Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH SALONY LUTHRA FOR HER UPCOMING SHORT FILM ‘KAJAL’

In Conversation With Salony Luthra For Her Upcoming Short Film ‘Kajal’

interviewed by Sriram Sundar

Congratulations Salony on your brilliant performance in the short film ‘Kajal’.

Thank you very much!

Tell me something about your role in the film?

‘Kajal’ was a special journey for me!

It’s about a woman’s personal strength. And there are a lot of people who try to curb that, but then once you realize your inner power, it’s a totally different scene all together.

While I was doing the film I realized that we let so many people kill our personality and dominate us. Somebody will say something not nice to you and you start feeling you are not good enough. If that keeps happening over a period of time, you tend to lose your existence. It has happened to me as well, so ‘Kajal’ became a personal journey where I once again realized that I need to make something out of my life and not do something just for the sake of others!

Nowadays there are a lot of films based on women empowerment and ‘Kajal’ is also on those lines. So do you think the situation here in India is getting better or is it still the same?

In India, the conditioning of women is very different to the women in the west. As women, we are brought up in a way where our parent’s happiness and dreams are more important than our own. Our social structure is like that. After marriage, if your husband is liberal then you get to see a different side of life otherwise it’s going to be the same mundane lifestyle for you. Parental pressure for women is such that you forget your own personality. As women, we are very powerful but in India, we are not made to understand that. Hope people change their attitude towards women after this.

How did you prepare for the role? How hard was it to get into such a character?

Pakhi Tyrewala sent me the script when I was shooting for a Tamil film in Singapore. She also wanted me to put on weight for this.

I started observing women around me, like in bus stops, trains where they do not say much and just let things happen to them. Silence can be captured only when you are genuinely silent and it is more about what is happening inside you. So I guess I have given my best and done proper justice to the role (smiles).

What is your dream role?

My role in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’ is once in a lifetime kind of a role. The play that I am working on now is a two-actor play that any actor would break her legs for. I look for roles that empower me at the end of the day.

I have been fortunate to get the roles that I have done till now. I would also love explore World Cinema like French or Iranian films as I don’t feel the language as a barrier!

You gave us an award-winning performance in Tamil film ‘Sarabham’, you are part of several advertising campaigns and you are also doing theatre. So what kind of similarities or differences do you find between theatre, ads and movies?

All are beautiful forms of expression according to me. I had to do a lot of preparation for the Tamil films, as I was not familiar with the language. I like doing performance oriented roles but I will do commercial films if there is something interesting for me to perform as an actor. In theatre, being on stage with dialogues and so much happening around you is just a different feel. Ads are also very realistic and natural. For me, they are all very different and interesting mediums.

Great! And what are your upcoming projects?

Tamil short film ‘Oliyum Oliyum’ is doing the festival rounds right now. My play “Blackbird” is happening at National School of Drama’s (NSD) reputed International Theatre Festival ‘Bharangam’. I recently shot for an international film called ‘Forbidden’ which is also about the journey of my life. So those are in the pipeline.

Wish you all the best Salony and thank you very much for talking to CinemaForensic!

Thank you! Thank you so much.

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BEST HORROR FILMS OF RECENT TIMES (10+1LIST)

Best horror films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Be afraid of the dark, be afraid of the dazzling light; be afraid of the spirits and demons, and the devil who takes the human plight. Yes, believe it or not, a bit of evil exits in everyone of us, even in our shadows and specially in the absence of it!

Similar Interest: Best Asian Horror Films

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies

And the following list is of the Best Horror films of recent times that will make you admit that ‘fear’ has no form, and the best thing to do is to accept its existence and surrender to it.

At least for now, surrender to these Horror Films – embrace the terror and enjoy the list!

10. Lights Out (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LiKKFZyhRU

Best Horror films of recent timesSomething supernatural that exists in the darkness, haunts and hunts only when the light is out!

Directed by David F. Sandberg, this is the story of a kid terrified by some presence that soon needs to be investigated.

A creepy movie with lots of jump scare moments and cool editing along with the flickering of light and darkness. A decent one time watch.

9. Annabelle (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFgQNPGlsg

Best Horror films of recent timesAnnabelle being the ugliest collector’s item is gifted by a caring husband to his loving pregnant wife but soon enough Annabelle gets cursed by some blood thirsty Satan lovers.

(Click for Review)

Directed by John R. Leonetti, this is a prequel of the popular Conjuring series –The Conjuring and the latest The Conjuring 2.

8. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYKANIDQlwU

Best Horror films of recent timesA father-son coroner duo, trying their best to identify the unidentified body of a young woman and while doing so they accidentally unveil the mystery surrounding her death!

Directed by André Øvredal, this film has the rare ability to scare you not only by it’s visuals but also through the sound effects intelligently put together to get the maximum effect on the audience.

7. It Follows (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymoh5SIqgtw

Best Horror films of recent timesThe after effects of a sexual encounter can sometimes go very wrong, even disastrous. But this particular film takes the after-sex complications to a different level altogether!

A young girl is being followed by some supernatural powers since she had a fun-filled night. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film has numerous panic moments and overall a perfect overall sense of tension.

6. Crimson Peak (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLWsNDZqXpo

Best Horror films of recent timesDirected by Guillermo del Toro, a film that is a perfect blend of fear and deception, hatred and revenge, and horror of course.

(Check for Review)

An ancient house that has memories to share. And when the newly married girl comes to stay in there, she is automatically the chosen one who opens the gates of the past gloomy tales and reveal many unpleasant secrets.

5. The Wailing (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43uAputjI4k

Best Horror films of recent timesIn a remote village a series of unnatural deaths perplex both the villagers and the police. And an investigation begins!

(Click for review)

Directed by Hong-jin Na, this South Korean horror movie is visually pleasing or rather unsettling; dark images, often pretty violent and savage, perfect for the overall mood of the film.

4. Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HxEXnVSr1w

Best Horror films of recent timesA prequel to the first two installments of Insidious, the very root of the Lambert family’s trouble, the reason why they were repeatedly being haunted and tormented by all these evil spirits.

(Check for Review)

Directed by Leigh Whannell, the film focuses on the gifted Elise Rainier who tries her best to relieve a young girl from the clutches of the demons. 

The previous instalments being Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Insidious (2010) and they both are worth your time and scare.

3. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFsmuRPClr4

Best Horror films of recent timesParanormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren is back and this time they end up in Northern London to help a single mother with four children who are being terrified by some evil spirit.

Directed by acclaimed horror-director James Wan, very tensed and creepy, this film manages to give you some very good scares mostly through brilliant editing and perfectly timed music.

2. The Witch (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjBN0ByAqDk

Best Horror films of recent timesperiod horror drama based in 1630s, when a family in New England becomes the victim of witchcraft, evil forces, black magic and possession.

(Click for review)

A chilling string of events including a missing newborn and the failure of the crops which eventually leads to fear, paranoia and brutal injustice. Director Robert Eggers‘s take on infamous “Salem Witch Trials” of Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

  1. Under the Shadow (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHVFP80Upxw

Best Horror films of recent timesSet in the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, a mother daughter living in Tehran struggles to cope with the war as well as some mysterious presence in their apartment that keeps haunting them.

(Click for Review)

Directed by Babak Anvari, this Persian film is probably the most well made horror film of the recent times. A must watch! 

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most disturbing and realist one. A must watch).

+1. Before I Wake (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho2Z0LtXsbY

Best Horror films of recent timesIf dreams could become reality the world would have been such a beautiful place. But then, what happens when you have the nightmares?

(Click for review)

Directed by Mike Flanagan, this terrifying film is based on an orphan boy whose dreams (and nightmares) come to life. And his new foster parents desperately need to find the source of the young boy’s disturbing nightmares before it’s too late!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comen.wikipedia.org.

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In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of Gulabi Aaina.

In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayan – the National Award winning director of films like Gulabi Aaina and Breaking Free!

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Hi Sridhar Sir, Welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you so much!

You made the path-breaking cinema ‘Gulabi Aaina’ back in 2003 and sadly enough it was banned in India for all these years. Finally in 2017 it’s getting released on Netflix! Tell me all about the journey of this film!

Ya Gulabi Aaina was my first film. We made it in 2002, because there was hardly anything in terms of LGBT cinema apart from may be few films like, Riyad Wadia’s Bomgay (1996).

Back then, we pitched this concept about ‘two gay people in love’ to several channels but they kept rejecting it because of the content. For them it was not appropriate for the family audience. And so, finally we only decided to make Gulabi Aaina, it was a self-funded project.

We shot on a shoestring budget, and we got help from many friends of ours who believed in the project. Also before this, I did a lot of In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayantelevision, so I kind of had a goodwill too. But that time we did not have any aspirations like who will be the target audience or how are we going to promote this film, festivals or release or this and that. All we wanted was to make the film!

Getting somebody for the character of ‘Samir’, who plays this bisexual guy in the film, was a little difficult because no body wanted to play that role. Getting the drag queens were relatively easy because I knew them, I mean they were real life drag queens whom I asked to act in my film.

And then the Indian Censor Board said it was vulgar and offensive, but the fact is there’s absolutely nothing vulgar in Gulabi Aaina!

Actually the problem was that they were just not used to seeing men dressed like women and yet being so comfortable; not at all apologetic of who they are! The film also questions patriarchy; like in In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangeneral it is the men who prey upon women but here the drag queens are preying upon a man who is reduced to a mere sexual object. I guess that really made them uncomfortable.

So we applied for the censor certificate three times before finally giving up (laughs).

So what was your next step, what did you do?

How long can you stay with one film, you need to move on. So we moved on to make my our next film Yours Emotionally!, which was actually sexual in content; Gulabi Aaina was a saintly film compared to this one (laughs).

Yours Emotionally! is actually about lust and how it develops into love, you know. And also the film questions ‘what is identity in India?’ All these identity boxes – gay, bisexual, transgender – they all come from the west. Earlier people just lived their lives here without being categorised and identified by such terms.

Anyways, so this film, we didn’t even submit to the censor board (laughs). It got screened outside India and distributed in the DVD market – that was a very big thing for us!

Though I have tried a lot of different genres in television, i mean In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayanthrillers, comedies, hetero-normative stories and all. But then I felt that making LGBT films – it’s a niche that I want to occupy, and it gives me the most satisfaction. It didn’t give me money though (laughs).

But ya, coming back to Gulabi Aaina, it even went on to become a part of a university’s curriculum on ‘gender and studies’. And now it got released on Netflix! Great!

That’s really great! Tell me something about your latest documentary “Breaking Free” which recently won a National Award for editing, right? How did it all begun?

Yes!

The thing is that my earlier two films Gulabi Aaina and Yours Emotionally! were both self funded films but then how long can you fund your own films? It doesn’t work that way. It is very challenging in India to make LGBT-themed films. So my third film 68 Pages got the funding from the Humsafar Trust and Solaris Pictures. We had a In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayangreat cast Mouli Ganguly, Jayati Bhatia and Joy Sengupta. But we didn’t manage to get a release because it dealt with HIV/AIDS.

And then I had a long gap from 2008 to 2014. I did not feel like making a movie at all.

At that point to time I started documenting LGBT events and lives, doing documentaries, as they are comparatively far cheaper than doing narrative films. And being a gay man myself, I had easy access to our community and of course, everyone felt that these stories are needed to be told. So from 2008 onwards I started documenting the community like interviewing them, talking to them. I had 300 tapes of my recordings that said different stories of people!

All that first led me to do Purple Skies, a Public Service Broadcasting Trust funded project which told all kinds of powerful stories from our community, some angry stories talking about violence and injustice, while other stories were happy and romantic. The film went on to several festivals and was shown on Doordarshan too!

Then at the same time Supreme Court said that the Delhi High court verdict on Section 377 is not valid, and it was a very difficult time for our community. Being an activist for the last twenty years, I personally felt that with one stroke all our hard work has been demolished and it was back to being ‘you are illegal’. The documentary Breaking Free talks about the effects of Section 377 on the community. It traces right from the first case till the latest and shows how the law had been misused. How many LGBT persons are being blackmailed, how the police are twisting the law in order to abuse and harass the innocent people.

But like all my films, Breaking Free also has happy stories of young people coming out, being romantic and everything. Being part of the In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayancommunity, it is an insider saying the story, and the film was also a great personal journey for me. It got premiered in 2015 at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and went on to screen at several international film festivals. It was a great surprise and joy when it got selected for in the Indian Panorama section! And then it went on to win the National Award for Best Editing, which was like a crowning glory!

It was an honor to receive the National Award in Delhi; my family had come there when I received it from the President, it was a moment of my life!

While Breaking Free has won accolades and acclaim, not a penny has come through the film till date, but we need to see about its release and distribution as well.

A great honour indeed, congratulations to you Sir!

Thank you so much!

And finally when did you decide that you wanted to be a filmmaker? Were you interested in cinema from your childhood?

Well, I used to watch a lot of movies in my childhood. Though I am from South India, my mom and I used to watch Hindi films.

In 1980’s, we had only two options in India, either you become a doctor or an engineer. So after getting done with my engineering, I In Conversation with Sridhar Rangayandid my Masters in Visual Communication from IIT Mumbai. From there onwards I was interested in making films.

Then I did a lot of television – Rishtey, Gubbarey, Kagaar, Krishna Arjun, Pyaar Ki Kashti Mein and all, before finally deciding to make films.

For me the whole idea of using Cinema is to pass on social messages in an entertaining format, that really is what intrigued me. Every scene that I write till now is to get an emotion or a reaction back from the audience!

Overall an interesting journey till now, I have always taken roads which I didn’t know where it will lead me to. Even when I came out as a gay man it was a complicated decision, it was in 1990 when very few people used to come out.

If ‘Gulabi Aaina’ was made now, what do you think, i mean could it get released?

Gulabi Aaina being a 40 min short film it maybe challenging; you see, very few documentaries or short films in India gets actually released in theatres. Distribution system neither supports short films nor the movies that are away from the mainstream. If Gulabi Aaina was made now and sent to the Indian Censor Board, I know it would have got an ‘A’ certificate.  But with ‘A’ certificate, you can barely get theatres for release.

So I personally think Netflix is a much better option for this film as people can watch it how and when they want to watch it.

Our latest film, Evening Shadows on which I am currently working will be a theatrical release though (smiles).

All the images are exclusively provided only for the use of this article. 

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Maroon (2016)

Maroon review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A disturbingly beautiful psychological thriller!

My Ratings: 3.8/5

Our mind plays all kinds of tricks, often dangerously merging the line between reality and imagination. And we poor mortals, dazed and confused and tortured by our own conscience, desperate to restore some comfort and tranquility. But alas! peace cannot be Maroon-reviewreclaimed that easily.

The story of Professor Saurabh Sharma (Manav Kaul) is one perfect example of such a psychological discord, intensified by his wife gone missing, and he himself being an insomniac doesn’t seem to help either.

Entangled in-between the police officer’s inquisitions and the advancement of a flirtatious student, and also under the influence of the the unending sleeping pills, the professor’s life looks more distorted than ever.

Disturbing? Yes, thank you very much!

Be it the blood-filled bathtub mysteriously clogged by a bundle of human hair or a chopped up human finger under the cabinet, Maroon is a dark and trippy psychological thriller that seems to have it’s roots deeply embedded into our human psyche; stimulated by that part of our unconscious brain that deceives our consciousness, and makes us vulnerable yet so dangerous.

Overall an intelligently made film, based on one single location, entirely interiors. With only a handful of characters writer/director Pulkit Maroon-reviewhave managed to weave an intricate tale of murder, betrayal, love, adultery and insanity!

Superb performance by Manav Kaul, he portrayed the tired and delusional man desperate to find his wife, with enough conviction.

Devyani Cm as the young seductress and Sumeet Vyas the hot-tempered lover-boy are really good but one particular actor needs a special mention, Saurabh Sachdeva playing the character of Inspector. R. Negi was simply brilliant!

Fantastic work by Soumik Mukherjee as the cinematographer and superb music by Sagar Desai.

Produced by Jyotsana Nath, the film Maroon after been showcased in numerous festivals world wide, has been recently released on Netflix!

A very well-made psychological thriller that demands your attention; go watch it!

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Oscar Nominations are here!

Oscar Nominations are here!

written by Souranath Banerjee

The 89th annual Academy Award nominations, the Oscar nominations, the entries for the biggest entertainment award ceremony of the world is just been announced!

And this year we have La La Land leading the pack with 14 nominations, a tie with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) for moonlight-postermost nominations for a single film.

Then again we have some brilliant films like the sci-fi drama Arrival and the coming-of-age story Moonlight with eight nominations.

And then, a unique historical war-film Hacksaw Ridge, a superb drama ‘based on a true story’ Lion, and the sad yet poetic Manchester by the Sea, each entitled for six nominations!

In total 24 categories, and the final award ceremony itself will be on Sunday, February 26.

For now, let the Oscar race begin!

You can watch the announcement on the Oscars’ official YouTube channel, which is also embedded above.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.comwww.impawards.com.

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BEST BENGALI FILMS 2015 – 2016 (10+1list)

Best Bengali Films 2015 – 2016

written by Souranath Banerjee

Hello to all you Bengali ‘nak uchu’ snobs who consider Bengali Cinema/Literature/Music as the epitome of art and creativity – well, glad to announce that I am exactly like you!

And when ever we Bengalis talk about Cinema, we time travel to the memorable glorious past of Bengali Cinema – the days of Satyajit RayMrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak and then coming back to the present we proudly allude to the likes of Rituparno GhoshBuddhadev DasguptaGautam GhoseAparna Sen.

Such legendary directors and their invaluable contribution to World Cinema make us feel honoured and content, and why not?

Similar Interest: Best Bengali Films 2012 – 2014

Similar Interest: Best Bengali Classic Comedies of all times

However this current list is of more recent times, the last two years to be exact (2015 – 2016), a list of the best Bengali films from exceptionally talented directors who are very much the present and the future of Bengali Film Industry!

Best Bengali Films 2015 – 2016 – let the countdown begin!

10. Double Feluda (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1V7VWYKbeI

Double-Feluda-posterSandip Ray have made his latest film on none other than two back to back mystery stories originally written by Satyajit Ray, based on the famous detective character Feluda!

And guess what, Sabyasachi Chakraborty is back in and as Feluda and still rocking! And then of course we have Saheb Bhattacharjee as Topshe and Paran Banerjee as Sidhu Jetha. I only wish that somebody could replace Mr.Lalmohan Ganguly aka Jatayu aka Santosh Dutta as well. I guess some people are just irreplaceable!

9. Belaseshe (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0zUrtioA2g

belaseshe-posterDirected by Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy, probably the best film that explores the intricate emotional values of various human relationships, be it married or unmarried, short time or a life-long companionship!

Brilliant chemistry between Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta straight after they shared the screen in Satyajit Ray‘s Ghare-Baire in the year 1984.

8. Byomkesh O Chiriakhana (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjc4ogHSOo0

Byomkesh-O-Chiriakhana-posterIt seems that the Bengali-audience can never have enough of their favourite detective Mr.Byomkesh Bakshi.

Directed by Anjan Dutt, this thriller revolves around the murder of a judge and this time Jishu Sengupta plays the role of the typical ‘bhodrolok’ sleuth to perfection. And Saswata Chatterjee as Byomkesh’s friend/assistant Ajit and Usashi Chakraborty as Byomkesh’s wife Satyabati.

7. Shankhachil (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stkkOMmchpo

shankhachil-posterAcclaimed director Goutam Ghose‘s latest film won the National Award for Best Bengali film of 2016!  

It’s a India-Bangladesh joint venture and the story is also based on consequences of partition and how people get affected by it still today.

Commendable performances by child artist Shajbati and then of course Prasenjit Chatterjee, Kusum SikderDipankar Dey all have given their best. 

6. Eagoler Chokh (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oZZkXdFRS0

Eagoler-Chokh-posterBased on Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay‘s story and directed by Arindam Sil this is the best detective thriller among the endless Bengali-detective movies that had been churned out in the last year.

The investigator Shabor Dasgupta played perfectly by Saswata Chatterjee slowly connects the dots as he cracks a murder case of a young woman.

Ebar Shabor, by the same director and based on the same detective character is also worth your time.

5. Chotoder Chobi (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8xRKKtL2Oo

chotoder-chobi-posterAn emotional heart-touching love story between two people born with genetic defect causing dwarfism.

Directed by Kaushik Ganguly, this slow-pace drama won a National Award in the ‘Best Film on Other Social Issues’ category.

Unique concept, superb direction and brilliant natural performances by Debalina Roy and Dulal Sarkar. Mr.Dulal Sarkar was also awarded best-actor at Goa International Film Festival last year.

4. Nirbashito (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iang3nizjTE

nirbashito-posterA biography of a writer in exile, a story about her isolation, her hopes and her helplessness – officially not based on the life of controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen but rather inspired by her life post exile.

Directed and also performed by Churni Ganguly, the film won the National Award for Best Bengali film of 2015 and also was India’s Oscar nomination in the category “Best foreign film” in 2015!

3. Open Tee Bioscope (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhYpZrYrUBw

open-tee-bioscope-posterAdolescence, adventures and experiences, friends and infatuations – Kolkata seen through the eyes of a young boy.

Superb performances by the young actors Riddhi Sen,  Surangana Banerjee,  Dhee Majumder.

Directed by Anindya Chatterjee and Shoojit Sircar, if you want to experience the nostalgic North Kolkata of the 90s, this is the film you should watch!

2. Cinemawala (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9_lUiinpFo

cinemawala-posterThis film beautifully takes on two different tussles – one, as the digital media threatens the single screen movie theatres specially in the small towns and the secondly, the universal clash between a father and his son.

Brilliantly performed by Paran Banerjee and Parambrata Chatterjee and directed by Kaushik Ganguly, an emotional tale that Cinema-lovers cannot miss. 

  1. Praktan (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMJPxLAjuXU

praktan-poster

A married woman meets her ex husband while they are on a journey from Mumbai to Howrah by train – a beautiful film about relations and relationships.

Directed by Shibprasad Mukhopadhyay and Nandita Roy, probably the most popular Bengali film of the last couple of years portraying a brilliant chemistry between Prasenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. Asha Jaoar Majhe (2014)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFObwB9TAwc

Labour-of-Love-Poster1Also known as Labour of Love, this is one unique film that won two National Awards and was appreciated in many festivals around the world.

(click for the review)

Directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, starring  Ritwick Chakraborty and Basabdatta Chatterjee this is one of the best non-comercial visual treat that happened to the Bengali Industry in the recent times.

A few other films that are also worth your time are Srijit Mukherji‘s Rajkahini (2015), Suman Mukhopadhyay‘s The Last Poem (2015), Pavel‘s Babar Naam Gandhiji (2015) and Suman Ghosh‘s Kadambari (2015).

 Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

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Best Zombie Films of recent times (10+1list)

Best Zombie Films of recent times

written by Souranath Banerjee

The earliest Zombie movie ever made was White Zombie way back in 1932.

Till then hundreds of horror films have been made on this particular concept – reanimation of a human corpse by witchcraft or other White-Zombie-postersupernatural means who again loves eating other humans, turning them into ‘zombies’ as well!

Though entirely fictional but people seemed to be happy enough to watch these ‘bloody’ Zombie-movies and even get terrified by such a possibility in future!

Specially one director who is highly responsible for the popularity of the Zombie-genre is George A. Romero. His films Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) are some of the most recommended zombie-horror flicks ever!

A few other famous zombie movies I Walked with a Zombie (1943), The Last Man on Earth (1964) and Zombie (1979).

And finally, let’s have a taste of some of the Best Zombie Films of recent times! 

10. Planet Terror (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yij3I7G44o

Planet-Terror-posterGrindhouse movie directed by Robert Rodriguez and this time he is big time into zombies! 

An experimental bio-nerve gas accident that turns people into flesh-eating, mutating zombies, and then a group of people join forces to save the town from these terrifying creatures.

With a hint of comedy and enough gore, this is a tribute to the 70s exploitation films.

9. Maggie (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ5Vz8qE8R8

maggie-posterArnold Schwarzenegger decides to do a zombie movie, that too free of cost because he very much liked the script! 

A slow emotional father-daughter drama that tries it’s best to focus on the sentimentalities about close relations turning into zombies.

Directed by Henry Hobson, it’s not your regular blood-gore zombie flick – something different to offer.

8. I Am Legend (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtKMEAXyPkg

i-am-legend-posterDirected by Francis Lawrence, this is the latest remake of Richard Matheson’s novel by the same name- earlier ones being The Last Man on Earth (1964) and The Omega Man (1971)

A post-apocalyptic horror film where Will Smith is the last human survivor left in New York City and perhaps in the whole world; everyone else being transformed into mutant victims of a plague. Can he find a cure to this madness?

7. I Am a Hero (2015)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZu3sVK3JOE

I-Am-a-Hero-posterA zombie outbreak happens and an ordinary man turns into a hero while fighting a battle of survival!

Based on Kengo Hanazawa’s massively popular manga by the same name, and directed by Shinsuke Sato, this Japanese zombie film doesn’t at all restrict itself from showing all that violence and bloodshed. Fast and gory, decent performances and pretty realistic effects!

6. Dawn of the Dead (2004) 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j69OPw9nFHw

dawn-of-the-dead-poster1This one is the remake of George A. Romero‘s zombie classic by the same name. And it is bloody violent and much more realistic!

Zack Snyder‘s directorial debut, this gory film is set when a worldwide plague is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies all over the world and only a few survivors desperate to fight back take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

5. 28 Days Later… (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7ynwAgQlDQ

twenty-eight-days-later-posterAn incurable virus has spread from the apes and now humanity is in the verge of extinction!

Only a few survivors remain and they try their best to survive ‘staying alive is as good as it gets’.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Danny Boyle, the film has the look and feel of a sci-fi, and of course one of the most stylish zombie films I have seen in the recent times.

A sequel that can also be taken under consideration 28 Weeks Later (2007) by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.

4. [Rec] (2007)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGJ_jPKOj1c

[Rec]-posterAn apartment building where something terribly went wrong. A television reporter and cameraman follow the emergency workers into that dark apartment building trying their best to solve the crisis.

Directed by Jaume Balagueró,  Paco Plaza, this thrilling Spanish film is all blood and gore, shot in real locations and also chronologically filmed.

The second part of it [Rec] 2 (2009) and the US remake named Quarantine (2008) is also worth your time.

3. World War Z (2013)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcwTxRuq-uk

world-war-z-posterWhen Brad Pitt stars in some zombie movie you know it will be of epic scale and it was!

Directed by Marc Forster, this story revolves around a man who is up against time to stop the Zombie pandemic threatening to destroy humanity.

Brilliant effects and crowd simulation and it is the highest-grossing film of Brad Pitt’s career!

2. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjGkB_oWTe0

girl-with-all-the-gifts-posterA dystopian future definitely after the zombie apocalypse, an army training base where certain kids are tutored regularly. But these kids are not exactly normal – they are zombies with human brains!

Directed by Colm McCarthy, this unique film is particularly about a zombie kid named Melanie and how she chose her battle of survival tagging along a few humans by her side! 

  1. Train to Busan (2016)

Busanhaeng (original title)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyWuHv2-Abk

Train-to-Busan-posterDirected by Sang-ho Yeon, this film is about a group of people travelling on a fast train from Seoul to Busan while they find out that the outside world is getting affected by a virus that turns people into zombies! 

A kid and his father, a pregnant lady and her husband, a young couple and many more – all fighting for their lives in this horrific mess.

This South Korean zombie flick tops the list because of it’s super tight story line and brilliantly realistic visuals. Gory and believable!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch)

+1. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMitSKT-u_k

shaun-of-the-dead-posterAnd to end the list is the best Zombie-Horror-Comedy ever made!

Directed by Edgar Wright, a brilliant comic take on the zombie apocalypse and of course the several tips and tricks on how to survive through it. 

The hilarious combination of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is as always too funny – bloody tasty!  

Other popular Zombie-Horror-Comedies are Zombieland (2009) and Juan of the Dead (2011).

Similar Interest: Best horror Comedies.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

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Elle (2016) – BEST OF 18TH JIO MAMI MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2016!

Elle review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

If a rape victim desires to return to the act itself, then the next time, does she still remain a victim?

My Ratings: 4/5

Quality erotic thrillers are hard to find but then Basic Instinct director Paul Verhoeven often comes to our rescue.

elle-reviewHis latest French thriller Elle was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and also has already won the Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language and the lead Isabelle Huppert won for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama!  

The film starts with a disturbing rape scene that makes the audience uncomfortable enough but then the alarming normality maintained by the ‘victim’ as she continues to perform her daily routine becomes even more disturbing. Why doesn’t she complain about her violation? How can she be so inert about her abuse? Does she know the attacker or will she track him down?

Multiple relations and several interesting plot lines crisscross their paths, and one has to admire the Dutch director’s subtle use of comedy throughout the movie, but then again, the erotic undercurrent is what makes the film so special!

elle-reviewAnd of course Isabelle Huppert‘s brilliant performance!

Actually “Elle” means “She” and so the whole film is seen from the perspective of the central character Michèle and Isabelle Huppert simply owns the part. Her beautiful, sexy looks, her cold and courageous character, her raw animal desires and her level of supreme confidence – no doubt she is the spine of this film.

Though according to me the ending of the film doesn’t justify her character at all but then again a performance to cherish for sure.

Based on the novel “Oh…” by Philippe Djian, I think the best compliment for this film would be that it feels very much like a Michael Haneke film, a lighter version may be with a hint of comedy in it!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

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In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade – the very talented writer/director of Tu Hai Mera Sunday

In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade – the very talented writer/director of Tu Hai Mera Sunday.

interviewed by Souranath Banerjee

Milind Dhaimade – an independent filmmaker who believes that everybody is born for some purpose in life and for him it is film making!

His film Tu Hai Mera Sunday is been considered as one of the most entertaining films at the recent Mumbai Film Festival and immensely appreciated as well.

In Conversation with Milind Dhaimade as he talks about his journey as a filmmaker!

Hi Milind, Welcome to Cinema Forensic.

Thank you so much.

Your film ‘Tu Hai Mera Sunday’ was screened in Mumbai Film Festival and got a very positive response. Feels good? 

Great actually!

I never thought of Tu Hai Mera Sunday as a festival-film at all. It’s a very ‘happy’ kind of film, if you know what I mean. It’s a Bombay-story and bits of it is from my life. So when we got selected for Film Bazar and for BFI London Film Festival, I was pretty shocked! I mean U R M SUNDAY TYPO (2)wow! looks like we have made something that also has an international appeal (smiles).

But for me the real joy is always home you know. You want to know what will people think in India, in Bombay. We did some screenings and we always got positive responses from the audience. And that’s why Mumbai Film Festival was fantastic for me, home ground – the ultimate test and it all went so well!

Superb! So tell me how did it all start, you have an advertising background right? 

Yes. See, though I come from a non-filmy background but from my childhood I was very much interested in theatre and films.

But I come from a tough family where people expect you to have real jobs. Then somebody told me about advertising where you can be creative and also have a job, like I can write and make my own stuff. And that’s how I started the journey of advertising and I enjoyed it very much; a great training process of instantly thinking on your feet, thinking of 10 different things at one time and all. But at the back of my mind this filmmaking thing was always there.

So when did you start planning to make a film? 

Actually there was no proper plan as such. It was not like ‘ok look, so after ten, twelve years I will make a film’.

While making ad films I met some very good filmmakers and had a great time working with them. Soon we (me and my wife) were way up in the corporate ladder, we could go higher as well but at some In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadepoint you realise that the higher you go the lesser is the creativity part you know. It’s more of people management and salaries and stuff like that. Then we realised that we are getting away from the things we liked to do, it’s all about sustaining in the corporate goals and all.

At that time in 2005, me and my wife had a chat and decided we should do what we always wanted to do. So we quit our jobs and started planning to make a film. For me it’s like from a very early age you know that you are born for a purpose and you kind of know that you are gonna do it somewhere down the line no matter when. So I was pretty sure about this. The only thing I didn’t know was how?

So by this time you have decided on a particular story?

I started developing a few stories, and then what happened, I had a friend in advertising, Vinay Kanchan and they have a group called Juhu Beach United. So these bunch of guys play at Juhu Beach every Sunday. They come from mixed background and they just love playing football. So it just struck me that what would happen if these In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadeguys couldn’t get a place to play on a Sunday – what would they do? That’s how the story started developing.

Finally in 2008 I started writing this, and I took my time. As I said there was no plan or deadline as such. So for one and half years down the line we kind of had the final version. And also over the years I have picked my team, it took time but it’s very important that you choose the right people with whom you want to work.

Then the other thing was shopping the script. Not that we went to too many studios but you also realise that there is a certain film culture here which is little weird, basically it’s not based on scripts but it’s based on casting and actors. But this film is about everyday guys – if you put some high profile stars in it – it simply won’t work. And we were very sure whom we wanted to cast and the casting directors Anmol (Anmol Ahuja) and Abhishek (Abhishek Banerjee) did a great job. Be it Barun SobtiShahana GoswamiPallavi Batra, Avinash Tiwary, Vishal Malhotra, Masnvi Gagroo, Rasika Dugal, Suhas Ahuja, Nakul bhalla, Jay upadhyay and Shiv Subhramaniyum – it was a perfect cast.

So finally we decided to fund it ourselves, put together whatever money we had and the best part is my wife agreed! Surprisingly! (laughs).

In Conversation with Milind DhaimadeAnd finally in 2015 we started putting it together, by then the script was locked and the casting was done, and the funds ready. Then I spent six months with my music director Amartha Rao, doing the songs and the music. Each song is based on some idea in the film so – we wanted the songs to be really special! And ya, so by May 2016 we were on floor, shooting it.

And so for how many days did the shoot went on?

It was a 38 days schedule – mostly Bombay and a few days in Goa – a week or so. It was amazing because 38 days was 38 days. Nothing went off track and everything was fantastic! My producer Varun Shah had planned it beautifully. Normally whoever comes out of a film shoot comes out with a regret, barring whoever has invested in it but here everybody was happy, everyone enjoyed. All of my crew are actually writing to me saying ‘now make the next film’. We had a great time!

That’s so cool! So after the shoot got over did it take much time in the post? 

Yes, we took our time in post as well. It took around six months, I think by 2015 December it was done. We also had some international buyers and distributers interested in our film, so some time went in getting an international cut as well. They wanted a shorter version.

So when is ‘Tu hai mere Sunday’ going to release in the theatres?

See the good thing about this film is it’s not totally a festival film nor entirely a commercial film. It can be very well enjoyed by the In Conversation with Milind Dhaimadeaudience, intelligent audience. So currently talking to people about the whole distribution and marketing plans – and I am realising a lot of stuff about ‘making-a-film’ Vs ‘selling-a-film’. And that making is actually very easy – like 25% of the whole process. The harder part is of course selling it. But then we have lot of positive responses, but we just have to choose the right kind of partnership. So, it will be releasing soon.

All the best for the release of your film Milind and now tell me something about you, like when did your get interested in filmmaking?

Thank you.

Well, as a kid, when I think back now – I always loved movies. I had a ritual of watching one film a week without my father knowing about it. I would flick money from his wallet and I would go alone and watch films (laughs). Yes, all my childhood I have seen movies alone!

But that time of course I wasn’t thinking of movies as a career or so, it was just my passion. And my favourite thing was to watch these In Conversation with Milind Dhaimademovies and then narrate them to my friends and that too I would put my own masala in those stories while narrating them. I think I loved entertaining people and also the attention!

With my friends I used to do plays in my locality when we were just six, seven years old. During the summer time we didn’t have much to do, so we would write our own crap and perform. Once I remember we saw The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and we made our own play based on that. It was rubbish but that’s how it all started (laughs).

I was supposed to study science and get a decent job, the typical middle-class Maharashtrian path all chalked out for me. But in college I soon realised I was not cut out for science and ended up joining commerce. My dad freaked out and finally decided I should go for CA. I also promised I would study hard. But then I got introduced to theatre and that changed my life.

There was this intercollegiate competition where me along with my friend put up a play and it won all the awards! And after that there was no looking back for me. We started writing, acting and directing our own plays and I thoroughly enjoyed this process. I liked directing more than acting and so I slowly shifted on this side of the camera.

So in college we were obsessed with theatre and films, and now when I look back it’s great, I realise this is what I always wanted to do – making films!

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