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RRR Is Unstoppably Exuberant In Its Jingoism

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RRR

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RRR Preview: A fictional history of two legendary revolutionaries journey away from home before they began fighting for their country in the 1920s.

Rating: ****

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RRR Movie Review: There is nothing in RRR that is not  massively massy. Rajamouli’s  eye for  spectacle is  as unerring as the arrows that Ram Charan playing  a   a character called , you guessed it, Ram shoots dressed up as, yes that’s right,  Lord Rama.

But that’s a good  2 hours and 45 minutes after the film’s wondrous whirligig has  started.

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RRR is three hours of non-stop  hecticity.  Rajamouli wants  every frame to  exhale  a breath of  flushed  air. It’s all about size. And those who think otherwise  are not familiar with the Rajamouli  school of  thought.His cinematic vision is  many sizes larger than what an average blockbuster builder of Bollywood imagines to be epic in scope.

There are  many extraordinary action sequences  in RRR. Come to think of it ,RRR is   short of  drama and emotions. Except for a potentially heartrending sequence at the preamble when a  little  tribal girl is  snatched  away  by  a villainous British  couple who, according to the  sporadic voiceover which comes and goes lazily,think they can take whatever  catches their fancy.

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Barring a pretty  lass named Jenny(Olivia  Morris)  who takes a fancy to one of the heroes,  all the Britishers are  potential  hellraisers and fiends with one  of them barking about the  “Brown rubbish”.

Well, it takes white trash  to recognize  rubbish.

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Miraculously the girl Malli survives  all the  brutal  hijinks and the torrent  of  high drama.  .Rajamouli unleashes a brutal sensory  assault.Hundreds  of junior artistes(goodlooking  ones, let me hasten to add)  participate  in the  pitched battles where the  Gora Log behave as though they have just seen the unedited version of  The Kashmir Files  and have  taken tips on racial brutality.

The Governor’s wife (played  by  someone named Alison Doody)  is specially vile . “Where is the blood? I want more blood,” she bellows when  Bheema(NTR Jr) is  tied and  whipped by  Ram(Rama Charan).How  and why things have come to  such a  sorry pass, I will not  reveal. Partly because my mind  was numbed by the onslaught of opulent truculence.

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Bullets  and arrows fly from all directions while our two heroes  do a Jai and Veeru from Sholay including of course a  dosti song. Ram Charan has   the more  curvaceous  character to play while NTR is  the innocent wide eyed one.Their bonding makes for a  perfect  love story. What was the  need to bring in a female love interest  for  both of them when  the heroes  love each other to death?

When  they fight another they  are  super-driven. When they  join  forces to fight the common enemy they are deliriously impassioned. But when they  dance together, they  are something else.

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Oh, there is a third hero . No, not Ajay Devgan. But Cinematographer  K K Senthil Kumar who has the  knack to make  every  frame  look like pop poetry.

RRR is loads of fun to watch. But  it  is  bereft of an emotional bedrock. In this  conspicuous absence, the narrative chooses the path of choreographed action as  the  only panacea to  kill  the looming  sense  of lopsidedness  in the plot. The women including Alia Bhatt are  just  faint sketches while the even  the minor male characters(like Bheem’s  comrade in arms) are given a prominent  place in the  plot.

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The  action sequences are  to die for.  Comparable with their counterparts  from   any part  of the world.  When it comes to filming crowds and spectacles S S Rajamouli is next to only Sanjay Bhansali. What is  missing is character-driven drama and a more controlled narrative  pitch. These  absences  do not  dampen the  spirit  of  the  endeavour.  RRR knocks the socks off all probing and evaluation. It is  what it  is. A  big epic fantasy with heroes  so valorous they make you gasp  even as you suppress  a giggle.

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Shabana Azmi Breaks Her Wrist, Flies To  Budapest For Spielberg

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Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi’s commitment to  getting it right, no matter what it takes, is  by now beyond legendary. She  is known to go to extreme lengths for her  characters, the   quick-reference what-Shabana-can-do-for-a-role film being Shyam Benegal’s  Mandi where she had put on 30 kgs to look like  a  ‘Madame’ and  convey her message  in  a  brothel.

 Now , Shabana  flies to Budapest on the  night  of 8 February  in spite  of having broken her wrist.

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“What  to  do, I have to.I’ve to shoot another schedule  of my second season of  Halo(the series  produced by  Steven Spielberg) . There is no way I can postpone  it. I am very upset with myself. It  was such an  unnecessary accident. I was in Jindal . I took a jump and landed with a  fractured wrist, ”  says Shabana  angrily.

This is not  the first fracture that Shabana has suffered in recent times. Before  the wrist  that’s broken now, she  had broken the other wrist. And  prior to that she  had broken her shoulder.

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“I’m supposed to be  shooting till the 28th  of February. And  it’s all very tough physically rigorous  scenes. I don’t know  how I’m going to do it. I am  really annoyed  with  myself for  being careless.” Shabana sighed  before signing  off.

Knowing her the way I do,I can only say, nothing is impossible for Shabana Azmi.

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Shobita Dhulipala On Her Close Aquatic Connection To Her Character In The Night Manager

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Shobita Dhulipala

Sobhita Dhulipala has constantly tried to  make an  impression  with her intriguing performances and roles. In The Night Manager she  slips into the mysterious role of Kaveri.

Talking about her character, Sobhita Dhulipala says , “There’s a certain intrigue to Kaveri. On better days, you feel like you get a sense of who she is, but you could never be too sure of what she is.”

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   Being a  water  person  Sobhita  enjoyed her character’s aqueous antecedents, “There is a very visible parallel that’s drawn between Kaveri and water throughout the show.They both can be so gentle, so nourishing, but also very tumultuous and deep. Kaveri seems like that. She has this tenderness as well as a current within her.”

Sobhita comes from an aquatic  family and  feels  a deep affinity  to  water. “I have in the past been compared with water’s energy and I thought it was a tremendous compliment. So, to be able to give form to that feeling, that connection I feel with it..it’s great. My father is a sailor. And I spent many of my younger years at sea, also the home I grow up in was by the shore. I also love the name Kaveri and I always thought when I have my own child, I’d name him/her by a river! So, I think there’s, resonance, all of it really comes together for me.”

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The Romantics Adi Chopra’s Show All The Way

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The Romantics 

Netflix’s The Romantics profiling the legend Yash Chopra in four episodes , happened only because Netflix  gave complete creative control to  Yash Chopra’s son Aditya Chopra,  the scion of the Yash  Raj family.

A  source very close to  the project reveals, “If it wasn’t for Adi’s nod, the project  wouldn’t have happened. He not only greenlighted the project, he also personally supervised every aspect of the project. Smriti Mundhra is  on board as the director of The Romantics.  But it is  Adi who decided what  goes, and what  not.”

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Apparently  the  thirty-five interviewees speaking on  Yash Chopra in The  Romantics  were all  personally approved  by Adi Chopra who  also agreed to do his  first video interview ever for the docu-pic on his distinguished dad.

Adi Chopra’s one  and  only print interview was with  film critic/editor  Khalid Mohamed.

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The Romantics starts streaming on Netflix on Valentine’s Day  February 14.

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I’m very excited to be doing my OTT debut: Shahid Kapoor

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Shahid  Kapoor

As Shahid  Kapoor Gets Ready To Make  His Digital Debut, He Takes Time  Off  For A Q & A With  Subhash K Jha

Farzi is your first foray into the OTT space. How would you describe the experience? Is it any different from doing the films for the big screen?

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 I’m very excited to be doing my OTT debut, as everybody calls it. I think I did it because I love  the directors Raj and DK and their work, and I actually really really liked the idea and the concept behind Farzi, the world of counterfeiting . I felt Sunny was a character that was as challenging as some of my most challenging characters as I’ve done yet. So I immediately wanted to do it.

And was it any different  shooting for an OTT series?

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Of course, it’s different because you’re watching the character over five to six hours as opposed to maybe two to two and a half hours. So it’s a deeper, wider opportunity to bring a character to life, that’s it.

 Farzi gave you the opportunity to work with the great Vijay Sethupathi and also the creators Raj and DK. So what was that experience like?

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With Raj and DK, I’ve loved Family Man very much and we’ve met over time and always wanted to collaborate. So I was really looking forward to it. In fact, I asked them if they have a show because they were calling me for a movie because they didn’t really expect… they didn’t think after Kabir Singh,  I’d like to do something like that , or whatever. But I actually asked them for it and probed  for it, and then they actually told me about this concept which we had discussed as a movie earlier.

So why  was the feature   film converted  into a digital series?

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It was just too elaborate to turn into a movie, to fit into a movie. It was only extremely sensible of them to turn it into a show because it deserves that much screen time.

What  was it like working with Vijay Sethupathi?

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With Vijay sir, it’s been a pleasure. And I want to see how people receive the show. He’s a fantastic actor who has always rediscovered himself and given people completely different experiences when he has come on the big screen. So it’s a privilege to have him on the show. And I had a blast working with him.

Shahid, it’s been twenty years since you started as a leading man. How do you look back on your career so far?

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I feel very fortunate to still be here. And I feel grateful that people find my work relevant. I feel there’s a lot more that I would like to do. And I think I am as charged as I was at the age of 21, giving my first shot, as I am today. And I think that’s the best part of the entire journey, that I still am as excited and as curious to get on that film floor and give my next shot. I think that’s what drives any artist.

Tell me about your forthcoming projects?

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I’ve got Farzi coming out on  10 Feb. And then there’s a movie with Ali Abbas  Zafar, which is an action thriller, a  slick action fun film, which will come out in the middle of this year. And then there’s a high-concept quirky love story that I’m doing with Maddock Films, which is directed by a new director. His name is Amit Joshi. It has me and Kriti Sanon in it, and Dharam ji and Dimple ma’am and various other very talented people.

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