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.


#AamirKhan was hooked on to the script of #RangDeBasanti the moment he read it, recalls writer Kamlesh Pandey

On the eve of 11 years of Rang De Basanti, famed writer Kamlesh Pandey reveals how the revolutionary film about modern-day patriotism had no takers, until #AamirKhan stepped on board 

By Manishaa R

The 2006 national-award winning film, Rang De Basanti, which redefined patriotism and inspired a whole generation towards a movement, would never have been made on the same scale had it not been for Aamir Khan. According to noted writer, Kamlesh Pandey, who conceptualized and wrote the story and screenplay, the subject initially had few takers with financiers and investors refusing to invest in the film, “Those were the days of candy floss romances like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Moreover most of the producers we approached concluded that it was another story on Bhagat Singh though it was essentially a story on young India in the year 2000.  Prior to that six Bhagat Singh films had flopped miserably and they did not want to take risks,” Pandey recalled.

A few makers pointed out that the story did not have any commercial ingredients, “The script did not boast of big fat Punjabi weddings, great costumes and production values. There were apprehensions about whether anyone would be willing to see a bunch of patriots, who were inspired by their role models,” Pandey revealed.

“The script did not boast of big fat Punjabi weddings, great costumes and production values. There were apprehensions about whether anyone would be willing to see a bunch of patriots” 

Realising that the road ahead was tough, he and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra decided to make the film on a small scale with the talented Manoj Bajpai playing the protagonist, “Manoj was a ghar ka actor and he was very gracious. We also managed to get some sponsorship from an independent UK based producer but he had issues because he wanted certain actors to play roles, which was inappropriate.”

It was a chance meeting with Aamir Khan that changed the entire graph of the film, when he mentioned the one line idea of ‘what if Bhagat Singh were alive today’, “He was curious to know more. He got hooked to the script the moment he read it. The next moment he gave his nod for the film, though Manoj Bajpai was very gracious to step down,” Pandey recalls.

Aamir then got celebrated music composer, Rahman on board for the film and suddenly the film was being sought after by makers, “After Lagaan, Rahman and Aamir were considered a devastating combination and their teaming up was considered a great bet. UTV which had rejected the film three times sent across a message expressing a desire to come on board,” Pandey recalled.

Pandey also revealed how Aamir had no problems about the fact that he was part of an ensemble cast, despite being a superstar in his own right, “He was well aware of the fact that it had an ensemble cast and was not a hero-centric film. He understood his role so well that he never tried to impose himself or make it appear as if he was the hero. On the contrary, he enacted his role so remarkably well that he calibrated his own performance to the level of the other boys, which made it look like he was part of the team and not the hero of the team. I would say that his was one of the most sensitized performances at that time,” he said.

Aamir Khan calibrated his own performance to the level of the other boys, which made it look like he was part of the team and not the hero of the team.

According to the legendary ad maker turned script writer who has also penned the scripts of successful films like Saudagar and Tezaab, Aamir is among the few actors in the industry who has got a deep understanding of stories and scripts, “That’s because he had assisted his uncle, Nasir Hussain for a long time, who was basically a writer. He had been assisting a writer for a very long time, so he understood writing very much.  The writers who have scripted his films know well how he understands and interprets them,” he said.

RDB eventually broke all records at the box-office with young audiences hailing the film and its very inspiring message. Pandey vividly recalls the little joke that Rakeysh Mehra and his wife Bharati would often share with him, “We used to define Rang DE Basanti as a Yash Chopra film gone wrong. When the film became a huge hit, Bharati called me and said, I think we must have done something right. We never anticipated that kind of success but somewhere within I had this feeling that the disillusionment I felt with the system would resonate among young Indians. He was also overwhelmed when Aamir officially signed a thanks on his copy of the Rang De Basanti script when it was released in a book format.

However Pandey’s biggest feeling of satisfaction came when he was invited to address a gathering of media students in a suburban college about building up awareness to social challenges, “There was a boy who escorted me to the hall and said thank you for giving me Rang De Basanti. I was happy and I felt job was done but soon after that the 200 odd boys and girls also shouted and thanked me for the film. They literally mobbed me. After that it became a routine at every place, young people would come to me and thank me for giving Rang De Basanti. That was more than anything I could ask for,” he smiled.





China distributor E Stars lines up massive release for #SalmanKhan starrer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan

We anticipate tremendous potential in this beautiful drama, says E Sstars CEO, Allen Liu of Bajrangi Bhaijaan which will be released in over 8000 screens in China in keeping with its huge anticipation

By Manishaa R

Will Salman Khan’s 2015 box-office hit, Bajrangi Bhaijaan make him the new Indian sensation at the China box-office? Going by the massive release plans for the film in China on March 2 in 8000 screens which is bigger than Aamir Khan’s Dangal (7000 screens) and his just released Secret Superstar (in 5000 screens), it appears that Chinese distributor E Stars, are leaving no stone unturned to make the Salman Khan starrer a grand success.

According to a report in quoting E Stars CEO, Allen Liu, there is tremendous anticipation surrounding the China release of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which rides on emotions of courage and hope. “There is high expectation and curiosity for the film post the success of recent Indian releases in China and the positive word of mouth Bajrangi Bhaijaan enjoys.  We anticipate tremendous potential in this beautiful drama starring one of the most popular actors in Indian cinema in a film that speaks the language of emotions like courage and hope, which are universal,” Liu was quoted saying. It may be recalled that E Stars is one of the pioneering China distributors of Indian films, which also released the first installment of Baahubali.

“We anticipate tremendous potential in this beautiful drama starring one of the most popular actors in Indian cinema” – Allen Liu, CEO, E Stars, China distributor of Bajrangi Bhaijaan

As of now it is Aamir Khan’s Secret Superstar that has got the Chinese audiences hooked with an incredible debut weekend at Rs 173 cr (27million).  China entertainment consultant and producer, Robert Cain who has been closely tracking the box-office business of Secret Superstar earlier endorsed Aamir’s superstar status in China in a Forbes report, “There is actually a movie-going country that showers more love on Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan than does even his home country of India, where he has been making movies for 45 years,” he wrote, predicting the total business of Secret Superstar at a possible Rs 635 crore (100 million).  On the other hand, China’s popular movie-ticketing site Maoyan had last projected lifetime revenue of $84 milion (Rs 540 crore) for the film.

Meanwhile Eros International, which had produced the film in association with Salman Khan, is counting on the film to create a storm at the box-office especially in view of the fact that there are no international releases around the same period. Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO, Eros International said, “We are delighted to partner with E Stars to showcase our film to China. Our Indo-China co-productions are still in the making, which we are extremely excited about. Meanwhile, what better film than Bajrangi Bhaijaan, starring one of India’s most loved superstars that weaves the universal story of cross-border friendship, to release in a growing market like China. There are no international films releasing during that period in China so we hope to have a fantastic run at the box office in the world’s biggest film market.”


Tiger Zinda Hai heading towards record of being Salman’s highest grossing film, say distributors

The film has also given Salman Khan the unique distinction of being the Christmas week superhero at the box-office, besides the Eid superhero

By Manishaa R

It looks like Tiger Zinda Hai is well on its way to crossing the Rs 300 mark at the box-office. The two-day unrest and the tense situation in Maharashtra, slightly dampened the pace of collections but the film still managed to gross a decent Rs 5.75 cr on its 13th day making the total tally in the range of Rs 287 cr. Distributors and trade analysts who are keenly tracking the progress of the film are confident that it will surpass the business of Salman Khan’s earlier two films, despite the fact that the business in single screens has dropped by 40 percent. According to Raj Bansal, who is the oldest distributor of the Yashraj banner in India with a track record of 32 years and 85 films, there are no two ways about the fact that Tiger Zinda Hai will redefine history at the box-office, “That’s because the repeat audiences are patronising the film in full force especially since the admission rates are now lower than before. Also the audiences who coud not catch up on the film earlier due to New Year celebrations, are doing so now. The biggest factor that could work in favour of the film is the fact that there is no major opposition in the next three weeks. Tiger Zinda Hai has virtually got a free run which is a great occurence,” Bansal says, adding that a majority of exhibitors have now cut down on the screen count to ensure that the film gets its due.

The veteran who has released all Salman starrers released by Yashraj so far, also feels that the film will set a new benchmark for the business of Salman starrers, “I can confidently say that it will be Salman khan’s biggest grosser ever. Salman’s Sultan fetched Rs 302 cr and his Bajrangi Bhaijaan grossed Rs 321 cr but it appears that Tiger Zinda Hai will certain surpass these two films,” Bansal insists.

Will Tiger Zinda Hai also set a record for the highest grossing Christmas release? Going by records, Aamir Khan’s highest grossing film, Dangal had collected Rs 387.38 crore at the India box-office, when it was released on 23rd December 2016. It remains to be seen whether Tiger Zinda Hai beats the record. Bansal however feels that the success of Tiger Zinda Hai has proved that the Eid hero has now taken over the Christmas week, “It was always Aamir Khan who ruled the Christmas week but this year it is the Eid hero who has taken over the Christmas and New Year season. Needless to add the three Khans continue to dominate the box-office in the three big festive seasons of the year, be it Diwali, Christmas or Eid,” he says. Meanwhile the latest tally of figures indicates the box-office collection of Tiger Zinda Hai: at Rs 286.46 crore at the end of Day 13 on January 3.

“Salman’s Sultan fetched Rs 302 cr and his Bajrangi Bhaijaan grossed Rs 321 cr but it is certain that Tiger Zinda Hai will surpass these two films” – Raj Bansal, oldest distributor of YRF Films

Helmed by Ali Abbas Zafar, who had also directed Salman Khan’s earlier film, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai is the sequel to the 2012 blockbuster, Ek Tha Tiger. The fast-paced spy thriller starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, is replete with high voltage action about a RAW agent and an ISI agent, who team up on a one of a kind mission to rescue 25 nurses, held hostage by a terrorist organisation.