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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?
Collage Maker-30-Sep-2022-02

Fotocorp

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?”
Collage Maker-24-Sep-2022-12

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.
Collage Maker-23-Sep-2022-12

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.
Collage Maker-20-Sep-2022-05

Everybody ‘Chup’ With Dulquer Salmaan’s ‘Sita Ramam’ Performance

Malayalam star Dulquer Salmaan seems to have made quite an impression in the latest Telugu movie Sita Ramam, also dubbed in Hindi.  Son of Malayalam super star Mammootty, this 36-year old actor who predominantly works in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu movies is another star from the south who is expected to storm Bollywood with his next film Chup. The movie, an ode to Guru Dutt in which Dulquer plays the lead, is directed by R Balki. Dulquer is not a larger than life hero like Allu Arjun and Ram Charan but more of a romantic hero often seen in solo hero films which has won him appreciation. Dulquer is also like Prithviraj Sukumaran who is making sure that Malayalam film industry continues to make good cinema. Dulquer definitely has the potential to make a place for himself in Bollywood as his Hindi accent is much better than the big heroes of Telugu and Tamil film industry. His debut film in Hindi was Karwaan, a small budget film directed by Akarsh Khurana.  Sita Ramam is definitely setting a trend of sleeper hit films. In the entertainment industry, sleeper hits are films or series that were not expected to do very well because of low budget, lack of promotion. But gradually the movie becomes a talking point, garners media attention which in turn increases its box office collections.
Collage Maker-15-Sep-2022-12

After Toing And Froing Salman Khan Decides To Host BIgg Boss For The 12th Time

Finally, Salman Khan agrees to host the reality show Bigg Boss for the 12th time. The actor, it is learnt, was not too keen to host it because of his film commitments and of course fee has always been a bone of contention. In the end the producer, actor seemed to have found the middle ground. The actor quietly shot the promo of the show in between the shoot of his home production Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan at the Mumbai’s Film City studio. The actor who keeps threatening to leave the show manages to get a fee hike in each season. Last year, it is rumoured he was paid a hefty Rs 350 crore and this year — Bigg Boss Season 16 – the fee is bound to be more, say people in the know. The actor who shot the promo of the show said there will be no rules this season and that gave rise to speculations of people who could be selected. Thus, names of controversial stand up Munnawar Farooqui, model-actress Poonam Pandey, TV serial actor Paras of Anupama fame were doing the rounds. The reason audiences love Salman as a host of Bigg Boss is because he does not follow the script and often ends up making controversial remarks on the show. And his fans adore him for that.
Collage Maker-12-Sep-2022-01

Does Indian Audience Have Reservations Accepting Off Screen Couples In Movies?

Does the Indian audience have reservations when real life couples are paired on screen? Take for example Brahmastra which got a big opening but on the screen chemistry between Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt does not seem to work. Their romance seems forced as the general feeling among the audience. Interestingly, married couples have not clicked on the silver screen. It happened with Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. After their marriage they worked together in Gopi. This movie did well, maybe it was an initial curiosity. But, it was followed by spate of flops like Bairaag Sagina, Duniya. Post that producers did not take the chance of pairing them together. Dharmendra-Hema Malini were a hit pair before the marriage but after marriage they stopped working together. In the case of Big B and Jaya it seems slightly different. Before marriage both worked together in Zanjeer, Abhimaan, Ek Nazar, Bansi Birju. After marriage it was in Silsila, Chupke Chupke, Milli, Sholay but not as the main cast. Then they stopped working together. Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh were a hit pair but after marrying Rishi she stopped working. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor worked in Tashan where the romance began. After marriage they came together for Agent Vinod and Kurbaan, both bombed, post that they have decided not to work together.
Collage Maker-10-Sep-2022-11

Streaming Is King As TV & Cable Players Lack New Content

For the first time ever, streaming usage has claimed the largest share of Television viewing in the U.S. According to Gauge, Nielsen’s monthly total TV and streaming snapshot, streaming notched up 34.8 % of total TV viewing while cable and broadcast came in at 34.4% and 21.6% respectively. Streaming usage increased 3.2 % in July compared to June 2022. Time spent streaming in July averaged nearly 191 billion minutes per week and each of the five measurement weeks in July 2022 now account for five of the six highest volume streaming weeks on record. Streaming majors, Prime Video, Netflix HULU and YouTube each captured record-high shares again in July after doing so in June. Netflix got the largest share of overall TV viewing with 8 % boosted by the nearly 18 billion viewing minutes of Strange Times alone. Both Cable and Broadcast are losing out for want of new content. Both have lost mainly their sports viewers which has moved to streaming with the major OTT players lapping the digital rights. The same trend is repeating in India and the proof of that is aggressive bidding for sports properties by broadcast and cable players. Reliance Viacom18 walked away with the digital rights for the next four years of IPL paying Rs 237.58 billion. Disney Star paid Rs 235.75 billion for broadcast rights. Clearly, the future is streaming.
Vikas Khanna

Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna In India To Direct His Second Film

This month end New York-based Michelin Star celebrity Chef “Amritsar ka puttar” Vikas Khanna will visit his mother in Punjab and join his co-producer, business partner and friend Jitendra Mishra, President-Elect of CIFEJ (International Centre of Films for Children & Young People, UNESCO ) to restart shooting their film that has already been approved by the NFDC.  This movie earlier titled The Home of the Rain Catcher produced by Mishra, Vikas’ mother Bindu Khanna and Poonam Kaul under the banner House of Omkar was on the list of 14 projects selected for the Co-Production Market Film Bazaar in 2019 by NFDC. But, the project had to be put on hold due to Covid-19 pandemic. Now, with fear of Covid-19 behind us, it’s business as usual. So, both Vikas and Jitendra are busy finalising the cast and script for the movie.  Both friends came together for The Last Colour starring Neena Gupta. It was Vikas Khanna’s directorial debut while Mishra was the producer.The film which is streaming on Amazon Video made it to the final list of Oscar 2020 Eligibility for Best Film. In all, the two friends have produced one feature film, one feature documentary, three short films. Mishra’s company Cinema 4Good has produced, distributed and promoted more than 110 films.
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Cuttputtli Streaming On OTT Proves To Be Face Saving For Akshay Kumar

Cuttputtli’s release on OTT was actually a face saving for Akshay Kumar who has had series of flops like Laxxmi, Bell Bottom, Bachchan Pandey, Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and Raksha Bandhan. Each of those films that bombed had a budget of around Rs 100 crore. Personally, it was no loss for Akshay as he charges fees and not percentage of profits as is the practice with some big stars. Trade experts feel that seasoned producer Vashu Bhagnani’s decision to release Cuttputtli on OTT was indeed a smart move. So is OTT a safe platform? Not really. Even Akshay, at the announcement of Cuttputtli‘s OTT streaming, said that this platform too needs audience approval. And he was bang on. There is a mixed reaction to the film on the OTT platform although the decision to go straight to OTT is economically safe for the makers. According to trade circles, the loser in this streaming deal of Akshay film is the OTT because a sub-standard film has been sold to them with makers and actors insulating themselves. Akshay Kumar has six to seven films in the pipeline and hopes he has realized that Ab thukpatti ka kaam nahi chalega. Trade experts have been saying that the 55-year old actor needs to carefully choose his subject and get into the skin of his character.
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The Truth About Big B’s Views On ‘Brahmastra’

Contrary to media reports about Amitabh Bachchan predicting that Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer Brahmastra would bomb at the box office those close to the project have maintained it is otherwise. It is learnt that the senior actor gave his suggestions and director Ayan Mukerji took Big B’s feedback seriously and reshot a few scenes. Reportedly, advance collections in Jaipur, Indore, and Patna circuits have been good. According to insiders, Bachchan is one of those actors who prefers to be on the set even if his shot is not happening at that particular time. In the case of younger lots they are ensconced in their vanity van and enter the set only when “their shot is ready”.  Big B, while waiting on the set, is known to give constructive suggestions and at times even gives cues to his co-stars if he is not in the frame. Aryan cleared the air while on an informal chat with the media that Amitji would be the first person to take his position during the shot and hang around the camera giving cues. It may be recalled that Amitabh had differences with Farhan Akhtar and Tinnu Anand while working for their films which was eventually sorted out. One of the reasons for stories doing rounds about the failure of Brahmastra could be Amitabh’s absence from its promotion.
Collage Maker-03-Sep-2022-12

Fotocorp

Huma Qureshi: The Maharani Who Picks And Chooses Roles

She has the potential of becoming the next Tabu of Bollywood. Thirty-six year old Huma Qureshi who has been winning hearts for her performance in Maharani 2 has been choosy about her roles ever since she entered Bollywood in 2012. Reportedly, during the shoot for a Samsung mobile commercial, producer-director Anurag Kashyap noticed her acting ability and signed her for Gangs of Wasseypur. Her performance got noticed, earning her several nominations and films. She is not the conventional kind of actress who tried to sing and dance but chose cinema that suited her career. Her boldness to do things that is required for the role made her Huma Qureshi.  She got appreciated in the role in Badlapur opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Maharani in a way has become a game changer for this Delhi born and educated actress. She recently told India Today that “Maharani has unlocked a part of me that is unafraid and I want to explore more “. Of course like all Bollywood stars she too has had her share of controversy when her name was linked with Salman Khan’s youngest brother Sohail. Currently, Huma Qureshi has two projects Double XXL directed by her friend Mudassar Aziz which deals with body shaming. She plays a girl from Meerut. She will be also seen playing the role of Tarla Dalal, well known food writer, in a web series.
Collage Maker-29-Aug-2022-11

Odisha Film Industry Hit By Another High Profile Marital Controversy, Second Incident In A Month

In less than a month, the Odisha film industry has been rocked by another high-profile marital controversy. This time it is the popular actor Babushaan, son of Odia superstar Uttam Mohanty and actress Aparijita Mohanty. He was in the news because of an unsavoury incident involving his wife Trupti Satpathy. Trupti stopped his co-star Prakruti Mishra from boarding an auto-rickshaw while accusing her of having a relationship with him and ruining their family. Actress Prakruti Mishra hit back saying that Trupti has lost her mental balance. But, this street fight — screaming and allegations – has gone viral.  In a damage control exercise, Babushaan who realised his mistake, in a video message, said that he will no longer work with his co-actress Prakruti. But there is no smoke without fire as Babushaan’s mother Aparijita said “Bad company ruined her son’s life” and asked people of Odisha to bless her son Babushaan so that he returns to his family. Legal cases have been filed by both sides. It is learnt that actress Prakruti has reportedly filed a defamation suit against Babushaan and his wife Trupti and sought a damage of Rs 5 crore. Earlier, we saw how Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty and his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini made headlines when their marital discord became ugly. Looks like there is a thin dividing line between real and reel world.
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Will Ranbir Kapoor’s Brahmastra Break The Bollywood Jinx?

The general thinking was that Vijay Deverakonda starrer Ligor like all south movies KGF 2, RRR, and Pushpa released pan India over the last one year would be a big hit. Far from it. The latest news is that Liger has been mauled at the box office and hopes that the popular Telugu star Vijay Deverakonda would hold sway over Bollywood has been belied. Manoj Desai, owner of Gaiety-Galaxy, Maratha Mandir theatres in a social media message asked an arrogant Vijay to wake up and smell the coffee. Now, all eyes are riveted on Ranbir Kapoor’s starrer Brahmastra which has the backing of SS Rajamouli of Bahubali fame as a presenter down South. The marketing and promotions of the film seem to have impressed the fans of both Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt who will be seen for the first time on screen with her husband, Ranbir. The music of the film seems to have resonated well with the audience. Some trade sources say that Ranbir Kapoor has a good hold in Hindi and it is clear from the day one opening of Shamshera which opened with Rs 10 crore collections. It is the content that failed his box office success but this time tie-up with south’s bigwig will help the film.  So the question everybody wants an answer is: will Brahmastra break the jinx for Bollywood? Wait for a few days.
Collage Maker-22-Aug-2022-02

@TheDeverakonda

Vijay Deverakonda: One More Telugu Star Getting Ready To Storm Bollywood

Trade buzz is that Vijay Deverakonda’s Liger has a better chance at the box office as it features a south star. Is the audience today more receptive to South films? Not really. Not all south films dubbed in Hindi or their remakes have been a success.  But, generally speaking movies starring Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan, Mohanlal have done well.  In the last one year films like KGF 2, RRR, and Pushpa recorded big draws in the Hindi belt.  A trade source said, “It’s not that all the movies are accepted. If the audience accepted three movies then they have also rejected 10 movies from the south. The general perception is that south films are better in narrative and presentation while Bollywood is failing to deliver on the content front.” Liger has been shot both in Hindi and Telugu languages and it marks the debut of Vijay Deverakonda, a huge star in Telugu film industry. His Telugu film Arjun Reddy remake Kabir Singh has been a huge hit in Hindi.  To project himself as a pan India star Vijay is going all out to promote Liger by chatting with social media influencers to visiting malls and eateries so as to make his face familiar to the north audience.  Interestingly, Vijay, who has a big fan base, is an outsider who made it big in the Telugu film industry by his sheer performance.
Collage Maker-19-Aug-2022-04

Fotocorp

Even After Series Of Flops Akshay Kumar Rules The Roost With Rs 1000 Crore Riding On Him

With several of his films bombing at the box office in quick succession the producers of Akshay Kumar’s next film Cuttputli are thinking of streaming it on the OTT platform. Akshay who has over Rs 1000 crore riding on him has had maximum releases and flops in the last two years. Even his latest release Raksha Bandhan was a super flop. Earlier, it was Samrat Prithviraj and Bachchhan Paandey. Atrangi Re was streamed on OTT platform but that too met with similar fate as it was also panned by the critics and all. While his producers are still in shock and trying to recover their investments, the actor has moved on signing up for more films. He is not affected as charges acting fees not percentage of profits. Today, Akshay has around seven films on hand. He is shooting for Selfie with Emran Hashmi and Ram Setu. He has to start shooting for Capsule Gill, Start Up, OMG 2, Khel Khel Mein, and Sajid Nadiadwala’s movie. In a politically sensitive environment where social media has become a powerful tool, jittery producers, seeing the fate of Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chadda, are wondering how to fight this boycott battle and recoup their investments. Looks like the producers will have to rethink content and choose stars who are politically neutral.
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@rajinikanth

Rajini’s Delhi Trip, Guv Meet Foxes Fans, Friends And Politicians

After J Jayalalithaa‘s demise, Rajinikanth’s political entry was much trumpeted. Even when a huge fan following bragged about the style he would bring as the “CM of TN“, sceptics bandied this joke…”Rajini Can’t” wade into the turbulent political waters. When he announced that he was withdrawing from politics his fans went into despair. He was trolled mercilessly for developing cold feet. His last two movies did nothing much to boost his cine status. Better to ride off into retirement gracefully. But no, adulation is an addiction and fan worship is a narcissistic opiate. Suddenly, on August 7, he dashed off to Delhi, followed by a much-hyped meeting the next day with Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi at the Raj Bhavan. Soon he was front-page news and trolled heavily. Was Rajini, the Pink Panther on the prowl again? Why would a film star meet the Governor? Was he joining the BJP? Post Raj Bhavan visit, Rajini met the Press at the gate of his bungalow and a volley of questions followed: Did you discuss politics with the Governor? Did you highlight the niggardly, miserly GST share for TN? Rajini quickly but stylishly put on his mask, and bolted into his house. Is Rajini hoping that his next movie Jailer would put him into the limelight like Vikram did for his rival Kamal Haasan?
Collage Maker-10-Aug-2022-11

Aamir Khan’s Past Utterances Hit Day One Advance Collections Of His Latest Movie

It really seems that people are refusing to forgive Aamir Khan for his utterances on the insecurity of living in India he made a few years back. And that is reflected in the box office collection of his latest movie Laal Singh Chaddha.  The day one advance is around Rs 14 crore which is really sad and is equivalent to that of a newcomer Kartik Aaryan film. Even trade pundits are shocked at the day one advance booking and feel Aamir’s Bharat darshan is also not helping. The actor did react to the boycott #LaalSinghChaddha campaign and told the media, “…I feel sad that some of the people who are saying this, in their heart, they believe that I am someone who doesn’t like India. In their hearts they believe, but it is untrue. It is rather unfortunate that some people feel that way. That’s not the case. Please don’t boycott my film. Please watch my film.” The first trailer of the film was panned by the critics and people, and since then the movie has only received negative publicity. The actor’s interviews, integration with south and word-of-mouth publicity by Bollywood watchers of the film hasn’t really been able to boost collections. Clearly, social media has become a strong tool and it can make or break a film. But, Bollywood watchers are hopeful that like all his films which catch up later so too will Laal Singh Chaddha and the movie-goers will not be disappointed.
Rashmika

@iamRashmika

Rashmika Mandana: The Southern Star Now On Mission Bollywood

Rashmika Mandana who has acted in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil films is already a popular household name in North India thanks to all-time hit Pushpa. Known as Srivalli in the movie, Rashmika seems to be a favourite of the paparazzi because unlike some young Bollywood actresses she never disappoints them; ever ready to pose for them. This 26-year old star who entered Bollywood in 2022 with Goodbye has signed several interesting Hindi movies. She will be closely working with Amitabh Bachchan in a movie directed by Vikas Bahl. Besides, she has already been signed for Pushpa 2 with Allu Arjun and has been cast opposite Siddharth Malhotra in Mission Majnu. According to a trade pundit, Rashmika is one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood and has a huge draw even before her first Hindi film hit the big screen. There is a dearth of talent in Bollywood and a south addition was much needed. Down south Rashmika is a big star and her romance with another heart-throb Vijay Deverakonda only added to her popularity. Rashmika is the same actress who was trolled for doing Macho innerwear ad film that featured Vicky Kaushal. Looks like trolling has turned to her advantage as she appears in one too many ad films. The other southern sirens who are on Bollywood producer’s hot lists are: Samantha and Nayanthara.
Collage Maker-04-Aug-2022-12

For Whom The Trolls Work?

Kangana Ranaut never misses an opportunity to take pot shots at some of the Bollywood bigwigs. The fearless actor is known for her bold tweets and political leanings. This time she has attacked Aamir Khan who has been facing the brunt of social media calling for a boycott of his latest movie Laal Singh Chhada. But, Kangana feels otherwise; she thinks it is the actor’s marketing ploy. On the Instagram, she wrote, “I think all the negativity around the upcoming release Laal Singh Chaddha is skilfully curated by mastermind Aamir Khan himself, this year no Hindi films have worked barring one exception of a comedy sequel….a Hollywood remake would not have worked anyway.” But, it was equally surprising to see that Akshay Kumar starrer Raksha Bandhan that will be released on the same day as Laal Singh Chadda was also trending on social media and the Bollywood buzz is that like Aamir it is Akshay Kumar who is behind the trolling of the film. The reason for Akshay being trolled is that the actor posted the tricolor on his social media DP that enraged the trolls and they called for a boycott of Raksha Bandhan. And Kangana’s overdrive on social media is being attributed to her way of getting attention for her next movie Emergency where she plays the role of Indira Gandhi.
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@Vaaniofficial

Vaani Kapoor: The Lucky Star Who Got Big Breaks…Now Awaits Big Hits

She is Aditya Chopra’s discovery yet in spite of signing a three-film deal with his company Yash Raj Films (YRF) Vaani Kapoor has not been able to make a big mark in Bollywood. The 33-year old Delhi girl entered Bollywood in 2013 with YRF’s Shudh Desi Romance and won Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for her character Tara. But, nine years later she has not exactly become the heartthrob of the cinema lovers. Some are questioning her capabilities as an actress, more so after her role as Sona in Shamshera opposite Ranbir Kapoor. Not only has the film flopped but even her role has come in for harsh criticism. Incidentally, Vaani, considered Aditya Chopra’s pet, has not found many takers outside YRF camp. In all she has acted in 7 films of which three has been produced by YRF. She did gain praise for a playing transgender woman in the romantic comedy Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui.  And she did dabble in Tamil cinema but post her role in Aaha Kalyanam there were no takers in south. Come to think of it, Vaani is one the few lucky stars to have a mentor like Aditya Chopra and work against big stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar but big hits are eluding her. Maybe she needs to take tips from Deepika and Katrina.
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What Works In Favour Of Disha Patani?

Disha Patani recently said she doesn’t like seeing herself on screen and closes her eyes but that isn’t the case with the audience who are still. Bearing with her despite her being the queen of all flops. Disha’s movie Ek Villain Returns will hit the screen shortly but there isn’t much buzz about the film at the box office in spite of a lot of publicity. The 29-year old, who made debut in 2015 in a Telugu film was noticed for her role in biopic MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. Ek Villain Returns will be her 16th release in her seven-year Bollywood career. But barring biopic MS Dhoni and Baaghi 2 which had her boyfriend Tiger Shroff as the hero she only has flops to her credit.  People within the industry say her claim to fame is being Tiger’s girlfriend and a favourite of Salman Khan with whom she has acted in two Bharat and Radhe and both bombed. So how do actresses like her get work? The simple answer is: there is a dearth of heroines in Bollywood; you can count the heroines on your fingertips. There are Sara Ali Khan, Tara Sutaria, Shraddha Kapoor, Kiara Advani, and Kriti Sanon. Besides what works in Disha’s favour is her looks and huge social media following. On Twitter alone she has 7.4 mn followers.
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Will ‘Jailor’ Be Superstar Rajini’s Comeback Movie?

Hum kisi se kum nahin says the latest Sanmaan Patra awarded to superstar Rajinikanth by Income Tax Department for being the highest tax payer in Tamil Nadu. Akshay Kumar is the highest tax payer in Bollywood. Puducherry Governor Tamizhisai Sounderarajan did the honours on Income Tax day when daughter Aishwarya cooed, “Proud daughter of a high and prompt taxpayer”. Ever since the superstar withdrew from the political race, the legion of fans quietly melted, licking their wounds of disappointment. His last movie Annathe was eminently forgettable. His health was giving cause for concern.  Son-in-law Dhanush and wife Aishwarya hit the headlines for an imminent divorce. Rajini, his closest circle, insisted would surely retire to the Himalayan cave where he found nirvana in the Babaji Ashram. These “occult “ soothsayers may not have divined the  tough mettle of this man who had literally clawed his way from bus conductor to iconic superstar with a phenomenal fan base. His close friend, paradoxically his bête noire Kamal Haasan, a flop in politics, had seamlessly moved to the top spot with his comeback movie Vikram. The talking heads conjured up visions of a visibly overwhelmed Rajini rearing to make a film that would exceed Vikram’s success. Jailor was announced (directed by Nelson Dilipkumar with a brief, replicate Vikram’s success). Thalaiva is back in the news. Happy days are here again?
bollystars

Do Bollywood Stars Retire Or Fade Out?

Eyebrows were raised when Sanjay Leela Bhansali signed on yesteryear’s popular heroine Mumtaz for his web series Heera Mandi. It was her second comeback attempt. Close on the heels followed news that Sharmila Tagore will be seen in a OTT film Gulmohar. So too yesteryear’s cabaret sensation Helen in a web series produced by Abhinay Deo. And what a comeback it has been for Neetu Kapoor in Jug Jugg Jeeyo. There is one advantage of being in showbiz, you don’t retire at 60. You can go on and on like Dadamuni; even if you get a lifetime achievement award. Sadhana preferred playing cards at Otters Club, Bandra every day and kept out of arc light because her looks had changed. Asha Parekh by choice gave up acting. But not others. Many aging stars like Waheeda Rehman, Zeenat Aman have kept themselves in limelight by doing stray films or making guest appearances on reality shows. Among male stars Dharmendra will be seen in Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani and Apne 2. Jeetendra makes occasional appearances on reality shows but has kept away from the big screen. Raj Babbar and Shatrughan Sinha are part time actors and full time politicians. Mithun Chakraborty continues to work in films and judge reality shows. And one cannot forget Dev Anand who is a classic example of a star dying with his shoes on.
FTII

Govt Proposes FTII Revamp But Student’s Body Opposes

The government’s anthem Mera desh badal raha hai, Aage badh raha hai is also applicable to the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).  The 62-year iconic institution is going in for a major revamp. This move follows after I&B Minister Anurag Thakur had a closed door meeting with FTII chairman Shekhar Kapur.  According to sources, FTII will become somewhat of a polytechnic school taking away the halo of film aesthetics and world film studies. The new effort essentially is to make it a digital multi-purpose market-driven media university without segregating film and TV sections. “I will not be surprised if it is renamed as Digital Art Institution of India,” commented a FTII professor sarcastically. With a view to generate more revenue, plans are to offer short-term courses like broadcast journalism, video games, dubbing and voicing, advertising, makeup, special effects and others. Critics says that the government by drawing outside talent — essentially IAS and IIS officers — may compromise with FTII’s core values and DNA, and it may not be able to produce great talents like Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Anupam Kher, Shyam Benegal.  It is learnt that Shekhar Kapur is torn between students’ continued oppositions towards revamp and I&B pressures to remodel FTII.  To do or not to do is Kapur’s dilemma.
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Taapsee Pannu: The Model From Delhi Who Has Created Her Own Space & Identity In Bollywood

Taapsee Pannu is 52 films old in Bollywood but this 35-year old actress hasn’t really got a role in mainstream film. In a recent media interaction, she even confessed when asked why doesn’t have films with big heroes — she did two with Big B —  to which Taapsee said that she does not get those kinds of films but carefully added that she now has one with Shah Rukh Khan. Taapsee is considered to be one of the actresses who can headline a film and do a decent job. She started with an out-and-out comedy Chashme Baddoor with David Dhawan and then with Judwaa 2 where she looked out of place. When offers from Bollywood dried up she acted in quite a few south films and made a mark. Impressed by her performance, filmmakers in the south started to write roles for her. Ditto: filmmakers in Mumbai. Anubhav Sinha, Anurag Kashyap, Neeraj Pandey gave her characters that made her stand out.  Baby, Naam Shabana, Thappad, and Haseen Dilruba were shouldered by her. In Shaabash Mithu, a biopic she plays the Indian captain Mithali Raaj.   A strong headed girl she got into trouble for her social media posts on some prickly social political issues. Looks like this model from Delhi has certainly created a space and identity in Bollywood and nobody can wish her away.
koffee with karan

A Lot Said Over Koffee With Karan

One of the longest running talk shows Koffee With Karan hosted by filmmaker and TV personality Karan Johar is back but with a difference. Season 7 is streaming on an OTT platform and not on Star World TV. From the kind of publicity Karan has been getting it seems the focus is on him not on the celebrities featuring on the show. Critics feel there is no novelty left in the show, only the platform has changed and the budget has gone up. They point out that the show is an exhibition of Karan’s circle of friends. And from the list of guests going around, it seems like the show is more about plugging his films Liger and Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, his cronies (plus those who show up at his birthday parties) and his south favorites Ram Charan and Prabhas. The previous seasons had actors like Kangana Ranaut who ribbed him and made headlines. Of course, his chat with cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul became controversial. The duo were suspended by BCCI for their misogynistic comments. Save for that most people interviewed by him are celebrities with whom he has great chemistry. Whatever his critics may say there is no gainsaying the fact that people do watch it and that explains why Koffee With Karan is into Season 7.
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Mani Ratnam’s Magnum Opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ Teaser Garners Over 1 Crore Views In 24 Hours

The teaser of Mani Ratnam’s mammoth, magnificent multi-lingual Ponniyin Selvan (Part 1) has already garnered 1 crore views in just 24 hours of its launch at the Chennai Trade Centre. Taking a leaf out of Kamal Haasan’s pre-release carpetbagging blitz for his film Vikram, Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions have creatively unleashed the promos. First, there were posters of Aishwarya Rai, who plays the pivotal role of Pazhuvur Rani Nandini in her grand Chola-era costumes and jewellery. Then came Trisha, who plays Princess Kundavai in an equally attractive costume, followed by Vikram, Karti, Jeyam Ravi and others. The multilingual teasers, each launched by regional super stars Surya, Mohan Lal, Mahesh Babu, Rakshit Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan, have kindled high expectations. In an age when reading classics and following history is fast dying, Mani Ratnam has kindled interest in the late Kalki’s immortal literary classic, Ponniyin Selvan, the saga of the Golden Age of the Chola dynasty, and in particular Raja Raja Chozhan. The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are sure to be compared as benchmarks for this extraordinary visual panorama. Ratnam has harnessed the best of cinematic talent, AR Rahman’s music, Thota Tharani’s Art, Ravi Varman’s cinematography – and the piece de resistance, Kamal Haasan as the Sutradaar narrator. Madras Talkies has mounted the Chola-era classic to be a much talked about film.
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@duttsanjay

Sanjay Dutt: To Hell & Back, Time And Again

In a way he is like a cat with nine lives. Sanjay Dutt, 63, is one actor who has had four comebacks in his career spanning over four decades. Dutt who has acted in over 187 films, just gave a super hit KGF 2 in which he plays an antagonist. Now everybody awaits the release of Shamshera where he is pitted against Ranbir Kapoor. Right from the word go it has been a roller-coaster ride for Baba, son of Sunil and Nargis Dutt. Launched in 1981 by his father in Rocky, Dutt made his mark as an actor in Mahesh Bhatt’s Naam. At a very early stage of his career he turned a drug addict and had to be rushed to the U.S. for treatment. When he came back, producers eagerly signed him — a rare thing in Bollywood. A broken marriage followed by his arrest for involvement in Mumbai’s serial bomb blast case did him in. Each time when it looked like his career was over he got a film like Khalnayak, Vaastav, Munnabhai MBBS that resurrected him. He came out of jail in 2016 after that most of his films flopped. While shooting for KGF 2 he was diagnosed with cancer but he did not give up. No wonder a biopic was made on him essaying ‘to hell and back’ story.
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With Alia In The Family Way Who Gains, Who Loses!

Alia Bhatt’s pregnancy has raised a number of questions. What happens to her projects? Will she come back like Kareena Kapoor or follow the footsteps of her mother-in-law Neetu Singh Kapoor? Currently, around Rs 300 crore is riding on her – both movies and ads put together. A trade pundit said not much will get affected as far as brands are concerned only alternative brands may replace the youth brands. The actress, who was shooting in Portugal for a Hollywood film, has only one film Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani which has been completed. Her film with Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra has been put on the back burner because of date issues of all the three actresses. Alia has been short-listed to play the lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Baiju Bawra so will Bhansali wait for her to come back or sign another star?  Meanwhile Darlings will be streamed on the OTT platform and Brahmastra is slated for release in September. Kareena has set a precedent for actresses. While shooting for Laal Singh Chaddha she got pregnant.  Post that, her shooting dates were shuffled but she did not take a maternity break in the strictest sense. Incidentally, Kareena replaced Aishwarya Rai in Heroine when the latter was in the family way. Will Alia who plans to take a break face a similar predicament?
Rhea

@Tweet2Rhea

Rhea's Career In Suspended Animation With NCB, CBI Still On Her Tail

Boom to gloom sums up the life of 30-year old Rhea Chakraborty who made headlines when her beau Sushant Singh Rajput died of an unnatural death. Since then her life has been topsy-turvy. On September 8, 2020, she along with her brother Showik was arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for supplying marijuana to Sushant. After cooling heels for 43 days Rhea managed to get bail and made efforts to get back into circulation. A number of producers were keen but none signed for fear the drug case relating to Sushant was not closed. And their fears were not unfounded. On June 22, 2022, NCB filed draft charges against Rhea and Showik before a special court in connection with a drugs case linked to Sushant’s death. It may be recalled that the late actor’s family had accused the actress of abetment to suicide and siphoning off the actor’s money. In fact, Sushant’s sister Priyanka reacted to NCB’s chargesheet; so it is definitely not going to be easy for the Chehre girl. While her talent management company continues to work for her, a matured Rhea is taking everything in her stride; making public appearances, going to gym in the hope she will be back on the big screen or OTT platform. As for the money part, Rhea who has nearly 2.3 lakh followers on Twitter gets paid for her social media posts.
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Shilpa Shetty’s Comeback Dream Shattered As Two Films In A Row Bomb

Actor-dancer-reality show judge Shilpa Shetty has always been in the limelight. Yet, she yearned to return to the big screen. Towards this the 47-year fitness freak signed two films Nikamma and Hungama 2. Unfortunately, both films flopped thereby crashing her comeback dream after 14 years. It is learnt that Rohit Shetty has signed her to play as a cop for an OTT series. This role could be a game changer for her. Shilpa who made her debut in 1993 with Baazigar was an average actor but a great dancer. Her move to reality TV shows as a judge worked in her favour.  She has been part of that ecosystem since 2006. The star, known for her videos on yoga, shot to fame after participating in the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother. She received international media coverage for the racism she faced by her fellow contestants and for eventually winning the show. Like Shilpa, there are many actors scripting their comeback. Neetu Kapoor who returned to films after a long gap has won accolades for her role in Jug Jugg Jeeyo. She has already signed a web series and is judging a reality show.  Bhagyashree who returned with a cameo in Thalaivi will now be judging a reality show. And finally An Evening In Paris gal, Sharmila Tagore too makes a comeback.
Bobby Deol

‘Baba Nirala’ Gives Bobby Deol A New Lease Of Life

Baba Nirala of Aashram has given Bobby Deol a new lease of life. Now, everybody takes the 53-year old actor seriously. It has been a chequered career for Bobby Deol ever since he made his debut with Barsaat in 1995. Post that it was almost like one film a year for a few years and then with most of his movies bombing no producers were willing to sign him on. No work saw him hitting the bottle.  Once while meeting Salman Khan over a drink, Bobby said “Let me climb on your back…give me opportunity”. Big hearted Sallu bhai strongly recommended him for Race 3. That was in 2018. Though the movie did not do well Bobby’s role as Yash Singh was well appreciated to land him two movies – Housefull 4 and Class Of ’83 – in quick succession. For this Dharmendra’s second son, family meant everything; he did everything whatever his father or brother would say. In a way he was cocooned and that perhaps cost him dearly in terms of choosing the script. Even though Bobby has worked in nearly 50 movies yet cinema-goers can’t recall any of the characters or dialogues from any of his movies.  But, people do remember his elder brother Sunny Deol’s movies, characters and Dhai Kilo Ka Haath dialogue. Aashram which is now into Season 3 has given him that recognition.
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Akshay’s Flop Show Trends At Box Office, Time For Instrospection Say Critics

Lady Luck seems to have stopped smiling on actor-producer Akshay Kumar. The 55-year-old Bollywood money making machine, with over 100 films, faced a series of flops in recent times. But, he is unfazed as he personally suffered no monetary losses. The moment a film bombs he completely cuts himself off from the project and moves on to the next one. These days Kumar takes pride in the fact that he created a record of sorts, producing and acting in the maximum number of films during the Lockdown. However, not all the films were successful. Laxxmi was OTT streamed, Bell Bottom got panned by critics and Sooryavanshi was an average hit only thanks to Rohit Shetty. Bachchan Pandey also bombed at the box office.  It was the third flop in a row for Sajid Nadiadwala but, didn’t really impact Akshay Kumar. As is his wont, he went on to promote Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and dropped out of the promotions when it too flopped. Well-known trade analyst Komal Nahta aptly summed up Akshay’s problems. He says Akshay needs to carefully choose his subject and get into the skin of the character. For instance, in Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan he looked like Akshay, not the character he was playing. Perhaps his political alignment has not gone down well with his fans.
Salman khan

Real Life Villain Bishnoi Threatens Salman, Bhai Shoots In Hyderabad for Bhaijaan, Black Buck Day Returns

Fifty-seven and yet, Bollywood’s eligible bachelor Salman Khan’s run in news columns continues for the right or wrong reasons. This time the reel life hero was targeted by a real-life villain Lawrence Bishnoi, the gangster who bumped off singer Sidhu Moose Wala over an old killing of his own aide by Moose Wala’s personal aide. After an anonymous letter threatened Salman and his father Salim Khan, the actor told police he was clueless, nor did he suspect anyone. Khan flew to Hyderabad to shoot the Bhaijaan movie thereafter. His stand-up macho act to criminal intimidation won him admiration among fans. The commercially successful star was linked up to with one too many affairs naming Sangeeta Bijalani, Somy Ali to Aishwaraya Rai and Katrina Kaif but, mostly ended up with bad press for alleged physical intimidation bordering on domestic abuse blamed on him by his girl-friends. The Bhai remained unfazed and bounced back professionally. He was acquitted in the Bandra hit-and-run case, but the Black Buck shooting case continues to still haunt him.  The Bishnoi gang’s linkages to the community that had Salman arrested for killing of black buck deer is the latest buzz. Khan‘s 44 million followers on Twitter are hard at work.
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@VigneshShivN

Super Star Nayanthara Ties The Knot With Ace Director Vignesh Culminating Seven Year Courtship

At long last they are married. After a seven-year love story, amid now-on-now-off rumours regarding actress Nayanthara’s wedding with writer-director Vignesh Shivan, it finally happened at a 5-Star resort in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, amid a vetted down guest list of 200 people, digital invitations and QR codes in place. Reportedly, Nayanthara wanted a Tirupati Balaji temple wedding. But the Netflix offer of Rs 25 crore for telecast rights for an orchestrated ceremony was too good to resist. Nayan, the savvy entrepreneur, quickly course corrected towards a resort wedding. The Vicky-Katrina wedding had set benchmarks of monetisation. The guest list read like a K Town compendium — Rajini, Kamal, Karthi, Vijay, Sethupathi, AR Rahman to name a few. Rajini did the ritual honour of giving the ‘thali, maangalyam’ (mangalsutra) to Vignesh, who has waited seven long years to snag one of the most wooed and striking stars from K town. Ace director Gautam Vasudev Menon directed the 2-hour proceedings in his inimitable style ensuring a slick event with an ensemble cast. Nayan’s vermilion clingy saree, the beautifully embossed choli (with Lakshmi motifs), heavy emerald and polky diamond jewellery vied for attention with Nayan’s drop dead gorgeous looks. Shah Rukh Khan with director Atlee sashayed in style to wish his Jawan heroine loads of happiness. Next to follow is the high-octane reception at the Grand Chola.
x-prem bengali movie

TMC MLA’s Movie Gets Screening Preference At State-Run Nandan Theatre While Award Winning Director Srijit Mukherji Denied Slot

Four-time National award-winning director Srijit Mukherji’s film X=Prem was declined screening slots at the iconic state-run Nandan theatre. Director-cum-Trinamool Congress MLA Raj Chakraborty’s film Habji Gabji got an afternoon slot though. Srijit tweeted, “Two films released on the same day. Both applied for Nandan. But, only one got through. Whereas ideally and in all fairness either both or neither should have. Why did this happen? Though all films are equal, some films are apparently more equal than others :-).” Raj Chakraborty’s counter was quick stating, “I don’t want publicity through controversy because the film will speak the final (last) word.”  Mukherji later clarified that his question was addressed to the state government’s information and cultural affairs department, which did not cite any reason while denying him the daytime slot. Interestingly, the reason why producers clamour for the state -run theatres, especially Nandan, is because 50% of the revenue earned at the state-run theatres goes to the producers after GST deduction. The rule is applicable for the first week of release and, thereafter the amount drops to 40% in week two and so on. In the recent past, director Anik Dutta’s film Aparajita, based on legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s journey on his masterpiece creation Pather Panchali, was denied screening at Nandan as Dutta is anti-TMC.
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Will Jawan Tamil Director Atlee’s Hand, Restore The Midas Touch For King Khan?

Even as Atlee tried to convey his excitement about directing the King Khan in a much talked about pan India film, Jawan, the goose bumps were evident. When the deal was signed, Atlee in a teary tweet said, “I have grown up watching his movies, lapping up every Khan nuance. And now directing him….it is unbelievable. I am blessed “. Atlee has hit the mother lode in his very first Bollywood venture by getting to direct Shah Rukh Khan. Of late, a number of Bollywood films, five to be precise, could not match up to the box office takings of many south Indian movies. SRK’s choice of Atlee for Jawan, produced by his wife Gauri Khan, is seen as an acknowledgement of this 35-year-old director with the Midas touch. Trained under S Shankar, Atlee has given Tamil hits like Raja Rani, Theri, Mersal, Beast and Bigil. For good measure Jawan has Kollywood Lady Super Star, Nayanthara in the lead, with Sunil Grover and Sanya Malhotra adding more glitter to the awesome twosome. Rock star Anirudh Ravichander who scores the music is bound to Amp up the quotient. The teaser is out and SRK’s role has triggered excitement. Could Atlee’s Midas touch work in Bollywood which in recent times has seen strings of flops? One has to wait till June 2023 for the answer!
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Can Kangana Buck The Downhill Trend, Retain Bankable Star Status Again?

Since releasing on May 20, Kangana Ranaut starrer Dhaakad earned a measly Rs 3 crore indicating its box-office status. Kangana can now boast of four consecutive flops including Thalavi, Panga, and Judgemental Hai Kya; although Manikarnika did reasonably well. The fiercely independent, strong minded-star had proved she can carry a movie single-handedly without needing the crutches of the Khans, Kapoors or, even the Kumars. Lately, however, she is going through a bad patch as far as her movies are concerned. Every star has experienced cyclical ups and downs, be it Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan or, Rekha. Does the string of flops make Kangana any less a bankable star today? A senior trade analyst says, “It will be difficult for her to get the same kind of investment that she got in the past. Films already on the floor will continue but a correction is bound to happen in the way her (future) films are made.” Currently, she has two films in the pipeline – Sita and Tejas.  The latter is produced by Ronnie Srewvala. Perhaps, the fiery star with strong political leanings is making up with people on the Bollywood front. She was recently spotted at Salman Khan’s event. Bollywood watchers say her best hope could be Tanu Weds Manu 3 which Anand L Rai is planning. She could bounce back again.
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AR Rahman Asks Mani Ratnam To Reshoot Portions Of ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ To Better Sync With His Music?

Cinema-goers in Tamil Nadu are eagerly awaiting the September release of Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus, Ponniyin Selvan, the five part literary Tamil classic of late Kalki. But the Kollywood chatter tower is abuzz with speculation that the film release date may be delayed. Reason: AR Rahman wanted some parts of the movie to be reshot, more to align with his music, as he is not happy with how some scenes might sync with his captivating music. Kollywood is shocked. Mani Ratnam, the master of cinematic excellence must have never encountered such requests. He is well known for his creative collaboration, not disruptive collision. It is also hard to believe that Oscar winner Rahman would interfere in Ratnam’s creativity. With an ensemble cast of Aishwarya Rai (playing the lead), Trisha, Vikram, Karthi, Jayam Ravi, Sarath Kumar, Keerthi Suresh, and Prakash Raj, one would think Ratnam had enough divas to choreograph, and conjure that magic to the screen with his stamp of class even for the mass. Meanwhile, Mani Ratnam fans are keen awaiting the release of the first Part 1 this September and they are sure it will be a rewarding experience. And everybody knows such hiccups apart, once the film is screened Mani Ratnam’s signature will be all over.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Nawazuddin Siddiqui Says Art Cinema Has No Takers, Can Circulate At Film Fests But Not In Theatres

While at The Kapil Sharma Show to promote Heropanti2, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was asked to define art cinema, “Art cinema means …when 8 people watch it.” The cynical comment from some who studied at the National School of Drama, New Delhi and made a name in art cinema was disliked by patrons in the art cinema world. But, that is what success does to people. Siddiqui, who was at the Cannes Film Festival, is a rank outsider who made it big in Bollywood in spite of his ordinary looks. The 48-year-old actor made his debut with a small role in Aamir Khan’s movie Sarfarosh. He struggled for a decade before making it big and movies like The Lunchbox, Manto, Raman Raghav to name just a few. Reportedly, he is the sole actor in the world with 8 films selected and screened at Cannes. Salman Khan took a shine to him, and cast Nawaz in two films. The first actor to make his mark in the OTT world with Sacred Games finds there are no takers for his films. While at Cannes he told Union minister Anurag Thakur that films that get appreciation at festivals find no place for a theatrical release. He continues to make news be it for his messy marriage or building an all-white bungalow in Mumbai’s western suburb.
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Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa2 Breaks Bollywood Jinx, Karan Johar Who Dropped Him Blinks

When Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan dropped Kartik Aaryan from their respective projects over “creative differences” the industry felt it was the end of the road for this Gwalior boy. However, the big daddies of Bollywood were proved wrong, thanks to the late Sushant Singh Rajput, industry support followed Kartik Aaryan. Three producers signed him on right away including Anees Bazmee for Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. The movie is a hit and raked in more than Rs 55 crore at the national box office. Kartik has broken the Bollywood jinx of the box office and his performance silenced those who wrote him off. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is like the oasis in the desert for Bollywood that witnessed five big releases bombing consecutively involving top actors Akshay Kumar and Tiger Shroff. Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn also failed miserably with Runway 34 as did Rajkummar Rao’s Badhai Do. Ranveer Singh’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar had also flopped. A worried Karan Johar, set to release Jug Jug Jeeyo conceded Aryan’s success without naming him. Johar exuded happiness on the Friday Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 release while hoping the streak continued. Kartik has three films in the pipeline with many producers waiting to sign him on.
Salman

PHOTO: Twitter

Sallu’s Casting Director Fetish, Makes Industry Bosses Squeamish

Is Salman Khan playing Bollywood Sugar-Daddy? So, it seems and, has been for some time now. Few are vocal or, even make it an issue preferring to instead, quietly drop out of projects. His growing interference came to fore once again when his favourite Bigg Boss contestant Shehnaaz Gill was signed up for Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali. Sources say Salman took issue with producer Sajid Nadiadwala, his best friend, over the star cast including co-stars Arshad Warsi and Shreyas Talpade. Salman apparently pitched Zaheer Iqbal and Aayush SHarma for the respective roles instead. Probably, one of the reasons Sajid walked out of the Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali project. It appears that economic viability does not bother Salman. Those who have known him closely say he always got involved with star casting and pushed his personal preferences for films he signed up for. Even in the past, he did the same to co-star with Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor. In recent times Daisy Shah and Jacqueline Fernandez were his choice of co-stars. He was also the one who pushed Katrina Kaif for Bharat after Priyanka Chopra opted out. Sometime back a well-known and favourite director of the actor preferred to shelve his film rather than giving into the actor’s whims and fancy over who he should sign up or not.
Archies

Zoya’s The Archies Film Takes Star Kids On, Kicks Up Online Storm, Bollywood Insider Vs Outsider Debate Rages On

The untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput kicked up national outrage over nepotism and debate on the outsider vs insider discrimination in Bollywood.  Zoya Akhtar’s latest project The Archies adds more grist to the mill. This film, directed by an established insider Zoya, will launch Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan, Sridevi’s daughter Khushi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson Agatsya Nanda. Interestingly, the parents of all these star kids have respective home productions but, are being launched by Zoya Akhtar, the unconventional producer known for his content driven cinema.  It is an unconventional launch for the youngsters. While Zoya cannot escape nepotism allegations as she chose the Bollywood insiders to star in the film. One would have thought SRK and Big B would avoid playing it up on social media out of fear of being trolled but, both just went ahead and tweeted emotional posts. Guari Khan wrote: `Suhana you did it’ and Amitabh Bachchan said, “Rise of the Son’’. The nepotism debate was immediately sparked off online as netizens passed judgement on the actors as white kids minus a Suhana Khan. Whether it was talent or nepotism that launched these star kids will be settled soon enough. Yes, these star kids will have to prove to the world that they carry the genes of their superstar parents.
OTT

OTT India Grows Regional Traction, Induces Faster Netflix Contractions, Leading To Viewer Tariff Rate Attractions

As if competition from local Indian players was not enough, mainline OTT players are now facing heat from a fresh wave of regional players. Following in the footsteps of Zee 5, Sony Liv, Voot et all are MX Player in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Bengali, Alt-Balaji and Eros in Hindi, Hoichoi in Bangla, Aha in Telugu, now expanding into Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam, Manorama Max, Neestream and Koode in Malayalam, Kanncha Lannka in Odiya, My Toonz (Kids OTT in Hindi and English). And, so many more are still lining up. Why is the Indian market turning out to be a different ball game? None of the big players are standalone entities like Netflix. Disney has the backing of Star group and Hot Star, Amazon Prime has Amazon Shopping and online services, Zee 5 has the Zee TV group, Sony Liv is with Sony TV group, Viacom 18 boasts of Paramount + while Sun Next has the parent Sun group. And if this was not enough, there is a new entrant in the form of the James Murdoch-Uday Shankar combine tying up with Reliance’s Jio Cinema. Competition is sizzling up in the OTT space with viewers beginning to feel like kings.
Kamala Hasaan

Kamal Haasan's Dirty Dance Gets Vocal, Makes Political Angst Focal, Hasn't Had Enough, Sings Pathala Pathala!

In just four days of streaming on YouTube, Kamal Haasan set a world record crooning the first song from his action-thriller movie Vikram. The electric rhythm and electrifying lyrics of Pathala, Pathala (can’t have enough) have sent his legion of fans into ecstatic frenzy. Kamal’s team pulled out all the stops to make Vikram and its music a customised stimulating experience. The ensemble cast including 67-year old Haasan has Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh, Kalidas Jayaram and, a cameo by Surya. No prizes for guessing the ingredients for this potpourri action thriller directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj in which Kamal dons khakhi. It is pure Chennai petta rap like Bombaiya, full of irreverent political innuendos, taking on both the Center and the ruling party, besides other public Rasputins. Sweet revenge for all his failures? Ultimately, what nails this song is Kamal’s energetic tempo of dirty dancing that has pumped up hysteria. A crazed fan adds, “What Rajini got with a lifetime of style, Kamal has belted out in one song “. Is Janaki meant to take on a Tamil Nadu BJP functionary? Already, an obfuscated vigilante has filed a case against the song for its controversial lyrics. Both Kamal’s political avatar and cinematic charisma sorely need an upturn. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be pathala, pathala….just not enough.
Jayeshbhai Jordaar

Bollywood Cinema Continues Its Flop Show Run, Missing Content Wakes Up Tinsel Town

One more movie has bombed at the box office. Ranveer Singh starrer Jayeshbhai Jordaar. It is the fourth actor driven film that has evoked poor audience response. Earlier, it was Bachchhan Pandey, Jersey, and Heropanti2. Only exception in recent times was Gangubai Kathiawadi; it had versatile actress Alia Bhatt and star director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Bollywood stars and directors need to understand that a new class of audience is emerging post-Covid pandemic. These people not only seem to smell the film in advance but have also developed a palate for OTT content and South Cinemas. Akshay Kumar must have had maximum releases in the last two years but has a poor success rate. Salman Khan’s attempt to save Antim by visiting theatres did not save the film and even Tiger Shroff who has strong youth connect had the first flop (Heropanti2) to his credit. The South Indian cinemas are thriving on star power supported by a very strong content. But in Bollywood content seems to be given short shrift. The message that is coming out loud and clear is signing up top class stars is no insurance any more. The days of star power are over. Time Bollywood wakes up and smells the coffee lest the south based stars dubbing in Hindi will emerge as the real alternative.
Netflix

Sliding Viewership On Netflix, Prompts Subscriber Tariff Rejig, For More Online Clicks

Netflix watched its subscription base lose around 900,000 viewers with 700,000 losses attributed to the Russia-Ukraine war and, 200,000 blamed upon other markets. To arrest viewership loss, Netflix is introducing a password sharing fee in the U.S. and other markets. It intends to generate more revenue from existing subscribers, one connection with multiple users. First introduced in Latin American markets, a progress report is awaited but, media pundits predict a further downslide of 10 to 13% in the U.S.A, post launch. After all, the choice is multi-fold. In India too, things aren’t moving as planned. Despite a first mover advantage, Netflix couldn’t hit the bullseye. Indications that more than 50% of content under production is on hold including season two of Delhi Crime. The current Indian content has failed to achieve desired traction milestones. An overhaul, review and new creative ideas are on the cards. Netflix slashed subscription rates a couple of months back to Rs 149 for its mobile pack and Rs 199 for mobile/TV packs. An update is anticipated. Netflix started with a bang with series like Fauda, House of Cards, Peaky Blinders, Money Heist, Friends and Indian series like Sacred Games. Renewed interest piqued through the Korean Series — Squid Game, 365 Days, and now Kota Factory. The latest blockbuster attraction — Gangubai Kathiawadi is expected to renew viewer interest in Netflix.
Rocketry

Maddy’s Directorial Debut Features Rocket Science, ISRO Scientist’s Trials, Tribulations Had Rocked Indian Conscience

Known for his gentlemanly demeanor, actor R Madhavan who enjoys a pan India appeal finds himself zooming into space with his directorial debut Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. The biopic is based on the life of Nambi Narayanan, former scientist and aerospace engineer from ISRO, who was falsely accused of espionage. Written and directed by him, Maddy as he is popularly known essays the key role. He has chosen a story as thrilling as a rocket launch into space, and also depict Nambi’s life who was jailed, tortured and forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. He was exonerated and acquitted subsequently. Making amends the Indian government decorated him with a Padma Bhushan. Maddy has struck platinum as the film will be screened at Cannes on May 19, in the prime time 9 pm slot, as India’s entry for the Red-Carpet world premier and inaugural of the 75th Independence Day Palaise De Festival. “As a debutante, of course, I am nervous, I hope Rocketry brings glory to India “. The movie made in three languages – English, Tamil and Hindi – was extensively shot in France, Canada and Georgia. The world premiere is on July 1, 2022. Madhavan’s choice of subject that has all the ingredients — intrigue, skull-duggery and glory – seems the best lift-off for a debutante.
Heropanti 2

Tiger Shroff’s Needs Better Than Heropanti2 Content, As Bollywood Stars Fall Essaying Stories With No Real Intent

After Akshay Kumar (Bachchan Pandey), Bollywood star Shahid Kapur (Jersey) too disappointed fans. Then Tiger Shroff’s latest movie Heropanti2 bombed at the box office. Surprisingly, audiences preferred to go to theatres to watch the dubbed version of Kannada movie KGF 2 and not Heropanti2. This was strange! Has something gone wrong for Bollywood that audiences refuse to even enter cinema halls? Marathi films like Sher Shivraj and Chandramukhi drew better crowds than Tiger’s movie. Trade pundits are at pains explaining that the true villain is poor content. Be that as it may, Tiger Shroff needs to reinvent himself.  Sculpted body, martial fights and dance cannot propel his career much further. The 32-year-old action hero — son of Jackie and Ayesha Shroff — impressed everybody in his first movie Heropanti in 2014.  This was followed by hits like Baaghi and War. In War his talent came to the fore against Hrithik Roshan. Well-wishers feel Tiger, with a huge fan following, should pick and choose his scripts and directors; stop working with directors who aren’t really film makers. He has a couple of interesting projects in the pipeline like Ganapath, an action film directed by Vikas Bahl and the remake of Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan with Akshay Kumar.  Both movies will decide Tiger’s future. Will the Tiger roar or whimper? Only time will tell.

Ajay Devgn Courts Hindi Controversy To Avoid Rocky Landing On Runway 34?

Every producer-director suffers pre-release jitters. Ajay Devgn has also caught anxiety before the release of Runway 34 in the wake of South Indian movies, dubbed in Hindi, smashing box office records and newer audiences veering towards OTT. So, he apparently courted controversy over Hindi with Kannada star Kichha Sudeep. There is little doubt he reaped good publicity too but, Devgn could not anticipate fresh controversy to emanate from another quarter. The Federation of Indian Pilots has thrown turbulence his way and stated, “The profession of airline pilots was unrealistically portrayed in the movie and may create apprehensions in the minds of nervous fliers. While we all enjoy being entertained and appreciate the artistic licence of a movie director, a thrilling tale should not be perceived as a true depiction.” Cinema buffs saw through Devgn’s story content, for stark similarities it bears to two acclaimed aviation dramas. The Captain, a 2019 film, portrayed the real-life drama of Sichuan Airline Flight 8633 which made an emergency landing at Chengdu Shuagliu International Airport after its cockpit windshield crashed. The other is the 2009 Clint Eastwood production Sully starring Tom Hanks. The flight from LaGuardia, was hit by a flock of geese forcing an emergency landing on the Hudson river with 155 lives on board. Sully was grilled by the National Aviation Safety Board while Devgn faced baritone Bachchan.

TRENDS & VIEWS

We Have Created A New Segment That Has Resonated Well With Readers: Short Post Editor

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, said Victor Hugo a long time ago. I felt likewise. So instead of waiting endlessly for the Covid-19 tide to ebb, I decided to take the plunge and launch www.shortpost.in on January 28, 2021. This website, the first of its kind in the country, focuses only on short ‘Authentic Gossip’. Clearly, content is king more so if it is short & crisp (225 words), as a large section of our society is steadily shifting to digital and mobile space. To achieve this, I was fortunate to muster editorial support of some of the most senior and respected journalists in the country to bring out credible content that involves, stimulates and entertains our highly discerning readers — from across continents. We have so far uploaded close to 1,000 posts covering areas like Business, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment. Yes, today we have crossed an important milestone in our journey – #ShortPostFirstAnniversary —  and we are confident many more will follow in keeping with our stated vision – to become a one stop site for authentic gossip. So, what next?  With the third wave showing signs of slowing down things can only look better. So as the year rolls by we promise to pack in more punches. Before I sign off I would like to thank our advertiser IDFC FIRST Bank, angel investors Anuradha Verma, Ashish Kakkar and you readers for making this journey possible.