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Dear Sonam Kapoor,Wishing You A Terrific Married Life Ahead

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I can’t believe Sonam  is  actually getting married. When I first saw her  she was  a little  more than a child  on  the sets  of  Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s  Black, bustling around trying to make  herself useful.Dressed in  a suitably…umm…black Salwar-Kameez she was every inch the functional assistant on the set.

Clearly she was  enjoying the part, though an edge of nervous anxiety was evident.

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Shouting across the  room to ask a slightly noisy junior artiste to calm down or running across to give the director his tea, she was touchingly eager  to make  herself useful. Sanjay and I would look at each other and smile at her enthusiasm.

During breaks she would run  to the film’s leading lady Rani for some girlie gossip. Rani was Sonam’s  father Anil Kapoor’s heroine and  though there was  some gossip about them  I saw no awkwardness between the two girls as they shared breaktime chana and tea. Rani asked me  to  join in.

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 The second time when I  met Sonam she was my friend Sanjay Bhansali’s heroine. Both Ranbir and Sonam came to the Taj Lands End with Sanjay to meet me , my daughter , my niece and  nephew. Sonam was  warm  but not excessively so. She was  vibrant and childlike. In her enthusiasm , she had dropped one  of  her ear rings in  our hotel room.

At dinner Ranbir was given the   chore of ordering food . He ordered  enough food for a famished battalion  at the  war front.Lots of wastage .Sonam preferred  to just chat and be  nice to the children.When it comes to being friendly and reaching  out she remains naturally gregarious, like her father(and unlike her  brother).

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A   day  before the  premiere  of Saawariya we were all at a  Chinese restaurant in  Mumbai  celebrating my daughter’s birthday.Sonam was  the only one thoughtful enough to  bring her a  present.

Most importantly unlike  her co-star Ranbir Kapoor  in Saawariya she  kept her relations with me  going   over the years.

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 Doing Saawariya was  not easy for Sonam. She had to  work hard to get her lines and scenes right.I remember sitting  and watching for hours while she tried to  master a few steps for a song. Ranbir had  got them right in  the  first take.Sonam was struggling with her steps.She was  close to  tears .We  sat watching  in misery.Adding to my woe was the  fact  that Sonam’s  sister Rhea insisted on calling me  ‘Uncle’

Eventually there came  a point in the shooting when  Sanjay was  ready to shut down the film. His sister Bela and  I had to intervene.

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Finally after Saawariya released Sonam was compared with the legendary Waheeda Rehman.

But more than any predecessor I think Sonam  is her own  person. Self-willed and extremely conscious of  her image as a fashionista, she doesn’t take her life in the movies to be  her raison d’etre.  Over the  years  she has  learnt to  take her acting career seriously.

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 I think Neerja was a turning-point in Sonam’s career. Veere Di Wedding which comes just after Sonam di Wedding would amplify her  keen desire to  remain an active  actress after marriage. Nothing will change  for Sonam after marriage. She will continue  to be the fashion queen, albeit one whose husband will be cheering for her as she walks  the  ramp in every  fashion pageant  held in Paris and  Pathankot.

I can only wish  a blissful wedded life for Sonam. She  deserves

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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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