Posts Tagged ‘Danny Boyle


Oscar Winning Danny Boyle Talks Career, Bollywood & Films on The Ravi Report

Larger than life Oscar statue awaited Oscar winning Danny Boyle's entrance!

Larger than life Oscar statue awaited Oscar winning Danny Boyle’s entrance!

He is brilliant, hardworking, world-famous and continues to give his “midas” touch to films. Oscar winning director Danny Boyle, whose film Slumdog Millionaire walked away with eight Academy Awards in 2009 including Best Director, continues to give a bit of that midas touch to Hollywood with his recent work.

I first met Boyle years ago at the NY premiere of Slumdog Millionaire and we chatted about India, his film and the chances he takes on a good script when he reads one.

Now, fast forward five years later and with an Best Director Oscar win, Boyle is still the same humble, kind and personable director I met years before. Immense success has not changed this family man and there has been plenty of successes since Slumdog including 127 Hours, which got six Oscar nominations in 2010, Trainspotting and most recently, the psychological thriller Trance.
Academy award-winning Danny Boyle greets the anxious NY press

Academy award-winning Danny Boyle greets the anxious NY press

Trance is one incredible movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The film stars  the stunning  Rosario Dawson  as a hypnotherapist who helps an art  auctioneer (played by the super talented James McAvoy) try to recover memories of where he has hidden a stolen Goya painting. Ok, that’s it no more details. It’s a MUST see folks!
In between working on his film, Boyle was also the artistic director for  the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics which included her Majesty,  Queen Elizabeth II who appeared along with “James Bond” actor Daniel Craig. The ceremony was watched by almost a billion people worldwide and Boyle was offered a special Knighthood afterwards but declined to accept saying it was more of a group effort and not a solo one.

The Ravi Report  recently caught up with  director at the The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in Manhattan, NY where Boyle was invited to speak after the screening of his first successful film Shallow Grave (1995) which Boyle directed and went on to become a huge success among the masses.

RR: Danny, indeed a pleasure to see you again. The last time we met, we were discussing the tremendous success of Slumdog Millionaire and now you have another great film out Trance which I must say is pretty intriguing and intense.  How has the journey from Shallow Grave to Trance been for you so far? 
Ravi Yande interviewing acclaimed director Danny Boyle

Ravi Yande interviewing acclaimed director Danny Boyle

Boyle: Well, the journey has been extraordinary and seems like a blink of an eye really. I was very lucky with my first film that went

well and I have learned a lot of lessons from it and have remembered from those experiences as well.
RR: What is the one most important thing that you have remembered in all those years of making films?
BOYLE: Well….the one thing I remembered is how important it is that you get good actors! That is the most important thing…believe me and let them work and help them a bit and you will be half way home.
RR: Getting the right actors is indeed a crucial element to a film’s success but  is there something that as a director you have learned  that you applied to your craft in terms of honing it to perfection?
Boyle posing for the NY press

Boyle posing for the NY press

BOYLE: Try to make every film a discovery. Don’t try to go into thinking “I now how to do this”, that kind of confidence is dangerous sometimes. Filmmaking should be full of discoveries that you find as you make them. How you tell a story from the script each day and try to discover and stay a bit naive in the process to learn is very important as a director.

RR: Many people, especially those in Bollywood, have credited you for opening up the doors for other Bollywood stars to go Hollywood after the success of Slumdog. The gifted actor Anil Kapoor, who played the game show host in the movie, has gone on to become an international star doing American TV shows and Tom Cruise’s film Mission Impossible. Now Bollywood iconic legend Amitabh Bachchan is set to debut in Baz Luhrmann’s soon to release  The Great Gatsby. What are your thoughts on the fact that you  opened the doors for Bollywood stars to go Hollywood?
Boyle is a favorite of the Academy Theater!

Boyle is a favorite of the Academy Theater!

BOYLE:   Amazing actors!  It’s nothing I can teach Bollywood stars. I have said it many times that the range and depth of acting talent there (Bollywood) from the big stars you mention right down  the ranks is amazing. It’s a slightly different taste from ours at times but they can easily adjust

once they know about it and that was one of the factors of the film (Slumdog) being a success is the sheer depth of talent we can draw from a great star like Anil Kapoor right to the kids who had no fear of cameras and filming
felt very natural for them. The sense of song and dance  is so present and the love of movies is felt everywhere.
RR: So here is the millionaire dollar question: Would you direct a Bollywood movie?
BOYLE: Yes…I mean I tried to do one over there…a version of Slumdog Millionaire!
RR: Thank you Danny. As always, it is indeed an honor.
BOYLE: Thank you.
The journey continues…

Frieda Pinto: A Star Is Truly Born!

Superstar Freida Pinto smiles for The Ravi Report

Frieda Pinto needs no introduction. Plain and simple folks. 

“Oh my God, did you see how beautiful she is?” said one alluring brunette with almond-shaped exotic brown eyes who was lucky enough to get a ticket to Pinto’s recent movie premiere in NY.
“I’d marry her in a second,” boasted a stylish male Calvin Klein model who among many models was a  guest at the premiere.
Such is the kind of phenomenon that the young, stylish and sought after actress possesses.  And oh by the way, she’s also a  fine actress and when you see her latest film “Trishna”, you will totally agree.

Ravi Yande with Freida Pinto at “Trishna” NY Premiere

Pinto  is a star in every sense of the word and over the years, as I have met and interviewed her,  I have found her to be the most well grounded, mature and focused individual. As a child, she has always wanted to be an actress and has reached her dream at a very young age. Born and raised in an academic family in Mumbai, India, Pinto modeled, did some plays and  took acting classes at the famous Barry John Acting Studio in Mumbai before hitting it big.

The Slumdog Millionaire superstar who became an instant overnight sensation after the amazing film took home eight Academy Awards, has now become one of Hollywood’s favorite young actresses  working with some of the biggest stars and directors. A chance only a few lucky and gifted actresses get in a lifetime.
Pinto 27,  had very little acting experience before she landed the role as Latika in “Slumdog Millionaire” and to be honest, her part in the film wasn’t even substantial compared to the star of the film Dev Patel. But when Pinto made screen time, you noticed. The captivating facial expressions, the on-screen chemistry with Patel combined with her innocent beauty, all catered to making her role an integral part of the movie. In other words, she had arrived.

Friends of The Ravi Report at “Trishna” premiere

Pinto’s latest film, “Trishna” directed by the brilliant Michael Winterbottom (Yes, THAT Winterbottom) and based on the novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy,  is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking films that I think Pinto has ever done. As the lead actress , Pinto holds the film on her own and one can  see that Latika has grown into a refined  actress.  Winterbottom is a gifted director. Plain and simple.

Pinto plays the role of a simple, lower-caste Indian girl in exotic and beautiful Rajasthan, India who meets a dashing handsome man only to be swept off her feet in a short fairy tale romance. When the fairy tale  is over, reality sets in and THAT’s where the drama gets good. Ok, no more on the story line folks.

Calvin Klein and friend were special guests at premiere

Pinto does an exceptional  job playing the role of Trishna showing the multiply sides of her emotions when acting. Winterbottom clearly knew what he was getting when he cast Pinto in the lead.

Pinto spoke exclusively to The Ravi Report about her journey into stardom and her new film. 
 RR: Freida, always great to see you. You look simply gorgeous. It’s been a terrific journey for you so far, your thoughts?

FP: Thank you so much.  The journey so far has been fantastic but honestly, there is a lot more for me to learn and I have a good feeling that it is going to be upwards for me in terms of what I am going to learn from now on.
RR: You are the lead actress in the film, carrying it completely on your own and you did an outstanding job. What kinds of pressures did you face working as the lead and with a brilliant director like Winterbottom?

Pinto shares a laugh with The Ravi Report


FP: This film (Trishna) is really my genesis and I never thought that I could carry a film and this is the first one. Michael (Winterbottom) really believed in me…and I am so happy that I took on the project.
RR: One thing that is known in Hollywood, is that you do in-depth research when you accept a new film. How has your past performances in films helped with Trishna?
FP: What’s really interesting for me is that I had such a good team and I have worked with the best in the film (Hollywood) industry and if I didn’t work with any of the directors like Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Julian Schnabel, and Rupert Wyatt, none of this would have happened and I would not have had the understanding of how different directors work and how you can mold yourself into whatever character they envision you to be and understanding different nuances that I would not have understood.

RR: You always speak so graciously to me about your projects Frieda. I will say you are one of the most well- grounded and humble stars I have ever met and it is  always a pleasure to meet you.

FP: Thank you for saying that, it’s kind and I am so grateful for it all. I really and truly am.

Gorgeous models attend premiere

The non-stop working and jet setting actress still makes time for family and friends. With parents in Mumbai and close friends in Hollywood, the captivating actress is constantly on the go.  Now, with the tile of Global Brand Ambassador of Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, the actress has added one more project to her already full plate embracing it with that million dollar  smile!

“Trishna” is now showing in selected theaters across the country and in India. For more info, visit
The journey continues…and for Frieda Pinto, it’s an AWESOME  one!

NY Red Carpet Premiere: “Slumdog Millionaire: A Powerful Film With Early Oscar Buzz

New York: A glittering red carpet night at the Imagine Asian Theater in NY on November 8, 2008 when Hollywood and Bollywood came together  for the premiere of one of the most talked about movies so far this year “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Co-director Loveleen Tandon, Director Danny Boyle & screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Co-director Loveleen Tandon, Director Danny Boyle & screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Slumdog Millionaire” is an incredible and highly recommended movie and has the Oscar buzz to prove it.  The movie based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup and screenplay written by the multi-talented Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) shows the world real India- a country where over a billiion plus people live, many in poverty who have dreams of making a better life for themselves and struggle daily to find the answer.  It’s also home to lavish Bollywood,  incredible culture, music, stylish fashion, global techology and of course people like “Jamal Malik”.

At the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council star studded red carpet NY premiere hosted by founder Aroon Shivadasani,  I had a rare chance to interview the director of the masterpiece,  the highly acclaimed Danny Boyle who was surprised at the incredible reaction the film has received from the American audience in such a short time.

“I was always worried about the American audience reaction. I knew it would do well in England due to the strong connection we have with India but was a bit concerned about what western audiences would think” states the award winning director whose previous films have included “Trainspotting”,The Beach” and “28 Days Later”.

No need to worry here. All the major film critics have embraced it with open arms.

Slumdog Millioniare” was in fact  well received with festival audiences. It took home “People’s Choice Award” from the prestigious Toronto Film Festival this past September and almost every major newspaper has given the film a glowing rating. There’s a reason why the critics and audiences have taken to the film believes Boyle.

“The film depicts the main character Jamal as an underdog and a dreamer who fights to achieve his dream in everyway he can. I think the concept of rooting for the underdog is buried very deep into the American psyche which is why I  think the American audiences are appreciating it” states the award winning director.

Boyle says by living in East London for years he himself has been exposed to Indian culture but his personal experience in India during the filming was something he never had experienced before.

“I only really lived in Mumbai so I can’t really comment on whole of India but what I experienced, the people, the city is vibrant and has a great vibe all the time” states the director.

Without giving to much away, ‘Slumdog Millionaire” is about Jamal Malik (portrayed by newcomer actor Dev Patel who should make room for his Oscar staute) a slum child with no future but dreams of making it big. Through his life experiences, he meets dangerous people, makes friends and enemies and falls in love with the beautiful Latika (portrayed by the stunning newcomer Freida Pinto). Footnote: Both young actors have never acted before in a movie and being their first film, you can see how brilliant casting director turned co-director Loveleen Tandon has a keen eye for talent. Patel and Pinto are simply amazing.

Dev Patel & Freida Pinto at NY premiere.

Dev Patel & Freida Pinto at NY premiere.

Jamal’s life included a series of adventures, mishaps and complex situations that eventually help him  on the popular TV quiz show “Who Wants To Be An Millionaire”.  The “slumdog” becomes a chai seller for a calling center and like the rest of the world, gets hooked on to the show while working at the center. Jamal gets a chance to be on the show, starts to win money and soon becomes a target for the jealous and insecure host Prem Kumar  played by Bollywood megastar Anil Kapoor.

“Anil was great. He was a bit nervous working in an English movie although he speaks the language perfectly. I had never met him before and he helped out in many ways including guiding the studio audience during the scenes” states the director who also roped in other Bollywood top stars including Irrfan Khan (The Namesake” & “The Darjeeling Limited”) and top director/actor Mahesh Manjrekar.

Prem engulfed with jealousy & suspicion makes it extremely challenging for Jamal to continue on the show but goodness  prevails and Jamal ends up winning millions on the show bringing him unexpected fame, fortune and havoc. What happens next is what makes the story interesting and Oscar worthy.

The sold out premiere was also graced by internationally known and award winning movie director Mira Nair, beautiful actress Sarita Choudhury, TV star Maulik Pancholy and actor Ajay Naidu.

Slumdog Millionaire” is one movie you do not want to miss this holiday season and when it gets to the Oscars,  you, like the rest of the world, will root for “Jamal” to win!

Flickr Photos