Tag Archives: film

2.0 director Shankar reveals Kamal Haasan was offered Akshay Kumar’s role as antagonist in Rajinikanth’s film

2.0, director Shankar’s magnum opus starring Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, is set to hit theatres very soon. 2.0 has created headlines ever since the film went on the floors, especially as it’s being touted as the most expensive Indian film ever with a humongous budget of Rs 500 crore.

Poster for 2.0/Image from Twitter

Shankar’s wish to cast Hollywood action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of the main antagonist is familiar news. However, the director recently revealed that south star Kamal Haasan was also considered for the role now being played by Akshay Kumar, reports The Indian Express.

Recounting the deal with Arnold, Shankar said that it had been almost finalised adding that the Hollywood star was also pumped for the project but unfortunately, while drafting the contract, the makers were unable to reach a consensus on every detail. Post that, Shankar was keen on Haasan. “It was my desire to see Rajini sir and Kamal sir in the same movie. Jeyamohan (2.0 dialogue writer) and I met Kamal and discussed the role. But Kamal was more interested in doing Indian 2 and so we moved on,” said the director.

The report adds that though Rajinikanth and Kamal have had quite a number of films together, Hassan decided to not work with Rajini post 1979 film Ninaithale Inikkum so that he could get his own films.

The trailer is scheduled to be launched in an extravagant manner in Chennai on 3 November. 2.0 is due in cinemas on 29 November.

Zero trailer: Shah Rukh Khan takes a leap of faith for love in Aanand L Rai’s colourful film

The makers of Zero recently released the trailer of the much awaited film. The trailer was released on Shah Rukh Khan’s 53rd birthday.

Still from Zero trailer

The trailer depicts Anushka, who is wheelchair-bound, as Shah Rukh’s love interest. There are hilarious moments in the trailer, one being an altercation between Shah Rukh and his father, when Khan replies saying, “Guthka khaate rehte ho, sperm chhoti ho gayi hogi.”

Unfortunately, Anushka and his love story does not reach fruition and Khan moves on to Katrina, who is portrayed as a celebrity. Most of the Zero trailer revolves around the three main characters. Finally, the trailer takes us all by surprise with a sweeping shot of a rocket, with Khan’s voice over in the background, saying, “Kahaaniyon mein suna tha ke aashiq mohabbat mein chaand tak le aate hain, saale humne yeh baat seriously le liyi.” Zero may have Khan taking the leap of faith for his love.

Khan will reportedly not be the only one playing a special role in the film (he plays a vertically challenged man). Kaif will be playing an alcoholic in the film who struggles with her addiction, while Sharma plays a struggling scientist.

Director Aanand L Rai also shared a new poster of Zero featuring SRK on his birthday. The poster depicts Shah Rukh standing on what seems like a New York street amidst tall sky-scrapers with a garland of notes strung around his neck. Rai dedicated the poster to Khan’s dimples.

Recently, the first look posters of Zero were unveiled which saw Katrina and Anushka with SRK.

The teaser and title of the highly anticipated film was released on 1 January and it left the internet in a frenzy as Khan was seen as a “dwarf” for the first time by the audience. For SRK’s challenging look, the makers reportedly used advanced technology inspired from Hollywood films.

Manto, Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal, Tumbbad to be showcased at 2018 London Film Festival

London: The 62nd London Film Festival which opens on 10 October will show more than 200 films from 77 countries with more than a third of them from women filmmakers, including India’s Manto directed by Nandita Das.

Posters of Manto (left), Rajma Chawal (right), A still from Tumbbad

One of the world’s most prestigious film festivals will open with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s thriller Widows.

Indian films are a growing feature at international film events and the London festival is no exception. Although Das’s biopic on the famous writer Manto, has already been premiered in India and elsewhere, the Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer is still a prominent entry.

Three other Indian films which are eagerly awaited at the festival are Leena Yadav’s Rajma Chawal, Rahi Anil Barve’s Tumbbad and Dar Gai’s Namdev Bhau in Search of Silence.

In Rajma Chawal Rishi Kapoor gives a charming performance as a newly-widowed father who’s struggling to cope with the unfolding situation. Tumbbad is about the cursed family of a now deserted village while Dar Gai’s film is about a 65-year-old man who cannot take the noisy Mumbai city anymore.

Another Indian film being shown at the festival is Ivan Ayr’s debut Soni. The film is about a policewoman in Delhi which has already had its premiere in July at the Venice International Film Festival.

The 12-day London Film Festival will close on 21 October with the world premiere of Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie. This funny film starring Steve Coogan and John C, Reilly features a double act of Laurel and Hardy.

Some other prominent films at the 2018 festival are The Old Man and the Gun which features Robert Redford as an aging bank robber; Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma —a black and white film which is a tribute to the women of his boyhood.

Besides, Yorgos Lanthimos’s delirious period drama The Favourite, Mike Leigh’s historic epic Peterloo, the Cohen brothers’ dazzling new film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Luca Guadagnino’s art horror Suspiria.

Another film worth mentioning is Lords of Chaos by the Swedish director Jonas Akerlund. It is a darkly comic drama that tells the true story of how the rise of the Satanic musical subculture of Norwegian black metal in the 1980s, spun from an angst-inspired need to revolt into a fable of gross cult crimes.

The London Film Festival has featured some of the world’s best movie makers. The first film ever to be shown at the festival was Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood in 1957.

In that year alone, it showed Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria and Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd— all classics of world cinema.

India’s Satyajit Ray won the best film director award in 1959 at the London festival for his Apur Sansar. He was only the second director in the history of the festival to be awarded for his work.

In its early years, almost all films shown and awarded here were by international directors rather than British.

Batti Gul Meter Chalu box office collection Day 1: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha’s film opens with Rs 6.76 cr

Batti Gul Meter Chalu, despite featuring a prominent cast comprising Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Yami Gautam, had a slow start at the box office, earning Rs 6.76 crores on its opening day.

Shraddha Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor in a still from Batti Gul Meter Chalu

The film released alongside Manto, Saamy Square and The Equalizer 2. Trade analyst Girish Johar had predicted that the film would be able to amass Rs 5.5 crores on its first day. “Desi stories always connect well with people. Also, a social issue relating to a common man’s fight against power distribution companies will pull audiences to cinema halls,” Johar had told The Indian Express in a statement, adding that a combination of good cast and director increases the possibility of a positive box office outcome. Meanwhile, Shraddha’s other release, Amar Kaushik’s Stree where the actress features alongside Rajkummar Rao, has been steady at the box office, even after three weeks of its release.

Swara Bhasker may play Sanjay Dutt’s step daughter in Hindi remake of Telugu film Prasthanam

Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker is currently busy promoting the upcoming film Veere Di Wedding, where she shares screen space with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Shikha Talsania. The film is produced by Rhea Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor.

It is reported that after Veere Di Wedding, she will be seen in the Hindi remake of the 2010 Telugu thriller Prasthanam. According to a report by Asian Age, the actress will be seen essaying the role of Sanjay Dutt’s stepdaughter in the film.

Swara Bhasker and Sanjay Dutt. Facebook

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.

Padmaavat: Delhi High Court rejects plea alleging glorification of Sati in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film

The Delhi High Court today rejected a plea seeking penal action against the producers and director of Bollywood movie Padmaavat for alleged glorification of the practice of ‘sati (immolation)’. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed the plea saying the petitioner should have approached the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) at an appropriate time.

Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh from Padmaavat poster. Facebook

“The film stands released without any complaints and it is already in the public domain. If the petitioner was having any complaint with regard to the issue raised in his writ petition, he should have made complaint before the CBFC at an appropriate time. We find no merit in the petition. The same is dismissed (sic).” the court said.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by social activist Swami Agnivesh had sought deletion of the scenes that depict the practice of ‘sati‘. ‘Sati‘ is an obsolete funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband’s pyre and the law prohibits it.

The court had earlier observed that according to one of the disclaimers in the film, it is a work of fiction and therefore, it does not show any intention or animus on the part of the producers or director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to propagate the practice.

The petition, filed through advocate Mehmood Pracha, had sought directions to the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against Ajit Andhare, one of the producers, and Bhansali. Central government standing counsel Manish Mohan, who appeared for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the censor board, had opposed the plea, saying the movie was certified for public viewing after considering all the aspects.

The court had said that in the present day and age, it was “hesitant to accept” the petitioner’s claim that someone would follow such a practice just by seeing the movie. The high court on 25 January had rejected a Rajasthan-based group’s plea seeking quashing of the certification granted to the film, saying the Supreme Court had permitted its release.

The film, which hit the theatres on 25 January, is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and has Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in the lead roles. It is based on the saga of a historic battle of 13th century between Maharaja Ratan Singh and his army of Mewar and Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi.

The impending release of the movie had led to several incidents of vandalism, including an attack on a school bus in Gurugram and torching of a Haryana Roadways bus on 24 January. The set of the movie was vandalised twice — in Jaipur and Kolhapur, while its director Bhansali was roughed up by members of the Karni Sena last year. The apex court had paved the way for nationwide release of the movie by staying the ban on its screening in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It had also restrained other states from issuing any such notification or order banning the screening of the film.

Not Padmaavat; Padmavati would have been the better title for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film

What’s in a name? Judging by the recurrent noise around the release of Padmaavat, tons of chest beating, arson, stone pelting and hooliganism.

Beyond the news, the renaming of Bhansali’s film was an exercise in futility. For his grand tale is a salute to the bravery and sacrifice of a Rajput queen — one who was gorgeous, free-spirited, smart and deft at statecraft. It’s an ode to the sum total of edited truths about Rajput glory (mostly myths rather than historical fact).  The best way to do justice to this elaborate tribute to (real and imagined) Rajput glory would have been to retain the name Padmavati, for the film caps Bhansali’s interpretation of the woman.

Of course, what I say is in hindsight. The makers had to give in to the Central Board of Film Certification’s directives — or lose out on showing Padmavati/Padmaavat at all. Sad, but true.

Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmavati in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat

Like some of Bhansali’s female protagonists of the past, Padmavati has all the makings of a true hero. She is a skilled archer who hunts in the lush, green jungles of Sinhala (modern day Sri Lanka), marries a besotted Rajput king, Rawal Ratan Singh, and moves to the desert kingdom of Chittor: a regal fort where at least 10,000 oil lamps are lit at all times, every piece of fabric is richly embroidered silk or satin, and well-crafted pots and pans are part of every frame. Here, Padmavati settles in to be the loved, worshipped queen — a homemaker to the hilt. When trouble comes knocking in the form of a lustful, conquest-crazy Alauddin Khilji, she advises her husband smartly on statecraft and war games. She also rescues him from Khilji’s dungeons, while inflicting damage on the enemy (with some help from the latter’s long suffering wife). In the end, haplessly bound by a code of male-dictated honour, she decides to jump into a blazing fire with all the women in the fort, to save themselves from the pillage of a victorious Khilji.

At every given moment in the story, Padmavati stands tall as the ideal queen. Her husband’s first wife, Nagmati, sadly is given little to say or do; at times, she is projected as petty — which is unfair, given the injustice meted out to her when Rawal Ratan replaces her with a newer, prettier model is not addressed at all. Of course, she merrily jumps into the fire too.

The filmmaker has focused on courage under fire by highlighting the quiet dignity of Mehrunissa, Alauddin Khilji’s wife. She is the voice of reason, always overruled but fearless.  Both Padmavati and Mehrunissa are intent on the guidance and persuasion of their headstrong husbands. In Padmaavat, the women are the pillars of strength for their men. Both queens here are able, rational people. Yet, both surrender to a premise of life dictated by men. In this aspect, of empowering his women yet falling short of making them active actors in determining their lives, Padmavati and Mehrunissa are a culmination of Bhansali’s interpretation of women.

Over time, SLB’s women have evolved, yet stayed passive during grand finale moments. Bhansali’s defiant, heartbroken female protagonist, Nandini, doesn’t give in to convention despite being forced to marry. Her battle is passive aggressive, never overt but the kind that wreaks havoc in a marriage. His women in Devdas were huge creative liberties: There is Paro’s cantankerous mother, deafening the audience with her tirade against Devdas’ mother, the haughty, over-jewelled zamindar’s wife. There is Paro, heart broken, humiliated and yet adjusted to a pragmatic marriage. There is Chandramukhi, the courtesan with a heart of gold. Each woman plays a crucial role in influencing Devdas’ life, an ineffectual, privileged, weak protagonist — but none of them has any say over his destiny. Women in Bhansali’s films have well-written dialogues, don’t give in easily — but finally, always surrender to the dictates of society.

When Bhansali chose to make women the center of his story, he made them noble with a capital N. He whitewashed the heroine with greatness in the films that followed. In Black, Michelle is determined, good and set on conquering her physical challenges. Sophia in Guzaarish is silently loving; aching but willing to make sacrifices.

Only later did Bhansali give his heroines some teeth. In Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ramleela and Bajirao Mastani, his female protagonists oscillate between good and evil, and actively shape the story.  Supriya Pathak’s role of Dhankor, quietly menacing and deadly, is the strongest female character SLB has ever created. Her cold choices, and later, regret shape the film’s story. Leela’s journey — from innocence and free spiritedness, to defiance, and surrender to love — is captivating. Leela takes control of her destiny, in choosing to die along with her lover, Ram. She doesn’t give in to her natural destiny easily either.

Similarly, in Bajirao Mastani, with a single scene where Kashi Bai confronts Bajirao on his decision to make Mastani his kept woman, Bhansali underlines the injustice she suffers. Bajirao’s widowed mother in this film is head strong and dogmatic, just like Mastani is determined. Their mutual animosity turns to brinkmanship. Yet, in the climax, Mastani gives in and is willing to be imprisoned, rather than pick up her weapons again. Therein lies the contradiction of Sanjay Bhansali’s interpretation of women: the filmmaker empowers them only to take away their ability to battle male codes of conduct.

One can always argue that Bhansali’s films are based on historical incidents or myths, so altering a story line beyond a point isn’t feasible. However, that becomes contradictory, as SLB has always liberally played with history. From Khilji’s Mongolian inspired costume, to use of elephants in open warfare in a desert, to the magnificent wealth attributed to a small Rajput kingdom — he has interpreted history to fit his glitzy narrative. Towards its end, Padmaavat the poem indicates a lusty Rajput king too, willing to kill for the queen of Chittor. But Bhansali has erased that detail. He had similarly re-interpreted Bajirao Mastani as well.

In the climax of Padmaavat, when Rani Padmavati and the noble women of Chittor have locked themselves inside the fort as they set out to commit jauhar (self immolation), Khilji is held back by hot coals flung by the women. This scene could be SLB’s tribute to Ketan Mehta’s Mirch Masala. The 1980s classic’s supremely powerful climax showed the oppressed women flinging chilli powder by the kilo-loads on to a cruel employer.

One so wished Bhansali hadn’t stopped himself at just using the technique from this film, but actually gone a step forward and shown Padmavati and the women retaliate against Khilji. Sacrifice has its place, but there is glory in battle too.

Then again, this is a flight of fancy. For, in the days of Karni Sena and school buses being attacked, Sanjay Bhansali’s passive aggressive women seem to make better sense; if nothing else, then just to survive the toxic, vitiated political climate that runs the show today.

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.