The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, along with his family have been exploring India during a current visit to the sub-continent.
Truedeau also attended the ‘Canada-India Celebration of Film’ event with his family, where he met Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to discuss new co-production opportunities between the Hindi Film Industry and the Canadian Film Industry.
Khan has filmed for Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Naa Ho in the Canadian capital Toronto, which was despicted as New York in the movie. He has also performed in Toronto for the SLAM concert along with Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan and others.
Bollywood movies filmed in Canada include Thank You, Tum Bin, International Khiladi, Dr. Cabbie, Khiladiyon Ka Khiladi, Mr & Mrs Khiladi, Bewafaa and Humko Deewana Kar Gaye.
Tonight, we celebrated stronger ties & new co-production opportunities between Bollywood and the Canadian Film Industry. And who better to help than @iamsrk himself… Great to meet you! 🇮🇳🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/1OcwsA9lMS
Was an honour & a pleasure to meet the Hon. Prime Minister of Canada, @JustinTrudeau & his lovely wife, Sophie. Sir, your leadership in the discourse for ending gender discrimination serves as constant inspiration to us all. pic.twitter.com/BfzrEsL6wB
Indian cinema makes a grand gesture to welcome in the New Year as the superbly crafted, action thriller flick, Wazir, opened in UK cinemas today on 8th January 2016, produced by Vinod Chopra Films and distributed worldwide by Reliance Entertainment. Doing away with the post holiday season blues, Wazir promises to deliver an adrenaline-fuelled, cinematic punch.
An intelligent and thoughtful piece of filmmaking that continues to put Indian cinema on the international map, Wazir will appeal to cineastes and film connoisseurs globally. Presenting a slick and sharp narrative that will compel viewers from the opening sequence to the end credits, acclaimed filmmaker, Bejoy Nambiar, directs a heavyweight cast of the industry’s finest in Wazir. Screen legend, Amitabh Bachchan, joins a seasoned ensemble including Farhan Akhtar, John Abraham, Neil Nitin Mukesh and the understated Aditi Rao Hydari, respectively delivering polished performances.
Wazir features inherent drama, suspense and thrills, which Nambiar lets arise naturally, based on a story penned by one of Indian cinema’s most accomplished creatives, Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Complementing the film’s richly dark ambience is a textured soundtrack by Shantanu Moitra, Ankit Tiwari, Advaita (band) and Prashant Pillai. The first song from the film, sublime ode to love, Tere Bin, garnered unanimous plaudit and has been championing the airwaves since its release.
Wazir tells the tale of two unlikely friends – a wheelchair-bound chess grandmaster (Amitabh Bachchan) and an ATS officer (Farhan Akhtar). Both are brought together by grief and a strange twist of fate as part of wider conspiracy that has cast a dark shadow over their lives. Wazir is a pulsating thriller, a moving character study and a gripping revenge story.
Wazir released in cinemas worldwide on 8th January 2016, produced by Vinod Chopra Films and distributed by Reliance Entertainment.
Director-producer-actor Farhan Akhtar talks to BollyNewsUK about his new venture Dil Dhadakne Do. The film is directed by his sister, Zoya Akhtar, and sees Farhan acting in the film as well as producing it under Excel Entertainment.
Dil Dhadakne Do also stars Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Shefali Shah and Anushka Sharma. The film is currently playing in UK cinemas nationwide.
How has the experience been of being a part of Dil Dhadakne Do as a producer and an actor? It’s been an amazing journey. I am a huge admirer of the way the Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti write movies. The films both have directed, always had really well-written scripts with well-written characters. It was fun to play a character again in a Zoya Akhtar movie. As a producer, Ritesh Sidhwani and I know that making a movie with Zoya will be a fun, engaging and interesting experience.
It’s been hard to cast actors in the projects whenever you and Zoya have collaborated together… I must tell you, that is a part and parcel of film-making. It doesn’t only happen to Zoya. Any director you speak to, will tell you the exact same story. It has happened to me too. It happened to me while I was making Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya. At the end of the day, every film has its own destiny. There is no retrospect thinking into what if someone else was playing a certain character. You just go with the best that you get. Maybe Zoya didn’t get the cast that she wanted when she started the film but she usually ends up with a really good set of actors.
Dil Dhadakne Do is more focused on the Mehra family and you play a supporting character… Even during the making of Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara, I didn’t think of any expectations viewers will have from my performance in the film. We do everything in the best interest of the film. That really is my focus. I completely agree with you that the film predominantly focuses on the Mehra family and I play a supporting part. I am very happy with the role that I am playing and it’s very important in the context of Priyanka Chopra’s subplot in the movie. There is also a key moment in the film that occurs between Priyanka, Rahul Bose and myself in the film. When Zoya narrated the film to me, that scene resonated very strongly with me. I felt very connected to the script and I just wanted to do it regardless of how big my part was. Whatever people think about the film or a character when they watch it can’t be predicted. Sometimes we do a film just about one character and nobody really cares. That’s happened too (laughs).
How do you decide whether a role is right for you or not? It’s difficult to explain. I don’t think it’s a logical process. Everyone has an instinct and that tells a person why something is better than something else. As an actor, it’s a creative instinct that you have. There are many factors though like the environment, your mood at the time when you were offered a film, the experience you had on your most recent film and many others. However, they are all on a subconscious level. There is an emotional reaction to the narration when you hear it and there is a voice inside you which tells you “Wow, this is it!” or it may say “You aren’t feeling this. Let it pass”. If you really have to stop and think about it and convince yourself, I feel that is very difficult. It may work for others but I don’t think I could do it.
As a producer, was it quite difficult logistically to film all over Europe? The film is widespread all over Europe and filming on the cruise comes with its own set of rules. We had a cast of over twenty actors almost constantly on the cruise. Additionally, we had over seventy crew members. We were a huge contingent of people moving around in many different locations. It was logistically very difficult to do. We also worked with people who brought the right energy and felt like the core team. Nobody felt that they were doing anybody a favour by being there. That truly helped because the energy was very positive around everything that we did.
At the Indian Box Office, films based in India are doing better now than films set abroad. Do you feel Dil Dhadakne Do will appeal to the masses in India? I feel that if it’s a good story and if it connects with people, then everything else doesn’t matter. It has to resonate with people on an emotional level. If that happens, then the location doesn’t matter. Of course, the location should make sense. You can’t just shoot any movie on the Mediterranean Sea because it’s a great location. It’s the people in the film, their dilemmas and problems that makes people eventually like a film or not. These terms ‘NRI Films’ were not put forward by the film industry. They were used by trade people because they had to categorise films to market them. We don’t think of movies like that.
What’s next for you? People have been demanding Don 3… Yes, they have. To be honest, at the moment my hands are full. We have Dil Dhadakne Do now and then we have another production Bangistan releasing in July. I also start filming for Rock On 2 in August. We also have a production called Wazir starring Amitabh Bachchan due to release post October sometime on a good weekend. There are a lot of things happening at the moment for me and I don’t have the mental space to make decisions of what I am going to do next after all these things at the moment. Direction is truly a part of who I am. I enjoy directing. I am just really enjoying the scripts that I am getting at the moment. I wouldn’t say no to good scripts just because I should be getting back to direction.
This interview was first published in The Asian Today Newspaper (June 2015 issue).
Singer and music composer Ankit Tiwari, who rose to fame with hits in Aashiqui 2 (2013) and Ek Villain (2014), will be soon doing live shows. Recently, he was approached for a concert to be held in Pune, but he did not give his nod owing to prior commitments.
But interestingly, as soon as he came to know that Farhan Akhtar will also be performing at the show on February 22, he confirmed his presence.
A source close to the singer-composer says, “He was approached a month ago by the organisers, but he opted out since he did not have free dates. Later, when he got to know about Farhan’s presence, he expressed his interest to the officials that he wanted to be part of the show.”
Ankit then had asked his team to reschedule his commitments. “He will be performing at two awards functions in the last week of February. Although, there was no performance on February 22, he was supposed to rehearse for the shows. Now, he has reshuffled his timings, and will be going to Pune,” adds the source.
When contacted, Ankit confirmed the news, saying, “I had given my dates for the practice sessions of the two awards shows, and thus could not confirm my presence for the Pune concert. However, since I am an admirer of Farhan’s music and got to know that he will be performing there, I gave a nod to the organisers. I am looking forward to meeting him and his band.”
The singer will also be touring the UK and Europe this year in May.
Eros International Media Ltd (Eros International), a leading global film company in the Indian film entertainment industry has acquired the international rights of Excel Entertainment’s eagerly awaited films – Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do and Karan Anshuman’s Bangistan.
Dil Dhadakne Do, in Zoya’s trademark style boasts of an ensemble cast including Anil Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Farhan Akhtar, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Shefali Shah. Shot mostly in foreign locales on a cruise ship, the film is a drama centered around a dysfunctional Punjabi family.
Film critic turned director Karan Anshuman’s Bangistan, a hilarious parody stars Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat as two rival, blundering terrorists with Jacqueline Fernandez making a special appearance.
Speaking on the announcement, Jyoti Deshpande, CEO, Eros International Media Ltd said, “After a successful association for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, we are happy to once again partner with Excel who are known to make films that entertain as well as consistently offer a fresh take on cinema. Dil Dhadakne Do and Bangistan are looking extremely promising and we are looking forward to showcase these films internationally through our digital and distribution network”.
Producer Ritesh Sidhwani, Excel Entertainment added, “We are happy to collaborate with Eros for these two exciting projects and present them on a worldwide platform through their outstanding distribution network”.
Eros will release Bangistan on 17th April, 2015 and Dil Dhadakne Do on 5th June, 2015 in UK cinemas and the international markets.
The London Indian Film Festival (LIFF, July 10-17) will host a Screen Talk with the multifaceted Farhan Akhtar and a Masterclass with the award-winning Santosh Sivan at the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank.
Akhtar has come to the world’s attention over the last decade, as multiple award-winning director, producer, and actor, straddling an impressive range of roles, from long distance runners to rockstars. He also commands audiences of thousands, at his live music shows, as he continues to juggle a career as a musician and songwriter, with his incredibly successful film industry career. He started his career as director. His directorial debut, Dil Chahta Hai was a runaway hit. He went on to direct the remake of Don and its sequel, Don 2. Besides that he has produced many successful films. As an actor he has won critical acclaim for his performances in Rock On, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Says Farhan Akhtar, “At its heart, Cinema is about sharing ones culture with the world. Be it on-screen or in representation of ones work. I look forward to sharing my experiences, memories and motivations.” The Screen Talk will be at the BFI Southbank on Wednesday 16th July.
Santosh Sivan is India’s most awarded cinematographer. He is also the only Indian member of the American Society of Cinematographers. He shot to prominence on the national stage with Mani Ratnam’s Thalapathi and is celebrated for his work on Roja, Dil Se, Iruvar and Kaala Pani. His international credits include Bride & Prejudice and Mistress of Spices. Sivan debuted as a director with Halo, followed by Malli, both films aimed at children. His next film, The Terrorist, premiered at BFI London Film Festival and was championed by John Malkovich, who ensured that it found global distribution.
Sivan says, “For a visual artist, the world is a stage. And the BFI is the centre stage.” The Masterclass is at the BFI Southbank on Friday 11th July.
LIFF events at the BFI also include UK Premieres of Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost on Saturday 12th July and Apur Panchali on Sunday 13th July. LIFF opens with Sold, executive produced by Emma Thompson and starring Gillian Anderson, on July 10, and closes with Hemalkasa, starring Nana Patekar on July 17.
LIFF partners include Pure Heaven, BFI, Cineworld, Grange Hotels, ICA, BAFTA, Asian Single Solution, DESIblitz.com, Asian Culture Vulture and Satyajit Ray Foundation.
Farhan Akhtar, Bling and JWT recently tied up with EveryMedia Technologies Pvt. Ltd. for their social initiative M.A.R.D. The agency has come on board as the Social Media Partner. MARD stands for Men Against Rape and Discrimination.
As part of this association, EveryMedia Technologies Pvt. Ltd. will handle the Social Media Campaign for ‘M.A.R.D.’. On 26th April, during the IPL6 match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab at Eden Gardens, Farhan Akhtar and Shaan performed to a Bengali poem written by Javed Akhtar exclusively for the initiative. 70,000 fake moustaches were distributed during the IPL 6 match in Kolkata, along with flyers with the poem printed on it.
Commenting on the association, Farhan Akhtar said, “Every morning that I flip through pages of the newspaper, I am reminded of how important it is to educate people today something as simple as respecting a woman. Something as obvious as that now needs to be drilled in everyone’s heads. EveryMedia is a team of digital experts, and I am happy that they have come on board to help push the message across.”
Gautam Thakker, CEO, EveryMedia Technologies Pvt. Ltd. said, ““We are glad to be associated with M.A.R.D.. It has been an honour to be a part of the team reaching out to people with such a strong cause. It is imperative for us to make sure that people are made aware of the fact that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. There can be no two ways about it.”
The change brought about by this initiative won’t be immediate, but is hoped to be long term. The trio of Farhan Akhtar, Bling and JWT have been jointly driving the M.A.R.D. campaign, leaving no stone unturned in making the cause known.
Apart from supporting the initiative on Social Media, the fans of the Facebook page can also take a pledge online. They can also check out the moustache app on Facebook, coming soon. Users can access the Facebook and Twitter pages respectively, on the following links:
The official first teaser trailer for the new Viacom18 Motion Pictures Pvt film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag has released to widespread buzz.
The 90 second trailer shows highlights from the remarkable film along with lead star Farhan Akhtar’s amazing look as central protagonist Milkha Singh, who is known as ‘the flying Sikh’, as he overcame much adversity in his life to triumph both on the athletics track as well as off it.
The film is produced by Viacom18 Motion Pictures along with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (Bafta nominated Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6) who also directs the film, and stars two of Bollywood’s biggest stars Farhan Akhtar (Rock On, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara), who plays Milkha Singh, and Sonam Kapoor (Saawariya, I Hate Luv Storys).
The film features a compelling soundtrack by music supremos Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and is distributed by India’s leading film and entertainment company Viacom18 Motion Pictures Pvt.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is a real fairy tale story of an average Indian who thought he could outrun the winds…and he did!
Watch the first teaser trailer here:
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag releases on 12th July 2013 in UK cinemas through Viacom18 Motion Pictures Pvt.