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Photo : @akshaykumar

Is Akshay Kumar Losing Bankable Star Image?

Akshay Kumar may be one of the few actors in Bollywood who completes his films in record time. Ironically, his record of flops seems to be beating that. The ‘Khiladi’ Kumar’s latest film Bade Miyan Chote Miyan has opened to lukewarm response at the box office despite the fact it was released on Eid. The Day 1 collection was Rs 16.07 crore.  Movie critic Taran Adarsh commented on X: “With a dream cast + lavish making + holiday factor + aggressive promotions + terrific track record of its director, #BMCM should’ve opened anywhere between Rs 25 cr and Rs 30 cr [even higher] on Day 1.” Trade pundits feel that Akshay Kumar’s poor numbers at the Box Office both pre- and post-Covid has in a way dented his bankable star image. It is likely that filmmaker makers will definitely think twice before signing him. The films that have not worked for Akshay Kumar are Selfie, Mission Raniganj,  Samrat Prithviraj, Ram Setu, Cutputli and  Bachchan Pandey. Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede says, “This sixth flop in a row is a sorry state for Akshay kumar, who has been the favourite of producers. His over exposure or the choice of films, or his experimentation with various genre could be some of the reasons for his films not finding takers. He was always a bankable star, but with several flops, his filmography seems to be losing its sheen.”  The trade will be closely watching how his films like Skyforce, Housefull 5, Welcome To The Jungle and JollyLLB 3 fare.
ajay akshay

Once Again Akshay Kumar And Ajay Devgn Clash At The Box Office

Once again Bollywood’s two big stars Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar are going to clash at the box office. And the film trade is not at all surprised as it is not the first time their films are releasing on the same day – it is the fourth time.  When it comes to business they are strong rivals even though both have worked together in three films together. They worked in Suhaag, Insaan and Khakee. Insiders say it was after Khakee Ajay blamed Akshay Kumar for chopping his role. Post Ajay’s comment, Akshay Kumar in one of the award functions took a jibe at Ajay indirectly by saying that he is being called the “editor” of the film.  Ajay almost got his film Golmaal 4 to be released the same day as Robot and Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar; but Robot got postponed at the last minute due to VFX. Once again, both Ajay and Akshay were making a film on the same subject — Battle of Saragarhi. Ajay announced the film first but Akshay got Karan Johar to break the news about the movie. Salman Khan was co-producing the film with Karan but Ajay, it is learnt, convinced him to opt out of the project. If Akshay Kumar got Vipul Shah to screen Action Replay to coincide with Golmaal 3 release then Ajay got his Toonpur Ka Superman to coincide with Akshay Kumar’s Tees Maar Khan. Not many know that Ajay Devgn wanted the movie rights of Jaswant Gill on whose life the film Raniganj was made with Akshay Kumar as the lead. Now one needs to see what happens with Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan and Maidaan both releasing on Eid.
kapil madness

Is Laughter Better Or Bitter Medicine?

  So the popular standup comedian Kapil Sharma has moved from TV to OTT. His comedy show with a new title The Great Indian Kapil Show is on Netflix. Will the gamble of moving to a new platform work for Kapil Sharma and his team? His entire gang is part of the new show save for his friends Chandan and Bharti Singh. But a big surprise was the return of Sunil Grover. Both friends had fallen apart. Sources say that Kapil Sharma has got a bigger budget but the script, going by the first episode featuring Ranbir Kapoor and his mother Neetu Kapoor, lacked the usual Kapil’s punch. Kapil, it is learnt, is wooing top stars like Aamir Khan to appear on his show. It will be the first time Aamir will be on a reality show. But trade experts say that Aamir may not have much impact as he is not known for one-liners or witty comments. It is a known fact that when his show was on Sony TV, he had a free hand but Netflix may have its own sets of rules and regulations as they are catering to a wider global audience. This may be one of the reasons that the first episode lacked the usual Kapil Sharma punch. Interestingly, the comedy space attracts high TRP and Kapil moving out, saw Sony TV launch a new show Madness Macheyenge: India Ko Hasayenge hosted by star Huma Qureshi. Now on air for over a month it seems like a dry laughter show; it lacks timing, punch and humour. The first week TRP was too low. Will this laughter show become a bitter medicine for the channel?

Photo : @SrBachchan

Hale And Hearty Shahenshah Has His Plate Full

The news of Big B admitted to a city hospital went viral on WhatsApp and a news website of a TV channel and a news aggregator carried the story. In fact, Amitabh Bachchan called his health scare news, a fake. Nobody knows who started this rumour mongering but needless to say, it did worry people who are betting on Big B. If a star gets married or is hospitalised it does derail all the schedules leading to cost overruns. Mercifully everybody can relax. Eighty-one year old Bachchan is a complete workaholic and going by the IMDB report there are 14 films in the pipeline — some of them Aankhen 2 and Hasmukh Pighal Gaya are on hold. Meanwhile, he is busy shooting with south actors like Prabhas, Rajnikanth. With Deepika Padukone he is doing The Intern. It may be recalled that Amitabh Bachchan’s sign off note after the last season of KBC was looked at his exit from the show but then Sony Television quickly issued a statement that Bachchan is definitely going to be there in the next season—so to his millions fans and well-wishers Amitabh Bachchan is not going anywhere at least for now. You will see Big B on the small screen and on the big screen.
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Is Political Theme The New Winning Formula In Bollywood?

In this election year not one but several films with political themes will hit the screens. Yami Gautam starrer Article 370, a real life story on abrogation of Article 370 seems to have created enough ripples to keep the cash register ringing. Now, ready to be released is Randeep Hooda’s Swatantra Veer Savarkar which could well be driving the BJP’s agenda and work-in-progress is The Sabarmati Report. Do these patriotic themes help filmmakers and politicians? Actually, patriotic films have been made off and on – Manoj ‘Bharat’ Kumar was a pioneer. But in recent times Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir File created controversy that saw him making big money –Rs 350 crore. So did The Kerala Story which did well at box office. With audiences craving for more such movies, filmmakers are going full blast. Most of these films generate controversies which helps these films to create curiosity and the much-needed publicity. In March 2024, one will see almost 3-4 films based on the political subject released. Accident Or Controversy? Godhra, which was to release on 15th March has been postponed by a week or two. Swatantra Veer Savarkar is releasing on 22nd March and is already in news owing to its innovative marketing strategies. Bastar: The Naxal Story, another political drama, is releasing soon. Most of them will be released before elections are over. According to Girish Wankhede, Film Trade Expert, “Anything pertaining to the film’s issue can feed the much-needed controversy for these films which in turn will help them to generate eyeballs and eventually footfalls.” For the filmmakers it is a pure business decision; they may be or may not be aligned with the ruling party.
Ram Charan_SRK

Is It North Vs South In The Hindi Film Industry Too?

There was a time in the eighties when South Indian stars like Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth tried their luck in Bollywood – they bought a house in Mumbai and learnt Hindi too. But, sadly they could not survive because of Bollywood politics; they were bullied and finally went back to Chennai. Maybe the producers were not willing to take risks because of their south Indian accent, skin tone and average height. But not anymore. Today, South stars like Ram Charan, NTR Jr, Allu Arjun are bigger than the Khans; their fan base is bigger than all the three khans put together. Most stars from the south are money making machines. Reacting to the way Shah Rukh Khan said “Idli Ram Charan” at Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant pre-wedding celebration at Jamnagar, a Bollywood insider said, “Ram Charan does not dance to anybody’s tune and nobody dares address him the way Shah Rukh Khan did…”  Ram’s associate Zeba found it insulting and expressed her displeasure by walking out. On the contrary, Ram Charan did not react negatively, he was cool. But the fans of Ram Charan have been trolling King Khan. Today, the tables have turned, south actors are not desperate to shift lock, stock and barrel to Mumbai. They are signing up films on their terms which is breaking records in the Hindi belt. Surely, SRK who is always politically right and measured in his talks must have said it in a lighter vein but this seems to have not gone well with South Indian audiences.
vidyut jamwal

Action Hero Vidyut Jammwal, An Outsider Who Created His Own Space In Bollywood

Action hero Vidyut Jammwal who has completed 13 years in the film industry with 24 films to his credit has turned a producer with his latest film Crakk. The 43-year old model turned actor, a rank outsider, has a loyal band of followers due to his own dedication and martial art skills. He is a keen practitioner of Kalaripayattu, a form of martial arts popular in Kerala. Vidyut made his debut with John Abraham in Force in 2011. The turning point of his life was Vipul Shah casting him in the successful franchisee Commando. One of the fittest actors Vidyut built his loyalty like south actors. As a trade expert said, “His films are a safe bet as he has a loyal audience that watches his films both in cinemas and TV. His IB 71 was a well appreciated film. His film Crakk with co-star Arjun Rampal is on the lines of Mission Impossible. The day is not far away where we will see Vidyut taking the crown of the best action hero of Bollywood.” Girish Wankhede, Movie Trade Analyst says, “With movies like Commando he carved a niche for himself as an action star and created his own fan following. I personally believe that he has got a great potential as a star but to achieve Stardom he needs to work on his diction and hone his acting skills further.”  The actor who hasn’t worked in any multi-starrers turned producer to focus on the action genre. Vidyut who has managed to keep himself out of controversy was engaged to fashion designer Nandita Mahtani but things didn’t work out. POWERED BY : ICICI LOMBARD
jhanvi kapoor

Janhvi Kapoor: An Insider Who Is Proving Her Mettle

  Janhvi Kapoor, daughter of Sridevi-Boney Kapoor, has in a short span of time matured as an actress. The new generation looks up to her for her choice of films, fashion sense and visibility quotient. She entered Bollywood in 2018 with Dhadak, a remake of a Marathi film Sairaat and then went on to be nominated for Filmfare Award for Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Mili. The 27-year old actress has been working on big screen as well as on OTT. Of the dozen films she has acted in, many like Roohi have bombed at the box office but that has not deterred her from trying even harder. That confidence perhaps is seeing her being signed by various brands and even big producers. The latest rumour is that she may replace south star Sai Pallavi to play Sita in Nitish Tiwari’s Ramayana featuring Ranbir Kapoor as Lord Ram. Her line-up is pretty impressive; she will be seen along with Rajkummar Rao in Dharma Production’s Mr and Mrs Mahi. Besides, she has signed three biggies in South out of which one is Devara with junior NT Rama Rao Jr which is releasing in April. Her energy, her willingness to challenge herself, keeping herself updated and being media friendly is standing her in good stead. She may be an insider but in the end it was her talent, hard work and adaptability that won her recognition in the Hindi film fraternity.
esha deol

Photo :@Esha_Deol

Incompatibility Or The ‘Woh’ Factor: Why Do Some Star Marriages Fail?

In the last few years, several star marriages have turned sour. Many of them opted for a divorce/separation. A few got remarried – Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. And some like Karishma Kapoor, Pooja Bhatt and Sohail Khan prefer to remain single again. The latest separation announcement came from Esha Deol — Hema Malini-Dharmendra’s eldest daughter. She is the first person from Deol family to separate from her husband Bharat Takhtani after 12 years of marriage. Reason: she could not come to terms with various restrictions imposed by her hubby like wearing shorts at home. The first star marriage that turned rocky and hit national headlines was that of superstar Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia. The reason given was Kaka’s numerous affairs. But, most Bollywood marriages have not worked out primarily because of the ‘other’ girl/boy in their partner’s life. Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora separated after reports about her affair with Arjun Kapoor came out in the open. He recently married Raveena Tandon’s stylist Shura Khan. Some stars did not call off their marriages because of sheer societal pressure and kept it under wraps. A case in point is Sunny Deol inspite of his proximity with Dimple has managed to keep his married life intact. In some cases, it has been the substance abuse. Aamir Khan divorced twice is married for the third time. Model turned actor Arjun Rampal separated from super model Mehr Jessia after 21 years of marriage and is now living with Gabriellia Demetriades. Most marriages in Bollywood have turned sour largely because of “torrid affairs”.
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Photo : @AnilKapoor

Anil Kapoor: An Actor For All Seasons

After Dev Anand one can safely call the 67-year old Anil ‘Jhakas’ Kapoor, Bollywood’s Evergreen hero. He has constantly reinvented himself. The Woh Saat Din actor has come a long way. In a career spanning over 40 years, Anil who is recognised for playing all kinds of roles has acted in over 100 films.  He is identified for some of the interesting roles he essayed in Hindi films like Mr India, Mashaal, Tezaab, Ram Lakhan, Nayak, Welcome, English movie Slumdog Millionaire and English TV serial 24. And in recent times, he has managed to give two consecutive superhits – Animal and Fighter.  So be it TV, OTT or big screen, his works have always been noteworthy. The Night Manager on OTT has always been the talk of the town and his portrayal of a shrewd, cunning businessman was well received. With Fighter he has reached an altogether different zone. According to Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede, his energy and intensity are palpable, we can see Anil Kapoor 2.0 or 3.0 because of his versatility and his understanding of each medium. The fitness freak has consciously kept out of controversy or linked up with his female co-stars. Like Big B, Anil too is very disciplined and professional. He never went out of circulation like many stars of his time and who are desperately trying to make a comeback. His career graph, like Dharmendra, Jeetendra, has been steady. Clearly, Anil is a smart actor who can easily write a book, ‘How To Stay Relevant’ all the time.

Can Ranbir Kapoor Emerge As The Next Superstar?

Looks like the 41-year old actor Ranbir Kapoor is on a roll. He returns to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s camp after a gap of 23 years with his wife Alia Bhatt signed up as the leading lady for Love and War. Ranbir was launched by Bhansali in Saawariya. The subject of the new movie seems to be a love triangle and Vicky Kaushal too is part of the cast. Besides, Ranbir will start shooting for Nitesh Tiwari’s Ramayan in March with south heroine Sai Pallavi. Meanwhile, the actor is getting trolled for being a meat eater and criticized for playing Ram. To top it all his successful film like Animal has got extreme reactions from the feminist group. But that has not stopped filmmakers from casting him in their films. Film Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede says, “Ranbir Kapoor is on a roll because he has given one of the biggest hits of last year and the entire trade and filmgoers think that it was a long due from a Superstar like Ranbir.” He has been in the industry for more than a decade but was not able to deliver the blockbusters, but with Animal he has proved that he is a bankable star. Ranbir is slated to do the sequel of Animal. Ranbir who has acted in 38 films in the last 23 years charges around Rs 30 crore for a film. Today, he is one the most sought after actors. Going by this trend Ranbir could well emerge as the next Superstar.


SRK’s Love-Hate Relationship With Paparazzi

The optics seemed to suggest that he had changed. Shah Rukh Khan who won the CNN-News18 Indian of the Year 2023 award was at his charming best, regaling the audience with his gig and humour. In his speech, Khan said that he is not just the Indian of the Year, but of all years. “I am the Indian of all ages.”  His demeanour gave indications that from now all is going to be well between him, film scribes and paparazzi. But, it did not. Recently, the actor stepped out of a building in Bandra covering his face with a hoodie and seemed to be in a bad mood. When a paparazzi tried to click his photo, the Superstar for no reason snapped at him; he hit the phone of the pap and walked away, and surprisingly, even his long standing manager Pooja Dadlani did likewise. A pap said, “He behaves well with the media when he wants to or when he is at a big event like an award night, wedding or Eid function.” King Khan was one of most media friendly superstars. He set the trend of celebrating birthdays and festivals with scribes and paparazzi. What changed him? Some say, the media went overboard while reporting on his son Aryan Khan’s drug case. Plus many had written him off for not giving good hits. In 2023 he proved his detractors wrong with a series of hits like Pathaan, Jawan and Dunki.
vicky katrina


Has Marriage Transformed Katrina Kaif?

One of Bollywood’s prettiest star Katrina Kaif seems to have transformed herself post her marriage to Vicky Kaushal. Katrina who has completed 20 years in the film industry is not the same standoffish, arrogant and introvert person, says trade people who are closely watching her career graph. She is now accessible, affable and exudes a certain sense of warmth when she meets paps and film journalists. The new Katrina was visible at the sneak peek of the Tamil version of the trailer of her upcoming film Merry Christmas in Mumbai. The star who was once dating the likes of Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor always had a shield around her. Was it because she was not comfortable with Hindi language? Katrina who started her odyssey in 2003 with Boom has acted opposite all top stars and is remembered for her item number chikni chameli in Agneepath. Salman Khan with whom she has done one too many films became a mentor and friend. He played a big role in her career. Salman Khan had an aversion with the media so maybe it was rub-off effect on his girlfriend. Even Ranbir Kapoor whom she dated always kept the media at arm’s length. But, to her credit insiders say she is a thorough professional who stays away from Bollywood politics. But when Vicky Kaushal came into her life he was quite open and he helped her to break the shield around her.
akshay kumar


Will 2024 See The Return Of Akshay Kumar?

If 2023 belonged to Shah Rukh Khan whose three films grossed around Rs 3,000 crore then there are every chances that 2024 could see the return of Akshay Kumar. The 56-year old actor has three big releases including Bade Miyan Chote Miyan directed by Ali Abbas Zafar. The movie with Tiger Shroff is not a comedy but an action-packed film that could be a big draw. Kumar also has Skyforce and a multi-starrer Welcome to the Jungle to be released in December 2024. It may be recalled that Lady Luck had been eluding actor-producer Akshay Kumar for the last two-three years; he had series of flops. But, Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede says, “With nearly Rs 1,000 crore riding on Akshay Kumar …the total earnings of his four releases could cross the Rs 4000-crore mark.”  The first to hit the big screen will be Bade Miyan Chote Miyan in Eid in April with an approximate landing cost of 300 crore. This will be followed by Singham Again’ in August wherein he has a cameo along with Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh. It is Rohit Shetty’s cop universe which is unlikely to fail with an estimated budget of 350 crore. His third release, Skyforce will be in October. Its cost is around Rs 150-200 crore. And Akshay’s big release of 2024 — Welcome to the Jungle, will happen during the Christmas season. This multi-starrer movie budgeted around Rs 300 crore is expected to do well.

Has ‘Animal’ Reset Bollywood’s Formula Film Strategy?

Has the Ranbir Kapoor starrer Animal changed the palate of the audience? There are people in the trade who have blamed Animal for the lukewarm response to SRK’s Dunki at the box office. They say Dunki is a social film and does not have any high-octane violence voyeurism or blood and gore like Animal. In the same breath the trade people blame Shah Rukh Khan for changing audience taste with Pathaan which earned Rs 1000 crore. Dunki looks weak as it collected only Rs 30 crore on day one while SRK’s other two films Pathaan earned Rs 57 crore and Jawan Rs 75 crore on day one. Both the movies had a hero and an anti-hero in them but Animal has come and changed the idea of hero and today a complete anti-hero is being lauded by the audience in a big way. Sociologists feel that the subject is connected with youth and they have identified with the character of Ranbir Kapoor who speaks their language. It’s common knowledge that audience preference and taste keeps changing. In the late seventies romance themes worked with Rajesh Khanna becoming an icon; in the eighties it was an angry young man image portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan.
abhi aish


Aishwarya And Abhishek: Rocky Marriage Or Only Hiccups?

The social media, during the past few months, have been on an overdrive about Aishwarya and Abhishek’s marriage, and that she has moved out. For public consumption Aishwarya stays in Amu, which is in close vicinity to Jalsa where Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan stay. About Ash-Abhishek marriage, reliable sources say, Bachchan Jr has too many commitments and is doing one too many back-to-back shoots outside Mumbai. His long absence and Ash only being seen with her daughter Aaradhya in social gatherings has perhaps given wings to the rumours that their marriage is on the rocks. Reliable sources say that even if there is stress in the relationship, it happens in all marriages, there will never be a separation in the Bachchan house; Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is and will always be a Bachchan bahu. Another trigger point for the rumour of Ash moving out is the story about Big B gifting his landmark bungalow Prateeksha in Juhu, a tourist spot, to daughter Shweta Nanda. Perhaps to stop this tongue wagging the entire Bachchan clan did a photo op at The Archies premier in which their grandson Agastya Nanda plays the protagonist Archie Andrews. But, in a way, this move gave grist for the rumour mills as Aishwarya’s sis-in-law Shweta Nanda was missing from the frame.
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Did ‘The Archies’ Connect With Gen Z Or Older Generations?

A Hindi movie based on popular English comics pandering to the urban populace was a big risk. More risky was to take fresh faces – all insiders — SRK’s son, Big B’s grandson and Boney Kapoor’s daughter. But, then 51-year old Zoya Akhtar is known to make path breaking films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do, Gully Boy to name a few. But strangely people from her fraternity who saw The Archies confessed “There is nothing in this movie”. Were they being uncharitable? This Netflix original film, an Indian adaptation of the popular Archie comics, made at a cost of Rs 40 crore has no box office numbers to measure its success as it was released on OTT platform. But IMDb rating for India gives it 8.2/10 — a big jump from 1.2 initially. In other countries the user rating was an average of 4. Promoted aggressively in colleges and via events The Archies hasn’t touched the Gen Z and disappointed older generation (read Metros) who grew up reading Archie comics points out a knowledgeable source. The three star kids may have got a bad start but surely more work will come their way. It may be recalled that Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor started with a flop but today Ranbir is one of top stars. Agatsya Nanda has already been signed by Sriram Raghavan and Suhana apparently has a film with her father Shah Rukh Khan. Khushi Kapoor and Ibrahim Khan (Saif Ali Khan’s son) are being paired in a film.

Ranbir's 'Animal' Shikar Bags The Big Game

Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal has hit the box office like a tsunami with the film crossing the Rs 100-crore mark in Day 2 in India and over Rs 200 crore worldwide. Movie critic Taran Adarsh took to X to say it’s a “box office monster”. And this is Ranbir’s biggest hit at the box office ever since he entered Bollywood in 2007 with Saawariya. This Sandeep Vanga Reddy film did face criticism on the portrayal of women — almost objectification of the heroine and a pronounced male alpha. But that has been the way Vanga Reddy has told his stories. Trade circle say this factor has worked in favour of director Vanga Reddy and actor Ranbir. Forty-one year old Ranbir, who has acted in over 21 films in the last 16 years, has taken pains to pick up scripts which are different for every movie as he did not want to be typecast. His life goal is to be recognised as an actor and is confident with that stardom will follow. Historically, Kapoor’s films have not been very extraordinary at the box office; his last film Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar was a semi hit and the only blockbuster was biopic Sanju. But Animal is leagues ahead. Animal is one film that has broken all the norms of a hero in Hindi cinema
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Do Good Looks Matter In Bollywood?

Historically, audiences went to the theatres to see stars for their looks. Rewind to 60s, 70s, 80s and you will see all Bollywood actors were handsome, good looking, macho. Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna to name a few. In the case of actresses it was their ravishing beauty, the dream girl of every man. Sadhana, Saira Banu, Hema Malini, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit and Dimple Kapadia. Chocolate heroes and dream girls were synonymous with Bollywood. It was only in the art cinema that looks were secondary – Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah. The advent of hinterland cinema brought the ordinary looking boy and girl center stage. Says a Bollywood’s senior casting director, “Those days of having a conventionally good looking actor are gone. If you see most of the actors today who are doing well especially on the OTT are far from being that.” Today the audience is more open to looking at realistic characters whom they can connect, relate and identify with. Today being a good actor is far more important than good looks. “Acting and talents are the first two criteria of casting today, if the actor is good looking then it’s an added advantage,” says the casting director. Hrithik Roshan called the Greek God did not mind to wear brown make up for Super 30. If you look at OTT stars — Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jitendra Kumar, Pankaj Mishra –then it is clear today acting matters not looks. Powered by: IDFC First Bank

Has Bollywood Become A Soft Target For Politicians?

Every controversy that breaks always has a celebrity quotient to it. The drug cases came into the limelight because of Sushant Singh Rajput and Aryan Khan; the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) made an example of them. From Deepika Padukone to Shradda Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, Rhea Chakraborty, Sara Ali Khan were under NCB scanner. Some like comedian Bharati Singh and her husband were arrested. Besides, many actors and actresses were issued summons by the Enforcement Directorate. Says an insider, time and again Bollywood has been targeted and some of them have been called anti-national. Looks like we are an easy target for police and politicians. Take the case of conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, the case was hyped because names of Jacqueline Fernandez and Nora Fatehi were linked to him. Now the latest case is that of the Mahadev App which again is more about the celebrities who danced at the wedding of the promoter Saurabh Chandrakar and endorsement of the app. Ranbir Kapoor has been summoned by ED for endorsing the app. So too many actresses and singers are being investigated by the ED for accepting cash for attending the event. Sources say, it was a pure professional and commercial deal. Mumbai police have registered FIR against 32 people including promoters for ‘fraud’ of Rs 15,000 crore. Be it the drug case or now Mahadev App scam the end result is that most of the allegations on the celebrities haven’t really yielded any results.

Is Kangana Ranaut At An Inflexion Point In Her Life?

Is reel life influencing 36-year old Kangana Ranaut’s real life? At least that’s what seems on the face of it. A politically savvy and well informed actor, she has been consciously choosing characters that are political heroes or villains. And she has been vocal about it that she is interested in politics and that too Modi kind. Kangana has played the role of modern leaders like Indira Gandhi and J Jayalalithaa. Besides, she has also donned the role of legendary and religious characters in movies like Manikarnika 2, Sita: The Incarnation. In all these films she worked hard to make sure that the film got noticed by the audience. In the case of Thalaivii she chose to focus on how Jayalalithaa was shamed by her male counterpart in the Tamil Nadu assembly. Is she thinking of plunging into politics full time? Her various interviews clearly convey that she is keen on representing Himachal Pradesh but will BJP oblige? She arrived at the new Parliament building to attend the session as a woman invitee. In the film trade people say most of her movies do okay business and so producers are a little shy of signing her. Also, her cinema is becoming more about showcasing herself and her political leanings. For instance, there was no need for her to show Ayodhya being targeted by the terrorist in her latest film Tejas which incidentally did not do well at the box office. Is Kangana Ranaut like many south Indian stars using the movie platform to pursue her political dream? 

Star Marriages Are No Longer Behind The Screen

Bollywood’s two popular stars Aditya Roy Kapur and Ananya Pandya have gone public about their romance. Will it end in marriage? Early days. Interestingly, Bollywood has had quite a few marriages in 2023 — Parineeti Chopra tying knots in Rajasthan with AAP leader Raghav Chadda being the biggest of them all. Then came her co-star Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani’s marriage again in Rajasthan. Parineeti married Raghav, her colleague from the London School of Economics. She was earlier dating director Maneesh Sharma. Swara Bhasker, known for making controversial statements, married Samajwadi Party leader Fahad Ahmad. Now in motherhood, she was going steady with script writer Himanshu Sharma who dumped her for Kanika Dhillon. Unlike the earlier days when actors hid relationships, age as they were worried about their stardom getting affected today’s stars are quite open about it; walk hand-in-hand and pose for the paps. Recall Ranbir Kapoor had taken offense about paps following him and Katrina Kaif and the same man didn’t mind posing with Alia before marriage. Katrina was one oddball who didn’t let the paps get her and Vicky Kaushal together till the marriage was announced. In the end it shows those selling dreams to their fans actually want to lead a normal family life — have children, run their house, and don’t mind sacrificing their career. Neetu Singh did it. So did Madhuri Dixit, Meenakshi Seshadri. But, the younger lots like Karishma, Aliya, Anushka and Kiara are quite smart in managing both the worlds.
Salman Arijit

Flashback: Salman Khan and Arijit Singh

Sniping in Bollywood: Plain Chemistry Or Professional Rivalry?

Undercurrent, chemistry or professional rivalry has existed in Bollywood from Day One. Is it ego or plain jealousy? Take the case of Salman Khan and singer Arijit Singh who have patched up nearly after 5-6 years and have sung songs for Tiger 3. The rivalry started rather innocuously when Arijit stepped onto the stage to receive an award, and Salman mockingly asked looking at his attire, “So gaye the (were you sleeping)?” To this the singer responded, “Aap logon ne sula diya (you all put me to sleep).” This answer seems to have angered Salman and he immediately removed Arijit’s song from his films, Sultan and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. It did affect his career. Bollywood has a history of star rivalry. For instance Khans are not comfortable working with each other. Similarly, Sunny Deol was angry with Shah Rukh for snipping his role in Darr. Recently, at the success party of Gadar 2 both patched up. Raaj Kumar and Dilip Kumar acted in Paigham and fell apart till Subhash Ghai brought them together in Saudagar. Similarly, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand avoided working with each other. It is quite well known that Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan who worked together in Anand fell out after success of Namak Haram. Likewise Big B and Shatrughan Sinha did not get along well as the latter had a habit of making sarcastic comments. Well, it is not restricted to male stars. There has been a strong undercurrent between Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, Rani Mukerji and Aishwaraya Rai, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone.

How Big Stars Are Launching Their Kids

It’s a regular affair in Bollywood. Big stars launching their kids with fanfare. In the last decade we saw Alia Bhatt, Tiger Shroff, Jahnvi Kapoor and Ananya Pandey being launched. This tradition continues with slight change. For instance everybody was expecting Shah Rukh Khan to launch his daughter Suhana Khan via his home production Red Chillies. Instead she along with Agastya Nanda and Khushi Kapoor are making their debut in a Netflix project produced by Zoya Akhtar. Hrithik Roshan’s cousin Pashmina is being launched by Ramesh Taurani in a love story. Hrithik was launched by his dad’s home production company Filmkraft. Likewise Salman Khan’s niece Alizeh Agnihotri is being launched in a very unconventional film directed by Somendra Padhi. But, some stars prefer the traditional route. Sunny Deol and Poonam Dhillon are launching their son and daughter through Rajshri Production run by Barjatyas. Interestingly, Rajveer Deol and Paloma will be directed by Sooraj Barjatya’s son Avnish. Industry insiders say that ever since the untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput Bollywood has been stung by Insider Vs Outsider debate. With a view not to become an easy prey for the media, the new generation star kids prefer their skills to speak for them. Suhana Khan has already started making impressions with public and press appearances. Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson Agastya Nanda is  already being talked about as he has replaced Varun Dhawan in Sriram Raghavan’s Ekkis.
Ranbir kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor Defies Trend, Shuns Stereotyping Roles

After romancing Shraddha Kapoor in Tu Jhoothi Main Makkar, 41-year old Ranbir Kapoor returns with a crime drama Animal directed by Sandeep Vanga Reddy and the teaser has been highly appreciated by the audience. Even the trade is upbeat about the film and surely sees Ranbir in the top bracket with the release of Animal. Forty-one year old Ranbir, whose family has been part of Bollywood for four generations now, is a natural actor who made his debut in 2007. Acting is in his genes and he has done all kinds of roles. Perceived as a critically acclaimed popular hero of Bollywood, Ranbir has never followed a set trend of playing safe with the choice of subject and this approach saw him work with directors like Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu and Imitiaz Alia. Even his last romantic film was not a regular love story. Ranbir Kapoor seems to be on a journey to being an actor and exploring various facets of himself as an actor. Married to Alia Bhatt, the reigning queen of Bollywood, Ranbir babysits when Alia is on shoot. Both have worked together in Brahmastra which was well appreciated but the latest news is that both have opted out of Ramayan. But that does not stop them from shooting together for a steel brand along with King Khan.
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Punjab Film Industry Rejigs Its Strategy, Emulates South Indian Cinema Model

Impressed by the success of south films pan India, the Punjab film industry is thinking of emulating it and releasing all Punjabi films pan India. What has given them confidence to go mainstream is the super success of Carry On Jatta 3 which has grossed Rs 150-crore plus at the box office. Actor-producer Gippy Grewal is planning to release his next film Maujan Hi Maujan in over 150 screens in Mumbai circuit. Like the South industry which roped in north Indian producers and actors like Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt for Bahubali and RRR to gain entry into the Hindi belt, the Punjabis are planning to enlist the support of the Khans to draw the attention of the Hindi movie goers. Salman Khan was at the trailer launch of Maujan Hi Maujan has promised to work in Punjabi films. This cross pollination of stars across the country will give a big boost to the country’s film industry. Aamir Khan was seen at the trailer launch of Carry on Jatta 3. Of course Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi had his film Mastney released in Mumbai and the reason was that the subject had a pan India appeal; they wanted the country to know about Punjab’s martyr’s story. Given these new dynamics, it will not be surprising to see SRK come out and support the next Punjabi film. Ironically, Punjabis who dominate Bollywood have not supported movies made in their own mother tongue.

Why King Khan Will Continue To Rule The Roost

Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan is creating records at the box office. The audience has connected with the film as it has raised all the relevant points that the Opposition parties have been asking the Modi government. A WhatsApp message has gone viral saying how the movie is a campaign for the Congress party. Jawan was released at a time when the whole world was busy with the G20 Summit. To avoid any backlash like Pathaan, SRK played it smart by congratulating PM Modi for the success of G20 Summit. Those in the trade feel it is too late for politicians to do anything now as Jawan has turned out to be a tsunami at the box office. The Badshah of Bollywood has made a big comeback and is not going anywhere for the next 10 years. The kind of subject he has chosen gives him ample scope like Rajnikanth who continues to rule the roost at 72. On a personal level, SRK is a hurt man after what happened to his son Aryan Khan in the drug case and the way the media hounded him. Post that he has kept the media at arm’s length. Of late, he prefers to connect with his audience through appearances at Mannat and social media. In the case of Jawan his move to get an accomplished South director, Atlee has enabled him to create an impact in the South.


Is Superstar Hrithik Roshan Deliberately Keeping A Low Profile?

While the Khans are seen all over the media we have Hrithik Roshan, one of the last actors to get superstar tag, shooting quietly for his next film Fighter. The 49-year old actor who has worked with Siddharth Anand in War wants to work with him even more especially after Fighter. In the pipeline is Krish 4 but nothing has been finalised. Hrithik, one of the highest paid stars, is an insider both from paternal and maternal sides but he started from the bottom to eventually become a superstar. He formally entered Bollywood in 2000 with Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Post that he has had one too many hits like Fiza, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Koi Mil Gaya, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara sequels Krrish, Dhoom. Hrithik who has had his own share of controversies both personal and professional is known to be shy; he avoids parties preferring to spend more time with his children and girlfriend Saba Azad. Besides, he is also deeply involved with his father Rakesh Roshan’s banner. Maybe he is toying with the idea of becoming a director. Trade circle says that Hrithik is definitely one of the most dependable stars who has carved his own place by not being part of any camps. He is also quietly growing his HRX brand by opening gyms and eateries serving healthy food.
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Has Bollywood Got Its Mojo Back?

Bollywood seems to have got its mojo back. After a series of flops, sequels seem to have given Bollywood a new lease of life. Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 is a runaway hit, earning close to Rs 450 crore thus surpassing KGF 2 collection’s record. Interestingly, Sunny Deol travelled around promoting Tara Singh, the character and not himself… and that worked.  In the case of Akshay Kumar, now an Indian citizen, he has finally got a hit after a string of flops. OMG 2 has earned Rs 120 crore till date and counting. And for Ayushmaan Khurrana Dream Girl 2 got the biggest opening of his career. All these three hits indicate its boom time for Bollywood. Audience is back to theatres. And what is also giving the leg up to the whole industry is the OTT platform. Some of the characters like Vartika played by Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime, Kaalen Bhaiya by Pankaj Tripathi in Mirzapur have made them a household name. No wonder they are thriving on Season 2, 3…Earlier, Bollywood which thrived on remakes of Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil movies is now encashing on sequels. Some of the successful sequels were: Munnabhai by Raju Hirani, Krrish by Rakesh Roshan, Singham, Phir Hera Pheri by Firoz Nadiadwala. Get ready to see Salman Khan’s Tiger 3 this Diwali and also in the pipeline is the confrontation between two Khans in Tiger Vs Pathaan. Happy days are here again!
Gadar 2

Garam Dharam's Family Stars Shine On

There is no stopping this 66-year old Deol who has in a way created history at the box office for Bollywood. Sunny Deol is not stopping the promotion, and is city hopping post release of Gadar 2 which is only adding to the collection numbers. Gadar 2 has crossed the Rs 200-crore mark and is not stopping at that. Trade pundits are betting that it may surpass SRK’s Pathaan collections. Interestingly, the weekend in the metro cities also saw his father’s film Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahaani getting Housefull boards in the multiplexes. The legendary actor Dharmendra received maximum applause when he came on screen. The 87-year old actor has signed a couple of more films. Younger brother Bobby Deol, who could not carve a niche for himself on the big screen, is one of the most sought after OTT stars. Gadar 2 also saw the public appearance of Hema Malini daughters – Esha and Ahana — with the Deol brothers. The sisters and mother were not seen at the marriage of Sunny’s son Karan and an apologetic tweet by Dharmendra just confirmed it. Esha also is an OTT star. And the third generation of Deols are already here; Sunny’s eldest son Karan is two films old while younger one Rajveer is making his debut with Rajshri Productions.
Rocky Rani

Karan Johar’s Movie Changes Bollywood’s Fortune In The Second Half Of 2023

Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani seems to be the game changer for Bollywood which has been a series of flops in the first half of 2023.  The film has crossed the Rs 100-crore mark at the box office and continues to rake in the moolahs. More good news. Akshay Kumar’s OMG 2 and Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 are only looking at adding big business to the Bollywood’s box office. The trade pundits feel that good times are ahead for Hindi films and the month of August has franchisees that definitely promise a decent opening at the box office. The trade has also given thumbs up Dream Girl 2.If August has franchisees then SRK returns with Atlee’s Jawan in September which trade feels may have a bigger opening than his previous film Pathaan. And Salman Khan who has not had a great run in the recent past is strongly depending on Tiger 3 which has a strong recall value and will see Katrina and Salman Khan come together and mind you there is Pathaan in a special appearance which is going to be the highlight of the film. Ranbir Kapoor too returns with Animal, one of the most anticipated films of Sandeep Vanga Reddy followed by Vicky Kaushal’s Sam Bahadur. The month of December is expected to end on a high note with Merry Christmas that will see Katrina Kaif in a different role with Vijay Sethupathi.
Varun dhawan


Is Varun Dhawan Trying To Reinvent Himself?

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor starrer Bawaal directed by Nitesh Tiwari of Dangal fame is a direct OTT release. The trade feels that producer Sajid Nadiadwala took a wise decision on this front as its trailer is unimpressive. But, Nadiadwala has defended his decision by saying that the film needs global reach and OTT is the best platform in today’s time. But nobody is buying it. Thirty-six year old Varun, son of the well-known director David Dhawan and one of the highest paid Bollywood stars (Rs 20 crore), has not had a big hit for quite some time now. His last two releases Jugjugg Jeeyo was an average film while Bhediya a disaster. Ironically, the star who had 11 consecutive box-office successes between 2012 and 2018 (Rajesh Khanna had seven) is finding it difficult to draw audiences to his movies of late. Clearly, Varun seems to be having a bad run. And he is trying to make up for it. He has signed up for Bhediya 2 and the Indian version of Citadel. Besides, he is also donning the producer’s hat and for that project he has roped in the renowned Tamil film director Atlee. It is rumoured that Janhvi may be paired opposite him. People in the trade feel that Varun should focus more on commercial cinema not on OTT platform.

Has ‘Bahubali’ Prabhas Disappointed His Fans In Adipurush Avataar?

Om Raut’s film Adipurush seems to have disappointed Bahubali Prabhas’ fans. There are conflicting reports about collections and footfalls in the theatres even as Prabhas tweeted “Adipurush continues its roaring success at the box office! With a mind boggling collection of Rs 375 crore (sic)”. But movie critic Taran Adarsh tweeted “Disappointing”. So how does the future look for the first pan India star Prabhas? Not bright, feel some trade analysts. They say it is his third flop after Saaho and Radhe Shyam. Adipurush ran into controversy from Day One when the trailer was released and for its poor dialogues after release. Son of a Telugu film producer, the 43-year old Prabhas entered the Telugu film industry in 2002 and all his seven films were hit. What changed his life and catapulted him into the big league –making him the highest paid star in the south — was the title role he bagged in SS Rajamouli’s Bahubali and its sequel grossing. The film was an all time hit and the rest is history. Prabhas has a couple of projects in the pipeline; one with Deepika Padukone and Big B. Also releasing this year is action thriller Salaar. Interestingly, like Salman Khan even Prabhas is the most eligible bachelor… and heart broken. Anushka Shetty turned down his marriage proposal and the latest grapevine he is dating Adipurush co-star Kriti Sanon.
Kerala Story

BJP Openly Promotes ‘The Kerala Story’

BJP’s Mumbai president Ashish Shelar held a special screening of The Kerala Story at Gaiety- Galaxy in Bandra which was well attended by BJP party workers and others. What made it special was that the movie’s lead actress, co-stars, producer and director were present at the screening and they shared their experiences with the audience. Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur, said that the film exposes the sinister nexus of religious conversions which “Every sister and daughter must watch”. When was the last time we saw a political party openly promoting a film? Earlier, we have seen protests for Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmvat and for the trailer of Om Raut’s Adipurush.  It may be recalled that Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files too was promoted by the BJP government to indicate that they empathised with Kashmiri Pandits. Interestingly, both the movies have made big money at the box office. During Emergency Gulzar’s Aandhi starring Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar was banned by the Congress regime. Generally, the government’s way of supporting a movie is to give it a tax break. Now, all eyes are on Adipurush. Its music was launched at Ayodhya. It is widely rumoured that some filmmakers who are aligned with the ruling establishment’s ideology have been commissioned to do movies on certain subjects that will show the ruling party in good light.


Swimming Against Current: SRK To Release ‘Jawan’ On A Non-Festival Day

Generally, all film stars prefer to release their movies on an important festival day. But Shah Rukh Khan is different; he has chosen a non-festival day to release Jawan, his second release this year. Those close to the actor feel that he didn’t want to upset those who have already announced release dates of their movies in the third quarter of the year which includes Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal and Ajay Devgn’s Maidaan. It is probably after Fan which was released in April 2016, the actor has chosen a non-festival release date – Janmasthami, which is not a big ticket film day as far as exhibitors are concerned. But they are fine as SRK’s Pathaan released on Republic Day was a runaway hit creating box office history.  Those in the trade feel that releasing films on festivals became fashionable in the nineties after globalization, and Indian movies becoming favourites of the Indian diaspora. A senior trade person said, “Earlier, Shah Rukh Khan had regular releases in between the Diwali releases as he used to work in many films but once he cut down on his films Diwali became synonymous with Shah Rukh, Eid with Salman Khan and Christmas with Aamir Khan. ” Coming back to Jawan the real reason for  SRK delaying the release from June 2 to September 7 is the film is still not complete and the film is VFX heavy and after the success of Pathaan he does not want to take a chance.


Will SRK Once Again Shun Media For ‘Jawan’?

Rumour mills are doing the rounds that superstar Shah Rukh Khan may do a repeat of Pathaan.  That is, keeping media at bay during the release of his forthcoming film Jawan directed by Atlee. The action film which releases in June has just been wrapped up and the heroine of the film Nayanthara was in Mumbai for dubbing and surprisingly did not oblige the waiting paparazzi with poses as is generally the practice. All stars including those from south are always cooperative with paps. It may be recalled that King Khan has distanced himself from the media for quite some time for two reasons. First, there was no film release, and second, he is quite disturbed by the fact that media literally hounded his son Aryan Khan when he was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in a drug case. The way media mishandled the case upset him. Although the actor has stopped covering his face with an umbrella but he refuses to pose for the media. This was evident at Congress leader Baba Siddiqui’s Iftaar party where he refused to stop even for a minute. The moot point is how long can SRK shun the media?  

Bollywood Learns Again That Star Power Is Not Enough To Attract Footfalls

Compared to his own standard Salman Khan’s Eid release Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan was ordinary, exactly as trade had predicted. They say the Rs 15.81 cr opening collection is the actor’s star power and Eid numbers going by his past track record could have been better. In a way his fans saved the day with collections on the first three days touching Rs 78.34 cr. His well-wishers feel that Sallu bhai is being misled by the mutual admiration society around him. They praise his film even though the content is not upto the mark like Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan. And he easily trusts and believes people around him. Analysts say that post Covid-19 Pandemic the viewers have become very discerning. Thanks to OTT they don’t just walk into a theatre because of star power. The content has to be top gun like RRR, Pushpa etc. King Khan’s Pathaan seems to be an aberration, maybe because of controversy surrounding its release. Salman has always had a decent opening on Day 1 with all his Eid releases. Dabangg (2010) Rs 14.50 cr, Bodyguard (2011) Rs 21.60 cr, Ek Tha Tiger (2012) Rs 32.93 cr, Kick (2014) Rs 26.4 cr, BajrangiBhaijaan (2015) Rs 27.25 cr, Sultan (2016) Rs 36.54 cr, Tubelight (2017) Rs 21.15 cr, Race3 (2018) Rs 29.17 cr and Bharat (2019) Rs 42.3 cr. Although the trade is disappointed with KKBKKJ there is hope for Salman this Christmas with Tiger 3.

Will Karan Johar And Kartik Aaryan Work Together Once Again?

Bollywood’s powerful producer-director-host Karan Johar was spotted at a Juhu venue meeting the busiest star Kartik Aaryan. The meeting has led to speculations whether it was a peace-making deal or professional meeting to revive Dostana 2 which was 40% shot. Those close to the Gen-Next star say it was just a professional meeting. One wonders if Karan is keen to revive the project after all around Rs 20 crore has already been spent on the film. The other speculation doing the rounds is that he is likely to sign on the bankable star for a new film.  It may be recalled that the outspoken actress Kangana Ranaut has been vociferously defending “outsiders” and has been targeting Karan for being unfair to outsiders including the late Sushant Singh Rajput and Kartik Aaryan. When Karan, one of the most influential filmmakers, dropped Kartik from Dostana 2 even Shah Rukh Khan and Anand L Rai dropped Kartik from their projects. But, 32-year-old Kartik was lucky as the “outsider” gang of producers supported him; today he is one of the most sought after actors commanding a price of Rs 30 crore which is almost at par with Varun Dhawan and other senior stars of Bollywood. His guest appearance in Ranbir Kapoor’s film is a clear hint that Kartik has a big fan following. So it will not be surprising if Karan Johar announces the revival of Dostana 2.


Now, Priyanka Chopra Revives “Outsider” Issue In Bollywood

Priyanka Chopra (PeeCee) has revived the topic of victimization of outsiders in Bollywood. The actress who is promoting her global spy series Citadel, admitted why she was forced to leave Bollywood and go to Hollywood. “I’m not a nepo baby. I didn’t have the kind of support that exists in a big way in Bollywood movies,” she said on an episode of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. Many are attributing her raking  “outsider” issue to promote her spy series. Some have supported her. Kangana Ranaut and writer Apurva Asrani said that the insider camps don’t allow those who want to work on their own terms. Kangana tweeted: “…This is what @priyankachopra has to say about bollywood, people ganged up on her, bullied her and chased her out of the film industry, a self-made woman was made to leave India. Everyone knows Karan Johar had banned her (sic).” She further added, “Media wrote extensively about her fall out with Karan Johar because of her friendship with SRK and movie mafia Cruella who is always looking for vulnerable outsiders saw a perfect punching bag in PC and went all out in harassing her to a point where she had to leave India.” Shekhar Suman and his son Adhyayan who are also victims tweeted: “Priyanka Chopra’s sensational revelation has not come as a shocker. It is well known the way the cabal within the film industry functions. It will oppress, suppress and persecute you till you are finished. It happened with SSR.”

Is The Kapil Sharma Show Losing Its Bite?

Is Kapil Sharma losing his charm? It certainly seems like from the kind of guests invited to his shows these days. Most of them are friends like Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar, and singers who are easily accessible to him. The show which started in 2016 had a good mix of comedians like Krushna Abhishek, Bharati Singh, Sudesh Lehri and Sunil Grover. In its latest avatar all the above artists have left. The only saving grace is Kiku Sharda but his appearance time has been reduced. It is learnt that even the creative team has been reshuffled which is clear from the script of the show. The general feedback is that people love Kapil but are not quite happy with the programme mix. His constant flirting with female stars, poking fun at Archana Puran Singh seems to be getting repetitive and predictable. And this is reflected in its TRP.  According to BARC ratings in March 2023 (Week 12) Rupali Ganguly-led Anupamaa topped the TRP list with a 2.9 rating while at 1.1 rating The Kapil Sharma Show ranked 18. In 2019 it ranked No 2. Apparently, to boost its rating, Kapil had tried to reach out to Shah Rukh Khan during the release of Pathaan but King Khan declined the offer. Unless he calls back some of the comedians and rejigs his offerings, the show will find less and less takers.

How Kangana Ranaut Has Seamlessly Integrated Her Reel And Real Life

Bollywood queen Kangana Ranaut has the art of staying in the news. Recently when the Khalistan movement played up in Punjab she took to social media to say she had predicted this problem two years ago. A hardcore Modi supporter, she has been nursing political ambitions and reportedly made it known that she was not averse to standing for elections from her home state, Himachal Pradesh. Her outspokenness cost the 35-year old actor dearly when the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government headed by Uddhav Thackeray gave orders to demolish her house. Even her reel life role has been reflecting her political ambition, the kind of role she cherry picks or produces. She has played the role of modern leaders like Indira Gandhi and Jayalalithaa. Besides, she has also donned the role of legendary and religious characters in movies like Manikarnika 2, Sita: The Incarnation. Kangana is now busy shooting for Chandramukhi 2, a sequel to Rajnikanth’s horror comedy directed by P Vasu. Of late, she is more focused towards the south film industry. In Bollywood where she is known for not mincing words, she gets along with people who are right-winger like Anupam Kher; but one was surprised to see her making fun of Selfiee which had Akshay Kumar. And another surprising factor was her support for Nawazuddin Siddiqui and it may be because she is working with him. After fighting courting too many battles including a defamation suit filed by Javed Akhtar, Kangana, according to industrywallahs is now careful and measured in her talks and social media message. Is it?
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Are Bollywood Photographers Crossing The Laxman Rekha?

Celebrities across the world have to put up with pesky paparazzis. Bollywood is no different. Recently, a freelance Paps clicked Aliya Bhatt sitting by the window in her house. It was not scandalous but Alia raised ‘the right to privacy’ stink and it became a headline. Interestingly, sometimes back when Alia told Paps to avoid taking photos of her daughter they readily agreed. But Anushka Sharma was not that lucky, her child’s photo went viral. And everybody knows Jaya Bachchan’s aversion for Paps. Do Bollywood stars have love-hate relations with paparazzis? In Bollywood there are two kinds of Paps: professional, organized ones and freelancers (mobile phone wielding ones). The organised ones are officially tipped by the PR guys about film stars’ schedules like visits to malls, theatres, restaurants or airports. But, freelancers are not part of this loop. Since they are paid only if they deliver. And their KRA is how far you can go to get those exclusive photos/videos. This sheer fight for survival to take money home sees them break barriers of decency; at times pass lewd remarks against female stars. Basically, they lack etiquettes and manners. In the last three years, especially after Covid-19 pandemic, some of these freelancers have crossed the Laxman-Rekha and have intruded into the star’s privacy. This has irked many female stars.
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Flop Pe Flop: Time For Akshay Kumar To Reinvent Himself?

Bollywood’s most successful star Akshay Kumar is experiencing failures; all his releases in the last two years have bombed badly. His latest Selfiee collected just Rs 20 cr in the first four days of its release instead of earning at least Rs 20 cr per day. Selfiee made at a cost of Rs 150 cr and shot in 40 days could perhaps be Akshay’s biggest flop of his career. Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan in spite of controversy collected around Rs 70 cr per day to touch Rs 509 crore in 36 days.  Earlier, Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa2 broke the Bollywood jinx by grossing over Rs 200 cr. In comparison Akshay’s figures are: Bachchhan Paandey Rs 52 cr, Samrat Prithviraj Rs 68cr, Bell Bottom Rs 32 cr and Raksha Bandhan Rs 48 cr. Says an industry insider, Akshay Kumar needs to reinvent himself. Most of his choices of subjects have been super flops. Basically, his fans are showing him the mirror. But is he looking at it? In spite of back-to-back flops, the 55-year old is not being written off by the producers. He has a couple of big projects in the pipeline — Hera Pheri 4 (promo shot), Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan with Tiger Shroff, Capsule Gill completed in the UK, a remake of Sorarai Pottaru (under production). Currently, he has taken a short break for a show in the USA with four glamorous stars. Reportedly, the New Jersey show has been cancelled.
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The Fall, Rise And Fall Of Hindi Movies

It is a big setback for the bankable star of Bollywood Kartik Aaryan. His latest release Shehzada has bombed at the box office and this has raised concerns in the film trade whether Shah Rukh Khan’s movie Pathaan was an aberration. Its collection has crossed the Rs 500-crore mark. The weekend collection for Shehzada was around Rs 20 crore and the reason for poor footfall is that film music has not appealed to his fans. Also, last minute postponement of its release also affected the collections. Surprisingly, there were takers for Pathaan’s marketing strategy; it reduced ticket price to Rs200 but when Shehzada offered one ticket free on buying one ticket the audience did not lap it up. A worried Bollywood fraternity is hoping that Akshay Kumar’s Selfiee does well. Though the early numbers is around Rs 5 crore. The trade feels it is going to be difficult for Akshay who has had a series of flops to get a good opening even though the old song ‘Tu anari mein khiladi’ has gone viral. Now all eyes are on Ranbir Kapoor’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa. But, of course, the biggest expectations will be from Salman Khan’s Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan that will be released on Eid day. That will be a real acid test.

Karan Johar requesting young actors to take a cut in their fees

Are Stars’ High Fees Making Bollywood Movies Unviable?

Finally, Shah Rukh Khan’s controversial movie Pathaan has broken the Bollywood jinx. It’s a runaway hit with collections crossing the Rs 475-crore mark. But for Pathaan the last two years have been a disaster for the Hindi film industry with all movies involving top actors like Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Ranveer Singh, Rajkummar Rao bombing at the box office. The only saving grace was Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Has the success of Pathaan emboldened producers to announce new projects? Not really. No producer is confident to invest in Hindi films because here, the stars walk away with a major portion of the budget by way of their fees. It may be recalled that the Telugu Film industry went through a similar phase; they hit the pause button, did some introspection followed by correction. Now, they are up and running. In the case of Bollywood, producers have hit the pause button and hoping there will be correction. Seeing the writing on the wall a worried Karan Johar while hosting Bigg Boss – Season 16 made off the cuff remark requesting young actors from Kartik Aaryan to Varun Dhawan to Ranbir Kapoor to cut their fees. Will they? Meanwhile, statistics show that there has been a significant drop in the number of new films announced in the last one year; those films released in 2023 are only backlogs. Clearly, it’s a wakeup call for Bollywood stars.
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New Trends In Bollywood: Fans Don’t Mind Their Favourite Stars Tying Knots

Once upon a time in Bollywood it would have meant hara-kiri. Not anymore. At the peak of their career Kiara Advani and Sidharth Malhotra got married. This seems to be the new trend in Bollywood. Most of the actors and actresses are not really working on their image post marriage; it is simply because the audience and the fans continue to follow and fantasise about their stars.  According to social media expert there is so much of them out in the public domain that fans are fine with marriage and even children (Kareena Kapoor). The mysticism of the stars of the earlier days used to generate curiosity and fans fanaticised about them and these worked in the favour of the actors those days. Then stars had to project a certain image – they are single. Age, marriage and children were taboo. Then popular heroes or heroines were not seen with their families in public function or filmy event.  For instance, both Juhi Chawla and Aamir Khan hid their marriage. But times have changed; Bollywood topguns have got married – Ranveer Singh-Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli, Ranbir Kapoor-Aliya Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal-Katrina Kaif. Those in the trade feel that it is only working in favour of the married celebrities as they get more opportunities for endorsements, ground events and even films and other projects.
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The Heroes Of 90s Are Reclaiming Their Place In Bollywood With A Vengeance

The heroes of the 90s are making a comeback in a big way. Ajay Devgn started the return trip to the box office with Drishyam 2 which grossed Rs 343 crore worldwide and is still running in cinemas. His arch-rival and Badshah of Bollywood has broken records with Pathaan’s worldwide collection crossing the Rs 600 crore mark and is still counting. Shah Rukh Khan who had a super flop like Zero is back with super dialogue hitting out at the newer stars who think they have replaced them. Pathaan’s popularity is affecting new releases. Kartik Aaryan’s Shehzaada was to release on February 10 but has now been postponed.  Does it signify solidarity? Though the makers say it is out of respect for SRK, it seems more out of concern for Kartik who has taken himself to be a ‘Shehzada’ of the industry. Likewise Salman Khan had a big flop in Antim is returning with Kisi Kaa Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan on Eid. Trade is saying it will open to about Rs 40 crore on day one. Akshay Kumar who had strings of flops has about 10 films in the pipeline. His film Selfie, a remake of the South film Driving Licence, looks interesting and could be a box office hit. Aamir Khan has taken a back seat as an actor and is now focusing on production and knowing the man he is definitely going to make a comeback in a big way.

Bollywood’s Superhit Director Rajkumar Santoshi Returns After A Decade

After a gap of nearly 10 years Bollywood’s super hit director Rajkumar Santoshi is on a comeback trail and that too with a vengeance. That was obvious at the various media interactions he has had. The 66-year old Santoshi, is in throes of controversy, over his latest movie Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh with a non-star cast film. The only star is AR Rahman who scores music for the film. Santoshi has been struggling to make Gandhi Godse for a long time but had no takers; even finance remained an issue. He managed to convince Rahman and that set the ball rolling. Rahman calls Santoshi courageous for making the film. Santoshi’s daughter Tanisha makes debut in the film which seemed unconventional for a celebrity kid. Santoshi has directed over 16 films and most of them have been big hit. His first film Ghayal in 1990 starring Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri was a runaway success. So too his film Damini whose dialogue “tarek pe tarek” became famous. He was besotted by Meenakshi Seshadri and wanted to marry her but she decided otherwise, packed her bags and settled down in the U.S.  Similarly, he seems to have had fallout with several people including Big B and Sunny Deol. With Sunny it was after Damini. But now they have patched up and will be making a film together titled Lahore 1947. So will the second innings of this maverick filmmaker better his first one?
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John Abraham Lives Life On His Own Terms

At a recent healthcare company’s Press Conference, John Abraham seemed irritable when scribes asked him questions about ‘Pathaan’ again and again.  His answer: “next question”, “next question”.  Finally, he got up and left rather angrily. Why is the 50-year old actor- producer-scriptwriter behaving in this fashion?  Some say he didn’t want to speak about a film at a health event. Perfect. But, not once did he talk in favour of Shah Rukh Khan who was being hemmed in from all sides over Pathaan. To this, those who know John said he wants the film to do the talking; that’s what he said after he was trolled and called arrogant. Has his relationship with SRK soured? Nobody knows. Industry insiders say he has had a fallout with Salman during a world tour and both have not come together. John who has been in Bollywood for nearly two decades has not made many friends in the industry. Many say, he also take things personally; he closes communication channels with the directors if the film flops. Inspite of acting in over 20 films his strike rate in box office is poor. People remember him for Jism, Dhoom, Shootout At Wadala. Of late everybody is jumping on the OTT bandwagon but not John. Reason: He does not want to be available at Rs 299. That’s being gutsy.
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Is The Film Certification Board Wilting Under Political And Social Media Pressure?

The Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is said to be an autonomous body. But it isn’t. It has always been influenced by the ruling dispensation. Recall Gulzaar’s movie Aandhi which was banned in 1975 as it was based on the life of Indira Gandhi. Censor board now CBFC always had members who were political appointees. One remembers Mahesh Bhatt saying that the board objected to the word “randi” (prostitute) in his movie Arth, decades later it was beeped in Raaz but during Murder 2 the word stayed in the film.  Looks like the board is slowly turning into a toothless body. There have been umpteen times when objections have been taken after the film was cleared by the CBFC. Prakash Jha faced it. At the time of Aarakshan his office was vandalised. He went to the court and got an order in the industry’s favour. In this social media age the board seems to be getting influenced/pressured by the trolls and Pathaan is a case in point. So much so chairman of CBFC Prasoon Joshi, a government appointee, had to issue a statement defining the role of the board. Despite the beeps, replacement and cuts the trailer of Pathaan rocks. Now, it is learnt that the government will come out with new guidelines that will give the CBFC chief power to withdraw a film even after certification. Very tricky days ahead for Bollywood?
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Is Deepika Padukone A Rebel Without A Cause?

She is one of the sought-after heroines. Thirty-seven year old Deepika Padukone who entered Bollywood in 2007 and made quite a mark, seems to be courting controversies these days. The right wing has called for a boycott of her soon-to-be-released Pathaan starring superstar Shah Rukh Khan. Earlier it was Padmavat. And in both the cases she has remained unfazed. During Padmavat release when a section of the saffron brigade threatened to cut her nose, she wasn’t really scared. In fact, at the height of student’s agitation, Deepika landed up at JNU to show her solidarity with the student’s union. In fact, her visit had nothing to do with the release of her film Chhapaak based on acid attack survivor. The film bombed because of a boycott by right wing or bad execution of script nobody knows. The actress hasn’t really had a good run at the box office in the recent past. Chhapaak, Gehraiyan, 83, Cirkus all failed to draw audiences. One of the top paid actresses, Deepika also seems to be fighting gender bias. Reportedly, for Baiju Bawra she asked Sanjay Leela Bansali for more fee than Ranveer Singh. He quietly signed up Alia Bhat. According to Duff & Phelps 2022 report, Deepika’s brand value stood at $ 51.6 mn. As of now, Deepika has five films in the pipeline which includes Pathaan, Fighter with Hrithik Roshan and Rohit Shetty’s Singham 3.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.