Rekha to be honoured for her outstanding achievements in cinema at IIFA Awards


Actress Rekha, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, will now be honoured for her outstanding achievements in and contribution to Indian cinema at the IIFA Awards 2012 to be held in Singapore next month.

The actress, who has done several classic films that have been imprinted in the minds of her fans, has been one of India's favourite glamour icons.
Each year, IIFA honours a member of the Indian film fraternity who has made outstanding contribution to Indian cinema. Stalwarts of the industry such as V. K. Murthy and Yash Johar, are amongst those who have been honoured by IIFA in the past 12 years.
Making the 13th year of the IIFA celebration even more special, this special award will honour the diva who created a storehouse of Indian film history's finest moments.
“I am extremely humbled to be appreciated and considered for the IIFA award for my contributions to the film fraternity. It has been a long journey and hopefully my passion and love for cinema will continue to reach out to all my fans. I am especially happy to be honoured at a time when the industry celebrates a centenary of Indian films," Rekha said.
Daughter to South Indian film stars Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, Rekha began her journey in films ith Sawan Bhadon (1970). It was instantly followed by a string of hits like 
Namak Haram, Dharma, Kahani Kismet Ki, and Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. 
But it was ‘Do Anjaane’where she played an ambitious wife who sacrificed love that left audiences enraptured. Gulzar’s ‘Ghar’ heralded the arrival of a mature Rekha and she went on to woo Indian audiences and ultimately became the box-office queen with movies like 
Muqqadar ka Sikandar, Khubsoorat, Judaai, Maang Bharo Sajna, Ek Hi Bhool, Basera. 
Yash Chopra’s Silsila and Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan sealed her diva status, putting her into a league of her own.
Andre Timmins, Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, said, "Over the years, we have paid tribute to the biggest names in the Indian film industry, recognizing their contribution towards cinema. In our 13th year, IIFA is proud to honour India’s most loved actress Rekha for her immense work and contribution to the Indian film industry as we celebrate a centenary of Indian cinema. She has undoubtedly captivated millions of hearts in our films and still continues to do so.” 
The Videocon IIFA Weekend will be hosted at Lion City in Singapore from June 7-9.

Singer Asha Bhosale to join Indian Idol-6 as judge

Salim Merchant, Sunidhi Chauhan, Asha Bhosale and Anu Malik at a press conference in Mumbai on May 30, 2012 to announce Season 6 of Indian Idol.
Salim Merchant, Sunidhi Chauhan, Asha Bhosale and Anu Malik at a press conference in Mumbai on May 30, 2012 to announce Season 6 of Indian Idol.

Renowned playback singer Asha Bhosale will be the super judge on Indian Idol season six and join long-standing judges, music director Anu Malik, singer Sunidhi Chauhan and composer-singer Salim Merchant in shaping and choosing the country's next singing sensation.

The show will go on air on June 1 on Sony Entertainment Television.

First telecast to a rousing response eight years back in 2004, Indian Idol will showcase that
"there are so many idols behind every idol" in its sixth edition. It will not only chronicle 
the fascinating journey of a common Indian to become the nation’s singing sensation, but
also present heartwarming stories of the parents' sacrifice, the friend’s commitment, the 
neighbour’s motivation, the guru’s passion, and the prayer and support of many others which India’s Idol draws on to fuel his triumph.
Mr. N. P. Singh COO, Multi Screen Media said, “Ashaji will take the much awaited sixth 
season of Indian Idol to a completely new level and we are delighted to unveil this true 
celebration of India’s singing talent. In addition to being a platform for the best music, it is also an embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit. I am confident that Indian Idol - 6 will create a new benchmark in singing reality shows with the variety and quality of the talent and the stature and caliber of the judges."
In its quest to unearth undiscovered singing talent across India, Sony Entertainment Television held auditions across 9 Indian cities including Amritsar, Jaipur, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Aurangabad and Mumbai. 
Those who participated in the auditions were selected from nearly half million aspirants who 
responded to the on-air promotions and the "Gully Concerts" by ex-Indian Idol contestants 
across the length and breadth of the country. 
Exceptional talent were also given the opportunity to hop the long audition queue and go 
straight into the main auditions through ‘Jump-the-Queue’ passes, that were won by singing 
on the spot in a unique Indian Idol Branded van and uploading his/her video instantly on
Ms. Sneha Rajani, Senior EVP and Business Head Sony Entertainment Television said, 
“Indian Idol cultivates and promotes outstanding untapped talent amongst the youth of India 
by nurturing them and providing a national platform to showcase their talent. While the 
core format remains the same this season, Indian Idol - 6 will focus on one aspect like never 
before - the quality of talent. Every episode of Indian Idol 6 will renew our commitment on 
providing world class entertainment and presenting exceptional talent to Indian audiences,"
"We’re also very excited to have the legendary Asha Bhosle, and Anu Malik, Sunidhi Chauhan and Salim Merchant – some of the biggest names in the music industry in India - as our judges," she said.
Ms Anupama Mandloi, Content Head, Freemantle Media India adds “Indian idol is not a TV show. It’s a national movement and possible only because of Sony Entertainment television’s commitment to making it one. This season will throw up phenomenal singers some of who will definitely create ripples in the Indian music industry. We at Freemantle Media are proud to present this season”.

Film-maker Ramesh Sippy, actress Zohra Sehgal to be honoured at IIFA Awards

The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) today announced that film-maker Ramesh Sippy and centenarian actress Zohra Sehgal will be honoured with special awards at the Jaypee Group IIFA Awards 2012 in Singapore in June.

Sippy will get the award for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema and Sehgal for her contribution to 100 years of Indian cinema.
The Videocon IIFA Weekend will be held in Singapore from June 7-9.
Sippy made his debut in the Indian films at the age of 9, playing Achala Sachdev’s son in Shahenshah. He is best known for directing the popular and critically acclaimed film Sholay and is a highly respected veteran in the Indian film industry today.
Sholay, a tribute to American westerns, has since become one of the most famous films in Hindi film history.
“The International Indian Film Academy is a massive pioneering effort to expand the reach of Indian cinema, taking it beyond Indian shores," Sippy said.
"To be recognized on an international platform is an honour. I would like to thank IIFA for giving me this wonderful mark of appreciation. I am truly honoured that my work has been recognized," he said.
Sehgal has been honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian award, for her contributions during a prolific career in theatre, film and dance. She will receive the special award for her large body of work and the impact she has had on the industry in Singapore. 
“For IIFA, nothing gives us more pleasure than to honour these incredible individuals who have dedicated their life to the progress of Indian Cinema and the passion with which they entertain people across the globe. It is through their work that the Indian film industry has grown and we are honoured to be able to recognize their efforts," Mr Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., said.

Indian films take big strides at Cannes this year


Now that all the screenings are over, one can proudly say that India may not win any awards but has certainly taken big strides and made its presence felt in Cannes this year.

Indo-French co-production 'The Untold Tale' written and directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan and co- written by producer Triparna Bannerjee is one of 15 films from 14 countries selected to participate along with their projects in Cannes L'Ateliar section. 
This workshop has been stimulating creative filmmaking and encouraging the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers.
'The Untold Tale' is about a French woman's journey to India to discover her legendary but forgotten family history. 
The producers and director met established professionals from the film industry. The idea is to facilitate funding and subsequent marketing of the projected films. The response to the project has been extremely positive keeping the team busy.
Gangs of Wasseypur, in two parts, in the Directors Fortnight had a marathon screening of five hours including an interval of 20 minutes. Most of the audience returned for the second part proudly displaying their Wasseypur 'gamchas' (towels) distributed by the producers as a promotional gift. The film was well received and has already found buyers for France, West Asia and Latin American market with negotiations under process for closing several other regions including Germany.
Vasan Bala’s Critics Week entry 'Peddlers' has also found buyers for France and the West Asia according to producer Guneet Monga. 
Un' Certain Regard selection Miss Lovely by Ashim Ahluwalia has been picked up by Fortissemo films who have a history of successfully promoting Asian Directors. 
This film is expected to participate in several other festivals. Uday Shankar's dance drama 'Kalpana' in the Cannes Classics was the torch bearer of grace and style in Indian cinema.

American cinema making its presence felt at Cannes

Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012
Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012

American cinema is making its presence felt at Cannes with what is being described as audience friendly auteur films, that is, movies based on literary adaptations. 

Four of their five films that screened in the competition section at the ongoing 65th Festival de Cannes are based on novels. 
The challenge to adapt ’On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac fell on Walter Salles. ‘Killing Them Softly’ by Andrew Dominic is an adaptation of George V.Higgins novel ‘Cogan’s Trade’. Jeff Hillcoat’s ‘Lawless’ is based on Matt Bondurant’s novel, ‘The Wettest County in the World’, and ‘Paperboy’ by Lee Daniels is an adaptation of Pete Dexters 1995 novel by the same name.
Other literary adaptations of note are David Cronenberg’s film version of Don Delillo’s ‘Cosmopolis’ and Philip Kaufman’s much-awaited ‘Hemingway and Gellhorn.’  This film staring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen tells the passionate and tumultuous story of the legendary writer and his third wife who was also a famous war correspondent. 
It screened on Friday out of competition in a tribute to Philip Kaufman after he led the Master Class at the film festival. The festival buzz is about the exceptional performances with great praise for the actors.
Elsewhere, our very own Mira Nair’s terrorist thriller ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’ based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid was pitched for buyers in the Marche du Film.
Literary adaptations have always held a fascination for cineastes. Anticipation was at its peak for these screenings.  Available seats at the screenings were scarce. Directed by filmmakers who are youthful, contemporary and relevant and supported by major stars, these films innovatively brought 'the story' back in focus in the contemporary context of today's world.
'Killing them softly' and 'Lawless' added new dimensions to the great outlaw and gangster movies. Although their world remains bleak and violent in both movies, the characters deal with it with a sense of humour which brings a smile to the face of the audience. 
Asked at the press conference if he would be able to justify to his children the violence he portrayed as Jackie Cogan, an enforcer who is hired by a mob to investigate a heist, Brad Pitt said 'violence is accepted in gangster movies. I would have more trouble with racism or something like that.'  
The movie has many layers. Pitt's character is some one who tries to make it as comfortable as possible for the person who has to go for business reasons. Besides he is almost embarrassed and cannot look his victim in the eye. 
The film is about mental health according to the Director Andrew Dominik. Egos, super egos, pleasure and greed continue to drive this stylish hardboiled crime drama revelling in its harsh and brutal urban landscape.
It reflects the hard times facing the US. In the background between scenes of gunplay and tough conversations between men of violence are shots of Barrack Obama promising equal opportunity and change.
The film ends with Brad Pitt's enforcer demanding his payment with the statement 'America isn't a country--it's a business.'
In ‘Paperboy’ Lee Daniels has reworked Peter Dextor’s screenplay of his own novel to add his personal very specific take on race to it. 
'I had that race issue in the 60's bubbling up in me waiting to explode. And I took a lot of that and laced it throughout paperboy, which added another element to the film,' he said. 
On the road, a challenge for any film maker to adopt reverts to technique using visual and aural polish to both criticise and glorify Kerouac's legend. 
As David Cronenburg said at the press conference for Cosmopolis, 'The essence of cinema lies in a fantastic face speaking 'Hope lies in the Art.' Grim as the worlds portrayed may seem these films are about the rebirth of the novel's they explore and are able to stand on their own.'

Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya moves to dancing pitch!

Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jaysurya as a contestant in television show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.
Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jaysurya as a contestant in television show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

Cricket and entertainment are the two primary religions in India. And one of the most popular forms of entertainment, is, of course, dance.

The newest season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa that will be telecast on Colors will bring together both these elements as famed Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and cricketer-turned-ghazal singer Talat Aziz take to the dance floor to prove to the audiences that they are truly the gods of entertainment.
 Even though the Sri Lankan all-rounder has never been a part of the world of music and dance, he understands the rhythm required for dance…thanks to his intense cricket training much like fellow contestant and renowned ghazal singer, Talat Aziz who has some insights in sur and taal. 
While one may think that Jayasuriya might require some tips from his musical contemporary, Talat's tables might just turn as the unstoppable Jayasuriya forays onto dance floor for his second innings.
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Sharman learns to break an egg!!!
Actors are often required to learn a new skill or art to complement their character onscreen and Sharman Joshi, who portrays the role of a single parent to a ten year old child in the upcoming movie "Ferrari KiSawaari", had to learn to make and toss an egg omelette.
According to the grapevine, for a scene in the film, he had to execute each domestic chore for his home which also included cooking breakfast for the family. The shoot demanded him to make an egg omelette and flip it over multiple times while cooking it. The pampered person that Sharman has been in his childhood, he didn't even know how to break an egg for starters!
To give his hundred per cent to the shoot, he made it a point to practise cooking omelettes at least twice a day. He practised for a good five days and learnt the art of breaking eggs evenly, cooking them and also flipping the omelette.
He was amazingly perfect and completed the shoot in one take. This became a fond memory for the cast and crew of Ferrari Ki Sawaari, but Sharman had to still give retakes – not for the film, but to cook for the crew, who enjoyed the treat.
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Grand promotion planned for Teri Meri Kahaani
Producer-director Kunal Kohli is leaving no stone unturned to promote his upcoming film Teri Meri Kahaani (TMK). The filmmaker has planned various promotional activities for the film around the globle alongwith his stars Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor.
The promotions will kickstart on June 7 at the International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Singapore where both Shahid and Priyanka will give individual dance performances. Thereafter, they will travel to Melbourne (Australia) for the opening of the Indian film festival to be held from June 11 to 22 where they will promote their film.
“The film is releasing on June 22 and it’s a great honour for us that the Melbourne festival will close with a private screening of our film. We will be guests of the State of Victoria, Australia and also have lunch at Melbourne Cricket Ground. All of us are cricket buffs so it will be thrilling to be there. Shahid and Priyanka are both excited to showcase their film in the emerging film markets around the world," Kohli said.
Kohli believes that it’s important for Indian films to be exposed to international festivals as it would contribute to the growth of Indian cinema. 
“We are going to have premiers in London, Toronto and Dubai and numerous other, big and small cities in India. Film festivals such as Cannes, Stuttgart or Melbourne help create awareness about Indian films all over the world. Of late, even foreigners are showing active interest in watching Bollywood films. When I was at Stuttgart last time, the Germans knew me! I was pleasantly surprised. I credit Yash Raj Films for marketing their films and hence popularizing Indian cinema in Europe,” adds Kohli.
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“I love Hritik Roshan,” reveals Rashmi Desai on SAB TV’s Movers and Shakers
Shekhar Suman recently hosted Rashmi Desai, the popular teleserial actress on the sets of SAB TV’s Movers and Shakers.
Rashmi dazzled the sets with a sizzling dance performance on hit number Ooh La La La.
Rashmi revealed her secret and shared that, “We never forget our first crush. Mine was Hritik Roshan. I have always been and will always be in love with him.’ 
The actress's mother spilled some more secrets about her saying, “Rashmi was an extremely naughty kid and despite the fact that I am a teacher, she hated studies but she makes fabulous rotis.” 
This prompted Shekhar to invite Rashmi to make some rotis which, when he ate them, reminded him of the rotis his mother made.

Kamal Haasan's spy thriller Vishwaroop to be showcased at IIFA Weekend in Singapore in June


One of the most awaited spy thrillers, “Vishwaroop”, directed and co-produced by  Kamal Haasan, will be showcased  at the 13th Videocon IIFA Weekend in Singapore this June 2012.

Made in both Tamil and Hindi, the movie is one of his biggest projects till date. The Hindi version entitled ‘Vishwaroop’ will be unveiled on 8th June at the Raffles City Convention Centre, giving the world media key glimpses from the film.
The film features  Kamal Haasan in the lead role along with a superstar line up – Andrea Jeremiah, Rahul Bose, Pooja Kumar, Jaideep Ahlawat, Samrat Chakrabarti, Zarina Wahab and a special appearance by Oscar nominee Shekhar Kapur .
Musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have composed the film’s musical score and noted lyricist Javed Akhtar has penned the lyrics. Kamal Haasan will address the media along with the cast of the film.
Kamal Haasan said, “IIFA is one of the biggest events for the Indian Film Industry. This year is particularly special for my film and me; it is a great opportunity to present my film on such a large and international scale. I look forward to unveiling the first look of ‘Vishwaroop’ and I am hopeful that it will be well received.”
The 13th edition of the IIFAs - the Videocon IIFA Weekend 2012 has been designed keeping in mind the South Indian diaspora in Singapore. The three spectacular days of high–octane entertainment will witness South Indian film celebrities like music prodigy A.R. Rahman, renowned actress Radikaa SharathKumar, Shreya Saran, Telugu film producer K S Rama Rao, Suresh Babu, Allu Arvind and many more as they partake in the IIFA festivities and celebrate the talents of Indian cinema for the year 2011.
Interestingly, for the first time ever, the performances at the IIFA Weekend & Awards will be choreographed by choreographer – director Prabhudeva. This will be the first time in his career that Prabhudeva will be choreographing an awards ceremony.
Andre Timmins, Director – IIFA said, “This year, IIFA has a special treat in store for its Indo-Singaporean fan base. We are pleased that the cream of the South can join us as we celebrate the Videocon IIFA Weekend in Singapore.”
The Videocon IIFA Weekend will be hosted in the Lion City of Singapore from June 7-9 and will include mega events like the IIFA World Premiere, IIFA Rocks, the IIFA Film & Music workshop and the IIFA Awards. The Videocon IIFA Weekend is presented by Videocon Industries and is organized by Wizcraft International Entertainment.

Eros International to release Sridevi-starrer English Vinglish on Sep 21


Entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd (EIML) today said it would release R. Balki- produced English Vinglish worldwide on September 21.

The film, directed by Gauri Shinde who makes her directorial debut, will be trilingual and has been shot in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, a press release from the company said.
English Vinglish marks the comeback of actress Sridevi after a 14-year break. A slice of life film, it  explores the impact of not knowing the English language in everyday life. 
The film also features French actor Mehdi Nebbou, Adil Hussain and Priya Anand. Amitabh Bachchan will be making a guest appearance in the film.
“With English Vinglish, we are excited for Sridevi’s return to acting and with Balki and Gauri at the helm, we believe there’s a lot of anticipation around the film. Eros is very proud to associate with this project and present it to audiences worldwide," Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, said.
R. Balki added, "Sridevi is such a natural and was the perfect choice for this role. Not knowing English in our country is a big deal. Three things differentiate people here — fame, money and the knowledge of English. The film deals with her insecurities and how she shows the world that speaking the language isn’t a big deal. I am pleased to tie-up with Eros International who will present this film on a global platform.” 

New Amar Chitra Katha title "Thanjavur" to be launched on Facebook on May 30


ACK Media, an education and entertainment company for children, will launch its new Amar Chitra Katha title ‘Thanjavur – City of Brihadeeswara’ on Facebook on May 30.

The new title will then be available in all bookstores nationally at Rs. 50 and on Apple iTunes and Amazon Kindle apps for $ 0.99. The launch of Thanjavur on Facebook also brings a unique opportunity for Amar Chitra Katha fans.
They can speak with the author and editor of ‘Thanjavur’ through a “live chat” on May 30 and ask questions about the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series.
“We have a vibrant community of readers of Amar Chitra Katha who engage with us on our Facebook page. Launching our latest title, Thanjavur, on this forum is our way of celebrating this growing community. An online event gives us a chance to include a large group of readers for the launch and we hope to make the event enjoyable and participative”, said Mr. Shubhadeep Bhattacharya, Business Head - Digital, ACK Media.
“We are launching a video on 24th of May, which will give a sneak peek into the new title ‘Thanjavur – city of Brihadeeswara’. This will be followed by a series of engaging activities like quiz contests, fun facts and quests around the tale of Thanjavur that will lead up to the launch on 30th May," he said.
The new title narrates the story of Thanjavur, which is home to the 1000-year-old Brihadeeswara Temple. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola empire for many years. The comic book highlights the fascinating history and the large number of myths and local legends associated with it. These stories, put together, make an interesting read for both children and adults. The comic will also interest tourists who wish to know more about the town and its unique identity.
Ms. Reena Puri, Editor Amar Chitra Katha says, “Thanjavur is part of our titles planned on historical cities. It was the capital of the Chola empire and the hub of great political activity. But like most ancient Indian temple cities the historical has merged with the mythological in a fascinating manner. We hope to create at least one comic each year which will tell in a simple way the stories behind some of our greatest cities.”
Ms. Prabha Nair, scriptwriter of Thanjavur says, “Thanjavur is a treasure chest of stories, historical and mythical. To weave the two in a plausible way was a challenge. What I have told is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to Thanjavur's art and culture, to its monuments and temples. I hope this comic creates an interest in people to discover these facets for themselves.”
Speaking about the illustration, artist Rakesh C.S. highlights, “It's the first time I'm illustrating a story for Amar Chitra Katha. As Thanjavur is one of the most important temple-towns in South India, the work has been very interesting and challenging. The composition of the pages and panels of this comic was done using pictures of statues and frescoes of the temples as reference. Although, historically, the story is that of the temples of Thanjavur, the comic narrates the story of Shiva from a devotional perspective. I'm very happy to have illustrated the comic and to have brought more of Shiva's illustrations to the Amar Chitra Katha comics.”

Anurag Kashyap makes mainstream debut at Cannes with Gangs of Wassepur

Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012
Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012

Anurag Kashyap makes his mainstream debut with the screening of his revenge drama spanning six decades "Gangs of Wasseypur" in the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film  Festival.

’It’s an event” said Edwardo  Waintrop,  the new Artistic Director while commenting on the length of the film which together runs five hours and needs two screening slots.
“The challenge was to make it in two parts that are independent of each other and yet create a complete story,” Kashyap said in an interview at the India Pavilion here.
“It was difficult to find funding as nobody could understand why we wanted to make such a long film. It is difficult to break the status quo. The film is fearless in its cost and casting and because it uses non-marquee but great actors like Manoj Bajpai,” he said.
“It is not a Bollywood film but about a place impacted by Bollywood. I have one foot in Bollywood and one outside. In terms of storytelling my film is entertaining and mainstream,” Kashyap added.
Traditional Bollywood is now being challenged by low budget Indie productions with auteur sensibilities and edgy subject matter. That trend is well represented in Cannes this year in Vasan Bala’s “Peddlers" produced by Kashyap's company and “Miss Lovely” by Ashim Ahluwalia.
Both films challenge the Bollywood system and are strengthened by the support for such efforts by the audience in theatres today.
Already visible is a different cinema that challenges the myth that you have to come from a film family to succeed in Bollywood. There is a new wind blowing in Indian cinema and this is clearly reflected in the selection at Cannes.
Waintrop’s selection in the Directors fortnight this year includes a lot of comedies. In addition is a series of debates focusing on Indian cinema, French cinema, Latin and also Franco-Arab cinema, featuring visiting directors.

Bhansali's "Devdas" ranked eighth in Time's "10 Greatest Movies of Millennium"

Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has joined  the likes of Hollywood veterans like James Cameron and Baz Luhrmann, as his historical masterpiece Devdas made its way to Time magazine's list of "10 Greatest Movies of the Millennium".
Surpassing the Oscar winning French film “The Artist” and Luhrmann’s musical "Moulin Rouge", Bhansali’s adaptation of the 1917 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel was ranked eighth in the coveted list.
Time’s Rochard Corliss described the film as a visually intoxicating musical with grandeur the old Hollywood moguls would have loved.
Says Corliss: "Devdas is played with such commitment that the tritest plot twists seem worth believing — and dancing to, in nine nifty production numbers. But the fervid emotion is what makes the thing sing.” 
Bhansali said, "The news couldn't have come at a better time. Devdas completes 10 momentous years...It's a very proud and happy moment for me. For a mainstream Hindi film like Devdas to gain such cinematic recognition and be part of such an illustrious list, is an honour not just for me but for the Indian industry at large."
This isn’t the film’s first tryst with international accolades. Devdas received a BAFTA nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, was ranked #74 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" and was also India's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
On home turf the film went on to win five National Awards and ten Filmfare Awards, including Best Film.

Uday Shankar's "Kalpana" screened in Cannes Classics

Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012
Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012

The newly restored print of "Kalpana" by renowned dancer Uday Shankar was presented by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation in the Cannes Classic section on Sunday.

The film was made in 1948. It took four years to complete and has 82 sequences of dance. It starred Uday Shankar and his wife Amla in the lead roles. 
Speaking before the screening, Amla Shanker, now 93, described herself as the youngest film star in Cannes. She said France held a special place in her heart because she first met her husband in France when she was only eleven years old. 
An emotional Amla said this was the only film she ever made with her husband and its message was relevent even today. She thanked The World Cinema Foundation, and the Cannes film festival for bringing her back along with the restored copy of the film.
Also present at the screening was her daughter, dancer and actress Mamta Shankar. 
Described as the festival's ode to timeless cinema, the Cannes Classics selection showcases rediscovered and restored great works of art. 
The programme includes the screening of restored films of blockbusters, including Sergio Leone's Once upon a time in America. Steven Spielberg's Jaws to be screened in 4k digital formats and Alfred Hitchcock's The Ring, which will screened to the tune of a cine-concert with musician Stephen Horne.
Big stars are also attending to support their films. Besides Robert De Niro and the Leone family who will be present for the screening of ‘Once upon a time in America’, Roman Polanski and Nastassja Kinski will present their film Tess.
Agnes Varda will be present for the screening of her film Cleo 5to7 and Andrei Konchalovsky will present his Runaway Train.
In all, the festival has brought together a package of 13 features, two shorts and four documentaries including Emmanuel Barnault's Claude M Le Cinema, dedicated to Claude Miller whose last film Therese Desqueyroux will close the festival with a posthumous screening.
Finally nostalgia takes centrestage as the 65th anniversary of the festival coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, which will also screened, restored in 4k.
Preservation of cultural heritage through cinema is a collective responsibility that is also a voyage of discovery. As Indian "babus" scout around the festival for films and ideas to celebrate the 100th year of Indian cinema, they should consider introducing a selection of restored films of our own classics.

"Bol Bachchan": First look of Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan starrer revealed

"Bol Bachchan" will see the return of the pair of actor Ajay Devgn and director Rohit Shetty.

The duo, who worked together in last year's hit "Singham" has a new treat in store for audiences in "Bol Bachchan", whose first look was revealed here yesterday.
Not only was ‘Singham’ a stupendous earner at the box office, but its famous line “Aata majhi satakli” achieved cult status amongst audiences.
Buzz is that Shetty has retained Devgn’s famous one liner in the comic caper, which also stars Abhishek Bachchan, Asin Thottumkal and Prachi Desai.
A source said, “Last year, the line had become a complete rage among the masses. So much so that people started using it in common man lingo. Also, Rohit’s films are known to be commercial and massy and hence he decided to retain the famous dialogue, albeit in a comic situation this time!”
Among other attractions, the film features a cameo by megastar Amitach Bachchan.
The film’s promo is expected to be out soon and the movie is one of the most eagerly awaited films this year.
‘Bol Bachchan’ which is presented by Fox Star Studios and produced by Shree Ashtavinayak LFS Infra Ltd and Ajay Devgn Ffilms, is slated for release on July 6.

YRF Entertainment ties up with Stone Angels for "Grace of Monaco"

YRF Entertainment CEO Uday Chopra has announced a tie-up with Pierre-Ange Le Pogam of Stone Angels to produce and finance the Nicole Kidman movie, “Grace of Monaco”.

The film, to be directed by Olivier Dahan (“La Vie En Rose”), starts production this fall in south of France. 
YRF Entertainment’s development head, Jonathan Reiman, will serve as executive producer, along with the film’s writer, Arash Amel. 
Inferno is currently selling foreign rights to the film at the Cannes Film Festival, a YRF statement issued here today said.
The movie tells the story of efforts by the late Princess Grace of Monaco (the former actress Grace Kelly, played by Nicole Kidman) to make peace between her adopted country and France. 
Grace, just 33 years old and having just given up an acting career to become Monaco’s First Lady, maneuvered through a political minefield to resolve the situation, as detailed in the film.
The project is the latest move by YRF Entertainment, a Beverly Hills-based production and financing company that is a subsidiary of Indian studio Yash Raj Films, to develop, finance, and produce English language films for the U.S. and global markets. 
Both Uday Chopra and Pierre-Ange Le Pogam said they were particularly pleased to be teaming up to bring “Grace of Monaco” to the big-screen.
"'Grace of Monaco' is the kind of movie that has a perfect blend of talent and sensibility that YRF Entertainment is proud to be a part of. We look forward to a great partnership with Olivier and Pierre-Ange," Chopra said.
Le Pogam says, “When I first read the script written by Arash Amel, I thought it was a great story to tell, with a lot of artistic, historical and emotional potential. This is why I invited Olivier Dahan to become the director because he has this artistic vision. When Olivier and I met with Nicole Kidman for the first time, we felt immediately she was the right artiste to portray Princess Grace. When I then met with Uday, I had the same feeling after our conversation. He was obviously the right partner because of his beautiful vision of the movie. We are very proud and enthusiastic to be sharing the experience of working together with YRF.”
YRF Entertainment is currently also overseeing post-production on Peter Glanz’s upcoming comedic feature, “The Longest Week”, starring Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde, and has a slate of films in development, the statement added.

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong unveils Bollywood Superstar Collection

Wax statues of  actors Aishawarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, and Shah Rukh Khan in the Bollywood Superstar Collection at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.
Wax statues of actors Aishawarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, and Shah Rukh Khan in the Bollywood Superstar Collection at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong has unveiled the superstar collection of Bollywood A-Listers, including Aishawarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, and Shah Rukh Khan. 

They will reside alongside Amitabh Bachchan in the World Premiere zone from now until July 19 this year, a press release from Madame Tussauds said.
Designed to allow fans across the globe to meet the Bollywood idols, the wax figures are now on a world tour as they travel from Blackpool to other Madame Tussauds attractions including Hong Kong, Bangkok, London and other sites in Europe and the United States.
Kelly Mak, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, said, “We are very excited to see some of the greatest Bollywood stars take the stage here in Hong Kong. As we observe an increasing number of visitors from India, I’m sure they would be pleased to see their idols up close even away from home.”

American film Moonrise Kingdom opens 65th edition of Cannes film festival

A still from Moonrise Kingdom
A still from Moonrise Kingdom
American director Wes Anderson and the entire team of Moonrise Kingdom, the first film to be screened in Competition, opened the 65th Festival de Cannes here last night in the presence of the Italian president of the jury, Nanni Moretti, and the eight jury members.

"It is a great privilege and a great responsibility for me to preside over the jury of the most important film festival in the world. I would like to thank my jury members for their competence and their good nature. Thanks also to the Festival de Cannes and to France, a country that always reserves a special place in society for cinema," Moretti declared.
Prior to his words, Bérénice Béjo, gave an emotional introduction of each of the jury members. The French actress, who played opposite Jean Dujardin in The Artist, referred to the silent film epic made by Michel Hazanavicius.
"I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Festival de Cannes, where it all started for me. It’s wonderful, all these people around the world  who loved this film without spoken words," she said.
The ceremony closed with a performance by Beth Ditto, from the American group The Gossip, of Candle in The Wind, the song Elton John composed in 1973 as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. 
The song was an allusion to the iconic actress, who is featured on the official poster of this 65th edition, blowing out a candle on a birthday cake... An allusion also to the anniversary of the Festival de Cannes.
The opening ceremony had the usual glitz, glitter and glamour. The weather was clear and the mood festive as the many invited guests dressed in their formal evening attire walked up the famous red carpet leading up to the Grand Theatre Lumiere, the main venue of the festival.
The guests as per tradition were welcomed at the entrance by the reassuring presence of Festival President Gilles Jacob along with Thierry Fremaux , Artistic Director of the festival.
From the top of the stairs of the Palais du Festival, Gilles Jacob, now in his 80s has seen the film world come up to him for more than three decades.
He has cultivated the festival as a gardener tends his garden and succeeded in maintaining the fine balance between cinema as art and as an industry.
Taking a dig at IFFI-Goa, which sees frequent changes at the top, Serge Losique,  the founder President of The Montreal World Film Festival, had once said “A film festival is a bit like the Vatican.  You do not change the Pope every year.—A festival Director must have vision and the time to implement it.”
Cannes has often chosen to open the festival with a potential Hollywood blockbuster. It brings glamour to the Red Carpet and an upbeat buzz to the celebration of the opening event.
The Chopard jewellery, the designer dresses, the L’Oreal models, and the opening ceremony itself,  including the presentation of the jury,  are as much a part of the event as the screening of the opening film.
The selection of ‘The Da Vinci  Code‘  to open the festival in 2006 is a case in point. Even though heavily panned by the critics, the film received worldwide success when it was released shortly after Cannes.
The Americans  walked the carpet for the second year in a row. Last year the festival opened with Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’. 
According to Gilles Jacob, with Wes Andersons’ ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, young American cinema will be celebrated on the croisette.  Sensitive and independent, quirky and inventive, Anderson represents the rising power of American cinema. The film he co-wrote with Roman Cappola follows two kids who are deeply in love and run away to be together, leaving the adults in a panic  to find them. 
The summer camp in the film takes on a character of its own and is the place for all that you love to come together. The film will release straight after the opening screening.
Twenty young sailors from the PPM (French Navy military preparation course), both boys and girls, greeted festival attendees on the Palais steps for the opening of the 65th Festival de Cannes.
The Feature Films Jury presided over by Moretti, explained what it intends to do in a press conference held a few hours before the opening ceremony.
"We're going to meet up every other day to discuss the four films that we've seen. We're going to watch twenty-two films in total and our views will undoubtedly differ. I'll play the role of a school prefect! The key thing is to watch all of the films with the same level of interest and respect," Moretti said.

Shahid Kapur, Kunal Kohli support 92.7 Big FM's campaign on railway safety in Mumbai


Actor Shahid Kapur, director Kunal Kohli and producer Vicky Bahri are lending their support to a campaign launched by a local FM radio station on railway safety and to spread awareness among commuters about the dangers of crossing tracks and travelling on the rooftop of trains, which have claimed scores of lives and maimed even more.

92.7 Big FM's Mumbai station has launched the campaign, ‘Safety Manao, Life Banao’ in association with the Western Railway and an NGO, Humanitarian Welfare & Research Foundation.
It is an extension of a larger campaign called ‘Mumbai Manao, Life Banao’ which celebrates the spirit of Mumbai.
The ‘Safety Manao, Life Banao’ campaign will see RJ Ankit hosting the breakfast show from atop a bridge at one of Mumbai’s busiest railway stations – Dadar from 7am to 11am each morning, until he gets a minimum of 9270 volunteers to support the cause and spread the awareness.

Y-Films begins filming "Mere Dad Ki Maruti"


Yash Raj Films’ youth films’ studio Y-Films has just begun filming its third production titled “Mere Dad Ki Maruti” [MDKM].

The film is a comedy set against the backdrop of a loud Punjabi wedding in Chandigarh, MDKM tells the story of a boy who sneaks his dad’s fancy new car out to impress the college hottie and how all hell breaks loose when he loses it!
‘Mere Dad Ki Maruti’ stars Saqib Saleem who made his debut in last year’s sleeper hit from Y-Films,  "Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge". Proclaimed the ‘Find of the Year’ by critics, he will be romancing another new face being launched by Y-Films.
MDKM also marks the directorial debut of Ashima Chibber who has been associated with some of the most talented directors of recent times.
Beginning as Shimit Amin’s First Assistant Director on ‘Ab Tak Chappan’ and ‘Chak De India’ among others, Chibber's last project was as First Assistant Director to Imtiaz Ali on ‘Rockstar’. 
The film has soundtrack by Sachin Gupta, who previously scored the music of ‘Prince’ and a host of pop albums for artistes like Atif Aslam, Mika and others. 

Esha Gupta to play IPS officer in Chakravyuh

Newcomer Esha Gupta,  who debuted in the  film Jannat 2,  will be seen in the role of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in Prakash Jha’s  coming film  Chakravyuh. 

Gupta plays a no-nonsense  IPS officer  and it is believed that her role is modeled on former  police officer Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the IPS.
It is  said that  Bedi  was the only inspiration she could think of as she was the only woman police officer who created a stir in the male-dominated service. 
Chakravyuh is based on Naxalism rampant in various parts of the country.  A political thriller produced and directed by Jha, the film stars Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol and  Manoj Bajpai in pivotal roles.

India to make presence felt at Cannes festival with 3 films

Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012
Official poster of the Festival de Cannes 2012

India will make her presence felt at the 65th Cannes Film Festival opening here tomorrow with three films, despite continuing to be a no show in the competition section.  

For several years, Indian short films and student films had been the saving grace in an overall bleak representation in the official sections at Cannes.
This year, however, the short  film competition jury headed by Belgian director Jean-Pierre-Dardenne will not find an Indian title among the 10  films listed for the Short Film Competition section and the 15 films selected for the Cine’Fondation section.
However, all is not lost. Ashim Ahluwalia’s film ‘Miss Lovely’ that focuses on the making of B grade movies in Indian cinema  has been selected for screening in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ along with 16 other titles.
Introducing the film, Mr Thierry Fremaux, the festival’s artistic director said, “There is something special in the Indian Cinema. In Cannes we have both Bollywood and the opposite auteur cinema of Satyajit Ray. The selected movie is an auteur movie, at the same time it is like Mean Street meets Boogy Nights.”
Outside the “official selection”, Anurag  Kashyap’s “Gangs of Wasseypur” has made it to the Director’s Fortnight Section. This is a parallel section organized by the French Filmmakers Society. Another film made under his banner, “Peddlers”, directed by Vasan Bala, is being showcased in the Critics Week Section.
The festival will also witness the world premiere of Uday Shankar’s “Kalpana” (1948) in the Cannes Classic section after its restoration.  
Next year India will celebrate 100 years of its cinema at Cannes. It will present an opportunity to create a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indian cinema by presenting a package that showcases the originality, uniqueness, force and appeal of our cinema and its mise en scene.
In the 22 films selected for the competition section. six new arrivals will compete against some of the great film makers from across the world.
These include  Palme d’Or winners (Michael Haneke, Ken Loach , Cristian Mungiu, and Abbas Kiarostami) and six directors already awarded in Cannes (David Cronenberg, Jacques Audiard, Alain Resnais, Carlos Reygadas, Matteo Garrone, Thomas Vinterberg).
With ten films from Europe and five from America, two of which are directed by Canadian directors, Asian participation is reduced to three films-- two from Korea and one from Iran.
Latin America and Africa are in the race with one film each. The numbers are loaded in favour of Europe and America which has made a comeback.
The Cannes competition line-up has however always been full of surprises. The jury undoubtedly has a challenging time ahead as it moves forward with creativity as its mantra.

Eros International acquires Tamil theatrical rights of Maatran


Entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd today said it had acquired the Tamil theatrical rights of  Maatran, produced by AGS Entertainment Pvt Ltd, a film production and distribution house.

Eros has been assigned the Tamil theatrical rights for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka and the Tamil audio rights of the movie, a press release from the company said. Maatran is slated for release on August 15 this yar.
Maatran is a Tamil action thriller film directed and co-written by K V Anand and scripted by Subha. It stars Suriya, who portrays two different roles along with Kajal Aggarwal. Harris Jayaraj has composed the tunes and the tracks in the music album.  

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar to get first Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony

File photo of Pandit Ravi Shankar
File photo of Pandit Ravi Shankar

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar was today chosen for the first Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony and univrsal values.

The 92-year-old artiste would be presented with the award by the President in a special ceremony, an official press release said.
The selection for the award was made by a jury under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after detailed deliberations, it said.
The National Committee set up under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister to oversee the celebrations of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in its first meeting had considered a proposal to establish a prestigious international award in the memory of the late poet.
The Government subsequently established the Tagore Award for promoting values of Universal Brotherhood. The award shall carry an amount of Rs. 1 crore, a citation in a scroll, a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item. The award is open to all persons regardless of nationality, race, language, cast, creed or sex. 
The jury also recommended that the award be renamed as the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, it said.
Announcing this in New Delhi today, Finance Minister and Chairman of the National Implementation Committee Pranab Mukherjee said the Government had also decided to grant Rs. 150 crore to Viswa Bharati University to revive and restore the glory of this great institution founded by Tagore.

Passengers can listen to books on Singapore Airlines flights


Passengers on board Singapore Airlines flights will now have a wider selection of audio books on KrisWorld, the airline’s in-flight entertainment system, through a collaboration with the National Library Board (NLB).

They can relax and enjoy a “good read” while in the air without the hassle of packing their own books or eBook readers, a press release from the airline said. This service is available on the B777-300-ER, A330, B772R and B773R aircrafts which operate in India, it sai.
The initial batch of 13 audio books includes all-time favourites such as Dracula by Bram Stoker, Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and The War of the Worlds by HG Wells.
“Audio books are the next best thing for busy travellers who do not have time for a ‘good read’. They can help bring a story to life using voices, to nations, accents, and sound effects that spark the listener’s imagination. The listener can also hear the words exactly as the author intended, enhancing the ‘reading’ experience,” said Ms. Tay Ai Cheng, Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Librarian, Public Library Services Group, National Library Board.
“While audio books have been a feature in our in-flight entertainment offering for some time, this new selection of titles recommended by the National Library Board has broadened our range of fiction books. We are constantly seeking to improve the entertainment experience for our customers and hope this will be just the start, with more audio books to be offered in future,” said Mr. Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice President Product and Services at Singapore Airlines.
To provide frequent travellers with a wider choice, the list of audio books is refreshed monthly, the release added.
Singapore Airlines currently operates 53 weekly flights from 6 cities in India. SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, operates 33 weekly flights from 7 cities in India.

Ansari presents Phalke Award to Soumitra Chatterjee, 59th National Film Awards

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Dadasaheb Phalke Award to iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, at the 59th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Dadasaheb Phalke Award to iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, at the 59th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari today said films were one of the most potent elements of India's soft power and ambassadors of its culture, tradition and society.

"They foster people-to-people relations and promote our image and interests in ways that are not readily apparent but are of enduring significance," he said after presenting the 59th National Film Awards, including the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2011 to iconic Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee, at a function here this evening.
"As we improve our society and economy and empower our citizens, our films will continue to play a leading role within the country and abroad to further the effort," he said.
Mr Ansari said that, over the years, the National Film Awards had recognized excellence and also propelled new or unknown talent to national and international limelight and provided encouragement and recognition to them. 
"They also provide us an annual opportunity to salute and pay homage to the Father of Indian Cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. The Dada Saheb Phalke Award winners constitute the legends of Indian cinema. This prestigious award today is being presented to renowned Bengali film and theatre actor Soumitra Chatterjee. His partnership with Satyajit Ray would indeed be counted as a memorable director-actor combination in the history of cinema," he said.
Mr Ansari said that, since the first Indian feature film, Raja Harishchandra, made by Dada Saheb Phalke almost a century ago, Indian commercial cinema had formed a principal element of India's popular culture and impacts on how Indians think, behave and function in their public and private lives. 
He noted that the two films adjudged as Best Feature Films are in regional languages and were an achievement for regional film industry.
"It is an under-appreciated fact that over 80 per cent of the films certified for public exhibition are regional films. I am also happy to note that this year there has been the highest number of films entered in both the feature and non-feature sections. The eleven children who have been awarded the Best Child Artist awards deserve our whole hearted appreciation and applause," he said.
Vidya Balan receiving the Best Actress award for her role in The Dirty Picture from Vice President, M Hamid Ansari at the 59th National Film Awards in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.
Vidya Balan receiving the Best Actress award for her role in The Dirty Picture from Vice President, M Hamid Ansari at the 59th National Film Awards in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.
"As a collective, the films and artistes who have been awarded today prove that contrary to popular perception, Indian cinema is neither formulaic nor conforming to stereotypes. It has successfully adapted traditional Indian narrative and oral traditions to the requirements of technology and formats of new media," he stressed.
The Vice-President said India was in the throes of rapid transformation and this was also reflected in the nature and expectations of cinema goers. 
"We have a growing middle class, and a younger generation of viewers; both are desirous and capable of spending on entertainment. The film viewers today, besides entertainment, seek to understand their society and their world, and to make sense of societal and personal evolution," he said.
"The technology and format of film viewing is also changing with new gadgets including phones, Tablets, Pay-per-view and laptops and venues such as multiplexes. This is leading to an increasing demand for better cinematography, improved quality and digital formats. They impact on the distribution and marketing and thus on revenue generation possibilities. The industry has to face the challenge of continuing on the path of innovation, creativity, and technological up-gradation even as it nurtures its umbilical chord with our heritage and culture," he said.
Mr Ansari said globalisation had also permeated the film industry and the movement of professionals across national boundaries was much easier than in an earlier era. 
"Today, talent seamlessly shifts between continents in search of newer audiences and better returns. Indian films are also witnessing multi-country theatrical release and entering non-traditional markets," he said.
He also pointed out that foreign governments and tourist organizations were assiduously marketing locations in their countries to Indian film makers. A stopover in Mumbai and a visit to film studios is a now a regular feature of many visiting foreign dignitaries, he noted.
The Vice-President said that, while there had been increase in the number of foreign feature films released with dubbing or sub-titles in Indian languages, the number of Indian films dubbed from one Indian language to the other had not gone up.
"On the contrary, their number has declined in the past decade from 213 films in 2001 to 147 films in 2011. The need of the hour is to ensure that we create, through dubbing and sub-titling, a national market for films produced in all regional languages.To a limited extent, this is happening in the case of television programmes in contiguous linguistic areas. We need to broad-base such efforts so that our citizens can know and appreciate each other’s culture and social settings better. This will also help revive the regional film industry," he added.
Vice President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Best Actor award to Girish Kulkarni for his role in Marathi film Deool at the 59th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.
Vice President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Best Actor award to Girish Kulkarni for his role in Marathi film Deool at the 59th National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2012.
Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Ambika Soni was amongst those present on the occasion.
The awards are normally presented every year by the President, but Mr Ansari presented the awards this year because Ms Pratibha Patil is away on a state visit to the Seychelles and South Africa.
The Best Film award was shared by Deool in Marathi, produced by Abhijeet Gholap and directed by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni, and and Byari in the Byari language, produced by T.H. Althaf Hussain and directed by Suveeram. 
In the non-feature film category  the Best Film award went to And We Play On (Hindi & English) directed and produced by Pramod Purswane .  
In the Best Writing on Cinema category, the Swarna Kamal went to the book titled R.D. Burman – The Man, The Music written by Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal, published by Harper Collins India. Manoj Barpujari from Assam was awarded the Best Film Critic award.
Vidya Balan was chosen the Best Actress for Hindi film The Dirty Picture and Girish Kulkarni the Best Actor for Deool.
Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil) won the award for Wholesome Entertainment and Chillar Party (Hindi) was chosen the Best Children's Film.
The award for Best Director went to Gurvinder Singh for Punjabi  film Anhe Ghorey Da Daan. 
The Best Singer award went to Anand Bhate (Male) for Marathi film Balgandharva and Roopa Ganguly (Female) for the Bengali film Abosheyshey.  Kumararaja Thiagarajan won the Indira Gandhi Award for the Best Debut Film of a director.
In the Feature Films category, five films won three awards each. These films are The  Dirty Picture (Hindi), Balgandharva (Marathi), Anhe Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi), Deool (Marathi)  and Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na (Bengali).  
Six films won two awards each. These are Chillar Party (Hindi),  Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil), Aaranyakandam (Tamil), Phijigee Mani (Manipuri) , Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi) and Game (Hindi). 
In the Non-Feature film category, three films won two awards each. The Film Tiger  Dynasty has won the Best Environmental Film and Best Cinematography awards.  Awards for Best Direction and Best Editing were won by the film There is Something in the Air.   Panchakki has been chosen for the awards for Best Short Fiction and Best Music Direction.
The following is the list of awards:
BEST FEATURE FILM (shared): a) Deool  (Marathi), Producer: Abhijeet Gholap, Director :  Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni b) Byari (Byari): Producer: T.H. Althaf Hussain, Director: Suveeran
(Tamil), Producer: S.P.Charan, Director : Kumararaja Thiagarajan
Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil), Producer: P. Madan, Director : Suseentharan
BEST CHILDREN’S FILM: Chillar Party (Hindi), Producer: UTV Software Communications Ltd, Director: Vikas Bahl & Nitesh Tiwari
BEST DIRECTION: Anhe Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi), Gurvinder Singh
BEST ACTOR: Deool (Marathi), Girish Kulkarni
BEST ACTRESS: The Dirty Picture (Hindi), Vidya Balan
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (Tamil), Appu Kutty
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Phijigee Mani (Manipuri), Leishangthem Tonthoingambi Devi
BEST CHILD ARTIST: (Shared): a) Stanley ka Dabba (Hindi), Partho Gupte b) Chillar Party (Hindi), Irrfan Khan, Sanath Menon, Rohan Grover, Naman Jain, Aarav Khanna, Vishesh Tiwari, Chinmai Chandranshuh, Vedant Desai, Divij Handa, Shriya Sharma
BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Balgandharva (Marathi), Anand Bhate
BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Abosheyshey (Bengali), Roopa Ganguly
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Anhe Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi), Cameraman : Satya Rai Nagpaul, Laboratory: Reliance Media Works
BEST SCREENPLAY: Screenplay Writer (Original): Chillar Party (Hindi), Vikas Behl & Manish Tiwari, Screenplay Writer (Adapted): Shala (Marathi), Avinash Deshpande Nigdi, Dialogues: Deool (Marathi), Girish Kulkarni
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY: Location Sound Recordist: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi), Baylon Fonseca, Sound Designer: Game (Hindi), Baylon Fonseca, Re-recordist of the final mixed track: Game (Hindi): Hitendra Ghosh
BEST EDITING: Aaranyakandam (Tamil), Pravin K. L.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Naukadubi (Bengali), Indraneel Ghosh
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER (Shared): a) Balgandharva (Marathi), Neeta Lulla b)The Dirty Picture (Hindi), Niharika Khan
BEST MAKE-UP ARTIST: Balgandharva (Marathi) & The Dirty Picture (Hindi), Vikram Gayakwad
BEST  MUSIC DIRECTION: Songs: Laptop (Bengali), Neel Dutt, Background Score: Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na (Bengali), Mayookh Bhaumik
BEST LYRICS: I Am (Hindi), Agar Zindagi...,Amitabh Bhattacharya
SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na (Bengali), Anjan Dutt
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Ra. One (Hindi), Harry Hingorani and Keitan Yadav
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (Hindi), (Senorita), Bosco Caeser
BENGALI: Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na, Producer: Rana Sarkar, Director : Anjan Dutt
DOGRI: Dille Ch Vasya Koi, Producer: Sanjeev Rattan, Director: Sanjeev Rattan
HINDI: I Am, Producer: Anirban Dhar (Onir) & Sanjay Suri, Director: Onir
KANNADA: Kurmavatara, Producer: Basant Kumar Patil, Director: Girish Kasaravalli
MALAYALAM: Indian Rupee, Producer: August Cinema India Pvt. Ltd., Director : Ranjith Balakrishnan
MANIPURI: Phijigee Mani, Producer: Takhelchangbam Ongbi and Medha Sharmi, Director : Oinam Gautam Singh
MARATHI: Shala, Producer: Vivek D. Wagh & Nilesh Navalkha, Director: Sujay Sunil Dahake
PUNJABI: Anhe Ghorey Da Daan, Producer: National Film Development Corporation, Director: Gurvinder Singh
TAMIL: Vaagai Sooda Va, Producer: S. Muruganandham, Director: A.  Sargunam
SPECIAL MENTION: Byari (Byari): Mallika
Adimadhyantham (Malayalam), Director : Sherry
BEST NON FEATURE FILM: And We Play On (Hindi & English), Producer: Pramod PuRs.wane, Director: Pramod  PuRs.wane
BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR: The Silent Poet (Manipuri), Producer: Borun Thokchom, Director: Borun Thokchom
Anirban Datta, Director: Amlan Datta
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL/ HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION: Vishnupant Damle: Bolpatancha Mook Nayak (Marathi), Producer: Anil Anant Damle, Director: VirendraValsangkar
BEST ARTS /CULTURAL FILM: (Jointly Being given to two films): Fried Fish, Chicken Soup and a Premiere Show (Manipuri & English) Producer: Madhusree Dutta, Director: Mamta Murthy and Lasya Kavvya – the World of Alarmel Valli (English), Producer: Sankalp Meshram, Director: Sankalp Meshram
BEST PROMOTIONAL FILM: The Dream Fulfilled - Memories of the Engineering Challenges  
(English) Producer: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Director: Satish Pande
BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM: Tiger Dynasty (English), Producer: S. Nallamuthu, Director :
S. Nallamuthu
BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: (Jointly Being given to two Films): Mindscapes… of Love and Longing (Hindi & English), Producer: Public Service Broadcasting Trust, Director: Arun Chadha and Inshallah, Football (Kashmiri, Urdu & English), Producer: Ashvin Kumar, Director:
Ashvin Kumar
BEST EDUCATIONAL FILM: A Drop of Sunshine (English), Producer: Public Service Broadcasting Trust, Director: Aparna Sanyal
BEST EXPLORATION/ ADVENTURE FILM: (Including sports): The Finish Line (English), 
Producer: Syed Sultan Ahmed  &  Tabassum Modi, Director: Akshay Roy
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Facsimile edition of the Gilgit Lotus Sutra manuscripts released


The facsimile edition of the Gilgit Lotus Sutra manuscripts -- among the most ancient in the world and dating back to the 6th century AD, was relesed here today by Culture Secretary Sangita Gairola.

An official press release said they were, perhaps, the only corpus of Buddhist manuscripts discovered in India. 
The manuscripts on Bhoj bark were discovered by cattle grazers in 1931 and were sent to Srinagar where they were studied by Sir Auriel Stein who announced their discovery.
The Lotus Sutra is one of the most important and influential of the sutras or scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism and is revered by almost all branches of the Mahayana teaching. It represents an unlimited philosophy of happiness, a philosophy of happiness and peace, a sacred text eternal in nature and unending in the creation of value, the release said.
In the wake of an urgent need to expand the horizons of access to historical documents, the facsimile edition of the Gilgit Lotus Sutra manuscripts has been brought out by the National Archives of India in collaboration with the Institute of Oriental Philosophy and Soka Gakkai, the release added.
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