| Van Damme: In action
Desi date for Damme
Born Jean-Claude Camille Fran'ois Van Varenberg, the 'muscles from Brussels' has been scorching movie screens for years. Competing with Arnie 'Mr Universe' Schwarzennegger was not an easy task, but while the Austrian became governor of California, Jean Claude Van Damme might be headed the Bollywood way.
A Bulgaria-based Indian businessman, Asad Sikander, is planning a project called Namaste India, starring a 'big Hollywood actor'. Rumour has it that it just might be the Belgian-born action star. Sikander, himself a black belt and a stunt coordinator in Hollywood, has worked with Van Damme before, amongst others.
Having finished the espionage thriller Bullet On Target with an Indian-Bulgarian cast, Sikander says Namaste India is about an ancient martial arts form that originates in Kerala and travels all the way to Europe.
While we wait for news from that end, you can catch the five-time married karate champion and ballet dancer in the 1989 sci-fi film Cyborg, in which Gibson Rickenbacker (Van Damme) is the hero in an Earth devastated by a plague. Catch him on STAR Movies, searching for the cure, packing plenty of punches against the bad guys.
|Born Into Brothels...: Calcutta content
Calcutta may feature in the Oscar ceremony this year with Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids, an upbeat documentary about children of prostitutes of this city. The film, which is full of hope and showcases the childrens' efforts to try and start new lives, is a contender for the Academy Award nominations.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences narrowed down the contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar last Wednesday to 12 films. The final five will be announced along with the nominees in 24 other categories on January 25, and the 77th Annual Academy Awards will be given out on February 27.
Winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Born Into Brothels... has been shown at over 20 other film festivals winning prizes at most of them. It won the Best Documentary Award at the 2004 Seattle International Film Festival, Turner Broadcasting Audience Award, Atlanta Film Festival Best Documentary and Audience Awards, Amnesty International Film Festival and Audience Award, Sydney International Film Festival Audience Award.
When contacted over email, Kauffman replied to Metro saying: 'Unfortunately, we are not showing the film in India in order to protect the kids and the women's identities. As you can imagine, their safety is our first priority. The kids are in school now and doing well, and we would prefer as little exposure in India as possible.'
Marriages are not made in heaven any longer, they're settled on the sets of TV shows. Prajapati Park, ETV's new offering, scheduled to go on air soon, helps participants from both sexes decide on a partner for life, on camera.
It's almost like a dating game but with more serious and lasting consequences. Participants need to be registered with matchmaking portal Bharat Matrimonials and make their details available for view on the site.
The next step is an interaction on the sets between the selector and possible candidates. The twist in the tale is that the one making the selection and the group of candidates are not able to see each other. Questions, comments and suggestions later, it's up to the man/woman in the hot seat to make the choice.
Conceived by Rangan Chakraborty, the show has Sujan Mukherjee filling in the anchor's shoes accompanied by Bidipta and Bidisha Chakraborty. Comedy bits and music from live bands help add to the fun.
|Konkona: Festival fave
Tea and cigarette
What's in a scene showing Konkona Sen Sharma smoking a cigarette' Nothing really. But that had the Chennai censor board going up in smoke over Manu Rewal's light-hearted Chai Pani Etc', only a few months ago. Now, the 92-minute film has been slotted for a premiere at the International Film Festival in Goa on December 4.
'The smoking scene is intact. We got the film passed by the Delhi censor board,' Rewal told Metro. Featuring Konkona in a double role, Chai Pani Etc' is the tale of a young, idealistic, US-returned documentary film-maker Satya (played by stage actor Zafar Karachiwalla) who runs into censor trouble and struggles with the corruption in bureaucracy.
Konkona plays Satya's girlfriend to whom he was committed and also his new-found interest who works in an NGO. What distinguishes the two are hair, make-up, body language, walking style and the way she talks. 'I wanted to subvert the conventional bad girl-good girl image by bringing them into conflict,' explained Rewal.
Set in Jaisalmer and Delhi, the film was shot in 22 days.