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Ajay Devgn: ‘We were toying with the idea of making Raid for four years’


Ajay Devgn plays a tough-as-nails IT officer in ‘Raid’, who investigates one of the most high-profile and controversial cases in recent times. In an exclusive interview with Bombay Times, the actor reveals insights on making this thrilling film. He says, “The film happened because we met this IT officer and realised that there was a great story to be told. We were toying with the idea of making it for four years, finally, the writer Ritesh Shah narrated the story to me and I loved it. Then, we got Raj Kumar Gupta (of No One Killed Jessica fame) on board, as he understood the space that this movie is set in. I have never worked with him before, but he is this quiet and honest guy, who talks about nothing other than the film he is working on.” ‘Raid’ is written by Ritesh Shah (‘Pink’ and ‘Airlift’) and Ajay enjoys his style of screenwriting. He says, “Ritesh writes dialogues that are not filmi or flowery, but hard-hitting. They don’t sound like… yeh kya line likhi hai, and yet, leave an impact.” Ajay’s films have always had great and memorable dialogue. But the superstar prefers subtlety over drama. He explains, “I think that whenever you have a great line, you should deliver it with nonchalance. By that, I mean that a lot of actors believe that if they have a good dialogue, they should stretch it to make it more dramatic. I feel that when you deliver such lines subtly, they work out better. In ‘Raid’, Amay Patnaik is real; he doesn’t become aggressive or resort to violence. He is not a cop, he is an IT officer who is honest and retaliates silently.”

Bobby Deol reunite with Akshay Kumar in 'Housefull 4'


Actor Bobby Deol is elated to come on board for the fourth instalment of the 'Housefull' franchise due to his 'Ajnabee' co-star Akshay Kumar's presence. Produced by Sajid Nadiadwala, 'Houseful 4' will also mark the return of Sajid Khan as the director for the franchise. "I am really looking forward to collaborate with both the Sajids. I've always wanted to work with Sajid Nadiadwala and finally it's happening," Bobby said in a statement. "Akshay and I share a great rapport and it will be fun working with him again. 'Housefull 4' is a big franchise and I can't wait for the film to start," added the actor, who is busy shooting for 'Race 3' in Abu Dhabi. Bobby has worked with Akshay in four films -- 'Ajnabee', 'Dosti: Friends Forever', 'Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo' and 'Thank You'. 'Housefull 4' also stars Riteish Deshmukh, and is set for a Diwali 2019 release. On the other hand, actress Sonakshi Sinha's spokesperson has refuted all reports claiming that the actress was in talks for the project. The statement, issued on Tuesday, read: "Sonakshi Sinha surely has many films in the pipeline and every now and then we keep hearing speculations about her signing some film. And one such recent rumour is that the actress is doing 'Housefull 4'. However, none of this is true, Sonakshi will be shooting for 'Dabangg 3' around the same time as 'Housefull 4' goes on the floors."

Sonam Kapoor's 'The Zoya Factor' to release in April next year


Actress Sonam Kapoor-starrer 'The Zoya Factor' is scheduled to release on April 5 next year. The project will also feature Malayalam actor Dulquer Salmaan. The two actors will be seen together for the screen adaptation of Anuja Chauhan's best-selling novel by the same name. Sonam announced the news on Twitter on Tuesday along with a photoshoot image. "Super happy to be a part of this unique story 'The Zoya Factor' an adaptation of Anuja Chauhan's bestseller. Releasing on April 5, 2019! Directed by Abhishek Sharma, co-starring Dulquer, Fox Star Hindi, Adlabs Films," she posted.

leana D'Cruz: It might sound cowardly, but I do agree that if one speaks out about the casting couch, it will end their career


Ileana D’Cruz entered Bollywood with a critically-acclaimed film like 'Barfi!'(2012) and since then, has entertained audiences with out-and-out commercial films like 'Phata Poster Nikhla Hero', 'Main Tera Hero', 'Rustom', 'Mubarakan' and 'Baadshaho'. BT caught up with the actress while she was promoting her upcoming film 'Raid', and in a freewheeling chat, she told us how she wants to now do a woman-centric film, how nothing or no one can prepare you for a career in showbiz and why talking about the casting couch can potentially risk one’s career in the industry. Excerpts... You don’t have as much screen time in Raid. Were you apprehensive while giving your nod to the film? I had finished 'Baadshaho' with Ajay Devgn and we were in the middle of promoting it when he told me about 'Raid'. He said, ‘Please don’t say no, just listen to it. It’s not a huge role, but it's a good one’. I don’t have a massive role in 'Raid', but I don’t think that an actor needs 200 minutes of screen time to grab attention. Even two minutes are enough to make a mark. I don’t just play a wife in Raid, she is Amay Patnaik’s (Ajay’s character) pillar of strength as well. Our image of a woman of the 80s is of someone who is naive, but in this case, she is spunky. It was a good role and I also wanted to work with Raj Kumar Gupta (director). I have done significant roles in the past and I have also been central to the film’s narrative. As an actor, doing a role which has less screen time will not affect my standing. I have often been offered the role of the ‘cute bubbly girl’, but when people come up to me and tell me, ‘You were so cute’, all I can do is cringe because I am so not cute. Three-year-old girls in pigtails are cute. It’s fun playing the bubbly girl once in a while, though. There are reports that you have been offered the Uzma Ahmed biopic, an Indian national who fell in love with a Pakistani man and then was forced to marry him at gunpoint. What are the kind of roles that you are looking to play now? While chatting with my director (Raj Kumar Gupta) towards the end of this film, he told me that I should be doing a woman-centric film. It’s a huge risk to do a film like that. While we go on about how the industry is male-dominated, one has to take into consideration what sells here. Such films have come my way, including the biopic that you just mentioned. Having said that, if I have to take that risk, it has to be a good script with a good director helming it. You had a good launch in Hindi cinema with Barfi!. But do you think that you have capitalised on it enough? There is no point in thinking ‘what if…’ Every actor has his or her own journey. Also, I don’t like being predictable and I have never really followed the norm. If I have to do it all over again, I will probably do it the same way. I have always gone with the flow and I have never modelled myself on anyone. Perhaps, I turned down a film, which another actress did and it took her to a different level in her career, but such things don’t bother me. Do you think young actors should openly speak up about the sexual harassment that they have faced at their workplace? Many believe that if they do so, that’s the end of their careers.... It might sound cowardly, but I do agree that if you speak out about the casting couch, it will end your career. Years ago, a junior artiste down South, who was being propositioned by a big producer, sought my advice on how to deal with it.I told her that it’s something that I couldn't decide for her. It is her decision and that nobody could force it on her. Many people have done it and it’s up to her whether she wants to go ahead and do it or not. As far as exploitation and harassment is concerned, I wouldn't stand for it. The fact of the matter is that if an A-list star is accused of something like this, you will require a large number of people to come forward, including A-list actresses and actors, to make a difference. Actors in this country are worshiped. So it will take many voices for people to acknowledge that huge stars could have such an ugly side. I can’t watch Kevin Spacey’s show anymore, though I have loved it earlier because he has been accused of harassment. It disgusts me as a person. You are open about your personal life on social media platforms. So, are you married to Andrew Kneebone? When Andrew came down for the first time, people saw us at award shows and asked if we were together. I said that I am happy being with him. Then he had to go back for work and there were stories with headlines like, ‘Is there trouble in paradise?’ Frankly, why should anybody be bothered whether there is or isn't trouble in paradise. I don't want to talk about my personal life. I do use social media as a gateway into my personal life, but only to a certain extent. When I don't want to, I pull the blinds down.

Fans pray for Amitabh Bachchan's good health


Amitabh Bachchan wrote in his blog that his team of doctors will be arriving in Rajasthan to "fiddle around" with his "body". Big B assured his fans and followers that he will post medical updates on his blog. "I am getting my team of Doctors in tomorrow morning to fiddle around with my body and set me up again .. i will rest and keep informed in process," he wrote on his blog early morning. Bachchan's fans in the superstar's birthplace Allahabad performed prayers for the good health of their favourite actor. There were reports suggesting that Big B had injured himself on the sets of his next film. However, none of them turned out to be true. In the film, directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the megastar will reportedly feature in high-octane action sequences.

Jackie Shroff's 'Shunyata' wins international award


Actor Jackie Shroff's short film 'Shunyata' has won an award at Best of India Short Film Festival in Los Angeles, US. The 22-minute fiction film directed by Chintan Sarda was selected to be in top six from amongst thousands of entries and was played at a theatre in Los Angeles for a ticketed event for a week. An industry based jury then adjudged it the best film, read a statement. The award ceremony was held at Mack Sennett Studios on March 3. The prize includes a cash prize of $1,000. "It was an absolute honour to be a part of this film festival and to be hosted in LA by them. Jackie sir and all our talented HODs made this film happen and I am very grateful to all of them, We are overwhelmed by this award and others that the film has managed to garner in the past few months. It shows us that somewhere our efforts to connect to the audience have worked to an extent", producer, Sarda said. "I am hoping this to be a stepping stone to bigger formats. I am pitching my feature film and original series scripts in Mumbai and hoping to direct a lot more short films in the future too," he added. In 'Shunyata', Jackie is seen as hitman Madhur, who leads a gloomy existence with regrets. He is friendly with a child, who lives on the street and sees him getting into the world of crime. The film was entirely shot at night. It is produced by Sarda and Sunil Khedekar.

Katrina Kaif brings ease, fun and love on set, says Aanand L Rai.


Filmmaker Aanand L Rai has thanked Katrina Kaif, the leading lady of his upcoming film 'Zero', for bringing ease and fun on the set of the movie. The film, which features Shah Rukh Khan as a vertically challenged man, is currently under production. "With joyful and affectionate Katrina Kaif on the shoot.Thank you for bringing so much of ease, fun and love on the sets. Stay blessed stay happy," Rai tweeted. The movie, slated to release in December, also features Anushka Sharma. 'Zero' marks the first collaboration between Shah Rukh and Rai. The 52-year-old superstar, Katrina and Anushka have previously worked together in Yash Chopra's last directorial venture 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'.

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