Monthly Archives: March 2018

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

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

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

High Jack promo poster. Image via Twitter

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

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

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

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

High Jack is scheduled to release on 20 April.

Ten years of Race: Third installment celebrates everything the original film had — with the bonus of Salman Khan

Although many might not have noticed the timing of Salman Khan sharing a picture of Bobby Deol as Yash, a character from their upcoming film Race 3, it was rather fortuitous. The star tweeted his co-star’s picture just a couple of days before the tenth anniversary of the release of the first film in the ‘Race series’, Race (2008).

With a major overhaul both in front and behind the camera with Salman Khan replacing Saif Ali Khan as the male lead and Remo D’Souza helming the project instead of Abbas-Mustan, the third film in the action-thriller franchise is all set to join the likes of Jolly LLB to get a reboot — where the film ages the stakes only get bigger.

Traditionally, the concept of sequels tends to lose a bit of sheen with the passage of time. Take the case of Charles Bronson’s Death Wish series, which became a barely noticed almost B-film by the time the fifth film released 22-years after the original that came out in 1974. And then there’s First Blood (1982), the debut of the Rambo series, which was made on a budget of $15 million USD but the third, First Blood III (1988) was mounted on a budget of over $60 million USD and even though the film made almost $200 million USD the idea had became jaded and it would be two-decades before the fourth film, Rambo (2008) hit the screens.

In the context of Hindi films, the sequel has come as god sent and the combination of a ‘sequel’ and a ‘reboot’ has only made things better for the stars. For Salman Khan, the Race franchise offers the slick urban thriller template that is a stark contrast to his other franchise, Dabangg, where it’s the Chulbul Pandey character that lends repeat value. There are talks about a third Dabangg rumored to be directed by Prabhudeva and chances of a fourth Race cannot be ruled out as it gives the producer, Tips Films, a go-to project every couple of years.

Similarly, for Ajay Devgn, the Golmaal series offers a template that could work as well with or without standard character (Gopal) while Singham gives him the character that he could play well into his sunset years, a la Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson with Dirty Harry and Death Wish series. For Akshay Kumar, Jolly LLB offered a chance to go back to doing comic roles but with a tinge of social messaging, which has come to be seen as his forte.

For a Kangana Ranaut, and nearly most of the Tanu Weds Manu primary cast (R. Madhavan, Swara Bhaskar, Deepak Dobriyal, and Eijaz Khan) their characters in the series can be rekindled at any point in the future without much thought.

The is no question that the near-obsessive drive with which producers and production houses are investing in reboots and remakes is an indication of an abject lack of fresh ideas. In fact, it’s rather saddening to see how filmmakers, as opposed to paying homage to the greats from the previous generations, are choosing to rehash the past simply because frankly, they don’t give a damn (beyond making money, that is).

Some part of this nostalgia-driven reboot/ rejig drive is also an easy way out for many – after all, it’s all about the relationship between characters and the viewer, so why not revisit the tried and tested beloved characters rather than reinvent the wheel?

Salman Khan tweeted about Race 3 in the same week as the release of the film film, a decade ago. Race 3 also seems to be a subtle attempt to rekindle the memories of Salman Khan’s Wanted (2009); the pose that Khan is captured in on Race 3’s first poster is almost Wanted redux.

Alia Bhatt has made pact with Katrina, Deepika to do films together: ‘I’m game for a good chick flick’

Alia Bhatt has over the years cemented her position as a formidable acting talent in Bollywood. With her incredible performances in films (Highway, Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi, to name a few) and a major fan following, she is one of the most-sought after actresses in Hindi film industry today.

Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone. Facebook

With A-listers like Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif as her BFFs, Bhatt says she’s all game for a “good chick flick” with the other two actresses.

According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, Bhatt has expressed her desire to work with Kaif and Padukone (individually) in films. In an interview, she is reported to have said that she has made a pact with the two actresses to do films together.

She particularly talked about the changing scenario for women in Indian films. She said, “It has become progressive for actresses today. But, there’s still a long way to go. The best thing is that now, they are standing by each other. For instance, imagine Dil Chahta Hai being remade with three girls today. It would be wonderful. I’m game for a good chick flick,” reports Deccan Chronicle.

Bhatt has been busy of late completing her shoot schedules for Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi along with Masaan actor Vicky Kaushal; Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy along with Ranveer Singh and then Ayan Mukerji’s magnum opus Brahmastra with Ranbir Kapoor.

Varun Dhawan, Katrina Kaif to pair up for the first time in Remo D’Souza’s ‘biggest dance film’

It is confirmed now that choreographer-turned-director Remo D’Souza’s magnum opus will star Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif. The film is touted to be D’Souza’s ‘biggest dance film’ — whether it will be the third installment of his dance movie franchise ABCD (Any Body Can Dance), or a fresh film is not yet known.

It was earlier reported that D’Souza and T-Series’ Bhushan Kumar are all set to collaborate for this massive project. Adarsh had previously tweeted on 3 March stating that the big announcement regarding the film’s cast will be made on 19 March.

Varun Dhawan and Katrina Kaif during a performance. Image from Twitter/@KatrinaKaifFB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trailer of Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi to reportedly release with Varun Dhawan’s next film October

With Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan both gearing up for their upcoming releases where they portray unconventional characters, the trailer launch of Bhatt’s Raazi along with Varun Dhawan’s upcoming release October on 13 April seems to fit the narrative. It is being reported that Raazi’s trailer will be attached to Varun’s film October as reported by Pinkvilla.

Varun Dhawan has high expectations from his unconventional role in Shoojit Sircar’s October, which is touted as a unique love story between Dhawan’s unlikely devotion to Banita Sandhu who ends up in an ICU. “When I heard the story, I was so moved by it that I felt the need of doing the film. I need the film more than anyone else in the room at this point of time in my career,” said the actor about working on the upcoming release.

Varun Dhawan in October and Alia Bhatt in Raazi/Image from Twitter.

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

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

Karishma Tanna. Image from Twitter/@KARISHMAK_TANNA

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

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

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

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

october 825

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

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

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

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

Varun Dhawan on October: I need this film more than anyone else at this point in my career

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan says his upcoming film October came as a much-needed opportunity in his film career.

Varun Dhawan in October. Image from Twitter/@filmfare

At the film’s trailer launch on 12 March, Varun said, “I was the last person cast in the film after meeting Shoojit Sircar. I think casting should happen that way… Not because one actor is doing good in films. When I heard the story, I was so moved by it that I felt the need of doing the film. I need the film more than anyone else in the room at this point of time in my career.”

October promises a unique love story.

“When I sign a film, I look at the script more than anything, and how much the maker is putting in the film. In October Shoojitda, writer Juhi Chaturvedi and every one of our crew members put their heart and soul in it. I had to be a part of this film. They signed me for the film even before Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2,” Varun said.

Besides being an emotional journey for him, the film turned out to be a learning experience for Varun.

“Dada (Shoojit) asked me what do I do when I wake up. I said, ‘As usual, I check my phone, I post things on social media’. Then he asked me not to do that, and instead observe a plant for 10 minutes. I started doing that and felt a huge change. I unlearned a lot… It was a very different experience,” Varun said.

October is releasing on 13 April.

The Dirty Picture director Milan Luthria says Bollywood may be reaching its saturation point with biopics

His directorial venture The Dirty Picture, loosely based on the life of South actor Silk Smitha, has become one of the most memorable Bollywood films, but Milan Luthria believes the enthusiasm the audience shows towards the biopic genre will soon fizzle out.

The filmmaker ,who was a part of panel discussion In Someone else’s shoes: Fireside chat with makers of stellar biopics along with Hansal Mehta, Nandita Das and Dangal writer Piyush Gupta, at FICCI Frames event in Mumbai, said it is the “laziness” that prompts a lot of directors/writers to work on a biopic.”Earlier, we did not have buyers for biopics, like for The Dirty Picture.

The Dirty Picture (L); Dangal

Today, the acceptance level is high. But I am afraid we might be reaching a saturation point.”People chase it (a genre) without even knowing why are they doing it. I feel there might be laziness in writing. It is difficult to chart out a road map…. Start out the story with a new character. Reference point always makes things easier for writers,” he said.

Luthria, however, believes “good biopics” will continue to do well.Mehta, who has worked on true stories like Shahid and Aligarh, said the subject of a film should be entertaining and engaging.”Did I care if Dangal was a true story? To some extent, yes.

But do I care that it was an entertaining story? Yes I do . Like how true was (the story of) Shahid. He was not alive to tell me the story. We have always cried that we do not have good stories, but we need to work hard to find them.”If we are making biopics with the thought that everyone is making it, then it will be the dead end. We will screw it up if we just make it. There has to be a lot of potential in the story to bring it up on screen. Even in case of Aligarh, people were not telling us everything, but we had to make the story engaging,” he said.