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Sachin: A  Billion Dreams-Movie Review

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You Don’t Have To Be A Cricket Fan To Love The Sachin Bio-Pic

Directed by James Erskine

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Rating: **** ½(4 and a  half stars)

There is something about Sachin Tendulkar,something so  correct and so innocent  you want him to win in  life even when you know he is  no more the ‘God’ of the cricket field.

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The rousing farewell speech that Sachin gives at the end of this astutely emotional journey into the heart and mind of India’s most celebrated Bat Man  ,left me dewy-eyed. This, when I  know zilch about cricket and practically nothing about Sachin’s exploits on the field.What I do know—and what this film is able to tell us in comprehensive  strokes of revelation—is that greatness is not thrust on the great by chance.

One has to break bones and crack ribs to  get there.

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Sachin A  Billion Dreams  is the story of  a national hero who sails through every crisis with his simple philosophy of good existence and hard work.Sachin’s life is blameless. He has never been in any controversy and he doesn’t incite scandalous thoughts. This film could’ve easily been the opposite of what the Sanjay Dutt biography  would be, given the man’s colourful lifescape. Instead the director unfolds  a treasury  of memories and anecdotes in which the aroma of ambition is mingled with the flavour of yearnings.

Sachin Tendulkar’s wife talks about how he would clam up after every defeat on the field. Does that make him a difficult man to live with?She doesn’t say. Dissent is not an option that people close toTendulkar would want to exercize.What I gathered  after watching Tendulkar’s  tale  being tossed into a cauldron of  exploratorychannels all leading to a  glorious  exposition  on heroism,is that every  great life has a very strong support system behind it.

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The documentary, dotted with  a smattering  of fictionalization from the protagonist’s growing years, constructs an extremely strong case for the  joint-family system. Sachin’s closeness to his father and brother and the singleminded focus that his wife Anjali has in ensuring Sachin’s  ascendancy into cricketing stardom, are milestones in the cricketer’s life that get a pride of place  in the narrative.

This brings me  to the other hero in Sachin: A  Billion Dreams. The hero  beyond the one whom  the film celebrates,is the film’s editorDeepa Bhatia who has done a stupendous job of assembling all the footage from old television interviews,  Sachin’s home videos(truly rare footage  of the cricketing legend playing with his two little children) and his precious time with family and friends.

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None of the raw material that serves as  the backbone of the Tendulkarsaga is randomly placed.Director James Erskine plunges deep into the cricketer’s  heart even while maintaining a certain distance  from the cult of hero-worship that Indians subscribe to when it comes to film stars and  cricketers.Sure, there is footage of crowds cheering and mobbing Tendulkar. But the man himself is shown to remain blissfully distanced from the adulation.

A simple man whose phenomenal achievements do not influence his behaviour on the field or in the family fold, Tendulkar comes across in the film as  guileless and driven.

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We  get to see Sachin Tendulkar talk directly into the camera . Again it’s not about how he throws words or  pauses between them. It’s about telling the world that his heart beats for cricket.Everything else, including family, must wait.

For telling it like  it is,for giving the national hero a befitting cinematic homage and for opening up the vistas of dreams that everyworkingclass youngsters lives and dies with , Sachin A  Billion Dreams  deserves a standing ovation.For giving us a documentary that is neither dry nor pedantic nor over-eulogistic ,the entire team of this film deserves a ‘We Love Sachin’ sweat-shirt each.

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Signed by the man.

 

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother In Pathaan

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother

Ever  since Pathaan released on Wednesday, audiences  have been  curious to know who  is the woman who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s adoptive mother in Afghanistan. The stately lady  with  royal looks is none  other than the late producer  Tahir Hussain’s daughter and  Aamir Khan’s elder  sister Nikhat Khan.

 Nikhat has been  closely  associated with the  film industry  and has helped her father in the production of his  films like Dulha Bikta Hai and  Tum Mere  Ho.

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Nikhat has  acted earlier in the Akshay Kumar starrer Mission Mangal ,  Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji and  in Sandh Ki Aankh(as a Maharani).

For Pathaan, it was Shah Rukh Khan who suggested Nikhat Khan should play his foster-mother in  Afghanistan who names him ‘Pathaan’. It proved to be  an inspired  piece of casting, as  audience have  loved Nikhat  Khan’s cameo.

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It is  heartwarming that  all three Khan superstars  are  associated with Pathaan in one  way  or the other.

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Anurag Kashyap’s New Film Is About Love Jihad

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Love Jihad, whatever  that means, is  the theme  of  Anurag Kashyap’s new film Almost Pyaar  With D  J Mohabbat.

Debutant Karan  Mehta plays a Muslim boy  in an intense relationship with  Alaya F who plays  a Hindu  girl.Kashyap has spared the  audience none of the ugliness that  such a relationship generates  among  social-media  bouncers, the self-styled  guardian of morality .

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In the hardhitting powerful and pertinent film  a  bigot is heard commenting snidely, “These people first talk about Mohabbat. Then  they talk about Mohammed.”

Happily and  surprisingly,  the Central Board Of Film Certification gave the  film a ‘UA’ certificate  with no  cuts: a  rare non-‘A’ film of Kashyap.

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So far  Kashyap and his  team have kept the Love Jihad part  of  the plot  out of all media interaction.

But the  cat is  now  out of the bag.

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Star Alongside Varun Dhawan in Prime Video’s Indian Original Series , Samantha Speaks

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu will be starring alongside Varun Dhawan in the Indian installment of the Citadel universe, the global-event series from Prime Video and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO. The untitled Citadel series based out of India is being helmed by renowned creator duo Raj & DK (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK), who are the showrunners and directors.

 The local installment is written by Sita R. Menon, along with Raj & DK. The streaming service also confirmed that the production is currently underway in Mumbai. After this, the unit will head  to North India and then onwards to international locales like Serbia and South Africa.

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  Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas will star in the first-to-launch series within the Citadel universe, which comes from the Russo Brothers’ AGBO along with David Weil (Hunters) and is set to premiere in 2023. Alongside Madden and Chopra Jonas, the first-to-launch Citadel series will also feature Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games saga). Additional local-language Citadel productions are also in the works, including an Italian Original series starring Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing).

  Speaking on  her participation in  The Citadel  franchise for  the  first time,Samantha says, “When Prime Video and Raj & DK approached me with this project, I decided to take it up in a heartbeat! After working with this team on The Family Man, it is homecoming for me.The Citadel universe, the interconnected storylines between the productions across the globe, and most importantly, the script of the Indian installment really excited me.”

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   Samantha  says she is  looking forward  to working with Varun Dhawan  .  “I am thrilled to be a part of this brilliant universe conceptualised by the Russo Brothers. I am also looking forward to be working with Varun for the first time, on this project. He is someone who is full of life and cheer when you’re around him.”

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Bollywood’s Achche Din Have Come

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 Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

All you doomsday  prophets, the  booms-day  profits  are here.  Pathaan  has  opened the floodgates again for Bollywood’s  bumper  bonanza at the  boxoffice.And now there is  only the achche din ahead  for  Hindi  cinema.

In the  next   two months there are  three sureshot  blockbusters coming up, beginning with Shehzada.  An astute devilishly impish  adaptation  of  Allu Arjun’s  2020 Telugu   blockbuster  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.The super-popular Kartik  Aaryan gives  his own  spin to the  character. This  performance will take   Kartik to the  next level of stardom. Kartik’s version of  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is  radically different  from  its Telugu  version. Shehzada  takes  the core idea of  the Telugu original  and turns it into a  something  completely different. Kartik’s  co-star in Shehzada  is  Kriti  Sanon with whom he earlier shared superhit space in Lukka Chuppi.

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 Then there  is Luv Ranjan’s ravishing rom-com   Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. The director’s   male viewpoint on the chaos  of love relationships  crests to a comic  high in his latest. Ranjan  for  the first time, collaborates with Ranbir Kapoor for the  first time  collaborates with Shraddha  Kapoor  who badly needs a hit.This film should do the  trick. The winsome  lead pair tries  to do one  another  in a  game of Luv This is Luv Ranjan’s Hum…Aapke Hain Con. Ranjan  has in the past used  the romcom  space to  entertain his audience  to the hilt, he  says this  time the stakes are different. It is  not something we’ve seen before.

 Finally  it is   Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.  Karan  Johar’s first directorial in six years(not counting the one segment each  in Ghost Stories and  Lust Stories). This time he has assembled a dream star-cast  of Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Ranveer Singh and  the  boxoffice darling(s) Alia Bhatt.  But trust me, this one is  not about assembling stars  into a complacent plot. The writing in this  zany Romeo & Juliet is so crisp  and engrossing, the experience  is  likely to be   the visual version of a multi-flavour icrecream cone. Colour, choler and karma collide in this tragic-comic love story . Let the  box office dhamaka  begin  from the house  of Dharma.

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