‘Madras Cafe’ suffers blow in UK, Tamil Nadu

Updated 01 October 2013
0

‘Madras Cafe’ suffers blow in UK, Tamil Nadu

MUMBAI: A Bollywood spy thriller set against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war has been pulled from British and some Indian theaters after protests over its depiction of rebel fighters, the movie’s distributors said.
Madras Cafe, which opened Friday, features John Abraham as an Indian secret agent sent to Sri Lanka during the island’s decades-long conflict between the government and separatist Tamil rebels.
But the film has failed to reach a number of cinema halls after ethnic Tamil populations in India and in Britain complained that they were unfairly portrayed.
“Our UK exhibitors, Cineworld, decided to hold back the film after protesters gathered outside their UK offices,” said Rudrarup Datta, marketing head at the film’s Indian co-producer and distributor Viacom18 Motion Pictures.
“Exhibitors do not want to take a risk and withdrawing screenings of the film is their prerogative,” Datta said.
No British cinemas are currently showing the film although they were still hopeful of a release at a later date, he added.
A full release has gone ahead in the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Indian media reports said theaters also refused to show the film in southern Tamil Nadu state after protests from its large Tamil population.
Activist group Naam Tamilar (We Tamils) asked the state government to block the film’s release, unhappy that rebels were depicted as “terrorists,” according to media reports.
In Britain, an online petition was launched calling for a halt to the film’s release there because it was believed to portray Tamils “in a poor light.” Nearly 2,000 people have given their support to the petition.
The film passed India’s censors with no cuts and a parental guidance certificate, and was classified for those aged over 15 in Britain, while director Shoojit Sircar has insisted the movie does not take sides.


Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

Updated 15 August 2018
0

Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

  • Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank
  • Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism

DUBAI: Once upon a time in Hollywood, Al Pacino’s name was not a byword for lukewarm thrillers or lackluster dramas. In possession of one of the most bankable faces in the movies, Pacino has a reputation that rests largely on just two roles: Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972) and Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983) – two iconic gangsters whose ruthless, brutish shadows obscure the riches they bookend.

Because Pacino’s script-screening was once judiciously discerning – if not always impeccable – throughout the 1970s, he acted in just eight films. Labors of love, not bottom-line negotiations, these heyday performances were rooted in compulsive zeal, obsessive research and an adherence to Stanislavski’s method system.

The complacency of contemporary Pacino sometimes feels like an insult to this golden run, and at its glorious centerpiece stands “Dog Day Afternoon” – a film which proved defiantly that there is so much more to Pacino than cold and steely or loud and shouty.

Under the nuanced gaze of Sidney Lumet – who directed Pacino two years earlier as the idealistic New York cop in the classic “Serpico” – the 1975 Oscar-winner was a triumph of tone, texture and pacing. And in nearly every frame, Pacino’s presence pulsates with magnetic charisma.

Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank alongside troubled friend Sal (fellow “Godfather” star John Cazale). Soon after the cops, the TV cameras arrive, and while he is claustrophobically holed up with his sympathetic hostages, Sonny’s unconventional backstory unravels out into the open.

As the spotlight is thrust onto a dysfunctional wife and lover, curious crowds descend on the scene. Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism.

This remarkable turn of events was based on a real failed heist of just three years earlier. The movie was nominated for six Oscars. Frank Pierson’s script won Original Screenplay. Meanwhile, Pacino – also up against Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford – lost out on the Best Actor gong to Jack Lemmon for “Save the Tiger.” That roll call alone is a testament to how far Hollywood has climbed, crawled and plunged.