Danis Tanovic’s desi film Tigers starring Emraan Hashmi will have its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival this year. Synopsis, cast & crew, and other details of the film is out.

Film

Director: Danis Tanovic
Country: India/France/United Kingdom
Year: 2014
Language: Hindi/English/Urdu/German
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Runtime: 90 minutes
Rating: 14A

Synopsis (from TIFF)

Devastated when he discovers the effects of the infant formula he’s peddling, a young salesman challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama from Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land).

Multinationals’ activities in the developing world come under harsh scrutiny in Danis Tanovic’s hard-hitting new drama Tigers. No stranger to controversy, the Academy Award-winning director is unafraid to stick his nose into contentious subject matter. Here, he explores Pakistan’s fascination with Western drugs, basing his film on a true story — its real-life protagonist lives in Toronto — involving a corporation aggressively trying to increase its market share through the sale of baby formula to new mothers.

Ayan (Emraan Hashmi) is a young, recently married salesman who gets a job peddling locally made drugs to pharmacies and doctors. Despite the fact that the Pakistani-manufactured pharmaceuticals he sells are much cheaper than those sold by Western competitors, no one will trust or buy products that lack major brand names. His wife encourages him to apply for a job with Lasta, a large multinational, and Ayan is hired on a trial basis. It’s not long before his natural charm and knack for glad-handing make him into a minor star, and Lasta expands his responsibilities. However, one day he is devastated to see first-hand what the selling of baby formula really means in certain cases. Shocked, Ayan sets out to challenge the system and the powers that be.

In a neat piece of narrative structuring on Tanovic’s part, this David-and-Goliath story is told partially through the eyes of a film crew making a documentary on Ayan’s astonishing findings. But the power of Tigers lies in his willingness to push his film out onto the streets of Pakistan and into the face of a system where narrow interests prevail, and an honest man doing the right thing is castigated and threatened, and finally sees his life endangered.

Cast & Crew

Executive Producer: Karen Tenkhoff, Michael Weber, Praveen Hashmi, Achin Jain
Producer: Prashita Chaudhary, Kshitij Chaudhary, Guneet Monga, Anurag Kashyap, Cedomir Kolar, Marc Baschet, Andy Paterson, Cat Villiers
Production Company: Cinemorphic Pvt Ltd, Sikhya Entertainment Pvt Ltd, A.S.A.P. Films
Principal Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Geetanjali, Danny Huston, Khalid Abdalla, Adil Hussain, Maryam D’Abo, Satyadeep Misra, Heino Ferch, Sam Reid, Supriya Pathak, Vinod Nagpal
Screenplay: Danis Tanovic, Andy Paterson
Cinematographer: Erol Zubcevic
Editor: Prerna Saigal
Sound: Anthony B J Ruban
Music: Pritam
Production Designer: Rachna Rastogi, K.K Muralidharan

Danis Tanovic was born in Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and attended l’Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle in Brussels. His feature films include No Man’s Land (01), which won Best Screenplay at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; L’enfer (05) and Triage (09), both of which premiered at the Festival; and An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (13), which screened at the Festival and won the Silver Bear at Berlin. Tigers (14) is his latest film.

Viewing Room & WiP 2014

NFDC Film Bazaar 2014 is calling for entries for the Work-in-Progress (WIP) Lab and the Viewing Room.

- For the first time at NFDC Film Bazaar, there will be two WIP Labs: WIP Fiction and first WIP Documentary. In each WIP Lab, four projects in their rough-cut stage will be selected to be presented to a panel of international film experts for their feedback. The newly introduced WIP Documentary will only consider creative feature length documentaries in the rough cut stage which are aimed at a theatrical release.

Submission deadline : September 30th 2014.

Film Bazaar Dates/Venue : November 20-24, 2014 at the Goa Marriott Resort alongside the International Film Festival of India 2014.

- Feature-length films of any genre in the rough-cut stage are invited to apply to the WIP lab.

The Viewing Room : will present films seeking finishing funds, world sales, distribution partners and film festivals to investors, world sales agents and film festival programmers attending the film bazaar. Here, films are viewed on individual computer terminals in private booths via a specially designed software which allows the users to contact the director or producer of the film via email. Films of all genres and lengths in rough or final cut are invited to apply to the Viewing Room.

- Feature length films in the rough cut are eligible to apply to both WIP lab and Viewing Room

- Please visit http://www.filmbazaarindia.com for Application Forms and more details.

- For further queries, write to: films@filmbazaarindia.com.

- The films that were a part of the previous Work-in-Progress Labs at Film Bazaar have had their world premieres at leading international films festivals and some have even gone on to enjoy a successful theatrical run. These include Kanu Behl’s Titli (Premiered in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at Cannes Film Festival 2014), Avinash Arun’s Killa (Premiered at Berlin Film Festival 2014 where it won the Crystal Bear), Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely (Premiered in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section at Cannes Film Festival 2012 and National Award winner), Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus (Premiered at the Toronto Film Festival 2012), Sange Dorjee Thangdok’s Crossing Bridges (National Award winner), Gyan Correa’s The Good Road (National Award winner and India’s selection for the Oscars) and Ajay Bahl’s BA Pass (Premiered at and won Best Film at the 12th Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival and also had a successful theatrical release in India).

Crossing Bridges (PVR 3)

Sange Dorjee Thongdok’s Crossing Bridges is all set to release in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore on 29 August, via PVR Director’s Rare. It’s the first feature film ever to be made in Shertupken, a dialect and tribal community from Arunachal Pradesh. It previously showed at the Mumbai Film Festival and Dharamsala Film Festival where it was warmly received. Here’s the synopsis and trailer of the film:

Tashi, a man in his early thirties is forced to come back to his village in the remote northeast region of India after eight years when he loses his job in the city. As he stays in the village waiting for a new job in the city to go back to, he experiences the life and culture of his native place and his people, which he never paid attention to before. As he rediscovers love, friendship and his roots, when Tashi gets the news that he has found himself a new job in the city, he must decide whether to go away or stay back home for good.

 

You can read more about Crossing Bridges in these interviews with director Sange Dorjee Thongdok (here and here) and DOP Pooja Gupte.

 

 

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The 2014 edition of Toronto International Film Festival has added 2 more Indian films in its schedule.

Margarita, with a Straw directed by Shonali Bose will have its world premiere Contemporary World Cinema section.

From fest site – In this inspirational love story, a Delhi university student and aspiring writer afflicted with cerebral palsy (Kalki Koechlin, Dev.D, That Girl in Yellow Boots) leaves India for New York University, where she falls for a fiery young activist.The programme presents the latest works of some of the most provocative and important voices in cinema from around the globe. Bose’s debut film Amu had also been screened at Toronto in 2005.

Cast, Credit and other details

Country: India
Year: 2014
Language: Hindi/English
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Runtime: 100 minutes
Rating: 14A
Producer: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
Production Company: Ishan Talkies, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, Jakhotia Group
Principal Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta, William Moseley, Hussain Dalal
Screenplay: Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar
Cinematographer: Anne Misawa
Editor: Monisha Baldawa
Sound: Resul Pookutty, Amrit Pritam
Music: Mikey McCleary, Prasoon Joshi
Production Designer: Somenath Pakre, Prasun Chakraborty

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The second film is Megha Ramaswamy’s Newborns. It’s part of the inaugural Short Cuts International programme.

From fest site – A hauntingly beautiful documentary that follows female survivors of acid attacks, who bravely defy the trauma and fear that will always accompany them.

Cast, Crew and Other Details

Country: India
Year: 2014
Language: Hindi
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Runtime: 8 minutes
Rating: STC

Producer: Anand Gandhi, Sohum Shah, Ruchi Bhimani
Production Company: Recyclewala Labs
Principal Cast: Laxmi, Nasreen, Sapna, Daya Kishan, Usha, Rupesh Tillu, Heena Agrawal
Screenplay: Megha Ramaswamy
Cinematographer: Satya Rai Nagpaul
Editor: Anand Gandhi, Rohit Pandey
Sound: Ajit Rathore, Aditya Jadav
Production Designer: Megha Ramaswamy

Trailer

The Festival will run from September 4 to 14, 2014.

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“The crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die” Søren Kierkegaard

I begin with Kierkegaard because Rajeev Ravi begins with Camus. “Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence”, his title slate declares. But before that we get a hint about the road the film might take from the title, ‘Njan Steve Lopez.’ I am Steve Lopez.

Steve Lopez is your regular, middle-class, Malayali college-going youngster of Trivandrum, used to singing songs of innocence. Angst and truth do not bother him, he not escaping nor seeking either. His angst limits itself to communicating his love for his childhood crush Anjali (Ahaana Krishna) and displaying mild abrasiveness to his aged grandfather. Anjali returns his affections and the grandfather isn’t a much of a threat yet Steve finds life boring, a mark of a mind seeking something more, finding it in temporary erotic pleasure by peeping at neighbourhood women from his bathroom window and then, well, moving on. As Camus said in The Plague, “The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.” Back to boredeom.

Minutes into the film we realise Steve is an onlooker, a spectator of life as it passes by. He doesn’t seem too keen on engaging with it but he does seem to be nursing a placid wish to understand it, even if it is from the fringes. Farhaan Faasil’s big clear eyes and soft looks reflect a certain innocence as did Fahaad Faasil in Rajeev’s debut, ‘Annayum Rasoolum’, help him incredibly in this task. Son of a DYSP who is also a protective father, Steve, by the looks of it seems to fall in that category of dreamy youth who, wasting away, remain lost in their own self-doubts. Hanging onto the fringes of life they keep drifting, out of touch within and without.

But Steve springs to life one day, when a random accident involving a daylight murder leaves a man bleeding to death in front of him. He rushes the man to the hospital only to be admonished by his father later. Clearly, there is a gangwar on and he doesn’t wish his son to be involved in it. Steve doesn’t see the logic but takes his father’s reprimands silently. As though he is trying to understand this part of life as well.

However, Steve decides to punctuate his silences with uncomfortable questions revolving around the culprit Hari. Questions his father and his subordinate do not wish to entertain. Questions that won’t let Steve be in peace. Gnawed by the need to know, he sets out on his own search for tenuous truth. He could just as well have been Sisyphus. Intuitively then, Ravi weaves the web of humanism across all the characters of the film, binding Steve and Hari together with one simple device, both their lady-loves are called Anjali. Hari is nothing like Steve but to Steve, Hari and he don’t seem much different. With this leit motif of the name, it’s almost like Ravi is nudging us to look closer at our own selves, and around; at others whose essence we share…

Njan Steve Lopez must probably be the simplest and least dramatic tale of existential angst ever told. Of course, it is sentimental using music, slow-motion, poetry at is evocative best. But in the sum of it, it is the internal world of Steve that it urges us to explore, a world that isn’t dramatised by form or style, simply reflected in his persona. A world built for us through a linear narrative, one that is as simple and straightforward as the milieu it belongs to, a mileu Ravi knows as well as he does his protagonist. Steve is quite a template character for the theme – sober, moody, innocent, aloof, reserved and prone to pathos. Yet, Rajeev Ravi paints him intuitively, almost seeming to know the next flick of his hair or twitch of an eye before it will happen. And because Ravi seems to know him so well Farhaan portrays him with more sincerity than sheer talent. And this sincerity is spread across the canvas, across the various actors fresh and experienced. Performances are given to a certain amateurishness and direction seems to be a little raw, something that one did not see a glimpse of in Ravi’s refreshing debut, ‘Annayum Rasoolum’, a Mani Rathnam-ish love story of common people busy loving each other the very common way, who find themselves caught in the web of ganglords and crime. However, Njan Steve Lopez is a more personal story, individuated by the search of this young man for truth and his inevitable coming-of-age. It’s a loaded theme, told subtly, even ponderously, something like Udaan what did, and that precisely draws us in, the deceptive simplicity. There is less deftness of skill but more depth of thought, there is less brilliance of craft but more heart and that is heartening for those whom linearity doesn’t appear as simple-minded. Unfortunately, the sensitivity of Steve’s search and the gentle, even motherly manner with which the film looks at him isn’t nurtured into a fully-formed film to give us something we may call satisfying cinema because of a certain hesitation in direction and performances that tags along throughout. There are times when the sincerity and good intentions alone aren’t enough.

Yet, the film appeals due to its personal nature and maybe that is due to the authenticity of the milieu Ravi creates. The middle class Malayalis of Trivandrum that the film is populated with, with their earthy ambitions and homely habits, cloistered morals and systemic conformation. People who have the ringtone of their phone set to the song in which their beloved’s name appears. People who admonish but take care of each other. People who seem very very real. (However, some of my Malayali friends from the region have bemoaned the fact of unripe accents of the actors mar the authenticity of the film.) Going by his two films, Rajeev Ravi, the film-maker, seems to be drawn to small, individual stories that is punctuated by an ethos and operate in a specific socio-politico-economic environment. Like in ‘Annayum Rasoolum’, he is happy speaking of and to a niche audience one that he knows very well. And maybe, because of this very choice Steve’s dilemmas are more palpable to us than they would have been in a universalised, sterile, lowest common denominator type of palette we are used to. Small town stories, regional stories, stories of India’s very common people, if we won’t tell them who will?

How one acts is, from the ethical perspective, more important than any matter of fact, truth is to be found in subjectivity rather than objectivity.” Kierkegaard’s subjective truth becomes Steve’s and in a metafictive universe seems like it is Rajeev’s own aim too.

- Fatema Kagalwala

(To read more posts by Fatema, her blog is here)

The film has got a multi-city release with English subtitles.

SHOWTIMES

HumaraMovie’s short-film anthology Shuruaat Ka Interval is now playing in select cinemas in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Ahmedabad (see showtimes above). What’s more- there is also an Audience Choice Award for the favorite film of the viewers.

The winner of the Shuruaat Ka Interval festival 2014 will be chosen directly by the audience. After watching the films, you can either vote in the cinemas (you will be handed ballots for the same) or vote right here. The winner will be given a cash prize of 1 Lakh and this will be announced after the films complete their run at the cinemas. So do watch and vote for your favorites below:

 

 

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Well known cinematographer Rajeev Ravi has been quietly directing Malyalam films. After Annayum Rasoolam, he is ready with another film – Njan Steve Lopez (I am Steve Lopez). And the good news is the film is releasing on 15th August in various cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mysore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and many more) with English subtitles.

Rajeev won the National award for the cinematography of Liar’s Dice which is directed by his wife Geetu Mohandas. He is known for his work in films like Dev D, Gangs Of Wasseypur 1 & 2 and has also shot the upcoming Bombay Velvet.

Njan Steve Lopez is a Collective Phase One presentation with a Jar Pictures production in association with M.R. Filmworks and Media Mill. E4 Entertainment, the national distributor of the film has Fox on board as the sub- distributor for certain regions outside Kerala.

Trailer 

Synopsis

The film is set in capital city of the south Indian state of Kerala. Steve Lopez, a typical teenager is the son of an influential police officer. He leads an unruffled life, dominated by a relationship with Anjali, daughter of another police officer.

Steve happens to witness a fight between two rival gangs. He is involved in taking a fatally injured man to the hospital. This events leads him gradually into the lives of the gangsters who have nothing extraordinary in their lives except their acts of crime. Hari, the gang leader is captured by his father with his help, but he disappears from the police custody with no news. Steve is obsessed with the fate of Hari. In his quest to find what happened to Hari, he gradually comes to realise that the gangsters and the police including his father, are two faces of the same coin. There is an intricate web of interrelationships, bargains, trust and breach of trust between them. Steve’s quick glimpse of this network is enough to unsettle him. His fate too is sealed once he touches this web.