Q. Your film Season’s Greetings won the Award of Excellence at the 9th Best Shorts Film Festival in California. Describe your feelings.
A. It’s an amazing feeling when your film competes with mainstream Hollywood shorts and wins. I was completely surprised to see our film in the winners list along with big names from Hollywood. Incidentally our film was the first and only Indian film to bag this prestigious award. Our film was judged by the jury members from Oscars to Emmy, which was definitely a bonus.
Q. Your previous film Cakewalk narrated the story of a woman and her challenges while working as a chef. This film too revolves around a mother-daughter relationship. What makes you knit your films around female characters?
A. Interesting observation. As a filmmaker I feel that women characters have many challenges in life. Be it Shilpa Sen from Cakewalk or Romita and Suchitra from Season’s Greetings, t h e y t a l k about the changing phase of our society. They represent our time and that is probably the beauty. If you see great filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Rituparno Ghosh or Sanjay Leela Bhansali they have very strong women characters, because you can play a symphony when you get many notes at your disposal.
Q. What inspired you to give tribute to director Rituparno Ghosh?
A. His narrative. His approach towards telling a story. While Bhansali was making a multi-crore film Devdas with Aishwarya Rai, Rituda was making Chokher Bali with one-tenth of the budget of Devdas. But if you see the creative output of both the films, I guess Chokher Bali will score higher marks. So, money is not the final word when it comes to cinema. Directors like Majid Majidi make Children of Heaven, which can match with any Hollywood mainstream cinema. I feel Rituparno was the greatest narrator of this generation.
Q. This film is said to be one of the finest performances by Celina Jaitley. Tell us about how the casting was done.
A. Yes, we can definitely say that critics and audiences loved Celina as Romita in this film. I narrated the story to her in a parking lot during my trip to Dubai. She was happily settled with her husband Peter and kids, and had no intention to return to Bollywood. But after hearing the script she had tears in her eyes and immediately came on board. She worked very hard on getting the character right. She was going through severe depression during that time after she lost her newborn baby, mother and father within a span of a year. I am glad she did the film and came out of depression like a winner.
Q. Tell us about your future projects.
A. My next film Rickshawala deals with the migrant workers in Kolkata. The film has already won Best Director and Best Actor award at two international film festivals. And now selected at the prestigious Imagine India Film Festival at Madrid, Spain. Then, I am gearing up for my two Hindi digital films Broken Frame with Rohit Roy and Ritabhari Chakraborty, and Shubho Bijoya with Gurmeet Choudhury and Debina Bonnerjee. I have also announced my first full-length feature film Binodinii, a biopic based on a legendary theatre artist from Bengal.
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ARJUN MATHUR TO ADARSH GOURAV: HERE’S LOOKING AT THE TOP THREE OTT NEWSMAKERS
MUMBAI: The past few years have been a revelation for Indian cinema with the influx of OTT content. From handling an out-of-box idea to bringing forth a crucial issue in the limelight – our actors are going all out with their digital ventures!
While we saw some of the finest performances on the streaming platforms last year, there are a few names that define the space with their path-breaking performances, unconventional takes, and impeccable cinema sense. So, here’s rounding up the top four OTT newsmakers.
ARJUN MATHUR: You cannot have a list of the ground-breaking stars without Arjun Mathur. The international Emmy Award-nominated actor has pushed the boundaries with his non-conformist choices, like playing a gay wedding planner in Made In Heaven or shooting a show in a lockdown with The Gone Game. Now, he has Made In Heaven S2, Gone Game 2, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, and Lionsgate Play’s next series.
PRATIK GANDHI: Pratik Gandhi became a household name with his blockbuster series, Scam 1992. The actor earned massive acclaim for his apt and flamboyant performance of Harshad Mehta. Later, he stunned the audience with his brave selections – Bhavai and Shimmy. Coming up next for the actor are Atithi Bhooto Bhava, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?, and Six Suspects.
ADARSH GOURAV: With his solid performance in The White Tiger, Adarsh Gourav has made it into everyone’s watchlist. The new-age actor bagged the BAFTA nomination for his performance and is all set to step into Hollywood with his next venture, Extrapolations, starring Meryl Streep.
PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ WAS MY GURU BUT ALSO MY FRIEND: MADHURI
NEW DELHI: Behind every successful person, there are unfailing efforts of teachers. Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj played the role of that guru in actor Madhuri Dixit Nene’s life.
After learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Madhuri, on Monday, took to Twitter and opened up about her relationship with him. “He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes,” she wrote.
“He has left behind grieving fans and students but also left a legacy we will all carry forward. Thank you Maharajji for everything you taught me in dance along with humility, elegance and grace. Koti koti pranam,” she added.
Alongside the note, Madhuri posted a throwback picture of her doing mukhdas with Pandit Birju Maharaj. For the unversed, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who breathed his last on Monday, had worked with Madhuri in films like ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Devdas’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.
Bollywood in awe of Pushpa & Allu Arjun
Mumbai: Pushpa star Allu Arjun, the talk of the town, has absolutely impressed
his fans,audiences, actors in the South and also many bigwigs in Bollywood. The
stylish star with his emphatic performance has won the hearts of many in the Hindi
speaking regions. Now, Bollywood is all praise for Pushpa Raj aka Allu Arjun and
the movie, reiterate what the stylish star has said in the film, ‘Pushpa is not flower,
it is fire’. Completely entranced by Allu Arjun’s splendid work in “Pushpa”,
and also as the Hindi version in the North belt alone grossed Rs 100 crore
in box office collections in 25 days of its run, actors and big producers
in Bollywood have taken notice, and are now speaking about the
stylish star’s ability to charm viewers.
At a time when Allu Arjun has amassed a big fan following in
Hindi-speaking regions, there are reports of Bollywood producers lining up to cast him in their next Hindi films. Also, many
Hindi actors are showing interest to act in his upcoming pan-India movies. It is also reportedly said that producers are looking
to get Hindi dubbing or remake rights of the icon star’s upcoming films as they feel he will dominate the cinema space now.
The passion Allu Arjun put into his Pushpa Raj character is
so evident that people are just captivated by him.
LATA MANGESHKAR TO REMAIN UNDER SUPERVISION FOR A FEW MORE DAYS
MUMBAI : Giving a health update regarding legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, her doctor on Sunday shared that the megastar will still remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under the supervision of doctors for a few more days.
The Bharat Ratna recipient was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai last week and her treatment is still going on. The 92-year-old star is suffering from corona as well as pneumonia. Dr Pratit Samdani who is treating the veteran singer said that “Lata ji is still in the ICU, she still that is why she is kept under the supervision of the doctor in the ICU.” “Lata ji will remain under the supervision of the doctor for a few more days, it is difficult to say how many days it will last. No one is allowed to meet.” The doctor also said that there is a need for people to pray for her recovery.
MOUNI ROY TO RETURN TO SMALL SCREEN AS A JUDGE ON REALITY SHOW
MUMBAI : After working in films like ‘Gold’, ‘Made in China’, and the yet-to-be-released ‘Brahmastra’, actor Mouni Roy is back to the small screen — the place where she first made her acting debut. Mouni is all set to appear as a judge on ‘Dance India Dance Li’l Masters Season 5’. Talking about the same, she said, “For me, dance is an expression. It is an amalgamation of various art forms. I am incredibly excited to be a part of Dance India Dance Little Masters as a judge. I can’t wait to watch the young kids showcasing their talent on such a huge platform.”
Mouni started her acting journey with TV shows and rose to fame with supernatural ‘Naagin’.
KURUKKU VAZHI IS A CRIME THRILLER: SHIRA GAARG
CHENNAI: What started as a surprising opportunity for actress Shira Gaarg to explore her passion became her career path once she started getting good reviews from reputed film critics for her role in her debut Tamil film Baby. Hailing from Bengaluru, Shira Gaarg was pursuing her college studies when a photoshoot caught the attention of director Balaji Sakthivel and his production team. They were looking for a fresh face for the movie Baby. She did not have any experience in acting then but after motivation from the director and support from her family she accepted the offer. Later after completion of her MBA she decided to take acting as her full time profession. Actress Shira Gaarg has recently completed the shoot for Tamil film titled Shot Boot Three directed by Arun Vaidyanathan and is currently shooting for her next movie Kurukku Vazhi directed by N.T. Nantha. In a candid conversation the actress avers, “Kurukku Vazhi is a crime thriller. It describes about what happens when people take short cut in life and how it would impact others. It is a very emotional role and the character has to go through mix of emotions. The story is about four people and what choices I make while dealing with them.” The film is produced by K Singh and A. Sharma. Apart from writing and directing the film, N.T. Nantha has also handled cinematography and composed the music. Apart from these projects, Shira Gaarg has also played the lead role in a Tamil web series Chewing Gum for Hotstar Network. She further added, “All my roles are unique and distinct. I am looking at playing meaty kind of roles. Fortunately the roles which I have played are all different and diverse.”
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