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Asia-AICN: Khushi; Our Hearts Were Touched With Fire; Flesh; Blood of the Samurai; Bhoot; Swades; Mughal-E-Azam

Father Geek here with the latest from our Asian column editor Darius25...

Asia-AICN

Hey all, hope you’ve had a good week. We’re back with loads of new scoops for you including info on an upcoming remake of the Indian classic “Mughal-E-Azam”, “Kal Ho Na Ho (Who Cares about Tomorrow?)”, “Darna Marna Hai (Fear is Death)”, “Bhoot (Spirit)”, “Our Hearts were Touched with Fire”, and “Blood of the Samurai”.

INDIA

- OH MY GOD!! It looks like the success of “Devdas” has caused Indian producers to look in their archives and remake some of their biggest costume dramas from the 50’s and 60’s. The next film to be remade for a newer generation is the classic “Mughal-E-Azam”, one of the most costliest films ever made (at the time) and the first Indian film to be partially colorized. The period epic told of a forbidden romance between Emperor Akhbar’s son, Salim, and a courtesan named Anarkali. Of course the Emperor didn’t take a liking to the romance and the film ended in tragic results. For the newer version, you guys can probably guess who’ll lead the star cast. The rumours doing the rounds are that Shahrukh Khan will play Salim, Aishwarya Rai will play Anarkali, and of course, Amitabh Bachchan will play the Emperor. And like its predecessor, money will be spent like crazy to make this much more lavish than even “Devdas”. Rajkumar Santoshi is being pursued to direct, while composer A.R. Rahman (“Lagaan”, “The Legend of Bhagat Singh”) will do the music.

- While having recently wrapped his latest film “Bhoot (Spirit)”, and starting work on his next film “Ek (One)”, producer/director Ram Gopal Verma has already begun negotiations to start 4 more films!! While he won’t be directing these films, he will have a big hand during production, and will make sure that the quality of the films remain to his usual standards (he’ll possibly ghost direct a few sequences aswell like he did with “Road”). The first film from the deal has already started pre-production and is titled “Darna Marna Hai (Fear is Death)”. The film’s another multi-starrer filled with Verma’s usual castmembers – Nana Patekar, Vivek Oberoi, Aftab Shivdasani, Saif Ali Khan, Antara Malli, Isha Kopikkar, Sohail Khan, Sanjay Kapoor, and Shilpa Shetty. The action comedy is slated to release in May (!). The next 3 films are all slated to start sometime in 2003.

- And yes, the shooting for “Bhoot” is now complete, and the film is undergoing post-production right now in order to meet its tentative release in April. The horror thriller stars Ajay Devgan, Fardeen Khan, Nana Patekar, Urmila Matondkar, and Rekha.

- Director Ashutosh Gowariker has finally started work on his next film after “Lagaan”. Pre-production has already started on “Swades”, and not much is known except that it will be a modern-day film shot completely in the US (possibly in Houston), and will star Shahrukh Khan in the lead. Shooting is set to start in August, with an expected release date of summer 2004.

- Actress Jaya Bachchan has joined the cast for director Karan Johar’s next production, “Kal Ho Na Ho (Who Cares about Tomorrow?)”. The tearjerker dramedy will star Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta, and will be a modern day updating of the classic drama “Anand”. Not much is known on this project, but the original was about a carefree man dying of cancer, who managed to change the lives of a group of strangers before succumbing to his disease. Now lemme ask this question, with the success of “Devdas”, is SRK going to die in every movie now?

- Some amazing new stills were released from producer Mahesh Bhatt’s latest film, “Jism (Flesh)”. The thriller stars Bipasha Basu, newcomer John Abraham, and Gulshan Grover. Here’s the pics.

Bipasha HOT pic #1: She's A Real Beauty

Bipasha HOT pic #2: YUMMY!!!

Bipasha and John : They're Right Here

- Some new pics were also released from producer Boney Kapoor’s latest film “Khushi”, directed by S. J. Surya. The romantic comedy stars Kareena Kapoor and Fardeen Khan.

Kareena pic #1: Great Eye Candy!

Kareena pic #2: See Her Here

Fardeen Khan, surrounded by a bunch of beautiful babes: Check Them Out Here

And yes, that is Kareena and Fardeen under all that makeup: Click

MS. MOON YUN CHOI’S CORNER

Hawaii filmmakers have a long way to go before seeing their OUR HEARTS WERE TOUCHED WITH FIRE, about Hawaii’s “Nisei” (second generation Japanese) soldiers in World War II, becoming a fully realized film but, for the scrappy visionaries, it’s not a matter of IF the film will be made but WHEN it will be completed.

“We’re in the fundraising stage,” said project leader Stacey Hayashi. “Our goal is to raise $100,000.”

The story about the Nisei soldiers of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regiment Combat Team came from the play written by celebrated Hawaii playwright Edward Sakamoto who is adapting OUR HEARTS WERE TOUCHED WITH FIRE into a movie.

To raise funds, a benefit dinner gala will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm at Club 100 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The fundraiser titled Year of the Nisei will have great food, karaoke, and the chance to meet Sakamoto, the film’s writer; the actors in the movie trailer; and other key players in this independent feature film project.

The movie trailer will be shown at 8:30 pm and later posted on the movie’s web site: www.442movie.com.

Attendees have the opportunity to find out how they can help and/or join the crew on their journey to completing the film. Nisei veterans, who the filmmakers seek to honor in the film, will also be present. Silent auctions will be held.

The suggested donation for pre-sale tickets is $30, which will include a digital version of the trailer on a CD. Suggested donation at the door is $35.

For tickets and more information, e-mail stacey@442movie.com or call (808) 778.7823. All proceeds to directly benefit OUR HEARTS WERE TOUCHED WITH FIRE and Rice Eye Productions.

If you aren’t able to attend but are interested in helping, log on to the web site to find out how you can contribute or contact Hayashi.

And here’s a review of “Blood of the Samurai” from Albert:

REVIEW: BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI-A 'SLICE OF LIFE' FILM by Albert Lanier

HONOLULU, HI- BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI is a silly, sophomoric, violent, tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top, cheaply made Samurai Swordflick parody/homage extravaganza.

All the more reason to see it.

Screened during the late night slot on the opening day of the Cinema Paradise independent film festival in Honolulu last December, BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI is the little, made-in-hawaii comedic actioner that has garnered festival screening slots and media attention since it debuted at the 2001 Hawaii International Film Festival and captured that festival's Hawaii Film & Videomaker Award.

Shot on DV with a $2000 production budget, BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI is such a goofy and engaging effort that I just had to smile when I first saw it at 2002's Student Film Festival on Oahu (created and run by BLOOD's producer Paul Booth). BLOOD centers on two young horror film loving protagonists, Rob and Trent (played respectively by local actors Michael Ng and Brian Yamasaki) who, after coming home with Chinese food and rented DVDs, discover two Japanese Katana or swords as in a black bag in the backseat of their car.

The film actually begins with a young man on the run from a trench coat attired, black hat wearing, crossbow wielding blackguard (named "The Hunter" in the credits and played by Shawn Forsythe). The man on the run opens a door of the car owned by the film's heroes and stashes the swords he is carrying in the backseat before The Hunter catches up to him and skewers him with arrows from his crossbows ( this death is actually quite funny). Anyway, Rob and Trent find the swords and have some fun, joshing around with the Katana late at night. However, when Trent falls asleep in the living room of their shared house. Rob emerges from a back room with a rigid, intense look on his and tries to kill Trent with one of the swords. Trent defends himself and the two fight for real.

After clashng, Rob flees the house. Trent seems confused about his friend. Trent's girlfriend Brooke (Colleen Fujioka) and Rob's significant other Roxy (Stephanie Sanchez) show up and wonder what is going on. This is when The Hunter appears and demands the swords. A struggle ensues and The Hunter drags Brooke off as a hostage. Trent intends to after them but consults a Reverend (Rick Lum) to find out what is happening to Rob. The Reverend tells Trent that the swords he has obtained came from two samurai in pre-Meiji Restoration Japan (played by Peter Lee and Blayne Suzuki) which is then shown in a flashback. One of the warriors is interested in the girlfriend of the other Samurai. Utlmately, jealousy leads to the death of all three.

So, the swords are imbued with the spirit of the warriors which have possessed Rob. Trent was not affected because he was wearing bracelet which wards off the presence of the warriors.

Armed with this knowledge, Trent tracks down The Hunter, his minions, Rob and Brooke to a warehouse where the film's climactic showdown takes place. BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI is actually a lot funnier than it sounds. Hawaii filmmaker Aaron Yamasato, who wrote and directed the feature, was wise to not to play it straight with this material. The heavily tongue-in-cheek appraoch taken by Yamasato through his camerawork ("dramatic" zoom shots of the faces of the actors, "energenic" pan shots of actors facing off in combat) and the performances coaxed out of his actors especially Michael Ng with his puppy-dog like looks and infectious enthusiasm and Rick Lum who perfects an all-knowing, shit-eating grin with a twinkle in his eyes through his scenes. In fact, Lum almost steals the film. Brian Yamasaki makes a suitably handsome hero and Colleen Fujioka fits the role of pretty damsel in distress as well as can be expected. Stephanie Sanchez has a brief but memorable role that allows her to attack the villain ( she proved hilarious when uttering the tacky line "Where's my Robby baby?"). Shawn Forsythe is more of a comic thanmalevolent villain as The Hunter.

The film's production values are pretty simple and basic and visually, the film is not a treat for the eyes due to its budget (though the lighting in some scenes like Rob's emergence as a possessed sword-wielder is quite effective and striking).

The script generally plays it straight although Yamasato and his actors knew they could get a lot of mileage out of the pretty standard dialogue of the script.

It is BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI's inborn sense of humor that makes the film an enjoyable viewing experience. Yamasato probably knew that going along with the fly-by-night, B-movie essence of the production and embracing it was the right move and he was correct.Above all, BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI again proves that a small budget and Digital video camera are not obstacles but tools to be used in making a feature film.BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI has also been screened at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival the Firelights Shocks Festival and Argentina's Cinecuarde Fantasy Horror Festival. The film has picked up awards for Special Achievement from the B-Movie Film Festival and a 2002 Telly Award.

BLOOD also had its only theatrical run at the Art House Theater Complex in Honolulu when it ran for a week this past November.The film has also recieved plaudits from A and Filmmaker magazines. Filmmaker called the film "Bombastic" in their coverage of the 2001 Hawaii Film Festival. In the end, BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI is that rare film: a cheesy, low budgeted, over-the-top b-movie that works like a charm. For more info on BLOOD OF THE SAMURAI (which does not have a distributor) go to www.bloodofthesamurai.com or email Director Aaron Yamasato at Ayamasato@aol.com.

Well, that’s it for this week’s column. Remember, if you have information regarding any film industry in Asia, please contact our Asia-AICN offices at atshrivas@rogers.com. See you next week.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 23, 2003, 1:46 p.m. CST

    What do YOU think about the ad with the sound effect?

    by jbum

    Personally I find it extremely unpleasant, and I intend to skip the movie.

  • Jan. 23, 2003, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Bipasha Basu Rules!!!!!!!

    by jerichohol

    Shes the hottest hindi actress ever!!!!!!! Its true and she can also act. Check out Raaz

  • Jan. 23, 2003, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Now lemme ask this question, with the success of

    by jerichohol

    Yes!!!!!! Kill him now. Seriously How many sobby love stories can he make? K3G was basically Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. It all started with Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Didnt it?

  • Jan. 23, 2003, 5:15 p.m. CST

    agreed Thomas Edison

    by jerichohol

    This is really funny. Flamewars Galore Sorry abt posting in separate posts. I just joined ;)

  • Jan. 23, 2003, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Lose the bullshit "breaking glass" ad already

    by Harry Weinstein

    What, do you hate the people who read your site or something? Obviously you do, or else you'd not accept mind-blowingly irritating ads of that sort. Well, all it has done is made me not want to read your site, and not want to see FINAL DESTINATION 2. Wait, I never did want to see FINAL DESTINATION 2. Anyway, seems to me like this column should be called Bollywood-AICN, since that was the sum total of its contents. Spin it off into its own thing, so people looking for info on HK/China/Taiwan, Korean, Japanese, and Thai films don't feel cheated with what could be interpreted as bait-and-switch tactics. I'd read both of 'em, especially if you showed a bit more respect to the people who support your venture, by not inflicting these nuisance ads on them.

  • Jan. 23, 2003, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Duh.

    by Harry Weinstein

    To be fair, I neglected to mention the Hawaii-related stories at the bottom of the column - so it's not ALL Bollywood, anyway. The ad is still annoying, though.

  • Jan. 24, 2003, 3:21 a.m. CST

    Madhuri

    by Popmart

    Madhuri in my opnion is still amazingly beautiful

  • Jan. 24, 2003, 4:59 a.m. CST

    Snicker Licker

    by Glawen

    There's nothing like looking a buck-naked, log of chocolate covered nuts to get the juices flowing. It certainly beats rimming round the open end of a bag of M&M's.