BOX-OFFICE NEWS

October: Varun Dhawan starrer to be released by topmost distribution house in India

By Manishaa R

He is the new superstar on the horizon, says Shreyans Hirawat of NH Studioz, which is releasing October in India

While films starring the three Khans are considered a hot bet in the distribution market, it is Varun Dhawan’s immense box-office potential that has now drawn the attention of distribution houses. In what appears to be an index of Varun’s immense box-office appeal, one of the most distinguished distribution offices in Bollywood NH Studioz, spearheaded by the father-son team of Narendra and Shreyans Hirawat, is all set to release the Varun Dhawan starrer October all over India, “This is the first time we have acquired a Varun Dhawan film. He is already a superstar in his own right. He is versatile and has always delivered in all his films but this film will even make the few non-Varun fans follow and love him,” Shreyans Hirawat reveals.

“This is the first time we have acquired a Varun Dhawan film. He is already a superstar in his own right”- Shreyans Hirawat

However he adds that the film is backed by substance and a promising director who has never let down his audiences, “Let’s not forget that October is directed by Shoojit Sircar, who has to his credit films like Piku and Pink. Our previous association with him in Pink was a great success and Shoojit and his team have become more like family to us. We have a lot of faith in his work,” Shreyans avers, adding that they are confident about the prospects of the film at the box-office, “The film has been made with a lot of heart and loyalty and I am sure it will reflect in its box-office success” he says.

There is also a perception that the Hirawats have become wary of investing in heavily priced films starring the Khans, after the huge investment and subsequent losses they incurred in Tubelight and Harry Met Sejal, though both Salman and Shah Rukh Khan were generous to partially compensate them for the losses. Shreyans confirms that they are in no mood to take the risk despite the fact that stars like Shah Rukh and Salman share an indomitable following among the masses, “Obviously two bad experiences cannot tarnish the decade long built star values but yes we have definitely become more cautious in terms of what and where we are investing. Having said that, we are definitely open to proposals with good substance,” he avers.

The new change of perception is also an indicator that the Hirawats are now looking at substance more than star value when it comes to investing in films, “We have looked for substance in our earlier acquisitions too but now we are doubly sure about the films we are acquiring. I guess distributors are realising it too,” Shreyans argues.

He cites the example of the recently released Luv Ranjan directed film, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, which got a phenomenal response at the box-office and crossed the Rs 100 cr mark, despite the absence of top rung stars, “It has proved that the success and appeal for any film has a lot to do with its plot and story-line, besides the cast. I hope the industry makes more such films to revive the interest of the audiences in great story-telling,” he quips.

BREAKING NEWS

Sanjay Dutt to make a grand return to comedy genre with his next film, Blockbuster

A few months ago on the eve of the completion of 14 years of the rip-roaring comedy, Munnabhai MBBS, Sanjay Dutt in an interview said that the film was closest to his heart and it was one character that truly defined him, “That’s actually me, how I am in real life,” he said.

The superstar who was lauded for his amazing comic timing in the Rajkumar HIrani directed film, is now set to return to the comedy genre in a big way with a musical comedy titled Blockbuster. Written by the hit team of Sajid Farhad who are best known for the Golmaal, Housefull 2 and Dhamaal Returns franchise, the laugh riot is being produced by Sandeep Singh of Legend Studios, who had last co-produced the Sanjay Dutt starrer, Bhoomi. It marks the directorial debut of Ajay Arora and Lovel Arora, who are known to be close childhood friends of Sanju Baba and have several music videos to their credit.

Talking about his forte for comedy, Sanjay Dutt said, “I have always loved doing comedy. It is the genre that makes me feel at home. The scale of Blockbuster is huge and multi-starrers always connect well with audiences. I am really excited about working with Sandeep again.”

“I have always loved doing comedy. It is the genre that makes me feel at home”- Sanjay Dutt

Producer Sandeep Singh added, “It was my dream to make a comedy with Baba. There are few people who can make you laugh like he does. It’s not just his timing that is perfect; the expressions he gives are hilarious. It is also wonderful to be working with Ajay and Lovel who bring years of experience and creativity to Bollywood.”

Meanwhile directors Ajay Arora and Lovel Arora are eagerly looking forward to making a grand directorial debut, “This is a huge opportunity for us. All the directors from Rajkumar Hirani to David Dhawan who have debuted with Sanjay have had fabulous success. We are very excited and more so because it’s Sanjay that we would be directing for our debut,” they said.

Produced by Sandeep Singh, Blockbuster is set to go on the floor in April and will be shot almost entirely in Mauritius.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS

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.

BREAKING NEWS

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.

 

BREAKING NEWS

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.

BREAKING NEWS

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.”