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Grabbing the spotlight
After a fabulous display of woman power at the
recently-concluded Rio Olympics, gear up for a September
filled with girl power in Bollywood, too. It all begins next week with the release of Akira, headlining Sonakshi Sinha as an action heroine, along with director Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City, which has travelled to the film festivals of the world before releasing in India. On September 9, debutant filmmaker Nitya Mehra’s frothy romance, Baar Baar Dekho, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Katrina Kaif—who is desperately in need of a hit (and good reviews)—is out in theatres. The week after, on September 16, it’s time for shades of pink as Amitabh Bachchan teams up with Tapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang for the drama Pink. And finally, on September 30, Sunny Leone will turn up the heat in Beiimaan Love. I wonder if the September men—Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Freaky Ali), Emraan Hashmi (Raaz Reboot), Riteish Deshmukh (Banjo) and Sushant Singh Rajput (M S Dhoni – The Untold Story)—are at all nervous.

Love, always
When Shah Rukh Khan and Imtiaz Ali unite for a film, it’s worth sitting up and paying attention. After all, SRK still carries the ultimate romantic hero tag, while Ali has built a brand on making romantic films with confused protagonists, such as Love Aaj Kal, Tamasha and Rockstar. In the new film, supposedly titled The Ring, Khan plays a Punjabi tour guide in Europe—with pictures from the sets posted by King Khan splashed all over the internet. Co-star Anushka Sharma reportedly plays a Gujarati girl. The two apparently meet while the latter is vacationing in the continent. However, given Khan’s maturity, Ali might have to tweak his central character to be less tentative and wayward. This is the first of Khan’s changing choices; the other being the part of a dwarf in Anand L Rai’s next.

Strong front
While his directing skills still stand to be proven, you have to hand it to Vijay Krishna Acharya for pulling off a casting coup. After helming the abhorrent Tashan, he was handed the reins of Dhoom 3 on a platter. That formula was designed to work. And now it seems Acharya has brought two acting powerhouses on to the same canvas. Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan will be seen together for the first time in his new film, which was earlier titled Thug. Hrithik Roshan’s stars seem to be casting a dark shadow, as the debacle of Mohenjo Daro cost him the project which then went to Khan. All eyes and ears are now awaiting news of the leading lady. Wonder if this will be neatly renamed Dhoom 4!

A new ball game
Brett Lee seems to have come out of his debut film effort relatively unscathed. While UNIndian didn’t spring too many surprises, it was a respectable first stab at acting by the former Australian cricketer who enjoys huge popularity in India. Lee plays a teacher handling Australian English in a Sydney university who falls in love with an Indian divorcee and single mother. He says that he did take some acting lessons before going on set, in order to be as ‘professional’ as possible. And what of future acting parts?
It seems he’s keen on a full-fledged Bollywood film. “Fingers crossed,” he says, waiting for reactions to his maiden venture before starting
a new innings.

-Udita Jhunjhunwala

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