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Taking over Canada

You would have to be living under a rock to not know that Priyanka Chopra has been spending most of the last few months on the sets of her TV show, Quantico, in Montreal, Canada. A few hundred miles away, colleague Deepika Padukone has begun shooting for her first Hollywood production in Toronto. Her heavy-duty co-star this time is producer and actor Vin Diesel, who plays an extreme athlete-turned-superspy in the third part of this blockbuster franchise, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage. The film, directed by DJ Caruso, will also be shooting in the Dominican Republic. Joining Padukone during her current schedule was Ranveer Singh, who popped over for the Valentine’s weekend and also managed to catch a basketball game. Now if only Chopra could join them, it would have been a keepsake photo-op moment with the Bajirao Mastani gang reuniting in Canada!

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Weakening stock

The critics seem to be largely unanimous in their dismay at Katrina Kaif’s performance in last week’s Fitoor. Kaif, whose career started derailing with Bang Bang and Phantom, desperately needs a win—especially after the shocking recent break-up with Bollywood darling, Ranbir Kapoor. The biggest name on the marquee (her hair colouring and styling alone is rumoured to have added a hefty `50 lakh to the film’s budget), the poor showing of Fitoor is bound to take a toll not only on her market value but the already beleaguered Jagga Jasoos. Kapoor’s home production has been limping along for years and, with their recent split, cold vibes cannot be heartwarming for this film, its crew or its outcome.

pg20-3Fear factor

Sonam Kapoor had proposed a unique way to promote her latest drama, Neerja. She had asked friends and colleagues to record video messages about their deepest and worst fears. The concept was to tie into the theme of the brave air hostess who saved hundreds of lives on a hijacked flight in 1986. Kapoor reprises the role of Neerja Bhanot, who died a day short of her 23rd birthday, after being shot by hijackers as she body-shielded young children on the fated flight. So what did it take for Kapoor to play a duty-bound Neerja? “The most beautiful thing about bravery is that you act even though you are afraid. I was like ‘how am I going to make it real — I cannot become Sunny Deol from Ghayal’. Neerja was an ordinary 22-year-old girl. She was very afraid, but she still did what she had to do. My idea behind this campaign, where people tell me their fears, was based on the thought that it’s only when you face your fears, and act even though you are fearful, that you conquer those fears.” Kapoor admits that she, too, has a number of fears, the greatest of which is of letting down her father, Anil Kapoor.

pg20-2Shaking things up

While Neerja is riding on Sonam Kapoor’s designer-draped shoulders, it is also the much-awaited second feature by celebrated ad filmmaker, Ram Madhvani. But there is another debut that the industry will be watching closely. Music composer and singer Shekhar Ravjiani, better known as one half of the highly-successful Vishal-Shekhar team, makes his acting debut in the film, which releases today. Ravjiani plays Neerja’s romantic interest and took up the challenge as the director, being a dear friend, insisted on casting him. Now if the easy-on-the-eyes singer is able to prove he has the acting chops, a real musical with a lead actor who can sing his own part might be just the ticket! And maybe partner Vishal Dadlani can play a ‘significant’ cameo in the same.

 

– Udita Jhunjhunwala

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