials on Wednesday arrested five men on suspicion of plotting a series of attacks across the country on behalf of Islamic State, two intelligence officials said.
NEW DELHI Essar Oil, the top Indian buyer of Iranian oil, has this month cleared $500 million of a debt owed to Tehran, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage education activist who survived a near-fatal attack by the Taliban, and her family have become millionaires in under four years due to sales of a book about her life and appearances on the global speaker circuit.
LONDON/BRUSSELS A government overhaul of the British Steel Pension Scheme - crucial to convincing anyone to buy Tata's British assets – is in jeopardy after Britons' vote to leave the European Union deepened the fund's debts and depleted its assets, analysts and industry sources said.
NEW YORK Oil prices jumped nearly 3 percent on Wednesday after the U.S. government reported a larger-than-expected weekly drawdown in crude inventories, adding fuel to an existing rally on fading concerns over Britain's exit from the European Union.
NEW YORK Stock markets around the world rebounded for the second straight day on Wednesday as fears about last week's Brexit vote eased and investors wagered central banks would ultimately ride to the rescue with more stimulus.
NEW DELHI India has lifted a ban on trade of specified items with Iran after some western sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation were lifted earlier this year, the government said in a notification on Wednesday.