Category Archives: Views on News

Why I wasn’t into Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli’s wedding: A deja vu of million Instagram shaadis

I wanted to be so enthusiastic about the Virushka wedding. It was everything I had ever dreamed of being excited about: an individually/separately talented, shockingly good-looking and successful celebrity couple, a big glitzy wedding, a hush-hush guest list and a shaadi dream-team creating the perfect wedding aesthetic.

So why was I just not that into it?

Maybe it’s because of all the deja vu. None of the news we have yet is giving us anything we haven’t seen before.

I feel like I’d already exhausted my reserves of happy discovery when Kimye did the original secret Italian wedding. Even the bits of elegant Tuscan-yellow stone we can see in the background of the few Virushka pictures we have just trigger memories of millions of Instagram pictures from all one hundred Kardashians at Kim and Kanye’s Italian wedding.

Thanks to Sabyasachi’s constant tweeting, we found out that the bride and groom were wearing Sabyasachi on all days to all functions, from Anushka’s jewellery to Virat’s signature khadi kurta. This naturally meant that they looked exactly like a page from any Sabyasachi collection catalogue ever published, with Anushka even opting for the brand’s signature “micro-dot bindi”. It’s the most familiar wedding aesthetic in the world, and it honestly felt too perfect to look at for long.

The lone video we have of the wedding ceremony itself, posted by Kohli, looks like it was lifted straight off the sets of Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani (except for the glaring lack of Deepika Padukone anywhere), and I honestly thought for a second I could hear Kabira playing in the background (it was actually Jasleen Royal’s Din Shagna Da Chadeya). The visual was just so absurdly familiar, like the YJHD wedding and Virushka’s own Manyavar ad had a baby.

Even the news that they were selling their wedding photos for charity did nothing for me— didn’t Angelina Jolie do that with the pictures of her twins?

Or maybe it’s because their wedding just didn’t really turn into the kind of media spectacle we need, or even demand from celebrity weddings today. Sure, there’s a media circus reeling out in front of our eyes, but in controlling the narrative around their wedding, and giving us only a few first-hand glimpses into it, Virushka cannily starved the media of the usual juicy details it loves to make a spectacle of.

So for lack of other pictures, gossip and videos, other than what Virushka chooses to put out, we have boring explainers from India Today decoding who Maharaj Anant Baba is (Sharma’s family priest), accompanied by actual Google Earth snapshots of his headquarters, Anant Dham in Haridwar.

NDTV wanted you to know that the wedding reception card was as “dreamy” as the wedding, and basically wrote out most of the text from the pictured card in their report. News 18 dedicated an entire report to understanding the song we heard playing in the background in the video of Sharma making her “bride entry”. This evening, most news channels were reduced to showing which cricketer, Bollywood actors and celebrities had congratulated the couple and how, with India Today even delving into negative space, pointing out that Ranveer Singh had ostensibly not wished the couple despite being generally very active on Twitter. They also aired tweets from fans, in particular one wondering why the couple had been dubbed Virushka and not Kohma.

You can almost see how desperately the media’s scrambling for a story here, and it’s almost sad how far they have to stretch the little they know of the story.

I mean, where are the endless accounts of what Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, Mira Rajput and Alia Bhatt wore, the scandal of Deepika-Ranveer not being invited and the imminent box-office/Koffee With Karan showdown we’re consequently bound to see? Where are the reports of spurned ex-lover item girls attempting suicide outside the wedding venue? And how can we wonder gravely if Salman Khan was invited if we already know that nobody from Bollywood was?

So, I don’t know what exactly it is about the Virushka wedding that stops me from getting into it. Have I seen it all on Instagram before, or am I just seeing too little of the good stuff on the news?

I think it’s because I’m the only one who appreciated Anushka Sharma’s lip-job. I thought it brought some interest to a much-too-perfectly-proportioned face. Maybe it’s the lack of a noticeable lip-job I’m feeling in the Virushka wedding right now. The photos are too perfect, the light too dreamy, the outfits too beautifully Sabyasachi. It all looks like a beautiful picture I’ve seen in a book before, and maybe I have, in a fashion magazine about a celebrity wedding somewhere.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu: Are Shahid Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz teaming up for Shree Narayan Singh’s next?

After raking in moolah at the box-office with his film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, director Shree Narayan Singh is all set to awaken the moral/social/civic conscience of his audience with the upcoming film Batti Gul Meter Chalu.

Themed around rising electricity charges and escalated billing in many parts of India, Batti Gul Meter Chalu stars Shahid Kapoor in the lead role; he plays the role of a lawyer in the film. There has been persistent speculation around the casting of the actress opposite Kapoor. But the Padmavati actor refuted it all, stating no actress had been roped in yet.

But, now, according to a report by Mumbai Mirror, Ileana D’Cruz is being considered for the role.

Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz. Images via Facebook

Confirming the development (of approaching D’Cruz), one of the co-producers of the film, Prernaa Arora of KriArj Entertainment told Mirror, “We have only spoken to Ileana so far. It is a strong role of a lawyer with intense scenes and we are casting now.”

The film’s teaser was released during Diwali this year. Singh, in a statement, revealed why the festival of lights was chosen for the teaser launch. “Diwali makes it just the right occasion for us to shed light on a subject that needs to be discussed. We look forward to making a film that is both commercially entertaining and encourages a social conversation,” reports PTI.

The Mirror report also adds that the film will go on the floors on 19 January next year and will be extensively shot in places like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Tehri, Mussoorie and Nainital. Batti Gul Meter Chalu is slated to release on 31 August, 2018.

Padmavati: Congress’ Kerala unit writes to CM, asking him to ensure film is released in state

Amid protests against Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film Padmavati, the Congress’ Kerala unit on 26 November asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to ensure that the film is released in the state.

Deepika Padukone in a still from Padmavati. Facebook

Questioning the Chief Minister’s silence on the issue, state Congress president MM Hassan told IANS, “What baffles me is the silence of Vijayan.”

“We all expected Vijayan would come out strongly against the present opposition against this film, but surprisingly he has not uttered a word.

“I have now written to him to see that the state government should ensure that the film is released here and, if need be, security should also be given wherever the film is released in Kerala,” said Hassan.

In his letter, Hassan also pointed out that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also promised to release the film in her state.

“The opposition to this film from fascist forces is a clear example of curbing expression of freedom,” said Hassan, adding that Vijayan’s silence is meant not to ruffle the “good” relations that he has with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Bhansali’s historical drama Padmavati has been facing protests from Hindu groups and some critics have even issued violent threats over claims that the movie distorts various historical facts.

The film was scheduled to be released on 1 December but has been deferred by the makers amid the controversy.

Padmavati controversy: Parliamentary panel invites Sanjay Leela Bhansali to share his views on row

New Delhi: The parliamentary committee on IT has invited Padmavati director Sanjay Leela Bhansali to hear his views on the controversy over the film, panel chairman Anurag Thakur said today (28 November).

The panel has also called officials of the Information and Broadcasting ministry and Censor Board to discuss the film, which has been embroiled in a controversy over allegations that it distorts history.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Image from Twitter/@vmusicmum

“The panel has invited Bhansali to know his views on the controversy,” Thakur told PTI.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on 30 November. However, top officials said Bhansali is “shying away” from making an appearance and is yet to confirm.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, is based on Rajput queen, Padmini. Amid rumours that there was a romantic dream sequence between Padmini and Alauddin Khilji’s characters, various Rajput and other groups have been protesting against the film, alleging it “distorts” history and hurts the sentiments of the people.

Historians are, however, divided on whether Queen Padmini even existed. Chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh — all BJP ruled states — and Punjab, ruled by the Congress, had opposed the release of the movie. Following this severe opposition, the makers of the movie deferred its release date. The film was scheduled to release on 1 December, this year.

Padmavati row: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil to PK, six Bollywood films that courted controversy

The course of true never did run smooth, but that’s an adage that could easily be applied to a Bollywood film’s release as well. From offending sentiments to contentious references, many a Bollywood film has found itself the target of ire from a certain section of the populace. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati is only the latest. The controversy was triggered when members of the Karni Sena, a Rajput interest group in Jaipur, vandalised the sets of Padmavati earlier this year. They accused the filmmaker of playing with history and distorting the image of the queen they revere. Since then, various other groups and even some political figures have joined the fray in attacking the film, demanding that Bhansali screen Padmavati for them before its theatrical release. Threats have also been issued against the film’s lead actress, Deepika Padukone. With just weeks to go for its scheduled release date of 1 December 2017, the stakes are high indeed, for Bhansali’s magnum opus.

Here are six other Bollywood films that had a rocky road to release in the recent past, amid widespread protests and opposition:

Bajirao Mastani

Bhansali’s last release — 2016’s Bajirao Mastani — found itself in hot water when the descendants of Peshwa Bajirao lead a strong protest against the so-called “fictional” portrayal of their ancestor, a Maratha warrior getting married to a Muslim princess (roles played by Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, respectively).

As soon as the details of the movie began to appear in the press, descendants of Peshwa Bajirao and Kashibai (played by Priyanka Chopra in the film) and certain groups began to register angry protests. Just like with Padmavati, theyere were attempts to halt the film’s release throughout India, but after repeated assurances that Bajirao Mastani’s story was presented tastefully, the protesters withdrew.

Not just Padmavati, several other films have had a rocky road to release in the recent past

Goliyon ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela

Again it was Sanjay Leela Bhansali who had to confront the Rajput Samaj and ultimately, was forced to add a prefix to Ram-Leela’s title.

The Rajput Samaj of Ahmedabad was extremely unhappy with the film ahead of its release — the film’s original title (Ramleela, later changed to Ram-Leela) was the issue — and for a while it was uncertain as to whether the film would even be released. Petitions were filed against it in court, on the grounds that it harmed Hindu sentiments. Fortunately, once a Delhi court okayed the title change, the film’s path to the theatres became a little clearer.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Among the most bitter stand-offs in Bollywood history between a film and a political party, Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil nearly didn’t release in theatres. Johar’s film starred Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai and also Fawad Khan. The film was releasing close on the heels of the September 2016 Uri attack, when anti-Pakistan sentiment was high. Moreover, there had also been calls to ban Pakistani artistes from working in India. ADHM and Raees (which featured Mahira Khan) were caught in the crossfire. The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena was at the forefront of the protests against Johar and ADHM, a situation that was only defused after Johar released a video apologising, and also explaining that Fawad had been cast in his film much before the Uri attacks. The filmmaker also made a contribution to the Army fund. Finally, the film released across theatres without incident.

PK

Many groups were angry at Raju Hirani and his team for “making fun of Hinduism” with the Aamir Khan-starrer PK. In PK, Aamir played an alien on earth who goes around exposing the blind beliefs and superstitions practised in society. members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal burned the film’s posters, while the All India Muslim Board demanded that some sections of the film be deleted in the interests of communal harmony. On its release, PK went on to become the highest earning Indian film — and was only upstaged in 2017 by Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and Aamir’s Dangal.

My Name Is Khan

Shah Rukh Khan supported the presence of Pakistani cricketers in the IPL, and had to confront the wrath of the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. The political parties said they wouldn’t allow his film to release in theatres unless the superstar apologised for his comments. SRK, however, refused. However, he received a tremendous amount of support from his well-wishers and fans and the film did ultimately release, without any incident marring the same.

Jodha Akbar

When Ashutosh Gowariker’s film was to release, Rajput groups threatened to stall its release on the grounds that it mis-portrayed the relationship between Jodhabai and Emperor Akbar. They contended that Jodha was married to Salim, Akbar’s son, and that her parentage was also depicted incorrectly by the filmmaker.  The Karni Sena too joined in, saying they would not allow screenings of the Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Hrithik Roshan starrer. Gowariker on his part claimed he had consulted historians before starting work on his film.

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.

Nawazuddin’s Monsoon Shootout will now release on 15 December; no clash with Tiger Zinda Hai

Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s much awaited Monsoon Shootout is all set to hit the silver screen on 15 December, according to the latest poster of the film.

Poster of Monsoon Shootout.

The poster of the film fits in perfectly with its genre — a crime-thriller drama — with hues of blood red as the poster’s background, Siddiqui’s face (bruised, battered and scarred) in monochrome and Vijay Verma’s silhouette in red, the poster cuts a chilling picture.

The film was supposed to see a theatrical release almost four years ago, however the release repeatedly kept getting stalled. Siddiqui had shot for Monsoon Shootout immediately after Gangs Of Wasseypur.

“For almost a year we were travelling across festivals with the film and then we wanted to wait and release the film when we felt the time was right.  We had a successful release of Haraamkhor earlier this year and 2017 has proven to be a year when good content films were being accepted. So we feel now is the best time to release the film,” said Monsoon Shootout‘s producer Guneet Monga in a statement.

Monga and her production house Sikhya Entertainment is known for producing content-driven films like Masaan and Lunchbox, apart from Haraamkhor.

Monsoon Shootout is a crime thriller film starring Siddiqui, Vijay Verma and Tannishtha Chatterjee.

This film is about a policeman facing a life-altering decision when he must decide to shoot or not.

It is directed by Amit Kumar, who earlier made an award-winning short film called Bypass with Siddiqui and Irrfan Khan.

Qarib Qarib Singlle movie review: Parvathy, Irrfan click individually but not as a couple

A conservative young woman, widowed early in life and hanging on to the memory of her late husband, spends years allowing life to revolve around work and married friends who take her for granted. On a whim one day, she puts up her profile on a dating website. Jaya Shashidharan (played by Parvathy) is a successful insurance professional staying alone in her Mumbai flat while her younger brother — the only person she seems truly close to — studies abroad. She meets poet cum inventor Yogendra Kumar Dhirendranath Prajapati a.k.a. Yogi (Irrfan) via the site. On another whim, she decides to go on a cross-country trip with him to meet his ex-girlfriends and check if they still carry a torch for him as he claims they do.

(Possible spoilers ahead)

No one is more surprised by her uncharacteristic impetuousness than she herself. Dating is not her scene. It is clear that at some sub-conscious level she wants to break free of her own sobriety, but it is an old habit that is hard to shake off. Her confusion over her life-long sedateness can be the only explanation for why she takes off on a journey with a virtual stranger and takes other risks in this story that even the average adventurous Indian woman would not. It also explains why she spends so much of this expedition regretting being on it. Yogi is everything she is not — unguarded, sure of what he wants, speaking his mind, constantly laughing at his own poor jokes, so sociable that even a ride on the wrong train turns into a fun diversion. She has the appearance of knowing her mind, but does not. She says one thing, while her heart wants something else.

Poster for Qarib Qarib Singlle

Most of what I have told you is already contained in the trailer of Qarib Qarib Singlle (Almost Single). Despite the sense of humour in some of the couple’s initial interactions, and the undoubted charisma of the lead stars, the film does not have much more to offer beyond the pleasures of that trailer. There is a kernel of an idea in there that could have been taken somewhere, but it does not come together as a cohesive, credible whole.

Froth and frolic notwithstanding, writer-director Tanuja Chandra makes a point here, although it is unclear whether that was her intention. In one scene, Yogi half-mockingly expresses admiration for Jaya’s feminism. Yet, the song and dance that is made about her lack of clarity regarding what she wants from him, treads the well-worn path of suggesting that behind all their bluster, there is nothing more that female feminists want than the comfort of tradition and a man. This silly stereotypical belief is implied and stated routinely in real life by those whose superficial understanding is that men and relationships with men are, theoretically, anathema to women feminists.

It is possible that Chandra did not intend to insinuate any of this, but the clichéd characterisation of Jaya and Yogi, no different from a standard Mills & Boon romance, ends up doing precisely that — not spelt out in black and white, but by implication.

Besides, Qarib Qarib Singlle’s lead actors Parvathy and Irrfan do not click as a couple on screen. It does not help that this supposedly off-mainstream film from a seemingly thinking filmmaker displays the same ageist sexism that we see in hard-core commercial Hindi cinema, in which 50-something male stars routinely play younger men and star with women half their age. The Net tells me that Irrfan is 50 and that baby-faced, chubby-cheeked Parvathy is 29, but in the film, Yogi is 40 (really?) while Jaya is 35 — an adjustment that has obviously been made to justify the casting. I guess it would be too much to ask this gender-prejudiced industry to pick a 40 to 50-year-old woman for a 50-year-old man, but Qarib Qarib Singlle would have been another film, and very likely a far more interesting one, if Chandra had gone down that path.

Movie Review: Sardar Mohammad, Punjabi Movie

 

 

Sardar Mohammad is the story of Surjit Singh who is the eldest son in the family of Retired Colonel Harjit Singh (Sardar Sohi) who has served for the Police Force under the British Rule and later joined the Indian Army. Surjit has 3 younger brothers and a younger sister. Life is going smooth and Surjit is even about to get married to Mandy Takhar. However, things take a turn when Surjit learns that he is not the real son of Colonel instead he was separated from his family during the Partition of 1947. Surjit learns that he has a mother in Pakistan and he decided to visit the neighbouring country in search of his mother. In Pakistan, he finds friends who help and support him in the search of his mother.

Review: I loved Tarsem Jassar and Harry Bhatti’s debut film, Rabb Da Radio but I am afraid that I cannot say the same about this film all together. Tarsem Jassar has taken up multiple tasks in this film – Lead Actor, Story Writer, Screenplay Writer, Dialogue Writer, Lyricist, Composer, Producer & God knows what else. The film carries a blend of emotion, drama & tries to churn all the elements into a typical potboiler commercial film at heart but the films ends up being nothing but a disappointment because of the sky high expectations that I had from the film after I saw the trailer.

Story-Screenplay-Dialogues are all penned by Tarsem Jassar and are based on real life events and the film informs the viewer about the inspiration through a Disclaimer in the very beginning of the film. The film begins on a very sluggish note as the comedy seems to be a forceful insertion in the very beginning and bears no connection to the overall storyline of the film. The Story is something which I can call new in terms of Punjabi Cinema but the treatment given to the story is very immature thus making a good idea seem boring on screen.

Also, most of the moments in the 1st half have no relevance to the actual plot line. They have just been added in order to give a commercial feel to the film  so that the viewer finds a bit of comedy, a little bit of romance (just the song), melodrama and what not. The dialogues were pretty regular and can be termed as mediocre. Overall, the writing of Sardar Mohammad is an opportunity missed.

Coming to direction, Harry Bhatti co-directed his debut film, Rabb Da Radio and this time he has directed the film completely on his own. Sardar Mohammad is one of those films which had a good story, a weak screenplay but bad direction made the film even more weaker. Harry just couldn’t handle the crunch situations. Seems like Harry Bhatti still has a lot to learn as a film-maker. I have always been of the believe that ‘A Successful Music Video director does not necessarily qualify as a successful film-maker’. Both the aspects are completely different from each other.

Coming to performances, I cannot point out a single performance which stood out in the whole film. Tarsem Jassar tried hard, put in all the efforts he could but still there was something missing which stops me from using terms such as amazing, standout, applause-worthy (Mind you, I am a hardcore Tarsem Jassar Fan). Karamjit Anmol is a fine actor and this is his 4th release in a span of 28 days. However, here he was under-utilised. Sardar Sohi was routine as usual. Rahul Jungral did a somewhat okays job. He could be someone who can make a name for himself in future if his choice of roles is good.

Harshjot Kaur, last seen in Qissa Panjab does well here as well. She plays Tarsem’s sister in the film. Neetu Pandher had a small role and was efficient. Rana Jung Bahadur also had 3-4 scenes in the film and was all right. However, Sardar Mohammad would be a disappointment for Mandy Takhar fans as she is seen only in the song, Single Double which also happens to be a dream sequence.

Music of the film lacked the feel of a Motion Pictures Soundtrack except for the Title Track of the film. It was more of the music which works regularly as a Single Track or a supporting track in a music album. However, tracks like Asool, Pind and Sardar Mohammad (Title Track) would be my picks from the album.

After Queen, Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao may reunite for upcoming thriller

After the 2014 blockbuster hit Queen, Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao may be joining forces once again to star in an upcoming thriller together.

Rajkummar Rao-Kangana Ranaut on the Queen sets. Image from Twitter/@BollywoodQing.

“It’s also highly likely that Rajkummar Rao, who was Kangana’s co-star in Queen, will be sharing screen

space with her in this film too. Rajkummar has also been on a high with his last few films either doing well at the box office, or gaining critical acclaim,” said an unverified source, according to a Deccan Chronicle report.

Shailesh Singh, one of the co-producer’s of Ranaut’s 2016 release Simran and her 2011 release Tanu Weds Manu has reportedly invested in the actor once again — this time in the form of a thriller which will apparently be helmed by a director from the South film industry. Ranaut is currently shooting for Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi which is directed by Krish, and Singh is reportedly keen on getting another director from down south to helm the project.

The movie will reportedly go on floors by the second quarter of 2018.

Whereas 2017 saw one movie starring Ranaut in the titular role (Simran), it is Rajkummar Rao who has been setting the box-office ablaze with critically acclaimed performances in movies like Trapped, Behen Hogi Teri, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Newton.