Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

Here is a delectable list of some Christmas movies. Which are the ones you would see added here?!

The Phil Factor

Every holiday season I post this list and it evolves based on readers suggestions and new movies that come out. If you have favorites that didn’t make the list please add them in the comments section and maybe you’ll influence next years list.

love-actually-original-soundtrack-cover10. Love Actually:(2003) This is the best Christmas movie there is about stodgy British people trying to get it on, but it’s a favorite with the ladies, so it made the list. Around the holidays the ladies get what the ladies want.

Scrooged (2)

9. Scrooged: (1988) A modern re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic starring Bill Murray. I think that even Dickens would agree that this is way better than the original.

die_hard_christmas_movie8. Die Hard:Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. If the phrase Yippee Ki Yay M-F-er doesn’t make you think about Christmas, then I’m not sure we can be friends. And if Bruce Willis…

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Here is a good list of Hollywood movies which concern the area of management.

As to Bollywood, two movies come to my mind, especially when it comes to Work Life Harmony: ‘Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein‘ and ‘Baar Baar Dekho‘. Elsewhere, we have already had a look at movies from which we could draw rich management lessons.

Enjoy these over the next weekend!


One thing that always never fail to pull me up when I am down and frustrated is when I stumbled upon a movie that inspires me to do more in my work and to bring me back to the same spot where I believe in me, my passion. Today, I like to share those movies with you and hopefully that maybe one or two will inspire you when you have your down days.

Pursue of Happyness

This movie is my favourite career inspirational movie. Will Smith made me cry, gave me hope and had me rooting for him. It is one of the movies that I will make my sales team watch it. The raw emotions are so real and raw, it is motivating right up until the end. If you haven’t watch it, you should. If you are working as a sales person, you should watch it. If you…

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One of the classics which Hollywood can justifiably be proud of is ‘Ben-Hur’. Here is an interesting post which many of you may like!


When I was compiling my post of English-language films that might appeal to a lover of old Hindi cinema, I needed to check something about Ben-Hur (which was on my list) on IMDB—and I discovered something I hadn’t realized. That Ben-Hur was being remade. In fact, it was due for release less than a fortnight after my post.

Now, if that isn’t coincidence, serendipity, fate, call it what you will—I don’t know what is. So I made up my mind: this remake had to be watched, and the original (no, I’m not counting the earlier, silent version of the film, but the record-breaking, many-Oscar winning one, directed by William Wyler). Comparisons, of course, would follow.

A moment from the memorable chariot race

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There is no dearth of movie fans who straddle the worlds of Hollywood as well as Bollywood. Here is a delectable post from Madhulika Liddle that such souls are bound to relish!


Specifically, Hindi cinema of the 50s and 60s.

This post had its genesis in a post sometime back, in which blog reader and fellow blogger Rahul commented that he tended to not watch foreign films. I decided, then, to create a list of ten foreign films that might appeal to a lover of old Hindi cinema. Then, a couple of weeks down the line, when I reviewed The Woman in Question, Rahul reminded me of that promise, asking me when I’d be posting that list of English films. There had obviously been a misunderstanding somewhere; I had meant non-English films. But it gave me an idea; why not a list of English-language films too?

After all, it’s not as if the plots and themes of Hollywood and British cinema from the Golden Years were completely alien to Indian audiences. In fact, many of them would be familiar to watchers…

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What is it that makes us label a movie as a classic? A unique blend of enchanting visuals, a rich story line, fine acting, lilting music and captivating lyrics are some of the features a successful movie invariably has. However, to be considered a classic, it would also have a multi-layered narrative with a social message which connects with us at a deeper level. Its theme would have an underlying timelessness, often brought in by the values it espouses.

Values which happen to be eternal in nature. Family values. Faint stirrings within a society to transform itself. The need for a soul to be free and joyous. The assertion of independence which demolishes societal norms of the time. The harmony in working towards a jointly shared goal or ambition. A meteoric rise in terms of materialistic goals. The frustration of having hit a plateau of sorts. The complex interplay of human emotions. The gradual transformation of relationships. The downfall arising out of human greed. The introspection. The burden of guilt. The beginning of a spiritual awakening. The search for a utopia. The redemption.

Here are some movies released fifty years back which remain as fresh as ever in one’s mind.


Released in 1965, this movie, directed by Vijay Anand, was based on a novel of R. K. Narayan, The Guide. The U. S. version of the movie was written by Pearl S. Buck.

The heroine, Rosie, walks out of a loveless marriage, so as to be able to pursue her passion of dance. The hero, Raju, helps her in achieving stardom. The song ‘Tere mere sapne’, though four minutes long, had merely three shots, each helping the heroine to gradually overcome her hesitation to accept the offer of reassurance and love from the hero.

The movie had great dance performances by the inimitable Waheeda Rehman. Other than the snake dance, we got treated to the six-part extravaganza – ‘Piya to se naina laage re’.

With success comes the fading away of love, which gradually gives way to self-interest. The transformation of tender love depicted in ‘Tere mere sapne’ gets eventually replaced by an emotional chasm between the main protagonists, so delectably captured in the song ‘Din dhal jaaye’.

The movie had a female lead character who was ahead of her times. The climax was rooted in superstition, though. The hero attained a spiritual enlightenment of sorts.

The charm of this landmark movie remains undiminished even after fifty years of its release, proving the immense possibilities of artistic collaboration.

The Sound of Music

Based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, the film is about a young Austrian woman studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to assume charge as a governess to his seven children. She brings love, spontaneity and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience.

The manner in which mutual respect and affection grows between the naval officer and the governess is delicately captured in this tender piece.

The governess ends up marrying the officer. Together with the children they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland through courage and faith.

The musical scores stand out for their richness and the way in which they advance the plot of the movie. The heroine, though plagued by self-doubt, shows ample pluck and resource to win over a bunch of defiant children and their disciplinarian father. Characters of all the kids are well etched out and enamour us no end. Underlying the whole narrative is the value of family togetherness, delicate love interwoven with the need for discipline, and the loyalty towards each other.

Even after fifty long years, the movie does not fail to cast a spell. Watch any portion of fifteen minutes and one would come back refreshed and invigorated.


Even though one is not familiar with Malayalam language, one has heard a great deal about this movie. Released on August 19, 1965, it acquired a cult status in the minds of movie buffs.

The success of this movie is said to be due to its heady combination of social-realistic melodrama, bolstered by high production values. It had creative inputs from some of the most talented persons from the Indian movie industry at that time – music by Salil Chowdhury, editing by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, cinematography by Marcus Bartley and lyrics by Vayalar Rama Varma.

The tale of Pareekutty and Karuthamma is a tragic romance. It makes one cry. It gives one a feel as if one lives close to the sea-coast, listening to the incessant roar of the waves, rising to the cries of fishermen and joining their yells of glee when their catch is a bumper one.

At a deeper level, in a muted manner, the movie argues for social transformation. It portrays the problems that arise when an Araya girl falls in love with a Muslim trader. This is a chasm that most of us are still grappling with.

This New Year eve, one would be tempted to curl up in bed to soak in the delectable cinematic brilliance on offer in any one of these movies. As the New Year rings in, we could be joining the Von Trapp family in its trek across the Alps, looking ahead to the future with hope, faith and goodwill!

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With its scenic promenade, picturesque locations, an old world French ambience, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, Puducherry offers the lay visitor a curious combination of hedonistic as well as spiritual opportunities. One could go on a spirited binge and simply freak out. Otherwise, one could soak in its spiritual glow and get mentally uplifted.

True to the innate character of Puducherry, most of the films shot in the town also reflect a somewhat similar bipolar tendency. Amorous endeavors get captured on celluloid. Themes with a spiritual strain also find Puducherry attractive. Occasionally, one would find the town getting mentioned in a block buster!

Here is a quick recap of the Hindi and English movies which have had a Puducherry connection.pondy movie Jism

Jism (2003, Amit Saxena) was an erotic thriller. Obsession with the pleasures of the flesh and greed for wealth eventually drive the main protagonists towards a tragic end.

pondy movie black 1

Black (2005, Sanjay Leela Bhansali) was based on the life and struggles of Helen Keller. Ayesha Kapur from Auroville played the childhood role of the main protagonist and went on to win several awards and critical acclaim for her performance.

pondy movie 3_idiots

3 Idiots (2009, Rajkumar Hirani) argued in favor of innovative thinking and showed us the perils of learning by rote. It also exhorted us to follow our hearts when choosing a vocation. No part of the movie was shot in Puducherry. However, one of the main characters, Chatur Ramalingam, declares having gone to school at Puducherry.

pondy movie Aashayein-

Aashayein (2010, Nagesh Kukunoor) was about a compulsive gambler learning to live to the hilt within the limited life time available to him. It captured life within a rehabilitation center for those with an incurable disease in a poignant manner.

pondy movie 7 Khoon Maaf_poster_ver1

7 Khoon Maaf (2011, Vishal Bhardwaj) belonged to the black comedy genre. It also had a couple of steamy scenes. Having killed six of her husbands, the heroine finds redemption, solace and true love in Jesus – at Puducherry.

pondy movie Talaash_poster

Talaash (2012, Reema Kagti) touched upon various ills plaguing our society. A mystery thriller, it also described the state of happiness one reaches upon overcoming one´s guilt.

pondy movie Life_of_Pi_2012

Life of Pi (2012, Ang Lee) put Puducherry on the international map. The hero was shown to be a Hindu who also goes on to embrace Christianity and Islam. The film spoke of the need to remain connected with oneエs inner self so as to be a winner in the vast ocean of life. Truth, perception and belief were brought into focus, thereby putting the theme on to a spiritual plane.

There are several Tamil movies which have also been shot at Puducherry. To movie makers, the town offers a smart choice as a location. The place is small. It is not very pricey. With a friendly government, it is easier to get all the permissions to shoot. Parks, heritage churches, water bodies and French cuisine simply add value to the quaint place.

A unique feature of the town is its rich architectural heritage. Organizations like INTACH do try to salvage a part of the same. Sadly, much more needs to be done.

Puducherry is also known as “The French Riviera of the East”. For someone who lives in the real place, it is delightful to connect with the reel place as well.

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The latest family movie soon to hit a restricted number of screens is “Shankar-the bold”. It captures the life and times of the youngest one in our family, right from his birth till the time he celebrates his second birthday. Shankar The Bold  cd cover

Preparing for the Movie

As always, the process remains the same. Going through family pictures and videos. Selecting the ones which are worth preserving. Conceptualizing the overall script. Deciding on various sections. Putting them in a tentative sequence. Screening the photos once again. Rearranging some of these into newer sections. Putting these through an Adobe Photoshop wringer.

Selecting the music to be used in the background. Consulting friends and family members for the choice of music. Seeking the help of others to download relevant songs. For some favourite songs, creating a special sequence of the visuals, in sync with the lyrics. Rearranging the script, if necessary.

Getting Connected

For the period to be covered, ensuring that all important events and people are getting covered. Retrieving poems, notes and letters specifically composed for some of these events. Planning to use these at appropriate places in the narrative. Using instrumental music as a backdrop so it does not distract from the verbal content on the screen.

The younger generation needs to understand the background of the family. It also needs to know who all comprise the extended family. Members are spread over all the continents. To collect their photos, getting their names and relationships right and inserting them in the narrative is no mean task.

Elders in the family are immensely useful in providing the finer details of the lives and times of our ancestors. A whiff of nostalgia, laced with family history, ensures that the movie does not remain an exercise in narcissism. Instead, it ends up being a valuable addition to the family archives.

Composing the Movie

There are several movie-making softwares available. The one that we have liked is Womble Multimedia. Arranging the photos section-wise and inserting relevant audio tracks is a skill which one learns over a period of time.

Once the movie has been composed, the question of its disc reproduction comes up. Each set has to be individually checked for its correctness. Defects in sound track or composition have to be ironed out. Eventually, a Master Disc takes shape. This is again played out on a dvd player, just to check that the aspect ratio and other details are well taken care of.

Scope for Innovation

Making each family movie unique is one of the serious challenges. For the latest offering, we came up with the idea of linking family events to important events. So, if the boy was born at a time when an important merger and acquisition had taken place in the business world, the event found a mention in the narrative.

Since ours is a family of movie buffs, we decided to link important family events to movies released around that time. Let us say a marriage in the family took place in a year in which a blockbuster had hit the silver screen. So, a short clip from the movie found a place in the narrative.

A Labor of Love

An exhausting but uplifting process. The unalloyed joy of creativity. The satisfaction of having made something which entertains, educates and celebrates a milestone for the family. Something which the younger ones would cherish when they grow up. A fragment of the subtle connection between the past and the future.

(If you like this post, there is a good chance you may like an earlier one as well: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/some-baby-steps-in-movie-making)

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