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Chauthi Koot Is So Real, It Makes You Scared To Be A Part Of Its Drama

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Chauthi Koot (Punjabi)

Starring: Suvinder Vicky, Kanwaljit Singh

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Directed by:  Gurvinder Singh

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So unconcerned is the filmmaker with cinematic scrupulosity that he forgets to go by the guidelines of How To Create A Masterpiece, and still creates one!

Chauthi Koot stuns us without trying. It opens on a rickety bus with two men in their 30s looking rushed , scared  and anxious. We silently follow them to the railway station where we see a train leave as they look at one another.

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“Now what?” one man says to the other.

It’s a question that encircles most of this amazingly austere , seriously restrained and brilliantly bridled study of Punjab during the state of militancy in the 1980s when the State, known for its bonhomie and balles balles, boiled over with  a seething rancour.This is the Punjab that we do not get to see in our films.

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Dark shadows lurk in the stark bare landscape filled with acres and acres of wounded acrimonious humanity.The fear is palpable.As we get drawn into the inner circle of the characters’ miserable crisis we are made to understand the true and full relevance of what it means to lose one’s freedom in the insane rush of politics .

Given the time-frame in which  the film unfolds one would expect the director to indulge in aggressive politicking.But militancy is not really the issue in Chauthi Koot.We hear cursory radio broadcasts about Operation Bluestar and Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination. But the mood of storytelling unfastens the theme from its politics.

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This profoundly unsentimental film explores the innermost recesses of  an individual’s loyalty when pushed into a corner.The frightened hounded individual’s dilemma is the crux of director Gurvinder Singh’s haunting study of desolation and loss during times of war. The characters driven by their apprehensions, signify that  curbed sense of panic after the  breakdown of the state machinery.

We meet the farmer Joginder(Suvinder Vicky, remarkably unobtrusive) and his family besieged by the  double fear of militant visits in the night and security personnel  during the day. They can’t decide which of the intruders are more dangerous.

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What makes the family’s dilemma seem so real and tenable is the absence of bravura in the telling of the tale.Director Gurvinder Singh strips down the narrative to the barest minimum of fuss and ostentation. The camera(Satya Rai Nagpaul)  moves through the rural household with calm stealth  taking in the sights and sounds so gently , we are sucked  into the sounds and sights with minimum flourish.

The narrative makes the barest possible use of the excellent background score, using the music not to enhance emotions but to gently and simply remind us that all said and done, this is a cinematic expression of a political circumstance which the State and its people lived through.

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And survived to tell the tale. Chauthi Koot is arguably the finest film on Punjab militancy, leaving behind such masterpieces if the genre as Gulzar’s(uneven) Maachis and Shonali Bose’s Amu. The beauty of the beast that is terror and militancy is that it brings out unplumbed depths of courage in ordinary citizen.Joginder’s courage comes from saying no to the militants when they ask that the family dog be put to sleep.

It is in keeping the canine  from death that the family preserves its sense of self.The  fear that lurks during the night-time when a State is under siege  is created with  extraordinary subtlety and mellowness in the film .

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There is fear and foreboding in the way the family walks and sleeps. Every gesture indicates an absence of certainty and presence of fear. Every move is filled with misgiving. Chauthi Koot brings back the troubled phase of separatism in Punjab with a refreshing absence of political prevarication. The location and the characters are so truthful as to dissolve the distance between the screen and the audience.

There is another story that the director has added on to the story of Joginder’s family. It is the story of two Hindu Punjabis travelling by train through the stressful hinterland.This sub-plot doesn’t really add up.And  understandably so.when a work of art attempts to  make sense of times when people lived under the shadow of terror. Chauthi Koot makes us privy to the crisis of those times when a  night-time knock on your door could mean death or a death-like state of frozen existence.

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We come away feeling troubled and guilty from this experience  for reasons that are not easy to discover. And even harder to justify.

Chauthi Koot opens on August 5.

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Why On  Earth Is Sushmita Sen Smoking A Cigar In Aarya’s First  Look?

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Aarya

Season 3  of Aarya is being shot as  you read this, and naturally Sushmita Sen is  super-kicked about it, so kicked that she has put  out a  video where she is seen  in the  best Lady Boss version of herself.

Alarmingly, she is seen puffing away at a  cigar, to  complete her Badass Lady Boss image.

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 There was a  time when women smoking  cigarettes  in Hindi cinema signaled vampishness. If a female actor was  shown smoking it meant she had evil designs  over the  hero, and life in general.

 Sushmita being Sushmita, a cigarette won’t do. A  cigar it is, to go with her formidable image. The last Bollywood actor I saw smoking a cigar  on screen was Premnath in the 1970s. Back then so  many  people didn’t die of cancer  by smoking.

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 These are  different far more dangerous  and deadly times.

Sushmita is an iconic  actor.She  needs to be more careful about the image  she projects . Smoking  a  cigar doesn’t  enhance a woman’s(or a  man’s) muscle power. Nor does it make her look cool.

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About shooting for the third season of Aarya  Sushmita says, “Aarya is synonymous with my name.  I have lived as Aarya for two whole seasons and the love received by the audiences has only encouraged me to do more. Walking on the sets of Aarya Season 3 makes me feel at home and gives me  a sense of empowerment. I’m grateful to the entire team at Disney+ Hotstar, Ram Madhvani Films and Endemol Shine India for the vision of creating Aarya and taking it to newer heights with every season.”

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Shah Rukh, Deepika, John Will Meet The Media  On Monday At 4 pm(But There’s  A Catch)

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Pathaan

Pathaan has effectually discredited the  efficacy  of media interactions to promote  a  film. The  film’s lead actors Shah Rukh  Khan, Deepika Padukone  and John Abraham did not conduct any  press or portal interviews  to  promote the  film.

And  yet Pathaan  is  a blockbuster.

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 This  weekend  the Pathaan producer Aditya  Chopra  of  Yash Raj Films  took a call on behalf  of  the Pathaan team  to do one media  meet at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai  on Monday January 30 at 4 pm.

The  three principal actors  and  director Siddharth Malhotra  will address  the  media.

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 But  here’s the catch: the media will not be allowed to ask any questions. There will be no  Q& A s or  one-on-one  interactions.This  basically means that the  Pathaan  team will  have an opportunity to  say what it wants  to the media. But the  media will have no say.

Make what  you will of this  one-way traffic.

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A  source close  to Yash Raj informs  me that this is  the   pattern  regarding the media that  Yash Raj will follow for  future  releases: no  press meets  no promotional  engagements.

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Fake Projects of Pathaan Director Being Planted In Media

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Pathaan

Siddharth Anand Denies Considering  Any Project With  Deepak Mukut

A  word of caution to those marketing and publicity wizkids  who think  it’s okay to  plant fake stories  on (fake) projects  with the Pathaan director.

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 It is  not.

Such baseless announcements  are meant only to  raise  the equity  of the  producers  with whom Siddharth   Anand’s name is  linked. One  such  producer whose name  has cropped up after the  spectacular success of  Pathaan is  Deepak Mukut.

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There were  reports  everywhere that Siddharth Anand’s next would  be with Mukut.

Turned out to be a false rumour.

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A  source in the  know informs, “Siddharth now has to complete Fighter  starring Hrithik Roshan and  Deepika Padukone  for Yash Raj.Then  he  is   committed to direct the sequel to War 2 for  Yash Raj films.  They will then start  work on the  next film in the Pathaan  franchise. There is no scope  or  room for any outside  projects  for Siddharth Anand. So every announcement  that  you read of a  new film  to be  directed by Siddharth Anand  for an  outside  producer is likely to  be  a hundred  percent fake.”

When I asked Siddharth Anand  about the  supposed project  with  producer Deepak Mukut he promptly replied,  “NOT AT ALL.”

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Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

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Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

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Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

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The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

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