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The Ones That Deserved  Better in 2022

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Why didn’t the  audience turn up to see  these well-made films?

  1. Laal Singh Chaddha:  Aamir Khan is an actor known to be  trusted  by the audience. How could his judgement  fail him so badly this time? Or was  it something else? Maybe the audience doesn’t like remakes? If so, why did  they flock to see Drishyam  2 ? Maybe they  don’t  like Hollywood remakes? It boggles the mind why  Laal  Singh  Chaddha was rejected. Once in a while in this imperfect  world we get a near-perfect film  about flawed characters trying to stay on the  straight and narrow path. Actor-turned-screenwriter  Atul Kulkarni’s adaptation  of  Robert Zemeckis’ 1994  classic Forrest Gump is  every bit as charming  disarming and  enchanting as the original, and then some  more.Some characters specially that of  the heroine is  re-written to  suit current  times. But the spirit of innocence and faith remain  intact.  Through the  naïve uncorrupted eyes  of Laal Singh Chaddha we get a  world-view of  history as  it unfolds from the Partition  to  the demolition  of the  Babri Masjid.
  2. Dhaakad: A fabulous  action film with diligently choreographed action scenes Dhaakad  relies almost entirely on treatment and execution. And kudos to  debut director  Razneesh Ghai for making the violence look so dirgefully dynamic; the  bloodshed feels like  a blizzard of remorse  showered on an unrepentant conscience.Gory? Yes!  Violent? Of course! We  live in a violent  world where an eye  for an eye is not enough. It’s more  like  a limb for an eye. Seeing Kangana in the killer mode is reward enough  for  all the time we’ve had to bear with  inept female heroes taking revenge on all mankind for wrongs done.Dhaakad is slyly slick,and  remorselessly violent. It sticks to the point.  And gets to  brass tacks immediately. Kangana  playing a spy named Agnee is assigned by her boss(the very  capable  Saraswat Chatterjee) to extract a human trafficker/drug dealer Rudraveer from his hideout. Dhaakad is a film in a hurry. It moves breathlessly from one fabulously-staged fight to  another almost daring us to exhale. There is no time or space for anything but vendetta in Agnee’s ravaged life.While Kangana and Arjun Rampal roar  in brilliance as adversaries there are three other stand-out performances  by Divya Dutta, Saraswat Chatterjee and the  underrated Sharib Hashmi.But the real  star of the show  after Kangana and Rampal is  cinematographer  Tetsuo Nagata. Even when the frames  ooze blood Nagata makes the film look  like  poetry in commotion.
  3. Jersey:  This is a  film that is  not afraid to  flirt with broad emotions. It plunges into its protagonist’s life with a  fervent  gusto,sparing us  none of his anguished  self-loathing for being a loser, specially  in the eyes of his wife and son.The father-son bonding is crucial to  the efficacy of this mellow drama. Shahid Kapoor,  giving what  could arguably rank as  his  career’s best  performance, bonds beautifully with his screen son played by Ronit Kamra. It’s a pleasure beyond measure to see the two  of them  together. Even when they don’t speak to each other, the father and son are heartbreaking  in their mutual devotion.
  4. Goodbye:  In 2022 there were other films on a death in the family  like  Ram Prasad  Ki Tehrvi and Paglaitt. In spirit, Goodbye is  closer to the former, though the only similarity between the two films is  a  sudden  death  in the family. In Ram Prasad… it was Supriya Pathak  coping with the death of her husband and the drama of push and pull of interests that follows.Amitabh Bachchan in Goodbye  as  Harish Bhalla,  the  patriarch  of the family is  a bristling bundle  of  ire and sarcasm. His  abnormal aggression at his loss targets  all his children especially the daughter Gayatri(Rashmika  Mandanna). Many times  as  this lengthy film moves from tragedy to acceptance , you will find   yourself  connecting to the tamasha that  ensues after a death in the family. Vikas Bahl is  very good at juicing the  contradictions and hypocrisy that  underline the tragedy. he blemishes in the script(and that includes a  long unnecessary  moaning monologue by Mr Bachchan about  his dead wife’s half-empty bottle  of shampoo  lying in the bathroom, etc etc) are swept away by the genuinely  moving episodes and some validating  performances  especially by Pavail Gulati,Elli AvrRam, Sunil  Grover(as  the coolest godman in  Hardwar), Ashish Vidyarthi,  Divya Seth, Shayank Shukla(as the snivelling cousin getting ritual instructions on the phone), Martin Jishil(as  the  guy who informs Mandanna  of her mother’s death) and of course Mr Bachchan. Neena  Gupta plays the corpse with dead seriousness.
  5. Salaam Venky:  Revathi’s Salaam Venky doesn’t give us  a choice. We HAVE to  like, if not love ,this big-hearted  film about a dying son  and his  tirelessly devoted mother. Apparently based on a true story,the  film clasps us in a tight embrace not allowing us  to breathe. So overpowering is its commitment to  wrenching tears  out of us that  the narrative  frequently becomes  melodramatic  and maudlin, going as far as  to making the mother  sing a lullabye  on her son’s death bed.Seriously!  What  can we do except  to surrender  to director  Revathi’s sentimental  journey  into the heart of  a soap opera ,played out with finesse,I might add.No one can fault  Salaam Venky for faltering in its  commitment to communicating the mother’s grief.  Kajol  as the strong solidly nurturing Sujata curbs her  tendency to shriek and  shout. She has  played that  kind of a hyperventilating mother quite recently  in  Helicopter Eela. This time she  is far  more restrained and implosive, thanks to Revathi’s direction which  impels the matriarch  to bleed in places that cannot be seen.
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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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