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Celina Jaitly returns to Bollywood

Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainment, the film will be shot in Kolkata.

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Celina Jaitly

Mumbai, Oct 25 : Actress, LGBTQI activist and former beauty queen Celina Jaitly is set to return to Bollywood after seven years with Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s Hindi film “A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings”.

The film is based on a mother-daughter relationship, Celina will be playing the role of the daughter, opposite veteran actor Lillette Dubey who plays the role of her mother.

The film will also star debutant Azhar Khan as male protagonist.

“I am extremely happy to be a part of Ram Kamal’s film ‘Sea son’s Greetings’, because I have always considered him as a creative person and when he narrated me this story in Dubai, I had goosebumps.

“I knew that this film will be worth my time, as post marriage and motherhood I was looking for a subject that would excite me as a performer. Considering the fact that I have been associated with LGTBQIA movement since past 18 years, and Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh) being an inspiration for all of us, I feel that finally I will be acting in a film that deals with this issue,” Celina said in a statement.

Paoli Dam was to play the daughter’s role in the film initially, but she isn’t being able to be a part of the project due to prior commitments.

“I am feeling really sad that I will not be a part of the film due to my prior commitment which is incidentally clashing with the shooting dates of this film,” Paoli said in a statement.

Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainment, the film will be shot in Kolkata.

The director said: “I know Celina as a friend and have interacted with her at various occasions. She is well read, and values human emotions. I was looking for someone who could relate to this script, and after the narration I could see a teary-eyed Celina, who immediately came on board.”

Married to hotelier Peter Haag, Celina is a mother of three children Winston, Viraaj and Arthur, and keeps shuffling between Dubai and Mumbai for her work commitments.

“I will be shooting in Kolkata for the first time, and thata ¿s something which I am really looking forward to,” she said.

The film has music by Shailendra Sayanti, while Kumar Sanu’s son Ja an makes his Bollywood debut as a singer.

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Rekha Bhardwaj, Harshdeep Kaur pull out of event in Lahore

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harshdeep kaur

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Singers Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur have withdrawn their names from Shaan-e-Pakistan 2019 gala in Lahore next month in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 49 troopers.

Rekha, well known for her versatile tracks like “Genda phool”, “Kabira” and “Ghagra”, was a star attraction at the gala, where Indian and Pakistani talent would have shared the stage for a musical summit and awards night on March 21 and March 22.

“I cancelled our show to Pakistan immediately after the Pulwama attack,” Rekha, who was due to travel with her team, told IANS.

Harshdeep, who has sung melodious numbers like “Heer” and “Dilbaro”, confirmed to IANS that she will also not be a part of the event in Lahore.

Nevertheless, the show, where Pakistan’s Javed Bashir will be producer and director of music, will go on.

“We have no news on Rekhaji and Harshdeep Kaur,” Rehan Babar of Aden Rehan PR and Management Soultions, official PR Partners of the event, told IANS from Lahore when asked if they will be going ahead with the event.

“‘Shaan-e-Pakistan’ is about promoting fashion, music, art and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with promoting peace and love through art and culture. Regardless of the current political tensions, Shaan-e-Pakistan is still very much going ahead and on course to take place in March 21 and 22,” Babar added.

The February 14 terror attack has had a direct impact on cultural ties between India and Pakistan.

While the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has announced a diktat saying Indian filmmakers must not release their films in Pakistan and that no collaboration with Pakistani talent must be pursued, veteran actress Shabana Azmi and her lyricist-writer husband Javed Akhtar axed their visit to Karachi to take part in centenary celebrations of Shabana’s poet-father Kaifi Azmi.

Bollywood film “Total Dhamaal” will also not release in Pakistan.

In fact, Rekha’s multi-faceted husband and filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj was also planning travel to Pakistan for research on the Netflix series “Midnight’s Children”, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel. However, as of now the plan of the web series’ showrunner stands cancelled, said a source in the know.

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All India Cine Workers Association ban Pakistani actors, artistes

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Mumbai, Feb 18: In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, All India Cine Workers Association on Monday decided to impose a total ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in the film industry.

“All Indian Cine Workers Association strongly condemns brutal terrorist attack on our soldiers at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. AICWA stands with nation in confronting such terror and inhumanity”, the film association said in a letter.

The notification made it clear that despite the official ban if any organisation insists on working with Pakistani artistes, the AICWA will ban them and strict action will be taken against them.

“We’re officially announcing a total ban on Pakistani Actors and Artists working in Film Industry. Nation comes first, we stand with our nation”, it added.

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Emphasis on opening weekend biz damaging art of cinema: Swara Bhasker

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Swara Bhaskar

Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Actress Swara Bhasker says the constant emphasis on a films box office collection is damaging the art of cinema.

“The whole system of emphasising the opening weekend business of a film is damaging the art of cinema. I believe there is no connection between the box office collection and the value of a film or to the artistic part of it,” Swara said during a session at ActFest here on Saturday.

“I understand that cinema is an art that involves a huge amount of finance and it demands a steady economy… But the business part of a film should not overpower the core of a cinema — storytelling,” the actress said.

The “Veere Di Wedding” star continued: “Some of the cult films were flops at the box office when they were released. Now, when we revisit those films, we call them classics. I think this system needs to be changed.”

Swara expressed her views during a session with filmmaker Raj Kumar Gupta along with film critics like Rajeev Masand.

ActFest is being organised by the CINTAA (Cine and TV Artistes’ Association). The two-day festival features popular artists participating in discussions, conducting workshops or giving lectures on various aspects of the art. The event, which started on Friday, is conceived and designed by The 48 Hour Film Project, India.

Talking about how film critics’ opinions played a part in her journey, Swara said: “I am grateful to critics because I started my career with small independent films. And when I played some of the pivotal roles like the one in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ even though that wasn’t a lead role, critics repeatedly mentioned my performance and according to them I was good.”

The actress feels “somewhere positive reviews helped me to gain visibility”.

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