An Indian filmmaker is working on a movie about the boxing star and mother-of-two Mary Kom, whose bronze medal at the London Olympics cemented her status as a national hero. Sanjay Leela Bhansali announced on Tuesday that he was moved by the story of Kom, a farmer's daughter from the remote north-east part of India who overcame odds to become a five-time world champion. "Here's a person so splendid, so inspiring, so wonderful," Bhansali said. "Her story needs to be told to the world. It's a story of a fighter in life." Bhansali, who directed the 2002 hit movie Devdas, said he was "very, very moved" when he read the script. He admitted that he has not yet found an actor for the lead role: "We'll be auditioning a lot of people for it. Let's see." Omung Kumar, who wrote the script, will direct and plans to release the movie in the middle of next year. Kom, 29, told The Times of India thatshe hoped the film would improve ties between the marginalised north-east region where she comes from and the rest of the country. - AFP
Aamir Khan on the cover of Time
The actor Aamir Khan is on the cover of this week's Asian edition of Time magazine, with the headline: "Khan's Quest - He's breaking the Bollywood mould by tackling India's social evils. Can one actor change a nation?" The feature chronicles the effect of Khan's television show Satyamev Jayate, which premiered early this year and tackles social issues in India such as child abuse and female foeticide. "Khan has taken on the mantle of the country's first superstar activist," wroteTime. Khan is the fourth Bollywood actor to grace to cover of the magazine. The other three are Parveen Babi in 1976, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in 2003 and Shah Rukh Khan in 2004.
Shah Rukh Khan glad to film in Kashmir
The Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan says that he has finally fulfilled his dead father's wish and travelled to the Indian-held part of Kashmir to shoot his latest film, directed by the 79-year-old veteran Yash Chopra. "My father's one unfulfilled wish was to bring me to Kashmir because his mom was from here," the actor wrote on Twitter. "Now I am here, it feels I am in his big strong arms." According to news reports, Khan plays an army officer in the yet-to-be-titled film. Kashmir's beautiful hills and valleys made it a popular location for film shoots up until the late 1980s when rebel groups began to fight Indian rule in the area. The violence has ebbed in recent years and tourists and a few filmmakers are venturing back. - AP
Kunder talks Joker, plans to explore genres
The filmmaker Shirish Kunder hopes his latest film, the fantasy adventure Joker, will allow him to take on more unexplored genres in Bollywood. "The problem with trying innovative things is that no one believes you when you're making it," said the 39-year-old. "The entire process is full of struggles. The audience's acceptance to Joker will make it possible for me to explore new genres and fresh stories. If and when that happens, I'll attempt a new genre with every new film I make." Joker, currently screening across UAE cinemas, stars Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha. It is Kunder's second directorial venture, after the 2006 hit musical Jann-E-Mann. - IANS
Arab films showcase at Venice festival
Ten films by Arab filmmakers are part of the inaugural Venice Film Market at this week's Venice film festival. A business platform for cinema professionals, the market offers Arab films an opportunity to gain exposure at one of the world's most established festivals. The participating films, selected by the Dubai International Film Festival, are: Amal (UAE), Uncle Nashaat (Jordan), Yamo (Lebanon), Sector Zero (Lebanon), Last Friday (Jordan), L'amante Du Rif (Morocco), A 7 Hour Difference (Jordan), Gate #5 (Lebanon), Habibi Rasak Kharban (Lebanon) and Shi Ghadi Ou Shi Jay (Morocco).