‘OUR FRIEND’ IS REPLETE WITH BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF LOVE AND KINDNESS - The Daily Guardian
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‘OUR FRIEND’ IS REPLETE WITH BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF LOVE AND KINDNESS

Murtaza Ali Khan

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There is something about films that deal with characters battling cancer that attract storytellers the world over. Invariably such stories end with someone dying. And so right from the onset, we know what we are up for. And yet as viewers, we want to watch it unfold right in front of us. The newly released American film “Our Friend”, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, is another such tale revolving around cancer. But what makes it different from most films about characters battling cancer is the fact that it’s based on a true story. No, it’s not based on some book written by a cancer survivor. It is based on a 2015 article written by Matthew Teague titled “The Friend: Love is Not a Big Enough Word” about his wife’s battle with cancer that was published in Esquire magazine. Brad Ingelsby adapted it into a screenplay for “Our Friend”. The film stars Casey Affleck as Matthew Teague, Dakota Johnson as Matthew’s wife Nicole, and Jason Segel as the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux.

 Teague’s aforementioned article is perhaps the most poignant thing that you will ever read. “Most of September 17, 2012, has evaporated from my mind. I still have a few memories. I have the way the surgeon’s voice shook. I remember my wife calling my name while she was still under sedation. And I have an image of the hospital floor, up close,” reads the article’s opening lines. Teague further writes, “Nicole was thirty-four, and the doctor had been direct: ‘It’s everywhere,’ he said. ‘Like somebody dipped a paintbrush in cancer and flicked it around her abdomen.’ I staggered down a hallway and then collapsed. I remember the tile, close to my face, and then watching it retreat as my best friend picked me up from the floor. His name is Dane Faucheux, and I remember noting, even amid a mental fugue: Dane›s a lot stronger than I realised.” As you would have guessed by now, the article is as much about Dane as it is about Matthew and Nicole. And the same is true of Cowperthwaite’s film that takes its time to establish the dynamics between these three individuals. Without understanding the bond that they share, watching the film would be a futile exercise. 

 When Nicole first introduces Matthew to Dane, the two take time to warm up to each other. The fact that Dane had asked Nicole out on a date (completely unaware that she is already married) didn’t go too well with Matthew. But when Nicole tells Matthew that Dane had no idea about their marriage he agrees to meet him. Also, it doesn’t help that the two have very different outlooks on life. Matthew is always so practical and has a clear view of his goals. Dane, on the other hand, is always unsure about what he really wants to do in his life. “I want to do standup comedy,” he tells Matthew. But when Matthew inquires further he learns that Dane has no real plans in place. Matthew, on the other hand, is a features writer at the time but hopes to write the kind of journalistic pieces that have the power to “change the world”. 

 When Matthew takes up international assignments in places such as Lahore and Libya, it is usually Dane who is around to give some friendly company to Nicole and her two daughters. After Matthew returns, Dane tries to give him some friendly advice about family matters but Matthew completely loses his cool and reminds him about his relationship failures. There is always an undercurrent of tension between the two men but it all changes after Nicole is diagnosed with cancer. Finally, the two men begin to respect each other. Matthew writes in his article, “It was a routine death in every sense. It was ordinary. Common. The only remarkable element was Dane. I had married into this situation, but how had he gotten here? Love is not a big-enough word. He stood and faced the reality of death for my sake. He is my friend.» A lifelong friendship was thus forged.

 Casey Affleck is a truly wonderful actor but “Our Friend” somewhere fails to get the best out of him. But, frankly, he is so good that there is no such thing as a bad Casey Affleck performance. But it’s also not a great one. Surprisingly, it’s Jason Segel who steals the show with a mesmerising performance. As for Dakota Johnson, this is really the most seasoned performance of her acting career so far. She has certainly come a long way from her “Fifty Shades of Grey” days. One hopes that after this she will be encouraged to take up more challenging roles. “Our Friend” is replete with beautiful moments of love and kindness. Also, there are moments of great apathy and indifference. It’s this dichotomy that makes it so humanistic. We come across deeply flawed human beings struggling to pull themselves up while confronting their lies and deception, ordinary people capable of doing extraordinary deeds at their most vulnerable.

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RADHIKA MADAN RECEIVES COVID-19 VACCINE SHOT

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MUMBAI: Actor Radhika Madan informed her fans that she got vaccinated against the coronavirus on Wednesday, and also urged everyone to register for the same with a social media post. Taking it to her Instagram handle, Radhika shared a picture of herself getting vaccinated at a dispensary.

In the caption, she wrote, “One step at a time #Vaccinated”. She further urged everyone to get themselves registered for their shot and while adhering to all the precautions and discipline at the vaccination centres. “Wear double mask, sanitize your hands, maintain distance and don’t panic. Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep the day before and stay well hydrated #FightCorona,” Radhika concluded.

Earlier stars like Salman KhanHema Malini, Anupam Kher, Johnny Lever, Saif Ali Khan, Kamal Haasan, Satish Shah and others had also received the vaccination shots. Bollywood actors are constantly striving to create awareness against COVID-19 as well as offering assistance in arranging necessities via their social media.

Imparting hope in these unprecedented times, celebrities have united to spread positivity and awareness pleading everyone to wear masks, maintain social distancing as well get vaccinated to help eradicate the virus.

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ALT BALAJI’S HAI TAUBBA DEPICTS UNIQUE STORIES OF LOVE

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MUMBAI: ALT Balaji’s Hai Taubba is a four-episode anthology drama. The series depicts society’s perception of these distinct individuals with their unique stories of love. It reminds viewers of how judgemental the world is and reminds a person to check themselves before judging another human being.

Gagan Anand started his career in the fashion industry as a designer and model. He has made his mark in the entertainment industry with major roles in major shows such as Ek Veer Ki Ardaas Veera, Bajirao and Ye Hai Mohabbatein. In the OTT space, he has been absolutely brilliant with shows like Fixerr under his belt. He will currently be seen in a major role in ALTBalaji’s brand new series, Hai Taubba as Nitin.

Gagan Anand exclusively spoke to The Daily Guardian and shared his excitement of being a part of Alt Balaji show.

How excited are you to be back on screen with Alt Balaji show Hai Taubba? How did you bag the role?

Balaji is like a family to me now, working with them since a long time is like working with your loved ones.

Hai Taubba is a story, which has all the emotions which one could feel, and after doing a few grey shades / character I am really excited to play this emotional one which has the same sex love story.

What does your character look like in the show Hai Taubba? How relatable it is?

I am playing Nitin’s character who is a masculine physiotherapist, looks like a strong alpha man but from inside he is really very emotional, falls for a taxi driver Amit. We will see an unsaid love story between them and the separation will make people cry.

You have done TV shows as well, how different was doing a show for OTT platform?

Yes, I have done TV shows as well and I felt, life gets monotonous while doing TV. And the content we created on web now a day really satisfies the hunger of creative minds. We play a lot of character in a short span of time and explore a lot.

How was the experience working with the co actors?

It was fun working with all of them. When you go outdoors for work, you enjoy more and spend a lot of time together while working and shooting, so you make friends, which is a good part of it. Even chilling in Goa after the packup was a great fun. Overall have some good memories of screen as well.

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HANSAL MEHTA IS SUPER PROUD OF ‘OMERTA’

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MUMBAI: Hansal Mehtas directorial ‘Omerta’ was released three years ago on Tuesday. He talked about the film and said Rajkummar Rao’s performance stands tall among their projects together. Hansal shared the poster on Instagram of the film and wrote: “3 years of #Omerta. A film I’m super proud of. A performance by Raj that stands tall in our work together.”

‘Omerta’ is a biographical crime drama that had Rajkummar essaying Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, British terrorist of Pakistani descent. The film revolves around the 1994 kidnappings of Westerners in India.

Mehta had helmed ‘Scam 1992’ last year. He will be directing its second instalment ‘Scam 2003: The Curious Case Of Abdul Karim Telgi’.

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PAYAL DEV OPENS UP ABOUT CROONING ‘DIL DE DIYA’ FROM SALMAN’S ‘RAADHE’

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Singer Payal Dev sets the stage on fire with the super energetic song ‘Dil De Diya’ for Salman Khan upcoming movie ‘Raadhe’ featuring Jacqueline Fernandez. The song is composed by Himesh Reshammiya, sung by Payal Dev and Kamaal Khan, music produced by Aditya Dev and lyrics by Shabbir Ahmed.  

Sharing her experience about singing this song exclusively with The Sunday Guardian, Payal says, “It’s an honour to sing for Himesh Reshammiya and we have previously collaborated on movies like ‘Happy Hardy’ and ‘Heer’. I’m a fan of his compositions which are unique and sure-shot hits. When he reached out to me for ‘Dil De Diya’, I was super excited as working with him and Salman Khan is always challenging and fun. The song is such a vibe that it gives a nostalgic feeling every time I hear it. When I got to know this song is for ‘Raadhe’ I was over the moon to be part of such a brilliant album. I am a huge fan of Salman. Post recording the song, he heard the song and really liked my voice and versatility. I’m thankful to Himesh and Salman for giving me this opportunity.” Currently, the singer is judging a singing reality show, IPML on Zee TV.

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ABHISHEK BANERJEE WAS LIKE A BOUNCING BOARD FOR ME: NUSHRRATT BHARUCCHA

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NEW DELHI: Nushrratt Bharuccha and Abhishek Banerjee were recently seen in ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’. The duo shared great chemistry on-screen in their film and Nushrratt revealed the reason behind the same. She shares, “It was truly a blessing that Abhishek Banerjee was cast in the ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ alongside me. I have given so many auditions at his casting agency since the time I started my career, he would enact the scenes with me as my co-actor and give me the necessary critique. I could easily discuss my character and story with him.” Nushrratt adds, “He was like a bouncing board for me literally, where I could easily bounce off my ideas on how to enact a particular scene and he would also improvise along with me. While shooting for Khilauna, I could put in extra effort in my character with his help, because I could easily run my thoughts through him, and I knew he would give me honest feedback.”

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JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ LAUNCHES YOLO FOUNDATION

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MUMBAI: Jacqueline Fernandez, on Tuesday, announced the launch of her ‘You Only Live Once’ foundation to create and share stories of kindness amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

  Taking to her Instagram handle, Jacqueline announced the launch of the YOLO Foundation; an initiative to create and share stories of kindness in these challenging times.

    In the caption, Jacqueline wrote, “We have this one life, let’s do whatever we can to make a difference in this world!! I am proud to announce the launch of the YOLO Foundation; an initiative to Create and Share Stories of Kindness.”

  She further added, “In these challenging times, the Yolo Foundation has partnered with several NGOs to help in whichever way we possibly can. Watch this space to know how you can contribute and make a difference to the lives around you #staysafe #spreadlove #helpothers”

Jacqueline had previously extended her help to people in rebuilding their houses post-flood relief and had also worked towards the nourishment of children during Covid-19. Meanwhile, on the work front, she has films like ‘Bachchan Pandey’, ‘Bhoot Police’, ‘Attack’, ‘Cirkus’, ‘Ram Setu’ in the pipeline. 

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