Monthly Archives: May 2016

Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli get alone-time in Bengaluru; take selfies with fan

Our collective obsession over Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s relationship status isn’t likely to die down anytime soon. And with the couple representing cricket and Bollywood, that’s hardly a surprise.

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma with the fan

For a while now, there have been rumours that Anushka and Virat — who had split up a few months ago — were working out their differences.

Virat first put up a message of support for Anushka, against the Twitter trolls who subjected her to much online hate. Then, he began following her social media accounts once again (he had ‘unfollowed’ her after their break-up).

Now, there seems to be a definitive sign that Anushka and Virat are back together, as per a picture of them that has been doing the rounds on social media.

In the image, Anushka and Virat and seen posing for a selfie with a fan in Bengaluru, which is the actress’ hometown. The fan apparently came across them while they were at a hotel in the city, and the stars obliged her with a photo.

Virat has been busy with his matches while Anushka has Sultan and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in the works.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Rangoon’ is all set to release on 24 February next year

National Award winning filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s upcoming period drama Rangoon is all set to release on February 24 next year.

The film which stars Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Saif Ali Khan is set in the 1940s amidst the turmoil of India’s independence struggle and will festure some epic historic references.

shahid-kapoors-first-look-as-soldier-in-rangoon-1

The film wrapped its final shoot schedule a couple of weeks back and the entire team, including Bhardwaj, producer Sajid Nadiadwala and Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Motion Pictures, are delighted with the results.

“I am very happy with what we have achieved during the shooting of Rangoon. This film is closest to my heart and I want to make sure this is seen as my best work,” Bhardwaj said in a statement.

“Given that it’s Shahid’s birthday on 25th February, there is no better way to celebrate,” Bhardwaj, who previously directed Haider added.

The Maqbool helmer says for him and Saif, Rangoon is “even more” special since it has been ten years since Omkara.

“Seeing the confidence and excitement in the team of Rangoon, looks like we have much to expect in early 2017,” he added.

Watch: The real star of ‘Sultan’ trailer is Salman Khan’s Haryanvi accent

There’s a dialogue in the much-awaited trailer of Salman Khan’s next film, Sultan, which goes something like this, “Asli pehlwaan ki pehchaan akhade mein nahin, zindagi mein hai (a fighter’s real identity is not found in the ring, but in life).”

This can be aptly said about Salman Khan’s life. In contrast to his larger-than-life, on-screen image is his personal life — full of controversies. Balancing between the two can be quite the fight. Ever since his legal battles have grabbed the country’s collective attention, we have seen Salman try to give us on-screen characters that are largely white in the black/white scale.

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However, after 25 years in the industry, it was finally with Bajrangi Bhaijaan that we saw something in Salman that we probably would not associate with him before: hard work. We saw a star who believed in his character and played it to a good degree of its potential.

In Yash Raj Films’ Sultan, Salman’s hardwork can be amply seen in the training he must have undergone to develop and maintain an impressive physique through the shooting of the film.

But that is Salman’s forte. What really takes you by surprise in the trailer is his Haryanvi accent. It’s not completely authentic, by any means, but it surprisingly works. It’s not the kind of accent you hear in a metro in Gurgaon, but it’s an accent that will remind you of a Haryanvi kushti player.

The trailer itself is quite telling of the sports drama that Sultan is going to be. It’s entertaining in places and holds your attention enough to let the goofy bits pass by.

Anushka Sharma, who has been breaking out of her bubbly girl phase with movies like Bombay Velvet and NH10, seems like a fitting co-actor for Salman. Her character of Aarfa, a female wrestler, is not the typical Hindi film heroine by a mile, but she retains the spark we have grown to love in her.

She’s our second favourite aspect about the Sultan trailer, after Salman’s accent. We love it because it finally shows us that he’s taking his movies seriously.

Baap ka maal samajh rakha hai?’ Rishi Kapoor attacks naming of public institutions after Nehru-Gandhis

Rishi Kapoor is a man not known to mince his words. He believes in speaking his mind — and on Twitter, where he tweets under the handle of @chintskap, and has over 1 million followers — he has quite the audience for sharing his “mann ki baat”.

In the night hours, especially, Rishi is known to be quite the prolific tweeter, taking on everything that happens to have invited his ire.

Most recently, the Kapoor & Sons actor, has a bee in his bonnet over the renaming of public institutions after politicians. Specifically, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Rishi Kapoor. File photo/IBN

In a series of tweets on Tuesday night, Rishi attacked this trend, and wondered why the names of illustrious cultural ambassadors — such as Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan — or eminent industrialists like JRD Tata, were not used for more public institutions.

Among the institutions whose names he took umbrage with were the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link (better — and more prosaically — known to Mumbai residents as the Bandra-Worli Sea Link) and the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

“We must name important assets of the country (after people) who have contributed to society. Har cheez Gandhi ke naam? I don’t agree. Sochna log!” Rishi tweeted, adding in another post, “Baap ka maal samajh rakha hai?

This is not the first time Rishi has tweeted his thoughts about the Gandhi family. A few days ago, he had tweeted about  the AgustaWestland scam, while in April 2015, when there was a lot of media attention on Rahul Gandhi’s return to India after a sabbatical, the veteran actor had tweeted: “Why this fuss and hullabaloo? Someone just back after a holiday yaar give him a break. When is he to enjoy his money? In faltu days na? Samjho“.

People talk about Aishwarya Rai’s beauty more': ‘Sarbjit’ director Omung Kumar

National award winning director and production designer Omung Kumar says he was questioned by many for his choice of casting  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur in his upcoming biopic Sarbjit.

However, Omung was happy, confident and convinced with his selection. “Everybody told me I was mad to cast Aishwarya. But then, they said similar things when I cast Priyanka Chopra for Mary Kom; that she won’t fit the role, she doesn’t look North Eastern, and so on.”

“But I’d decided that for Dalbir’s part, I wanted someone who’s mature enough, who could play a 22-year-old and 60-year-old as well, someone who commands and demands respect when she speaks. Aishwarya is a director’s actress, she is a fantastic. We can see her in any role possible, but yes, they talk about her beauty more,” says Omung.

Sibling

He continues, “Also, Aishwarya agreed to do the film immediately because she knew that this is a role of a lifetime. One cannot say no to this role because you owe it to society.”

Meanwhile, Randeep Hooda, stunned everyone with his physical transformation to play Sarabjit (the Indian national who was famously detained in Pakistan for 23 years) and went on a rigorous diet while losing a whopping 18 kgs in a period of just 28 days.

He says that he was initially worried about playing the part. “Omung has been saying that I said yes to the role in 15 minutes, but the fact is that I was scared. I was apprehensive. I had liked the script but it was hard to commit, and then, I take my commitment very seriously. Who in the right mind would go through all that?”

“Finally I decided to have a conversation with myself, not with the director, and agreed to step into the role,” says Randeep, who had transformed into the skeleton of a starving man.

Further, to get into the skin of the character, Randeep would carry his work home religiously. Says Omung, “At home he started living in a dark, dingy corner with absolutely no light, all through day and night. I had demarcated an area of 6 feet by 4 feet and he would live, walk only in that portion. He had also asked for chains which were tied around his hands and legs. More than losing weight, it was Sarabjit’s psyche he wanted to get into. He had to actually live that person for several months.”

Sarbjit releases on 20 May.

Not Virat Kohli: Saqib Saleem clarifies he isn’t playing the cricket star in ‘Dishoom’

Mumbai: Actor Saqib Saleem, who plays a cricketer in the film Dishoom, says that he is not playing star cricketer Virat Kohli and was not offered that role but it was his own decision to model his character on him.

About reports that he is playing Virat in the film, Saqib said in an interview, “Of course he (the character) is a cricketer but not Virat Kohli. I’m a Virat Kohli fan and I really love how he plays his game, how passionate he is. And when I got this role, I thought because of the fact that he is my favourite cricketer, why don’t I make it around him. It has been a fun journey.”

Saqib Saleem isn't playing Virat Kohli on screen, although his character in 'Dishoom' has been modelled on the cricket icon. Images from News 18. Getty

“Cricket is my first love and I got the opportunity to become a cricketer; there are two passions of mine — acting and cricket — and I got to combine these two, so that was a good feeling,” Saqib added.

Saqib was a part of the Mumbai Heroes team in the Celebrity Cricket League. He was also a part of the under-19 team in Delhi, where he was brought up.

“I played a lot of cricket, watched a lot of videos of Virat and other cricketers, just tried to make him a soldier on a mission, like how Virat plays his game. When he is batting, it doesn’t seem that he will get out. We feel that even if we have to make 400 runs, Virat alone would make it. He has given us that confidence and I wanted to get that confidence into this character. I even had interactions with the director,” he said about his preparations for the role.

Dishoom also stars Varun Dhawan, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez and has been tagged as a “masala action comedy”, directed by Rohit Dhawan.

“It is a very intelligent commercial film; it has all the elements of a commercial film but there is an intelligence as well in it. I feel it is the best commercial film you will see in a long time because it is very well crafted, there is a good graph in the film,” he added.

Saqib added that though the hot weather during the shoot in Abu Dhabi was challenging, he actually enjoyed it as he likes shooting outdoors and in the sun.

Woman’ power: Monica Dogra to feature in docu series on gender-related violence

It was a little under a year ago that Monica Dogra grabbed headlines for her attempt to garner acceptance for the LGBT community — by requesting fans for Rs 50 lakhs in funds that she could then use to make a music video. In exchange, she promised these sponsors her company while they partied and shopped together.

Monica Dogra

The backlash over that move took a while to die down, but it seems that Monica is finally ready to move on, and take on another cause. This time, she’s battling gender-related violence through a series titled Woman.

Right off the bat, we can tell you that this project sounds a whole lot more promising than the previous one.

For one, it’s headed by Gloria Steinem (who is the executive producer and host of the series) and two, it takes a very insightful look at the marginalisation of women in different parts of the globe.

Woman will air on Viceland, a new channel in the US.

Monica announced her association with the project, and said she would be playing the role of a correspondent in the docu-series.

Monica said, in a statement: “I shot for Woman in northern British Columbia in Canada about six months ago. We covered the rising issue of missing and murdered women on Highway 16, popularly known as ‘The Highway of Tears’. Growing up in the US, I was completely ignorant of the issues happening in a neighbouring country. But now that I know about it, it’s an honour to be a part of a series such as Woman.”

Premiering on May 10, the weekly series tells stories of women and men on the front lines of fighting gender-based violence. There is also a special episode produced by Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on the rise of extremism in Pakistan.

I’m an independent filmmaker; have freedom to do what I want: ‘Sarbjit’ director Omung Kumar

Mumbai: Filmmaker Omung Kumar believes he is an independent filmmaker and that if you are independent you get the freedom to do whatever you want to do.

What are his views on independent filmmakers?

Omung Kumar. Image from IBN

“I’m an independent filmmaker. If you are independent, you will get the freedom to do whatever you want. In independent films, you just come out with a good story. So obviously, the film will be made well.

“But we have to ensure that we take out the best acting out of people,” the Mary Kom director, who worked with filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on films like Black and Saawariya as an art director before helming his own movies, told IANS.

Omung’s comments came in the light of the “I am a Film maker, I am Independent” movement initiated by Gaurav Pandey. Omung added, “If there is something where all first-time directors come together and strive, and if it can be an inspiration for them, I would obviously like to join them.”

I stand by her in all her legal battles: Kangana Ranaut’s father Amardeep speaks out

Mumbai: Actress Kangana Ranaut is undergoing a legal battle with actor Hrithik Roshan and her father Amardeep Ranaut says that she has shown courage in every sphere of her life and he is proud of her.

Kangana Ranaut. Image from IBNlive

Kangana’s father accompanied her along with other family members to the national capital to receive the National Award for her film Tanu Weds Manu Returns.

Speaking about her daughter’s success and her legal battle with Hrithik, the senior Ranaut told IANS: “I am very proud of my daughter’s achievements. She has shown exemplary courage in every sphere of her life and I stand by her in all her legal battles.”

Issues between the two actors surfaced when Kangana hinted at Hrithik being her ‘ex’, saying in an interview that she fails to understand “why exes do silly things to get your attention”. The two stars have been involved in a protracted and public battle ever since.

Why I admire Kangana Ranaut: She’s an example of new Indian womanhood

She is a three times National Award winner after all and she is not even 30 as yet. But I wouldn’t know. Fed on a diet of Satyajit Ray and Rittwik Ghatak from our childhood we were taught to sneer at Bollywood very early on. And Kangana Ranaut’s mega box-office triumphs with such cringe-worthy names as Tanu Weds Manu are, from all accounts, brazen money-making missions achieving their goal hand over fist.

Kangana Ranaut. Image from IBNlive

Yet, I am her fan, a zealous, devoted fan at that. For what she stands for in her person rather than what she enacts on screen. As was revealed in her spell-binding double act on television on 3 May, the day she was awarded her third National Award. I was glued to the idiot box all through, enthralled till the very last minute of her two interviews on two channels. She looked stunning of course and being the actress she is, making her presence felt must be second nature to her. But it was what she said that was so exhilarating, so electrifying.

Admittedly, told not very well. Without scripted lines, her words didn’t quite flow, without someone hollering “cut” she didn’t know when to stop. She kept repeating herself, going on and on saying the same thing in the same words over and over again. Yet, nothing could detract from the substance of what she said, so prettily, with such ease and with such quiet confidence.

To be able to declare so openly, knowing that the interviews were being beamed straight into people’s living rooms and bedrooms across the country, that there is “Nothing gross about our period blood, Why do we need to tell women that period blood is gross?”; to talk so freely about “bodily fluids” of men and women; to admit publicly about being “sexually active” without a hair or hide of a husband in sight; to be so unapologetic about her many flings (“It’s very hard for me to find any sort of shame or blame in my life); to dismiss the name-calling she’s been subjected to (‘whore’ and ‘witch’ being the more innocent ones) as “very old-fashioned, it won’t work” — who was this woman, Kangana or Madonna?

Precisely. If it was Madonna and Shakira in the West some years ago, it is Kangana and Sunny Leone in India in 2016. Sunny Leone, who burst onto our consciousness at the beginning of this year, refusing to beg mercy for her stint as a “porn star”, maintaining her poise and dignity despite the interviewer’s desperate efforts to name and shame her. Together they are busy breaking moulds, shattering images, sending out of court the cherished fantasy that the “ideal bharatiya nari” is one who values her chastity belt more than her life. A proud Sunny Leone not only acts in a film named One Night Stand but also unabashedly admits to such one-nighters during her days as a single woman.

What’s your favourite beverage? an interviewer had once asked Kangana. “Coffee!” she had promptly replied. “I can drink it any time. And red wine. Over the years, I have bought a whole load of fine red wines from Paris.” Even a few years ago, our most successful heroines would romp about half-naked on screen but when it came to their off-screen personas they wouldn’t be caught dead in any such attire or with a drink in their hands or a cigarette dangling from their fingers. Kangana received her third National Award from President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday dressed not in the regulation Kanjeevaram but in an off-shoulder dress, very Western but very Indian too.

Evidently a new Indian womanhood is being scripted and Kangana and Sunny are the prime but not the only examples of this phenomenon. Just look at the enormous outpouring of support for both these women on the social media where the new India lives and plays. It is clear as daylight: More and more urban Indian woman are refusing to subscribe to the belief that you can’t be a true Indian woman unless you live by certain age-old norms. The sexual revolution is here to stay and for women too.

Ironically, the women are racing ahead but Indian men are unable to keep pace. In the Kangana-Hrittik Roshan kerfuffle it is Roshan who has gone out of his way to project a sati-saddhvi holier-than- thou image, not Kangana. As for one of her other exes, Adhyayan Suman, the mind boggles.Someone who by his own admission has studied in London and New York and got his dream car BMW7Series for one of this birthdays, turns to mummy’s pundit-ji with his girlfriend woes.

“My mother was very worried,” Suman told an interviewer, “and she called the family’s Panditji to come home and meet me. The first thing he asked me was: ‘Khana banati hai tumhare liye?’ When I said yes, he said, ‘Apna impure blood milati hai khaane mein black magic ke liye’… The same Pandit later on came on Salman Khan’s Dus Ka Dum also and he looked at Kangana in the middle of the show and said ‘Aap pisachini hai.’ She treated it as if it was a joke. It’s there on national TV.” In what century is he living in, I ask you.

Come on Indian men, grow up. Or be prepared to be left behind while women not only enter heretofore forbidden temples and mosques but dance on your foreheads too.