Tag Archive: Bollywood


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The International Biopic on the Last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh, claims the 9th spot in the UK Box Office Charts

The international film biopic on the poignant life story of the last King of Punjab – Maharajah Duleep Singh – also known as THE BLACK PRINCE, which released theatrically worldwide on the 21st of July 2017, has raked in a cult following and phenomenal response globally, debuting at number 9 in the UK Box charts.

THE BLACK PRINCE entered the coveted Top 10 UK Box Office chart, joining other cinematic hits such as Dunkirk, Despicable Me 3, War for the Planet of the Apes and Spiderman - Homecoming. The film, which features a strong Indian narrative, successfully fended off competition from Bollywood’s Munna Michael, outperforming the box office records internationally including in Australia, United Kingdom, North America and New Zealand.

THE BLACK PRINCE has been appreciated by audiences worldwide, who for the first time witnessed the personal account of one of India’s greatest kings and his lifelong struggle to reclaim his rightful kingdom back from the British, the very people who had brought him to the UK and annexed the Kohinoor Diamond. The film also carefully captures Maharajah Duleep Singh’s fragile relationship with Queen Victoria who was Godmother to his children.

Produced by Brillstein Entertainment (Academy Award winning film 12 Years A Slave), THE BLACK PRINCE is written and directed by Hollywood filmmaker Kavi Raz and filmed widely across the UK and India. Acclaimed singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj marked his acting debut in THE BLACK PRINCE, essaying the character of Maharajah Duleep Singh with eloquence. He is joined by an esteemed cast of acting stalwarts including Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) as Dr. Login, the foster parent for the Maharajah, English stage, screen actress Amanda Root (The Iron Lady), who portrays the bold role of Queen Victoria; and veteran actress Shabana Azmi (City of Joy) as Rani Jindan, the exiled King’s mother. The film also features Keith Duffy, David Essex OBE, Canadian actor Rup Magon and Sophie Stevens in supporting roles.

The Black Prince is on general release in cinemas internationally.

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Bollywood celebs ‘proud’ of Indian women’s cricket team

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Bollywood celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar say they are "proud" of the Indian women's cricket team for their good game at the ICC Women's World Cup final at Lord's in London.

Though India lost by nine runs after looking good for major part of their 229-run chase, celebrities have shown their love, support and admiration for the team.

Here's what they tweeted:

Amitabh Bachchan: Until you lose, you shall never know the joy of victory! Well played ladies. Bhartiya Nari Zindabad!

Akshay Kumar: Even broken hearts can laugh! These women have started a revolution and I couldn't be more proud.

Priyanka Chopra: Well played women in blue. It's been an incredible journey and you will always be an inspiration for girls across India.

Shahid Kapoor: This team has woken us all up to women's cricket in India. Great game girls. Almost had it. Proud.

Shah Rukh Khan: I wish I was there to give the lovely ladies a hug. Be proud girls. We have achieved greatness today. BCCI women, you've made all Indians proud.

Shraddha Kapoor: It's okay team India. You girls made it to the finals! That in itself is such a proud moment. Womens' World Cup 2017. Girl power all the way.

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Anoop Doogy Dog! Move over Snoop there’s new talent on the international music circuit carrying Bradford blood-line

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GOUNDBREAKER: 11-year-old Anoop Singh, son of Manjeet Ral and Nindy Kaur is set for his debut on the music scene

GOUNDBREAKER: 11-year-old Anoop Singh, son of Manjeet Ral and Nindy Kaur is set for his debut on the music scene


Bradford's much-loved globally successful RDB has just announced the debut of its next generation of musical genius.

Anoop Singh, 11-year-old son of RDB's Manjeet Ral and Nindy Kaur is launching himself as a singer in the music industry with his first solo single featuring Toronto-bred rapper Humble The Poet and India's much loved rapper Raftaar.

Titled 'You Can't Stop This Party' the anthem is inspired by desi hiphop and British Punjabi vibes, with video shot at a number of locations across the world including Canada, Bombay, South of France and Los Angeles.

Canadian-born Anoop has penned much of the lyrics himself and becomes the first child to make a professional video in the Punjabi Urban Pop industry featuring some of the biggest artists from one side of the globe to the other.

The music video has been directed by renowned Birdi and Manj Musik, while mum Nindy – an iconic Punjabi female music artist herself, has styled the entire video.

Young Noopsta says: "I am very fortunate to have parents who have been in the music business for over three decades now.

"I always dreamt of being a musician since childhood but I wanted to first train professionally as a singer before taking the big leap, so I am learning tabla and keyboard in school as well as from my dad.

"I love producing beats on my laptop in my pre-production studio at home and writing melodies– I've been doing it for as long as I can remember."

Having influenced Bollywood A-lister Akshay Kumar to title his hit film 'Singh Is Bling', the youngster with parents both at the helm of the Punjabi music industry has had the privilege of meeting T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Shilpa Shetty, Bipasha Basu and other Bollywood biggies.

The 11-year-old also reveals that he has a couple of Bollywood tracks in the pipeline later this year.

With Manj and Nindy travelling all around the world for work, Anoop has shown an immense ability to adapt to whatever is thrown at him and yet keep up with schooling.

Proud dad Manj says: "Sometimes he impresses me with what he comes out with and both me and Nindy push him to be as creative as he wants. He has even started his own Youtube channel making blogs etc., which we highly encourage as the future is now digital.

"As much as we push him to do all his music and blogs we make sure he is always on top of his studies, and keeping him up-to-date with his school work as its very important to us.

"Anoop travels with us when we are on the road and has home education arranged by his Canadian school while we are on the go. He's not a slacker and sits exams back in Canada every year.

"Nindy has raised him well to make sure he is kind down to earth and always a well-mannered child. We are so proud of him... and we thank god every day!"

Having grown up around musicians the young talent's hobbies, besides gaming like a normal 11-year-old - Spiderman and Ironman being big favourites, are drawing.

Manj adds: "His uncle Aman who goes by the name Inquisitive is a worldwide renown artist and inspires Anoop a lot," says Manj.

"Anoop's hand in drawing and being creative on paper has been there from the start - as I used to love drawing as a child too.

"Now with inspirations like INK Cha Cha Ji he is taking his painting and drawing skills very serious."


Noopsta’s ‘You Can’t Stop This Party’ will be released worldwide on the Manj Musik Youtube Channel, AK Projects and One Digital Entertainment platforms on 1st August 2017.



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‘Kamli’: British Asian bollywood singer Tripet Garielle releases new romantic anthem

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British born Bollywood singer Tripet Garielle has some good news in store for her fans as she announces the release of her brand new single ‘Kamli’.

The song oozes with passion and would be a treat for the romantics is flagged as the love track of the year.

Tripet Garielle recognised for her soulful voice has been making strides into the Bollywood music by rendering hits like the upbeat, urban-flavoured ‘Aa Vee Jaa’ and ‘Saathiya’ with ‘Wo Pal’ being her career-defining track that released in 2015.

The new single ‘Kamli’ is produced by one of the world’s most renowned Dubai-based music composers Atif Ali who has worked with the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Pritam, Salim –Suleiman and many more.

“I am really excited to share the news that my new single ‘Kamli’ is out now! It’s got a heavy Bollywood flavour and it makes me fall in love every time.

“With ‘Kamli’ I want to take my listeners into another world where they see, touch and feel the emotion of love. And I know for certain my fans are waiting for this song and when they hear it, they will love it. I literally had butterflies when I recorded ‘Kamli’. I feel it first, and then I record it,” says Tripet Garielle.

Referred as ‘Voice of Love’, Tripet draws her inspiration from western singers Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey. But her greatest musical influences are Lata Mangeshkar and Shreya Ghoshal when it comes to singing in the language of Bollywood.

“Just because I’m born and brought up in the west doesn’t mean I don’t belong in the east. Singing in Hindi is not just a dream but a desire to achieve my dreams to sing in a language I cannot speak but I admire so much,” reveals Tripet Garielle.

Crossing over multiple genres such as Dance, Acoustic, Ambient Lounge, Romantic, and Sufi Rock, Tripet has managed to garner a strong fan base in a short span of time. Now with the release of ‘Kamli’, she looks forward to kicking off a new chapter in her career.

Now with six singles and four music videos to her credit, she is also preparing to launch her Debut Album later this year. For now, get ready to beat the heat this summer with the soulful voice of Tripet Garielle in her latest single ‘Kamli’.

Apart from a career in music, Tripet is actively involved in social causes. Coming from an underprivileged family background and having faced hardships in her early life, Tripet is on a mission to support the orphans and empower women through the #GirlPower project that supports girl orphans across Mumbai in India.

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui nervous doing intimate scenes

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Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who has shot for lovemaking scenes for the first time in his upcoming film ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’, says he was very conscious and nervous during the filming.

Talking about the steamy shots, Nawazuddin said: “Yes, I have done intimate scenes for the first time, so I was quite nervous to do such scenes.

“You feel good and nervous at the same time…

“It’s not that fun when you are doing a scene… you focus on the scene and not on other things.”

Known for his realistic acting for which he has been lauded film after film, Nawazuddin also said he prefers playing characters with grey shades.

“I do not like a character that is either an extreme villain or a hero; but I think that as time goes by, things are changing. These days, even heroes are playing characters with grey shades because I believe grey characters are more real - there are bad and good characteristics in all of us,” said the actor, who is very conscious abut his choice of role.

Directed by Kushan Nandy, ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’ is a rustic drama featuring Bidita Bag, Jatin Goswami and Divya Dutta with a release date in August.

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Sajal Aly: “Bollywood was never my dream”

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Pakistani actress Sajal Aly, who played a rape survivor in her Bollywood debut ‘Mom’, says she had never dreamed of acting in the Indian film industry.

Speaking about her role as 'Arya' in the Sridevi-starrer, Sajal said: "It was definitely a challenging role... I mean any character you play, you have to really commit to it and kind of naturally become like that, at least that's how I function.

"I think the most challenging part was performing with Sridevi ma'am. Like my very first scene in the movie is me sitting at a dining table across from her and misbehaving with her - it was terrifying!

"We had to shoot in Georgia and it was freezing cold... so yeah, that was pretty tough too," Sajal said.

Sajal said: "Bollywood was never my dream, in all honesty. I was happy working in Pakistan and that was not something I was working towards, but this story moved me.

"I always knew that if I worked in Bollywood, I have certain limitations and boundaries that I would not want to cross and this movie was about a sensitive topic, everything was handled so tastefully."

The actress is all praise for her co-star Sridevi, who plays her mother in the movie. "She's just the sweetest person. Even now, she keeps calling me and reminding me that I'm in her thoughts."

Sajal said she has three film contracts with Boney Kapoor, Sridevi's husband and a producer in Bollywood.

"But now I don't know what's in the near future. They handed me the complete package on a silver platter: a meaty character, an excellent cast, the best of the best and for that, I'm forever grateful...

"Everyone's sending me messages telling me they're proud of me, it's just the best feeling, knowing everyone appreciates your work, including critics from across the border."

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Sonam Kapoor: “Behind the camera experience helps”

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She started as an assistant director on the sets of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ‘Black’ in 2005 and then ventured into the world of acting with the filmmaker's romantic drama ‘Saawariya’. Actress Sonam Kapoor says her behind-the-camera experience helps her in understanding the concept of filmmaking better.

Asked if her behind-the-camera experience has helped her, Sonam said: "Yes, of course it helps being an assistant director, understanding the patterns, cameras, lights. That helps a lot, especially. The process of filmmaking is not making a play where it's about the actor.

"It is a collaboration. It's about everybody else also."

The 32-year-old actress says the experience helped her for the film ‘Neerja’, for which she earned a special mention at India’s National Film Awards.

"It helped me especially with 'Neerja' actually... you have to know your cameras, angles, you need to have a fantastic memory. I still remember doing 45-minutes of dialogues and action was tough," she said.

Sonam is currently busy filming R. Balki's upcoming film ‘Padman’ opposite Akshay Kumar. She will also be seen in the film ‘Veere Di Wedding’ which also features Kareena Kapoor Khan and Swara Bhasker.

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Ranbir Kapoor: “I’ve to do some manly roles”

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Ranbir Kapoor, who will be seen as a school boy in the forthcoming film ‘Jagga Jasoos’, says since he will turn 35 soon, he needs to do some "manly" roles from now on.

In the Anurag Basu directorial, Ranbir's character studies in school and is in search of his missing father.

Talking about it, the ‘Wake Up Sid’ star said in a statement: "It's very important that every artiste keeps the child-like thing, but I think this is my last year.

“I can't be a child again. I have to do some manly roles as I'm turning 35 this year. So this one's the last or else I'll keep performing coming-of-age in my every film."

Disney and Pictureshuru Production's ‘Jagga Jasoos’ is set to release on July 14. It also stars Katrina Kaif.

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The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star

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The enchanting new Baby Ganesh agency novel sees Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick investigating the dark side of Bollywood

Mumbai thrives on extravagant spectacles and larger-than-life characters but even in the city of dreams, there is no guarantee of a happy ending.

Rising star and incorrigible playboy Vikram Verma has disappeared, leaving his latest film in jeopardy.

Hired by Verma's formidable mother to find him, Inspector Chopra and his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, embark on a journey deep into the world's most flamboyant movie industry.

As they uncover feuding stars, failed investments and death threats, it seems that many people have a motive for wanting Verma out of the picture.  

And yet, as Chopra has long suspected, in Bollywood the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Author Vaseem Khan was born in London but subsequently worked in Mumbai for ten years, falling in love with the city, the country and the people.

He is married and lives in London with his wife, whilst working at University College London in their Department of Security and Crime Science where he is astonished on a daily basis by the way modern science is being employed to tackle crime.

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Soha Ali Khan’s debut book to launch in December

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Actress Soha Ali Khan, who is expecting her first child with husband Kunal Kemmu, is turning author with "The Perils Of Being Moderately Famous". She says the book will be out in December.

"My first book, 'The Perils Of Being Moderately Famous', coming out in December 2017! @PenguinIndia @penguinrandom," Soha tweeted.

An accompanying set of images with her post tell that the book is in the non-fiction space, and will have personal essays in which Soha has recorded some of her poignant moments.

The book features her life fom growing up as a modern day princess to her days at college to starting her career as a management associate and then to her life as a film celebrity.

"The book also throws light on the various idiosyncrasies of those she calls the 'more famous' members of her family," reads one line.

Soha is the daughter of veteran actress Sharmila Tagore and the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, the ninth nawab of Pataudi. Her brother is popular actor Saif Ali Khan, and they also have a sister named Saba Ali Khan.

Recently Soha has been using her pregnancy period to catch up on some books.

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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “Despicable Me 3″

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Cast: Kristen Wiig, Jenny Slate, Steve Carell

Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon

Genre: Animation

Cert: U

Release Date: 30/06/2017


The team who brought you Despicable Me and the biggest animated hits of 2013 and 2015, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, returns to continue the adventures of Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters- Margo, Edith and Agnes - and the Minions. Despicable Me 3, directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, co-directed by Eric Guillon, and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, will be released in theaters in summer 2017. The animated film is produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and executive produced by Chris Renaud. Joining Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig in Despicable Me 3 is Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award winner Trey Parker, co-creator of Comedy Central’s global phenomenon South Park and the Broadway smash The Book of Mormon. Parker voices the role of villain Balthazar Bratt, a former child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the ‘80s, and proves to be Gru’s most formidable nemesis to date.

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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “All Eyez on Me”

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Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham

Director: Benny Boom

Cert: 15

Genre: Drama

Release Date: 30/06/2017


All Eyez on Me tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur. The film follows Shakur from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognised and influential voices before his untimely death at the age of 25. Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing.

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If Anupam wished he were Robert De Niro, he wouldn’t be happy

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Anupam Kher talks about his incredible meeting with Robert De Niro but admitted that if he wished he were Robert De Niro, he wouldn't be happy.

Speaking at a forum, the actor and social activist said: "Best thing is being yourself and yoga's contribution is to be yourself and find happiness.

“For those in public performances, life can be hard if they left their happiness in the hands of others, seeking acceptance from the audiences,” he said, “but if they looked within themselves for acceptance, they would find happiness.”

On Sunday, which was Father's Day, Kher had lunch with his actor idol De Niro before coming to the UN to inaugurate the light show of 'asanas'.

Kher tweeted about their get-together: "When God Of Acting Robert De Niro invites you for lunch on Fathers Day to his house, you can't eat, because your heart is in your mouth."

They had both acted together in the 2012 movie, ‘Silver Linings Playbook’.

Recalling his attempts to break into movies, Kher joked that in those days an actor's hairstyle mattered the most in Bollywood, putting him at a disadvantage.

His first encounter with the movie world was as a yoga teacher to big Bollywood figures and he had hoped that when he had them in a state of complete relaxation after a yoga workout, he would make a successful pitch, he said.

He tried it on Yash Chopra. When he had the legendary director-producer floating in a relaxed state in the 'shavasana' pose, he gently told him that besides being a yoga teacher, he was also an actor, Kher said.

But Chopra told him not to come from the next day onwards, he recalled.

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Sridevi: I still feel like a newcomer

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It's been 50 years since actress Sridevi started acting and she says she stills feels like a newcomer before the release of her film.

Having made her acting debut at the age of three, the 53-year-old star awaits the release of her latest film 'Mom'.

"I don't even realise it's been 50 years. Even today, I still feel like a newcomer before the release of my film," Sridevi said.

'Mom', has been described Sri Devi as “a simple, emotional family drama".

"As a mother of two daughters, I could relate with the story so well. I was moved by story when I heard it. It's a very important film for teenagers and even for mothers," she said, adding she didn't really plan to do this project.

"After 'English Vinglish', I got busy with my daughters. I really didn't plan to do more films. I have never planned things. When Boney (Kapoor) told me a line of the story, it really got me excited. It took nearly two years to develop the story and start this project," she said.

Last seen onscreen in 2015 Tamil fantasy film 'Puli', Sridevi said she is still open to work in the industry.

The film also stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a key role.

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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “Transformers: The Last Knight”

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Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Gemma Chan, Anthony Hopkins

Director: Michael Bay

Genre: Action/Adventure

Cert: 12A

Release Date: 23/06/2017

Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it's up to the unlikely alliance of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.


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Titillate is a very relative word

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Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma describes graphic dialogue and nudity in Bollywood

“… guns and thighs are the symbols of power and sex.”

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who has used graphic dialogues and nudity in his debut digital web series "Guns and Thighs", based on the Mumbai underworld, says he has used the freedom offered by the new age entertainment platform.

Justifying the bold scenes in the trailer, he says they are not purely intended to titillate the audience.

Asked if the trailer, which has drawn attention, was a well-planned strategy to titillate, Varma said: "Titillating is a very relative world. At times, a character or a situation can titillate someone (and lead him/her) to watch the show.

"So you cannot specify what is exactly the element of titillation in the viewers' mind. Yes, the story of the web series has age restrictions, as it is adult content, but when an audience is clicking on the link to watch an episode, from the name itself they get an idea of the subject matter. Therefore, there is no element of surprise."

Varma pointed out how "anything that is restricted to adults is either violence or sex".

"In fact, that is the rule of our censor board as well.

“My point is, we are living in a world with people of different choices and sensibilities, where if you, as an individual, do not want to watch something, don't (watch it), but don't force others to do the same. Let them celebrate their choice as well. That is what freedom of choice and expression is about."

Known for making Bollywood crime thrillers on the underworld – ‘Company’, ‘Ab Tak Chhappan’ and ‘D’ to name some - Varma has once again explored the genre in the web series, which is set between 1995 and 2005.

"I think the genre always does not matter, but the storytelling does. Yes, this web series is on the Mumbai underworld, but the style of narration, imagery, characters, situations... these are very different," added the filmmaker.

Explaining the title, he said: "You see… guns and thighs are the symbols of power and sex.

In politics, mostly, radical decisions are taken under the influence of power and sex.

"On the other hand, as I always say, my prime interest in filmmaking has come from Amitabh Bachchan's gun and Zeenat Aman's thighs... so now you know that the title is apt. It's very symbolic."

The National Award-winning filmmaker is exploring the digital platform for the first time, and sees its advantages.

"More than anything else, it is the creative freedom that we get on web series. There is no time limit of two hours that I have to compress my thought (into), keeping the interval and duration of a film in mind.

"I have also taken liberty on that."

Asked why he decided to show a woman nude and not a man, he quipped: "Maybe as a man, I do not want to see a man's nude body. I think a woman (filmmaker) would like to do that. However, I believe a woman's body is more beautiful than a man's."

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TUBELIGHT: Makers of Salman Khan starrer hope for Pakistan release

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The makers of Salman Khan’s ‘Tubelight’ are hopeful that the movie gets a release in Pakistan, where the Bollywood superstar enjoys huge popularity. Directed by Kabir Khan, the film dwells on the 1962 border conflict between India and China

According to the buzz in film circuits, ‘Tubelight’, set in the backdrop of the India-China war of 1962, might not release around Eid in Pakistan.

Amar Butala, Chief Operating Officer, Salman Khan Films, and co-producer of Tubelight, said in a statement: “Salman has a huge following in Pakistan, which has only grown with the positive messaging on ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. We hope to release ‘Tubelight’ in Pakistan as well, and our efforts continue in that direction, but we respect the law of the land and judiciary if they decide otherwise.”

According to sources in Pakistan, the distributor for the film is still to be finalised.

“There are limited screens and most of them committed for Eid programming.

“It’s totally untrue that ‘Tubelight’ is banned in Pakistan. In fact, it remains a much awaited film,” said Satish Anand, a key distributor of Indian films in Pakistan.

The two local movies scheduled for an Eid release in Pakistan are ‘Yalgaar’ and ‘Shor Sharaba’. Even Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors chief Mobasher Hasan said, “It’s the distributor’s choice to import any foreign film.”

But is there scope for ‘Tubelight’ in Pakistan after Eid? “Yes, if it clears the censor,” Anand said, adding, “Mind you, it will be available online, and cable all the same.”

His hint was towards the “huge problem” of piracy that Indian films continue to face across the border, but efforts from the side of film’s producer to take Salman’s film to Pakistan are still on. Butala added, “Salman Khan Films is committed to taking ‘Tubelight’ to markets across the globe with our overseas distributors Yash Raj Films.”

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New York gets ready for Bollywood storm!

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18th edition of IIFA festival all set for the grandest celebration of Indian film, music, fashion and dance

The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) has announced the 18th edition of the most spectacular celebration of Indian Cinema worldwide that will be hosted in the city of New York, from 13th – 15th July 2017 this year!

The IFA Awards are among the most coveted and highly anticipated award celebration that honours the very best of Indian Cinema with the highest level of achievement seen through the glamorous IIFA statuette.

To reveal some of the exciting details about the upcoming IIFA Awards, Bollywood’s superstar Salman Khan was joined by leading ladies Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt at the official IIFA press conference in Mumbai today at Taj Lands End.

Commenting via video link, Salman Khan said: “It always feels great to be a part of the IIFA Movement and I look forward to the 2017 IIFA Awards.”

Katrina Kaif added: “I’m really excited and looking forward to performing at the IIFA Awards this year.

“It is such a great platform that not only showcases the celebration of cinema globally, but also it’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to our fans worldwide. I am excited that this year, it is happening in one of my favourite cities – New York!”

Speaking about her debut performance at IIFA, Alia Bhatt shared: “I am very excited to be a part of IIFA 2017, as this is going to be my debut at the IIFA Festival after five years in the industry.

“I am super excited that IIFA is being held in the beautiful city of New York. IIFA is all about togetherness and the celebration of the Indian cinema globally and I eagerly look forward to this celebration.”

IIFA Rocks has always been a star-studded affair with a mélange of glitz, glamour and star power. It is a celebrated global event that has been growing each year.

This year, IIFA Rocks will celebrate 25 years of A. R. Rahman in the industry. The show is set to feature a never seen before medley of musicians that includes Diljit Dosanjh, Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi and Haricharan Seshadri. IIFA Rocks will be hosted by the charismatic duo Riteish Deshmukh and Manish Paul.

The highly anticipated  award ceremony will witness stunning performances from Bollywood megastars such as Salman Khan, Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif, Shahid Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon, to name a few. The host is the uber-talented Karan Johar.

The popular category nominations are available for the global audience to participate in the voting process and will be open till 18th June 2017.  The final winners of the IIFA Awards are revealed on the night of the Awards ceremony. The results are surrounded by secrecy and the credibility of the voting process is one of the key parameters of this prestigious award.

Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd, known for pioneering many extravagant and mesmerizing events in India and across the world, conceptualized IIFA 17 years ago, by the creative genius of the trio of masterminds - Andre Timmins, Viraf Sarkari and Sabbas Joseph.

The vision was to celebrate Indian cinema outside India; and IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) the flagship brand is the accomplishment of that dream.

IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinema, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: “One People. One World”. The journey over these past 17 years has seen the brand evolve from a one night affair to a weekend, which celebrates and hosts various events and activities related to cinema, business, culture, music and fashion. Hosting a variety of events during the weekend IIFA helps bring together a global community of people from all walks of life.

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Kriti Sanon and Shushant Singh Rajput with crackling on-screen chemistry

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Meet Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Saira (Kriti Sanon), two seemingly ordinary individuals, going about their lives until their paths cross and they realise that they belong to one another.

Unaware of a connection that was forged over several hundred years ago, Shiv and Saira are inexplicably drawn to each other and have a beautiful and hilarious relationship in very little time.

Shiv is a laugh a minute and unknowingly brings so much sunshine into her life that Saira feels this is too good to be true. Until, of course, the third angle to their relationship emerges in the form of Zakir Merchant, a billionaire who goes all out to woo the beautiful yet strikingly down-to-earth Saira.

From this point on, her life takes a turn that changes everything about her destiny. A prophecy looms large over the destinies of Shiv, Zak and Saira in this life too.

Will they manage to break this cursed cycle? Will destiny repeat itself?  Will the lovers reunite or will they meet the same fate? Who does Saira belong to in this life… Zak or Shiv?

Kriti spoke about her character in Raabta. “My character believes in reincarnation. When we meet someone we either get a good or bad vibe and that is maybe because there is some connection and I do believe in this.”

The film’s songs have already proved incredibly popular and are creating a great buzz and air of expectancy for the film itself. The song ‘Ik Vaari’ and the title song ‘Raabta’ which feature the stunning Deepika Padukone have crossed more than 20 million views on YouTube.

Produced by Homi Adajania, Bhushan Kumar and Dinesh Vijan, ‘Raabta’ releases nationwide on 9th June 2017.

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The Black Prince: Historic biopic based on the true story of the last King of Punjab spotlights his relationship with Queen Victoria

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The Black Prince’ is poised to create a wave of intrigue in India and the UK as the story touches upon the historically significant and priceless Kohinoor diamond, which was purportedly gifted by a young 13-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh to Queen Victoria in a ceremony held in 1850, at Buckingham Palace, London



The award-winning historic film biopic on the poignant life story of the last King of Punjab – Maharajah Duleep Singh – also known as ‘The Black Prince’, will now release in cinemas on 21st July 2017 as it expands its international release across new territories.

Produced by Brillstein Entertainment Partners (Academy Award winning film 12 Years A Slave), ‘The Black Prince’ is a period drama written and directed by Hollywood filmmaker Kavi Raz and filmed widely across the UK and India.

It carefully captures the tragic, yet fascinating true story and legacy of Maharajah Duleep Singh, providing a visual narrative of one of India’s most noble kings, and his fragile relationship with, Queen Victoria, who was Godmother to his children.

Acclaimed singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj marks his acting debut in film essaying the character of Maharajah Duleep Singh with eloquence. He is joined by an esteemed cast of acting stalwarts including Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) as Dr. Login, the foster parent for the Maharajah, English stage, screen actress Amanda Root (The Iron Lady), who portrays the bold role of Queen Victoria; and veteran actress Shabana Azmi (City of Joy) as Rani Jindan, the exiled King’s mother.

The film also features Keith Duffy, David Essex OBE, Canadian actor Rup Magon and Sophie Stevens in supporting roles.

In anticipation of its worldwide release, ‘The Black Prince’ has won several awards including the award for Best Drama Feature at the LA Film Awards, the Special Jury Remi Award at the 50th Annual WorldFest International Film Festival in Houston, and the Best Male Debut Award for Satinder Sartaaj at the London Independent Film Festival.

In recognition of the exciting response and interest the film has received from festivals, the film has garnered interest from a range of new territories including Singapore, Kenya, the U.A.E and Germany in addition to the UK, India, USA.

As the last King of Punjab, ‘The Black Prince’ chronicles Maharajah Duleep Singh's lifelong struggle and daring journey of self-discovery in order to reclaim his identity, his faith, and the Kingdom that was rightfully his. This ultimately leads him to meeting his mother after 13 years of her being in exile.

‘The Black Prince’ spotlights Queen Victoria’s cordial relationship with Maharajah Duleep Singh, as he begins adjusting and embracing the English culture he was drawn to at the age of 15.

The film also sheds light into his upbringing as an aristocrat in the UK who converts to Christianity under the influence of his foster parents, but later longs to return to his

Kingdom, mother and roots. His character, as it evolves is torn between two contrasting cultures – his royal ancestry from the Kingdom of Punjab as its last King, set against his upbringing in the UK as he embarks in a new journey of exile, away from his mother.

‘The Black Prince’ is poised to create a wave of intrigue in India and the UK as the story touches upon the historically significant and priceless Kohinoor diamond, which was purportedly gifted by a young 13-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh to Queen Victoria in a ceremony held in 1850, at Buckingham Palace, London.

The Black Prince releases internationally in cinemas on 21st July 2017.

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She’s such a badass

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Priyanka Chopra rocks it in Baywatch as her role was  re-written after originally set for male villian

Priyanka Chopra, one of Bollywood’s rare females who’s ventured into mainstream TV and cinema, will soon be sizzling on screens as the formidable opponent for Dwayne Johnson in upcoming movie ‘Baywatch’.

The 34-year-old former Miss World takes centre stage as ‘Victoria Leeds’ in the adaptation of the 90s hit TV show Baywatch, but it’s been revealed that her character was originally written for a male actor.

In the film, Priyanka is up against The Rock and Zac Efron who play two lifeguards with the responsibility of protecting Baywatch from the evil real estate tycoon/drug kingpin ‘Victoria Leeds’.

Baywatch’ film director Seth Gordon, said while looking for the person fitting the ‘baddie role’, he met Chopra for the first time over Skype and realised that he loved the idea of Dwayne going up against a female antagonist.

Gordon confesses that after the video call with Priyanka, he realised that the role originally penned for a male, needed to be rewritten to portray a female who could psychologically outsmart Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson’s character) and take advantage of all that male ego stuff.

And we can tell you – Priyanka’s done it like a ‘Don’!

Now, Priyanka Chopra is up there on the wall alongside Signourey Weaver (Alien), Jessica Chastain (Interstellar) and Angelina Jolie (Salt), as one of a handful of women who have been given roles in movies originally meant for men.

In ‘Baywatch’ -  Victoria Leeds is using the Flordian beach, where Johnson’s character Mitch Buchanan is the lifeguard in charge, as a way of smuggling drugs into the country.

Priyanka commented: “Victoria Leeds is a woman in a man’s world, and she’s not just a random woman with money - she’s self-made.

“This is not just drugs and money for her, it’s power. That’s the cause.’
Zac Efron stars as Matt Brody, originally played by French actor David Charvel, and taking on Pamela Anderson’s character CJ Parker is Kelly Rohrbach. Playing Summer Quinn, once played by Nicole Eggert, is Alexandra Daddari, while Mitch Buchanan was a role made famous by David Hasselhoff. The film releases in cinemas on 29th May.

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Miss Meena and the Masala Queens

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Play about lesbian and gay community to uncover untold stories of men who choose a female persona

A play about British Asian drag queens – ‘Miss Meena & the Masala Queens’ begins is tour this week, which has been complied after speaking to British Asian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals.

Rifco and Watford Palace Theatre in association with Warwick Arts Centre have uncovered the untold stories of men who choose a female persona.

The drama follows Miss Meena, a once famous drag queen who’s career has washed up and he's struggling to keep his nightclub open.

Behind the sparkling costumes and big Bollywood style lip-sync dance numbers ‘Miss Meena & the Masala Queens’ will reveal a very human story about the meaning of family.

The cast includes Raj Ghatak as Miss Meena, Ali Ariaie as Kabir and Ranjeet, Harvey Dhadda as Preetho, Nicholas Prasad as Shaan, Jamie Zubairi as Munni and following Laila The Musical, Vedi Roy returns to the Rifco stage as Pinky.

The play is written by Harvey Virdi, directed by Pravesh Kumar, design is by Libby Watson, lighting design is by Mark Dymock, composer, sound and video designer is Niraj Chag and movement director and drag stylist is Andy Kumar who is better known as VJ Andy.

‘Miss Meena & the Masala Queens’ opens at Watford Palace Theatre on 5th May 2017 before touring to Warwick Arts Centre - Coventry, Greenwich Theatre - London, Theatre Royal Windsor, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and West Yorkshire Playhouse - Leeds.

Website: www.rifcoarts.com/shows/miss-meena-the-masala-queens



Tour Dates

Watford Palace Theatre

5 - 13 May

Box Office: 01923 225671


Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

16 - 20 May

Box Office: 024 7652 4524


Greenwich Theatre, London

24 – 27 May

Box Office: 0208 858 7755


Theatre Royal Windsor

30 May – 3 June

Box Office: 01753 853 888


NST Campus, Southampton

6 - 10 June

Box Office: 023 8067 1771


West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

13 - 17 June

Box Office: 0113 213 7700




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Bollywood superstar and US primetime TV action heroine Priyanka Chopra steals the scenes as the sultry but sinister Victoria Leeds in the latest trailer for one the year’s most anticipated action-comedy movie Baywatch, in cinemas on Monday 29th May 2017.
The brand new trailer sees Priyanka sizzle on screen in the film as the villainous Victoria Leeds, adversary to heroic lifeguards Mitch Buchanan (played by Dwayne Johnson) and Matt Brody (played by Zac Efron).

Priyanka and Dwayne Johnson took to social media to engage in cheeky banter – here’s Priyanka’s reply to Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) when he tweeted the trailer:

The trailer shows a battle of egos between Buchanan and Brody before they must battle together to save the bay from a criminal plot masterminded by the antagonistic Victoria Leeds.
 Fans of Priyanka will be surprised and entertained by her new role alongside Johnson and Efron. Directed by Seth Gordon, Baywatch also stars a host of talent including Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach and Ilfenesh Hadera.

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Bringing back the Bollywood: Glittering musical dance-theatre extravaganza returns to Belgrade Theatre

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Following huge success in 2016, the Belgrade Theatre is welcoming back the smash-hit show Bring On The Bollywood to its B2 auditorium this May, in a new production with Phizzical and Vivacity Key Theatre.

Created by Samir Bhamra, the master of authentic Bollywood inspired work, Bring On The Bollywood is a Bollywood dance-theatre extravaganza. Bringing a festival of colour and Bollywood magic in a major new production, Bring On The Bollywood brings audiences new and old together for this delightfully romantic riot of Anglo-Indian exuberance.

Having lived in London for 14 years, Dr. Katrina Pawar is summoned to her ancestral home, the shabby and un-chic Lakshman Villa, for her younger brother’s wedding. Sensing an opportunity to finally make a match for their last unmarried child during the festivities, Katrina’s parents search for a potential suitor for their quick-witted and resolute daughter. As the good-looking Bollywood film director Amit arrives at Lakshman Villa, along with his newly eligible British personal assistant Ronny, Katrina must navigate the true course of love between East and West.

Inspired by classic Indian cinema, Bring On The Bollywood also revels in the shared dramatic heritage between the UK and India, as well as contemporary British Asian influences.

Samir Bhamra said: “Bollywood is widely perceived to be a low-brow art-form that requires no skill. Not only is it - in my experience - the hardest art form to crack, but it shares more than people realise with the classical Western arts.

“Bollywood would not exist if it were not for Shakespeare being presented in British India, and soon adapted into local languages for the wider communities. Both traditions teach us valuable lessons about people and life, and that's why they continue to connect so well.”

Bring On the Bollywood is directed by Artistic Director of Phizzical, Samir Bhamra, a multi-disciplinary artist and producer. In addition to his role as creative director of the London Asian Film Festival, Samir delivered three large scale performances during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He developed his skills at the National Theatre and was seconded to the Royal Shakespeare Company working the World Shakespeare Festival. He is also a controversial judge on Just Bollywood – the UKs leading inter-University dance competition since its inception three years ago.

Continuing the Bollywood theme at the Belgrade this spring, the theatre will also be running Bollywood Dance Classes starting on 29 April and running on Saturdays until 24 June. This will be an opportunity for people of with all levels of experience and ability to learn some Bollywood moves to impress on the dancefloor!

The classes will be run by Sneha Singh, a dance performer and teacher. Sneha spent five years training in Bollywood Dance with Shiamak Davar's Dance Academy (SDIPA) in India and three years in England training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Contemporary Dance. She has choreographed shows for Chester and Warrington City Councils and as well as performing in the Belgrade Mela, has run workshops with Wolverhampton University, Sanjhi Indian Association, City College Coventry and for Shoot Festival.

Sneha said, "What I love about, and what keeps bringing me back to Bollywood is, that it has an element of fun and storytelling to it. At the end of learning a routine, you don't just learn the moves and have a fantastic workout, but you've devised a piece - a performance! The music always helps to brighten your mood, and encourages everyone, irrespective of abilities to join in!”

Bring on the Bollywood runs in the B2 auditorium at the Belgrade Theatre from Saturday 6th - Saturday 13th May. Tickets are available now priced from £15 by calling the Belgrade Box Office team on 024 7655 3055 or online at www.belgrade.co.uk.

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“Party Non-Stop” say Dr Zeus and Jasmine Sandlas

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Award-winning music producer Baljit Singh Padam AKA Dr Zeus is no stranger to success with his blow-up tracks including ‘Baby Doll’, ‘Kangna’, ‘Lovely’ and ‘Don’t Be Shy’, just to name a few.

Today Dr. Zeus has dropped his next anthem ‘Party Non Stop’ featuring his vocals for the first time along with the sensational singer Jasmine Sandlas and rapper Ikka Drops.

Dr. Zeus has infused the rustic vocals of Jasmine Sandlas and the swag of rapper Ikka over a slick beat tuning it into a contemporary club banger that’s set to become this summer’s PARTY anthem!

Dr. Zeus added: “I’m so excited to finally reveal this amazing track we’ve been working on.

“Jasmine’s voice and Ikka’s rap adds a perfect edge and character to the track with the uplifting beats.

“We had a great time shooting the video with Evelyn Sharma and I’m hoping it becomes this generation’s dance party song.”

Directed by upcoming film maker Arif khan, the enthralling music video for the track features the gorgeous Bollywood actress Evelyn Sharma who’s seen partying on a playful night of nonstop fun, dance and entertainment against the backdrop of the song’s infectious rhythm.

From a warehouse to a party by the pool, the video also features Dr. Zeus, Jasmine Sandlas and Ikka and is a vibrant piece of work that elevates the song further!

Known as one of the most influential artist in the Punjabi Music scene, Dr. Zeus has achieved huge success in his long and illustrious career. He gained stardom in India in late 2003 with his hit song ‘Kangna’ following which he has become a popular name all over the world.

Starting in 1999, Dr. Zeus produced the remix album ‘Pure Garage – Sue My Ass’ before following up with ‘Death Jamm’ series of mixes. Throughout his 18-year long recording career, Dr. Zeus has released more than thirty anthems, each of his tracks offering a constantly evolving sound.

‘Party Non Stop’ is available across all digital platforms Worldwide exclusively on EMI Records India.

“It’s great to have Dr Zeus on board, he’s done some incredible work in the past and we instantly fell in love with this track when we heard it,” says Mohit Suri.

“Combining his influences from his Punjabi background with urban and pop music, the track will definitely appeal to a wider audience.”

Devraj Sanyal Managing Director and CEO, Universal Music Group, India and South Asia commented: “I’m super proud to release this phenomenal track from our very own EMI records India with the uber-talented UK based producer Dr Zeus.

“The collaborative effort between Zeus, Jasmine Sandlas and Ikka is surely going to be a chart-topper this summer. Our partner Mohit Suri has been an instrumental part of this whole journey with us & we’re elated to finally reveal this summer’s party anthem.”

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Crowned King of Music

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Badshah smashes his way to the top of the Bollywood charts by unleashing of his next anthem amassing 27-million-views in a week

Badshah, the runaway success behind many songs over the last few years, is back with a bang on a unique and avant-garde track - ‘Mercy’.

With a growing trajectory of fan base on Spotify from key markets like US, UK, Canada and Malaysia, Badshah’s music consistently champions the airwaves.

From being the first music video ever to be shot in the O2 Arena, London to the grandeur getting further accelerated by a Boeing in the backdrop, ‘Mercy’ bears the hallmarks and cool vibes that are quintessentially Badshah.

The gorgeous dancer and actress Lauren Gotllieb is seen swaying on Badshah’s beats and together they look nothing less than electrifying.

The single’s infectious rhythm and electronic influences hint at the album being comprising all of the elements of Badshah’s inimitable style.

Released by his label, Sony Music, the song characterises a much-needed pivot with a modern sound and club pop that is perfectly tailored to the party scene.

‘Mercy’ marks the first release from his forthcoming album O.N.E.

“‘Mercy’ is something I took really long to create, I needed to get the right sound and mix,” says Badshah.

“The millennials now want new and different music every time, something that sticks with them. I have been able to do that successfully with my last single and I hope this time too my fans give me as much love.”

While the label along with the artist has been working on the album for sometime, they collectively believe that, with Badshah, every release is ambitious.

“Badshah’s acclaimed hook writing is at its peak on the album O.N.E and ‘Mercy’ is one glittering element of the same,” says Sanujeet Bhujabal, Marketing Director, Sony Music India.

“We are following a high-reach strategy using properties and platforms having high eyeballs and effectiveness for a global reach.

“The objective is to reach out to everyone and also get new fans hooked onto the song.”

He further adds, “We are extremely excited to release the first of many hits this year by Badshah and together we promise to make it a year of some great dancing and singing!”

O.N.E will be Badshah’s first pop album and will feature six to eight songs. The second single is scheduled for mid-year release while the entire album will release by year-end.


Exclusive ONE-ON-ONE with Badshah

Tell us about the song? When did you think of it?

The song is called Mercy and I began writing this sometime last year. I did put it out to my fans earlier to get their feedback on what they thought of it.

Why is it called Mercy?

The song is about how a girl and a guy who meet at a club and from there on sparks fly and they fall for each other. I am basically asking the girl to have “mercy on me” as she is super-gorgeous.

Where has the song been shot?

It’s been shot at London’s immensely popular 02 Arena and on a Boeing. The weather was just not conducive when we shot this which was sometime in December. I had this idea at the beginning when I was working on this song and when I had my first chat with Ben Peters (video director) he totally understood my vision. It was an amazing experience shooting there and I really hope my fans like it.

This song is a total party track; did you create this keeping the same in mind?

Mercy as a song is what you want it to be, it could be a party track that gets you to get up and dance, it could be a romantic song, the song that you sing to your girl or even a song for a long drive.

Tell us about your album

O.N.E. – Original Never Ends is an endeavor by myself and my label to give my fans originals. It’s been long since I have released something on my own. My last was DJ Waley Babu, which is still getting played at clubs and parties and since then my fans have been consistently asking me for new music. O.N.E. is an intention to give them exactly that. I am where I am because of them and therefore I believe an entire album with my originals is my way of thanking them.

How many songs will you release prior to releasing the album O.N.E.?

There will be a second single mid year and the album by the end of the year.

What is the sound for the album O.N.E.?

The sound has electronic influences and will have array of genres.

How many songs will the album have?

Mercy is the first in a series of songs and videos that we will be releasing throughout 2017. Prior to the album we will have one or two more while the album will have around six-eight songs.

Will all the songs be party songs?

No, it will have different genres. From party, love ballad to progressive and dance.

Are we going to see any collaboration?

There is a huge possibility but nothing has been finalized yet.

Will any of these songs feature in Bollywood films?

Why not, if any producer wants the sound, I will be happy to work along.

Will you approach Dharma Productions with this song?

(Laughs) Karan Johar has been extremely supportive and I would love to work with him.

Your last release is with Sonkashi Sinha for the film Noor – out in cinemas on 21st April, will we see more such collaboration?

Yes though I can’t talk about it much now but it will happen.

Any Bollywood projects you are working on?

There are a few in the pipeline, God has been good, and my work is getting appreciated.


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From Bolton to Bollywood! Stunning ex-accountant trades in book keeping for blockbusters

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WORKING HARD: Tina in costume, on set and in action

WORKING HARD: Tina in costume, on set and in action


The idea of upping sticks and moving across the world, alone, in pursuit of one’s dreams might sound like a terrifying, daunting and downright impossible task. But there was nothing that was going to stop one high-achiever from reaching her goals, even if it meant leaving everything and everyone she knew behind, to work hard for what she wanted.

British Asian Tina Phillip, a qualified accountant from Bolton, Greater Manchester, achieved an honours degree in Maths from the University of Manchester, later qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) and working for global accountancy and audit firm, Grant Thornton.

Whilst this is an incredibly impressive CV in itself, conquering the world of finance just wasn’t enough for Tina and throughout her time as an accountant, Tina was part of Contact Theatre in Manchester.

She took part in several plays, which allowed her to hone her acting skills and expand on her passions for performing.

This taste of the spotlight was enough to make Tina realise a life in accountancy wasn’t for her, and she soon moved to Bollywood to pursue her dreams of a career in acting.

In an incredible act of determination, after a long struggle of two and a half years, time spent completely on her own with no one in this very competitive field to support her, she finally secured a lead role in ‘Ek Aastha Aisi Bhee’ on the huge Indian network, Star Plus.

The show is about a young, innocent and honest girl called Aastha, played by Tina, who believes in the goodness of the heart over the godliness of rituals and traditions.  This is her first launch as a lead serial artist and as one of the few British Asians to make it through the Indian television fraternity, it’s an amazing accomplishment for someone who has already achieved so much, so young.



Two Minutes with Tina Phillip

Speaking exclusively to Asian Express, Tina gave us her top tips for anyone in her position who may want to leave life in the UK behind to pursue a career in Bollywood.

  • Be an actor for the right reasons. Not for the fame or the money. If you're passionate about acting that will come through in your auditions. Have a burning fire within you for the craft. 
  • Don't be afraid to follow your dreams. In fact you should chase them! One of my favourite quotes is: "Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try!" - Michael Jordan. If anything it'll be a learning experience one that you could smile and tell your grandkids about someday
  • Be prepared to go out of your comfort zone and go through a lot of sacrifices. Like they say no pain no gain! 12-14 hours of shooting every day is the norm here with sometimes only 2 days off in a month. 
  • It’s good to have a back up option - I thank my parents that they've always told me to put my education first and I knew I could always go back to working as an auditor. Moreover, people respect the fact that this is a choice of career rather than a means of earning a few bucks
  • Lastly before I left for Mumbai, my dad only said one thing to me - "Don't become a slave to your desire" Know your worth and only take up projects that you believe in. 



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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “Phillauri”

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Star Cast: Anushka Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh, Suraj Sharma, Mehreen Pirzada

Director: Anshai Lal

Genre: Romance/Comedy

Release Date: 24/03/2017

Phillauri highlights the extraordinary concept of Manglik through the romantic comedy genre, tackling the subject matter with both sensitive humour and gentle pathos.

In Indian astrology, a person bornManglik is believed to be inauspicious for marriage, causing discord and tension in a relationship and leading to severe disharmony and tragedy, possibly death.

If two mangliks marry, the negative effects are believed to cancel each other out.

Phillauri presents this theme through a witty and intelligently crafted narrative, with colourful and rustic charm.

The film is a family entertainer, where Anushka plays a friendly ghost from the past, whose love story with Diljit unfolds on the backdrop of a present day Punjabi wedding.

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Mubarakan kicks off London schedule

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Cast and Director meet with media on location at Sheraton Park Lane

Saturday 11th March 2017, London, UK - Sony Pictures Networks Productions, a division of Sony Pictures Networks India Pvt. Ltd (SPN), have started shooting for their upcoming Bollywood film, Mubarakan, in London. The cast includes Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz and Athiya Shetty and they will be shooting in and around the England for around 50 days. As an exclusive first, the cast and director met with media at a fun-filled interaction on location amid the grandiose of Sheraton Park Lane, Mayfair.

At the Press Conference hosted by British Asian actor, Ameet Chana, the cast and director, shared their experiences of their ongoing shoot in London as part of a star-studded and fun-loving ensemble.

Director, Anees Bazmee, explained how he always comes back to writing comedy, because it is the hardest thing to get right. He added that he always takes his writing seriously and never laughs at his own jokes during the writing process.

Speaking about working alongside a supporting cast of local talent in the film, actress Athiya Shetty said, “Working with English people is not that different from working with people in Bombay, but everyone has something different to offer,” adding that it is “happy families” on set.

When asked about filming at Europe’s largest Sikh temple, actress Ileana D’Cruz said she was impressed by the sheer scale of Gravesend Gurdwara, saying that “Even the drive there is lovely!”

When asked about the theme of the film, actor Arjun Kapoor expressed that “This scenario could happen to any British Asian family” and elaborated on the universal theme of “younger generations respecting older generations” and “family values counting for a lot, in things like marriage.” He added that the British Asian talent involved in the film should garner “an honest connection from the audience.”

When asked about the strong synergy between UK and the Hindi film industry, actor Anil Kapoor spoke about the “Long history between Great Britain and India,” adding that both nations are “trying to understand each other more.” He explained that Mubarakan is a “story about British Asians,” but he hopes that “everyone will be able to enjoy it.” Mr. Kapoor conveyed that he has “been very lucky in the choice of scripts” he has been offered throughout his career and that he loves working with the “very real, very situational scripts” offered by Anees Bazmee.

When asked about the choice between commercial movies and movies with a strong message, Arjun Kapoor said that this film “is not branded with one issue, but as you leave the movie there is a thought planted in your head,” adding that it is important for films to “present [issues] in a way that is not heavy on you.” He added, “There is a message in there for those who want to take one away.”

The film which is a family comedy, will be directed by none other than ace director Anees Bazmee. Anees’s last film Welcome Back was a major hit and also starred Anil Kapoor. Prior to that, Anees had directed the Salman Khan blockbuster Ready. With Mubarakan this ‘Triple A’ Jodi of Anees, Anil and Arjun is all set to have the audiences entertained with comedy that will have them rolling in laughter. Anees will make sure that the ‘chacha-bhatija jodi’ replicate the same camaraderie that they share in real life on screen too.

Mubarakan is a laugh riot with lot of confusion, laughter, love, egos and emotions.

Mubarakan is produced by Sony Pictures Networks Productions and Ashwin Varde & Murad Khetani’s Cine1 Studios and is slated for a worldwide release on 28th July 2017 release.

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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”

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Star Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Gauahar Khan, Mohit Marwah, Namit Shah

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Genre: Drama

Release Date: 10/03/2017

Produced by Karan Johar and Fox Star Studios, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ is billed as a romantic comedy drama.

The sequel to the vastly popular ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, this new film is a hardcore “desi romance” which takes fans on a roller coaster ride of emotions from fun, love and laughter to heartbreak, angst and tears.

Starring India’s next-gen superstars Varun Dhawan as Badrinath Bansal and Alia Bhatt as Vaidehi Trivedi, who both belong to small towns; but their mindset about gender roles in society and about life in general are diametrically opposite.

There’s a clash of ideologies, a struggle to overcome circumstances and pressures of their small-town families.

Audiences will watch them lock horns and melt hearts in a film that is more than just your average ‘boy meets girl’ love story.

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Raising the ‘Bar’: Akshay Kumar’s ‘Jolly’ LL.B 2

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Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Saurabh Shukla and Annu Kapoor starrer wins case, hearts and mind!

Akshay Kumar’s much anticipated courtroom entertainer ‘Jolly LL.B 2’ has won hearts of fans, audiences and critics alike.

With strong performances throughout the film and Akshay Kumar playing the character of a lawyer for the first time he emerges triumphant on screen.

Set against the backdrop of the erstwhile city of the Royals, ‘Jolly LL.B 2’ is a satire about an underdog – an advocate called Jolly (Akshay Kumar) who attempts to catapult himself to the top of the legal food chain.

Anarchy, mayhem and underhandedness, all expressed through wit and a vein of humour, form the cornerstones of this courtroom tale.

Akshay Kumar is seen buttressing his legal arguments with rhetorics necessary to establish his case, many of which will become signature dialogues.

Read our up-close interview with Akshay Kumar

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Up close with Akshay Kumar

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What inspires you?

A seat means you get one more chance, one more year, to play the fame Game; but seats have to be earned on this bus - and the price of a ticket is, simply, success. I need to be careful and work very hard to get a seat on that bus. A new set of movies will release every year, and I will be tested all over again, but my seat is ensured only if I have done well every single year. I don't want to live without success. I will not be able to accept it if I am no longer a part of this industry. But that also means I have to keep striving.

Tell us about your character in Jolly LLB 2

I have never played a character like this; it's the first time I am playing a fully-fledged lawyer role. This film has been my desire because ever since I was small, my dad used to tell me stories about Akbar and
Birbal. Birbal was very smart and Akbar always tried to put him in trouble and always pushed him to the limits of testing his knowledge. When Subhash Kapoor narrated the script and I heard about the cases in the film, it reminded me about Birbal, so I was looking forward to play this role.

Are there any underlying messages in the film?

In these films there is always a struggle between good and evil but this film is also very much about principles and morals. In particular, it is about never compromising on those values for the sake of a quick buck. There is a lot more that happens in the film which does shine a spotlight on the wider social issues.

What roles do you prefer playing?

2016 was an interesting year from a creative perspective, as I had the chance to experiment with different genres and different roles, from playing characters based on true stories in ‘Rustom’ and ‘Airlift’ to a more comedic one in ‘Housefull 3’. Variety in the kind of roles I take always helps! It keeps me on my toes. I am very conscious about the scripts that I choose and it is true that I do want to be challenged in that part so from that perspective I do try to mix it up, versatility is a career saver in this kind of industry. But it is a largely a coincidence that 2016 had such a mix of roles if I am honest as I can never really control the kind of films that come my way.

Has the way in which you choose your films changed?

It's always been about the script for me - how it makes me feel. I ask myself if I can connect with what I'm reading, and is this a film I would like to see. Most importantly, I ask if I feel this will appeal to the fans, and meet their expectations as well as the expectations of the wider audience. I use to fixate a lot on action and comedy, but I feel the audience is more accepting of heavier films now hence I feel I have the freedom to expand my horizons.

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Bhupi Pabla debuts with Sufi song

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Born in Punjab and brought up in the UK Bhupi Pabla, with her powerful voice and confidence she is ready to make a bang in the music industry with her upcoming projects.

Graduating with BSc (Hon) Business Information Systems, Bhupi has performed in front of Bollywood legends such as Javed Akhtar, Anu Malik and Anupam Kher as a finalist of Indian Idol 3, followed by performances on Brit Asia Superstar, Miss India UK.

This talented young singer’s career is just growing from strength to strength.

Her debut track (a Sufi song), which is produced and written by her guru and legendary music composer Baldev Mastana has just been released worldwide. The video has been shot in India by the infamous Sandeep Sharma who recently filmed Satinder Sartaaj' , Hazaarey Wala Munda.

Bhupi began her vocal training from Surinder Singh Saund and Sanchita Pal where she has performed with Sampad South Asian Arts, Symphony Hall and at Surdhwani Societies Annual Social Events.

Bhupi is now under training with her teacher, composer and writer Baldev Mastana who has worked with singers from Kuldip Manak, Asha Bhosle, Hans Raj Hans and many more. Baldev Mastana gave the Punjabi industry hits like Nachna Pia by Kuldip Manak, Ashiqan Di Kahdi Zindgi by Hans Raj Hans and Nachdi Nu by Balwinder Safri.

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CINEMA: THIS WEEK – “Running Shaadi”

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Star Cast: Arsh Bajwa, Brijendra Kala, Tapsee Pannu

Director: Amit Roy

Genre: Romance

Release date: 17/02/2017

It tells the story of Ram Bharose (Amit Sadh) and his friend Sarabjeet Sidhaana aka Cyberjeet (Arsh Bajwa), who set up a website to help love struck couples in the city of Amritsar defy their families’ marriage orders and elope together.

Taapsee Pannu, who plays Nimmi, the female lead, says the reason the role appealed to her was because the character is almost similar to her.

She says that although she didn’t have to step too far outside her comfort zone to play Nimmi, she learnt a lot from the experience. "The characters in the film are very real. That’s where the humour comes from – not from funny lines, but from these very real characters that everyone can identify with."

Although the movie is a light-hearted romantic comedy, Pannu concedes that the issues it addresses are a serious matter for many people.

"Arranged marriage is an issue that affects a lot of people in this country," she says. "It sometimes seems like couples have to think about everything except their own feelings when they get married. They have to think about their religion, their caste, their family, society – and the last question seems to be ‘do you actually want to marry this person?’"

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JOLLY LLB.2: Akshay Kumar raises the “bar” in new flick

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Akshay Kumar, Huma Qureshi, Saurabh Shukla and Annu Kapoor starrer wins case, hearts and mind!

Akshay Kumar’s much anticipated courtroom entertainer Jolly LL.B 2 is out in cinemas Friday 10th February, and has already won hearts of fans, audience and critics alike.

With strong performances throughout the film and Akshay Kumar playing the character of a lawyer for the first time, he emerges triumphant on screen.

Set against the backdrop of the erstwhile city of the Royals, Jolly LL.B 2 is a satire about an underdog - Advocate Jolly (Akshay Kumar) attempting to catapult himself to the top of the legal food chain.

Anarchy, mayhem and underhandedness, all expressed through wit and a vein of humour, form the cornerstones of this courtroom tale.

Akshay Kumar is seen buttressing his legal arguments with rhetoric’s necessary to establish his case, many of which will become signature dialogues.
Inspired by true events it’s the story of Jagdishwar Mishra, aka Jolly, a hustler by nature, who survives by fighting petty cases and using every tactic under the sun to make a quick buck and earn a decent living.

Some reactions from Bollywood

Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) ”Fighting for what is right in his own unique style! Court is now in session! @akshaykumar”

Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) tweeted, “This man is on a roll! Thoroughly enjoyed this jolly. Congrats to the team that pulled this off in 33 days! Fantastic!”

Sidharth Malhotra (@S1dharthM),” Thoroughly enjoyed #JollyLLB2 Entertaining court room drama with a relevant story kudos to bro @akshaykumar n director @subkapoor must catch”

Rakesh Roshan (@RakeshRoshan_N) ,”@akshaykumar know for a fact #JollyLLB2 will be a huge hit because u are a true entertainer and honest. All the best!”

Sajid Khan (@SimplySajidK),”Yes, yes, it is much better than part one (which itself was damn good).. one of the most earnest performances of @akshaykumar.way to go sundi”


Andleeb Hanif, Managing Editor for Asian Express received a bit of a surprise from Akhay Kumar when he sent her a special quirky version of his movie poster. She says: “Akshay Kumar is so very switched on with how to win hearts of both the public and the global press. It’s such a rarity to see an A-list Bollywood celebrity so down-to-earth and connected with his fans. Can’t wait to see the film now.”

Andleeb Hanif, Managing Editor for Asian Express received a bit of a surprise from Akhay Kumar when he sent her a special quirky version of his movie poster. She says: “Akshay Kumar is so very switched on with how to win hearts of both the public and the global press. It’s such a rarity to see an A-list Bollywood celebrity so down-to-earth and connected with his fans. Can’t wait to see the film now.”

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Working with the ‘Dada’ of Indian cinema

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Cast as the only British actor in an Indo-British co-production, a 21-year-old from the Midlands is set to appear in a feature film starring legendary Naseeruddin Shah.

Antonio Aakeel, from Birmingham has this month wrapped up filming ‘The Hungry’ - adapted from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, a feature film debut from Bornila Chatterjee.

 Aakeel who has starred in British TV dramas ‘Skins’, ‘Moving On’ and ‘Doctors’ and films ‘The Line of Freedom’, ‘The Contract’ and ‘City of Tiny Lights’, is thrilled to be working with a talented cast.

“Working with the legendary actor Naseeruddin Shah was a great education for me,” says Aakeel  

“But on the first day I was so nervous acting alongside him I actually forgot my first line," he laughingly recollects.

Starring both stars of eastern and western cinema, the film is a joint production from Film London and Cinestaan and showcases the talents of internationally renowned thespian Naseeruddin Shah.

The 65-year-old godfather of Indian cinema has appeared in over 200 films including ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ alongside Sean Connery, and ‘Monsoon Wedding’, directed by Mira Nair.

Naseeruddin expressed his excitement: “The film is adapted from one of Shakespeare’s lesser-known plays, Titus Adronicus - is not well known, but it’s brilliant.”

Aakeel, who was “incredibly inspired” to work on the Shakespearean project, celebrating four centuries of the playwright says: “I was so attracted to this character that was darker than anything else I’d ever had the opportunity to approach before.

“Working in India was such an interesting experience too.

“I hadn’t been back for over ten years so this was my first experience as an adult in my motherland and the lifestyle there is completely different.

“The film is every bit of a Shakespearean epic. Themes of Love, greed, loss and are all prevalent in his work (and adaptations) 400 years later; And what a great way to commemorate such a legacy.”

The film also stars Neeraj Kabi, Arjun Gupta, Sayani Gupta, Tisca Chopra and Suraj Sharma and will have a cinematic release on Amazon Prime later this year.

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Deepika Padukone talks about ‘xXx: Return Of Xander Cage’

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“The gun-training, the weapons, the knives – those were the things that I needed to work on.”

In xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone stars as Serena Unger - the deadly rival turned xXx partner-in-crime in Vin Diesel’s merry band of lethal misfits.

Centred around retrieving a device called the ‘Pandora’s Box’, a nifty little gadget capable of hijacking and weaponising satellites, the third installment in the franchise sees Padukone and Diesel in a race against time to save the day.  

Listed by Forbes as one of the highest paid Indian actresses working today, 31-year-old Deepika Padukone is one of the movie’s most beloved stars in her native country. Her collaboration with co-star Vin Diesel and director DJ Caruso in xXx marks her Hollywood debut.

“I think every woman has that strong, heroic voice inside them.”

We spoke with Deepika about the making of her new film in Mexico City.

What’s it like making your Hollywood debut?

It’s been so exciting and so much fun. I think this was the most-perfect launch of a new film that anyone could have asked for, period. Considering what a big franchise movie it has been and that Serena - my character, has such a bold part in it. It's so different from the way we’ve seen women in action films before. I think all of these things made this experience, for me, truly special.

Tell us about your character, Serena Unger, and how you approached it?

I think my approach was pretty organic. For me, Serena is someone who’s very today, very contemporary. And she’s also very relatable. I remember watching action films when I was a little girl and thinking ‘Why am I watching this movie?’ - because there was nothing to relate to. When I read the script of xXx and saw what an important role Serena plays in the story, first as an individual – strong, confident and intelligent - and then how she works with others to form a team and even lead the group when she needs to… well, I was hooked. She has a lot of fun moments as well and a lot of romantic moments too. I think all of these things make it so, so relatable, especially for women. I think every woman has that strong, heroic voice inside them. I think Serena is the representation of that voice.

It seems like the part was written specifically for you.

In a way, yes. Vin and I had begun working together on another project that didn’t work out due to logistical reasons. But I had such a great experience when I met him, and he remembered me from that when he decided to revive XxX.  And so I didn’t have to audition for the role. It just landed in my lap because I was right for the part. Everyone now, of course, is asking me 'how does it feel to represent your country with this film?' I think all of those things are amazing, but as an actress, the most important thing is just to fit the part - and so I think that it’s very, very flattering. Especially that when they decided to write the film, they thought of me first.

What kind of training did you do to prepare for it?

The physical part of it was what I needed to focus on most. The character herself was very relatable, as I said. It was something that was very organic. But the gun-training, the weapons, the knives – those were the things that I needed to work on. I had done an action film in India before - but it didn’t involve any weapons. The minute you have weapons involved, the kind of focus and concentration that’s required is much more intense. And so, to get there, we would rehearse every weekend. We’d film Monday to Friday and then train over the weekend to make sure we’d get it right.

What was it like working with Vin?

I felt very comfortable. I think it helped that I’d met him before and that we had that connection. So when I walked onto the set, I felt like I already knew him. It was not a new relationship that I had to discover. But also there was DJ Caruso. You know, it’s so important to have a director who believes in you and who keeps feeding you that energy and making you believe that whatever you’re doing is beautiful and amazing. At least, I’m that kind of performer. I need my director to keep telling me that I’m doing well because that gives me the confidence to do even more. So my sense of confidence and comfort came from Vin, but a lot of it came from DJ as well. It really came from both of them.

What was the vibe on set like?

Absolutely buzzing. Films will come and go, but it’s the experience that stays with you forever. We became a real family making this movie. And I think everyone really gave their best effort to make the best film possible.

What was it like to be finally filming the action sequences?

There are a couple. First, there’s the one after the grenade sequence where I take down those Russian guys in hand-to-hand combat… I was in so much pain after that day! You know, almost a week after that I still couldn’t move (laughs). The other fun sequence for me was the one with Ruby Rose, where we’re both firing weapons. We had to train consistently to get all the elements right for that because we had to be perfectly in sync with each other. That was another great one for me - in the film it the action takes place in slow motion. It’s an action sequence, but it almost looks like a beautifully choreographed dance scene.

How does your Hollywood experience compare with your Bollywood one?

They’re exactly the same. The same energy, the same love, the same work, the same enthusiasm, the same ups and downs that any film would go through. I don’t know how my life is going to change after this movie releases. I honestly don’t know if any of that is going to be different. But the filming experience for me was the same as it was back home.

Did you have any additional input to your role before the cameras rolled?

I had gone in a couple of weeks before they needed me to start filming and I remember doing this brainstorming session with the writer and with my director. We sat locked up in my room for an entire day, just going through it, scene by scene. She was already a well-written character. But there were certain things that I thought I could add, certain things I could remove, certain feelings or emotions to highlight, which only an actor/actress can do when you step into it, and you ask certain questions. So I went through that entire process with the writer and director, and I think that for me was the most fruitful experience. Because once we had that out of the way, when I started filming, I had no questions. I had no doubts. I knew what I was doing with Serena. I knew where her journey started and where it was going to end.

What was it like watching the finished film for the first time?

My first reaction was that we made such a beautiful movie that’s also entertaining and fun. Obviously, it’s got the adrenaline. But there’s also a socially relevant message there. Sometimes you have films that have a very definitive message, but they’re not very entertaining. And then you have the entertaining films that just leave you feeling nothing. For me, xXx is unique. It has all the action and adventure, and it’s fun. But at the same time, it makes you think. Best of all is how DJ Caruso has blended it all together so seamlessly.

Do you think you might be selected if more films from the franchise are to be made?

Will the franchise continue? I don’t know. I think it’s too soon to tell. I think we first need to share this film with the world before we can think of anything else… right now we’re just focusing on sharing this with the world.

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Politics in India cinema: “I’m not here to solve problems” says Shah Rukh Khan

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Shah Rukh Khan may be the king of modern Bollywood, but don't ask the superstar to rule on whether Pakistani actors should be allowed to work in Indian cinema.

"You are asking me for solutions to international problems. I don't have a solution for this," Khan said in an interview during promotions for his film ‘Raees’.

In the film, which opens in cinemas next week, the 51-year-old plays the eponymous protagonist, a bootlegger who makes his fortune in the western state of Gujarat.

Despite being a big-ticket release, ‘Raees’ has not had a smooth road to the screen. Escalating tensions between India and Pakistan last year led to protests against Pakistani actors working in India, including Mahira Khan who plays Khan's romantic interest in ‘Raees’.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a hardline right-wing party threatened to disrupt screenings of movies featuring actors from across the border.

In December, Shah Rukh Khan met the MNS leader in Mumbai and assured him that Mahira Khan would not come to India for promotions. He also said he would never again work with actors from across the border.

"When people ask me, is this right or wrong - this is the current state of times. And I am not here to change the current state of times," Khan told Reuters.

"Solutions for this, somebody will find. And when they find it, they'll tell me. I am not here to solve problems," he said.

Khan's reluctance to speak his mind is not surprising considering the backlash against him and other actors. In 2015, Aamir Khan was trolled on social media and lost a lucrative endorsement contract after comments that he felt a sense of fear and insecurity in India.

Shah Rukh Khan's film ‘Dilwale’ faced right-wing ire that year after he said there was growing intolerance in India.

Last year, film-maker Karan Johar publicly apologised and promised not to cast Pakistani actors in his movies after the MNS threatened to disrupt screenings of his film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, which featured Pakistani actor Fawad Khan.

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Deepika Padukone talks about fantasies with Vin Diesel

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“In my head I've amazing babies with Vin Diesel”

During her debut appearance on world famous chat show "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", Indian actress Deepika Padukone revealed she has a big crush on Hollywood action star Vin Diesel and said that in her head, she has "amazing babies" with him.

Deepika spoke about her equation with her "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" co-star when talk show host Ellen DeGeneres asked her about the secret behind their onscreen chemistry, read a statement of excerpts from the chat, issued by channel Romedy Now.

When DeGeneres said: "There is a romance going on, that's what you would get from that as well... Look at that face! Does that mean there is?", Deepika responded: "Well, there is no smoke without fire!"

"But, it's all in my head! So yeah, I mean in my head I think, like yeah, we are together and we have this amazing chemistry, and we live together and we have these amazing babies! But it's all in my head."

The "Bajirao Mastani" actress appeared on the TV show to talk about her Hollywood debut project "xXx: Return of Xander Cage". The film has released in India before the US, and received a mixed response.

The movie is a new instalment in the ‘xXx’ series after the 2002 film ‘xXx’ and the 2005 entertainer ‘xXx: State of the Union’. Directed by DJ Caruso, the film also stars Vin Diesel, Ruby Rose, Samuel L Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa.

Deepika also said she wasn't informed that she got the role till the end.

She said: "I actually auditioned for 'Furious 7' about two or three years ago and for whatever reason that didn't work out and I think people remember me for that audition.

“Everyone talks about that chemistry and people remember me from that and then, about a year ago, I get a call from Paramount saying that they are casting for this film and I flew down and met DJ, my director Caruso, and then Vin found out in Los Angeles that I was in Toronto. So overnight, luckily I had a visa, and he said, 'I want her to come and see me'."

"So, overnight I flew down from Toronto to Los Angeles to see Vin and suddenly in the middle of the night we are doing this forty-five minute photo-shoot.”

Deepika was also confused when Diesel made the news of her casting public with a poster.

She said: "He just put it up and I said, I hope you know that if you put up that means I'm doing this movie. He still didn't say anything. He just put it up."

Back in India, Deepika will next be seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmavati".

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Bollywood Releases

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Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sunny Leone

Sheeba Chaddha, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Atul Kulkarni

Director: Rahul Dholakia

Genre: Action/Thriller

Cert: 12A

Release Date: 25/01/2017

Directed by National Award Winning filmmaker Rahul Dholakia, ‘Raees’ promises an unabashed approach to storytelling, riveting dialogues, and power-packed performances by an ensemble of critically acclaimed talent.

Co-produced by two of India’s most innovative film and entertainment companies, Red Chillies Entertainment and Excel Entertainment, the film marks the companies’ second venture since they collaborated on the international super-hit ‘Don 2’.

With performances that have garnered both critical and audience acclaim alike in films such as ‘Chak De India’, ‘Swades’, ‘Devdas’, and most recently ‘Dear Zindagi’, Shah Rukh Khan’s acting prowess, superstar persona and futuristic approach to filmmaking has continually redefined Indian cinema.

As an artist, Shah Rukh Khan continually reinvents himself and this time in ‘Raees’, the undisputed King of Bollywood will captivate fans in a unique avatar who is revered, feared and loved with equal measure.

He essays the role of Raees, a man who built an entire empire from scratch in early 1980s to 1990s Gujarat.

Less of a gangster but more of an impresario, Raees gains popularity and trust through his sharp, entrepreneurial and ruthless business mind, eventually turning him into the single most powerful man in the state.

His unfettered determination, guided by a heart of gold, earns him a cult following.

The film chronicles three phases of Raees’s life – his meteoric rise and relationships forming the epicentre of a gripping narrative, reflected in three distinct looks which Shah Rukh Khan dons in the film.

Whether it’s the actor’s bearded appearance, kohl-lined eyes, him sporting casual garments such as jeans and checkered shirts that later shift to him wearing traditional Pathani suits, his role and thus appearance portrays a gradual progression of his character.

The film eventually takes an unexpected turn when Raees’ business empire becomes challenged by police officer ACP Majumdar, a role portrayed by critically acclaimed, award-winning actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui (‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Lunchbox’), who adds his trademark panache to the film.

Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s eclectic pairing has already become a strong defining element and talking-point for the film.

‘Raees’ also stars renowned Pakistani actress Mahira Khan who makes her Indian film debut and Atul Kulkarni known for his National Award Winning performances in films such as ‘Hey Ram’ and ‘Chandini Bar’.

Cinematographer K.U. Mohanan captures a cinematic canvas that takes audiences on a nostalgic journey to 1980s India.

The original score has been composed by one of India’s most recognised emerging talents Ram Sampath (‘Delhi Belly’, ‘Talaash’), who pens an engaging melody for Raees’s album. Ensuring that the mercury levels rise further is a special appearance by actress Sunny Leone, who will enthral audiences with a sensational dance. The track vaunts bling and bang.


Star Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Rohit Roy, Ronit Roy

Director: Sanjay Gupta

Genre: Romance/Action

Cert: 12A

Release Date: 25/01/2017

Rohan, 31, is a dubbing artist. His days are spent in the studio and nights at home. In today’s complex world, Rohan is a simple man with one dream – to lead a normal life and in time, to find someone with whom he can build a happy home.

His journey leads him to meet the independent and level-headed Supriya. It’s love at first sight for Rohan. He wins her over with his honesty and optimism.

The two discover happiness, laughter and passion. Supriya becomes his life and her happiness becomes more important than his own. Love gives them a fairytale and the two get married.

Together, they begin to build the world of their dreams. Together, they believe they can achieve anything, until one fateful day, everything changes.

The grave tragedy leaves Rohan isolated and completely in the dark. In his quest for answers, Rohan stumbles upon the devastating truth of what really happened that compelled Supriya to leave him all alone, and why.

Driven by his loss, rage and his undying love for Supriya, Rohan is propelled into a no holds barred battle of strength and wit against the powerful people responsible for destroying his perfect life. Now, nothing will stop him from achieving his goal, not even the fact that he is blind since birth.

Ok Jaanu (Hindi)

Cast:   Shraddha Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Samson

Director: Shaad Ali

Genre: Drama/Romance

Cert: 12A

Release date: 13/01/2017

Rohan, 31, is a dubbing artist. His days are spent in the studio, nights at home. In today’s complex world, Rohan is a simple man with one dream – to lead a normal life and in time, to find someone with whom he can build a happy home. His journey leads him to meet the independent and level-headed Supriya.

Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur recreate their amazing screen chemistry in this sizzling Bollywood romance.

Having lit up the screen in Mohit Suri's 2013 super-hit 'Aashiqui 2', captivating screen couple Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur, are reunited for another hotly anticipated romance.

An official Hindi remake of Mani Ratnam's 2015 Tamil hit 'O Kadhal Kanmani', 'Ok Jaanu' casts the duo as thoroughly modern young professionals who fall in love and decide to have a live-in relationship in Mumbai rather than getting married.

But conflicting work pressures threaten to pull the couple apart, forcing them to concentrate on what really matters in their lives. Leela Samson reprises her role from the original film and is joined by Naseeruddin Shah as an older couple whose relationship provides an inspiration.

Shaad Ali, who established his reputation with 'Saathiya', is the director. Legendary composer A.R. Rahman has reworked his original songs with Hindi lyrics by Gulzar.

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Amir Khan and Shilpa Shetty Kundra join forces

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EXCITED: Raj Kundra and Bollywood wife Shilpa team up with Amir Khan

EXCITED: Raj Kundra and Bollywood wife Shilpa team up with Amir Khan

Amir Khan is now teaming up with the gorgeous Shilpa Shetty Kundra - Bollywood Actress and winner of Channel 4’s Celebrity Big Brother.

Determined to make an impact on the plight of orphans within South East Asia - the Amir Khan Foundation and the Shilpa Shetty Foundation have joined forces to host an event brining South Asian celebrities on one platform in the UK.

This is all to raise awareness of the fact that South East Asia has one of the highest orphan populations in the world – 40 Million!

“I strive to dedicate time and resources to charitable causes and launched the Amir Khan Foundation to allow me to take a hands on approach supporting young people in the UK and to manage international projects, such as establishing an orphanage within Gambia and clean water wells in Pakistan,” says Khan.

“As a father, providing the best I can for my little angel is number one to me.”

“To know there are millions of precious children in the world living with no hope, in unimaginable conditions is heart-breaking.

“To know that South East Asia, my parents’ homeland, has one of the largest Orphan populations in the world is unacceptable!” he adds.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra, has spent many years supporting various philanthropic causes before finally going on to establish the Shilpa Shetty Foundation, to personally ensure orphan children are protected and provided with the resources necessitated to give them hope for the future.

“The issue is vast and turning a blind eye or shifting responsibility is not a solution for these vulnerable children. They are an easy target for sexual exploitation and human trafficking,” says Shilpa.

“Most people don’t really understand the extent of the problem. There is no shocking news story behind their existence, no political or natural disaster.”

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Vin Diesel’s “childhood dream come true” as he visits India for the first time

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Hollywood star Vin Diesel, who is in India today to promote his forthcoming film “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”, says visiting the country is a childhood dream come true.

Accompanied by the film’s director D J Caruso and actress Deepika Padukone, who’s making her Hollywood debut with the action-thriller, Vin was given a desi welcome at the airport.

49-year-old Vin took to social media to share his excitement of being in India by posting a picture of himself with co-star Deepika.

“So honoured to be here in India for the first time. The xXx Global tour has been great and now I and @deepikapadukone are going to share this film with her country today,” the actor wrote on Instagram.

“As a child I always dreamed of visiting India… Thank you Paramount for making this dream come true. Xander.”

Vin landed in the morning at Mumbai on Thursday 12th January. Dressed in a blue T-shirt and denims, the actor was welcomed by a group of women wearing Maharashtrian ‘nauvari sari’ at the airport.

Deepika, who donned an all-black outfit, was all smiles and posed for the cameras with Diesel and Caruso.

Taking to Twitter, Caruso also expressed his excitement over visiting India for the film’s promotions.

“The greatest welcome ever! #XXXIndiaPremiere. Wow and a blessing to go with it,” he wrote.

The team is set to interact with their fans at Phoenix Mills and attend their film’s Indian premiere there. An after party has been planned nand is set to be attended by Bollywood celebrities.

“xXx: Return of Xander Cage” is the third film in the xXx franchise and a sequel to both “xXx” (2002) and “xXx: State of the Union” (2005) and releases . The film also stars Ruby Rose, Samuel L Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa.


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Sanjay Dutt gets bitter

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Sanjay Dutt's recent statements have left everyone baffled. His attempts at being candid have bordered on rudeness, especially when he questioned Ranbir Kapoor's ability to play him in his biopic helmed by Rajkumar Hirani. Sanjay revealed that he has been ignoring Ranbir.

When asked about his response to Ranbir stepping into his shoes for the big screen, Sanjay said: "My life might be interesting, that’s why a director like Hirani liked it. Ranbir is playing me, but his condition is quite bad. He calls me every day. He wants to spend days and weeks with me, but I can't spend more than half an hour with anybody. I have been trying to avoid him, it is a difficult role for him to play."

After that snide comment, Sanjay is back to bashing his Bollywood colleagues in front of the media again. This time, he’s targeted his former buddy, Salman Khan.

This all was a big surprise when Sanjay was at an event in Delhi, playing a word association game onstage.

When asked to pick a word to describe Salman (Rapid Fire Round), he replied with a smile, "Arrogant".

For those who've come in late, Salman and Sanjay were thick, for more than two decades before they famously fell out. They met and bonded on the sets of the 1991 hit ‘Saajan’ and remained the best of friends until a misunderstanding over their manager Reshma Shetty snowballed into a major face-off.

Turns out, when Sanjay was out on parole in December 2014, he was advised by Sallu to hire Reshma Shetty (who is Salman’s manager). Sanjay took Salman’s word and Reshma was brought on board. However, even after many months of waiting, the actor didn’t land a single project. Finally, when Sanjay fired Reshma, buzz was that it rubbed Salman the wrong way and thus began the end of a long friendship.

It is a known fact that Salman had even helped Sanjay land the gig as co-host of Bigg Boss 5, but it seems Sanjay has taken a potshot at him in public.

That was not all, when he was asked at the same event to pick between 'autobiography'  and  'biopic', Sanjay promptly answered: "Autobiography". Is Sanjay having second thoughts about permitting Hirani to put his life on celluloid?

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Bollywood baby blues

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India goes berserk as Bollywood couple names newborn after medieval emperor

A-list celebrity Bollywood couple - Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan

announced the birth of their son in at a Mumbai hospital in a tweet on Tuesday 20th December.

While Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi is the first child of 36-year-old Kareena Kapoor Khan, 46-year-old Saif Ali Khan already has a son and a daughter from his former actress wife, Amrita Singh.

But Saif and Kareena have been under heavy social media criticism for naming their newborn Taimur, as he now shares his name with a barbaric figure from medieval history.

Perhaps it’s because there’s is a lot in a name in a country like India, where the christening of a newborn is a massive occasion. Families are known to carefully choose their child's name, sometimes even taking into account the alignment of stars and other extra-terrestrial happenings.  

And unsurprisingly, India's obsession with Bollywood celebrities continues to manifest on social media, as they lashed out at the Oxford-educated Saif - who hails from the royal family of Pataudi in northern India, and Kareena - who belongs to the oldest and most illustrious family of Indian cinema, for their carelessness.

The hashtag #Taimur trended on Twitter all of Wednesday 21st December, generated more than 3 million impressions, and still counting.  

Taimur Lang or Tamerlane was the founder of the Timurid Empire in 14th century Persia and he continues to live in Indian folklore as a true-blue villain.  

He, of Turkish-Mongol ancestry, had invaded the country in 1398 and brought down the Delhi Sultanate. Various historians believe that his military campaigns across Islamic empires in India, Persia, Syria and Ottoman Turkey, led to the slaughter of 17 million people, amounting to nearly 5 percent of the world population.

Taimur is also known to have beheaded his mother at the age of 18.

Much of the criticism came from India’s right-wing commentators whose disgust seemed to stem from the fact that Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi’s parents, Khan and Kapoor, had an inter-religious marriage, still considered an aberration in this part of the world.  

And they tweeted out a list of Taimur’s atrocities to remind the couple of their supposed faux pas.

Meanwhile, the couple’s relative and veteran Indian actor Rishi Kapoor, slammed Twitterati for their relentless outrage over the name. And popular Indian politician Omar Abdullah seemed to concur.

There were others who drew comparisons between Emperor Taimur and Greek invader Alexander, whom history remembers more flatteringly.

Some tried to rationalise - and some added wit and sarcasm.

So, as William Shakespeare in his play Romeo and Juliet proclaimed: “What’s in a name?”, we ask you what you think about one of Bollywood’s most-celebrated celebrity couple naming their child Taimur?

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Kangana Ranaut: “I felt naked when the letters were exposed”

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The much controversial tussle between Kangana Ranaut and Hrithik Roshan has not just been this year's but one of Bollywood's ugliest fights and as 2016 comes to an end, the 'Queen' of Bollywood poured her heart out and shared her "part of the story."

Kangana, while attending 'The Reebok "Fit to Fight" Awards' event recently in the national capital, shared 'this important aspect of her life' and said that she 'felt extremely naked and vulnerable when the letters were exposed.'

The 29-year-old began by saying: "The world knows me as an achiever. I think a lot of importance given to the worldly achievements. But as a woman, the most favourite part of my personality is how I see myself as a lover. And if I am a fan of any aspect of my personality, it is my ability to love and stay in love even though my world or environment does not respond in the same way."

The 'Queen' star continued: "People have seen how I put up a strong front to fight but nobody has seen that side of me what I feel as a woman when I am subjected to that kind of brutality."

Specifying the letters and the mails, which got exposed during the legal-battle, she said, "This speech is dedicated to the letters of a lover which were brutally exposed to the world. How did I feel as a human being? Every letter that you write to your lover holds a lot of vulnerability. You are exposing a part of your soul or yourself, not to the world, but to an individual."

She went on speaking her heart out as she added: "I felt extremely naked in front of the world. I cried for nights in my room and the worse is the most of it was not even the genuine stuff. People made fun of me. Even today I become the butt of jokes when I sit with my friends. But I never answered to that brutality with the same sort of spirit and I see myself as a winner there."

Concluding her speech, Kangana said: "One should not make fun of a woman's vulnerability and to embarrass her for her desires. As far as the letters are concerned, I have also gone ahead to tell my part of the story."

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Pakistan ends ban on Bollywood films

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Major cinemas in Pakistan have agreed to end a ban on Indian films imposed when relations between the two countries deteriorated in September.

The decision to ban the films came amid a rise in military tensions over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The boycott was imposed after some Indian film-makers had banned Pakistani actors from working in Bollywood films.

Bollywood is popular in Pakistan, and the self-imposed ban is reported to have led to a dramatic loss of revenue.

The move followed a surge in violence in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Film distributors and cinema owners in Pakistan said they would resume screening the films on Monday 19th December.

Pakistan first imposed a ban on Indian films following the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965. The ban was eventually lifted in 2008.

Disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir has been a flashpoint for decades and has sparked two wars between India and Pakistan, which both control parts of the territory. Today it remains one of the most militarised zones in the world.

In September, an attack on an army base in Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir claimed the lives of 18 soldiers.

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Aamir Khan: “I’m ‘tadka in the dal’”

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Superstar Aamir Khan has just unveiled the trailer of Advait Chandan’s directorial debut film ‘Secret Superstar’ and he’ describes his role as “tadka in the dal”.

“I have an interesting character in this film and it has been written and directed by Advait. It was Advait’s idea to come up with this look and I have never done a role like this before,” Aamir said at an event here.

“The story is about a girl, but I am a very integral part of this film. I am like the ‘tadka in the dal’,” he added.

‘Secret Superstar’ traces the journey of Insia, an aspiring singer - a 14-year-old Muslim girl from Vadodara, Gujarat. She takes to a burqa to hide her identity from her family while recording online videos of her singing.

Chandan, who has served as an assistant director on films like ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd’ and Kiran Rao’s directorial debut ‘Dhobi Ghat’, says that he considers Aamir more than a godfather.

“He is a school for me. I wanted to go to a film school, but I got rejected from FTII. Ten years ago, I got a job as an intern in Aamir’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’, so since a decade, I think I am going to a film school.

“A few people get a godfather in this industry, but he is my film school,” he added.

But he said Aamir took up a role in ‘Secret Superstar’ based on his taste for the script.

“He says yes to a film only if he likes the screenplay. The only way to convince him is to give a great narration and a great script,” Chandan said.

Adding to this, Aamir said: “I was very convinced with the script, but whether I want to play this role or not, I wasn’t sure.

“I wanted to produce this film. When Advait asked me to play this character, I was not sure because it was completely different from who I am. So I gave a screen test and then we felt I can do this role.”

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Bollywood in Bradford: Cafe de Akbar welcomes Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor

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WELCOME TO BRADFORD: Bollywood stars, Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, were welcomed to Cafe de Akbar by owner, Shabir Hussain

WELCOME TO BRADFORD: Bollywood stars, Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, were welcomed to Cafe de Akbar by owner, Shabir Hussain

Film fans in Bradford got a once in a lifetime chance to meet Bollywood icon, Ranveer Singh, last weekend ahead of the release of his latest blockbuster hit - Befikre.

The Bajirao Mastani star was in the city to promote the film, alongside leading lady Vaani Kapoor, and was warmly received by a packed audience in City Park on Sunday 20th November.

After entertaining the crowds outdoors, Ranveer and Vaani headed to the award-winning Cafe de Akbar, on Leeds Road, for a unique meet-and-greet with fans and a taste of their delicious menu.

TASTY: Ranveer and Vaani warmed up at Cafe de Akbar after a performance in City Park

TASTY: Ranveer and Vaani warmed up at Cafe de Akbar after a performance in City Park

Smiling for selfies and signing autographs, the pair were warmly welcomed to the eatery and spoke with Akbar’s owner, Shabir Hussain.

On hosting the celebrity duo, Shabir said: “It was great to give people a chance to meet Ranveer in a one-to-one environment, where they could see their favourite star up close.

“It was an opportunity most people never get the chance to have.

“Fans could see him in the crowd in City Park but to actually meet him in person, and get that actual interaction with him, means so much more.”

SMILE: The Bollywood A-Lister took selfies with fans at the restaurant

SMILE: The Bollywood A-Lister took selfies with fans at the restaurant

With so many places to eat in the city, Shabir adds that it was a privilege to host both Bollywood stars.

“I’m so happy they ended up in Akbars because the organisers were very particular about where to take them,” he added.

“They chose Cafe de Akbar and that was an honour for us, we were delighted to host him.”

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Priyanka Chopra: “Made my way on my own with no help”

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She began her journey in showbiz with no starry links and has won global recognition due to her talent.

Actress Priyanka Chopra says she is grateful to fans for putting her 'in a position' where she is 'used to being the face on a poster'. But she wants to do more.

priyanka-chopra-red-sofa-306x450Priyanka also said that "whatever she has achieved is due to her own hard work, without the help and support of anybody else".

"I started with nothing, no support,” says the 34-year-old tough cookie.

“I was a complete newcomer to even Mumbai city, not just the movie industry. I didn't even know anyone. So I kind of did all that on my own without the help and support of anybody.

"The love and affection I have got from audiences around the world kind of gave me the strength to do that. They have put me in a position where I am used to being the face on a poster. I don't want to settle for that."

The international actress was crowned Miss India and went on to win the Miss World title at age 17. Her Bollywood debut came in 2003 with 'The Hero: Love Story of a Spy'.

After that there was no looking back for her.

The actress made waves with international singles like 'In my city' and 'Exotic' before heading to the international TV space as Alex Parrish in 'Quantico', which launched in 2015.

The actress is currently seen in American TV serial 'Quantico' Season 2, and is in the process of making the Hollywood movie 'Baywatch' directed by Seth Gordon starring ‘The Rock’ Dwayne Johnson.

While she’s doing all this, she’s also working on a Punjabi film 'Sarvann' co-produced by Vashu Bhagnani and stars Amrinder Gill.

Talking about her decision to launch the trailer for ‘Sarvaan’ in Toronto, Priyanka said: "I have always got a lot of love and affection whenever I've come to Toronto. I've come here for a lot of my Hindi films, I've come here for 'Quantico' too.

“But it’s really special coming here for a Punjabi film which has such a strong Punjabi community, just seems like the ideal place to launch it."

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Vidya Balan talks about her next film

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Actress Vidya Balan, who is busy promoting her film ‘Kahaani 2’ said the films story will connect with the masses and explained how she gets into the skin of a character in a film.

“The film has a universal story. Honestly, when I am doing something I completely enter into it and I don’t think how the film will turn out,” the actress said.

The film ‘Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh’ has been promoted in a different manner with wanted posters of the actress, who is playing the character ‘Durga Rani Singh’. Asked if she is nervous about the film she said: “I am not nervous. I have done whatever I wanted to do. Now all we can do is give our best in promotions. We are promoting the film in a different manner, which keeps my interest and energy level going.”

Vidya also gave her opinion on the recent US Presidential elections. “I supported Hillary Clinton because if a woman can become the President of America then it would be great. She is an exemplary woman and I admire her. Vidya also highly supported government’s decision to ban 500 and 1000 rupees notes.

“It is a very good step which will keep a check on black money. Some people will face issues but I am sure the government has some plans for them too,” she said.

‘Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh’ is an Indian suspense-thriller film directed by Sujoy Ghosh and produced by Ghosh and Jayantilal Gada. It features Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal in lead roles. The film is a sequel to the 2012 film ‘Kahaani’.

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