Posts Tagged ‘International Critics Week’

Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox (Dabba) and Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout had their premiere screenings at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Lunchbox is selected in International Critics Week section and Monsoon Shootout had a midnight screening. Some early reviews of both the films have been pouring in. For curious folks like us, here are the excerpts and links to the reviews.

Variety review is here

A feel-good movie that touches the heart while steering clear of expectation, “The Lunchbox” signals a notable debut from tyro helmer-scripter Ritesh Batra. The ingredients on their own are nearly fail-proof, yet it’s the way Batra combines food with an epistolary romance between a nearly retired number cruncher and a neglected wife that hits all the right tastebuds. An indie Indian pic with the crossover appeal of “Monsoon Wedding,” it’s sure to be gobbled up by audience-friendly fests before heading into niche cinemas.

Screen Daily review is here

A wistful, elegant love story played out across the streets of Mumbai, The Lunchbox is an unexpectedly aromatic charmer from first-time film-maker Ritesh Batra. Eschewing the pitfalls of what appears, on face value, to be a highly schematic set-up, Batra infuses his film with warmth and humanity, while cameraman Michael Simmonds steps up to deliver delicate visuals of modern Mumbai.

Film Business Asia’s review is here

There’s hardly a shot, line or gesture out of place in The Lunchbox, a hugely impressive feature debut by Mumbai-born, partly New York-based Ritesh Batra that starts out like a foodie film but spins a simple idea into a whole mini-universe of feelings.

– To watch the presentation ceremony video, click here

– To watch Ritesh Batra’s interview, click here

– Two clips from the film

Cast and crew list

Directed, written by Ritesh Batra.
Camera (color, widescreen) – Michael Simmonds
Editor – John Lyons
Music – Max Richter
Production designer – Shruti Gupte
Costume designer – Niharika Bhasin Khan
Sound (Dolby Digital) – Michael Kaczmarek, Ramesh Birajdar, Joerg Theil, Tom Korr
Line producers – Meraj Shaikh, Smriti Jain
Assistant director – Prerna Saigal
Casting – Seher Latif.
Cast – Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Denzil Smith, Bharati Achrekar, Nakul Vaid, Yashvi Puneet Nagar, Lillette Dubey

And here are the reviews of Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout.

Peter Bradshaw’s review is here

It’s a moody, broody downbeat drama for most of the time, a rainy noir. But along with the plot trickery, there are some unexpected turns…..It’s an entertaining popcorn-movie with a twist, for which commercial success is on the cards. There should be space for pictures like it in Cannes.

The Hollywood Reporter review is here.

A cunningly intricate first film from India, Monsoon Shootout combines the best of two worlds – a ferocious Mumbai cops and gangsters drama, and a satisfyingly arty plot that turns in on itself to examine the outcome of three possible choices a rookie cop might make when he confronts a ruthless killer. Three times the story returns to a key moment: a boy with a gun uncertain whether to pull the trigger. Though the idea of Dirty Harry meeting Sliding Doors may sound abstract, writer-director Amit Kumar pulls it off gracefully, without losing the sense of heightened drama that earned the film a Midnight Movie slot in Cannes. The Fortissimo release should make good headway in territories open to India and exotic genre fare and put Kumar on festival radar.

Screen Daily review is here.

Serving up a portion of Rashomon with a side of Sliding Doors, this tasty Mumbai crime story offers multiple outcomes of one fateful decision in a rookie cop’s professional life. Though it sounds like a potentially experimental premise, Monsoon Shootout is a glossy ethical drama designed to appeal equally to more upscale Indian audiences and worldwide genre fans.

Film School rejects review is here

The Upside: Nicely photographed; boasts decent enough lead performances, specifically the presence of Thapa as Adi’s beau; sound editing is also strikingly effective

The Downside: Aspirations towards existentialism don’t pay off well because it lazily recycles some grand ideas, but without the same level of ingenuity and entertainment value; atrocious editing stifles the action beats, which are themselves too sparse and brief to satisfy.

Here’s the Variety review:

“Monsoon Shootout” is a racy mash-up of Tarantino-esque ultra-violence and-gritty but-hip contempo Indian actioners. Amit Kumar invests a schematic police-thriller structure with a compelling moral dilemma hinging on a standoff between a cop and his suspect.

And here’s the Rope of Silicon podcast on the film.

A look at the film:

Cast and crew list

Production companies: Yaffle Films, Sikhya Entertainment in association with Pardesi Films AKFPL, Dar Motion Pictures

Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa

Director: Amit Kumar

Screenwriter: Amit Kumar,

Producers: Trevor Ingman, Guneet Monga, Martijn De Grunt

Co-producers: Anurag Kashyap, Arun Rangachari

Director of photography: Rajeev Ravi

Production designer: Mayur Sharma

Editor: Atanu Mukherjee, Ewa Lind

Music: Gingger Shankarv Sales Agent: Fortissimo Films

88 minutes

(Pics taken from various online sources/social media)

Update: TWITTER BUZZ…

Since reviews for Indian films are scarce, we decided to add some tweets into the mix.

On The Lunchbox:

THE LUNCHBOX (R Batra): Like a bonsai tree, modest but magnificent. Standout performances. Bit cloying, but only if you want to find faults. — @bgji May 20, 2013

A very well-deserved, sustained, standing ovation for The Lunchbox at Cannes. Congratulations, Ritesh!! — @Shripriya May 19, 2013

On Monsoon Shootout:

MONSOON SHOOTOUT is the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ of crime actioners. I’m not completely convinced, but I do respect the ambition. #Cannes — @RylandAldrich May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT (D-) 3 versions of the same story, except it’s not as the filmmakers abandon the logic of the conceit. Morally dubious too — @CSkinner May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT does somehow seem to have become the defining film of the Festival. #cannes2013 — @JonathanRomney May 18, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT (A Kumar): Thoroughly ordinary. Heavy handed 3 pronged narrative structure/metaphor. More imagination re: Bombay, please. — @bgji May 19, 2013

Monsoon Shootout is the Sliding Doors of cop thrillers. Fleetingly entertaining but the alt-outcomes narrative wears thin… #Cannes2013 — @totalfilm May 19, 2013

Monsoon Shootout – 2/5. Slumdog Millionaire meets Run Lola Run (Run Slumdog Run?) in fecklessly bloodless gimmick thriller #Cannes2013 — @ShaunMunroFilm May 19, 2013

MONSOON SHOOTOUT is the Indian RUN LOLA RUN if RUN LOLA RUN were a predictable cop drama. #Cannes2013 #cannes — @FredTopel May 19, 2013

On Ugly:

UGLY (A Kashyap): A Blaft-like pulp thriller with @ankash1009 bravely pushing his style to the limits. Depressingly hilarious & brilliant. — @bgji May 18, 2013

And finally…

UGLY and MONSOON SHOOTOUT taught me not to be a person who works for, needs help from, or who is wanted by police in India. #cannes2013— @marshalclark) May 19, 2013

Jai Ho. 🙂

For those who have been curious about Ritesh Batra’s Dabba, we have got the first look of the film. Here are some of the stills from the film which look really impressive. We do also have all the cast, credit and official synopsis details.

The film will have its international premiere at Cannes Festival in International Critics Week section.

(Click on any image to start the slide show in hi-res)

Though Nawaz was also in Paan Singh Tomar, but it looks like this film finally brings together two of the finest actors of our generation in full fledged roles. And is Irrfan Khan in Namesake avatar again? Bring it on!

Official Synopsis

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Gradually, this fantasy threatens to overwhelm their reality.

Mumbai, a city of miracles.

One of Mumbai’s miracles is Mumbai’s Dabbawallahs – a community of 5000 dabba (lunchbox) deliverymen. It is a hereditary profession. Every morning the Dabbawallahs deliver hot meals from the kitchens of housewives to the offices of their husbands, and then return the empty lunchboxes back to the homes in the afternoon. For 120 years they have provided Mumbaikars with a taste of home in the office. They navigate through the overcrowded local trains and chaotic streets – that often have a namesake or more than one name. The Dabbahwallahs are illiterate, and instead rely on a complex coding system of colors and symbols to deliver dabbas in the labyrinth that is Mumbai. Harvard University analyzed their delivery system, concluding that just 1 in 8 million lunchboxes is ever delivered to the wrong address. Dabba is the story of that one lunchbox.

A mistakenly delivered lunchbox connects a housewife, Ila Singh, to Saajan Thomas, a lonely man in the dusk of his life. Ila lives in Dadar, the conservative middle class Hindu enclave. And Saajan lives in Ranwar village, Bandra, an old Christian neighborhood that is threatened by the new high rises in Mumbai. Very soon Saajan will retire and bid goodbye to a Mumbai that has crushed his dreams, took away his loved ones one by one, and turned his hair white. Just then Ila comes into his life. In the big city, that crushes dreams and recycles them every day, both find a dream to hold on to. Ila begins a fantastical affair with a mystery suitor, pouring her heart into cooking meals for him. And Saajan looks forward to lunch box deliveries from a mystery woman every day. They exchange notes via the lunchbox and create a fantasy life. As the lunchbox goes back and forth, this fantasy becomes so elaborate that it threatens to overwhelm their reality. The characters of The Lunchbox exist on the line between the Mumbai of reality and the Mumbai of fantasy.

The Lunchbox is the story of the life we dream of versus the life we live in, and of the courage it takes to turn out fantasies into reality.

Credits

director: Ritesh Batra
screenplay: Ritesh Batra
cinematography: Michael Simmonds
editing: John Lyons
sound: Michael Kaczmarek
production design: Shruti Gupte
music: Max Richter

Cast:
Irrfan Khan
Nimrat Kaur
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Denzil Smith
Bharati Achrekar
Nakul Vaid
Yashvi Puneet Nagar
Lillete Dubey
Sada (Dabbawala)

The film is produced by Sikhya Entertainment (India), Dar Motion Pictures (India), and co-produced by National Film Development Corporation (India), ASAP Films (France) and Roh Films (Germany).

Btw, Michael Simmonds? The DoP of Ramin Bahrani’s films? Chop Shop, Man Push Cart, Goodbye Solo and Plastic Bag. That’s a great talent to have on board.

To know more about the film and the filmmaker, click here to read his interview on DearCinema.

Director

Ritesh Batra is a writer/director based in Mumbai and New York. In 2009, Batra was selected for the Sundance Writers and Directors labs for his feature project “The Story of Ram”. He was also named the Sundance Time Warner Storytelling Fellow and an Annenburg Fellow. He was part of the Graduate Film Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, from which he dropped out in 2010. His short films have been presented in many international film festivals and fine arts venues. His recent short “Café Regular, Cairo” was featured in the 2012 Inter- national Film Festival of Rotterdam and 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. His upcoming short ‘The State of Siege’ is currently in post-production.

His feature screenplay THE LUNCHBOX was part of the 2011 Binger-NFDC Screenwriting Lab, it won an Honorable Mention from the Jury at the 2012 edition of the Cinemart at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam and was part of the Berlinale Talent Project Market.

(Cast/credit/synopsis/Director’s bio taken from various co-producers’ site)

Dabba 2

The 52nd Cannes International Critics Week unveiled its lineup today.

Among the 11 features screening in the sidebar, which showcases first and second films, there’s one film from India – debutant director Ritesh Batra’s Dabba (The Lunchbox). The film stars Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Nimrat Kaur.

And here’s the official synopsis from the site of one of the co-producers, Cine Mosaic

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s famously efficient lunchbox delivery system connects a young housewife to an old man in the dusk of his life as they build a fantasy world together through notes in the lunchbox. Gradually, this fantasy threatens to overwhelm their reality.

The Lunchbox is the story of the life we dream of versus the life we live in, and of the courage it takes to turn out fantasies into reality.

Apart from Dabba, Cannes will also screen Bombay Talkies and Monsoon Shootout.

Vasan Bala’s debut feature Peddlers premiered at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics’ Week section. This post is to track all the buzz from the Cannes – pics, videos, interviews, reviews and more.

PICS

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Latest REVIEWS

– An early review in French is here. Rated it 3.5/5 and to sum it up – I think this is a young director who can go very far if he continues this way.  (Thanks to Google Translate)

– Bikas Mishra of DearCinema.com has reviewed the film here. Bikas is also on the Critics Week jury this year. To quote the last line few lines, Sidharth Diwan’s restless camera adds amply in capturing the life in the megapolis. Prerna Saigal’s editing is worthy of a special mention.

Vasan Bala’s Peddlers marks a very promising debut. I would be looking forward to his next.

– Another French review is here. To quote from the review, Bombay shines here in all its ambiguous charms , angles sometimes hard, dry, and always flattering that one has rarely seen. ( Again, via Google Translate).

– The Hollywood Reporter’s review is here.

– Film critic Christain Jungen tweeted his rating 3.5 stars. And calls it an atmospheric gangster movie from Mumbai, half Hollywood halfway Bollywood.

– Saibal Chatterjee reviews the film for The Sunday Indian. Click here. To quote from the review, Vasan Bala is clearly a talent to watch. The way he handles the characters, paces the narrative, uses music and creates the dark and disturbing backdrop against which the film plays out reflect the kind of grasp that augurs well.

The deft touches that he brings to the table lift Peddlers well above the level of run-of-the-mill gangster flicks. It isn’t, to begin with, a gangster flick at all.

– Another French review is here. This one is mixed.

UPDATE – 23/05/2012

– New French review which rated it 15/20 and to quote, That said, the director shows a sense of rhythm and creativity in the staging that might interest the Jury of the Camera d’Or. Peddlers is an Indian film that has nothing in Bollywood and is the work of a director in search of gallons, but already talented.

– To quote another review, Peddlers is located in-between a relative novelty in Indian cinema, somewhere between the sweet and colorful to a Bollywood film and the roughness of a gangster movie. Efficiency is “quasi American,” but the exceptional photography and the use of music we bring in a definitely Indian.

Latest NEWS/FEATURES

– The Hollywood Reporter interview is here – on How ‘Peddlers’ Reflects the Indie Spirit (Q&A).

– In Variety’s Spotlight on India cinema. Click here.

– VIDEO – Excerpt from Rajeev Masand’s interview for CNN IBN. Click here.

– Another interview is here.

– Another report in Hollywood Reporter – Indian cinema moves beyond bollywood.

We will keep updating this post as more reviews and features come out.

Click the play button to see the video of the screening and presentation.

Pics Courtesy – Siddarth Diwan (Film’s DoP), TheLostFilmCritic, Rajeev Masand