Bollywood to make movie on Pakistan air strikes

Bollywood is to make a movie on the "true story" of Indian air strikes on Pakistan this year, its producer said Friday. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 23 August 2019

Bollywood to make movie on Pakistan air strikes

  • The new movie is set to be produced by Vivek Oberoi
  • Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947

NEW DELHI: Bollywood is to make a movie on the "true story" of Indian air strikes on Pakistan this year, its producer said Friday, the latest patriotic film to hit the silver screen.
The February 26 attack took place after a suicide bombing claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan killed 40 Indian troops on February 14 in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Pakistan then carried out its own raid over the de-facto border in Kashmir before the two nuclear-armed countries stepped back from the brink of another conflict.
India said that in the raid, its aircraft successfully attacked a training camp at Balakot and killed "a very large number" of "terrorists", but doubts have been raised about its efficacy.
The new movie is set to be produced by Vivek Oberoi, who starred in a flattering biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the release of which was delayed so as not to interfere with this year's election.
It will also tell the story of handlebar-moustached Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian pilot who was shot down in the raid and then handed over by Pakistan, becoming a national hero.
"As a proud Indian, a patriot, and a member of the film fraternity, it's my duty to highlight what our armed forces are truly capable of," Oberoi was quoted as saying by Indian media.
"This film is a powerful tool to underline the achievements of brave officers like Wing Commander Abhinandan, who went behind the enemy lines and did what makes every Indian proud of them," said Vivek.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over it.
Earlier this month India stripped its part of the region's autonomy, sending tens of thousands of extra troops and imposing a lockdown and a communications blackout that on Friday entered its 19th day.


‘My quest’: Priyanka Chopra brings Bollywood to Toronto

Updated 14 September 2019

‘My quest’: Priyanka Chopra brings Bollywood to Toronto

  • Priyanka Chopra was the first Indian actress to lead a primetime US series
  • ‘The Sky is Pink is Chopra’s first Hindi-language film in three year

TORONTO: No Indian star has made a bigger splash in Hollywood than Priyanka Chopra — and the “Baywatch” actress said she is on a quest to shatter myths about Bollywood, including its approach to sex.
Chopra was the first Indian actress to lead a primetime US series with FBI thriller “Quantico,” and cemented her global celebrity status by marrying pop singer Nick Jonas last December.
That star power secured a glitzy, red-carpet slot at Toronto’s film festival for “The Sky is Pink,” Chopra’s first Hindi-language film in three years. It is the only Asian film on the prestigious gala lineup at North America’s biggest movie festival.
“People get surprised when they see ‘The Sky is Pink’ and they’re like, ‘this is not a Bollywood movie.’ Bollywood is not a genre!” Chopra said ahead of the premiere Friday.
“It really is my quest to educate people in that.”
Directed by Shonali Bose, “The Sky is Pink” tells the tragic true story of Aisha Chaudhary, an inspirational Delhi teenager whose life was cut short by a rare genetic disorder.
Chaudhary delivered a TED talk and wrote a book on her battle before her death in 2015 at the age of 18. But the film focuses on her parents, exploring how their marriage and love — and even their sex life — survived the loss of two children.
Until recently kissing was rarely shown in films made by conservative Bollywood, better known abroad for its colorful musical numbers and fairytale romantic plots.
“I don’t think we haven’t spoken about sexuality in Indian films — we do,” said Chopra, 37. “I think sexuality is spoken about in many different ways in Indian cinema.”
“It’s culturally sensitive, yes,” she added. “India is an amalgamation of modernity and tradition. And this film is made by a modern Indian. So hence, you see what her language is. This is true to who she is.”
Bose, whose own marriage ended after she lost her son, was approached by Chaudhary’s parents to make the film.
Chaudhary had been a fervent fan of the director’s work, and never fulfilled her “dying wish” to see Bose’s previous film “Margarita With A Straw.”
Bose said she was moved by the request but chose to focus on the parents after learning of their “amazing” love story and care for their child.
“They wanted the film to be about their heroic dying teenage girl, and I don’t feel she would’ve wanted to be on a pedestal — actually she was really cool and humble,” she said.
Chopra, who does not have children, said she drew on others’ experiences, including Bose’s, to play Chaudhary’s mother Aditi.
But there is plenty of Chopra in the role too. At one point her character is described as “the ‘almost’ Miss India.” Chopra herself was crowned Miss World in 2000.
As beauty pageants led to acting, Chopra, who attended school in the US, said she held onto her global outlook.
Also a singer, Chopra has released songs with US chart-toppers including Pitbull and The Chainsmokers.
“It’s a genuine quest of mine to be able to cross-pollinate cultures, and to be able to take Indian cinema to the globe as much as I can,” she said, adding: “It’s not the language that’s the barrier — it is the fear of the unknown.”
Movie-mad India has the largest film industry in the world in terms of the number produced — up to 2,000 every year in more than 20 languages, according to industry data.
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar regularly appears in Forbes’ annual list of the world’s top 10 highest-paid actors.
In recent years Bollywood’s influence has spread in North America, thanks to a growing, affluent South Asian diaspora — and a smattering of Western converts.
But while other Bollywood actors and actresses have landed high-profile roles in the US, such as Deepika Padukone in 2017’s “XXX: Return of Xander Cage,” none are as recognizable as Chopra.
“I really hope that there’s so many more entertainers from India that get the opportunity and push themselves toward global entertainment,” said Chopra.
“The world of entertainment is so global now,” she added. “With streaming coming in everyone from anywhere can watch anything.”