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The Rise & Rise Of Riz Ahmed 4 The Rise & Rise Of Riz Ahmed 5

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The Rise & Rise Of Riz Ahmed

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He  was  Rizwan Ahmed when I  first got to know  him .The film where Riz/Rizwan first caught  my attention was Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist in 2013  where  he played  Changez Khan with a terrifying intensity.

I  immediately asked  Mira  to  help me with an  interview. Riz was  attentive, polite  and courteous. He  spoke about his roots in  India and his  favourite Indian actors. “It was lovely to reconnect with the sub-continent and explore Delhi, which is a city I have never visited before. I got to know a little more about my own family tree and engage with Urdu through poetry and politics rather than the usual family setting. It was a real gift. My favourite actors are Irrfan Khan, Aamir Khan, Nana Patekar, and Tabu. I love Anurag Kashyap’s films as well as Dibakar Banerjee’s films like LSD.”

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Back then, Rizwan was  just getting global recognition and he was  taking it all in  calmly.  “I have actually been very lucky. I feel like I have played very diverse roles – different kinds of characters. Some of them have been culturally specific and others haven’t. Those that have, I am lucky to say I am proud of. They are stories that needed to be told and were well received. I do think though that we are no longer actors in the East or West. It’s a global film industry. What would you say The Reluctant Fundamentalist  is a Western film, or Eastern? The cast is global, so is the team behind the camera, and so is our director with her proudly hybrid identity. So I don’t think I’m limited by working in the West necessarily.”

When I had asked Riz(wan) what his aspirations were as  an actor he had replied, “To make films that continue to bridge the European, Indian, and US film industries, and make the best of the talent across them all.”

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He  is   doing exactly that  8 years later with  highly  acclaimed  film  like Darius Marder’s  The Sound Of Metal and  Basam Tariq’s Moghul Mowgli . In  both Riz played  musicians struck by a exceptional  disability.  The two films have fetched him immense global recognition and The Sound Of Metal even  got him an Oscar nomination for Best actor.

In his new project  Encounter to stream on  Prime  video  from December 10, Riz Ahmed plays Malik Khan a father of  2, trying to protect his  children  from an alien invasion.

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The actor of Pakistani origin with roots in India has come a long way from his days of Trishna, British director Michael winterbottom’s weird Rajashtan-located adaptation of  a Thomas Hardy’s Tess  of the d’Urbervilles where Freida Pinto, another Asian  actor who sadly couldn’t sustain her  initial global success after  Slumdog Millionaire,  played the title role . Riz  Ahmed was her  malicious lover.

When I  criticized the film Riz defended it saying, “When you do something different it will ruffle some feathers. You won’t please everyone.”

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Today Riz has more fans worldwide than any Asian actor barring  Jackie Chan. With due  respects to  Priyanka Chopra, Riz Ahmed is  the Asian subcontinent’s best import since Omar Sharif.

 

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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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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