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Gurgaon Movie Review: It Is A Blood-Soaked Shakespearean Parable On Crime & Redemption!

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Starring: Pankaj Tripathy, Akshay Oberoi, Ragini Khanna,Aamir Bashir

Directed by: Shankar Raman

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Rating: ****(4 Stars)

The gleaming glittering surfaces of Gurgaon which stands between the violent hinterland of  Haryana  and  the Capital politics of Delhi , renders itself with ironic radiance  to the themes of entrepreneurial greed and violence in cinema . Atul Sabharwal’s Aurangzeb was an underrated attempt at understanding the strife that controls the monstrous affluence of the constantly-evolving region.

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Director Shankar Raman’s Gurgaon  gets it right immediately and ineradicably. This  aland of opportunity, and opportunism.There is a sense of  immediacy and doom in  the storytelling which coil themselves around the viewer from the first frame in  such a persuasive  manner that we are sucked into the tale although some of what happens here is done more for effect than out of an inner conviction.

But the absence of credibility never  comes in the way of the storytelling that achieves an  unconditional littoral of pounding impact even when we see the bullet coming. Gurgaon reaches into the darkest interiors of its character’s yearnings and is not afraid to come up with unsavoury home-truths.

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Pankaj Tripathy, playing a  Brando-esque business tycoon whose legitimate professional activities barely conceals his inner world of simmering  murkiness, sets the pace for other actors to  follow.

Tripathy who has so far played only economically challenged desperados with a touch of humour and irony , plunges into  his first truly dark role(from the Dhoti to  the Dressing Gown, so to speak)  with a vengeful intensity bringing to the patriarch’s part a Hamletian ambition guilt and destruction that never overwhelm  the narrative.Tripathy’s Kehri Singh is a study in unscrupulous self-advancement. He doesn’t hesitate to brutally kill his brother. But is  a doting fussing father to  his foreign-returned daughter Preet(played with relative effeteness by Ragini Khanna).

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But it’s Akshay oberoi playing the outcast son who steals the thunder lighting and what-not. It’s a big-bang performance , implosive and bursting at the seams with unspoken bitterness. Oberoi plays  the truant son(a cliché in the crime genre) with much empathy and little compassion. In one sequence we see  him brutally violate  a prostitute in  a bath tub.We know what levels  of violence Nikki is cabable of.

Nikki doesn’t disappoint.

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While Tripathy and Oberoi tower above the rest of the cast in the skyscraping crime drama,  there is no dearth of engrossing performances throughout  the simmering stunning span  of the tense storytelling. In fact one  of  this remarkably tactile thriller’s USPs is its progressive tumble  of interesting characters. About 35-40 minutes into the film we meet a young mild-mannered South Indian  rock musician Anand Murthy(Srinivas Sunderrajan).

We don’t know at that point of  time how intimately Anand will get connected to the awful crimes that mankind often commits against his own  blood.A little later we meet a small-time hired killer Jonty(played with brilliant brio by YogiSingha).Jonty joins  the jamboree  of violence  like  a stranger thumbing a ride to Hell.  Midway in the heaving overtures to create an organic heft in the narrative, a close relative of the family Bhupi(played with grit and  rigour by Aamir Bashmir)  shows up in what is known among commercial filmmakers as  ‘interval-point dhamaka.’

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Do your  business and come back quickly.

Where do these desperate specimens of crime-committing renegades  come from?  Gurgaon trails the bloodied path with diligent persuasiveness. It doesn’t flinch from uncomfortable  family  secrets .And when these secrets tumble out in anunstoppered flow,  the narrative sighs in deep languor while the characters make  a mess that they can never hope to clean up.

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Till the very end of this violent saga of internecine devastation,we are given clues and glimpses into minds and hearts that are governed by greed and felled by opportunism. The editing(Shan Mohamed)  gives the narrative the appearance of a wound-up clenched crisis . The cinematographer Vivek Shah captures  the city of ambition, greed and destruction with a flamboyance that secretes a deep hurt and wound.

These are characters born to doom. God bless them.

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Nutella India signs Bollywood Superstar Ranveer Singh to promote the brand across India

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Ranveer Singh

Nutella, the original and popular hazelnut cocoa spread brand of Ferrero, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sweet-packaged products, has signed Bollywood superstar Ranveer Singh as its brand endorser for India market.

By coming on board as a brand representative for India, the superstar will promote the Nutella brand across digital and offline marketing channels as well as be an active part of their various campaigns.

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Nutella® India made the announcement in collaboration with the pan-India star Ranveer Singh’s social pages through an entertaining video, where the actor is seen engaging in a rapid-fire round on ‘what comes to my mind when….’ and proclaims his love for the brand.

 Ranveer Singh comments, “I am excited to announce my association with Nutella®. Nutella® has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve been a fan ever since I was a child and my love for it has only grown over the years. I am stoked to be part of the Nutella journey in India and help bring alive their vision of making tasty breakfast and desserts.”

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The Bollywood star, whose love for Nutella is no secret, will be launching the World Nutella® Day celebrations this year with fans.

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Rakesh Roshan: “Everything I  Know  About Acting & Direction, I Learnt From K Vishwanathji”

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Rakesh Roshan

The  mighty moviemaker K Vishwanath who  was to Telugu cinema what  Satyajit Ray  was  to Bengali cinema,  passed  away on February 2,leaving behind a luminous  legacy.

Acto-director Rakesh Roshan  who had  the  rare honour of working  in four projects  with  Vishwanath recalls him with tremendous respect. “Everything I know  about acting and  direction I learnt from  him. He was  a stalwart , an institution, and so passionate about his work. I had the privilege  of being directed  by him in two films Aurat Aurat Aurat  and Shubh Kamna. He would show  his actors  exactly what he  wanted, down to the minutest gesture.His  understanding  of the medium was  extraordinary.”

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Rakesh Roshan remembers how  he  invited Vishwanath to make films for him. “I produced  two films that Vishwanathji directed. One  was Kaamchor, the other was Jaag Utha  Insaan.While the  first was  a runaway success, the second didn’t do well.”

Speaking on how Kaamchor happened Rakesh recalls, “Vishwanathji and I used to meet socially in Hyderabad.We  wanted to work together. But we had  no script.One evening when we met he  looked very depressed. When I asked him what was wrong, he  said his new release Shubodayam  (in Telugu) had  flopped. That  night I went to see Shobodayam  in  a theatre in Hyderabad. The  next morning I  told Vishwanathji, ‘We’ve  found our script’. I told him where  the  storytelling in Shubhodayam  had gone wrong.We corrected the script and that’s how Kaamchor  happened. Although the entire story revolved  around me,  it was Jaya Prada who benefited  from Kaamchor.”

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About the beautiful  Jaag Utha Insaan , Rakesh Roshan admits  bluntly, “It  flopped because  of miscasting. During those days Sridevi was known  in Hindi cinema as a glamorous heroine. We cast her as classical dancer. Mithun Chakraborty had  the image  of  Gun Master G-9 and  Disco Dancer.We cast him as  a downtrodden  underdog. I was  known  for Kaamchor and  other citybred characters,I was cast as a Brahmin pandit.With other actors Jaag Utha  Insaan would have been a superhit”

Rakesh met K Vishwanath six years  ago. “We were shooting for Krissh in Hyderabad. He came on  the set several  times. We  had so much to say to each other. After that we lost contact. He was  very very busy with many projects. K Vishwanathji lived  for his cinema.”

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As His Latest Work Faraaz Releases Today,  Hansal Mehta Speaks To Subhash  K Jha On The Exciting Times Ahead

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Faraaz

Hansal, Faraaz is  your fifteenth directorial  venture. How does it feel to have come so far  with so many  milestones behind you?

don’t count my films. Genuinely. Every film is a new beginning. Every film has its share of uncertainty and nerves. Perhaps it is also because of the choices I make. There is no scope for either complacency or me carrying a false sense of security. I’m not complaining,though. Living life on the edge keeps me going.

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I  consider  Faraaz to be  a part of your great trilogy on  the dynamics  of terrorism, after  Shahid and  Omerta…where do you see Faraaz  positioned  in your creative ambit?

Thank you , Subhash.Faraaz is a film I’m very, very proud of. It was a challenge to pull off, a tough journey but creatively a very satisfying one. As Rajkummar Rao told me after watching the film , the Trilogy is complete now. Time to explore new stories and new characters. And finish post-production for all the exciting things that we shot for over the past eighteen months.

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Out of curiosity which of your films  have given you  the most creative  satisfaction?

Almost every film Shahid onwards has been immensely satisfying , both in terms of process and the outcome. Save a couple that I need not name. But even those I own for all their flaws, failures, deficiencies and redeeming qualities. But Faraaz has been a great process. I’ve made so many new friends in this journey and found some of the most exciting colleagues that I’m proud to introduce through the film. Writers Raghav Kakkar and Kashyap Kapoor (who co-wrote the film with Ritesh Shah), Cinematographer Pratham Mehta, Sound Designer Mandar Kulkarni, Editor Amitesh Mukherjee, co-producers Sahil, Maz and Sakshi – all of whom have given their blood and sweat to make this film happen. And of course Anubhav Sinha one of my oldest friends in the industry who backed me in telling this story just the way I wanted it. So yes, Faraaz has been satisfying and also filled me with a deep sense of gratitude. I must have done something right, no?

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Of course. Faraaz has a lot of young new actors in it. Tell me  about the  process  of  casting in this film? It couldn’t have been easy since there are dozens  of faces?

That was the challenge and the joy of making this film. I worked on the story during Chhalaang and I always knew that it would be a return to my indie roots for Faraaz. The film had to be made. And it needed fresh faces, bereft of image or trappings of stardom. A huge credit to Mukesh Chhabra who has a huge role to play in my filmography since Shahid. We constantly challenge each other and never ever give up. Casting is a process I really enjoy and finding the right talent to bring characters alive is something I thrive upon. Faraaz has an amazing ensemble. Right from Aditya Rawal , Zahan Kapoor, Juhi Babbar to every small character in the film including the officers, parents and the hostages this one is a triumph of honest casting , casting without an eye on profits, simply in service of the film, of the character.

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Faraaz is  about a terror attack in Bangladesh?how  do you respond to those who want to know, why Bangladesh?

In our research of this dastardly attack we realised that here was a story that had a larger message and something very universal to share. Misguided youth taking up violence in the name of religion or a parent’s love for her child or the unexpected bravery from an unlikely hero are themes that cannot be limited by borders, nationality or language. These stories must be told. They must transcend the limitations of perceived local relevance – particularly when our polarised times need such stories to be told to a larger audience.

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In 2020, your OTT series Scam 1992  proved to  b e game changer. Do you see Scam as a turning point  in your career?

I see Scam 1992 as an enabler. We did not expect its humongous success and to say it did not change things would be fake humility. It gave me back a lot of things I had lost in the years before it released. Including some money. And the courage to tell the stories I desperately wanted to. Also exceptional friends and collaborators like Sameer Nair and his Studio Applause.

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Your films  and your  attitude to cinema has always  been fearless. How  do you  cope with the  threat of growing intolerance in our society  vis a  vis your  convictions as a  filmmaker?

It is not new to me. Remember Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar in 2000? The only difference now is that then I was deeply affected by the intolerance to a point of self destruction. Now I channelise my despair and anger into telling relevant stories and through them taking on those who have made it a business to be intolerant.

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To Attend Siddharth-Kiara’s Destination Wedding, Karan Johar Preponed His Twins’s Birthday  Bash

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Siddharth-Kiara’s

For those  who are  wondering why Karan Johar hosted  the grand birthday party for his  twins Roohi and  Yash who will  turn 6 on 7 February,  six days in  advance  on 1  February  here is  why:  on the day of his twins’ birthday,  Karan  will be in Rajasthan attending the wedding celebrations of his dear friends  Siddharth Malhotra  and Kiara Advani who are  getting married on  February 6.

 Reveals   a friend close  to  Karan,  “Karan was in a dilemma. To him there is  nothing more important than his  children’s happiness.  How could he break their hearts by skipping  the most important day of their  lives? At the same time, how could he  not attend Siddharth and Kiara’s wedding ? They are  very close to him.”

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Karan did the best thing possible to resolve the situation:  he put the dilemma before his children Yash and Juhi who happily  agreed  to  have their party  a few days in advance so their ‘Dada’  could  attend  his friends’ wedding.

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