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    Czech this one out!
    After a long delay and many red herrings, Ashish R Shukla’s psychological thriller, Prague, finally releases today (September 27). Starring Chandan Roy Sanyal (Kaminey, D-Day), Elena Kazan (John Day) and Arfi Lamba, Prague deals with the story of an Indian in Prague on an architectural project. While there, he meets a gypsy girl who is trying to find herself. He is so inspired by her that he decides to design a monument to the numerous unaccounted for gypsies who died during the Second World War. However his insecurities come in the way of his relationship and work. Obviously, the film is set in and shot in the Czech city of Prague, which is, by all accounts, hugely cinematic and should lend to the eerie mood of the film.

    The good, bad and the ugly
    Ever since the Film Federation of India announced Gujarati National Award winning film The Good Road as India’s official entry to the Oscars for best foreign language film, the Hindi film industry has been divided. On one side are the lobbyists for The Lunchbox, including UTV, Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap who are feeling bruised and demoralised at the seeming slight by the FFI. On the other side is the moderate voice that says give The Good Road a chance, and watch it before writing it off. Those who have seen ad filmmaker-turned-feature film director Gyan Correa’s film only have positive things to say about it. Having had a limited release in July, the “modern Gujarati film”, as it describes itself, is said to be a docu-drama addressing serious issues. Set in and around Kutch in Gujarat, The Good Road follows three people travelling on a highway. It shows how 24 hours change their lives. Sonali Kulkarni, Ajay Gehi and Keval Katrodia star. Let’s hope the film gets a wider release now and cynics are silenced once they have seen this film so the industry can be united in supporting India’s entry.

    Countdown  to 24
    Last week, I visited the sets of Anil Kapoor’s foray into television drama. He plays the desi avatar of Jack Bauer, famous as the agent who almost singlehandedly saves America from crisis after crisis in the hit American series, 24. Kapoor plays the Indian version of Bauer, called Jai Singh Rathod, an agent with the Anti-Terrorism Unit. The show is played out over 24 episodes; each episode is one hour of the day and it tracks events as they unfold over a 24-hour period. It was certainly a kick to see director Abhinay Deo directing Anil Kapoor, Tisca Chopra, who plays his wife and others. The show, which premieres on Colors on October 4, marks the first time ever that 24 has been licensed outside of America. Thanks to Kapoor, I am now hooked onto the original American series but maybe only till October 4.

    Warning signs
    Also releasing today is a 3D thriller set in the high seas. Supposedly based on a true story, Warning is about a group of friends caught in a frightening situation in the middle of the ocean. Made up of mostly newcomers, the friends are played by Santosh Barmola, Madhurima Tuli, Varun Sharma, Manjari Fadnis, Jitin Gulati, Sumit Suri and Suzana Rodrigues. The friends reunite five years after leaving college and take off to Fiji where they continue their celebrations on a friend’s yacht. They ignore warnings about going out into shark-infested waters and suddenly find themselves stranded in the middle of the ocean. Touted as India’s first 3D underwater film, and helmed by newcomer Gurmeett Singh, Warning’s trailer is promising, even though you cannot help but remember every Hollywood disaster movie ever seen, starting with  Jaws.

    Actor returns
    S J Surya has been directing, acting and composing music for his new film Isai. A musical thriller centered on two musicians and their rivalry, S J plays one of them. But there is not much news coming from that front these days. Something, to look forward to, however, is Pizza 2 -The Villa which is all set for release. S J  is essaying a crucial character in it. And hopefully, his acting career which had taken a back seat, would a get a new lease of life.

    Inspired brilliance
    There are some films you appreciate for their unconventional plot, scripting and narrative style. And you give a thumbs up to the director who had pulled it off. Like the recent release, Moodar Koodam, a quirky dark comedy. So when you come to know that the film was a rehash of Korean venture Attack The Gas Station, you feel disappointed and let down. The Korean film has a sequel too. Wonder if we’ll get to see a Moodar Koodam 2 !?

    Publicity shy
    Dinesh is on a high. His second film after Attakathi is almost complete. Titled Cuckoo, it’s a Fox Star venture directed by columnist Raju Murugan. Why the low profile and the long break, you ask Dinesh. His answer takes you by surprise, “The sudden public glare was too much for me to handle.” The actor has two more films coming up. One is with a debutant team. The other is for director Vetrimaran’s production, to be directed by his associate Rajkumar.  Dinesh’s career seems to be on the right track.

     

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