Interview: Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana on his role in the historical Indian aviation film ‘Hawaizaada’ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

Directed by Vibhu Puri, Hawaizaada is a period drama set in the heart of Mumbai, India in 1895, eight years before the Wright Brothers flew the first plane. It is about Shivkar Bapuji Talpade’s struggle against all odds — his singular mission and dream of becoming the first man to fly a plane. The British do not want him to get the credit for flying the first plane and become a hero to his people so the odds are stacked against him. Shiv, driven by an incredible grit, wills an impossible dream to come true. The ordinary young man becomes a hero to his friends and well wishers. Hawaizaada is a work of fiction inspired by true events.

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One of Bollywood’s rising stars, Ayushmann Khurrana, plays Shivkar Talpade. Khurrana recently opened up about his life and, of course, Hawaizaada:

How was the transfer – shooting to presenter to singer to film actor?

I became an anchor because I was a very natural radio presenter. I was a radio presenter for two years in Delhi and I’ve done theatre in the past for 5 years.  So I think the combination of theatre and radio somehow makes me a good presenter. Because one is a visual media, the other one is audio media and both communicate in a way. And after becoming an anchor for four years, I made this transition from television to films. But at the same time I had to unlearn a lot stuff, because anchoring is like talking to the camera and acting is like ignoring the camera. So I again had to do a lot of workshops before Vicky Donor and in fact before every film I have workshops with the director.

And singer?

I used to take classical training as a kid from Mr. Prajesh Uja, but never took it too seriously. I had to choose between music group and theatre group in college – I chose theatre. I think even in theatre we used to compose our own songs for our own theatre productions. So in a way, I got ample practice for acting and singing at the same time.

What attracted you to Hawaizaada?

Hawaizaada is a potential cult film, you know, it’s based on true events and even the one liner draws a lot of attention. It’s a very novel script and the director Vibhu Puri has a great eye for detailing. Be it entertaining with the language or the sets or the scripting. I think he’s another prodigy in the Indian film industry from FTI, whose short film was nominated for the Student Oscars.

How aware were you about the original story it is based on?

I was completely unaware. It was a pleasant surprise, pleasant shocker for me when I heard that it was an Indian who made the first aircraft. Though it’s a conspiracy theory but it’s broad enough for a filmmaker to make a story.

Can you tell us about your character?

Shivkar Talpade is a happy-go-lucky, maverick kind of guy, who is a genius, who is wise, who doesn’t believe in a formal education but believes in the education of life. And he has various tracks in the film. One track is a love track. There is another track with his guru, the master Shastri. One track is with his father and eventually how we fly or propose to fly the plane. 

How did you feel stepping back in time for the movie?

I always wanted to do a period film. It was on my wish list because I have a good command of the language– I’ve done theatre in the past and Indian Sanskrit. So I always believed that the root [of] every Indian language is Sanskrit. It was easy quite for me to learn Marathi and I’m looking forward to this film.

How did your look get decided?

We had almost seven look tests before finalizing this one. And it took us a good two months to finalize the eventual look. And Vibhu has an eye for detailing. Eventually we decided on this geeky/charming look. 

How was the experience of acting opposite a legend like Mithun Chakraborty?

Mithun is amazing – he still feels like an eighteen year old. He has an amazing energy and there was this huge fan boy moment when I met him for the first time on the sets of Hawaizaada. And I used to dance to his song “I’m a disco dancer” – it’s wicked. It’s a pleasure working with him. 

You star opposite Pallavi Sharda in Hawaizaada who is fairly new to the Indian film industry. Do you bounce off each other, help each other for your respective roles in the movie?

We used to do a lot of jamming together & Pallavi is a very natural actress. Apart from that, she trained a lot and it required a trained dancer. She’s one of the most intelligent actresses I have ever worked with. 

What was your favorite moment in the movie?

I think all the flying shots are my favorite because I had this fear of heights, which was completely eradicated when I was suspended in the air for long hours and it used to take a lot of takes. Eventually I started enjoying all the flying shots being on a harness. 

Are you a good dancer? What’s your favorite move?

I think I have a good sense of rhythm because I am a musician and a singer myself. Apart from that, I am a huge MJ fan so my favorite move is the moonwalk.

Who is your all time acting idol?

Shahrukh Khan & Govinda.

Why should we all go watch Hawaizaada?

Because as I said, Hawaizaada is a potential cult film. It is the untold story of an unsung hero and the climax is going to give you goose bumps. 

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A-Squared Theater Workshop (Chicago) presents “Ching Chong Chinaman”

Angry Asian Man:

Hey, Chicago. From now until October 19, you can watch a performance of Lauren Yee‘s Ching Chong Chinaman, a satire of Asian American identity that explores what happens when a Chinese American family loses all sense of their cultural heritage.

Performances will be held at the Raven Theater Complex.

Here’s some more info:

Ching Chong Chinaman

by Lauren Yee

Directed by Giau Minh Truong
Produced by A-Squared Theatre Workshop

Named by Time Out Chicago as one of “17 theater shows to see this fall” in Chicago, Ching Chong Chinaman by Lauren Yee satirizes the Asian American identity and explores what happens when a Chinese American family loses all sense of their cultural heritage. The ultra-assimilated Wong family is living the American dream, but not all is perfect. Upton, the Wongs’ youngest child, dreams of becoming a World of Warcraft champion and the only things that stand in his way are his daily chores and homework. Desdemona, the Wongs’ daughter, has goals of attending Princeton, but her math grades are not up to par. Upton comes up with an idea to solve both their problem by acquiring Jinqiang, a Chinese indentured servant who envisions an American dream of his own.

September 27 – October 19*
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm
Sundays at 3:30 pm
(Preview: Friday, September 26 at 8 pm)

*The Friday, October 3rd performance will be a “Chinese Community Night” performance and reception organized by the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago with proceeds benefitting A-Squared Theatre Workshop.

All performances will be held at:
The West Stage of The Raven Theatre Complex
6157 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois 60660

For tickets, visit http://www.a-stw.org
$30 for general admission
$20 for students and seniors (with valid ID)
$75 for “Chinese Community Night” fundraiser performance and reception on Friday, October 3

For more information: 773.231.0832 or info@a-stw.org

For more information, visit the A-Squared Theatre Workshop website.

To purchase tickets, go here.

Boston theatre puts on play about Astro Boy and Tezuka

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Osamu Tezuka‘s Astro Boy, in addition to being a historically important piece of entertainment, is also widely beloved around the world. And now, some sixty-plus years after its first inception as a manga, it’s been granted additional life on the stage, thanks to the efforts of playwright and director Natsu Onoda Power, and the folks at the Company One theater company.

Titled Astro Boy and the God of Comics, this production is running every Wednesday thru Sunday at the Boston Center for the Arts‘ Plaza Theatre until August 16.

From the website:

Astro Boy – a crime-fighting, sweet-faced robot – and his creator, Osamu Tezuka – the real-life Father of Manga and “Walt Disney of Japan” – explore the intersections of science, art, and family.

 

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Power, an assistant professor in theater at Georgetown University, is also the author of God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga. Those eager in learning more about her interest in Tezuka, live animation, and theater can check out this interview in the theater company’s curriculum guide for the Astro Boy play.

This production marks the New England premiere of Astro Boy and the God of Comics. For ticketing information, check out the official website.

 

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Link

New J-drama ‘Kol Kimono’: Brought to you from…Thailand!

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Elegant kimono, cascading wisteria blossoms and the stunning scenery of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. If this sounds like an archetypal scene from the land of the rising sun, you’d be half right – new dramaKol Kimono, which hits TV screens in December, is definitely set in Japan. But you won’t find it broadcast there just yet – only in Thailand!

In Thailand, interest in Japanese culture is at an all-time high. Thanks in part to relaxed visa regulations, the number of Thai visitors to Japan has doubled in the last three years. The new primetime drama, which started filming on location in Kyushu last week, also stars Thongchai “Bird” McIntyre, one of Thailand’s biggest names, in his first leading role in 17 years.

 

▼ Thongchai McIntyre, king of Thai pop.

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Entitled Kol Kimono, the 24-part drama is described as a romance with fantasy elements. As you might expect from a plot described as “a cross between Romeo and Juliet and tanabata [a Japanese festival held in July, which has its origins in a story of star-crossed lovers]”, the story revolves around two feuding families.

BEC Group, Thailand’s biggest TV broadcasting company, says the show will be “the highest-class drama in Thai history”. They certainly seem to be pulling out all the stops, with an unprecedented high budget for a drama, and 80 percent of the filming taking place in Kyushu, Japan. Hoping that tourists are inspired to visit the locations shown in the drama will be business-owners in Imari, Ureshino and Takeo cities in Saga Prefecture, which are said to have been used for key scenes.

 

▼ Lead character Hoshi’s name even means “star” in Japanese. Because they’re star-crossed lovers, right?

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To coincide with the show’s first broadcast in December this year, events in Bangkok are being planned, including a kimono fashion show and the opportunity for visitors to try on kimono. There’s no news yet of an international release date, but we’re certainly intrigued by this new drama’s concept and set-up. It’s been given a Japanese title, too (Kimono Hiden, meaning “kimono mystery” or “secrets of kimono”), so we’re looking forward to finding out what Japan makes of its depiction in a Thai drama!

 

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The cast and crew are in Japan from May 14 for the start of filming, as well as for press conferences and some slightly less conventional events, including “praying for the show to be a hit”

 

Check out this link:

 

New J-drama ‘Kol Kimono’: Brought to you from…Thailand!

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Two Asian American pioneers named to Martial Arts Hall of Fame

AsAm News:

Two Asian Americans have been named to the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

The Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame today selected silent film star Anna May Wong and pioneer actor Mako as its next inductees.

Wong was the first Asian American film star and played lead roles in Daughter of the DragonShanghai Expresand many more.

It was a time when people like Warner Oland was cast to play the starring role of Charlie Chan, Peter Lorre playing Japanese detective Mr. Moto and all of the leading roles in the Chinese film The Good Earth were played by non-Asians. Anna May Wong had to combat the way Hollywood looked at the Asian-American community and force her way into being considered a major player on the silver screen,” notes museum president Michael Matsuda. “Without Wong, it would have taken a lot longer for Asians to be recognized as principal actors.”

Mako Iwamatsu starred in both tv and movies. Before there was Madonna, there was Mako.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the movie Sand Pebbles.

He was also founding member of the Asian American theater group in Los Angeles, the East West Players.

Check out this link:

Two Asian American pioneers named to Martial Arts Hall of Fame

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LOST actress Yunjin Kim to help bring Korean drama remake to ABC

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Former Lost co-star Yunjin Kim, now a lead on ABC’s summer series Mistresses, is expanding her relationship with the network. ABC has put in development an untitled hourlong project from ABC Studios and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s studio-based Fake Empire based on the Korean drama series Nine: Nine Time Travels.

The format was brought to Fake Empire by Kim, who will serve as executive producer alongside Schwartz, Savage and Fake Empire’s President of TV Len Goldstein in what marks Fake Empire’s tenth broadcast sale this season. Written by Derek Simonds, the untitled drama, described as part thriller, part epic love story, centers on a man with the ability to travel 20 years back in time who, in trying to alter a murder which destroyed his family, sets off a chain of events that impact the woman he loves and threatens his own life. He embarks on an odyssey through time to make things right.

Nine: Nine Time Travels, from CJ E&M Corp., is available in the U.S. on Hulu.

Check out this link:

LOST actress Yunjin Kim to help bring Korean drama remake to ABC