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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.
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‘Pathaan’ Helps Reopen Single-Screen Theatres In Kolkata, Bengali Movies Lose Out

Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan gave a big push for the reopening of closed single-screen theatres in Kolkata. At least nine such halls including Bijoli, Prachi and Orient were reopened after they closed down due to stiff competition from multiplexes. However, Bengali films, including Dev and Mithun Chakraborty’s ‘Projapoti’, and superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee’s ‘Kaberi Antardhan’, celebrated actress Rituparna Sengupta’s ‘Maayakumari’ which were running at the box-office had been unceremoniously brought down owing to Pathaan release. Single Theatre Distributors’ law which clearly states that the single theatre owners will have to screen all four shows if the film has to be played on a single screen. While a section of the single-theatre owners chose Pathaan over the Bengal movies, another section chose to stand by the regional films. Owner of iconic single theatre Priya Cinema, Arijit Dutta said that his decision was purely from a business point of view where Pathaan pre-release booking surpassed the box-office collection of Bengali movies. Generally, one show used to be allocated to Bengali movies in case of big banner Hindi films but now there are no shows. Superstar Dev cautioned that it will soon become a “black Friday or black Wednesday for Tollywood” on the release date of a big Hindi film. On the contrary, owner of renowned single-theatre Navina, Navin Choukhani continued with Dev’s Projapati instead of Pathaan, saying that it had been his conscious decision to stand by Tollywood.
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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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The Unstoppable ‘Pathaan’

The sizzling pair of shirtless Shah Rukh Khan and daringly bared Deepika Padukone have raised the sagging, down in the dumps spirit of Bollywood to unimaginable heights, despite all the pre-release boycott threats, raves, rants and reprimands. Is Deepika’s bright orange costume too “besharam” for Jhoomta Pathaan? Besharami is in the eyes of the beholder!  Director Siddharth Anand, the alchemist has peppered Pathaan with enough spills, thrills, chills and on screen sizzling chemistry of the lead pair. It is an immersive cinema experience (ICE). The first to be made in this format. Boycott calls and anti-Muslim propaganda filled pre-release. King Khan was silent. The entire industry was mobilised.  And then that whispered fiat from the PM happened…Don’t make public comments to rake up controversy on films, Bingo! The movie’s destiny changed. Released simultaneously in 100 countries, it is the first Hindi Movie on BookMyShow to hit 10 lakh bookings of which 30% was from the South. First Khan movie to have a 6 am show, with producers opting for more screens apart from the 5500 screens in India and 2500 overseas, selling over 8500 tickets in Germany worth 1.5 crore euros, beating KGF‘s full take. The first day collection at the Box Office was Rs 60 crore! Now the hot debate on media…did this boycott threat make Pathaan a forbidden fruit? Once again Pathaan has proved…leave artistic expression severely alone…the audience is the sole judge to applaud or trash.
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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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Award Winning Song ‘Naatu Naatu' Was Inspired By Tom & Jerry, Charlie Chaplin Says Choreographer Rakshit

Ok, India and particularly Tollywood is still drenched in the acclaim for winning the prestigious Golden Globe for the iconic song Naatu Naatu from S S Rajamouli’s magnum RRR with music by M M Keeravani. Soon the Choreographer Prem Rakshit who put in grinding hard work to make this hit sizzle on screen is also going places. He is over the top when talking about the congratulatory phone call from none other than Dance Wizard Prabhudeva. “All that blood sweat and tears while getting the hook step just right, seemed worth it. We were in Ukraine’s Kiev in August of 2021, roasted by heat…a few of my team suffered with burst veins, but practiced relentlessly for two months,” says Rakshit. He recollects the joy of choreographing the award winning song. Who inspired him? With a chuckle of mirth and joi de vivre, he says “My inspiration came from Tom & Jerry, and Charlie Chaplin”. Now it becomes clear that the frenzied dance steps and the foot tapping beats could only be inspired by the likes of Tom wantonly chasing Little Jerry, and that master super mimic, Chaplin. S.S Rajamouli, his heroes Jr NTR and Ram Charan have collaborated for an unforgettable film, RRR which raked Rs 1500 crore globally, along with great entertainment.
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TV Star Urfi Javed May Face Mob Lynching, Her Lawyer Warns Mumbai Police

The verbal combat between TV star Urfi Javed and BJP leader Chitra Wagh has taken a serious turn since a lawyer has written to the police that Urfi can be subjected to mob lynching. In a communication to the police by advocate Nitin Satpute, BJP’s Chitra Wagh has been instigating people over the attire of Urfi and Chitra’s followers are tarnishing her image. Moreover, Chitra has threatened to thrash Urfi publicly, the lawyer has said. Chitra and Urfi have been engaged in verbal duels day in and day out. Urfi has taunted Chitra repeatedly and occasionally dared her to take action. An oblique statement by Amruta, wife of deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, is perceived as supporting Urfi. Still, the war of words between the two continues. Quoting Chitra’s previous statements, Satpute says in his complaint, “Chatra announced that she would present Urfi with a sari but warned that if Urfi’s behaviour did not change, she would smash the actress. Such provocative language can cause violent attacks against Urfi. Therefore, the authorities should initiate action against Chitra.” Wagh retorted, “I don’t care who has written to the police. I will not allow such a naked dance in Maharashtra.” Although Chitra has been extremely vocal about the issues concerning women, her stance against Urfi is not to the liking of the party bosses, who have distanced themselves from the controversy so far.
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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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Kollywood Titans Vijay And Ajit Clash Again, For Whom Will The Cash Register Ring?

This Pongal should be very rewarding and exciting for the fans of Ilaya Dalapathi Vijay and Thala Ajit Kumar. The huge legions of crazed fans will finally get to see their heroes in action. Vijay’s Varisu and Ajit’s Thunivu hit big screens on January 11. Even though Brand Rajini and Brand Kamal are still eulogised as Superstar and Ulaganayagan for decades now, Vijay and Ajit too command the same kind of adulation and following. But the only difference is these two superstars’ fans have turned confrontationist. Reportedly, the price of a ticket, in black, for the opening shows were around Rs 1000-1300. This could climb to Rs 4,000 when fan craze becomes intense. New releases for Pongal are particularly star struck and of course, fans clash too over which hero commands more from at the Box Office. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant has distribution rights for both the movies, so it is: “Heads I Win, Tails I Win“. Vijay, it is learnt, has tried every trick in the trade to promote his film — launch of Varisu music in the Nehru Stadium, getting pre-release snippets in every media handle. Boney Kapoor, the producer of Thunivu has much more at stake in terms of finance. Kapoor has spread himself thin after Ajit’s last outing disappointed.
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All Eyes On ‘The Family Man’ Directors’ New OTT Series ‘Farzi’?

Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have hit the fortunes of several lines of businesses. But some businesses have got a leg-up too. A case in point is OTT.  In India, during lockdown we have been entertained by superlative themes and extraordinary Indian creativity via various web series like Delhi Crime, Mirzapur, Panchayat to name a few. Netflix and Amazon, the pioneers who brought entertainment to homes, have garnered a binge audience for their serials and films. Now, Amazon Prime Video is all set to bring the 8-episode ‘Farzi’ from February 10 onwards. It is directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK of ‘The Family Man’ fame which brought international acclaim to Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Prabhu. The creators of Farzi, D 2 K Films are ready with a sizzling star cast of Vijay Sethupathi from Kollywood and Shahid Kapoor from Bollywood, Raashi Khanna, Kay Kay Menon, Regina Cassandra, Zakir Hussain, Bhuvan Arora, Amol Palekar, and Kubbra Sait. Raj and DK have set their story in the middle class milieu /ethos of middling everything, soaked in comedy. The talented twins claim that Farzi will truly reflect the sweat and slick creativity of this team and make it binge worthy.
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@deepikapadukone

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.
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Will 2023 Be The Year Of The Khans?

There is a lot of surround sound over the release of Shah Rukh Khan starring Pathaan with right wingers protesting over Deepika Padukone’s saffron coloured skimpy dress. Yet, the trade is very optimistic and feels irrespective of the controversy and boycott Pathaan will be a huge hit at the box office. In fact, King Khan and Salman Khan together have four films releasing in 2023 and looking at the fan followings, and the crowd outside their homes, it clearly indicates their popularity has not waned on the contrary it is on the rise. SRK has Atlee directed Dunki while Sallu Bhai has Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan and Tiger 3. These movies will log at least 15% revenue growth via theatres because people will flock to movie halls to watch larger than life movies like Avatar and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and this will be Advantage SRK as he is known to make larger than life movies. OTT will co-exist with content driven space. It will be more on experimental content and stories from small towns — they will thrive on pulp fictions like Good Luck Jerry and Darlings. It won’t be a challenge as the cinema will cater to MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and action-packed world. Trade feel, Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus failed because it was due to poor content but the Khans will resurrect Bollywood in a big way.
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Kollywood Signs Off The Year In Style With Four Women Centric Films

Four Tamil films which hit the big screens on the last Friday of 2022 are expected to do well at the box office. The movies are: Trisha’s Raangi, Aishwarya Rajesh’s Driver Jamuna, iconic comedienne Kovai Sarala’s Sembi and glamour bomb Sunny Leone’s Oh My Ghost (OMG). These films rest their gripping, relatable and down to earth story lines on the confident shoulders of the women who anchor these films. This trail-blazing trend that has anchored Kollywood through 2022, is based on realistic story lines and solid skill directors who get the best of seasoned performers. This is a business model that does not depend on overrated star heroes, unrealistic budgets and tiresome plots that cannot redeem such films from failure. A case in point Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar’s back to back flops. Trisha, has chosen to go makeup free in Raangi. Prabhu Solomon who excels in wild life /rural themes is all set to melt hearts by Kovai Sarala’s touching portrayal in Sembi. Driver Jamuna is anchored by talented Aishwarya Rajesh, who takes up cab driving when her dad dies. Ok, we agree Oh My Ghost story is not exactly original, based on Korean TV.  Sunny Leone’s role as Sou Chef Na Bong Sun who gets possessed by a revenge seeking ghost.  Clearly, Kollywood film makers have a talent for making movies that entertain the audience and moolah for their producers.
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Rohit Shetty and his winning’ team

Cirkus: First Setback For Rohit Shetty, Man With The Midas Touch

Poor response to Rohit Shetty’s latest film Cirkus seems to have shocked the Bollywood fraternity. Generally his movies generate Rs 100 crore in the first week of release but Cirkus managed only Rs 21 crore in the first three days. It is a setback, perhaps for the first time, for the man known for his Midas touch. Forty-eight year old Rohit known for his action, comedy and masala films has worked with all top stars and given hits like Golmaal, Singham... Sure, he has his favourites – Ajay Devgn with whom he has done 10 films. So what went wrong with Cirkus? Analysts say that Rohit went wrong with the trailer; the audience did not like it so decided not to watch the film. Movie critic Taran Adarsh who gave it two stars rating, tweeted “Cirkus: Outdated”. Sure, one flop does not damage the equity of a large-hearted filmmaker like Rohit Shetty. He shot Cirkus deliberately during the lockdown so that hundreds of technicians, junior artistes could keep their kitchen fire going. Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police Vishwas Nangare-Patil has gone on record saying Rohit paid off the hospital bill totaling Rs 97 lakh of policemen who were being treated for Covid-19. Cirkus has failed but it is a minor blip in Rohit’s illustrious career. Given the goodwill he enjoys across all classes of people Brand Rohit is here to stay for a long time.
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Bengal Politics: No Slot For Mithun-Dev Starrer At State-Owned Nandan Theatre

State-owned Nandan movie theatre continues to be the most coveted halls for film release in Kolkata. Amid growing political heat in West Bengal due to upcoming panchayat polls, the Opposition has blamed the ruling Mamata Government for not giving permission to screen the Bengali film Prajapoti starring Dev and Mithun Chakraborty at Nandan theatre.  Though Dev is Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP, Mithun switched from TMC to BJP. Significantly, Dev is the producer of the movie which was released on December 23, along with two other Bengali films — Hatyapuri and Haami 2. And both got permission to screen at Nandan. Interestingly Dev’s official Facebook page read “Will Miss You Nandan this time. No Issue. Will meet again… End of Story.” The post had a caption saying “Only Legends can understand this.” The producers said that they were the first to submit the application for screening while TMC says that application for screening of the film came late. BJP National Vice President Dilip Ghosh took a jibe stating Dev was also forced to contest the election; he wasn’t willing to do the same and in Bengal, if one doesn’t support the TMC, the prestigious Nandan remains out of reach. But, the murmur is loud and clear, was this move of the ruling government a clear message to Ghatal MP that Mithun dada remains an opponent even in art.
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Are Film Stars Religious? Bollywood Biggies Bow Before Deities

Recently, Bollywood’s new sensation Kartik Aaryan was seen at Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak temple. It is quite commonplace to see film stars visiting religious places before the release of their movies.  Amitabh Bachchan is an ardent devotee of the famous Siddhivinayak temple. He has walked nearly 12 km from his home in Juhu to this temple in Prabhadevi. He has donated a big silver rat and lent his voice for mantras and aartis for Bappa. In the early eighties when he was battling for his life special aartis were conducted at the Siddhivinayak temple. Producer-actor Jeetendra is a big devotee of Tirupati Balaji so much so in the mid-eighties when his career was down he went to Tirupati and got tonsured. Soon followed hits like Himmatwala, Tofa and since then he has never looked back. In fact, he has named his company Balaji Telefilms. Jeetendra is also a great believer of Vaishno Devi and often greets people with “Jai Mata Di”.  Shah Rukh Khan visited Vaishno Devi secretly along with the director of Pathaan Siddharth Anand. His religious side surfaced only recently. Superstar Rajinikanth is a great bhakt of Raghavendra Swamy and visits the mutt located at Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh very often. Even SS Rajamouli of Bahubali fame visits this mutt. Katrina Kaif, Govinda, Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn often visit Ajmer Sharif. Actor Manoj Kumar is known to be an ardent Sai Baba follower.
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Can King Khan Win This Battle?

He knows how to market himself and emote with his audience. That’s what makes superstar Shah Rukh Khan very special. But at 57 he is battling on several fronts.  His movie Pathaan to be released on January 25, has been dragged into controversy over the saffron-colored bikini worn by Deepika. The right wing has called for a boycott of the movie. And to make matters worse, the media has been going whole hog reporting it.  Why not? SRK has been avoiding the media like a plague. Reason, he feels the entire tribe went overboard while reporting on his son Aryan Khan’s drug case. Now, he feels he could do without them. It may be recalled that in the eighties Big B was banned by the media but it made no difference to his career. SRK does not have that luxury. He needs a box office hit. So he is using different ways to reach his audience.  At the Kolkata International Film Festival the actor spoke about the social media negativity that put spotlight on his film.  He also visited Mecca and then Vaishnodevi. He has kept pushing the envelope. He landed at Sports18 studio just before Argentina-France final kick off. Besides, he is talking to social media influencers like Faye Dsouza to put his points across to the audience. In the past inclusion of Pakistani cricketers almost led to the ban of his film My Name is Khan. Now, all eyes on January 25.
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Is Kamal Haasan Trying To Resurrect His Floundering Political Outfit By Joining Bharat Jodo Yatra?

Even as the much delayed ( almost shelved) shooting of Indian 2, directed by Shankar resumed, Kamal Haasan ensured that a striking still of himself as the hero of Indian 2, in his old man get up posing opposite the  Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose statue at Marina Beach was splashed across social media. This artfully shot still does not show him facing the camera, but no one can miss Kamal in his Indian 2 avatar. “This statue of the great warrior Netaji was inaugurated by Kalaignar on the same day 25 years ago. I am standing under the statue while shooting for Indian 2. Great humans, great memories,” Kamal tweeted. Resurrecting his film career is not his only agenda. The awesome success of Vikram has given Kamal a much needed shot of adrenaline tinged testosterone. His floundering political outfit, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) had to be resurrected too. What better than the chance to join Rahul Gandhi’s super optics road show, Bharat Jodo Yatra. With the likes of Raghuram Rajan giving the yatra heft, Kamal has said yes to Rahul’s invite. The President of MNM and his cadre will join the March in New Delhi on December 24. Kamal has got his much needed insurance for Indian 2 at the box office, and may be a slot for MNM in an omnibus alliance.
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Odia Actor-Politician Anubhav Mohanty Seeks “Love in London"

Well known Odia star Anubhav Mohanty and youngest BJD MP is focusing on his first love — movies. It may be recalled that the Odia actor and his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini made headlines when their marital discord became ugly. This popular star and sitting MP from Kendrapara, made a big splash two decades ago on the silver screen with his film “I Love You “. It was a super hit and made him a star overnight. Recently, the Odia star was seen in London shooting for his film Love In London. Film’s Director Tapas Sargharia who is also a well-known screenwriter and actor is thrilled that he was able to sign Anubhav for this project. “A large chunk of the film is shot at the iconic places – London Eye, London Bridge and Thames River”, said Sargharia. “It’s a love story with a difference,” he assures. Poulomi Das is the heroine. Anubhav revealed that the film’s climax is “unusual and the audience will have Goosebumps.”  This love story is deep-rooted in the social values, culture and tradition of Odisha. Film will hit the big screen in 2023. “It’s a huge balancing act between the Parliament and dates to shoot,” says Anubhav. “But I never lose a single day in the Parliament”, he says.  That’s work-life balance for him.
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@deepikapadukone

Deepika’s ‘Too Much Skin’ In The Game Backfires

The general impression was Pathaan was the comeback ticket for superstar Shah Rukh Khan. But, it seems to happen the other way round. Like it or not Deepika Padukone seems to be all over, grabbing headlines not King Khan. Deepika has not only been getting bad press but also heavily trolled for ‘Besharam song’ promo from soon-to-be released Pathaan movie. The so-called right wing moral police has labelled Deepika ‘besharam’. In fact, her action has stumped everybody? Insiders feel that Deepika is one of the top actresses of Bollywood who has proved her skills and does not have to cavort in skimpy clothes like a newcomer. Is Deepika feeling insecure? Is she doing this to project herself as an international star? Insiders are saying that Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif are not showing their skin to prove their stardom so why is Deepika an established successful star doing this? Her hubby Ranveer’s full monty was not appreciated at all.  Just a few days back, her fans appreciated her song in Cirkus and now they are thrashing her. For now Deepika has two films Fighter, an action packed drama and Rohit Shetty’s cop series where she plays female Singham on her plate. But, going by the backlash of Besharam song she certainly needs to revisit her PR strategy.
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2022: A Bad Year For Bollywood As It Loses Nearly Rs 1000 Crore

The denizens of the Bollywood would be heaving a sigh of relief as 2022 draws to close. It has been a bad year for most producers, directors and actors. There was great expectation from Rohit Shetty’s Cirkus which releases at the end of the year. But early reports based on its trailer says it has got mixed reviews and as of now it is tracking Rs 15 crore. The saving grace could be Avatar. There is no denying the fact that the confidence of Hindi film industry is shaken. Barring two or three films like Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Brahmastra, Drishyam 2 other films have bombed.  A trade source said, “2022 has been a losing year. We are almost 1000 crore down as an industry. If you want to single out then this year has been favorable for Ranbir Kapoor and Kartik Aaryan. Particularly the year has not gone well for Ayushmann Khurrana. Because he was on a huge high before the pandemic. And after that his films have not done well.” The year actually belonged to the films more than the stars as two franchisees worked and another franchisee in the making was Brahmastra. The source says that 2023 could be Shah Rukh Khan’s year as the actor has three big releases. Although he is shunning the media but is making sure his presence is felt even if it is at religious places.
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Baba poster on Rajini’s bungalow gate

Does Enhanced ‘Baba’ Re-Release Signal Rajini’s Political Entry 2.0?

Superstar’s event management for his birthday rocks. Rajini has done it again. The nail-biting anticipation of his fans rekindled for his political entry, yet again. Like the now iconic Vadivelu dialogue, “Varum Aana Vaaradu” and people are left wondering, “I may come, I may not.” Rajini’s earlier movie Baba, not a box office success, was relaunched two days before his 72nd birthday. It was enhanced digitally and made more appealing. Baba’s message still remained same….Rajini is the spiritual icon, whatever his commercial calling. Today’s birthday greeting crowd at his doorstep is staring, jaw dropped at the blue Baba poster. The subliminal message, this is a promo for the relaunched film. But, is there a hidden political agenda in this re-release? Thalaiva is a born showman, master of the art of obfuscation, teasing and titillating. His literal last minute back off from active politics still rankles his fans. What if another bid is made, as insurance, commercial and political. Relaunched Baba is the sum of all these facets. Rajini is adept at keeping his crazed fan following intact….a lot of money rides on the films in the pipeline. And yes, he wants to equal the success of Kamal’s Vikram. What better way than the teaser “I am still a force to reckon with…alliance or all by myself.” Showmen are masters of show and tell. Often, the message itself is the show.
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MalaikaAroraFC

Malaika Arora Knows How To Grab Headlines And Stay Relevant

Is Malaika Arora trying to create buzz around her so that her new show on OTT ‘Moving In With Malaika’ gets good traction? Recently, she was all over with stories about her pregnancy, why she parted ways with Arbaaz Khan, or trolled on social media for wearing a Balenciaga dress — the brand which was in controversy over its ad campaign. The pregnancy story was denied by her family. But, those in the trade feel that Malaika gets publicity even while walking her dog out or for her yoga session. Forty-seven year old fitness freak, single mom, carved a distinct place in Bollywood with her item numbers. She has confessed she is avoiding acting roles in the films. But insiders feel she should focus on acting as the new item girl of Bollywood is Nora Fatehi and she is here to stay. But there is no denying that Malaika’s latest item number “Aap Jesa Koi” in Action Hero has resonated well with the audience. Right now one is overdosed with her plug-ins of the show in which confesses about marrying Arjun Kapoor and several other confessions but one is waiting to hear from her about how she dropped the Khan surname and indirectly took on Salman Khan by posing and parading with Arjun Kapoor. But one interesting observation by a colleague is that she has moved on from one AK to another AK.
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Fotocorp

Is ED Investigation A Setback For Nora Fatehi?

Actress-model-dancer Nora Fatehi got upset with the waiting photographers as she stepped out of the Enforcement Directorate’s office after her interrogation in the Sukesh Chandrashekhar money laundering case. She is the same Nora who is ever ready to oblige eager paparazzi but this time it was different. She is a witness in the case in which actress Jacqueline Fernandez is an accused. Thirty-year old Nora, a Canadian citizen, has made waves in Bollywood as an item girl. She is invited to reality TV shows either as a judge or as a guest. So what’s her claim to fame?  According to insiders, she is considered to be the hot favorite of a music baron and he has signed her for any number of item songs and music albums. She started with item numbers in south Indian films and then moved to Hindi films. Luckily for her all her item songs have been a hit and that was used to draw audiences to theatres. But, her rounds of ED’s office and her name dragged into the Sukesh money laundering controversy could be a temporary setback for her career. Many may not sign her for the fear of shooting dates clashing with her hearings. Incidentally, Jacqueline is still not out of trouble but has not vented her anger with the media who has been tailing her day in and day out.  
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Deepak Chopra, Doug Roland Team Up With Chef Vikas Khanna To Make Social Impact Films

Michellin Star Chef Vikas Khanna is on a roll as far as directing social impact films are concerned. His film Last Colour produced by Jitendra Mishra on Amazon Prime has had good reviews. Not one to rest on his laurels, he managed to get the world renowned speaker-author Deepak Chopra and Oscar nominated social impact filmmaker Doug Roland as Executive Producer and Producer for his latest documentary Barefoot Empress co-produced by Mishra . The short documentary follows the journey of 96-year-old Karthyayani Amma as she joins a first grade class, to realize her lifelong dream of receiving an education. The film is inspired by Khanna’s grandmother who was not given an opportunity at an education. Khanna who has partnered with non-profit Leap to Shine, said, he will “use the film to raise funds in service of providing high quality education for girls in underserved communities in India.” Barefoot Empress has helped rehabilitate 11 classrooms in India. According to Dr Deepak Chopra, “Barefoot Empress carries a universal message of hope and perseverance that has the power to move viewers, and the momentum to impact the lives of thousands of girls in India.” Barefoot Empress has qualified for the Oscar shortlist, won at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, where it picked up the Biogen Award and the Best Short Documentary at the Big Apple Award.
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Is Superstar Rajini Scripting His Swansong?

His 73rd birthday is on December 12, and true to form, Rajini posters have mysteriously sprung up at vantage points of Poes Garden. This time with a difference. The swashbuckling film hero, larger than life images on the posters have given way…to a visibly aged man, sparse hair and spectacles, scoping out the horizon. But this poster is perhaps meant to hint at a new avatar? On closer scrutiny, this “misinformation poster “reads “, governor and people, our Thalaivar is worthy of worship”. The operative hook here is Governor! Who knows? This is typical Rajini, teasing, hinting, rousing expectations and when it comes to the crunch, backing out! After his last few films faring poorly, and Kamal’s Vikram zooming to the top, Rajini, intent on a super hit as his swan song, worked hard at choosing a new film, director and story for Jailer, now under progress. But the buzz is Rajini wanting a youthful comeback film, chose a youthful director Nelson, even as his old reliable director P Vasu coaxed him hard to accept Chandramukhi 2, to revive that 2005 hit which sent the cash registers jingling! Now Rajini is rumoured to be regretting saying no to Chandramukhi2. A theory doing the rounds is that the 2002 flop Baba may be re-released after it is cosmetically enhanced with more digital audio heft.
Varun Dhawan

Is Varun Dhawan Losing Foothold In Bollywood?

Being an insider Varun Dhawan always had a foot in the door. Son of Bollywood’s most successful director David Dhawan, he worked with Karan Johar as an assistant director before he was launched in Student Of The Year by Karan Johar in 2012. Lady Luck was benevolent; he had 11 consecutive box-office successes between 2012 and 2018 but close industry watchers are saying that the 35-year old star may lose his edge given the kind of films he is signing these days. Says an insider, the kind of films he is choosing is not really working in his favour. His latest outing Bhediya has been appreciated by the critics but hasn’t really translated into big numbers. His well-wishers feel that he needs to reinvent himself; focus on the kind of cinema his father is known for. Remake of Judwaa, Coolie No 1 was liked as one saw a Govinda in him. Varun is a sincere and emotional actor and is keen to do something out of the box and that has not worked in his favour. Badlapur was good but October failed and in the case of Bhediya his fans don’t really want to see him playing those kinds of roles. They are looking for a Govinda in Varun. Varun, darling of the media, needs to buckle up as newcomers like Kartik Aaryan, signed by his own brother Rohit Dhawan, have raced ahead of him. About time Varun does introspection.
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Kamal with director Shankar

Overworked Universal Hero Kamal Haasan In And Out Of Hospital

Last week Kamal Haasan had just returned from a trip to Hyderabad when he felt uneasy and feverish. He got himself admitted to the Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai. Though the Ulaganayagan tried to play it down as just fever and cough, no one was taking a chance with a 68-year old who constantly flits from super busy work schedules in films, his weekend shoots for the hugely popular reality show Bigg Boss 6 and his political commitments. The recent success of his film Vikram which totted up Rs 450 crore business worldwide came through as a big shot in the arm for the star who had been smarting under recent cinematic and political setbacks. So Kamal had a rip roaring occasion to celebrate his 68th birthday by announcing a team up with ace director Mani Rathnam, a reunion after 35 years. With A R Rahman creating music, jointly produced by Kamal and Udhayanidhi Stalin. Even this announcement sent his fans into a tizzy of feverish anticipation. As much as the resumption of shooting for Indian 2, much delayed and much-awaited even as magnum director Shankar anticipated this film’s restart. Whatever bug sent him to hospital, his fans, family and financiers must be praying for a quick recovery. Bouncing back with energy to health and back to back action is what Kamal loves best. Hospital sojourns are intermissions during a show.
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Outburst Against ‘Kashmir Files’, Reveals More On Jury's Views On Politics Back Home

The Kashmir Files was amongst the 24 films that did not win any award at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa. Which is why utterances of the Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, the head of the IFFI jury, describing The Kashmir Files as “vulgar” and “propaganda” has completely taken the I&B ministry by surprise. While ministry sources point out that the film was one of 25 films short-listed for competition on the recommendation of Indian Panorama Feature Jury, only one film Cinema Bandi by Praveen Kandregula (Director) won Special Mention. So then why did Nadav Lapid pick only The Kashmir Files at the closing ceremony? If The Kashmir Files did not bag any award was there compulsion on the jury to give some award to the film? The film directed by Vivek Agnihotri has been backed by the BJP. Absolutely no pressure, said jury member Sudipto Sen. “In fact, we never even got to meet the festival director. We were left to ourselves,” he said. Which means it was clearly Lapid’s own politics. As Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon contended that Lapid may have been influenced by his views on Israeli politics. He cited Lapid’s interview with Israeli news website Ynet. “From your interview to Ynet the connection you make between your criticism of “Kashmir Files” and your dislike to what is happening in Israeli politics is quite evident.”
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Is OTT Killing The Film Festivals?

One thing was loud and clear at the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa from November 20, 2022 that the crowd is thinning. The craze and eagerness among film buffs to attend such festivals seem to be waning. So this raises the question: Is digital viewing killing the film festival market? According to one of the film enthusiasts seen in this circuit, “I have been attending film festivals for ages now, and I can say that this year the crowds were less. Some of the regulars were missing too.” The opening day didn’t have much of the enthusiasm one has seen in the past. Has the pandemic changed everything for the festival? Another regular at these festivals says “The magic has gone out of the festival. Netflix and others seemed to have kept quite a few cinema-goers away. Why would anyone come to the festival when they can see it at home?” Also, the focus at IFFI has now shifted to marketing India as a shooting destination and not about the experience of cinemas. One could see a huge pavilion which had stalls of countries like Russia, France and others trying to sell their country as a “shooting destination”. It seems to have become a B2B marketplace not a place to showcase talent and creativity. This year’s edition of the film fiesta showcased a collection of 280 films from 79 countries.
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Photo from @Samanthaprabhu2 when she was admitted on October 29, 2022

Is Samantha Ruth Prabhu In Hospital Again?

Suddenly, Samantha Ruth Prabhu (35) has faced a number of personal setbacks. The much publicised marriage with Nag Chaitanya ended on the rocks. In Koffee With Karan show, Samantha was candid to say, “If you put us in a room, better hide all sharp objects “. Whew! It couldn’t get any more cathartic! And then came the gut wrenching diagnosis that she had Myositis, an auto immune disease. Even as the stars were shining on her, the evil eye had cast a dark cloud on this beautiful, talented star. Her latest release Yashoda did good business, grossing Rs 30 crore in 10 days. Rumours are rife that she is in Apollo, Hyderabad though people close to her deny it. This Kollywood comet streaked across the filmy firmament, fiery and feisty, the envy of many South Indian film peers. Making her entry in 2010 in Tamil cinema, she quickly rose with hits like Kathi, Mercel, Theri, Mahanadi and the recent one, Kaathuvakkile Oru Kaadal. In this film, she stole the show from right under the nose of South siren, lady super star Nayanthara. Her sizzling solo dance number in Pushpa: The Rise was over the top hot, justifying the astronomical Rs 4 crore rumoured to be her remuneration. Her OTT serial, The Family Man Season 2 brought her global acclaim. Will this femme fatale get back her fame and fortune?
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Clash Of Kollywood Titans: Vijay Draws First Blood With ‘Varisu’ Song Ranjithame Getting 5.5 Crore Hits

2023 Pongal will see one of the most anticipated clashes of the Kollywood Titans, Vijay and Ajit when their films, Varisu and Thunivu are to be released simultaneously. Cinephiles of these two super heroes are waiting to clash, to establish the box office draw of their heroes. Tamil Nadu witnesses an opening day craze that’s like no other in terms of fan hysteria and foot stomping action. For instance, Rajini fans do a milk abhishekam on larger than life cut-outs. Vijay just amps up such maniacal following with his hit song Ranjithame which cornered 5.5 crore hits in a fortnight. Apart from his super dancing skills (Rahul Gandhi is a self-confessed fan of Vijay’s dance moves), this action hero is a crooner too, trained by his mother Shobha. In his 28 years Vijay has belted out many hit songs. His very first film song, “Bombay city, Sukha roti” was an instant hit. Dirty dancing his way to woo Rashmika Mandanna, Vijay belting out Ranjithame Ranjithame is on his way to launch yet another Kollywood anthem. Vijay’s voice, the double entendre lyrics are mere foils. It is sexy Rash who rivets as she transforms into Ranjithame. From that Sami Sami song of Pushpa fame, Rash has zoomed up to pan India popularity. Kollywood sure aces in cinematic masala for a rush of testosterone.
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@RanveerOfficial

Can Ranveer, Rohit Break The Box Office Jinx This Christmas?

The billion rupee question everybody in Bollywood is asking: Can Ranveer Singh and Rohit Shetty recreate the magic at the box office this Christmas? Forty-eight year old director-producer-TV host Rohit Shetty is one of the most successful filmmakers who has had a 90% success ratio at the box office with his movies like Singham and Golmaal series. But this Christmas he returns with a period comedy that is reportedly inspired from the 1982 comedy movie Angoor directed by Gulzar starring Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Varma. But, Rohit denies it. One of the highest paid stars, 37-year old Ranveer Singh has been signed for Cirkus. It may be recalled Ranveer Singh’s Jayesh Bhai Jordaar was a disaster and the trade is a little sceptical about him currently, but has full faith in Shetty who seems to have a Midas touch. Those in the trade say that all said and done Cirkus and YRF’s Pathaan starring Shah Rukh Khan are two films that the exhibitors and the entire trade is banking on and hoping that these two films will revive Bollywood. A trade pundit said that both the films come with a good mix of star power and entertainment value and SRK and Ranveer Singh are the last of the superstars the film industry has and there may not be another after them.
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Back With A Bang At 68, Superstar Kamal Haasan Is Giving Younger Stars A Run For Their Life

He is popularly known as the Alwarpet Aandavar in Kollywood lingo — the God of Alwarpet. One is not sure of his divine provenance. But his enduring charisma and box office draw is never in question, a contemporary of the other superstar, Rajini. Kamal Haasan recently celebrated his 68th birthday. The whispers that buzzed around him, “OMG, 68? This guy has luck tucked into him in every way. Even age falls flat “. This film icon has dabbled in many fields with his abundant talent — acting, singing, Bharat Natyam dance, script writing, politics, opinion maker and now businessman. Oh, and still had time for extramarital dalliance, never a reputation impediment for Kamal, but only added macho and magnetism for his huge fan following which applauds and approves his lifestyle. Kamal, the multifaceted artist also has a knack of keeping his various personas, distinct, one not intruding or intervening on the others.  Of late he is focused on his Khadi Fashion Apparel business in the U.S., and the Internet is rocking with pictures of his youthful models, Kamal leaning on them, literally. How many 68‘s look so youthful, clued in on contemporary fashion? After a bad patch in politics, the Kamal of Devar Magan, the Nayakan of Mani Rathnam, the unforgettable Michael Madana Kamaraj and now Vikram, the super hit hero is back with a bang.
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@AnupamPKher

Sooraj Barjatya Is Always Grounded Despite His 'Unnchai'

Rajshri’s high profile star cast movie Unnchai released with a slow start but saw a jump on the second day of its release. Sooraj Barjatya, the filmmaker who is known to make family films has this time returned with a film that is outside his comfort zone but has the underline thread of friendship Rajshri style. Those in the trade would not like to criticize Barjatya’s film but those who have watched say it is not an extraordinary story. Yes, his name gives them a reason to not run it down and this has translated into a cash register ringing. A visit to Barjatya’s office, Rajshri which is India’s leading film, TV, music and digital studio set up in 1947, gives you the feeling that cinema is still alive and their functioning reminds us of the Indian values. All what he shows in his films is from families around him. For him to show the stars drinking in a song was full of reluctance. He is a gentleman director of the film industry who never raises voice or gets upset with any actors or people around him. Only once he lost his cool by his own admission with Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor. He is humility personified. Nobody likes to hurt him.  Salman Khan is one of his best friends and looks like he will return in his film as Prem very soon.
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Round One At Box Office Goes To Katrina’s ‘Phone Bhoot’, Other Releases Do So-So

It has never happened before in Bollywood. Three actresses-led films releasing simultaneously. Katrina Kaif’s Phone Bhoot was the highest scorer at the box office in last week’s release of women-centric films. Katrina’s film earned about Rs 10 crore; the other two films Janhavi Kapoor’s Mili and Huma Qureshi-Sonakshi Sinha’s Double XXL had dismal collections. According to a trade pundit, the audiences are becoming increasingly discerning and don’t enter the cinema hall unless it’s a family fare and has a fun quotient like Phone Bhoot. Mili was a remake and although Janhvi worked hard the audience didn’t want to see her in a freezer. Her last film Goodluck Jerry was appreciated but it was on OTT and people didn’t have to pay for it. Huma Qureshi and Sonakshi Sinha chose a subject close to their heart; but the subject is passe as today‘s girls are not embarrassed by their bodies and nobody wanted to spend money to watch them in cinemas. Most of the films that are now released in cinemas could’ve been released on OTT directly but the OTT platforms now want the producers to release their films in cinemas and only after that they are picking up those films at their cost. The last women-centric film that did well at the box office was Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi and it was because of the songs and it was larger-than-life cinema.
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‘The Kerala Story’ Movie Runs Into Trouble

The Hindi feature film, The Kerala Story, directed by Sudipto Sen has kicked up a row. In the teaser now on YouTube, a burkha-clad woman states that her name is Shalini Unnikrishnan and she wanted to become a nurse. “Now I am Fatima Ba, an IS terrorist held in a jail in Afghanistan.” She goes on to state that 32,000 girls like her have been converted and many buried in the deserts of Syria and Yemen. The teaser has received both criticism and praise. Sen has claimed that former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had stated, “Every year 2800 to 3200 girls are converted to Islam and so it worked out to 32,000 in 10 years. CPM MP John Brittas has requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take “swift action” against the “mischievous” teaser of the film. A Chennai-based journalist has written to the state Chief Minister seeking an enquiry. Some politicians in the state have called for a ban on the film. The Trivandrum City Police Commissioner has sought legal advice on the letter on what action could be initiated. Adah Sharma, the actress in question, has tweeted the teaser of the movie with the hashtag #TrueStory. The producer, Vipul Shah, has been silent on the controversy.
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Indians On A Roll: Birmingham City University Confers Honorary Doctorate On Shankar Mahadevan

The award-winning Indian singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan is to receive an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University (BCU) for his outstanding contribution to music and the arts. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street made the announcement on behalf of the University before the globally acclaimed Mahadevan is formally invited to receive the University’s highest honour at a ceremony in 2023. The announcement follows a BCU India and West Midlands India Partnership-organised visit by Mahadevan to BCU’s 400 mn pound campus featuring creative industry facilities, including Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC). Shankar had toured RBC with fellow Indian musicians including Zakir Hussain earlier this year, meeting with students, staff and partners, and committing to exploring links and opportunities between the Bangalore-based Shankar Mahadevan Academy and the Conservatoire. “When I started my career, never did I expect that one day I would be awarded a doctorate for music,” said 55-year old Mahadevan, part of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio. The honorary doctorate announcement underlines BCU’s commitment both to their strategic partnership work in India as well, reflecting a recent call to urge policymakers to place greater emphasis on the value of the Creative Arts in higher education and recognise the role universities play in strengthening the sector’s growth and innovation.
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Lessons For Bollywood: Kollywood Box Office Jingles With A Clutch Of Low Budget, Breezy Films

A clutch of new releases, strong on story, low on budget and even lower on big moolah expectations have brought cheer to the Tamil cinema industry. Love Today, Coffee with Kaadal and Nitham Oru Vaanam have individually and together warmed the cockles of cinema addict’s hearts. Each film intuitively explores and expounds the new age gen now youth, their family anchors of tradition and the gentle compromises made to get on with life, technology  driven and frantically lived. Reality and coping mechanisms with strife and challenges are woven strongly into these plausible stories. Most cheering news, crores are not riding on these and every house full show is money for jam. Take Love Today, Pradeep and Nikita are married, youth stereotypes, madly in love. They proclaim and believe that each knows the other inside out, trust unlimited.  The couple exchange their mobiles for a day. And their complacent world falls apart with complicity. Sundar C’s Coffee with Kaadal is a true fraapuchino. Take Srikanth, married, with a child. Suddenly he finds that his one night promiscuous stand is to be married to his younger brother. Nitham Oru Vaanam is a riddle. The jury will be out on all three, but trade analysts would strongly applaud –low investment, breezy returns. Bollywood are you listening?
Meenaxi

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Is Meenakshi Sheshadri Making A Comeback?

Another popular yesteryear actress is keen to make a comeback. Fifty-nine year old Meenakshi Sheshadri is keen to get back to acting. Interestingly, most of the top actresses of the past are making their comeback statement by appearing on popular reality shows like the Indian Idol, The Kapil Sharma Show Or KBC. So too Meenakshi, she chose the Indian Idol show. She looked fit. Her dancer’s grace and poise for all to see. For the uninitiated Meenakshi is trained in four Indian classical dance forms — Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Odissi. In the early 90s she was dating singer Kumar Sanu but Ghayal director Rajkumar Santoshi was very keen to marry her. She shocked and surprised her fans by abruptly giving up her acting career and moved to the U.S. around 1996 after finding her life partner. Meenakshi is not the only actress of the 80s and 90s who is making a comeback. Neetu Singh Kapoor did it after 26 years via a Karan Johar film. Now she is busy with a web series. Bhagyashree of Maine Pyar Kiya fame made a quiet comeback; she was seen in Thalaivi but it was Super Moms that got her noticed. Earlier, we saw the dhak dhak girl Madhuri Dixit coming back to India landing film roles, doing reality shows and endorsing many products.
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@KatrinaKaifFB

Has ‘Chikni Chameli’ Kat Come Of Age?

After Fitoor it is probably for the first time Katrina Kaif will be seen headlining a film Phone Bhoot that releases this week. The 39-year old actress, who has acted in over 50 films, has been one of the top three actresses in Bollywood charging a hefty fee of Rs 10 crore per film. Phone Bhoot is a horror comedy that co-stars not so popular Ishaan Khattar and Siddhant Chaturvedi. Katrina is the big name here and a lot depends on how the audience reacts to the film. Phone Bhoot is Katrina’s first release after her marriage to Vicky Kaushal who has been involved in the promotion of the film.  Of course her ex-flame Salman Khan has not been far behind, he was promoting it on Bigg Boss. Interestingly, there are three releases this week — Mili, Double XXL and Phone Bhoot — and all three are driven by women. Trade analysts feel Katrina’s film will get a good opening of Rs 4 crore. Till date Katrina hasn’t really got noticed for her acting skills but is remembered for item songs like Chikni Chameli. In fact, she has had some of the best songs to her credit and that makes her hugely popular. Katrina has worked opposite all the top Bollywood actors. The actress who has overcome her Hindi language barrier is now focusing on her acting skills and getting choosy about her roles. Looks like Kat will walk the talk.  
Shahrukh khan

@aryankhan_

Why Is Shah Rukh Khan Miffed With The Media?

These days Shah Rukh Khan carries an umbrella. Reason: he wants to make sure that paparazzi don’t get a glimpse of him. SRK who was once very friendly with journos is miffed with the entire tribe for going overboard while reporting on his son Aryan Khan’s drug case. He is also angry with the media for publicizing his personal life. But, does hiding behind an umbrella ensure that the media will stop reporting on him or his son? Senior journalists say that SRK cannot complain as every time they tried to reach out to him or his legal team, they were stone-walled. Given this situation they could do nothing but file stories after talking to reliable sources. For Bollywood this is not a new phenomenon. In the eighties, Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha had banned the media for publishing their alleged relationship. They neither gave interviews nor allowed journalists on their sets. Big B broke his 10-year ban and has now become the darling of the media. In the case of Salman Khan it is a love-hate relationship. It came to the fore during his affair with Aishwaryaa Rai. In fact, a leading film magazine, much to his annoyance, stopped writing about him after he misbehaved with their photographer. Now Sallu bhai is a changed man but occasionally the old Salman Khan does surface. Meanwhile, Aryan Khan continues to carry an umbrella and refuses to oblige the waiting paparazzi.
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@ajaydevgn

A Non-Controversial, Successful Star Called Ajay Devgn

Fifty three year old Ajay Devgn is one of the busiest actors in Bollywood. The actor–director-producer has four films in the pipeline; one just released this Diwali. Ajay is not really a Diwali hero as most of the time it has been the Khans who time their movie release with Diwali. And if Ajay has released his film on Diwali it has been a clash most of the time with Shah Rukh Khan; he does not really enjoy a rapport with SRK although his wife Kajol hits off with him both on screen and off screen. Ajay Devgn has been a consistent-intense actor who works at his pace and is not in the rat race. With more than 100 films under his belt, he has won national accolades for his contribution to cinema. He has worked with well- known directors like Prakash Jha, Rajkumar Santoshi and Ramgopal Varma but it was Rohit Shetty who gave him the angry Singham stamp. And the same Shetty’s Midas touch has made Ajay’s poker faced comedy a huge box office hit in the Golmaal series. The actor is also a director and Raju Chacha was his first venture. In recent times Ajay has directed Shivaay and Runway 24 the latter starring Big B. The politically correct devoid of controversy actor has several projects on hand — Thank God has just been released. It will be followed by Drishyam 2, Maidaan and Bhola.
rajinikanth_013

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The Rajini Phenomenon Endures As Fans Throng To Glimpse Their Thalaiva

This Deepawali, the crowds in front of his house, “Brindavan” in Chennai started swelling from 7 am. Men, women and youthful enthusiasts stood rearing to greet Thalaiva with frenzy. The Poes Garden cul de sac of just six families has witnessed this crazed stargazing crowd, year after year. Age does not wither nor custom stale the Rajini phenomenon despite all the criticisms flung at him…fickle political stance, waning star attraction, dropping box office collections, hackneyed formula films…Rajini is Teflon coated and super resilient. The phenomenon has kept his fan base intact for over 45 years now. The 70-year old clad in a simple dhoti, white jubula with vibhuti generously smeared on his forehead came out, stood on a bench and greeted the crowd. The roar that went up must have given him goosebumps. The star still reigns super. After the lukewarm response to his Annathe, Rajini signed up for SUN pictures Jailer, directed by Nelson and its shooting is in progress. With Aishwarya Rai and Ramya Krishnan as female foils, Rajini hopes to stir up a storm. He is working hard to be fit. Neighbours spot a trim Rajini on regular brisk walks, wearing his earphones, even walking backwards, a yogic practice for balance. Is Rajini the ultimate Karmayogi? Do your stuff, move on, don’t let success or failure weigh you down. This phenomenon endures, a cult figure.
Alia Bhatt

@aliaa08

Brand Alia Has A Big Draw On All Platforms

She is the insider who made it big in Bollywood with her extraordinary talent. Alia Bhatt, who is in the family way, is all over the place – print, TV, internet — endorsing all kinds of products. And her spontaneity, innate talent and charm seems to be emoting well with her audience. Once upon a time marriage or pregnancy were considered a taboo. Not anymore. In fact, stars are cashing on it. Kareena, Anushka and Dia have all done it. The trend of pregnant celebrities endorsing products is increasing by the day. Reportedly, Kareena Kapoor Khan earned around Rs 12 crore via endorsements during her pregnancy. In the case of Alia, she has already endorsed over 23 products. She also features with her husband Ranbir Kapoor in Spotify ads done during the promotion of Brahmastra. Experts from the adworld say there’s a correlation between brands, and ad recalls of products endorsed by the celebrities during their pregnancy as for a large number of women these stars are their idols. And social media has given more heft to these celebrities. According to Duff & Phelps (now Kroll) Celebrity Brand Valuation Report, Alia’s brand value stood at $ 68.1 million in 2021. That’s huge for the 29-year old actress who entered Bollywood 10 years ago. No wonder she is wearing several hats — model, actor, producer and promoter.
Collage Maker-13-Oct-2022-01

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What’s Keeping Vidya Balan Busy These Days?

She is one unique actress who was called as woman of change but these days we have been seeing her making reels on Instagram and not really doing the kind of work we would want to see from Vidya Balan. Not that she is not doing a good job in the reels in fact she is putting in as much effort as one would working in a commercial film. But those in the trade feel that Vidya Balan is one actress who does not believe in racing for the top actress spot but is focusing on what she likes doing. Vidya was last seen in Jalsa with Shefali Shah and her performance was appreciated. Currently, she has two films in the pipeline. The 43-year old actress who made her mark in a popular TV serial Hum Paanch entered Bollywood in 2005 with Parineeta. It was a hit.  Since then she has worked in films that are female-led or has done path breaking roles in movies like Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, The Dirty Picture No One Killed Jessica, Shakuntala Devi and Kahaani. Vidya who always got bad Press for her dressing sense did try to do a glamorous role in Kismat Konnection but that was not well received. Those in the trade feel that OTT is an ideal platform for her. Is that the reason why she is focusing on social media?
KBC

@SrBachchan

Big B Constantly Reinvented Himself To Stay Relevant

On October 11, Amitabh Bachchan turned 80. And it will mark another milestone in a celebrated life. He has won awards and accolades that are too numerous to recount. The man who has been dubbed the ‘Superstar of the Millennium’ is going strong in the third decade of the new millennium. Therein lies a remarkable story of invention and reinvention. He made his debut in 1969 in Saat Hindustani, went on to become the second superstar of Bollywood in the 70’s and a one-man industry for much of the eighties before announcing his retirement in 1992. This was preceded by a non-too successful foray into politics and followed by an equally tough if not tougher stint as a businessman.  Then KBC happened around 2000 and the rest as they say is history. He also then began experimenting with his roles and Amitabh Bachchan the actor who had taken a backseat to Amitabh Bachchan the superstar resurfaced.  And the man who made his debut at a time when owning a television set was still a dream for most Indians transitioned almost inevitably to being consumed on OTT platforms. And becoming relevant to the WhattsApp generation. We have often heard ‘Age is just a number’. If you want proof look at Amitabh Bachchan.
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After Richa Chadha-Fazal Ali Tying The Knot All Eyes On Arjun-Malaika: Will They?

Richa Chadha who has been tom-tomming about her marriage to Ali Fazal for years has finally tied the knot. Now, the next marriage on the horizon seems to be that of the 37-year old actor Arjun Kapoor with 49-year old actress-TV personality Malaika Arora. Will he or won’t he marry her seems to be the question that’s doing the rounds as they have been dating for a long while now. It did take Arjun quite a few years to openly walk hand-in-hand with his girlfriend Malaika and it is learnt there is little bit of reluctance on his  part to take her to his family dos. Malaika being a former Khan Bahu could be the reason the two are taking time to formalise the relationship. It is definitely not their 12-year age gap. Malaika who married Arbaaz Khan in 1998 and now legally separated has a college going son Arhaan who now seems comfortable with Arjun. It has definitely not been easy for Arjun but slowly everybody is accepting the two. His father Boney Kapoor, an accomplished film producer, is part of the fraternity and very close friend of Salman Khan and all these may be part of the concern. But, one thing is loud and clear: Arjun takes a lot of pride in Malaika being his girlfriend. That’s encouraging, so will the wedding bells ring soon?
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Khamosh! 'Thappad Se Darr Nahi Lagta’ Star Comes Into Her Own

Her father’s towering presence in Bollywood and politics perhaps made it possible for Sonakshi Sinha to have a dream launch as a heroine opposite Salman Khan in Dabangg in 2010. The role not only won her Filmfare award but her dialogue “Thappad Se Darr Nahi Lagta Sahab made her even more famous. This 35-year old touch-me-not actress, daughter of Shatrughan Sinha, has done over 50 films. Insiders say her traditional look was in a way disadvantageous. But, to her credit Sonakshi managed her career quite well by choosing the right role. Sonakshi who has had no releases in the last two years is now working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the web series Heera Mandi. Here, she surprised everybody by choosing Bhansali over Sooraj Barjatya and Amitabh Bachchan for Unncha. More. She is now confronting issues like body shaming in Double XXL. Like all stars, she too has had her share of link-ups with co-stars. A video of her and Salman Khan went viral that led to speculation of her tying knots with the actor. Currently she is dating Zaheer Iqbal, a protege of Salman Khan who has fallen out with him after he walked out of Bhaijaan. Recently, while shooting a teaser for Case Toh Banta Hai Sonakshi slapped comedian Paritosh Tripathi after challenging him to say her dialogue “Thappad se….” Once he said it, Sonakshi gave him a tight slap, and asked “Nahi lagta?”
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OTT Effect: Heroines Want Good Scripts Not Big Co-Stars

Once upon a time in Bollywood it was typical of a heroine to ask the producer who the hero of the film was before signing on the dotted line. Well-known heroines would never agree to act opposite a hero who was a newcomer. Since the glamour quotient of the heroines were high the producers were eager to oblige them. The entry of OTT has reset the entertainment industry. It has changed the mindset and approach; heroines are looking for a good script with a strong character and the conventional running around the trees and getting wet in the rain. Parineeti Chopra is doing a film with Hardy Sandhu. Earlier we saw Alia Bhatt cast opposite Vijay Varma in Darlings and in Gangubai Kathiawadi her hero was Shantanu Maheshwari. But the biggest shocker was Katrina Kaif agreeing to do a film with South star Vijay. Today’s actresses are looking at content and do not want to do dolled-up roles opposite a big star. In soon to be released Vikram Vedha the female lead is Radhika Apte and not any glamour girl opposite Saif Ali Khan. Analysts say that both actors and actresses are not keen to be heroes and heroines but characters in a film that wins them audience appreciation vis a vis keep the cash register ringing. Clearly, this trend has begun all thanks to the OTT boom.
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Controversial Odiya Star Prakruti Mishra Moves To Mumbai, All Set To Enter Bigg Boss House

If you are controversial, care a damn about public opinion, love having no rules, fond of dramatic fights and outbursts, and a national film award winner, then you certainly qualify to be a Bigg Boss contestant. So it is with Odisha’s controversial film star Prakruti Misra who is all set to enter Bigg Boss-Season 16 which premieres on October 1. So what brings her to Mumbai?  According to Bhubaneshwar film industry gossip Prakruti, who won national award for her Odiya film Arsi, had little choice but to look for greener pastures in Mumbai so as to keep herself away from the recent raging controversy involving her co- star.  It may be recalled that Prakruti was publicly shamed and hit by well-known film actor Babushaan’s wife Trupti Satpathy for allegedly having an affair with her husband. The video of that incident went viral on social media. To redeem her image Prakruti filed a Rs 5-crore defamation suit against Babushaan’s wife Trupti and her father. Besides, Big Boss 16, it is learnt that she will be working on three Bollywood projects, one of which stars Nana Patekar and one Odiya film Draupadi.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!