Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming release Zero is one of the most eagerly awaited films of 2018. Directed by Tanu Weds Manu helmer Aanand L Rai, Zero will see SRK in the role of a vertically challenged person and will be paired along with his Jab Tak Hai Jaan co-actors Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.
Actor Ashish Verma, who has been receiving rave reviews for his role in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, will play a drug peddler who carries a specific type of drug that can make people see the future, in a British film titled Imperial Blue.
It is not the lead role but an important one.
“I am playing Sanjay, a drug peddler, who carries the drug, which makes one see the future. As far as playing the protagonist is concerned, every actor would love to play the protagonist and with changing time, you see a lot of films which no longer subscribe to the typical notion of a ‘hero’, Bhavesh Joshi being one of them,” Ashish told IANS in an email interview.
Indians are generally stereotyped in the West. How is his role in Imperial Blue going to break that?
“When you are a minority or are different from others, you are often seen in a specific way. This is applicable at a macro as well as a micro level and this leads to stereotyping,” he said.
“As far as my role is concerned, my character is an Indian, in India. Me and the director Dan (Moss) were on the same page as far as the pitching was concerned. It was to keep it as real as possible and not to cater to a perception or an ‘idea’ of an Indian,” added the actor, best known for featuring in the digital project InMates.
The casting of Imperial Blue happened in India.
“The Imperial Blue casting process was very interesting. During the audition, me and my co-actor played the scene in many languages…in English, the way it was written and in our native languages, mine being Hindi and his being Swedish,” he said.
Ashish has also worked as a casting director.
“Gurvinder Singh, the director of Anhey Ghore Da Daan and Chauthi Koot was a friend of mine as well as a senior from Film and Television Institute of India. He asked me to come on board for the films, and I am glad I did. I saw it as an opportunity to learn,” said the actor.
“We were mainly working with non-actors and a part of my job was to cast, as well as to make them act. Since the language was Punjabi it was quite challenging. So I started to pick up the language.”
He had never imagined that making non-actors act would be so enriching as at times, they “subconsciously bring out nuances which professional actors struggle to”.
He has also been writing dialogues for feature films.
“The Hungry is one of them. As far as producing is concerned, I limit myself to the creative end of the deal…like developing web shows for platforms,” said Ashish.
Race 3 has been the talk of the town even before its release, with a trailer and multiple song launches — including Selfish that has been penned by Salman Khan himself, a dance track Heeriya and the franchise staple Allah Duhai Hai.
According to Bollywood website Koimoi, Race 3 has been given a clean chit by the censor board. The film was cleared without a single cut and has received a U/A certificate because of the action sequences.
Govinda’s nephew Krushna Abhishek and Sanjay Dutt’s niece Nazia Hussain are set to share screen space in Vinod Tiwari’s upcoming film, Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle, reports DNA.
Dutt’s niece Nazia is best known for her role in Telugu film Nee Jathaga Nenundali.
In the film Teri Bhabhi Hai Pagle, Krushna who plays the role of superstar Raj, is seen trying to woo his co-star Ragni, played by Nazia.
With the cancellation of Quantico, it looks like Priyanka Chopra will be making her Bollywood comeback in style.
Also read: Priyanka Chopra’s Quantico season 3 draws flak from Twitterati for ‘ridiculous’ depiction of Indian terrorists
Veteran actor-turned-director Rakesh Roshan confirmed that the actress will make a return in the upcoming Krrish 4 opposite Hrithik Roshan.
As we move into the sixth month of 2018, one can sense that we have reached a tipping point in India, in terms of gender. The Kathua and Unnao rape cases have widened narratives surrounding gender and sexual violence against women, in terms of why such crimes are perpetuated and what are their outcomes.
Ripples can be felt in the world of cinema, where women are speaking about the injustice meted out to them. Sri Reddy’s nude protest, more conversations about the casting couch, the development of a Women’s Collective in Cinema in the Malayalam film industry are all indicators of a shift towards a more equal future.
In this clime, what the cast of Veere Di Wedding have reportedly said about the film’s gender politics and their stance on feminism has unsurprisingly gained attention. Their responses, and the assertion that their film must not be called a chick flick is worthy of a separate analysis itself, but it also brings to light the fact that increasingly, the onus of being political is being put on women.
Superhero and vigilante films lean perforce on certain tropes: A huge motivating factor (usually loss of a loved one), a set of skills and resources, the determination to do good, and a distinctive costume.
Vikramaditya Motwane’s homespun masked crusader checks all these boxes. But in this all-black ensemble with LED lights twinkling in his helmet, Bhavesh Joshi is not Batman, Superman or even Deadpool. He’s closer to American cult character Kick Ass. He gets his butt kicked, he makes rookie mistakes, he operates more from passion and guilt than with a plan. But these are the very characteristics that also connect you to this reluctant hero.
The story of Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is narrated by Rajat (Ashish Verma) who recounts the escapades of his two college besties Bhavesh (Priyanshu Painyuli) and Siku (Harshvardhan Kapoor). Charged up by a ground swell of public protests against corruption, they decide to stop complaining and begin acting.
Bhavesh and Siku set up an underground online channel called Insaaf TV on which, with a paper bag covering their heads, they go about exposing minor – but endemic – violations in Mumbai city. These include illegal tree cutting, urinating in public, burning of garbage in public spaces etc. They are idealistic and righteous, including making a taxi cab back up to the signal because he jumped a red light. Many of us living in Indian metros share Siku and Bhavesh’s rage and exasperation.
Siku describes their unit as the “Indian justice league”, but their only weapon is a video camera. Things get steamy when Bhavesh gets a tip-off about a man-made water shortage and the water mafia. He jumps in, feet first, to expose the corruption and nexus between various civic authorities, public servants and politicians. It’s a web that’s too big and powerful for a lone crusader.
Writers Motwane, Anurag Kashyap and Abhay Koranne have poured in their frustrations with a crumbling civic set-up and a benign law and order system in this script. The screenplay is unhurried in establishing the prologue to Bhavesh Joshi Superhero’s origin. At over 150 minutes, many of the scenes are over told and oversold and the crucial martial arts training scenes, which are part of the birth of Bhavesh Joshi, are uninspiring.
The high points in the film are action scenes at the water tanker yard and a bike chase through skywalks, parking lots and local trains, which are accented by Amit Trivedi’s pulsating background music.
Motwane inserts subtle references to what plagues Mumbai, including using an abandoned hotel emblematic of corruption. In this world, the bad guys are squarely black, in particular corporator Patil and politician Rana (Nishikant Kamat), and the cops appear to have no qualms about being unjust. Look out for a crazy scene in the dance bar with Siku, Patil and the police inspector.
There are, however, some conveniences in the script that are irksome. For instance, don’t these boys have families? How has Siku walked away from a life but not been reported as a missing person? As he wanders around the city without disguise, doesn’t Siku fear being spotted?
The find of the film is Priyanshu Painyuli – tonally correct, emotionally consistent, believable as the realist-patriot you might meet at a protest march at Gateway of India. Ashish Verma provides the binding voice to the narrative. Kapoor is a respectable addition to the troika but its in the solo scenes, in particular when the brooding is replaced by heightened emotions, that the young actor exposes his inexperience. The weakest link is Nishikant Kamat as a sleazy politician. One wonders why the director gets cast in acting roles when his range is clearly limited.
Bhavesh Joshi is not yet a superhero. While Motwane’s blueprint is derivative (you will think Kick Ass and Arrow), his thoughts and setting are localised enough to make this a convincing character within the genre. But the film’s flaw is that it’s trying to say too much and doing so at such a painful pace that much of a good intention is lost in execution.