Sunday, 13 May 2012

RGV new 'Department' promises a thrill a minute

He may be petulant and forthright to the point of grating but Ram Gopal Varma has few equals in Bollywood when it comes to creating great cinema.

And Varma is back this week, doing what he does best, with his latest release, ‘Department’: a film that’s been dogged by controversy, financial difficulties and even a lawsuit or two but one which promises to join the long list of classic RGV blockbusters such as ‘Satya’, ‘Company’ and ‘Sarkar’.

Varma has always been obsessed with the various and nefarious ‘institutions’ that dominate life in his country: from the mob to the police to the government.  That obsession continues with Department: specifically the Mumbai police department and the notorious ‘encounter’ squads who contrive to gun down suspected criminals instead of wasting on such frivolities as the due process of law.

The film was reportedly shot using a number of handheld Canon D5 cameras, giving the picture a certain grittiness that has become Varma’s hallmark.  Insiders say the action is epic with gore galore.
Aside from an intriguing story line involving gangsters, politicians, cops and a power struggle, Department also boasts a fantastic cast.  After months celebrating the birth of his granddaughter, opening IPL 5 and settling the debts of dozens of farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Amitabh Bachchan returns to the big screen as Sarjerao Gaikwad, a Machiavellian gangster-politician who alternates between roles according to the circumstances.

Sanjay Dutt, most recently seen stealing scenes in Agneepath, plays police inspector Mahadev Bhosle, the leader of an encounter squad.  Hot young thing Rana Daggubati plays inspector Shivnarayan; a man who looks particularly fetching in a police uniform and is an encounter specialist.  The exceptionally talented Vijay Raaz plays Mumbai don Sawatya.

The action-packed thriller will hit cinemas May 18th.

- Poonam Joshi

Anish Kapoor says public access to Arcelor Mittal Orbit 'too expensive'

Turner Prize winning sculptor Anish Kapoor has admitted that the cost of entry to his new Olympic Orbit sculpture in Stratford was “a hell of a lot of money”.

The twisting red steel tower, the tallest sculpture in the UK and known as the ArcelorMittal Orbit, was officially unveiled last week and is set to dominate the Olympic park in East London.

Kapoor said: "£15 is a hell of a lot of money, frankly. This thing has to be paid for, and there are all sorts of equations, but there's a push to keep that cost as low as possible and make it as available as possible."

The Orbit cost £22.7m - £19m of which was put up by Lakshmi Mittal’s eponymous steel company – and will open to visitors to the Olympic Games and Olympic Park in July with adults paying £15 and children £7.

Andrew Altman, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Olympic Park's future, told the BBC that a lower pricing system for 2014 was yet to be worked out.

The 35-storey structure has divided critics.

One described the orbit as "the Eiffel Tower after a nuclear attack" and "a catastrophic collision between two cranes".

An industry magazine editor declared it “a contorted mass of entrails.  And the way it towers over the Olympic stadium is particularly objectionable."

Art critic Richard Cork however, told the BBC: "You struggle to take it all in because it is completely mind-boggling. It is utterly unlike all the photos we've seen of the Orbit from the outside."

"We wanted to make something that was kind of a deconstruction of the tower," Kapoor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"Towers are almost always symmetrical," he continued, saying the Orbit's twisted loops were "the refusal of a singular image".

The Orbit has two observation floors, a 455-step spiral staircase, a lift and restaurant.

The uppermost observation floor is flanked by two concave mirrors which disorientate the visitor before they get to see the skyline beyond.

The sculpture is the result of a chance meeting between London Mayor Boris Johnson and Lakshmi Mittal at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Kapoor said on Friday that controversy was part of the deal. "There will be those who hate it and those who love it - that's okay.

"The Eiffel Tower was hated by everybody for 50 years, or something like that. Now it's a mainstay of how we understand Paris. We'll see what happens here."

It is hoped the tower will help to attract 1 million visitors a year to Stratford's Olympic Park, when it reopens as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games.

-    Reports/UKAsian Staff