Shekhar Kapur Movies
One of the few Bollywood directors to make a career in the U.S., Shekhar Kapur
has proved his filmmaking worth in both countries. The nephew of actors Vijay Anand and Dev Anand
was discouraged to get into show business by his father. Leaving his homeland to study business in Great Britain, Kapur
soon grew bored with his accounting job and moved back to India to become an unsuccessful actor in Bollywood. He finally found a place for himself as a director with his film debut, the coming-of-age story Masoom
(1983). He was met with both international attention and controversy after the release of Bandit Queen
(1994), his biographical portrait of lower-caste Indian outlaw Phoolan Devi. Although the Indian censors and Devi herself protested to the film's graphic content, it proved to be a commercial success. Kapur
began working in Hollywood to make the historical biography Elizabeth
, with Cate Blanchett
as Queen Elizabeth I, in 1998. Nominated for the Best Picture Academy award, it also gained him more attention among Indian censors. After residing back in India for a few years, he returned to the U.S. to make the 2002 film adaptation of The Four Feathers
shepherded the comedy The Guru to the screen in the capacity of executive producer. After a five year layoff from working, he returned with The Golden Age, a sequel to Elizabeth
that reunited him with stars Cate Blanchet and Geoffrey Rush. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
In the mid-1940s, the Indian film industry discovered the musical, and the business was never the same after that. In a nation of two billion people, "Bollywood" musicals were one of the most universally popular forms of entertainment, with dozens of new films appearing each year, spawning hit songs that regularly swept several Asian countries by storm, and making top actors and actresses into stars revered by their fans almost as gods. But as wildly popular as Bollywood musicals were at home, it's a relatively recent phenomenon that more than a handful of people in the West have seen these movies. Filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist have assembled a tribute to the golden age of the Indian musical in Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, which features classic song and dance numbers from dozens of iconic films, as well as brief interviews with some of the major stars and directors of Indian screen musicals. Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told received its world premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Shekhar Kapur heads into sci-fi fantasy territory with this Warner Bros. adaptation of Philip Reeve's novel regarding an alternate universe that mixes the Victorian era with epic space travels and battles. Kapur directs from a script developed with Steven Knight, with Denise Di Novi producing. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide
- Add New York, I Love You to Queue
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Some of the world's most-respected directors align forces to pay tribute to the city of the New York in this unconventional omnibus sister film to 2006's Paris, Je T'Aime. Broken into short segments, New York, I Love You is comprised of ten films, most choosing to take a down-to-earth approach to the stories of the countless lives lived in the city on a given day. The segments are as follows, chronologically:
Segment 1 -- Directed by Jiang Wen; written by Hu Hong and Meng Yao; starring Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, and Rachel Bilson.
Segment 2 -- Directed by Mira Nair; written by Suketu Mehta; starring Natalie Portman and Irfan Khan.
Segment 3 -- Written and directed by Shunji Iwai; adaptation by Israel Horovitz. Starring Orlando Bloom and Christina Ricci.
Segment 4 -- Directed by Yvan Attal; written by Olivier Lécot and Yvan Attal; starring Robin Wright Penn, Ethan Hawke, Maggie Q, and Chris Cooper.
Segment 5 -- Directed by Brett Ratner; written by Jeff Nathanson; starring Anton Yelchin, James Caan, Olivia Thirlby, and Blake Lively
Segment 6 -- Directed by Allen Hughes; written by Xan Cassavetes and Stephen Winter; starring Drea de Matteo and Bradley Cooper.
Segment 7 -- Directed by Shekhar Kapur; written by Anthony Minghella; starring Julie Christie, John Hurt, and Shia LaBeouf.
Segment 8 -- Written and directed by Natalie Portman; starring Taylor Geare, Carlos Acosta, and Jacinda Barrett.
Segment 9 -- Written and directed by Fatih Akin; starring Burt Young, Ugur Yucel, and Shu Qi.
Segment 10 -- Written and directed by Joshua Marston; starring Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman.
Transitions in between segments -- Directed by Randall Balsmeyer; written by Israel Horovitz, James Strouse, and Hall Powell; starring Emilie Ohana, Eva Amurri, and Justin Bartha. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi
- Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, (more)
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Actress Cate Blanchett returns to her Oscar-nominated role and director Shekhar Kapur steps back into the director's chair for this belated sequel to the critically acclaimed 1998 biopic Elizabeth that explores the 16th century romance between the "Virgin Queen" and noted adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Michael Hirst teams with William Nicholson to pen the screenplay, and actor Geoffrey Rush returns to the role of Sir Francis Walsingham. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
- Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, (more)
- Add The Four Feathers to Queue
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A.E.W. Mason's perennially popular tale of honor and adventure is brought to the screen yet again in this lavish period action-drama. In 1884, Harry Feversham (Heath Ledger) is a young officer-in-training in the British Army who is soon to graduate and is expected to be shipped of to the Sudan, where the King's military are battling Muslim insurgents who are attempting to overturn English colonial rule. Feversham, however, has developed serious ethical reservations about going along, and on the eve of his departure, he resigns his commission. Feversham's best friend and fellow officer Jack Durrance (Wes Bentley) in response presents him with a white feather (a symbol of cowardice), and two of his classmates follow suit. Ethne Eustace (Kate Hudson), Feversham's fiancée, presents him with a fourth white feather shortly before breaking off their engagement. Sufficiently humbled, Feversham attempts to win back his honor and the respect of his family and friends by secretly becoming an undercover operative in the Sudan. His initial attempts to pose as an Arab are not especially convincing, but he makes friends with Abou Fatma (Djimon Hounsou), a local sympathetic with the British cause who proves to be a valuable source of insider information and advice on how to blend with the rebels. Meanwhile, Durrance is briefly ordered back to England to help recruit new soldiers for the colonial forces, and he takes the opportunity to begin wooing Eustace, the former flame of his former friend. This adaptation is the fifth film version of The Four Feathers, following two silent screen adaptations (released in 1915 and 1928), Zoltan Korda's memorable 1939 version, and a 1977 made-for-TV movie. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, (more)
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A visitor from the mysterious East arrives in New York -- not to offer the wisdom of the ages, but to make it big as a dancer in this "fish-out-of-water" comedy. Ramu Chandra Gupta (Jimi Mistry) grew up in India on a steady diet of movie musicals, particularly local Bollywood spectaculars and vintage American song-and-dance films. Ramu grew up with the dream of one day making it big as a dancer, and in time he found a job as a dance instructor. However, Raimu believes his destiny lies in the United States, and he leaves India behind to relocate to New York City. Unfortunately, Ramu's bright new future isn't exactly awaiting him, and he's soon sharing an overstuffed apartment with distant relatives in Queens while working in an Indian restaurant. An audition for a film director named Dwain (Michael McKean) turns out to be a tryout for a porno movie -- a role Ramu does not get when he fails to rise to the occasion. However, he does make the acquaintance of one of Dwain's "starlets," Sharona (Heather Graham), with whom he soon finds himself infatuated. Ramu gets a job entertaining guests at a party catered by his relatives when the performer originally booked is incapacitated. While Ramu's Bollywood-style dancing goes over well enough, he makes a deeper impression on Lexi (Marisa Tomei), an enthusiastic but half-bright student of Eastern philosophy who regards Ramu a font of wisdom as well as a hot date. Ramu quickly becomes the toast of New York's upper crust, and scores an agent, Josh (Rob Morrow), but how long will it be before folks realize Ramu is rather low on the enlightenment scale? And can he find happiness with Sharona while Lexi is still in the picture? The Guru also features Christine Baranski and Malachy McCourt. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
- Heather Graham, Marisa Tomei, (more)
- Add Elizabeth to Queue
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This British-made historical drama depicts the rise of young Elizabeth Tudor to Queen of England, a reign of intrigue and betrayals. In 1554, Queen Mary I (Kathy Burke) tries to restore Catholicism as England's single faith. With no heir to the crown, she maneuvers to keep her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) from succeeding her, but her efforts fail. With Mary dead, Elizabeth is proclaimed Queen of England in November 1558. Elizabeth relishes the return from exile of her childhood sweetheart, Lord Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes). Chief adviser Sir William Cecil (Richard Attenborough) urges the young Queen to forget personal matters and instead address the country's pressing problems. England is bankrupt, has no army, and is under serious threat from abroad. Elizabeth even has enemies within her own court, the most dangerous being the Duke of Norfolk (Christopher Eccleston). Hoping for an heir, Cecil suggests marriage candidates -- King Philip II of Spain or the French Duc d'Anjou (Vincent Cassel) -- to secure the realm. Elizabeth agrees to meet their ambassadors, but her true feelings are revealed when she meets Dudley for a secret tryst. French "warrior queen" Mary of Guise (Fanny Ardent) amasses troops at the Scottish border. Elizabeth bows to the pro-War lobby led by Norfolk, despite protests from her Master of Spies, the enigmatic Sir Francis Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush), but the decision to fight leads to a humiliating defeat. As dark clouds of court conspiracies gather, and the possibility of assassination looms, Elizabeth strikes out at her enemies and puts her trust in Walsingham. Shown at 1998 film fests (Venice, Toronto), this is the first English-language film of Indian director Shekhar Kapur, who shot on locations at Northumberland, Derbyshire, North Yorkshire, and at Shepperton Studios. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
- Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, (more)
- Add Dil Se to Queue
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Mani Rathnam, who has proven with films like Bombay (1995) and Iruvar (1998) that it was possible in India to make quality films that could also be box-office hits, chose the 50th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence as the backdrop for this film about the clash between love and ideology. Amar Kant Varma is the son of a deceased army officer and he lives with his family in Delhi. As a program executive for All India Radio, he travels all over the country to interview common people to mark the anniversary. On one of these trips, he meets a mysterious girl named Meghna at a train station, but loses sight of her before he can get to know her. He sees her again in another town and reminds her of their meeting. Meghna doesn't seem to recognize him. Although she doesn't really want him, he follows her all the way to Ladakh. After two days together, she leaves him to join a group of insurgents on a mission. Amar is heart-broken and marries a girl of his mother's choice. In the meantime, Meghna is chosen to be the main person on a suicide mission targeting the Republic Day Parade. She finds Amar and their destinies entwine. Director Ratnam uses the two characters as symbols for two distinct parts of India at odds with each other -- the big states on the one hand, and the border areas with minority populations on the other. The latter are angry at the central government for having neglected them, which have resulted in a recession. Dil Se, a good example of the energy and imagination of the "Bollywood" movies (referring to Bombay, the "Hollywood of India") from one of the masters of the genre was screened as part of the International Forum of Young Cinema at the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, Rovi
- Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, (more)
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Bandit Queen, based on the true story of legendary female warrior Phoolan Devi, is a confrontational epic that paints a far different picture of India from other arthouse productions. Devi (Seema Biswas) is married at age 11, abandoned by her husband when she resists his advances, and turned into a social outcast who, at one point, is gang-raped by the upper-caste men of one village. She later gets her revenge by organizing a massacre that leaves 20 villagers dead. Devi ultimately leads a band of latter-day Robin Hoods on bold raids against landowners in Central India during the late '70s and early '80s, often taking their spoils and redistributing them to poor tenant farmers. By the time she is arrested in 1983, Devi has become a folk hero, especially to the women who live in rural India's brutally patriarchal society. A full-fledged commercial production, handsomely produced and directed by talented Indian filmmaker Shekhar Kapur (who emerged from the country's vaunted "Bollywood" system), Bandit Queen painfully exposes a controversial aspect of Indian culture, while providing a triumphant portrait of female empowerment. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi
- Seema Biswas, Nirmal Pandey, (more)
Prolonged psychological and philosophical self-examination is not limited to movies made in Europe, it is, however, less frequently encountered in either American or Asian films. Nonetheless, the intricate neurotic workings of the personality of a middle-class man are the subject of this made-for-television Indian film, which makes it a moderately rare phenomenon. In the story, the proprietor of an antique store in Bombay acts as though he were king of the roost and bosses his wife and their housekeeper around. However, his self-confidence is paper thin, as evidence by the fact that almost twenty years earlier, he was cashiered from the Indian Army for cowardice. When his young wife begins showing signs of actually possessing a personality of her own, he begins to fall apart. The filmmaker has chosen to mirror the techniques European filmmakers such as Michelangelo Antonioni used to tell similar tales, and moody symbolism abounds. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi
- Shekhar Kapur
Joshilaay is a bitter pill to take for anyone who thinks that Indian movies consist chiefly of Satyajit Ray epics and lighthearted musicals. Popular Indian film personality Anil Kapoor doesn't make his entrance until after half the cast has been murdered. The culprits are a pair of out-of-control criminals, played by Kulbhusan Kharbanda and Rajesh Vivek. Kapoor and Sunny Deol, the sons of two of the victims, wait many years to exact their revenge. The question: was it worth the wait? ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
This Hindi social drama stars Naseerudin Shah as a family man whose everyday domestic life is turned upside down when he discovers that he has an illegitimate child (Jugal Hansraj) from an affair with a past mistress. When the boy's mother dies, he is sent to live with his father. The child's father attempts to hide the truth from his own daughters, but the past eventually catches up with him. ~ Jonathan E. Laxamana, Rovi