Girls pack a punch
While we are so accustomed to seeing our Bollywood heroes kick butt in movies, it’s quite a novelty to see heroines flexing their muscles. 2015 saw a number of women show that they can giving as good as they get. Recall Taapsee Pannu as a fearless and well trained Indian spy in that impressive scene in Baby, Deepika Padukone wielding a sword and riding horses in Bajirao Mastani, Amy Jackson gave Akshay Kumar a run for this money with her high-kicks and punches in Singh is Blinng and Anushka Sharma being forced to find her inner Rambo while caught in a frightening situation in NH10. This year, among the leading ladies who will be showing the men they can match them punch for punch will be Sonakshi Sinha (Akira), Ritika Singh (Saala Khadoos), Priyanka Chopra (Jai GangaaJal) and Sanya Malhotra and Fatima Sana Sheikh (Dangal).
An indie account
Sanjay Suri and Onir are producers who have doggedly backed offbeat scripts and managed to get those films to reach audiences, first via film festivals and then in theatres. Today, their latest venture Chauranga will open across India. Directed by debutant Bikas Mishra, Chauranga is set in a Jharkhand village where we see the playing out of caste politics as a lower caste boy sets his heart on an upper caste girl, and what happens when he writes a love letter to her. The award-winning film, which explores issues of discrimination and power politics, stars Dhritiman Chatterjee, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Anshuman Jha and Sanjay Suri, and was shot in Bengal and Odisha.
Farhan’s rocking 2016
The uber-talented Farhan Akhtar, who seems able to do just about anything he sets his mind to — and looks good while doing it too — will be celebrating his birthday this weekend (January 9) with the release of Wazir (January 8). Akhtar plays an ATS officer, Dannish Khan, in Bejoy Nambiar’s thriller, with co-stars Amitabh Bachchan, Aditi Rao Hydari, Neil Nitin Mukesh and John Abraham. In between promoting Wazir, Akhtar was also shooting for Rock On 2. Since Rock On released in 2008, Akhtar has made a brand of himself as a singer and musician, performing live and with plans to release an independent music album. “Yes, a lot of experience has happened between the two, of working on various films and the singing part, but more importantly, you ease out with every experience. Rock On 2 does feel like coming back home. It’s an interesting circle. I feel like I remember that guy very well from the first one. But it is a new story, a new journey with residual history of those characters,” said Akhtar, of his next acting venture. Directing will have to wait some more time.
Khan-tastic at 50
Salman Khan ended the year by turning 50, making him the last of the three Khans to complete a half century. Pictures of his party and guests were all over the media. In an interview to mark the occasion, Khan spoke of his journey as an actor making his debut in 1988 with Biwi Ho to Aisi, making it 27 years since playing a leading man. Khan began working as an assistant director when he was just 16. His first ambition was to become a director but destiny had superstar written in his future, a journey that began with a Campa Cola ad and led to starring roles in Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, Pathhar Ke Phool and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun? “God has given me so much work and so many fans that if I release three films every year, they would still watch all three, expecting each one to be good,” Khan said in that interview.