One of LA’s true gems is the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival – every year, the festival never fails to curate an amazing lineup films – and trust me, there’s something for everyone every year. Check out some of the highlights (yes, Linsanity is coming to the festival!) below!
This summer is already gearing up to be a highly anticipated movie blockbuster season – with one of them being The Wolverine. This past week, a teaser trailer and stills were posted on Entertainment Weekly, which featured Japanese models Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, who play Mariko and Yukio respectively. The Wolverine marks their first Hollywood production (as well as Okamoto’s first foray into acting). I’ll admit, while Tao Okamoto is one of my favorite models, Rila Fukushima looks pretty badass. Check them all out!
2013 marks 100 years of Indian cinema — home of the unique film genre affectionately referred to as Bollywood — and through the century, there have been many memorable leading ladies, from Nargis, Sridevi and Rekha to Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta and many many more.
For this year’s Women’s History Month, Audrey Magazine highlights some of our favorite Indian actresses ruling contemporary Hindi cinema today. This is the first in our series of Asian Women in Film, where we will be featuring leading ladies from all of Asian cinema.
Here are 10 names to know:
When the former Miss World (2000) began her career in Bollywood, from her 2002 debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan to her damsel-in-distress role to Hrithik Roshan’s superhero in 2006′s Kriish, there was often more talk about her skimpy outfits than her acting skills. Then 2008 happened: Chopra had six films come out that year, and while the first few were unsuccessful, late 2008 brought the release of Fashion, the first role that got critics talking about her talent rather than her looks — especially when she swept all the major Indian Film Awards that year for Best Actress. Since then, even if the film she’s been in haven’t been acclaimed, people tend to point out Priyanka Chopra’s performance as the best part. Case in point: the awards she’d picked up for playing a murderess in 7 Khoon Maaf and an autistic woman in Barfi! in the last two years.
Vidya Balan has been acting in feature films for a decade, but she broke out into stardom recently with her role in The Dirty Picture, the biopic about the adult film actress Silk Smitha who was popular in the 1980s and 90s. The role earned her Filmfare and National Film Awards for Best Actress in 2012, and she followed it up with the crime thriller Kahaani, in which she plays a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband.
Kajol (also pictured at the top of the article) has been a household name since 1995′s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), which kickstarted a filmgoing craze (it is the longest running Indian film in history, and as of Jan 2013, the film is still playing in a theater in Mumbai, 17 years later) as well as a timeless romantic pairing (Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have acted in six films together). But in recent years, Kajol has brought an even greater depth to her performances. Just check her out as the blind woman in Fanaa or the grieving mother in My Name is Khan. You’ll feel like a really beautiful, soulful woman just punched you in the stomach.
Deepika Padukone made her debut in 2007′s Om Shanti Om, playing two characters that looked identical though they’re from different time periods (it can happen, just go with it). But she gave both characters enough nuance to prove to audiences that she was more than a tall, strikingly-beautiful model — even though she was definitely tall and definitely strikingly beautiful. Since then, she’s taken on different types of characters, from the modern-day romantic lead in Love Aaj Kal to the downward-spiraling toxic friend in Cocktail.
Another actress who got her start in a Shah Rukh Khan film (2008′s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), Anushka Sharma soon ventured out on her own and found another leading man that she seemed to have good chemistry with, on and off screen. Acting opposite co-star Ranveer Singh (quick tangent: check out his abs in Audrey’s Daily SHAG here) in Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl, Sharma really showcased her natural charisma and ability to lead a film. In 2012, she reunited with Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Whereas in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she played the mourning, subdued wife whose life and belief in love needed to be re-ignited by Shah Rukh Khan’s charm, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, she was the mini-Shah Rukh Khan, who “Shah Rukh Khan”-ed Shah Rukh Khan himself. I know it sounds confusing. But just watch the movies.
Born in Hong Kong to a Kashmiri Indian father and an English mother, Katrina Kaif often seems to have a maturity beyond her years onscreen. By 25, she was playing the Chief Minister party leader in the political thriller Raajneeti — and somehow pulling it off. After memorable turns as a civil rights activist circa 9/11 in New York and a diving instructor helping Hrithik Roshan get over his fear of water (and workaholism) in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, she helped jaded modern audiences believe in “old school” true love again in last year’s blockbuster Yash Raj film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Farah Khan has been in the industry for what seems like forever: as a choreographer, she is responsible for so many memorable Bollywood dance sequences that it’s almost impossible to count, but some of our favorites include “Chaiya Chiaya,” “Shava Shava,” and “Maahi Ve.” In addition to her choreography, she’s directed memorable films such as Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. In 2012, she won a Stardust Best Actress Award for her on-screen debut Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. But even when she’s behind the camera, she is an incomparable leading lady.
Sonam Kapoor (daughter of Anil Kapoor, who international audiences know from Slumdog Millionaire and TV’s 24) made her debut in 2007 with Saawariya, opposite Ranbir Kapoor. At the time, Saawariya got a lot of attention, because although the two of them were newcomers to the industry, the film was co-produced by Sony Pictures, and it was the first Bollywood movie to receive a North American release by a Hollywood studio. Since then, Kapoor has landed girl next door roles in romantic comedies, such as Aisha and I Hate Luv Storys.
A descendant of the legendary Kapoor family, Kareena Kapoor is continuing the legacy started by Prithviraj Kapoor and cemented by Raj Kapoor, as Kareena was most recently named the highest ranking female actress in Forbe India’s Celebrity 100 list. A power player in the industry, Kapoor has been one of India’s highest paid actress in years, starring in blockbusters including Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard, Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One, and most recently reuniting with Aamir Khan in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within.
There are many more, but here are 10 to start with. Who are your favorite Indian actresses?
It’s that time of year again – Forbes Korea unveiled their power ranking for celebrities for 2013. For the last two years, the nine member Girls’ Generation topped the power ranking list. Did they maintain the top position this year? Click on to find out!
The Oscars took place this past Sunday and while there was a lack of Asian nominees within the categories, the film “Life of Pi” emerged a big winner (which was also nominated for 11 awards), coming home with four awards: Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Score.
Congrats to all the winners! Click here for the full list of winners.
Our former cover girl Freida Pinto returns to India in her latest film, Trishna, which is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC in July and will be released to US theaters on July 13. The film is directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) and also co-stars Riz Ahmed, Roshan Seth, and Anurag Kashyap.
Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel, Tess of the D’Ubervilles, master filmmaker Michael Winterbottom’s newest film stars Freida Pinto who soars as Trishna in her most revealing performance yet. Trishna lives with her family in a village in Rajasthan, India’s largest state. As the eldest daughter, she works in a nearby resort to help pay the bills. Jay (Riz Ahmed, FOUR LIONS) is the wealthy son of a property developer. When he takes up managing a resort at his father’s request, he meets Trishna at a dance and their fates cross. Jay finds every opportunity to win Trishna’s affection and she accepts his efforts with shy curiosity. But when the two move to Mumbai and become a couple, Jay’s deep family bond threatens the young lovers’ bliss. Shot with Winterbottom’s agile camera, TRISHNA is a powerful look at the tension between ancient privilege and modern equality, between codes of urban and rural life and ultimately a hymn to both the glory and the tragedy that comes with beauty in all forms. (From IFC FIlms)
Check out the trailer below!
Ravi Kapoor’s The 5
The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is back, this time celebrating its 10th anniversary, April 10-15, at Arclight Hollywood cinemas. IFFLA showcases the best in Indian alternate cinema and focuses on cultivating a diverse international audience for Indian films.
Opening Night Film: CHITTAGONG
Opening night is the world premiere of Bedabrata Pain’s drama CHITTAGONG and stars award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee (PINJAR). The film is set against the backdrop of 1930’s British-occupied Chittagong on the brink of a youth led revolution, and tells the story of 14-year-old Jhunka who comes of age as he is faced with the ultimate questions of sacrifice, love, and the quest for true freedom.
Closing night’s festivities will begin with the screening of director Prashant Bhargava’s richly woven award-winning drama PATANG. PATANG tells the story of Delhi businessman Jayesh and his daughter as they journey back to his childhood home in Ahmedabad for a family reunion during India’s largest kite festival. Under the kaleidoscope of colorful kite-filled skies, a Pandora’s box of family drama and past conflict is exposed. PATANG has become a festival favorite playing to sold-out audiences worldwide and is making its Los Angeles premiere at IFFLA.
Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s THE TEMPLE (DEEOL)
Among the eight feature films screening will be India’s 2011 official submission in the Oscar™ foreign language category, Salim Ahmed’s poetic drama ABU, SON OF ADAM (ADAMINTE MAKAN ABU). US premieres include Rajan Khosa’s critically acclaimed GATTU which won a special mention this year at the 62nd Berlinale for capturing the ironies, the complexities and the vitality of India, and Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s inspirational satire THE TEMPLE (DEOOL).
Documentaries include the world premiere of Ruchika Muchhala and Faiza Khan’s fascinating look into Indian society with THE GREAT INDIAN MARRIAGE BAZAAR and the US premiere of Raffaele Brunetti’s MOTHER INDIA which intertwines four distinct stories about India’s booming fertility industry.
Back by popular demand are two shorts programs consisting of 13 films, including the world premiere of Anirban Roy’s AUDACITY (AASHPORDHA).
10th Anniversary Retrospective: LOINS OF PUNJAB PRESENTS
In honor of its 10th year, the festival is bringing back three of its past award winners as part of a 10th ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE. Throughout 2011 the festival asked the public to vote online for their favorite film from the past decade. The films that received the most votes and selected by the public to be screened in the retrospective are past Jury Award winners for Best Narrative Feature UDAAN (2011) and BLACK FRIDAY (2005) as well as Audience Choice Award winner for Best Feature LOINS OF PUNJAB PRESENTS (2008).
Bollywood by Night: AGENT VINOD
Also returning is the crowd pleasing BOLLYWOOD BY NIGHT sidebar which includes the highly anticipated AGENT VINOD directed by Sriram Raghavan and starring Bollywood superstars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and Abhinay Deo’s DELHI BELLY produced by acclaimed Indian actor/director/producer Aamir Khan.
Source: Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles
TICKETS AND PASSES
The 10th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) runs April 10-15 at ArcLight Hollywood located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd between Vine and Ivar. Festival and All Access passes may be purchased via the festival website.
Now in its 10th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry business executives and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. For more information: www.indianfilmfestival.org.