‘NOMADLAND’: A SURVIVAL TALE DEPICTING MODERN-DAY AMERICAN WEST IN NEW LIGHT - The Daily Guardian
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‘NOMADLAND’: A SURVIVAL TALE DEPICTING MODERN-DAY AMERICAN WEST IN NEW LIGHT

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Writer-Director Chloé Zhao’s  Nomadland has proven a hot favourite at this year’s awards season. In addition to two Golden Globe wins, the film has also received six Academy Award nominations to go with seven BAFTA nominations. Nomadland premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion. It also won the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. The film tells the story of a woman named Fern (essayed by Frances McDormand) who embarks on a journey through the American West living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad after losing her job during the Great Recession when the US Gypsum plant in Empire, Nevada shuts down. Having worked there for years along with her husband, who has recently died, she decides to sell her belongings and purchase a van to live in and travel the country looking for work. 

Zhao’s film is based on American journalist Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book titled Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century about the phenomenon of older Americans who, following the Great Recession, adopted transient lifestyles travelling around the United States in search of seasonal work. Nomadland’s cast features an interesting mix of actors and non-actors. Other than McDormand and David Strathairn (who essays the part of Dave in the film), the rest of the cast mostly consists of real modern-day nomads including Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells, among others. It is an inspiring tale of survival that presents the modern-day American West in a completely new light.

Now, the story of the making of Nomandland is no less interesting than the movie itself. McDormand and Peter Spears (best known for being a producer on the 2017 film Call Me by Your Name) optioned the film rights to Bruder’s book in 2017. McDormand had just seen Chloé’ Zhao’s 2017 film The Rider which had impressed her greatly. In McDormand’s own words, “As a producer, I was drawn to this woman director who had used classically male, Western genre tropes to tell a universal story of triumph over adversity.” So she decided to approach Zhao about the project. She and Spears subsequently met with Zhao who agreed to write and direct the film for them. 

Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker with a strong feminist voice, has made a name with her work in independent U.S. films. What she brings to American cinema is something very unique. Even when she is approaching subjects that are deeply American in nature she is able to approach them with a rare oriental sensibility. This rare amalgamation elevates Zhao’s cinema above the work of most of her contemporaries in the US. Also, there is great empathy and a sense of humility in her work that’s far removed from the kind of cinema that’s generally associated with mainstream Hollywood. Having already bagged the Golden Globe for the Best Director – Motion Picture, Zhao looks the favourite to win the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Directing. Already, she has become the first Asian woman to get nominated in the category. Interestingly, Zhao’s success as a filmmaker is bringing her all kinds of offers from Hollywood. She is now set to embark upon a new journey with the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Eternals, slated to release in November 2021.

Zhao’s brilliant work as writer-director gets brilliantly complemented by actor-producer McDormand (she becomes the first actress to get nominated for acting and producing for the same film) whose brilliant performance is at the heart of Nomadland. She is so good in the film that it’s impossible to think of the film without her portrayal of Fern. Now, there is no denying that McDormand is a wonderful actress. Over the years, the two-time Oscar-winning actress has essayed several memorable characters in films such as Fargo, North Country, Burn After Reading, Blood Simple, The Man Who Wasn’t There, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, and Missouri among others. But her pitch-perfect performance in Nomadland is easily the finest of her career. 

During the filming, McDormand lived out of vans for over four months with other crew members and real-life nomads and it shows in the manner she approaches the character of Fern. Having seen McDormand over the years, one can tell that it’s not really a veteran performer on display here. On the contrary, we get to see someone who is learning on the go. Perhaps, she is learning new methods to acting just as Fern is learning basic survival and self-sufficiency skills for the road. In one of the videos available online, Zhao while narrating a scene from Nomadland compares McDormand with Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin in the manner how she interacts with space. There is a certain nonchalance with which she glides through the spaces and while Zhao’s comparisons are quite apt, I personally find her body language resembling even more closely to the late legendary Italian actress Giulietta Masina. Anyone who has seen Masina in films like La Strada (1954), Nights of Cabiria (1957), and Juliet of the Spirits (1965) can see the similarities between the two great performers who are separated by time but united by their free-spirited performing styles.   

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JANHVI JOINS VIRAL ‘UP’ CHALLENGE, FLAUNTS HER DANCING SKILLS

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NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Janhvi Kapoor, who is currently holidaying in Maldives, on Monday joined the viral ‘Up’ challenge bandwagon and shared a video flaunting her killer dance moves. Janhvi took to her Instagram handle and shared a video dancing to the hit Cardi B song, along with the caption, “Missing the Filmfare stage so the poolside will have to do for now.” In the video, the ‘Gunjan Saxena’ actor, while dressed in a white top and blue denim could be seen matching steps with her friend, who was dressed in a blue bikini, paired with colourful yellow and pink pants. The duo was dancing next to a swimming pool, where they delivered an energetic performance on the upbeat song.

On the work front, Janhvi was last seen in ‘Roohi’, produced by Dinesh Vijan and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba. The film also starred Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma.

The horror-comedy became the first film to arrive in theatres after the government allowed cinema halls nationwide to operate at full capacity from February 1 with safety protocols put in place.

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LOCKDOWN DOESN’T MEAN GIVING UP ON FITNESS: KAREENA

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NEW DELHI: New mom Kareena Kapoor shared an inspiring post on Instagram, giving importance on the necessity to stay fit during the lockdown. On Sunday, the 40-year-old actress shared a photograph which showed that she walked 5,605 steps (5.11 km) within a few hours.

Kareena’s fitness mantra was loud and clear: “Lockdown doesn›t mean giving up,» she wrote in her caption. Kareena›s sister-in-law Saba Ali Khan commented on her post. She wrote: “Motivation… Now to try movement! Wish me luck! LOL. Stay safe and fit.”

Kareena and Saif Ali Khan welcomed a son on 21 February. “We have been blessed with a baby boy. Mom and baby are safe and healthy. Thank you to our well-wishers for their love and support,” Saif said in a statement.

Kareena and Saif married in 2012 after dating for a few years. They announced their second pregnancy last August. They are co-stars of films like Omkara, Agent Vinod, Kurbaan and Tashan. The actress announced her pregnancy memoir titled The Kareena Kapoor Khan Pregnancy Bible, on Taimur’s fourth birthday in December last year.

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KANGANA RANAUT CELEBRATES PARENTS’ WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

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kangana-ranaut

NEW DELHI: Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut, on Monday, celebrated her parents’ wedding anniversary by sharing a picture of them on her social media and narrating the story of how they met.

The ‘Queen’ actor took to her Twitter handle and shared a rare throwback picture of her parents from their wedding day along with a heartfelt note that read, “Today is the wedding anniversary of my parents, growing up they lied to us that it was a conventional arranged marriage it’s only much later nani told us they had a raging affair, papa saw mom at a bus stand returning from college, took that bus every day till she noticed him.”

Narrating her parents, Asha Ranaut and Amardeep Ranaut’s love story, in a subsequent tweet she elaborated, “Papa saw mom at a bus stand returning from college, took that bus every day till she noticed him. When papa sent proposal, Nana ji (grandfather) brutally rejected cos papa didn’t have good reputation. Nana had selected a groom with government job for mom. She was his favourite and lovingly called her Guddi but mom fought all odds and convinced Nana. Thanks for that, happy anniversary.” 

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HUMA QURESHI RECALLS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH ZACK SNYDER

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NEW DELHI: Bollywood star Huma Qureshi, who will soon be making her Hollywood debut with the upcoming movie ‘Army of the Dead’, recently recalled her first encounter with the film’s director Zack Snyder.

During a recent special panel on YouTube, which hosted the female star cast of the upcoming Netflix movie, Huma, an avid admirer of Snyder recalled meeting him for the first time and said, “He was wearing a white shirt and had his camera on and I am like the white shirt is going to get dirty.” She recollected that it was a dream come true opportunity for Huma when while visiting the US, she gave an audition for some other work but instead got a chance to work with the legend himself.

Snyders ‘Army of the Dead’ takes place following a zombie outbreak that leaves Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward, a former zombie war hero, who is now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka, with the ultimate proposition to break into the zombie-infested quarantined zone and retrieve USD 200 million, that is sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours.

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BHUMI TURNS ‘COVID WARRIOR’, OFFERS HELP TO THOSE IN ‘GENUINE NEED’

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Bhumi Pednekar

NEW DELHI: After recently recovering from the novel coronavirus, Bollywood star Bhumi Pednekar on Monday took up the mantle of a “COVID warrior” and extended support to her fans and followers on social media.

The ‘Bala’ actor took to her Instagram handle and asked her fans to DM her if they are in genuine need of medical supply. Sharing a statement Bhumi wrote, “#COVIDWARRIOR Dear All, As we move into the second wave of COVID-19 across India, I have created a highlight where I will be identifying resources to enable facilitation & access to medical supplies, plasma request and donors as the case may be.”

She asked fans to support her and continued, “While I am trying my level best to verify the numbers/contacts which are shared with me on a rampant & daily basis, there might be some numbers which may turn out to be fake. In the event that you find any information here not helpful/fake, please do let me know & I will immediately remove the same.”

Instilling the people with hope, she added, “This initiative is my small contribution to the huge battle that lies ahead to us. Please be patient & don’t lose hope! We’re in this together. Love, Bhumi.”

Bhumi had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 5 and was under home quarantine until she finally tested negative on April 17. The second wave has infected many people, and the number of positive cases has been rapidly rising. 

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IT’S A SCHEDULE WRAP FOR KRITI SANON FOR ‘BHEDIYA’

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Kriti Sanon

NEW DELHI: Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan, on Monday, announced Kriti Sanon’s schedule wrap for their upcoming horror-comedy flick ‘Bhediya’ while bidding adieu to the Ziro shooting set of the movie.

Varun hopped on to his Instagram handle and shared two adorable BTS pictures featuring him with Kriti at the exquisite location of their shoot set. While the first picture sees the lead hero holding her heroine on his back, the second one shows them flashing their big smiles for the camera. To address Kriti, Varun used the lyric of the song ‘Kya lagti hai haye Rabba’ from 1998 Govinda’s rom-com film ‘Dulhe Raja’ in the caption.

Continuing with it, he added, “Bahut maaza ayaa apka saath @kritisanon (Had a lot of fun with you) #wolfpack. It’s a sched wrap for kriti on #BHEDIYA as we say bye to ziro. Will miss you both”.

The horror-comedy drama ‘Bhediya’ will mark the ‘Badlapur’ star and ‘Heropanti’ star’s third collaboration with each other after sharing screen spaces in 2015 rom-com ‘Dilwale’ and 2019 ‘Kalank’.

The film which went on floors earlier in March at Arunachal Pradesh will bring together the dynamic duo of producer Dinesh Vijan and director Amar Kaushik, who also helmed the 2018 blockbuster movie ‘Stree’.

Starring Kriti Sanon, Varun Dhawan, Abhishek Banerjee, and Deepak Dobriyal, the story is written by National Award Winner, Niren Bhatt who also wrote intriguing scripts for ‘Bala’, ‘Made In China’, ‘Wrong Side Raju’. The film is slated to release in cinemas on April 14, 2022. 

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