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Monday,02-August-2021

Bollywood

Ajay Devgn not the man in viral Delhi brawl video: Actor’s team

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Actor Ajay Devgn’s office has issued a statement clarifying that a video being circulated of a man involved in a Delhi brawl is not him.

The video shows two men fighting outside a pub, using unparliamentary language. One of the men, wearing a white shirt, has been being mistaken for Ajay.

The statement reads: “Post the promotion of ‘Tanhaji-The Unsung Warrior’ in January 2020, Ajay Devgn has not visited Delhi. So media reports of a brawl involving the superstar outside a Delhi pub are absolutely baseless and untrue. We request news agencies and media picking this up to please note that Mr Devgn has been in Mumbai the entire time shooting for ‘Maidaan’, ‘MayDay’ and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ and he hasn’t set foot in the Capital in 14 months. Request all media to please cross check before putting out anything.”

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7 Hindi films that broke stereotypes with portrayal of surrogacy

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The recent OTT-released film ‘Mimi’ is getting a lot of admiration from the audience for the portrayal of the complex subject of surrogacy in a nuanced way.

In the film, Kriti Sanon plays the role of a dancer who agrees to be a surrogate mother for an American couple in exchange for Rs 20 lakh. The film is an adaptation of the Marathi film ‘Mala Aai Vhhaychy’ (I Want to Be A Mother), that released in 2010.

Before Mimi, several other Bollywood movies have also dealt with the concept of surrogate motherhood.

IANS takes a look at the other Hindi films that tackle the subject of surrogacy:

‘Good Newwz’

The 2019 film ‘Good Newzz’ is a comedy-drama based on the concept of in-vitro fertilisation. Starring Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kiara Advani and Diljit Dosanjh it is about a hilarious swap that happens when the two couples attempt surrogacy. Directed by Raj Mehta, the film revolves around two couples with the same surnames pursuing in-vitro fertilisation and waiting for their upcoming babies. However, trouble ensues when they find that the sperm of each couple has been mixed with the other.

‘Vicky Donor’

Shoojit Sircar’s romantic-comedy ‘Vicky Donor’ starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam with Annu Kapoor in a pivotal role, is a story about the edgy adventures of a sperm donor. Released in 2012 the concept is set against the background of sperm donation and infertility within a Bengali-Punjabi household. Ayushmann’s character broke many stereotypes as he played the role of a massively fertile sperm donor.

‘I Am’

In Onir’s critically acclaimed anthology ‘I Am’, a segment titled ‘I Am Afia’ is on the subject of surrogacy. Starring Nandita Das and Purab Kohli, the film was released in 2010. The film portrays a single woman who desires to be a mother but is scared of how society will treat her unconventional journey. Unable to trust or even wait for a man, her search is defined with her identity made whole through the singular feminine experience of motherhood.

‘Filhaal’

Meghna Gulzar, daughter of lyricist Gulzar and actress Raakhee, made her directorial debut with ‘Filhaal’ in 2002. The film was ahead of its time when romantic genres were only accepted in Bollywood. Meghna boldly took on the sensitive topic of surrogacy in a tender manner. The film gives a nuanced portrayal of the surrogacy process, and simultaneously, shows how all this complicates interpersonal relationships and how motherhood affects women. Tabu and Sushmita Sen are seen in powerful roles as best friends who are always there for each other. While Tabu isn’t able to conceive due to birth complications, Sushmita offers to be their surrogate mother. As the movie progresses, it shows conflicts between the two best friends.

‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’

Starring Salman Khan, Rani Mukerji, and Preity Zinta in the lead roles, this film reached a wider audience due to the multi-starrer cast and commercial viability. Directed by Abbas-Mustan, released in 2001, the movie has a melodramatic approach to surrogacy, while its storyline’s emphasis on having a biological child. A married couple hires a sex worker to be their child’s surrogate mother. However, things get difficult for the couple when the prostitute falls in love with the husband and insists on keeping the baby. The film was inspired by the story of ‘Doosri Dulhan’, one of the first films made on surrogacy.

‘Doosri Dulhan’

This 1983 film was way ahead of its time. The film revolves around a childless couple who hire a sex worker to carry their child. Directed by Lekh Tandon, the film had popular actors Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, and Victor Banerjee in lead roles. The film wasn’t accepted well at the box office, as it would be if released now. In the film, a childless couple brings home a sex worker to bear a child for them. The film was inspired by the American film ‘The Baby Maker’.

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Johnny Lever is smiling because comedy is now serious business

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 In recent times, one of the renowned Marathi comedian-actor-mimicry artists Madhav Moghe passed away and Bollywood veteran Johnny Lever paid tribute to him. Looking back at this whole transformation of how the presence of comedians used to be quite elementary back in the day in cinema to now, as youngsters are making it a full-time profession and counted as ‘artists’ by society, Johnny tries to analyse the change.

In conversation with IANS, Johnny said, “I remember back in the day, when I was a youngster, doing a full-time job and in the free time looking for platforms to perform as a comedian, all the so-called elite clubs in Colaba wouldn’t entertain a comedian. This used to be so ‘unsophisticated’ for them. I wondered why? Was is it our jokes that weren’t relatable for them or were differences in sense of humour that created the barrier? I went to the Radio Club, Colaba and tried to observe people over there. Their coffee-table conversation, their sense of humour and realised it is a combination of both. Every joke has an audience, we have to serve it to the right place.”

He went on adding, “But it is also true that for the longest time, the business of comedy was never taken seriously. That is why perhaps we, the stand-up comedians, the mimicry artists were neither taken seriously nor given the respect and money we deserved. You see, we would travel with big celebrated artists and would get a small stage time, just for comic relief. Now, when I see all the youngsters, including my daughter Jamie (Lever) doing a whole show I realised the progressive change has come!”

While Johnny believes that his popularity in Bollywood films also helped him to flourish and gathered more crowds he recalls how earlier especially in cinema, there was a dearth of good comic writers.

“The whole process of structured writing was not existing for the longest time and for comedy scenes, it has to be 30 per cent writing and 70 per cent improvisation. I remember how in ‘Baazigar’ I was told to include my moments in the scene while acting. Those moments were quite improvised…” recalled the actor who is known for his performances in films like ‘Raja Hindustani’, ‘Dulhe Raja’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Coolie No.1’ among many others.

However, he believes that there is a clear distinction between comedy that is happening in the regional scene like in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and in Hindi. He also pointed out how some content is quite westernised whereas some are pure entertainment.

“Since the new culture of ‘stand-up comedy’ is coming from western culture, the style and the humour is also urban at times. But it is good to see how some Indian comedians are creating content that is very local, fun and adding various elements including mimicry! Making the voice of another famous person, adding a dash of humour to that and the amount of practice it requires for right voice modulation – trust me it is a task. Mimicry is an art, those who are doing it are artists,” said Johnny.

He also shared how late Madhav Moghe, who appeared in Hindi films like ‘Damini’, ‘Ghatak’ and some of the popular Marathi films, used to do mimicry of Sanjeev Kumar from ‘Sholay’ – and it inspired Johnny. Moghe was also associated with Melody Makers Orchestra and travelled the world with various artists. Johnny paid tribute to the late actor as president of MAAM (Mimicry Artist Association Mumbai).

“I was a youngster who would go to watch his live performances whenever I got a chance and he was an inspiration to me. He would make many sounds including planes, trains, animals as well as of famous actors. It was a moment for me when I told myself, ‘Mujhe inke jaisa banna hai’. Back then, I had to prove to my father before quitting my job that I can run our kitchen by doing small roles in films and comedies. Today, my daughter Jamie who is also a budding comedian doesn’t have to prove that to me!” Johnny signed off.

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Kriti says sudden weight loss-gain ‘not a healthy thing to do’

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Kriti Sanon recites self-penned poem against domestic violence.

 Kriti Sanon walked the extra mile to nail her look in the film ‘Mimi’. The actress had to put on some extra kilos to play a pregnant woman and gained weight in “two and a half months”.

She agrees it is not a healthy thing to do but adds that she wanted to take an extra step for the character as she felt that there is something for her in it.

“Obviously, it’s not a very healthy thing to do too often so you have to make sure…I wouldn’t do this again and again for a character…I told myself I won’t do this again but I think when you get a character which gives you so much to do as an actor then you end up giving yourself a lot back,” Kriti told IANS.

The 31-year-old actress added that she was willing to push those boundaries and go all out.

She said: “I always knew that this is something that has a lot for me in it so I think I was kind of willing to go that extra mile and it made a huge difference on screen. So, that makes all the impact.”

“Bodily, it’s not a very healthy thing to do, especially because I have put on weight like in two, two and half months.”

The actress revealed her weight gain and loss journey was very natural.

“I got my time to lose it…I did it all very naturally…but yes, as an actor you have to take care of your body and make sure you’re not making it go through these changes too often,” Kriti said.

‘Mimi’ also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Sai Tamhankar, Supriya Pathak and Manoj Pahwa. It is streaming on Jio Cinema and Netflix.

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