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Suriya karna

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
vidyut jamwal

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

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

Janhvi Kapoor: An Insider Who Is Proving Her Mettle

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

‘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”.
esha deol

Photo :@Esha_Deol

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

In the last few years, several star marriages have turned sour. Many of them opted for a divorce/separation. A few got remarried – Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor. And some like Karishma Kapoor, Pooja Bhatt and Sohail Khan prefer to remain single again. The latest separation announcement came from Esha Deol — Hema Malini-Dharmendra’s eldest daughter. She is the first person from Deol family to separate from her husband Bharat Takhtani after 12 years of marriage. Reason: she could not come to terms with various restrictions imposed by her hubby like wearing shorts at home. The first star marriage that turned rocky and hit national headlines was that of superstar Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia. The reason given was Kaka’s numerous affairs. But, most Bollywood marriages have not worked out primarily because of the ‘other’ girl/boy in their partner’s life. Arbaaz Khan and Malaika Arora separated after reports about her affair with Arjun Kapoor came out in the open. He recently married Raveena Tandon’s stylist Shura Khan. Some stars did not call off their marriages because of sheer societal pressure and kept it under wraps. A case in point is Sunny Deol inspite of his proximity with Dimple has managed to keep his married life intact. In some cases, it has been the substance abuse. Aamir Khan divorced twice is married for the third time. Model turned actor Arjun Rampal separated from super model Mehr Jessia after 21 years of marriage and is now living with Gabriellia Demetriades. Most marriages in Bollywood have turned sour largely because of “torrid affairs”.
Anil kapoor_002

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.
hanuman

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?
bengali films

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
Vaishali patil

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
thangalam revolver maharaja

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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iamsrk

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.
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Instagram

Did ‘The Archies’ Connect With Gen Z Or Older Generations?

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

Sandeep Marwah wears one too many hats. He is a filmmaker, educationist, media champion and entrepreneur. Sixty-three year old Marwah, founder-owner of Noida-based Marwah Studios, has produced a number of short films. Interestingly, he is married into a family which thinks, breathes, and lives films – Kapoors. He is married to Reena, sister of Boney, Anil and Sanjay Kapoor. Marwah, founder-president of the Asian Academy of Film & Television and Noida Film City, invited one of the youngest councillors of Indian origin Tushar Kumar from London to address the graduating students. Twenty year old Kumar is a Labour Party politician, pursuing a BSc in politics from King’s College London. Tushar was elected to Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council in Hertfordshire. His mother Parveen Rani was also elected as councillor during the same time. His speech at the convocation ceremony focussed on the power of youth in shaping a better future and the importance of perseverance and dedication in whatever field one pursues. At Noida he found time to meet with Rishabh Sinha, known for playing the role of Ayaan in Qubool Hai, participating in MTV Splitsvilla, Bigg Boss 9 and the likes of Shikha Malhotra who has worked in movies like Fan, Running Shaadi and Majbooriand Arzad Naaz, a web series.
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Ranbir's 'Animal' Shikar Bags The Big Game

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

At 72, this Kerala megastar defies all efforts to define his reach and artistic core. Mammootty is in a different range altogether, with no gimmicks, star props and hectic marketing image to sustain his star aura. Mammootty is Mammootty…perhaps a bit bored with the kind of roles that have come his way, he is consistently reinventing himself. So he started Mammootty Film Kampany not to show that he can produce more saleable films but to give himself ample space to experiment with themes and ideas that can impact society. Nanpagal Nerathu Mayakkam and Kannur Squad are from his stable though not commercial successes. His latest film Kaathal: The Core is being acclaimed as a path breaker, a reinvention of his versatility and a film that will be remembered long after you watch the last fade out. Director Jeo Baby, fresh from his success with The Great Indian Kitchen has partnered with Mammootty to deal with a taboo subject not with surgical strike aggression, but the delicate cuts of a trauma surgeon.  But it has been banned in Qatar and GCC countries where an overwhelming Malayali diaspora lap up Mammootty films. Reason Mammootty is a homosexual, leading a complex life of deceit, though happily married to Omana (played brilliantly by Jyotika). These countries have strict censorship for offbeat themes. There are ever so many stigma subjects in society and films like Kaathal: The Core do impact how society can show more tolerance and acceptance.
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Do Good Looks Matter In Bollywood?

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

Evergreen hero Dev Anand had planned two versions of Guide (1965) — English for international audiences and Hindi for India. The English version was written by Pearl S Buck and directed and produced by Tad Danielewski. Dev wanted his elder brother Chetan Anand to direct the Hindi version. Unfortunately, he was busy with his own movie Haqeeqat. So Dev’s next choice was his close friend — the celebrated director Raj Khosla. But the heroine Waheeda Rehman categorically told Dev that she will not work with Khosla. Reportedly, Khosla while making Solva Saal (1957) with Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman insisted Waheeda wear a particular dress which she refused. Post that movie Waheeda vowed never to work with Khosla ever again. As a result, the choice fell on his younger brother Goldie-Vijay Anand. Vijay Anand totally discarded the idea of making a film on RK Narayan’s novel. He said this is ‘no good’ for a film. Dev had to cajole Goldie. Finally, he agreed on the condition that he will write the screenplay. Dev gladly agreed. Goldie went to Khandala, locked himself up for 20 days and wrote the script. The rest is history. Incidentally, the Hindi version was a runaway hit and later achieved a cult following; it has since been deemed one of the best Bollywood films produced of all time. The English version flopped. This version was then screened again at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, 42 years after its release. Powered by: IDFC First Bank
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Has Bollywood Become A Soft Target For Politicians?

Every controversy that breaks always has a celebrity quotient to it. The drug cases came into the limelight because of Sushant Singh Rajput and Aryan Khan; the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) made an example of them. From Deepika Padukone to Shradda Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, Rhea Chakraborty, Sara Ali Khan were under NCB scanner. Some like comedian Bharati Singh and her husband were arrested. Besides, many actors and actresses were issued summons by the Enforcement Directorate. Says an insider, time and again Bollywood has been targeted and some of them have been called anti-national. Looks like we are an easy target for police and politicians. Take the case of conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, the case was hyped because names of Jacqueline Fernandez and Nora Fatehi were linked to him. Now the latest case is that of the Mahadev App which again is more about the celebrities who danced at the wedding of the promoter Saurabh Chandrakar and endorsement of the app. Ranbir Kapoor has been summoned by ED for endorsing the app. So too many actresses and singers are being investigated by the ED for accepting cash for attending the event. Sources say, it was a pure professional and commercial deal. Mumbai police have registered FIR against 32 people including promoters for ‘fraud’ of Rs 15,000 crore. Be it the drug case or now Mahadev App scam the end result is that most of the allegations on the celebrities haven’t really yielded any results.
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‘Thug Life’ Birthday For Ulaga Nayagan Who Turns 69

Kamal Haasan has turned a legend in his lifetime, conquering artistic heights that only a few Indian actors have scaled. The Ulaga Nayagan (universal hero) sobriquet in his case is not just a cinematic encomium but a justified title.  A skilled Bharat Natyam artist, screenplay and story writer, singer, director and actor, his every film only adds to his aura. Veteran actor Sivakumar says, “I consider only two actors as unparalleled – the late Shivaji Ganesan, and Kamal.” Kamal turned 69 on November 7. Imagine the delight of his fans when his upcoming movie with Mani Ratnam was introduced with a riveting title video Thug Life. Thirty five years after the worldwide acclaim of Ratnam and Kamal’s classic Nayakan, Thug Life will soon play in cinemas enhanced by its team of super talented artists –AR Rahman, Dulquer Salman, Trisha and Jayam Ravi.  The cherry on the cake was the voice over of Kamal, “I am Ranganayakan Saktivel Nayakkar from Kayalpattinam“, enough to send diehard Kamal fans into ecstasy. Thug Life is bankrolled by his own production house and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies. This conveys a significant message; business is business and political postures are on a different track, expedient and expected. Kamal has annoyed the DMK by insisting that his party Makkal Needhi Maiyyam be given three seats — Coimbatore, Madurai and South Chennai.
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Kollywood’s New Marketing Strategy, Rajini Unveils Trailer Of Kamal’s 'Indian 2'

Lyca productions started in 2014 by Subaskaran Allirajah has quantum leaped into big stakes cinema production. Lyca’s growth is big, bold and audacious to compete with the other two iconic production houses — SUN pictures and Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant movies. Has Lyca put all its eggs into one basket? Lyca is sure of its strategy; cross fertilise the marquee names of both Rajini and Kamal simultaneously and use their mass standing as rocket launchers. The sequel version of 1996 blockbuster Indian directed by S Shankar is now ready for cinemas in January 2024. The film started in 2017 had some setbacks. Pre-release promos have now taken on a new mega dimension in Kollywood and every trick in the marketing book is woven in to whip the insatiable appetite of fans. Superstar Rajini did the honours by releasing the teaser of Indian 2 and sent the combined fan club of both these superstars into raptures. Lyca is currently producing Rajini’s Thalaivar 170, and this media exposure is not going to hurt its prospects even as the much delayed Indian 2 gets its endorsement from none other than Rajini who after a string of duds, got back to his pristine popularity through Jailer. Earlier, it was Kamal’s extraordinary success with Vikram. Similarly, Ilaya Thalapathy Vijay’s marketing and media moves for Leo put Rajini on the back foot. 
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Is Kangana Ranaut At An Inflexion Point In Her Life?

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

Controversy doesn’t seem to leave Odia superstar and BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty. Be it his ongoing divorce proceedings with his wife Varsha or his fraternity in Ollywood denying his accusations. Reportedly, Manoj Mishra Ollywood’s well-known actor-director-producer has strongly denied via social media Mohanty’s allegations that he is instigating factionalism. The trigger apparently was the key role played by Mishra to boycott the screening of the film Ram at Sambalpur few days ago due to his strained relationship with the film producer Jitu Mangaraj. Mohanty also alleged that Mishra also tried to create conflict and misunderstanding between fellow cine stars Babushan, Arindam and himself. Reacting to these allegations Mishra said “I have never made any attempt knowingly or unknowingly to create any division in the industry”. Mishra also cited indifferent behaviour of cine stars Anubhav and Arindam not attending the release of his film Mind Game in spite of a personal invite by him to bless the inaugural show with their presence. With these controversies out in the open, Utkal Cine Chambers of Commerce have chosen to ban Manoj Mishra’s upcoming movies for two years. This action saw massive protests in western Odisha coming out in support of Mishra. Odia actor Babushan has said that this issue should not be escalated any more.
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Photo: Sakshi

Cinema And Politics Converge At Lata Rajinikanth’s Vijayadashami Puja

The media couldn’t stop gasping over the grand Vijayadashami Golu celebration hosted by superstar Rajinikanth’s wife Lata. The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Antilia by Nita Ambani may have inspired Rajini’s wife to present this event, even as the superstar was in Mumbai for the shoot of his film Thalaivar 170 with Amitabh Bachchan. It was the guest list that set off all kinds of speculations.Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin’s better half, Durga was invited, his sister Selvi was seen clinging to her now powerful bhabhi. Not to be missed Tamilisai Soundararajan (Governor of two states), and yesteryear Tamil heroines Khushbu, Lata and Meena. Tamil super hero Vijay’s mother Shobha, a well-known singer was there too. To add to the mystery mix, the presence of breakaway AIADMK’s O Panneerselvam was significant in what was a predominant ladies Puja party. Oh, did we forget to mention that cinema and politics are a volatile mix in TN? Daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya were busy hosts .The event was obviously orchestrated to convey speculations. Lata Rajinikanth could be planning a women’s auxiliary team under her leadership. Or was it a back room bid to bring in Panneerselvan, TTV and Sasikala as the substitutes for EPS who dared the titans? Whatever the purpose, the arc lights were turned on, literally on Brindavan. The dead end location of Rajini’s residence and the long line of vehicles backed up, made the intended statement.
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Star Marriages Are No Longer Behind The Screen

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

Have you heard of LCU? Unlikely. It has just come into cinematic coinage pre- and post-release of Vijay’s Leo. It is Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU). Who is Lokesh? Remember that exotic character who clinched the super success of Vikram, overshadowing even Kamal Haasan? …. Rolex played by Surya. Lokesh Kanakaraj is now firmly at the centre of the film firmament after back to back hits like Master, Vikram, Michael and now Leo. His style of film making is now branded LCU. DMK’s controversial youth icon Udhayanidhi Stalin has also endorsed Leo. Ever since Leo shooting started, the savvy team of Vijay and Lokesh have carpeted social media with a blitz of bits, bites of news managing to captivate Vijay fans to drool with anticipation for the movie. Pre-release Leo had enough bug bears …early morning show times denied by DMK, cancellation of audio release, the falling out of cinema owners and distributors over percentage share et al. Looks like Vijay’s imminent political entry has added more spice to Leo. The final digital straw on the DMK’s back… chief minister’s son-in-law Sabareesan is said to have conducted a lightning survey of over 65 villages, found that youth in 20-25 age group have selflessly put up Leo flex banners at their own cost…this youth following may well translate into party cadres for Vijay Makkal Iyakkam. Politically savvy Kollywood stars have mastered the art and science of seamless crossover from cinema to politics
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Flashback: Salman Khan and Arijit Singh

Sniping in Bollywood: Plain Chemistry Or Professional Rivalry?

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

At a time when Bengali TV soap operas are paving way for budding actors and actresses, it is also becoming a trend that these are going off air before the end of their contractual run. Gone are those days of mega serials such as Janoni and Janmobhumi longest-run in Doordarshan Bangla during the 90s. Even with the advent of private satellite channels — Subarnolata in Zee Bangla, Sreemoyee in Star Jalsa witnessed a shelf-life of 4-5 years. However, few shows make it past the 100-episode these days, making it difficult for TV networks and producers to break even. Incidentally, as consumption is shifting to OTT platforms, seasoned producers and networks are keen on the new format of ‘TV orginals’ made on a comparatively less budget than that of an episode for a TV serial. In recent times several noted serials such as Balijhor, Ekka Dokka, Guddi from Star Jalsa and Mukut, Icche Putul, Khelna Bari from Zee Bangla have witnessed abrupt endings. Many of these are run by noted producers — Leena Gangopadhyay and Saibal Banerjee owned Magic Moments Motion Pictures, Blues Production by Snehashis Chakraborty, Arka Ganguly of Organic Studios production house. Significantly, Leena is creating for Star Plus, where her popular serial Jol Nupur to be made in Hindi. Chakraborty admitted that the number of successful shows has gone down drastically and hence many are now targeting Hindi channels. His own serial Sarbajaya – helmed by celebrated Bengali actress Debashree Roy was remade in Odiya.  
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Vijay’s LEO Promos Peppered With Controversy

Kollywood superstar Vijay’s movie LEO, set to hit the screens on October 19, has raised the frenzy of his crazed fans. But LEO has also gathered a big baggage of controversies in its promotional rollout. With the box office competitive stakes sky high after the overflows of Vikram and Jailer, Vijay and Ajit in the same superstar status have to try harder. With his imminent entry into politics, the stakes have doubled for Vijay and his team, to work overtime in LEO’s pre- release publicity. But they did not have to work really hard. The controversies that twinned with its poster release, cancellation of the audio event, the shocking use of expletives in the trailer, the protest by 1000 dancers for not being paid for their work have charged up the pre promos sufficiently. Between Lokesh Kanakaraj the director, hit music director Anirudh and the production house, the team has kept the arc lights focussed on Vijay constantly. But not without some negative rumblings. Take the permission granted by the DMK government for extra crack of dawn shows (4 am and 7 am) on the first two days of release when fan mobs stampede their way into cinemas. The media immediately raised the question that when such shows are not permitted after Ajit’s Thunivu created problems, what made DMK agree? Is Vijay being wooed for an alliance?
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How Big Stars Are Launching Their Kids

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

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

Siddharth was addressing the press in Bengaluru, talking about his latest film Siddha, which deals with the incendiary theme of child sex abuse. Suddenly a team of Cauvery activists walked in and literally shooed him out. “Pack up your film promotion. Even as the two states are in headlong confrontation, your Tamil rhetoric is not welcome here“.  A cool Siddharth just thanked the media and walked out. This act of chicanery is shocking in a state run by Congress, best buddies and allies of the DMK, a party that is in total denial that the TN farmers are deeply agitated and frustrated by Karnataka refusing to open the Cauvery hatch. Siddha is a small budget film with a heart rending message in which Siddharth plays the role of a family man taking care of his deceased brother’s 8-year old daughter. How he gets into the vortex of alleged sexual abuse and what really happens to this child is a heart rending story. SU Arunkumar, director of low budget hits like Pannayarum Padminum , Sethupathi and Sindbadhas crafted a meaningful story. And a powerful social message. Shockingly, this political interference in artistic entertainment is condoned by leaders …shows how hollow political alliances and their fulsome social platitudes are, in reality. Who cares if more children are brutally assaulted?
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Punjab Film Industry Rejigs Its Strategy, Emulates South Indian Cinema Model

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

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

@arrahman

No Symphony: AR Rahman’s Concert In Chennai Turns Into A Nightmare Stampede

AR Rahman, the slumdog millionaire and Oscar holder dreamt of a grand music concert, planning to belt out his immortal songs in Tamil to delight a mammoth crowd. Passionately he named the concert Marakkuma Nenjam(will this heart forget). Sure enough the 50,000 odd crowd that pushed into the venue which could accommodate just 20,000 ticket holders swear they would never forget the stampede, women and kids screaming in alarm, people pushing their way through and genuine ticket holders of Rs 5000 left high and dry, unable to get to their assigned seats. The blame game is in full swing…most blame the organisers ACTC events who seemed to have only focused on raking in the money at any cost. The sound system was so poor that even those near the stage could not hear much. People in the know are putting the onus squarely on the maestro himself for trusting an event organiser like ACTC. Incidentally, the maestro himself was grounded in the traffic grid near the venue. The negative publicity saw Rahman tweeting, “Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to arr4chennai@btos.in along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap.” Will this tweet be music to the ears of Rahman’s fans? Not really.
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iHrithik

Is Superstar Hrithik Roshan Deliberately Keeping A Low Profile?

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

Has Bollywood Got Its Mojo Back?

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

Radhika Sarathkumar, The Super Brand Of Tamil Films Turns 60

Radhika Sarathkumar chugged into the film scene in Bharathiraja’s Kizhakke Pogum Rail in 1978. Today, she is the Bullet train of Kollywood, trail blazing her way through over 200 films and Tamil mega serials that have spun money and enduring fame for this superb actor. Her very first film (ran for 365 days in theatres) and its success brought her the sobriquet Rail Radhika, and the SUN TV serial, Chithi made her the family icon of thousands of women who waited for the prime time slot of Chithi. Significantly, Radhika would have not aced any star test…she herself once acknowledged that she is a plain Jane, no sultry siren nor sexy screen sizzler. But she was the master of transformation to the character she played and the audience remembered her performance even in average films. Her only claim to fame at her debut was that she is the daughter of late MR Radha, a controversial and stormy petrel of Kollywood in his heydays. She went through three marriages, her second one to Prathap Pothan, actor-filmmaker. Finally she has found her anchor in actor Sarathkumar. Her vast experience in show biz motivated her to start her own company, Radaan Mediaworks which has produced a number of TV shows. Radhika still remains the iconic rail Radhika, a woman who scripted her life on her terms. Happy birthday Radhika.
Rajini Akhilesh yogi

Is Superstar Rajini Thinking Of Dabbling In Politics Once Again?

Superstar Rajinikanth’s latest movie Jailer has crossed the Rs 500-crore magic figure. Having scripted one of the most telling comebacks, the superstar climbed the Himalayas to worship at Badrinath, even as he laughed all the way to the bank with his producers. The comeback seems to have boosted Thalaiva’s morale enough to think of a political comeback too. No, he has not made any announcements. But, his actions and touching base with key players in UP and Jharkhand have raised the speculation balloon sky high. He met Jharkhand Governor Anandiben Patel, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. His mercurial enthusiasm must have waned a tad when Yogi deputed his deputy CM for the special screen of Jailer. But the most visible and talked about optic was Rajini touching the feet of Yogi — a 72-year old falling at the feet of a 52-year old!  His avid rabid followers were visibly upset and condemned this “slavery attitude”. The talk that Rajini is back to teasing his followers, dangling the political entry bait is sweeping the fan clubs. But a more practical, sane voice says, with marked desperation levels, the BJP could have dropped the clickbait again…if not openly joining the party, at least give your charismatic voice. For the superstar, spouse pressure could well be the major push towards a political entry, yet again.
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Garam Dharam's Family Stars Shine On

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

Those who predicted another crash landing at the Box Office for superstar Rajini are now silently swallowing their dire forecast as Jailer has reportedly crossed the Rs 300 crore mark worldwide box office in the first five days of its release. Trade circles are predicting that it could overtake Kamal’s Vikram and Vijay’s Beast. Reportedly, Rajini has already worshipped at Badrinath temple — his Himalayan escape — a routine so familiar to him on the release of a new film. After the lukewarm response to his Darbar and Annathe, he must have vowed to make a serious course correction and reclaim his place as the superstar in the filmy firmament. What a course correction it turned out to be! SUN Pictures’ strategy of signing on brand each from Bollywood (Jackie Shroff), Mollywood (Mohanlal ) and Shiv Rajkumar from  Karnataka ensured that the legion of fans  from each region would watch Jailer for their chosen icon. Anirudh and his peppy music made magic out of Kaavallaa, a track that Tamannaah ensured would leave the audience gasping; an overdose of violence to elicit a cathartic release of anger and angst and a family-centered story where revenge overcomes all else. And not to forget the promo blitz and pre-release publicity barrage that super-hyped the star Rajini’s dialogue, “inimey pechu ille, veechu thaan” (no more talk, just hack). Love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore Thalaiva.

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.