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New Cinema Wallpaper of the Day
Saturday, December 20, 2008
2009 will kick off with a bang with this Bollywood/Chinese fusion of kung fu, musical numbers and wild comedy! The fact that it has Gordon Liu in it kicks it into overdrive as one of 2009’s absolute must see movies!!!
::: Previous Gordon Liu Movie Wallpaper (Cinema is Dope)
About The Production
Bollywood action star Akshay Kumar stars as Sidhu, an unlikely hero whose journey from a roadside food stall in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, to an epic battle against the backdrop of the Great Wall of China, forms the heart of “Chandni Chowk to China.” For Kumar, one of India’s biggest stars, the film represented not only a return to action films but also an emotional journey. He grew up in Chandni Chowk and was a chef in Bangkok before meeting his destiny and becoming a much-beloved actor and star worldwide.
Shridhar Raghavan, the film’s screenwriter, reveals that the spirit of this action comedy was fuelled by two films he enjoyed watching as a child – both directed by one of the producers of the film, Ramesh Sippy: “Sholay,” a film in the genre of “Seven Samurai“; and “Seeta Aur Geeta,” the tale of two female twins separated at birth, one a firebrand and the other a gentle soul. “These were the kind of films I grew up on,” says Raghavan, “the kind of films I loved. The daunting part was to write a contemporary script evoking the spirit of those masala movies that combined action and comedy.”
Raghavan fused his Indian influences and fascination with Hong Kong cinema to create what he calls a “Kung Fu curry.” “From ‘36 Chambers of Shaolin‘ to ‘Kung Fu Hustle,’ I love them all and I particularly like the way humor can be blended with action, a tradition that goes all the way back to Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.”
“I knew that this material, combining the martial arts spectacle of Chinese films with the song and dance of Bollywood, had the power to capture the imagination of contemporary audiences everywhere,” says Sippy.
To maintain all the flavors in the script while executing some very complicated logistics on a tight schedule, Sippy brought in Nikhil Advani to direct. “Nikhil is a dear friend, which made the prospect of working with him very comfortable and exciting as well,” says Sippy.
“One day Rohan came over and handed me the script of ‘Chandni Chowk to China,’ and I was instantly fascinated,” says Advani. “Rohan had recently returned from location scouting in China and the photographs further whetted my appetite. Of course, after the initial euphoria of a new, exciting project, the challenges of the action and comedy aspects dawned on me.”
The story of the bumbling Sidhu, whose journey to China gives him an identity as well as a chance to believe in himself and save a village, resonated with the actor. Raghavan and Sippy were so enthusiastic about casting Kumar, they made a poster to present to the actor to give him a feel for the film. “I think the poster bowled him over,” Sippy recalls, “and, in fact, it is the same concept we used in the teaser poster of the film. I don’t think we could have envisioned any other actor in the role of Sidhu. Akshay has breathed life into this role. People will feel sympathy when he is a fumbling Sidhu and will cheer when he beats up the bad guys. There are very few actors who can convince the audience to accept them as a simpleton and as a kung fu expert within the same movie.”
To star opposite Kumar, as both the ingenue Sakhi and her long-lost twin, the femme fatale Meow Meow, the filmmakers cast Deepika Padukone, one of the most exciting debutante actresses in Bollywood. “Look out for this girl,” says Sippy. “She is extremely self-assured before the camera and held her own with her seasoned co-stars.”
Bollywood veteran Mithun Chakraborty plays the man who raises Sidhu. Dada is Sidhu’s conscience and also the catalyst for his transformation from a man who believes in taking the easy way out to a man who believes in himself. Their emotional scenes together form the soul of the film.
Another casting coup was Gordon Liu, the protagonist of the cult classic “36 Chambers of Shaolin,” who was cast as Hojo. He is also widely known as Pai Mei from “Kill Bill: Vol. 2.” “Our generation grew up on ‘Gunmaster G-9 Mithun‘ and ‘36 Chambers,’ and now these legends were here in flesh and blood, shooting with us,” says Shridhar Raghavan, echoing the excitement of the director and producers.
Ireland-based actor Roger Yuan came on board as the Chinese Sifu who teaches Sidhu martial arts. A seasoned stunt actor who has been in several Hollywood and Asian films, Yuan makes his first foray in Bollywood films with “Chandni Chowk to China.” For his role, Yuan had to learn to speak Hindi, which he found harder than stunts, but passed with flying colors.
“When you have such a powerful presence as Akshay Kumar, you need actors who not only hold their own, but also create a wonderful camaraderie at the same time, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that it has been achieved,” says Advani.
To create the film’s substantial fight sequences, Rohan enlisted renowned Kung Fu action director Huen Chiu Ku, more widely known as Dee Dee, during a trip to China. Huen Chiu Ku brought to the film choreography that is at times raw and comic, and smooth and lyrical at others.
Advani is a director who is used to being closely involved with every aspect of his films, from costumes to music to cinematography and lighting. In that aspect, Dee Dee’s style was unorthodox and took some getting used to for the director. “There was no shot breakdown,” Advani recalls. “I would be on set, wondering what Dee Dee would cook up next. But his blend of intense preparation and whirlwind improvisation worked perfectly for the action needs of the film.”
The film’s star, Akshay Kumar, worked closely with Dee Dee on the fight preparation. Beyond being an exceptionally versatile and professional actor, he is one of the few actors in Bollywood who has the physique and agility to have carried off the exacting demands of this role. “He is a daredevil, he loves performing stunts, revelling when they are risky,” says the director. “This attitude helped the production immensely because there was a stunt being filmed every single day, more often than not all day long.”
Dee Dee likewise worked with Deepika Padukone, whose role as the stealthy Meow Meow required numerous fight scenes as well, but along with everyone else, the fight choreographer was impressed with how efficiently she performed her stunts, flashing her million watt smile.
The production shot in three different countries – India, China and Thailand – utilizing local crew from all three countries. Producer Mukesh Talreja notes, “We have had Hindi-Chinese, English-Chinese, Thai-Chinese, Thai-English-Hindi – basically chaotic translations going on the whole time. Another major feat was recreating our Chinese village and building some other Chinese locations in Thailand. We had to be very careful with the details of our production design. We were shipping props from India to Thailand, from China to Thailand, making sure we got all the intricacies accurate. Of course, language barriers were unavoidable, but luckily led to very little being lost in translation, which in retrospect was mildly funny at times.”
A huge compliment was when Sippy walked onto the village set and said, “It looks like Ramgarh,” Advani recalls. Ramgarh is the name of the mythical village in “Sholay,” the most popular and longest-running Indian film in history.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Advani muses. “We have shot in some unbelievable locations. We had a rig on top of the Great Wall of China and Dee Dee’s stunt team on wires suspended off the wall. Can you imagine, shooting action on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, in freezing cold, running up and down and all over the wall for different sequences. It was breathtaking in its audacity!”
“We have no doubts that with our potpourri of exciting elements, and very talented international cast and crew, this film will succeed in exciting audiences worldwide,” says Sippy.
CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA” TO OPEN ON JANUARY 16TH
BURBANK, CA, December 11, 2008 – Warner Bros. Pictures will be releasing the film “Chandni Chowk to China” in North America on January 16th. The film will open in select theatres in more than 50 markets, making it one of the largest initial releases of any Bollywood film in the United States and Canada. The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
“Chandni Chowk to China” stars the heartthrob of Indian Cinema and current reigning king of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar. The cast also includes stunning model-turned-actress Deepika Padukone, Bollywood veteran Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey, and Chinese martial arts expert and actor Gordon Liu (”Kill Bill: Volumes One and Two“). Nikhil Advani (”Kal Ho Na Ho“) directed the film from a screenplay by Shridhar Raghavan. Ramesh Sippy, Mukesh Talreja and Rohan Sippy are the producers. The film also features stunts choreographed by veteran martial arts stunt coordinator Huen Chiu-Ku, whose credits include “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Kill Bill: Vols. 1 and 2” and “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.”
The first-ever Bollywood kung fu comedy, “Chandni Chowk to China” follows one man’s passage from simple cook to kung fu fighter, on a thrilling, madcap journey from the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, India, to the grandeur of the Great Wall of China and beyond. Akshay Kumar stars as Sidhu, a simple cook from Chandni Chowk who longs to escape his dreary existence. He sees his chance when two strangers from China claim him to be the reincarnation of a war hero from the past and entreat him to come back with them to their village in China. Dreaming of the princely existence that awaits him, Sidhu blissfully sets out for China, never suspecting that he is being set up to take on the vicious smuggler Hojo (Gordon Liu) and help his new friends reclaim their village.
“Chandni Chowk to China” will be distributed in North America by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
Official stills that were used in the original international release of the film.