Rumours and strategies
Neil Nitin Mukesh almost stole Prem Ratan Dhan Payo co-star Salman Khan’s thunder with rumours that he had bagged a role in Game of Thrones. With enough jokes about the Johnny Gaddaar actor playing a Whitewalker in the hit TV show doing the rounds, in the last week before the release of the family drama, attention shifted back firmly on to Khan. While one of the clever marketing ideas was to encourage all and sundry to film Dubsmash videos with the title song, another was to hold an intimate conversation between the hot-shot Khan and the reticent director Sooraj Barjatya. The film also stars Sonam Kapoor as princess Maithili along with Swara Bhaskar, Deepak Dobriyal, Armaan Kohli and Anupam Kher. Coming back to Mukesh, not only is this his biggest release in a while but he also gets to share screen space with Kher after 28 years. Mukesh was just four years old when he acted with Kher in Yash Chopra’s Vijay.
When Salman was conned
It is well known in the corridors of Bollywood that Salman Khan dislikes travelling and shooting out of Mumbai. So, it is no wonder that several of his appointments, shoots and promotional activities are planned in the vicinity of his home in Bandra. Director Kabir Khan, who has worked with Salman on Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, confirmed this quirk. And if Salman hates travel, Kabir is equally renowned for his penchant for outdoor location shoots. So how did this collaboration work? White lies, it seems, is what it took to get Salman on to a plane to Havana, Cuba. When asked how long the flight would be, Kabir admits that he lied and said it would be the same distance as flying from London to New York—around seven hours. In fact, the flight from Europe to Havana is over 10 hours. “You can imagine what gaalis (bad words) were waiting for me when he finally landed in Cuba,” laughs Kabir.
Call me papa
Another star who dominated the media space last week was Shah Rukh Khan — not just with his 50th birthday celebrations, but also for the glamorous launch of the trailer of Dilwale. SRK has also been posting cute pictures of his boy AbRam. So when recently asked which nickname the mega-star prefers, SRK, Badshaah, King Khan etc , it was charming to hear him say his favourite is ‘papa’.
Making the cut
Among the recent crop of Indian indies drawing the spotlight is Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City. Produced by the National Film Development Corporation, it premiered at the 72nd Venice Film Festival. Oberoi’s debut feature stars Vinay Pathak, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amruta Subhash and Chandan Roy Sanyal, and follows three comedy dramas set in Mumbai. Another noteworthy one is Bengaluru boy Raam Reddy’s Thithi, which added a win at the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI) to his double win at the Locarno Film Festival. Yet another is Shlok Sharma’s debut Haraamkhor, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi, which bagged an award at MAMI. Filmmaker Jayaraj Nair’s Ottal has been wowing audiences. Based on a short story by Russian writer Anton Chekhov, it depicts the story of a young child labourer, his ties with his grandfather and with nature.