The upcoming film Batti Gul Meter Chalu, starring Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in lead roles, has been in shallow waters for a while now. The movie was put on hold for a while after KriArj Entertainment walked out of the project due to monetary issues. Then Bhushan Kumar of T-Series came to the film’s rescue and is now bankrolling the project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Actors Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan, who made their film debuts in 2012’s Student Of The Year, will reportedly make cameo appearances in the sequel.
Filmfare reports that the two actors have confirmed their comeback but their roles have not been revealed yet.
Alia Bhatt, who also made her debut with Sidharth and Varun, hinted at a comeback in an earlier interview but has not confirmed if she will be joining the two actors.
Student Of The Year 2, the second installment of the franchise, stars Tiger Shroff and newcomers Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria.
Karan Johar is bankrolling the movie under his production banner Dharma Productions. With Student Of The Year, Karan gave Alia, Varun and Sidharth a great launchpad in Bollywood. They have since cemented their place in the film industry year after year with a slew of diverse projects.
Varun, who is the son of filmmaker David Dhawan, started his career as an assistant director to filmmaker Karan in My Name Is Khan. He has featured in films like Main Tera Hero, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Badlapur, Dilwale, Dishoom, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and, more recently, October. Siddharth has starred in movies like Hasee Toh Phasee, Ek Villain, Kapoor & Sons, Ittefaq, and more recently, Aiyaary.
The film is being directed by Punit Malhotra, and its shooting is underway.
Student Of The Year 2 will hit screens on 23 November.
Aditi Rao Hydari is living her dream. For a girl with absolutely no Bollywood connections, she’s made fabulous headway into the industry. Within a short span of six to seven years, she has already had legends like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Mani Ratnam directing her. After last year’s Kaatru Veliyidai, she’s now also part of Ratnam’s upcoming Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, which she’s currently filming in Chennai.
“I want to work with Mani Sir again and again. If I had the choice I would do all the films made by Mani sir,” says Aditi.
She was about nine when her parents took her to watch Mani Ratnam’s 1995 classic Bombay. “I don’t really know how and why they took me to watch this film,” recalls Aditi, adding, “people around me were discussing the issues in the film vehemently but all I could see was Manisha Koirala dancing to ‘Kehna Hi Kya’. I just wanted to jump into the screen. I didn’t know too much about films then, but I just knew that I wanted to be doing that in future, and when I started working with Mani sir it was so surreal for me.”
“I was once again blown away by Manisha’s performance in Sanjay (Bhansali) sir’s, Khamoshi. Bombay, Khamoshi — these are the kind of films that have drawn me towards cinema,” she adds.
But one filmmaker who Aditi will forever remain grateful to is her mentor and National Award-winning filmmaker Sudhir Mishra. After a cameo in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6 (2009), Aditi got her big break in Mishra’s gritty drama, Yeh Saali Zindagi (2011) which kind of cemented her position; and, yet again, Mishra has trusted her with a challenging role in his upcoming Daas Dev (releases on 27 April).
In Daas Dev, which is modern day adaption of legendary epic romantic drama Devdas set against the turbulent political backdrop of Uttar Pradesh, Aditi’s character plays a politician — the ones that walk around the corridors of power, fixing deals and manipulating.
“The core of my character, Chandni is very similar to Chandramukhi, she’s very pure and selfless, but then, she’s a fixer. She’s an MBA dropout who has got into politics. She’s constantly proving to herself and to the world that she is capable of every task. She’s also kind of mysterious and knows everybody’s secret. Also, she’s the narrator of the whole story and from her point you see these very twisted, dark, selfish, characters. The core is similar to Devdas, but the film deals with intoxication at different level. Of power, of greed, of substance, of love…the film is actually a political thriller of intoxication,” says Aditi.
Aditi says that like in Mishra’s previous film, she couldn’t relate to this character as well. “On the first day of the shoot I completely freaked out and told Sudhir sir that I just don’t know this girl and I am just following you. But sometimes it can be quite exciting when you don’t know something at all. You are like a sponge, you are soaking in everything,” says Aditi, furthering, “Sudhir sir trusted me with a difficult part when I was a newcomer and I had just come to Mumbai. I had faced the camera before that but I wasn’t a professional actor then and was just dabbling in it for fun. I was studying. So, I didn’t ask him any question when he came to me with Daas Dev. He said, ‘I want you to do it, and I was, like, absolutely’. With Sudhir sir, even if he had wanted to play a broomstick in his movie, I would have readily done it,” laughs Aditi.
She is all set to collaborate with Mishra for the third time in his film on the life of Renu Saluja, one of Bollywood’s top-notch editors of the ’80s and ’90s, who passed away 18 years back. She was Mishra’s live-in partner and he collaborated with Saluja on award-winning films like Dharavi (1993) and Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1996).
Aditi may not be able to tell whether her performance has gone several notches higher after working with these stalwarts, but she has got a lot of appreciation whenever she has worked with Mishra, Ratnam or Bhansali.
“It is an amazing feeling when you can explore and try different things. I am pretty spoilt by that way. I keep craving that experience again and again,” says Aditi, who also longs to work with Vishal Bhardwaj, Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu and Sharad Kataria. “It is a great time for actors. I don’t look at films as commercial or arty, I just look at the story. If a film says a good story and the character is going to be memorable, I want to do it,” she says.
Aditi feels that she’s forever pushing and challenging herself which stems from her training in Bharatanatyam that has inculcated a certain discipline in her right from her childhood. In fact, her Tamil debut movie Sringaram (2007), in which she played Devdasi, beautifully portrayed her dancing skills.
When asked if this was the best phase of her career, she says, “It would be presumptuous to say that because as an artist I am greedy. The day I feel that I am doing my best work, I will never do any better. I am always inspired by people who keep pushing boundaries. But somewhere I am quite hard on myself. I have been learning dance since I was five, it is a difficult discipline because you are never allowed to be complacent, you are constantly pushed and challenged and when I am not being pushed I feel I am not working hard. I crave that experience.”
An aspect of this industry that annoys Aditi the most is “unnecessary controversies” as there have been numerous stories on the cold war between her and her Daas Dev co-star Richa Chadda, who portrays Paro. “I don’t know why in 2018 people still want to write about so called cat fights. It is sad. We are all hard working professionals supportive of each other. It is so derogatory for us women. Is this what people think about women’s behaviour? I don’t like to come out and speak about these things because why should I explain? Why explain? Whoever wants to write, it is their problem, it is all in their head and it shows their mentality. Neither Richa nor I have spoken about it,” says Aditi.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
I watched his new movie Blackmail and he still seems to be sitting on the same terrace from Neeraj Pandey’s film A Wednesday. Either way, Blackmail’s Dev (Irrfan Khan) seems like quite a disturbed man from the get-go.
According to the filmmakers, Blackmail is alternatively spelt Blackmale or Blackमेल. This gives you more than enough reason to think that this is supposed to be a comment on men and their minds, the way they think, the reflexive actions they take and the plans they make when confronted with various scenarios.
Maybe that’s why I, patently not a man, found Dev so bizarre.
I will never understand why Dev regularly feels the need to steal photos of his colleagues’ wives to use as visual aids while masturbating in the office bathroom. But then again, perhaps this was just meant to be an edgy and complex addition to the movie and to Dev’s dark character. Dev seems to be very prone to graphic and murderous thoughts about the people who anger him, especially women. When he comes home and sees his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari) in bed with another man, Ranjit, you’re shown his first instinctive reaction: He fantasises about smashing a heavy lamp into his wife’s head, and then about murdering the dude she’s with using a knife.
This is a thought process that — had he gone ahead and committed either of those murders by the way — would have received some sympathy from the courts and public. In many countries across the world, including our own, catching your wife in bed with another man is the textbook example of a situation that allows for a “crime of passion”. Murdering your wife or her lover in this situation is very likely to earn you a much lesser sentence than regular murder, simply because it wasn’t premeditated.
Meanwhile, India’s dusty old adultery laws ensure that in this situation, Ranjit was the only person committing the “crime” of adultery here at all, as only men can be found guilty of sleeping with another man’s wife (because you know, women have no agency and always belong to some man).
Perhaps this is why, when Dev settles on the option of blackmail instead of murder as his preferred form of retribution, he decides to send Ranjit text messages asking if he was having an affair with a “shaadi-shudha” woman. This sets off an extremely complicated chain of events that there really is no point getting into here, so let it be enough to say that Dev blackmails Ranjit, Ranjit blackmails Reena, Dev’s colleague Prabha blackmails Dev, and then the private investigator that Ranjit hires also blackmails Dev.
Through the course of this complicated chain of events, we are shown the depictions of seven murders. Four of the murders take place in Dev’s mind, while the other three deaths occur in reel life.
Of the seven, one imaginary victim and one in-reel-life victim are male. The others are all women, murdered in reflexive male anger. One woman’s body, that of Ranjit’s wife Dolly, is dragged across a room and stuffed into a fridge. The shot is taken from above, allowing you to see a long, wet, u-shaped smear of blood adorn the breadth of the very large room. A little while later, you see the corner of Dolly’s dress hanging out of the fridge.
When I saw these scenes, I was immediately reminded of the British author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless. Back in January, she started the Staunch book prize for thriller novels “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”. This is her attempt to clean up movies of glorified misogynistic violence, by addressing their usual source material, books. Lawless would give no prizes or money to the makers of Blackmail. Here, the majority of the murders depicted don’t even happen in the movie’s actual plot and isn’t serving as some larger plot device; but happen only in Dev’s own imagination. They exist either simply for their own sake, or as tools to show Dev is a true hero by not succumbing to these feelings and also not committing any murders himself. Three cheers for Mr Dev!
The shots of women’s bodies in Blackmail, especially poor Dolly’s, have a different flavour and texture from what we see of men’s bodies. The few shots of male bodies and murders are much shorter, and somehow far less gory. We don’t see them laid out aesthetically on a table for ages, like Dolly, and we’re not shown the same gruesome frames again and again, as with Prabha.
With the men, we’re shown just enough to know that they’re dead. With the women, you almost feel like we’re meant to see or appreciate something more, because we’ve sure as hell understood they were dead ages ago.
But in the midst of all this dubious imagery, there is one joke that’s extremely self-aware and hilarious. When Prabha, blackmailer #3, is found dead, all the men in the movie, including the policeman investigating her case and the closeted gay boss at her erstwhile workplace, keep talking or yelling about how sad they feel that a virgin has died. This is offered up with no explanation and plenty of exaggeration, particularly when the boss asks Dev if he’s looking depressed because Prabha was murdered and was a virgin.
Blackmail, as happy to shed female blood as it is, does offer up a few enjoyable moments like these. It also contains several boring cliches: like Dev’s hackneyed closeted-gay boss in the toilet paper company he works at (and all the juvenile butt jokes this combination can bring to mind), or a scene where Dev is sitting ponderously on his terrace and the billboard behind him flickers to show only the alphabets Life Suc. Still, these are silly cliches we can put up with, in the larger scheme of things.