Category Archives: New Review

Kartik Aaryan announces his next film, Ram Madhvani-helmed Dhamaka

Actor Kartik Aaryan on Sunday revealed he is set to star in filmmaker Ram Madhvani-directed thriller Dhamaka.

The film would mark the first collaboration between Aaryan and Madhvani, who has helmed acclaimed movies like Neerja starring Sonam Kapoor and Sushmita Sen-fronted web series Aarya.

Aaryan, who turned 30 on Sunday, posted the first look of the film on Twitter.

The motion poster features the Love Aaj Kal actor — dressed in a blue suit, sporting long locks and wearing spectacles – looking out of a window pensively at a burning Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge.

According to a press release, Dhamaka gives a bird’s eye view into the workings of a news channel in the 21st Century.

Dhamaka is backed by Ronnie Screwvala”s RSVP Films, along with Ram Madhvani and Amita Madhvani.

In the film, Aaryan will play a journalist who covers the live broadcast of a terror attack in Mumbai.

“This for me is a miracle script and had me on the edge of my seat all through the narration. I knew this is the script that would give me the opportunity to explore a different side of me as an actor.

“I can’t wait to transport myself to Ram sir’s world and see his vision translate on the big screen. This is also the first time I am collaborating with Ronnie and RSVP, and I am looking forward to this journey,” the actor said in a statement.

Madhvani said though Dhamaka is a thriller on the outset, there lies a lot of emotion and drama in the screenplay that leads to the adrenaline rush.

“As a director, I am inclined towards human stories… This film demanded a young actor, with a certain amount of rawness in the space. Kartik, being one of the most talented actors in Bollywood, fits the bill,” he added.

The director said shooting in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic will be challenging but the team will abide by the rules as laid down by the government.

“I have a terrific backing from my producer, Ronnie Screwvala, and our production teams at RSVP and RMF, are all well versed with the COVID protocols,” Madhvani said.

Screwvala, who has backed films like Rang De Basanti, Jodhaa Akbar, and Barfi, said he is looking forward to collaborating with Madhvani and Aaryan for the first time.

“When Ram came to me with the script, I knew that I couldn’t miss out on this one, and we got a similar reaction when we narrated the script to Kartik as well,” the producer added.

The film is expected to go on floors next month, with the makers eyeing a summer 2021 release.

Laxmmi Bomb: Akshay Kumar transforms into an intimidating woman for upcoming horror comedy

Laxmmi Bomb is a remake of superhit Tamil horror comedy Kanchana, and will be helmed by choreographer-turned-director Raghava Lawrence.

To celebrate the spirit of ongoing Navratri festival, Akshay Kumar has shared the first look of him as Laxmi from the upcoming film Laxmmi Bomb. The film is a remake of super-hit Tamil horror comedy Kanchana, and will be helmed by choreographer-turned-director Raghava Lawrence. Kiara Advani will play the opposite lead in the Hindi version.

“Navratri is about bowing to the inner goddess and celebrating your limitless strength,” says Kumar, and adds with this film, he will be stepping out of his comfort zone.

The look features Kumar sport a red sari and a big bindi. He is standing in front of Goddess Durga’s idol, and seems extremely intimidating.

The original Kanchana is a horror comedy, featuring Lawrence, R Sarathkumar, and Raai Laxmi in lead roles. The film revolved around a couple of vengeful ghosts who haunt an innocent man to get justice for their murders.

Earlier this year, Lawrence had stated that he will be exiting from the director’s chair for Hindi remake, adding that the first poster was released without his knowledge of the same. However, the issues were resolved and he was brought back to helm the film.

Kumar and Advani will also share screen space for Raj Mehta’s Good News.

Produced by A Cape of Good Films and Fox Star Studios,in association with Shabinaa Entertainment and Tusshar Entertainment House, Laxmmi Bomb is slated to release Eid next year on 5 June, 2020.

Hrithik Roshan’s mother Pinkie tests COVID-19 positive, says she is asymptomatic

Actor Hrithik Roshan’s mother, Pinkie Roshan, has tested positive for COVID-19, filmmaker-husband Rakesh Roshan said.

There were reports that Pinkie Roshan, who turned 67 on Thursday, tested positive for the virus a week ago.

When contacted, Rakesh Roshan told Press Trust of India that she is currently asymptomatic. “Yes, it’s true. There are no symptoms and she is doing home quarantine,” he said.

Pink also spoke about her diagnosis and the precautions she, her family and staff are undertaking with Times of India, “Every 20 days or so, we have been getting everyone checked as a precaution. This includes all our family members and the staff. I have no symptoms and my doctors told me that my yoga and exercise regime has helped in a big way to keep this in control; however, it meant that I have had the virus in me for 15 days. I am expected to undergo another test tomorrow and let’s hope it will be negative.”

Pinkie had shared a picture of the birthday surprise her family had organised for her on Instagram.

On Malaika Arora’s 47th birthday, Arjun Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan, sister Amrita wish actor

Malaika Arora was also wished by India’s Best Dancer co-judge Geeta Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty Kundra, among others.

Popular dancer, model, and reality show judge Malaika Arora celebrated her 47th birthday on Friday, 23 October. By the looks of it, the merriment had begun a day early as Malaika was spotted stepping out of her house in the evening with son Arhan on Thursday.

Malaika’s friends did not forget to extend lovely and funny posts on her special day.

Kareena Kapoor Khan shared an old picture from a party with the ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ dancer on her Instagram handle. Karisma Kapoor shared a fun throwback from the time she cleaned a sofa with Malaika. Younger sister Amrita Arora posted a single picture of Malaika on Instagram.

Arjun Kapoor shared a candid moment to wish Malaika on her birthday.

Malaika has been appearing as the judge in India’s Best Dancer alongside choreographers Geeta Kapoor and Terence Lewis. Geeta shared a beautiful picture with Malaika on the occasion.

Farah Khan Kunder, who recently appeared on the show as a guest, also posted a selfie with the dancer.

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 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.

Bala box office collection: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar’s comedy inches closer to the Rs 100 cr mark

bala

Ayushmann Khurrana’s Bala is gradually inching closer to the Rs 100 crore mark at the box office. The slice-of-film depicting the travails of a young man battling premature balding, is slowly making its place in the hearts of the audience. The film, also featuring Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam, earned a total of Rs 98.80 crore as of Thursday (third week).

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh notes that the film will cross the Rs 100 crore mark by its third Friday at the box office. The film had earned a total of Rs 72.24 crore in its first week, while it raked in Rs 26.56 crore in its second.

Bala has become Ayushmann Khurrana’s third film, after Badhaai Ho and Dream Girl, to cross the Rs 40 crore mark in opening weekend earnings. When the film mints Rs 100 crore, it will become Khurrana and Gautam’s third film and Pednekar’s second to reach the milestone.

Pednekar’s character received backlash as she wore heavy make-up to reach the dusky skin tone required in the story. However, in an interview, the actress said that her decision to take up the role has been called “brave” by some.

“Everyone has been telling me that I have been brave to play this role but I have been telling them that I see myself as an artist, someone who wants to shed herself and become a character in the film because that’s what is important. I can’t always be thinking about how I’m looking on screen because I will do a disservice to the vision of the film and the character I have willingly chosen to do,” she told Deccan Chronicle.

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Panipat trailer: Kriti Sanon, Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt star in yet another Ashutosh Gowariker period drama

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The trailer of much-anticipated historical period drama, Panipat, was released earlier today. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the film will depict the story behind Third Battle of Panipat, which was fought between the Maratha empire and the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali.

There were three battles of Panipat in total, which shaped Mughal history and rule in the country.

Panipat stars Arjun Kapoor as Maratha warrior Sadashiv Rao Bhau, Kriti Sanon as his wife Parvati Bai, and Sanjay Dutt as the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali.

Beginning with the chants of battle cry, “Har Har Mahadev“, the three-minute long trailer delves into the forgone history lesson of the Battle of Panipat. Sanon, in a voiceover, sings praises for the Maratha warriors, proclaiming ‘their bravery lies in their duty and religion’.

The clip further depicts glimpses of warfare, long stretches of deserted islands, and inner political movements within Peshwa royalty, who appoint Sadashiv Rao as the commander-in-chief of the Maratha army. When Rao realises the threat of Mughal invaders on Hindustan, specifically Afghan ruler Abdali, who is infamous for his cruelty and murderous rage, Rao begins prepping the army for a game-changing battle.

The film also features veteran actors Zeenat Aman, Mohnish Bahl, and Padmini Kolhapure.

Gowariker had confirmed the news of Aman’s cameo appearance in Panipat, in an interview with Mumbai Mirror. “Zeenat ji will be seen in a cameo as Sakina Begum, a feisty character leading her province of Hoshiyarganj. Her character lives within the confines of her kingdom, aloof from the politics of the region, till Arjun’s Sadashiv Rao Bhau turns to her for help,” he said.

Hindi litterateur, poet, and essayist Ashok Chakradhar has penned the dialogues for the film, produced by Sunita Gowariker via AGPPL in association with Vision World.

Gowariker brings to the audience another large-scale period film after Lagaan (2001) and Jodhaa Akbar (2008). Although his last film, Mohenjo Daro (2016), tanked at the box office, the expectations from Panipat already seem high.

Priyanka Chopra and Parineeti Chopra to dub for Disney’s Frozen 2

With Elsa being filled with intrigue as to why was she born with magical powers, her sister Anna is the happy-go-lucky forever optimist. Priyanka and Parineeti fit perfectly into giving Elsa and Anna the much-needed depth to their voices.

frozen-2

Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas along with her sister and actress Parineeti Chopra will be dubbing for the Hindi version of Hollywood animated movie “Frozen 2″. Disney India has roped in Priyanka to dub for Elsa and Parineeti will voice for Anna in the upcoming sequel of hit film “Frozen”.

“Elsa is a fictional character who’s known to be strongly-opinionated and level headed, traits that I deeply connect with. This not only made me want to be part of the film, but also gives me a wonderful opportunity to present one of the most-successful animated films to our local audiences,” Priyanka Chopra said.

“My happiness just goes up a notch knowing that Parineeti Chopra will be voicing Anna’s character. The two of us have never worked together before and this seems like a perfect movie to come together and an experience that I am going to cherish forever,” she added.

Talking about entering the “Frozen” world, Parineeti said: “You don’t need to be an actress to dream of being a Disney princess!! I absolutely loved the first film, it’s my favourite animation film but never thought that I’d get to voice Anna. But of course the real cherry on the cake is that I’ve been cast in a film about sisters with my real life sister!! While dubbing we would keep laughing about the fact that we are actually like our characters in real life! Mimi didi is totally like Elsa and I’m totally like Anna! This is why this movie will always be special. I can’t wait for the audience response.

The second part of the Disney franchise promises to be more intense as it traces the pasts of Princesses Anna and Elsa, voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel in Hollywood version, respectively, and piece together their present.

With Elsa being filled with intrigue as to why was she born with magical powers, her sister Anna is the happy-go-lucky forever optimist.

Priyanka and Parineeti fit perfectly into giving Elsa and Anna the much-needed depth to their voices.

“With Elsa and Anna, both sisters, boasting their own fan following amongst young girls world over, having Priyanka and Parineeti to voice these two felt no less than perfect. From being just a character, Elsa has grown to be no less than a superhero that girls around the world now connect with. She, along with Anna, continue to empower girls owing to their powerful personalities. The bond between the two is so strong that we wanted to bring in a real sibling duo for these two roles. The chemistry that we are looking for is something that Priyanka and Parineeti bring with them and is sure to elevate the film-watching experience.” said Bikram Duggal, Head – Studio Entertainment, Disney India.

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, “Frozen 2″ will release in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu on November 22.

This comes close on the heels of another announcement where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has dubbed for Angelina Jolie’s character in “Maleficent: The Mistress of Evil.

Khandaani Shafakhana quick movie review: Sonakshi Sinha and Nadira Babbar steal the show in the first half

We are at the screening of Sonakshi Sinha’s Khandaani Shafakhana. Here’s a quick review

khandaani-shafakhana

We have seen films like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Savdhan tackling the issue of sexual dysfunction and the stigma around them. Khandaani Shafakhana belongs to the same league. However, it is told from a woman’s perspective. We are introduced to Babita Bedi, a medical representative working in the small town of Hoshiyarpur. She is the only earning member of the family. Sonakshi Sinha plays the lead role. Baby has a tough life with debts, creditors and her uncle wanting to take over their last asset, their home. Beleaguered and hassled, she sees a ray of hope when she comes to know that she has inherited her uncle, Hakim Tarachand’s sex clinic that specialises in curing sex related problems through Unani medicine.

However, the inheritance comes with a clause that Baby has to fulfill. It is easier said than done. Sonakshi Sinha is earnest and expressive. The first half has a few comic scenes and is loaded with emotions. Nadira Babbar does a fab job as her mother. Varun Sharma is good in the comic scenes. The film captures the small town milieu wonderfully and the art direction is also impressive. Badshah has made his debut and is decent. We have to see how the second half unfolds.