Thugs of Hindostan will mark Big B’s return to intense action, confirms #AamirKhan

The much-talked about action-adventure Thugs Of Hindostan, which will witness Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir teaming up for the first time on screen, will also witness Big B’s return to high voltage action in a one of a kind role that he is playing in the film. This was revealed by Aamir Khan on the eve of his 53rd birthday yesterday when he recalled how the charismatic megastar was back to work after the health scare a day ago due to an excruciating pain in his back and shoulder, “Amit-ji will be seen doing complex action scenes after a long time with Thugs of Hindostan; it was a challenging experience for him shooting for the action. It can be physically taxing and he had severe pain in his back and shoulders but he is coping very well with it and we shot together subsequently,” Aamir said.

The superstar also recalled how Amitabh Bachchan was the first one to wish him on his birthday at midnight, “I was fervently hoping that he would be the first one to wish me and that’s exactly what happened. We were shooting and I was not aware about the time but suddenly I heard his booming voice on the mike. He wished me in front of the unit and I was overjoyed,” Aamir said.

He later spoke about how he cherished working with the megastar, “It is my dream come true to work with him. I want this film with Mr Bachchan to be the most memorable film of my career. I am hoping that Thugs of Hindostan is hailed by the audiences,” he said.

“I want this film with Mr Bachchan to be the most memorable film of my career” – Aamir Khan

The actor had way back tweeted about his excitement of working with Big B, when the film was announced, “Finally, the moment I’ve been waiting for has come… to work with my icon, Mr. Bachchan! Thanks Adi, Victor, for ‘Thugs of Hindostan’. I’m too thrilled to be working with the actor I have admired all of my life. Shoot starts early next year, and the release has been locked for Diwali 2018. Can’t wait to get started! Fingers crossed,” he had written.

Thugs of Hindostan, which is directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya co-stars Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Sheikh and is scheduled for a Diwali 2018 release.


Katrina Kaif’s popularity touches a new high with a record 8.5 million followers on Instagram

Post the success of Tiger Zinda Hai, in which she teamed up with Salman Khan, the actress’ popularity has been on the rise on the social media and the brand endorsement market

There was a time when Katrina Kaif was publicity shy and extra cautious of the social media. It was only after she made her Facebook debut on her birthday in 2016 that she began to cherish her association with her fans, with her lifestyle posts getting a tremendous response. Katrina Kaif, who preferred to stay away from social media for the longest time had a change of in heart as she created an online presence on Instagram, much to the excitement of her fans. Probably it was due to this feedback that she had a change of heart when she decided to create her online presence on Instagram last year in April 2017, “I joined Facebook and I wanted to get a hang of things. Instagram was something that I thought of at that time and honestly, I never revisited that thought. I do think now that all the concerns that were in my head were not completely valid,” she said.

“I’m sharing real moments with my followers and enjoy having a platform where I have my own voice. It is a personal reflection of me” – Katrina Kaif

The gorgeous actress made her debut with a sun- kissed and sans makeup picture and amassed followers soon after at a staggering pace. However post the success of Tiger Zinda Hai, her popularity has touched a new high. Moreover, she has now arrived at a milestone on Instagram with a record 8.5 million followers, who cherish every detail she offers in to her interesting life.

Her followers can see her sweating it out at the gym, while she is at shoots, chilling with friends on vacations, enjoying candid moments with family and clicking selfies before performances. Thoroughly entertaining, the account throws a spotlight on the actress’ life as she gets the best of both worlds, living it out in the glamorous film business and relaxing when in an off-work mode. Prior to this, Katrina was in the news for having the most entertaining celebrity Instagram account.

Says Katrina, “It took me a while to join Instagram. I was told that I would enjoy the interactions and follow new people I like, and that is exactly what has happened. I’m having fun. I’m sharing real moments with my followers and enjoy having a platform where I have my own voice. It is a personal reflection of me.”


Women's Day special

Priyanka is a firm believer of women empowerment, says Madhu Chopra

Madhu Chopra talks about why Priyanka endorses woman power and her decision to work with women directors  

By Manishaa R

In a recent interview for the February edition of Harper’s Bazaar, Priyanka Chopra had voiced her opinion on feminism, women’s rights and why it was important for women to make their own choices in life, “Feminism is women standing up for themselves and saying ‘Give me the freedom to make my own choices without judging me.’”

The actress who scripted her own success story on the international arena said that women were entitled to take decisions without being questioned for them, “It is not superiority. It is not hating or berating men. It is just saying, ‘Let me make my decisions without shaming me or trolling me. Give me those opportunities that men have enjoyed for such a long time,’” the actress said. “The way I see it feminism stands for my choice to live my life without being judged.”

According to Priyanka’s mother Madhu Chopra, Priyanka was always confident about her choices in life and she firmly supported her in all her decisions, “Priyanka is the kind who has always been determined, strong and someone who knew what she wanted in life. Being a mama’s daughter, I have always supported her in all her endeavours because I know her foundation is very strong. She has always had my full support in whatever decisions she takes,” she said.

What she liked about Priyanka was the fact that she never took her decisions impulsively, “She is not impulsive about her decisions-she takes a call and owns the responsibility for better or for worse. She has always owned the responsibility for her decisions. If something went wrong, I would always be there but I told her never to be afraid to make a call,” Chopra recalled.

“Priyanka is eager to reach out to all those talented women out there and give them the right platform for their talent”- Madhu Chopra

Apparently it was this thought process of helping women find their own identity that has prompted Madhu and Priyanka Chopra to explore working with more and more women directors for their production banner, Purple Pebble Pictures. According to Madhu Chopra, the actress is a firm believer of women empowerment, “Given a choice Priyanka would love to work with all woman directors. Being a self-made woman, she is eager to reach out to all those talented women out there and give them the right platform for their talent,” Chopra revealed.

Chopra also spoke about Priyanka’s woman-centric team in India and Hollywood, “Her entire team consists of women. She believes that girls are more dedicated and career-driven. They are much more resilient and strong,” she said.



Superstar Sunny Deol to introduce Utkarsh Sharma at grand wrap-up party of Anil Sharma’s Genius

Genius is also Anil Sharma’s fastest film shot in a record period of time

By Manishaa R

Superstar Sunny Deol who has collaborated with Anil Sharma on four successful films would be officially introducing the lead pair of his forthcoming film, Genius, Utkarsh Sharma and Ishita, at the grand wrap up party of the film to be held today. The famed filmmaker who is also celebrating his birthday today, is excitedly looking forward to the event considering the close bond he has shared with Sunny Deol over the years, “Sunny is an inherent part of my life, not just my films.  His love and blessings are always there with me. There would be no one better than Sunny to officially introduce my son, Utkarsh. Moreover, Utkarsh had played his on-screen son as a child artist in Gadar-Ek Prem Katha. Besides him, Dharamji (Dharmendra) and Bobby (Bobby Deol) are family to us. Sunny would be introducing Utkarsh and Tara Singh of Gadar would be introducing Jeete of Gadar,” Sharma said. There is also speculation that the veteran actor will be making a very special appearance in Genius but Anil Sharma does not want to speak about it yet, “I would rather speak about this at the right time,” he averred.

“There would be no one better than Sunny to officially introduce my son Utkarsh. Moreover, Utkarsh had played his on-screen son as a child artist in Gadar-Ek Prem Katha”

Genius is also one of Anil Sharma’s fastest films shot in a record period of time, despite its huge scale. The veteran director, who has to his credit some of the biggest films from Hukumat and Elan-E-Jung to Gadar-Ek Prem Katha to The Hero: Love Story Of A Spy, started shooting for the film on October 5 and wrapped up the shooting of the film in less than five months on February 28, “This is the shortest period of time I have completed a film despite mounting it on a huge canvas and shooting it in more than 12 outdoor locations. I guess it was possible because I had worked on the script for more than two years and prepared myself thoroughly on every aspect of the film,” Sharma confirmed adding that the biggest factor that made this possible was the fact that he was working with new actors, “It is an entirely different ball-game when you are working with stars,” he said.

“This is the shortest period of time I have completed a film despite mounting it on a huge canvas and shooting it in more than 12 outdoor locations”

Sharma further admitted that Genius was not massively budgeted unlike his previous films, all of which were budgeted on an extraordinary scale, “The film is no doubt a very big one as one would expect but the budget is not the same as my earlier star-studded films. The perception is that Anil Sharma makes big films and this one is his son’s debut so it would be even bigger. It certainly is a big film despite all the budgetary constraints.” Sharma revealed.

He added he wanted Utkarsh to be hailed as the hero of the audiences after the film, “I want Utkarsh to be the hero of audiences across all genres and streams. I have always made films for the universal audiences be it Gadar, Hero, Singh Saab-The Great, Hukumat, Apne or Ab Tumhare Hawale Waan Sathiyon. Genius also confirms to this aspect,” he said, adding that Ishita was the perfect new-find to be launched opposite Utkarsh, “She exudes innocence apart from her radiating beauty.  This film will take her places,” Sharma added.

“I want Utkarsh to be the hero of audiences across all genres and streams”

The story of Genius revolves around an intelligent young boy who gives a new dimension to established scientific norms with his innovative thinking and fights his battles with his intellect, “I came across this thought three years ago. The one-line story about this is ‘Dil Ki Ladaai Dimaag Se’. The head and heart are eternally in conflict but real love can win only when the head takes the initiative to solve the problems of the heart. That’s how the story was born,” Anil Sharma said.  Genius is scheduled for a grand release on August 24 this year.


Sridevi was the real star in the male hegemony of Hindi cinema, says Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty

Acclaimed Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty says it was the Academy Members’ collective wish to acknowledge the huge talent of Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor in the world of cinema

 By Manishaa R

Renowned Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty has described the tribute paid to Sridevi in the ‘In Memoriam’ section as a true acknowledgment of her global impact as an actor, “She was a real star among all the male hegemony of Hindi cinema. It truly represents her global presence as an entertainer. It is indeed a great gesture on the part of the Academy to pay tribute to Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor,” Pookutty said.

The veteran sound technician who is also a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, further described it as one of the most befitting gestures of the Academy to recognize the talent of the two great actors, “Both Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor were great entertainers who enthralled audiences the world over with their magnificent talent…It was our collective wish as Academy members to include their talented life to be recognized…it also makes the Academy more diverse when it recognizes such huge talent from neighbouring countries,” he said.

It may be recalled that Twitter was abuzz with celebrities from the Indian film industry and emotionally overwhelmed fans when Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor were paid a homage at the 90th Academy Awards alongside several other global legends including James Bond fame Roger Moore, King of comedy, Jerry Lewis, French star Jeanne Moreau, Bela Lugosi actor Martin Landau, popular actor, Harry Dean Stanton and The Silence Of The Lambs director, Jonathan Demme among others.

Among the earliest who took to Twitter to thank the Academy were choreographer-director Farah Khan, “Teary eyed to see #Sridevi being featured in the Oscars IN MEMORIUM,” she said.

Veteran actor, Rishi Kapoor who had co-starred with Sridevi in one of the best-known classic Chandni, tweeted, “Oscars. Thank you for remembering Shashi Kapoor and Sridevi. Thrilled to see the name Raj Kapoor as the executive producer of the show. We are on the threshold of world cinema!”

Actor Varun Dhawan’s twitter handle read, “So amazing to see the #Oscars pay respect to #shashikapoor and #sridevi #Oscar90.”

Director Kunal Kohli tweeted, “Proud and teary eyed moment for us all to see a tribute being paid to #Sridevi & #ShashiKapoor at the #Oscars.”

Well-known casting director, Mukesh Chhabra, wrote, “How lovely to see the #Oscars pay respect to #srideviBkapoor and #ShashiKapoor.”

On the other hand, singer and actor, Sophie Choudry wrote, “Thank you #Oscars for paying tribute to #Sridevi & #ShashiKapoor tonight amongst the many incredible global artists we lost this last year #Oscars2018.”

However it was Anna MM Vetticad-writer and author of ‘The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic’ that truly underscored the sentiment, “Call me a sentimental fool if you will, but I always wait for the #Oscars In Memoriam section. I knew #ShashiKapoor would be remembered at today’s ceremony because he has worked abroad, but they also honoured #Sridevi today and that meant a lot. A big hug to @TheAcademy,” her tweet read.

Earlier, actress Priyanka Chopra, who is a global icon in her own right, had paid an emotionally stirring tribute to Sridevi in an article penned by her for Time Magazine, in which she said, “Sridevi leaves behind a legacy that will live beyond us all, a legacy built on the foundation of pure dedication, talent, hard work and a sprinkle of fairy dust that was showered on her by the Gods! She was my childhood and one of the big reasons I became an actor,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai in an emotional tribute had earlier tweeted, “Her performance in Sadma was one of my favourites and have special memories of watching Sridevi with my family. She was a pioneer and an inspiration to so many of us. So very sorry for your tragic loss and may she RIP.”



Sridevi was the box-office queen who could carry a film entirely on her shoulders, say producers and distributors

Distributors would vie with each other to acquire the rights of films starring Sridevi in the 80s, when she was known as the box-office empress and India’s first lady superstar

By Manishaa R

While she left an indelible impression on the minds of her audiences with each of her characters be it her first major Hindi box-office success, Himmatwala (1983), Nagina (1986) Chandni ((1989), Mr India (1987), Lamhe (1991) or Nagina, Sridevi acquired the reputation of Indian cinema’s first lady superstar for her sole ability to carry a film on her shoulders.

Sridevi’s pairing with Amitabh Bachchan for a double role in the 1992 film Khuda Gawah further endorsed her “first lady superstar” status when she became the only actress who played a double role in a movie with Bachchan, who ruled the box-office. The film was publicized as the pairing of India’s topmost actor Amitabh Bachchan with the number one sensation, Sridevi.  Producer and noted exhibitor, Manoj Desai who signed Sridevi for the double role in Khuda Gawah recalls how the film gave Sridevi a new distinction, “That was one of her best performances in the role of a mother and daughter, one of the best costume dramas. She was one of those actresses who matched Amitabh Bachchan for the role in every aspect-her height, her persona and her box-office status of a superstar. In fact, Khuda Gawah was the only film where the heroine got credit and footage in an Amitabh starrer in the role of a mother and daughter. No other heroine in an Amitabh starrer could boast of such a role,” Desai recalled.

Apparently it took Manoj Desai some time to get a nod from Sridevi, who had her own apprehensions about how her role would eventually shape up in a Bachchan starrer, “It took me sometime to convince her. I assured her that not a single dialogue from the script would be changed and asked her to go through the script in detail. She read the script and later gave a go-ahead,” Desai recalled, adding that Sridevi matched up to Bachchan’s great professionalism and charisma, “They shared a great working rapport during the making of the film more so because both were highly disciplined and professional. Like Mr Bachchan, she would arrive on the sets with all her homework done. Moreover it was the late director Mukul Anand, who struck a fine balance between the two super talents. It was a great experience even as he ensured that their characters were equally impactful on screen.”

Apart from the status of a ‘lady superstar’, Sridevi also acquired the title of the Empress who ruled the box-office in the 80s and early 90s. At a time when most other actresses were confined to playing second fiddle to the heroes in a male-dominated industry, she was the only actress for whom directors would specially write scripts. Moreover distributors and exhibitors considered a film dominated by Sridevi was considered a big bet at the box-office

According to noted Rajasthan distributor Raj Bansal, who had the privilege of distributing several Sridevi starrers including two of her landmark films, Lamhe and Chandni, she was the only heroine in the 80s who could carry a film on her shoulders with a cent percent success rating, “I had the privilege of watching her closely from Lamhe to Chandni and Mahesh Bhatt’s Gumrah, besides Subhash Ghai’s Karma. Her talent and versatility were matchless and she ruled the hearts of the audiences at that time. She was considered the queen of the box-office,” Bansal revealed.

Apparently the craze for her films was such that distributors would vie with each other to acquire the rights, “There were no apprehensions when it came to the business of Sridevi starrers. They were considered a big bet and distributors would queue up to acquire the rights of her films. She was also one of the highest paid actresses at that time and roles were written specially for her.”

The veteran distributor, who had met Sridevi and Boney Kapoor on several occasions, also about her magical transformation in front of the camera, when he witnessed the shooting of Lamhe, which was entirely shot in Rajasthan, “Her transformation in front of the camera was amazing. After the lights would be switched off, she would return back to her own self-quiet and composed. She was also a wonderful hostess-soft-spoken and extremely polite,” Bansal recalled.

“She would stun directors by her perfect takes. She was the uncrowned queen of acting”- Subhash Ghai

It was this spontaneity and talent that helped cultivate a unique relation between the actress and millions of her fans. Veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai who worked with Sridevi in the 1985 film, Karma recalled Sridevi’s “electrifying” transformation in front of the camera, “She was pure magic on screen. “She was an introvert by nature but she was electrifying in in front of the camera.   She would stun directors by her perfect takes and the ease and conviction with which she performed her roles. Whether it was dance, drama or romance, she was the uncrowned queen of acting in all languages in her times,” Ghai revealed. “The best thing about her was that she constantly maintained her dignity and integrity as a person in a demanding industry,” he said.

 “Sridevi starrers were considered a big bet and distributors would queue up to acquire the rights of her films”- Raj Bansal, distributor of Chandni and Lamhe

According to director Rakesh Roshan, it was Sridevi’s huge potential that prompted him to cast her in his Hindi production, Jaag Utha Insaan, followed by Bhagwaan Dada, “She was an unparalleled actor with great talent.  I was the first to bring her to Mumbai and cast Srdevi in my production, Jaag Utha Insaan. Though she had established herself as a big name in the south, I had a feeling that she had this great potential to shine in Hindi films,” Rakesh Roshan recalled.

Veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who had directed Sridevi in Mr India, aptly described her amazing energy on camera in his tribute on Instagram, “Your energy on camera was scintillating. There was not a moment on screen that you did not have the audience in your grip. Be it an emotion, a comic moment, a dance,” he said. He described the passing away of the actress as an era gone by, “It’s like an era is over. A beautiful story just ended,” he tweeted.

Born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan, Sridevi made her Bollywood debut as a child artiste in the popular 1975 film Julie. In her impressive career spanning five decades, Sridevi worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films even as she consolidated her career in the Hindi movie industry. Among her best known films in the south are 16 Vayathinile, Sigappu Rojakkal, Pathinaru Vayadhinile, Meendum Kokila and Moondram Pirai, Kshana Kshanam and Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari.


Baahubali 2 in Japan: Prabhas starrer to be released in uncut extended version after box-office success of international version

By Manishaa R

After the overwhelming box-office response to the international cut version of Baahubali 2 at the Japan box-office,  local distributor Twin Co is now planning to release the original uncut version that was released in India

Baahubali-The Conclusion seems to be unstoppable in Japan.  Bowled over by the visual grandeur, action and story-telling of the epic saga, the Japanese audiences continue to patronize the film in full force, with theatres running to packed capacity after eight weeks. Looking at the overwhelming response, the Japanese distributor Twin Co is now planning to release the extended uncut version (2 hours 50 minutes) for the audiences. Kishore Kedari, Business Manager, Arka Media Works, confirmed that the decision is underway in keeping with the huge demand from Japanese audiences, “The audiences in Japan loved the international cut version of Baahubali-The Conclusion but they were so overwhelmed by the film that they are now eager to see the extended uncut version that was released in India. Twin Co is likely to release the extended version shortly in view of the huge fan-base the film has created,” Kedari revealed.

The audiences in Japan loved the international cut version of Baahubali-The Conclusion but they were so overwhelmed by the film that they are now eager to see the extended uncut version that was released in India- Kishore Kedari, Business Head, Arka Media Works

According to producer, Shobu Yarlagadda, it is the word of mouth publicity that has worked tremendously for the film in Japan, “It started off on a modest note but the collections recorded a sharp rise in the following weeks as the word of mouth spread around. I am told that the audiences there loved the scale of the film, the action and the music,” Yarlagadda said.

Meanwhile, Arka Media and the Japanese distributors are also looking at taking the Baahubali franchise to a new level, “The audiences are glued to the Baahubali franchise and Prabhas’ character in the film. We have got amazing fan art from the Japanese audiences and we keep acknowledging it on our social media accounts. They are also pitching in their own indigenous look. The fandom and patronage for the franchise is so big that there would be other avenues of taking the franchise ahead in Japan,” Kedari revealed, adding that the film was now heading for the $1million mark at the Japanese box-office. Moreover Prabhas has now become a huge sensation among the Japanese audiences, “Wherever the film releases, Prabhas becomes a sensation but he is trending in Japan in a big way. He is the Baahubali and people there find him absolutely adorable,” Kedari quipped.