Bollywood Briefs: Sonakshi, Apoorva Lakhia, Haseena Parkar, Pahlaj Nihalani, Amartya Sen, Amit Sadh, Varun Dhawan, Ritu Shivpuri

Pahlaj Nihalani
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Varun Dhawan apologises for ‘nepotism’ barb

Mumbai–Actor Varun Dhawan has apologised for his “Nepotism rocks” act at the IIFA Awards in New Jersey, that created a stir over social media last week.

Varun, son of veteran filmmaker David Dhawan, along with filmmaker Karan Johar and actor Saif Ali Khan, sparked the controversy over the nepotism debate at the awards gala. Later, all three of them received flak on social media with twitteraties calling their act “disappointing”.

“I express my apology and regret… I am extremely sorry if I have offended or hurt anyone with that act,” Varun tweeted on Tuesday.

Karan and Saif, who were hosting the gala, revisited the much-talked about nepotism issue that started in Bollywood when actress Kangana Ranaut branded Karan as a “flagbearer of nepotism” on his chat show “Koffee With Karan”.

When Varun joined the two actors on stage at the Metlife Stadium to receive the Best Performance in a Comic Role for “Dishoom”, Saif joked that the actor had made it big in the industry because of his father.

“You are here because of your papa,” Saif quipped.

Varun said: “And you’re here because of your mummy (veteran actress Sharmila Tagore).”

Karan then promptly added: “I am here because of my papa (late filmmaker Yash Johar).”

They then said in unison: “Nepotism rocks”.

Later on, a string of criticism followed over Twitter, describing what the personalities said was unfunny and joking about Kangana in her absence was unfair.

Sonakshi was first choice for Haseena Parkar: Apoorva Lakhia

Mumbai–Director Apoorva Lakhia said on Tuesday at the trailer launch of his upcoming film “Haseena Parkar” that he had first approached Sonakshi Sinha to play the central character of Haseena.

“We had first approached Sonakshi. Our shoot kept on getting postponed. She was doing ‘Force 2’ at that time and John was injured. Shraddha was totally my second choice. I knew she could play a 17-year-old and a 45-year-old too,” said Apoorva in a media interaction.

Shraddha Kapoor’s brother Siddhanth Kapoor, who is portraying the role of Haseena’s brother Dawood Ibrahim, was also present for the trailer launch event.

Speaking about his experience of working with Shraddha for the first time, Siddhanth said: “I was cast with Sonakshi Sinha but she could not do the film so my sister came on board which was the best that happened to my life and my career. She has been working so hard to pull it off.”

This film will also mark Shraddha Kapoor’s first female protagonist film. She was last seen in “Half Girlfriend” with Arjun Kapoor.

“Haseena Parkar” is a biographical crime film directed by Apoorva Lakhia. The film’s story is based on Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar. The film was initially named “Haseena: Queen of Mumbai”.

The film will release in theatres on August 18.

Shraddha’s emotionally challenging experience

Mumba–Actress Shraddha Kapoor says playing the title role in “Haseena Parkar”, based on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister, has been an emotionally challenging experience for her.

At the trailer launch of the upcoming film on Tuesday here, she said: “It’s difficult for me to express my experience in words for ‘Haseena Parkar’. This has been a very exciting and challenging role for me. To play a role of such a strong person… for this true story, it has been a very emotionally challenging experience.”

Explaining why she played the title role, Shraddha said: “When I heard the story and the script of the film, at first I was scared of the challenge. But it was Haseena’s story and everything that happened in her life… made me so interested in the film.”

“To be able to play such a real life strong character was huge. I loved the story, I loved the script,” said the “Half Girlfriend” actress.

The film is set to release on August 18.

Pahlaj Nihalani

Pahlaj Nihalani on exact cuts in Amartya Sen documentary

Mumbai– While there has been an intellectual uproar over the cuts ordered by the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) in Suman Ghoshs documentary “The Argumentative Indian”, the CBFC chairperson speaking on the cuts argues that the mere deletion or beeping of six words is no reason to feel creatively smothered when those words indicate a clear contempt for Indian culture and democracy.

“I’ve been flooded with calls from print and television channels asking why we’ve beeped six words in the documentary. For the first and last time, here’s the reason why. Because we felt a documentary on an Indian Nobel laureate referring so insensitively to our politics and religion could result in a serious breach in the peace and harmony of the country. At one point, Prof. Sen talks of Indian democracy and refers to Gujarat’s ‘criminalities’. We’ve asked for ‘Gujarat’ to be removed,” said Nihalani

“At another point in the documentary there is a reference to the enemy in India being religious leadership. We’ve asked for ‘India’ to be removed here. The third word we’ve ordered cut is when Prof. Sen speaks of India being interpreted as ‘Hindu’. We’ve asked for Hindu to be removed. The fourth cut is that of the word ‘cow’ where Professor Sen, while speaking of religious integration, makes a frivolous reference to the ‘cow’.

“The fifth, and according to us minor change, is in Professor Sen’s line about the Vedas being used in a sectarian way these days. We’ve asked for the words ‘used’ and ‘these days’ to be removed. And finally, Professor Sen refers to the Hindutva view of India as “banal”. We asked for the offensive adjective to be removed,” he added.

Nihalani says the removal of six words in the documentary is wrongly being seen as pro-government ‘chamchagiri’.

There’s no set formula for any kind of movie: Amit Sadh

New Delh–) Actor Amit Sadh, who is gearing up for the release of his upcoming period film “Raag Desh”, says there is no set formula for success with any kind of movie.

In the last few years, Bollywood has witnessed a big growth in biopics and period dramas.

Asked if he feels Bollywood somewhere follows a set formula to make films, Amit told IANS: “There is no set formula with any kind of movie. It’s great to see people connecting with these kind of stories as they are my favourite genres.”

“Raag Desh”, a period drama, tells the story of the Red Fort trials of three INA officers. The film’s cast also includes Kunal Kapoor and Mohit Marwah.

“We have so much to learn from history and we can improve our lives by learning from our ancestors to try avoiding mistakes or to do things the better way,” he added.

The film is presented by Rajya Sabha TV and produced by Gurdeep Singh Sappal. “Raag Desh” is slated for release on July 28.

Ritu Shivpuri

Ritu Shivpuri wants star parents’ ‘Aadhe Adhure’ to be adapted into film

New Delhi–Actress Ritu Shivpuri is in love with the script of her parents and late actors Om Shivpuri and Sudha Shivpuri’s play “Aadhe Adhure”, and would like to see it on the big screen someday.

“There is one movie (that I would want someone to make a film on). I love the script. I hope someone makes a film out of it. It’s called ‘Aadhe Adhure’. Both my parents were part of it. Even a TV show would do.

“Every person is incomplete. It’s about a woman who feels the same way. A person is always looking for something. That’s the crux of the story. It’s her life’s journey … the different men she meets, whom she falls in love with. It’s a beautiful story,” Ritu told IANS.

Ritu also hopes to continue to make her parents proud.

“I want people to say that I am as good as they were. People at National School of Drama and others, they respect them a lot. In Rajasthan, a festival is also hosted in my father’s name. I just hope to make them proud and excel in my art,” said the “Aankhen” actress.

She now plays an antagonist in the Star Plus show “Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon”.

How different is her character, Indrani Narayan Vashisht, from the rest of the small screen villains?

“Those villains are nagging women. They create trouble for their own family, but my character is not troubling her own family. That way she is very different. She loves her children. She is a good wife and a mother. It’s not an out-and-out negative character. There are lots of shades. One day you will love her and the next day, you will hate her,” she said.




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