Director Onir is ready to start rolling with his next feature film, even while he is currently busy shooting Shab. The director of the National Award-winning I Am and My Brother Nikhil will be helming Veda, a love story based on William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Veda had a high-powered launch in Mumbai earlier this week with the deputy prime minister of the UK, Nick Clegg, as the chief guest at the mahurat of the film along with Juhi Chawla and other guests. Shab, also a love story about the complexities of relationships, is being shot in Delhi. In a tweet, Onir had described it as a film about “love and lust, want and need”. The film stars Arpita Pal, Raveena Tandon, Ashish Bisht, Shray Rai Tiwari, French actor Simon Frenay and Sanjay Suri.
Sonia Golani, a recruitment specialist and career adviser, is the unlikely author of a book titled Decoding Bollywood: Stories of 15 film directors. In her author’s note, Golani writes, “These stories are not meant to offer a critique of the directors’ films; my attempt is to delve into the professional and personal journeys of 15 filmmakers in order to unravel and decode some aspects of the Hindi film industry.’’ From Anurag Basu to Kunal Kohli, from Nagesh Kukunoor to Rohit Shetty, she has covered quite the spectrum, including three female directors: Nandita Das, Farah Khan and Zoya Akhtar.
Tigers in Toronto
Academy Award-winning director of No Man’s Land, Danis Tanovi’s next film, Tigers, is set to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival early next month. Featuring Emraan Hashmi and Geetanjali Thapa, as per a press release, the film is about a young salesman who is “devastated when he discovers the effects of the cheap, locally-made drugs he peddles for a Pakistani pharmaceuticals firm” and how he “challenges the system and the powers that be, in this based-on-fact drama”. This would be a first for Hashmi as he embarks on an international acting career, even as his highly commercial Bollywood film, Raja Natwarlal, opens today. Besides Tigers, Shonali Bose’s Kalki Koechlin-starring Margarita, With a Straw and Tamil film, The Crow’s Egg (Kaakkaa Muttai), by M Manikandan are also part of the official selection at Toronto this year. The Mary Kom biopic will also be screened on the opening night of the Canadian festival, which runs from September 4-14.
With her appearance in AIB’s latest video, Genius of the Year, Alia Bhatt proves what a sport she is. The online video is designed like a documentary tracing Bhatt’s days after her appearance on Koffee With Karan, where she exposed her lack of general knowledge and became the butt of several jokes and memes. Bhatt plays herself and the video shows how she enrolls in a brain growth gym called ‘Dumb-Belle’ that promises to enhance her brainpower and GK. Her parents, Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, and sister Shaheen, also feature in the film along with co-stars Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, and director and talk show host Karan Johar, whose performance is second only to Alia’s! When I watched the short film, my first thought was that this is a great spin given by Alia’s PR team to tackle the jokes head-on. However, further enquiry revealed that Rohan Joshi, the associate director (the film is directed by Shakun Batra who had made Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu) and actor playing Raj Koothrapalli the trainer, is apparently dating Alia’s sister, Shaheen. That explains the access and the irreverence.