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    Quizzers in Sundance
    Qaushik Mukherjee, also known as Q and best known as the avant-garde director of films like Gandu and Tasher Desh, is Q’s quizzers go to Sundanceall set to take his first English language feature film to competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Titled Brahman Raman, the UK-India co-production is a coming-of-age teenage comedy that follows a Bangalore University quiz team as they head cross-country to national championships, determined to defeat their arch rivals and also lose their virginity along the way. Produced by Steve Barron, best known for directing music videos and producing films such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and While You Were Sleeping, the cast headlines Titli star Shashank Arora as Brahman Naman. Set in the early 1980s, the film has been shot in Bengaluru, Mysore and Kolkata, and also stars Tanmay Dhanania, Chaitanya Varad, Vaiswath Shankar, Sindhu Sreenivasa Murthy and Sid Mallya.

    Waiting in Dubai
    Among the 57 films from around the globe showing at the Dubai International Film Festival (till December 16) are three Indian films: Raam Reddy’s acclaimed Thithi, Rinku Kalsy’s documentary on Tamil superstar Rajnikanth called For The Love of a Man and Anu Menon’s Waiting. Starring Kalki Koechlin and Naseeruddin Shah, Waiting has its world premiere at the festival where the veteran Shah will also be felicitated with the Lifetime Achievement  Award. Waiting was shot almost completely in Kerala with Koechlin and Shah playing two strangers who meet in a hospital—where their respective partners lie in a coma—and through this interaction they come o terms with the meaning of loss and death.
    Battle of the biggies
    Bollywood takes a break this Friday and begins to clear the way for the battle of the biggies next week.
    On December 18, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s Dilwale will take on Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra’s Bajirao Mastani. Even Star Wars The Force Awakens, which has its world premiere on December 18, has pushed its India release by a week (to December 25) in order to avoid being crushed by these Bollywood behemoths. While all the other
    cast is well established and with a set fan following, the newbie in the pack is Kriti Sanon. Just one film old (Heropanti), the former model landed Rohit Shetty’s big-scale picture after just one meeting. Sanon has grown up on SRK-Kajol movies so, needless to say, working with her childhood idols was overwhelming. Sanon admits that she was nervous on the first day of shoot with SRK, especially because in that scene she had to shout at the senior actor.

    Elvis in the house
    Farhan Akhtar seems to be able to do it all. He’s a writer, director, producer, actor, TV host, rock star, musician, activist, father and features in advertisements. You can only imagine how proud his mother must be. Now Akhtar’s next film Wazir, in which he plays a police officer, releases on January 8, a day before his birthday. “On Elvis’ birthday!” he says, when I mention this to him. His mother, Honey Irani, is a big fan of the legendary American singer, also known as the King of Rock and Roll, and was most disappointed that her son was born just a little after midnight on the 9th of January and did not share her idol’s date of birth. It seems, one day when Akhtar’s daughter spotted an Elvis  Presley magnet in her grandmother’s house she pointed to it and asked who that was. Irani replied, “God.” Now even the uber talented Akhtar can’t live up to that.

    Udita Jhunjhunwala

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