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    Of goddesses and the girl child
    Also spotted at the Film Bazaar was filmmaker Pan Nalin whose new feature, Angry Indian Goddesses, released today. The chick flick, about a group of seven girlfriends who reunite for a friend’s wedding, was shot in Goa. Nalin, who has previously directed features such as Samsara and Valley of Flowers, has Sandhya Mridul, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anushka Manchanda and Amrit Maghera, among others playing the ‘goddesses’. The film follows the story of Frieda, essayed by actress Sarah-Jane Dias, who invites her closest girlfriends to Goa to announce her wedding. Another independent film releasing this week is Madhureeta Anand’s Kajarya, which deals with the issues of sex selection in India, infanticide and the consequent violence against women. The story is told through the lives of two women.

    Under the Goan sun
    The recently-concluded International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and its sidebar event, Film Bazaar (organised by the National Film Development  Corporation), opened up avenues for many new Indian films and upcoming  projects. Shekhar Kapur, who headed the International Competition jury, was  blown away by Chaitanya Tamhane’s Marathi film Court, part of the Indian  Panorama, which also happens to be India’s official entry to the Oscars this  year. From the films under production, two films from the Work in Progress lab of Film Bazaar received accolades—Shanker Raman’s fictional feature Gurgaon and Rahul Jain’s documentary Machines. Also present in Goa was Nandita Das, passionately sharing information about her upcoming project Manto. Filmmakers Vikas Bahl and Anurag Kashyap arrived straight from partner Madhu Mantena’s wedding celebrations and were heard complaining of hangovers. But being in Goa meant there was little time to recover. Manoj  Bajpayee was also there, enjoying his time in the coastal  state as a representative for an online entertainment platform. Bajpayee was  also lapping up compliments for his award-worthy role in Aligarh, which was
    one of three Indian films to be on the British Film Institute’s list of  the best films of 2015 (based on voting by international film critics). Bajrangi  Bhaijaan and Baahubali: The Beginning were the other two.

    Casting coup?
    Spotlighting the dearth of age-appropriate actresses to star opposite the 50-going-on-30 Khan triumvirate is the case of Sultan. The next Salman Khan starrer—based on the life of a wrestler—has reportedly begun shooting without any lead actress being cast opposite him. Now rumour has it that Deepika Padukone, who has long expressed a desire to work with Khan, might be cast in director Ali Abbas Zafar’s film. If this is true, not only would it be a casting coup, but life will also come a full circle for Padukone, who has often said that Khan was “the first one to realise” her potential. The actor was the first to offer Padukone a film when she was a young 18-year-old model.

    Turning up the heat
    Sharman Joshi’s career certainly appears to have taken an interesting turn. After playing pleasant comic characters and righteous chaps in films like Golmaal, Rang De Basanti, Three Idiots and Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Joshi does a volte-face with Hate Story 3. The thriller, which is being sold on titillation and skin show, also stars Karan Singh Grover, Daisy Shah and Zarine Khan. With this film, Joshi certainly sheds his geeky, goody-two-shoes image and the father of three children gets a chance to show off his ripped physique. Interestingly, while growing up, he never admitted that he dreamt of being an actor. “I always wanted to be an actor, but when anyone asked me I would say ‘director’. Anyone who wants to be an actor will shy away from admitting that because then you come under instant scrutiny and assessment,” he said once. No doubt that scrutiny is around now, and even more so.

    Udita Jhunjhunwala


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