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    Tahir Bhasin: Forging ahead with Force
    The casting of the second male lead in the Abhinay Deo directed Force 2 has been quite the topic of speculation. While Imran Khan was hotly tipped for the part, he was unable to work with his Delhi Belly director and the role has now gone to Tahir Bhasin. After playing bit parts, Bhasin, it might be recalled, made a menacing and memorable full-fledged acting debut as the baddie in Rani Mukherji-starrer Mardaani. Now he joins John Abraham (as a police officer) and Sonakshi Sinha (who plays a RAW agent) in this action extravaganza, which will start shooting next month in Budapest and China. A media studies graduate, Bhasin is apparently being trained in mixed martial arts and other action work for this sequel. The 2011 film Force, which was directed by Nishikant Kamat, was a remake of the hit Tamil film Kaakha Kaakha with Vidyut Jamwal going head to head with Abraham.

    A phantom menace?
    After the debacle of Bullett Raja and Happy Ending, Saif Ali Khan returns with the action drama Phantom, released today. Kabir Khan, hot off the roaring success of Bajrangi Bhaijaan has directed Khan and Katrina Kaif in this story about tough secret agents, which was shot across the globe from India to Beirut, UK and Canada. The movie is said to be about the political tensions and drama unfolding behind the scenes in the aftermath of 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and tackles issues of global terrorism. This is Kaif’s only release of the year, following the very successful Bang Bang in 2014. And her upcoming roster is quite interesting too with the Dickensian Fitoor, with Aditya Roy Kapoor and Jagga Jasoos with Ranbir Kapoor. Wonder if Kaif is feeling the heat from Jacqueline Fernandez, the other international import to Bollywood who is impressive with her Hindi, dance moves (neither of which Kaif has really mastered yet) and her histrionics.

    Politics of water
    Last week it was Manjhi and now the dusky Radhika Apte will be seen in this week’s other release Kaun Kitne Paani Mein. Directed by Jalpari and I Am Kalam’s Nila Madhab Panda, this is a film on the biggest danger facing the world — water crisis. The film headlines Kunal Kapoor, who was last seen in Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana alongside Saurabh Shukla and Gulshan Grover. The story is about two villages at loggerheads. When a terrible drought hits the area, the balance of power between the upper affluent village and the lower self-sufficient village kicks in. Panda describes Kaun Kitne Paani Main as “a fun comedy set in Orissa about a war of water between two

    Who will save this date?
    When publicity for Madhur Bhandarkar’s slightly sleazy looking Calendar Girls began, it piggybacked on heavyweights Deepika Padukone and Vijay Mallya, claiming they were the inspiration for the film. Now, while it is obvious that Mallya’s annual brand-driven beach-based calendar is the basis for Bhandarkar’s drama, one wonders how Padukone feels about the association. The film revolves around five models, played by Akanksha Puri, Avani Modi, Kyra Dutt, Ruhi Singh and Satarupa Pyne, who feature in such calendars and how their lives are affected by the resultant popularity. Bhandarkar, who has a penchant for picking up fascinating voyeuristic subjects and making them déclassé, has said that his latest film (which releases September 25) is 75 per cent fact and the rest is fiction. No doubt the modeling and fashion world will be waiting with bated breath to see if they recognise shades of themselves in Calendar Girls.

     

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