Shoot on Sight – just shoot me

shoot%20on%20sight%20poster%202 Shoot on Sight   just shoot me  

Just had to get in a quick work about the topical, terror-in-our-cities film Shoot on Sight, starring Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Brian Cox and Greta Scacchi.

Naseer is his usual good self and completely  sympathetic as the suave, unflappable Tariq Ali, high-ranking man (and Muslim) on the British police force.   In a not-to-subtle political manoeuver, his seniors  give him  the job to head an investigation of the shooting of an innocent man (also a South Asian Muslim) on a platform of the London underground.

Not even Naseer can save this film.

naseer%20shoot%20on%20sight%202 Shoot on Sight   just shoot me  

While his acting is assured and low-key, his accent flows all over the place.   When making a speech at a news conference, he sounds like he’s channeling  Amitabh Bachchan, then we get snippets of a half-hearted Cockney accent throughout (lots of Ts dropped off the end of words), and then there’s a dollop of British Midlands thrown in.   Oy vey.

The whole movie has a rather deflated feel to it, and comes off like  a low-budget  TV movie-of-the-week.   Its puzzling that  every time when Naseer’s Toyota sedan pulls up at his home it looks as shiny as for a car commercial, but Brian Cox’s dye job looks as cheap as the worst you’ve ever seen on a self-conscious uncle uneasy about the snow on his roof.

One fellow member of the Fourth Estate  at the screening last week burst out loud laughing along with me when a young British reporter on screen, having just received some rather scandalous photos from a disgruntled cop, exclaimed loudly “Hold the presses!”     Sheesh.

One pleasant surprise for me was Gulshan Grover as the religious and moderate Muslim butcher.   Like his role as the distraught Sikh in Deepa Mehta’s Earth, he seems to thrive in these serious supporting parts, away from the over-the-top filmi villains he’s played in so many Hindi movies.   Shabash, GG.   Very nicely done.

See it or skip it

Skip it.   Or wait ’til it’s on DVD, if you must.

Meet Aasif Mandvi and Manish Acharya in NYC tonight!

Manish%20as%20AB%202 Meet Aasif Mandvi and Manish Acharya in NYC tonight!

It’s a rainy, gloomy Friday in NYC.   What better way to warm things up and start the weekend off right than in the company of two smart, funny and cute men from “the Show Business” (as Mukesh Ambani calls it):   Aasif Mandvi, star of stage, film and TV will be doing the Q & A with filmmaker and actor Manish Acharya after the 7:35pm screening  of Acharya’s funny, funny Loins of Punjab Presents at Manhattan’s Quad Cinema tonight.

Meanwhile, enjoy the Loins of Punjab Dhol Beat music video.   And good luck getting the song out of your head afterward…

The South Asian blogosphere and how it is changing the media and more

saja radio The South Asian blogosphere and how it is changing the media and more  

Update:   If you’d like to listen to the webcast described below, in which I participated earlier today,  you can find a full recording  here:   http://www.sajaforum.org/2008/09/webcast-the-sou.html    

Click on the blue player, and you can listen to it right away.  

If you would like to download an MP3, go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja , scroll down to the show, then click on “download”

Friends, I’ve been invited by SAJA (the South Asian Journalists Association) to participate in a webcast panel later today.   Anyone, anywhere on planet Earth who has a computer or VOIP or phone can listen in live, and send in  questions.  

Here’s the details from SAJA (check out the illustrious company I’ll be keeping!):

You can join in on the discussion Friday, Sept. 26 11:30 am-12:30 pm New York time (see your local time: http://snurl.com/3unys ) – live on your computer (or by dialing into 347-324-5991, a NYC number) or listen to an archived recording later:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja/2008/09/26/desiblogs

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS – in the comments section of the following post:
http://www.sajaforum.org/2008/09/webcast-the-sou.html
or e-mail saja@columbia.edu (subject=”webcast”)

As part of the second-anniversary celebrations of SAJAforum.org, SAJA’s newsy blog, we are hosting an online panel discussion among some of the best-known names in the South Asian blogosphere. They will discuss the state of the blogosphere (South Asian and otherwise) and how it is affecting how news and information about South Asia and the diaspora is gathered and shared.

SPEAKERS:

Sabahat Ashraf (“iFaqeer”); blogger at blog.iFaqeer.com, contributor to several Pakistani/South Asian and Muslim blogs
http://www.iFaqeer.com

Anil Dash, VP and chief evangelist for SixApart (makers of TypePad   and Moveable Type) and one of the earliest (1999!) and most influential bloggers in the world
http://www.anildash.com/anil/

Karthik, blogger, Uberdesi.com
http://www.uberdesi.com

Maria Giovanna, blogger and journalist, Filmiholic.com
http://www.filmiholic.com

Arun Venugopal, editor and founder, SAJAforum.org; correspondent, WNYC Radio
http://www.sajaforum.org

SEND IN YOUR QUESTIONS – in the comments section of this post:
http://www.sajaforum.org/2008/09/webcast-the-sou.html
or e-mail saja@columbia.edu (subject=”webcast”)

 LISTEN LIVE OR TO A RECORDING:
 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja
 or http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja/2008/09/26/desiblogs
 (you can go to that link now and set an e-mail reminder for yourself)

 or dial into a NYC number while the show is live: 347-324-5991 (you can just
 listen or ask our speakers a question or use the live chatroom).

As always, you are welcome to quote from anything said during the FREE, WORLDWIDE webcasts at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja

You can listen live via the web at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja
or by calling into a NY phone number: 347-324-5991. You can ask
questions via an online chatroom or live on the air, via the phone
(you can call from a landline, cell, or VOIP).

As soon as the event is over, you will be able to access – at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja – a recording of the proceedings.
This is also available as an downloadable MP3 file for your personal
collection. [If you want to subscribe to this as a podcast on iTunes,
go to "Advanced" within iTunes, then select "Subscribe to podcast" and
type http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saja/feed and hit OK.]

Talking with Kailash Kher

 Talking with Kailash Kher  

Note: Here’s an interview that I did with Kailash Kher that  ran in the July 25, 2008 issue  of India Abroad.  

It’s getting close to midnight and Kailash Kher has just emerged from the elevator.  

As he moves through the hotel lobby, his short curly hair still damp from a shower, the thirty-something Sufi-rock singer with the jagged voice looks remarkably fresh for someone who has just arrived from a gig in Las Vegas, the last in a 40-day tour of the US and Canada.   And as remarkably, he seems genuinely happy to be doing a late-night interview on his final night in the US before he heads home to Mumbai.  

Kher and his manager are at a JFK International airport hotel, one of the several chain properties lined up in Jamaica, NY, and we sit at a table in the deserted breakfast room to talk.   He is comfortable in his jeans, flip-flops and Armani Exchange t-shirt, carrying only his mobile phone and a cup of water; his bracelets, rings and earrings outnumber those that I’m wearing.  

“Uuf!   I’m full homesick now!” he says, recounting the cities he and his band, Kailasa, have visited.   “First gig was in LA.   I was in Atlanta, Houston, Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Dallas, Washington, and I was in various places I can’t even remember now!”  

He laughs, shrugging off any genuine disorientation.   “I just do music, music, music.   I sleep music, I eat music, I walk music, I talk music, with me it’s very fortunate and I’m the blessed one that whatever I do I enjoy, and that’s music.”  

The rest of Kailasa had journeyed to the US separate from Kher.   “We really live like rock stars now,” he marvels, “Fast life, fast pace, different timings, different routes, different lifestyles because of busy schedule.”   Kher first touched down in the US after a gig in Lahore, his first trip to Pakistan ever, was thwarted by a sudden storm.   Though the weather was uncooperative, Kher found the “reception was really warm.”

“Since my career took off , most of the compliments I’m getting on the Internet, are from Pakistan.”   In fact, his US tour has seen Kailasa sharing the stage with Pakistani pop artist Atif Aslam.   Despite the geopolitical realities that get played out in Delhi, Islamabad and along the Indo-Pak border, Kher says “The artist fraternity has no such hang-ups about working with those professionals and all, whatever race or nation.”

Since his breakout gig in the US in 2004, Kher has done 40 shows here, and has visited most of the same cities three or four times.   He estimates he travels some 300 days each year, often returning to his home in Bombay every other day. [Read more...]

South Asian film fest in NJ this weekend

 South Asian film fest in NJ this weekend  

It’s that time of the year again….. the New Jersey  Independent South Asian Cine Fest is underway this weekend at Rutgers University.  

Films this year are from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland (whoo hoo!), Nepal, Pakistan, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Tibet, UK and US.

Many of the films will include Q & A afterward with the directors, actors.

UPDATE:   If you can make it there on what’s left of today, Sunday, go!  

It’s a lovely campus and building, great facilities, places on premise where you can eat and get a coffee, and the actors and directors are very accessible.  

I was there yesterday and spent some time with Prakash Raj, after seeing the stunning   Priyadarshan film he stars in, Kanchivaram.   Don’t think the Priyadarshan of  Chup Chup Ke, think of Priyan gone back to his roots.   The film is no light, frothy romp.   It’s heart-rending and beautiful.  

And if you’re more Northern-focussed in your fillum-watching and haven’t seen Prakash Raj in anything yet (he’s huge in the South, especially in Tamil movies), this would be a  great place to start, but you may have to wait for a bit, as the film will first release in India, hopefully in/by December, then we’ll see where it goes from there.  

But in the meantime, you can see Prakash Raj in Iruvar and Mozhi.

Where can you look at Loins?

Manish%20as%20AB%202 Where can you look at Loins?

If you’re in the tri-state area, you can catch the hilarious Loins of Punjab Presents in two cinemas in Manhattan (The Imaginasian and the Quad) as well as over in Jersey at  my fave, the Columbia Park 12 in North Bergen, and a cinema in Bloomfield, Connecticut.

If you attend the first four NYC shows at either theater (Quad or Imaginasian) this weekend, you’ll have a chance to meet the director, Manish Acharya.

The film opens wider on September 26, and again on October 10.   More info here.