Monthly Archives: April 2019

Bharat trailer: Salman Khan teases his different looks in Ali Abbas Zafar’s upcoming patriotic drama

After teasing his various looks in a slew of posters from his upcoming Eid release Bharat, Salman Khan has unveiled the first official trailer from the movie on 22 April.

Bharat trailer: Salman Khan teases his different looks in Ali Abbas Zafars upcoming patriotic drama

As Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech plays faintly in the background, Salman’s character is introduced. An old Bharat (Salman) reminiscences — through a voiceover — about his colourful journey, which began amid the violence and bloodshed of the partition. Initially a circus performer, Bharat is forced to seek a job at a government office as the country faces nationwide unemployment in the wake of Nehru’s death.

The actor also shared a collage of all the five previously-unveiled posters in a motion poster on 20 April. Beginning with 1964, where Salman is seen as a young circus performer, the posters take us to 2010, in which he can be seen as a 70-year-old.

Bharat will trace the journey of a man, spanning four decades. Earlier, the makers treated the audience with the teaser, that gives glimpses into the various phases of the film.

An official adaptation of 2014 South Korean film Ode To My Father, Bharat is produced by Atul Agnihotri’s Reel Life Production Pvt Ltd and Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series. It is slated to release on 5 June.

Sonakshi Sinha on Kalank’s box office failure: My bad luck that last couple of films did not work out

Sonakshi Sinha considers herself an instinctive performer and someone who looks forward to doing her best even in the face of failure.

Sonakshi Sinha on Kalanks box office failure: My bad luck that last couple of films did not work out

The actor says she does not worry about the aspects of films that are out of her control.

“Every film is important to me. I hope, wish and pray every film does well. It is bad luck that the last couple of films did not work out. But I don’t lose hope, I always look forward to do my best,” Sonakshi told Press Trust of India.

“I pick up films very instinctively. Box office is not in my control, as an actor I have control over my performance and acting. I don’t stress over what is not in my control.”

“Every film that I have done, irrespective of whether they have done well commercially or not, has taught me a lot. I will always cherish that experience,” she said.

The actor, whose last cinematic outing was multi-starrer Kalank, will next be seen in Mission Mangal alongside Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu and Akshay Kumar. She will also reprise her role in Dabangg 3 opposite Salman Khan.

“I have also signed Bhuj: The Pride of India. We will hopefully start work in June. It is a fabulous role,” Sonakshi said, adding she was approached for a film on the same story in the past.

Student of the Year 2

Student of the Year 2’s ‘The Jawaani Song’ recently dropped and has received mixed reactions from the audience. Many have expressed their displeasure at altering the original number ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ by Kishore Kumar and RD Burman from Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan’s Jawani Diwani. The composer duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani have reprised the song, which has been picturised on Tara Sutaria, Ananya Panday and Tiger Shroff.

Randhir Kapoor on Student of the Year 2s The Jawaani Song: Remixes are making old songs accessible to youth

Randhir has spoken in support of the new version. “I feel there is no harm in recreating songs. The original track came out four decades ago. Many youngsters were not aware of the song, but today, everyone knows it because of the remix. [After the redux version released], they all went back and searched for the original song on the Internet. I haven’t seen the song but I have heard it; it has a nice tune. Also, Karan [Johar] has officially bought the rights of the number. So, his intentions are honest,” the actor told Mid-Day

In February 2019, the remixed version of 70’s classic ‘Mungda’ from Total Dhamaal had received criticism from veterans in the music industry. After Rakesh Roshan expressed his displeasure with the new version, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and her sister Usha Mangeshkar reacted to the number and complained that no one seeks their consent before using the songs.

However, Randhir holds a different point of view and believes that remixes are making yesteryear songs accessible to the youth.

Kalank box office collection Day 2: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan’s film sees 50 % drop, makes Rs 11.45 cr

On its opening day (17 April), Kalank earned Rs 21.60 crore, making it the biggest opener of 2019 so far. The holiday of Mahavir Jayanti and its release across 4,000 screens could have played a role in revenue generation. However, Kalank has witnessed almost a 50 percent drop on the second day of its release, minting Rs 11.45 crore.

The film is expected to see a jump in its day 3 collection, owing to the Good Friday holiday. The total collection of Kalank currently stands at Rs 33.05 crore.

Kalank box office collection Day 2: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawans film sees 50 % drop, makes Rs 11.45 cr

Ishita Dutta on Ajay Devgn, Tanushree row over Alok Nath: ‘If not her, who will speak about it

Tanushree Dutta, who was the flag bearer of the #MeToo movement in India, raised her voice over the casting of Alok Nath in Ajay Devgn’s upcoming film De De Pyaar De. Tanushree and Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel led the criticism against Devgn for Nath’s inclusion in the film despite knowing about the allegations of sexual assault against the veteran actor.

Ishita Dutta on Ajay Devgn, Tanushree row over Alok Nath: If not her, who will speak about it?

Ishita Dutta, Tanushree’s sister, has worked with Devgn in Drishyam, where she played his adopted daughter. Ishita revealed to Bombay Times that Tanushree’s comments will not affect her equation with the Singham actor. She claimed casting is a collective decision and Devgn is not solely responsible as he does not wear the producer’s hat.When asked to comment on the Alok Nath row, she mentioned though this dispute could land her in a precarious situation, all she knows is that her sister is supporting the truth. “My sister is totally justified. If not her, who will speak about it? I would have still supported her even if I wasn’t related to her. She has nothing to gain or lose. She isn’t even a part of the industry anymore. It takes a lot of guts to take a stand like this.”

On the work front, Ishita will be next seen in Blank, that also stars Sunny Deol and Karan Kapadia. It is slated to release on 3 May.

History be damned in Bollywood

In a recent column, renowned journalist-food critic, Vir Sanghvi, lamented the lack of original ingredients and the dulled palettes of Indians. He complained how most of the ice cream sold here wasn’t ice cream at all, for it contained neither milk fat nor egg yolk. Cheap vegetable oils and synthetic flavours are the options we are now used to.

The case is similar to how our taste in popular cinema has become dulled, and few genres reflect the fact as blatantly as the period film. We are impressed by the essence of ‘glossy packaging’ and we don’t bother to know whether the ‘ingredients’ are real or not.

History be damned in Bollywood


The notion crosses your mind watching Varun Dhawan shimmy with Kriti Sanon and Kiara Advani in what can only be classified as new-age item numbers, in producer Karan Johar’s just-released period melodrama Kalank. The Partition drama is Bollywood’s latest effort at courting history, packaged with trademark K.Jo plasticity. As Sanon and Advani heighten the glamour quotient in provocative choli-ghagra ensemble, their item dances almost seem like a free offer deal that comes with a bumper shopping spree. The audience cannot resist it even if they know they don’t need it.

Baaki sab first class hai, goes Dhawan’s lip-sync as he matches Advani’s moves. Clearly, sab first class nahi hai.

Johar’s new designer opus Kalank apparently rides a cool `80-crore budget. Honestly, the number of zeroes that go into the mighty budgets of such historical dramas as Kalank is mind-boggling, which is why the utter callousness towards history and becomes shocking.

The food metaphor works here again. We sit ‘chewing on’ a vanilla bean, while K.Jo laughs his way to the bank.

The two item numbers are only symptomatic of several liberties that Kalank takes. The designer costumes and sets that try to cross the standard requisites of a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film with Games Of Thrones grandeur, the Gen-Now body language of Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan or Aditya Roy Kapoor, and even the very contemporary-sounding title song seem to point at the same thing: History is an excuse, Johar merely wanted to set up formulaic melodrama against a ‘different’ backdrop — removed from the teenybopper vibes that often mark his love stories.

What is to not to like about a starry ensemble and Bhansali-esque set design, you ask? And then, what’s there to mind watching Madhuri dhak dhak Dixit returning in Kalank to do her jig on the dancefloor, looking gorgeous even after all these years? The opulent sets and Dhawan’s Baaki sab first class hai are designed to make us forget blatant communal politics, GDP and joblessness, after all.

Kalank, like every Bollywood period biggie, insists upon willing suspension of disbelief on the audience’s part as the excuse to set up its larger-than-life lack of authenticity. It was the same when Kangana Ranaut as Rani Lakshmibai breaks into a masala dance in Manikarnika, or Priyanka Chopra as Kashibai and Deepika Padukone as Mastani do a very Bollywoodised Pinga dance in Bajirao Mastani, or — in a filmi twist to history — Padukone as Rani Padmavati entering Alauddin Khilji’s Delhi lair to rescue her captured husband, Rawal Ratan Singh, in Padmaavat.

Paisa vasool is what matters, historicity be damned.

The counter argument offered is Bollywood cinema is fiction, and this is what the janta wants. Market logistics is vital, but giving up on facts to aim for the lowest common denominator cannot surely be the aspiration of filmmakers who comprise one of the biggest film industries in the world.

Maybe, if Bollywood paid their researchers at least half of what they pay their set and costume designers (and listened to them!), our period dramas wouldn’t leave such a fake flavour in the mouth.

We Indians like our history as long as it doesn’t come from textbooks. That is where Bollywood, along with Facebook and Whatsapp in recent times, is important. Our filmmakers must realise there is an overwhelming majority that considers what they show to be the absolute truth, especially when it comes to drama recreating history.

History mixed with patriotism does fabulously at the box-office, as Uri, Kesari and Manikarnika have proved lately. History and absurdity, on the other hand, don’t blend well — obvious from the failure of Thugs Of Hindostan or Mohenjo Daro. The common factor for both kinds of films, though, has been the fact that our filmmakers normally don’t try to be authentic either way. More often than not, period films are just an excuse for over-the-top costumes and sets. In trying to accommodate these excesses, logic is left behind. Even today, a vintage car here or a blonde character there is enough to set up the milieu for a pre-Independence drama. It works, milking our love for our often-imagined ‘glorious past’, especially now that we seem to be losing grip on the present.

Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai: Why Soumitra Ranade’s remake fails to match up to Saeed Mirza’s cult classic

In Saeed Mirza’s 1980 cult classic Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai, there’s a pivotal moment close to the end — one that signifies a shift in the eponymous protagonist’s (Naseeruddin Shah) thinking. We see Albert (a mechanic by profession) and his mates (led by the laconic Om Puri) at the garage, taking some time off to have lunch together. Suddenly, Albert is summoned because a customer with famously deep pockets has called for him, and he cannot wait an instant. This is a man we’ve seen Albert suck up to previously in the film, but something has changed. He is no longer beholden to upper-class glamour like he used to be — he firmly tells his colleague that his services will be available only after lunch, thank you very much. This isn’t a particularly loud scene, but it hits home because of its subtlety.

Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai: Why Soumitra Ranade’s remake fails to match up to Saeed Mirza’s cult classic

In director Soumitra Ranade’s remake (starring Manav Kaul, Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla), a food metaphor is used in at a similar, transitional junction for Albert (Kaul). Sitting at a highway dhaba, he has just decided to hire his waiter’s sister, a sex worker who operates out of a small room behind the kitchen. As he crosses the kitchen area to get there, we are shown a gratuitiously large knife tearing into chickens in slow motion, even as ominous-sounding music plays in the background, completing the laboured prey-on-the-flesh-of-the-weak metaphor.

The difference between these two scenes sums up the difference between these two films in a shell — although well-intentioned, crisply edited and equipped with some superb actors, Ranade’s Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai falls well short of the mark, mostly due to an erratic script that never quite takes off. “Show, don’t tell” is by no means a cast-iron rule in writing fiction, but Ranade’s script either does both in quick succession (which is overkill) or does neither (which leaves one confused).

Singing the plutocracy blues

Mirza’s original followed the fortunes of a young mechanic, Albert Pinto, who believes that if he keeps his head down and fixes his rich customers’ cars quietly, he too can achieve their levels of prosperity. He takes great pride in being on first-name basis with his rich customers, who he calls “friends” (they don’t). But when his workhorse father leads a long-overdue strike at the textile mill he has slogged away at for over 30 years, Albert is forced to rethink his views on class politics. He realises how predatory the relationship between India’s upper classes —and pretty much everybody else — really is. Some transparently sleazy behavior by his girlfriend Stella’s (Shabana Azmi) boss Arvind also helps solidify this newfound perception of his.

Since the 80s, of course, India’s economy has opened itself up in a big way — and Ranade’s remake seeks to make (the very valid) case that this has only managed to make crony capitalism more powerful than ever before, specifically the politican/industrialists/goons nexus, which was a significant part of Mirza’s film as well, especially in the second half. The 2019 Albert Pinto (Kaul) is a white collar professional who, we are told, has bizarrely quit his job, gone incommunicado and become a contract killer, on the heels of his father’s tragic suicide — a longtime government officer, he was falsely accused of corruption after the actual culprits (a pair of corrupt politicians) needed a likely scapegoat.

On paper, this makes a lot of sense — there have never been as many educated unemployed young people in India as there are right now. Thanks to a number of financial scams involving high-profile businessmen (Nirav Modi being the most prominent example), the idea that crony capitalism runs a parallel government in India sounds more and more accurate every day. It’s just that the execution of this idea leaves a lot to be desired.

The hits and the misses

The area where the remake scores high is, obviously, acting — as it to be expected from any film headlined by Manav Kaul, Nandita Das and Saurabh Shukla, masters of their craft all. Given that the 1980 film was a show of strength for alternative Hindi cinema — Naseerusddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Om Puri et al — this was always going to be a tough act to follow. Kaul and co. are up to the challenge. Das, who plays multiple characters (Albert, in his fevered state, sees his girlfriend Stella in a host of women he comes across), is compelling as ever while Kaul, given the heavy lifting job here, channelises his theatrical skills to great effect in a role that features several scenes more attuned to a stage-like setting anyway. His Albert takes the rage of Shah’s original character and escalates it to suit the heightened circumstances of 2019 very effectively indeed.

There are some nice moments, like the time Albert sums up his bleak worldview in front of Stella. There are, he tells us, three kinds of people in this country. There are the rich, drunk drivers running the country (the upper class), there are the dogs sleeping on the road who get run over every night (the poorest of the poor), and then there are middle-class people ie crows who are scavengers, always on the lookout for carrion they can feast on. You feel Kaul’s impotent rage exlpode onscreen when you see him screaming, “I don’t want to be a crow!”

Sadly, a jarring musical score and a neither-here-not-there script lets him and the other actors down. Many devices Ranade uses in crucial scenes — Albert’s “visions” through which the flashbacks are conveyed, the series of conversations between Albert’s family and the inspector investigating his disapearance — come across as tired, even done to death. Instead of these stylistic flourises that do not come off, Ranade would have been better off concentrating on the dialogue, some of which (especially those between Kaul and Shukla, who plays a veteran hitman) is very funny and could have been developed a little more. In the 1980 film, the most interesting cameo is by Dominic, Albert’s nihilistic younger brother, who has a tendency to speak in singsong, guitar in hand. This trope is repeated here wholesale, which is a nice little tip of the hat but no more.

The smaller picture

One of Saeed Mirza’s great strengths as a filmmaker (and later, also as a writer) was his uncanny ability to capture the minutiae of his character’s lives. While his films did end up making broad-angle points about Indian society, he never sacrificed the smaller picture, so to speak. In Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai too, this is evident — Albert’s little speech about the fetishisation of the skirt-and-goggles-clad Christian working woman, his sister Joan’s expert shaming of a lecherous customer at the sari shop she works at, and the “public service announcement” at a cinema hall that turns out to be pure propaganda for the textile mill owners. The way Mirza both uses and critiques the Angry Young Man trope also shows this — one of Albert’s most annoying habits is to pass on his anger to Stella. So whether it’s ogling men on the street or the unwanted attentions of her boss Arvind, ultimately it is Stella who’s at the receiving end of Albert’s yelling.

These are little touches that capture the texture of lived reality circa 1980 exceptionally well. It is in this aspect that Ranade’s remake fails most notably — apart from Albert’s unspecified white collar job, and stray snippets of English from him and Nayar (Shukla’s veteran hitman character), there is virtually nothing that identifiably anchors the story in the here and now. Albert might as well have been an upper-caste Hindu character here, for all we care. Unlike Mirza’s original, the specifics of Albert’s identity, his world, are lost in his diffuse, nebulous rage against “the system”. Like the scene where Albert has a mini-breakdown in a crowded store, where he repeatedly asks the proprietor, “Do you want to buy me?”, insisting that everybody had a price in today’s world, and that price was not very high, in most cases. The scene is unconvincing not because it’s not well-performed, but because there’s little leading up to it that contextualises the theatrics adequately.

Prabhas on his Hindi film debut with Saaho: ‘After Baahubali, I feel people like me in action movies

Prabhas became a nationwide sensation after the path-breaking success of the Baahubali saga — Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. While earlier this year, Prabhas made his debut on Koffee With Karan alongside his Baahubali co-star Rana Daggubati and director SS Rajamouli, he is now gearing up for his foray into Bollywood with his trilingual movie, Saaho.

Prabhas on his Hindi film debut with Saaho: After Baahubali, I feel people like me in action movies

In an interview with Mid-Day, the Telugu superstar said that he feels audience like him in action flicks and hopes people like his action-hero avatar in Saaho. “After Baahubali it’s an action thriller. I feel people like to see me in action movies, so after Baahubali, they may like it.”

Set to release in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil, Saaho also stars a bevy of Bollywood actors, starting from Shraddha Kapoor as the female lead; actors Jackie Shroff, Chunky Pandey, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Mandira Bedi will all play the antagonists. The action-thriller has secured a 15 August release in India.

It was previously reported that Saaho is going to be the second-most expensive film ever made in India, with a budget of Rs 250 Crore.

Shraddha Kapoor, who will be making her debut in Telugu films with the feature, is going to play an “important character” from whose perspective the film is going to be narrated, Prabhas said in a report by Gulf News.


How do you troubleshoot UCaaS problems? Put a ThousandEyes on it

ThousandEyes adds SIP Server Test and Voice Call Test to its existing RTP Stream Tests, providing complete visibility into VoIP and UCaaS performance

Cisco Live kicked off this week in Las Vegas. The annual event is where Cisco shows off its latest and greatest innovations, such as the intent-based networking system Cisco announced last week.

However, it’s also a forum for many of Cisco’s technology partners to show off their wares in the World of Solutions Expo Hall. One of the more interesting vendors there was ThousandEyes, which demonstrated their network monitoring solution, as well as their new Unified Communications monitoring and management capabilities that provide visibility into the performance and connectivity across Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), on premises and hybrid VoIP deployments.

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While there are many management tools that can look at UC performance when the solution is in a controlled, on-premises deployment, ThousandEyes’ solution is one of the first to provide visibility all the way out to the cloud services and for hybrid deployments. It was actually last week that the company announced the general availability of Voice Call Tests and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Server Tests, which provide end-to-end visibility into VoIP and UCaaS performance, and the company had the software products on display in their booth at Cisco Live

In the time-division multiplexing (TDM) days, voice ran on its own network with dedicated endpoints, making troubleshooting straightforward. Today, modern systems run on virtual machines, clients move around and the network is shared, which makes problem solving extremely difficult. Add in the factor of moving the call control out to the cloud where most organizations have no visibility or control, and the challenge of figuring out what’s wrong and where gets exponentially harder.

Most of the existing voice monitoring solutions are reactive in nature and are based on a combination of call detail records and packet capture. With these techniques, a network manager would start analyzing information after a problem has been found or collect all the packets/CDRs and review the results later, both of which happen too late to find the source of a problem. Also, these tools don’t allow for benchmarking or capacity planning, and they provide very little insight into the actual service delivery because they lack correlation of data across the application, network and routing layers.
ThousandEyes Voice Call Tests now provide complete visibility for VoIP calls

SIP Server Test and Voice Call Test are two new test types that have been added to ThousandEyes’ existing RTP Stream Tests and are designed to provide complete visibility across all stages of establishing and maintaining VoIP calls.

SIP uses a multi-step signaling process to set up calls where both endpoints need to go through a number of tasks, such as registering with a call server. Once the call is set up, the endpoints can communicate with each other at layer 7 using the real-time transport (RTP) protocol. Understanding the network topology at every stage of call set-up can provide the contextual data required for troubleshooting calls.

The ThousandEyes SIP Server Test validates the availability and responsiveness of the SIP server from branches or external locations, such as the cloud. It verifies every step of the SIP signaling phase, so if there is a problem, network managers can quickly see exactly what’s causing it and start troubleshooting. The test uses both data and a visual medium to find a problem and isolate the root cause. Network metrics can indicate things such as increased packet loss, and path visualization focuses on where the problem originates.

Junglee box office collection: Vidyut Jammwal’s action-adventure film earns Rs 13.85 cr on opening weekend

Chuck Russell’s Hindi directorial debut, Junglee, picked up pace on the third day of its release. Starring Vidyut Jammwal in the lead, the film minted Rs 4.45 crore on Saturday (30 March) and Rs 6.05 crore on Sunday after opening with Rs 3.35 crore on Friday. The film’s opening weekend collection stands at Rs 13.85 crore.

Junglee box office collection: Vidyut Jammwals action-adventure film earns Rs 13.85 cr on opening weekend

Despite the buzz surrounding Junglee, the adventure-action flick has underperformed at the box office. Trade analysts opine that if the film continues its upward trend in the next few days, it will be able to recover its lost ground. The film has however performed well inthe mass circuits.

Junglee tells the unique tale of a friendship between a man and a herd of elephants. Jammwal, who made a breakthrough debut as an antagonist in the John Abraham-starrer 2011 action drama Force, plays Ashwath. His character confronts an international poacher’s racket at an elephant reserve. Jammwal was last seen in Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi’s Baadshaho.

Junglee also stars Pooja Sawant, Asha Bhat, Akshay Oberoi and Atul Kulkarni. It has been produced by Vineet Jain and co-produced by Priti Shahani.