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When You Were  Not Looking….10 Performances That Took Us By Surprise In 2016

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Every year throws forward  its own share of the unexpected, some good some bad.Some plainly astonishing. Here’s looking at the less celebrated non-pivotal though no less accomplished  performances that anchored the films that contained these gems.

  1. Kumud Mishra in Airlift: In a film whose brilliance relied largely on Akshay Kumar’s ability to convey optimum emotional velocity in minimal drama, there was one other actor who held his own. In spite of limited space the ever-dependable Kumud Mishra held his ground.As the bureaucrat  in the India who  becomes the unwilling link between the crisis in Kuwait in 1990 and the Indian government Mishra was  the man  of the ‘much’. In so little he covered so much!
  2. Sikandar Berry in Tere Bin Laden Wanted Dead Or Alive:  So okay,at first Sikandar’s oddball performance in the two roles of a CIA agent and a Bollywood  producer suffered from an excess of exuberance. But gradually his satirical skills seep into the two characters and make them hugely over-the-top but credible caricatures. Actually Berry was unlike anything we’ve seen being done in a comedy before.
  3. Yogendra Tikoo in Neerja: “We were all so busy watching the frontstage performance of Sonam Kapoor and the backstage bravura  of Shabana Azmi that we forget how skilled the seasoned theetre actor Yogendra Tiko was at portraying the bereaved father’s anguish. Just because he didn’t scream shout and exteriorize his grief??? Why are we still so obsessed with extraneous histrionics?
  4. Ashish Vidyarthi in Bollywood  Diaries: The extremely gifted Ashish Vidyarthi played a government clerk on the verge of retirement who decides he will live out his youthful aspirations NOW before it’s too late. In director K D Satyam’s unnoticed film Ashish’s character defies his family’s taunts threats and terminal illness  to fulfil his dream to be an actor. It was an unsung performance about an unsung character.We don’t celebrate the heroism of the common man .
  5. Richa Chadha in Sarbjit: In a film where the spotlight was on Randeep Hooda(no doubt brilliant) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing siblings, Richa as the quietly suffering but dignified and doughty wife of the captured soldier  blew the screen apart in the few scenes that she was given.She chewed up the  other members of the cast.
  6. Momal Sheikh in Happy Bhaag Jayegi: Again, the swerve from the pivotal characters played by Diana Penty,Jimmy Sheirgil, Ali Fazal and Abhay Deol to the  fifth character was unexpected. Playing Abhay’s haughty but humane fiancée Momal, daughter of the Pakistani stalwart Jawed Shaikh stole the show.She was elegant and restrained in a role that veered toward  the vampish.
  7. Konkona Sen Sharma in Akira:  In a film that was  terrible from the first frame to last, Konkona playing a pregnant cop(pregnant, because that was her real-life condition)  just killed it with her thoughtful under-the-top performance while Sonakshi Sinha and Anurag Kashyap took centrstage Konkona hit sixers from the boundary.That shuffling gait and that alert ticking mind….deadly!
  8. Anjali Patil in Mirzya:  The love saga spanning two  lives was all about making stars of the two debutants Harshavradhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher. But Anjoli Patil who played the lohaar Om Puri’s sexy daughter who has the hots for the hero ,gave to her part a crisp cutting edge and scintillatind sensuality . She was to Harshavardhan what Aroona Irani was to Rishi Kapoor in Bobby.
  9. Shashank Arora in Rock On 2: While Farhan Akhtar,Arjun Rampal and Purab Kohli rightly hogged the limelight it was the enormously talented Shashank Arora who, as the new recruit in the band, got the sur of his character right even though he had the least amount of space to grow. The lad was hungry for opportunity. He grabbed what he got with both hands.
  10. Aparshakti Khurrana in Dangal: So okay .Aamir Khan and his two screen daughters own this blockbuster.But who can forget Geeta and Babita Phogat’s ever-smiling obliging accommodating and selflessly devoted cousin Omkar?Aparshakti  gave heft to the part that perhaps the film’s writers couldn’t have imagined. Such are the stuff scene stealing performances are made of.

 

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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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