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Some Very Unusual Daddys In Hindi Cinema

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When it comes  to  celluloid fathers  the first image that comes to my mind is  the late actors  Nasir Hussain and  A K Hangal sobbing into their screen-daughter’s  hearts  with  mom memorials  that began with ‘Agaraaj tumhari maa zinda hoti…(if only your mother  were alive today…).”

Time  to put the groan out of  the  parental  zone  with  a look at  dads who were different from the norm. Think of different dads, and the  first image that  comes to mind  is Tarun Bose  in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anupama who hated his daughter from birth, even if she  looked like  Sharmila  Tagore(who would hate  a daughter that gorgeous?) because his beloved  wife died at  childbirth.

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  Hrishikesh Mukherjee  told me this  uncool  dad was  based on a real  character.

Years later Anupam Kher played a  variation  on the daughter-hating dad in  Saajan Ka Ghar. He  wouldn’t even look at daughter Juhi Chawla on her wedding day. Anupam told me  he felt really awful playing such a father  since he  doesn’t have  a daughter of his own and would love to have one.

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Amitabh  Bachchan had one in Piku  and that too the leggy and lovely Deepika Padukone. But all he  did was grumble grumble  grumble and make  her life miserable. Mr Bachchan  found  it “very difficult” to play a  nag in Shoojit Sircar’s Piku because in real life he gives  everyone in his family space.Strangely when I saw Anthony Hopkins in The Father  many years  later  I thought of  Mr Bachchan in Piku and  his boundary-less bonding  with his beleaguered beti.

The Bachchan-Padukone  father-daughter act  was so much more convincing in Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan. Jaya Bachchan felt her husband Deepika actually looked like father-daughter in Aarakshan. In Piku he  behaved like her landlord.

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 Fun dads are rare  in Hindi films. One of the earliest Daddy Cool in Hindi cinema was  Murad(father of actor Raza Murad) in Mehboob Khan’s 1949  psycho-drama Andaz. Murad not only gave his daughter  the freedom to choose her own husband she was  also allowed to have  male friends  in gender-free associations. It  seemed shockingly  progressive at that time.

Much later Amitabh Bachchan in  R Balki’s Cheeni Kum  befriended a  8-year old neighbour named  Sexy (Swini Khara) . The two spoke  like adults about life and relationships  sitting on the doorstep of  their homes.

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I think Mr Bachchan in  Cheeni Kum was the coolest  father-figure  I have ever seen  in a while.

A close second would  be Shashi Kapoor in  Yash Chopra’s Kabhi Kabhie. Shashi  shared drinks and  girlfriend-secrets with his screen son Rishi Kapoor. Yash Chopra told me the  Shashi-Rishi father-son bonding was a wish fulfilment since he  was  not  friendly with his own  sons Aditya and  Uday.

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Balraj Sahni  and the little  girl Mini in Kabuliwala is   yet another  filial bonding that stood out in a sea of  schmaltzy  father-daughter relationships.Little  Mini reminds the  dryfruit seller  in Kabuliawalla of his own daughter back in Afghanistan.Some years later ,Hrishikesh Mukherjee cannibalized the  Kabuliwalla father-daughter  relationship  in  Aashirwaad, with Ashok Kumar  befriend  little  Sarika in the park. In present times  this  beautiful bonding  between a stranger and a little girl would be considered creepy.

The  father-daughter equation with all  its inherent  warmth and  compulsive complexities remains largely unexplored in Hindi cinema , obsessed as   it is  with the mother  who  is even  part of the  word cinema.

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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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