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    New innings
    Not many may yet know the name Kiara Advani, but mention that she’s the newcomer who played Sakshi Dhoni in the recent MS Dhoni biopic and you will hear a collective ‘aaah, ok’. Kiara in fact made her debut in the forgettable Fugly in 2014, but the cricketing star’s life story has naturally been her ticket to the big league. Interestingly, she only met the real life Sakshi once before shooting for the part but did not meet the real Dhoni at all before the shoot having to depend on co-star Sushant Singh Rajput to help fill in the blanks on their relationship. Kiara’s already bagged her next project – the romantic-thriller Machine, directed by Abbas-Mustan with debutant Mustafa. She’s hoping that the success of M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story will result in some plum offers.

    Hollywood ready
    Deepika Padukone was reveling in the praise for her stunt work in her upcoming Hollywood debut XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. A special trailer highlighting Padukone’s character Serena in the Vin Diesel-headed franchise was cut specially for India. The film itself releases in January next year and Padukone has carved out time to promote this high profile action adventure globally. But before that she starts filming for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati with Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor. When asked what she found most remarkable about shooting in Hollywood, she said she was surprised at how strict the working hours are. “We had weekends off and you don’t work beyond eight hour shifts. I wonder how Bhansali sir would feel if I suggested the same to him,” she joked. The weeks of training and four months away from home seem to have been worth it, going by the impressive moments seen in the trailer, including the mischievous banter between Xander and Serena.

    Caught in
    controversy
    Controversy surrounds Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and now rumours about the multi-starrer abound. One strong whisper is that Fawad Khan’s scenes might be reworked with a local Indian actor. If this is true, it would require some quick and clever special effects to morph and cut-paste said Indian actor in the scenes already filmed with Khan. Since most of the movie was shot abroad, re-shooting entire scenes would be next to impossible and financial hara-kiri. Hopefully this crazy and desperate ‘solution’ is just hearsay and better sense will prevail on the fringe forces trying to gag creativity and shoot their guns off the shoulders of those not involved in politics. In all of this, one feels most for Ranbir Kapoor who can’t seem to catch a break. Here was a film that might have restored his marketability but circumstances and passion seem to be
    willing otherwise.

    Total recall
    Dev Patel, who shot to fame after playing the lead in Danny Boyle’s multiple Oscar award winning Slumdog Millionaire is back to shooting in the city that catapulted him to international stardom in 2008. Patel is leading the cast of Hotel Mumbai, based on the Emmy-nominated documentary Surviving Mumbai, about the events that unfolded and the terror of the attacks on Mumbai in 2008. The documentary focuses on the events of the Taj Mahal Hotel, with Anthony Maras directing the film. Other cast members include Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter movies) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network). Anupam Kher is also a part of the film, which is currently shooting around Mumbai. Patel plays a waiter while Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) star as a couple trapped in the hotel for four days with their baby and nanny. The mood of the drama has been likened to disaster film Towering Inferno.

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