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Shyam Singha Roy Is Stunningly Cogent

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Shyam Singha Roy(Netflix, Telugu)

Starring  Nani, Sai Pallavi, Krithi Shetty , Madonna Sebastian      

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Written & Directed  by Rahul Sankrityan

Rating: **** ½

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Apart from one  fatal  flaw,no make that two, Shyam  Singha Roy is  as  flawless and passionate  a love epic as I have  witnessed since Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s  Devdas. Please  note  I say, ‘witnessed’ not ‘seen’. This is the film that incites  ornate  poetic  descriptions of simple  human activities  such as eating, sleeping and  courtship…Eveything is done with a captivating oldworld  charm  that’s rare  to find in cinema today.

Cinema today,reminds  me  of  how  lamely the  film starts. When we first meet the  film’s hero  Vasudev he is  a struggling  filmmaker who shamelessly uses  a stranger as  his  short-film’s leading lady, That whole epilogue  with  Keerthy(Krithi Shetty) falling for the  struggling  filmmaker is  an aberration…

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But wait. Don’t go away.  If you do,you will miss an epic love story told  in such  a gloriously  florid  and  visually rich language  that you will miss the big-screen  more than ever before.

I did. I  have not felt  so strongly  about cinema-exclusion since the lockdown. Writer-director  Rahul Sankrityan seems to have designed  the  entire  film for  the sake of  posterity: look what  you  missed out on the  big screen when Covid  crept into your  lives! Suffer, all ye locked-down  souls!

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This is  a larger-than-life melodrama with the writing so clearly  defined and  packaged , it’s like watching a romance unfold in a familiar yet exciting language. As soon as Shyam Singha Roy moves into another lifetime—yes, this  is  a tale  of  reincarnation and  a convincing one for  a change—a kind of dramatic deliverance and  a storytelling  celerity  kick in. You are hooked,mesmerized  by  the  visual and emotional velocity  of this  unapologetic melodrama.

You  wouldn’t be  able to take your eyes off  the  sparks and flames of  mutual passion between Shyam Singha  Roy and the  lovely Devdasi Maithrayee,played by the  bewitching Sai Pallavi(more on her later) . The  romance unravels in Kolkata (which means  we see a painting of  the Howrah Bridge  in the backdrop almost every frame)  in the early 1970s.

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The   visual imaging  of the  Devdasi temple  is stunning, and the sexual exploitation  of  the  young girls , devastating. They remind us of the colour of choler and rebellion in  Bhansali’s cinema, which is  not  to say that Sankrityan copies Bhansali.  There  is  a violence at the heart of this  passionate romance that Bhansali would  never dare venture into.

I wish there was  more time given to  the central romance between the  non-showoffy  social reformist Shyam Singha Roy(obviously inspired  by Rajaram Mohan Roy) and  Maithrayee rechistened Rosie…perhaps after Waheeda Rehman in  Guide?  Sai Pallavi as Maithrayee/Rosie  echoes the  vulnerable yet  strong personality of  Waheeda Rehman. Watching Sai dance  I am sure even Ms Rahman  would smile in approval.

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Why is  the  film in such a hurry? Why the  insecurity  of losing the audiences’ interest when the  brilliant writing has  us  by the balls  right to the impassioned end? The  romantic reunion at  the finale is stunning in  its impact.Not  only  because Nani and Sai Pallavi make such a fetching pair,but also because they are shot by the brilliant cinematographer  Sanu John  Varghese  with a poetic flourish.

The performances  of some of the supporting cast is admirable  . But it’s the lead pair that leads the way. Whether  telling his beloved  about Devdasi descendents M S Subbulaxmi and Bala Saraswati or consoling her after  he  gets to know she  can’t have children, Nani is  every  inch the  social reformist who does what he  does  not to impress others but because his heart tells  him to.

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But it’s Sai Pallavi who steals the show. Dancing like a dream and emoting with a  breeziness  that  again shows her to be a natural-born actor  Sai’s Maithrayee evokes deep sighs in us.

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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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