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The Sanjay Bhansali-Alia Bhatt Connection Runs Deep, The  Untold Story

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If fate had willed, Alia Bhatt’s first film co-star would have been Aditya Narayan, singer Udit Narayan’s talented son ,who  is now  a multi-tasker . Aditya started his  career as a child actor. He played Salman Khan’s son in Jab Pyar Kissise  Hota Hai.

Aditya was  all  set to  play the lead in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali at the age of 10, with none other than Alia Bhatt as  his co-star.

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 That’s right! Bhansali was make  a love story about child marriage  entitled  Hamari Jaan Ho Tum. It was based on Rabindrnath Tagore’s short story Samapti which was  also  the  source material  for  Uphaar where  Jaya Bhaduri played the  child bride.

Bhansali had auditioned  scores of  children  for the two leads  and had  zeroed  in  on Aditya and Alia.

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“They were magical together. Both  natural-born actors  aged 9 and 10 and raring to go. But we  couldn’t  make the film.  Now it’s too late. I can never find my  perfect leads to play the  child bride  and child  groom,”  says Bhansali.

Incidentally the  title song of Hamari Jaan HoTum composed by  Bhansali showed up in his Saawariya where  Alia’s beau Ranbir Kapoor made his debut.

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Hamari Jaan Ho Tum is  not the  only Alia  starrer that Bhansali  had to shelve. Two years ago he was all set to make Inshallah with  Alia and Salman Khan. This project  was unceremoniously dropped due to excessive  interference  from Mr  Khan . Among other things , Salman wanted Sushmita Sen and Daisy Shah to  be part of Inshallah.

Another project that Bhansali dropped  was Bajirao Mastani  with Salman Khan and Kareena  Kapoor Khan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali(SLB) were always destined  to work together . But it  never happened. They came  really close to working together on  several occasions. Right after  the  success  Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam  ,  SLB decided to make Devdas with Kareena Kapoor as Paro and Madhuri Dixit as  Chandramukhi. Kareena’s costumes were ready. But then overnight  SLB changed  his mind and signed Aishwarya instead.

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Kareena felt betrayed  and  humiliated. I’d like to think I played  a hand in the patch-up. At that  point of time I  was  very close  to SLB and Kareena. I called them  both to the airport to receive me. They smiled at one  another. The ice melted. All three of us were soon yapping  together incessantly for the rest  of the evening.

Soon  after  SLB wanted to make to a film on Mahatma Gandhi’s troubled relationship with his son Harilal.

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“What  do you think of Kareena as Kasturba?”  SLB asked me one day. I was  all  for  it. That project was  taken over by Anil Kapoor who produced the film with Akshaye Khanna as  Harilal.

After this ,Kareena was  signed to play Mastani opposite Salman’s Bajirao. I  was  there  at  the photo-shoot and Kareena looked  stunning with Salman. This project was ruined by Salman when he quickly got   in touch with Priyadarshan and offered himself and Kareena  as a pair  of  Priyan’s Kyun Ki… To this day we don’t know why Salman ruined the exclusivity  of  the Bajirao Mastani pair.

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After this SLB wanted  to work with Kareena in  Black. But Mr Bachchan  vetoed the idea.

Then came  Ram Leela  which  SLB wanted  to do with Ranveer and  Kareena. But he wanted Kareena to give him a  very  large  number  of dates which she was not ready to commit to.

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“During the time Sanjay wants  I can do three films,” she reasoned with me. Deepika Padukone stepped  in and  Ranveer fell in love with her. Just think . If Kareena  had not opted out  of  Ram Leela Ranveer would not  have fallen in love with Deepika.

This is  one love story that owes a debt to Kareena and her  infinite fiascoes with SLB.

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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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