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Malayali Maverick Jayasurya Speaks On Sloshing His Way Through Another Stunning Performance In Sunny

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First Vellam and now Sunny, you are now in the danger of being certified a boozard?

Ha ha, no no. I do drink in real life. But I won’t touch a drop when I am playing a character, not even an alcoholic. How can I act when I am drunk? It is Sunny who drinks, not me. I had to go into my soul to get into his skin. If I drank even one beer I’d not be able to go from one room to another (laughs).

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I agree. I heard you are not well?

(coughs ). Yes, I’ve this terrible throat infection. I have tested negative (for Covid). But I seem to have the flu.

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At the end of Sunny your character heads towards the hospital for Covid treatment?

Luckily I am at home with my family. I left Sunny to his own devices the day shooting was completed. I don’t carry my characters home.

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Sunny is a life-changing experience. Tell me how it happened?

At the beginning of the lockdown we were toying with many ideas on a one-character movie. I felt that kind of set-up like Castaway and 127 Hours is a big challenge for an  actor.  It gives an actor a chance to establish a very pure relationship with the camera. But when director Ranjith Sankar who is  a close  friend, narrated Sunny I didn’t think I could pull of this character.

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Why?

I couldn’t get to his soul. We decided to do another film together. But after one week I called Ranjith again. We sat together again. We found so many layers to the character. This time Sunny triggered something in me. At that point of time I decided I will play Sunny .

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What is your criteria for selecting a part?

I have to connect with the character as an actor and as a member of the audience. Otherwise there’s no point in  doing a film. In Sunny… how do I put this?… I had to carry the whole film on my shoulder. It was a huge challenge for me. For one and a half hours audiences had to see only me on screen. This is the most difficult role of my career. Actually I’ve done seven other films with Ranjith Sankar. In each one I had a challenging role. I’ve even played a transgender in one of his films.

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What was the special challenge in Sunny?

See, in other films of the director I had external traits, like a stammer in one. Sunny was  just a normal guy with problems. The challenge was to play him normally. Sunny had no props. He has…nothing. He wanted to be a musician. But ended up in a shitty job. I could see myself on the screen. I could feel Sunny’s bitterness and anger. So many things he wanted to do. He ended up doing nothing. And he has no friends to turn to. He is so desperate for company. He forms a father-son relationship on the phone with his therapist.

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How did you prepare for the role?

The process of shooting was easy. Normally actors and technicians stay in different hotels. But this time we were all staying together at the Hyatt where we shot the film. Because of Covid there were no guests  in the hotel. There was no difficulty in shooting. Outsiders were not allowed so we could shoot in peace. It was a lot of fun. It  was not a hotel. It was home during the shooting.

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You started your career as a junior artiste?

Yes, Sir. From childhood I wanted to be an actor.

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Are you from a film family?

In the sense that everyone watched films. But if you mean were there any actors in my family then the answer is,  no one. I am the first actor in my family. My father was a producer. He produced two children. Me and my elder  sister. When I was a child I was the entertainer of my family. I was a good mimic. From the age of 10, I began a career in mimicry. I was also a dubbing artiste and an anchor. Also a junior artiste.

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How did films happen?

I had done a programme on a local channel when a producer saw me and that’s how my journey as a leading man started. But I didn’t believe I was a good actor. I still don’t. I have played villainous characters. Even as hero I did something different each time, so now I’ve the confidence to attempt anything. If I get a good director I can take up any challenge.

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You weren’t trained as an actor?

Formally never. But with every film I’ve learned a bit more about acting. Sir I don’t know how anyone can learn  the process of acting. Only experience before the camera can teach you acting. There is no grammar for acting. You have to find your grammar. Films like KangarooCocktail and Beautiful were game-changers for me.

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Do you like doing commercial  films?

Definitely. But not mindless masala. Only if the story is good and  if there’s  a graph  to the character. Ranjith Saran and I have done commercially successful films. He is also a writer. So if I bounce an idea  to him he listens.

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Are you possessive about Ranjith?

Never. Not at all. He works with other actors as I work with other directors. In Malayali cinema there is room and space for every actor. Every actor be it Fahadh, Dulquer or me, has his own space. I don’t see them as  competition. When I get to play a character I surrender to my character. Competition causes frustration. I don’t even want to even think about. When I see a good performance by Fahadh I call him and praise him to the skies.

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How will  you find roles that take you beyond Vellam and Sunny?

There is  no space for Jayasurya. There are only the characters I play. Sunny doesn’t need Jayasurya. But I need Sunny and all the characters that I have played and will play. I entered Sunny’s emptiness and now I am done with him.

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I can’t recognize you from one film to another?

(Laughs) The veteran actor Siddique who has given voice to one of the characters in Sunny called me the other day. He said, ‘After you shaved off the beard, there is no Sunny.’  He’s wiped out. I am ready to move to another character.

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You’ve shaved off your beard?

Yes, I am now playing a cop in John Luther IPS. I need to be clean shaven. This is a commercial thriller. Then there is Eesho, a one-night story. Kathanar is a 75-crore spectacle directed by Rojin Thomas who did the recent film Home. I was in his first film. Now I am doing Kathanar in 3D with him. We were supposed to do it in two parts. Now it is only one film. For me the challenge is to not repeat myself. I have to guard myself against repetition. My job is to find layers to a character.

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Who are the actors you look up to?

I look up to all actors and none. I look for performances. It could be a small cameo by an unknown actor. I could get inspired by any moment in a performance. Any actor who does something impressive at any given moment is my role model.

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Any role that you specially want to play?

Jesus Christ. I don’t know why. But I want to play him.

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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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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