Bollywood Roundup: Javed Akhtar, Varun Dhawan, Sonali Bendre, Karan Johar and more…

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Javed Akhtar

Indian film industry is citadel of secularism: Javed Akhtar

Mumbai– The Indian film industry is a citadel of secularism where there’s no scope for communal bias, says veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar.

Javed Akhtar

“I had joined the film industry in 1965 on a salary of 50 rupees a month. In these 53 years, not for a second I have experienced or even seen any communal bias in our industry. This film industry is the citadel of secularism. Bigots, don’t try to pollute it,” Akhtar tweeted on Wednesday.

Akhtar’s comment comes amid a raging debate which got sparked by a social media user’s tweet questioning Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s right to play Lord Krishna in the actor’s proposed screen version of the “Mahabharata”.

When a Twitter user questioned Akhtar on the correlation of Rs 50 and secularism, the critically acclaimed writer commented: “This is to establish that even when I was economically in a very humble and socially in a very vulnerable position, then too I didn’t feel any discrimination at least on any communal grounds.”

I don’t want to be typecast: Varun Dhawan

New Delhi– Actor Varun Dhawan, who made his Bollywood debut with an out-and-out commercial film “Student of the Year” and has experimented with a serious avatar in “Badlapur” and in the upcoming “October”, says he is not open to the idea of being typecast.

Varun Dhawan

“I do not want to be typecast,” Varun told IANS.

“Whether it’s going to be a Hindi film, a commercial film, an art film, or whatever… Whatever role I do should entertain people and that’s what I set out to do. As a person, I cannot stay on one movie for very long and if I do a very serious film, I need to do a comedy film.

“So I get into another film which is like ‘October’, offering a different tone and talking about different kind of love,” the 30-year-old added in an email interview.

The actor is currently in the national capital to shoot his new film “Sui Dhaaga”. On Wednesday, he took time out of his current shooting schedule to launch “Tab bhi tu” for “October”, which is directed by Shoojit Sircar and also stars newcomer Banita Sandhu.

Co-produced by Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar, “October”, releasing on April 13, celebrates love, nature and the autumn season.

Varun’s last few films, including “Judwaa 2” and “Badrinath Ki Dulhania” did good business at the box office. How does he maintain his calm when a film either becomes a hit or a flop.

“Once the film releases, I am the happiest. I am the happiest while shooting the films and even during the marketing of the film. When the film releases, people talk about it and put you on a high and you enjoy that phase, but it’s not only about that.

Handful of almonds daily help me stay fit: Sonali Bendre

Mumbai– Actress and fitness enthusiast Sonali Bendre says that eating a healthy diet, including a handful of almonds, every day and a regular exercise regime help her stay fit.

Sonali Bendre

“I have realised that to ensure my family stays healthy, it is important I stay fit and healthy myself,” said the actress while taking part at a panel discussion titled “Badam pe Charcha-Working Mother’s Dilemma in Ensuring the Family Health” organised by the Almond Board of California here on Wednesday.

The panel addressed a common conundrum working mothers face — juggling their careers and responsibilities for managing the household and their roles as mothers, wives and often daughter-in-law.

Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family.

“For working mothers, creating a work-life balance is critical as we must ensure we do not neglect any significant part of our lives — our children, our family’s health, our own health and fitness, our marriage and of course our careers,” said the actress, who is married to filmmaker Goldie Behl.

The 43-year-old actress said being a working mother, she can understand how stress inducing the feeling of ignoring responsibilities can be.

KJo scores 15 mn Twitter followers

Filmmaker Karan Johar has garnered an over 15 million fan following on Twitter. He is grateful for all the love.

“Grateful for all the social media love, hate and even the indifference! All of these feelings keep me on my feet,” Karan tweeted on Wednesday.

Karan is currently seen as a mentor in Star Plus’ “India’s Next Superstar”.

Annu Kapoor learnt French for ‘Missing’

Mumbai– Actor Annu Kapoor picked up some French lines for his role in the upcoming psychological thriller “Missing”.

“Annu Kapoor is a studious actor and a perfectionist. After spending years in the industry, he still studies his role very minutely. When I offered him the role of a Mauritian cop, he requested if he can travel with us a few days prior to the shoot. Normally, actors don’t travel with the technical crew but he did.

“The five days he had on his hand, he used to regularly visit the police station to understand how police there handles a crime scene. For the role, he learnt some French lines to bring authenticity to the role,” director Mukul Abhyankar said in a statement.

Annu will be seen portraying an investigating police officer who is assigned to solve the case of a missing three-year-old child called Titli in the movie.

“Missing”, which also features Manoj Bajpayee and Tabu, is scheduled to release on April 6.

Dilnaz Irani to play police officer in ‘Twisted 2’

Mumbai– Actress Dilnaz Irani, seen in films like “Jodhaa Akbar” and “Aligarh”, has landed a police officer’s role in Vikram Bhatt’s web series “Twisted 2”. She is replacing Achint Kaur for the role of Arunima.

“‘Twisted 2’ is a crime triangle between Rahul, Nia and Arunima. My character is a CBI investigator who is a very strong and level-headed woman. She has a no-nonsense approach to work. However, along with this, she has a humane side to her,” Dilnaz said in a statement.

The actress is an electronic engineering student from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She debuted on stage with Toni Patel’s “The Merchant of Venice” and then did various plays.

Asked about her experience of working with Bhatt, who is producing the show with JioCinema, she added: “Vikram Bhatt, or ‘the Boss’ as he is called by all, is a master of his craft. His writing is sharp and his intuition about what works and what doesn’t in this genre is impeccable.”

Twisted 2, directed by Anupam Santosh Saroj, will be launched on the OTT platform, VB on the Web, on April 25.

Lucky to have Shivangi as co-star: Mohsin

Mumbai– Actor Mohsin Khan says he feels lucky to feature along with his girlfriend Shivangi Joshi on the show “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai”.

“Great friendship, comfort level and understanding are the key ingredients for a great on-screen chemistry. I got lucky to have a co-star like Shivangi. We are very comfortable with each other; be it on-screen or off screen. We are extremely good friends well,” Mohsin said in a statement.

“And because we share such a great friendship, that is what translates on-screen for (the characters) Kartik and Naira. I can say that our relationship as Mohsin and Shivangi is a lot like how the core relationship of Kartik and Naira is on the show,” he added.

“Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai” is aired on Star Plus.

RGV to direct Akhil Akkineni

Chennai– Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who directed actor Nagarjuna in his debut film “Shiva” in 1989, is ecstatic to direct his son Akhil Akkineni in an upcoming film.

RGV, who has directed Nagarjuna in a gripping cop story titled “Officer”, on Tuesday tweeted: “Just love the circle of life Nagarjuna produced my debut ‘Shiva’ and now after some 25 years I produced Nagarjuna’s ‘Officer’ and now in a full circle Nagarjuna is producing Akhil Akkineni‘s film with me as director”

Other details related to the movie are still under wraps. RGV has also directed Nagarjuna in films like “Antham”, “Govinda Govinda” and “Drohi”. “Officer”, a cop thriller brings the actor and director duo back together after a gap of over two decades. The film is slated for release on May 25.

Aahana, Amol recount what happened in Hong Kong

Mumbai– Actors Aahana Kumra and Amol Parashar, who came together for “It Happened in Hong Kong”, a travel style web series in Hong Kong, are awestruck by the dining, shopping and outdoor experiences that the place offers.

The ongoing series, developed by OTT platform Viu, was made in collaboration with the Hong Kong Tourism Board. It highlights the sights, culture and experiences in the city, and is set against a romantic and adventurous storyline of two solo travellers, who come across each other while visiting Hong Kong and decide to explore the city together.

They discover the city’s local culture, outdoor adventures, hidden temples, street food, street art, street shopping and nightlife together.

Both Aahana and Amol captured the moments for their fans via social media.

“This was my first visit to Hong Kong and I was completely mesmerised by the variety of things you can do here. The city and local culture is amazing and so is the great outdoors and shopping. So much to discover,” Aahana said in a statement.

Amol added: “I’ve always wanted to come to Hong Kong and try the dimsums and I’m so glad I did. There are so many choices when it comes to local dining and cultural experiences, I was amazed. I will definitely be coming back with my friends for more.”

The cast also took time out from their daily shoot schedule to explore Hong Kong on their own. They enjoyed dimsums and egg tarts, visited the Old Town Central and local district Sham Shui Po, apart from exploring the offbeat side of Hong Kong at Lantau Island, home to the Big Buddha with views of the lush mountainside which can be seen on a glass-bottomed cable car ride to the island.

The fourth and the final episode of “It Happened in Hong Kong” will be out on Friday.

Hansal Mehta quits smoking after 23 years of ‘struggle’

Mumbai– National Award winning director Hansal Mehta says he “struggled with cigarette smoking” and has now finally “quit the habit”.

“I’ve struggled with cigarette smoking and wanting to quit for nearly 23 years… Last month I was terribly ill. I quit smoking. I had to if I wanted to live. Don’t wait to fall ill. Just quit the habit. Kick the butt. Stop Smoking,” Mehta tweeted on Tuesday.

On the work front, Mehta has been roped in to direct a new web series titled “The Scam”, based on a book authored by Sucheta Dalal and Debashish Basu.

His directorial “Omerta” starring Rajkummar Rao will be hitting the screens on April 20. The film is based on terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh’s life.

“Omerta” was shot in real locations across London and India. It is woven around some of the most bloody terror attacks, including the 9/11 attack and the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl.

Always been a cricket enthusiast: Actor Shiva Rajkumar

Bengaluru– Actor Shiva Rajkumar, who has been signed as Star India’s official ambassador for the broadcast of the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, says he is a cricket enthusiast.

Star India will broadcast IPL’s live matches in six languages – Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Kannada.

Star Suvarna Plus will be the destination for the Kannada language broadcast, and Shiva has starred in a TV commercial for it.

The film opens with Shiva Rajkumar striding forward in his trademark style and telling his fans that the VIVO IPL brings the same energy, excitement and entertainment that they have experienced in his films to the cricketing field, as the best players in the world come together on this platform.

“I’ve always been a cricket enthusiast and enjoyed playing and watching cricket right from my childhood. VIVO IPL has been one of the tournaments I look forward to every year. I’m excited about my association with Star India for event and I am looking forward to enjoying the best of cricketing action for the first time in my mother tongue,” Shiva said in a statement.

The eleventh edition of the IPL will begin on April 7.

Varun takes time out for ‘October’ song launch

New Delhi– Actor Varun Dhawan has taken a break from the shooting schedule of “Sui Dhaaga” to launch a song from his upcoming film “October” here.

Jacqueline Fernandes and Varun Dhawan and TOIFA Press Conference in Dubai

Varun, who is in the national capital to shoot “Sui Dhaaga”, has taken time out of his current shooting schedule to launch “Tab bhi tu”.

The song highlights the complexity of the relationship between the leads — essayed by Varun and Banita Sandhu. The song has been sung by Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, composed by Anupam Roy and lyrics are given by Tanveer Ghazi, read a statement.

“We have received a phenomenal response to both the recently released songs — ‘October’ theme and ‘Theher ja’. With this song, we were keen on going something grand. Since Varun is in Delhi already, we decided to do the launch with his enormous fan presence” said the film’s spokesperson.A

Shoojit Sircar, who has helmed the film, will also be present for the song launch.A

Co-produced by Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar, “October” celebrates love, nature and the autumn season. The film is slated to release on April 13. (IANS)

 

 

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