Barbaad ho rahe hai hum log Single-screen exhibitors DISAPPOINTED

Since more than a month, there have been speculations that Disney+ Hotstar, one of the biggest streaming platforms, has acquired more than a half-a-dozen films for a direct OTT release due to the Coronavirus-induced lockdown. Today, on June 29, the suspense was finally unveiled and it came to light that as many as 7 films will skip theatrical release and arrive straightaway on the internet. These films are Akshay Kumar’s horror comedy Laxmmi Bomb, Ajay Devgn’s war saga Bhuj – The Pride Of India, Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film Dil Bechara, Mahesh Bhatt’s directorial comeback Sadak 2, Abhishek Bachchan’s stock market drama The Big Bull, Kunal Kemmu’s comic caper Lootcase and Vidyut Jammwal’s action love story Khuda Hafiz.

As expected, the exhibitors are disappointed with this historic announcement. Already, they have been suffering since cinemas are shut since more than 3 months. And with the lockdown getting extended in most major states to July-end, they are all set to suffer more. In such a scenario, to see 7 films going straight to OTT, including few star-studded ventures which could have drawn audiences to cinemas in big numbers, have not just saddened them but also infuriated the exhibitors. While the representatives of multiplex chains were unavailable, the single-screen exhibitors have openly made their displeasure clear.

Akshaye Rathi, film exhibitor and distributor, says, “We all saw it coming since 1 ½ months. Hence, we were all prepared to see this happening. As an exhibitor, I’d say that it’s a bit disappointing because some of these films could have actually played a role in resurrecting the very medium that made them such big stars.” A very angry Vishek Chauhan, owner of Roopbani Cinema in Bihar, angrily tells, “I think Bollywood has jumped the gun and have pressed the panic button too early. This will have a very bad long-term impact on the Hindi film industry.” Raj Bansal, the owner of Entertainment Paradise theatre in Jaipur states, “I am not very happy with this announcement. They should have waited for some more time, at least two more months. I understand that they have invested heavily in these films and they must have had their reasons. But in this time of crisis, we should support each other.”

Vishek Chauhan makes it clear that “Bollywood is in danger, theatres are not” and also adds, “People feel that right now that the theatres will suffer if Hindi films will arrive on TV or OTT. Hollywood started this trend of releasing films on streaming platforms in the lockdown and the first film to do so was Trolls World Tour. But that film could be accessed through PVOD (Premium Video-On-Demand) and not SVOD (Subscription Video-On-Demand). So you have to pay $19.99 to buy the film and then you get to watch it. In our case, the accessibility is so easy for these new films that these films would be counted in the same breath as Aarya and Chaman Bahaar. Look at Gulabo Sitabo – it came and it went in no time. My point is that, what makes actors stars is when people take the trouble of heading to a cinema hall, standing in a queue and then watching them perform on the big screen. So if Akshay Kumar’s film will be accessible online without any effort at home, Akshay Kumar is then no longer that star! He and Ajay Devgn just killed their own stardom. Disney has kept its Hollywood film, Black Widow, ready. Even James Bond’s No Time To Die is ready for release. But these films are being held back for theatrical release. Toh fir yeh log kyun apni film online release kar rahe hai?”

The thoughts of Sandeep Jain, an exhibitor from Indore and Bhopal, are in sync. He states, “What they are doing is wrong. They are trying to destroy the medium that made them such big stars. Has there been any star from OTT? Alia Bhatt became a craze because she debuted in Student Of The Year, which released in cinemas. Same goes for other actors.”

Vishek Chauhan further adds, “Suriya is not giving away his film on the internet. Vijay hasn’t given his finished film Master to an OTT platform. Same goes for Dhanush, Chiyaan Vikram and Mahesh Babu. They have all declined the offer from OTT because they know where their stardom comes from. And look at our Bollywood actors. They are killing their stardom which they painstakingly cultivated over the years. They are forgetting that stardom jaane mein time nahi lagta hai.”

Other exhibitors too agree that they’ll now give preference to films of other languages. Akshaye Rathi opines, “Theatres have survived a hundred years and will survive long enough. The only thing that might change is the content that reaches the theatrical medium. If you see, in every other industry, from Southern to Hollywood, all the tent pole films have been held back for theatrical. So if these Hindi films don’t release, there will be enough Hollywood and Southern films in dubbed Hindi versions and also regional films that will take that space and keep bringing people to cinemas so that they keep getting their share of entertainment.” Manoj Desai, executive director of G7 multiplex in Mumbai, popularly known as Gaiety-Galaxy cinema complex, agrees as he says, “We’ll now give preference to South films which are dubbed in Hindi. Also, we’ll show dubbed Hollywood flicks. And I am sure audiences will come to these films as these films have lot of entertainment. The action in Hollywood films is amazing. As for South films, their action too is a visual delight. Also, their songs make for a great watch.”

Vishek Chauhan also argues that OTT won’t give these films the desired and the deserved viewership. He says, “Uday Shankar (The Walt Disney Company [Asia Pacific] and Chairman, Star & Disney India) is claiming that there are 50 crore smartphones in India and hence the reach is tremendous for these 7 films. If that’s the case, then why does your platform have just 80 lakhs subscribers? At least, Akshay Kumar’s films in cinemas gets footfalls of 2 or 2.5 crore. Your subscriber base is less than half of that. Bollywood has to decide for whom they are making the film. If they give films on the internet, then Bollywood will become an OTT industry.”

Thankfully, not all is lost. There are still many big Bollywood films which will come directly to theatres. Akshaye Rathi exults, “There are quite a few Hindi films as well like Sooryavanshi, ’83, Coolie No 1, Radhe etc which will make it to cinemas.” Raj Bansal in agreement says, “Those who will hold their films will get more benefit. It’s a matter of time.”

However, the other industries are already all set to take advantage. Vishek Chauhan reveals, “The day Disney+ Hotstar announced and hinted about releasing 7 films on OTT, Warner Bros sent a mail to all the exhibitors in the country that their Hollywood films Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 releasing only in theatres. Universal Pictures also regularly tells us that they are releasing No Time To Die only in theatres. The idea behind these messages is that if Bollywood steps aside, then Hollywood will have a free run in cinemas of India. Similarly, down South, producers have asked us to let their films release simultaneously in North and Western belt.”

As of now, exhibitors are suffering immensely and the Disney+ Hotstar announcement has added to their woes. Manoj Desai rues, “Barbaad ho rahe hai hum log aur digital platforms aabaad ho rahe hai. Aaj Maharashtra mein July 31 tak lockdown extend ho gaya lekin Uddhav Thackeray ji ne theatres ke baare mein ek lafz nahi bola hai.”

Sandeep Jain has the last word and he is confident that once the lockdown is lifted, exhibitors will benefit. “Once things get back to normal, viewers will forget OTT and will come to cinemas. Even when VCR technology had arrived, we had faced some problems. Right now, with theatres shut, these platforms are getting so much importance. But later on, audiences will flock to theatres just like old times.”

Gulabo Sitabo Movie Review: Amitabh Bachchan beats Ayushmann Khurrana. The audience wins

Gulabo Sitabo Movie Review: Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, dropped on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.

Movie Name: Gulabo Sitabo
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana
Director: Shoojit Sircar

Fatima Mahal is no Taj Mahal. It most certainly was built with love, but right now it serves but one purpose – to serve. A hundred years give or take, Fatima Mahal houses Mirza (Amitabh Bachchan) and his Begum, and a bunch of tenants unofficially led by Baankey (Ayushmann Khurrana). Mirza and Baankey’s nokjhok, as the makers told us repeatedly, holds the whole plot together. Yet, it is not the central point of Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo – Fatima Mahal is.

Mirza wants to throw Baankey out. Baankey won’t leave. Mirza decides to sell the haveli instead, if that helps. He has to cross out those extended family members who could lay claim on the property before he sells it. In addition, Fatima Mahal’s 100-year-old legacy has by now attracted the archaeological department. Like little school children, all these atrangi characters flutter around Fatima Mahal, and she simply watches. A brick falls here, a railing drops there, she continues to stand witness to it all.

Greed is an excellent driver. Mirza’s greed, very evident, drove him to marry a woman 17 years older to him. “Aapne unme kya dekha?” and Mirza quips, “Haveli dekhi.” He is 78 now, old, frail, stooping under the weight of his once tall stature, yet his greed doesn’t leave him. He survives on pennies he gets to pick from Begum’s baksa, sells chandeliers for pocket money, Begum squarely tells him, “Apni shakal ab kafi dinon tak mat dikhana,” and he almost happily obliges.

Baankey, on the other hand, runs a chakki (small-scale wheat mill) feeding the mouths of his three growing sisters and a widowed mother. He can ride a bike and buy a microwave, but ghar ka bhada will remain Rs 30 a month. Rent-control areas in any old part of this country, no matter the city – Lucknow or Mumbai or Kolkata – will have such bickering landlord-tenant jodis. In that, Shoojit has yet again picked a subject so simple and everyday, that you would have thought they couldn’t have been made into a full-fledged feature film. Shoojit surprises you yet again. But then, not really.
Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana coming together for the first time was a big deal. But Bachchan’s Mirza trumps Ayushmann’s Baankey. Bachchan’s prosthetic make-up, especially the nose, sticks out like a sore thumb in parts, but the maverick more than makes up for it with his acting and more importantly, his body language. Ayushmann’s Baankey, unfortunately, oscillates between the Punjabi munda that he is and the Lucknavi that he is supposed to be. And then there is the Lucknavi twang. There’s so much diction can do.

Bachchan’s perfect Urdu – from the epiglottis and all – leaves Baankey miles behind him. Baankey, in fact, has a lisp, and we’re not sure if it was a character requirement or was it put to shroud the actor’s shortcoming, especially stark in contrast to Bachchan. Nonetheless, Ayushmann the actor is so resilient that he doesn’t let that bog his performance down.

Unlike Fatima Mahal’s walls, literally crumbling, failing to support its enormous legacy, the supporting cast of Gulabo Sitabo outdo the lead cast. Brijendra Kala as the astute lawyer Christopher Clarke, a property-dispute specialist Mirza seeks the help of, jo khane mein sirf lunch aur dinner letein hai because that’s how ‘English’ he is, is excellent. Vijay Raaz’s Gyanesh Shukla, an archaeology department official adamant to declare Fatima Mahal a heritage site, who suffers from arthritis and pyorrhea, and the occasional character slip, goes beyond what the script might have said. There are legit moments when you know the script could not have written this expression or that hand gesture down; and Raaz adds a dash of masala to this steaming pot of biryani.

Srishti Shrivastava doesn’t need to be introduced as the girl you saw in Gully Boy; she stands on firm ground, at least for us internet-content consumers. She brings her TVF-style madness into Guddo, Baankey’s graduate sister, and Shoojit’s rumbling Fatima Mahal. But Farukh Jaffer as Mirza’s Begum, 95 in the film right now, is par excellence.

Juhi Chaturvedi, credited for story and dialogues, truly deserves credit. Shantanu Moitra’s music adds a certain melancholy that compliments Fatima Mahal’s texture. You will find yourself humming Madari Ka Bandar in the kitchen while you sip that cup of morning tea. Yet we missed Swanand Kirkire’s throaty voice. Tochi Raina and Anuj Garg do a good job, but you can’t but click your tongue. Tch!

Gulabo Sitabo was supposed to have a theatre release. But owing to the coronavirus crisis, went for an OTT premiere instead. It works in Shoojit’s favour that this film renders itself beautifully to small-screen viewing.

Sushant Singh Rajput saves you while Drive drives you crazy

Drive, which released on Netflix last year, starred Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez in lead roles. It was directed by Tarun Mansukhani.

Starting from India Gate, crossing Chhatarpur to a third far-off location, a race is taking place at the heart of New Delhi, infamous for its perpetual traffic jams.

Gears are set in and zoom goes the drivers, covering this never-ending distance in the blink of an eye. Of course, our leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez wins this fictitious and fictional race, steps out of the car in a thigh-high slit skirt, high heels and a top with a plunging neckline to celebrate the moment. For a good two minutes, we see Jacqueline show off her smooth hair and curves, with the car as her prop in the background.

We get it. She is sexy, but director Tarun Mansukhani thinks his audience won’t understand the subtext. So, he has a side character spew it out for us, “Samajh nahi aata, tum zayada sexy ho ya tumhari driving.”

Drive starts on this unconvincing note and becomes more improbable thereafter. A gang of thieves, headed by Tara (Jacqueline), hatches a plan, engineered by Arjun (Sushant Singh Rajput), to rob black money stored in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

To be honest, even if implausible, the plot feels fresh on paper. We have seen Danny Ocean chalk out convincing plans to rob a casino with his team of well-equipped thieves. Tarun takes things a bit further and decides to rob the President’s home. Sure, why not?

We thought maybe, just maybe, Tarun, who is also the writer of the film, has penned a believable, if not extraordinary, heist in Drive. We couldn’t be more wrong.

Drive goes off track right when the team starts planning the robbery. To enter the Rashtrapati Bhavan, they have to get permits from 64 departments, which they manage to get in 24 hours. And like a walk in the park, the team enters and exits Rashtrapati Bhavan multiple times before the robbery, without so much as being recognised.

And then there is a master thief named King in between, who leaves his mark and a clue to his next robbery, every time he steals from someone. The end result, a tasteless mix of Ocean’s Eleven and Dhoom 2.

What makes the film more bizarre is the CGI effects used in place of actual car racing. This makes the film look cheap and nothing more than a bad video game.

In between all this ruckus, we see Sushant Singh Rajput as a glimmer of hope. In the film, he is excited to pull off the biggest heist of the country, as he flashes that million-dollar smile for his audience.

The scene where he calls a policeman and tricks him into abandoning his car makes us laugh-out-loud. Not minding the senselessness of the film, Sushant lets us know he is having fun and he wants us to do the same.

Before Drive, Sushant proved his mettle with remarkable performances in films like MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, Kai Po Che, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Shuddh Desi Romance and more. Drive doesn’t even come close to Sushant’s other films. The actor, however, didn’t let that show in his performance in this Dharma Productions film. He played his part with much conviction and enthusiasm and gave his fans one more film to cherish.

Unfortunately, Drive was Sushant’s last film (Chhichhore released before Drive and is his last theatre release) before he breathed his last on June 14. His next, Dil Bechara, is yet to hit the screens. We have another chance to see this untamed actor come alive on screen, just one more time.

Gulabo Sitabo writer Juhi Chaturvedi accused of plagiarism, makers call allegation baseless

Late writer Rajeev Agarwal’s son, Akira, has accused Juhi Chaturvedi of plagiarising his father’s story for Gulabo Sitabo. The makers released a statement defending Juhi.

Writer Juhi Chaturvedi has been accused by late writer Rajeev Agarwal’s son, Akira, of plagiarising his father’s story for her upcoming film Gulabo Sitabo, a claim the production house behind the project termed “baseless.”

Juhi has written the story, screenplay and dialogues for the Shoojit Sircar directorial, featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan and actor Ayushmann Khurrana. It is backed by Rising Sun Films.

Rajeev had submitted his story in Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest, of which Juhi was a jury member, claimed Akira’s lawyer Rizwan Siddiquee.

The story was submitted in March 2018 and shortlisted. On June 28 the same year, the final script was also submitted for the contest and all jury members had full access to the same, said Siddiquee.

According to the lawyer, Akira was shocked to find similarities between Gulabo Sitabo and his father’s story when he saw the trailer of the film. He claimed the story, background and theme of the movie looked similar to his father’s script.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Rising Sun Films said Juhi’s concept for Gulabo Sitabo was registered in 2018, much before the contest.

“Furthermore, Juhi never received a copy of the supposedly copied script. This has been independently confirmed by the script writing contest organisers as well.

“Our film’s story is different from that sent out in the notice. It is surprising how grave allegations are being made solely on the basis of a 2 minute 41 second trailer,” the banner said in the statement.

Siddiquee said Akira approached Screenwriters Association (SWA) for mediation, which then asked Juhi to submit her script.

Gulabo Sitabo plagiarism allegations: This is my original work

Gulabo Sitabo writer Juhi Chaturvedi rubbished plagiarism allegations and said that the film’s script is her original work. Gulabo Sitabo is set to be premiered on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.

Days after Juhi Chaturvedi was accused by late writer Rajeev Agarwal’s son, Akira, of plagiarising his father’s story for her upcoming film Gulabo Sitabo, the writer has rubbished the allegations and said the movie is her original work.

Juhi has written the story, screenplay and dialogues for the Shoojit Sircar directorial, featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan and actor Ayushmann Khurrana. It is backed by Rising Sun Films.

Akira’s lawyer, Rizwan Siddiquee, had claimed that Rajeev had submitted his story in ‘Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest— promoted by the Screenwriters Association (SWA)—of which Juhi was a jury member and thus had access to the story.

Juhi said back in 2017, she had shared the idea of a “crooked old man” with Bachchan who had asked the writer to develop the story.

“My conscience is clear and so are the facts in this matter. Gulabo Sitabo is my original work and I am proud of it. I shared the idea with the director and lead actor of the film in early 2017. I subsequently registered the concept note for the film in May 2018,” she said in a statement.

The writer denied having any access “to the so-called infringed script at any point in time.”

Juhi said the same has been independently confirmed by Cinestaan as well as the SWA, “who has looked at this dispute in May, 2020 and decided in my favour.”

“I speak now to request the press and public not to be disillusioned by false accusations, which are for publicity only. Acts of harassment, defamatory comments, and leaking confidential notices by the accusers only show their lack of faith in their own case. I stand by my truth,” she added.

Siddiquee had earlier said Akira had approached SWA for mediation, which then asked Juhi to submit her script.

The lawyer claimed Juhi denied that she had access to Rajeev’s script, 16, Mohandas Lane, even though it was mentioned in the terms and conditions of Cinestaan India’s Storyteller Script Contest.

However, Anjum Rajabali, Jury Chairman, Cinestaan Script Contest, said Juhi had “absolutely no access to this particular script.”

Rajabali said the contest was divided into three stages and the jury—including superstar Aamir Khan, filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, Juhi—had access to only the final top eight scripts.

“While 16, Mohandas Lane made it to the top 20, it did not enter the final list of 8 scripts which were sent to the jury. The jury, including Juhi, had absolutely no access to any script except for the 8 which were sent to them. So, it is totally incorrect to assume that since Juhi Chaturvedi was on the contest’s jury she had received the said script,” he added.

Producer Ronnie Lahiri of Rising Sun Films said the controversy seemed to be a “deliberate attempt to malign” Juhi and damage the film.

“At this time, when we have taken the bold decision to release the film on OTT, these baseless allegations only create unnecessary controversy,” he added.

Juhi has penned acclaimed films like Vicky Donor, October and Piku, all directed by Shoojit.

Gulabo Sitabo is currently gearing up for its premiere on Amazon Prime Video on June 12.

The unwatchable Xpose, where Irrfan tries saving the show

Himesh Reshammiya and Yo Yo Honey Singh’s The Xpose (2014) had a surprise package in Irrfan. And the only thing that got us through this 113 minutes of torture.

The first thing that comes to mind when the words ‘The Xpose’ are uttered, is the song Ice Cream Khaungi, Kashmir Jaungi. And like the whole of this 113-minute film – which is a film about films and the movie industry – the lyrics make no sense. Several questions through this unputdownable plate of desi Chinese were left unanswered. Like for example, if Himesh Reshammiya’s character Ravi Kumar suffered a kidney problem – he did give us a hint when he said, “Tumhare sharir mein utna khoon nahin jitna Ravi Kumar ekbaar mein moot deta hai.” Or why Yo Yo Honey Singh’s character KD, a name and profession clearly borrowed from RD (Burman), rapped in the 60s? Or why he was sporting the Sadhna haircut when the women in the film.


Kartik Aaryan thanks Imtiaz Ali for Love Aaj Kal

Kartik Aaryan, in a long Instagram note, took us through his journey as an actor to finally landing Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal.

Kartik Aaryan, who made his debut in Pyaar Ka Punchnama in 2011, has come a long way in his career. He was last seen in Imtiaz Ali’s new Love Aaj Kal as both Veer (from 2020) and Raghu (from 1990). The film hit the screens on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

As Love Aaj Kal recently made its way to Netflix, Kartik took to Instagram to share two throwback photos looking back at his association with Imtiaz. One of the photos is a still from Love Aaj Kal, while the other shows the actor-director jodi on the sets of the film.

Along with the pictures, Kartik penned a heartfelt note thanking Imtiaz for choosing him for the film. Kartik also spoke about his journey in Bollywood – from dreaming about being an actor to bagging his first movie and then finally getting Imtiaz Ali’s film – in the caption.

When you first dream of being in films, you act in front of the mirror and nail it every time, and the world of movies seems magical. Then you get a movie. You see the camera and are unnerved. It’s bigger than the suitcase you brought to Mumbai. The bright lights seem to be scolding you for not landing on a one-inch tape mark and wasting everyone’s time. The first few years become about trying not to look nervous (sic),” Kartik wrote in his caption.

“Then you get an Imtiaz Ali movie. The moment he narrates the story, you are pulled into a dream. I don’t even remember seeing the camera on his set, he‘d always be standing wherever I looked after cut. He was never at the monitor, he was by my side. The lights on Imtiaz Ali’s set help you find those tape marks (sic),” the actor added.

“I have never experienced the kind of love and appreciation I have got for my performance in Love Aaj Kal, and that too from some of my favourite filmmakers and people I most respect in the industry. How ironic that the making of this film felt most effortless! It would scare me to think of doing two characters in one movie. And here, I didn’t even realise how smoothly I was being transitioned between #Veer and #Raghu (sic),” his post reads further.

Kartik goes on to say, “For an actor, there is no better environment than being In front of that mirror. Imtiaz Ali takes you there. This is the reason why so many great actors’ greatest performances have been in Imtiaz Ali films. Imtiaz Ali director nahi hain, jadugar gain! Thank you sir for giving me the best performance of my career yet (sic).”

Imtiaz Ali director nahin hain jadugar hain – and how we agree with Kartik on this!

Earlier in 2019, after concluding the shoot of Love Aaj Kal, Kartik had shared his experience of working with Imtiaz Ali. The actor had said that his thought process has changed a lot after collaborating with Imtiaz for the movie.

“I am excited about Imtiaz Ali’s next because I’m in love with Imtiaz sir. He has changed my thought process a lot. I think I’m a changed man now. There has been a huge change in me since I’ve shot for his film,” Kartik told PTI back then.

Apart from Kartik and Arushi, Love Aaj Kal also starred Sara Ali Khan in the main role. Sara was cast as Zoe opposite Kartik’s Veer. The film was a sequel to Imtiaz’s 2009 Love Aaj Kal which starred Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone as leads.

Fashion Friday: Priyanka Chopra’s Desi Girl avatar made saree the ultimate sexy outfit

Priyanka Chopra’s saree in the song, Desi Girl paved the way for experimentation and made it the ultimate sexy outfit.

Fashion and Bollywood go hand-in-hand. A character’s clothes play a major role in defining the mood of the film. Yet a saree, in particular, remains Bollywood’s favourite. From Mumtaz in a pre-pleated orange saree dancing away with Shammi Kapoor in Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche from Bhramachari (1968) to Zeenat Aman in a white saree sans blouse under a waterfall in Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Mandakini in a similar avatar in Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1986) or Madhuri Dixit going Dhak Dhak in an orange saree in Beta (1992), the six-yard has given us many history-defining moments.

However, what Priyanka Chopra did when she teamed a bikini top with a Manish Malhotra metallic saree, was a revelation. The song that earned the title of ‘Desi Girl’ for Priyanka Chopra made the saree sexy and bold and portrayed it in a never seen before manner. Moreover, it cleared the misconception that sarees are not as sexy as any other evening outfit.

The Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan starrer Dostana released in 2008. The film was talked about for its storyline, the palpable chemistry between the three and the chic wardrobe of Priyanka Chopra’s character.

The song Desi Girl has Priyanka Chopra looking as elegant as ever in a simple saree. She manages to steal the spotlight in the ballroom crowded with people wearing stunning evening gowns in her humble six-yard. Priyanka’s metallic saree that had a sequinned border, teamed with a barely-there halter neck bikini blouse, made her stand out. Do not miss the tiny little bow at the back of the blouse and the bling on the straps that played a major role in defining the entire ensemble.

This masterstroke by Manish Malhotra became such a hit at the time, that it has been recreated again and again and it is still one of the hottest looks even after 12 years. A sequinned or a metallic saree with a sexy slinky barely-there blouse is still a favourite go-to for any Bollywood diva.

The song and the look paved a path for experimentation on how to make the saree look sensual.

In 2010, Sonam Kapoor recreated the look thrice in the film I Hate Love Stories. She wore white, red and blue sarees with matching bikini top blouses in the song Sadka.

Salman Khan promotes Lara Dutta’s web series Hundred, actress says Love You Partner

Salman Khan, who worked with Lara Dutta in Partner in 2007, promoted her upcoming web series Hundred on social media.

Do Khiladi Problem Bhaari!” says the tagline of Lara Dutta’s first web series, titled Hundred. Lara is making her digital debut with the upcoming show and this is the first time in her career that she is playing the role of a police officer. Hundred will starts streaming on Disney+Hotstar VIP from April 25.

While the actress is actively updating her fans about the web series on social media, she has her “Partner” Salman Khan right beside her through the promotions.

Salman, who shared screen space with Lara in the 2007-released Partner, has come forward to promote her web series Hundred on social media. In his post, the 54-year-old actor called his former co-star his “favourite heroine” and urged fans to watch the series.

The 42-year-old actress then took to her Instagram handle and reposted Salman’s post to express gratitude. Overwhelmed, Lara mentioned Salman in her caption as “coolest cop on screen” referring to Chulbul Pandey, his character in the Dabangg franchise.

Lara Dutta is essaying the role of ACP Saumya Shukla in Hundred. She has been cast opposite Marathi actress Rinku Rajguru, who is best known for her film, Sairat. Rinku is cast as Netra Patil.

Lara has been sharing pictures of her cop avatar on her Instagram handle.

Not just Lara, but Rinku is also making her digital debut with the upcoming web series. The trailer of Hundred was released on April 22 and it is an eight-episode series. The web series is co-directed by Ruchi Narain, Ashutosh Shah and Taher Shabbir.

Karan Wahi, Rajeev Siddhartha, Sudhanshu Pandey, Parmeet Sethi, Rohini Hattangadi, Arun Nalawde and Makarand Deshpande play pivotal roles in it.

Even if it is to promote Hundred, we’re glad we got to revisit Salman and Lara’s partnership, 13 years after the release of Partner. The film also starred Govinda and Katrina Kaif.


Why Ok Jaanu is not okay

Count how many times Shraddha Kapoor says Ok Jaanu. That is the only point of interest in this unnecessary love story.

Time and again, Bollywood gives us that one film which wasn’t needed at all. And just like that, in January 2017, Ok Jaanu released. Directed by Shaad Ali of Bunty Aur Babli fame, the film can be best described as a love story nobody cares about. If you have watched this ‘masterpiece’, we pity you. And if you haven’t, we envy you. On the glorious occasion of Wahiyat Wednesday, let us take a look at why the film was just not ok. Or needed.

Ok Jaanu is a remake of the Tamil film Ok Kanmani (O Kadhal Kanmani). Directed by Mani Ratnam, the 2015 film stars Dulquer Salmaan and Nithya Menen in the lead role and completes five years of release tomorrow. It was lauded for its refreshing vibe and the lead actors’ chemistry. However, the Bollywood remake fell flat on expectations and came across as unnecessary. The first question that comes to mind when we think of Ok Jaanu is what was the need of a remake just two years after the release of the original?

But then, Bollywood’s obsession with remakes isn’t new. Films like Bodyguard, Khatta Meetha, Force, Wanted and Kabir Singh didn’t really offer us much, but exist. And then, how can we forget the trend of rehashing and destroying cult-classic numbers. While Masakali 2.0 has been accused of destroying the original, the Humma Humma remake in Ok Jaanu didn’t do wonders either.

Coming to the story, the concept of live-in relationships was new for the Tamil audience in 2015. Hence, Ok Kanmani was a success as it focused on a topic that was considered to be a taboo. However, things are different when it comes to the Bollywood audience of 2017. We have had ample films where the concept of live-in relationships is explored. For example, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta’s Salaam Namaste (2005), Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s Two States (2014), and Sushant Singh Rajput and Parineeti Chopra’s Shuddh Desi Romance (2013), to name a few.

Still, we could have tolerated Ok Jaanu if there was something to look forward to. The lead actors’ performances, maybe? But the film fails even there. For Instance, even when Tara (Shraddha Kapoor) talks about her estranged father, we hardly feel anything. Credit goes to Shraddha Kapoor here. Only if the actress could deliver that dialogue with a bit more intensity and change her expressions from time to time. And Aditya, well, we wish there was something more to cherish apart from the fact that he looked handsome throughout.

Coming to their chemistry, fans expected that the Aashiqui 2 on-screen lovers would be flawless together. But sparks couldn’t be seen on the silver screen. Not even with the overuse of the word ‘Jaanu’ and the forced ‘romantic’ moments.

In fact, there are ample times where we ask ourselves, what are we watching, and why?

There are various other elements that can certify Ok Jaanu to be just another typical Bollywood love story.

Time for a list:

  • Girl and guy meeting at a wedding.
  • Hero and heroine exploring the city on a bike.
  • The lead characters forced to choose between career and love.
  • A classic train scene where love blossoms.
  • Rain. Rain. And more rain.
  • A stalker boyfriend.
  • Dialogues like “Doobne ke liye tumhari aankhein bohot hain.”
  • A cult-classic song destroyed by the remake (Humma Humma in this case).

We could go on and on. But let’s just leave it at that. We don’t want to stretch this piece quite like the film was.

Another problem with Ok Jaanu is that it feels regressive at times. In the year 2017, you don’t expect the lead actress to say things like ‘Itni raat ko koi shareef ladki phone nahi karti kisi ladke ko’ or acting aloof as the guy pursues her. Women today are headstrong and don’t shy away when it comes to love. And it isn’t a big deal if a woman takes the first step in a relationship. But Tara is nothing like that. She initially acts pricey when Adi approaches her and often wonders ‘Ye jo hum kar rahe hain ye sahi hai na?’ Yep, roll your eyes. We don’t blame you.

An interesting fact is that both Ok Jaanu and Ok Kanmani are available on Amazon Prime. Between the two, save yourself the unnecessary headache and watch the original.