Tag Archives: star

Salman Khan-Jacqueline Fernandez’s Race 3 might star Sidharth Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapur

Jacqueline Fernandez had confirmed her involvement in Race 3, alongside Salman Khan, a while ago.

Firstpost had also earlier reported that Sidharth Malhotra might be joining the cast of the action thriller, as the makers are looking for a fresh face with Khan. However, according to a bollywoodhungama.com, apart from Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapur is also in final talks with producer Ramesh Taurani for a role in the film.

Sidharth Malhotra and Aditya Roy Kapur. Images from AFP.

The two actors have not had an exceptional year at the box office. While Malhotra’s A Gentleman bombed at the box office, Kapur’s Ok Jaanu also failed to leave an impression.

The report suggests that in order to turn the tables in their favour, the two are hoping to get cast alongside Khan’s, in roles that would otherwise be underwhelming considering their star power.

Demanding a remuneration much lesser than what they usually command in the market, both the actors are staggering under the pressure of delivering a hit. However, despite the conjectures, there is no official word of confirmation on these developments.

An inside source also revealed to the publication that Taurani himself does not feel the need to have another male actor alongside Khan.

Kumaraissance: Tracing Akshay Kumar’s reinvention from ‘Khiladi’ to India’s most bankable star

Just this year, Akshay Kumar has delivered two crackling performances in two very different films and won the National Award for his work in 2016’s Rustom.

He also launched Bharat Ke Veer, a website and app that enables donations to families of army personnel.

His social media feeds are peppered with videos that address social issues. Akshay’s public image is currently undergoing a multi-media reinvention.

And, then there were buzz-worthy moments when he sang Frank Sinatra’s ‘Strangers in the Night’ to his wife Twinkle Khanna on Koffee With Karan or when he thanked his ‘overpaid trainer and underpaid cook’ while accepting the award for ‘Most Beautiful Man of the Decade’ at the recent Vogue Beauty Awards 2017.

We’re in the throes of a full-blown Kumaraissance, and it’s been long overdue.

For about three decades, Akshay has been a Bollywood A-lister, which in itself is a genuine accomplishment. But his career spanning 124 movies has mostly banked more on ‘Akshay the Star’ rather than showcase his talents as an actor. His filmography has the odd Sangharsh or Dhadkan but action and comedy has always been his forte.

From being stuck in the doldrums of mindless films like Rowdy Rathore and the Housefull franchise, Akshay seems to have re-invented himself as an actor who is not just pushing boundaries but also consistently delivering hits.

In the last two years, he has picked films unlike anything he’s done before. Rustom was based on the Nanavati murder trial of 1959 that transformed the judicial process in India. His portrayal of Naval officer KM Nanavati earned him the National Award.

He essayed another real-life character in the hugely appreciated Airlift. Akshay delivered his first blockbuster of 2017 as the Lucknow-bred underdog lawyer Jagdishwar Mishra aka Jolly in Subhash Kapoor’s Jolly LLB 2. In Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which released on the Independence Day weekend,

Continuing the trend, Akshay’s next release Padman will attempt to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene. Directed by R Balki, the film is based on the life and work of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur who invented a low-cost sanitary pad making machine.

The actor is also filming director Reema Kagti’s Gold, a sports drama on the hockey team that won the first Olympic medal for India as a free nation in 1948.

What is common to Akshay’s recent films has been the focus on meaningful stories. He’s moved beyond generic masala crowd-pleasers to films that do more than just entertain.

Many credit Akshay’s association with filmmaker Neeraj Pandey for triggering the Kumaraissance. The duo first collaborated in the 2013 heist thriller Special 26 and, since then, Neeraj has directed Akshay in the spy film Baby and co-produced Rustom, Naam Shabana and Toilet: Ek Prem Katha.

After decades of being Khiladi Kumar, Akshay is going towards not having an image. While his contemporaries like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are struggling to reinvent themselves, Akshay has laid claim to being the ‘superstar everyman’.

(Clockwise from top left) Stills from Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Padman, Jolly LLB 2

Whether he is Kuwait-based Indian businessman Ranjit Katyal spearheading the largest civilian evacuation in history or cycle store owner Keshav who would do anything to build a toilet for his wife, Akshay never stops being a Bollywood hero. There is also enough swagger, high-decibel dialoguebaazi and humour to keep the single-screen viewers happy. His directors seem to have found that elusive balance between realistic and revved up.

If we measure this shift in Akshay’s career in terms of financial success, it’s obvious that the audience loves it.

Raking in Rs 126.94 crores at the box-office, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is this year’s highest grossing Hindi film as yet. Also in the 100-crore club are Jolly LLB 2 (Rs 117 cr), Rustom (Rs 124 cr) and Airlift (Rs 123 cr).

Akshay has been one of Bollywood’s most bankable actors but at a time when the industry is going through a slump, he is undoubtedly Bollywood’s biggest money-spinner right now.

In the past, Akshay has always managed to stand up to the draw of the Khans but this reinvention has given him a substantial edge over his contemporaries. It’s their move now.

Sidharth Malhotra: ‘I never felt left out while working with the star kids’

There is a lot of hustle-bustle in Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio, with quite a few vanity vans parked in the compound. In this chaotic scenario, one man who is looking bright and sunny is Bollywood’s resident hunk Sidharth Malhotra. Dressed in a floral blue shirt and joggers, he steps out of his vanity van flashing a charismatic smile and does a quick photo shoot with his happy-go-lucky and glamorous co-star Jacqueline Fernandez as part of promotions of their upcoming film, A Gentleman – Sundar, Susheel, Risky.

He playfully strangles her with her jeans jacket, she utters a yelp and gives a light punch to her screen hero making for a perfect capture for a fun photo. Soon, Sidharth settles down in his colourful vanity van for an exclusive chat with Firstpost. He is playing a dual role in the movie that revolves around a mistaken identity; one is ‘susheel’ while the other is ‘risky’.

“We never shot for both the characters on the same day and hence I could separate them mentally. Gaurav loves his 9 to 5 job, he wants to learn to cook for his wife and take his family for a drive, whereas Rishi is a loner and does not mind taking risks. Lots of humour has come out of both the characters,” says Sidharth, who bonded big time with his first time heroine. “Jacqueline doesn’t carry stress, she is always happy. She loves the outdoors, just the way I do. We bonded even off-camera; we would go horse riding and have poker nights in my house. Today we are great friends and that shows,” he adds.

Sidharth Malhotra has so far had six releases in his five-year-old career. He is a huge fan of action comedies and a great admirer of director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s (popularly known as Raj and DK) work. It’s essentially what made him give a nod to this project.

“I would love watching action comedies while growing up but so far we have seen only loud films in this genre, with elements of gags, slapstick. A Gentleman, however, is very stylised. It has deadpan humour and a lot of physical comedy. I love Raj and DK’s work, especially in the humour zone. Their debut film 99, and Go Goa Gone are my favourites. The film speaks a universal language and has got a good mix of what I have done in the past — romance, comedy, action,” says the actor.

Talking about the confusion surrounding the movie being a sequel to Bang Bang, Sidharth says, “We had to write it on the clapper board of the movie, ‘Not Bang Bang 2′. The cast, directors, story, characters, everything is different.”

Recognition for acting talent may not have come easy for this Delhi boy, with his good looks and modelling background coming in the way of him being taken seriously. But the 2016 release Kapoor & Sons kind of shifted this perception with the audience getting a glimpse of his acting chops.

“People have a perception that those who come from a modelling background can’t act. That is why I am here: to change the perception (laughs out loud). Nobody could tell 10 or 15 years ago that I would do a Karan Johar film. With a middle class upbringing in Delhi, I started from scratch but now I am a working actor. My next three films will change the perception that people have of the background that I come from, which is of an outsider or the modelling industry,” says Sidharth.

He has an interesting line-up of films like Ittefaq, a murder mystery, Neeraj Pandey’s thriller drama Aiyaary about a mentor-prodigy relationship, and Mohit Suri’s romance franchise Aashiqui 3. “Next six to seven months are very interesting for me. I have some amazing scripts coming up. People will get to see me in three different avatars in these credible, story-driven films. What else could an actor ask for?” he smiles.

Sidharth has had his share of ups and downs, and he believes nothing’s permanent in the industry. “It is all very temporary and seasonal, so you have to be on your toes. You can’t live off your previous hits or you can’t be low about your past flops. It is a matter of being relevant and reinventing yourself,” he says, adding, “But yes, there is a difference in how I choose my scripts now. There is definitely more instinct, more understanding of my craft, of my personality, my presence. With the audience getting more picky and choosy, they are pushing and nudging us to write better content.”

Work-wise, comparisons are often drawn between Sidharth and two of his first co-stars (and industry kids), Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhat; the trio debuted with Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year (2012). “In all honesty I am very consumed by the line-up of films and I mostly compete with my previous work. When Ek Villain did really well, I wished that (snaps fingers) Brothers worked better. Baar Baar Dekho was not accepted (snaps fingers again) so now I wish more aggressively that Gentleman becomes my biggest. It is all very personal, very internal. Nobody will help me in my journey, my journey is only mine,” he says.

One can’t resist asking this self-confessed ‘outsider’ about his take on the ‘N’ (Nepotism) word. Laughing uproariously, he queries, “Oh, so now it’s become the N word? Good thing is, majority of India and the youth now know the meaning of the word; we have become a bit more articulate.”

On a serious note, he adds, “Enough has been spoken about it but yes, nepotism exists. There are so many actors from film families who get chances again and again. There is no point denying it and I don’t know whether it is good or bad. The only advantage for them is that they have a sense of awareness and comfort because of the world they know, as opposed to people like us who come from outside. We take slightly longer to settle down. I never ever felt left out while working with the star kids but just that there was no awareness and I was absorbing the process until my second and third film, whereas the industry kids were comfortable right from their first film. But now that sense of awe is fading away and I’m genuinely enjoying the process of film-making.

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

One such character was the wonderfully-nuanced cameo by SayaniGupta, who played Hina Siddiqui, a young Muslim woman driven to despair.  It’s a small but pivotal and deeply impactful role, so much so that Sayani was lauded for her performance by some of the veterans from the industry. Twitterati in large numbers also poured their love for her.

Gupta has so far been doing a balancing act between commercial and art cinema. She has received critical acclaim for her offbeat and distinctive roles in films like her debut Margarita With A Straw (played the role of Kalki’s love interest)and most recently Fan (as Shah Rukh Khan’s secretary), however, Sayani doesn’t take compliments or criticism seriously.

“I have never sat down to ponder over what others have to say because ultimately you know what you have done. Piyush Mishra (theatre and film actor, NSD alumni) called me few days back when I was shooting for Jagga Jasoos, and said while referring to Jolly LLB 2, ‘I didn’t know you acted so well.’  Lot of people are complimenting me on social media as well. Somebody told me that they went to watch the film thrice because of me. There are lot of people who said I made them feel for the part and I made them cry,” says Sayani.

sayani

She continues, “My performance really moved my mother, and she is far too detached about the industry and not at all excited about the film world or what I am doing. She is not in favour of me acting and it was quite a struggle to convince her when I went to FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). Little by little, she is coming to terms with it but she would have rather seen me as an IAS officer or in a regular job.”

“We are from middle class family and they didn’t want their only daughter to get into films. Obviously there are certain perceptions about the film industry. My close friends never say nice things, they are always critiquing my work, but finally they felt that I was brilliant in Jolly LLB 2.”

Strangely enough, Sayani has been getting offers for horror movies for last few years and she, too, fails to understand the reason for it. “Maybe they think I am a Bengali, I have big eyes…” she laughs.

While Sayani so far has rejected two offers post Jolly LLB 2 (as  she is “choosy”, “instinctive”, “and not ready for it”), she is certainly excited about her first international project, The Hungry, which is an Indo-British production starring Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra. The film, for which the actors were very selectively chosen, is directed by debutante filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee, who is an alumnus from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Hungry is an adaptation of William Shakespeare tragedy Titus Androcinus, which is believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593.

“This year marks the 400th death anniversary of Shakespeare. His stories could seem a tad hyper-real for this era, but this film is a realistic take. The script won at a collaborative cine-lab,” says Sayani, further adding, “The film has a bunch of deadly actors. We shot for it in Delhi and Agra. The ambience on set was stimulating and since we all got along so well, it turned out to be a great shoot.”

Recently, Sayani earned an honourable mention for the Best Actress award for her short film, Leeches, at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles  (IFFLA). In just two years of her career, she’s also bagged one of the lead roles opposite Naseeruddin Shah with The Hungry. The actress considers it her privilege to act alongside ‘Naseer’, who was her teacher at the FTII.

“Naseer was very excited about his role after decades. He plays my father. He has been my teacher and lot of my understanding about acting and the craft is because of him. It was almost like reassurance of sorts when he would come to take our class. I adore him as a human being. He is fun to be around. He has always taught us how acting is all about reacting. He is a keen listener, which adds to the performance,” she says, adding:

“There are two of the coolest men I have worked with – Shah Rukh Khan and Naseeruddin Shah. They are sensitive, they are aware, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are normal dudes.”

So did Sayani take any advice from the two “coolest” men?

“Some of the things Naseer told me is: ‘Learn your lines till you bump into a furniture. Know your lines backwards. Study the script well. Be relaxed and don’t take things too seriously. Make it fun and light.’ On the other hand, there’s much to learn just by the way Shah Rukh carries himself. He is the most technically sound actor, I feel. His understanding, the cleanliness with which he does everything, his craft is solid. He doesn’t show it. He is persistently hardworking and also the humility. He doesn’t take his stardom seriously,” she reveals.

Two of Sayani’s “friends” from the industry are the erstwhile directors – Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bhardwaj. She may not have offers from them yet but she certainly takes their advice. “I don’t talk work with them. Hirani often tells me that I should give people time after they have seen my film. I did audition for a part in Rangoon but Vishal told me that it won’t be good enough for me. I would never ask them to cast me because that could hamper our relationship. Whenever they want to cast me, they will.”

Sayani is currently shooting for Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif- starrer Jagga Jasoos which has been in the making for a long time. “When I signed the film I was playing the only narrator in the film. I had a separate track of my own. But since there is no script — Dada (Director Anurag Basu) doesn’t work with scripts, he writes as he goes along — my role has changed. I will know what my part is only after I see the film. Also, it is a very difficult film when it comes to format. It is musical, it’s a children’s film, and it is not a normal narrative. I play a 14-year-old girl and that is all I know (laughs),” she says.

Parineeti Chopra as trapeze artist; Suneil Shetty, Sooraj Pancholi also to star in Bosco Martis’ Circus

Choreographer Bosco Martis’ directorial debut Circus has been the talk of the town for quite some time. It has now emerged that Sooraj Pancholi and Parineeti Chopra will be playing the lead roles in the film.

Parineeti Chopra and Sooraj Pancholi.

The film will also feature Suniel Shetty playing the role of Parineeti’s father.

A source told Mumbai Mirror , “Scripting for Circus began a year ago. It portrays a strong father-daughter relationship spanning a decade and will have Suniel Shetty playing Pari’s dad. A child artiste will be cast to play the younger Pari.”

The buzz is that Shetty will be seen doing some gutsy stunts as a circus artist and Parineeti’s role is that of a trapeze artist.

Admitting that direction had been on his mind for a while Bosco said, “There is nothing to say right now. We are still in the initial stages of production and casting. I have been in talks with the actors but Parineeti is yet to sign on the dotted line.”

Happy Bhag Jayegi star cast share fun facts about each other and play The Firstpost Show Funny Face Off

Talented, smart, beautiful and funny, the entire star cast of the upcoming movie Happy Bhag Jayegi: Abhay Deol, Diana Penty, Ali Fazal and Jimmy Shergill was on The Firstpost Show were they spoke about fun facts they found about each other during the course of the making of the movie, advice they received while entering the industry and played a few rounds of The Firstpost Show funny face off.

Happy Bhag Jayegi

Here are a few snippets from the show:

Tell us a fun fact that you found about the person sitting next to you during the course of the making of the movie:

Abhay Deol about Diana Penty: “She’s more like me than I imagined. We are very similar and that was a very pleasant surprise.”

Diana Penty about Ali Fazal: “I found out fairly recently that he plays the guitar, he sings and he dances really well.”

Ali Fazal about Jimmy Shergill: “He’s a lovely singer, closet singer.”

After discussing fun facts about each other, they went on to tell us the most fun advice they received while entering the industry and played super fun rounds of The Firstpost Show Face Off. To know what are the advices each one of them got and to find out how they performed in Funny Face Off, watch the full episode right here.

Watch: The real star of ‘Sultan’ trailer is Salman Khan’s Haryanvi accent

There’s a dialogue in the much-awaited trailer of Salman Khan’s next film, Sultan, which goes something like this, “Asli pehlwaan ki pehchaan akhade mein nahin, zindagi mein hai (a fighter’s real identity is not found in the ring, but in life).”

This can be aptly said about Salman Khan’s life. In contrast to his larger-than-life, on-screen image is his personal life — full of controversies. Balancing between the two can be quite the fight. Ever since his legal battles have grabbed the country’s collective attention, we have seen Salman try to give us on-screen characters that are largely white in the black/white scale.

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However, after 25 years in the industry, it was finally with Bajrangi Bhaijaan that we saw something in Salman that we probably would not associate with him before: hard work. We saw a star who believed in his character and played it to a good degree of its potential.

In Yash Raj Films’ Sultan, Salman’s hardwork can be amply seen in the training he must have undergone to develop and maintain an impressive physique through the shooting of the film.

But that is Salman’s forte. What really takes you by surprise in the trailer is his Haryanvi accent. It’s not completely authentic, by any means, but it surprisingly works. It’s not the kind of accent you hear in a metro in Gurgaon, but it’s an accent that will remind you of a Haryanvi kushti player.

The trailer itself is quite telling of the sports drama that Sultan is going to be. It’s entertaining in places and holds your attention enough to let the goofy bits pass by.

Anushka Sharma, who has been breaking out of her bubbly girl phase with movies like Bombay Velvet and NH10, seems like a fitting co-actor for Salman. Her character of Aarfa, a female wrestler, is not the typical Hindi film heroine by a mile, but she retains the spark we have grown to love in her.

She’s our second favourite aspect about the Sultan trailer, after Salman’s accent. We love it because it finally shows us that he’s taking his movies seriously.

Not Virat Kohli: Saqib Saleem clarifies he isn’t playing the cricket star in ‘Dishoom’

Mumbai: Actor Saqib Saleem, who plays a cricketer in the film Dishoom, says that he is not playing star cricketer Virat Kohli and was not offered that role but it was his own decision to model his character on him.

About reports that he is playing Virat in the film, Saqib said in an interview, “Of course he (the character) is a cricketer but not Virat Kohli. I’m a Virat Kohli fan and I really love how he plays his game, how passionate he is. And when I got this role, I thought because of the fact that he is my favourite cricketer, why don’t I make it around him. It has been a fun journey.”

Saqib Saleem isn't playing Virat Kohli on screen, although his character in 'Dishoom' has been modelled on the cricket icon. Images from News 18. Getty

“Cricket is my first love and I got the opportunity to become a cricketer; there are two passions of mine — acting and cricket — and I got to combine these two, so that was a good feeling,” Saqib added.

Saqib was a part of the Mumbai Heroes team in the Celebrity Cricket League. He was also a part of the under-19 team in Delhi, where he was brought up.

“I played a lot of cricket, watched a lot of videos of Virat and other cricketers, just tried to make him a soldier on a mission, like how Virat plays his game. When he is batting, it doesn’t seem that he will get out. We feel that even if we have to make 400 runs, Virat alone would make it. He has given us that confidence and I wanted to get that confidence into this character. I even had interactions with the director,” he said about his preparations for the role.

Dishoom also stars Varun Dhawan, John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez and has been tagged as a “masala action comedy”, directed by Rohit Dhawan.

“It is a very intelligent commercial film; it has all the elements of a commercial film but there is an intelligence as well in it. I feel it is the best commercial film you will see in a long time because it is very well crafted, there is a good graph in the film,” he added.

Saqib added that though the hot weather during the shoot in Abu Dhabi was challenging, he actually enjoyed it as he likes shooting outdoors and in the sun.