At 75, Amitabh Bachchan remains the most-wanted endorser in Bollywood

Amitabh Bachchan Birthday

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Everyone is looking for the original Don of Bollywood — and with good reason. In the fickle business of stardom, Amitabh Bachchan — who turns 75 this Wednesday — has managed to remain relevant, anchoring Kaun Banega Crorepati, starring in films, and endorsing products.


Currently, he is one of the busiest actors in the country. After he is done shooting for KBC for Sony TV, he will be on the sets of 102 Not Out — a feature film in which he plays Rishi Kapoor’s father. It is expected to hit the screens next year. According to the latest Forbes’ list of richest actors in the country, he is ranked nine, with earnings of $9 million. This puts him ahead of Ranbir Kapoor (earning $8.5 million). He is the only one on the list above 60 years of age.


While his last film Sarkar 3 (2017) bombed, producers believe he can still hit the jackpot if the content of a film is good, such as Piku (2015) or Pink (2016). That’s the reason he still commands an attractive fee of Rs 7-10 crore per film, according to analysts.

Age is no impediment to his work as an endorser, either. Bachchan is the first choice for many corporate brands and also for governments looking to push social messages. Currently, he endorses 10 brands — ranging from inner wear (Lux Cozi), mobile phones (One Plus), jewellery (Kalyan Jewellers), air conditioners (LLoyd), to e-commerce sites (Just Dial), to name a few.


Bachchan is also the brand ambassador for the goods and services tax.


Companies are happy to fork out Rs 2 crore a day (most companies generally hire him for three to five days), because they know his magic will work. So what makes him tick at 75, when most stars are content with a Lifetime Achievement Award? (He has already got the coveted Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award.)


Bhusan Kumar, chairman of Super Cassettes that owns the T-Series brand and is producing 102 Not Out, said “Piku and Pink have shown that with good content, Amitji’s movies do very well. What makes him different is his energy level — the discipline, his contribution in promotions, and his professionalism” Kumar is already talking to Bachchan to produce another movie. Film analyst Komal Nahta also pointed out that while some of his movies have flopped, no one has blamed Big B. “He is talented and disciplined as well as professional — that is a potent combination in Bollywood,” he said.




Grand ‘Padmavati’ trailer shows strength of Rajputs

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The newly launched trailer of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavati” spells grandeur and focuses on the valour of Rajputs, and not any romantic angle between the characters of Padmavati and the medieval-era Delhi ruler Alauddin Khilji.


The possibility of any romantic scene had become the reason for the film and filmmaker getting attacked by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena earlier.


The trailer was launched at 13:03 hours on Monday, as 1303 was the year the Rajputs fought valiantly for their honour.


With actor Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh mouthing dialogues praising the Rajputs and actress Deepika Padukone as Rajput queen Padmavati emphasising on the strength of Rajputi bangles, the trailer is mostly about the Hindu warriors.


In fact, it shows the love shared by Maharawal Ratan Singh and his wife Padmavati as they are seen exchanging love-filled glances a lot of times.


Actor Ranveer Singh, known for his live-wire acts, looks and feels fierce and aggressive as Alauddin Khilji, who leads an army to wage a war against the Rajputs in the trailer.


It’s not just about muscle power and the size of armies that the trailer focuses on. The background song with lyrics revolving around ‘Ranisa’ and her powerful dialogue – “Rajputi kangan mai utni hee takat hai jitni Rajput talwar mai” (Rajput’s bangles have the same strength as Rajput’s sword) proves that Deepika is presented as more than just a pretty queen.


But her beauty cannot be missed as she walks with a poise of a royal, dressed in ornate jewellery and ethnic wear with intricate details to suit her part.


The over three-minute trailer also gives a dekko of the film’s high production value, with its wide angle shots suggesting the army of people used to shoot the period movie.


Filmmmaker Karan Johar was quick to praise the trailer of the film.


He tweeted: “Bhansali is the bonafide master craftsman of Indian cinema. Breathtaking and magnificent visuals all over PadmavatiTrailer.”


Hrithik Roshan wrote: “Unparalleled potential. Like never before.”


Alia Bhatt said she was “blown away” by the trailer, while singer Shreya Ghoshal said it gave her “pure goosebumps”.


During its production, the film witnessed many ups and down.


Earlier this year, activists of Shri Rajput Karni Sena assaulted Bhansali and vandalised the movie’s Jaipur set over alleged distortions in the film’s script.


They were forced to move to Maharashtra to continue shooting. Still, an outdoor set of the historic period drama in Kolhapur was burnt down after two dozen unidentified people torched it.


The Shri Rajput Karni Sena has maintained it will oppose screening of the film if facts are “distorted”.


Padmavati“, presented by Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Bhansali Productions, is set for a December 1 release.


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Shocking and must read! Hrithik Roshan makes his first ever statement on Kangana issue

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Hrithik Roshan has finally broken his silence!


The actor on Thursday issued a statement after almost two years of silence, addressing the fiasco for the first time even as Kangana has been accusing him of misleading her.


In his statement, Hrithik has accused the actress of stalking him via her social media pages.


His statement read: “I choose to be on a path of creativity, productivity and constructive work. Anything that isn’t in alignment with that, I tend to ignore, sidestep and treat as a distraction.


I believe that ignorance, non reaction and staying on the path of dignity is the best way to discourage any persistent unwanted intrusions. But Just like a nagging health issue sometimes ignored can turn malignant, this situation for me has unfortunately turned malignant.


In case of the matter at hand , it seems the media has no intention of letting go.

I don’t see any grace in adding to this circus by testifying in defence of my character in a situation that I have no involvement in whatsoever.


I have been dragged into a dirty perverse mess without a choice in the matter. This is something that is not of my making.


The truth is, I have never met the lady in question one on one in my entire life. Yes, we have worked together, but there has been no meeting in private. Thats the truth Please understand, I am not fighting against an allegation of an affair. Or being childish trying to uphold a ‘good guy” image. I am very aware of my faults, I am human.


I am in fact protecting myself from something far more serious, sensitive and destructive than that.


Sadly, very few from the media or the public seem to be interested in the truth. This has been a hard-learnt fact for me.

If the people are comfortable with a lie because it doesn’t threaten their model of the world where a girl is the victim and the man the aggressor then so be it. I am ok with that too.


Women have suffered centuries of abuse at the hands of men and it infuriates me how some men can be so brutal and they deserve the harshest punishment. But by that logic if it ordains that one man can’t be vulnerable and one woman can’t be a liar, so be it. I’m ok with that too.



Ittefaq’ makers want to push conventional cinema’s boundary


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As the Sidharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha-starrer crime thriller “Ittefaq” is gearing up for release, Juno Chopra of B.R. Films, one of the co-producers of the film, says that with the adaptation of their grandfather B.R. Chopra’s celebrated film of the same name, they are trying to raise the level of crime thrillers in Hindi cinema.


The 100-minute crime thriller, the trailer of which released on Thursday, revolves around two murders and two suspects of the event where one police officer struggles through an investigation to unveil the truth.


While the film is an adaptation of the 1969 Rajesh Khanna and Nanda starrer, according to Juno, the story was ahead of its time and it was quite an interesting process to set the film in the modern time.


In a chat with IANS after showing the film’s trailer here, Juno said: “Though our Hindi cinema is known for the song-dance sagas, in the late 1960s’ era, when songs used to play an important part of storytelling, ‘Ittefaq‘ was one of the films with no songs in it. Our grandfather tried to push the boundary of conventional cinema with that film.


“As a youngster, it was our dream to reccreate the same. This film is a dream.”


Was there any creative challenge to establish a relevance of the story in today’s time?


“You see, no challenges can be hard enough that can’t be worked out. As I said, it was on our wish list. Abhay (Abhay Chopra) and I worked really hard to make the story interesting. Yes, there were challenges, but that drives us to do better.”


Directed by Juno’s brother Abhay, the film has been produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and Dharma Production along with B.R. Films.


Considering the fact that film is a crime thriller, it is quite interesting to notice how differently the producers are planning to promote the film without doing a series of film promotional activities with media interactions and utilising television platforms with the main star cast.


Asked if that is challenging, Juno said: “Yes, but we do not want any part of the story goes out before the film releases and therefore we are not talking much about the story of the film, and not giving an insight.”


They last produced “Bareilly ki Barfi”, which was embraced by the audience.


“I would like to thank every person in the audience who supported the film ‘Bareily Ki Barfi’ and made it a commercial success. It surely has given us, as young producers, a level of confidence about identifying the potentially good story that matches the taste of our audience.


“I think it will surely create an interest among the audience to come to the theatre and watch ‘Ittefaq’ because we are here with another great story,” said Juno.



Judwaa 2′: Varun shines in an unimaginative rehash (IANS Review, Rating: **1/2)


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Film: “Judwaa 2”; Director: David Dhawan; Cast: Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Tapsee Pannu, Vivan Bhatena, Sachin Khedekar, Zakir Husain, Rajpal Yadav, Anupam Kher and Upasana Singh; Rating: **1/2


Coming from the stable of the gifted director David Dhawan, known for his comic entertainers, his latest film “Judwaa 2 Reviews” seems like a rehash of other films and his earlier gags and funnies.


In this edition, the tale of the identical twins continues. It shares the same premise as the 1997 Salman Khan blockbuster, but unlike its previous edition, this one is shallow and lacklustre.


David Dhawan soft-pedals the main theme of the film with a revenge drama, where Rajiv Malhotra the father of the twins, gets Charles a smuggler arrested. He is imprisoned for 22 years, but before going to jail, Charles swears to return and take revenge.


Comedy usually twists the norm and sprinkles it with irony, but here, there is no irony; just twisting. The twins, Prem and Raja are separated at birth, initiated by Charles of course. But just before their separation, we are told that the duo share unique dynamics; “If one is hurt, the other can feel the pain. If one finds something funny, the other too will start laughing. Theirs is a one in an eight million case.”


With this as the base, one expects to have a roller-coaster ride in “Judwaa 2“. But unfortunately, the film tries hard to play off the rules of comedy.


Prem, the timid one, is inclined towards music and is brought up by his parents in London. And, Raja the boisterous one with no real agenda in life, is brought up by a foster mother Kashibai — a fisherwoman from Versova, Mumbai.


The narrative takes a leap, 22 years after the separation. The twins’ paths merge when Raja moves to London along with his bestie Nandu, after hitting Alex – a dreaded goon. How they unite in the end forms the crux of the tale.


The plot, more often than not, focuses on Prem and Raja’s relationship with Samara (Tapsee Pannu) and Alisha (Jacqueline Fernandez) and not between the two brothers who have contrasting personalities.


Shahid is the courageous royal in ‘Padmavati’ first look


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Shahid Kapoor unveiled his first look from the upcoming film “Padmavati” and the actor appeared every bit royal and brave as Chittor ruler Maharawal Ratan Singh.


The 36-year-old actor, who will be seen portraying Queen Padmavati‘s (played by Deepika Padukone) consort, in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed magnum opus, took to Twitter to release the poster. “MahaRawal Ratan Singh.


The embodiment of courage, strength and respect,” Shahid wrote in Hindi, alongside the still photograph.


The actor sports a bloodied white angarkha with his face slashed with battle scars only to be glowing with the signature Rajput tilak, twirled moustache with a beard and kohled eyes, amid action in the warfield. In another still, a close-up shot, Shahid Kapoor can be seen wearing the armour.


Co-stars Deepika and Ranveer Singh, who plays Alauddin Khilji, also shared Shahid’s look on social media. On September 21, the makers had released Deepika’s first look as the fierce queen.

Releasing on December 1, the period drama is jointly produced by Bhansali Productions and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.



Haseena Parkar’ survives the curse of a clunky lead (Review)

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Film: “Haseena Parkar“; Director: Apoorva Lakhia; Cast: Shraddha Kapoor, Siddhanth Kapoor, Priyanka Setia, Ankur Bhatia, Rajesh Tailang, Rating: ****


If only Haseena Parkar didn’t suffer from the curse of clunky, inept, shoddy central performance, it would have been a far more watchable potboiler on gangsterism. And I use the word “potboiler” with all due respect. It’s not easy to make a massy masala movie out of the mayhem and murkiness of the mafia kingdom.


Rahul Dholakia’s “Raees” earlier this year wedded crime and kitsch. Apoorva Lakhia does it with a fair share of elan and chutzpah.


“Haseena Parkar” is about that Dubai-based gangster who allegedly ran his nefarious business activities in Mumbai through his sister in the 1990s.


The brother and the sister had themselves a blast.Fortuitously, Lakhia doesn’t miss Da-wood for the trees.


The carefully charted journey of Haseena Parkar secretes enough enigma mystery intrigue dread uncertainty fear and blood to keep us watching for two hours.


Fasahat Khan shoots the shoot-outs and the volatile shindigs in shades of sinister death. For better or for worse, Lakhia keeps the pacing frenzied, almost ruinously so. Barely are the characters given a chance to breathe their frustration and rage into a system that is so corrupt it fosters criminality.

The uneven pacing pumped up with a pounding background score clearly indicates the director’s massy intentions. And no harm in that. If only Lakhia’s principal lead had insight into what she was supposed to do.


Shraddha Kapoor slides cluelessly through the various lies and lives of Haseena Parkar with a complete absence of inner conviction. Her performance is so surface-level, I wondered if I’ve seen a more sorry instance of miscasting in recent times.


The unknown actress (Priyanka Setia), who plays the public prosecutor in the interestingly constructed courtroom scenes, effortlessly steals every frame from the female lead. Haseena’s lawyer, played by Rajesh Tailang, is equally compelling. And Ankur Bhatia as Parkar’s husband is suitably filmy flamboyant and fleeting in his brief role. The rest of the teeming cast barely gets a chance to register in the bloodsplattered storytelling.


Shraddha’s Haseena is a whiney, self-important, delusional trouble-shooter. Siddhant Kapoor’s Dawood is better, more roundly shaped probably because the actor is required largely to speak on the phone to a sister whom he repeatedly extends a helping hand, and not in the way other siblings do.