Old is bold
Avant-garde Bengali filmmaker Q’s English language film, Brahman Naman, will premiere on Netflix next week. Set in the 1980s, the UK production follows a team of nerds from Bangalore University who travel cross-country to the National Quiz Championships in Calcutta, determined to beat their arch rivals and lose their virginities. The sex comedy, on the lines of American Pie and Porky’s, created quite a stir at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was immediately picked up by Netflix. Kaushik Mukherjee, or ‘Q’ as he is better known, has previously directed Gandu and Tasher Desh, and a segment in collaborative film, X: Past is Present. Speaking of creating a period film, he said the toughest part was finding 1980s’ Bangalore. So they shot in Mysore instead. However, finding accurate period settings in Kolkata was no problem at all. Brahman Naman will be available to view exclusively on Netflix from July 7.
Two young and rising stars, Taapsee Pannu and Ali Fazal, will be seen alongside stalwart Nana Patekar in Tadka, directed by actor Prakash Raj. Raj’s style included giving the young actors wriggle room to improvise on their dialogues in order for them to sound natural. His logic was that an actor who understands the character would be able to come up with more real and believable lines. After acting in more than 300 films, this is the first time that the National Award-winner is directing a Hindi film. Tadka is a remake of Malayalam film Salt & Pepper, which has previously been remade in three South Indian languages—Un Samayal Ariyal, Oggarane and Ulavacharu Biryani. Patekar stars opposite Shriya Saran in a unique tale of love between a middle-aged couple and their love for cooking and food. Incidentally, other films, also revolving around the subject and currently under production, are the Hindi remake of Hollywood film Chef, starring Saif Ali Khan, and an international production starring Shefali Shah and Neeraj Kabi.
From ramp to Raghav
Last week’s release, Raman Raghav 2.0, may have been a showcase for the soaring talent of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, but it also marked the debut of a newcomer, Sobhita Dhulipala. Not much is known about this young woman. Turns out she is a beauty pageant winner and a former model from Vishakhapatnam. Dhulipala won the Miss India Earth title in 2013 and finally got her break in Hindi cinema with Anurag Kashyap’s gritty serial killer story. It’s not usual for a model and crown-bearer to enter the industry in a grimy independent film, but Dhulipala has claimed that working with Kashyap was on her wish list. And while her performance has not garnered rave reviews, let’s see whether this model-turned-actress can follow in the footsteps of her accomplished beauty queen predecessors.
Woman in charge
Recall that two years ago there was talk of Kajol acting in the Hindi remake of Dutch series Penoza? Ram Madhvani, who went on to direct the hit Neerja, was helming the remake, but then there were reports of the actress pulling out, the director being replaced, etc. It seems that producers Endemol Shine, which recently co-produced Te3n, are very keen to revisit the viability of this film but are looking for a different lead actress. The story of a widow and mother forced to take over her husband’s criminal business and become a mafia don (of sorts), it sounds like a meaty part for sure, but not one that would be easy to cast.