MUMBAI: Sikandar Kher was recently seen in three web series but says he needs work. The year 2020 was quite a busy one for Sikandar as he featured in web series ‘MumBhai’, ‘Aarya’ and ‘The Chargesheet: Innocent Or Guilty’. But his latest Instagram post suggests that he has no work right now. Posting a photo of himself giving an intense look, he wrote: “PS: Need work, can smile also.” Netizens praised his performances in various projects. The actor will soon be seen in the cop action drama ‘Sooryavanshi’, starring Akshay Kumar.
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NAMBIAR’S TECHNICAL MASTERY, RANE’S INTENSITY MAKE ‘TAISH’ UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE
By choosing to release Taish simultaneously as a film as well as a six-episode series, Bejoy Nambiar has mounted an interesting storytelling experiment. Film and series are of course two very different mediums and both have their strengths and weaknesses. A story which works in one medium may not work in the other and vice versa. But, before we analyse the two versions of Taish, let’s first try and put the storyline into perspective. Set in the UK, Taish revolves around a family of gangsters and a family of doctors. The two worlds clash amidst a wedding and all hell breaks loose. It’s essentially a tale of friendship, betrayal, love, and revenge. Taish stars Harshvardhan Rane, Pulkit Samrat, Sanjeeda Shaikh, Kriti Kharbanda, Jim Sarbh, Abhimanyu Singh, Saurabh Sachdeva, Saloni Batra, Zoa Morani, Ankur Rathee, and Ikhlaque Khan in pivotal roles.
People look up to Hollywood when it comes to the depiction of raw and gritty action. But what Bejoy Nambiar achieves in Taish is no mean feat. We are treated with some brilliant moments of action, whether one speaks of combat or chase sequences. Taish also offers intense and deeply passionate moments of romance. The brilliant editing, trippy soundscape, and breathtaking cinematography elevate Taish above anything seen in the Indian entertainment space in recent years. The single most amazing thing about Taish is that it starts on a moment of high intensity and Nambiar is able to maintain the level of intensity for the most part. Of course, there are many tender moments in between, but it does live up to its title which translates to rage and passion.
When the two-time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee cast Tony Chiu-Wai Leung for the part of Mr Yee (a special agent and recruiter of the puppet government set up by the Japanese occupation in China) for his film Lust, Caution (2007), he made the actor study the performances of Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1972), Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place (1950) and Richard Burton in Equus (1977), to give him a sense of wounded masculinity, which Lee thought was right characterisation for the role of Mr Yee. Now, their masculinity can be described as wounded because among other things there is a sense of self-destructive drive in all these characters. For example, the widower character Paul played by Brando in Last Tango in Paris enters an abusive relationship with a young girl while he is still mourning his wife’s recent suicide. Bogart’s temperamental screenwriter character in In a Lonely Place, Dixon Steele, a murder suspect, falls in love with a neighbour while on the verge of a breakdown. Now, I think we can safely add Harshvardhan Rane’s gangster character Pali Brar from Taish to the above list. Pali’s self-destructive drive is a result of losing out the love of his life to his elder brother who is like a father to him.
Pali is a powerhouse of a character and Rane immortalises it by delivering the best performance of his career thus far. It’s such a treat to see a non-Punjabi actor demonstrate such command over the Eastern Punjabi dialect. He showed a similar command over Punjabi in J.P. Dutta’s Paltan also but it mostly went unnoticed. Fortunately for Rane, it didn’t escape Nambiar’s attention. Rane’s chemistry with Sanjeeda Shaikh in Taish is riveting to watch and savour. Pulkit Samrat manages to show a different side to him in Taish. In a couple of scenes with Rane, he is even able to hold his own. Jim Sarbh is solid as ever. Some of the scenes that he shares with Pulkit and Kriti are really intense. Also, Saurabh Sachdeva, Abhimanyu Singh, Ikhlaque Khan, Saloni Batra, and Bikramjit Gurm deserve special mention for their memorable performances.
The film version of Taish runs at 143 minutes. On the other hand, the total runtime of the series is 178 minutes. Both versions are streaming on ZEE5. While the former unfolds linearly, the latter follows a non-linear narrative. After finishing both the versions (series followed by the film), I decided to approach the director with a basic question. I asked him which of the two versions does he personally prefers, and why? And I got a very interesting response. “It’s a tough question. Each version has its pros and cons and for me, it’s extremely difficult to choose one over the other,” replied Nambiar. So, which of the two versions is superior, according to me? Well, that simply depends on whether you prefer to watch it in a single seating or want to conveniently watch just one episode at a time. Perhaps, the film version can be approached as the theatrical cut and the series as the director’s cut. Nambiar’s films are always technically brilliant and one Hollywood filmmaker that he can be compared with is Michael Mann. Just like Mann, Nambiar has always been considered a master of style. But his films have always been accused of lacking substance. With Taish, however, he seems to have a successfully married style with equal parts of substance.
MALDIVES IS THE GO-TO PLACE FOR CELEBS
The covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown halted people’s international travel plans. After the government lifted travel restrictions as a part of Unlock 5.0, several celebrities decided to jet off to the Maldives to spend leisure time with their loved ones amid clean and pristine beaches and wonderful weather. Taapsee Pannu, Varun Dhawan, Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Eli Avram, Mouni Roy, Angad Bedi and Neha Dhupia, among others, made the most of their free time vacationing in the archipelago and also dropped some of the most gorgeous pictures on their social media handles.
Rakul Preet Singh has found the perfect occasion to take a short break to bring in her parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. A few days back, the actress, along with her parents and brother Aman Preet, left for the Maldives for the big day which was on 26 November. Rakul says that it has been over 10 years since the Singhs took a family vacation.
Tiger posted a shirtless picture of himself on social media announcing his arrival in the Maldives. He accompanied the picture with a cheeky caption: “Dress code for the next couple of days.” Disha was spotted at the airport with Tiger and looks like the ‘Baaghi’ actor has the best company on his vacation. Katrina Kaif shared a beautiful picture with the blue waters of Maldives in the background, which left her fans spellbound. “So amazing to be in the Maldives for the shoot,” she wrote. ‘Singham’ actress Kajal Aggarwal, who recently tied the knot with long-time boyfriend Gautam Kitchlu, is honeymooning in the Maldives. The actress shared a series of pictures on her social media handles, while her dearest husband turned photographer for her.
Varun raised the temperature on social media by sharing a picture of himself enjoying some quality time in the Maldivian sea. Sonakshi Sinha was spotted unwinding on the beaches of the island-nation, seemingly enjoying her relaxed days as the sun sets in the backdrop. She captioned the photograph, “Happiest in the water!”, and all we can say is…we are too! ‘Marjaavan’ actress Tara Sutaria also celebrated her 25th birthday with beau Aadar jain in Maldives.
Kriti Sanon to have a packed slate in 2021
From keeping herself busy with the shoot of her next in Chandigarh to spending time with family back home in lockdown, there’s a lot that’s been keeping Kriti Sanon occupied. Hailed as one of the most bankable and desirable stars in the country today, Kriti is a success story in more ways than one. Currently riding high on the positive reviews for her performance in ‘Panipat’, she already seems to have a packed slate in 2021 with many scripts coming her way.
A source close to the actress recently revealed that Kriti is currently keeping super busy reading scripts and has as many as seven ventures being offered to her. The source added, “Kriti is keeping really busy with the shoot of her next film in Chandigarh. After breaking new grounds with films like ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, ‘Luka Chuppi’ and ‘Housefull 4’, she has in no time became directors’ favourite and has been offered some really exciting projects. Post staying at home all these months due to the pandemic, she’s all set to roll with around five projects slated in 2021.”
On the professional front, Kriti will be next seen portraying the role of a surrogate for the first time in ‘Mimi’. She will also star in the highly anticipated ‘Bachchan Pandey’ opposite Akshay Kumar.
BTS HOPES TO VISIT INDIA IN FUTURE
Mumbai: The K-pop band BTS comprises seven performers, and the absence of even one member feels huge for the rest of the band. Many BTS fans or ARMY have been concerned about SUGA since his recent shoulder surgery. The good news is that he is “quickly recovering”, informed his bandmate j-hope.
“SUGA is quickly recovering at the moment. The absence of even just one member feels huge for us, so all the members including SUGA are hoping that he gets better quickly, so that he can join us on stage for us to become whole again,” j-hope told IANS. Talking about ‘Dynamite’ Jungkook said, “We’re very thankful for the love and support that we have received with ‘Dynamite’. Our goal with ‘Dynamite’ was to give a burst of energy to the listeners and we’re just glad to have achieved it. We are eager to continue to give hope and joy to our listeners through our music.” Their latest music does just that. RM shared: “We believe all of our albums are important and have played important roles in our career. ‘BE’ is an album that we created to reflect our current thoughts and emotions and deliver a message of hope to our fans all over the world.”
“We consistently try to convey the messages we want to deliver to the world honestly and confidently through our music. However, to do so, we’ve felt that singing and dancing isn’t enough, and it’s important for us to participate in overall aspects of the album-making process such as songwriting and producing, which we continuously make an effort to improve in,” said V. The album has eight songs, which touch upon topics like sadness, depression, hope and how the idea of travelling will change in the future. “After a series of discussions with our label and producers, we selected songs that felt the most right for the theme of this album. The final tracklist was also decided after discussions among us,” said Jimin. Now, they are eagerly waiting to meet their fans. “We’re ready to meet our fans whenever we can as soon as this pandemic comes to an end. There is nothing we want more than to go on tour to meet ARMY again in person. We really want to reach as many ARMY in the world as possible, so we hope to visit India in the future if an opportunity is given,” said Jin.
Award shows should include films released on OTT: Bhumi
Bhumi Pednekar is not new to the webspace, her film ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare’ dropped on OTT earlier this year. She is now awaiting the release of her next film, ‘Durgamati’, in the digital space.
With OTT making major inroads into the popular psyche, Bhumi feels content driven by the medium deserves to be eligible at various awards ceremonies in India. “When we started out to make ‘Durgamati’, we wanted to entertain the audiences in cinemas. Then, the pandemic happened and it is now making us realign as an industry. The fact that movie releases have become digital first, is a unique scenario that we are all living with today,” said Bhumi.
She added: “Two of my films that are supremely close to my heart have become digital releases, and as an actor, I have realised that these projects are reaching out to audiences worldwide. I am fortunate that ‘Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitaare’ was loved and appreciated by both critics and audiences and I’m hoping they will love ‘Durgavati’ as well. ”
There is a growing trend to include digital releases at all top awards across the globe. Bhumi feels the trend should be followed in our country too. “In such an environment, the award shows of our country should include films that are released on digital platforms. It will be a huge conversation shifter for our industry and a necessary step to acknowledge the hard work that actors have put into making these magical movies, ” said Bhumi. “Prestigious award shows in the West have started recognising pathbreaking digital content, and we should have the same norms in India. It will be a progressive step that will also benefit the industry to push the envelope in making more clutter-breaking films.”
Talking about her upcoming film, Bhumi said: “‘Durgamati’ is one such film and it wowed me on the script level. I have seen the film now, and can assure you that it is a high concept, content film that will entertain everyone, across age-groups, thoroughly. I can’t wait for everyone to see it! I have probably worked the hardest for ‘Durgamati’ as it drained me and I loved every bit of the process.” She said doing the film gave her creative satisfaction and she hopes it translates to success when it releases.
BRINGING OUT THE FUNNY SIDE OF FASHION
Eventually you do develop the knack to find humour in a subject that has consumed most of your life. A topic that you have lived, breathed, and thrived upon. A subject that has been a raison d’etre of India’s most veteran writer Meher Castelino and one that she writes about in her most recent book. Yes, we are referring to fashion and its world of whimsy. One that she picks cudgels with in her most recent book, Fashion Musings, jibing at what are given situations, joking around real-life bastions, and saying it as it is.
A crisp, easy-to-read book with a foreword by her pal Tarun Tahiliani, Fashion Musings dwells upon subjects that were hitherto pushed under the carpet. “It is an insider’s view offered through the rosy lens of humour and chutzpah.” But cut through the floss and you have some hard realities staring right back at you. She looks at gossip around fashion in her chapter ‘fashion banter’; she dwells upon the fashion quandary of quality over success; she jibes about Mentor Moms and fashion weeks. “I have tried to show this world in an alive, real manner.”
Meher Castelino, fashion commentator, expert, columnist and protagonist, is someone I have looked up to all my life. Not just for her wealth of knowledge on the subject, her seasoned eye or her precise analysis of a couture collection. But also for the way she has poised herself in the whimsical world of fashion where the only constant is change and you are as good as your last scoop or VVIP interview.
In this effervescent world, Meher has lasted, in the forefront, as a respected voice for a clean five decades! A South Bombay girl, Meher Castelino’s rendezvous with fashion and beauty goes back to 1964 when she won the first Femina Miss India crown, soon after graduating from Lawrence School, Lovedale. She represented the country at the Miss Universe and Miss United Nations Contests. Those were the glorious days when Indian fashion was just about waking to indigenous design and Meher raged the catwalk, often walking the ramp for shows she was choreographing. That is when she was not busy editing Gentlemen’s Fashion Quarterly, Flair and Eve’s Weekly. Or leading design departments of leading export houses.
A model for the first 14 years, this cerebral woman took to writing. “Soon after I penned my first article in Eve’s Weekly in 1973. I have never looked back ever since. I was invited to visit Germany, France, Italy, USA, South Africa, Turkey, Netherlands and Singapore to view haute couture fashion shows by international designers but what gives me real pride is to see how India and Indian designers have found their own pretty little place in the sun. The arrival of India on the global fashion scene is incredible.” And it is this incredulous world that Meher’s most recent book dwells deeply upon. A must read.
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