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After Love, Pakistani’s Director’s Stunning Debut

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After Love(Available On Mubi)

Starring  Joanna Scanlan, Nathalie Richard,  Talid Ariss

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Written  & Directed  by Aleem Khan

Rating: ****

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Not many have seen Aleem Khan’s  2020 film After Love. If the truth be told no  genuine  cineaste  should  miss this  moving exploration of  bereavement, grief and acceptance  told in a style that is at once  unique  and familiar.While providing the comfort of the familiar by putting his characters  in situations that are at once real and dramatic, Khan floats into an  excruciating excursion into fantasy-fiction  that is not only hard to pin down , but  near-impossible  to achieve for  any director  except  the one  who isn’t afraid  to venture into the unknown with the familiar known tools  of cinematic expression.

I was gripped and  crushed  from Frame  1. The  film opens with a 60-plus couple entering their  cosy well-appointed functional home in Dover  after an evening walk.  From their  demeanour it is apparent that this is  a  routine the couple has followed for years. He heads for the  living room where he switches on  a Hindi song. The sound  of  Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh  singing Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai wafts into the kitchen where  the wife –she is  Mary Hussain, a Britisher converted to Islam after marriage to her  Pakistani husband—makes tea.

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Mary  heads  to the livingroom  with the tray, conversing comfortably with her  husband. He doesn’t answer.Ahmed, her husband,is dead.

But wait. This is  not just a film about sudden unforeseen bereavement. As Mary’s  world comes crumbling down she discovers that her husband had another  life  in another  town with another woman in Calais, France.

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Secrets  are revealed not to  shock  but as a  resigned sigh at life’s unexpected  blows that  are rained  on the individual when she is least prepared  for them. Rather than  wallow in just the tragedy of  bereavement  Aleem  Khan’s screenplay is  constantly  on the prowl, ferreting out dimensions to the  conundrum  of marriage , commitment, cultural fragmentation and  emotional  conflict ,with an   unnerving calmness.

Set in the  small soporific  British seaside  town of Dover, the splashing  waves serve as a  melancholic metaphor  for  Mary’s  inexpressible  grief (she listens to  her husband’s voicemail messages to  calm her surging grief)  as she travels to France to meet her husband’s other life,  other family.

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What happens next between the  two  women, the soutans(there is  no word for  it  in English)  in the deceased Ahmed’s life, is not just profoundly moving but  also constantly surprising.Ahmed’s French  mistress Genevieve(Nathalie Richard, no  coincidence that she  is reed-thin) has a 14-year old son Solomon(Talid Ariss) who is ridden  with problems  of  a missing father and his  burgeoning sexuality.A beautiful bond  of empathy  grows between Mary and her soutan’s son.

None of this seems forced  into the narrative. The emotional conflict is  so  fluent  and vivid , it seems  like a typical South  Indian  masala-dosa  film about two warring women sharing the same  man(ref: Maang Bharo Sajna, Raaste Pyar Ke, Nazrana) played  out as a Greek tragedy

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Standing tall  and supremely  dignified at the centre  of this muted masterpiece is  the little-known British actress Joanna Scanlan in her first major role. Overweight and  overwrought with emotions  Ms Scanlan’s  portrayal of Mary Hussain’s grief is  devastating in  its dignity. Her eyes  reflect a  pain that  only the camera can explain. Joanna Scanlan, as a woman  torn between her dead husband’s Islamic faith  and the uncertain future bequeathed  to her by his unscheduled death, holds this delicately constructed  drama together.

Like Mary Hussain suddenly left bereft, I wonder what this film would be like without Joanna Scanlan.

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother In Pathaan

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother

Ever  since Pathaan released on Wednesday, audiences  have been  curious to know who  is the woman who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s adoptive mother in Afghanistan. The stately lady  with  royal looks is none  other than the late producer  Tahir Hussain’s daughter and  Aamir Khan’s elder  sister Nikhat Khan.

 Nikhat has been  closely  associated with the  film industry  and has helped her father in the production of his  films like Dulha Bikta Hai and  Tum Mere  Ho.

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Nikhat has  acted earlier in the Akshay Kumar starrer Mission Mangal ,  Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji and  in Sandh Ki Aankh(as a Maharani).

For Pathaan, it was Shah Rukh Khan who suggested Nikhat Khan should play his foster-mother in  Afghanistan who names him ‘Pathaan’. It proved to be  an inspired  piece of casting, as  audience have  loved Nikhat  Khan’s cameo.

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It is  heartwarming that  all three Khan superstars  are  associated with Pathaan in one  way  or the other.

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Anurag Kashyap’s New Film Is About Love Jihad

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dobaara anurag kashyap, anurag kashyap movies directed, anurag kashyap wife, anurag kashyap new movie, anurag kashyap age, anurag kashyap upcoming movies, anurag kashyap net worth, anurag kashyap daughter

Love Jihad, whatever  that means, is  the theme  of  Anurag Kashyap’s new film Almost Pyaar  With D  J Mohabbat.

Debutant Karan  Mehta plays a Muslim boy  in an intense relationship with  Alaya F who plays  a Hindu  girl.Kashyap has spared the  audience none of the ugliness that  such a relationship generates  among  social-media  bouncers, the self-styled  guardian of morality .

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In the hardhitting powerful and pertinent film  a  bigot is heard commenting snidely, “These people first talk about Mohabbat. Then  they talk about Mohammed.”

Happily and  surprisingly,  the Central Board Of Film Certification gave the  film a ‘UA’ certificate  with no  cuts: a  rare non-‘A’ film of Kashyap.

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So far  Kashyap and his  team have kept the Love Jihad part  of  the plot  out of all media interaction.

But the  cat is  now  out of the bag.

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Star Alongside Varun Dhawan in Prime Video’s Indian Original Series , Samantha Speaks

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu will be starring alongside Varun Dhawan in the Indian installment of the Citadel universe, the global-event series from Prime Video and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO. The untitled Citadel series based out of India is being helmed by renowned creator duo Raj & DK (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK), who are the showrunners and directors.

 The local installment is written by Sita R. Menon, along with Raj & DK. The streaming service also confirmed that the production is currently underway in Mumbai. After this, the unit will head  to North India and then onwards to international locales like Serbia and South Africa.

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  Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas will star in the first-to-launch series within the Citadel universe, which comes from the Russo Brothers’ AGBO along with David Weil (Hunters) and is set to premiere in 2023. Alongside Madden and Chopra Jonas, the first-to-launch Citadel series will also feature Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games saga). Additional local-language Citadel productions are also in the works, including an Italian Original series starring Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing).

  Speaking on  her participation in  The Citadel  franchise for  the  first time,Samantha says, “When Prime Video and Raj & DK approached me with this project, I decided to take it up in a heartbeat! After working with this team on The Family Man, it is homecoming for me.The Citadel universe, the interconnected storylines between the productions across the globe, and most importantly, the script of the Indian installment really excited me.”

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   Samantha  says she is  looking forward  to working with Varun Dhawan  .  “I am thrilled to be a part of this brilliant universe conceptualised by the Russo Brothers. I am also looking forward to be working with Varun for the first time, on this project. He is someone who is full of life and cheer when you’re around him.”

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Bollywood’s Achche Din Have Come

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 Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

All you doomsday  prophets, the  booms-day  profits  are here.  Pathaan  has  opened the floodgates again for Bollywood’s  bumper  bonanza at the  boxoffice.And now there is  only the achche din ahead  for  Hindi  cinema.

In the  next   two months there are  three sureshot  blockbusters coming up, beginning with Shehzada.  An astute devilishly impish  adaptation  of  Allu Arjun’s  2020 Telugu   blockbuster  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.The super-popular Kartik  Aaryan gives  his own  spin to the  character. This  performance will take   Kartik to the  next level of stardom. Kartik’s version of  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is  radically different  from  its Telugu  version. Shehzada  takes  the core idea of  the Telugu original  and turns it into a  something  completely different. Kartik’s  co-star in Shehzada  is  Kriti  Sanon with whom he earlier shared superhit space in Lukka Chuppi.

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 Then there  is Luv Ranjan’s ravishing rom-com   Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. The director’s   male viewpoint on the chaos  of love relationships  crests to a comic  high in his latest. Ranjan  for  the first time, collaborates with Ranbir Kapoor for the  first time  collaborates with Shraddha  Kapoor  who badly needs a hit.This film should do the  trick. The winsome  lead pair tries  to do one  another  in a  game of Luv This is Luv Ranjan’s Hum…Aapke Hain Con. Ranjan  has in the past used  the romcom  space to  entertain his audience  to the hilt, he  says this  time the stakes are different. It is  not something we’ve seen before.

 Finally  it is   Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.  Karan  Johar’s first directorial in six years(not counting the one segment each  in Ghost Stories and  Lust Stories). This time he has assembled a dream star-cast  of Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Ranveer Singh and  the  boxoffice darling(s) Alia Bhatt.  But trust me, this one is  not about assembling stars  into a complacent plot. The writing in this  zany Romeo & Juliet is so crisp  and engrossing, the experience  is  likely to be   the visual version of a multi-flavour icrecream cone. Colour, choler and karma collide in this tragic-comic love story . Let the  box office dhamaka  begin  from the house  of Dharma.

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