Posts tagged deepa mehta
Time spent with Satya Bhabha, the actor cast as Saleem Sinai in Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, offers Meher Marfatia revealing rushes of the awaited film in an exclusive interview
If Salman Rushdie confessed surprise at the global — and by now eternal — hurrah for his opus which Jonathan Cape publishers once clearly dismissed, 30 years later a startled Satya Bhabha realised he’d snagged its cinematic hero’s role just as unexpectedly.
The novel was birthed after an exploratory 1975 journey of 15-hour bus rides in India exhausted the author’s advance on his first novel Grimus. Cut to young Satya listening to actress Ellen Bernstein’s Q&A with Deepa Mehta at a New York show of Heaven on Earth. He all but fell off his back row seat to hear the director announce, “There’s the young man who will be Saleem in my next movie.” The auditorium swivelled to stare at the hooded figure pointed out. “I sat up from being scrunched under my jacket, the news was unreal!” he grins. “That’s Deepa, relying on her instinctive feeling of a person. She speaks and films spontaneously.”
Not dreaming he would play what must surely reign among Indo-English fiction’s most challenging protagonists, Satya met Mehta in Toronto a couple of years back. There was casual chat of Bombay, a brief recording of audio and video material he thought no more about. Yet he emerged the choice of both Mehta and Rushdie, who has done the screenplay adaptation. Getting the 27-year-old to portray Saleem aged 13 to 30, the Booker-feted writer pronounced they hit on “the perfect blend of gravity and gumption”. Satya in turn says, “I don’t know if anyone but Salman could take liberties with the text...”
Where we sit in the ancestral Cuffe Parade home he visits for the wedding of his cousin, daughter of an uncle actually referred to in Midnight’s Children (industrialist Cyrus Guzder as Cyrus the Great), offers instant throwback to a lineage ensuring London-born Satya firmly belongs to the arts. Here a fortnight ago, his father Dr Homi Bhabha, Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University, received word of being awarded the Padma Bhushan. The actor speaks of his Jewish mother Jacqueline, an attorney and human rights lecturer who lived in Mumbai for 10 years, devoting long weekends to her three children’s music practice. Satya picked up the cello at three, a skill he still showcases with the band He’s My Brother She’s My Sister.
Summer holidays in the city were crowded with swims at the Breach Candy pool and protecting potato chips from crows at the Willingdon Club lawn. The more serious connect to Mumbai, thanks to this plum part, is a chance he relishes. “Midnight’s Children is a big rite-of-passage book for my family, with its freewheeling world to fall into, the myths deeply ingrained.” To meaningfully soak in Saleem’s milieu, Mehta encouraged him to devour Nehru’s Discovery of India, Ramachandra Guha’s India after Gandhi, Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight and Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City. Learning Hindi, he took a contextually authentic recce for six weeks, “trying to be more Mumbaikar”, armed with Rushdie’s accounts of Dhobi Ghat and fishing shanties balancing descriptions of Malabar Hill and Warden Road.
Shot in Sri Lanka, Mehta’s mega movie releases this year. Mumbai was nixed as rampant congestion has left few spaces looking free enough to suggest locations capturing the 1940s-to-1970s period. How the vast sweep of defining Partition-to-Emergency politics, life-changing magic and high-voltage antics of larger than life characters peopling Rushdie’s bold narrative will unfold makes this a most anticipated production. The telekinetic powers shared between special Midnight’s Children are rendered wonderfully nuanced, promises our celluloid Saleem — “No fear of X-Men stuff there”. Satya adds, “Watching Deepa work is fascinating. Her awareness of human truth is a gift to actors. She unflaggingly searches the canvas in delicate detail for veracity of textured emotions.”
This role follows screen appearances including on-the-sets baptism with Sean Penn for Fair Game and an edgy role in Scott Pilgrim vs the World. It’s a fuller folio of stage credits for the multidisciplinary artiste currently based in Los Angeles. From the Anna Scher Drama School to being accepted by the National Youth Theatre, the London years saw Satya assistant direct for companies like Shunt, The Clod Ensemble and The Red Room. Moving to the US, he spent every evening at the theatre department in the University of Chicago’s Lab School. Practically living in its costume shop, he hung lights, built sets and became addicted to strong physical, visceral approaches to theatre.
When the family settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, things went further upswing. At Yale he read theatre studies, art history and anthropology, becoming one of two undergraduates to direct a main stage show in the University Theatre. In New York, he created and performed Rum and Cash (In Love & War), a cabaret show on the Thirty Years War using a fresh composition of Brecht’s songs from Mother Courage.
Seeing Satya pace his grandmother’s hallway with bridled energy for photographs, one can’t help recalling lines — albeit in less menacing vein — from the book he soon brings alive
Once the darling of B-town with A-list directors lining up outside her house to cast her in their ambitious films, Preity Zinta has suddenly disappeared from the scene. The gorgeous actor can be spotted only in stadia waving the flag of her IPL team these days. Her talk show Up Close and Personal with PZ did not revive Preity’s career either and we really scratched our collective heads to recollect the film Preity had last worked in. Today the dimpled beauty celebrates her 37th birthday. Send your wishes!
After making her debut in Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se right alongside Shahrukh Khan in 1998 followed by an endearing performance in Soldier, Preity Zinta became every boy’s dream girl. Her dimpled smile, infectious chirpiness and decent acting made her every director’s ultimate choice too. She did a fabulous job in movies like Kya Kehna, Sangharsh, Koi Mil Gaya, Veer-Zaara, Salaam Namaste, Kal Ho Naa Ho and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. She also bagged the Filmfare Award in the Best Actress category for her heartfelt performance in Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003. Preity has also worked in Telugu, Punjabi and English films. Her Canadian Film Heaven On Earth, directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta won Preity the Silver Hugo Award in the best actress category at the Chicago Film Festival in 2008.
Largely known in the media for being over-enthusiastic and speaking her mind, Preity is also the co-owner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Kings XI Punjab. Her ex-boyfriend business tycoon Ness Wadia is the co-owner of the same team. After a sabbatical of two years from Bollywood followed by Heaven on Earth, Preity chose to focus on other career prospects like managing her own media company PZNZ Media and her cricket team. Her talk show Up Close and Personal with PZ in spite of featuring A-list celebrities did not garner adequate TRPs. Preity is looking forward to her upcoming films Ishkq in Paris and Har Pal this year. As the effervescent diva turns 37 today, we wish her a great birthday and an eventful future.
The very pretty Preity turns 36 today!
DESIRULEZ.. wishes the actress a Very Happy Birthday.
Youngster Vinay Virmani has a reason to smile. In fact not just smile but in fact laugh all the way to the bank. His crossover film Breakaway [released as Speedy Singhs in India three months ago] has struck gold in Canada. The film has not just turned broken records created by quite a few Bollywood films in Canada; it has also turned out to be the highest grossing Canadian film in the year 2011.
Confirms Mark Sloane, the Canadian distributor of the film (which was co-produced by Akshay Kumar), "Breakaway has had tremendous success in Canada and we are very pleased to have been a part of it. We had released the film in 51 theatres across Canada on 30th September this year and the box office returns ever since then have exceeded expectations. The film is now the highest grossing Canadian English language film of 2011."
Boasting of an opening weekend of $546,866, the film has managed a life span total of $1,881,972 just in Canada. In comparison, the lifespan total of Aamir Khan's 3 Idiots in Canada is $1,124,679 whereas other biggies like Akshay's own Singh Is Kinng [$874,776] and Shah Rukh Khan's Veer Zaara [$866,107] have also been left behind.
Water by Deepa Mehta had held the record for being one of the highest grossers cross cultural films in Canada. However that record [$1,806,331] has been quashed too. Add Sloane, "When compared to some other biggies coming from Bollywood this year, we have done really well. While Bodyguard had ended its run at $579,070, Ra.One too had folded up at $659,729."
Naturally, Vinay is thrilled with the results. Though he was a tad disappointed with the lukewarm show of the film when released as Speedy Singhs in India, his faith in the film has been reinforced with Breakaway finding audience as well as sustained fans and followers in Canada.
"It was always a risk to release a film with ice hockey as its central theme in India. Its okay though, as the exposure was fantastic. I was noticed in India while out here in Canada, the film has managed to find a cult following for itself", says Vinay over phone, "Do you know that many ice hockey lovers out here are wearing the T-Shirts with Speedy Singhs written on them? I am glad that the film has managed to make a mark. Its box office success further reaffirms my belief in the film and its subject. It has been a proud journey for us to have made a true crossover affair with an international cast and crew coming together."
Vinay has definite plans to take things forward in Bollywood as well. "Yes, I am in conversations and there are things progressing well. You would hear a concrete announcement very soon", promises Vinay.
One of the Hindi film industry's most successful outsource stories, Katrina Kaif talks of moving in with sister Isabelle, playing the role of a vicious manipulator, and turning producer for a French film
You can't escape change. You change, you grow older. I'm not the person I used to be when I came into the industry. I wouldn't say I've toughened. But I have lost my naivete. Having come from the modelling world, it took me a while to adjust to the demands of the film industry, and to the motion-picture camera.
I am not going to pretend I grew up on Sholay and Mother India while I was back in London. Hindi cinema was a new world for me. Today, I believe I have begun to understand that world. And I love it! I wouldn't exchange my life as an actress for anything.
I am now equipped and ready to move on to the next phase in my life and career. I want to create role opportunities for myself beyond what I'm doing. I am not unhappy with the roles I have but I want to play people I can never be in real life. I want to do a double role, play a sergeant in the army, or a scheming, vicious manipulator.
I think I've had great parts in some fabulous movies. This year, I got to work with Farah Khan for the first time. And it was such a lot of fun. Shooting with her and Akshay Kumar was like a picnic.
I think I'd enjoy working with more female directors; maybe Aparna Sen, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair.
Turning producer is another future plan, and I have certain projects in mind. I'd like to buy the remake rights for a couple of Indian and foreign films. In fact, I've already locked the deal for a French film. Playing director is not my cup of tea. But yes, I am beginning to understand the technical aspects of the moviemaking process. Let's just say I'm finally getting a hang of it.
Oh yes, and my sister Isabelle will be joining me in Mumbai. She plans to be an actress once she has completed her education. I'm dying to do up the sea-facing home I have just bought. Once she moves into my home, I'll have more reason to go home early.
If the latest buzz is to be believed, NRI director Deepa Mehta has planned a movie on a bunch of Punjabi gangsters in Canada called Beeba Boys, and has signed the Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich for it.
The movie will have lots of Punjabi-Asian male actors and Millas presence as the only firang hottie will catch ample attention.
But we hear its John whos caught Millas eye as of now. The gal, famous for her action roles in sci-fi thrillers, is so keen to work with Mehta that she watched her Oscar-nominated film Water where ahem John caught her attention.
After fighting with multiple myeloma (a rare cancer of the plasma cells) over a year, finally Lisa Ray has been set free from the clutches of the cancer.
The actress was diagnosed with this rare cancer and had been under going treatment since July last year. According to latest reports, Lisa has now successfully won over the disease. She said that it is like being reborn after she underwent a stem transplant.
Ray is especially thrilled over the fact that her hair is growing back and she is feeling good overall. Recalling how traumatic it had been to lose her hair, Lisa however remarked that she had enjoyed being bald.
Lisa Ray is best known for her serious role in Deepa Mehtas Water (2005). Her recent release has been Cooking with Stella which is being screened at the ongoing Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. It is reported that nearly 20 percent of proceeds from ticket sales of the film will go toward the Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research which works on designing new drug therapies for the condition.
Im a bundle of nerves at the moment. I think it will take some time before everything sinks in. This is the first time I have got critical acclaim for any of my films. It feels great, said Ekta. Also, Ive heard that everyone is liking it... from old to young, which actually feels nice, she added. Ekta, who has recently been named one of the Most Influential South Asian Women Executives in the Media and Entertainment Industry 2010, will do whatever it takes even promote a provocative movie like LSD to rule the film industry.
I dont believe in being branded... I believe in clutter-breaking. Even with Balaji Telefilms we started out with something nobody else was doing. It was all about creating a bond with the audiences, Ekta says.
She ruled the Indian television for more than a decade with saas bahu sagas like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii and Kahiin To Hoga. In the late 1990s, she ventured into film production and co-produced films like Kyaa Kool Hain Hum and Shootout At Lokhandwala under her banner Balaji.
With LSD, Ekta has lanched a new banner. The film, which received encouraging reviews from critics, was made under the banner ALT Entertainment. She says she will continue experimenting under her new banner.
With ALT, Ill experiment. It might be shocking or provocative, but it will be different. My next ventures under ALT are Neeraj Pandeys Special 26 and Once Upon A Time In Mumbai. Both are very interesting projects and may be ahead of their times, said the 34-year-old. When asked, what prompted her to produce LSD, Ekta gives credit to the script. When I read the script of LSD, I realised that it is the most interesting script I have ever read. I had seen Dibakar Banerjees work and I knew he had the sensitivity to do justice to a project like this. LSD also went well with the soul of ALT Entertainment; so I decided to take it up, she said.
Asked about her name appearing in the Most Influential... list along with prominent personalities like Jhumpa Lahiri, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair and she says, It makes me proud that my name was listed among such great women. It is truly an honour. South Asia is quite huge and to be selected among so many people feels great.