Monthly Archives: August 2017

Watch: Babumoshai Bandookbaaz star Nawazuddin Siddiqui introduces new range of non-sexist abuses

What did you think when you watched the trailer of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s upcoming film, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz? The film is rusty, risky and raunchy from thevery start of the trailer.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui on Blush's video - 'Ajab Gaaliyan'. Screen grab via YouTube.

Siddiqui, over the years, has created a unique space of his own ever since he made it big with Anurag Kashyap’s magnum opus Gangs of Wasseypur. The earthy and sassy Faizal was full of vengeance and yet had a sense of charm, which struck a chord with many cine-goers. Since then, he has been seen in many avatars — in films like Kahaani, Badlapur, Bajrangi Bhaijaanand Mom, to name a few.

His most recent venture Babumoshai Bandookbaaz seems to be an echo of his ‘Faizal’ persona. Siddiqui’s character in the film is romantic, temperamental and foul-mouthed. So, the actor felt that in the midst of playing sexist characters who abuse in films, he should rid the gaalis of any ‘isms’.

He says, “You are angry with the person sitting in front of you, but cuss words about mothers and sisters? Isn’t that unfair?” Of course, it is! It has always been. So here he is, giving his alternative range of non-sexist abuses (sans any mother, sister, wife references). And we just can’t thank the actor enough.

He begins with A – “Auto ke height wale insaan” (A person of an auto rickshaw’s height); B – “Baarish me bane sabse bade gaddhe” (Biggest potholes during monsoons)… and goes on to give some wonderful delights as F – “Facebook message ke ‘Other’ folder” (The ‘Other’ folder of Facebook message); I – “Internet Explorer ka speed, woh bhi dial-up connection pe” (Internet Explorer’s speed on a dial-up connection) and many more.

Badshaaho star Emraan Hashmi: ‘I am detached from both success and failure

With an apple in hand, he is all set to start a conversation. So, after 14 years can he call himself an actor as opposed to a star? “That’s for the audience to gauge. I feel I have definitely owned a skill set and over the course of 14 years it has become better. The validation didn’t come to me in the first few years. There was a certain critique for my films because people saw a side of me being repetitive. But post that I hit a very good phase,” he says.

The big shift for Hashmi was Awarapan, which failed to hit the bull’s eye, but showed his flair for acting. Jannat and Once Upon A Time In Mumbai followed next, cementing his position and also turning the tide in favour of Emraan. The star was once caught in the image of a ‘serial kisser’, but with his last few films, that image is slowly being broken.

With Badshaaho, Hashmi returns to work with his Once Upon A Time In Mumbai team. “Milan had shared the story with me when we were shooting for OUATIM. It’s about the gold that was seized from the Maharani’s palace in Jaigarh during the Emergency. When it was being transported out of the city and taken to Delhi, somewhere along the way amidst the convoy of police and military it disappeared, and no one knew where it went. Milan has given a logical conclusion to Badshaaho with the help of six badass characters.”

Baadshaho also marks a new beginning of Emraan’s career, almost like rising from a storm. Things came crashing down three years back after his son was detected with Leukemia. The actor admits that it was difficult to keep his sanity. “I could have really destroyed lots of things after getting such news about my own family member. It was the most difficult phase and it’s very difficult to describe it to anyone. It could have thrown my career and personal life in shambles. You have to find that solace and hope somehow to keep moving forward and not stay in the past,” admits a candid Emraan.

This was also the phase when he delivered duds like Ungli, Mr X, Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Azhar in succession. The failure did upset him after having devoted 100-odd days to each film. So to what extent did the ‘success apple cart’ get disturbed?

“I have had initial failures in my career but I am thankful to my roots. I started of as a supporting actor, so I have climbed my way up and I have seen some tough times. It might sound clichéd but I am detached from both success and failure,” he adds. Emraan believes that his toughness comes from his family where everyone was put through the harshest criticism and was always supposed to excel.

However, the biggest irony of all is that Emraan doesn’t watch Bollywood films, he self-admittedly only thrives on Hollywood. So has he started watching Hindi cinema now? “Oh, yes. A bit. It was my PR who instructed me not to say to the media that I don’t watch Hindi films. I even said this when I went sat on the couch for Karan’s show,” he guffaws.

Like a large part of the industry, Emraan, too, worries about films not performing at the box office. “I dread to think what will happen after 20 years. Will people be consuming movies on cinema screens?”

The actor has three projects under his banner upcoming, but he wants to be extremely sure about their scripts before proceeding further. It’s certain that Emraan Hashmi has many acts up his sleeves; we’ll have to wait and watch.

2.0: Rajinikanth, Shankar bring back spirit of Enthiran; Akshay Kumar looks evil in ‘making-of’ video

The video of the making of the Tamil film 2.0 is already trending hours after being released, thanks to the superstars who feature in it, as well as fans who are now awaiting  the Enthiran sequel. Looks like Rajinikanth and Shankar are definitely making a comeback, only this time, they are joined by Akshay Kumar, who is in a never-seen-before avatar.

In the one and a half minute-long glimpse released, Rajini takes over from exactly where he left us in the first movie. Seven years later, the superstar looks almost similar to his role in Enthiran. The makeup, the body language and all of the stunts in this video make for the ultimate flashback Friday moment of the month.


Though one cannot stop talking about Thailavar and his presence, what wis bound to take the audience by surprise is Akshay Kumar. Apart from Rajini, the making of 2.0 is all about the Bollywood actor’s tryst with south cinema and his evil look. Akshay Kumar is convincing as the bad guy, and glimpses from the set have definitely got us curious. Excitement for the two to face-off just increased — this is one of the most spectacular protagonist-antagonist duos on screen.


We also get to watch Amy Jackson on set, who makes a pretty appearance in red. The actress replaces Aishwarya Rai, who starred in the first installment.

There is also S Shankar, who is seen busy directing in his trademark style. Multiple technicians working on what looks like humongous sets, top-notch makeup, stunts and VFX. Evidently, the making video has revealed that Shankar is once again working on a larger-than-life script. AR Rahman too, makes an appearance with Rajini and Akshay Kumar.


As we know, Rajinikanth played both Dr Vasi and Chitti the robot in Enthiran, and even in the making of 2.0, we see him essaying both these characters. What would be interesting to watch is Akshay Kumar’s role and whether Shankar has kept Rajini’s original characters intact.

2.0 directed by Shankar is been made for the Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film audience. This 3D science fiction film is touted as India’s most expensive movie. with a budget of around Rs 400 crore and is expected to hit screens in January 2018.

A Gentleman: Kudos to Sidharth, Jacqueline and directors Raj-DK for showing us how it’s done

With Mubarakan, A Gentleman, Mersal and Judwaa 2 all exploring the concept of identical-looking people (whether its twins or doppelgangers), the popularity of films with the double-role trope has suddenly surged.

In A Gentleman, Sidharth Malhotra plays two roles: Gaurav, who is safe, and Rishi, who is risky. Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez) is on the receiving end of the confusion between the two identical looking characters.

A Gentleman

If you’ve seen the trailer of A Gentleman, both Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez have performed in a manner we’ve never seen before. This only proves good direction can make a world of a difference. Sidharth is able to balance between the two characters Rishi and Gaurav with ease in the trailer, and Jacqueline seems to be the catalyst around which all the events happen. Raj and DK have an impressive filmography: Shor In the city and Go Goa Gone are two of my favourite films. Will A Gentleman prove to be the acting break both Jacqueline and Sidharth need?

Gaurav is a matrimonial ad waiting to be written. His hair is patted down with all the world’s hair gel and he’s the quintessential good-looking good boy. We’re introduced to his character in the first few minutes of the film and the first word that comes to mind is paavam (a Tamil word that roughly translates as ‘awww poor thing’).

The film is set in Miami and therefore, Jacqueline’s Kavya has a legit reason to have an accent. Kavya pushes him to be more youthful, cooler. However here’s the catch:  While the whole world thinks Gaurav is a ‘gentleman’, Kavya thinks he’s too safe. It’s why they are just friends, even though Gaurav is clearly crushing on her.

Enter Rishi. He’s everything Gaurav is not. Risky, sauve, dangerous and mysterious. The most effective way to distinguish between Gaurav and Rishi (beyond setting and clothes), is Sidharth Malhotra’s expressions. He’s able to change his whole demeanour and body language based on who he’s playing.

Rishi’s introduction happens in Bangkok, while he’s executing a heist under the order of ‘Colonel’ (Suniel Shetty), who plays the head of Rishi’s con clan. Watching him on screen after so long is exciting, as he’s not lost his screen presence (and actually has gained newfound sexiness, what with the beard)

The events of the film kept shifting between Miami, Bangkok and Mumbai, as we see Gaurav dealing with the pitfalls of being nice guy, while Rishi deals with the morality of being a contract thief/killer.

A still from A Gentleman. Youtube screengrab

A lot of screen time is spent showing us how Gaurav wants what Rishi has: which is the edge, the mystery and several dimensions to his character. Meanwhile, Rishi, who is sick of living an immoral life, wants to settle down and find love. While the irony is evident it didn’t add much to the narrative well into the first half. Everything seems misplaced. Forty minutes into the film and we’re still establishing characters, which is leading to much confusion.

However, Raj and DK’s treatment of this narrative is funny, and some scenes are genuinely hilarious, buying into the confusion they have built for themselves.

Coming back to the plot, Rishi decides he’s had enough of being a conman, so he confronts Colonel and quits his job. He then lands up in Goa and sparks off a chain of events. Colonel asks him to help out with one last final project in Mumbai. And at the same time, Gaurav’s boss sends him from Miami to Mumbai for work.

Finally the narrative picks up, and we know to expect impending confusion, and humour, owing to their identical looks.

Another hilarious scene that deserves mention is one involving Rishi pretending to be gay to stall someone important, who his gang is trying to use for their last heist. It’s impressive to see that this scene is treated with sensitivity and not sensationalism.

The final nail in this misplaced yet interesting narrative is when we find out Rishi’s last heist involves Gaurav and his trip to Mumbai.

Cue confusion. Finally, A Gentleman has my full attention.

No matter where the film is based/keeps switching to, Raj and DK really know how to celebrate Mumbai in their depiction, especially with the visuals. They had done so in Shor in the City and you can see the same vision in A Gentleman. The best action scenes are reserved for the claustrophobic bylines of Mumbai’s suburbs.

The mid-point break really seals all the misplaced-ness from the ongoing narrative. It makes up for all the confusion, and without giving much away, suffice it to say that by the interval, the story starts to make sense. The double role confusion is given a massive yet impressive twist and I’m totally sinking into it.

All I’ll say is the confusion revolves around identity, and it’s this identity crisis that creates several plot points in the film. Whether it’s about Gaurav and his project in Mumbai, or Rishi and his last heist in Mumbai, everything gets jumbled and mashed into one story.

If the first half was all over the place, the second half picks up steam, and resembles a cohesive story. Raj and DK have thrashed out how to include implausible tropes like the double role, and also having songs in the film. Not only are the songs foot-tapping, they don’t hamper the story.

Save from tying up a few lose ends, the second half is dedicated largely to Kavya and Gaurav. Her parents come to Miami and want to set them up together, but she’s not interested in marriage yet. However, whatever happened in Mumbai isn’t leaving them. Not only is the underworld of Miami now involved, Gaurav and Kavya are the targets. Meanwhile, those two are still discovering each other.

Finally — a Bollywood film that doesn’t force its two leads to fall in love just because they’re good looking!


Special mention to Hussain Dalal, who plays Gaurav’s friend Dixit, and Amit Mistry who plays a Gujarati don in Miami. Both bring in regular doses of humour.

The last film that had the balance between commercial tropes and an innovative narrative was Dishoom — incidentally starring Sidharth’s Student Of The Year co-star Varun Dhawan. The film didn’t take audience sensibilities for granted, and neither does A Gentleman. This is how we should do commercial films: good-looking lead pair, great songs (even if somewhat generic) and a story that pulls you in.

While watching the film, I noticed the audiences laughing, discussing possibilities and coming to conclusions. These are the kind of films we deserve. Even though A Gentleman takes time get into the groove of its own narrative and confusion, it makes up for it with a cracker of a second half. Sidharth as Gaurav/Rishi, Jacqueline as Kavya, and all the other supporting actors play their part well in unraveling the story for us.

The action isn’t larger than life, and even comical at times, engaging even the most anti-action person (like me). The tone of the film keeps shifting between funny, serious, confusion and finally, almost like a Guy Ritchie film, ties up in the last few moments, with aplomb.

A Gentleman is impressive: well done, Raj-DK, Sidharth and Jacqueline.

Kriti Sanon talks about her upcoming project Farzi; will Arjun Kapoor star opposite her?

Kriti Sanon has come a long way from her Heropanti and 1: Nenokkadine days. In 2015, she starred with Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Varun Dhawan in Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale. Having played the lead role in two films this year, Raabta and Bareilly Ki Barfi, one wonders what she is up to next.

Recent reports suggested that that director duo Raj and DK have decided to cast Arjun Kapoor opposite Kriti Sanon in Farzi, a movie which has been at the planning stage since 2014, after having three meetings with Arjun recently. It was speculated that Shahid Kapoor was initially supposed to play the lead in this film, but apparently, he wasn’t too happy with the script.

Kriti Sanon. Image from Facebook

Speaking to Firstpost, Kriti confirms that she has given a nod to Farzi a long time ago. “After that [being signed on], it [Farzi] was stuck, as things didn’t fall in place. So, it was put aside. At the time, Shahid was doing it, but for some reason, this did not materialise. Now I don’t know what is happening with respect to it, and there is nothing that I can talk about. Raj and DK were always doing the film, but I can’t comment on whether Arjun Kapoor is now part of the project. If a film has to happen it will; every film has its destiny,” she said.

There are also speculations about Kriti replacing Tapsee Pannu in a film starring and co-produced by John Abraham, where he plays a businessman accused of murdering his lover. Tapsee was supposed to play the role of a scheming mistress. Apparently, some members of the creative team were impressed with Kriti’s performance in Bareilly Ki Barfi and told John about it.

In response, Kriti said, “I keep reading a lot of reports like these, but I haven’t officially signed any of these projects. I have said ‘yes’ to a particular project, but I will wait for the producers to announce it. Unless I actually say ‘yes’, I cannot comment. These speculations will keep making the rounds, and it is not fair to comment on everything. I am reading a lot of scripts; I have liked one or two of them, and I am figuring out what, how and when. These days, content is king and the story is the most important factor, so I don’t want to be in a hurry.

Sidharth Malhotra: ‘I never felt left out while working with the star kids’

There is a lot of hustle-bustle in Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio, with quite a few vanity vans parked in the compound. In this chaotic scenario, one man who is looking bright and sunny is Bollywood’s resident hunk Sidharth Malhotra. Dressed in a floral blue shirt and joggers, he steps out of his vanity van flashing a charismatic smile and does a quick photo shoot with his happy-go-lucky and glamorous co-star Jacqueline Fernandez as part of promotions of their upcoming film, A Gentleman – Sundar, Susheel, Risky.

He playfully strangles her with her jeans jacket, she utters a yelp and gives a light punch to her screen hero making for a perfect capture for a fun photo. Soon, Sidharth settles down in his colourful vanity van for an exclusive chat with Firstpost. He is playing a dual role in the movie that revolves around a mistaken identity; one is ‘susheel’ while the other is ‘risky’.

“We never shot for both the characters on the same day and hence I could separate them mentally. Gaurav loves his 9 to 5 job, he wants to learn to cook for his wife and take his family for a drive, whereas Rishi is a loner and does not mind taking risks. Lots of humour has come out of both the characters,” says Sidharth, who bonded big time with his first time heroine. “Jacqueline doesn’t carry stress, she is always happy. She loves the outdoors, just the way I do. We bonded even off-camera; we would go horse riding and have poker nights in my house. Today we are great friends and that shows,” he adds.

Sidharth Malhotra has so far had six releases in his five-year-old career. He is a huge fan of action comedies and a great admirer of director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s (popularly known as Raj and DK) work. It’s essentially what made him give a nod to this project.

“I would love watching action comedies while growing up but so far we have seen only loud films in this genre, with elements of gags, slapstick. A Gentleman, however, is very stylised. It has deadpan humour and a lot of physical comedy. I love Raj and DK’s work, especially in the humour zone. Their debut film 99, and Go Goa Gone are my favourites. The film speaks a universal language and has got a good mix of what I have done in the past — romance, comedy, action,” says the actor.

Talking about the confusion surrounding the movie being a sequel to Bang Bang, Sidharth says, “We had to write it on the clapper board of the movie, ‘Not Bang Bang 2′. The cast, directors, story, characters, everything is different.”

Recognition for acting talent may not have come easy for this Delhi boy, with his good looks and modelling background coming in the way of him being taken seriously. But the 2016 release Kapoor & Sons kind of shifted this perception with the audience getting a glimpse of his acting chops.

“People have a perception that those who come from a modelling background can’t act. That is why I am here: to change the perception (laughs out loud). Nobody could tell 10 or 15 years ago that I would do a Karan Johar film. With a middle class upbringing in Delhi, I started from scratch but now I am a working actor. My next three films will change the perception that people have of the background that I come from, which is of an outsider or the modelling industry,” says Sidharth.

He has an interesting line-up of films like Ittefaq, a murder mystery, Neeraj Pandey’s thriller drama Aiyaary about a mentor-prodigy relationship, and Mohit Suri’s romance franchise Aashiqui 3. “Next six to seven months are very interesting for me. I have some amazing scripts coming up. People will get to see me in three different avatars in these credible, story-driven films. What else could an actor ask for?” he smiles.

Sidharth has had his share of ups and downs, and he believes nothing’s permanent in the industry. “It is all very temporary and seasonal, so you have to be on your toes. You can’t live off your previous hits or you can’t be low about your past flops. It is a matter of being relevant and reinventing yourself,” he says, adding, “But yes, there is a difference in how I choose my scripts now. There is definitely more instinct, more understanding of my craft, of my personality, my presence. With the audience getting more picky and choosy, they are pushing and nudging us to write better content.”

Work-wise, comparisons are often drawn between Sidharth and two of his first co-stars (and industry kids), Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhat; the trio debuted with Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year (2012). “In all honesty I am very consumed by the line-up of films and I mostly compete with my previous work. When Ek Villain did really well, I wished that (snaps fingers) Brothers worked better. Baar Baar Dekho was not accepted (snaps fingers again) so now I wish more aggressively that Gentleman becomes my biggest. It is all very personal, very internal. Nobody will help me in my journey, my journey is only mine,” he says.

One can’t resist asking this self-confessed ‘outsider’ about his take on the ‘N’ (Nepotism) word. Laughing uproariously, he queries, “Oh, so now it’s become the N word? Good thing is, majority of India and the youth now know the meaning of the word; we have become a bit more articulate.”

On a serious note, he adds, “Enough has been spoken about it but yes, nepotism exists. There are so many actors from film families who get chances again and again. There is no point denying it and I don’t know whether it is good or bad. The only advantage for them is that they have a sense of awareness and comfort because of the world they know, as opposed to people like us who come from outside. We take slightly longer to settle down. I never ever felt left out while working with the star kids but just that there was no awareness and I was absorbing the process until my second and third film, whereas the industry kids were comfortable right from their first film. But now that sense of awe is fading away and I’m genuinely enjoying the process of film-making.

Judwaa 2 trailer: Varun Dhawan’s crazy antics steal the show, original songs recreate old magic

One of the most awaited movies of the year, Judwaa 2, starring Varun Dhawan, Taapsee Pannu and Jacqueline Fernandez finally released its trailer and it’s packed to the brim with Varun’s crazy antics.

Youtube screengrab from Judwaa 2 trailer.

Kicking off with a scene between Varun (playing Prem) and the small screen’s resident comedian Ali Asgar, we see Varun tell his therapist (Asgar) how his body has not been in his control recently as he kissed a random girl, and punched a cop. The three minute 17 second long trailer then takes us on a roller coaster ride, with the addition of Raja (also played by Varun) getting up to his antics. The two characters are apparently “genetically linked” — a phenomenon that occurs to one pair of people in eight million.

Raja is the hardened and tough guy between the two characters, whereas Prem is an emotional and physical softie. Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu seem to add the glam quotient to Judwaa 2, along with being the love interests of Prem and Raja. Anupam Kher is also seen making a brief appearance as Fernandez’s father.

The familiars strains of ‘Tan Tana Tan Tan Tan Tara’ and ‘Oonchi Hai Building‘ take fans of the original Judwaa right back to the Salman Khan movie, as a wave of nostalgia coupled with excitement hits the viewer.

From the trailer, Judwaa 2 seems to be an out and out entertainer — something that the father-son duo of Varun and David are known for.

Taapsee 2.0: Here’s why the Pink actress feels more confident and liberated than ever

Almost a year ago, when Pink landed in the theatres, the first thought that ran through most people’s minds was: “Taapsee Pannu can act.” For the first time, we saw her in a new light. And just like that, the Taapsee that the Telugu audience once knew became a memory of the past. The actress we see today is a lot bolder with her choices, and more confident than ever before about what she’s doing. She is harnessing this power of choice quite well, so to speak, and there’s no dearth of opportunities for Taapsee 2.0.

In her upcoming Telugu film, Anando Brahma, a comedy horror movie directed by Mahi V Raghav , Taapsee will be sharing screen space with four prominent comedians in the industry, and she has no qualms to accept that they are the real heroes of the film. It’s been four years since Saahasam, Taapsee’s last full-fledged film in Telugu, has released and there have been plenty of changes in her life. She moves to Mumbai and established herself as an actress to reckon with in Bollywood, thanks to films like Baby, Pink and Naam Shabana. And she’ll soon be seen in David Dhawan’s Judwaa 2.

So, what prompted her comeback in Telugu cinema after such a long gap? “For the past couple of years, I kept on harping that I want to be part of a different film which has a new concept or at least a new role for me. I was bowled over by the concept of Anando Brahmo and it’s really out of the box. If my name brings any value to the film, then I’m happy to be part of it. It’s a huge risk, but there’s no fun without it. If I had come back and did a regular commercial film, then it doesn’t make sense for me to wait for this long. I didn’t want to do that.”

Taapsee Pannu, seen here in a Gaurang Shah episode

Although there have been numerous horror comedies in Telugu which follow a template — a bunch of people getting trapped in a house and a ghost haunting them — Anando Brahma adds a twist to this age-old tale. In this comedy horror, it’s the ghosts that are afraid of the humans. And the promos have already hinted at a ghosts vs humans battle as a plot of the film. But one thing is still uncertain. Is Taapsee playing a human or a ghost in the film? Taapsee bursts out laughing and says, “That’s something you’ll have to watch in the film. We have revealed the key concept of the film, but there are couple of more surprises. Right from the beginning, we were pretty sure that we didn’t want to make anything that was cliched. So, whenever I voiced my opinion that something wasn’t right, Mahi V Raghav would quickly change it. This is a film which I’ve been involved in right from the conceptual stage to the release. It feels like it’s my baby too.”

The actress is all praise for Mahi V Raghav, who, she says, was pretty clear about what he was trying to do. “He’s a very intelligent guy and sensible too. He has a reality check about where we stand and what we are trying to do. He’s not someone who comes and tells you that this is going to be a life-changing film in your career (laughs). After I finished shooting for this film, Mahi saw Naam Shabana and came back to me saying, “Taapsee I can’t believe that I made you do a horror comedy!” So, I told him, “Don’t worry. I’m not retiring. Hopefully, we will work together again. Let’s hope that this film works!” He’s very grounded and he’s very open to suggestions. For the first time in my Telugu film career, I worked with a director who reaches out to me after conceiving a scene to take my suggestions and incorporate them into the script if he likes them. Someone listened to me, at least!” Taapsee says, before adding, “Gosh! I don’t know if I’m supposed to say all these things. I don’t want to get into trouble again (laughs).”

Not long ago, the actress was in news for her comments on K Raghavendra Rao, veteran Telugu filmmaker, who also directed Jhummandhi Naadam, Taapsee’s debut film in Telugu. A clip from Taapsee’s appearance on East India Comedy show went viral and during the conversation, after a song from the film was played, she ended up saying, “I don’t know what’s so sensuous about throwing a coconut on a woman’s mid-riff.” Her statement irked a lot of Telugu audience and after few days, during which she was trolled mercilessly, Taapsee apologised and clarified that she was, in fact, making fun of herself and also added that she wasn’t insulting K Raghavendra Rao or anyone else.

Taapsee recounts the incident which blew out of proportion when she was in Norway on a solo-trip. For the first few days, she admittedly didn’t understand why it became a controversial subject as she rewound the whole 15-minute conversation with the stand-up comedians in her head. And then, it struck her that the ground reality was a lot different. “Most people here didn’t see the whole video which was all about making fun of myself. If you had seen only a 10-second clip, which had those specific comments, then there is no context to it and hence, people reacted the way they did. I will never even dare to insult anyone I’ve worked with, even if those films didn’t work well. They are part of your journey. I’m not that shallow. And Raghavendra Rao garu is a far-fetched bet! During that time, people kept saying that I’ve become arrogant after moving to Bollywood. Half of the Hindi film industry doesn’t know that I’m a Delhi girl. They think that I’m a South Indian actress because of my previous work here. I don’t bother correcting them because I started my career here,” she says.

“Another thing that people misconstrued was that I kept saying that I was considered a glamour doll in South, but I never said whether that’s a good or a bad thing. And people realised that I could act after seeing me in Pink and Naam Shabana. Honestly, even I realised that I could do that well only after doing those two films (laughs). I was not looking down upon being considered a glamorous actress. Otherwise, I won’t take three long struggling years to get a Judwaa 2 in Hindi, where I’m playing a glamorous role. People forget all these logics when they want to hate someone. Over the years, I’ve made an effort to dub for my roles in Telugu, took a chance to do an out-of-the-box film after so long – so, instead of looking at all the glass half-full, people prefer to see it half-empty. Because of one controversy, which I didn’t intend to create, everything good that I had done, until then, was washed out. I don’t even know who to blame or what to say, but I can feel sad about the whole situation and hence, I apologised. I don’t deserve this hatred after all the love and respect that I’ve got from the Telugu audience all these years. I don’t want to wake up to so much hatred everyday,” Taapsee clarifies.

Now that she’s acting in plenty of Hindi films, it has changed a lot of things for her, and going by her own admission, acting in a language that she’s more familiar with may have made her more comfortable in front of the camera. “You are in command of everything you are doing when you act in a language that you’re more comfortable with. People tell me that when I act in Hindi, I take abrupt pauses, but those pauses really do work, because I exactly know at what point what emotion is projected. I try to apply that in Telugu now, but I’ll always have a limitation with that because it’s not my mother tongue. Now I know what I can pull off properly…that’s what I learnt after acting in Hindi. Language does change a lot of things. I can’t do something which is very colloquial, even though I have done a Gundello Godaari. I can’t relate to that character, that slang,” she admits.

When she isn’t shooting, Taapsee loves to travel and her Instagram profile is proof of her penchant for exploring new places. A couple of months ago, she went on a solo trip to Norway, where she explored plenty of locales in and around Oslo. Her social media profiles were filled with so many photos that she had almost become a Japanese tourist who wouldn’t stop taking pictures! “(Laughs) That’s what happens when you travel alone — you become best friends with your camera. I got a GoPro just for travelling. All I’m missing now is a selfie stick. I hate winters. I can’t stand snow. And the best time to visit Scandinavia was during summer.”

How does someone who grew up in Delhi hate winters so much? How did she survive the winters in Delhi for all those years? “Now that you’ve asked me, I see a pattern. During all those years, when December began, I became a different person altogether. I become very moody. I’ll be inside my blanket, I wouldn’t stop cribbing, and be groggy all day. It used to take a lot of effort to get outside the blanket. Even I don’t like meeting myself during those two months (laughs). But after that, I’m like the best person you’ll meet in your life. Food and weather dictate my mood. If I have a bad meal, then you wouldn’t want to meet me. Even London, for that matter, when they tell me that I have to shoot there, I ask them during which months. I am not going to be best of human beings during that time. I saw hail, rain, sun all in the same day. London is so gloomy. It’s so gloomy. I can get depressed there.”

As Aishwarya Rai completes 20 years in Bollywood, here’s a look back at her career


Former Miss World and Padma Shri awardee Aishwarya Rai completed 20 years in Bollywood on 15 August 2017. Born into a Tulu speaking family in Karnataka, Rai made her acting debut in 1997 with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar. In the same year, Rai also marked her Bollywood debut with Rahul Rawail’s Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, which released on 15 August 1997.

With a few tepid roles in the interim, her career in Hindi cinema finally took off with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. She went on to deliver what could arguably be called the best performance of her career in Bhansali’s 2002 film Devdas. Playing the coy but gritty Paro, Rai owned every frame, every expression in the cinematic adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name.

After 2002, Rai again tasted success after a long gap of four years with the second installment of Dhoom in 2006. Cast opposite Hrithik Roshan, Rai was seen in a never before avatar. Playing the sly thief Sunehri, she complimented a suave Roshan at every stage in the film.

In 2007, she again garnered critics’ praise, who hadn’t been to kind on her otherwise, with Guru and Provoked. After a few misses, Rai went on a sabbatical only to make a stunning comeback in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

With 20 glorious years of highs and lows and yet, still being one of the most celebrated actors, one can only wonder what she cannot do.

Judwaa 2, A Gentleman, Mubarakan: Bollywood’s age-old formula of double roles is back

With Arjun Kapoor in Mubarakan, Varun Dhawan in Judwaa 2 and Sidharth Malhotra in A Gentleman: Sundar, Shsheel, Risky, the fabled concept of double-roles — which was once a near rite of passage in popular Hindi cinema — is back as the as the flavour of the season.

The thing with trends is that they invariably make a come back, and the manner in which everything new in Hindi cinema seems to be a throwback to the good old days, it was only a matter of time before the younger lot relived the double-role.

Reminds me of few of the earliest Indian films, such as Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchancra (1913), which used to feature an all-male cast, as no woman was available for playing female leads. Many times actors would end up playing more than one role in a film. But back then this was more out of necessity than anything else.


Perhaps the first time the novelty factor of an actor playing two distinctive characters on the screen was celebrated would be in Kismet (1943). The Gyan Mukherjee directed blockbuster had many firsts attached to it that included an anti-hero as the protagonist, a narrative that portrayed the criminal in a good light, an unmarried girl getting pregnant out of wedlock or the lost-and-found formula. While the film is recalled for a host of elements it was the double-role factor that went on to become a calling card of a star.

After Ashok Kumar played the double roles of Shekhar and Madan in Kismet, Dev Anand played two roles in Hum Dono (1962) but here it was more about two men looking the same as opposed to twins separated at birth. A few years later it was probably Dilip Kumar’s dual outing in Ram Aur Shyam (1967) that established the double-role as an announcement of the arrival of a star.

The remake of the Telugu film, Ramudu Bheemudu that had N. T. Rama Rao in the lead roles, Ram Aur Shyam was also inspired by the original’s Tamil version Enga Veettu Pillai (1965) with MG Ramachandran reprising the double role. It is said that when audiences saw MGR as Ramu being beaten by his brother-in-law played by MN Nambiar, they created a ruckus in the cinema hall. It was only after someone from the film unit placated them to wait for the other character played by MGR, Ilango, to appear that they relented.

In the Hindi version, Pran played Nambiar’s role and similarly, audiences were shocked to see thespian Dilip Kumar being whipped by him.

Almost every big star since Ashok Kumar has featured in a double role at some point in their career.

Rajesh Khanna’s first big hit, Aradhana (1969) had him play two roles and later in the caper Sachaa-Jhutha (1970), he played two characters that were unrelated but looked alike. The 1970s were filled with stars playing two, three or at times nine roles – Dilip Kumar played three roles in Bairaag (1976), Sanjeev Kumar portrayed nine roles in the A. Bhimsingh directed Naya Din Nai Raat (1974) that was originally made in Tamil as Navarathri (1964) with Sivaji Ganesan and later also remade with the same title in Telugu in 1966 with A. Nageswara Rao.

It was also the decade where the Ram Aur Shyam template was rehashed as Seeta Aur Geeta and featured a woman, Hema Malini, as the protagonist and besides establishing as the numero uno star, the film featured one of the biggest stars of the era, Dharmendra in a supporting role.

But no one came close to Amitabh Bachchan in the 1970s when it came to the double-role and he featured him in five films – Bandhe Haath (1973), Adalat (1977), Kasme Vaade (1978), Don (1978), The Great Gambler (1979) – and would go on to play two roles, or more in a single film 9 more times.

When it comes to Hindi films the double role is nothing less than a genre unto itself. Yet there are only a handful of templates that it follows and it’s extremely rare that the narrative deviates from the parameters.

We usually see the lost sibling’s template that is re-visited across the decades be it Chaalbaaz (1989) with Sridevi or Kishen Kanhiya (1990) with Anil Kapoor, Gopi Kishan (1994) with Sunil Shetty, or Judwaa (1997) with Salman Khan.

This concept was experimented with in Angoor (1982) where Gulzar adapted Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors and directed both Sanjeev Kumar and Deven Verma in double roles. This was the second time that Gulzar attempted reworking The Comedy of Errors and had previously adapted the same as Do Dooni Char (1968) before Angoor. The 1990s briefly saw the doppelganger trying to make a comeback with Akshay Kumar in Aflatoon (1997) and Shah Rukh Khan in Duplicate (1998) but by then the double-role had become jaded and even run of freshness.

Considering the success and the popularity of the concept, there ought to more to the double role than sheer novelty or idiosyncrasy.

There was a sense of renewed interest in the double-role with Shahid Kapoor in Kaminey (2009) but true experimenting with the genre did not take off as expected.

From the looks of it both Mubarakan and A Gentleman: Sundar, Susheel, Risky seem to indulge in the mistaken identity concept and along with Judwaa 2, which is a remake of the Salman Khan original that had lost twins at its core, there might not be much that these films would attempt to change when it comes to the double role.

Globally as well, the genre is experiencing a revival in the last decade with Moon (2009) The Social Network (2010), The Devil’s Double (2011), The Double (2013), Enemy (2013) and Legend (2015) where the double-role was the mainstay of the narrative. Perhaps it’s time that someone came up with a fresh set of eyes in Hindi films to look at the double role.