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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.

Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha to play lead roles in upcoming rom-com, an indie project set in India and the US

Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha, who have been dating in real life, are all set to star opposite each other on the big screen in an upcoming project, according to a report by DNA.

The two actors have been roped in to play the lead roles in an upcoming romantic-comedy movie which will be directed by an LA-based filmmaker, according to the report in DNA. The discussions for Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha to star in the as-of-yet untitled project were going on for sometime, but the project was finalised last week when both the actors were holidaying in Switzerland.

Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha/Image from Twitter.

Ali Fazal and Richa Chadha have shared screen space before in Fukrey and Fukrey Returns, but this will be the first time that the two will be paired opposite each other. A source is quoted by DNA saying, “Richa and Ali met the filmmaker in Geneva last week and locked all the details. A romantic-dramedy, it’s an indie project set in India and the US. The shooting of the yet-to-be-titled film will start in September.”

The DNA report also mentions that the two actors started dating last year in September during the making of Fukrey Returns. Since then, the two have gone on several holidays together, and early this year Ali Fazal was accompanied by Richa Chadha to Venice for the world premiere of his Hollywood film Victoria & Abdul.

Amoli: Kamal Haasan, Vidya Balan, Rajkummar Rao lend voice to documentary on sexual exploitation

Actors Kamal Haasan, Vidya Balan, Rajkummar Rao, Puneeth Rajkumar and Jisshu Sengupta have lent their voice to Amoli: Priceless, a digital documentary on commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Produced by Culture Machine, the documentary on the deep-seated and well-organised criminal industry will release on Monday in seven languages on YouTube and Facebook. It spotlights different forms of exploitation and the constant need that feeds the demand for this business.

A promo for Amoli: Priceless. Image via Twitter

The film is narrated in four chapters — Mol (price), Maya (illusion), Manthan (internal conflict) and Mukti (liberation).

“Fundamentally, the objective is to dissuade men from buying sex from children,” Sameer Pitalwalla, CEO and Co-Founder, Culture Machine Media Pvt Ltd, said in a statement. “We believe that a combination of fear and stigma is what will deter men in the short-to-medium term. This can only materialise through unequivocal political commitment, proactive law enforcement and strict and swift justice. We want to magnify awareness about this issue through Amoli, and consequently, mobilise the general public to demand our police, judiciary and government to address the issue.”

The 30-minute film is directed by acclaimed documentary filmmakers and National Award winners Jasmine Kaur Roy and Avinash Roy, with music by Tajdar Junaid.

Though shot in Hindi, dubbed-versions of Amoli are available in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and English. It has been strung together through stories of survivors who have been through the horrors of commercial sexual exploitation.

Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra to reportedly make cameos in Student of the Year 2

Actors Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan, who made their film debuts in 2012’s Student Of The Year, will reportedly make cameo appearances in the sequel.

Filmfare reports that the two actors have confirmed their comeback but their roles have not been revealed yet.

Alia Bhatt, who also made her debut with Sidharth and Varun, hinted at a comeback in an earlier interview but has not confirmed if she will be joining the two actors. However, Mumbai Mirror reports that Karan Johar has invited all three actors to make cameos in a song sequence.

Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra in Student of the Year. Image via Twitter

Student Of The Year 2, the second installment of the franchise, stars Tiger Shroff and newcomers Ananya Pandey and Tara Sutaria.

Karan Johar is bankrolling the movie under his production banner Dharma Productions. With Student Of The Year, Karan gave Alia, Varun and Sidharth a great launchpad in Bollywood. They have since cemented their place in the film industry year after year with a slew of diverse projects.

Varun, who is the son of filmmaker David Dhawan, started his career as an assistant director to filmmaker Karan in My Name Is Khan. He has featured in films like Main Tera Hero, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Badlapur, Dilwale, Dishoom, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and, more recently, October. Siddharth has starred in movies like Hasee Toh Phasee, Ek Villain, Kapoor & Sons, Ittefaq, and more recently, Aiyaary.

The film is being directed by Punit Malhotra, and its shooting is underway.

Student Of The Year 2 will hit screens on 23 November.

Sanjay Dutt biopic: Rajkumar Hirani says ‘I told Sanju we won’t glorify him and he was okay with it’

Rajkumar Hirani is gearing up for the release of one 2018’s most-anticipated films, the Dutt biopic, titled Sanju. As the film inches closer to its release, the excitement around it is steadily increasing, mainly because Sanjay Dutt has been the epitome of a ‘troubled star’.

In an interview with DNA, Hirani says that the anecdotes that Dutt had told him during an impromptu meeting stayed with him for a long time. He says that Sanjay’s life, which has been full of ups and terrifying lows, is like a “goldmine” for any filmmaker.

Ranbir Kapoor, Raju Hirani, Sonam Kapoor. Image from Twitter/@RajkumarHirani

After several meetings with Sanjay, Hirani decided that he was going to string the pieces of his life together — the death of his mother, rehab stint and his conviction in the 1993 bomb blasts case — and make a feature film. He maintains that he told Sanjay that he wouldn’t glorify him in the film and the actor was okay with it.

Although Hirani now confirms that Sanju is the title the makers are going with — there’s also a story to it. He tells the publication that the makers wanted to go with a neutral title. When they found out that Nargis (Sanjay’s mother) used to lovingly call him, ‘Sanju’, they went for it. “One of the titles was Aisa Hi Hoon. Anything you attach with a name in a biopic is like an adjective. Even if you say Aisa Hi Hoon or Sarphira, either you are glorifying him or attacking him. One thing all of us were clear about was that we wanted a neutral title. Dutt seemed a little harsh,” explains Hirani.

Although the film set was fiercely guarded, when Ranbir Kapoor’s photos from the sets of the film leaked online, everyone was taken aback. The young actor has no connections with Dutt, but he looked uncannily similar to the senior actor. Hirani says that although Ranbir was an unusual choice for the role, he was cast for his exceptional acting ability. Moreover, the film needed an actor who could seamlessly gel with the transformations in Sanjay’s life and for the makers, Ranbir fit the bill.

What’s also spectacular about Hirani’s journey is that most of his films have been blockbusters. His Munnabhai franchise cemented his foothold in the industry as a filmmaker who could churn out content-driven cinema while still being highly entertaining. However, for the filmmaker, just finishing the film and seeing it release was a high. He says he doesn’t take the title of ‘best writer’ seriously, an honour that has been associated with him informally for the longest time now. He works with his trusted writer Abhijat, who along with Boman Irani, attends his distress calls before every release. Although he is one of the most gifted filmmakers of his time, he claims he is a nervous mess before any release and people like Boman and Abhijat keep him sane during these times.

The filmmaker concludes by praising Sanjay for his courage and the will to talk about his life openly. He tells the publication that Sanjay has seen the teaser and was overwhelmed by it. He plans to watch the film only when it’s complete.

Sanju releases on 29 June, 2018.

John Abraham reportedly opts out of espionage spy-thriller Romeo Akbar Walter; will film be shelved indefinitely?

Romeo Akbar Walter has been facing troubles ever since it was first announced. Sushant Singh Rajput was supposed to play the lead in the spy-thriller movie, but later opted out citing prior commitments as the reason. It was later announced that John Abraham will be playing the lead in Romeo Akbar Walter; the actor himself made an official announcement on his official Twitter channel.

But now, according to a report in DNA, John Abraham has also pulled out of the project. DNA quoted a source as saying, “John allegedly felt RAW’s storyline is similar to that of Alia Bhatt’s Raazi. When he watched the trailer of Meghna Gulzar’s film, which released a few days ago, he was convinced about it. It’s just that RAW is from a man’s perspective.” Raazi is the tale of an Indian woman who is married off to a Pakistani boy who hails from a family of army-men. The woman’s father asks his daughter to be the “eyes and ears of India” in the neighboring country.

John Abraham/Image from Twitter.

A different source is quoted saying that John Abraham’s movie is also about an Indian spy who joins the Pakistani armed forces to relay information to the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW). Even though the team wanted to alter the script a bit, the actor wasn’t convinced as the main storyline would still be the same. Hence, the source adds, John politely asked the makers to move on.

DNA quotes another source who provides a different story. According to the source, the movie’s rough budget without publicity and promotion came up to Rs 40-45 crore which is a big figure to recover with John in the lead. With John signing the deal for Rs 11 crore as his remuneration, the makers scrapped the idea for now. If they plan to make RAW sometime in the future, they will do it with a bigger star who can ensure a good return.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan speaks out about #MeToo; says it shouldn’t be restricted to one part of the world

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, finally spoke about the #MeToo movement that swept across Hollywood last year.

According to a report by Zee News, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was recently in Sydney for work commitments, said, “A movement, such as the #MeToo movement, has brought out a lot of conversation and sharing. The good thing is that people are talking. I don’t think this (subject) needs to restrict itself to one part of the world. That is definitely positive, which has come about with this entire subject.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan/Image from Twitter.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan added more by saying, “If a woman feels compromised and she feels the need to share an experience that has completely challenged her sense of being, it is amazing that she comes out, speaks forth about it, and takes the people to task. This idea does not limit itself to show business or the film industry. It is people discussing it from all walks of life.”

The #MeToo movement went viral last year after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal came out in the open. The hashtag was used to spread awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will soon be seen in Fanney Khan, which also stars Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao. The actress is also rumoured to be starring in Woh Kaun Thi remake opposite Shahid Kapoor.

Padmaavat crosses Rs 300 cr at box office; Ranveer Singh says artistes must stand by their vision

Ranveer Singh is overwhelmed that with Padmaavat, he has entered the club of actors whose movies have minted over Rs 300 crore at the box office. He says it’s a “historic” project that will “glow” in his career.

Ranveer Singh in a still from Padmaavat. Twitter@Film_Padmaavat

The actor essayed Alauddin Khilji in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial, which also stars Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor in pivotal roles.

Ranveer said in a statement: “Padmaavat is a historic film for our country. I’m overwhelmed and extremely happy that the film has received this much love from audiences not just in India, but also the world over.

“It is a film that is and will always be extremely close to my heart and with it becoming my first ever Rs 300 crore film, the memory of Padmaavat will be that much more special.”

He thanked Bhansali for his vision, and for giving him a character like Khilji that “will forever glow in my body of work”.

“This success is for all of us to cherish and remember that as artistes, we need to stand by our vision, our craft,” said Ranveer of the movie, which was released on 25 January after much controversy.

Just earlier this week, the movie crossed 50 days since hitting the screens, and it’s still counting at the box office.