Posts Tagged ‘Slumdog Millionaire


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!



"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.




It did it. The film about hope and love won 8 Oscars including Best Picture at the 2009 Academy Awards last night. It was incredible. Just incredible. Ok…one more time. Incredible.

Superstars Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

Actors Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

My media contacts in LA kept texting and telling me what a strong Indian presence there was at the Oscars this year. Top Bollywood A listers like actors Anil Kapoor and Ifrran Khan graced the red carpets with superstars Freida Pinto, Dev Patel and Loveleen Tandan.”It was so nice to see saris and Bollywood again this year at the Oscars” one text read.  

Although  the win was highly anticipated due to the stream of awards that “Slumdog Millionaire” has been winning since the nation first took notice of the incredible and amazing film, it was still every bit exciting to see the film do so well. I was at an Oscar party in NY with about 500 people and it was pin drop silence before the Best Picture announcement was made then tears & jumps of joy came afterwards.  “This has made India so proud” said one Indian beauty at the party trying to hold back tears. “I really want to go to India now!” said one cute brunette.

Musical genius A.R Rahman won two Oscars including Best Original Score and for his song “Jai Ho”. The maestro has the Midas touch indeed!

Loveleen Tandon, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Loveleen Tandan, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Not only India, but the world. I wholeheartedly congratulate the team and cast of “Slumdog Millionaire” for their tremendous and well deserved success.

You guys rock! Jai Ho!




Talk about a film with the Midas touch. Is there anything else really left to say about “Slumdog Millionaire“?  Ten Oscar nominations and other recent  honors include Best Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Daryl F. Zanuck Award for Producer at the Producers Guild of America Awards. This  is unbelievable! The film has broken all records at the box office and continues to win award after award in Hollywood and overseas.

Co-director Loveleen Tandan and acclaimed movie director Mira Nair share a joke at the NY premiere.

Co-director Loveleen Tandan and acclaimed movie director Mira Nair share a joke at the NY premiere.

 Just to show you how popular the movie has become,  I recently took some friends to a Manhattan movie house last week and the film sold out!  I thought, what a minute! The movie has been out since last November and it is still selling out? Remarkable.

“The ten Oscar nominations really increased ticket sales” said the gorgeous blonde behind the ticket booth who also told me she has seen it once  and was planning on seeing it again with her friends.

The magic behind the movie besides having magnificent director Danny Boyle and a great team is that the film seems to be attracting all kinds of audiences who have been longing for a feel good film and “Slumdog Millionaire” is certainly filling the void.

The nominations for global musical genius A. R. Rahman, who has been nominated for two of the three songs in the Best Song category, has been a tremendous honor for his work and for India. The singer, composer, producer , instrumentalist and song writer has for the past two decades, created some of the most incredible songs and background music for Indian films. His work is known across the globe and now Hollywood as taken notice.  The soundtrack of “Slumdog Millionaire” has caught the attention of the nation with it’s foot tapping melodies and soulful tunes.

NY after party of "Slumdog Millionaire" premiere with Co-director Loveleen Tandan and director Danny Boyle in the background mingling with guests.

NY after party of "Slumdog Millionaire" premiere with Co-director Loveleen Tandan and director Danny Boyle in the background mingling with guests.

My media contacts in India who attended the Mumbai premiere of the film said that the Oscar nominations were announced the night of the premiere so there was a double celebration that night. Guests and celebrities danced the night away to an Indian band playing  on the red carpet when they heard of the nomination news. Co-director Loveleen Tandan dressed  in a beautiful & classic pink silk sari danced the night away with Bollywood top star Anil Kapoor and the beautiful Frieda Pinto and charismatic Dev Patel,  all of whom have become households names .

As The Academy Awards are watched around the world on Sunday, February 22, 2009 on ABC by millions,  all eyes will be focused on a small film with unknown leads that has magnified into one of the most powerful films of the year catching  the attention of the world in the process.

Music Composer/Producer/Singer A.R. Rahman seen here with Andrew Lloyd Weber, has been nominated twice in the Best Song category for the Oscars.

Music Composer/Producer/Singer A.R. Rahman seen here with Andrew Lloyd Weber, has been nominated twice in the Best Song category for the Oscars.


The Oscar nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire” are as follows:

1. Best Picture

2.Best Director

3. Best Adapted Screenplay(writing)

4. Best Cinematography

5. Best Song (2 nominations)

1.”Jai Ho”

2. “O Saya”

6. Achievement in Editing

7. Best Sound Mixing

8.Original Score


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