I’m single, dying to mingle, but there’s no tingle

 kwk%20mira%20tabu%20farah Im single, dying to mingle, but theres no tingle

 …said Karan Johar to Tabu last night as both lamented their single status on KWK.

It was a great episode.   Mira Nair and Tabu were both extremely natural, moreso than the Bollywood regulars who usually pick their words as cautiously as if traversing an empty field in Mozambique.

Farah Khan later joined (clad, like Tabu, in a Manish Malhotra handkerchief dress).

Kal Penn interview in Khabar

khabar%20cover Kal Penn interview in Khabar

Here’s a piece I did for this month’s issue of Khabar magazine, an interview with Kal Penn.

Last seen, Eklavya

eklavya%20poster%202 Last seen, Eklavya

Comments to follow shortly.

The surprise today, halfway through the less-than-two-hour film, was the batch of extended trailers we had.   Great fun all.

First up, Just Married.   Fardeen Khan and Esha Deol getting to know each other on honeymoon.   Looked better than I expected.  

Next, Cheeni Kum.   Having just stood next to Tabu less than a week ago, and marveling at not just her statuesque beauty, but moreover at her acting skills in The Namesake, it was interesting to see her back in a mainstream Hindi movie (though one that looks like it has no musical numbers) set in London, and starring as romantic lead opposite Amitabh Bachchan.   And, wonder of wonders,  the script actually acknowledges the age difference between the two.   Amazing.

Finally, Provoked.   Aishwarya as the British Asian woman thrown in jail for killing her abusive husband.   I confess I had absolutely no desire to see this movie, having endured Bride & Prejudice, and heard dreadful things about Mistress of Spices, but based on the trailer, I will be going.   Not just for Ash, but for Nandita Das (sporting the same haircut as yours truly) as the woman who gets involved on Ash’s behalf after she’s jailed.   The trailer  reminded me of a female version of In the Name of the Father.  

Ashoke & Ashima at an Exhibition

Tabu%20in%20NY%202 Ashoke & Ashima at an Exhibition

(Tabu being interviewed by NDTV’s Sarah Jacob.)  

On Thursday night at the Sepia International Gallery in Chelsea, Mira Nair, Tabu and Irfan Khan were in attendance to open a six-week photo exhibition called Namesake/Inspiration.

With 45 photographic images of Calcutta, as well as of the U.S. and Japan, the small catalogue for the group exhibition cites the “in betweenness” of living alternatively in two lands as the unifying theme of the black & white and color images by the late, wonderful Raghubir Singh, as well as Adam Bartos, Raghu Rai, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Derry Moore, Alison Bradley Dayanita Singh, Saul Leiter, Mitch Epstein, Jun Shiraoka, William Gedney, Osamu James Nakagawa, and in closest ties to the film itself – The Namesake – one photograph by Frederick Elmes (cinematographer on the movie), and even two by the director herself.  

The crowd at the reception were an interesting mix.   There was a Japanese contingent, a New York arty/hip crowd, maybe 20% desis of varying ages, and a man carrying a smallish dog that was wearing  a white sweater.

As I stepped off the elevator and through the glass doors, I almost ran smack into Irrfan Khan, looking nothing like the pater familias Ashoke Ganguli.   The man is strikingly tall and slim, and reminds me of the totally hip and rangy (sadly, now departed) James Coburn from his prime, the Duffy days.

Khan was elegant in a grey pinstripe suit, white shirt, and dark tie with tiny pinpoint dots on it.   On his right hand he wears three rings, at least two with stones.   Like his current celluloid namesake, he also nips out every now and then for a smoke.   (Frivolous sidenote: He was also wearing a delicious cologne, but it seemed rather inappropriate to ask someone you’ve just met “Who are you wearing?”)

When he returned we chatted for a little while and (sadly, without the benefit of a recorder) I asked him about the same scene I had asked Mira Nair the week before, and how he had approached it (the scene where the now-adult Gogol tells his parents he’s legally changing his name to Nikhil).   In it, in one of Khan’s most powerfully understated scenes, says, with a gesture not quite a shrug, “Do as you wish” and exits the kitchen for a cigarette.

He replied (and I’m paraphrasing here) that he was reacting, thinking, imagining that kind of hurt if it were his own two-year-old son all grown up and saying that to him, yet Ashoke, being the way he is, realizes it’s not the time to create a fuss.   In his own life growing up, Khan admitted to being a very rebellious son.

Irrfan Khan’s next release is UTV’s Metro, which is due to open in April.   He has already completed shooting for A Mighty Heart, the Angelina Joli starrer, directed by Michael Winterbottom, about the hunt for kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, in Pakistan.     For me, the book was a heart-rending testament to couple’s love for each other and also a tale of the great empathy shown by the Pakistani police captain, played by Irrfan Khan.

He remarked that Winterbottom “makes films so fast” and the movie is due out in the fall.   Khan also mentioned that he had a part in an upcoming YashRaj picture, quickly adding “No, no, I won’t be singing and dancing; it’s just a guest spot!”

As the evening wore on, Mira Nair appeared, in a navy salwar kameez.   Her deep red churidars coordinated with the color of the print on the navy.

And last was Tabu.   The tall Hyderabadi woman quickly embraced people she recognized from the film team.   Her clothes, more like those of someone attending a function in Bombay, gave no inkling of the icy wind outside.   She wore bootcut jeans over strappy silver high-heeled sandals, topped off by a brown, beige and baby blue belted short-sleeved kurti, and a few diamond bangles.   She wore little make-up and her hair was long and straight, parted in the center.  

It’s quite something to see both her and Irrfan Khan up close, and marvel at how realistic their make-up was in The Namesake, and how young they looked last night.

More about the photographs separately.

U.S. reviews of The Namesake

 baby%2059th%20st%20bridge%202 U.S. reviews of The Namesake

NY Times- LA Times  - Entertainment Weekly  -  Variety  -

Newsday  - Premiere  - NY Post  -  NY Daily News  -  Fox News  -  

SF Chronicle  -  USA Today
The  Namesake has opened today at  these  theaters:
NYC: Angelika Film Center (West Houston & Mercer St.)
NYC: Paris Theatre (58th St. & Fifth Ave.)
LA: Laemmle’s Santa Monica (1332 2nd St.)
LA: Arclight Hollywood (6360 W. Sunset Blvd.)
SF: Embarcadero Center Cinema (1 Embarcadero Center)
Toronto: Cineplex Odeon Varsity Cinema (55 Bloor Street West)
Next opening,  March 16:    Boston, Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver and additional cities.

(Thanks to the BoxOfficeGuru for the round-up.)

Interview: Mira Nair, pt. 2

 airport%202 Interview: Mira Nair, pt. 2

As The Namesake releases in NY and LA today,  here is the second  part of an interview with Mira Nair, conducted the day after the Academy Awards, last week:

Q: You mentioned the things you liked, immigrants you see in the book,  what you don’t see in the book.   Can you talk about that?

MN:   It’s more cosmopolitan.   I get many Asian writers of fiction asking me to make movies out of their books, and a lot of the classic sort of tales are of the mailorder bride coming from the darker continent, from India to the shining new world.   What I liked among many things that Jhumpa has written that of course it is not only the Calcutta of the 70s that I have loved, but the Manhattan of today.   And her Manhattan of today is much closer to my Manhattan of today than the Jackson Heights, Little India, little immigrant communities.   This is New York as a playing ground.   There’s the galleries, there’s the protests, the Ivy League sort of networking, that is the world I also inhabit every day and that was very interesting for me to finally put on screen the kind of life I also live.   And I haven’t seen that on screen.

[Read more...]