Dilip Kumar Film Festival To Commemorate His 100th Birthday Planned

Fresh off the success of the Bachchan Back To The Beginning festival, the not-for-profit organization Film Heritage Foundation has announced the unique fest titled Dilip Kumar—Hero Of Heroes to mark the centenary celebrations of film icon and Dadasaheb Phalke laureate Dilip Kumar. Real name Yusuf Khan, he is among the greatest legends of Hindi cinema.

Largely an actor, Dilip also dabbled in production (Gunga Jumna), direction (the incomplete Kalinga), screenwriting (Leader, Gunga Jumna, Bairaag), singing (Musafir, Karma) and also did Bengali cinema (Paari, Sagina Mahato).

Slated to be hosted on December 10 and 11 (his birth-date), the celebration will honor the icon through a bespoke showcase of his milestone films such as Aan (1952), Devdas (1955), Ram Aur Shyam (1967) and Shakti (1982), covering over 30 cinema halls in over 20 cities across India.

Audiences in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Pune, Bareilly, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Raipur, Indore, Surat, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad will get a first-hand experience of witnessing the sheer magnetism and versatility of one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema on the big screen.

Picture : Mirchi Plus

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, filmmaker, archivist and director, Film Heritage Foundation, states, “Dilip Kumar is turning 100! What an incredible opportunity to bring back one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema on the big screen. He truly is the “Hero of Heroes”, as even today, he is an actor that the biggest stars look up to. Film Heritage Foundation could think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than a festival of his films in theatres. Even though some of these films were released 70 years ago, the power of Dilip Kumar’s performances, his craft as a method actor and his charisma make him ageless. I was so excited thinking of how many of his films I could curate to mark the occasion. How did one choose for an actor with such an outstanding body of work? Little did I know then that I would have the opposite problem. I was shocked and heartbroken to discover that many of his great films survived only in low-resolution formats that could not be projected on the big screen.”

The archivist adds, “Should the films of a towering persona, who had dominated cinema for so many years, be confined to a small computer screen or a phone in danger of being forgotten? I cobbled together these films with great difficulty, with many people asking why some of their favorite Dilip Kumar films were not included. How can one make them understand? I hope this will be a wake-up call to filmmakers and producers. Time is running out and that they should look into preserving their films before it is too late. I would like to thank PVR Cinemas, especially Ajay Bijli, for giving us a platform to celebrate Indian classic cinema on the big screen again.”

Dilip’s wife, Saira Banu, added, “I am so happy that Film Heritage Foundation is celebrating Dilip-sahab’s 100th birthday on December 11 this year. They could not have chosen a more apt title to commemorate India’s greatest actor. He was my favorite hero from the time I was 12 years old when I first saw him in Aan in Technicolor. It will be a joy to watch him back on the big screen, larger-than-life, like he has been in my life.”

Amitabh Bachchan stated, “As Dilip Kumar turns 100, I am so glad that we at Film Heritage Foundation are celebrating his legacy in theatres. I would urge every film lover and contemporary actor who has not watched Dilip Kumar not to miss the incredible opportunity of watching this giant back on the big screen. It will be a masterclass in acting. Even today I am learning every time I watch his films. Dilip Kumar was, and is, my idol.”

He goes on, “I am still to meet an actor who could match his faultless performance, his flawless diction and the commitment he brought to his craft. His every spoken word was poetry, and when he appeared on the screen, everything else was a blur. I had the privilege of sharing the screen with him just once in Shakti—an experience I cherish. I was deeply disturbed to hear that many of his films are not in a condition to be screened in cinemas. Film Heritage Foundation is working day and night to ensure that the work of legends like Dilip Kumar survives and is preserved and restored to be shown to new generations.”

Kamal Haasan also stated: “Yusuf- sahab set an international bar for Indian actors to follow. He was erudite, eloquent and excellent in his chosen field. Cinema can make people believe that those who have departed are still alive. In that context, to me Dilip Kumar ji is one of the world’s best actors. I’m grateful to Film Heritage Foundation for keeping this heritage alive.”

Film Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Mumbai, set up by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur in 2014. A member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) since 2015, Film Heritage Foundation is the only non-governmental organization in the country working in the field of film preservation. Amitabh Bachchan is their cause ambassador.

“Our core programs include the preservation and archiving of films and film-related memorabilia, training in film preservation and restoration, children’s workshops, digitization and restoration, oral history projects and publications,” said Shivendra.

Shah Rukh Khan Has A Tom Cruise Connect In YRF’s Pathaan!

Aditya Chopra and ace director Siddharth Anand is relentlessly working to make Pathaan India’s biggest action spectacle! The visually spectacular Yash Raj Films’ action extravaganza, Pathaan, is part of Aditya Chopra’s ambitious spy universe and has the biggest superstars of the country Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in it. It has now come to light that Pathaan has a huge Tom Cruise connect that is going to blow the minds of every spectacle movie going audience in India!

Picture : ABP News

Siddharth reveals, “When one sets out to make the spectacle action film of India with one of the all time biggest heroes of our country, Shah Rukh Khan, you need to have a champion team that is unified in the vision. Thankfully we got an A-team that came together to push the visual envelope with Pathaan and I was delighted to have someone like Casey O’Neill, who has extensively worked with Tom Cruise, to be by our side.”
Emmy award-nominated Casey, regarded as one of the best action directors in Hollywood, is the brain behind Tom Cruise’s death-defying stunts in films like Jack Reacher, Mission Impossible series films, Top Gun : Maverick and has also worked with Marvel Studios and Steven Spielberg to name a few!

About Casey, Siddharth further adds, “He brings in a wealth of experience and he immediately bought into the idea of creating edge of the seat action for Pathaan that could match what he’s done back home in Hollywood. What Casey has created in Pathaan, is simply mind-boggling. You will have to see the film for that because we aren’t going to disclose any details from the film till it releases in theatres on 25 Jan.”

Casey is also a 7-time Screen Actors Guild awards nominee and 3-time Taurus World Stunt Awards Winner for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Captain America Winter Soldier and Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. His skills have also earned him membership to the Academy of motion picture arts and sciences and membership to the elite Brand X Action Specialists.

Pathaan is set to release on Jan 25, 2023 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Ajay Devgn, Tabu Film, Drishyam 2 Lands Home Its Lesson A Second Time

Bollywood isn’t really known for pulling off suspense thrillers, certainly not for sustaining the steam over a sequel. But, like Drishyam in 2015, Drishyam 2 lulls you with its modest settings, simple characters, human cops, and a family caught in events beyond its control, till it lands home its lesson a second time — it’s not important what’s before you; what is important is what you are seeing.

Seven years after the case related to Vijay Salgaonkar and his family was closed, a series of unexpected events bring a truth to light that threatens to change everything for the Salgaonkars. Can Vijay save his family this time?.

The Ajay Devgn-Akshaye Khanna-Tabu starrer in Drishyam 2, originally acted by Malayalam star, Mohan Lal, very deftly picks up from where the two main protagonists, both fierce parents, left off in Drishyam 1. Its execution is not as smooth as the last time though, say movie critiques.

Picture : TheUNN

So, when his case file in a murder case reopens in Goa police station, you can only expect this mystery to get more intriguing, interesting and exciting. A remake of Malayalam film by the same name that released in 2021, Drishyam 2 is a sequel to the 2015 crime thriller that left everyone guessing what really happened on October 2 and 3, a tale which all of us now remember by heart after listening to the members of Salgaonkar family some 100 times over during investigation. But the truth is yet to be uncovered.

From a 4th fail, middle-class cable operator who is obsessed with Bollywood films, Vijay Salgaonkar (Ajay Devgn) is now a theatre owner who wants to produce a film and even has the script ready. But what hasn’t changed in these seven years is his passion for films, storytelling and love for twisted plots.

Directed by Abhishek Pathak, the film is riding on the plot of its prequel that generated a lot of buzz. There are ample references that one keeps hearing throughout in the sequel, which remind them of how good the first film was. Vijay Salgaonkar lives in Goa with his wife Nandini (Shriya Saran) and daughters Anju (Ishita Dutta) and Annu (Mrunal Jadhav).

After Nandini and Anju accidently kill a young boy, Sam, who happens to be Goa IG Meera Deshmukh’s (Tabu) son, Vijay is devising new ideas every day to guard his family and ends up saying a 100 lies to hide one. Drishyam ends with the case being closed and it being established that Sam is dead.

The sequel introduces us to a new IG in town, Tarun Ahlawat (Akhaye Khanna), who reopens this file and wants to find Sam’s body along with all other lose ends that would help him put Vijay behind bars. Does Drishyam 2 solve this puzzle? Will Vijay throw himself under the bus to save his family? Will his wife and daughters follow Vijay’s ideas and fool the police officers again?

‘Shah Rukh Khan Has Pushed His Body To Breaking Point For Pathaan!’ Says Siddharth Anand

The Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham starrer Pathaan’s teaser has set the internet ablaze as fans and audience cheered for the return of the king, SRK, on the big screen after almost four long years (Zero), apart from small cameos (Rocketry, Laal Singh Chaddha, Brahmastra), a film as narrator (The Zoya Factor) and movies as producer (Badla, Bard of Blood, Class of ’83)!

Shah Rukh Khan released the first teaser of his highly anticipated film “Pathaan”, giving his fans a surprise on his 57th birthday. The actor, who plays the titular spy in the upcoming Yash Raj Films (YRF) Production, shared the teaser on his official Twitter account. Fans have been wowed by SRK’s all-new action avatar in Yash Raj Films’ action spectacle, directed by Siddharth Anand.

The director reveals that the megastar has shown incredible dedication to prepare his body for the physically challenging action sequences designed for the film. Siddharth says, “Shah Rukh Khan has pushed his body to breaking-point for Pathaan. So, he deserves all the love that he is getting for Pathaan’s teaser and much more. I remember when I first met him on Pathaan, we discussed how physically challenging it will be for him, and he was game from the word ‘Go’ and it shows on screen.”

Picture: Gulf News

He adds, “He wanted the adrenalin rush and he wanted the audience to feel the same on screen through him. The way he built his body, the insane training that he has done to pull off the extremely dangerous stunts, the dangerous terrains and climatic conditions in which he has thrown his body and the commitment that he has shown to give India its biggest action spectacle is incredibly commendable.”

The director adds, “The way he has endured all the pain to pull off the action that we had designed is unbelievable. There is no one like Shah Rukh Khan and you have to wait to see the film to witness his intensity with which he has approached the film.”

On bollywoodhungama.com, the star has also revealed how he took fitness tips from Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff when gyms had shut down during the lockdown.

Shah Rukh is introduced as the battered, bloodied spy who proclaims he is alive (“Zinda hai”) when a man wonders if Pathaan was dead. It is a nice hat-tip to his industry friend and fellow Bollywood star Salman Khan, whose last film under YRF’s “Tiger” franchise was “Tiger Zinda Hai” (2017).

Billed as a “high-octane spy thriller”, “Pathaan” is directed by Siddharth Anand of “War” and “Bang Bang” fame. The film also stars Deepika Padukone and John Abraham.

The teaser also sees Deepika involved in stylish stunts and romancing Shah Rukh. John, who previously starred in YRF’s biker action hit “Dhoom”, locks horns with the superstar on a moving trailer truck.

The film also marks the fourth collaboration between Shah Rukh and Deepika, following her Bollywood debut “Om Shanti Om”, “Chennai Express”, and “Happy New Year”. John and Deepika are working once again with each other after “Desi Boyz” and “Race 2”.

Pathaan will release on Jan 25, 2023 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It is produced by Aditya Chopra and features Salman Khan in a cameo as Tiger, the YRF franchise hero.

Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam To Reunite After 35 Years

(ANI) Two megastars Kamal Haasan and Mani Ratnam are all set to join hands for a film, after 35 years! On the occasion of his birthday, Kamal Haasan took to social media to announce the news (Twitter @iKamalhaasan)

The movie ‘KH 234’ will be out in theaters in 2024. It is being produced by Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam, R Mahendran, and Siva Ananth under their respective banners Raaj Kamal Films International and Madras Talkies.

A. R. Rehman will be composing the music for the film. Interestingly, this is the first time that the power trio is collaborating on a project. A.R. Rahman has been working with Mani Ratnam, however, the music maestro has not done a project with Kamal Haasan in a very long time.

Picture : Telegraph India

Mani Ratnam and Kamal Haasan last worked 35 years ago in ‘Nayakan’. The film was released in 1987.

Talking about other projects, Kamal Haasan was last seen in the blockbuster movie ‘Vikram’ which did a worldwide business of over Rs 400 crore.

Helmed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, ‘Vikram’ featured Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi, and Fahadh Faasil in lead roles. Actors Chemban Vinod Jose, Kalidas Jayaram, Antony Varghese, Narain, and Arjun Das also star in the film in supporting roles.

He also resumed shooting his upcoming film ‘Indian 2’ in August this year.

The film’s shoot came to standstill in 2020 after a crane collapsed on the set during the shooting of the film near Chennai, leaving 3 dead and 10 injured.

‘Indian 2’, which is being bankrolled by Lyca Productions, also stars Siddharth, Kajal Aggarwal, Rakul Preet Singh, Bobby Simhaa, and Priya Bhavani Shankar in key roles. The first part was released in 1996.

Talking about Mani Ratnam, he also delivered the magnum opus ‘PS1’, which collected more than Rs 300 crore worldwide. The film starred Vikram, Trisha Krishnan Karthik Sivakumar, Jayam Ravi, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead roles.

Talking about the second part, the makers are all set to begin the post-production work of the film which was shot simultaneously with ‘Ponniyin Selvan 1’ unlike ‘Baahubali’ and ‘KGF’.

The film is all set to hit the theatres in the summer of 2023. The final release date of the film is still awaited.

Amitabh Bachchan, “Greatest Actor Of Our Time,” Says Mohanlal

Calling Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan the “greatest actor of our time”, Malayalam top star Mohanlal has said that the legendary actor’s dedication to work was an inspiration to people of all generations.

Calling Amitabh the “greatest actor of our time”, Mohanlal said that he had enriched Indian cinema and his presence continued to do so. His endearing personality coupled with compassionate behaviour, charitable actions and humble disposition are admirable qualities that stand out. His dedication to work is an inspiration for all generations. His baritone voice and the various characters that he has played have won for him the admiration and love of a whole nation,” the Malayalam star said.

Expressing his birthday wishes to Amitabh Bachchan, who celebrated his 80th birthday, Mohanlal, through a video clip which he posted on Twitter, said Amitabh Bachchan’s name “evokes a gamut of emotions in the whole country.”

Stating that he had been fortunate to work with the Shahenshah of Bollywood in two films, Mohanlal said that the honor of sharing screen space with Amitabh is one of the highlights of his career.
“A wonderful human being, he’s encouraging and patient with his co-stars,” Mohanal said and wished the legendary actor good health, happiness and many more years of continued service to Indian cinema.

It’s worth remembering, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had described the actor as one of the “greatest talents” of our time. Brown spoke glowingly of the Bollywood mega star as he presented him with the keys for a Mobile Diabetes Unit at a charity dinner.

“It is a pleasure to be here with Amitabh Bachchan. I talked to him just as we arrived. I was saying that I had 4 million viewers in a TV interview. I asked how many people will watch his next film and he said 500 million people. That shows the greatness of this man,” Brown said.

Amitabh Bachchan is a Bollywood actor who, in 1969, debuted in Saat Hindustani. His role in 1972’s Zanjeer made him an action movie star. In the 1980s, Bachchan held a seat in the Indian Parliament. In the 1990s, he started his own production company. He returned to acting in 1997, with Mrityudaata. In 2000, he began hosting the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.

Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan, best known as Amitabh Bachchan, was born in Allahabad, India on October 11, 1942. India was still a British colony at the time, and would not achieve independence until five years later. Bachchan’s father was the renowned Hindi poet Dr. Harivansh Rai. His mother, Teji Bachchan, was a Sikh socialite. He has one younger brother, named Ajitabh.

Bachchan went to Sherwood College boarding school before enrolling in Delhi University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. Once he graduated, he became a freight broker in Calcutta. After a few years in Calcutta, Bachchan was ready for a change. He decided to move to Bombay and take a stab at Bollywood show business. By this time, India had been independent for nearly two decades, and Hindi cinema was thriving.

Bachchan married movie actress Jaya Bhaduri in 1973. The couple have two children, a daughter and a son. Their daughter, Shweta Bachchan Nanda, is married to industrialist Nikhil Nanda, whose grandfather was the film director Raj Kapoor. Bachchan and Bhaduri’s son, Abhishek Bachchan, is also an actor and is married to actress Aishwarya Rai.

Kamal Haasan’s Vikram To Be Screened At BIFF

Superstar Kamal Haasan-fronted Tamil blockbuster Vikram is set to be screened at the 27th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), the makers announced last week. The film will be screened at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) slated to take place from October 5-14.

Vikram is a 2022 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and produced by Raaj Kamal Films International. The film stars Kamal Haasan, Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil. Kalidas Jayaram, Narain and Chemban Vinod Jose had played supporting roles while Suriya makes a cameo appearance as Rolex.

‘Vikram’ will be screened under the Open Cinema category that recognises new and internationally acclaimed films that strike the perfect balance between popular and artistic cinema.

Produced by multi-faceted legend Kamal Haasan and R. Mahendran, ‘Vikram’ released on June 3 earlier this year and went on to become a box office phenomenon across the world and also the highest grossing Tamil film in the UK. Director Lokesh Kanagaraj masterfully created an immersive universe in the film. That coupled with a stellar star cast made ‘Vikram’ one of the most successful Indian movies of 2022.

“The response to Vikram all over the world has been extremely overwhelming. The Busan International Film Festival is another feather in the film’s cap and its selection is a win for the entire team. We are proud to have our film being screened along with some of the finest films across the globe and are grateful for all the love and adulation from the audiences,” said V. Narayanan, CEO Raaj Kamal Films International.

Ponniyin Selvan, Creates History In Tamil Cinema To Earn INR 200 Crore In 1st Weekend

Filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan-I, which arrived in theatres on September 30, has earned Rs 200 crore in its worldwide gross box office collection so far.

‘Ponniyin Selvan’ is one of the highly anticipated Tamil films, and the first part of the film is available now in theatres across the globe. Directed by Mani Ratnam, the film boasts a strong cast across the industry, and the film’s story is an adaptation of Kalki Krishnamoorthy’s novel by the same name. 

Ponniyin Selvan, an adaptation of Kalki Krishnamoorthi’s novel by the same name, is set in the backdrop of the Chola dynasty. The first part of the historical drama features a stellar cast—Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha, Jayam Ravi, Vikram, Karthi, Jayaram, and Prakash Raj—among others. “Even before I thought of filmmaking as a career, this book looked like a film to me. It has all the elements that make for a wide spectacle,” Ratnam said in an interview recently.

Ratnam’s Madras Productions, one of the banners behind the movie, took to Twitter to share the latest box office figures. “Marching on and making history! We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the audience who’ve been showering us with love. Catch #PS1 in theatres near you!” the production house wrote in the post.

The film opened to positive reviews from both critics and the audience. Fans are now eagerly awaiting the film’s release on streaming platforms. According to reports, the digital streaming rights for the film have been acquired and it is likely to hit the OTT platform after 50 days of theatrical run.

Also backed by Allirajah Subaskaran’s banner Lyca Productions, Ponniyin Selvan-I released in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.

Bollywood Hopes “Brahmastra” Will Revive Fortunes For Film Industry

Bollywood Industry stakeholders are closely watching how the latest Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt starrer Brahmastra performs, as the film’s box office prospects can break perceptions, birth new dreams. Films have been put on hold as the industry considers its options.

When was the last time a Hindi film arrived in theatres with the burden of an entire industry–its future, films, decisions and significance–riding on it? Brahmastra, actors Ranbir Kapoor-Alia Bhatt’s latest big scale fantasy epic, will land in cinemas this Friday with an unprecedented weight on its VFX heavy shoulders.

For a film which aims to dig deep into Indian mythology, showcasing several characters possessing all kinds of astras (supernatural weapons), the biggest power Brahmastra holds for Bollywood is the one which it was oblivious to all throughout its making: The Revival Astra.

“With the kind of advance booking it has picked up, the excitement that is suddenly around, Brahmastra is like oxygen to the industry,” filmmaker Milap Zaveri tells indianexpress.com.

When it was first announced in 2014, filmmaker Ayan Mukerji’s film–then tentatively titled Dragon– was a mammoth project, but never the kind whose box office prospects would be keenly awaited by trade critics, film studios, producers, directors and strangely, Twitter trolls.

Brahmastra, in every sense of movie business, is the biggest release for the Hindi film industry. The Ayan Mukerji directorial, backed by Dharma Productions, Starlight Pictures, and Prime Focus in association with Star Studios, is set to open in around 5000 screens in India and 3000 screens internationally.

There is a lot to prove, that Bollywood can succeed with the right film despite negativity, and a lot to remind its loyal ticket-buying audience, that the magic of movies is still full of wonder.

It is releasing in a year where only three Bollywood films have worked so far– Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Gangubai Kathiawadi and The Kashmir Files–while most have faced intense online negativity as part of the ‘Boycott Bollywood’ campaign.All eyes and hashtags are naturally on the film.

Film trade analyst Komal Nahta tells indianexpress.com that there is “immense pressure” on Brahmastra to put up numbers at the box office.”The situation is that people feel ‘Oh Bollywood films are not working’. Brahmastra is releasing certainly not in a happy climate. Films are not working because suddenly filmmakers seem to be getting it wrong, not because of any other reason.

“Once in 10-15 years, there comes a time when the audience demands a change, they don’t want any run of the mill story. When it happens, the industry is jolted, it doesn’t know what to do, where to go, what to make. In that sense, the pressure on the film is tremendous,” Nahta says.

Until the makers teased the chartbuster Kesariya days ahead of Ranbir and Alia’s wedding in April, there existed massive skepticism around Brahmastra due to numerous delays and reshoots, making people wonder if the film would ever see the light of the day. The Kesariya teaser, followed by Brahmastra trailer release in June, however, turned people hopeful.

Then Pritam’s rest of the soundtrack brought in excitement, which reached its crescendo last week when the makers started dropping mini visual units.

But when the team launched its second, special trailer to announce the opening of advance bookings on Saturday, the result, for many, was shocking. According to trade observer Himesh Mankad, Brahmastra managed to sell more than one lakh tickets within four days, with only 3D shows open to bookings.

To put the numbers in perspective, the advance booking count of Ranveer Singh’s cricket drama 83 was at 1.17 lakh tickets, while SS Rajamouli’s epic RRR was at 1.05 lakh and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 was at 1.03 lakh. The film is now only behind KGF Chapter 2, which comfortably sits at top spot of ticket sales at 4.11 lakh.

“The excitement is insane. The advance booking is extraordinary, and it is competing with Sanju, Ranbir’s highest opener (Rs 34.75 cr). Post-pandemic, no film has registered these numbers except for KGF 2 which was a sequel to a successful, loved film. So what Brahmastra is witnessing, it is truly heartening,” Milap Zaveri says.

Eyes on you, Brahmastra

A table at a cafe in Mumbai’s Versova– dotted with boutique production companies, casting agents office and houses of several artistes of different hierarchies in Bollywood–is the centre of a raging debate. A group of writers and aspiring actors are predicting the opening day figures of Brahmastra and, in a tone dripping of worry, contemplating the future of films and their own career.

A source tells indianexpress.com that if Brahmastra works, it will empower artistes will get paid their worth. If it doesn’t, there will be a ripple effect, adding to the doomsday that the industry is already halfway through.

“There is a paucity of cash inflow in the industry, as a result of which budgets are getting slashed across- from writing, acting, shooting. Once this releases, it will compensate for all the negativity thrown at the industry and the narrative that none of the Hindi films are working.

“It is important for all of us to not just get work, but also to get the money we were negotiating. A film flopping means you earn less. That’s why there is a lot of anxiety and nervousness to see how this one fares” the source adds, explaining the trickle down effect.

According to multiple well-placed sources in the industry, the fate of more than a dozen films lies on how Brahmastra is received by the audience. Dreams can be brought to life or shelved this Friday.

“The situation is dire in the industry. With virtually nothing working, everything truly depends on Brahmastra. If the big films had worked, say Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, Akshay Kumar’s Samrat Prithviraj or even Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, the pressure would have been normal.

“But not today. There are massive budget cuts across production houses, and everyone is just too scared to start anything risky. In fact, a dozen small to mid-sized films have paused their theatrical release to see how Brahmastra does. Otherwise, all will head to OTT,” an industry insider says.

There is also a slate of films whose production depend on Brahmastra. “Vicky’s big scale film The Immortal Ashwatthama was shelved due to the pandemic and the uncertainty of reviving the cost of production. But that can definitely change if Brahmastra clicks.

“And if the film does end up doing well, it will only empower other production houses to restart their high on VFX films. There are at least two-three films in the genre waiting in line to be green-lit. If big films find their way to production, it will obviously lead to smaller films for theatrical also getting that necessary push. It is a chain and Brahmastra is the start of it,” another source adds.

Filmmaker Milap Zaveri, who has mounted masala films like the Satyameva Jayate franchise and Marjaavaan, says everyone in Bollywood knows the significance of Brahmastra. Simply put, the filmmaker says, Brahmastra has “pumped life in an industry” for which the last few months and years “have been tough.”

HOLY WOUND- It Is Not That Holy!

An Adults Only Review of the movie

Holy Wound- that may sound like something related to the Holy Angel, Holy Family, or the tortured wounds of Jesus Christ. Sorry, you are misled when you hear about a recent controversial  Malayalam movie named like that. Still, it had already been screened in several film festivals, including Sahasrara International Film Festival, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, and Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, and in an earlier interview with OTTplay.

Holy Wound is a unique movie depicting the story of two young Malayali village girls who have been in love since childhood. ‘Holy Wound’ is a 2022 Malayalam drama movie, written by Paul Wiclif., directed by Ashok R. Nath, produced by Sandeep R, and music by Ronnie Raphael, with Janaki Sudheer, Amrita Vinod, and Sabu Praudeen in the lead roles.

There are umpteen movies with the drama revolving around female homosexuality, but very low in Malayalam language. Of late  one to join this league is Holy Wound, an erotic silent movie. Obviously the story is about two gay women, one  gets married against her will and is subjected to sexual harassment, and another who is forced to become a nun.

Although love may not be the real reason for the revolving of the globe as such, ‘most adults’ lives are powerfully influenced  by their experiences in intimate relationships. It is  believed that the psychologically healthy adult must have the capacity for work to earn, and love to cherish life. The significance  of intimate relationships is no less significant for lesbians than heterosexuals. Taking granted the ‘new normal’ of accepting, the third category of the genre is still ‘not so normal’ to the common person, that too in a village where the people live in poor living conditions.

Having seen that most lesbians spend much of their adult lives in intimate love relationships, we are eager to turn to findings about the nature of lesbian relationships. Suppose the movie’s message is to encourage lesbians; sorry to say that all the frames whenever these girls meet show their sexual gratification. The heroin Kala has enough sex almost every day, in various positions Vatsyaayan had imagined; she still urges her lesbian girlfriend to stimulate her passions to an ecstatic stage. Maybe the Director thinks that her relationship with her male partner living together is always for his satisfaction only, and he needs it so often.

The movie convinces us that gender is not a barrier to intense love. Love is the indescribable passion of two minds. Holy Wound movie moves forward with the intense emotional moments when two girls who have been in pure love since childhood reunite years later. The film’s visuals are arranged so that its emotion is never lost through the green expression of such moments. Preparing moments based on the realism of lesbian romance will give the audience a whole new experience of emotional bliss and ecstasy. Good thing it is restricted for age+18 audience, and if it brings international recognitions, the Director can be proud of his efforts!

Set in the beautiful backwaters of Kerala, the story is about the life memories and desires of a 25-year-old girl Kala who finds her livelihood by fishing in the lake or collecting shells. Her cruel husband and a pervert continuously exploit her physically and mentally. She longs for real love and touches from a compassionate soul. She searches for Sherin, her teenage friend and one with whom she can share her emotions and feelings and share a very intimate physical relationship quite often.

The movie could have emphasized the concept that whether gay or lesbian, they can lead a happy life without the actual sex in its helms. Here the story fails and brings the negative message that these lesbian girls cannot live without their way of satisfying each other.

Of course, the end part of the movie, where a nun is lying naked in an open boat with her lesbian friend in the solitude of the lake, could hurt religious sentiments. The film is erotic and less touching on the lives of the original life system in a remote village. Preparing moments based on the realism of lesbian romance will give the audience a new experience of emotional scenes. It can be understood that Holy Wound drives home the message that homosexual relationship is not unnatural, and two partners belonging to the same sex can be in a relationship.

Though presenting a whole movie with all the sensors and emotional frames is weird, it may be beyond imagination that people started ignoring the efforts, emotions, and hard work that has delivered this masterpiece creation as a silent movie will attract meticulous attention. Nothing told, but everything revealed blatantly!

From Big B, Salman To Ayushmann And Varun, Coming Months Will Be A Test Of Star Power

Hindi cinema of late seems to be in trouble as Bollywood’s big-ticket releases such as ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, ‘Shamshera’, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and ‘Raksha Bandhan’ have failed to impress the audience.

Nevertheless, a motley bunch of films starring names such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn, Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kriti Sanon are lined up for release in the coming months.

However, the million-dollar question looming over the furrowed brows of distributors is: Will these movies ensure the return of ‘achche din’ for Bollywood?

The first big film, which is slated to hit the screens is Ayan Mukerji’s trilogy ‘Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva’ starring newly wed couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt along with Amitabh Bachchan and Nagarjuna. The film is scheduled to hit the theatres on September 9.

‘Brahmastra’ is a three-part film franchise and the beginning of India’s first original universe, the Astraverse. It is a new original cinematic universe inspired by deeply rooted concepts and tales in Indian mythology but set in the modern world.

During a conversation with IANS, Ayan had earlier said that with ‘Brahmastra’ he has put so much in the film for so long that he has a “very peaceful confidence when it comes to this film”.

Next in line is Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan-starrer ‘Vikram Vedha’, a neo-noir action thriller, which is a remake of a Tamil hit film helmed by Pushkar and Gayathri, who are also directing the Hindi remake. Set to release on September 30, the film tells the story of a tough police officer who sets out to track down a menacing gangster. It also features Radhika Apte in a prominent role.

On October 7, Amitabh Bachchan, Rashmika Mandanna and Neena Gupta’s movie ‘Goodbye’ will be hitting the theatres for release. The film is touted as a heart-warming story about family, life and relationships.

After giving three duds such as ‘Bachchhan Paandey’, ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ and ‘Raksha Bandhan’, Bollywood star Akshay Kumar will be seen coming on the big screen once again with ‘Ram Setu’, which will be locking horns with Ajay Devgn’s ‘Thank God’ at the box-office. Both movies have been booked for a Diwali release on October 24.

‘Ram Setu’ is an action-adventure drama that tells a story rooted in Indian cultural and historical heritage. ‘Thank God’, which also stars Sidharth Malhotra and Rakul Preet Singh, has a fantasy-based plotline which follows Sidharth’s untimely death.

Ajay, reportedly, is playing the role of the God of Death, ‘Yamraj’, in the movie. The comic plot of the movie is to be driven by the banter between Ajay and Sidharth.

Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn and Tabu are all set to bring the nail-biting mystery back on screen after 2015 movie ‘Drishyam’ with ‘Drishyam 2’, a remake of the Mohanlal-starrer by the same name. Actor Akshaye Khanna has also joined the team of the hit thriller.

‘Drishyam’ chronicled the story of a family man Vijay Salgaonkar, who leaves no stone unturned to protect his family after an unfortunate incident involving his elder daughter, brought them under the police’s scanner. The second instalment of the thriller is set to release on November 18.

The Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon-starrer ‘Bhediya’ is all set to light up the screen on November 25. The horror-comedy is directed by Amar Kaushik and written by Niren Bhatt, best known for penning the long-running TV show ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma’. ‘Bhediya’ is the third film in producer Dinesh Vijan’s horror-comedy universe after ‘Stree’ and ‘Roohi’ — both starring Rajkummar Rao in the lead.

Ayushmann’s film ‘An Action Hero’ is the first release in December. Touted as a slick actioner with a sprinkle of satirical humour, ‘An Action Hero’ follows the story of an artists journey from behind to in front of the camera.

After giving out a failure in May with ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, Bollywood’s livewire actor Ranveer Singh returns to the silver screen with Rohit Shetty’s ‘Cirkus’.

Hitting the screens on Christmas, ‘Cirkus’, which is officially adapted from Shakespeare’s play ‘The Comedy of Errors’, will release on December 23. The big-budget film stars Ranveer, Pooja Hegde, Jaqueline Fernandez, Varun Sharma and many more popular faces from Bollywood.

Bringing the curtains down for 2022, will be superstar Salman Khan’s ‘Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali’, which is a family drama. The film, which also stars Pooja Hegde, Venkatesh, Shehnaaz Gill and Raghav Juyal among many other, will light up the screens on December 30. (IANS)

Allu Arjun To Lead India Day Parade In New York

Popular Telugu actor Allu Arjun, who starred in the hit film Pushpa will lead the annual India Day Parade in New York next month organized by the Federation of Indian Associations, a leading Indian diaspora organization, as India marks 75th year of Independence. The Federation of Indian Associations — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — have planned grand events in the coming weeks and months to celebrate India’s 75 years of Independence —  Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

According to reports, Super Star Allu Arjun will be the Grand Marshall of the India Day Parade in New York City on August 21. Allu Arjun, the Grand Marshal, will lead the parade along with NYC Mayor Eric Adams and a host of other celebrities and distinguished participants.

The FIA India Day parade is considered the largest parade outside India to mark the country’s independence and brings together thousands of members of the diaspora.

FIA President, Kenny Desai, during the fourth Parade Council Meeting, announced details of the FIA’s planned grand events lined up for the celebration of India’s 75 years of Independence -Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

he annual cultural events runthrough several streets of Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA Chairman Ankur Vaidya welcomed the announcement of Arjun as FIA’s 40th Grand Marshal and complimented the mega star for his kindness and patriotism towards the motherland. “There is palpable excitement in the Indian-American community to welcome the popular superstar and FIA will ensure he feels at home in the US,” Vaidya said.

Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

Southern Indian Films Sweep 68th National Film Awards Suriya, Ajay Devgn Share Best Actor Title

(IANS) Director Sudha Kongara’s ‘Soorarai Pottru’, which was partly inspired by events from the life of Captain G.R. Gopinath, founder of India’s first budget airline, swept five National Awards, including those for Best Feature Film, Best Actor and Best Actress at the 68th National Film Awards. The awards were announced in New Delhi on Friday.

Malayalam actress and playback singer Aparna Balamurali, who played the female lead in the film, was named Best Actress, and Suriya, who played the male lead, share the Best Actor honour with Ajay Devgn for Om Raut’s ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’.

‘Tanhaji’ also took home the award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

But it was the day of ‘Soorarai Pottru’. It fetched music director and actor G.V. Prakash the Best Background Music award. The award for Best Music Direction (Songs) went to Thaman for the Allu Arjun superhit Telugu film ‘Ala Vaikunthapurramlo’.

‘Soorarai Pottru’, which is now being remade in Hindi, also won the award for Best Screenplay for Shalini Usha Nair and Sudha Kongara.

Critically acclaimed Malayalam superhit film ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’ also scored handsomely at the awards, fetching the late Sachidanandan K.R. the Best Director Award.

The film also won awards for Best Action Direction and Best Female Playback Singer. Rajasekhar, Mafia Sasi and Supreme Sundar, who did the stunt direction for the film, will collect the action award. The Best Female Playback Singer award went to Nanchamma.

Biju Menon, who came up with a sterling performance in ‘Ayyappanum Koshiyum’, got the Best Supporting Actor award. The Best Supporting Actress went to Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli for her fine performance in Vasanth’s Tamil film ‘Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum’.

‘Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum’ put up a stellar show as well, winning Best Editing, which went to Sreekar Prasad. The film also won the award for the Best Feature Film in Tamil.

Sandhya Raju won the Award for Best Choreography for the Telugu film ‘Natyam’, which also took home the award for the Best Makeup Artist.

Director Sagar Puranik’s ‘Dollu’, produced by Wadeeyar Movies, got the Best Kannada Feature Film award. Jobin Jayan won the award for Best Location Sound Recordist under the Best Audiography Award for the same film.

The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to Madonne Ashwin for the Tamil film ‘Mandela’.

Doordarshan Launches “Swaraj,” A 75-Episode Serial On India’s Freedom Struggle

Coinciding with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Doordarshan is all set to come up with a 75-episode series titled Swaraj, which will narrate the untold stories of unsung heroes of India. According to reports, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has launched the promo of Doordarshan’s mega historical show titled “Swaraj- Bharat Ke Swatantrata Sangram Ki Samagra Gatha” on July 15,2022.

The 75-episode docu-drama series will depict India’s freedom struggle from the 15th century when Vasco da Gama first reached India to 1947 when the country got independence. “This serial will bring to life several aspects of Indian history while featuring the lives and sacrifices of lesser known heroes,” a press release noted.

Among the new content, Swaraj, a 75-episodes mega show illustrating the glorious history of India’s freedom struggle and lesser-known tales about Indian history would be aired soon. The series will showcase India’s historical journey from 1498 when Vasco da Gama first reached India to 1947 when the country got independence. The popular film actor, Manoj Joshi, plays a stellar role as the narrator (sutradhar) of the serial. The serial has grand production quality and promises to be a visual treat.

Swaraj is to be launched on 14th August 2022 in Hindi on DD National and subsequently in several regional languages for telecast on the regional network of Doordarshan. Its audio version will be broadcast on the All India Radio network as well. Speaking during the promo launch, Anurag Singh Thakur said “The promo is not only a glimpse of what was envisioned during the freedom struggle but it is also a glimpse of what will be the New Doordarshan of New India.” 

He said that from Chitrahar to Samachar, the programs of DD used to have quality. The minister added, “We will ensure that it is further enhanced in the coming years.” He appreciated the efforts of the research and advisory team of ‘Swaraj’ for continuing their work despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He also emphasised that the telecast of Swaraj in 10 languages will amplify its accessibility for all. The minister congratulated the whole team of Doordarshan and All India Radio on the successful launch. Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Apurva Chandra, who also attended the launch event said, “On the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, it is a matter of great joy that through the serial youth will come to know about the contribution of people who made sacrifices in the freedom struggle.” He also said that Prasar Bharati is fulfilling its mandate of wholesome entertainment through such high-quality serials for its viewers. Member, Swaraj Advisory Committee, Jawahar Lal Kaul in his address stressed the point that unsung and lesser-known heroes of India’s freedom struggle from all the regions must be remembered for their supreme sacrifice for Swaraj. He said that the deep research and study by the Swaraj Advisory Committee enriched the content for the production of the serial.

‘83’ To Be Celebrated At Indian Film Festival Of Melbourne

Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev will be seen gracing the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2022. Coming back after 2 years of virtually organizing the event, IFFM will now be physically held in the Australian city from August 12th to 20th, and the former Indian captain will be attending the event to celebrate Kabir Khan’s sports drama 83, which witnessed its theatrical release last year on December 24. The movie revolves around the journey of India’s cricket squad led by Kapil Dev.

While expressing his emotions about being part of one of the world’s leading and biggest Indian film festivals, the legendary cricket star told the news agency, ANI, “I look forward to being part of IFFM 2022. It’s a great platform for celebrating the best in Indian cinema. I truly do believe that sports and cinema are two major cultural experiences for not only Indians but various communities and countries that bind us together.”

With over 100 films in 23 different languages chosen for the festival, the lineup is more diverse than ever. The line-up this year is more diverse than ever before with over 100 films in 23 languages having been selected for the festival. 

The Movie 83, directed by Kabir Khan, will be celebrated at IFFM and the festival has invited legendary cricketer Kapil Dev to be the guest of honor. 

In 2019, IFFM was hosted by Indian celebrities such as Shahrukh Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Tabu, Vijay Sethupathi, Rima Das, Zoya Akhtar, and Karan Johar among others before the world was struck by a virus. The festival will take place in Melbourne from August 12-20.

Pointing out that cinema and sports are something that binds people together irrespective of several differences, Kapil Dev added, “It’s something for decades now that has united people. It’s a deep-rooted emotional connection and love we have for both cinema and sports, and when they come together it’s a rewarding experience for everyone.”

‘Thor: Love And Thunder’ Nets Rs 64.80 Cr In First 4 Days

By, Akshay Acharya

Even as Bollywood still struggles at the box office, Hollywood and South Indian tentpoles continue to soar to unprecedented heights.

The recently released superhero film ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’, led by a shirtless Chris Hemsworth and Christian Bale thrown in for good measure, netted Rs 64.80 crore domestically (Rs 83.61 crore minus GST) in the first four days of its theatrical run, according to trade sources.

Considering that the much-hyped Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, to quote figures from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), was able to gross Rs 82.3 crore during its entire theatrical run, despite being made tax-free in three major states, the movie-going public in India clearly like their superheroes to be winners.

Independent film trade analyst Sumit Kadel, commenting on the figures, said ‘Thor’ has seen fifth-highest opening weekend ever for a Hollywood film in India.

“From Bollywood, only the Kartik Aaryan-starrer ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ managed to net Rs 65 crore in its opening weekend”, he said. He credited the powerful cast of ‘Thor’ and the brand value of Marvel Studios for pulling in the crowds.

Even the sleeper hit, ‘The Kashmir Files’, had a lukewarm opening weekend, but picked up because of the positive word-of-mouth. ‘The Kashmir Files’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ are the only Hindi films in the IMDb Top 10.

The Indian box-office numbers for ‘Thor’, incidentally, mirrored those of the United States, where the film raked in $143 million in its opening weekend, making it the third most profitable release after ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ ($187.4 million) and ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ ($145 million).

Will ‘Thor’ be able to sustain its opening surge? It is likely to see a drop in collections, but it will still cross the safe zone of Rs 100 crore. That will be significantly behind the Rs 217.52 crore made by ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, but closer to Rs 127.31 crore garnered by ‘Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ — both films are Marvel releases, incidentally.

So, how are Bollywood’s forthcoming big releases likely to fare in this market? According to Kadel, ‘Shamshera’ may bring some respite, given that it’s an ‘event film’ and the buzz around its music can ensure a good opening.

The stakes, though, are high for both Ranbir Kapoor, who is returning to the big screen after four years, and YRF, the Aditya Chopra-helmed production house which has seen three of its recent releases — ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, and ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ getting mauled at the box office.

Talking about Mani Ratnam’s upcoming epic, ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I’, Kadel said the film has been mounted on a grand scale with a good cast to back up the high production values. It is most likely to further strengthen South Indian cinema’s grip on the pan-India box office.

As for the clash that will unfold next month with the release of the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ and Akshay Kumar’s ‘Raksha Bandhan’ on the Independence Day long weekend, both films will offer tough competition to each other, but will either make the box office ring with joy? (IANS)

My Kali Is Queer: Resisting The Homogenization Of Hinduism

A filmmaker is challenged for her depiction of the Hindu goddess.

(RNS) — Leena Manimekalai’s 2019 film “Maadathy,” about the brutalization of a Dalit girl who becomes a village deity, began with the words, “Behind every deity in India, there is a story of injustice.” These words have proven prescient. An injustice is brewing around Manimekalai’s new film “Kaali”: The film and its poster have brought the filmmaker threats of arrest, rape and murder. 

Manimekalai calls “Kaali” a “performance documentary” — a personal and poetic meditation on the female divine. In a six-minute excerpt shown at a multimedia exhibition in Toronto last week, Mother Kali, Hinduism’s powerful goddess of death and the end of time, wanders through a pride festival in Toronto at night. She observes groups of people out on the town, takes a subway ride, stops in a bar. People take selfies with her. In the last frame, she is on a park bench where a man gives her a cigarette. The poster for the film shows the goddess smoking a cigarette and holding a pride flag.   

The Aga Khan Museum and Toronto Metropolitan University caved in to pressure from the Indian government and issued apologies for screening the film. Twitter removed Manimekalai’s tweet showing the film’s poster. Manimekalai is wanted for arrest for “hurting religious feelings” in Assam, Uttarakhand, Haridwar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and several other states and has received numerous death and rape threats. 

In an email Manimekalai said the controversy had made it impossible for her to return to India. “My safety is a big question mark now and I feel totally derailed to be honest. But I don’t want to bow down, and so I’m fighting with full power.” 

Manimekalai comes from a South Indian community that worships the Goddess Kali as “a pagan goddess” who “eats meat cooked in goat’s blood, drinks arrack, smokes and dances wild,” the filmmaker told The Guardian.

Manimekalai, who identifies as bisexual, says, “My Kali is queer. She is a free spirit. She spits at the patriarchy. She dismantles Hindutva. She destroys capitalism. She embraces everyone with all her thousand hands.”

Someone unfamiliar with Hinduism might say Hindus are justified in their outrage. It’s important to understand, however, that the film and its poster are in line with a long tradition of diversity of Hindu practice and belief and immense personal freedom in one’s relationship with the divine. 

An Indian member of parliament, Mahua Moitra, defended the film, saying, “To me, Kali is a meat-eating, alcohol-accepting goddess. I am a Kali worshipper. I am not afraid of anything. Not your goons. Not your police. And most certainly not your trolls.” Moitra is now facing criminal charges, too.

Kali first appeared in Indian culture as an Indigenous deity before being absorbed into the Brahminical traditions and Sanskrit texts in the present-day form “as a dangerous, blood-loving battle queen.” Hindu Goddesses are at the same time fierce warriors against evil and injustice and unconditionally loving and protective, and Kali’s devotees consider her the Divine Mother of all humanity.

Neither cigarettes nor queer pride is forbidden in Hinduism. Hinduism is historically very open toward sex and sexual difference. Innumerable stories in Hindu Scriptures tell of same-sex relationships, children born of same-sex relationships and characters — some of them gods — who are gay, queer or trans.  

The South Indian Goddess Mariamman is often offered alcohol, and animals are sacrificed for her. The Guyanese “Madrassi” community comprises Hindus who worship Devi (the Mother Goddess) in all her forms, particularly Mariamman and Kateri Amma. “We firmly believe that devotion to Amma is subjective, and she comes to each of us in a unique way,” Vijah Ramjattan, president and founder of the United Madrassi Association in New York, told me. The community’s first Madrassi Day parade in 2017 featured an LGBTQ artist and dancer, Zaman, perform as the goddess Sundari.

Hindu deities smoke, drink, get high and sometimes eat meat. It is very common for alcohol, meat and even cigarettes to be offered to deities, particularly Kali. As the writer Shuddhabrata Sengupta explains, in the late 19th century, a Kali brand of cigarettes was produced in Calcutta.

One advertisement read, ‘If you care for the development of ‘svadeshi’ [homegrown Indian] products, if you feel responsible for the poor, miserable, working people of this land, if you can truly distinguish between good and evil, then, o Hindu brothers, you must use these ‘Kali’ cigarettes!” 

Walking through the narrow labyrinthine lanes of Varanasi, one of the holiest Hindu cities, it’s hard to miss the government-run “bhang” stands selling cannabis in the form of cookies and cakes, or as a drink. Most holy men in the city take bhang, local swamis told me, to deepen the experience of meditation and communion with God. Drugs have been part of Hinduism since prehistory; Lord Soma, the Vedic god of healing and plants, is named for a hallucinogenic which was offered to god and drunk by priests. 

The extreme and egregious reaction to “Kaali,” the film, and its poster denies the Hindu idea that we all have tendencies towards goodness (satva), passion (rajas) and lethargy (tamas) and that our job is to ensure that the best parts of us win. We are allowed our mistakes because even the gods err.

And gods are everywhere: I grew up with my gods and goddesses on everything around me: my lunchbox and water bottle, clothes, vehicles, toys, movies and movie posters. We were taught to think of god in very intimate ways: Our parents and teachers were god, but so were spouses and lovers. I was called Krishna in my family because my mother and her sister were both mother to me, and Krishna, too, had two mothers. A friend told me his uncle was called Krishna because he had a wife and a mistress; Krishna, too, is known for having several wives and lovers. 

I always appreciated this intimacy Hindus have with the divine that allows us to choose a deity for our devotions, to shape that deity according to our own desires. We come to the god of our choice as we are, and god welcomes us. 

The violence and misogyny Manimekalai is facing is unconscionable, but the larger issue for Hindus is that her critics are bent on creating a homogenized Hinduism robbed of its glorious diversity. If there is a story of injustice behind every deity in India, the injustice today is that the deities themselves are being constrained, reduced, strangled. This homogenization favors Brahminical and Sanskritized texts and practices and erases the ways that non-Brahmin communities worship.

But the two issues are essentially the same: This homogenization favors male brutality. The Hindu nationalist version of the god Rama is warring, angry, with no Sita, his female companion, by his side. The Hindutva Hanuman is blood-red and furious, instead of the embodiment of love and sacrifice. Meanwhile they whitewash Kaali of everything that makes her fierce

In the impassioned words of Moitra, “Neither Lord Ram nor Lord Hanuman solely belongs to the BJP,” she said, referring to India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party. “Has the party taken the lease of Hindu dharma? … [The BJP] is a party of outsiders that tried to impose its Hindutva politics but was snubbed by the electorate. BJP should not teach us how to worship Maa Kali.”

Kali, she concluded, “urges us all to resist the BJP’s attempt to “impose its agenda of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) and thrusting its monolithic views” for the sake of the country.  This starts with giving a young filmmaker the right to express herself freely through her art. (Sunita Viswanath is a co-founder and executive director of Hindus for Human Rights. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

Anek: A Brilliant Movie Juxtaposing Northeastern Issues

“You are right; violence is not a solution.” The subject drops his gun. 

Immediately the message goes, “Subject is captured” – that is the climax of the story ANEK.

Anek is going to create a buzz all around the country for its unique theme, concept, and the conspicuous subject of juxtaposing the issues of the north eastern Indian states within the movie’s storyline. For so many decades, Northeast India has remained neglected and ignored by the mainland central government, which eventually caused an identity crisis for the North-easterners. 

The story portrays the plight of the people living in these seven northeastern states of India. It is a fact that we cannot deny. They are many years behind the rest of India. These seven states, or sisters, as they are called, have rich soil and natural resources but no outlets. The only major venue to sell their products may be in West Bengal. But seldom do the products reach theirs on time. They are stereotypically looked down upon by mainlanders as foreigners from neighboring countries like Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, China or even Myanmar, 

There are many subplots around the main event. Ayushman Khurana looks fabulous as an undercover cop Joshua, assigned to deal with the insurgents in this less explored hilly region. Aspiring and struggling boxer Aido, the role portrayed by gorgeous supermodel Andrea Kevichüsa is exceptionally fantastic and outstanding. Even the role performed by other cast deserves intense applauses from the heart.

The side stories revolving around the main story of intense fights and gun shots,  first the Ayushmaan’s character then his girlfriend’s journey, and her father’s ideology; also the Tiger Sangha, the Johnson group & local people, the Indian Government etc. From starting to end movie tries to focus on multiple aspects which actually resulted in undercooked fun. First of all, you lose the lead where the story wants to focus, the lead character is missing in half of the film, romance is on low profile and undeveloped, and many of the characters like J.D.Chakravarty’s had nothing to do with it. This movie is quite confusing but well-written dialogues and brings a good concept of Northeast Indian people and how and why they become rebellious where the Indian Government is responsible for not treating North Eastern Indian people equally.

Guys, this movie is realistic and intelligent writing where the script writer Anubhav Sinha is playing with audience and cast by showing negative character of everyone in the film except Aido ( Andrea Kavinchusa ) her performance was really authentic and outstanding a character of boxing girl who gets ill-treatment  by her coach and team members and she wants to play and win in boxing for India. Her father who is running a rebellious Johnson group against Indian government,  and Ayushman  Khurrana ( Joshua aka Aman ) an undercover agent of India to gather the information of NE Indian rebellion,  his performance was really brilliant and authentic. The performance by Manoj Pahwa as as boss of Indian army and defence was really intelligent and precise in the movie and performance by Kumud Mishra as defence counselor was really brilliant and outstanding and performance by every supporting cast was really authentic and distinctive, hats off to maker’s that they took NE people to make movie original.  Somehow the music and songs  are not really compelling to listen but shocking scenes are engaging and engrossing where screenplay was slow burn and cinematography was really good but not that impressive. The locations were realistic to shoot the movie.

At the end, Aido fulfills her promise and wins her boxing championship for India, confirming that India is our own for all Indians.

Thanks to filmmaker Anubhav Sinha for bringing this crucial issue to the forefront through mainstream cinema. I loved watching Ayushman Khurana’s performance; though the concept is sometimes confusing but intelligently written.

Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ Bags The 2nd Best Film At Hollywood Critics Association Awards

Indian director, SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ was declared the second-best film at the Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) Midseason Awards 2022.  This is the first time an Indian film has been nominated and awarded in the Best Picture category of a major Hollywood award list.

RRR was competing against Hollywood films like ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, ‘The Batman’, ‘Elvis’, and ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’.

Recently, RRR was also nominated in the Best Picture category of the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Awards. It was in contention alongside Hollywood biggies like The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick.

The Awards were announced the other day and RRR was declared as the runner-up. Everything Everywhere All At Once remained the winner of the category.

Announcing the same, HCA’s official social media handle posted, “And the winner of the HCA Midseason Award for Best Picture goes to…Everything Everywhere All At Once. Runner up: RRR.”

This is indeed an incredible achievement by RRR. With his every film, Rajamouli is taking the Telugu cinema to next level. While Baahubali gave Tollywood nationwide recognition, RRR is now giving it international recognition.

RRR features Ram Charan and Jr NTR in the lead roles. Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, and Olivia Morris played the other key roles in the movie. 

For unversed, RRR became the first Indian film to get nominated at the coveted Hollywood Critics Association. Last week, the nominations list was announced and on Saturday, the winners were announced.

RRR became the second-highest-grossing movie at the Indian box office. RRR was the number 1 movie in the world during the weekend, ahead of Hollywood movies The Batman and The Lost City. The film has been garnering acclaim and praise from international celebrities and audiences ever since its streaming on OTT platform, Zee 5 and Netflix. 

The big-budget blockbuster hit cinemas on March 25, and recently completed 100 days of its theatrical release on July 2. The makers released a special poster to thank audiences and celebrate the occasion. The film’s official social media handles shared the poster and wrote, “RRRIDING HIGHHHH….. 100 Days of #RRRMovie!!”

Bleecker Street Releases Mr. Malcolm’s List In Theaters Nationwide

Bleecker Street hosted a special screening of MR. MALCOLM’S LIST, on Wednesday, June 29, 2022,  and was attended by cast members, Freida Pinto, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Zawe Ashton, and Theo James, with director Emma Holly Jones, and writer Suzanne Allain also in attendance at the DGA New York Theater.

Additional guests included Huma Abedin, Frederick Anderson, Yigal Azrouel, Kellie Brown, Sofia Bryant, Cara Buono, Juana Burga, Yin Chang, Sidney DuPont,  Tony Goldwyn, Sabine Heller, Myha’la Herrold, Serge Ibaka, Pom Klementieff, Giza Lagarce, Padma Lakshmi, Jerome Lamaar, Sunita Mani, Isabella McCalla, Britne Oldford, Aqua Parios, Thania Peck, Titina Penzini, Tanner Reese, Alysia Reiner, Conrad Ricamore, Vlada Roslyakova, Valentina Sampio, Gay & Nan Talese, Moonlynn Tsai, Alicja Tubilewicz, and Jeffrey C. Williams.

Following the screening, Saks hosted a VIP reception with cast members and special guests at Le Chalet at L’Avenue at Saks. The space was decadently themed to the year 1818, including an outdoor terrace where guests could play a game of croquet and have their watercolor portrait done by a live illustrator. The event was part of Saks’ larger partnership with Bleecker Street to celebrate the premiere of Mr. Malcolm’s List, including digital marketing, a product array inspired by the film on saks.com and a window installation at Saks’ iconic New York flagship on display now through Wednesday, July 6. 

Directed by Emma Holly Jones; Written by Suzanne Allain; Starring Freida Pinto, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park, with Zawe Ashton, and Theo James.

When she fails to meet an item on his list of requirements for a bride, Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton) is jilted by London’s most eligible bachelor, Mr. Malcolm (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù). Feeling humiliated and determined to exact revenge, she convinces her friend Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto) to play the role of his ideal match. Soon, Mr. Malcolm wonders whether he’s found the perfect woman…or the perfect hoax. Also starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park, with Theo James.

Shuddh Singh Is Funny And Dangerous. Audiences Should Love Him!: Sanjay Dutt On His Character

Sanjay Dutt has delivered some of the most epic villains on-screen and he is back to give us a more evil, menacing, merciless, cold-hearted brute force of nature, Shuddh Singh in Shamshera. Sanjay plays Ranbir Kapoor’s nemesis in this action entertainer. As soon as the teaser and the trailer of Shamshera dropped, Sanjay started winning unanimous praise for his spine-chilling act!

The actor says, “I’m an actor and if I believe in a script or character, then I leave it to the director. His interpretation of Shuddh Singh, I can portray on the screen to the best of my abilities. Yes, I have my suggestions that I give which enhances the character even more. Shuddh Singh is funny and dangerous. Audience should love him!”
About visualising Shuddh Singh, director Karan Malhotra says, “I think what happens with me is, when I think of Sanjay sir to play a part in my film which I am doing, especially if it is a negative part, a good kind of madness grips me from inside. It’s just that automatically I start getting ideas of how to present him in the most menacing and the most unnerving way possible.”

Sanjay is collaborating with director Karan Malhotra again after Agneepath. Sanjay had given us a villain for the ages as Kancha Cheena in that film and he is hoping that audiences will shower him with similar love as Shuddh Singh in Shamshera.

Karan adds, “When Ekta Pathak Malhotra and I wrote the character of Shuddh Singh, the idea was for him to be a megalomaniac and how do we represent this trait of his, I thought that a name like Shuddh Singh would really hit the bulls eye with that. He is a man who is impure in character, ruthless and he’s a quirky demon which is phenomenal because he’s very entertaining. When you look at Shuddh Singh on screen, you should be unnerved. You should feel he is unpredictable!”

Sanjay and Ranbir were thrilled to know about the casting coup in Shamshera that pitted Sanjay against Ranbir because four years back (Ranbir’s last film), the young actor had played Sanju! So, Shamshera will be Sanju vs Sanju on screen which has become the biggest on-screen clash to watch out for!

About Sanjay Dutt, Ranbir says, “He is extremely spontaneous and I think he behaves like he is not working hard but he is working hard, he is constantly on set thinking about it. I believe that he does work hard though he gives the impression that he doesn’t care, but he cares a lot about work.”

The story of Shamshera is set in the fictitious city of Kaza, where a warrior tribe is imprisoned, enslaved and tortured by a ruthless authoritarian general Shuddh Singh. This is the story of a man who became a slave, a slave who became a leader and then a legend for his tribe. He relentlessly fights for his tribe’s freedom and dignity. His name is Shamshera.

The high-octane, adrenaline-pumping entertainer is set in the 1800s in the heartland of India. It has the big promise of a never seen before Ranbir Kapoor, who plays Shamshera in the film! Sanjay Dutt plays Ranbir’s arch-enemy in this huge casting coup and his showdown with Ranbir will be something to watch out for as they will ferociously go after each other with no mercy. Directed by Karan Malhotra, this action extravaganza has been produced by Aditya Chopra and is set to release in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on July 22, 2022.

Watch the making of Sanjay Dutt transforming into Shuddh Singh here:

‘Indian Roots, Gods And History’ Helped Ayan Mukerji In The Making Of ‘Brahmastra’

Filmmaker Ayan Mukerji is all geared up for the release of his upcoming film ‘Brahmastra’, which he stresses is not a superhero film but a fantasy version of the director trying to write his “modern version” of something from a myth.

‘Brahmastra: Part One: Shiva’ stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mouni Roy, and Nagarjuna Akkineni.

‘Brahmastra’ is a three-part film franchise and the beginning of India’s first original universe, the Astraverse. It is a new original cinematic universe inspired by deeply rooted concepts and tales in Indian mythology but set in the modern world.

Talking about if he is a superhero nerd and how he drew inspiration to make a film on such a big scale, Ayan in a conversation with IANS said: “I am not a superhero nerd. I love some of the superhero films like ‘Avengers’ and ‘Spiderman’… I am not the biggest superhero fan.

“I would like to say that I am more of a fantasy film fan. And I honestly think ‘Brahmastra’ is not a superhero film. It is not about a guy wearing a costume and necessarily saving people.”

The 38-year-old filmmaker, who has previously helmed films such as ‘Wake Up Sid!’ and ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, has bent towards fantasy.

“It (‘Brahmastra’) is just a fantasy epic story which has a lot of dramatic scope and in some way it is a fantasy version of me trying to write my modern version of something from myth. Like the scope that myth has but in a modern way.”

The director says he takes inspiration from “gods and goddesses” among many other things related to Indian culture.

“I am probably more affected by things from Indian roots by our gods and goddesses, by stories of Indian history, perhaps more than superheroes. It’s a combination of influences that have affected me in this film.” (IANS)

A.R. Rahman named ambassador of Indo-UK culture platform

The ‘Season of Culture’ intends to build on the British Council’s work in India and strengthen the partnership between India and the United Kingdom in the arts, English, and education.

The British Council’s ‘India-UK Together Season of Culture,’ which aims to encourage aspiring artists to interact, has named A.R. Rahman as its ambassador.

The ‘Season of Culture,’ which commemorates India’s 75th anniversary of independence, was officially opened by the British Deputy High Commissioner to India Jan Thomson and British Council Director (India) Barbara Wickham.

Samrat Prithviraj Review: Akshay Kumar’s Period Piece Is Loud, Lurid And Colourful

Samrat Prithviraj movie cast: Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Manav Vij, Sonu Sood, Manushi Chhillar, Sakshi Tanwar, Ashutosh Rana, Manoj Lalit Tiwari Samrat Prithviraj movie director: Chandraprakash Dwivedi Samrat Prithviraj movie rating: 2 stars

The handsome king who galloped away with his bride, her knight in shining armour, has an ancient Indian context: Prithviraj Chauhan, the early 12th-century ruler of Ajmer, claimed Rajkumari Sanyogita as his own, after she lost her heart to him. Details of this love story are recorded in ‘Prithivaj Raso’, penned by Chand Bardai, said to be Prithviraj’s court poet. Not only was the fair princess rescued from the wrath of her father, the traitor Jaichand; the might of the Mughals was kept at bay till his last breath, so valorous was Prithviraj.

This is a beloved legend most Indians will remember vividly from their childhood. But there never has been a better time to make a movie out of it: muscular nationalism is at its peak, and at every turn, we are being reminded of the cruelties of the Mughal invaders, who ‘trampled upon our temples and turned them into mosques’. ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, in which Akshay Kumar plays the titular character, loses no time to tell us that he was the ‘last Hindu king’: after him came centuries of oppression which came to an end only after India attained independence in 1947.

What Chandraprakash Dwivedi has done is to soup up the legend so that it is in synch with the dominant national mood: Prithviraj is representative of a Bharat when it was pristine, pure, unpolluted. How did a director who has also made the astonishingly subversive ‘Mohalla Assi’ achieve this switcheroo? (Dwivedi has been on record to say that this is his passion project, and he has been trying to get it off the ground for a decade and more). Or is it just a question of being expedient?

Dwivedi is also a filmmaker who knows how to dramatise situations. The two-and-a-half hours run-time of ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ is all high-pitched drama, row upon row of costumery in place, massive scale filling up the screen. Mohammad Ghori (Manav Vij) is the chief antagonist, and while he is not shown to be as much of an out-and-out monster as Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji in ‘Padmavat’, he gets to narrow his eyes and hit a man when he is down, as befits those dastardly invaders.

The question is: given the kind of film it is, does it work? A Roman-arena like space, with a grievously wounded Prithviraj fighting off four-legged and two-legged beasts is a show-stopper which tops and tails the film: in between are few other effective moments, especially the one in which the ‘dilwala’ takes his ‘dulhaniya’ away.

Bottom of Form

But at no point is the plot or any character given significant breathing space, so intent is it upon glorifying its subject: Chand Bardai (Sonu Sood) has more ardour in his gaze than Prithviraj’s lady love (Manasi Chhillar, who comes off more contemporary than period, and leaves little impact). Sanjay Dutt’s Kaka Kanha whose undying faithfulness to Prithviraj is tested more than once, does double duty of a court jester and an affectionate uncle: how do you do a mainstream film without a comic figure? And then there is Ashutosh Rana as Jaichand, whose name has long been synonymous with being a traitor, and Sakshi Tanwar as his voluble wife, who carry their scenes, but are given softer treatment than they deserve, because, hey, we know who the real bad guys here are.

Not only does Prithviraj’s bravery makes him a combination of Bhishma and Bheem (in the words of the always-adoring Bardai), he is made into an early feminist, spouting inadvertently funny lines in support of women generally, and specifically his Sanyogita, whom he encourages to share his throne and listen to the people. Did anyone else feel a dissonance when these same sword-wielding ‘veeranganas’ jump to their death, committing ‘jauhar’? That leaves Akshay doing his thing: cleaving through ‘dushman fauj’ (enemy soldiers), twirling in the song-and-dance, fighting off the inexorable advance of the treacherous outsiders.

As befits its simplistic, shorn-of-nuance tone, the film is loud and lurid, lurching between dialogue-baazi and blandness, and staying determinedly faithful to its stated intent.

Akshay Kumar On Dropping Several Easter Eggs With The Second Trailer Of Samrat Prithviraj

Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical film, Samrat Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor in this visual spectacle. Akshay dropped the second trailer of the film today and it had several easter eggs that revealed many unseen moments from the film for fans and audiences to discover!

Akshay says, “The second trailer, ‘Aakhri Hindu Samrat’ of Samrat Prithviraj is out and hopefully it will increase the audiences’ excitement to watch the film this Friday. This new trailer has new visuals from the film and reveals new moments that I absolutely love.”

He adds, “As we start the countdown to the release of this glorious retelling of Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan’s life, I’m hoping that everyone invested in watching our film will get something grand to see and discuss with this trailer. Samrat Prithviraj was one of our bravest kings who didn’t get his due and I feel this is a film that had to be made to salute his spirit and valour.”

Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The ethereally gorgeous Manushi Chhillar plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. The film is set to release this Friday in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Catch the second trailer here : https://youtu.be/itram1MNi04

Laal Singh Chaddha Opens On August 11th

With the huge strength of cricket lovers, loud cheers, whistles & big applause, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’s fever took over the IPL finale as the movie trailer was unveiled. The wait is finally over! All the movie and cricket enthusiasts were treated to the biggest and most highly-anticipated trailer of the year – ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ featuring Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh and Chaitanya Akkineni.

Touted to be one of the biggest releases of the year, the trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ was launched with huge fanfare on television amidst the finale match in the biggest T20 Cricket Tournament that gave the cricket and movie buffs across the world an adrenaline rush. This is the first time ever that a film is going grand to this scale with its trailer launch on a world television platform and the sports world.

The impressive trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ took the audience and especially fans of Aamir Khan on an emotional and spellbinding ride giving us a glimpse into the fascinating and innocent world of Laal Singh Chaddha. Get ready to watch the world through the childlike eyes of Laal Singh Chaddha. His slow-witted approach and childlike optimism are the driving force of the movie whereas his sweet bond with his mother and his fondness for his childhood love is the USP of the film.

Apart from that, the movie which has been shot at multiple picturesque locations, exhibits the Indian heritage in its tranquil form. Not to forget, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ also brings together the successful pair of Aamir and Kareena Kapoor Khan post the blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’. While their cute chemistry has impressed many, the trailer of ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ has surely lit up our hearts and fuelled our souls. Mona Singh too looks in top Meanwhile, the songs from ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ have taken over the hearts and souls of fans. Both ‘Kahani’ and ‘Main Ki Karan?’ have become popular and most played songs in India today. The ardent fans of AK have lapped the music and lyrics of both the songs and now post the trailer launch, they can’t wait to watch ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in action.

After the release of ‘Secret Superstar’, Aamir Khan and Advait Chandan have reunited for ‘Laal Singh Chadda’. Produced by Aamir Khan Productions, Kiran Rao, and Viacom18 Studios, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh, and Chaitanya Akkineni. The film releases in cinemas across North America on August 11.

I-Phone-Created Bengali Short Film Goes To Oscar-Qualifying Festival In Denmark

Indian director Abhiroop Basu’s (MEAL, LAALI, GUDGUDI) latest film, GUDIYA (Plaything), is one of 123 films, out of more than 4000 submissions from 40 countries, selected to compete for “Best International Short Film” at the 46th annual, Oscar-Qualifying Odense International Film Festival (OFF) in Denmark in August, 2022.

Logline: On the eve of India’s 73rd Republic Day, a working class woman’s daily routine goes for a toss when she is called to squeeze in an extra shift at work.

In English, “Gudiya” means “Plaything” or “Doll.” In a world diametrically divided between the powerful and the powerless, GUDIYA becomes an identity for those who are on the bottom of the food chain. Meanwhile, the film aims to hold up a metaphorical mirror to a nation obsessed with a false sense of hyper-nationalism that blinds them in the face of stark reality.

An international co-production between India and the United States, the nine-minute, socio-political drama on issues of gender and sexuality was shot in eight hours on a handheld I-phone with a crew of four people. It has been produced by Tushar Tyagi (India) and executive produced by Cynthia Kane (New York) and Jitin Hingorani (Texas). Select stills from the film are below

Director’s Statement: “The impetus for making a film like GUDIYA originated from a question I asked a middle-aged man in Kolkata’s famous Red-Light District, Sonagachhi: ‘Why do you prefer girls under 14?’ To which he replied, ‘Because they are easy to dominate.

The day was 26th January, India’s 73rd Republic Day, and a famous patriotic song was playing in the background, while this customer finished his cigarette and went inside. Though I didn’t get a glimpse of who he was with, I noticed the big round ears of a tattered teddy bear peeking from the window, as it slammed shut on my face.”

*One of Basu’s other short films, MEAL starring Adil Hussain, was also selected in 2019 for OFF, which is the largest short film festival in Europe.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Son Cleared In High-Profile Drugs Case

Indian authorities have dropped a case against the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan who was arrested during a raid on a cruise ship last year on suspicion of having drugs on him.

India’s main drug law enforcement agency, the Narcotics Control Board (NCB), said on Friday it was dropping the case against Aryan Khan, 24, and five others due to a lack of “sufficient evidence”, while pressing charges against 14 others.

Khan’s arrest had polarised broadcast and social media in the Bollywood-obsessed country, with some saying he was being targeted for being the son of a Muslim celebrity in mainly Hindu India.

A lawyer for Khan told Reuters his client’s detention, which followed the raid on the boat off Mumbai last October, were unjustified and that he had broken no law. Khan was released on bail on Oct. 28 after 26 days in detention.

“We are happy that (an NCB team) investigated the case in an objective manner and decided not to file a complaint against Aryan Khan for lack of sufficient evidence,” his lawyer Satish Maneshinde said. “God is Great.”


A new digital platform called PODCAST 24- AWAAZ SABKI will cover news and stories from India on a variety of subjects including Politics, Bollywood, Crime, Women, Health, History, Education & Sports. It will also provide a platform to discuss and deliberate on a range of important and relevant social issues.

After the success of all its satellite channels and an impressive presence on social media, BAG Network, under the leadership of Ms. Anurradha Prasad, has now established its presence in the Podcast space to connect with its audience using this powerful digital platform.  As Ms. Anurradha Prasad puts it, “PODCAST 24- AWAAZ SABKI will bridge the gap between news and our listeners by curating content that is current and relevant to our audience”.
Millions of loyal viewers of NEWS 24 will now be able to listen to all the flagship programs of  NEWS 24 like ‘Itihaas Gawah Hai’ with Anurradha Prasad, ‘Ansune Kisse’ with Rajeev Shukla, ‘Sabse Bada Sawal’ with Sandeep Chaudhary, ‘Rashtra Ki Baat’ with Manak Gupta, ‘Mahaul Kya Hai?’ with Rajeev Ranjan,  on PODCAST 24.
Listeners can access the PODCAST 24 through all major podcast apps such as Spotify, Amazon, Google etc. The channel can also be accessed through the News 24 website.
The BAG Network invites everyone to be a part of this new and exciting journey.

Bollywood Legend Hema Malini Joins Gala To Support ISKCON Naperville

May 15th, 2022 marked an important time in history for ISKCON Naperville; a special fundraising dinner for the construction of the new temple, ISKCON Radha Shyamasundar. With any big endeavor, comes a big price. However, nothing is too big nor too intimidating for the devotees of ISKCON Naperville. 

The fundraising event was held at Ashyana Banquet Hall. The large banquet room was filled with promise and excitement, as all who attended were eager for the completion of this important project. Temple President Premananda Devi Dasi addressed the crowd of over 500 by reminding them what brought them all together: “Why build this temple? When Srila Prabhupada founded this institution, he listed seven purposes of ISKCON”. She then reiterated Srila Prabhupada’s fifth stated purpose: “To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.”

What made this year’s fundraising event exceedingly more memorable, was the attendance of famed Member of Indian Parliament and esteemed Bollywood actress, Hema Malini. She began her career as a bharatanatyam dancer. Hema Malini was able to land her first film role as a dancer in 1963 and starred in over 200 movies throughout her career. 

 She became a devotee of Krishna after she was introduced to the holy place of Vrindavan, where she would later serve as a Member of Parliament. She explained, “I was offered some other places, but I refused. I said I am not interested in being a politician or Member of Parliament from anywhere. If it is given to me, Matura, then I am interested because it is Krishna’s place and I am connected to Krishna. I want to serve there, not as a politician, but you have to be politically connected so you are able to do a lot of work with the help of our government.” In addition, she has also been helping clean up the Ganga and Yamuna rivers apart from supporting many more important projects in the region.

 Also in attendance was ISKCON communications director Anuttama Dasa and his wife, Rukmini Devi Dasi. Their presence was a gift and inspirational to many. Anuttama Dasa stated to the audience: “…This is the purpose of this ISKCON society; to help us. How do I get the envy out of my heart? How do I get the anger out of my heart? How do I get the greed out of my heart? So that I can become a force for change, for the better – and how can we do that as a community.

ISKCON Naperville devotees have been working tirelessly to support Prabhupada’s mission. “The world is looking for that type of leadership. By building the temple that you’re all contributing to, it actually becomes a place where we can come together and we can show our appreciation for Krishna; for all our gifts. We also can come together and say, ‘Lord, I want to be a force for good The three-story temple will include a commercial kitchen, snack bar, classrooms, a playgrou

This temple will not only be a place of worship, but a pillar for the community and people of all faiths. With the help of generous donors and hardworking devotees, temple construction is scheduled to conclude in the upcoming winter. Hema Malini expressed her great fortune to have been present at the unveiling of the temple signage by stating, “It was so wonderful to be there, it just felt like I’m still in Vrindavan because of the same atmosphere.”

A.R. Rahman Pitches For Indian Movies Not To Limit To Only Indian Stories

During the inauguration of the India pavilion at Cannes 2022 on Wednesday, Academy Award winner A.R. Rahman explained why we should tell stories about West and try to break the boundaries.

“I can’t say much because I’ve been in the industry for almost 40 years – ten years of playing outside as a musician and 30 years as a composer. I was a director for the sensory cinematic experience,” he said.

Rahman further shared that despite the fact we have our stories to tell, we must not restrict ourselves.

“Even though we have so many stories, we should tell stories about the West because we have a narrative about the West. We should be doing that.”

“The West does Gandhi, he (Shekhar Kapur) is the man who has done ‘Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen’. I am super inspired by him,” he added while hinting towards filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.

On the reason for choosing English language for his film, he elaborated: “The reason why I did this in the English language and for an international audience was to see if it is possible to break those boundaries and set a new path. Even if we fail it’s fine. I am talking about Le Musk, the sensory cinematic experience in Cannes XR. I want to thank my whole team, and please do check it out and see how we can improve and celebrate it. God bless you all. Thank you so much.”

The Indian delegation led by I&B Minister Anurag Thakur was present for the inauguration of the Indian pavilion at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival in France.

Deepika Padukone is attending the festival as a jury member, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, R Madhavan, Shekhar Kapur and Tamannaah Bhatia are among the Indian celebrities attending the 75th edition of the film festival. (IANS)

Manushi Chhillar Is Humbled With The Acclaim That She Has Been Getting From The Trailer Of Prithviraj

Superstar Akshay Kumar and gorgeous Bollywood debutant Manushi Chhillar starrer, Yash Raj Films’ first historical, Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. Akshay is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor. Manushi is playing the role of Prithviraj’s beloved Princess Sanyogita and she is thrilled that audiences are appreciating her unanimously in the trailer.

Manushi says, “It is amazing that people are appreciating my performance from what they have seen and experienced in the Prithviraj trailer. This is a dream come true of a debut for me and I’m hugely grateful that I’m getting to bring Princess Sanyogita’s life come alive on the big screen.”

She adds, “A debut like this, opposite one of the biggest superstars of the country like Akshay Kumar, is a lot of responsibility and I think I have given my everything to ensure that I play this role with utmost sincerity and dedication. So, the reaction of the audience that I’m getting today is humbling.”

Manushi further says, “My phone is buzzing with positivity from people on social media and my forever supportive fans. It’s a hugely happy moment of my career and I’m cherishing this thoroughly.”

Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The ethereally gorgeous Manushi’s launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. The film is set to release on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Akshay Kumar Is Overwhelmed With Positive Response For PRITHVIRAJ

Superstar Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical, Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor. Akshay is thrilled with the incredibly positive response to the trailer of the film that was launched yesterday and feels humbled that people have connected to the most glorious tribute to the brave warrior who needs to be celebrated.

Akshay says, “I’m thrilled with the response to the trailer of Prithviraj. We wanted to give a glorious and the most authentic tribute to the incredibly valiant Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and I’m so happy that the trailer has resonated with the audience. It’s amazing to see how people want to know more about the valour of the mighty king and we are humbled that we have been able to make people across the world want to know more about the Samrat.”

He adds, “I’m humbled that people are appreciating my craft and our efforts because we have given it our all to bring Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan to life on screen. It has truly been an honour to play a man who stood for his country, no matter what the consequence.”

Akshay further states, “I share this moment of joy with my director Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, my producer Aditya Chopra, my co-star Manushi Chhillar, who is debuting in the film, and the brilliant Sanjay Dutt and Sonu Sood and all the actors and technicians who have believed in the mission to make Prithviraj an important film for this generation.”

Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. The ethereally gorgeous Manushi Chhillar plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. The film is set to release on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Mira Nair’s MISSISSIPPI MASALA At Kick Off 8th Annual DFW SAFF

The 8th annual DFW South Asian Film Festival, presented by Toyota USA, will KICK OFF its festival week with a SPECIAL SCREENING of the restored 4K version of Mira Nair‘s ground-breaking film MISSISSIPPI MASALA, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year!

Synopsis: The vibrant cultures of India, Uganda, and the American South are blended and simmered into a rich and fragrant fusion feast in Mira Nair’s luminous look at the complexities of love in the modern melting pot. Years after her Indian family was forced to flee their home in Uganda by the dictatorship of Idi Amin, twenty something Mina (Sarita Choudhury) finds herself helping to run a motel in the faraway land of Mississippi. It’s there that a passionate romance with the charming Black carpet cleaner Demetrius (Denzel Washington) challenges the prejudices of their conservative families and exposes the rifts between the region’s Indian and African American communities. Tackling thorny issues of racism, colorism, culture clash, and displacement with big-hearted humor and keen insight, Nair serves up a sweet, sexy, and radical celebration of love’s power to break down the barriers between us. Watch trailer HERE.

*The screening will take place on Monday, May 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Dallas / Fort Worth (6770 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX 75231).

To purchase tickets for this stand alone screening, please go HERE. Join us afterwards for a drink and a nibble at the bar, so that we can share highlights about the upcoming #dfwsaff2022. Our entire schedule and festival lineup (May 20 to 22 at Grandscape in The Colony) is available HERE.

Netflix Collaborates With India To Honor Real-Life Heroes

Streaming giant Netflix and The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have joined hands to honour unique real-life stories of extraordinary individuals through a series of inspiring short videos titled Azadi Ki Amrit Kahaniyan. This was launched today in the presence of Shri Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.

‘Azadi ki Amrit Kahaniya’ narrated by Neena Gupta, will chronicle the incredible journeys of those individuals who cracked the glass barrier in their respective industries, ranging from science to sports.

In conjunction with OTT giant Netflix, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I & B) released ‘Azadi Ki Amrit Kahaniyan,’ a short video series to honor real-life stories of those individuals who cracked the glass barrier in their respective fields, ranging from science to sports. It was disclosed at the event that Neena Gupta would be narrating these stories. The freshly announced series is a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, which commemorates India’s 75th anniversary of independence.

Bela Bajaria, Global Head of TV, Netflix, who was also present at the event, said, “Great stories can come from anywhere and are ever so inspiring when they are about people who rise against the odds. In partnership with The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Azadi Ki Amrit Kahaniyan focuses on celebrating remarkable individuals and their stories that can inspire people in India and around the world.”

Narrated by acclaimed actress Neena Gupta, these short videos capture the remarkable journey of these individuals and how they broke the glass ceiling in their respective fields, ranging from science to sports. Here is what these achievers had to say about what Azadi (freedom) means to them personally.

“If something hasn’t been attempted, it doesn’t mean you cannot do it. To me, Azadi means facing a raging fire.” — Harshini Kanheker, India’s first female firefighter.

“From water comes life, and water is life. I flow free like a river and will continue to protect and serve water, that’s Azadi to me.” — Basanti Devi, Environmentalist and protector of the Kosi river ecosystem.

“If women hold the power to create life, women also hold the power to save lives. If I have to put my life at stake to save other lives, I wouldn’t think twice.”  — Poonam Nautiyal walked miles across the Bageshwar district in Uttarakhand to vaccinate thousands of people living in remote areas.

“Being a scientist, every moment is a learning curve. We need to face challenges, and we need to learn. I always say that science has no gender, and Azadi is when we take our nation to new horizons.” — Tessy Thomas, the “Missile Woman of India”, is the first-ever woman scientist to head a missile project in India.

“I am a force of nature, I can scale great heights, and my journey has just begun. Azadi means to make your way up in the world.” — Anshu Jamsenpa, the first woman in the world to summit Mount Everest twice in 5 days.

“When you dream something out of the box, it’s very important to push the norms. Azadi is to be one with the wind.” — Aarohi Pandit, the world’s youngest person and first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean solo in a light-sport aircraft.

“You have the right to dream, and the right to achieve your dream. Just like the waves, be patient, be consistent, and never look back. To me, Azadi is to take a bit of the ocean wherever I go.”— Tanvi Jagadish, India’s first competitive woman stand-up paddleboarder. The videos are now available on the Ministry’s social media platforms and Doordarshan.

Shah Rukh Khan Honored With Happiness Card From UAE Govt

Bollywood superstar and the celebrity face of Dubai tourism Shah Rukh Khan was honoured with a happiness card by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs on April 13.

A picture of the ‘Pathaan’ star holding his newly-gained happiness card was posted on the authorities’ Twitter account. The card aims to give Khan a slew of discounts, privileges, and access to promotions during his stay in the UAE.

The Happiness cardholder will be benefited with various discounts and offers in Dubai.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs Dubai (GDRFA) presented Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan with a Happiness Card.

“GDRFA Dubai welcomes Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and grants him the Happiness Card with the aim of achieving happiness for them through various benefits, discounts, and offers,” the Directorate tweeted.

Khan is no stranger to Dubai and has spearheaded several tourism videos to lure his fans all over the globe to Dubai. In March, Khan along with Dubai Tourism rolled out a promotional short film showcasing the emirate as a must-visit city.

The three-minutes, four-second video opens with Khan busy filming in Dubai when he gets interrupted by a call from his doting daughter Suhana who nudges him to have some fun in the emirate. She urges him to step out of his work mode and explore the glitzy city and what it has to offer.

The next few scenes shows the iconic actor soaking in the sights across Dubai, taking selfies with his adoring fans in the city. He is also seen dancing on Sheikh Zayed Road, overlooking Dubai’s new Museum of the Future. Wide shots of Atlantis The Palm, where he filmed ‘Happy New Year’ are also seen in the short film.

“Everything Must Change But Love Remains The Same;” Ilaiyaraaja

One of India’s greatest music directors Ilaiyaraaja has said that everything in the world must change but the one thing that would remain the same was love.

He made this observation in a reply to director Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth, who had put out a series of pictures on social media about a recent meeting she had had with him.

Aishwaraya had said, “My Monday mid noon couldn’t have been more musical and magical. Always a delight to spend time with my dearest Ilaiyaraaja uncle. #mondayvibes #workmodeon.”

Responding to her tweet on Tuesday, Ilaiyaraaja said, “Am happy to meet and spend time. Many things may happen in one’s life but one thing will never change – my true love. God bless you. Be happy always. Everything must change. But one thing will remain the same, that’s love.”

The music director also went on to post a YouTube link to Quincy Jones’s number ‘Everything must change.”

Speculation has been rife in the film industry if Ilaiyaraaja is scoring the music for Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth’s next film as the filmmaker, in her tweet, had hashtagged the phrase, ‘work mode on’. (IANS)

Sooni Taraporevala Urges Re-Releasing Of “Mississippi Masala” In US

The screen-writer of Mississippi Masala talks about what makes the Mira Nair directorial relevant to the current generation of the Indian diaspora in the US even today

31 years after it first premiered in France, filmmaker Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala is all set to re-release in a remixed and remastered format in the USA on April 15. The film starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury revolves around Indians being subjected to racism and xenophobia in Uganda.

Its screenplay writer Sooni Taraporevala believes that the film will have a strong impact on the new generation of the Indian diaspora in the USA this time around as well. “When the film first came out, I was in India and there were so many comments like, ‘We aren’t like that, we aren’t racists’ but it’s just not true. We like pointing fingers at others and call them racist, but deny it when it comes to us. It’s going to be very relevant for the next generation because sadly, not much has changed,” she says. Sharing her excitement about the re-release of the film,

Taraporevala, who bagged the Golden Osella Best Original Screenplay for it at the Venice international Film Festival in 1991, says, “In a climate where new films aren’t getting released theatrically, we find it absolutely amazing and thrilling that a film that’s 30-year-old is being re-released.”

The Salaam Bombay! (1988) and The Namesake (2006) writer feels that it’s imperative to introduce the younger NRI audience to cult classics that offer them a glimpse into their culture. She explains, “It’s always important to expose them to what came before, provided it’s relevant, especially in today’s times where attention spans are zero. Nobody reads and so, there’s no concept of history today.”

Taraporevala further reveals that Mississippi Masala holds a special place in Nair’s heart due to personal reasons. “Mira met her husband, Mahmood Mamdani, when we went to Kampala to do our research. The house in the film is now her house. Her son was born there,” she ends.

This Is The Time To Unite: AR Rahman On North-South Debate

Pointing out that it was very easy to divide people through art, Oscar-winner and one of India’s top music directors A.R. Rahman said that this was the time to unite and to celebrate differences.

Speaking at the CII-DAKSHIN South India Media and Entertainment Summit, where he was honoured with the Icon award, Rahman recalled an incident that had occurred in Malaysia seven years ago.

“I had gone to Malaysia some seven years ago. There, a nice Chinese gentleman told me, ‘You are from India?’ I like India. I like North India better. They are more fair. He said, “Their movies are much more charming.”

The music director said that the gentleman’s comments got him thinking and it made him wonder if the man had actually watched south Indian movies and why he made such a statement.

“It deeply disturbed me. Then, I discovered that what we need to do is we need to cast people with colour. Make them empowering and give them characters which will give them dignity. This is the most important thing that south Indians can do because we love our colour,” he said.

Rahman also went on to make it clear that be it south India or north India, India was India.

“For me, it doesn’t matter. Somebody does good here, north India benefits. Somebody does good there, we benefit. the borders are broken. If you look at Netflix, people watch Malayalam movies, Tamil movies everything… The borders are broken but we need to empower ourselves definitely. And through art, it is much more easier,” he said.

Rahman said, “Imagination should not be just for South Indians. Just for our culture. You need to show the world what minds we are and what culture we have in the most international way,” the music director pointed out before concluding his speech with a point on unity.

“It is very easy to divide people through art, through movies. This is the time to unite. This is the time to celebrate differences. This is the time to show the unity so that we can be more powerful and we can lead the world,” he said. (IANS)

Mannara Chopra, Bollywood Actor Leads Holi Celebrations By Aarush Entertainment

Festival of colors organized by Manoj Rathod (CEO of Aarush Entertainment) and UR Group was one of the biggest Holi and Indian cultural events which took place on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at Candela, 8526 W Golf Rd, Niles, IL 60714. This event touched the hearts as well as the dreams of Indian immigrants and natives simultaneously. The event was house full, enjoyed the vibrant colors, dazzling music, enthralling dances and award to Women Empowerment Icon

The special guest was Mannara Chopra (Actress plus model from Bollywood and Sunil Shah Chairman, Founders of FIA. Prachi Jaitly & Bharti Desai were Master of ceremony of this event. Women Empowerment Icon awardees were Prachi Jaitly, Bharti Desai, Rita Shah, Uma Avadhuta, Usha Bhaskar, Sweety Raheja, Sonya Gupta, Rebecca Bodony and Vibha Rajput.

The main highlight of the event came when participants picked up colored powder and chased each other, tossing colors into the air and covering friends and strangers alike. They joy and excitement filled the air and created a memorable experience for all.

“Today we are here to celebrate the Holi festival. The festival of colors, fun, happiness, friendship and love. May the colors spread the wings of joy, peace and laughter upon you and your family. We wish you Happy Holi” said by Manoj Rathod (CEO of Aarush Entertainment).

Mannara Chopra was born in Ambala CantonmentHaryana. Her name Mannara, is Greek for “something that shines’ ‘. Mannara’s mother is a Jewelry designer, and her father is a lawyer. Mannara was educated at Summer Fields School, New Delhi, and pursued a BBA degree and is a fashion designer after completing her education in Delhi, Mannara moved to Mumbai, where she started her career in modelling and moved into advertising. She is currently shooting with Director Teja for his forthcoming film alongside Kajal Aggarwal. She has played lead roles in Telugu cinema in Thikka, Rogue, Jakkanna.

The Aarush Entertainment company offers event planning & management services that also includes wedding designing, planning, management & consultancy, adopting a comprehensive approach & professional management information system to plan and produce a world class event experience each & every time all over the world. The highly skilled team of professionals at Aarush Entertainment strives hard to accomplish the highest standard of quality, effectiveness & novelty with due importance to the budgetary considerations.

Indie Meme Film Festival Returns To Austin With A Lineup Boasting Diversity And Inclusiveness

Austin’s Premier South Asian Film Festival hosts its first in-person festival since the start of the pandemic, with films showcased in a hybrid format.

The Indie Meme Film Festival, Austin’s leading cinema event curating South Asian independent cinema, returns to movie theaters for the first time in two years. The festival, which was presented virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, comes back in a hybrid format.

The festival will showcase nearly three dozen films from South Asian filmmakers, covering a variety of poignant topics. Each film tells a unique and diverse story of South Asian lives: a child’s struggle in remote India, an Iranian family seeking asylum in Europe, domestic abuse, alcoholism, mental health, patriarchy and colonialism.

Many of the films in this year’s festival focus on issues important to women, including sexuality, education and the family unit. Through it all, this year’s lineup is a testament to the importance of accepting people for who they are, and each story is told so that audiences of all backgrounds can relate.

In-person screenings will take place April 14-17 at Austin Film Society. Those wishing to watch the festival virtually will be able to stream films online April 22-24.

RK/RKAY is IMFF 2022’s centerpiece feature. The film tells the story of a filmmaker struggling to complete his latest creative endeavor. It stars veteran Indian actor-director Rajat Kapoor, who gained international acclaim as an abusive uncle in Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding. Kapoor will attend IMFF 2022 from India and participate in a Q&A after the film screening.

Other feature films at IMFF 2022 include Barah x Barah Rehana, Bangla, Hit The Road, A Night of Knowing Nothing, Midwives, Last Film Show, I Am Belmaya, Any Day Now, Moshari, Lunana, Receiver and Biriyaani.

The Bengali action thriller Rehana makes its U.S. premiere at IMFF 2022. Abdullah Mohammed Saad directs this film about a medical college professor whose life descends into chaos after she witnesses an incident involving one of her students.

Cinematographer Sunny Lahiri will headline a Q&A session after the screening of Barah x Barah, which chronicles the life of a photographer who captures images of the dead in Varanasi, one of India’s oldest cities.

The festival’s diverse Shorts Program features 16 films: Bambirak, Blind Date, Baahar, Mono No Aware, Sheer Qorma, Miniaturist of Junagadh, My Mother’s Girlfriend, Kanya, U For Usha, Testimony of Ana, Not Today, Wade, Chai, An Early Spring, A Coup, An Early Spring, Turning Point and Cycle.

Bahaar, a 14-minute short directed by Prakshi Malik, is a local project out of The University of Texas at Austin that was awarded grant from Austin Film Society. The film tells the story of a student dealing with disaster after being accepted into the boarding school of her dreams.

Making its North American premiere is A Coup, an 8-minute short from Pakistan. Areeba Naveed’s film narrates the story of a young girl who comes out, and a psychiatrist’s attempt to intervene.

Also coming to IMFF 2022 is the German-Afghan production Bambirak, winner of the Best International Fiction Award at 2021’s Sundance Film Festival. Bambirak is the story of a single dad and his daughter trying to establish their life in a new country. Tickets are $65 for Indie Meme members and $85 for non-members. The price is the same for in-person or virtual screenings. Sponsors for this year’s event include H-E-B, Waterloo Greenway, The Austin Chronicle and Austin Film Society.

Indie Meme was founded in 2013 and is Austin’s dedicated cinematic organization for South Asian films. The festival, which returns this year for its seventh annual event, was co-founded by two South Asian women, Alka Bhanot and Tripti Bhatnagar. The organization, in addition to hosting an annual film festival, puts on screenings in Austin and Dallas throughout the year. The complete lineup of films can be found at: https://www.indiememe.org/imff-2022.

The Kashmir Files – A Movie On Exodus Of Kashmir Pandits

Kashmir silk is more popularly known worldwide, than the name of Kashmiri Pandits so far. But the new sensitive movie “ The Kashmir Files”  exposes some of the historic events and the flight of Kashmir Pandits, to the present generation.

The Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus, (also known as “Kashmiri Pandits), is the migration, or the flight on a  large-scale, that caused their displacement from the Kashmir Valley in 1990, makes the story of Kashmir Files, worth seeing.

Even before its release, ‘The Kashmir Files’ was becoming a hit with tremendous pre-release hype. Directed by Vivek Agnihotri, the film tells the story of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. The film, released in theaters few days ago, is getting a good response from the audience.

Many of us would have watched some of the old movies on Hindu-Muslim Riots, with themes of Babri Masjid to Bombay Bombing like, Delhi-6 (2009), Bombay (1995)! Firaaq (2008)! Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001)! Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002). Surprisingly these commercial movies are aimed at both communities, and most of them turned blockbusters, taking advantage of the rivalry in their minds.

According to the Census from 1889 to 1941, Kashmiri Pandits, or Kashmiri Hindus, constituted between 4% and 6% of the population of the Kashmir valley. The rest of the population was Kashmiri Muslim. History says that by early 1990, the vast majority of Kashmiri Hindus fled the valley. “According to an estimate, approximately 100,000 of an estimated Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left in the span of a few weeks in February–March 1990 alone”. Hindu-Muslim polarization in India over the years, in turn fueling the Hindu-Muslim chasm in the Valley. The issue of the Kashmiri Pandits return are an important side of the Kashmir File story.

Many reports show that, 1724 people have been killed by militants in Kashmir in the last three decades, more than 1,600 Muslims. According to Kapoor, Kashmiri Pandits make up about 5% of those killed by militants in Kashmir. The remaining 95 percent are from the Muslim community. The Pandits began leaving the valley on January 19, 1990. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 100,000 Pandits left the valley “with the encouragement and assistance of the government.”

With the Pandits evacuating, the government pressured the Pandits to leave the area, hoping for more comprehensive retaliation against Muslims. However, after the departure, various right-wing Hindu groups used Kashmiri Pandits as ‘victims’.

Accompanied by captured campaigns, the film reached the limelight. The film ‘highlights’ the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who suffered during the riots of the 90s. Many scenes of  people chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and other Hindu slogans outside cinema halls have already been widely circulated on social media. Meanwhile, the Kashmiri Pandit issue is being used by the Sangh Parivar as a tool to implement their oligarchy.

Shortly after its release, the film began making headlines. Many have described it as a true representation of the conflict in the Valley. The film depicts the plight of the Pandits in silver screen and seeks to demonize the Kashmiri Muslims. Following the release, the film has been widely used by the media and Sangh Parivar social media handles to spread anti-Muslim sentiment. While the film claims that 650 Kashmiri Pandits were killed after the riots of the 1990s.The Valley is keeping a criminal silence on the more than 1.5 million Kashmiri people who have been murdered over the decades

Director Vivek Agnihotri’s  courageous film is based on the experiences of individuals who were directly affected by the Kashmir riots. The length of the film is two hours and 50 minutes. The film is based on actual events and stars Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher, Darshan Kumar, Pallavi Joshi, Chinmayi Mandlekar, Puneet Issar, Prakash Belavadi, Atul Srivastava and Mrinal Kulkarni in the lead roles.

The film begins in 1990, when the riots in Kashmir escalated. After explaining the severity of the situation, the story goes to the present. The film begins with children playing cricket and ends in a tomb. There are also reactions that the hours in between made the film tense in the audience’s minds.

No doubt, the characters in the film, including Anupam Kher, were excellent, and it will be an excellent contribution to Indian cinema. Before its release, the film received rave reviews from both audiences as it represents bitter truth that shakes the viewers inside out. Unfortunately, that is why the film is getting negative reviews. The neutrals believe that a film based on such sensitive issues will further widen the divide in the Valley and India in general, hope it does not happen as such – “that makes the viewers numb and silent even in the  corridors of the theaters while exiting”.

Bhishma Or Shakuni!

When a Malayalam movie is widely publicized as a brilliant work of stylish screenplay, if people all over the world are compelled to watch it on curiosity, it’s worth critiquing. A decent movie review should be an unbiased original opinion without thinking about what mainstream media writes in bold letters.

Bheeshmaparvam was probably the most anticipated Malayalam movie; after the superhit pictures like BigB, Priest, and One, all flourished with the name of Super Star Mammootty. Now, after 15 years, Amal Neerad and Mammootty joined together, and the fans were, no doubt, expecting a hype with this picture. Even within five days of Its release, media started announcing that Mammootti’s Bheeshmaparvam broke the record collection of Mohanlal’s Lucifer.

It seems that Bheeshmaparvam was created to fit the age of Mammootty and within the limited resources and locations due to Covid restrictions.

The storyline runs with the ancestral flashback, and the introduction of characters itself is so confusing that the average viewer will struggle to find the relation between the characters.Follows a chaotic, tender aristocratic, but notorious ‘Anjootti family’ that is on a road trip across a rugged landscape and fussing over the patriarchal leadership of Michael, who is not even the eldest son in the family tree. Only the mysterious older brother is quiet but obeys Michael for the good of the big family. Amal Neerad has shown extensive expertise to mimic the old movie GodFather by all means. Anand’s high-tech camera and Vivek’s editing styles created a widescreen set up to accommodate the Megastar to entertain Malayalees indeed.

No doubt, Mammootti’s heroic looks with his screen presence made the character of Michael unique. However, since Bheeshmaparvam is not a one-man-show, sufficient space has been provided for the other prominent personalities of Saubin Shahir, Shine Tom Chacko, Fahraan Fasil, Sreenath Bhasi, Dileesh Pothen, paarvathi Mala, Lena, Nadia Moidu, AnasuyavBhardwaj,etc.

It is heart touching to see the legends, Nedumudi Venu and KPAC Lalitha, appearing in their old looks for the last time for Malayalis, who mourn for their recent passing away.

Michael’s patriarchal role is not acceptable to the younger generation in the story. That envisaged enough room for the Director to mix up religious hatreds and some other hidden agenda. Kochi- Mattancherry lobby has been attempting to precipitate hate against the Christian community, which may be a good plot for a giant movie; that is the commercial aspect of movie lobbies.

Just because Superstars like Mammootty or Mohanlal is in the leading role, there is a notion that the movie will be successful. Still, recently we have been proving wrong with the prevailing ideas. So I would like to highlight the solid negative side of the plot of the so-called Big Movie. It is not against Mammootty or other stars, who all did well in their roles. Let it be exposed that the story of this movie has its evil hidden agenda.

As mentioned earlier, a set of new-gen story writers and directors have been adopting a hidden formula cleverly. They are mocking the Christian beliefs and traditions. For example, the movie “Trance” depicted hatred on Christian retreats and healing ministries- nobody protested. In this movie, a specific community is highlighted as good people throughout, whereas others are evil mongers and roots of all evils. Is it a good message for a highly harmonious state like Kerala?.

Another issue is with the side story of Christian girls are frantically running after Muslim relatives, or they are being trapped. A group of Christian mothers is plotting together with a few of their brothers against their church to get the girl married to a Muslim boy.A priest from this Anjootti Family is characterized as the villain, a portion of the family supports Muslim counterparts, and Christians in the family are projected as drug addicts and evil brats.

The worst part of the story happens when Michael, the patriarch, induces to kill his own Christian brothers for the benefit of the Muslim counterparts in the same family. The real killer is manifested and acknowledged by the hero himself. Is it not the hidden ideology to elevate the qualities of one religion as the only good creed of people. On the other hand, the Christian group is the nasty one creating all the atrocities. Is it true?

Bheeshma in the Mahabharata had at least some moral qualities, who acquired his prowess and invincibility with humility. In this movie, truly we are misguided with its name. We don’t find any Hindutwa nor a real Bheeshma, but only the rough games between Christian and Muslim groups. But revenge, much like every taut minute of this thriller, is far too addictive to give up until the bitter end.

We find only the crafty and devious “Shakuni” in this movie as a Megastar. It would have been apt to name it “ShakuniParvam” instead of Bheeshmaparvam!

Bappi Lahiri, India’s ‘Disco-King’ Dies At 69

Veteran singer-composer credited with popularizing disco music in India passed away in Mumbai city on Wednesday, February 16th. India’s first “Disco-King,” Alokesh alias Bappi Lahiri, 69, – nephew of the legendary trio of late Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar, breathed his last at the Criticare Hospital, Juhu in Mumbai, said the hospital Director Dr. Deepak Namjoshi.

“He had been admitted to the hospital for a month and was discharged on Monday. But his health deteriorated on Tuesday and his family called for a doctor to visit their home, after which he was brought to the hospital,” said Dr Joshi. He suffered from several health complications and died due to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) last night, the medico added.

He had several collaborations with international stars, including English model and singer Samantha Fox in the 1995 Hindi film Rock Dancer and with Snoop Dogg on Punjabi song Patiala Peg in 2015.

Lahiri – who attained fame as India’s first ‘Disco King’ – is survived by his wife, Chitrani, daughter Rema and a son Bappa, who has taken to his dad’s musical career. In a statement later, the Lahiri family said: “It’s a deeply sad moment for us. We are seeking love and blessings for his soul.”

Born in West Bengal, Lahiri’s first composition was for a Bengali film, ‘Daadu’ (1972), followed by a Bollywood film ‘Nanha Shikari’ (1973).

He arrived’ on the musical scene in a crescendo with ‘Zakhmee’ (1975) for which he composed music and also sang, pushing him to upper echelons at a very young age of barely 22.

During his career, he directed top legends like Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, his ‘Mama’ Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosale, Usha Uthup and many more to create waves with soulful, racy, vibrant and rhythmic music. He composed music for dozens of movies featuring top actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Mithun Chakraborty.

With the rise of hip-hop and break-dance culture in the latter half of the 80s, Lahiri took up the challenge and experimented with electro sounds on I Am a Break Dancer (Pyaar Karke Dekho), Break Dance (Kahan Hai Kanoon) and I Am a Street Dancer (Ilzaam), among others. Mithun Chakraborty and Govinda, two mega-stars in Bollywood known for their dance moves, became synonymous with Bappi’s compositions and vice versa. Govinda wrote on Instagram after Lahiri’s death that he would not have become a star without his music.

Lahiri created musical tsunamis with his compositions in ‘Chalte, Chalte’ (1976), ‘Suraksha’ with the pacy ‘Gunmaster G9’ becoming as popular as 007, and “Lahu Ke Do Rang” (both 1979).

Then followed ‘Manokaamna’ (1980) with several lilting numbers, ‘Wardat’ (1981), the raging music of “Disco Dancer” that had the nation dancing to his tunes with ‘Jimmy Jimmy, Aaja Aaja’, and ‘Namak Halal’ (both, 1982), the foot-tapping ‘Himmatwala’ (1983), ‘Sharaabi’ (1984) with the unforgettable ‘Log Kehte Hain, Main Sharaabi Hoon’, “Adventures of Tarzan” (1985) in which Kimi Katkar cavorted onscreen crooning ‘Tarzan, O My Tarzan’, ‘Dance Dance’ (1987).

Other films for which he composed memorable songs include ‘Commando’ (1988), ‘Prem Pratigya’ and ‘Guru’ (both, 1989). In 1990, he took the industry by storm with superhit music for ‘Naakabandi’ like the ever-green ‘Naakabandi-Naakabandi’ sung by Usha Uthup and Bappi himself, ‘Ghayal’, ‘Aaj Ka Arjun’, ‘Thanedaar’, ‘Sailaab’.

Later came films like ‘Dushman Devta’, ‘Sau Crore’, ‘First Love Letter’ (all, 1991), ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’, ‘Zindagi Ek Jua’, ‘Police Aur Mujrim’, ‘Geet’, ‘Tauheen’ (all, 1992), ‘Dalaal’, ‘Aankhen’, ‘Amaanat’ (1994), ‘Rock Dancer’ (1995), ‘Hum Sab Chor Hai’ (1996), ‘Benaam’ (1999), ‘Justice Chowdhary’ (2000), joint compositions for ‘Chandni Chowk To China’ (2008), ‘Baaghi 3’ (2020).

Lahiri also composed extensively for regional films in Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil. Besides, he also composed English songs, and flirted with politics briefly with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Condolences poured in from top politicians and Bollywood celebrities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Lahiri’s music was “all-encompassing, beautifully expressing diverse emotions” and that “people across generations could relate to his works. His lively nature will be missed by everyone. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” Modi added.

Top leaders, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, BJP’s Leaders of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis and Pravin Darekar, and others condoled the passing of Lahiri.

Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman tweeted his condolences and called Lahiri the “Disco King of Hindi cinema”. Leading Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar said Lahiri’s voice “was the reason for millions to dance, including me. Thank you for all the happiness you brought through your music,” he wrote on Twitter.

From the film industry, actors Vidya Balan, Shakti Kapoor, Roopali Ganguly, Deb Mukherjee, singers Udit Narayan, Shaan, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Mika Singh, producer Bhushan Kumar, filmmaker KC Bokadia, who had worked with the composer in his 1990 Amitabh Bachchan starrer “Aaj Ka Arjun”, attended the cremation.

Fondly called ‘Bappi Da’ by his fans and friends from the industry, the 69-year-old was credited for revolutionising the disco sound for Hindi film music landscape in the 70s and 80s and continued to churn out hits in a career spanning five decades.

Lahiri’s output was prolific and in 1986 he entered the Guinness Book of World Records for recording more than 180 songs for 33 films. It’s no surprise that, as the man whose soundtracks gave Indian cinema a youthful injection throughout the 80s and 90s, Lahiri had a sense of style as loud as his music. Over the years, Lahiri had crafted the image of a pop icon aided by his trademark gold chains that he wore for luck, his sunglasses.

Shot On Smartphone, Film ‘Pondicherry’ All Set To Hit The Big Screen

Shot on a smartphone, the film ‘Pondicherry’ is all about its beaches, natural beauty, French houses, people and culture of the city. Directed by Sachin Kundalkar, the film features Sai Tamhankar, Vaibhav Tatwawadi, Amruta Khanvilkar, Mahesh Manjrekar, Neena Kulkarni, Gaurav Ghatnekar and Tanmay Kulkarni. And the credit for making it unique with it’s photography goes to the DOP Milind Jog.

The launch of the trailer of the most awaited film ‘Pondicherry’ took place in Mumbai in Pondicherry Cafe.

Actress Amruta Khanvilkar, in the context of her role in the film, says: “The story attracted me the most and undoubtedly Sachin Kundalkar is one of the finest story tellers. I have thoroughly loved the depth of my character and the uniqueness of the film which is shot through a smartphone. In fact we shot with a limited crew which was a challenge for each one of us, but as said it’s all worth it in the end when the team has worked with all their heart.”

On the other hand actress Sai Tamhankar, expresses her happiness to be part of the movie. She talks about her character and what makes this movie different.

She adds: “I feel extremely blessed to bag such a brilliant film and this powerful character. Beauty of my character Nikita is ‘woman of few words & more of action’. Also, working with co-stars who are outstanding in portraying their roles, makes me even more inspired. It feels so good to bounce back with a fresh story line with one of my favourite filmmakers, Sachin Kundalkar.”

“I love the way he narrates his stories and the treatment Sachin gives and weaves his characters. The process of this film is something that has changed me in and out and for the better . It’s a film made on an Iphone (smartphone) with a crew of 15 people and an actor without (hair, makeup, assistant, chauffeur) any kind of assistance: truly a liberating experience!,” she shares.

Actor Vaibhav Tatwawadi shares why he took up the opportunity and what he liked most about this film. He says: “Coming up with a story based on the town of Pondicherry caught my attention at first. The stunning frames, brilliant direction and portrayal of the entire film are something new to be watched for viewers.”

Director Sachin Kundalkar gives insight into the idea behind the movie and appreciates Milind Jog for the way he shot the entire film.

He says: “This film brings different subjects altogether. The film may sound like a love triangle from the teaser, the theme of the same is way beyond that. Since this whole movie was shot on mobile, the obvious technical difference can be noticed. But, to maintain that balance and feel we shot it pretty carefully and came up with a great creation. It also showcases the brilliance of photographer Milind Jog. Many versatile actors have come together to make the film. This unique emotional story will surely appeal to the audience.”

Presented by Akshay Bardapurkar and Planet Marathi, a Vistas Media Capital Company, the film ‘Pondicherry’ is written and directed by Sachin Kundalkar and produced by Neil Patel from Moh Maya Films.

Talking about the film, Planet Marathi Head and Founder Akshay Bardapurkar says: “We love working with innovative stories and direction to entertain the audience. ‘Pondicherry’ is a result of the same brilliant experiment. A different subject and storyline people will get to see in this film. The subject of the same is entertaining as well as informative.” The film is all set to release on February 25 in theatres. (IANS)

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, Slated For Release On July 1st

The anticipation for R Madhavan’s much-awaited directorial debut is thick in the air! The larger-than-life trailer of his biographical drama Rocketry: The Nambi Effect already has the internet waiting with bated breath to watch the film on 70MM. Today, the actor-turned-filmmaker announced a new release date for his film.

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is now slated for a worldwide theatrical release on 1st July 2022. The movie has been shot simultaneously in multiple languages including Hindi, Tamil and English, and will also be released in Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. While R Madhavan will be seen in the skin of the eponymous Nambi Narayanan, he has also directed, produced and written the film.

With a powerful ensemble star cast comprising of acclaimed international actors Phyllis Logan, Vincent Riotta, Ron Donaiche along with Simran, Rajit Kapur, Ravi Raghavendra, Misha Ghoshal, Gulshan Grover, Karthik Kumar and Dinesh Prabhakar, the movie will see special appearances by superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Suriya. Tracing the life of Indian scientist Nambi Narayanan, a former ISRO scientist and aerospace engineer who was caught in the throes of a spy scandal, the biographical drama will unveil the truth behind the mystery. The music has been composed by Sam CS in India.

The movie has already piqued the interest of the audience with its trailer taking the internet by storm. Touted to be Madhavan’s biggest movie yet, fans are awaiting his return to the big screen after three years, especially given his never-seen-before avatar. Staged on a mammoth scale, the film has been shot in India, France, Canada, Georgia, Serbia and Russia.

Rocketry: The Nambi Effect is being produced by TriColour films, Varghese Moolan Pictures and 27th Investments. The film is being distributed by UFO Moviez and AGS Cinemas in India and will be distributed internationally by Yash Raj Films and Phars Film Co.

Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Nightingale Of India’ Dies At 92

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who died in Mumbai at the age of 92, was an Indian cultural icon and national treasure who made her name in Bollywood – despite only actually appearing on screen in a handful of films.

Lata Mangeshkar, who died on Sunday, February 6th after weeks of hospitalization, was cremated with full state honors at Mumbai’s iconic Shivaji Park bringing an end to a splendid and decorated career spanning seven decades. Just before the last rites, the national flag in which the body was draped, was handed over to the family members. Lata Mangeshkar’s brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar lit the funeral pyre of the singing legend.

A recipient of the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Awards, Lata Mangeshkar was an icon of Indian cinema, having sung playback for an extensive list of Hindi films.

The classically-trained star rose to fame in India’s booming film industry as a “playback singer”, providing the singing voice to Bollywood’s lip-synching movie stars over the course of a career which spanned more than half a century.

For decades, the “nightingale of India” was the country’s most in-demand singer, with every top actress wanting her to sing their songs. Her records, meanwhile, sold in the tens of thousands, and she boasted a back catalog of thousands of songs spanning numerous genres and a total of 36 languages.

But she was also much more than her voice. Mangeshkar was a passionate cricket fan and had a love for cars and the slot machines of Vegas. She also rubbed shoulders with some of Bollywood’s brightest stars – and at least one Beatle.

Mangeshkar, or Lata Didi, as she was fondly called, came from a household that worshipped music. Her father Dinanath Mangeshkar was a towering personality in Marathi theatre. He acted, produced and sang songs in plays that would change the face of Marathi theatre. He was one of the foremost exponents of Natya Sangeet and an accomplished Hindustani classical singer. His mother Yesubai, an accomplished singer from the devadasi community, was one of Portuguese India’s (now Goa) most famous temple singers and dancers.

Born in September 1929, Lata was the first among her siblings – sisters Meena, Asha (Bhosle), and Usha, and brother Hridaynath – that ruled over Marathi and Hindi film music for decades. She was initially named Hema, but her father changed it to Lata after a character in one of his plays.

Their ancestral family name was Hardikar, but their paternal grandfather Ganesh Bhatt Hardikar was given the honor of performing the abhishek (ritual bathing of the deity) at Mangeshi temple in Goa, and they took on the family name Abhisheki. The late Hindustani classical maestro and scholar Jitendra Abhisheki is from the same family and a cousin of the Mangeshkar siblings. Later, Dinanath would adopt his last name from the temple, and call himself Mangeshkar. The name stuck.

Though Lata had started singing in movies by the age of 13 in 1942, it was her breakthrough performance in Majboor in 1948 that catapulted her into mainstream Hindi films. Her mentor was music director Ghulam Haider, who, the story goes, was so angry when producer Sashadhar Mukherjee rejected Mangeshkar’s voice for being “too thin” thundered to him that he would one day fall at Lata’s feet and beg her to sing in his movies.

Mangeshkar confirmed this incident in film historian Raju Bhartan’s biography on her. On several occasions, she credited Haider as her mentor. “He was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent,” she said in 2013.

After Majboor’s success in 1948, she would achieve greater fame the next year when she sang the haunting “Aayega aanewala” in the runaway hit Mahal, whose music director Khemchand Prakash was later credited with mainstreaming another talent – Kishore Kumar. With Aayega aanewala, Mangeshkar had truly arrived, and was seen to have stepped out of the shadow of another film singing legend, Noor Jehan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Shivaji Park to pay his last respects to the singer and met the Mangeshkar family members and consoled them. He left the venue before the funeral.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister tweeted saying he is “anguished beyond words”. “The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people,” he said in a tweet.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said she remained the “most beloved voice of India for many decades” and added that her immortal golden voice will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans.

Lata Mangeshkar was cremated with full state honors

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, lyricist Javed Akhtar, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, among others, were also in attendance to pay their last respects.

One of the famous episodes of her life is when her music moved Jawaharlal Nehru to tears. On January 27, 1963 during the backdrop of the India-China war, Lata Mangeshkar sang Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon in the presence of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, bringing him to tears.

Subcontinent leaders, including Pakistan’s Imran Khan, sent their tributes to the legendary singer.

“With the death of Lata Mangeshkar the subcontinent has lost one of the truly great singers the world has known. Listening to her songs has given so much pleasure to so many people all over the world,” Imran Khan tweeted.

Lata Mangeshkar’s death has created a “great void in the subcontinent’s musical arena”, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said as she recalled ‘the empress of music’ with gratitude for her role in the Liberation War of 1971 against Pakistan.

Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari recalled the contribution of “genius” Lata Mangeshkar to Nepali songs as she paid her tribute to the singer.

“I am saddened by the news of the demise of famous Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar, who has also lent her melodious voice to many Nepalese songs,” Ms Bhandari tweeted in Nepali language.

Lata Mangeshkar, who belonged to a prominent musical family, also composed music as well as produced a handful of films. She was popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of India.’

In her melodious voice, Lata Mangeshkar had sung over 50,000 songs in 14 languages since her radio debut in 1941.

The central government has announced a two-day “state mourning” on the death of the legendary singer. The national flag will fly at half mast from February 6 to February 7 throughout India and there will be no official entertainment in this period.

Chalte Chalte: Lata Mangeshkar’s Melodious Journey Across Bollywood Epochs

Warbling her way into our hearts with the haunting and ethereal strains of “Aayega Aanewala” in “Mahal” (1949), Lata Mangeshkar became the definitive voice of several generations of Indian film heroines — from Madhubala to Madhuri Dixit, Kamini Kaushal to Kajol, Padmini to Preity Zinta, Sharmila Tagore to Sridevi, and countless others — in a wide range of melodic songs that will reverberate for all ages.

Filling the void left by singing superstars such as Noor Jahan and Suraiyya as a result of emigration or retirement, she overcame what Dilip Kumar once gently mocked as the “dal-chawal” flavour of her Urdu, to achieve perfect diction in that expressive language to fashion magic in the thousands of songs she rendered for scores of gifted music composers and inspired lyricists.

As the inevitable fate of humans stills the golden voice that was long an essential ingredient of a Bollywood film for seven decades, and helped many of these to be successful — Raj Kapoor, till the end of his life, was convinced that it was her absence that made his cherished “Mera Naam Joker” a flop — let us revisit Lata Mangeshkar through her songs for over the years, restricting it to one song per actress.

Even if we keep it to solos, leaving out the duets as far as possible, so as to focus on her superlative voice, which still makes it a tough task, not to mention highly subjective, given the range of her contribution.

Do we choose the pensive “Zindagi Bhar Nahi Bhoolegi Woh Barsaat ki Raat” or the daring “Pyar Kiya to Darna Kya” for Madhubala, the soothing “Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi”, the carefree “Panchi Banu Mast Phiru Mast Gagan Mein”, or even the redemptive “Jago Mohan Pyaare” for Nargis, the playful “Toone O Rangeele”, or the sparkling “Mere Naseeb Mein Tu Hai Ki Nahi” for Hema Malini?

Which one for Nutan, for Mala Sinha, for Rekha? Let’s try.

Madhubala: It was through “Aayega Aanewala…”, picturised on this actress, that Lata Mangeshkar’s voice came to the forefront, around seven years after her debut, and the Madhubala-Lata combine went on to produce magical melodies in classics from “Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi” to “Mughal-e-Azam”.

But, given Madhubala’s effervescent screen persona, let us choose the melody that shows her in a hapless and sombre situation, and shows the inclusive nature of Bollywood, and of India, the ‘hamd’ (a song composed in the Prophet’s praise) “Bekas par karam kijiye, o sarkar-e-Madina”, written by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by the illustrious Naushad.

Nargis: Raj Kapoor’s oeuvre had certain constants — himself as the star, Nargis as the heroine, Shankar-Jaikishan for music, Hasrat Jaipuri-Shailendra for the lyrics, and Mukesh and Lata as the voices. But Lata’s contribution to Nargis outspanned the RK banner. “Dil Ke Girah Khol Do, Chup Na Baitho, Koi Geet Gao” with the heroine, paired with the young and debonair Feroz Khan, in a challenging role in a film dealing with mental issues, is one worth listening

Meena Kumari: From “Mohe Bhool Gaye Sawariya” to “Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh”, the combination of Meena Kumari and Lata has given several unforgettable melodies to Bollywood. But their defining contribution comes in “Pakeezah”, the swan song of the gifted actress. It is difficult to choose between “Inhi Logon Ne” to “Chalte Chalte”, but it is the challenging “Thare Rahiyo” that showcases both at their best.

Vyjanthimala: While “Hothon Pe Daba Ke Aisi Baat” from “Jewel Thief” could be a strong contender, the success of Bimal Roy’s supernatural “Madhumati” owes a lot to its music, beyond the performances of Dilip Kumar, Vyjanthimala, Pran and Jayant. The duet “Dil Tadap Tadap Ke” is an evergreen melody, or “Chad Gaya Paapi Bichua” have their points, it is “Aaja Re Pardesi” stands out.

Sadhna: The heroine who popularised a new hairstyle had Lata Mangeshkar to thank for the songs that showcased her cinematic prowess, from the classical “O Sajna Barkha Bahar Aayi” to the haunting “To Jahan Rahega, Mera Saaya Saath Hoga”, but it is the haunting “Lag Ja Gale”, with the masterful music of Madan Mohan that will also evoke the impermanence of love and keep both in our memories

Nanda: The graceful actress with her endearing eyes also owes Lata Mangeshkar for the melodies that define her on silver screen, from “Kis Liye Maine Pyaar Kiya” to the “Allah, Ishwar Tero Naam”, but it is the sensuous “Yeh Samaa Yeh Samaa Hai Pyar Ka” that defines their collaboration.

Waheeda Rehman: Again a string of stirring melodies connect the elegant actress to the superlative voice from “Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil” to “Rangeela Re”, but it is the exuberant and carefree “Aaj Phir Zeene ki Tamanna Hai”, with that high-powered “Kaaton se kheench ke yeh aanchal” that begins it, seems a strong contender for their best.

Sharmila Tagore: From the soulful “Kuch Dil Ne Kaha” to “Chalo Sajna Jahan Tak”, the dimpled beauty found Lata as her ideal voice, but one of their best can be the full-powered, classical-tinged “Ab Ke Sajan Sawan Mein”, and the hidden affection it showcases.

Hema Malini: Again, from “Tune O Rangeele” to “Mere Naseeb Mein To Hai Ke Nahi”, Lata created magic in the musical sorties of the “Dream Girl”, but the one which stands out due to its setting, music and lyrics is “Ae Dil-e-Nadan” from “Razia Sultan”.

Rekha: While younger sis Asha Bhosle performed the best for Rekha in “Umrao Jaan”, Lata Mangeskhar was not behind for the diva as songs from “O Pardesiya” to “Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Ham” to “Aaj Kal Paaon Zameen Par” attest. But it is the rather challenging “Salaam-e-Ishq”, before the point where Amitabh/Kishore join in with that ‘alaap’.

Zeenat Aman: The vivacious, Westernised Zeenat was rather well served by Asha Bhosle (remember the rebellious “Dum Maaro Dam”), but Lata Mangeshkar was never behind as “Jiska Mujhe Tha Intezar” to “Shama Jale Ya Na Jale” show. It was, however, for a deglamourised, rural-dwelling Zeenat in the eponymous title song of “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, which is a classic.

Dimple Kapadia: For this actress, who ventured into some rather off-beat movies after her comeback but performed with aplomb throughout, it is a toss-up between “Yaara Seeli Sili” from “Lekin” to “Dil Hoom Hoom Kare” from “Rudaali”, with their evocative music a perfect complement to that vigorous voice.

Madhuri Dixit: She was almost four decades younger, but still Madhuri Dixit found Lata Mangeshkar to be her perfect voice as “Didi Tera Devar Deewana” shows. But it is that exuberant “Dil to Paagal Hai” that shows Lata, nearly a septuagenerian then, still had an evergreen voice — as besides Madhuri, she sang for the even younger Karisma too

Kajol: “Yeh Dil Tum Bin Nahi Lagta” was Lata singing for Tanuja in 1968, and over a quarter century later, she was as fresh as she sang “Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye” for her daughter Kajol in the landmark “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge”. Take your pick from any song.

Preity Zinta: When you mix legends like A.R. Rehman and Lata, it will result in sheer enchantment. “Jiya Jale” is a song that stands out in “Dil Se”.

There are so many more — “Ghairon pe Karam Apno pe Sitam” picturised on Mala Sinha — which shows that Lataji could never be faulted on her Urdu pronounciation; “Dil to Hai Dil, Dil Ka Kya Aitbaar Kijiye” on Rakhee; “Tere Bina Zindagi Ko Shikwa Nahi” on Suchitra Sen; “Chori Chori Koi Aaye” on Poonam Dhillon; “Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho” on Reena Roy, and so many others that will remain testimony to her encompassing contribution to Bollywood.

An Indian University Now Trains Future Bollywood Actors

World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India.

World University of Design introduces a 6-Month Certificate Programme in Film Acting in their academic session 2022. The programme will be headed by veteran trainer for aspiring actors Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi and will commence from March 2022 onwards.

The programme is aimed at providing extensive training to the candidates for a career in Hindi Bollywood Film Industry and has a limited number of 25 seats which will be allotted based on application and personal interview. Divided into 2 divisions comprising of 3 months each the candidates will first undergo intensive training in the first half and then feature in a full-scale Feature Film which will further be used to launch them as actors. The film will be produced and distributed by WUD itself. This is a unique offer that sets this course over and above other courses of shorter duration.

The 6-month acting course is  designed such that  students inculcate a sense of confidence and effortlessly act in front of the camera, get a good command over spoken language with a flawless dialogue delivery; master facial expressions, develop good body language and flexibility; develop the essential skills of observation, imagination, sense and emotion memories; ability to improvise; master movement with special focus on dancing abilities to improvise; and the fundamentals of action choreography.

As World University of Design sets foot into a new genre, Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Vice Chancellor, World University of Design) says, “Extremely thrilled and hopeful to add the course on Film Acting to our diversified menu of courses! More than that I am exhilarated to have someone as seasoned and skilled as Mr. Azmi boarded with us and flagged off this essential milestone in the history of the university. In the past we have witnessed students showing interest in the domain of film acting and I am very sure the seats will be taken soon.”

Peppered to handle his new role at World University of Design Mr. Farrukh Naqi Azmi says, “I have been training acting aspirants for more than 3 decades now in India as well as abroad but every time the whole experience feels new to me. Every place has its own dialects, speech formations and a certain way of life which needs to be gauged before the grooming, diction and the whole technique shapes up. So here I am, keen and waiting to start off the acting journey for new kids!”

While advancing its footsteps in order to provide a bright future to its students, the university will ensure that every student gets plenty of auditions each in Mumbai. WUD is not only making provisions for their students to be equipped with necessary skill-sets like make-up and video editing but also providing prospects to them to produce their own short films or music videos if they please.

About World University of Design: World Design University (WUD) is India’s first university dedicated to educate students in the creative domain. Seated in the heart of the educational hub of India – Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonipat, Haryana – WUD plays the role of a harbinger of a revolution in the education system in India. It is the torchbearer of breaking stereotypical educational patterns and has facilitated the shift of studies pertaining to design from being solely vocation-oriented to academic-oriented; thereby offering substantiated degrees (under section 2(f) and 22(l) of the UGC Act) to its students instead of mere diplomas and certificates.

Established in 2018, World University of Design is a young university offering a myriad of programmes at undergraduate, post graduate and doctoral levels across disciplines like Architecture, Design, Fashion, Communication, Visual arts, Performing Arts & Management. Equipped with the largest portfolio of design courses in India, the university offers a number of cutting edge programs in computers & design, transportation design, animation & game design, UI/UX, film & video, built environment & habitat studies, design management, art education, curatorial practice etc

Vineeth Sreenivasan’s ‘Hridayam’ Wins Many Hearts Around The World

Director Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Malayalam film ‘Hridayam’, which opened to rave reviews, is continuing its dream run, not just in the country but abroad as well.

The film, which has been garnering a lot of praise from film buffs and critics here in India, has started its second week abroad on a strong footing.

Film analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted, “Malayalam film opens big in Australia, New Zealand. Malayalam film ‘Hridayam’ springs a pleasant surprise in Australia-New Zealand.”

The film made around Rs 54.55 lakh from shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Week 1 in Australia and Rs 21.49 lakh in New Zealand for the corresponding period.

In the second week, the film made Rs 28.22 lakh in Australia and Rs 13.48 lakh in New Zealand from shows on Thursday and Friday alone.

The film is doing exceptionally well in the US and Canada as well. It opened the second week on a strong footing making a total of Rs 1.42 crore from just shows screened on Friday in the US and Canada.

Starring Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan and Darshana Rajendran in the lead roles, ‘Hridayam’ is also doing brisk business in the UK as well, where it has made Rs 65.13 lakh in the first week. (IANS)

Priyanka Chopra On The Cover of Famed Vanity Fair Magazine

Priyanka Chopra has achieved what every star anywhere in the world aspires for — to be on the cover of ‘Vanity Fair’. She’s on the cover of the February 2022 edition of the magazine celebrated internationally as much for its in-depth articles as for its cutting-edge photography.

Unveiling the cover, ‘Vanity Fair’ tweeted: “After a journey into ‘The Matrix’, the actor enters 2022 with her cup overflowing –reflecting on her storied Hindi film industry career, marriage, and creating a path for herself in Hollywood.” Looking artfully messy, a sultry Priyanka appears on the cover in an off-shoulder, off-white ruffled dress from Fendi.

The magazine, previously edited by celebrity journalists such as Tina Brown and Graydon Carter (who’s played by Jeff Bridges in the film ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People’), is now helmed by Radhika Jones, an Indian American.

Describing her as “a driven woman who has transcended what’s previously been possible for an Indian actor in Hollywood,” the ‘Vanity Fair’ cover story goes on to say: “She is an outsider who broke down barriers and built a place for herself within the walls of Hollywood. Now she’s on a mission to welcome others in.”

Priyanka, notes the article that traces her life’s story from her days at the Army Public School, Bareilly, will finally be playing lead film roles as she had in India” with the rom-com ‘Text for You’ and Amazon’s ambitious spy series ‘Citadel’ later this year.

And about her own story, especially her rise to stardom in Hollywood, Priyanka says: “It’s taken a lot of pavement pounding to be able to get people’s attention, and to be able to get an acceptance of the fact that someone like me can be the lead of a Hollywood feature.”

She adds (and the sentiment will go down well back home): “There’s very few of us from South Asia who get to do that. I hope that the part that I play in it will sort of push the envelope a little bit.”

Ayushmann: Cinema Can Become A Vehicle Of Inclusivity In Society

Ayushmann Khurrana, who was recently seen in ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’, feels that cinema can bring about a change in society and that he has tried to contribute towards the cause of inclusivity and equality through his work in films.

Talking about the purpose of cinema, the actor mentions, “I have always believed that cinema can serve a purpose to better society and I hope that such films have done their bit to affect change. I have played a small hand in harbouring a sentiment of equality among my countrymen because I have to credit my visionary filmmakers and script writers for doing the brunt of the work because it is their vision that has triggered the winds of change.”

In his opinion, a society gets reflected in its films and stories, the actor says, “Progressive films can only be made in a progressive society and the response that ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ is getting is tantamount to the fact that people want to see more and more disruptive content.”

He thanks his audience for accepting his stories with open arms, “I am thankful to people for being open-minded to see films about a gay couple on screen in ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ and also about a cis-het man and a trans-woman’s love story in ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’”.

He adds, “When we set out to make ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’, our aim was to start an important conversation on inclusivity and equality in India.”

“It is amazing to see that the film has engaged the nation, is entertaining people and also delivering a powerful message. This shows they are recognising the need for gender parity and inclusivity,” he concludes.

Ayushmann will be next seen in Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Anek’ which would mark their second collaboration after ‘Article 15’, Anubhuti Kashyap’s ‘Doctor G’ and ‘Action Hero’ directed by debutant Anirudh Iyer.

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu Is Crowned Miss Universe 2021

Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe 2021 on Sunday, December 12th topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and the pandemic. The previously reigning Miss Universe, Andrea Meza of Mexico, crowned her successor, a Bollywood actress, in the Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

Harnaaz Sandhu, the Punjabi film actress and an alumna of Chandigarh’s Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, won the coveted crown 21 years after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000. The 21-year old is described on the Miss Universe website as “a strong advocate for women’s empowerment, particularly their constitutional rights to education, careers, and their freedom of choice.”

In a glittery show held in Eilat overnight for a live prime time broadcast in the US, Miss India took a jaunt around the stage as directed by host Steve Harvey after he announced she had won the Miss Universe 2021 competition.

Sandhu was surrounded by 79 other pageant participants who stood in the background as gold confetti rained down and the crowd cheered while last year’s winner put a crown on her head.

Hailing from Punjab, India, Sandhu beat out Nadia Ferreira also known as Miss Paraguay who placed as runner up, and third choice winner Lalela Mswane, also known as Miss South Africa. Miss India is a model, recently having acted in two Punjabi films, studied information technology and is now working on a master’s degree.

Judges on the panel included some heavy hitters like Lori Harvey, Steve Harvey’s model-actress daughter who owns her own skincare line; Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France; actresses Rena Sofer, Urvashi Rautela, Marian Rivera, Adamari López; and supermodel Adriana Lima.

Contestants participated in a series of competitions including swimsuit, evening-wear and rounds of questions. The queens held their composure on stage following three weeks of 3 a.m. wake-ups, late nights and touring the country.

The final question – “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?” – was asked to each of the last three women standing. While one contestant was answering, the other two wore soundproof earphones so as not to be affected by their competitors’ answers.

Sandhu replied by saying women need to believe in themselves and speak out in order to rise above the pressures of today’s world.

Israel’s international pop sensation Noa Kirel opened the night with a full dance routine equipped with a backup crew wearing sparkly dresses. The American pop star JoJo performed various numbers throughout the night as women paraded around the stage in evening gowns behind her.

Miss India told the media after the pageant ended that her favorite part of touring Israel was getting into the water and swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Reef in Eilat.

“There are a lot [of memories] and that was one of my favorites. Israel is a beautiful country and the people are so warm, and that’s what I love about Israel,” Sandhu said.

Days before she was crowned Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu, 21, wrote on Instagram the words, “India, this one’s for you.” The days of waiting anxiously, working hard to perfect the deliveries to be made, the walk, the talk, learning to expect the unexpected, all part of this 70th pageant, are over.

On her Instagram site, Sandhu wrote, “It’s been 74 days since the day I was chosen to represent India at Miss Universe 2021. It’s been a ride full of love, fun and immense hard work,” Sandhu. “As I set to walk out on that stage today as ‘India’, I carry with me your prayers & love. Thank you to my family for standing by me, today & always. Thank you to all my panelists & designers who have put together so beautifully this woman who now stands in front of you. Thank you everyone. It would not have been possible without you,” she added, ending with the unforgettable words, “India, this one’s for you.”

Professionally, Sandhu is an actor with two Punjabi LMS (Local Movie Showtimes) slated for release in 2022 and hopes to essay characters in LMS that break stereotypes that the world has of women, the bio says.

Growing up under the wings of a mother who is a physician, specializing in gynecology, Sandhu, appears to have been inspired by her mother’s example, as a woman “who broke generations of patriarchy to become a successful gynecologist and led her family.”

Sandhu grew up working with her mother at health camps addressing women’s health and menstrual hygiene, “at the same time deeply conscious of the privilege her mother’s struggles have gifted her.”

She also draws inspiration from Bollywood-Hollywood actor Priyanka Chopra, who is her favorite actor. In her spare time, Sandhu enjoys the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess. She loves swimming. She believes in the saying – “Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful.”

She also stated that she was looking forward to strengthening relations between Israel and India and was super excited about the challenge. She said, “I have to bring back the crown home.” The Bollywood aspirant has kept her word and made India proud. Sandhu said, “One must keep growing through life as we all learn something every day. To believe in yourself is the key to success. I represented myself as the best version of myself.”

Sandhu believes that pageants are a platform where women come forward to celebrate sisterhood and womanhood and people across the world celebrate their beauty queens and their successes with great pride. “According to me, it’s all about being true to the self and people around you will definitely look at that spark in you,” she stated.

The 21-year-old’s winning response to a question on climate change — “This is the time to take action and talk less. … Prevent and protect is better than repair and repent” — helped her clinch the coveted title.

Sandhu’s final statement at the pageant was about the pressures that young people face across societies today. She said: “The biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves, to know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that’s happening worldwide.
“This is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourselves because you are the leader of your life, you are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I am standing here today.”

‘Thalapathy’ Vijay Is 2021’s Most Tweeted-About South Indian Actor

Tamil actor Vijay, fondly known as ‘Thalapathy‘ by his fans, has emerged as the most tweeted about actor in south Indian films for the year 2021, Twitter India announced on Sunday.

The social media giant tweeted a list that featured the top 10 actors on Sunday.

In the list, Telugu star Pawan Kalyan emerged second while Mahesh Babu was placed third. The fourth place went to Tamil star Suriya while Telugu actors Junior NTR and Allu Arjun took the fifth and sixth places, respectively.

The seventh spot went to Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who celebrates his birthday on Sunday and the eighth, ninth and tenth spots went to actors Ram Charan, Dhanush and Ajith Kumar, respectively.

Among the actresses, Keerthy Suresh took the first place becoming the most tweeted about actress while Pooja Hegde and Samantha Ruth Prabhu came in second and third.

Kajal Aggarwal was placed fourth in the list, which had Malavika Mohanan taking the fifth spot. Rakul Preet Singh, who has now begun acting in Hindi films, was placed sixth, while Sai Pallavi came seventh. Tamannaah, Anushka Shetty and Anupama came in eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively.

Vijay is a Tamil film actor and playback singer. He began his acting career doing many minor uncredited roles as a child artist in films produced by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar. Post-Thirumalai, he began portraying a stereotypical acting manner, much like Rajinikanth and M. G. Ramachandran. Vijay has more recently become a charismatic film star and has thus developed a large fan-following for himself. He is one of the highest paid actors in Tamil film industry, and he is referred to by fans and media as Thalapathy.

Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar was born on June 22, 1974, to film producer and director S. A. Chandrasekhar and Shoba Chandrasekhar, a playback singer. He had a sister named Vidhya Chandrasekhar who died at the age of two. The story of Vidhya Chandrasekhar was pictured in the film, Sukran. Vijay went on to do Visual Communications at Loyola College, Chennai & was classmates with fellow actor Surya Sivakumar, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Karthik Raja, and Vishnuvardhan.

He married the Sri Lankan Tamil, Sangeetha Sornalingam, on August 25, 1999. She was a die-hard fan of Vijay and sought interest in marrying him. They have two children, a son named Jason Sanjay, born on August 26, 2000 in London, and a daughter named Divya Saasha, born on September 9, 2005 in Chennai.


Vijay’s first role was in the drama, he continued to perform as a child artist in films until Ithu Engal Neethi, directed by his father S. A. Chandrasekhar. Vijay debuted as a lead role actor in the 1992 film Naalaya Theerpu, produced by his father, then he co-stared with Vijayakanth in the film Sendhoorapandi. This film helped Vijay to become popular in the interior areas of Tamil Nadu. He received his breakthrough in the film Poove Unakkaga, which was directed by Vikraman.

He made a friendly appearance in the 2012 Bollywood film Rowdy Rathore starring Akshay Kumar, directed by Prabhu Deva. As a playback singer, Vijay has sung over thirty songs in his films, he completes his 25 years in singing on 2019.

Salman Khan To Host IIFA 2022 In Abu Dhabi

The 22nd edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards will be held at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on March 18 and March 19, 2022, to celebrate the best of Hindi cinema. The awards night will be hosted by superstar Salman Khan.

Apart from celebrating and lauding cinematic excellence, the awards held in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), will also commemorate the 75th year of India’s independence and the UAE’s year-long Golden Jubilee celebrations, marking its 50th anniversary, and strengthen the cultural ties between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it will see global dignitaries, fans and film enthusiasts from across the world.

Talking about the highly anticipated awards, event host Salman Khan said, “I have always enjoyed being a part of the IIFA Family and travelling to some great destinations but this year I am super happy that we are headed to one of my personal favorites, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.”

Salman continued, “IIFA is always a memorable time and this year it will be an even bigger celebration as we celebrate the 75th year of India’s independence and UAE’s 50th Anniversary-Golden Jubilee celebration.”

“Over the last 21 years, IIFA has not only given Indian cinema an international platform, but it has created a wonderful opportunity to take us to our fans and connect millions of people globally. I am proud and excited to get ready to host the 2022 IIFA Weekend & Awards Yas Island, Abu Dhabi as we unite the world through cinema & celebration”, he added.

Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “India has long been one of Abu Dhabi’s top inbound source markets for tourists building on strong historic ties. Hosting the IIFA Awards underlines the key strategic position the Indian market occupies for the emirate.”

Saood further said, “In addition, we have enjoyed a great bond with India’s movie industry, which has for many years been attracted to the UAE capital by our high-quality infrastructure, so the addition of the IIFA to Abu Dhabi’s calendar of events aligns perfectly with our 5-year strategy to develop the cultural and creative industries.” (IANS)

‘Anti-Indian’: A Bold Film On The Politics Of Religion, But Flawed Technically

Film: Anti-Indian (Playing in theatres). Duration: 123 minutes.

Director: Blue Sattai Maran. Cast: Blue Sattai Maran, Radha Ravi, Naren, Vazhakku En Muthuraman, Vijaya Mami and Jayaraj.

IANS Rating: ***

‘Anti-Indian’ stands as a testimony to Director ‘Blue Sattai’ Maran’s courage. Not many would have chosen to do what he has done — respond to a challenge thrown at him by those offended by his reviews and accept to make a film to show that it is not as difficult to make a meaningful film as it is made out to be.

Not just that. Maran’s courage is again evident from the sensitive subject he has chosen to deal with in his debut film. ‘Anti-Indian’ shows up unapologetically the manipulative games religious and political leaders play for their selfish gains.

The film starts off with a murder taking place in a constituency that is gearing up for a by-election. The murdered man is identified as Basha (Blue Sattai Maran) and we are told that while Basha’s late father is Ibrahim, his mother Saroja (Vijaya Mami) is a Hindu.

Interestingly, Saroja has now converted to Christianity and has changed her name to Lourdu Mary. The problem starts when Basha’s body is taken for burial.

His body is not permitted in the Muslim burial ground because he was not a practising Muslim. The Hindus refuse his body as it is that of a Muslim. As the body is taken from place to place, religious leaders of all hues, with their own agendas, begin to play manipulative games. Even as this continues, politicians who are looking to win the election, join in with their own deadly plans.

The film takes hard shots at everybody without holding back anything. From religious leaders of all denominations to political bosses, everybody’s agenda is exposed. The film’s biggest strength comes from its script and its dialogues, some of which really stand out.

For instance, there is this scene towards the end where a commoner says: “You had one body and you killed 13 people with it. Now, you have 13 bodies. One wonders what all you are going to do now.”

Technically, ‘Anti-Indian’ is below par. It has no entertainment value. Its visuals aren’t great. The only songs in the film are ‘gaana’ songs, which, after a point, become annoying.

Granted, the director is trying to showcase the exhaustion that even ‘gaana’ singers who are brought in to mourn experience because of the delay in burying the body. But for the viewers, it becomes a tad too much.

As a story, ‘Anti-Indian’ has a very pertinent point to make. But as an entertainer, it has almost nothing to offer.

If you are the sort who enjoys a story that is radically different from your regular kind of films and don’t mind sacrificing commercial elements for a strong message, then ‘Anti-Indian’ is likely to work for you.

But with all its flaws, one must still say that ‘Anti-Indian’ works for the simple reason that this is a brave new attempt into unchartered waters by a debut director.

“India Sweets And Spices” Available To Watch On-Demand

The award-winning comedy INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES has just been released today to on-demand platforms for audiences to watch at home. Starring Manisha Koirala and Sophia Ali, the widely acclaimed crowd-pleaser is now available on digital VOD platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Google Play, Vudu, and others and is the perfect choice for movie night.

 Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali) returns to her family’s posh suburban New Jersey home after a year away at college and upends their well-ordered life with her brash independence. After befriending Varun (Rish Shah), the handsome son of the new owners of the local Indian grocery, she invites his family to a dinner party where family secrets are revealed. Alia’s surprise turns to rebellion when she uncovers secrets about both her parents that push her toward a daring and ultimately hilarious confrontation. INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES celebrates a young woman’s coming of age set against a lovingly framed glimpse of the life of an Indian American family.

VOD platforms can be found here: https://www.indiasweetsandspices.movie/watch-at-home/

Pan-India Epic ‘RRR’ To Release In Over 1,000 Multiplexes Across USA

Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, who is gearing up for the release of his pan-India epic ‘RRR‘ starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt and Shriya Saran, is all set to treat fans in the US with his upcoming film.

Apart from India, the makers are aiming to release the film in 1,000 plus multiplexes only in the US, bringing back the glory of Indian cinema to the overseas audience. Sarigama Cinemas and Raftar Creations are jointly distributing the movie in the US.

The anticipation among the audiences has been increasing day by day not just in India but worldwide as it is the biggest action drama to date.

The makers have shared multiple assets including posters and songs with glimpses of Ajay Devgan, Alia Bhatt, and Ram Charan, among others. The film’s trailer is also unveiled on December 9 followed by a grand event.

Post Baahubali’s success, Rajamouli became a nationwide household name, and he has now made another film on a grand scale and is set to break many records.

The movie includes a star-studded line up besides lead actors Ram Charan and Jr NTR. Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Olivia Morris will be seen in pivotal roles while Samuthirakani, and British actors Ray Stevenson and Alison Doody join in supporting roles.

Jayanti Lal Gada of PEN Studios has bagged the theatrical distribution rights across north India and has also bought worldwide electronic rights for all languages. Pen Marudhar will be distributing the film in the north territory.

The Telugu-language period action drama is produced by D.V.V. Danayya of DVV Entertainments. ‘RRR’ will hit the screens on January 7.

Modi’s Growing Crackdown On Bollywood India’s Film Industry Is Under Growing Pressure To Bend Its Knee To Hindu Nationalists.

Last month, the son of superstar Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan was arrested for consuming drugs at a party. In most parts of the world, celebrity news of this sort provides a momentary public distraction. In India, where the divide between Hindus and Muslims has deepened since Narendra Modi became prime minister, Khan’s arrest has focused attention on India’s fraying social fabric.

Supporters of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government defend the arrest as a matter of law and claim it reveals decadence in the movie industry. But India’s liberals contend it was a deliberate move intended to tarnish a Muslim idol’s image to appease the Hindu right.

Khan has been a star for more than a decade and is widely referred to as “King Khan,” the King of Bollywood. He is also known for his rise from poverty; he often regales the public with stories of the hardships he endured, including having to sleep on Mumbai’s streets while trying to make it as an actor. Tales of his struggle and success have inspired millions of Indians, including Muslims, and his exalted status delivers on India’s promise as a secular and inclusive nation where anyone—irrespective of religion, caste, or creed—can succeed.

But the Hindu right has a deep history of resenting the rise of Muslims, especially those who challenge their exclusivist politics—a group that includes Khan. In 2015, Khan spoke against the lynchings of Muslims by Hindu mobs for allegedly smuggling cows to be slaughtered and served as meat. Many Hindus consider cows to be holy. “We have made a huge thing about our meat-eating habits. How can the food habits of people be an issue?” Khan told NDTV, a local news channel. “Religious intolerance and not being secular in this country is the worst kind of crime that you can do as a patriot.”

There is a pattern of far-right resentment focused on Bollywood stars. A year ago, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was accused of being a part of a nefarious drug network and was summoned for questioning by India’s national Narcotics Control Bureau. In 2019, Padukone joined a student protest against a controversial anti-Muslim citizenship law passed by the Modi government.

The cases might expose a “nexus of drugs” in the film industry, as claimed by several pro-Modi news networks. But liberals suspect Khan and Padukone were punished for speaking up against Islamophobia, and the cases against them are part of a more insidious campaign to intimidate Muslims and liberals associated with Bollywood.

This would be part of a wider pattern. Since Modi came to power, minorities and liberals in all influential segments of society have insinuated they are under pressure to silently accept the Hindu right’s discriminatory ideas about what India should be.

First, journalists complained of duress as pressure to self-censor increased. Most news networks either gave in or walked a fine line while others became unabashed mouthpieces of government policies. Left-leaning universities and those dominated by minorities were targeted next. India’s film and television industry, which employs more than 1 million people and has admirers around the world, is the latest to feel the heat. Movies and movie stars are now at the heart of a cultural revolution designed to crush dissent against the Modi government and change India’s path from a diverse to a culturally homogenous society.

Bollywood has been the conscious keeper of a country navigating multiple fault lines at once. Although it has always had to tread cautiously to avoid irking the political powers that be, Bollywood has been a secular space that promoted cohesion among communities and played a constructive role in building a tolerant society. Over the last few years, however, actors have felt afraid to speak their minds regarding controversial political decisions, the industry is being discredited as a den of drug addicts, and the language of Indian cinema is slowly but surely changing.

For the longest time, songs such as, “Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna,” (or “Religion does not teach animosity”) spread the ideas of coexistence. They ingrained the value of syncretism in the minds of generations of Indians. But now, religious chauvinism is interspersed in songs and storylines without compunction. There seems to be a new obsession with making films about Hindu warrior kings who challenged Muslim rulers—the latter almost always painted as evil. A whole lot of chest-thumping and sword-wielding is done while hailing Hindu gods as if trying to invoke not just pride in Hindu heritage but something more—perhaps a sense of superiority.

Shubhra Gupta, a film critic and leading columnist with the Indian Express, told Foreign Policy that Hindi cinema set out to promote the values of “pyaar and bhaichara” (or “love and brotherhood”) in its early nation-building years post-independence. But that is changing fast. “Conservatism, patriarchy, and status quo-ism know no political boundaries. That is the kind of cinema that all mainstream [movie] industries in India are being relentlessly pushed towards,” Gupta said.

“Given its massive popularity, all governments down the decades have used the film industry to propagate its messages,” she continued. “But it is now more than ever under pressure to toe the state line of command and control, as the present regime understands the power of the image in a way none other has before it.”

Rahul Vohra, an Indian actor who has worked with Khan, said lawyers are now vetting scripts to not be on the wrong side of the central government. “And yes, all this is deliberately being done to install an invented narrative with a calculated aim of re-writing history,” Vohra said. “Many actors are scared to express their opinions, and many actually believe in the opinions of the government.” Vohra, like many others, suspect the drug charges were trumped up, especially since the evidence presented thus far has been thin. “I sincerely feel these are cooked-up stories with the specific intent of diverting attention from issues staring at us in the face,” he said, alluding to the country’s worsening economic crisis and rising inflation.

It began with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in early 2020, whose parents alleged foul play even though the autopsy confirmed suicide. Rajput’s girlfriend, actress Rhea Chakraborty, was charged for procuring drugs for him. Chakraborty was the first to be arrested as part of an alleged “drug nexus” in the industry. Although she was a fresh face, her case set the stage to investigate the morals of movie stars. Rajput’s death also led to a debate on Bollywood’s widespread nepotism, and that was most certainly a good thing. Movies in the country are run like family businesses, with the children of actors and directors first in line to become next-generation stars. Yet there are many outsiders who have made it—Khan being among them. Central agencies’ focus and the media and trolls’ wrath, however, appear reserved for those who have not given public approval to New Delhi’s power center.

“The line that all of Bollywood is full of nepotism and drug addicts has been peddled with a great deal of energy,” Gupta said. “And that anything that comes out of it is tainted unless, of course, it wishes to stay on the safe side with movies about bad Muslim invaders and valiant Hindu kings who are defenders of the faith.”

India’s massive movie industry is split. There are actors who swear by the Modi government; just last week, one of them even said India attained freedom in 2014—the year Modi became the country’s premier. But others fear the space for them to be true artists and challenge rising majoritarianism in the country is shrinking. They are worried their films might be blocked or they might be slapped with cases like the ones Khan’s son and Padukone face.

Indian movies have many problems, including a highly sexist lexicon, but bigotry is not one of them. If the artists are silenced, there will be no one left to hold the mirror to society. Both Khan and Padukone have been cautious since the cases.

Superstars Mithun Chakraborty And Pallavi Joshi To Join “The Kashmir Files”

A 1st time road show of a feature film on a historic subject in fourteen cities across USA, leading universities and Impact events for leading policy makers is all set to take the country by storm. “The Kashmir Files” made by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri is a landmark film on Kashmiri Hindu Genocide that took place in 1990 when hundreds of thousands of native Hindu Kashmiri were asked to leave Kashmir overnight or face the consequences, “death”. Kashmir has never been same since then. Pain, suffering and torture define the life of the community which was uprooted from their homeland which was always called a “Heaven on earth”.

“This story has to be shared, so the world knows the pain of uprooting. Its a story of genocide that inflicts unlimited pain on millions and on several generations”, said Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri. He is traveling with National award winning superstar Mithun Chakraborty who with co-star Pallavi Joshi, a national award winning actor will be present during screening in Long Isalnd and New Jersey on 27th and 28th November respectively. Superstar Mithun Chakraborty joins again in screening in Hollywood in end December and National award winning super actor and star, Anupam Kher will join in January 6th screening in Manhattan, NY.

The film will be privately screened in fourteen cities in cinema theatres for community leaders, policy makers and American community. The project initiated by Dr Surinder Kaul of Global Kashmiri Pandit diaspora was expanded with extensive support from Sunil Hali, a Kashmiri himself. Dr Kaul has been spearheading many Kashmir initiatives and is known to be the voice of Kashmiri community. “This project is very close to my heart which hurts when I thin of my motherland. I have worked closely with Vivek during its making and am excited to see it to fruition”, said Dr Surinder Kaul.

Sunil Hali brings the expertise in media and entertainment and marketing in USA, and with able help from Ken Naz, former CEO of EROS, have created this exclusive pre-release preview which launches on November 27 from Long Island in New York. Said Sunil Hali,”We have been working on this road show for two months. Dr Kaul took charge of building the national network of volunteers while I joined hands with Ken to build the theatrical network for screening, PR and marketing. The film is screened in Cinemas such as Regal, AMC, BIG Cinema(Edison), and Bombay Theatre(New York). Ken has done a stupendous job to get us the best with limited financial resources during the busiest period for films in USA”.

A core team that includes Mukesh Modi, a celebrated film maker and patriot from New York, an advisory team with Rakesh Kaul, Mohan Wanchoo to guide the vision, and a team of volunteers in each these cities has helped to take the project to next level. Ms Priya Samant has been key in building support from policy makers and universities. The film road shows travels from Long Island(NY), Edison(NJ), DC-MD-VA, North Carolina, Tampa(FL), Atlanta(GA), Boston (MA), Denver(CO), Chicago(IL), Austin(TX), Dallas(TX) Seattle(WA), Silicon valley and LA(CA), Houston(TX) and Manhattan(NY). The film will also be screened in leading universities such as Columbia, GWU and have Impact events in various cities for policy makers including Holocaust Museum(DC)

Vivek was in USA two years ago when he stayed with Rakesh Kaul, an authority on Kashmir and an author of two best sellers on Kashmir. He has been key to guiding the project all along. The tour has received a strong support from volunteers in each city, media across USA, supporters, sponsors, donors and encouragement from policy makers. Mohan Wanchoo, Dr Surinder Kaul, Dr Kiran Patel, Rajeev Kaul, Dr Nirmal Mattoo are leading amongst donors as of date and the support continues to grow every day.

The film is produced by Zee Studios, Tej Narayan Agarwal, Abhishek Agarwal, Pallavi Joshi and Vivek Agnihotri. The official worldwide release is on January 26, 2022.

The road show has received generous support in hospitality all across USA from Navika Group and Naveen Shah based in New York. Indian diaspora from every city has stepped forward and contributed generously to make this happen under the banner of United India Pragati Foundation, a 501c3 organization. Individual contributions as well as from businesses have helped in funding this 1st of its kind project in USA.  Fore details and information, please call Dr Surinder Kaul on (832) 494-7167; Sunil Hali on (917) 692-2326 and Mukesh Modi on (917) 215-1491

‘Jai Bhim’ Rated Among Top Rated International Classical Films

Critics have heaped praise on Tamil-language courtroom drama Jai Bhim that now outranks Shawshank Redemption as the highest-rated film on IMDb. Jai Bhim, a Tamil language film, has been rated the top film by users on IMDb, beating classics such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather. It’s the latest in a line of hard-hitting Indian movies telling stories of repression against Dalits who are at the bottom of a rigid Hindu caste hierarchy, writes film journalist Aseem Chhabra.

Since its release, the film has garnered critical and commercial acclaim, and earned a 9.6 IMDb score – even higher than Frank Darrabont’s cult classic Shawshank Redemption that scored a 9.3 on the website.  Firstpost’s critic Ashameera Aiyappan wrote that Jai Bhim “beautifully shoulders the responsibility of being a decisively realistic, social, issue-based drama without being preachy” in her four-star review.

Directed by TJ Gnanavel, the film stars actors Suriya, Manikandan, Lijomol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan, Ramesh Rao, and as well as Prakash Raj whose body of work spans Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada-language movies.

Jai Bhim is part of a new movement in Tamil cinema where a number of young filmmakers are narrating stories of repression against Dalits, BBC wrote in a review.  “In the last 30 years, beginning with the observance of Ambedkar’s centenary in 1991, the Dalit movement has been growing in Tamil Nadu,” said film historian S Theodore Baskaran.

“Forgotten Dalit ideologues of the 20th Century were redeemed from history. The ideas of [social activist and politician] Periyar and Ambedkar spread through the writings of many Dalit writers. In the last decade, some of the writers moved to cinema and made films. But they used the usual ingredients like songs, fights and melodrama,” Baskaran added.

Released on November 2nd, Jai Bhim follows the trials of a pregnant woman from an oppressed tribe as she seeks justice for her husband who was arrested, brutally tortured, and murdered after being implicated in a false case.  The film is set in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and based on a true incident that occurred in 1993.

At the beginning of Jai Bhim, police officers are shown separating a group of suspects based on their caste. Those who are from the dominant castes are asked to leave, while others who are Dalits (formerly untouchables) or belong to tribal communities are asked to stay back. Later, police file false charges against those in the second group.

A man named Rajakannu from the Irular tribe was falsely framed in a theft case. The horrific death of Rajakannu due to the custodial torture was a challenging and landmark legal battle for K Chandru when the victim’s wife Sengani (real name Parvathi) came to the lawyer for help.

On several occasions, Chandru admitted that the police involved in the case had tried to bribe him as well as the victim’s wife for an out of court settlement.  Choosing to take up a legal career was an accident for Chandru to be active in student politics. A leader during the Left Movement, Chandru wanted to be in community service and help people.  It was during the emergency years in the ’70s, he felt that the law should be a tool to win the rights of people. In his long stint as a judge, Chandru has disposed of 96,000 cases, a feat that he achieved only because of meticulous planning, organisation and classification of cases.

It’s a stark, disturbing scene, with frightened men standing in the corner, somewhat aware of their fate – a reminder that such activities occur routinely, and how precarious are the lives of the marginalised, especially Dalits, in small towns and rural India.

Dalits make up about 20% of India’s population, and despite laws to protect them they continue to face discrimination and violence. Jai Bhim’s title translates to “Long Live Bhim”, a slogan made popular by the followers of BR Ambedkar, a Dalit scholar and leader, who was the chief architect of India’s constitution and also the country’s first law minister.

Directed by TJ Gnanavel, and backed by Tamil star Suriya, the film tells the true story of a crusading lawyer – played by Suriya – who fought for a petition filed by a pregnant woman whose husband was placed in police custody and later declared missing.

Now, Dalit narratives have also found space in independent or indie films in other Indian languages, including Anhey Gorhey Da Daan (Punjabi), exploring the lives of Dalit Sikhs; Masaan (Hindi), a romance between a young man from a family of crematorium workers and an upper caste girl; and Fandry and Sairat (both in Marathi). The last two films were directed by Nagraj Manjule, a Dalit himself.

The directors include veteran filmmaker Vetrimaaran, who made Visaaranai, a 2015 film about the plight of Tamil migrants in neighboring Andhra Pradesh, and Asuran, a plot inspired by a massacre of Dalits. Mari Selvaraj and Pa Ranjith, both in their late thirties, are two key directors who have created narratives where the Dalit man is the central character.

“The representation of Dalit characters was painful,” Dalit filmmaker Ranjith, often referred to as the Spike Lee of the Tamil film industry, told The Wire in a 2020 interview, referring to earlier Tamil films. “Either they were written out, or just their inclusion in the story was considered ‘revolutionary. In this context, I had to reflect on what my stories could say,” he added. “I wanted to show that my culture itself is based on discrimination and violence…Today, directors are more conscious when they write Dalit characters.”

As ‘Jai Bhim’ celebrates the success of its release following unanimous positive reviews from both critics and audiences through word of mouth, the focus now shifts to how filmmaker TJ Gnanavel came up with a movie of this scale and what prompted him to make a movie rather than showcase it as a documentary of former advocate and Madras High Court Judge K Chandru who fought for the downtrodden bringing about a change at the administrative and judicial level. The film is inspired by the true incident that happened way back in 1993.

When Chandru first watched the film ‘Jai Bhim’, he said the scenes portraying actor Suriya as the advocate kept reminding what he was 30 years ago.  With a few sequences that have cinematic liberties, the former Judge says ‘Jai Bhim’ has been truthful to the story without exaggerating custodial violence and government’s apathy towards human rights violation.

Indian Panorama At IFFI 52 Held In Goa

With a promise to unfold stories collected from nook and corners of India on the big screen, the Indian Panorama Section opened on Sunday at the 52nd International Film Festival of India held in Goa.

Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting inaugurated the opening ceremony of the 52nd IFFI. Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Governor of Himachal Pradesh was also present on the occasion. The inaugural ceremony introduced the audiences to IFFI’s official selection of 24 Feature and 20 Non-Feature films under the Indian Panorama 2021 category for this year.

Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Governor of Himachal Pradesh along with the Thakur felicitated the filmmakers and the cast and crew of the opening films, ‘Semkhor’ (Feature) and ‘Ved- The Visionary’ (Non-feature), and presented to them Certificates of participation.

Congratulating the filmmakers, the Union Minister, said, “You all have attempted and struggled to bring stories from the remote corners of the country. Now, content is king and if you create the right content, it will go not only National but to the International level. We have the talent among us and with all your help; we will take IFFI to new heights”. He also remembered Late Manohar Parrikar, who was instrumental in bringing IFFI to Goa’s shores.
Thakur also said that “Earlier we saw that only actors, directors, and producers were being awarded in Film festivals but now we are also honoring the technicians, the background people whose work make to a film complete.” He also urged international filmmakers to come and shoot in India.

Addressing the gathering Arlekar, said “I am not a Film Critic or an ardent follower of Films, but I have always watched the Indian Panorama, how our films reflect our society. I say this with pride that the Indian films have beautifully reflected and showed the aspirations, needs, and struggles of our society.”

The opening film in the Feature film category, ‘Semkhor’, which was screened in the Indian Panorama Section is the first-ever Dimasa language film to be screened in the Indian Panorama Section. Aimee Baruah, Director of the film, thanked IFFI for the honor and recognition of the film. She added that the film Semkhor deals with social taboos and through the film, she tried to bring forth the struggles faced by the Dimasa Community in Assam.

Rajiv Prakash, Director of the opening film in the Non-feature film category, ‘Ved- The Visionary’, remarked that, “It is the story of my father’s resilience, fortitude in the field of film-making. The movie shows his endeavors which shall remain embedded in history of cinema.”

The Jury members of the feature and non-feature films were also honored with Certificates of participation on the occasion.

The Indian panorama is a flagship component of the IFFI under which the best contemporary Indian films are selected for the promotion of film art. It was introduced in 1978 as part of the IFFI umbrella to promote Indian Films and India’s rich culture and cinematic art.

Actress and Mathura MP Hema Malini was honoured with the Indian Film Personality of the Year Award at the 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here on Saturday.

The award, which is conferred upon an outstanding Indian film personality for his or her extraordinary contribution to the world of cinema, was presented to the actress jointly by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Loganathan Murugan, and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Hema Malini, who made her acting debut in 1963 with the Tamil film ‘Idhu Sathiyam’ and later made her entry into Hindi cinema as the lead actress of ‘Sapno Ka Saudagar’ in 1968, has acted in a number of films, many of which, including ‘Sholay’, went on to become superhits.

When TV host and comedian Manish Paul, who was co-hosting the event with Karan Johar, asked Hema Malini for her favourite character from among the scores she had played in her long career, the actress replied, “All of them. Everyone does a role thinking that this will be her best.”

When Paul persisted, she first said ‘Lal Pathar’, and then went on to reel out a series of names. ‘Lal Pathar’, incidentally, was one of the rare films where Hema Malini played a negative role, that of a jealous mistress of a zamindar.

The 52nd edition of the International Film Festival of India that commenced on November 20 in Goa will run till November 28. (ANI)

Akshay-Katrina’s Sooryavanshi Breaks Records With Highest Earnings

The much-awaited Sooryavanshi movie starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif was released on Friday. A lot of money was earned at the box office with Suryavanshi’s release breaking past records in India and around the world.

After earning the whopping amount of Rs 26.29 crore on its opening day, one of the much-anticipated films of the year ‘Sooryavanshi’ maintained its charm on the second day as well and minted Rs 23.85 crores on the second day of its release. On the 3rd day, it is expected that the film will do business between 25 and 28 crores on the third day.

Although there was a slight dip in the movie’s second-day collection, it managed to enter the Rs 50 crores club at the box office on the second day of its release. Film critic and movie trade analyst Taran Adarsh took to Twitter and shared a breakdown of the first two-day earnings of the film. He also said that the movie has the potential to touch Rs 80 crores on Day 3.

Sooryavanshi crosses Rs 50 cr… SUPER-STRONG HOLD on Day 2… Slight dip in night shows vis-a-vis Day 1… Expect a BIGGG SCORE on Day 3, should comfortably cross Rs 75 cr, may even touch Rs 80 cr [+/-], PHENOMENAL… Fri 26.29 cr, Sat 23.85 cr. Total: Rs 50.14 cr. #India biz,” he tweeted.

After facing several hardships, filmmaker Rohit Shetty’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ was finally released in theatres on Friday. On Thursday night, Rohit took to Instagram to share that his cop drama is ‘releasing across all multiplexes and single screens all over the country.’ The film was held back for almost two years due to restrictions imposed by the Corona epidemic. The film’s release in theatres seems to be reaping tremendous benefits for Rohit Shetty.

For the unversed, the advance bookings were not opened for the Akshay Kumar-starrer till Thursday night due to a tiff between the producers and exhibitors on revenue sharing. Reportedly, the producers of the film demanded a 60 per cent revenue share in the first week and also wanted theatre owners to provide a maximum number of shows to ‘Sooryavanshi’.

Thankfully, the stalemate between multiplex chains and the producers of ‘Sooryavanshi’, Reliance Entertainment finally ended. The cop drama was originally slated to release on March 24 last year but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the shutting down of cinema halls.

‘Sooryavanshi’ is a continuation of the cop action ‘Singham’ universe, which began with the Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Singam’ and ‘Singham Returns’, then expanded with ‘Simmba’, starring Ranveer Singh and Devgn, and now is going forward with Akshay Kumar’s character. Apart from Akshay, ‘Sooryavanshi’ also features Katrina Kaif in the lead role.

With the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai as the starting point, Rohit Shetty’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ traces the terrorist activities of a militant group whose chief, Omar Hafeez (Jackie Shroff), remote-controls their actions from Pakistan.

How DCP Veer Sooryavanshi (Akshay Kumar), chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad, along with his team, prevent Hafeez’s sons and the sleeper cells based across India, who are galvanized into action to destroy India, particularly Mumbai, forms the crux of this film that extends to two hours and a half.

While the narrative is strongly reminiscent of Rohit Shetty’s earlier films in terms of flavour and feel, this one is unadulterated entertainment with action, drama, and even a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. There are trite moments when the unity of India and its secular fabric are forced down one’s throat, courtesy of DCP Sooryavanshi’s sermons.

The film, expectedly, belongs to Akshay Kumar, who with his commanding screen presence, credible action, and charisma, hooks the viewers as Sooryavanshi. He may not be offering anything new by way of histrionics, but there is comfort in his familiar style and his action scenes are a treat to watch.

The scene where he is chasing Sikander Kher and lifts him onto a flying helicopter from a speeding motorboat is superbly choreographed.

Akshay Kumar is ably supported by an ensemble cast of actors which includes Kumud Mishra as Bilal Ahmed, Vivan Bhatena as Vivan and Gulshan Grover as Kadar Usmani, all of whom perform well, enhancing the quality of the film. Abhimanyu Singh as Riaaz Hafeez, the key leader of the mission and Jackie Shroff’s son, delivers a strong performance. Katrina Kaif as Sooryanshi’s wife, Dr Ria, merely adds to the glamour quotient.

Sleek action and daring acts with cars overturning and structures being blown off characterize the film, in Rohit Shetty’s inimitable style. Of course, one must not stop to analyse or seek rationale, else disappointment sets in.

The dialogues are powerful, hard-hitting, and seem real in the given context, and at times even succeed in arousing a patriotic fervor.

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Ajay Devgn, Ranveer Singh, Jaaved Jaaferi, Gulshan Grover, Abhimanyu Singh, Jackie Shroff, Sikandar Kher, Nikitin Dheer, Vivan Bhatena and Kumud Mishra.

Popular Kannada Actor Puneeth Rajkumar dies at 46

Kannada filsstar Puneeth Rajkumar died in Bengaluru’s Vikram Hospital on Friday, October 29th  after suffering a heart attack. Reportedly, his health had taken a turn for the worst on Thursday evening but he did not visit a doctor. After working out in the gym in the morning, he complained of chest pain, following which he was taken to a private clinic where an ECG was done.

During the checkup, his condition worsened and he was rushed to hospital. According to a statement issued by Vikram Hospital, Puneeth was non-responsive when brought in and was in cardiac asystole. His body is to be kept at Kanteerava Stadium for fans to pay homage; the last rites will be performed today with state honours.

Son of matinee idol Rajkumar, Puneeth began his career as a child artiste — he was just six-months-old when he was cast in the 1976 thriller Premada Kanike. He went on to bag his only National Film Award (for best child artist) playing the role of Ramu in Bettada Hoovu. Add to this, the four Karnataka State Film Awards and five Filmfare Awards South won during his career.

Born Lohith, he was known to fans as ‘Appu’ — after the 2002 hit film in which he played his first lead role — and ‘Power Star’. His film credits — 29 of them — as a lead actor include Mourya, Arasu, Raam, Hudugaru and Anjani Putra. He last featured in Yuvarathnaa, that released early this year.

He was also a singer and was admired for his dance skills. Puneeth made his TV debut in 2012 as presenter of Kannadada Kotyadhipathi, the Kannada version of game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

“Fortunate that I have a song sung by Arijit Singh so early in my career!:” Siddhant Chaturvedi

Bollywood Actor Siddhant Chaturvedi wowed everyone with his brilliant acting as rapper MC Sher in Gully Boy. Siddhant followed up on his success by landing his first role as the quintessential masala Hindi film hero in Yash Raj Films’ rib-tickling family entertainer Bunty Aur Babli 2.

He plays the big city slick con-artist – the New Bunty in this comedy. Siddhant has also got the first-ever romantic track of his career, Luv Ju, in Bunty Aur Babli 2 and he is overwhelmed that he has got the chart-busting sensation Arijit Singh’s song so early in his film career.

Siddhant says, “I think Arijit Singh singing Luv Ju that I’m lip-syncing to in the film is a milestone moment of my career. Having grown up listening and loving Arijit’s songs right from ‘Phir Le Aya Dil’ in Barfi!, I was in disbelief when YRF told me that he was singing a song to be picturised on me in Bunty Aur Babli 2!”

He adds, “Arijit Singh is a generation-defining superstar singer. He has sung for all the top stars of my generation and delivered evergreen chartbusters! I’m fortunate that I have a song sung by him so early in my career! He is just phenomenal in Luv Ju. It’s a romantic song that will just hook you in and keep growing on you. I haven’t stopped listening to Luv Ju and I’m sure there will be many like me when this breezy romantic track drops.”

Bunty Aur Babli 2 also features Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji as the original Bunty and Babli. Gorgeous debutant Sharvari plays the new Babli who is hot, intelligent, and tech-savvy. This comedy will pit two sets of con artists, from different generations, against each other as they try to prove who is the better con couple!

Yash Raj Films’ Bunty Aur Babli 2, which is set to release worldwide on November 19, 2021, has been directed by Varun V. Sharma, who has worked as an Assistant Director in YRF’s biggest blockbusters Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai.

Rajinikanth, Dhanush, Kangana Ranaut, Manoj Bajpayee Honored At 67th National Film Awards

Superstar Rajinikanth received a standing ovation by the audience while he was conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest film honor, by Vice President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi on October 25, 2021. The veteran star was felicitated with a Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus) medallion, a shawl, and a cash prize.

Actors Manoj Bajpayee and Dhanush were conferred with the Best Actor Award for their films ‘Bhonsle’ and ‘Asuran’ respectively at the 67th National Film Awards, which took place on Monday. Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut received her fourth National Film Award, as she was awarded the Best Actress Award for her performances in ‘Manikarnika: Queen of Jhansi’ and ‘Panga’.

While accepting the award, Rajinikanth took a stroll down memory lane to thank one of his old friends, who saw acting talent in him and encouraged him to try his luck in films. “I am extremely happy to receive this prestigious award. My heartfelt thanks to the central government for honouring me with the Dadasaheb Phalke award. I would like to dedicate this award to my guru K Balachander. Today, I remember him with great gratitude. I also want to thank my friend who saw this talent in me and suggested me to do acting while I was working as a bus conductor,” he recalled.

Rajinikanth also dedicated his win to all the producers, directors, members of the film industry and fans. “Thanks to everyone for their support… press, media, directors, distributors, producers and fans… my heartfelt thanks to everyone. Also, a special thanks to Tamil people… without them I am nobody,” he expressed his gratitude.

Rajinikanth attended the presentation ceremony along with his wife Latha, daughter Aishwarya, and son-in-law Dhanush. Born as Shivaji Rao Gaekwad on December 12, 1950, to Ramoji Rao and Jijabai, Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor before embarking on his film journey about 45 years ago.

He recalled his days of struggle. “When I was the bus conductor, he identified the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join the cinema. All my producers, directors, co-artistes, technicians, distributors, exhibitors and the media, press and all my fans. Tamil people – without them I am no body. Jai Hind!”

For the special occasion, Kangana chose to wear a traditional silk saree. “All set to receive the highest honor for an artist in the country today …. National Award,” she captioned the post. Earlier, she had won Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Fashion’ and Best Actress Awards for ‘Queen’ and ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’. After receiving the prestigious award, Kangana took to the photo-sharing application to thank her parents for being her support system.

“We all grow up with a deep desire to be worthy of our parents love, care and sacrifices…After all the troubles I give my mummy papa such days seem to make up for all those mischiefs ..Thank you for being my mummy papa I wouldn’t want it any other way,” she wrote.

Manoj, who has previously won the National Film Award twice, Best Supporting Actor in ‘Satya’, and Special Jury Award for his feature film ‘Pinjar’, was felicitated at the in-person ceremony for his performance in the Devashish Makhija directorial ‘Bhonsle’. The movie saw the ‘Family Man’ star portraying the titular character who is a retired policeman and is living a non-interfering life in a colony dominated by locals, diagnosed with stage 4 brain tumour.

Manoj, who was dressed in a black shirt and trousers for the award ceremony, spoke about receiving the award and said, “The National Award for ‘Bhonsle’ means a lot because this was a film which we wanted to make but we were not getting money from anyone to make it, it took us four years to make this film, so definitely it means the world to all of us. It’s kind of a poetic justice that has happened to ‘Bhonsle’ and I share this award with the director and the entire team.”

Dhanush received the Best Actor Award for his role in ‘Asuran’, which also won the Best Tamil Film award. It’s a period action drama film written and directed by Vetrimaaran, based on Poomani’s novel ‘Vekkai’. The film’s plot was influenced by the real-life Kilvenmani massacre that occurred in 1968. At the ceremony, Dhanush was joined by Aishwarya R Dhanush, his wife and superstar Rajinikanth’s daughter.

One of the country’s most eminent awards in entertainment, the 67th version of the National Film Awards, which were handed out to the awardees by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, was initially going to be held in May last year but had to be delayed due to the COVID pandemic.

“Chhicchore” director Nitesh Tiwari and producer Sajid Nadiadwala dedicated the Best Film Award to late Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput, who passed away in 2020. Vijay Sethupathy was awarded the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Super Deluxe.”

The Malayalam film, “Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham” (Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. The film has been written and directed by Priyadarshan, and stars Mohanlal. The actor was also present at the awards show. “The Tashkent Files” won two awards – Best Supporting Actress, which went to Pallavi Joshi and for Best Dialogue Writer.

Tamil Film ‘Koozhangal’ To Compete At Oscars 2022

Debutant director PS Vinothraj’s Tamil film Koozhangal (Pebbles) has been announced as India’s official entry to the Oscars 2022. If selected, the film will compete for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film next year.

Actor Vicky Kaushal congratulated producers of the Tamil film “Koozhangal,” Nayanthara and Vignesh Shivan, as their movie became India’s official entry to the Oscars 2022. Taking to his Instagram handle, Kaushal wrote, “Congratulations Vignesh Sivan, Nayanthara, and Team #Koozhangal! Go for glory!!!”

Shaji N Karun, the chairperson of the 15-member selection committee, set up by the Film Federation of India, made the announcement. The 94th Academy Awards will be held on March 27, 2022, in Los Angeles. On a related note, Kaushal’s latest film “Sardar Udham” along with Vidya Balan’s “Sherni,” Yogi Babu’s Tamil movie “Mandela,” and Martin Prakkat-led Malayalam film “Nayattu” were also shortlisted for India’s official entry to the Oscars. However, only “Koozhangal” (Pebbles) could make the cut.

Presented by Nayanthara and Vignesh’s Rowdy Pictures, “Koozhangal” has been helmed by debutant director PS Vinothraj. The movie follows the journey of an alcoholic father and his son who are on their way to bringing back their wife-mother, who has left home. It stars actors Karuththadaiyaan and Chellapandi in the lead roles.

Elated about his film becoming India’s official entry for the 94th Academy Awards, Vignesh tweeted, “There’s a chance to hear this! And the Oscars goes to…. Two steps away from a dream come true moment in our lives. #Pebbles #Nayanthara @PsVinothraj @thisisysr @AmudhavanKar @Rowdy_Pictures Can’t be prouder, happier & content.”

The film, released in 2021, is also the recipient of the prestigious Tiger Award, the top honor at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021. The other films in consideration to be India’s official Oscars 2022 entry included Amit Masurkar’s Sherni and Shoojit Sircar’s biopic Sardar Udham. India’s submissions to the Oscars in recent years include Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu and Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy.

No Indian film has ever won an Oscar thus far. The last Indian film that made it to the final list of nominations in the Best International Feature category was Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan in 2001. Mother India (1958) and Salaam Bombay (1989) are the other Indian films to have made it to the final nominations.

‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ On Broadway

Western musical theatre and Indian films are two long lost lovers separated in time’ : says biggest Indian film-maker Aditya Chopra, who is set to make his Broadway debut as a director with his record-setting worldwide blockbuster, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ)*

Yash Raj Films is the biggest Indian studio and it’s Chairman and Managing Director, Aditya Chopra, has directed and produced some of the biggest blockbusters in the history of Indian cinema. His debut directorial, the historic romantic film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, which released in 1995, is still running in theatres. Popularly called DDLJ, it is one of the highest grossing movies in the history of Indian cinema and the biggest IP of the country’s rich and diverse movie industry.

After 26 years, Aditya Chopra is set to direct DDLJ again and it will mark his debut as a director on Broadway. He strongly feels Broadway and Indian films are ‘two long lost lovers separated in time’ because of their intrinsic similarities as both celebrate heart-warming stories and human emotions through music and dance. Aditya has been working on this passion project for the past three years and has roped in a stellar, extremely diverse team, comprising some of the best talents of Broadway and India for the same.

Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is being produced by Yash Raj Films. Based on an original story by Chopra, the musical will feature book and lyrics by Laurence Oliver Award-winner Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde, Mean Girls), top Indian songwriters Vishal Dadlani & Shekhar Ravjiani will serve as composers. Tony and Emmy winner Rob Ashford (Frozen, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Boys from Syracuse) will choreograph with associate choreographer Shruti Merchant. The design team will also include set design by Emmy and Tony Award winner Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge!, Hairspray Live!, 33 Variations) and music supervision by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning Bill Sherman (In The Heights, Sesame Street, Hamilton). Adam Zotovich is the Executive Producer for the project.

Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical is set to be on stage in the Broadway season of 2022-2023, with a World Premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego September 2022. A global casting search begins shortly headed by Duncan Stewart of Stewart/Whitley casting and Yash Raj Films casting head Shanoo Sharma.


Summer 1985. I was 14 and on a holiday in London. My parents took my brother and me for our first musical theatre experience. The lights dimmed, the curtains lifted and what unfolded in the next 3 hours left me speechless and stunned. Now, till then, I was a kid who was an avid movie watcher and what I loved the most was big screen Indian blockbusters. But that day what I saw on stage blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that this kind of spectacle could be created live on stage. But the most significant aspect that resonated with me was how similar musical theatre was to our Indian films. It was just not the fact that both use songs to tell the story, it was much more than that, it was the feeling they evoked which was exactly the same. The burst of colours, the heightened drama, the passionate singing, the unabashed dancing, a classic story, a happy end. It filled me with the same joy and emotions that a good Indian film does. I ealized then, that worlds apart, languages apart, western musical theatre and Indian films are two long lost lovers separated in time.

Autumn 2021… I’m embarking on my most ambitious project till date. I’m reuniting two long lost lovers, Broadway Musical and Indian Films. 26 years back I started my career with a film called Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ, what it is more famously known as). The film created history and changed my life and many others forever. But what many don’t know is that I never intended to make DDLJ in Hindi. As a 23 year old young man greatly influenced by Hollywood and American pop culture, I thought I would make a couple of Indian films and then I would be off to Hollywood and make DDLJ for a worldwide English speaking audience with Tom Cruise as my leading man. That obviously didn’t happen. DDLJ released in 1995 and became the longest running film of Indian cinema. It gave me my identity and kickstarted an amazing journey for which I’ll always be grateful.

26 years later I’m going back to my original vision of the story of DDLJ, a love story of an American boy and an Indian girl, a love story of two cultures…two worlds. But this time the medium is not cinema but theatre. 26 years later I will be directing DDLJ all over again but this time as an English language Broadway Musical for a worldwide audience.

I’m terribly nervous and incredibly excited. I’m a hardcore cinema guy, I have never done theatre in my life and here I am trying to pull off the craziest ambition of my life. But what is giving me confidence is the fantastic team that I have. Each one of them are masters of their field and their brilliance and expertise is going to make this a fantastic show. The past 3 years as we have developed this passion project, I have learnt so much from them and discovered the unbelievable talent that the Broadway community has. I feel 23 again, the same age I was when I directed DDLJ. I’m once again a student, each one of my team members is more experienced than me in the world of theatre, I’m the rookie and I’m loving every moment of it. I’m all set to learn, explore, create and enjoy with these wonderful theatre artists and the magical world of Broadway Musicals.

Nell Benjamin wrote: “DDLJ was my introduction to Indian filmmaking before I even knew who the amazing Aditya Chopra was, and the movie had such joy and heart that I fell in love with it. I was so happy to be approached to do the musical and I hope my work helps everyone fall in love with Simran and Rog and their journey across multiple cultures to love. The world can always use a little more cultural understanding, and I can’t wait to sit in a theater with an audience sharing the joy and surprise of Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical.”

‘It’s A War Between The Ogs And The New Bunty Babli’

Yash Raj Films Bunty Aur Babli 2, which is set to release worldwide on November 19, 2021, is a rib-tickling comedy that will pit two sets of con artists, from different generations, against each other as they try to prove who is the better con couple! The makers are setting up this rivalry through a super innovative hilarious teaser video that DOESN’T have ANY film footage! In the video these two pairs of con artists mercilessly troll each other. The video has also revealed that the trailer of Bunty Aur Babli 2 will be out on Monday, 25th October.

Saif Ali Khan, who plays the OG Bunty aka Rakesh, reveals, “Bunty Aur Babli 2 is a game of cat and mouse between the OG con couple and the New con couple trying to prove that they are better than what the originals were in their prime. This will spark the rivalry and it’s just hilarious because of how intelligently the script has been written to show this madness.”

Rani Mukerji, who reprises the role of Vimmy aka Babli in this completely rebooted franchise film, adds, “The video is a true reflection of what the film has to offer to audiences which is non-stop entertainment and non-stop comedy. Though in the unit, we play ourselves and not the characters in the film, it has been smartly written with trolling humour as Saif and I go after Siddhant and Sharvari and vice versa.”

Gully Boy heartthrob Siddhant Chaturvedi is playing the New Bunty. He says, “It’s a war between the OG’s and the new Bunty Babli and it has been brilliantly captured in the video. Both parties stake the claim to be intellectually superior. While the OGs feel that the New con artists are mere usurpers, the new con couple feels that they are way too cool and smart than the OGs! That’s the premise of the film and you will see us going after each other right from this video and all through the entire marketing campaign!”

Gorgeous debutant Sharvari plays the role of the New Babli. She says, “It was super fun to shoot this because here we were being trolled by Saif sir and Rani ma’am for being fake Bunty Babli and we had to prove it to them saying how we are way, way superior con artists because we are children of the tech boom. It was just a laugh riot shooting this unit with the team and we are confident that this will entertain you thoroughly.” Bunty Aur Babli 2 has been directed by Varun V. Sharma, who has worked as an Assistant Director in YRF’s biggest blockbusters Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai.

Panel Discusses Film By Tirlok Malik, ‘To New India With Love’

A panel discussion on Zoom was held on the short film ‘To New India with Love,’ made by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Tirlok Malik, and presented by Padma Shri Dr Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, and was sponsored by The Indian Panorama and Indian American Forum according to a press release from Apple Productions. The Indian American Forum hosted the thought-provoking panel discussion.

‘To New India with Love’ is a non-commercial venture, and examines the subject of youth aspirations. The screenplay and dialogues are written by Murtaza Ali Khan and Rakesh Zharotia is the film’s editor and assistant director. While starting the proceedings for the day, Indu Jaiswal, Chairperson, Indian American Forum introduced the moderators and the panelists while welcoming the guests and underlining the agenda of the event. She congratulated Trilok Malik on the success of ‘To New India with Love’ which has been praised worldwide by audience and critics alike for his inspiring and empowering message to the youth of India.

The panel discussion was moderated by Chief Editor of The Indian Panorama Prof. Indrajit S. Saluja, and Dr. Renee Mehrra. Other panelists at the meeting included Dr. Azad Anand, Dr. Bhupi Patel, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Shashi Malik, Animesh Goenka, Sudhir Vaishnav, Neeta Bhasin, Anju Sharma, Lal Motwani. Also present were Pam Kwatra, Jyoti Gupta, Chitranjan Sahay Belwariar, and Anurag Sharma.

While congratulating Tirlok Malik on his latest film, Prof. Saluja reflected upon the overwhelming love for India that each and every film of Malik oozes with. Dr. Mehrra praised the film’s message and its relevance. Mrs Beena Kothari also praised the message and thanked Mr Malik for such a thought provoking Film

The panelists included Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Tirlok Malik, Dr. Azad Anand, Dr. Bhupi Patel, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Shashi Malik, and Animesh Goenka. Each of them praised the film’s subject and its timely message. Sudhir Vaishnav, Neeta Bhasin, Anju Sharma, Lal Motwani, and Andy Bhatia who were also present on the occasion appreciated the film while sharing their views about Malik’s remarkable contribution as a filmmaker over the last three decades. Pam Kwatra, Jyoti Gupta, Chitranjan Sahay Belwariar, and Anurag Sharma were also present.

Talking about his association with the film, Dr. Sudhir Parikh praised the film’s inspiring message. While highlighting the positive changes that have taken place in India over the last five decades, he reminded that the India of today is very different from when he first came to the US. He asserted that the Indian youth today has so many opportunities while touching upon the new initiatives of the present Indian government which have been instrumental in empowering the youth.

Sharing the vision behind the film, Tirlok Malik said that the film aims to inspire the youth of India to not give up on their dreams. Even if someone doesn’t have the means to realize his/her dreams, he/she can achieve success through their hard work and determination. My film ‘To New India with Love’ is an inspiring and motivational film that gives a message of hope to the youth to pursue their dreams.

Tirlok Malik is best known for making films about Indian immigrants in the US, starting with his pioneering work, ‘Lonely in America,’ which was shown in 74 countries and as well as on HBO and participated in 37 film festivals, winning several awards. He subsequently made films such as ‘Love Lust and Marriage,’ ‘Khushiyaan,’ and ‘On Golden Years’. He has also acted in films like ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedka,’ ‘Lajja,’ ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,’ ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum,’ ‘Sivaji: The Boss,’ and ‘Mehbooba,’ among others.

Dr. Parikh praised the film’s inspiring message noting that Indian youth had far more opportunities today than five decades ago, and that positive changes have taken place in India. He also touched upon the new initiatives of the present Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he said have been instrumental in empowering the youth.

Malik said the film aims to inspire the youth of India to not give up on their dreams and to power through even if they do not have all the means. “My film ‘To New India with Love’ is an inspiring and motivational film that gives a message of hope to the youth to pursue their dreams,” Malik said.

Malik’s earlier film ‘Lonely in America,’ was shown in 74 countries and as well as on HBO and participated in 37 film festivals, winning several awards, the press release said. Other films he made include ‘Love Lust and Marriage,’ ‘Khushiyaan,’ and ‘On Golden Years’. He has also acted in films including ‘Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar,’ ‘Lajja,’ ‘Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu,’ ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum,’ ‘Sivaji: The Boss,’ and ‘Mehbooba.’

Aryan Khan Commits To “Work For Poor, Shun Wrong Path”

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan assured NCB officials during counseling that he would work for the welfare of the poor and never do anything that would besmirch his name in the future, an official said last week.

Aryan (23) is currently lodged in Arthur Road prison in Mumbai after he was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau following alleged drug seizure from a cruise ship off the Mumbai coast on October 2.

During counselling by officials including NCB’s zonal director Sameer Wankhede and social workers, Aryan said after his release, he will work for “social and financial uplift of the poor and downtrodden” and never do anything which could bring him publicity for the wrong reasons, said an agency official.

An NCB team busted an alleged drugs party on the Cordelia Cruise ship which was on its way to Goa at mid-sea on October 2. A total of 20 people, including two Nigerian nationals, have been arrested so far in the case related to the seizure of drugs following a raid at a party on the Cordelia cruise ship off the Mumbai coast on October 2.

After the arrest, Aryan along with seven other accused including two women arrested by the NCB underwent a counseling session. “Aryan was on the call for 10 minutes with his parents, and a jail official was present with him during the call,” said the official.

There are a total of 3,200 prisoners in the Arthur Road jail. As per the guidelines of the jail amid the pandemic, people are not allowed to visit the inmates. They can only speak to them over the phone. Inmates are allowed 10 minutes to talk to their family members.  The jail has a total of 11 phones. The family members of prisoners who have a video call facility are given 10 minutes on video call otherwise a voice call is dialled.

During a hearing in the Court, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) counsel ASG Anil Singh opposed Aryan’s bail and said, “Argument is, they are kids. One of the considerations for granting bail. I don’t agree with this. Sir, they are our future generation. The entire country will be depending on them. This is the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha. We have to stop this drug abuse. We have been taking this matter very seriously. We are looking into the chain, into the transaction.”

The NCB, in the court, said all countries should take drug abuse very seriously as it is affecting society and the world. “Our department working day and night to find a solution to drug abuse. We are dealing with it in a very serious manner. My officers were attacked, beaten, in a different matter. They put their lives in danger and they have been working. This has been affecting the entire society, particularly to youngsters who are college students,” the NCB counsel said.

Acclaimed Indian Actor, Nedumudi Venu Passes Away At 73

Nedumudi Venu, rated as one of the most talented actors in Indian cinema, died at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on Monday. He was 73. Having recovered from Covid-19, Venu had been in a critical condition for some time due to liver-related ailments.

After initially being admitted to the hospital on October 5th with tiredness and weakness, he was transferred to intensive care on Saturday, a spokesman for the private facility where he was treated told the media. The doctor treating Venu told the media that he died of kidney-related issues and sepsis.  Liaison officer Praveen Jojo of KIMS Health in Thiruvananthapuram, said Venu had breathed his last on Monday, October 11th.

Born in 1948 in Nedumudi in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, Venu began his career as a theatre artiste with famous dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panicker’s experimental theatre group. He entered films in 1978 with G. Aravindan’s Thambu.

Nedumudi Venu won three National Film Awards, and six Kerala State Film Awards for his performances. Venu was known for his roles in “His Highness Abdullah,” “Bharatham” and “Margam,” among others. His most memorable performance that established Venu as a talent in Malayalam cinema was in Thakara in which he played the role of a village carpenter. Some of his best films included Aravam, Vidaparayum Munpe, Kallan Pavithran, Chamaram, Oru Minnaminunginte Nurunguvettam, Chithram, Thenmavin Kombath, Margam and Arimpara. Ente Mazha directed by Subrahmanyam was his last film.

In his film career spanning over four decades, Venu acted in over 500 movies in Tamil and Malayalam as hero, villain and character actor. According to film scholar N. Balagopal, Venu was one of the few actors in Indian cinema who excelled both as stylized actor and realistic actor, which in Indian theatre tradition is called Natya Dharmi and Lokadharmi, respectively.

Over the decades, Nedumudi Venu shone as an actor who could deliver powerful performances. His talent at handling serious and comedic roles with equal aplomb was admired in the industry. He turned screenwriter for films like Kattathe Kilikkoodu, Theertham, Sruthi, Ambada Njane, Oru Katha Oru Nunnakkatha, Savidham and Angane Oru Avadhikkalathu. The actor also helmed a film titled Pooram. Besides acting, Venu was also adept at playing the mridangam.

Actor-filmmaker Prithviraj Sukumaran took to Twitter to mourn the demise of Nedumudi Venu. Sharing a photo of the veteran artiste, Prithviraj wrote, “Farewell Venu uncle! Your body of work and your expertise over the craft will forever be research material for generations to come! Rest in peace legend! NedumudiVenu.”

Filmmaker Sangeeth Sivan also expressed grief at the news. His post read, “Absolutely shattered to know that NedumudiVenu is no more! One of our finest actors. Such a huge loss to Malayalam cinema. He leaves behind an impressive & varied filmography & will live in our hearts forever. OmShanti.”

Kajol and Revathy Collaborate For Film, The Last Hurrah

Famed Bollywood veteran actress Kajol is collaborating with actress-turned-director Revathy for her upcoming new film, The Last Hurrah. Taking to Instgaram on Thursday, the My Name Is Khan  actress shared the exciting news with her fans and posted an adorable click with the 2 States actress.

Calling it an inspiring story, Kajol, 47, captioned the picture as, “So happy to announce my next film with the super awesome Revathi directing me.. called ‘The Last Hurrah’. A heartwarming story that made me instantly say YES! Can I hear a “Yipppeee” please.

Described as a big moment for the Bollywood world, the two extraordinary talents collaborating to create something remarkable has created much enthusiasm among millions of their fans worldwide.  Both have created milestones with their work in the Indian film industry and this dream team is going to create an inspiring story with their upcoming film, “The Last Hurrah.”

Inspired by a true story and real characters, “The Last Hurrah” tells a tale of an exemplary mother, Sujata, who battled the most challenging situations one can face with a smile. The film is currently in pre-production and will soon go on floors.Talking about her first collaboration with Kajol and choosing this story for her, Revathy shares, “Sujata’s journey is extremely close to my heart. It’s not only relatable but also inspiring. When Suuraj, Shraddha and I were discussing this film, Kajol was the first person who came to mind. Her soft yet energetic eyes and her beautiful smile will make you believe that anything is possible and that is exactly how Sujata is. I am very excited for this collaboration and to be working with Kajol for this heartening story.”

Elated to come together with Revathy, Kajol adds, “When I heard the story of “The Last Hurrah,” I could instantly connect with Sujata and I thought her journey was incredibly inspiring. I think it’s a beautiful journey and it deserves to be shared with everyone. And to have Revathy direct me for this story gives me more strength to play Sujata and showcase her strengths.”

Bringing together the dynamic new duo, Revathy and Kajol, producers Suuraj Singh and Shraddha Agrawal say, “We think it is a coup for us to be able to get these two powerhouses. With Revathy’s nuanced direction and Kajol’s outstanding performance, we are sure that this film is going to touch many hearts.”

Produced under the banner of Blive Productions and Take 23 Studios, the film is written by Sammeer Arora.

SRK’s Son Among 10 Held As NCB Busts Rave Party On Cruise Ship Near Mumbai

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has detained around 10 people after it raided a ‘rave party’ being held on a luxury passenger cruise ship travelling from Mumbai to Goa and has brought in Aryan Khan, the son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, for questioning in connection with the case.

According to News 18, Shah Rukh’s son Aryan Khan was detained from the ship and is currently being questioned by the NCB at its Mumbai office. Reports say his phone has been seized and is being studied. NCB’s Sameer Wankhede told the media that Aryan Khan has not been arrested or booked under any charges, and that he has only been brought in for questioning. Visuals have emerged on social media where he can be seen at the NCB office, where the other eight people have also been taken.

An NCB team led by zonal director Sameer Wankhede went under the guise of regular passengers and the agency said 8-10 people who were consuming drugs have been held. The NCB officials claimed that a few days ago, they had received information about the rave party that was being organized on the passenger cruise ship which was to leave for Goa on Saturday evening.

The Narcotics Control Bureau on Saturday carried out a raid and busted a rave party on a cruise ship mid-sea off the Mumbai coast. At the time of going to the press, the raid was still underway and the NCB officials were in the process of registering a FIR under NDPS act. The sources in the department revealed that around 10 persons including the son of a Bollywood actor were detained for allegedly being part of the rave party.

The NCB officials claimed that a few days ago, they had received information about the rave party that was being organized in the passenger cruise ship which was to leave for Goa on Saturday evening. The NCB personnel accordingly booked tickets and boarded the cruise ship disguised as passengers. “As soon as the cruise left Mumbai coast and reached mid-sea, few passengers started consuming drugs after which the NCB officials then started their operation and caught them red handed,” said a source. Cocaine and other synthetics drugs have been found in their possession which were subsequently seized during the raid, said officials

The captain of the ship was instructed to take the cruise to the international cruise terminal at Ballard Pier in south Mumbai. Zonal director of NCB, Sameer Wankhede and his team took all the detainees along with their luggage to the NCB office in south Mumbai. While searches were still being carried out inside the passenger cruise ship. “The procedure of seizing drugs in the presence of eye witnesses is still going on,” said an official.

The detainees will be soon sent for medical examination to a nearby government hospital, said NCB officials as that will help them to ascertain whether they had consumed drugs. “The report will also act as a crucial piece of evidence,” said a source. Also heavy deployment of policemen from the Mumbai police force was witnessed in and around the terminal. It is also revealed that several people who had come to Mumbai from another state to travel in the ship were not allowed to board sighting a reason that their server was not working. Also it has come to light that the event organizers had overbooked due to which they refused entry to many people.

Navatman’s First Feature Film, The Mahabharat To Be Released In November

Navatman, the critically acclaimed NYC-based cultural hub for classical Indian dance and music, is bringing The Mahabharata to film in the first-ever retelling that is driven by young, immigrant artists hailing from across the United States. Through a stunning blend of classical Indian music and dance, and years of extensive academic research into the epic, Navatman’s Mahabharata proves why the Mahabharata matters in 2021.

Mahabharata, the largest epic in the world, by producer Navatman, Inc. Navatman, best known for its live theater productions, will be venturing into film for their first feature film – at 2 hours and 10 minutes – on the Mahabharata. Combining traditional Indian arts with film, this feature is part movie, including spoken word to help audiences understand the story, part dance and music using mudras and hand gestures in place of props and music and character storytelling methods from dance to help create emotional understanding of these stories.
This film includes many “firsts” – the first feature film told from the narrative of Indian classical dance and music traditions, first American/Indian diaspora film interpretation of the Mahabharata, a first feature film of the Mahabharata written solely by female scriptwriters, and a feature film that switches gender roles as actors and actresses. It is a story that is driven by sounds and images that are not an attempt to assimilate, but a story driven to help create cultural understanding for the next generation of Indians.

As quoted by Sahasra Sambamoorthi, the Artistic Director of Navatman’s Mahabharata – “It is our work to create space in a world that does not acknowledge the Mahabharata as a great piece of literature, a reclamation of a text by those whose heritage revolves around it.” The film will premiere at a gala event slated to be held at the SVA theater in Manhattan, NYC, on the evening of Nov 6. While this is an exclusive, invite-only event, the general public can access the film online on Navatman’s video rental app. Tickets are currently priced at $49.99 and the video can be rented for 2 days to be watched anytime, anywhere before it expires.

This two-hour feature film abides by the principles of theater in some ways, like actors playing multiple characters and music, movement & using mudras (hand gestures) to tell the story. It also includes lines for female characters, an addition to the critical edition of the Mahabharata (a compilation of hundreds of texts) where women are often seen but do not have a voice. “Our version allows us to work within gender norms differently – while very traditional to see Indian artists play male and female roles on the stage, putting this into a film version of the Mahabharata puts a twist on who gets to play what roles in this world, and allows a space for arts organizations like ours to tell stories in a novel format. Yes, the pandemic forced us to explore digital means of doing our work – we started rehearsing for a stage production and then had to change gears to be on-camera – but I am glad that it did. Our Indian dance & music based film is going to be epic!”.

In other ways, it is a feature film with its 4K video shots and surround sound, powerful film editing and meaningful sets across New York and New Jersey. “It’s an incredible feat to have captured a massive story like the Mahabharata like we have. Our artists are not film actors, not theater actors, but professionally trained dancers & musicians who are great at their craft. I can proudly say that Navatman self produced and created this opportunity using its own resources, a feat that will allow dancers and musicians around the world to embolden their cultural and artistic heritage,” says co-founder of Navatman.Sridhar Shanmugam Navatman is a performing arts organization that empowers the individual to nurture his or her personal evolution through interactions with the Indian classical arts. Founded with an eye towards creating a home for the Indian classical performing arts in NYC, Navatman is best known for their Manhattan based and online classes, critically acclaimed productions, dynamic dance company, stellar music ensemble, and Drive East – a week long collaborative festival celebrating their mission. Broadcast on: www.navatmanvideobroadcasting.uscreen.io
Tickets: $75 early release, $50 December release; Info/purchase: www.navatman.org/mahabharata; Email: [email protected]; Phone: 732.580.2093

Google Doodle Honors Sivaji Ganesan On 93rd Birth Anniversary

Sivaji Ganesan needs no introduction. The innumerable characters he made memorable on screen gave him a permanent place in the hearts of millions of movie-goers, and he still lives there, 20 years after he passed away on July 21, 2001, at the age of 73.

On Friday, October 1, to celebrate his 93rd birth anniversary, the legendary actor, who was also a recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the country’s highest award for cinema, has been honored by Google with a Google Doodle.

Doodle, illustrated by Bangalore, India-based guest artist Noopur Rajesh Choksi, celebrated the 93rd birthday of Sivaji Ganesan, one of India’s first method actors and widely considered among the nation’s most influential actors of all time.

On this day in 1928, Sivaji Ganesan was born as Ganesamoorthy in Villupuram, a town in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, India. At a young age of 7, he left home and joined a theater group, where he started playing child and female roles then lead roles. In December 1945, Ganesan made a name for himself–literally–with his theatrical portrayal of 17th-century Indian King Shivaji. This regal stage name stuck and Ganesan carried the crown as “Sivaji” as he conquered the world of acting.

He made his on-screen debut in the 1952 film “Parasakthi,” the first of his over 300 films spanning a nearly five-decade cinematic career. Renowned for his expressive voice and diverse performances in Tamil-language cinema, Ganesan quickly ascended to international fame. His best-known blockbusters include the trendsetting 1961 film “Pasamalar,” an emotional, family story considered one of Tamil cinema’s crowning achievements, and the 1964 film “Navarthri,” Ganesan’s 100th film in which he portrayed a record-breaking, nine different roles.

Ganesan’s big break in acting came when he was portraying the Maratha King, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, in the play ‘Sivaji Kanda Samrajyam’, written and directed by the late former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and doyen of Dravidian politics, C.N. Annadurai.

The name Sivaji became iconic and Ganesan retained the name throughout his extraordinarily brilliant acting carrier. The big break for the legendary actor came with the Tamil film, ‘Parasakthi’, directed by Krisnan-Panju and written by M. Karunanidhi, DMK leader and late former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Critics have listed several movies as his best, but Sivaji Ganesan himself rated his performance as V.O. Chidambaram in and as ‘Kappalottiya Thamizhan’ as his most memorable one.

Sivaji Ganesan was remembered for his extraordinary flair for dialogue delivery. He pioneered an exquisite style, diction, tone and tenor. His style of dialogue delivery helped him play such mythological and historical characters as Lord Shiva in (‘Thiruvilaiyaadal’), the great Chola emperor in and as ‘Raja Raja Cholan’, the Vaishnavite saint (and one of the 12 Alvars revered in southern India), Periyalvar, in ‘Thirumal Perumal’, and the seventh-century Shaivite saint Appar in ‘Thiruvarutchelvar’.

The legend was addressed as ‘Nadigar Thilagam’ (literally translated as ‘the pride of actors’) for his all-around acting performance, but ironically, Sivaji did not receive any National Award, except for a Special Jury Mention for a cameo appearance in the Kamal Haasan-starrer ‘Thevar Magan’ released in 1992. Predictably, the legend rejected the award.

Sivaji Ganesan was unsuccessful in politics, unlike his compatriot M.G. Ramachandran, fondly referred to as MGR, who became Chief Minister and one of the most popular leaders of the state. The legend was engaged in politics as a Dravida Kazhagam activist and later as a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), but he crossed over to the Congress in the late 1950s.

He joined hands with the Congress (O) led by another Tamil leader K. Kamaraj, after the Congress split in 1969 and later aligned himself with Indira Gandhi after the passing away of Kamaraj. Eventually, Sivaji Ganesan left the Congress and floated his own ‘Tamizhaga Munnetra Munnani in 1989, but had to face a crushing defeat at the electoral hustings.

In 1960, Ganesan made history as the first Indian performer to win Best Actor at an international film festival for his historical movie “Veerapandiya Kattabomman,” one of his biggest blockbusters with people remembering the dialogues from the movie even today. Other distinguished accolades came near the end of his career. In 1995, France awarded him its highest decoration, Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

The Indian government in 1997 honored him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award which is India’s highest award in the field of cinema. Today, his legacy is carried on for international audiences through the performances of the many contemporary Indian acting greats who cite Ganesan as a major inspiration.  Lights, camera, happy birthday, Sivaji Ganesan!

Intrusion,’ A Freida Pinto Movie Is A Manipulative Home-Invasion Thriller

After having just moved from Boston to their newly built, palatial villa in secluded New Mexico, the seemingly, perfect couple Henry and Meera Parsons soon find some intruders in their house who disrupt their lives forever. The house was designed and built by the caring and attentive architect, husband Henry to provide him and his lovely wife Meera a new lease of life, especially after her difficult recovery from breast cancer. One night, when they return home after dinner, they discover that their house is ransacked. It initially appears like an innocuous burglary.

On the advice of the local police, Henry soon upgrades their home security with an alarm system and remote locking. But soon, a second break-in happens while the couple is sleeping at home. Meera is shocked to learn that Henry has a gun which he does not hesitate to use. In the scuffle between the couple and the intruders, the intruders get injured, and the police present a few suspects whom the Parsons identify. It so happens that the suspects are from the other side of town, and they happen to be from one family whose daughter has been missing for nearly a year.

What follows is the crumbling of the perfect couple image, with Meera and Henry tracking each other and also Meera doing her own bit of investigation. Events soon escalate to something more devious which culminates during their housewarming party. While the plot appears promising, the writing seems laboured with poorly etched characters, and the tale appearing like a manipulative and shallow derivative of a home-invasion thriller. Also, the pacing of the film is slack. It fails to serve as a gripping thriller and the motive of the devious deed which is revealed in the climax is hardly dwelt upon. The performance of the lead pair is far from impressive. Both are simply mechanical and stereotypical in their disposition.

On the production front, with moderate production values, the Parsons’ home built in the wilderness, designed by Brandon Tonner-Connolly and Matt Hyland is magnificent but at the same time insipid and cold. Overall, the entire proceedings appear implausible and amateurishly mounted.

Film: Intrusion (Streaming on Netflix)
Duration: 94 minutes
Director: Adam Salky
Cast: Freida Pinto, Logan Marshall-Green, Robert John Burke, Megan Elisabeth Kelly, Sarah Minnich and Hayes Hargrove.

A.R. Rahman And Gulzar Join For Subrata Roy Biopic

Oscar-winner AR Rahman has created mellifluous music that has made international headlines and Padma Bhushan and Oscar winner Gulzar has written unforgettable lyrics defining India over the decades. Now, Sandeep Singh under his banner Legend Global Studio has brought both these legends together for his upcoming prestigious project – the biopic on business tycoon Subrata Roy. News of the Subrata Roy Biopic first broke last month when it was announced that Sandeep Singh had acquired the rights of the film. The film is reported to be one that will span several continents and traverse the tycoon’s journey over the decades. Title and cast of the biopic is expected to be announced shortly.

Rahman said: “Gulzar Saab’s soulful lyrics are extremely inspiring for a musician and I hope I can do justice to the lyrics and the story. I am looking forward to this collaboration.” Gulzar added: “It will be wonderful to collaborate with Rahman again. Subrata Roy’s life is enigmatic and inspiring. Rahman is a wonderful artist and musician and I look forward to this collaboration.” Subrata Roy is the Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar. He and his two companies were barred by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 2010.

According to reports, the regulatory body made accusations against the group that they had raised several crores through optionally fully convertible debentures (OFCDs) that SEBI considered wrong. Roy was then jailed for over two years. Roy has been out on parole since 2016. News of the Subrata Roy biopic came out last month when it was announced that Sandeep Singh had acquired the rights of the film, which is being produced by Sandeep Singh. The movie is reported to be one that will span several continents and traverse the tycoon’s journey over the decades. The title and cast of the biopic is expected to be announced shortly.

Singh states, “It gives me unbelievable joy to bring these legends of lyrics and music together for a project that is extremely close to my heart. I have been an ardent admirer of the work of Rahman-ji and Gulzar-saab. Their contribution to cinema cannot be measured and I am humbled that they are a part of my project. Subrata Roy-sir’s life is a tremendous story of grit, determination and success and it needs the support of these two geniuses to realize this dream. I am humbled and overwhelmed.”

A.R. Rahman-Gulzar films:

“Dil Se…” (1998)

“Saathiya” (2002)

“Guru” (2007)

“Slumdog Millionaire” (2008)

“Yuvvraaj” (2008)

“Raavan” (2010)

Jab Tak Hai Jaan” (2012)

“OK Jaanu” (2017)

SRK, Nayanthara To Star In Tamil Director Atlee’s Next Film

Bollywood Superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Nayanathara, popularly known as the ‘lady superstar’ of South Indian cinema were reportedly spotted in Pune, shooting for their much-talked about film together. The two prolific actors have come together for Tamil director Atlee’s next project.

The news has been doing the rounds for quite some time, but now it is being reported that SRK, who was in Spain shooting for Siddharth Anand’s ‘Pathan,’ has started work on the film in Pune.SRK is said to be playing a double role — that of a father and a son. This, incidentally, won’t be Atlee’s first film featuring Bollywood stars. His 2019 Tamil sports action film, ‘Bigil,’ a Vijay-Nayanthara star vehicle, had Jackie Shroff as one of the principal actors. Atlee is famous for his 2017 action thriller, ‘Mersal,’ with A.R. Rahman’s music and a star cast comprising Vijay, S.R. Suryan, Samantha Akkineni and Kajal Aggarwal.

The film’s cast also includes Sanya Malhotra, who played Babita Kumari in ‘Dangal’ and later also essayed memorable roles in ‘Shakuntala Devi’ and ‘Ludo.’ Also cast in it is Sunil Grover, seen most recently in the web series ‘Tandav,’ but who first came to the people’s notice as Gutthi in ‘Comedy Nights by Kapil.’

This film marks the first collaboration of Atlee with Shah Rukh, who will also be seen in YRF’s ‘Pathan’. It is believed Shah rukh khan will once again unite with Om Shanti Om co-star Deepika Padukone for Pathan. Reportedly, Shah Rukh and Deepika will shoot crucial parts of their film in Spain in addition to a massively mounted song. “Pathan” also stars John Abraham. Other details about the movie are still under wraps.

“Bromance To Breakup” On ZEES Global

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest platform for South Asian content, is all set to bring the intriguing and untold Lee-Hesh Bromance to Breakup story to your screens. ZEE5 Global has partnered with award-winning filmmaker duo Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari to helm ‘BREAK POINT’, a 7-part series based on the iconic on-court partnership between living legends, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi and their off-court lives.   The makers revealed the first poster of the ZEE5 Original series and looks like the many questions that fans had regarding the Lee-Hesh relationship and breakup will soon be answered!  Commenting on helming ‘BREAK POINT’, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari in a joint statement said, “It’s great to bring to screen a series like this on a home-grown video streaming platform like ZEE5. Working with icons like Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes has been surreal and to bring their untold story to screen is something that we will cherish forever.”

Leander Paes shares, “I enjoyed this walk down memory lane shooting for ‘BREAK POINT’ with wonderful storytellers like Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nitesh Tiwari in collaboration with ZEE5.  While Mahesh and my on-court partnership was widely covered, and our off-court chemistry was largely speculated. This is the first time that our fans will get to see and hear it all, first-hand. Mahesh and I worked really hard to put India on the top of world tennis and we are glad that we are getting a chance to present our story to the world, like never before. Enjoy our journey.”  Mahesh Bhupathi shares, “It is no secret that I am reserved when it comes to communicating, so this is a big step for me to relive the journey and put it all out there in the most candid and honest manner. But, at the same time, I am happy that our fans will get to see our journey which was a mix of sweat, perseverance, brotherhood and at times blood and tears as well. This is surely going to be a treat for all, and I am thankful to Ashwiny, Nitesh and ZEE5 for giving it everything.”

For decades, Indians have celebrated the country’s biggest tennis heroes who made India proud by winning many iconic matches and have also speculated about their much public split. However, for the first time, the speculations will be put to rest as Paes and Bhupathi get candid and honest about their bromance and breakup and tell the world – what happened, how it happened and why it happened! ‘BREAK POINT’ will not only construct their epic tennis matches but also deconstruct their relationship, both on and off the court.  ‘BREAK POINT’ is a telling narrative on their friendship, brotherhood, partnership, belief, hard work and ambitions which made them one of the most feared doubles pair during the late 1990s, and even ranked world number 1 in the year 1999. But it also throws light on their bitter breakup and how they couldn’t hold on to their meteoric rise. Above all, it’s a tale of two friends who had planned for success but not for life after success.

‘BREAK POINT’ marks ZEE5’s first partnership with filmmakers, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari under their banner Earthsky Pictures who are known for their exceptional movies such as Dangal, Panga, Chhichhore, Nil Battey Sannata, and many more. This is also the first time that Ashwini Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari will be co-directing a project. The seven-episode series will be exclusively available on ZEE5 soon.   Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

ZEE5 is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 is home to 130,000+ hours of On Demand Content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Cineplays and Health and Lifestyle content all in one single destination. ZEE5 offers key features like 15 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search.  Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

Malayalam Cinema Known For Family-Centred Stories

Actor-producer Vijay Babu, whose next production ‘#Home’ is set for an Onam release this year, says that Malayalam cinema in its golden period was known for delivering good family-oriented films.

Vijay tells IANS: “During the golden years of Malayalam cinema, which I believe to be in the 90s, many family stories were told. But then, things changed slowly…When I read the script of ‘#Home’, it felt like going back to the 90s and telling real family stories which Malayalam films were always known for.” Home’ is directed and written by Rojin Thomas, which marks his second collaboration with Vijay after ‘Philips And The Monkey Pen’.

Talking about Rojin’s meticulous style of direction and writing, Vijay says: “Rojin is a person of detailing. He surprises even the producer even with the minute details. With Rojin, he just tells the story in 3 minutes and I know what he will come up with. Even in Monkey Pen, every minute detail of family detail was given by him. Each and every detail comes from his life experience.” Besides bankrolling the project, Vijay will also be seen playing a small part in the film.

He says that the story is so close to his heart, that wanted to be part of it on and off camera. “I play an extended cameo. I play a psychiatrist called Franklin in the film. Honestly, I was not to be part of the film but this is the only movie where I asked the director that even if it’s only a scene, I wanted to do it. He offered me the role of this doctor. I did the character and I am so happy that I am part of it,” says Vijay. (IANS)

Karan Johar, Sonu Sood Collaborate With National Geographic For Exciting Projects

On the occasion of World Photography Day Aug. 19, National Geographic, a brand known for its iconic imagery and some of the best pictures from across the world, has teased us with something special that they are launching. The brand has teamed up with Karan Johar, the ace filmmaker, for a project around photography and videography.

The film opens on a calm evening on a serene beach. We hear the sounds of waves gently crashing on the shore, seagulls cooing, and other ambient sounds. It is then that the frame spans out and we see Karan Johar saying: “Some sights take you places.” The teaser then ends with Karan Johar mentioning: “Something inspiring, clicking soon. Stay tuned!” On India’s Independence Day, Sonu Sood – actor, film producer, model, humanitarian, and philanthropist – had a special surprise announcement for all his fans! He announced a what-looks-to-be-like new project titled ‘It Happens Only in India’ with National Geographic India.

The official Instagram page of National Geography India posted the video of their collaboration with Sonu Sood and captioned it, “Get ready to witness some exciting stories about India with @sonu_sood on It Happens Only in India, coming soon on National Geographic”. In a special teaser video released across television and National Geographic social media handles, we can see Sonu wishing everyone a Happy Independence Day before announcing he will soon be launching a new property called It Happens Only in India on National Geographic.While he didn’t announce the official launch date and the concept, it definitely looks to be an interesting property that will revolve around India as a country and we are sure his fans can’t wait to hear more on this soon!

Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif And Alia Bhatt Star In Farhan Akhtar’s “Jee Le Zaraa”

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt co-star in “Jee Le Zaraa,” Farhan Akhtar’s return to direction a full decade after “Don 2.” Happily, it is not “Don 3” or even “Dil Chahta Hai 2.” Sensibly, the director of the path-breaking “Dil Chahta Hai” continues on the three-hero format followed also in Excel Entertainment’s “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” with “sheroes” (protagonist heroines) instead!

The film is written by Zoya Akhtar, Farhan and Reema Kagti and is co-produced by Tiger Baby Productions. The film also marks Chopra’s return to mainstream Hindi films after her home production, “The Sky is Pink” (2019) though she had also acted in “The White Tiger” (2021).

As she put it in an Instagram post, “Let’s rewind, to me musing about wanting to do another Hindi movie ASAP, on an unusually rainy night in Mumbai in Nov 2019.”

“But it had to be the right one – different, cool, never been done before… I thought. The idea grew into a movie helmed by an all-female cast. There are not enough Hindi movies that are female multi-starrers. This led to an impulsive phone call… to my 2 real friends about this idea that involved 3 on-screen girlfriends. A celebration of friendship we called it!!

“Katrina, Alia, and I enthusiastically met in February 2020 (as seen in this picture), just before the world shut down, to discuss who we could trust to bring this vision to life for us and our choice was unanimous… Farhan and Ritesh, Zoya and Reema. We had all worked with @excelmovies and @tigerbabyfilms individually so this seemed perfect. It just so happened that Farhan was working on a female road trip movie at the same time! Talk about all the stars aligning!!

“And here we are today… #JeeLeZaraa… it only took 3 years to align all our schedules but we stuck together and got it done! This one is to sisterhood… to friendship and to breaking the mould!! Can’t wait to get on the road with Aloo and Katty. My heart’s smiling. See you at the movies.”

A few hours after the film was announced on social media, the film’s lead actors posted the same picture together, which was from Kaif’s home. All the actors involved in the film, described in their captions what the project means to them. It took three years to align their schedules, given the fact that all three actresses were so busy.

Posted Kaif, “This makes my heart smile I just love these girls and being around each other is just too much fun always – combine that with a great script , awesome director , and a road trip and a (symbol for a movie camera) and the sky’s the limit.”

Alia Bhatt wrote: There was only one place to go to make that dream come true; to 4 of the funnest dream-makers and storytellers in the business @faroutakhtar @zoieakhtar @reemakagti1 @ritesh_sid

“And now 50 Zoom calls later. Countless laughs later. With hearts full of love and excitement. Here we are. #JeeLeZaraa

All three have worked with Akhtar before—Chopra has done “Don” and “Don 2” besides co-starring with him in Excel’s “Dil Dhadakne Do” and in her own “The Sky is Pink,” while Kaif has done “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.” Alia Bhatt has done Excel’s “Gully Boy.” As co-stars with each other, this is the first time.

Playing Indira Gandhi In ‘Bell Bottom’ Is An “Opportunity Of A Lifetime:” Laura Dutt

Ever since the trailer of the espionage thriller Bell Bottom dropped on the Internet, it has been a trending topic on social media. Actress Lara Dutta Bhupathi is all set to take the audience by surprise as she plays Indira Gandhi in the espionage drama ‘Bell Bottom’, which is slated for an Aug. 19 theatrical release.

Calling it an opportunity of a lifetime, she said it was a great responsibility to play the late former prime minister. “It is a great responsibility when you portray someone who’s an iconic figure like Mrs. Gandhi. It was very important to get her body language right,” the 46-year-old actress said at the ‘Bell Bottom’ trailer launch.

“The response to our trailer for Bell Bottom and the appreciation for the role of Mrs Indira Gandhi has been overwhelming and my heart is filled with gratitude. I’m so thankful for the faith that Akshay Kumar, Rranjit Tewari, Jackky Bhagnani, Deepshikha Deshmukh and Pooja Entertainment had in me,” she wrote.

She added in her post: “And I’d also like to thank and give full credit to Vikram Gaikwad and his team for the incredible prosthetics and make up! Can’t wait for you’ll to watch the film in the theatres!! See you there on the 19th of August.”

The film, incidentally, is set in 1984, the year that saw Operation Bluestar as well as Gandhi’s assassination. “The film is about a hijack that took place during Mrs. Gandhi’s tenure,” the actress said, describing the outline of the plot.

The most “challenging” aspect about playing Indira Gandhi on screen was to “get the body language of the character right.” Sharing her experience and the preparation that she did for her character, Lara Dutta said, “As you all know that the film deals with a hijack situation that happened during her tenure. Given the dramatic events that were unfolding, she was somebody who was very centered and not prone to any dramatics. So it was important to portray her in that form. “I had a great time. There was a lot of homework and research that went behind it. But it was an opportunity of a lifetime that I’m thankful for.”

“Given the dramatic events that were unfolding, she was extremely centered. It was important therefore to portray her in that way. As a result, a lot of homework and research went into the role. It was an opportunity I am very thankful for.”

Film, 200 – Halla Ho! To Premiere On August 20th By ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global released the teaser of its next Original film 200 – Halla Ho! which gave the audience a sneak peek into what the film is about. The trailer of the film, will definitely make you question a lot of things about our society and the way women are treated.

The frightful yet gripping trailer of Sarthak Dasgupta’s 200 – Halla Ho! is a story about how 200 Dalit women united and took law and justice in their own hands by lynching a gangster, robber and serial rapist in open court.

The trailer reveals nuances of each of the characters played by a talented and eclectic ensemble cast. Inspired by true events, the movie goes on to uncover the shocking events and circumstances which led the 200 women to take such a drastic step to seek justice.

Talking about the trailer, Sarthak Dasgupta, Writer & Director shared, “This is not a film for me, but a shoulder that I give to movement towards social equality.  I need to convey to the audience that women should be treated equally and that Dalits’ lives matter too! This film is about those Dalit women who despite getting socially marginalized, molested, tortured and mortified, had to take law into their own hands to punish the person who was responsible for ruining their lives. It addresses the debate whether they were right or they were wrong.  I hope this film will add voice to the social change that is so needed in the society.” The film also marks the comeback of renowned actor Amol Palekar to the movies after almost a decade.

200 – Halla Ho, has an amazing star cast comprising Amol Palekar, Barun Sobti, Rinku Rajguru, Sahil Khattar, Saloni Batra, Indraneil Sengupta, and Upendra Limaye. Written and Directed by Sarthak Dasgupta, produced by Yoodlee Films, the film production arm of Saregama, 200 – Halla Ho premieres 20th August on ZEE5.

Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

ZEE5 is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 is home to 130,000+ hours of On Demand Content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Cineplays and Health and Lifestyle content all in one single destination. ZEE5 offers key features like 15 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.

ZEE5 Global Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZEE5Global
ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/zee5global/

Johnny Lever Is Smiling Because Comedy Is Now Serious Business

In recent times, one of the renowned Marathi comedian-actor-mimicry artists Madhav Moghe passed away and Bollywood veteran Johnny Lever paid tribute to him. Looking back at this whole transformation of how the presence of comedians used to be quite elementary back in the day in cinema to now, as youngsters are making it a full-time profession and counted as ‘artists’ by society, Johnny tries to analyse the change.

In conversation with IANS, Johnny said, “I remember back in the day, when I was a youngster, doing a full-time job and in the free time looking for platforms to perform as a comedian, all the so-called elite clubs in Colaba wouldn’t entertain a comedian. This used to be so ‘unsophisticated’ for them. I wondered why? Was is it our jokes that weren’t relatable for them or were differences in sense of humour that created the barrier? I went to the Radio Club, Colaba and tried to observe people over there. Their coffee-table conversation, their sense of humour and realised it is a combination of both. Every joke has an audience, we have to serve it to the right place.”

He went on adding, “But it is also true that for the longest time, the business of comedy was never taken seriously. That is why perhaps we, the stand-up comedians, the mimicry artists were neither taken seriously nor given the respect and money we deserved. You see, we would travel with big celebrated artists and would get a small stage time, just for comic relief. Now, when I see all the youngsters, including my daughter Jamie (Lever) doing a whole show I realised the progressive change has come!”

While Johnny believes that his popularity in Bollywood films also helped him to flourish and gathered more crowds he recalls how earlier especially in cinema, there was a dearth of good comic writers.

“The whole process of structured writing was not existing for the longest time and for comedy scenes, it has to be 30 per cent writing and 70 per cent improvisation. I remember how in ‘Baazigar’ I was told to include my moments in the scene while acting. Those moments were quite improvised…” recalled the actor who is known for his performances in films like ‘Raja Hindustani’, ‘Dulhe Raja’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Coolie No.1’ among many others.

However, he believes that there is a clear distinction between comedy that is happening in the regional scene like in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and in Hindi. He also pointed out how some content is quite westernised whereas some are pure entertainment.

“Since the new culture of ‘stand-up comedy’ is coming from western culture, the style and the humour is also urban at times. But it is good to see how some Indian comedians are creating content that is very local, fun and adding various elements including mimicry! Making the voice of another famous person, adding a dash of humour to that and the amount of practice it requires for right voice modulation – trust me it is a task. Mimicry is an art, those who are doing it are artists,” said Johnny.

He also shared how late Madhav Moghe, who appeared in Hindi films like ‘Damini’, ‘Ghatak’ and some of the popular Marathi films, used to do mimicry of Sanjeev Kumar from ‘Sholay’ – and it inspired Johnny. Moghe was also associated with Melody Makers Orchestra and travelled the world with various artists. Johnny paid tribute to the late actor as president of MAAM (Mimicry Artist Association Mumbai).

“I was a youngster who would go to watch his live performances whenever I got a chance and he was an inspiration to me. He would make many sounds including planes, trains, animals as well as of famous actors. It was a moment for me when I told myself, ‘Mujhe inke jaisa banna hai’. Back then, I had to prove to my father before quitting my job that I can run our kitchen by doing small roles in films and comedies. Today, my daughter Jamie who is also a budding comedian doesn’t have to prove that to me!” Johnny signed off.

Shilpa Shetty Distances From Husband’s Pornography Company

In a latest development in the controversial porn case involving Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra, the Bollywood actress has denied her involvement with his company or its nature of content and has pointed fingers at Kundra’s brother-in-law. After a court hearing July 23, the Crime Branch team raided the Juhu residence of Shilpa and Raj. The investigative team is looking for money trail and corresponding emails, which will incriminate the accused and his alleged involvement in pornographic content.

According to police sources, Crime Branch officials recorded Shilpa Shetty’s statement in the case. The actress has denied her involvement in the company, claiming she was not aware of the exact content of HotShots. She also mentioned that erotica is different from porn, for which her husband has been accused of, and he is not involved in producing porn content. Sources claim that Shilpa Shetty named Raj Kundra’s brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi for running the functioning of the app and its operations.

After the case came to fore, Shilpa Shetty Kundra resigned from her husband’s Viaan Industries, and stepped away from her active entertainment projects involvement, which included a television reality show and her current film. Years after a cricket betting fiasco, Raj Kundra has been again named in a controversy and arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch in the alleged pornography case. The court has extended Raj’s police custody till July 27, along with his IT Head Ryan Thorpe.

According to reports, Shilpa Shetty told police that ‘erotica’ is not ‘porn and maintained that her husband Kundra was not involved in producing pornographic content. The actress has denied her involvement in the company. She also said that she was unaware of the exact nature of content on ‘Hotshots’ app. According to reports, Shetty said it was Kundra’s brother-in-law, London-based Pradeep Bakshi, who was involved with the app.

Earlier, after a court hearing on Friday, the Crime Branch team raided the Juhu residence of Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra. Kundra has been arrested by Mumbai Crime Branch in the alleged pornography case and the court has extended his police custody till July 27, along with his IT Head Ryan. An Indian court extended the custody of Raj Kundra, a businessman married to popular Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, police said, in a pornography case that has stunned the country’s film industry.

Local media reports said police questioned Shetty about her involvement in the case, but Chaitanya refused to comment on that. Shetty, a leading actress of the 1990s, is a familiar face on television and social media. She married Kundra in 2009, and the couple have two children.

Diaspora Broadcasting Network NewsX & iTV Launch VaKu

Diaspora Broadcasting Network, a dedicated community-based ecosystem to connect India’s enterprising and brilliant diaspora with the large Indian audience. VaKurecognises go-getters and achievers from the Indian diaspora and amplifies their success stories to the world. We have devoted a special bi-weekly primetime broadcast on NewsX conducting interviews, award shows, Hall of Fame, Diaspora Top 100, podcasts, hangouts, and more. We are on a mission to create a community of 10,000 diaspora.

VaKuDispora Broadcasting Network launched to a roaring start on Saturday, July 10, 2021 at 7 pm on NewsX with some of the most successful members of the Indian diaspora flanking the show. Author, columnist and diplomat Amish Tripathi, U.S Republican politician Rik Mehta, world renowned Indian-American fashion designer Naeem Khan, chief executive at General Atomics Global Corporation VivekLall and New York-based fashion designer Babi Ahluwalia were among the top-notch guests profiled during VaKu launch.

Naeem Khan spoke about how the Indian fashion designers have come of age. ‘India is poised to become one of the biggest fashion countries in the world. We are a great country with such diversification,’ he said. VivekLall mentioned about the renewed vigour with with the Indo-US defence ties are shaping up. ‘One of the biggest shifts have been the confluence of the congress of India and USA with common objectives and goals,’ he said. ‘People resonated with the immigrant story, the one where you have to work hard to live in that country, the one where I’ve achieved the Amercian dream,’ Rik Mehta said who is contesting the 11th Congressional district from New Jersery for the up coming 2022 election.

Author Amish Tripathi talked about how the West was looking eastwards to find some meaning to their hollow, lonely lives. ‘There is an epidemic of loneliness in the West. If you destroy all communities, families, all you are left with us yourself,’ he observed. Some other promiment personalities from the Indian diaspora that have already been profiled on VaKu include PreityUpala, geo-political expert and a global citizen, NileshVed, founder & chairman Apparel Group, Gautam Ahuja, co-founder, Blue Scorpion Investments, NYC, BalaSwaminathan, former WESTPAC Asia CEO, Singapore, Drone Chowdry, MD & Head of global markets Europe &AMericas, First Abu Dhabi Bank, DrNiviManchanda, senior lecturer, Cambridge alumnus, Professor Arvind Mahajan, associate dean at Texas A&M University, BhavitaWalia, post-doctoral fellow, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Sanjeev Joshipura, executive director, Indiaspora and Professor Ranjay Gulati, faculty and research, Havard Business School.

The VaKu show launch also saw some of the most eminent members of the Indian diaspora discussing the relevance of the VaKu platform at a time when the world was keenly eyeing the India success story. SreeIyer, PGurus founder based out Washington, Ambassador Pradeep Kapur and professor at University of Maryland, U.S, Dr Joseph Chalil, chair of Indo-American Press Club, Ambassador Deepak Vohra and KritiUpadhyaya of CSIS in Washinton DC pledged their support and best wishes to the VaKu initiative.

VaKu is an apolitical, not-for-profit model, which has tied up with Memboro, a platform for content creators to make multiple subscription tiers and accept one time payments as a token of appreciation. The VaKu show launch also saw Memboro co-founder UtsavSingla explaining how anyone can sign up on Memboro and subscribe to VaKu on the platform. Watch VaKu – Diaspora Broadcasting Network on Wednesdays and Saturdays 7.30 pm IST only on NewsX. You can catch the repeat telecasts on Saturdays and Sundays at 8.30 am IST only on NewsX. VaKuMemboro subscription is available at Rs 100 per month and offers its members exclusive content, among other perks. To become VaKu patrons, sign up on Memboro.com/vaku. Come, join VaKu in our mission to create a community of 10,000 diaspora. Become VaKu patrons on Memboro.com/vaku.

Bollywood Actor Paresh Rawal Responds With Wit To Death Hoax

Actor Paresh Rawal had a witty reply for a death hoax about him on Twitter, which claimed he had died on Friday. Actor Paresh Rawal has become the latest Bollywood celebrity to fall prey to death hoaxes. The actor on Friday took to Twitter to rubbish a claim that he had died. He junked it with a witty response. The actor saw a hoax on Twitter that claimed he had died on Friday morning at 7 am. Rubbishing it, the actor wrote, “…Sorry for the misunderstanding as I slept past 7 am…!”

In March this year, Paresh had confirmed on social media that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus, days after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. “Unfortunately, I have tested positive for COVID-19. All those that have come in contact with me in the last 10 days are requested to please get themselves tested,” the actor had written. Also read: Radhe Your Most Wanted Bhai movie review: Salman Khan-Prabhudeva’s yet another cringeworthy watch

Before Paresh Rawal, many celebrities such as Lucky Ali, Mukesh Khanna, KirronKher and others have also fallen prey to viral death hoaxes on social media in the recent past. After portraying the character of a coach in Farhan Akhtar’s Toofaan, Paresh Rawal is all set to tickle your funny bone with his upcoming film Hungama 2. The actor, who tagged the film as a “very clean family entertainer with a good storyline,” is collaborating once again with director Priyadarshan. The actor-director duo has previously worked on several hits, including Hera Pheri, ChupChupKe, Hulchul and BhoolBhulaiyaa to name a few.

In a conversation with indianexpress.com, Paresh Rawal described the director and his style of filmmaking, “He has a lot of clarity about what he wants in his film. He has clarity about the characters, storyline, treatment of the story. He has a sense of proportion in comedy, which is very vital for the genre because you don’t want to go overboard. Also, the way he shoots his film… less fuss and maximum results are commendable. He has been experimenting in regional cinema. So, that benefit is also what our Hindi cinema is getting in terms of characterisation and storyline. So, let’s say, with him, we are getting the best of both worlds.”

When asked if there is a fear of being repetitive with the comedy genre, Rawal replied, “You can become repetitive or regressive if your story is not good”, adding that with Priyadarshan, the audience will never “experience vulgar or double meaning comedy. You will not see any sort of physical deformity being ridiculed.” He expressed that “a situational comedy” like Hungama 2 “won’t go out of fashion. So, that is the advantage of working with him.”

Akshay Kumar’s ‘Filhaal 2 Mohabbat’ Creates History with Over 100M Views in 3 Days

After teasing fans and netizens with the motion poster image of much awaited music video sequel Filhaal 2 Mohabbat a few days back and now the awaited song sequel is finally out now so nevertheless, Akshay Kumar’s Filhaal 2 Mohobbat yet again has created history. After 2 years, the magical foursome of JaaniB PraakAkshay Kumar and Nupur Sanon have successfully made all their fans and audiences fall in love again with this new song which is a sequel to the smashing hit song of 2019 Filhaal and an amazing update is that Akshay Kumar’s Filhaal 2 Mohobbat yet again has created history.

For fans who had been waiting to see their superstar Akshay Kumar on screens ever since his last film Laxmii, its a really thrilling news that Akshay Kumar’s Filhaal 2 Mohobbat yet again has created history. After breaking multiple records with the first part of the song Filhaal which became most loved and also a superhit romantic song of the year 2019, its much awaited sequel and second part, Akshay Kumar’s Filhaal 2 Mohobbat yet again has created history.

We also know how Akshay Kumar’s Filhaal had created multiple records when it released in 2019, it recently became one of the first songs in India to cross a Billion mark on YouTube and now creating a new benchmark and breaking its own previous milestones, Filhaal 2 Mohobbat has created new record by crossing 100 million views within three days since it has released with fans and netizens also listening to it on loop and content creators creating reels on it.

After the huge success of Filhaal that released in 2019, its sequel Filhaal 2 Mohabbat featuring Akshay Kumar and Nupur Sanon has already broken records. The song was dropped online on Tuesday and in no time it became a rage on social media and netizens started trending it. As numbers don’t lie, Filhaal 2 Mohobbat has already garnered close to 100M views in just 3 days, which is a new record. It was also the most viewed Indian song in the first 24 hours in the history of Youtube. and has even surpassed the figures of what its prequel achieved on its first day. Also there’s no denial in this fact that whenever B Praak and Jaani come together with the mellifluous vocals and heartfelt lyrics the result is a blockbuster hit song and this has proven true yet again as this newly launched heart-wrenching song sung by B Praak and written by Jaani is shattering music charts and has struck a chord with its listeners.

“Filhaal 2 Mohabbat,” featuring Akshay Kumar and Nupur Sanon, has already broken records. The song dropped online July 6, and has became a rage on social media, with netizens trending it. As numbers never lie, “Filhall 2…” has already garnered close to 100M views in just three days, which is a new record. It was also the most viewed Indian song in the first 24 hours in the history of YouTube, and has thus surpassed the figures of what its prequel achieved on its first day.

There is no denying the fact that this newly-launched and heart-wrenching song sung by B. Praak and written by Jaani is shattering music charts and has struck a chord with its listeners. For Nupur Sanon, Kriti Sanon’s younger sister, this is her second blast in entertainment, and that, too, with Numero Uno leading man Akshay Kumar.

Shreya Ghoshal Celebrates 19 Years In Bollywood

Shreya Ghoshal is one of the most popular playback singers in India. She has recorded songs for films, albums in various languages and has also won prestigious awards for her work. The singer completed 19 years in Bollywood on July 12 with her debut film Devdas. She shared a post remembering how she started her professional career at the age of 16. She has completed 19 years in Bollywood. The singer took to Instagram and shared about her journey in Hindi films that began with “Devdas”.

“19 years ago on this day I made my debut in Hindi Films in the iconic film #Devdas. It’s still vivid in my memories the magical years of the making of the music,” wrote Shreya, with a poster of “Devdas” on her Instagram page. The singer thanked the director of the film Sanjay Leela Bhansali for launching her in “Devdas”.

“Always grateful to#SanjayLeelaBhansali sir for believing in that 16 year old girl.. And my parents for being there days and nights with me to make me into what I am today,” wrote Shreya. She tagged the team of Devdas — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Jackie Shroff, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and music director Ismail Darbar in the post. At the age of 16 , Shreya was spotted by the mother of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali at the singing reality show “Sa Re Ga Ma” where she emerged a winner. Following this, she made her playback singing debut with the film Devdas in 2002.

Shreya rose to prominence with “Dola re dola” and “Bairi piya” for “Devdas” and went on to deliver award-winning hits like “Yeh ishq haaye” in “Jab We Met”,”Jaadu hai nasha hai” in “Jism”, “Barso re” in “Guru”, “Teri ore” in “Singh Is Kinng”, “Deewani mastani” in “Bajirao Mastani”, and “Ghoomar” in “Padmaavat” among numerous other songs. She made her digital debut in “The Family Man”, as lead singer with “Kiske liye tu marega” and “Dega jaan”.

Shreya recently became a proud mother to her baby boy who the singer has named Devyaan. Sharing the good news with her fans, she had shared a sweet post along with a picture of herself and her husband holding their bundle of joy.

Dilip Kumar, 98, Bollywood’s Legendary Actor Dies

Veteran Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar has died at the age of 98. He leaves behind a legacy of films that spanned six decades, and gave Hindi cinema some of its most enduring classics. Popularly known as the tragedy king of Bollywood, Dilip Kumar is survived by his wife, veteran actor SairaBanu. The legendary actor, whose real name was Yusuf Khan, was born on December 11, 1922 in Peshawar, Pakistan. His popularity transcended national and cultural barriers. DilipSaab, as he was popularly known to his family and friends, appeared in almost 60 films in a career spanning 54 years, and gave many hits and superhits.

With the demise of the veteran actor, an era of Indian cinema has come to an end. A few days back, he was admitted to Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital for age-related medical issues.A tweet posted from the actor’s official handle by family friend Faisal Farooqui read,” With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved DilipSaab, few minutes ago. We are from God and to him we return.” Doctors said Dilip Kumar suffered from advanced prostate cancer that had spread to other organs of his body. “He had water in pleural cavity, and he suffered a kidney failure. He required blood transfusion multiple times. We carried the last transfusion but it did not help,” a hospital doctor said. He suffered a drop in blood pressure and haemoglobin towards the end. “The cancer spread made it difficult to treat him,” the doctor said. The actor lost his two brothers to Covid-19 over the course of just two weeks last year. Dilip, however, had not been informed about their deaths. He is survived by his wife, SairaBanu.

Personalities from the world of politics, entertainment and sports mourned his loss. President Ram NathKovind wrote: “Dilip Kumar summarised in himself a history of emerging India. The thespian’s charm transcended all boundaries, and he was loved across the subcontinent. With his demise, an era ends. Dilip Saab will live forever in the heart of India. Condolences to family and countless fans.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Dilip Kumar ji will be remembered as a cinematic legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world. Condolences to his family, friends and innumerable admirers. RIP.” Amitabh Bachchan said that, “An institution has gone .. whenever the history of Indian Cinema will be written , it shall always be ‘before Dilip Kumar, and after Dilip Kumar’ ..My duas for peace of his soul and the strength to the family to bear this loss…Deeply saddened.”

Rahul Gandhi wrote, “My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends & fans of Dilip Kumar ji. His extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema will be remembered for generations to come.” “Rest in Peace Dilip Kumar ji! There will never be another like you,” tweeted former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, adding, “Your contribution to Indian cinema is unparalleled and you’ll be missed dearly. My heartfelt condolences to SairaBanuji& the family.”Meanwhile, VirenderSehwag recalled a famous dialogue from Mughal-e-Azam to pay tribute to the legend: “Heartfelt condolences to #DilipKumar’s family. The gr8 man said, Taqdeereinbadaljaatihain,zamanabadaljaatahai, mulkonkitaarikhbadaljaatihai,shahenshahbadaljaatehain,magarissbadalti hui duniya mein mohabbat jis insaan kadaamanthaamletihai,wohinsaannahibadalta.” Kamal Haasan shared a picture of himself with Dilip Kumar, posting that the latter’s understated approach is still tried by contemporary actors who are brave enough to attempt it.

Singer LataMangeshkar wrote that Kumar’s health struggles had been going on for many years and lauded the actor’s wife, veteran actor SairaBanu, for taking utmost care of him. “Yusuf Bhai was ill for the last many years, could not recognise anyone. At such a time Saira Bhabhi left everything and served him day and night. There was no other life for him. I bow to such a woman and pray that Yusuf Bhai’s soul rests in peace,” she tweeted.

Dilip Kumar was always the benchmark. He had a direct impact on many actors who worked in his time, from the forties to the nineties. He continues to indirectly impact actors post nineties too, for those who fashioned their acting after him continue to influence many rank newcomers of today. Perhaps that is the mark of a legend — when the trademark style of your art continues to outlive you, and find new ways to reinvent itself through budding talents who started out long after you quit.

For the record, Dilip Kumar quit acting in 1998. That was the year Yusuf saab — as he was widely known to friends and fans alike — last faced the camera for UmeshMehra’s “Qila”. If the actor was never seen on screen over the past two decades since its release, the rest of the film’s primary cast including Rekha, Mukul Dev and Mamta Kulkarni have also all but vanished, and director Mehra stopped making films nearly two decades ago. “Qila”, an otherwise forgotten attempt, will continue to garner recall value because it was the last film of one of Bollywood’s greatest.

What make Dilip Kumar stand apart from other actors of his era are the different dimensions of his acting. The same Dilip Kumar, whose tribulations in “Devdas” or “Deedar” as the tragic lover brought tears to our eyes also manages to make us laugh through his jocund moments in “Kohinoor” and “Azaad”. His seamless synthesis of this dichotomy played a major role in making him an on-screen persona cherished by millions.

The five decades of acting is balanced by the irony that Dilip Kumar never released a film as director. In his lifetime, he is said to have been involved with direction twice. He is said to have directed the 1966 drama “Dil Diya Dard Liya” along with the officially-mentioned helmer, Abdul Rashid Kardar, though he isn’t credited as a director for the project. Decades later, he would launch the self-starring “Kalinga”, with Jackie Shroff, MeenakshiSheshadri and Amitoj Mann. Some say the film was shot, though it never saw light of day.

Dilip Kumar debuted in films with 1944’s JwarBhata, but the film and his work did not garner much attention. It was with 1947’s Jugnu, also starring Noor Jehan, that he clinched his first box office hit. In 1949, he starred in Andaz with Raj Kapoor and Nargis, and it was that film that made Dilip Kumar a big star. He was the first actor to win the Filmfare Award for Best Actor in 1954, and won it a total of 8 times. He and Shah Rukh Khan jointly hold the record for most Filmfare awards. IANS described “Dilip Kumar’s life is nothing short of a beautiful film, replete with every colour of life. From his birth in Peshawar to becoming the First Khan of Bollywood, the screen legend’s life is an inspiration to anyone who dares to dream.

Presenting Dilip Kumar’s life in a timeline

Born as Mohammed Yusuf Khan in Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, British India to Lala Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Ayesha Begum on December 11.

Makes his acting debut in “JwarBhata”, directed by Amiya Chakravarty, with the screen name Dilip Kumar.

Tastes first major box office success, “Jugnu”, co-starring Noor Jahan and directed by Shaukat Hussain Rizvi.

First breakthrough role in Mehboob Khan’s “Andaz”, co-starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis.

Rumoured to fall in love with actress Madhubala during the shoot of “Tarana”.

Release of career-defining film, Bimal Roy’s “Devdas” alongside Vyjayanthimala and Suchitra Sen.

Featured in K. Asif’s epic historical drama “Mughal-e-Azam” as Prince Salim, his career defining role, alongside Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor. “Kohinoor” co-starring MeenaKumari also opens in the same year.

Turns producer with the self-starring “Gunga Jumna”. Broadly inspired by Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India”, the Nitin Bose directorial was allegedly ghost-directed and ghost-edited by Dilip Kumar, according to unconfirmed rumours. The film starring the actor with his brother Nasir Khan and Vyjayanthimala was the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1961.

Marriage with actress SairaBanu, 22 years younger than him.

Appointed honorary Sheriff of Mumbai.

Marriage with Hyderabad-based AsmaSahiba , or AsmaRehman. The same year marked his comeback to Bollywood after a five-year break, with Manoj Kumar’s “Kranti”.

Divorce with AsmaRehman

Honoured with Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.

Honoured with DadasahebPhalke Award, India’s highest award in the field of cinema.

Honoured with Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civilian award of Pakistan.

Release of his last Hindi film Qila, directed by UmeshMehra and starring Dilip Kumar in a dual role. The film also had Rekha, Mamta Kulkarni and Mukul Dev.

The thespian’s autobiography “The Substance And The Shadow” is published.

Honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.

His younger brothers Aslam Khan and Ehsan Khan pass away owing to Covid.

2021, Dilip Kumar passes away at a Mumbai hospital around 7.30 am on July 7. He is cremated with state honours at JuhuQabrastan, Santacruz, Mumbai around 5 pm
The same day.

Karan Johar’s “Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani” Stars Alia, Ranveer, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, ShabanaAzmi

Filmmaker Karan Joha has announced his new directorial, “Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani”. The film has a star-studded cast comprising Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, along with veterans Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and ShabanaAzmi. Incidentally July 6, the day of announcement, is also Ranveer Singh’s birthday.

“A special announcement on my special day! Presenting — Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani along with my dazzling supernova Alia Bhatt, directed by the genre himself, kaleidoscopic visionary Karan Johar, & written by IshitaMoitra, Shashank Khaitan and Sumit Roy,” Ranveer wrote. Taking to his social media handles, Karan shared a teaser video for Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani, which is peppy and sets the mood for the flamboyant story. He wrote, “Thrilled to get behind the lens with my favourite people in front of it! Presenting Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani, headlined by none other than Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt and written by IshitaMoitra, Shashank Khaitan&Sumit Roy. This anokhikahani is coming to your screens in 2022! #RockyAurRaniKiPremKahani #RRKPK.”

Veteran actor Dharmendra posted on social media to state that his fans would return to a romantic role again in this film. Sharing the same video, Alia captioned it as, “An exceptional love story with my favourite people! ❤️✨ Presenting – Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani, directed by the one and only Karan Johar and written by IshitaMoitra, Shashank Khaitan&Sumit Roy. All set to hit the screens in 2022! #RockyAurRaniKiPremKahani #RRKPK.” In another tweet, she said, “A love story that is going to be far from the usual, Rocky and Rani ❤️ Stay tuned at 2:00 pm to meet the rest of the parivar.”

“Honoured to share the screen with these legends of Hindi cinema- Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and ShabanaAzmi!” tweeted Ranveer Singh while Karan Johar wrote: “Meet the legendary stars of Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani. We are all thrilled to work with these veteran legends and I cannot wait to be on set with them!

Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh thrilled the Internet by announcing that they will collaborate again after Gully Boy for Karan Johar’sRocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani. “A special announcement on my special day! Presenting – Rocky Aur Rani Ki PremKahani along with my dazzling supernova Alia Bhatt, directed by the genre himself, kaleidoscopic visionary Karan Johar, written by IshitaMoitra, Shashank Khaitan and Sumit Roy. Coming to charm you in 2022!” Ranveer wrote while sharing the motion poster of the film, which will release next year.

Aamir Khan And Kiran Rao Divorce Ending 15 Years Of Marriage

After 15 years of married life, Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan, announced their separation in a joint statement on Saturday, July 3rd. They had tied the knot on December 28, 2005. Their marriage has been one of the most creative associations of Indian cinema, bringing together one of its biggest superstars and a cinema lover who aspired to make her mark as a writer-director.

“In these 15 beautiful years together we have shared a lifetime of experiences, joy and laughter,” the statement said. Khan, 56, and Rao, 47, first met in 2001, and married four years later. They said they wanted to “begin a new chapter in our lives – no longer as husband and wife, but as co-parents and family for each other”. They added that their relationship had “only grown in trust, respect and love”. They met on sets of the AshutoshGowariker-directed Lagaan (2001), one of the most commercially successful Indian movies, where the former was an assistant director. Their romance, Khan said in some interviews, bloomed later when the actor was going through the process of legal separation from his first wife, Reena Dutta. Khan and Dutta, who have a son, Junaid, and a daughter, Ira, together, divorced in 2002.

Kiran Rao was a co-producer of several critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful films made by Aamir Khan Productions. These include JaaneTu…YaJaane Na (2008), Peepli Live (2010), Delhi Belly (2011), Dangal (2016) and the documentary RubaruRoshni (2019).

Aamir is doubtless one of the most dedicated actors in this world. With his recent successes in both the Indian and Chinese markets he has shouldered his way into becoming one of the world’s biggest superstars. Aamir has garnered praise from all parts of the globe. His most visible transformations can be seen in such movies as Ghajini, 3 idiots, Talaash, Dhoom 3, PK and Dangal. Aamir Khan’s streak of Chinese box office hits continued into and throughout the 2010’s with the rapid-fire release of Dhoom 3 (2013), PK (2014), Dangal (2016) and Secret Superstar (2017).

Kiran Rao and Aamir Khan’s plain-spoken statement assures that they will continue collaborating on work and pet projects. “We began a planned separation some time ago, and now feel comfortable to formalise this arrangement, of living separately yet sharing our lives the way an extended family does. We remain devoted parents to our son Azad, who we will nurture and raise together. We will also continue to work as collaborators on films, Paani Foundation, and other projects that we feel passionate about,” they said. Announcing Azad’s birth in 2011, the former couple had shown similar forthrightness when they mentioned that he was born after “a long wait” and “through IVF-surrogacy”. They ended their statement saying: “A big thank you to our families and friends for their constant support and understanding about this evolution in our relationship, and without whom we would not have been so secure in taking this leap. We request our well wishers for good wishes and blessings, and hope that — like us — you will see this divorce not as an end, but as the start of a new journey.”

With ZEE5 launch in the US, A New Era of South Asian Entertainment Begins

ZEE5, the world’s largest streaming service for South Asian content, launched today in the U.S., opening up a world of multicultural entertainment for the South Asian diaspora and mainstream audiences across the United States.

“The launch of ZEE5 in the U.S. is a very significant moment for us,” said Amit Goenka, President, Digital Businesses & Platforms, ZEE Entertainment. “We’ve had a long association of over two decades with this market, bringing our viewers here the best of Indian entertainment through our channels. With ZEE5, we now look to offer both these audiences and the younger demographic access to a much wider choice of premium content with our Originals, digital premieres and more, on any screen of their choice and with a completely personalized viewing experience.”

ZEE5’s launch announcement was made by Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, at a mega event attended by media and consumers from the U.S. and across the globe. She was joined by a special guest for the event, Actor, Producer, Activist and Entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas also joined Archana in unveiling ZEE5’s upcoming content slate and its new global brand campaign “Welcome to South Asia: Stories from our world.” The campaign spotlights stories from South Asia, where even ordinary stories are extraordinary, therefore leading to the narrative “if this is our reality, imagine our stories.”

The multiple announcements were interspersed with conversations between Archana Anand and Priyanka Chopra Jonas with the latter commenting on how streaming services have changed the landscape of content viewing, and on the hunger among South Asian communities to watch their own hyperlocal content and see themselves being represented to international audiences, and how streaming services were key in providing such a platform to help people feel represented.


Congratulating ZEE5, Priyanka Chopra Jonas said, “Wishing all the best to my friends at ZEE5 on their new launch. I have really enjoyed celebrating and spotlighting all the incredible talent from South Asia today. I look forward to watching these storytellers entertain new audiences around the world and will be cheering them on from the side lines.”


Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, added, “Bringing ZEE5 into the U.S. is so much more than just providing the South Asian diaspora here with a mega entertainment platform through which they can access a vast library of stories. It is a powerful bridge between them, their culture, and their languages. It is also a real-time connect between them and their families as they get to watch the same content across the ocean. And it is a platform through which their stories get showcased on an international stage. With this and the rich library of shows we have, I am confident that we will become the preferred destination for South Asian content and woo both TV and Streaming loyalists across all age groups across both South Asian and mainstream audiences in the shortest possible time.”


As part of the launch, the streamer announced an incredible line-up of Originals and other blockbusters, across languages to release on the platform in the coming months:
  • The upcoming magnum opus RRR from “Baahubali” filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, starring N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, and Bollywood superstars Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt, in all South Indian languages.
  • Sunil Grover starrer Sunflower and Akshaye Khanna’s OTT debut State of Siege: Temple Attack.
  • New seasons of ZEE5 Originals Abhay 3, Rangbaaz 3, The Test Case S2, and Code-M S2.
  • Returning seasons of recently acquired TVF Originals Pitchers, Tripling, Humorously Yours, Aam Aadmi Family, and Engineering Girls available exclusively on ZEE5.
  • Pankaj Tripathi’s Kaagaz and Arjun Rampal’s Nailpolish.
  • Amitabh Bachchan starrer, the much-awaited film Jhund made by Nagraj Manjule.
  • Tamil Releases Handcuff, Blood Money, and Vinodhiya Chiththam.
  • Telugu releases Losers 2, Lol Salaam, Oka Chinna Family, and Net along with Shoot-out at Alair starring Prakash Raj.
  • Bangla releases: Ladies & Gentlemen, a 10-episode Bangla web-series directed by globally renowned director Mostafa Sarwar Farooki.
  • Pakistani releases: Asim Abbasi directed original series Churails, Mehreen Jabbar’s directorial venture Ek Jhoothi Love Story and Dhoop ki Deewar starring Sajal Aly and Ahad Raza Mir.
An Existing Treasure Trove of Stories
ZEE5 provides viewers with an unparalleled library of 130,000 hours of stories from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, spread across:
  • 1600+ best-loved TV shows from Zee channels like Zee TV, Zee Telugu, Zee Tamil, Zee Bangla, and others
  • 3500+ movies including some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters
  • 200+ Originals with some of the biggest Bollywood stars
  • 600+ Music, health, and lifestyle videos to be added soon and more.
This content is available in Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, as well as Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Arabic, Urdu, and Bangla (Bangladeshi) with key titles dubbed and/or subtitled in English.
  • For Hindi speaking audiences, ZEE5 offers a range of content across formats including best loved dramas Kundali Bhagya, Kumkum Bhagya, and Bhabi Ji Ghar Par Hai!.
  • The library also includes blockbuster films like Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Kedarnath, Simmba, and Dream Girl amongst others.
  • For its Telugu speaking audiences, ZEE5 brings the newly released Sita on the Road and other blockbuster movies like Naa Peru Surya Na Illu India, Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava, and Srimanthudu and shows like Krishna Tulasi, Mithai Kottu Chittemma, and more.
  • For Tamil speaking audiences, ZEE5’s vast library includes much loved shows like Sembaruthi, Rockstar, Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal, and Thirumathi Hitler among many other popular titles.
  • The Bengali community across the U.S. can now stream their favourite shows like Mithai, Kori Khela, and Rani Rashmoni, among others. ZEE5’s hit Original Bangladeshi productions, Contract, Jodi Kintu Tobuo, and Mainkar Chipay are also a must-watch.
  • Viewers can also watch a bouquet of Pakistani shows like Gauhar-E-Nayab, Teri Berukhi, and Mere Humdum Mere Dost, among others.
Seamless Access anywhere at a hugely affordable price:
Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.
ZEE5 will be available at a highly affordable price of $6.99 for a monthly pack, and an annual pack heavily discounted from $84 to a very attractive $49.99 as an introductory offer. The platform also announced a special discount for the student community with the monthly pack priced at $4.99 instead of $6.99.
Canada: Calling out Canada as another focus market, ZEE5 also announced that it was available for Canadian audiences and that it would also be launching its campaign in Canada, thereby kicking off its marketing in the country. ZEE5 sees much potential in the country, given that it has a tremendous amount of content across languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu, perfect for key diaspora audiences within the Canadian landscape.
Archana also called out a key strategic partnership that the streaming platform had locked in with NAAIS (North American Association of Indian Students), that will help ZEE5 build strong connects with a much younger audience.
As a registered non-profit, NAAIS today aims to connect, educate, and mobilize over 850,000 students and young professionals of Indian origin in the U.S. Over the next few months, ZEE5 will be exclusively partnering with NAAIS and work closely with Sudhanshu Kaushik, executive director of NAAIS across multiple initiatives, including student outreach programs across universities and colleges in the U.S. and numerous philanthropic endeavours, including COVID-19 relief efforts.
ZEE5 will also be partnering with MassMutual in the U.S. to reach the latter’s extensive South Asian customer database and jointly serve the South Asian community. ZEE5 and MassMutual share common goals to cater to the South Asian community with the tools and resources they both have to offer.

About ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 is home to 130,000+ hours of On Demand Content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Cineplays and Health and Lifestyle content all in one single destination. ZEE5 offers key features like 15 navigational languages, content download option, seamless video playback and Voice Search.
Users can download the ZEE5 app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store, on Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TVs, Android TVs, and Amazon Fire Stick. ZEE5 is also available on www.ZEE5.com.
ZEE5 Global Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZEE5Global


Sonu Sood Appointed As New Face Of Ayurvedic Brand

Bollywood actor SonuSood has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Krishna’s Herbal & Ayurveda that offers ayurvedic and herbal healthcare products, made with natural ingredients and sourced directly from select farms across the country. Commenting on the association, Sood said: “I have been using ‘jeevansanjeevanikwath’ in these tough times and we have decided that we will donate Rs 1 lakh Jeevan Sanjeevani bottles to the needy community across India.”

ShrawanDaga, founder of the Rajasthan-based brand, said: “We are so motivated by his actions. In the process of communicating with Sood for providing any help from us, we were informed that he contracted the virus. To our wonder, he was already using Krishna’s Herbal & Ayurveda’s immunity booster Jeevan SanjeevaniKwath.” The booster is a combination of medicinal herbs, including Tulsi, Geloy, Ashwagandha, Neem, Amla, Aloe vera, wheatgrass, harad and Arjuna bark. It is packed with the power of nature and helps in purifying the blood, detoxifying the body and strengthening immunity.

A part of the sale of Krishna’s Herbal & Ayurveda’s Products will be contributed to Sood Charity Foundation. Also, Rs 1 lakh Jeevan Sanjeevani bottles will be distributed to the needy people across India by Krishna’s Herbal & Ayurveda and Sood Charity Foundation, it said. (IANS)

At NYIFF 2021, Tamil Film ‘Nasir,’ Actors Siddharth Menon, Akshata Pandavapura Among Winners

At the 2021 New York Indian Film Festival, presented by the Indian American-founded Indo-American Arts Council, the Kannada film, “Pinki Elli” (“Where is Pinki”), won the Best Screenplay award for PrithviKonanur and the Best Actress award for AkshataPandavapura. Director Ramesh Sharma’s “Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless,” a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, won the Best Documentary Feature Award. (NYIFF/Facebook photos). The Kannada film, “Pinki Elli” (“Where is Pinki”), which opened the 2021 edition of the annual New York Indian Film Festival, also won top honors at the festival – Best Screenplay award for PrithviKonanur and Best Actress award for AkshataPandavapura.

Through “Pinki Elli,” Konanur said he “wanted to hold a mirror to the society.” The film offers a gritty glimpse into the perspectives and experiences of everyday people. The complex tale weaves together the story of Bindu and Girish, a working couple in Bangalore with an eight-month-old baby girl, Pinki. When Pinki goes missing, the frantic search effort forces the film’s characters to confront strange places, people and situations that require each of them to reconcile their past, present and future.

When the awards were presented June 14 during a virtual ceremony, a documentary feature on Mahatma Gandhi, “Ahimsa Gandhi”; a short documentary, “Seva,” highlighting the Sikh tradition; and the Tamil-language drama, “Nasir,” also won big. “Nasir,” directed by ArunKarthick, was declared the Best Film. The Best Actor honor was accorded to Siddharth Menon for “June,” while Karan Dave won the Best Child Actor award for “Habaddi.”

In “Nasir,” salesman Nasir lives a contended life with his mother Fatima, wife Taj and nephew Iqbal in a closely populated ghetto. Employed in an apparel shop at the heart of a busy city, the middle-aged Nasir is a hard worker. He speaks humorously and makes others laugh. The film is an observational chronicle of an ordinary day in Nasir’s life. Director Ramesh Sharma’s “Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless,” a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, won the Best Documentary Feature award, while “Seva,” directed by RippinSindher, was declared the Best Documentary Short. The film shows how a wave of Sikh activists and leaders are challenging “otherism” through their seva, forcing the FBI to accurately report hate crimes against the Sikh community, according to the festival. Ajitpal Singh won the Best Director award for “Fire in the Mountains.”

“Fire in the Mountains” tells the striking tale of Chandra and her husband, Dharam, who run an inn in a small Himalayan village. The terrain poses a problem for the family, who must transport their son, Prakash, down the mountain in his wheelchair for doctors and school. While Chandra believes Prakash needs more medical attention, Dharam would rather put his faith in a shamanic ritual he believes will rid them of a deity’s curse, the cause of Prakash’s affliction. Tensions increase as their worldviews collide and slowly erode their familial ties.

“TasherGhawr,” directed by Sudipto Roy and starring acclaimed actress Swastika Mukherjee, won the award for the Best Short Narrative. The story revolves around Sujata, a middle-aged housewife residing in Kolkata with her husband during the COVID-19 lockdown phase. The festival, presented by the Indian American-founded Indo-American Arts Council, was held virtually from June 3-13.

Boycotting Kareena Kapoor Khan on Twitter Grows

Bollywood actor Kareena Kapoor Khan has been trending on Twitter but not for any pleasant reason. The star found herself in trouble after reports alleging her charging a whopping Rs 12 crore (approx. US $1.6 million) fee for playing Sita on-screen surfaced online.Days after a media outlet reported that Kareena had demanded such a big amount for the upcoming mythological period saga ‘Sita’, netizens took to Twitter and expressed anger, demanding to boycott the ‘Good Newzz’ actor.

Twitterati seemed to be miffed with Bebo asking for such a whopping amount and many alleged that she is hurting their religious sentiments and that the demand of Rs 12 crores for a role is ‘against humanity’.#BoycottKareenaKhan has been trending on Twitter with users slamming the actor. One of the users tweeted, “Remember the way she arrogantly replied to public that it’s you idiots who make us star, Don’t watch my flims, I don’t care. Let’s not watch such unworthy people. She playing in mythological film is disgusting #BoycottKareenaKhan.”

Another user wrote, “This role cannot be played by an actress who doesn’t respect Hindu God’s. #BoycottKareenaKhan.”“She doesn’t deserve to play the role of Mata Sita! So We just #BoycottKareenaKhan!” read another tweet.Saying Kareena should rather play “Shurpnakha”, a user said, “RT if you also think Kareena Khan with the “Shurpanakha” Role than “Mata Sita”.

Another one wrote, “A nationalist Indian would never accept an actress who has no faith in Hinduism for the role of Mother Sita. Bollywood film mafia spreads poison towards Hinduism, we should boycott all such artists who hurt the religious sentiments of the people.”The viral report cited a source who claimed that Kareena who usually asks for Rs 6-8 crores for films has quoted a sum of Rs 12 crores for playing the role of Sita in Alaukik Desai’s upcoming film, which is said to be a Bollywood recreation of the Hindu epic, Ramayana.

Meanwhile, Kareena, whose last movie was ‘Angrezi Medium’, will next be seen in ‘Laal Singh Chadha’, co-starring opposite Aamir Khan. Helmed by AdvaitChandan, the Bollywood flick is a remake of the Hollywood classic ‘Forrest Gump’. Apart from ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, Kareena is also a part of filmmaker Karan Johar’s period epic ‘Takht’.

Movie Theaters Try 3-Screen Immersion To Fend Off Netflix

Sit at the back of the movie theater, and it’s possible to see the appeal of ScreenX, the latest attempt to drag film lovers off the sofa and away from Netflix. Instead of one screen, there are three – one at the front, and two on the sides – to add to the immersive experience you can’t get from the home TV.First adopted in South Korea in 2012, the system is being launched in the U.K. and theater chain Cineworld plans to add over 100 new screens to the worldwide count of 151.

The technology is the latest attempt by cinema operators to attract film viewers amid the growing popularity of online subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. They’ve ranged from 3D screens launched almost a decade ago to ultra-high resolution IMAX projectors and 4DX – which features moving chairs and real-life special effects like snow falling on the audience.The focus on innovation has helped in the past. Since 3D was popularized at big cinema theaters in 2009 with the release of films like James Cameron’s “Avatar,” revenue has grown. Global box office revenue has increased by $14.4 billion in the past decade to $40.6 billion, according Motion Picture Association of America.

But that growth seems to be fading and movie theaters are being overtaken by internet video. Revenue from internet video like Netflix is forecast to be the fastest growing part of the entertainment and media industry through 2021, according to consultancy PwC. Its estimated annual growth of 6 percent compares with a projected annual drop in cinema of 1.2 percent.It’s unclear whether this latest innovation will help or stand out. Cineworld says the idea is “it makes you feel like you’re sitting in the action.” Robert Mitchell, a film journalist for Variety magazine, notes that was the point of 3D in the first place.

“In 2009, when films like ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Avatar’ were coming out, it was the great new thing,” he says. “That lasted for a couple of years until people started to realize that some films were being made that didn’t really use the enhancements well. And it started to put people off going.”Love it or hate it, the number of cinemas that offer these new types of experiences grows globally every year.“We’re really confident that by offering customers as much choice as possible that it’s going to bring people into the cinemas,” says Kelly Drew, an operations director at Cineworld.

Rick Sharma’s ‘Badhai Ho BetiHuee Hai’ Due For Release

‘Badhai Ho BetiHuee Hai’, an upcoming Hindi film that is focused on women empowerment, screened recently in the USA, organized by WPS Monarks Strategic Alliance LLC USA, is scheduled to launch in India shortly. Rick Sharma is the Executive Producer from Hollywood and Rajesh Bhatt, a Film Maker and Director from India, have joined together to bring this movie to theaters.

The film has been presented by an ace film-maker Pradeep Sarkar, who is known for his iconic women-centric films like Mardaani, LaagaChunari Mein Daag, Parineeta, HelicopterEela. This film focuses on breaking the stereotype mentality and enabling a woman to be an anchor of the family.Written and directed by the budding artist Yamini Swami and is produced under the banner Sanatan World Projects Pvt Ltd Productions, the film was budgeted around INR 8-9 crores and was completed by March 2020, but got delayed in release due to pandemic.

‘Badhai Ho BetiHueeHai’ film is based on the ambitious scheme of the Government of India which has been promoting to “Educate the Girl Child, Save the girl child” (BetiBachao, BetiPadhaoAbhiyaan)Titled, “Badhai Ho BetiHuee Hai,” the film, starring Yamini Swami and popular television actor Aryamann Seth, focuses on breaking the stereotypes associated with a girl child and enabling a woman to be an anchor of the family.

Sharma has executive produced the film which is inspired by the Government of India’s ambitious scheme, ‘BetiBachao, BetiPadhaoAbhiyaan’ (Educate the girl child, save the girl child).It also features eminent actors such as Jayaprada, PeeyushSuhaney, Kamal Malik, ArmaanTahil, Jayant Mishra, Rajesh Khanna and Hari Om Parashar.

The film is presented by ace filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar, who is known for his iconic women-centric films like “Mardaani,” “LaagaChunari Mein Daag,” “Parineeta” and “Helicopter Eela.”Written and directed by Swami and produced under the Sanatan World Projects Pvt Ltd Productions banner, the film was budgeted around Rs. eight-nine crores and was completed by March 2020, but its release got delayed due to the pandemic.

For its release, Sharma told India-West, they are in discussions with several streaming platforms and a decision will be made soon.The film was initially shot in Ranchi, Jharkhand, and many scenes were further shot in Mumbai and Delhi, covering the journey of the girl who makes a big leap.

The story follows a girl who gets equal opportunities and makes it big in the male-dominated society. It showcases how she educates herself and attains the skills which set her up for success and in the process, is able to shape opinions in her family.“Daughters are not less than sons in any way, daughters have contributed equally in every field,” said Swami. She further added that she felt like a victim in her childhood because of the taunts of her family and people around her. That is how, she added, she decided to spread awareness on women’s rights and gender equality. Music is by Dilip Tahir and Amit S. Trivedi.

Ileana D’Cruz: You Just Want People To Like Watching You

Actress Ileana D’Cruz has had a great run down South and has also been doing her share of Bollywood films. She says everything comes down to people and, as an artiste, one just wants the audience to like watching you.Ileana made her debut in the Telugu film Devadasu, which became the year’s first major commercial success. She debuted in Tamil with “Kedi”. Telugu movie “Pokiri”, which was one of the highest money grosser, set her in top slot actresses. She appeared in many commercially successful movies like Jalsa, Kick etc. She made her debut in Bollywood with Anurag Basu’sBarfi! (2012) starring Ranbir Kapoor.

Popularity, she explains, is the one thing that balances the fact that the film industry can actually be a very cruel place to survive. “It (the film industry) is brutal, of course, but it comes down to people. If they (people) like you that is all you need. You just want people to like watching you,” she told IANS.Ileana feels the moment an actor is not appreciated they lose the mark. “It basically goes the same for me. I wouldn’t want to watch a film with an actor I don’t like watching. The minute you are not liked anymore you sort of lose the mark. The industry is brutal in a sense, but it has got so many perks as well,” she says.

Acting is a profession that comes with its pros and cons, the actress notes, in this context. “You cannot have all the good things only, there is always a little bit of con. I think that makes it interesting. It makes you work harder. It makes you strive to keep doing better,” she sums up.Ileana will next be seen in “Unfair N Lovely”, a comic take on India’s obsession with fair skin. The film is set against the backdrop of Haryana and casts her opposite RandeepHooda. (IANS)

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