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Madhuri Dixit, 50!!!

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Say Lata Mangeshkar, and you think  of melody, Say Madhuri Dixit, and you think of beauty.

It’s hard to imagine Dixit as being 50. But then you see how beautifully she has aged, and how fabulously she has managed her life , and you know 50 is just a  number that the ageless beauty has encountered in her beautiful journey of life.

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Madhuri’s  beginnings as an actress could never have indicated how far she would go. Her rise was not meteoric,  but slow and steady . She started her career modestly in a Rajshri film Abodh  in 1984 which was based on Rabindranath Tagore’s short story Samapti.Aparna Sen and Jaya Bhaduri also did films based on the same story at the beginning of their careers.

Though the film flopped Madhuri made enough of an impact for ‘Showman’ Subhash Ghai to notice her. He offered Madhuri a dance number in his multi-starrer Karma. But when  he saw her rushes Ghaidecided Madhuri was more heroine material than an item girl.He decided to scrap the item song and cast her as a full-fledged heroine opposite Jackie Shroff in Uttar Dakshin.

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Shockingly Subhash Ghai revealed to me that Madhuri COULDN’T DANCE!!!!

Some years ago while we were discussing all his wonderful female discoveries Ghai said, “When I presented Madhuri in Uttar Dakshinshe was so raw and inexperienced she didn’t know how to walk or dance on screen.I remember how appalled I was on the first day of shooting. I remember sitting her down and telling her how important the walk is . I had to create an entire persona called ‘Madhuri Dixit’ inUttar Dakshin and Ram Lakhan . She had the biggest of co-stars in these films. She couldn’t appear inexperienced before them.”

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Shockingly, Ghai says Madhuri couldn’t dance. “After I saw her inAbodh when I re-introduced her she had no idea  of film dancing. I had to travel to Chennai with Saroj Khan and train and rehearse withMadhuri . Only after that did Madhuri  manage Laila mar gayee inUttar Dakshin and Ho ramji bada dukh dina in Ram Lakhan.”

Ghai and Ram Lakhan turned the tides of Madhuri’s career. The number Ho ramji tere lakhan ne bada  dukh dee na  was the first time that Lata Mangeshkar sang for Madhuri.

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“I felt I was finally a full-fledged heroine  only after Latabai sang for me,” Madhuri had told me once.A little later Lataji sang 16 songs forMadhuri in her most iconic film Hum Aaapke Hain Koun.

But before Ho ramji there was Tezaab and Ek do teen. That one song turned Madhuri into a superstar.

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Director N Chandra recalled, “When we were shooting the song we knew something extraordinary was happening. Madhuri was electric on camera. Sarojji who is a hard taskmaster couldn’t stop praising her. We knew Madhuri was going to be a superstar beyond any.”

Her journey after Tezaab and Ram Lakhan was rapid , swift and sure-footed. People  like Subhash Ghai( Ram Lakhan, Khalnaayak) Boneyand Anil Kapoor(Pukar), Rahul Rawail(Anjaam, Jeevan EkSungharsh),Indra Kumar(Beta, Dil), Rakesh Roshan(Khel, KishenKanhaiya, Koyla) cast Madhuri in roles that gave her immense commercial clout and a reputation for delivering measured graceful deep performances.

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Soooraj Barjatya’s Hum Aapke Hain…Koun is to Madhuri’s career what Mother India was to Nargis or Mughal-e-Azam is to Madhubala. It iconized the dancer-actress beyond all definitions of celluloid  fame.Among those who were lifelong fans of Madhuri and the historic film was artiste and painter M F  Husain who saw the film 67 times and directed a whole film Gaja Gamini dedicated to her beauty.

Naseerudin Shah who was a part of the Gaja Gamini cast chuckled, “None of us knew what we were doing in the film.All we knew was that this was meant to be  a love letter to Madhuri Dixit. I have to confess I am a Madhuri Dixit fan. I am not embarrassed to say this. I rate her on a par with Waheeda Rehman and Madhubala. We didPankaj Parsher’s Raj Kumar and then we did M Hussain’s GajaGamini, the one that nobody understood. I was the only one who tried very hard to understand what was going in the film.I think HussainSaab admired Madhuri. So he decided to make a movie around her. There was no story or anything. It was just a series of beautiful images, totally abstract and non-cinematic.I think he was trying to create a new language of cinema”.           Sanjay  Leela Bhansaliconfesses he’s an ardent Dixit fan.“Madhuriji is magic on screen. I couldn’t think of casting anyone else as Chandramukhi in my Devdas. She was my first  and  only choice. Devdas couldn’t have been made without her.I wanted her for my first film Khamoshi: The Musical.But things didn’t work out at that time. As a filmmaker it was very important for me to  work with Madhuriji. She is  a complete actress.A skilled dancer and  superlative actress,” says Sanjay LeelaBhansali.

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In 1999 Madhuri married the US based doctor Sriram Nene and migrated to Denver. Their marriage was a success because as once shrjokingly told me, he had not sen  any of  her films and was not besotted by her.After two beautiful sons, Madhuri decided to return to India in 2011. Tragically Bollywood has not been able to find a place for Madhuri.

At 50 her beauty and grace aches for a Bridges Of Madison County.Instead she gets a Gulab Gang. Here’s hoping that some enterprising filmmaker would write a role that does justice to her timeless beauty.

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And please, don’t insult Madhuri’s mythical persona  by giving her an item song like Ghagra(Yej Jawani Hai Deewani).Subhash Ghairealized long ago Madhuri was made for much greater glory than item songs.

Let’s give her a role as iconic as Hum Aapke Hain…Koun .We are counting the months weeks and days before that happens. Ek do teen…..

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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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