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Nitya Mehra: “There Is A Bit Of Me In All My Characters”

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She assisted Mira Nair in The Namesake and Ang Lee in The Life Of Pi. And now young and pretty Delhi girl Nitya Mehra is all set to unleash her first independent directorial venture on an unsuspecting world..

And no, Baar Baar Dekho is not about time travel.

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Laughs Nitya, “I’ve been getting a lot of that response ever since the trailer came out. But no, Baar Baar Dekho is not about time travel, not in the sense that we mean it to be when some weird scientist puts the characters into a machine that takes them back in time.This is not that area of cinema at all.My film is about regret and making up for lost time. There is that sense of déjà vu that always strikes our lives when we feel we’ve been through a situation, and what if we could change it?”

So what is this strange story where the male protagonist Jai(Siddharth Malhotra)  begins to age fast?

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Says Nitya mysteriously, “You will have to wait for the film to come out. I am glad the trailer has whetted people curiosity. When I decided to turn director I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into the trap of doing the usual boy meets girl story.I wanted to do  a love story that would move the audience and make them think.”

Nitya cast Siddharth Malhotra first. “I wanted to get the casting of  my male protagonist in place first. I choseSiddharth Malhotra because of the warmth and mystery in his eyes.I had seen him in Hansee Toh Phansee ….There is a thehrao(stability) in his personality and an earnest warmth.About the aging,I was never bothered whether he would look 40 or 45 or 50. I knew the makeup guys would take care of the age. I needed someone who would convey a certain warmth. With Katrina also, the good looks were an asset. I had only seen her in two films ZindagiNa  Milegi Dobara and Raajneeti and liked her performance in both.But there is a quality of mystery about her. No one really knows the real Katrina. I wanted to tap that mystery.”

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So is there more of Nitya in Sidharth or Katrina? “I think there is a  bit of me in all my characters in Baar BaarDekho including Ram Kapoor . The Punjabi side of my personality is manifested in him.”

Nitya’s early days in Delhi were far removed from the film industry. “My life was not anything that could be considered even the least Bollywood . But I always wanted to direct films. So I headed to Mumbai. Unfortunately a family crisis beckoned me back to my home in Delhi.And there I remained for the next few years. Luckily for me a lot of international films are shot in Delhi, so I got a chance to work with the likes of Mira Nair and Ang Lee.”

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Nitya has also worked with Anil Kapoor in 5 episodes of the series 24 “He is so inspiring. So is Farhan Akhtarwith whom I’ve had the chance to work closely.”

Nitya has never felt like a female director. “I am not making feminist statements through my films. Nor are my films going to be about women’s empowerment. But I won’t shy away from making a film with a female protagonist either.’

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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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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland

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Undekhi A Dark Compelling  Thriller Set In The Heartland 4

Undekhi  the  forthcoming webseries  from Applause Entertainment  and Sony LIV which  starts  streaming from July 10,   looks  like  the  kind  of   thriller  that  won’t let  us rest  easy until we see  the last episode. It is mounted  with  a  stress on growing pressure.

One  promo shows  a rotund  cop investigating  a gruesome  murder  in  a dense tribal area.The other promo  shows a politician gunning  down a dancer on stage  in front of  the public and  the  press.

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Wild  West  comes to the North. Undekhi is a thriller set in Manali, Himachal created for Applause by Siddharth Sengupta. It’s a gripping story that sees Harsh Chhaya making an  impressive comeback as a drunk Papaji in a super-rich amoral Punjabi  family. And Surya Sharma (Prince from Hostages) really shines as Rinku ,  the main bad guy and Papaji’s nephew. It’s got a terrific cast of other characters, many of whom we  all  recognize as names .

The talented  Harsh Chhaya  makes a debut of sorts  on the  digital medium  with Undekhi.

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Says Harsh, “I  have never played anything so wild and mad. I am looking forward to Undekhi, hope it works for the audience too.This is a debut in a sense that this is the first one I shot for the OTT  platform.But the other two I shot for after this was  streamed   before this one Out Of Love and  Rangbaaz, Phir Se.

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