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Bhaukaal’s Season 2: Back Into UP’s Violent Hinterland

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Bhaukaal 2(MX Player, 10 Episodes)

Starring Mohit Raina, Sidddhant Kapoor, Ajay Chaudhary,  Bidita Bag, Anil Dhawan

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Directed  by   Jatin Wagle

Rating: ***

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Once upon  a time in the wasteland that was the cow belt , there lived certain lawmakers who took their jobs seriously and made every effort to eradicate  crime  from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. At present, the crime rates  in the two States is relatively low. This doesn’t prevent   digital directors to  repeatedly run off into the  Northern region for violent bouts  of lawless anger, anchored  by  what  looks  reams  of raw aggression with  nary a  break  for any genuine exploration of the emotional factors  that trigger  off  the  characters’ violent  behaviour.

One   of the salient  villains in Season 2 of Bhaukaal  is Pinto  Pehelwan,played with potbellied  acerbity  by Pradeep Nagar. What makes  Pinto so ruthless? Is it the  fiercely competitive  spirit  of gang wars:  the  his-gun-is-bigger-than-mine  performing  anxiety?  Be as  it might—and might, as we all know  is right in gang wars—Pinto and his  perverse violence occupies  considerable space  in the  10-episode bloodbath.

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Pinto  is  almost always shown  in  the  company  of  his  sibling  Chintu, played by Siddhant Kapoor who is typecast  as a slimy smalltime  sociopath  a  role he can perform with his eyes closed.I wonder what Siddhant will tell his children when  they sit down to watch what their father did.

The actors  in Bhaukaal 2  know their job. They  go for the  kill with  sanguinary skill. There are so many villains  on endless mass-killing  sprees it becomes hard  to  a pick a side. If Pinto/Chintu are  despicable, Ashfaq(a rival gangster  played with an interesting sliver of sophistication by Ajay Singh  Chaudhary) is  only slightly less loathsome. And  the late  Bikramjeet Kanwarpal(who passed away last year and to whom this series is  thoughtfully dedicated) as  Rana  the  quietly menacing criminal  politician, shows us who the real  boss is.

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The  only important female role in this  maelstrom  of mayhem and machismo is Bidita Bag. As Nazneen who crosses  floors from one gang  to another via marriage  ,she  shows way too much cleavage  to be treated as one of the  sharpshooting  villains.

So topheavy is  the  villainous caucus  that I am afraid, the  our-cop hero Navin Sikhera   just doesn’t stand a  chance. He  and his  team of khak- clad praise-vardi  bravehearts  come across  as surprisingly lame   in comparison with the  villains whose bestial binge  of  badass butchery will make you roll your eyes, whenever they don’t make your stomachs  churn.

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Mohit Raina’s  Sikhera  comes across as surprisingly ineffective. The pandemic seems  to have added some extra weight  to Raina’s  presence. I expected to see more of the agile  angry  lawmaker from Season 1. But this time  Sikhera  seems tired and  dissociated from the anarchy that rules Muazffarnagar.Maybe he secretly given up.

Sikhera’s lieutenants Bhaati (Digambar Prasad), Balram (Firoz Khan), Vinod (Amitt Singh), Maruti (Ravishankar Pandey), Pawan (Rohan Verma) come  across as  far morec invested  in the  pledge to make  Uttar Pradesh  crime-free. An idyllic scenario which  would not please the makers  of this familiar trigger-happy  tale of two shitties, brothers in arms who come to suitably sticky ends.

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Though the  violence may at times seem  excessive Bhaukaal’s Season 2 brings the familiar tropes of  internecine  gangwars  in the cowbelt, all under the same heaving roof. There is  a sequence towards the end where we see the pernicious Pinto and his wife  cradling their baby in  their hands.The “baby”  is  actually just  a doll.

But at the  end of the show,  our cop-hero and his  wife are shown with a real baby.

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Crime in this  way, is subconsciously shown  to be a self defeating  sterile road to  nowhere.If you want your lineage  to  continue  you know which side  you need  to be on, no matter how adventurous  the other  side may look. Otherwise you end  up with  no  legacy, only  a doll doubling  up as a  baby.

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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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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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