Bollywood Film Review Lite Blogs

A fair Holi start for Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

Duration: 164 minutes, Director: Luv Ranjan. Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Shradha Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Boney Kapoor, Music: Pritam. Cinematography: Santhana Krishnana Ravichandran. (Rating: **1/2)

He talks nineteen to the dozen, forcing her to start liking him too. Soon, the two grow very close to each other and further cement their bond by sleeping with each other on the premise that sooner or later they would formalise their association…reviewed by Arnab Banerjee

Luv Ranjan, who has often been accused of being misogynistic as nearly all his female characters (‘Pyar Ka Punchnama’ 1 and 2; ‘Aakashvani’; ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ and ‘De De Pyar De’) are substantial, but mostly negative. The women in his films have been manipulative and the men have suffered in their hands.

With his latest rom com, ‘Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar’, Luv Ranjan seems to be on a remedial course, for this time his female lead is all-independent, modern and carefree but with a solid sense of commitment. For a change, it is the male lead who is a bit of a brat and a tad unscrupulous. Now, coming from Luv Ranjan, this story is definitely a complete turnaround!

Mickey (Kapoor) leads a lavish lifestyle that his parents (Boney Kapoor, in his first screen appearance, and Dimple Kapadia) with their multiple business interests (automobiles, jewellery, and so on) have provided him with.

His constant companion is childhood friend Anubhav Singh Bassi, who is facing commitment phobia just before his engagement. The two also make money on the side by being experts on solving issues and manipulating ‘break-ups’ between young couples who are dating but have relationship issues.

Mickey falls for Tinny (Shradha Kapoor) at first sight and swears undying love for her. What follows is complete madness when Mickey, considered to be a skilled specialist player in the world of romantic affairs, finds Tinny irresistible and engages with her in a battle of wits.

He talks nineteen to the dozen, forcing her to start liking him too. Soon, the two grow very close to each other and further cement their bond by sleeping with each other on the premise that sooner or later they would formalise their association.

When Mickey’s parents get to know of her, they immediately decide to celebrate, much to Tinny’s amazement. It isn’t just the rapidity of events that surprises her, she is overawed by and snowed under so much love and interference into her privacy. Micky’s family begin to decide what all arrangements need to be done on her behalf and even suggest that she leave her job and join their family business. That leaves her exhausted.

Tinny dials the break-up service number and ends up calling Micky and his team for help. Unbeknownst to who the caller is, Mickey starts offering his golden pieces of advice for a hefty sum of money of course. What follows ensues is not funny, but much more complicated as their engagement ceremony date gets confirmed, and the two go about making all the required arrangements too.

The 164-minute film has nothing concrete in terms of story development and the first half is spent on Mickey displaying his charm and trying every trick in the book to impress Tinny. In a script that expects him to talk the hindlegs out of a donkey, he is perfectly cast as the wooer. A natural performer, he also looks great and easily gets into the skin of his character.

Shradha, on the other hand, is hardly the drop-dead gorgeous that she is made out to be, though her bikini bod is sexy enough. Their onscreen chemistry sizzles at times and falls flat the next moment when the two seem to be trying too hard. What is clearly in favour of the thin storyline is the fast-paced occurrences that leave little room for any breathing space.

But the film defies logic — not that one is looking for any — and is too focused on absurdities that remind us of the 1970s drama in films when two people, failing to identify the caller, could be easily fooled. And to think that there’s so much ongoing drama could be so exhausting, makes you struggle to firmly remain seated.

If Ranjan’s motive is to win back not just feminists, but even other movie watchers who just hated his one-sided interpretation of the so-called modern young woman as the ‘chaloo gold digger’ or the fickle unfaithful all out to have her way and call the shots, he manages to turn the tables this time.

Towards the end, the jaded film lets go of its romantic overtone and transforms into a family drama with the protagonist asserting his everlasting abiding love for his parents, grandmother, sister and everyone else in the family.

The woman too, after exhibiting an independent mind and flaunting her self-governing, self-regulating free and liberated spirit has a change of heart — after all, she is an Indian woman. And when she is quick to get into bed with a man, she’d better remain devoted to him and not come across as too progressive here!

Veteran Dimple Kapadia screams her head off throughout and should have been used in a better way. Her onscreen husband Boney Kapoor, who makes his screen debut, is almost non-existent and mostly merges with the background.

Had it not been for Ranbir Kapoor, most of the jokes would have been tiring and fallen flat. It is his spontaneity and ability to perform effortlessly that keep the audience engrossed. If only there was some substance and material to play around with!

What also works for the film are Santhana Krishnan Ravichandran’s brilliant camerawork and also Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics and foot-tapping numbers in Arijit Singh’s velvety voice set to music by Pritam.

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Film Review Lite Blogs

Selfiee: Heartening for film buffs to enjoy an outing

Duration: 142 minutes, Cast: Akshay Kumar, Diana Penty, Emraan Hashmi and Nushrratt Bharuccha, Director: Raj Mehta. Cinematography: Rajeev Ravi. (Rating: **1/2)

An enraged Kumar blames Agarwal for stooping so low just for his 15 minutes of fame at Kumar’s expense. The misunderstanding between the two escalates into a feud played out in front of the entire country…reports Arnab Banerjee

Celebrities, particularly film stars, and their brush with the law are not uncommon. Famous people do have run-ins with the law, and some of them have even spent time behind bars. Some superstars rue the fact that the law is very often much tougher on them, but law enforcement agencies believe that celebs are not immune to the law and that all citizens must abide by it.

This week’s only release, ‘Selfiee’, attempts to raise the issue of well-known people riding roughshod over the law and getting away with lesser penalties.

Superstar Vijay Kumar (Akshay Kumar) enjoys the status of a demigod in the country. His cramped schedule doesn’t allow even a single day off, much to the annoyance of his doting wife (Diana Penty).

The couple had planned a month-long holiday in the US, where she wished to deliver her first child conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Kumar is all set to finish the last leg of a film shoot in Bhopal before flying off, but the producer (Akashdeep) requests him to shoot the climax for which the star needs to drive a vehicle in a sensitive area maintained by the Army.

Now that isn’t much of an issue, but Kumar’s driving licence has expired, and therefore, he cannot be allowed to drive without one ASAP. He needs to obtain a new driving licence from the RTO, Om Prakash Agarwal (Emraan Hashmi), who happens to be Kumar’s diehard fan.

Not paying much attention first to something which looks like a cakewalk, Kumar refuses to come down from his privileged high horse and comply with the rules that require him to visit the RTO and do the needful. The inspector, who is delighted at the thought of meeting his idol, decides to take his young son to get a selfie clicked on the historic occasion.

To complicate matters, Vijay’s rival actor (Abhimanyu Singh), supposedly his childhood friend who’s had several flops in a row, and is desperately trying to make a comeback, tries hard to get Vijay into trouble so that his film career nosedives too.

Meanwhile at the RTO, Kumar is upset to see mediapersons thronging the office even before he reaches there to fulfil the formalities required for the licence. Some of the scribes begin to ask uncomfortable questions as to how Kumar was driving his car without a valid licence and canvassing for Safe Driving campaigns too.

An enraged Kumar blames Agarwal for stooping so low just for his 15 minutes of fame at Kumar’s expense. The misunderstanding between the two escalates into a feud played out in front of the entire country.

The premise of this 143-minute film is believable. A worshipped film hero cannot be above the law and must face the consequences of his actions. Agarwal is a commoner who not just adores but reveres his hero, but at the same time is a committed and law-abiding officer. Though the face-off between them seems exaggerated and too staged, it works as per the film’s theme.

‘Selfiee’ trailer

What doesn’t work is the script trying hard to highlight Akshay Kumar and his stardom. Even when his character is shown to be weak and losing his popularity, he is unnecessarily allowed to behave arrogantly.

Maybe, it justifies the superstar status of the character he plays, but on the other hand, it serves as a ploy to make him look both supreme and heroic. Hashmi, who has earned a respectable position as an actor over the past decade, having done away with his stereotypical romantic image that also won him the tag of the ‘serialkisser’, is consistently good as the simple, family-loving conscientious officer.

Director Raj Mehta, who is known to handle serious themes in a typical filmi manner (‘Good News’ and ‘Jug Jugg Jiyo’), cramming his narratives with masala and entertainment, lets you down by reducing all other supporting actors into buffoons.

Some of the situations, too, could have been far more convincing had they been dealt with some sensitivity. Instead, every serious tone is diluted with comic dialogues and characters who are imperfect, derailing the weightiness of some important developments. It had a good premise that could have been either hilariously written, or by adding thrilling moments between entitlement and the principles of the law.

Cinematographer Rajeev Ravi doesn’t have much at hand to improve the strongly marked laugh lines that Kumar tries hard to hide.

Writer Rishabh Sharma, too, must have had a tough time adding heft to the story credited to Sachy, though we all know that it is based on the 2019 Malayalam film ‘Driving Licence’ by Jean Paul Lal.

There isn’t much scope for songs in between what seems like a face-off between a hero and a villain, but there are a few that appear out of the blue — one of them being a a rehash of Anu Malik’s ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anadi’.

The film has been released in theatres and should be heartening for film buffs to enjoy an outing. If only it was worth the effort and the ticket prices!

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Dame Helen Mirren pays tribute to late Queen

The BAFTA awards are being held at the Royal Festival Hall in London and are being streamed live on Lionsgate Play…reports Asian Lite News

English actress Dame Helen Mirren, who played Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 British biographical drama film “The Queen”, led the tributes paid to the late Queen at the 76th British Academy Film Awards.

Calling the queen “our nation’s leading star”, Mirren said, “She was unquestionably the nation’s leading lady but as mysterious as a silent film star. Who else could meet the world’s most famous singers, actors and performers and turn them into her supporting cast,” the 77-year-old said.

She further mentioned, “Throughout her 70-year reign, she met cinema’s greatest icons and witnessed the evolution of Hollywood’s golden age to the birth of the blockbuster — Her Majesty was front row for it all. Cinema at its best does what Her Majesty did effortlessly: bring us together and unite us in a story.”

“Your Majesty, you were our nation’s leading star. On behalf of Bafta, thank you for all that you have done for our film and television industry,” she concluded.

The BAFTA awards are being held at the Royal Festival Hall in London and are being streamed live on Lionsgate Play.

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Film Review Lite Blogs

Rakul’s social comedy ‘Chhatriwali’ lags in bits

Directed by Tejas Deoskar. Starring Rakul Preet Singh, Sumeet Vyas, Satish Kaushik, Rajesh Tailang and Dolly Ahluwalia. Cinematography: Siddharth Vasani. Music: Mangesh Dhakde, Rohan-Rohan, Sumeet Bellary and Durgesh R. Rajbhatt. (Rating: **)

Bollywood has found a safe haven on the streaming platforms and is hell bent upon exploring themes that were earlier either forbidden or had no takers.

After the huge success of ‘Vicky Donor’, a film about sperm donation, a number of so-called taboo subjects have found their way into mainstream narratives. ‘Shubh Mangal Savdhan’ on erectile dysfunction, ‘Padman’ on menstrual hygiene and ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ on gender diversities, to name a few.

In the latest, ‘Chhatriwali’, the themes are male contraceptives and safe sex. No harm in dealing with a subject that may not be still discussed openly in families, although everyone seems to be aware of condoms in big and small towns alike.

Set in Karnal, Haryana, the film is about Sanya Dhingra (Rakul), an unemployed chemistry whiz, who is looking for a job and uses her skills to fight an important social taboo by taking sex education classes for young people. The trouble with such films is that the filmmakers don’t really know whether to make it a comedy or layer it with educational messages. The result obviously is chaos!

Shying away from going the whole hog, the film teeters on morality lessons and making the female protagonist have her way as she propagates safe sex so that unwanted pregnancies don’t cause health issues among women.

Of course there are bound to be problems galore, right from her family to her boyfriend, whom she later marries, to her in-laws not liking it if she told them that she works in a factory manufacturing condoms. So she used all tactics possible to ensure that no one gets to know about her job. Now that’s quite a challenge, isn’t it? But Sanya manages it pretty well, until the point comes when she has to spill the beans.

Only a few months back, another film, ‘Janhit Mein Jari’, had Nushratt Baruccha playing a similar character. Both films handle almost same old tiresome issues; men not being comfortable with protected sex, a female sales executive not revealing her job to her parents and family, who throw a fit when they do get to know what their favourite daughter or bahu is up to, plus of course, innumerable lessons on how these subjects are not to be spoken directly or straightforwardly, and so on.

In a scene where her jethani (Prachee Shah) falls ill as a result of a number of miscarriages, the family dares not utter a word to the chauvinistic husband (Rajesh Tailang) about the mishap. He seems educated but has his way when it comes to fulfilling his sexual desires unguarded. The film does touch upon some relevant and oft-repeated dilemmas confronting married women in most middle-class families.

The film thus becomes a tad boring and repetitive. What keeps your interest alive is its lead, Rakul Preet, who tries to infuse energy and at times sensitivity to her lines. She gets just the support she needs from Vyas, who never lets us down. Both complement each other and make the most of the stereotypical situations with their earnestness. But as I said earlier, both get restricted because of the predictable script.

The cinematography is passable and there’s nothing to write home about the film’s music.

If you are on a holiday and have nothing better to do, you could watch this less-than-two-hour social/family drama, if you please!

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Bollywood Film Review Lite Blogs

SRK’s mass comeback in espionage thriller ‘Pathaan’

Pathaan (Shah Rukh) is an exiled RAW field operative who is assigned to take down his old nemesis, Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW agent turned rogue…reviewed by Arnab Banerjee

‘Pathaan’ (playing in theatres); Duration: 146 minutes; Director: Siddharth Anand; Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham and Dimple Kapadia. (Rating: 3.5)

Finally, the much-awaited Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Pathaan’ hit the theatres on Wednesday. And, expectedly all the pre-release exhilaration translates into high energy rush as the film presents the story of an Indian spy, who takes on the leader of a group of mercenaries who has nefarious plans to target his homeland, captivating the audience.

That the lead actor is the ‘Badshah’ of Bollywood gives the fans all the more reason to scream, dance and sing in the cinema halls. Serpentine queues for a 6 a.m. show is a rarity in India, at least for a Hindi film.

In short, the film is an espionage thriller that is most likely to lead box office collections.

Pathaan (Shah Rukh) is an exiled RAW field operative who is assigned to take down his old nemesis, Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW agent turned rogue.

Jim leads ‘Outfit X’, a private terrorist organisation, which is planning to spread a deadly virus dubbed ‘Raktbeej’ across India. The virus, if unleashed, could be much deadlier than any other virus winessed by the mankind.

Right from the opening scene, the unusually fast-paced plot moves with RAW agents, spies, terrorists and a Pakistani Army officer scheming and plotting in different parts of the world.

Rattled by the revocation of Article 370, which granted special status to the eratwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, by the Indian government, Pakistan has all the evil intentions and the wherewithal to infiltrate and annihilate the Indian territory. For this purpose, Jim, who has a past and had been double-crossed by Indians earlier, is hired.

And here comes yet another ex-ISI agent, Rubina Khan (Deepika Padukone), leaving many guessing as to who teams with whom.

Pathaan, a diehard patriot who had retired, is called back by his boss Nandini (Dimple Kapadia). Meanwhile, their supreme boss, Colonel Sunil Luthra (Ashutosh Rana), is left worried, still trying to figure out what move to adopt to save human lives with threat of destruction looming large.

With gun-toting agents spreading destruction all around, a svelte and sexy Rubina is seen displaying her charm in a bikini that had riled up the saffron outfits until a few weeks ago when the song ‘Besharam Rang’ was released on internet.

Of course, she is aware of the past and present danger and knows precisely whom to side with as more and more evil-intentioned men appear on the scene.

Amid such chaos, if there’s one ray of hope it’s obviously the presence of the most sought-after, most-loved, and fearless Pathaan. With James Bond-like intensity, Pathaan has supreme fight sequences to match.

Crammed with high octane action that is virtually frenziedly uninterrupted and relentless, there’s not a single moment that would make the viewers take a breather.

Shah Rukh, who needs a box office blockbuster badly, is perhaps the only actor who could have looked lethal with his six -packs and delivering lines in hushed tones that melts Padukone. His charm remains intact as he tries to briefly romance, while all along diving and jumping from mountains and rooftops in a bid to oust his enemies.

And it isn’t just his young looks, his energy is so infectious that many among the cinegoers whistled every time he scored a point over his opponent. Such is his impact and following!

Padukone too proves why she was the one chosen by Hollywood to don colourful bodysuits, leggings and catsuits. John Abraham too is a perfect foil to Khan’s ripping muscles and performs well. To match Khan’s young looks, he too manages to sport a dashing fresh youthful look.

The action scenes are at par with any Hollywood production, while the cinematography by Satchith Paulose captures some exquisite landscapes in Spain, Russia, Dubai, Italy and France.

Though there is not much scope for songs in such a narrative, Vishal-Shekhar numbers are extremely catchy.

All those who are still worried about Bollywood’s no show for months, can decisively breathe easy with the satisfaction that given the right production, engaging script and mega stars at the helm, Hindi cinema should be back on track!

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‘Selfiee’ poster sparks remake debate yet again

Akshay took to his Instagram to share the motion poster on his feed which shows him standing face-to-face with Emraan’s character of a cop in the film….reports Asian Lite News

The motion poster of the Akshay Kumar and Emraan Hashmi-starrer upcoming film ‘Selfiee’ was unveiled on Sunday.

Akshay took to his Instagram to share the motion poster on his feed which shows him standing face-to-face with Emraan’s character of a cop in the film.

The superstar captioned the video: “Fans make a star. Fans can also break a star! Find out what happens when a fan turns against his Idol. Watch #Selfiee in cinemas on Feb 24th.”

Karan Johar mentioned in his caption: “Superstar aur Superfan ki aisi kahaani, aap ne suni naa hogi kahin! Dekhiye #Selfiee in cinemas on Feb 24th (An unheard tale of a superstar and a superfan).”

‘Selfiee’ is a remake of the 2019 Malayalam comedy-drama ‘Driving Licence’. The original Malayalam movie was directed by Lal Jr from a script by Sachy.

It revolved around a superstar (Prithviraj Sukumaran) famous for his driving skills who loses his licence. The matter spins out of control after he locks horns with a motor inspector (Suraj Venjaramoodu), who happens to be a fan of the actor.

As soon as the makers posted the video on social media, a section of the audience outright bashed them.

One social media user wrote: “Suni bhi and dekh li … remake hai (have heard it and seen it, duh, it’s a remake).”

Another wrote: “Another successful remake from Malayalam movie … only way Akshay Kumar can survive in Bollywood is either make patriotism movie or copy from South Indian movie.”

Some also compared it to Shah Rukh Khan’s 2016 film ‘Fan’, One user wrote: “Fan movie of SRK ka copy lag raha hai (looks like a copy of SRK’s ‘Fan’).”

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How Hindi films are losing ground to South India?

With these basics of filmmaking intact, South Indian films have not only captured the Hindi market, but with their contemporary approach and excellent use of technology coupled with imagination, they are also gaining some ground with foreign audiences…writes Vinod Mirani

Indian films, Hindi as well as regional, enjoy a certain overseas market. But that is limited to the Indian diaspora settled across various countries. Films help them keep in touch with their native country and also their native states, languages and culture.

Of course, Hindi films enjoyed a greater market abroad because of the larger reach of the language. One sees, however, that Hindi films are losing ground to films from the South. In India as well as with the Indians abroad! Also, the proportion of the non-Hindi-speaking Indians in other countries has increased manifold over the years, thanks to the tech boom.

Add to that the fact that the South has now taken a contemporary approach to filmmaking while keeping its intrinsic values, such as family, loyalties, relationships, and, most of all, keeping the fervour and spirit of nationalism.

With these basics of filmmaking intact, South Indian films have not only captured the Hindi market, but with their contemporary approach and excellent use of technology coupled with imagination, they are also gaining some ground with foreign audiences. From Japan to the US, S.S. Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ has taken viewers by storm.

The film has done a business of Rs 1,200 crore (‘KGF2’, Rs 1,100 crore and ‘Kantara’, Rs 425 crore). Compare this to the biggest Hindi grosser of the year, ‘The Kashmir Files’, which collected Rs 300 crore. Mind you, ‘The Kashmir Files’ is not considered a mainstream film and, ironically, the mainstream film fraternity is not even prepared to acknowledge its success. Now that this film has made it to the shortlist of one of the 301 films eligible to be screened at the Oscars, one hears no cheer from fellow filmmakers.

‘RRR’ has made its first mark overseas. The ‘RRR’ song, ‘Naatu Naatu’, won the Best Original Song award at the Golden Globes last week. To their credit, the team behind this success presented itself in their native costumes and rooted for each other!

Compare this to Hindi filmmakers, who can’t even laud the success of a fellow producer. The Hindi film industry is flooded with fly-by-night aspirants, posing as filmmakers who pretend to know better than the best and thrive on publicity and hope to make money without merit to earn it.

Rules only for films to follow

After the ‘Pathaan’ song ‘Besharam Rang’ was released on the digital media, a lot of hullabaloo followed. Social media handles, especially on Twitter, went berserk. The song’s choreography was found to be unacceptable, to put it mildly. The print media and television news channels joined the bandwagon.

Not to be outdone, politicians, who never let an opportunity pass to gain some mileage, joined the ban brigade. Hindu-wadis had a problem with Deepika Padukone wearing a saffron bikini; Islam-wadis claimed that the way Shah Rukh Khan is portrayed in the film is very unlike a person from the Pathan community. It was a sensual song shot to evoke a reaction and not just any other romantic song.

There was a time when certain South Indian films, especially the Malayalam ones, were dubbed in Hindi for a specific audience. These films had a lot of intimate moments between men and women. In these films, bits of porn films were interpolated.

Such films attracted their maximum audience during the night shows, for no one wanted to be seen even around a cinema screening such films. But those who watched such films, and these had a captive audience, headed straight for the red light area of the city. Where that facility was not available, it led to instances you read in the media the next day. The audience consisted of mostly labourers, daily wage earners and cabbies working away from their homes and families.

Who needs such South Indian films now if you have Hindi mainstream stars willing to do the needful!

People often create ruckus and try to stall a film’s release. Especially when some communal/religious or political groups get involved. A film like ‘PK’ needed police protection during its initial days. Some people never get a release in certain states. This happens only because cinema managements fear damage to their property. Eventually, such films make it to television channels or OTT platforms and are therefore out of reach of the fanatics.

The question that arises now is that why is there differential treatment to films, whereas OTT platforms, where the content is bolder than ‘Besharam Rang’, get away without any control? When the same film or song is shown on OTT, there is no problem.

Why do hell-raisers, drunk with power, pick only on films while so much more vulgarity, violence and gore is being peddled on OTT platforms day in and day out? Why is it that most OTT content has to carry a generous, explicit footage of sex? How does one explain a child walking into his grandfather’s house only to find him doing it in doggy style (‘Arya’ on OTT)?

Why do film and content makers think that titillating songs or sex scenes will draw the audience? This display of unwanted content, in fact, makes such films and web series unwatchable with family members at home.

This practice of showing filthy content has been going on since the early OTT web series, ‘Sacred Games’, was aired. All this in the name of creative liberty! Since when did depicting sex or, more so, unnatural sex qualify as creative art? And yet there is no move to discourage such content makers. Democracy and freedom of expression are touted. And the social media Rudalis raise hell.

The Censor Board works on the principle that content, as in films, is subject to scrutiny because they are made for public exhibition. At least, films carry ratings of A, UA, and so on, and cinemas won’t allow children.

OTT content, too, is available on television screens, computers as well as smartphones and children today are smarter than the smartphones and have access to all that they should not be watching.

Let alone censorship, OTT content does not even carry a warning against cigarette smoking that feature films are compelled to carry! The rule applies to even the film publicity material, which is meant to be screened to a producers’ body before it is put on display.

So how come all the publicity designs of the film ‘Ved’ produced by Riteish Deshmukh (he’s playing the lead too) shows him in the various acts of smoking from lighting a cigarette to exhaling smoke?

It seems like this rabble-rousing is limited to films that serve the cause of various political, religious, fanatical and other groups with vested interests. A film is known for a Salman Khan or a Shah Rukh Khan and so on. They are big stars and their names help serve the cause of troublemakers. Who will care if you find faults with some OTT programme?

The Government propagates One Country One… Whatever for just about everything. OTT content flouts this intent of the government, wholesale.

ALSO READ: Anil Kapoor will be a powerful philanthropist in ‘The Night Manager’

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Anil Kapoor will be a powerful philanthropist in ‘The Night Manager’

‘The Night Manager’ has been created and directed by Sandeep Modi and co-directed by Priyanka Ghosh….reports Asian Lite News

Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor will be seen essaying the role of a powerful philanthropist in the upcoming streaming show ‘The Night Manager’. The show is a high-octane thriller wrapped in lavish drama and picturesque sights, and also stars Aditya Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Tillotama Shome, Saswata Chatterjee and Ravi Behl.

Talking about how he came to be associated with the project, Anil said: “I have always loved working on differentiated content and characters. The first time I read the script, I just fell in love with the character of Shelly Rungta.”

“Shelly is a powerful man, a philanthropist and a perfect balance of wit and evil with imperceptible menace just like the the show – a perfect blend of entertainment and great story-telling. I thoroughly enjoyed working with some of the finest from the industry.”

‘The Night Manager’ has been created and directed by Sandeep Modi and co-directed by Priyanka Ghosh.

Anil’s co-actor, Aditya Roy Kapur, who plays the titular role in the show, said in a statement: “I have always wanted to perform a multi-layered character in a series with a complex narrative arc, and when the platform approached me to play the title role in ‘The Night Manager’, I knew this was just the one I’d been looking for.”

He further mentioned: “My character Shaan is the kind of person who can effortlessly make people believe whatever he wants them to, and that perfectly mirrors what we as actors strive to achieve with our craft. I’m glad that the Disney+ Hotstar team and Sandeep Modi gave me this opportunity to play such an exciting character and I can’t wait to bring him to audiences in India and around the world!”

The series, produced by The Ink Factory and Banijay Asia and will release soon on Disney+ Hotstar.

ALSO READ: 2022: A dismal year for Bollywood

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2022: A dismal year for Bollywood

It must hurt the Hindi filmmakers that all the releases together this year have collected less than what just five dubbed South Indian films, which made a whopping Rs 2,400 crore between them! – writes Vinod Mirani

It is the time of the year to look back on the one gone by, 2022. A great deal of hopes were riding on 2022 after the disastrous pandemic-hit two years – 2020 and 2021.

The countrywide lockdowns of all activities, be they personal or commercial, brought the world to a standstill. Like all others, the entertainment industry also came to a stop. No shootings for films or television, no film releases, no television serials or stage shows. Just nothing.

Things started to ease midway through 2021 with a hiccup here and there. Businesses and the entertainment industry as well were opening up gradually with controls being eased. It was a phased process, but it offered hope.

Just when the first total lockdown came into effect, people missing out on cinema and television took to the OTT platforms. These came to India 2016 onwards and are subscription-based, which few could afford or cared to subscribe. The lockdown worked wonders for OTT. Especially after these platforms started showing films; no one in India would pay to watch serials on OTT.

That too changed soon when episodic content was made especially for OTT streaming and because people also started discovering international productions. Besides, one thing the OTT platforms did was to provide work to actors who were talented but not used by filmmakers.

The film industry, which considered even a circus in town as an opposition, and later learnt to brave the onset of television, video piracy and CDs, now had the OTT platforms to contend with. Because OTT did not depend entirely on filmmakers for content; it also created its own.

The OTT platforms are a revolution and have affected the theatrical business all over. Especially since the flow of feature films had been greatly affected because of an 18-month lockdown, not only in India but all over the world. Besides, a lot of filmmakers have taken to creating content for these OTT platforms solely and not for regular theatrical release. It makes their job easier.

The OTT platforms made people also realise that subscribing to them made much more economic sense than a single visit to a multiplex. This, besides the realisation that what hits a cinema today is bound to surface on the OTT platform in a matter of weeks.

The most affected branch of the entertainment industry is the exhibition trade, the cinemas, mostly the single screens. Already suffering and struggling for existence, a lot of them had to down shutters.

In Bihar, for instance, there used to be 200 single-screen cinemas, but only 70 remain now. The story is the same all over. And, in the Hindi belt, when it comes to multiplexes and single-screen cinemas, they manage to survive on the strength of films from Hollywood and dubbed films from the South. Not Hindi films, which have been their mainstay!

The cinemas tried to wean their audience back with gimmicks such as the National Cinema Day, when all tickets were sold for Rs 75. They also held an Amitabh Bachchan retrospective to coincide with his 80th birthday. In some countries, the exhibitors filled the cinema seats during the FIFA World Cup. But these were stopgap measures.

The biggest Hindi films were failing. Bigger the film, louder the thud. No actor could draw the initial viewers.

For the Hindi film industry, the year was an unmitigated disaster.

Just three films had managed to sail safe and earn profits. ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’, ‘Drishyam 2’ and ‘The Kashmir Files’ were the ones. ‘Drishyam 2’ and ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’ were sequels to successful films, so both got the benefit. ‘The Kashmir Files’ was an unconventional film, not a commercial one.

And guess what, even among these three successful films, ‘The Kashmir Files’ remains the biggest grosser at Rs 240 crore! ‘Drishyam 2’ collected Rs 220 crore (the film is still running). ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ made Rs 179 crore.

The Hindi films in between – all the 96 which released in 2022 – have collected Rs 1,800 crore. This is less than the 2019 figures. It must hurt the Hindi filmmakers that all the releases together this year have collected less than what just five dubbed South Indian films, which made a whopping Rs 2,400 crore between them!

And the point to note is that none of these figures are inflated, which Hindi filmmakers are suspected to be doing most of the time.

For Hindi films and its biggest stars, the days of Rs 200 crore and 300 crore are a thing of the past and not likely to happen any time soon. Who is to be blamed? The makers as well as the stars. The makers, for taking their audience for granted and dishing out unpalatable and least entertaining films – utter rubbish. The stars are known to accept any and every project with money being the only consideration. And just about every big
actor, moreover, is overexposing him/herself spread across every media and on television ads.

Akshay Kumar had four releases – ‘Bachchhan Pandey’, ‘Ram Setu’, ‘Raksha Bandhan’ and ‘Samrat Prithviraj’. None worked. Ranbir Kapoor did two high-end films, ‘Shamshera’ and ‘Brahmastra’; both disappointed. Ranveer Singh seems to be closer to the end of his run, having delivered duds like ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ and ‘Cirkus’, making it a hat-trick of flops with his last year’s release, ’83’.

Shah Rukh Khan had a guest role in ‘Rocketry’ to account for this year; his major new film, ‘Pathaan’, is due later this month. Salman Khan had no release this past year. The Hindi superstars and stars have all failed. Aamir Khan’s solo release, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, was a disaster. Shahid Kapoor had one release, ‘Jersey’, which was again a failure.

Kartik Aryan’s career would seem to be on the rise after ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’. Tiger Shroff has been the victim of sequels where the makers just want to exploit his action proficiency. Among female actors, Kriti Shanon was the most in demand along with Kiara Advani. Others offered little competition.

The cinemas, the multiplexes, which had taken to calling the shots, and deciding how a film would be released and on how many screens, are in an unenviable situation. Ironically, Hindi films, on which the cinemas thrived, are now a second choice for them. Take the example of the latest release, ‘Cirkus’, released last Friday. Most cinemas were screening ‘Avatar’ and were not willing to cede playtime to ‘Cirkus’.

Why, one would wonder?

That is because the cinemas are now surviving on the flow of Hollywood films and dubbed South Indian films. The Hindi film industry has been delivering only duds. Hindi stars hold a grudge against the South-dubbed films capturing the Hindi-belt audience. Ajay Devgn even aired his resentment openly. He should understand that the South took over the Hindi audience when Hindi filmmakers and stars failed to deliver. And Devgn’s own major hits are South remakes (which includes his latest success, ‘Drishyam2’)!

Why begrudge only South films, even Hollywood films are dubbed in various Indian languages and nobody has ever questioned that! And the truth is that television and OTT platforms today boast of bigger stars with bigger fan bases than the Hindi film industry stars!

ALSO READ: ‘Cirkus’ remains unimpressive at the box office

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Nitya Mathur talks about role in ‘Taaza Khabar’

Nitya said that she has to put in a lot of effort to understand the character as it is very unusual and different….reports Asian Lite News

‘The Fame Game’ actress Nitya Mathur got candid about her role and how she prepared for her character in the web series ‘Taaza Khabar’ that also stars Bhuvan Bam.

Nitya said: “My character Shazia is an extremely smart girl. She knows what needs to get done and how to get it done. She’s a really cool girl. Quick on her feet, unapologetically ambitious, and so driven. It was so much fun to play her.”

She shared further on her preparation: “There are parts of Shazia that are actually a lot like me. So I drew from my own experiences for those. For example, Shazia’s relationship with her father is a lot like what I have in real life. A father and daughter who have different approaches to life, but deeply love and care about each other; will do anything for each other, and put in honest effort into understanding each other.”

Nitya said that she has to put in a lot of effort to understand the character as it is very unusual and different.

“Honestly, the script was very well written and gave the actor most of what was needed. What I had to think about was the social and economic setting she’s been brought up in. It’s very different from my reality. I wanted to understand how it has shaped the way she thinks, without going into stereotypes,” she added.

The actress, who was also seen in ‘Blurr’ said: “We’re all dealt with certain circumstances in life that dictate the expected course of our lives. I’d say ‘Taaza Khabar’ is about people trying to break through the circumstances they’ve been dealt. It’s about ambition, greed, and these dreams.”

The series will be released on Disney+ Hotstar on January 6.

ALSO READ:  Avatar: The Way of Water ; An incredible awe-inspiring 4D experience