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The  Bollywood Boxoffice Does A Turn-Around 

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Looking back at the  first three months  of  2022. The  boxoffice clearly made a dramatic turn-around thanks mainly to one  money spinner which  proved to be  the greatest  boxofffice  of  all times.

History  has been made in Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files, not only  because it brought to light a sorry sordid chapter  of Indian history, but also because it accrued the volume of  revenues that no  Hindi film  can boast of. Made at  a  cost  of  Rs 6-7crores The  Kashmir Files has  so far collected Rs.280 crores at  the  turnstiles, and still  counting.

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Vivek Agnihotri says he  is  not counting. “I am not  really into  profits and losses. Even  if The Kashmir Files  was not such a boxoffice success, I would make the  films that I want to make and not  the films that I am  expected  to.”

Vivek is  happy for his  producer  Abhishek Aggarwal who has overnight become  a rival producer  to the likes of  Sajid Nadiadwala.

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Speaking  of Nadiadwala, his Bachchan Pandey released  in March 2020 was  completely  steamrollered by  The  Kashmir Files, his second flop in a row after  Tadap, and it’s  time for  the  producer to do some  soul-searching on  the  sensitive subject  of What Audiences Want.

We  can safely tell you  they don’t want  imbecilic  escapism  in their  cinema entertainment.

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Maharashtra film exhibitor Akshay  Rathi finds the boxoffice turn-around absolutely incredible.  “There was  a serious  bit of pent-up demand  for recreational  activities  after being stuck for two years at home.That  demand was satiated  by content which  was  top-of-the-line and  compelling, The Kashmir Files , Gangubai  Kathiawadi, RRR, Spiderman. Sooryavanshi…all very inviting. I am very sure  this trend will continue, unless there is another wave  which seems  unlikely. I am pretty  hopeful  the losses of the last  two years  will be compensated for during the  coming months and  years.”

Say trade analyst and  producer Girish Johar, “We did miss the earlier weeks of 2022 due to the third wave and  restrictions did come off slowly.So the box office was almost nil. But thereafter the tidings have been good for the Hindi Box Office. Well , at  least the surge or an upswing can be clearly seen. Gangubai KathiawadiThe Kashmir Files, RRR, have clearly led the pack followed by Badhai Do,Jhund, Bachchan Pandey. On pure numbers basis, we are at a  low quarterly  vis a vis before the  pandemic. But happy to see that thee wheels have started churning and audiences have started to come back to cinemas. Pretty optimistic that the coming months of the year audiences in a revenge movie-watching mood , will  pur into theatres.”

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 Before  The Kashmir Files, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi set  the  ball rolling  for  2022,  crossing the 100-crore mark in  no time at all. Its  total  boxoffice  collection so far is  nearly  180 crores.

The third major  successs  in the first  three months  of   2022 is  S S Rajamouli’s  RRR. Though the  film  has  underperformed severely  at  the  boxoffice it is  still  in  the  successful zone.

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Says  Girish  Johar, “The film has achieved a tremendous feat.Post the pandemic times it is setting new benchmarks. RRR has been appreciated in all languages and is doing well in all respective languages box office, which is no small achievement in today’s times. Clocking more than Rs 500 crores globally in its first weekend  and still holding steadily on weekdays despite a wide release,  is truly commendable. It has also started a narrative  unifying the film industry as an Indian Film Industry rather than region-specific, which is the right way a  move  forward for Indian Cinema.”

Trade analyst Atul Mohan  opines, “The first quarter of the year held a great promise for the film industry to level up with the pre-Covid19  times. However, for various reasons, the film industry has not been able to realize that promise. The exhibition trade reopened post- pandemic, initially with restrictions of limited capacity, which opened upto 100% step by step. Maharashtra being the main market for Hindi films,  was the last to give full-occupancy permission. In my opinion the quarter can be termed as just average with THE KASHMIR FILES saving the day for us. The first-quarter usually contributes to  18 to 20% of annual box-office. The first 3 months of last 3 years were in the range of 650-800 crores on an average but this year the numbers are just around 450 crores. The film  industry, though yet to see pre-pandemic numbers, is making its way to recovery. The reason to be happy is that we are getting back in business, slowly but steadily.”

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 Summing up the turn-around at the   boxoffice during the  first three months  of 2022  producer-director  Suneil Darshan  says, “At the outset, the audiences are back in cinemas with gutso.However, it’s all about content with entertainment and relatability as seen in The Kashmir Files, Gangubai Kathiawadi  and  RRR on one side, and fare that’s off-the mark-inspite of the top stars(Bachchan Pandey, Jhund, Radhe Shyam   and   Attack) on the  other hand.”

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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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