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Atif Aslam Refuses To Promote His Bollywood Song

Subhash K . Jha

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Pakistani singer Atif Aslam has refused to promote his song Sehami  hai dhadkan in Sudhir Mishra’s Daas Dev, leaving the young music director  Vipin Patwa confused,  anxious and  somewhat  angry.

Says Vipin, “I am relatively new to Hindi cinema , just a small-town boy taking baby steps in showbiz.And I can  ill-afford these controversies at such an early stage  of  my career.This is my second song by a  Pakistani singer to  have gotten in the crossfire.Earlier in  the  film Laali Ke Shaadi Mein Laddoo Deewana, Rahet Fateh Ali Khan Saab had a sung a  song for me. That too had  got into a crisis. Now the Atif number in Daas Dev.”

Vipin says Aatif Aslam has dissociated  himself from his own song.  “Atif was  fine while recording it. But when  singer-politicianBaabul Supriyo made  the comments that Pakistani artistes should stay away from Bollywood Atif simply cut himself  off.”

Vipin  did have a talk with Atif. “But he was tight-lipped. He wouldn’t tell me why he decided to  stay away from promoting his song. I feel his hands are tied. Rather his voice is gagged. Baabul’s  statement made the situation worse.”

 Vipin feels music and  the arts should be  freed from politics. “I feel music has no borders. In  the past we’ve always welcomedRahat Fateh ali Khan , Atif Aslam and  many other singers from Pakistan.Abb kya ho gaya? You say there is escalated tension at the border. But when I recorded Sehmi hai dhadkan with Atif things were  not so bad between the two countries. Now of course everybody is trying to prove his nationalism  by clamouring to ban Pakistani artistes.”

 Vipin won’t be cowed down. “If  in the future I feel a Pakistani voice suits my song I will use it. Though the singer cannot come to India  his song can be heard anywhere anytime. There are so  many listeners on  youtube wanting to know why Atif has refused to promote the songs.  I think Baabul’s statements shook Atif.”

Baabu Supriyo feels this tantrum from across the border is  a warning to Indian composers. “If this is how he’s behaving with  filmmakers  in India  who have braved the national backlash to invite Pakistani artistes to  then we  have a strong case for  alifetimeban on  Atif. I suggest that Sudhir Mishra and the music composer  get the song dubbed by any singer from those umpteenth musical reality shows on television. If  the composition is good the  song will be  a hit.”

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10 Reasons Why Notebook Looks Lucratively Dreamy

Subhash K . Jha

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  1. Because 56 years ago Vijay Anand made the breezy romantic musical Tere Ghar Ke Samne with Dev Anand and Nutan. Now Nutan’s granddaughter Pranutan makes her screen debut with a film that seems inspired by Vijay Anand’s romantic vision of bridled ebullience and his propensity to understate romance by moving across the characters’ feelings on tiptoes.
  2. Nitin Kakkar who directs Notebook has earlier done Filmistaan which won the National award.But everyone has forgotton Mitron,the Jackie Bhagnani starrer that Nitin directed last year.A grossly underrated film it got no audience because of its unattractive cast.But I suggest you get a DVD of Mitron to know what Kakkar can do.Here’s a director who compels us to take a look beyond the obvious.
  3. Because this is Salman Khan’s baby. He has supervised every department in the film, handled the film with rare care. Nothing has been left to chance. Salman wants the newcomers Zaheer Iqbal and Pranutan to get the perfect launch. Not like the sloppy deal Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty got while doing a remake of Hero.
  4. Zaheer Iqbal was signed on the spot when Salman spotted him at a do. No audition, no reading, no rehearsal. Salman had a gut feeling this time. So what of Zaheer is from a film family? So what if he’s a first-generation actor? So impressed is Salman with Zaheer that he already wants to do another film with him.Ditto Pranutan whom he signed without a thought.
  5. Unconfirmed rumours insist that Salman wants Zaheer and Pranutan in a remake of Salman’s iconic launch pad Maine Pyar Kiya.
  6. Notebook is not a remake . It is an original story and it is set in Kashmir. Salman has craved for years to do romantic film set in Kashmir.So impressed was he with the luminous landscape that he has decided to shoot portions of Inshallah with director Sanjay Bhansali in Kashmir.
  7. Pranutan’s father Mohnish Bahl wants to turn director for a film starring his daughter . For years his close friends including Salman have been urging Bahl to take the plunge. But Mohnish had decided if he ever turned director it would be for his daughter.Beti late than never.
  8. Will Salman make an appearance in Notebook? Unlikely. They have shot a song . But Salman feels his presence would distract from the sheer luminosity of the young new pair. Zaheer and Pranutan are already being seen as the Ishaan-Sara of 2020, newcomers who will take all the debutant awards in 2020. Incidentally Salman had won the Filmfare male debut award in 1990. None of his protégées have been thus honoured so far.
  9. Because Notebook has no competition this Friday. The jungle adventure Junglee looks like something Shammi Kapoor would have done under the influence of a hallucinatory drug.
  10. Because the film’s title has an instant-recall value.The 2004 Hollywood romance named The Notebook featuring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams is one of the most successful romantic films of all times.

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Radha Ravi Is A Repeat Offender, Vishal Krishna Lashes Out

Subhash K . Jha

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Veteran  Tamil  actor and DMK member  Radha  Ravi’s  sickening misogyny was on  full display on a public  platform when he  ridiculed  actress Nayanthara  .

Radha Ravi said, “Nayanthara acts as a ghost, and then she goes on to act as Sita as well. She acts as Sita! Earlier, to play the role of a goddess, they would look for [someone like] KR Vijaya. Now, anyone can be cast to play a goddess. They can cast someone who you want to pray to when you look at them, they can also cast someone you want to call towards you when you see them!”

While the DMK has acted swiftly by  dismissing  Radha from the party, the Tamil film  industry  plans to  completely boycott the  misogynist actor.

 Tamil star-actor  Vishal Krishna  who is Vice President  of  the Tamil  Film Producers’ Council(TFPC)  feels it’s  time  to take  the strongest action against  people in  positions  of responsibility who speak  disrespectfully of women.

Says  Vishal, “This  senior actor  is no stranger  to offensive  suggestive remarks  about women. This  is  not  the  first time he  has spoken like this, nor is it  the last time unless we take strong action against him. He  has done this  time and again.”

Vishal feels those who  clapped at  the  event when Ravi spoke should also be condemned. “If you enjoy women being insulted then you are no less misogynist than the person talking rubbish about a woman.”

Richa Chadha  who has worked recently  in  the South  on a  bio-pic  on controversial actress  Shakeela  says she  has encountered  nothing  but the utmost respect  from every  quarters.

Says Richa, “I applaud the DMK party for suspending him. Anyone that makes disrespectful comments about women, cannot be excused. Everyday sexism and blatant misogyny have no place in a modern society.”

Adds veteran Tamil actress Khushboo, “Radha Ravi’s comments  were  absolutely distasteful, shocked by his statement.When men fail at words they resort to body shaming and character assassinate,  appalled by his words.”

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Mahesh Babu: “I Was Like, Wow”

Subhash K . Jha

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The wax statue of Mahesh Babu that was flown from Singapore to Hyderabad for a day and displayed at the AMB Cineplex on Monday, had Mahesh’s children Gautam and Sitara enthralled..

“They couldn’t believe their eyes. Neither could I. It was so lifelike. Hats off to those artistes who designed the statue.Perhaps we need to get a bit more appreciative of those wonderful creators who toil from behind the scenes. There is the hand of so many people in a success story,” sighs Mahesh Babu’s better-wife Namrata.

Mahesh Babu , forever shy and self deprecating has to admit he was impressed by his statue. “When I first saw the wax figure, I was like , Wow!The artists have done such a good job with it. I felt I was standing next to my long-lost identical twin brother.Honestly, it was also quite freaky to stand next to it initially. I had imagined the figure but the resemblance is so bang-on. I am amazed and thrilled with the outcome.”

Mahesh feels it’s up to the people who have made him a success to appreciate the wax work. “I can’t stand around looking at myself. This wonderful recognition is a manifestation of all the love I’ve received from my audience. I hope I never disappoint them.”

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Bhumi Pednekar : “It Feels Good To Be Recognized”

Subhash K . Jha

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From playing Ayushmann Khurrana’s overweight feisty wife in Dum Lagake Haisha to his svelte and slim Significant Other in the forthcoming Bala, Bhumi Pednekar has come a long way in just 4 years.

Has it been easy?

Bhumi clears her throat, pauses and answers ‘no’ with a laugh. “Of course it hasn’t been easy . It’s never easy for an actor who doesn’t have connections in the film industry and who has to start from scratch. Of course I am from Mumbai .But no one in my family is connected to the film industry. And to be now doing the kind of films that I want to, on my own terms, that’s quite something for me.”

Bhumi’s roster of roles is indeed quite impressive. “I’m working with directors whom I consider to be among the best talent we have.Whether it is Alankrita Shrivastava in Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Anurag Kashyap in Saand Ki Aankh, Amar Kaushik in Bala or Mudassar Aziz in Pati Patni Aur Woh…these are directors I believe in, as much as theyI believe in me”

Bhumi is also very proud of Sonechiriya. “Agreed it didn’t work at the boxoffice. But I believe Sonechiriya is a film that will be recalled with much pride and respect many years from now. We all worked very hard to make it a very special work. And I consider the director Abhishek Sir to be a genius.”

The actress who exuded a Smita Patil kind of earthy passion in Sonechiriya says, “To be compared with Smitaji, that’s a huge compliment. For me every role I pick has to take me to a place where I haven’t been before.I am proud to be associated with films that allow me to portray characters at the grassroot.Women speciallyin rural India have to undergo such suffering and pain. It is important for our cinema to address their pain anger and frustrations.”

However Bhumi says she is open to playing a typical singing dancing heroine. “Like I said , I am a Mumbai girl.I would love to play an urban working girl.”

Misconceptions about Bhumi started from the time she played an overweight girl in her debut film. Audiences and sections of the film industry presumed she actually had weight issues when in fact she shed all the extra kilos after the release of Dum Lagake Haisha.

In her next release Saand Ki Aankh she again plays a rustic character, triggering off speculation on her background. “I don’t mind being seen in a certain way as long as I get to play roles of substance. And I am not talking about the footage I am provided. In Gully Boy it was all about Ranveer Singh and the boys. But look at how Alia Bhatt created her own space in the narrative. That’s the kind of impact I want to create. People should remember my characters, not the number of scenes I had in every film. I hope to leave a legacy behind.”

For now there is Bhumi sharing screen space with Tapsee Pannu in Saand Ki Aankh, and they get along like a house on fire. “This is a film about female empowerment sisterhood and kinship. It was very important for both us to get along. Luckily we hit it off from Day 1.”

Bhumi admits most of her friends are from outside the film industry. “I rely completely on my close circle of family and friends for feedback and emotional sustenance. My friends have been with me from before I became an actor. They like everything I do on screen. So let’s just forget about honest feedback.”

So who does she play in Pati Patni Aur Woh, the patni or the woh?

Bhumi laughs, “That you will have to find out for yourself. All I can say is, this is a very contemporary remake of the classic comedy film.Kartik Aryan, Ananya Pandey and I play characters of today. Very contemporary, believable and likeable. One can’t live in the past. Cinema has to move with the times.”

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Shatrughan Sinha: “Situation Changes, Location Remains The Same”

Subhash K . Jha

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Shatrughan-Sinha

 The  irrepressible Shatrughan Sinha  may have lost the BJP seat in Patna to  Ravi Shankar Prasad.

 But is he sulking  about it  ? Far from  it!.

Sinha says  the move was  long due, “The  only reason why I stayed  on  at  the BJP in spite  of repeated snubs is because  of my loyalty. I had vowed I’d not move until I was told to. The  time to make  the  move is now.”

And Shatruji  says he’s very happy  to  go. “Or perhaps, ‘go’ is not the  right  word. The  situation may change.  The  BJP is fielding a dear  friend of mine Ravi Shankar Prasad in my place  from my constituency. Buy I will be contesting elections  from my constituency only. Thanks to the  love and support of  the Bihar junta for  years, I’ve  always emerged victorious  from  there.Now we will know whom the  public voted the  Party or me. By the  grace of God I will win again  from Patna. You can take  away my seat. But you can’t take away the  love  of my people  from me. Having said that  I must say, I have no ill-will  towards Ravi Shankar Prasad. He  is an old friend.And I wish him all  the best. May  the best man win.”

While bidding adieu to  the  Bhartiya Janata Party, Shatruji lets  out how he has suffered in silence as  the part  high-command  disrespected  the senior leaders  of  the party. “Look at  how they behaved with the very respected Mr Yashwant Sinha.Virtually pushed him out  of  the party. And now L K  Advaniji who was sidelined  for years has retired from elections at  the same time when I’ve finally moved  out of the BJP. The Party could have shown some grace towards the great leader by offering a  ticket  for  his electoral constituency  to Advaniji’s daughter Pratibha  or  sonJayant.But of course that’s too much to expect.”
At the moment Shatruji refuses  to divulge the political party he is  joining.But whispers  suggest he’s  been chosen  by the Congress I.  “Let the heat and dust settle down. In  a few days you will know. At  the moment I want  to thank all  the  leaders  of the opposition  Mamta Bannerjee, ArvindKejriwal  and  my family friend Laloo Yadav for standing by me.”

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Raazi, Badhaai Ho Walk Away With The Lion’s Share

Subhash K . Jha

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The Filmfare awards held on Saturday night threw forward some surprises. Neena Gupta and Surekha Sikri both above 50, walked away with the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards, respectively, for Badhaai Ho.

Alia Bhatt beat the other favourite Deepika Padukone to the Best Actress award in the popular section.Richly deserved , except for the fact that both Raazi and Badhaai Ho are produced by Junglee Pictures a production company owned by the Times Of India group which does the Filmfare awards.

Love yourself, is a good ideology to follow.

This spot of selfcongratulation may seem a little odd to those who believe in free and fair recognitions. But nonetheless both Raazi and Badhaai Ho are richly deserving of their awards.

With Meghna Gulzar walking away with the Best Director award for Raazi, girl power seemed amply represented with artistes from every generation Surekha Sikri(70+), Neena Gupta(60 +), Megha Gulzar(40+) and Alia Bhatt(20 +) walking home victoriously…

Slow applause.

Surprisingly Meghna’s Raazi took not only the Best Director but also the Best Film leaving the Padmaavat team fuming .

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt struck a TRP-swooping pose on stage as they clutched the Best Actor(Sanju) and Best Actress(Raazi) trophy, incidentally both real-life characters.Alia confessed she loved Ranbir.

Surely the mother of all sponsored moments.

As for the awards on the whole, they stuck the right chord ,largely honoring merit rather than the TRPs.

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T Series Prepones Paagalpanti, Postpones Taanaji

Subhash K . Jha

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Anil Kapoor before Ajay Devgan . Or so it seems as far as the Indian boxoffice is concerned. The mad rush to catch a relatively uncrowded Friday has reached a frenzy in the film industry.

Releases are being pulled out and re-scheduled at the eleventh hour.We now hear Anees Bazmi’s comedy Paagalpanti which was to release early next year, will now release on 22 November this year. while the grand historical Taanaji The Unsung Warrior slated for release in December has now been moved to January 10.

The reason for the shift is practical and commercial.

Says a well-placed source from T series(who are producers on both projects), “After Total Dhamaal a really crazy comedy featuring Anil Kapoor is just what audience needs to drive away its blues.T series knows it’s got a winning project on their hands.As for Taanaji the film is a huge historical with a staggering canvas. The special affects in the war scenes will take longer than the producers thought. Jaldi kya hai?(what’s the hurry?). Besides, Ajay Devgan already has two big releases this year: Total Dhamaal(which is already released and declared a superhit) and De De Pyar De(which opens in May 2019).”

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Kashmir Is Again A Favourite Of Our Filmmakers

Subhash K . Jha

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Is it a coincidence that three Hindi films within a month have been located in the troubled Valley, the paradise on earth,Jammu & Kashmir?

A few weeks ago Aijaz Khan’s Hamid which was about a little Kashmiri boy’s search for his missing father, was shot entirely in Kashmir.

This week director Nitin Kakkar’s Notebook takes us on a romantic excursion through Kashmir.Can’t say, never a Dal moment.

The week after Notebook we have Ashvin Kumar’s controversial No Fathers In Kashmir which again is filmed entirely in Kashmir.

While Hamid and No Fathers In Kashmir delve into the complex dynamics of militancy Notebook is a pure love story set in Kashmir, like Shakti Samanta’s Kashmir Ki Kali and Suraj Prakash’s Jab Jab Phool Khile.

Sun-dappled and rose-tinted Notebook gives out the feeling of zero strife and militancy in the Valley.

Alia Bhatt who shot in Kashmir for Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi says the Valley is truly paradise on earth. “It was a like a dream shooting there. There was absolutely no tension. I’d like to go back again, this time for a holiday.”

With Bollywood again looking towards Kashmir as ‘paradise on earth’ perhaps we can hope to see more films capturing Kashmir in all its beauteous glory rather than a place of dark desperate violence.

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Promoting Urdu, But No Javed Akhtar?

Subhash K . Jha

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Javed Akhtar

The decision  taken by  The National Council  For  The Promotion  Of Urdu Languages  to use Salman Khan,Shah  Rukh Khan and Katrina  Kaif to promote the  Urdu language has  triggered off a wave  of  outraged protest.

The  social media has  rightly ridiculed  the decision, pointing at Javed Akhtar among  the people most qualified  to promote the  language as he can both read and  write Urdu fluently(which  Shabana Azmi cannot).

When contacted Javed Saab  refrained from comment as this matter involves his former creative  partner Salim  Khan’s son Salman who  it must be  mentioned  can’t speak  or write  Urdu and pronounces  ‘Khan’ as ‘Caan’.Shah Rukh speaks Urdu  but cannot write it. Katrina  can’t speak two lines of Hindi at one go.

If you ask me this  is  the lowest  kind of  communal appeasement and  the worst  sort of  reflex action . Those who decided that these three stars(Salman,  Shah Rukh , Katrina) must promote Urdu just checked their  surnames  and their  box office ratings. The level of  presumption in the selection is alarming.

 Why should you  presume that Shah Rukh,Salman and Katrina  can even speak  or write Urdu  on the basis  of their  religion? You are presuming that every Muslim reads  and writes Urdu and that Urdu is restricted  to  Muslims only. But  a language is not about religion. It’s about region. Gulzar Saab  is not Muslim.  But he  can  read and  write Urdu fluently. Dharmendra  writes his  poetry in fluent Urdu. Manoj Kumar is also  fluent in Urdu. Why  shouldn’t these distinguished cinema personalities  be promoting Urdu?

It seems  like  nothing  but  a pathetic attempt to divide the  country  on  the basis  of language. 

It  happened  in Pakistan when they tried  to make everyone  speak in Urdu. But a large  chunk of the population chose  to speak Bangla .Rather than bow to  the uniform code of language  they fought for their freedom. And Bangladesh was born.If you  try to restrict Urdu to the Muslim community you are playing  the worst  kind of divisive politics.

Coming back to  Javed Akhtar, who  better  qualified than he  to promote  the Urdu language? He is secular in the  truest sense  of the word. He can write songs in  virile  Urdu as well in  fluent Hindi. This  is  the same poet par excellence who  wrote the  Holi song  Radha kaise na jale in  pur Braj bhasha and  the  Urdu ghazal  Shahr Ke Dukan-Daro Karobar-E-Ulfat Men Suud Kya Ziyan Kya Hai Tum Na Jaan Paoge without ever  letting the language come  in  the way of his thought  process.

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After New Zealand Would Hotel Mumbai Be Banned In India As Well?

Subhash K . Jha

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After  the horrific  attack on  a mosque  in  New Zealand  the  NZ government has  banned  the  theatrical  screening  of  Anthony Maras’  Hotel Mumbai, the deeply  disturbing haunting and finally rewarding butdamnifying  movie about the 26/11  attacks on  the  Taj Hotel in Mumbai which left 164 dead and many more scared and scarred for life.

Now the  film is all set to release  in India  on March 29.

Hotel  Mumbai  is  a relevant  film. But it’s also dangerous to show Muslims as radicalized  terrorists. The  prime minister of  New Zealand realized what kind of global chaos  inverted extremism can lead to. What  if the white population  of  the world takes up  arms against Muslims  across  the world?  This is a new  danger that has now permeated  into the  global scourge  of  terrorism.

In Bollywood historical films  like Padmaavat and Kesari show Muslims as red-eyed fanatics plundering looting and killing with sadistic glee.  This may  not be  the  best method to portray extremism in the context of  the lurking danger  of  white radicalization.

 The very popular  Armie Hammer  who plays a white American married to Muslim woman(Iranian  actressNazneen Bonaidi) has gone to  great lengths in his  promotional  interviews  to separate the Muslim  population  from radicalized Muslims. The film’s Iranian  leading lady has also repeatedly asserted that she would  never part of any film that insults  the Muslim  community.

But then  the reality  of the Muslim population’s  relationship with the  Great White World  has been  thoroughly  exposed  in the NZ shooting. The NZ prime minister has  banned the  playing of  the video that the NZ attacker  recorded while shooting his  victims. The possession  of, and even  the playing of  the live recording of  the NZ massacre is  illegal in the  country.

Hotel Mumbai  uses   the  tape transcripts  of conversations  of the terrorists and their family and their  masters. Should that be allowed? Should  the  Indian  censor board step in and  clean   out  the film, ensure that Muslims are  not seen as the enemy  and  that there  is  a line dividing  Muslims  from extremists which most Muslims  never dream  of crossing.

Anupam Kher  who plays  the pivotal role  of  the  Taj chef Hemant Oberoi feels Hotel Mumbai has nothing to send  out wrong signals  about the Muslim population. “It is  about a  situation and an incident that is  not forgotten the worldover. No one blamed any community or section of civilians  for what happened  on 26/11. I don’t think that has changed.”

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