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‘Akshay Kumar is almost like a one-man industry!’

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5 of the top film-makers of the Hindi film industry speak about Akshay Kumar’s deep impact as he completes 30 years in cinema with Samrat Prithviraj! 

Akshay Kumar’s next is Yash Raj Films’ first historical, Samrat Prithviraj, which is based on the life and valour of the fearless and mighty King Prithviraj Chauhan. He is essaying the role of the legendary warrior who fought valiantly to protect India from the merciless invader Muhammad of Ghor in this visual spectacle. The film has been mounted on one of the all-time biggest superstars of Hindi cinema, Akshay Kumar, who happened to complete his 30 years in the Hindi film industry with Samrat Prithviraj!

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To mark this occasion, five of the biggest film-makers of our country – Karan Johar, Sajid Nadiadwala, Aanand L. Rai, R. Balki and Subhash Kapoor speak about the impact that a megastar like Akshay Kumar has had on Indian cinema.

Karan Johar, who has worked with Akshay in films like Good Newwz, Sooryavanshi says, “Akshay Kumar is not just a superstar. Akshay Kumar is not just a supreme artist and actor. Akshay Kumar is a force; he is a force to reckon with. He is almost like a one-man industry. In the last decade and plus, he has proven his strength of course, in the mainstream business, as a hugely viable force and actor; but also, his choice of subjects, ranging from versatility to all kinds of genres, sub genres that Akshay has attempted; he has grown from strength to strength as an actor and is now a mega star, super star but also, like I said, a one force, a one-man industry. His 30 years have to be celebrated, because really when you talk about Indian cinema you cannot but mention his huge impact to Indian cinema. And on his 30th year he has one of his most spectacular films releasing, Samrat Prithviraj. From the very first look you know it’s going to be an absolutely cinematic bonanza. It’s going to be a treat for all Akshay Kumar fans but also for all cinema lovers. A combination of great storytelling, history and of course the mega stardom of Akshay Kumar. I wish him all the best, all the love and more power to him always.”

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Sajid Nadiadwala, who has worked with Akshay in films like Heyy Babyy and Housefull franchise says, “It’s a great year for Akshay and the whole industry. It’s been 30 years that he has been in the industry. Let me tell you, he’s been with me since 4th standard. He was my senior. Then he became a part of my class and then he became my junior. We are in the same fraternity now. And for him to be here, 30 years, what I feel personally is, there is a Telegu film industry, there is a Tamil industry, there’s the Hindi industry and there is something called the AK industry. He’s got his industry on his own. He is very magnanimous with his producers. He Is very professional. What I saw in him in 1989, when he joined this industry, till the date, there’s never been one incomplete film of his. I feel he needs immense applause for the work he has done in this industry and I wish him lot of luck for all the future films he is doing. So I take this opportunity to wish my friend a great 30 years and many more to come and definitely for his outstanding looking film, Samrat Prithviraj. Lots of love, lots of hugs, I love you Akshay.”

Aanand L. Rai, who has worked with Akshay in films like Atrangi Re, says, “Who could have imagined! An actor who got a tag of ‘Khiladi’ Kumar, becoming a bigger and bigger star with every film, will do a film like Toilet Ek Prem Katha; will do a film like Padman and now, Samrat Prithviraj. He has shown such a versatile range and along with that, he is a sheer combination of discipline and guts. The best part about Akshay Sir is, I feel, the emotional side. He lives every relationship to its fullest. I think that’s very important for an actor.”

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R. Balki, who has worked with Akshay in films like Padman and Mission Mangal, says, “Akshay is a genre by himself. He is the only person who plays cinema like a sport. He actually plays cinema. Like a modern-day sport, it requires talent of course, requires fitness, requires dedication, requires strategy, requires sharpness, requires knowledge of the world around him, around you. The way he plays it, the way he acts, the way he treats cinema, is like a game, a sport that he loves. Being in a sport, he also plays an art, where he can be anybody he wants to be in the sport. He can be Virat Kohli, like he is playing in Samrat Prithviraj, he can be Hardik Pandya, he can be Dhoni the strategist, or he can be somebody else. He can be anybody he wants in this entire thing. But for him, this entire cinema, in my head, he looks at it like a sport, and a sport that he loves; and that’s what I really love about him. Every film is like a new game for him. Of course, consistency is a key feature to stay in a sport for a long time, and that of course, he has. He doesn’t just rest on his talent. He works at it. He is one of the most lateral minds that I have actually seen in cinema. One of the key features in sport is consistency and Akshay demonstrates it. Of course, you have your off days but that doesn’t stop you from playing the sport with equal intensity each time. That’s what Akshay does. He is to me possibly the only legendary sportsman in Bollywood of a very different kind.”

Subhash Kapoor, who has worked with Akshay in Jolly LLB2, says, “You know there is a lot of talk about Akshay Paaji’s discipline in general in life, which I think is superb. But only those who have worked with him would know his commitment, his involvement and his dedication when he is working on a project. Having worked with him in past, I have seen that from very close quarters. In my opinion, it is this legacy that he leaves behind; this inspiring legacy, for hundreds and hundreds of people. Those who want to come and make acting a profession. They can learn a lot from that legacy, the commitment that he has displayed with every project that he does. I want to wish Akshay Paaji very best for another 30 years. Keep rocking Akshay Paaji.”

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Samrat Prithviraj has been directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi, who is best known for directing the television epic Chanakya and the critically acclaimed film Pinjar. Manushi Chhillar plays the role of King Prithviraj’s beloved Sanyogita and her launch is definitely one of the most awaited debuts of 2022. The film is set to release on June 3 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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“Professionally, What  A Year It Has Been For Me,” Raveena Tandon On Her Padma Shri

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Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tandon  feels  she is in a dream. “I woke  up  today to the  news that  I have been awarded the Padma Shri by  my Government. I felt all my years  of hard work  has  finally come to  fruition.I can’t wait to get  back to Mumbai.”

Raveena  is  in Bhopal attending a  wedding.  “I woke  up  on Thursday morning to the good news. My husband(film distributor Anil Thadani) who is in Mumbai had no clue about it. I had to inform him that his wife is now Padma Sri Raveena,” she laughs heartily.

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She then grows  melancholic. “The past one year has been a whirlwind  for me. Professionally, it couldn’t get any better. My webseries Aranyak on Netflix  and  then the bigscreen  blockbuster KGF 2 where I played one of the protagonists , became huge  successes.Sadly,it  was  also the year that  I lost my father(well-known producer-director Ravi Tandon). It was  the severest blow of my life.I am still processing the loss. The Padma Shri would have made  my Dad so proud.”

Remind her  she is  still young and already a Padma winner and Raveena expresses  her  happiness. “I guess I am lucky to have received the honour at the  midpoint of my life and career. I am also very happy that M M  Keeravani Sir has  also received the Padma Shri.His Naatu naatu has  the  world dancing to his tune. But even  before Naatu naatu he has done such exemplary work.”

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Getting nostalgic Raveena  says, “I started working when I was 17.I have done every kind of  cinema, balancing out a Chote Miyan  Bade Miya  with  a Shool, a Rakshak with a  Ghulam-e-Mustafa,  a Bulundi and a Khauff with a Daman and an Aks. It’s  always been  my endeavour to be be seen in escapism and  real cinema. Some people think dancing around trees  and  doing the masala  stuff is easy.  It is  not!  In fact  being real on screen is far easier.”

Raveena feels the  good days  are  back in the entertainment  industry. “I saw Pathaan and  I whistled  and clapped the loudest. It is  an out-and-out mass entertainer and bound to revive the  sagging fortunes  of  our industry.  While the Padma Shri is a personal triumph,  the success of Pathaan  is  a happy occasion for the entire industry.So yeah, I am on top of  the world,”

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Raveena’s fans  would like to know her khubsoorati  ka raaz.

She  laughs, “It’s nothing more than sleeping and eating right. I  try to eat  correctly. I have only  organic  food. More  importantly,I am happy and secure in life. If you are content within it is  bound show on your face.”

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