Already a success in NYC and LA, Oscar-nominated director Mira Nair’s latest film THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST will be released in several other major U.S. cities this Friday, May 3, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
Nair sat down to give a behind-the-scenes look at her latest film:
Q: Can you tell us about how The Reluctant Fundamentalist portrays Pakistan, America, and the connection between them?
A: The joy of this film is that it reveals Pakistan in a way that one never sees it in the newspapers; with its extraordinary refinement, the searing poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, its heartstopping Sufi music and ancient culture that is confident in fashion, painting and performance. This world is fluidly juxtaposed with the energy of New York, the ruthlessness of corporate America and through our hero Changez’s love for the elegant, artistic Erica, a portrait of Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by Changez’s own family back in Lahore. Over the last few years, we have seen many films about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but always told from the American point of view. In our story, the encounter between the characters of Changez and Bobby mirrors the mutual suspicion with which America and Pakistan (or the Muslim world) look at one another. We learn that as a result of America’s war on terror, Changez experiences a seismic shift in his own attitude, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.
Midnight’s Children, the latest film from Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta (known for her Elements trilogy: Fire, Earth, and Water) is set to have it’s U.S. release this week. Based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Salman Rushdie – who serves as the film’s narrator – the critically acclaimed motion picture will open on April 26 in New York City opening exclusively at the Angelika and Beekman theaters. The film then releases on May 3 in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. followed by many additional cities on May 10. The film also stars Satya Bhabha, Shriya Saran, Siddharth Narayan, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Shahana Goswami, Samrat Chakrabarti, Rahul Bose, Soha Ali Khan, Anita Majumdar and Darsheel Safary.
Read on to for an interview with the director!
ISSUE SPRING 2013
Recent shocking headlines make Associate editor Kanara Ty realize we are NOT living in a post-sexist society.
Some time ago, I was talking to one of my good guy friends about the challenges women have in dating. I said, “Women have it worse than men — we have a lot more to lose when it comes to dating.”
He was taken aback by my statement and said, “You know, you sound incredibly sexist right now.” An argument ensued, and inevitably, I was upset.
As much as people like to believe that we live in a post- racial society, they also like to believe we live in a post-sexist world, where women have equal standing and equal opportuni- ties as men. In actuality, we don’t. The shocking case of the New Delhi gang rape of a physiotherapy intern last December was a brutal reminder. And it wasn’t just the rape. When female protesters emerged demanding the safety and respect for women, they were met with cries of misogynistic Indian males who went so far as to say that the protesters should be raped for even daring to speak out.
Why would these men take to the streets to speak out against these women? I believe it was because they do not believe rape is a crime. And they don’t believe sexual violence (and on a larger scale, violence in general) against women is a crime if she was deserving of it. And it’s not just men in poorer parts of the world; it happens here too, like in the Steubenville rape case, where a gang of football players raped a high school student and then posted the photos on various social media. They didn’t think the rape was a crime because she deserved it.
It’s the same sort of sexist mindset that affects how women are often treated in the Asian entertainment industry. One of the more recent cases was Minami Minegishi, a member of the Japanese girl group AKB48, who was caught by a Japanese tabloid magazine spending the night at her boyfriend’s house. In addition to posting a tearful apology and being demoted to a research student within AKB48, the 20-year-old also shaved off her hair (supposedly of her own accord). Minegishi was punished because of AKB48’s chastity clause — no member is allowed to have a relationship — and there are grounds for punishment (including dismissal) if the rule is broken. It’s baffling that a multi-million-dollar pop group is aggressively marketed as sex symbols, and yet the members themselves are not allowed to have sex.
Cases like this make it clear: We still have a long way to go in the fight for women’s rights — and more specifically, the rights of women of color. Even while we find more women taking on increasingly powerful positions, the fact of the matter is that men are still in control of the message that are being projected on women, especially in the entertainment industry.
We’re giving away Blu-ray combo packs of Ang Lee’s award-winning film Life of Pi!
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FROM OSCAR® WINNING DIRECTOR ANG LEE COMES THE INSPIRATIONAL. EPIC JOURNEY, LIFE OF PI, ON BLU-RAY COMBO PACK & DVD MARCH 12
Life of Pi is the film that earned Taiwanese American director Ang Lee his second Best Director Academy Award at this year’s Oscars. Based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Yann Martel, the film stars newcomer Suraj Sharma as Pi, alongside veteran actors including Irrfan Khan (as the older Pi), Tabu, Adil Hussain and Gérard Depardieu.
Lee brought what many thought was an un-filmable story onto the big screen. With the help of the visual effects company Rhythm and Hues Studios, the Life of Pi team staged a devastating shipwreck, turned a water tank in Taiwan into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and brought to life a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker shares much screen time on a lifeboat with Suraj Sharma’s Pi.
In addition to Lee’s Best Director win, Life of Pi took home three other Academy Awards (Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Original Score), earning the most Oscar wins of any film this year.
The film is currently available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.
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?
Bollywood’s Filmfare Awards — often referred to as the Oscars of the Hindi film industry — was filmed back in January in Mumbai, but the show aired on February 17, 2013, courtesy of Sony Entertainment Television Asia.
Co-hosted by Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan, the show celebrated the 100th anniversary of Indian film and featured performances by Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Usha Uthap, and more.
Top winners included Barfi! (Best Film, Best Actor – Ranbir Kapoor, Best Debut – Ileana D’Cruz, Best Score, Trendsetter of the Year) and Kahaani (Best Director, Best Actress – Vidya Balan, Best Cinematography, Best Editing). The Filmfare Critics Awards went to Gangs of Wasseypur (Best Film and Best Actress – Richa Chaddha) and Paan Singh Tomar (Best Actor – Irrfan Khan).
Audrey’s favorite looks from the red carpet are below:
We definitely don’t give enough love to the men of Bollywood – that’s now going to change. If you haven’t already heard of Ranveer Singh – say hello, ladies. (And to his abs too, rawr!)
Click on for more pics!
The up and coming fashion designer Michelle Salins has recently debuted her collection for Fall/Winter 2012 in America. What stands out about the Indian-born designer from others is her modern and feminine mix of both Indian and American cultures. Beginning her career in 2009, Salins was formerly an interior designer before establishing her career as a fashion designer. We were fortunate enough to interview the designer who talks about her inspiration, her American release, and her tips for Fall.
London 2012 – the Summer Olympics are finally here! If you have missed some of our preview posts leading up to this year’s summer games, check below for our coverage. We rounded up our picks and spoke with some of the athletes competing in this year’s games. Let us know who you’re rooting for this year in the comments below!
India’s Olympic hopes largely rest on the shoulders of several extremely talented women. These women are not only experts in their field, but they are also trailblazers for women’s athletics in India.
At 30 years old, Krishna Poonia is looking to capture an Olympic gold medal in the discus throw. She broke out onto the international seen in 2006 and entered the Beijing Olympics as a medal contender but failed to make the finals. The mother of a ten-year-old son, Poonia is looking forward to settling down and spending time with her son after these Olympics. However, Poonia admits that her son is one of her most avid fans. Poonia made history by becoming India’s first female athlete to win the discus throw at a major international tournament history when she won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.