Tag Archive: bollywood

Upcoming Bollywood horror films are integrating some technical savviness in a bid for frights.

Haunted 3D

The Bollywood horror genre has changed significantly since the days of women screaming in bikinis and a sign of the times is the incoming fright flicks, armed to the teeth with new technology such as 3-D to scare the pants of the modern audience.

One such advocate is Haunted 3D, that is credited asIndia’s first stereoscopic 3D film and masterminded by horror maestro Vikram Bhatt. The director boasts just under 30 years of experience but still regards the film with precedence, “Haunted is my most challenging and fulfilling movie. It was all new, the style was new, the technology was new. It is a unique milestone in Indian cinema,” he proclaims.

Leading man Mahaksahy Chakraborty attests to the change in requirements of shooting in 3D, “At first it was difficult to cope with 3D standards; you have to change how you talk, how you stand, and your body language. It was ten times tougher than a normal film.” According to Chakraborty, the hard work paid off. “Haunted is absolutely revolutionary, it’s ten leaps ahead by being in 3D and five leaps ahead in the Indian horror genre.” He believes the film’s themes are a far cry from the blood and guts of Bollywood’s Old School horror, which had earlier populated Bollywood. “Haunted is very eerie, there are a lot of silences and it thrives on the emptiness of horror, leaving the audience guessing ‘what’s going to happen next’,” he describes.

Also on the horizon is Ragini MMS, featuring a couple on a romantic getaway that is terrorized by a supernatural spirit. The producer, Ekta Kapoor, had described its original presentation, “the way the film was run is a grabbed footage feed.” This style means the footage appears like an amateur home video. The method, which involved 24 cameras positioned at various angles in the house, is pioneering in Bollywood. The appearance of the footage as raw makes the story more believable because it downplays the presence of a movie crew and suggests it had happened in real life. Kapoor had further stoked these fires saying, “The footage is based on a true story.”

Though novel to Bollywood, Ragini’s has drawn comparisons with the Hollywood counterpart Paranormal Activity because it was filmed in a similar format and even has the same storyline. Although admitting Ragini was inspired by the way Paranormal Activity was filmed, Kapoor had denied any further likenesses.

Ragini is another example of Bollywood filmmakers revolutionizing the horror genre by adopting innovative practices and Kapoor was reportedly optimistic for success, stating confidently, “Ragini MMS will be the scariest movie to date in India.” Trade analyst Komal Nahta believes Haunted 3D will benefit from the novelty factor of being the first Indian film shot in 3D, but says horror films cannot count on technology alone for frights. “Everyone is relying on technology to add to the horror but first and foremost the subject of the film must be horrifying, it needs a good story.”


Meet India’s new Government cabinet, plucked from the ranks of Bollywood.


Activist Anna Hazare’s recent anti-corruption campaign attracted voluminous support from B-town. The Twittersphere was set alight with stars’ words of encouragement and exclamations of triumph. This begs the question, how would our very own B-towners fare, should they decide to hang up their acting boots for a dabble in politics?

Abhishek Bachchan Proposed position: Minister of Law and Justice

In movies such as Dhoom, Bachchan junior proved adept at playing a tough-talking cop dishing out cold slices of justice. After Bachchan tweeted on April 8, “Support MUST be in deed not just in thought”, what better way to lead by example than take up a position as Minister of Law and Justice?

After all Bachchan has already cosied up with the Narcotics Control Bureau. “The Bureau has been speaking to me for a long time to come and work with me,” Bachchan stated. The actor is not short of political motivation. “I believe in change, I believe in standing up for rights”, concluded the lawman.

Bipasha Basu Proposed position: Foreign Minister

Bipasha & Josh

Glamorous actor Basu has been following Hazare’s cause and the web was atwitter with her support. On April 9 Basu tweeted, “Corruption is our enemy… V need more leaders like Anna Hazare!” After her highly-publicized rapport with American star Josh Hartnett, Basu appears promising for overseeingIndia’s foreign relations.

The duo was recently spotted getting chummy on the set of Basu’s upcoming film, Singularity. Basu has already worked her magic. “Since Josh is an American he doesn’t know about cricket but I think we have him hooked and we watched the India-Pakistan cricket game together” she exclaimed. Anyone able to sell cricket to an American pledging their allegiance to baseball has my support.

Genelia D’Souza Proposed position: Minister of Propaganda


Actor D’Souza’s success in trending her new film Urumi across Twitter with tweets such as “Im goin 2feel urumi thru d ppl cant wait”, makes her a potentially valuable asset to the government in communicating with the public. She retweeted a link on April 6 described as “ a vry sensible & balanced take on Anna Hazare’s fast…” to show support.

“I think Twitter is the best medium to stay in touch with your fans and actually get a real-time response from people. It’s fast, convenient and very easy to use,” D’Souza advised. Hope you’re taking notes, Dr. Singh.

Priyanka Chopra Proposed position: Minister of Education

Chopra with Unicef

UNICEF Ambassador, a former Miss World; beauty Chopra appears the ideal role model for young Indians. On April 6 she tweeted applauding their participation, “What’s remarkable is the uprising of youth of our country in support of Anna Hazare”.

Chopra’s first port of call would be to encourage voting. “How can you just sit and complain the government is bad, you are educated and can steer the country the way you want. When I turned 21 the first thing I did was vote,” she urged.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh had this to say of actors’ political prospects. “There have been many instances of Bollywood actors going into politics but I still feel that most Bollywood politicians aren’t as impactful, as they still maintain their work in Bollywood”, he concluded.

DNA- The Kids Are All Right

Upcoming Bollywood action flick Zokkomon casts child star Darsheel Safary, 15, once more into the lime light after his acting debut in Taare Zameen Par aged 11. Child actors sometimes face a tough burden, being placed in the public eye early and potentially having their childhood disrupted.

A chirpy Safary sounded entirely unfazed. Of his experience working on set, “It was amazing, I had Jackie Chan’s stunt director (William Ong) directing my stunts”. Safary also kept up with school work and, despite the film’s commitments, performed well in his exams. “I had a teacher on set and my friends kept me up to date with the work I missed.”

Safary’s friends also played an important role in helping him deal with fame. “Sometimes I get annoyed with the attention in public and my friends and family help me out. My friends understand my situation and the best part is they never hype my presence.”

Director Amol Gupte, whose upcoming movie Stanley Ka Dabba features a cast of around five-hundred children, was careful not to disturb his child casts’ experience of growing up. He followed a policy of shooting only on Saturday to avoid coinciding with school, meaning the production took 18 months to film. He had advice for his youthful cast. “I cautioned them to treat this experience as knowledge and not as a route to stardom.”

Actor Jugal Hansraj, who was catapulted into fame aged nine in Masoom and starred as a child in later films Karma and Sultanat, has fond recollections of his child acting. “It was one of the greatest memories of my life, I didn’t miss any of my childhood and forgot about it when I grew up” he recalled.

Thanks to her parents, actor Sana Saeed, who starred alongside SRK when she was nine in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, had a similarly unobtrusive time as a child actor. “When you’re that small you don’t know what you’re doing so your parents play an important role. My mum made sure I didn’t miss school and I would only do movies in holidays and over weekends.”

Having acted from age three, Saeed, 23, treated her roles as a hobby. “Child actors are so small that they don’t think about it being a career. It gives you confidence and might be a crazy back-up option but I did an advertising diploma afterwards and worked in a client-servicing department. It’s only recently I’ve wanted to get back into acting.”

Hansraj thinks child actors benefit from pressure-free environments. “Kids should be treated like kids and not behave too much, they are playing their part as children and should act straight from the heart.”

With talented script writers and keener audiences, Indian animated films can be more than just a flash in the pan.

In 2011 Indian cinemas will play host to a number of animated films, including Rango, Rio, and Japanese manga offering Sinchan, Bungle in the Jungle. And, for another year, Indian animated films will remain conspicuous for their absence. In the context of India’s highly-developed capabilities for animation production, this appears strange. After all, Indian animation played its hand in global film franchises such as Star Wars and The Mummy. However the domestic market is proving a tough nut to crack.

According to Ram Mirchandani, CCO of entertainment giant Eros, compared to the West the Indian audience is not yet suited to animated films. “The impression of animated films is that it’s for just for children and this alienates a huge movie-going audience.”

Director of 2008 animated offering, Roadside Romeo, Jugal Hansraj believes animation has a niche audience. “You can’t compare animation to a Bollywood film, it appeals to pockets of people.” This is illustrated in the box office performance of Roadside Romeo. At the time, according to Hansraj the film had grossed the most of any animation film in India, but this equated to a modest $55, 000.

Rajnish Arora, CCO of animation studio Source Animation, proposed Indian films are hampered by their plots. “We don’t have experienced animation writers and there is a lack of strong scripts” he suggested. Mirchandani supplemented this, “Animation films need interesting and smart scripts that involves audiences across age boundaries so children can bring their parents too.”

Director Anil Goyal is hoping his film Crackers will dispel perceptions of animation being just for children. Crackers, India’s first 3D stereoscopic film, is based on the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks and features an animated take on Katrina Kaif. “Katrina is a well-loved actress and she looks equally pretty in animation” Goyal added.

Arora credited India’s current strength in production of animation. “We have fantastic production abilities to execute someone else’s ideas” he declared. India’s foreign appeal is also entwined in economics. The 12-16 hour work day of Indian animators equates to a faster turnaround for jobs and the rupee’s favorable exchange rate makes jobs comparatively cheaper. Goyal estimated 60% of Indian animators work for foreign companies.

In an interview with IANS, Ranvir Shorey, who has lent his voice in upcoming animation flick Rio, bemoaned the lack of budgets. “We need somebody with the right script and the producers who have faith to mount that kind of production because we definitely have the talent in India. We need more entrepreneurship from the production sector.”

Stars’ personal access to twitter means they have a chance to communicate with their followers in a genuine manner, and not through the mechanisms of a PR agency. While some Bollywood stars such as Salman Khan use this opportunity to provide fans with an intimate look into their personal lives and thoughts, there are others who have undertaken the role of their own PR agents and use the site for endorsements.

Last week model Genelia d’Souza accompanied the release of her movie debut, the Malayalam film Urimi, with a torrent of tweets including favorable reviews and positive feedback she had received for her performance. The campaign clearly worked, and ‘#Urimi’ became a trending topic on twitter. D’Souza triumphantly retweeted the statement, “Urumi is Trending on twitter [India Trends]. Wow. 😀 Thanks to all the fans who made it possible. You all rock! :-)”.

Followers of celebrities are also treated to surreal twitter conversations between stars. The rich and famous are hardly using twitter to save on phone bills so it is more likely the publicity of the tweets are used to subtly promote one another. Actor Dia Mirza is a large advocate of public correspondence and tweeted on March 31, “Here’s wishing @DuttaLara and her team of ‘Chalo Dilli’ the best! Trailer out today :)”. To which fellow actor Lara Dutta replied, “@deespeak. Thankyou my darling :-)”.

Meanwhile, movie star Bipasha Basu regularly endows her followers with links for trailers to her new movies and music videos. Director Farah Khan justified this by describing Twitter as the best way to get direct feedback from cinema lovers. “We are making films for them so it only makes sense to give them first access to our film promos and stuff”, she said.  

There is suggestion of Basu giving publicity to companies she works with. On March 8 she tweeted, “Say hello to @madowothair, the people behind my hair for the last six years.” Earlier this year English model Liz Hurley tweeted herself into trouble with the British Office of Fair Trade after she included numerous references to cosmetics company Estée Lauder in her tweets. UK regulations state that stars must indicate when their tweets are being sponsored by adding ‘spon’ or ‘ad’ and the trade office was attempting to crack down on product endorsements on Twitter. 

Over in America, an industry has grown out of tweeting and it recently emerged that Charlie Sheen, with 3,350,000 followers and counting, is being sponsored to tweet by American company Ad.ly. It has also been reported that the popular tweeter Kim Kardashian, sponsored by the same company, earns over $10,000 for every product tweet to her near seven million followers.

Despite the lucrative potential of tweeting there is no evidence that Bollywood actors tweet for cash, preferring it as a marketing tool and a communication platform for self-promotion. Actor Dino Morea sees nothing wrong in this. “Being very personalized Twitter gives me an opportunity to get up close and personal with my well wishers as well as people who want to know about my business venture”, he said.

Caped crusaders, masked defenders; since the surprise success of X Men(2000), Hollywood has been heaving with superheroes as comic books are scoured and franchises such as Batman are revived for an assault on the silver screen. With the impending release of Bollywood’s Ra. One, superheroes appear to be catching on in B-town. But is the industry suited to the lofty production costs and sensationalism of superhero flicks? Is villain-bashing in spandex an Indian audience’s cup of tea?

The rapturous reception Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman received on a recent visit to Mumbai hinted that Hollywood superheroes had infiltrated the Indian market. It is clear the younger generation of Indians is taken with the visual feasts of superhero films and the protagonists’ portrayal as upholders of moral justice makes them positive role models. Actor Shah Rukh’s decision to act in Ra. one supports this. “I am only doing this for my kids, Aryan and Suhana”, he said.

SRK, though, was quick to distance Indian superheroes from their Hollywood counterparts, “the stories will always be set in an Indian context and the audiences have grown up with different concepts and stories”. Both SRK and Hrithik Roshan, star of superhero flick Krrish, reported there was no Hollywood influence in their superhero characters. Roshan said, “Indians have grown up with tales of superheroes like Hanuman so, while Krrish may have all the powers of a typical western superhero, he was not inspired by any Hollywood superhero”.

Apparently little influence, but the box office success of Hollywood superheroes, equating to both The Dark Knight and Spiderman 3 residing amongst the world’s top twenty highest-grossing films of all time, has certainly been emulated in Bollywood. Bollywood offering Krrish grossed Rs 150 crore, making it the second highest Bollywood earner in 2006, while in 2010 Robot(Enthiran) smashed the Bollywood grossing record, making Rs 375 crore worldwide. It is clearly a lucrative genre, but Robot’s reported production cost of over Rs 150 crores represents a potentially risky investment.

Ra. one’s use of Hollywood specialists to train their VFX team indicates that Bollywood is not yet at the global forefront of VFX. Merzin Tavaria, Chief Creative Director of India’s largest VFX company Prime Focus, conceded that Bollywood required the specialist help of Hollywood VFX teams but remained ambitious for the future. “We have some catching up to do in terms of experience, but with our base in the key global markets, we are in a position to leverage that and share the knowledge to train our people.” Roshan reflects this optimism. “We have the best minds in the business so there’s no reason why we won’t be able to achieve the standards Hollywood has set for us.”

Star of up-coming superhero film, Doga, Kunal Kapoor joked that playing a superhero, “I will finally know what it feels like to wear my underwear over my pants.” This perception of superheroes is born out of the comic books many characters are taken from. With a relatively low comic book readership in India, however, inspiration appears taken from elsewhere. Recently, it was reported that actor Akshay Kumar would be playing a superhero inspired by Indian deity Hanuman while the title Ra.One is taken from the mythological antagonist ‘Rawana’ who appears in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana.

Bollywood superheroes are swooping in, and judging by reports, they will be loyal to India.