Stories about Bollywood

Padman: Shaping the narrative surrounding menstrual hygiene with care and ironic wit

From Airlift (2016) to Rustom (2016) and from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017) to recently released biopic Padman, Akshay Kumar is portraying inspirational characters and filmgoers are loving his selection of movie subjects. His latest thought-provoking venture Padman revolves around a taboo topic – menstruation. The movie skilfully highlights basic hygiene that is necessary during menstrual cycles. Based on Twinkle Khanna’s short story The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land, Padman is about Tamil Nadu’s Padmashree winner, Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist who not only empowered the village women but also created inexpensive sanitary pads. The film has been appreciated all over ...

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Why quality war movies are not Bollywood and Lollywood’s forte

South Asia’s film industries have failed to produce a war film of international impact that would contribute to the myths indispensable to a culture’s self-image and provide a viable soft power platform. Films narrowly focused on jingoism and self-righteousness only preach to the choir. They quickly degenerate into self-indulgence. The paucity of South Asian war films and their quality leaves much to be desired. Whining about Hollywood cultural assaults discounts the entertainment quality of its movies and the innumerable, politically anti-American, Hollywood war-movie fans worldwide. The Naked and the Dead, The Great Escape, From Here to Eternity, Platoon, Full Metal ...

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In an age of weight watchers and surgeries, Vidya Balan proves that it is talent that counts

The Filmfare Awards 2018 took place recently, and Vidya Balan surprised no one by winning the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female). No one that has seen Vidya act will question or challenge her win, but the award means more than just another win for a deserving actor. This is indeed a big win for the art and the artist, but it is also a big win for women and for body positivity. At a time where most Bollywood actresses are judged and appreciated more for their looks and their bodies than they are for their performances, this ...

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10 torturous Bollywood movies of 2017 that made us question our will to live

  Every year, Bollywood has an abundance of releases. While there are some movies that stay with us for the rest of our lives, there are some which, due to their horridness, can instantly send us into a state of coma. We will be looking at the top 10 most absurd Bollywood movies of 2017. Please remember that this list includes movies that had a well-known and talented cast, a decent enough budget, high expectations and a wide release. These movies successfully tortured the audiences and made us question our own will to live. 10. Golmaal Again When you know Rohit Shetty is ...

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‘Fukrey returns’ is neither logical nor thought-provoking, but is definitely an all-out entertainer

Bollywood is now an industry that is strong enough to experiment with quirky genre films. At times, these experiments do not seem to make any sense whatsoever, yet sometimes, they turn out to be immensely popular and successful with audiences. Fukrey (2013) was one such instance, where a film launched with four comparatively new faces and no hype prior to its release, and managed to wow audiences and attract them to movie theatres. The film became a sleeper hit as well as a cult classic, despite its hard to believe storyline and faulty narration. This success is why, four years later, the team ...

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‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

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‘Basmati Blues’ unsurprisingly does what Hollywood has always done – exoticise India’s ‘otherness’

In case you were wondering, the white man’s burden is still alive and well! Even though it is the 21st century, while India is launching US satellites into space and is the world’s fastest growing major economy, the country’s poverty and social ills continue be alluring for moviemakers in the West. Falling back on clichés is a remarkably effortless way to create content for mass entertainment. Every culture offers ready stereotypes, and there are a large number of people in other parts of the world who readily lap up the concocted and twisted narratives. It is not surprising then, that ...

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The sequel challenge: Can ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ fare better than or be as good as ‘Ek Tha Tiger’?

Creating movie franchises seems to be the norm nowadays, which means that if a movie does well, it will invariably lead to a sequel. It was thus unsurprising to hear about Tiger Zinda Hai, the sequel to the 2012 film, Ek Tha Tiger. Set to hit theatres in December 2017, the movie’s trailer was recently released and has been trending on Youtube since. Tiger Zinda Hai, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Aditya Chopra, stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles, reprising their roles as Tiger and Zoya respectively. The trailer begins in Iraq, showing us the inhuman regime under a terrorist ...

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It’s 2017, why should I change my surname, my identity, after marriage?

“What’s in a name?” I often hear people ask the aforementioned question, to which my instant reaction is, “So why do women change it after marriage?” This used to be a topic of discussion amongst me and my friends before I was married. The typical responses to justifying this included assumptions that it is either required by the law or considered customary and has always been that way. Just because something was considered customary, does that necessarily make it right? If it did, then women should not be voting or be working because historically, it was prohibited or frowned upon. But women today do vote, women do work and women do ...

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Why are female celebrities asked shallow and personal questions but the men are asked professional ones?

I’m not going to lie, I’m a fan of red-carpet events. The pretty dresses, the sparkly jewellery, the glitz, the glamour, the hair and makeup – I love it all. Does that make me a bad feminist? I really hope not. I wholeheartedly believe in a woman’s right and choice to celebrate her looks, her body and her sexuality. But at the same time, it also sets me off when the media reduces a woman to merely that – just a pretty face. At the trailer launch for her upcoming film, Mahira Khan was questioned by a few reporters regarding those controversial pictures with Ranbir Kapoor. ...

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