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    New innings
    In P.O.W. – Bandi Yuddh Ke, the TV drama directed by Nikkhil Advani that launched earlier this week, Amrita Puri plays Harleen Kaur opposite Purab Kohli’s Naib Subedar Sartaj Singh. It’s perhaps the actress’ most high-profile role after her debut in Aisha (2010). She also had a small part in Kai Po Che. In P.O.W, Puri plays a simple Punjabi girl whose husband has been ‘missing in action’ for 17 years, during which she looks after the family. Her husband leaves for duty on their wedding night when Harleen is just 17, only to return 17 years later. Her most complex role yet, hopefully it will help her shake off the association with the ditzy small town girl in Aisha.

    Celebrating Mercury
    Rock star Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, is best known as front man of the band Queen. For some years now there has been talk of a movie about the popular band best known for hits such as We Are The Champions, Another One Bites the Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody, which will be the title of the film. Various names have been tossed around to play Mercury in the film, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Whishaw are some of the actors named to step into the flamboyant shoes of the toothy singer. But now it seems Rami Malek (of TV show, Mr Robot fame) will play Mercury and Bryan Singer will direct. Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor are closely involved. Parsi boy Bulsara spent part of his youth in India before moving to the UK. He started the band in 1970 with Taylor and May, but died in 1991 at the age of 45. It will certainly be interesting to see Malek transforming into the legendary rockstar.

    Finding her feet
    Leena Yadav’s career began with commercial films. Her first was Shabd, starring Aishwarya Rai and Sanjay Dutt. This was followed by Teen Patti, which marked Shraddha Kapoor’s debut. Neither film is memorable. Then Yadav hit pause and reset, and reappeared with Parched, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. It would appear that this international acclaim has served Yadav well for it has landed her a prestigious new project. She has been signed on to direct Secret Sky, a love story of two teenage boys in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal. Described as a “human rights film based on a true story”, it’s about the pair facing trial for their crime of loving each other. Another pivotal character in the film is a female lawyer. This will be Yadav’s first English language film.

    Going for gold
    Akshay Kumar is full of surprises. While we are all familiar with his dedication to health and fitness, and have heard enough stories of his sharp business sense, what’s hard to predict are his movie roles. After Rustom, he’s making a cameo appearance in Naam Shabana, which headlines Tapsee Pannu. He’s also wrapped up Rajnikanth’s Robot 2.0 and Jolly LLB2. In between he’s managed to vacation with his family and shoot an episode of Koffee with Karan, where he shares the couch with Mrs Funnybones, aka his wife Twinkle Khanna. And while the teasers of that episode promise quite a contest for the Koffee hamper, what got social media buzzing is the title of his latest film. Kumar and co-star Bhumi Pednekar have recently started shooting for Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. Now that’s certainly an intriguing and unique name. Helmed by Rustom director Neeraj Pandey, it is said to be a light-hearted film. Kumar and Pandey will also be making a film called Crack and the hunky actor has recently announced that he would be playing a sportsman in Reema Kagti’s Gold. The latter is set in 1948 and tells the story of India’s first Olympic gold after attaining Independence. It will be a hockey-based film in which Kumar will play Balbir Singh Sr, and there are rumours that he might be doing R Balki’s next with Radhika Apte. Kumar’s range of co-stars is as interesting as his films.

    -Udita Jhunjhunwala

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