Monthly Archives: December 2017

Virushka, Baahubali, Dangal, Padmavati: A complete A-Z glossary for everything Bollywood got up to in 2017

Ah, 2017! A year that kept us Bollywood watchers on our toes, busy as bees. If only it would slow down some! While that shows no signs of happening, here’s a quick recap of all the particularly attention-grabbing things Bollywood said or did over the past 12 months, arranged here as an A to Z glossary for your reading convenience. Don’t stop till you get to the end!

A

Azaan

Awoken from his slumber by the sounds of the azaan from a nearby mosque, a disgruntled Sonu Nigam shot off a tweet that had TV channels buzzing, talking heads talking, and debaters debating. Matters reached a ‘head’ (ahem) when a fatwa was issued against Sonu by a cleric, who promised a princely sum to anyone who’d shave the singer’s hair and parade him around the country. Sonu shaved his hair off himself and demanded the bounty. Last heard, he still tosses and turns in bed, bemoaning the azaan and the loss of his silken tresses.

B

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion

It came, it saw — and it conquered the box office. Long before it petered to a stop with its handsome earnings of Rs 1,700 crore, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion was already a sensation. That was due, in no small part, to the success of the original film. But SS Rajamouli, Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Prabhas and Ramya Krishnan created magic yet again in the franchise’s concluding part — a few controversies notwithstanding in the run-up to its release. Not only did Baahubali 2 go on to become (for a while, until Dangal‘s China release) the highest-earning Indian film, it also had a slew of other records to its credit: first film to cross Rs 1,000 crore, fastest Rs 100 crore earner, only Hindi film to cross Rs 500 crore in domestic collections and so on.

For Bollywood watchers, 2017 marked the best of time,s the worst of times

C

Central Board of Film Certification

After a highly controversial tenure, CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani was replaced with adman-lyricist Prasoon Joshi. The film industry heaved a sigh of relief, Nihalani went on to produce the skinfest Julie 2, and Joshi settled down to the task of balancing creative freedom with censorship laws.

D

Dangal

Dangal should have been 2016’s biggest news. And it was. Then, it opened in China over May 2017, and became the talking pint for this year as well. From its original earnings of Rs 700+ crore, Dangal‘s dream run in China (it would collect over Rs 1,200 crore from that territory alone) helped catapult it past PK and Baahubali 2 to become the highest earning Indian film of all time. Odes were written to Aamir Khan’s genius, and Bollywood had the shining figure of Rs 2,000 crore to aspire to.

E

Ed Sheeran

Also, eugenics

First, there were the million variants of ‘Shape Of You‘. Then, there were the hysterical fans that greeted him when he performed in Mumbai. Just when Ed Sheeran began to think that India (and Indians) had treated him pretty damn well, he was subjected to a Bollywood party (thrown by Farah Khan) that made him the butt of all memes. As photos of a somewhat dazed-looking Sheeran began to do the rounds of social media, Twitterati (who hadn’t been invited to the party) wondered if he’d been held hostage by the celeb crowd, or if he made do with wearing trick glasses that had eyes painted onto them (to cover up the fat that he was snoozing behind them).

As regards, ‘euegenics’, see N for Nepotism.

F

Fairness creams

In a year that saw rampant attacks on Africans living in India, Abhay Deol chose to highlight the casual racism of Indians by taking aim at fairness creams. He ‘named and shamed’ celebrities who did endorse these creams on his social media account — and got into a minor tiff of sorts with Sonam Kapoor, who pointed out that Abhay’s cousin Esha Deol had also appeared in a commercial for said unguents.

G

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan

Perhaps the self-proclaimed godman had an inkling that his luck would soon run out. And s, before he received his 20-year jail sentence in the latter half of 2017,  MSG (the ‘Messenger of God’) squeezed in not one, but two films that had a theatrical release. Hind Ka Napak Ko Jawab — MSG Lionheart 2 and Jattu Engineer were works of such inspired creativity, that we do not have words to describe them. We’ll just leave you with this little gem instead, and let MSG do the talking:

H

Hrithik Roshan

After it dominated the entertainment industry discourse in 2016, the Hrithik Roshan-Kangana Ranaut feud was back in the spotlight. This time, because of a long and impassioned social media post written by Hrithik Roshan, in which we asked why there was no trace of an alleged seven-year-long passionate affair, except for a series of one-sided emails that had already been sent to the Cyber Crime Cell? Kangana responded, and the slugfest continued.

I

IFFI

The International Film Festival of India (or IFFI as it’s known to one and all) found itself talked about less for its heavy star presence and programming than it did for what was seen as an attempt at heavy-handed censorship. First, the films S Durga and Nude were dropped from the festival line-up, prompting IFFI jury members Sujoy Ghosh and Apurva Asrani to resign. Then, despite a Kerala High Court order directing the IFFI officials to screen S Durga, director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan was kept on tenterhooks until the eleventh hour of the fest as to the fate of the screening. Amid a notice issued by the regional office of the CBFC in Thiruvananthapuram, S Durga was not screened after all.

J

Justin Bieber 

Also, jauhar and Johar

Jagga Jasoos

The ‘Sorry‘ singer’s much-hyped concert in Mumbai came down to a mostly lip-synced performance. But apart from his lacklustre onstage act, Justin Bieber did manage to set off some fireworks between Sonakshi Sinha and Armaan Malik, who had a nasty Twitter feud over whether or not Bollywood actors should sing professionally.

For jauhar, see P for Padmavati; check N for Nepotism for Johar; and U for under-performers for Jagga Jasoos

K

Kangana Ranaut-Karan Johar

When Rangoon stars Saif Ali Khan and Kangana Ranaut (joined later by Shahid Kapoor) appeared on Koffee With Karan, the episode began normally enough. But then Kangana got into her groove, calling Karan out for having made fun of her when she first became part of the industry, and labelling him the ‘flag-bearer for nepotism’. And thus was triggered an exchange that kept Bollywood watchers engaged for several more months to come.

Johar had some good news to celebrate as well this year: see under M for memoirs and Y for young ‘uns.

L

Lipstick under my Burkha

Also, legs

The film deemed too ‘lady-oriented’ by the CBFC finally released to much acclaim across India this year. Lipstick Under My Burkha triggered much-needed conversations about women and sexuality, while its triumphant path to the theatres was an inspiration on its own.

Legs — specifically Priyanka Chopra’s, when she met Narendra Modi. When PeeCee and the Prime Minister happened to be in Berlin at the same time, the actress dropped by for a meeting. The off-white dress she chose to wear was demure enough, but for some ‘patriotic’-minded Twitterati, Priyanka’s bare legs were too much to bear, and they launched a vicious attack against the actress. Her reply? Another image of herself, with her mother Madhu Chopra, both of them showing off their shapely legs. Scoreboard — PeeCee: 1; Sanskaari Trolls: 0.

M

Mahira Khan

Manushi Chhillar

Also, M for Memoirs – Karan Johar, Rishi Kapoor’s

Mahira Khan’s Raees released in India in January. The actress, however, could neither participate in the film’s promotions, not celebrate her cross-border release, because of the boycott on Pakistani artistes issued in 2016 after the Uri attacks. Later in the year, photos of Mahira — sharing a smoke with Ranbir Kapoor while on holiday in New York — went viral, causing a further backlash against the actress. Twitterati picked over everything from the act of her smoking, to her choice of clothing (a casual, white halter-neck dress) and companion (a Bollywood actor).

Manushi Chhillar brought home the Miss World crown after a gap of 17 years and quickly became India’s favourite ‘daughter’.

The memoirs of Rishi Kapoor (Khullam Khulla) and Karan Johar (An Unsuitable Boy) had readers and Bollywood fans talking for a long, long time with their mix of style and unabashed truth-telling.

N

Nepotism

Also, National Awards; North-eastern cinema

Triggered by the Kangana-Karan spat, ‘nepotism’ became the word most commonly brought up in discussions about Bollywood (for a while at least). At IIFA, Saif, Karan and Varun Dhawan put up a skit which took jabs at Kangana and ended with the trio proclaiming: “Nepotism rocks!” Varun issued an apology after the incident, Saif got into discussions of eugenics, and Karan put up Instagram pics of his babies. Many thinkpieces were written, some soul-searching may have been engaged in — what all of it resulted in remains to be seen.

The National Awards witnessed some high drama after Akshay Kumar was named the Best Actor winner for Rustom this year. That filmmaker Priyadarshan — who has been a longtime collaborator of the actor’s — was the head of the jury that awarded Akshay the honour drew much comment.

And the cinema of the North East got some inadvertent (but not unwelcome) attention when Priyanka Chopra called her home production Pahuna the first film to emerge from the region and referred to Sikkim as a state ‘troubled by insurgency’. PeeCee was subjected to a social media backlash and a swift lesson on the North East. Amid calls for her to be removed as the tourism ambassador for Assam, Priyanka issued an apology and the matter was resolved.

O

Om Puri

Om Puri’s demise was among the first celebrity deaths of 2017. The 66-year-old actor was found collapsed at his Mumbai home.

P

Padmavati

A controversy that came to define Bollywood in 2017, the Padmavati row began with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali being roughed up by Karni Sena members while shooting in Rajasthan. The trigger: a rumour that there would be a dream romantic sequence depicted between Rani Padmini (Deepika Padukone) and Allaudin Khilji (Ranveer Singh). From that incident, a major conflagration ensued, which saw death threats being issued to Deepika and SLB, much discussion over Rajput pride and Rajput history, and an indefinite postponement of Padmavati‘s release.

Q

Quarrels

We wish it had been on a Qantas flight just so this entry could have been more alliterative, but even without the aid of such literary devices, the quarrel between Sunil Grover and Kapil Sharma was dramatic enough. On a flight from Australia to India, mid-air, the two collaborators had an argument that led to an inebriated Sharma attacking Grover. Grover walked out of Kapil’s show, leading to a phase that saw its TRPs plummet, the show being taken off air for a while, and Kapil himself entering treatment for stress-related issues.

Another not-so-saucy spat: the one over writing credit for Simran, that ufolded between Apurva Asrani, Kangana Ranaut and Hansal Mehta.

R

Raees vs Kaabil

Also, Rajkummar Rao; Reema Lagoo

Raees vs Kaabil was the big box office clash of 2017 for Bollywood. The Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan starrers went head-to-head (or toe-to-toe if that’s the phrase you prefer) at the theatres; the Roshans cried foul, the Raees team (Excel Entertainment + Red Chillies) pleaded helplessness (their film had already been delayed because of the Uri aftermath), and amid furious reportage of the box office numbers, the SRK-starrer pulled ahead.

With starring roles in Behen Hogi Teri, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, Bareilly Ki Barfi, and the Bose web series by ALTBalaji, it was a good year for Rajkummar Rao. Along came Newton, which not only cemented Rao’s position as one of Bollywood’s finest actors today, but also became India’s entry to the Oscars — and 2017 can indeed be considered a year full of high points for Rajkummar.

Tu Tu Main Main and Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! star Reema Lagoo passed away this year, aged 58.

S

Shashi Kapoor

Also, small-town India

Shashi Kapoor, Bollywood’s handsomest leading hero of all time, passed away aged 79. Tears were shed, hearts were broken, and the end of an era was noted.

Small-town India had its moment in the spotlight as Bollywood celebrated stories set outside the metros and tier-I towns. From Toilet: Ek Prem Katha to Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, small-town India provided great characters, settings and stories to Bollywood in 2017.

T

Tubelight

The Salman Khan-starrer was supposed to shine bright, but instead flickered and died out at the box office. Why this deserves an entry of its own? Because when was the last time you remembered a Salman Khan release not being accompanied by a wave of juggernaut-like euphoria that swept everything in its path? Of course, Tiger Zinda Hai has brought some balance back into the world of shell-shocked Salman fans in the time since.

U

Under-performers

Tubelight, Jagga Jasoos, Jab Harry Met Sejal, Rangoon, Raabta, A Gentleman, Chef — 2017 seemed like a graveyard where big-budget/banner/highly-anticipated films went to die. While some received a critical drubbing, others couldn’t bring in the box office megabucks they were expected to. Will 2018 be any better? Such at least, is the hope.

V

Vinod Khanna

Also, Varun Dhawan; Vidya Balan; Virushka

Bollywood bid adieu to Vinod Khanna, who passed away aged 70 after a battle (reportedly) with cancer.

Meanwhile, Vidya Balan and Varun Dhawan had a good year — Vidya for what was widely hailed as a return to form in Tumhari Sulu, and Varun for his moneyspinners (Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya and Judwaa 2) in a year that saw few films cross the Rs 100 crore mark.

For Virushka, see W for weddings.

W

Weddings!

Or rather, *the* wedding. We’re talking about Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma nuptials of course. Airport sighting, Tuscan getaway, Delhi-Mumbai reception, it seemed like there was no end to the couple’s shaadi-related updates. Not that we’re complaining — rarely have we seen a pair more photogenic than these two. And we’re sure wedding planners are going to see a stream of requests for Virushka inspired events.

X

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Following close on the heels of Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone too made her Hollywood debut this year with the Vin Diesel film. Making a fair impression as she did the rounds of late-night chat shows and red carpets, Deepika also got Vin to come down to India where he charmed fans.

Y

Young ‘uns

Ishan Khatter. Jahnvi Kapoor. Sara Ali Khan. Young Bollywood was ready for its moment in the spotlight, preparing for their debuts, all that nepotism talk be damned. Meanwhile, the youngest of the lot — Taimur Ali Khan — continued to rule social media, chubby cheeks, green eyes et al.

Z

Zaira Wasim

The Dangal actress had a mixed year: She was viciously cyber-bullied for a meeting with Mehbooba Mufti, then got into a war of words over Twitter with politician Vijay Goel, before speaking out against an alleged harassment incident, and being praised for her role in one of the year’s best films, Secret Superstar.

Padmavati: Udaipur royal family expresses ‘reservation’ on being part of examining committee

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Padmavati has been at the eye of controversial storm all throughout this year. Be it the director physical assault on the film’s set in Rajasthan, the whole Karni Sena outrage, death threats from various fringe groups, stalling of the film’s release, or the CBFC’s dissent over private screening — Padmavati has been there and seen that.

Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Now, in the recent course of events, it was decided that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) will appoint an examining committee that will scrutinise the film’s factual content.

Meanwhile, the Udaipur royal family has expressed reservations on being part of the committee. In a letter, written to the CBFC Chief Prasoon Joshi, Vishvaraj Singh of Udaipur said:

I have very strong reservations about seeing the film as to my mind it will open a Pandora’s box of new and pointless discussions. Owing to the manner in which the film’s production has progressed from its very inception and seeing to how related matters have developed, I would insist on a formal clarification of the points raised by me before I make a decision regarding being on the Committee.”

Singh further continues,”I cannot help but observe that all this extra effort is going into presenting a product that has been discredited and one that from the very beginning only exemplifies an unprofessional and unethical style of functioning,” as reported by DNA.

Joshi had reportedly written to Singh extending an invite to come for a screening of the film as a member of the examining committee. It was reported that the film could be expected to release only after March, as per the CBFC protocol.

Padmavati stars Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in leading roles and is based on the life and times of the 13th century fabled Rajput queen Padmini of Chittorgarh who chose self-immolation over falling prey to the clutches of foreign invader and ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, Alauddin Khilji.

Watch: Tiger Zinda Hai’s title track ‘Zinda Hai’ is every Salman Khan action-lover’s dream

The title track ‘Zinda Hai’ from Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s upcoming film Tiger Zinda Hai released recently, and it is packed to the brim with guns, guts, punches, blood, kicks and all things action.

Youtube screen grab from Tiger Zinda Hai's title track 'Zinda Hai'.

Khan is clearly the hero of this song, with Kaif making a few energetic appearances here and there. While ‘Zinda Hai’ is an upbeat song with its strong, suspense inducing beats; it is not a peppy number in any way. Vivid visuals of combat sequences and lots of gore complete the ‘this-is-the-title-song-of-an-action-movie-‘ vibe that the music composers were clearly going for.

The track, having been sung by Sukhwinder Singh only adds to the action-thriller feel of ‘Zinda Hai’ and the song has all the trademarks of Singh’s style peppered in healthy quantities throughout its duration. The rap lyrics and singing portion of ‘Zinda Hai’ is by the Bollywood music world’s current craze — Raftaar, who aids the song with an energised verse of rap.

The lyrics of the song have been penned by Irshad Kamil, who is the sole lyricist for all of Tiger Zinda Hai’s tracks. In the same vein, the musical duo of Vishal-Shekhar are the only music composers to have worked on creating music for Khan’s upcoming film. Their last Bollywood project was the Ranveer Singh-Vaani Kapoor starrer Befikre, which was yet another Yash Raj Films production.

Tiger Zinda Hai is all set to hit cinema screens on 22 December. It is a sequel of the 2012 Ek Tha Tiger.

Rani Mukerji says coming to theaters without bias will help people understand Hichki

Actor Rani Mukerji says a female actor’s calibre and box office worth should not be determined by her marital status.

Rani Mukerji in a still from Hichki. Image from Twitter/@aashi_kumari

Rani, 39, who gave critical and commercial success Mardaani post her marriage to filmmaker Aditya Chopra, is now gearing up for the release of her next Hichki, which marks her first after the birth of her daughter, Adira.

The actor believes, for a secure future of married female actors, mindset of the society needs to change.

“… Times are changing. In the West, there has never been any discrimination. They don’t have any hichki (hiccups). Yes, over here we do have that… and it’ll go away if we work on it. It is in everybody’s mindset,” Rani said.

“If you see an actor and go watch her film without tagging her as a ‘woman who is married or has a kid’, you will just see the character and the actress who is playing it. But if you’re going to judge the actor on the basis of what’s going on in her personal life, these things will keep coming up. You have to come to the theatre sans these (hiccups). You have to see the actor for what is her worth in the cinema hall,” she added.

Rani was speaking at the trailer launch of Hichki, directed by Siddharth P Malhotra. The Yash Raj Films project is scheduled to be released on 28 February.

Sunny Leone confirms she won’t be attending Bengaluru New Year bash after police deny permission

Bengaluru: Actress Sunny Leone on Tuesday said that she will not attend the New Year bash in the city after the police denied permission to the organisers.

“Since the police of Bengaluru have publicly said that they will not be able to ensure mine, and all who attend, safety for my New Year’s event, my team and I feel, safety of the people should always come first. Therefore, I cannot attend. God bless and I wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year,” Sunny tweeted.

She later added: “To all those who protested and to all those who supported, always remember, never allow others to speak and choose for you.

Sunny Leone. Photo courtesy Facebook/@sunnyleone

“We are denying permission for Sunny Leone’s musical show on December 31 night to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident in the city,” Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru.

Sunny was supposed to perform at the Manyata Tech Park in the city suburbs. However, the city police chief said it would not be possible to provide enough security at the venue as the entire force would be on duty across the city on that night.

“In view of a directive from the Karnataka High Court on Friday to ensure peaceful New Year celebrations and prevent untoward incidents in the city, we will not be able to deploy enough force at one place at the risk of other areas,” he said.

Aamir Khan says artistes have a responsibility to highlight gender issues

New Delhi: As sexual harassment scandals rock Hollywood, superstar Aamir Khan says creative people have an important role to play in changing mindsets on gender issues.

The actor, whose recent films Dangal and Secret Superstar focused on female empowerment, also believes that the issues are directly linked to patriarchy.

Aamir Khan. Photo courtesy Facebook/@aamirkhan.com

“I think sexual harassment is a very sad thing to happen to anyone, irrespective of what your sex is. Sexual harassment is just not on,” he said when asked about the Harvey Weinstein case.

Such cases, he said, happened not just in the world of films, but in other areas, too.

“I understand that people are free to be romantically involved with whoever they want. But you cannot pressure a person into being with you physically. It happens not only in films but in all walks of life and is very unfortunate,” Aamir, who is currently shooting for Thugs of Hindostan in Thailand, told PTI in an exclusive telephonic interview.

The New York Times and The New Yorker took the lid off Weinstein’s history of sexual abuse, encouraging prominent women such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan to open up about the disgraced producer. The scandal led to the expose of other Hollywood heavyweights.

Aamir said sexual harassment should not be looked into isolation as it is connected to larger issues of how gender roles have been defined in society. He also believes that creative people have an important role to play in changing such perspectives.

“It is connected to the larger issue. Not only in India but all over the world, (it is) this thinking of patriarchy that men are stronger or are more important that leads to various kind of things. Sexual harassment is one of them,” he said.

The actor-producer believes that artistes help mould opinion. “Creative people do have a role to play in showcasing men and women in a manner that influences people in the right way. I do believe we have some sort of responsibility in that,” he said.

Many of his films have dealt with issues of empowerment.

Dangal focused on a father’s decision to turn his daughters into wrestlers in a patriarchal society, while Secret Superstar revolved around a teen’s struggle to pursue music despite facing opposition from her father.

The actor highlighted issues that women face in India in his TV show Satyamev Jayate. In Secret Superstar, he said, he went a step forward by portraying a girl who asserts her independence and helps her mother do the same.

“I am hoping that things will change in the future for the better. It takes time both for the people and the society to change.”

Women’s issues, he said, span a big canvas.

“When we look at women’s issues, it is not just about female foeticide and domestic violence, which are huge issues. But even in day-to-day life, women sometimes find that they are not in the possession of their own decisions,” he said.

A woman may not be sexually harassed or face domestic violence, but there may be a host of other issues.

“She may still be with a man who wants to control her and that is equally disturbing. It is really about the fundamental independence of a person, irrespective of your sex.”

Secret Superstar, starring Dangal actor Zaira Wasim in the lead role, may have been seen by some as a risky business venture in the formula-driven film industry, but Aamir, who has been rewriting the rules of the box office, said he felt strongly about the subject.

The movie has not only done good business in India but has also opened well in countries such as Taiwan.

Aamir, whose Dangal was a super hit in China, is now looking forward to the release of Secret Supertar there. He hopes the film will be released there in January or February next year.

Secret Superstar has done really well in all the territories. I strongly felt about the story and I am happy that the audiences felt the same. It is most reassuring.”

The actor is considered a marketing genius in Bollywood as none of his films in the last many years has failed at the box office. But Aamir said it all boiled down to how good a story was.

“When I am selecting a film, I am not thinking about the box office or the audiences’ reaction. I am reacting to it personally. When I get a script and love it as a person, it touches me and moves me, makes me laugh and cry or excites me, then I want to be a part of it.”

He selects films based on his personal response to the story, he added.

“For me, filmmaking is a journey. In most of the cases, the films I end up choosing are very risky. I don’t plan it that way but it turns out that way. My taste is a little unusual and I get excited about stuff which is not considered mainstream by the market.”

Aamir said he looked at marketing as an intrinsic part of making a film rather than treating it as a separate process.

“I find the journey of making the film as exciting as the end result. I do one film in a year or sometimes one film in two years. So the process is what excites me… I am living that journey for a year or so. It becomes my life and it is a passion for me.

He believes he is “fortunate” that the unusual stories he has picked up have done well at the box office.

“That is something I don’t plan. Taare Zameen Par was one of the top hits of that year and did huge business at that time. When films like Secret Superstar do well, it makes me very happy. As a creative person, you feel reassured. You get a lot of encouragement and strength.

Meena Kumari biopic: Not Vidya Balan or Madhuri Dixit, Sunny Leone may be cast as veteran actress

For a long time now, there have been rumours doing the rounds about an upcoming biopic based on Bollywood’s “tragedy queen” and veteran actress Meena Kumari.

First, it was reported that Vidya Balan might play the Pakeezah star in the film. Then there were speculations that Madhuri Dixit has been approached for the role. Now, according to a report by The Bombay Times, actress Sunny Leone might play the legendary actress in the biopic.

Meena Kumari (left); Sunny Leone (right). Images via Facebook

Director of the film, Karan Razdan — known for films like Diljale (1995) and Deewane (2000) — told Bombay Times that of all the actresses that he has approached, Leone was the most enthusiastic about doing the film.

“I think the only one who is courageous enough and said, ‘When can we start this film?’ has been Sunny Leone. I have narrated it to Madhuri and Vidya but it didn’t work out for one reason or the other. Sunny came along, she said she had heard about this film and wanted me to narrate it. I met her at her house, had a long narration. I don’t know… She is not the ideal choice, I would say. But she was the most enthusiastic about doing the role. I guess, she also saw this as her big chance,” says Razdan.

According to Razdan, when he had approached Balan for the role, she declined saying she wants to do a less-serious role. Balan’s latest release Tumhari Sulu has earned her numerous accolades along with commercial and critical acclaim.

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.

Padmavati has a risk cover of Rs 160 crore, reveals director of insurance company

Padmavati has not only been a risky project for the makers of the film, but also for the insurance company that worked with them on the project.

Aatur Thakkar, Director of Alliance Insurance said, “It has been a difficult project from the very beginning, as you are aware the sets of the film were attacked by fringe groups. However that was nothing compared to the threat the movie faces now.”

Alliance has been associated with Padmavati since the very beginning and they claim to take a lot of pride in this association. Thakkar added, “we have not only insured the movie during production but also covered them for a safe release. We are also protecting their revenues if they get affected post a release.”

Padmavati had been postponed from its earlier release date of December 1, and the film has been banned in five states including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan even before the Central Board of Film Certification certified the film. This is definitely not a good sign for the makers, who have a risk cover for the film of Rs 160 cr, apart from the production insurance.

Thakkar informed, “The risk commences only once the movie is allowed to release and there is a claim like situation if the release is disturbed, affecting the revenues from ticket sale collection. We are hoping every thing settles down and the movie releases soon as the filmmakers and the media has promised that there is nothing in the movie which should create this havoc .”

Here is a list of films that fell prey to politics before its release:

Garam Hawa (1974)

The film remained uncensored by the CBFC for nearly 8 months fearing communal violence. But KA Abbas showed the film to government officials leaders and journalists before it found its way to the cinema halls.The film was premiered at Regal cinema prior to the release, and Bal Thackeray, who had threatened to burn down the cinema halls, got to watch the film at a special screening.

Aandhi (1975)

The film was a political drama and was alleged to be inspired from the real life story of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and her estranged husband Feroz Gandhi. The film did not get a proper release while Indira Gandhi was in power and later got banned during the emergency. But in 1977 after the Congress was defeated and Janata Party came into power the film got a proper release on national television.

Shahenshah (1988)

There were allegations, which were later dismissed by the court, of Amitabh Bachchan’s involvement in the Bofors scam before the release of the film. Audiences were curious to see the film as it was his first release after a gap of two years. It released to a thundering response despite protests and trade pundits said the protests actually helped the film at the box office.

Khalnayak (1993)

This Sanjay Dutt film’s release coincided with his arrest in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. But the controversy, again, played a part in the film’s huge success.

Fanaa (2006)

Aamir Khan’s statement in support of Narmada Bachao Andolan got him into trouble with then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The film did not get released there even the actor’s effigies were burnt. But the controversy helped the film and it was a big hit.

Jo Bole So Nihaal (2005)

 Jo Bole So Nihaal was in the eye of a storm for allegedly insulting the Sikh religion. Large-scale protests were seen in Jalandhar and other cities of Punjab. Sikh organisations threatened to launch more protests if the Central Board of Film Certification failed to impose a blanket ban but the film released despite the warnings. It, however, had to be pulled out of many halls because of protests and the producer lost crores.
Water (2005)

The movie faced opposition during its shooting from Hindu organisations in Varanasi. The sets were destroyed. The Uttar Pradesh government decided to stop the shooting on 31 January 2000. The shooting was shifted to Sri Lanka later. Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray had said that he hated Deepa Mehta the most. Shiv Sainiks even burnt DVDs of the film. The movie was released in India much later in March 2007.

Fire (1996)

On its opening day in India, some film theatres were attacked by Hindu fundamentalists for depicting a lesbian relationship.The film was withdrawn and sent back to the Censor Board. But, later it was released uncut.

My Name is Khan (2010)

Before the release of My Name is Khan, Shah Rukh Khan had stated that he had no qualms about having Pakistani cricketers playing in the IPL. This didn’t go down well with Shiv Sena, who tried to obstruct My Name is Khan‘s release. The movie, which finally managed to reach the theatres, was given heavy police protection and had a fractured start at the box office. But the film later went to become a big hit and won critical acclaim as well.

Bombay (1995)

Mani Ratnam’s film was a inter-religion love story set in the backdrop of the Bombay riots. The film was slammed by both Hindu and Muslim leaders of Mumbai. Muslim leaders alleged that there was a biased depiction of the Mumbai riots in the film, and as a result Ratnam had to screen the film for Bal Thackeray before it released in Maharashtra.

Monsoon Shootout: Priyanka Chopra launches gritty trailer of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s next

An axe-wielding murderer is on the run. On a rainy night, a police officer comes face-to-face with the suspect. What happens next? Will the police officer pull the trigger? That’s the choice viewers have to make in the trailer for Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout, released on Monday.

The movie will hit the screens on December 15.

A poster for Monsoon Shootout. Image from Facebook/@MonsoonShootout

The trailer is already being tipped as India’s first interactive movie trailer. It gives the viewers a chance to decide whether the police man Adi (Vijay Varma), a young cop in training, should shoot the murder suspect Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a dreaded and infamous mob enforcer. The stage is set for a moral dilemma and each choice to be made will come with a consequence.

Should the officer gun down a possibly innocent person? Or should he let go a murderer?

Actress Priyanka Chopra launched the interactive trailer via her twitter account. She wrote, “Shoot or not to shoot? YOU get to decide what happens next in the trailer for #MonsoonShootout what a cool idea! So glad to see filmmakers innovate & push boundaries of the filmmaking process.”