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Lata Mangeshkar Is A Religion Beyond Saffron Or Green

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I  had decided to not  write  an obituary on the Goddess Of All Melodious Things. Obituaries  are written  for the dead.  The Goddess cannot die. She will live through thousands  of  her songs  for as  long as civilization exists; which may not be very long, what with  many kinds  of viruses  and other toxic  elements  polluting and  poisoning our planet.

As long as  even one of her songs, mind you not the  thousands that she has rendered  to infinite  durability, but just one , only one… pick anyone…Raina  beeti jaye, Aaj socha toh  aansoon bhar aaye, Ae dilruba, Kitni dard  bhari yeh raat hai,  Abke  na  sawan  barse, Saawan  ke jhoole pade… Every one of these  songs is worth infinitely more than  the entire  body  of  songs sung by  every  other singer in the universe.

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Those who talk about her  monopoly now when she is gone should  listen to the above songs. Ican send  you  a list of  200 songs of hers, each one  a consummate  selfcontained masterpiece on  a  par with Picasso’s Mona Lisa  or   the Kohinoor. I have heard  Main hoon teri prem deewani  mere saiyan mera raja diljani , an obscure   R D Burman composition from a potboiler  titled Azaad which  didn’t deserve  the  gem of a  song, at  least  500  times since  it was first released  in  1978: I  still don’t know how  has sung it, the  pauses she takes between the lines, the way she carries the notes from mid-wave to the highest octave within two lines: no singer in the world, not Tansen  not Bhimsen Joshi  not  Pavarotti can do this. She  is  beyond any human  explanation of  excellence.

I am  embarrassed to praise Her when She is  gone.I had vowed I wouldn’t  .  After a  lifetime of  deep  unconditional uninterrupted veneration I  had  decided to not join the chorus of  panegyrics  after  Her  going. But then  I saw  some deeply  cynical  writings where  she was  accused  of  going saffron after  singing for the Pandit Jawarlal Nehru. I heard  discordant  voices  questioning her political  allegiance.

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Yes,  she  was very fond of our prime  minister Narendra Modiji. She has  on many occasions spoken to me about him  every warmly.  I  remember on her birthday  in 2019 when I called her in the morning to  wish her she  gently asked me to call later.  “Abhi Modiji ka phone aane wala hai.”  I couldn’t compete with that .

There was  mutual fondness between  the  two, that transcended  politics.Lataji’s Allah tero naam  Ishwar tero naam  was no empty rhetoric.  If she is being mourned in  Pakistan as  much as in India,  then it’s only because she  sang for mankind , not for the details  on the passport. The  Goddess’s  songs owed allegiance to neither saffron  nor  green . They  were a religion of  their own, a colour  so vibrant, deep, tapestried and  rich, it  had no human  definition.

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Keep  Her out of  all  the political prattle  .She was  neither right nor left. She  was . She  is. She  will be.

Since this  morning  I saw “tributes” where the Goddess was  slyly accused of  “sabotaging” the careers  of singers like Vani Jairam , Hemlata, Preeti Sagar  and  Suman  Kalyanpur.With due  respects to these  singers, no singer   in this world  was competition  for Lataji . Because she  was  not of this world. We Lata bhakts believe she  was Saraswati Mata reincarnated. You  have a  problem  with  that? The liberals find that laughable?  Go ahead and laugh.Why do you think she left us on the  day of visarjan  after   Saraswati Puja? The day when the  Saraswati  Mata  was immersed is the day  Lataji departed.

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I have not even  begun to  process her departure from this godforsaken  world. I can’t believe  I will never be  able to speak to her.  Do I  care for a  world which has  just been robbed of  the receptacle  of  all that  is beautiful and  desirable?

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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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