MAY 2016
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Azhar “Azhar” Starring Emraan Hashmi, Prachi Desai, Nargis Fakhri, Lara Dutta; directed by Tony D’Souza; music by Amaal Malik, Pritam.

This film traces the life and events surrounding Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin, captain in the 1990s, who would become the country’s most controversial sportsman. Emraan Hashmi plays the title role of the cricketer coming from a middle class home in Hyderabad whose talent carries him to the professional arena. Prachi Desai plays Naureen, with whom shy young Azhar’s marriage is arranged. AzharHe becomes the captain of Indian cricket team and a transformation occurs. Azhar enjoys a flamboyant lifestyle and gets used to fan and media adoration. Actress Sangeeta Bijlani, played by Nargis Fakhri, enters his life and they eventually marry. His hugely successful career comes to a crossroads when he is accused of involvement in a match fixing scandal of immense magnitude. Lara Dutta plays the lawyer trying to prove the charges. From setting world records yet to be broken, Azhar becomes the accused, facing condemning allegations. He was found guilty of match fixing in 2000 and banned from cricket. The makers say “Azhar” reveals an inside look at the much publicized life of the cricketing star that changed the game forever.

"Sarbjit” Starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Randeep Hooda, Richa Chaddha, Darshan Kumar; directed by Omung Kumar; music by Jeet Gannguli, Amaal Malik.

SarbjitExpectations are high for this biopic, from the director of “Mary Kom,” based on the true story of an Indian farmer convicted of terrorism and spying in Pakistan and his sister’s fight to free him. Randeep Hooda underwent a transformation losing a lot of weight to play Sarbjit Singh, a farmer who lives near the Indo-Pak border in Punjab. He had crossed the border after a few drinks and was captured by Pakistani authorities who thought him to be a terrorist. He was tried and convicted for a series of deadly bomb attacks in 1990 and later sentenced to death. His punishment was repeatedly postponed. Meanwhile, his sister Dalbir Kaur, played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, campaigned for years doing everything possible to win his release. Richa Chaddha plays Sukhpreet, Sarbjit’s wife. In the end, all efforts to save him were futile. Sarbjit was attacked by fellow prisoners in April 2013 and died days later. Reports say Sarbjit’s real-life sister Dalbir Kaur herself has appreciated the film and each performance, especially Aishwarya’s. SarbjitHis family is grateful that the public will now know their story. Advance praise has been high for “Sarbjit,” true stories often make for compelling cinema.

Sold movieSold’ showing at st. petersburg (tampa bay area) theater

The intense, emotional story of one 13 year-old girl’s quest for freedom after finding herself a victim of human trafficking between Nepal and India, comes to the big screen in the feature film “Sold,” which opens on May 6 at Muvico Sundial 19, 101 Third Ave. N., in St. Petersburg.

The film is directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Jeffrey Dean Brown, executive produced by Oscar winner Emma Thompson, and produced by Jane Charles. The ensemble cast includes Gillian Anderson (“X-Files”) and David Arquette. Based on the international bestselling novel by Patricia McCormick, inspired by true events, “Sold” depicts the story of an extraordinary girl Lakshmi who is trafficked across the Nepal-India border and forced to work in a brothel in Kolkata, India. By telling one girl’s story, “Sold” gives voice to the millions of trafficked children who are unheard and unseen. According to ECPAT, a global network dedicated to protecting children, the average age of a girl who is trafficked for sex is 13 to 14 years old.

The film has won awards and was the opening night film at numerous film festivals across the United States and around the world. Brown believes that just as McCormick’s book was a call to action for himself, this film can serve as a call to global action on child sex trafficking. He said: "Our hope is that our film will foster global policy change and raise substantial funds for survivors in India, Nepal and the United States.”

Executive Producer Emma Thompson said, “It’s very rare that a piece of art or story telling could really help to change things, but ‘Sold’ is one of those films.” Thompson continued: “It is a story that we can all watch – so that we may understand the processes of slavery ... and feel able to act without feeling the kind of rage and hopelessness that gets in the way of doing anything.”

Synopsis: A young girl, Lakshmi, leaves her home in a quiet village in the Nepali Himalayas in the expectation of a job in big city India. However, upon her arrival in Kolkata, she soon realizes she has been trafficked into a prison brothel, where she must struggle daily to survive against impossible odds. An American photographer (Gillian Anderson) hears her cries for help and works with an NGO, to spearhead a dangerous mission to rescue her. Finally, Lakshmi must risk everything for freedom. “Sold” is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a clarion call to action.

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