Posts Tagged ‘MoMa


MoMA Welcomes “The New India” Film Festival.

The Museum of Modern Art loves Indian films!  In 2007 the  world renowned museum did a tremendous  job with “India Now” a week long film festival showcasing  the best of Indian films & documentaries.  MoMa does an encore presentation this year with many of the top independent, short and Bollywood films from India in “The New India,” a unique and exciting  & ongoing Indian film festival presented by the Museum of Modern Art until June 18 2009

Indian film iconic actor Naseerudhin Shah mingles with guest at MoMA's The New India film festival

Indian iconic actor Naseeruddin Shah mingles with guest at The New India film festival

The festival includes 16 films (8 of them being NY releases) and includes top Bollywood and  provacative and social issues seriously affecting India  including AIDS, political corruption, terrorist attacks & exploitation of child.

 The opening night of the festival premiered with the film  “Yes, Madam, Sir” (  a profile look at Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman and high ranking police official and one of the  most revered social activist in India today. Dr. Bedi was present during the screening.

Academy Award winning director Megan Mylan’s  film ‘Smile Pinki” ( a heart wrenching story about a beautiful Indian girl born with cheiloschisis commonly know as cleft lip, whose  life changes dramatically after getting surgery.  Mylan won the 2008 Oscar for Best Documentary.

The selection process was a bit tough say festival officials especially for a country that produces the most films in the world (1000 plus) and  in several different languages.

“It was very challenging to pick films for this festival because we had seen over 200 films and the process is very demanding but at the end,you have to select the best ones you can and hope audiences will be receptive” stated the  guest curator  Uma De Cuhna, an acclaimed Indian film festival organizer for US audiences for the past several years. 

De Cuhna collaborated closely with MoMa’s  renowned Associate Curator Josh Siegel from the Dept. of Film and together they worked for over a year and the fruits of their labor have proven to be successful.   The comments & reaction from audiences and the mostly sold out screenings this year were the results of their hard work and dedication to Indian cinema.  

De Cuhna also stated that despite the immense talent in the art films and independent films, the vast majority of interest from audiences at the festivals  still stems from  where it all beings- Bollywood.

“Where ever our festivals are, people always like to see Bollywood films. I guess it’s the lively human spirit in the films &  the songs and dances  that attracts them these  films and with  so much going on now in the world people are just enjoying Bollywood films even more” says the guest curator.

Beautiful actress & director Nandita Das is all smiles for The Ravi Report on the success of her film "Firaaq" shown at the "The New India" film festival.

Beautiful actress & director Nandita Das is all smiles for The Ravi Report on the success of her film "Firaaq" shown at the "The New India" film festival.

 Personally, De Cunha does believe independent films bring out the raw talent of many Indian actors that often get caught up in the glitz and glamour of a big budgeted blockbuster and says she  even prefers to watch regional & art movies where actors are seen in their finest and more realistic moments then a fantasy filled Bollywood thriller.

The New India”festival so far  included special appearances by top Indian film stars including Nandita Das who presented her directorial debut “Firaaq”  ( which was screened to a sold out audience, Abay Deol,a popular young Bollywood star whose  film “Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye” was received well  and one of the most iconic stars of Indian cinema, Naseeruddin Shah and his amazing film “ A Wednesday!”  (

Shah has won more prestigious awards and has given some of the best performances in Bollywood and art films in his career as a top actor. At 59  and with over three decades of acting in Indian films behind him,  Shah  is one of the most sought after stars in Indian cinema today and the most respected.  His leap into Hollywood with films like “Monsoon Wedding” (2001) and “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman” (2003) with actor Sean Connery has been nothing but welcoming from the western audiences, prompting Hollywood to take a closer look at this National Award winning gifted actor.

Legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Yande at The New India film festival.

Legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Yande at The New India film festival.

Directed and produced by Neeraj Pandey, “A Wednesday!” focuses on the daily hardships & corruptions  the common man in India  faces and the repercussions that happen when his life is threatened.

” I took to the script because it shows the everyday struggles of the common man in India which is so difficult” said the National Award winning star.

Shah said he did a first read without stopping (something  he has never done before  in his career he says) and  knew right away it was for him. The film was made on a “sandal string budget” Shah told the packed audience before the screening and it has done incredibly well in India and abroad. The iconic actor is not modest about the success of the film at all.

“I was not surprised at all. When I take a film I don’t bother about the box office potential. I  take films purely on instinct. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but I knew right away this film would do well” states the award winning actor.

Regarding changes in the way films are being made these days in Bollywood,  Shah believes that non-formula Indian films are getting better and the reason being that the younger generation of  producers & directors are not only making films but they are  “living them”.

“These kids nowadays write a good story because they experience it. They live it, they breath it and that is applied to today’s smart script development” boasts the actor.

  “Luck By Chance” which was shown earlier on in the festival,  focuses on the immense struggles & competition of achieving stardom in Bollywood.

“It’s nice to be able to see a Bollywood film and an art film all in the same  festival” said Indian movie  fan Jessica who came from Queens, NY dressed in a bright red Indian tunic.

The New India”  film festival is ongoing until June 18, 2009.  For tickets/shows/special screenings log onto for a full list. The exhibition is made possible by Marguerite and Kent Charugundla from the incredible Tamarind Art Council

The journey continues…





"Delhi 6" award winning team being introduced at MoMa premiere.

For a minute I thought I was back in Mumbai at some  glitzy movie premiere when I entered the world famous  Museum of Modern Art In Manhattan on Sunday February 16, 2009 and saw Bollywood movie stars, larger then life Indian movie posters and a line of fans dressed in silk saris and tunics waiting to get into the museum.  MoMa had welcomed  Bollywood for the first time with the  premiere of “Delhi 6″  along with the cast and director of the film, celebrities, Indian film devotees and of course The Ravi Report was front and center to capture all the exciting parts of the movie event.


Indian superstar Abhishek Bachchan enters MoMa for the screening of his film "Delhi 6"

“There he is!” screamed one very pretty Indian girl trying to get a glimpse of the “Brad Pitt” of India, Abhishek Bachchan the star of the film. “Please just one hug” shouted another stunning Indian beauty with almond shaped eyes among the hundreds of fans who showed up for the premiere.

The crowd had waited hours in line just to get a quick photo or hand shake (security permitting) of  Bachchan Jr, son of legendary and world famous Indian filmstars Amitabh & Jaya Bachchan. Dressed in a Hugo Boss suit complete with silk tie and silver cufflinks and sporting a new hair style, (for a role he is currently playing) Bachchan Jr. did the usual signing of autographs, posing for pictures and shaking hands among the well wishers who waited hours to catch a glimpse of  Indian film star in person who on Feb. 5 celebrated his 33rd birthday in NY. Married to global international star Aishwariya Rai, who recently had her own movie premiere of “Pink Panther”in NY,  the young actor whose decade long career in the Indian cinema industry has made him into one of India’s finest leading actors and part of what many term “Young Bollywood”.

Bachchan Jr. came  with the lead actress of the film, the ravishing Sonam Kapoor daughter of Bollywood top actor Anil Kapoor who has become an household name because of  his role as the host of  “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in the Oscar winning film  “Slumdog Millionaire”. The father and daughter team have reached international fame from their hard work, talent and of course great movies.

Kapoor, dressed in a tradition red and black Indian dress, decked with  Indian jewellery, the stunning and very humble actress spoke to reporters about her role, loving NY and “Slumdog Millionaire”.
“I am so excited to be in NY especially with the film. New Yorkers have always embraced us (Indian films) so I am grateful to be here again” stated the Indian beauty.

MoMa welcomed Bollywood in full swing!

MoMa welcomed Bollywood in full swing!

Although Indian movie premieres  in NY are still few and far in between, they are slowly becoming part of the NY movie premiere culture. Only the  big budgeted films with box office appeal and of course big talent from India make it to NY but now due increased interest from the western audiences,  Indian films are getting global recognization more so now than ever before thanks to brilliant Indian directors like  Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Reykesh Omprakash Mehra and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Acclaimed filmmaker Reykesh OmPrakash Mehra being interviewed at this MoMa premire of film "Delhi 6".

Acclaimed filmmaker Reykesh OmPrakash Mehra being interviewed at the MoMa premire of his film "Delhi 6".

Acclaimed and internationally known director of “Delhi 6″, Reykesh Omprakash Mehra whose previous box office megahit “Rang De Basanti”was India’s official entry for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars in 2006 was heard telling reporters how this movie was extremely personal to him in many ways. More on what the film meant to him and his journey as a filmmaker in my in depth interview with Mehra and the stars  of the film in the next The Ravi Report.

One star missing from the premiere was musical genius A.R. Rahman who was in LA preparing for his Oscar night performance. The world knows by now that Rahman won two Oscars for his musical scores for “Slumdog Millionaire“. The music for “Delhi 6″ is simply awesome.

I really must commend MoMa for doing an outstanding job at the premiere. It was such a pleasure to see the world famous museum have such a strong  interest in Indian films and to embrace it with such style, elegance and respect. You must visit MoMa when you get a chance and membership has many, many benefits.

The special night also included international movie director Mira Nair, beautiful stage and screen  actress Sarita Chaudhury,  actor Manu Narayan from the superhit film “Love Guru” and several NY social personalities and business leaders.


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