New Delhi, Dec 12 (AP/UNB) — In a season of big Indian weddings, the marriage of two business scions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest of them all.
Isha Ambani is the Ivy League-educated daughter of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and majority stakeholder in oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, whose net worth Forbes estimates at over $43 billion.
Her groom, Anand Piramal, is the son of Indian industrialist Ajay Piramal, whose namesake conglomerate is estimated to be worth over $10 billion.
At one of the couple's pre-wedding events on Sunday, Beyonce performed for a star-studded gathering at a 16th-century palace in the Indian city of Udaipur. Guests included Hillary Clinton and a host of Bollywood A-listers.
The competitiveness of India's wintertime wedding season is growing more extreme, exacerbating the pressure on regular Indians to go into debt to finance elaborate weddings, according to Archana Dalmia, a social activist in New Delhi.
"A farmer might commit suicide because he can't save enough money to get his daughter married," she said.
The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film.
So-called dowry deaths — brides killed when their families fail to meet in-laws' dowry demands — constitute a substantial share of all female homicides in India, a 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report found.
While opulence has always been a feature of Indian weddings, families used to hand down bridal saris as heirlooms. No more, Dalmia said.
"This generation is very different. Priyanka Chopra will never be able to wear it again and she won't be able to pass it down," Dalmia said.
New York, Dec 10 (AP/UNB) — The Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday named Alfonso Cuaron's deeply personal drama "Roma" best film of the year, adding to the acclaimed film's steadily mounting honors.
Cuaron's black-and-white film, a Netflix release, has been cleaning up many of the top prizes of awards season. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and likewise topped the New York Film Critics Circle. "Roma" is widely expected to land Netflix its first best-picture nomination at the Academy Awards.
The Los Angeles critics , which announced their awards on Twitter, also awarded best cinematography to Cuaron. But it notably deviated from the "Roma" drumbeat in the directing category. Instead, Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") was named best director for her off-the-grid father-daughter drama "Leave No Trace."
Critics groups can influence the larger Oscars race, which has thus far struggled to elevate a likely female filmmaker contender, a sore point for some considering the wealth of options (including Chloe Zhao for "The Rider" and Marielle Heller for "Can You Ever Forgive Me?") and the historic male dominance of the category. On Thursday, the Golden Globes named an all-male field of directing nominees for the fourth time in a row, a record that has drawn increasing criticism.
The LA critics named Olivia Colman ("The Favourite") best actress and Ethan Hawke ("First Reformed") best actor. Hawke was also the New York critics' choice and the winner at last month's Gotham Film Awards.
Best supporting actor went to Steven Yeun for Lee Chang-dong's existential thriller "Burning," which was also the group's runner-up for best film. Taking best supporting actress was Regina King for Barry Jenkins' James Baldwin adaptation "If Beale Street Could Talk."
The critics also named Sandi Tan's "Shirkers" best documentary, the upcoming comic-book adaptation "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" best animated film and Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty's script to "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" best screenplay. Other winners included Nicholas Britell for his score to "If Beale Street Could Talk," Hannah Beachler for the production design on "Black Panther" and Joshua Altman and Bing Liu for editing "Minding the Gap," the documentary about friends in a small Rust Belt town in Illinois.
The critics will hand out their awards in a ceremony on Jan. 12. They will also honor Japanese filmmaker and animator Hayao Miyazaki — co-founder of Studio Ghibli and the maker of animated classics like "Howls Moving Castle" and "My Neighbor Totoro" — with their career achievement award.
Sydney, Dec 6 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Chinese film, Dying to Survive, has taken out best Asian picture at the 8th annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards.
Dying to Survive is a black comedy based on the real-life story of a Chinese leukemia patient who smuggled cancer medicine from India for other Chinese cancer patients.
"I think the most important thing is to make a balance among entertainment, the sociality, and the humanity of a film," director of the film Wen Muye explained of the film's success while speaking to Xinhua on Wednesday night.
The film has certainly touched the hearts of Chinese audiences, enjoying broad box office success back home, and Australians are starting to pay attention as well, with many seeking to expand collaboration between the two countries' film industries.
Australia's "indigenous western" Sweet Country took out best picture overall on the night, as well as a slew of other awards for its gritty portrayal of life in the dessert, while best supporting actress winner Nicole Kidman urged audiences to keep seeing smaller films which can only survive in the age of blockbusters with sustained audience support.
Dhaka, Nov 30 (UNB)- He is back. This time around, Chitti is reloaded and primed to confront a force that is out to eliminate mobile phones and cellular transmission towers from Tamil Nadu. The battle between good and evil, between nature and technology, plays out over two and a half hours in a zone where all the dividing lines are blurred in a way that creates the possibility of multiple interpretations. But because the storytelling is, well, robotic, the frenetic action sequences rarely touch the heights that the flying mobiles achieve, reports NDTV. The film talks at length about the sad reality of the sparrows vanishing from our metropolises - a theme culled from newspapers and social media platforms - but the pressing nature of the debate is buried deep under a flashy, impressive demo of animatronics, special effects and prosthetics.
Eight years is a long time in the life of a movie star. But for Rajnikanth, any hiatus can only be a flash.2.0, director and co-screenwriter Shankar's follow-up to 2010's Enthiran (Robot in Hindi), has materialised after the Tamil cinema supernova has used the long break to appear in four films (Kochadaiiyaan, Lingaa, Kabali and Kaala). It has been in the works longer than it took Dr Vaseegaran to conjure up Chitti the thinking robot. The film and its star show clear signs of wear and tear. For Rajnikanth fans, however, this shouldn't be more than a minor irritant.
A mysterious power - its genesis is established in the film's opening sequence in which a man hangs himself from a cell tower - is out to eliminate mobile telephony from the face of the earth. Towers are uprooted and crushed. Handsets fly off the hands of their owners and turn into a destructive wave. A city is in the grip of complete mayhem. The army is called out but the soldiers draw a blank. The good scientist is roped in to stop the impending calamity. He advises bringing Chitti back from the dead. That, he says, is the only effective option in the fight against the new menace. His plan is resisted by elements in the administration but as matters begin to go out of control, Vaseegaran secures a free hand.
"Maut se zinda lautne ka mazaa kuch aur hi hai (nothing can match the joy of returning alive from death)," says Chitti in the film's Hindi version (dialogue writer: Abbas Tyrewala) just before he declares: "I am the one, the super one." Who dare question him? Definitely not fellow humanoid Nila (Amy Jackson), another of Vaseegaran's creations. On the face of it, the lead actor plunges into the universe of the two pivotal characters - the invincible robot and his brilliant creator - with all his might. But look deeper and there is a visible dip in his enthusiasm for and belief in the project. Fans sold on Rajnikanth's unrelenting starry sangfroid might therefore have reason to feel somewhat shortchanged.
With Akshay Kumar, in his first-ever southern foray, exuding both star power and emotive energy in the second half of the film in the guise of an ageing ornithologist livid at the fast depleting bird numbers and then as a vengeance seeker for the avian deaths, 2.0 would have been regarded as an improved, stronger version of its predecessor had the plot been a tad more convincing. Bunkum is bunkum no matter how big the bucks behind it are.
Of course, director Shankar possesses a penchant for couching the fantastical and the unreal in felt human dilemmas. He brings this attribute into full play in addressing the damage that cellular radiation causes to the environment. But the frustration of the activist fighting to save the birds but failing in his mission isn't brought out to the extent that would justify the murderous crusade that Pakshirajan (Akshay Kumar) launches against mobile phone sellers and users. The comic-strip superficiality of his war manifests itself in the manner in which he kills a wholesaler, a transmission tower owner and a telecom minister: one blown to smithereens, the other squeezed to pulp, and another literally poisoned with a diamond-studded mobile phone.
Amy Jackson as the super-efficient robot who is at the beck and all of her master is aptly mechanical but does just enough not to be swamped out of this sci-fi action film designed primarily for Rajnikanth's larger-than-life, crowd-pleasing screen persona.
The supporting actors in a Rajnikanth vehicle serve a limited purpose. It is no different in 2.0 although the cast of the film includes Adil Hussain in the role of the home minister, a man charged with formulating a response to the attack of the mobile phones. But his agency is quickly taken away from him as Vaseegaran, Chitti and Nila take over as a powerful adversary threatens to overrun the city.
So, is the most expensive Indian film ever mounted worth all the money that has been sunk into it? It looks and sounds great for the most part. It whizzes by thanks to the breathless action and the dazzling VFX. 2.0, however, would have been a far greater film had the screenplay dared to go beyond the known tricks of the genre. There is a hint of a romantic entanglement between Chitti and Nila, both of whom are capable of feeling and expressing love. But this track remains an insignificant subplot in a film in which even the baddie is an A-list Bollywood star and needs to be made a part of a respectable chunk of the action, especially when he makes his entry only after the intermission.
The right-versus-wrong tropes that 2.0 employs are trite, but the battle at the heart of the film - it pits a warped model of development against the need for ecological conservation in a no-holds-barred fantasy - has moments that are thought-provoking and entertaining at once. But even for Rajnikanth, pulling this erratic, messy epic out of the fire is no cakewalk. He comes pretty close. Watch 2.0 for its scale and ambition, if not for the superstar who can do no wrong.
Los Angeles, Nov 30 (AP/UNB) — Chris Evans suggested his run as Captain America is done. The filmmakers currently controlling the Avengers' fates say he shouldn't shelve the shield just yet.
Evans tweeted last month that he had wrapped his shooting on the fourth "Avengers" movie, calling it an "emotional" day and saying, "Playing this role over the last eight years has been an honor."
Joseph Russo, who along with brother Anthony wrote and directed this year's "Avengers: Infinity War" and next year's sequel, and directed Evans as Captain America in two previous films, told The Associated Press "I think it was more emotional for him than us. Only because he's not done yet. And I don't want explain what that means but the audience will soon understand what I'm talking about."
Russo spoke to the AP recently in an interview promoting Simone, his new restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.
As expected, he only teased details of the forthcoming film, saying audiences can expect the unexpected from the duo that left Marvel fans gasping earlier this year in a cliffhanger that saw several beloved Avengers disintegrate into oblivion.
"We killed half the Marvel universe so for us it really is about, in what ways can we surprise the audience and tell a very challenging story," Russo said.
He would confirm that at least at this point the movie, which is in post-production, is the longest Marvel film ever.
"We're about halfway through the editorial process and it's standing about three hours right now. It's a very complicated movie," noted Russo. "It has a lot of characters in it and you know we are putting in the work, so we'll see where it ends up, but it definitely has a lot of story in it."
After back-to-back years with Avengers movies in 2018 and 2019, Russo said there is likely to be a break before the next one, with Disney finalizing a deal to acquire parts of 20th Century Fox, whose properties include the Marvel Comics characters the X-Men and Deadpool.
Russo said he doesn't have direct knowledge of the plans of the masters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but my guess would be that there be a little bit of time to integrate some of the other characters and take their time doing that."
"Avengers 4" is scheduled for release May 3, 2019.