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Tanushree Dutta, “Now I’m older , wiser and more aligned with the artist within me”

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Tanushree Dutta Speaks To Subhash K Jha On The  Failure  Of  The MeToo Movement  In Bollywood, Of Which She Was The Triggering Point

Sajid Khan’s welcome to Bigg Boss has appalled all?

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I am appalled  too . I am speechless at the sheer  irresponsibility  of this action  and the impact it would have on the public. I don’t watch Bigg Boss and  I think I never will after this.

As a harassment survivor what do you feel about the way the MeToo movement has gone in Bollywood?

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The #metoo movement was an iconic phenomenon in India, given the culture of silence and secrecy in India about sexual harassment. Being a modern Indian American girl I always found it hard to understand why this kind of silence is encouraged at the cost of a rotting eco- system. I mean, if people get punished for bad behaviors then only the communities will remain safe. It’s just logic. And why so much hush and stigma around calling out predators? You go complain to police if someone robs your house,  right?? Then why not complain if someone hurts your honor or tries to trouble you for their devious pleasures. People think I’m just too American but I’m just upholding my honor as an Indian woman.

Instead  of  supporting  you, there were defamation cases  filed against you?

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There were defamation cases on me in 2018 by few people I called out. But this year started on a great note and the courts decided to dismiss all those cases without a trial even. I never had to step foot inside a courtroom.  That is the power of truth! Truth always wins.  I consider this a victory given that they tried their best to trouble me but law was on my side.

Do you find it difficult to find work in Bollywood because the big guns have ganged up against you?

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There was a production house backed by a big business conglomerate that offered me 15 Crore + 15% profit share to sell them the rights to my life story to be made into a 2 part web series. It would cover my childhood years, growing up, modelling, Miss India, movies, Me too etc and then they would also explore in flashback the lost 10 ( 2008- 2018)  years and my journey into spirituality. Much of that it still shrouded in mystery and the webseries wanted to tap into that to see what all I experienced including the supernatural and esoteric stuff that made me the person I became. Where did all that power and fearlessness come from to do what I did. It was an ambitious project and if it went through they were planning on approaching a top Bollywood actress or someone from theater to portray me. They also considered getting me on screen partly on every episode to narrate my feelings through my journey.

So what happened to this  project eventually?

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I almost agreed to this biopic but I had 3 conditions. 1) legal indemnity from any claims arising out of the project 2) creative control  and  overview 3) Since I’m still very young and will do so much more going forward I wanted to time bound it to 7 years and not a lifetime exclusivity. And I wanted to keep the book rights and biography rights to myself. They weren’t agreeing to the first  three  conditions and kept offering me higher and higher amounts up to 25  crores and percentage profit upto 50% for full life rights. I had no option but to refuse. Didn’t want to rush into something  I’d regret later. I had similar offers coming to me since 2018. All this has happened. I did not speak about it .There was no point if my core conditions are not met and im not going ahead with it.

You have spoken of being threatened and a risk to your life…how urgent is this danger?

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 I started connecting with some Big banners and Big production houses. They seemed very interested to work with me in solo lead women centric projects. But there are a few people within the film industry who  are trying to avenge and help #metoo accused. So these are the people who try to spoil things for me. Whatever is meant to be will be. My job is to just put my best foot forward.

How does  the  future look to you?

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2020 was a watershed year for me. 2018 & 2019 I was confused if I even wanted to return to Bollywood. In  2020 I was struggling to convince the big banners to work with me. In 2021 I confirmed  three  Independent  movies each with a high  7- figure paycheck same as what I commanded way back when Ashique Banaya Apne  and my other movies were the talk of town. That shows that the film industry is more than willing to work with me.There were quite a few movie projects in Hindi and Telugu that I’ve myself turned down. Reasons vary from  not liking the script too much, unknown banners to not wanting to align with certain people. When you are making a comeback there’s so much that happens in the background before breakthrough that talking about it doesn’t make sense. But my silence has been misconstrued as inactivity. Also too much has happened so I prefer to just chill out and move forward with a clarity.

How much has  the  whole traumatic  experience changed you as  a person?

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It’s just that now I’m older , wiser and more aligned with the artist within me. I have understood how positioning and branding works in entertainment and media. I will not have to start from scratch thats obvious but I wish to grow. All I have to do is make smart choices within the available options.  Thus I just don’t wish to take up projects just to look busy. Therefore I’ve had to let go of a lot of what was offered to me just so I can avoid being a part of something that doesn’t build me up from where I left off. All of this for me is an indication of Bollywood  and South Industry’ s willingness to work with me. But since that one perfect Bollywood film has not manifested yet to my liking, I’m now showing a little more interest in exploring the south Industries and speaking to some US people too. I’m very enterprising n I keep building and networking in my free time. Anything or anyone that I feel may waste my time and energy and not get me where I want to be .I just cut it out at the start. So this is the scene. My life is not a sob story as many have assumed it to be although I’m quite emotional as a person and cry easily. I do recognise my blessings always despite the free and abundant display of emotions.

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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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