Monthly Archives: November 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marjaavaan box office collection: Sidharth Malhotra-led action drama earns Rs 24.42 cr over opening weekend

Sidharth Malhotra’s new release Marjaavaan has been well-received at the domestic box office. Within three days of its release, the action drama, which marks Tara Sutaria’s second outing, raked in Rs 24.42 crore. Marjaavaan opened to Rs Rs 7.03 crore on Friday, earned Rs 7.21 crore on Saturday and witnessed a jump on Sunday (17 November) with Rs 10.18 crore.

Marjaavaan has received mixed reviews from critics. In her review for Firstpost, Anna Vetticad wrote, “Marjaavaan is so hackneyed that even the usually restrained Malhotra is driven to intermittent over-acting during its two-hours-plus running time. Deshmukh hams his way through playing Vishnu. Ms Sutaria is bland.”

Malhotra, whose last release was Jabariya Jodi with Parineeti Chopra, plays a local thug Raghu in the film to Riteish Deshmukh’s Vishnu, a local mafia don. The film reunites the two actors onscreen after 2014’s Ek Villain, directed by Mohit Suri.

In an interview with Firstpost, Sutaria called her role in Marjaavaan “challenging.” She said, “There is lot of crying and emoting, and especially since my character is mute, I had to express a lot with my hands and sign language. There is more scope to perform differently in Marjaavaan, whereas Student of the Year 2 was lot more fun. I suppose this one was far more challenging,.”

Marjaavaan is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Divya Khosla Kumar, Krishan Kumar (T-Series) and Monisha Advani, Madhu Bhojwani and Nikkhil Advani (Emmay Entertainment).

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

Bala box office collection: Ayushmann Khurrana’s social comedy inches towards Rs100 cr mark

Ayushmann Khurrana, who had a successful year so far, might deliver yet another Rs. 100-crore club blockbuster with Bala. Trade analysts note that Amar Kaushik’s Bala is set to become Khurrana’s third film to enter Rs.100 crore club. In its first week, the film had paced fast to reach the Rs.50 crore mark.

During its Week 3 run, Bala raked Rs. 3.76 crore on Friday, Rs. 6.73 crore on Saturday and Rs.8.01 crore was added in the earnings. Along with Bala’s first week collection, which tallies at Rs. 69.25 crore, the film’s grand total currently stands at Rs.90.74 crore.

Bala has become Ayushmann Khurrana’s third film, after Badhaai Ho and Dream Girl, to cross the Rs 40 crore mark in opening weekend earnings. While the film serves as Khurrana and Yami Gautam’s third film to enter the coveted Rs.100 crore club, it will be second 100 crore grosser for Bhumi Pednekar.

While Khurrana battles premature balding, Pednekar plays a dusky complexioned girl combating prejudice coming her way. Gautam is seen as a local Tik-Tok celebrity, whom Khurrana’s character courts and eventually marries. Saurabh Shukla, Jaaved Jaaferi, Seema Pahwa, and Abhishek Banerjee too are part of the film.

In a recent interview with Press Trust of India, Khurrana called Bala the “most precious” films he has been a part of so far. “I’m humbled with the response and delighted that I have again backed a film that has its heart at the right place,” he added.

Panipat: Mohnish Bahl is everything regal as Nana Saheb Peshwa in new character poster of period drama

The makers of the much-anticipated historical drama, Panipat, have unveiled the character poster of Mohnish Bahl as Maratha ruler Nana Saheb Peshwa, days after the trailer release on 5 November.

Bahl sports a calm smile on his face as he sits on the throne of the Maratha empire. Lead actor Arjun Kapoor, who essays the role of Sadashiv Rao Bhau, has shared the poster on social media as well.

Mohnish made his acting debut with Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989, starring Salman Khan and Bhagyashree, in which he portrayed a negative role. He has had crucial television breakthroughs in his career when he featured in serials like Sanjivani – A Medical Boon, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Dill Mill Gayye, Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and the like. He last appeared in Jai Ho in 2014 and is presently a part of a reprised version of the serial Sanjivani.

Panipat also stars Sanjay Dutt as Abdali and Kriti Sanon as Parvati Bai. Zeenat Aman will make a cameo appearance in the Ashutosh Gowariker directorial.

Gowariker had confirmed the news of Aman’s cameo appearance in Panipat, in an interview with Mumbai Mirror. “Zeenat ji will be seen in a cameo as Sakina Begum, a feisty character leading her province of Hoshiyarganj. Her character lives within the confines of her kingdom, aloof from the politics of the region, till Arjun’s Sadashiv Rao Bhau turns to her for help,” he said.

Panipat will depict the story behind Third Battle of Panipat, which was fought between the Maratha Empire and the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali. There were three battles of Panipat in total which shaped Mughal history and rule in the country.

Hindi litterateur, poet, and essayist Ashok Chakradhar has penned the dialogues for the film, which is being produced by Sunita Gowariker via AGPPL in association with Vision World.

The director will bring to the audience another large scale period film after Lagaan (2001) and Jodhaa Akbar (2008). Although his last film, Mohenjo Daro (2016), tanked at the box office, the expectations from Panipat already seem high.

Panipat is scheduled to hit theatres on 6 December.

Bala movie review: Ayushmann-Bhumi crackle and pop while slamming bias…till the film reveals its own prejudice

One of the pleasures of watching Bala comes from its use of language. The characters in this film speak Kanpuriya Hindi which is a delight in and of itself. Better still, they hardly ever substitute words in their mother tongue with English equivalents. On the rare occasions when they do opt for a spot of English, they are hilarious without the narrative taking a condescending tone towards them or getting clichéd. And the dialogues are replete with usages you are unlikely to hear on the streets of Delhi or Mumbai.

So “hasthmaithun” is “hasthmaithun” for the hero, not “masturbation”. His younger brother speaks of his family’s “loloop nazar” on him. And a man is threatened with a “kantaap“, not a slap.

While the going is good in Bala, it is very good. The first half is rip-roaringly funny, simultaneously poignant and insightful as it takes us through the protagonist Bala aka Balmukund Shukla’s journey from a luscious head of hair in his teens to premature baldness in his 20s, from vanity and arrogance to a soul-crushing complex. Director Amar Kaushik, whose calling card for now is the stupendous horror comedy stree, never lets the pace flag pre-interval. Writer Niren Bhatt is clearly determined to make a point about a bald man’s sense of self-worth, stays true to this message and is intelligent while doing so here.

In the second half though, the humour and the intellect dip. For a start, the writing takes the easy way out in a crucial, pivotal situation. (Caution: Some people might consider the rest of this paragraph a spoiler) A woman Bala loves and who loves him back is condemned for rejecting him on discovering his baldness – condemned not merely by characters in the story, but by the film itself – by establishing her as a superficial creature for whom looks matter more than anything else and getting her to dump him solely and entirely because his appearance no longer appeals to her, never allowing her to believe what would have been a reason that might possibly have earned her some audience sympathy: that it is in fact his deception that killed their relationship, not his lack of hair. By getting Bala instead to acknowledge his lies and self-flagellate, the film uses even this opportunity to increase his likeability. This is silly, because it is a sort of ultimatum: once he apologises for lying, she had better forgive him, or else we will quietly slot her as a youknowwhat. It is all cleverly done, all the while ensuring that the judgement is subtle and the tone of the narrative never gets openly vicious towards her. From a film that until then and thereafter is honest about its hero’s character flaws and does not let him off lightly, this is disappointing. (Spoiler alert ends)

The message being driven home by Bala from the start is that we must stop caring about what others think of our looks – that once we begin valuing ourselves, the world will too. Towards this end, it has a dark-skinned heroine called Latika Trivedi who has all her life been derided for her complexion. Getting Bala to be one of those who taunted her in her childhood, and making him a fairness cream salesman in his adulthood even while he battles a bias against early onset baldness, are both nice touches. However, this aspect of the messaging fails because the film reveals its own prejudice against dark skin from the word go.

No one on Team Bala seems to have detected the irony in casting a light-skinned actor as Latika and painting her face black, rather than casting a black woman to play a black woman.

In a film industry that favours goraapan especially for female stars despite marginal evolution on this front in recent decades, Bala‘s unwillingness to seek out a dark-complexioned actor for this role underlines the attitude that a woman whose skin does not match a certain shade is not worthy of being a lead. It appears that Bhatt and his colleagues did not notice either that throughout the film, they treat it as a given that a dark complexion is indeed less and cannot possibly be pretty, and equate it with the side effect of a disease (namely Bala’s alopecia which is a direct result of his diabetes).

The screenplay well and truly bares its prejudice though in Latika’s own reaction to the mythological tale of the hunchbacked woman Kubja who Lord Krishna is said to have miraculously turned into a beauty. Stage enactments of the story in Kanpur are twice shown, both times a dark-skinned woman is cast as Kubja, and Latika – a bright lawyer who had earlier been vocal about her comfort with her skin colour – says after a viewing: “Why did Lord Krishna have to make her sundar? It is possible that someone would have liked her just the way she is.”

“Someone”? Umm, but wasn’t the whole point that we must accept ourselves and not measure our worth by the acceptance of others? Note too that she does not question the casting of a dark-skinned actor as Kubja and the intrinsic assumption that her colour is equal to a lack of soundarya. This is not to say that Latika must be perfect, but that the questioning, unbiased person she has been shown to be until then does not gel with the attitude she displays

This inconsistent characterisation and the team’s lack of awareness of their own prejudice robs Bala of much of its value. Tragic, because when it is dealing with the hero’s baldness it is smart and sharp, the crackling dialogues are rich with cultural references, even the songs and choreography add to the comicality (watch ‘Tequila’, please, and those TikTok videos are out-and-out killers), the comedy involving Bala never crosses the line into insensitivity and the cast is absolutely A-grade.

Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar live up to expectations by delivering fine performances, and Yami Gautam as the somewhat frivolous professional model Pari Mishra displays a talent for comedy here that will hopefully be explored in future films. The trio are backed by a fabulous ensemble of supporting actors, each jostling with the other in the run-up to a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Every single one of them, including the lesser-known faces (Dheerendra Gautam playing Bala’s younger brother, Sumit Arora as his boss) is given space to shine and they chew up the screen in those moments.

If this film had no Latika (or she was better written and appropriately cast) and the humour of the opening half had been maintained in the second, it would have been near perfect. There is a Latika though and the humour does dip, making Bala a 50-50.