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What’s in a name? Love Aaj Kal borrows its title from the 2009 Imtiaz Ali film; Is it a sequel

The first look of an Imtiaz Ali film is always highly anticipated. In the case of his latest – Love Aaj Kal, more so because there has been a lot of online buzz over the past few weeks about what the film would be called.

The ‘original’ Love Aaj Kal had Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone essay the title roles, while this one has Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan. So why is everyone calling it a sequel? Maybe it is because our collective media dubbed it Love Aaj Kal 2 in the absence of an official title. For the longest time, I could not wrap my head around a sequel that did not feature the original actors —is a sequel not, after all, supposed to take a story forward? Unless this is one of those ‘saat janmon ka rishta’ thingamajigs, where Saif gets reborn with more hair. Well, who knows?

Now that the makers have settled on the same title as the 2009 film, one can confidently walk into a theatre knowing it is a reboot. Or is it? What if it is a reimagining? Or a remake?

Damn. All this Hollywood terminology is so confusing. Which is why we in Bollywood, use the word sequel to describe any and every film in a franchise. Take Dostana 2, for example. The upcoming film features Kartik Aaryan, Janhvi Kapoor, and Lakshya in the lead roles. Again, unless the characters played by John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Abhishek Bachchan had kids that have grown up to be 20-somethings in the last dozen years, it seems strange the studio would append a ‘2’ after the original title. But that is what they are calling it. Go figure.

This ambiguity creates an element of suspense Hollywood totally seems to have missed out on. I will be going to watch Dostana 2 knowing it has got something to do with the original, but will not know whether it is a case of new actors in a new story or new actors living in the same Miami apartment. Will they wear the same Manish Malhotra threads? And, more importantly, will they dance to a Tanishk Bagchi remix of ‘Desi Girl?’

As a true-blue believer in all things Bollywood though, I think, it is important to understand what I am dissing on the other side.

Hollywood reserves the word sequel for the continuation of a story. Studios add numbers like 2, 3, 4… to the original title in order to make it clear to people that what they are going to watch begins where they left off the last time. If you think about it, though, this shows an utter lack of imagination, and dumbs things down. Where is the fun in that?

Hollywood also loves a good prequel, where you dial back the story in time, and finish the new story where the old one begins. Sometimes, the prequels can have second and third parts, which are technically still prequels to the originals, but sequels to previously released prequels, as George Lucas (Star Wars) would tell you. And because they are spoilsports, they numbered the films with Episode numbers. A totally lost opportunity if you ask me. It would have been so much fun had they just announced every film saying it is a prequel/sequel, and let the audience figure which is which.

They also have spin-offs, which focus on aspects and characters that did not get much footage in the original story, but got uber-positive vibes from controlled audience tests conducted by their research teams. Take Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. When Harry Potter was done killing Voldemort, one would have thought that is the end of that cash cow. But Warner Bros and author JK Rowling were not ready to give up yet. They took a 12,000-word book, and announced a five-film series around it. See? Capitalism at work. However, they could have spiced things up a little bit more by calling it a sequel, and letting us imagine everything from Harry’s newfound interest in bestiality to the return of Voldemort as a dragon. No?

There are also remakes which essentially tell the same story, but with CGI. And then there are reimaginings, something Disney has built an empire around — take an old story, change one major thing, and you have got yourself a new Cinderella. So, what is a reboot then? This one is actually complicated. Here, the writers can either take an existing story and mess with the continuity, thereby creating a new status quo, or reconfigure the entire story. I am not sure I get it either, which is why I love Bollywood, and how it refuses to get caught up in semantics. Everything is a ‘sequel,’ deal with it. Even when none of the Housefull films have anything to do with each other.

Kartik Aaryan, who has earned himself the title of being the ‘king of sequels,’ is also in Bhool Bhullaiyaa 2, along with Kiara Advani. I am so excited about this particular sequel because it might actually be one in the classical sense. Manjulika might have moved on to terrorising millennials, and what could be better than that?

Malang makers release character posters of Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor, Disha Patani; trailer to release on 6 January

Malang-Poster

Aditya Roy Kapur and Disha Patani-starrer Malang is one of the most-anticipated films of 2020. Malang is a revenge drama, helmed by Aashiqui 2 director Mohit Suri, and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Luv Ranjan, Ankur, and Jay Shewakramani.

The makers released the first poster of Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor, and Disha Patani’s character in the film. The actor also shared an image of it on social media. Sporting a pair of jeans, Kapur’s character is intense and screams into nothingness, almost as a sign of extreme anger. The poster is accompanied by a quote that says, “Unleash the madness,” which may well be a pointer to Kapur’s character arc in the film.

The backdrop of the film is mainly a thriller with a romantic angle that plays out between Aditya and Disha. The film also stars Kunal Kemmu in a pivotal role. A Mumbai Mirror report had previously stated Anil Kapoor’s character in the film will have shades of grey. In fact, a character poster of Kapoor was released a week ago on the seasoned actor’s birthday, where he sports rose-tinted glasses and a police officer’s uniform.

Malang marks the reunion of Aditya and Mohit after a period of six years, post Aashqiui 2. Meanwhile, Kunal comes on board Mohit’s film after having worked with him on Kalyug 14 years ago.

The film is slated to hit screens on 7 February. The trailer will be released on 6 January.

Mardaani 2 movie review: Rani Mukerji and a chilling antagonist are the lynchpins of a gripping thriller

When a woman is talented and successful, then society expects that in exchange for being allowed to go so far, she must be willing to conduct herself with humility and an unassuming demeanour,” Shivani Shivaji Roy’s boss tells her one day.

Ms Roy’s boss is not being a jerk. He is, in fact, an ally putting into words what most smart, professionally successful women face every day. This harsh reality lies at the core of writer-director Gopi Puthran’s gritty, gripping thriller Mardaani 2, a sequel to the 2014 box-office hit Mardaani. As in the first film, here too Rani Mukerji plays Shivani, a brilliant, no-nonsense policewoman who ruffles feathers with her disinterest in social niceties and indifference to the male ego.

Shivani has been assigned to Kota in Rajasthan when a local criminal hires a very young hitman called Sunny to do some work for a politician in the city. Sunny sees red when women wound his pride, and nothing wounds him more than a public takedown – either of him or of another man in his presence – by a woman. When he witnesses a girl admonishing her boyfriend for a perceived wrong one day, he rapes, tortures and murders her as punishment. This sets Shivani off on his trail. When he sees her, a female member of the police force, mocking him at a press conference, he becomes obsessed with showing her her place. Thus begins a game of thrust and parry between this murderous maniac and a sharp, tough-as-nails policewoman.

It is rare for a Hindi film to create a portrait of no-holds-barred evil without caricaturing the villain in question, at the very least giving him a weird quirk, a catchphrase or even a disability. Case in point: Riteish Deshmukh’s character in last month’s Marjaavaan. Mardaani 2 has no time for such immaturity. Sunny is cruel, his ego is fragile around women and when we discover his background, we get a clearly well-researched insight into the deep-rootedness of patriarchy in our society and the anatomy of violence.

Sunny is a frightening and extreme manifestation of the resentment that confident women face at every turn, not just in public places but also in their offices, social circles and homes, sometimes behind a mask of sophistication. In fact, when he occasionally directly addresses the audience, the device — forgotten too soon in the film — serves as an unnerving reminder of our proximity to the brutes in our midst.

As uncommon as its depiction of villainy is Mardaani 2’s portrayal of an independent woman (barring the irritating, problematic title – for more on that please click here for my review of the first Mardaani). In the past decade, as it has moved away from the cliché of the heroine as a coy, ideally home-bound virgin, Bollywood has come up with another stereotype: Hindi film writers and directors have tended to reductively equate female independence with smoking, drinking, a vocabulary packed with abuse and even obnoxiousness towards those around them, often making these the woman’s defining characteristics. Look no further than Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyaan in 2018 starring Taapsee Pannu. Shivani in Mardaani may or may not have habits that her doctor would object to, Gopi Puthran simply does not feel the need to point to them, and her vocabulary, while certainly not antiseptic, is not her identifying feature. What defines her is her brilliance, bravery and dedication to the job.

Although we are not left in any doubt about who is the boss in Mardaani 2, DoP Jishnu Bhatacharya does not giganticise Mukerji’s Shivani as is the norm with male superstars in action dramas. This is obviously in keeping with the director’s vision for the film. So is the sensitivity with which Bhatacharya shoots Sunny’s victims. His camera is an observer and reporter, not a voyeur, and the women are treated with utmost dignity.

Puthran – who earlier wrote Mardaani, which was directed by Pradeep Sarkar – lets Shivani and Sunny completely dominate Mardaani 2, but their characters are so detailed, the tension between them so palpable and the action so unrelenting that the plot feels never less than packed. The background is also dotted with enough characters giving us a glimpse into their respective worlds, from the hardened criminal who draws the line at the sexual abuse of random women to a supportive husband happy to be his wife’s anchor, a subordinate driven by his social conditioning and others who rise above theirs.

The use of a solitary statistic on juvenile rapists at the start of Mardaani 2 is misleading and troubling though, and the text on screen in the end is shoddily written. Another of Mardaani 2’s few faltering moments comes in a TV interview Shivani gives. While the anchor’s conservatism mirrors many real-life journalists, his silence in response to her defiance is unconvincing. Bullies do tend to be cowards, but it is just as true that when they find themselves overshadowed in a debate, chauvinists tend to camouflage a lack of substance with decibels or personal remarks, not acquiescence. For the record, like the female producer listening to their conversation, I too teared up at Shivani’s answer about the stress and scrutiny, humiliation and hurt that every woman experiences.

Aided by Monisha Baldawa’s concise editing, the tension does not let up for even a second in Mardaani 2’s economical one hour 45 minutes running time. John Stewart Eduri’s background score is perfectly compatible with the storyline and Puthran puts it to excellent use, not once raising the volume or thrusting it into crucial silences, unlike the makers of most Hindi thrillers. Sound designers Ganesh Gangadharan and Nihar Ranjan Samal too seem intent on not sensationalising the unfolding crimes.

A heroine and a bad guy unusual for Hindi cinema, cracking suspense, understated messaging that is woven into the characterisation, top-notch performances by Mukerji and Vishal Jethwa who plays Sunny, and Puthran’s no-frills storytelling style all add up to making Mardaani 2 a hugely entertaining, highly intelligent, polished thriller. In terms of cinematic quality, 2019 has been one of the worst years for Bollywood in a very long time. Mardaani 2 is a timely reminder of how good this industry can be when it chooses not to be weighed down by prejudice, market-driven compulsions and lazy formulae.

 

Varun Dhawan’s Street Dancer 3D trailer to be attached with Dabangg 3; clip’s digital release on 18 December

The trailer of Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor’s upcoming film Street Dancer 3D will have its digital release on 18 December. It will also be showcased across cinemas, prior to the screening of Dabangg 3 on 20 December.

Previously, the Street Dancer’s trailer was scheduled to be out on 12 December, which is also producer Bhushan Kumar’s birthday.

Confirming the delay, director Remo D’Souza told Bollywood Hungama, “There’s lots of VFX and 3D stuff is happening and right now we are all working on that. I am keen to show the trailer to everybody and have been working round the clock to get it complete by then. It will be a proper two-three minute trailer. You can expect some amazing, never-seen-before dances in it – and something very special which I cannot reveal right now (sic).”

The report further adds that Kumar and D’Souza are reportedly keen to have Salman Khan at the trailer launch.

The makers have previously called Street Dancer 3D “India’s biggest dance film”. D’Souza had also said that it is unrelated to the ABCD franchise. Dhawan and Kapoor will once again share screen space after 2015’s ABCD 2.

Mumbai Mirror had reported that Kapoor trained in five different dance forms – Afro, Krump, Locking and Popping, Animation Tutting and Urban. She joined the cast after Katrina Kaif opted out because of a scheduling conflict.

Shakti Mohan, Nora Fatehi, Prabhu Deva, Sonam Bajwa and Aparshakti Khurana also star in vital roles. Mohan will make her Bollywood debut with this feature. The first schedule took place in Amritsar after which, the cast and crew shot in London.

Street Dancer 3D releases on 24 January, 2020.

 

Commando 3: Ahead of film’s release, makers unveil Vidyut Jammwal’s introductory scene

Ahead of its theatrical release, the makers of Commando 3 have released an introductory video of film’s lead Vidyut Jammwal. The five-minute footage features Jammwal as a vigilante hero rescuing schoolgirls from a bunch of eve-teasers. The scene gives a glimpse of an action-packed treat that lies ahead for the viewers.

Commando 3 producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah says it’s a bold step and a big gamble to reveal the introductory scene. “Innovation is the key to reach out today to the audience, we have decided to take a bold step to put out a 5 minute clip of the film as it is. It is a gamble but it’s our belief that after watching this clip audience will be compelled to see the film. Fingers crossed,” Shah said in a statement.

The Commando series was introduced in 2011 with Commando: A One Man Army. The second part, Commando 2: The Black Money Trail, came out in 2017.

Helmed by Aditya Datt, Commando 3 also stars Adah Sharma, Angira Dhar and Gulshan Devaiah in pivotal roles.

The trailer of high-octane action drama revealed Devaiah as the antagonist of the upcoming action entertainer. Jammwal’s Karan Singh is tasked to team up with Mallika Sood (Dhar) from British Intelligence and Indian agent Bhawana Reddy (Sharama) to save the nation, and knock down Devaiah’s evil plans. The footage reveals Jammwal using his exceptional martial arts skills to beat up villains double his size, indulge in high-speed car chases, and spew out huge dose of patriot dialogues.

Commando 3 is presented by Reliance Entertainment and Motion Picture Capital, in association with Sun Shine Pictures and Vipul Amrutlal Shah Production.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui on starring in comedy films: I enjoy this genre because you don’t have to think or stress too much

Nawazuddin Siddiqui may be best known for his dark and gritty cinema but the actor is partial to romantic comedies. Hence, he was happy to be offered Motichoor Chaknachoor – probably his first out-and-out lighthearted romcom that hit the screens on 15 November.

“I have done many comedies when I was doing theatre but I didn’t get the chance to do comedies in films maybe because of my intense looks. But I enjoy comedies because you don’t have to think or stress too much in these films like I have to do for my serious roles. I liked the title itself and then I read the script, had a narration and I agreed to do the film immediately. At that time I was doing an intense role for Sacred Games, so I needed to do a light film and I had lot of fun doing Motichoor,” says Siddiqui.

I quite liked my character. I play this 36-year-old guy who is desperate to get married, so much so, that he is fine to marry any girl. Then there is the female protagonist who wants to marry only an NRI so that her social media status looks impressive. So, the first half the situation can be called motichoor and the second half it becomes chaknachoor,” he laughs heartily.

Siddiqui is all praise for his co-star Athiya Shetty, her third film after 2015’s Hero, and Mubarakan with Arjun Kapoor. “Motichoor is her best work so far. For a comedy to work, it is important to have that give and take with your co-star and Athiya was very good at that. She is very professional. She had prepared herself so well and her dialect and accent was perfect,” says the critically-acclaimed award winning actor.

“Comedy is a difficult genre because it is all about timing and it is most important to have that chemistry with your co-star. I believe that less is more in comedy. You don’t have to be so out there and exaggerated. You have to be true to your character and honesty in every emotion is most important,” says Shetty.

On one hand the budding actress wanted to challenge herself in her third outing and on the other, she wondered how she would pull it off with Siddiqui opposite her. “After Mubarakan I wanted to step out of my comfort zone,” she explains.

“I wanted to do something very different. I feel you have to break your own mould, take the risk and that leap of faith. I was extremely excited but at the same time I was very intimidated and nervous. But it was a great opportunity to work with the brilliant actor like him. It kept me on my toes to work even harder. I didn’t want to look like a newcomer. I was also getting the chance of doing the workshop and prep for the role. It is so important these days to prep up as it helps in getting into the skin of the character, and if you have prepped enough then half your battle is won because then you can experiment, be far more creative and have fun playing your part.”

For Siddiqui, the fun element in Motichoor Chaknachoor was how he could relate to several characters in his onscreen family. “There are two families and we see these kind of characters around us in our daily life. There is a mausi, a dadi, chachi, brother, sister…and each have a different take on the girl my character should marry. Then, can my mother be called greedy or not as she has her own selfish reasons for her son’s marriage and for him to continue working in Dubai. You can identify with all these characters,” says Siddiqui.

Improvisation is key for Siddiqui, when it comes to comedy. “I do improvise a lot which is the best thing about a comedy. You can’t do that in something like Sacred Games where the language is very different. If a thought suddenly occurs you can just say it in a comedy and there was a lot of scope to improvise in Motichoor just that I was careful about the choice of words and that it shouldn’t sound silly and forced,” he says.

“Nawaz was busy and he couldn’t attend the workshop. I met him straight on set and we started shooting immediately. I like the fact that we didn’t do any workshop together because then I could meet him while he was already in his character which was very organic,” says Shetty, who particularly liked the journey of her character.

“I play a very stubborn girl and the only aspiration in her life is that her marriage should take her abroad. But what I love about the character is her journey and the stark difference in the second half as compared to the first. How a situation helps her grow and become a better person, so there is an emotional graph. There were some scenes that were emotionally demanding. But once you are prepared then you can play around and have the liberty to play the character in different ways. Besides, I could relate to the fact that she is ambitious, independent and has a mind of her own,” she adds.

Siddiqui has had four to five releases (so far) but what disappointed him the most was the debacle of Photograph and poor response to Sacred Games 2. “Sacred Games 2 was criticised probably because of some of the lengthy characters that were introduced and looks like those didn’t work with the audience. Then, there was also lot of philosophy which must have become boring. Also, people could have missed the characters they had got associated with in the first season. But for me performance-wise the second season was much more difficult,” he says.

Siddiqui will next play a grey character in Sudhir Mishra’s for Netflix adaptation of journalist-novelist Manu Joseph’s book Serious Men. There is also Bangladeshi filmmaker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s’ No Land’s Man, which will be shot in New York, Sydney, Bangladesh and India. Siddiqui says that the script explores today’s strange world, with strong humor, satire, and emotion. “Every year I want to do two films as per my liking and choice. These can be the so called art and festival films. Then I want to do two films as per the market and box office demand and I would prefer these to be romantic. But I also want to do more in-depth roles, dark films and experiment more and more,” he says.

However, Siddiqui is happy about the fact that the filmmakers in Bollywood have continued to trust him with masala entertainers. “I am doing films of every genre. It is good that an actor like me is even being offered a Housefull 4 just for a song and an item number. It is like an experiment for me. What else do I want? Sajid (Nadiadwala, producer) called me and I went and did the song in four days and came back. The roles in mainstream films are also interesting enough and fun and it isn’t easy at all. I had to seriously practise this kind of dance (Housefull 4) it wasn’t easy,” he says.

Meanwhile, Shetty, who is longing to doing a dark and intense thriller, is likely to soon announce a project she says is “novel” and “different”. The actress believes in patiently waiting for good roles to come her way. “There are good days and there are bad days. Some days it really gets frustrating. You don’t know what is going to happen next and there is lot of unpredictability but that is the part and parcel of this profession. It is as important as doing films that challenge you, motivates you and makes you happy,” she says.

“It doesn’t make any difference whether you are a star-kid or not. These kind of pressures crop up for any actor. There is always a kind of pressure to achieve, to continue to be successful, or to become successful. I am sure the actors who are at the top have the pressure to sustain. Pressure is inevitable,” adds Shetty, who had once said that she’s learning from her father’s (Suniel Shetty) mistakes. “Well, you can’t pick up from other’s learning but you can always be cautious and be aware. I have seen my dad’s highs and lows, so I have observed and learnt from that. He is my biggest critic and I take his opinion very seriously but the decision ultimately is my own because I have to dedicate my time, effort and energy into something that makes me happy.

Ranveer Singh is ready to go wherever Deepika Padukone takes him and it is making us go

It so happened that Ranveer Singh took to Instagram to post a few pictures of himself all dressed up for an event. And Deepika ‘wifey’ Padukone couldn’t resist and dropped a ‘going where??’ to which hubby dearest had the most endearing answer. Check it out here! Pardon us for it has taken this long but we want to crown Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone as the king and queen of Insta PDA. Cause admit it, there’s no beating them when it comes to leaving flirty and cheeky comments on each other’s pictures. The couple has mastered the art of cute banters on the gram but hey, we aren’t complaining. If anything it gives us ample of opportunities to gush over #DeepVeer. In fact, when not making us go ‘Aww’ the duo leaves us in splits over their back and forth comments. Do you not remember when Deepika Padukone warned hubby Ranveer Singh about him coming home to a broom? Or him not getting any dinner? Yeah, they don’t tire! So much so that, they have done it again and the end result is making us all mushy. It so happened that Ranveer Singh took to Instagram to post a few pictures of himself all dressed up for an event. And Deepika ‘wifey’ Padukone couldn’t resist and dropped a ‘going where??’ to which hubby dearest had the most endearing answer. See for yourself. Hai na, aww-worthy? Told ya! On the work front, fans(including us) are waiting with bated breath to see them as husband and wife in Kabir Khan’s ’83. Ranveer will step into the shoes of Kapil Dev who is fondly remembered as the Haryana Hurricane. Deepika will portray Kapil Dev’s wife Romi Bhatia Dev in the film which is scheduled to release in theatres on 10th April 2020. ’83 is a biopic based on the life of former Indian skipper Kapil Dev and also narrates the story of India’s historic win at the coveted World Cup in 1983.

Bigg Boss 13: Hina Khan comes with messages from the families of the housemates but there’s a twist

The first-weekend ka war is here and the first celebrity guest is none other than former contestants Hina Khan. Television’s diva, who floored everyone with her style statement and impeccable game in Bigg Boss’s 11th season will be seen returning to the house this weekend with a new twist. She will introduce the supermarket of Bigg Boss house. Hina will cause an emotional upheaval inside the house as the new addition BB Supermarket will require the contestants to make a few sacrifices.

Hina Khan asks the contestants to choose between the luxury budget items or get messages from their loved ones. Devoleena Bhattacharjee and Paras Chhabra choose the luxury budget items and sacrifice for the house. Arti Singh gets emotional and chooses to hear the message. Hina’s deal has got the housemates emotional and stuck between the messages and the food for their survival in the house. Hina Khan also has a chat with host Salman Khan about the housemates.

 

This will be the fourth season Hina Khan will be seen in Bigg Boss. The actress had also expressed her happiness of meeting the superstar on her Instagram story. She wrote, “When Miss Khan met Mr khan.. It’s always a pleasure to share the stage with you Salman..

Box office round up September: Bollywood delivers 2 super-hits and 3 flops in this month

Just like 2018, 2019 has turned out to be a month, where the audience is preferring content over star power. Talking about the month of September, it started on a promising note with Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore, which showed excellent trend at the box office due to positive word of mouth and is still going strong with Rs 135 crore and counting. Featuring Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Varun Sharma, Prateik Babbar and others, the college drama has garnered repeat value among the audience, which made it a box office winner.

In the next week, we again witness a money-spinner in the form of Ayushmann Khurrana and Nushrat Bharucha’s Dream Girl, which also had Vijay Raaz, Annu Kapoor and Manjot Singh in key roles. The mid-budget film has already crossed the Rs 120 crore mark and is now heading to beat the collections of Badhaai Ho to emerge Ayushmann’s biggest hit of his career. But post these two films, Hindi cinema failed to entice the audience to cinema halls as Sanjay Dutt, Manisha Koirala, Jackie Shroff’s Prassthanam, Dulquer Salmaan-Sonam Kapoor’s The Zoya Factor and Karan Deol and Sahher Bambba’s Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas turned out to be huge disappointments at the ticket windows. None of them managed to even cross the Rs 10 crore mark and were 1-week affair in the theatres.

Well, October is one crucial months for Bollywood due to the festival of Diwali and since we have all biggies lined-up like Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff’s War, Priyanka Chopra-Farhan Akhtar’s The Sky Is Pink, Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol’s Housefull 4, Taapsee Pannu-Bhumi Pednekar’s Saand Ki Aankh and Rajkummar Rao-Mouni Roy’s Made In China, we are sure that a huge chunk of the audience will enter the cinema halls and will make box office rich like anything.

John Abraham reveals how he shed his chiseled body for Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran

A new wave of patriotism seems to have taken over the themes of films in India these days. John Abraham-starrer film Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, released in May 2018, clearly falls in the very category. Based on the real incident that led to India’s inclusion in the Big 5 States, the movie is a dramatic revisit to our country’s glorious past. However, the team of scientists and engineers depicted in the movie resembled Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Rajagopala Chidambaram who carried out the historic Operation Shakti under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government; John’s character was a fictional one.

Asked about what training and preparation it took for him to perfect the role of Ashwat Raina, the handsome hunk told a leading tabloid, “I had to go through a lot of research. The character’s name is Ashwat Raina and he’s a junior bureaucrat in the Prime Minister’s Office. So, for that Abhishek said, ‘Even a blind man knows when John Abraham walks. Your physicality is very over-powering. So, you need to deconstruct yourself. You need to stop going to something called a ‘gym’ and eat regular food like a normal human being and live normally‘, which for me, was a big task in itself.

Then, we went into the backstory of the character. ‘What did Ashwat’s parents and grandparents do’, not that we have used it in the film but Abhishek is a NSD (National School of Drama) graduate. So, he thinks differently. He put me through the entire process, and when I kept going through it, and when I saw the film, I realised it was very useful. The extent of workshops that I have gone through for Parmanu has been intense but it’s all being worth it.”

When asked if he had any inhibitions before signing the film, Abraham said, “No… because I did films like Madras Cafe in the past and before that I did lot of films in which I took lot of risk like Water, No Smoking and Kabul Express.

John, star of films like No Smoking, Desi Boyz, Welcome Back recently made his debut as a Marathi movie producer with Savita Damodar Paranjpe. It is a famous Marathi play, adapted into Hindi and Gujarati, that John made into a film.