Raveena Tandon ropes in weavers from self-help groups across India to create clothing line

Raveena Tandon has been working on her own clothing line for quite some time and is all set to finally launch it towards the end of the year.

Raveena Tandon. Facebook

While her appearances at a number of fashion shows of eminent designers are much talked about, she is also being lauded for her newest endeavor as part of which she has been posting videos wherein she talks about her style and beauty regime. The celebrated yesteryear actress also gives various tips on general well being. DNA revealed that according to a close source, Raveena’s label is tentatively called Fashion Insider.

The label reportedly will have a huge collection of traditional clothes with embroideries and bead work. It is said the Raveena is getting jackets and tunics made from female weavers from various self-help groups across India.

“I found the right time to introduce a fashion collection. I hope to share tips on making smart wardrobe choices. Fashion is an expression of how one feels on any given day and if I can help people feel confident, nothing like it,” the actress was quoted as saying.

As Raveena’s video blogs got a great response from her fans she also told Tribune that she thinks it is a way reciprocate her love to her followers. “I’m grateful for all the love that fans have sent my way. I saw this as an opportunity to reciprocate their love. I will be addressing skin concerns and questions related to beauty that I get asked often. I share all the home remedies that have been passed on to me. The videos are conceptualised by me,” she was quoted as saying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanju releases on 29 June, 2018.

Sanju teaser: Ranbir Kapoor transforms into Sanjay Dutt effortlessly in this typical Rajkumar Hirani story

The much-awaited teaser of the Rajkumar Hirani-directed Sanjay Dutt biopic Sanju is here.

In it, Ranbir Kapoor can be seen in six different looks of Dutt that depict six phases of his life. And then in typical Hirani fashion, and in a Munna Bhai accent, Ranbir introduces Dutt’s life.

The teaser then jumps into a montage of Sanjay Dutt’s life, from his onscreen journey to the multiple affairs to his AK-56 rifle case. The teaser underlines the many lives Dutt has lived within one lifetime: from luxury to captivity, from being loved to being punished.

From the first shot of the trailer itself, you will find yourself adjusting your eyes to make sure you’re watching Ranbir Kapoor, and not Sanjay Dutt, in the teaser. The similarities are uncanny, and full props to Ranbir Kapoor for carrying off the character so well.

We wish there were most glimpses of the supporting cast.

Ever since the film was announced, it has been in the news for several reasons — leaked pictures wherein Ranbir Kapoor looks like a carbon copy of Dutt, and the ensemble cast including Sonam Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Anushka Sharma, Vicky Kaushal and Manisha Koirala (among others).

The most important reason behind this surging enthusiasm is undoubtedly Sanjay Dutt. Recently, several fan clubs on Twitter shared the first look of the film as well:

In October, Varun Dhawan cements his credibility as a performer; it’s a role devoid of filmi

The compliment ‘career-best performance’ gets tossed around so much that it’s in danger of losing it’s meaning. But Varun Dhawan’s performance as the disinterested and surly understudy Danish ‘Dan’ Walia in Shoojit Sircar’s exquisite October is a career-defining work. Decades from now, when Varun’s movie career is being written about, this outing will definitely find a mention.

By now, Varun has already proved that he is a consummate Bollywood hero. There is no doubt that he can dance up a storm; take off his shirt and make girls swoon; beat up baddies, and indulge in tomfoolery to deliver laughs. Commercial successes like ABCD, Dhishoom, Judwaa 2 and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania have meant that his six years in the business has been smooth sailing.

In a bid to expand his repertoire, he first dipped his toe into the off-center film pool with Sriram Raghavan’s twisted revenge thriller, Badlapur. Having only played versions of the easy-breezy ‘hero’ until this point, Varun made everyone sit up with his performance as Raghu, the everyman-turned-vigilante, opposite the always-fantastic Nawazuddin Siddiqui. As the character ages, the transformation is not merely physical. Varun imbued the older Raghu with melancholy and sadness without losing the rage in his eyes. Although Badlapur had a mixed critical reception due to a weak final act, it was universally regarded as a win for Varun.

Varun Dhawan/Image from Twitter.

If Badlapur was a step in the right direction, his latest release October cements his credibility as a performer. When we first meet Dan, he is a disinterested, faceless hotel employee changing sheets, polishing silver and killing mosquitoes. He lives life on autopilot. He hates what he does but does it nevertheless because he has no other choice. He is a confusing mix of insolence and earnestness. When Dan slips up, his boss tells him to be more like Shiuli, a fellow trainee who he barely knows. Unlike Dan, she is the perfect employee – hardworking and focused. A freak accident renders her comatose and inextricably links their futures.

This is a story of love and loss that takes it’s time unfolding. Working from a script by Juhi Chaturvedi, a longtime collaborator of Shoojit, October is the kind of film you won’t be able to stop thinking about for a long time. Big shout-out also to Shantanu Moitra’s unflashy score and Avik Mukhopadhayay’s evocative cinematography. But it’s a never-better Varun, in a role that’s completely stripped of all filmi affectations, who gives the film a center of gravity.

Hunched over and shuffling, Dan is the most ‘regular’ character the actor has played till date. He is so ordinary that he goes unnoticed as he waits tables, chops vegetables and replenishes toiletries. There is a stillness in how Varun plays Dan that makes his outing as Raghu in Badlapur seem flashy. His coming of age is just as undramatic. There is no explanation for why Dan is overwhelmed by Shiuli’s accident and why he can’t tear himself away from her.

Even as her family rallies around, trying to make sense of the tragedy, Dan is just always around. Somewhere in the background, he is always present. One of the unwritten rules of being a Bollywood hero is to never get lost in the background. That Varun not only picked a character so understated this early in his career, but also delivered in spades is a reason to celebrate.

October box office collection: Varun Dhawan-starrer records substantial growth on day two, mints Rs 7 crore

Varun Dhawan’s October, which is also being touted as his best performance so far, had a slow opening. However, Shoojit Sircar’s film exhibited immense growth on the second day of its release. While on the first day, the film had made Rs 5.04 crore, it recorded a growth of 48.21 per cent and minted Rs 7.47 crore, according to trade analysts.

october 825

Analysts have linked the drastic growth of the movie at box office to increasing interest in metropolitan cities. Predictions about the film’s stability at the box office in the coming week have also been made.

Also starring Banita Sandhu, October is bittersweet tale of attachment. Dhawan and Sandhu play hotel management trainees in the film and work at the same hotel together. However, things take a drastic turn when Sandhu Shiuli meets with a horrific accident and is left in coma. The incident hits Dhawan’s Dan hard and he finds himself deeply attached to a wheelchair-confined Shiuli. The good-hearted Dan also finds himself perturbed about the fact that the people around are not as affected by Shiuli’s condition as he is.

The film was released on 13 April.

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

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

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

John Abraham/Image from Twitter.

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

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

Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha take the stage at the Da-Bangg tour in Pune

Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Maniesh Paul perform onstage at the Da-bangg Tour in Pune. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Daisy Shah, Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Maniesh Paul during the Da-Bangg tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Salman Khan performs onstage with Daisy Shah at the Da-Bangg Tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Katrina Kaif dances onstage at the Da-Bangg Tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Salman Khan performs with Katrina Kaif. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Salman Khan performs with Sonakshi Sinha. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Sonakshi Sinha performs during the Da-Bangg Tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Salman Khan during the Da-Bangg Tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Katrina Kaif performing onstage in Pune. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Daisy Shah performs onstage. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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Maniesh Paul performs at the Da-Bangg Tour. Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

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

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

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

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan/Image from Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

Ranveer Singh in a still from Padmaavat. Twitter@Film_Padmaavat

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Hichki, I’d like to tell the world about the kind of brave films India is churning out, says Rani Mukerji

(This is part one of an extensive, candid and absorbing interview with Rani Mukerji. There’s lots to catch up on with the talented actor, who returns to the big screen after a short sabbatical with YRF’s Hichki on 23 March. Stay tuned for part two, out on 20 March)

After a hectic day, Rani Mukerji is scrambling for a quiet corner to sit in peace and have lunch, which has gotten delayed by couple of hours. Finally, she picks a make-up room at Yashraj studios and opens her tiny tiffin box. Rani seems to have found that perfect work-home balance and she seems to enjoy motherhood as well. Nothing gives her more happiness than spending time with her two-year-old daughter, Adira.

“I just want to finish work and rush home. Adira is waiting. I usually take advantage of the afternoon slot because she sleeps at that time but today I’m a bit late. I used to go for my shoot early morning and get back home around lunch so that she didn’t miss me much. Now I have started telling her that I am going for shooting,” says Rani, who’s busy promoting her upcoming film, Hichki.

Rani Mukerji in a still from Hichki. YouTube

She continues, “Yesterday when I returned home, Adira asked me, ‘Mama aap shooting par gaye the? Makeup nikaal diya? (Did you go for your shoot? Have you removed your makeup?) Both, Adira and her father are happy to see me without make-up. The first thing Aditya (Chopra) says when I reach home is, ‘go remove your make up’. But it is wonderful to see Adira grow,” she smiles warmly.

Rani has done 43 films in her 21-year-old illustrious career, and is undoubtedly one of those rare actors who has adapted well to the sensibilities of changing times; she’s an inventive actor, and it shows. Known as one of the earliest in contemporary times to transform into a superstar, Rani returns to the big screen after a hiatus of three-years. She was last seen in Mardaani (2014).

“What’s most important for an actor is to innovate. The day innovation dies, the actor dies. If you don’t come up with new ideas for your audience, your fans, you will lose them. It is important for me at each stage to understand how I should be portraying this role, how can I make it look contemporary,” she says, adding, “Also, my husband is a producer-director so even if I don’t want to, I am in touch with current styles and my work as an actor keeps on evolving,” she says.

So naturally, we have to ask her. Will one now see her on the silver screen more often? “I am actually hopeful that I won’t be taking such a long break any time soon because I have no other reason to take a break,” she says. But who among the younger lot could take her legacy forward? Rani, without batting an eye-lid, says with a laugh, “No one, because I would like to believe that there should be no one like me.”

Rani Mukerji in a still from Hichki. YouTube

However, Rani admits that she was extremely nervous on the first day of her shoot for Hichki. “I was very scared because I was leaving Adira for the first time, she had not spent even one day without me. Also, I was wondering whether I would be able to act or not as I was facing the camera after two years. I wondered if I still have it in me. But on sets, it came naturally to me and I realised that I am meant to be here,” she says.

After Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat (1997), a social drama which marked her Hindi film debut, Rani’s career took a giant leap with Vikram Bhatt’s Ghulam (1998) opposite Aamir Khan followed by Karan Johar’s directorial debut, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. KKHH cemented her stardom and the rest as they say, is history. Rani stood apart from the rest with box office hits and critical acclaim, with films like Kamal Haasan’s Hey Ram, Shaad Ali’s Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli, Aziz Mirza’s Chalte Chalte, Mani Ratnam’s Yuva, Kunal Kohli’s Hum Tum, Yash Chopra’s Veer Zaara, and of course, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s much acclaimed, Black.

And even as these films brought her accolades and awards, Rani continued to woo her audience with her performance the in biographical thriller, No One Killed Jessica (2011), Talaash (2012) and crime thriller Mardaani (2014) in the recent past. Hichki is inspired by the real-life success story of Brad Cohen, an American motivational speaker, teacher and author who has severe Tourette syndrome. Hichki is an adaptation of Cohen’s Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had. The film portrays Rani as Naina Mathur, an aspiring teacher suffering from Tourette.

Looking back at her career, she says, “I started when I was 16 and next month I will turn 40. I have grown in this industry. It has taught me a lot with many ups and downs. Also, my choice of films changed with each phase whether it was my early teen days, or early 20s, late 20s, early 30s and late 30s. Each time I chose a role, it has always connected me at that point in my life. Hichki is a very special film that connected with my soul, and [through it] I would like to tell the world [of] the kind of brave films India is churning. It’s a very special film about overcoming one’s weakness and turning them into strength. It also talks about the education system in our country and the discrimination that people face from society.”

When asked which film was more challenging for her as an actor — Black (she played a visually and hearing-impaired woman) or Hichki, Rani says, “Both were challenging. When you play a sensitive character you have to keep in mind the sensitivity of people who have the syndrome. My whole concern with my character in Hichki is that it can become comical. Lot of people laugh and make fun of those suffering from Tourette. It has to be done in a sensitive and real way. When people see Naina, even if they begin by laughing wondering what noise is that, they will change and feel empathetic towards her. There is a lot of complexities that come with playing a role like that.”

Motherhood has made her more sensitive to her surroundings, says Rani. “There is a different kind of passion, different kind of love you feel after being a mother, which you can translate into your work,” she says.

Behind-the-scenes of a song shoot for Hichki. Photo by: Firstpost/Sachin Gokhale

Post Hichki, Rani will be seen in a cameo in Aanand L Rai’s, Zero starring Shah Rukh Khan. When asked if Aditya Chopra will ever direct her, and she shoots back, “Tell Aditya to direct me. Actually I would love to ask this question to him personally. But I’m sure he is the kind of director who chooses his actors according to the script. Whenever he feels that a script or character would be suitable to me, I am sure he will ask me but probably that day might not happen because we are too close and connected to be able to work together.”

While Rani will not be celebrating her 40th birthday (21 March) this year because of “too many loses” — referring to the demise of her father and veteran actress, Sridevi, she feels that it’s an amazing age to step into. “When we were young we used to feel that life is over at 40 but today life starts at 40 especially for me because I have just given birth to my daughter. My life has just begun. Also, my new career has begun and I feel like a newcomer. I am raring to go,” she says and gets back to enjoying her favourite macher jhol.