Tag Archives: year

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.

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.

2015 NFL power rankings, preseason edition: Seahawks, Packers start the year on top

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A new season of football is days away. What better way to kick it off than with the first edition of our power rankings!

It’s a brand new year in the NFL. A blank slate. The over analysis of every little piece of NFL minutiae over the last seven months — draft picks, free agency, court cases, mini-camps, training camps, some player being in the best shape of his life — will finally be put to the test. NFL parity always has a knack at making preseason rankings look stupid, but we writers toil on.

Without further ado, here are the preseason power rankings for 2015. Thanks to SB Nation’s NFL bloggers for helping rank the teams to start the season.

The top of my Power Rankings this year feature a lineup of the usual suspects.

The Seahawks came within 1 yard of a second straight Super Bowl victory, but now must prove they can mentally bounce back from that devastating and humiliating last-minute loss. The offensive line is a big concern, but on paper, they appear poised to do so. Seattle added Jimmy Graham to an already efficient offense, which should boost their red zone effectiveness, and rookie Tyler Lockett looks primed to be a major factor in the field position game.

On the other side of the ball, the other big question mark is whether Kam Chancellor plans to report. Assuming he does — I can’t see him missing much, if any, time once the real games start — Seattle returns all their starters save for corner Byron Maxwell, positioning themselves for a third straight season as the league’s top defense.

Meanwhile, the Packers, who by all logic should have gotten past the Seahawks and gone to the Super Bowl last year, return most of their core players, as well — including the best quarterback in the game in Aaron Rodgers — but will have to cope with the preseason loss of Jordy Nelson. The battle of attrition has started early for Green Bay, but it’s a loss that they should be able to weather. I expect they’ll once again be among the NFC’s elite.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots find themselves at No. 3 in my rankings because of the the still-lingering Tom Brady suspension uncertainty, and because of their losses on the defensive side of the ball. It’s hard to doubt that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady can work their magic once again this season and lead the Patriots to AFC East supremacy, but the path is markedly tougher with the departure of starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis (most importantly) and Brandon Browner, plus Vince Wilfork, Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard and Akeem Ayers. Will the loss of Revis — a Defensive Player of the Year caliber player — be too much to recover from this season? We’ll find out.

The Broncos’ fate this season rests on the shoulders of Peyton Manning. Can Manning overcome injuries from the second half of last year and return to his normal form, or have we seen the beginning of the end for the legend? Regardless, I really like Denver’s defense a lot. They can rush the passer with the best of them and have a very good secondary with Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and T.J. Ward, and with a high-functioning Manning returning to a semblance of his former self this year, the Broncos should continue to dominate in the AFC. Right now, I’m not counting Peyton or Denver out.

Rounding out the top five are the Indianapolis Colts, who reloaded to take a run at it this year with the acquisitions of Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, two new pieces for the prolific Andrew Luck’s arsenal. Offensively, Indianapolis should be pretty unstoppable. The defense is the bigger question, of course, but they added Trent Cole to boost the pass rush, and expect to get Robert Mathis back to (near) full health this year. Indy’s brass hopes that these veteran pieces will put them over the 11-5 hump and past the Patriots to the Super Bowl this year.

Big question marks

It’s too early to anoint the Eagles, but I find myself very high on Chip Kelly’s crew in 2015. We’ve all overreacted to preseason play at one time or another — but a healthy Sam Bradford could be a major boon for Philadelphia. It doesn’t hurt that they replaced LeSean McCoy with two high quality backs in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews. Of course, there’s a reason I put Philly in the “big question marks” category, because Sam Bradford and “health” haven’t been synonymous thus far. So much relies, as usual, on Bradford not getting himself hurt.

The Steelers should have one of the best offenses in the league again in 2015, but will have to ride out the suspensions of Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant early. The defense in Pittsburgh is also a major question mark.

In Arizona, the Cardinals get their quarterback back, but Carson Palmer will need to stay healthy and prove the knee won’t affect his performance. I love the hutzpah of Bruce Arians. He likes to throw the ball deep and his defense will almost surely be aggressive, but the Cardinals have a few big questions to answer.

Dallas has an absurdly stacked offensive line. The Tony Romo to Dez Bryant connection should be alive and well. The Cowboys have to replace their bell cow in DeMarco Murray, and face major questions on defense. An already depth-challenged group lost starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick to an ACL injury and may rely more than ever on their ball-control offense.

Can the Chiefs receivers score a touchdown this year? Will the Lions be the same without Ndamukong Suh? Can the Bengals get over the hump with Andy Dalton? Is Teddy Bridgewater the real deal? These are a few things on my mind heading into this season.

Parity is king

The group of teams from Nos. 15 to 25 all feel like they could go either way this year. The Chargers, Dolphins, Saints, Panthers and Falcons all have established or up-and-coming quarterbacks, but questions of balance and depth remain.

The Bills, Texans and potentially the Rams have very good defensive groups but will rely on Tyrod Taylor, Brian Hoyer and Nick Foles to truly contend.

Pretty much the entire Niners team outside of NaVorro Bowman is one giant question mark, and even he’s been off the field for 19 months.

Still, I could see any of these teams crack the top-10 this year, and I wouldn’t bat an eye.

Still too much to prove

As much as the Leaders of the pack were made up of the usual suspects in these power rankings, so too are the Cellar Dwellers. The Titans and Bucs have a good shot of climbing out of the bottom two spots because of their new signal-callers, Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, but they weren’t at the bottom of this list for most of last year just because of the quarterback position.

The Jets lost their presumptive starter for the first 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw, leaving them in limbo even longer.

The Browns are still relying on a bridge quarterback in Josh McCown. Washington’s quarterback situation has been a regularly scheduled debacle, and while the Raiders and Jags look to be headed in the right direction, they still have quite a bit of ground to make up.