Back with a bang?
In 1990, Sunny Deol delivered a big hit with Ghayal. As Ajay Mehra, an amateur boxer, he proved he was an ace when it came to action. The role also bagged him a National Award. Twenty six years later, the actor-producer-director has written and directed the sequel, Ghayal Once Again. It seems Deol was always keen on making a sequel, but since he waited more than two decades, and in order to make the subject relevant to today’s audiences (read, the youth), he’s cast young actors—Rishabh Arora, Shivam Patil, Diana Khan and Anchal Munjal. Deol himself plays Ajay Mehra, who now runs a newspaper. Ghayal Once Again also stars established actors like Soha Ali Khan, Om Puri and Tisca Chopra. But Deol is not one to rest on his laurels. He has two other films as an actor waiting in the wings, Bhaiyyaji Superhitt and Mohalla Assi. No matter what, he seems to have accepted that it’s not romance or comedy his fans want from him; it’s his hard-hitting action hero they love.
Raising eyebrows, winning hearts
Aligarh, Hansal Mehta’s biopic on a Marathi professor discriminated against for his sexual preferences, created a storm after its powerful and moving trailer was slapped with an A certificate by the censors. Starring Manoj Bajpayee as professor Siras and Rajkummar Rao as a young and enthusiastic journalist who tracks the professor’s story, Aligarh received standing ovations and rave reviews after screenings at the Busan, London and Mumbai film festivals. Before the trailer launch in Mumbai, Mehta and Apurva Asrani, the writer of the film, hosted a special screening for Karan Johar, who had produced Dostana, a film that parodied homosexuality and irked the LGBT community no end. Johar was, reportedly, deeply moved by the film, as were filmmakers like Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Shirish Kunder. And with his astounding portrayal, Bajpayee looks set to become the new poster boy for the LGBT community, a role he’s more than comfortable playing.
Rise of the clones
Today we see the release of the first of a bunch of similar looking and sounding films. There’s Sanam Re, Sanam Teri Kasam, Loveshhuda, Direct Ishq, Ishq Forever and Ishq Junoon. How does one tell these films apart, especially as they all seem to be young romantic films with fairly new and unknown faces? Let me try and help. This week’s release, Sanam Teri Kasam, is directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, and stars Harshvardhan Rane with fake tattoos and a bespectacled ugly duckling-turned-swan character, played by Pakistani TV actor Mawra Hocane. Sanam Re is directed by Divya Khosla Kumar and stars a shirtless Pulkit Samrat with Yammi Gautam, who he was allegedly seeing but then said he wasn’t really and that this piece of gossip was floated to promote the film. Very classy. Directed by Vaibhav Mishra, Loveshhuda sees Girish Kumar making the most of a hangover with Navneet Kaur Dhillon. Direct Ishq is an action-love triangle set in Banaras. It stars Rajniesh Duggall, Nidhi Subbaiah and Arjun Bijlani, and is directed by Rajiv S Ruia. In the Sameer Sippy-directed romcom, Ishq Forever, actors Krishna Chaturvedi and Ruhi Singh meet on a journey that results in unexpected situations. Perhaps the only one you will not confuse with the others is Ishq Junoon – The Heat is On, which is being promoted as ‘India’s first threesome-based erotic film’. Wonder what our censors will have to say about this one.