Sunday, 11 March 2012

BOL


UkAsian



Bol takes you through a journey into the life of this family...

Trishna




Freida Pinto

Michael - Bollywood Film Trailer


UkAsian

Naseeruddin Shah's pshycological thriller

Abhishek Bachchan to open 14th London Asian Film Fest



Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan is set to attend the opening of the 14th London Asian Film Festival this week, organizers have confirmed.
The star of 'Players' and the upcoming 'Bol Bachchan' will help inaugurate this year’s Festival which opens with a screening of Ribhu Dasgupta’s psychological thriller ‘Michael’, starring Naseeruddin Shah.
The ‘Junior’ Bachchan will be joined by British actress Meera Syal at the opening of the ceremony.
The London Asian Film Festival – hosted by Tongues on Fire – runs from 16th to 24th March and features a range of exciting new films from the subcontinent which have made waves in the international film circuit.
Apart from Michael, the festival will feature ‘Trishna’, Michael Winterbottom’s reimagining of the Thomas Hardy novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles set in India.  The festival will also play host to a number of films from Pakistan, including ‘Transgender’, Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s acclaimed study of her country’s ostracized transgender community, ‘The Wedding’ a heartwarming film about mental health produced by Time to Change, an organization which encourages more open dialogue about mental health issues, the Bengali film ‘Meherjaan’ starring Jaya Badhuri (Mrs Amitabh Bachchan) and last year’s Pakistani box office sensation ‘Bol’.
LAFF features a number of other events outside its film screenings, including an acting master class by Abhishek Bachchan and a lecture by acclaimed film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
The London Asian Film Festival culminates with a gala awards ceremony at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on 24th March.
For more information, visit www.tonguesonfire.com
-    Vijitha Alles

Abhishek Bachchan to open 14th London Asian Film Fest

Pakistan’s ‘Little England’


The city of Mirpur, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, is known as "Little England" due to its large British Pakistani community.
Mirpur's connection with Britain has made it a place quite unlike anywhere else in the region. You can see it in the huge villas.
"Where could I get a place like this in the UK?" says Zahoor from Ilford, as we crane our necks to get a full view of his dazzling palatial creation, complete with terraces and towers.
But even that is nothing compared to his most recent foray into development Mirpuri-style. He has now finished building an entire "British street".
"It's a home away from home for UK Pakistanis," he says, proudly showing me the little semi-detached houses and their neat gardens that he hopes to sell on.
"They'll even have British-style rubbish collections."
Not far away is evidence of another Brit who has invested heavily here.
Rafay is rushing around his plush, four-storey bakery and restaurant, where he employs around 100 staff.
In the kitchens, he gives instructions on new cake designs. In the restaurant, he samples new dishes he has dreamed up.
"All my skills were learned in Yorkshire, taught to me by my father," he says.
"It's because of his hard work that I'm where I am now."
The story of Rafay's father, Saleem, is the story of Mirpur.
In the 1960s, the original town, where Saleem lived - along with scores of villages around it - was submerged.
With the help of an English firm, Pakistan had built a huge hydro-electric dam on the Jhelum River close by.
It meant that more than 100,000 people had to leave their homes.
But the British government needed more workers at the time, and decided to give many of the Mirpur evictees permits so they could go to the UK to work in factories in the Midlands and the north of England.
Rafay proudly shows us a picture of his father working in a textile mill in Yorkshire.
"He worked hard," he says, "and saved enough to open a small baker's shop in Bradford."
Saleem's firm expanded so much that it soon became one of the biggest manufacturers of Asian snacks across Europe - still based in Bradford.
Eventually he felt it was time to give back something to Mirpur and opened an outlet here.
So Zahoor invested in real estate in Mirpur, and Rafay's family in business. But many more expatriates over the decades have sent back money to their families here.
The Pakistani government says it was contributions like these which made it decide to allow Pakistanis living overseas to vote in national elections - even if they are second or third generation.
The electoral commission in Islamabad says that even a quota for a number of seats in parliament for British Pakistanis is under discussion.
The news seemed to have gone down well with listeners of Mirpur's radio station, Rose FM, whose phone-in programme is broadcast simultaneously in Mirpur and Bradford.
"It's like one community, just in two places," Aisha the presenter tells me. "People from both here and there participate.
"They all have views about what's right and what's wrong in Pakistan, so why shouldn't they all get the chance to be involved in how the country's run?"
Not everyone is in agreement, including that property developer from Ilford, Zahoor.
"How can we understand the issues unless we live here permanently?" he asks. "And politics in Pakistan is such a dirty, unpredictable business, it's better to stay out of it."
He has a point. No government in Pakistan has ever seen out a full term in office, and the administration of Prime Minister Gilani is teetering as we speak.
But then he raises, as he sees it, a bigger issue.
"I give it another generation or two, then these links will be over anyway," Zahoor says.
He feels a process of disengagement between Mirpuris in Britain and their place of origin has suddenly started to accelerate, thanks to problems in both countries.
"In the UK, money's become tight," he says, "and not so many can afford to spare enough even to pay the expensive fares to fly here, so young people aren't getting to know the place."
"And in Mirpur, the authorities have managed things so poorly," says Zahoor, "it will put people off investing."
Rafay, the baker, has similar worries.
"Look at the energy problems in Pakistan," he says.
"Gas and electricity are unreliable and it affects business.
"We're almost running our bakery here as a charity to help give people employment, but others won't be able to afford to do that."
Fear about security in Pakistan is also likely to be playing its part, and it could all spell the beginning of the end, at least, of Mirpur's reputation as a Little Britain in Pakistan.
-    Aleem Maqbool, BBC News
-    This program was part of the ‘From Out Own Correspondent’ series on BBC Radio 4

Pakistan’s ‘Little England’

7 Welcome to London: A Comment

 
According to its’ writer, producer, director and star Asad Shan, ‘7 Welcome to London’ is already a successful film.  It’s difficult to determine the veracity of that claim but it is a good thing regardless, for no one wants to go wasting quarter of a million pounds when the state of the economy is about as sound as Kingfisher Airlines’ balance sheet. 
History – cinematic or otherwise – is littered with examples of men overcoming supposedly insurmountable obstacles through sheer force of will and Shan’s is a classic case of that theory in practise.  For the success of ‘7WTL’ will be entirely down to Shan’s much hyped ‘personal force’ and his determination to overcome the film’s distinct lack of many of the ingredients that make for an entertaining 2 hours of cinema.
The story is familiar enough, and it begins well with an unusual and slick opening credits sequence and a first half hour that is engaging at the very least.
 Jai (Asad Shan) is an illegal immigrant, a Punjabi, just arrived in London, who befriends Goldie (Aliakbar Campwala), an immigrant with equally dubious residency credentials but one who is slightly better established.  With Goldie’s help Jai finds work in a restaurant and embarks on his quest to repay the debts his family incurred when he made his unexplained decision to leave booming India to travel to recession-struck Britain strung on the chassis of a truck carrying Eastern European sausages.  Whilst contending with his economic and immigration status, Jai meets and falls in love with Simran (Sabeeka Imam) on an Eastbound District Line train.
It’s all an absolutely rum state of affairs as Jai first embarks on a bromance with Goldie whilst also trying to win over Simran and her overbearing sister Geet (Sandeep Garcha).  All hell breaks loose however, when Jai receives a call from India where the loan sharks have (once again, inexplicably) started circling the family home.
The movie then runs off in an entirely new tangent promising a thriller of sorts.
Prior to its release, Shan had promised a movie with a Bollywood heart and a British intellect, setting a story pregnant with Karan Johar’s melodrama in Guy Ritchie’s East End.  The problem however, is that the two sit as well together as Arbaaz Khan and Shobha De at a dinner for two.   Freeze frames introducing each of the characters interspersed with mawkish sequences of brotherly and romantic  love lend the whole picture an air of implausibility.  It is admirable to attempt to fuse different genres but real world examples such as hybrid cars and fusion cuisine remain works in progress.
What’s more, at its’ heart, 7WTL features one of the most topical and divisive stories of our time; the story of the illegal immigrant but it is one which the filmmakers are barely concerned with.  That’s primarily due the fact that Asad Shan is not entirely convincing in the role.  With his perfectly styled Shemagh scarf, neatly trimmed stubble and pearly whites he fails to capture an iota of the anxiety and pathos of the illegal immigrant.  He is at his best in the slow moving sequences, glancing down shyly with that glittering smile and you could hear the young ladies in the audience swoon.
For the rest of the movie he comes across as uncertain or out of his depth; switching from dreamy love boat to screaming lunatic or confronting a random gangster with as much menace as my 3-year-old twin boys telling me that they don’t love me for taking away their Nintendo Wii.
Perhaps this is the problem with being the writer, producer, director and star of the film for much of the 112 minutes are spent ruminating on his effortlessly handsome face and the ease with which he can carry off any given outfit.  Sujoy Ghosh, the director of the outstanding ‘Kahaani’, recently said a filmmaker had an obligation to tell a good story.  Here, it seems, the obligation is to all things superficial.
Intentionally or otherwise, Simran spends much of the movie glancing doe-eyed at Jai.  Goldie gets a handful of good lines to occasionally liven up proceedings and Campwala is a natural comedic talent.
The rest of the cast are largely caricatures of East Enders or exploitative Asian business types with little or no menace.
It’s no surprise, as the screenplay is such a muddle.
It is almost as if the writers sat together over a weekend watching boxed sets of British Films, Bollywood Films, Hollywood Films, Desi music videos , not to mention the first season of ‘Friends’ and the Russian Roulette sequence from Robert de Niro’s ‘The Deer Hunter’ and concocted a movie inspired by all of the above.  The film moves with the speed of a continental shelf from one segment of mediocrity to another and yet none of the relationships or characters is fleshed out.  It is left to the viewer to establish cause and effect – if possible – with the exception of this illegal immigrants’ impeccable British accent; the result of working in a call centre, presumably servicing the British banking or telecoms sector.
So why in heaven’s name did he leave?  This and many other questions remain unanswered.
Whilst the narrative may have missed the fusion boat, the same cannot be said about the music for the soundtrack is a triumph.  From Pakistani group Access Band’s Sufi-inspired ‘Yaadhan’ to the quite beautiful ‘Tera Saath Ho’ by Pakistani singer Falak Shabir, the soundtrack fuses myriad musical influences to great effect.
As a cinematic experience, 7 Welcome to London is an unmitigated disappointment, in spite of the fact that I went in to see the film with a singular lack of expectations.
Ultimately it is one man’s folly, certain to be enjoyed by the masses; an experiment and the realization of one quite good looking, personable – not to mention neurotic – man’s dream.
I’m pretty certain that you’ve got to love that.
-    Vijitha Alles

7 Welcome to London: A Comment