Shraddha in character

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Actors do a lot to stay in character during the shooting of a film and the latest to join the passion club is Shradha Kapoor playig Haseena Parkar. To make certain she did not lose focus Shradha made certain to speak to everyone on the sets in the voice of Haseena. One day, director Apoorva Lakhia had a friend drop by on the sets and introduced him to Shraddha and to his surprise, Shradha intimidated him by speaking to him in her character voice which scared both the men. It was only after the friend had left the sets that Shradha burst into giggles much to Apoorva’s relief.

Cutting jokes of this kind seem to be in the genes of the Kolhapure family, in hey days aunt Padmini Kolhapure would have the entire unit in splits but once the camera began to roll, nothing to distract Pandi from her scene. Hope it is the same with Shraddha Kapoor.



Literature Live

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Year after year Literature Live brings us stimulating discussions with new writers. This time it is Tata Son`s Brand Custodian, Harish Bhat releasing The Curious Marketer. Now ‘curious’ could mean either ‘eager to know or learn’, or it could mean ‘strange, unusual.’ Which curious exactly does author Harish mean? Or is it both? The best way to find out is to be present at the book launch.  The subtitle reads Expeditions in Branding and Consumer Behaviour and since everyone is a consumer, there should be something for everyone in the evening today at NCPA`s Little Theatre. In conversation with Harish Bhat will be Mini Menon, former Executive Editor at Bloomberg TV, and co-founder of Live History India, an on-line portal.



Chef Dad

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Often it is the trailer that determines how a film is going to be received by the audience and Saif Ali Khan’s trailer of Raja Krishna Menon’s Chef seems to have struck the right chord for two reasons. This is the first time we are exposed to Saif’s culinary skills and this is also the first time we are exposed to Saif as a contemporary Dad! Designer Raja have taken special effort to work on the nawab’s costumes to present him in the easy-going style when he is at work or spending quality time with his son on holidays. “My brief was to present Roshan Karla/ Saif Ali Khan as a new age cool dad and that is how you will find him.”

Now this is one film Taimur Khan would love to watch when he grows up.



Mon. Taapsee Pannu

8th Jagran Festival

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Tapsee Pannu was a big hit at the Jagran Festival this year. Over 130 movie titles scheduled for screening, to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and crowd intimacy through the wide world of cinema.


The 2017 edition of Jagran Film Festival traversed from Delhi to the Indian hinterlands of Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Dehradun, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Indore, Hisar, Ludhiana, Meerut, Raipur, and will now culminate in Mumbai.


Screening World Cinemas featuring from Turkey, India, Greece, US, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Morocco, Spain, Sri Lanka, Czech and more. The festival showcased the best of regional cinema including Amraawati, Rama Rama Re and Bengali movies – Messi and Posto, Chandras Chor and more.




Movie review: Lucknow Central is inspiring

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Film: Lucknow Central

Date: 15 September 2017

Director: Ranjit Tiwari

Writer: Ranjit Tiwari, Aseem Arora 

Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Deepak Dobriyal, Ronit Roy, Rajesh Sharma


Lucknow Central opens in a barsati in Muraadaabad where a sleepy Kishen Gairhotra/ Farhan Akhtar composing notes in his dreams. He is an aspiring musician and has ambitions of creating his own band someday.

He is close to his goal when he attends a concert of a superstar but an altercation and an outburst with a minister turns into an ugly revenge where Kishen is accused of murder and locked inside the prison.

All appeals fall on deaf ears and Kishen now referred to as 1821 is transferred to Central Lucknow Jail awaiting a death sentence where he meets the sensitive NGO worker Gayatri Kashyap/ Diana Penty assigned to form a Band in the prison for a concert scheduled at the Lucknow Jail.

Kishen volunteers to form the band though it is not easy to win the trust of his colleagues but he succeeds eventually and they are committed to rehearsals and a secret plan of escape!

There are many perspectives to Lucknow Central. You can view it as a reflection of Uttar Pradesh’s socio-political conditions, a statement on our legal and judiciary system, a glimpse of what’s happening inside our jails and how to reform prisoners or as a simple story of dreams and the struggle to make them come true.What works in favor of the film are the refreshing music, sharp editing, conflicting climax, affable characters and inspiring message. The negative, if it can be called a downside is that it is one location centric but the engaging narrative and the ensemble performances more than make up for it.

Ronit Roy as the jailor and Ravi Kissen as the minister are effective. Farhan Akhtar plays Kishen Girhotra with an innocence and sincerity that is touching. Some scenes stay with you after the film is over.  A beaming Farhan on a sewing machine and the midnight group performance before the jailor are magical moments!

What’s attractive about the film is that though it is a story of prison inmates but it is far more depressing. The characters are largely criminals but the message is positive!! Yes there are atrocities inside the prison but hope is still alive and the conscience still ticking.

In the film, the hero’s father says Justice is granted to no one, there is just good luck and bad luck and after Lucknow Central good luck is definitely on the side of director Ranjit Tiwari.

I rate Central Lucknow with 3.5 stars.







Movie Review: Simran is disappointing

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Film: Simran

Date: 15 September 2017

Director:  Hansal Mehta

Writer: Apurva Asrani

Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Soham Shah, Esha Tewari Pande, Aneesha Joshi

Music: Sachin-Jigar


For the past few weeks Kangana Ranaut and the team of Simran have been promoting the film as a refreshing tale of an emancipated single woman who lives life on her terms. Director Hansal Mehta’s protagonist Praful Patel 30 and divorcee has a house-keeping job with a premium hotel and lives with her parents in Atlanta.

As the film progresses you discover that Praful is far from responsible and makes no contribution to household expenses. Senior Patel is frustrated with his daughter who makes no effort to pursue a degree, find better job placement or agree to alliance brought by the parents for marriage.

Praful’s friend Ambar is getting married and takes Praful with her for a holiday to Las Vegas and the holiday changes Praful’s life.

The first half of the film introduces us to Praful’s parents and colleagues which is a replay of Queen without any new insights. The second half travels you into Praful’s complex world where problems multiply rapidly without solutions.

In my opinion, the biggest flaw in the film is a character flaw.  Simran is thoughtless, reckless and fails to arouse any affection/ compassion from her viewers in fact by the end of the film I’m angry with her self-absorption.

While I understand that all kinds of people exist in the universe and Simran is inspired from a jail serving NRI Supreet Kaur based in America, I fail to comprehend how her story can serve any purpose because the message director Hansal Mehta imparts is that it if you don’t have the money, steal it!

For the past few weeks, the team has been promoting Simran as a woman empowerment film! If drinking/ gambling/ deceiving/ looting banks is about empowerment then I think we need to look up the dictionary for the real meaning.

The only positives about Simran are Sachin-Jigar’s music, cinematography, and the exotic locations. Kangana Ranaut is without dispute a magnificent actor but it is difficult to appreciate a performance when the character fails to connect with you.


I rate Simran with 2 stars.



simran 1

Single and Happy Simran

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Kangana Ranaut’s Praful Patel in Simran, is the story of a girl who navigates through family, conservatism, expectations, love, crime, and redemption. The 1995’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Simran was a tradition-bound girl hankering to break free. The new-age Simran is a natural of sorts and follows her heart. The interesting bit about her character is that it brings the Gujarati community once again into focus. Just a few weeks ago Harry met Sejal told about a progressive Gujarati girl and her nonconservative diamond business family. This time Praful is past her prime but happy and rearing to g.

Shot in Atlanta, USA and directed by Hansal Mehta who served us the sensitive Citylights a few years ago the actor director had a lot of fun shooting and trying out different eateries ranging from Local Southern/ Mexican/Italian/ Pan Asian to Gujarati thaali. Says the filmmaker “I love food as I believe it is the secret to happiness! In my opinion, it is the only way to de-stress and I indulge in it as often as I can.

Hansal Mehta and Kangana RanautProduced by Bhushan Kumar and Shailesh R Singh Simran is set to release on 15 September 2017 and going by the promotions and the trailer I will not be surprised if we have another Queen in the making.



Thor: Ragnarok

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Directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Thor: Ragnarok has an impressive star cast including Anthony Hopkins. Marvel Studios latest presentation is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok—the destruction of his home world and the end of Asgardian civilization—at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger—the Incredible Hulk!  Thor: Ragnarok thunders into theaters on 3rd November. If you have been a fan of this genre of movies get ready for a delightful experience this festival season.