ATUL KULKARNI, PRIYA BAPAT AND EIJAZ KHAN BRING THEIR A-GAME TO ‘CITY OF DREAMS 2’ - The Daily Guardian
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ATUL KULKARNI, PRIYA BAPAT AND EIJAZ KHAN BRING THEIR A-GAME TO ‘CITY OF DREAMS 2’

Murtaza Ali Khan

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After surprising everyone with a highly unpredictable opening season, full of twists and turns, City of Dreams is back on Disney+ Hotstar with a considerably bigger canvas for its second season. Now, the first season introduced us to the powerful Gaikwad family. After Ameya Rao Gaikwad (Atul Kulkarni) was shot thrice by unknown assailants in the middle of the day, a brutal fight ensued between his son and daughter, both desperate to replace Ameya Rao. It ended with the murder of his son, Ashish. Subsequently, his daughter, Poornima (Priya Bapat), got appointed as interim Chief Minister of the state. But the wounded patriarch disapproved Poornima’s ascension to power and threatened to kill her. That’s where the first season had ended.

City of Dreams 2 picks up a few months after the events of the first season. Even as Poornima continues to dream about her dead brother out of pure guilt she is in no mood to give away the power that she has wrested following a long struggle. With each passing day she is becoming more and more seasoned (read manipulative). She may have been a young upstart once but now she is a fast emerging grandmaster who seems pretty sure about her every movie. Wasim Khan (Eijaz Khan), the encounter specialist, who had helped her get rid of her brother, has been awarded with a party ticket. The other players two have been maneuvered well on the chess board. Even her brand of politics is far more inclusive than her father’s and so she naturally appeals to the minorities unlike her father who practiced majoritarian politics all his life.

Now, about 6-7 years ago, I had gone to Bengaluru for a job interview and there in a local paper I came across an article about Atul Kulkarni who had been working in Sandalwood (Kannada Film Industry) at the time. Now, having seen him in films like Hey Ram and Rang De Basanti, I somewhere felt that the Mumbai industry had let him down. At one level I was happy that finally he was getting his due while working in Sandalwood. And yet a part of me was greatly disappointed wondering why Bollywood often failed to nurture powerhouse performers like Kulkarni. Over the years whenever he has been presented with an opportunity to showcase his talent he has never disappointed. Had he been working in Hollywood he would have already won at least two Academy Awards. That’s how talented Kulkarni really is. Today, at last the web is doing some justice to his prodigious acting talents. Now, Amey Rao Gaikwad isn’t an easy character to play but Kulkarni makes it look so easy. What most people fail to realise is that in the hands of a lesser actor, Amey Rao would have most probably looked like some caricature. But Kulkarni makes the character look very real. Yes, Nagesh Kukunoor has given the character a sort of a dated quality but Kulkarni makes Amey Rao look far more realistic than say a Subhash Nagare (Sarkar) or a Baapji (Narsimha).

In many ways, City of Dreams is as much about the rise of Poornima Gaikwad in politics as it is about the rise of Priya Bapat in the OTT space. Prior to City of Dreams, Bapat’s work was mostly limited to Marathi film and television. But it all changed after City of Dreams. Since the first season of the Nagesh Kukunoor show debuted back in 2019, Bapat’s popularity has grown considerably. Her reach is no longer limited to a regional industry and today she enjoys a pan India following. Now, it’s usually very difficult for an actor working in one of the regional industries to get a powerful role like Poornima Gaikward. But the web makes it possible for creators to try out new things and Bapat’s casting as Poornima has certainly proven to be an inspired one. Another similar example that comes to mind is that of Pratik Gandhi who was quite content with his work in the Gujarati film and theatre before Scam 1992 established him as an actor with a pan India fanbase.

As for Bapat, there is no denying that she has tremendously grown in confidence as a performer with the success of City of Dreams and the confidence only seems to have rubbed off on Poornima of City of Dreams 2 and it greatly works to the advantage of Poornima’s character arc. Bapat gets great support from the rest of the cast. Eijaz Khan deserves a special mention for bringing a new side to his Wasim Khan. Big Boss seems to have done wonders to him, both personally as well as professionally. Also, Sushant Singh is wonderful to watch as Anna. The veteran actor succeeds in making the character look fiendishly menacing. Flora Saini’s femme fatale is again fun to watch. Unfortunately, Nagesh Kukunoor doesn’t excite us anymore the way he once used to. City of Dreams 2 is far from being his best work but the brilliant performances on offer make it binge-worthy.

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RANI WRAPS UP ESTONIA SCHEDULE OF ‘MRS CHATTERJEE VS NORWAY’

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MUMBAI: Estonia schedule of Rani Mukerji-starrer ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’ has been completed. On Tuesday, the makers of the film took to their social media handle to share the update with the fans. They also posted a picture, wherein we can see Rani celebrating the completion of the schedule by cutting a cake with the whole cast and crew in Europe.

As per a statement, Rani and the entire crew shot in a bio bubble with all necessary precautions. The final schedule of the movie is expected to begin in India soon. Directed by Ashima Chibber, ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’ revolves around a journey of a mother’s battle against an entire country. Apart from ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’, Rani will also be seen in ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, co-starring Saif Ali Khan and Siddhant Chaturvedi.

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SUNIEL SHETTY AWESTRUCK AFTER MEETING BIG B

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MUMBAI: Believe it or not but even celebrities also get star-struck after they meet their favourite actors. The same happened with veteran actor Suniel Shetty after he appeared on the show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

Taking to his Instagram handle, the evergreen actor shared a picture with the megastar from the sets of the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati. Sharing the picture, Suniel penned a note reflecting his visit to the show and how he got ‘wonderstruck’ and already a ‘crorepati’ after meeting Big B.

“Wonderstruck as always at the knowledge and discipline one can imbibe from the legend the mighty Mr Bachchan. After that you always walk away a #crorepati. Thank you for the moments Amitji. #KBC #KaunBaneCrorepati #sony @amitabhbachchan @apnabhidu #lockkiyajaye #mahacomputerji.”

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NICOLE KIDMAN OPENS UP ABOUT DIVORCE FROM TOM CRUISE

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WASHINGTON: Hollywood star Nicole Kidman recently gave some brief insight into her marriage and subsequent divorce from actor Tom Cruise.

Though typically both are shy about commenting on the end of their marriage, however, according to Fox News, speaking to a fashion magazine for its upcoming October issue, Kidman was willing to discuss the immense media scrutiny their relationship invited in the 1990s. Kidman and Cruise got together after meeting on the set of ‘Days of Thunder’. The actors married just six months after the movie came out in 1990 and remained together for more than a decade before finally splitting in 2001.

The outlet reported that Kidman’s acting career started to be eclipsed by all the attention surrounding her personal life and marriage. However, looking back now, she sees only her culpability in the media narrative. With a laugh, Kidman told the interviewer, “I was young. I think I offered it up? Maybe I’ve gotten a bit more trepidatious, but I’m always trying to be as open as possible. I just prefer to live in the world that way.”

She further added, “I’m wary at times, and I’ve been hurt, but at the same time I much prefer a warm approach rather than a prickly shutdown approach.” Kidman went on to note that the experience left her heart “open” when she finally met her now-husband, country singer Keith Urban. 

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BOLLYWOOD STARS SHOWER BIRTHDAY WISHES ON KAREENA

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MAHARASHTRA: As the ever-gorgeous Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor Khan turned 41 on Tuesday, several of her family members and fellow celebrities from the film fraternity, poured in birthday wishes for her.

Kareena’s sister Karisma Kapoor shared pictures from their childhood on her Instagram handle and wrote, “Will always be by ur side. Happy birthday to the best sister in the world.. my lifeline. love you the mostest. #birthdaygirl #sisterlove #beboisthebest #happybirthday.”

Filmmaker Karan Johar, one of the closest friends of Kareena, shared a selfie with the birthday girl and wrote, “We are pouters and posers in crime! So much love for my favorite girl on her special day! Happy birthday to my poo for life (that can sound wrong on many levels but bolna banta hai!) Love you so much.”

Actress Kangana Ranaut extended her birthday wishes by sharing a collage featuring stunning pictures of Kareena. She wrote, “Happy Birthday to the most gorgeous of them all.”

Kareena’s brother-in-law Kunal Kemmu posted an adorable picture to wish her on her special day. Malaika Arora on her Instagram shared a clip of the ‘3 Idiots’ actor and wrote, “Happy Birthday to my most stunning n beautiful Bebo. Keep Glowing n shining… Love you.” Kiara Advani, who shared screen space with Kareena in ‘Good Newwz’, also shared a stunning picture of the birthday girl and wrote, “Happy birthday to the most iconic superstar! Love you, Bebo.”

Actress Jacqueline Fernandez also shared a picture of the ravishing beauty while sending her greetings on the special day. “Happy birthday Kareena. Wishing you the best in your life and adventures. From Jackie,” she wrote.

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ARJUN KAPOOR ON VENTURING INTO FOOD & FITNESS SPACE

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MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Arjun Kapoor, who battled obesity since childhood and has gone through a remarkable physical transformation. Recently he said that he will soon be venturing into the food and fitness space. Talking about how fitness has changed his perspective, Arjun revealed, “People have been kind enough to notice my transformation. My fitness journey has not only changed the way I look at food, nutrition and fitness but it has also changed the way people look at me. The opportunities and offers coming to me have also changed.” He further spoke regarding wanting to venture into the food and fitness space and said, “I have definitely initiated multiple conversations to explore myself in the food and nutrition space and I’m excited for some of the things that will materialise soon. I will be in a position to share more concrete details in the days to come. I want to be a part of ventures that are aiming to revolutionise the fitness space!” In August, Arjun had opened about his battle with obesity in an interview with a leading daily, wherein he said how his “underlying health condition has always made it a struggle for him to constantly stay a certain size”.

Later the 36-year-old actor had disclosed that he joined forces with world kickboxing champion Drew Neal to push himself to get the correct body type, and seems like his commitment to fitness is reaping benefits for him.

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‘THE CROWN’ TAKES THE THRONE AT EMMYS 2021

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LOS ANGELES: Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ won big at the Emmys 2021. This show which follows Queen Elizabeth’s life throughout the decades of her reign was declared winner of the Outstanding Drama Series award at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards. It also bagged awards for best actors (drama) and best actors in supporting roles. The show also took home the best writing and directing award.

On such a remarkable win, the team of Netflix took to the streaming giant’s official Twitter handle to congratulate the members of the show. “Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Crown for their 11 Emmy wins — including Best Drama Series, Best Actress for Olivia Colman, and Best Actor for Josh O’Connor https,” the tweet read. Apart from ‘The Crown’, ‘Ted Lasso’ also registered a golden win at Emmys 2021. It racked up four wins, including for best comedy and star Jason Sudeikis. Emmys moved to an indoor-outdoor venue this year due to the pandemic. It was held on Sunday at the Event Deck at LA Live.

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