Priyanka impresses with Quantico
What a big week it’s been for Priyanka Chopra: Her American TV show, Quantico, premiered in the United States to mixed reviews. Chopra headlines Quantico as Alex Parrish, an FBI recruit in a show that has been described as a cross between Grey’s Anatomy and Homeland. While reviewers described the show as “fluffy”, “predictable”, “formulaic”, “interesting premise” and “must see of the season”, Chopra’s debut on American TV was greeted with more generosity. One blog described her as having “a poise and sexual spark” adding that the show did not give her “much opportunity to show off her brains”. Another wrote that the show’s makers had not used her talents to their full potential. Keep in mind this is just after one episode. Another leading publication described Chopra as charismatic and credits her screen presence as one of the strengths of the show. If this sentiment continues, Chopra could well be poised for much bigger things in Hollywood. Quantico premieres in India this weekend (October 3) but fans might be more eager to see her in Bajirao Mastani or Jai Gangaajal.
Chopra’s seven-year itch
There are few filmmakers today whose next film can be built up with a pre-announcement and then an announcement at midnight in the form of an open letter to his deceased father. But this is exactly what Yash Raj Films did to share that Aditya Chopra was ready to begin directing his next film after a gap of seven years. On the eve of Yash Chopra’s 83rd birthday, Aditya sent out a letter with a fictitious conversation he might have had with his father had he been alive. In that he speaks of his next script, Befikre and how he’s aiming to make a film that does not fetter him with Rs.100 crore box office collection expectations. News of Befikre comes seven years after Aditya made Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi which came eight years after he released Mohabbatein, but neither of those films captured the magic of his debut film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995): that’s three films in 20 years! This year Aditya Chopra is also preparing for fatherhood, his wife Rani Mukherji is expecting their first child.
Irrfan intimidates Meghna
A few weeks ago, before she left for the premiere of Talvar in Toronto, I met director Meghna Gulzar at her office. It’s a space she shares with her father, the lauded poet and lyricist Gulzar, so naturally it was a huge bonus to meet the stalwart, albeit briefly. But even in those few minutes, he was grace and charm personified, proudly showing me his art collection, making gentle suggestions to the photographer on possible locations for shots and being paternal as he said, ‘please make my darling daughter look good’. As close as they are, the filmmaking styles and approaches of father and daughter are starkly different. Yet he was the first person she wanted to show the film to when it was near complete. For Meghna, however, the big revelation while working on Talvar was interacting with Irrfan Khan who plays a CBI investigator in this film based on the Aarushi Talwar double murder case in Noida. “I hadn’t interacted with him before and it was intimidating for me to work with him because of where he is at and his persona,” she said. Of the new talent in the industry, Meghna is most impressed by Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Ranbir Kapoor. “There is a great texture of talent in our industry today,” she added.