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If there’s something that can rival Shah Rukh Khan’s acting skills, it is his oratory. After charming the audience with his signature wit and humour at his maiden TED Talk in Vancouver in April, the actor is ready to weave magic with his words again – this time at Oxford University. Khan confirms to mid-day that he has accepted the invitation to deliver a lecture at the prestigious university and is in the process of working out his dates. “I love to talk,” says Khan with a smile, before adding, “Whenever someone invites me to deliver a speech, I always consider it an opportunity. I have been to Yale earlier (in 2012) and now, I have received an invitation from Oxford. I’ll go if I have the time and if it fits into my scheme of things.” Khan was invited by Alan Rusbridger, the Principal of Oxford University, in November last year, when the latter wrote to the superstar on Twitter, “Can we tempt you to Oxford University to talk to our students @lhmoxford? They love you (I’m the principal).” Shah Rukh Khan’s speech at the recent TED Talk too was met with tremendous appreciation. While people normally talk about their success stories on the platform, he chose to speak about humanity, love and the relevance of fame during his speech. Talking about his association with the global conference association, he says, “I have always liked TED Talks and have grown up watching them. So, if I am invited for it, it’s a big honour. I get to learn a lot of things from the people who come to hear me out. It’s a fulfilling experience to stand amongst people who have achieved so much and exchange ideas with them. Otherwise, we are just in a cocoon and keep discussing, ‘Bhai, India mein business kitna hua?’” Also read: Shah Rukh Khan at TED Talk: It was claimed that AbRam was the love child of Aryan Khan might be busy juggling the promotions of ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and the shoot of Aanand L Rai’s untitled venture, but he insists that he will make the time to write his own speech for Oxford. “I don’t like anyone writing for me. It takes time for me to sit down and write, given my schedule, but it has to be done by me. I am yet to zero in on a subject for this talk.”
Salman Khan will be playing the lead in ‘Race 3’ and the superstar will once again share the screen space with Jacqueline Fernandez. The actors have previously worked together in 2014 movie ‘Kick’ directed by Sajid Nadiadwala. The 32-year-old actor, who was in the capital to promote her upcoming film ‘A Gentleman’ said , “After ‘Judwaa 2’ I am working on ‘Drive’, that is Tarun Mansukhani’s next with Sushant (Singh Rajput) and then it is Salman’s ‘Race 3’.” While Salman, 51, has replaced Saif Ali Khan as the lead in the action-thriller, Jacqueline is not new to the franchise. She starred in the 2013’s ‘Race 2’. Abbas-Mustan directed the first two films, but according to the reports choreographer-director Remo D’ Souza has been roped in to helm the third movie. No formal announcements have been made yet.
Aamir Khan is not referred to as Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist for no reason. The 51-year-old has often undergone major transformation to justify the characters he essays in films. His role in ‘Dangal’ was a classic example where he had to put on 40 kilos to portray the older version of wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat. And now, the ‘Hanikarak Bapu’ has gone a step further to take his commitment level up a notch. Khan, who is shooting for his next – ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ – has pierced not just his ears but nose too! He has also grown his hair and is sporting a twisted bushy moustache. In Aamir’s recent public appearances, we have seen him managing his curly locks with a hair band. He has also been flaunting his nose pin and ear-piercings stylishly.
Former Miss World and Padma Shri awardee Aishwarya Rai completed 20 years in Bollywood on 15 August 2017. Born into a Tulgu speaking family in Karnataka, Rai made her acting debut in 1997 with Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Iruvar. In the same year, Rai also marked her Bollywood debut with Rahul Rawail’s Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya, which released on 15 August 1997. With a few tepid roles in the interim, her career in Hindi cinema finally took off with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. She went on to deliver what could arguably be called the best performance of her career in Bhansali’s 2002 film Devdas. Playing the coy but gritty Paro, Rai owned every frame, every expression in the cinematic adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name. After 2002, Rai again tasted success after a long gap of four years with the second installment of Dhoom in 2006. Cast opposite Hrithik Roshan, Rai was seen in a never before avatar. Playing the sly thief Sunehri, she complimented a suave Roshan at every stage in the film. In 2007, she again garnered critics’ praise, who hadn’t been to kind on her otherwise, with Guru and Provoked. After a few misses, Rai went on a sabbatical only to make a stunning comeback in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. With 20 glorious years of highs and lows and yet, still being one of the most celebrated actors, one can only wonder what she cannot do.
Both Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif have been able to maintain a dignified silence on their break-up. The two parted ways in 2015 after being together for six years. There is a lot of speculations about their new-found chemistry during the promotions of their upcoming film Jagga Jasoos. While they faced constant and indirect queries about their relationships, Ranbir and Katrina have eluded all of it surrounding their personal lives. Yet, they surprised their fans when they looked comfortable during the first promotional event of Jagga Jasoos. There were also reports that the two didn’t get along well during the making of Anurag Basu’s Jagga Jasoos that has been in the making for three years. When Ranbir was recently asked about his personal relationship with Katrina Kaif getting affected, Ranbir said that both of them never carried personal baggage to the sets. “I have been working with Katrina since my third film – Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani. I really enjoy my creative partnership with her. The people that we are, we come with the intention to give the best to our work. I don’t think we have ever carried personal baggage to the set and that’s the way it should be. Films are an expensive medium. It’s other people’s time and money, there are hundreds of people who are dependent on you. And my relationship with Katrina, whatever has been said or written by the media or the conjectures, it has always been a very positive one. I don’t think I can miss having her in my life. I need her in my life. She has such a positive influence on me, as a person and as an actor, and she’ll continue being that. That’s what it is. There is nothing like not talking to each other or not showing up. It was a lot of hard work not just by me but also by her. She is equally as important in the film as I am. She has stood by this film for three and a half years. She is the producer of this film. I am very grateful for that partnership I have with her. I admire it,”
Snapping at Hrithik's heels is Deepika Padukone - she's rated sixth with $11 million, one of the only two women on a list dominated by male stars and ahead of Ranveer Singh at #7 with $10 million, Amitabh Bachchan (still going strong at 74 with Kaun Banega Crorepati 9 helping) at ninth spot with $9 million and Ranbir Kapoor, bringing up the rear, with $8.5 million. Recent reports have suggested that Deepika's fee for new film Padmavati has been higher than the paycheques her co-stars - Ranveer and Shahid Kapoor - received and that it makes her India's best paid female star.
Thoughts ON HUMANITY
Reaction to Nepotism
With Tiger around, filmmakers normally do not bother finding a script. Instead they just coast along joining the dots of a routine story with neatly-choreographed songs and fights at regular intervals. You can almost record screen proceedings with your stopwatch because after every 15 minutes, there is a--song, fight, song, fight and some more blah. Tiger has in the past made films like Heropanti, Baaghi work at the box-office with just his agility and sincerity. So director Sabbir Khan, whose third outing this is with the star-cub, continues providing formula for the intellectually challenged. But Tiger fans will have a field day with his breakdancing. In what seems like an encore of his previous work, Tiger dances like a dream and breaks bones with the grace of a ballerina. You can only tell that this is a different film only because he mouths a different dialogue here. It goes, "Munna jhagda nahi karta, munna sirf pithta hai." How cleverly original that is! But, grant it to this star-son. He continuously pulls out weapons from his arsenal--back-flip, midair Van Damme-split and kick, glide, moonwalk or a just bare-body shot—forcing his audience into submission, even though there’s no semblance of anything coherent showing on screen. When the fidgeting reaches a frustrating point, you’re introduced to the land-grabbing, gun-toting goon, Mahindar, who hires Tiger to teach him some mean moves on the floor. Furthermore, this Don with a Rajasthani dialect explains that the reason he needs to correct his two left-feet condition is because he’s madly-in-love with Dolly, a dream-dancer from Meerut. Debutant Nidhhi, who is the bone of contention here, is overconfident and underwhelming by turn. She wears a neat shape on her but then again, it is Tiger’s chiseled frame that draws more whistles than the newbie’s. Nawaz continues to be a revelation in each film. Here he adds a new dimension to his terribly mean, horribly funny routine, making you chuckle. Well, if you’re in the mood to get rid of the monsoon blues with the foot-tapping ding dang, ding dang ditty, you should get introduced to Munna Michael; he’s not making breaking any new ground, but his moves are certainly infectious.
REVIEW: For most of us who take the toilets in our homes for granted, the burning issue of 58% Indians practising open defecation could be a flush-worthy concept. But, director Shree Narayan Singh holds up a mirror to society, showing us how our superstitious villagers, lazy administration and corrupt politicians have actually converted India into the world’s largest shit-pond. Women especially, are treated more insensitively than cattle! This film is a satirical take on the age-old ‘tradition’ of seeking fields to relieve ourselves. Mercifully it steers clear of being a documentary on sanitisation. Instead TEPK is a robust love-story striking a balance between entertaining and educating. Writer-duo Siddharth-Garima take us through this eye-opening journey of how we need to build toilets for our women (if not a Taj Mahal) through dramatic conflicts between the lead couple — Keshav and Jaya, followed by those between Panditji (Sudhir Pandey) and his older son. The easygoing equation between two brothers, Naru (Divyendu) and Keshav is also delightful. Not to forget the protagonist’s war against his entire village for a latrine. Every characteristic of rustic UP life is captured through the ubiquitous sarpanch and the naughty Kaka (Anupam Kher). The second-half borrows the template for films that address causes and allows for some lecturebaazi. A 10-minute snip here would’ve helped the focus stay sharper. Akshay is the backbone of this satire. His inner journey as an actor pays dividends and he delivers yet another topnotch performance. Half a star in the rating is rightfully his. Bhumi is perfect in her rendition of the feisty Jaya and Divyendu is a terrific comic. The presence of veterans, Pandey and Kher, is unmissable. The screenplay is peppered with loads of LOL moments balanced correctly with emotional outbursts. As bonus, you get a hummable soundtrack with Hans Mat Pagli, Bakheda and Gori Tu Lath Maar. So whether you have pressing matters to attend to or not, please take a detour to this toilet. Each of us needs to raise a stink about what our countrymen do in the open.
Anurag Basu has a trustworthy lieutenant in cinematographer Ravi Varman. His camera entices you to enter the world of Jagga and once you’re there, Basu ensures your stay for a longer period. Jagga Jasoos is poster perfect, beautiful and soothing. It all begins in Darjeeling where a deduction expert man-child Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) lives in a school hostel and applies his theories on friends. It’s a terrific opening as you get to know about his ideas, loneliness and ever wandering mind. Basu goes for a musical which, in a way, provides Jagga a chance to ditch his stammering and go for some vividly penned ballads. Always longing for his missing father Tooti Footi (Saswata Chatterjee), Jagga is someone who you can immediately like. For all his Tintin-inspired adventures, he is fighting inner demons like most of us. A chance meeting with a Kolkata-based journalist Shruti (Katrina Kaif) pushes him to go for the journey of his life that crosses through Thailand’s beaches and Moroccan deserts. Basu’s handling of the backdrop intrigues from the very beginning, his human formations and musical beats create a rhythm we rarely see in Bollywood. His dreamland is mostly composed with moving props. It could be anything from a giraffe to an ostrich. Be it Jagga’s specially designed bike or a decorated elephant crossing an empty street, every frame gives you something to hook on. After a few minutes, you willingly glide through his world. You remember how it felt while reading Roald Dahl or Harry Potter? The same happens while watching Jagga Jasoos. You are watching the visuals projected at you, but you’re also imagining a different world inspired from them. Then there are stories that hold their ground. After all, here’s a detective whose introduction song mentions Sherlock and Feluda. The aspirations are indeed high. Jagga passes the initial test as he solves a few local cases. This makes Basu ambitious and prompts him to talk about the serious issues plaguing the world. What initially appears like another open and shut case snowballs into a world-wide conspiracy. This is where Basu begins to waver. Larger canvas presents bigger challenges. Thankfully, he goes for more interesting formations than relying on dialogues. Action sequences keep getting better structured and amazingly synchronized. Coupled with Pritam’s soulful tunes, they bring in a unique look and feel to Jagga Jasoos. But extra focus on amusing the audience leaves the chemistry between the leads ignored. It’s hard to find anything sparkling there. Though the writers have taken care of explaining Shruti’s English accent, which they do in almost every film featuring Katrina Kaif, she couldn’t strike an immediate connect with the audiences the way Jagga does. It’s a fantasy film that takes away the spotlight pressure from Ranbir Kapoor. This also gives him the breather to float around the theme. Basu also lets Kapoor interpret the narrative as per his will. As a result, he makes his overgrown amateurish detective believable. Saswata Chatterjee, better known as Bob Biswas of Kahaani, is the cushion around Ranbir’s Jagga. As an accident-prone father, he can make you teary-eyed at times. Watch: Our Facebook Live discussion on Jagga Jasoos and Shab As a film, Jagga Jasoos isn’t satisfied only with being an incredible adventure saga. It desires to become a comment on social evils. This idea affects the flow of the film in the second half. The stunning visuals we behold in the first half mixes up in the stretched story in the second. It’s somewhere in the second half, you suddenly realise how multi-dimensional the story has become. The 161-minute duration of the film doesn’t help either. Ranbir Kapoor never drops one emotion and is really sincere. He is the shining knight of this story-- one that demanded its protagonist to not look silly despite being an overgrown adolescent. But nothing can hide Anurag Basu’s authority over Jagga Jasoos. It’s a film that must have played in his mind thousand times over before he actually started to shoot. It’s a cliché, but no other word can sum up Jagga Jasoos better: Cinematic. Well, that’s it. Jagga Jasoos is the most ‘cinematic’ film you have seen in the recent months. Plunge to never come out of the world of Jagga Jasoos.
REVIEW: The plot is wafer-thin and it’s been done to death by none other than Imtiaz Ali in each of his earlier films—be it Jab We Met, Cocktail (writer) and Tamasha. It’s the routine girl is engaged elsewhere story but she discovers half-way through that her soulmate is someone other. In this case, Sejal is engaged to Rupen but actually ends up falling for Harry. Let’s give the devil his due, Imtiaz’s films do coax and cajole you to take a journey inwards instead of just doing the peripheral one. But in this film, the soul-searching bits between the leads don't quite add up. What makes this film watchable though is the presence of Shah Rukh and Anushka both of who are in top-form in their Punjabi and Gujarati `impersonations'. In fact, SRK is like old wine, the more he matures, the better he romances. Boy, when he seals it with a kiss, he’s irresistible! The music is average but Radha will definitely get you to attempt a bhangra-garba mix at your next house party. However, sound advice would be that you actually buy yourself a tour ticket to Europe and soak in the sights for real. Of course, if you’re in the mood for a cheaper option of touring the continent, buy yourself a JHMS ticket and get transported to foreign destinations captured efficiently by cinematographer K U Mohanan, In this case, there’s the added advantage of a Punjabi `munda’ playing your friend, philosopher, lover and guide. The journey from Netherlands to Nur Mahal treats you to an opera, pole-dancing and SRK in every frame. Despite it all, you’re tempted to tell the filmmaker that the script of this travelogue that seems to have gone missing, could perhaps be languishing in his own backyard.
Baadshaho', which released last week, reportedly opened to double-digit numbers and mixed reviews from the critics and the audience. Starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Ileana D'Cruz, Esha Gupta and Vidyut Jammwal, the action thriller is set against the backdrop of the Emergency of 1975. For the makers, it was only gratifying to see a considerably high footfall at both, multiplexes and single screens across the country. In spite of getting mixed response from the critics, the film, produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar and Milan Luthria, is holding its ground with a decent collection at the BO. Director Milan Luthria says, "The numbers prove that the film has been well-received pan India. Occupancy has been fairly good over the weekend in multiplexes and single screens. Partial holidays on Monday and Tuesday helped the film reach out to more people. I've received satisfying feedback. I set out to entertain, and the film has found its mark across the spectrum. The audience is the best judge and they have delivered their verdict." Producer Bhushan Kumar beams, "Ours is a film for everyone and it's doing well in almost all the markets. We hope this week sees a good turnout at theatres, too."