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India has one less reason to laugh; our favourite ‘Gajodar Bhaiyya’ is no more

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Known for his earthy humour and inimitable delivery style, comedian Raju Srivastav, who became a household name in his delightful ‘Gajodhar Bhaiyya’ persona, breathed his last on Wednesday, September 21, aged 59. The popular comedian battled for his life for 43 days.

He passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where he had been rushed on August 9 after he complained of chest pain and collapsed in the South Delhi gym where he was working out.

Srivastav was at once moved to the Intensive Care Unit and put on a ventilator. Doctors had then said that he had suffered brain damage.

Born on December 25, 1963, Satya Prakash Srivastava, who later became famous as Raju Srivastava, came from a middle-class family in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

A gifted mimic, the comedy star had his share on initial struggles before attracting notice by mimicking megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s iconic baritone voice. That got him invited to stage shows both within and outside India.

He first appeared in small roles in Bollywood films, such as the 1989 Salman Khan-starrer ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’, where he essayed the role of Shambhu, a house help. He then appeared in Shah Rukh Khan’s defining film ‘Baazigar’, which was released in 1993.

Srivastava was then seen in films such as ‘Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa’ (2001), ‘Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon’ (2003), ‘Big Brother’ (2007) and ‘Bombay To Goa’ (2007), among many others.

His big breakthrough came in 2005, however, with the first season of ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’, which opened the doors for him in the world of stand-up comedy.

He finished as second runner-up and then took part in the spin-off, ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – Champions’, where he was feted with the title of ‘The King of Comedy’.

In 2009, he took over the cameras, quite literally, as he joined the reality show ‘Bigg Boss 3’. Following that, he was seen in ‘Comedy Ka Maha Muqabala’.

The beauty of his life was that he constantly kept pushing the envelope. In 2013, Srivastava, along with his wife Shikha, participated in the popular dance show ‘Nach Baliye’ Season 6. Soon thereafter, he also appeared on ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’.

He even branched out into politics! The Samajwadi Party fielded Srivastava from Kanpur in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, but he returned the ticked and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi named him to be a part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, for which he has shot various TV commercials and social service video.

He is survived by Shikha, whom he married in 1993, and their children Antara and Ayushman.

Bollywood

Review: Karan Razdan’s ‘Hindutva Chapter 1’ explores identity of being a Hindu today

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Film: Hindutva Chapter One – Main Hindu Hoon (playing in theatres) Director: Karan Razdan. Cast: Aashiesh Sharrma, Sonarika Bhadoria, Ankit Raj, Govind Namdev, Anup Jalota.

IANS Rating: 3.5 stars

Writer, producer, and director Karan Razdan’s film ‘Hindutva Chapter One – Main Hindu Hoon’ has been in the news for its title and theme. The film has been released in theatres this week. Ever since the trailer of the film and its strong title song came out and was well received by the audience, people were waiting for the picture, so when the film came out, the audience grabbed it.

The film presents the story of today’s youth. The film depicts the depth of Hindutva through the main characters and dialogues. If seen, it is based on the story of friendship, love, and student politics.

Bharat Shastri played by Aashiesh Sharrma, is the son of a Hindu priest who comes to prominence after his fierce speech in response to a protest orchestrated by the college student leader. Through its lead character Bharat Shastri, the film Hindutva tells the story of Bhaarat (India).

Aashiesh Sharma has been exemplary in his performance and has beautifully carried the film on his shoulders. Bharat Shastri’s character will receive a lot of love from the audience as he raises very sensitive but important questions with a tone that does make you think without being subjected to feeling opinionated. This is not an easy feat to achieve especially when the subject is so sensitive not just in India but throughout the world.

Ankit Raj plays the character of Sameer Siddiqui in the film. Sameer is a popular student leader who believes his community is discriminated against. He pretends to be a leftist, but he fights to protect his (Qaum) community. However, his parents are liberal Muslims. They love Bharat (Aashiesh Sharrma) like a son. Sameer is in love with Sapna (Sonarika Bhadoria) and Sapna is in love with his leadership at the university.

The story is kept interesting in such a way that Bharat and Sameer are childhood friends. But now they are divided due to their respective ideologies and this becomes the reason for their mammoth conflict.

Meanwhile, Bhalerao (Govind Namdev) persuades Bharat to contest the university elections against Sameer Siddiqui.

After this, the game of turns and twists begins. Sapna turns sides and Sameer becomes a loser in love. Sapna comes closer to Bharat but Bharat struggles to prove to the world what is the true meaning of Hindutva, what is the history of Hindutva. Hindutva has taught us how to approach science through meditation. The film delves into the meaning of Hindutva.

As far as the acting is concerned, Aashiesh has been flawless in his performance and embodies the true essence of Hindutva. He has been able to keep the audience gripped throughout the film. It is a treat to watch Aashiesh Sharrma in his element and has lived the character of Bharat with a vigour that is worth watching.

Ankit Raj has done full justice to his character and has given life to the role of Sameer Siddiqui in his debut film. The confrontation of both the characters and the dialogue between them builds a strong narrative for the film.

Nowadays, everyone waits for the monologue of the main character in many Bollywood movies and this time Aashiesh Sharma has delivered it perfectly. The audience is surprised when he speaks a long monologue about the definition of Hindutva, and its history. This dialogue gives the audience goosebumps. This scene is portrayed perfectly by Aashiesh Sharma with his amazing dialogue delivery.

Sonarika Bhadoria has also left her mark on the character of Sapna. Sapna has an attitude and she has adopted this approach very well. She looks very beautiful and attractive on screen. Anup Jalota has not only sung a bhajan in the film but he is also seen acting.

Produced under the banners of JAIKARA Films and Pragun Bharat, this film is well-written and directed by Karan Razdan. He has made a better cinema by doing a lot of research on a sensitive subject. He has also drawn strong performances from all the actors. The music of the film is its plus point.

The movie Hindutva is worth watching because of its theme, presentation, some amazing dialogues, and wonderful performances by the actors. The film is produced by Sachin Choudhary and Karan Razdan.

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Parineeti dedicates ‘Code Name: Tiranga’ to unsung protectors of India

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Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, who is currently gearing up for her first action film, ‘Code Name: Tiranga’, in which she stars opposite Punjabi star Harrdy Sandhu, recently shared that the film is dedicated to the unsung heroes of India, whose sacrifices protect the nation.

The actress will be seen essaying the role of a spy in the film, who is on an extremely risky mission to save India.

The actress said in a statement, “‘Code Name: Tiranga’ is dedicated to all the unsung protectors of India like our brave soldiers, our daredevil agents and every single person who has sacrificed everything to protect our country! I have always been fascinated by such people all my life.”

She further mentioned, “So, for me, to be doing a film in which I pay tribute to these warriors of our nation is a matter of great pride and honour. Their lives have inspired us to be better human beings and we are all indebted to them for their courage and valour that has saved our country countless times.”

The film has been directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, who had earlier directed the actress in the streaming movie ‘The Girl on the Train’.

‘Code Name: Tiranga’ will release in theatres on October 14.

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Parag Kansara passes away, Sunil Pal remembers the late comedian

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 After the demise of well-known comedian Raju Srivastava, Parag Kansara of ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ fame passed away on Wednesday. He was 51.

His industry friend and popular stand-up comedian, Sunil Pal took to his Instagram handle to share this sad news.

Sunil said: “Hello friends, another shocking and bad news has come out from the world of comedy. Parag Kansara ji our ‘Laughter Challenge’ co-contestant is no more in this world. Parag, who used to do reverse-thinking comedy and make us laugh, is no more.”

He expressed his grief about the great losses in the comedy world in the past few days and said: “I don’t know why the people who make everyone laugh and their families are going through this. One by one, the pillars of comedy are moving away from us.”

Sunil also recalled the other comedians, who lost their lives recently including Raju Srivastava, Deepesh Bhan, Ashok Sundrani, and Anant Shrimani. He talked about these comedians and how they make everyone laugh and make them forget their pain and agony.

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