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)

Several Bollywood Celebrities Lead Relief Activities For COVID-19 Crisis In India

Veteran actor AnupamKher has joined hands with Global Cancer Foundation, USA – headed by Indian American doctor AshutoshTewari –and India’s Bharat Forge to start an initiative called ‘Project Heal India,’ which aims to help in the current fight against COVID-19 across India by providing medical aid and other relief.

Through the project, the organization will provide critical equipment and other life-supporting devices to needy institutions and hospitals across India. The first consignment of CrossVent Ventilators (ICU critical care), Medtronic Ventilators, ResMed non-invasive ventilation devices and oxygen concentrators is expected to arrive in India this week.

Sharing his take on the initiative, Kher shared, “Dr. AshutoshTewari (Global Cancer Foundation) was one of the first to come up with a concrete plan. This gave me the needed impetus to take this forward and be of service to our nation. It is people and humanitarians like Mr. Baba Kalyani (Bharat Forge) and Dr. AshutoshTewari that help make the world a better place and restore our faith time and again in humanity. I am honored and pleased to be joining hands with them.”

Tewari also ensured that people in India are not alone, saying: “We may be 10,000 miles away, but we continue to keep you close in our hearts and thoughts. The supplies we are sending are a kind of symbolic gesture and a sign of solidarity.”

In response to the overwhelming need, Project Heal India will do its best to address the needs created by the pandemic, said Kher. The contributors believe that to control this virus, it is extremely important to work together and ensure the health and safety of citizens and do our part in this ever-changing situation. Project Heal India has also pledged to raise funds, medicines, and other necessary relief material to help people of the Indian community at large, according to an official release.

Actress Lara Dutta and Sports Scientist ShayamalVallabhjee joined hands with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), a non-profit headquartered in Silicon Valley for ‘I Breathe For India Campaign: Covid Crisis Relief’, a virtual fundraising campaign to help India battle the Covid-19 crisis.

The campaign, which runs until May 20, brings together Indian luminaries, actors and sports personalities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, H.H. Radhanath Swami, Karan Johar, Rishabh Pant, Anil Kapoor, AnupamKher, Samantha Prabhu, TarunTahliani, and many more, who appeared in a live special two-hour fundraising drive for Give India — India’s largest non-profit working actively with 2200 NGOs on the ground in the fight against Covid-19.

During the drive, the stars appeared reciting poetry, singing songs and delivering heartfelt messages, as part of a specially curated showcase, never before seen in India, which was streamed live across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.Funds from the campaign will go towards essential life-saving medical supplies, humanitarian aid for families under the poverty line that have been affected by the crisis, and manpower support for setting up vaccination and isolation centres to strengthen the nations’ efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.

“The ‘I Breathe for India’ campaign was more than a fundraiser. It represented the collective consciousness off many people whose only desire was to India and its citizens in its hour of need. In many ways it helped redefine what is possible as we move towards the ‘new normal’. Thanks to the unwavering dedication of the Encompass team and its partners, we more than doubled our initial goal of $1 million and now as a result, have extended our deadline to allow us to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling. Both Lara and I, and the teams from TIE Global and Give India are eternally grateful to the entire unit that made this possible,” said ShayamalVallabhjee.

Lara Dutta added, “The success of the #IBreatheForIndia fundraiser would not have been possible without the individual efforts behind the scenes. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude to each and every one for selflessly giving your time and talents. God Bless and keep you all and your families safe until we are able to overcome this crisis together.”

‘I Breathe for India: Covid Crisis Relief’ was produced by global creative commerce agency, VMLY&R COMMERCE ENCOMPASS with platform partners including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Sony Liv, Voot, Eros Now and Glance, helping to amplify and restream the event.Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas shared that over 14,000 contributors have helped raise $1 million, to help India amid the second wave of Covid-19. Priyanka shared a video on Instagram May 12, featuring a world map and the countries from where donations have poured in to help India.

“Through some of the darkest days in our history, humanity has once again proven that we are better together. Nick Jonas and I are so humbled by your support and by the outpouring of help for India from so many parts of the world,” she wrote alongside the video, referring to her husband.”We can all continue to help so let’s not stop here. We’re raising the fundraising target to $3 Million and we know that with your help and support, we can achieve this too. Thank you all for your support and thank you Give India for the incredible work you are doing on ground.”


On Madhuri Dixit’s 54th Birthday Bollywood Lauds Her Contributions To Cinema

Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit Nene celebrated her 54th birthday on Saturday, May 15thand the entire Bollywood world took to social media to wish her on her special day.Among the first to wish was veteran actor Anil Kapoor, Madhuri’s co-star in numerous hits including “Tezaab” (1988), “Ram Lakhan” (1989), “Parinda” (1989), “KishenKanhaiya” (1990), “Beta” (1992), Pukar (2000) and “Total Dhamaal” (2019).

“Happy Birthday, @MADHURIDIXITNENE! As actors I feel all of us are the happiest on the sets, especially if you are working with friends… so I’m looking forward to being on set with you again! Wishing you all the health and happiness always!!” wrote Anil.

Actress-politician Urmila Matondkar described Madhuri as “graceful” and “gorgeous” while wishing her.“Wishing a very Happy Birthday to the most gracious, graceful n gorgeous @MadhuriDixitji..lots of love n best wishes always,” wrote Urmila.Actress RaveenaTandon wrote: “Happy Birthday Beautiful! @MadhuriDixitloadsa love and happiness!”Actor Abhishek Bachchan tweeted: “@MadhuriDixit wishing you a very happy, healthy and safe birthday. Lots of love and respect.”

Actor Riteish Deshmukh, who shared screen space with Madhuri in “Total Dhamaal”, says working with her was “a dream come true”.“Happy Birthday to the most beautiful @MadhuriDixit mam. Working with you was my absolute dream come true… I wish you happiness, love, best of health and may god fulfil your wish to work with me (again) real soon. Have a great great day,” wrote Riteish.Riteish’s wife, actress Genelia, tweeted: “Happy Birthday @MadhuriDixitji.. Wishing you the best of health and warmest regards.”Actress EnaSaha tweeted: “Wishing you a very happy birthday maam! Big time inspiration.”

Actress Sonali Kulkarni tweeted: “Happy Birthday dear dear @MadhuriDixit. You prove that passion, talent and genuine beauty is absolutely timeless. 365 days of added awe and truck loads of love..best wishes.”Actress PallaviiShirke tweeted: “Wishing the charming and timeless beauty @MadhuriDixit ma’am a very Happy Birthday! May you always be blessed with good health &happiness. #HappyBirthdayMadhuriDixit”

Husband Shriram Nene posted a special message for his star wife Madhuri Dixit Nene birthday on Saturday, along with a throwback picture.“Happy Birthday to my soulmate, Madhuri Dixit Nene. Life has been an amazing journey for us together and I look forward to the road ahead. Much love and many happy returns of the day,” he wrote on his verified Instagram page, drneneofficial, and tagged it with #HappyBirthdayMadhuriDixit and #DrNene.The throwback image he posted with the note was a photo of the couple clicked on October 16, 1999. The couple got married a day later, on October 17 that year.Madhuri and Shriram Nene have two sons, Arin and Ryan.

New York Indian Film Festival To Showcase Top Indian Movies

The annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), North America’s longest-running Indian film festival recently announced its list of films for opening night, centerpiece and closing night.

The festival, virtual this year, starts from June 4 and goes on till 13, 2021, according to a press release from the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC).

The film lineup includes Where is Pinki/ Pinki Elli (Kannada) directed by PrithviKonanur as the opening film; Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless (English), dir. Ramesh Sharma as the first centerpiece; WOMB: Women of my Billion (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu), dir. Ajitesh Sharma as the second centerpiece and Fire in the Mountains (Hindi), dir. Ajitpal Singh as the closing film.

The festival will also feature a virtual event with exclusive Q&A sessions with filmmakers and talent, the release said.

Aseem Chhabra, NYIFF festival director offered his thoughts and prayers to the lives lost in the covid-19 crisis in India. “But we made a promise to our audience in the United States and elsewhere. The show must go on. We present the best of Indian cinema from 2020 and 2021,” he was quoted saying in the press release.

NYIFF will also celebrate birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi, Satyajit Ray and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

Suman Gollamudi, IAAC executive director said NYIFF has showcased the some of the most impactful and esteemed films and documentaries celebrating India, its people and its heritage, for the past 21 years. “The caliber of films on the 2021 lineup includes notable works by award-winning filmmakers, which aim to capture stories that have a truly profound message about our world today. These films have received exceptional praise from critics and audiences around the globe,” he added.

According to Rakesh Kaul, vice chairman, IAAC, NYIFF is partnering with MovieSaints for a second straight year to reach a wider audience virtually.

“For the first time, the 2021 lineup truly reflects the incredible diversity of Indian cinematic creativity,” said Dr. NirmalMattoo, Chairman IAAC. “This standout collection of films introduces new voices, fresh perspectives and original storytelling, which enhances the NYIFF curatorial legacy of spotlighting movies that go on to receive critical global acclaim.”

“In addition, we will be unveiling a newly designed award in 2021,” continued Mattoo.  “Conceived and created by IAAC Board Member and sculptor, Raj Shahani, this iconic award will epitomize the excellence that NYIFF seeks to foster with its annual awards presentation.”

Each of these films along with the complete collection of NYIFF-recognized titles will be available for viewing starting June 4, 2021 at nyiff.us and nyiff.moviesaints.com. The cost to view each film ranges from US$4.99 for feature films (narrative and documentaries) and US$0.99 for shorts. Audiences outside the U.S., excluding India, can pay in their local currencies. In India, the cost will be Rs.150 for features and shorts starting at Rs. 50. There are also discount packages available

Featured Movies Include:

Awakash (Marathi), dir. ChittaranjanGiri, 77 mins, 2020

Biryaani (Malayalam), dir. Sajin Baabu, 96 mins, 2020

Blue Bird (Kannada), dir. Ganesh Hegde, 106 mins, 2020

Fire in the Mountains (Hindi), dir. Ajitpal Singh, 82 mins, 2020

First Night (Tamil), dir. Jack Prabhu, Santoshh KK, 106 mins, 2020

Freddie’s Piano (English), dir. AakashPrabhakar, Sudharshan Narayanan, 110 mins, 2020

God on the Balcony (Assamese), dir. Biswajeet Bora, 89 mins, 2020

Habaddi (Marathi), dir. NachiketSamant, 110 mins, 2020

House of Orange Trees (Malayalam), dir. Dr. Biju Damodaran, 110 mins, 2020

June (Marathi), dir. VaibhavKhisti, SuhrudGodbole, 94 mins, 2020

Mail (Telugu), dir. UdayGurrala, 116 mins, 2020

Nasir (Tamil), dir. ArunKarthick, 78 mins, 2019

Nazarband (Captive) (Hindi), dir. Suman Mukhopadhyay, 85 mins, 2020

Parallel Lines (KayamaiKadakka) (Tamil), dir. Kiran R, 104 mins, 2020

Parcel (Bengali), dir. Indrasis Acharya, 123 mins, 2020

Pinki Elli? (Where’s Pinki?) (Kannada), dir. PrithviKonanur, 108 mins, 2020

Searching for Happiness (Bengali) dir. Suman Ghosh, 63 mins, 2021

Songs for Rain (Boroxun) (Assamese), dir. Krrishna Kt. Borah, 86 mins, 2020

Sthalpuran (Marathi), dir. AkshayIndikar, 85 mins, 2020

The Chicken Curry (KoliTaal) (Kannada), dir. Abhilash Shetty, 84 mins, 2020

The Tenant (English, Hindi), dir. Sushrat Jain, 112 mins, 2020

The Knot (Uljhan) (Hindi), dir. Ashish Pant, 113 mins, 2020

Zollywood, (Marathi), dir. Trushant Ingle, 95 mins, 2019


Ahimsa Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless, (English), dir. Ramesh Sharma, 92 mins, 2020

Borderlands (Punjabi, Bengali, Nepali, Manipuri), dir. Samarth Mahajan, 67 mins, 2021

GharKaPata (Home Address) (English, Hindi, Kashmiri), dir. MadhulikaJalali, 67 mins, 2020

Shut UpSona (English, Hindi, Oriya), dir. Deepti Gupta, 85 mins. 2019

Talking Head (English, Bengali), dir. Spandan Banerjee, 94 mins, 2021

The Music of Satyajit Ray (English, Bengali), dir. Utpalendu Chakrabarty, 51 mins, 1984

The Space Between the Notes (English, Hindi), dir. SumantraGhosal, 52 mins, 2018

WOMB: Women of my Billions, dir. Ajitesh Sharma (English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu), 103 mins, 2021

At the Altar of India’s Freedom – INA Veterans in Malaysia (English) dir. ChoodieShivaram, 30 mins, 2018

Baluji (English), dir. Cécile Embleton, 22 mins, 2020

Seva (English), dir. RippinSindher, 16 mins, 2019

The Hero Within (Hindi), dir. Stanley Hector, 7 mins, 2021

What’s Your Story? (English), dir. O.P. Srivastava, 51 mins, 2020


Short Films:

Adhura (Unfinished) (Hindi), dir. Arjun Lal, 19 mins, 2020

Annual Day (SalanaJalsa) (Marathi), dir. Pratik Thakare, 30 mins, 2020

Appa’s Seasons (Tamil), dir. Radhika Prasidhha, 22 mins, 2020

  1. Selvi& Daughters (Tamil), dir. Drishya, 25 mins, 2020

Checking Out (English), dir. Vick Krishna, 15 mins, 2020

Happy Birthday (Hindi), dir. Ajay Kishore Shaw, 20 mins, 2020

KhayaliPulao (Hindi), dir.TarunDudeja, 26 mins, 2020

Khisa (Pocket) (Marathi), dir. Raj Pritam More, 16 mins, 2020

Kurma (English, Hindi), dir. Ramsee Chand, 18 mins, 2020

Laali (Hindi), dir. AbhiroopBasu, 30 mins, 2020

Loose Long Shirt (English), dir. Mitali Joshi, 6 mins, 2020

My Brother (Mera Bhai) (Hindi), dir. Shreela Agarwal, 22 mins, 2020

Naap (Hindi), dir. Harshit Acharya, 18 mins, 2020

Now That We’ve Met (English), dir. NityaTuraga, 5 mins, 2020

Pilibhit (Hindi), dir. AshutoshChaturvedi, Pankaj Mavchi, 23 mins, 2020

Pinni (Kannada), dir.BhuvanSathya, 20 mins, 2020

Sonsi (Shadow Bird) (Hindi) dir. Savita Singh, 26 mins, 2020

Sunday (Hindi), dir. ArunFulara, 10 mins, 2020

TasherGhawr (English), dir. Sudipto Roy, 47 mins, 2020

The Miniaturist of Junagarh (Hindi, Urdu), dir. Kaushal Oza, 29 mins, 2020

Untouchability (Theetu) (Tamil), dir. Haresh Narayanan, 7 mins, 2020

Vulture (Xogun) (Assamese), dir. UtpalBorpujari, 16 mins, 2020

More information at: nyiff.us and nyiff.moviesaints.com. For frequently asked technology questions visit https://nyiff.moviesaints.com/faq/nyiff.

Dr. Lakshmi Devy Is Winning Laurels In US

Dr. Lakshmi Devy has  won the prestigious Gold Remy award for direction at the 54th World Houston International Film festival for her movie — “When the Music Changes.”

Dr. Lakshmi Devy, a doctor by profession has always been passionate about acting and filmmaking and her dreams have come true after she won the prestigious Gold Remy award for direction at the 54th World Houston International Film festival for her movie — “When the Music Changes.”

It is to be noted that other famous winners of the Gold Remy awards are the who’s who of the global film industry including Spielberg, Lucas, Ang Lee, The Coen brothers, Ridley Scott and several famous directors of Hollywood.

Worldfest is one of the oldest and largest film and video competitions in the world.

Dr Lakshmi Devy while speaking to IANS said, “This has been a great honour for a filmmaker like me and I am proud to represent my Indian roots in this manner.”

Lakshmi shuttles between US and Chennai and after the lockdown and mounting Covid cases she has preferred to stay back in India and is currently in discussions with several Hollywood production companies for her new venture.

She has a production house in New York, FiDi talkies which has produced “When the Music Changes” and Hollywood actor and director, John Turturro is the executive producer for this project.

On her new ventures, the doctor turned filmmaker told IANS, “I am speaking to several big names in the global film industry however, I am bound by certain contracts in not revealing the names of these companies. Once we sign the agreement, I will definitely inform you on the production companies.”

Her movie, “When the Music Changes”, which is scripted, directed and produced by her, has her playing the role of the protagonist. The movie is based on the Indian rape scenario as studies point out that in every 16 minutes a girl is raped in the country.

Lakshmi while speaking on the movie said, “The movie speaks on the rape in India and that it is not the woman who is raped loses the honour, instead it is the man who loses it because of the dastardly act.”

The medical doctor also said that she is planning to do several charity shows across the globe including a movie on the current medical emergency after the emergence of Covid and how humanity has to stay together to overcome this pandemic which is taking away the precious lives of many in the most unfortunate of conditions.

She was the screenwriter for the national award winning actor Bobby Sinha, Mirchi Shiva movie “Masala Padam”, which is the story of how tough it is to make a hot movie. The film has won major accolades across Tamil Nadu. Lakshmi also played the role of a protagonist in the movie.

This medical doctor also had done a short film, “Daro Mat” made in both Tamil and Hindi. It was critically acclaimed in many international film festivals across the world and is now released on YouTube with over 3.5 million views.

Tim Van Petten, Ten Time Emmy award nominated director, Edie Falco, Emmy award winning Hollywood actress, Aida Turturro, two time Emmy award nominated actress were all praises for the movie made by Dr Lakshmi Devy.

Dr Lakshmi Devy while speaking to IANS said, “As I said earlier, I am now finalizing the scripts for a couple of movies which will definitely have renowned production houses and I have to keep my fingers crossed for now as I am not permitted to speak on them now.”

Salman Khan’s ‘Radhe’ To Be Released On Eid

Keeping up with the promise of an Eid release, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s movie ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ is all set to make it to the theatres and digital platforms on May 13. The trailer of the film is slated to drop tomorrow.
The digital release of ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’, however, won’t be available for free.

The makers have taken the pay-per-view route, which means that the audience will have to pay a certain amount to watch the movie at their homes. This would not be a part of their subscription to OTT platforms. The makers of the film, on Wednesday, shared the mega release plan on their Instagram handle, along with a poster of the upcoming movie. They wrote, “The perfect Eid celebration! #Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, releasing simultaneously on multiple platforms worldwide. #RadheThisEid.”

Film critic and movie trade analyst Taran Adarsh also confirmed the same on his Twitter handle by tweeting, “#RADHE IN CINEMAS AND DIGITAL MEDIUMS ON SAME DAY… #SalmanKhan’s #Radhe will release simultaneously in cinemas and digital mediums [pay per view] on 13 May 2021… Trailer drops tomorrow.”

ZEE Studios will be the first studio in India to be adopting a multi-format release worldwide. Speaking on this Shariq Patel, CBO, Zee Studios shared, “The ongoing pandemic forced us to innovate, and we are proud to be the first to embark upon this new distribution strategy. While we all love to catch the latest movies at the nearest theatres, we realized we’d be doing a disservice to Salman’s fans nationwide if we aren’t able to release theatrically in all Indian states. We sensed the need for a pay-per-view solution along with theatres, which gives the consumers flexibility and convenience of viewing the film.”

He further continued, “There cannot be a better film than Radhe to offer the audiences who’ve been waiting for an out and out entertainer for over a year now. Radhe continues our network’s deep relationship with Salman Khan and we are looking to release the film in over 40 countries including theatrical release in major overseas markets.”

Salman Khan Films’ spokesperson added, “It’s imperative that we all come together and think of out-of-the-box solutions for cinema as an industry during the current pandemic situation. We will support the theatre owners by releasing the film in as many theatres as we can, keeping in line with the rules and protocols laid down by the government. But, considering the guidelines and safety measures, we also need to devise ways to ensure that the film reaches all of our audience. We don’t want to deny the audience the choice of entertainment in the comfort of their homes during these times.”

The film will be released on ZEE’s pay-per-view service ZEEPlex which rests on India’s leading OTT platform ZEE5 and also on all leading DTH operators. The actor, along with his studio partner Zee Studios, have opted for this hybrid release model given the rise in coronavirus cases across the country.

‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ will also have a theatrical release and will be available in theaters in all Indian states where the theaters are operational as per COVID protocols. A wide international theatrical release targeting 40 countries across all international territories is also being planned. It will be the first Bollywood film to release theatrically in the UK since the lockdown last year.

The action flick by the Yash Raj Films banner, directed by Prabhudeva, was earlier scheduled to release on Eid 2020, but it could not see the light of the day due to the closing of film theatres owing to coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The movie will see Salman Khan romancing Disha Patani. The flick also features Jackie Shroff and Randeep Hooda.

‘Radhe’ is co-produced by Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, and Atul Agnihotri under the banners Salman Khan Films, in association with Zee Studios, Sohail Khan Productions, and Reel Life Production.

In “Aarkkariyam” Parvathy Impresses In An Impactful Film

Aarkkariyam Is a Malayalam movie that presents lives in disarray, looking for moorings and closure, in the most natural way in a most unnatural year where we all were forced to live in isolation.

The beginning of the pandemic, in early 2020, already seems like a life-time ago. Aaakkariyam opens with a couple who live on the outskirts of Mumbai getting ready to drive down to Kerala. The two-day road trip is the only way to get from one place to another, and even this needs to be done fast, as crossing state borders may also soon become impossible.

A certain easy-going, calm atmosphere pervades Aarkkariyam even in supposedly the more tense moments in the narrative. So much so that close to the interval, when a key character makes a rather shocking claim, even that is delivered in a cool, collected manner, as if he is speaking about one of the dinner dishes. This somehow gives a chilling quality to that scene, yet this light treatment also limits the film at other key points.

Cinematographer Sanu John Varughese’s directorial debut is firmly set in the post-pandemic world, with the after-effects of the virus being a part of the narrative. Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and her husband Roy (Sharaudheen), who are settled in Mumbai, are returning home to Kerala to be with her father Ittyavira (Biju Menon), ahead of the COVID-induced lockdown. Beset with financial crises, Roy is also looking to raise urgent funds to repay his friend, who helped him in need, while Shirley is devising various ways to bring back her daughter who is stuck in another state.

Like millions of hapless people, the harsh lockdown has justify Sherly (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and Roy (Sharafudheen) in a tight financial bind. The only way out is for them to head south, where Sherly’s father, 73-year-old Ittyavira (Biju Menon), and young daughter (Tejaswini), are eagerly waiting their arrival. The palpable sense of relief when they reach home is evident; you can see the tension leaching out of the exhausted couple. It even begins to look as if the resourceful Ittyavira may have a solution to their problems, and then, wham, a flying missile encapsulated in a throwaway remark strikes. And everything crumbles.

This, the delivery of the bombshell, is the most artful part of the film which knows how to incorporate artlessness in its telling. In his debut directorial, Varghese, who has been the cinematographer on such films as ‘Kartik Calling Kartik’, ‘Badhai Ho’, ‘Wazir’, ‘Android Kunjappan’ and ‘Take-Off’, among others, shows that he knows exactly how to recreate life on screen with such ease that you forget you’re watching stuff mediated by a camera.

What we get is a well-knit plot that gives up its secrets as it goes along. We learn why Sherly’s daughter is living away from her, and our assumption about Roy being the father is just that, an assumption. Sherly’s painful backstory threatens to come alive again, as Roy begins unravelling the dark secrets that lie buried. Can we ever fully escape our past? Can our faith save us from mortal sin?

Aarkkariyam Movie Cast: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Saiju Kurup, Tejaswini. Directed By: Sanu John Varghese. Aarkkariyam movie rating: 3 stars.

SAG Top Honors For ‘Chicago 7’ Sets Up Intriguing Oscar Race

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 — Aaron Sorkin’s 1969 courtroom drama for Netflix — was judged the year’s best performance by a motion picture cast at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards for film and television last week. Starring the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella and Mark Rylance, it marked the first time a film from any streaming service won the guild’s ensemble award.

The win now strengthens the film’s case for the Oscars (April 25). This even as modern recession-era movie Nomadland grabbed many of the pre-Oscar awards, including the Golden Globes.

The SAG awards though remain a key predictor of Oscar glory, where actors form the largest voting bloc. FYI: Last year, South Korea’s Parasite began its historic charge to the Best Picture Oscar by winning SAG’s top prize.

Also: For the first time in SAG awards’ 27-year history, all four of the winning film actors were people of colour. The late Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis picked up the best actor and best actress awards, respectively, for jazz period film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

And while Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor for portraying Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, South Korea’s Yuh-jung Youn won best supporting actress for Minari, an immigrant tale set in 1980s Arkansas.

Rajnikanth To Receive The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019


Megastar Rajinikanth has been chosen to be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for excellence in cinematic achievement, is the highest honor in the film world and is awarded by the government.

Megastar Rajinikanth will be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019, the Government of India announced last week. The Dadasaheb Phalke, awarded for excellence in cinematic achievement, is the highest honor in the film world and is awarded by the government. The recipient of the 2018 award was Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth’s co-star from ‘Hum’.

The 70-year-old star has featured in Bollywood as well as South Indian films and has a humongous fan following. The ‘2.0’ star had made his debut in 1975 with K Balachander’s ‘Apoorva Ragangal’ and has completed more than 45 years in the Tamil film industry.

Superstar Rajinikanth will be honored with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced. Calling Rajinikanth “one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema”, he said that the actor was being awarded for his contribution in the field of acting, production and screenwriting for Indian cinema.

Posting a picture of the actor, Javadekar wrote: “Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2020 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic I thank Jury @ashabhosle @SubhashGhai1 @Mohanlal @Shankar_Live #BiswajeetChatterjee.”

Rajinikanth has extended ‘deepest gratitude’ for all the love, greetings, and wishes he received after the announcement. The award will be given to the star for his stupendous contribution to the world of Indian cinema. The ‘Robot’ actor took to Twitter and extended his deepest gratitude to all those who took out time to wish him. “For all the love, greetings & wishes I’ve received from eminent political leaders, my film fraternity friends & colleagues, well-wishers, media, every person who took the time to wish me & my beloved fans from across India & all over the world .. my deepest gratitude and thanks,” tweeted Rajinikanth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rajinikanth with a tweet, “Congratulations Talaivar”. Soon Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu too, tweeted.

“Hearty congratulations to Shri @rajinikanth on being conferred the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Over the past many years, the versatile actor has been enthralling people by portraying a vast array of roles depicting myriad hues of human experience and emotions.#Rajinikanth,” said Naidu and added: “My best wishes for the renowned thespian’s future endeavours! #Rajinikanth.”

Calling Rajinikanth “one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema”, the I&B minister said that the actor was being awarded for his contribution in the field of acting, production and screenwriting for Indian cinema. Actor-turned-politician, Kamal Haasan also congratulated Rajinikanth.

Several B-town celebs had also taken to their social media handles to congratulate Rajinikanth. Neena Gupta, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Karan Johar, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Sidharth Malhotra, Boney Kapoor, among others, wished him on Twitter. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 should have been announced last year but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as were the National Film Awards for 2019.

He has delivered hit films such as ‘Billu’, ‘Muthu’, ‘Baashha’, ‘Sivaji’, and ‘Enthiran’. Rajinikanth was last seen in AR Murugadoss’s ‘Darbar’. Currently, he is shooting for his upcoming film ‘Annaatthe.’ Among his numerous hits are films like “Baashha”, “Sivaji” and “Enthiran”. He is known as Thalaivar or leader by his fans.

Widely regarded as one of the most popular cinematic icons in India, Rajinikanth has also been honored with the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016 by the Government of India.

The Dada Saheb Phalke award jury consists of Malayalam super star Mohanlal and Tamil music composer and singer, Shankar Mahadevan, besides veteran singer Asha Bhosle, and moviemaker Subhash Ghai.

Tamil Nadu villages and cities bursted with joy on the announcement of Rajini’s feat. People took to streets and hundreds reached Poes Garden residence. At Salem people celebrated Rajini’s Phalke win by distributing sweets and lighting crackers. Congratulatory messages are pouring in from political leaders, actors, directors and social workers, besides people from all walks of life.

HYPOKRIT PRODUCTIONS Highlights Modern-Day Relationship Assembles Global South Asian Cast

For the first time in theater history, a curated cast of South Asian actors from around the world will take to the virtual stage to perform Dipti Bramhandkar’s “Islands of Contentment,” presented by New York City’s The Tank and co-produced by Hypokrit Productions via Zoom every weekend from April 16th to May 2nd.

Actors from the Indian film and theater industry like Kalki Koechlin (Margarita With a Straw, Waiting), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi, Umrika) and Maanvi Gagroo (“Four More Shots Please”) will share stage time with Indian Diaspora actors like Ajay Naidu (Ashes), Danny Pudi (Community) and Nina Davuluri (#COMPLEXion documentary), who is making her acting debut, to bring 13 monologues about modern-day relationships to life. The global ensemble cast also includes: Vinay Pathak (“A Suitable Boy”), Sumeet Vyas (Ribbon, English Vinglish), Imran Sheikh (“Big Dogs”) Laura Gómez (“Orange is the New Black”), Florencia Lozano (Rinse, Repeat), Dileep Rao (Avatar), Bobby Daniel Rodriguez (“When They See Us”), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Miss You Like Hell), Lipica Shah (India Pale Ale), Sathya Sridharan (Wives), Sumeet Vyas (One by One) and Rita Wolf (The Michaels).

Islands of Contentment, co-directed by Arpita Mukherjee and Hannah Wolf (with select filmed monologues directed by Rahul Chittella), is a moving meditation comprised of thirteen monologues presented in a unique virtual format that includes audience interaction through chat. An elegy to the (dis)harmony of romantic relationships, each piece invites us into the intimate, poignant and hilarious interactions with significant others in the form of modern-day confessionals and offers the virtual audience channels for live interaction and deeper connection. Thirteen characters reflect on moments that feel strangely familiar: the break-up dream, the plight of the nice guy, the ex who unexpectedly shows up, and even a baking fetish. No one writes love songs about this stuff.

This one-of-a-kind, virtual show transports small audiences to the characters through the power of Zoom. Each performance is unique to the audience, the actors and which order the audience chooses. Inside the Zoom are two carefully curated, interactive and completely different journeys that the audience can take. These are intimate, limited ticket experiences in which the audience is asked to keep their video on and interacts with the performers through chat. They do not need to be seen in sequential order. Outside the Zoom, audiences are treated to the streaming-only, non-interactive version of the show.

Start the evening with either SEVEN LAYER CAKE or BROWNIE and end the night with the other course. If audiences want to extend their courses, they are welcome to come back another day to indulge in the other course.

As the audience travels to living rooms, hotel suites, kitchens and beyond, they are guided by a mysterious theater-loving narrator, who asks the audience to contemplate their own experience and contribute their own stories. In an attempt to connect through isolation, these stories just might become part of the play. At a time where isolation and distance are universal, Islands of Contentment is a reminder that even in our own strange splendor, we are never alone.

Islands of Contentment features lighting design by Alexandra Vásquez Dheming, production design by Chen-Wei Liao, costume design by Dina El-Aziz, video design by Director of Photography Kate Ducey and Sound design by Ran Xia. Eeshit Narain serves as Director of Photography for Select Filmed Monologues and Heather Schulte, Emma Frances, Emily Todt and Michelle Navis as stage managers.

 *The performance schedule for Islands of Contentment is as follows: Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm; and Sundays at 5pm, 6pm and 7pm.Tickets are available starting at $20 at thetanknyc.org/islandsofcontentment

Shah Rukh Khan Gets Nostalgic After US Navy Members Sing ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’

Feeling nostalgic about the iconic song of his film, Shahrukh Khan shares his reaction to the viral tweet of US Navy members singing ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’ at a dinner meeting between US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Michael M Gilday and India’s Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

Taking it to Twitter, SRK wrote, “Thank u for sharing this sir. How lovely. Git all nostalgic about the time spent making this beautiful film and belief sung in the song. Thanx @AshGowariker @RonnieScrewvala @arrahman & everyone who made it possible.”

The video got viral on social media when Taranjit Singh Sandhu, shared a video to Twitter on Saturday, which sees the US Navy officers singing ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’ from the film ‘Swades’.

He wrote: “This is a friendship bond that cannot be broken ever.’ The song was originally composed and sung by AR Rehman for the 2004 film Swades.

The clip shows a team of singers and musical instrument players from the US Navy band dressed in their uniforms as they present the song.

The 1.5-minute video has garnered over 341k views on the microblogging site.
The song from the 2004 movie Swades revolves around Mohan (played by Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian expatriate employed with NASA, who travels to his country to track down his beloved nanny, Kaveri. During his stay, he finds himself advocating for reform in a village.

(Courtesy: ANI)

The Illegal: Small Film, Big Impact

The Illegal (film on Amazon Prime); Cast: Suraj Sharma, Shweta Tripathi, Adil Hussain, Neelima Azim, Iqbal Theba, Hannah Masi, Jay Ali; Direction: Danish Renzu; Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)

You’d think you have seen this before. A young boy from middle-class India lands in the United States chasing a dream, and his struggle for sustenance becomes portrait of the grind that almost every immigrant must endure.

If Danish Renzu’s film is outstanding despite the note of familiarity, it is because of the sheer authenticity with which the writer-director tells his tale. The film is unflinching in tone, yet sensitive enough while dissecting the reality it presents. Renzu uses his crisp runtime of 86 minutes well, to set up nuanced storytelling.

Unlike most films pertaining to the subject, “The Illegal” is not about immigrants who enter the US unlawfully. It is about people who come in with legitimate papers, yet are forced by circumstances to survive as if their presence is illegal.

“Life Of Pi” actor Suraj Sharma plays Hassan Ahmed, who is one such character. Hassan’s passion for filmmaking is destined to take him from Purani Dilli to Los Angeles. He gets admission at film school in the US, so his father (Adil Hussain) takes a loan to fund his dream.

Renzu sets an endearing picture of the family in the opening minutes, as Hassan records a few parting words from his father, mother (Neelima Azim) and sister Mahi (Shweta Tripathi). He needs such a clip, he tells them, as a pep pill for the days when he might be “ready to give up”. It is a fine sequence, deftly executed, rendering a personal touch to the way the protagonist is imagined. The screenplay sustains that whiff of intimacy as it follows Hassan to America.

Before entering films, Renzu spent time in the US studying electrical engineering at UCLA, and he also holds a UCLA Writers’ Program certification in screenwriting. Thematically, he would have drawn from real instances that he may have encountered during that stint as a student. It would have let him create Hassan with greater assuredness.

Hassan’s existence in the US becomes a picture of irony. On the one hand, he is doing well in film school. Yet, there is trouble back home financially, owing to a down turn in his father’s health. His plans to stay at his maternal uncle’s home in the US come to nought, and Hassan must take up the job of a waiter.

Renzu uses Hassan’s dual life well, to portray two sides of an immigrant’s existence in the US. On one hand, he is impressively learning his ropes in the world of American cinema, which has lately conversed with great relish about inclusivity. Yet, moonlighting at an Indian restaurant as a waiter throws up a dreary, diametrically opposite picture of exploitation. The essence of the film lies in that dichotomy.

It is Suraj Sharma’s film all through, and the actor does impressively to bring alive Hassan, although you would spot a few winning performances among the prop cast, too. Iqbal Theba leaves an impact as the restaurant supervisor fondly called Babaji by his colleagues. Adil Hussain, Shweta Tripathi and Neelima Azim actually get minimal footage, but leave a mark. “The Illegal” is well-scripted, executed and acted out. It is a small film that scores big. (IANS)

Telugu Movie ‘Jathi Ratnalu’ Scores Big In US Market

Jathi Ratnalu, which hit the screens earlier this month, has been striking gold at the box office. Starring Naveen Polishetty, Priyadarshi, Rahul Ramakrishna, and Faria Abdullah among others, the film has been termed as a laugh riot, succeeding in impressing audiences across boundaries. Directed by debutant Anudeep KV, the Telugu flick is continuing its dream run in theatres. And while there has been quite some curiosity surrounding the OTT release date of Jathi Ratnalu, it appears the film might not make its way to the small screens until a few more weeks.

As per reports, the digital streaming rights of Jathi Ratnalu have been bagged by the leading OTT platform Amazon Prime Video. Regarding the release date, there are speculations that Jathi Ratnalu might stream on the OTT platform from 10 April. However, there has been no official word on the same yet. While the release date hasn’t been confirmed as of now, the likelihood of the film making it to the digital platform in April seems high.

 The Telugu film “Jathi Ratnalu” is one of the first Indian films to score big at the US box office after the lull due to the pandemic. The film stars Naveen Polishetty, Priyadarshi and Rahul Ramakrishna, and is directed by Anudeep KV.

Within a month of release, “Jathi Ratnalu” has collected almost $1 million (Rs 7,25,62,250) in the United States. The film was made on a budget of around Rs 5 to 6 crore. The film has also done business worth Rs 100 crore (nett) in the Indian market so far.

“We take pride in making movies that entertain the masses and have the potential to shake off the inertia. Jathi Rathnalu has emerged as a reason to laugh and as producers, that’s what we aimed for. A big thanks to the writers for cultivating humour that sat so well with the audience and the critics. We have the world to thank for the success that the film is currently witnessing overseas,” says a spokesperson of the film’s production house, Swapna Cinema.

Reviewed as a laugh riot, the film was appreciated by stars such as Allu Arjun and Mahesh Babu. The film also features Faria Abdullah while Murali Sharma, Brahmanandam and Naresh play supporting roles.

Jathi Ratnalu fetched a positive response from the audience right from the word go. The prospects further drew strength with the likes of Mahesh Babu and Allu Arjun applauding the film and its cast and crew. Recently, it was reported that the film even touched the $1 million mark at the US box office. And given that the film has been on a roll, the makers even announced that its OTT release might be delayed with the theatrical run being extended.

National film Awards

The 67th National Film Awards have finally been announced. Delayed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards were announced during a press conference in Delhi on Monday

Tamil actor Dhanush along with Bollywood actors Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee on Monday won top acting honors at the 67th National Film Awards, which walked the tightrope between mainstream and indie cinema. Director Priyadarshan’s Malayalam film “Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham” was declared best film and Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan named best director for the Hindi film “Bahattar Hoorain” by the jury headed by filmmaker N Chandra, who said they judged the movies “not as gods but as parents”.

Overall, Hindi films won big in the feature film category. The Best Female Actor award went to Kangana Ranaut for her performance in Manikarnika and Panga, while the Best Feature Film (Hindi) went to Sushant Singh Rajput’s Chhichhore.

The most watched glamorous event ceremony will bestow honours on films and artistes for the year 2019. The awards were initially going to be held in May last year but were delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The awards are given out by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation that comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

This is the fourth National Award for Ranaut, who is known for her combative comments and hit the headlines when she locked horns with the Maharashtra government after her office was demolished by the BMC. She won the best actress award this time for her performance in the Hindi films “Panga” and “Manikarnika”. The other three National Award wins were best actress for “Tanu Weds Manu Returns” and “Queen” and the best-supporting actress trophy for “Fashion”.

The National Awards, given by the Directorate of Film Festivals which comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, were delayed by a year due to the pandemic.

The awards are presented by the President of India traditionally. However, for the 66th National Film Awards, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu did the honors, while President Ram Nath Kovind hosted the high tea for the winners.

Here is a look at the National Film Awards 2020 winners:

Best Feature Film: Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham

Best Hindi Film: Chhichhore

Best Actor (Male): Manoj Bajpayee (Bhosle) and Dhanush (Asuran)

Best Actor (Female): Kangana Ranaut (Manikarnika and Panga)

Best Supporting Actor (Male): Vijay Sethupathi

Best Supporting Actor (Female): Pallavi Joshi

Best Editing film: Jersey (Telugu)

Best Audiography: Resul Pookutty

Best Screenplay Adapted: Gumnami

Best Female Playback singer: Savani Ravindra for Bardo (Marathi)

Best Male Playback Singer: B Praak

Best Action Direction: Avane Srimannarayana (Kannada)

Best Choreography: Maharishi (Telugu)

Best Special Effects: Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

Special Jury Award: Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil)

Best Lyrics: Prabha Varma for Kolaambi (Malayalam)

Best Music Direction: D. Imman for Viswasam (Tamil)

Best Background Music: Prabuddha Banerjee for Jyeshthoputro (Bengali)

Best Make-up Artist: Ranjith for Helen (Malayalam)

Best Costumes: Sujith and Sai for Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea (Malayalam)

Best Production Design: Anandi Gopal (Marathi)

Best Audiography (Re-recordist of final mixed track): Oththa Seruppu Size 7 (Tamil)

Best Screenplay (Original): Jyeshthoputro (Bengali)

Best Screenplay (Adapted): Gumnaami (Bengali)

Best Screenplay (Dialogues): The Tashkent Files (Hindi)

Best Cinematography: Jallikattu (Malayalam)

Best Child Artist: Naga Vishal for KD (Tamil)

Best Direction: Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan for Bahattar Hoorain (Hindi)

Best Children’s Film: Kastoori (Hindi)

Best Film on Environment: Water Burial (Monpa)

Best Film on Social Issues: Anandi Gopal (Marathi)

Best Film on National Integration: Tajmahal (Marathi)

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Maharishi (Telugu)

Best Debut Film of a Director: Mathukutty Xavier for Helen (Malayalam)

Non-feature films

Best Film Critic: Sohini Chattopadhyaya

Best Book on Cinema: A Gandhian Affair: India’s Curious Portrayal of Love in Cinema.

Best Non-Feature Editing: Arjun Saraya

Audiography (musical): Radha

On Location Sound Recordist: Rahas

Best Cinematography: Savita Singh for Sonsi

Best Direction: Knock Knock Knock

Best Film on Family Values: Oruu Pathira

Best Short Fiction: Custody

Special Jury Award: Small Scale Values

Best Animation: Radha

Best Investigative: Jakkal

Best Exploration film: Wild Karnataka

Best Education film: Apples and Oranges

Best Film on Social Issues: Holy Rites (Hindi) and Ladli (Hindi)

Best Environment Film: The Stork Saviours

Best Promotional film: The Shower

Best Biographical Film: Elephants do Remember

Best Ethnographic Film: Charan-Atva

Best Debut Non-Feature film Director: Khisa

Best Non-Feature Film: An Engineered Dream

A Universe of Irresistible Indian Stories To Arrive On Netflix

Growing up in India you see and feel entertainment all around you. Our country is filled with beautiful, diverse stories to tell, talented storytellers and crew who bring them to life, and incredible actors who captivate us on screen.

At Netflix, we love to tell stories that bring us together. Films and series told authentically by Indian creators you love as well as voices that are new. But how do we identify that one story that everyone will love? We don’t. Each and everyone of us have our own tastes and moods and all of us want to see our lives reflected on screen.

Our upcoming lineup features more variety and diversity than we have seen before. From the biggest films and series, to gripping documentaries and reality, and bold comedy formats. We are taking our next big leap in India to bring you more than 40 powerful and irresistible stories from all corners of the country.

Coming soon is the bold and sassy series Bombay Begums, the relationship drama Ajeeb Daastaans, the quirky Pagglait, love and longing in Meenakshi Sundareshwar and the consequences of desire in Penthouse. There’s also Jagame Thandhiram starring Dhanush, Taapsee Pannu in Haseen Dillruba, Kartik Aaryan in Dhamaka, the moving family drama with Arjun Kapoor and Neena Gupta Sardar Ka Grandson, a generous dose of modern romance with the series Feels Like Ishq and R. Madhavan’s comedy series Decoupled.

Experience fear and tension with Raveena Tandon’s mystery thriller Aranyak, a wildly twisted love story Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein; meet Jeetu bhaiya once again in Kota Factory, laugh out loud with the king of comedy Kapil Sharma, and uncover the mysterious disappearance of the queen of hearts Madhuri Dixit Nene in the series Finding Anamika.

This is just a taste of the films and series to come. We are so excited to share these rich and diverse stories from the best and brightest creators and talent from India to the world.

Taapsee – Tahir starrer “Looop Lapeta” announces release date

The Taapsee Pannu and Tahir Raj Bhasin-led “Looop Lapeta”, which has already evoked quite a buzz for its cool, millennial look released recently by the makers, is set to release in cinemas on October 22, 2021. The makers were among the first to take the plunge to resume production in October last year. The film was shot in Mumbai and Goa from November and wrapped on schedule. It is currently in post-production.

“Looop Lapeta” is being touted as a new-age, intriguing roller-coaster ride centered around a girl (Savi) who finds herself in a sticky situation when her boyfriend (Savi) gets unknowingly trapped in a crisis.

Helmed by noted ad filmmaker Aakash Bhatia, “Looop Lapeta” is produced by Sony Pictures Films India, Ellipsis Entertainment (Tanuj Garg, Atul Kasbekar) and Aayush Maheshwari. It comes from the makers of “Neerja”, “102 Not Out”, “Padman”, “Tumhari Sulu” and “Shakuntala Devi”.

“MAJOR” Will Release July 2nd – Only In Theaters

On March 15th, the 44th birth anniversary of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the team of the film MAJOR released an exclusive and first video glimpse of the film, remembering the great soldier and paying their tribute to him. The film’s teaser will release on March 28th.  Sony Pictures Films India has also launched a website for people to send in their tributes and messages for Late Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan: https://majorthemovie.sonypicturesindia.com/.

The messages sent by people and fans of Major Sandeep will be then collated into a collage and gifted to Major’s parents. Team MAJOR remembers the martyr for his valor & sacrifice of Major Unikrishnan, who was awarded with the Ashoka Chakra , India’s Highest Peacetime Gallantry Award Major is an upcoming Indian biographical film, directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka and produced by Sony Pictures Films India, in association with Mahesh Babu’s GMB Entertainment and A+S Movies. Shot simultaneously in Telugu and Hindi, it is based on the life of 2008 Mumbai attacks martyr, Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

The film is a dedication to the way he lived, and not how he died. Adivi Sesh (in his Hindi film debut) portrays Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the title character. The film also stars Saiee Manjrekar, Sobhita Dhulipala, Revathi and Prakash Raj. MAJOR is scheduled to be released theatrically on 2nd July, 2021. Produced by Sony Pictures Films India in association with Mahesh Babu’s GMB Entertainment and A+S Movies, MAJOR, a bilingual film shot in Hindi and Telugu, is slated to release in North American theaters on July 2nd, 2021.

BRAHMASTRA Releasing Only in Theaters

Actress Alia Bhatt has shared with her 76 million social media followers the newest exclusive photos from the set of Bollywood’s biggest epic production of 2021 – BRAHMASTRA. Releasing only in cinemas later this year, this motion picture event film also stars Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan and is directed by Ayan Mukerji.

Uday Shankar (Chairman, Star and Disney India) said that Brahmastra is the ‘biggest-ever movie made in this country’. He also dropped a hint about the staggering budget of the film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan.

Ayan Mukerji’s supernatural drama Brahmastra, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt in the lead, has a budget ‘way over’ Rs 300 crore and is the biggest film that has ever been made in India. Uday Shankar (Chairman, Star and Disney India) revealed the details at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020. The film is expected to release next year.

“It is the biggest-ever movie made in this country,” he told Anuradha Sengupta of CNBC-TV18. When she brought up its rumoured budget of Rs 300 crore, he refused to give away the exact number. However, he said, “Just to tell you, it is way more than that.”

Brahmastra, which has been in production since 2018, marks the first collaboration of real-life couple Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. The film, the first of a proposed fantasy trilogy, also stars Amitabh Bachchan, Nagarjuna Akkineni and Dimple Kapadia.

Since it went on floors, Brahmastra has seen quite a few delays. In an earlier statement, Ayan had said that the film will offer the audience ‘something that’s really new and amazing and next level’. He explained the delay in release saying that they ‘need more time in order to get the VFX right, to get the sound and music right, to get the film right’.

Brahmastra was scheduled to release in theatres on December 4, 2020. However, it has been further pushed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Work on the film is on in full swing; Ranbir and Alia have been spotted at dubbing studios throughout this month. According to reports, the makers will zero in on a release date once the situation returns to normalcy.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s Memoir Is On New York Times Bestsellers List

Actor, producer, activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra Jonas has always been an overachiever and she added another feather to her cap, that of author, when she recently released her memoir titled Unfinished.

Unfinished, a memoir by multi-award-winning actor and producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas is the newest to join the New York Times (NYT) bestseller list in the hardcover nonfiction category. Jonas is one of the many South Asian (Indian and Indian-American) authors on the bestseller lists.

The Dil Dhadakne Do actor took to her Instagram to share a video clip that featured the cover of her memoir along with some pictures marking major milestones and pivotal moments from the We Can Be Heroes actor’s life. The White Tiger actor captioned the video with words of gratitude for her fans, writing, “Soooo this happened…in less than a week… The New York Times Best Sellers list!! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported #Unfinished. Endlessly grateful.”

The memoir talks about the Bajirao Mastani actor’s life and career till date, featuring fun anecdotes and painful incidents that shaped the actor into who she is today through the book that has been described as a series of ‘personal essays, stories, and observations’. The “thoughtful and revealing” memoir takes readers on a journey through Priyanka’s childhood in India, the teenage years she spent in the United States living with her extended family in the Midwest, Queens and also the suburbs of Boston, where she faced racism.

The book then moves on to her India return, from where her journey surprisingly won her the titles of Miss India and Miss World, leading up to her Bollywood launch. Priyanka had spoken about her upbringing in a statement, “I am a product of traditional India and its ancient wisdom, and modern India and its urban bustle. My upbringing was always an amalgamation of the two Indians, and, just as much, of East and West.”

Unfinished, which was released on Feb. 9, offers insights into Jonas’s childhood in India; her formative teenage years in the United States; and her return to India, where she won the national and international beauty competitions that launched her global acting career.

Whether reflecting on her nomadic early years or the challenges she has faced as she has doggedly pursued her calling, Priyanka shares her challenges and triumphs with warmth and honesty, reads the book bio.

From her dual-continent twenty-year-long career as an actor and producer to her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, from losing her beloved father to cancer to marrying Nick Jonas, the memoir contains it all.

Indian-American US Vice President Kamala Harris’s memoir, The Truths We Told has been on the NYT bestseller list in the paperback nonfiction category for 19 weeks now. Ambitious Girl by Meena Harris, lawyer and Kamala Harris’s niece, which is about the celebration of female ambition, has been on the NYT bestseller in the children’s picture books category for four weeks now.

Drishyam 2: Mohanlal Film Is A Solid, Satisfying Sequel

By any yardstick, the 2013 blockbuster Drishyam is a hard act to follow. Writer-director Jeethu Joseph’s crime thriller starring Mohanlal, Meena, Asha Sharath and Siddique was so well-rounded in the writing and execution of its murder-and-subsequent-cover-up mystery and such a box-office superhit that it was remade in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada, headlined by some of the biggest male stars of those industries, in addition to foreign revisitations in Sinhalese and Mandarin.

At the time, Jeethu was questioned about his script drawing on Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X, but he denied the charge and said he was inspired instead by a real-life incident. Be that as it may, Drishyam 2: The Resumption is all the redemption he needs.

In the sequel, which opens six years later, we reunite with Georgekutty, now the prosperous owner of a cinema theatre, his wife Rani (Meena), and daughters Anju (Ansiba Hassan) and Anu (Esther Anil). There are visible changes in their lifestyle. Georgekutty drives a fancy car, the younger daughter goes to an expensive school, and they all look a little sleeker. But the residue of that death lingers over them, like miasma, lifting and settling, but never going away entirely. Can you kill someone and get away with it? Does your moral centre shift? How do you live with yourself if you have blood on your hands?

Those unsettling unanswered questions imbue this follow-up, and make it more than just a police procedural. As viewers, we know right from the outset where the body is, because we were made witnesses in the original film. And we see that the family hasn’t really been able to put that incident behind them. The person most impacted is the elder daughter Anju, who suffers from epileptic fits, and who starts shaking whenever she catches sight of cops. Rani spends all her time watching over Anju like a hawk, when she’s not holding up the spirits of her new neighbour, who has an abusive husband.


Things start speeding up when the case is re-opened, and a bunch of characters, both familiar from the first film and freshly added to the plot, stir up trouble. The parents of the dead boy, especially the enraged mother (Asha Sarath), a former cop herself, are demanding closure-cum-retribution. An eyewitness from six years back, conveniently having gone missing all these years, pops up. Is this the end for Georgekutty, who has been busy trying to produce a film and giving ideas to a well-known scriptwriter?


Mohanlal is spot-on as the man who is in a spot. Georgekutty’s past as a movie lover (he used to run a cable TV service and spent all his spare time watching thrillers) has led him to be where he is. We get some amusing throwaway remarks about him waiting to release ‘Mammootty films’ in his theatre. And the idea that real life can imitate reel life is still a pivot this time around. Mohanlal holds the film together, never letting his easy, relaxed mien sag into a frown, never letting down his watchful guard, even when his co-actors sink occasionally into loudness and obviousness. Yes, the noose is getting tighter, but


Georgekutty is always going to be one step ahead of the law. It’s not easy to craft murder-mystery sequels. ‘Drishyam 2’ jumps over the familiarity hurdle by broadening its ambit on crime and punishment. If the victim was not a ‘good’ person, does the killing carry as much weight? Equally, can terminating a life, even if accidental, ever be justified? ‘Drishyam 2’ is a solid, satisfying sequel.

Bhumi Pednekar Joins Efforts By UNESCO To Educate Girls On Menstrual Hygiene

With an aim to raise awareness and educate girls on menstrual hygiene management, UNESCO has joined the #KeepGirlsInSchool mission, being supported by Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar.


The movement, launched by feminine care brand Whisper, begins with shedding light on the impact of 2.3 crore girls dropping out of school due to lack of period education and protection.


According to studies, even today, 71 per cent of adolescent girls in India remain unaware of menstruation till they get their first period. This affects their confidence and self-esteem adversely, leading to 2.3 crore adolescent girls dropping out of school every year, at the onset of the puberty. In addition to this, the ongoing pandemic has led to the closure of schools and lack of structured learning process, making these girls even more vulnerable to dropping out.


According to the UNESCO, the global pandemic has impacted 74 crore schoolgirls, and could severely affect their return to school.

To bring to light the struggles of young girls as they reach puberty, Whisper and


UNESCO released a film that illustrates the journey of the playful innocence of a schoolgirl with boundless dreams coming to a grinding halt due to the lack of period education and protection. The film underscores the importance of empowering young girls to achieve their full potential and not let periods get in the way of 2.3 crore dreams.


Continuing to share her support for the cause, Bhumi Pednekar said: “For the past one year I have been working closely with Whisper to drive awareness on the importance of menstrual hygiene education and protection. This gave me an understanding of the on-ground reality of crores of girls who drop out of school and unfortunately give up on their dreams of becoming a pilot, doctor, teacher, designer, etc. Every girl in India should be able to complete her education like I did and not have to drop out just because of periods. I strongly believe that empowering young girls with menstrual education and protection will give them wings to transform into leaders of tomorrow. It is great to see that Whisper and UNESCO are enabling this change at a ground level, which will not only accelerate the cause but also encourage wider participation. I urge everyone to come forward and be part of the #KeepGirlsInSchool movement.”


Emphasizing UNESCO’s commitment to right to Education, Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, said: “During puberty and the start of menstruation, a girl’s confidence and self-esteem can be affected in many different ways, sometimes even leading to her dropping out of school. UNESCO and Whisper are on a mission to change that. The #KeepGirlsInSchool initiative builds on our strong commitment to ensuring everyone’s fundamental right to education. Investing in girls’ education is an investment for society as a whole.”


Sharing her thoughts on the movement, Chetna Soni, Senior Director and Category Head, P&G Indian Subcontinent, Feminine Care, said: “Whisper believes in empowering girls and women to unleash their confidence and ensure that nothing comes in the way of achieving their dreams. With this mission, we continue to challenge the barriers surrounding menstrual hygiene through education and multi-stakeholder engagement to advocate for change.


To widen the impact, we are delighted to be joining hands with UNESCO to further our force for female good movement #KeepGirlsInSchool. We strongly believe that we all have a role to play in breaking menstrual stigma and normalizing periods so nothing can come in the way of girls fulfilling their dreams and achieving their full potential.” (IANS)

Bollywood’s Ever Green Rajiv Kapoor Passes Away

The evergreen Bollywood star, Rajiv Kapoor passed away on Feb. 9 after a massive heart attack. He was 58. For the first time in 31 years (his last released films were “Zimmedaaar” and “Aag Ka Dariya” in 1990), he was gearing up for a new film. He was set to return in “Toolsidas Junior,” starring Sanjay Dutt.

The Ashutosh Gowariker-produced film has been slated for release this year. Gowariker said he has wrapped shoot for the production. “Rajiv was so affable and played his part with much fun and ease. Will miss him deeply,” he tweeted as condolence. The filmmaker added that he had been “a fan from his “Ram Teri Ganga Maili days,” Kapoor’s most well-known film. Think Rajiv Kapoor and you are thinking “Ram Teri Ganga Maili.” The legendary Raj Kapoor cast his youngest son opposite Mandakini in the 1985 film, which went on to be a blockbuster.

In a career that actively spanned less than a decade, Rajiv Kapoor had a handful of releases following “Ram Teri Ganga Maili.” Notable among these were “Zalzala” (1988), “Hum To Chale Pardes” (1988), “Shukriyaa” (1988), “Lava” (1985), “Zabardast” (1985), and his debut film “Ek Jaan Hain Hum” (1983). Almost all of these were no-shows.

Many feel Rajiv couldn’t really emerge from the shadow of his illustrious lineage — from grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor and father Raj Kapoor to elder brothers Randhir and Rishi Kapoor. There were his iconic uncles Shashi and Shammi Kapoor too, besides maternal uncles Rajendra Nath and Prem Nath.

“Ram Teri Ganga Maili” would emerge one of the biggest hits of the eighties, as well as Raj Kapoor’s career as a filmmaker.

It will also, over the decades, draw automatic recall primarily due to the shot of Mandakini under a waterfall in a white sari. Rajiv, it would seem, stands burdened under the sizzling glamor of his co-star despite putting up a fine act in the film.

Perhaps it was the unassuming trait that Rajiv exuded on the screen and off it that let others steal his thunder. In the eighties, when ‘loud’ was the operative word on the Bollywood screen, Rajiv would seem too much of a misfit, a gentleman on screen. He was mostly the loverboy, gentle and kind. Even in action multi-starrers as “Zalzala” (1988), a Bollywoodised Wild West potboiler, he was the affable soul despite character cliches.

People have noted the ‘Shammi Syndrome’ about Rajiv in his heydays, particularly in the way he danced, smiled, turned towards the camera. Being a younger version of Shammi Kapoor was a legacy that set him apart, in an era when Mithun Chakraborty reigned the dance floor with his break dance, Jeetendra was still going strong with his white shoes and Jumping Jack groove, and Govinda was slowly rising in popularity with his maverick moves.

However, the Shammi Syndrome, which catapulted Shammi Kapoor himself to the zenith of popularity till the sixties, might have become too retro for the eighties crowd that was by and large blinded by larger-than-life, over-the-top masala.

Many would draw quick parallels between Rajiv Kapoor and Kumar Gaurav, sons of Illustrious fathers who flaunted dashing looks and started out on a high note only to reach stagnation point soon enough. Rajiv Kapoor would share a significant likeness with Kumar Gaurav beyond the obvious traits. Both these industry kids, at some level, somehow seemed subconsciously not too attached with the very idea of fame. They came across as some sort of forsakers of the world of glamor. Maybe growing up amidst a plenitude of glamour does that to you.

Jallikattu Earns Satellite Awards Nomination

The International Press Academy has announced the nominees in various categories for the 25th Satellite Awards. And director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu is among the nine shortlisted movies in the Motion Picture, International category. The Malayalam action-thriller has been nominated along with Danish film Another Round, Finnish film Tove, Taiwanese drama A Sun, French film Two of Us, Spanish musical drama I’m No Longer Here, Ukrainian dystopian film Atlantis, Swiss drama My Little Sister and Guatemalan supernatural horror La Llorona.

The nomination assumes significance as Jallikattu is also contesting for an Oscar nod. Talking about the Academy Awards, Jallikattu has made it to the list of 93 films eligible for consideration in the International Feature Film category. The final list of nominees (comprising 15 films) for the category will be revealed on February 9.

Jallikattu has been a favourite of the festival circuit since its debut at Toronto International Film Festival. The medium-budget spectacle thriller is about a buffalo, which goes on a rampage in a hilly village. And it sets off an emotionally-charged chase.

The film is based on a short story titled Maoist by S Hareesh, who also wrote the screenplay for the big-screen adaptation along with R Jayakumar.

Deepika Padukone Signs with Hollywood Talent Agency ICM

Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone is seriously considering more Hollywood projects or so it seems as the actress has now signed up with ICM Partners. Padukone has signed with Hollywood talent agency ICM, reports Deadline. The “Padmavaat” star has signed with ICM for representation in all areas. Padukone is additionally represented in India by KWAN and in the U.S. by Danielle Robinson at Alan Siegel Entertainment, it said.

ICM currently represents celebrities such as John Cena, The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before actor Lana Condor among others. The Padmaavat actor made her Hollywood debut opposite Vin Diesel in 2017 DJ Caruso directorial XXX: Return of Xander Cage.

Deepika will be seen as Kapil Dev’s wife Romi Bhatia in Kabir Khan’s sports film 83. The film, based on India’s historic win at the 1983 Cricket World Cup, features Ranveer Singh in the lead along with an ensemble cast of Pankaj Tripathi, Ammy Virk, Saqib Saleem and Hardy Sandhu. The actor will also co-star with Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan for War director Siddharth Anand’s upcoming films Pathan and Fighter, respectively. Also in the pipeline is Shakun Batra’s untitled film featuring Ananya Panday and Siddhant Chaturvedi.

According to the agency’s website, they “represent Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actors, including some of the biggest and most respected stars in Hollywood. Our clients include some of the greatest character actors of their generation and the freshest faces to burst upon the scene in motion pictures, television and on stage.”

The agency reportedly represents stars such as Jerry Seinfeld, John Cena, Eugene Levy, Regina King, John Travolta, Olivia Colman and Shonda Rhimes. “I don’t look or evaluate films as Indian or international, but as a medium where I can express myself. If that opportunity is out of India, great. If that is out of the United States or another part of the world, I am happy to explore that too,” Padukone previously told The Hindustan Times. “For me, it’s always been content. I did ‘Xander Cage’ because it was an extremely powerful, strong character to play. Eventually, it’s about the character and role, and of course, the film. It’s not like I’m actively seeking something in Hollywood. Whether India or any other part in the world, great content is what I seek.”

Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone has a busy 2021 as she recently confirmed a slate of Bollywood projects that we will be seeing her in including ‘Pathan’ with Shah Rukh Khan, Shakun Batra’s untitled film, ‘The Intern’ remake, Nag Ashwin’s multilingual movie with Prabhas and playing Draupadi in an upcoming movie on Mahabharata. It was also announced that Deepika Padukone will be collaborating with Hrithik Roshan for the first time in Siddharth Anand’s ‘Fighter’. Fighter is slated to release on September 30, 2022.

(Picture: Masala)

Legend of Hanuman On Hotstar

THE LEGEND OF HANUMAN has just premiered globally as the first original animated series by Hotstar, India’s largest premium streaming platform. Now streaming in North America, the unseen story of His journey from mighty warrior to beloved God is also the first 3D animation series done at this quality to redefine Indian animation as a medium of great storytelling for audiences far beyond just kids. This 13-episode series is available to watch today in 7 languages (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Malayalam and Kannada) with English subtitles and streams exclusively on Hotstar.

Produced by Graphic India and created by Sharad Devarajan, Jeevan J. Kang and Charuvi P. Singhal, the mythological animation series has been designed using superior quality visuals mounted on a global scale, previously never seen before in India. The series has been directed by Jeevan J. Kang and Navin John, with lead writers Sharad Devarajan, Sarwat Chaddha, Ashwin Pande and Arshad Syed and chronicles the perpetual war between the forces of good and evil; and how the immortal Hanuman became the ever-burning beacon of hope amidst the harrowing darkness. THE LEGEND OF HANUMAN brings forth the power of great storytelling combining mythology with the use of easy-to-understand words and phrases, that make it an ideal watch for adults, children and families alike.

Sharad Devarajan, Co-founder at Graphic India said, “For the first time, the grandeur of the epic world of Hanuman and the mythical beings of Gods, demons, forest creatures, spirits and anthropomorphic clans, will be visualized through high quality animation, creating an animated event that we hope will transcend ages and speak to all generations who have held this hero in our hearts. We are honored and humbled to work with the amazing team at Disney+ Hotstar to make this dream project a reality.”

Watch the action-packed new trailer for THE LEGEND OF HANUMAN here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af49v6rUXmQ

Watch Episode 1 for free on Hotstar using this link: https://www.hotstar.com/us/tv/the-legend-of-hanuman/1260052109/the-legend-begins/1260052204

Dev Patel Nominated For 2021 Golden Globe Award

British Indian actor Dev Patel has been named among the nominees for the Golden Globe Awards, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Feb 3rd.  The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations were, for the first time in the history of the Golden Globes, announced virtually. Six-time Golden Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker and Golden Globe winner Taraji P. Henson disclosed the nominees.

Patel, who won a Golden Globe nomination in 2017 for “Lion,” this year has been nominated for the ‘Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy’ award for his role in “The Personal History of David Copperfield.” His competitors include Sacha Baron Cohen for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”; James Corden for “The Prom”; “Lin-Manuel Miranda for “Hamilton”; and Andy Samberg for “Palm Springs.”

“The Personal History of David Copperfield” re-imagines Charles Dickens’ classic ode to grit and perseverance through the comedic lens of its award-winning filmmakers — giving the Dickensian tale a new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world.

Dev Patel was born in Harrow, London, to Anita, a caregiver, and Raj Patel, who works in IT. His parents, originally from Nairobi, Kenya, are both of Gujarati Indian descent. His first role was in the UK TV series Skins (2007). His breakout role was in the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008). In May 2012, he played Sonny Kapoor in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). In March 2015, he had a leading role in two major motion pictures released in the theaters at the same time: Chappie (2015) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015).

The 78th Golden Globes will take place Feb. 28 from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. PT/8 p.m.-11 p.m. ET on NBC. The event will be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Fey will be live from New York’s Rainbow Room and Poehler will be live from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Vidya Balan’s Natkhat Goes to Oscars

The long haul for Oscars might just conclude for India as RSVP’s Natkhat featuring Bollywood star Vidya Balan is running the race. The short film ‘Natkhat’ starring Vidya Balan is one of the Indian films that are in the race for Oscar 2021 in the Best Short Film category.

Natkhat revolves around the life of a mother who tries to teach her son about patriarchy and misogyny prevalent around them. This short film is directed by Shaan Vyas which was premiered at Tribeca’s We Are One: A Global Film Festival. This film is going to be one of the many films that will be in the race for the Oscars. The makers of this short film too are excited to represent India. They took to Twitter to announce that they made it and Natkhat will reach every corner of the earth and tell the world that change begins at home.

The Indian short film on gender equality ‘Natkhat’ has brought India to the Oscar party after being highly acclaimed by international audiences. A short clip of the movie scene is making rounds on social media in which Vidya Balan is seen massaging her child’s head and having a conversation with him, what seems to start as an innocent conversation soon becomes a gut-wrenching and worrying one.

Vidya was born in Palghat, Kerala, India. Her family consists of her dad, P.R. Balan, who is the Vice-President of ETC Channel; mom – a home-maker, and an elder sister, Priya, who is married to Kedar. She also has an aunt by the name of Raji Raju.

She studied in St. Anthony’s Convent School, and thereafter in St. Xavier’s College from where she obtained a degree in Sociology. She then went on to obtain a Masters degree in Sociology from Bombay University. She also studied and performed in Prithvi Theaters’ workshops. Due to tradition of most Tamil-Iyer families, Vidya and her Priya learned Carnatic dance form during their early childhood days, but Vidya opted out as the dance classes took place early on Sunday mornings and as she is not an early riser.

Facing disappointment after being rejected by a Tamil producer, she nevertheless persisted until she got her first break with a Malyalam movie ‘Chakram’ opposite Mohanlal, however, the project was shelved, and she had to wait until 1998 to debut in a Surf Excel commercial. During 2003 she was signed-up to play a role in a Bengali movie ‘Bhaalo Theko’ opposite Joy Sengupta. This project was completed during the year 2006, and was a considerable hit.

In 2006 Vidya was approached by Vidhu Vinod Chopra during a pop-concert in Mumbai to play a lead role in ‘Parineeta’. She then had to undergo 17 make-up shoots and 40 screen tests before being chosen for this role. All this hard work did result in success as ‘Parineeta’ was very well received so much so that the Tamil producer, who had previously rejected her, invited her to appear in a ‘Dasavatharam’ opposite Kamal Hassan, and now it was Vidya’s turn to reject this offer which eventually went to ‘Asin’.

Apart from acting, Vidya occupies herself for supporting education for young Indians by promoting children’s’ books; is associated with Americans for Aids Research; with Hale House – that provides support and housing for children born with HIV and drug abuse; as well as hosting forums and attending events for Harvard Aids Institute.

When she was single, she was never involved in any scandal and claimed to get along well with both female and male friends. In 2012, she married producer Siddharth Roy Kapur. An ardent devotee of Bhagwan Shri Sai Baba, she makes it a point to attend Mandirs every Thursday. She is proficient in Tamil, Malyalam, Hindi, English, Bengali, and can also read Urdu.

Eyeing on a big feat with an Oscar, the short-movie takes on the delicate subject of gender-equality as shown in the scene running around a gruesome thought. Helmed by Shaan Vyas and written by Annukampa Harsh and Vyas, the movie was premiered on YouTube as part of the ‘We Are One: A Global Film Festival’. The Ronnie Screwvala produced film came out on June 2, 2020.

(Picture: Deccan Chronicle)

FIRST-EVER Yellowstone International Film Festival in Delhi

(New Delhi, India – Jan. 20, 2021) More than 70 shorts, documentaries and feature films from all over the globe comprise the curated lineup of the FIRST-EVER Yellowstone International Film Festival (YIFF), taking place from Jan. 28th to Feb. 3rd and powered by Movie Saints (www.moviesaints.com). The festival’s programming also includes SEVEN Oscar-affiliated short films and documentaries.
Created by award-winning writer/director Tushar Tyagi (SAVING CHINTU, KAASHI, GULABEE) and curated by renowned festival director (New York Indian Film Festival) and biographer (Shashi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra) Aseem Chhabra, YIFF is a New Delhi homecoming, of sorts, for both film personalities, based part-time in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively.
“We created this festival to serve as a confluence of our dual identities and cultures,” said Tyagi, a trained filmmaker who has studied at the New York Film Academy and is now based in Los Angeles. “I see the world around me through a cinematic and structured lens, and the films we have chosen to present at our festival reflect my Indo-American sensibilities, while paying homage to some of the best global films focused on women empowerment and LGBTQIA+ issues.”
Tyagi’s 2020 film SAVING CHINTU is currently one of THREE Indian short films in the highly-contested, 2021 Oscars race to represent India at the Academy Awards in the live action shorts category. He has made 12 other short films and is currently working on two feature films, to be released in the next two years.
Chhabra is the author of the biographies of Shashi Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, and the recently released Irrfan Khan: The Man, The Dreamer, The Star.  A film journalist in New York City and New Delhi, he has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mumbai Mirror, Rediff.com, The Hindu, Outlook, BBC.com, Quartz, Scroll, Newslaundry. He’s been a commentator on Indian cinema on NPR, CNN, BBC, CBC, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’ Chhabra is the festival director of the New York Indian Film Festival, the largest and the oldest festival in North America. He is the voice of Shadow Puppet #1 in director Nina Paley’s acclaimed animated film, SITA SINGS THE BLUES.

AR Rahman: Proud To See Response To BAFTA Breakthrough India

Oscar and Grammy-winning Indian composer AR Rahman is proud to see the response to the BAFTA Breakthrough initiative in India, and says he wants to encourage more individuals from across film, games and television to get involved in the project.

On Thursday, it was announced that British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has extended the deadline for submission of applications for BAFTA Breakthrough India by two weeks, from January 25 to February 8.

“I am extremely proud to see the response that BAFTA Breakthrough India has received from across the country. We have received applications from across the nation, proving that talent can be found in all corners of India,” said Rahman, who has been roped in as ambassador of the BAFTA Breakthrough initiative in India.

“We are so pleased with the uptake and I am delighted to see BAFTA extend the deadline to February 8. I encourage talented individuals from across film, games and television to get involved and submit their application for what could be a life changing experience,” he added.

The initiative marks BAFTA’s first steps into India. The talent hunt initiative will enable the Academy to identify and nurture up to five talents working in film, games, or television in India.

The exercise, known as BAFTA Breakthrough initiative, is part of the Academy’s year-round effort to support new talent, operating alongside their Awards ceremonies, and is supported by Netflix. (IANS)

(Picture: India TV News)

Metro Park Season 2 On Jan. 29th

 (New York, NY – January 20, 2021) Eros Now, South Asia’s leading streaming entertainment service owned by the Eros STX Global Corporation (NYSE: EROS), a Global Entertainment company, today announced the return of comedy-drama, ‘Metro Park’ – a hilarious sitcom about a typical Indian family settled abroad. Helmed by Abi Varghese & Ajayan Venugopalan and written by Ajayan Venugopalan, Metro Park Season 2 ensembles a stellar star cast of Ranvir Shorey, Purbi Joshi,  Pitobash, Omi Vaidya, Vega Tamotia and Sarita Joshi playing pivotal characters, along with Milind Soman and Gopal Dutt making special appearances.
Over the years, the Indian culture has made its presence felt globally. Irrespective of which part of the world we are in, our deeply-rooted Indian values of celebrating and socializing have given birth to many Indian communities around the world. The love and warmth radiated by Indians set them apart from everyone. Similar is the situation of the Indian Desi Gujarati family of Eros Now’s ‘Metro Park’, a perfect blend of drama and comedy, all set to take the audience on an exciting joyful ride as they return with season 2 on January 29, 2021.

After securing much applause and adulation after the first season, fans can now rejoice with their wish to reunite with the uber-cool clan of ‘Metro Park’ getting fulfilled. The audience will witness a fascinating storyline with their favorite Metro Park family bringing madness right to their homes. The show revolves around the eccentricities and quirks of a Desi Indian Gujarati family settled in New Jersey, USA. The entertainment quotient of the show has been raised to a higher level, with its funny yet relatable characters and its modern milieus in season 2, which promise to deliver tongue in cheek humor.

Fasten your seat belts and get ready to roll on the floor with laughter, enjoying a unique out-of-India experience, while the crazy family of Metro Park ushers joy and happiness into your life.

Stay Tuned to get on a joyful ride with Metro Park Season 2 only on 29th January 2020! To subscribe, please visit www.erosnow.com/purchase. Annual subscription costs $49.99 for the year (little over $4 a month). 

Commenting on the Season 2 of Metro Park, Ridhima Lulla, Chief Content Officer, Eros Group said: “Sitcom is a genre that has always impressed everyone. Eros Now’s original series Metro Park is a light-hearted comedy-drama that will be a rollicking fun watch. The Indian Diaspora across the globe will relate to this narrative. The demand for more and more OTT content is rising, and it is, in a way, shaping the future of Indian entertainment. We, at Eros Now, always offer exciting, fresh and relatable content, and Metro Park Season 2 is yet another noteworthy presentation for all our viewers.”
 Talking about the show Ranvir Shorey said: “Metro Park Season 2 with its bigger and crazier Parivaar will chart the daily lives of a Gujarati family cruising through the busy life of New Jersey. The story is freewheeling and has a tongue in cheek humor, and you cannot predict what will happen next. The cast and producers were all very excited to go into production after lockdown, and we have spent several days preparing to deliver the best.”

Milind Soman excitedly commented: “Metro Park Season 2 is certainly going to be a fun watch, as there is drama every second. The comedy in the show pops out of nowhere and turns every scene into a laugh riot. The story and the jokes are absolutely hilarious, and the performances are wonderful. I had such a great time at the shoot! I’m sure the audiences will fall in love with the Metro Park family all over again this time.”

Geffen Playhouse Announces World Premiere Of Sri Rao’s “Bollywood Kitchen”

Geffen Playhouse, in association with Hypokrit Theatre Company, launches filmmaker and cookbook author Sri Rao’s Bollywood Kitchen this month. The latest show is part of a new lineup of live, virtual and interactive productions from the Los Angeles-based theater’s Geffen Stayhouse banner, created to entertain performing arts lovers during the pandemic. Sri Rao’s Bollywood Kitchen, directed by New York City-based Hypokrit Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Arpita Mukherjee, is inspired by his cookbook of the same name, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In this interactive production, Rao invites us to prepare a homemade Indian meal along with him, drawing on the recipes that were staples at his family’s table, when growing up in Pennsylvania. As we join him in cooking these delicious dishes in our very own kitchens, Rao interweaves the story of his parents immigrating to America, the joy and nourishment that Bollywood musicals brought to his whole family and the culinary traditions they shared. Mouthwatering flavors come together with the colorful exuberance of Bollywood films to create a festive and fun virtual experience about rediscovering the comforts of home and the impact of Indian cinema.

“The two questions I get asked most often at cocktail parties are, ‘Can I get one of your mom’s recipes for homemade Indian food?’ and ‘I’ve never seen a Bollywood movie before—can you recommend one to me?’ Well, the Geffen is giving me the opportunity to answer both questions at once—and this time, the cocktail party is at my place! Bollywood Kitchen is my way of introducing audiences to two of my passions—Indian food and films—while taking them on a personal journey of my family’s immigrant experience,” said Rao, who is also the creator and showrunner of Netflix’s upcoming series, The Actress, starring Bollywood icon Madhuri Dixit and produced by Karan Johar.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the world-renowned Geffen Playhouse to bring Sri’s unique Indian-American, immigrant experience to life by interweaving food and film into a one-of-a-kind live experience,” said Mukherjee, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Hypokrit Theatre Company in NYC. “Our company prides itself on telling the intersectional stories of people of color, and we are certain Sri’s journey will be relatable to many Indian Americans who embrace their multiple identities and create a confluence of culture by honoring their past and celebrating their present.”

Jayam Ravi’s 25th Film Bhoomi To Release On Disney Hotstar For Pongal 2021

Tamil film Bhoomi, starring Jayam Ravi in the role of a farmer, will release on Pongal on OTT platform Disney Hotstar next year. The actor made the announcement on Twitter. Actor Jayam Ravi on Thursday confirmed that his upcoming Tamil film Bhoomi will skip theatres and release directly via Disney + Hotstar for Pongal festival next year. The movie stars him in the role of a farmer.
In a statement he shared on Twitter, Ravi opened up about the decision to release his 25th film Bhoomi on an OTT platform. “Bhoomi is a milestone in many ways in my career. Besides being my 25th project and one that’s close to my heart for that reason, it also joins the list of movies released in the times of Covid. As much as I was looking forward to watching the movie with my dear fans in theatres, the universe had other plans by helping me pay tribute to them by bringing Bhoomi to their homes. I am excited along with Disney + Hotstar to be a part of your Pongal 2021 celebrations right in the heart of your homes.”
 Ravi, who was last seen playing a man who wakes up from a coma after many years in Comali, will be seen playing a farmer in Bhoomi. The entire project is tipped to be set against a village backdrop and Ravi will be seen in a very different avatar.
Talking about the film, director Lakshman had said in a media interaction: “Unlike in his previous 24 films, the actor will be giving it back to the society with this film. It has an agriculture-based subject, and he will be playing a farmer. There will be a social message, on the lines of Shankar sir’s films.”
The film marks the third time collaboration of Jayam Ravi and Lakshman after Romeo Juliet and Bogan. Bhoomi also stars Niddhi Agerwal and Ronit Roy and both are making their Tamil debuts with this project.
Ronit plays the antagonist. This will be Ronit’s second southern outing as he has already starred in Telugu film Jai Lava Kusa starring Jr NTR.

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