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2.0 director Shankar reveals Kamal Haasan was offered Akshay Kumar’s role as antagonist in Rajinikanth’s film

2.0, director Shankar’s magnum opus starring Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, is set to hit theatres very soon. 2.0 has created headlines ever since the film went on the floors, especially as it’s being touted as the most expensive Indian film ever with a humongous budget of Rs 500 crore.

Poster for 2.0/Image from Twitter

Shankar’s wish to cast Hollywood action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of the main antagonist is familiar news. However, the director recently revealed that south star Kamal Haasan was also considered for the role now being played by Akshay Kumar, reports The Indian Express.

Recounting the deal with Arnold, Shankar said that it had been almost finalised adding that the Hollywood star was also pumped for the project but unfortunately, while drafting the contract, the makers were unable to reach a consensus on every detail. Post that, Shankar was keen on Haasan. “It was my desire to see Rajini sir and Kamal sir in the same movie. Jeyamohan (2.0 dialogue writer) and I met Kamal and discussed the role. But Kamal was more interested in doing Indian 2 and so we moved on,” said the director.

The report adds that though Rajinikanth and Kamal have had quite a number of films together, Hassan decided to not work with Rajini post 1979 film Ninaithale Inikkum so that he could get his own films.

The trailer is scheduled to be launched in an extravagant manner in Chennai on 3 November. 2.0 is due in cinemas on 29 November.

Badhaai Ho writers Shantanu Srivastava, Akshat Ghildial on film’s success and how it compares to Tevar

They met as students during their MBA programme in Delhi in 2001. By the end of the second year, Akshat Ghildial and Shantanu Srivastava had decided they wanted to work together. In 2018 they are reveling in the success of Badhaai Ho, their debut collaboration as screenwriters. The story draws on both of their life experiences as two boys who grew up in Meerut and Rohtak, respectively. Here Ghildial (story, screenplay, dialogues) and Srivastava (story) talk about the process that brought the Kaushik family to life.

Where did the idea of an older couple expecting a baby germinate?

Akshat: I discussed the idea with Shantanu. He loved it and thought it might make for a feature film. We toyed with how we could develop it. Shantanu already knew Amit (Sharma, director) from working together on Tevar and he suggested we take the idea to him.

Shantanu: When we moved to Mumbai after our MBA, we shared a tiny flat with some other batchmates. One batchmate who had lived in a spacious 3BHK in Powai would always hang out in our small flat. We wondered why and joked that maybe his mother was pregnant.

Shantanu Srivastava and Akshat Ghildial, the writers of Badhaai Ho

Shantanu: My mother was part of a kitty, which did paath for an hour and then played tambola. The room would quickly get redecorated from temple to casino and I would be enlisted to call the numbers! The Kaushik family was created in my home.

There are three writers credited on the film. How did the collaborative process work?

Shantanu: In mid 2015, when we wrote the synopsis of this film, we connected with Amit and he jumped on the idea. Once we had solidified the idea a bit more, we met Priti Shahani of Junglee Pictures and that’s when we discovered that they had a similar concept with them. So we incorporated the two ideas and Priti credited Jyoti Kapoor with story as she had worked on a parallel story for the production house.

Was there much improvisation to the script and dialogues? I especially noticed the use of silences and gestures in place of dialogue.

Akshat: A lot of what you see was already in the screenplay. Amit did make some additions and the actors also brought in their interpretation. Amit was insistent that we were a part of the readings with the actors and guided them on dialect and diction. It was a terrific collaboration. Because we were dealing with an awkward topic, it was clear to us that there would be awkward silences. It is a lot about embarrassment. When dadi (Surekha Sikri) is blasting both of them (Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao), there is not much they can say.

Was the class juxtaposition between Renee (Sanya Malhotra) and Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) consciously designed?

Shantanu: Absolutely. Class establishes differences in small ways – such as how Renee’s mother celebrates something compared to how the Kaushiks celebrate. The upper middle class whines about the pretentious middle class and how involved they are in each other’s lives. Through the mothers – who are of a similar age – we show one celebrating a 50th birthday and the other in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Both are loving mothers with opposing parenting methods – Renee’s mother is hands-off whereas Nakul’s mother is controlling.

Although a ‘taboo’ subject at its core, how did you fashion the story to appeal to a family audience?

Akshat: In order for it to be a family entertainer, the film could not be vulgar or lewd. So we wrote the story from the son’s point of view – his embarrassment. All the jokes about the pregnancy were always at the father’s expense. We also wanted to make a comment on how children put their mothers on a pedestal but they forget she is a wife and woman too. These thoughts defined the boundaries of the humour and the humour was borne out of the situations.

Shantanu, how does this feeling of success compare to the reactions to Tevar?

Shantanu: Amit and I gave our blood, sweat and tears to Tevar. We made some mistakes as first-timers, but the film will always be close to my heart. I ascribe the accolades for Badhaai Ho to the effort I have put in over the years, writing scripts for film and television and feel I have earned it. Writing a film is a tough job and watching a film being made and then succeeding is a humbling experience.

What are you working on next?

Akshat: Shantanu and I are working a series for Junglee. Besides that I am playing with my five-month old. I got so inspired by the story of Badhaai Ho, that I had my own baby.

Shantanu: Bhavani Iyer and I are writing a film on Field Marshall Sam Maneckshaw for Meghna Gulzar. I am also developing a script for another production house.

Radhika Apte says artistes need good support system for MeToo movement to work in Bollywood

Actor Radhika Apte says to bring #MeToo movement to Indian entertainment industry the artistes need to have a good support system.

The 33-year-old actor said not only women but men also need to “come out of their fears” and share their stories of harassment and sexual abuse. “The main cause is power game. Be it religious, sexual or economical- it happens everywhere. Nobody wants to lose their power…

Radhika Apte. Image from Facebook

This is a grey area. We need to have a good support system and come out of our fears. Well, not just women but men too are harassed in our industry,” Apte said during a session at the India Today Mind Rocks 2018.

The Ghoul actor also shared her #MeToo moment at the event.

“I can share one incident that happened recently, I had actually hurt my back. We did the shoot and I was heading back to my room with another guy who was in the same lift. He was part of the film but we had not spoken much. He said that, ‘Let me know if you need me in the middle of the night for help, I can come and give your back a rub.’

“But the good part was that the atmosphere on the sets was so easy and comfortable, I told the filmmakers and they had a meeting with him in person.

Then I came to know that the culture that he comes from is such that he didn’t realise that he made me uncomfortable with that statement. However, later he never made me feel uncomfortable and apologised,” she revealed.

The #MeToo movement began with allegations of sexual harassment and rape against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and triggered a global movement. It eventually led to structural changes in Hollywood and the launch of the Time’s Up campaign.

Aamir Khan reveals he will never become a politician: I am scared of politics, want to entertain people

He maybe vocal about social issues like water conservation, but Aamir Khan said on 16 September that he has no plans to join politics. The 53-year-old Bollywood actor said he is “scared” of the idea and believes he can be a better influence through his films.

“I don’t want to be a politician. I am not meant for that. I am a communicator. I am not interested in politics… I am also scared of politics. Who isn’t? So, I stay away. I am a creative person. Politics is not my thing. I want to entertain people. I feel I will be able to do more as a creative person than as a politician,” Aamir said during a session at NDTV’s special youth conclave ‘YUVA’.

aamir

The actor has been extensively working towards water crisis for the past three years in Maharashtra through his Paani Foundation, which aims at imparting knowledge at the grassroots level in the state about water conservation and watershed management. Aamir said the issue of water scarcity can be countered only when the “people own the problem”.

“They have to be the solution. It has to be a people’s movement… Our approach has always been very inclusive. We want more and more people to join the cause,” he added. The actor believes it is the lifestyle of the people which is responsible for the degradation of the environment.

“We need to give up cellphones, TV sets, give up watching movies, computers etc… the lifestyle is such that we are using so many resources. To survive we need to re-devise our lifestyle.” Aamir said it is easy for the public to blame the government for its woes, but things cannot get better without the participation of the citizens.

“It’s easy for us to blame the government. Maharashtra government has made a lot of efforts to hit back the problem… As citizens, we should question our government. They are answerable to us. But change only happens when we become part of the solution,” he added. Aamir will next be seen in Thugs of Hindostan, which also features Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh.

Jalebi trailer hints at the heart-wrenching love story of Rhea Chakraborty, Varun Sobti

The official trailer of Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh Films venture Jalebi was released on 9 September. Rhea Chakraborty plays a career-oriented woman who falls in love with a Delhi tour guide played by debutant Varun Sobti.

Varun Sobti and Rhea Chakraborty in a still from Jalebi. YouTube

Pushpdeep Bhardwaj has directed the upcoming romantic drama and co-written it with Kausar Munir. Jalebi will release in cinemas on 12 October.

They eventually marry but have a falling out due to a conflict in priorities. While Sobti’s character wants to live with his family and the ancestral house, she wants to move out and pursue her career goals. She meets him years later, on a train, only to find that he has another wife, played by Digangana Suryavanshi who has starred in TV shows like Qubool Hai, Veera and reality show Bigg Boss.

The trailer progresses to a mellow romantic track. It was previously reported that Jalebi will feature prominent musicians like Jeet Ganguly, Tanishk Bagchi, KK, Arijit Singh, Shreya Ghoshal, and Shilpa Rao. Vishesh Films has been known for creating movies with successful soundtracks like Aashiqui 2, Raaz, Murder, and Jannat. Lyrics of the songs have been penned by Rashmi Virag, Prashant Ingole, Manoj Kumarnath, Arafat Mehmood and  Kunal Verma.

Pushpdeep Bhardwaj has directed the upcoming romantic drama and co-written it with Kausar Munir. Jalebi will release in cinemas on 12 October.

Singer Sona Mohapatra forays into reality TV with Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, to judge show alongside Shekhar Ravjiani

Singer Sona Mohapatra, who recently released her fourth single ‘Ghane Badra’ under the project Lal Pari Mastani, has signed up as a judge for the forthcoming season of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.

File image of Sona Mohapatra

Apart from Mohapatra, the judges’ panel will comprise of singer-composer Shekhar Ravjiani. The third judge is yet to be finalised as talks are still on with composer Amaal Mallik.

In a statement to Mumbai Mirror, Sona Mohapatra said that the she is proud to be a part of a show that germinated on Indian soil.“I am making my foray into TV as a judge and I am proud that in the era of ‘Make In India’, this pioneering show is an original and successful Indian concept. I hope to bring in a fresh perspective to India’s longest running and most credible music show, which boasts of such superstar discoveries as Shreya Ghoshal,” Sona told the publication.

Sona Mohapatra further stated that her perspective will be a new one since she will speak from not only the point of view of a female judge but also from that of a live stage performer.

While the singer has ventured into a number of musical genres from the semi-classical ‘Jiya Lage Na’ from Talaash to romantic ballads like ‘Ambarsariya’ from Fukrey, she revealed to Mumbai Mirror that she will be looking for versatility in the contestants, where their renditions bound to be a combination of soul, authenticity and well-honed craft.

Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar to reportedly begin shoot for Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink in August

After opting out of Salman Khan’s Bharat, Priyanka Chopra is reportedly set to begin shoot for Margarita With A Straw director Shonali Bose’s The Sky Is Pink. While her impending wedding to Nick Jonas seems like the reason for her exit from the Ali Abbas Zafar-directed film, she has not opted out of other commitments.

Priyanka Chopra at the OScars 2016. Image from Facebook/Fashion Designing India

A source close to the team of The Sky Is Pink told Deccan Chronicle, “Priyanka Chopra starts shooting for our film from August 8 onwards, in Mumbai. If she were planning to get married soon, she would have informed us by now. She was supposed to join Salman Khan’s Bharat shoot in the second week of August. The plan was to shoot for both films simultaneously.” Another source revealed that her reported wedding to Jonas is not the reason for quitting Bharat, the shoot for which is already underway.

The Sky Is Pink stars Farhan Akhtar and Dangal actress Zaira Wasim in leading roles. Although there is no official word of confirmation, reports in the media suggest that Chopra and Akhtar will play parents to Wasim, who will essay the role of Aisha Chaudhary, a motivational speaker born with immune deficiency disorder.

Kiara Advani likely to star opposite Sidharth Malhotra in Karan Johar-produced Vikram Batra biopic

Kiara Advani reportedly joins Sidharth Malhotra in the Karan Johar-produced biopic on Kargil war hero Vikram Batra.

Bollywood Hungama revealed that the actress, who was last seen in Karan’s segment of Netflix’s Lust Stories, has been roped in to play Sidharth’s love interest in the film which will be directed by Vishnu Varadhan.

Kiara Advani (L) and Sidharth Malhotra. Image via Twitter

Mulk first look poster: Taapsee Pannu turns defence lawyer in Anubhav Sinha’s courtroom drama

The first look posters of Anubhav Sinha’s upcoming film Mulk are out and they mark Taapsee Pannu’s return to the courtroom after her 2016 film, Pink. The posters also introduce us to Murad Ali Mohammed (played by Rishi Kapoor) who is the accused. Pannu, an accomplished defence lawyer presents his case in the court.

Earlier reports have suggested that Kapoor’s character is wrongly accused of a terror act due to his religion and Taapsee, who happens to be from the same family, comes to his rescue. Prateik Babbar is also reported to be a part of the drama but has not made an appearance in the posters yet.

Sinha, who had last written the screenplay of Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit-Nene-starrer Gulaab Gang, is marking his return to direction with Mulk. He had last helmed Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s 2011 superhero film Ra.One.

Mulk will reportedly be set in Varanasi which happens to be the director’s hometown and also the first time he is exploring the city on camera. The film is slated for a 3 August release.

Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra-starrer Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar to now release on 1 March, 2019

Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra-starrer Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar will now release on 1 March, 2019. The Dibakar Banerjee-directed thriller was earlier slated to release on 3 August, 2018. The film will see Arjun as a Haryanvi cop and Parineeti as an ambitious corporate. Their paths cross after a dramatic turn of events. The two actors are coming together for the first time in six years since debuting together in Yash Raj Films’ Ishaqzaade.

Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. Image via Facebook

Speaking about Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Banerjee says, “I feel this is my first film all over again, at least in terms of the excitement with the material. Sandeep and Pinky bring to screen the two Indias that are forever clashing. I want the audience not to lose a second of that. We finished the shoot one month late because of the intense weather conditions on the Indo-Nepal border. I don’t want Sandeep and Pinky to be shortchanged on edit time. YRF agreed with my request and so we are pressing on together to the new date. 2019 is when India chooses its future. I’m looking forward to release in that year and choose mine.”

Arjun and Parineeti are also shooting for Namaste England currently which is expected to release during the Dussehra weekend. Therefore, the move to release Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar next year is a conscious effort to let the viewers separate the two movies from each other.