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“I Felt No Qualms About Playing A Gay Character​,” Says Shiv Pandit

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We’ve seen the talented Shiv Pandit make  a solid impact in Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitaan.

Now the young actor returns in director Sudhanshu Saria’s Loev in a bold  avatar as a closeted gay NRI yuppie  , discovering acknowledging and celebrating his sexual orientation in the company of a young out-of-the-closet gay young man, played by the very talented Dhruv Ganesh who shockingly, died soon after the film was completed.

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The film has some of the most explicit same-sex intimacy seen in cinema,  including lengthy liplocks between Shiv and Dhruv and a shocking rape sequence where Shiv’s character violates Dhruv in a hotel room.

Shiv says he had no  qualms shooting these scenes. “From the moment I  heard the script I knew this was a film I had to do. For too long now I’ve been  listening to others give me advice on how to conduct my  career and what kind  of  roles to accept. Now for a change I wanted to listen to my own heart.Every instinct told me to go for the part.”

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Didn’t the shooting of love-making scenes with Dhruv pose practical emotional and physical difficulties?

Shiv admits it was tough. “Of course I had a very difficult time doing such scenes. Rape is equally reprehensible whether  it happens to a man or a woman.What I did to overcome my revulsion was to not stand judgment over my character Jai’s action.I just went with how Jaireacted to the given situation.”

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The rape scene and the kissing are shockingly graphic, never seen before in any film.

Says Shiv, “What we shot was  much more more lengthy graphic and with lots more nudity.The rape was far longer and all done in one take. The pivotal kiss between Dhruv and I on the mountains was also much longer.Our director Sudhanshu decided to cut down  both the scenes as he didn’t want the imtimacy to  overcome the relationship between the two protagonists. Shooting these scenes was tough and when they were cut I was disappointed. I was like, ‘Why did you make us go  through it if you didn’t want it to be so lengthy?’ But we went completely by the director’s vision, and it came out effectively.”

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Shiv confesses he has still not come to terms with Dhruv’s death. “He’s with us everywhere that my director Sudhanshu Saria and I  go with our film.It is impossible to accept that he’s gone.We’ve taken Dhruv’s parents with us to film festivals abroad .Seeing them , we are constantly reminded of Dhruv and the immense loss.One day he was with us, the next day he was gone.”

Not that Shiv had forged an exceptionally close bonding with Dhruvduring the film’s shooting. “I deliberately kept a distance from him because my character Jai is constantly on the edge with Dhruv’s character Sahil. I saw  Jai as repressed and stressed emotionally, professionally and sexually. At his work place in NY he’s under constant pressure.Personally he has not come to terms with his homosexuality . He has a trophy girlfriend in Manhattan and mother demanding he get married.He is living a lie and hating it. Back inMumbai Jai reunites with this openly gay chap Sahil who is a constant reminder of Jai’s repressed sexuality. Jai is constantly fighting off Sahil’s unspoken challenge to his sexuality.I saw my character Jai as a  man fighting many inner demons, wrestling with his own identity.I wanted that tension to come across in my relationship with Dhruv’s character. I  didn’t want us to bond as buddies off screen. It’d have taken away  from the sexual tension between us on screen.”

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The film ends with Shiv’s character parting with his weekend lover. Could they be reunited somewhere in the future?

Shiv mulls over that one andfinally says, “I guess they could be, though there is too much guilt between them. Dhruv’s character Sahilis too young to understand the full implication of what my character has done to him(the rape). But my character knows his act is unforgivable. So he leaves. I guess we’ll never know if Jai can get together with Sahil again.Dhruv is no longer with us.”

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Any reservations about having played a gay man? “None at all.I was advised against it. I was told my career would be finished  if I play a gay character.On the contrary I’ve never been more appreciated for any of my roles. My mother saw the film. She was initially taken aback. But she  got the point better than people who believe an actor playing a homosexual would be branded unemployable.”

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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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