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What does the box office collections of Dhadak tell us about nepotism?

    With a first week collection of Rs 50 crore, the makers of Dhadak are celebrating. And they have good reasons to. Janhvi Kapoor’s debut is snuggly placed pretty high on the scale when it comes to successful films of this year – beating films like Varun Dhawan’s October. And glaringly, Dhadak serves as a cold reminder of why exactly ‘nepotism’ prevails in the industry, which has seen severe criticism in recent times for supporting its own.
    The success of the film is barely a surprise. The trade was always quite kicked about the film, with curiosity levels sky high right since it was announced that it would serve as Janhvi’s debut. So much was the craze that the paparazzi started following the Janhvi before she started shooting for it. In one of her interviews, the actress actually recounted how the one particular scene filmed in Kolkata had to be scrapped because the paparazzi following her was also seen in the shot!
    The media does not quite provide the same kind of love to any other debutant who is not born into the film industry. For example, Rajkummar Rao with his immense talent was barely interviewed until his talent could not be ignored anymore.  Why so? “The lineage plays a major part in creating the curiosity. Like in this case, Janhvi is Sridevi’s daughter. Plus of course, there are others factors. There is a great marketing initiative put in place to make sure they are all over the place and people know about them and the media talks about them,” says senior journalist Indu Mirani. Indu likes to be that it is the media which drives the curiosity and not the other way around.
    Interestingly it is not just the average joes that Janhvi and Ishaan edged past. Dhadak also beat debut vehicles like Student Of The Year and Heropanti – both extremely hyped, and major hits. The huge sympathy wave for Janvhi after her mother’s demise could be a reason. Sridevi, after all, was one of the biggest stars the country has seen.
    Indu did point out a very pertinent point – launchpads that have great marketing budgets, which manage to generate some sort of interest among the movie audience.
    Budgets can be commanded by the bigger directors. And yet when Farah Khan, a top-notch mainstream director, wanted to make a film with three female characters she found it difficult to put the film together. Eventually, she let go of her dream.
    In comparison, director Anil Sharma seems to have managed a decent budget to launch his son Utkarsh Sharma. Needless to say, directors like Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra got the budgets they wished for when they were launching Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Harshvardhan Kapoor. In comparison, smaller filmmakers even with great ideas do not get such budgets if they wish to cast just about any newcomers.
    There are dozens of smaller filmmakers who launch newcomers – but most of these films sink without a trace. Every once in a while, films like Masaan and Pyaar Ka Punchnama do happen, but it is not rocket science to figure that ratio of star-kids making a profit are higher.
    “While I would say it is not only about films, but yes, we have to accept that ancestry does play a part. When the next generation of a star comes in the expectations of business that their film can do automatically rises,” says well-known distributor Girish Johar. With over 140 films to his repertoire, you could assume he knows what he talking about. “The certain favouritism tends to come in. If you know a renowned chef’s child has a turned a chef, you might want to give it a try! Similarly, the film watching audience tends to think that if an actor is the child of a renowned actor, he or she could be tried. In contrast, if the same film is made with a completely known cast, people tend to wait for the feedback on it. This, in turn, plays a part in the money that is spent in mounting and promoting the film!” he explains why star-kid launchpads are more attractive business opportunity to financiers.
    A wise producer, anonymously, put it up in as straight words a possible. “Filmmaking may be an art, but it is a commercial art. The producer puts his money into the director’s dream. And it is important that he gets his money back.” Putting that to perspective, the ones who put money into Dhadak did know what they were getting into. As you read this the film had marched past the lifetime collections of many films starring well-known actors.
    Interestingly, star kids manage to get a lot of press and attention even if their debut vehicles flop. Like in the case of Harshvardhan Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor. In contrast, someone like Karthik Aryan and Divyendu Sharma barely got any media coverage despite being lead in a superhit first film.
    Now, despite what journalists like Indu Mirani believe – that it is the media that drives the curiosity – it can barely be argued in the digital age, a lot of reportage happens on what could get more clicks. Which is why Taimur Ali Khan is today one of the most discussed individuals in the country. To put that into perspective – a website stands to lose up to lakhs of views if it stops talking about Taimur, Inaaya, and Abram!

    Understanding why Sunny Leone needed Karenjit Kaur’s untold story


      Some time in 2016, Sunny Leone hit upon what was until then an unexplored fanbase. Women, who had till then not really given her much thought. So far, a larger chunk of her fanbase was clearly male. One interview with a well-known journalist Bhupendra Chaubey changed things. A rather persistent Bhupen wanted to pin Sunny down and throw at her all the questions that he believed would send the star riling into self-introspection – a journalist’s wet dream. That was not to be. Despite all his attempts at getting Sunny to explore her guilt at having joined the porn industry, the actress stayed amazingly composed and unrattled. She, in fact, made it clear that she would not ever give out any signs of being perturbed by people who want to tell her off. Her attitude found a lot of women, and men, sitting up and taking note that she is not just someone who titillate with her body but could woo with her mind too.

      For a lot of people till then Sunny Leone was just a former pornstar and someone who was attempting a makeover, with a Bollywood career. Her first Bollywood film was a major hit, thanks to the curiosity. Her next film tanked. And things were not so good anymore. Sunny was soon becoming the go-to girl for the directors who were not necessarily intending to tell stories but make the quick buck – using her seductive on-screen persona. It was a run-up to the release of one such movie, Mastizaade, when Sunny Leone stumbled upon this unfound love.

      For anyone who has tracked Sunny, and her career – porn and otherwise – it has never been a secret that she has a very clever mind. She is known to have made a profit out of decisions – dollar for every quarter! When she and Daniel started dating, they started their own adult entertainment company – where they produced a few of their own films. These films, of course, worked decently, considering they were indeed a couple. And then she went on to produce a lot more films which did not actually star her but had her name and hence sold well. For a mind as sharp as that, it would have been unimaginable to let go of an opportunity that could be milked – an opportunity that was open up by the famous interview. The idea of a biopic was born – a biopic that could humanise her and make her more endearing. A biopic that could tell her story. Because clearly, like Chaubey stated in the interview, people wanted to know! I would like to assume, this is where Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story found its genesis.

      And Karenjit Kaur is made. Interestingly, Sunny does not mind using Chaubey’s interview as an axis, around which her story is told, as the screenplay goes back and forth – almost like a Slumdog Millionaire. It’s another matter that in her show she makes Chaubey look like a maniac. And the interview is made into a shoddy piece of work – considering this is the real story, you would have expected them to keep the interview as real as possible.  I suppose, whoever runs the show holds the reigns. When Chaubey interviewed her, it was him firing all guns. This looks like giving back, in style. The irony: this is the second time in two weeks, when our dear actors have decided to stick it up to the media… remember Sanju?

      So Karenjit Kaur’s story is told – the shy girl that grew up bold. She made some choices, at first for the need of money, but never for the heck of it. ‘The Untold Story’ as it is tagged, portrays Sunny as a moralistic girl who repeatedly turned down the money before situations got better off her.

      Unfortunately for her though, much before this expensively shot ‘biopic’ of hers happened, Sunny had already okayed a documentary. Mostly Sunny, shot by Dilip Mehta, was out in 2014. And it shows a Sunny quite contrasting to the Sunny that Karenjit Kaur the Untold Story offers. Sunny is unabashed in the documentary as she speaks that she enjoyed the money that came along with her work and financial situations never quite pushed her into it. “I didn’t think about my family. I did not think about my family. I didn’t think what was right or wrong to them. I was making a living. This is more money that I could ever imagine that I could make all year long, working at a tax returns firms as a receptionist,” she says in the documentary. She follows it up by, “It was not that we were poor. That wasn’t the case at all. But they definitely didn’t give us what we wanted. So, I was always trying to figure out how am I going to make money; how am I going to figure how to go to the store and buy candy…”

      Goes without saying that Mostly Sunny is a far better watch. But that’s still besides the point. The larger question would be: why make a something like Karenjit Kaur The Untold Story? How does such a show help?

      We can only make assumptions. And studied guesses. For one, a career in the porn industry is not forever. You might get a realistic view of it if you watch Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary available on Netflix. A Bollywood career offered Sunny a shot at something she had not even realise was possible. Sunny mentions in the documentary how it all fell together as her “exit strategy”!

      A few Bollywood films later, the curiosity around her has gone down considerably. Her films don’t bring in numbers at the theatres anymore. Her last hit was in 2014. Her film Tina and Lolo is lying unreleased for the lack of takers for years now, thanks to the series of flops. Even digital rights of her films, which earlier sold like hot cakes, don’t get money anymore. Why would you pay for what is available for free, is what I was told when I asked one buyer once.

      In the last two years, Sunny has been busy with item numbers in films like Raees, Bhoomi and Dongri Ka Raja. Working with Shah Rukh Khan did bring in hope that things might change. There has been a time when actors refused to work with Sunny because they believed it would tarnish their reputation. Rajniesh Duggal spoke about it on record in Mostly Sunny. And I can tell from personal experience of at least one star who refused to have Sunny doing an item number in his film, even if it meant great publicity! This might anger the feminist but it’s a fact nonetheless. The change seems to be taking longer than one would have expected. And you cannot stay young forever. Sunny turned 37 earlier this year. And things don’t fall into place, endorsements will start drying up too. Acceptability needs to come in, faster.

      Karenjit Kaur fits in as the perfect idea. So what if it is badly made! So what if it dramatizes her life and makes things seem all too rosy! So what if it makes a mockery out of an interview! The show could tell the story the way she wishes it… The show means Sunny is back. With a bang. And she would hope, this time things look up… for a longer duration, for her to figure the perfect next switch.

      Sunny sums it better than anyone else ever could. She did it in the documentary when she says, “I don’t know what my legacy will be. I don’t look at myself and go, oh my god, I am the greatest actress, or dancer, or even and adult. But one thing I was good at was turning a quarter into dollar.”


      Karanjeet Kaur The Untold Story is available on Zee5.

      Movie Review: Shashank Khaitan’s Dhadak


        If you have been a Sridevi fan, it is natural that you would find your eyes train on Janhvi Kapoor as she appears on the big screen for the first time. You might try to find resemblances, even feverishly hoping for something. I am betting at least some people will do so. Good news is that you will actually find flashes on Sridevi in Janhvi. Every now and then, the young girl will do what is natural – be like her mother. But that’s not the good news. Well, not the only good news. What is more important is that this girl is actually a good find… someone Karan Johar could pat his back for launching. Janhvi is effortless in her portrayal of Parthavi, a “uchi jaat” (higher caste), rich girl from Udaipur. Her expressions work and so does her delivery.

        But what’s interesting is that she is matched scene by scene, and at times even trumped by Ishaan Khattar, another new actor, half-brother to Shahid Kapoor. Ishaan is refreshing because he does not seem to be caught up in the need to look good. He is comfortable in his skin and clearly concentrates on his craft.

        Ishaan and Jahnvi are the biggest highs of Dhadak. As if almost by design… so that a great screenplay does not take away the delight of finding two new good actors.

        That would be stupid though, if it is indeed by design!

        For audiences who might not find the two young actors delectable, Dhadak could feel like a rather convenient a screenplay. Especially for the ones who are yet to get over Sairat, a Marathi film that broke many benchmarks. The film had left people speechless, unsure how to deal with it because of the way the director Nagraj Manjule dealt with the characters. Sairat was set in rural Maharashtra, and the people in the film behaved the way any real person would behave in those settings.

        In comparison, Dhadak does not quite get as real – the trap that a Bollywood movie needs to willingly fall so as to please the larger audiences. This film is set in Udaipur and that is reinstated every now and then by the characters. There is no way you feel the essence of the place otherwise. Dhadak hence, after the joyous and breezy first half, becomes quite predictable. And then you are left waiting for the next big turn of events.

        Writer-director Shashank Khaitan leaves out a lot from Sairat as he penned his version of the film, making it simpler and concentrating on adding extra effect on what he kept from the original. He wins some, loses some. Among the downers – he fails to bring in a growth curve in his characters, and the conflict that life’s struggles bring in is half-baked.

        Shashank’s power as a director cannot be undermined though. Having delivered two back to back superhits, Shashank shows his understanding of the mainstream Bollywood audiences. And probably also understands that a larger part of his audience across the country has not watched Sairat, and hence the comparisons are unlikely to bother them.

        To add to that, Shashank shoots this on a scale that pleases the eye. The aerial shots of Udaipur make you fall in love with the city. There is a lot of colour in each frame, to assert the good times while towards the later part, set in Kolkata, things are soberer.

        Dhadak hence works – purely in the regular Bollywood ‘mainstream’ parlance. It is however, a missed attempt at creating anything that could last longer… like Sairat probably will. Except, of course, the careers of Ishaan Khattar and Janhvi Kapoor. Dhadak will live, just because chances are that these two will go a long way.

        Business of music decentralised, and the South takes the step



          Indian Performing Right Society Ltd (IPRS) sets up regional committees.

          For long now, it has been a habit of people to look at Mumbai and Bollywood as the centre of all creative activities. And this also reflected in the way the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) – the only government authorized body in the country to administer rights, issue licenses and collect royalties for authors, music composers and music publishers – functions. However things are changing and a significant change in the same direction was recently undertaken.

          Few days back the IPRS Governing Council met in Chennai to discuss with its members from the south Indian states on how to get things better. Among people who were involved included stalwarts likes Illayaraja, A. R. Rahman and Vidyasagar. And the outcome of the discussions could very well be a game changer. The IPRS realizes that it needs to increase involvement of regional members to achieve greater market efficiency and to make this happen it is setting up regional committees, who will function as advising bodies for Governing Council on how to relay IPRS policies to the regional members and authorities in coordination with its local administrative offices.

          The first Regional Committee was promptly set up in Chennai. And the IPRS is now working towards other states joining hands in this effort. Well known Telugu singer and lyricist welcomed the change. “I am very pleased that the first step taken by the new IPRS is to move away from its former Mumbai and Bollywood-centric attitude by acknowledging the importance of other music productions centers and by involving every member instead of having just two representatives from the South on the Governing Council.”

          Commenting on this development, Javed Akhtar, Chairman of the IPRS said, “IPRS is like a cooperative: it exists by and for its members. We have carefully assessed the situation, analyzed all the challenges faced by the Society and decided on a development plan. Our first step is to effectively localise and bring greater regional involvement in the Society’s operations. We started with South India, which is the country’s largest music producer and music exporter, with internationally acclaimed legends such as Illyaraja and A. R. Rahman. In the coming months, we will expand this regional drive so as to cover all the main music production centers this year itself.”

          Mandar Thakur, COO of Times Music, also pitched in, “The economic contribution and the international influence of the South Indian music industry is second to none and is even greater than Bollywood in several parts of the world, particularly in South-East Asia, the Far East, and some European countries. But until now we have somehow not been able to properly monetize our assets. I warmly welcome this healing step of IPRS: it goes to show that the new management is inclusive and means business.”

          It may be noted that the IPRS was founded in 1969 and has over 4,000 members across the country.

          I should have been more professional: Chitrangda Singh


            Chitrangda Singh opens up about films, career, and life…


            There is something endearing about Chitrangda Singh. You know she is not your mainstream heroine, though not for the lack of trying. She did try it with Desi Boys, but you would always remember he more for the work she did with Sudhir Mishra than for her item number in Gabbar is Back. Rather, if you are a part of the population that fell in love with her after Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, then would probably want to forget that she ever did an item number as crude.

            And yet, for someone who made an early impact as that, it is unfathomable how she did not score better. She was after all being referred to as the next Smita Patil… somewhere in the middle, she seems to have run out of luck. Or goodwill… if rumours are to be trusted.

            Out of silver screen for a few years now, Chitrangda is back today, as a producer with the rather compelling story of ace Indian hockey player Sandeep Singh. And it is no surprise that she took the plunge at production while she was idling away, for the lack of work.  “Around 2013-14, I started writing something as I was not getting much work. End of 2014 I met Sandeep through a friend. We got talking. He was the Indian hockey captain and I have been around sports all my life. When he told me what all happened to him, my first reaction was astonishment. I started writing his story…,” Chitrangda tells us how she actually got into doing something beyond acting.

            Doubtlessly, production was no cakewalk. Not for a first timer. For the first time Chitrangda was exposed to the intricacies of film budgets and funding. It took a lot of selling before she actually found a buyer in Sony Pictures Network, who happened to see the merit in the story or exhilarating triumph of Sandeep Singh. “At that moment a lot of biopics were being announced. And in a way that became a disadvantage as people reacted to us as ‘Ah one more biopic!’. Plus, it was about hockey who people do not know much. So, I will be honest, it became a little difficult to get people excited. I hence got a three-minute long presentation on Sandeep, using actual footage and images,” admits the actress, also accepting that she indeed approached other ‘mainstream’ actors for the role but nothing fell in place. Getting a mainstream actor to put on the look of a Sardar, that too one who played hockey, could be a task. It is no surprise that she failed there. Destiny, of course, takes its own course. Diljit not only worked for her in terms of looks but budgets.

            After much labour, as the film releases Chitrangda today hopes that the story of Sandeep Singh reaches out to the people who never knew of him – a large population considering the apathy towards hockey the country. “There is something about him that he told me and it got tears into my eyes. When he was paralysed and was at home, the sportsman in him was ashamed. He could not even clean himself or change his clothes. He used to cry at night. One night he tried to hold onto the wall and stand up, but he fell. That created a sound and his father came out to check what happened. He saw what had happened but quietly walked back in so that Sandeep did not feel worse. Then sometime later his elder brother came and helped him up. There are so many such incidents. Like how he kept calling his girl, but she did not take his call. Somewhere he started feeling like a lesser man. And for a sportsman to lose that is a very big deal. Because when you go and play, that is your biggest asset…,” she says, reflecting on her constant meetings with one of India’s best hockey players ever.


            She believes people will identify with Sandeep’s crisis simply because everyone in our lifetime has to go through one such period when we have to work hard to redeem our self-respect. Apart from being a heart wrenching story, it is a human story that consists of the most basic emotions that we tend to feel. Chitrangda being no exception. “Of course, I have been through such moments when you start doubting yourself. Professional and personally. When the kind of work you want is not coming your way and the kind of work that’s coming makes you wonder if this is how you are perceived. I would not say it is as dramatic, but you have to fight for what you believe in. You have to fight to get back your self-confidence after certain failures in your life,” she points out. That brings us back to our question – does she too feel that she could have done better, after all the glowing reviews she received for her early works. “I think we all feel that somewhere or the other that things could have been better. But I have nobody else to blame for that by myself. Because I think I have taken very long breaks because of which work suffers. No doubt about that. If I was to do things differently, maybe I should have been a lot more professional and had focussed a lot more on my professional life. That would have changed things for me. But I think I did the best I could at that moment to handle whatever it was that was coming my way,” she reflects.

            Clearly, the period of uncertainty has passed – the one she faced when she started writing, just to express what she was feeling. Today, Chitrangda seems content. The positive side – she is also finding a comeback as an actress. Her next film Sahib Biwi Gangster 3 is releasing pretty soon, and then she has Baazaar. Also, there is more happening as a producer, she promises. To top it all, she continues to look like billion bucks. At 42, things are sunny, for Singh!

            Mallika Sherawat Can’t Hear Questions, Check Out Why!


              She was once talked about for what she wore on screen and the number of kisses in her films. But over the last few years, even that has disappeared and all that Mallika Sherawat has managed to get press for is her antics at Cannes and being allegedly thrown out of her house in France. This despite making it to Hollywood and even signing a film there much before Priyanka Chopra did.

              Recently the actress landed back in India with the intention of making a comeback and she even chose her own vehicle – she bought Indian adaptation rights the American show The Good Wife. We spoke to her about stuff that people wanted to know, including if she is a wife. Excerpts:

              So are you married, or still dating Cyrill?

              Why are you getting into the personal space?

              You are a celebrity, you share pictures on social media. People would want to know more.

              I am hardly a celebrity.  Talk about my activism, instead, which is so very important. Free A Girl, which I am the brand ambassador of and which I promote actively.

              First, let’s talk films. Why aren’t you doing films?

              Because I was not getting the work I wanted to do. Most of the roles that were coming to me were of the glamour girl, which I have done enough of.

              So, you got tired of playing the glamour girl?

              I really did. There are other aspects, other things that I have to offer. Not just this glamour girl bit. And I really wanted to do some meaningful role. Not a leading role, even a supporting role would be enough. But something meaningful. So, I got the rights to The Good Wife and in the process of making that.

              Kissing on screen in pretty commonplace today. And being hot on screen is not a novelty anymore. How do you see this process of evolution and do you think you could have done better as an actor if you debuted today? People did judge you for what you did.


              Of course, I was judged and it was not a nice feeling. There were a lot of uncomfortable questions that I was asked.  If you watch an interview of mine, I think it was called Seedhi Baat, with what was this name of the journalist… Prabhu Chawla. Now when I watch it, I cringe. The kind of questions, ultra-sexual, intimidating questions he asked me, and I was this girl who had done just two films. I was sitting there, having to defend myself and I feel so much of rage now as to why any girl should be subjected to this, to this lecherous dirty old man asking me such kind of questions. How is this journalism in any way? This was just him, I thought, trying to intimidate me, taking advantage of the powerful position he was in. I have been through a lot of those kinds of harrowing experience. A certain part of the media was always judging me, criticising me. And that creates a doubt in an actor’s mind if I was doing something wrong to invite such criticism. I started losing my confidence quite a bit.


              What happens at Cannes? When you shared those caged pictures, the message did come through. Yet there was a substantial backlash in terms of what people perceived it as. How do you react?

              The more interesting question would be, does it bother me at all. It does not bother me at all. I don’t care.

              Why Cannes? Isn’t it where people go to talk films?

              Why not? It is also a platform to raise issues. Julia Roberts has done it; Sharon Stone has done it too. And now I have done it.

              You shifted to LA much before Priyanka did. You were walking the red carpets, mingling with the biggies… You even did a couple of films. Is that why you lost out on Bollywood. And do you think you could have done better in Hollywood?

              I don’t think I lost out on anything. I just like to live life on my own terms. I wanted to live in a different country, travel a lot, go out of my comfort zone, meet President Barack Obama… move around who’s who of the world, party with them and that’s what I did. I got all the invitations. I did not want to get stuck in a studio here.

              Why not more Hollywood films then?

              They will come when the time is right. Right now, The Good Wife has come and I am playing the lead and not only that, I have bought the rights and producing.

              Finally, what exactly happened in France. There were reports…

              I don’t want to talk about it.


              Come on, give us your side of the story.

              Oh, my ear, I can’t hear suddenly!

              3 Moments in Race 3, that totally revealed our state of mind while watching the film


                That Race 3 is bad is an understatement. And it is not just the critics who have been talking about it. During the intermission, I had tweeted that I am halfway through the film. A usual response to such a tweet is moviegoers asking if I liked the film and if they should watch it. But on this particular day, for the first time, I was asked by a fan of Salman Khan not to review the film. Reason: He had already seen it and knew it was bad. He just did not want it to be ripped by reviewers so that the film does its business, for the sake of his favourite star. Indeed, the film went on to bag a neat 100 crore in less than three days after release.


                In the meantime, I sat wondering if the film actually justified a review. It barely qualified to be called a film in first place. It was more a gross misuse of money and star-power, something we have so gotten used to in Bollywood. And yet, like its weekend box office collection states, audience cared a damn about the reviews. I am sure they do care about their hard-earned money though… especially once they were out of the theatres, feeling distraught and cheated.

                In the reactions that I studied over the last few days, I think I see a trend. Interestingly, I believe that certain moments in the film actually, in a rather ironic manner, spoke for our state of mind while watching the film… and after watching it. I am listing three here, just to match with Race ‘3’.


                Anil Kapoor rebuking Daisy Shah for her fake accent 

                Anil Kapoor is shown as a man from a town near Allahabad. Hence he breaks into a typical UP accent while speaking once in a while, especially when he feels nostalgic about his birthplace. Daisy Shah and Saqeb Saleem, both playing his kids, are raised on an island far away from India and hence does not quite speak the language. In a scene, Daisy speaks with her ‘father’, Anil Kapoor, in the UP accent. Not pleased with her effort, she is rebuked by her father because she never managed to learn her language.

                It almost felt like a real statement on Daisy’s acting skills. We all know, she is not the best actress we have in the industry, but with Race 3 she takes things southwards. Rather, she is not alone. Except for Anil Kapoor, who stands tall, everybody else, including Salman Khan put up a dismal effort.

                Yes, Anil Kapoor spoke for us there.


                Daisy swinging upside down, romancing Bobby Deol

                Salman Khan has turned lyricist. Yes, it seems him trying to sing is not bad enough. Now we have to deal with his lyrics too. The complete artist – Salman Khan. Actor, painter, writer, singer, lyricist. He could beat Satyajit Ray at it.

                Who benefits from his artistic ventures? Daisy Shah and Bobby Deol, who get featured in the beautifully shot ‘Selfish’ song. And while we try to deal with the lyrics, we are helped by a Daisy Shah swinging upside down, in a great show of acrobatic skills – against a beautiful blue sky. In a way the shot makes us wonder if Daisy is just a representation of us, the audiences. Tied upside down, no way to escape… forced to romance this not so likable movie. No, that’s not a statement of Bobby Deol. He is perfectly likable otherwise.


                Bewakoofi Ka koi ilaaj nahi, says Salman

                When Salman Khan realises that his siblings are trying their best to bump him off, he says, “Bewakoofi ka koi ilaaj nahi”. Nothing could be closer to the truth to human nature. We are the type of animals who write books about mistakes and lessons so that people could learn and not make the same mistakes. And these books are read. And yet, the larger population makes the same mistakes that the books talked about. From electing corrupt governments to watching bad movies, we are a country who barely learn from mistakes of others. We like to go through the same shit ourselves. We are almost masochist that way.

                Despite people walking out of the theatres on Friday and crying hoarse about how betrayed they felt after watching Race 3, even larger number of people went to watch it in the following two days. And I am yet to meet someone who is happy after what he/she did. Race 3 is already the highest grossing film of the franchise and if things go well, it would be touching Rs 150 crore by the end of this week. Nah, Bewakoofi ko koi Ilaaj nahi.


                But then, who am I to complain. Their business is their business, none of our business. What I have managed to find an answer to in this entire episode is – I am happy I never wasted time writing a review for this film.

                A Crore Spent, Just To Get Priyanka Chopra To Assam?

                So, Priyanka Chopra finally managed to make time for Assam. She flew all the way from United States of America to Assam, shot for an ad campaign for two days – a video that has been shot elaborately at a cost that could make film producers roll their eyes. Should we be pleased? Yes, sure. We could have a more engaging tourism ad than what we had last year, which was well shot too but it did not quite do justice to the fact that Priyanka Chopra was signed for a huge sum of money.

                We are pleased that she wore a beautiful Mekhela Chador, along with nice Assamese jewellery, mingled with people from the state. And hey, even trended on twitter on the day she landed in Assam. Wow! So cool. And then we got to know something more.

                Video Capture of the Assam Tourism Ad.


                Appears Ms. Chopra was flown into India along with her team all the way from US, at the expense of our dear old state government. A journey (to and fro) that cost nothing short of Rs 25 lakh. No, don’t roll your eyes yet. Wait till you hear this. Priyanka Chopra was flown from Mumbai to Jorhat in a chartered flight, because of she can’t fly regular. And the chartered plane was parked in Jorhat for two whole days, at the actress’s disposal. This allegedly cost another Rs 75 lakh. Yes, a neat sum of 1 crore only on her travel! Yes, now you may roll your eyes.

                Good thing – in the two days she was in Assam, the department of tourism evidently made her slog. For every penny she was paid. She shot for the videos, travelled to Kaziranga, and even shot in Majuli! Plus do enough photo-ops.

                All we hope is that the new ad, shot by a very well-known ad-filmmaker Lyod Baptista, does more justice to the state than what the last year’s video did. The Department of Tourism, Assam has drawn lots of flak due since the Awesome Assam campaign was launched. First, it was the logo design which looks amateurish then it was awkward tagline in the poorly edited video. So, when Priyanka Chopra was signed as brand ambassador till 31st December, 2018, lot of criticism followed as the signing amount did not justify the results.

                Just a comparison:

                Amitabh Bachchan had endorsed Gujarat tourism. And he did not charge any money for it. The government had put this on record. Likewise, Shah Rukh Khan promoted West Bengal tourism, and had not charged any fee for it.

                Beating The Cricket Jinx [Part 1]


                  The teaser of the Sanjay Dutt biopic was released on April 24. And to maximise its reach the makers have decided to use IPL as a platform. The video was played during the IPL match. And we are sure it got all of you excited? So are we! Except one nagging phenomena.

                  More often than not, movies that used cricket as a promotional tool has ended up biting dust at the box office. Of course there are some remarkable cases of super-hits too, but did they not say, “Exceptions prove the rule!” Could this be a jinx? In a country which thrives on cricket and movies… could movies riding on cricket be bad news? Statistics! Here’s a look at some movies which chosen cricket matches as a promotional avenue.

                  Bombay Velvet (2015)

                  This was supposed to be Anurag Kashyap’s most ambitious project. The craze was palpable and the producers thought it was fitting to release the trailer in a big way. And they did so, at the Quarter Final match of the Cricket World Cup, 2015. The match was between India and Bangladesh. Ranbir also turned a commentator during the match. Bombay Velvet is one film that took a rather huge toll his the actor’s career.


                  Shamitabh 2015

                  A couple of months before Ranbir, it was Amitabh Bachchan who turned a commentator on a cricket match. The occasion was an India-Pakistan match. His fans loved it and he trended social media. The strategy also fit right into the promotions of his film Shamitabh – a film which was largely inspired by the superstar’s magnificent voice. The film ended a turkey.

                  Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara (2013)

                  This is one film where the team tried everything they could to use the IPL. At first they tried to be a part of the opening ceremony, but after Shah Rukh Khan allegedly hijacked their plans because he did not want the film to get such sweet promotion, they decided to just attend a match in Kolkata as ‘cricket lovers’. The catch – these cricket lovers wore T shirts with the logo of their film. Unfortunately for them, the broadcasters decide to avoid showing the actors in any frame. The film did not meet any better fate. \

                  Zanjeer (2013)

                  The much touted remake of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer was supposed to be the Hindi debut of Telegu superstar Ram Charan Teja. It also starred Priyanka Chopra, who was at top of her game. They went to be part of a Celebrity Cricket League match. The film sank without a trace.


                  Ra.One (2011)

                  Shah Rukh Khan’s most ambitious film, one that ended up being a case study for marketing students. Yet the fil m itself did not quite meet results that SRK would have wished for. Though he earned back his investment, a couple of distributors and exhibitors lost money. The promotions of this movie started with the launch of its first look during the quarter final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The match ended well for Indians, with our team beating Australians, but Shah Rukh could not say the same about the film.


                  Dum Maaro Dum (2011)

                  This film is remembered for Dum Maro Dum item number by Deepika Padukone. The actress along with the entire cast of the film – Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Rana Daggubatti, Prateik Babbar were present at the music launch of the film, which was done in Nagpur during the India-South Africa World Cup tie! Sachin Tendulkar hit a ton in the match, the movie scored a duck.


                  Azhar (2016)

                  Even before the shoots started, the makers used IPL to release the first look of the film. It was of Emraan Hashmi as Azhar. After the film was shot, the actor along with Nargis Fakhri released Pune to watch an IPL match between Pune Supergiants-Mumbai Indians. They did create the required buzz, but the film reached nowhere.

                  Does all of this scare you? Well, we do hope that the Dutt biopic manages to escape the jinx too. Like Mr  India did! Yes, the Anil Kapoor starrer was the first film to use cricket as a promotional tool. Anil Kapoor had in fact walked into the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in his ‘Mr India’ getup and tossed the coin before a match, as the world looked on. The film changed the way movies were promoted.  Apart of this, Shah Rukh Khan also launched the trailer of Chennai Express during the IPL 2013 final match. The film was a hit.

                  Done with Remixes, Slams Kanika Kapoor


                    If you are a music aficionado and not quite happy with what Bollywood has been offering in the recent past, seems you are not alone. Kanika Kapoor, one of the brightest singing finds in the last decade says she staving for good music too.

                    The singer best known for her track Baby Doll, which also catapulted her into stardom, admits that remixes are being overdone. “Honestly, I have also failed to realised what exactly has happened in the last two years.  Lot of remixes are good, and lots are not at all good,” she blurts. The singer herself has not had a new release in quite some time, and last proper hit being Beat Be Booty from A Flying Jatt. Interestingly, Kanikia herself has been a part of a few remixes, like Jab Chaaye Tera Jadoo and Ishq Samundar. And she says she has been working on something new. “I am trying to do something different. I think the music industry is going through a gap, with a lot of remixes happening. I am trying to do something original. I will get something new, like I did with Baby Doll,” she assures.

                    Talking of doing something new, Kanika recently released a bhajan – something she had never done earlier. She did her own rendition of Ik Onkar the Sikh Mool Mantra and the actress cannot stop beaming. She says this is the toughest thing she has done, and it took her months to record the bhajan. “I agreed to do it but when I reached the studio I was so nervous that when I tried singing I was not quite satisfied. I tried after a few months and I was still not happy. Now they were also nervous like I was. Then after a few months I called them and told them that I am ready for it. And this time I sang it in half an hour. I hope I do a lot more of these bhajans,” the singer recalls, adding, It took time but eventually, whatever we have finally done is something straight out of our hearts. I am really excited and as nervous as I was when I had come to Mumbai for the first time. This is a new journey. I would love to some more bhajan and simrans. It is food for our soul.” Well, that’s a start. Hopefully the rest of Bollywood would be listening.


                    Movie Review: Shoojit Sircar’s October


                      For most part of his career so far, Varun Dhawan has chosen to be the quintessential Bollywood hero, save one Badlapur. Which is why what he displays in October is not just refreshing, it surprises. As Dan, Varun takes on a garb of a person who could be rather annoying due to his inability to be practical enough. Dan’s simplicity is almost laughable. And yet, Varun adds an amazing level of likability to Dan, making him someone you could only root for, and probably fall in love with.

                      Varun shoulders the complexities of what Shoojit Sircar wishes to convey through October. And yet, the film is much beyond Dan. It is about life itself, complete with the uncertainties, the beauty and the despair… and hope. And it is about our ability to feel.

                      October is about Dan, and Shiuli. They are trainees in a five-star hotel in Delhi. Shiuli is almost prodigious, while Dan is unremarkable in what he does, despite his earnestness. These two barely interact and yet when Shiuli has an accident and falls into coma, Dan is affected in degrees unfathomable for most people. And that includes we as the audience. And this is where October faces its biggest challenge. In a world of people increasingly too caught up to feel for others, Dan comes as a jolt. He is almost unreal and makes us wonder what is wrong with him. Till Varun Dhawan finally wins you over… and makes us feel maybe it us who is the problem, not him.

                      His has made some extraordinary films, and yet with October, Shoojit Sircar surprises. As a director he is at his best. Sircar adds life to what Juhu Chaturvedi has beautifully written. Every shot, the music… almost everything speaks, together making the desired impact. Cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay uses steady shots to amazing effect, especially in the hospital, as he exposes the vulnerability of Shiuli’s family. Delhi winters have rarely looked better, even in the fog. The film in fact depends a lot of montages to build Dan’s character and speak for him when his not speaking. All of it well edited.

                      Also, while the film uses music well, this is not the regular film with songs. And despite not having songs to break the flow, like in usual Hindi flicks, October might come across as a tad slow. While it could be debated that the pace needed to be slow, so as to let the audience soak in what was on screen, it does get a little stretch at points. But then again, the screenplay lends itself to some beautiful light moments to keep the film going.

                      What also might come as a downer is the end of the film, almost annihilating what it seeks to preach. But then that’s probably the again the beauty of it. Of life as it is.

                      Banita Sandhu speaks without speaking and is an good find for Bollywood. But if there is something who leaves a mark, apart from Varun, it is Gitanjali Rao. Rao plays Shiuli’s mother, in what is her debut feature film. She is of course as rather well-known name in the theatre circuit and also been a director of some well awarded shorts. And it would be lovely to see her acting more often.

                      October is unlikely to be remembered as one of the year’s biggest success, commercially. But probably this will be one film that outlives many others. This is one film that will leave you overwhelmed and unsure how you feel about it, till you finally realise.

                      Note: If Judwaa 2 is your kind of entertainment, and you do not like deviations in that, maybe you could do ask someone to wake you up when October ends.



                      Also watch:

                      Website Find: The Incredible Egg


                        At the very onset of the article, let me tell you that although I can cook various kinds of foods but I am pathetic when it comes to egg. I am sure, many of us still struggle to make an omelette. Infact, I consider it to be a sign of a perfect day if there is milk in the refrigerator and the omelette comes out well. Google being the solution of all our problems, I was looking for an easy way to make an omelette when I found this website by the American Egg Board.

                        The website, The Incredible Egg is fully dedicated to eggs. You can find egg recipes, various nutritional knowledge about eggs, various good production process practices and a blog. It also provides knowledge about the various types of eggs and how to keep the hens comfortable to get good quality eggs. It also encourages people to start eating eggs by having a section on the nutritional value and the cholesterol myths of the egg.

                        Basic French Omelet. Photo courtesy: American Egg Board


                        It is a very interesting site because it also gives an idea to farmers around the world to keep them up-to-date with world standards. I love eggs in almost all of their forms, baked, poached, fried, scrambled, frittattas, etc. Eggs are one  of the most healthiest things you can have and the best part is that you eat it any time of the day. This site has a special section on various recipes of eggs. I was flabbergasted with the number of egg recipes the site features. The site has features from the most sophisticated recipes to the simplest of the recipes we have known. You will find everything from tips on storing & testing for freshness to getting that perfect sunny side up fried egg. Also, some microwave wisdom on how to cook eggs in microwave oven.

                        Classic Deviled Egg. Photo courtesy: American Egg Board

                        The Complete List Of 65th National Film Award Winners, Assamese Film Village Rockstars Win Big


                          Dada Saheb Phalke Award: Vinod Khanna

                          Best Film: Village Rockstars

                          Best Regional Film: Ladhakh

                          Best Non-Feature Film: Water Baby

                          Best Educational Film: The Girls We Were and The Women We Are

                          Best Animation Film: The Fish Curry and Tokri: The Basket

                          Best Children’s Film: Mhorkya,  Amar Bharat Deokar

                          Best Film on Art and Culture: Girija: A life of music

                          Best Film on Social Issues: I am Bonnie and Veil Done

                          Best Short Film (Fiction): Mayyat

                          Best Director Award: Jayraj for Bhayanakam

                          Best Non-Feature Films Director: Nagraj Manjule

                          Best Debut Film of a director: Pampally, Sinjar

                          Best Popular Film: Baahubali 2

                          Best Film for National Integration – Dhappa (Marathi)

                          Best film on Social Issues: Aalorukkam

                          Best Actress: Sridevi for Mom

                          Best Actor: Ridhhi Sen, Nagar Kirtan

                          Best supporting actress: Divya Dutta, Irada

                          Best Supporting Actor: Fahad Fazil, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

                          Best Child Actor – Bhanita Das, Village Rockstars

                          Best Action Direction: Baahubali 2

                          Best choreography: Gori tu Lath maar from Toilet Ek Prem Katha (Ganesh Acharya)

                          Best Cinematography: Bhayanakam (Cameraman: Nikhil S Praveen)

                          Best Special Effects: Baahubali 2

                          Special Jury Award: Nagar Kirtan(Bengali)

                          Best lyrics:  For song Muthu Ratna, for Kannada film March 22

                          Best Music Direction: A R Rahman for Kaatru Veliyidai

                          Background score: A R Rahman for Mom

                          Best Make-Up artist: Ram Razak for Nagar Kirtan

                          Best Production Design: Santosh Rajan for Take Off (Malayalam)

                          Best editing: Rima Das, Village Rockstars

                          Best Screenplay Original:  Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

                          Best Adapted Screenplay: Bhayankam, to Jairaj

                          Best Film playback Singer: Shasha Tirupati  (Vaan Varuvaan song)

                          Best Male Playback Singer: Yesudas


                          Regional Awards

                          Best Marathi Film: Kacha Nimbu

                          Best Malayalam Film: Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

                          Best Hindi Film: Newton

                          Best Bengali Film: Mayurakshi

                          Best Assamese Film: Ishu

                          Best Tamil Film: To Let

                          Best Telugu: Gazi

                          BEST Gujarati: DHH

                          Best Kannada film: Hebbettu Ramakka

                          Best Ladkhi film: Walking With The Wind

                          Best Tulu film: Paddayi

                          Best Oriya film: Hello Aarsi

                          Best Jasari film: Sinjar




                          Special Mention Award: Marathi Film – Murakhiya; Odia film: Hello RC; Take Off– Malayalam; Pankaj Tripathi bags a Special Mention award for Newton; Malayalam actor Parvathy too gets a special mention



                          Best Book on Cinema: Matmagi Manipur-The first Manipuri Feature Film’ authored by Bobby Wahengbam

                          Best Film Critic: Giridhar Jha

                          Special Mention for Film Criticism: Sunil Mishra of Madhya Pradesh

                          More Bodies Will Fall is a fast paced thriller

                            More Bodies Will Fall Cover

                            Ankush Saikia brings another Arjun Arora thriller this spring. A girl from Northeast is murdered but her murderer could not be tracked. A year after, her father who belonged to NNC at some time in the past, approaches Arjun Arora to solve the case. Hesitantly, Arjun Arora takes up the case. There are several suspects in the case but everyone seems to have a strong alibi. Arjun Arora collects the evidences piece by piece in a systematic way and decides to go to Northeast to collect further evidences. There, things get murkier and Arjun Arora has a brush with near death experiences 3 times. Read Remember Death

                            I picked up the book looking at the interesting cover and I was not disappointed. The fast paced narrative keeps the reader glued and getting involved in solving the case. Ankush Saikia manages to keep the suspense till the end. The story is craftily designed with a vivid narrative making it a page turner. Even after the case is solved, there are still few loose ends intentionally kept for reader’s imagination. The ending starts with, “Once the police and lawyers get involved, the statements will change. He will come up with an alibi. No, it’s better he faces justice back home.”More Bodies Will Fall Cover

                            As always, Ankush Saikia is very bold in introducing as many characters as he needs. With every clue that takes the case step further, a new character is introduced but it is well justified to the story. While solving the case, Arjun Arora gets to meet various rebel groups in Nagaland and Manipur. Ankush Saikia also manages to make a political commentary in a mild manner through this thriller. The rebel extremist groups, the unlimited money of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, the drug mafia. Ankush Saikia touches everything and brings out an interesting novel. Ankush Saikia used the extremist angle in his book Red River Blue Hills but he takes it to altogether a different level and makes the trail all the more interesting.

                            Also Read Dead Meat


                            Salman Khan Deepest Secret Revealed!!

                            We found evidence about this TRUTH ABOUT SALMAN on Gemius, the most visited social media platform in Romania!


                            Lot of people were left laughing when Salman Khan had talked about being a virgin in the Koffee With Karan show a couple of years back. Such was the impact that it soon ended up becoming a rather regularly discussed topic during coffee table discussions. And which is why what we have just gathered from our sources will completely surprise you, possible leave you speechless.

                            Far from being single, Salman Khan is in fact a married man now. And this is not a recent development. In fact, this happened over two years back – making it one of the most well-kept secret of our times. Speechless? We don’t blame you. We were left zapped too!

                            One of the closest aides of Salman, who literally travels with him wherever the Dabangg actor goes recently happened to reveal this to an outsider – a slip of tongue that happened after a help gulped a shot or two of tequila at a sub-urban Mumbai 5-star hotel. This outsider, a rather trusted source for us over the years, could not hide her excitement as she filled us up on the entire incident.

                            And this is what we got to know – Salman Khan indeed married Iulia Vantur in the winter of 2016. If you may recall, there were much media reportage about their impending wedding around November 2016. What the Indian media failed to however discover is that Salman had actually travelled to Romania with Iulia in early 2016 and got married in a quiet ceremony at a church. “His aide revealed that the ceremony was so low key that only the parents of the groom and bride were involved. Salman evidently asked his brothers to stay in India, so that the media did not get curious and start digging information,” tells us our source. That’s exactly what happened when Anushka and Virat left for Italy with their entire families – despite not wanting the media to know, the paparazzi actually figured all the plans. Clearly Salman was smarter.

                            Not anymore though. Because no sooner did our source give us the information we at Fried Eye activated all our resources to find whatever we could about the wedding.


                            And here’s what we got

                            The date of wedding was July 24, 2016.

                            Location –  A church in Bukovina, Romania.

                            Dress – A regular white gown for Iulia and black Tuxedo for Salman.

                            What is amazing is that we even managed to find a picture… which was uploaded by one of the members of the church in Gemius – the most used social media platform in Romania.


                            Here’s the link to the picture.


                            Did this make your Sunday? We bet I did! We are all so delighted. BTW, Happy April Fool’s Day! We love you too!