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India’s answer to ‘The Godfather’ comes to America

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  Washington: Indian director Anurag Kashyap’s award-winning epic “Gangs of Wasseypur” is India’s answer to “The Godfather” and “Oldboy” and India’s coming out party as an international storytelling powerhouse.

So says Adi Shankar, Kolkata born Indian-American filmmaker who at just 29 has created his own counter-culture ‘brand’ with critically acclaimed R-rated violent feature films and superhero “bootleg” films like “The Grey” and “A Walk Among the Tombstones.”

“Outside of the Indian population in the US, there is a growing audience for ‘arthouse genre’ films,” Shankar, US presenter of the Indian crime saga, told in an email interview.

“It’s unabashedly violent action and crime films for the ‘thinking person,'” he said calling the ‘Gangs’ India’ first entry on the list of films like “Oldboy” and “I Saw the Devil” from Korea and “Drive” and “Nightcrawler” from America.

Part 1 of the film charting 70 years in the lives – and spectacular deaths – of two mafia-like families fighting for control of the coal-mining town of Wasseypur, India, will be released Friday for an exclusive one-week-only run at several AMC theatres across the US.

Part II will release in the same theatres the following week on January 23, also for one week only. In New York City, the full film will play at the prestigious Lincoln Centre opening on January 16 for one week.

Shankar said he considered it his “civic duty” to help get Gangs a mainstream US release because the success of a movie like “Ek Villain”, “a clear unlicensed rip off of Kim Jee Woon’s ‘I Saw the Devil'” is “shameful and not only hurts the creditability of the Indian film business, but also reflects badly on India as a whole.”

“We are better than that, we are a nation of smart, innovative and creative people who have interesting stories to tell,” he said. “We must defy the status quo of the vapid consumerist mosh pit India has become.”

“This is why Gangs of Wasseypur is great. It’s our answer to ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Oldboy’, but it’s not a rip-off, and if I can help it find an audience internationally, I have a civic duty to do so,” Shankar said.

Describing Gangs as “India’s coming out party as an international storytelling powerhouse”, Shankar hoped to draw the NRI film audience to the theatres with a simple strategy he calls “guilt tripping”.

India had a “robust domestic film economy,” he said. But “unfortunately, when it comes to making a global cultural impact India’s films have either been lacklustre due to being reactionary to global cinematic trends instead of setting them or in the case of ‘The Lunchbox’, buried due to asinine politics.”

“With ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ we have something to be proud of,” Shankar said.

He does not think that at 319 minutes, Gangs is too long noting that “True Detective”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Game of Thrones” “were much longer than 319 minutes and held audience’s attention just fine when binge watched.”

“We simply don’t like to be dictated the terms of when and where we have to consume the content we love,” he said suggesting “Gangs will find its greatest success on VOD (Video on demand). It’s the ideal film for the VOD generation.”

Turning to his own work, Shankar said he was inspired to make the kind of films he makes by films like “Road Warrior”, “Robocop”, “The Warriors”, “Escape from New York”, “Judge Dredd” and “X-Men: The Animated Series.”

But his films don’t have a USP as such. “I just make stuff that I want to see. This ‘brand’ I’ve built for myself wasn’t by design.”

Shankar said he would “love to” make films for the Indian audiences. “I have a project in mind, it’s effectively ‘Die Hard’ on the Mumbai bridge. It’s a hard hitting action thriller that much like ‘The Grey’ becomes philosophical.

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Kanhaiya is an aberration, nationalists don’t accept it: Rajiv Pratap Rudy

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Kolkata: Describing Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar as an “aberration”, union minister and BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Sunday said such an aberration will not be accepted at the cost of nationalism.

Interacting with media persons on the sidelines of a party event here, Rudy ridiculed the Left parties for using the media and universities to turn Kanhaiya Kumar — who was jailed on sedition charges but recently granted interim bail — into a “momentary hero”.

Using the media, universities and NGOs, the Leftists sided with anti-national sloganeers and managed to turn Kanhaiya into a hero for the time being, but the people of the country are aware of Leftists’ intentions, he said.

“Kanhaiya is an aberration and the nationalism and nationalists will not allow this aberration to be part of the country’s polity,” said Rudy.

Commenting on the demand for change in the sedition laws, Rudy said those who are clamouring intolerance were anti-nationals.

“Nationalism cannot be compromised at any cost and it cannot be brought to on par with the debate of intolerance. When people are talking of breaking the country, when people are raising slogans against the country, this debate of intolerance is nothing but anti-nationalism,” said the union Minister of state for skill development and parliamentary affairs.

“It is for the court to decide whether a change needs in the sedition laws, but there cannot be any compromise when your actions are seditious,” he said.

Addressing a seminar of the party’s state intellectual cell, Rudy said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the only political party in the country whose ideals are not personality-based.

“The chief character of almost all the parties, be it south India or the east, be it the Samajwadi Party or the Congress, their ideals are based on a certain personality, but the BJP’s soul is country, nationalism,” he said.

Enumerating the various developmental schemes undertaken by Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, Rudy called upon the party’s intellectual cell to endeavour for bringing the BJP in power in West Bengal.

(IANS)

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One dead, two hurt on Scorsese film set

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Taipei:  One person died and two others were injured Thursday while preparing to film the movie “Silence”, the latest project of US filmmaker Martin Scorsese, in Taiwan, regional authorities reported.

According to the Taipei City Construction Management Office, the accident took place at the city’s Culture and Movie Centre when temporary wooden scaffolding fell on three Taiwanese workers.

The victims, between 40 and 50 years of age, were immediately transferred to a nearby hospital where one was declared dead on arrival after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation proved fruitless, a spokesperson from the construction office told the press.

Scorsese is in Taiwan to prepare for shooting scenes for the historical drama.

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Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

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Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

Akshay-Twinkle Complete 14 Years Of Marriage

Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna completed 14 years of marriage On January 17th.

The two tied the knot on January 17, 2001. Akshay posted a cutesy picture of him and Twinkle, giving it an adorable caption that read, “After 14 years of listening to the same old jokes of @mrsfunnybones I still wait to hear more ! #happyanniversary.” Twinkle is known as Mrs Funny Bones after the popular pen name under which writes her blogs for The Times of India. Here’s wishing the lovely couple a happy anniversary and many more years of togetherness.

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