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The Prithiviraj  Fiasco, The Aftermath

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The failure of  Yash Raj Films and Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s  prestigious pricey posh and  ultimately pointless  Samrat  Prithviraj(SP)  has left  producer Aditya Chopra fuming and seething in rage.

The first  question being  asked is, where did all the money from the estimated budget of Rs 230  crores go?  Not much of it is visible  on  screen. The special effects are  downright  tacky and  the  film’s purported epic vision seems  to have been  lost in translation.

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This is Aditya Chopra’s  second  thundering flop in  a row after  Jayeshbhai Jordaar(JJ) which starred Yash Raj’s blue-eyed  boy Ranveer Singh. And Chopra is   not amused.In the cases of both  SP and  JJ the failure  has been of epic proportions. Shows of JJ had to be cancelled due to zero attendance. And  now with Prithviraj, history has repeated  itself, though not in a good way.

An atmosphere  of dismay and  anger prevails at Yash Raj. The onus  of SP’s failure is  being placed  on its leading man Akshay  Kumar’s  shoulder.

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“He  wouldn’t listen,” a source in the know  informs. “The film required  a dedicated concentration. He  wouldn’t  even  grow a real moustache  , as he was doing  other  project simultaneously. When playing someone so historically important, why couldn’t he  have  done just this one  project,and given  his best to it?”

The film’s  architects  are  blaming Akshay  Kumar  for  the failure  of  SP.

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Akshay  could have  taken a  page from his  father-in-law Rajesh Khanna who had  to grow  a beard  for Yash Chopra’s Ittefaq in 1969 at  the  peak of his superstardom. Khanna grew the beard and allowed  the continuity  process in other  films notably Raj Khosla’s  Do Raaste  ,to suffer. In  Do Raaste the beard  kept appearing and  disappearing .

I had asked Rajesh Khanna about this  and his reply was terse  but  revealing.  “Continuity  suffered in Do Raaste. But I  was  committed  to sporting a real beard  in  Ittefaq. A fake one would  have looked…fake.”

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The beard for  Ittefaq was part  of  Khanna’s contract. The moustache in SP  should have been the same.

Suman Sinha , an enraged film exhibitor in Bihar, is  hugely upset by Akshay’s false moustache. “Does Mr Akshay Kumar  realize  what the  moustache means  to Rajput pride?  It is  the fulcrum of a Rajput’s  identity.You can’t mess around with the moustache.”

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The moustache  is  not all that is wrong  with SP. The entire  project seems  to have  suffered  from a lack  of  conviction. The film  was  originally  planned  by director Dwivedi with Sunny Deol  and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan  playing Prithviraj and Samyukta. When  Aditya  Chopra  and  Yash Raj  Films  decided to  produce  the  film,Akshay Kumar came  into the  picture.

Alas, the rest  is  not history. This  portrayal of Prithviraj  Chauhan ranks as one of the worst on-screen treatment  of  the legendary Rajpur warrior. It ranks lower than even the 1959 version  of the valorous  Prithviraj’s  exploits which starred  Jairaj in  the title role.

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After two thundering flops Bachchan Pandey and  SP, Akshay  Kumar is looking at his next project Ram Setu more carefully. He  should have done that earlier.

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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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