Eye on England
There are all kinds of film festivals. But it's nice to know that there is an International Elephant Film Festival, too. Canada-based journalist Sangita Iyer's film God in Shackles was nominated by this fest - in the United Nations General Assembly - and has won seven international awards so far. Iyer, who grew up in Kerala, spent three years chronicling the lives of five elephants who took part in various temple festivals. The film, which looks at the sufferings of Kerala's captive elephants, is now touring India. Did we hear a trumpet blare?
The Bollywood bug of actors investing in sporting teams has migrated to Kannada cinema. Last week, Sandalwood's poster boy Puneeth Rajkumar became the proud owner of the Bangalore 5s franchise of Premier Futsal - a five-a-side variant of football - currently underway in the IT city. Rajkumar is certain that futsal is the sport of the future in India. "Bangalore consumes new sports with curiosity. A fast-paced sport such as futsal is certain to catch the imagination," he says. Some people, clearly, are going to have a ball.
If you think Rishi Kapoor only tweets, you've got it wrong - he acts, and how! Not surprisingly, the man of many parts is being honoured at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) this year with the Excellence in Cinema award. The award had earlier been bestowed on actors such as Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor. "Rishi has been an iconic face of Bollywood," IFFM director Mitu Bhowmick Lange says. "His films have been incredibly popular and successful. Even today he continues to entertain his audience." Kapoor is the chief guest at the festival, to be held next month. Expect some provocative tweets from Down Under.
We know that Disha Patani is going to figure in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, an upcoming film about the cricket captain. But what's not known is the role she is going to play. For a while, the media thought she was going to be Dhoni's pretty wife in the film. But the grapevine has it that Patani will don the role of Dhoni's ex-girl friend, Priyanka Jha. The two were very close when they were both very young. After securing his place in the Indian team, Dhoni went on to play in the Zimbabwe-Kenya-South Africa tour of 2003-2004. But in his absence, Priyanka met with an accident and died. Dhoni was in mourning for a year and many thought that he wouldn't recover from the shock. But he did. After all, who knows more about the ups and downs of life than a sportsman?
She feels she is half south Indian, half Bengali - and there is good reason for her to think so. Bengali beauty Kamalinee Mukherjee has acted in some 30 South films in the past 12 years. "My work has brought me more work," says this English (honours) graduate from Loreto College, Calcutta. "I go wherever a good story takes me. I don't actively go out and seek work," she says. That explains why there are no Bollywood films on her plate, though she debuted in 2004 as Shilpa Shetty's sister in Phir Milenge. But Mukherjee doesn't miss Bollywood - her next film in the South is with none other than the superstar, Mohanlal. "It is an exciting time to be in Indian cinema because of the real and fearless portrayal of women in films," says Mukherjee, whose Tamil film Iraivi with strong women characters is playing in cinemas currently. Bollywood's loss, indeed, is southern India's gain.