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Tag Archives: film

#Terror: Bangladesh bans Rana Plaza film over “Scenes of Horror and Cruelty”

A court in Bangladesh has imposed a six-month ban on a film about a garment worker who was rescued from the rubble 17 days after a the Rana Plaza disaster which killed more than 1000 people.

A two-member panel of judges in the High Court ordered the ban on the film ‘Rana Plaza’ after a petition was submitted.

It said that the movie included scenes of horror, cruelty and violence that could affect workers in the country’s garment industry.

The director, Nazrul Islam Khan, had argued that the real-life story of Reshma Begum depicted courage amid the tragedy.

The disaster on 24 April 2013 left 1,135 people dead.

Thousands more were rescued from the ruins of the illegally built complex which housed five factories supplying garments to international companies.

When the collapse started, Begum said she raced down a stairwell into the basement, where she became trapped in a pocket of space that allowed her to survive.

She found some dried food and bottles of water to sustain her until she was rescued.  She now works in a hotel.

The collapse triggered an outcry at home and abroad. There have been efforts to reform Bangladesh’s garment industry to improve safety and working conditions.

Investigators say several factors contributed to the building’s collapse: it was overloaded with machines and generators, constructed on swampy land, and the owner added floors in violation of the original building plan.

On Monday, the high court also asked the country’s film censor board to explain in four weeks why the clearance certificate to show the movie should not be cancelled.

Sirajul Islam Rony, the writ petitioner and a trade union leader, said he went to court because the film’s producer had not removed some scenes of horror as instructed by the court in March.

Bangladesh earns about $25bn (£16 billion) annually from garment exports, mainly to the US and Europe, although the country has one of the lowest minimum wages in the world – about $72 (£45) a month.

The industry employs about 4 million workers, mostly women who come from rural areas.

This BBC film from 2013 featured Reshma Begum recounting her ordeal.

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#Talvar: First look at Vishal Bhardwaj-penned film about Aarushi Talwar murder case.

The first poster of one of the most anticipated Indian films in decades has been released and it promises plenty.

‘Talvar’ stars the talented duo of Irrfan Khan and Konkana Sen Sharma and is based on the infamous Aarushi Talwar murder case.

Aarushi, was a 14-year-old Delhi girl who was found dead inside her parent’s apartment in Noida on the night of 15 May 2008.  A day later a domestic servant employed by Aarushi’s family – 45-year-oold Hemraj Banjade – was found dead on the roof terrace of the family home.

The murders created a media circus with newspapers and 4-hour news channels attempting to outdo each other with outrageous coverage of the Talwar family, including raucous debates during which “experts” attempted to point to a “relationship” between Banjade and Aarushi.

Aarushi’s parents were eventually convicted of her murder with what legal experts believe was weak, circumstantial evidence.

Actor Irrfan Khan plays an investigating officer while the key roles of Mr and Mrs Talwar are played by Neeraj Kabi and Konkona Sen Sharma respectively.

Khan’s ‘Haider’ co-star Tabu plays Aarushi’s aunt Vandana Talwar who continues to helm a campaign to prove the Talwar’s innocence. 

The ‘Haider’ connection to the film continues as it is penned by acclaimed writer and director Vishal Bhardwaj who is believed to have spoken to both Mr and Mrs Talwar as well as Vandana Talwar.

‘Talvar’ is directed by Meghna Gulzar, the daughter of legendary Indian lyricist Gulzar, and is set to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

The film hits cinemas around the world October 2.

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Pakistan just banned a Saif Ali Khan film which “Maligns” alleged 26/11 plotter

A court in Pakistan has banned the Saif Ali Khan starrer ‘Phantom’ - about the 2008 Mumbai attacks - in response to a petition filed by the man New Delhi accuses of masterminding the killing of 166 people over three days.

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which the United Nations has listed as a terrorist organisation, petitioned the court to ban the Kabir Khan-directed film "Phantom" on the basis that it maligns Pakistan and vilifies Saeed and his current organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

The Lahore High Court issued a ban on Thursday, Saeed's lawyer said.

"The government has been told that the film should not be presented for showing in Pakistan and to take necessary steps in this regard," lawyer AK Dogar told Reuters.

In its reply to the petition in court, the Pakistani government "vehemently denied" that there were ever any plans to screen the Indian film.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is banned in Pakistan but tolerated unofficially. Saeed has long abandoned its leadership and is now the head of its charity wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

India says it has handed over evidence against him to Pakistan which should have detained him. The issue has stood in the way of rebuilding relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

The United States has also offered $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed, who denies any involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Saeed lives freely in the city of Lahore in a villa with police stationed outside.

"Phantom" is described as a political thriller set in aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and features Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif opposing a villain named "Harif Saeed".

Yahya Mujahid, spokesperson for Hafiz Saeed and Jamaat-ud-Daw, applauded Thursday's court ruling.

"This film was calling for an attack on Hafiz Saeed, and this was clearly terrorism on the part of India, to release such propaganda. So we think the High Court has given a very good decision on this."

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#Court: A little film with a big heart wins India’s top cinema award

A little film which tells a mighty impressive tale about a particularly mundane aspect of life in India has won the Best Feature Film award at the country’s National Film Awards.

‘Court’, by first-time director Chaitanya Tamhane, bagged the top prize as the full list of winners was unveiled on Tuesday.

Set in Maharashtra, ‘Court’ tells the story of Narayan Kamble, a 65-year-old musician and social activist who is arrested and charged with inciting a day labourer to kill himself after listening to one of Kamble’s songs. 

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2014 and was widely praised for the impressive manner in which Tamhane explores the crushing dullness of the judicial process and how it continues to be manipulated for the benefit of the few.

The Best Film honour is the latest in a long list of accolades for ‘Court’ which has already won a number of awards, including at film festivals in Venice, Mumbai, Vienna, Hong Kong, Minsk, Singapore and Moscow.

The other big winner of this year’s Nationals was ‘Haider’, Vishal Bhardwaj’s critically acclaimed, Kashmir-set adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. 

The film won honours for dialogue, costume design, choreography, male playback singing as well as its outstanding soundtrack but lost out on the major gongs.

Actress Kangna Ranaut - who had snubbed several of Bollywood’s regular award shows and who had, in turn, been snubbed by organizers who put more store in a star’s appearance at an event – was rightfully honoured for her exceptional turn as a jilted bride from Delhi who decides to spend her honeymoon along in Europe in Vikas Bahl’s ‘Queen’.

"Mary Kom", a biopic based on India's eponymous Olympian and five-time women's boxing world champion, was the only other Bollywood movie on the list of feature film winners taking the award for best popular film.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony later this year.

For the full list of winners and the jury’s comments on each film, click here.

Here's a look at the international trailer for 'Court'.

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#Inspirational: New film on revered spiritual guru Swami Chinmayananda comes to UK

The spiritual leader Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati is famous across the world as someone who brought the essence of Hinduism.

Now a new film explores the extraordinary life of the man.

'On A Quest' had its UK premier this week and relates the remarkable story of self-discovery of the man born Balakrishna Menon in Kerala, south India.

The film masterfully depicts the remarkable transformation of a young college student and staunch atheist, from a fiery freedom fighter to a successful journalist, then to an ardent but rational seeker of truth and, finally, to the revered master of Vedanta - one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. 

The mission of his life was simple - to bring the powerful Vedantic knowledge contained in ancient texts such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita down from the peaks of the Himalayas and make them accessible to all in order to bring “..maximum happiness to the maximum number of people for maximum time”.

It was a mantra that would become the motto of the Chinmaya Mission, the non-profit organization founded by Swami Chinmayananda in 1953 and which continues to disseminate Vedanta knowledge around the world.

‘On A Quest’ was produced by the Mission to mark the birth centenary of Swami Chinmayananda.

In keeping with the collaborative ethos of the Mission, the film's cast and crew were drawn from among Swami Chinmayananda followers from around the world - including cinematographer Siddartha Nuni and London-based writer Natasha Chawla. 

Further screenings are planned around the UK, details of which will be posted on www.facebook.com/ChinmayaUK. 

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#PowerOfWomen: Line-up revealed for London Asian Film Festival 2015

Organizers have announced the full roster of films for this year's London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) which takes place across London from 19 March to 28 March.

This year's Festival highlights include critically acclaimed films such as 'Margarita With A Straw', 'Bhopal - A Prayer for Rain', 'Dukhtar', 'Rang Rasiya' and 'The World Before Her'.

The 17th edition London Asian Film Festival is once again organized by Tongues on Fire, which has built a reputation for promoting independent cinema as well as providing a showcase for female filmmakers.  In keeping with that ethos, LAFF 2015 celebrates 'The Power of Women', a theme that is reflected in this year's roster of special guests who include such filmmakers as Farah Khan, Nisha Pahuja and Afia Nathaniel.

Here's a list of the films being screened.

Opening Night Gala - 'Dukhtar'

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#Hunted: ‘Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans’ marries cutting edge film technology with social consciousness

In an industry notoriously bereft of original ideas, two young and relatively new Indian filmmakers are set to bring previously unknown story pastures and cinema technologies to the big screen this week.

'Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans' is written, produced and directed by Kamal Sadanah and Abis Rizvi and marries a thrilling story with a social consciousness and cutting edge technology and is scheduled to hit cinemas Friday 31 October.

With its lush mangrove forests and endless square miles of mudflats, wetlands and tidal waterways, the Sundarbans National Park of West Bengal has long been fascinating and forbidding at once, not least owing the park's

most famous residents, the majestic and menacing Bengal Tiger.

The Tiger's endangered status and its often-terrifying reputation as a man-eater has resulted in it gaining near-mythical status among visitors as well as the inhabitants who call the UNESCO World Heritage Site home.

Filmed on location inside the Sundarbans using filmmaking technologies previously unseen in the Indian film industry, 'Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans' is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about a group of young mercenaries who go in search of a mythical and rare White Bengal Tigress responsible for the death of a young photojournalist.

The film features an ensemble cast including Abhinav Shukla, Achint Kaur, Ali Quli Mirza, Subrat Dutta, Pranay Dixit, Himarsha V and Nora Fatehi.

The thrilling journey begins following the disappearance and death of a young journalist whilst on assignment in the Sundarbans.  When the journalist's brother arrives in the area to reclaim his body, he is stonewalled and forced out by locals who live in terror of an unseen beast who's roaming the mangrove forests and wreaking havoc.

Determined to find his brother's remains, Pundit assembles a motley crew of mercenaries and adventurers to mount the search with the help of a beautiful and mysterious local guide.

The ensuing journey takes the team on a terrifying and high-speech chase through one of the most menacing environments on the planet: one which will test the men and women's courage and resourcefulness to the very limit as they trek deeper and deeper into the marshy heartland of the Sundarbans.

Along the way the team have to battle the formidable and frightening beast who rules the Sundarbands but a host of other adversaries including a villainous Tiger poacher.

To give the film as authentic a look and feel as possible, writer and director team Kamal Sadanah and Abis Rizvi, along with the cast and crew, lived on board several large fishing vessels one of the many estuaries that criss-cross the Sundarbans, living amongst the myriad wildlife of the area, taking in the sights, sounds and the sense of terror one feels in the presence of some of the most dangerous creatures in the world which, apart from the area's Tiger population, also includes salt-water crocodiles, feral wild boar and dozens of varieties of snakes.

The producers also used a variety of cutting edge technologies, including 'Helicams', unmanned drones mounted with multiple high-resolution cameras which provide a true bird's eye view of the vastness and beauty of the Sundarbans.

Sadanah and Rizvi also enlisted the assistance of the famed Pune-based visual effects firm Anibrain whose previous credits include 'The Amazing Spider-Man', 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and the acclaimed Chinese war drama 'Lust, Caution'.

Among other highlights, producers enlisted the help of Slumdog Millionaire sound designer Resul Pookutty to sprinkle some of his Oscar-winning magic to enhance the film's thrills, some of which attracted the attention of distributors at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year as well as Bollywood superstar Status alman Khan who came on board with the producers to promote the film after seeing the first spectacular teaser trailer.

'Roar: Tigers of the Sundarbans' is in UK cinemas 31 October. 

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#Roll: Liar’s Dice beats out Queen, Shahid to become India’s foreign film Oscar entry

An independent film made on a minuscule budget, about an impoverished  young woman from Himachal Pradesh who embarks on a journey with her daughter and a pet goat to find her missing husband has been chosen as India's official entry in the Foreign Film category of next year's Academy Awards.

'Liar's Dice' is written, directed and produced by Malayalee actress and filmmaker Geetu Mohandas and has received widespread acclaim on the film festival circuit.

Following its premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival last year, the film competed at Sundance in the world cinema section.

Liar's Dice stars Nawazzuddin Siddiqui and Geetanjali Thapa, who won the best actress award at this year's 61st National Film Awards where the film also picked up the award for Best Cinematography. 

Early this year, Liar's Dice won the special jury award at the Sofia International Film Festival in Bulgaria.

The film was developed with a grant of a mere EUR 10,000 (approximately £8000) from an independent film financing fund based in the Netherlands. 

Liar's Dice was chosen from among a record thirty films by the Film Federation of India.

Other shortlisted films included Kangana Ranaut's delightful romantic comedy 'Queen' and Hansal Mehta's acclaimed 'Shahid'.

India has never won in the Foreign Film category and only three previous films have made the final nominees: 'Mother India' (1958), 'Salaam Bombay' (1989) and 'Lagaan' (2002). 

The 87th Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles on 22 February.

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