Top Bollywood director Karan Johar said on Tuesday he will not work with Pakistani actors again, days after a right-wing party threatened to block his upcoming film’s release in India. "Going forward, I would like to say that, of course, I will not engage with talent from the neighbouring country, given the circumstance," Johar said in a video statement on Tuesday. Full Article
The Mumbai Film Festival, which was almost cancelled two years ago due to lack of funds, has been given a new leash of life by sponsors such as Reliance Jio and Star. Festival Director Anupama Chopra spoke to Reuters about the challenges of running a festival and whether too much of Bollywood can be a good thing for an event that once stayed far away from the Hindi film industry. Full Article
Sanjeev Sharma’s “Saat Uchakkey” (Seven Loafers) is a supposedly absurdist comedy about seven wastrels who plan a treasure heist in an ancient mansion. The film begins in a mental hospital, where a gullible young doctor is told of the legend of Bichchi, the institution’s most dangerous inmate who’s been in solitary confinement for 20 years. Full Article
Irrfan Khan is just back from Florence in Italy where he attended the premiere of his latest Hollywood project - Ron Howard’s “Inferno”, based on Dan Brown’s best-selling book. He spoke to Reuters about his role in the film, diversity in Hollywood, and why more Indian actors will cross over to the West. Full Article
In the most complex of Punjab’s tragic love stories, Sahiban dooms her lover Mirza to death rather than have him kill her family. Why she did that has remained an unanswered question till now. And by his own admission, it was this very mystery that compelled Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to make “Mirzya”, a modern-day take on the age-old tale. Full Article | Harshvardhan Kapoor on his ambition
Neeraj Pandey’s “M S Dhoni: An Untold Story” opens with a story that has been told a thousand times. It is no surprise that this official biopic begins and ends with that pivotal match. The scenes in between are packed with three hours of cricket, some song and dance and a lot of Sushant Singh Rajput. Full Article
The three leading ladies in “Parched” shine in parts, but their performances are hampered by some predictable writing and a director who seems to treat her characters and setting as a tourist rather than someone with an insider's point of view. The film therefore seems a little too contrived to be a memorable tale of women empowerment. Full Article
If you saw Ravi Jadhav's "Banjo" without any knowledge of his filmography, you'd think this was an amateur effort rather than a film by an accomplished director. Jadhav, who made the wonderful "Balak Palak" and "Natsamrat" in Marathi, seems to have lost his mojo during the transition to Hindi films and slides deep into mediocrity and cliches. Full Article
Some of the scenes in "Pink" are wonderfully handled and the acting, especially by the three lead actresses, is top-notch. But the lack of attention to detail makes you wish the makers had paid some attention to how basic court procedures are handled. The film is largely a triumph that talks about a burning topic and finds an entertaining way to do it. Review
Shoojit Sircar is happy that his first project as a producer is being praised for boldly talking about the issues of sexual assault and consent. The film-maker spoke to Reuters about the significance of the message in “Pink”, whether or not he ghost-directed it, and what Bollywood is doing wrong. Full Article
The Indian film industry needs to break out of its mould and produce more hard-hitting films that challenge its audience, veteran actor Om Puri said. Puri, who has acted in both Hollywood and Bollywood and was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire), said Indian filmmakers should draw on the country's rich culture and history. Full Article
Under the flimsy cover of a sports film, “Freaky Ali” is just another Bollywood ‘good guy versus bad guy’ movie. This is an unabashedly populist film that makes no attempt to actually understand the sport at the centre of it. Every character is a caricature and every plot point already seen in a thousand other films. Full Article
For a debutant director, Nitya Mehra has an impressive resume. The Amritsar-born filmmaker has assisted Mira Nair in “The Namesake” and Ang Lee in his Oscar-winning “Life of Pi”. She also worked on the Indian version of the TV series “24” and assisted Farhan Akhtar on the crime thriller “Don 2”. Full Article
In A R Murugadoss’ action film “Akira”, Sonakshi Sinha plays the eponymous protagonist, a feisty college student who is being chased down by four corrupt police officers. In an industry flooded with macho heroes who save damsels in distress, Akira is an exception – a girl who fights for herself and punches the men where it hurts, writes Shila Jamkhandikar. Full Article
In Ruchika Oberoi’s anthology, three strangers and their fates interconnect in unexpected ways, giving us an intimate and wonderfully observed film about people who are, in some form or the other, isolated and desperately looking for an anchor in their lives. Set in Mumbai but with characters that could belong anywhere, Oberoi manages to sketch the lives of three lonely people eloquently. Read
There are many limitations in Remo D’Souza's repertoire as a director but in “A Flying Jatt”, he combines humour, a social message and out-of-this-world fight sequences to give us a film that looks like a box-office winner, even though it won't win any prizes for film-making. Full Article
Mudassar Aziz’s “Happy Bhag Jayegi” is a romantic comedy about a runaway bride who wants to escape an unwanted alliance, but lands in more trouble than she bargained for. The plan goes awry and she lands not in the arms of the man she loves, but in another country. Full Article
Not many Bollywood film stars go from the big screen to television, but the Indian actor and producer Anil Kapoor has not had a traditional career. "People say that movie stars and big movie stars don't do television because from the big screen you're in everybody's bedroom, it's small screen. So that risk was there," Kapoor told Reuters in an interview in London. Full Article
Anupam Sharma’s “UnIndian” is the quintessential film for Indian expats - full of great locations, pretty houses and a thousand clichÃ©s about Indians and their ways. Set in Australia, but mostly among the Indian community there, the film is a somewhat clunky effort at a cross-cultural romance, with a predictable conflict and resolution, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar. Full Article
Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Mohenjo Daro” is supposed to be a historical epic that recreates one of the oldest-known civilizations and one that can still give us important lessons on democracy, the environment and good governance. Unfortunately, those lessons hardly get a chance to come to the fore, hidden behind tacky sets and a singularly one-toned film that never manages to create enough drama or entertainment. 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
MUMBAI Sachin Bhadrasen Jaiswar goes from door to door in a middle class neighbourhood outside Mumbai measuring India's economic pulse, one of hundreds of survey takers working for private firms aiming to fill a gap - the lack of reliable data.
NEW DELHI The World Medical Association (WMA), the top medical-ethics body, on Friday installed an Indian doctor facing corruption charges as its president, despite controversy surrounding his appointment while legal cases are pending.
MUMBAI/BENGALURU Physical gold demand in Asia firmed up this week on strong buying by leading consumer China while prices in India were at a premium for the first time in several months ahead of the festive season.
SAN FRANCISCO/BOSTON The apparent lack of interest in Twitter Inc by potential suitors may force the social media company to consider a route anathema to aspiring tech startups: a major restructuring and cutting some its nearly 4,000 employees.
BAGHDAD Islamic State launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk on Friday as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the jihadists' last major stronghold in Iraq.
LONDON British American Tobacco has offered to buy U.S. tobacco company Reynolds American Inc in a $47 billion deal that would bring together Newport, Kent and Pall Mall cigarettes in the world's biggest listed tobacco company.
BENGUET, Philippines/HONG KONG Typhoon Haima, the strongest storm to hit the Philippines in three years, killed at least 12 people and inundated vast tracts of rice and corn fields, officials in Manila said on Friday, before it took aim at Hong Kong.