Friday, November 6, 2009

Flanders Bollywood Destination

Shooting abroad really came into its own a little over a decade ago, but the film
that got filmmakers thinking of heading westwards was Raj Kapoor’s Sangam in the early sixties.

Among the other old films which brought plenty of foreign locales alive on the silver screen were Pachhi’s International Crook, Shakti Samanta’s ‘An Evening In Paris’ and Great Gambler, Manoj Kumar’s ‘Purab Aur Pachhim’, Brij Sadanah’s ‘Night In London’, the Sameer-Simi starrer ‘Pasand Apni Apni’ and the Rajesh Khanna starrer, ‘Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka’.

But as film budgets grew bigger and bigger, producers and directors became more and more lavish and began to cross frontiers to give their viewers (and their stars, of course!) free foreign trips, so to say.

Today, it’s not just films but television serials too which are heading overseas. In a bid to promote tourism, tourism boards across the world are luring film and television producers by offering attractive incentives. Among these are securing permissions for shooting in locations, discounts in accommodations and also offer cash incentives.

To promote Flanders as a new Bollywood Destination, Tourism Flanders hosted a reccee for leading Bollywood directors and producers such as Suresh Naidu, Ravi Chopra, Mukesh Bhatt, Mohit Suri, Ramesh Sippy from the Indian film industry to the destination for 5 nights.

The trip included visits to the historic cities of Brussels, Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp - including parts of the scenic countryside Meetings with the filming commissions and tourism offices at the respective places were also held.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best Bollywood Movies of 2009

Bollywood releases more than one hundred movies every year but only few of them become super hits.

Bollywood is the biggest revenue generating film industry in the world after Hollywood. Bollywood is the biggest film industry in Asian and Indian cinema industry. Bollywood movies are produced in Hindi and English language but mostly in Hindi, some movies also launches in South Indian Tamil and Punjabi language too. Bollywood actors and actresses are also performing their talent in South Indian film industry and as well as in International film industry Hollywood.

Hollywood directors are and producers are also taking a keen interest in Indian cinema because great Indian population inside and outside the India. Slum dog millionaire was the biggest hit movie in year 2009. This movie won 4 golden globe and 7 Oscar awards, which is a world record for Indian film history. Here the list of top ten best Hindi movies released in 2009.

1) Blue: The cast of this movie consist on top Indian celebrities; Blue songs also become top on chart blustered.

2) Luck by Chance: This movie was produced by local producers. The film is about the journey of an actor who arrives in Bombay to make it big as a film star in Bollywood film industry.

3) Kites: This movie was the mixer of Hollywood movie “A Running Kite” the leading role of film actress was done by a Mexican actress Barbara Morie.

4) Wanted: This is an Action and thriller movie which is also based on a Tamil action movie.

5)Jail: This is a movie about how a gangster breaks the prison and save his life from government agencies.

6) Wake Up Sid: Wake Up Sid! Is a funny and romantic movie, filmier on teen age boys and girls of Indian society.

7) All the Best: This movie is based on a famous Punjabi crime novel, where money is every thing for everyone.

8) Acid Factory: Acid Factory is a action and thriller movie about the war between two underworld gangs.

9) Dev D: This is a fantasy movie about a character who becomes a famous thief around the India.

10) Three Idiots: This is a funny and romantic movie in which three lovers are doing very foolish activities to impress their girls

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Horror movies of Bollywood India

Bollywood celebrated the diamond jubilee of its existence only a couple of years ago. When we look back, we can justifiably feel proud of its achievements over the decades. The number of feature films which have rolled out of Bollywood studios over the last 77 years runs into nearly forty thousands.The sheer volume of this corpus is overwhelming. Even quality-wise, some of our films have won laurels in international film festivals. Our films have now a thriving overseas market.

Our filmmakers have tried their hand at almost every genre of feature filmmaking. We have, for instance, made love stories, romances, quasi historical films, mystery thrillers, action films, biopics, family dramas, et al. Perhaps the only genre where Bollywood has yet to make its mark is the horror film. We have not yet produced anything that even remotely approaches. ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘The Mummy’ in portraying the dark and indecipherable forces of evil which are supposed to exercise baneful influence on human affairs.

Among our present filmmakers, RGV is considered to be most skilled exponent of the eerie. Now, before we proceed further, we must have a glance at Mr RGV’s track record in producing films with a sitting virtually paralyzed with horror in their seats. It is a mixed bag, to be truthful. Mr RGV hails from Andhra Pradesh, so he started his career by making films in Telugu, some of which were also dubbed in Hindi. His film ‘Raat’ (1992), originally made in Telugu with the title ‘Raathri’, was a horror film. There was, however, nothing original about it. In fact, it was a rehash of several old films, and it failed to impress the audience.

His ‘Deyyam’, made in Telugu, was also a flop. But his film ‘Kaun’ (1999) in Hindi was a box-office hit. It was a horror movie with Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpai in the lead. But his ‘Jungle’ (1999) was again a flop. He recovered lost ground with ‘Boot’ (2003), another horror film which was a moderate success at the box office. But the films that followed ‘Boot’-- ‘Vaastushastra’, ‘Darna Mana Hai’, ‘Naina’ et al- were disappointing. They failed to create the creepy-spooky effect which is so germane to a horror film.

Bollywood has produced not many horror films. And the few it has made have hardly left any impact on the audience. In 1955, Amiya Chakarvarty made ‘Badshah’ with Pradeep Kumar, Usha Kiron and Ulhas in the lead. This film, based on Victor Hugo’s novel ‘The Hunchback Of Notre Dame,’ was not exactly a horror film. But the hunchback in it was supposed to be the scariest sight. The film was, hoever, considered an amateurish attempt and the audience did much like it.

In the 70s, the Ramsay Brothers were the wholesale purveyors of the so-called horror films. But, unfortunately, their methods were so crude and childish that the viewers, instead of flinching in their seats with fright, kept greeting the cackling witches and horned demons in their films with derisive titters.

They started with ‘Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche’ (1972). Thereafter horror films came from the Ramsay camp like assembly line products from a factory. But none of these films- ‘Purana Mandir’, ‘Band Darwaza’, ‘Veerana’, ‘Dak Bangla’, ‘Purani Haveli’ and many others- made any impact on the viewers. When one after the other their films began to bomb at the box office, they wisely thought it was time they closed shop and called it quits.

Perhaps one of the reasons why our horror films often fail to impress the audience is that most of them are crudely desified versions of foreign films. While adapting a foreign film to Indian ethos, our scriptwriters and directors often end up messing up things. With the result, most of our horror films appear to be so outlandish that the audience hardly ever feels related to it. In short, such films have scarcely any relevance to Indian realities. The viewer feels no affinity with characters he sees on the screen. They seem to him inhabiting a world with which he has no connection.

Both English and French literatures are rich with writers who have written horror stories and novels of epic proportions. We have hardly any horror story writer whose creations merit serious attention.In the 40s and 50s, the horror-cum-adventure films we made were mostly based on Arabian Nights Tales. Thus, we had films made on ‘Alladin And His Magic Lamp’, ‘Ali Baba Chalis Chor’, ‘Sindbad The Sailor’, et al. Or, films based on mythology, in which every now and then demons, ghosts, and giants in outlandish outfits made their appearance, laughed uproariously before speaking in a booming voice to the hero or the villain.Frankly, we have not yet produced horror story writers of the caliber of Bram Stokar, Stephen King, Peter Straub, Shirley Jackson, M.R James et al.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

science fiction film Crude

Robot invaders that look like they were made from old, scrap boilers
or battered, galvanised bins. Hub caps sprayed in dull silver dangling from a fishing line in front of a painted sky-scape. Clearly visible seams where the backdrop was joined together to imitate a starry sky. Old egg cartons and fizzy pop lids glued onto sheets of badly painted corrugated cardboard then shoved into a corner with drapes hiding the room walls.  And finally a bunch of amateurs roped in at the last minute to make up the cast of your low to no budget film, written in thirty seconds as one draft, on the back of a fag packet after a few pints and a curry!  Welcome to the world of – Dang! Dang! Daaaaaah! – crud movie mania!!!!!

 Yes, girls and boys, JD Doc admits to being a lover of all things Crud, with a capital ‘C’; at least, that is, when it comes to vintage science fiction films.  There is much mirth and wonder to be had in this genre, especially in anything that pre-dates the likes of the Star Wars franchise, which, even back in the 70s, offered a more ground-breaking and sophisticated alternative to your ‘Earth Versus the Flying saucers’ or ‘Fiend without a Face’, both of which are hot favourites of ‘The Doc’.  For, as filming techniques and technologies become more sophisticated, so too have the resulting films.

The Doc is no Philistine; in fact, this ‘scientist’embraces the use of whatever one can find in order to make real whatever cinematic idea is in one’s mind, whether it’s a three year epic of a project or a three hour shoot!  Grab that video camera, mobile phone
camera, 8mm cine camera (or whatever your tool of choice) and rope your mates into that ‘fag packet’ crud.  It’s your dream, so follow it!  The Doc did – and still does – whenever the opportunity arises.  This may seem completely pointless when the resulting piece of crud will never be seen by more than maybe ten to twenty people.  However, The Doc can attest to the fact that, to imagine and then complete something that you’ve conceived, is highly exhilarating. Especially when it looks like the kind of exciting crud you meant it to look like.  Cheap as chips, as they say!  But fun at every stage.

One can only imagine how Edward D Wood Jr. felt on completion of the notorious ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’, the oft-called ‘worst film ever made’.  It wasn’t meant to be a classic or a blockbuster, just a fun-filled ‘popcorn’ movie, a bit of harmless entertainment.  After all, didn’t we all at some point in our childhoods, wile away the hours pretending to be something or other whilst at play in an imaginary world?  And don’t we often recall and miss those ‘innocent’ days, when we didn’t worry about paying bills?  There comes a certain point in life when the laughs begin to dwindle and the lines appearing on the face are wearing into a frown.  So next time there’s a crummy looking old black and white science fiction movie on your TV, don’t switch it off – sit down and prepare to have a good old chuckle WITH the film maker.  Doctor’s orders!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Om Puri plays terror mastermind in Kurbaan

Veteran actor Om Puri plays a terrorist who masterminds a massive attack in the US in Rensil d'Silva's 'Kurbaan' and says he has no reservations about playing a 'jehaadi' as audiences are mature enough to differentiate between an actor and a film character.

I play terror mastermind in 'Kurbaan': Om Puri

Irrfan Khan had apparently said no to playing a terrorist in 'Kurbaan'. But Om Puri has no fears of playing villain.

"I'm also aware other actors turn down parts of terrorists. But I've no such reservations. A role is a role. We cannot be moral and judgemental about the characters we play. In 'Kurbaan' I play the terror mastermind, a fully committed 'jehaadi' who is ready to sacrifice everything, including his wife (Kirron Kher) for the cause," the actor said.

"I played a radical mullah mouthing rabid dialogues in Jagmohan Mundhra's 'Shoot On Sight'. It was just a role. I think our audiences are mature enough to understand this," he added.

Om Puri has apparently received warnings from fundamentalist organisations about playing an extremist. But he says he won't be deterred.

"I played a Pakistani in Charlie Wilson's 'War' and 'East Is East'. And now in October I go into the sequel 'West Is West' with the same cast. This time Vijay Raaz and Ila Arun have been added. Is it dangerous to experiment with morality in your actors? Let it be.

"In my new release 'Baburr', I played a corrupt colourful cop who doesn't think tweaking the law is a big deal. It's good to enter the hearts and minds of people who live by their own weird morality," he said.

Rensil d'Silva's 'Kurbaan' also features Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lata Mangeshkar is the universal Sister Didi

Not many know that the legendary actor Sivaji Ganesan was a rakhi brother to both Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, and their families have long shared a close relationship.As we celebrate Lataji's 80th birthday on September 28, Ram Kumar, Ganesan's elder son, remembers the decades of long friendship with the Mangeshkar family:

In the 1950s, Sivaji Productions produced only Hindi movies. Both Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle had sung for the films, but had never met my father, Sivaji Ganesan.When Ashaji was in Chennai, she happened to watch the Tamil film, Paava Mannippu. When she returned to Mumbai, she told her family that they had to see a Tamil actor called Sivaji Ganesan. So they watched Paava Mannippu at the Aurora theatre (in King's Circle, north-central Mumbai). It was the first Tamil film that they had seen.

During the interval, they realised all of them were crying even though no one understood a word of Tamil. All of them felt he (Sivaji Ganesan) reminded them of their father Dinanath Mangeshkar.The next day, they contacted my father through HMV (the music label) and flew to Chennai to meet him. They came home, hugged him, tied rakhis and started crying.From the first meeting itself, everything clicked and the friendship that started almost 50 years ago continues till today. They used to call my parents Anna and Anni.My father may be no more, but I have continued the relationship. I must have met them when I was six or seven years old, but I remember meeting them in the late 1960s when I was about 13. They attended my sister's wedding in 1968, but I was away then in a boarding school in Bangalore.I got to know them well only in the 1970s when I returned to Chennai after my schooling.

My first memory of Ashaji was that of a fun loving person. Lataji is more reserved. Over the years, Lataji started speaking to me more than she spoke to my parents. I now share a very close relationship with them. I call Ashaji Mummy or Maaji. Lataji is the universal Didi.We shot Trishulam in Mumbai. They would visit my father on the sets. In the evenings, after the shooting, my parents would go to Peddar Road (in south Mumbai) to spend time with them.The funny thing about my father and the Mangeshkar sisters was that they spoke to him in Hindi and Marathi and he would speak in his broken Hindi. My father had a great sense of humour. I have seen them enjoying each other's company, laughing and talking. My mother didn't know English or Hindi. Yet, we would see Lataji and Ashaji talking to her for hours -- my mother in Tamil and they in Hindi.

They were very close. They would shop together and spend a lot of time together.

'We hope Lataji continues singing for a long, long time'
They used to come and stay with us often.I have heard a story that happened in 1960-1961. In those days, my father used to hunt. Somebody had sent some cuckoos to my father, as they are supposed to be a delicacy.When Lataji got up in the morning, she heard the cuckoos singing. When she asked about the birds, somebody told her that they had been brought for her to eat. She got so upset, she started crying. She opened the cage and let them fly away. My mother and grandmother watched quietly.When my father woke up, she told him, 'Anna, I am called the Nightingale of India, how can you, my brother, do this? Don't ever eat them.' My father never ate bird meat after that.I'll tell you another incident that my father told us. Once the radio was playing P Susheela's song, Athan Ennathan. My father asked if they could sing like that. Lataji kept quiet.After six months when he went to Mumbai, Lataji asked him to come home as she had something important to say.When he reached her house, both sisters started singing Anthan Ennathan. Lataji said since my father had asked them if they could sing as well as P Susheela, they sang the song in Tamil.My father laughed and said, 'I know you are the greatest. I just teased you that day.'They consider P Susheela one of the greatest singers in India. They have always had high regard for our (south Indian) singers. They used to have a high opinion of Ilayaraja. Now, they are great fans of A R Rahman.

Now that my parents are no longer here, I look up to them as my closest people. I tell them that they are my father and mother. I am close to both of them -- closer to them than I was with my parents.The way they call Ramu in their sweet soft voice, it is like God calling you.I have lunch with them quite often and the three sisters (including Usha Mangeshkar) treat me like their nephew.Ashaji loves cooking for me, as I love food. The food that they make is delicious, especially their biryanis. Ashaji is an excellent cook. Whenever I visit her, she tries new recipes on me. They are foodies like us.I discuss everything with them. Ashaji used to say that I would become an actor. But I didn't, my younger brother Prabhu did. Even now, she says, I should have been an actor!

They have not missed a single wedding in our family, except mine. But that was because there was an accident and their brother Hridayanathji and his wife Bharatiji were injured. After two weeks, Ashaji and Lataji came and gave me presents.

One festival that our families never miss is Diwali. The tradition started in 1960-1961 and continues today. We never miss exchanging clothes on Diwali day.Whenever they have a function, they invite me. When Rahman did a concert for the Dinanath Mangeshkar Trust in Pune, I was with them.Lataji once sung Maine Pyar Kiya for my twins when they asked her to. That was the first time I heard her sing at home. My father teased her, saying, 'You never sang a song for me. How come you are singing to my grandchildren?'I always call them on their birthdays and wish them. I remember attending Lataji's 75th birthday function. This year, she will be 80. I will be there and have food with her on that day.We hope she continues singing for a long, long time. I wish her a glorious 80th birthday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Best Five Movies I Like

 I really like to watch movies, but most of the movies that I watch are really not good at all. Only some of the movies were worth watching in my opinion and so I have created this list so that you do not waste your time watching a bad, horrible, awful, or even just average movie ever again and you can start watching great movies that will leave you speechless at how awesome it is.

5. The Boondock Saints
The Boondock Saints is a movie directed and written by Troy Duffy. The movie is about two Irish brothers who get a message from God to go out and kill all the sinful people in the world. Most of the movie is the brothers killing some bad guys and then detectives going through the crime scene. But that is what makes this movie so beautiful. There is tons of blood and awesome gun battles. While the story is nice it is not the best I have seen from a movie but how can you not like a movie about Irish dudes gunning down rapists and mob leaders.

4. V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta is about a young woman named Evey Hammond who is just a normal woman living in London until she is rescued by a masked freedom fighter named “V”. It tells of their story together and how they are fighting the corrupt government. This movie has lots of fighting (mostly of “V” owning everyone in his path) but it is the powerful story and the intense push for the good guys to win that makes this movie an instant classic. This movie was released in late 2005 and is the newest movie on this list.

3. Se7en
I like Se7en a lot because it is like CSI but with much better actors and is darker and way more entertaining. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt star in Se7en and even though they sound like an unlikely pair they actually make a pretty incredible team. The ending is genius and it tied neatly in with the title and the events that happened earlier in the movie. Overall Se7en was a disturbingly great detective movie with top-notch acting. 

2. Fight Club
Fight Club came out in 1999 and stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. Edward plays an average man who has a “white-collar” job that he is discontent with. He then creates a fight club with Brad Pitt. I loved the voice-overs from Edward Norton’s character in this movie and also the social satire that really makes you think about what job you have and how you are living your life.

1. The Shawshank Redemption
This movie is the greatest film ever. The Shawshank Redemption is about a man named Andy who is wrongly accused of killing his wife and goes to jail for life. In jail he meets a man named Red who then become good friends. The rest of the movie focuses on these two people and everything that happens to them in prison. The best part of this movie are the inspirational talks that Andy has with Red about freedom and hope and other such things. Andy has integrity in this prison while he is surround by people with little or no integrity. It is a mind-blowingly well told story that has twists and turns and will leave you drooling by the end.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quentin Tarantinos latest Moveis NGlourious Basterds

Despite Tarantino films all containing violence, no two flicks by the eccentric director can be considered indistinguishable. Inglourious Basterds (IB from now on) is no different. The World War II drama isn’t for the faint-hearted: while the violence in Kill Bill can be taken with a pinch of salt, IB sees some sickening torture against terrified Nazi stronghold, although a single memory of the holocaust and your sympathy for them goes right out the window. Perhaps this is a subtle point that is trying to be made. Satire dominates many scenes of this movie. I myself had the misfortune of sitting near a woman with the most dreadful laugh and all of a sudden violence seemed like the way forward in general life. Brad Pitt is easily the biggest name in the picture and gives a stellar performance as Nazi-hating Lieutenant Aldo Raine. While Pitt gives a performance that’s expected of him, Austrian actor Christoph Waltz is easily identifiable as the best character in the movie; his wit, mannerisms and general demeanor make his character, Nazi Colonel Hands Landa, likeable and an instant hit. British audiences of IB might resemble him to British comedian and actor Rob Brydon. I know I certainly did. Many scenes require quick eyes as subtitles are used for a large part of a lot of scenes, but it gives it some authenticity in all fairness, something that is missing from Tom Cruise’s war flick Valkyrie. Some of the scenes, mainly the ones without Raine and his Basterds, are slow-paced and, for lack of a better word, boring. I myself found my chin saddled on my fist during certain parts but looking back I can see that those scenes were necessary. I could definitely do with a second viewing IB. Overall I was a bit disappointed with the film, but I suspect this is because it’s Tarantino and I, like so many, was expecting too much. It’s still a good piece of cinema, although I’d still rate Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill higher for anecdote and entertainment. As a war film in general it’s great, although the comedy elements might be a little off-putting for some, and side from Raine & Landa many of the characters can be seen as largely unremarkable and easily forgettable. What makes stories interesting is that you care about the characters and what they do, and I can’t really say I was all that bothered by the back story involving Shosanna Dreyfus and her revenge against the Nazis. I understood what was trying to be done, but I don’t think it had as dramatic effect as was hoped. Best scenes for me were the opening scene, which sees Hands Landa on his rounds looking for Jews in hiding, and the tense basement scene with allies disguised as Nazis. Mike Myers’ role might make your eyes bulge and reevaluate the entire tone of the film up till that point, but even the man of many faces is forgettable after a short period. All in all you should definitely watch IB if you’re a fan of Tarantino and war films in particular. The zany director has a particularly style matched by none and his work definitely earns the right to be seen. As I’ve said, I’m sure a second viewing, or even a visit to a popular forum, will likely reveal hidden depth and alternative perceptions of IB, though I’m happy to wait for the DVD. I’m still tackling the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Life Style

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009 Oscars with 82 nominations

I don’t want to get too hardcore with the predictions right now because many movies have yet to come out, as well as possibly undiscovered (referencing the pop up success of “The Reader” last year). So I can’t say that this first prediction will not be completely biased (because it will). I’m sure I’ll get some of them right.

Please note that this is based on research that I did myself of Oscar contenders for this year. And before you yell at me for not including “Shutter Island” in any of the predictions, know that its release date has been moved to some time in March 2010 (thus kicking it out of 2009 Oscar contenders). The best picture category will alse have 10 nominations this year (which is ridiculous if you ask me). There is a possibility that a few films snuck by me while doing the research. anyway, enough babbling, here’s what looks good.

1 more thing, I’m not going to cover all the categories, but I will cover some of the less popular categories. ok, here it is





Morgan Freeman (INVICTUS)

George Clooney (UP IN THE AIR)


Philip Seymour Hoffman (THE BOAT THAT ROCKED)



Mark Wahlberg (THE LOVELY BONES)



Hilary Swank (AMELIA)


Amy Adams (JULIE & JULIA)

Saoirse Ronan (THE LOVELY BONES)

Gabourey Sidbe (PRECIOUS)


Meryl Streep (JULIE & JULIA)



Ellen Page (WHIP IT!)

Kirsten Dunst (ALL GOOD THINGS)







Peter Jackson (THE LOVELY BONES)


Clint Eastwood (INVICTUS)

Joel & Ethan Coen (A SERIOUS MAN)

Jason Reitman (UP IN THE AIR)












I’m not going to make a winner prediction for everything, because I just don’t know how everything is right now (except for Inglourious Basterds). However, it does seem like “The Lovely Bones” will be scooping up the awards this year (and probably best picture too (although there have been surprises in the past, so who knows))
there it is, protest all you like

Big Bang Theory Movie Star Cast

The Big Bang Theory is an American situation comedy that premiered on CBS in 2007. It is about two male Caltech prodigies in their twenties, one an experimental physicist and the other a theoretical physicist, who live across the hall from an attractive blonde waitress with show-biz aspirations.

The show stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar and Sara Gilbert.

Kaley Christine Cuoco is a television actress, best known for her roles on 8 Simple Rules, Charmed, and on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Simon Maxwell Helberg is a comic actor. He attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he trained at the Atlantic Theater Company.
Helberg is most notable for his membership in the recurring cast of comedians on sketch comedy series MADtv. He now has a role as Howard Wolowitz in The Big Bang Theory.

Kunal Nayyar is an English-Indian comic actor and is currently known for his role as Rajesh Koothrappali on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Sara Gilbert decided at age six that she wanted to be an actress after her older sister, Melissa Gilbert, got a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Following appearances in television movies and a commercial for Kool Aid, at the age of thirteen she landed the role of Darlene Conner, the sarcastic middle child, in Roseanne. Shaan

Sara was a cast member during the show's nine-year run from 1988 to 1997, for which she also wrote a fourth-season episode called "Don't Make Me Over." Sara's contribution was considered so important to Roseanne that the show's producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to allow her to study at Yale University while remaining part of the cast, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York. At Yale, she majored in art with an emphasis on photography; she graduated with honors in 1997.

Gilbert has made guest appearances on shows such as The Simpsons, 24, Will & Grace, and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and guest appearances on ER.

John Mark "Johnny" Galecki is an actor best known for his roles as David Healy in the sitcom Roseanne, Rusty Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and as Leonard Hofstadter, Ph.D, in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

James “Jim” Parsons is a television and film actor and is best known for playing Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D. on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Parsons started acting in first grade and went on to study acting at the University of Houston. He later earned a master's degree from the University of San Diego while performing at the Old Globe Theatre.

Parsons' television credits include a recurring role in the series Judging Amy, on CBS and a guest starring appearance in Ed. His feature film credits include Garden State, Heights, On the Road with Judas, Gardener of Eden, 10 Items or Less and School for Scoundrels.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Original paparazzi star caught in act

Fifty years ago, an Italian photographer named Tazio Secchiaroli became the symbol of a new generation of photographers. His nom de guerre was Paparazzo and he was the photographic bounty hunter of the Via Veneto in Rome in the 1950s. Secchiaroli was the first of the paparazzi, immortalised by Federico Fellini in his 1960 film La Dolce Vita. Calling himself an “assault photographer”, Secchiaroli sped up and down the Via Veneto on his Vespa, chronicling illicit love affairs, orgies and feasts in papal Rome, then the international capital of cinema, the nobility and Hollywood’s glamour jet set.

Secchiaroli had a nose for news and a highly trained eye that could sum up a whole story in a single picture. He created a style of photography that became the basis of a worldwide and enduring school.

“Secchiaroli sparked the development of a whole new aesthetic in photography,” says the art dealer James Hyman, whose gallery opens Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi, a show of early pap photography, on Thursday. “There were whole gangs of them speeding around Rome chasing celebrities on their Vespas.”

Secchiaroli was just the best of them, the designated leader of the pack. They shot their subjects close up, sometimes from low angles and often with big flash guns. Most of them were very good photographers who had come out of war reportage, the world from which Magnum emerged. And it is probably no coincidence that the emergence of paparazzi photography coincided with the growth of image-led magazines such as Paris Match. There was a growing audience for their work, hungry for more revealing images.

Until the arrival of this new snatched style of photography, the public had been fed a diet of staged studio portraits of film stars. The Hollywood portrait studios of the 1940s and 1950s understood how much glamour meant and they created images of the stars as idols that were less portraits than a kind of loving embalmment.

Suddenly, with the arrival of Secchiaroli and his ilk, the public were being offered shots of film stars caught out on the street indulging in love affairs, playing games of flouted morals. Here were tantalising glimpses of events that they could not witness and unguarded moments previously hidden, such as the intimate and apparently natural shots of Brigitte Bardot walking along the street in a strappy top and cigarette pants. Bardot was a gift to the paps, savvy to a good shot and providing an incomparable package of legs, bottom, breasts and a geisha-like pout of florid flirtation.

“There is a wonderful innocence to these early Bardot shots,” Hyman says. “Certainly there was complicity between the subject and the photographer. Bardot was usually aware of the camera and was clearly happy for her picture to be taken. Between them they created a whole new image of womanhood, female sexuality and youth fashion.” Before long, paparazzi such as Secchiaroli were providing keyhole views all over the world of the private lives of the famous, and the fundamental voyeurism of modern existence had become one of life’s necessities and inalienable rights.

At the same time there was some much more aggressive work being done. Secchiaroli and his most notorious contemporary, Marcello Geppetti, were always on the lookout for a fresh angle and they began staging little confrontations with their celebrity prey: a sudden flash, an overturned table, a starlet scurrying away. Geppetti was the first paparazzo to hire a helicopter to chase a celebrity. They knew, as their 21st-century equivalents do, that little incidents (whether natural or provoked) produce images that sell. But as Secchiaroli liked to point out to his subjects: “The day photographers will no longer be after you, you’ll be after them.”

Of course, celebrities were not keen on the idea of being blank canvases on to which wily photographers could project either the positive or the negative message of their choice. Bardot was lucky — being so photogenic meant that snatched photographs seldom harmed her reputation. One of her arriving in a miniskirt at a London hotel, for example, searching in her bag for something as a man stares blatantly at her legs, would have done her no harm at all. But the compact worked both ways. While Bardot’s publicity machine notified the press that she would be arriving at Fiumicino Airport, in Rome, on August 4, 1961, enabling Patrick Morin to capture his gorgeous shot of her surrounded by admirers, she also had to suffer the intrusion of the paparazzi photographing her leaving hospital after her attempted suicide.

The tip-off to press photographers was nothing new. Suffragettes in the 1910s had quickly realised that their increasingly audacious acts of public protest had potency only if they were reported and, better, photographed in the press. No act of window smashing, rail chaining or palace storming would be attempted without first contacting news photographers. Being seen to act, oblivious of danger and before the lens of a camera, had obvious political potential.

This innocence did not last long either. During the early 1960s, Harry Benson, the Daily Express photographer, was covering the Tory party conference in Brighton when he noticed Sir Hugh Fraser, his wife Antonia, Lord Jellicoe and Lord Hailsham heading to the beach. He tailed them and from a distance photographed them awkwardly undressing under a beach towel. According to the writer Roger Hargreaves, Fraser spotted him and came over to appeal to his better nature. “Give me your word you won’t publish pictures of us undressing,” he demanded, which Benson duly did. However, Fraser had rung Lord Beaverbrook, whose curiosity was now aroused. The press baron demanded to see all Benson’s photographs and the next day pictures of the Tory leadership undressing on the beach were splashed across the front of the Daily Express.

Nowdays the paparazzi scoop is obtained from long ambushes, pursuits, disguises and from situations provoked by photographers, but the influence of Secchiaroli and the early paparazzi photographers is still profound. When Lady Diana Spencer’s blossoming relationship with the Prince of Wales leaked out to the press in the summer of 1980, the 19-year-old was ill-prepared for the media onslaught. She was followed every time she left her flat or got in or out of her car. Quickly nicknamed Shy Di, she soon figured out how her paparazzi adversaries ticked and in time learnt how to eclipse her husband. But the Princess hadn’t reckoned on the destructive power of the paparazzi. Her marriage unravelled in the glare of their flashguns and then, in 1997, she died in a car crash in Paris after her driver attempted to escape from the aggressive paparazzi on her tail.

Fashion and other advertising photography have now taken on the edgily neurotic feel of paparazzi photography. Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Richard Avedon, even sometimes David Bailey, appropriated the methods of the “assault photographers”, using devices such as the bounce of a flashgun in a mirror. Bailey recently shot his fourth wife, Catherine, behind bars like an illicit glimpse, just as Secchiaroli shot Bardot in 1963 on the set of Le M├ępris, languishing behind bars like a caged animal.

Fifty years on, the work of the paparazzi has changed. The market is immeasurable and the appetite insatiable for shots of celebrities off guard. Week after week, magazines such as Heat and Now publish unsightly photographs of brittle celebs, their weight yo-yo-ing, armpits sweating, bikinis straining. Mischa Barton was recently snapped leaving a psychiatric clinic and Kerry Katona was photographed in an unpretty heap on the pavement.

“The quality of the paparazzi photograph has declined since the 1950s and 1960s,” Hyman says. “These days the paparazzi might hold up their camera over a crowd of heads and hope for the best. Or members of the public might snap celebrities on their camera phones and send them in for publication. The photograph is not good and the subject is not interesting.”

The zoomed-in shots of celebrity cellulite are certainly not glamorous, although some would argue that they are a welcome antidote to the depressingly airbrushed and unreal photographs that appear in other glossy magazines. In spite of legal attempts to curb their behaviour — two years after being arrested for punching a photographer outside a nightclub, Lily Allen obtained a court injunction in March, restraining the paparazzi from harassing her — for as long as our obsession with the lives of celebrities remains strong, in magazines or, increasingly, online, it looks as if the paps will continue to rule.

The Women Movie Review

It is clear that when it comes to women, most critics often sexist - even women. Have a comment Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News: “Is it an exaggeration to say that women are the worst film of the year?” Well, probably. But maybe that’s very disappointing because all the efforts that made it. “O Claudia Puig, USA Today, the movie is “harmless and sticky. Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post writes that the new version of the opinion that the original deadline of 1939 was for its time.” The male respondents did not circumvent the possibility , branded sexist. “The movie wanders and wallows, stumbling on Lanzarote before he writes in the direction of crying and clinging to the satirical urbanity along the street,” AO Scott in The New York Times. Carrie Rickey in the ” Philadelphia Inquirer is a mediocre movie review: “I feel like a hung jury,” she writes. “My final verdict on the women did not enjoy the happiness.” But Roger Ebert writing for the Chicago Sun-Times heaps of praise in the film, after reassessment, “What a pleasure, this film shows actors I have admired for a long time, all in top form.

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Bend It Like Beckham

What do you think when you bend the rules to follow your dreams? Bend it like Beckham is a British film released in the United States in March 2003 which is just an example of bending the rules to follow their dreams!

The film’s title is a reference to the English footballer David Beckham and his skill at scoring from free-kicks by “bending” (curving) the ball (making it swerve as it flies through the air). The film is about the tale of a teenage girl named Jess living in London who loves playing soccer so much. One day when she is playing soccer in the park, she meets a young girl called Jules who also has a passion for soccer. So, Jess decides to join the local amateur women’s football club with her. Lamentably, Jess’s parents disapprove her to do so. You can imagine how upset Jess is when she hears about this. However, when Jess is very dejected about that, her soccer coach gives support to her. At that time, I can strongly tell how touch Jess is!

Parminder Nagra, the leading actress of this film, has done a good job in this film. This time, she acts as the main character, Jess in the story. In my opinion, I like this character most among all. I appreciate her personality very much. Although her parents disapprove her to join the football club, she continues to do so. I’m not saying that we should not defer to our parent’s opinion, but we have to analyze whether it is reasonable or not. And I think Jess has made a correct decision. However, the main reason that I like Jess most is that I appreciate she have the determination to overcome all the obstacles. And I think determination is very important when we are facing any problems.

Besides her, I think the leading actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is also fantastic as Joe, the coach of the football team. In the film, he finds that one of his football team members, Jess feels upset. So, he tries to give support to her. For him, I learn that we should help the others in need. And Joe in this story is a good example for us.

The film is divided in different parts. And the part that I enjoy most is the ending. In the end of this story, the parents of Jess understand that how upset her daughter is and accept her to join the football team even though she needs to travel to the other places to have football competitions. I am so glad that Jess can surmount all the obstacles and succeed and make good use of her potential on football. And I think it is suitable to have a happy ending in this film.

All in all, I enjoy this film so much. Of course, I learnt a lot from this film. For instance, help the others, have the determination to overcome all the obstacles, etc. But I think it is not good to have foul language in the film.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Waters of Mars

Here is some brief information about the upcoming Doctor Who Special the Waters of Mars.

Although Doctor Who is the longest lasting Sci-Fi series still on the air, they are about to release yet another saga to the show. The “Waters of Mars” special is suppose to air on 14 November, 2009 and will still have David Tennant as the doctor. Also there will be Lindsay Duncan as Adelaide and Sharon Duncan- Brewster as The Rani. Although you can only see the trailer for the special on the official website if you are logging in from the UK, you can catch it on if you live everywhere else in the world. David Tennant has been playing the tenth doctor since 2005 and has about 48 episodes under his belt. I am really curious to see who the next doctor who girl will be, because in my opinion there was none better than Rose Tyler. Well there is little information about the episode on-line right now, so all we can do is wait for the special to be air. I personal cannot wait and will tune in the minute it is announced.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Seven Wedding Tips

How to make the best day of your life even better.

Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life, so take some and consider all the options available. After spending a summer setting up and taking down what feels like hundreds of weddings, I have found out what works, what doesn’t, and what you and your guests will most enjoy.

1. Delegate- There is no shame in asking for help. Don’t try to do everything yourself, it will just lead to much unneeded stress on your big day.
2. Less is more- When planning the decorations for your wedding, don’t over do it. Your guests should be focused on you and your spouse, not what is around them.
3. Think outside the box- Personalize your wedding by doing something non-traditional. Instead of a wedding cake, try a dessert that will have your guests telling their friends how your wedding was unique.
4. Hire the right DJ- Your DJ will really set the mood of your reception. Take the time to really get to know the personalities of your potential DJ’s so your reception will be all that you hoped for.
5. Limit after wedding pictures- Your guests will be waiting to greet you and your spouse after the ceremony, so don’t make them wait any longer than they have to.
6. Throw out the guest book- Instead of having your guests sign a book, have them sign something that you will actually look at more than once in your life, like a picture frame or a keep sake box with all of your other wedding memorabilia.
7. Write your own vows- This will make the most traditional part of your wedding unique and leave your guests feeling the love between you and your spouse.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

World's Most Expensive Wedding Singers

The Rolling Stones charge £5 million (NZ$12m) to perform at weddings.

The ageing rockers – made up of frontman Sir Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarist Ronnie Wood - have been named the world's most expensive wedding act, ahead of Sir Elton John and Kylie Minogue who only demand £2 million to play at nuptials.

In 2002 the Sympathy for the Devil hitmakers - who refuse to perform private shows unless they are already on tour - charged the enormous sum to play a 90-minute set at a lavish party in the US. Labh Janjua

Candle in the Wind singer Elton scooped £1.5 million in 2001 after singing along to his piano for a private bash.

However, the pop icon donates all earnings from private concerts to his charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, rather than pocket the huge sums.

In the poll - commissioned to celebrate Living TV's Four Weddings series, which airs on Mondays in the UK - US songstress Christina Aguilera was named the fourth priciest performer at £1.5 million a show while British pop star George Michael bags £1.3 million for a private concert.

Troubled Rehab starlet Amy Winehouse, Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney, X Factor winner Leona Lewis and US star Jennifer Lopez can each demand £1 million for a post-nuptials performance.

The world's 12 most expensive wedding performers, according to Living TV:

1. The Rolling Stones - up to £5 million (NZ$12m)

2. Sir Elton John - up to £2 million (NZ$4.7m)

- Kylie Minogue - up to £2 million (NZ$4.7m)

4. Christina Aguilera - up to £1.5 million (NZ$3.6m)

5. George Michael - £1.3 million (NZ$3.1m)

6. Amy Winehouse - £1 million (NZ$2.5m)

- Sir Paul McCartney - £1 million (NZ$2.5m)

- Leona Lewis - £1 million (NZ$2.5m)

- Jennifer Lopez - £1 million (NZ$2.5m)

10. Barry Manilow - £750,000 (NZ$1.8m)

11. Rod Stewart - £600,000 (NZ$1.4m)

12. Duran Duran - £500,000 (NZ$1.2m)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Armando Lannucci Presents In The Loop

Armando Iannucci takes his work to big screen with his political satire which revolves around the work of a Labour spin doctor.

The enthusiastic and likeable Armando Iannucci presents his first feature film in the shape of In The Loop: a sharp political satire based on the critically acclaimed but relatively hidden BBC4 series called ‘In The Thick Of It’. I have never seen the television series but with a prior knowledge of shows such ‘The New Statesman’ and ‘West Wing’ I knew what to expect and was thoroughly satisfied. A young and promising Labour cabinet minister makes a throwaway comment on the radio about the current ‘War on Terror’ being waged by united forces in the Middle East and finds himself caught up in the political agendas of some of the United States most powerful politicians and military personnel. His views lead to him, and his new assistant, being summoned to the United States for meetings with those interested to hear his side of things. Needless to say that things do not go smoothly, much to the delight of the audience.

One image of the shocking 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City. The wars which dominate pur front pages today are a direct result of this event. Labh Janjua

In The Loop is one of those good films about which not a lot can be said without giving away storylines and plot developments so I’ll leave it there. It was interesting to see Anna Chlumsky of ‘My Girl’ fame again and the political circus of the UK & the US is well observed. Look out also for the hard-to-miss Labour spin doctor apparently modelled on Alastair Campbell. A great start for Iannucci, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The 11th Hour a call to action

A review of the film “The 11th Hour” and a call to action for renewed environmental responsibility.

As it opens with a barrage of violent images of natural disasters, human industry, explosions, and animals running to and fro, the documentary The 11th Hour starts off with a rather grim image of the way things are. Though the images that follow throughout the rest of the film often seem a bit disjointed from the talking heads that describe the state of the planet, the film ultimately communicates the interconnectedness of all things and mankind’s responsibility for our environment.

In many ways, The 11th Hour seems to be a remake of An Inconvenient Truth with Leonardo DiCaprio stepping into the shoes of Al Gore in order to reach the younger demographics. If that alone were the case, the strategy works brilliantly, for as the film points out, it is an exciting time to live because this generation is the one that gets to change the world, and the young minds are the ones that will carry it out. Of course, Leo brings his point home with a few fellows a bit more long in the tooth than he is, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, and journalist Paul Hawken among other reputable minds.

Regarding age, one of the first points made in the film is that humankind is relatively young in relation to the rest of the planet. This puts the theme of the film in a sharper focus when we realize that life will continue on the earth regardless of what we do. The question is if the earth will be able to sustain human life for much longer. At the rate of population growth and pollution over the last few decades, the chances do not look good.

It is a much more humbling view of our role on the planet when we realize that the planet does not exist for us, but we are merely occupants of it. And though our predominant cultural mindset would have us believe that it is our economy and technological progress that matters most, the film points out the importance of realizing our actual place in the world and our connection with all things.

The film goes on to account for our use of fossil fuels and the many levels of detriment that it is doing to the ecology of the planet. Of course, the seemingly simple use of oil is bolstered by the deforestation, mass species extinction, the growing number of natural disasters, depletion of oceanic habitats, and, of course, the scourge of global warming. In actuality, the first hour of the film plays like a horror film.

However, the third act offers a glimmer of hope. At this point of the film, it seems like the entire cast changes from physicists and journalists describing the bleakness of our situation to architects and engineers who are addressing the problems. The truly encouraging aspect of the film is that the ideas they present are not merely concepts, but activities that are actually occurring. Through solar power, wind power, fungal research, geothermal heating, architectural integration, and other incredible steps forward, these ecological designers are developing new technologies based on the principles found in nature instead of our historical method of going against nature. As drastic as the first part of the film is, the end is truly inspiring.

As Mr. DiCaprio says, “Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity … We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet. ”

Though the film proposes some great solutions to the problems we face, they are all crammed into the last half hour. The inspiration found in the film to grasp a new social responsibility and rethink our technologies is only a stepping point. Fortunately, the concept alone has offered a path to follow at the end.

The DVD of the film offers a special feature that further addresses some of the steps toward a solution, but greater than that are the networking websites that have taken on the same name. The 11th Hour Project ( connects organizations, businesses and individuals to one another, resources and information to create a sustainable world. We work to change public perceptions about climate crisis from hand wringing hopelessness to engaged, hands on problem solving. And The 11th Hour Action Group ( was created, in connection with the film, to help individuals and communities take sustainable action on the local, regional and national levels. By providing a means for people to share their ideas and solutions within our framework of sustainability goals, we hope to encourage others to take similar steps.

While The 11th Hour did not make as much of a stir at the box office as An Inconvenient Truth, the films were in production at about the same time. The synchronicity in the messages should tell us something. This is a call that must be answered. Fortunately, the responses are creative, peaceful, inspiring, and joyous.

Labh Janjua