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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.

Mulk: Anubhav Sinha is among the growing breed of filmmakers who do not want to whitewash reality

In the first twenty minutes of Mulk, director Anubhav Sinha takes a dig at the Swachh Bharat campaign and the government’s demonetisation move. Blink for even a second and chances are, you might just miss the director’s disenchantment with the Centre’s policies and schemes. He goes a step further and attacks the issue of islamophobia. Mulk also ventures into a territory which many filmmakers shudder to think about – the perils of neo-nationalism. In other words, the film does not hesitate to call a spade a spade and shreds to pieces the government’s many theories. It’s a film that breaks stereotypes and conventions which hitherto had not been seen in Bollywood. Judging by the past record of such films, it is astonishing to see that it did not have to face the ire of the censor board. Mulk is a fine example of a growing breed of filmmakers who are determined not to whitewash reality.

Taapsee Pannu in a still from Mulk. Screenshot from YouTube.

Fanney Khan, another recent release, has a song very much in tune with the current government’s slogan for the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Again, despite the hue and cry, the song ‘Mere Achhe Din Kab Aayenge’ featured in the final cut of the film. Netflix’s Sacred Games, helmed by Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap created ripples amongst the cadres of a certain political party when it mentioned Bofors. Congress took objection to the Netflix series for allegedly showing former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in poor light but Congress chief himself put a lid on the entire controversy when he came up with his own statement. Kashyap himself lauded Rahul Gandhi’s act and hailed his views. Despite the brouhaha, the objectionable scenes and the dialogue can still be seen on the streaming platform. The fact that here is a director who mentioned things about the Bofors scam and did not shy away from stating facts reflects subversive courage, one that is rare in the times of playing it safe territory.

Not so long ago, the superhit Tamil film Mersal criticised the government by raising questions on implementation of the GST. The government countered by declaring that the film portrayed ‘untruths’ about the central taxation scheme. Despite being cleared by the censor board, though the two and half minute sequence was later trimmed from the film, but not before it made everyone aware of the government’s attempt to thwart freedom of expression.

This change needs to be lauded and filmmakers should be given due credit for not kowtowing to the establishment. The change today is a far cry from the days when policies and the government itself were considered to be sacrosanct and their reflection on the screen required them to be in sync with the stated policies. If at all someone dared to swim against the tide, they were forcibly calmed down by just muttering the dreaded ‘censor’ word. One reason why filmmakers are embracing muted reality from the past and the current could be attributed to the influx of global content that an average viewer has now access to.

Showtime in the US can air an animated series called Our Cartoon President and The Looming Tower on Amazon can denounce the administrative decisions that led to the 9/11 attacks. No one blinks an eye and no furore is created. In other words, the mature level of content that the world is being exposed to is now seeping into India’s viewing appetites. The need to make Mulk arose from the fact that Anubhav was sick and tired hearing different interpretations of nationalism. “The definition of nationalism has become jingoistic, if you can shout louder then you are a nation lover. I wanted to change this notion.”

Last year, it was Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar that dug out an old chapter from Indian history – The Emergency, and did not hesitate in putting forth facts which were either omitted or conveniently altered to suit the vested interests of a certain group of people. Rajinikanth’s Kaala too touched upon a sensitive subject when it talked about caste politics. Udta Punjab had an ugly brush with the censor board but the fact that the film eventually saw the light of day in theatres despite revolving around the drug menace in Punjab – the very theme government and censor board objected to — can only be termed as a short-lived struggle by the makers who were associated with the film. Newton too took a dig at the way elections are conducted in remote areas. None of these films were stopped from getting screened in theatres.

Things which till now were swept under the carpet are now coming out in the open. The change is slow but it’s happening nonetheless. Apart from giving voice to filmmakers, social media too has made the world a smaller place. The very concept of living in isolation now exists no more. Filmmakers have now comprehended that stating facts is the way ahead and any attempt to dilute the truth will lead to the fear of getting exposed. A change is here and it should be commended and kudos to the authorities that have allowed this change to take place.

Sonakshi Sinha may not perform with Justin Bieber, but Bollywood’s limelight-hogging is an issue

A secure artist would always encourage another artist to grow their skills and follow their dreams. Art in any form should not be suppressed.”

Sonakshi Sinha, actor-singer and Bollywood’s latest offering to the world of music, recently schooled young singer Armaan Malik on Twitter on how artistes must encourage each other instead of being a case of sour grapes, as Bollywood actors go about getting plum singing assignments.

Sonakshi Sinha-Armaan Malik feud on Twitter; actress clarifies she isn’t performing at Justin Bieber gig

Obviously, any counterpoint stems from insecurity, be it from Kailash Kher or even a rookie like Armaan Malik. Sonakshi was not opening for major Indian draws like Arijit Singh, Honey Singh, Mika or Shaan. She was getting a platform to perform ahead of Justin Bieber on 10 May, only one of the world’s best-selling music artists, who has sold an estimated 100 million records.

The Sonakshi Sinha-Justin Bieber concert row highlights the problem of VIP culture

In the time since, Sonakshi has said that she is not, in fact, opening for Bieber. “I am an actor who also loves music, loves to perform and sing. And if anyone has a problem with that, in the wise words of Bieber himself, they can go ‘love’ themselves,” she added,

On her part, Sona has sung a slew of soulful songs from her films, many of them duets with audio processing software. The latest number is from the newly-released Noor that opened four days ago. Secure in the knowledge that auto-tune and Bollywood’s overzealous PR machinery can make any actor a stadium-worthy singer, Sona is talking equal opportunities in a world where Bollywood actors are showstoppers at fashion weeks, where cricketers both Indian and international have to shake a leg to Bollywood tunes lest they be caught before, and where a Farhan Akhtar — Bollywood actor and director of repute for his craft — makes it to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine for the richness of his raspy vocals.

Honestly, these musicians must really stop complaining so much about how Bollywood is hogging their turf. Ask the supermodels whose runways are hijacked often by vertically-challenged svelte actresses in a profession where one’s height is a basic criterion. Ask the cricketers who have to endure the humiliation of draping a mundu and doing the lungi dance.

For Bollywood, every platform that is widely watched is an opportunity. TV shows with massive visibility like Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah or Koffee with Karan, have been the breeding ground for pre-release appearances of actors. In this light, to cry foul over Bollywood’s omnipresence seems like such a futile effort.

Even Ganpati and Durga idols have to jostle for space with Bollywood devotees who make sure to inform the media well in advance of the pandals they’ll be visiting. It is Bollywood songs that play during Ganpati processions most often than devotional music with pumped up bass. ‘Munni Badnaam Hui, hey bhagwan, tere liye‘. So if God isn’t complaining, who are these mere mortal singers to raise a ruckus?

John Lennon: The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.

Bollywood: Hold my drink.

Bollywood is to entertainment, lifestyle, arts and culture, and basically life in India, what Sachin Tendulkar has been to the world outside of cricket: An iconoclastic Parliamentarian who championed for major reforms within Indian sports, a winner of the highest civilian honour ahead of a host of luminaries who were pathbreaking in the truest sense, brand endorser par excellence still known for memorable lines like “Aila, plane”, and a willing taxpayer for gifted Ferraris.

Sure, the crossover between professions is what makes things so dynamic. Bollywood has had its fair share of model influx, with some of the most exciting item songs being given to pretty faces with no acting or dancing chops. Nobody remembers the movie, everyone remembers Yana Gupta riding a bull while telling a Babuji to go slow. Pageant winners joining Bollywood after espousing world peace is a necessary rite of passage. Cricketers too have dabbled with acting, none with the success rate of say a Salil Ankola, on television though. A lot of it originates from being popular in one field, almost nepotistically giving them free access to an alternate field of their choice. Sorry Bollywood, and those who fought like Sonakshi Sinha through failed auditions and rampant rejection, to make a name for herself. Nepotism is a real thing. Ask Ananya Birla. The daughter of industrialist and philanthropist Kumarmangalam Birla, Ananya made her singing debut one week before she performed at the Global Citizen Festival, popularly called the “Coldplay concert and other unmentionables”.

Let’s, however, not overanalyse this phenomenon and dignify it by giving reasons as lofty as nepotism, or talent in another field or even mass popularity. Event organisers and marketing-PR mavens are together in this situation where actors — and not immensely talented professional singers — are given singing opportunities at major platforms. A lot of the actors who get to perform are not major award-winning actors either. They’re pretty faces with some semblance of holding a note, and who’ll look good while gyrating on stage. Who cares how they sing live? This is a country where Remo Fernandes played bass along with Queen’s Roger Taylor on drums while Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page lip-synced in India in 1995.

It was never about the singing or the A-list popularity. It’s about who can rock a bustier or garter while holding a mic. Sure we have some immensely talented singers who can look absolutely ravishing on stage, but are they popular enough outside of BlueFrog to bring in people for their performance?

Shraddha Kapoor was one of the many weird choices for the Global Citizen Festival. She is actually quite a talented singer with a lineage that links to the Mangeshkar family. She even managed to hold her own while touring for Rock On 2 while Farhan Akhtar frayed our last auditory nerve. But why was she selected over genuine professional singers for an event that is inherently about the music? Why do the Sonas and the Shraddhas get a chance to sing at major events that usually have no problems in drawing their own audiences? Is it because Shraddha could counter the adverse impact of Farhan’s vocals depleting the ozone layer or is it because Sona apparently has star power enough to drag South Mumbai listeners to DY Patil Stadium in Nerul (where Bieber’s concert is scheduled)?

It’s not like people are averse to Bollywood stars dabbling with music, dance or art. Even major stars who shoot black bucks, run over pavement-dwellers and beat up their girlfriends have a fan following that laps up their every artistic stroke and humane marketing strategies. It is when they are given a platform to perform in a field that is outside of their own, trumping the chances of more talented and befitting candidates that this rankles even more.

It is our obsession for this celebrity/VIP culture that has brought us to this stage. Where a name or a brand is expected to command an audience, not talent. Where the promoters of talent still believe that it needs Bollywood to bail out all other events. Where Katrina Kaif dancing at a sporting event gets louder whistles than Usha Uthup with a booming stadium-esque voice covering Freddie Mercury at a similar event.

You would never find these actors dabbling with theatre. Not because theatre might not give them the same level of publicity or that it is still acting after all. But as actors, should they be underwhelming on stage, audiences would be hardly forgiving of that irony. It would expose them for who they really are: Talent-bereft marketing pawns, inhabiting an inherited industry while decisively encroaching on others’ turfs. That calls for some gall.

 

Shatrugan Sinha thinks Ranveer Singh would do a good job starring in his biopic

Mumbai: Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who recently launched his biography here, says if a film on his life is made, he would like Bajirao Mastani actor Ranveer Singh to star in it.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan launched his biography Anything But Khamosh: The Shatrughan Sinha Biography on February 19.

Ranveer_Sachin-Gokhale_380

“I feel it would be a good story and it will be great as it’s a very inspirational story. There is romance, entertainment and everything in it. If a Hindi film is made on my biography, then Ranveer Singh can do a good job or my sons Luv and Kush who resemble me. I myself would like to do something,” Shatrughan told IANS.

The 338-page book has been written by renowned columnist, critic and author Bharathi S Pradhan. Seven years of research, 37 interviews and over 200 hours of taped conversations with photographs from the Sinha family’s private archives have gone into the writing and making of the biography.

He said: “It’s a very gripping book. Once you start reading, you don’t feel like leaving it in between. Most of my friends who have started reading this, told me that they can’t stop by reading just two or three pages.”