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Senapathi: Telugu Morality Tale That Forsakes  Grip For Gumption

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Senapathi(Telugu, Aha)

Starring Rajendra Prasad, Naresh Agastya, Harsha Vardhan, Gnaneswari Kandregula, Satya Prakash

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Directed  by  Sri Ganesh

Rating: **

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Akira Kurosawa, no less. The inspiration  for this Telugu hodgepodge of underdog-drama and  cops-thriller   which  has been  largely  loved  by most, is Kurosowa’s early 1949 psychological  thriller Stray Dogs.

A  newly recruited cop with a dark past loses his service revolver while  chasing a  goon. The rest is  a chronicle  of conceit, deceit   and eventual  defeat , with the cop-hero sliding from brave  underdog  to a whiny loser, never to  redeem himself  . Part  of the  fault for this shabby remake’s  inability to  modulate the hero’s  moral compass in accordance  with the  wild and sudden swings in the  plot, has to do with the  co-writers—and there are  four them—and their failure to stay empathetic  to  the young callow  hero Krishna(Naresh Agastya)’s dismaying predicament.

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As Krishma  searches frantically for his  missing gun—and  some  of the hot pursuit is  nimbly shot in crowded places  filled with startled bystanders rather than selfconscious junior  artistes—the plot becomes  more  interested in  the  archvillain Krishnamurthy  and his two  assistants  Hussain (Rakendu Mouli)  and  Raju (Josh Ravi).

As  Krishnamurthy takes  over the show we get insistent sympathy  alerts  on him from the  screenplay. Krishnamurthy, as played by the  seasoned Rajendra Prasad, is  a senior  citizen neglected  by his  children and in dire need  of  cash to  win back his  family’s respect. So what does Krishnamurthy do? He  robs a  bank using the  cop-hero’s missing revolver. Nice.

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Tragically,the gun is by now a  forgotten  character   in the  fidgety screenplay.  It surfaces now  and then like  a  ragged doll bubbling to the surface in a murky  pond . But as the  screenplay shifts tones from redemption to exhilaration the entire  plot proceedings  comes apart at the seams exposing the  yawning chasm  between  Kurosawa and  his  distant  disciples.

Some  of  the earlier  episodes in the long and  whining road are  nominally  interesting. The  burgeoning  relationship between  the  cop-hero Krishna  and a news anchor Satya(Gnaneswari Kandregula) is  rudely  cut short by the extraneous  exigencies  of the  plot.This a  story that is in a  hurry to  move on.

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We soon realize that the  director  is  not out to make  a credible cops  thrillers. The  gameplan is to keep the audience hooked  at any cost. Hence  Harsha  Vardhan is  roped in as  the hero’s cop colleague,. He   likes to sing old Hindi  film songs to make his  point. Good to see Hindi being used  constructively for a  change in a South Indian film. Normally it is  the language  of  unwanted  migrants  and  criminals .

Senapathi draws  its inspiration from Kurosawa and ends up  turning a  sushi dish into an overspiced  rice-rasam  concoction that is neither here nor there.  A  Tamil film 8 Thottakkal based  on  the same  subject had  done even  more irreparable  damage  to Kurosawa. If that is  any  consolation.

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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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