Posts Tagged ‘Mira Nair’

the-reluctant-fundamentalist-posterThe latest offering by Mira Nair features various artists and the album has as many as 14 tracks.

The album starts with Kangna, a traditional qawaali performed wonderfully by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad. The accentuated bass towards the end remind us that this is for a Film and not performed for anything else. Although the duo have sung this song for Coke Studio Pakistan as well where the duration was in excess of 10 mins, this one ends in less than 6 minutes, melodious nonetheless.

Bijli aaye ya na aaye features the otherwise serious Meesha Shafi. Severely let down on the lyrics the song survives because of the lovely throw that Meesha demonstrates. Peppy. The lyrics are so bad that they actually redefine the word ‘random’. However, this for sure will be closely walking with the narrative, of which I am sure.

Kaindey ney sung by Zahara Khan is up next. Performed with just a guitar and Sarod by the side for most part, Zahara appears slightly out of sync at times in this average song.

Ali Sethi hums Dil jalaney ki baat kartey ho extremely well and leaves you wanting for more because the track is barely 2 mins long.

Atif Aslam croons Mori araj suno and even though he tries very hard, thanks to the varied versions of this ageless composition that we have come across, this track falls short. But it does sound very theatrical.

Measure of me by Amy Ray is the best song of the album. Slow, melancholic and very high on melody. The arrangement is so simple that you might even ignore it. The backup vocal arrangement is brilliant as well.

A young man has to take a stand performed by Michael Andrews is a track filled with a lot of tension thanks to the eerie arrangement and loads of violins used. Ends quickly echoing the tension in the head.

Jannissary again performed by Michael is a slow piano piece with continuous violins. Somehow reminded me of 1947 The earth, this piece. Nicely done.

Something happened – Bass and a lot of bass instills anticipation in what appears to be an anxious track. A track that is very rich on sounds. Faintly heard someone sharpening knife, someone running through a door and then it all descends to a pause. One of the best instrumental pieces in a long time. Highly recommended.

God bless America A very short track comprising of crowds cheering and a continuous beat that eventually fades out far too quickly.

Love in Urdu by Rizzle kicks is a delicately arranged all instrumental piece peppered with subtle Sarod and guitar. Not as beautiful as love in Urdu would be but a soothing and simple track.

Focus on fundamentals paints a picture of tension, yet again. Aided in just right measure with violins and a dying bass line throughout. Eerie. Tensed. Dark.

Get us both killed has got a very dark tone throughout. The riffs remind you of a particular O.S.T. Which shall not be named here. :) the tempo steadily rises but never peaks and that’s quite eerie.

Too much blood has poured into this river With near absent vocals, this track keeps the dark undertone of the album alive. Aided by flute, the overall grave atmosphere gets a touch of sadness. The almost silent alaap is a touch of class in this track.

With Mira Nair, we are sure that the music will be totally circumstantial and compliment the feel of the film. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is no different. Will I hear it as much as the O.S.T. Of ‘The Namesake’? Well, No. The reason is simple. This O.S.T. stays so closely hugged to the film’s feel that you slip into sadness with some of the tracks of this film.

2 Thumbs up! If you are an O.S.T. Collector, do not miss this at any cost!

@Rohwit

(Ed note : For more music reviews by Rohwit, you can check his blog here)

The BFI London Film Festival has unveiled its complete line-up for 2012. And there are quite a few Indian films in the list.

– The only film with desi connect which is in official competition section is Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children. Click here for more details.

– After its TIFF premiere, Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus is going to compete for “The Sutherland Award” in The First Feature competition category. To know more about the film click here and here.

– Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalis had its world premiere at the Venice Festival. Now it will have its Gala in the “Dare” segment at LFF. More details about the film here.

– After Cannes and Toronto, Peddlers continues its fest run with screening in “Dare” segment of the fest. Click here and here for more details.

– Rani Mukherjee and Prithviraj starrer Aiyya will have its world premiere at the fest. This is Sachin Kundalkar first Hindi feature film.

– Prakash Jha’s Chakravyush will have a Gala in the Thrill segment and Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar will have a screening in “Treasures” seection.

– The official website of the festival also lists two more films in Indian segment – Save Your Legs and Sri Lankan production With you, Without You.

– To know more about the film festival, films and the screening schedule, click here.

Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist is making all the right noises. First came the announcement that it will have it open the 69th Venice International Film Festival with its world premiere. And today it was announced that the film will have its gala at the Toronto International Film Festival as well.

It’s an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s acclaimed book by the same name. It stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi. It has been adapted by William Wheeler, with the screen story by Mohsin Hamid, and Ami Boghani, has cinematography of Declan Quinn, production design by Michael Carlin, costumes by Arjun Bhasin and edited by Shimit Amin. The music includes both the old and new Pakistani sounds with the iconoclastic Michael Andrews scoring and a new original song by Peter Gabriel.

Few new stills of the film are online now and here’s the slideshow of the same…

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If you haven’t read the book, here’s the official synopsis from the Venice Festival’s website…

Student demonstrations are raging in Lahore, as young Pakistani professor Changez Khan and a journalist, Bobby Lincoln, share a cup of tea and conversation. Princeton-educated Changez tells Lincoln of his past as a brilliant business analyst on Wall Street. He talks of the glittering future that lay before him and the beautiful and sophisticated Erica whom he was set to share that future with.

But then 9/11 changes everything. Attitudes shift dramatically – his very name and face rendering him suspect. Returning to his homeland and the family to whom he is very close, he takes up a post as lecturer at the local university, a hotbed of radicalism and the new militant academia.

The collegial pretense of the meeting in a Lahore teahouse, between Lincoln and Changez, slowly gives way to why the unlikely pair has gathered on a summer day – another professor has been kidnapped by extremists, and the clock is ticking toward a deadline for his execution. Changez’s family is being harassed and is in real danger. Bobby is there to listen, with an agenda of his own. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an exploration of prejudice and the phenomenon of globalization that is both exhilirating and deeply unsettling.

So what’s common between all three? Desi connect and all female directors. Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) unveiled it’s official selection list for this year. And here are more details about these three films.

One of the most anticipated films of the year is Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children. It stars Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Shriya Saran, Siddharth, Ronit Roy, Rahul Bose, Anita Majumdar and Zaib Shaikh. The 148-minute long film has a screenplay by Rushdie himself. And here are some new stills. Click on one of the pics to view the slide show and make the images bigger.

To quote from the TIFF page…

Spanning decades and generations, celebrated Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta’s highly anticipated adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize®–winning novel is an engrossing allegorical fantasy in which children born on the cusp of India’s independence from Britain are endowed with strange, magical abilities.

If Deepa Mehta is here, can Mira Nair be far behind? She is also ready with her new film – an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s acclaimed book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The principal cast includes Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Nelsan Ellis. The film is also opening the Venice Film Festival.

To quote from the TIFF page…

Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Kate Hudson co-star in this adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s international best-selling novel, about a young Pakistani man (Riz Ahmed) whose pursuit of corporate success on Wall Street leads him on a strange path back to the world he had left behind.

And the third film which is completely desi is debutant Gauri Shinde’s English Vinglish starring Sridevi, Adil Hussain, Mehdi Nebbou and Priya Anand. To quote from the official release…

Legendary Indian actress Sridevi returns to the screen after a fifteen-year absence in this funny and touching story about an Indian woman who struggles to learn the English language in order to help provide for her family.

But fest insider tells us that isn’t all. There’s more to come in TIFF 2012! We will keep you posted about all the Desi connect.

And if you go by Rotten Tomatoes score card, its a new low in Mira Nair’s career!

Amelia1

For Top Critics, the score is at 12%, lowest rating for any film by Mira Nair so far! Her last film The Namesake scored 87% on the same scale.

And if you have not been following the film and wondering whats Amelia, then read on. 

Amelia posterAmelia is a biopic on the life of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937 in an attempt to finish a record breaking flight around the world. It stars Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor. When it comes to biopics, Hollywood has delivered some great ones on screen and with the big ones, they rarely go wrong,  and manage to pick up few Oscars too.

So what went wrong with Amelia ?

To quote from the review of Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers…

“Who wants a life imprisoned in safety?” Amelia asks in a voice-over. And you want to shout, “This movie does, honey.” There’s not a real or spontaneous minute in it.

Click on the Rotten Tomatoes link at the top of the page to read other reviews. Though Roger Ebert seems to be in minority this time as he has rated it 3/5. To quote from his review….

I’m not suggesting that Mira Nair and her writers, Ronald Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan, should have invented anything for “Amelia.” It is right that they resisted any temptation. It’s just that there’s a certain lack of drama in a generally happy life. 

Amelia” is a perfectly sound biopic, well directed and acted, about an admirable woman. It confirmed for me Earhart’s courage — not only in flying, but in insisting on living her life outside the conventions of her time for well-behaved females.

BTW, if you havent seen the trailer of the film yet, click on the play button.

 

Cajetan Boy 2If you have seen Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey, you must have noticed the name Cajetan Boy in the opening credits of the film. We have been trying to google more about him but no luck. Timeout Mumbai has done a small piece on him, the writer on whose story Kaminey is based.

Vishal met him at the Mira Nair’s Maisha Filmlab where he had gone as a mentor. He liked Cajetan’s story Roho and later on bought the rights. You can read the feature here or scroll down…

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey explores a singe day in the lives of identical twins from Dharavi, but the story was actually born an ocean away. The plot was created by Cajetan Boy, a writer and short-film director from Nairobi, whom Bhardwaj met in Kampala in 2005. “I am excited to see how it will be handled by an experienced and renowned director working with a budget,” Boy told Time Out in an email interview.

In Kaminey, Shahid Kapur plays twins who can be told apart by their particular speech impediments. The twins, Charlie and Guddu, get embroiled with a gangster (played by Taare Zameen Par writer Amole Gupte) and spend the course of the movie trying to save their skins. The speech impediments are Bhardwaj’s innovation, as is the gangster angle.

Boy said his story, titled Roho (which means soul) was about identical twins from Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya’s biggest slum. There are no gangsters in the original plot. “The movie was initially set in extreme poverty,” Boy said. “I set out to show that there is a direct link between crime and poverty; crime and the police; crime and the affluent. I set to show that the system conspires to have poverty.”

Boy said he wrote the story, the screen treatment as well as one draft of the script. He said he had mixed feelings about selling the story to Bhardwaj. The director told the Mumbai Mirror that he bought the idea from Boy for $4,000, or just under Rs 2 lakh. Boy describes himself as a “passionate movie maker who is determined to make Kenyan movies with or without a budget – mostly we have none”. Kaminey’s rumoured Rs 44 crore budget will probably come as something of a shock to him. 

Boy is the Products Development Leader for Et Cetera Productions, a film and television production house. He has written one-act and full-length plays, including Benta, which was made into a movie in 2006, as well as the screenplays of All Girls Together, a social drama, and Backlash, which he described as “an HIV/AIDS epic exploring culture and the pandemic”. He met Bhardwaj at a scriptwriting workshop in Kampala organised by Maisha, the filmmaking centre set up by Mira Nair in 2004. “I am hopeful that I will get a visible credit that will put me on the map as a writer,” Boy said. “So far all the material I have seen on the net makes no mention of Maisha or me – maybe I am not checking in the right place.”

Boy’s concerns as a writer are about “poverty, crime and classes – the links between them and how each preys on the other”. He said he was also keen to accurately portray the lives of those who live on the margins of society. “I am concerned with how to make people look at what they take for granted (slums, prostitutes, thieves, drug dealers etc), accept their existence and question why these things exist,” he said.

The Kenyan writer hasn’t watched many Hindi films, but the few he has seen have impressed him. “Those that I have watched thrill me with the intensity of the characters, the beauty of the picture and the ability to make mundane even ugly scenarios and locations cinematically beautiful,” Boy said.

Kaminey 2First we read that there are four writers who have been credited for Kaminey. Vishal Bhardwaj, Supratik Sen, Sabrina Dhawan and Abhishek Chaubey. And now there is one more addition.

In an interview to Mumbai Miror, Vishal has clarified that the story started with a fifth person. To quote Vishal

Four years ago, Mira Nair assembled writers from America, India and Canada to mentor ten students from Asia and Africa. This scriptwriting workshop was held in Kampala, Yuganda.

A young writer from Nairobi showed me a script which was a story about twin brothers and what happens in their life in a span of 24 hours. It was like parallel cutting and I really liked that approach. Mira and I spoke about it at length and both of us felt that it was a typical Bollywood masala movie.

I was in touch with that writer for the next six months. He also sent me another draft. Then two-three years later I asked him to sell me the idea. He was in need of money so I sent him some 4000 dollars and bought the script to make any time.

I picked up that idea and added Bollywood masala and my dark and serious side to it. So now, one brother stammers and the other has a lisp. I thought that it would be exciting to make. But it wasn’t that easy. It was very tough and I had to work really hard. I would never like to make such a film again.

We wonder if the person is credited in the film. Because in publicity material there is no mention of any fifth person. But then, do you credit someone for story idea ? May be, or is it more than an idea. Unlike others, who makes sure to hide every source of inspiration, even if its remake, it feels good to read that Vishal is giving credit to the person who deserves it. Wish he had given out the writer’s name too.

You can read the full interview here.