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No marriage is easy: Sania Mirza

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Iconic, super-girl , the stunning and engaging  tennis champ Sania Mirza whose autobiographyt Ace Against Odds released this week, exudes no sense of false pride as she discusses her game,success, marriage, association with Bollywood ,  present euphoria and future plans with Subhash K Jha

So much glory that you keep bringing to the country , your family and self. Is there a sense of pride?
It feels wonderful! I haven’t only achieved all my dreams, maybe I’ve even surpassed my dreams. Even as a child I always dreamt of being in the position that I am. I mean every kid dreams of being famous, right? I am privileged and honoured that I am one of the chosen ones.

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Besides being a sports icon you are also the most glamorous sportsperson in this country. How did that happen?

I don’t know! I didn’t work towards any kind of image. Even if I wasn’t a star or celebrity or whatever, I’d  still be the way that I am.Under all the trappings of success I am a normal girl. People tend to forget that celebrities have a normal life that they really want to lead .

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Being married to a Pakistani(cricketer Shoaib Akhtar) cannot be easy. How do you manage to keep it going in spite of the hostilities between the two countries?

I think we fell in love without thinking about these things. The last thing that was on my mind when I fell in love with him was his nationality. And I am sure he didn’t think about where I was from.We’ve been bought up to believe people all over the world to be one. We didn’t get married to make a political statement.We got married for no other reason except love.

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How did you meet?

What brought us together was our love for sports. The beautiful thing about sports is it dissolves disputes and borders. Which is why when I’ve kids I want them to go into sports. Sports teaches you there are no differences across cultures, colours, religion or borders.

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How you keep the long-distance marriage going?

Long-distance or not, no marriage is easy. One has to work on  it constantly. At the end of it, it’s all worth the effort because we love each other. As for the practical differences we knew what we were getting into when we were getting married.Our respective careers are our top priority. We are in professions that are very high-maintenance and  emotionally driven. Our careers take us all over the world and sometimes it takes us to the same country.There are occasions when I want to be with him, and can’t. And vice versa.A lot of time in our relationship goes into scheduling(laughs).Who wouldn’t want to spend time with the one she loves?

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May your marriage last forever!

That’s the plan. Let’s hope so.

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But how do you manage to look so glamorous?

I wear what I want to. I feel one can wear a saree and still look good. On the other hand when I am playing tennis I am all muscles, and I am sweating and shedding my blood and tears on the court. Whether I am on the court or at a party I think I express myself in the way that seems most natural to me . People notice the way I dress and behave because I am a star. Even if I wasn’t I’d still behave the same way.

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I think you’d have been a star even if you didn’t play tennis?

(laughs) That  I don’t know. I do know tennis has given me everything. Having said that, I must confess I am a fun-loving person. I’ve lots of friends in the film industry.And it’s not difficult for me to connect with them.Tennis is my passion. But when I am with my friends we don’t talk about tennis. My friends love me for who I am and not what I do.And the same is true of my equation with them.

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Even on the tennis court you’re extremely glamorous?

I really don’t care about how I look when I’m playing. I am completely focused on the game.

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You started playing tennis at at the age of 6?!

Yes. It has been an amazing journey so far. If someone had told me, when I started 15 years ago, that this is where you gonna be then I’d have signed up for it right then(laughs).

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Don’t you ever feel you’ve had enough tennis?

No,not really. I love the competition that every game poses. Most of all, I love representing my country globally at the highest level of sports. For me that’s a great honour. But let me assure you , the day I wake up and feel I don’t want to head for thetennis court I’ll call it quits.

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Girls all across the country and even outside look up to you? Is being iconic a restriction on your freedom?

I think being iconic is definitely a big responsibility. At the same time it is a big honour. To know that so many girls want to be like you is a very flattering thought. But is it restrictive ? Yes, in some ways it is. It does take away my privacy to some extent. However I don’t let myself get too affected by these restrictions. If you’ve followed my career you’d see I’ve always  followed my heart. I have always gone with my instincts. I firmly believe if you follow your heart, nothing can go wrong.

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And nothing has gone wrong?

Yes(laughs) touchwood. There have been obstacles on the way. But at 28 I am where I am.It’s been an amazing  career.I am no.1  in the world.

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Do you see youngsters today being as motivated to excel as you?

I’ve been asked many times about who after me in tennis? I don’t know if you know this. But I helm a tennis  academy.I do my own bit. But I think change has to be more societal. Girl children in our country are not taught to be career-driven. It’s more about being pretty and gori(fair skinned) and whether the girl can cook properly.Though the  mindset has changed over the generations we still have a long way to before the culture of gender discrimination ends in our sub-continent .

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 You are gori and yet were taught to be career-driven?

Oh ,believe I am far less gori than a lot of my family members. When I was young my aunts and uncles used to worry about who would want to marry me.

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Do you think there are enough female athletes coming up in this country?

Not at all.This is where I film like Mary Kom helps. It shows one can be a worldclass athlete and yet have a family and husband and children.

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What about the bio-pic on your life?

I don’t know. There have been offers. But I am much too private to let it all out. But who knows  in the future? Never say never say again. Who wouldn’t want  one’s life to be dramatized by Bollywood ?

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You’d have to promise to  play Sania yourself?

I can’t promise you that at all.I don’t think I am ever going to act. I’ve had many offers. Each time Sajid Khan  makes a  film he wants me to do a song . But no.

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What does the future hold for you?

At the moment I just want to enjoy being where I am. There are many more dreams to be conquered. Of course I am in the no.1 space right now. But I want to win other grand slams before I retire. I will keep playing tennis until I enjoy it. Outside of that I’d love to see another Sania Mirza come up, if not someone better than Sania.

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Do you see any hope of that ?

There are two girls at my tennis academy.There is Prarthana Thombare and there is Ankita Raina. Both in the early 20s. And very promising.

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How come your success hasn’t gone to your head?

Oh a lot of people say I’m arrogant.I don’t have too many friends. The ones that I have are very close to me. As a celebrity in this part of the world you have to build  a wall around you.

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Your magic mantra for success?

Do only the things that you believe in. If you do, you can never  go wrong.

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Any unfulfilled desires?

None. I’ve pretty much done what I want to do.If I wasn’t the person that I am I wouldn’t have achieved what I have.

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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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