Category Archives: Movies Review

Andhadhun, Sui Dhaaga box office collection: Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer collects Rs 15 cr on opening weekend

Sriram Raghavan’s new thriller Andhadhun topped the Indian box office in its opening weekend, pulling in an estimated Rs 15 crores in ticket sales, trade analyst Taran Adarsh reported on Monday.

The movie, featuring Ayushmann Khurrana, Tabu and Radhika Apte, earned critical acclaim and performed well at the box office over the weekend, with takings of Rs 2.7 crores, Rs 5.10 crores and Rs 7.20 crores on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte in a still from Andhadhun. Image via Twitter

Andhadhun revolves around a visually challenged piano player, played by Ayushmann, who gets into a mysterious situation. It is about how a series of incidents get unfolded afterwards, bringing about significant changes in his life. The story has been written by Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar along with Raghavan.

The Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan starrer Sui Dhaaga earned Rs 9.20 crores in it second weekend, taking its total collection to Rs 71.70 crores.

Sui Dhaaga is based on Make in India campaign launched by the government in 2014, which was aimed at promoting the country’s indigenous industries.

Adarsh also declared the horror-comedy Stree officially as a “blockbuster” after the film earned Rs 1.11 crores in its sixth weekend. The film has raked in Rs 129.21 crores since its release last month.

Sui Dhaaga box office collection: Anushka Sharma, Varun Dhawan’s film crosses Rs 55 crore

2 October proved to be a lucrative opportunity for Hindi films as box office collections witnessed a substantial growth. While Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan’s Sui Dhaaga crossed 55 crore on its fifth day, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha showed a positive turnaround.

Sui Dhaaga and Pataakha. Image via Twitter/@SRKnitin_rathod and @avradeep83

Sui Dhaaga raked in an impressive Rs 11.75 crore on Tuesday and was able to milk the national holiday. Its five-day total now stands at a neat Rs 55.35 crore.

Bhardwaj’s Pataakha, a tale of two feuding sisters, bounced back with a Rs 1.56 crore haul on Tuesday. Starring Radhika Madan and Sanya Malhotra, the film’s five-day gross now stands at Rs 6.55 crore.

In a surprising turn of events, Rajkummar Rao and Shradda Kapoor’s horror comedy, Stree, also raked in another crore on 2 October. Currently in its fifth week, the Dinesh Vijan production has Rs 127.42 crore in its kitty.

 

Batti Gul Meter Chalu movie review: Shahid Kapoor is earnest, but Shree Narayan Singh’s direction flickers

Editor-director Shree Narayan Singh and writers Siddharth-Garima move on from the issue of toilets and open defecation (addressed in their earlier effort Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) to another widespread problem. In Batti Gul Meter Chalu, which is based on a story by Vipul K Rawal, they train their lens on issues of electricity bills, load-shedding and power scams.

Shraddha Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor in a still from Batti Gul Meter Chalu

The action unfolds in Tehri, Uttarakhand. Three childhood friends live a happy life. Sushil Kumar Pant (Shahid Kapoor), aka SK, is a small-time advocate whose biggest victims are local businesses that make tall and false claims in their advertisements. His ‘bust friend’ Sunder Mohan Tripathi (Divyendu Sharma) is all set to open up a printing press. Lalita ‘Nauti’ Nautiyal (Shraddha Kapoor) is a local fashion designer. The threesome is inseparable, until Nauti decides to date the two boys for a week each before picking one. Suddenly, a love triangle is created and there is one sore loser.

Soon thereafter, Sunder’s desperation over a crippling electricity bill and subsequent disappearance leads to SK finding his dormant conscience. Overnight, he becomes a kind of local Munna Bhai, encouraging Gandhigiri type protests against errant power suppliers, and then taking up Sunder’s case against the electricity company.

A large portion post interval is devoted to the court case with SK being pitted against Gulnar (Yami Gautam) representing the power company. Here, Singh introduces a bleak attempt at humour – which is expected when you see Sushmita Mukherjee taking position as the presiding judge. It is tonally inappropriate and undermines the gravity of the issue being debated. Anyway, there is scant regard for courtroom decorum or accuracy in these scenes and yet, this is the more interesting segment. Through SK’s arguments, we learn of the depth of exploitation suffered by the common man.

Sharply styled hair and carefully manicured beard aside, Shahid throws himself into the role and brings some spark to SK. Divyendu keeps his head above water and connects as the everyman. Like the flickering light Lalita cribs about, Shraddha Kapoor’s performance also wavers.

The trailer of this film tells you almost all there is to know. Take that three minutes and add another 172: The main feature is a bloated narrative that skirts almost three hours. If the filmmaker had cut out the vapid first 15 minutes, and the black and white scenes (a narration device), think how much electricity and time could have been saved – not to mention how much more tolerable this film would have been.

Paltan movie review: Sitting through JP Dutta’s poorly enacted, overwritten war film is a battle in itself

At a 154 minutes running time, sitting through writer-director J.P. Dutta’s war drama Paltan is a battle.

There is an interesting idea in the beginning of the film, when a postman mechanically delivers telegrams leaving a street full of mourning families behind. But the voice-overs artists are so shrill and theatrical that it feels like a newcomer was in charge of directing a scene in a TV soap opera.

Dutta, whose penchant was seen in Border (1997) and LOC Kargil (2003), shows his craft and experience only at the tail end of this saga during one large battle sequence.

The middle 100 minutes are repetitive, poorly enacted, overwritten and unimaginatively directed. In a terribly acted post-script, we see another set of wailing family members, which negates any props Dutta earned with the cross-border battle between Indian and Chinese troops.

The main action takes place in 1967 on the border near Sikkim, at the Nathu La pass. Based on true events, we follow an Indian platoon trying to fend off unfriendly and violent advances by enemy troops. The soldiers are also carrying emotional wounds from a lethal and unethical attack in 1962, which all but wiped out a platoon.

Arjun Rampal plays Colonel Singh, freshly returned from serving under General Montgomery in Britain, and now assigned to Nathu La as commanding officer. Singh reports to Major General Sagat Singh (Jackie Shroff) who mandates that, come what way, Nathu La must not fall to the Chinese.

Serving under Colonel Singh are officers played by Sonu Sood, Gurmeet Choudhary, Harshvardhan Rane and Luv Sinha. Siddhant Kapoor plays the interpreter. Dutta gives some of these men very filmy back-stories, which allows him to take his camera and the viewer away from the stark landscape, where most of the action unfolds, into blander territory. So we see Harbhajan Singh’s love for his fields and family, Captain Dagar’s courtship with his fiancee etc.

These scenes are superfluous since they do not achieve what they should have — which is to make us care for these men. The primary reason for this disconnect is the characters are cardboard cutouts, and the actors are playing versions of toy soldiers.

If one had to sort them by rank, in terms of good to bad performances, Rampal, Shroff and Sinha would lead followed by Kapoor and Sood with Choudhary and Rane bringing up the rear. The actors playing the Chinese counterparts resort to glaring and grimacing, which would be fine in Kung Fu Hustle, but not in a serious war drama.

For a large part, we see the two sides engaged in petty skirmishes and shows of one-upmanship. At one point it appeared like Singh and Singh would adopt some smart war tactic, but alas, it simpered into finger-pointing and playground provocation.

Finally, Paltan is more testosterone and male ego than strategy or drama and, surprisingly, it’s tentative even in its jingoism.

Jimmy Sheirgill on Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi: It’s always fun doing light hearted roles

The more than two decades of experience in Bollywood has helped Jimmy Sheirgill devise his own tactics to ward of filmmakers who offer him bad scripts or scripts that are ‘potent’ enough to make him sleep. “Whenever a script fails to excite me, I often use a line that I’ve devised for such situations: Samajh mein nahi aaya (I didn’t get it).”

The actor often keeps a coffee mug handy to keep him awake during such occasions lest the boredom make him snooze. Jimmy also reveals another scheme he employs when he is subjected to narration of below par scripts: Telling the narrator about what could happen next. Thankfully, the script of Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi didn’t give him the chance to resort to any of his tricks when Mudassar Aziz was narrating.

Jimmy Sheirgill in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi. Image via Twitter/@BollywoodAajTak

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Jimmy is dubbed as the soul of Happy Bhag Jayegi, the film which offered ample doses of laughter when it released in 2016. The actor is all set to reprise the role of the jilted lover cum failed politician in its sequel, Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi. Though this time, the happenings are rooted in China and not Punjab. Has the actor developed some affinity towards comedy? “It’s always fun doing light-hearted roles and HPBJ was another great experience. But comedy apart, any role that’s sketched out and written well on paper, is always fun to do. If it’s not written well then however hard you may try, you simply can’t do anything to enhance it. Even if the role involves just four or five scenes and is well written, it’s bound to leave an impact,” says Jimmy.

The decision to make a sequel to HBJ was serendipitous for the film’s director Mudassar Aziz. The go-ahead for the initial idea of a sequel, apart from its producer Aanand L Rai, also came from Jimmy. As per the actor, Mudassar, after the release of HBJ, was busy working on another script and would often meet Aanand L Rai for jam sessions.

It was during one of those sessions that Mudassar came up with an idea with China as the premise and told Rai that if the thought were to be sketched further, it had all the potential to become the sequel of HBJ. Later on, the director also met Jimmy to get his views and it was only after Jimmy showed his excitement, more than the producer, project HPBJ was greenlit.

There have been instances in the past when sequels have failed to work as much as the original. When the plan to make a sequel of HBJ was being mooted, were there any voices that said that it should be left at the first film only? “Well, the most difficult thing about sequels is that they are often compared with their previous films. To be honest, there were no such voices but there is always this nervousness. With a sequel, you want to reach out to the same people and yet maintain the same integrity with which you brought the first film alive. The minute you try to tell them that just because your first film was a success, you are giving a bigger canvas to the second film, it starts to depict dishonesty.” Jimmy emphatically mentions that if the producers were really trying to make the sequel big, so to speak, then there would have never been a trailer that’s so heavily based on the antics of Bagga and Afridi.

The mention of dishonesty also reminds one of the box office debacle of Jimmy’s last flick Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3. It was a film that tried to milk the persona of Sanjay Dutt rather than telling more about the world of Saheb and Biwi. “The biggest flaw that transpired with SBG 3 was the fact that in part one and two, there was this world of Saheb and Biwi which could ensnare any outsider. The evil world of the couple was the biggest attraction for audiences and it was hardly there in part three,” admits Jimmy.

Jimmy has often been part of films when his character has fared better than the main protagonist, often played by a bigger star. Most of the reviews for SBG 3 said that he was better than Sanjay Dutt in the film. “I have no interest in overshadowing any star. It’s only the final goal, that a picture should run, counts. I have been hearing such things for years. I am just a normal actor and when the result is reflected in box office figures, then it gives us hope that something new will come along.” Jimmy recalls of a conversation he recently had with Luv Ranjan, director of films like Pyar Ka Punchnama and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. “He had told me that giving a 100 cr film with established stars is no big deal. The real fun lies in achieving the same figure with newcomers or good actors. Whenever the idea of me getting the better of other actors is mentioned, most of the producers either take a U-turn from my home or pull me out of their film,” he concludes.

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi movie review: Sonakshi Sinha leads charge with gusto in a pleasantly silly comedy

Happy Bhag Jayegi was the sleeper hit of 2016, a comedy revolving around an Amritsari bride who runs away from her wedding to marry the man she loves, but lands up in the home of a stranger – a Pakistani politician – by mistake. Diana Penty was luminous as the eponymous leading lady of that film, which, despite its insubstantial plot and flagging second half, managed to be funny all the same. She reprises her role in a cameo in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi even as it diverts its gaze to another Punjabi girl called Harpreet aka Happy, this one played by Sonakshi Sinha.

Writer-director Mudassar Aziz appears to have taken the feedback on his previous venture to heart. Happy Part 2 not only remains largely amusing if you can excuse a few waning patches here and there, the writing of its characters and the plot also have more substance than Part 1. Of course it is a parade of non-stop nonsense, but how does it hurt to get a fit of the giggles in a film that yet does not insult your intelligence and heads off in directions that Bollywood rarely bothers with, especially in comedy?

Diana Penty and Sonakshi Sinha in a still from Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi. YouTube

For a start, it is nice to once again meet a heroine not helplessly hanging around waiting for a man, any man, to bachao (save) her when she is trapped in trying circumstances. This Happy is a combustible woman and like that Happy takes matters into her own hands when the going gets tough.

There’s more where she came from. How often do we get to see a Hindi film featuring a turbanned Sikh as a major character without the screenplay being packed with Bhangra and cries of “balle balle”, without the guy in question being loud and boisterous, and sans sermons about Sikh valour or traditions of service to others? Representation should not be about pedestalising minority communities, but about acknowledging their existence in big and small ways without feeling compelled to create a shindig around an individual’s religious or ethnic identity.

So yeah, we have Khushwant Singh Gill (played by the very likeable Jassie Gill) who is recruited to Happy’s team in a foreign country, without so much as a balle balle or a lecture about Sikhism. Then there is the Lahori cop Usman Afridi (Piyush Mishra) and the Amritsari thug-politician Daman Singh Bagga (Jimmy Sheirgill), carryovers from Happy Bhag Jayegi, still sparring over Urdu and Pakistan in a still engaging and still inoffensive fashion. Yeah, a Pakistani character who is not belittled or demonised in this era of crude, in-your-face nationalism that India is passing through and Bollywood is pandering to. Imagine that.

The trickiest part of Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is that it is set in China, which would have been an excuse to make lazy racist jokes in most Bollywood films, but not here. Aziz walks a fine line – a clever line – by allowing his characters to be racist as they would be in real life, while using their prejudice to throw a spotlight on the “all Chinese look alike” attitude of the average insular Indian who resorts to the dismissive umbrella labels “Cheeni” and “chinky” for people of the entire geographical region extending from our own north-eastern states all the way to Japan. Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi’s humour incorporates consequences that the primary characters suffer for their insularity and ignorance. This is done mainly through the medium of the gangster Chang played by Jason Tham.

None of this is spelt out in black and white, nor is the normalisation of a gay romance in a brief passage that eschews Dostana-style jokes completely. In a film where you least expect it, we are thus reminded without anyone overtly saying so, that homosexuals, cross dressers, Pakistanis, the Chinese, Punjabis and women – groups that are usually stereotyped in Hindi cinema – are all just regular people.

Jassie Gill, Sonakshi Sinha and Jimmy Shiergill in a still from Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi

 

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi could still have done with more work on its writing and direction – the songs (barring the remix of the appropriately chosen classic, ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu’) are ordinary and feel superfluous, there are places in the narrative where the energy dips (which is inexcusable in a comedy), the manner in which a fellow called Fa in Shanghai is introduced seems to suggest that he will be a significant player among Happy’s allies but then he inexplicably disappears for most of the film, and the sidelining of Diana Penty’s Happy feels like such an opportunity lost considering the spark this underrated, under-utilised actor showed in the first Happy.

Truth be told, I was really looking forward to more scenes with Sinha and Penty together, because though Sinha is the bigger star, Penty has the charisma to match. Where she does get screen space in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, Penty gives us evidence of her innate verve, which adds to the disappointment on this front.

Sinha’s filmography so far has been dominated by crass big-banner ventures often trivialising sexual harassment and starring major male stars, in which she played the hero’s lover who could have been played by any other marginal female star. She has underlined her ability to be more than just a vapid sidelight and in fact to carry a story on her shoulders in films such as Lootera, Noor and Ittefaq. Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi gives her the chance to tap her comic timing and she does so with gusto, leading the charge in an ensemble cast of gifted actors. Piyush Mishra is as hilarious as he was last time. Sheirgill gets more opportunities here to mine his flair for comedy and is good too. And Gill is, without question, hero material.

Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi is not without flaws, but they are overshadowed by the absence of references to farts, poop and animal backsides, homophobia, misogyny and other ugly biases that have repeatedly reared their heads in the kind of comedies Sinha herself has been a part of over the years. Pleasant and engaging is an option in this genre – thank you, Mr Aziz, for knowing that.

Note: This is not a Hindi film. The dialogues are a mix of Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and a spot of Mandarin (I think), with Punjabi dominating the conversations but not so much that a non-Hindi speaker would be lost.

Mulk: Anubhav Sinha is among the growing breed of filmmakers who do not want to whitewash reality

In the first twenty minutes of Mulk, director Anubhav Sinha takes a dig at the Swachh Bharat campaign and the government’s demonetisation move. Blink for even a second and chances are, you might just miss the director’s disenchantment with the Centre’s policies and schemes. He goes a step further and attacks the issue of islamophobia. Mulk also ventures into a territory which many filmmakers shudder to think about – the perils of neo-nationalism. In other words, the film does not hesitate to call a spade a spade and shreds to pieces the government’s many theories. It’s a film that breaks stereotypes and conventions which hitherto had not been seen in Bollywood. Judging by the past record of such films, it is astonishing to see that it did not have to face the ire of the censor board. Mulk is a fine example of a growing breed of filmmakers who are determined not to whitewash reality.

Taapsee Pannu in a still from Mulk. Screenshot from YouTube.

Fanney Khan, another recent release, has a song very much in tune with the current government’s slogan for the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Again, despite the hue and cry, the song ‘Mere Achhe Din Kab Aayenge’ featured in the final cut of the film. Netflix’s Sacred Games, helmed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap created ripples amongst the cadres of a certain political party when it mentioned Bofors. Congress took objection to the Netflix series for allegedly showing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in poor light but Congress chief himself put a lid on the entire controversy when he came up with his own statement. Kashyap himself lauded Rahul Gandhi’s act and hailed his views. Despite the brouhaha, the objectionable scenes and the dialogue can still be seen on the streaming platform. The fact that here is a director who mentioned things about the Bofors scam and did not shy away from stating facts reflects subversive courage, one that is rare in the times of playing it safe territory.

Not so long ago, the superhit Tamil film Mersal criticised the government by raising questions on implementation of the GST. The government countered by declaring that the film portrayed ‘untruths’ about the central taxation scheme. Despite being cleared by the censor board, though the two and half minute sequence was later trimmed from the film, but not before it made everyone aware of the government’s attempt to thwart freedom of expression.

This change needs to be lauded and filmmakers should be given due credit for not kowtowing to the establishment. The change today is a far cry from the days when policies and the government itself were considered to be sacrosanct and their reflection on the screen required them to be in sync with the stated policies. If at all someone dared to swim against the tide, they were forcibly calmed down by just muttering the dreaded ‘censor’ word. One reason why filmmakers are embracing muted reality from the past and the current could be attributed to the influx of global content that an average viewer has now access to.

Showtime in the US can air an animated series called Our Cartoon President and The Looming Tower on Amazon can denounce the administrative decisions that led to the 9/11 attacks. No one blinks an eye and no furore is created. In other words, the mature level of content that the world is being exposed to is now seeping into India’s viewing appetites. The need to make Mulk arose from the fact that Anubhav was sick and tired hearing different interpretations of nationalism. “The definition of nationalism has become jingoistic, if you can shout louder then you are a nation lover. I wanted to change this notion.”

Last year, it was Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar that dug out an old chapter from Indian history – The Emergency, and did not hesitate in putting forth facts which were either omitted or conveniently altered to suit the vested interests of a certain group of people. Rajinikanth’s Kaala too touched upon a sensitive subject when it talked about caste politics. Udta Punjab had an ugly brush with the censor board but the fact that the film eventually saw the light of day in theatres despite revolving around the drug menace in Punjab – the very theme government and censor board objected to — can only be termed as a short-lived struggle by the makers who were associated with the film. Newton too took a dig at the way elections are conducted in remote areas. None of these films were stopped from getting screened in theatres.

Things which till now were swept under the carpet are now coming out in the open. The change is slow but it’s happening nonetheless. Apart from giving voice to filmmakers, social media too has made the world a smaller place. The very concept of living in isolation now exists no more. Filmmakers have now comprehended that stating facts is the way ahead and any attempt to dilute the truth will lead to the fear of getting exposed. A change is here and it should be commended and kudos to the authorities that have allowed this change to take place.

Gold movie review: Akshay Kumar-starrer’s penchant for overstatement overshadows its few moments of moving quiet

Chak De! India is arguably the gold standard for any contemporary Hindi film hoping to use sport as a showcase for this country’s complex multi-cultural landscape. Gender politics, a factious nation’s religious and regional tensions, and the inevitability of inter-personal rivalries in a team game all found a place in Shimit Amin’s fabulous 2007 film about the Indian women’s hockey team at the turn of the century finding its oxygen under a new coach, yet it appeared not to strain a nerve to sermonise. Chak De! is a hard act to follow.

Director Reema Kagti’s Gold sets itself on the same playing field — hockey, this time for men — but shifts its gaze to a period stretching from 1936 pre-Independence India to the first Olympics we played after the British left our shores. India, as we know from history texts, dominated world hockey for several decades back then. Cobbling a team together for the 1948 Olympics was a challenging task, however, for a fictional team manager called Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), with Partition having robbed us of many of our great sporting talents. In this scenario, Tapanda battles his own alcoholism and a cynical hockey establishment, in addition to the parochial and class divisions within the team to get free India a gold, not so much for sporting glory and self realisation but to take revenge on our former colonisers.

Akshay Kumar in a still from Gold. Image via Twitter

In the tradition of several Akshay Kumar films of the past 3-4 years, Kagti — who earlier made the neatly irreverent Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and the wonderfully mellow Talaash — goes full throttle into loud, chest-thumping nationalist territory for Gold. If a point has to be made, it is spelt out not once but repeatedly. If a personal experience has to be a source of inspiration for a brainwave on the hockey field, the dialogue from the earlier moment must be replayed, on the assumption perhaps that viewers are not bright enough to get the hint from the proceedings on screen. If two characters are going to be at war in the dressing room, then their potential clash is announced through a long song that stresses and re-stresses and further stresses their class differences, just in case the audience did not quite get it from the initial indicators of one chap’s evident wealth and the other’s evident lack of it. And when the national anthem plays in a scene that is truly and unexpectedly moving, the emotional resonance of the turn of events that preceded it is not deemed enough, the film’s patriotic fervour has to be underlined with a fluorescent marker in the form of one man — you can guess who — shouting “Vande Mataram.”

It is hard to understand why a filmmaker as gifted as Kagti could not see that there is melodrama and great beauty intrinsic to the story of a newly Independent and poor nation winning a hockey Olympic gold for the first time under its own flag. The failure to recognise this is Gold’s Achilles heel. When Kagti does manage to weave some moments of quiet into the larger tapestry of overstatement she is working on — such as that scene in which the team first realises they will be ripped apart by Partition, or the dynamics in the bar fight which almost destroys Team India, or the warmth between the former teammates turned rivals from India and Pakistan at Olympics 1948, and most of all the two hockey matches that dominate the closing half hour. These are the scenes in which we get to see what Gold could have been if it had not underestimated its audience or been overly anxious to cash in on the raucous, aggressive patriotism dominating the current national discourse.

Kagti has saved her best for Gold’s last 30 minutes, during which, despite all the film’s follies, I found myself cheering for the Indian team and welling up with emotion for them.

Of the cast, Sunny Kaushal and Amit Sadh play the only hockey players who are well fleshed out in the writing. The excellent Vineet Kumar Singh takes on the role of Imtiaz Ali Shah, captain of the undivided Indian team, giving his character far more heft than the screenplay affords. Akshay Kumar gets the most screen time, of course, as manager-cum-talent scout-cum-coach-cum-everything to the team, but delivers an awkward, uninspired performance in which his effort to be Bengali overshadows all else.

The oddest part of Gold is the fictionalisation of the hockey players who in reality won India a gold at the 1948 Olympics. Dhyan Chand and his teammates are all part of sporting legend in India, yet for some reason, instead of using the names of these men who did us proud and bringing their characters to life, we get made up names and characters based on their experiences in Gold instead. Yelling out “Vande Mataram” on screen can hardly compensate for this disservice to these great men.

Gold has its occasional redeeming moments, but for the most part it just skims the surface of a landscape once examined with such depth by Chak De! India.

Race 3 makes opening day box-office record in Pakistan post ban, beating Avengers: Infinity War

Karachi: Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s Race 3 has set a new opening day box office collection record in Pakistan despite being released a week after the Eid festival holidays.

According to the Box Office Details website, Race 3 did a business of Rs 2.25 crore approximately on its opening day on 23 June beating Avengers Infinity War and the top Pakistani release, 7 Din Mohabbat Kay.

Still from Race 3

The film, directed by Remo D’Souza, released eight days late in Pakistan after the government imposed a ban on the screening of Indian films two days before and one week after the Eid holiday period.

The ban was imposed so that four big banner Pakistani films and other smaller regional language releases on Eid do good business without competition from Bollywood movies.

Three of the four big banner films were not well received while the Mahira Khan-starrer 7 Din Mohabbat Kay had a respectable business, raking in Rs 8.65 crore approximately from its release on Eid day (16 June) to 22 June.

Eid holidays were celebrated in Pakistan from 15 to 18 June.

Javed Sheikh’s Wajood, another big star release on Eid, also managed a total collection of just 2.55 crore in a week’s time.

The Mahira Khan-starrer had collected just Rs 1.5 crore on its opening day despite the ban on Bollywood releases.

The website said Race 3 collections were the best for any Hindi film released this year in Pakistan, making it the third biggest single day collection for any Hindi film and the highest for 2018. The film minted Rs 2.62 crore by 23 June after it started screening with a few mid-night shows at some cineplexes in Karachi and Lahore on 22 June.

The website said Race 3 had made the collections despite having lesser shows than Avengers at some cineplexes.

(Also Read: Race 3 may be another Salman Khan hit but his best films are those where he’s surrendered to director’s vision)

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero actor Ashish Verma to play drug peddler in British film Imperial Blue

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.

A still from Bhavesh Joshi Superhero. YouTube

“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.