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Shekhar Kapoor On His Journey So Far, And What Lies Beyond

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Shekhar, . Why do you keep running away to the West?

Yes, I’ve been travelling for nearly a year and a half .I  feel most at home in Mumbai. I wish I could work more often over here. But my work takes me away from home.I don’t run away to the West. I run away to better work. I think the passion commitment and aspiration to create world-class content does not exist here.

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Then how will you make a film for us here?

I tried. I tried very hard . For the last three years I didn’t do any other work except Paani.But it didn’t happen.The only way it can happen is if we aspire to be major world players in cinema.

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But a lot of filmmakers in this country feel they are already getting  there?

Not at all!  I think a global curiosity about Bollywood in the West has existed for nearly ten years .However that curiosity still remains unexplored by us .

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Is it a low level  of competence that’s the culprit?

No, it’s a low level of aspiration.I think we’ve a huge amount filmmaking talent. But they are not provided the right opportunities. The same happened with our very bright scientists who had to go to the US to further their careers.It is changing in other spheres of  our activity in our country. But not in filmmaking.

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Why do you think we are lagging behind?

Look, there is a reason why China is so far ahead. They aspire to be  world class. We don’t.Someone like  Anurag Kashyap is defeated by the finances here.The funding  here  does not allow us to compete with world cinema. Though mind you, when I made Bandit Queen it was done at a really measly budget.

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But there has been no Bandit Queen after Bandit Queen?

I think the problem has been that there are too many of our filmmakers who aspire to genres that do not come naturally to us. Indian filmmakers got very heavily influenced by Mexican films. Because Mexican filmmakers have attained a global recognition that we have not. We are just happy being small players. When our films do 200 crores or 300 crores we are happy.Everyone  congratulates one another. Slumdog Millionaire did 2,000 crores.

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What about The Lunchbox?

Oh yes, that is an Indian film which got noticed the worldover.Now the director RiteshBatra is making films from outside  India.I believe we’ve chained ourselves by celebrating the Indian market.It is dominated by just a handful of big players. Any business that is monopolized by just a few players cannot grow because there isn’t much innovation or diversity.There was a time when no singer could make headway in Bollywood if he or she did not sing like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar or Mohd Rafi.A R Rahman changed that.Since then we are constantly getting new voices.

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Yes, but most of them are incoherent singers, so diversity is not necessarily growth, is it?

Maybe. But they are huge hits. Unfortunately the same growth is not visible among filmmakers. The other day I was at a restaurant in Mumbai when my friends from the Bollywood industry were excitedly discussing how much growth there was in the film business.Just at that moment a very smart waiter came up to us. I asked him if he saw Hindi films. He said he loved Hindi films and Salman Khan. But do you know when was the last time he saw a film in a movie theatre? One  year ago!

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So there is a dichotomy between what Bollywood imagines itself to be and what  it really is?

The real India does not exist in 5-star hotels and airconditioned cars. We need to get out there and face reality.  Do you know what middleclass office workers in Mumbai eat for lunch? Bananas! Because they’re inexpensive and filling. They need to save money to educate their  kids.

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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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