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Bucket List trailer: Madhuri Dixit’s maiden Marathi film is filled with heart-warming moments

The trailer for Bollywood’s evergreen beauty Madhuri Dixit’s debut Marathi movie Bucket List was released on Friday.

The film’s trailer begins with Madhuri’s Madhura asking her daughter if she knows what a “bucket list” means. The young girl, in her millennial glory, replies, “Of course, bucket list is my identity. Without it, my life has no purpose.” We then see Madhura take up the task of checking off the wish-list of a teenaged heart donor named Sai. So, the rest of the film revolves around her journey of self-realisation as she partakes in various adventures-turned-misadventures.

Madhuri Dixit in Bucket List first look. Image via Twitter

The film, bankrolled by Dharma Productions, appears to have a lot of lighthearted humour blended into the narrative, especially in the exchanges between the mother and the daughter.

It also features Madhuri’s Hum Aapke Hain Koun co-star Renuka Shahane in an important role. But, in what is sure to delight the moviegoers, it also has a surprise but brief cameo from Ranbir Kapoor.

Madhuri was last seen on-screen in Gulaab Gang and in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Dedh Ishqiya with Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi in 2014.

Produced by DAR Motion Pictures, Dark Horse Cinemas and Blue Mustang Creations, Bucket List will be directed by Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar, who has also written the film script along with Devashree Shivadekar.

Alia Bhatt confirms she’s in talks to play lead role in Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s next film: Hopefully it’ll work out

Alia Bhatt has confirmed that she is in talks with Bareilly Ki Barfi director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari for a project and hopes everything falls into place. There were reports that Ashwiny was considering Alia for a slice-of-life story.

Alia Bhatt/Image from Twitter.

When asked about it, Alia said in an interview,”Yes, I have met her for something that I am really interested in and hopefully it will all work out. I am really excited about working with her. It’s a very nice script.”

Alia, meanwhile, is working with Ranbir Kapoor in Brahmastra, directed by Ayan Mukerji and is also shooting for Kalank. Directed by Abhishek Varman, the epic drama stars Sonakshi Sinha, Varun Dhawan and Aditya Roy Kapur. The film, set in the 1940s, also features Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt.

Asked about working with Madhuri, the young star said, “She is beautiful. She made it comfortable and normal. It is just the beginning. We have shot only for a couple of days.”

Alia, 25, is currently gearing up for the release of her latest film Raazi.

The period thriller, an adaptation of Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat, is about an Indian spy married to a Pakistani military officer during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

The film, which also features Vicky Kaushal, is scheduled to release on 11 May.

Veere Di Wedding song Tareefan is a stylised club number with Kareena, Sonam in spotlight

Tareefan’, the new club song from Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania-starrer Veere Di Wedding has been released. The song is also being advertised as the first ever track that Badshah, who is best known for his rap skills, has sung. With music from QARAN, Badshah sings the song in his signature chest voice.

A still from Tareefan, the new song from Veere Di Wedding. Youtube

The song is picturised on the actresses, who when not drooling over semi-naked men, break into the hook step. Dressed in their party clothes — corsets and shiny bottoms — Sonam and Kareena dominate the screen while Swara and Shikha appear in the later stages of the song. Badshah, true to form in his dark glasses and garish jacket, makes an appearance with a mic in his hand.

Apart from the club-feel that you are constantly reminded of with free flowing alcohol, table tops, impeccably dressed men and even a make-believe fight sequence between Kareena and Swara, what’s hard to miss is the very obvious product placement of a car brand towards the end. Keeping the visuals and the composition in mind, ‘Tareefan’ is as cliché as Bollywood party songs get, just more stylised.

Also starring Sumeet Vyas, Veere Di Wedding has been produced by Rhea Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and Nikhil Dwivedi. Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, Veere Di Wedding releases on 1 June.

Sanju star Ranbir Kapoor on career highs and lows: Keep reminding myself that it’s just a bend, not the end

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, who has showcased his versatility in a variety of roles but whose recent films have not fared well at the box office, says he keeps reminding himself that it is just a bend and not the end.

Ranbir, along with producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Rajkumar Hirani, was present at the teaser launch of their upcoming mega project Sanju, a biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt, here on Tuesday.

In a past interview, Chopra had commented that “Ranbir is an incredible actor with stupid script choices”.

File image of Ranbir Kapoor. Reuters

So when asked if the biopic is going to change it, Ranbir told the media: “If every actor knew what he was doing and had a plan, everyone would be a superstar. So it is hard and I am trying to learn from my own mistakes.”

“I keep reminding myself that it’s just a bend, not the end. Life is very difficult and requires a lot of hard work and you have to keep working… Like Raju sir’s film title, ‘Lage raho…’,” he added with a pinch of humour.

In Sanju, Ranbir has portrayed Sanjay’s different avatars.

Did he make any special observations about Sanjay to portray him better on-screen Ranbir said: “I have always been a Sanjay Dutt fan. For me, it was a fan trying to play his icon. So I think the hardest thing I did was to give myself the confidence that I can play this man.

“When Raju sir told me about this film, I didn’t have the confidence because I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t have the courage, don’t have the understanding or the acting chops to do it. This is not an acting gig for me. I haven’t tried to show good acting, bad acting or showcase my talent. I think it was just the opportunity to be part of a story of a person who I consider to be my icon.”

Ranbir has entertained audience in many hits like Bachna Ae Haseeno, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Rocket Singh – Salesman of The Year, Wake Up Sid! and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

The actor in a prior interview had said that he truly learned from Hirani what it means to entertain people.

Asked to elucidate on the same, Ranbir said: “What I learned from Raju sir is the power of entertainment. Not what’s entertaining to you but what’s entertaining to people, and I think when a filmmaker makes a film for an audience and not for himself, that’s such a learning in itself and a selfless act.”

Ranbir was also urged to act out a dialogue for the audience. But he said: “I feel very shy to mimic him (Sanjay) otherwise. When I was working on the film, it was a character I had to play. Otherwise mimicking feels like disrespecting him. And it’s not just me…it’s the hair and make-up that adds to my acting on the big screen. So, I don’t want to disrespect Sanjay sir.”

Presented by Fox Star Studios, the film will release on 29 June.

Raazi trailer: Meghna Gulzar’s fierce espionage thriller could be a game changer for Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal

Right from the onset of the two-minute-long trailer of Raazi, you get a sense of what the film is going to, in a good way. It is definitely going to be one of Alia Bhatt’s finest performances of her promising career so far. For director Meghna Gulzar, it will be one more feather in her cap after Talvar and for Vicky Kaushal, it will be her big bollywood breakout role. Therefore, if what you see in the trailer is further enhanced in the film, then Raazi is going to be a game changer for a lot of people.

Alia Bhatt as Sehmat in Raazi. YouTube

Raazi is the tale of a young Indian woman Sehmat, who is married off to a Pakistani boy who hails from a family of army-men. Sehmat’s father is a true-blue patriot (or so he thinks) and asks his daughter to be the “eyes and ears of India” in the neighbouring country. Rigorous martial arts, shooting and fitness regimes take over and Sehma is fully equipped to be a spy. What follows is an intense tale of betrayal, lies, agenda and secrecy.

Torn between her duties as the wife of a Pakistani and her Indian-ness, Bhatt’s Sehmat remains the focal point of the trailer. Her character is mysteriously splendid and so self-aware. Kaushal, who clearly has no idea who he’s married to, is faithfully by her side, unaware. Considering the lasting impact of its trailer, Raazi looks like it has the potential to be one of the most successful films of the year.

Backed by Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productions, Raazi releases on 11 May, 2018.

High Jack trailer: Sumeet Vyas packs a punch in this trippy comedy filled with interesting characters

The trippy stoner comedy High Jack dropped its first trailer on Tuesday and it looks like one helluva ride.

The trailer reveals the story of three disgruntled employees of a failing airline who decide to hijack a plane. The first-time hijackers along with the passengers accidentally get high, resulting in a series of hilarious, whacky series of events. With stakes that have never been higher, it turns from a hijacking into one big party, high in the sky.

High Jack promo poster. Image via Twitter

High Jack stars Sumeet Vyas as DJ Rakesh, an out of luck DJ, who happens to be just one of many strangely interesting characters on the plane. It also features Sonnalli Seygall and Mantra Mugdh in pivotal roles.

The film is being produced by Phantom Films in association with OTT video service Viu. It marks the directorial debut of Akarsh Khurana in Bollywood and is also Viu’s first foray into films.

Vishal Maheshwari, Country Head, Viu India, said in a statement: “With the evolution of OTT platforms and consumers’ tastes, quality content rules and that’s why collaborating for a film like High Jack is apt for us.

“Phantom Films is known for giving its audiences an exceptional movie going experience and it gives us great pleasure to partner in with them. The film will definitely enhance the original content catalogue on our platform.”

High Jack is scheduled to release on 20 April.

Watch: Baaghi 2 song ‘Ek Do Teen’ is a musical tribute to Madhuri Dixit, but falls flat visually

As soon as it was reported that Jacqueline Fernandez is going to feature in a revamped version of Madhuri Dixit’s popular dance number — ‘Ek Do Teen’ from the 1988 film Tezaab — it became a huge topic of discussion, owing to the iconic stature the dance number commands in Bollywood. The wait is finally over and the new song is out. While the Baaghi 2 song (musically) is a tribute to the original track, but visually it remains far from it.

Jacqueline Fernandez in Baaghi 2 song 'Ek Do Teen'. YouTube screengrab

Fernandez also said that they never intended to compete with the original song and that Dixit was ‘unmatchable’ — the revamped version underlines her statement. Indeed, it is no match to the Tezaab track.

The new song retains the catch phrase, the same musical set up and makes you tap your feet. Shreya Ghoshal matches to the spark of Alka Yagnik’s vocal texture. There are moments when if you close your eyes and listen to the track you might actually get transported to the ’90s. But the moment you open your eyes, there’s a reality check waiting for you.

So what’s wrong with the track? Jacqueline looks pretty and expressive, and does seem like she’s paying a homage to Dixit (her dress also bears resemblance to Madhuri’s pink-yellow outfit). But the choreography is distasteful, regressive and cringe-worthy.

This is even more shocking because it was reported that three choreographers — Baaghi 2 director Ahmed Khan, Ganesh Acharya and veteran Saroj Khan — had collaborated for this song. Saroj Khan had even choreographed the original song. In spite of this deadly combination of dancing maestros, how could something like this be passed?

There is a part in the song where a few men take Jacqueline’s jacket off to unveil her dress while she unzips it. While Madhuri’s dance was more about her claiming her space and dancing her heart out, this revamped version seems to only want to succumb to the male gaze.

Karishma Tanna sued by event management company for allegedly backing out of show, causing losses

A legal notice has been sent to TV actress Karishma Tanna by the manager of a Delhi-based event management company for alleged fraud. Manas Katyal, who runs the company, claims that Tanna was supposed to perform at a wedding reception in Haldwani, Uttarakhand for which she had been paid in advance.

Karishma Tanna. Image from Twitter/@KARISHMAK_TANNA

However, according to his statement to Mid-Day, he alleges that Tanna, who was to travel to Haldwani from Delhi, told the driver to turn around after reaching Moradabad or she would accuse him harassment. Therefore, the driver was forced to turn around and take her back to Delhi. Katyal further claims that her no-show caused the company a loss of Rs 10 lakh.

However, according to Tanna’s version of the incident, she was told that the wedding was happening in Moradabad. But when the car crossed Moradabad, she realised that she had been duped and was being taken to Haldwani instead. She claims she had already told Katyal that her medical problem won’t allow her to travel long distances and he proceeded to make her believe that the wedding was at Moradabad. She tells the publication that she is not going to return the money because of the mental harassment she faced because of the incident.

October trailer: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu-starrer is an evocative, visually pleasing story of love

The trailer of Shoojit Sircar’s October with Varun Dhawan and Banita Sandhu in leading roles has been released. Dhawan and Sandhu play Dan and Shiuli respectively, two young hotel management trainees. The job always gets the better of Dhawan. Soon, their ordinary lives are shaken up after a traumatic event, never to be the same again.

october 825

Ever since it was announced, the film is being touted as a unique love story devoid of love at first sight and other run-of-the-mill tropes. The film has been promoted as a celebration of love, nature and the autumn season — a theme that is unmistakable in the October trailer, too.

After Sandhu ends up in the ICU after a life-altering incident, Dhawan devotes himself to her, her condition affecting him more than it probably should. Sandhu, who is making her acting debut with October, does not get a lot of dialogues in the trailer, but her expressions are enough to convey what her character is feeling. The cinematography shines in the 2-minute trailer, which mostly consists of dark tones and sombre lights that bring a chilly vibe.

Sircar, who has films like Piku, Vicky Donor and Madras Cafe to his credit, is known for his unique storytelling style. In October, too, his vision shines through and you can tell, that he is the force behind the perceptible change in Dhawan’s approach.

AR Rahman and Komail Shayan have combined their brilliance to dish out a pacifying score for this Rising Sun Films production. October is slated to release on 13 April, 2018.

Sridevi’s death marks a funeral of sorts for the Hindi cinema she helped add new dimensions to as well

It has been nearly four days since Sridevi, Bollywood’s first female superstar, passed away, and yet, it has not become churlish to ask the when, why, and how of this untimely, unkind occurrence. How could Sridevi — she who, however vociferously withdrawn, looked so immortal — just die? I will not meditate on its pulsating finality, for mourning is merely a word. The teetering question that obituary formalises and makes powerless is a question that no ordinary death can inspire from grief — how could the universe, so broken, have the audacity to take Sridevi away?

Anybody who has seen Sridevi being interviewed, presumably by a Rajeev Masand or an Anupama Chopra, would remember her characteristically cold, distant giggling after answering a painstakingly worded question so insufficiently that one would wonder if she were really an actor. To me, rapt in observation, unable to understand how unforgiving the world was to those who did not perform, and unaware that adulthood is only to pretend to be who we are, there was profound, hopeful meaning in silence; in the many quiet moments that these conversations with Sridevi would invariably sire, I imagined that she would break into a song and re-enter the person of Hawa Hawai in garish dress, with idiosyncratic expressions on her face but not a care in the world, trying and pretending to synchronise her performance with her dancers as effortlessly as Madhuri Dixit could but hopelessly, delightfully failing, and yet, convinced that she could seize pearls from the sea, flame from a torch, and the night from one’s heart (saagar se moti chheenu, deepak se jyoti chheenu, seene se raat chura lun…) She did not, and she could not. Sridevi may have taught us that it was fine to fail, but it was not a lesson she ever learned for herself.

Sridevi as Hawa Hawai in Mr India. YouTube screenshot

This piece, however, is not about the author, or, for that matter, about his subject, central as she may be to it. This is about cinema, or film as the genteel among us would have it: a curious creature that Sridevi came to love, even inhabit, and in whose history her death leaves an impossible end from which there can be no return. In death, she leaves Hindi cinema much poorer than when she found it and much more desperate to have her back. But death does not break into a song.

From the wise measurement of retrospect, the 1980s have — time and again — been castigated as the unfortunate decade when commercial, mainstream cinema extended its insidious reach into the production of artless, crass, sensationalist films. The trend directed innovation and artistic energy towards a stream of filmmaking that would become ‘parallel’ cinema and exist, as in the name, in uncomfortable tandem with its more popular and widely-known adversary. While an incipient postcolonial nationalism had been the inscription of Hindi cinema in the 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s, the novelty of nationalism, so fresh and heartfelt in the decades that had passed, visibly tapered as the imagined community gave uncertain way to bona fide individual ambition (think Gol Maal, 1979). This latter was a social impulse that would become economically and politically significant only a decade later, as India let down its economic borders and bolstered its limits of sovereignty through the serious pastiche of nuclear spectacle.

The weakening of the nationalist spirit, however, released spirits that few had anticipated and even fewer could tame. There is no better embodied encapsulation of this than Mithun Chakraborty’s titular Disco Dancer (1982) where Chakraborty’s Jimmy rises from seemingly obscure origins to a life of a post-reason disco glory, dissolving nationalist quotidianism and inherited ideas of respectability into an unprecedentedly energetic but eventually incomprehensible template both unbeknownst and tantalising to and for its progressively transforming public. As the dissipation of nationalist zeal pulverised energies like the aforesaid that no one had seen or even desired to, those whom nationalism had other-ed (here, women) short-changed their positions in the settled margins, prepared and unafraid to confront orthodoxies of cinema, and if it ever came to that, of the nation.

Sridevi with Rishi Kapoor in Chandni

This is a point Jerry Pinto forcefully made for Helen and many others for the iconic Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi. But here we may also submit that the 1980s were significant for another reason — it was in this decade that Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan would become Sridevi for Hindi cinema. Little did Hindi cinema know that in re-naming Shree to the palatable Sridevi, it too would be re-scripted. In Sadma (1983), Nagina (1986), Mr India (1987), and Chandni (1989), to name but a few and even so without nuanced survey, Sridevi evolved, as it were, a new grammar of cinema for its more rustic Hindi formation, having come first of age and only then of sensibility. Female protagonists could no longer be relegated, at least not without the counter-possibility that Sridevi and some of her contemporaries made possible, to the honour of service as artefacts of celebrated plots or reinforcing embellishments of the hero’s loud, trumpeted masculinity. The social mores that nationalist disciplining had left behind remained in sure place but could no longer rationalise why a lady could not have her dance — and take befitting pleasure in it. While this may, particularly to the conservatives among and within us, appear as a needless, egregious exhibition of female sexuality, only those with a sense of this temporality will grasp its extraordinariness — sexuality, hitherto tethered to all —encompassing and therefore all-erasing projects, was unshackled, ontologically liberated, if only within limits, and catapulted to the polaroid through women who took little care and special delight in its performance. As Dhrubo Jyoti has recounted in an impassioned tribute, this performance was an iconography for all those unacceptables whose dress was not so garish and homes welcoming but desires as queer. Sridevi had none of Madhuri Dixit’s swan-like agility, but what she also did not have was her sense of refinement and its likely spawn, shame. If dance was an act that Dixit made into art, Sridevi was of the rare pedigree peopled by one whose dance art would beg to become.

Sridevi in a still from Lamhe

As India liberalised in the wake of the 1990s, an event nearly as cataclysmic as anticipated, it did so with a flourish and a very American sense of manifest destiny. Films of this period evidence the rise of whom sociological theory can only call ‘the aspirational middle class’ and a simultaneous aestheticisation of globalisation. There is no mention of Bollywood in the 1990s without mention of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, that evergreen reservoir of romance for those ignorant of cinematic pre-history. DDLJ, as it has come to be cherished, is curious for its stunning globality as Shah Rukh Khan romances a young woman (a practice Khan merrily continues decades later), across the panoramic Alps of Europe and the infinitely stretching mustard fields of rural Punjab. More critically, female protagonists and sidekicks whose femininity had spoken its name in the 1980s both prepared the ground for and participated in the making of love that was not, to bitter scandal, marital or did not necessarily lead to matrimony. Sridevi’s Lamhe (1991) is a striking example although matrimony is also its implied end. While critics lauded the film as a frame beyond its time, the film did comatose business and ruptured the sense of sexual governance implicit in the making of films and lives — Pallavi/Pooja’s desire is existent and expressive, repressed neither by the domineering reiteration of social codes nor the reproductive economy that makes her love for Viren incestuous. To desire is a good heroine’s murderous sin, and Sridevi sinned frequently and always, with a spring in her step. But then, Sridevi was never a ‘good’ heroine — good heroines are happy to be merely sighted and happier to be forgotten. She was terrible and terribly memorable.

There is a world that changed with the millennium, and while one would like to read the awkward, effortless, beautiful English Vinglish (2012) as a product of the gaudily imitative, maudlin, English-worshipping India that liberalisation presented to us, there is much to say of the ground that has shifted in the vein of the irrevocable. Sridevi may have returned after 15 years of domesticity, a husband, and offspring, but this was not her world. Hindi cinema today has entered a degenerative phase of tragedy — our nationalism is aggressive and aggrandising, our communitarianism is dishonest and blithering, our religious politics searches for prey to demonise and ethically assault. Sridevi’s death would not be so personal if it were not so political, and as funeral awaits her, a similar fate befalls the cinema of her times.