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Kamala Hasaan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Many Takers For Bollywood Remakes, South Indian Stars Shine Pan India, Make Hay

Two distinct trends emerged from Bollywood. It has run out of original story ideas resorting to remakes of popular south Indian movies increasingly, to maintain the Hindi film industry churn. Secondly, it is a bad copycat. Two remakes Laxmmi Bomb and Bachchan Pandey, starring Akshay Kumar failed the box office collections. Latest to join the flop list is Jersey, featuring Shahid Kapur and Mrunal Thakur. Producer-director Ram Gopal Varma tweeted: “The DISASTROUS fate of the film JERSEY in Hindi signals the DEATH of REMAKES for the simple reason it has been proved multiple times, that dubbed films like #Pushpa #RRR #KGF2 are doing far better than originals, if the content is good.”  It’s very likely that no south (Indian) film with good content will sell its remake rights. Kannada superstar Kiccha Sudeep rubbed it in saying Bollywood was struggling, with even its dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu failing at the box office. Southern stars have stormed the film industry and assumed Pan India (actor) identities. One of the reasons for Bollywood taking a hit on the stories front is because most good writers have shifted to OTT platforms. It’s about time the Bollywood fraternity came together and scripted a strategy to regain eroding industry hold. Will Bollywood get its next ACIONS right?

Vignesh Shivan Lines Up Nayantara Starrer For World Premiere, As The Two Will Become One In Near Future

Vignesh Shivan and K Town superstar Nayantara are set to tie the knot, an event fans have waited for with baited breath. The couple has been dating, dating some more, and on a still dating status for long now. Further testing how much more waiting besotted fans could take…the couple’s production company Rowdy Pictures is now ready with Tamil romantic comedy Kaathuvaakila Rendu Kathal for worldwide release on April 28 April. Directed by Shivan, starring crowd puller Vijay Sethupathi, pitching his love to two of the most winsome ladies from down South, Nayantara and Sexy Samantha Ruth Prabhu, she of Pushpa The Rise and The Family Man hit series, and spiced up with Anirudh Ravichander’s hot music, the film makes no pretensions to serious cinema. The cherry on the cake, the film will be distributed by Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant Movies. The makers plan to simultaneously release a Telugu dubbed version as Kanmani Rambo Khati. What more could fans want? The excitement quotient has doubled with the film’s teasers promising a romantic comedy, a raunchy race, rife with ribald dialogues and the promise of a hero Rambo romancing two hot heroines — Khadija and Kanmani. If fantasy and escapism is what fans are seeking, this movie is already paisa vasool.

Photo : Fotocorp

Aby’s Baby Needs More Passionate Work, To Stoke Filmy Career

Ever since he signed his first movie Refugee in 2000, there has been no respite for 46-year-old Abhishek Bachchan. He is constantly compared with his larger-than-life father Amitabh Bachchan. Is this comparison even justified? Abhishek has acted in 73 films in his 22 years career, even made a mark in films like Sarkar, Dhoom, Yuva and Guru. He carved a space for himself, worked with big banners and famous directors, yet that big moment has eluded him – the role to catapult him into the big league. There were a lot of expectations from The Big Bull where he played scamster Harshad Mehta but, he lost out to the web series Scam 1992 played by Pratik Gandhi over timing of the release. He got praise for his role as an uneducated politician in Dasvi though it was not a box office hit.  Bob Biswas also failed to propel him. So, what worked against Junior Bachchan? A respected source says “Abhishek, unlike his father, does not give a 100% for every movie. In some movies he goes the whole hog while in others it seems like he is disinterested.” If he wants to step into the Big B’s shoes he has to put 150% into all the roles he plays – big or small. Only then will his Oscar moment arrive!

Photo : Twitter

Apolitical Maestro Ilaiyaraja Changes His Tune, Praises Modi Stoking Dravidian Fury, Made Nominee To Rajya Sabha Too

No doubt, he is Tamil Nadu‘s treasure and pure and unadulterated symphony for cinema. Ilaiyaraja became a household name for his resonating music and giving consistent hits as composer and singer for over 30 years. Isaignani (Saint Musician) as he is referred to (an encomium conferred by Kalaignar) has over 7,000 songs to his credit. He is Asia’s first symphony writer and even A R Rahman’s Oscar has never daunted the music Raja, the acknowledged doyen of the music industry. Suddenly though, controversy surrounds the Raja. Has he moved from Sangeet to become a Sanghi? There is no smoke without fire and Ilaiyaraja himself stoked the flames and his reputation as a professional without any political leanings. His foreword to a book titled, Ambedkar & Modi, Reformer’s ideas, Performer’s Implementation launched by BlueKraft Digital Foundation, has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Raja further gilded this lily by making a comparison of the two titans, with brother Gangai Amaran serving as his mouthpiece. Even as media talking heads and YouTubers analysed his claim, news has leaked out that President Ramnath Kovind received a list of three names from the world of Art and Entertainment to nominate as Rajya Sabha members. So, one of the names is that of Ilaiyaraja. The penny has dropped with a loud clink.

Akshay Kumar Swore Against Tobbaco Endorsements, Now Trolled Over Pan Masala Advertisement

Akshay Kumar was trolled for endorsing a pan masala ad Vimal Elaichi that has featured Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan earlier. The commercial promotes the elaichi brand of the product but, the company also makes gutka and the actor, known to be a fitness icon, is on record saying he would never endorse any tobacco brand and has come under fire. Although there was no response from the brand or an apology from either party, it may be recalled that Amitabh Bachchan had returned the money earned from the Kamla Pasand advertisements after being trolled by his fans. In this age of social media, trolling is part of the game with celebrities prepared to face the music though it seems like most brands don’t really bother about the trolls. Like Telgu-Kannada actress Rashmika Mandana was trolled for ogling at Vicky Kaushal’s innerwear brand Macho Sporto, Kartik Aaryan for sporting fake abs for a hair removing brand; neither stars or advertisers really bothered.  Till only a few years ago, these stars would have lost their contracts, had the ads pulled off air. It happened to Aamir Khan when he used the word “intolerance” in one news interview. Recall how yesteryear super models Milind Soman and Madhu Sapre were dragged to court for posing nude for the Tuff Shoes Ad with a python wrapped around them.

Photo : Fotocorp

Alia-Ranbir Have A Homely Do, Tie The Knot At Vastu, Karan Does A Jig Too!

It was not the big fat Punjabi wedding many had expected. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt decided on a low-key affair at their Bandra residence ‘Vastu’. Both consciously chose a simple marriage over a celebrity event, with all the associated drama and restricted it to their families and a few close friends, while keeping the paparazzi, politicians, celebrities and industrialists out of the picture. An invitee at the wedding said: “If you ask me how it was different from other celebrity weddings, the word is, simplicity.” Many who expected invitations were thoroughly disappointed and of course, best man Ayan Mukerji features in all the frames. So does Karan Johar. Alia-Ranbir were seeing each other for five years and, merely decided to give their relationship the official tag of “Just married”. On social media, Neetu Kapoor posted: “This is dedicated to Kapoor Saab (red heart emoji). Your wish has been fulfilled.” It was a family get together, with mehndi and sangeet on the same day with choreographer Rajendra Singh who arranges dances at all the Kapoor weddings. Attendees said it was full of fun and laughter as it is, in all Kapoor household weddings. There was singing and dancing that wouldn’t have been complete without Alia and Karan Johar grooving to the “Radha, Tera Jhumka song from Alia’s first movie Student Of The Year.

Superstar Vijay Tastes Failure With His Latest Release, That’s Just The Nature Of The ‘Beast’

Thalapathy Vijay’s vast army of fans who waited with bated breath for his latest release Beast were disappointed, going by reactions of those exiting cineplexes, where frowns and let down feelings were clearly evident. After Kolamavu Kokila and an acknowledged hit in Doctor, the heady combination of director Nelson, action czar Vijay and foot tapper Anirudh was expected to set the box office on fire.  While fans don’t blame their hero Vijay, who captures every frame with style and pizzaz, they are disappointed with the weak story line and at Nelson for “wasting the actor’s immense talent “. Clashes between fans of filmstars Ajit and Vijay over perceived popularity ratings and ability to deliver more hits is infamous. Currently, after Ajit’s Valimai also faltered, petering out within days of release, both are left standing on the same pedestal. Sun Pictures left no stone unturned to pull off another superhit, including pre-release publicity stunts, exclusive interviews with Vijay claiming this as his best performance in over a decade! Beast’s music by Anirudh with two chart busters in Arabic Kuthu and Jolly O Gymkhana became chart-toppers and loved by fans. Beast has followed quickly in the footsteps of the commercial failure Radhe Shyam. Fan frenzy for Thalapathy notwithstanding, the diamond did not get its perfect setting to shine.

Sajid Nadiadwala Quits Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali, Producer Feels Friend Salman Is Too Pricey?

Looks like Salman Khan and his close friend Sajid Nadiadwala have decided to part ways on the professional front as they seem to have serious differences over their new venture Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali? According to a highly placed source, differences arose over Salman Khan’s payout. For the astute film producer Nadiadwala that number was not making business sense. Instead of creating bad blood, a wiser Nadiadwala has handed over the project lock, stock and barrel to Salman and walked out. An insider is at pains to point out that their old friendship continues; it is purely a business decision. Be that as it may, Salman has seen and been in such situations several times. He walked out of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Inshallah after the set was erected. Bhansali lost quite a fortune but he was smart enough to utilize the set for making Gangubai Kathiawadi. Earlier, Priyanka Chopra ditched Salman to get married, left high and dry, he quickly roped in Katrina Kaif for Bharat. Kabir Khan who got along famously with Salman is no more on his speed dial post the flop of Tubelight. Similarly, he replaced director Ali Abbas Zafar with Manish Sharma for Tiger 3 which features Katrina Kaif with whom he was once linked with. How will their chemistry be in the movie given the fact he was not invited to her wedding?
Mrunal Thakur_FC

Photo : Fotocorp

Marathi Mulgi Mrunal Thakur Set To Be Next Madhuri, Dhak-Dhak Girl Of Bollywood?

Shahid Kapoor, at a recent press conference, expressed envy towards Mrunal Thakur, one of few actresses who were busy shooting during the Covid lockdown. The Jersey heroine is again one of few TV actors who transitioned seamlessly to the big screen. Her first movie Love Sonia was an international film. The 29-year-old actress, who made her television debut in 2012, worked in eight TV serials and was called insane for quitting the highly popular Kumkum Bhagya. She has since emerged among the top leading ladies of Bollywood with films like Toofan, Super 30 and Dhamaka. Mrunal is not singularly successful though and TV stars like Sakshi Tanwar, Vidya Balan, Prachi Desai and Yami Gautam also migrated to the Big screen as did Shah Rukh Khan. So, what makes Mrunal different? Industry watchers say it was her timing of entering the film world when the industry was undergoing a churn and stories took precedence over stars.  She was launched through a Marathi movie in 2014 and entered Bollywood in 2018 managing to emote and impress the audience even with her small roles. She almost made it to Bahubali and would have been part of Aamir Khan’s Dangal if her TV show had not come in the way. One thing is for sure, nothing’s gonna stop this Marathi mulgi going the dhak dhak girl way.

Photo : Fotocorp

Alia Bhatt Says All Is Well, As Fans Upset Over Miniscule RRR Role

Alia Bhatt has clarified she is not upset with director SS Rajamouli for limiting her role in RRR. Alia should know, however, that her fans are upset over her minuscule performance in the magnum opus that registered a roaring box office success. Industry insiders explain that Rajamouli’s focus was on making a film featuring Jr NTR and Ram Charan, with a limited role for Alia but, he did also make Bahubali with two leading ladies each dominating with fabulous roles. So, was casting Alia merely a marketing tool to appeal to Hindi speaking audiences? That would explain why Ajay Devgn, also featured with a 10-minute role in RRR, stayed away from the film’s promotion. A similar experience was faced by Priyanka Chopra during her initial days in Hollywood. It was only her strong PR management team that made her the star she is today. Why then are Bollywood stars still keen to be part of south Indian projects, to feature in blink-and-miss roles? South Indian films do not need Bollywood stars to boost business. In fact, it is the other way round. Alia may do well to note that a brief post on social media may not placate her fan following although she plays the heroine of RRR and shares credit for the film raking in Rs 600 crore.

Photo : Fotocorp

Karan-Yash-Prithvi Script Kolly-Tolly-Bolly Amalgamation, As Southern Superstars Take Over Bollywood Virtually

The Hindi language was a barrier for yesteryear superstars from down south like Kamal Haasan, Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh and Arvind Swamy; they did not gain a foothold in Bollywood. Some lost out because of south Indian looks and returned to doing regional films after acting in a few Hindi films. But, the new crop of popular stars are defying conventional wisdom. Allu Arjun, Rock Star Yash, and Prabhas have proved that you don’t really need to move lock, stock and barrel to Mumbai to make a mark in Bollywood. The movie can be dubbed or, simultaneously shot in two languages Telugu/Tamil and Hindi and it will fly. By doing so, they have crossed over virtually through their movies and have become mainstream heroes of Bollywood. Trade pundits feel although Bahubali restarted the trend of the return of the south stars, it was Pushpa that showed that language was no barrier to woo audiences; Allu Arjun literally took over the throne of cross-over from Prabhas. Now our very own indigenous Akira Kurusawa, SS Rajamouli, with RRR has introduced two more megastars to Bollywood — Ram Charan and Jr NTR, with the inconspicuous presence of Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn. Meanwhile, in an interesting development, Kannada superstar Rockstar Yash, Malayalam superstar Prithviraj and Karan Johar are working towards the amalgamation of Kollywood, Tollywood into Bollywood – a la Hollywood style.

Delhi CM Kejriwal’s New Low Down Denial Of The Kashmir Files, Horrifies Hindu Pandits, Even Sikhs From Valley

Should a film on genocide be exempted from state entertainment tax? Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s brazen attack on The Kashmir Files – a defining movie on genocidal horrors and forced exodus suffered by Kashmiri Pandits – not only killed the tax-free debate but also resurrected a new low, “You (BJP) don’t look good putting Jhoothi picture.” The genocide denial has led to a tide of opprobrium. Sikh social worker Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted, “Laughing at #TheKashmirFiles and calling it a lie!! Sorry to say @ArvindKejriwal you don’t deserve to be called a human being.” Earlier, came scathing remarks from BJP’s Amit Malviya: “Only an inhuman, cruel and depraved mind can laugh at and deny the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. Kejriwal has ripped open the wounds of the Hindu community, who have been forced to live as refugees in their own country, for 32 long years, by calling #KashmirFiles a jhoothi film.” Aditya Raj Kaul, a veteran journalist, pointed out, “Denying persecution, forced exodus and genocide of a minority community is a criminal act. I hope you will apologise to the victims of terrorism, Mr Arvind Kejriwal. Hate for Modi, BJP and filmmaker is one thing but to deny a historic reality is absolutely shocking.” Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Schindler’s List suffered the same genocide denial mindset and was banned from screening in many Islamic countries, including Pakistan.
bachchan pandey

‘The Kashmir Files’ Tsunami Hurts ‘Bachchhan Paandey’ At The Box Office

During the Covid lockdown Akshay Kumar ruled Bollywood with releases like Laxmii, Bell Bottom, Sooryavanshi and Atrangi Re. But, his latest movie Bachchhan Paandey reportedly made at a cost of Rs165 crore has suffered a huge setback due to The Kashmir Files made by Vivek Agnihotri at a cost of merely Rs 15 crore in comparison. With the movie achieving proportions of a people’s movement The Kashmir Files is set to cross the Rs 200 crore mark. Bachchhan Paandey’s collections were poor from day one and may not gross good returns for the producers even as Akshay Kumar is believed to have charged Rs 99 crore for the film. Despite attempts by Akshay Kumar’s fan clubs to save the film The Kashmir Files tsunami continues to storm the box office with nearly 4000 screens added after the initial 650 screens as on March 10. Producers of Bachchhan Paandey know that at this critical juncture any marketing gimmick will fall flat. For his part, Akshay Kumar did not score brownie points by announcing he would watch The Kashmir Files. Bachchhan Paandey may well be written off as a flop because of the bad timing. Nobody anticipated that The Kashmir Files would stir hornet’s nest and evoke positive response worldwide. Meanwhile Akshay Kumar has moved on to shoot for his next film Selfiee.

Dhanush and Lata Rajinikanth

Dhanush’s Stardom Line Falters, Cold Shouldered By Producers Since Divorce

Popular Tamil star Dhanush had a dream film run from 2004 after he married superstar Rajinikanth’s daughter. Eighteen years, two smart boys, cinematic fame, and a hectic professional life later, the couple opted for divorce. Suddenly Dhanush found his trusted producers, directors acting hard to get, almost avoiding him like a Covid variant. His last film, Maran fared below par, and Dhanush headed straight to Vetrrimaran, his go to confidante and alter ego, to sign up for his next film. Vettrimaran tactfully dodged, citing his full portfolio. That’s when it hit Dhanush. Hell hath no fury like a mother-in-law scorned, a sasuma spited. Talk is rife in film circles that Lata Rajinikanth, the strong lady of the family has imposed sanctions, warning producers and directors close to her Damaad to stay away. Dhanush, on the other hand, is shouting hoarse that his talent and hard work alone produced super hits like Karnan, Maari, Velaiilla Pattadhari, Raanjhana, Shamitabh, Atrangi Re. But when an also ran, middle class Hero marries a superstar’s daughter, the union is not among equals, There is a salacious media report of his efforts to see sasuma and have an open confrontation and how he was turned away by the gate security. Lata, it is said, did not relent.

Big Budget Film Radhe Shyam Falls Short On Expectations From Bahubali Prabhas' Performance, Weak Narrative

Prabhas reigns as a cinematic brand that few could match after the Bahubali super hits. And audiences expect him to exemplify that same brand film after film. After the pandemic pause, Radhe Shyam also released to sky high expectations but the film, shot simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi, turned out to be Candy floss, just fluff, no bite. Advertised as a big budget film (Rs 300-350 crore) boasting over the top visual effects, lavish locales of Europe with each frame mounted to draw gasps of astonishment, Prabhas and Pooja Hegde elicited groans instead even as the screenplay and narrative fell flat as pointless piffle. The Telugu version fared somewhat better, but the Hindi version faced the humiliation of rejection even compared to the low budget yet, intensely riveting The Kashmir Files. Prabhas, cast as a phenomenal palmist (the Einstein of Palmistry, Nostradamus of prediction) has to convince audiences that life lines on one’s palm determines your destiny, and yet it is possible to change destiny by sheer determination. Prabhas playing a palmist challenges destiny but, ultimately gets the girl he loves, Prerna, after super human efforts. Whatever the claims by the makers over box office collections (Rs 150 crore in first three days), even palmist Prabhas didn’t predict revenues would lag way behind the Rs 300 crore spent.

Photo : Fotocorp

Why SRK Is The King Khan Of Bollywood?

He is literally the tallest Khan compared to Salman and Aamir. Fifty-six-year-old SRK, who entered Bollywood in 1992, initially essaying negative roles in movies like Darr, Baazigar could convince producers that he was the next romantic hero, a space occupied by superstar Rajesh Khanna.  Convinced, producers signed him on for box-office hits like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Mohabatein. DLDJ run of 1000 weeks established SRK as the king of romance, set off a female fan frenzy like Khanna did and, thronging crowds like Big B’s at his bungalow Mannat who fervently hope for a glimpse of him. Charming, witty and intelligent, SRK knows how to emote with the audience both locally and globally, on-and-off screen. “His brand loyalty remains strong despite the fact there were no SRK releases in the last two years. He connects well with people across all age groups,” says Karan Taurani of Elara Capital.  One of the many reasons SRK outshines the other two Khans is that he was an outsider. Salman Khan is more a Bhai for commoners while Aamir Khan only connects with audiences during films releases but, the King of hearts connects with audiences across age groups throughout the year. He also smartly set up his own enterprise, Red Chillies Entertainment and owns a big stake in IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders.
gangubai kathiawadi

Alia Bhatt’s Big Ticket Gangubai Kathiawadi Arrival, Gets Established Divas In A Twist

Those who questioned Alia Bhatt’s calibre to play Gangubai Kathiawadi have been forced to eat their own words and, Kangana Ranaut tops the list. The actress had said she didn’t expect the movie mafia’s film to do well. While Kangana taking pot-shots against top actors, to increase her social media influencer reach is plain to see, even those within Bollywood were unsure if the woman-centric film would do well at the box office and, with Alia in the lead role. In fact, only a handful of women-centric films have managed to get good numbers at the box office. Gangubai Kathiawadi has surprised everybody. Trade experts say that film is getting a good draw and business could have been 20% more had cinemas opened to 100% capacity. While there is no comparison between Alia and Deepika Padukone has been made, although the self-proclaimed Queen of Bollywood thinks so, there is little doubt that Alia has arrived which may be giving heebie-jeebies to the established likes of Deepika. Twenty-nine-year-old Alia, who debuted as a child artiste, got her first big break in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year. Avid cinema goers were impressed by her performance in Raazi, Gully Boy and, Highway just to name a few.  

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Controversy Queen Kangana Ranaut's Latest Offensive On Alia Over Gangubai Kathiawadi, As Father Mahesh Bhatt Turns His Back

Award winning actor cum filmmaker but, ever controversial, Kangana Ranaut’s recent jibe at Alia Bhatt over the latter’s movie Gangubhai Kathiawadi was in bad taste say Bollywood insiders. Is the 34-year old Kangana, a known BJP sympathizer, only trying to enhance her social media presence further?  Kangana has been speaking out via social media platforms on all major issues and, was instrumental in changing the narrative in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Has she now targeted Alia over her enmity with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt? Generally, Bhatt senior would have jumped to his daughter’s defence through a tweet but, he has instead adopted a ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ strategy. Alia called Kangana’s video cute while quoting a verse from the Bhagavad Gita. It may be recalled that Mahesh Bhatt had launched Kangana in Gangster and there were videos of her praising the filmmaker but, today both stand swords drawn. A majority in the film industry avoids Kangana, some boycott her while fence sitters like Ekta Kapoor cash in on her public controversy and, has signed her up for the most fearless reality show Lock Upp. Apparently, Kangana asked Ekta to sign up her bete noire Karan Johar for the reality show. In 2020, lyricist Javed Akhtar had filed a defamation case against her.
Rajini collage

Superstar Rajini Signs Up For His 169th Movie, Pushes Producer To Cast Aishwaryaa Rai As His Co-Star

After a lot of hype and hoopla and, sky high expectations for Rajinikanth’s Annaatthe, the film hit the bedrock, a rejection the superstar is still smarting under. Despite a nubile Lolita like Keerthy Suresh in the lead (she was cast as his sister whom he protects like a nuclear code), icy Nayanthara as his ambiguous love interest and, buxom Khushbu, playing matronly Meena to gird Rajini’s masochism,  Annaatthe sadly lulled audiences to sleep. The buzz among fans is that Thalaiva must ‘quit while he is still the icon’. Not ready to walk off into the sunset, Rajini has signed up his 169th movie to be shot by his director of choice, Nelson Dilipkumar. Shootings expected to start in May and completed within five months’ time, for an October 2022 Diwali week release. Producer of the film Sun Pictures is in a quandary as Rajini has insisted on Aishwaryaa Rai-Bachchan as co-star. But her signing up fee of Rs 10 crore is out of their budget. Rajini being Rajini, has said get her at any cost. Come October, one will see how Rajini’s style magic combines with Aishwaryaa’s beauty to make cash registers ringing big time. Fans are hoping his 169th film is not the swan song for both.

Why Dhoni’s Economical Bollywood Story Was A Hit, While Kapil’s Big ’83 Spend Failed To Make The Box Office Tick

Big budget movie 83 on Kapil Dev led India winning the 1983 World Cup cost Rs 270 crore to make but did not do well. The biopic on MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, made with a budget of Rs 106 crore, did much better. 83 did not connect with today’s audience while Dhoni did. Trade pundits say the subject of 83 was overexposed; an old chapter in the history of India’s cricket and whatever was shown in the film was available on YouTube. Dhoni’s biopic, in that sense, was an untold story so had a huge audience connect. Also what worked in the biopic’s favour is Dhoni’s huge fan following coupled with his participation in the film promotion. Dhoni’s movie had romance, portrayed the journey of a small-town boy becoming captain of the Indian cricket team. It was aspirational. 83 was only about cricket which perhaps put off today’s generation despite Ranveer Singh. People who went to see 83 were in the 40-plus bracket, who are fewer in numbers. Also, it was not a family outing as their children were not keen to see 83.  It was also impacted by the Omicron wave. Clearly, Sushant Singh film had a bigger draw than a Ranveer Singh film. Incidentally, not all biopics do well. The one on Mohammad Azharuddin played by Emraan Hashmi bombed.
Richa Chadha

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Bollywood’s Rising Star Richa Chadha Has A Mind Of Her Own

Thirty-five-year-old Richa Chadha’s latest web series The Great Indian Murder directed Tigmanshu Dhulia has received mixed reviews. But there is no denying that Richa has arrived in Bollywood. Hailing from an academically-oriented family, Richa entered Bollywood in 2008 with a small role in the comedy Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!  In the last 13 years she acted in over 27 films and shot to fame for work in the Fukrey series, her supporting role in Gangs of Wasseypur also won her many awards. Unlike other Bollywood stars, this St Stephen College alumni is headstrong and speaks her mind on raging social issues.  She is one of few actresses who protested the attack on JNU students. In the recent Karnataka hijab row Richa, who enjoys over 5 lakh followers tweeted: “Raise your sons better! A bunch of ugly, cowards attacking a lone woman in a pack and feeling proud of it? WHAT LOSERS! Shameful. They’ll be jobless, more frustrated and penniless in a few years. What poor upbringing! No sympathy, no redemption for them (sic).” Little wonder she has signed up for films with strong social issues, subjects or characters who are change agents. Recently, she and her fiancé Ali Fazal set up their own production house, Push Button Production.
yeh_kaali kaali aakhen

‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein’ OTT Series Reels You In, Hook, Line And Sinker

The immense popularity of new Hindi serial thriller Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein across Uttar Pradesh has given it a new distinction of being a happening state. The dredged imagery of an unwashed, overly populated, poverty stricken, illiterate and exploited state that sends the maximum lawmakers to Indian Parliament is passe now. Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein has jolted out this stereotype. UP’s consciousness has traversed far ahead with regard to permissiveness, modern lifestyles, wealth and power flaunting, organised and unorganised crime. OTT Hindi serials will hitherto be benchmarked against These Black Black Eyes, the early era filmy hit song belted out by Shah Rukh Khan in Baazigar. Omkara is the fictional name given to the state of violent politics and the mafia, chilling terror and awe-inspiring revenge. Season One (eight episodes) unravels the power and terror that political heavyweight Akhiraj Awasthi (played brilliantly by Saurabh Shukla) holds over his family and, the entire state. No one dares take him on even as he is the very embodiment of evil. His daughter Purva (Aanchal Singh will go places) overtakes daddy dear in all things evil and is driven, possessive, passionate with a Zumba toned body. What mesmerises the viewer is the slick editing, lightning change of moods, dizzy action and the fast pace of the unfolding storyline which is pulpy, and hooks you, line and sinker.

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Alia To Replace Deepika As Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s New Muse?

Award winning and yet, controversial filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has found a new muse in Alia Bhatt, who featured in his latest film Gangubai Kathiawadi, a biographical crime film based on a chapter from Hussain Zaidi’s book Mafia Queens Of Mumbai. Bhansali, insiders say, has already decided to cast Alia in his next ambitious project Baiju Bawra, originally planned with Mastani Deepika Padukone in mind. But Bhansali’s erstwhile muse, who saw him as her mentor sought more money, which did not go down well with Bhansali. Deepika essayed key roles in two of his movies Bajirao Mastani and Padmaavat but, may be out of the new big banner project even as many wonder whether the two will ever work together again? Alia is definitely a part of his next film though. Of course, Ranveer Singh who also owes it all to Bhansali will most likely play the title role of Baiju Bawra. Bhansali, with over 18 films, follows a pattern of working with his film stars in at least two films. Aishwarya Rai was his all-time favourite while Manisha Koirala acted in 1942: A Love Story and, is back with Heera Mandi. It is quite common for filmmakers to cast their favourite stars in all their movies, David Dhawan-Govinda, Karan Johar-Shah Rukh Khan and, of course, MF Husain whose forever muse was Madhuri Dixit.
biscuit king

Will Biopic On Biscuit King Rajan Pillai Stir Up A Hornet’s Nest In The Corporate World?

In the season of biopics, the latest one taking shape is based on the life of Biscuit King, Rajan Pillai. Bankrolled by Saregama India’s film arm, Yoodle Films, Biscuit King will feature Malayalam super star, Prithviraj Sukumaran, directing and essaying the title role. Rajan Pillai got fame when Nabisco, the US biscuit and cookies maker was bought over by KKR in 1989 in one of the biggest leveraged buyouts for $ 31.4 billion. KKR after the buyout, started asset stripping the company and selling most of Nabisco’s business the world over, barring US. Rajan emerged as the biggest bidder for Nabisco’s Asia business along with his former boss Ross Johnson. After Nabisco’s acquisition came Britannia Industries in India. Rajan Pillai’s emergence at Britannia led to one of the biggest corporate wars between him and industrialist Nusli Wadia. Rajan paid for it with his life, ending up at Tihar Jail and dying a horrible death. Ironically, Rajan who escaped from Singapore was arrested for a crime he never committed in India. Tihar jail officials mercilessly beat him. The question being asked in corporate circles is whether Biscuit King will portray Rajan’s wife Nina Pillai’s version of the saga or Nusli Wadia and Sunil Alagh’s viewpoint. Whichever the version, this movie on the rise, fall and gruesome death of Biscuit King Rajan Pillai will attract huge eyeballs.

Top L To R (Clockwise): Arun Govil, Dipika Chikhlia, Nitin Bharadwaj Amar Upadhya, Mona Singh & Sakshi Tanwar

Why TV Stars Turned Household Names Fail To Make It Big In Bollywood

Fictitious character names turned household favourites, more popular than their real-life identities, like Tulsi (Smriti Irani – Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), Mihir (Amar Upadhyay & Ronit Roy — Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), Parvati Bhabhi (Sakshi Tanwar—Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki) and Jassi (Mona Singh – Jassi Jaisi Kohi Nahin). None of these tele superstars struck it big in Bollywood like Shah Rukh Khan who similarly started his journey with the TV series Circus and Fauji. Another actor who carved a niche in Bollywood was the late Sushant Singh Rajput who shed his Pavitra Rishta image. Smriti Irani leveraged her popularity to launch into Indian politics. Balaji girl Sakshi Tanwar, hosts a cooking show on Epic TV and, will play one of two main leads in Tahira Kashyap’s film Sharmaji Ki Beti. Ronit Roy worked a security services business alongside doing TV serials and, focusses on the OTT sector. Amar, the original Mihir, continues struggling as actor and, after Bob Biswas features in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. Mona, screened in 3 Idiots and, will be seen in Laal Singh Chadda.  Arun ‘Ram’ Govil and Dipika ‘Sita’ Chikhlia of Ramayan fame, and Nitin ‘Krishna’ Bhardwaj of Mahabharat fame did not strike big in Bollywood post their memorable roles. Does this mean these TV actors are trapped in their character as the audience are not able to accept them in the distinctly different roles enacted for the film industry’s reel world?

Why This Kolaveri Over Dhanush-Aishwaryaa Divorce

Marriage has turned into one of the most fragile institutions in today’s fast paced world. Celebrity marriages more so, as frothy as Frappuccino. Dhanush and Aishwaryaa’s divorce announcement kicked up a storm of reactions both, for and against either spouse. If one were to believe all that cine raconteur and newscaster Bayilvan Ranganathan spouts over multiple filmi YouTube channels, the salacious gossip would put even the most notorious Hollywood philanderers to shame. Without making a direct reference to Dhanush’s multiple liaisons, he simply terms these as Body Demands! Even when Aishwaryaa directed Dhanush in a movie, his dalliance with Shruti Haasan apparently rang alarm bells for their high-profile parents Rajinikant and Kamal Haasan. Similar was his so-called veering off course with Amala Paul, TV anchor Deva Dharshini, Sonia Agarwal and, even Sara Ali Khan after his latest movie Atrangi Re. Aishwaryaa is not spared by the chin wags either. She allegedly married Dhanush on the rebound, made little effort to bond with his family, spent most of her time at her parent’s place, and would not let go of her high profile image as Rajini’s ladli Beti. So who is to be blamed for this marital collapse? Nobody. Clearly, two mature adults exercised the civilized, modern day exit out of a bad marriage –splitsville.
Malaika arora_FC

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Model and Single Mom At 47, Malaika Arora Is In Spotlight Heaven

Malaika Arora’s Bollywood career started in 1998 with run-away hit item song Chaiya Chaiya making her a star. She stayed rooted as an item girl without the urge to evolve as an actor perhaps, by design. The 47 years young model, fitness freak single mom carved a distinct place in Bollywood with more memorable item numbers including Gur Naalo Ishq Mitha, Maahi Ve and, Munni Badnaam Hui. This Mumbai-born middle-class lass started modeling as a teenager that made her film industry smart. She typically took in her stride and moved on, after her 19-year marriage with Salman Khan’s brother, producer Arbaaz Khan soured. She walked away with her son and started afresh, even dropping the Khan surname. She is a brand and needs no morning walks with a pet dog in tow, as other paparazzi crazy stars do. Malaika still bags modeling assignments, is part of dance reality shows and partners with Sarvanga Yoga to post pics of various asanas over Instagram. A Bollywood insider says, “She is a person, unlike most celebrities, comfortable in her body. She wears what she feels like and aces it.” She showed guts by dating a younger man, actor Arjun Kapoor and soon may even tie the knot. Malaika’s is the story of a strong-willed woman who has come of her own, on her own terms.

Omicron Effect: Kollywood Producers Eyeing Rs 600 Cr Box Office Bounty This Pongal May Have To Wait Longer

The perennial pan India cash cow, the cinema business, with its jingling cash registers is sending out distress signals right now! After two long Covid-19 pandemic hit (locked down) years, just as the film industry started seeing rosy dreams of making up for heart-breaking  business losses, come Pongal Festival, a sudden downturn is now predicted. For years now, the Tamil calendar’s annual Pongal week always meant family indulgences with anything cinematic. That may not happen this time round, as Omicron and its tsunami wave hits the solar plexus of exhibitors and industry big guns alike. Three big budget films, RRR (directed by India’s Cecil B DeMille aka Bahubali SS Rajamouli), Boney Kapoor’s Ajith Kumar starrer Valimai and Prabhas-Pooja Hegde love anthem, Radhe Shyam were lined up for the Pongal sweepstakes. Then came government orders about total Sunday curfews, lockdown daily between 10 pm and 5 am and 50% seating in cinemas. The trade had estimated Rs 600 crore collections from these three films released worldwide and overseas. They had probably structured all their debt and business plans on Pongal to rake in big moolah. But, Omicron seems to have played spoilsport. Big disappointment for fans of Ajith, Prabhas NT Rama Rao Jr, and Ram Charan. But, it’s a question of a month or two before these movies hit theatres near you soon.

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Who Let The Stars Out? Celebs Throw Covid Caution To The Wind!

A proliferation of the newfound Covid virus or the Omicron Effect is rippling through the Bollywood taking in A listers into its embrace. It began with Kareena Kapoor Khan and friends – Amrita Arora and Seema Khan – admitting to their positive status with Covid after attending a party that was high on the celebrities’ quotient. Then came news of the other Kapoors. While Anil Kapoor was negative, daughter Rhea and her husband Karan and cousins Anshula and Arjun Kapoor tested positive. Curiously, none of these celebrities took to social media to apprise their daily contacts and connections about their Covid status, ignoring commonly followed protocol. Why these stars failed to warn people they came in contact with is perplexing. Others like Ekta Kapoor, who also tested positive, immediately posted their Corona status on social media. John Abraham and wife Priya also tested positive, while Pooja Bedi’s daughter Alaya F who was covid positive finally tested negative. Some crew members of the film Geheriyaanhave also tested positive. Despite infections reported rampantly, shooting for films and TV serials continues unabated just as before. However, two big films RRR and Jersey releases have been postponed as cinema halls are being shut in some states or occupancy reduced to 50% levels. Looks like Bollywood has thrown caution to the wind.

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Will Jacqueline’s Stardom Lose Lustre For Falling Hook, Line & Sinker To Conman Sukesh’s Script

From a rank outsider, Jacqueline Fernandez’s rise and rise in Bollywood was meteoric. The 36-year old 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 including Salman Khan and Akshay Khanna. Even as her northbound career graph scaled new heights came news of her involvement with conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar, who was arrested for extortion and money laundering. She claims Sukesh lured her with Bollywood offers even as he showered her with costly gifts, even a high end car. Though Jacqueline tries hard to distance herself from Sukesh, the Enforcement Directorate is yet to give her a clean chit. Does this mean curtains for her Bollywood career? Not really, say Bollywood producers. “Film makers are not judgemental. We are a very forgiving industry and, have given second chances to Sanjay Dutt, Armaan Kohli, Shiney Ahuja.” On the ground, Jacqueline’s Dabangg live tour could not begin as the ED prevented her leaving the country but she is shooting for films within the country.  As of now, she has Ram Setu, Circkus, Vikrant Rana, Bachchan Pandey and Attack on hand. The ED case may slow her down for a while but, there is little doubt she is among the most liked stars of Bollywood.

Now Showing: How Maddy’s Reel Marriage Comes Apart

It was just waiting to happen: The decoupling of the Indian couple who vowed to stay together for life! Netflix’s original show Decoupled, themed on global Indian marriages, has hit pure gold. Women finding their voices even as a couple’s marriages hurtles through marital discord and yet, both working hard at co-parenting while aspiring for their career fulfilment. Marriages are (rarely) made in heaven, but remain permanently earthed. R Madhavan at 51 plays an over-the-hill writer, Arya Iyer and, is a Maddy to scream and root for. He is sensitive yet, sexy if such a combination exists, with whacky comic timing too. Arya refuses to shake hands with young boys. “Boys are busy with their hands…they don’t wash later” his firm tongue-in-cheek refrain. Two Jharkandis brought fame and GPS to Ranchi –one, a cricket legend and the other, “ice cream won’t melt in my mouth” the wholesome Tambram, code jock clone Surveen Sacred Games Chawla, the Punjabi ultra slick kudi. A huge plus that Decoupled is in English…Coupertino to Cochin, most couples will identify with the everyday nuke edge moments that are thrown up in a high wattage marriage. Maddy fans have much to drool about and rejoice to see their footloose heartthrob take his OTT steps towards global stardom.
armaan_ Kohli

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Why Bollywood Insider Armaan Kohli Did Not Make It Big?

When Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan was arrested in the drugs-on-cruise liner case the whole of tinseltown came out in support for him. The same spontaneity was missing when actor Armaan Kohli was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in August 2021. Bollywood’s silence is peculiar, given its penchant to make stars of controversial actors in the past and, may be due to multiple earlier police cases against Kohli. With Bombay High Court rejecting his bail plea, Armaan’s only option is the Supreme Court now. The 49-year old actor, son of renowned film maker Rajkumar Kohli and actress Nishi, was always a maverick since his foray into Bollywood in 1992 with Virodhi.  Since then, many interesting offers that came his way were turned down by him. For instance, Shah Rukh Khan became his replacement in Deewana and an overnight star. Though 15 films old, success has eluded Kohli so far, despite his filmy family, by his own doing, says an industrywallah. Still, Salman Khan featured him in Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo and even Bigg Boss. At the Bigg Boss house Kohli befriended Tanisha Mukerji and many felt they would settle down. That was not to be. What does the future hold for Armaan considered a very good looking actor before Hrithik Roshan had arrived? Only time will tell!

Mrs Thalaiva's Political Ambitions After Rajini Says No?

December 12: Superstar Rajini’s 71st birthday Stargazers, fans and critics stood lost right outside his Poes Garden home in Chennai. Media persons held vigil since 7 am, even as gathered fans raised slogans:‘Iraiva, Thanga  Thalaivaa, Yesuvee’!…a crowd that could not be fathomed as friendly or angry. For years, Rajini or Thalaiva always met fans, handed out Rs 100 each as a birthday take away but the dole stopped by mid-2000. Still restive crowds waited, hours on end before the brief appearance, almost a Hitchcockian glimpse lapping it up. More change followed. Rajini left for known/unknown destinations. Rumours of a Himalayan sojourn sometimes or, his farmhouse and, even in Bengaluru at times. When his imminent political foray was known, carefully scripted and crafted, crowds went ballistic. But an anti-climax followed. A December 2020 announcement – “No (more) politics, my health is fragile. Sorry if I led you on, fans.” Rajini’s popularity as an entertainer is unabated. But, some equations are mutating. Wife Lata is emerging as the driving force, a shadow alter ego with strong political aspirations.  A superstar’s wife has limits but a superstar’s political heir has endless possibilities. The birthday crowd’s clamor now turns into a crescendo, demands for her appearance. Analysts are trying to decode as to why fans were cheering for Mrs Thalaiva. Hopefully, the cat will be out of the bag soon.

After A Million Views, Men Are From Mars, Want Samantha Item Song In ‘Pushpa’ Banned !

An all males association in Andra Pradesh has petitioned a court to ban an item song-and-dance in the just released trilingual movie, Pushpa. This is a first in India’s male dominated misogynistic society. Samantha, who recently divorced, openly flaunts her assets, and dances to a raunchy rap song crooned by Andrea with lyrics by Vivekh. The gist of the in-your-face song: “When the lights are off, who cares if the catch is skinny, winny, winsome, wholesome or just plain?” The song has turned on a macho challenge (read bristled some male egos). Samantha is rumoured to have earned Rs 1.5 crore for the item song and returned good value for money, her attire and gyrating causing temperatures to sky rocket. Yes, Samantha ki jawani will jingle cash registers for the movie at the box office. Sentimental Rajesh Khanna said it right famously, “Pushpa I hate tears!” Producers of Pushpa are laughing all the way to the bank.  An estimated million people saw the gyrating dance and have already drooled.  What is the sought ban set to achieve? Surely more clicks of the mouse.

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How This Fourth Khan Managed To Create His Own Space In Bollywood

His surname is Khan yet this 51-year old actor has never been bracketed with the other three Bollywood Khans – SRK, Salman and Aamir. But, today this fourth Khan, Saif Ali Khan, is proving to be the most relevant Khan; he has reinvented himself and adapted to the changing times. He’s the first one to experiment with the OTT platform with Sacred Games. Now, other big stars have followed him. Is there a strategy in what he is doing? Yes. This came to the fore after 2000. Playing character Sameer in Dil Chahta Hai and Langda Tyagi in Omkara won him accolades. Since then he has decided not to insist on playing the lead role but to pick up interesting and challenging roles. Son of actress Sharmila Tagore and cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Saif entered the film industry in 1993 with Parampara, followed by Yeh Dillagi and Main Khiladi Tu Anari. Post that, nobody touched him in the nineties. In fact, industry insiders were derogatorily commenting about his looks. His patience paid off when romantic comedy Hum Tum proved to be a game-changer. Today, Saif is being offered roles that are meaty. But his latest movie Bunty Aur Babli 2 bombed at the box office. But, nobody seems to mind. Saif has arrived and he has created his own space.

Akshay-Starrer ‘Sooryavanshi’ Makes Huge Moolah As Big Screen Blends With Netflix

Akshay Kumar as the patriotic, patronising, platitudes spewing cop carries Sooryavanshi on his six pack, muscle bulging shoulders with so much sincerity that one feels almost guilty for panning this mixed up, pro-establishment homily ridden film. This “terrorist” film heavy on back to back guns, helicopters, chases, RDX, serial blasts , innocents falling like nine pins and Hindu Muslim platitudes spouted with absolute seriousness is so predictable. Mass action entertainer Rohit Shetty has even bunged in the theme song from Hum Hindustani. And the heroine Katrina Kaif would get the same summing up from Khalid Mohammed when he reviewed Darwaza years ago. “Anil Dhawan in and as Darwaza.” Ranveer Singh in a comedy cameo as the pomaded sculpted body Simmba and Ajay Devgun as Singham the serious pose with Akshay, victorious. The movie has racked over Rs 120 crore within a month of its theatre release, when the makers were debating OTT or theatres in 2020. And the icing on the cake, Netflix signed up Rs 100 crore for its December 4 release. Good optics for the BJP trying to change gears and lanes for its ensuing elections narrative. Two straight years of locked down, misery filled rainy days and assorted catastrophes, people of India want some fantasy spectacle. Who knows even such filmy efforts may stitch the great divide or drive the wedge even more deeply.
bob biswas

'Guru' Bachchan Betting On 'Bob Biswas' To Turbocharge His Film Career

Ever since Abhishek Bachchan entered Bollywood in 2000, critics and viewers have been uncharitably comparing him with his iconic father Amitabh Bachchan. The surname did weigh heavily on him. But, he did not lose heart. He soldiered on and was recognized for his talent in movies like Refugee, Yuva, Zameen and Sarkar. Impressed by his performance, acclaimed director Mani Ratnam cast him in Guru to play the character of Dhirubhai Ambani which won him accolades. But the very next film Raavan bombed big time at the box office and apparently Big B was slightly upset with Mani Ratnam. With not many films offers on hand Abhishek looked at an alternative career; he focused on sports which is doing reasonably well. Then came another opportunity with a movie on stock market scamster Harshad Mehta. Abhishek was banking heavily on Big Bull to boost his sagging acting career. But Pratik Gandhi starrer 10-part OTT series Scam 1992 on a similar subject pre-empted his movie which did not do well. Now, once again Abhishek is hoping that the crime thriller Bob Biswas will boost his filmy career. He was certainly missed in Bunty Aur Babli 2 as Saif Ali Khan had replaced him. Reason insiders say is because of his past relationship with Rani Mukherji and both preferred not to work together. Incidentally, his web series Breathe seems to have done well, it is now into Season 2.  

Dream Girls’ Tamil Movie Dream Comes True As She Is Paired Opposite 30-Years Younger Suriya

How many recollect Hema Malini was rejected by Kollywood at the very beginning of her career. After Raj Kapoor’s Discovery of the Dream Girl, Bollywood top heroes Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor and others vied to be paired with her. Garam Dharam went on to claim permanent ownership rights. But somewhere this Iyengar beauty who spoke Shudh Tam Bram Tamizh (as Shudh as the Shudh Kent Paani she promotes), must have craved for that mass adulation from her own tribe. The dream is now taking shape in the hands of genius director Bala, he of Tamil hits Nanda and Pitha Magan, too many classy hits with Suriya, in which they are collaborating. Jai Bhim, the gripping chronicle of caste exploitation that has kicked awake the collective conscience of our Teflon nation, Suriya is now a pan Indian name. Bala’s cinematic magic instinct is to work on a casting coup …Surya and Hema as the elderly couple in an under-production movie. Dream Girls are distinct divas too…Bala surely worked on the script to make her role strong and stunning, though Suriya followers were a bit sceptical by this odd pairing. But wait…73-year-old classic, temple sculpture beauties don’t have to be in cold storage mode… given the custom-made script, casting and an icon who breaks barriers in film direction, this movie is bound to be riveting.

Photo : Twitter

Fans Await Kamal Haasan’s Filmy Comeback After His Tryst With Politics & Production Mishaps

Ulaga Nayakan (global hero) recently celebrated his 67th birthday. This year, Kamal Haasan on the cusp, strode two worlds — cinema and politics. His cinematic popularity has not waned. Kamal’s meteoric rise to the pinnacle of Tamil cinema is entirely on his awe inspiring talent. Unfortunately, he too was smitten by the political bug but only to find his party Makkal Needhi Maiam totally rejected. But Kamal being Kamaal has spread his talented tentacles in several directions. Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot could be Kamal’s too. His Bigg Boss reality show is on its Fifth Season, saucy and spicy. The much talked about come back film, Vikram has set his fans agog. It was Indian 2 — muhurat in 2017 — that had set off an avalanche of expectations. But this movie in the making faced one too many calamities. Three members of the crew died at the shooting as a set caved in, production powerhouse and major financier Lyca and mega budget Director Shankar went on a collision course, the lockdown put paid to any further shooting, comedian Vivek died of Covid complications, and the final straw was heroine Kajal Aggarwal backing out citing pregnancy. And now Kamal is hospitalized for testing Covid positive. Is this a jinx or hex? Just wait…this iconic powerhouse is merely pausing, to return as the unchallenged Master of all skills.

Photo : Fotocorp

Salman Lends Support To Maha Govt’s Vaccine Drive, Stands With SRK On Aryan Case

Vaccine hesitancy mindset seems to be the biggest challenge for both the Central and State governments. And, this hesitancy is more pronounced in Muslim-dominated areas, says Maharashtra’s Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope. With a view to address this issue, the Maharashtra government sought Salman Khan’s help to convince people to take jab. On his part, Salman very quickly put out a short video and appealed to people to take vaccines. Salman’s mass appeal should certainly help. On Twitter alone he has 43.2 million followers. It is quite well known that both he and his father, the well-known script writer Salim Khan are close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his days as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. During the Uttarayan Festival both Salman and Modi were seen flying kites. Yet, Salman surprised everybody visiting Shah Rukh Khan’s house when his son Aryan was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with the drugs-on-cruise case. Many stars did not show their solidarity openly for the fear of incurring wrath of the Central government but not Salman. Surprisingly, nobody trolled him for that. He is the only Khan who is known to be non-political and that has worked to his advantage. Yes, he has strong views but he does not hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to any politicians if he can help somebody.

Kollywood Superstar Suriya’s 'Jai Bhim' Stirs A Hornet’s Nest

South Indian star couple Suriya and Jyotika have bagged unheard of recognition and accolades for their home production, Jai Bhim. It is rumoured that they had to pledge jewellery for completing this film, which has overtaken classics like The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather in IMDb ratings since its release on November 2. It has no kickass glamour, song and dance titillation, near naked costumes and all the B town masala elements to salivate over. Just a stark, gut wrenching and conscience hitting real life incident of 1993 about the socially marginalised, oppressed and downtrodden Irular caste of TN. The protagonist, retired Justice Chandru played by Suriya is not only surprised at all the encomiums flooding his mailbox but also shocked by political reactions. The most telling objection and angry angst came from PMK party head and former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramdoss. Some remote areas where Jai Bhim was screened erupted in violence. PMK leader A Palanisamy offered a bounty of Rs 1 lakh for kicking Suriya! And there was a death threat too. A calendar depicting a PMK symbol was hastily deleted from the film. Iconic film director Bharathi Raja, President of South India Film Chamber and scores of directors have taken strong objection to Anbumani saying, “At this rate, it looks like we creative guys have to go to every two-bit political outfit to get our scripts okayed.”

Photo : Fotocorp L To R: Agastya, Zoya, Suhana & Khushi

Bollywood Superstars’ Children To Debut Under Zoya Akhtar Banner, Trigger Dynasty Debates

For long, India grudged and griped about political dynasties and how big boss politician heirs moved seamlessly into powerful gaddis. The Gandhi clan, the DMK dynasty, Telangana’s TRS and Son, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, the Scindias ,Pilots, Abdullas, and the UP Yadav clan. The list goes on like Hanumanji’s tail. Bollywood is not far behind with several star progeny aiming for stardom, name, fame and mega bucks. So it is a natural progression! If you are one such, the happy news …three star kids have been launched, all in the same film to be directed by Zoya Akhtar. A casting coup that can make the BO (Box Office not body odour) jingle with music as stompy as Bhappi Lahiris Disco Dancer. So folks, wait and watch out for Suhana Khan, King Khan’s Bitiya, Khushi Kapoor, late Sridevi’s younger daughter, and yes, the best catch for last mention,  Agastya Nanda, Big B’s grandson and Shweta Bachan’s son. We hope he comes fitted with that signature baritone, and the same disarming charm, apart from the bells and whistles that are embedded in the Bollywood DNA. Can Kollywood, Tollywood and Mollywood lag behind with Udhayanidhi Stalin, Dulquer Salman (Mammootty’s son), Naga Chaitanya (Nagarjuna’s son) and the likes?
tiku weds sheru

Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Scripting New Highs With Extraordinary Performance

The poster of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s new film Tiku Weds Sheru reiterates that this ordinary-looking man is an extraordinary actor. He is one of the few actors who has acted with Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan and enjoys good equations with them. But he did not see eye to eye with the late Irrfan Khan with whom he acted in The Lunch Box. This 47-year old alumunus of National School Of Drama made his debut in 1999 with a small role in the Aamir Khan starrer Sarfarosh. Since then he has acted in scores of films like The Lunchbox, Manto and Raman Raghav. Perhaps, he is the only actor in the world to have eight films officially selected and screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Of course, no one can forget his pioneering role in the OTT platform with Sacred Games. Be it in Kick or Munna Michael he has done justice to the roles offered to him. Industry For now, he has quite a few films on hand — Heropanti 2 with Tiger Shroff starrer; Sejal Shah’s film and there is a buzz that he may be part of Hrithik Roshan starrer Krrish 4. Well, his journey in the reel world has been quite satisfying but one cannot say that about the real world. His marriage with Aaliya was on the verge of divorce but they have now reconciled.

Time To Ride Off Into The Sunset For Rajini?

It was an occult October for superstar Rajinikant. He was chosen for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for outstanding contribution to Indian cinema: stellar recognition for the bus conductor from Bengaluru who made it big in films. Driven by his passion and undiluted dedication, he is still in the superstar bracket at 70, paid Rs 100 crore per film, with a phenomenal fan following. This year’s Diwali release, the much touted and promoted Annathe, by Sun Films whipped up a crescendo of expectation. Rajini viewed his magnum opus with family on October 28. If one were to believe in déjà vu, his falling ill hours later with a carotid stenosis, hospitalisation and angioplasty set tongues wagging. Did Annathe disappoint? We cannot guess what his reaction was. But the film with all the marketing blitz, opened to tepid response — with a diehard fan mourning, “What a fall Thalaiva.” The film received negative reviews from critics and audiences but reportedly performed well at the box office. Legendary Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman said: “The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.” Rajini, you have achieved far more than many privileged stars; wish you had ridden into the sunset, stylishly with a white Stetson on like the Marlboro Man. Films and casinos are alike; quit when you are up.

Mughal-E Azam’s Horses & Elephants And Director Asif’s Risky, Huge Cash Advance

There are any number of behind-the-scenes stories when the great historical epic Mughal-e-Azam was being shot in the late fifties. The film, starring greats like Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Durga Khote and Dilip Kumar, broke all box office records in 1960 and is considered a milestone in Indian cinema. Well known director K Asif was shooting a scene for the movie somewhere in the deserts of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The scene required hundreds of horses and scores of elephants. Hearing this requirement, a local animal supplier (for films) approached Asif and said he could supply any number of horses and elephants for the shoot. It would cost around Rs 20,000 but he needed an advance of Rs 10,000. The advance money was a big amount in the fifties. But, without batting an eyelid, Asif turned to his production manager and said, “Give him 10,000 rupees.” When the man left, a worried production manager said, “Asif sab, suppose this man is a cheat and he does not come back, your money is gone!” Asif laughed and said, “Arrey…woh dus hazaar rupaiah ley gaya hai, kismat to nahi le gaya!” He told him, don’t worry he will come; and the man did turn dutifully as promised with horses and elephants.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

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

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.