Category Archives: New Review

India’s Most Wanted: All you need to know about Yasin Bhatkal, the subject of Arjun Kapoor’s film

Arjun Kapoor’s upcoming film India’s Most Wanted is a spy thriller, following an intelligence team as they hunt for a terrorist.

The film is said to be based on the arrest of terrorist Yasin Bhatkal, who was a key conspirator in three terror acts carried out in different cities in India. Here’s everything you need to know about him:

India’s Most Wanted: All you need to know about Yasin Bhatkal, the subject of Arjun Kapoors film

Who is Yasin Bhatkal?

Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa, who was named Yasin Bhatkal by India’s investigation agencies, is the founder of the terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen.

Between 2007 and 2013, Bhatkal planned 52 blasts across India and is responsible for the death of over 220 citizens. He was listed as number one on the Most Wanted list of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Maharashtra, in their case against the functionaries of the Indian Mujahideen. Maharashtra wasn’t the only state that was looking for him. The urgency spread across the country and the total amount for his capture was at one point close to around three crore. He was arrested at the Indian-Nepal border near Bihar in August 2013.

Yasim-copy

In India’s Most Wanted:

The film follows Arjun Kapoor and a team of five officers who captured Bhatkal, one of India’s most dangerous terrorists, without firing a single bullet or causing any civil unrest. Kapoor’s character is named Prabhat Kapoor, based on the Intelligence Bureau officer who led the mission to catch Bhatkal. According to Mumbai Mirror, the Intelligence Bureau had dubbed Bhatkal the “Ghost Who Bombs”.

The film’s trailer describes the terrorist as “India’s Osama” and describes the plot as “an untold story of the manhunt for India’s Osama”, calling his arrest “India’s proudest moment”.

Source: Twitter.

Director’s take 

The film’s writer and director Raj Kumar Gupta, when asked if the story was based on Bhatkal’s arrest, refused to name anyone but said: “I want to say it is inspired by a true event. Who is the terrorist, who have we based the story on…you can decide when you go and watch the film in the theatre. All I want to say is that it is based on a true event and it was a watershed moment of Indian intelligence department where a terrorist was captured without using a single bullet. But you have to watch the film to know the details.”

Gupta also told The Telegraph that it was exactly the terrorist’s deadly acts that prompted him to make the film. “When I heard about this for the first time, I had the same question. It’s so fascinating, that we go about our daily lives and all we hear are big headlines. Then you come across something that is of that magnitude and could have been worse. This question is what triggered this film.”

Bharat trailer: Salman Khan teases his different looks in Ali Abbas Zafar’s upcoming patriotic drama

After teasing his various looks in a slew of posters from his upcoming Eid release Bharat, Salman Khan has unveiled the first official trailer from the movie on 22 April.

Bharat trailer: Salman Khan teases his different looks in Ali Abbas Zafars upcoming patriotic drama

As Jawaharlal Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny speech plays faintly in the background, Salman’s character is introduced. An old Bharat (Salman) reminiscences — through a voiceover — about his colourful journey, which began amid the violence and bloodshed of the partition. Initially a circus performer, Bharat is forced to seek a job at a government office as the country faces nationwide unemployment in the wake of Nehru’s death.

The actor also shared a collage of all the five previously-unveiled posters in a motion poster on 20 April. Beginning with 1964, where Salman is seen as a young circus performer, the posters take us to 2010, in which he can be seen as a 70-year-old.

Bharat will trace the journey of a man, spanning four decades. Earlier, the makers treated the audience with the teaser, that gives glimpses into the various phases of the film.

An official adaptation of 2014 South Korean film Ode To My Father, Bharat is produced by Atul Agnihotri’s Reel Life Production Pvt Ltd and Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series. It is slated to release on 5 June.

Ajay Devgn on Alok Nath’s casting in De De Pyaar De: Decision to replace him could not have been mine alone

The makers of De De Pyaar De, especially the lead actor Ajay Devgn have received significant backlash for casting Alok Nath in the romantic comedy, despite allegations of sexual assault against him. Tanushree Dutta and Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel led the criticism against Devgn for Nath’s inclusion in the film. Now, Devgn has issued a clarification.

Ajay Devgn on Alok Naths casting in De De Pyaar De: Decision to replace him could not have been mine alone

evgn said that the film was initially supposed to release in October 2018 and the shooting concluded in September. The sequences featuring Alok Nath were eliminated by August. However, they were shot over 40 days across various locations with a combination of over ten actors. He said it would have been difficult to reschedule the shoot with a replacement, due to conflicting schedule of other actors and would have caused monetary loss to the producers.

“Everyone is aware that film-making is a collaborative process. The decision to replace Nath could never have been mine alone. In this case, I would have to go with the joint-decision of the entire unit. Not to forget, I could not have brought the entire combination of actors back or put up sets again for a 40-day re-shoot because this would mean doubling the budget, which again wasn’t my call to make. It would have to be the call of the makers. Had circumstances played out even slightly differently, I would have pushed for a different combination of actors. Unfortunately, this was not to be,” the actor said in a statement.

He asserted that his stand on the #MeToo movement remained unchanged. According to the statement, Devgn said that he did not understand why attempts were being made to single him out as insensitive as the circumstances in this case were out of his hands.

Previously, at the trailer launch of De De Pyaar De, the actor had also explained that the film had been completed prior to the allegations levelled against Nath.

Love Aaj Kal 2: Complaint filed against Sara Ali Khan for riding pillion without helmet during film’s shoot

A complaint has been filed against Sara Ali Khan, who is currently shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal 2 in the capital, for riding pillion without a helmet during the shoot. Delhi Police officials have said that necessary action will be taken against the actress after details about the incident are received, perused and verified, reports News18.

Love Aaj Kal 2: Complaint filed against Sara Ali Khan for riding pillion without helmet during films shoot

A video of the incident has gone viral on social media where Sara is seen on a bike with Kartik for the shooting of a particular scene. Whereas Kartik was wearing a helmet, the Simmba actress was spotted without one.

Sharing the video, an anonymous complainant tagged Delhi traffic police on Twitter and demanded that action should be taken against Sara for allegedly violating the law. The complainant also urged action be taken against Kartik for being an accessory to the violation.

She also became subject of heavy trolling on social media because of the incident.

Not long ago, Sushant Singh Rajput was seen riding pillion without a helmet in Mumbai, a day after the release of his film Sonchiriya. However, no police action was taken.

Photograph’ is about love & longing in the time of introspection

Time has come to a standstill at the quaint café where middle-aged widower Saajan Fernandes, essayed by Irrfan Khan, sits at a table near the exit, his eyes fixed on a woman at another table, frantically searching for him. The woman Ila (Nimrat Kaur) is stuck in a loveless marriage. She chugs glasses of water, eyes glued to the entrance, looking for the stranger she daily sends letters to in a lunchbox, unaware that Saajan is the man.

By now, that scene of Ritesh Batra’s 2013 gem, The Lunchbox, has come to define quiet heartbreak. Ila and Saajan spend the whole film without actually meeting each other. Sadness rests heavy on every little second of the frame, as longing and love find expression through an unusual plot pusher — the lunchbox.

Photograph is about love & longing in the time of introspection

Batra’s cinema has so far thrived on setting up longing as a bedrock of romance, and one is transported to the cafe scene of The Lunchbox while watching his latest, Photograph. Like The Lunchbox, Photograph follows two strangers — whose romance would never have blossomed — but for an unlikely plot device.

If a lunchbox became key to triggering off a relationship between strangers who never meet in Batra’s first Hindi feature, his new film makes a photograph the tool for an unusual romance.

Like The Lunchbox and Batra’s English 2017 film Our Souls At Night, Photograph primarily concerns itself with examining how the simple desire to long — for attention, company, affection, or even to be understood — consumes every one of us.

In Photograph, Rafi, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is a lower-class street photographer who works at Gateway of India. He convinces Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), a meek upper-class CA topper, to let him photograph her. He promises to capture “the wind in her hair” and the “light on her face”. It’s not just the promise that entices her, it’s the way he sees her. For, Miloni’s robotic existence has stripped her of the ability to recognise herself.

Photograph leads up to a momentous moment midway when Miloni tenderly reaches out for Rafi’s hand inside a cab. In that fleeting moment, she reveals — like Saajan did in the cafe — just how much she longs for someone to make her loneliness less unbearable.

In the real world, Miloni and Rafi would never get the luxury of a happily-ever-after, which is why witnessing them longing to get away from their isolated existences feels so rewarding.

Ayushmann Khurrrana-starrer Andhadhun to open Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Megha Ramaswamy’s The Odds, starring Abhay Deol and Priyanka Bose, will close the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) on 14 April.

The film is a coming-of-age story about two teenagers who skip school on important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai. The film also stars Yashaswini Dayama and Monica Dogra

Ayushmann Khurrrana-starrer Andhadhun to open Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Anand Patwardhan’s acclaimed documentary Vivek (Reason), which examines India’s slide away from secular democracy, will also be screened at IFFLA.

Vivek premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, won the grand jury prize at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and recently had its US premiere at the True/False Film Festival.

Andhadhun is the opening film of the festival. The latest from thriller master Sriram Raghavan, won rave reviews and box office success upon its release last year in September. The film revolves around Tabu’s Simi, a desperate small time actor-turned trophy wife who is caught disposing of her husband’s body in front of a presumably blind pianist Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana).

The story follows Simi, Akash, and Akash’s suspicious girlfriend (played by Radhika Apte) in a wicked story of ambition, romance and organ harvesting.

Tabu will also be honoured at the film festival. “We have discussed honoring Tabu for a long time, and this year felt like the right time,” said Christina Marouda, IFFLA’s Executive Director.

“Her work and personality embody everything that IFFLA is about – being fearless, versatile, independent in spirit, unwilling to compromise, brilliant in the range of her performances, and simply beautiful. With half of the festival’s 2019 line-up directed by female filmmakers, this couldn’t be a stronger celebration of women in Indian cinema,” Marouda said.

IFFLA will host a panel featuring successful South Asian professionals working across various fields in the television industry.

The lineup of the panel includes names such as actor/comedian Nik Dodani, director Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, GLOW, The Magicians), writer Fawzia Mirza, writer Chitra Sampath (Good Behavior, Southland), writer Roshan Sethi and actor Dhruv Uday Singh.

Watch: Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga song Good Morning is a peppy track full of hope

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’s new song ‘Good Morning’ is clearly for the early risers. The song sees Rajkummar Rao practically waking up the entire household to a new morning, full of sunshine and hope. Featuring Sonam K Ahuja, Anil Kapoor, Seema Pahwa and the like, ‘Good Morning’ is a peppy, jovial number.

As Rao awakens the household, each member chips in to help set the stage for his upcoming stage play. They are seen preparing costumes, making stage art, posters for the play and even advertising it.

Still from Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga's new song 'Good Morning'. YouTube screengrab

Voiced by Vishal Dadlani and Shannon Donald, Rochak Kohli’s melodious tunes are sure to connect with viewers. ‘Good Morning’ is penned by Gurpreet Saini.

The film follows the narrative of Sonam Kapoor’s character while she discovers love. Anil Kapoor shares screen space with daughter Sonam for the very first time in this romantic drama.

The title track of the film was a recreation the iconic track from Anil Kapoor’s 1942- A Love Story. It was sung by Kumar Sanu and composed by RD Burman.

Bigg Boss 12, 16 December, Day 91 written updates: SRK meets contestants; Rohit Suchanti gets evicted

After a call from Shah Rukh Khan’s Baaua Singh on Saturday’s episode of Bigg Boss 12, the contestants were curious to know who it was. Clearing their doubts, show host Salman Khan revealed that Shah Rukh was talking to them as his character from his upcoming film Zero, and will be coming to meet them the next day. Upon hearing this news, the contestants couldn’t contain their happiness and eagerly waited to meet the charismatic actor.

Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan on Bigg Boss.

In the meantime, Salman interacted with the contestants. He created some tension about the eviction. Next, he played a game where the contestants had to identify the person that they thought had said a particular statement about them and throw a cupcake on that person. Later there the Appy Fizz caller of the week asked Karanvir why he had been unable to form a bond with any of the contestants in the house. After Karanvir gave an explanation about it, Salman pulled his leg saying he did not have any purpose or any strategy in the game.

Finally, Shah Rukh made an appearance and both, Salman and Shah Rukh set the stage on fire with their electrifying performance on the track, ‘Issaqbaazi’. They also played a quirky game where both of them had to sell a product without knowing what it was. The most entertaining part was when both the Khan’s had a question-answer duel during which they revealed little known and facts about themselves.

Post this, the duo interacted with the contestants together and all the housemates were elated on seeing Shah Rukh. Soon after Deepak became the centre of attention as Salman told Shah Rukh that Deepak can imitate him very well. On Shah Rukh’s request Deepak enacted the dialogue from the movie Don and also gave a fun dance performance on Dilwale’s ‘Gerua’ which created ripples of laughter. Shah Rukh also pulled Deepak’s leg by asking him to translate one of his famous dialogues in English and Deepak did a decent job at that.

Shah Rukh gave a motivational speech as he promoted his movie Zero saying that being ‘zero’ was not the end of possibilities, but was a new opportunity. The contestants are asked who was ‘Zero’ and who was ‘Hero’ in the house. The contestants expressed their views and both the Khans agreed with Sreesanth when he said that he was the biggest Zero and it was a new beginning for him as he had taken up acting in movies. After Shah Rukh left, Sreesanth and Romil were called for the ‘Sultani Akhada’ task. Both of them explained why they were better than the other. Sreesanth won the first round of Verbal Dangal and Romil won the second round of Dumbbells.

After an entertaining evening, it was time for someone to leave the Bigg Boss house. Salman asked everyone to guess who were the two safe contestants among Karanvir, Somi and Rohit and most felt that Karanvir and Rohit were safe. However, their guess was wrong because it was Rohit who got evicted.

Stree director Amar Kaushik says he’s made a ‘desi’ horror film with conviction: I find ghost stories fascinating

Amar Kaushik, the debutant director of Rajkummar Rao-Shraddha Kapoor’s Stree was very clear that he wanted to start his career with a rare genre – horror comedy. There are many directors who helm rom-coms or action-thrillers, which he considers to be safe. But that isn’t the only reason why Kaushik chose to direct a horror comedy. It’s also because he’s always found ghost stories intriguing and fascinating.

“I vividly remember, many years ago I was told about this challenge: whoever was able to watch Bees Saal Baad (Waheeda Rehman-Biswajeet’s horror film from 1962) alone in a theatre will get a reward,” recalls Kaushik.

Then, a short visit to a “ghost” town called Chanderi further ignited his passion. “I grew up in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh). When I was in graduation first year, I was passing by this small town Chanderi. It was around 10 pm and I checked-in into a hotel. It was dark and nobody was seen around outside the hotel. I was terrified. Something about the place stayed with me,” says the director.

“Later,” he continues, “when we started researching shooting locations for Stree, I felt it should be somewhere in Central India. I thought of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and then I suddenly remembered my Chanderi experience. Once I went there for my recce, I was convinced about the location. It was as if every scene was tailor made for the film and I insisted on shooting in the most spooky locations. I deliberately chose those locations, the ones we were warned from frequenting by the local people. I wanted the actors to get really scared during the shoot. I deliberately shot at midnight. That has really worked,” says Kaushik, who claims to have made a “desi” horror film with conviction.

Also read: Rajkummar Rao on Stree co-star Shraddha Kapoor: She was supposed to do my debut film Kai Po Che

“We usually read stories, or watch movies that show an old, isolated, dilapidated haunted house situated in the mountains, or in some secluded spot. But the ghost in my film is very basic. We have used little bit of VFX but otherwise all the action scenes are real. I didn’t want too much of technology. Also, sound in a thriller or horror is quite important but music need not be very loud. Silence can also be effective,” he adds.

Starting his career as an assistant director, Kaushik was a part of the Rajiv Khandelwal-starrer Aamir (2008). Working with accomplished directors in the industry, he was also a part of Sorry Bhai (2008), I Am (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), Go Goa Gone (2013), Fukrey (2013), Ghanchakkar (2013), and Beyond the Clouds (2017). After years of playing second fiddle, he finally made his directorial debut with a short film Aaba (2017), which was the only award winning Indian short film at Berlin International Film Festival, in 2017.

Kaushik considers himself to be lucky to cast Rajkummar and Shraddha Kapoor for his first feature. “Raj and I would often meet during film festivals and when I had to choose an actor for the character Vicky (in Stree) it had to be Raj. When I told him that he was playing a tailor’s part, his immediate reaction was, ‘Okay, send a sewing machine to my house, I will learn tailoring’. For diction, he just needed one month and a teacher. Raj makes your work easy,” says Kaushik, further adding, “I wanted a girl with that small town innocence and Shraddha fitted the brief. The fact is, established actors are realising that new directors are coming up with fresh ideas. There is no pressure on us about our previous or next film. We concentrate on just one project, the one that is in front of us.”

Also read: Shraddha Kapoor on Stree co-stars Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi: ‘Huge fan of their work’

The film’s promotions attracted a lot of attention particularly because of its unique teaser and posters that said: ‘Mard ko dard hoga…Stree aa rahi hai’.

“‘Mard ko dard hoga’ is not just the tag line. In the movie we talk everything related to that. In small towns, girls are told to come home early in the evening. We have changed all of that by saying – ‘Boys, don’t leave the house late night, strees (women) are roaming around, they will take you with them’. In the film, we tell boys to come out wearing a saree and bangles to stay safe,” he explains.