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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heroines Never Look  Better

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Alia Bhatt should  retire after Gangubai Kathiawadi. Nothing she  does  hereafter will compare even remotely with what she has achieved under the super-vision  of  Bhansali. She is  not the  first. Run your memory back to the heroines  Bhansali  worked with. They  were never better. Or even close.

The  ethereal Manisha Koirala who   starred  in Bhansali’s directorial debut Khamoshi :The Musical never looked better nor emoted with such excruciating  intensity in any of her  later  films. Sure, Manisha did have  her moments in Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se, but nothing as epiphanic as Khamoshi which came after her other  outstanding performance in  Mani Ratnam’s Bombay.

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Speaking about why she couldn’t better her score after Khamoshi , Manisha said to me, “That’s because Bhansali sets  impossible standards  which other  filmmaker cannot  dream  of achieving.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan  was immortalized  in Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Guzaarish. She never scaled  the same heights  of  excellence in any of her other premium  projects, be  it Subhash  Ghai’s Taal or Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat. I remember during Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam Aishwarya  was  apportioning  shooting dates  between  Bhansali and  Ghai(for Taal) triggering a wave  of  rage and annoyance in Bhansali.

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No wonder he   moved  to  Deepika Padukone soon  after Guzaarish. It was  meant to be Kareena  Kapoor Khan in Bajirao Mastani . They even did  a  photoshoot together where  I was  present. It would have been  THE  film that she would have proudly shown to  Taimur and Jehangir to let them know what their mother was  capable  of.

Alas,that was not meant to be. Kareena was  also finalized  for  Ram Leela  and then dropped for Deepika who gladly stepped  in . The rest as they say  is hysteria. In her three  back-to-back  opuses  with Bhansali—Goliyon Ki Raasleela  Ram Leela , Bajirao Mastani  and Padmaavat—Deepika immortalized  herself  in the way no  Piku or  Gehraiyaan  could do.

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 “There is something magical about what Bhansali does to his  heroines. I am known to nake them  look  good on screen. But I don’t think Ash looked  as good in my Chokher Bali as she  did in Sanjay Bhansali’s  Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas. And Manisha in  Khamoshi  was ethereal,”  the late Rituparno Ghosh once told me .

 Now  after three films with Deepika , Bhansali has broken the chain again with Alia Bhatt in Gangubai Kathiawadi. It is  a performance that will be discussed for many weeks  months and years   to come. Bhansali virtually had to groom and wean Alia  into  a culture that she  had  no idea oh. Her walk,  her voice quality , her facial expressions are all different from what she has done so far. It is  a completely transformative  performance.She can never  outdo what she has done in Gangubai . Not even in  Baiju Bawra for which they will team  up  next.

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Speaking of his heroines Sanjay Bhansali admits he works hard on their looks and emotions. “I take them into areas  of their personality they’ve never been. But for them to get there, those areas need  to exist. If Manisha, Aishwarya, Deepika and now Alia didn’t have it in them how could I have got it  out of them?”

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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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