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Acclaimed filmmaker Rohit Gupta has been honored by India’s prestigious Limca Book of Records for his award-winning feature film Life! Camera! Action…
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Suddenly, it seems, it’s possible to have a conversation with your grandmother about what her favourite online games are.
Ten years ago such a dialogue would have been unthinkable, but now smartphones have spread into every section of society.
Affordable touchscreen technology, the spread of connectivity via Wi-Fi, and ingenious game designers are responsible for this state of affairs.
Prices are likely to come down as devices spread further into the market, and ported versions of console games and gaming websites are released for smartphones.
In some developing countries, the used mobile phone market is huge. As the first wave of smartphones enters these markets we’re likely to see a situation where, eventually, the majority of humanity owns – and plays games on – such a device.
So, what’s the world playing? Anyone who can predict what we’ll want to do with our smartphones in, say, 18 months time is likely to make a lot of money.
So let’s have a look at the best and most successful games available now.
One of the biggest markets in the world is online gambling. The ability to play poker, blackjack, roulette and slots on a smartphone is now limited only by connectivity and, sometimes, the legal situation in various countries.
In India, for example, Maharashtra is the only state that expressly forbids online gambling, and if you’re looking for a smartphone casino the choice is huge.
Some of the biggest casinos originate in the UK, where a well-regulated, legal online gambling industry contributes to billions of dollars that change hands every year globally.
Grand Theft Auto V was the console hit of 2013, and developers Rockstar Games have managed to keep smartphone gamers excited by releasing mobile versions of earlier games including GTA: San Andreas. GTA V had sold nearly 30 million copies six weeks after its release in September 2013.
If that figure doesn’t blow your mind, consider the case of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. It’s one of the biggest-selling records of all time, having been on the market for forty years.
In that time, industry figures suggest sales of 50 million. GTA isn’t for everyone, but smartphone gamers around the world love it.
Simpler games continue to keep people amused on the way to work, with well-designed puzzles like Candy Crush Saga played by millions. Angry Birds Star Wars seems uncannily designed to appeal to everyone on the planet, and has managed to fit that appeal into a four-word title!
Smartphone gaming is not going away – quite the opposite. Guessing how the market will look by the end of 2014 is a very interesting – and potentially rewarding – exercise. (Images courtesy of digitaltrends.com, thefuturescompany.com, telegraph.co.uk, imore.com, droid-life.com)
Sunny Leone has replaced Bollywood actor Salman Khan as the most searched term in India in 2013. The adult film actor who made her Bollywood debut with Jism 2 this year also became the most searched celebrity in India, as the Zeitgeist for 2013 released by Google.
Leone's Bollywood debut in Jism 2 wasn't spectacular, but she became a household name in India. However, conservative India hasn't forgotten her past as a porn star, and her fame meets with skepticism.
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When Sunny Deol appeared on the Comedy Nights With Kapil show, the Bollywood actor looked nervous. So did the host of the show, Kapil Sharma.
The actor is rarely made public appearances. His profile is formed by his movies and nothing else. He is new to the marketing game that is being followed by the Bollywood producers these days.
Many top Bollywood actors, unlike Sunny Deol, have adapted to the new marketing circus.
Bollywood moviemakers find themselves competing with a plethora of distractions that occupy our mind-space. Television is blaring ongoing soaps.
The revived radio stations are blasting unlimited blabber. Video games and online videos are in our palms. And finally our friends, and friends of friends, or even strangers are striving for our attention on social media.
With so much noise, movie-makers are seeing the pie of attention for movies shrinking, which is also evident from the shorter shelf-life of movies in theatres. Until as recently as 10 years ago, movies ran in theatres for a few weeks if not months. Now, most movies are lucky to survive after their first weekend.
Trying to get attention amidst all this noise, movie-makers are becoming a noise. Every Bollywood actor, including the high-brand-value superstars, are knocking on the doors of popular television shows, to become part of their noise.
This is happening so much without exception that it is now expected. The novelty has fizzled. What was once a rarity is now a norm.
Like all advertising, the norm loses its charm. Truly, all advertising without a reason is futile. Anything without a reason is useless. If a Bollywood actor comes to a show and begs the viewers to watch their forthcoming film, that advertising has failed for its very reason.
It is like a salesman of a washing powder knocking at your door – the brand of the washing powder is unknown, but you have seen the salesman in the neighbourhood for many years. Does that approach work? Rarely, unless he is a good salesman. And all Bollywood actors suck at selling their movies.
Does anyone train them in how to sell a movie, just like they have trainers for dance, fitness and acting? No sir. Just like many industries, film industry too takes marketing skills for granted.
In their defence, television shows are struggling to earn money. They are scraping the bottom of the advertising barrel for two reasons. One, the economic recession caused the once-free-flowing marketing dollars to dry up.
Second, the new advertising rules in India have drastically reduced the airtime that could be dedicated to advertisements. So in-programme advertising is a much-loved solution for television and movie producers alike. They both are gaining from such movie promotions.
What about the viewers? Is audience gaining? Barely – to the extent that the movie stars have become more visible outside movies.
You now know more about the actors than what was once available only through tabloids and paparazzi journalists many years ago.
But do we want these actors, which are icons for many fans, looking desperate on the television shows in shameless publicity stunts for their forthcoming movies?
The blatant appearances that force these stars to go from one show to another, from one television channel to another, from one radio station to another, does not add to the entertainment value of the programme. In many cases, they are an avoidable distraction from the main programme. They appear like local politicians interrupting a cultural programme in the community.
I am not saying that these actors shouldn’t participate in television shows. Far from it. There’s an opportunity there, if the producers keep the audiences in mind. Producers can adopt an organised approach to the actors’ appearances. Organised in a manner that entertains the audience. Isn’t that the role of both: the television shows and the movies – to entertain?
With these common goals, and a captive audience, it should be easier for entertainers to create content that is both entertaining and helping the Bollywood actor’s brand.
And that’s my next point. It is the brand that sells. So visibility is good. An actor needs to be visible. But visible in a relevant way. Any Bollywood actor’s presence on television shows should primarily be with the intention of entertaining the audience. The actor’s movie will benefit indirectly.
Which brings me to my final point. And I hope Bollywood actors and producers are listening. Movies sell on their own merit. That’s the bottomline. No movie has succeeded because of heavy television appearances, or failed for the lack of it.
An actor can help bring audiences to the movie halls on the first day. After that, the movie’s success largely depends on word-of-mouth reviews. Social media has made it so easy to share feedback that movie-fans find out the worth of a movie soon after the first show.
People in cities have reached a saturation point of watching film-personalities interrupting their popular television shows. If Bollywood actors really wish to make a dent on the success of their ventures, they need to: 1. Be relevant, and 2. get away from the camera and move close to the community.
They need to visit thirsty audiences in B-towns and rural locations. This is where their presence will be a rarity and more sought. Here, audience interaction will help the actors relate better with the masses.
Let the Bollywood stars be seen dirtying their hands in community projects. It will attract good press, while also help a cause, all the while adding credibility to the celebrity’s brand.
Let them lend their voice to a social cause – a cause that’s close to their heart. A cause they truly believe in.
Let them raise social issues on Twitter – like composer Vishal Dadlani. Let them be seen in humane light, rather than in limelight as politically-correct celebrities. Let them use their brand-power to give back to community in ways other than financial support.
This is where they can build their personal brand, and this personal brand will help the promotion of movies.
Not the mindless banter in poorly-integrated appearances on television shows.
With Ram Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has gone the Ram Gopal Varma way – making his career-best movies at the beginning of his career, only to see the graph go southwards with every successive movie.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ramleela (renamed Goliyon Ki Rasleela, after a Delhi High Court objection) continues the declining graph of Bhansali’s movie-making adventures – the deterioration began with Sawariyaan (2007), and followed by Guzaarish (2010).
During this period, he managed to deliver some decent movies like My Friend Pinto (2011), Rowdy Rathore (2012) and Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012), but none of these movies could claim the legacy of masterpieces that the 50-year old producer-director delivered during his sunrise years – Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Devdas (2002) and Black (2005).
After a litigation successfully brought a stay order on the release of the movie, by objecting to the title “Ramleela”, the movie was released by renaming it Goliyon Ki Rasleela, and rightfully so, as the movie is less about Ramleela (the story of righteous god Ram), and more about the rainfall of bullets that drenched two communities in blood.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s landmark work Romeo and Juliet, Ram Leela begins with a strong story line and ends with climatic conclusion.
What it lacks however is good execution of the story.
Very few moments in the movie bring the audience to the edge of their seats; rarely do the couple make audience cringe for similar love-interest; hardly does the cinematic excellence of Bhansali shine through the scenes.
Instead, we witness vulgar display of passion and lust between the lead couple – reducing love to physical adventure, magnified by lewd dialogues and loud songs.
The colourful costumes, larger-than-life backdrops and eye-soothing photography, struggle to make up for the distraction caused by the blunt delivery.
The lead characters are convincingly enacted by Ranvir Singh and Deepika Padukone, and Richa Chadda is memorable in a supporting role. However, with the main ingredient of quenching love missing, the movie fails to move the audience.
Deepika Padukone, on the other hand, has put another feather in her cap with her portrayal of Leela, a passionate lover and dancer with a strong will, sense of humour and stubbornness to fault.
Ranvir Kapoor’s Ram is a complex character that’s against violence and blood-shed, but plays on the popular themes of men around him – selling porn movies. He is very lovable in the role, someone who loves Leela but doesn’t have enough courage to go against his family.
A surprise package is Richa Chadda who manages to leave an impression through a shorter role.
So what is Bhansali up to? With every movie, Bhansali has assumed a greater role for himself, beginning as the writer and director of Khamoshi, and gradually becoming producer, and then music director (Saawariya, Guzaarish and Ram Leela). Very few directors have assumed such varied roles successfully.
Looking at Ramleela, one realises how difficult it is to manage so many departments; the last producer-director to achieve this successfully was Raj Kapoor. Not just with one movie, but with many blockbusters. No wonder he is such a legend of Bollywood.
While Bhansali has proved his story-telling skills and sensibility beyond doubt, he is getting in the zone that many people suffer from in the later part of their careers, the most notable being Ram Gopal Varma in recent years.
The creative freedom is a double-edged sword. If done rightly, it can produce eccentric work. Taken a bit too far, and it can be a torturous journey for the audience.
Bhansali’s work, this time, has gone too far.
Hrithik Roshan’s much-awaited Krrish 3 has opened with mixed reviews, with some reviewers writing off the movie completely describing it as “colossal waste”, some reviewers have been a little more generous, describing the movie as an “entertaining mix of spectacle and human-scale drama“.
However, movie lovers, and especially children, have seemingly ignored all the reviews, if the box office collection of Krrish 3 is any indication.
The third installment in the sci-fi superhero franchise released just before Diwali had very little competition since it was the only movie to open on the Diwali weekend, and it seems that Krrish 3’s box office collection reflects this.
Krrish 3 is one of the technologically advanced films to be produced in India this year, and the Roshans will walk to the bank with smile, as the box office collection has been very encouraging.
According to the producers of the movie, Krrish 3 opened strongly at the box office, collecting Rs 23 crores on its second day of release, and paving the way to be a blockbuster by grossing Rs 72.8 crores over its opening weekend.
Donned in the mask and magnificent in his pose, Hrithik Roshan is poised to make the movie reach the coveted Rs 100 crore mark.
One of Bollywood’s most eagerly anticipated films and this year’s big ticket Diwali release, the latest superhero franchise film ‘Krrish 3’ began with an impressive collection in its first weekend at the global box office.
Krrish 3, the latest instalment in the Hrithik Roshan franchise, which includes ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ and ‘Krrish 2’, is said to be the highest-grossing release ever for a non-holiday, pre-Diwali Friday.
Krrish 3 seems to be following the footprints of Ra.One, which was Shah Rukh Khan’s expensive attempt at the superhero theme. Just like Krrish 3, Ra.One too was written off by movie reviewers and critics, but was accepted wholeheartedly by fans and did very well at the box office.
The high-tech movie shows Hrithik slicing through the skies and travelling across the seas bringing in a burst of colours and maximised adventure. In fact, the mind-boggling stunts also resulted in a serious injury to the actor who had to take a few months off to recuperate.
Equipped with a spectacular range of special effects, extravagant action sequences and Hrithik Roshan as a superhero, Krrish 3 promised double blast for film buffs this Diwali.
The CGI graphics have set new benchmarks for the Indian vfx industry, making it Bollywood’s biggest science fiction film to date, say the film’s producers.
Hrithik Roshan is very pleased with the response and tweeted – ‘Congrats to my team Krrish. Thank you India. How do I give back the love to all of you? Humbly in gratitude.’
His co-star Priyanka Chopra too was very excited.‘Give with all you have got. Truly. honestly. Completely. And feel the lightness in your soul. Thank you for all your love for Krrish3.”
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh was more upbeat abut the prospects of Krrish 3 when he tweeted ‘The pre-Diwali period is always considered dull by the industry. But an event film like Krrish 3 can change the mindset.’
Hrithik’s close friend and filmmaker Karan Johar was on cloud nine when he described‘Krrish3 a huge blockbuster. “The vision, hard work and utmost sincerity of the entire team is apparent right through the film.”
He also wrote, “Woke up thinking of Hrithik’s astounding portrayal of Rohit in Krrish3. His performance lingers long after the lights come on.”
Confident that “Krrish 3″ will move up on the success ladder, trade pundit Komal Nahta tweeted: ‘Rock-steady! That’s the only way to describe ‘Krrish 3’, given that Saturday was last day of dull pre-Diwali. Historic!”
Another film critic, Anupama Chopra, mentioned: ‘Filmmaker Rakesh Roshan deserves a round of applause for giving us a homegrown superhero. Krrish 3 is ambitious and exciting.’
Krrish 3 also stars Bollywood siren Priyanka Chopra as well as budding star Kangana Ranaut as a super slick alien and screen hunk Vivek Oberoi as the archetypal villain seeking revenge against Krrish.
The total collection on the first two days in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu: Rs 48 Crore
Trade Figure: Rs 34.47 crore in Hindi alone
Overseas total Collections: Rs 9.26 Crore, led by UAE (Rs 2.2. crore) and the UK (Rs 1.6 crore)