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    Trek ready
    Shraddha Kapoor is in Cape Town for the next schedule of Half Girlfriend. This is her third film with director Mohit Suri and the first one for which she has had to learn to play basketball. But then Kapoor thrives on new experiences. So her luggage this time includes hiking boots and trekking gear. She figured taking her tent along might be too much but the young Aashiqui 2 and Baaghi actress is really hoping she will get some off time to go camping and partake of the many exciting outdoor activities on offer in Cape Town. This is the closest Kapoor is coming to any possibility of a vacation right now as she has just finished shooting Rock On 2 and OK Jaanu before that and is in the throes of Half Girlfriend with Arjun Kapoor. Later this year the 29-year-old starts shooting with director Apoorva Lakhia for a crime thriller in which she plays the underworld connected Haseena. This is the first time Shraddha will be seen in a film with her brother Siddhanth. The real-life siblings play onscreen siblings in this untitled film.

    From the archives
    It’s a question that has been on many minds, especially after watching the first look trailer of Mohenjo Daro: why did Ashutosh Gowariker decide to make a film on this ancient civilisation? For most, Mohenjo Daro and the Indus Valley Civilization were a chapter in a school history textbook, or may be represented by some artifacts in a museum. For Gowariker it was the same, except that those artifacts evoked some wonder in him and set him thinking as to why no one had attempted a film on such a significant chapter of India’s history. With scant reference material and research available, he based his information on archeological findings. Hence, the director says that broadly all the architectural constructions and properties are period correct, including the legendary Great Bath, which they have built to scale and used as the setting for the song Tu Hai featuring Pooja Hegde as Chaani and Hrithik Roshan as Sarman.

    Fazal and Victoria
    Just as much as I love stories about our mainstream Bollywood talent experimenting with new platforms and storytelling mediums, so also it is thrilling to hear about homegrown actors and technicians collaborating with artists from around the world. While you would have to be living under a rock to have missed news about Priyanka Chopra, Nimrat Kaur and Deepika Padukone’s international trysts, another actor making small indents into Hollywood and Europe is Ali Fazal. Fazal had a blink-and-miss role in Furious 7, but now he’s hit pay dirt with British director Stepher Frears’ Victoria and Abdul headlining Dame Judi Dench. Based on a novel by Shrabani Basu’s book, it is said to be based on the true story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and an Indian clerk, Abdul. Fazal will soon be seen in
    the quirky comedy Happy Bhaag Jayegi with Diana Penty, Abhay Deol and
    Jimmy Shergill.

    Freedom from struggle
    Just in time for Independence Day, actor Chandan Roy Sanyal adds on the director hat for a short film titled Azaad. Sanyal, best known for his roles in Kaminey and D-Day, directs Adil Hussain and Sudeep Modak among others in the film that will premiere on the video on demand service SonyLiv this weekend. The thriller is set in India circa 1942, during the height of the freedom struggle and, going by the trailer, has minor resonances of Rang De Basanti, Sanyal’s debut film as an actor. Sanyal’s Bollywood story is one that has been oft heard: A Delhi boy who saved up `5,000 and moved to Mumbai to chase a dream. From working as an extra on sets and giving tuitions to make an extra buck, too many rejections led to him starting his own production company and to his directing plays. But Kaminey with Vishal Bharadwaj was Sanyal’s big break. The acting roles come when they do but Sanyal is no longer just waiting for the phone to ring. He writes and directs films, including Azaad.

    -Udita Jhunjhunwala

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