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Rajkummar Rao on Bollywood journey: Came to city with no background or backbone




Rajkummar Rao has time and again proved that he is one of the best actors in Hindi cinema. Be it his performance as the strong-willed lawyer in Shahid, a dreaded terrorist in Omerta, a gullible boy in Stree or the naive Pritam in Bareilly Ki Barfi, the actor has raised his bar with every new role.

“The journey has been pretty overwhelming. I never expected this to happen. I always wanted to work of course and that’s why I invested so much time on training and came to the city with no background or backbone, and with very little money. From there to here it is still like a dream to me, but I don’t sit back and think about it,” Rajkummar told IANS.

The actor likes to lives in the moment.

“I live each day as it comes so I just enjoy each and every moment. I love acting and playing different characters on screen and as long as that is happening I am more than happy,” he added.

How does he manage to up his own game each time with his performance? “I really don’t know. I just love what I do and I want to take risks. I try to do something different from what I have done earlier,” he replied.

The 36-year-old actor currently awaits the release of her next film Roohi, a horror comedy. The film co-stars Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Sharma.

Roohi follows his 2018 hit Stree, which seems to have started a gamut of horror comedies in Bollywood, including “Atithi Bhooto Bhava”, “Phone Bhoot”, “Bhoot Police” and “Bhool Bhulaiya 2”, with “Laxmii” having already released last year.

“I hope all these films do well at the box-office. The point is to take Indian cinema to the next level and raise the standard of our cinema, which is already on the way up. We are making way more good content now, so I just hope all these films are amazing and do well,” Rajkummar told IANS.

Roohi is is slated to hit the big screen on March 11. With the sudden rise in Covid cases, is he concerned about audience turnout at the theatres?

“No, not really. I think the kind of precautions the theatres are taking you will feel pretty safe going there… We anyway see people going out, of course people are being careful but that is the same thing. You have to be a little careful while you go watch a film but the experience of watching a film on the big screen in a dark theatre is something else. That you cannot recreate anywhere else,” he replied.


Film theaters in Telangana reopen after three months





Film theaters in Telangana re-opened on Friday after a hiatus of more than three months.

Majority of about 600 theaters across the state re-opened with 100 per cent seating capacity.

The theaters resumed business with the screening of three new Telugu films – “Thimmarusu”, starring Satyadev and Priyanka Jawalkar, “Ishq – Not a Love Story”, starring Teja Sajja and Priya Prakash Varrier, and “Narasimhapuram” starring Nandakishore and Siri Hanumantu.

The first day saw a dull start as few cinema lovers turned out. However, the exhibitors expect the numbers to go up over next few days.

In Greater Hyderabad which has 160 theatres, single-screen theaters saw poor turnout while there was some activity at multiplexes.

INOX said it welcomed movie lovers at Hyderabad INOX at GVK One, Banjara Hills, and Maheshwari Parameshwari Mall. It said cinemas will be operated by a full vaccinated team and it is adhering to each and every instruction as prescribed in the notifications issued by the state government.

“We have curated a hygiene initiative called #SafetyFirst, which is a convergence of the measures prescribed by the government authorities and additional measures implemented by us. Besides the cinemas will be frequently deep cleaned and disinfection of all customer touch points including entrance, box office, lobbies, auditorium, F&B counters, restrooms and exit gates will be carried out,” it said.

“In an endeavour to provide enhanced hygiene, the protocols like mandatory mask, temperature check, e-tickets, contactless payment and entry and enhanced intake of fresh air have also been implemented,” it added.

Though the state government had lifted the lockdown and night curfew last month, the owners of cinema theatres did not resume the business immediately. They had presented few demands before the government to overcome the huge losses they suffered since last year due to Covid-19 induced lockdowns.

The government has agreed to allow theatres to collect parking fee. Theaters have remained shut for nearly 12 months since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and imposition of lockdown in March last year.

It was on November 23 that the Telangana government had permitted theatres in areas outside the containment zones to reopen with up to 50 of their seating capacity.

However, the business had remained dull due to fear of Covid. In February this year, theaters were allowed to operate at 100 per cent capacity.

Just as the film industry was trying to come out of the crisis, the second wave pushed it into further losses. Most of the theaters downed shutters in April.

The exhibitors hope that there will be no third wave of the pandemic. According to film industry sources, more than 20 Telugu films are waiting to be released in August-September.

S.S. Rajamouli’s much-awaited “RRR” starring Junior NTR and Ram Charan is expected to be released on October 13.

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‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’ director Abhishek Dhudhaiya gives an insight into film’s research





Director Abhishek Dhudhaiya, whose next film “Bhuj: The Pride of India” is based on the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, is also the co-writer of the project. The film tells the story of how 300 women from a village worked hard to build the Bhuj runway, contributing majorly to India’s win.

Abhishek, who earlier directed many television shows, brings forth the story of IAF Squadron Leader Vijay Karnic (played by Ajay Devgn) and the women from the village of Madhapar.

“My grandmother had also contributed in the making of this runway. So, I had this is mind that the first time when I make a film, it will he on this subject,” says Abhishek, as he recalls how the conception of the story happened.

He goes on to further elaborate with a hint of nostalgia in his voice.

“In 2017 when I took a break from television, the first thing I did was meet Vijay Karnic. So, my nani’s (maternal grandmother) friends who are still alive were part of that 300 women’s group. So, I went and met them and understood the events which had taken place.”

The sentiment of patriotism is crucial for the film. So, when Abhishek took the project forward, he knew his heart had to be in the right place.

“To begin with, I am an Indian and I am proud of that. For me, my country is first and even for my nani the country is before anything else. So, when I wrote the dialogue, I conveyed what I think and what I wanted others to act. That energy reflects in people around you,” he says.

“For instance when Vijay Karnic was reading the story, the only face in my mind was that of Ajay Devgn. When I finished my story and I asked him, who does he feel is best for this role, he also said, Ajay Devgn. So, when you want to bring that connect, you have to feel strongly.”

The next big step in the making of the film was casting of 300 women. Instead of taking the regular approach of hiring junior artists, Abhishek knew that this would be an important factor in establishing the strength of the film.

“We had to cast 300 women. Now, if you hire junior artists, they are free to leave in two -three days for some other project but that breaks the flow. So, we cast 300 women and for the first 15 days taught them how to play the dhol. We got their costumes made because at that time dressing style was difference and clothes affect body language a lot. So, we customised costumes for these women and made them wear it, so that they get comfortable in it,” he says.

Currently, in the village of Madhapar, there are 60 people, who were part of the iconic movement. All aged between 70-80.

The government of India has also paid tribute to them by making their statues at the entrance of the village.

A landmark movement, the women when making the runway, decided to break their homes to get the bricks and stones for runaway once they ran out of the material.

“When they needed bricks and stones to make the runway and material could not reach them, these people decided that they will break their houses to use that material. My nani had told me this but when these people also told me, I had tears in my eyes,” recalls Abhishek.

“For a woman, her house is her dream and there what happens is the men leave for work to other states and countries. So, mostly women, children and old people live there. So, for the women their, the houses and farming is everything. They sacrificed their homes for the country. This incident and the challenge of Vijay Karnic to make the runway for the county was the most important driving force for me.”

The director, whose film will release on Disney+Hotstar on August 13, feels that this kind of inspiration is rare.

“This is a kind of inspiration that you don’t find easily. The defence personals who are protect us are trained but these villagers were not trained people. Being prompt in such a situation didn’t come naturally to them. They still did it and it’s their biggest achievement,” he signs off.

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Akshay Kumar’s ‘Bell Bottom’ to release on Aug 19





The Akshay Kumar-starrer spy thriller “Bell Bottom” will now have a theatrical release on August 19.

The film’s release was pushed from April 2021 to July 27 due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Akshay shared the news on Twitter, along with a motion poster of the film featuring the entire cast of the film.

“Mission: To Entertain you on the BIG SCREEN Date: August 19, 2021 Announcing the arrival of #BellBottom! #BellBottomInCinemasAug19 @vashubhagnani @humasqureshi @LaraDutta @ranjit_tiwari @jackkybhagnani @honeybhagnani @monishaadvani @madhubhojwani @nikkhiladvani @EmmayEntertain,” Akshay tweeted.

“Bell Bottom” is an espionage thriller set in the 1980s. The film was largely shot in Glasgow, Scotland, amid lockdown. Ranjit M. Tewari’s directorial also stars Vaani Kapoor, Lara Dutta Bhupathi and Huma Qureshi.

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