Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore the events surrounding the 1947 independence and partition of India. The real history is far more complex and violent than any film could adequately capture, so Chadha relies on two parallel plots that touch on varied experiences. In the end, the film is lively and enjoyable, with a strong sense of humour and some romantic surges that help the story resonate.
As Britain plans to leave India after three centuries of colonial rule, Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives in Delhi as the last viceroy, accompanied by his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), who takes particular interest in the process, and their daughter Pamela (Lily Travers). Unlike previous rulers, they take a real interest in the local culture, so they know how difficult it will be to avoid bloodshed between clashing Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities. Meanwhile in their house, Hindu guard Jeet (Manish Dayal) is in love with Muslim maid Aalia (Huma Qureshi), wondering if they can to have a life together in a divided nation.
The romantic storyline is a nice counterbalance to the larger political machinations and violent cultural struggles. The way it highlights the issues is rather heavy-handed, but Dayal and Qureshi are charming enough to hold the audience's attention, and where they go isn't as obvious as it seems. Alongside them, Bonneville and Anderson sparkle with wit, stirring some comic relief into even the most intense negotiations. They also nicely play their characters as people of compassion and empathy, a nice contrast to the callous self-interested British diplomats who don't care who gets hurt in the fallout. Somewhere in between are well-meaning roles for acting icons Michael Gambon (as the chief of staff) and Simon Callow (as the man responsible for drawing the line between India and Pakistan).
Continue reading: Viceroy's House Review
Puri, the star of dozens of Indian, Pakistani, American and British movies over nearly four decades, died from a heart attack at his home in Mumbai.
Veteran actor Om Puri, a staple of Indian and world cinema for several decades and perhaps best known in Britain for his starring role in East Is East, has died at the age of 66.
The star suffered a heart attack in the early hours of Friday morning (January 6th) at his residence in Mumbai, according to local reports.
Indian acting legend Om Puri has passed away at the age of 66
Continue reading: Indian Film Legend Om Puri Dies At The Age Of 66
'Viceroy's House' follows the life of the last Viceroy of India who was the figurehead of relinquishing British rule on the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Lord Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten were charged with overseeing India's newfound independence, wanting the nation to stay united as one. However, India was already divided by religion, with Muslim leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah wishing to establish a separate country in the form of Pakistan. The Partition of India was not a desirable option for the British rule, but as the civil unrest grew amongst the people and people began to divide themselves anyway, it became the only option for minimal damage to all nations.
Continue: Viceroy's House Trailer
A relentlessly smiley-glowy tone threatens to undo this film at every turn, but it's just about rescued by a spiky script and the adept cast. Director Lasse Hallstrom has been indulging in warm-fuzzy filmmaking since 2000's Chocolat, and this story (based on the Richard Morais book) seems set in the same fanciful, far too-cute France, created with digital effects rather than cinematography. Nothing is remotely realistic, but the characters are engaging and the food looks absolutely delicious. This is definitely not a film to see on an empty stomach.
The central character is Hassan (90210's Manish Dayal), who was born in India and developed his prodigious gift as a chef with his late mother. Now refugees in Europe, Hassan's Papa (Om Puri) is on a quest to establish a restaurant with his five children. They settle on an impossibly quaint French village, and set up their Indian eatery just across the road from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by the imperious Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who of course immediately declares war on these interlopers. Meanwhile, Hassan begins exploring French cookery with Mallory's sexy sous-chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). And his innate expertise catches Mallory's attention.
This simple twist helps propel the story and draw us in, as Hassan proves that he can teach Mallory a thing or two. Where this goes is played out in a simplistic way, but for audience members who are looking for meaning there's quite a bit of insight scattered around the script. Otherwise, Hallstrom is far more interested in superficial imagery, never quite letting the actors dig deep into their characters. Dayal shows some real texture as Hassan, but is reduced in the editing to merely smiling or frowning to show the character's frame of mind. And his relationship with Le Bon's impossibly perky Marguerite is almost painfully predictable.
Continue reading: The Hundred-Foot Journey Review
The cast and crew of restaurant drama 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' were seen arriving at the New York premiere held at the Ziegfeld Theater. Among them were producers Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, director Lasse Hallstrom and his wife Lena Olin and stars Om Puri and Charlotte Le Bon who play Papa and Marguerite respectively.
Talking about upcoming restaurent drama 'The Hundred Foot Journey', producers Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, director Lasse Hallstrom and star Helen Mirren reveal their thoughts in a short featurette.
'This really is a story about the fusion between two opposite cultures', says Steven, with Oprah explaining of the film's plot: 'The icy Madame Mallory, the owner of the very proper Michelin-starred French restaurent, doesn't allow for any kind of competition whatsoever.' Helen reveals that within the clashing of two food cultures 'it's a feud that becomes a war - and no holds barred actually'.
The Hundred Foot Journey is a drama directed by Lasse Hallström (Dear John/Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) and written by Steven Knight.
Based on the novel of the same name by Richard C. Morals, The Hundred-Foot Journey sees an Indian family start a new life in France, where they intend to open a family business in the form of a restaurant, however the top restaurant in the south of France is opposite the restaurant the family buy, owned by the fiercely competitive Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). This gives the family little chance of being successful, yet they persist with it exposing the French to food they won't have tasted before. When Mallory becomes aware of this, she bitterly attempts to slow down business for their restaurant, i.e. by making snide remarks about the restaurant to her customers. Over time though, the two restaurants become friends, with Mallory even offering Hassan (Manish Dayal) of the Indian family, a job at her restaurant. But how will his father (Om Puri) feel about this?
The film came about when producer Oprah Winfrey became a fan of the script, and encouraged Steven Spielberg to make an adaptation of the novel, who she knew from working with on The Color Purple. Spielberg searched for a director he thought would be good for the role and so he found Hallström, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his adaptation of The Cider House Rules, by John Irving.
A terrific story is compromised by the demands of commercial filmmaking, adding action-thriller scenes to what should be an introspective drama while distractingly beefing up side-roles for American stars. But at the centre is another superb performance from Riz Ahmed (Four Lions), who again takes a complex, challenging approach to the subject of terrorism.
The narrative is fragmented into flashbacks as Changez (Ahmed) tells his story to an American journalist (Schreiber) in Pakistan while a tense hostage situation swirls all around them. Years earlier, Changez was a high-flying Pakistani student, graduating from Princeton and landing a prestigious job on Wall Street when an executive (Sutherland) recognises his talent. He also has a sexy artist girlfriend (Hudson). But all of this is shaken after the 9/11 attacks, when he is harassed by police and immigration officials. Fundamentally changed, he returns to Lahore to become a lecturer in violent uprisings. But this makes the CIA think that he's become a terrorist himself. Perhaps he has.
The various strands of the story are intriguing, and the actors are all watchable as they add layers to Changez's overall story. But the jumbled structure of the film reduces the narrative to a series of seemingly unrelated scenes. Hudson and Sutherland are solid but add little beyond their characters' stereotypical American reactions to Changez's decisions. The always superb Schreiber is better used as a more shady figure. But other characters vanish just when they get interesting, such as Changez's parents, played by acting legends Puri and Azmi.
Continue reading: The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review
The plot is dippy melodrama cloaked in politically charged keywords: corporate entities, genetic coding, the Haves and the Have Nots, multicultural whitewashing, language barriers, secret passports, checkpoints, homeland security. It's charged material, but Winterbottom transforms it into so much white noise. That's all right -- it provides a sheen that's nice to look at, and the keyword dialogue takes on a musicality when spoken by detective William Geld (Tim Robbins) and suspect Maria Gonzalez (Samantha Morton). But it's all a smokescreen meant to disguise a story about love found, love lost, and a tragic denouement made-to-order from the Oedipus legend.
Continue reading: Code 46 Review
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