New Delhi, Apr 5 (AP/UNB) — The planned release of a Bollywood biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi days before the start of Indian elections has run into trouble with a court challenge pending and the censor board yet to clear its opening in theaters.
Opposition parties are protesting that the film's release would unfairly advantage Modi's Hindu nationalist party as it seeks reelection.
The Supreme Court set a Monday hearing date for a Congress party petition demanding the movie's release be deferred until voting concludes in mid-May.
The Hindi movie couldn't be screened as planned on Friday because the censor board hasn't certified it for release.
"This is to confirm, our film 'PM Narendra Modi' is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon," film producer Sandip Ssingh tweeted late Thursday.
Vivek Oberoi, who plays the title role, said the Congress party was trying to block the movie's release because it was scared of Modi's popularity.
Oberoi, 42, said in an interview with the New Delhi Television news channel that the screening of the movie would not violate the code of conduct for national elections.
India's autonomous Election Commission is expected to rule next week on separate complaints filed by two opposition parties protesting the launch of a NaMo (Narendra Modi) television channel named after the prime minister.
The Congress party and the Aam Admi Party said the channel was started by the BJP and it violated the code of conduct that barred political parties from starting such channels after the announcement of the election schedule.
The channel started broadcasting Modi's election campaign and a compilation of speeches highlighting his government's achievements three weeks after the voting schedule was announced by the commission on March 10.
The voting for India's elections will be staggered over seven days, beginning April 11 and concluding May 19. Counting will begin May 23.
Paris, Mar 29 (AP/UNB) — Filmmaker Agnes Varda, a trailblazer of the French New Wave and feminist activist who later won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, has died. She was 90.
Her production company Cine Tamaris confirmed her death on Friday after French media first reported the news.
Varda's rich filmography includes movies such as "Cleo de 5 a 7," ''Sans toit ni loi" ("Vagabond") — for which she won the Golden Lion in 1985, "Jacquot de Nantes" and "Les glaneurs et la glaneuse" ("The Gleaners and I").
Nicknamed the Grandmother of the New Wave, Varda was a fixture for years at the Cannes Film Festival, where she presented more than a dozen films from 1958 to 2018. She took part in two Cannes juries, and the festival gave her an honorary Palme d'Or in 2015 for her life's work.
Varda, was the first woman to receive such an honor, and regularly sought more recognition for women in the industry.
At last year's Cannes festival, she joined jury president Cate Blanchett for a bilingual speech against sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
"Women are not a minority in the world, and yet our industry says the opposite. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let's climb," she said.
The Cannes Festival tweeted that Varda's death was a cause for "immense sadness."
"For almost 65 years, Agnes Varda's eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness. The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnes loved images, words and people. She's one of those whose youth will never fade," the tweet continued.
With her distinctive half-red, half-gray hairstyle, Varda was instantly recognizable on the European film circuit, where she was often one of the few female directors in the crowd.
Varda was honored last month at the Berlin Film Festival with the Berlinale Camera award for lifetime achievement. The festival had its highest number of women directors yet, some of whom named Varda as an inspiration.
Varda's 2017 documentary with street artist JR, "Faces Places," was nominated for an Oscar — making Varda, then 89, the oldest person ever nominated — and won best documentary at the Independent Film Spirit Awards.
"There is nothing to be proud of, but happy," Varda said after the Oscar nomination. "I love my own work and I've done it for so many years, so I didn't do it for honor or money. My films never made money."
When she couldn't attend the Oscar nominees' luncheon, JR brought a life-sized cardboard cutout of her onto the red carpet with him.
Born in Brussels on May 30, 1928, Varda started as a photographer after studying literature and arts. In 1951, she was appointed official photographer of the Theatre National Populaire, and remained in that position for the next decade.
In 1954, well before Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut became the emblematic figures of the New Wave, Varda's first movie, "La Pointe Courte," followed a couple going through a crisis in the small port of Sete on the Mediterranean coast.
She made several documentary shorts, but inadequate funds prevented Varda from making her next feature, "Cleo From 5 to 7," until 1961. She came to prominence with that film, a real-time movie about a young woman who may have cancer.
Backed by French businessman Georges de Beauregard, who had supported Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," the film studied Cleo's evolvement from a shallow pop star to an authentic human being capable of understanding pain in herself and others.
"Cleo" was again praised by critics and was a commercial success as well, building anticipation for "Happiness," which won the Silver Bear award at the 1965 Berlin Festival.
Varda continued to explore the themes of illness and life as a couple later in her career. Her biggest success came in 1985 with "Vagabond," starring Sandrine Bonnaire, who plays the tragic role of young marginal wandering to her death.
Varda was married to French director Jacques Demy, who died in 1990. She is survived by her two children, Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda, themselves both involved in French filmmaking.
Jahangirnagar University, Mar 28 (UNB) - The drama “Srabon Tragedy” was held on the last day Wednesday night of three-day-long “Mukti Sangram Uthshab” on the Jahangirnagar University campus.
The Teachers and Students Centre of JU organised the festivals marking the National Day and Independence Day.
The drama was staged at Selim Al Deen Muktaamancho by the third year students of Drama and dramatics department of the university. The play was written by Drama and Dramatics department teacher Anan Jaman and directed by another faculty of the same department Mohibur Rouf Shaibal.
The drama is about the history and background of the killing of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, where the director tried to show the plot behind the killing and the stand of the then military backed administration.
New York, Mar 24 (AP/UNB) - OK, so it's basically "Big" with superheroes and villains instead of businesspeople and girlfriends, but director David F. Sandberg has infused his film with so much heart and charm that it hardly matters. Even the deficiencies, like the sluggish beginning and the random, ridiculous villains, fade away under a haze of goodwill because unlike so many big spectacle action pics with sequels in mind, "Shazam!" actually sticks the landing.
But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. Don't worry if you don't happen to know anything about "Shazam!" or are convinced that you won't care. I certainly didn't. Plus, there are a lot of superheroes to keep track of these days and someone who needs an exclamation point is and should be immediately suspect.
The movie isn't here to judge any lack of knowledge though. It's an origin story about a jaded 14-year-old Philadelphia foster kid, Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who's bestowed with superpowers by Djimon Hounsou (naturally). As Shazam, he's physically altered into an adult and takes the form of Zachary Levi. But of course, even with his height, his muscles, his voice and even his powers, he's still very much a kid and has a lot to learn.
Those are the basics, but the spirit really comes from the smart writing, the pitch-perfect casting and the supporting world around Billy and Shazam. Right before he gets his powers, he's placed in a new group foster home led by Rosa (Marta Milans) and Victor Vasquez (Cooper Andrews) that's full of quirky characters: Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), a disabled superhero obsessive with a biting wit; Eugene (Ian Chen), a violent video game obsessive; Darla (Faithe Herman), the adorable youngest; Mary (Grace Fulton) and Pedro (Jovan Armand). The young actors assembled here are astounding, and immediately captivating, especially Grazer as Freddy and Herman as Darla who nearly steal the show. It's why when the film asks you to believe that it's really about family, and not merchandising, you're on board.
Freddy, with his wealth of superhero knowledge, helps Billy/Shazam figure out what to do with these new, strange talents. The training montages have a terrific comedic sensibility and Grazer and Levi are perfectly matched for the job. Levi in particular pulls off the tricky feat of playing a disaffected, but still fairly innocent young teenager while wearing spandex and a cape, no less. Grazer, meanwhile, who we've seen before in "It," is beyond his years with his ability to draw a laugh.
That's not to say the movie is perfect. The beginning gives an extended origin story for both Billy and the little boy who will grow up to become the megalomaniac villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). Dr. Sivana is woefully underwritten, too, although Strong does his best being the straight, serious guy. For the most part it comes across as less of a threat and more of a buzzkill that gets in the way all the fun we were having with Freddy and Shazam.
Also, as if Dr. Sivana wasn't enough, the script gives him Seven Deadly Sins as henchmen. These sins take the form of unimaginative and indistinguishable CG gargoyles. I'm not exactly sure what lust or greed would look like in gargoyle form, but I'm pretty certain this isn't it. They're also given dubbed voices that feel about as authentic as the voices of the monsters The Power Rangers battled on Saturday mornings.
There's also a running gag about a strip club that seemed a little retrograde for a current film. But, nitpicks aside, "Shazam!" is just a lightning bolt of unexpected joy that is certainly worth your time and money.
"Shazam!," a Warner Bros. release, is rated by the Motion Picture Association of America for "for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material." Running time: 132 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four.
Dhaka, Mar 18 (UNB) - Veteran Bengali actor Chinmoy Roy breathed his last on Sunday at his Kolkata residence at the age of 78.
The celebrated actor used to leave a life far away from media limelight after the death of his wife, actor Jui Bandopadhyay, reports The Times of India.
Last year in June, he had a near death experience after falling down from his apartment. He was also suffering from age related illness over the last few years.
Sankha Roy, son of Chinmoy, said the actor was not feeling well after the dinner on Sunday and suffered a cardiac arrest at around 10 pm.
The celluloid Tenida, as h was known fondly among his fans, fell down from his 4th floor apartment last year. The neighbours found him lying in a pool of blood by and he was rushed to a city private hospital.
According to his son Sankha Roy, his father was just taking an evening walk on the terrace when he suddenly slipped and fell off. Although he recovered that time after spending quite some time at a private city hospital, his physical condition was not so good since then.
In an illustrious career, the ‘Charmurti’ actor has worked under so many renowned filmmakers such as Tapan Sinha, Satyajit Ray, Tarun Majumdar and many others.