Shahid Kapoor, Mira blessed with son

It's a baby boy for Mira and Shahid Kapoor
Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor and his wife Mira Rajput on Wednesday became parents again as they welcomed a son at a hospital here.
They had daughter Misha in 2016. The boy was born on Wednesday evening at the Hinduja Hospital here, a source told IANS.
Mira was admitted to the hospital in the evening and her mother Bela Rajput and other family members like Shahid's mother Neelima Azim, Shahid's step-brother and actor Ishan Khatter visited Mira before the baby's delivery.
Shahid and Mira got married on July 6, 2015. Theirs was an arranged match, and they have grown to be one of the most talked about couples of Bollywood.
Earlier this year, Shahid disclosed the news of Mira's second pregnancy via social media on Instagram.
Despite his busy schedule of promoting his upcoming film "Batti Gul Meter Chalu", Shahid has been managing to spend some quality time with Mira in the past few days.

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Dilip Kumar hospitalised due to chest infection

Veteran actor Dilip Kumar, 95, was on Wednesday admitted to a hospital here due to chest infection, but he is recuperating, said a family friend.
Faisal Farooqui, who tweets on behalf of the thespian, gave a health update on the ailing actor via Twitter.
"Saab has been admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital as he was bit uneasy due to a chest infection. He is recuperating. Requesting your duas and prayers," Farooqui tweeted. 
Dilip Kumar, one of India's most iconic actors, has appeared in some classics like "Kohinoor", "Mughal-e-Azam", "Shakti", "Naya Daur" and "Ram Aur Shyam". 
He was last seen on the silver screen in 1998 in "Qila". He is married to actress Saira Banu.

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JCB Literature Prize announces longlist of this year's '10 most distinguished novels'

Two novels in translation, two by debut women authors, two by established writers previously nominated for the Man Booker Prize, along with four other novels have made it to the longlist of the inaugural edition of the JCB Prize for Literature.
The longlisted books are: "Half the Night is Gone" (Amitabha Bagchi), "Clouds" (Chandrahas Choudhury), "Jasmine Days" (Benny Daniel/Benyam), "Poonachi" (Perumal Murugan), "Jasoda" (Kiran Nagarkar), "When the Moon Shines by Day" (Nayantara Sahgal), "Latitudes of Longing" (Shubhangi Swarup), "The Book of Chocolate Saints" (Jeet Thayil), and "Empire" (Devi Yesodharan).
The award, launched earlier in 2018, was open to entries till May 31.
The jury consists of award-winning film director Deepa Mehta (Chair), entrepreneur and scholar Rohan Murthy, Yale University astrophysicist and writer Priyamvada Natarajan, novelist Vivek Shanbhag, and author and translator Arshia Sattar.
"The Prize exists to celebrate distinguished fiction by Indian writers. This longlist is a true celebration of the diversity and scope of contemporary Indian literature. 
"I am particularly happy that there are two very powerful translations on this list, and two debut authors too. I hope the Prize will help readers in India and around the world discover just how vibrant and ambitious are the novels being written here today," Literary Director Rana Dasgupta said in a statement.
Of the ten books, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3.  The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each. 
The final award -- carrying Rs 25 lakh -- will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27. If the winning work is a translation, the translator receives an additional Rs 5 lakh.

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Shashi Tharoor's 'Why I Am A Hindu' to be made as web series

Shashi Tharoor (File photo: IANS)
Shashi Tharoor (File photo: IANS)
Politician and author Shashi Tharoor's book "Why I Am A Hindu" will be made into a web series with National Award-winning producer Sheetal Talwar as showrunner. The Congress MP will also narrate it.
Taking head-on the current misinterpretation and misappropriation of Hinduism, Tharoor's book is about the history of Hinduism and its core tenets, as well as socio-cultural developments in India that relate to Hinduism and his own religious convictions.
The book is a repudiation of Hindu nationalism, and its rise in Indian society, which relied upon an interpretation of the religion which was markedly different from the one with which he has grown up, practiced and had studied.
On its adaptation, Tharoor said in a statement to IANS: "In any time and era, an adaptation of this book into film would be relevant, but in the current political, social and cultural environment it is imperative that the message of true Hinduism - the Hinduism of acceptance reach the widest audience possible."
"I am glad that Sheetal and I - who share a similar belief system - are collaborating on this effort," he added.
Talwar, who will be seen producing in India after nearly 7 years, says when he gave "Why Am I A Hindu" a read, it shook him.
"I was ashamed that as someone whose profession is to voice, I had not raised my voice and done nothing while the inherent integrity of our pluralism was being threatened.
"After 'Dharm' and 'Rann', it is after years that I have been so excited about a subject. I am glad that I could convince Shashi to not only make this into a web series, but also offer his time as a narrator to the series."
The series will headline numerous known filmmakers film an episode each. It is set to be made in various Indian languages and will be released in the first quarter of 2019, the statement read.

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SC quashes FIR against Malayalam actress Priya Varrier

Priya Prakash Varrier
Priya Prakash Varrier
The Supreme Court on Friday quashed an FIR lodged in Hyderabad against Malayalam actress Priya Prakash Varrier, who shot to fame following her 'wink song' from the film "Oru Addar Love".
It also barred registration of any further FIR against her in connection with the same controversial song in the film which is still under production.
Observing that no case is made out for an offence of hurting any religious sentiments, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said there was "no sign of blasphemy".
The court said: "It (song) does not express any calculated tendency to insult or upset moral or public order, no sign of blasphemy."

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Kapoor family to sell iconic RK Studio, Kareena nostalgic

Bollywood's iconic Kapoor family has collectively decided to sell the sprawling landmark RK Studio. Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan says she has fond memories of the studio, built by her late legendary grandfather Raj Kapoor.
Kareena, who has been under the weather for a few days, told IANS here: "I don't know how far what is actually happening. In fact, I have been quite under the weather and I haven't even met my father in the last four or five days... But of course, we have all grown up walking around in those corridors."
"I think it's probably something that the family has decided, so it's upto my father, his brothers and up to them... If that's what they have decided, so be it," added the actress on the sidelines of the Lakme Fashion Week, where she was the showstopper for the finale show.
The Kapoor family has taken the tough decision of selling the two-acre RK Studio 70 years after it was established as it was not economically viable to rebuild it after it was gutted down in a fire last year.
Rishi Kapoor, in an interview to Mumbai Mirror on behalf of the family, said they were initially juggling with the idea of renovating the place with state-of-the-art technology, but the investment in rebuilding the studio would just not have yielded sufficient revenue to keep it going. He called it a "level headed decision".
In September last year, a major fire broke out on the sets of a dance reality show, leaving a section of the studio gutted.
R.K. Studio, the headquarters of the film production company R.K. Films, was founded and named after the Great Showman, Raj Kapoor, in 1948.
Its inaugural banner film "Aag" that year crashed at the box office, but the next year proved to be a good omen when its production "Barsaat" (1949), starring Raj Kapoor-Nargis was a superhit.
In fact, the company's logo was designed to reflect the poster of a scene from "Barsaat" and after that, the studio never looked back.
It had a string of successful black-and-white releases like "Awaara" (1951), "Boot Polish" (1954), "Shri 420" (1955), "Jaagte Raho" (1956).
Later, the studio was the venue for several other big ticket films like "Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hain" (1960), "Mera Naam Joker" (1970), "Bobby" (1973), the debut film for Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (1978), "Prem Rog" (1982), "Ram Teri Ganga Maili" (1985), which was the founder-actor's last film before his death in June 1988.

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'English Vinglish' actress Sujata Kumar dead

Actress Sujata Kumar, fondly remembered for playing late veteran actress Sridevi's sibling in the film "English Vinglish" has died of cancer, said her sister Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, the actress-singer.
Suchitra tweeted that Sujata reportedly succumbed to cancer late on Sunday. "Our beloved Sujata Kumar has passed away and moved on to a better place leaving us with an umimaginable void. She left us an hour ago at 11.26 p.m. Life can never be the same again." 
Suchitra had earlier tweeted asking her fans and friends to pray for Sujata. "Please pray for my darling sister Sujata Kumar," she had tweeted.
On Saturday, Suchitra shared an update about her sister.
"It feels like somebody's plunged a hard cold knife into my heart and ripped the ground from under my feet as I sit outside ICU and pray for my big sister, my mother, my best friend, my darling Sujata Kumar as she battles for her life inside..."
Sujata worked in several TV shows like "Hotel Kingston" and "Bombay Talking". She also appeared in the Anil Kapoor-starrer "24" as Meghna Singhania. 
Apart from "English Vinglish", Sujata had worked in films like "Raanjhanaa", "Salaam-E-Ishq" and "Gori Tere Pyar Mein".

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Breaking moulds wasn't on our minds: Deverakonda on 'Geetha Govindam'


Actor Vijay Deverakonda is loving the overwhelming response to his new release "Geetha Govindam", which is a take on love and courtship.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What has the response been so far? Has the audience understood your impatience with conventional treatment of love and courtship?

A. The response is shocking. I can't even begin to assess what it is that's happening. My phone's ringing off the hook. Everyone is trying to understand what is happening. It's crazy! I am not even attempting to understand the response to "Geetha Govindam".

Q. The film deals with the dynamics of courtship in a healthy manner. How much of your own views are projected in the film?

A. I am figuring out my personal views. And evolving as a person every day. I have no fixed views on men, women and other issues. How I feel about various things is constantly changing, evolving. Breaking moulds wasn't on our minds. It's only a happy by-product.

Q. In the film, the heroine is shown to take advantage of your vulnerable situation. Normally it is men who are shown to be exploitative?

A. More than exploiting, I feel she has this pent-up anger and frustration at the sight of him. She is gracious enough to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was not the one who harassed her when asked by her brother at their first meeting, seeing the trauma it would put his family through.

But that in no way meant she forgives him, and they are forced due to situations to spend so much time together. So then she gives him a tough time. I don't blame her though.

Q. But so many times men get wrongly accused of sexual harassment?

A. That is an extremely scary and discomforting thought. But in "Geetha Govindam", even though unintended, he shouldn't have gotten himself into that position. He could have avoided getting so friendly with a girl he had just met.

Q. Are you consciously breaking conventional moulds through your roles and films?

A. It's more unconscious. I am just drawn to this stuff more.

Q. Though clean and wholesome, the film is not shy about the gender equations. Do you think it's time Telugu cinema explored the man-woman equation beyond the surface level?

A. Cinema everywhere is growing up. We are no exception. I am glad "Geetha Govindam" has found an audience. If it hadn't, I'd still not embrace the conventional. That's not me.


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As human beings we should help others in need: Rani Mukerji


Bringing about social change is the onus of every citizen of the world and not just of a handful of those who are in powerful positions, says actress Rani Mukerji, whose films "Black" and "Hichki" have been instrumental in transforming people's outlook towards those with special needs.

As a celebrity with over two decades of experience in the world of Indian showbiz, Rani has also immersed herself in philanthropic works. While she finds it gratifying, she feels this is not something for actors or businessmen to do alone.

"I think we all being citizens of the world, have a responsibility and it's not just for the sake of doing certain things because I am an actor, socialite or a business person.

"I think what's important is that apart from the careers we choose, it is our basic duty as human beings to able to help other human beings... Or help in a cause because that's what makes us truly citizens of the world," Rani told IANS in a tete-a-tete here.

Her film "Hichki", in which she plays a woman with Tourette Sydrome has been widely lauded for spreading awareness on a little known nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, with an entertaining and emotional story at its core.

At the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here, Rani was awarded the Best Actress for her role in the film. She feels when a film like this wins an award, it helps in pushing the awareness it sets out to spread.

When "Hichki" had released, Rani had said she won't take long gaps if the movie works. So when do we see her on-screen again?

"I will be doing projects, and you will be getting to hear about them soon," she said.

Will she pick another issue-based movie?

"Let's see... I don't want to say much. So wait for the announcement," the actress, looking resplendent in a black ensemble by her forever favourite designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, said with a smile.

Her Melbourne trip was special. More so because her daughter Adira, who was born in December 2015, was travelling with her. She took the little one to the aquarium, zoo, a 'bouncing garden' and amusement park to entertain her.

"I got her all the way to Melbourne and it was my duty as a mother to entertain her as much as I could. I took her to an amusement park and it was the first time she sat on a roller coaster. And she is really brave. 'Mumma, I want to go again'. So, she's quite a daredevil like that," Rani said.

Is that like you?

"Yes," said the proud mother, who is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra.

As a mother, patience is one virtue that Rani has realised about herself.

"When you are a working professional and when you're working round the clock, I think you forget the word patience. Also, I think we as actors are used to the phenomenon because a lot of times we are waiting for shots in the vanity vans and waiting, waiting, waiting till the next shot comes.

"Being a mother I realised there's no time to sit ideal. For me, it's 24*7 work and attention. The only time when Adira will not need attention is when she is in deep sleep. The rest of the time I have to be all attentive for her."

Rani is glad she was able to break the cliche around actresses who become mothers. It was her husband who pushed her to work.

But what about being directed by him?

"I think there are some things that we should just leave for later... Probably Adira will make that phenomenon happen... I guess, all in time."


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Priyanka, Nick 'seal relationship' with 'roka' ceremony

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas (File photo: IANS)
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas (File photo: IANS)
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, following months of speculation, on Saturday solemnised their relationship with a traditional Indian 'roka' ceremony. The actress says she is "taken" with her "heart and soul" by the American singer, who has introduced her to the world as the "future Mrs Jonas".
"Taken... With all my heart and soul," Priyanka posted on Instagram with an intimate photograph following their pre wedding Punjabi ritual at her residence here.
Nick posted the same photograph in which the couple looks much in love, and wrote: "Future Mrs Jonas. My heart. My love."
Priyanka, 36, and Nick, 25, looked every bit 'desi' in traditional Indian wear for the ceremony, which was attended by their close family members and friends. Nick's parents -- mother Denise and father Kevin Jonas Sr -- who flew down from the US with their son for the occasion on Thursday -- also dressed in Indian wear for the celebrations.
Designer duo Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, whose sunshine yellow creation made Priyanka glow with joy, posted on Instagram: "Priyanka Chopra is heavenly in Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla Couture at her roka ceremony. Here's wishing the beautiful couple every joy."
She wore a chikankari sherwani. "The colour is as auspicious as the embroidery is intricate to celebrate this sacred and romantic occasion," the designers said in a statement.
Nick wore a pristine white kurta churidar as he performed the 'puja'.
It was a Ganpati Puja, said Kamal Kumar Mishra and Pradip Kumar Trivedi, the two priests who took care of the 'roka' proceedings.
Nick performed all the rituals here as per 'Sanatam Dharam', the priests added.
Photographs from the occasion made a splash on social media.
In one of the first images that did the rounds, Nick was seen cosying up to Priyanka, who is seen holding on to him, as they stand against a green background with a logo that read 'NP' -- merged together to denote the amalgamation of the first letter of both their names.
While there was a buzz that Nick proposed to Priyanka on her 36th birthday on July 18, news had followed that he got a Tiffany & Co. store in London shut down to purchase an engagement ring for his lady love.
Priyanka had been making efforts to hide the sparkler, but in the photograph that she has shared from the 'roka', the rock takes the limelight.
The ceremony was attended by Priyanka's cousin Parineeti Chopra, as well as celebrities like Arpita Khan Sharma, Mushtaq Sheikh and Srishti Behl Arya.
Well-known names from Bollywood and Hollywood also sent in good wishes in abundance for the couple. Gigi Hadid, Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Ileana D'Cruz, Preity Zinta and Laura Brown are some of those who wished them a happily ever after.
Priyanka is a former Miss World, who established her space in the Hindi film industry with a slew of impressive projects like "Fashion", "Mary Kom", "Barfi!", "Bajirao Mastani" and "7 Khoon Maaf". She forayed into the international showbiz world with a singing career, and eventually landed the lead role in American TV show "Quantico".
It gave her a launchpad that pushed her presence in the global entertainment universe. She made her Hollywood debut with "Baywatch", followed by "A Kid Like Jake". She will also be seen in "Isn't It Romantic?"
She is also an active philanthropist.
Nick is a popular singer and has also acted in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", as well as done TV shows like "Hannah Montana", "Camp Rock" and "Scream Queens".
The two have been creating a buzz since a joint appearance at the Met Gala red carpet in 2017, leaving everyone wondering whether they were dating.
At the Met Gala, Priyanka had just laughed off a romance with Jonas, insisting they simply shared an agent and were friends. She had also said they went to the Met Gala together as they were both wearing ensembles by Ralph Lauren.
In December last year, Jonas, while promoting "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", had expressed a desire to visit India.
"I've never been (to India), but I'm dying to go and I have now heard from Priyanka, my new friend, a lot about it," Jonas had told IANS in a statement.
And who knew, when the friendship turned into love for the couple.

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I do have my downtime to keep a balance: Ranveer Singh


His infectious energy is something people take inspiration from and his quirkiness makes him one of the most versatile actors in Bollywood. However, Ranveer Singh makes sure to switch off from the world and unwind as his day gets over to take a break from his fast-paced life.

"I do that every day. At some point when my day ends, I switch off from the world and unwind. I live a very fast-paced life, so it's very important for me to have some downtime. It helps me keep a balance," Ranveer told IANS in an e-mail interview from Mumbai when asked if there is ever a time when he sits back, relaxes and enjoys the normalcy of not being a Bollywood actor.

Ranveer was present at the Jack & Jones 10th anniversary celebrations.

Some high street fashion labels like Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Only, Junarose, Only & Sons, along with Selected Homme, hosted a celebration at Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. It was attended by Bollywood's young brigade of celebrities like Ranveer, Sonakshi Sinha, Kiara Advani, Shikha Talsania and Priyank Sharma, along with Jim Sarbh, who represented different brands.

Ranveer, 33, is synonymous with being quirky when it comes to his fashion choices. He says in school too he was called "atrangi" (different) for his appearances.

"In my first two years, I did not make very honest choices when it came to my fashion sensibilities. I was still in the process of figuring out who I was and that reflected in my fashion choices. In my early days, the concept of appreciation and criticism was new to me.

"I remember in school too, I was called 'atrangi' because of my Mohawk, ear piercings, baggy jeans. I have always been this way. But over time, I have been in situations where I have had the chance to reflect. I now no more worry about being judged or influenced by others' opinions. I have started making choices that are authentic, especially when it comes to fashion," the actor said.

After making his Bollywood debut with romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baaraat", the actor has proved his mettle in various roles in films like "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl", "Lootera", "Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela", "Gunday", "Dil Dhadakne Do", "Bajirao Mastani" and "Padmaavat".

Though he gave hits with different female stars in many films, his pairing with rumoured girlfriend Deepika Padukone was appreciated a lot in many of his cinematic offerings. The grapevine also has it that Ranveer and Deepika are planning to wed in November in Italy amidst a limited crowd of near and dear ones.

But neither of them have spoken about it yet.

Ranveer's next films are Rohit Shetty's "Simbaa", Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy" and Kabir Khan's "'83", in which he will be seen portraying the role of former cricketer Kapil Dev.

"It is a film based on the most glorious chapter in India's sporting history -- the Cricket World Cup. I play Kapil Dev in the movie. It is my first biographical portrayal of an individual who is still out and about, doing such great work... it is an absolute honour to have been able to lead an ensemble of characters that are so significant in our history," said Ranveer.

The actor says he is thoroughly enjoying all the projects that he is currently working on.

"And I hope that the upcoming projects continue to charm the audience just like my past work has," he said.


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I feel I've lost my father again': Lata Mangeshkar on her bonding with Vajpayee


Devastated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death, Asia's nightingale Lata Mangeshkar who shared a very close bonding with him, said: "He was like my father. He called me Beti. I called him Dadda. I feel I've lost my father all over again.

"When I saw the glow on his face, his persuasive oratorical powers and his love for the arts, I was always reminded of my father (the legendary musician-stage actor Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar). When I was a child many national leaders and politicians would visit my home. Vir Savarkar was one of them. Atalji reminded me of Vir Savarkar. He was a noble soul. No words of praise can do justice to him. Atalji was never short of words. But I am."

Lataji gets pensive about her association with Atalaji. "He was very close to me, and I to him. When we Mangeshkars inaugurated a hospital in Pune in my name, I asked Atalji to do the inauguration. He happily agreed and gave a rousing speech -- as usual -- where he said he was in a dilemma as he thought naming a hospital after me was not right. There should be a music academy named after Lata Mangeshkar, not a hospital. Now what do I say? That people should fall sick so that this hospital named after my Beti would run?' His speeches were works of art. There is not one orator in Indian politics, or for that matter in India, to match Atalji."

In 2014 Lataji had the rare privilege of doing an entire album of song devoted to Atalji's poems.

Recalling the "unforgettable" experience, Lataji says: "I still remember the album was officially released in his home in Delhi. We had flown down for the occasion. All the poems in the album we entitled 'Antarnaad' were handpicked by me and my composer Mayuresh Pai. We then flew to Delhi to get his approval. When Atalji saw the poems we had selected he was very happy, specially with 'Geet naya gata hoon', which was among his personal favourites.

"However there was some doubt over another poem 'Thann gayi maut se' which we had selected. Though Atalji himself loved the selection his (adopted) daughter and others close to him felt it was wrong of him to challenge death through poetry. So we decided to drop that poem. When we told Atalji of our decision he was very quiet then he said, if that's what everyone wants, then so be it."

Lataji says she has seldom been more impressed by any other politician. "Atalji hriday se kavi the aur swabhav se sadhu (he was a poet at heart and a saint by nature). He was a visionary and India made rapid progress during his prime ministership. I remember how much he did to improve relations with Pakistan. He started the bus service to Pakistan. And he was very keen that I be one of the first passengers in that journey to the other side of the border. He told me that people in Pakistan were as keen to hear me as people in India. But I didn't go. It was always hard to say no to Atalji. He was such a wonderful human being and great statesman."

Lataji feels the nation has lost more than Bharat Ratna. "Dadda was man with a vision. He could see the future. His speeches were works of art. When he spoke, the nation listened. I still have his speeches on my mobile phone. I can listen to them for hours. In his going India has been orphaned. But then, if he was in so much pain it would've been selfish of us to hold him back. He is now relieved of all pain probably regaling the gods with his oration."


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Manto comes to vivid life in Nandita Das' film trailer


Let’s not beat around the bush. 2018 is the year of biopics in Bollywood. Barely have we gotten out of the two back-to-back hockey sagas "Soorma" and "Gold", when it’s time to relinquish the sportive spirit for a spot of sunshine in the literary world.

First things first. What shines the brightest in the trailer of "Manto" is the art direction and the cinematography. Swathed in sepia tones and bright rusty colours denoting a time that has clocked the past but not been forgotten in the present, the look of the film is so vivid and nostalgic, it conveys both regret and urgency.

Female directors -- be it Reema Kagti in "Gold" or now Nandita Das in "Manto" -- reflexively gravitate towards the correct colours to convey a past that could well return sometime very soon in the future. Manto's controversial writing, his vivid description of sexual violence and political turmoil, has been discussed and damned for decades. He is relevant to our times even if we have moved on to Chetan Bhagat.

Here is Manto revived by an actor and a director who get to the centre of Manto's universe by exploring the ambience that fostered his creative juices while constantly trying to stem its flow.

Manto never fought shy of describing bodily fluids and their outflow from one individual to another. Nandita's film seems to focus on how Manto's writing and his unorthodox views on love, sex, intimacy and religion influenced his own life and those around him.

"When we were under British rule, we dreamt of freedom. Now when we are free, what do we dream of?" Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manto wonders aloud.

There is an element of disenchanted irony in Manto's personality, so evident in the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi and the cinema of Guru Dutt. Nandita's film seems to explore the dark side of Manto's personality without abandoning the sunshine.

It may be the year of biopics. But I want to see how Nawazuddin pulls off two such ideologically opposed personalities as Manto and Thackeray during the same year.


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Indian film fraternity pays tribute to 'selfless', 'warm' Vajpayee


Lata Mangeshkar felt the same pain upon hearing of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise on Thursday, as she did when she lost her father. The legendary singer led the Indian film industry's tributes to the selfless and beloved titan and statesman.

The 93-year-old leader, who had faded from public life for more than a decade following health complications, died at the capital's AIIMS, where he was admitted for the past several weeks.

His demise led to an outpouring of tributes from the movie world across India, and celebrities also remembered his much-loved poetic streak. Here's what they tweeted.

* Lata Mangeshkar: Rishitulya purva pradhan mantri Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji ke swargwas ki vaarta sunke mujhe aise laga jaise mere sar par pahaad toota hai, kyunki main unko pita samaan maanti thi aur unhone mujhe apni beti banaaya tha. Mujhe wo itne priya the ki main unko dadda kehke bulaati thi. Aaj mujhe waisa dukh hua hai jaise mere pitaji ke swargwas ke samay hua tha. Ishwar unki aatma ko shanti de.

(The news of respected former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise has been shocking. I used to regard him like my father, and he had made me his daughter. He was so dear to me that I used to call him 'Dadda'. I feel the same pain I felt when my father had passed away. May his soul rest in peace.)

* Rajinikanth: I'm saddened to hear the demise of a great statesman Shri Vajpayeeji. May his soul rest in peace.

* Sanjay Dutt: Indeed a big loss for our country as we pay our last tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. He was a close family friend and his legacy will forever be remembered. Thank you for your selfless service, sir! My heartfelt condolence to everyone.

* S.S. Rajamouli: One of the few statesmen who brought dignity and esteem to politics. His dream and steadfast application of road connectivity changed and continues to change millions of lives in our country. Bowing with respect to our beloved leader Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji.

* Prosenjit Chatterjee: A gentleman with immense knowledge whom we have lost. India has lost a great person. My deepest condolences for the entire family. Rest in peace sir.

* Resul Pookutty: At this hour of calamity and insecurity sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true statesman. One of the sane voices in the Indian politics. Dear Sir, you will be missed and your tribe, even more in this changing times.

* Vishal Dadlani: A Titan has departed. There was more impact and gravitas in the pauses between his words, than there are in the petty political speeches we hear these days. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

* Farhan Akhtar: RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. You will be remembered as one of India's greatest leaders, as an exemplary statesman, as a tour de force for peace and unity and most of all as a genuine, warm, approachable human being.

* Dhanush: Deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. Heartfelt condolences to the family and dear ones of the great man.

* Ashoke Pandit: Atalji was a man of words but today no word would describe the loss India suffers in his death. He wasn't a politician... He was a thought, a vision. Mortal humans perish but a thought always remains alive and grows in the minds and hearts of millions.

* Sreenu Vaitla: Saddened by the loss of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji, one of my favourite leaders and our former prime minister. Some leaders leave such an immense influence that you just wish that they are never gone. May your soul rest in peace sir.

* Rana Daggubati: Today we lost a great statesman, poet and orator. A man who dreamed of a glorious nation and strived to take us on the path to prosperity. Rest in peace.

* Adnan Sami: Extremely saddened to learn of the passing away of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. Apart from being one of the greatest statesman India has seen, he was a great man of 'peace'. He spread love everywhere he went... May he rest in peace.

* Dia Mirza: "Let no one challenge India's secularism." - Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Growing up in India in the 1980s and 1990s, one can never forget what a deep impact Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji made on us... He was a great statesman and leader.

* Arjun Kapoor: Heartfelt condolences to Vajpayeeji's family and dear ones. May his soul rest in peace.

* Huma Qureshi: Respect always sir... RIP.


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Bryan Adams to bring 'The Ultimate Tour' to India in October

Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Bryan Adams will be coming to India in October for a multi-city tour, and says he is excited about performing in the "beautiful country" again.
This will be his fifth visit to the country. The gigs are lined up in support of the music veteran's 21-track compilation "Ultimate", which released in November last year.
"Namaste India. At the onset I'd like to wish each one of you a very happy Independence Day. India is one of my favourite places in the whole world," Adams said in a statement.
"The love and generosity that I have experienced here is immense," he added.
The tour will start with a concert in Ahmedabad on October 9 and move to Hyderabad (October 11), Mumbai (October 12), Bengaluru (October 13), before wrapping up in Delhi on October 14. The event is produced by ENIL and has partnered with Infibeam Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. for the gig in Ahmedabad.
"I am eternally grateful to ENIL for (giving me) the opportunity to perform again in this beautiful country," added the Canadian rocker, who is known for his signature brand of feel-good rock and roll and big ballads like "(Everything I do) I do it for you", "Summer of 69" and "Please forgive me".
Mahesh Shetty, Chief Operating Officer at ENIL, said: "Bryan Adams is one of the most exciting live musicians in the world and his energetic performance, effortless stage presence and incredible vocals are guaranteed to thrill and entertain. His first concert in India was in 1995 in Mumbai which set a precedent for other global artists who wished to perform in India. He enjoys a devout following in India... We are extremely excited to bring his tour to India and anticipate a total sell out."
The aim of "Ultimate" is to condense his extensive back catalogue - 13 studio albums, five live albums, five compilation albums and over 75 singles - into a 21-track offering guaranteed to capture the true essence of the hitmaker's much celebrated career.
'The Ultimate Tour' will see Adams perform material from the album, which is a mix of new tracks and his chart-topping numbers. 'The Ultimate Tour' has travelled to 53 cities and four continents.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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IFFM Awards: Rani, Manoj named Best Actors, 'Sanju' wins Best Film

Manoj Bajpayee (File photo: IANS)
Manoj Bajpayee (File photo: IANS)
Rajkumar Hirani's "Sanju" on Sunday walked away with the Best Film honour here at the Westpac IFFM Awards night, where Manoj Bajpayee won the Best Actor for his yet-to-release "Gali Guleiyan" and Rani Mukerji was named Best Actress for her performance in "Hichki".
Rani, who impressed with her performance as a woman faced with Tourette's Syndrome in "Hichki", walked away with two honours at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) as she was also bestowed an 'Excellence In Cinema' award.
Veteran actress Simi Garewal, looking elegant as ever in her trademark pristine white, gave away the honour to Rani, who has been a part of the film industry for over two decades.
Overwhelmed by the honour, Rani thanked her fans world over for loving her and her work through the years.
Hirani won the Best Director for "Sanju", a biopic on the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, while the IFFM Vanguard Award went to actor Ranbir Kapoor for his "breakthrough performance" in bringing alive Sanjay's tumultuous life journey on-screen.
The director told IANS here that he is happy with the recognition for the movie and is excited about showcasing the movie at La Trobe University here, with "Sanju" co-writer Abhijat Joshi and actor Vicky Kaushal.
Vicky won the supporting actor honour for his well-deserved performance as Kamli in "Sanju", and Richa Chadha won it too as she won the jury's heart with her power-packed role as a brothel owner in "Love Sonia".
The jury members for the fest, launched by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, comprised Simi Garewal, Sue Maslin, Jill Bilcock, Nikkhil Advani and Geoffrey Wright.
Wright, known for the Russell Crowe-starrer "Romper Stomper", told IANS that he was mighty impressed by the variety that Indian cinema currently has on offer. He said he feels that "perhaps it has gone from recreation to being serious cinema".
India's colourful and diverse culture was very much a part of the awards celebration as there were the beats of the dhol, performers dressed in traditional Indian classical attires, Odissi dance, Bhangra and more.
Composers Sachin-Jigar added the chutzpah with some of their Bollywood tracks.
The inclusion-themed ninth edition of the gala gave a Diversity Award to Freida Pinto, who shot to fame and prominence first with her role in Oscar-winning drama "Slumdog Millionaire". In her upcoming film "Love Sonia", Freida is seen in a never-seen-before avatar.
Tabrez Noorani-directed "Love Sonia", which opened the IFFM gala and left the audience moved with a story around sex trafficking, won the Best Indie film. A special mention in this space went to "Gali Guleiyan", which marks Dipesh Jain's debut as a director.
The Equality In Cinema Award was given to "Mahanati", the widely acclaimed Telugu and Tamil film on the life of south Indian actress Savitri, who made a mark in the 1950s and 1960s.
Actor Ali Fazal, who was the jury of the short film competition, chose "To-let" as the Indian winner and the Australian winner was "Found", which is on Islamophobia.
Richa also gave away the IFFM Heroes Award, which celebrates real life heroes who have done good deeds.
IFFM began on Friday. As part of the celebrations, Rani on Saturday hoisted the Indian flag at the Federation House, which also became a stage for a dance competition, bringing the huge and diverse Indian community of Melbourne together -- denoting the unifying power of cinema.
The festival will end on August 22.
(Radhika Bhirani is in Melbourne on an invitation by IFFM organisers.)

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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What have I whitewashed? asks Hirani questioning critics of 'Sanju'


Whitewashing, media bashing and glorification. The makers of "Sanju" have been fielding allegations ever since the film on the tumultuous life of actor Sanjay Dutt hit the screens. Now, they have questions of their own.

"If I start on that, I can talk on it for the full day," Rajkumar Hirani told IANS when asked to comment on talks about the media bashing in "Sanju", which is playing at the ninth edition of the International Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here.

Abhijat Joshi, who has co-written the biopic with Hirani, was quick to add: "There is no media bashing at all. We are great fans of the media.

"What we are bashing is a certain section which sensationalises things and uses a question mark to make things 'chatpata' (spicy). That has been critiqued, and I am amazed there has been no introspection on that side. No one has even said that it happens," Joshi said.

The reference is in context to a scene featuring a newspaper cutting titled "RDX in a truck parked in Dutt house?" This question mark journalism is their problem.

"Today if the world believes that he had RDX, it's based on that one news, so we have criticised that. But now when we are told that the whole film is about media bashing, it's again picking up a headline," Hirani said.

"When we show a corrupt police officer, it doesn't mean all policemen are wrong… It's a section," he added.

From Sanjay's drug addiction, personal affairs, a jail term for possession of arms in connection with the 1993 serial blasts, to his bonds with his parents and friends -- "Sanju" has delved into different aspects of the actor's life but has also left out a lot.

Hirani, who has hits like "Munna Bhai" series, "3 Idiots" and "PK" to his credit, also wonders why is there talk that he has "whitewashed" Sanjay through "Sanju".

"Whitewashing as a word is being thrown open. If you've watched the film, what was Sanju's crime," he counter-questioned.

Sanjay had a gun.

"Yes, he kept the gun, and we have shown that. We have shown that he served five years in jail and that he is saying it was a mistake... So where is the question of whitewashing? What have I whitewashed? I want to understand that," Hirani asked.

Joshi added: "The crime has been shown graphically. He is destroying the gun, we have shown that the bullets are thrown away, we are showing that. So whatever is the crime is, is clearly shown."

Hirani went on: "People are using this word whitewash. I want to know what have I whitewashed? I have shown that he had 308 girlfriends, that he was so addicted to drugs, he slept with his friend's girlfriend. Is this whitewashing?

"If we had to whitewash anyone, we would have made him Mahatma Gandhi... What have we whitewashed? Tell us his crime?" he asks.

RSS mouthpiece "Panchjanya" had questioned whether Sanjay, son of late actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, had qualities that his life story should be glamourised or glorified on the big screen or be portrayed as if he is an idol.

"Again, where have I glorified is what I want to ask? Is this glorification that he slept with his friend's girlfriend, kept a gun, did drugs, made a girl wear a commode on her neck?

"We have shown all this... Still, people are saying we have glorified his life. Who knew this that instead of putting a mangalsutra, he put a commode on a girl," Hirani asked.

Joshi said the "worst" allegation is that they made the film for money.

"It is ridiculous because if money was the criteria, we would have made 5 Munnabhais back-to-back... They would have been bigger hits, or '3 Idiots' parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6."

Hirani said when he was making the movie, he was told by people that "Sanju" will mark his "first flop" as Sanjay was a negative character.

"Now when the film has been made, everything is reversed that this has been made for money," he said.

Joshi questioned: "Do you think Rajkumar Hirani, at this time in his career, would spend 3 years of his life just to whitewash somebody?"

What upsets them is "people (who needed to introspect) have not introspected" at all.

"But the audiences have, luckily. Hats off to the Indian audience," Joshi said.


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Victorian government to establish $3 mn Indian Cinema Attraction Fund

In an effort to strengthen cultural and economic ties between India and Australia, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday announced plans to establish a $3 million Indian Cinema Attraction Fund, which will enable more Indian filmmakers to explore Victoria as a shooting location.
Andrews, who shared the dais with Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji as she hoisted the Indian national flag at the Federation Square here, said that beyond a cultural celebration, it will be a "profound economic opportunity and a way in which India and Australia could come even closer together".
"I am proud to announce that the Victorian government will establish an Indian Cinema Attraction Fund with $3 million in funding to make sure at least four films are made right here in Melbourne and Victoria over the next four years," Andrews said, urging Indian filmmakers to seize the opportunity.
Film Victoria has already been working closely with India's biggest production studios, and offering grants worth up to 25 per cent of their spends in Victoria.
The new investment, announced during an event organised by the ongoing Victoria government-backed Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), is expected to grow the local film industry and create local jobs for the state, which has Australia's biggest Indian community.
Victoria has earlier played host to a number of Indian film productions, including "Chak De! India, "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" and "Salaam Namaste".
Rani, dressed in a chiffon sari in the biting cold -- "in true tradition of a Bollywood heroine" -- for the flag hoisting ceremony, sang a few tweaked lines from one of her songs in praise of the Premier's incentive move.
She was emotional as she recounted her father's patriotic themes as she hoisted the flag.
"When we are in India on August 15, the tradition is that in every nook and corner, in buildings and societies, we have the flag hoisting and ever since I was a baby, I would wake up from sleep, I would hear all the patriotic songs playing. And one of them was from my father's films, which he did in the 1960s with Mr Sunil Dutt."
She recited a few lines from the song "Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani, naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani… Hum Hindustani, Hum Hindustani."
"I miss my dad, especially on days like this because he made films like ‘Leader' and ‘Hum Hindustani' which had so much of the patriotic spirit. I hope it carries on with new generations," Rani said.
The Federation Square, despite the rain and chill in the wind, attracted a huge crowd of Indians and non-Indians to celebrate the colour, dance, music and spirit that India is known for the world over.
As inclusion is the theme of IFFM this year, the performances saw old, young and specially challenged participants putting up a heart-warming show.
A burst of tricoloured confetti as Rani hoisted the flag added to the patriotic vibes, which was backed by dhol, dances, music and food.
(Radhika Bhirani is in Melbourne at the invitation of IFFM organisers.)

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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Tamil film 'Mersal' to release in China

Tamil film "Mersal" has been picked by China's HGC Entertainment, which is planning to release it in the country.
The Vijay-starrer will be dubbed into Mandarin later this year or in early 2019, reports
Directed by Atlee, the action thriller released in India in 2017, and had garnered a lot of positive response from critics and the audience.
The background score and soundtrack of the film were composed by Oscar and Grammy winner A.R. Rahman.
HGC President's Li Ying said: "We found the story of 'Mersal' to be a particularly touching story."
Be it superstar Salman Khan-starrer film "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" or recently added "Sultan" or Aamir Khan's "Dangal", in recent times, many Indian "content-driven" stories have connected with Chinese audiences on an intellectual and emotional level. 
HGC is one of China's oldest indie distributors that has previously released "Dhoom 3", "The Mechanic" and "Hellboy 3".

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Indian small screen 'thrills' with paranormal, plays up superstitions


With frequent media reports of helpless women in the hinterland being branded as witches or stigmatised for being possessed by "evil spirits" -- often resulting in their persecution and even murder -- the Indian small screen is focusing on shows that highlight the paranormal and feed on people's dark side -- despite these being called "regressive" by many.

According to reports, over 1,000 women have been killed across the country in the past decade for "practising witchcraft".

Content on TV has been often been criticised for being regressive -- be it "Sasural Simar Ka", where the lead actress Dipika Kakar's character shape-shifted from a "daayan" (witch) to a "makkhi" (fly), or actor Nirbhay Wadhwa's character of "tantrik-turned-rakshasa" in Star Plus's show "Qayamat Ki Raat".

Talking about the fantasy thriller being tagged as regressive, Dipika told IANS: "You watch 'Game Of Thrones'... does that not come with a feel of fantasy thriller or supernatural... I think a lot of people need to accept the fact that, yes, our shows can be good too. Try watching it."

Apart from this, several shows like "Aahat", "Fear Files", "Kaun Hai?" and "Nazar" have spotlighted archaic tales about "jinns", "tantriks" (practitioners of the black arts) and witches.

Abhimanyu Singh, Founder and CEO of Contiloe Pictures told IANS that Colors' show "Kaun Hai?" is "completely fictional" and that "it does not propagate the practice of black magic or propagate blind faith".

"We are selling an experience and not a faith as storytellers, and create an experience for the audience that is beyond their cognition," Singh said.

He said the channel only wants to bring the viewer's insights into the paranormal realm and give them a thrilling experience.

As per data shared by the Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC), the viewership share of horror shows on Hindi entertainment channels has gone up from 0.40% in 2017 to 0.60% in 2018.

Even across language channels, the viewership share of horror shows has gone up by 33%. The top markets contributing viewership to such shows are Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

"Qayamat Ki Raat", which revolves around a young couple who find a way to survive an evil curse from a "tantrik-turned-rakshasa" is topping with 5.9 million impressions, while "Kaun Hai?" is second with three million impressions, the BARC India data indicated.

Karishma Tanna, lead actress of "Qayamat Ki Raat", told IANS she does not find the supernatural and fantasy genre regressive.

"I would not say it's regressive, but I would say that's the kind of shows which are entertaining the audience right now. At the end of the day, everyone is (doing) business here. Everybody is trying to entertain the masses and that's what every producer is doing," she said.

Karishma's co-actor from the show Dalljiet Kaur compared the show to "Prison Break" and "Dexter".

"I think it is just the mentality. The people who are calling it regressive are probably watching 'Prison Break' or 'Dexter'. It is okay when Hollywood people do creative things... It's okay for people in Hollywood to explore their creative limits, but in India, it is all about thoughts. It is so beautiful that you can explore so much creatively," she said.

Currently on Star Plus, "Nazar" is making waves with the lead actress Monalisa's look, where she is seen sporting long nails and a serpentine ponytail for her "daayan" get-up.

An episode of "Nazar" showed witch hunting, where Monalisa's character is shunned with her hair chopped off and tied up in front of the entire village. The show's promotional campaign has involved imposing billboards with the long braid attracting attention.

In reality, witch-hunting involves the tagging of victims, especially women, as witches, after an observation made by a "witch doctor". The woman labelled as a witch is subjected to torture like burns, paraded naked, raped and tonsured to get them in control.

"As actors, our aim is to purely entertain our viewers. We do not want to portray any negative message. 'Nazar' as a show is only meant for audiences' entertainment since supernatural dramas are now in trend," Monalisa told IANS.

Actor Harsh Rajput, who plays a 'Daavansh' -- half human and half 'daayan' in "Nazar", told IANS that the show is not sending any "wrong message."

"We live in the country of stories... It is a pure work of fiction and we don't promote, neither we support any kind of superstitions," he added.


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In my era, cinema wasn't driven by studios: Kamal Haasan


Tamil film icon Kamal Haasan, who started his acting career when he was just three years old, says he comes from an era when artistes believed that cinema was one vision and not driven by studios.

Kamal has donned many hats -- as an actor, a writer and producer -- for several films, including his forthcoming one titled "Vishwaroop 2".

What makes him take up so many roles instead of sharing the responsibilities with others?

"I used to because when you want something done precisely as per your vision... I have learnt from all my masters, including my mentor with whom I was an understudy, Mr Balachander. He wrote, he directed and if given a chance, he could have been a fantastic actor but fortunately, he didn't desire to do that.

"Otherwise, I would have lost out on 36 films with him. He (Balachander) could have played all those characters," Kamal, who worked with the filmmaker in films like "Manmatha Leelai" and "Ek Duuje Ke Liye", told IANS in an email interview.

The actor, also a politician, admires others as well.

"Even those whom I admired like (Charlie) Chaplin or (Alfred) Hitchcock or even Francois Truffaut, they all ended up acting, producing and did everything...including (acting) in other people's films. Usually, directors shy away from it. But Truffaut acted in Steven Spielberg's film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.

"So for me, it (multi-tasking in films) is nothing new because my masters - be it, Chaplin or Truffaut, all of them moved from one to another so easily. So, it seemed natural, and I come from an era when we believed that cinema was one vision and it was not driven by studios," said the actor, now in his 60s.

"Vishwaroop 2" is a sequel to the 2013 movie "Vishwaroop".

Does he feel more pressure when he does sequels?

"No, but I thought of sequels long time back. So much before that people thought I was an eccentric and a dangerous person to deal with... in the sense... I wanted a sequel to 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye'. He (Balachander) asked, 'How do you make a film after 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye'?" So I told my boss, my mentor, the story.

"He asked 'How could you rise from the dead?' and I replied 'It's been done before, the new testament is all about it and finally Sir, you killed those lovers, you have the right to resurrect them'."

And, they did make a film.

"But he didn't want to call it 'Ek Duuje Ke Liye 2'. So, we called it 'Punnagai Mannan' in Tamil," said Kamal.

"Vishwaroop 2" will hit the screens on August 10. Its Hindi version will be presented by Rohit Shetty and the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment. It's a bilingual shot in Tamil and Hindi and also dubbed in Telugu.

MN+ has associated with "Vishwaroop 2" for season three of 'Pathbreakers', a specially curated property showcasing Hollywood movies that redefined cinema till date.


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Bald is beautiful for Sonali Bendre celebrating friendship day during cancer treatment

Bald is beautiful for actor-model-author Sonali Bendre Behl, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in New York.
Celebrating Friendship Day, she posted on Twitter a picture of herself posing with friend Sussanne Khan with the hashtag BaldIsBeautiful. The photo was clicked by actor Hrithik Roshan.
“This is me. And in this moment, I am really happy. People give me strange looks when I saw that now, but it’s true and I’ll tell you why. I am now paying attention to every moment, looking for every opportunity to find joy and #SwitchOnTheSunshine,” she said in a tweet.
“Yes, there are moments of pain and low energy, but I am doing what I like, spending time with people I love and feeling very loved and happy,” the 43-year-old, who is undergoing treatment for metastatic cancer, added.
“I am extremely grateful to my friends, my pillars of strength, who at a moment’s notice, arrived to be with me and help me through this. In between their busy schedules, they find time to visit, call, message, FaceTime…basically never leaving a moment for me to feel alone. Thank you for showing me what true friendship is. #HappyFriendshipDay, ladies. Blessed to have all in my life (including the ones not in the picture… You know who you are) @gayatrioberoi @suzkr.”
In a post-script, she adds, “Nowadays I spend far less time getting ready because I don’t have to fuss over my hair! #BaldIsBeautiful #FindThePositive #OneDayAtATime.”

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Not censorship but process of fighting it scares me: Anurag Kashyap


Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap on Thursday said it is not impossible to make a political cinema in India, but the process of fighting the system scares many filmmakers, including him.

Participating in "Neta Abhineta" session of an international media forum at the Media Rumble here, Kashyap said: "It's not that if I wanted to make political cinema, I wouldn't do it because of the fear for censorship, but it's the process of fighting it which scares me.

"You can't just give up at the first level -- you have to go through many levels, the executive committee, the revising committee, the tribunal, and maybe even all the way to the Supreme Court in the end."

The filmmaker, known for movies like "Gangs of Wasseypur" and "Bombay Velvet", however, said that "the most restrictive regimes in the world" come out with "the best films".

He said that a political movie faces obstructions such as censorship cuts, bans and protests, making it a tedious process for filmmakers to pursue.

Kashyap acknowledged that this was, however, not the case in India alone.


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'Manto' will show Nawazuddin's range: Nandita Das


Acclaimed actress-filmmaker Nandita Das says actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui got into the character of late Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto for film "Manto" effortlessly and has done justice to it.

"I always had Nawaz in mind while writing 'Manto'. He has many traits that are similar to Manto - a deep sensitivity and intensity, anger, and a dry sense of humour. These innate qualities in Nawaz helped him transition into Manto on screen quite effortlessly," Nandita said in a statement to IANS.

"I needed a brilliant actor to portray many contradictory emotions since Manto was a complex character. For instance, he was a person with moral courage but was also scared of going to jail, confident but vulnerable, deeply sensitive yet very angry. You will know Nawaz's range when you see 'Manto'," she added.

"Manto" follows the most tumultuous years in the life of iconoclastic writer Manto and those of the countries -- India and Pakistan -- which Manto inhabited and chronicled. The film stars Rasika Dugal as Manto's wife and Tahir Raj Bhasin, Rishi Kapoor and Divya Dutta in key roles.

The actor, who garnered acclaim for his role in "Sacred Games", will also be seen in Tannishtha Chatterjee's directorial project tentatively titled "Rome Rome Mein". He has also signed Debamitra Hassan's "Motichoor Chaknachoor", which also features Athiya Shetty.

According to a source, "'Motichoor Chaknachoor' is a quirky wedding comedy. Nawazuddin's character is quite crazy yet lovable and Debamitra strongly believes that only Nawazuddin can portray it convincingly. He is a brilliant actor who can effortlessly play any character with great A¿lan and make it look interesting and believable."


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I've known Bollywood for a long time: Andy Samberg


American actor Andy Samberg says he is appreciative about the "big and incredible" world of Bollywood and is willing to explore it.

"I am not familiar with the films specifically, but I have known of Bollywood for a long time. But I don't watch them because I just never have. But the stuff I have seen looks incredible. The production value is so massive," Samberg said in response to an IANS query over email from Los Angeles while promoting his "Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation".

"And yes, I would consider singing for one."

Samberg's humour made him a YouTube star when he started coming out with his own comedy videos with two friends, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. He then launched his comedy troupe The Lonely Island, before getting a gig on the "Saturday Night Live" show.

Samberg has got wider audience and acclaim by attaching himself to projects like "Friends With Benefits", "I Love You, Man" and "That's My Boy", TV show "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and the "Hotel Transylvania" franchise.

For the animated franchise, he has lent his voice to the character of Johnny, human and husband of the vampire Mavis (voiced by Selena Gomez). He was back as Johnny in "Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation", which was brought to India by Sony Pictures.

Expressing love for animation, he said: "I loved a lot of them. I was really into Ralph Bakshi, 'Lord of the Rings', and 'The Hobbit', full-on animation and I also loved... I think the first animated film I saw at the theatre was 'The Black Cauldron'... I like that movie. I really loved 'Fantasia' while growing up."

How different is a voice-over job from acting?

"It's freeing in a way because you don't care about what you look like. You also are not worried that you are going to be judged on the acting as much because they are going to be looking at a different person, a different character when they see it.

"So, when the director or someone asks you to push it, take it further, bigger, and arched, less nuanced, it's a safer environment to do that," said the actor, who has also made a name for himself as a comedian and a musician.

The reason behind Samberg's love for the "Hotel Transylvania" franchise is children.

"For me, it's how much kids love it. When you go out and friends' kids and other family members' kids are like ‘You're in those, oh my God that's so cool, we watch them over and over again' and parents tell me, 'My kids watch those movies over and over'. That's an awesome thing to feel."

"Hotel Transylvania," tells a story of monsters and humans understanding and accepting each other. But there are other aspects to it -- like love, emotion, adventure and drama.

In sync with the theme of the film, Samberg went on to give dating advice and his idea of a perfect vacation.

"My best dating advice would probably be just make sure that you are with someone you trust. Someone you can be your true self with. These days, just sitting down with my wife and watching television. It's like at the end of a day that's the most relaxed I get now. Watching like 'Wild, Wild Country' or something," he said while speaking of his idea of taking a break."

Is he open to doing more of "Hotel Transylvania"?

"I would certainly never go on the record saying I don't want to do something. There are no deals, and if they make more, great."


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