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Manoj Bajpai On How Gali Guleiyan , Brought Him Close To A Nervous Breakdown

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Even today Manoj Bajpai shudders at the thought of  playing the psychologically wrecked character  in Gali  Guleiyan. “I couldn’t wait to come out  of character. It was  the most  difficult role to play. It  was a  role that broke  me mentally. Like Shool  it demanded  an  extreme internalization .”

  While shooting Manoj had to  leave  all his personal  responsibilities  behind.  “It meant  I had to forget  I  was married and had familial responsibilities.  I started  talking to myself  the  way the character  was shown doing. Such   was my  preparation  for  this role  that my  wife got worried  about me.”

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  Such was the mental  stress  that Manoj decided to  quit the  film.  “On the 29th day of shooting I  went to  the director Dipesh Jain and  told the directors I couldn’t take the mental pressure.But we somehow finished in 33-34  days. I went too deep into the role  in this  film. I thought I’d lose my mind. But I had no other  option. It was the path that was necessary to pull  off that role. Gali Guleiyan had me in my most challenging  role.”

 Gali Guleiyan directed by NRI Dipesh Jain has  Manoj playing the  complex character  of  a man who rapidly loses grip over reality. B

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Recalling the  experience the method actor says, “We were shut in the claustrophobic gullis of  Chandni Chowk  in Old Delhi. I play a man who is deeply troubled to the point that  I no longer can tell the  difference between  makebelieve and reality.   I asked my director Dipesh to shut down the shooting,because the role was affecting me  deeper than I expected. I was  on the  verge of  a mental breakdown.”

Luckily for  the film the  director refused to listen to Manoj. “Dipesh would shoot another traumatic sequence and then lock me in a room where I  had no choice but to sleep. I’d come out refreshed and then do  another scene that knocked me out psychologically. So  it went until the  end  of  the shooting. By then I  had a tough time  drawing the line between the character and me. I  didn’t knew where one ended and the other began.”

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 The  first thing that Manoj did after the  completion  of  Gali  Guleiyan is get rid  of all the physical traits  of  my his  character. “I  shaved off all the facial hair, trimmed my hair and  generally  discarded the unkempt dishevelled  look of a man who has  stopped caring about how he  looks. Then I looked at myself  hard in the mirror for days reminding myself that this was  the real me, not the  man  I played in the  film. At the after-party on  the film’s completion  I guzzled down a whole bottle of wine. It helped me  forget the man I  had just become..”

 But  then  leaving behind  the  character is  not easy.  “Somewhere  these characters of traumatized disoriented  misfits that I play have stayed with me. When people   meet  me after some  years they say I look older than I  should. That’s because I carry  all these existentially burdened character within me.”

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Manoj describes  his  character in Gali Guleiyan as his toughest  role to date. “He is  not only the toughest character I played but also according to me the most complex written in  Indian cinema. The challenge here was  not only physical but emotional.”

And yet  it is  the  commercial  roles like the one  in Satyameva Jayate that get the audience.

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Manoj stoutly dismisses this line  of thought. “That’s a very pessimistic view  of my career.If I start  thinking like that I’d never be  able to give all of myself to films  like Aligarh and Gali Guleiyan. And  who told you Satyameva  Jayate is  not challenging?  The challenge  is to not get sucked  into  the system, to be be  part of it and yet remain detached from it and fight it .  Because you know that   the mainstream cinema will never accept you.It will only use  your talent. So you use that reality of that situation to fuel your idealism. Every  Satyameva Jayate that  succeeds  gives me the  power to  do three Aligarhs and Gali Guleiyans.

Gali Guliyan is  now streaming on  Amazon Prime.

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“I am  happy that my hard work is finally being seen by  such  a large  audience,” says Manoj.

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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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