At the London Times, Anil Sinanan talks to Ali Larter about interesting oddity "Marigold" (it opens here on August 17), which Sinanan calls "the first significant Hollywood film to appropriate Bollywoodâ€™s unique style of film-making." Larter plays a C-list American actress who ends up becoming a dancer in a Bollywood musical and falling in love with the choreographer, major star Salman Khan. The director, Willard Carroll, is American and hope the film "acts as a window into the Bollywood world." Such valiant efforts haven’t taken in the past â€” does anyone remember "The Guru"?
Rather than bring Bollywood to America, America traveling to Bollywood seems to be the hip thing all the industry kids are doing: Anand Giridharadas at the New York Times reports on "Saawariya," your standard all-singing, all-dancing Hindi melodrama (it coincidentally also stars Salman Khan) that’s being produced by Sony Pictures, who are hoping to break in to an Indian market that’s otherwise remained staunchly uninterested in American imports. Giridharadas writes that "Hollywood has gone native elsewhere, in France, Germany, Hong Kong and beyond â€” but never against a domestic industry with so vast and impassioned a following." An awesome 95% of Indian box office sales are for Indian films â€” take that, globalism. Funding international productions for international markets isn’t a novel idea, though â€” Min Lee at the AP notes that the Weinsteins are investing $285 million in Asian-themed projects.
Sarfraz Manzoor at the Guardian looks at slasher "Hell’s Ground," "the first modern horror film to be filmed in Pakistan," and suggests that there’s actually a long tradition of South Asian horror. At the Christian Science Monitor, Shahan Mufti goes Lahore to see "In the Name of God," reportedly the great hope of a Pakistani cinema wilting in the face of religious militancy â€” the film’s been denounced as "blasphemous and anti-Islamic." Writes Mufti: "The story of two musician brothers â€“ one studies music in Chicago and
the other becomes a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan following the
American invasion â€“ is a fantastical tale that warns its audience of the threat of Islamic radicalism to Pakistanis."
Also at the Guardian, Biyi Bandele reports on Nigeria’s huge (the world’s third-biggest, behind Hollywood and Bollywood), VHS-driven film industry, looking into the 1992 film "Living in Bondage," "the first Nollywood ‘blockbuster,’" and Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, a Nollywood superstar.
On other international fronts, Mark Schilling at the Japan Times reviews "Kaidan," the new, period horror film from "Ring" director Hideo Nakata, who’s returned to Japan after the relative disappointment of his Hollywood version of "The Ring 2." Schilling declares the film "what would be hailed as a classic, if it had been made in 1957," which isn’t meant as a slight.
+ When Holly met Bolly (London Times)
+ Hollywood Starts Making Bollywood Films in India (NY Times)
+ Weinsteins launch Asian film fund (AP)
+ Zombie nation (Guardian)
+ The new movie that’s all the rage in Pakistan (Christian Science Monitor)
+ Welcome to Nollywood (Guardian)
+ A summer ghost story to chill you (Japan Times)