It was a double celebration for filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia last weekend, when he launched his latest film project on his birthday. The occasion brought together a number of director friends (like Raj Kumar Santoshi, Vishal Bhardwaj, Ketan Mehta and Sudhir Mishra) and supporters, as well as the cast of his new project. Raag Desh: Birth of a Nation is based on the Indian National Army trials—also known as the Red Fort Trials—of 1945, and will star Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mohit Marwah. After the powerful biopic Paan Singh Tomar, Dhulia helmed Bullet Raja, which flopped at the box office. Raag Desh takes the director back to a period setting and an Independence era story.
Life’s a song
Monica Dogra, one of the few talents who is both an actor and a singer—except that the kind of films she does do not require her to sing her part—recently added DJing to her resume. She has recorded an international single, which she describes as liquid ‘drum n bass’. Back home in Bollywood, Dogra will be seen opposite Bobby Deol (a curious pairing) in action thriller, Changez. Dogra was last seen in Himesh Reshammiya’s Teraa Surroor and on TV as a judge on the musical reality show The Stage, which will soon be returning with a second season.
Onscreen at LIFF
It’s not quite the London Film Festival or MAMI, but the London Indian International Film Festival sits somewhere in between the two. Being held next week in the British capital, LIFF is now in its seventh year and will host films in 15 languages from across the sub-continent. Besides master-classes with leading film personalities, there will be Q&A sessions with contemporary filmmakers and, of course, screenings. Some of the selected films are Moh Maya Money, Cinemawala , Fireflies in the Abyss, Island City and Naanu Avanalla Avalu. Leena Yadav’s Parched is the opening film, while Ketan Mehta’s Toba Tek Singh will close the 10-day festival.
Saif Ali Khan confirming the news of wife Kareena Kapoor Khan expecting their first child together was big. Saif is already the father—with a son and daughter from his first marriage to Amrita Singh. In fact, his daughter Sara is being groomed for her Bollywood debut. Kareena and Saif wed in 2012 and while both of them have been working consistently, most of Saif’s films since then (Humshakals, Bullet Raja, Phantom), barring Go Goa Gone, have been damp squibs. His next release is Vishal Bhardwaj’s period film, Rangoon. Kareena, 35, too has appeared in a fair share of films, most recently as a working woman in Ki & Ka, and as a doctor in Udta Punjab. While she will be winding down her work post the first schedule of Veere Di Wedding, Saif looks all set to ramp it up professionally. Not only will he continue to sweat it out on the sets of the remake of Chef, but he has also taken on Kala Kaanti and Bazaar.
Mythology to Manto
A few weeks ago, I wrote about actress Rasika Dugal who has been cast to play writer Sadat Hassan Manto’s wife in Nandita Das’ film, Manto. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the famed writer. Dugal is known for her performances in Qissa, Kshay and Agyaat, as well as being a part of the theatre piece, The Vagina Monologues. Her latest endeavour is as co-host of TV show Devlok with Devdutt, based on stories from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, with author and mythologist Devdutt Patnaik. This is not Dugal’s first time on the small screen; she previously appeared in Dariba Diaries on the same channel.