Actress Shilpa Shetty says there was a time when no one took her seriously to offer her the role of the protagonist, adding that she is glad that she has survived through the tough times.
“Back in the 1990’s, I have to be honest we were all typecast, either you were a very good actress and you would get those kinds of films or you would be typecast in those glamorous roles. And I was the latter, so nobody really took me seriously to offer me the main protagonist role,” Shilpa said.
“The game changer for me was ‘Dhadkan’ where Dharmesh (director Dharmesh Darshan) really stripped me off all that glamour and actually kept the glamour but he wanted it all covered. So funny enough he was the first to tell me that ‘I want you to look glamorous but in an Indian outfit’… That changed the entire perspective of people and that film went on to become a huge hit and then I did a lot of films after that where there were meatier roles but, honesty I didn’t care, for me it was just work and I was really young then,” she added.
The actress continued: “Today we are getting scripts where everything is elucidated on paper, we didn’t have vanity vans and we still went to work with a smile on our faces in the sun and wearing those chiffon sarees in the snow. So we’ve done all of it and we enjoyed it.
“So today I feel we lead far more luxurious lives as actors, we are very very pampered with an entourage of staff and managers. I love this phase as well, I feel very pampered and feel very important but it was madness and today there’s method to that madness,” she added.
Shilpa walked into Bollywood with the 1993 Diwali release “Baazigar”. The Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol blockbuster Baazigar released on this day 27 years ago.
Looking back, Shilpa said: “I was too young to think and know, I just feel that today’s girls and boys in the industry are so sorted, they come like all prepared but for me I was a 17 year old and when I was offered ‘Baazigar’, I just did it just for the luck and for some extra pocket money and Venus signed me on for three movies.”
“And I thought they would just do 1 and forget about it and then ‘Baazigar’ became a platinum jubilee hit and after that they signed me on for ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’. Again ‘Chura Ke Dil Mera’ became a huge milestone for my career and then ‘Dhadkan’ was the third film. And now I mean 27 years down the line I am doing Hungama which is not my comeback but another film with the same production company, who would’ve thought that I would last out 27 years,” Shilpa said during a conversation with actress Neha Dhupia in a podcast of “JioSaavn #NoFilterNeha”.
Ileana D’Cruz fans were excited upon learning that the actress is preparing to star in a film that deals with the Indian obsession for fair skin. They are curious about what seems like an interesting role for their favourite star, in line with several actresses who have been experimenting by going bald or gaining weight or donning minimal make-up to play relatable characters on the big screen.
Set in Haryana, the film titled Unfair & Lovely chronicles the story of a dusky girl who constantly has to fend against prejudices and biases that Indian society harbours against dark skin. Ileana plays the role of Lovely.
“Essaying Lovely is definitely going to be a very different and a unique experience for me and many people across all demographic would be able to relate to this character. What I love about the film is that its narrative isn’t preachy. It’s a funny story that will leave viewers smiling and laughing,” Ileana had said recently.
While this film is yet to be completed, there have been other instances that have featured many actresses experimenting with non-glamorous avatars.
Bhumi Pednekar is one of them. In fact, she had started her film journey as an overweight bride in the romantic comedy Dum Laga Ke Haisha. She also went many shades darker in the film Bala, which discussed premature balding among men and the taboo associated with dark complexion in India.
Taapsee Pannu has also been hailed by many for not only her acting skills and choosing films with strong storylines, but also keeping her looks simple in films such as Pink, Mission Mangal and Thappad.
Kirti Kulhari, who had also featured in movies Mission Mangal and Pink, said that she has been doing “de-glam roles since forever”.
“I have done a lot of non-glamorous roles. Except for Four More Shots Please!, I don’t think I have played anything which is very ‘glam glam’. I feel it is closer to reality. If you are playing a regular person then you have to look like that. You have to let go of all the glamour and I think that’s the reason why it’s becoming more and more popular now because in terms of our storytelling, we are shifting towards telling stories which are real. Also, realistically telling them. And I think that’s what audiences are also highly accepting,” the actress told IANS.
Shweta Tripathi Sharma is another actress who reminds people of someone they can relate to.
“When I choose a project or a character, I don’t think if my role will be glamorous or de-lam, these are not my criterion. I am interested in what the character is doing. For instance, when I play Golu, I bring to life the character that my director and writer had imagined. I feel the character, the character is me, but the way the character has been shot, the background score, the music, interactions with other characters, hair, make-up… Golu has a scar and short hair. What excites me is to do the parts which are not only different from me, but are also different from each other,” said the Masaan actress.
She wants to play with her on-screen look for a reason.
“I had learnt from (actor-screenwriter) Akarsh Khurana that if you look different, you will feel different. If you feel different, then half the battle is won. I just want to always look different. Looking beautiful is never my criteria, looking like the character, jaisa bhi dikhta ho (irrespective of how she looks), I want to look like that,” she said.
“When I do a film like Gone Kesh, where my character has alopecia or Laakhon Mein Ek, I was excited. I was given dark circles,” she added.
But she also acknowledges the challenge of being glamorous on screen.
“To look glamorous, it’s very difficult. Hats off to all those actresses. I have respect for women who could do that because it is not easy,” said Shweta.
Weighing in on the subject, actress Sanya Malhotra, who didn’t sport a glam look in her debut film Dangal, a sports drama, feels that it is not just the responsibility of an actress to help redefine beauty in a country that has a set standard.
“It is not just our responsibility but I think also the writers and directors’ responsibility to do that. I don’t know if I’ll call my characters de-glam, a relatable character is what I would go for. People are writing such scripts. They are writing a character which is relatable to the audience. If I apply a lot of make-up, who will relate to it? If a simple girl is seen wearing so much make-up? I don’t approach my character on how it will look like,” she said.
“Obviously, it’s a part of my process when I am developing a character. But I think the credit majorly goes to the writers who are writing such relatable and unique characters that we can play now,” added Sanya.
But she pointed out that she isn’t against actresses who go all out with make-up.
“I am not going to ‘thopo’ (impose) my opinion on them and say, ‘this is wrong, this is right’. I think we, as women, put a lot of pressure on women that we should look a certain way. I am glad that we are changing it through our movies. But if you want to do make-up then good, if not, then also it’s good. It’s your life and your call,” shared Sanya, who enjoyed sporting heavy jewellery in Badhaai Ho.
Gauri Khan has created a compendium of luxurious marble object darts for an International lifestyle brand, Arnaya’s Festive Collection. It offers distinguished gifting options for the festive season with a distinctly contemporary design language. Inspired by hope and humanity, the impeccably crafted collection makes a luxurious addition to any home or office.
We spoke to the interior designer to get all the details on her new collaboration. Read Excerpts:
Do you agree that one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic is that people have started dining in and socialising has moved to the interior spaces of our homes?
Yes, socialising has changed. I don’t socialise too much anyway, and the pandemic has meant more time with family, which has been nice. Smaller, meaningful meetings with friends at home are always nice — which have been more frequent.
With intimate gatherings at home there is a renewed focus on interiors, what should one focus on?
The focus should be on creating spaces that offer both comfort and style. Chic interiors, statement decor elements and the colours you use make all the difference. You spend a lot of time at home, so the interiors should reflect your sense of aesthetic.
Diwali is a time for gifting, what makes Arnaya’s marble object d’arts a unique and statement gift which is sure to be appreciated and loved?
My festive collection for Arnaya is inspired by the twin themes of hope and humanity. The pieces showcase the natural beauty of marble and stone and the crafting is impeccable. It is a versatile range that offers an array of gifting options that will add a dash of style and opulence to any space.
Your checklist for a party / dinner at home?
Covid is still here, so keep your gatherings small. Arrange your seating with social distancing in mind and maintain a flow of natural air with windows open. You can balance the sense of warmth and intimacy with good lighting and circular seating. Beautifully plated and presented food and table arrangements will add to the festive feel.
Says Manan Trivedi, MD Arnaya, “Arnaya’s curation of Gauri Khan designs for the festive season is a poignant reminder that even when problems seem insurmountable, change is always possible and hope will always be our guiding force. The brand applauds the relentless efforts and salutes all across borders, race, gender and professions for demonstrating compassion, courage and exemplary strength in restoring hope for all of humanity.”
“The mandatory lockdown served as an opportunity for all of us to step back and re-evaluate the true meaning of life. The value of home, love, and family was ever more magnified and with this experience I hope people enjoy having these pieces in their homes and offices as much as we have enjoyed designing them,” says Gauri Khan.
Amitabh Bachchan has traced the growing-up years of granddaughter Aaradhya while sending out love and good wishes on her birthday. The cine icon posted a photo collage made by a fan page, featuring nine throwback pictures of Aaradhya from when she was one till now. She turned nine on Monday.
The photos, from start to end, show how Aaradhya has grown up and captures her various moods. In some images, she is smiling for the camera and in others she looks amused.
“Happy birthday, Aaradhya… all my love,” he wrote on Instagram while posting the picture.
Aaradhya is daughter of Big B’s son Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai.
Earlier, Amitabh had revealed that Aaradhya likes to come and destroy his working desk, and that brings immense joy to him.
“I’ve loved all of them. When I want to spoil my grandkids, I am so authoritative that their parents dare not oppose me. Aaradhya will still come and destroy my working desk, as she wants to use this pen and wants to write things and wants to play with the laptop. It brings immense joy and is a beautiful experience,” he said in an episode of “Starry Nights 2.Oh!”.
On the work front, Big B is experimenting with different genres and stories, and exploring new realms. He will be seen in Nagraj Manjule’s “Jhund”, the Emraan Hashmi co-starrer “Chehre”, and Ayan Mukerji’s action fantasy drama “Brahmastra”, co-starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Mouni Roy and Telugu superstar Nagarjuna. Big B will also star with Deepika Padukone and Telugu superstar Prabhas in a multilingual mega production for the big screen.
Bollywood actress and mother-to-be Anushka Sharma flaunted her pregnancy glow in her latest post on social media.
Anushka posted a picture on Instagram in an off-white Indian attire. She completed the look with minimum make-up and chandbali earrings.
“Got all dressed up to sit at home and eat . And it was great. Hope you all had a beautiful Diwali,” the image was captioned by Anushka, who is married to Indian star cricketer Virat Kohli, wrote as a caption.
Anushka was with Virat in the UAE recently for the Indian Premier League.
Virat and Anushka are expecting their first child in January next year. They shared the happy news in August on social media, writing: “And then, we were three! Arriving Jan 2021.”
The couple tied the knot in December 2017 in Italy.
He was the alt superstar of Bangla cinema in its glory years, the affable Bhadralok icon who crafted a towering stature ironically banking on down-to-earth, believable characters that represented middle-class Bengal. The brand of stardom was in stark contrast to the other shining luminary of contemporary cinema in the state — Uttam Kumar — whose position as Mahanayak in the Bengali psyche was primarily cemented in idol worship and mass hysteria.
Soumitra Chattopadhyay — Chatterjee to anglicised India — answers to the term ‘phenomenon’ as absolutely as few actors do, for the sheer ease with which he defied the cliches of image. His stardom was sensational, and yet born out of realism. He was the mascot of the peerless Satyajit Ray’s oeuvre, having worked with the maestro in 14 films, and yet he scored with the same assuredness in works of contemporary commercial powerhouses as Ajoy Kar and Tarun Mazumdar. He is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2012) and Padma Bhushan (2004) recipient who was also honoured with the Legion d’Honneur (2018) in France for his contribution to world cinema.
Importantly, Soumitra Chattopadhyay’s greatness as a screen icon will survive the test of time in Bengali pop lore because he had something for everyone. For, he was not just Satyajit Ray’s Apu. Beyond such a nuanced portrayal, he could also simply become Ray’s Feluda and reach out to every audience, eight to 80.
It took a Ray to bring to life Soumitra’s greatness, and yet the account of their first meeting is a well-known story in Bengal. Ray was looking for his adult Apu in “Apur Sansar”, final part of the Apu trilogy that started with “Pather Panchali”. A friend introduced Soumitra to the master filmmaker who promptly declared the budding actor looked too old to be Apu, a college student according to his script. Soumitra would eventually bag the role opposite Sharmila Tagore, of course, and the rest is history.
Soumitra’s cinematic fate is overwhelmingly dictated by the great cinema of Satyajit Ray, so much so the maestro’s filmography through his most important phase outlines the actor’s career graph. Soumitra made his debut with “Apur Sansar” (1959) and, over the next three decades, would work in Ray projects as “Devi” (1960), “Teen Kanya” (1961), “Abhijan” (1962), “Charulata” (1964), “Kapurush O Mahapurush” (1965), “Aranyer Din Ratri” (1969), “Ashani Sanket” (1973), “Sonar Kella” (1974), “Joy Baba Felunath” (1978), “Hirak Rajar Deshe” (1980), “Ghare Baire” (1984), “Ganashatru” (1989) and “Shakha Proshakha” (1990).
It was a filmography that Ray, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers ever, shared with his chosen on-screen emissary. But if Ray worked with Soumitra 14 times, almost every major filmmaker the actor collaborated with also tended to repeat him. If anything, beyond underlining his credential as an artiste that fact stands a testimony to his professionalism and disposition as a human being.
Consider a few other diversely prolific filmmakers beyond Ray who worked with Soumitra, and you get the picture.
Mrinal Sen, another global icon of Bangla cinema of the era, directed Soumitra for the first time in “Punascha” (1961), and then again returned to collaborate with the actor in “Pratinidhi” (1964), “Akash Kusum” (1965), and “Mahaprithibi” (1991). The iconic Tapan Sinha directed him in projects as “Kshudhita Pashan” (1960), “Jhinder Bandi” (1961), “Atanka” (1984) and “Antardhan” (1992).
Mainstream titans of his era loved working with the affable Soumitra, too. Asit Sen directed him in “Swayambara” (1961) and Swaralipi (1961), while Ajoy Kar made “Otol Joler Ahoban” (1962), “Saat Pake Baandha” (1963), “Barnali” (1963), “Kaanch Kata Heere” (1965) and “Parineeta” (1969). Tarun Mazumdar directed the actor over the years in “Ektuku Baasha” (1965), “Sansar Simante” (1975), “Ganadevata” (1978), “Agomon” (1988) and “Path O Prasad” (1991).
Most of his directors have often spoken about the insatiable passion he had for his craft. It was something that ensured he would stay busy as ever till his last days, essaying character roles with the same enthusiasm with which he executed starring roles in his heydays.
His 300-plus film career probably can be explained by his highly adaptable quality as an actor. He was at home working with new-age Bengali filmmakers as Atanu Ghosh (“Mayurakshi”), Suman Ghosh (“Podokkhep”, “Peace Haven”, “Dwando”, “Basu Paribar”), Partha Chakraborty (“Samantaral”) and Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee (“Posto”).
He did move outside Bengal into Bollywood domain twice. In 1986, he acted opposite Roopa Ganguly in the Hindi short film “Nirupama”, based on Tagore’s story “Dena Paona”. He also had a role in the 2002 release, “Hindustani Sipahi”, based on Utpal Dutt’s renowned Bangla play “Pherari Fauj”.
These though were temporary departures. For most parts, his staggering career is based on his Bengali filmography. It is a body of work that has given him recognition beyond the National Award as Best Actor (“Podokkhep”). He also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1998.
Although his greatness lies in his body of work before the camera, Soumitra did try his hand at filmmaking, too. His directorial effort “Stree Ki Patra”, a telefilm based on Rabindranath Tagore’s “Streer Patra” released in 1986. The film starred Roopa Ganguly and Usha Ganguly.
That the legacy of Bangla cinema’s Grand Old Man was established in his lifetime is obvious from the number of GenNow actors who have followed in his footsteps. Young talents in the Bengali film industry of today such as Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Abir Chatterjee have fashioned their careers in the lines of Soumitra, seeking stardom without losing connect with Bengali middle-class realities. These are actors who have carved a niche in what is today known as the multiplex cinema circuit, catering content-driven entertainment of refinement, removed from the cliches of kitsch. It is something Soumitra relished doing all those decades ago.
Pakistani actor Bilal Abbas Khan says he recently binge-watched the Indian web series Mirzapur and admits his all-time favorite film is Chak De! India, adding that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan inspires him to become a better actor.
“While it is quite tough for me to choose one actor or film that inspires me the most, as an artiste I would say that observing the performances of several Indian actors inspires me,” Bilal, who recently appeared in the web series Ek Jhooti Love Story, told IANS.
“If you ask me my current favourite, I watched the new season of the web series Mirzapur, and I just loved the story and the acting of the actors in the show. They are such fine performers. Watching such good acting inspires us actors to refine our craft. I was waiting for the release of the show and when it did, I watched it at one go! I loved Mirzapur!”
On his favourite actor, he said, laughing: “Obviously Shah Rukh Khan, yeh koi poochhne ki baat hai (is there even a doubt)? I love Shah Rukh! There are several films that I loved watching SRK in but my all-time favourite is Chak De! India. When I watched the film, I hasn’t even started working. His performance and character were too good!”
The Pakistani webs series Ek Jhoothi Love Story is directed by Mehreen Jabbar and also features Madiha Imam, Mohammad, Mariam Saleem, Kinza Razzak, and Beo Zafar. Even as the show streams in India, Bilal is preparing for his new project, Abdullahpur Ka Devdas.
Sharing details of his new project, he said: “It is a male-centric love story in which I am playing the title role of Devdas. The story is set in a village named Abdullahpur.”
Did he watch SRK’s Devdas for inspiration? “I watched Devdas but my character is different, so there is no reference point. SRK’s Devdas is on a different level altogether,” he replied.
Does he feel lucky to play a Devdas on-screen like SRK? “Well, I am an SRK fan and I like him, I am also playing a character named Devdas, ye sachcha fanhood hai (this is true fanhood),” Bilal laughed.
Ek Jhoothi Love Story streams on the OTT platform Zee5.
Shweta Singh Kirti has urged people to celebrate Diwali as her late brother, actor Sushant Singh Rajput, would, by sharing love and by kindling hope in the hearts of many.
“This Diwali…. Sushant Wali. Let’s share love and kindle hope in hearts of many. This Diwali let’s celebrate in SSR’S Way. #Diwali4SSR,” Shweta wrote on social media, along with an image of Sushant dressed in traditional attire.
The image read: “This Diwali let’s celebrate in SSR’s way. Sushant loved to bring happiness in everyone’s life. Let us do some good work on this Diwali as Sushant did. Buy candles/diyas from local small retailers/poor/needy people so that they too can celebrate this festival. Try to distribute sweets to those who cannot afford. Keep humanity alive and help the needy.”
Sushant was found dead in his apartment on June 14. Mumbai Police initially probed the case and declared that the actor had committed suicide. The case has subsequently been taken over by CBI, with the Narcotics Control Bureau and Enforcement Directorate joining the investigation.
The late actor’s California-based sister keeps on posting about her brother, shares throwback videos, and seeks justice for her brother.
Tennis ace Sania Mirza will make her digital debut with the series, MTV Nishedh Alone Together, and says the show aims to raise awareness about tuberculosis (TB). Sania will play herself in the fiction series.
A digital spin-off of the TV show “MTV Nishedh”, which premiered in January this year, the “self-shot-at-home” series spotlights on the need to raise awareness around TB and throw light on the importance of proper medication, especially in the Covid-19 era.
“TB continues to be one of the most chronic health issues in our country. With about half of the diagnosed cases under the age of 30, there is an urgent need to tackle fallacies around it and drive a perception change,” Sania said.
“‘MTV Nishedh Alone Together’ conveys that in a unique and impactful way. The youth of today is more aware, sensitive, and conscious about issues that plague our country. TB is a continuing menace, and its impact has only worsened through the pandemic. The fight to curb TB is more difficult now than ever and that’s what prompted me to come on board. As someone who is in a place of influence, I hope my presence helps in some way to collectively fight the societal conventions and bring about a positive change,” she added.
The show will explore the challenges of a young couple, Vicky and Megha (played by Syed Raza Ahmed and Priya Chauhan). Sania will be seen discussing the challenges young couples faced during the lockdown. The show also features Akshay Nalwade and Ashwin Mushran.
The five-episode series will launch on the social media handles of MTV India and MTV Nishedh in the last week of November.
Diwali is just round the corner, and music and telly stars plan to enjoy the festival of lights without increasing noise and air pollution by bursting crackers. They also look forward to celebrating the festival in a different way owing to the pandemic…writes NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM.
Singer Shilpa Rao is going to focus on making food and sweets at home. “As we cannot go out (due to the pandemic), I have planned my Diwali gifts. The best gift this year is homemade food and sweets. If anyone knows how to make sweets and mithai, they should do that with their hands as we all have the luxury of time this year,” the “Ghungroo” singer told IANS.
She believes that people should avoid fire crackers, especially because of the Covid situation. “It is a respiratory disease, so I think it is important that we should not add to air pollution. Instead of creating noise pollution, put on music. It will make you happy. Instead of crackers, put on lights in your house, help the local artisans who make lights and diyas,” said Shilpa.
Singer Jubin Nautiyal is also all for music instead of crackers.
“My family and I won’t burst crackers. Instead of making noise with crackers, I think we will use some instruments for making music,” he said.
In fact, he plans to invite his musician friends over. “This Diwali will be only about diyas, lights and music,” he said.
Former “Bigg Boss” contestant Shefali Jariwala said Diwali this year will be a little different, though there will be no less enthusiasm or excitement.
“Usually every year on Diwali, we have a lot of events, Diwali parties and social gatherings. This year, consciously we have decided not to do that keeping in mind that we need to maintain social distancing because we are in the middle of a pandemic. So it will be a homely Diwali with family and a few friends, with a lot of catching up over good food,” she said.
She added: “I do not burst crackers because I have a pet and I know it can be traumatic to animals and also cause pollution. But yes, I will be about lighting a lot of diyas and festive lights at home like I do every year,” said Shefali.
Actor Sharad Malhotra shared that festivities will be different because of the pandemic this year.
“We will have low-key celebrations at home. We will have Lakshmi puja and we will make rangoli and decorate our house. As a child, I did not hesitate in bursting crackers, but as I grew up I understood how it harms the environment. So, we won’t be bursting crackers. A cracker-free Diwali is the least we can do to help keep our environment clean,” he said.
Actor Vivian Dsena will celebrate the festival with his family in Ujjain this week.
“Because of Covid, I won’t be inviting a lot of people home. It’s about just a few friends and family. Festivals are my cheat days, so I try and eat all that I can’t eat on normal days. I used to burn crackers as a kid but I don’t do that anymore because I know how it can pollute the environment. So I will just decorate my house, put up lights and diyas,” he said.
Singer Shashaa Tirupati feels lucky that after probably a decade, she will be able to celebrate Diwali this year with her family.
“I’m in Vancouver, Canada, at the moment and that’s where my parents and my brothers live. So, Diwali will be (celebrated) with them. It’s going to be a very quiet Diwali because of some familial issues, but I think adversity increases bonding between families. This Diwali will be a special one,” she told IANS.
She is strictly against noise pollution, particularly when it disturbs people and animals alike. “I think any festival should be celebrated with the idea of peace and love in mind. I don’t mind fireworks and everything within a limit. A couple of fireworks for one day of the year is not too bad but I don’t believe in those little bombs because they hurt animals,” she said.
Considering the current pandemic situation, actor Nishant Singh Malkhani will avoid going to crowded places or having a big get-together at home. “But I might go see a few of my friends or call just a few close ones over at home. I am against bursting crackers and it has always been a cracker-free Diwali for me. For me, Diwali is also a festival of hopes and positivity, so I offer my prayers to Lakshmi ji and Ganesh ji, and thank them for everything they gave me, and ask them to bless my family and friends with good luck and happiness,” he said.
Actor Angad Hasija is in Chandigarh, so it’s family time for him. “My whole family is here and a lot of relatives too, so what can be better than having a family get-together on Diwali. We will organise card games, have some good food and sweets. And yes, even this year we will have a cracker-free Diwali, but since my daughter is too small, I may get one or two sparklers for her. But that will be it, nothing more than that.”
Actress Meera Deosthale has vowed not to let her Diwali celebrations suffer because of Covid. “I am going to invite my immediate family and a few close friends in the evening and we will do the Diwali rituals. I am going to make a rangoli, decorate my house and dress up for the day. It won’t be a grand celebration, but I will make sure that we all have a good time. I don’t burn crackers, I have got those glow sticks which we all will use at night,” she said.