#Jallikattu, #Oscars2021; #India; #MalayalamFilm; #Jallikattu
India/Canadian-Media: Malayalam film Jallikattu, directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, out of 27 films from different languages, was selected by the Film Federation of India and leads to India's official entry to the 93rd Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (Oscar) Awards 2021, media reports said.
Image: Jallikattu. Image credit: Wikipedia
"This year we received 27 final entries for selection...congratulations to the entire team of Jallikattu on being selected as our official entry to Oscars!" remarked Firdausul Hasan, President of Film Federation of India.
Jallikattu featuring Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept 6, 2019.
The plot of the film revolves around a bull which escapes from a slaughterhouse in a remote village in the hills. After its escape, all village men gather to hunt down the bull.
The Jury Committee chaired by Rahul Rawail met virtually this year keeping in mind the worldwide pandemic crisis. The decision was made by a simple majority among 14 Jury members as ‘Jallikattu’ the best film to represent our great Nation at the upcoming Oscar Awards.
"The 14 member Jury was touched by the rawness the film depicted, the complexity of human emotions with well fleshed out characters. We believe this is the right choice and we sincerely hope it gets further selected by the Academy in due course of time" said Rawail.
By Renu Mehta, Toronto
#Toronto; #FunnyBoy; #Canada'sOscarsAward; #HumanRightsFestival; #NewDelhi; #India; #OpeningFilmOfEnGendered
Toronto, Nov 7 (Canadian-Media): Deepa Mehta’s new film Funny Boy, selected as Canada’s entry for the Oscars, has now achieved another triumph. Based on a book by Shyam Selvadurai, the film has now been chosen as the opening film of EnGendered, a major Human Rights festival in New Delhi, India on Dec 10, media reports said.
Deepa Mehta. Image credit: Facebook page
The film, about Love and War, Conflict and Sexuality, is set amidst a background of Tamil oppression and resistance and narrates the story of Arjie (played by Arush Nand in childhood and Brandon Ingram as a teenager), a boy from an upper class Tamil family in Colombo who loves dressing up as a girl and cannot understand why he is called Funny. Growing up in Sri Lanka in the 70s and 80s, Arjie explores his sexuality in the film and comes of age at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Sri Lanka.
Funny Boy. Image credit: Hamilton-Mehta Production
Amidst a backdrop of intolerance for his sexuality, the narration explores the drifting relations between the Sinhalese majority community and the Tamil minorities, clearly weaving a picture of the genocide committed against the Tamils and depicting the repression of minorities amidst a background of turbulence and ethnic tension.
“From the very beginning, Deepa understood the book and loved it. I always had trust she would do it correctly,” says Selvadurai
It took the production house a year to cast for the film in several cities including London, Toronto and Colombo. The stellar cast includes several well-known names like Seema Biswas and Ali Kazmi as well as Agam Darshi, Brandon Ingram and Tracy Holsinger. 50 per cent of the principal cast comprises Sri Lankan/Tamil origin actors including Nimmi Harasgama as Amma, a Tamil Sinhalese British Sri Lanka award winning actor and writer; Shivantha Wijesinha as Jegan, award winning actor and singer/songwriter from Sri Lanka and Rehan Mudannayake as Shehan.
Funny Boy. Image credit: nowtoronto.com
“This is an international film and Deepa is an Indo-Canadian director,” says Damith Chandimal, LGBTQ+ and Human Rights Activist who attended a private underground screening of Funny Boy in Colombo.
“Deepa's cinematic language is very strong. It has the potential to go beyond language. In any case, it will be a film that will create a big discussion about Sri Lanka in the future. Anyway the best movie I've ever seen. A good door to start a conversation.”
“I watched Funny Boy, Shyam Selvadurai’s iconic Sri Lankan coming-of-age novel, filmed by the equally iconic Deepa Mehta,” says Ashok Ferrey, eminent Sri Lankan writer and novelist. “A film of pathos and charm, poetic and sad, I loved it! The questions put to the director afterwards (by Skype) were interesting in themselves, often revealing more about the questioner than the person questioned. Why did you use non-Tamil actors in Tamil roles? someone asked. ‘Because I chose actors for their ability, not race’, she answered. It would be so limiting if I were to be bound by race. The perfect answer.”
“Funny Boy may not be a flawless film, but it’s certainly an important one,” Shehan Karunatilaka, author and previous feature writer for The Guardian, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and the Economic Times. “It's almost four decades since the pogroms of 1983, and this is the first time I've seen it depicted on screen. This is sad, but unsurprising. We haven’t had many apologies or memorials for 1983, and don’t seem likely to. And we don't often do cinema from the point of view of the marginalised. Funny Boy has the power to break silences, and start conversations about justice, race, class, sexuality and our history's many mistakes. It's a picture that all Sri Lankans should see, and that any audience with a heart would enjoy. I hope it encourages more film-makers to turn their cameras on our Sri Lankan past.”
Image:Funny Boy. Image credit: Twitter handle
“For me, Funny Boy is a quintessentially Canadian story, and could have only been written by a Sri Lankan who had emigrated to Canada,” says Mehta in her press notes, whose work challenges traditions and stereotypes and is always daring, fearless and provocative. “The objectivity that Canada provides, through which we can look at our respective homelands is, I think this country’s greatest gift. It’s what I hope will give us a global understanding of the nature of the ‘Other’.”
The film airs on CBC TV and CBC Gem on December 4, 2020.
Courtesan is iconic part of Indian society... but it was different for me to explore her in new territory with Mira & others: Tabu
Toronto, Oct 16 (Canadian-Media): During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Geoff Macnaughton of TIFF catches up with Tanishka Maniktala playing Lata, Ishaan Khatter playing Maan, and Tabu playing Saida Bai in the film ‘A Suitable Boy,’ a primetime presentation recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media. The director of the film, Mira Nair’s six-part drama series is an adaptation of Vikram Seth’s famous novel about a young Indian woman's struggle to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India.
Canadian-Media's Editor/ Director, Asha Bajaj brings you the excerpts:
Ishan with Tabu. Image credit: Reddit.com
Geoff to Tanya (Tanishka): Tanya, congratulations on such a wonderful performance. Tell me which characteristics of Lata you were really drawn to when you first read the novel and the script? Can you describe the journey from getting a lead role in the BBC series, to working with Mira, Andrew, Ishaan, Tabu, to showcasing a film in a major film festival?
Tanya: I am still reading the novel and have not finished it yet. But even before I started reading it, I had a call with Nita, and we discussed Lata’s character and the story, and I had done an audition. Lata may not be the drop-dead gorgeous girl, but the characteristics that drew me most towards her were her simplicity both in her thoughts and actions, no pretenses, her confidence, her appealing charm, unmoved by the things around her. Being smart, and honest, she lives in her own bubble, has her own thoughts, is well-spoken, and speaks her mind. These characteristics of Lata motivated me to play Lata's character.
The journey feels really surreal. I cannot believe I am here. I am doing this with all of you! (laughter)
Tanishka. Image credit: Facebook Page
Geoff to Tabu: Tabu, your first international project was Mira’s 2006 film, ‘The Namesake’. What was it like to work with her again? How did you feel working with Mira on set, and what makes her a successful director?
Tabu: It felt like we were never away from each other and were just coming back. Mira feels like home and a family within my profession and industry. Coincidently Namesake showed in Toronto, and here we are again with ‘A Suitable Boy’. She is just the same, though with ten times more energy than she had in Namesake. It is always a celebration to work with Mira. When Mira offered me the role of a courtesan in ‘A Suitable Boy’, I stayed on. And then, the project kept getting bigger, and bigger and our family of actors kept getting larger and larger. Even though the courtesan has been an iconic part of Indian society, culture, entertainment, cinema, theater, it was different for me to explore her in new territory with Mira, Vikram, and Andrew and that was the most exciting part.
Besides her skills to get people together, she has an eye for talent and brings on board exactly the right people for her project, holds on to her relationships for all her people, she has worked with, for years and years. People have worked with her for 30 years and they are still working with her, and Mira has successfully extracted some great pieces of work. I know that even when I am 80 years old and if I am working in the movies, Mira will definitely work with me (everyone laughs). It is a beautiful thing, to be able to sustain a film family that keeps carrying on and with so much energy. One can totally depend on her aesthetic. I can close my eyes and go into a project and say Mira will take care of everything and will make a beautiful piece of work.
Geoff to Ishaan: With this being a period piece, do elements of production and aesthetic, whether it is art direction, or costume, or writing, help you as an actor embody your character?
Ishaan: I was very much supported by the elements of authentic production design, the costume, the location of the film, ‘A Suitable Boy’ which transports you, fuels the truth of performance, and reduces your work as an actor for yourself and for the audience. Working with Mira, for the first time, I felt that everybody in the crew was very much in sync, and energized, a tone that the director sets. The thing that struck me in my first meeting with Mira was that she almost felt at par if not more energized than I was about that audition. (laugher) . It was quite striking and true. (cross talk and laughter).
To Ishaan: The relationship between you as Maan and your father played by Ram Kapoor, is one of love and pain, and visible tension between both of you in some of these scenes. Do you think you elevated each other’s performances in those scenes and how?
Ishaan: The scenes demanded a lot of collaboration between the two actors. Being an affable person, and a collaborative actor, Ram, who played Mahesh Kapoor, directly informed my performance as Maan, and both Ram and I appear as a real father and son. They have their differences, especially Mann, being a dark horse of the family made it difficult for the father to keep him under the same roof and under control. Though several layers of love, genuine involvement, affection, and empathy are revealed in these six episodes in six hours, the evolution of their relationships is very distinct.
#TIFF2020, #Bollywood, # TIFF, #MiraNair, #ASuitablaBoy
Toronto, Oct 14 (Canadian-Media): During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Geoff Macnaughton, Senior Director, Industry & Theatrical/Lead Programmer, Primetime at TIFF, catches up with Mira Nair, director of ‘A Suitable Boy,’ a primetime presentation recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media. Nair’s six-part drama series is an adaptation from Vikram Seth’s novel about a young Indian woman's struggle to create a balance between family duty and personal independence in post-partition India. Asha Bajaj, Editor/Director of Canadian-Media brings you the excerpts:
Mira Nair. Image credit: Wikipedia
Geoff to Mira: Tell us about the first time when you discovered Vikram Seth’s novel.
Mira: Vikram Seth is one of our classics and extraordinary writers. I have loved all his works. But I know him as a friend and visited him while he was writing ‘A Suitable Boy' which took him ten years and I was just waiting for it. I read it in 1993 months after it was published. And probably one of the few people that read it back to back twice. It’s a novel that encapsulates free India moments set in 1951 right after independence. It was the time when we as a country and as a people, really struggled to find out how to shake off this extraordinary English influence that we all lived with and to make efforts to find our authentic voices. Seth’s use of humanity, humor, drama, and extraordinary truth actually captured me. But at that time (more than 20 - 30 years back), it was too large for me to consider it as a series. I actually made my smaller version of it in ‘Monsoon Wedding’. But after so many years Seth decided to do a series, and I was very happy to be asked to direct it.
The film 'A Suitable Boy,' Image credit: TIFF
How did you and Andrew Davis get to a point in which you were happy with the narrative especially knowing that you are only working with six episodes, versus the wealth of the story that you were pulling from?
Mira: I came into the picture after Andrew Davis had written the whole novel in eight episodes. I was quite charmed by the distillation of the whole novel into the eight episodes. But due to financial constraints, we had to reduce these episodes to six hours and it was then that I got involved very muscularly into the choices. At the heart of the tale is a very universal search for a suitable boy by a mother for her unmarried daughter, Lata. India’s first national election was in the same year as ‘A Suitable Boy’ is set. I found a parallel between the search for a suitable boy for Lata and the search for India. Hence the importance of the deep political undertone of the novel. Then also highlighting the characters that sometimes do not speak but are deeply the cornerstone of so much character, for instance, Mrs. Mahesh Kapoor, a deeply religious woman, and Ishan Khattar's mother's character who tries to keep this political family together amidst tumult. The main reason why I agreed to direct the film was Saida Bai, Tabu’s character. I was drawn towards it by the whole culture of the courtesan, the music, the refinement, the art of seduction, and the marginalization of the courtesan in our society. I also come from a tradition of loving that music. I was also drawn to it because of the interwovenness of both Hindu and Muslim languages, and culture. This embodies our descent from such an ancient tradition which is being obliterated today. ‘A Suitable Boy, in all these facets, holds a mirror to our society today.
Ishan with Tabu. Image credit: Reddit.com
We are very good friends, TIFF and you. We have had a long and strong relationship with one another. Not including this exact moment. Do you have a favorite memory of the festival?
Mira: TIFF feels like with my family to me. You have literally seen me right from the beginning with Salaam Bombay and other films. I have several memories. My most cornerstone memory is the extraordinary passion of the audiences. And before the world cinema or global cinema was being celebrated, TIFF always had the eye towards the subcontinent, towards the world. The diversity of the audience of Toronto, so much a part of the rest of the world embraced me. With A Suitable Boy, I was especially energized, because this is my first long-form cinema. I still think of it as a film, not a TV series, it’s 6 hours because that is how I know to think. I was so happy and privileged and surprised to be taken in the embrace as a long-form film, which TIFF has done. I just want to thank the audience of Toronto. Toronto is very special to me for yet another reason. I got married in Toronto, weirdly, a shotgun wedding on the weekend. (laughter) In fact, Deepa Mehta, your other wonderful filmmaker, my Benji, as we say, in a sense was the decorator of my wedding. So my relationship with Toronto is very old and lovely. And it is just so wonderful to be back, even if virtually. Even if we are not Americans anymore.
#Bollywood; #RheaChakraborty; #RheaChakrabortyArrested; #SushantSinghRajputDeath
Mumbai (India): Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty was arrested Sep 8 by officials after three days of questioning by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with the drug abuse case linked to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, media reports said.
Rhea Chakraborty (right). Image credit: Twitter handle
Rhea Chakraborty was interrogated for five hours Sep 8, third day in a row, for six hours on Sep 6 and eight hours on Sep 7.
Security was beefed up outside the NCB office where Rhea was being interrogated.
Rhea had given about 25 names from Bollywood in the drugs angle, subject to official confirmation.
This brings to ten the total number of arrested made so far in the drugs case.
Sushant was found dead in his Mumbai residence on June 14.
Meanwhile, the actress' brother Showik Chakraborty and Sushant’s house manager Samuel Miranda, who were arrested by the NCB under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, have been remanded to NCB till Sept 9.
Dipesh Sawant, the house helper of the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput has also been arrested in connection with the case by the NCB, the third central agency to join the probe into the death of Sushant, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The NCB started acting after the Enforcement Directorate came across chats regarding drug consumption, procurement, usage and transportation in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.
#SanjjanaaGalrani; #Drugs; #DrugTrafficking; #CCB
Bengaluru (India), Sep 8 (Canadian-Media): Bollywood actress, Sanjjanaa Galrani, was arrested Sep 7 by City Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths for alleged drug racketing from the Kannada cinema world, media reports said.
Sanjjanna Galrani. Image credit: Facebook page
After raiding Sanjjanaa's house early morning of Sep 7, the CCB team reportedly confiscated certain documents in support of their actions and later arrested the inmate, Sanjjanaa.
CCB had also arrested her close associate Rahul, an industrialist in this case.
Prior to Galrani's arrest, following the ongoing investigation into the drug peddling in the state, police had already arrested Cine star Ragini, who is presently in police custody.
#Bollywood; #NanditaDas; #CoronavirusLockdown; 'Listen to Her';
Mumbai, Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): During the conception of her short film, 'Listen to Her' during the lockdown Nandita Das said that she had met with more more challenges than she had imagined, media reports said.
Nandita Das. Image credit: Facebook page
Nandita Das said that she he decided to shoot the film in lockdown, as she wanted to produce something spontaneously during trying times of lockdown.
She used her iPhone’s camera to record herself as she acted, used her old phone to record the sound separately.
She coordinated with two members of her team on Zoom who used software to be able to view the footage while she was shooting it, said Nandita and added,
“The scenes were shot in my living room as it is the best lit place in my home. However, we had to shoot over three days once we realised that the light would dramatically change by noon, becoming visibly warmer and more yellow. Once I found a steady perch for the phone to capture the perfect composition, I requested my cook, Bharat to help me. I would then run to my position, give my son instruction as he was a part of the frame, turn the audio recorder on my other phone, ask Bharat to start recording, clap to ensure that the sound and video will synch and begin to act."
Amidst all this chaos she realised, said Nandita that it was difficult to remember the dialogues I had written word for word.
She said she had to improvise these which was not very challenging because I knew the crux of what was being said.
This ordeal reminded her, she said, once again that filmmaking was after all a collaborative process.
She said that the easiest part of the process was reaching out to other professionals, some of the best in the industry who readily agreed to contribute to this film remotely in the post-production stage.
Their willingness was heartwarming, added Nandita and she was given the opportunity to collaborate with editor Srikar Prasad, the sound designer Kunal Sharma, and the music composer Sagar Deshpande.
#India; #Mumbai; #Bollywood; #SupremeCourt; #CBI; #Investiation; #SushantSinghDeath
Mumbai (India), Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): A decision was made Aug 19 by the Supreme Court to allow the Central Bureau Of Investigation ( CBI) to investigate the untimely death of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, media reports said.
Sushant Singh. Image credit: Twitter handle
The request had been made by Sushant’s family. His sister Shweta Singh Kirti took to internet based life and stated, “Here we go!! At long last!! CBI for SSR!! #CBITakesOver.”
It was also requested by the Supreme Court that the Maharashtra government should help out the authorities in the examination.
India Supreme Court. Image credit: Twitter handle
But the court was advised by Maharashtra’s legal counselor advised the court that they need to challenge the choice
Sushant Singh's body was discovered June 14 hanging in his Bandra loft.
On Aug 6, First Information Report (FIR) was enrolled by the CBI against six individuals including Rhea Chakraborty, Rhea’s sibling Showik Chakraborty,
father Indrajit Chakraborty, mother Sandhya, Chakraborty, house director Samuel Miranda, and Shruti Modi.
The charges leveled against them include instigation to self destruction, criminal conspiracy, burglary, cheating, terrorizing, unjust limitation, or repression, among others.
#Mumbai; GaneshChaturthi; #SanjayDutt; LungCancer
Mumbai (India), Aug 22 (Canadian-Media): Unlike huge and grand celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi at Sanjay Dutt's house every year, this year's Chaturthi celebrations at Dutt's house are simple, media reports said.
Sanjay Dutt. Image credit: Facebook page
Sanjay Dutt took to his handle Aug 22 and shared a picture with Maanayata Dutt, standing in front of his Ganpati decorations at home. Taking to his social media, he shares, “The celebrations aren't as huge as they used to be every year but the faith in Bappa remains the same. I wish that this auspicious festival removes all the obstacles from our lives and bless us all with health and happiness. Ganpati Bappa Morya.”
Dutt is being surrounded by prayers for his well being, positivity of well-wishers as he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and is currently undergoing his preliminary treatment at Mumbai's Kokilaben Hospital.
On the work front, Sanjay Dutt would be seen next in Sadak 2 along with Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Pooja Bhatt. He has Torbaaz releasing on Netflix and Shamshera with Ranbir Kapoor.
ollywoodStar; #AishwaryaRaiInHospital; #Coronavirus
Ottawa, Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her eight-year-old daughter, Aaradhya Bachchan were hospitalized July 18 for COVID-19 days after her husband, Abhishek Bachchan and father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan were admitted to Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital earlier this week for Coronavirus treatment, the Times of India reported on Saturday.
Aishwarya Rai. Image credit: Facebook page
"After Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya have been shifted to Nanavati hospital," the newspaper said, adding that they were admitted to the top Mumbai private hospital on Friday.
A spokesperson for Aishwarya Rai did not respond to either text messages or calls seeking comment.
This week Indian fans prayed for the celebrity family as the virus continued its rapid spread without any sign of a peak.
Besides having worked in several Bollywood and Hollywood films, Aishwarya Rai, 46, is a brand ambassador for some multinational companies, including L'Oreal.