Anurag Kashyap’s film Ugly recently premiered at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. The film received mixed reviews, with Screen International writing it’s “just a bleak reflection on the way that the ugly city corrodes human nature. That’s just fine, but the story’s too flabby, and downright confusing at times, to hammer the point home effectively.” Whereas twitchfilm.com writes “this Fargomeets- Mumbai-police-procedural is compulsively watchable, thrilling, darkly funny and extremely well-directed.” Besides his directorial venture, Kashyap has a couple of productions at Cannes too and both Monsoon Shootout and The Lunchbox have received encouraging reviews. The Guardian said of Monsoon Shootout, “It’s an entertaining popcorn-movie with a twist, for which commercial success is on the cards” and Screen International said of The Lunchbox: “It’s the subtle flavours that mark The Lunchbox out as such a treat.” But even before Kashyap has time to ingest all the praise, his next film has already been announced. Fox Star Studios is producing, with stars Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma, and it starts production in July 2013. It is slated for a worldwide release on Christmas Day 2014. The first of a trilogy, Bombay Velvet is the story of how the city became a metropolis, set against the backdrop of love, greed, violence and jazz in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
The surprise packet
So, while Aurangzeb may have received mixed reports, one actor whose work was appreciated is Prithviraj Sukumaran. The South Indian star made his Bollywood debut in the disastrous Aiyyaa opposite Rani Mukherji, but his sophomore outing as the cop Arya is a far better showcase of his capabilities. This was Prithviraj’s sixteenth time playing a cop but the added challenge was getting the Hindi diction right since he plays a Haryanvi. And, to his credit, he pulled it off! A four-month workshop seems to have helped him prepare for his role as narrator. Prithviraj is best known for his role in films like Indian Rupee, Veettilekkula Vazhi and Thirakatha. “I would love to do more Bollywood films. I want to work in the genre that defines good cinema,” he once said. The actor will next be seen in D Company and is also being considered for Farah Khan’s next, Happy New Year, headlining Shah Rukh Khan.
It’s hard to believe that the once top-rated actress Preity Zinta is now a producer desperately trying to resuscitate a gasping-for-breath career. The level of promotion, the nature of publicity and her inaccessibility for media interactions go against the grain of the usual media madness around a big star movie. Even discounting her hectic travel schedule over the six weeks supporting her IPL team, Zinta should have had time to promote Ishkq in Paris. After all she is the only selling point of the film. It’s certainly not the unknown lead actor, Gaurav Chanana, a strange casting choice indeed. Ishkq and Rhehan meet on a train from Rome to Paris and decide to spend the evening in the romantic French capital. They make a nostrings- attached pact and part ways. But naturally love blossoms and has to be discovered in Paris. Prem Soni had earlier directed Zinta in Main Aur Mrs Khanna, and her co-star from that movie, Salman Khan, makes a guest appearance here. The only other film the vivacious Zinta has in her kitty is Sunny Deol starrer Bhaiyyaji Superhit. It’s sad to see the Dil Se, Kal Ho Na Ho, Dil Chahta Hai actress floundering thus.