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Kapil Sharma to return to small screen with his comedy show, confirms Sony Entertainment Television

Mumbai: Comedian Kapil Sharma will be back “with a bang” on the small screen with his popular entertainer The Kapil Sharma Show soon, a channel official has confirmed.

“Kapil will be back (on TV) very soon,” Danish Khan, Executive Vice President and Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television, told IANS.

The actor-comedian is currently in the midst of promoting his forthcoming Bollywood film Firangi.

Kapil Sharma. Image by News 18

“His movie Firangi is releasing on 24 November. We are very fond of Kapil. We are even doing a promotional show (which will be televised) for his movie. We believe he has made a good movie and it’s going to be successful. Then, Kapil will be back with a bang on Sony,” Khan added.

In August, the channel had announced a “short break” with Kapil and his show.

An official spokesperson from the channel had said then that since Kapil had been under the weather, they had “mutually agreed to take a short break”, and that they would start shooting again once he recovers completely.

For Kapil, it was an “emotional moment” when earlier this week he visited the set of Super Dancer Chapter 2 to promote Firangi. It once used to be the set of The Kapil Sharma Show.

Priyanka Chopra lost out on 10 big projects because she said no to harassment, says mother

With the news of allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK and Kevin Spacey coming to the fore, many have wondered when the misogyny and abuse rampant in Bollywood will finally be spoken about. In the wake of this, Madhu Chopra, Priyanka Chopra’s mother and a producer, has spoken about how the Quantico actress let go of big projects because they were being helmed by people who made her uncomfortable with their lewd suggestions and requests.

Priyanka Chopra with her mother Madhu. Image from Facebook/@priyankachopra

Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana movie review: Even Rajkummar Rao cannot rescue this romantic drama

She’s got perfectly set hair, immaculate make up and is dressed in a flattering, fitted pink kurta. He’s bowled over. Pink is her colour, he says, clearly smitten.

He sweeps her off her feet with his liberal attitude, something unexpected in Kanpur. Aarti Shukla (Kriti Kharbanda), who doesn’t want to marry because she wants to pursue a career, surprises herself by accepting the match of Satyendra Mishra (Rajkummar Rao).

He is young, idealistic and obedient. Shukla, impressed by his progressive mindset, is better educated than him and keeps correcting his awkward English.

Still from Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana

The courtship is adorable, with all its small-town innocence intact. Sharing of coffee cups, making plans for the honeymoon and discovering the best friend in one another.

Simultaneously, the Shukla and Mishra families are engaged in a cold dowry negotiation. Marry a family lower than you in status and you can be sure the girl and her family will always be in check, says one character as he’s suggesting a match for his nephew.

In this stratum of society, securing a government job is like winning the lottery. It’s interesting to see how it’s Satyendra’s mother who is determined to uphold and exploit traditions of dowry and how Aarti’s otherwise unyielding father bends to the pressure of a prestigious match.

Satyendra and Aarti seem oblivious to this, somehow, and carry on smiling sweetly and making plans for the future. She is bright, but limited by her father’s (Govind Namdeo) old-fashioned beliefs. So when she passes her PSC exam (Public Service Commission) in the first attempt, it’s both a matter of pride and the catalyst for a complete shakedown.

After many possible interval points, we come to the designed one and then transition to five years later. The runaway bride is now a revered government officer but a graft charge is likely to destroy her career. During the course of the investigation, she is reunited with Satyendra.
It’s a moment that should have carried emotional weightage, but Kriti Kharbanda’s still-perfectly set hair, immaculate make up and tightly draped sarees are a distraction. Maybe they distracted me because I didn’t really understand what Aarti was about. A successful, independent woman who had taken charge of her future should have shown more chutzpah. But she seemed short in self-confidence and high on tears.

Ratnaa Sinha directs a film written by Kamal Pandey that suffers from the second half malaise. The screenplay is as twisted as a telephone wire. A breakdown in communication in the modern age of saturated connectivity is hard to swallow.

Sure you may not connect with someone on the phone but who doesn’t use email/ SMS/ snail mail? The schizophrenia of Satyendra’s character and Aarti crumbling into a whimpering mess in a starched cotton sari are overplayed and the film becomes rather soap opera-like, with the entire extended family dragged back in.

First-time director Sinha manages to weave in social messages (dowry, gender equality, corruption etc) without becoming preachy, besides reiterating the fact that Aarti passed her PSC exam in the first attempt. However with the lighting and camera work in particular, the scenes often look washed out, and the drama is in parts directed like a TV serial. What keeps proceedings afloat is a supporting cast, including Manoj Pahwa, Vipin Sharma and Navni Parihar, who interpret some well-written characters ably.

Kharbanda does not infuse qualities into Aarti that would have you supporting her, not even when she hits her lowest point. You are told she is intelligent, but her actions hardly demonstrate that characteristic.

Rao’s Satyendra shows two shades. He starts off as the youthful, warm-hearted young man unaware of the biases towards him as a boy child waiting to come of age. In the latter half he’s the cold-hearted and bitter officer determined to bring down the Mishras who so badly humiliated his family. Rao interprets both with expected nuance and control.

Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh, Sushant Singh Rajput’s films may clash on Christmas 2018

December 2018 is going to be packed with big-ticket films. Two of Bollywood’s biggest stars — Shah Rukh Khan and Ranveer Singh, might have a box office clash in the coming year. According to a report by India Today, Aanand L Rai’s film which stars Shah Rukh Khan and Rohit Shetty’s remake of a popular Tamil action starring Ranveer might release on the same day in December 2018.

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However, another actor who joins the race is Sushant Singh Rajput, whose Kedarnath is releasing on 21 December 2018, too. Therefore, Bollywood buffs have a lot to look forward to during 2018’s Christmas weekend.

Although the release dates of Shetty and Rai’s films have not been confirmed yet, speculations about both the films hitting the screens in December next year are rife. This clash, if it occurs, will be a major one since Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara Ali Khan is also making her Bollywood debut with Kedarnath. Shah Rukh, too, is doing a highly experimental film after a while and the action flick will be Singh and Shetty’s first collaboration.

Shah Rukh and Singh’s films have previously clashed with each other only once. In 2015, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani and Rohit Shetty’s Dilwale had opened on the same day. Bhansali’s period drama surpassed Shetty’s rom-com in terms of box office collection.

Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan were Mukta Arts’ popular choice for Subhash Ghai’s Pardes

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai has revealed that he was under pressure to cast Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan for his romantic drama Pardes.

Salman and Shah Rukh do the signature pose on Bigg Boss Weekend Ka Vaar

The 1997 film featured Shah Rukh along with newcomers Mahima Chaudhry and Apurva Agnihotri.

For the role of Ganga (played by Mahima) and NRI Rajiv (played by Apurva), Ghai said his production house wanted Madhuri and Salman respectively.

“After several hits, Trimurti was Mukta Arts’ first flop. When a film flops, the industry is quick to write you off. I decided to write a film in my own style. When the script was over, we were discussing the casting, which was a big problem. My production house thought Shah Rukh could be in the film along with Salman, playing an NRI, and Madhuri would play the central character.

“I had narrated ‘Ganga’s’ character to Madhuri during Khalnayak too. But I wanted newcomers paired with Shah Rukh. His Trimurti had flopped and DDLJ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) had worked, so I knew he was a great performer,” Ghai said.

Trimurti released in 1995, helmed by Mukul Anand, featured Shah Rukh along with Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff in the lead. The 72-year-old director said though people in his production house wanted the three superstars together, he was not convinced.

“My office wanted me to make the film with Salman, Madhuri and Shah Rukh because then it would be a big film and losses of Trimurti would be covered as well. They were right too. But the director in me wasn’t convinced that we need such a big star cast.

“I said three big stars won’t go well in the script that I have. I wanted someone who looked like he has come from foreign for the NRI part. It was a big challenge but I finally managed to get Mahima, Apurva and Shah Rukh,” he said.

The director was speaking at the special screening of the film, which completed 20 years in August. It was showcased at New Excelsior Cinema, which was recently acquired by Mukta A2 Cinema, a branch of Ghai’s Mukta Arts.

Ghai said another challenge for him once the cast was locked was to present Shah Rukh in a non-romantic role.

“Shah Rukh’s image had turned romantic after DDLJ but this role wasn’t romantic at all. The challenge was to tell Shah Rukh that he won’t be like a romantic hero in any shot.

Priyanka Chopra finds spot on Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women; ranks 97 globally

After having tasted immense success in Bollywood and then later in Hollywood — with her show Quantico and film projects like Baywatch — actress and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra has added another feather to her cap. In the recently-released list of 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes magazine, Chopra is ranked 97th along with the likes of Beyonce Knowles (#50), Taylor Swift (#85), JK Rowling (#88) etc.

In the list of 15 Most Powerful Women in Media and Entertainment by Forbes, Chopra is placed at rank 15.

Many Indian women including Chanda Kochhar (who also happens to be the most powerful Indian woman on the list at #32), Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (#71), Roshni Nadar Malhotra (#57) have been featured on the list.

Image courtesy: news18

Chopra’s bio on the Forbes website reads: “Chopra is arguably the most successful Bollywood actor to cross over to Hollywood. She began her acting career in 2003, and has since appeared in more than 40 Bollywood films, making her US big-screen debut in 2017’s Baywatch. As the star of ABC’s Quantico, she’s one of TV’s highest-earning actresses and the first Indian actor to lead a drama series on American television. As a producer, Chopra founded Mumbai-based Purple Pebble Pictures, which strives to promote regional filmmakers and up-and-coming Indian talent. Passionate about protecting children’s rights, she’s a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Foundation Girl Up Champion, and her nonprofit The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education provides schooling and medical care.”

Secret Superstar, Newton, Shubh Mangal Savdhaan: It’s the year of real stories, engagingly relevant content

For many years, Hindi Cinema has been about aspirations, and it being the sole driving force to pull in audiences to theatres.

Everyone wants to go to the snow-capped mountains in Switzerland, dance around, and hashtag DDLJ in their photos. A lot of them do the trip for that one photo only. For years we’ve been following the norm of hero-and-heroine-ism in our films.

However, for a long time, we have made films that either generalise things or dilute them from their authenticity, so it reaches a larger audience and can be relatable for many cultures. The truth is — how many times can you weave a film around the same situation? How many “love stories” can we rehash?

A welcome change has been brought in by a lot of people who have come from various places and joined the madness of movie-making. They have their own stories, own struggles, which makes them unique. Directors like Anurag Kashyap, Shoojit Sircar, Sriram Raghavan, Sujoy Ghosh, Dibaker Banerjee, Shakun Batra, Imtiaz Ali, Nitesh Tiwari, Ritesh Batra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and many more, have been at the forefront of bringing a personal flavour to Indian cinema, far away from formulas.

They have been influential enough to change the craft, which has been breathing the same year for many years. Take 2017 for example — Who would have thought that a film about erectile dysfunction would have done a fantastic job at the box office (and otherwise)? Shubh Mangal Savdhaan was loved by not just the youth but people went to watch the film with their families and came back elated.

Secret Superstar, a film about a 16 year old girl who aspires to be a singer in a world which is suffocated with patriarchy, will possibly be the most-liked film of the year. These films are miles away from the flimsy tropes we have come to terms with, dealing with emotions that are real and not elevated for the heck of it.

In Secret Supertsar, Zaira Wasim convinces us that she is Insiya from Vadodara who is tied down with the shackles of patriarchy and is looking for freedom through music. Her father is a middle class abusive man who believes in reprimanding his wife and daughter for anything under the sun, but loves his son immensely. Insiya is innocent, sincere and is full of so much anger. Frankly, full marks to the director Advait Chandan, who has managed to nurture this film and the talent of Insiya. He has handled so many tricky scenes so sensitively, for example we never get too much of the actual voilence in the film.

The terrain changed because of a bunch of new writers, directors and actors taking the baton in their hands. Seeing how rewarding it has been, our megastars have finally decided to follow the path. We are not selling films anymore but reality and that is why more people are buying it.

Hindi Cinema has been churning out wonderful content this year and the frequency of it is increasing by the day. Who would have thought a mega star like Akshay Kumar would be the face of a film which discusses the problem of sanitation in the country? Toilet- Ek Prem Katha was a wonderful way to propagate what the nation is still lacking. Akshay will now he takes it a notch higher with Padman co-starring Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor.

Topics that have taboo for many many years are coming out in the open and taking advantage of the popularity that mega stars have, they are creating awareness.

We don’t need to be hush hush anymore — menstruation in Padman, erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Savdhaan, sanitation in Toilet- Ek Prem Katha or a dark comedy about a fair election in a conflicted part of the country in Newton, all now exist in the same space as Golmaal Again and Judwaa 2.

While Golmaal 4 is entertaining the audiences at par with the festive spirit of Diwali, Newton is making us proud internationally. As commercial films are still making the stupendous bucks that they do at the box office, the happy thing is that budgets are now being created for projects that might look risqué at first. Even studious are showing trust in scripts that might have not seen the light of day a decade back.

Secret Superstar’s musical discovery Meghna Mishra says response to film is ‘a dream come true

In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, the 15-year-old singer from Mumbai spoke about her life, her advent into the music industry and her plans in the future.

Mishra was born and raised in Mumbai, and although she originally hails from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, she calls Mumbai her home. Born to Sanjay Kumar Mishra, who is a Hindustani classical music teacher, and Aarti Mishra, a tabla player and kathak dancer, Mishra has always been around a musical environment since her childhood. She has been taking vocal lessons from her father.

“It is always musical. There are students who come at my place and learn music from my dad. I live in a musical world. I have been singing since childhood. But I started music regularly when I was ten or eleven. My dad trains me,” says Mishra.

Meghna Mishra.

Mishra is an ardent fan of old Bollywood songs and considers Lata Mangeshkar a major influence. Speaking about her choice of songs, Mishra says, “There are many old songs that are based on Indian classical music; they come under the genre of  semi-classical music, which are finished songs. If I learn old songs, I only learn filmy classical. I listen to Lataji, Ashaji… all the old singers. That generation’s music was so cultural and there was a classical touch in the compositions.”

Her favourite Lata songs include: (in random order) ‘Man Mohana’ (Seema [1955]), ‘Kaise Din Beetey’ (Anuradha [1960]), ‘Megha Chhaye Aadhi Raat’ (Sharmilee [1971]), ‘Ja Ja Re Balamwa’ (Basant Bahaar [1956]), ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ (Woh Kaun Thi [1964]).

Many wouldn’t know that Secret Superstar isn’t Mishra’s debut in playback singing. She had sung two songs in the 2014 Marathi film Vitti Dandu. And it is how the journey of her newly-found fame germinated.

“The music director of the film Santosh Mulekar is a family friend. One day we were sitting in the hall at my place. My mom received a call from Santosh uncle and he asked her how old I was. My mom said that I was 15 running. To that he informed that we would receive a call from a certain lady, which we did. That lady asked me to send her two songs — both in raw formats. I sent her a song and a YouTube link of a western song that I had uploaded sometime back then. Then after sometime, she sent me an address. I, along with my dad, upon reaching that address, entered a studio and we were asked to sit in the waiting room.”

“We were then called inside and we met a person who gave me a writing pad, a page and I filled it. I didn’t even look what it was. Then the man asked someone, ‘Sir ko bulao.’ One or two minutes later Amit [Trivedi] Sir entered. I didn’t recognise him at first, but I could feel I had seen him somewhere; he resembled someone. He then said, ‘We have chosen you as a singer for an Aamir Khan Production film.’ I was so confused; that was my first reaction… I took the paper that I had filled and looked at it and then I realised that ‘Oh my God! I just signed the contract of Secret Superstar,” she exclaims.

How does it feel like to be a playback singer in Bollywood? “Whenever I think about the fact that I have sung for an Aamir Khan film, I still don’t believe it. It’s more like a dream come true. There was a time when we doubted the whole thing because the teaser released after a long time; it released in December. But once the teaser was out, we were assured. I have sung five out of eight songs in the album.”

“It is a special feeling for me and my family, as I am the first one in my family who has sung in a Bollywood film. I feel I am so lucky that I got selected for this, because if nobody had heard me sing at the first place I would not have sung in the film. I will always be grateful to Amit Sir, Aamir Sir for this,” says an ecstatic Mishra.

The makers of Secret Superstar had called Mishra to Panchgani for ten days while they were shooting the film there. And that is where most of the compositions were made, and the final recordings were done in a Mumbai studio. “Amit sir used to teach me the songs in the morning; I would learn them and practice them all day; and later in the evening we would record it. Amit sir had a small recording set up in his room. After recording the song, he would mix it and make Aamir Sir listen to the composition,” she says.

One of the major highlights of the film is the resemblance of Mishra’s voice to Zaira Wasim’s vocal texture.

Talking about that Mishra candidly says, “Some people asked how Zaira sings so beautifully; later they realised that somebody else has sung them.”

Initially she wasn’t sure whether her voice would work for Wasim or not, because when Mishra met Wasim, Dangal had not released. She adds, “I had met Zaira much before Dangal’s trailer release. It was around September-October when I was called for the shooting of Secret Superstar. Aamir sir wanted me to guide her with expressions, hand movements, standing postures, etc. I rehearsed with her five six times and she used to follow me and observe keenly. I didn’t even know that she was the heroine. She is so cute and beautiful; I wasn’t even sure that my voice would suit her.”

Meghna Mishra along with Aamir Khan during Secret Superstar music launch (left); Zaira Wasim in Secret Superstar. Picture courtesy: Facebook

Mishra specifically mentions Wasim’s acting proficiency, which is another remarkable highlight of the film and Wasim has been receiving rave reviews for her performance. Mishra adds, “Zaira is very talented. She observed some of the most minute things and implemented them in her scenes. She would ask me to sing and then would observe how I stand; second time she would notice where I was shutting my eyes; then she would also notice where and when I took breaths and she implemented all of that. That is really a difficult thing, but she did everything and delivered the final output and you can see the result.”

And now, after Secret Superstar, Mishra hopes for some good projects to come in, and adds, “I wish that all my projects are pure — just like Secret Superstar — all the songs, all the lyrics are so good.”

Panchlait teaser: Prem Modi’s directorial might leave you with more questions than answers

The teaser of Prem Modi’s Panchlait has been released. The film is based on a story by Phanishwar Nath Renu, one of the pioneers of modern Hindi literature. Set in a small village in Bihar, the film brings back memories of the original story by aptly recreating the characters and the setting.

A still from Panchlait. Screengrab from YouTube.

Starring Amitosh Nagpal, Anuradha Mukherjee, Rajesh Sharma, Ravi Jhankal and Brijendra Kala among others, the film brings forth several issues which are still faced by people of the lower rung of the economy. Shortage of electricity is the overarching issue which has been presented in a lighthearted manner. However, the teaser will leave you with more questions than answers.

The original story revolves around a village and its inhabitants who are so innocent and inexperienced that they do not know how to light a simple lamp. Their lack of knowledge leads to hilarious situations, something which has been projected in the teaser too. The makers have made sure to put across the conundrum of the villagers as much as possible which explains the frequent shots of villagers gathered around the lamp, examining it intently.

Aamir Khan on Thugs of Hindostan co-star: Watching Amitabh Bachchan on-screen is ‘fulfilling’

Mumbai: Superstar Aamir Khan, who is working with Amitabh Bachchan in the upcoming film Thugs of Hindostan, says watching the megastar on the big screen is “a fulfilling experience”, and his superstardom can’t be re-created.

Asked if working with Big B was surreal, Aamir, an admirer of the veteran actor, told media here on Sunday: “Watching Mr Bachchan on screen in a theatre… His aura, action, every nuance of his acting was such a fulfilling experience in cinema.”

Picking his favourite from Amitabh’s filmography is a tough one for Aamir.

“I have many favourites like Natwarlal, Don and Namak Halaal. In fact, I remember after watching Namak Halaal in the theatre, I called up Mansoor (Khan) and asked him to come with me to watch the film. We went to watch its next show again.”

Talking about Big B’s stardom, he said: “I think the superstardom of Amitabh Bachchan can’t be re-created. It is so unique, the charisma he has….I mean imagine, there was a time when seven of his films were running in the theatre for months.

“Films like Don, Mukaddar ka Sikandar and Trishul in the same year! He used to date clash with his own film!”

As times are changing, and social media culture is playing an important role in building the public image of Bollywood film stars, Aamir says the definition of stardom has also changed.

“The fabric has changed. There was a time when access to a star was so limited, especially in the 1950s-60s era when there was no television, and fans used to wait for their stars to appear in cinema or a film’s premiere. They used to wait outside houses.

“Then came television when the interview started and people got the access to see how they looked and talked when not acting….That apart, of course, there were magazines and newspaper interviews. Now everything has changed, and how…,” said Aamir.

Now movie stars, he feels, are more communicative, accessible to their fans and it’s more interactive.

“It has changed from waiting outside the house to one click away….Everything about your favourite star is on the phone, and the phone is in your pocket. So you have the favourite star in your pocket,” he said.

The actor is excited about the Diwali release of his film Secret Superstar, also featuring Zaira Wasim. It will hit the screens on October 19.