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Friday,27-May-2022

Bollywood

Kathak’s living legend, Pandit Birju Maharaj, dies at 83

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The living legend of Kathak, Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease a few days ago and put on dialysis, died at his home here late on Sunday. He was 83.

Maharaj ji, as he was popularly known, was said to be playing with his grandsons when his health unexpectedly deteriorated, requiring him to be rushed to the hospital, where he died of a heart attack.

A recipient of the country’s second highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, Maharaj ji was also a lifelong Kathak guru as well as a talented Hindustani classical singer and percussionist.

He will be remembered by cinema buffs for the two period dance sequences in Satyajit Ray’s historical drama ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’ (for which he sang as well) and for the ‘Kaahe Chhed Mohe’ track picturised on Madhuri Dixit in the 2002 version of ‘Devdas’.

Maharaj ji won the National Award for choreographing ‘Unnai Kaanadhu Naan’ in the Kamal Haasan multi-lingual megahit ‘Vishwaroopam’ and the Filmfare Awards for the Bajirao Mastani number ‘Mohe Rang Do Laal’.

Adnan Sami, one of the first artistes to pay his tributes to the doyen of Kathak, said in a tweet: “Extremely saddened by the news about the passing away of Legendary Kathak Dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. We have lost an unparalleled institution in the field of the performing arts. He has influenced many generations through his genius. May he rest in peace.”

Another early tribute came from Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who tweeted: “Pandit Birju ji Maharaj was a doyen of India’s art and culture. He popularised the Lucknow gharana of Kathak dance form around the world. … His passing away is a monumental loss to the world of performing arts.”

Birju Maharaj was the son of the exponent of the Lucknow gharana, Jagannath Maharaj, better known as Acchan Maharaj, whom he lost when he was just nine. His uncles were the renowned Shambhu Maharaj and Lacchu Maharaj.

He taught at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Kathak Kendra, both in Delhi, from where he retired as director in 1998.

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Prithviraj’ name changed to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’

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The title of Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film ‘Prithviraj’ has been changed the film is now called ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, according to a letter issued by Yash Raj Films.

The letter has been sent to the Shree Rajput Karni Sena. The move comes after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Shree Rajput Karni Sena, through Advocate Raghavendra Mehrotra.

The letter reads: “We, Yash Raj Films Private Limited, have been one of the leading production houses and distribution companies since its inception in the 1970s and continue to grow as one of India’s largest film studios. We have produced some of the most iconic films in the history of Indian cinema and have goodwill from over 50 years in the entertainment industry.”

“We are committed to constantly creating and producing content for enjoyment of all audiences.”

“The letter further read: “We sincerely appreciate your effort in alerting us about your grievance in relation to the current title of the Film, and assure you that we did not, and do not, intend to hurt the sentiments of any person(s) or disrespect the late king and warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan.

“In fact, we wish to celebrate his bravery, achievements, and contribution to our nation’s history, through this Film.”

“As per the multiple rounds of discussions between us, and to peacefully and amicably resolve the raised grievance, we will change the title of the Film to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’.

“We are highly appreciative of the mutual agreement reached between us that you have no further objections with regards to our Film and that all other points raised by you earlier are no longer a point of contention between us. We thank Shri Rajput Karni Sena and its members for understanding our good intentions pertaining to the depiction of the great warrior in the Film.”

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Bollywood

Is ‘Adhikari’ the title of Ram Charan-Shankar’s film with Kiara Advani?

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The upcoming big-budget film starring Ram Charan and directed by Shankar Shanmugham has been in the works for some time. There are rumours aplenty now that a tentative title has been circulated.

According to online sources, the tentative title for ‘RC15’ is ‘Adhikari’. The title has been well received in social media, as it is appropriate for all of the languages in which the film is being produced.

Ram Charan plays an IAS officer and the plot revolves around politics. Kiara Advani, who previously appeared alongside Ram Charan in ‘Vinaya Vidheya Rama’, will also be seen with the Telugu star in this political drama.

Ram Charan, who made national headlines with S.S. Rajamouli blockbuster ‘RRR’, has shifted his focus entirely to this film with Shankar following the failure of ‘Acharya’, where he appeared with his father Chiranjeevi.

‘RC15’, which is being bankrolled by Dil Raju, has been written by Karthik Subbaraj of ‘Petta’ fame.

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Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani enthrall fans in Delhi with ‘The Punjaabban’ song

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Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani got a warm welcome in the national capital as they were greeted with loud cheers, hoots and whistles.

The actors were in New Delhi on Friday for launching their new number ‘The Punjaabban’ song from their upcoming film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’. Officially dropping on Saturday, in an exclusive showcase to media and fans of the two stars.

Varun and Kiara also danced and showed their fans the hook step of the number, which also stars Neetu Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, in the Connaught Place area of New Delhi.

‘The Punjaabban’ song is the same number which recently got pulled into a controversy as Pakistani singer Abrar ul Haq accused filmmaker Karan Johar on Twitter on “copying” his song ‘Nach Punjaban’ in his upcoming production without his permission.

Addressing the copyright issue at the song launch, Varun said: “T-series has put out an official statement about this they legally licensed the rights. I think when you have international companies like Youtube, Spotify … When they are playing music they have very strict laws about copyrights. It’s no joke. All the processes have been followed.”

Slated to release in theatres on June 24, ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ is directed by Raj Mehta.

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