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vijay sethupathi

Ordinary Looks, Extraordinary Talent Makes Vijay Sethupathi A Bankable Star In South

Forty-six year old Vijay Sethupathi, who predominantly works in Tamil cinema, is an actor who never fails his fans. This director’s delight, bankable hero has none of that “chikna charm” of a stereotype film hero — brawn, Greek God profile, towering personality and a deejay’s baritone. But he comes alive on screen as a wholesome, dependable artist who carries off the entire film with his performance. Those who have seen his debut movie Thenmerku Paruvakaatru in 2010 remember his goatherd character to this day. Sethupathi has crossed many milestones and is confident that his 50th movie, Maharaja will get acclaimed just like his earlier hits Vikram Vedha, Sundarapandian, Pizza, 96 to name a few. His calm and controlled nature rarely kicks up cinematic storms…though recently he refused to co-star with Krithi Shetty for DSP. Reason: “In an earlier movie Krithi acted as my daughter. I made her feel really secure…even told her to think I am your real father. So I am not going to act with her as my female lead,” he said. In the film 96, which was a hit, he was paired with Trisha and critics did talk about a winsome youthful Trisha teaming up with an overweight Sethupathi as a classmate. His Vikram Vedha with Madhavan and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan with the lady superstar Nayanthara zoomed up the charts. Sethupathi has none of that ham handed heaviness in his portrayals. Fifty films old Vijay Sethupathi is as genuine as American Apple pie or South Indian Filter Coffee …no glamour but guarantee.
jeffery amish

Amish Tripathi In Pact With The Best Selling Author, Lord Jeffrey Archer

Celebrated author-writer-filmmaker Amish Tripathi, Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui and actor-producer-author Vani Tripathi Tikoo are meeting in London to participate at the Manoj Ladwa-led Indian Global Forum’s Pathways To A Limitless Future to be held between 24-28 June.  The 3rd Culture & Creativity Forum at IGF London will draw leading voices from film & TV, fashion, literature, sports, economy and more. What new pathways for growth can creative innovation unlock? How can culture help organizations diversify their reach? How can we revitalize the global creative economy are some of the topics the brightest minds converging in London will debate, discuss and deliberate. It is learnt that Amish Tripathi while in London will use this opportunity to announce his creative tie-up with Lord Jeffrey Archer, a successful novelist who has written scores of best-sellers like Kane And Abel, Only Time Will Tell, The Prodigal Daughter to name a few. Kane and Abel remains one of the best-selling books in the world, with an estimated 34 million copies sold worldwide. All his novels put together have sold more than 320 million copies worldwide. Tripathi’s best kept secret project with Lord Archer will be unveiled on June 24.
malayalam movies

Are Cute And Quirky Malayalam Movies New Flavour Of Entertainment?

The just released Malayalam comedy movie Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil’ has raked in Rs 50 crore in one week and Rs 85 crore in just 18 days. Of this, it raked Rs 43 crore in Kerala alone. A big percentage of Kerala’s population of nearly 3.46 crore work in the Middle East. For them a movie with Mammootty, Mohanlal and Prithviraj Sukumaran is the best treat. The Kerala film industry has done very well albeit with dramatic transformation from “art film, realism and simplistic presentation” Malayalam movies have emerged as entertainment winners. Simultaneously, stars too have hit the sweet spot of success. Prithiviraj Sukumaran, almost super star, producer, script writer and even singer is at the peak of success. In Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil’ as a comic lead which is a totally divergent role from his recent cult classic Aadujeevitham that garnered Rs 160 crore. Prithvi fans are on a high, but the star himself is careful not to make ripples in the star ecosystem where Mammootty and Mohanlal reign supreme.  Prithviraj fell in love with the famed BBC journalist Supriya Menon Aren Mumbai and married her. The couple run a very profitable partnership. Not that he has no challenges in his starscape…Fahad Fasil, Joju George and others are fast catching up. The recent mega hit Manjummel Boys, Falimy (a quirky spell), Padmini and Bro Daddy succeeded though the prevailing crime and police films that dominated for quite some time. OTT has brought realism to the home viewer. Malayalam cinema is the new flavour of entertainment.
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Kamal Haasan’s Much-Awaited ‘Indian 2’ Sounds The Bugle With Music Launch

Tamil film’s ace director S Shankar and Ulaga Nayakan Kamal Haasan are all set to unveil Indian 2 with a big bang music launch event. Indian of 1996 which is still etched in cinephiles memory as a blockbuster was long awaiting a sequel. Kamal instinctively felt box office history could be created, yet again. Though his busy political and cinematic persona clashed and caused some stress to all concerned in his innermost circles, the Indian 2 is ready for a July release. Lyca Productions and Red Giant Movies are expected to hype marketing and media profile, to screen this extravaganza. One factor the audience is sure of is that even if the storyline does not punch at optimum weight, Kamal is sure to grab admiration with his acting as an old man. When Shankar is at the head of the table, one can anticipate extraordinary action and performances from his band of actors….an ensemble cast with Siddharth, Kajal Aggarwal, SJ Surya, Rakul Preet Singh and Bobby Simha.  The music director Anirudh and two singles Para and Neelothpal have not disappointed their fans. The music launch at Nehru Stadium, a venue that portends hits, and besotted fans are not about to miss the event. When Kamal, Shankar and Anirudh hit the stage, the sound of music hits the high notes. And the Box office jingles.
yadav cbfc

Premiering Now: Sanatan Critic As New Censor Board Chief?

Array

The BJP government’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, mandated to rectify pejorative and false narratives of Hinduism peddled through (mostly Hindi) commercial cinema by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014, has almost finalized its CEO for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to censor films before release. IRS (customs) officer Kundan Yadav’s appointment file is pending approval of the Election Commission of India. More recently, Yadav was seen poking fun at Sanatana dharma, the Sunder Kand and Maha Mrityunjay Mantra while also taking potshots at Brahmanism and the Manu Smriti texts while using self-composed poetry on a public platform in Jaipur. “Even while drafted for election duty, this JNU product openly denounced the BJP giving speeches regarding his single-minded efforts against the national party. Is it merely enough that he possesses a doctorate (PhD) to be appointed the CBFC CEO? What happened to the 360-degree-SWOT analysis, assessment of his knowledge on the craft of film-making?” asks a senior BJP leader in anguish. Yadav’s stay at JNU was subsidized by his seniors in his first year, when he failed to secure hostel accommodation. Thereafter, this brilliant student, despite needing two terms to complete his HSC board examinations, became a topper of his class, even securing a teaching tenure in the USA on scholarship. One of his JNU professors did pull him up once for not having collected funds allocated to him through yet another scholarship he had been bestowed with for inordinately long. Some guys have all the luck!
junaid khan

Nepotism An Off And On Feature In Bollywood, Politics…

  Aamir Khan’s son Junaid Khan makes his debut with Maharaja that will be released on OTT. Guess what, Junaid already has completed shooting for his second film even before his debut film releases. Clearly, those are the perks of being a star kid. Both the films that Junaid has worked in have been produced by outside banners — Yash Raj Films and Phantom Studio have a good equation with Aamir Khan. Junaid hasn’t really been trolled for being Aamir Khan’s son. Probably because he is well behaved on the sets and with Paps. Reportedly, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s niece Sharmin Segal got trolled for bagging the central part in Heeramandi series. Tongues were wagging that she landed the role because of being Bhansali’s niece. But, the truth is she did go for an audition and screen test. In politics, business or films nepotism is the uncomfortable truth — it happens openly or subtly. Yes, it makes easy entry possible but post that he/she has to prove their mettle. Suhana Khan is all set to make her debut with her father Shah Rukh Khan to be directed by Sujoy Ghosh. Sanjay Kapoor’s daughter, Shanaya Kapoor is a big social media influencer even though she signed her first film. Saif Ali Khan’s son Ibrahim Khan who has two films seems to be throwing his weight if one goes by what Paps have to say. In the case of Rajesh Roshan, niece Pashmina Roshan, a good dancer, makes her debut in Ishk Vishk Rebound. Producer Ramesh Taurani has clarified that he chose Pashmina purely on merit with three other fresh faces. He says Rajesh Roshan, the music composer with whom his relationship goes back in time, did not call to push his niece’s case. Sounds good.
kajol prabhudeva

Photo : @itsKajolD @PDdancing

After 27 Years, Kajol And Prabhudeva Team Again For A Telugu Film

The year 1997, an exotic pairing of Kajol, the creole beauty and Prabhudeva, India’s undisputed King of contemporary dance took the audience to a new level of entertainment. The film, Minsara Kanavu ( Electric Dreams) directed by Rajiv Menon, with music by AR Rahman danced away with four national awards — Best Music Director, Best Singers both male and female and Best Dance Director. Arvind Swami added histrionic weight to the narrative. The film not only entertained but inspired a comic slogan to the Tamilians (talented word crafters) who suffered frequent power cuts. They came up with the taunt “Minsarame Kanavu ( for us electricity is itself a dream ).This exotic pair are now coming together after 27 years for a Telugu film, directed by CharanRaj Upplipatt, with able support by Naseeruddin Shah and Samyukta Menon. The production house has announced that the first phase of this thriller filming is complete and the teaser is to be out soon. The song Vennilave Vennilave Vinnai thandi varuvaya is still remembered. Will Kajol and Prabhudeva electrify the audience yet again?
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Should Symphony King Ilayaraja Ignore Plagiarism?

At 81, Ilayaraja remains the emperor of melodies. But of late he has painted his incomparable talent and self into a controversial corner. Recently SUN Pictures released the trailer of their upcoming Rajnikanth potboiler, Coolie with Anirudh composing music. Ilayaraja was angry to hear his composition from Thanga Magan, in a digital garb used in the trailer. He promptly sent a legal notice. This side of a gentle genius irritated film folks, with filmdom abounding in instances of copyright infringement. In the midst of this controversy this Rajya Sabha MP had the time and talent to announce the completion of a full scale symphony he composed in just 35 days. His talent and stature is so high, and some detractors are saying, does it behove his standing to send legal notice? Music borrowing, plagiarism or theft, call what you may, is a global phenomenon; Arabian belly dance tunes, African drum beats , tribal taals, from the great Indian music composers, Saint Thyagaraja, Annamiah etc are freely lifted. Often turning melodious music into cacophony. Ilayaraja, known fondly as Isaignanai (sage of music) has compiled  over 7000 film songs, scored music for over 1000 films and performed in 20,000 concerts. He is a music composer, conductor, orchestrator, multi- instrument player, lyricist and singer who has no equal. Recently, the famous music duo sisters Ranjani and Gayatri performed on stage with Ilayaraja sitting in the front row. They drew repeated applause for the Thyagaraja composition in Raga Charumati, Mari Mari Ninne which Ilayaraja immortalised as his base for the hit song Paatu ariyen, padippariyen, pallikoodam thaan ariyen in the film Sindhu Bhairavi. Ilayaraja, your kind of genius is rare and immortal. Think of plagiarism as the best adulation.
Rashmika salman

Phoho : @iamRashmika, @BeingSalmanKhan

Is Salman Khan Choosy About His Heroine?

Salman Khan has got Ranbir Kapoor’s Animal heroine for his next film Sikandar. Yes, Rashmika Mandanna is going to play his love interest in the film that goes on the floor next month. It came as a surprise for a lot of people in the trade as the names of other heroines were floating around before Animal heroine was signed for the role. Historically, Salman Khan has been choosy of signing up a heroine unless he is in a comfort zone with them. Katrina Kaif holds the record having worked with Salman in eight films. Well, earlier he and Madhuri Dixit worked in six films; it was because they were contemporaries…that’s all. But, stars like Jacqueline Fernandez got on like a house on fire. She has worked with Salman in about three films and reportedly during lockdown spent a long time at his farmhouse. Waluscha De Sousa who was also a kind of favourite of the actor; she worked in two films — Time to Dance and Antim: The Truth. With Sonakshi Sinha also twice. Interestingly, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai whose romance is well known worked with each other only in one film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Likewise Twinkle Khanna, Urmila Matondkar and Sonali Bendre. Salman Khan has worked with Katrina Kaif even if he didn’t like her brief involvement with Ranbir Kapoor. There has been a chemistry issue between him and Ranbir since then. But, looks like Alia Bhatt may just play a role to bring Kapoor and Khan together. If one recalls, Ranbir Kapoor had mentioned in the Kapil Sharma show that Salman Khan had chipped in during his sister Riddhima Kapoor’s wedding by taking care of the bar.
Kapil show

Has The Kapil Sharma Show Lost Its Zing?

Just when we thought that the Aamir Khan episode saved The Great Indian Kapil Show comes the news that the team has wrapped up Season One of the show after six episodes. An avid show watcher was very critical and said, “I am not surprised. It was bound to wrap up…how can anyone eat a dhokla that has been served like pizza?”  The show ever since it went to Netflix did not seem to have the same draw, stickiness and buzz like it was on Sony TV during weekends. The general feedback is that there is no novelty or freshness; even Sunil Grover who returned to show after a gap of seven years failed to regale the audience. His earlier avatar as Guthi was better than current one as Dafli. Even Krushna Abhishek and Kiku Sharda who have emotional bonding with the audiences and guests seemed to have lost their zing. Also, missing from the show are Chandan Prabhakar, Sunil Lahiri and Sumona Chakraborty. Essentially, the show failed to deliver the punch for which it was famous for. Is it because OTT caters to a different audience while TV channels are watched by the entire family? Kapil Sharma started his comedy show in 2016 and it was getting very good traction. But soon he had a fall out with his team mates like Sunil Grover. Post that he shifted the show to Sony TV and got Salman Khan to bank roll it.  Now, the quick wrap of Season One has raised eyebrows but Netflix has quickly reacted saying that Season Two with seven episodes will feature celebrities like Ed Sheeran, Anil Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha and Sania Mirza.  Only Ed Sheeran is a new catch, the rest of the guests are usual suspects. Season Two will effectively spell out which way Kapil Sharma and his show is going.
thug life

A scene from ‘Thug Life’ which got leaked on social media

After An Interval, Ace Director Mani Ratnam Back To ‘Thug Life’

Now that the election Punch and Judy show is over in Tamil Nadu, south India’s biggest director Mani Ratnam is seriously back to shooting Thug Life. For those who may not recall why Mani Ratnam wants to get back to Thug Life, Raj Kamal Movies, Red Giant Movies and Madras Talkies announced their joint venture creation with a marquee star lineup. Kamal Haasan heads the cast, Trisha, Dulquer Salmaan, Jeyam Ravi, Aishwarya Lekshmi to name a few. The elections came as a speed breaker, with Kamal campaigning for the DMK. The shooting was also paused as Dulquer and Jeyam Ravi opted out as they could not accommodate the delayed call sheets. After much debate, Simbu was signed up for Dulquer’s role and Aravind Swamy in place of Jeyam Ravi. It is interesting to note that all these stars have worked with Mani Ratnam, a comfort level both share. Simbu had given the hit Cheka Sivanda Vaanam. Recently a schedule with Kamal, Simbu, Abirami and Nasser was shot in Delhi. Simbu coming on board was marked by glimpse video teasers, especially the one which shows a huge dust drift kicked up presumably by a car driven by him titled “A New Thug in Town “. Mani Ratnam and his iconic treatment of every storyline he films is pure cinematic genius. His muse could be a Thug, Saint or the Devil himself. The audience is waiting impatiently to watch his thuggery.
gangs kuruthi punal

Amazon Prime Temporarily Pauses Shooting Of Soundarya Rajinikanth’s Web Series

Candidly speaking, it’s a hard to follow act for the children of cinematic Icons…especially if you are the progeny of global icon, superstar Rajinikanth. His daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya have been under the constant filmi microscope of public view. The sisters have lived through rocky lives –both personal and professional. Both have tried their hand at cinema production and direction. With a few films produced and directed by her, much was expected of Aishwarya’s recent film Lal Salaam with a bespoke cameo by Rajinikanth himself. Lal Salaam did not do well at the box office. Other sister Soundarya is still smarting with the huge financial loss of her films Kochadayan and Goa. For 10 years she stayed away from the filmi world. Then Amazon Prime’s web series, Gangs Kuruthi Punal came her way as producer, an opportunity she must have coveted. But midway through the shoot in Puducherry, things started going south, and it overshot the budget. Her director Nova came in for criticism and things turned sour with him being blamed for not having better control. With Sathyaraj and Nasser heading the series, the production could have succeeded but when the money flow was stopped, Soundarya was cornered once again. Then came the announcement by Amazon Prime that a course correction would be in order. Can Soundaraya salvage the series?
suriya sudha

What Went Wrong In The Sudha Kongara-Suriya Partnership?

Popular Tamil film hero Suriya’s career zoomed with Soorarai Pottru in 2022 and its ace director Sudha Kongara Prasad walked away with the Filmfare Award for best film, her second after Irudi Suttru in 2020. Soorarai Pottru traversed that thin line where a biography straddles a documentary and a gripping drama of a self-driven entrepreneur, Captain Gopinath who took wings with Deccan Airways.The film’s huge success in both cinemas and OTT was as much due to the inspired direction of Sudha Kongara as to Suriya’s compelling performance. The duo’s next film Puranaanooru naturally raised high expectations. Suddenly rumours flew thick and fast about differences between Sudha and Suriya, who was also producing this film under his home production 2 D films. First, there were speculations about Suriya’s dates’ availability; the film had to be shot extensively in colleges in south India during the vacation but because of election fever it was difficult to get a suitable venue. Set in the sixties Puranaanooru needed huge outlay — around Rs 60 crore to replicate that period. To scotch the rumours, a joint statement was issued by them which stated that the film is postponed. Meanwhile, it is learnt that Sudha has moved on to her next film with Dhruv Vikram in the lead. Who knows Suriya’s loss could be Dhruv’s gain!
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photo : @Asli_Jacqueline

Will Bollywood Give Jacqueline Fernandez A Second Chance?

Thirty-eight year old Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez has gone below the radar ever since her link to the conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar hit national headlines. She religiously avoids media, ducks from paparazzi and avoids socialising too. The conman link has cost her dearly — personally and professionally. Though she is fighting Sukesh in the court but because of his obsession with her, she prefers to keep quiet and work hard. What has damaged her reputation and put her on the backfoot is the intimate pictures released by Sukesh. Not surprisingly, the film industry and friends have not openly supported her in terms of sympathy or contracts but there are well wishers like Sonu Sood who signed her for Fateh which is ready for release. She does not have many projects but has two big films, Welcome to the Jungle with Firoz Nadiadwala and Housefull 5 which is yet to go on floors. Jacqueline does manage to get court permission to go abroad for shoots. Akshay Kumar, Sajid Nadiadwala and Salman Khan are her friends who still support her but not in the public. From a rank outsider, Jacqueline’s rise in Bollywood was meteoric. The Sri Lankan model-turned actor, who entered Bollywood in 2006, has acted in over 25 films already. In 15 years she has starred opposite top heroes. Her northbound career graph was halted when news of her involvement with conman Sukesh who was arrested for extortion and money laundering came out in open. She claims Sukesh lured her with Bollywood offers even as he showered her with costly gifts, even a high end car.
Pushpa 2

Pushpa 2 which releases on Aug 15 is expected to create a new box office record

Are South Stars Bailing Out Bollywood?

Historically, the Hindi film industry has been dominated by north Indian heroes and south Indian heroines. Now, a new trend is emerging. In the last three-four years it seems to be the hegemony of south films. Witness this, in the first four months of 2024, the traditional north Indian heroes Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn seem to have come a cropper going by the box office collections. Reportedly, total collection is less than Rs 800 crore. To make matters worse, Khans are conspicuous by their absence. Salman Khan’s ritual — Eid release was missing this season. Given this scenario, one is seeing the south stars coming to the rescue of Bollywood big time. For instance, Allu Arjun’s film Pushpa 2 is learnt to have got a commitment of Rs 1,000 crore before its release on August 15. It is expected to break all kinds of records. Then there is multi-starrer Kalki showing Amitabh Bachchan in a teaser promo. This movie which is a perfect example of cross-pollination of stars is speculated to garner Rs 100 crore on Day One of its release. Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede says, “The line up of South Indian films is a mix of class and mass. It has its focus on larger than life entertainment which works for celluloid. They are not spoilt for OTT choices and are more inclined to make mass entertainment.” The momentum in this year was started with Hanuman which scored big on the box office followed by Manjummel Boys and The Goat Life winning great critical acclaim. The upcoming slate looks super impressive with Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 and Rajnikanths’s Vettaiyan. Besides, Devara, the movies in the pipelines are: Kanguva, Thangalaan and Mr Bachchan.
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Why Hero No 1 Is Finding It Tough To Get A Second Chance

  Sixty-one year old yesteryear’s superstar Govinda is back in the news, well not for signing a big budget film but for re-entering politics by joining Shiv Sena led by the Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde. Govinda has made it clear that he will not be contesting any elections. It may be recalled that he won the 2004 Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket. Then, what’s his compulsion to re-enter politics? Does he feel that if he is part of a political party, then movies will come his way? Not really. A seasoned insider says that Govinda has been trying to make a comeback to films since 2015 but strangely, this exceptionally talented and accomplished star has not been able to win the faith of the producers to bet on him, once again. His past seems to have caught up with him; not reporting to the set on time has got the goat of producers, directors and co-stars. Says another source, lack of work for Govinda is not because the industry has lost faith in him but he has developed a trust deficit with them. His superstitious nature has made filmmakers uncomfortable. Both David Dhawan and Salman Khan did give Govinda a second chance. But, Govinda has this feeling that the world is against him. Recently, he overreacted to a comment by Vashu Bhagnani on his late coming on the sets of his films. Govinda who has acted in more than 165 Hindi and language films can become the favourite of producers and directors once again only if he reinvents himself.
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Tamil Film Heroes Dressed In White Cast Their Votes

Tamil Nadu is probably the most star and film crazy state. Here, films and politics mesh and meld.  Even on polling day, watching these superheroes and the media feeding frenzy they generated was evident at the polling booths. TN is probably one of the best organised states in terms of election logistics and arrangements, meticulously planned and executed for hassle-free voting. But such well-oiled execution often gets overshadowed, even unacknowledged, by the entry of stars, with the media in droves praising the star for casting his vote. Stella Maris College and Eldams Road polling stations garnered much attention as the two superstars descended to cast their votes. Action, camera and buzz levels rose, though it must be said that these two took their turns in the line to get their fingers inked and ballot papers verified. Apart from Kamal and Rajini, Karthik, Vijay, Ajit, Vijay Sethupathi, Vikram, Suriya Trisha and a host of stars made a splash today by turning up early in the day. Surprisingly, most of them were dressed in white? Except Kamal who came in a white and teal green T or Vijay Sethupathi. The penny dropped when a media smart said, “They wanted to avoid speculations about party affiliations. So white was the best option”. The terrible heat and overwhelming humidity could well have been the reason for cool white. Does it matter what the stars wore..it was not a fashion ramp …just your neighbourhood polling booth.
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Photo : @akshaykumar

Is Akshay Kumar Losing Bankable Star Image?

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

This happens, frequently in Bolly, Kolly or any wood, when top stars suddenly face a drought. Salman Khan has lived through it for nearly three years. Popular Tamil film hero Suriya Sivakumar seems to be going through a similar predicament. He has had no new outings after the super success of Soorarai Pottru (Sudha Kongara directed biopic on Captain GR of Air Deccan fame). Then was followed by Jai Bhim in 2022, also critically acclaimed but politically a sensitive theme that brought unease to Suriya. His highly publicised Kanguva is under post production. Meanwhile Suriya had another setback. The much expected second Sudha Kongara creation, Puranaanuru has been shelved. So when Suriya and Karthik Subburaj jointly announced a new venture under Suriya’s home production 2D, it raised the excitement levels of his fans. Suriya and Subburaj have agreed to work for free and will share profit once the film does well at the box office. Subburaj is said to have written the story for Vijay originally, but many say it was scripted keeping Suriya as the hero in that suave and strong role that he excels in …will it be another Kaakha Kaakha or the Shaolin, Ezhaam Arivu? Suriya and his wife Jyotika have endured much gossip lately, when they shifted out of Chennai to Mumbai. In-laws issue? No, insists Jyotika, it’s just for kids’ schooling and her professional needs. Jyotika has resurrected her career in a big way. Can Suriya do likewise?
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Once Again Akshay Kumar And Ajay Devgn Clash At The Box Office

Once again Bollywood’s two big stars Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar are going to clash at the box office. And the film trade is not at all surprised as it is not the first time their films are releasing on the same day – it is the fourth time.  When it comes to business they are strong rivals even though both have worked together in three films together. They worked in Suhaag, Insaan and Khakee. Insiders say it was after Khakee Ajay blamed Akshay Kumar for chopping his role. Post Ajay’s comment, Akshay Kumar in one of the award functions took a jibe at Ajay indirectly by saying that he is being called the “editor” of the film.  Ajay almost got his film Golmaal 4 to be released the same day as Robot and Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar; but Robot got postponed at the last minute due to VFX. Once again, both Ajay and Akshay were making a film on the same subject — Battle of Saragarhi. Ajay announced the film first but Akshay got Karan Johar to break the news about the movie. Salman Khan was co-producing the film with Karan but Ajay, it is learnt, convinced him to opt out of the project. If Akshay Kumar got Vipul Shah to screen Action Replay to coincide with Golmaal 3 release then Ajay got his Toonpur Ka Superman to coincide with Akshay Kumar’s Tees Maar Khan. Not many know that Ajay Devgn wanted the movie rights of Jaswant Gill on whose life the film Raniganj was made with Akshay Kumar as the lead. Now one needs to see what happens with Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan and Maidaan both releasing on Eid.
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Trisha Unseats Superstar Nayanthara From The #1 Slot

Twenty-two years after her debut in 2002 in Tamil movie Maunam Pesiyade, Trisha Krishnan has proved that her staying power is awesome. A fine blend of looks, talent and guts, Trisha, Mani Rathnam’s muse in the much-talked about Ponniyin Selvan has moved into the number one slot so far held by Nayanthara. Her character Kundavai was as much talked about as Aishwarya Rai’s Ponni in the magnum opus, skyrocketing her popularity. Today, Trisha has over 12 movies in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. She stars with Salman Khan in the The Bull. The list of her to be released movies would turn any top heroine envious. Thug Life, VidaMuyarchi, GOAT, Saduranga Vettai all with top actors like Vijay, Ajit, Kamal and now Salman. Naturally, it has pitchforked her remuneration to 12 crore per film. Nayanthara and Samantha were getting around Rs 8-10 crore. Once seen as Rana Dagubatti’s significant other, she broke up with him, and walked into two much talked about engagements; then she walked out of it at the last minute from both, raising her hellion reputation to more highs.  She has led her personal life very much the way she desired, not afraid of reputation smears. Media has chronicled her midnight beach escapades with chosen friends, in spirited states. But when it comes to work, she adheres punctiliously to form and meets her director’s expectations, a trait that the volatile world of films really values. Without doubt Trisha is riding high.
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Sangita Kalanidhi Award Controversy: Now, Karnataka Classical Music Confederation Trust Enters The Scene

The Carnatic music world is caught in a huge controversy. The decision of The Music Academy of Madras to confer the prestigious Sangita Kalanidhi title on vocalist TM Krishna has not gone well with veteran artistes and music patrons. And social media has gone on overdrive. The latest to jump into it is Karnataka Classical Music Confederation Trust (KCMCT), which has sent out a strong missive to The Music Academy. Krishna, the rebel Carnatic musician has always been courting controversy for his stand. KCMCT in a communication to The Music Academy said “The recent decision to confer recognition upon an individual whose actions have caused considerable anguish among our fraternity of musicians is a matter of profound consternation. We are compelled to express our dismay at the choice to honour an individual whose conduct and pronouncements have engendered substantial discord and disunity among Karnataka musicians.”  Krishna, after winning the Magsaysay award, has positioned himself as a social reformer. The Academy became his instant target. Accusing it of caste bias and discriminatory practices, Krishna boycotted its festival for several seasons. Aghast at its choice for Sangita Kalanidhi title, RaGa sisters (Ranjani-Gayatri) have chosen to pull out of the December festival of the Academy. Since then, the opposition to Krishna is escalating by the day with political parties such as DMK and BJP pitching in with their views. By honouring a rebel, the Academy has now managed to create an army of rebels. The tune set by the Academy headed by N Murali, owner of The Hindu group of publications, appears to have gone woefully awry. A lot of jarring notes are emanating from the Carnatic music world.
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Is Laughter Better Or Bitter Medicine?

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

The election fever seems to have divided Tollywood over movie release dates. The next 60 days will see intense polling activities across West Bengal but some of the Tollywood producers-directors are not worried about it; they feel it will not affect the footfalls. The much-awaited Bengali film Mirza by Ankush Hazra of one of the top mainstream actors will stick to its pre-declared Eid release date of April 10. Ankush pointed out that the film gets 10 days before the first phase of the election which starts on April 19. He further added that the response to the film will be known in the first week itself hence polling will not affect the release. Echoing similar views, director duo Shiboprasad Mukherjee-Nandita Roy’s new venture Amar Boss which will see the comeback of veteran actress Raakhee Gulzar in Bengali after almost 20 years. Shibu is targeting the month of May for the release. The confident director mentioned that his previous releases such as Ramdhanu was released during 2014 polls and Kantha in 2019 elections and both were superhits hence he sees no reason to fear. National-award winning director Srijit Mukherji’s much awaited movie Padatik, a tribute to masterclass director Mrinal Sen on his birth centenary is slated to release on May 14. Producer Firdousul Hasan is unwilling to back down with the release date since maximum moviegoers are not workers from political parties. But some are not taking chances. Like Superstar Jeet, his movie Boomerang’s release has been pushed from May to June 7 release. Similarly, actor director Arna Mukhopadhyay’s movie Athoi has shifted the release from April to June.
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Photo : @SrBachchan

Hale And Hearty Shahenshah Has His Plate Full

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

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

Ever since its release, Manjummel Boys, the mind bending Malayalam movie has been acclaimed as a super hit film, raking in Rs 165 crore worldwide. Manjummel Boys (directed by Chidamabaram) has caught people’s craze like a roller coaster ride. The compelling twists and nail biting suspense builds up into a masterpiece narrative…fate has a way of twisting the most ordinary tourist shenanigans into tragic ends. Even as reviewers are  going  gaga over Manjummel Boys, one voice , that of Tamil author Jeyamohan has set the cat among cooing pigeons by slamming such deification of tourist culture in the most derogatory way that has further spiralled into Mallu Tamilian antagonism. In his book Yanai Doctor (Elephant Doctor), he has captured the “condemnable tourist culture of Malayalis (whom he terms in unpardonable terms as Porikkis, a pejorative no person has the right to use, least of all an author). Jeyamohan hits at the acceptance of Malayalam movies which routinely show men drinking, vomiting, getting into brawls and generally making a menace as a tourist. What angers him…the tourists after drinking, throw empty bottles on the roadsides, elephants treading on these broken glass pieces get hurt in their feet, infected…and many more such environmentally cruel acts. His conclusion, “It is movies like Manjummel Boys that deify rowdy behaviour, making it acceptable in society”. The argument can be turned over and over like dosa chains…good cinema art is appreciated wherever it comes from, deep concern for the environment must start with parenting.
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Popular Tamil Star Ajith’s Hospitalisation And Surgery Scares Family, Fans And Producers

When a popular film star is hospitalised, the fans go crazy and rumours take wings especially when the family and medical staff are tight-lipped. Fifty-two year old Ajith kumar, Thala for his fans was hospitalised on the March 7 ostensibly for a full health check-up at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. And this news of his hospitalisation spread like wildfire. Ever since his return from Azerbaijan after the shoot of the much hyped VidaaMuyarchi (where art director Milan Fernandez died of a heart attack) Ajith had stoically put up with constant migraines, neck pain and loss of energy…but such health setbacks were part of this car and bike race enthusiast who had been through a few accidents as a racer. Also his serious stunts for his action filled films already put him at risk, but Ajith insisted on dangerous action shots for authenticity. Apollo Hospital doctors advised for a full check-up including MRI. Sure enough the MRI proved providential; it was found that the ear brain nerve was blocked by ganglion cyst or non-cancerous lump. Immediately, surgery was done and the lump removed. Ajith was discharged on March 9 with a stern warning to take complete rest, avoid risky body contact action shots and even flying. Ajith’s son Aadvith had just celebrated his birthday and the pictures were still trending as a happy family.
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Is It North Vs South In The Hindi Film Industry Too?

There was a time in the eighties when South Indian stars like Kamal Haasan, Rajnikanth tried their luck in Bollywood – they bought a house in Mumbai and learnt Hindi too. But, sadly they could not survive because of Bollywood politics; they were bullied and finally went back to Chennai. Maybe the producers were not willing to take risks because of their south Indian accent, skin tone and average height. But not anymore. Today, South stars like Ram Charan, NTR Jr, Allu Arjun are bigger than the Khans; their fan base is bigger than all the three khans put together. Most stars from the south are money making machines. Reacting to the way Shah Rukh Khan said “Idli Ram Charan” at Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant pre-wedding celebration at Jamnagar, a Bollywood insider said, “Ram Charan does not dance to anybody’s tune and nobody dares address him the way Shah Rukh Khan did…”  Ram’s associate Zeba found it insulting and expressed her displeasure by walking out. On the contrary, Ram Charan did not react negatively, he was cool. But the fans of Ram Charan have been trolling King Khan. Today, the tables have turned, south actors are not desperate to shift lock, stock and barrel to Mumbai. They are signing up films on their terms which is breaking records in the Hindi belt. Surely, SRK who is always politically right and measured in his talks must have said it in a lighter vein but this seems to have not gone well with South Indian audiences.
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Tamil Superstar Suriya To Play Karna In Rakeysh Mehra’s Rs 500 Crore Epic Extravaganza

It is happening…ancient Indian ethos and its myriad mythologies are mined for breathtaking cinema, to combine scale, complex story plots, heroism, venality and religious fervour into spectacular cinematic art. Most would agree that after Lord Rama, Karna is the most recalled warrior hero. Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has zeroed in on this epic character, Karna and plans to create a pan India screen extravaganza at a cost of 500 crore. Popular Tamil hero Suriya has been signed for the same. Suriya is now striding the pan India scene with his about to release Kanguva, another period drama. Sudha Kongara of the Surarai Pottru fame is directing Suriya in Purananuru.. Suriya’s leading lady in Karna is late Sridevi’s daughter Janhavi Kapoor, a choice that is bound to add value to this Kapoor who is yet to snag that super hit status her mother repeated in many films. Karna is a character with a gold mine potential to explore his many facets …a first born whose mother Kunti does not acknowledge him, his five Pandava brothers who are unaware of Karna’s blood bond, and a warrior who stands by Duryodhan for all the wrong life decisions, and how Lord Krishna cajoles him to part with his life guarding Kavach appealing to Karna’s legendary largesse. Even the most cynical audience is bound to be moved by his charisma. A hero like Karna and a talent like Suriya’s ….waiting to happen. POWERED BY : IDFC FIRST BANK
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Action Hero Vidyut Jammwal, An Outsider Who Created His Own Space In Bollywood

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

Indian arthouse filmmaker Anurag Kashyap criticised present-day Bengali cinema content citing that remakes of South Indian movies led to this downfall. In a one-on-one conversation with Kashyap during the inauguration of maiden French Film Festival in Kolkata and screening of his movie Kennedy, he was categorical in stating that Bengali content doesn’t attract him anymore. His last watched Bengali movie remains cerebral filmmaker Mrinal Sen’s Padatik. According to him, deterioration in Bollywood is not as evident as in Bengali cinema since it used to be class apart because of the maestros like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwick Ghatak. Kashyap mentioned that he could only recollect quality work from Bengali filmmaker Srijit Mukherji’s Autograph and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Antaheen which was essayed by actor Radhika Apte and Rahul Bose. Talking about the ongoing controversy of director Sandeep Vanga Reddy’s film Animal, Kashyap mentioned misogynistic themes, and glorification of toxic masculinity had always been there in Bollywood — but viewers were less aware. Commenting on being targeted by a section of film as well as the political sphere for his provocative works, Kashyap said that everyone in today’s world is provoking in some way or other including the media. Citing the example of Ray who was targeted as selling poverty like porn in his films, he added that it does not affect him anymore.
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Janhvi Kapoor: An Insider Who Is Proving Her Mettle

  Janhvi Kapoor, daughter of Sridevi-Boney Kapoor, has in a short span of time matured as an actress. The new generation looks up to her for her choice of films, fashion sense and visibility quotient. She entered Bollywood in 2018 with Dhadak, a remake of a Marathi film Sairaat and then went on to be nominated for Filmfare Award for Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl and Mili. The 27-year old actress has been working on big screen as well as on OTT. Of the dozen films she has acted in, many like Roohi have bombed at the box office but that has not deterred her from trying even harder. That confidence perhaps is seeing her being signed by various brands and even big producers. The latest rumour is that she may replace south star Sai Pallavi to play Sita in Nitish Tiwari’s Ramayana featuring Ranbir Kapoor as Lord Ram. Her line-up is pretty impressive; she will be seen along with Rajkummar Rao in Dharma Production’s Mr and Mrs Mahi. Besides, she has signed three biggies in South out of which one is Devara with junior NT Rama Rao Jr which is releasing in April. Her energy, her willingness to challenge herself, keeping herself updated and being media friendly is standing her in good stead. She may be an insider but in the end it was her talent, hard work and adaptability that won her recognition in the Hindi film fraternity.
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‘Article 370’: Cinematic Art Or Propaganda Hype?

Two of Bollywoods beautiful and talented actors, Yami Gautam Dhar and Priyamani are unravelling the story of Article 370, which is set to hit screens on February 23.  The talk about this film, directed by Aditya Suhas Jambhale, is hard to ignore, even as comparisons with The Kashmir Files, Kerala Story and Emergency fly thick and fast. It is the timing of its release that has set expectations high and may be controversial. With the election machinery already rolling in full force, a powerful medium like cinema focusing on the abrogation of Article 370 is bound to land with a sonic thud. For honing its propaganda skills in multiple ways, the BJP is often complimented for its talent to use social media and its communication bag of tricks. But what the Dravidian cavalry taught about using cinema as the quickest, and most effective touchpoint with the electorate is a many layered case study. Tamil Nadu chief ministers M Karunanidhi and MGR used this powerful medium to totally transform an electorate under the spell of Sanskritised ideology. The Dravidian evolution is parallel to its cinematic evolution as an ideal propaganda machine. But it must be said that these two powerful leaders did not stir up religious clashes. Producer Aditya Dhar at the press meet when questioned about the timing of his film as it helps the BJP said, “To win the elections, we don’t need films like mine. The Ram Mandir took shape after a 100 years’ wait. It is now a fait accompli”.
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Photo :@Esha_Deol

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

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

Anil Kapoor: An Actor For All Seasons

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

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

Contemporary South cinema is now exploring an age old theme with the newest of technology and marketing missiles. Kollywood, Tollywood and Kannada cinemas are cannily exploiting ancient mythology themes with gusto. On Makar Sankranti day, Telugu film director Prasanth Varma’s Hanu Man was released and the promo promised that every Rs 5 from a ticket would be contributed to the Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya. And he was not wrong with his brand equity math – he donated Rs 2.6 crore to Sri Ram Mandir. Hot on the heels of Hanu Man, Varma proclaimed Jai Hanuman, the sequel/prequel on January 22 with a devotional pooja organised at the Hyderabad Hanuman mandir. Varma’s soon to be shot script features a fantasy world of superhuman beings and incidents from the Aadi Kaavyam with never before explored events to be woven into the film. Kannada filmmaker Suresh Arts Productions announced Sri Rama, Jai Hanuman on the same Prana Prathistha day, planning a unique story telling in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and English. Ramanand Sagar had set a benchmark viewership record when his Ramayan made television history in 1987-88, when traffic countrywide would come to a standstill every Sunday.  A new age revival of Hindu mythology and stories that have stood the test of centuries is about to happen. The cinema factory has an instinct for super profitable panorama. Are you ready to be enchanted and entranced?
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Now, Bengali Filmmakers Eye Pan-India Market Via Dubbed Versions

Bengali filmmakers have begun dubbing their movies in other languages to reach the pan-India audience. By dubbing their films, Bengali filmmakers are able to break the language barrier and appeal to moviegoers who may not understand Bengali but are interested in the content and storytelling. Interestingly, Tollywood superstar turned producer Jeet Madnani began by breaking into the pan-India mould by releasing his movies in Hindi too. His first one was the blockbuster commercial flick Chengiz. Jeet feels that not only as an actor but as a producer he must take Bengali cinema to a whole new level making it the next big film industry like Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. His recent release an action drama Manush: Child of Destiny was dubbed in Hindi. Not only Jeet, Superstar Dev, one of the most successful actor-producers, released the biopic on Freedom Fighter Bagha Jatin in Bengali and Hindi. But the most talked about attempt has been from director-duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee whose Raktabeej became the first Bengali film to be released in four languages — Bengali, Assamese, Hindi and Oriya. Shibu, as commonly called, feels that these eastern regions have a good market for Bengali films since many Bengalis hail from these states too and those natives do have keen interest in Bengali content. POWERED BY:  IDFC FIRST BANK
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London-Based Filmmaker Vaishalli Paatil Ropes In AR Rahman’s Daughter For ‘Lioness’

London-based filmmaker Vaishalli Paatil is moving in the fast lane. Vaishalli, founder of Photo Stories, is promoting Marathi cinema in the UK in a big way. This former dentist and associate producer of London Misal has roped in AR Rahman’s daughter Khatija Rahman to sing and score music  for Lioness, the first official Indo-U.K. co-production being made under the 2008 bilateral treaty.  Directed by Kajri Babbar Lioness is the story of two women who lived a century apart. The first story revolves around the suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the god-daughter of Queen Victoria, The second story introduces a fictional character, Simranjeet Kaur, living in London’s Southall Asian suburb in the early 1990s. Lioness is backed by India’s National Film Development Corporation and the British Film Institute. Over the last six years, Vaishalli has been involved in 10 films either as an associate, executive producer or producer. Her odyssey in Marathi movies began as production head for 36 Gunn. Later worked as an assistant director in movies like Bandh Nylon Che, Manjha, Ti and Ti, and Well Done Baby. Her initiative to promote Marathi cinema in the UK is seeing Marathi filmmakers based in Maharashtra reaching out to her. She fills the gap for those who have budget constraints, and also, finding Marathi speaking talent with a skill set in London.  According to her, Marathi producers from India prefer to shoot in the UK. POWERED BY : IDFC FIRST BANK
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Netflix Flexes Movie Muscle With Surfeit Of New Releases For 2024

Recently, Netflix disclosed its first ever entertainment audit with most details ever for any streaming service. It just didn’t happen because the service suddenly felt it had to share its eyeballs count and trail with viewers and other stakeholders. The trigger was the conflict that erupted between Hollywood labour unions and content originators who demanded more compensation. Netflix decided to go public with what its viewers watched and wanted, which succeeded most and which global entertainment industry could shore up Netflix growth. 55%accounted for original shows and 45% for other producers who used the platform. The Night Manager was voted the most watched show. No desi show made the list. Sure enough Netflix has now spiced up its act in more ways– the line-up of new Tamil and Telugu movies has made its Indian viewers gasp. Imagine the feverish anticipation for Magizh Thirumeni’s Vidaa Muyarchi with Ajith in your sitting room, Director S Shankar unravelling Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2, Director Pa. Ranjith called the thrill shots for Vikram’s spectacular gold rush saga Thangalan, Sivakarthikeyan SK 21, and that Johnny come lately Vijay Sethupathi in Maharaja. The female showstoppers were not far behind. Keerti Suresh is slated to come into your homes as Dream Warrior and Revolver. Even as Bollywood tanked, Tamil and Telugu films were on a roll. Now with 2023 a comeback year for Bollywood, Tamil and Telugu story writers and producers are all set to cater to more esoteric choices.
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SRK’s Love-Hate Relationship With Paparazzi

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

Instagram

Has Marriage Transformed Katrina Kaif?

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

Will Mani Ratnam’s ‘Thug Life’ Be The Father Of Gangster Movies?

Fans are already panting and chomping at the bit in anticipation of Mani Ratnam’s Thug Life, Kamal Haasan’s 234th movie produced by Rajkamal Films and Red Giant movies with AR Rahman scoring the music. Of course talk immediately veers to the Hollywood Godfathers of Gangster films, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and Sergio Leone, who set benchmarks for edge of the seat classics. Mani Rathnam is no novice, his classics Nayakan and Dalapathi are still etched in film buff’s memories. Fresh after the super hit two part Ponniyin Selvan, Rathnam is chiselling Thug Life frame by frame, directing some of the most talented south stars — Kamal, Jeyam Ravi, Dulquer Salman and Trisha. Kollywood has created a promising bag of tricks to keep fans asking for more till the release of the film. Apart from cannily posted tit bits on social media, the trends for pre-marketing promos are getting more sophisticated. Thug Life trackers are getting to savour goodies like glimpse videos which post new additions to the already formidable cast. Imagine the anticipation for Joju George fans (his recent multi-dimensional films Puli Mada, Joseph and Iratta have set the screens on fire) with his glimpse video for Thug Life. Gautham Karthik is also in the lineup. But the actor who really hit the target is Aishwarya Lekshmi, the Ponniyin Selvan underplayed glamorous siren. Kamal and Mani Rathnam, the conniving cousins are about to make gangster film history with Thug Life.
12th fail

‘12th Fail’ Could Be A Riveting Case Study For IAS Training At Mussoorie

2023 was definitely the Year of the Phoenix for Bollywood. From the troughs of box office damp squibs, despair and taunts about learning from south filmmakers, Bollywood regained its respectability, and above all bankability. Movies like Jawan, Pathan, Gadhar 2 and Animal brought cheer to stakeholders with the box office jingling. Even as established stars were basking in the glory, quietly, almost sneakily a less known hero, Vikrant Massey vaulted onto the screen with 12th Fail! This just about Rs 20 crore budget film has set the audience agog, amazed and astonished. Not for impossible stunts and a fantasy formula but a riveting reality check that has set the country talking. Abhishek Bachchan wrote on X, “12th Fail is the best film of 2023”. The stormy siren of Bollywood, Kangana Ranaut who had earlier referred to Massey as a cockroach, now says Vikrant is the new Irfan Khan. There are others who say “A leaner Sanjeev Kumar, Massey is incredible “. Briefly 12th Fail is the poignant story of Manoj Kumar Sharma from the wilderness of Chambal who dares to dream of becoming an IPS officer. Massey and his portrayal are bound to launch many such aspirants from the heartlands of rural India.  It is quite known that UPSC is one of the toughest exams to crack. We predict that Massey’s compelling performance may inspire many youths. Who knows 12th Fail may be a case study at the Academy in Mussoorie.
akshay kumar

@akshaykumar

Will 2024 See The Return Of Akshay Kumar?

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

South’s Popular Star Malavika Mohanan Slams IndiGo Service

Making her Tamil film debut in Petta, this classic Malayalee beauty, Malavika Mohanan has mesmerised her fans in every film since Master (with Vijay), Maran (with Dhanush). Her classic good looks and proven talent gave her the boost to be cast with Chiyan Vikram in the soon to hit screens, Thangalan, yet another KGF story about the Kolar Gold fields . This story is about a tribal leader Thangalan and his valiant fight with the British rulers to save his gold mine from being overrun. Malavika had to train intensely for her role, especially for the Silambam martial art. The movie slated for release on January 26 has now been postponed. Malavika in the meanwhile has signed up for a Telugu starrer as the heroine of star hulk Prabhas. With such exciting professional activities, she still finds time to express her views on social media. When a looker and actor write, the audience are drawn to such posts. Imagine the effect her post on the poor service of IndiGo Air had on her 1.2 mn followers. She took to X to convey her unhappiness with the bad service and rude staff on her flight from Jaipur. “My career is going places, but Indigo service is not what one expects. “IndiGo of course responded with the usual come back…we shall definitely look into this matter and get back to you.”
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Has ‘Animal’ Reset Bollywood’s Formula Film Strategy?

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

Rajinikanth And Dhanush To Fight For Box Office Space On Pongal Day

In Tamil Nadu new film releases have been part of the Pongal ethos for eons, and for the film stakeholders, a sentiment. This Pongal, the superstar family in TN is ready to make history even as Aishwarya Rajinikanth is all set to Lal Salaam her audience with her father in a cameo in her directorial. Music by AR Rahman is the plus factor that has already set fan hearts pounding with the first teaser single Ther Thiruvizha. The lyrics and rural rustic beat of this song is bound to bring in repeat audiences. As if to prove that the father-daughter duo and their family effort is not the sole offering to entertain on Pongal, Dhanush, the estranged husband is ready to clash with his Captain Miller directed by acclaimed Arun Matheshwaran who gave two unconventional hits, Rocky and Saani Kayidam (cow dung paper). And the music single Killer Killer Captain Miller set to music by GV Prakash and vocalised in Rap by Dhanush himself has already set foot tapping. This is what creative competition and commercial cunning is all about. Bung in brewing family hostility, marital discord to the mix, and looks like everyone can laugh all the way to the bank. But wait there is a catch to this cine Jallikkattu — a third Alien (Ayalaan), with Sivakarthikeyan in lead is all set to intrude into this conflict and hopes to cash in on a new theme. Is it Lal Salam for Captain Miller or can the Ayalaan (Alien) make his mark?
abhi aish

X

Aishwarya And Abhishek: Rocky Marriage Or Only Hiccups?

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

@juniorbachchan

Abhishek Bachchan To Turn Villain Down South?

Star children and their “entitled“ film status debate has been done to death but still rages on even after the disaster that The Archies and the omnibus “heirlooms” turned out to be. Abhishek Bachchan is a special star heir, and entered the film firmament with a heft very few have — Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan for parents. It couldn’t get better than this. But in 23 years, 50 films under his belt the 47-year old star has had more flops than box office rockets except the Dhoom franchises, Bunty aur Babli, Bol Bachchan and Housefull. The recent critically acclaimed sports drama Ghoomer directed by R Balki did not do well. The latest buzz is that Abhishek is in talks with South production powerhouse AGS Movies to be signed up for Thani Oruvan2 — the 2015 hit which is still remembered not so much for hero Jayam Ravi but more for the mark left by Arvind Swami, the suave and intense villain. Arvind Swami is dead at close of the film. So when AGS announced Thani Oruvan 2, people wondered who would fill the villain’s menace, suave and intense. Nayanthara remains unchanged for the new story directed by Mohan Raja (Ravi’s brother). Can Abhishek take on the role played by Arvind Swami? Even born heirs get challenged to fill the shoes of the mighty. The dare only gets more daring.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

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