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Film and the Arts

Bollywood Review - "Pyaar Impossible!"

Directed by Jugal Hansraj
Written by
Uday Chopra
Uday Chopra, Priyanka Chopra, Advika Yadav, Dino Morea, Anupam Kher and Rahul Vohra

The phrase "Don't do business with relatives" doesn't mean much in Bollywood, where generations of scions follow in family footsteps to create filmmaking dynasties. Even so, that doesn't mean you give Paris Hilton her own hotel to run.

Uday Chopra — actor son of major Indian producer/filmmaker Yash Chopra and younger brother of the successful Aditya Chopra (producer-writer-director of the 2008 hit Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, among others) — spends a lot time helping out around the family studio, doing some executive producing here, some assistant directing there. And while letting him write, produce and star in his own romantic comedy must have seemed a very nice birthday present or some such, it's no gift to audiences. Despite a few cute moments, the beauty-and-the-geek tale Pyaar Impossible! ("Love Impossible!"), set against the backdrop of computer software and corporate theft, is a vanity project that only goes to show that while love may or may not be impossible, nepotism is eternal.
We'll give Chopra points for at least not directing it himself, and for having a good eye for talent in choosing Jugal Hansraj to do so, even though Hansraj's only previous credit was the animated flop Roadside Romeo (2008). Whatever this film's faults, they don't stem from Hansraj's hand; he keeps both romantic complications and corporate shenanigans moving along at a good, grounded clip, and his experience as a former child actor probably helped wickedly precocious newcomer Advika Yadav, who as a six-year-old romantic mastermind steals her scenes with conviction and the most ironic cuteness since the last Pee-wee Herman show.

Not that that's enough to save this well-meant effort. Ahbay Sharma (Chopra) is a computer geek who, in college, saved beautiful co-ed Alisha (Priyanka Chopra, no relation, seen here stateside in the terrific 2008 faux-gay comedy Dostana) from drowning. Seven years later, living with his supportive dad (beloved Bollywood veteran Anupam Kher), he still carries a torch for the girl, who never got a good look at him. But when con artist Varun Sanghvi (Italian-Indian model turned actor Dino Morea) steals the code for the groundbreaking software Ahbay's developed, Ahbay tracks him to Singapore, where Sanghvi's selling the purloined program to a company whose marketing head is, surprise, Alisha — now single mom to Tania (Yadav). Through a mix-up, Ahbay becomes the nanny — the latest in a line whom Tania's terrorized. But after a rocky start, Tania sees that Ahbay loves her mom, and the kid's plans eventually lead to an adorable musical number (one of three in the film proper) that clues Alisha in to Ahbay's identity.

Bollywood romantic comedies, to their credit, construct romantic obstacles that feel more organic than the almost defiantly contrived ones often found stateside. As in I Love Lucy, they make the preposterous palatable. Nothing, however, can do that for Uday Chopra, who wears only about two expressions and who, in his way-too-many close-ups, looks uncannily like the late-period Michael Jackson — which somehow adds to his inadvertent-stalker creepiness. The painfully charmless Chopra is unconvincing as either a computer geek or even a geek at all. He seems exactly like what he is — a rich kid playing with daddy's toys.(In Hindi and English, with English subtitles) 130 minutes. Unrated, but the likely equivalent of G or maybe PG.

Kurosawa Centennial 1910-2010

In honor of the centennial of incomparable director Akira Kurosawa (1919-1998), Film Forum is celebrating with a month-long retrospective of all off his history-making films, as well as his lesser-known classics and his earliest endeavors, including his wartime directorial debut. The festival runs January 6–February 4, 2010, followed by a two-week run of Ran, starring Tatsuya Nakadai.

The festival opens with a 9-day run (Jan. 6-14) of Stray Dog, starring Toshiro Mifune as a cop searching for his stolen service revolver through post-war Tokyo. Other films include the landmark Seven Samurai, the inspiration for The Magnificent Seven; Throne of Blood, Kurosawa's take on MacBeth; Rashomon, the film that made him a world-class name; Hidden Fortress,which, as everyone knows by now, inspired Star Wars; Yojimbo, High and Low, Ikiru, Ran, as well as his lesser-known The Bad Sleep Well and I Live in Fear.

His first movie with actor Mifune, Drunken Angel, launched one of the greatest collaborations in movie history, not only as a team with remarkable output, but resulting in the best, most time-honored films in the canons of both artists.

Stray Dog (1949) Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
January 6-14 (9 Days) New 35mm Print

Throne of Blood (1957) Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada
January 15 Fri

The Hidden Fortress (1958) Toshiro Mifune, Misa Uehara
January 16 Sat

The Idiot
(1951) Toshiro Mifune, Setsuko Hara, Masayuki Mori
January 17 Sun

Sanshiro Sugata I (1943)
Sanshiro Sugata II (1945)
January 18 Mon

One Wonderful Sunday (1947)
They Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945)
January 19 Tue

Ikiru (1952) Takashi Shimura
January 20 Wed

I Live in Fear (1955) Toshiro Mifune
January 21 Thu

High and Low
(1963) Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai
January 22 Fri

Drunken Angel (1948) Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
January 23 Sat

The Quiet Duel (1949) Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
January 24 Sun

Scandal (1950) Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
January 24 Sun

The Most Beautiful
(1944) Yoko Yaguchi (The Future Mrs. Kurosawa)
No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) Setsuko Hara
January 25 Mon

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa
January 26 Tue

Kagemusha (1980) Tatsuya Nakadai
January 27 Wed

Rashomon (1950) New 35mm Restoration
Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo
January 28 Thu

Dreams (1990) Martin Scorsese
January 28 Thu

Seven Samurai (1954) Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
January 29/30 Fri/sat

The Lower Depths
(1957) Toshiro Mifune, Bokuzen Hidari
January 31/February 1 Sun/Mon

Rhapsody in August
(1991) Sachiko Murase, Richard Gere
February 1 Mon

Dodes'ka-den (1970) New 35mm Print!
February 1 Mon

Red Beard (1965) Toshiro Mifune
February 2 Tue

Yojimbo (1961) Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai
Sanjuro (1962) Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai
February 3 Wed

Dersu Uzala (1975)
February 4 Thu

Ran (1985) Tatsuya Nakadai
February 5-18 (2 Weeks) New 35mm Print

More details can be found at

Film Forum
209 W Houston Street (between 6th Avenue & Varick)
New York City


Free Burma Alliance Fundraiser

Monday, April 5, 2010
7 - 10 p.m.
Friar's Club
57 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10002
Black Tie Optional
Traditional Burmese Dance Performance
Silent Auction
Open Bar and Buffet Dinner
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Broadway in South Africa’s 2nd Holiday Party

Shoshana Bean, the star of Wicked, will be featured along with other Broadway artists performing holiday tunes at Broadway in South Africa’s second annual holiday party on Monday, December 14th from 7 to 11 p.m. at New York’s Minskoff Theater (200 West 45th St.), home of The Lion King. Emmy Award nominee and Sirius XM Radio host Seth Rudetsky will host the live auction. The event chairperson is fashion designer Malan Breton. All proceeds help to fund the arts education programming of this fledgling not-for-profit organization. Shoshana Bean

Along with a spectacular view of Times Square, guests will enjoy open bar with cocktails provided by Marani Spirit Vodka and Amarula Cream, hor d’oeuvres in part provided by Madiba Restaurant and Cafeteria, live entertainment, a chance to mingle with some of Broadway’s top stars, and an opportunity to purchase exciting, tax-deductible live auction packages, just in time for the holidays.

There will be performances by singer/songwriter Jeremy Schonfeld and Broadway artists Uzo Aduba (Coram Boy), Shoshana Bean (Wicked), Sean Bradford (The Lion King), Todd Buonopane (Spelling Bee), Kristy Cates (Wicked), Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening), Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Avenue Q ), Laura Marie Duncan (South Pacific), Asmeret Ghebremichael (Legally Blonde), Frankie James Grande (Mamma Mia!), Curt Hansen (Hairspray), Adam Kantor (Rent ), Lauren Kennedy (Side Show), Andrew Kober (Hair), Tracy McDowell (Rent ), Hayley Podschun (Pal Joey), Courtney Reed (In the Heights), Julie Reiber (Wicked), Rashidra Scott (Finian’s Rainbow), Laquet Sharnell (Memphis), Christopher Spaulding (Curtains), Lisa Nicole Wilkerson (The Lion King).

This holiday event is designed to raise funding and awareness for the work that Broadway in South Africa does to create cross-cultural exchange between youth in need and artists who seek to use their talents for change.  

Tickets are $30, $75 for VIP and $250 for sponsorships, and can be purchased at the door or by visiting

Broadway in South Africa
Monday, Dec. 14th
from 7 to 11 p.m
Minskoff Theater
200 West 45th Street

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