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“It’s a big deal that it’s coming home,” Deepa Mehta On The Release  Of Funny Boy In Sri Lanka

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Deepa Mehta  Is On Cloud  9. After more than a  year of its  global  release her  film Funny Boy about  a  boy growing up gay  in Sri Lanka , will open in  the  country where the  lovely film is  set.

Says  Deepa,  “I am so thrilled that Funny Boy is going to be released theatrically in Sri Lanka. To be followed as the opening film of the only LGBTQ festival in Colombo. It’s a big deal that it’s coming home, to be seen by the very folk who inspired Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy . A novel which explored the nature of prejudice, whether sexual or racial.”

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She  is not  fully happy with the way Funny Boy was received  by critics. “I don’t think any filmmaker can be totally satisfied by the way their films are received. I am no exception . Though not a total ‘ love-all’ , the film was really well received by critics. As the release was on Netflix in English speaking countries, I have no clue about its box office. However I do know it ‘trended’ for ages.”

And with the  praise came the  brickbats.

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Confesses Deepa, “Yes,there was some brickbats about it from the Canadian Tamils, who criticized that the gay lead was not played by a Tamil but by a Sri Lankan Burgher. Akin to saying that why is a Muslim playing a Hindu or why a Hindu is playing a Sikh. My favourite quote these days is one from Bertolucci Brecht the brilliant German playwright “ Art is not what mirrors reality, rather a hammer that shapes it”.Would I change anything in the film Funny Boy? No, not a thing !”

Funny Boy which was released  the worldover  by Netflix remains  unavailable in India.

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Deepa becomes  thoughtful. “Well, the pandemic and closure of movie halls didn’t help . The fact that it was in Sinhalese, Tamil and English didn’t help either. And Netflix India passed on it very quickly .”

Way back in 1996   Deepa  made one of  the most relevant  LGBT films Fire.  So many years later  while the world celebrates  alternate  sexuality through  significant films but  India’s  track-record  in the  genre remains  abysmal.

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Deepa comments, “One of the finest films I have ever seen about the trials and tribulations of being gay in India was Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh. Also Onir’s My Brother Nikhil was excellent.

Speaking on the  pandemic Deepa  comments, “It’s been frustrating on many levels. Mostly on a social one ; the disparity between the rich and poor has never been so heartbreaking. The search for vaccinations, oxygen , hospital beds felt like the end of the world. My Ma in Delhi is convinced we have seen the advent of Kalyug . Our  mortality has never been so evident.”

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And  though she  enjoyed some  recent Indian webseries Deepa feels the movie-theatre  experience  is  irreplaceable . “I loved Chaitanya Tamhane’s  The Disciple. Some series come to mind :  The Family Man,  Maharani and Delhi Crime. Streamers are great for series I think.  However nothing beats the experience of seeing a film in a movie hall.  It’s the commitment to invest two  or more hours to see a film outside the comfort of your own home. The knowledge that nobody can push the infernal ‘ Pause’ button.That’s  the joy of  watching  a film in a cinema.”

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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“Professionally, What  A Year It Has Been For Me,” Raveena Tandon On Her Padma Shri

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Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tandon  feels  she is in a dream. “I woke  up  today to the  news that  I have been awarded the Padma Shri by  my Government. I felt all my years  of hard work  has  finally come to  fruition.I can’t wait to get  back to Mumbai.”

Raveena  is  in Bhopal attending a  wedding.  “I woke  up  on Thursday morning to the good news. My husband(film distributor Anil Thadani) who is in Mumbai had no clue about it. I had to inform him that his wife is now Padma Sri Raveena,” she laughs heartily.

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She then grows  melancholic. “The past one year has been a whirlwind  for me. Professionally, it couldn’t get any better. My webseries Aranyak on Netflix  and  then the bigscreen  blockbuster KGF 2 where I played one of the protagonists , became huge  successes.Sadly,it  was  also the year that  I lost my father(well-known producer-director Ravi Tandon). It was  the severest blow of my life.I am still processing the loss. The Padma Shri would have made  my Dad so proud.”

Remind her  she is  still young and already a Padma winner and Raveena expresses  her  happiness. “I guess I am lucky to have received the honour at the  midpoint of my life and career. I am also very happy that M M  Keeravani Sir has  also received the Padma Shri.His Naatu naatu has  the  world dancing to his tune. But even  before Naatu naatu he has done such exemplary work.”

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Getting nostalgic Raveena  says, “I started working when I was 17.I have done every kind of  cinema, balancing out a Chote Miyan  Bade Miya  with  a Shool, a Rakshak with a  Ghulam-e-Mustafa,  a Bulundi and a Khauff with a Daman and an Aks. It’s  always been  my endeavour to be be seen in escapism and  real cinema. Some people think dancing around trees  and  doing the masala  stuff is easy.  It is  not!  In fact  being real on screen is far easier.”

Raveena feels the  good days  are  back in the entertainment  industry. “I saw Pathaan and  I whistled  and clapped the loudest. It is  an out-and-out mass entertainer and bound to revive the  sagging fortunes  of  our industry.  While the Padma Shri is a personal triumph,  the success of Pathaan  is  a happy occasion for the entire industry.So yeah, I am on top of  the world,”

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Raveena’s fans  would like to know her khubsoorati  ka raaz.

She  laughs, “It’s nothing more than sleeping and eating right. I  try to eat  correctly. I have only  organic  food. More  importantly,I am happy and secure in life. If you are content within it is  bound show on your face.”

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