The Most Expensive Bollywood Movie Ever Made

Deep crystal blue water and intense action scenes are the formula for the new Bollywood blockbuster hit BLUE, set to be released this Diwali weekend (October 16th). Shot on location in The Bahamas and Thailand (nice!), BLUE is the most expensive Hindi movie ever produced. For Hindi movie fans this is a long anticipated project, and with the nods it’s getting from viewers outside the traditional fan base, the movie promises to be an international mega-hit.
BLUE is the story of three friends (Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, and Zayed Khan) living in the Bahamas in search of a sunken treasure. Lara Dutta plays the character of a glamorous beach babe and Katrina Kaif makes an appearance to round out the star appeal of the film. The story is fueled by danger, deceit, and action. Lots of action: In the air, on the ground, and for the first time in an Indian film, underwater.

One of the biggest draws to this film is its “international” feel. Director Anthony D’Souza made it clear that he “tried to make a film that looks like it is from Hollywood but is in fact a 100 percent Bollywood film.” And producers spared no expense to help him, bringing in some of the best film technicians from around the world. Specialist cinematographer Pete Zuccarini (Pirates of the Caribbean, Deep Blue Sea) was brought in to capture the beauty of the ocean and underwater sequences. Fast paced action sequences – we closed roads and highways and blew up all kinds of vehicles for these shots - are guaranteed to get you wide-eyed thanks to James Bomalick (Fast and Furious – Tokyo Drift, Live Free or Die Hard).

Make-up artist Nickolette Skarlatos (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, The Soloist) and hair stylist Clarabelle Saldanha (Transformers) brought their expertise even adding that Lara Dutt’s look was very similar to Hollywood star Megan Fox.

To impress music fans, the Oscar winning pair of composer A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) and sound engineer Resul Pookutty (Slumdog Millionaire), were brought on to compose the tracks and handle sound for the film. More publicized, however, might be mention of Australian sensation Kylie Minogue, who was brought on to sing and dance for two of the most talked about songs and became the highest paid (more than $1 million) foreign star ever in a Hindi movie for doing so.

All in all, BLUE has the makings of a fantastic movie and Benetone Films is very proud to say we were a part of it. Here’s the official trailer (all the stunts not underwater were shot in Thailand), take a look and set aside some time in October to see the film:

Thailand Implements New Film Ratings System

After years of deliberation, and numerous delays, the Thai cabinet has finally passed a law which includes Thailand’s first ever film ratings system. Films released in Thailand will now receive an age-restricted certificate:

‘G’ (suitable for general audiences) -- No sex, abusive language or violence.

‘P’ (Promote) -- Movies that should be promoted on the basis of cultural or artistic merit.

‘+13’ -- No violence, brutality, inhumanity, bad language or indecent gestures.

‘+15’ -- Some violence, brutality, inhumanity, bad language or indecent gestures will be allowed.

‘+18’ -- No exposed genitalia, crime or drugs.

‘+20’ -- Sex scenes are allowed but no exposed genitalia.

Films do still run the risk of the trusty Ban from the ratings board – for movies that offend the monarchy, threaten national security, hamper national unity, insult faiths, disrespect honorable figures, challenge morals or contain explicit sex scenes – but seemingly with the new system in place this will occur less often than in the past.

The certificates are advisory (not enforced) with the exception of the ‘+20’ rating which is like the American NC-17 rating. No word yet on how entries in film festivals will be treated, or if movies that do give a peek at genitalia will be pixilated as they have been traditionally.
The issuing of the ratings comes just in time for the release of 4 movies that allow the ratings board to stretch its legs in the new scheme and allow us to get a sense of what to expect. No huge surprises here:

Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds” (the first film to be rated) – ‘+18’

Hayao Miyazaki’s anime feature “Ponyo” – ‘G’

Korean film “Naked Kitchen” – ‘+15’

American Documentary “Young at Heart” – ‘P’

The ratings are required to be posted by distributors on all promotional materials and have already cropped up in many Thai film-related websites. Several newspapers are lagging in implementing the ratings in their editorials, and since the theater owners are only required to verify the ages of their patrons for a ‘+20’ rating it could take some time before the system becomes mainstream.

Nasser Khan – Sights Set on Bollywood Star in "Shadow"

Before you read this article I’d like you to close your eyes and, while keeping them closed, go to the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of water... Okay. Close your eyes and go to the closet and select what you’re going to wear tomorrow... Alright. Close your eyes and go ride a motorcycle… drive a jet ski… and jump off a building.

I'll wait here.


Did you do all that? Did you remember to keep your eyes closed the entire time? Good. Now you have some idea of what it’s like to be Nasser Khan, one of our personal heroes and star of the new action film “Shadow – The Dark Side of Truth”.

See, Khan was born with cataracts and has lived his life with only 10-15% vision in his left eye, completely blind otherwise. Despite this disability though, he was top of his class until visibility became too much of a problem and he was forced to drop out (in Class VIII). He then studied electronics repair and the tannery business, and in 1995 opened his own tannery. He became increasingly interested in the IT sector and in 2000 became the first blind man to pass all four Microsoft certification courses (MCSE, MCSD, MCSA, and MCDBA) which carried him on to opening several computer centers. Next came investments in real estate, and then insurance. He's also an accomplished musician on various instruments.

He's basically Donald Trump and Stevie Wonder.
And now, he’s tackling the big screen and performing all his own stunts... which mean he's also Jackie Chan.
He's Donald Wonder-Chan.

For “Shadow – The Dark Side of Truth” Khan co-produces, acts, sings, dances, and performs a series of incredible stunts (ahem, you heard me right the first time: without the help of a stuntman). We line produced a good portion of this film and were blown away by his story and his performance. Apparently we weren’t the only ones - his beautiful co-stars Sonali Kulkarni and Hrishita Bhatt had nothing but praises for the man who Bhatt said was “a dream person to work with."

Yes, the movie is deliberately (and overtly) being marketed for the appeal of Khan’s real life story (he is, after all, a businessman first). But no, it does not come into the actual film where the integrity of the story and the rest of the cast is well maintained. This is an intense, energetic, and novel Bollywood action film and we highly recommend you checking it out – especially the parts in Bangkok!

*Author’s notes:

The movie was just released in India last week, so it won't be available right away for most of us, but I'll keep you posted as that changes.

I'm including this picture of "Shadow" stars Nasser Khan and Hrishita Bhatt for many many many of my own reasons:

Also... I will assume you didn’t actually try any of things I suggested when we started… but if you did, I hope you’ve cleaned up the floor, put away your work shirt and bicycle shorts, and I hope you were wearing a helmet. And from now on leave the wild stunts to the people who are actually visually impaired and know how to do them.

Headlines: Bangkok film fest lines up 'Old Hollywood Glamour'

By Parinyaporn Pajee Daily Xpress
Published on August 18, 2009

As visitor arrivals fall off, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hoping lure punters back with "Old Hollywood Glamour" at the seventh Bangkok International Film Festival from September 24 to 30.

There's hope the fest will generate Bt3 billion worth of spending and deals for the film industry, officials said yesterday. "The TAT has invested Bt25 million out of Bt80 million, while the rest comes from the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand and the private sector," says Jareuk Kaljareuk, federation president and festival director.

The theme, "Old Hollywood Glamour", means to combine the Hollywood's 1930s golden era with Thailand's of the 1960s. More than 80 features have been selected by the Thai Film Director's Association. "This year the trend for film festivals is to show serious movies and the Bangkok International Film Festival is no exception," says programming director Pimpaka Towira.

The opening and closing films were not revealed but confirmed titles include the Canadian drama "I Killed My Mother", the Cannes' Grand Prix winner "Un Prophete", the Thailand-set Swedish thriller "Mammoth" and "Burma VJ" by Danish documentarian Anders Ostergaard.
Action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme and South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun from "G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra" will be among 200 stars strutting the red carpets.

An opulent opening is set for CentralWorld while a welcoming banquet will be held on the Chao Phrya. The Golden Kinnaree Awards are set for the Dusit Thani's Chatrium Suites Bangkok.
Seminars will focus on business concerns. "We will bring foreign filmmakers and investors to share their experience with Thai filmmakers. It will portray how Thai film industry can build up the creative economy," says Asst Prof Dr Chavana Pavaganun, festival vice-director.

Source: The Nation

Benetone Films Short Selected for Thai Festival

So last year we decided to go on an experimental creative endeavor and produce our own short film. The film, "5 Minute War", is the brutal story of two young (12 year-old) brothers forced to fight each other in an illegal boxing club in order to save the life of their mother. It was met with great reviews and was even an official selection of the Pai International Film & Animation Festival 2008. Well we were thrilled, to say the least.

And now, for those of you that missed it (and are living in the Bangkok area), "5 minute war" has been selected to play at the 13th Thai Short Film Festival on Saturday Aug 22nd, at 15:00. The festival is currently running and will continue through the 23rd and is being held at The Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, the Prathumwan Intersection (opposite MBK), here's a map -

Can't make it? Well we're not happy about that... but we'll forgive you if you take a look at the official page here, or watch the trailer here on YouTube.

A Bollywood Homage to Classic Kung Fu

Chandni Chowk to China is Bollywood’s first ever Kung-Fu comedy and it’s now available on DVD. Now normally we like to take some time to highlight our contributions to a project… and this time is no different, it'll come later… but there’s a lot more going on with this movie than just some amazing work on our part.

First of all, Bollywood’s never before made an attempt at breaking into the Kung Fu comedy realm (think Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow). But CC2C, which is much easier to say, incorporates the stylized comedy and superb stunt coordination with Indian themes and Bollywood choreography (think Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow dancing and singing in Hindi).

The film lucked out in getting Warner Brothers to co-produce and distribute the film in the US – WB’s first Hindi project – which helped to bring on some really big names for the project: from India is the routinely zero-to-hero star Akshay Kumar (Welcome, Singh is King) and the stunning Deepika Padukone (Bachna Ae Haseeno, Love Aaj Kal) ; from China is legendary Shaolin-style martial-arts actor Chia Hui Liu; and from the US is Hollywood actor (and real life martial artist) Roger Yuan. These actors are brought together for some beautifully coordinated fight sequences – including the first ever that the Chinese government has allowed to be shot on the Great Wall - thanks to action choreographer Huan-Chiu Ku (Fist of Fury, Romeo Must Die, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).

Did you get all that? Point is, these are some serious martial-arts people here and the folks from Bollywood really held their own in such unfamiliar territory (click here for an article on Huan-Chiu Ku’s doubts about Kumar) and it’s worth taking a look.

Another notable fact about this movie is that a large portion of it was filmed in Thailand (you knew it was coming). The crew decided to bring the shoot to Thailand for more than half of the film thanks to the low cost of shooting and the ease of attaining production permits. Benetone Films was there to scout locations, get said permits, assist stunt coordination with proper rigging (one of the best rigging crews that Huan-Chiu Ku said he's ever worked with, thank you), and recreate an entire Chinese village.

The film was met with mixed reviews and a good deal of controversy (completely banned in Nepal by the Nepalese government) over an apparent misrepresentation of the birthplace of Buddha. See the trailer here and if you like what you see (and have 2 and a half hours free... and don't live in Nepal) check out the movie!

Making Of video - exclusive to our Facebook page

We've uploaded a really cool video that gives you a behind the scenes look at the work we did for a Spring Tea commercial. It's a short clip, but you get to see how complex this shoot actually was - since nearly the entire production was completed under water! Click on the title of this post to be taken to the page.

Benetone Films now on Facebook!

It had to happen eventually. Partly because everyone's been telling us how great it is... and partly just because we need some friends to hang out with on the weekends... you can now find us on facebook! Swing by our main page and become one of our lovable fans... just follow this link:

We'll be posting news there too, but also behind the scenes pics, TVC reels, and some other fun stuff that will be exclusive to our facebook page... so watch out!

Indian Cinema beats US ,UK and China

Facts and figures which surprised the whole world:

Recently European Audiovisual observatory known for its in-depth study of Film, Television, video and multimedia Industry came out with its latest report Focus 2009 on Film market trends of different countries of World. Though the whole world already knew about the combined mass production of movies across India is much higher than any other country in the world, there were certain figures revealed by the study which surprised not only the cinema goers in India but the entire world.

It was evident that being the highest populated country of World , theater admission would be more as compared to other countries, but as high as 3.29 bn, which is equivalent to the combined figure of the other top 9 producing countries of World, reflects the interest of Indians towards cinema.

Though Bollywood has been misapprehended as Indian cinema for a long time, it accounts for 22% of the total films followed by Telugu and Tamil films accounting for 21% and 13% respectively. Growth in multiplex screens which now accounts for 65% -70 % of the total Indian box office boosted the revenue graph which increased by 12% compared to last year revenues.In 2008 Indian box office reached $ 1.8 bn with average ticket price as low as 25 INR on the other hand another Asian country Japan with an average ticket price as high as 600 INR reached $1.9bn mark. Unites states on the other hand generated revenues close to $9.7bn with theater admission of 1.3 bn approximately. Average ticket price in United states is $7. Similarly United kingdom touched a whopping figure of $8.5bn with only 164 million people going to theaters in 2008. Thus Indian cinema beats other countries when it comes to no. of movies produced and theatre admission whereas lags behind in box office collection.

Every year Indian film industry bears a loss close to $ 1 bn due to piracy which is eating a big portion of revenue generated every year. Film fraternity is trying hard to curb such practices and the day it’s eradicated, Indian cinema will give tough competition to other countries in terms of net box office revenues.
Source: Out of Box: August, 2009

The Benetone Films Blog is back in action!


Our blog has been out of commission for a while but we're back now in full force! We'll be bringing you the latest TV and film production news, behind the scenes from our newest projects, and even some surprises along the way. Thanks for joining us!

Here's a quick update of some of what's been going on with us recently:


"Domino's Pizza" Commercial - We just finished a really funny commercial for Domino's Pizza delivery service starring MTV India's hottest VJ, Cyrus.


"Chunnu N Mhunnu" - We're currently line producing this family film that follows a young hotel owner and his lovable chimpanzee friend as they fend off a bullying corporation that wants the little hotel for their own.

"LUCK" - Finally this highly anticipated, star-studded action film has been released and we're really excited about this one! Benetone Films headed the production of the climactic action sequence that is sure to blow you away!

That's just a little to get you caught up with some of our projects. Want to see some clips? Take a look at our YouTube page to see lots of 'em at .

Have any questions? Requests? Wanna tell us how you feel (probably loved) one of our projects?

Feel free to drop us a line!

And don't forget to keep checking back for our latest happenings...

Post Ads (Documentation Required)

Author Info (Documentation Required)