Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga: Shoot of Anil and Sonam Kapoor-starrer kicks off in Patiala

Anil Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor will be sharing screen space for the first time. The father-daughter duo have reportedly started shooting for a family drama titled Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s sister, Shelly Chopra Dhar. The movie went on floors on 24 January.

Sonam Kapoor-Anil Kapoor. File image.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh took to Twitter to announce the project’s commencement. The film also stars Juhi Chawla and television personality Madhu Malti in pivotal roles. The shooting of the film kicked-off in Patiala on Wednesday.

I just came back from a meeting with Anil and he is like a kid, extremely excited about his role. His character sports a look that hasn’t been seen on him in a long time. We will be shooting at a family house in Patiala, which is the perfect setting for the film. I am shooting entirely at real locations as I want the film to develop as organically as possible. We can’t wait to start rolling now. Anil is also really looking forward to the outing. While I have all his costumes in place, he insisted on bringing his own stuff too. Vinod (Vidhu Vinod Chopra) is busy with his next directorial at the moment, but I talk to him all the time. He is on top of everything and knows what is happening here ” said Shelly, according to a Mid-Day report.

Sonam is expected to join the team for shooting her part towards the end of January and Chawla will reportedly join in the first week of February.

Rajkumar Rao will be playing Sonam’s love interest in the film. Rao is currently busy shooting for Stree – a horror comedy with Shraddha Kapoor.

Akshay Kumar’s Padman is the first Indian film to be screened at Oxford Union; Twinkle Khanna to address students

Mumbai: Writer-producer Twinkle Khanna has been invited to speak at The Oxford Union, the world’s most prestigious debating society.

The 43-year-old actor-turned-author will address the students of the Oxford University on Thursday, where she will also showcase her upcoming production, Padman.

Poster of Padman. Image via Twitter

Based on the life of social entrepreneur and activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionised sanitary hygiene in rural India 20 years ago, the film stars Twinkle’s husband actor Akshay Kumar in the title role.

Through her address, Twinkle will give an insight into the story of the movie and how it would play an interesting role in tackling taboos and addressing stigma around menstrual hygiene

Padman will be the first Indian film to be screened at The Oxford Union.

Also featuring Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, the film opens worldwide on 25 January.

Harjai, T-Series’ new song, features Maniesh Paul, Iulia Vantur as star-crossed lovers

When was the last time you saw a hero make an entrance on a bike as the heroine runs down an alley in the most flowing gown possible? Yeah, very often — that’s a Bollywood prototype for portraying young lovers? Paying a tribute to that model is T-Series’ recent standalone track — ‘Harjai’ featuring TV anchor-turned-actor Maniesh Paul and singer-TV host Iulia Vantur.

Still from the song 'Harjai'. YouTube screengrab

What’s special about this new song? Nothing! Be it the tune, the lyrics, the video, the tone — we have already seen it umpteen number of times in Bollywood films. The underlying narrative amid these visuals also tell a story that is nothing new. The couple meets, develops a bond, there comes a break and they reunite.

The only surprise element in the whole song is the fact that Paul and Vantur have both sung the song along with composer-lyricist Sachin Gupta. Both of them have done a rather good job behind the mic. The auto-tuning bit on the track is pretty evident, but the singers still manage to pull off a decent job.

That’s about it. Apart from their singing, there’s nothing that works for them. Their “chemistry” is as nonreactive as it could get.

Fanney Khan: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan may pay tribute to Lata Mangeshkar in upcoming musical

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, whose next film is Atul Manjrekar’s Fanney Khan, has been a huge admirer of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. Moreover, the interesting part is in Fanney Khan, she will not only be seen as a singer but will also reportedly pay tribute to Mangeshkar as she plays her fan in the upcoming movie.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. YouTube

Nothing has been officially revealed yet about Aishwarya’s role but Deccan Chronicle reports that she plays a popular singer in the film and a fan of Lata.

The same report states that co-producer Prernaa Arora is looking to acquire the rights for some of Lata Mangeshkar’s famous melodies. “Apart from a few original tracks, Aishwarya will also recreate a few of Lata’s numbers. That is not the film’s only connection with Lata. Anil Kapoor’s daughter, who plays an aspiring singer, is named Lata.

News Nation quotes Mangeshkar’s reaction to Aishwarya’s onscreen tribute, “It is good to hear that she is fond of my singing. I think I sang for her for the first time in Mohabbatein. The song ‘Humko Humhi Se Chura Lo‘ was a hit. It’s a beautiful melody and Aishwarya looked lovely lip-syncing it.”

Fanney Khan will be co-produced by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, KriArj Entertainment and T-Series Films. Apart from Aishwarya, the musical comedy also stars Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and Divya Dutta. It is slated to release on Eid, 15 June, along with Remo D’Souza’s action thriller Race 3.

Akshat Verma on Kaalakaandi: ‘Saif Ali Khan’s performance is going to surprise everyone’

Six years after the black comedy Delhi Belly, writer Akshat Verma is back with his  directorial debut, Kaalakaandi: a black comedy-cum-thriller based on bizarre events that happen in one night.

Saif Ali Khan plays the main lead while Sobhita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi, Isha Talwar, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Shenaz Treasury, Amyra Dastur and Neil Bhoopalam form the supporting cast. With an ensemble and such an eclectic mix of cast in hand, Akshat says each day was exciting and unpredictable.

“All these actors have a different way of working and approaching their scenes and I needed to configure my direction style to what they would bring. Some actors get their takes early, whereas some actors warm up so I had to calibrate myself to working with whatever works best for me. But it was great fun, I was so lucky to have them,” says Akshat.

Saif Ali Khan in a still from Kaalakaandi. YouTube

If Delhi Belly was set in a grungy part of the capital, the Delhi-born director this time shifted his narrative to Mumbai for Kaalakaandi. Inspired from a real moment, the film was shot over a period of 42 days, or rather 42 nights, all over Mumbai – Bandra, Carter Road, Colaba, by the docks, Andheri — exploring different parts and different social stratas of the city.

“It is a Bombay story completely. It is about six people who are possibly having the worst night of their lives and whether they make it through or not,” reveals Akshat. “The challenge was in the writing and structuring to see how the three worlds would sit together; it was easier to shoot in Bombay at night. Just that we were shooting with rain and that complicates things. So we had rain machines all the time and actual rain to deal with.  It becomes very exhausting, it isn’t comfortable and warm.”

The writer-director roughly translates the title to mean when things go completely upside down, or disastrously wrong. Kaalakandi is a Marathi slang word meaning, “Sabkuch gadbad ho gaya” or a “big mess” that the characters find themselves in this story that takes place over the course of one night.

While Akshat is tight-lipped about the “wild” plot as the trailer suggests, he said, “It’s about who we really are as people when nobody’s looking. I wanted to explore people in situations that are not normal, situations that push people on top as that is when people really reveal themselves,” he explains, furthering, “The first notion of the story came from a little snippet in a newspaper in Los Angeles, which I can’t reveal because it is a part of the story. I then started working backwards constructing the story.”

A huge admirer of Saif’s work, Akshat says, he took “two years and five minutes” to get Saif to do the film.

“I wrote the script with Saif in mind but after I wrote it took me around two years to get to him. I was walking on Carter Road in the middle of the night and I wrote him a text introducing myself. I further wrote that I have finished writing a script and that I would love to meet him to take the material to the next level. I didn’t get any reply then but it was after two years I had texted him [again] and within five minutes of the meeting he said let’s do it,” says the director.

“Saif just loved the world, the story and the character. He felt that it pushed and challenged him. He is an incredible actor and performer. He is going to surprise people, it was so much fun working with him,” he added, not bothered about the actor not having a good run at the box office.

“I am willing to do tons of films with Saif. He’s a phenomenal actor. This is the whole thing with stardom is, it is out of your hands and this is why stars have the power they have because when something works they get the credit for it but when a film fails, multiple things fail — the writing, directing, budget. We put failure at the doorstep of the star. Saif’s enjoying his work, and the best phase of his career will come now,” says Akshat.

Kaalakaandi was supposed to release on September 8 but got delayed due to censorship issues, and it finally got the clearance after going through FCAT (Film Certification Appellate Tribunal). The Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) had reportedly ordered a staggering number of  73 cuts in the film. A CBFC source had then commented that the film was a dictionary of dirty abuses setting an all-new benchmark of expletives, making Delhi Belly look like a Disney film.

However, Akshat says that they had a pleasant experience while dealing with FCAT. “Pretty much all the cuts were taken out and we just had three word replacement. It’s encouraging to see that there is recourse,” says the director, further adding, “I feel censorship as a notion is inherently wrong. You can’t police your population, you can’t treat your citizens like your children. They should be free to make their choices in terms of what they want to read, write and watch. When you suppress something, people get angry, they burn theatres down… Same thing happened with Delhi Belly. How can the world turn upside down because of people swearing on screen?”

He continues, “Writing, storytelling cannot change the world. We are one of the youngest countries and if we teach the population to not question, not look at things in a new way, we will become country that is afraid of ideas and that’s like holding a whole generation and country back. Filmmakers will stop exploring ideas out of fear. (Commenting on the Padmavati issue) Next time somebody will hesitate to look at our history again.

Padmavat: Manohar Parrikar says film’s Goa release will not be obstructed ‘if it has CBFC clearance’

If Padmavat has been given a censor certificate by the CBFC, then the Goa government does not have a problem in screening it in cinema halls, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on 10 January.

Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

“If they have a censor certificate we do not have objection. If there is a law and order issue, we will look at it then,” Parrikar told reporters.

“As of now, we have not got any intimation about the film being released. If there is a censor certificate, we are not stopping it from release…If they come with a censor certificate with some modification, I do not see big reason why we should interfere into it,” Parrikar added.

Parrikar also said that the state police had expressed apprehensions about the film being screened in Goa during the peak tourism season in December, when a significant chunk of the uniformed personnel are busy discharging law and order duties.

He added that since the peak season was over, the apprehension was irrelevant. “Police report was for peak season. Peak season is over, so there is no problem,” Parrikar said. Increased tourist traffic volumes in December often results in chaos, especially from a law and order point of view.

The women’s wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party had objected to the screening of the film in Goa citing law and order problems and wrong portrayal of queen Padmini in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.

Meanwhile, the Karni Sena has also urged Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to stall the film’s release in Delhi.

After much controversy and delay, the Central Board of Film Certification finally certified Padmavat, clearing the path for its release in cinema halls scheduled for 25 January, however, an official confirmation by the makers is awaited.

Aiyaary actress Rakul Preet Singh feels she speaks better Telugu than Punjabi

Mumbai: Actress Rakul Preet Singh says she speaks Telugu better than her mother tongue Punjabi and she would like to speak her own Telugu lines in films.

Rakul Preet Singh. Facebook

“The one thing I’d really like to do in 2018 is to speak my own lines on Telugu. Do you know I’m so fluent in Telugu now, I speak the language better than I speak Punjabi. So far I’ve only dubbed my own lines for one Telugu film,” Rakul said.

But she doesn’t want to talk about Spyder, which was shot in Telugu and Tamil simultaneously.

“I don’t want to speak about Spyder. Not because I am embarrassed about its under-performance. But it’s just not an experience I enjoyed. I did it for the pleasure of working with AR Murugadoss Sir, and I’d do it again any time. But Sorry I really don’t want to say anything more about this,” she said.

Is Rakul disappointed by the male-dominated scripts in south Indian languages?

“Not the least. They aren’t all about the men. In fact, my other 2017 release Jaya Janaki Nayaka (Telugu film) featured me in a pivotal role,” she said.

Telugu cinema remains Rakul’s first love. “It’s where I’ve discovered my love for the camera. Trust me, I enjoy being in front of the camera more than anything else in the world. I can spend as much as 12 hours on the sets, even more. It’s the only passion that I have,” she said.

Rakul debuted in Bollywood with the 2014 film Yaariyan; she is all set to make her Bollywood comeback with Neeraj Pandey’s upcoming thriller Aiyaary that stars Manoj Bajpayee and Sidharth Malhotra in lead roles. She will be seen romantically paired opposite Malhotra in the film. Aiyaary releases on 26 January along with Akshay Kumar’s Padman.

After Saaho, Telugu superstar Prabhas to be seen in a Bollywood romantic film

Telugu superstar Prabhas is riding high after the path-breaking success of Baahubali sagas — Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. He is all set to be seen in an action hero avatar in the upcoming trilingual film (Hindi, Telugu and Tamil) Saaho that also stars a bevy of Bollywood actors, starting from Shraddha Kapoor as the female lead; actors Jacky Shroff, Chunky Pandey, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Mandira Bedi — all in negative roles.

Prabhas in Bahubali 2/Baahubali 2: The Conclusion

While the speculations of the Baahubali star’s Bollywood debut has been doing the rounds for quite some time now, Prabhas, in a recent  interview revealed that he will be seen in a Bollywood romance drama, Reports India Today.

India Today‘s report suggest that the actor spoke to The Times of India and said, “I watch a lot of Hindi films. I live in Hyderabad, where 60 per cent of the people speak Hindi. I am getting good offers from Bollywood. I had okay-ed a script three years ago. It is a love story that I will do post Saaho.”

Prabhas, further speaking about his love for Bollywood, also spoke about the cordial relationship he shares with Karan Johar. “I made a good association with Karan Johar. If I want anything, I think I can ask him. He has helped us a lot. In fact, I met some actors (from Bollywood) in Karan’s house. They were all very chilled out.”

Speaking about fitting in different genres, he said that it is the script that matters at the end. If the script is good, an action star can pull of a romantic film and vice versa, reports Indian Express.

Prabhas is reportedly shooting for Saaho in Los Angeles. The film is expected to hit the screens later this year.