Amitabh Bachchan to be honoured in Melbourne

Plus: Pooja Pihal wants more comedies; north-east Indian cinema to get a boost; Dharmendra says good old days were the best.

The Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured at the forthcoming Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, which will feature a retrospective of the 70-year-old actor's films. Bachchan is currently shooting for the director Prakash Jha's latest project, Satyagraha, in the city of Bhopal. Speaking about his busy schedule in the coming months, Bachchan posted on his blog: "I travel back to Bhopal in a few [days] to complete Satyagraha, to finish by the end of April and then immediately set off for New York to be with The Great Gatsby and its premiere. There is then the Melbourne festival, where they will do a retrospective of mine. That is from May 3 to 15. The Cannes Film Festival is opening on the 15th of May with The Great Gatsby, and I have to be there, too." He added: "At the end of all this, I would require a year to recover from symptoms of acute delusion as to what and where I am." - IANS

Pooja Pihal wants to take on more comedies

After starring in Hum Aapke Hain In Laws, the actress Pooja Pihal says she wants to continue doing more comedy roles, both in film and television. The popular Indian series revolves around a couple and the tussle between their families. "I want to do comedy again. If I get an offer, I will do it," Pihal said. "I had done many negative roles, so I wanted to do something different. I wanted some change in my roles. I wanted people to see another side of me and love me." She admitted that making audiences laugh is a tough task: "You can make them cry in two minutes. To make someone laugh, you have to struggle a lot." - IANS

North-east Indian cinema to get a boost from festival

The Imphal International Short Film Festival, which was inaugurated last year, has announced that it will support more films from North-east India from next year. Mohen Naorem, the organiser of the event, said independent filmmakers would be eligible for grants. "From next time on, we are going to give opportunity to the participating filmmakers of the festival to make regional films like Manipuri, Assamese and in other languages. We are also going to provide them with some grants for the purpose," he said. During the five-day festival that took place in Manipur last month, more than 100 short films were screened and 18 were awarded for their contribution to regional cinema. - IANS

Dharmendra: good old days were the best

One of Bollywood's veteran actors has said that the classics are the best and that his peers should watch old movies to find compelling stories and complex characters. The 77-year-old actor Dharam Singh Deol, better known as Dharmendra, even said that politicians would do well to watch them to learn how to tell the truth. "I think telling the truth has stopped today," he said. "In Satyakam [1969], I told the truth and it was a very good story. I think every politician should see the film. Good films are being made but characters like those in Satyakam and Bandini [1963] are no longer there in our country." - IANS

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This article has been amended. It previously stated that Amitabh Bachchan was due to be honoured at the Melbourne Film Festival when in actual fact the ceremony he will be honoured at is the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.