Director Ritesh Batra of The Lunchbox fame is back with a new film The Sense of an Ending. The film is based on Julian Barnes’s novel by the same name that won the Man Booker prize in 2011. The compact novel as the New York Times Book Review put it is ” a mystery of memory and missed opportunity.”
I sit down to talk with John Turner director of Korla, a documentary that takes you on a fascinating journey on Korla Pandit’s music and life. Pandit was a talented musician, who was the person to perform live on American TV. Pandit performed on KTLA in Los Angeles in 1949. He was eventually replaced by Liberace.
Pandit relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, where he lived until his death in 1998. Pandit appeared on KGO TV and continued to play in concerts and release records.
So, who was Pandit? Why did he love from New Delhi, India to the USA? What was his story? Tune in to find out.
Korla will air on PBS during the Black History Month.
Running Time: 78 minutes
Status: Released Feb 2017
This interview aired on TV in the USA. You can watch our weekly TV show in the US. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning film The Salesman (Forushande in Persian) centers around the notion of love, friendship, trust, revenge and forgiveness. If you have seen Farhadi’s previous films like About Elly or The Separation you know they leave you with more questions than answers. In The Salesman Farhadi skillfully peels layer after layer and leaves you with what is essential to any relationship – trust, love and forgiveness. The film also give us a view of modern day Iranian society and the toll that censorship takes on a society.
Central to the film is the relationship between Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidosti) a husband and wife, who are passionate about theatre. The couple along with their friends are in the process of staging a Persian version of Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman. The couple’s happy life is rudely interrupted one night when they discover their apartment building is collapsing. They leave their home and have no idea how and where they will find a new home to rent. As luck would have it their theatre colleague helps them find a new apartment. When they move into their new place the couple discover that one of the room contains the previous tenant’s possessions. For some inexplicable reason the previous tenant (a woman) appears to have vacated the apartment in a hurry. Emad and Rana treat it as a minor & temporary inconvenience that they don’t have access to the previous tenant’s room. They settle down to resume their life and the rehearsal of their play.
One evening Rana hears the bell ring just as she is going in for a shower. She unlatches the front door for Emad and slips into the bathroom. That is the first twist in the narrative and changes into a whodunit film. Turns out it was not Emad who rang the bell, but a stranger, who sexually assaults Rana. When Emad comes home that evening he discovers what happens to Rana he is devastated. Why was Rana assaulted and by whom? Could there be a connection to the previous tenant, who left behind her belongings? This is when the film becomes interesting as we follow Emad’s painful journey to track the culprit that ends on a rather unexpected note.
In 2012 Farahadi won an Oscar for his film The Separation. In 2o17 The Salesman won an Oscar nomination in the foreign film category and is a strong contender in this year’s Oscar race. Farhadi along with his cinematographer Hossein Jafarian was planning on attending the Oscar awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Due to the recent US travel restrictions on citizens of Iran Farhadi will not attend the Oscar awards ceremony. He issued an official statement saying that he will not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in February.
The Salesman released in the San Francisco Bay area on Feb 3, 2017.
I sat down to speak with Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest Inc, a Silicon Valley-based organization. Every year they host an annual film festival that features films, workshops, conversation and spotlights the latest technology for content creators and filmmakers. They also have a program for youths called Picture The Possibilities.
Hussey talks about the philosophy behind their Picture The Possibilities initiatives and what is new in this year’s film festival. Hussey is a film maker and an author and he shares how his interest in films developed and what propelled him to write.
The opening night film on Feb 28, 2017 is director Mark Pellington’s The Last Word starring Shirley MacLaine & Amanda Seyfried. The closing night film is director Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh & others. Jane Lynch and Jason Reitman will be at Cinequest to receive their Maverick Award.
Cinequest Film and VR Festival takes place in San Jose and Redwood City from Feb 28 to March 2017. For tickets and program schedule visit Cinequest’s website.
Meet Devika Chawla, Engineering Director at Netflix and a music composer and singer. I sat down with her to find out how she developed and nurtured her interests in science, especially computer programming and music from a young age.How did her parents help shape her interests? Why did she elect to study computer engineering at George Town University? What brought her to Silicon Valley in the 1990s?How did she get to work with Hans Zimmer for Apple’s iMovie app? How does she balance her passion for computer engineering and music?
Chawla is trained in Indian classical (Hindustani) music. She has released a handful of music records and worked with various musicians like Bohemia, a San Francisco Bay area rapper and Amaan Ali Khan & Ayaan Ali Khan, sarod musicians from India.
I sat down to speak to with Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges about his role in Manchester By The Sea, Kenneth Lonergan, his new film with Martin McDonagh, acting, learning to pay the banjo and his love for Harry Potter. We also find out why he elected to study at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which is where his father Peter Hedges studied. And, finally we find out why his father says “Have the day you have,” instead of the usual greeting like “Have a good day.”
Manchester By The Sea is a sharply nuanced film that gets under your skin and makes you uncomfortable. It is bleak, tragic & funny. Hedges provides the much-needed humor in the film. The film is about love, tragedy, and circle of life and is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, who also wrote the screenplay for Analyze This and Gangs of New York among others.
LISTEN: OSCAR NOMINEE LUCAS HEDGES ON MANCHESTER BY THE SEA & HARRY POTTER
In January 2017 Hedges was nominated for the Oscars for best supporting role. This is Hedges first Oscar nomination. He is the youngest actor to be nominated in this year’s Oscars. Other actors nominated in the category include Dev Patel, Jeff Bridges, Michael Shannon and Mahershala Ali.
Manchester By The Sea stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and others.
Title: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Running Time: 137 minutes
Status: Released in 2016
This interview with Hedges was recorded in San Francisco and aired on TV. Here is a list of TV stations in the US that broadcast our show. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel and podcast where every week we feature new interviews.
Silicon Valley’s annual film festival Cinequest is back this year with a strong foucs on virtual reality (VR). The VR offerings range from short VR films to VR experiences and workshops with filmmakers on how to capture and create VR content.
Cinequest Film & VR festival runs from Feb 28 – Mar 12, 2017 and is expanding it sofferings beyond downtown San Jose to Santana Row in San Jose and Redwood City in the Peninsula.
The theme for this year’s festival is “elevate,” shared Halfdan Hussey, CEO and co-founder of Cinequest. Jason Reitman and Jane Lynch will receive the Maverick Award this year.
The opening night film on Feb 28 is director Mark Wellington’s The Last Word with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried.
The closing night film on March 12 is director Niki Caro’s The Zookeeper’s Wife starring Jessica Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh. The picture is based Diane Ackerman’s book by the same name. This is a true story about Jan and Antonina Żabiński, who saved the lives of people and animals in Poland during World War 2.
Great Garbo’s Flesh and The Devil is this year’s silent film offering. Dennis James will play live music on the wurlitzer organ.
For information on film festival schedule and ticket visit their website.
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was in Hollywood a few days ago to promote her new film xXx Return of Xander Cage that stars Vin Diesel and is directed by DJ Caruso.
Diesel, Caruso and Padukone attended the Indian premier in Mumbai since the film released in India on Jan 13, 2017. Diesel’s films are hugely popular in India, and so it was no surprise that he got a hugely warm welcome when he was in Mumbai to promote his film.
After promoting the film in India Padukone got busy promoting it in the US in various talk shows. xXX Return of Xander Cage released in the US on Jan 18, 2017.
This is Padukone’s first Hollywood film as she explains in The Ellen Show interview.
Padukone also appeared on the Late, Late Show with James Corden along with Diesel. Corden and Padukone busted some Bollywood moves of lungi dance, a hugely popular song from the Bollywood film Chennai Express. Corden is a quick study as you can see for yourself in this clip. Who knows you might end up seeing Corden in a Bollywood film.
And, here is the original “lungi dance” from Chennai Express that stars Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan. The song pays homage to the South India film actor Superstar Rajnikanth, who is also known as Thalaiva, which means leader in Tamil. Rajnikanth is known for his unique style of dancing.
Who knew one day I’d end up watching a Rajnikanth inspired song on American TV.
We caught up director Theodore Melfi during the screening of his film Hidden Figures by the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS). We talked to him about the making of Hidden Figures which is about 3 African-American math teachers, who went on to work for NASA and worked in the Apollo project in the 1960s. We also spoke to him on he came to be attached the film project, the math boot camp that he held for his actors and the music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.
Melfi and Olivia Spencer, who acts in the film were in San Francisco to receive The Sloan Science in Cinema award. The award is given by the SFSS and The Sloan Foundation.
Veteran actor Om Puri (66) passed away on Jan 6, 2016 in Mumbai. A versatile and talented actor, Puri acted in theatre, films and TV. He made his film debut in the 1970s and went on to act in many art house films in Hindi and branched off into mainstream Bollywood. He then went on to act in British films and TV and Hollywood and films like The Jewel In The Crown, City of Joy, East is East, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Hundred-Foot Journey and the yet-to-be released Viceroy’s Houseby Gurinder Chadha.