Mumbai, Dec 11
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt is venturing into the digital space with a "dramatic web-series" based on the relationship of a struggling filmmaker and a top actress of the 70's era.
Mahesh's Vishesh Films and Jio Studios has joined hands for the yet un-titled project.
The director tweeted: "A perfect beginning.Happy partnering with
@jiostudios on our digital debut! A dramatic web-series based in 70s Bollywood exploring the relationship of a struggling filmmaker and a top actress of that era!
"The greatest location in the world is the human heart. @VisheshFilms @JioCinema."
This is not the first time Mahesh is making a film based on a Bollywood actress's life. His 2006 film "Woh Lamhe..." starring Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut, was supposedly based on Parveen Babi's life, her battle with schizophrenia and her relationship with Mahesh Bhatt to whom she was a lover, as well as a mentor.
A tweet from the official Jio Studios account said: "Delighted to announce our collaboration with master storytellers @VisheshFilms for web series based on a dramatic love story set in 70s Bollywood that explores the highs and lows of the relationship between a married struggling film maker and a top actress of that time."
Other details related to the films are still under wraps.
By Shona Adhikari
New Delhi, Dec 11 For travellers in India, moving from North to South or East to West, would have been almost impossible if the magnificent Grand Trunk Road did not exist. We must thank Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri Empire for creating this amazing road connecting the major cities of India. Whenever there are discussions about this splendid road, Sher Shah Suri's name is always mentioned with awe. But the Grand Trunk Road is just one of his major creations. Few know what an extraordinary personality he was and how much we owe him. In his seven-year rule he added a vast number of improvements that we continue to see today.
Born Farid Khan Lodhi in 1486 at Sasaram in modern day Bihar, he was the grandson of an ethnic Afghan, a noble of the Pashtun Sur tribe named Ibrahim Khan Suri. Farid Khan became known as 'Sher' when as a young man he saved the King of Bihar, from a tiger that had suddenly leapt upon him. He was later re-named Sher Shah and rose to become the founder of the Suri Empire in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
A landowner (Jagirdar) and a representative of the Delhi rulers of that time, he was an adventurer with royal connections and was recruited by Sultan Bahlul Lodi of Delhi during his long confrontation with the Jaunpur Sultanate. He was one of the eight sons of Mian Hassan Khan Suri - a prominent figure in the government in the Narnaul district. His grandfather Ibrahim Khan's 'Mazar', still stands as a monument in Narnaul.
Sher Shah rose from being a private to the status of a commander in the Mughal army under Babur to the level of being the governor of Bihar. In 1538, when Babur's son Humayun was away at war, Sher Shah took over the state of Bengal and established the Suri dynasty - naming it after the 'Sur' tribe to which he belonged. A gifted administrator and strategist during his rule from 1538 to 1545, he introduced a number of important changes, which continue to benefit us till today.
As a brilliant general Sher Shah laid foundations for later Mughal emperors - among them Akbar son of Humayun, was probably the one who benefited the most from this. Among Sher Shah's more important strategies in his administration, was the setting up of new civic and military rules. Under him, the first 'Rupiya' was issued in place of 'Taka' - and still continues to remain. Another important improvement was the reorganisation of the postal system of the Indian Subcontinent. To ensure that he would be remembered, Sher Shah renamed the name of Humayun's city, changing it from 'Dina-panah' to 'Shergarh' and simultaneously he also revived the historical city 'Pataliputra', which had been steadily declining since the 7th century. The feather on his cap is however the Grand Trunk Road, for which he is justly famous.
It is said that Sher Shah and his father were constantly fighting with each other. His father, Hassan Khan Suri, then a jagirdar of Sasaram, had several wives with whom Sher Shah did not get along and so, he decided to run away from home. When his father discovered that Sher Shah had requested Jamal Khan, the governor of Jaunpur to give him shelter, he wrote a letter that stated, "my son being annoyed with me, has gone to you without sufficient cause. I trust in your kindness to appease him, and send him back; but if refusing to listen to you, he will not return, I trust you will keep him with you, for I wish him to be instructed in religious and polite learning."
But Sher Shah refused and replied in a letter, "If my father wants me back to instruct me in learning, there are in this city many learned men: I will study here."
Sher Shah started his service under Bahar Khan Lohani, the Mughal Governor of Bihar. Because of his valour, Bahar Khan rewarded him with the title 'Sher Khan' After the death of Bahar Khan, he became the regent ruler of the minor Sultan, Jalal Khan. Jalal soon realised that Sher Khan's power in Bihar would make things difficult and sought the assistance of Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah - the independent Sultan of Bengal. Ghiyasuddin sent an army under General Ibrahim Khan but Sher Khan defeated the force at the battle of Surajgarh in 1534 after forming an alliance with local chiefs - and achieved complete control of Bihar.
In 1538, Sher Khan attacked Bengal and defeated Ghiyasuddin Mahmud Shah. But could not capture the kingdom, because of the sudden appearance of Emperor Humayun and his army. On 26 June 1539, Sher Khan faced Humayun in the Battle of Chausa and defeated him. Assuming the title 'Farid al-din Sher Shah', he defeated Humayun once again at Kannauj in May 1540 and forced him out of India.
Thereafter Sher Shah turned his attention towards the Rajput Forts. He attacked Malwa and Jodhpur, but was killed during the siege of the Rajput Fort of Kalinjar. Sher Shah had ordered the walls of the fort to be blown up with gunpowder, but he was himself seriously wounded, by the explosion. He died on May 22, 1545 and was buried in Sasaram. His son Jalal Khan succeeded him, taking the title of 'Islam Shah Suri.'
The founder of the Suri Dynasty lies under the splendid Sher Shah Tomb that is 122 ft high and stands majestically in the middle of an artificial lake in Sasaram - located on the road that he is famous for - India's magnificent Grand Trunk Road.
(Shona Adhikari is a lifestyle and travel columnist.)
Panaji, Dec 11 India should play a more active role in promotion of religious harmony to serve as an example to countries with other religious traditions and conflicts, like Syria and Afghanistan, said His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday, even as heated political debate over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continued in the Rajya Sabha.
Speaking at a lecture on 'The relevance of Ancient Nalanda Teachings in our Modern Times' organised by the Goa University here, the Dalai Lama also said, that violence between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam in India was unheard of, because Indian Muslims from childhood are aware of different religious institutions, unlike those in countries where Islam is the only faith.
His comments came as the Narendra Modi government at the Centre sought to move the legislation that will provide refuge to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains fleeing religious persecution from the officially Islamic Pakistan and Afghanistan and Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
"So, India should take more active role for promotion of religious harmony, to show countries with different religious tradition and some conflict. It is very unfortunate, unthinkable, all these different traditions in spite of different philosophy, but all carries same message of love," the 14th Dalai Lama said, during an interactive session after his lecture.
The spiritual Tibetan leader, also lauded India's which has a several thousand-year-old tradition of being a home to different religions.
"This country, India, has different homegrown religions. In this country, I have never heard a complaint between Sunni and Shia. Our next neighbour Afghanistan, (there is a) problem and Syria.... (there is a) problem because of Sunni and Shia killing each other," the Dalai Lama also said, while drawing a parallel between violence in Burma between Buddhists and Muslims.
He also said, that India had an advantage of being a land where several religious co-existed with each other for a long time.
"That is one advantage. From childhood, Indian mind (is aware) there are many religions. So a concept of several religions, several truths is there. Those isolated countries, some Muslim countries (where there is) only one truth, one religion, the problem started. (In an) individual case, concept of one truth, one religion is good in order to keep your faith centre-pointed, very good. But in terms of society that impossible," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said.
"So in terms of society, several truths, several religions are reality. We must accept that. So in this country, Indian Muslim from childhood, they already know there are different institutions, than those countries (where there is) only Muslim religion, Islam," the Dalai Lama said.
Hyderabad, Dec 11 Three kg onions trumping a free trip to Goa, sounds incredible but is true.
With onion prices at all-time high in most parts of India, a leading online bus ticketing marketplace included the commodity in the list of prizes for customers booking the ticket on its platform.
Other prizes on Abhibus.com were an all-expense paid trip to Goa, an iPhone or an e-bike.
AbhiBus was surprised to find that more people were opting for onions than a trip to Goa.
AbhiBus decided to make this interesting offer, as the onion prices in some parts of the country crossed Rs 200 a kg and social media went in overdrive with memes and jokes on surging rates.
More than 54 per cent opted for onions as their prize ever since the offer was made on December 10. The Goa option received 46 per cent response.
"That customers are willing to place their bets on onions over trip to Goa or other aspirational options, reflects how the pod shaped their daily lives," Abhibus said.
Before this, whenever AbhiBus ran an offer that had Goa trip as an option, it always trumped all other prizes. But it's the first-time that consumers have relegated Goa to the second spot.
Every day AbhiBus will announce 20 lucky winners and deliver the 'jackpot' (3 kg onions) to their homes.
According to the company, anyone booking tickets on www.abhibus.com till December 15 can enter the contest by selecting their preferred option.
"AbhiBus is constantly innovating to provide customers with solutions and offers that meet their ever-changing needs, including making travel a fun and enjoyable. Our priority is to keep the customer in the centre to offer strong customer support," said Rohit Sharma, COO AbhiBus.
"The contest around onion is an example of the customer-centric approach and the response we are getting testifies our ability to meet customer needs," he said.
By Vishnu Makhijani New Delhi, Dec 10
Aparna Jain is not only a certified Integral Master Coach but has also authored two female-centric books - one that takes a searching look at women in the workplace and the other showcasing role models for young girls, as also their parents - and a volume on family recipes. She has now turned her attention to men who broke the mould as males are also subject to patriarchy and tropes.
"Since the publication of 'Like A Girl' (in 2018), there have been a number of books about Indian women. There was a time I was thinking of doing a Volume Two of 'Like a Girl'. But Karthika, my publisher, rightly observed that there what we needed now were some stories about incredible and inspiring men," Jain told IANS in an interview of the just-published "Boys Will Be Boys" (Context/pp 175/ Rs 799).
"I thought about it, and you know, men are also subject to the patriarchy. Not just tropes like 'Boys Don't Cry' or 'Boys Don't Wear Pink' but how men are subject from a very young age to be 'successful' to live their lives; to pursue a certain type of career; to be a certain type of man; toxic masculinity actually. So, it was important to showcase men who broke the mould," Jain added.
To this end, the book chronicles the lives of 45 Indian men who followed their heart and dared to be different - soldiers (Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, 2nd Lt. Arun Khetrapal), a sailor who circunavigated the globe (Commander Abhilash Tomy), a designer who took Indian fashion to Paris (Rahul Mishra), a doctor who revived rivers (Rajendra Singh), a barefoot artist (M.F. Husain), rocket scientists (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai), entrepreneurs (J.R.D. Tata, Azim Premji), engineers (E. Sreedharan), sportspersons (Bhaichung Bhutia, Vishwanathan Anand), journalists (P. Sainath, Josy Joseph), writers (Perumal Murugan, Vikram Seth, Anant Pai) and activists (Sunderlal Bahugana), among others.
Speaking about the research that went into the writing of the book, Jain said this was of two types.
"Secondary - reading people's biographies and autobiographies. Then going to YouTube and seeing their interviews. And then primary - which was interviewing whoever I could. I would record the interviews, my colleague would help with transcriptions and then I would put together a skeletal story. It seems simple - the final product - but it was arduous. Getting interviews also was tedious," Jain explained.
As with "Like A Girl", 27 artists showcase their arresting interpretations of the individuals featured in the book. This involved Jain, Art Director Ayesha Broacha and the artists working as a close-knit team.
"Surprisingly for this book, many stories started coming in after I had commissioned the art. Oxfam thankfully agreed to come aboard as Art Patron for the book again. So based on my secondary research, I would send artists cue words or articles. Some were fairly straightforward. But the minute I interviewed someone, I would send an artist the unedited story so they would get a sense of the person in the way I wrote about them.
"That helped. Or I would call the artists and give them a sense of which part of the person's story I was going to focus on. For example J.R.D. Tata. The man is incredible right? He has accomplished so much. Which facet of him would I cover? So in the beginning the artist was trying to put an entire lifetime in the picture. Ayesha gave her art feedback and since we asked all artists to send us rough compositions it was fair to change it. So we had to work with the artists quite carefully.
"When the artist read the story she made this stunning picture of J.R.D. with a Puss Moth (in which he made India's inaugural airmail flight from Karachi to Bombay via Ahmedabad)! It was perfect and such a long way from the initial sketches," Jain explained.
What's next on the cards?
"Hah. Good Question. I was working on a book in millennials which was pushed to the back burner two years ago. I have pulled it back but it may take on a different shape or form. I have done 60 interviews for that so you know - the data is rich. But I am figuring out what would work now - two years later. No fixed address yet," Jain said.
Her first book "The Sood Family Cookbook" of traditional 'pahadi' recipes was published in 2013. Her second book "Own It: Leadership Lessons From Women Who Do" (2016) was based on interviews with over 200 women professionals in senior managerial and leadership positions and leveraged on her experience as a certified Integral Master Coach, where she draws on the themes and teachings of master coaches from a variety of disciplines.
"Own It..." was awarded a Laadli Prize and was shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live Business Book Award, while "Like A Girl" was shortlisted for the Crossword Popular Prize.
Mumbai, Dec 10
Despite being unwell, actor Shahid Kapoor will start shooting for his next project "Jersey" on December 13.
Shahid has been under the weather for a while, and his doctor has advised him to put hold on all work commitments and take bed rest.
"Shahid is a thorough professional and a man of his words. Therefore, even though the doctor had advised him bed rest, he tried to fulfill his commitments for a recent award ceremony to the best ability. Now, keeping his health in mind, the shoot of 'Jersey' will start a week later, on December 13," said a source.
Shooting was scheduled to start last week.
"Jersey" is a Hindi remake of the Telugu hit of the same name. The Hindi version will be directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, who also helmed the original movie. The story is about a talented but failed cricketer named Arjun, who decides to make a comeback in his late thirties and play for India, in order to fulfil his son's wish.
The Hindi version also features Mrunal Thakur, and is being presented by Allu Aravind, and produced by Aman Gill and Dil Raju.
Gill said: "Shahid has a very professional approach towards work and he has always given his best. However, he recently fell extremely ill, and his health is of utmost importance to us. Therefore for him to recover fully we decided to delay the film's shoot by a week and now will start on December 13."
By Sugandha Rawal New Delhi, Dec 10
Sonakshi Sinha understands that the fate of a film is not in one's hands and audience is the final judge, but that doesn't deter her from getting nervous before the release of a new project.
"Every film has its own journey in your life, and holds importance. I do get nervous before a release, like anyone," Sonakshi told IANS when asked if she has the same amount of anxiety almost a decade later, as she had when her first film released.
"I learned quite early in my career to not take it too seriously, since the fate of a film is not in your hands. You do your best and give your 100 per cent and rest is up to the audience eventually," she added.
Sonakshi, daughter of actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha and Poonam Sinha, entered Bollywood with Salman Khan's "Dabangg" in 2010. She credits Salman for making her realise her "true calling".
"'Dabangg' is what made me realise what my true calling is. I never thought I would end up being an actor till Salman told me that I am doing this film. But from Day one on set I knew this is where I belong. So the franchise is like homecoming for me," she said.
Talking about her bond with Salman, the actress said: "My bond with him goes beyond a professional relationship of co-actors. I knew him before I started acting. Our families have known each other for a long time now, and I have known him more as a friend than a co-star."
After making a successful debut with "Dabangg", she has starred in hits such as "Rowdy Rathore", "Lootera" and "Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty". However, many of her films like "Tevar", "Akira", "Noor", "Force 2" and "Kalank" fared below expectations, too.
She returns as Rajjo with "Dabangg 3". Directed by Prabhu Deva, the Salman Khan-starrer also features Arbaaz Khan, Amole Gupte, Mahie Gill, and Tinnu Anand. Preity Zinta makes a special appearance, and the film marks the debut of actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar's daughter Saiee Manjrekar. "Dabangg 3" is scheduled to open on December 20.
Asked if she fears getting trapped in the Rajjo image, Sonakshi said: "Not at all! End of the day it was my first film and I take it in a positive stride that I made that kind of an impact on some."
Sonakshi says she has evolved as an artiste with experience. "I have been lucky enough to have worked on films from different genres enhancing my experience," she said.
She is quite active on social media, and seems to have mastered the art of tackling trolls over the years. However, she admits he used to be affected by the trolls initially.
"I have now grown to let social media be a source of communication with me and my fans, conveying what I want," she said.
Mumbai, Dec 10
Actress Deepika Padukone says the success of any film depends on its impact and longevity in the market.
"I feel that now, more than ever before for me, success of a movie is really about the impact it is able to have on people's lives. Are we able to change mindsets? Are we able to make an impact? And don't get me wrong, not every story needs to be hard-hitting. It could be a simple emotion, like joy or love. As long as it makes you feel something, think (about) something, and evoke emotions. I think, for me, that truly is the meter of success. Also, the film should have longevity. A film that I would want to watch 10 years from now, for me, is a success," said Deepika, at the launch of her upcoming film "Chhapaak".
The trailer launch was also attended by the film's director Meghna Gulzar and Deepika's co-star Vikrant Massey. In the film, Deepika portrays real-life acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.
Deepika also talked about working with prosthetics and make-up artists to get the look of an acid attack victim right.
"It is so Ironic, even I didn't know what I would feel when I saw myself in the mirror for the first time (after make-up). I remember that moment very clearly, when we were doing the look test at Fox Studio office. It took me four to five hours for the look, and when I did look at myself in the mirror, I told Meghna that I still felt like myself. Nothing had changed. That is the day I found my character, and I knew what I need to do in this movie. I don't think we are defined by our external appearances," she said.
Talking about taking up such a challenging and gut-wrenching story, Deepika said she found the story inspiring and knew Meghna Gulzar would do justice to the film. "It is not often that you come across a story that inspires you so much, and it's not about the incident as much as it's about the triumph over it. I have been extremely fortunate to meet Laxmi Aggarwal. One of the most important things is the marriage between having that story and also having the right person to tell it. I could see the sincerity and the honesty, and I knew I was in good hands," the actress explained.
Deepika added: "Very often, you come across great stories but you also need a right director to tell the story in an authentic, honest and responsible manner -- especially when you're narrating a story like this one."
"Chhapaak is produced" by Deepika Padukone and Meghna Gulzar in collaboration with Fox Star Studios. It is scheduled on January 10.
Mumbai, Dec 10
Bollywood films are painted on the big-screen canvas with myriad hues of drama, melodrama, music and dance, romance and violence. The genre that has wooed worldwide audience is now being reimagined in the pages of comic books, at ComiCon Mumbai 2019.
Among the first set of comics released over the weekend are the classic Amitabh Bachchan hit "Amar Akbar Anthony", the Shahid Kapoor-Kareena Kapoor rom-com "Jab We Met", the black comedy "Ishqiya" which stars Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan and Arshad Warsi, the cop drama "Khakee" starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn, and the comedy "Masti", starring Ajay Devgn, Vivek Oberoi, Ritesh Deshmukh, Aftab Shivdasani and Lara Dutta.
With an aim to engage and entertain Bollywood fans, Shemaroo Entertainment has released the comic books in English as well as Hindi.
New Delhi, Dec 10
Actress Kriti Sanon, who is currently busy shooting for "Mimi", expresses excitement about the film.
The film has an unusual story by Bollywood standards. It casts Kriti as a young surrogate mother.
"I am very excited. It's based on the subject of surrogacy but actually it's the story of this young girl who wants to be an actor. She's a dancer in Mandawa and she ends up being a surrogate for couple. Then, the things that follow change her life and also change her as a person," Kriti told IANS.
She added: "It's a lot on me. It's around this character Mimi. It is very entertaining, a beautiful script. One of the most beautiful scripts I have read. You will have a lot of humour and situational humour. At the same time, there are a lot of characters you will take back home."
The film is directed by "Luka Chuppi" fame Laxman Utekar.
"We've shot 40 per cent of the film. It's based in Mandawa, Rajasthan. I think you realise that you are excited and passionate about a project when you end up narrating the story to every person around," she laughed.