On the subject of Nawazuddin Siddiqui, here’s an actor whose calendar is always chock-a-block. Even as Raees is being completed, and his international film Lion is getting some Oscar buzz, Siddiqui also shot for Babumoshai Bandookbaaz and is confirmed to play in a British production. Based on a book by Sujit Saraf, The Confession of Sultana Daku is set in pre-Independence India and will be directed by Heeraz Marfatia. This is the story of a notorious dacoit named Sultana who operated around Siddiqui’s hometown of Muzaffarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh. In other words, Siddiqui is already familiar with Sultana’s notoriety. He has spoken of how bed-time tales about Sultana painted him as a wholly likeable criminal. And while Siddiqui keeps beavering on, he’s no doubt irked by the number of his movies that fester in the cans — titles like Monsoon Shootout, Liar’s Dice, Ghoomketu and Haraamkhor remain un-released. Let’s hope 2017 sees a few of these films make it to a big – or small – screen nearby.
The flip side
By now, almost everyone who reads this column must have seen the trailer of Raees. The Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan-starrer, set to release on January 25 (a few hours before Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil), tells the story of a local heavy called Raees, set against the backdrop of the bootlegging industry in Gujarat, and his nemesis in the form of a zealous ACP. While Shah Rukh plays the titular character, Siddiqui plays the cop. Speaking about the shoot, SRK spoke of delays owing to his injuries and schedule, which meant that even for some of the simpler action scenes, he had no choice but to use a stunt double. When asked if he liked gangster films, he said Carlito’s Way
was his favourite, followed by Goodfellas. SRK is also a big fan of the TV series Narcos and watches it with his two older kids, whenever
time permits. With his heavily kohl-lined eyes and smoking hot dialogue delivery, looks like SRK is relishing playing a baddie after a long time. And, going by the trailer alone, I am excited to see him in a part he clearly loved sinking his teeth into.
Make some noise
In 2012, four established Bollywood directors came together to contribute to the omnibus titled Bombay Talkies. Now, seven directors have come together to guide new talents to present their short stories revolving around the single theme of ‘noise’. Seven aspiring
filmmakers — Rahul V Chittella, Pratik Rajen Kothari, Satish Raj Kasireddi, Amira Bhargava, Supriya Sharma, Annie Zaidi and Arunima Sharma — offer their interpretations of noise in their contributions of one short film each to a new omnibus titled, Shor Se Shuruaat.
Each of the budding filmmakers has been mentored by an established talent. The mentors are Mira Nair, Shyam Benegal, Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, Nagesh Kukunoor, Sriram Raghavan and Homi Adajania. The list of credits includes well-known acting talents such as Atul Kulkarni, Sakshi Tanwar and Sanjay Mishra. After being showcased at film festivals like MAMI and SAIFF, Shor Se Shuruaat will release in Indian cinemas today. See P 20
Keen to learn
Even at the age of 66, with a remarkable résumé and slew of awards to her credit, Shabana Azmi is still ready for new challenges. Among these is the desire to work with new directors, such as Piyush Panjuani. Azmi has starred in his debut feature film Idgah (which premiered at the 47th International Film Festival of India, Go), based on the famous short story by Munshi Premchand. Of course, it was not easy to get Azmi on board. The director has admitted that it took five months and a great deal of persuasion to get the actor on board. So what attracts her to these emerging directors? Azmi puts it down to curiosity, not just to work with new filmmakers, but also to “learn about the language of cinema as it’s being done today”. Staying relevant is certainly critical for all artistes.