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Netflix amps up India slate with 10 new original films




Continuing its investment in Indian content, global streaming giant Netflix on Monday announced a slate of 10 new original films, across a range of genres and subjects.

With these additions, a total of 15 new original Indian films — including previously announced titles “Music Teacher”, “Cobalt Blue”, “Chopsticks”, “Upstarts” and “Bulbul” — will be available to Netflix users around the world by the end of 2020.

“When Netflix launched in India, we changed the way Indian audiences enjoy their films,” Srishti Behl Arya, Director – International Original Film, India, Netflix, said in a statement.

“Given our diversity, history and culture, India is home to powerful stories waiting to be told to audiences around the world. The depth of talent and vision of our creators is enabling us to create films our members will love. We want to be a home for India’s finest filmmakers where their stories travel to more people than ever before,” Arya added.

As part of the new slate, viewers can expect “Ghost Stories”, which will reunite directors Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap after “Lust Stories” to tell spine-chilling tales. This will be produced by Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP and Ashi Dua.

Dibaker has also directed and produced “Freedom”, the story of an Indian family interwoven with the personal, ideological and sexual history of India and how desire plays a common role in each.

Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment is producing “Class of 83”. Directed by Atul Sabharwal, it explores the story of an upright policeman-turned-trainer whose students grapple with the complexities of honour, morals and devotion to the nation.

There will be thrills and chills with “Mrs. Serial Killer”, directed by Shirish Kunder and produced by his filmmaker wife Farah Khan.

“The Internet is an exciting place for telling stories that are multi genre and multi layered,” said Farah.

“Guilty”, produced by Dharmatic and directed by Ruchi Narain, explores the versions of truth that emerge when a small town girl accuses the college heartthrob of rape.

Karan Johar, who has produced “Guilty”, said: “Today a filmmaker with an interesting idea has so many avenues to connect with the audience… As a content creator, there has never been a better time to tell stories.”

Veteran writer-filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala has helmed “Yeh Ballet”, produced by Roy Kapur Films. It’s a story about two boys from very low income families who discover ballet and through it a way to escape their challenging circumstances.

“Making films that speak a global language while celebrating their local beating heart is every filmmaker’s intent, and I’m beyond thrilled to bring this unbelievable story to life on Netflix,” Taraporevala said.

Then there is “House Arrest”, directed by Shashanka Ghosh and Samit Basu. It is the story of a man – trapped in his own fears – who locks himself at home, only to find that while he can restrict his interaction with the world, he can’t keep the world from entering his domain.

“Kaali Khuhi”, directed by Terrie Samundra and produced by Manomay Motion Pictures, will touch upon female infanticide and mysterious deaths in a Punjab village.

“Maska” will tell the story of a confused millennial who sets out to fulfil his fantasy of becoming a movie star, until a summer romance with a clear-headed girl helps him discover the fine line between dreams and delusions.

Manu Joseph’s book “Serious Men” will be adapted and directed for the screen by Sudhir Mishra. It is about a wily slum dweller, who cons the country into believing his dim-witted 10-year-old son is a genius, to realise that the only victim of his dangerous game is his son.

Mishra said: “Book adaptations typically face the conundrum of pleasing the reader or pleasing the viewer, but Netflix has eliminated the need for a compromise. The reader and the viewer converge here, and now we can tell quality stories the way they were meant to be told.”


Chef Sanjeev Kapoor: Home-cooking is the healthiest cooking



Chef Sanjeev Kapoor: Home-cooking is the healthiest cooking.

Indian home-cooking saw the turn of a new leaf when celebrity chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor created lip-smacking recipes on a unique format of cooking shows on television. With the stay-at-home orders infusing new energy into the country’s home kitchens, the celebrated chef and Padma Shri recipient feels happy seeing people cook at home.

“Home-cooking is the healthiest cooking. Even when people cook so-called junk food, I advise cooking it at home, which will be much healthier. Anyone who is usually cooking at home – mothers or wives – want to make sure that element of health is there. If we have to make ourselves healthy, home-cooking is the way to go, and I’m happy people are cooking at home,” Kapoor, 56, told IANSlife over phone.

Kapoor is the face of ITC Nimwash vegetable and fruit wash, and suggests cooking enthusiasts to clean germs and pesticides off their fruits and veggies as any recipe’s first step. “We are what we eat. That’s something we have started to understand as a direct, cause-and-effect relationship. Now we have time to reflect and act on it. The superficiality of anything and everything we were consuming – that is diminishing, and a beginning has been made,” he said.

Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, he notes “two distinct things” that have happened during this time.

“Everyone was home so home-cooking has grown exponentially, and eating out – the service industry – is hit and has gone down – not just in India but globally. Similarly, what we were eating earlier, we are more careful with that. We want to be sure about the quality of ingredients. Hygiene is paramount. What we were taking for granted, the world has sit up and is taking note of that. We are looking at bettering us for our own selves, not for the world. We’re breathing right, cooking right and eating right.”

The culinarian, who is among the most prominent faces of Indian cuisine, shared what life in lockdown looked like for him.

“Despite a few relaxations now in Mumbai, we have taken a call that unless absolutely essential, we will not go out. In all these months, I have only been out twice. Managing was not that difficult, I didn’t have much time to watch movies and web series. My whole family is home, and they naturally expect me to cook, which I enjoy, that has increased definitely. Food content is being consumed more across platforms. Across our social media platforms, it is an all-time high with engagement being up by 250 percent,” the ‘Khana Khazana’ star shared.

Kapoor also shared that early in the lockdown, he decided on an initiative to feed doctors and staff in hospitals in Mumbai and beyond. “We worked closely towards that. I am also involved with Akshay Patra Foundation and served over 70 million meals in the lockdown,” he concluded.

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Actress Aditi Rao Hydari: Dropping ‘fair’ from a beauty product takes us closer to inclusivity



A cosmetic brand recently dropped the word ‘fair’ from the name of their skin-whitening product that, till a while back, endorsed the idea of fair complexion as the parameter of beauty. Many celebrities have applauded the decision. Among them is actress Aditi Rao Hydari, who feels such a step take us a step closer to beauty inclusivity.

“I think our generation of celebrities is always standing for a world that is more inclusive. At the beginning of my career, I got an offer to be a part of a fairness cream ad campaign that could have given me a great deal of visibility, followed by entries into the movie business. Coming from a non-film family that was an opportunity for me to grab, but I didn’t,” claimed Aditi, while speaking to IANS.

She added: “I come from a family where I was taught to look at an individual beyond caste, region, colour, religion or even appearance. I cannot stand by and endorse an idea of beauty that is discriminatory. So, as the word ‘fair’ is removed from such a product, it takes us a step closer to inclusivity in the beauty and cosmetic world.”

“Having said that, we have to understand it is a slow process. We are putting the idea of inclusive beauty in the minds of those people who have been practising the definition of ‘fair is lovely’ for ages now. Not just here, this is the worldwide scenario. It has to trickle down in the right direction. Our society is dealing with so many other basic issues of human rights that �beauty inclusivity’ is a topic that is not catering to their immediate interest,” Aditi noted.

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Actor Ayushmann Khurrana: It was great to shoot again after so many months




Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who has returned to the sets for an advertisement in Chandigarh, finds it great to be back in action.

“It was just great to be back on the sets and shoot again after so many months. We all have been at home and we all have been waiting to get back to what we were doing,” Ayushmann said.

“Things will have to limp back to normal and with all the necessary safety precautions, we will all go out and work.”

The actor says he had a great time shooting in Chandigarh, his hometown.

“I set foot on a set for the first time since we went into lockdown and I saw how people have prepared themselves for the new normal. I was completely at ease,” he added.

Ayushmann is in Chandigarh with his family to spend time with his parents. The actor recently shared that the Khurranas have purchased a new family home.

The Khurrana family — parents P. Khurrana and Poonam, Ayushmann and his wife Tahira, and Aparshakti and his wife Akriti — bought a house in Panchkula, a satellite town of Chandigarh.

On the work front, Ayushmann was recently seen in Shoojit Sircar’s digital release, “Gulabo Sitabo”, scripted by Juhi Chaturvedi and co-starring Amitabh Bachchan.

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