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On top of her game
Aditi Roy Hydari has hardly been at the centre of events in Bollywood. Her last films were Wazir, Fitoor and The Legend of Michael Mishra, none of which made a major mark, nor were they marketed on her presence. Even in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s beleaguered Padmavati, Hydari is cast in an ancillary role. So it is indeed delightful to see the actress play a central character in Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai. Co-starring Karthi, this love story releases in April. And then Hydari plays another interesting character, this time acting as Sanjay Dutt’s daughter in his comeback film Bhoomi, a revenge drama centred around a father-daughter relationship. Director of Bhoomi, Omung Kumar, has said that it was her untapped potential and perfect fit that made her an apt choice for this part. It’s an unexpected casting choice and while Dutt will be playing an age appropriate role, this year Hydari might finally get to break out of the supporting role box.

Marching ahead
While enjoying the reactions to Raees, Shah Rukh Khan is also excited about two forthcoming films. The first is the as yet unnamed Imtiaz Ali travel film with Anushka Sharma. Khan says he likes Ali’s take on love stories, especially the edginess he brings to his films. For the conventional love story, Khan says he can work with Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar, and for the epic love story, there’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali. But his challenge for the year will be playing a dwarf in Aanand L Rai’s love story. Of course, there is much more to this film than Khan’s height ­­— and curiosity is certainly sky high, especially after he pulled off the double role of the 25-year-old obsessed fan Gaurav in Fan.

From Silicon Valley to Sundance
Anupam Kher continues his march in the West with interesting projects. The latest is a film called The Big Sick, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Michael Showalter, the romantic comedy also stars Kumail Nanjiani, best known for his geeky software coder character from the TV sitcom Silicon Valley. Interestingly, The Big Sick is an autobiographical story co-written by Nanjiani and his wife Emily V Gordon, and is based on their cross-cultural courtship, its resultant issues and how a sickness brought them all together. Other homegrown Indian talent to join Kher in this arthouse comedy are Zenobia Shroff and Shenaz Treasurywala. Let’s hope this one makes it to our cinemas, unscathed.

Age no bar
Last weekend, the tennis courts of the Australian Open in Melbourne stood out for the dominance of players and champions who were defying age and physical injuries to return to deadly form. Serena and Venus Williams in the women’s tournament showed resilience while Roger Federer outclassed Rafael Nadal even as both excelled in spite of time off due to injuries. Back in Bollywood, 52-year-old Shah Rukh Khan smoked up the screen in (and as) Raees and Hrithik Roshan (43) made a solid comeback (after the bizarre Mohenjo Daro) in Kaabil. It was good to see both these actors perform within their characters. So delighted has SRK been with the response that he has been retweeting every compliment the film is receiving. And earlier in the week, the Raees team celebrated the film’s success, quite uniquely (and in keeping with the film’s theme) on a dry day! This week, another veteran will hope for flying returns. Sexagenarian Jackie Chan is showing off his Bollywood moves alongside his kung fu ones in Kung Fu Yoga. Directed by Stanley Tong, Kung Fu Yoga is a slapstick comedy that also features Sonu Sood. It’s the story of two professors on an epic journey to find lost treasure and the bad man who gets in their way.

— Udita Jhunjhunwala

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