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    Wooing Kangana
    Speculation has been high as to who will be cast as Kangana Ranaut’s romantic interest in Hansal Mehta’s Simran, which starts shooting in USA later this month. While Mehta’s favoured collaborator, Rajkummar Rao, was considered to be the front-runner, the latest name doing the rounds is Sohum Shah. One may recall Shah as the good cop-turned-bad from Talvar and also for his earlier role in Ship of Theseus. This would, of course, be a huge opportunity for the actor-producer who is also working on Tumbad, a special effects-intensive fantasy film set in the 1940s. As for who lands the part, no doubt all will be revealed soon. Meanwhile, Ranaut has plum roles in her kitty. Post Simran she has Ketan Mehta’s ambitious period film, Jhansi Ki Rani, on Rani Lakshmibai, followed by Ritesh Batra’s next.

    Toronto bound
    Konkona Sen Sharma is overwhelmed by the response to the trailer of her debut directorial film, A Death in the Gunj. She is also hoping that the main attraction lives up to the teaser. The award-winning actress’ first film as a writer and director has been selected for a world premiere at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival this year. Currently, Sharma is busy with the post-production to get it ready in time for the September screening. The film stars Kalki Koechlin, Ranvir Shorey, Tanuja, Om Puri, Gulshan Devaiah and Tillotama Shome, among others. The drama is set in 1979 in McCluskieganj—which I thought sounded like a fictitious town, but is, in fact, a small town in Jharkhand state known for its erstwhile Anglo-Indian community. As for Sharma, who was last seen in Talvar, she’s as excited about this new chapter in her professional life as she is about meaty roles coming her way. She will next be seen playing a cop in A R Murugadoss’ Akira.

    Boys to men
    National Award-winning (best children’s film) Duronto, retitled Budhia Singh — Born to Run,
    releases today. Director Soumendra Padhi’s film stars Manoj Bajpayee as coach Biranchi Das who trained and mentored Budhia Singh (played by Pune boy Mayur Parole), a slum boy from Bhubaneswar who was acclaimed for being the world’s youngest marathoner. He ran an astonishing 48 marathons from the age of five onwards. While Das was killed in 2008, Budhia lives in a hostel in Orissa. It’s the antithesis of the gloss and glamour of the Olympics, but a timely release with the Rio Games opening today.

    New kids on the block
    Two new star kids were introduced to the media recently. Sunny, brother of Masaan star Vicky Kaushal and son of action director Sham Kaushal, is being launched by Shailendra Singh in his debut film, Sunshine Music Tours and Travels (SMTT). Slated to release next month, SMTT is a road movie that’s been shot from Kashmir to Goa and captures an unpredictable journey featuring an eclectic cast of characters. Sticking close to the family profession of entertainment, but choosing (at least for now) to stay behind the camera, is Tiger Shroff’s sister, and daughter of Jackie Shroff, Krishna. She will assist Sabbir Khan, who directed her brother in Baaghi, on his next project, a dance drama titled Munna Michael featuring, who else but brother Tiger.

    -Udita Jhunjhunwala

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