Indian Director Bringing Show About Russian Mystic to American Cable?

Photo: philhopkins.co.uk

Photo: philhopkins.co.uk

Confused yet? In some exciting news on the television front, critically acclaimed writer/director/actor/producer (talented, huh?) Shekhar Kapur is teaming up with ‘Prison Break‘ creator Paul Scheuring to put together a series on cable network FX based on the infamous mystic/charlatan Grigori Rasputin as we near the 400th anniversary of the Russian Romanov Dynasty. The series will be based on the upcoming book ‘Rasputin: Dark Forces And The Fall of The Romanovs‘ by novelist Douglas Smith.

This isn’t Shekhar’s first brush with history as he first broke through to international prominence with his 1994 Hindi-language film ‘Bandit Queen‘ about the exploits of robber turned politician Phoolan Devi. He followed that up by directing Cate Blanchett to her first Oscar as Queen Elizabeth I in the historical drama ‘Elizabeth‘, which garnered 7 Oscar nominations total.

It’s clear what drew Shekhar to the enigmatic character of Rasputin . The peasant turned faith healer was very influential in the tragic last years of the Romanov dynasty as the Russian aristocracy was increasingly fascinated by mysticism in the early 1900’s. Rasputin could supposedly cure people with prayer, but his most impressive trick may have been his will to live as he almost survived a slew of assassination attempts (including being poisoned, shot three times, and clubbed all in one one night!) before meeting his doom in the frosty Malaya Nevka River.

Photo: npr.org Rasputin

Photo: npr.org
Rasputin

Shekhar is keeping himself busy with Indian projects as well and is currently acting in Tamil spy thriller ‘Visharoopam 2‘ as well as setting up the 2015 sci-fi thriller ‘Paani‘ starring Sushant Singh Rajput with Aditya Chopra and ‘Slumdog Millionarie‘s Danny Boyle producing and A.R. Rahman providing the soundtrack.

Woody Allen Pulls Film ‘Blue Jasmine’ Over India’s Censorship Laws

photo: zekefilm.com

photo: zekefilm.com

Woody Allen has decided to pull his latest film, ‘Blue Jasmine‘, from it’s Indian premiere date and showings in India over the nation’s censorship laws concerning the depiction of smoking in films.  Ever since 2011 a change to the  Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act of 2003 has made it compulsory that any film in which the characters smoke must also have a 30-second ad from the Ministry of Health decrying the ill effects of smoking along with a message that scrolls at the bottom of the screen. The scrolling message again reiterates the harmful effects on one’s health from smoking and that the actors in the film are in no way endorsing smoking.

Allen chafed at the idea of an extremely graphic ad interrupting his film. The ad shows mouth tumors, unhealthy, cancer ridden lungs, and other shocking images to dissuade Indians from smoking. India has 275-million users of tobacco with 1-million dying annually of tobacco-related illness so this represents an extreme attempt to curb smoking, especially among highly impressionable youngsters.

Blue Jasmine‘ stars Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Louis C.K., and Peter Sarsgaard in a film about a New York socialite arriving in her sister’s life in San Francisco amidst a whirlwind of trouble. The legally-required smoking messages in India are a source of derision in India with filmmaker Onir noting “Every time they appear on the screen, entire theaters in Bombay erupt in laughter. It shows the double standards of the country. On the one hand, you create an exclusive space on the airport for privileged people to smoke, while on the other hand, you have a problem that other people are watching fictional characters smoke on screen.”

In a country where alcoholism seems to be a growing problem, the singling out of smoking in cinema seems a bit hypocritical by the Indian government.

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Cannot load blog information at this time.

  • Check out my YouTube Channel

    Interviews, events and much more
  • Twitter Updates

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • For all inquiries please contact: WorldSannaKhan@gmail.com
  • © 2016 World SannaKhan. All rights reserved